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The [Wednesday] Papers

Our confidence in the FBI's ability to, say, do its part to protect us from terrorism isn't exactly at an all-time high upon learning of its apparent inability to read maps.

According to various reports, the sting set up by the agency to snare Ald. Arenda Troutman involved a parcel of land that wasn't even in her ward.

Troutman's lawyer, though, errs when he thinks that's a point his client's favor. "That should prove to everyone that there was nothing fraudulent going on," Sam Adam Jr. told the Tribune. Adam said Troutman knows exactly where the boundaries of her ward are.

That's all the more damning, though. Troutman actually had the gall to (allegedly) accept a bribe to develop a property that wasn't even in her ward! It turns out the parcel in question is in Shirley Coleman's ward - and Coleman wasn't even offered a cut!

Reading the "plot line" laid out by the Tribune, you get the sense that Troutman had to try awfully hard - and did - to find something she could deliver in exchange for a, um, contribution.

Aside from allegedly consummating a deal with a (fake) developer for a parcel that wasn't even in her ward, Troutman called the city's planning department to alert them to a letter in support of a zoning change she was going to send in. She was told that wouldn't be necessary because the land was not owned by the city.

"The complaint charges that Troutman continued to try to find a way to earn bribe money, finally using her clout to allow the developer to use a public alley for access to his project's parking lot," the Tribune reports.

Which was Troutman's way of really playing the (fake) developer for a sucker. Ald. Thomas Allen, chairman of the city council's Transportation Committee, told the Trib that alley-access ordinances are so routine that it would be "ridiculous" to pay a bribe to get one.

Proper Names: "Aldermen: Don't Call Us 'Ho's." They prefer pimps instead, though that infringes on the mayor's turf.

Defining Terms: "Any money she took from the cooperating witness in the case cannot be called a bribe, [Adams] said."

Zero percent financing?

Daley Dose: The mayor blamed Troutman's troubles on "human frailty."

And in Chicago, humans are more frail than anywhere else.

Prerogative: "[Daley] said that 'aldermanic prerogative' - the long-held tradition that gives City Council members great power over development in their wards - is appropriate, even though dishonest aldermen over the years have taken bribes for zoning changes and other assistance," the Tribune reports.

"If the mayor had power over all local projects, 'then you would say, Why would the mayor want all that power?'"

And we all know the mayor makes his decisions based on what reporters would say.

Isn't there, like, a zoning department that should make these decisions?

Surge Patrol
The president addresses the nation tonight to prove that John Kerry was right when he said "Education, if you make the most of it, you study hard, you do your homework and you make an effort to be smart, you can do well. And if you don't, you get stuck in Iraq."

Millennium Airport
Mayor Daley's ill-fated O'Hare expansion project is already $400 million over budget, the Tribune reports.

And "there is at least $700 million in additional expenses, ranging from an airfield taxiway to interest payments, for which the city has not yet identified funding."

And the project is still in the early-going.

"In addition, the airlines have not agreed to terms for financing the second phase of the runway expansion plan, which is when most of the benefits to increase flights and reduce O'Hare delays would occur."

Not only that, but over the last 15 years, the paper notes, airlines have been channeling a sizable number of connecting passengers through other airports with lower costs.

Please remind me, what is this mayor good at again?

Millennium Olympics
Just wait.

Business Models
A) "Beijing Targets Corruption Before Olympics."
B) "Lottery Funds To 'Bail Out' [London] Olympics."

Sources say Daley has settled on "B."

Blog Fog
Chicago Tonight's Phil Ponce asked blogger Jon Marshall last night about a concern in the industry that the Internet was dumbing down journalism. A few minutes later he introduced the show's weekly Debra Pickett commentary. Mancow was off this week.

Mommy Track
Pickett has returned from maternity leave to learn that her page 2 column in the Sun-Times has been demoted to the Lifestyles page. Sources say Chicago Tonight is now considering moving her commentaries to Check, Please!

Takes One To Know One
"While trying to justify the pain of the budget cuts he is seeking, Stroger also defended his recent decisions to hire and promote friends and family members," the Tribune reports. "In the latest example, Stroger has hired his sister-in-law, Monique Martin, to be his personal secretary for $64,983 per year.

"I am working with people who I know are qualified," Stroger said. "And why would I go out and hire somebody I don't know when there's people I do know who can do the job?"

Stroger then explained his new idea of keeping a list of people he knows, or of people recommended to him by people he knows, and trying to place them in county jobs so he can be sure he's hiring people he can trust.

Never Forget
Todd Stroger was installed by Richard Daley and endorsed by Barack Obama, Dick Durbin, and the Chicago Sun-Times.

Short List
Cook County Democratic Party Chairman Thomas Lyons is resigning, apparently due to bad health, though it's also possible Bill Beavers has another relative who needs a job. The early favorites to replace Lyons:

* Vladimir Putin. Nostalgic for good old days.
* Bobbie Steele. Pension money not going as far as she thought.
* Rod Blagojevich. More power, less Springfield.
* George Ryan. Bored while out on appeal.

"Brown Line's Kimball Station To Reopen Friday."

The rest of the Brown Line will be closed, though.

Chicagobama Sun-Times
Please stop.

Does A Bear . . .
The Sun-Times's big front-page headline today: "Is Al Gore Right?"

It's about global warming.

Next week:

Monday: "Is Darwin Right?"
Tuesday: "Is Einstein Right?"
Wednesday: "Is Newton Right?"
Thursday: "Is Galileo Right?"
Friday: "Obama Right."

Neil North
Which big dumb white guy has offended more people, Mike North or Neil Steinberg?

I'd say North. He has more range. Steinberg tends to stick to blacks and Jews.

Spam Scam
Beachwood contributor-by-association Dave Stern answers a Nigerian e-mail scam.

The Beachwood Tip Line: Zoned for funny.


Posted on January 10, 2007

MUSIC - Who's Next In Chicago Rap.
TV - Tribune-Nexstar Deal Is Bad News.
POLITICS - Big Soda Hates You.
SPORTS - Harold vs. the Haters.

BOOKS - Wright Brothers, Wrong Story!

PEOPLE PLACES & THINGS - Go Ahead, Eat Raw Cookie Dough!

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