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The [Tuesday] Papers

1. Now stocked in my neighborhood Walgreens freezer case: Dwight Yoakam's Chicken Lickin's. Chicken Rings Afire.

2. That's the same Walgreens that Ald. Manny Flores (1st) wants to turn into a humongous condo development, despite his ostensible concern for affordable housing. Maybe we should send Flores to Congress, which he is rumored to be shooting for, to get him out of Wicker Park.

NOTE: The Booster newspaper link has the wrong address for the Walgreens in question. It is at 1372 N. Milwaukee Ave., not 1732.

3. The truth is that Flores is just a smoother and prettier Jesse Granato.

4. Too much money kills the golden goose.

5. "Barack Obama (D-Ill.) has failed to raise money for the Congressional Black Caucus (CBC) even though it has been a year since he was asked to, and his main rival for the Democratic presidential nomination has done so, CBC members say," The Hill reports.

6. Seven ways car dealers bend you over and [stick it to you.].

7. Lou Piniella uses more lineups than the Chicago Police.

8. "Did Humans Breed With Neanderthals?"

A) That would explain a lot.
B) Some of them still do.
C) What happens in Bedrock stays in Bedrock.

9. How ironic that the new CEO of the Sun-Times Media Group let the terrorists win.

10. Anderson Cooper recently broadcast a special report called "Stop Snitchin'" on 60 Minutes about the code of silence among Chicago police officials with knowledge of torture and abuse in the department, as well as a segment on the likes of former Daley patronage chief Robert Sorich, convicted of running a massively fraudulent City Hall hiring scheme. The coup de grace was when Cooper confronted Daley about his refusal to reveal who hired Angelo Torres.

Oh wait. That wasn't what the show was about at all. It was about poor black people in the 'hood who don't like to cooperate with the police.

11. As if white people don't degrade their women too.

12. "In Mr. Obama's case, Citibank, many of whose employees have donated to his campaign, manages the bulk of his contributions. Shorebank, a small, Chicago-based bank, and Bank of America hold some assets as well and have issued credit cards to the campaign," Financial Week reports. "Multiple calls to Obama for America headquarters were not returned and key staff members declined to comment."

13. Sun-Times business editor Dan Miller (natch) defended ComEd's rate hikes on Week in Review last Friday by citing the rate freeze the utility has been operating under. "How would you like to have your salary frozen for nine years?!" he bellowed.

"It has been!" Sun-Times reporter Abdon Pallasch replied.

14. Miller also defended the mayor's appointment of loyalist Ron Huberman to head the CTA despite having no transportation experience whatsoever because Huberman is a good manager.

So Miller would have no problem reporting to Huberman if he was named the next editor-in-chief despite a total lack of newspaper experience.

15. Public agencies like the CTA will never solve their problems as long as they remain fiefdoms of the mayor, ruled by mini-governors sent to quiet the populace. There are plenty of good managers out there who have also devoted their lives to public transportation who would kill to get their hands on the CTA - in their field it's the equivalent of managing the Cubs; who wouldn't want to be the one to turn it around?

16. Draft day trades the Bears should have made, including, curiously, one involving the CTA.

17. Even I know from reading The Wall Street Journal, among other sources, that merging and downsizing are the two strategies least likely to produce results in the corporate world. It's not Pollyanish thinking - it's a business fact.

"Instead of rising sharply, the stock of companies that trim their workforces is likely to fall. A recent meta-study that surveyed research from several countries covering thousands of layoff announcements, concluded that, on average, markets had a 'a significantly negative' reaction to job cuts," writes James Surowiecki in the New Yorker, a magazine I'm fairly certain Tribune Company execs don't read.

On the other hand, mergers and layoffs often have nothing to do with the good of the company. The corporate suite makes out like bandits in these deals, and that's the real point. It's not like Dennis FitzSimons, say, has the interests of the Tribune Company at heart. If he did, he would do the job for maybe, oh, a mil a year. He has his own interests at heart.

"[I]nvestors seem to understand that fewer people doesn't always mean more profits," Surowiecki continues. "Downsizing may make companies temporarily more productive, but the gains quickly erode, in part because of the predictably negative effect on morale. And numerous studies suggest that, despite the lower payroll costs, layoffs do not make firms more profitable; Wayne Cascio, a management professor at the University of Colorado at Denver, looked at more than three hundred firms that downsized in the nineteen-eighties and found that three years after the layoffs the companies' returns on assets, costs, and profit margins had not improved. It's possible that these companies would have done even worse had they not downsized, but for theaverage company the effect of layoffs on the bottom line aprpeas to be negligible . . .

"[D]ownsizing has become less a response to disaster than a default buisines strategy, part of an inexorable drive to cut costs . . . the problem is that too many companies today define workers solely in terms of howmuch they cost, rather than how much value they create."

18. The Cubs: Worst $300 million spent in sports history?

19. An overlooked aspect of the Virginia Tech tragedy is that two women previously stalked by Cho failed to press charges. Maybe we should begin a "Start Snitchin'" campaign. It's our civic duty.

20. Ebertfest.

21. It was pointed out to me last week, in the wake of my column about local war cheerleading, that the suburban Daily Herald got it right.

From an Aug. 6, 2002 DH editorial:

"What little the public knows about the administration's thinking on Iraq comes not from the White House at all. It comes from stories leaked by Pentagon sources. Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld is angry about the leaks. If newspapers were reporting information that would compromise a future mission and the lives of U.S. soldiers, the anger would be justifiable. But that doesn't seem to be the case. What the stories outline are possible attack scenarios.

"Few Americans disagree with President Bush's long-held assessment that the United States, the Iraqi people and the entire Mideast would be better off if Saddam Hussein were not in power. Depending on what weapons Hussein has at his disposal and what his plans are, allowing him to remain in power could be a mistake of dreadful proportions.

"But details about his weapons inventory and his motives remains hazy at best. What role, if any, he has played in promoting terrorism is not altogether clear, and aggressive U.S. containment has limited his capacity to do mischief to his neighbors. Moreover, the complications and implications accompanying a U.S. attack are immense.

21. A couple of Daily Herald columnists also got it right.

On Sept. 1, 2002, the late Jack Mabley wrote in part:

"Vice President Dick Cheney warns the American people that 'we must not give in to wishful thinking and willful blindness' that Iraq will not attack the United States.

"He's right. Wishful thinking and willful blindness should never substitute for reason and logic.

"Let's apply Cheney's sensible advice to the Bush team's plan to invade Iraq.

"It is wishful thinking and willful blindness to think our forces can attack Baghdad, capture or kill Saddam Hussein, and install a stable regime in Iraq in a month, or a year, or maybe ever.

"It is wishful thinking and willful blindness to believe that Hussein will not unleash chemical and germ warfare against American troops.

"It is wishful thinking and willful blindness to think an invasion will cost fewer than 10,000 American lives plus the lives of as many as 100,000 Iraq civilians we are trying to save from Hussein."

Mabley also recognized the media's failure to do its job.

"What Cheney and President Bush don't say is as revealing as what they do say. They have one of the most formidable public relations machines in history.

"Cheney gives his war speech, and every network repeats and repeats his words, and every newspaper in the country carries it on Page 1.

"This publicity machine does not offer negative or opposing views."


On Feb. 6, 2003, Burt Constable wrote in part:

"Using clandestine tape recordings, satellite photos and strong words, Colin Powell nailed every point in his speech Wednesday before the U.N. Security Council. The presentation, titled "Iraq: Failing to Disarm - denial and deception," provided compelling evidence that Iraq is failing to disarm, can't be believed and is being deceitful.

"But those of us expecting to hear a speech titled "Why The World Must Go To War Against Iraq" may have been disappointed.

"As thoughtful and convincing as he was, our esteemed secretary of state gave no evidence that a U.S.-led invasion of Iraq would make the world a safer place.

"Powell testified that Iraq has tons of chemical and biological weaponry that remains unaccounted for and probably is hidden from U.N. weapons inspectors. But he gave no evidence that Iraq is about to use those weapons to harm the American people or our allies. Furthermore, Powell didn't say how an attack on Iraq would prevent those weapons from being used."

The Beachwood Tip Line: A slam dunk.


Posted on May 1, 2007

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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