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The [Monday] Papers

"In the grand NFL scheme, Sunday's Bears game meant nothing," our very own Jim Coffman writes.

"Yes, it was aggravating to lose to Aaron Rodgers and the Packers again. And to do so with a division title and a spot in the playoffs on the line! What fun! But this Bears team was clearly not a championship contender."

Note: Coffman will discuss the Bears on WBEZ's Afternoon Shift at 2:45 p.m. today, give or take a few minutes.


Ditka Falls Asleep While On TV
Dreaming Ditka 41, Packers 0.


Party At The NSA


Okay, from now on, let's see some reporting on what information the NSA isn't capturing. Is my toilet safe? My take-out orders? My choice in Pez dispensers?



Federal Judge Just Makes Shit Up
Debunked Bush-era argument revived in NSA decision.


I Worked On The U.S. Drone Program . . .
. . . And The Public Should Really Know What's Going On.


Lou Lang's Loophole
"Illinois lawmakers promised years ago to finally get rid of video poker machines that had long gone unregulated and untaxed in dark corners of bars across the state," the Tribune reports.

"In turn, they legalized video gambling machines that were taxed and tightly controlled.

"But this year, lawmakers quietly approved a one-sentence change to the law - a move that may help usher in a new wave of slotlike machines called 'coupon kiosks,' even in Chicago and certain suburbs where officials have said 'no' to legalized video gambling."

Can anyone write better single sentences than Illinois lawmakers?


"A change in law pushed this year by state Rep. Lou Lang, D-Skokie, is being used to strengthen the legal case for the coupon kiosk machines. Yet Lang never saw the machines he was helping, he told the Tribune, nor had he heard of the controversy they've caused in other states.

"I was just convinced at the time that this was something that looked like a gaming device but wasn't gaming," Lang said. "It was a sweepstakes."

Lou Lang, you are Today's Worst Person In Illinois.


"Lang said the move came in part at the urging of a lobbyist hired by the Casino Law Group, which is now tied to the new coupon kiosks.

"During a House hearing in March, Lang let firm attorney Cory Aronovitz explain the legislation to lawmakers. Aronovitz called it a 'technical cleanup.'"

Cory Aronovitz, you are Today's Worst Liar In Illinois.


"CLG Casino Law Group represents riverboat casinos, operators of video gaming devices, licensed beverage establishments with video gaming devices, manufacturers, distributors and suppliers of video gaming devices, Indian casinos, Internet casinos and casino service industries.

"CLG also appears before regulatory agencies related to licensing and game approvals, litigation on behalf of the casino industry and providing creative solutions to client needs."


"Aronovitz, who was licensed in 1993, was suspended for three months," the Illinois State Bar Association noted in September.

"He failed to properly segregate funds given to him by a third party for investment purposes, converted $5,000 of those investment funds to his own purposes, and made misrepresentations about the investment in a letter to the investor. The suspension is effective on October 16, 2013."


Back to the Tribune:

"A Gaming Board representative didn't oppose the legislation but told lawmakers, 'We don't fully understand it.'"

Oh, Gaming Board.


"The legislation sailed through the General Assembly and was signed by Gov. Pat Quinn last summer."

Was it attached to a parking meter bill?


"The Casino Law Group has contributed $3,500 to Lang's campaign fund, most of it this year. The firm also contributed $5,000 this year to House Speaker Michael Madigan's campaign fund.

"The law firm has written at least three papers that detail why it contends the 'electronic product promotion' kiosks are legal, including one for Windy City Promotions.

"They all cite Lang's law change to help make the case."


Th!nkArt: Agony & Ecstasy
Art meets politics.

The Weekend In Chicago Rock

Zed's Dead, Poi Dog Pondering, Christopher Elam, Jeff Brown and the New Black, the New Originals, Abscissors, Tonic Freight Train, and the Trans-Siberian Orchestra.


The Beachwood Tip Line: Blitz and trap.


Posted on December 30, 2013

MUSIC - Verböten.
TV - The Berlin Tunnel TV Wars.
POLITICS - Loyola's Predatory Lending Bill.
SPORTS - Chicago Should Miss Sam Kerr.

BOOKS - Blow Your Mind.

PEOPLE PLACES & THINGS - Exclusive! Inside That Huge New Starbucks.

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