The [Friday] Papers
1. "In 2001 (Josh) Metnick beat out The Tribune Company and bought chicago.com for $500,000 from Karl Swartz, a California man who had acquired it for nothing from the nonprofit group that administers the domain system," James Warren writes for the Chicago News Cooperative. "Swartz used it as a home page, replete with photos of his dog, and Metnick has since spurned many offers to sell."
Metnick also owns illinois.com.
The thing about Chicago.com, though, is that it sucks. I don't care how much money it makes; it's a soulless and cynical waste of a valuable domain name. You only live once, Josh. Is this really the site you want to produce?
2. Seriously, what percentage of Rahm Emanuel's time and energy six months into his term has been spent trying to unravel the mess left behind by master manager Richard M. Daley?
Wait a second. Is the Park Grill's lawyer the Michael Shakman?
Readers want to know, WBEZ!
Same to you, Tribune!
Same to you, Sun-Times!
Same to you, Crain's!
(See Ryan C.'s comment.)
Answer: It is.
3. "The Chicago Education Facilities Task Force is slamming a Chicago Public Schools plan to close and turnaround some struggling schools," WBEZ reports. "The task force exists to gather feedback from all stake-holders in school facility related decisions. It's a bi-partisan committee made up of politicians, CPS officials and community advocates."
Hey, you don't get it, Chicago Education Facilities Task Force. Committees like yours exist for show, not tell.
"They called a public hearing Thursday following an announcement that 17 schools are slated to be closed, phased out or turned around.
"Ill. State Sen. Iris Martinez is on the task force and said CPS didn't use the committee's input in picking which schools to close and overhaul.
"'This task force has to be respected! We want transparency - talk to us! Tell us exactly how did you come to this? That's all we're asking,' Martinez said."
Um, just get into town, Iris?
Maybe next time CPS schools chief Jean-Claude Brizard should announce which schools he's keeping. Might be a more manageable list.
4. "Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel said he'll continue working with lawmakers on a tax break package aimed to keep area businesses from leaving the state," WBEZ reports (yes, items are appearing in order of my consumption of each media outlet today).
"Emanuel said lawmakers need to pass the tax break package to keep the state economically healthy."
Um, wouldn't economically healthy states have no need to offer tax breaks to wealthy corporations?
"Emanuel would not say whether he's spoken with Sears executives since the package failed."
Why? Is it a state secret? What harm could come of it? Either you have but you don't want to tell us what you, as our envoy, told them, or you haven't and you don't want to acknowledge that you either have nothing to talk about with them right now or maybe they're dodging your calls. I mean, why the mystery, Mr. Transparency?
5. "The Illinois Department of Public Health says Illinois ranks seventh in the U.S. when it comes to reported AIDS cases," AP reports.
"Public Health officials say 38,265 cases of AIDS have been reported in Illinois since 1981. Authorities say almost 21,000 of those people have died and 50 percent of those diagnosed are black."
Yeah, that only works if you're a bank or the U.S. government.
7. I don't know what kind of medication this woman was on or needed, but I hope critics of medications like anti-depressants and such take heed. No matter how evil Big Pharma is, their products save lives.
P.S.: Meds such as anti-depressants can be incredibly expensive; especially if you don't have health insurance. Think about how wrong that is.
This is also why we shouldn't be shortchanging mental health services. To wit:
"State lawmakers left town Tuesday after approving a more-than $270 million tweak to the budget that would keep open Tinley Park Mental Health Center and other facilities by shifting money around in the cash-strapped state's treasury," the Tribune reported this week.
"Democratic Gov. Pat Quinn's office said he would sign the measure, which the administration and lawmakers pulled together to avoid the quick closings of mental health centers in Tinley Park, Rockford and Chester; centers for the developmentally disabled in Jacksonville and Dixon; a prison in Lincoln; and a youth detention center in Murphysboro."
"The moves mean nearly 1,900 state employees will not face layoffs for now, as the Quinn administration tries to put together a more orderly plan should the governor decide to go ahead with shutdowns once the current agreement to fund the seven facilities runs out June 30."
So it's not over yet.
And this is rich:
"Besides averting closings and layoffs, the agreement would partially restore cuts in grants targeted for mental health services and a variety of social issues. That includes money to address alcohol and substance abuse addictions. It would also shore up money running low that pays for burial services for the homeless.
"There also is money to provide assistance to the homeless, a move cheered by Mayor Rahm Emanuel, who noted the money is critically important as winter approaches and the demand for homeless services and shelters increases.
"'These funds will allow us to continue to respond to the needs of homeless Chicagoans and provide essential emergency services to keep them safe,' Emanuel said."
The problem? The biggest cuts - by far - in Rahm's budget were services to the poor.
And as far as mental health goes, this passage from a SouthtownStar editorial captures an inconvenient but longstanding political truth once again foisted upon the citizenry:
"While we applaud Emanuel and his staff for taking a tough stand on the city's budget crisis (unlike his predecessor) and realize the budget pain must be spread around, we're concerned about the city shutting down half of its mental health clinics to save an estimated $3.3 million per year. Especially when four of the six scheduled to close are on the South and Southwest sides.
"The closings likely will not have as strong an impact on mental health care as the state's plan to close four of its mental health centers, but why do politicians seem to disproportionately focus on cutting services to the most vulnerable members of society?"
Um, maybe because deranged traders are the biggest contributors to Rahm's campaign fund? And narcissistic hedge fund operators with huge checkbooks love Obama more than homeless shelter operators do? And megalomaniacal bankers have more in common with both of them than social workers?
Some mental illnesses are more equal than others.
Now, if only the SouthtownStar editorial page was more than just "concerned." Is that really the best emotion you can conjure? People's lives are at stake. At least pretend you feel what you write.
10. The Week in WTF.
The Beachwood Tip Line: Souled American.
Posted on December 2, 2011
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