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The [Friday] Papers

New CTA chief Ron Huberman says fares will rise to $3.25 a ride and the Yellow Line and Purple Line Express will be shut down if the state doesn't step up with an adequate funding package,

The Sun-Times splashes the story on its front page with the headline "Is The CTA Bluffing?"

The paper lists seven previous doomsday warnings issued by the CTA since 1997, implying that the agency is crying wolf.

Another way to look at it, though, is that the CTA is continually operating in crisis mode because it has never had a secure funding stream and workable business model.

Which isn't to say there isn't a bit of politics going on. Threatening to shut down the Purple Line Express, for example, is sure to get the attention of North Shore suburbanites who might not otherwise be engaged in what is usually seen as a city matter.

But the larger question is why nobody has come up with a fresh vision for the CTA after all these years, both in funding and operations. Yes, there are plans for line extensions such as the Blue Line to Schaumburg, the Orange Line to Ford City, and the Yellow Line to Old Orchard, and, of course, the dreaded Circle Line and such - all of which have been sitting on a shelf for years. But where is the larger vision? This is an agency, under the mayor's watchful eye, that proposed eliminating the Brown Line not too many years ago for lack of ridership. Can you imagine?

If the mayor really wanted to, he could have found someone with a vision to turn the CTA on its head - and combine it with a regional transportation plan that by the way includes building the airport in Peotone.

Until that happens, it will be more of the same. Threats, service cuts, fare hikes, cuts and hikes avoided, last-minute budgets, and more threats the next time around. It's not bluffing; it's just the way it is.

Office Max
Chicago's stapler king.

Dumb Dems
"Dem Leaders Finally Talk Budget, Get Nowhere."

Headline reusable. Just insert "Iraq," "Health Care," "Global Warming," or whatever else is the issue of the day.

Mail Call
The city is considering adding the old central post office that straddles the Congress Parkway to a TIF district.

I've got another idea, given the recent news that we have the nation's worst mail service. Let's make it a post office.

Our Stupid Aldermen
I mean, really. Get a load of Lona Lane, Daley's handpicked representative of the 18th Ward.

Lou Stew
The Democratic base is in revolt over the Iraq cave-in. The Republican ranks hate the immigration compromise.

It's a Lou Dobbs jackpot.

- Tim Willette

Lou Pooh
Saw Cubs manager Lou Piniella yesterday saying the team looked better on paper in the off-season than it's looked on the field.

Actually, the team looked worse on paper. Nobody expected Ted Lilly and Jason Marquis to actually earn their outsized contracts. The rest we knew.

Toweling Off
At a time when Sun-Times reporters barely had Internet access, Conrad Black had heated towel racks in his New York City company apartment.

This is your media.

Flight Delay
"Construction will start soon on a new runway that originally was supposed to open this year under the city's expansion plans at O'Hare International Airport," the Tribune reports.

And the running track for the 2016 Olympics is now scheduled for completion in 2017.

Horse vs. Goose
The governor signed a bill on Thursday that bans the slaughter of horses for food. I wonder if he would sign a bill banning the torture of geese for food.

Juxtaposition of the Day
Jack Higgins's editorial cartoon in the Sun-Times positing a Mexican flag being raised on Memorial Day to the tune of "Jose can you see . . . " above the headline "Irrational Attacks On Immigration" for an Andrew Greeley column.

Beachwood Cinema
Check out the latest at Ferdy on Films, now part of The Beachwood Media Company and soon to relaunch bigger and better. Just posted: Ferdy looks at Hal Hartley's 1990 film Trust, and Rod Heath continues his Martin Scorsese retrospective.

That's Neil!
Wow, Neil Steinberg is really upset at the tongue-in-cheek text on bottles of Vitamin Water.

He opens his column asking "Just how stupid are people supposed to be?" and then he proceeds to show us.

On how long it took Steinberg to write today's column: 20 minutes. He did have to do some transcribing.

Obama's Neighborhood
You know what? I really don't need to know where in Hyde Park Barack and Michelle Obama shared their first kiss ("The Obamas Field Guide To Hyde Park"). Though documenting the media's first kiss of their asses would be interesting.

In Today's Reporter
The best website in the city; maybe in the world.

* In our new T-Ball Journal, the Rookie League Red Sox take on the Obama Cubs.

* Who's going to jail next? Find out in The Political Odds.

* Finding Nazi guards in Middle America. In The Periodical Table.

* And more in Music, TV, and People Places & Things.

The Beachwood Tip Line: Electronically activated.


Posted on May 25, 2007

MUSIC - Who's Next In Chicago Rap.
TV - Tribune-Nexstar Deal Is Bad News.
POLITICS - Big Soda Hates You.
SPORTS - Harold vs. the Haters.

BOOKS - Wright Brothers, Wrong Story!

PEOPLE PLACES & THINGS - Go Ahead, Eat Raw Cookie Dough!

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