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The [Tuesday] Papers

"For years, James J. Banks, a nephew of Chicago's powerful Ald. William Banks (36th), has been the attorney of choice for developers who need the city's OK to knock down homes and small businesses and replace them with three- and four-story condo buildings," Tim Novak reports in the Sun-Times today.

"Now he's their money man of choice, too, financing projects through his 2-year-old bank."

And while it may not seem like a good time to be in the banking business, it most certainly is if you have the right Chicago connections.

"Among [the bank's] customers: developers James Banks represents before the City Council Zoning Committee run by his uncle."

But that's not the only completely coincidental family link.

James Banks's bank "has funded several condo projects involving his wife, Grace Sergio," Novak also reports. "In some cases, Banks got the property rezoned by the City Council Zoning Committee - headed by his uncle, Ald. William Banks."

So much to talk about at holiday dinners!

The board of the Belmont bank, by the way, includes mayoral pal Fred Barbara, the nephew of the late mobbed-up Ald. Fred Roti and grandson of Bruno "the Bomber" Roti; state Sen. James DeLeo; and Ald. Willam Banks's brother, Samuel.

An Axelrod to Grind
"The ability of a mayor, a governor, a president to do favors is one of the political levers through which they get things done," David Axelrod wrote just three years ago in a Tribune Op-Ed defending patronage.

Easy Marks
You don't have to fool a lot of people to fool the media. Only a few reporters are actually on the trail; the rest work in the echo chamber.

Gas Bags
"On the brink of the cold-weather months, more than 56,000 natural-gas customers in the Chicago area remain disconnected for lack of payment," Crain's reports. "That's up 36% from last year, putting pressure on utilities and local officials to get disconnected households back online before winter begins in earnest."

That's not surprising given what I presume is a skyrocketing increase in natural-gas prices. I presume because I used to pay about 15 bucks a month for the few times that I use my gas stove (I don't have to pay for my own heat) and now I'm paying about 40 bucks a month. For what? Just to be hooked up.

Even worse, People's Energy forecasts an 11 percent rise in prices between now and March.

Kid Rock
Can we all just leave Levi Johnston alone now?

SwiftBoating McCain
Michael Miner plumbs the tale that Rolling Stone is telling.

First Call
It was 25 years ago this week that the first wireless phone call was made. And it was made from Soldier Field. Beachwood Labs was there.

Favorite Son?
Reading the (more complicated than you think) tea leaves of who the Tribune and Sun-Times will endorse for president.

Consumer Index
The Ramen Souper 6-Pack is now $1.29 instead of 99 cents at my corner Walgreens.

I did get two DiGiorno's Supreme pizzas for $5 each, though. So who knows.

Cheat Sheet
According to this survey, more than 50 million American men are currently cheating on their wives.

But Beachwood Elder Tim Willette points out that - according to the U.S. Census Bureau - there are only an estimated 61 million married American men in all.

Expert AC/DC Analysis
In response to our RockNotes item on AC/DC, a faithful reader sent me a research paper from a University of Calgary economics professor entitled "ON THE EFFICIENCY OF AC/DC: BON SCOTT VERSUS BRIAN JOHNSON."

Here's the abstract:

We use tools from experimental economics to address the age-old debate regarding who was a better singer in the band AC/DC. Our results suggest that (using wealth maximization as a measure of "better") listening to Brian Johnson (relative to listening to Bon Scott) resulted in "better" outcomes in an ultimatum game. These results may have important implications for settling drunken music debates and environmental design issues in organizations. (JEL C7, C9, D6, Z1)

Dusty & Ozzie
We pull down the curtain on another fine season of The Dusty & Ozzie Show.

Chipped Block
Former Cubs play-by-play man Chip Caray, via TBS, is announcing some of the MLB playoff games despite the fact that he still can't distinguish between a shallow fly ball and a home run.

Street Art in the West Loop


The Beachwood Tip Line: A strong-arm tactic.


Posted on October 14, 2008

MUSIC - Who's Next In Chicago Rap.
TV - Tribune-Nexstar Deal Is Bad News.
POLITICS - Big Soda Hates You.
SPORTS - Harold vs. the Haters.

BOOKS - Wright Brothers, Wrong Story!

PEOPLE PLACES & THINGS - Go Ahead, Eat Raw Cookie Dough!

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