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The [Friday] Papers

The Tribune is pretty generous today with its top-of-front-page headline "City Aims To Stop Rogue Cops."

More like "City Aims To Stop Exposure Of Rogue Cops."

Mayor Daley taking control of the machinery investigating complaints about police officers - as if he hasn't already been in control - is a fox-in-the-henhouse story for the ages.

After all, this is a mayor who has reneged on his pre-election promise to sit for a deposition about police torture, is fighting a federal judge's order to release the list of officers with citizen complaints against them, has already dismissed the significance of cops who rack up a disproportionate number of complaints, and compares the code of silence in the police department with so-called codes of silence within every other profession on Earth.

So not really a guy taking this seriously.

(Funny how passionate the mayor is when he is imploring poor black people who are most often the victims of police abuse to inform on their gangbanger acquaintances while his manner when it comes to cops cooperating with internal affairs investigations is so blasé.)

If there is any doubt about the mayor's sincerity rooting out wrongdoing on his watch, just look at what's happening over at the inspector general's office.

Further consolidation of power under Daley should never be called reform. And that is what we are witnessing - a further consolidation of power under one man. And that's not just a fatal flaw because the man is named Daley. Even if he was the most honorable man in the city, you never know who will sit in his chair next.

It's the system that is important. A little thing we like to call "checks and balances."

All you have to do is look at Washington, D.C., to see that even a little adversarial oversight goes a long way. Just think what a lot would do.

Short Memory
Daley told the media the other day that he didn't know why the city attorney was appealing a federal judge's ruling ordering the release of police complaint data. "I'll ask," he said.

Apparently he hasn't gotten back to them yet.

Daley Dollars
"The Sun-Times' Fran Spielman has been around city government long enough that she shouldn't have to ask: 'If Mayor Daley is so determined to privatize Midway Airport, why is he spending nearly $284 million this year to fix it up?'" Robert Trizna of Park Ridge writes to the paper (not available online).

"Just because Chicago is selling off yet another major asset to cover up for Daley's patronage and mismanagement doesn't mean that he can't still try to milk a couple hundred million dollars more of sweetheart contracts out of Midway before competent business people take over and actually start making money on it."

Jail Bait
"The former director of the Illinois Department of Corrections was indicted Thursday for allegedly taking $50,000 in illegal kickbacks to hand out state contracts to favored companies," the Sun-Times reports, "including $20,000 in bribes from the former undersheriff of Cook County."

The mayor said he'd handle the investigation himself, right after he's done embedding surveillance cameras on our new city stickers.

Debate Prep
"In reference to Steve Huntley's proposition that all candidates should be eliminated who don't stand an honest chance of winning, I've an even better idea," Laura Stigler-Marier of Lakeview writes to the Sun-Times (not available online). "Why not get rid of all the candidates who speak only in empty, pandering platitudes, and keep the ones who actually HAVE ideas?

"Were that the case, Ron Paul and Dennis Kucinich would be the only candidates left standing."

Mad Men
Boy, Lewis Lazare sure didn't like the premiere of Mad Men. Personally, I found it quite intriguing - and powerful in its display of everyday postwar corporate culture steeped in sexism, anti-Semitism (I'm sure we'll get to racism in future episodes), incessant smoking and routine drinking through the workday that must have seemed so normal back then and is so appalling now.

Not to mention the ad part - coming up with a new way to promote Lucky Strikes after the federal government has declared that health claims (smoking is good for you!) can no longer be made. (The answer: "It's toasted!")

The show has a villain and a secret sexpot and is highly stylized in a way that makes it a visual treat. I give it a B+.

Nursing Todd
Sally Lemke for Cook County board president!

My favorite part of this story was this nugget in the Sun-Times on Thursday: "Cook County Board President Todd Stroger's aides blamed Lemke's departure on union contracts that place more weight on seniority than talent."

Talent also was not a factor in Stroger attaining his job, aides acknowledged.

Ghetto Report
The Sun-Times's Kate Grossman is not exactly the best choice when it comes to assigning a reporter to take the We The People Media Bus Tour offered by Beauty Turner of the Residents' Journal.

Turner's public housing reporting runs circles around Grossman's friendly dispatches from CHA HQ. It would be like assigning Fran Spielman to write about a John Kass bus tour of Daley's Crooked Chicago.

But did Grossman really have to chide Turner for apparently not providing an "objective" view of the CHA's shenanigans?

"By day's end," Grossman writes, "it was clear Turner would say nothing good about CHA's redevelopment plans."

No, Kate, that's your job.

Moody McPier
"With tourism taxes projected to fall short of covering debt costs this fiscal year, the agency that runs McCormick Place and Navy Pier this week will ask Springfield to consider a rescue plan," the Tribune reported on Thursday.

"Credit analysts say the debt squeeze could be seen coming for many years. 'Even before 9/11, we always felt there was a risk of having to tap the state's backup,' said Bob Kurtter, managing director in public finance at Moody's Investor Service.

"'It was always narrow coverage at best, and the debt service ramped up aggressively. Our rating was always predicated on the state sales-tax backup."

Nice of someone to finally let us know!

Dear Sting
Poi Dog Pondering sends Sting an e-mail.

Mad Money
"You have to feel terrible about what's about to happen to the Tribune employees," says stock market guru Jim Cramer. "I think they're about to lose everything."

The Beachwood Tip Line: Rogue warriors wanted.


Posted on July 20, 2007

MUSIC - Fixing Sexist Playlists.
TV - AT&T's HBO Max Deal Was Never Free.
POLITICS - Illinois Prisoners' Health Care Still Unconstitutional.
SPORTS - Beachwood Sports Radio: Vaccine Villains.

BOOKS - The Quest For Papa's Perfect Sentence.

PEOPLE PLACES & THINGS - We Have Questions.

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