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The [Monday] Papers

"If you think you've seen the real Grease, think again," the Sun-Times reports this morning. "The familiar film and stage version millions fell in love with is the cleaned-up version of the musical written by Chicagoans Jim Jacobs and Warren Casey.

"That earlier R-rated version, which debuted at the old Kingston Mines in 1971, was set on Chicago's Northwest Side (Rydell High is a stand-in for Taft High School) and dealt more realistically with the teenagers' working-class and ethnic backgrounds."

Maybe it's because I'm not from here - I moved to Chicago in 1992 - but I did not know that. And I find it very interesting.

Cheeky Chico
"It's one of City Hall's busiest woman- and minority-owned contractors," the Sun-Times reports. "And, for the last two years, Azteca Supply Co. has been the target of a federal investigation that led to charges last month that the company is a sham 'front' that fraudulently was awarded millions of dollars in government contracts.

"This is the story of a Hispanic woman who found she could make millions by selling goods to government agencies eager to do business with women and minorities - and did so with the help of some of Chicago's most well-connected Hispanic leaders, including a former chief of staff to Mayor Daley."

That would be Gery Chico.

Chico doesn't just represent anybody. He's one of the mayor's guys.

But I'm sure his involvement in this sorry saga is just a Chicago Coincidence. He didn't know nuttin'. Nobody ever knows nuttin'. In no other city is ignorance so richly rewarded.

"Chico - whose law firm has been paid $10,000 by Azteca since 2004, according to lobbyist reports he filed - doesn't want to talk about the company."

But oh what a company it is!

"Azteca doesn't make anything. Nor does it keep much in stock, federal authorities say.

"But it still has managed to get government contracts to provide everything from chemicals to treat Chicago's drinking water, to concrete pipes for O'Hare Airport's new runway. It has done work on the CTA Blue Line, Stroger Hospital and the Dan Ryan Expy. It has also gotten $638,000 to supply and dispose of feminine-hygiene products at O'Hare restrooms."

Is there nothing Azteca can't do?

"Over the last three years, city records show, Azteca and its seven employees have done a total of more than $30 million in business with City Hall."

Truthfully, that ten grand Chico's law firm has gotten from Azteca in the last three years ain't much. An insurance policy, perhaps. Or perhaps just the tip of a Chicago iceberg.

The Daley Show
"Mayor Richard M. Daley often asserts that he is as transparent as any other big-city leader," the New York Times reports. "But testimony in federal court makes it clear that there are times that his answers to questions, or refusal to answer, can leave the public in the dark."

The mayor never knows nuttin' - until he's forced to know sumptin'.

Planting Pritzker Park
A tale of two Daleys, two wars, two memorials, and two Pritzker Parks. By our very own Jeff Huebner.

Health Care Hogwash
What change really looks like.


* The [Health Care Vote] Papers

Bracket Buster
"But even POTUS doesn't care about the raw deal at the heart of it all," our very own Jim Coffman writes. "His support for health care reform may not be popular, but Barack Obama's college basketball fanaticism certainly earns sizable voter approval. The president, whose bracket reportedly isn't doing very well, is on board with the huge percentage of basketball fans who just ride the wave of emotion created by the annual 'amateur' basketball extravaganza.

"An equitable distribution of the spoils be damned."


* Beachwood Brackets '10! Updated round-by-round.


The Beachwood Tip Line: Rounded up.


Posted on March 22, 2010

MUSIC - Millions Of New Guitar Players.
TV - "One America News" is AT&T.
POLITICS - When Wall Street Came To My Mobile Home Park.
SPORTS - Tonyball, Bears On The Run, Eyes On The Sky & More!

BOOKS - China Holding Swedish Publisher.


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