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Will Madigan’s indictment end machine politics?

By Sidney Madden | @sidney_madden_


Former Illinois House Speaker and state Democratic chair Michael Madigan’s 22-count federal indictment has the whole state talking about how this could finally be the end of one of Illinois’ most powerful political figures.

Much of the unsealed indictment alleges that Madigan solicited bribes and promised jobs in exchange for political favors and some monetary favors.

Axios Chicago’s Justin Kaufmann tells us that Madigan’s indictment is about the Chicago machine and how it’s long done business.

“This is essentially the age-old political question whether or not the idea of patronage and how you do politics in Chicago is a criminal enterprise or if it’s just good politics,” he said.

Justin and WBEZ’s Mariah Woelfel break down that big news and other stories from the week with City Cast’s Jacoby Cochran.

👉 Listen to our previous convo with Justin about “The Madigan Rule” podcast. 

🎧 Miss an episode this week? Catch up!


TODAY: The /\tmosphere open mic in Humboldt Park
Catch musicians, comedians, and more at this 420-friendly open mic at Speak Lit Cafe at 7:30 p.m.

TODAY: Matcha latte art throwdown in Bucktown 
Is your latte art game really that good? Test it at Hugo Tea Space at 8 p.m.

SATURDAY: Beaubien Woods Community Day in Riverdale
Participate in restoration efforts, and explore the South Side nature preserve Saturday from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. 

SATURDAY: Brewsology fest in Hyde Park 
Sip on beers from over 60 breweries while exploring the Museum of Science & Industry Saturday from 6–11 p.m.

SUNDAY: Polar Plunge at North Avenue Beach
Jump into the frigid waters of Lake Michigan to fundraise for the Special Olympics — or at least watch braver Chicagoans do it Sunday at from 8:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. (Mark my words, I will do this one day!) 

THIS WEEKEND: Self-defense class in Albany Park 
Learn an ancient Chinese martial art that was used during times of war at Northside Kung Fu today and Saturday.


▪️ Mayor Lori Lightfoot said she has the “biggest dick in Chicago” while she blocked a deal involving the Columbus statue, a new lawsuit alleges. [City Cast Chicago; Chicago Tribune]

▪️ The city’s top watchdog agency could soon have a leader. It’s been without an inspector general and deputy since the fall. [WTTW]

▪️ Whether it’s through vaccines or exposure, more than 95% of Chicagoans could have some COVID-19 immunity, health officials say. [Block Club Chicago]

▪️ Happy 185th birthday, Chicago! The Chicago History Museum is offering free admission today to celebrate. [Choose Chicago]

▪️ This week’s must-read.


Almost two years ago to this day, I was watching a surprisingly good Illini basketball team take on the Iowa Hawkeyes in the packed State Farm Center in Champaign. 

Days later, the University of Illinois went remote, the season was cut short, and I finished the semester from my parents’ home in Chicago. 

But I still think about that game. The roar of the crowd when then-Illini guard Ayo Dosunmu scored. The sea of orange and blue. The excited student section. 

In the last couple years, I’ve grieved loved ones lost, time gone, and the abrupt end to my college days. No storming campus after a Big Ten win. No graduation. No goodbyes. I often forget that I’m not the college junior who thought she’d be getting a long spring break. 

But then I remember all the ways life has gone on: I landed my first full-time job this week last year. Moved out of my parents’ apartment. Helped launch this newsletter and podcast. Watched friends move to the city. 

And when I went to a basketball game last month — the first since March 2020 — I was reminded again how much time had passed. 

Masked and unmasked fans rooted for the Bulls against the Oklahoma City Thunder. The FanDuel Sportsbook logo lined the court floor. And I got to see Ayo play again: The Bulls rookie played 42 minutes that night.

But to be honest, I’ll probably always be nostalgic for that Illinois game, my last piece of college.

What was the last normal thing you did before COVID-19 shutdowns started two years ago? Did you go to a restaurant? A movie theater? Take a trip? And are you back to it now? Email, or text/call (773) 780-0246.

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