Nothing earth-shaking on the business-news front today, which makes time for a few rambling observations:
Olympian View. I'm not sure what the Las Vegas line is on Chicago winning the 2016 Olympics, but I'll take the City of Big Shoulders to win. Forget, place or show. There's a lot of reasons why, but one of them is the united front that Chicago's political and business interests presented during the race against Los Angeles before the United States Olympic Committee. Mayor Richard Daley, Former Aon Corp. Chairman Pat Ryan and the state's leadership (Gov. Rod Blagojevich, House Speaker Mike Madigan, etc.) mustered the type of civic willpower that is not seen in today's world. Like these guys or not, it was a pretty impressive. If that coalition can hold, then the Olympics are on the way. (The International Olympic Committee will decide which city gets the nod. Chicago is up against Rio de Janiero, Tokyo, Prague and others).
One more point--and it's a big one-- there's no reason that taxpayers should get clipped if the Olympic Games are held in Chicago. Yes, the cost of venues, services and labor will go up significantly compared to current estimates but so will the revenues--provided the Olympics are managed properly. Some advice to Chicago's Olympics backers and planners: Build only what is needed and don't make this an excuse for a massive public works project designed to address every need or solve evey ill. Also, fellows, try to keep the stealing to a minimum this time. The ramp-up to the Olympics promises to be one of the most interesting economic development/business/political sagas that the city has ever witnessed. Be a shame to miss it.
Calls waiting. The new business phone line in my office has been ringing off the hook for the past several days. Who's calling? Why it's my old friends, the credit card companies. In this case, they're not trying to sell me new credit cards but credit card processing services. I just got another one while filing this post. Honest! Most of them have been pretty polite when I say "no thanks" (better than the telemarketers who ring you during dinner time). I guess AT&T sells new business listings to these companies. I'm all for trying to make an honest buck, but please don't call me----I'll call you.
How much did you get for your house? One of the newest, and most fun, real estate blogs out there is Chicago Magazine's "dealestate. the blog". The magazine's real estate expert Dennis Rodkin zeroes in the area's choice residential real estate deals and more. Check it out.
Cramer vs. Zell. Here's what Jim Cramer, stock market picker and CNBC star, is saying about the Sam Zell-led Tribune Co. buyout. He's not a fan. Click here