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The [Monday] Papers

"Wade Michael Page, an Army veteran who was a 'psychological operations specialist,' has been identified as the gunman in the deadly Sikh temple shooting, officials said Monday morning," the Tribune reports.

"As authorities searched for a motive in the Sunday attack, the first picture of the assailant began to emerge. Page died in a shootout with police outside the temple in suburban Milwaukee. In all, seven people, including the suspect, were dead and three others were critically wounded in what police have labeled an act of domestic terrorism."

If authorities are still searching for a motive, I'm not sure how this can be labeled an act of domestic terrorism quite yet.

And lo and behold, an FBI agent's statement quoted later in the story says that "While the FBI is investigating whether this matter might be an act of domestic terrorism, no motive has been determined at this time."

It would be nice to think the media would have learned to be careful by now - and I'm not aiming this at the Tribune, but more so at the folks on TV posing as journalists and the pundits whose theories will soon contaminate the minds of Americans everywhere - but the media (in a big, general way, I know) never seems to learn. They're like the kid who not only gets held back every year but regresses.

For example, gaze in wide wonder at how even the most basic facts got mangled in the Trayvon Martin case. That's what we're in for again, folks. This might be a case of domestic terrorism; it might be a lot of things. Every news organization gets in a hurry on stories like this, which are exactly the stories in which a hurry isn't needed. The facts will come out and we'll all get them. Hurrying should be reserved for that which we might not otherwise know.

The Curiosity Chronicles
"NASA's Mars science rover Curiosity performed a daredevil descent through pink Martian skies late on Sunday to clinch an historic landing inside an ancient crater, ready to search for signs the Red Planet may once have harbored key ingredients for life," Steve Gorman and Irene Klotz write (beautifully) for Reuters.

"Mission controllers burst into applause and cheers as they received signals confirming that the car-sized rover had survived a perilous seven-minute descent NASA called the most elaborate and difficult feat in the annals of robotic spaceflight.

"Engineers said the tricky landing sequence, combining a giant parachute with a rocket-pack that lowered the rover to the Martian surface on a tether, allowed for zero margin for error."


Reminiscent of another NASA achievement of note . . .

Lolla Pops
"Lollapalooza - which concluded three heat-baked, rain-soaked and increasingly mud-splattered days Sunday in Grant Park - had the attention-grabbling headliners, including most of the original Black Sabbath, the Black Keys and the Red Hot Chili Peppers," Greg Kot writes for the Tribune.

"It had gripping performances by rising stars Frank Ocean, the Weeknd and Passion Pit. It featured the biggest show yet by teen South Side hip-hop phenom Chief Keef. And it once again showcased the glittery domination of electronic dance music with overflow crowds for DJs such as Calvin Harris and Bassnectar.

"Jack White wrapped up the festival by summing up most of the music that preceded him: surf-into-metal-and-back-again guitar solos, erotic co-ed duets, fiddle and pedal-steel-charged country laments, eerie break-up ballads, twisted blues.

"And if that weren't enough, Lollapalooza promoters C3 Presents also announced that the festival would expand to a third foreign location next year - Tel Aviv, Israel, joining Sao Paulo, Brazil, and Santiago, Chile.

"But the eighth annual gathering of the musical nations, which drew a record-tying 270,000 fans to Grant Park, will always be most remembered as the evacuation festival."

And how did festival officials do?

"[P]romoters this year erred on the side of caution in clearing out the park," Kot writes. "There can be little doubt that the weather-related tragedies that befell outdoor concerts last summer had an impact on the decision to evacuate, particularly a stage collapse at the Indiana State Fair that killed seven and injured dozens."

The evacuation made prescient the reporting of Heather Gillers, who wrote for the Tribune last week that "With 270,000 fans expected to swarm Grant Park this weekend for Lollapalooza, the city and the concert promoter have been working for months on a severe-weather plan that takes into account wind, tornadoes, lightning and hail."

But Gillers signaled danger ahead:

"The 2012 Lollapalooza Severe Weather Plan makes emergency decisions a joint process, declaring that 'the internal decision to suspend festival activities and move patrons to a safe area rests with the (promoter) C3 Presents partners, in conjunction with City of Chicago Public Safety Officials.'

"But the written plan is unclear on what would happen if the safety officials and the promoter are in conflict - a situation that can stifle quick decisions. That type of conflict likely contributed to tragedy in the weather-related collapse of a stage structure last year in Indianapolis."

Gillers was the right reporter on the job, according to WBEZ blogger and veteran music scribe Jim DeRogatis, who wrote that "the paper's new investigative entertainment reporter who won nationwide acclaim in her last gig for her coverage of the Indiana State Fair stage collapse."

DeRogatis recalls the stonewalling he got from the city when he tried to report on the matter in 2008.

I haven't researched this year's evacuation performance closely enough yet to evaluate whether Lolla and the city got it right, but I can pass on this red flag from Trib music writer Bob Gendron:


Gillers' immediate report on Saturday night found "No Major Issues, But Little Direction For Lolla Evacuation."

I suspect we'll learn more in the days to come.

UPDATE 12: 17 P.M.: DeRo puts it all together - and it's not pretty.


Tricky Technicalities
One thing the city - led by Mayor Rahm Emanuel, no doubt - got right was extending the festival's 10 p.m. curfew by 30 minutes to give Lolla officials at least a little flexibility in getting things going again. (And Lolla security, as I understand it, only loosely checked for wristbands in order to hustle folks back into the grounds as efficiently as possible.)

Of course, I couldn't help but thinking about how those 30 minutes contrasted with the three minutes in this story, and how rules - and their attendant technicalities - become weapons even in the hands of those who profess to despise red tape and bureaucracy. But that's another item for later this week.

Lolla Dollas
"If you get caught in traffic near Roosevelt Road this weekend or can't find a hotel room, you can thank Lollapalooza," the Sun-Times editorial "board" wrote last week.

"And we mean that sincerely.

"The three-day music festival that kicks off in Grant Park on Friday has turned into a huge boon for Chicago."

Apparently the Sun-Times editorial writers don't keep up with the work of DeRogatis, the paper's former star rock reporter who wrote this in April:

"The new contract that will keep Lollapalooza in Grant Park through 2021 will yield more money for city, county and state governments. But city officials blew the opportunity to eliminate other unfair advantages that the Daley administration gave the politically connected concert in its original sweetheart deal, and to correct problems these create for the city's permanent music scene.

"When the Chicago Park District crafted the new pact, Mayor Rahm Emanuel broke his oft-stated promise to ask the City Council to appoint an independent negotiator to handle any new dealings with Lollapalooza, which is co-owned by Austin, Texas-based concert promoters C3 Presents and William Morris Endeavor, the Hollywood talent agency run by the mayor's brother Ari.

"The Park District secured an extra $1.35 million a year from the festival, which previously benefited from an unprecedented tax-free deal negotiated by its attorney and lobbyist, Mark Vanecko, a nephew of then-Mayor Richard Daley. But it will continue to give the giant concert an exclusive lock on Grant Park, prohibiting similar events by other promoters in the city's biggest public space. It failed to weigh the negative impacts on the Chicago music scene against the profits the festival brings to local hotels and restaurants; it solicited no public input from the music community and did not consult the City Council; it did nothing to address controversial radius clauses that are the most restrictive in the music industry, and it did not set any penalties if Lollapalooza fails to live up to its obligations."


That said, Chicago seems to have become the summer music festival capital of the nation, no? Seems like making a better arrangement for the local industry could only enhance a great marketing asset.


We've got Lolla video and more in our three-part Weekend in Chicago Rock.

Dear White Sox
Nice idea, but terrible execution.

We just landed a rover on Mars, for godsake!

Ye Olde Schaumburg!
Worst Historic District Ever.

The Cub Factor
The remote is now a better friend than ever, our very own Marty Gangler writes in How 'Bout Them Nats?

The White Sox Report
Our very own Roger Wallenstein checks in with a White Sox legend on the great pitch count debate in Pierce vs. Sale.


The Beachwood Tip Line: La vs. blah.


Posted on August 6, 2012

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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