When my sister called to tell me Blago had picked Burris to fill Obama’s vacant senate seat, I thought she was talking about Henry Burris or Ray Burris.

Sorry, lame joke. But seriously, either of these other Burrises would have fit the bill, since apparently the only relevant qualification is that the new senator be black, at least according to Congressman Bobby Rush.

Look, I wholeheartedly endorse the idea of putting a black man or woman in the seat on the grounds that there should be at least one African-American in the U.S. Senate … though I’m not sure what any of the leading contenders would do for people around here.

At the moment Mayor Daley is proposing to use the Olympics as sort of a bulldozer to shove a good chunk of poor and working-class black residents out of the south side–taking away their parks while he’s at it–and no elected black official is objecting. Not Bobby Rush. Not Jesse Jackson Jr. Not Roland Burris. Not, for that matter, Barack Obama

I say if Governor Blagojevich is going to appoint a black leader of stature it should be Jay Travis or Jitu Brown of the Kenwood-Oakland Community Organization. At least they’re fighting to make sure south-siders get something besides the shaft out of this Olympic deal. Fittingly, Mayor Daley won’t give them the time of day.

Actually, I think Blagojevich should just leave Obama’s old seat empty as a symbol of the vacancy of our political leadership, black as well as white.