Chicago - Dec. 9, 2019
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The [Tuesday] Papers

On this day in 1990, the National Academy of Arts & Sciences took back the Grammy they had awarded Milli Vanilli the year prior for Best New Band. Of course, even if Milli Vanilli had sang the songs they were actually just lip-synching they would have been far from the best new band of the year; there were undoubtedly a couple dozen bands in Chicago alone better than that factory pre-set of a band, even if some of their songs were undeniably catchy.

But I digress. I'm really here to remind you of the item "Missing Milli" in my August 27 column and to plead once again for cultural literacy in our newsrooms - even if it's culture we don't necessarily like. It's our job to know what's up.

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Which reminds me of the Tribune editorial board's continuing refusal to correct its egregious George Carlin error, which it built an entire editorial around, as noted in this Weekend Desk Report last March. It got the Carlin routine in question exactly, 180 degrees wrong.

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And now that I'm on a cultural literacy rant, I can't help but recall the day in 2010 when Sun-Times columnist Laura Washington ripped film director Kevin Smith for his alleged "headline-hungry rants," an accusation built on the incredible fact that she had never heard of him.

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Oh, here's another one:

I mean, he's a media reporter. Of sorts.

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Look, you don't have to know who everyone is. But if you don't, do a little research before proudly putting your ignorance on display.

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And we all make mistakes. Just don't do so with such an attitude.

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And if you're going to make pop culture references, like to Milli Vanilli or George Carlin, double-check yourself. Or get yourself a better editor. (I'm available for hire!)

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And don't be so arrogant and dismissive and insecure to refuse issuing a correction.

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By the way, why isn't anybody talking about Carli Lloyd again now that the city has come to realize that Eddy Pineiro isn't the answer for the Bears' kicking woes? I only mention Lloyd today because if you click through the link to the "Missing Milli" item you'll also find the video of her easily putting it through the uprights.

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We could go from Eddy Money to Carli "Pink" Lloyd!

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Red Light Districts
SafeSpeed came to dominate the suburban red-light camera market during the last decade by developing deep relationships with public officials," the Tribune reports.

Consider the company's dealings in southwest suburban Justice, where court records show the firm not only was getting a new contract but was enlisting the police chief to act as a consultant to get other towns to do the same for a cut of the proceeds.

SafeSpeed officials instructed him to invite fellow police chiefs to hear a red-light camera presentation at a River North Brazilian steakhouse. Later, records show, the chief had a meeting at a Countryside cigar shop with SafeSpeed officials, including its rainmaker, Omar Maani. As the meeting wrapped up, the police chief had a couple questions: Were his business cards ready? And could he get one of the company's red polo shirts to wear when he pitched their business to his fellow police chiefs?

Justice officials would fire their top cop, Robert Gedville, for what they said was an obvious conflict of interest, soon after the Tribune disclosed his dealings with the village's red-light vendor in 2012.

SafeSpeed, though, continued to enlist some in government to act as sales consultants. Now the company and some of its public sector hires are under federal scrutiny as part of a government corruption investigation - named in federal search warrants along with a company owned by Maani and the Countryside cigar store he frequented.

SafeSpeed was able to put public officials on its payroll without disclosing those relationships because Illinois law does not require red-light camera companies to list who they hire for such jobs. Even video gambling operators have to disclose when they hire government officials.

Red light cameras have been a cash cow for an awful lot of folks. You might even say it's been a classic moneypot, virtually designed for corruption. I mentioned fetcher bills in Monday's column; red light cameras are fetcher infrastructure come to fruition. And guess who they hurt most?

Hint: The same people who are always hurt most.

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See also: David Kidwell's red light camera archive.

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Sweepstakes Bingo
Click through on the "See More" and ponder our world.

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Drug Testing Checkmate
"In an effort to discourage drug use and vaping, a Catholic high school in Ohio has announced plans to begin testing its students for drugs and nicotine, joining what education professionals are calling a growing trend," the New York Times reports.

"Administrators at Stephen T. Badin High School in Hamilton, Ohio, said in a letter to parents this week that the drug-testing program, which they said had been shaped over the course of two years with help from the Archdiocese of Cincinnati, would go into effect in January.

"Students will be tested at least once a year for illicit drugs, alcohol, nicotine and other banned substances, the school said in the letter. There is no maximum number of times a student may be tested . . .

"The debate about whether schools can test their pupils for drugs dates back to before 2002, the year the United States Supreme Court upheld the random drug testing of public school students. The 5-to-4 decision expanded an earlier ruling that endorsed drug testing for student athletes. The case made national headlines after an Oklahoma school district required students who engaged in 'competitive' extracurricular activities - such as the future homemakers' club, cheerleading and choir - to undergo random drug testing."

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Today is a day for reminders!

In the second half of the '90s, when I was a freelancer, I used to report education stories for USA Weekend, among other things.

In 1998, I wrote the piece "Drug Test The Chess Club?"

Just sayin'! It was a growing trend.

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New on the Beachwood today . . .

Behind Lil Zay Osama's "Changed Up"
On Chicago's streets, everyone wants their lick back.

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Illinois' Tully Monster Just Got Weirder
"Then there are its eyes, which protrude outward from its body on stalks."

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A Brief Guide To Rudy Giuliani's Friends In Ukraine
Giuliani's faux anti-corruption efforts involved working with essentially corrupt men.

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Women Love Soccer
An annual survey tells us so.

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How The FCC Can And Should Invest In Fiber Infrastructure
Congress should take the estimated $60 billion the government is about to raise by auctioning part of the satellite television spectrum and invest it in an infrastructure that will last for generations, and propel millions of American households into the 21st century of broadband access.

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ChicagoReddit

Is Chicago welcoming to conservatives and Republicans? What are some conservative/Republican leaning areas of Chicagoland (if any) (preferably with a strong Catholic Community)? from r/chicago

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ChicagoGram

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ChicagoTube

"Like a Virgin" / The Slack-Bonnets at Reggies on Friday night.

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BeachBook

The Surprisingly Big Carbon Shadow Cast By Slender Asparagus.

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I Changed My Body For Sport. No Girl Should.

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Why Art Doesn't Make A Difference On Its Own.

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TweetWood
A sampling of the delight and disgust you can find @BeachwoodReport.

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The Beachwood Tip A Canoe Line: Tip it real good.



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Posted on November 19, 2019


MUSIC - Remembering Juice WRLD.
TV - This Is Why Children's TV Is So Weird.
POLITICS - Protocols Of The Elders Of The Republican Party.
SPORTS - The Bears Are (Not) Back, Baby!

BOOKS - Americans Still Wrong About Climate Change.

PEOPLE PLACES & THINGS - Confessions Of A Chicago Tour Guide.


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