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The [Wednesday] Papers

"It's Rio déjà vu all over again," Robert Channick writes for the Tribune.

"Chicago has lost its bid to host the summer X Games, ESPN's made-for-TV extreme sports competition. ESPN announced Wednesday that Austin, Texas will host the summer X Games for four years beginning in 2014. The four finalists were Chicago, Charlotte, N.C., Austin, Texas, and Detroit."

Yeah, Austin seems like the natural choice there - especially given this:

"The games, held over four days, were set to take place in the United Center and on its adjacent parking lots."


X Factor
"Ousted Metra CEO Alex Clifford does not believe Illinois House Speaker Michael Madigan broke any laws with his alleged patronage requests, but he questioned the speaker's character," the Tribune reports.

"This was certainly an unethical and a moral character flaw," Clifford said today.

Good for Clifford. We need more whistleblowers like him.

Er, wait . . .

Clifford made the comment this morning at a Regional Transportation Authority meeting, where he discussed Madigan's alleged meddling.

His appearance marks the first time he has publicly addressed the patronage allegations he raised in a stinging April 3 memorandum to the Metra board. In the memo, Clifford tied his downfall to refusal to acquiesce to the speaker's demands.

"Clifford threatened to file a whistle-blower lawsuit against Metra over the allegations last spring, prompting the agency to settle the dispute with a $718,000 severance package and a confidentiality agreement that would have kept his patronage claims secret.

Clifford said he didn't consider the deal to be "hush money." Instead, he believes it was meant to give him time to find another high-level job.

Yes, $718,000 worth of time - or about 14 years per Illinois's average annual household income.

McStock With Fries
"A Wall Street analyst downgraded McDonald's stock to neutral from buy on Wednesday, based on a proprietary survey of the chain's U.S. franchisees, and a belief that current same store sales estimates are too high," the Tribune reports.

Time to take a third job.

That's Joe!
"Cook County taxpayers are expected to end up shelling out more than $500,000 to nearly a dozen people Assessor Joseph Berrios fired for unlawful political reasons after his election in 2010," the Tribune reports.

"The payments, which county commissioners will consider Wednesday, represents the latest and costliest battle in Berrios' disagreement with county ethics watchdogs over nepotism and patronage hiring.

"Berrios, who doubles as county Democratic chairman, took over as assessor in December 2010. The unabashedly old-school politician fired a slew of employees and brought in his own team, which included his son, his sister and a trusted lawyer from his previous job at the Board of Review."

In a saner world (or a saner city or state), Berrios would be removed as county Democratic chairman for this - in fact, he'd be removed as Assessor.

We don't live in that world, though.


"Asked Tuesday about the case, Berrios said he thought the workers he dismissed held policy positions for which it is permissible to hire, promote and fire for political reasons. 'I thought they were all at-will employees,' he said."

And I didn't pay my property tax bill because I thought it was at-will.


I don't have a property tax bill; I don't own property. But it was the best line I could come up with.

Contagious Culture
Rahm: Inspector General Is At-Will Employee.

Oh, Blago
He, too, thought he was just practicing at-will politics.

Obama Revokes More Rights
Free speech and associating with human rights groups now an at-will proposition.

Drunk History Chicago
Capone, Lincoln, Haymarket.

Fantasy's Forgotten Men
Including Alfonso Soriano and Matt Garza.

Robert Fucking Plant
At the Fucking Taste of Chicago.


The Beachwood Tip Line: Wish it, want it, do it.


Posted on July 17, 2013

MUSIC - The Ventures: Stars On Guitars.
TV - Newsmax On Fox News's Betrayal.
POLITICS - How Illinois Dems Made Rutherford B. Hayes President.
SPORTS - Northworstern To Northbestern.

BOOKS - Binding Books In Human Skin.

PEOPLE PLACES & THINGS - Old Man With A Gold Chain.

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