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Even if the Daley shirt fits, it still has a flaw
By Chuck Goudie | Daily Herald Columnist

For $12.99 you can buy a Daley T-shirt at Midway.


Courtesy Chuck Goudie

The shirts copy the old "I Love New York" campaign.


Courtesy Chuck Goudie

The signature on this shirt says "Richard J. Daley," not "Richard M. Daley."


Courtesy Chuck Goudie

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Published: 9/20/2010 12:01 AM | Updated: 9/20/2010 1:17 PM

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Even Mayor Richard M. Daley himself had to flee the doo-doo that has been deepening since his big fadeaway announcement.

Mr. Daley is in China and South Korea this week, but not before the praise and glory of his name grew into an outright love fest.

Usually such lavishness and heart-throbbing is reserved for a politician's eulogy. With few exceptions, though, there have been nothing but glorious stories recounting the mayor's election victories and those sparkling avenues he will leave behind.

Such a glowing public portrait, minus only the halo, is especially surprising considering that it was barely four months ago that Mr. Daley charitably offered to place a bayonet up the rear end of a reporter who dared to ask him a question.

You really can't even call Mayor Daley's plan a retirement. By leaving office at a time when there is widening mayhem and gangland murders on city streets, a police department in growing disarray and the city broker than broke, it is more akin to abandonment.

Even against that backdrop (or maybe because of it) the mayor has left town. His current foreign trip is described as "a trade mission." I'm not sure what he has left to trade considering he has already sold, leased or given away most things of municipal value - from the parking meters to the Skyway.

Maybe he can tell the Chinese how those things have been going.

Or maybe the next Taste of Chicago will be a festival of subgum chow mein and rice rolls.

Mr. Daley says he hopes to secure investment money for a variety of infrastructure improvements in Chicago, including high-speed rail to link the Loop and O'Hare Airport. Interesting, because that was one of the missing links in Chicago's failed 2016 Summer Olympics bid.

As with most of his foreign "trade" excursions, Mr. Daley makes a point of notifying the taxpaying public that tax money is not funding it.

If such an overseas trip were truly going to yield substantial jobs and income for the city, would anyone complain about city funds actually being used to pay for it?

This latest trip is being sponsored by World Business Chicago and the Chicagoland Chamber of Commerce. That would be the same World Business Chicago organization that lists as its chairman a man named Richard M. Daley, mayor.

For all we know, Rich Daley - or his Rich tag-alongs - are also behind some T-shirts that are being sold out at Midway Airport. They're probably being hawked out at O'Hare too, but I saw them at Midway last weekend.

They were displayed on a rack outside terminal souvenir stores:


The shirts are a rip-off of the old I LOVE NY logo with a red heart symbolizing love.

It is bottom-feeding enough to steal a PR stunt from NYC. But on the Daley shirt, inside the red heart, was stamped "21 YEARS," which is how long he has served as mayor.

There was a second version for sale too that was made to look like a football jersey. DAILY was in block letters, and below it was the number 21 in big, bold type. The fine print below 21 read "YEARS OF SUCCESS CHICAGO."

The shirts, while a bargain at $12.99, are flawed in a couple of ways.

First, they aren't even made in Chicago. According to the tag they are "Made in Honduras." Worse yet, they don't even come straight here and are "Imported into Mexico."

That might explain the second problem.

The mayor's signature, which is stamped on every shirt as if he personally endorses the souvenirs, is the wrong Mayor Daley.

It is "Richard J. Daley."

That would be the mayor's father, who died in 1976 - and who had a very distinctive signature that included a big, rounded off "J."

Such a defect might make the shirts worth more than rags someday, like a postage stamp with an inverted eagle, but I will wait for a more accurate shirt to hit the stores.

One that will read: "DALEY LAME DUCK."

Especially since I looked up the origin of the term lame duck.

It was first used in the late 1700s by stock brokers in London. In the markets back then there were bulls, bears... and lame ducks. Lame ducks referred to investors who were unable to pay their debts.

So in 2010, with a mayor waddling out of office in a destitute city, that shirt would fit well.