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The [Thursday] Papers

As I've written here before, I can't bear watching myself on TV, but tonight I will try to give it a go.

For the last two years I have given occasional interviews to local independent filmmaker Brett Schwartz about the state of the media and the state of ye olde Beachwood in the midst of it. I am just one bit player in the final result, Brett's Mashed Media, which airs tonight on Channel 11 at 10 p.m.

Seeing the lineup that comprises the rest of the "cast," as well as this (wrongheaded) write-up by Robert Feder is cause for a little trepidation - Will Brett's exploration go beyond the tired talking points and unvetted claims we've grown accustomed to? Is Bill Adee really the star for creating the gruesome ChicagoNow platform? - but what can you do.

Here's Brett's own synopsis:

"From the front lines of the bankrupt Chicago Tribune, to the vibrant local online publishing and start-up scene, pioneering journalists struggle to reinvent a storied, yet troubled industry. In Mashed Media, we visit bloggers, independent publishers, hacker journalists, and social media mavens working in the trenches of Chicago, providing a rare and intimate look at the future of journalism now."


The film will also air on WTTW's digital HD channel, WTTW Prime, on Friday at 4 p.m.

Brett adds:

"For those of you outside of the Chicago area, it's possible that the film will stream on the station website at later in the week, although that is not currently confirmed. Check the schedules tab on their website for more updates. Thank you all for your support, and enjoy the film."


The best part of it is that I've finally made IMDB!

Casino Roulette
I haven't a clue on the likelihood that a gambling expansion bill including a Chicago casino gets passed in the final stretch of this legislative session - and I think a Chicago casino would be disastrous, as much as I enjoy gambling - but it's kind of a fun parlor game to think about where such a casino would be built.

With a new casino opening soon in Des Plaines (borrring), O'Hare might not be such a great location. The next spot pundits usually point to is McCormick Place - particularly McCormick Place East, officially known as the Lakeside Center.

But then, I hadn't thought of this:

"Lakeside Center is definitely not the place for a casino," MPEA Trustee Jim Reilly said in a statement," the Chicago Journal reports (h/t: Capitol Fax). "Our trade show customers do not want their attendees leaving the show floor during show hours."

I guess putting a casino at McCormick Place rather than at least a short cab ride away would make it a little too easy, even though convention-goers would be our prime target.


I don't go to Las Vegas much anymore, but when I did I spent most of my time at the craps table or in a sportsbook. I would love to be able to do that here - and not on some schmaltzy riverboat. But casinos are also depressing places; yes, the money folks lose can be chalked up to the cost of entertainment, but I doubt very many patrons truly know just how much the odds are stacked against them and in the favor of the house. And when you learn how to beat the odds through perfectly legal means - card-counting, for example - casinos simply refuse to service you any longer. That's the way the games are rigged, and unless that formula changes, I find it hard to condone the industry (any more, that is, than condoning the shenanigans of, say, the oil bidness.)

Casinos also prey particularly on the vulnerable. Our society is funny that way. Billion-dollar corporations spend tons of money trying to seduce people into smoking, drinking. eating unhealthy food, obsessing about sex, and then the folks at the top who get rich off it castigate the very swaths of the public they appeal to most for their lack of character when it comes to their destructive lifestyles.

Let's put another dozen McDonald's' in an impovershed neighborhood while railing against poor people for their eating habits! If only those dummies were strong enough to resist our come-ons for tobacco and booze. State lottery, anyone?

At least those are private companies. They can be regulated, but they are also free to do whatever they want. But government?

Government has no business being in business. Privatizing the lottery is only a management twist; it's still the government's. Regulating casino licenses still makes government responsible; the casinos exist for government's benefit. Casinos exist because lawmakers don't have the courage to design a better tax system. Casinos and lotteries are monuments to the fecklessness of our elected officials.

Rahm Emanuel, like Richard M. Daley before him, says any Chicago casino that is brought forth would have to be city-owned. That inspires confidence. Instead of hired trucks we'll have hired dealers. Of course, the city would then (presumably) put the management of the casino out to bid. I'm pretty sure we could come up with a solid list right now of who would win that contract, along with all the others. Talk about the ultimate insiders game.

And that's before we get to the inevitable - this is Chicago - infiltration by the mob.

If the city and/or the state wants to legalize gambling, fine. Let everyone compete in the market and tax the proceeds - if you could track them. Beachwood Casino would be a blast. We could make it work and use the revenue to fund all the great journalism we could think of.

But what a mess that would be. Can you imagine?

So gambling just doesn't work here, except in its clandestine forms, office pools and OTBs.

Plus, Block 37 is taken.


A faithful reader writes:

"Here's the one way I could stomach it. If they made it a totally elitist, hi-roller, luxury complex a la Monaco or something. Seriously, if they made the price of admission so steep, they'd only get rich people and we could stick it them all ways possible - hotel taxes, food taxes, and gambling losses."

Or we could just bring back Rahm's luxury tax. That sure disappeared quick, didn't it?

What's Your Sector, Victor?
Speaking of the role of government:

"Illinois on Wednesday revealed the names of eight more companies that will receive more than $230 million in incentives over the next decade, out of a total of 27 firms," the Tribune reports.

I've got an idea: Let's privatize the private sector. Then let's let government do the jobs that government is supposed to do - garbage pick-up, parking meters, schools. We've got it backwards, folks.


Hey Pat Quinn, for a couple mil I'll create some jobs too! Why not me?

Birther Madness
Reversible Contraceptives In Demand.

Because you want to get pregnant after all?

I don't understand this world.

Blahgo, Blahgo, Blahgo
Another day, another request for mistrial.


Blahgo to incriminate himself today.

Bulls Wire
Noah Apologizes, Says Anti-Gay Remark Was Totally Gay.


Heat fans already moving on.

Greatest Artist Ever
Dylan, right?

Who else, Shakespeare? Michelangelo? Picasso? Beethoven?

I think Dylan's influence, range and depth goes beyond them all. He's not only mastered but enhanced blues, folk, country and gospel; he practically invented a new lyrical language; his underrated musicality is astonishing (just read what fellow musicians who have been in the studio with him have to say about that); his singing, when he still had his voice, was pure brilliance, despite the naysayers. And his songs, as he himself has shown, are amazingly malleable even as their structures and frames remain intact. It's almost miraculous.

Just take a look at our third and final installment of Chicago Does Dylan (as well as parts one and two). From The Redwalls' take on "Crash on the Levee" to Phil Flowers' souled-up version of "Like a Rolling Stone" to my favorite of the series, Julie Jurgens' "You're Gonna Make Me Lonesome When You Go," it's just a cavalcade of rich interpretations made possible only by the master himself. Could any other artist hold up this way and with so much material?

I'll just use the word astonishing again.

A Very Important Public Service Announcement
Someone please feed Erin Heatherton!

Go Cubs Go
No, really, go.

Pols vs. Teachers
"Are any elected officials who are proposing cuts to teachers' pensions likewise proposing cuts in their pensions?" our very own Ed Hammer wonders.

Adult Swim Now With Lasers
The official channel of Late Night Monday Beachwood announces its new slate of programming.


The Beachwood Tip Line: All ages.


Posted on May 26, 2011

MUSIC - Chief Keef Changed The Industry.
TV - Vizio's Best Product Is You.
POLITICS - UIC: Soda Taxes Work.
SPORTS - More McCaskey Malpractice.

BOOKS - All About Poop.


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