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The [Monday] Papers


1. BREAKING: The Tribune Company has announced it will sell the Cubs after this season. Curse included.

2. The news follows the announcement that Sam Zell has bought the Tribune Company and will return it to private ownership.

3. "Even some industry rivals are dumbfounded by what Zell has planned," the Tribune reported in its print editions this morning.

"The amount of debt Tribune is going to have blows my mind," one of them told the paper. "It seems very dangerous to me."

4. Dennis FitzSimons will remain as chief executive officer for now, but public library records obtained through a provision in the Patriot Act show he recently checked out this book.

5. "The recent newsroom rebellion in Los Angeles over cost-cutting demonstrated that operating a company full of journalists is among the more daunting challenges in business," the Tribune reported this morning. "Journalists are creative, often non-conformist and dedicated to the social mission of their craft. They routinely challenge authority, and that can include their own managers."

A) "Yeah," the Beachwood's Natasha Julius notes, "when I read the Tribune, what really strikes me is the creativity, non-conformist attitude, and spirit of lively rebellion."
B) If you count challenging their managers' authority behind their backs, that is.
C) For example, think of all those Tribune journalists who stood up in solidarity with their beleagured L.A. colleagues. That was awesome. Or did I dream that?

6. Somehow I don't think Zell will have much of a problem living up to his nickname in contending with those creative newsroom sorts.

7. Judging by a quick glance at campaign contribution data, Zell plays both sides of the fence both nationally and locally like most wheeler-dealers. He donated $30,000 to Judy Baar Topinka's gubernatorial campaign in 2006 - though his wife's trust gave $75,000 to Rod Blagojevich.

Zell also donated $75,000 to Forrest Claypool for the Cook County primary in 2006, and then $30,000 to Tony Peraica for the general election.

Zell's past contributions also include $15,000 to George Ryan's gubernatorial campaign in 1998.

8. If only Zell would buy the CTA. Talk about gravedancing.

9. Frank Kruesi's explanation for plunging CTA riders into a further circle of Hell: "Some of these stations were built 100 years ago . . . when there were a lot more horses and not many cars. "

A) And as Chicagoans know, anyone can have a bad century.
B) So it's taken the CTA 100 years to get around to upgrading them?
C) Can we get the horses back?

10. After having about a hundred years to consider station reconstruction, the CTA board approved Kruesi's plan to run three lines on one track on faith.

"[CTA board chairwoman Carole] Brown and board member Nicholas Zagotta said they based their yes votes solely on Kruesi's assurances that the CTA has done all it can to prepare and to minimize disruptions for the 185,00 people who use the three rail lines, as well as for thousands of transit users on other rail lines and bus routes who will feel the crunch due to increased ridership," the Tribune reports.

11. "The CTA's alternate transportation plan, consisting of a vague plan for extra buses and a recommendation to find other means of transportation, is no plan at all and simply reflects arrogance and incompetence," Tom Lisy, a board member of the Rogers Park Community Council, told the CTA board before their vote.

12. "Whenever bad news hits the Daley administration, the mayor has a habit of putting his department heads out there to twist in the wind before he emerges to take questions," Carol Marin writes. "Hello, Phil Cline."

13. "Don't think for a minute that City Hall is not handling all the information flow on the Abbate case, including when and how the Police Department was allowed to answer questions about this mess," Marin writes. "There is no such thing as an independent superintendent of police. City Hall has always been the controlling force, calibrating the political consequences, then shaping the message."

14. Marin points out that the mayor took time from his busy travel schedule to express his disappointment about the Al Sanchez indictment, but has yet to speak about the Abbate incident.

15. The Cook County State's Attorney's Office continues to dispute Cline's timeline of events.

16.. "It seems like an old story," Joel Weisman said on Week in Review.

"It sounds like lip service," Channel 7's Charles Thomas said. "It's the same story we heard from Terry Hillard, the same story we heard from Matt Rodriguez . . . when is the city council, the mayor, the public at-large going to begin connecting the dots so to speak to really have police reform in Chicago?"

"This goes back, way back, under the original Mayor Daley," Lester Munson said. "A whole pattern here, a whole culture that has to be changed."

17. "Cmdr. Burge and his boys tortured more than 100 black men over two decades," Monroe Anderson writes. "Like all Chicago Police officers on the scene, then-State's Attorney Richard M. Daley and his deputy, Dick Devine, failed to hear and chose not to see the savagery at play."

18. Perhaps when Neil Steinberg jokes that the next time an officer gets in trouble he'd like to see Cline say "I'd like to take him in the back room and hook him up to a car battery!," he's unaware that black men tortured by Chicago police officers had electrodes attached to their testicles.

Or that Cline replaced Burge as Area 2 commander - making it virtually impossible that he was unaware of what went on there.

19. Lou and Ozzie in song.

20. "Places matter," writes Joel Boehm at Agony & Ivy. "Let me make it more clear: Places matter because they have their own rules. Thinking back to Chicago, it can be certain bar rules, like the Artful Dodger in Bucktown (RIP) where one would be chastised for ordering a light beer. It can be like the Weiner Circle, where you're expected to sling vulgarity at the counter while you order a hot dog at 2am; it's all part of the theatrics. Or it can be like the Park West, where - if the show is good - you just don't talk. In Austin, to take an easy example, the good little music venues still have someone walk around with a tip jar in the second half of the set to help the band buy beers after they're done, and people tip.

"Baseball parks have rules in general, like refraining from mentioning a no-hitter. Wrigley in particular has them, like the Bleacher Rules, knowing how to play the cup game or knowing to throw back an opponent's homerun ball. At some point, rules become traditions. Arbitrary in their beginnings or not, these traditions matter. They become the corners of a culture, the boundaries that help us understand it. At this point, the places to which the traditions are tethered matter. When the places change, the traditions change, or sometimes disappear. We all lose something, then. Our culture loses its shape.

"I think being a good Cubs fan is worth it, and to me that means paying attention even during the bad seasons. I also think that being good at living in a city is worth it, and that means putting in the time and effort to participate in the unique expereinces the modern American city makes possible. Our cities are some of the greatest achievements in the history of the world - and I don't think I'm exaggerating - and I think we're idiots when we fail to appreciate this."

The Beachwood Tip Line: Safe at home.


Posted on April 2, 2007

MUSIC - Chief Keef Changed The Industry.
TV - Vizio's Best Product Is You.
POLITICS - UIC: Soda Taxes Work.
SPORTS - More McCaskey Malpractice.

BOOKS - All About Poop.


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