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The [Friday] Papers

The fact that today's column is full of this week's leftovers doesn't mean the items are less than superb. On the contrary, it means that they are so compelling that I saved them just for this occasion.

Rod Reagan
Eric Krol's early preview of the governor's race in the Daily Herald reveals something that hadn't occurred to me before about the Blagojevich-Topinka matchup. In this campaign, the Democrat will be the sunny voice of optimism while the Republican will be the doom-and-gloomer. Even if Topinka provides a more accurate assessment of the state's condition, the advantage goes to Blago.

Richard W. Daley
The mayor would never do this.

Where did the term come from? Nathan Bierma has the answer.

Miner's Gold
Chicago Reader media critic Michael Miner spotted something I missed in Chicago Sun-Times columnist Neil Steinberg's recent apology for his ill-written John Stroger piece. "Later in the column he commented on [his columnist] persona. Questioning the sincerity of President Bush as a man of prayer, Steinberg called himself a 'cynical sort' and wryly added, 'Myself, I never like mouthing the expected pieties. Though they do have protective value.'"

It would be difficult for anyone who knows Steinberg to think this was anything but a disavowal of the pieties that opened that particular column.

Nuclear Threats at Home
Elizabeth Brackett turned in a terrific piece on Chicago Tonight last night on the problems at the Braidwood nuclear plant, but WTTW doesn't appear to make their work available on its Website.

DeRo On Acid
"I thought they were The Replacements on acid*," Sun-Times rock critic Jim DeRogatis says of falling in love with The Flaming Lips, in this fine piece in New City. DeRogatis just published a new book on the band, Staring at Sound: The True Story of Oklahoma's Fabulous Flaming Lips.

* The Web version of this quote says "drugs," not "acid," but I could swear I read "acid" in the print version. If not, then that's what DeRo should have said.

Isn't the new commercial featuring Jonathan Brandmeier pimping for a new Loop girl creepy? Move on.

Fighting Illini
Lines about the University of Illinois's matchup with Air Force that we didn't get to use in our Beachwood Brackets:

Illinois defeats Air Force.
Air Force defeats small Iraqi village.

Why does Illinois hate America?

Air Force: Illini insurgency in 'last throes'

Illini insurgents defiant in face of Air Force attack

Air Force: Illini insurgency in 'last free throws'

- Tim Willette, Natasha Julius

Spooky Chicago
Is the CIA is developing a loyalty program with the help of a Chicago company? That's what this story suggests.

Litmus Test
If Ald. Todd Stroger were to be installed as his father's successor as Cook County board president, would the ruckus be louder or quieter than when Bill Lipinski bowed out after winning a primary and arranged for his son Dan to replace him in the U.S. Congress?

The Poor Should Really Show More Character
Are bankers a root cause of crime? A study in the April issue of The Journal of Finance, co-authored by the University of Chicago's Tobias Moskowitz, suggests just that.

"Using a unique sample of commercial loans and mergers between large banks, we provide micro-level (within-county) evidence linking credit conditions to economic development and find a spillover effect on crime," the journal's abstract to the article says.

"Neighborhoods that experience more bank mergers are subject to higher interest rates, diminished local construction, lower prices, an influx of poorer households, and higher property crime in subsequent years. The elasticity of property crime with respect to merger-induced banking concentration is 0.18. We show that these results are not likely due to reverse causation, and confirm the central findings using state branching deregulation to instrument for bank competition."

- via a Floyd Norris column in The New York Times

One More Thing You Didn't Know About Canada
"According to the ads, the drought ends today.

"Which means at precisely 6 p.m., when MTV Canada is officially (re)born, those disgusting commercials featuring actors sucking on faucets, lapping at dishwater scum or wringing sweaty socks into their parched mouths will come to a merciful end.

"The pre-launch campaign, tinged with late-'90s irony, was making a point, even if it's a questionable one: Canadians are thirsting for MTV."

- from "Do We Want Our MTV Any More?" in The Toronto Star

"Some big prizes are being offered for anyone who fills out a perfect NCAA men's college basketball tournament bracket. Papa John's is dangling one million pizzas. America Online is offering $1 million. Gambling site has put up $10 million, and says it may offer even more money next year.

"But it's unlikely anyone will pay out a single penny--or slice of pepperoni. "You're much more likely to get hit by lightning attending the game than to win the pizza," says Brad Carlin, a professor of biostatistics at the University of Minnesota who has studied the NCAA tournament."

- from "Picking the Perfect Bracket" in The Wall Street Journal

Against Depression
"The largest study ever done on treating depression has found that patients who didn't get well with the first medicine they tried had a good chance of succeeding the second time around."

Miner's Whiner
"But some of us at the Reader now sense a change in the public's ability to even recognize as journalism reporting that doesn't advertise the reporter's allegiances. Is this an effect of the Internet--where it's all too easy for a reader to sail only in friendly seas?"

Because the Internet offers so fewer viewpoints than when we just relied on the CBS Evening News and the Chicago Reader.

Molly's Folly
"Aside from my own sentimental attachment to newspapers, I have no objection to all of us shifting over to the Internet and doing the same thing there," Molly Ivins wrote this week. "You'd still have the two big problems, however: A) How do you know if it's true? And, B) How do you put a lot of information into a package that's useful to people?"

Memo to Molly:

A) The same way you know if something in the newspaper is true. You research it on the Internet to find out.

B) I suppose you'd have to find a clever way to cope with the Internet's obliteration of time and space constraints.

Answering Amy
In which we take one question posed each week to the Tribune's highly-paid, highly-marketed, highly-mediocre advice columnist and contrast her answer with ours.

Dear Amy -

I am a law clerk and work at a respectable firm that stresses professionalism and has an unwritten rule about how we are supposed to dress.

One of the female secretaries does not abide by these rules and continues to wear form-fitting clothes, and to make matters worse she appears to be wearing no undergarments.

I feel that her manner of dress may be turning away potential clients, because she is the first person that greets them.

How would you handle this situation of the "Commando Co-worker?"

- Concerned Co-worker

Dear Concerned:

Lawyers are the last people that I would expect to leave rules unwritten. If your firm doesn't have a written dress code, then perhaps it's time to get one. That way, everybody would be clear on what the standards of dress are.

If this co-worker is threatening the good standing of your firm, then I imagine that the managing partners of the firm would notice this and take the appropriate action. On the other hand, perhaps the partners of your firm imagine they have a budding "Erin Brokovich" in their employ and don't mind your colleague's attire quite as much as you do.

- Amy

Dear Concerned (cc: Amy): Which firm is this again?

Chicago Patent of the Week
Collapsible Grill and Stand
"A collapsible grill and stand which can be used indoors over a fireplace, having a grill stand which makes it possible to position and support the grill member over the burning logs, charcoal or gas within the fireplace and under the flue so the smoke, gases, odors and heat are exhausted to the outside through the flue and do not enter the interior of the room or building."
Inventor: William A. Czajkoski (Custer Park, IL)
Filed: July 7, 2003
Granted: March 21, 2006

Chicago Trademark of the Week
"Landmines Blow! Raising Awareness of the Global Landmine Crisis"
Applicant: Alison J. Bock (Lombard, IL)
Filed: Oct. 14, 2004
Granted: March 21, 2006

Our Tip Line is collapsible and can be used over a fire.


Posted on March 24, 2006

MUSIC - Spring Awakening Wake-Up Call!
TV - Exclusive! Rahm's New TV Gig.
POLITICS - The Political Odds UPDATED.
SPORTS - NHL: CTE Not Our Fault.

BOOKS - Stan Lee, Flawed Hero.

PEOPLE PLACES & THINGS - Chicagoetry: I Am Iron Man.

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