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The [Thursday] Papers

"Top aides to Mayor Rahm Emanuel said Wednesday that they will release this week the list of donors to the mayor's May inauguration festivities, after first promising months ago to quickly make it public," the Tribune reports.

"The Emanuel camp originally committed to releasing the list of private donors within days of the May 16 inaugural. After the Tribune began asking Monday about the delay, Emanuel aides said the list was being compiled and would be released sometime before the Labor Day weekend. Politicians often dump unpopular or potentially controversial news on Fridays, when it is less likely to be widely circulated."


The list is being compiled, alright. Very slowly. First, one aide has to make a phone call to another aide. That aide must direct a staffer to notify all the key players. The key players must meet to discuss the list, which has been kept in a safe place.

After a political and media strategy has been hashed out, the reporters who have been nosing around are called back. We are working on it, they are told. The list is being compiled. This is true by a broad definition of the word compiled, such as No. 3 - translating into Machine language.

Once that is done, an aide must phone a staffer who will direct a member of the clerical staff to retrieve the list from a filing cabinet, where it is inside a folder. The folder must be removed and handed to the staffer, who must transport it to the aide. A member of the law department and the press secretary must then peruse the list to complete its compiling. All of this must be done within a time frame that suits each of the players without distracting them from the most urgent business of their days. Once done, a date to release the list will be confirmed, because it would be reckless to simply hand out the list. Its release must be planned. For safety reasons.

Upon the appointed day and hour, the list will be removed from the folder and placed face down on the copy machine. A limited number of copies will be made, for security reasons and budget efficiencies. The copies will be placed in a folder and transported to the press office at the safest and most efficient moment. The folder will be opened and a copy of the list will be handed over to the reporters asking for it. This will complete its compiling. The whole process can take months.


Or the administration could just say, "Sure, here's the list." And post it to their damn website. Because if it really took three months to "compile" the list, you wouldn't trust these guys to plow your streets, pick up your garbage, police your streets or educate your kids. It's a list, dammit!


Now, back to your regular scheduled programming slobbering over Rahm's first 100 days.


"A spokesman for the [judicial candidate Mary Jane] Theis campaign said Emanuel's organization made it known they wanted to support the most experienced candidate," the Tribune reports. "Her vote in the 7-0 decision on Emanuel's residency had nothing to do with it, Theis spokesman Brendan O'Sullivan said."

But if Theis had voted against the famously vindictive Rahm in the residency case, would the mayor have still thought her to be worthy of the bench?


Isn't it funny how journos acted all scandalized by the swearing of Rod Blagojevich but when the same words come out of the mouth or Emanuel at twice the speed and three times the frequency it's simply charming?


Maybe ComEd should just start announcing who has power.


"A company that served as a showcase for the Obama administration's effort to create jobs in clean technology shut down Wednesday, leaving 1,100 people out of work and taxpayers obligated for $535 million in federal loans," the Washington Post reports.

"Solyndra, a California solar panel maker, had long been an administration favorite. Over the past two years, President Obama and Energy Secretary Steven Chu each had made congratulatory visits to the company's Silicon Valley headquarters."

Investing in Solyndra was a predictably bad idea.

Republicans are right in this case; it's never a good idea for the government to "pick winners and losers." That goes for corporate subsidies as well. (Paging Pat Quinn!)

Here's an idea that I think both parties can get behind: Let's keep business and government separate. Let's take health care out of the hands of employers and put it where it belongs: in the purview of a democratic government. And let's keep taxpayer money where it belongs: in the public sector. And let's let the private sector battle it out in the marketplace without government putting its thumb on the scale. Oh, and next time let's actually use stimulus money for jobs instead of tax cuts and pork projects and business subsidies. Put people to work WPA-style rebuilding America. That was the plan we needed in 2009. Just think where we'd be now.


Speaking of jobs, the only thing the White House did right in this fiasco was to cut its losses before it looked any more incompetent than it already has. The GOP debate was obviously scheduled first, and it includes three members of the House. The White House could have picked any day it wanted for its joint session. You think they didn't have a long and hard discussion about this? You have to wonder if they would rather be seen as disingenuous or incompetent.

Besides that, a joint session is unnecessary showbiz; politics pure and simple. Just show us the damn plan! Could have been announced any time in the last month - or year. It'll probably be warmed-over junk anyway.


Sure, Condoleeza Rice is "firing back" at Dick Cheney. But shouldn't the former chief of staff to Colin Powell be getting more attention? His story hasn't appeared in either Chicago daily.

And what about the astonishing but largely ignored acknowledgement by Gen. Barry McCaffrey?

"We tortured people unmercifully," McCaffrey says. "We probably murdered dozens of them during the course of that, both the armed forces and the C.I.A."

Obama is silent.


"A Woodlawn low-income housing complex once criticized for its deplorable conditions while being managed by a firm headed by a close adviser to President Barack Obama will now benefit from a federal grant that Mayor Rahm Emanuel hopes will make it a community anchor," the Tribune reports.

"Chicago was one of five U.S. cities to get an inaugural Choice Neighborhoods Initiative grant. The city will join with the nonprofit Preservation of Affordable Housing, which won the $30.5 million grant by proposing to fix up Grove Parc Plaza, a federally subsidized 504-unit complex built in the 1960s . . .

"In 2006, Grove Parc was being managed by Habitat Co., a property management firm then run by Valerie Jarrett, an Obama confidant who went on to become one of his senior advisers in the White House.

"At the time, the development flunked a federal inspection with a score of 11 points out of a possible 100. An official at the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development told the Tribune then that the complex was in 'deplorable' condition, citing code violations and resident complaints about roaches, rats and bad plumbing."

And here I thought this story was going to be about Tony Rezko.


"Grove Parc and several other prominent failures were developed and managed by Obama's close friends and political supporters," the Boston Globe reported in 2008. "Those people profited from the subsidies even as many of Obama's constituents suffered. Tenants lost their homes; surrounding neighborhoods were blighted.

"Some of the residents of Grove Parc say they are angry that Obama did not notice their plight. The development straddles the boundary of Obama's state Senate district. Many of the tenants have been his constituents for more than a decade . . .

"The campaign did not respond to questions about whether Obama was aware of the problems with buildings in his district during his time as a state senator, nor did it comment on the roles played by people connected to the senator."


"The principal at a prominent Near Northwest Side high school is under fire for allegedly racking up nearly $17,000 in charges on overseas travel to France, Great Britain, South Korea and other exotic locations on his Chicago Public Schools-issued credit card," the Tribune reports.

"The spending is reminiscent of sprees by former CPS Board Presidents Michael Scott and Rufus Williams during that same time period. District records showed Scott and Williams spent freely with their CPS credits cards on travel, artwork, dining and personal gifts to a variety of charities."

Here's an idea: Give school-issued credit cards to teachers so they don't have to pay out of their own pockets to supply their students with paper, pencils and even books. Christ.


"Mayor Rahm Emanuel tried to set the tone tonight for his second budget town hall meeting at the outset, saying he wanted to hear 'ideas, not insults,'" the Tribune reports.

That's pretty rich coming from the king of insults himself. That's like Don Rickles calling for an end to insult comedy.


The Rahm Emanuel Insult Fill-In-The-Blank Challenge.


"Chicago taxpayers spent $9.54 million to compensate 1,119 employees for unused vacation time thanks to a liberal policy that Emanuel has vowed to eliminate," the Sun-Times reports.

"Former Mayor Richard M. Daley's 12th and final chief-of-staff Ray Orozco walked out with an $81,451 check for accrued vacation days, $5,143 more than the payment Orozco authorized to former Police Supt. Jody Weis for 64 unused vacation days.

"The Chicago Sun-Times reported in June that Weis and his chief of staff Mike Masters were among 1,026 city employees paid $7.4 million for their unused vacation days since September 2010 in the transition from Daley to Mayor Rahm Emanuel.

"On Tuesday, City Hall released the final list. It includes the names of 93 other city employees - led by Orozco - who received $2.14 million in additional payments."

The list had been kept in a safe place. Never lose the list.


"The 10 members of the Stephens family on the [Village of Rosemont's] payroll received almost $1 million in compensation last year, according to village financial records," the Daily Herald reports. "Additionally, five other elected officials and their 13 combined family members totaled another million dollars in pay in 2010. That means out of 679 village employees, these 28 members of six families were responsible for 10 percent of Rosemont's $20 million in personnel costs last year."

Here's the best part:

"Attempts to procure a copy of the village's anti-nepotism policy were unsuccessful. It's not clear whether one exists. Unlike many suburbs, Rosemont does not provide an online copy of the village's codes on its website. Calls to the village's attorney and clerk were also not returned."


Yeah, this isn't going to end well.


The Beachwood Tip Line: Bold and beautiful.


Posted on September 1, 2011

MUSIC - Madonna vs. Moderna.
TV - Sundays With The Military-Industrial Complex.
POLITICS - Private Equity In The ER.
SPORTS - Suspicious Betting Trends In Soccer.

BOOKS - China Holding Swedish Publisher.


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