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2 Chicago Tribune Section 1 Thursday, March 7, 2013 TRIB NATION Covering the Blackhawks John Kass Cermak's death offers lesson in Chicago Way With each game, attention builds for the Chicago Blackhawks. Trib Nation checked in with the Tribune's Blackhawks beat reporter, Chris Kuc: What is it like covering the team this season? What went from a few of us jockeying for position around players The assassinated Chicago Mayor Anton Cermak, who died 80 years ago this week, is often portrayed by official histories as just an innocent victim of bad luck and bad aim. But Chicagoans don't believe in coincidences, not even us chumbo-lones, especially when coincidences involve Chicago politics and the Chicago Outfit "It is interesting, is it not?" asked Aid. Edward Burke, 14th, dean of the Chicago City Council and a guest Wednesday on the WLS-AM talk show I co-host with Lauren Cohn. "There was no mention of that historic event of eight decades ago in this morning's papers." Burke is the council historian.
When it comes to Chicago politics, he knows where the bodies are buried. And he believes as do I that the Outfit killed Cer Ku has turned into a battleground in front of dressing room stalls with print, radio and TV reporters all trying to get answers. As a journalist, you always want to be covering the hottest story around, and the Blackhawks are certainly that. What started as a nice feel-good local story has gone national make that North American, with hockey-crazed Canada taking notice. What is the pace of coverage in a shortened season? Frenetic.
With so many games being played in a short amount of time, I'm either at a game or traveling to one. The Hawks have held very few practices, and it's all about the games. There really hasn't been a day that's gone by since the season began in mid-January that I haven't either written something or been on a plane (where I'm usually transcribing or writing anyway). It can be tough with a 3-year-old son, but it makes the time I am home that much more special. And I get to go to some amazing cities and experience a lot And then there is tweeting.
Lots of tweeting. How does discipline factor in this year for you and for the players? The players need to be disciplined in what they eat, how they work out, how they practice and how they spend their off-time. Every point counts, and they can ill-afford to miss out on a few, because a night off could hurt their postseason positioning. I need to stay disciplined in getting my work done and staying focused, even though I'm sometimes driving to airports across North America before dawn, juggling family life with breaking news and stories for the print editions and also doing plenty of radio and TV. AH in all, it's a wild and fun ride.
Read more of Chris' observations on our newsroom blog TribNation.com. Follow him on Twitter: ChrisKuc. mak to send a message. Many historians say that a crazed and short-statured anti-capitalist assassin from Italy stood on a wobbly chair, aimed at President Franklin Cermak GAMMA-KEYSTONE PHOTO Giuseppe Zangara was arrested and later executed for the 1933 assassination of Chicago Mayor Anton Cermak. But some believe the Outfit killed Cermak.
Almanac Business 6 Letters News 21 Ask Amy AE 9 Market Roundup Business 5 Bridge AE 10 Nation World News 12 Celebrities AE 9 Obituaries Business 6 Chicagoland News 4 Press box Sports 7 Comics AE 10 Scoreboard Sports 7 Commentary News 21 Smack! Sports 2 Crossword AE 11 Sudoku AE 11 Editorials News 20 Television AE 9 Horoscopes AE 10 Weather AE 12 WINNING LOTTERY NUMBERS ILLINOIS Roosevelt in Miami and missed, hitting Cermak. "Well, maybe the chumbolones, John, believe this was not a Chicago mob hit," Burke said. "But most people who've examined the facts surrounding it would believe that Anton Cermak met his untimely demise at the hands of Frank Nitti and the Chicago mob." Burke reminds us that Cermak's hand-picked police bodyguards tried to murder mob kingpin Frank "The Enforcer" Nitti. They shot Nitti three times, but failed to kill him. And a few months later in Miami, on Feb.
15, 1933, while standing some distance from Roosevelt, Cermak was gunned down. Cermak died of his wounds March 6. A mere 14 days after Cermak's death, gunman Giuseppe Zangara, "the man with the burning eyes," was executed in the arms of "Old Sparky," the famed electric chair of the Florida State Prison at Raiford. Fourteen days? If that isn't swift justice the Chicago Way, what is? "It's not a well-known story," Burke said. "It begins, of course, with the election of Anton Cermak as mayor of Chicago in 193L He defeated 'Big Bill' Thompson, the last Republican mayor to serve the city of Chicago." Thompson was a walking political cartoon, a boob, a tool of the blustery Al Capone and Capone's right-hand man the real boss the silent Paul "The Waiter" Ricca Thompson once threatened to punch the king of England in the nose, but he took orders from the Outfit the way a dog takes biscuits.
He detested immigrants, particularly Bohemians, Poles, Greeks, Jews and Italians (at least those who didn't give him orders). Cermak, a Bohemian immigrant, Nitti. "The second mistake," said Burke, "as they were walking into the building, they waved to a uniformed Chicago police officer who was directing traffic out on LaSalle Street and had that officer, (Chris) Callahan, come with them to the office." They shot Nitti in the back, neck and chest. Lang suffered a flesh wound, though Callahan later testified that Lang shot himself in the arm to make it look like self-defense. "He must have shot himself," Callahan testified.
Lang was later indicted, but the charges disappeared after Cermak's death. Nitti failed to show up in court, and according to "The Outfit" by Gus Russo, Lang warned, "I will blow the lid off Chicago politics and wreck the Democratic Party if I have to serve one day in jail." After Cermak was shot in Miami, the papers made it look like he heroically took a bullet for the president Chicago mourned and the City Council renamed 22nd Street as Cermak Road. It is said that Ricca would drive along Cermak and laugh, riding from the Outfit headquarters at the Lexington Hotel on Michigan Avenue to the Outfit's Cicero stronghold. After Cermak, no Chicago mayor ever dared publicly condemn Outfit politicians, or their messenger boys, or their trucking companies, or Outfit judges or Outfit cops. As it was then, it remains the Chicago Way.
jskasstribune.com Twitter JohnKass appealed to these factions belittled by Thompson. "Pushcart Tony" Cermak wasn't some mouse, but a tough guy in his own right, widely considered to have made his pile of cash as a bootlegger. He also had amazing leadership skills, able to tame what I've long called the city of tribes. He organized the warring immigrants into the Chicago Democratic machine. As he did, Roosevelt was playing politics in the big cities, trying to reshape Democratic politics in his image.
The fictional mayor played by Kelsey Grammer in the Starz network's now-canceled "Boss" also talked of the tribes of Chicago. In one scene, he stood on the roof of City Hall, delivering an awesome, almost Shakespearean soliloquy. But what the fictional mayor and the Cermak-as-accidental-victim histories ignore is the name of Chicago police Detective Harry Lang. "After Cermak became mayor he inherited a police security detail," Burke said. "And not very long into his term, on Dec.
19, 1932, two Chicago police sergeants (detectives at the time) assigned to Cermak's personal security detail barged into Room 554 at 221 N. LaSalle St. in Chicago's downtown One of those police sergeants, Lang, shot Frank Nitti in cold blood, wounding him three times." By then, Capone was in federal prison. Nitti was the new frontman. Ricca, as always, stood in the shadows.
Lang and Sgt. Harry Miller believed they were conducting a preemptive hit to protect Cermak. But they made two mistakes. They shot but didn't kill March 6 Pick 3 midday 699 March 6 Pick 4 midday 2846 March 6 My3 midday 909 March 6 Pick 3 evening 064 March 6 Pick 4 evening 1574 March 6 My3 evening 361 March 8 Mega Millions jackpot S33M March 6 Lucky Day Lotto 09 14 20 35 37 March 6 Lotto 25 26 31 32 43 50 March 6 Lotto jackpot S3.95M March 6 Powerball 06 10 23 41 45 PB-01 March 6 Powerball jackpot S123M INDIANA March 6 Daily 3 midday 445 March 6 Daily 4 midday 7580 March 6 Cash 5 01 06 11 25 26 March 6 Daily 3 evening 864 March 6 Daily 4 evening 6718 March 6 Lotto 04 07 14 22 41 42 MICHIGAN March 6 C. Lotto 07 08 27 37 40 44 March 6 Keno 02 03 22 28 33 38 39404144 464853 55 62 65 66 75 76 77 78 79 March 6 Daily 3 midday 543 March 6 Daily 4 midday 2217 March 6 Daily 3 evening 281 March 6 Daily 4 evening 1225 March 6 Fantasy 5 04 24 31 36 38 WISCONSIN March6Pick3 525 March6SuperCash March 6 Pick 4 1186 March 6 Badger 5 04 05 19 29 30 March 6 Megabucks .03 18 21 32 36 38 .01 19 2831 4146 More winning numbers at chicagotribune.comlottery To report errors: Call the Reader Help line at 312-222-3348 or email readerhelptribune.com To manage your print and digital subscriptions: Calll-800-TRIBUNE (874-2863) To contact customer service online: Email: consumerservicestribune.com Twitter: ChiTribCS Facebook: fb.comTribuneClientServices Chicago Tribune (USPS 104-000) is published daily (7 days) at Tribune Tower, 435 N.
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