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The [Friday] Papers

By Steve Rhodes

"More than 1,200 times last year, residents of the South Chicago and Gresham police districts called 911, and there was no ar available to respond," the Sun-Times reports.

"In the Foster Avenue and Belmont districts, the same thing happened only 10 times."

Longtime readers know that for a long time I have supported police beat realignment to, you know, assign officers according to where crime actually occurs instead of according to the wishes of clouty (white) aldermen. Is that really too much to ask?

Now Ald. Isaac Carothers, the chairman of the city council's police committee, says he's tired of waiting for police chief Jody Weis to finally remake the CPD's beats.

Tired of waiting for Weis? How about tired of waiting for Daley.

"For the last two decades, police superintendents have been promising to redraw the boundaries of the beats to accommodate shifting crime patterns and population changes, but it never happened," the Sun-Times notes.

Those of us who have followed the issue know that one man has stood in the way of those changes: The mayor. And we know why: He doesn't want residents in districts that might lose officers to get mad at him (I've long argued that this could be avoided if the department just hired more officers; an expense, yes, but a more rational one than buying SUVs and military-style assault weapons).

Think about it for just a second: Chicago's police officers are assigned to beats according to 20-year-old crime patterns and population figures.

Apparently, though, the cops are working on it.

"Deputy Police Supt. Dan Dugan said Weis has a team researching what's been done in other cities. He argued that beat realignment is a tough job that 'can't be rushed'."

Bird Call
"Ex-Gov. Rod Blagojevich's former chief of staff has agreed to be a witness against his old boss and plans to work out a plea deal as early as next month," the Sun-Times reports.

That would be John Harris - also a former budget director and aviation department kingpin for Daley.

Word on the political grapevine is that he's singing like Susan Boyle.

Prig of the Day
George Will is against jeans. I'm not even going to link.

Selling Out
Once again I find myself firmly on the side of Anne Elizabeth Moore in her continuing debate with Reader rock critic Miles Raymer. But instead of rehashing the debate, I'll just compare excerpts from Raymer's response to Moore and compare it to what Rennie Sparks of The Handsome Family - in town for two nights at Schubas - told Jim DeRogatis in an interview published today.

RAYMER: Some artists are saints and some are whores, but anyone judging them needs to acknowledge that the free flow of information that's made music so much easier to spread around has also severely damaged their ability to live off it.

SPARKS: We're able to pay our bills, which is a miracle, I think. The Internet has helped bands like us so much, because years ago, if we got a review in a magazine and somebody went into a record store and didn't find the record, that was it, they'd forget about it. Now, anything you read about, in an instant, you can find our complete catalog and download it. For example, Andrew Bird does a lot of covers of our songs. If he says, 'This is a Handsome Family song' that night, a thousand skinny girls with glasses can all go Google us, and things like that really help a band like us that isn't on TV or mainstream radio every day. It levels the playing field a little bit.

Culture Change
From Advertising Age's digital conference highlights:

"How Embracing Digital Can Change Corporate Culture: Best Buy opened its product data for employees, consumers and developers to remix, and one worker spent his free time building a mobile service in seven days. Pizza Hut hopes to hit $1 billion in online revenue by 2012. And Delta, when it realized it wasn't ready for social media on, moved it into Digital isn't just shaking up consumers but also the companies' own internal operations."

Red Light Revenue
How the yellow light can make all the difference.

Meter Madness
Found in this must-read Q&A: The city - meaning us, the taxpayers - has to subsidize Chicago Meters LLC if they aren't making enough money.

Tomatillos and Squash
I couldn't find it online, but pick up the current Reader and turn to page 49 for a beautiful essay by Steve Albini about record stores. Albini wrote the piece for Reckless Records - it appears as an ad - as part of National Record Store Day. Albini is easily one of the city's best writers.

Casino Queens
"The popularity and revenue-generating power of gaming in the Chicago area has shifted to Northwest Indiana in a big way," John Brokopp reports.

Legacy Media
The Daily Racing Form's blinders. By our main on the rail.

The Five Dumbest Ideas of the Week
And the people who had them.

Onion Scoop
"Oprah has thousands awaiting her first Tweet."
- Trib web page, 4/17/09

"Oprah Viewers Patiently Awaiting Instructions."
- The Onion, 9/9/98

(Thanks, Paul!)

The Blame Game
Corruption in Illinois.

That's Todd!
Friends & Family Plan no longer operative?

Party Plan
I'm sure I'll see many of you at the Beachwood tonight. Just a few notes:

* Tip your bartenders well, people!

* I'm thinking of just placing our door prizes on the tables for whoever wants to take them home instead of actually trying to raffle them off or award them in some way.

* The Beachwood Inn is a small corner bar; we are likely to hit capacity fairly early. If you have to wait patiently in the outdoor smoking lounge for awhile, don't get upset. And, of course, please respect the neighbors.

* The bar is cash only.

* There is nothing on tap. Just to save you time and Bob the aggravation.

* Do whatever Bob says. He's the king of the bar.

* As a general rule, no talking about politics - at least to me - on a Friday night. And don't interrupt the regulars if we're belting out jukebox tunes. That's what we like to do.

So Much Wine
As long as I mentioned them, let's go out with The Handsome Family.


And here's Jeff Tweedy's version, from the Vic in February.


The Beachwood Tip Line: Always on special.


Posted on April 17, 2009

MUSIC - Madonna vs. Moderna.
TV - Sundays With The Military-Industrial Complex.
POLITICS - Private Equity In The ER.
SPORTS - Suspicious Betting Trends In Soccer.

BOOKS - China Holding Swedish Publisher.


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