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The [Friday] Papers

"Does he lie awake at night thinking of ways to exasperate people?" the Tribune editorial page asks of Gov. Rod Blagojevich today.

No. That's how he spends his days. He doesn't lose any sleep over it.

Senior Stroke
The governor has agreed to go along with an increase in county sales taxes to bail out the CTA on one condition: That seniors ride for free.

Illinois lawmakers are likely to agree to Blagojevich's ridiculous condition just to get the damn thing done.

I'm not sure what's more maddening, the fact that his seniors gambit was a "secret plan he said he devised before Thanksgiving" or that it makes no sense whatsoever.

I don't mean to be a Scrooge when it comes to seniors, but c'mon.

"His logic - free rides for seniors will compensate them for the sales tax hike he has approved - doesn't hold up," the Trib argues. "Most seniors don't ride mass transit, but they're going to pay the higher sales tax anyway. Wealthy seniors will ride for free, while others - students, the disabled and the poor who happen to be 56 instead of 65 - will continue to pay."

No one is happier, though, to see the governor play the fool one more time than Mayor Richard M. Daley, as pointed out by Rich Miller today in a column dishing out blame to "those who have caused your pain" during Year of the Doomsday.

"[Daley] loves to blame Springfield for the CTA budget shortfall and service problems, but appointed a political hack to run the agency (Frank Kruesi) who made a complete mess of things and alienated just about everyone at the state capital. He claims to be a top-notch big-city manager but allowed the transit system to decay almost beyond repair."

I would add that the system decayed almost beyond repair without the media's notice. So add them to Miller's list of those to blame.

Setting Sun-Times
"First it was the red ink. Now comes the blood," Phil Rosenthal writes about the first round of layoffs at the paper. (At least that's how it went in the print version of the Trib this morning; not so online.)

I'll have more to say about the Sun-Times in the days to come, but for now I'll direct you to Michael Miner's report about how editor-in-chief Michael Cooke is once again exercising his special brand of management magic. From what I hear, the newsroom is livid.

Bucktown Britney
Have you seen Britney Spears hanging out in your neighborhood? Why yes! I think I saw her waiting for a train at the Damen station yesterday!

Bizarro Barack
"Losing the New Hampshire primary to New York's Sen. Hillary Clinton 'was actually a good thing,'" Obama told donors in Old Town on Thursday.

Now we know why the polls were so wrong; Obama secretly told his supporters to vote against him.

Change Bank
"The notion that you win a caucus and suddenly Barack is going to be president, racial reconciliation is here, poverty will be alleviated and the world is suddenly going to realize what good people we are . . . that's not how change happens," Obama said.

And then he endorsed Hillary Clinton.

Junior Judgement
"Now, Rep. Jesse Jackson Jr., Obama's national campaign co-chairman, has joined in, saying on MSNBC, 'those tears also have to be analyzed.'"

I know! It's not like Tear Authenticator Tests aren't available at every Walgreens.

By the way, there were no tears.

"[Jackson] suggested 'her appearance brought her to tears' when she never showed emotion over the Hurricane Katrina catastrophe in predominantly New Orleans."

I thought you were better than that, Junior.

Beachwood Bruce?
Hey Bruce, give me a call!

Weis As In Press Release
"Chicago Supt. Jody Weis said Wednesday he plans to hire an outside agency or company to audit police shootings over the last few years to look for any patterns of poor technique or misbehavior," the Sun-Times said in dictation taken from the new police chief.


Hasn't the mayor just reorganized the formerly-named Office of Professional Standards? Isn't there an Internal Affairs division? Doesn't the department have internal experts to do this? And, um, poor technique? Misbehavior?


Weis also said he plans to hire an outside agency to start shooting people too.

Jody's Orchard
"[Weis] said he believes that the department does not have systemic problems but rather has been tarnished by a few bad apples," the Tribune reports.

Back to square one.

Pat On The Back
"Ald. Pat Dowell (3rd) cast the only dissenting vote, saying she was disappointed by his answers to questions at a confirmation hearing Monday.

"'I didn't get the confidence from you that you really know what you are going to do,' Dowell said. 'You spoke in generalities. A lot of questions were asked, and I didn't feel you answered them.'"

That's Pat Dowell, the change candidate who beat 22-year incumbent hack Dorothy Tillman, who was endorsed by Barack Obama.

The Beachwood Tip Line: Bridge to the future.


Posted on January 11, 2008

MUSIC - At Home Chicago Blues.
TV - Chicago Smash Sets Ratings Record.
POLITICS - The Remote Learning Divide.
SPORTS - A Fall Without College Sports.

BOOKS - How The South Won The Civil War.

PEOPLE PLACES & THINGS - Speak At Your Own Funeral.

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