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The [Wednesday] Papers

"Michael Hastings, the fearless journalist whose reporting brought down the career of General Stanley McChrystal, has died in a car accident in Los Angeles, Rolling Stone has learned. He was 33."


"Hastings' hallmark as reporter was his refusal to cozy up to power."

Shouldn't that be the hallmark of every reporter - and thus, not a hallmark at all but standard operating procedure hardly worth noting?

The fact that it isn't says more about the vast majority of those who work in this business than it does about Hastings.


In Remembrance: Rahm Emanuel vs. Michael Hastings.


"He grabbed me by the arm and wouldn't let go while his bodyguards approached me," Hastings said. "And clearly trying to intimidate me with a threat of physical violence."


Remind you of anything? It did me.

The result was a confrontation in a council hallway that started with a mayoral aide screaming at Waguespack and ended with a red-faced Emanuel exploding in a way that will sound familiar to those - such as Chicago Teachers Union president Karen Lewis - who have experienced being Rahminated. "He just came up a couple, three times and grabbed my arm a couple times, squeezed my elbow," Waguespack recalls. "He dropped the f-bomb a few times . . . no big deal. He did it in a way that was meant to be 'I'm the tough guy.' It just shows you what we're doing has an effect, and it makes him very angry, I guess, just for asking questions and asking for an outside opinion."

A source told me that when Rahm read this he exploded at Waguespack again.


Rahm gets away with assaulting people because the media has portrayed his obvious anger-management problem as colorful. But can you imagine if he was black, as someone once pointed out to me? He'd be described as not only angry, but out of control and a threat to everyone near him. Funny, that.


Rahm And Ari Emanuel Beat Me Up.


A lifelong pattern:


Hastings detested such behavior, as should we all. He was far more honorable than the likes of Emanuel.


"Hastings said he admired 'writers who live their lives with integrity and without compromise,'" the Los Angeles Times reports.

"Mainly you really have to love writing and reporting," he once said in a Reddit chat.

"Like it's more important to you than anything else in your life - family, friends, social life, whatever."


I didn't know Hastings personally, but I wish I did - I admired his work. He will be missed.


Spousal Support
"Mayor Rahm Emanuel accepted $10,000 in campaign contributions from the spouses of two top executives of a longtime city contractor that is also vying to take over the city's beleaguered red light camera program," the Tribune reports.

Just part of the Friends, Family & Spouses plan.


"The mayor's office said Tuesday that he will return one of the two $5,000 donations following a Tribune inquiry - the latest disclosure to raise questions about the limitations of Emanuel's self-imposed order banning political donations from people who have or are bidding for city contracts.

"Last month, Emanuel returned four donations totaling $25,000 and disqualified a company from a city marketing program after the newspaper revealed the contributions from that company's executives."

So the fine print of Rahm's self-imposed order says "unless the media doesn't find out because we're not checking."


"It appears that one of the two donations does not comply with the executive order, and it is being returned," Rahm's spokesflak Sarah Hamilton said in a statement. "This was an oversight, and when oversights are brought to our attention, donations are returned immediately, as is being done in this case."

Italics mine.


"Such a disqualification could prove very costly for David Gupta and the company he founded - System Development Integration - which in addition to seeking the red light contract has collected more than $137 million from various city computer systems contracts over the past decade.

"The mayor's Chicago for Rahm Emanuel campaign fund has reported two contributions from the wives of SDI's top executives, although in neither case is the connection to SDI disclosed by the Emanuel campaign. One $5,000 donation was reported Dec. 28, 2012, from Gupta's wife, Dawn. Campaign records identify her as the founder of a small holistic health company created in September called Balex LLC.

"The other $5,000 contribution to Emanuel was reported Jan. 10 from a woman listed as a 'homemaker' named Debra Diver. She is the wife of Brian Diver, the president and chief operating officer at SDI."

City officials must have thought the same last names were just coincidences.

Oh wait, I forgot, they're not checking.


"In addition to seeking the new business, SDI received a $1.5 million contract in November 2011 from the Emanuel administration to provide a paperless permit system in the city Buildings Department.

"Gupta's company also holds a $40 million city contract to provide tech support and computer maintenance for security systems at both Chicago airports, an $8.8 million contract to maintain the customer service and billing systems at the Water Management Department and a $5 million contract to help fix city payroll issues.

"All those contracts were signed by Emanuel's predecessor, former Mayor Richard M. Daley."


"Gupta, Diver and their wives did not return telephone calls for comment."

A spokesman did, but sometimes a reporter should only accept calls from the actual subjects of news stories, so I'm not even going to repeat what he said.

After all, how could a paid media handler tell us what they were thinking and whose idea it was and what their relationship is with the mayor?

I'd rather just record their denials and evasions and refusals to comment than let someone else speak to them for their own protection.


"According to Dawn Gupta's company website at, Balex was formed to help executives balance their lives through a combination of stress relief, spiritual awareness and exercise. Balex is defined on the website as 'the feeling one gets before and after a burst of enjoyment.'"

Too easy.


"Emanuel has been on a fundraising tear in recent months since saying he plans to seek a second term in 2015, and a number of donations to his two campaign funds raise questions about the limitations of his self-imposed restrictions.

"The mayor has defended taking tens of thousands of dollars from business developers who need his administration's approval for everything from zoning changes and tax breaks to building permits and liquor licenses. In addition, Emanuel has accepted more than $100,000 tied to private equity firm Madison Dearborn Partners, despite its 48 percent ownership interest of a company whose subsidiary got a $6 million city contract from his administration. The mayor's office has said the contract doesn't count under his ban because it was piggybacked on a similar state contract."

In other words, there are really no (self-imposed) rules at all, because Rahm and his team will always find a way around them when they choose to. Self-imposedly.

Aldermanic Hall Of Infamy
"It takes something special to stand out as a dirty alderman in a city that has seen 30 current or former City Council members convicted of corruption since 1972," Kim Janssen writes for the Sun-Times.

"But disgraced former Ald. Ambrosio Medrano managed it Monday, when he became the first to be convicted twice in two separate cases."


Records are made to be broken, kids; some day we'll see an alderman get convicted for the third time, and we will rejoice.

Blackhawks Preview
Forget Hoffa, where's Hossa?

Fantasy Fix
Notes From The Hurt Lockers.


The Beachwood Tip Line: Manage your anger.


Posted on June 19, 2013

MUSIC - Pitchfork Highlights.
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BOOKS - Smokey The Controversial Bear.

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