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The [Wednesday] Papers

BREAKING THIS A.M.: Blackhawks owner Bill Wirtz is dead.


Playoff Putsch
Aren't the Cubs violating the Tribune Company's code of ethics by offering members of the city council - and state legislators from the Wrigleyville area - a special deal on playoff tickets?

After all, these are policymakers whom the company's media outlets cover. And it's obviously being done as a political favor - otherwise all state legislators and other officeholders and dignitaries would be included.

Or is the company allowed to offer the same sort of gifts that its reporters are prohibited from accepting?

"We do it as a courtesy to the aldermen," Cubs community relations vice president Mike Lufrano told the Sun-Times.

A courtesy? Like when a cop from one jurisdiction, say, lets off a cop from another jurisdiction from a speeding ticket?

"But we also believe this is a citywide celebration," Lufrano says. "So it's appropriate for aldermen, as representatives of the city, to have a chance to participate in the celebration."

So, um, our aldermen will represent actual residents of the city at the games? How royally quaint.

And without the graciousness of Tribune Company, the aldermen would otherwise be left out of "the celebration." Unlike the rest of us.

Ald. Ed Smith (28th) says the deal is not a conflict of interest if aldermen pay for their tickets. And they will have to pay for their tickets - face value without standing in line or participating in a lottery. I guess Smith forgot about that part.

"It's one of the perks that comes with the job," Ald. Brian Doherty (41st) says.

And God knows aldermen don't have enough of those.

Meanwhile, for poor lifelong fans left out of the citywide celebration, Cubs playoff games - if they make it - will only be shown on cable TV. I wonder if Comcast gives aldermen a deal on that, too.

Testing Testing
The performance of Illinois schools in nationwide tests "stand in stark contrast to state test results released last week," the Tribune reports.

"Critics contend the wide disparity proves Illinois - and other states - are watering down state tests in an attempt to meet the demands under No Child Left Behind reforms. Illinois made drastic changes to its state exams two years ago, giving students more time to complete tests and lowering the passing bar on the 8th-grade math exam."

In other words, watering down its tests.

Children's Cave
A compromise being floated in the Chicago Children's Museum mess is to place the entire thing under Grant Park; you know, sort of where the underground parking garages are.

"Reilly agreed to consider it, even though he had trouble believing that the Children's Museum would 'want all of their programming to essentially be in a cave,'" the Sun-Times reports.

Because they want to be in - or under - Grant Park real bad.

This looks like the road we'll be going down. An insightful Beachwood reader sent me this the other day:

"My guess: the museum stays, but the argument will now switch to design (which is where it was anyway, really) and Randolph Street, which is really a visual blight east of Michigan, is going to get some pedestrian-friendly street improvements as a sop to residents. And when the Daley Bi park is ripped up sometime in 2008-09 - which it has to be anyway to replace the membrane of the parking lot below it - the residents will get a new park remade in their image/wants/desires."

Another reader notes this nugget from this week's Crain's article:

"'The Metropolitan Pier and Exposition Authority charges the museum $1 a year to rent 57,000 square feet on the west end of Navy Pier but does not subsidize operations.'

"Gosh, that's not a subsidy? Can I lease 57,000 square feet for $1 too???"

Dodge Ball
Player 1: U.S. Rep. Jerry Weller, who announced he will not seek another term.

"After making his announcement, Weller immediately left the luncheon without responding to questions from reporters," the Tribune reported.

"His spokesman, Andy Fuller, denied Weller's decision had anything to do with questions raised about the congressman.

"'Nothing that was printed in the last two weeks had anything to do with the decision,' Fuller said. Weller, he said, made the decision not to run by early this summer."

Now, nobody knows what goes on in families. But with Weller dodging questions it becomes fair game to wonder about the ways this doesn't add up. He just ran for re-election a year ago, for example. Let's give him the benefit of the doubt and say he just realized he needed to spend more time with his family. But he's not leaving for another 14 months - that's right, he's serving out the rest of his term. So his family doesn't need him - and he they - anytime soon. Why even announce right now, then?

Of course, as long as he's in office - even if he's a lame duck - there ought to be a congressional ethics investigation. No public official should be allowed to resign their way out of accountability.


Player 2: The mayor's nephew and his development partner.

"[Allison] Davis and [Robert] Vanecko declined to be interviewed by the Sun-Times but offered this statement:

"'We are confident that DV Urban will produce good returns for its investors over its long-term horizon . . . blah blah blah.'

"The mayor had nothing to do with his nephew getting city pension business, Daley spokeswoman Jacquelyn Heard said. 'He doesn't do things like that. It's just not his way.'"

Vote Yes?!
The Interrobang.


1. Tim Howe writes (with Interrocool in the subject line):

And the best use for an interrobang:

Are you fucking kidding me?!

Useful as a response to just about anything coming out of the mouth of Mayor Daley or President Bush.

Listen Up
"You know something is wrong when the New England Patriots face stiffer penalties for spying on innocent Americans than Dick Cheney and George Bush."
- Bill Richardson

Mount Lou
Trib baseball writer Paul Sullivan talking about former Cubs catcher Michael Barrett on TV a few days ago:

"He was scared off the team. They had to get rid of him because he couldn't deal with Lou."

The Beachwood Tip Line: Our perk to you.


Posted on September 26, 2007

MUSIC - Chief Keef Changed The Industry.
TV - Vizio's Best Product Is You.
POLITICS - UIC: Soda Taxes Work.
SPORTS - More McCaskey Malpractice.

BOOKS - All About Poop.


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