Here's an excerpt from The Adderall Diaries:
Earlier this week, a reader wrote in with an interesting conundrum: How do you politely explain to a friend that their chosen Halloween costume could be racist? The reader lays out the issue:
Obviously, there is a market for costumes that are based on racial discriminations. But I am guessing that the majority of people who purchase these types of costumes are not doing so out of blatant racism, but more out of ignorance that the costume is offensive, or that they are perpetuating a stereotype.
Since state test scores are among the big news items today, here's an excerpt from Ben Joravsky's 2006 piece "The Schools Scam: Under the TIF system millions of dollars in property taxes are being diverted from education to development"; it's long because the issue is tricky:
Ask me if Jim O'Shea's Chicago News Cooperative has a chance to succeed and I'll say yes — not because the concept is mesmerizing but because David Greising did his due diligence and then decided to sign on.
* Alderman Tom Allen of the 38th Ward is making noise, and has a new term for tax-increment financing: OTF, or the "Over-tax fund." (A good start; I'll see what I can do.)
* CBS2 is reporting that Alderman Walter Burnett wants to use TIF money for homelessness: "you probably haven't heard about a billion dollar pot of money that some alderman now say could be a life-saver for people struggling to put a roof over their heads."
* WBEZ works Allen into a report on the budget crisis.
This is all very good, but we'll know we've hit saturation when RedEye picks up the torch. I'll even spot them a cover:
Let me be clear: I did not need another winter coat. I already had three that I wear regularly—black, white, and red—in addition to two more black coats waiting for me to get it together to donate them to charity or bring them to a clothing swap, a traditional Scandinavian jacket from Norway that was my mother's, and a vintage lambswool swing coat with a fur collar that must weigh about ten pounds. Obviously I had enough options to ensure that I would not freeze to death looking nondescript. Yet I'd always wanted a down jacket.
It seems like every week I get at least one e-mail about yet another boutique and/or fashion business closing. Yesterday the Tribune took a closer look at two of the areas hit hardest by recession, the Armitage Avenue shopping corridor in Lincoln Park and Southport Avenue around Irving Park and Addison.
The main problem is neatly defined in this sentence: "The irony is that even as Americans eat up bargains, they often resent big-box stores for taking away the unique nature of their communities—from Starbucks to Wal-Mart to McDonald's."
The latest batch of property tax bills has been sent out and the results are just coming in.
My annual analysis of who pays what (I know, I'm an incurable geek) illustrates what Assessor Jim Houlihan has been saying for the last several years: residents on the south and west sides are seeing the greatest leaps in their assessments, so they're getting the biggest jumps in their bills.
Hey, no one said this stuff is fair. In fact, when you look at how it's affecting some of our esteemed public servants, you'll have to agree it's fairer for some more than others.