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The [Tuesday] Papers

Let's take a look at the inbox this morning, shall we?


"Leaders from the Coalition of Immokalee Workers, an award-winning farmworker group, and from the Student/Farmworker Alliance, will be in Chicago this week for three days of workshops, events and protests calling on Trader Joe's to do its part to end human rights abuses in Florida's tomato industry by joining efforts spearheaded by the Coalition of Immokalee Workers (CIW)," the coalition and alliance say in a press release issued this morning.

"The CIW and the nation's four largest fast-food companies, three of the largest food-service companies, as well as grocer Whole Foods, have all reached Fair Food Agreements, which improve pay and work conditions for Florida tomato pickers. Thus far, Trader Joe's has refused to participate in the campaign.

"Recently, the CIW released an astonishing point-by-point rebuttal to a new document on Trader Joe's website that attempts to justify the company's refusal to address farmworker poverty and abuse.

"At events in Chicago this week, allied-worker organizations, students, people of faith and consumers will learn about the part they play in forming a more just food system."

Those events:

Thursday, October 27

3PM - Presentation on The Coalition Of Immokalee Workers at the Jane Addams Hull House Museum, Residents Dining Hall, 800 S. Halsted.

6:30PM - "Sweatshops in the Fields" a presentation with the Coalition of Immokalee Workers and featuring "At What Cost" gallery exhibition by ART WORKS Projects. Caza Aztlan, 1831 Racine Ave.

Friday, October 28

7:00PM - Presentation on the Campaign for Fair Food at Centro Autonomo, 3460 West Lawrence Ave.

Saturday, October 29

3:00PM, LaSalle and Jackson - Teach-in about the exploitation of workers all along the food and hospitality industries. Speakers from the Coalition of Immokalee Workers, ROC Chicago, Unite HERE and the Farmworker and Landscaper Advocacy Project.

4:00PM - March from the Congress Hotel (520 South Michigan Ave, 4:00) to Trader Joe's (1147 South Wabash, 5:00) for a combined protest with Unite HERE and the Coalition of Immokalee Workers.

Now, I've been around long enough to not simply buy the charges against Trader Joe's without investigating on my own. On the other hand, I've been around long enough to know there's a pretty good chance they're true. For what it's worth.

I'm also slightly sensitive to the plight of migrant workers, particularly in Florida. I did some reporting on migrant workers there in my first newspaper job and I've never seen in the 20-plus years since people who work harder - and under such difficult conditions - and almost always just to make a better life for their kids.

And now, the obligatory Harvest of Shame reference. Unfortunately, shame is still warranted.


I worked in Polk County, Florida, which is orange country. I never thought I'd live in a town that smelled like its major industry (did you know Cedar Rapids, Iowa, smells like soggy oatmeal every day) but waking up to the smell of orange factories every morning wasn't half bad.


Speaking of the Jane Addams Hull House Museum, which hosts the first CIW event on Thursday, stop by today at noon for a lunch treat: The Soup of the Day is Sweet Potato Bug Soup. Here's why:

Speaker of the Day: Tommy Wu grew up in China, Germany, Texas, and Alabama, and is now attending the University of Chicago. He is currently working with Matthew Krisiloff, another University of Chicago student, to start a business selling de-shelled insects as an alternative sustainable protein source.

Topic of the Day: In some parts of the world, insects are just another delicious snack, but for most people in the US the idea of plate full of crickets is stomach-turning. At this week's soup, we will explore insects as an ecological animal protein and probe the idea of what makes a food (or anything else) disgusting.

Says the museum: "There will be an option for eating crickets during this week's soup."


Here's a Tommy Wu bug sandwich.


But you know what? They really might have something here.

We privilege certain animals simply because they are cute and cuddly, but what's the difference between eating a cow or your dog (vegetarian and vegan arguments excepted)?

Animal food is animal food. Maybe what Wu and his colleagues ought to do, though, is make their bugs look like McRib. Which is back by the way. Mmmm . . .

I don't care if McRib is made from asbestos and fiberglass, it's one of humankind's greatest inventions. If I had to live forever on a McRib diet, I would die happy. Maybe die soon, but happy.


From Stand Up Chicago!:

A growing coalition of community, religious and labor organizations Monday announced a campaign to derail the Chicago Mercantile Exchange's bid to obtain a massive tax break from Illinois lawmakers in the midst of a catastrophic state deficit caused in part by rampant greed in the financial industry.

The tax break CME seeks would be on top of the $32 million the exchange recently received in corporate welfare from the city.

Stand Up! Chicago, the same movement that organized the Take Back Chicago mass demonstration earlier this month against misconduct in the financial sector, called CME's proposal an exercise in pure, unadulterated corporate greed.

"Corporate greed in the financial industry is exactly what caused the economy to collapse at both the state and federal level," said Stand Up! Chicago spokesperson Elizabeth Parisian. "From stagnant unemployment to rampant foreclosures, average Illinois families - the 99 percent - are already paying the price for policies that allowed financial firms to make out like bandits. CME's proposal would double down on our pain. If Illinois lawmakers cut a tax break on gambling in the futures market, we should all make a big bet against a future recovery for Illinois families."

Stand Up! Chicago warned that already underfunded programs for average Illinois families will be further crippled if the legislature agrees to absolve CME from paying a higher corporate tax rate the state introduced this year. Without CME's $50 million share of the tax increase, average families are certain to see other state-funded programs and services diminished.

"They don't seem to get it," said Penny Peoples, an unemployed certified nursing assistant who marched in the October 10 Take Back Chicago mobilization. "There were 7,000 of us marching for jobs and for fair taxes," she explained. "We marched because we're hurting and because every dollar of corporate welfare hurts us, the folks that have to work for a living and can't find jobs."

"CME is right about one thing - this is an issue of tax fairness. But they've got the equation turned upside down," explained Parisian. "It is grossly unfair to give a tax exemption to a company like CME that is making massive profits on risky financial speculation, while everyone else in Illinois pays more to cover their tax break."

Aided by TIF payouts and city tax breaks, CME posted a profit of over $900 million last year, and broke its own record for profits last quarter. "We got into this mess because politicians gave favorable treatment to big-wigs in the financial industry," said Parisian. "We can't make the same mistake again. We call on Illinois legislature to take a stand against corporate greed - and to stand with the 99 percent of Illinois families that they represent."

Compensation for CME chairman Terry Duffy in 2010: $4,658,683.00.

You only live once, Mr. Duffy. Be a leader. Make us proud. Being a wanker is so boring and I doubt it will make you feel any better about yourself on your death bed.


From No Depression:

Now that Wilco has a new album out (The Whole Love, which dropped on Sep. 27), it seems like a good time to revisit one of our oldest, most tried-and-true forum discussions. What's your favorite Wilco album? It might be interesting to see what other people have had to say about past albums, and how The Whole Love measures up. Did they shoot the moon with this one? Or did they peak with Being There (or something else)? Chime in on that discussion, or simply keep reading for some highlights from the past week . . .

I suppose my favorite is Yankee Hotel Foxtrot because "Jesus, etc.," are you kidding me? "Ashes of American Flags?"

But . . . I do think A.M. is underrated and often tossed off as simply a collection of country-rock songs. They are great songs, of great small moments, be it riding on the passenger side because you've lost your license and need someone to drive you to your chores, or losing your money on a riverboat casino, to keeping your records from a lost love (or bromance with Jay Farrar) in a separate stack.

Like the succeeding departures Being There and Summerteeth, though, there is a certain lack of cohesion about the work - as a record. And maybe a lack of editing.

Yankee Hotel Foxtrot solved that; everything came together except one flaw in a transition between songs that may or may not have been the source of tension between Jeff Tweedy and the late Jay Bennett.

The problem is that Tweedy is a poet without much to say; he's always been one of the most intriguing figures on the musical landscape but he's never really had a point-of-view or burning artistic statement besides that of Rock Fan Turned Rock Star Who Remembers What It's Like To Be A Fan.

I've got the next record after YHF, the egg one, or whatever, and it has some terribly interesting guitar work, but it also bores me - as do the too-cute song titles. After that, I lost interest. I don't think I've listened to a Wilco record since.

And then, of course, there's this, this and this.


And elsewhere in today's Beachwood:

"A proposed rule to the Freedom of Information Act would allow federal agencies to tell people requesting certain law-enforcement or national security documents that records don't exist - even when they do," ProPublica reports.

Why do so many Americans hate democracy?


Chicagoetry: A Wren in a Wreath

A golem of grief.


The Best National Anthem At A Chicago Sports Event This Year

Thank you, Chicago Fire!


The Beachwood Tip Line: Golemish.





Posted on October 25, 2011

MUSIC - Holiday Hullabaloo.
POLITICS - Bank Profits Soaring.
SPORTS - Chicago vs. Michigan, 1903.

BOOKS - Dia De Los Muertos Stories.

PEOPLE PLACES & THINGS - Chicagoetry: West Town Blues.

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