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The [Friday] Papers

"Mayor-elect Rahm Emanuel has decided to merge the city Departments of Fleet Management and General Services to place all city assets - vehicles, buildings and leases - under one roof," the Sun-Times reports.

Prediction: In five to 10 years the new megadepartment will be split back into smaller departments in the name of efficiency.

Bar Nut
"A six-hour presumed barricade situation Thursday in south suburban Oak Forest was an elaborate hoax," the Tribune reports.

"The man who was supposed to have been holed up inside in his home actually was stringing police along from his cellphone from a neighborhood restaurant-bar, authorities said. He was arrested.

"But not before a large contingent of the South Suburban Community Emergency Response Team descended on the scene, neighborhood residents were evacuated and area streets were blocked off. Police eventually threw tear gas into the home on the 5500 block of Babette Court and stormed in to find no one there.

"Reports said a suspect was arrested outside Beggars Pizza and taken to a hospital for mental evaluation."

Car Nut
"A Quarter Of All Car Crashes Involve Cell Phone Use."

So the number of car crashes per capita has increased by 25 percent since cell phones became ubiquitous? Because before cell phones no car crashes involved cell phone use.


Let's go to the Google - results returned in 0.19 seconds.

"The estimate of 25% of all crashes - or 1.4 million crashes - involving cell phone use was derived from NHTSA data showing 11% of drivers at any one time are using cell phones and from peer-reviewed research reporting cell phone use increases crash risk by four times," the National Safety Council says. "The estimate of an additional minimum 3% of crashes - or 200,000 crashes - involving texting was derived by NHTSA data showing 1% of drivers at any one time are manipulating their device in ways that include texting and from research reporting texting increases crash risk by 8 times."


In other words, the claim that one-quarter of all car crashes involve cell phones is not derived from actual traffic accident data. Instead, it is derived from taking the highest estimate of cell phone use while driving and multiplying that by the highest estimate of how much such cell phone use increases crash risk.


The estimates on cell phone use while driving, by the way, include hands-free devices. So you may as well have lumped that into a category including distractions from talking to a passenger too. Or singing to the radio. The phone had nothing to do with it.


Further, the NSC used estimated "attributable risk" that is not a factor mutually exclusive with other factors. So if your bald tires skid on the ice and you crash into another car while you are talking on a hands-free device, the bald tires don't get the blame in this case but the phone does.


I'm not defending cell phone use while driving, but let's not exaggerate either. The problem isn't the phone, it's the distraction. And it's incredibly hard to believe that 25 percent of all crashes can be attributed to that distraction in particular. That's because it's not so; it's an estimate multiplied by an estimate using a shaky foundation to begin with.

Ancient Reporters Gullible Too
Last Supper Was Probably Next-To-Last.

Worst Governor Ever
"State efforts to recoup $1 million that impeached ex-Gov. Blagojevich said he errantly gave to Loop Lab School yielded Illinois taxpayers a paltry $89,000, Illinois Auditor General William Holland disclosed Thursday," the Sun-Times reports.

"That finding, which triggered new questions about the role Gov. Quinn's current chief of staff had in the Loop Lab School grant, was part of a broader analysis by Holland of how the Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity did a poor job of keeping tabs on some of the $1.5 billion in grants it oversaw.

"Some of those spending initiatives administered by the department, as well as other state agencies, have become focal points of an ongoing federal investigation into state grants secured by at least four state legislators, the Sun-Times reported earlier this month."


In response, Blago called reporters to his Ravenswood home for a photo session with him and his cute little dog, Snickers.


AP, too.


Blago PR Memo: Update all file photos! Cuddle with a cute animal or something so they don't keep showing this!


Or your mug shot like they would if you were an, um, ordinary crook.


Then again . . .

I Can Has Blagojevich Cat.

Sox West
"The two parties most often mentioned as interested buyers [of the troubled Dodgers], each of whom lives in Los Angeles, are Milwaukee Brewers owner Mark Attanasio and Chicago White Sox executive Dennis Gilbert," the Los Angeles Times reports.


Dennis Gilbert, Special Assistant to Chairman Jerry Reinsdorf.


"Dennis Gilbert owns an insurance firm," the Los Angeles Business Journal wrote in January. "But the former sports agent is a baseball fanatic and he'd buy a team in the right conditions."

Illinois Farm Team Deploying To Afghanistan
From Springfield to Kunar.

The Blackhawks Have Risen From The Dead
Can they pull off an Easter miracle?

The Week in Chicago Rock
They played at a venue near you.

The Week in WTF
Waiting for J-C.

Programming Note
I'm always reluctant to mention these because i can't stand myself on TV but I always get complaints if I don't notify friends and readers, so . . . I appear on the current Chicago Newsroom hosted by Ken Davis, along with Monroe Anderson and Lorraine Forte. You can watch the video here or tune in to CAN TV 19 today at 1:30 p.m. or CAN TV 21 Saturday at 7 p.m.


TV adds 10 pounds. And subtracts 20 IQ points.


The Beachwood Tip Line: Catty.


Posted on April 22, 2011

MUSIC - Millions Of New Guitar Players.
TV - "One America News" is AT&T.
POLITICS - When Wall Street Came To My Mobile Home Park.
SPORTS - Tonyball, Bears On The Run, Eyes On The Sky & More!

BOOKS - China Holding Swedish Publisher.


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