Sunday, April 22, 2007

News notes from all over - John and Jeanne Rowe, Donna Robertson, Vladimir Putin, Jane Jacobs

IIT - Exelon's John Rowe and his wife Jeanne, have established the John and Jeanne Rowe Endowed Chair for the College of Architecture at IIT. The first holder of the chair will be College of Architecture Dean Donna Robertson, in recognition of "her leadership of the college and celebrates how she has bridged the gap between IIT’s strong Miesean tradition and contemporary architectural ideas. "

The Closing of the Russian Mind (let's hope Karl Rove isn't listening) - this Sunday New York Times had two fairly frightening articles on Russia's march away from freedom under the leadership of President Vladimir Putin. The first reports that the new owners of the Russia News Service, closely aligned to the Kremlin, have issued an edict that at least fifty per cent of the news must be "positive", opposition leaders can't be mentioned, and the US is always to portrayed as an enemy. All but a handful of media outlets are now controlled by Gazprom, the state-run oil company. Think NBC, CBS, ABC, CNN all run by Exxon - has Roger Ailes been hired as a consultant? The second talks of how Russian historical archives, opened by Boris Yeltsin, are again slamming shut, with "re-secretization" the order of the day. President Bush was heard to comment, "Hey, we're way ahead of ya."

Books - Who Needs 'em? - The Chicago Tribune has announced that, effective May 19th, its books section is being moved to the ghetto of the Saturday edition, where the circulation is not much more than half of Sunday's. In Trib PRspeak, Books has to be exiled because Sunday is "bursting at the seams with essential reading" - largely section after section of real estate ads - now that's essential reading.

The more the CTA changes, the worse it gets - Little more than a month after Mayor Richard M. Daley, with his usual inimitable charm, called reports that he was about to dump controversial CTA President Frank Kruesi “the biggest lie”, he this week dumped Frank Kruesi and replaced him with the mayor's chief of staff Ron Huberman. Huberman's reign began inauspiciously this weekend when north side Red Line riders were left stranded as northbound trains were diverted to the Brown Line tracks. While the CTA currently can't find the funds for even the most basic of repairs, not to mention meeting its pension obligations, the mayor was waxing rhapsodic about creating a new north-south line in time for the 2016 Olympics. Does Huberman have the will - or even the interest - to change the CTA's current unofficial slogan: "The CTA - what other choice do you have?"

Moses May Not Get the Last Word, After All - even as New Yorkers are stumbling over themselves to raise disgraced master builder/power freak Robert Moses back up onto his pedestal, the CAF will be hosting a May 5th symposium on the legacy of Moses arch-nemesis Jane Jacobs, "with a focus on the application of her work in present-day Chicago." Panelists will include. among others, Northwestern's Henry C. Binford and CNU's inescapable John Norquist.

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