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The [Monday] Papers

By Steve Rhodes

Does everyone do it?

That's what cynics always want you to think, but it's just not true. Ever.

"Former presidents and chancellors of the University of Illinois are laying much of the blame for the current admissions scandal at the feet of trustees, calling for sweeping changes on the board and the way it is appointed," the Tribune reports.

"The former university leaders said that while it's not new for the university to be pressured by outside interests, the response from the current administration is different."

In fact, the behavior of the current administration has been dreadful - and bespeaks of the character of both the university's leadership team and its board of trustees.

"In the current circumstance the integrity of the admissions process has been compromised," the former administrators wrote. "While concern and anxiety on admissions decisions at selective campuses such as Urbana-Champaign are nothing new, the weakened capacity to withstand those pressures and safeguard the integrity of the University is more recent."

"Weakened capacity" is academic-speak for "lack of balls."

Former president Stanley Ikenberry has already said that clout admissions did not occur on his watch and that he wouldn't countenance them.

Now former chancellor Morton Weir - now a Knox College trustee - "said he would have quit before caving to political influence," the Tribune reports.

"I would have objected strongly and hoped that would be enough," he said. "If they said, 'Admit or else,' I would have taken 'or else.' I wouldn't have stood for it."

It's that simple.


I suspect that a chancellor who quit their job in just such an instance would have been rewarded elsewhere in academia or would have become enough of a public hero that they would have actually retained their job, if not promoted.

Even if that wasn't the case, though, we all have to decide what kind of people we want to be.

Red Light Running
"Red-light cameras that generate millions of dollars for Chicago's suburbs were greenlighted with the help of Illinois political insiders working on a fast-trick," the Tribune reports.

"The company that now dominates the suburban market is part of a British-based business owned by Israelis that does most of its business in Kazakhstan. But it made itself a home in Illinois, and quickly.

"One suburban police chief recommended that his town hire the company a week before it even incorporated in Illinois."

Not That Into It
Maybe Bear just doesn't want to be a police dog.

Riding Red Mountain
"The third-largest adjustment went to Neil and Barbara Bluhm of Chicago on their 16,086-square-foot home on 3.8 acres on Red Mountain," the Aspen Daily News reports.

"The prior valuation on the Bluhm residence was $23 million and it was bumped up to $38.7 million, which drew a letter of protest from their attorney, Preston Fox of Aspen.

"Fox wrote that the 65 percent increase in valuation was too high compared to comparable properties and he noted 'there are numerous major problems' with the Bluhm residence."

Apparently, for example, it stinks.

"The pipes carrying the glycol for the driveway snowmelt have been leaking for more than year," Fox wrote to the assessor on May 29. "The glycol leaked under the home and into the foundation and has caused a pool of the material to build up under the home. This jeopardizes the structural integrity and foundation and also is causing a noxious smell that is unbearable to permeate the home.

"The structural damage is still being evaluated," Fox wrote. "But there is no doubt that any potential purchaser of this home (and anyone else who would appraise it) would conclude that the home is almost un-sellable given the smell, which no homeowner seeking to purchase a home such as this one would be willing to purchase for $25,000,000, let alone $38,000,000."

"Fox argued the value of the home should be $28.1 million.

"After a review, the assessor's office lowered its initial valuation of $38.7 million by $9.2 million to $29.5 million."

Data Storage Supercenters
In Chicago.

Cubs Grub
"In terms of what needs to be done, well, a few things are painfully clear," our very own Jim Coffman writes in SportsMonday. "Piniella finally, finally, finally acknowledged reality recently and took Soriano out of the leadoff spot. Kosuke Fukudome gets deep into some counts and draws a walk or two at the top of the lineup but his spinning swings are still fundamentally unsound and his batting average will soon dip below .250 again. In the second half, shouldn't we have a long look at Sam Fuld, the lefty who went 2-for-3 Sunday evening and who can go get it in center? Also, Micah Hoffpauir needs to play against righties (heck, put him in left instead of Soriano - he cannot be much worse at it) and Jake Fox needs to play against lefties - re-arrange the defense in whatever way necessary to make this happen."


Paging Julia Zuleta, Jobu, and Walter Jacobson! In The Cub Factor.

Startin' Somethin'
How Michael Jackson stole the world's first disco song and made it his own.

Best. Cheaters. Ever.
"This episode's confrontation, though, has to be seen to appreciated because Tanina tuns out to be a $150-a-session dominatrix giving Joe the business," our very own Scott Buckner writes in What I Watched Last Night.

"In the whole history of Cheaters, I've never seen anything more remarkable than Tanina being caught in mid-swing of her riding crop and Joe in the unenviable position of being handcuffed and wearing a leather hood."

The Tamms Commandments
Anti-supermax activists deliver them to the Tribune editorial board - and win a meeting inside the Tower. We have the inside story.

On Whoopi's Ship
"The Serenade Of The Seas is not designed with the loner in mind, nor the young single fellow," our very own Scott Gordon writes in the first of a wonderfully written five-part series that we're running this week. "In several of the public areas I've found, some kind of subpar background music is halfheartedly forced upon you. The outdoor pool deck is always playing some song that invariably sounds from a distance like Cher's 'Believe,' but never actually is. The central atrium has more of an indiscriminate smooth-jazz kind of vibe, and at dinner the Reflections dining room's muzak brought us an instrumental version of (no shit) Celine Dion's 'My Heart Will Go On' - you know, the most famous song ever inspired by a cruise-ship tragedy - at dinner."


The Beachwood Tip Line: A safe harbor.


Posted on July 13, 2009

MUSIC - Madonna vs. Moderna.
TV - Sundays With The Military-Industrial Complex.
POLITICS - Private Equity In The ER.
SPORTS - Suspicious Betting Trends In Soccer.

BOOKS - China Holding Swedish Publisher.


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