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The [Tuesday] Papers

"Chicago police Superintendent Garry McCarthy said Monday that the father of a 6-month-old girl slain last week on the South Side was not changing his daughter's diaper when she was fatally shot, contrary to what police told the news media on the day of the shooting," the Tribune reports.


"McCarthy said the baby was shot once, not multiple times as published in some reports."

What the Tribune doesn't tell you is that the original account led to speculation (this post made it into a DNAinfo Chicago article, for example) that the baby's father had used her as a human shield as he tried to evade gunfire.

Also missing from this new account is a simple explanation for the police department's misinformation.

Don't get me wrong, mistakes happen. Initial accounts to police aren't always clear. But still, this was a key component to the bathos of the subsequent media narrative.


"McCarthy also corrected previous reports that Jonylah's mother, Judy Watkins, was shot in the knee while pregnant with the girl," AP reports. "McCarthy says Watkins' wife was not shot."


The DNAinfo article also reports that "The Sun-Times has reported that Watkins has been 'unwilling to cooperate' with police in the case - a detail that [the Rev. Corey] Brooks strongly denied at a vigil held for the slain girl at the site of her death."

Indeed, McCarthy says the father is cooperating - though maybe not to the extent police think is possible.


The most important song in hip-hop right now? (Item No. 2.)

Wireless Bill
"A federal agent on Monday drew a link between numerous checks cashed out of campaign funds by Cook County Commissioner William Beavers and his frequent visits to an Indiana casino to play the slots," the Tribune reports.

"Armed with detailed charts, Internal Revenue Service Agent Paul Ponzo testified that Beavers gambled on the day before, the day of or the day after he cashed all but seven of 100 campaign checks from 2006 through 2008. Beavers' spending on slot machines at the Horseshoe Casino was tracked electronically by his VIP player's card."

Maybe you should've worn that wire, Bill.

"Prosecutors zeroed in on one afternoon in April 2007 when Beavers cashed three checks for $2,000 each that he had written to himself from his 7th Ward Organization campaign fund. Ponzo testified that the first check was cashed at 12:05 p.m. and that gambling records put Beavers at a slot machine at the Horseshoe by 12:31 p.m. Beavers lost $2,100 in under an hour, Ponzo testified. Beavers cashed the remaining two checks and stayed at the Horseshoe until late afternoon, Ponzo's charts showed."


My understanding is that a number of Chicago pols gamble at the Horseshoe precisely because it's in Indiana and they are less likely to be recognized. Too bad the casino's full list of VIP players from Illinois isn't FOIA-able; at least keep that money here.


"Ponzo also alleged that Beavers tried to conceal his personal use of the campaign money. The 26-year IRS agent showed checks in which Beavers allegedly amended campaign invoices, crossed out his name on check stubs and instead wrote in a campaign expense such as a bill for printing.

"Ponzo testified that he could find no record of Beavers paying taxes on an additional $68,000 he deposited from a campaign fund into his pension in 2006."


No slots in prison, Bill, but you can always make some dice.

Ward Wars
"Four more City Council committees are now recognizing Chicago's new ward boundaries when it comes to making pivotal decisions impacting, traffic, transportation, housing and licensing, infuriating endangered incumbents, who claim their voters are being 'disenfranchised,'" the Sun-Times reports.

"[Zoning Committee chairman Danny Solis] said he made the decision to end a year of political limbo in response to complaints from developers who 'wanted to start doing business' in Chicago, but were 'confused about who to talk to.'"

That is, in short, bullshit.

It wouldn't be hard to tell developers that until 2015, you deal with the current aldermen and the current boundaries. That's also the law.

"Ald. Nick Sposato (36th) accused his colleagues of disenfranchising voters and overruling the legal advice outlined in a Feb. 2, 2012, memorandum written by Corporation Counsel Stephen Patton.

"In it, Patton cited legal precedent and wrote, 'These cases establish that the 2011 aldermanic elections were for full, four-year terms notwithstanding the intervening redistricting and that these aldermen represent the constituencies which elected them . . . Applicable law provides that the 2001 map, which was in effect for the 2011 aldermanic elections, should govern for the duration of those four-year terms.'"

So what's really going on? Two things, one of which Fran Spielman gets right in her story.

The first is the part about "endangered incumbents."

By sheer coincidence, those happen to be independent aldermen like Sposato.

"Sposato is one of a handful of incumbent aldermen endangered by a map that cut the heart out of his Northwest Side ward and nearly doubled its Hispanic population - from 32 percent to 61.2 percent.

"I was elected to represent people and now they're taking me away from those people and assigning the people who elected me to somebody else. This is illegal and wrong. It's not fair to the people," Sposato said.

The second, as I was recently told by an astute council observer, is that sitting aldermen simply don't need their old constituents anymore. Time to start satisfying those - including developers - who will help them win re-election in two years. Simple as that.

Jail Fail
"Cook County Sheriff Tom Dart says the jail is nearly full, and he's concerned the facility will be bursting at the seams as summer months approach and arrests typically rise with the mercury," the Sun-Times reports.

"Late last week, the jail at 27th and California was almost 96 percent full, with a daily population of 9,721. The capacity is about 10,150."

Dart is missing the obvious solution: Use CPS's formula for utilization to rework the ideal number of prisoners per cell and suddenly you've got all kinds of room.

Miracle Ears
"CEO Byrd-Bennett did not attend any of the hearings."

Short & Sharp
Michelle Shocked hates gay people, won't be performing in Evanston.

Meet The Pita Inn
Sweet baby Mohammad!

Meet Poet Marie Ponsot
The new Poetry Foundation award winner on hip-hop and Hallmark.


The Beachwood Tip Line: Both hip and hop.


Posted on March 19, 2013

MUSIC - Millions Of New Guitar Players.
TV - "One America News" is AT&T.
POLITICS - When Wall Street Came To My Mobile Home Park.
SPORTS - Tonyball, Bears On The Run, Eyes On The Sky & More!

BOOKS - China Holding Swedish Publisher.


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