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The [Friday] Papers

1. The new ownership of the Chicago Reader - along with its longtime editor, Alison True - apparently believes that making the stale weekly even worse is the path to success.

Here's the memo.

There will be less justice in Chicago as a result of this move. John Conroy's work in particular has been Pulitzer-worthy in the best sense of that phrase. If you haven't read Steve Bogira's Courtroom 302, buy it now and do so. It's a tremendous insight not only into the Cook County criminal courts, but the way your media gets police and court coverage so wrong. Tori Marlan's work has always been impressive and Harold Henderson is as much a part of the place as anyone.

Ben Joravsky and recent hire Mick Dumke are the only ones left worth reading; these were the shining jewels in an otherwise crappy, unimaginative and aimless publication. You might as well just shut the whole editorial operation down.


Reader Comment
Through muscle, into bone, through bone, into organs, organs tossed around the room.

Doctors assure family that every measure was taken to save the patient.

Doctors have sex with cadaver.

- So-Called Austin Mayor

2. "Federal agents are investigating real estate deals involving Gov. Rod Blagojevich's wife as part of a three-year corruption probe into allegations of favoritism and fraud within his administration," the Tribune reports this morning.

"Several federal sources familiar with the inquiry confirm that agents are interested in hundreds of thousands of dollars in real estate commissions Patricia Blagojevich has earned in recent years as a real estate broker for political supporters, fundraisers and state contractors."

The indictment of Patti Blagojevich has long been on the Beachwood's Political Odds board; it's currently rated a 20 percent likelihood with the comment Unindicted co-conspirator is more likely.

Watch for that number to change with this latest revelation.

3. "Other than a defensive coordinator (Bob Babich) who gets out-coached every stinkin' week, [Brian] Urlacher's difficulties are the biggest problem facing the Bears," our very own Jim Coffman writes in Bear Friday this morning. "The guy is their star, after all, the signal-caller and leader and highest-paid player. If he doesn't find a way back to being at least a good player this team is in huge trouble."

4. The Bears hire Larry Craig for his "wide stance" to improve their offensive line, and other developments to watch for. In Eric Emery's Over/Under.

5. So let's see if I can get this right.

A) Frank Kruesi manages the CTA into a ditch for 10 years until he is finally dismissed because he has alienated too many people, including legislators in Springfield in charge of the purse strings.

B) Ron Huberman is hired with great fanfare in part because of his perceived ability to deal with Springfield. Huberman's touch is so golden that the state budget is held up in months of overtime sessions due to an inability to solve the mass transit funding formula that the CTA depends upon.

C) We learn that 80 percent of the maintenance records pertaining to the Blue Line are either missing or forged.

D) The mayor rides his bike in France while the CTA burns.

E) Kruesi is rehired by the mayor to be his man in Washington, apparently because he is so good at schmoozing legislators.

F) The governor attends a Blackhawks game in Chicago while legislators in Springfield meet yet again in order to not come to a solution.

G) The mayor decries the sad state of affairs on his way to Italy.

H) The governor joins Todd Stroger in wondering why he always gets attacked but the mayor gets off scot-free.

I) The mayor gets off scot-free.

Is that about right?

6. "CTA's Red Line Slated To Run On Different Track."

From now on it will run on the Blue Line.

7. What's it like to be Frank Kruesi, handmaiden and whipping boy to the mayor? Do you ever want to, you know, do something on your own, Frank?

8. "A trucker claiming he was approached by Drew Peterson and another man about carrying off a mysterious package appears to have fabricated the story," the Sun-Times reports via its corporate-combined, money-saving, reporting-challenged partner-in-crime, the Joliet Herald-News.

9. "Some experts believe . . . Zell, skilled at evaluating real estate and other corporate assets, is getting a better handle on parts of the Tribune that could be sold."

Reporters, for example. They've got to go.

10. "I guess I felt that if I was doing fundamental damage to the Reader I wouldn't have bought the Reader," new Reader owner Ben Eason tells Michael Miner.

Guess what? This is beyond fundamental damage. This is carpet-bombing.

If the rest of the Reader staff had any balls, including True, they'd walk out the door too. Put Eason to shame.

Instead, Miner writes: "Does their departure do fundamental damage to the Reader? I want to say no, because the remaining staff is top drawer. But I expect readers to mourn the departed."

Please. The top drawer has been sawed off for kindling. Let's not pretend and do Eason and True's bidding.

Though True "fervently" hopes those she just let go will continue to produce the same work for her on a freelance basis. If only she would take the same deal.

The Beachwood Tip Line: Fundamental.


Posted on December 7, 2007

MUSIC - Lyric Opera Strike Settled.
POLITICS - USA Today's Op-Ed Disaster.
SPORTS - SportsMonday: Come On, Vic!

BOOKS - Chicago Book Haul: The Dial.

PEOPLE PLACES & THINGS - Chicagoetry: West Town Blues.

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