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The [Friday] Papers

By Steve Rhodes

First some Derby notes - including a link to our Beachwood Betting Guide -and then the rest of the news.

1. "Breeding practices, motivated by the enormous sums paid for elite bloodlines, have produced a modern thoroughbred that is structurally unsound," Peter J. Boyer writes in The New Yorker.

"Every horse in the 2008 Derby field was related."

2. "The death of the filly Eight Belles at last year's Kentucky Derby, along with the revelation that Big Brown had been treated with steroids before his dazzling victory, spurred pledges of reform and accountability for the welfare of the American thoroughbred. But as racing prepares for its biggest show on Saturday, many top owners and trainers still resist discussing what legal medications their horses are receiving," the New York Times reports.

"Of the 20 owners or their trainers who as of Monday intended to run a horse in the Derby, only three shared their veterinary records with The New York Times."

3. Jim Squires, the former editor of the Chicago Tribune and author of Tribune Company a corporate tell-all, makes his picks.

4. "Pleasant odds across the board," writes our very own Thomas Chambers in his betting guide today. "I contend a bomber has a chance this year and remember, that bomber doesn't have to win for you to cash a sweet exacta or trifecta."

Skydeck Ledge
This looks cool.

Played In Peoria
Bradley University student scouted for al-Qaeda.

Betting Baloney
If the media refused to cover these "bets" do you think pols would stop making them?


UPDATE 12:07 P.M.: Via Facebook:

John Kuczaj has the complete list of items that Mayor Daley bet with the Vancouver mayor for the Hawks-Canucks series: Jumbo franks, organic cheese, and Ret Hots candy, two dozen cupcakes, three cases of beer, and Chicago 2016 Olympic bid gear, an $80k job with Streets & San, Streetwise subscription, Alderman Fioretti, Bensenville, Midway airport.

Of Mice, Men and the Swine Flu
"I've actually made it a point of turning off the media," our very own Scott Buckner writes. "Completely. TV. Radio. Everything. Off. If Swine Flu was stalking me outside my window, I wouldn't know it. Nor would I care. Because guess what? I've lived through it before just fine, thanks!"

Income Tact
From controversial and unapologetic alderman and zoning czar William Banks' explanation of why he chose this time to retire:

"I just finished the last tuition payment for my son Joe, the law student."

Just sayin', if you see what I mean . . .

Blago's Rape Kits
"The number of DNA samples from rapes and other serious offenses that sit untested at the Illinois crime lab for more than 30 days remains alarmingly high four years after former Gov. Rod Blagojevich declared the problem had been eliminated," the Tribune reports.

New Reality Show
Soon to dawn on Blago.

Merit Board Muscle Car
Nice perk if you can get it.

Ethics Fog
"Secretary of Education Arne Duncan, who was head of Chicago's public schools, promises not to participate in any matter 'in which Chicago Public Schools is a party or represents a party,' and Tammy Duckworth, assistant secretary of Veterans Affairs, is barred from making decisions about the Illinois Department of Veterans Affairs, of which she was formerly director," ProPublica reports.

- via Alexander Russo's This Week in Education

Hard Core
"Chicago schoolteacher by day, hardcore-punk advocate for life, Brian Peterson is a 32-year-old resident of Norwood Park who turned a labor of love into a show for the ages," Greg Kot writes.

Lighters On
Kot and Jim DeRogatis discuss rock's best live albums on this weekend's edition of Sound Opinions.

My vote: REO Speedwagon's You Get What You Play For.

Krusty Brockman
"If you pay a 'newsman' five million bucks, you'll end up with a clown every time."
- Bob Somerby, Daily Howler

Sorry, Charlie
"This Letter of Apology is not only for the staff at the Best Buy #305 in Schaumburg, Illinois, but also to the gentleman in the middle stall in the men's restroom at about 5:17 CST on Saturday, January 31st. You had been in there for awhile, so this Letter of Apology is as much for you. Please let me expand . . . "

Chrysler Sun-Times
From our very own Mike Knezovich:

Was at the Sox [double-header this week] and before Game 2 was eyeballing a Chevy Malibu, which is displayed there as a promotion. This is a nice car that gets 33 mpg highway and has received lots of great writeups. Basically, as good as Accord and Camry.

A guy - fortiesh - and his father were looking at the same time. We got to chatting. The son has a Pontiac and brought up the brand's demise. He'll be able to get service at other GM dealers, stuff like that. They both liked what they saw in the Malibu. I mentioned that this car and the Ford Fusion had both been well-reviewed, but that somehow they still fly under the radar. And they both launched into how all the marketing dollars were spent on higher-margin vehicles (read: SUVs).

I realize it doesn't take a rocket scientist to have read the analyses of why U.S. automakers are in trouble. And that it's not solely SUVs any more than its solely unions and pensions. But these guys clearly understood a major mistake that had been made. And reminded me that in my neighborhood, all the high-rises going up were a frequent topic of conversation around here long before the crash. Basically, we'd ask, who's going to live in all these places?

Which is all to say that there's a real disconnect somewhere. My neighbors and the guys I talked to last night don't have MBAs for finance degrees (well, some neighbors do, but they weren't the only ones concerned about overbuilding). But somehow we all understood for a long while that something wasn't right. But the decision-makers were the last to get it. I don't want to be a moralist about it, but maybe at some level what got left behind were some fundamental, common-sense values, in favor of a tempting, sky's-the-limit rationale.

I think it's just greed. Let's push out these SUVs in the third quarter and I'll get a big bonus! Business folks aren't thinking about the long-term economy or the public interest; since the 80s they've been told that it's not only okay but preferable that they think only of maximizing profits now no matter what the consequences later. And that's also one factor among many that has ruined our legacy news shops. All those obscene profits going into the pockets of obscene people all these years, and look where we are now.

Detroit Muscle
Let's end on a cheerier note and pick this up from this week's Bloodshot Briefing.


The Beachwood Tip Line: Packin' Melba Toast.


Posted on May 1, 2009

MUSIC - Lyric Opera Strike Settled.
POLITICS - USA Today's Op-Ed Disaster.
SPORTS - SportsMonday: Come On, Vic!

BOOKS - Chicago Book Haul: The Dial.

PEOPLE PLACES & THINGS - Chicagoetry: West Town Blues.

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