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The [Wednesday] Papers

"Federal safety investigators blamed last year's CTA Blue Line derailment on poor track conditions that grew out of faulty inspections, falsified reports and systematic failures in the transit agency's management of track maintenance and inspection," the Sun-Times reports.

Meanwhile, Mayor Richard (Manager of the Year) Daley is in Paris riding bikes.

"Inoperative emergency call boxes in the tunnel the day of the accident and outdated subway maps at the CTA control center caused confusion about the eight-car train's location in the tunnel, between the Clark/Lake and Grand/Milwaukee stations in downtown Chicago, the [National Transportation Safety Board] report said," according to the Tribune's account.

"The disorder fueled a 22-minute lag in the Chicago Fire Department's arrival to evacuate the approximately 1,000 passengers aboard the evening rush-hour train."

And: "More than 80 percent of inspection records were missing for the Blue Line, the board's report noted."

And: "CTA tracks are supposed to be inspected twice a week, but one track inspector told a safety board investigator that he had inspected his assigned area only once in five months."

Meanwhile, the Daley Administration announced, according to a radio report this morning, that cabbies with two complaints against them will be called to City Hall for a good talking-to.

And the CTA doomsday clock is at T-minus 4 days.

"While our mayor tours the globe touting Chicago's many charms, he neglects less glamorous chores closer to home that have as much bearing on our chances of winning and successfully hosting the Olympics," Crain's said in an editorial this week. "First, there's the issue of public transit funding for Chicago and the surrounding region. Mr. Daley has invested little of his own political capital in the fight in Springfield this summer for money to stave off deep service cuts by the Chicago Transit Authority."

City Secrets
"[A]ccording to a Chicago Tribune investigation in 1989, no Outfit murder had been solved in Cook County in 20 years," John Kass writes this morning, once again putting into perspective the importance of the Family Secrets trial.

"That was 18 years ago.

"The report focused on the Cook County sheriff's office, and how high-ranking sheriff's officials 'sabotaged investigations of brutal, execution-style murders and covered up evidence of possible crimes of other law enforcement officials, and judges."

If it weren't for the feds, Kass concludes, the Outfit wouldn't have to worry about murder cases.

Because the local authorities, for some strange reason, aren't going to solve them.

Internal Affairs
"The Los Angeles attorney hired to restore public confidence in investigations of police wrongdoing disclosed Friday that she inherited an 80-employee department with 20 vacancies," the Sun-Times reports.

Only 20? Maybe progress is being made.

His Eminence's Domain
"Lincoln Square, be forewarned," Sun-Times business columnist David Roeder writes today.

The city aims to take control of development in the neighborhood in a way that may force out independent businesses in favor of chain retailers, big boxes and high-rise condos.

Because gentrification isn't an inevitable natural phenomenon, it's a policy.

Banana Republic
"The Justice Department said Tuesday it will not prosecute 10 Chiquita Brands International executives involved in the company's now-defunct payoff of Colombian terrorist protecting its banana-growing operation," the AP reports.

"Sun-Times Media Group CEO Cyrus F. Freidheim, who led Chiquita from March 2002 to April 2004, told the Sun-Times board in March that he was a part of a group of current and former Chiquita employees who might be subject to a federal investigation."

In a separate announcement, Gangster Disciples Inc. announced it had struck a deal with Freidheim to provide protection for the newspaper's delivery trucks.

Babbling Barack
Lynn Sweet said it, not me.

Decoder Ring Wanted
If someone can parse the logic of today's Neil Steinberg column, let me know.


Over/Under on how long it took him to write it: 17 minutes.


Classic Neil:

"You'd think the artists and the radicals, the malcontents and the visionaries, college students and tree-worshipping cultists would be the most patriotic of all, understanding that it is this great country that accepts their deviation, while in many other places they would be stoned to death or, more likely, never even exposed in the first place to the ideas that so overwhelm them."

One word: Huh?


Oh, I get it: Neil loves America but hates Americans.

Hero of the Week
"Among the players promoted to the big leagues on Sept. 1, when rosters expanded, none were more grateful than San Francisco's Dan Giese, a 30-year-old right-hander who two years ago retired to sell cars at a Honda dealership outside of San Diego," Tribune baseball writer Phil Rogers reports.

"That was the worst job," Giese said. "I'm not going to knock anyone selling cars, but for me personally . . . that was tough. I sold five or six cars in two months, so I was going to get fired anyway. I was telling people, 'This isn't a good deal at all.' I couldn't rip them off."

Big Zero
Unremarked upon in the Trib and Sun-Times: How Carlos Zambrano almost blew his stack again in his last start, staring down the home plate umpire and barely catching his tongue from the dugout after he was taken out of the game.

The fuse is lit.

The Beachwood Tip Line: Suspend disbelief.


Posted on September 12, 2007

MUSIC - Lyric Opera Strike Settled.
POLITICS - USA Today's Op-Ed Disaster.
SPORTS - SportsMonday: Come On, Vic!

BOOKS - Chicago Book Haul: The Dial.

PEOPLE PLACES & THINGS - Chicagoetry: West Town Blues.

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