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The [Thursday] Papers

1. How Should You Contend With A New Co-Worker's Unexpected Hostility?

2. "During negotiations for Chicago's 2012 budget, newly elected Mayor Rahm Emanuel and then-City Clerk Susana Mendoza agreed to hike the price of what was already one of the priciest tickets vehicle owners can get in the city. Citations for not having a required vehicle sticker rose from $120 to $200," ProPublica Illinois and WBEZ report.

The increase, approved unanimously by the City Council, was pitched by Mendoza as an alternative to raising the price of stickers as well as generating much-needed revenue from "scofflaws."

A ticket hike, Mendoza told aldermen, could generate $16 million a year for the city.

That did not happen. The increase has brought in a just few million dollars more a year, while it's unclear if it led to greater compliance. Sticker sales have been largely stagnant.

But increasing the price of sticker tickets came at a devastating cost for thousands of Chicago's poorest residents, particularly those from African-American neighborhoods, according to an investigation by ProPublica Illinois and WBEZ.

Debt from this one type of ticket swelled, compounded by late penalties and collection fees. Collectively, drivers now owe the city some $275 million for sticker tickets issued since 2012.

While Mendoza "expressed regret" to reporters who talked to her for the story, "The mayor's office did not respond to questions about how the fine increase affects black residents."

3. Today is the day that Donald Trump is in Granite City. That starts with "G" which rhymes with pee and . . . no, no, no.


Granite City, by the way, is "the best well-kept secret in Southern Illinois," according to its mayor.


The last president to visit Granite City was Jimmy Carter in 1980. Here are his remarks from that day.


Gov. Bruce Rauner won't be there. I wonder when the last time was that a governor did not appear with a visiting president of the same party, if ever.

4. "A U.S. appeals court rejected on technical grounds a challenge to Federal Communications Commission ownership rules that could ease the path for Sinclair Broadcast Group's proposed purchase of Tribune Media - if the deal goes forward," Bloomberg reports.

The Washington-based court on Wednesday dismissed a lawsuit from opponents without considering its merits, ruling the activist groups that filed it hadn't shown they would be injured by the consolidation at the heart of their case.

While that decision preserves headroom for broadcast mergers, it may have arrived too late for Sinclair's $3.9 billion acquisition of Tribune Media - though could help other suitors for the Chicago-based broadcaster.

"This decision won't likely breathe new life into Sinclair's Tribune deal." said Matthew Schettenhelm, an analyst for Bloomberg Intelligence. "Tribune can walk away from the deal on August 8 - and it likely will.


5. "An Illinois man convicted of filing false tax returns was sentenced Tuesday to 28 months' time served, according to the U.S. attorneys' office, in a second trial granted over prejudicial statements made in the first trial by retired Seventh Circuit Judge Richard Posner, who served as the district judge," Law360 reports.

The background here is particularly interesting given Posner's supposed post-retirement cause.


6. "On a campus full of ambitious students aiming to land influential U.S. government and policy jobs, Maria Butina cut an unusual profile," the Washington Post reports.

It wasn't just the outspoken conservative politics of the auburn-haired Russian woman that drew the attention of other graduate students at American University. There was also her almost zealous embrace of her homeland.

Butina's cellphone case was emblazoned with a famous photo of Russian President Vladi­mir Putin riding shirtless on a horse. She would buy friends rounds of vodka at the Russia House, the Dupont Circle restaurant popular with the Russian diplomatic set, sometimes challenging male friends to down horseradish-infused shots. She bragged to classmates that she had worked for the Russian government.

Butina's arrest last week on charges that she was acting as an unregistered Russian agent and allegations that she has ties to Russian intelligence rattled those who knew her at American University, where she spent two years in the global security program at the School of International Service.

Wouldn't a Russian agent have been more covert, many at the school now wonder, and worked to keep her Kremlin advocacy under wraps?

"It's sort of disbelief," said one person who knew Butina at AU, describing the campus reaction. "Can you imagine you just moved to D.C. for school from, like, rural Pennsylvania, and you find out a couple months later you're sitting next to a Russian spy?"

To others, however, her indictment on federal charges validated their own unsettling suspicions.

Butina's embrace of Russia was so public that people affiliated with AU worried about possible links to the Kremlin and alerted school officials during her tenure there, according to three people familiar with the conversations. University officials did not appear alarmed and did not appear to take any immediate action, they said.

Mark Story, a spokesman for the university, said he could not comment on Butina's case, but said generally that "education, service and integrity are at the heart of who we are at American University."

Thank you for that generally worthless quote, which we dutifully published!

"When concerns about student conduct, safety or security are brought to the university's attention, we evaluate those concerns and investigate or involve outside partners as appropriate," he said.

Oh my god, really? Did Story and the reporter previously work at TASS together?


By the way, from TASS:

"The embassy stressed that there is no actual evidence that Butina was engaged in any sort of illegal activities in the United States.

"On the backdrop of ungrounded accusations and the lack of any proof actually evidencing to her illegal activities, the mainstream media have already plunged into a slander campaign against our compatriot. So, manifestation of solidarity with Maria is ever more important," the embassy said.

The embassy also complained that prosecutors "are seeking to limit public access to the details of the trial."

"We are perplexed at the position of prosecutors who are insistently requesting to classify the case, this way restricting public access to the details of the trial.

Welcome to America! At least the case isn't in Cook County.

7. "Pritzker can't substantiate his claims about Rauner currently profiting off Correct Care. Rauner won't release private tax information that might clear things up," the PolitiFact Illinois notes.

"Rauner couldn't substantiate his claims about Pritzker's oil pipeline holdings. Pritzker didn't release data in his possession that might put that to rest."

Russia, if you're listening, please find these guys' tax forms . . .

8. The Rooney Rule, aka Duh, You're Not Doing This?

Also advocated here for teachers.

9. "Ken Ravizza may not be as famous as Joe Maddon, the Cubs manager. But like Maddon, he changed the way people approach and think about baseball."

10. I had the opportunity to eat at the always awesome Club Lucky last night and, as I always do, got the Chicken Vesuvio. It's the Vesuvio that makes all the difference.





An Entirely Not-Persuasive 1993 Tribune TV Ad.



Like Chicago Police, Cook County and Illinois Officials Track Thousands of People in Gang Databases.


A sampling.






The Beachwood Tronc Line: Tronculator.


Posted on July 26, 2018

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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