Morning drive podcast and news roundup: Woodstock, cops and hot dogs

August 15, 2011

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Chicago's top headlines, piped straight to your earbuds.

On August 15, 1969, a little music festival kicked off in White Lake, NewYork. Three messy days later, Woodstock was over.

The president kicked off his Midwestern bus tour Monday. At five events over the next three days in Minnesota, Iowa and Illinois, President Barack Obama said he’s expecting to hear frustration over the dysfunction in the capital. At town hall-style meetings, he’ll discuss ways to grow the economy and create jobs, before heading back to the White House.

Two Chicago area food companies will be in court Monday --over hot dogs. Rather, the right to say they make the nation’s greatest hot dogs. The case dates back to 2009 when Sara Lee sued Kraft over an ad campaign. Kraft countered saying Sara Lee embellished in their ad campaigns. A federal judge will determine the verdict between Sarah Lee’s Ball Park franks and Kraft’s Oscar Mayer.

Illinois Sen. Dick Durbin wants to put everything on the table when the Congressional super committee meets to come up with cuts to federal spending. The committee has until late November to formulate a plan before deep automatic cuts to military and other programs kick in. Durbin, a Democrat, says his party will have to be open to changes in Medicare.

According to a new study from the Illinois Education Research Council, principals want school climate (note: school climate? Check to make sure that’s the right word.) or attendance rates to factor in when considering a teacher’s employment status. At the moment, policy tells principals to make decisions about hiring or firing a teacher based heavily on test scores. Researchers say principals and policy makers should compromise on how to use test scores.

Illinoisowes $85 billion in retiree pensions than the state has saved. Making up for that could eat up a bulk of the state spending, including money for education and social services. One plan on the table calls for benefits cuts for future retirees. The union (which union?) calls that plan unfair.

It's been four months almost to the day since former Newark Police Chief Garry McCarthy arrived in Chicago to take over the Chicago Police Department. Since being tapped by Mayor Rahm Emanuel, McCarthy has had to hit the ground running, trying to learn both a city and a police department that's grappling with a rash of summer shootings. As part of an update to our recent special, Cops and Neighbors, WBEZ's Robert Wildeboer sat down with McCarthy to talk about the lack of trust between police and some communities in the city of Chicago and his vision for rebuilding it.

Bears kicked off preseason with a win over the Buffalo Bills. Despite the controversy around pitcher Carlos Zambrano, the Cubs beat the Braves on Saturday and Sunday. The White Sox took two out of three against the Royals. Winners all around.

Clear skies today, high of 81.

We suggest some Joe Crocker for your playlist today, in Woodstock spirit.

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