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The [Tuesday] Papers

By Steve Rhodes

In no particular order.

1. The Bears' biggest problem is their lack of depth, particularly on offense. Without an adequate running back behind Matt Forte, an adequate quarterback behind Jay Cutler, and an adequate wide receiver anywhere, the Bears are already on a tightrope.

(The Vikings probably have the most talent of any team in the division, as usual, but they are terribly mismanaged, as usual; that's why the Packers will probably win the NFC North. But I am a Jay Cutler believer.)

2. "Senate President John Cullerton told us he's looking at ways to subtract the clout factor from legislative scholarships," the Tribune editorial board notes today.

How many ways are there besides simply eliminating them?

Legislators have no business being involved in handing out college scholarships - especially Illinois legislators.

Problem solved.

3. In a letter to the Tribune, Civic Federation President Laurence Msall repeats his organization's assertion that Chicago can pull off the Olympics without a taxpayer bailout if the Games are "professionally managed and given the appropriate rigorous oversight by the Chicago City Council."

A) Dear Laurence: Please name three mega-projects professionally managed by the City of Chicago and even one case of the city council supplying rigorous oversight.

B) Dear Laurence: Just get into town?

C) [Sorry, I'm laughing so hard I can't even type . . . ]

4. Mark Brown, like anyone, is certainly entitled to support Chicago's Olympic bid. But a highly paid professional such as himself is not entitled to being plain lazy, even if that's the going rate among Sun-Times columnists these days.

Brown claims to be "fully informed of the reasons to be opposed to the Olympics" while proving wholly otherwise.

"I would make the case that the benefits outweigh the risks," he wrote on Sunday.

Then make that case.

With facts.

Not just a feeling that somehow the Olympics will create jobs out of thin air that otherwise couldn't have been created through a smarter use of the same dollars invested in hosting a two-week party.

Not just a notion that federal transportation dollars directed toward creating greater convenience for Olympic visitors is a better way to spend taxpayer dollars than fixing the CTA for the folks who live here.

Not just an idea that it's up to us voters to "ride herd" on the city council to provide oversight because City Hall can't be trusted.

Not just a theory about how hosting the Olympics will boost tourism for years to come despite evidence from previous host cities to the contrary.

If you are going to make the case, Mr. Brown, cite some facts. Tell us which studies you've read, which economists you find persuasive on the matter, which books are guiding you, which cities you are looking at as models. Because all of that information is out there, and unlike some of us, you actually get paid to study it.


There is only one plausible argument put forth yet in favor of the Games, and it's been put forth by University of Chicago sports economist Allen Sanderson, who has consistently said that if we as a city want to have some fun and enjoy being on a world stage and we're willing to pay for it - and break even at best - fine.

But the idea that there will be an economic benefit is not only folly, it's ignorant. Perhaps Brown should visit London, Vancouver, and Beijing, just for starters.

5. "For Chicago Public Schools, gym class finishes last," the Tribune reports. "State requires physical education, district advises it, but schools aren't doing it."


It's a fine story, but unfortunately not a new one.

I wrote this for USA Weekend in 1998:

"Yet while some programs innovate, others retrench. Illinois was long considered the last bastion of physical education because it's the only state still requiring four years of daily gym in high school. But starting with this year's freshman class, the state will allow Chicago high schools to offer just two years of gym."

6. "Fifty-two Bears players responded to an NFLPA survey on the condition of playing surfaces in the league last year and ranked Soldier Field as the worst natural-grass surface in the league," Brad Biggs reports. "Overall, Soldier Field ranked fourth-worst."

7. Memo to Mary Mitchell: It wasn't Glenn Beck who "forced out" Van Jones, the president's green jobs czar.

It was Obama who cut him loose.

And it turns out that Jones somehow wasn't vetted by the White House. If he had been, he might never have been hired, seeing as how he once signed a petition accusing the Bush administration of knowing about 9/11 ahead of time.

Truthers, birthers, whatever.

Jones also is only a few years away from declaring himself a communist.

Now, that doesn't bother me.

Apparently Jones is a green jobs genius.

But don't blame Glenn Beck - noxious as he is - or "racists" for Jones' ouster.

Obama hired him and Obama fired him.


"Jones is being sacrificed in the same way the Rev. Wright was sacrificed," Mitchell writes.

Sacrificed by whom?


Not Glenn Beck.


The Obama school speech controversy has been silly, but back in 1991, when George H.W. Bush spoke to schoolchildren, Democrats cried foul. And the Obama speech originally came with a lesson plan - since altered - asking students to help the president accomplish his goals. That's a step too far.

Perhaps more civil discourse on all sides would be helpful instead of everyone thinking only their side is in possession of truth and righteousness.

8. "About 6,000 people packed a New Lenox pavilion Monday for a protest against taxes and government spending," the SouthtownStar reports.

That's a lot of people.

"About eight counterprotesters gathered at the back of the crowd."

Obama better unite this country before it blows apart.

And where is the vaunted Obama grassroots organization? It's melted back into the populace, I guess.


"About" eight counterprotesters?

9. The Other Blago Book Tour.

10. The Other Side of Burnham's Plan.

11. The White Sox Smell Like 1998.

12. The Cubs' Great Pretenders.

13. Topinka's Tall Tale.

14. Ed Burke's Very Special Fence.

15. "Say what you will about trade unions, but this is exactly why most of them have some sort apprenticeship program that extends beyond, "Dude, what are you doing Monday morning?" our very own Scott Buckner writes in I Am A Roofer.


The Beachwood Tip Line: Just 4 U.


Posted on September 8, 2009

MUSIC - Millions Of New Guitar Players.
TV - "One America News" is AT&T.
POLITICS - When Wall Street Came To My Mobile Home Park.
SPORTS - Tonyball, Bears On The Run, Eyes On The Sky & More!

BOOKS - China Holding Swedish Publisher.


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