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The [Tuesday] Papers

Is there a quarterback controversy in Chicago? Josh McCown seemed to run Marc Trestman's professional offense with much more precision than Jay Cutler has. Cutler always seems like he's fighting whatever system he's in - reining in his impulses to play backyard gunslinger to fit into a box which doesn't suit him. McCown last night played like he was Trestman's long-lost identical twin. Even quarterback guru and TV analyst Jon Gruden marveled at McCown's ability to come off the bench and run through his progressions in terrifying speed, like he was Peyton Manning with extra sets of eyes on both sides of a head housing a mega-gigabyte brain.

Along the way, Bears fans were treated to a prime example of why having a great offense lead the way in today's NFL instead of a great defense like in the Lovie years is the way to go: The Bears controlled that game. That's what you can do when you have the ball. Offense is proactive; defense is reactive. The Bears controlled the game's tempo and momentum - with a few disruptions like when the Packers' running game got in a groove and when Mike McCarthy outbolded a bold Trestman with that onside kick call - and in the end, on the Bears' final, beautiful drive, it made all the difference.

Of course, there is no quarterback controversy in Chicago. Trestman made sure to say after the game that "When [the doctors] approve Jay to play, then Jay will be back in there" without having been asked. That might be sooner than Bears fans hope - sources are telling reporters that Cutler could be back this weekend against Detroit. That would be astounding, given how most local analysts kept cautioning us that four weeks out was an absolute minimum for an injury was awful as a torn groin. (It would also be vindication for Brandon Marshall, who was skewered by the local sports punditry for suggesting Cutler would be back sooner than everyone expected; Marshall, it was said, was setting up Cutler for the kind of criticism that Derrick Rose faced for not returning from injury last year.)

McCown appears to be a relatively brainy guy who might make for a good coach one day; if you stuck his head on Cutler's body, you'd have superquarterback. Or if you glued Cutler's arm to McCown. McCown does not have Cutler's physical gifts. But then, neither did Joe Montana. In Trestman's offense, though, a rifle for an arm may not be the most important gift to possess.

Still, Josh McCown is Josh McCown. (He's also no Seneca Wallace, thankfully.) McCown had a great night and has served the Bears extremely well. He's also a prime example of why every team in this league needs a savvy veteran as a backup QB, along with any young buck they are trying to bring along.

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Here's the play I can't forget.

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With Marshall, Alshon Jeffery, Martellus Bennett and Matt Forte, the Bears have four potential All Pros just at the offensive skill positions alone. Remarkable.

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For a rundown of the game, see our very own Jim Coffman's Maestros: Marc and McCown.

Millennium Mess
"Former Mayor Richard M. Daley borrowed nearly $30 million to cover the costs of running Millennium Park, loans that started the year after one of his signature achievements opened late and over budget and ended after he left office," the Tribune reports.

"As a result, taxpayers so far have been saddled with $3.5 million in interest costs to keep open the 24-acre showpiece that features gardens, an outdoor pavilion and the Cloud Gate sculpture commonly called the Bean.

"It was an unusual way to pay for day-to-day expenses, akin to a struggling family using a line of credit to pay for groceries. And it's a small amount compared with the billions of dollars in bond money Daley spent in a similar fashion as detailed in a Tribune investigation published Sunday."

I haven't read the Trib's investigation into city bonds yet, but the Millennium Park story alone exemplifies how a) Daley's much-lauded financial management was an illusion and b) the parking meter lease deal wasn't a singular misstep but illustrative of how Daley did business.

Also: Millennium Park was - and remains - an epic disaster no matter how much people have enjoyed and continue to enjoy its attractions. It's not clear at all that it's been economically beneficial to the city, especially considering alternative uses of the land and/or the resources that went into it (as I've long argued to considerable pushback).

Police State Chicago
"For decades, Chicago police officers have filled out a "contact card" after making a street stop, listing the individual's name, age, race and reason for the stop," the Tribune reports.

"Under pressure to reduce violence, police Superintendent Garry McCarthy has been prodding commanders in recent months to increase the use of contact cards, putting 'our hands on people,' as he put in at a meeting earlier this year.

"The result: through the first 10 months of the year, officers had filled out more than 600,000 contact cards, already more than last year and far ahead of 2011 when McCarthy took office.

"Civil libertarians and crime experts are raising concerns that the number of unconstitutional stop-and-frisks are also on the rise as a result."

The rest of the story is behind a paywall, but I can tell you that this has been a contentious issue for years and is a chief driver of mistrust between people in communities where this occurs regularly and police. Essentially, the cops are asking people of color to show their papers.

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Maybe the police are only collecting metadata.

Sunny Payday The Chicago Way
"A D.C. government agency paid a Chicago consulting firm $89,995 for one day of work at a recent city education conference, a fee that included a half-hour keynote speech, three 45-minute parent workshops and hundreds of copies of parenting books," the Washington Post reports.

"The Office of the State Superintendent of Education hired the firm without soliciting or considering other bids, according to an agency spokeswoman. The agency sponsored the Sept. 7 conference in an effort to reach out to parents, using D.C. tax dollars to pay the Chicago firm even as many speakers that day - as well as the keynote speaker at the same conference in 2012 - volunteered."

And now, the big reveal:

"SPC Consulting is headed by Sunny P. Chico, a former U.S. Education Department official who contracts with school systems. She is married to lobbyist Gery Chico, who ran for Chicago mayor in 2011 and serves as chairman of the Illinois State Board of Education."

Here's the contract.

Broomstickets
Street-Sweeping Warning Signs Are Broken, But City Still Issuing Tickets.

Yeah, these didn't work in Wicker Park a few yeas ago either.

MTV Loves Chicago Rappers
Plus: U of C Prof Unearths First Replacements Interview & Illinois' Taylor Swift. In our Local Music Notebook.

Local TV Stations Fear Implied Nudity
Reject ad from notorious furniture store whose spots have inspired spoofs nationwide.

Relief For Forest Preserves Visitors
Sweet Smelling Toilet Technology is here!

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The Beachwood Tip Line: Sweet and sour.



Permalink

Posted on November 5, 2013


MUSIC - The Weekend In Chicago Rock.
TV - Cricket vs. Brexit.
POLITICS - Charter Schools Complicit With Segregation.
SPORTS - USA Gymnastics Bans Illinois Coach.

BOOKS - The Randomness Of Harvard Admissions.

PEOPLE PLACES & THINGS - Public Lands Matter.


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