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The [Tuesday] Papers

Editor's Note: Some of you may have experienced problems accessing the site on Monday. Apologies - we had a glitch that we believe is resolved. In case you missed our fine new offerings, check out The [Monday] Papers; TV's Virtuous Assault; Reviewing the Reviews; and The Secret Life of Joey "the Clown" Lombardo: Part 1. If you look to your right, you'll see we've added a few new posts today as well. Thank you for your support.


Secret Agent Stroger
Apparently Todd Stroger thought he could just disappear for three weeks and keep it a secret, even though he is the chief executive of the 19th largest government in the United States.

Stroger's staff announced yesterday that the bossman wouldn't be showing up for work until late July, but wouldn't explain exactly why.

The Sun-Times breaks the news this morning that Stroger had surgery on Monday to remove his cancerous prostate. He tried to do so without telling some of his own senior advisors, much less county board commissioners or, God forbid, the public who pays his salary.

What's more, Stroger was diagnosed 10 months ago. "During the campaign, Stroger knew that he would need to have surgery," the Sun-Times reports.

His family asked that their privacy be respected. His family apparently has not been informed that they are living on our dime, and maybe we ought to be respected.

"County officials were surprised to learn that Stroger was even hospitalized and woudn't be attending today's County Board meeting," the Sun-Times reports. "Even those in the highest ranks of Stroger's administration were kept in the dark about his condition, at the family's request.

"It was only after the Sun-Times learned of it from other sources that Stroger's circle discussed the diagnosis and surgery.

"When asked why more details weren't forthcoming about a public official, [taxpayer-funded chief of staff Lance] Tyson said Stroger is also "a husband, a father, a son."

Come on down, Lance Tyson! You are our new nominee for Tool of the Week.

According to the Tribune's account, Tyson referred questions to taxpayer-funded spokeswoman Ibis Antongiorgi. Antongiorgi said Stroger didn't want details of his "routine medical procedure" revealed. LIke what the illness actually was.

Commissioner John Daley played along, saying only that Stroger was undergoing a "personal medical procedure" and adding that disclosing medical details is up to elected officials. Not the people who elect them.

When Stroger's absence was still a mystery last night, I thought maybe he was going on a three-week vacation and didn't want to take the heat. Once it was disclosed that a medical issue was involved, I figured they didn't want to release details so they could deceive the public should he become incapacitated.

Meanwhile, Tony Peracia tried to march on the hospital where Stroger is being kept, but nobody knows which hospital he is at. Which means he ain't at Cook County.

Irony of the Week
"Because prostate cancer is so common among black men - and because it's the same disease that Stroger's father, former Board President John Stroger, battled in his 60s - the usually quiet Todd Stroger, 44, is expected to make this a very public fight."

Our Mayor Is a Child, Pt. 73857
"Mayor Daley questioned the Tribune's record on the environment Monday, defending his administration's performance despite research by the newspaper that found city government's contribution to greenhouse gas production has jumped," the Trib reports.

"'Well, they're cutting all the trees down,' Daley said, referring to wood pulp used to produce newsprint. 'Go talk to the Tribune. Chop another tree down. Great.'"

The mayor would apparently prefer the Tribune drive up electricity usage by moving its operations entirely to the Internet, instead of using a renewable resource.

The mayor also failed to explain what his administration has done to cut down on its use of paper, which has grown exponentially as his staff has to continually generate press releases to distract the public from each week's misdeed.

"We should never have built the Tribune building because it was a high-rise when it was built on Michigan Avenue," Daley said. "They should have never [built] your printing plant in Chicago for all your [delivery] trucks in Chicago. Why are you doing that?"

The mayor's aides then hustled him away for nap time.

Green Preen
The mayor and his administration had a chance to discuss the Trib's story while its reporter, Michael Hawthorne, was working on it. They declined, with the exception of some e-mail exchanges.

Why, Mr. Mayor?

The administration then sent environment commissioner Sadhu Johnston to Chicago Tonight last night to cast aspersions on the Tribune. Fortunately, Hawthorne was there to call him on his bullshit. Illinois Sierra Club director Jack Darin also appeared. This excerpt is edited for length, clarity, and sloppy note-taking.

JOHNSTON: We have achieved our goal. The story is inaccurate. We have decreased emissions by 1 percent each year.

HAWTHORNE: The city's own records show emissions went up 10 percent from the baseline.

JOHNSTON: You're only getting part of the story.

DARIN: [blah blah blah]

HAWTHORNE: The city's own records show that.

JOHNSTON: One percent reduction every year. For last four years. Doesn't mean energy consumption doesn't go up. A trading system. Emissions are up, but we bought offsets.

DARIN: The mayor is doing what leaders do.


JOHNSTON: It's inaccurate.

HAWTHORNE: The commissioner is throwing words around like 'vague' and 'inaccurate.' If anything, their own records would be 'vague and 'inaccurate.' They refused to answer questions.

Let's just get this straight: We based this story on their records, not sonmething I made up. If he needs someone to quibble with, he can quibble with his own staff.

JOHNSTON: The fact remains that energy consumption through electricity has gone up . . . you can go back and forth and quibble on numbers.

DARIN: [blah blah blah]

HAWTHORNE: It's basic journalism. A public official promises something, a journalist goes to find out if the promise was kept . . . Our story showed this was what the actual record is . . . you can talk about all the great things they're doing, they promote, that's fine. That's their job. We're just trying to provide a little reality check here.

Advantage, Hawthorne.

Mob Job
"Jurors [in the Family Secrets trial] were asked what they read and listen to as well as what TV shows they might watch that touch on the mob. One prospective juror listed The Simpsons, apparently a tongue-in-cheek reference to the character 'Fat Tony' and his band of hoodlums from fictional Springfield's underworld."

Is that juror single?

Harbor Country
Erika Enk of Chicago writes to the Tribune: "I find it quite funny that the City of Chicago's Park District will spend $120 million to fund additional harbors in anticipation for a possible Olympic bid, but the city's crumbling public transit system is in a $100 million-plus financial crisis."

The Beachwood Tip Line: Go for the green.


Posted on June 19, 2007

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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