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The [Monday] Papers

"Here's a question about the All-Star break," Scot Gregor writes for the Daily Herald. "Who needs it more, the White Sox or Sox fans?"

Indeed.

*

As a Twins fan, all I can say is, don't stop now boys!

*

But the handwringing about the Sox is a bit much.

Consider:

After a 10-18 April that left the team 10 games behind division leader Cleveland, the Sox have gone 34-30 and are now five games behind division leader Detroit.

I know they've looked lackluster doing it, but I have to think the outsized struggles of Adam Dunn in particular, as well as Alex Rios, Jake Peavy and, until recently, Juan Pierre - along with early bullpen closer issues - have clouded the view of this team a bit. They're kind of succeeding despite themselves.

It's just too bad - for Sox fans - that Ozzie Guillen is channeling his inner Cub and insisting on keeping Dunn smack dab in the middle of the lineup instead of letting him work out of his slump from a lower spot in the order.

See also:
* The Cub Factor: If Only We Had Cashner
* The White Sox Report: Video Killed The Radio Star
* Op-Art: We Stinks

Plus:
* When Soccer Is Better Than Baseball

Match Game
"OK Cupid's office occupies a single floor of an office building a block away from the Port Authority Bus Terminal, that old redoubt of pimps," Nick Paumgarten writes for the New Yorker. "It's an open-air loft space, with the four founders at desks in the middle of a phalanx of young men (and one woman) staring at screens. The four are Sam Yagan, the C.E.O.; Chris Coyne, the president and creative director; Max Krohn, the C.T.O.; and Christian Rudder, the editorial director. As they all like to say, Sam is the business, Chris is the product, Max is the tech, and Christian is the blog.

"Yagan, who is thirty-four, is also the face. A Chicagoan with the mischievous self-assurance of a renegade salesman - he can seem solicitous and scornful at once - he does appearances on Rachael Ray and meetings with the suits at I.A.C. He makes grandiose claims with a mixture of mirth and sincerity. As he said to me one day, 'We are the most important search engine on the Web, not Google. The search for companionship is more important than the search for song lyrics.'

"All four founders maintain profiles on OK Cupid, but they are all married, and they all met their wives the analogue way. Yagan met his wife, Jessica, in high school, outside Chicago, where she and their two kids now live; she works for McDonald's, overseeing the sustainability of its supply chain. He commutes to New York every week, bunking in a hotel."

*

"By 15, he was living and studying at a residential magnet school outside Chicago," the Boston Globe reported in 2007.

"His mother, a pediatrician, and his father, a computer scientist, had moved to the United States from Syria. 'When I've wondered where my entrepreneurship comes from, I look to them,' Yagan says, noting, 'Immigration is the ultimate entrepreneurship.' As the only Syrian family in Bourbonnais, Ill., his parents struggled, Yagan says, to find that 'tough balance between assimilating to American culture while maintaining roots back to the old culture. They erred on the side of Americanizing.'"

*

Disco Sam.

Money Pot
"[A]lmost nine of every ten people who end up guilty of possessing marijuana in Chicago - 86 percent, to be precise - are black men," Mick Dumke reported for the Reader last week.

"The racial gap has become so glaring that Cook County Board president Toni Preckwinkle says something has to change, if only because taxpayers can't afford to continue arresting, detaining, and prosecuting low-level marijuana offenders. In an interview last week, Preckwinkle, for the first time, said what no other high-ranking local official has dared: 'I think we should decriminalize possession of small amounts of marijuana, that's for sure.'"

Mayor Rahm might want to think about it too.

"Hello, cities facing a budget crisis!" Max Read writes for Gawker. "If you would like to spend less money, might we suggest not taking small-time marijuana busts to court? Philadelphia did it last year, and the city saved $2 million. Plus, think of all the money you can make if you tax Snoballs!

"If you're caught possessing fewer than 30 grams of weed (that's, like, a whole ounce!) in Philadelphia, cops now treat the bust 'as a summary offense, rather than a misdemeanor.' Though the misdemeanor charge wasn't particularly harsh - maximum penalty: 30 days in jail and $500 fine - it required the city to prosecute, costing the district attorney's office money and time."

Loan Shark
"The executive director of the agency that oversees the state's troubled prepaid college tuition program called himself a 'political victim' after a newly overhauled board moved to dump him Friday," the Tribune reported on Saturday.

"Only one day after Gov. Pat Quinn appointed five new members, the Illinois Student Assistance Commission placed Andrew Davis on paid leave. Davis, who has run the agency since 2007 and receives $198,000 a year, said he is negotiating the terms of his departure."

How 'bout simply not letting the door hit him in the ass on the way out?

Let's go to the clips:

"State officials are preparing quietly to sell the majority of the state's $3.4 billion in student loans to lending companies in a controversial deal involving longtime friends and contributors to Gov. Rod Blagojevich," the Tribune reported on March 11, 2007.

"Legislators blocked a proposal in the 2005 budget to sell the loans for a one-time windfall, a move critics feared could gut services to college students and their families and leave them at the mercy of private lenders.

"Since then, however, Blagojevich has revamped the board overseeing the loans, and his handpicked commissioners have forged ahead without legislative approval.

"This year, the board put the valuable portfolio in the hands of Andrew Davis, a Blagojevich fundraiser from Chicago whose own business venture failed recently, leaving him saddled with lawsuits and debt."

*

"'I'd never heard of ISAC before I was approached by the governor's office' to become a commissioner for the agency, Davis said in an interview.

"In 2005, he joined the list of Blagojevich donors and fundraisers who have won appointment to state boards and commissions. Davis also has raised money for politicians including U.S. Sen. Barack Obama."

*

"Davis' professional history also has raised eyebrows. Before appointment to the board, Davis was best known for running The Rock Island Co. of Chicago, a LaSalle Street securities firm that controlled dozens of Chicago Stock Exchange seats.

"He acknowledged in an interview that Rock Island crashed in 2005 in part because of risky deals in which he paid too much to buy out competitors.

"'People advised me at the time that I was making a mistake, and they were right, and I was wrong,' he said. 'It is hard to see the future.'"

*

"The press release announcing Davis' appointment as ISAC's executive director glossed over Rock Island's troubles. Instead, it touted him as chief executive officer of Pinnipedia LLC, 'an investment firm specializing in electronic markets.'

"But that firm has no business offices or staff. It is simply 'an investment vehicle for family funds,' Davis acknowledges. His wife designed its business cards at a copy shop."

*

"Between 2000 and 2002, he and his trading firms donated $51,000 to Blagojevich's gubernatorial campaign, records show. Davis said he solicited roughly $50,000 more from friends and business associates."

*

"After he was elected, Blagojevich named Davis to an advisory committee and a blue ribbon panel. Blagojevich attended Davis' 2003 wedding, though Davis says they are not close."

*

"John Wyma, a longtime Blagojevich confidant who served as his congressional chief of staff, registered as a lobbyist for Nelnet for three weeks last year; a Nelnet spokesman said Wyma continues to advise the firm.

"Wyma also has ties to Davis. In 2003 and 2004, Davis hired Wyma to lobby for his Rock Island securities firm, disclosure records show. Today, he calls Wyma a friend. They 'get together with some regularity' and sometimes talk about ISAC, Davis said.

*

"Last year, ISAC officials killed a deal to hire a law firm after the Tribune learned that the firm had hired Wyma as a lobbyist. Although Wyma was representing the law firm on unrelated business, the chairman of the loan agency's board said at the time that he didn't want to 'deal with political connections.'

"In another lobbying relationship related to the recent loan sale, the politically connected Conlon Public Strategies firm last year represented both successful bidder Sallie Mae and Morgan Stanley, which advised ISAC on which bids to accept.

"Kevin Conlon, co-founder and president of Conlon Public Strategies, arranged meetings between ISAC and Sallie Mae officials, said Davis, who added that he was stunned when he learned from the Tribune that Conlon was also a registered lobbyist for Morgan Stanley."

*

"Davis recalls meeting Barack Obama by chance on LaSalle Street about four years ago.

"Davis then was a wealthy and politically connected securities broker and vice chairman of the Chicago Stock Exchange.

"Obama was a state lawmaker launching a U.S. Senate campaign in a field of seven Democrats. Obama asked for his business card, Davis said, and later phoned to set up a breakfast meeting.

"'He told me if he could get $5 million he could be the next U.S. senator,' Davis said.

"Obama spokesman Robert Gibbs said in an e-mail that 'Senator Obama does not remember the details of meeting Andy Davis.'

"Records show Davis donated $12,000 to Obama in 2003 and his wife gave $12,000. Davis estimates that, as a member of Obama's Illinois finance committee during that race, he raised $50,000 more from friends and business associates."

*

"Davis, now head of the Illinois Student Assistance Commission, said he and Obama last spoke more than a year ago, when Obama phoned him from a military flight as part of a congressional delegation abroad."

*

On June 1, 2008, the Sun-Times reported this:

"William Daley Jr. moved to New York two years ago for a job with Morgan Stanley, an investment giant with an appetite for the city of Chicago.

"Within a year, his employer signed a new deal with his uncle, Mayor Daley. Morgan Stanley got a 99-year lease to operate the city's four underground parking garages. City Hall got an upfront payment of $563 million - the highest offer made . . .

"In a brief phone conversation, Daley said he was too busy to talk and would call back. He didn't.

"Morgan Stanley wouldn't say what Daley does for the company. He is registered with Cook County and the State of Illinois as a lobbyist for the firm.

"The Illinois Student Assistance Commission paid Morgan Stanley more than $1 million last year to sell $3 billion in student loans. The commission 's executive director, Andrew Davis, said he didn't know if Daley 'had a specific role' in the deal."

He didn't know. Specifically.

Rahm Hendry
Isn't this a bad trade?

That's Larry!
"Cicero Town President Larry Dominick testified in federal court Thursday that he had put 'a couple' family members on the town payroll after he took office," the Sun-Times reported last week.

"Give or take 20 people or so.

"Under extensive questioning, Dominick acknowledged putting more than 20 current and former family members on the payroll of the Town of Cicero, despite a campaign pledge to end nepotism in town hiring.

"There's his mother, his sister, his brother-in-law, his wife, the mother of his son's child, that woman's parents, his daughter-in-law, the daughter-in-law's sister, Dominick's ex-wife and her brother."

*

Dominick's testimony was new, but not the story itself.

"Cicero Town President Larry Dominick's administration Thursday defended the appointments earlier this week of Dominick's mother, sister and son to paid positions on taxpayer-supported advisory boards - moves that appear at odds with statements Dominick made last winter while campaigning for office," the Tribune reported in 2005.

"'A family relation shouldn't qualify you or disqualify you for a position. The focus [in the campaign] was on family members making exorbitant salaries,' said Dominick spokesman Dan Proft.

*

"Larry's appointments and hires have been consistent with what he said he would do, which was put qualified people in positions of authority," Proft said, "and to treat people equitably."

*

"On the stump, Dominick hammered away at former Town President Ramiro Gonzalez for hiring about 20 relatives, many to highly paid positions within town government."

Huh.

Hey, I've got an idea . . .

About Those Indicted Nurses
They gave money to Rickey Hendon.

My Mouth Is Full Of Cars
Elevated trains like incessant detonations.

Saving Charlie Sheen
Death is a poor option.

The Weekend In Chicago Rock
Festival season, monster tours and small gems.

Programming Note
Once again I'll be behind the bar tonight at the venerable Beachwood Inn. Say the magic word and you'll get the insider's special. 5 p.m. - 2 a.m.

-

The Beachwood Tip Line: Full of cars.



Permalink

Posted on July 11, 2011


MUSIC - The Weekend In Chicago Rock.
TV - Media Sexism And Weinstein.
POLITICS - Illinois' Dirty 34.
SPORTS - SportsMonday: Action Jackson.

BOOKS - Chicago History Museum Card Catalog Going Digital.

PEOPLE PLACES & THINGS - Chicagoetry: War Of The Rainbows.


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