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The [Friday] Papers

"More than $33.6 million in Illinois Tollway revenue ended up in state coffers during 2003-06 despite a law that prohibited tolls being spent outside the agency, a report said Thursday," the Tribune reports.

"The money was diverted to the state's general revenue fund at the direction of Gov. Rod Blagojevich's administration, said tollway Inspector General James Wagner, who provided a tally for tollway board members while warning against future transfers.

"Blagojevich's efforts to siphon money from the tollway and other agencies to help balance the state budget was well-documented, but Wagner's report appears to be the first public accounting of how much toll money was shifted."

Here's my favorite part:

"By law, toll revenue is supposed to stay within the agency to pay bonds, and to maintain and build highways. That didn't stop the General Assembly in 2003 from approving the action, Wagner said."

Can those who voted Yes be arrested, then?

Chicago Way University
"Chicago State University has been unable to locate $3.8 million worth of equipment, including 950 computers that could contain confidential information, according to a state audit," AP Tribune reports.

"The audit also found problems with scholarship awards, lax contracting oversight, overspending a federal grant and improper spending on a New Orleans tour."

Here's my favorite part:

"The school issued a statement noting the auditor made 34 findings, down from 41 last year, and credited the aggressive agenda of president Wayne Watson

So just five more years to get it down to zero!

Ill University
"When University of Illinois President Michael Hogan took over 20 months ago after an embarrassing scandal, his supporters championed him as a likable reformer who could stabilize the university," the Tribune reports.

"On Thursday, he resigned after months of turmoil, a faculty mutiny and a scandal in the president's office that had left him so sidelined that people began to question not whether he would quit but when."

Here's my favorite part:

"Mike Hogan accomplished almost everything that had been identified as important goals for the university when he was hired," said Chris Kennedy, chairman of the Board of Trustees.

Really? Where did he fall short - setting the university on fire?

"He said Hogan was 'absolutely not' a failed hire."

Um, he didn't last as long as some universities take to run a presidential search.

"Let's not make the perfect the enemy of the good."

Okay. Can we make incompetence - at $620,000 per - the enemy?

Good School News!
"An International Baccalaureate program created in Switzerland for the children of diplomats has produced 'dramatic' results in Chicago's gritty neighborhood high schools by sizably boosting the chances its graduates will make it into selective colleges - and stay there, a new study concludes," the Sun-Times reports.

"Those students who completed a Chicago neighborhood IB program were more than 40 percent more likely to attend a four-year college and 50 percent more likely to go to a selective or better college than similar students, an analysis by the University of Chicago's Consortium on Chicago School Research found.

"And, such students were significantly more likely to stay in a four-year college for at least two years."

Here's what I found most remarkable:

"Researchers have yet to find any other Chicago Public School program or reform - including expanded Advanced Placement classes and efforts to institute a college-prep curriculum for all - that has increased the chances students stay in college, said one of the study's authors, Melissa Roderick."

I didn't find a Tribune report on the study, though they reported on the program's apparent success in 2006.


You can see the study for yourself here.


See also:
* CPS: International Baccalaureate
* CPS Office of Access and Enrollment: International Baccalaureate


And a video from 2009:


New McDonald's Boss
"Mr. Thompson is a 22-year McDonald's veteran who hired on in 1990 as an electrical engineer," Crain's reports. "Born in Chicago and raised in Indiana, he moved into operations and management and was president of McDonald's USA from 2006 to 2010 before moving into his current post. He was widely considered the frontrunner for CEO and has been credited with the success of the company's McCafe beverage expansion."

See also: "McDonald's Just Named America's 12th Ever Major Black CEO."

"The wheels on the bus may go 'round and 'round, but the Better Government Association is tired of going 'around and around' with Pace when it comes to reasonable requests for public documents," the BGA says.

"As a result, the BGA filed a lawsuit [Thursday] against the suburban bus agency, alleging it violated the Illinois Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) in refusing to turn over documents related to bus accidents, and alcohol and drug testing of bus drivers."

The BGA adds:

"It's worth noting that Pace has been one of the most difficult public agencies to deal with when it comes to FOIA by refusing to correspond via email, regularly invoking extensions and, in the BGA's opinion, needlessly creating other hurdles to block the free flow of information."

Why does Pace hate America?

Police State
"If Chicago lacks the police manpower to secure the NATO summit and a protest march to McCormick Place on the same day, City Hall has no business hosting world leaders, protesters argued Thursday," the Sun-Times reports.

"After rejecting a city counterproposal they claim would have 'ghettoized' their parade route to streets with 'virtually no public visibility,' protesters formally appealed the decision by Mayor Rahm Emanuel's administration to reject a permit for a parade virtually identical to the one City Hall approved in January."

Let's be clear about what "virtually identical" means: The city agreed to issue a parade permit for May 19, when the G8 was expected to be in town. Once the G8 summit was moved to Camp David, activists submitted the exact same permit application outside of changing the date from the 19th to the 20th, when NATO will be in town.

Suddenly, after repeated assurances to the entire world that the city would have no problem handling security for twin international gatherings, Chicago has a shortage of police officers.

"City Hall rejected the permit on grounds it does not have a 'sufficient number of on-duty police officers' or traffic control aides to 'police and protect' parade participants and spectators."

Why does Rahm Emanuel hate America?


Memo to aldermen who voted to approve the city's new protest rules, including "progressives" such as Joe Moore and Joe Moreno:

"By noting that the City does not have sufficient 'on-duty' personnel, Chicago officials are utilizing the language of the new 'sit-down and shut-up' ordinances to justify their rejection of the permit," the CANG8 coalition says. "Under the old ordinance, the city could only reject an application if it lacked 'a sufficient number of peace officers and traffic control aides' - on- or off-duty."



"A California activist who holds a city permit for a rally at Daley Plaza on May 20 has offered to step aside for a local anti-war coalition, organizers say," Curtis Black reports for Newstips.

"The city rejected a permit application from the Coalition Against NATO/G8 to move their rally and march from May 19 - when the G8 summit was originally scheduled to meet - to May 20, when NATO will be convening at McCormick Place, saying someone else has a permit for the Daley Plaza that day.

"But CANG8 has heard from the individual holding the permit that she would step aside to accommodate the coalition's plan, Joe Iosbaker said. He said the city has been informed of this development."

Partisan At The Pump
A Facebook comment I came across yesterday:

"It is the disengenuousness and outright misrepresentation of facts that is the outgrowth of the hyper-partisan two party system we have become. Today 65% of Republicans say Obama could reduce gas prices, while in 2006 only 47% of Republicans said Bush could do that. But the Democrats are every bit as distorting. Today only 33% of Democrats say the president can have an impact in lowering gas prices, but in 2006 73% of Democrats said that Bush could. A plague on all their houses for this bullshit, fact-ignoring, outright lying that they both do."

Primary Pundit Patrol
More notes from the front.

Dynamically Dastardly Pricing
"Two weeks ago, a Chicago-Atlanta round-trip ticket for April travel dates cost $209 on Tuesday and Wednesday on American and Delta, but then $301 for the next four days," the Wall Street Journal reports. "When Tuesday rolled around last week, the fare dropped to $219 at both airlines for the April 8-15 itinerary. By Friday it was up to $307 at both American and Delta. Come Tuesday this week, the fare was down to $229."

Dear Airline Industry: I understand the rationale behind "dynamic pricing," but it just makes some of your customers feel like chumps - and makes them do too much work to be thoughtful consumers. One of you should make your tickets one-price all-the-time and see how much loyalty you get in return. Price fares like iTunes: $99, $199, $299. It just might work.

Clock Shock
"The Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists was among 16 recipients of grants totaling $13.4 million from the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation, aimed at helping to prevent nuclear terrorism and strengthen nuclear security around the globe, the foundation announced Thursday," the Tribune reports.

Here's an article I wrote about the Bulletin for the Baltimore Sun in 1998.

Down On Luck
Our man on the rail Thomas Chambers looks at the HBO series that was cancelled because the death toll was too high.

The Week in Chicago Rock
They played at a venue near you. We have the video.


The Beachwood Tip Line: Atomic.


Posted on March 23, 2012

MUSIC - Holiday Hullabaloo.
POLITICS - Bank Profits Soaring.
SPORTS - Chicago vs. Michigan, 1903.

BOOKS - Dia De Los Muertos Stories.

PEOPLE PLACES & THINGS - Chicagoetry: West Town Blues.

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