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The [Thursday] Papers

No Papers column today; I've got some sort of bug that has me all mumbletypeg. So I'm going to rest up because I'll be at the Billy Goat tonight with Michael Miner at the Chicago Headline Club's Burger Night event. Please note the event runs from 5:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m., not 7:30 p.m. to 9:30 p.m. as I wrote earlier this week. It's informal - we'll take questions for awhile and then, I think, just sort of mill around.

Over at Ferdy on Films, our very own Marilyn Ferdinand has begun her coverage of the first CIMMfest: The Chicago Movies & Music Festival, which runs today through Sunday. Her prefestival coverage is here, along with her first review, of Martino Unstrung.

The [Wednesday] Papers
Part two on the Chicago Journalism Town Hall is in.

The Quigley Factor
How he slipped in. What it means..

Straw Stroger
"Last Wednesday was a typical day in the campaign to fill Rahm Emanuel's vacant Fifth Congressional seat: I got mailings from three candidates blasting Cook County Board president Todd Stroger," Ben Joravsky writes.

"From the amount of bile spewed against him, you'd think Stroger was the most powerful and incorrigible figure in local politics.

"He's not even close. Offhand I can think of more than 30 other local politicians with more clout than Stroger, including three mere aldermen - Ed Burke, Richard Mell, and Fritchey's uncle-in-law Bill Banks. Stroger's not even the big man on the county board - that role falls to commissioner John Daley."

Ill 5
I've long said that Abdon Pallasch is one of the city's best reporters - someone whose skills and knowledge I admire - but I'm not sure how well his Sun-Times overlords serve him. Because I know Abdon is better than this.

"Could the race to replace U.S. Rep. Rahm Emanuel be a dead heat between Cook County Commissioner Mike Quigley and labor lawyer Tom Geoghegan?

"The Sun-Times' very unscientifically surveyed 11 voters emerging from four precincts on the Northwest Side and one in Wrigleyville."

Eleven voters? How is that the basis of a news story? I mean, maybe on the Internet . . .

Best of Show
The best places to follow the race have been newcomer Jesse Greenberg's blog and at Progress Illinois.

Jesse has a nice recap of the highlights and lowlights, and also gives PI props.


I've updated the Political Odds to reflect the election results.

Kid Cop
"The teen, who likely learned some police methods through a police youth program, drove the squad car for two hours, going out on five assignments, and he even helped on a domestic arrest, holding a suspect's arm as the real officer placed handcuffs on him," the Tribune reports.

"But by the time the teen's crime-fighting spree ended with his arrest at about 7:30 p.m. Jan. 24, seven sworn officers had broken department rules, Police Supt. Jody Weis said Tuesday. The boy was arrested after a sergeant noticed he wasn't wearing a police star."

Maybe those officers should be put through the youth training program; it sounds like it does a pretty good job!

"That the teen drove the squad car particularly galled Weis, since the boy wasn't old enough to drive."

Look, I know it's not funny but . . . how in the world is that not hilarious?

"The teen had actually tried to impersonate a police officer earlier in the day but was rebuffed. At about 6:30 a.m., he tried to check out a radio from the Calumet District, but he was turned away when his name wasn't on the radio request list, police said. But the teen was not arrested at that time."

So, what, the cops just say "Hey, you're not supposed to get a radio. Shoo!"?

Stimulated Response
"Illinois still has not officially submitted a list of shovel-ready road and mass transit projects to the federal government for funding under the economic stimulus package, U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood said Tuesday, warning that time is running out," the Tribune reports.

"The law requires us to get the money out the door very quickly," LaHood said. But "we have not received a list from the state or from Chicago."

Yes, well, Daley wants to keep his list secret from the feds too. Just wire the money to the city's Swiss bank account.

"A mayoral aide said Tuesday that the city is 'on track' to receiving stimulus funding."

The aide added that we would be moving shortly and we appreciate your patience.

Message Massage
"The Daley administration on Tuesday abruptly canceled 11 public relations contracts with a $55 million pricetag to drive home the point that taxpayers cannot afford to augment the highly controlled message coming out of City Hall," the Sun-Times reports.

Maybe they should have signed a contract first to handle the public relations on spending millions of dollars on public relations.

"We get it. We absolutely get it. We understand that it would seem absurd at a time like this to be using taxpayer funds for this kind of non-essential service," said mayoral press secretary Jacquelyn Heard.

If the services are non-essential, why do we ever need them?

"It's been made abundantly clear to every department that they are not to use these contracts. But I suppose someone could feign ignorance and use them anyway."

Um, is there something in Jackie Heard's eye or did she just let loose a big fat double-wink?

"The door is locked shut on the use of these kinds of firms at this time."

But not later, when nobody is looking.

Gold Medals
Marty Nesbitt, one of Barack Obama's closest friends, has been named to the board of Chicago 2016.

Nesbitt is the president and CEO of The Parking Spot, "a company that owns and operates off-airport parking facilities."

So it's not like he stands to personally gain from the Olympics.


This is how Fran Spielman wrote the story:

"Mayor Daley is counting on President Obama to use his worldwide celebrity to carry Chicago's 2016 Olympic bid over the goal line.

"That's why it makes sense to give the president some skin in the game - by putting one of his closest friends on the Chicago 2016 board of directors."

Who is she to say it makes sense?

"There can be a lasting economic impact," Nesbitt says, contrary to what most evidence shows.

"Although the City Council has re-affirmed a $500 million guarantee against operating losses at the 2016 Summer Games, Nesbitt said he's confident Chicago taxpayers will not be left holding the bag.

"'There's sort of a history of U.S. cities pulling off these Olympic events in a way that doesn't cost taxpayers any money,' he said."

Contrary to what most evidence shows.

"We have a decent plan in place that minimizes risk. I don't think there's any risk to taxpayers at all."

Well, there's at least $500 million of "minimal" risk.

Northern Soul, Great Chicago


The Beachwood Tip Line: Minimal risk.


Posted on March 5, 2009

MUSIC - Spring Awakening Wake-Up Call!
TV - Goodbye, Apu.
POLITICS - The Political Odds.
SPORTS - SportsMonday: Catching Bears Fever.

BOOKS - Gov. Ed Coles.


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