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The [Monday] Papers

No honest, objective observer can say that Barack Obama's speech in Selma on Sunday even rose to the level of mediocre. It was halting, disjointed, and weakly themed. It was also all about him. Hillary Clinton, on the other hand, was dazzling.

That's just the truth.

See for yourself. AP video of both can be found on the Sun-Times's home page.

UPDATE: More on Selma here.

1. "Some CTA board members are sometimes seen arriving at board meetings or other CTA events in taxis," the Tribune's Jon Hilkevitch reports. "Questions they ask of the CTA staff during board meetings often reflect their unfamiliarity with the system they are entrusted to oversee."

Hilkevitch fails to take the next step, however. Who appointed such lame board members? Take a guess.

"As a matter of law, the Mayor of the City of Chicago is responsible for appointing four out of the seven people who serve on the CTA Board of Directors," the Neighborhood Capital Budget Group explains.

"The Mayor also selects the Chairperson of that board, and the individual who heads the agency. The Governor of the State selects the other three Board members. There is no public input into the Mayor's and Governor's selection of these appointees. For decades, the CTA President (chief executive officer) and the CTA Board chair have usually been former City Hall commissioners or influential aides to the Mayor, before going to the transit agency. Many key CTA staffers as well transfer back and forth between City Hall departments and the CTA bureaucracy."

Board members are each paid $25,000 a year for their services.

2. A ridership summary obtained by Hilkevitch shows that CTA board member Alejandro Silva didn't ride the CTA a single time in 2006; board member Charles Robinson, said by Hilkevitch to "rarely" participate in discussions at board meetings, rode the system only three times last year, the report shows.

Both Silva and Robinson are Daley appointees, which might have been worth nothing.

3. To be fair, Daley also appointed Henry Chandler Jr. to the board; Chandler led all board members with 129 CTA rides in 2006. And any rides taken by board members without using their agency ID badges wouldn't have been accounted for. But that's their problem.

4. Lou Piniella's journey to the heart of Cubdom has officially begun; at this rate he'll have the thousand-yard stare by the time the regular season starts that took years to sink in with with Don Baylor and Dusty Baker.

5. The U.S. Attorney's Office, which is perhaps the most upstanding institution located within Chicago city limits, is down about 25 prosecutors, the Sun-Times reports.

While retirements and moves to the private sector account for some recent losses, Patrick Fitzgerald also cites "budget problems," though no explanation is given whether that means the Bush Administration is squeezing the office or they've spent more money than expected, say, on a string of major corruption prosecutions. Which is just another way you the taxpayer foots the bill for the shenanigans of the likes of George Ryan and Richard M. Daley.

6. Even though City Hall is led by a former Cook County State's Attorney - the mayor - they are no doubt clinking their glasses at the departure of Pat Collins from the U.S. Attorney's Office. John Kass and Carol Marin discuss.

7. "Lawyers who make big bucks representing the rich are being asked to share with lawyers who make peanuts representing the poor," the Sun-Times reports. "The Chicago Bar Foundation starts its campaign today to get Chicago's major law firms to lean on every partner for $500 and every associate attorney for $100 to help fund legal aid lawyers."

8. Todd Stroger's budget cuts 43 prosecutors and 10 investigators from the State's Attorney's Office, as well as 10 public defenders in the county. Penny wise, pound foolish?

9. The girlfriend of new 42nd Ward alderman Brendan Reilly says "He's a great guy to have in your corner." Considering he was most recently an AT&T vice president for public affairs (read: lobbyist), I wonder just whose corner he's in.

10. Reilly's girlfriend appeared in a Sun-Times profile of the new alderman on Sunday. Sandi Jackson was also profiled. Neither piece appeared to have asked what, if anything, the new councilmembers intend to do about City Hall corruption.

11. The Sun-Times identified the author of a Saturday Op-Ed column, "Socialized Medicine Elsewhere Shows Why It Is a Failure," as Grace-Marie Turner, president of the Galen Institute, "a non-profit research organization focusing on free-market solutions to health reform."

That's one way to put it. You might think of another when you look at who funds the Galenites.

12. From Turner: "Britain's state-financed dental service, which, stretched beyond its limit, no longer serves everyone and no longer even pretends to try."

Nor does ours. Todd Stroger's budget cuts county dentists from 23 to three. Our poor people pull their own teeth out too.

13. Turner also fails to distinguish between Britain's public dentists and their private ones. Oops!

14. When the news came out that one of Obama apparently had a slave-owning ancestor named George Washington Overall, all I could think of was what a great band name that would make.

15. The story was broken by a Tribune Company newspaper - in Baltimore.

16. If Chicagoans have a stronger work ethic than residents of other cities, as the Tribune's Rick Morrissey contends, than why are we so famous for our ghost payrollers and union featherbedding?

17. Chris Hardiman of Chicago describes to the Tribune the election fraud he just took part in.

18. Henry I. Miller of the Hoover Institution asks in a Sun-Times Tribune Op-Ed about Al Gore's electricity bill: "Who can forget [Gore's] notorious claim that he had been instrumental in creating the Internet?"

Indeed.

And who can forget that Miller already wrote the same article with a different lead in 2004?

As far as Gore's electric bill being 20 percent higher than that of the average residential bill in Nashville, well, maybe his house is 20 percent bigger.

19. "I really hate him," Ozzie Guillen said of former Sox pitcher Brandon McCarthy, moments before saying: "There's one thing about Ozzie Guillen: Ozzie Guillen is never negative."

20. Is the Sun-Times officially part of the Chicago Olympic committee? Compare and contrast.

21. View from the other side: "First stop was the Home Depot Center. The drive - which would roughly mirror the trip from the Athletes' Village at UCLA - took 34 minutes. The Chicago guys, who outnumbered their L.A. counterparts, whined. Jeez, like there's never traffic on the Ryan Expressway."

22. Sneed's lead column item on Friday: "Sneed has learned Gov. Blagojevich and his staff are considering proposing a Gross Receipts Tax."

Good job, Sneed. The scads of news reports about a gross receipts tax only go back at least as far as February 7th in the Quad City Times, and probably further. At least she's not reporting on news from last year.

23. Word on the street is that Chicago police chief Phil Cline will hang it up soon. The city could do worse than to consider Miami's top cop, John Timoney, featured in the current New Yorker (not available online): "In the decade before Timoney's appointment, Miami police had killed twenty-eight people and fired at another hundred and twenty-four. During his first twenty months on the job, no Miami cop fired a shot, a phenomenon that appears to be unique in a city of Miami's size. In the four years of his tenure, police have shot at seven people, killing two and wounding four. The murder rate in Miami has dropped from about twenty to fourteen per hundred thousand in the years since 2003. (Although major crime over all dropped in 2006, there was an increase in the number of killings in Miami.) Credit for the drop certainly does not belong solely to Timoney; there has been a nationwide renaissance in police work and in attitudes toward policing, and crime in many American cities, including Miami, fell steadily during the nineteen-nineties. In New York, where much of this change was pioneered, Timoney held several top jobs with the N.Y.P.D."

The Beachwood Tip Line: Publicly defensible.



Permalink

Posted on March 5, 2007


MUSIC - The Week In Chicago Rock.
TV - Vizio Settles Spying Complaints.
POLITICS - WikiLeaks Reveals Staggering Breadth Of CIA Hacking.
SPORTS - Beachwood Sports Radio: Butt Fumbles.

BOOKS - Bannon, The Best And The Brightest.

PEOPLE PLACES & THINGS - Beachwood Photo Booth: Descending Darkly.


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