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A discount-store employee is time-warped to a medieval castle, where he is the foretold savior who can dispel the evil there. Unfortunately, he screws up and releases an army of skeletons. (tvguide.com)
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The [Monday] Papers

"The tally of former Chicago Housing Authority employees in positions paying $85,000 to $195,000 at the Illinois tollway is growing, and that concerns some lawmakers given the top tollway executive also is a CHA alumnus," the Daily Herald reports.

"Tollway leaders dismissed questions of nepotism when asked about nine ex-CHA staffers who were hired from August through December and are paid more than $1.3 million collectively, state records show. Executive Director Jose Alvarez, the former CHA chief operating officer, joined the tollway in April.

"Taken together, all nine of these employees have decades of experience at a number of different organizations in human resources, talent recruitment, procurement and compliance," tollway spokesman Dan Rozek said.

Dan Rozek is a former Sun-Times reporter, so that makes him Today's Worst Person In Illinois, edging out his boss, Jose Alvarez.

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Rozek's Twitter bio says "Former Chicago Sun-Times reporter, still working in communications."

'Still working in communications' is like saying "I used to work as a scientist to prevent disease, now I work to spread it, so still working in medicine."

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As for Alvarez, the Daily Herald reported this in December:

"While all of these hires may be well-qualified, you wonder what kind of search they did to end up with all from the same place," said former Democratic state Sen. Bill Morris of Grayslake, a tollway director from 2009 to 2011.

The answer is - none. Alvarez said he hand-picked colleagues with a proven track record. In fact, the team is overqualified, he contended.

Overqualified yet somehow persuaded to take the jobs.

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"I've got the most highly qualified and capable people for the job that are committed to our mission," Alvarez told the Daily Herald.

But how does he know that if he didn't do a search?

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"He said his team is not political, and given that most drive every day from Chicago to the Downers Grove tollway headquarters, they're not doing it for their convenience."

No, they're doing it for the money! And the comfort of working for a pal.

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At least three of the positions filled with Alvarez chums, but the way, were newly created.

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White Pot Meets White Kettle
"Colleges around the country wrapped up their football signing classes last week, proudly touting scores of African American athletes as the next big stars," the AP's Paul Newberry writes, in a column picked up the Tribune.

It's a whole different situation on the sideline.

Segregation still rules the coaching ranks. And not just the top guys.

A review of the 130 Football Bowl Subdivision schools found shockingly low numbers, with black coaches still largely shut out of head coaching positions and, to an even greater degree, the prime coordinator spots.

While the NFL has come under fire for its lack of minority coaches, the situation appears more dire at the college level.

The column is headlined "Shame On College Football For Lack Of Black Coaches."

My first thought, as it usually is in some form upon seeing these pieces, was "Shame On AP And The Tribune For Lack Of Black Editors."

It's not that media organizations shouldn't report on problems elsewhere even if they have the same problems. It's that they should solve the problems in-house that they cast shame on when occurring in other institutions. It would give them more credibility and moral authority to do so. At the least, disclose how your own organization is doing with the subject at hand. Otherwise it's just hypocritical.

To wit:

-> Pew: Newsroom Employees Are Less Diverse Than U.S. Workers Overall

-> Columbia Journalism Review: Decades Of Failure.

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So when Newberry concludes his column with, "College football, have you no shame?" I want to ask the same question of his employer and the papers who published the piece.

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By the way, 87% of newsroom leaders at the Tribune are white.

The figure was 92% for the Sun-Times.

(Those are 2018 numbers.)

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As for 2019 numbers:

"The data collected between May and August from 429 newspaper and online-only newsrooms comes on the heels of dismal participation in last year's survey, which some respondents said was too time-consuming. This year, 1,883 news organizations were contacted for inclusion, resulting in a 23% response rate, vs. last year's 17% response rate," the Poynter Institute noted last September.

Just too time-consuming.

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P.S.: An NFL franchise is set to make history by hiring the league's first full-time African-American female assistant coach. Unfortunately, that franchise is named the Redskins.

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Gerald Ford Explorer
"Ford Motor Co.'s profit last year plunged by more than $3.6 billion, weighed down by the cost of a botched SUV launch, slowing U.S. sales and some big pension expenses," AP reports.

"CEO Jim Hackett said on a conference call with analysts that the company fell short of expectations for the year, and he blamed the drop primarily on the flubbed launch of the new Ford Explorer SUV at its factory in Chicago."

I've been gathering stories about this for months, but I guess I never got around to making an item of it, which isn't unusual given the absurd volume of coverage I collect across a wide swath of subject matter. But the bottom line is that the Chicago Ford plant done fucked up good.

"New Explorers came off the assembly line with multiple problems and had to be shipped to a Detroit-area factory for repairs, delaying deliveries to customers."

Our stuff had to be sent to Detroit to be fixed, people.

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Gaming Gamble
"Last year marked an unlucky No. 7 for Illinois' casino industry as the state prepares to deal out a hand of new gambling meccas," the Sun-Times reports.

"Total revenue from the state's 10 existing casinos - and the tax dollars they generate - dropped for a seventh straight year in 2019, according to a report issued Thursday by the state Commission on Government Forecasting and Accountability.

"It's the bipartisan commission's latest rundown of the state's casino downturn, raising questions about the viability of a key facet of Gov. J.B. Pritzker's massive gaming expansion signed into law last year: up to six new casinos that are poised to join Illinois' crowded gambling market."

Yikes, it doesn't sound like expanding gambling is a good idea at all.

On the other hand, it's hard to imagine that slots at O'Hare (we're getting that, right?), a downtown Chicago casino (put it downtown, mayor) and sports betting all over the place won't be "successful" (I put in quotes because I'm not fond of the idea generating tax revenue this way, both because of its regressive nature and the generous house advantage that makes suckers of us all). In other words, there are new kinds of gambling coming online whose performance can't necessarily be predicted by current trends.

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Anyway:

"But despite overall casino losses, gamblers are playing - and losing - more than ever in Illinois thanks to the still-burgeoning video gambling industry.

"The report found that an all-time high and steadily increasing number of video gambling machines continue to take gamblers' cash and line state coffers. The 33,000-plus slots that sprouted up in nearly 7,200 establishments generated almost $1.7 billion in revenue and $503 million in taxes last year."

Yes, but it's a nasty, barely regulated business we should and will regret expanding.

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Chicago Seinfeld

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New on the Beachwood . . .

Recall! Family Traditions Meat Sticks
Delivered to retailers in Illinois and several other Midwestern states.

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ChicagoReddit

Are rear wheel drive cars + winter tires ok? from r/chicago

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ChicagoGram

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ChicagoTube

Chicago Artist Rahmaan Statik Exhibits At The Art Gallery In Chinatown.

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TweetWood
A sampling of the delight and disgust you can find @BeachwoodReport.

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The Beachwood Tippecanoe Line: Tip City.



Permalink

Posted on February 10, 2020


MUSIC - Chicago Drill vs. Brooklyn Drill vs. UK Drill.
TV - Jonathan Pie On Lockdown Pt 3.
POLITICS - Boeing vs. Public Broadcasting.
SPORTS - The Truth About Ed Farmer.

BOOKS - A First: Comics Industry Shut Down.

PEOPLE PLACES & THINGS - NASA At Home.


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