The Daily Parker

Politics, Weather, Photography, and the Dog

No Cubs game tonight

Actually, there will be a Cubs game, in about 10 minutes, but I won't be there, for the following reasons: It's cold out, it's raining, and I have a financial accounting exam in about a week for which I am slightly more prepared than I am to swim the English Channel.

Instead of rainy Cubs photos, then, here is a great post about ghostwriting:

I recognize the paradox [of ghostwriting celebrity memoirs]: the bookstores are already happy to sell this kind of fraud, so why can't online authors engage in the same sort of duplicity? The answer is that online authors need to err on the side of honesty and integrity in order to support not only their own work, but the internet as both a medium and distribution platform.

... Speaking of frauds, do you remember Milli Vanilli? They’re a Grammy-winning singing duo who had to give their Grammy back when it was revealed that the people singing the Grammy-winning song weren't the stage-act duo who accepted the award. C+C Music Factory got into the same kind of hot water when they replaced a full-figured singer on one of their hit songs with a shapely non-singer for that song's music video.

As for the Cubs, well, they were eliminated mid-May, so oh well. Pitchers and catchers come back in five months.

Parking meters in the news...again

This time, though, Bloomberg picked up the story in the context of Chicago's 2016 Olympic bid:

Chicagoans are angry about Mayor Richard M. Daley’s deal to lease the city’s parking meters to Morgan Stanley investment funds.

So angry that Daley’s popularity is at a record low, according to a Chicago Tribune/WGN poll. So angry that the 20- year mayor may not have taxpayer support to lease or sell more assets and bolster the city’s budget.

That means Daley is under even more pressure to abide by his pledge that residents won’t pay anything for staging the 2016 Summer Olympics, which organizers say will cost $4.8 billion. The winning site is to be announced Oct. 2 in Copenhagen.

"When they see the city get it so wrong, voters rightfully get very skeptical," said Ralph Martire, executive director of the Center for Tax and Budget Accountability, a nonprofit public policy group in Chicago.

(Via The Expired Meter.)

Another round-up post, full of links and signifying nothing

Duke will release our financial accounting exam on the 8th, and we'll have 24 hours from the time we download it to finish and hand it in. Our professor, when asked this morning for general guidance about the exam, seemed confident that someone who didn't need to look anything up (e.g., an accounting professor) could finish it in "four to five hours."

In other words, until October 8th, I will likely post link lists, like this one. Sorry.

  • The Economist's Gulliver blog highlighted the differences between Virgin America and the "legacy" carriers. Now, as a lifetime elite member of American Airlines' frequent-flyer program, I might be treated better than non-elite passengers. It still sounds like Virgin America might be on to something. (I'm still going to fly American, because I live in Chicago, which they dominate.)
  • Mark Morford outdoes himself this week tackling the problem of how to talk to a complete idiot. He explains: "The absolute best way to speak to complete idiots is, of course, not to speak to them at all. That is, you work around them, ignore them completely, disregard the rants and the spittle and the misspelled protest signs and the fervent prayers for apocalypse on Fox News. Complete refusal to take the fringe nutballs even the slightest bit seriously is the only way to make true progress."
  • The Cook County Sheriff this week broke up a dogfighting ring at a day care. The descriptions of the dogs they found turned my stomach. (The current story on the Tribune's website omits the descriptions.) That this went on in a building where 10 children spent their days added to the horror. People who inflict cruelty for sport deserve nothing less than the same inflicted on them, I think.

More later. Now, back to financial accounting....

Well, duh. Welcome to Chicago

People who live outside Chicago might find it shocking and dismaying to read a newspaper report that their city's Olympics bid will, if successful, make the mayor's friends rich. For us, it's actually comforting. I mean, we all knew someone would get rich; now we have a better idea who:

Chicago 2016 committee member Michael Scott also served as a consultant to the developer on a condominium project near the proposed athletes village, a development that would increase in value if the city wins the Olympics.

Scott, who negotiated key components of the $1.2 billion Olympic Village plan, said his business relationship with the developer, Gerald Fogelson, does not interfere with his role with the bid team. Chicago 2016 officials declined to say whether Scott's relationship with Fogelson was a problem, with Daley's Olympic team poised to spend billions of dollars in coming years.

What? You think civic pride alone would motivate the mayor to put us on the hook for $4 bn to get a sporting event?

In other news, the White Sox are officially out of the post-season, but the Cubs are still hanging on.

Will the Olympics benefit Chicago?

Perhaps we should look at Atlanta's example:

Thirteen years later, the financial legacy of the Olympics in Atlanta is harder to detect. Like many major cities, Atlanta has fallen victim to the recession, forced to lay off teachers and city workers while slashing services. The City Council recently voted to raise property taxes to cover a $56 million budget deficit.

Winning the Olympic bid catapulted Atlanta into the big leagues, giving it name recognition around the globe. Atlanta's $1.7 billion private-funded investment in hosting the games helped revitalize its sluggish downtown and poured $5 billion into the metropolitan area's economy during the next decade, according to the Metro Atlanta Chamber of Commerce.

Atlanta's cost was less than half of the $4.8 billion Chicago has estimated it will need to raise if the city is awarded the 2016 Olympic Games.

In sum, no one knows. The Tribune doesn't analyze with much rigor what parts of Atlanta's economic problems come from unrelated factors. Nor do they tease out the direct economic benefits or costs of hosting the games. In short, it's one more frustratingly unhelpful piece of journalism about local politics.

I think our problems and our strengths look nothing like Atlanta's. Possibly Los Angeles might have been a better model; it's hard to say. I honestly don't know whether Chicago will benefit or lose from 2016. No one does. But I think we'll find out, whether we want to or not.

Wake up, Cameron

The Ferris Bueller house in Highland Park may be torn down:

Built from 1952 until 1954 and designed by architect A. James Speyer, the Highland Park home and pavilion that appeared in the 1986 movie "Ferris Bueller's Day Off" is for sale for $2.3 million. It is at risk of being torn down, Landmarks Illinois officials say, because several inquiries have been made regarding the demolition of the house and a possible lot split.

And 2-0 over the Brewers

The Cubs won again tonight, against the Milwaukee Brewers in a very fast 8 1/2 innings. Ryan Dempster had a no-hitter for 4 2/3 innings, and a solo homer by Derek Lee got the Cubs on the board.

Oddly, the park was as empty as I've seen this year. I say "oddly" because (a) it was a gorgeous, clear, 24°C evening, and (b) this was the upper deck ten minutes before the game started:

That was a troubling sign. This was not:

Of course, it hardly matters, with the Cubs now 10 games out with fewer than 20 to play. Maybe if St. Louis keep losing we'll have another opportunity to get swept by the Dodgers in the playoffs. But probably not.

Cubs 5-2 over Reds

Friends called me on Saturday afternoon to invite me to yesterday's game, which had perfect weather, a Cubs win, and really friggin' good seats (Field Box, section 130).

Ted Lilly got the win:

In box seats, people bring their own "W" flags:

Friday morning linkfest

Lots of interesting (to me, anyway) items on the Intertubes today:

Whew. Back to accounting homework.