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The [Thursday] Papers

Follow the bouncing budget ball.

1. "Last week, union leaders said they would hold off on matching the unpaid furlough days and canceled pay raises impacting the city's nonunion employees until Daley comes clean about the deficit and spells out how many union jobs are at stake and how many might be saved with each unpaid day off," Fran Spielman reported on Wednesday

"On Tuesday, a Daley adviser did just that."

No, on Tuesday a Daley adviser anonymously threatened the unions through a compliant reporter, almost assuredly after a meeting of the mayor's communications strategy.

"The source pegged the 2009 deficit at somewhere between $400 million and $450 million - exceeding the figure previously disclosed by the Sun-Times."

How convenient.

2. "The Daley administration has tripled the number of crews assigned to shut off water to delinquent Chicago customers in response to a 70 percent increase in water scofflaws over the last year," Spielman also reported on Tuesday.

That estimate comes from a water department spokesman with no data behind it cited.

"He offered no estimate on the amount of money owed."

So there's really no way of knowing if there indeed has been a 70 percent increase in water scofflaws.

Send a message, call Fran Spielman. Cheaper than Western Union.

3. "Chicago has a $425 million budget gap that will require a 'paradigm shift' in services the city provides, the way they are delivered and the number of employees and agencies responsible, top mayoral aides told organized labor on Wednesday," Spielman reports today.

"In a closed-door meeting with 40 union leaders, Mayor Daley's chief-of-staff Lori Healey, Chief Financial Officer Paul Volpe and Intergovernmental Affairs Director John Dunn promised that redundant layers of middle management would share the burden of employee layoffs.

"Healey promised to leave 'no stone unturned' and solicited labor's help in identifying 'waste and inefficiency'."

As opposed to the last time the mayor put together a budget?

4. "Despite a budget deficit estimated in the hundreds of millions of dollars, the Daley administration is giving raises for 50 politically appointed Streets and Sanitation ward superintendents," the Trib's Dan Mihalopoulos reports.

"The move angered labor leaders, who have been told by the administration that unionized city workers must make sacrifices - or even face layoffs - to balance City Hall's budget."

Here's the best part:

"The pay increases for the ward superintendents will be put into effect retroactively from Jan. 1, according to a memo sent by the mayor's Streets and Sanitation commissioner, Michael Picardi."

Pander Bear
"If you're a senior citizen and make less than $50,000 a year, Barack Obama has a deal for you: the rest of your life free of federal income tax," AP reports.

"Sounds appealing, right? Maybe to many seniors. But tax policy experts in Washington are giving it bad reviews. They see it as another subsidy for senior citizens, who already get federal help through Social Security and Medicare and often have economic advantages over other demographic groups."

Maybe Obama should offer free bus rides instead.

Private Sector
"Two-thirds of U.S. corporations paid no federal income taxes between 1998 and 2005, according to a new report from Congress," AP reports.

And half of them were owned by Sam Zell.

Age of Fake
"But few people seem riled by the switcheroo."

Then why is this a front-page story?

"Does anyone care if it's real anymore?"

I know! It's not like the old days, when game shows were fixed, FDR's legs worked, JFK was a faithful husband, payola ruled the charts, cigarettes were good for you and Rock Hudson was heterosexual.

Memo to Kanye
Shouldn't they be Phatburgers?

Irony Institute
Check out the featured guest speakers at the bottom of the brochure.

Homeward Bound
Carol Marin recalls that Jesse Jackson once said "My constituency is the desperate, the damned, the disinherited, the disrespected and the despised."

A) So is my readership.
B) So is my dating pool.

"Dog stays by dead owner's side for 6 weeks."

The report calls this "an amazing display of loyalty."

What else could the dog do, hire a lawyer to tidy up the estate? Pack up and leave the keys under the mat? Call the next of kin?

Arenda's Benda
"But Troutman told reporters she only knew Jehan as a businessman."

Well, she did say she was a ho.

Summer Rerun
"Donna Brazile: Old GOP tactics won't work vs. Obama."

A) Why is the paper re-running a column from 2004?
B) Why is the paper re-running a column from 2000?
C) Why is the paper re-running a column from 1988?

Gov. Baloneyvich
"I didn't become a Democrat because some Chicago boss knocked on my door and offered me a job."

That's for suckers. I married the alderman's daughter instead.

Pro Bone You
"From KEVIN ALLMAN: Phil Rosenthal's story on Arianna Huffington's foray into the local blogging market included this line: 'Writers work pro bono.'

"'Pro bono' means 'for the public good.' What Rosenthal should've said is that Huffington wants writers to work for free so she can sell ads around their work. That ain't the public good. That ain't good, period.

"The Huffington Post has been a winning formula, because it gives platforms to Huffington's D.C. and L.A. buddies who need vanity exposure more than they need money. But when she comes into communities and applies the same formula, there's another word for that formula, and it's exploitation.

"It's hard for me to take any 'progressive' site seriously that expects people to work for free while the founders make money. At least Wal-Mart pays minimum wage."

Like everyone else and their dog in Chicago, I've been asked to contribute to the new Chicago version of Huffington Post - for free.

So let me get this straight. Arianna Huffington is incredibly rich and you want me to work for free to make her richer? And to help her put me out of business? Let me think about this while eating my ramen dinner and reading Arianna's latest post about how the Republicans don't care about working people.

How about this? If Arianna writes for me for free, I'll write for her.

Not Dead Yet
The late John Stroger has more than $1.5 million in his campaign fund, placing him 14th between congresswoman Melissa Bean and congressman John Shimkus on the Sun-Times rankings.

Stroger reportedly is the Democratic Central Committee's choice to replace his son.

The Beachwood Tip Line: Bono free.


Posted on August 14, 2008

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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