WBEZ | Ventra http://www.wbez.org/tags/ventra Latest from WBEZ Chicago Public Radio en Morning Shift: The state of diversity on stage and screen http://www.wbez.org/programs/morning-shift-tony-sarabia/2014-04-30/morning-shift-state-diversity-stage-and-screen-110104 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org//main-images/White people on stage Flickr Lieven SOETE.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>We look at new efforts aimed at bringing diversity into comedy. Plus, Governor Quinn selects new director for DCFS. And, a little reclaimed soul.</p><div class="storify"><iframe allowtransparency="true" frameborder="no" height="750" src="//storify.com/WBEZ/morning-shift-the-state-of-diversity-on-stage-and/embed?header=false&amp;border=false" width="100%"></iframe><script src="//storify.com/WBEZ/morning-shift-the-state-of-diversity-on-stage-and.js?header=false&border=false"></script><noscript>[<a href="//storify.com/WBEZ/morning-shift-the-state-of-diversity-on-stage-and" target="_blank">View the story "Morning Shift: The state of diversity on stage and screen" on Storify</a>]</noscript></div></p> Wed, 30 Apr 2014 08:28:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/programs/morning-shift-tony-sarabia/2014-04-30/morning-shift-state-diversity-stage-and-screen-110104 Final phase of Ventra rollout suspended, developer apologizes http://www.wbez.org/news/final-phase-ventra-rollout-suspended-developer-apologizes-109094 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org//main-images/Ventra.jpg" alt="" /><p><p dir="ltr">Chicago commuters will be able to hold on to those old Chicago Cards and magnetic strip cards for a little while longer. Chicago Transit Authority officials announced the the final phase of the new <a href="http://ventrachicago.com/">Ventra </a>system&rsquo;s rollout will be suspended until a few of its problems are fixed. Chicago Cards and Chicago Card Plus were supposed to be phased out by November 15.</p><p dir="ltr">CTA President Forrest Claypool also said the agency won&rsquo;t pay the developer, Cubic Transportation Systems, any of the $454 million, 12-year contract, until the company meets three criterion: customer service wait times must be five minutes or less, processing times for the tap-and-go function of a Ventra card must be under two and a half seconds--99 percent of the time--and all readers and vending machines must be operational 99 percent of the time.</p><p dir="ltr">&ldquo;The bottom line is that too many of our customers are confused and frustrated and that&rsquo;s our fault,&rdquo; Claypool told members of the City Club at a luncheon Tuesday.</p><p dir="ltr">Cubic&rsquo;s head of North American operations, Richard Wunderle, was on hand to answer some questions as well.</p><p dir="ltr">&ldquo;This transition period wasn&rsquo;t our shining light, and for that I want to apologize to the riders of CTA,&rdquo; said Wunderle. &ldquo;It wasn&rsquo;t our best effort but it will get better, so I apologize for that.&rdquo;</p><p dir="ltr">Cubic isn&rsquo;t new to the public transit game: They&rsquo;ve got 400 fare-collection projects in operation across the world, including systems in Sydney, London and Washington, D.C. But the Ventra system marks the first time the company&rsquo;s tackled an open-fare, contactless card system; and officials say it&rsquo;s the first of its kind in North America.</p><p dir="ltr">Wunderle said Cubic engineers are already at work on a number of fixes to get things up to speed.</p><p dir="ltr">One issue that&rsquo;s drawn many complaints from CTA riders is being charged for multiple taps of their Ventra card at the turnstile. Officials say customers would tap their card, and after not immediately seeing a green &ldquo;Go&rdquo; signal, they&rsquo;d tap multiple times or move to a different lane. As of Tuesday, Cubic said they added a new &ldquo;processing&rdquo; screen to show riders the system is working before it lets them through. Engineers will also be upgrading the Ventra software over the weekend to try and bring processing times down on card readers to two-and-a-half seconds or less. CTA officials said that&rsquo;s happening 95 percent of the time--but the other 5 percent of the time, processing times varied from three to 10 seconds, sometimes more.</p><p dir="ltr">Claypool said the issue that&rsquo;s upset him the most is the long wait times for callers trying to reach a customer service agent, calling it a &ldquo;self-inflicted wound.&rdquo; The CTA chief said on one day last month, the center was overwhelmed with 20,000 calls. Some customers couldn&rsquo;t get through to an agent at all, while others waited, and waited - in some cases, for more than 30 minutes. Cubic has hired more customer service agents since then, and plans to expand further.</p><p dir="ltr">No timeline has been set for when the Ventra rollout will continue. Wunderle said he can&rsquo;t really give a &ldquo;best guess&rdquo; how long it will take the company to address the CTA&rsquo;s three benchmarks, only estimating &ldquo;weeks&rdquo; when pressed by a reporter.</p><p dir="ltr">Other interesting Ventra facts:</p><ul><li dir="ltr"><p dir="ltr">The entire Ventra contract lasts 12 years: The two years allotted for engineering the system are almost up. The next 10 years of the contract will be for the service.</p></li><li dir="ltr"><p dir="ltr">Cubic paid $92 million up front toward the transition: installing card readers, vending machines, call center operations, etc.</p></li><li dir="ltr"><p dir="ltr">CTA lawyers will be looking into how many fares they&rsquo;ve missed because of bus drivers waving people through when there seemed to be problems with the Ventra card</p></li><li dir="ltr"><p dir="ltr">50 percent of CTA riders are now using Ventra cards</p></li><li dir="ltr"><p dir="ltr">Card readers will now display a &ldquo;low balance&rdquo; screen that lets customers know their Ventra card balance is under $10</p></li></ul><p dir="ltr"><em>Lauren Chooljian is a WBEZ reporter. Follow her <a href="https://twitter.com/laurenchooljian">@laurenchooljian</a>.</em></p></p> Wed, 06 Nov 2013 13:30:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/news/final-phase-ventra-rollout-suspended-developer-apologizes-109094 Morning Shift: Ready for the Ventra switch? http://www.wbez.org/programs/morning-shift-tony-sarabia/2013-10-08/morning-shift-ready-ventra-switch-108867 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org//main-images/Ventra flickr-cta web.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>We talk about the ups and downs of the CTA&#39;s transition to Ventra, hear from Michael Puente about the proposed Illiana expressway, and talk with a breast cancer advocacy group on how we can be smart contributors this October for Breast Cancer Awareness Month. (Photo: Flickr/Steven Vance)</p><div class="storify"><iframe allowtransparency="true" frameborder="no" height="750" src="//storify.com/WBEZ/morning-shift-ventra-cards-are-here-to-stay/embed?header=false" width="100%"></iframe><script src="//storify.com/WBEZ/morning-shift-ventra-cards-are-here-to-stay.js?header=false"></script><noscript>[<a href="//storify.com/WBEZ/morning-shift-ventra-cards-are-here-to-stay" target="_blank">View the story "Morning Shift: Ready for the Ventra switch?" on Storify</a>]</noscript></div></p> Tue, 08 Oct 2013 08:31:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/programs/morning-shift-tony-sarabia/2013-10-08/morning-shift-ready-ventra-switch-108867 Morning Shift: Digging in to organic gardening http://www.wbez.org/programs/morning-shift-tony-sarabia/2013-10-07/morning-shift-digging-organic-gardening-108861 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org//main-images/flickr toddheft.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>Organic gardener and educator, Jeanne Nolan, is in studio to talk sustainability, food awareness and growing good things on rooftops and backyard plots. Plus, Chicago Tribune launches a new &quot;plan for Chicago&quot;. What&#39;s needed to make the city great?</p><div class="storify"><iframe src="//storify.com/WBEZ/morning-shift-35/embed?header=false" width="100%" height=750 frameborder=no allowtransparency=true></iframe><script src="//storify.com/WBEZ/morning-shift-35.js?header=false"></script><noscript>[<a href="//storify.com/WBEZ/morning-shift-35" target="_blank">View the story "Morning Shift: Digging in to organic gardening" on Storify</a>]</noscript></div></p> Mon, 07 Oct 2013 08:43:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/programs/morning-shift-tony-sarabia/2013-10-07/morning-shift-digging-organic-gardening-108861 Six high schools pilot special Ventra card http://www.wbez.org/news/six-high-schools-pilot-special-ventra-card-108557 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org//main-images/VentraKids.jpg" alt="" /><p><p dir="ltr" id="docs-internal-guid-5a15757f-ca84-6264-e09e-ca2abe762bd2">Riding public transportation could get a bit easier for some Chicago Public School students.</p><p dir="ltr">At six of the city&rsquo;s public high schools, students are getting a single card that serves as both a student ID and a transit card. The pilot schools are Alcott College Prep, Al Raby School for Community and Environment, Chicago High School for Agricultural Sciences, Lincoln Park High School, Morgan Park High School and Southside Occupational Academy.</p><p dir="ltr">Micheala Sharp is a junior at Lincoln Park High School, but lives in the Austin neighborhood on the West Side of the city. She takes two buses for a total of about an hour and 15 minutes to get to school every day. As she explained how she got to and from school every day, she encouraged me to get a piece of paper. It&rsquo;s complicated.</p><p dir="ltr">That&rsquo;s because in the past, students have had to use a variety of different paper cards in order to get on buses or trains with reduced rates. Many students rely on the Chicago Transit Authority to get to and from school because CPS does not provide busing to all students.</p><p dir="ltr">Since the beginning of 2013, students used a &ldquo;student fare card&rdquo; and paid 75 cents per ride between 5:30 a.m. and 8:30 p.m. Outside of school hours, students between age 7 and 11 could carry a separate card to pay the &ldquo;reduced fare&rdquo; rates offered to senior citizens and people with disabilities ($1 for the bus, $1.10 for the train). Students between age 12 and 20 had to pay full fare and carry a separate, regular fare CTA card.</p><p dir="ltr">Under the new Ventra system, all students will get a single hard plastic card, which will know what rate to charge them based on the date, time of day and age of the person registered to the account. All CPS students will get this type of &ldquo;smart&rdquo; card.</p><p dir="ltr">On the second day of school, when students started using the cards, the Chicago Tribune <a href="http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/local/breaking/chi-cta-ventra-card-20130827,0,941710.story">reported glitches</a> parents were having with student accounts. According to the Tribune, parents said the online balance appeared to be zero after having loaded money on the card.</p><p dir="ltr">CTA spokeswoman Tammy Chase said they are working through glitches and if anyone has issues, they should alert the CTA.</p><p dir="ltr">Chase told WBEZ that the goal is to move all high school students in CPS to a combination ID card, like those being piloted at six high schools this year.</p><p dir="ltr">Members of the Mikva Challenge Youth Commission had advocated for a more streamlined student fare card system. In 2010, students recommended a combination ID card similar to the one being piloted this year, but one that would also link a Chicago Public Library account.</p><p dir="ltr"><strong>Free fares for students?</strong></p><p dir="ltr">Last year, Mikva also worked with the Mayor Rahm Emanuel on another <a href="http://www.cityofchicago.org/city/en/depts/mayor/press_room/press_releases/2012/august_2012/mayor_emanuel_ctaandcpsannouncefreefarecardpilotprogram.html">privately-funded pilot program that gave 100 students at five high schools</a> free fare cards last school year. Data collected from the program showed a five percent increase in attendance.</p><p dir="ltr">The future of that program is unclear. A spokeswoman in the Mayor&rsquo;s office said they&rsquo;re exploring ways to continue that program with the help of private donors.</p><p dir="ltr">For the past couple of years, all CPS students, and accompanying adults, have been able to ride for free on the first day of school. CTA officials say they plan to continue this plan going forward.</p><p dir="ltr">CPS also provides free transportation, either a yellow school bus or a CTA pass, to homeless students, according to Rene Heybach, director of the Law Project at the Chicago Coalition for the Homeless. On Tuesday, she said it remained unclear how homeless children and their parents would be transitioned to the new Ventra system.</p><p dir="ltr">CTA spokeswoman Lambrini Lukidis said homeless students will remain covered under the new Ventra system.</p><p dir="ltr">&ldquo;The Chicago Transit Authority has been working with CPS on ways to administer the program which are the most efficient,&rdquo; Lukidis said in an email statement. &ldquo;Until the STLS program transitions to the new fare system, students in the program can continue to use the magnetic stripe cards which are issued by their schools.&rdquo;</p><p dir="ltr">Lukidis also said any &ldquo;free&rdquo; rides, like those offered on the first day of school and on New Year&rsquo;s Eve, are actually funded by private donations.</p><p><em>Becky Vevea is a producer for WBEZ. Follow her <a href="https://twitter.com/WBEZeducation">@WBEZeducation</a>.</em></p></p> Thu, 29 Aug 2013 09:28:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/news/six-high-schools-pilot-special-ventra-card-108557 Ventra roll out to begin in August http://www.wbez.org/news/ventra-roll-out-begin-august-108222 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org//main-images/cta.png" alt="" /><p><p dir="ltr">Chicago commuters could be tapping their new <a href="http://www.transitchicago.com/ventra/">Ventra </a>cards on the bus or train as soon as early September, according to Chicago Transit Authority officials. The program will be first rolled out to public school students and universities with the U-Pass program in August, and the slow roll out will continue over the next few months.</p><p dir="ltr">The Ventra pass is a single fare card system that is being billed as an easy tap and go option for riders across both CTA and Pace transportation systems. Ventra users will also have the option to make cash withdrawals from ATM&rsquo;s around the area with their card.</p><p>Starting August 5th, the first U-Pass cards will begin arriving at select universities Rush Medical School, Westwood College of Technology and Northwestern University Law School. Transit officials say additional universities that are enrolled in the U-Pass program will get their cards later this month in time for the start of their fall semesters.</p><p>Chicago Card and Chicago Card Plus customers that have completed the proper address validation will begin receiving their cards in the mail around August 19th. As for Chicago Public Schools students, they&rsquo;ll get their cards during school orientation, so that they&rsquo;ll have Ventra set up for the first day of school on August 26th.</p><p>&ldquo;We wanted to gradually roll in waves of customers, because we&rsquo;re still testing the system and we&rsquo;re doing thousands of transactions weekly,&rdquo; said Tammy Chase, CTA spokeswoman.</p><p>Chase said the staggered roll out will give transit agencies the chance to jump in if any &ldquo;hiccups&rdquo; occur, rather than being inundated by switching the system over all at once.</p><p>As for everyone else, like faithful users of the magnetic stripe cards or day passes, Ventra will be available for purchase on September 9th. New Chicago cards will no longer be issued by September, but balances can be spent or transferred to Ventra. Chase said by December, the CTA and Pace will only accept Ventra. &nbsp;</p><p>The Ventra card will initially cost $5, which transit officials say will be refunded to the card for transit use once the card is registered online or by phone.</p><p><span id="docs-internal-guid-5cfd0be2-3018-4c93-0ef4-5fffb871b89e"><span style="font-size: 16px; font-family: Arial; font-style: italic; vertical-align: baseline; white-space: pre-wrap;">Lauren Chooljian is a WBEZ&rsquo;s morning producer and Follow her</span><a href="http://twitter.com/triciabobeda" style="text-decoration:none;"><span style="font-size: 16px; font-family: Arial; color: rgb(0, 0, 0); font-style: italic; vertical-align: baseline; white-space: pre-wrap;"> </span></a><a href="https://twitter.com/laurenchooljian" style="text-decoration:none;"><span style="font-size: 16px; font-family: Arial; color: rgb(17, 85, 204); text-decoration: underline; vertical-align: baseline; white-space: pre-wrap;">@laurenchooljian</span></a><span style="font-size: 16px; font-family: Arial; vertical-align: baseline; white-space: pre-wrap;">.</span></span></p></p> Mon, 29 Jul 2013 09:59:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/news/ventra-roll-out-begin-august-108222 Illinois officials question new CTA payment system at a public hearing http://www.wbez.org/news/illinois-officials-question-new-cta-payment-system-public-hearing-106424 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org//main-images/CTAdebit_130402_acm.JPG" alt="" /><p><p>The new CTA debit card system is causing a lot of concerns among riders.<br /><br />Members of the Illinois House Mass Transit Committee called a public hearing Monday to hear public concerns about additional fees associated with the card, which will be introduced this summer.<br /><br />Those fees include small charges for contacting customer service and statement requests.<br /><br />The new system is part of a CTA plan to update its current fare cards payment method and move towards a more advanced and unified transportation system.&nbsp;<br /><br />PACE has already joined the initiative but METRA officials said they are still evaluating some details.<br /><br />Committee chairman, State Rep. Deborah Mell said the debit card aspect of the new system is creating additional confusion. She said CTA officials tout the debit card component is an incentive for people to get the new Ventra card but &ldquo;there is no other option.&rdquo;&nbsp;<br /><br />In regards to the additional debit charges, CTA president Forrest Claypool said the basic use of the debit card won&rsquo;t have additional costs.<br /><br />&ldquo;All the main functions that many individuals use the card for, the typical options, the ones that are more common are free: direct deposit, making purchases, getting cash back on purchases,&rdquo; Claypool said.<br /><br />Some local agencies are also concerned about the 75 cent increase of single ride train tickets for people who don&rsquo;t use the debit card.</p><p>Liz Czarnecki is with Chicago Jobs Council, an organization that advocates on behalf of low income individuals seeking job opportunities.<br /><br />She says this is a problem for organizations who buy single ride train tickets in bulk to give to their clients when they have job interviews.<br /><br />&ldquo;It&rsquo;s going to be very logistically challenging for them to provide a Ventra card for all of its participants,&rdquo; she said. &ldquo;They have many job seekers to whom they are working, so the actual disposable ticket it&rsquo;s more logistically feasible and that is going to have increased fees.&rdquo;<br /><br />CTA is trying to address customer concerns before the card becomes available for use.</p><p>PACE and METRA officials were also invited to give updates on a new unified transportation payment system expected to take effect by 2015.&nbsp;</p></p> Tue, 02 Apr 2013 10:03:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/news/illinois-officials-question-new-cta-payment-system-public-hearing-106424 Tuesday's Chart: What your Ventra fees are paying for http://www.wbez.org/blogs/claire-zulkey/2013-03/tuesdays-chart-what-your-ventra-fees-are-paying-106286 <p><div class="image-insert-image "><div class="image-insert-image "><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/Ventra_1.jpg" style="height: 803px; width: 620px;" title="" /></div><div class="image-insert-image "><em>Follow Claire Zulkey <a href="http://twitter.com/zulkey" target="_blank">@Zulkey</a>.</em></div></div><p>&nbsp;</p></p> Tue, 26 Mar 2013 09:21:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/blogs/claire-zulkey/2013-03/tuesdays-chart-what-your-ventra-fees-are-paying-106286 CTA's new card comes with expensive options http://www.wbez.org/blogs/charlie-meyerson/2013-03/ctas-new-card-comes-expensive-options-106179 <p><p><span style="font-family:georgia,serif;"><a href="http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/local/ct-met-cta-ventra-hidden-fees-0320-20130320,0,2928286.story" target="_blank"><img alt="Ventra card vending machine" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/Ventra.jpg" style="height: 200px; width: 300px; float: right;" title="Ventra card vending machine" /></a><strong>NEW CTA CARDS: TAKING YOU FOR A RIDE?</strong>&nbsp;An analysis of the huge contract with the company responsible for the forthcoming Ventra passes reveals potentially costly surprises if you opt for the debit-card version -- including $2 for a call to customer service.&nbsp;<a href="http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/local/ct-met-cta-ventra-hidden-fees-0320-20130320,0,2928286.story">The&nbsp;<em>Tribune&#39;s</em>&nbsp;Jon Hilkevitch reports</a>.</span></p><p><span style="font-family:georgia,serif;"><strong>SPINELESS IN CHICAGO.&nbsp;</strong>In <em>Chicago</em> magazine, Steve Rhodes explores&nbsp;<a href="http://www.chicagomag.com/Chicago-Magazine/April-2013/The-Yes-Men/" target="_blank">how the mayor always gets his way</a>&nbsp;with the City Council:&nbsp;&quot;When disastrous ideas come around ... they pass with flying colors.&quot;<br />* Sources to <em>Sun-Times:</em> <a href="http://www.suntimes.com/18969116-761/wrigley-aldermans-pitch-scrap-famed-scoreboard-for-video-version-as-big-as-you-want-sources.html" target="_blank">Wrigley alderman OK with scrapping scoreboard</a> for video version &quot;as big as you want.&quot;</span></p><p><span style="font-family:georgia,serif;"><strong>&#39;WORSE THAN NIXON.&#39;</strong>&nbsp;The First Amendment advocate who represented <em>The New York Times </em>when the government sued over publication of the Pentagon Papers says the Obama administration &quot;<a href="http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2013/mar/19/goodale-obama-press-freedoms-secrecy-nixon" target="_blank">is worse for press freedom than former President Richard Nixon</a>.&quot;<br />*&nbsp;<a href="http://www.motherjones.com/politics/2013/03/chair-climate-change-subcommittee-jury-still-out-climate-change" target="_blank">Climate-change-denying congressman to head subcommittee on climate change</a>.</span></p><p><span style="font-family:georgia,serif;"><strong>WILL CNN APOLOGIZE?</strong> More than 220,000 people have signed <a href="http://www.change.org/petitions/cnn-apologize-on-air-for-sympathizing-with-the-steubenville-rapists" target="_blank">that online petition</a> demanding the network take back its sympathetic coverage of the sentencing of two men convicted of rape in Steubenville, Ohio. <em>The Atlantic</em> says &quot;<a href="http://www.theatlanticwire.com/national/2013/03/at-least-200000-people-want-cnn-apologize-its-sympathetic-steubenville-coverage/63315/" target="_blank">it&#39;s hard to understand why CNN wouldn&#39;t feel compelled to address the backlash</a>.&quot;<br />*&nbsp;<a href="http://www.theatlanticwire.com/national/2013/03/steubenville-rapist-appeal/63290/" target="_blank">Steubenville rapist to appeal because his &quot;brain isn&#39;t fully developed.&quot;</a><br />* Two girls charged with <a href="http://www.cnn.com/2013/03/19/justice/ohio-steubenville-case/?hpt=us_c2" target="_blank">social-media threats against Steubenville rape victim</a>.</span></p><p><span style="font-family:georgia,serif;"><strong>COLBERT BUMP.</strong> <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/03/19/elizabeth-colbert-busch-wins_n_2911914.html" target="_blank">Stephen Colbert&#39;s sister, Elizabeth Colbert Busch, is the easy winner</a>&nbsp;in&nbsp;the Democratic primary for a South Carolina seat in Congress.<br />* <a href="http://www.nydailynews.com/news/politics/colbert-serious-sister-campaign-article-1.1293237" target="_blank">Colbert joins sister&#39;s political team</a>: &quot;I&rsquo;m not worried about what it would do to me or my show to try to help her as myself &ndash; not as my character.&quot;</span></p><hr /><p style="text-align: center;"><span style="font-family:georgia,serif;"><span style="font-size: 18px;"><em>Meyerson + Kogan, 2 p.m. today on WBEZ&#39;s &quot;Afternoon Shift.&quot;<br />What should we discuss? </em><a href="mailto:cmeyerson@wbez.org?subject=Talk%20about%20this%2C%20Meyerson">Your suggestions welcome.</a></span></span></p><hr /><p><span style="font-family:georgia,serif;"><strong>BEAUTIFUL DAY IN THE NEIGHBORHOOD. </strong>Gay-bashing Westboro Baptist Church has a new neighbor right across the street in Topeka: <a href="http://www.nydailynews.com/news/national/rainbow-painted-house-rebukes-westboro-msg-article-1.1292955" target="_blank">A rainbow-colored home</a>. And Google Maps played a part.<br />* WBEZ&#39;s Nico Lang: <a href="http://www.wbez.org/blogs/nico-lang/2013-03/marriage-equality-fight-heats-illinois-106151" target="_blank">What&#39;s holding up Illinois&#39; Marriage Fairness Act?</a></span><br /><span style="font-family: georgia, serif;">* Nine justices, no waiting: Supreme Court to release&nbsp;</span><a href="http://bigstory.ap.org/article/same-day-audio-high-court-gay-marriage-cases" style="font-family: georgia, serif;" target="_blank">audio recordings of next week&#39;s gay-marriage arguments</a><span style="font-family: georgia, serif;">&nbsp;just hours after conclusion.</span></p><p><span style="font-family:georgia,serif;"><strong>PANTS IN THE NEWS.</strong><br />* <em>PolitiFact</em> gives &quot;pants on fire&quot; rating to Michele Bachmann&#39;s statement that <a href="http://www.politifact.com/truth-o-meter/statements/2013/mar/19/michele-bachmann/michele-bachmann-says-70-percent-food-stamp-fundin/" target="_blank">70 percent of food stamp funding goes to bureaucrats</a>.<br />* <a href="http://www.latimes.com/business/money/la-fi-mo-lululemon-black-yoga-pants-recall-20130319,0,5872756.story" target="_blank">Lululemon warns of yoga pants shortage</a> after recall for too-revealing fabric.</span></p><p><span style="font-family:georgia,serif;"><strong>LOLLAPALOOZA LOOKAHEAD.</strong> The headliners set for Grant Park Aug. 2-4 include&nbsp;<a href="http://www.chicagotribune.com/entertainment/music/turnitup/chi-lollapalooza-headliners-20130319,0,725418.column" target="_blank">Mumford &amp; Sons, Phoenix, Vampire Weekend and the Killers</a>, according to Greg Kot in the <em>Tribune</em>. Tickets go on sale Tuesday.<br />* <a href="http://variety.com/2013/film/news/rare-early-hitchcock-pics-to-tour-u-s-1200326013/" target="_blank">Alfred Hitchcock&#39;s earliest surviving silent films</a> set for Chicago screening.</span></p><hr /><p><span style="font-family:georgia,serif;"><em><strong>ANNOUNCEMENTS.</strong></em><br /><em>* Suggestions for this blog?&nbsp;<a href="mailto:cmeyerson@wbez.org?subject=Things%20and%20stuff">Email anytime</a>.<br />* Get this blog by email, free. <a href="http://feedburner.google.com/fb/a/mailverify?uri=feedburner/AELk&amp;amp;loc=en_US" target="_blank">Sign up here</a>.</em><br /><em>* Follow us on Twitter:&nbsp;<a href="https://twitter.com/wbez" target="_blank">@WBEZ</a>&nbsp;and&nbsp;<a href="https://twitter.com/meyerson" target="_blank">@Meyerson</a>.<br />* Looking for the most recent WBEZ Meyerson News Quiz? <a href="http://www.wbez.org/tags/news-quiz" target="_blank">Here you go</a>.</em></span></p></p> Wed, 20 Mar 2013 05:00:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/blogs/charlie-meyerson/2013-03/ctas-new-card-comes-expensive-options-106179