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« December 2010 | Main | February 2011 »

January 31, 2011

The [Monday] Papers

I'm still working on Rahm's Rules Part 3, which is about the media coverage of the challenge to his residency. Hope to have it up later today.

In the meantime, we're chock full of goodness:

* My Chicago Hedge Fund Manager Was A Fraud.

* Awful Buddy Holly Book By Local Author Gets Inexplicable Sun-Times Rave Even As Holly Himself Rolls Over In Grave.

* The Revenge of Patrick Sharp.

* SportsMonday: All-Star Agitation.

* The Congressman and the Olive Pit.

* Obama's Comcast.

* The Weekend in Chicago Rock.

And now, the news . . .

Blizzard Beer
"The National Weather Service has issued an unusually dire blizzard watch, calling a storm expected to arrive Tuesday afternoon over much of northern Illinois and Northwest Indiana 'dangerous, multifaceted and potentially life-threatening,'" the Tribune reports.

I can't think of a better time to spend your evening at the Beachwood Inn - your winter storm headquarters. I'll be behind the bar from 5 p.m. to 2 p.m. slinging Old Styles and serving up Blizzardtinis. Stop in, the jukebox is already warming up.

Voting Early and Ignorantly
Early voting has started in Chicago's mayoral contest, so be sure to make your selection before all the facts are in.

For example, maybe the White House will be forced to release those minutes from Rahm Emanuel's Freddie Mac board meetings and we'll learn what they're trying to hide.

Or maybe we'll find out that the candidate being lauded as leaving nothing to chance does know who sent Donald Tomczak's illegal patronage troops into the 5th congressional district to get Rahm elected.

("Before joining the White House, Emanuel was elected to Congress with the help of former city water boss Donald Tomczak and former Water Management official Gerald Wesolowski, who were convicted in a probe of illegal patronage hiring at City Hall," the Tribune reported in October. "Tomczak testified and Wesolowski said in a plea agreement that water workers were deployed for Emanuel's congressional campaign and the campaigns of others, including Daley, in exchange for better pay.

"Emanuel maintained he didn't know Tomczak and declined to say what role city workers loyal to Daley played in his first election victory.")

Or maybe we'll come across some new evidence that Rahm didn't "intend" to return to Chicago after all - at least not until Mayor Richard M. Daley announced he wasn't running for re-election - and thus is now in violation of the Election Code's residency requirement.

Who knows what we may yet learn? Drugs, hookers, payoffs, deal-breaking gaffes . . . it's been known to happen.

Or you can just make your choice now and dispense with any pretense of seeing the issues fully aired and the candidates fully vetted. The Sun-Times just did.

A Federal Case
The FBI is looking for Patrick Kane's Stanley Cup-winning puck.

Carol Moseley-Braun Possibly On Crack Herself
FBI urged to investigate once they find Kane's puck.

*

Meanwhile, when asked about the $18 million he made in just two-and-a-half years as an investment banker and the $320,000 he made in just 13 months on the board of Freddie Mac, Rahm Emanuel said he kept taking the money because it was like crack.

Midway Awakens
"An ambitious group of ex-Midway Chicago developers have emerged from the rubble of their former collapsed company to start anew with a fresh independent outfit," Develop reports.

"For at least a year, Chicago-based Phosphor Games has kept quiet about its existence, having taken on contract work for projects such as Bulletstorm, Gears of War 3 and Kinect Adventures.

"Now it is stepping into the spotlight with its own triple-A project - one that is said to be a spiritual successor to a final Midway project that never went Gold.

"Phosphor Games co-founder Chip Sineni told Gamasutra that its first major project, entitled Awakened, is being pitched to publishers."

Boy Scout Pat Quinn Always Does The Right Thing
Except when he doesn't.

Boeing Boeing
"The World Trade Organization handed a report to U.S. and EU officials on Monday, which industry sources said found that plane manufacturer Boeing Co. received billions of dollars in unfair subsidies from the U.S. government," Reuters reports.

Previously:
* Chicago Head Quarters Cited In Boeing WTO Loss

See also:
* Boeing Director William M. Daley Resigns Board Seat

Squat Thrust
"Just days before Naperville officials are set to discuss how to deal with Scott Huber camping outside businesses, the city's infamous squatter has moved to a new spot on the city's Northeast Side," the Daily Herald reports.

"Managers setting up the Show-Me's restaurant and bar at 1126 E. Ogden Ave. said Huber has been spending time outside their establishment for about three weeks.

"On Friday, Huber said he's there to stay and is prepared to boycott and protest the restaurant, which is expected to open next month. He said he believes the restaurant, with its 'scantily clad servers is destroying the city's moral fiber.'"

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The Beachwood Tip Line: Fibrous.


Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 9:24 AM | Permalink

Buddy Holly Turning Over In Grave Reading Awful Book About Him By Local Author

I wasn't going to go out of my way to be mean to Bourbonnais author Gary W. Moore about his new book, Hey Buddy: In Pursuit of Buddy Holly, My New Buddy John, and My Lost Decade of Music, but if Dave Hoekstra is going to give him a rave review in the Sun-Times, I better set the record straight.

This is just about the worst book I've ever read.

But hey, don't take it from me. Take it from his agent, his publisher, his wife and his friend, each of whom tried to warn him.

"Gary, you realize you are changing your time perspective back and forth from chapter to chapter, right? Moore recounts in his author's note agent Tris Coburn asking him.

"Yes Tris, I do." I replied. Silence. "Tris?"

"Yes?

"What's a tense?" I laughed. Silence.

Stop. You're killing me.

And then:

"What exactly are you doing," asked my publisher Ted Savas. The worry about his investment in me and my book was apparent in his voice.

"I'm writing from my heart. Sometimes in real time, sometimes not."

"Oh my God, Gary," he groaned.

And so on.

But it's not just the tense-shifting that is a problem. It's that the story of the author's discovery of Buddy Holly - he's apparently been away on another planet for 50 years - and his subsequent journey to the site of his infamous plane crash is as amazingly boring as might be expected from a guy who had to be schooled by his pals (no kidding) about the Rolling Stones and The Who.

The big tipoff should've been how Moore came to become obsessed with Holly: He saw a Holly impersonator while accompanying his 77-year-old mother-in-law to the annual Winter Dance Party revival in Iowa. Moore became mesmerized - with the impersonator.

An absolutely horrible book idea was born; the ground has been thoroughly trodden.

Of course, Moore takes great pains to repeatedly remind us this is not a biography of Holly - or even about the plane crash. And it's not. It's about Moore's attempt to understand the impact of Buddy Holly's music, an impact he contends is underappreciated by those who already know who the Rolling Stones are.

It might be tolerable - though I doubt it - if it wasn't so poorly written (and dotted with amateur author photos).

So I'm not sure what book Hoekstra was reading when he wrote on Sunday that this is "a thoroughly fun read" and that the book is "crazy good."

It's crazy alright, but not in the good sense.

Here is Hoekstra's example of just how crazy good and thoroughly fun Moore's writing is:

"As they say in Sesser, Illinois, we are attracted to tragic events 'like June bugs to a porch light.' And yet, the very nature that attracts us to tragedy often encourages us to discount logic and fact and refuse to accept that it happened . . . as it did."

Trust me, that's as good as it gets. Which isn't very.

Worse, Hey Buddy is being disingenuously promoted. Yet, Hoekstra falls for it.

"The best part of the 215-page book is where Moore reports conspiracy theories about the gun Holly carried on the plane," Hoekstra writes. "Jerry Dwyer, owner-operator of the charter service where Holly and his entourage boarded the plane, is now 92 [sic; he's 80] and owns pieces of the wreckage. He did not talk to Moore."

Indeed, the inside cover of the book jacket bolds a quote from Dwyer's wife that "the truth has never been told about what happened on that flight."

And the pitch from the PR person who sent me the book included this: "[T]here is new information in the book about the plane crash whose links are below. Who has the airplane that Buddy was killed in? Did Buddy have a gun on board the plane? Were there bullet holes in the seats on the plane? Why wasn't the plane examined more carefully? The book details these questions about Buddy's death and it shows that Buddy Holly still lives in the hearts and souls of people everywhere."

I'll "spoil" it for you right now: Moore merely concludes the same thing that every other credible person has over the years and finds that the story of the plane crash is . . . just as we've been told. The plane went down in bad weather. No conspiracy, no foul play, nothing.

I sent this e-mail to the PR person after finishing the book:

"I have to say I was disappointed with this book. Frankly, not very good. And you and the inside jacket tease the whole plane crash thing but end up with absolutely nothing new but a confirmation of what we already thought. Fortunately for you, there weren't enough Chicago connections to make this worthy of inclusion on my site, meaning you avoid a pan. But thanks for sending it . . . "

Her reply:

"I have to really agree with you about the plane crash thing. The author and publisher wanted to play that up and we were hesitant. But I do think that the book was unique in its approach. Thank you for taking your time to read it."

I'm not so sure the approach was unique, but it certainly wasn't well-executed. Don't waste your time - and beware Hoekstra's future reviews.

-

Comments welcome.

-

1. From Dmitry Samarov:

If nothing else, it may set the world record for times that "Buddy" has been used in a book title. Kudos!


Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 8:26 AM | Permalink

The Weekend in Chicago Rock

You shoulda been there.

1. Brothers Rage at the Kinetic Playground on Friday night.

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2. Curbside The Band at the Metro on Saturday night.

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3. Guster at the Riv on Saturday night.

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4. NiT GriT at Kinetic Playground on Saturday night.

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5. The Gent$ at Subterranean on Saturday night.

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6. Kirkland at the Metro on Sunday night.

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7. Lifeline at the Metro on Saturday night.

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8. The Jayhawks at the Vic on Thursday night.

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 7:50 AM | Permalink

The Revenge of Patrick Sharp

"For Chicago Blackhawks teammates Patrick Sharp, Patrick Kane, Jonathan Toews and Duncan Keith, the plane ride home from the NHL All-Star Game figured to feature a debate over bragging rights," the Raleigh News & Observer reports.

"Kane, Toews and Keith were members of Team Lidstrom, which recorded a 12-11 win over Team Staal on Sunday, but Sharp picked up MVP honors with a goal and two assists for Team Staal in the loss.

"Throw in Saturday's accuracy-shooting mix-up, when Toews beat Sharp after requesting a do-over, and Blackhawks coach Joel Quenneville and assistant coach Mike Haviland taking the loss as the coaches of Team Staal, and it's hard to figure who ended up on top among the Chicago contingent."

*

"By the end of the weekend, nobody had a better time than Sharp, who was named the MVP of the game after a goal, two assists, five shots and a plus-2 rating," the Sun-Times reports. "It may have been in a losing effort, as Nicklas Lidstrom's team defeated Eric Staal's team 11-10, but Sharp did more than enough to show he belongs among the league's best

"Sharp, the Hawks' leading goal scorer, was one of the most notable omissions on the All-Star ballot when it came out in November. The NHL added him to the All-Star Game this month, but being named MVP is vindication.

'''I'd be lying if I said I wasn't a little bothered by it,' Sharp said of the ballot. 'It was motivation to play well. . . . I'm proud to be a Blackhawk in the All-Star Game, and things worked out.''"

Here's Sharp in his post-game interview:

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 6:35 AM | Permalink

SportsMonday: All-Star Agitation

I skipped a couple more All-Star games on Sunday. I think that makes it something like 47 in a row.

Actually, it probably has been more than that after I took a pass on this year's NHL pick-up game and the NFL's Pro Bowl, which started within a few hours of one another. I think the last time I cared enough to consciously tune in and watch was when the Cubs hosted the midsummer classic in 1990.

And then when that game was delayed by rain, genius CBS quickly switched to a jarringly incongruous episode of Rescue 911 and it was clear that my developing disdain for the annual exhibitions and the networks that televised them was utterly justified.

As for this year's events, my initial response to the plan to announce captains and then have them choose up sides for the NHL All-Star get-together was that it was a ridiculous gimmick. But then I spoke to a few people earlier in the weekend who watched the picking process on Friday evening and they enjoyed it (although evidently it was a little long).

So maybe the NHL has a format with some legs. Unfortunately - according to reports - the actual game turned into the same, old defenseless dreck. One of the teams beat the other team 11-10. No thank you.

And apparently the NFC scored the first six touchdowns of the Pro Bowl before winning 50-something to 40-something.

Despite the fact that Pro Bowlers receive a free trip to Hawaii and each player on the losing team is paid more than $20,000 (the winners get more), Lance Briggs and Brian Urlacher announced after the Bears' loss to the Packers that they had turned down their invitation to attend (had they made it to the Super Bowl, they wouldn't have been eligible).

I would have done the same without a second thought . . . had I been invited to the Pro Bowl. I'm sure of it. At least I mostly am.

Baseball took the most radical step to try to invigorate its All-Star game a few years ago when it decided to have it determine home-field advantage in the World Series. The ridiculousness of that move still wounds the psyche of any rational baseball fan. And there really isn't anything else to say.

No mas! No mas All-Star agitation.

Bulls Eye
Moving right along now and diving into some commentary on the hottest team in town, one that enjoyed a boffo weekend and is sitting pretty in the standings, tied with the Miami Heat for the second spot in the Eastern Conference three games behind the Celtics, let's talk about the Bulls. (Fortunately the NBA's All-Star game is still a couple weeks away.)

The Bulls' latest feat was to play so well they got the opposing coach fired. After knocking off the Pacers 110-89 on Saturday night, the team from Indiana announced on Sunday that it had fired coach Jim O'Brien after three-and-a-half years at the helm. Early reports indicated that the last straw was actually a long series of subpar efforts capped off by a mid-week home loss to Orlando in which the Pacers (who are now 17-27) were never competitive. But still, O'Brien didn't have a good night in Chicago.

Most NBA coaches have figured out that to maximize their team's chances, any arguing they do with referees has to be about setting the stage for the next call. If coaches can limit their complaints to ones regarding egregious errors - and if they can voice those complaints in respectful, timely fashion - they have a shot at influencing future calls in their favor. It 's just human nature that many referees, upon realizing that their previous call may have favored one team unfairly, will look to balance things out as soon as possible.

But some coaches clearly can't help themselves and argue more than they should, though it must be acknowledged that there have been instances where coaches have successfully intimidated referees. And sometimes they have to argue because one of their valuable players feels he has been wronged and the coach needs to back him up, perhaps even distracting the referee enough to help the player avoid sanction.

By any measure, though, it was ridiculous that O'Brien walked onto the court and cursed out the referees late in the fourth quarter on Saturday. Maybe he already knew he was on the way out in the larger sense and decided to get an early start on his departure. But it was poor form to essentially force the refs to give him the heave-ho after Josh McRoberts committed an obvious foul on Ronnie Brewer's powerful slam late in the fourth quarter and then followed that up with a flagrant foul, shoving Carlos Boozer almost across the lane on Brewer's ensuing free throw.

I am clearly not an objective viewer but earlier in my career I covered enough high school basketball games in which I did not have a stake in the outcome to develop a decent feel for legitimate complaints about officiating versus partisan complaints. It was clear the refereeing in the Bulls-Pacers game was balanced enough. Or if it wasn't perfectly balanced, it certainly wasn't any more tilted in the direction of the home team than the average NBA contest. And any sort of tilt certainly didn't have any impact on the outcome of the game. The Bulls were clearly the superior team.

Maybe O'Brien was especially frustrated because it seemed as though he had forgotten to bring McRoberts back quickly from a stint on the bench after the power forward was by far the Pacers' best player during the game's first three quarters. Announcers Neil Funk and Stacey King, who have really hit their stride this year, pointed out with seven minutes left in the game that McRoberts had been on the bench for far too long and two minutes later he was still there before O'Brien finally put him back in.

O'Brien can take comfort in one thing: this was probably his last shot at head coaching in the NBA (he was fired early last decade after an initially successful run as the head coach of the Celtics and then had a short stay at the helm of the 76ers). So he probably won't have to mend any fences with officials in order to make sure a team he coaches gets a fair shake in the future.

The victory over the Pacers was a quality result but the win over the Orlando Magic the night before was considerably bigger.

The Magic, led by Dwight Howard, has pounded the Bulls of late. No one in the NBA can really control the outrageously powerful Howard, but he has been particularly tough on the locals. And he was at it again on Friday, dropping in a relatively easy 40 points and grabbing 15 rebounds. But it wasn't enough.

At this point in the season, one thing in particular must be said: I'm sorry, Luol.

I've never been a fan of Mr. Deng's. I thought the Bulls forward simply wasn't tough enough and that he hadn't come close to living up to the large contract he signed with the team several years ago.

But he has had a great season so far and he hit every clutch shot against the Magic.

He also had a real good night on the board and followed it up by dishing out six assists in the first two-and-a-half quarters alone on Saturday against the Pacers.

There is a long way to go but there is plenty of reason to believe the Bulls will contend for the top couple spots in the conference for the rest of the season.

That is considerably better than just about anyone anticipated they would be and while Derrick Rose's excellence has been the primary reason for the team's acceleration, Deng has done everything the team has needed, from great defense on a series of big scorers to one clutch offensive performance after another.

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Jim Coffman brings you SportsMonday in this space every week. He welcomes your comments.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 6:09 AM | Permalink

Indonesian Journal: My Chicago Hedge Fund Manager Was A Fraud

Poof!

One of the last things I did in August before heading to O'Hare for my flight to Jakarta was to cut a check for $5,000 to a hedge fund manager and friend of my mom's named Jim Brandolino.

He'd been managing money for my mother and me for more than seven years, and his little investment pool, based on the quarterly statements he provided, was the only investment I had that was anywhere near successful.

I figured I'd park some additional savings with Brandolino while I was away earning peanuts in Indonesia and tap the funds when I got back for a security deposit and rent on a new apartment.

It seemed like a decent idea. I'd just seen Brandolino at my going-away party the month before and he was in fine fettle: The funds were plodding along, we were making better-than-modest money in a shit market, and Brandolino was working on a book to share his investment strategies with the wider world.

He bought me a beer at the party and toasted my Southeast Asian adventure. To your success, he said.

To my success! A couple weeks ago, Brandolino walked into the U.S. Attorney's Office in Chicago and confessed that his investment empire was in fact a cheap and flimsy fraud.

He mismanaged about half the money he'd been given - some of it from friends of his Italian immigrant parents in Joliet, some of it from people like my mom and me, some of it from west and southwest suburban business owners and working-class stiffs - and spent the rest of it on himself.

The quarterly statements I'd been receiving for years showing regular if sometimes small gains were pure fiction. Make-believe. Criminal.

By the time he walked into the federal building on LaSalle Street, Brandolino had frittered away almost everything he'd taken from investors and was left with little more than a used BMW 7-series, a gaudy Rolex, and an ownership stake in an unbuilt condominium in Greece.

This of course means that Brandolino bought me that drink at Schubas with my own money, and he used my money when he treated me and my girlfriend at the time and mom and my aunt to a last-minute, penthouse skybox ticket to see the Hawks play right before the playoffs last year.

Looking back on the latter, I wish he'd at least sprung for the dessert cart.

He used my money and my mom's money and the money of a couple dozen other dupes to underwrite his trips to southern Europe; to pay for an annual summer dinner cruise for investors that always featured an open bar; to pay the rent on his South Loop condo.

He used our money to promote himself and his business as the chief sponsor of an annual Misericordia fundraiser on Madison Street in Forest Park.

indohedge.jpeg

He spent it on a freelance writer who was supposed to help him complete his masterwork, Train to Trade: What Pros Do Differently. (The book title, as it appears on various websites today, has evolved. Last summer, Brandolino handed out promotional pamphlets for the still-unpublished book that had it subtitled What Pros Do Different. As folks got deeper into the open bar on the dinner cruise, they began carping about the poor grammar of the subtitle. Brandolino was polite about the criticism but clearly annoyed. This was his party, and his book, and he'd call it whatever he wanted. Or not. At some point he gave in and added the adverbial form.)

He used my money and the money of his other victims to reward himself for a life he didn't earn or deserve, and I'll be recovering from his fucking greed and avarice for a long time.

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Brett McNeil is a former Chicago Tribune reporter, Chicago Journal editor, and Fulbright English teacher living in Indonesia. He blogs at The Year of Living Volcanically - where this post first appeared - and is also the Beachwood's Southeast Asia correspondent. He is looking for job leads to help make up for his financial loss and can be contacted through the comments link below.

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Previously:
* Indonesian Journal: Buying Flowers, Burning the Koran
* Indonesian Journal: The Control State
* Indonesian Journal: The Swarm And The Sick House
* Indonesian Journal: It's Funny Until 13 People Die
* Indonesian Journal: The Chicago Way Out Of Vietnam

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 2:12 AM | Permalink

The Congressman And The Olive Pit

Dear Friend,

Though I would prefer to focus your attention on my work dealing with the profoundly important issues that face our nation, such as job creation, getting the economy back on track, and ending the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq - it seems that some are more interested in discussing my personal dental issues. Given the degree of public interest you should know some details:

This injury required nearly two years, three dental surgeries, and a substantial amount of money to rectify.

The legal action you have heard about was filed due to the severity, expense and duration of the dental injury, the complications which followed and which still persist. I wanted to resolve this matter without filing a lawsuit. The events below involved numerous dental visits, more than are detailed in this summary. The dental injury set in motion a chain of dental and medical events.

When I bit into the olive pit, (unbeknown to me at the time), upon impact the tooth split in half, vertically through the crown and the tooth, below the level of the bone. Externally there was no evidence of a break. This was not about aesthetics. The internal structure of the tooth was rendered nonrestorable. Although the pain was excruciating, I shook it off and I went right back to work.

This tooth is a key tooth which anchored my upper bridgework. The injured tooth and the bone above it became infected. I took a course of antibiotics for the infection, had an adverse reaction to the antibiotics which caused me to have an intestinal obstruction and emergency medical intervention.

Later, my dentist referred me to a specialist who informed me that the damaged tooth had to be removed. A third dentist removed the tooth and I was fitted for a temporary partial. I waited for the bone to heal. An implant was placed, but it failed. Many months later still a second implant succeeded. My bridgework had to be completely reconfigured, a new partial was designed, so this injury did not affect only one tooth, but rather involved six replacement teeth as well. A new crown with a new precision attachment was engineered and put in place. To clarify, no dental expenses were covered by any health plan, nor did I have dental insurance that covered the injury, which, until it was resolved, affected my ability to chew food properly.

The clamor for information about this incident requires that I provide at least this much information. I would have liked to provide such details sooner but did not want it said that I was trying the case in the media. So that is why I declined any interviews about the matter.

The parties have exchanged information and after some investigation and discussion have resolved the matter for an amount all parties believe reflects the actual out-of-pocket expenses related to this incident.

The terms of the settlement are confidential; however, I feel that the defendants have responded fairly and reasonably.

I don't want to have to make another dental visit for a very long time, and will be making no further comment on this matter.

Thank you very much.

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 1:11 AM | Permalink

Obama's Comcast

According to press reports, Comcast announced on Saturday that it had assumed control of NBC Universal from General Electric.

The nation's largest cable and broadband provider now has a 51 percent ownership stake in one of the nation's top content producers.

Last week, federal regulators paved the way for the final deal. The Department of Justice and the Federal Communications Commission both approved the merger with conditions.

Immediately following the takeover, more than 20 groups, including Free Press, Media Access Project, Women in Media and News, and the Writers Guild of America East, filed a letter with FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski vowing to "be vigorous watchdogs, monitoring this newly merged media giant, and consistent advocates for the public interest."

They asked the chairman to do the same and expressed concern that the merger would lead to more consolidation, fewer voices and fewer choices for the public.

"This deal is a win for Comcast, General Electric and NBC executives, and a devastating loss to everyone else, and to democracy itself," Free Press President Josh Silver says.

"As of today, Comcast has an Orwellian amount of control over your media experience and your wallet. By controlling both information and the ways people access that information - by cable, broadcast and the Internet - Comcast-NBC can and will block competition, stifle innovation and silence independent, opposing viewpoints.

"Comcast customers can expect to see their bills go up, as they foot the $30 billion tab. And even if you're not a Comcast customer, you're sure to end up paying more. Next, get ready for a merger wave, as other corporations seek out similar mega-deals to try to compete with Comcast-NBC. Putting too much media power in the hands of a single company is bad for the American people and for our democracy."

The Letter

Dear Chairman Genachowski:

We write to express our deep concern with the merger of Comcast and NBC-Universal announced on January 18, 2011.

A merger of this size and scope will have far-reaching effects on consumers, communities and our entire media system for years to come.

The Federal Communications Commission's mandate is to protect and foster the public interest, and we believe that the agency has failed to meet its mandate in the case of this merger.

While we applaud a number of the conditions placed on the merger, none of the conditions attached tip the balance of the scale in favor of the public interest.

We concur with FCC Commissioner Michael Copps that, at the end of the day, "many of the new commitments that have been added aim no higher than maintaining the status quo. The status quo is not serving the public interest."

Our media system already suffers as a result of years of runaway consolidation that diminished the diversity of voices on the air, gutted our nation's newsrooms, and harmed the public interest.

In recent years, during the Federal Communication Commission's ongoing review of media ownership rules, millions of Americans have written the FCC opposing further media consolidation and packed dozens of public hearings to speak out about the decline of media in their communities.

They are not alone. As a candidate, President Obama said, "The Commission has failed to further the goals of diversity in the media and promote localism, and as a result, it is in no position to justify allowing for increased consolidation of the market," and promised to "expand the diversity of voices in media."

The FCC's review of the proposed Comcast-NBC merger is the first test of that promise.

The Comcast-NBC merger is the new face of media consolidation.

As organizations representing hundreds of thousands of diverse, local citizens around the country, we are pledging today to be vigorous watchdogs, monitoring this newly merged media giant, and consistent advocates for the public interest. We ask you to make the same pledge.

The Comcast-NBC merger comes in the middle of your agency's ongoing review of media ownership laws. As you conduct that review, we call on you to conduct a more open, transparent and thorough process that truly engages the public.

The FCC's responsibility is to the public - it is not a deal broker, it is a federal regulator.

Nothing in the record of this proceeding supports a finding that the combination of Comcast and NBC would further the FCC's congressional mandate to promote diversity, localism and the public interest.

It is not enough to adopt Comcast's own voluntary promises and make them enforceable as conditions placed on the merger.

The American people expect and demand better.

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See also:
* Stop Comcast!

* Opposing Comcast

* Regarding Comcast

* Comcast Sucks

* Thank You, Comcast, May I Have Another?

* NBC Now Only Available On Tuesdays Between 1 and 4

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 12:57 AM | Permalink

January 29, 2011

The Weekend Desk Report

Super Bore Sunday Edition
Every year we have to endure the endless days before the Super Bowl. And while this year's NFC Championship Game has left us all feeling a little Phil-Kessel-Without-The-Car, we still have a few suggestions to pass the time.

1. Have A Baby. Apparently, it makes you at least three times better at your job.

2. Earmark Something. Maybe start with a provision to cut your boss's legs off at the knees.

3. While You're At It . . . Some people are positively begging for exactly the same treatment.

4. Party Like An All-Star. Just be sure to wrap it up before you ruin it for everyone else.

5. Assemble A New Offensive Line. After all, 35% beef might actually be an improvement

6. Pull Up The Couch Cushions, Maybe Scrape Up A Little Loose Change. You know, maybe around 85 cents per person . . . treat yourself to something nice.

7. Fire Everyone. And if that doesn't work, try building a billion-dollar monument to yourself. That always buys you some relevance.

8. Tough It Out. Come on, Sissy, even this guy played hurt!

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The Weekend Desk Tip Line: Olive drab.

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CAN TV Weekend Report

Community Forum: Illinois Hunger Coalition
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Diane Doherty and Valerie Bravo of the Illinois Hunger Coalition discuss how the organization works to address the underlying causes of hunger.

Saturday, January 29 at 7:30 p.m. on CAN TV21
25 min

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Mayoral Candidate Forum on Public Housing
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Chicago mayoral candidates discuss their views on affordable, public, and subsidized housing at this forum held by The National Public Housing Museum and The Central Advisory Council.

Saturday, January 29 at 8 p.m. on CAN TV21
2 hr

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The Chicago Mayoral Race
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Ald. Ed Burke (14th) joins a panel of Chicago authors to discuss the mayoral election from a historical perspective.

Sunday, January 30 at 9 a.m. on CAN TV21
1 hr 30 min

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Dr. King Celebration with Beverly Bond
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DJ, philanthropist, and Black Girls Rock! founder Beverly Bond explores the effects of Dr. Martin Luther King's legacy and dream.

Sunday, January 30 at 10:30 a.m. on CAN TV21
1 hr 30 min

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Chicago Mayoral Candidate's Forum on Veterans Affairs
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The Coalition of Veterans Organizations host this forum where mayoral candidates speak on veterans affairs and hear from local veterans about their needs. This program was recorded by CAN TV.

Sunday, January 30 at 7:30 p.m. on CAN TV19
Click here to watch video online.

Posted by Natasha Julius at 9:39 AM | Permalink

January 28, 2011

The [Friday] Papers

This is long but it's worth reading if you truly want to understand what the Illinois Supreme Court did yesterday - especially if you've been paying attention to the ignorant, insipid and downright reckless news coverage by a media cohort that just seems to get worse as we go along: Rahm's Rules: Part 2.

Also:

* The Week in Chicago Rock: It was actually pretty lame.

* FactZone Viewer Has Sad, Pathetic Life: Husband at Red Roof Inn in Pierpont Bay having affair with woman he met on Craigslist.

* The Week in WTF: Roger Ebert lands in the company of Jody Weis & Co.

* Mystery Mayoral Debate Theater is on the way here.

That's gonna be all for today. Isn't it enough?

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The Beachwood Tip Line: A zone of facts.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 11:36 AM | Permalink

Mystery Mayoral Debate Theater

Once again the Beachwood Mystery Debate Theater team of Steve Rhodes, Tim Willette and Andrew Kingsford gathered at Beachwood HQ to bring you the absolute best debate analysis bar none of the big Chicago Tribune/City Club debate moderated by editorial page editor Bruce Dold and WGN anchor Micah Materre.

Well, actually not quite. Despite Tim's plan to surprise us with Big Flats beer (broken here more than a month ago and now finally starting to show up in the lamestream media) and Andrew's plan to surprise us with a Red Baron pizza, we ended up having to watch from our separate domiciles, or residences, or homes. Depending on your definition of each.

Me and Tim still managed to wring some funny out of the proceedings. Let's take a look. (Edited for clarity and comedy.)

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Pregame Chatter

STEVE: Question I hope Gery Chico asks Rahm Emanuel at the debate tonight: "Rahm, I'd like to invite you to my victory party. Now, what address should I mail the invitation to again?"

TIM: I keep coming back to Deep Throat's remark to Woodward in All the President's Men:

"You've done worse than let Haldeman slip away - you've got people feeling sorry for him! I didn't think that was possible!"

TIM AS DOLD: Mr. Chico, a recent poll shows a majority of Chicago voters believes the parking meter deal was a mistake. How do you think Rahm Emanuel would address their concerns?

Game On

DOLD: Was the Rahm residency issue a distraction from the campaign?

CHICO: No, not at all.

STEVE: I barely heard anything about it!

TIM: "The candidate left many personal items in the Hermitage House, including his bed, two televisions, a stereo system, a piano, and over 100 boxes of personal possessions."

I dunno about Rahm, but most of my peers would consider the location of their tunes to be their primary residence. Hell, for some folks, leaving the stereo behind for two years is an automatic disqualification for higher office. What was he thinking?

STEVE: Why is the Blue Man Group sitting behind Dold?

CHICO: I believe in ballot access and I've never challenged anyone in any campaign, including Rahm, who has proposed the single largest tax increase in history.

STEVE: I always thought having a bigger sleazeball than me in the campaign would help, though now I'm not so sure.

DOLD: Do you think politics was in play?

RAHM: The good news is, I've always said, the voters should make the decision.

STEVE: He didn't deny it!

TIM: Let the voters decide, until the ruling goes the right way, and then it's off the table.

STEVE: Let the voters decide, like the time I engineered Tammy Duckworth into a congressional race over the grassroots favorite even though Duckworth didn't even live in the district - though she intended to!

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DOLD: How would you handle the budget crisis?

DEL VALLE: There is waste, fraud and inefficiencies in this budget . . . we have to cut back on deputies reporting to deputies, patronage positions protected by aldermen and other folks, unpaid water bills because someone knows someone . . .

STEVE: This guy is toast.

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DOLD: Mr. Chico, is it a crisis?

TIM: I don't think so. At least, it's not anything I haven't seen before. For instance, recently I was managing partner at Altheimer & Gray.

RAHM: We're gonna go through the budget . . .

STEVE: Candidates are always going to go through the budget, usually line by line. Are we to believe that those holding office never go through the budget?

RAHM: Non-profits should also be paying for water.

RAHM'S INTERIOR MONOLUGE: Good God, I was chief of staff to the leader of the free world, and now I'm debating water reclamation? Is this the job?

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RAHM: I propose a 20 percent reduction in the sales tax in the City of Chicago . . . and a luxury tax on services . . .

CHICO: 9.75 to 9 is not a 20 percent cut.

STEVE: Let's vote for the guy who can do math!

CHICO: . . . your luxury tax, charging the single mom for child care or to take a pet to the groomer to get clipped . . .

RAHM: At the WTTW debate, you said you were for a cut in the sales tax. There you had a completely different position.

CHICO: Oh, I'm for a cut in the sales tax . . .

RAHM'S INTERIOR MONOLOGUE: Good God, one minute I'm wrangling votes for a nuclear weapons treaty and the next it's dog toenails . . .

MOSELEY-BRAUN: It's not just a matter of taxes, but a matter of fees as well . . . the parking meter lease . . .

STEVE: Ding, ding, ding! It took 14 minutes for the words "parking meter lease" to be spoken.

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DEL VALLE: There's been a very oppressive climate created in the City of Chicago . . . we give people the boot for two tickets. Two tickets!

STEVE: Stop interrupting with hard truths.

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MATERRE: How would you modify the Chicago Police Department? And would you fire Jody Weis?

CHICO: In 1993, we brought 1,000 officers onto the force . . . I'm the only one here who's hired a police officer.

MOSELEY-BRAUN: Gery, you can't take credit for what Mayor Daley did.

CHICO: I recommended it to Mayor Daley, you can ask him.

STEVE: He'll just say, "Gee, I dunno."

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RAHM: I helped President Clinton pass the assault weapons ban, the Brady Bill, blah blah blah . . . yes, I do think Jody Weis has to go.

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DEL VALLE: This is not just about adding more police officers, it's about building communities. And you don't build communities with a program here and a program there; you build communities by confronting the issues that are confronting communities on a day-to-day basis, like unemployment.

STEVE: Who let him in here?

DEL VALLE: We need role models in our neighborhoods setting examples for our kids. We need teachers, we need police officers, we need firemen!

TIM: We need mayors!

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CHICO: Anyone who can't figure out how to add 2000 police officers to the streets shouldn't be mayor.

STEVE: Therefore, I call for the impeachment of Richard M. Daley.

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DOLD (wearing a Walmart greeter's vest): The city council resisted Walmart. Is the city in a position to pick and choose?

MOSELEY-BRAUN: The answer comes not from the giants like Walmart but the entrepreneurial sector . . .

DOLD (wearing an oddly happy face): But do you turn your back on the giants?

MOSELEY-BRAUN: You can't have people working for a minimum wage and expect to have a health city . . . we can't have a tale of two cities.

DOLD'S INTERIOR MONOLOGUE: Why not, it's worked so far!

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RAHM: Within the first two months, if elected mayor, I would call big box stores and all business owners into my office . . . and I'm gonna explain the facts of life to them.

STEVE: Which worked so well crafting health care and Wall Street reform.

RAHM'S INTERIOR MONOLOGUE: I can't believe I'm on the ballot!

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MOSELEY-BRAUN: I'm the only person on this panel who's actually started a small business.

CHICO: Ahem.

MOSELEY-BRAUN: Okay law firms, that's difrerent. We can talk about law firms if you want to go there.

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DOLD: Why were your taxes consistently late?

MOSELEY-BRAUN: I was trying to keep a small business going. Other members of this panel paid property taxes late. I held on, and I'm still standing.

DOLD: Who else paid late?

MOSELEY-BRAUN: Rahm paid late.

RAHM: I paid my mortgage late once, two months' late, out of 24 payments.

STEVE: And that's because I hate to mail my check in from Washington!

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MOSELEY-BRAUN: And I paid mine late only when I started up my company. I paid the late penalty . . . and I've balanced my company's budget. I started a business in the inner city, in a food desert . . . I was on a mission.

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DOLD: Rahm, you were on the Freddie Mac board [and made $300K-plus] when there was an accounting scandal. Did you earn the money?

RAHM: That report doesn't mention me at all and I wasn't on the audit committee.

DOLD: You have an ad that says politicians shouldn't get rich on the backs of the people.

RAHM: I was paid what they were paid at the time.

DOLD: Do you feel bad about it? Did you earn it?

RAHM: [punt]

CHICO: I didn't hear an answer.

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MATERRE: What about Altheimer & Gray?

CHICO: I started my small business right after that [bankruptcy] with two people and now I've grown it to 40 people.

MOSELEY-BRAUN: I've never profited from public service. No government contracts, no government loans. Just be honest, Gery, most of your clients are people who do business with the City of Chicago. And you have gone through one revolving door after another. And Rahm, you have gone through one government job and another. There's a bright distinction in this race - how do you see public service? As something to profit from, or something you owe . . .

CHICO: Never has there been a question that I did anything but pursue the public interest.

STEVE: Unbelievably not so.

DOLD: But you do have 89 clients who have lobbied the city or done business with the city.

CHICO: I have proposed a series of ethics reforms that will get to the root of the problem . . .

STEVE: I'll be watching me from day one!

CHICO: . . . that would end the revolving door practice that people feel is so wrong.

STEVE: No one will benefit again from the revolving door the way I have!

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DEL VALLE: I will not accept campaign contributions from businesses doing business with the city. We are known as the state of pay-to-play. Now we've added pay-to-influence - influence the decisions that are going to be made at City Hall. The phone calls that are going to be returned are those who have contributed millions and millions of dollars to these campaigns.

MATERRE: How are you going to stay in the race?

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DEL VALLE: I have a question for Gery. I talked to someone today who was laid off by AT&T and who is going to go back to school, to community college. When you were the chairman of the community colleges, you proposed eliminating the development courses. You're locking out a huge population that is in need of a second or third chance . . . to then transition to college-level courses. Why did you propose that?

CHICO: Of 100 students beginning to purse an associates degree, only seven ever got one. That told us something was wrong with what we were doing.

STEVE: Getting rid of the most needy students seemed like the answer!

CHICO: Students were burning through basic recovery subjects only to get to college-level work and their Pell Grant money ran out.

STEVE: And if they're gonna run out of money, then we don't want them!

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MOSELEY-BRAUN: That is a bright line - your attitude toward privatization of education . . . community colleges . . . charter schools . . . Gery has embraced [privatizing these] over the years.

MATERRE: You oppose charter schools?

MATERRE'S INNER MONOLOGUE: Do you oppose mom and apple pie too? (sniff)

MOSELEY-BRAUN: Not the ones we have already, but I wouldn't focus on more of them instead of our neighborhood schools.

RAHM: Community colleges are the lifeblood of our economy.

STEVE: As opposed to the kind of schools you went to?

CHICO: I'm happy to have ushered in charter schools. Why? Parents were asking for them.

STEVE: White parents. With money.

MOSELEY-BRAUN: If you're going to throw in the towel on public education, you can just hang up the sign on the middle class in Chicago too . . .

DEL VALLE: Some time ago, a decision was made to set up a parallel system of education in the City of Chicago; one track the magnet and selective enrollment schools, the other the neighborhood schools . . .

STEVE: I thought I told you to stop telling hard truths.

*

Each candidate is given a minute to tell us why they should be mayor.

RAHM: Yogi Berra said that when you get to a fork in the road, take it.

STEVE: Oh my God, he's trying to activate his alien army!

CHICO HASKELL: Thank you very much for having us, by the way.

BRUCE DOLD'S INNER MONOLOGUE: The pleasures been all ours, Gery. (eye roll)

CHICO: It takes plans, it takes planning, so we're following a path . . . 16 balanced budgets, with surpluses . . .

STEVE: It just struck me. Chico is the CEO candidate.

MATERRE: What makes you think you would make a good mayor for the City of Chicago?

MOSELEY-BRAUN: Well, I've been friendly with dictators for years, so that's a start.

DEL VALLE: Chicago is ready for reform. It really is!

Postgame Analysis

Two candidates helped themselves in this debate. Gery Chico got beat up a little as things went on, but overall he seemed large enough for the job. He projected authority, knowledge and managerial competence, if not a little sleaziness. He wore a big watch.

Carol Moseley-Braun also acquitted herself well - at least when she wasn't rehashing platitudes at the beginning and the end. She was personable and also projected a largeness of persona and a calm but affable demeanor with a clear set of values and priorities. She probably surprised some folks.

Miguel Del Valle is the most earnest, honest and scandal-free guy in the race, and it showed. He's not slick, but unfortunately he also did not come off as forceful enough to run the city, though that doesn't mean he isn't. He represents true change and reform.

It eludes me how anyone could have been persuaded by Rahm Emanuel. No wonder he's been skipping public forums. He comes across as a little pipsqueak without an original idea other than breaking kneecaps - a side to him (the only side, perhaps) that he tried to keep hidden in the interest of portraying a warmer personality than he has. He was easily the least interesting candidate, outside of the fact that he's Rahm Emanuel. That made him slightly more interesting than del Valle, whom I happen to favor. Who would I like to have a Big Flats beer with? Dock Walls. -Steve Rhodes

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Comments welcome.


Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 10:31 AM | Permalink

FactZone Viewer Has Sad, Pathetic Life

Husband at Red Roof Inn in Pierpont Bay having affair with woman he met on Craigslist.

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 10:23 AM | Permalink

The Week in Chicago Rock

Kind of a lame week.

1. Linkin Park at the United Center on Wednesday night.

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2. Hero Jr. at the Elbo Room on Wednesday night.

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3. Pendulum at the United Center on Wednesday night.

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 9:40 AM | Permalink

The Week in WTF

1. Roger Ebert, WTF?

First things first. I love Roger Ebert. Always have; always will. Almost anything he says about a movie is more likely to be true than otherwise. And we are a more emaciated culture in his absence. Plus, I just like him.

But . . .

While I hope his reborn Ebert Presents at the Movies becomes a colossal TV hit and crowns his career triumphantly, the debut was a hard load to digest. It wasn't hideous; just ungainly.

It was exactly the sort of leaden, odd, mismatched, dissonant production that Ebert once would have called out gleefully for its artistic ineptness.

As the designated critique couple, Christy Lemire and Ignatiy Vishnevetsky seemed to be duct-taped together on an eHarmony-first-date-from-movie-hell. In real life (where nobody is being paid), the dating disaster ends with neither party ever calling the other again. They were two people trapped in monologues dressed as a dialogue.

The circumlocution of Ebert on screen but his "voice" coming from someone else reading his words is, well, just creepy. Sorry. Want to be sensitive. But it's unnerving.

There is unlikely to be any overt criticism of the show from local screening room denizens, most of whom, like Dann Gire seem to have been co-opted into being contributors.

Cultural icons don't need fawning idolatry to validate their place in the world. But it's a tough call. How do you dislike the just-birthed show without seeming to diss Ebert's immense contribution to art? Maybe it will get better. But if it doesn't, not even Ebert's name will save it.

2. Jody Weis, WTF?

Probably no way to save his job because the political tides seem to be crashing against him. One candidate for mayor even tacitly traded his promise for Weis's dismissal and replacing him with a local guy for the police department's endorsement. In the real world, we call that bribery. Emanuel barely missed the happy handshake because the cops say he's more likely to be tough on pension negotiations (Like that's a negative for the general voting public?)

Based only on the motley bunch of namby-pambies who want his scalp delivered on a platter, I have decided - with no particular canine in the hunt - to be on his side.

If it's him or them, I'll take him.

3. The Chicago Police Department, WTF?

The critics and victims derided the four-and-a-half year prison sentence placed upon police torturer Jon Burge for obvious reasons, though they missed the point. He wasn't charged with torture. Too bad. He was charged with lying about it, and, all things considered, four-and-a-half years for perjury is a respectable penalty and considerably more than the minimum. It's the Al Capone Proxy.

But if Burge was rebuked from U.S. District Court Judge Joan Lefkow's bar of justice, she reserved even more stinging scorn for Chicago's police department.

"Seldom have I heard a judge call out a entire police institution for its dishonesty. She was part angry and nearly as much sad about the state of justice the case revealed. No sign of any departmental self-reflection.

4. The Chicago Police Pension Board, WTF?

The Chicago Police Pension Board decision Thursday to let Burge keep his pension was, well, beyond comprehension both from a WTF common sense standard and a legal one.

The four board members who voted to let him keep his $3,039.03 a month stipend because his perjury did not occur when he was a cop. The four board members who voted for Burge to keep his pension are current or former officers elected by Chicago police: Kenneth Hauser, Michael Lazzaro, James Maloney, and Michael Shields. The four who voted against Burge were appointed by Mayor Richard Daley.

According to the Trib, Kenneth Hauser, president of the pension board, said Burge's federal conviction "had nothing to do with things he did when he was on the job. He was retired 10 years when they convicted him . . . It wasn't on charges of what he did when he was a police officer. It was on a lie that he made in front of a civil jury."

Yes, but he lied about torture. The perjury jury ruled in an unambiguous if de facto verdict that Burge could not have been guilty of perjury had he not been a torturer. That's what he lied about.

WTF did not realize that former cops could parse legal distinction as if they were Jesuit lawyers.

Thus, Burge's torture of justice, not to mention the people of Chicago, will continue until he dies. Sometimes yelling WTF! into the night air seems so inadequate.

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 8:57 AM | Permalink

Rahm's Rules: Part 2

Second in a three-part series.

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Part One: Paperclips and petitions.

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The reporting on the Illinois Supreme Court's decision on Thursday to reverse the appellate court and allow Rahm Emanuel on the ballot for mayor hardly does justice - no pun intended - to the weird legal theory employed by the court or to the legal arguments which came before it.

On Monday, in the third and final installment of Rahm's Rules, I'll examine the media coverage of the residency challenge. Today I'll examine the legal arguments from start to finish, starting with a couple reports of Thursday's ruling, then going back to the beginning and circling back to the state supreme court so you can see why the five justices who wrote the majority opinion are so misguided and why the two who disagreed (including Anne Burke) with the majority's approach - mostly in tone - but still sided with Rahm wrote the most reasoned argument of the entire proceedings, though they, too, still got it wrong.

Take a look for yourself.

THE ILLINOIS SUPREME COURT
"'The novel standard adopted by the Appellate Court majority is without any foundation in Illinois law,' read the majority opinion signed by five justices," the Tribune reports.

"The justices found that Emanuel never displayed an intent to permanently abandon his Chicago home, which they said would have been the trigger to render him ineligible. Instead, they said, it was clear that when he went to Washington, he always planned the move to be temporary and to return to Chicago one day."

One day. So he could be gone 50 years and come back a day before the deadline to file petitions and still be deemed a resident? The state supreme court says: Yes.

For those of you who thought common sense was on Rahm's side, you have just entered Bizarro World.

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"The court said the appellate panel hung its decision on a misinterpretation of an 1867 Illinois Supreme Court case involving a judge who temporarily moved to Tennessee but always planned to come back. In essence, the Appellate Court concluded that the 19th century decision didn't cover Emanuel and that residency should be defined as where one rests his head at night.

"The court said the appellate panel seemed to suggest that the Supreme Court in 1867 'did not know what it was talking about.'"

It wasn't quite like that, and I understand the value of precedent, but God forbid we should take the 1867 state supreme court's word as gospel.

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"Agreeing with points made by Emanuel's lawyers, the justices noted that the Appellate Court's rationale would mean congressmen serving in Washington or legislators spending time in Springfield would be ineligible to run for local offices back home."

First, not so. A congressman usually maintains a primary residence in their district; state legislators are only in Springfield during session. The appellate court was not oblivious to that. Second, if that was the case, so what? What if someone working in Washington had to re-establish residence? Third, maybe the answer is to eliminate or overhaul residency law. The question, though, is how current law applies to a current situation.

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"Even someone with a vacation home in Florida might be ineligible to seek Chicago office if they didn't sleep in the city every night for a year before an election. 'Would a week at the second home be short enough but two months be too long?' the court asked."

That is a misrepresentation of the appellate court's opinion; if you had a vacation home you obviously would have a primary residence to come back to, and that would be where you spent most of your time. More to the point: What if you had a vacation home in Florida and you boxed up your belongings and rented out your Chicago home and headed south for two years - or more?

The state supreme court now says you could stay in Florida for 20 years and still be a resident eligible to come "home" and run for mayor. The state supreme court begs the same questions it accuses the appellate court of begging.

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"Veteran Illinois elections lawyer Andrew Raucci said the language used by the high court majority was indeed unusually strong, but he thought the opinion was well-reasoned.

"'I don't know that I agree with the majority's opinion that the law has been settled for 150 years,' Raucci said. 'I believe reasonable people could have differed on that prior to this decision, but they've clarified it now.'"

Have they? As the concurring judges wrote, Raucci is right that residency law has hardly been settled, but they also wrote that the state supreme court has opened up a whole new set of problematic questions.

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"Five Supreme Court justices said an appellate court got it all wrong Monday when it ruled that Emanuel did not meet the residency standard to run for mayor because he hadn't physically lived in his Ravenswood home for a year prior to the Feb. 22nd election," the Sun-Times reports.

"Two other justices - Anne Burke and Charles Freeman - said they agreed Emanuel deserved to be on the ballot, but they warned that the majority's strongly-written opinion Thursday creates such a broad new definition of 'residency' that it threatens laws about police and firefighters having to live in the city, rules about what schools students can attend and who qualifies for in-state tuition at Illinois universities."

In other words, it is the state supreme court that just created new law, not the appellate court.

For example, if I'm a police officer who wants to get around the city's residency requirement, can I rent out my Chicago home and move to the suburbs as long as I signal an "intent" to return to the city one day?

Or, as the appellate court would have had it, should I be required to have a home in the city where I actually live, even if I go on vacation sometimes?

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"The Supreme Court said only two elements are needed for a candidate to establish residency: physical presence and the intent to remain. To maintain residency, the test is no longer physical presence but whether the candidate actually abandoned the residence."

The test is no longer if I live where I say I "live," but whether I've sufficiently "abandoned" where I say I "live." Nice.

*

Again:

"The court gave examples of a city resident with a winter home in Florida, someone with a job that requires a worker to live overseas for several months out of the year, or Illinois politicians that also have condos in Washington or Springfield.

"'Is such a person ineligible for municipal office unless he or she sleeps at the Chicago house every night for the year preceding the election?'' the court asked.

"The court's answer was no."

The supreme court is guilty here of reductio ad absurdum; no one has suggested one must spend every night in the same home to maintain residence

*

"'Once a person has established residence, he or she can be physically absent from that residence for months or even years without having abandoned it,' the court said."

Again, you tell me if this abandonment standards makes sense, and which court's ruling comports more with the spirit of the law and the letter of the law before it is contorted by lawyers.

*

"But attorney Burt Odelson, who filed the challenge against Emanuel's residency . . . strongly disagreed with the ruling, saying the majority opinion 'throws [city] residency laws out the window. It's ridiculous.'"

Odelson is right. Someone can be gone for "even years" and still be a resident qualified to run for public office? How many years? Fifty? And you can move back and rent an apartment during the campaign - or just stay in a hotel? The law says you have to be a resident for a year before the election. We all know what that means. An exception is allowed if you are, for example, drafted into the military. I hardly find accepting the position of chief of staff eligible for an exception; if Rahm intended to come back and run for office, he could have done so within the 12-month time frame. The law isn't supposed to bend for political convenience, which in this case turned on Daley's decision to not run for re-election.

Abandonment as the standard, therefore, is absurd; intent as the second prong is of limited value (and largely consists of mind-reading). All for Rahm.

Am I suggesting politics at play?

I have no earthly idea. But the hysterical tone and obvious inaccurate reading of the case law by both the dissenting judge on the appellate court and the majority on the supreme court - as called out by Burke and Freeman - only makes one wonder why they protest too much. The supreme court went so far as to include a statement to the public that effectively said their decision was based only on the law.

My experience in life is that those who feel prone to make such statements usually belie themselves.

Maybe it's not politics, but the majority seems to be have thought this was a silly case and doesn't seem to have taken it seriously.

But whatever. Let's go back to the beginning, because if you haven't read the reports and court opinions yourself, you've probably gotten the wrong idea from the media coverage.

THE HEARING OFFICER
The media liked to repeat that hearing officer Joe Morris's report was 70 pages to make you feel like it was a work of heft, but the portion dealing with Rahm is really only a few pages; the rest is about three other objections to his candidacy and a description of proceedings. Odelson called it "shallow" and he's right.

Let's take a look at the key passages.

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"The preponderance of this evidence establishes that the Candidate never formed an intention to terminate his residence in Chicago; never formed an intention to establish his residence in Washington, D.C., or any place other than Chicago; and never formed an intention to change his residence."

I have found, as did the appellate court, the attention on intent to be both odd and overblown, but that seems to be the peg that Rahm's lawyers hung their hat on - and everyone went along for the ride.

The mind-reading about Rahm's intentions is not supportable. The fact that he boxed up his belongings and kept them in a crawl space proves nothing; what was he supposed to do, put them in a storage unit instead?

We don't know Rahm's intentions; he could very well have been offered a lucrative position in Washington or a position elsewhere in the administration or a whole host of things we can imagine that would have prevented a move "home."

But Rahm didn't move back - at least to run for mayor - until Daley decided he wasn't going to run for re-election; Rahm clearly did not intend to make sure his residency was established this year.

*

"The Board may take administrative notice of the fact that this is a public office of considerable weight and importance in the life of the nation.

"[N]o elector . . . shall be deemed to have lost his or her residence in any precinct or electoral district in this State by reason of his or her absence on business of the United States, or of this State."

"There is no principled reason to exclude service in the Executive Office of the President or elsewhere in the executive branch from the ambit of 'business of the United States' any more than to exclude service in the armed forces, the diplomatic corps, Congress or the Federal judiciary."

Oh, but there is.

First, it's not clear to me that the law should bend for someone with an "important" job but not for others. Second, the exemption for being on "the business of the United States" must be interpreted narrowly - the military, for example - or else it becomes too vague to apply. Does any job in the federal government apply? What about a postal worker - isn't that the business of the United States? And how long can someone be away on that job?

THE ELECTION BOARD
"Board Commissioner Richard Cowen said the ruling was based on the fact that Emanuel never abandoned his residence in Ravenswood, which he established long before he and his family moved and rented out his home," the Sun-Times reported.

"Cowen said that although state law requires candidates to live in the state for a year prior to the Feb. 22 election, he said case law states that candidates only need to be physically present in the city to establish residency in the first place - not to continue it."

That's one reading of the case law, but another is that "reside" means "live."

*

"Emanuel clearly intended to return to Chicago all along, Cowen said."

Again, not clearly at all. But also, again, who cares?

*

"But Burt Odelson, the main attorney for those objecting to Emanuel's residency, said Morris' recommendation was a 'poor product' that was 'shallow' on facts and case law. Immediately following the board vote, Odelson challenged the decision by filing an emergency request for an expedited hearing with the Cook County Circuit Court.

"Odelson's filing argues that state law requires a 'physical presence'' in the city for the year before the election; the only exception to the law is for those who leave for military service."

And if that's not the law, it should be. So as long as the state supreme court is making new law, it should have made this the standard. It is eminently more sensible - and fitting with the legislative intent of residency laws - than opening the floodgates to all kinds of legerdomain.

*

"Odelson implied that Thursday's elections board ruling had political undertones: he said in previous cases he's argued before the board under similar circumstances, candidates have been thrown off the ballot.

"'The difference is the candidate,' Odelson said.

"Emanuel's attorneys said no two residency cases are the same and Emanuel's national profile, giant campaign war chest and clout at City Hall didn't sway the decision. Any 'Joe Blow' would have remained on the ballot, attorney Kevin Forde said.

"'If Joe Blow was a cook at the White House, he would have won it on [the same] two grounds,' Forde said."

That's my point exactly. Should we really deem cooking at the White House as a call to national service?

*

THE CIRCUIT COURT
"[Cook County Circuit Court Judge Mark] Ballard said Odelson failed to prove Emanuel abandoned his North Side home when he became White House chief of staff," the Tribune reported.

"Ballard also said that 'having a place to sleep,' which was part of Odelson's argument, is not a 'touchstone of continued residence.'"

Again, the court is ruling that having a place to sleep does not constitute residency, but intending to have a place to sleep does!

*

Now let's look at Rahm's intent.

"In a court hearing earlier Tuesday, Odelson invoked George Orwell's novel 1984, comparing Emanuel with Winston Smith, Orwell's fictional government character whose job it was to rewrite history. Odelson noted that Emanuel moved to Washington and filed his taxes from there. He filed as a non-resident in Illinois after renting out his house.

"He also noted that Emanuel didn't get a homeowner's exemption on his Cook County property taxes.

"After deciding to run for mayor, Emanuel amended his tax returns to call himself a full-time state resident. He said the earlier non-resident filing was a mistake by his accountant.

"Emanuel also filed a 'certificate of error' to regain his homeowner's property-tax exemption.

"Odelson told the judge Emanuel's actions amounted to 'I changed history. Now, I am a Chicago resident - Rahm Emanuel.'"

Besides calling intent into question, paperwork "errors" like that usually get candidates thrown off ballots.

*

"Service in the Executive Office of the President satisfies the statutory requirement that it be 'business of the United States," Ballard wrote.

According to who? And what kind of service - does social secretary count? Ballard just made new law.

*

"Odelson may invoke 1984, but Emanuel's case sounds kind of like 2002 in Massachusetts," the Sun-Times reported.

"Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney moved from his home in Belmont, Mass., to Utah in 1999 to run the Winter Olympics. Then he returned to his home in Massachusetts to run for governor in 2002 and found his residency challenged by the state's Democratic Party.

"As in Emanuel's case, Romney had filed his Massachusetts state taxes as a non-resident then amended his taxes to make himself a resident to run. Romney also blamed his accountant. Massachusetts' courts rejected the challenges to his residency and he won the governor's race."

You'd think if such smart people always intended to maintain their residency and return to their home states to run for office that they'd be more careful.

More likely, Mitt and Rahm were keeping their options open. Intent, then, is a lousy way to decide this case.

THE APPELLATE COURT
"The issues in this appeal distill essentially to two: whether the candidate meets the Municipal Code's requirement that he have 'resided in the municipality at least one year next preceding the election,' and, if not whether he is exempt from that requirement under the Election Code provision stating that 'no elector . . . shall be deemed to have lost his or her residence . . . by reason of his or her absence on business of the United States.'"

*

"[A]lthough the supreme court's discussion in Smith was based nominally on principles of 'residence,' it appears form its analysis that it actually applied concepts of domicile . . the supreme court concluded . . . based solely on the officeholders' intent to return, that he retained his 'residence' in Illinois . . .

"Since Smith was decided, however, our supreme court has explained unequivocally that 'it is element that domicile and residence are not synonymous.' As the supreme court further explained in Pope, the legal concept of 'residence' requires a permanent abode. Accordingly, to the extent that Smith might establish that a voter or candidate could meet a residency requirement through intent alone, without any permanent abode, the supreme court has since abandoned Smith's approach. For this reason, along with the above-discussed reasons, we do not view Smith as controlling this case."

*

"As noted, the operative language at issue requires that a potential candidate have 'resided in' the municipality for one year next preceding the election. In its verb form, 'reside' generally means, among other things, 'to dwell permanently or continuously,' or to 'have settled abode for a time.' Webster's Third New International Dictionary 1931 (1993).

"The word is considered synonymous with 'live, dwell, sojourn, lodge, stay put [up], [and] stop,' but it may be the preferred term for expressing the idea that a person keeps or returns to a particular dwelling place as his fixed, settled or legal abode.

"These definitions are not interchangeable for our purposes: our selection of the synonym 'live' as a fair definition of 'resided in' would defeat the candidate's eligibility to run for office, because he most certainly 'lived' outside Chicago for a large part of the statutory one-year period.

"On the other hand, our selection of a conception of 'resided in' more akin to the idea of a permanent abode a person keeps or to which he plans to return - the definition the Board seems to have employed - would lend much greater support to he candidate's position.

"The question for us, then, becomes which of these definitions the legislature meant to invoke with is use of the phrase 'reside in' in the Municipal Code.

"In interpreting a statute, a court should consider, in addition to the statutory language, the reason for the law, the problems to be remedied, and the objects and purposes sought by the law."

Yep, the appellate court is out of control.

*

"Our research into legislative purpose reveals that candidate 'reside in' qualifications of the type now at issue date to our State's first constitution, which imposed upon candidates for the offices of state representative and senator the requirement that they have 'resided' within the area for 12 months (or one year) prior to their election and imposed upon lieutenant governor candidates the requirement that they have 'resided' within the State for two years preceding their election. Similar 'reside in' qualifications have appeared, both in Illinois' constitutions and in its statutes, since 1818. "

*

"As Ballhorn further explains, requirements that candidates 'reside in' the area they would represent 'can only be truly served by requiring such representatives to be and remain actual residents of the units which they represent, in contradistinction from constructive residents. A mere constructive resident has no better opportunities for knowing the wants and rightful demands of his constituents, than a non-resident, and is as much beyond the wholesome influence of direct contact with them . . . In [the candidate residency statute] the language is not, shall be a resident, but it is, shall 'reside within' . . .

"Although nearly 200 years of technological advances since Illinois' first candidate 'reside in' requirements may have obviated much of their necessity, the legislature has not seen fit to alter the relevant language. We believe, therefore, that the initial purpose of the 'reside in' requirement for candidates, and the failure of the legislature to alter that language in the current Municipal Code, strongly indicates that the phrase 'resided in' as used in the Municipal Code requires actual, not constructive, residence."

*

"In Park v. Hood, our supreme court held: 'It is well settled that the terms 'residence' and'permanent abode,' as employed in [the Election Code], are synonymous. [Citations.] A real and not an imaginary abode, occupied as his home or dwelling, is essential to satisfy the legal requirements as to the residence of a voter. One does not lose residence by temporary removal with the intention to return, or even with a conditional intention of acquiring a new residence, but when one abandons his home and takes up his residence in another county or election district, he loses his privilege of voting in the district from which he moved.[Citations.] The question of residence is largely one of intention, and a voter is competent to testify as to his intention, although such testimony is not necessarily conclusive.'

"From the admitted facts in this case, we find that the candidate clearly satisfied the qualifications to be an elector for the February 22, 2011, municipal election. Without addressing the question of whether the Hermitage house constituted the candidate's permanent place of abode while it was under lease, we conclude that the candidate clearly falls within the exception to section 3-1 articulated in subsection 3-2(a); namely, that he absented himself from the City of Chicago onbusiness of the United States and therefore did not lose the voter residency status that he had theretofore established in Chicago

"Having determined that the candidate satisfies the requirement to be an elector, we must still address the question of whether he has 'resided in' the City of Chicago for at least one year next preceding the February 22, 2011, mayoral election; the second requirement for candidacy. As we have observed, the 'reside in' requirement is stated separately from, and in addition to, the requirement that he be a qualified elector of Chicago in order to be a candidate for municipal office. The fact that the two requirements are stated separately and in the conjunctive leads to the inference that the legislature intended that they be considered separately from, and in addition to, each other.This inference is bolstered by language from the remainder of section 3.1-10-5. Subsection 3.1-10-5(d) provides that: 'If a person (i) is a resident of a municipality immediately prior to the active duty military service of that person or that person's spouse, (ii) resides anywhere outside of the municipality during that active duty military service,and (iii) immediately upon completion of that active duty military service is again a resident of the municipality, the time during which the person resides outside the municipality during active duty military service is deemed to be time during which the person is a resident of the municipality for purposes of determining the residency requirement under subsection (a).'

For the point that the Municipal Code's 'reside in' requirement is separate from the residency requirement for an elector, we find particularly interesting subsection 3.1-10-5(d)'s concluding language that its exception applies 'for purposes of determining the residency requirement under subsection (a).' Subsection 3.1-10-5(a) contains only one explicit residency requirement: that a candidate have 'resided in the municipality for one year.' Thus, subsection 3.1-10-5(d)'s reference to 'the residency requirement under subsection (a)' must refer to the explicit one-year candidate residency requirement contained in subsection 3.1-10-5(a) and not the voter residency requirements set forth in sections 3-1 and 3-2 of the Election Code."

In other words, what it takes to establish and maintain residency to remain a voter is a less stringent standards than what it takes to maintain residency to run for office. Which makes sense. When I moved to Chicago, I still had a Minnesota driver's license, even though I had lived in Iowa for the preceding nine months. I was able to vote absentee in Minnesota because that's where I was still registered and didn't get my residency changed to Illinois in time for that year's presidential elections. The law allowed me to maintain voting rights at my last permanent address until establishing a new one. But should the law have allowed me to move back to Minnesota and meet any residency requirements it might have to run for public office just because of a vague "intent" to return some day?

*

"Additionally, subsection 3.1-10-5(d), which we quote above, uses the words 'resident' and 'reside' to different effect. The subsection uses the word 'resident' first to describe the concept of legal residence, by referring to a military serviceperson who 'is a resident of a municipality.' Just after that reference, however, the subsection uses the word 'reside' to refer to the serviceperson's act of 'resid[ing] anywhere outside of the municipality.' This usage of the word 'reside' does not denote the concept of legal residence, but rather the act of actually living somewhere outside the municipality.

"Our interpretation that, in using the phrase 'resides anywhere outside of the municipality' in subsection 3.1-10-5(d), the legislature intended to refer to the act of living somewhere outside the municipality is further supported by the wording of the very next clause of that subsection. The clause refers to a person becoming 'again a resident of the municipality' upon his or her return after military service.

"If the military serviceperson must 'again' become a resident of the municipality, then it logically follows that the person lost his or her resident status at some time prior thereto. The only manner in which subsection (d) contemplates a person losing residency status is by living outside of the municipality."

Someone please tell me how that doesn't make sense, because the state supreme court didn't.

*

"Our second difficulty with the candidate's reading o fsubsection 3.1-10-5(d) is that it is belied by the legislative history underlying the subsection. During debate for the senate bill whose passage added subsection (d) to section 3.1-10-5 of the Municipal Code (see 95th Gen. Assem., Senate Bill 253, 2007 Sess.), Senator Luechtefeld, one of the senators who presented the bill, explained the original version as follows:

"'Senate Bill 253 provides that if a person meets all the requirements necessary to run for municipal office, but their time as an active duty member of the military interrupted the residency requirement, they shall be permitted to run for that office. A . . . situation occurred in my district where an individual was in Iraq and . . . he came back, wanted to run for municipal office, but did not meet the one-year residency requirement. This would simply allow them to come back to that same district, the same ward, and run as if they had beent here.' 95th Gen. Assem., Senate Proceedings, Marcy 29, 2007,at 13 (statements of Senator Luechtefeld).

"'Senator Luechtefeld described the final version of the bill in similar terms: 'If you'll remember, I had a bill that we passed unanimously out of here to allow a person to go into the military and . . . be gone maybe a year or two and then come back to a community and run for office, that he would not lose his eligibility because of residency. The House has changed the bill a little bit, but it passed over there unanimously also.' 95th Gen.Assem., Senate Proceedings, May 31, 2007, at 37-38 (statements of Senator Luechtefeld)

Let us review: Rahm went to Washington with a vague "intent" to come back to Chicago "some day." A member of the military went to Iraq to fight a war, with every intention of coming back, and didn't meet the residency requirement.

*

"This legislative history supports our interpretation that subsection 3.1-10-5(d) of the Municipal Code uses the word 'reside' to mean actually live rather than having legal voting residence, and it further undercuts the candidate's argument to the contrary.

"Based on the foregoing analysis, we conclude that, undersubsection 3.1-10-5(a) of the Municipal Code, a candidate must meet not only the Election Code's voter residency standard, but also must have actually resided within the municipality for one year prior to the election, a qualification that the candidate unquestionably does not satisfy.

"Because the candidate does not satisfy that standard, he may be eligible for inclusion on the ballot only if he is somehow exempt from the Municipal Code's 'reside in' requirement

*

"According to the candidate, he falls within this exception because his absence from Chicago was attributable to his service as the Chief of Staff to the President of the United States. We agree with the candidate that his service constituted 'business of the United States' and thus that this exception applies to him.

"We disagree, however, with his position that the exception saves his candidacy. In our view, the exception embodied by section 3-2 of the Election Code applies only to voter residency requirements, not to candidate residency requirements.

"We base this conclusion largely on the plain language of the Election Code. That plain language limits the reach of the 'business of the United States' exception to 'elector[s]' or their spouses; it makes no mention of 'candidates.'"

And Rahm clearly doesn't fall under Luechtefeld's military provision.

*

"Further, as we have noted, we must interpret statutes 'as a whole, with each provision construed in connection with every other section.' Section 3-2's 'business of the United States' exception is housed not only in the Election Code, but in a portion of the Election Code dealing exclusively with voter qualification, in fact in an Article titled 'Qualification of Voters.'

"As we have noted above, among its provisions regarding candidate qualification, the Municipal Code contains an exception that, for purposes of the candidate residency requirement of subsection 3.1-10-5(a) of the Municipal Code, allows those inactive military service to be deemed residents of a municipality during the pendency of their military service even when they reside outside the municipality during their service. 65 ILCS 3.1-10-5(d)(West 2008) If section 3-2 of the Election Code applied to candidates, then its statement that a person will not lose his or her residence 'by reason of his or her absence on business of the United States' would certainly apply to relax the candidate residency qualifications on those who serve in the nation's armed forces.

"If we were to interpret section 3-2 as applying to candidates as well as voters, then, subsection 3.1-10-5(d) of the Municipal Code would become wholly redundant. Our duty to give meaning to statutory enactments where possible, like our duty to follow the plain language of the statutes we interpret, therefore compels the conclusion that section 3-2 of the Election Code was intended to create a residency exception for voters, not candidates.

"We are not the first to draw the distinction between voters and candidates for purposes of the type of exception contained in section 3-2 of the Election Code. The exception traces to Illinois' founding charter, which imposed a residency requirement on state representatives but excepted those who were 'absent on the public business of the United States.'

"Illinois' next constitution, in 1848, stated the exception three times: once for state representatives (Ill. Const. 1848, art.III,), once for state senators (Ill. Const. 1848, art. III,), and once for voters (Ill. Const. 1848, art. VI).

"The 1848 Constitution thus separately delineated 'business of the United States' exceptions for candidates and for voters. Illinois' next constitution, in 1870, retained the 'business of the United States' exception as it related to voters, yet conspicuously omitted the exception as it related to candidates. (The voter exception was later incorporated into the Election Code (see 1959 Ill. Laws 2168) and was not included in our current constitution.)

"This history tells us that, for purposes of the 'business of the United States' residency exception, this State has for over 150 years recognized a distinction between voters and candidates and has retained the exception only for voters.

"That revelation, combined with our interpretation of the language of section 3-2 and its interrelation with subsection 3.1-10-5(d) of the Municipal Code, convinces us that section 3-2's 'business of the United States' exception applies only to voters, not to candidates.

"Accordingly, it cannot avail the candidate here.

"For the foregoing reasons, we conclude that the candidate neither meets the Municipal Code's requirement that he have 'resided in' Chicago for the year preceding the election in which he seeks to participate nor falls within any exception to the requirement.

"Accordingly, we disagree with the Board's conclusion that he is eligible to run for the office of Mayor of the City of Chicago.

"We reverse the circuit court's judgment confirming the Board's decision, set aside the Board's decision, and, pursuant to Supreme Court Rule 366(a)(5) (Ill. Sup. Ct. R. 366(a)(5) (eff. Feb.1, 1994)), order that the candidate's name be excluded (or, if necessary, removed) from the ballot for the February 22, 2011, Chicago mayoral election."

Pretty persuasive, huh?

APPELLATE JUDGE LAMPKIN'S DISSENT
"The majority acknowledges that the candidate had established a residency in Chicago long before 2009 where he had both a physical presence here and the intent to remain.

"The majority failed, however, to move past the issue of establishing residency to the relevant analysis, which turns on whether the candidate's residency, which he had indisputably held, was abandoned when he worked in Washington, D.C., and leased his Chicago home."

Really? I thought I just read otherwise; that Rahm did not meet the requirements to reside here one year prior to the election, nor qualified for an exemption due to being on the business of the United States. Which opinion is Lampkin reading?

*

"The Board's ruling - that the candidate in 2009 and 2010 did not abandon his status as a resident of Chicago and, thus, remained a resident of Chicago even though he was largely absent from this city from January 2009 until October 1, 2010 - was not clearly erroneous."

Really? I thought I just read that it was.

*

"Intent is an issue of fact, and the majority acknowledges that the Board's fact findings were not against the manifest weight of the evidence. This acknowledgment should have ended this case, and resulted in this court affirming the circuit court's judgment, which confirmed the Board's ruling that the preponderance of the evidence established that the candidate never formed an intent to either change or terminate his residence in Chicago, or establish his residence in Washington, D.C., or any place other than Chicago."

Okay, the problem with this is that Lampkin is saying that because we all agree on the facts - you know, Rahm's whereabouts for the past two years - there is nothing left to argue. To be fair, she's saying that because she thinks Rahm's intent was established to everyone's satisfaction. But her appellate colleagues are saying that's not enough; the facts must now be applied to the law.

In other words, just because we all agree I was speeding doesn't end the case. Maybe there is an exception in the law because I was rushing my (theoretical) wife to the hospital to give birth. Or maybe I want to argue that my speedometer was broken. Or that a speed limit sign was wrong.

Lampkin wants to say intent is enough to satisfy the law; her colleagues are saying that the law itself doesn't say that.

*

"In the foundational case Kreitz v. Behrensmeyer, 125 Ill. 141 (1888), the supreme court stated: 'We have frequently held that when a party leaves his residence, or acquires a new one, it is the intention with which he does so that is to control. Hence the shortest absence, if, at the time, intended as a permanent abandonment, is sufficient, although the party may soon afterwards change his intention; while, on the other hand, an absence for months or even years, if all the while intended as a mere temporary absence for some temporary purpose, to be followed by a resumption of the former residence, will not be an abandonment.'

Again, if we have to abide by an 1888 decision that allows someone to leave their residence for an undetermined number of years - and a decision that isn't clearly about candidates but voters - then we're in a lot of trouble.

*

"In order to have changed one's residence, a person, both in fact and intention, must have abandoned the former residence and acquired a new one by actual residence with the intent to make it a permanent home. Affirmative acts must be proved to sustain the abandonment of a residence, and a temporary absence, no matter how protracted, does not equate with abandonment.

"Because a person may have only one residence for voting purposes, when a person has established a physical presence in two locations, he must make a decision about which location he intends to make his permanent residence.

"As long as he does not seek to 'exercise the rights of property or of citizenship incident to or resulting from permanent residence' at his new location but, instead, continues to exercise those rights, including the right to vote, at his original location, he remains a resident at the original location."

Under this formulation, what do we make, then, of Rahm's decision to file taxes in Washington as a resident and in Illinois as a non-resident? Lampkin doesn't say.

*

"According to the record, the candidate testified that he intended to work in Washington, D.C., for no more than two years. Consistent with that intent, he leased his Chicago home on a short-term basis. Although he and his wife were initially reluctant to lease their Chicago home, they heeded the advice of their friend and real estate consultant to lease the home during their absence for safety purposes. The candidate's intent to work in Washington, D.C., for the limited time frame and then return to his home in Chicago was confirmed by the testimony of three personal friends."

Well, if Rahm and his friends said so!

*

"Furthermore, the candidate never voted in Washington, D.C.,never changed his driver's license to Washington, D.C., never registered his car in Washington, D.C., never purchased property in Washington, D.C., never conducted personal banking in Washington,D.C., and never demonstrated an intent to sell his Chicago home."

Which would be fine if he wanted to come back to Chicago to vote. Lampkin's colleagues show persuasively, though, that the standards to run for office are higher - as they are in many ways. For example, you don't have to collect enough signatures to qualify for voting. You can vote for president while under the age of 35, but you cannot run for president until you reach that age. And so on.

*

"The majority is wrong when it contends the Smith decision was 'based solely on the officeholder's intent to return.' To the contrary, the court, in reaching its determination, considered 'all of the circumstances in evidence,' and not solely the prosecution's failure to establish that the appellant never intended to abandon his Illinois residence.

"Specifically, the court considered the appellant's frequent declarations that his move to Tennessee was only an experiment and he would return to Illinois if he found that he could not remain with satisfaction among the Tennesseans."

In other words, Lampkin says Smith showed intent merely by saying that he would move back one day if he didn't like it there!

*

Further, the appellant refused his partner's request to vote in Tennessee for a particular candidate, saying he did not want to lose his Illinois citizenship."

Which we've dealt with.

*

"The appellant also refused to sell his Illinois law books, saying that he would probably return to Illinois and would need them in his practice."

And I have highway maps of Minnesota. So what.

*

"Moreover, the appellant only rented his residence when he left Illinois. The majority speculates that the supreme court in Smith nominally discussed principles of residence while it actually applied concepts of domicile. Such speculation is baseless and refuted by the text. Although the terms and concepts of residence and domicile were referenced in the prosecution's presentation of the facts and law, in its opinion, the Smith court spoke of residence and never used the term domicile."

Yes, but Lampkin's appellate colleagues are saying that even though they used the term "residence," they were clearly, at times at least, speaking of "domicile," which is something altogether different. Lampkin is merely repeating their mistake.

*

"Furthermore, there is no support for the majority's assertion that the Smith analysis was based solely on intent, which supposedly is 'the defining characteristic of the principle of domicile.' Smith clearly stated 'that, when the residence is lost, it is by a union of intention and acts.'

Fine. We can all agree on that. So?

*

"Clearly, Smith, consistent with Park, analyzed the question of residence not solely based on intent but, rather, 'largely' based on intent."

So be it.

*

"If the legislature had intended the phrase 'has resided in' to mean actually lived in, as the majority proposes, then the legislature surely would have chosen to use the more innocuous word live rather than the verb reside and the noun residence, which are charged with legal implications."

The legislature wanted to use the legal terms. Otherwise we'd be debating what it means "to live" somewhere. I could "live" with a friend. Or I could live in many places without establishing a legal residence.

*

"How many days may a person stay away from his home before the majority would decide he no longer 'actually resides' in it? Would the majority have us pick a number out of a hat?"

How about at least one.

*

"A standard which cannot be defined cannot be applied. If the majority had picked even an arbitrary number of days that voters need not sleep in their own beds before they violated this new arbitrary standard,then at least we would be able to apply this new standard. Should a court consider just the number of days a voter or candidate is absent or are there other relevant factors under the new standard? Apparently, only the majority knows but, for some reason, fails to share it with those charged to abide by it if they want to be a candidate for municipal office."

Wrong. As Odelson argued, you merely must have a place to lay your head. When Rahm's wife was unable to testify at the election board hearing because she was in Washington, where she lives, that should have gotten us most of the way there. The rest of the way was when Rahm had to rent a place from a friend while his house was being lived in by someone else. Rahm still doesn't live in the house he owns here.

*

"The majority's application of a new standard in the instant case shows a careless disregard for the law shortly before an election for the office of mayor in a major city."

As opposed to disregard for the law at a better time? Is this a clue that Lampkin had a pre-existing proclivity to not "interfere" with the election, so to speak?

*

"One can hardly imagine how future potential candidates for municipal office in Illinois will navigate the maze invented by the majority's amorphous standard."

To the contrary: The appellate court lifted the fog from the amorphous standard and the state supreme court pulled it back, as we'll see in Burke and Freeman's missive.

Lampkin also fails to wonder how police officers, firefighters, teachers and others bound by residency rules will feel knowing that they are held to a stricter standard than a moneyed candidate for mayor.

*

"While I strongly believe that the majority's holding is completely erroneous, if the majority were to apply it only prospectively, rather than retroactively to this candidate, therew ould be sufficient time for our supreme court to thoughtfully review it."

Think about the implications of this. The courts are supposed to be, in part, a remedy for complainants and a place to resolve disputes. It is not "retroactive" to apply a finding to a current scenario before the court. No one is asking that we go back and invalidate candidacies of the past. This is the candidacy at issue, but Lampkin seems satisfied to call the candidacy illegal but not act on that finding.

*

"The majority's decision disenfranchises not just this particular candidate, but every voter in Chicago who would consider voting for him."

Now Lampkin is just campaigning. Let the people decide!

But aren't the other candidates and their voters disenfranchised by a decision that allows a candidate to run despite the law? Won't we all be disenfranchised by an illegitimate mayor?

*

THE STATE SUPREME COURT
"[A]lthough the appellate court found that the candidate unquestionably was a qualified elector, it concluded that he did not meet the residency requirement of section 3.1-10-5 because he did not 'actually reside' or 'actually live' in Chicago for the entire year next preceding the election. The court did so without ever explaining what it meant by the terms 'actually reside' or 'actually live.'"

Really? Was it all just a mirage?

*

"Before proceeding to the merits, we wish to emphasize that, until just a few days ago, the governing law on this question had been settled in this State for going on 150 years. In Smith v. People (1867), this court was faced with a question remarkably similar to that which is before us today. Smith, a longtime resident of Illinois, had been appointed a circuit judge by the governor of Illinois, and a quo warranto action was brought to remove Smith from that office on the grounds that he had not been an Illinois resident 'for at least five years next preceding . . . his appointment.'

"The objectors pointed to the fact that Smith had moved with his family to Tennessee for eight months during the relevant five-year residency period. In concluding that Smith's eight-month sojourn to Tennessee did not result in an abandonment of his established Illinois residency, this court explained that, once established, 'residence is lost . . . by a
union of intention and acts' and that 'the intention in many cases will be inferred from the surrounding circumstances.'"

This is really all turning on this Smith fellow and his trip to Tennessee?

*

"Since Smith was decided, the principles established in it have been consistently and faithfully applied in the candidacy context by the appellate court of this State."

As you will see shortly, this simply is not the case.

*

"Baumgartner, 355 Ill. App. 3d 842, 847 (2005) (" '[W]here a person leaves his residence and goes to another place, even if it be another [s]tate, with an intention to return to his former abode, or with only a conditional intention of acquiring a new residence, he does not lose his former residence so long as his intention remains conditional.'"

Right. If I move to New York and it doesn't work out and I'm back here in three months and I still have my driver's license and so forth, I haven't lost the right to vote here. But I might have lost the right to do anything that requires, say, 30 days' residency.

And certainly, the state supreme court isn't suggesting that I could move somewhere for 50 years and rent out a property I own here and keep a few things in a crawl space and maintain my residency is it? Because I think it is.

*

"Thus, from April 1867 through January 24 of this year, the principles governing the question before us were settled. Things changed, however, when the appellate court below issued its decision and announced that it was no longer bound by any of the law cited above, including this court's decision in Smith, but was instead free to craft its own original standard for determining a candidate's residency."

Only we are free to craft our own original standard!

By this standard, the appellate court could never find fault with a previous court decision, or find that it had to clarify past decisions in order to settle a case before it.

*

"Thus, our review of the appellate court's decision in this case begins not where it should, with an assessment of whether the court accurately applied established Illinois law to the particular facts, but with an assessment of whether the appellate court was justified in tossing out 150 years of settled residency law in favor of its own preferred standard. We emphatically hold that it was not."

I can't wait to get to Burke and Freeman!

*

"The Smith principles control this case, plain and simple. With the sole exception of the prescribed time period, the provision at issue in Smith is identical to one the issue at here. Both provide that, in order to be eligible for public office, a person must reside in the relevant jurisdiction for some period 'next preceding the election or appointment.'

"And in both cases, the sole issue presented is whether the person seeking to hold the office in question had abandoned his Illinois residency by virtue of an extended relocation to another part of the country.

"In answering that question in Smith, this court explained that, once established, 'residence is lost . . . by a union of intention and acts' and that 'the intention in many cases will be inferred from the surrounding circumstances.'

"The court then examined the surrounding circumstances, including both Smith's words and Smith's actions, to determine whether Smith had abandoned his Illinois residency. Ultimately, the court concluded that he had not."

It was the law books that got them!

*

"In every relevant way, the analysis that this court employed in Smith is the very analysis that the hearing officer, the Board, and the circuit court below employed, and they were correct in doing so. Smith has never been overruled, and it is directly on point.

"For two reasons, the appellate court concluded that Smith was not controlling authority in this case. Neither of these reasons is convincing. First, the court noted that, because Smith involved a quo warranto action, the burden of proof on the objecting party was higher (clear and convincing) than it is for the objectors in this case (preponderance of the evidence).

"While this is undeniably true, we fail to see how it renders Smith's residency analysis irrelevant, as burden of proof does not impact what a party must prove, but only how well the party must prove it.

"The appellate court's other basis for rejecting Smith was its determination that, 'although the supreme court's discussion in Smith was based nominally on principles of residence, it appears from its analysis that it actually applied concepts of domicile.' In other words, the appellate court concluded that Smith is not binding because this court did not know what it was talking about when it wrote it."

And? I'm sorry the supreme court's ego is hurt at the suggestion that some of its predecessors more than a hundred years ago might have gotten something wrong, but get over it.

*

"All of that said, and putting aside the appellate court's conclusion that Smith is not binding in this case, the appellate court's residency analysis remains fundamentally flawed. This is because, even under traditional principles of statutory analysis, the inevitable conclusion is that the residency analysis conducted by the hearing officer, the Board, and the circuit court was proper.

"The issue in this case is whether the candidate met the statutory requirements to run for and hold elected municipal office, as set forth in section 3.1-10-5(a) of the Municipal Code (65 ILCS 5/3.1-10-5(a) (2008)). That section states, in relevant part:

"'A person is not eligible for an elective municipal office unless that person is a qualified elector of the municipality and has resided in the municipality at least one year next preceding the election or appointment.'

"For present purposes, the critical question is what does this section mean by 'reside[ ] in'? This presents a question of statutory interpretation, which is a question of law subject to de novo review and the rules governing our inquiry are familiar. Our primary goal when interpreting the language of a statute is to ascertain and give effect to the intent of the legislature.

"First, to establish residency, two elements are required: (1) physical presence, and (2) an intent to remain in that place as a permanent home. Second, once residency is established, the test is no longer physical presence but rather abandonment. Indeed, once a person has established residence, he or she can be physically absent from that residence."

If you say so. It's not a law of physics.

*

"The question, then, is whether there is any indication that, in enacting and amending section 3.1-10-5(a) of the Municipal Code, the legislature intended residence to mean anything other than what it has meant in this state for well over a century. There is no such indication. This court has held that '[w]ords used in the Municipal Code, as in any other statute, are to be given their plain and commonly understood meaning in the absence of an indication of legislative intent to the contrary.'

*

"How can this court best construe the residency requirement in section 3.1-10-5(a) of the Municipal Code as to render it consistent and in harmony with the residency requirement contained in section 3-1 of the Election Code? The appellate court's answer was to assign them inconsistent and competing meanings."

To "assign" such meanings or to find that the legislators intended two different things?

*

"How, exactly, this fosters consistency and harmony is unclear, and the appellate court makes no effort to explain."

But they did. Again, was it a mirage?

*

"The far better approach, we believe, and the one that vindicates our obligation to construe the provisions consistently and harmoniously, is to presume that they have the same meaning, that to 'reside[ ] in' means the same thing in section 3.1-10-5(a) of the Municipal Code as it does in section 3-1 of the Election Code."

The far better approach is just to presume? The appellate court went further than that. It analyzed the intent of the law and why it was written the way it was. Apparently it offends to the supreme court to have differing standards of residency for voters and candidates, but as I've shown, it makes perfect sense. And I don't feel disharmonious at all.

*

"But its reasons for departing from over 100 years of settled residency law are hardly compelling and deserve only brief attention."

Yes, let's not spent too much time dwelling over the case before us.

*

"First, as already noted, the appellate court asserts that this court 'has at least once noted the distinction between candidate and voter residency requirements.' In support, the appellate court cites to this court's 1960 pronouncement that the residency requirements set forth in the Municipal Code 'differentiate[d] between electors and those persons who may qualify for municipal office.'

"The intended implication, of course, is that this court has a history of defining residency differently as between candidates and electors.

"What the appellate court fails to mention is that the cited portion of Moran was referring solely to the statutory time periods in the respective local residency requirements (i.e., 30 days for electors, one year for candidates), a 'distinction' that appears on the face of the statute and says nothing about how, as opposed to how long, residency must be established."

The point is that that residency requirements are different between voters and candidates. If "residency" can mean two different things in one case - statutory time periods - certainly it can mean two different things in other instances. The court in Moran didn't presume the meaning must be the same.

*

"By way of final thought on this question, we wish to point out that, while this court's traditional definition of residence may be plugged into the Municipal Code without creating any ambiguity or confusion, the appellate court's new and undefined standard promises just the opposite.

"Although adopting a previously unheard-of test for residency that would have applied to all future municipal elections, the court made no attempt to explain what its standard means.

"The only hint given by the appellate court is that, whatever its standard means, this candidate did not satisfy it. The appellate court never explained what it meant by 'actually reside' or 'actually live.'

"Indeed, as its discussion of section 3.1-10-5(d) reflects, the entire appellate court opinion can be read as nothing more than an extended exercise in question begging, in which the appellate court sets forth the question to be answered as what it means to 'reside,' and concludes that it means to have 'actually resided.'"

Now the supremes are just channeling their inner Lampkins. It seems from passages like this that the court is not only angry about having to take up this case, but that they had already made up its mind. No wonder they didn't want briefs or oral arguments.

*

"The difficulty of applying such a standard is immediately apparent. For instance, consider a Chicago resident who owns a second home in Florida and typically spends a month there every winter. Where is that person 'actually living' or 'actually residing' during the month when he or she is at the second home? Is such a person ineligible for municipal office unless he or she sleeps at the Chicago house every night for the year preceding the election? Is there a time limit with this test? Would a week at the second home be short enough but two months be too long? What about a Chicago resident whose job requires him to spend extended periods of time out of the country every year? Where is such a person 'actually living' or 'actually residing' when out of the country?"

Aaaarrrggh!

*

"Assuming without deciding that the appellate court was correct that the government service exception does not apply to candidates, consider the example of Representatives in Congress who often spend 4-5 days a week in Washington. If a Representative from a Chicago congressional district owns a condominium in Washington, where is that representative 'actually living' or 'actually residing' when Congress is in session? Under the majority's test, would the candidate have been ineligible to run for mayor even during the time he was serving in Congress?"

Not so. But what if it was? So what! Where is the legal argument that congressmen must be availed of the opportunity to run for local office before they qualify for any residency laws that might apply?

THE CONCURRING OPINION
"We join in the majority's decision to reverse the judgment of the appellate court. We do not, however, agree with the majority's reasoning.

"The result in this case is in no way as clear-cut as the majority makes it out to be. The majority states that, in Illinois, 'the legal meaning of residence has been settled for well over 100 years, not only in the very context that section 3.1-10-5(a) concerns (see Smith, 44 Ill. at 23-25), but in virtually every other setting in which this court has construed a legal residency requirement.' This is simply not true."

I think you're going to see here that I'm right.

*

"As this court has noted, the legal term 'residence' does not 'have a fixed and constant meaning' Fagiano v. Police Board, 98 Ill. 2d 277, 282 (1983)); see also Restatement of the Law, Second, Conflict of Laws 11 (1988 Revisions) ('Residence is an ambiguous word whose meaning in a legal phrase must be determined in each case'); W. Reese and R. Green, That Elusive Word, 'Residence,' 6 Vand. L. Rev. 561, 580 (1953) (residence is 'one of the most nebulous terms in the legal dictionary'); Willenbrock v. Rogers, 255 F.2d 236, 237 (1958) ('The words 'resident' and 'residence' have no precise legal meaning although they are favorite words of legislators.')."

And to think that the rest of the supreme court justices just fulminated about the appellate court finding just this.

*

"The majority bases its decision entirely on Smith v. People (1867). As the appellate court correctly noted, the outcome in that decision turned solely on intent, a principle that is consistent with the legal concept of domicile. See Hayes v. Hayes, 74
Ill. 312 (1874)."

And to think the rest of the supreme court justices just fulminated about the appellate court finding just this.

*

"Unfortunately, Smith was not this court's last pronouncement on the issue. Later decisions, namely Pope v. Board of Election Commissioners, 370 Ill. 196 (1938), Park v. Hood, 374 Ill. 36 (1940), and Clark v. Quick, 377 Ill. 424 (1941), each define residence in terms of domicile plus a permanent abode. In other words, under these cases, intent alone is not enough to establish residency."

Imagine that. Intent alone is not sufficient.

*

"Suffice it to say, therefore, that this court has not always spoken clearly on what is meant by residency, and the majority should acknowledge this fact. This is why both sides in this dispute can contend that their respective positions are supported by decades of precedent.

"Indeed, contrary to the majority's assertions, the only thing that is well established in this case is the confusion that has existed on this subject."

Oh my, how they fulminated!

*

"The majority today now makes clear that residency for all purposes is the equivalent of domicile. The majority, therefore, should overrule those portions of Pope, Park, and Clark which hold to the contrary."

It's the majority which is now ignoring precedent and creating a new standard! My how the plot has turned!

*

"It is for this reason that the tone taken by the majority today is unfortunate. Because our own case law was, until today, unclear, it is unfair of the majority to state that the appellate court majority 'toss[ed] out 150 years of settled residency law', adopted a 'previously unheard-of test for residency', or was engaged in a 'mysterious' analysis.

"In order to properly address the parties' arguments, the appellate court had to reconcile this court's conflicting pronouncements on the question of residency. That court did the best it could without the benefit of a supreme court opinion which clarified the standards.

"By refusing to acknowledge the role our own case law has played in creating the dispute before us, the majority unwittingly adds credence to the inflammatory statements contained in the dissenting opinion below.

"The dissenting justice below accused the appellate court majority of engaging in a 'pure flight of fancy', of 'conjur[ing]' its result 'out of thin air', and of having a 'careless disregard for the law'.

"The dissenting justice also stated that the result was a 'figment of the majority's imagination', based on the 'whims of two judges'.

"In other words, the dissenting justice accused the majority of basing its decision on something other than the law.

"When the appellate court's decision was announced, these accusations were repeatedly emphasized in the media (see, e.g., Judicial Arrogance, Chicago Tribune, Jan. 25, 2011, at 14; Rahm Ruling a Disservice to Voters, Chicago Sun-Times, Jan. 25, 2011, at 21), thereby fueling the perception that the appellate court's decision was, in fact, based on extrajudicial considerations. The tone taken by the majority today, and the refusal to acknowledge conflicting case law, unfairly perpetuates that notion.

"Spirited debate plays an essential role in legal discourse. But the majority opinion here and the appellate dissent cross the line. Inflammatory accusations serve only to damage the integrity of the judiciary and lessen the trust which the public places in judicial opinions. The present case, one of obvious public interest, raises difficult questions regarding the legal concept of residency about which reasonable minds may differ. Indeed, as noted above, the meaning of the term 'residency' has puzzled attorneys and judges since the term first appeared in the statute books. The majority and dissenting appellate court opinions illustrate the confusion that has long existed on this issue, which is the very reason for the difficulty in discerning what the General Assembly meant when it used the words 'has resided in' in section 3.1-10-5(a) of the Illinois Municipal Code (65 ILCS 5/3.1-10-5(a) (West 2008)). There is no reason for the majority here to cast aspersions on the appellate court's motivations."

But is there reason now to cast aspersions on Lampkin and her kindred spirits on the supreme court?

*

"Finally, it should be noted that today's decision will raise questions beyond the facts of this case. Because the court holds that residency has one settled meaning, and that meaning rests on a person's intent, today's decision will have implications for residency requirements for in-state tuition, residency requirements for municipal employees such as police officers and firefighters, residency requirements for school districts and other similar situations."

I think I said that!

*

"Because of the breadth of today's decision, we do not join the majority's holding that residency is the equivalent of domicile and that intent, therefore determines residency, even in the absence of any physical presence."

In other words, Burke and Freeman disagree with the entirety of their colleagues' reasoning, and instead agree with the appellate court.

*

"Rather, we would answer the narrow question that was actually raised by the objectors in this case: Does a person lose his permanent abode if the adobe is rented during the relevant residency period?

"To that question we answer 'no.' For that reason alone, we join in the judgment of the majority."

Fine. But why? What if Rahm accepted another position in Washington upon leaving the chief of staff's job and stayed another two years? And another four years after that? Or 40 years, renting out the house he owns here the whole time?

Perhaps the relevant question is simply this: When the law says you must reside in the city for a year before an election in order to qualify, does reside mean reside? I think it does. The intention is that the candidate actually live here - oops, there's those words! - for a year before the election. Rahm Emanuel has not met that requirement. Therefore, I dissent.

-

Next in the series: How the media repeatedly and recklessly got this story wrong.

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Comments welcome.

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1. From a Beachwood reader with good reason to remain anonymous:

Imagine you are a Chicago firefighter and you own a house on the Southeast Side. But you decide to move your family across the state line into nearby Indiana. You enroll your kids in school in Indiana. Then you rent out your Chicago house, but you keep family heirlooms stored there. You keep paying taxes on your Chicago house, you keep your voting address at the Chicago house, etc. Then imagine what happens when the city investigates you for living outside of Chicago?

What if you said "Everything is intent. I fully intend to move back to my Chicago house, therefore I am a resident of Chicago?"

REPLY: And that's what is wrong with Burke and Freeman's position, which carves out a sole exception for renting out one's home. And without that, Burke and Freeman are with the appellate court.

It seems to me that the emergency nature of this decision meant that the court didn't give it full consideration; no briefs, no oral arguments, and no apparent thorough discussion between the judges. Rahm got the benefit of the doubt - a benefit I doubt many others would have gotten.


Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 12:30 AM | Permalink

January 27, 2011

The [Thursday] Papers

"The Illinois Supreme Court justices deliberating the fate of Rahm Emanuel's bid for Chicago mayor are sworn to uphold the state constitution without regard for special interests, yet that same document requires them to run for election in an inherently political system," the Tribune reports this morning.

"While much of the high court's work is done in relative anonymity, the pedigrees of the justices are fodder for debate whenever they tackle high-profile cases with political consequences - from deciding a close governor's race to ruling on the district maps that determine which party will control the Legislature.

"In the Emanuel case, that debate may have been inevitable. Three of the four justices on the court's Democratic majority were endorsed during their careers by the Cook County Democratic Party.

"The head of the party's judicial slating committee is powerful Ald. Edward Burke, 14th, who is supporting Gery Chico in the mayoral race. And Burke is the husband of Supreme Court Justice Anne Burke."

*

"Illinois Supreme Court Justice Anne Burke today rejected the notion that she should recuse herself from deciding on the residency case involving mayoral candidate Rahm Emanuel," Crain's reports.

"'Aren't we beyond that? Women have minds of their own. We have spouses in every kind of business. Are we returning to the days of Myra Bradwell?' she said, referring to the Illinois suffragette who was initially denied the right to practice law because she was a woman. She went on to become the state's first female lawyer."

Huh?

*

Burke's response is not only an arrogant and misguided evasion, it's disingenuous.

"Since being appointed to the Illinois Supreme Court in April 2006, Anne Burke has abstained from voting on three other cases involving the Chicago Board of Election Commissioners, according to court records reviewed by the Chicago Sun-Times and the Better Government Association.

"She 'took no part' in two rulings on Feb. 23, 2007, when the state's high court overturned the election board, ruling that two former Chicago aldermen - Virgil Jones and Ambrosio Medrano - couldn't seek election to the City Council seats they'd lost when they were convicted on corruption charges.

"Justice Burke also abstained on Jan. 19, 2007, when the Supreme Court upheld elections that had banned alcohol sales in two Chicago precincts despite ballots that contained incorrect Chinese-language translations.

"Since Burke joined the court, it has made more than 10,000 rulings. Burke has abstained 99 times - the most on the court, records show."

How sexist. Can't she think for herself?

*

"The justices don't explain why they step aside from hearing or voting on a case, and there's no law or court rule that requires them to do so. Freeman, though, has provided the court clerk with a 'recusal list'' showing potential conflicts of interest that might prompt him to abstain from voting. The court has refused to disclose that list. It's unclear whether the other justices have such 'recusal lists.'

"Justice Burke 'took no part' in two cases involving the city of Chicago, court records show - one involving a condemnation case for O'Hare Airport expansion and the other over the city's emergency medical response to a 5-year-old boy who died."

American Airlines is a client of Ed Burke's law firm; his finance committee settles claims against the city.

*

Ironically, Anne Burke ascended to the state's high court by avoiding the ballot.

*

I'm reminded of the time Rod Blagojevich called the media "Neanderthal and sexist" for stories like this.

Let's not cheapen the charge.

*

"Joseph Tybor, spokesman for the Supreme Court, said it would be unfair to imply the high court is tainted by politics simply because the constitution requires they be elected. 'I challenge you to find one case, or two cases, in which a judicial decision was made because of improper political influence,' he said."

Show us the recusal list and we'll get started.

*

But then, politics would never affect a supreme court decision, especially in Illinois, whose courts have always been pristine.

Rahm's Rules Pt. 1
We're not talking about paperclips and middle initials here; we're talking about the fundamental requirement of residency. Let's make sure our outrage is properly directed - and not ginned up by malevolent forces. First in a series.

The Chicago Mexican-American History Museum
What's it doing inside the Ford City Mall?

Going Postal
Area Man: Chicago Post Office Destroyed Green Bay Tourism Mag.

Kramerica: The Movie
They were going to put an end to maritime oil spills.

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The Beachwood Tip Line: We care about Kramerica.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 9:35 AM | Permalink

Rahm's Rules: Part 1

First in a series.

"A member of the Lemont-Bromberek District 113A school board was disqualified Tuesday from running for re-election after an electoral board determined her nominating petitions were not fastened together," TribLocal Lemont reported earlier this month in "School Board Candidate Removed From Ballot After Paperclip Debate."

*

"Richard Hissong has been knocked off the April 5 ballot while Mario Palacios can continue to run for alderman, the Des Plaines electoral board ruled," TribLocal Des Plaines reported last spring.

"Hissong fell short by one signature of the 41 he needed. He claims one signature was invalidated because it was missing a middle initial.

"'I don't feel it's worth my time and my effort at this point,' Hissong said when asked if he would appeal . . .

"At the hearing, Hissong said he thought he had objected to the finding about the missing initial during the Cook County clerk's review of the signatures, but the electoral board said there is no record of that objection.

"Hissong brought a letter from the voter, claiming she did sign the document. But the electoral said there was nothing it could do now."

*

"He's the second candidate kicked off the ballot. The board earlier ruled that Cliff Matthews didn't follow various procedures.

"The objections to the . . . men, who all filed to run against incumbent Mark Walsten, were made by Ted Roediger, chairman for the 'Citizens for Mark Walsten' committee.

"Besides claiming that Palacios didn't have enough valid signatures, Roediger also objected to 10 additional names because residents wrote 'DP' as part of their address instead of 'Des Plaines.' Roediger withdrew his objections when he learned that even if the names were thrown out, Palacios would have enough valid signatures.

"'I'm not going to be here to nitpick stuff,' Palacios said of the abbreviations, adding that taxpayer dollars were being wasted.

"'If you feel this is a waste of your time, you can say you don't want to run,' Moylan responded."

*

"A Kane County judge Thursday refused to overturn Elgin's decision to prohibit a city council candidate's name from appearing on the ballot this spring," TribLocal Elgin reported last spring.

"David Koldos, 50, had sought a court order to overrule the city's decision. He filed his nominating paperwork with the city clerk on Nov. 22, which was the deadline. But he failed to include a receipt to show he had filed a statement of financial interest with the Kane County clerk.

"He went to the county clerk's office the following day, filed the financial statement, and then attempted to hand it in at Elgin, but the city rejected his nominating package.

"Koldos said he received conflicting information about the filing requirements from the city and the county. But Thursday, Judge Thomas Mueller rejected Koldos' complaint.

"'You admit that you failed to conform to the requirements,' Mueller said. 'Because they are statutory, the court has no authority to bend the rules. They are what they are.'"

*

"Two weeks ago, Andrea Raila was eagerly gathering signatures to her nominating petitions and talking about cleaning up our rancid property tax system once she got elected Cook County Assessor." Ben Joravsky reported for the Reader in November 2009.

"Today, she withdrew from the race.

"Apparently, she didn't gather enough signatures.

"'I got over 12,000,' she said.

"And?

"'I needed 16,000.'

"Actually, she needed 8,147 signatures to be exact. But rule of thumb is that she needed at least twice as many signatures as the law requires in order to survive a challenge she knew was coming from Joe Berrios, who is, among other things, the chairman of the Cook County Democratic Party, a long-serving commissioner of the property tax board of review, and the front runner in the race to succeed Jim Houlihan as assessor. Houlihan is not running for re-election.

"Soon after Raila submitted her petitions last week they were scrutinized by First Ward Democratic Committeeman Jesse Juarez, a Joe Berrios ally. Raila saw the writing on the wall.

"'I was proud of getting 12,000, but once I saw someone had pulled them I knew they probably wouldn't be enough,' she says. 'I talked to my family and supporters and my lawyer [Richard Means] and I decided that it would be too risky and expensive to go through the challenge.'"

*

Raila was the reformer in the race long before Forrest Claypool jumped in.

So by all means, let's kick people off the ballot for paperclips and middle initials, but Rahm's Emanuel's residency? How dare you subvert democracy!

The Chicago Way
Ballot challenges are such an ingrained aspect of Chicago (and Illinois) political life that the Chicago News Cooperative recently promoted its subscriber-only coverage of the filings thusly:

"Monday at 9:00 am is the opening of ballot petition filing in Chicago. Early And Often will be there to cover the news as it breaks. Our petition filing coverage will be free to the public: We're opening this coverage to non-subscribers because Chicago's 'election before the election' is too important for anyone to miss."

And, of course, our ersatz reformer hometown president won his first elected office in Illinois by knocking all of his four Democratic opponents off the ballot - right after completing his work expanding voter registration.

"A close examination of Obama's first campaign clouds the image he has cultivated throughout his political career: The man now running for president on a message of giving a voice to the voiceless first entered public office not by leveling the playing field, but by clearing it," the Tribune reported in its "Making of a Candidate" series.

"To my mind, we were just abiding by the rules that had been set up," Obama told the Tribune then.

The incumbent at the time, state Sen. Alice Palmer, decided she didn't have the resources to fight back.

Another candidate was left 69 signatures short of those needed to stay on the ballot because he used polling sheets of registered voters that had just gone through a massive purge.

So it's a bit rich for the media - and Rahm's campaign - to suddenly summon up a rather large dose of outrage over the current proceedings. Where has everybody been?

Protecting the status quo.

*

"They apparently start 'em out early in the North Side's 5th Congressional District," Greg Hinz reported for Crain's two years ago. "A pair of unknown but connected college kids there have hired a high-powered lawyer and are busy trying to knock candidates off the ballot in the district's race for Congress by challenging their nominating petitions.

"The duo - Rudolph J. Trejo III and Mary Katerine Scala - haven't responded to phone messages or a request for comment left with their lawyer, Thomas Jaconetty, who in his day job works for Cook County Democratic Chairman Joseph Berrios. Mr. Jaconetty won't say who's paying his fee, which is likely to be at least a couple of grand.

"But one of the other candidates in the race to succeed Rahm Emanuel in Congress, Dr. Paul Bryar, admits that the pair is connected to his campaign.

"The good doctor - who says on his web site that he will be 'a new voice' and 'will change business as usual' in Congress - referred all other questions to his campaign manager, Joe Woodward.

"Mr. Woodward said both of the challengers are students and volunteers for the Bryar campaign. He argued that such challenges are normal operating practice in Chicago politics, and noted that a former state senator named Barack Obama got to Springfield by knocking the incumbent senator, Alice Palmer, off the ballot in a petition challenge."

That Thomas Jaconetty would be this one:

via Capitol Fax

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Meanwhile, real ballot fraud is considered a part of the local flavor.

"House Speaker Michael Madigan usually takes no chances when it comes to his district," Rich Miller reported on his Capitol Fax Blog. "Madigan's Republican opponents are generally friendlies that can be counted on to safely disappear.

"This year's self-sacrificing victim is Patrick John Ryan, whom the Republicans say 'is a 30-year old resident of Chicago's 13th Ward who voted in Democratic primaries until this year.' He has no campaign committee, which means he hasn't raised any real money."

Ryan was so elusive that local Republicans sent out a search party Ryan and tried to hold a fundraiser for their erstwhile friend. No dice.

Ha ha ha ha!

But it's not funny.

Michael Madigan's favorite election lawyer is Michael Kasper.

Here are some of the newspaper citations Kasper himself uses on the website of his law firm:

"As anyone who know anything about the arcane world of election law will tell you, Michael Kasper is one of Michael Madigan's favorite weapons. When the house speaker and state Democratic chieftain wants to bounce some nettlesome challenger from the ballot, generally to protect the incumbency of a legislative loyalist, he tends to bring in Kasper, who know the intricacies of the election law like the back of his hand."

- Chicago Reader, March 8, 2007

"[U]nfortunately for [the candidate], he's up against one of the masters of the election law game in Kasper, who generally plies his trade knocking off independents challenging legislative allies of house speaker Michael Madigan."

- Chicago Reader, January 17, 2007

"[H]is campaign has so much clout it's been able to use the services of Michael Kasper, an election-law expert who rarely takes on clients unless they're recommended by [Mayor Richard] Daley or Illinois house speaker Michael Madigan."

- Chicago Reader, February 14, 2003

Guess who is Rahm's election lawyer? Mike Kasper.

Let the people decide!

Reform For Rahm
Now that Rahm is in trouble, a number of pundits and instant experts have taken a sudden interest in ballot restrictions. Welcome!

Typical, though: The powers-that-be are only interested in reform when it the current system is used against them. Then adjustments must be made.

Some of us, however, are not late to this party.

Here's what I wrote in 2002:

"When Daley was first elected mayor, it took about 4,400 petition signatures to get on the ballot. Now it takes 25,000. By contrast, it takes 1,000 signatures to get on the ballot for mayor in Los Angeles and 7,500 in New York City. [The late Sun-Times political columnist] Neal called the signature requirement 'a lifetime lease on the mayor's office.'

"How did this come to be? When the General Assembly passed legislation in 1995 making the mayoral race nonpartisan, the law didn't include a signature requirement. So lawyers for the Chicago Board of Election Commissioners set the level at an absurdly high number for new party candidates and independents. It's hard to find anybody who likes the onerous requirement. The Chicago Tribune editorial page says, 'The rules of the game are stacked to deny Chicagoans a choice on Election Day.' Even the Daley-friendly Sun-Times editorial page says: "We do not believe the democratic process should be skewed to serve him."

The process, though, should be skewed to serve Rahm, according to each paper's current editorial position.

In November 2009, I wrote "Change The Balloting Rules: Arcane Rules Are Absurd":

"It will be up to the lawyers now to determine whether state Rep. Deb Mell stays on the ballot despite not using her current address on nominating petitions.

"But should it be?

"If she violated the rules, she violated the rules. Daddy Mell has gotten candidates kicked off ballots for years; even Barack Obama used petition challenges to knock off his opponents in his first run for state senate.

"But is this really any way to run an election?

"Sure, petitions shouldn't be fraudulent, but the arcane rules that knock candidates out of races really seem designed to protect incumbents with staffers and lawyers at the ready and the wealthy challengers who can afford to play the perverted game.

"What about the little guy?

"This year's poster case is that of Andrea Raila, the independent Cook County Assessor candidate who dropped out rather than fight a challenge from the chairman of the Cook County Democratic Party. Raila needed 8,147 signatures to get on the ballot. She turned in more than 12,000. But candidates generally need at least twice as many signatures - if not more - to survive a rigorous challenge because so many names turn out to be invalid.

"That's not to excuse invalid signatures, but to point out how hard it can be for independents and/or challengers to meet the requirements necessary to mount a run. And that's before paying a lawyer to defend your petitions.

"And when a candidacy can depend on whether your petitions are "properly bound," to name one rule, something's not right.

"I don't like Deb Mell. I'm not here to defend her. And the rules shouldn't be changed for her. Maybe she used an old address for some devious reason. But maybe in the future we shouldn't kick someone out of a race for public office if they honestly make that sort of mistake."

*

I still mean that. Change the rules, first. Second, interpret the spirit of the rules, not the absurdities that highly paid lawyers can dredge up out of the darkness of their souls.

That would be real election reform, and that's where our focus should be going forward, because this shouldn't be about Rahm.

In fact, Rahm doesn't deserve to mentioned in the same breath as the injustices described here that no one seems to care about.

The residency requirement is not an absurdity, but one of the most basic requirements we have. You have to live here - reside, if you will - for a year before the election in order to run. This isn't about paperclips or missing middle initials, though Rahm's lawyers and media agents have ginned up a campaign to make you think so.

The rules are the rules. Rahm and his cohort have spent a political lifetime establishing the rules, twisting the rules to their will, bludgeoning others with the rules - whatever it takes to win when you can outlawyer anyone who may challenge you. Now, if there is any justice in Illinois, a dubious proposition I know, Rahm will have to live the rules of his own making.

Because there can be no other valid reading of the law - despite what Rahm's courtiers in the media are telling you - than the one that was just made by the Illinois Appellate Court.

And for those trying to argue that common sense says otherwise, just consider where Rahm has lived for the last two years: In Washington, D.C. Then consider where Rahm is living now: in a home he had to rent from a friend because he had nowhere else to stay.

The law is a little more technical than that, of course. But not by much. As we shall see in the next installment.

-

Comments welcome.


Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 7:27 AM | Permalink

Kramerica: The Movie

They were going to put an end to maritime oil spills.

-

Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 6:33 AM | Permalink

Area Man: Chicago Post Office Destroyed His Green Bay Tourism Mag

Hethinks.

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 6:17 AM | Permalink

Meet The Chicago Mexican-American History Museum

Located within the Ford City Mall, 7601 S. Cicero Ave.

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Comments welcome

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 5:59 AM | Permalink

January 26, 2011

The [Wednesday] Papers

Just for starters . . .

More From The Beachwood Tweetdeck
* Court rules #Rahm's name on ballot will temporarily be replaced with skull-and-bones.

* Spielberg, Geffen stop payment on checks to #Rahm; shut down offshore account.

* Challengers ask for stay of #Rahm's commercials; TV stations object on way to bank

* Mayor Emanuel t-shirts will be sent to Third World along with Bears Super Bowl shirts.

Fox Chicago News Waiting For Rahm's Campaign To Tell Them What To Report
Local TV "reporter" Patrick Elwood this morning told viewers that Gery Chico would be open to eliminating the mandatory residency requirement for city workers should he be elected mayor. Elwood added that Chico's campaign - apparently not wanting to distinguish itself from its opposition and also hoping to stem backlash to the idea - had called to say that Rahm Emanuel has said the same thing in the past.

"We've got a call into the Emanuel campaign to independently verify that," Elwood then said.

Memo to Elwood and Fox Chicago News: In the time it's taking you to "independently" be told what to report, you could have, um, you know, just looked it up - and asked the Chico campaign to provide documentation.

I didn't find much to go on in a cursory search of the clips about past statements, but I did find this - from yesterday's Tribune"

"Rahm Emanuel, facing his own residency problem, dodged questions about whether city workers should be required to live in Chicago."

Meanwhile, ABC7 reported this:

"As for lifting the residency rule for city workers, Emanuel's campaign says he is open to discussing the subject."

There's nothing wrong with telling viewers that the Trib reported that Emanuel dodged questions about the residency issue even while his campaign was telling other news outlets that he was open to the idea.

You could even explain why that probably is. That's your job.

And putting a call into the Emanuel campaign could be productive if you do more than take down a statement, but you're not likely to get a useful answer from a campaign propagandist.

Finally, Chico being "open" to considering a rule change is much different than Chico pledging to try to change the rule. Candidates are open to just about anything - especially when they are receiving an endorsement from a special interest group.

To wit:

"Because it is something many firefighters and police support, mayoral hopeful Miguel del Valle accuses Chico of pandering to unions," the Trib account reports.

"'To say that you're going to allow all employees to move outside the City of Chicago and desert our neighborhoods throughout the City of Chicago is just ludicrous,' said del Valle."

*

Also:

"Mayoral candidate Carol Moseley-Braun says she is against lifting the residency requirement because it threatens the middle class."

Man On Street To WGN: Fuck You!
Tell the truth!

Lay Down, Chicago Bears
'Cause the gang's all here.

The Return of a Legendary Lager
Leinie's Limited.

Jay Cutler's Fantasy Draft Value
Probably a late-round pick for a back-up slot.

Hogwash, Mr. President
"What is the state of the union? You certainly couldn't tell from that platitudinous hogwash that the president dished out Tuesday evening," Robert Scheer writes at Truthdig.

Programming Note
More later . . . worked the bar again last night and still trying to get caught up.

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The Beachwood Tip Line: Column interruptus.


Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 9:26 AM | Permalink

Fantasy Fix: Hoops Pick-Ups, First Basemen and Jay Cutler

If your fantasy basketball team has gone cold with everything else at the end of January, there are still a handful of late bloomers you can turn to for at least a temporary fix. Most of them weren't on the draft radar at the beginning of the season and only in the last 30 days have zoomed up the charts.

PG: D.J. Augustin, Charlotte

He's consistently starting now, but only in the last month has he really heated up, averaging 18.9 points per game and 7 assists per game in that stretch. A .935 free throw shooting clip comes in handy, too. Available in 18% of Yahoo! leagues.

SG:DeMar DeRozan, (also SF), Toronto

Like Augustin, a second-year player finding his role. His 20.6 PPG over the last month isn't far off the pace of a guy named Kobe over the same period. Toronto is pretty awful which gives him a license to shoot, which is kind of what you want in a shooting guard. Available in 32% of Yahoo! leagues.

SF: Nick Young, (also SG), Washington

He's only started a handful of games this year, but logs more than 38 minutes per contest, allowing him to cruise to 19.7 PPG over the last month, but the best part is 2.1 three-pointers per game over the same period, as many as Paul Pierce. Available in 24% of Yahoo! leagues.

PF: Ryan Andersen, (also C), Orlando

Averaging 14.1 PPG and 6.1 RPG over the last month, and 2.8 three-pointers per game during the same period are a nice surprise. His playing time has improved since Orlando's big trade. Available in 47% of Yahoo! leagues.

C: DeAndre Jordan, (also PF), LA Clippers

Averaging 9.8 rebounds per game and 2.6 blocks per game over the last 30 days put him near the top in both categories. At 8.8 PPG, he won't help your points total, but his .683 shooting won't hurt your field goal average either. Available in 39% of Yahoo! leagues

Expert Wire
* Yahoo! Roto Arcade has injury updates on Marcus Camby, Eric Gordon, Rashard Lewis and others.

* RotoTimes keeps up with Carmelo Anthony, who is finally playing like himself as the trade deadline approaches. What a surprise.

* SLAM Online's Mr. Fantasy looks at Aaron Brooks, one of last year's surprise stars who has since fallen on hard times.

* Bleacher Report reports on Mario Chalmers, who has done nothing of fantasy value this season, but just got named as Miami's starting point guard and primary feeder of passes to LeBron James and Dwyane Wade.

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Who's On First
A quick look at my top 10 first basemen for the 2011 fantasy draft:

1. Albert Pujols, St. Louis: Same old, same old.

2. Miguel Cabrera, Detroit: Still getting better.

3. Adrian Gonzalez, Boston: Fenway can't hold him.

4. Joey Votto, Cincinnati: Still room for an RBI boost.

5. Prince Fielder, Milwaukee: Looking for average to bounce back.

6. Mark Teixiera, NY Yankees: Power numbers strong, average fading.

7. Ryan Howard, Philadelphia: Due for a fade, but could still hit 35 homers.

8. Adam Dunn, White Sox: New venue means a return to 40+ homers.

9.Carlos Pena, CUBS: Average can rebound and 45 homers is attainable.

10. Billy Butler, Kansas City: Does nothing but hit. A few more homers would be nice.

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Drafting Cutler
The only fantasy angle on Jay Cutler's knee injury is that it won't affect his readiness for next year. Will fewer people draft him after all the questions and criticism about his toughness? Probably not, but there were plenty of fantasy football team owners this year who felt Cutler was too inconsistent to draft as a starter. My guess is he enters next year's fantasy campaign as a late-round pick for a back-up slot.

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Dan O'Shea's Fantasy Fix appears in this space every Wednesday. He welcomes your comments. You can also read his about his split sports fan personality at his Beachwood blog SwingsBothWays.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 8:18 AM | Permalink

A Legendary Favorite Returns: Leinie Limited

CHIPPEWA FALLS, Wis. - Craft beer enthusiasts are in for a surprise addition to the beer case this season with the return of longtime fan favorite, Leinenkugel's Limited. First brewed in 1986, the Jacob Leinenkugel Brewing Company will reintroduce Leinenkugel's Limited, the brewer's first ever craft beer, for a limited time beginning Feb. 1.

Leinenkugel's Limited, which receives numerous passionate fan requests daily via online and mail, was first introduced 25 years ago as a fall seasonal and became a year-round offering in 1990 in response to immense popularity. In 1995, Leinie Limited was re-named Northwoods Lager to more accurately reflect the brew's year-round, "unlimited" availability. In hibernation since 2000, the beer was most recently offered for a short time in 2008.

LeinieLimited6pack065714.JPG

Tapping the same legendary recipe as the 2008 batch of Northwoods Lager, Leinenkugel's Limited is a slow-brewed blend of four select barley malts - Carmel, Munich, Carapil and Pale - and aromatic, bittering Cluster and Cascade hops. The beer is aged longer than the majority of American lagers, creating a smooth, rich flavor and a golden hue.

Brewed in small, high-quality batches at Leinenkugel's brewery in Chippewa Falls, Wis., the beer earned a gold medal in 1993 and a silver medal in 1991 at the Great American Beer Festival in the Premium Lager category.

"Leinenkugel's Limited is without a doubt the most beloved short-term brew by Leinie loyalists," said Jake Leinenkugel, fifth-generation brewer and president of the Jacob Leinenkugel Brewing Company. "The return of Leinie Limited is a special thank you to beer fans who have been enthusiastically requesting another sip of Leinenkugel's award-winning first ever craft beer."

Leinenkugel's Limited, which contains 4.94 percent alcohol by volume (ABV), will hit select markets in Wisconsin, Minnesota, Illinois, Michigan, North Dakota, South Dakota, Ohio, Iowa, Nebraska, Kansas and Missouri. The brew will be available in six-pack bottles and on draft for a limited time.

About Leinenkugel's
Leinenkugel's, brewed in Chippewa Falls, Wisconsin, since 1867, is the leading craft brewer in the upper Midwest. Year-round offerings include Leinenkugel's Sunset Wheat, Honey Weiss, Berry Weiss, Leinie's Red, Creamy Dark, Original, Light, and Leinenkugel's Classic Amber Lager.

In addition to Leinenkugel's Limited, Leinenkugel's offers four limited-release seasonal beers, including summer favorite Leinenkugel's Summer Shandy, Oktoberfest, Fireside Nut Brown and 1888 Bock.

For more information on the rich history of Leinenkugel's, visit www.leinie.com or join Leinie loyalists at www.facebook.com/leinenkugels.

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 8:00 AM | Permalink

Lay Down, Chicago Bears

'Cause the gang's all here.

-

See also:
* A Legendary Favorite Returns: Leinie Limited

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 7:40 AM | Permalink

Man On The Street To WGN: Fuck You!

Not that man on the street! Find one whose views are innocuous!

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 12:13 AM | Permalink

January 25, 2011

The [Tuesday] Papers

BREAKING 3:24 P.M.: The Appellate Court of the Division of Beachwood has ordered me to appear as fill-in bartender this evening from 9 p.m. to 2 a.m. Specials include three-and-a-half finger Ballot Busters and Kneetinis, as well as all domestic beers for $3.50, Bell's Amber for $3.50 and mimosas for $3. Pool is free tonight.

We'd like to especially welcome members of the Illinois judiciary.

*

Oprah Update
More secrets Oprah has yet to reveal. See comments.

Tweeting Rahm
From @BeachwoodReport yesterday:

#Rahm seen at Whole Foods buying three dead fish.

Note: Yeah, should've been two.

*

Gery #Chico seen at Bed, Bath & Beyond buying drapes.

Note: Yeah, probably should have been tape measure for drapes.

*

Court knocks #Rahm off ballot, but says Caleb #Hanie good to go.

*

If court ruling stands, #Rahm will finish with fewer valid votes than Dock Walls. Weird.

*

Court also rules Jeff #Tweedy ineligible to play #Rahm fundraiser, citing case law prohibiting local artists from blowing our minds.

*

Steven #Spielberg orders appellate court to bring in script doctor.

*

Court in #Rahm case rules threat to reside not sufficient.

*

With #Rahm off ballot, experts expect douchebag vote to go to Chico.

A Day In The Life Of Jay
A Cutler Compendium Including His Post-Game Dinner With Kristin Cavallari And The Inevitable Hitler Video.

*

Doctors confirm Grade II MCL Sprain, which disables the knee, the heart and the head.

Rahm's Dirty Talk
And other secrets Oprah will reveal.

Chicago's Breakfast Club
How can we forget about you if you won't go away? No, seriously, most of these songs are on the Beachwood jukebox.

Judge Rules White Girl Will Be Tried As Black Adult
Parents: "This is America! No one deserves to be tried as a black man!"

U.S.: Learn Signs of a Heart Attack
Women have to be extra vigilant.

Programming Note
More to come, I'm just one person, people. I bartended last night (thanks to everyone who stopped by, we had a good turnout and a great jukebox run). I'm broke. I've got a Rahm residency piece I started probably two months ago. This stuff isn't easy, it just looks that way. So be patient.

But I'll tell you one thing: The appellate court got it right and I'm not just saying that because I'm opposed to Rahm's mayoral bid. It's the law, which the media seems to want to apply to everyone except favored insiders. Of all the ridiculous reasons why candidates have been ousted from Illinois ballots this campaign season, this would easily stand as the least flimsiest.

But then, the editorial pages and pundits haven't been arguing the law, but for their own warped, intermittent sense of how democracy ought to work. You know, for people we like and people too big to be bothered with the nuances of the law used to bludgeon others.

But that piece isn't ready yet.

In the meantime, ask yourself why Barack Obama is once again supporting the cynical/status quo/Machine/Daley hatchet man instead of the only real progressive/reformer/change agent in the race, just like he's done his entire career.

And let's ask the same thing of Jeff Tweedy, Steven Spielberg, David Geffen and the rest of the phonies trying to buy this thing for a political operative who embodies nearly everything that is wrong with our politics - including people in Hollywood who have given no consideration to the issues facing our city or the other candidates in the race trying to install a friend in high elected office as a favor without any regard to the health of our democracy.

Back later.

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The Beachwood Tip Line: Residential.


Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 11:21 AM | Permalink

A Cutler Compendium Including His Post-Game Dinner With Kristin Cavallari And The Inevitable Hitler Video

It's gonna be a long offseason.

*

-

He Took The Stairs
"Jay Cutler and girlfriend Kristin Cavallari dined at Mastro's Steakhouse on Sunday after the Bears' 21-14 loss to the Packers in the NFC championship game," the Tribune reports.

"Cutler, who left the game in the third quarter with a knee injury, was not on crutches but 'he limped a tiny bit,' according to a source. The couple was joined by 11 other people in Mastro's private upstairs dining room, and our spies tell us that he took the stairs rather than the elevator. "

The Trouble With Jay
"I know Jay personally, and I can't imagine he'd sit out a game of that magnitude and watch his team go out and play," Vikings linebacker Chad Greenway said. "I'm guessing it was severe. From my vantage point, if I were out there, they would have to pull me out of the game on my last leg. But I'm not going to tear the guy apart."

Giving A Damn About A Bad Reputation
"If Jay Cutler held a stronger reputation for toughness in the football community, neither the media nor his peers would have piled on their negative remarks the way they did," twonhoff writes on a Seattle Post-Intelligencer blog. "Did the local Seattle media or other players around the league throw Matt Hasselbeck under the bus when he was unable to play in the Week 17 game against the Rams with the playoffs on the line? No, because Matt Hasselbeck is well-liked, and maintains a strong reputation among fans and his peers."

Mile High Club
"[T]he Jay Cutler Fan Club is meeting in the bathroom of a 747, for which he has himself to blame," Neil Hayes writes for the Sun-Times.

Mocking Apparently Should Be Restricted To Crappy Columnists
NFL Players Who Mocked Cutler's Injury Via Twitter Crossed The Line.

Status Update
Cutler listed as questionable for next season's opener.

Nobody Thought He Was Faking
Seems to us the Bears - or at least Julius Peppers - were trying to knock Aaron Rodgers out of the game on Sunday. Turns out they came close.

"How could a quarterback who threw only five incompletions in the week prior against the Atlanta Falcons, complete only two third down conversions eight days later?" Ryan Cook writes for Acme Packing Company.

"Hold your horses folks, an answer has been discovered. According to head coach Mike McCarthy, Rodgers was playing with an injured shoulder . . . "

Most Hated Player Ever?
"It's one thing for fans or the media to criticize a player, but rare for fellow players," Bob Sansevere writes for the St. Paul Pioneer Press. "It's a strong indication Cutler isn't respected by peers, or they would have cut him some slack. You don't suddenly start questioning a guy's competitiveness. Among the tweets was this from former player Deion Sanders: 'I never question a players injury but I do question a players heart. Truth.' And this from Arizona Cardinals defensive tackle Darnell Dockett: 'If I'm on Chicago team jay cutler has to wait till me and the team shower get dressed and leave before he comes in the locker room!'"

*

"To Aikman, the vitriolic reaction to Cutler was about the attitude he has shown since he arrived in the league. Aikman said, 'I think it speaks to how polarizing he has become.'"

Jerry Angelo Looks For The Union Label
"I think [players' criticism of Cutler is] crap. I thought they were a union. If that's the way they unionize themselves, they got bigger issues than the one that they have with the owners."

Huh?

If this is any indication of Angelo's intelligence, the Bears have bigger issues than Cutler's injury.

Angelo: Chicago Tough On Quarterbacks
Chicago: Quarterbacks Tough On Us.

Dunce Cap
Wait a minute. The backup quarterback doesn't get any reps with his own team's offense?

Questionable Call
"And the severity of Cutler's injury might have inadvertently been played down by the Bears when they termed his return 'questionable' and by Fox's being unable to find the play on which he was injured.

"'To say he was questionable implies the injury wasn't too bad,' Aikman said."

This Just In!
Appellate court kicks Cutler off Pro Bowl ballot.

Being Ditka
Means never having to say you're sorry.

Brian's Sad Stupid Song
Bears defensive tackle Anthony Adams picked up on Brian Urlacher's theory that players criticizing Cutler were just jealous that he was in the playoffs and they weren't when he complained that many of the anti-Cutler tweeters came from teams "who we have beat."

*

Funny how Urlacher - and Lovie - don't care what anyone else thinks until they care what everyone else thinks.

Hanie Belatedly Reveals Conversations Nobody Saw
''He talked to me. He was very encouraging," Hanie said. "You only get five-second clips on him during the game. For some reason they didn't get the clips of him talking to me standing up when I come off the field, which would have been nice for everybody to see that.

''But he encouraged me before I went in, when I came off the field, between every drive. A few of the things he said was, 'Hey, just play within yourself, trust the offensive line, those guys are doing a good job protecting. Just use your legs if you need to and just go make plays and have fun.' He said that to me numerous times, calmed me down, did a great job of that."

Sarah Palin's Fault
Jags Player Gets Death Threats After Tweets.

Bears Coaches May Be Even Stupider Than We Thought
Meanwhile, it's now less clear that Lovie Smith and Mike Martz should be given credit for coming to their senses when they yanked a pitiful Todd Collins in the third quarter and replaced him with Caleb Hanie.

NBC reports that Collins actually hurt his shoulder and is scheduled to get an MRI today; he may need surgery.

Or Are They?
A Collins injury would explain this:

"[B]y turning to Hanie, the designated third quarterback, before the fourth quarter, it ensured the Bears could not play either of their first two quarterbacks in the remainder of the game,"the Tribune reports. "Even if Hanie was injured, Cutler and Collins were then ruled out because Hanie had played before the fourth quarter."

Then Again . . .
. . . if that was the case, why didn't Lovie just say so in his post-game interview? Lovie Smith gets a lot of credit from his players for not calling them out in public, but Lovie's supremely arrogant opaqueness has its dangers too. Just ask Cutler.

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 9:37 AM | Permalink

Oprah's Other Secrets

"Oprah Winfrey has discovered she has a half-sister - a Milwaukee woman who was given up for adoption by Winfrey's mother nearly 50 years ago, when the talk show host was eight years old," AP reports.

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The Beachwood has learned, however, that this isn't the only "secret" Oprah will reveal this year. The others:

* Oprah is a man.

* Oprah's real name is Harpo.

* Oprah has also discovered 1,429,865 other siblings she didn't know she had - and they all want to be compensated in the manner due to them.

* Oprah is not a lesbian. She's bi.

* Stedman Graham is an alien sent here to befriend Earth's most powerful person.

* Oprah once had an affair with Rahm Emanuel but she got creeped out by his dirty talk in the bedroom.

* Oprah is broke, having invested all her money with Bernie Madoff and Carol Moseley-Braun.

* Oprah attends meetings of the Federal Reserve's Open Market Committee because she controls so much of the world's money supply.

* Oprah rooted for the Packers.

* Oprah's childhood nickname was Snooki.

* Oprah is an angel sent here by God. Oh wait, she's already told us that.

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Comments welcome.

-

1. From Beachwood Mark:

* Used to demand that the waiters at the Parthenon shout Oprah! when they lit her saganaki.

* Also has four brothers named Groucho, Gummo, Zeppo and Chico.

* In order to embarrass one of her talk show rivals at the time, secretly broke into Al Capone's vault and took out all the good stuff before Geraldo showed up.

* Believed for a time that the W flag at Wrigley was flown in honor of her; after learning the truth upon asking the club to change it to the more commonly recognized O, was furious and pledged her lifelong baseball allegiance to that other team.

* Three people died in an Oprah's Favorite Things-related scrum and knife fight in the line outside of Harpo Studios; trip to Australia was added at the last minute to avoid messy inquiry and PR nightmare.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 9:07 AM | Permalink

U.S. Gov: Learn The Signs Of Heart Attacks In Women

When you think of someone having a heart attack, you might picture a middle-aged man rubbing his arm and then clutching his chest, gasping in pain. But women suffering heart attacks generally don't exhibit those same symptoms.

Because February is American Heart Month, take some time to learn the signs of heart attacks in women as well as what you can do to prevent them with these tips from the Federal Citizen Information Center.

Heart disease is the number one killer of women in America in part because women don't recognize the signs of a heart attack. Instead of sharp pain in the chest, women might experience a heavy feeling or tightness instead.

Other signs of heart disease in women include trouble breathing, an upset stomach or pain between the shoulders.

None of those signs are as evident as the striking chest pain men experience.

So women have to be extra vigilant, and if they experience these symptoms, they should go to the doctor right away.

High blood pressure can be a cause of heart disease, so it's important to monitor your blood pressure. If it's higher than 140/90, you may require treatment, which can come in the form of medicine or changes to your diet and exercise habits.

You can make lifestyle changes to lower your risk of heart disease. Gradually increase your activity level. You can chose from a variety of activities, from walking to dance classes or swimming laps in the pool. Pick something you'll enjoy so you'll stick with it. Check Fitness.gov for ideas.

When it comes to dietary changes, follow your doctor's recommendations. Pay close attention to food labels so you know just what you're eating and visit Nutrition.gov to get tips for sticking with your healthy eating plan. In general, make sure you're including lots of fruits and vegetables and limit the amount of processed food you eat.

Using these tips from the Federal Citizen Information Center, you can keep your heart healthy and identify any dangerous signs that might need medical attention.

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The Federal Citizen Information Center connects people with government benefits, services and information through its family of websites, including Pueblo.gsa.gov, USA.gov, GobiernoUSA.gov and ConsumerAction.gov; by phone at 1 (800) FED-INFO (that's 1 (800) 333-4636) and with publications by mail from Pueblo, Colorado. FCIC is part of the U.S. General Services Administration's Office of Citizen Services.

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 8:53 AM | Permalink

Chicago's Breakfast Club

"The Breakfast Club is a high energy rock/dance '80s tribute band, whose every song is a hit that brings the house down with spontaneous, exuberant 'I know this song!' singalongs.

"Moonwalk down memory lane with The Breakfast Club as they spin you right round to all the radical sounds, styles, and way cool dance steps from the 1980's In over-the-top retro 80's attire. For more info please go to www.breakfastclublive.com."

*

1. By a bunch of self-proclaimed jackasses.

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2. You wanted the best, but the best was too expensive.

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3. "Crazy Medley."

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4. Come on, Eileen.

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5. Here in my car.

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 8:25 AM | Permalink

Judge Rules White Girl Will Be Tried As Black Adult

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 8:13 AM | Permalink

January 24, 2011

The [Monday] Papers

BREAKING NOON: Rahm kicked off ballot.

Too bad Bill Daley isn't around anymore to fix it!

-

Our Packer package:

* Luck Runs Out On Classless Bears

* Lovie Blew It

* The View From Packerland

* Packers Fans Undeterred By Stupid Cheesehead Jokes

* Royko: Packers Are America's Team

* Soon-To-Be-Forgotten American Idol Plays Worse Than Todd Collins

* 20 Tweets: Jay Cutler's Girlfriend

* Onion News Network or Good Day Wisconsin?

Plus:

* The Weekend in Chicago Rock

Now, on to the news.

Age Rage
* 39-year-old basketball player at the College of DuPage

* 85-year-old from Wisconsin is world's top Wii bowler

The Criminal Justice Economy
"Chicago-based Walsh Construction provisionally won $52 million in Iowa state contracts for a major expansion and renovation project at the state women's prison in Mitchellville," Correctional News reports.

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And that's the news.

More tomorrow on Rahm and everything/everyone else I can't get to today.

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And don't forget:

I'll be back behind the bar at the venerable Beachwood Inn tonight, 5p - 2a. The beer is cold, the jukebox is hot, the pizza is free, the pool table is, um, uneven. No politics.

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The Beachwood Tip Line: Hot and cold.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 11:17 AM | Permalink

20 Tweets: Jay Cutler's Girlfriend

Woot woot.

1. Raffle to win trip to NFC Championship game ends tomorrow at noon! Tix only $2, proceeds benefit Jay Cutler Foundation. http://bit.ly/ikg85X 19 Jan

2. just found the site with the best 1-day deals, LivingSocial... check 'em out -> http://jol.ly/0BPI RT if you love a great deal. #ad 19 Jan

3. Here is one more page from the Elle Magazine shoot @ellemagazine http://plixi.com/p/70878562 18 Jan

4. http://plixi.com/p/70878290 Hey everyone check out Feb. 2011 issue of Elle Magazine! I did a fun photo shoot with ... http://tmi.me/5DION18 Jan

5. Thank u! RT @kardash17: @kristincav kristin I lovee you please reply ! 18 Jan

6. Feels like summer in LA. I'm gonna enjoy it now before I head to freezing chicago!! 18 Jan

7. Win chance to go to NFC Championship game in Chicago all expenses paid & all proceeds benefit jay cutler ... http://tmi.me/5B2fk 17 Jan

8. Yaaaaaa that's my boyfriend!!!! Woot woot 16 Jan

9. I love JC will all my [heart]16 Jan

10. Ur the cray est cray @missyroney @jackketsyoan 15 Jan

11. Already a hectic morning...here we come vegas! 15 Jan

12. Love u guys!! Thx for the amazing dress! RT @Judy_TheKids: So much fun xoxo RT @Sammyrexic: Me and @Judy_TheKids ... http://tmi.me/5trm7 14 Jan

13. Everybody go download my friend @TravisGarland 's Free James Bond inspired mixtape at www.TravisGarland.com 14 Jan

14. Elle magazine did a piece on me in the new issue with Katie Holmes on the cover...go get it! 14 Jan

15. RT @CarleneKMakeup: My New Favorite pic!!! . Getting my makeup done by the greatest makeup artist ever @KristinCav ... http://tmi.me/5qndh 13 Jan

16. Up and at em! I have a shoot today for @donnamizani . So excited to have the gang back together @carlenekmakeup and marcus @jackketsoyan 13 Jan

17. Morning carla! ;) see u soon RT @CarleneKMakeup: Rise n Shine... 13 Jan

18. That's the spirit RT @MissyRoney: So excited to party with my princess this weekend!!!! 12 Jan

19. ​Celebrating my birthday in #Las Vegas this saturday @lightgroup's The Bank Nightclub in the @BellagioLV, hope you can join me! 12 Jan

20. Has anyone seen the new california drivers license? Its pretty cool. Definitely gonna be a lot harder to make fakes! 11 Jan

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Previously in 20 Tweets:
* 20 Tweets: Richard Roeper
* 20 Tweets: Pete Wentz
* 20 Tweets: Billy Corgan
* 20 Tweets: Billy Dec
* 20 Tweets: Jeremy Piven
* 20 Tweets: Billy Dec Olympic Edition
* 20 Tweets: Bill Rancic
* 20 Tweets: Patti Blagojevich
* 20 Tweets: Stedman Graham
* 20 Tweets: Oprah
* 20 Tweets: John Cusack
* 20 Tweets: The Mix 101.9

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 10:39 AM | Permalink

Onion News Network or Good Day, Wisconsin?

Or Cheesehead TV?

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 10:26 AM | Permalink

The Weekend in Chicago Rock

You shoulda been there.

1. Fire at Endsville at the Abbey Pub on Thursday night.

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2. No One at the Metro on Friday night.

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3. Gurg at Reggie's on Friday night.

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4. Drivin' 'N' Cryin' at Schubas on Thursday night.

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5. Liz Phair at the Metro on Saturday night.

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 10:00 AM | Permalink

Luck Runs Out On Classless Bears

When the Green Bay Packers lost veteran left tackle Chad Clifton to a neck injury on the opening touchdown drive when his own running back conked him in the head with a knee, it looked like the Bears had caught another lucky break in a season full of four-leaf clovers.

"Clifton went to the bench with what is called a 'neck stinger' and eventually was taken to the locker room so the trainers could work on him. It's a nerve injury that causes numbness and pain in the shoulder and down the arm, which is devastating for an offensive lineman," the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel reports.

In came third-year man T.J. Lang. The promising start by the Packers now looked like it came with a heavy price that could cost Green Bay the game; Lang had the unenviable task of trying to keep Defensive Player of the Year candidate Julius Peppers from Aaron Rodgers.

That would be the T.J. Lang who is so obscure Yahoo! doesn't have any stats on him available.

(It turns out he played in a dozen games this year but didn't start any; likely he had only a few snaps in each.)

"Lang stepped in for Clifton and wasn't ready to face the physically imposing Peppers," the Journal-Sentinel reports.

"When Clifton went into the locker room, the trainers performed ultrasound on him and massaged his neck and shoulder to get everything working right again.

"Once he started to feel better, Clifton came to the sideline, did some contact drills and decided he was OK to return. He came back into the game with 7 minutes, 40 seconds left in the second quarter and never left.

"Peppers finished without a sack for the second straight game against Clifton. The Packers looked bad on offense in the second half, but Peppers wasn't dominating Clifton to the point the veteran needed any help."

There's no telling what Peppers would have done to Aaron Rodgers if Clifton hadn't overcome his injury, the Journal-Sentinel concluded.

Perhaps that's when the luck ran out on the Bears this season. Sure, Lance Briggs ran into an interception of Donald Driver's shoe, but Brian Urlacher was also tackled - sort of - by Rodgers on an interception return, preventing a sure touchdown. (Given Urlacher's post-game comments about the defense getting "gassed" a couple times, Urlacher appears to have been less "tackled" than "assisted in stumbling while out of breath.")

And, of course, there was the grand irony of the Bears being forced to turn to their third-string quarterback after getting to face three third-stringers in a row in the regular season. Of course, on the Bears, having to use their third-string quarterback was an improvement on having to use their second-string quarterback.

And their first-string quarterback? All the doubts that Jay Cutler had seemed to assuage about him are now back in full force. Is it ridiculous to question Cutler's toughness? Perhaps. But hearing that from a classless Brian Urlacher, who called the fans who pay his enormous salary "stupid" for wondering in his post-game interview, doesn't exactly put the issue to rest. Wasn't Urlacher the first one to call Cutler a pussy?

On the other hand, Cutler showed his toughness playing behind an offensive line that earlier in the season couldn't have kept a ballboy from sacking him. He gets the benefit of the doubt - if only Lovie Smith didn't sow it so much.

Smith, in his post-game interview, shut down questions about Cutler's knee; the game ended without even the vaguest injury report of what in the hell was wrong with it.

Cutler, in his post-game interview, put the decision to stay out on the team's medical staff. Really?

Forgive the fans for thinking that, in an NFC Championship Game, you should play if you can walk, or even stand.

That's not to say they are right for playing amateur doctors without the foggiest notion of what the facts are; it's to say that the Bears didn't do Cutler any favors by clamming up (nor did Cutler when he said he didn't even know when he hurt his knee) - and that Urlacher should shut his piehole.

While Urlacher snapped at reporters - hey, Brian, if you aren't in the mood to face stupid questions (perfectly understandable), just bail - asking one who apparently wasn't paying sufficient attention if he was, you know, bothering him, he didn't seem to mind the media as much when he later went on to his paid gig on Fox Chicago News. (Genuflecting Fox Chicago host Lou Cannelis asked Urlacher such tough questions as, "Is this team good enough to get back here next year?")

When the question of fans' bewilderment about Cutler arose again, Urlacher said "That shows how much they know about football."

About as much as you know about birth control?

And yes, many fans are stupid. But the harshest criticism came from Cutler's and Urlacher's own football-playing peers.

Urlacher also called the roughing-the-passer penalty on Julius Peppers early in the fourth quarter "bull." Peppers absolutely smashed Rodgers helmet-to-helmet and could have broken his neck; I was on the phone with a friend at the time and we thought Peppers ought to have been thrown out of the game, especially given all the talk this year about just such hits. (Rodgers had already suffered two concussions this season and looked dazed for the next few plays.)

After the game, Peppers wasn't complaining. But during the game, Peppers, Urlacher and defensive coordinator Rod Marinelli sure lost their composure whining like little babies about a dirty hit that could have ended a man's career. You didn't see the Packers complaining, though. ("He lowers his head, leads with the crown," analyst Troy Aikman said. " You see Julius Peppers complaining about the call, but that was an easy one to make. It's a wonder Aaron Rodgers can even get up.")

Urlacher still managed to be the standout on defense, making a handful of great plays and a handful of bad ones (he admitted during his Fox appearance to getting absolutely juked by Packers running back Brandon Jackson on one embarrassing play that Aikman initially blamed on the shoddy Soldier Field turf until he saw on the replay that Urlacher hadn't slipped at all.)

Like Caleb Hanie, Urlacher kept both teams in the game. But the real - and only - star on the Bears' offense was Matt Forte, who turned in perhaps the grittiest performance of his career. Likewise, Chester Taylor played his role perfection. But the lack of a big-time receiver - like Packers MVP (in my book) Greg Jennings - finally proved costly.

And where were the Bears vaunted (rightly so) special teams?

Lovie Smith probably made the wrong decision when he declined to go for a 48-yard field goal in the middle of the game only to have a punt go in the end zone and result in only a net 11-yard gain, if only because of Brad Maynard's inability to execute this season.

Otherwise, the reasoning was sound: Gould's longest field goal at home in 2010 was 37 yards; he was 0-for-3 beyond that. On the road, Gould's longest was 54 yards; he was 7-for-11 beyond 40 yards. Probably a combination of the swirling winds off the lake inside Soldier Field and the infamously crappy sod.

Packers coach Mike McCarthy made the same decision in a similar scenario, but his punter turned in a superb performance.

There's no question the Packers deserve to go to the Super Bowl. They were a pre-season favorite hobbled by a slew of injuries early on; they had as much bad luck as the Bears had good.

But they persevered and managed to beat the Eagles, Falcons and Bears on the road in the playoffs. Is there any doubt they're the best team in the NFC?

Of course, there might be several AFC teams that are even better. One of them might be Super Bowl opponent Pittsburgh, with its fierce defense.

Still, you'd think Urlacher would wish the Pack well. No.

"I hope they get pounded," he said.

This from your leader.

Stay classy, Bears.

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See also:
* Lovie Blew It

* The View From Packerland

* Packers Fans Undeterred By Stupid Cheesehead Jokes

* Royko: Packers Are America's Team

* Soon-To-Be-Forgotten American Idol Plays Worse Than Todd Collins


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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 9:26 AM | Permalink

SportsMonday: Lovie Blows It

Bears fans watched Todd Collins struggle mightily at quarterback against Carolina way back in the first half of the regular season and knew he was washed up. He was lost out there.

Lovie Smith and Mike Martz saw it too. When they'd finally had enough, they pulled Collins out of the Carolina game and a poised Hanie proved he was much fitter to be the Bears' backup. (Collins proved he wasn't fit to be in the NFL.)

But for reasons no one has been able to explain or comprehend, Lovie restored Collins to No. 2 on the depth chart.

That meant Collins got the extra reps in practice while Hanie ran the opposing team's offense to help out the Bears' defense. Hanie spent last week running Packers plays.

So when Jay Cutler bowed out on Sunday, Collins went in. And failed miserably again. How could the Bear brain trust have made such a miserable miscalculation?

On the whole, the Bears did amazing work just to get to Sunday's game. But in the end, the loss to the Packers has to go down as a giant blown opportunity.

It was clear, after all, that Hanie might just have pulled this sucker out with a couple more chances. Like maybe the chances that went to Collins when he threw away two possessions with good field position early in the second half.

There has been some scuttlebutt that Hanie doesn't practice well; maybe that's why one reporter asked Hanie in his post-game interview if Mike Martz liked him - and then emphasized, you know, liked him.

Who knows. But if the scuttlebutt is true, it surely wouldn't be the first time Martz and Lovie have worked with guys who weren't at their best until the bright lights were on.

And after all, Hanie might not practice well but Collins doesn't play well.

So more than Cutler's knee, this game turned on Lovie's head.

Lovie earned himself a contract extension that will almost surely come before next season (he has a year left on his current deal) with his work at the helm of a 2010-11 Bears team virtually no one expected to win more than six games. He was finally able to put his dream team of assistant coaches together (Mike Martz at offensive coordinator and Rod Marinelli at defensive coordinator in particular) and it paid off.

If Lovie wasn't the kind of coach he is - even-keeled absolutely no matter what; humble and soft-spoken yet confident - he probably wouldn't have convinced those guys to do the jobs he needed them to do (Marinelli in particular didn't want the position - he's an old pro who would have preferred to stay defensive line coach and only did his old friend a favor after considerable lobbying). But there have always been concerns about whether the head coach is smart enough about strategic details to win a championship.

For example, TV analyst and former Cowboys quarterback Troy Aikman expressed surprise that the switch to Hanie was made with a minute left in the third quarter instead of waiting for the fourth quarter; because of league rules about quarterbacks and injury status, this meant that neither Cutler nor Collins could return if Hanie got hurt. I guess Devin Hester would have played quarterback.

And Packers coach Mike McCarthy's own dream team of coordinators seemed to outcoach Lovie's - particularly Packers defensive guru Dom Capers, whom Yahoo!'s Michael Silver writes was "in a play-calling groove of stupefying dimensions."

Not so the Bears. On a third-and-three with 1:15 left on the Packers' 27, the Bears used a timeout because the play coming into Hanie's headset was fuzzy. "I was trying to piece it together," Hanie explained after the game. The play was reiterated to Hanie on the sideline and it was no wonder Hanie was confused; it was an ill-advised end-around to Earl Bennett that lost two yards. One failed play later, the Bears' season was over.

"Maybe it's time to remind everybody the Bears ranked No. 30 in total offense this year, No. 28 in passing offense, No. 21 in points scored and No. 22 in rushing offense," ESPN Chicago's Jeff Dickerson writes. "Think about that before you start pumping up Martz for offensive coach of the year honors. The offense had some good moments this year, but they also had moments that made you want to pull your hair out. That third-down call was one of them."

But the game was really lost long before that. At the critical juncture, Martz and Lovie ignored the obvious and brought in the wrong guy. There was no overcoming that.

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 9:01 AM | Permalink

The View From Packerland

WI_SP.jpg

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WI_WSJ.jpg

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WI_PC.jpg

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Comments welcome.


Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 8:00 AM | Permalink

Packers Fans Undeterred By Stupid Cheesehead Jokes


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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 7:59 AM | Permalink

Royko: Packers Are America's Team

Here is some advice for those brooding fans in Cleveland and Los Angeles, whose football teams have been carried off by unscrupulous franchise owners.

And for those of us in Chicago who waste time worrying about what Michael "The Weenie" McCaskey might do with the Bears.

Forget it. Do as I have done and become an out-of-town fan of America's Team.

No, I'm not talking about the Dallas Cowboys, who falsely claim to be America's Team.

The truth is, Dallas became nationally popular only because they hired higher-class hussies to jiggle and bounce for the networks.

If there is one team that truly deserves to be called America's Team, it is in the most unlikely community to have a major league sports franchise of any kind.

Yes, I'm talking about little Green Bay, Wis., and its Packers.

Consider this: Los Angeles, the nation's second-biggest city, has recently lost two NFL teams.

Yet there has never been even a hint that the Packers would leave Green Bay, a city with fewer residents than L.A. has rioters.

You don't hear the owners of the Green Bay team whining that they are not rich enough or trying to shake down the local taxpayers for new goodies that will make them even richer.

That's because the Packer franchise is owned by the kind of people who should own every football franchise.

Basically, it is owned by the people of Green Bay. And it would be almost impossible for the team to go anywhere else because no one individual owns a big enough piece to do it.

As Phil Pionek, executive assistant to the team president, explains the setup: "There are 1,898 stockholders representing 4,634 shares. A good majority are Wisconsin residents. Most shareholders own one share. The bylaws indicate that no one shareholder can hold 200 shares.

"There are no dividends, no interest, no special season ticket privileges. Stockholders meet once a year at the annual meeting, and they elect the board of directors. It's a 45-person board, 15 elected each year.

"The board elects the executive committee and they operate the daily functions. It is seven people: the president, vice president, secretary, treasurer and three members at large.

"The president-CEO is the only person who is compensated. Everyone else sits gratis."

Isn't that sensible? It means that the Packers are truly Green Bay's team, the way the Rams and Raiders weren't L.A.'s team; and the Cardinals weren't Chicago's team or St. Louis' team and might not remain Phoenix's team; and the Browns weren't really Cleveland's team; and the Colts weren't really a Texas team or Baltimore's team; and the Raiders weren't Oakland's team when they moved to L.A., and stopped being L.A.'s team when they crept back to Oakland.

Who can keep track of all these comings and goings?

But you can keep track of the Packers because they have been in the same location since 1919, although most of the country doesn't know where Green Bay is. Even people in Green Bay aren't all sure where it is, but they don't have to know, since they are already there.

Those of us in Chicago sometimes poke affectionate fun at our rustic neighbors to the north.

We tease them for wearing red long underwear to weddings and other formal events -as an outer garment.

We call them cheeseheads and chuckle at the way they chomp their bratwurst, drink their brandy-beer boilermakers, and happily thump their distended tummies. The men, too.

But while Chicagoans worry about the Bears moving to Gary, where the players might be mugged on their way to the locker room, the Green Bay fans are free of such concerns.

This is the way it should be in every football-crazed city. They should own the teams, not some prissy bookkeeper like McCaskey, a double-talking hustler like the guy who dumped Cleveland, the blowhard who took the Colts to Indianapolis, or the other megabuck strap-sniffers whose loyalty is comparable to that of a leech.

If the 1,898 Packers stockholders can renounce greed, envy, gluttony, the works of Satan, and other vulgar cravings, why can't it be done in other cities? The Packers have managed to win championships with their homespun system. At the very least, they always field teams that are just as capable of twanging an opponent's tendons and crunching his cartilage as anyone else's.

So until they get another team in Cleveland (maybe the Cleveland Bears) and L.A, (maybe the L.A. Cardinals), the fans of these cities should join me in eating a big brat, burping a big burp and cheering on America's Team.

You will become not only an honorary cheesehead but an even greater honor -an honorary Packerhead.

Anyone for a bumper sticker?

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 7:46 AM | Permalink

Soon-To-Be-Forgotten American Idol Plays Worse Than Todd Collins

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 7:06 AM | Permalink

January 22, 2011

The Weekend Desk Report

Don't worry; we won't start our new gig before the weekend's out.

Market Update
It's true what they say; one industry's free-fall is another's feeding frenzy.

Pate of the City
With the race to succeed Richard Daley apparently almost over, we have yet to analyze one of the key factors in any Illinois election: candidate hair. Front-runner Rahm Emanuel at first seems like the logical midpoint between old-fashioned respectability and Hollywood glamour, but how much of his crowning glory has been bought?

While there's no doubt Carol Moseley-Braun's hair is her own, we suspect at 63 years of age she may be masking certain unfortunate facts of life.

Gery Chico is certainly not denying his grays, but his track record won't convince anyone he can manage a recession.

Of the major candidates, it seems only City Clerk Miguel del Valle has absolutely nothing to hide.

Jets Fuel
Finally this week, whether you prefer a right jolly Rodgering or a gentle Cutle, perhaps we can all agree it'd be nice to see all-pro dirtbag Ben Roethlisberger get the Dirty Sanchez he so richly deserves.

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And for your viewing edification, The Weekend CAN TV Report brought to you by CAN TV:

Perspectivas Latinas: PERRO
PERRO-JerryMead.jpg
Jerry Mead-Lucero and Rosa Gomez from the Pilsen Environmental Rights and Reform Organization discuss its advocacy campaign against harmful emissions from factories in the Pilsen area.

Saturday, January 22 at 7:30 p.m. on CAN TV21
25 min

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Bronzeville International Annual Summit: Countdown to 2016 - Isabel Wilkerson
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Isabel Wilkerson, author of The Warmth of Other Suns, delivers the keynote speech at the annual summit on the future of Bronzeville.

Sunday, January 23 at 9:00 a.m. on CAN TV21
50 min

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Green Growth in Chicago
31000-GreenGrowth.jpg
Executive director of the Environmental Law and Policy Center Howard Learner joins other leading environmental and conservation groups in Chicago to deliver their green growth platform for the city's next mayor.

Sunday, January 23 at 11:30 a.m. on CAN TV21
26 min

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Mayoral Forum
MayoralForum-Community.jpg
Chicago mayoral candidates Gery Chico, Miguel Del Valle and Carol Moseley-Braun share their views on community and environmental issues.

Sunday, January 23 at 5:00 p.m. on CAN TV19
1 hr 50 min

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The Weekend Desk Tip Line: Hair today, hair tomorrow.

Posted by Natasha Julius at 9:57 AM | Permalink

January 21, 2011

The [Friday] Papers

I don't like Pat Quinn's broken promises or the way the tax increase was pushed through in a lame-duck session, nor the actual structure of the deal, but did we need some sort of tax increase? Yes.

"Jon Stewart gets it," Rich Miller writes at his Capitol Fax Blog.

But where's the White House in all of this? (Watch the video.)

Peas in a Pod
"Daley Hails Hu As 'Man of Vision.'"

Quite.

Next week: A state visit by Kim Jong-Il, a man Boeing and McDonald's would love to do business with.

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"The dinner at the Chicago Hilton and Towers featured a jazz band and the political elites: Gov. Quinn, the states two U.S. senators - Dick Durbin and Mark Kirk - and Education Secretary Arne Duncan, a former CPS chief.

"Also attending were James McNerney, CEO of the Boeing Co., and the heads of Caterpillar Inc., Motorola Solutions Inc., and JP Morgan Chase. All do business in China.

"'My colleagues and I are deeply touched by the warmth of your hospitality,' Hu said as guests dined on dry aged Midwestern filet mignon, braised short rib, almond ginger tea cake and chocolate pot de creme."

Awww, a good time was had by all.

A hearty thanks to those who prepared the gift bags.

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"Chinese media praised President Hu Jintao's visit to the United States on Friday as a diplomatic 'masterstroke' in easing tensions, but reports largely ignored thornier questions of currency and human rights," Reuters reports.

Here too!

"State television news channels gave blanket coverage of the ceremony of Hu's state dinner and welcome at the White House, in a reflection of China's desire for its leader to be portrayed as a valued and honored player on the world stage."

Here too!

"[B]ut some bloggers questioned Sino-U.S. relations, which have been also strained over issues ranging from U.S. arms sales to Taiwan to China's control of the Internet."

Here too!

"While Hu's awkward answer to reporters' questions about human rights was essentially ignored by Chinese media - hardly a surprise in a country that carefully stage-manages its leaders' public image - there was some oblique reference to currency issues."

Here too!

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Daley: Tell me, Jintau. What's your secret?

Hu: No, you tell me. What's yours?

(Convulsive laughter.)

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A newspaper with some courage might have greeted Hu with a front page asking him why he values money and power more than the lives of poor children.

But then, we could ask ourselves the same thing.

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Memo to Chicago media: You don't work for the mayor's office. Embarrassing both Daley and Hu is your job if the method is asking the most important questions of men in power.

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In other words, treating this as a victory lap for Daley is not in your job description. A huge journalistic opportunity missed.

Steven Spielberg Has More Votes Than You Do
"Rahm Emanuel took in an eye-popping $11.7 million for his Chicago mayoral campaign in just three months, notching big contributions from Chicago's business community, Hollywood heavyweights and other out-of-state donors," the Sun-Times reports.

"The Chicago Mercantile Exchange gave Emanuel $200,000, records released Thursday show. He also took in $100,000 apiece from wealthy Chicago businessmen James Crown and Fred Eychaner, plus another $100,000 from Hollywood mogul David Geffen, $75,000 from film director Steven Spielberg and $50,000 from Apple CEO Steve Jobs."

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Rahm shouldn't run for mayor, he should be appointed fundaiser-in-chief. It'd be nice to see this money spent on our schools instead of insipid campaign commercials trying to portray Rahm as a compassionate reformer dedicated to telling hard truths.

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"Though he's been criticized by his opponents for raising big bucks from outside Chicago, Emanuel's campaign said 74 percent of his 2,494 contributors live in Cook County and more than half gave him $250 or less."

Is 74 percent typical? Critics never said that most of his contributors came from outside Chicago. My guess is that most candidates raise 90 percent of their money or more inside Cook County. Besides that, the important figure is how much money comes from outside Chicago, not how many contributors. If you have 10 contributors from Chicago and two from Hollywood and the 10 give a hundred bucks each and the two give $100,000 each, would you say the critics were being unfair?

I also don't understand why it's dispositive that more than half of Rahm's contributors from Cook County gave $250 or less. Maybe this is supposed to show some sort of grassroots support, but doesn't it show that without the big bucks from Hollywood and elsewhere he wouldn't be doing that well? Doesn't it indicate a lack of local financial support?

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UPDATE: 10:12 AM: From the Chicago News Cooperative:

"But the Chicago News Cooperative's analysis of the report showed that a large percentage of what Emanuel received came from a small group of his supporters. Less than 1 percent of contributors accounted for 23 percent of the total, the CNC found.

"Seventy-five donors gave at least $50,000 each. Of that group, 23 wrote checks of $100,000 or more. Eight of the six-figure checks came from out of state."

Thank you.

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Bill Kurtis last night on Emanuel's fundraising: "I suppose it's impossible to know where the money came from."

Bill Kurtis, everybody.

Inside The Onion News Network
Debuts tonight on IFC.

The (Fake) Story of President O
By some anonymous asshat who has gripped Washington's shriveled imagination.

The Blue & Orange Kool-Aid Report
Blue Balls, Orange Chicken.

The Myth of Zenyatta
Oughta be renamed Costanza.

The Week in WTF
College kids, Cubs fans, and Walter Jacobson.

The Week in Chicago Rock
They played at a venue near you.

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The Beachwood Tip Line: Always on the right side of history.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 8:40 AM | Permalink

The Week in Chicago Rock

You shoulda been there.

1. Lauryn Hill at the House of Blues on Thursday night.

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2. City States at the Empty Bottle on Tuesday night.

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3. Spirit Animal at the Empty Bottle on Tuesday night.

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 7:42 AM | Permalink

The Story of O: A Presidential Novel By An Anonymous Asshat

"It's the Washington parlor game of the week: trying to unravel the mystery - of a fictional new book about a president - identified only as 'O' fighting to win re-election in 2012," Newsy reports.

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Um, so it's Mark Salter.

Or is it?

Then again, this guy is an experienced author self-involved enough to have done it.

Then again, who cares.

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 7:27 AM | Permalink

Inside The Onion News Network

Debuting on IFC tonight.

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The Onion SportsDome, by the way, debuted last week on Comedy Central.

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 7:07 AM | Permalink

The Week in WTF

1. College, WTF?

Some scientific studies are mildly amusing and others provide an unlimited bounty of amazed WTFs. This one is a keeper:

Forty-three percent of collegians apparently learn nothing in their first two years of higher education and only marginally more thereafter.

As Bluto Blutarsky infamously lamented: "Seven years of college down the drain."

You can almost hear the exploding heads of every parent who just spent $40,000 a year to send their kid to Northwestern. Or Loyola. Or DePaul. Or UIC. Or, for the love of gawd, the University of Effing Chicago. The city's community colleges? Fuhgeddaboudit. Certainly no learning there.

The first two years of college appear to be a vampire dead zone. Guys are trying to get laid. Who has time for study, even if teachers are trying to teach, which it appears they aren't?

Naturally, every academic at every college in the country will insist it may be true that almost no one learns anything in college, but that's the other college. The one down the street. My college is a pinnacle of academic achievement.

First, some givens. Applying the concept of inertia (a body at rest, etc . . . look it up), college students will be lazy if allowed to be lazy. One of the beauties of college is that no one can make you go to class anymore. So, there's no use berating kids about this. Leopards have spots. Kids are lazy.

Tangentially, if we demand kids be active and work hard intellectually, they usually will. So, this is not a dumb kid problem. This is a dumb adult problem.

What this study shows is that the level of wasteful collegiate laziness is endemic and crazily expensive. College presidents who make millions are lazy. College deans are goofing off. Academic department heads are asleep. Professors are too busy doing something else that makes more money, and the substructure Crazy Glue that makes all of college academics function - the lowly graduate assistant - are likely sliding through as well.

If you are constantly amazed how dumb this country is about science, math and almost everything else that requires cogent logic, consider the natural result of an inability to think clearly: mass dumbness. Peformed by dumbasses. You get what you pay for. In this case, we be stupid.

2. Cubs Fans, WTF?

When the Cubs win, the "W" flag flies. At Wrigley. On vehicle antennas. Off the back porch. We get that.

But a recent visitor to the Cubs convention suggested that while the "W" flag is okay, flying the "L" flag seems masochistic. And considering how often the Cubs lose, you are reminded way too often that today was another Loser Day. The Cubs fan was loudly derided for his lack of traditional values; an elderly man with a walker is said to have approached him menacingly.

The "L" flag, of course, is just as much a Cubs tradition as the pungent troughs that pass for urinals at the Friendly Confines. And considering that no one in Chicago has a portable radio, an iPhone, an iPad, a smart phone, a mobile connection to the Internet or a TV, providing a semaphoric backup probably serves a useful function. Dumbassivity. WTF.

3. Walter Jacobson, WTF?

Channel 2 fossil Walter Jacobson thought it was a lousy idea for Bill Clinton to meddle in Chicago politics this week. Said so on his special commentary though he didn't back it up with any specific evidence other than his generally pissiness. (It's his public personabulation). The problem with Bill backing the Rahmster? He's a Washington insider. Mister Slick Fund-Raiser, etc, etc. And besides, what does Willy know about what Chicago needs? Chicago is the mysterious Land of Oz.

Okay, we get it.

Walter was tense-jawed and his visage was piercing. Either that or his truss was snagged. Sometimes we are compelled to note that Chicago can lapse into the smallest town in the world.

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 6:09 AM | Permalink

The Blue & Orange Kool-Aid Report: Blue Balls, Orange Chicken

In The Blue: Though the experts picked the Bears to come in either third or fourth in the four-team NFC North, a lot of their caveats about what it would take for a successful season actually came true.

In The Orange: Speaking of wins, you wouldn't know it by the national coverage, but Jay Cutler has exactly one fewer playoff victory than Aaron Rodgers, who has been fondled so much by SportsCenter this week he has blue balls.

BLUE:

THEY SAID: If Julius Peppers played hard every game and Brian Urlacher returned to Pro Bowl form after a season spent hobbled by injury because of injury, the defense could return to Top 10 form.

Check.

THEY SAID: If Mike Martz could install a system limiting Jay Cutler's poor decision-making and keeping him from throwing 20 interceptions again, there might be enough firepower from the young and improving WR corps plus Greg Olsen.

Check.

THEY SAID: If the running attack could blend the youthful talent of Matt Forte with the veteran presence of Chester Taylor, these weapons could contribute in both the run and pass games.

Check, though Taylor hasn't been much of a presence; he apparently was put on the roster as insurance on Forte's health instead of as an active participant.

THEY SAID: If Mike Tice can pull a miracle from the heap of garbage that is the offensive line, this team can consistently put up points.

Mostly check.

THEY SAID: After a strong finish to the 2009-2010 season, Devin Aromashodu could emerge as a top threat.

Miss.

For the most part, the "ifs" have come to pass.

And yet, the experts aren't convinced.

WHAT THEY'RE SAYING NOW: When Peppers (If #1) and the front four can't put pressure on Aaron Rodgers, Green Bay will score at will. The Bears game plan will then collapse, leading to a sea of bad decisions by Jay Cutler (If #2) when the running game is abandoned (If #3) and the offensive line can't keep him upright (If #4).

The experts, it turns out, are good at identifying the "ifs" but not the "whens."

THEY SAID: The Bears had no chance against the Cowboys.

THEY SAID: The Bears had every chance against the Redskins and Seahawks .

THEY SAID: The Bears had no chance against Brett Favre and the (im)potent Vikings.

THEY SAID: The Eagles would finally prove the Bears a fluke.

THEY SAID: The Jets would finally prove the Bears a fluke.

They also said the Patriots would prove the Bears a fluke, but who's still in it?

Now they don't know what to think but the Packers are a three-point road favorite. Isn't anyone paying attention?

*

ORANGE:

One last look at the few nuggets we gleaned from the Seahawks game before prepping you for the Packers.

* One of the most effective plays last Sunday was Forte up the middle for 5 yards. Yes, Mike Martz told him to get tackled after 5 yards. Why adjust when things are working?

* The only thing that stopped Devin Hester from running back another punt was his old nemesis, the kicker.

* Fox analyst Daryl Johnston mentioned "The Devin Hester Effect" repeatedly during first half on successful offensive plays. However, the only notable play Hester "effected" on offense was a terrible screen for -2 yards. Perhaps Johnston was thinking of the so-called "Axe Effect" and expected that Hester would turn into a desirable chocolate man before our very eyes. Though many fine ladies around the nation will argue that this smooth talking gent already is . . . aww yeah.

* Matt Forte is no Todd Collins.

* Mike Tice's beard makes him look like Santa Claus's son.

* Earl Bennett's 9 rushing yards was literally as good an output as any individual Seahawks RB. Receiver Golden Tate led Seattle with 13 yards and in the most perplexing move of the playoffs, Pete Carroll dialed up four (4) attempts for Marshawn Lynch.

Sooooo . . . are we cool? Is that enough of a recap? The Bears are a pretty okay NFC team and the Seahawks are by all accounts a bad team from a bad division that racked up 8 wins in 17 tries.

Bears win at home, Seahawks lose.

Great. Moving on.

*

Well, well, well.

If it isn't the proverbial "Matchup of the Century."

Mike Martz vs. Dom Capers
It'll be interesting to see if Martz tries stretching the field with Greg Olsen for a second straight game and if Capers calls for safety help over the top. Assuming the Packers have access to game film, they'll have this package accounted for.

That being the case, it's more than likely Hester, Forte or Bennett will have room to rack up the YAC on catches over the middle if the Bears go back to the well on this type of play.

In the Week 17 matchup, the Bears had some success avoiding the blitz with check-downs to Forte and Olsen; it wouldn't be surprising to see them counter the various pressure packages found in the Packers' 3-4 defense with short passes. That is, if Jay Cutler is willing to throw short passes. It would seem to be more fun than getting lit up by Clay Matthews, but hey, we'll just have to let Jay come to his own conclusions.

James Starks vs. The Bears Front Seven
During the playoffs, the Packers have discovered something of a rushing attack thanks to their young seventh-string running back, James Starks. Even though he rushed for 123 yards in the Wild Card round against the Eagles, there's really no reason to game plan for a guy who is going to be out of a job once the great Ryan Grant returns from IR. Instead, the Bears should implement some sort of defensive version of play action.

When Aaron Rodgers looks like he's about to hand the ball to Starks, Brian Urlacher should yell a codeword that sounds like he's instructing the rest of the defense to commit to the run. Something like "GROUND!" or "FEET! or "NO SERIOUSLY, EVERYONE GET UP ON THE LINE AND TACKLE THAT SIXTH-ROUND PICK!" Once the Packer offense has been lulled into a false sense of security, they'll commit to the play-action pass and Bears linebackers can drop into coverage in anticipation.

Jay Cutler vs. Aaron Rodgers
Let's just cut right through the bull here and point out that there's only one stat that counts when it comes to quarterbacking.

Does anybody care that Joe Namath is in the hall of fame with these numbers?*

No.

Does anyone remember that the Seahawks almost beat the Steelers in Super Bowl Extra Large (XL) despite the fact that Ben Roethlisberger had a terrible game (9/21 for 123 yards and 2 INT)?

No.

So what's the only stat that counts?

That's right: sexual assault.

The quarterback with the most attempts at forced sex at the end of this contest is the only thing that . . .

Wait, that's not right. There's nothing right about that.

Wins! There we go.

Speaking of wins, you wouldn't know it by the national coverage, but Jay Cutler has exactly one fewer playoff victory than Aaron Rodgers. Interesting.

Devin Hester vs. Green Bay Special Teams
Wikileaks recently posted the transcript of a wiretapped phone conversation between Bears special teams coach Dave Toub and Packers special teams coach Shawn Slocum. Here's an excerpt.

Toub: Dude, I triple dog dare you.

Slocum: Your mom wears combat cleats.

Toub: BAWK, BAWK, BAWK, BAWK!

Bears Fans vs. An Onslaught of Hype
It's been be a long week.

Every divided family, rivalrous neighbor and Man on the Street in a Great Lakes state has been interviewed.

SportsCenter has fondled Aaron Rodgers so much he has blue balls.

The flexibility of Mike Martz to change the Bears' offensive strategy or not return to the team after the bye week has been adequately flogged.

Here's one thing to remember, though: Both of these teams are utterly beatable.

And even if the Bears win, there is no way this game can live up to expectations. Because in the end, they are still the Bears.

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* Wow! Seriously? Almost 50 more interceptions than touchdowns?

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Andrew Golden brings you the Blue Report every week; Carl Mohrbacher brings you the Orange. They welcome your comments.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 12:19 AM | Permalink

TrackNotes: To Paraphrase George Costanza, If Zenyatta Fans Want To Believe Their Horse Really Won, Then It Isn't A Lie

I watched it so you didn't have to.

In an excruciatingly boring and comedically painful awards ceremony Monday night, we learned that there wasn't really much suspense after all as Zenyatta was named the 2010 Horse of the Year in the 40th annual Eclipse Awards.

Paradoxically, while the basic tenet that issues of comparison between horses be settled on the track was thrown out the window with this most syrupy of results, it also made for a television show that couldn't, and may never, sustain suspense of any kind. To wait through 21 different categories to hear the results of the battle for HOY between Breeders' Cup Classic winner Blame and Zenyatta, vanquished in the same race, was barely worth it.

Unlike baseball MVPs or Cy Youngs who are chosen before the season is over, racing has, or hopes to have, we thought, all questions of superiority settled on the dirt, the turf, or the synthetic oval.

You wish you could have been in the ballroom at Miami Beach's Fontainebleau Hotel - the atomically bad standup stylings of MC Kenny Rice aside - to be able to ogle the rich people and drink lots of their expensive wine. Would have been much less agonizing.

Because you knew Ramon Dominguez (highest earnings of the year) would be named Jockey of the Year; Todd Pletcher (highest earnings of the year) would be named trainer of the year; Frank Stronach's Adena Springs stables (most starters, most winners, highest earnings) would be named Outstanding Breeder of the year.

The list goes on: Blame, Older Male; Zenyatta, Older Female; Gio Ponti, Male Turf Horse; the magical Goldikova, Female Turf Horse; Lookin At Lucky, Three-Year Old Male; and the no-brainer Uncle Mo, Two-Year Old Male.

While the fetching Christina Olivares was quite pleasing to the eye in her TVG hosting duties, we still missed trainer Bob Baffert, fueled by a few highballs, making his own brand of mischief.

It was truly inspiring to see Marylou Whitney, whose family has been in Thoroughbred racing since the century before last, receive an Eclipse Award of Merit and then proceed to advocate on behalf of backstretch track workers and condemn the apathy toward horses whose racing days have ended.

It's been 100 years for Seth Hancock's Claiborne Farm and Bold Ruler, Buckpasser, Gallant Fox, Nijinsky II, Sir Gallahad III, Nasrullah, Round Table, Secretariat and Swale in the racing business. If the ballroom crowd thought the second Award of Merit was a bone tossed to Claiborne and their Blame before losing Horse of the Year, they were wrong. But the lukewarm applause for this backbone of American racing sure made you wonder what they were thinking.

I guess we won't all die after "Team Zenyatta" received the Special Eclipse Award for promoting her and making her available to the public for pictures at her barn. But that's quite ironic considering her connections pretty much staycationed in 2010, pounding on a game but overmatched colony of females in Southern California. In a handicapping sense, it was boffo in SoCal, not so much back east.

Seth Hancock sat very still when Zenyatta was announced the winner. Perhaps more stone-faced than the obligatory statue that is sure to be commissioned for the big mare. The only question there is will they get it done in time to plant it at Hollywood Park before they bulldoze the place? Or just site it at Santa Anita right away?

Hancock and trainer Al Stall, Jr. also could not have been happy with the vote totals, which figured to be much closer. It was 128 to Zenyatta, 102 for Blame, and 5 for Goldikova, the Euro who may very well have deserved the award herself. Only the staffers at the Daily Racing Form got it right as they went with Blame, 38-21.

You try to come up with the reasoning why members of the National Turf Writers and Broadcasters and the National Thoroughbred Racing Association were so lopsided for Zenyatta. They cite the 60 Minutes segment and a shoutout from Oprah as proof Zenyatta was thrust to the forefront of America's collective imagination and into the hearts of young and old alike. They talk about the boost Zenyatta has given, or will give the industry. I don't see it, and I'm probably not the one to ask, but my sports betting buddies never seemed too fired up about it.

The Tribune and Sun-Times and the New York Post had no news of Zenyatta's big award on their home sports web pages the next day, but the New York Times did, so I guess that's mainstream, right?

But things are down all over and a call for a wagering boycott in California might just be working after the racing lords of the left coast raised the takeout on exotic wagers yet again.

And it's tough when guys like me who know the score know they'll never resolve the Life At Ten betting scandal in November's Breeders' Cup Ladies Classic.

Zenyatta's got tons to do to save horse racing.

Perhaps we just lump Blame's heroic finish over Zenyatta in with touchdowns that aren't touchdowns, or makeup balls-and-strikes calls by grandstanding umpires, or that's-okay traveling by the hoopsters. After all, this is the age of fluid officiating, isn't it?

To paraphrase George Costanza, if Zenyatta fans want to believe their horse was really the winner, all things considered, then it's not a lie.

What an exciting time we live in. What started out as "my horse is faster than your horse and we'll settle it right here" has been turned completely upside down. Imagine, we can have things any old way we want them.

But I think I saw what I saw. I sure hope nobody comes around to take away from me the $12.40/4.40/3.80 Blame paid me that memorable evening.

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Thomas Chambers is our man on the rail. He welcomes your comments.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 12:16 AM | Permalink

January 20, 2011

The [Thursday] Papers

"The founder of Jimmy John's said he has applied for Florida residency and may recommend that his corporate headquarters move out-of-state as a result of the Illinois tax increases enacted last week," the Champaign News-Gazette reports in a story that is getting a lot of attention.

Memo to Jimmy: Suck it.

One: I've lived in Florida. It's all yours. Two: Your subs are awful, your labor practices stink, your restaurants are a blight on America, you're not funny and your alfalfa sprouts make people sick.

Jimmy says he's sick of being "pummeled."

Join the club. But stop feeling sorry for your rich-ass self. Learn how to be a better citizen.

*

"He had always wanted to start his own food business," the New York Times reported in 2008. "The financial picture at home improved enough that his father offered him a deal. He would lend the young man $25,000 to start a restaurant business. If he failed, he would have to join the Army.

"Mr. Liautaud's business model was to go to college towns and deliver inexpensive food to dormitories. Most restaurants in those days refused to deliver to dorms. He started his first restaurant in Charleston, Ill., near Eastern Illinois University. He now has stores throughout the country, but mostly in the Midwest and Southeast.

"With his success, Mr. Liautaud could live in any fancy neighborhood he chose. But he and his wife and two small children live in the central Illinois university town of Champaign.

"'You can't forget where you came from,' he said."

Curtain Not Yet Down On The Daley Show
"Chicago Mayor Richard Daley's nephew is hoping to cash in on the coming video gambling market in bars and clubs across Illinois," the Tribune reports.

"Mark Vanecko, who's been an attorney for Chicago bars and the Lollapalooza concert, is a partner in Lattner Entertainment Group Illinois, which has applied for a state license to operate slot machines in liquor-serving establishments."

Here's the best part:

"Lattner Entertainment didn't disclose Vanecko's relation to Daley or a company campaign contribution on a state form, submitted in October, that provides the only information made public about license applicants.

"The form requires applicants to list 'relatives' of 'public officials or officers' who are involved in the company as well as campaign contributions made directly or indirectly by the applicant in the last five years.

"When the Tribune raised questions, Lattner Entertainment partner William Bracken issued a statement conceding 'a mistake made with our application' and saying the firm wants to be transparent.

"Paul Jenson, attorney for Lattner Entertainment, then issued a clarification Wednesday evening saying the company believed it was right to not list Vanecko's relation to Daley, adding it didn't do so because it interpreted the requirement 'as it relates to another question.' He gave no further explanation and said he could not make additional comments."

The other question must have been "Are you willing to omit any relatives of the mayor to avoid political embarrassment?"

*

That's not all.

"The firm 'omitted in error' its $500 campaign contribution that state records show went to a committee controlled by Chicago Ald. Dick Mell in June, Jenson said. He said Lattner Entertainment will correct the form to reflect the contribution.

"State records show Vanecko and company manager Tim Lattner individually also made about $950 in campaign contributions in the last five years that were not listed on the disclosure form."

Shouldn't "errors" of this nature disqualify this applicant?

*

"Vanecko's brother Robert made headlines when it was learned he once shared a 4 percent ownership stake with Daley's son, Patrick, in a company that received city contracts. An investor in the company was charged this month in an alleged scheme to use a minority-owned business as a front to win city contracts."

That would be this:

"Mayor Daley's son Patrick had a hidden interest in a sewer-inspection company whose business with the City of Chicago rose sharply while he was an owner, a Chicago Sun-Times investigation has found.

"Patrick Daley invested in Municipal Sewer Services in June 2003, along with Robert Vanecko, a nephew of the mayor. The pair cashed out their small investment about a year later, as federal investigators were swarming City Hall in the early days of the Hired Truck scandal."

And here is an amazing coincidence from 2007:

"The mayor's son and nephew never publicly disclosed their ownership stake in Municipal Sewer Services, despite a city ordinance that appears to require such disclosure.

"The company also appears to have violated the same city ordinance by not identifying the mayor's son and nephew as investors in the economic-disclosure statements it filed with the city amid the Hired Truck scandal."

*

Isn't it funny how bad some people are at filling out forms?

*

That case, by the way, was back in the news earlier this month:

"Mayor Richard Daley on Saturday would not discuss his son's former involvement with a sewer firm whose co-owner was indicted by a federal grand jury last week on charges he took part in a scheme to garner city contracts by using a minority-owned business as a front," the Tribune reported.

"Patrick Daley and the mayor's nephew, Robert Vanecko, shared a 4 percent ownership stake in Municipal Sewer Services. Sources have said the company was one of two unnamed firms in the indictment that allegedly used Brunt Bros. Transfer Inc., a minority-owned business, as a 'pass-through' to get more than $3 million in city work.

"Anthony Duffy, who was a 20 percent investor in Municipal Sewer, was charged with three counts of mail fraud for his alleged role. Neither Patrick Daley nor Vanecko has been charged with any wrongdoing.

"Asked Saturday whether he knew if the federal investigation focused on his son, the mayor responded 'They said that already.' The mayor then ended a news conference at CTA headquarters.

"Daley also was asked why the city continued to provide work to Brunt Bros. - whose owner, Jesse Brunt of Chicago, also was charged with three counts of mail fraud - after questions arose in 2007 about its participation in the sewer work. 'Gee, I don't know,' he said."

*

The Greatest Mayor Ever simply doesn't know.

By Richard M. Daley
The mayor on Wednesday said he might like to write a book after he leaves office. The Beachwood has the scoop on proposals he's shopping around.

Greg Hinz Would Like To Welcome Our New Overlord
And possibly apply for Jackie Heard's job.

Jeff Tweedy Oughta Be Ashamed
Saluting Rahm Emanuel amid the ashes of American flags.

CNN: Andy Shaw Wants Rahm Dead
Follow the bouncing ball.

We're Here, We're Queer
In I Am A Security Guard.

Smack Da Pack
Limited Edition T-shirts now available.

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The Beachwood Tip Line: Limited Warranty.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 9:27 AM | Permalink

Jeff Tweedy Oughta Be Ashamed

tweedy_jan30.png

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 9:17 AM | Permalink

Greg Hinz, For One, Would Like To Welcome Our New Overlord

With all the talk about blood libel in the air, you'd think Crain's would want to avoid a headline like this: "Rahm Emanuel Has Daley's Will To Power, With An Eye For The Bottom Line."

It's bad enough that "will to power" is a Nietzschean phrase associated with Adolf Hitler and other "gangster-statesmen"; it's even more insensitive when used in association with a Jew, as Emanuel is.

But Crain's is using term approvingly - probably because veteran political reporter Greg Hinz so approves of Emanuel. Let's take a look.

*

"All indications are that a Mayor Emanuel would downplay attention-getting projects like luring the Olympics in favor of putting more cops on the street."

Because Rahm Emanuel is not the attention-getting type! Besides, he would never support a project like the Olympics.

On the other hand, he's so sensible he'll figure out a way to put more cops on the street. Details to come.

*

"Financial razzle-dazzle like Mr. Daley's asset privatizations would give way to private-sector-style fiscal discipline, Mr. Emanuel has suggested, promising to give details in a February speech."

Razzle that certainly dazzled the media, which collectively thinks Daley is the best mayor in the history of the planet. Be that as it may, it's not like Rahm is a big spender. Unlike Daley, he has "private-sector-style fiscal discipline." Details to come.

*

"'He will fight to make sure Chicago is at the top of everyone's list. That's strikingly similar to Rich Daley,' says political consultant Greg Goldner, who has served as campaign manager to both and has endorsed no one in this election."

No one else will fight for Chicago's place on the list! Says Daley's former campaign manager! Gee, what does Rahm's wife think?

*

"Mr. Emanuel says his financial team would be composed not of City Hall insiders, as was Mr. Daley's, but of outsiders who 'have been successful and worked with stressful situations.'"

What, he's gonna hire folks with FEMA on their resume? City Hall insiders are working on his campaign!

*

"On schools, the incumbent mayor's overwhelming top priority, Mr. Emanuel wants to boost teacher training, link compensation to performance and allow parents to bring in outside management at failing schools. But he talks more often about violent crime, which his website warns 'exacerbates almost every other problem the city faces.'"

First, the incumbent mayor's overwhelming top priority was the incumbent mayor. Second, Rahm talks more about crime - at lows not seen in Chicago for 40 years - because he's exploiting fear for his own gain.

*

"Some of that stems from Mr. Emanuel's emphasis on family - so intense that he became visibly upset when a Crain's reporter suggested writing a story about his wife.

Rahm's emphasis on family is so intense! Way intenser than anybody else's! But, um, why so upset at the prospect of a story about his wife? Is she a spy or something?

*

"Both Mr. Emanuel and Mr. Daley share a global perspective, believing Chicago's economy depends on its ability to attract businesses from around the world."

No other candidates share a global perspective!

*

"With success stories like Groupon Inc. to sell, 'You have to be an ambassador for outside our borders,' Mr. Emanuel says. 'Unlike other cities, we have corporate citizens who are passionate about our city.'"

Other cities don't have corporate citizens passionate about where they live!

*

"Both men also share an inner circle that dates back decades: political consultant David Axelrod, mayoral brother Bill Daley (who just succeeded Mr. Emanuel as White House chief of staff) and David Wilhelm, who led both Mr. Daley's and Mr. Clinton's first political races. But outside of fundraisers, relatively few senior Daley hands are active in Mr. Emanuel's campaign. Those who are include issues adviser Sarah Pang, Chicago Transit Authority Chairman Terry Peterson and red-tape cutter Terry Teele."

Except fundraisers! But I thought Rahm was going to assemble a financial team of outsiders . . .

And by the way: Terry Peterson. Terry Teele.

No City Hall insiders, though!

*

"Whatever its cause, that drive earned him a gig as Mr. Clinton's chief fundraiser, where he handed out favors such as time with the candidate only to those who produced big numbers, however big their reputations."

Who says you can't buy access.

*

"'Even though Rahm didn't have a business background, he was one of the best investment bankers we ever worked with,' says GTCR LLC principal Bruce Rauner, one of the many Chicago business leaders backing Mr. Emanuel for mayor. Both Mr. Emanuel and his former clients deny that he traded on his government contacts."

He didn't have a business background but we hired him anyway to, um, not trade on government contacts.

*

"But the deals he was involved with tended to include firms that are regulated by the government, like Commonwealth Edison Co. in its acquisition of Philadelphia-based Peco Energy."

He didn't have a background in utilities but . . . he had government contacts he didn't trade on.

*

Is it any wonder Hinz's piece is being used on Rahm's campaign website?

Just for starters, here are a couple that aren't:

* Rahm Emanuel, Investment Banker

* Rahm Emanuel's Profitable Stint At Mortgage Giant

I guess Hinz missed those.

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See also:
* Rahm Calls In Favor From Accused Racist To Shore Up The Black Vote

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 8:01 AM | Permalink

CNN Apologizes For The Non-Existent Possibility That Andy Shaw Has Incited Somebody To Shoot Rahm Emanuel

Follow the bouncing ball.

1. In the crosshairs.

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2.Matt From Michiana

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3. Arizona Democrat Put A Republican Congressman In The Crosshairs.

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4. Insane in the Membrane.

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5. Daily Kos Put Bullseye on Giffords.

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6. Democratic Target Map.

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7. Liberals Don't Use Metaphors To Propose Assassination.

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 7:26 AM | Permalink

By Richard M. Daley

"Chicago's new mayor will be sworn in on May 16, and come May 17, Mayor Daley says, he will wake up with nothing he has to do," the Sun-Times reports.

"But on Wednesday, he said he's got some ideas on how he wants to spend his time when he leaves City Hall: teach and write a book."

The Beachwood has learned Daley is shopping around the following proposals:

1. If Angelo Torres Did It

2. The Seven Habits of Highly Effective Bullies

3. The Lord of The Rings: A Fictional Account of the 2016 Chicago Olympics

4. The Corrections: One Mayor's View of What the Media Got Wrong

5. Tuesdays With Richie

6. Men Are From Mars, Women Are From Venus, I'm From Pluto

7. Bleats, Hoots and Leaves

8. The King Is I

9. A Brief History of Whine

10. Bosser

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 3:48 AM | Permalink

Limited Edition Smack Da Pack T-Shirts

Made by our vendor for the NFC Championship Game, but good for the duration.

Order here or inquire for pick-up location to ensure prompt possession.

Bears1.jpg

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 2:49 AM | Permalink

I Am A Security Guard: We're Here, We're Queer

On a recent Sunday night, I got a reminder about an unexpected benefit of my job.

There was a lull in activity. A rush of shoppers had ended. Some employees left for the evening.

I stood at my post near the registers. The Head Guard hung nearby. Two cashiers I'll call Raquel and Mary relaxed after ringing sales. Raquel has a curvy build. Marisa, the youngest cashier, combines a deadpan sense of humor with a steely gaze.

We chatted. Somehow our conversation turned to homosexuality.

"If I was like that, I would kill myself," the Head Guard said.

"I'm offended," Marisa said.

"That's just how I feel," the Head Guard said. "Nothing personal."

The conversation died down. We resumed our duties.

I tried to concentrate on the store's merchandise, but continued to reflect on Marisa's rebuke. It reminded me the store is located in a neighborhood that is very tolerant of gays and lesbians.

That acceptance provided a bit of serendipity for me. Most of the locals are minorities who range from working class to poor. The tolerance counters the notion held by some that residents of the inner city hate homosexuals.

While standing at my post, I've seen gays and lesbians of every hue, body type and level of openness comfortably patronize the store. Some come alone. Others arrive as couples finishing a night out. One cashier swears women have made out in the aisles.

One of the regulars sports shoulder-length hair and wears tight blue jeans that flatter his curvy hips and buttocks. He gossips on a cell phone while shopping for makeup after midnight. One of the cashiers told me he turns tricks in the neighborhood.

Even male cross-dressers proudly stroll the aisles. My favorite fooled me the first time I saw him. He had a coquettish manner, neck-length hair, earrings and a tight mini-skirt that showed off supple legs. Since then, I've seen him shop with male dates.

Sometimes, tensions arise when a couple shops at the store. One night, two men walked in and split up. Because shoplifters try that ploy, I watched the man who lingered in cosmetics. His friend loudly complained about me. They eventually bought merchandise and left. On another night, a woman with a butch haircut glared at one of the stockboys. He had oogled her friend's D cups.

Several co-workers have expressed support for gays and lesbians. One of Marisa's best male friends came out to her during their last year in high school. Raquel's younger brother has a boyfriend. One of the stockboys told me sexuality does not matter. He suspects I'm gay.

He's right. I came out of the closet several years ago. None of my co-workers know.

Despite the acceptance, I'm not out at the job. My effectiveness may be jeopardized if word spread to customers. A shoplifter might yell a slur. I may blow my cool. The situation could escalate.

I've come close to outing myself. I once told the Nice Cashier that my favorite cross-dresser had nice legs. Once at the end of a shift, I submitted my backpack to the Cool Assistant Manager for the standard check. I had forgotten about a copy of Gay Chicago magazine in it. My eyes widened as he peeked inside the bag. I held my breath. Luckily, he did not see it.

Although I'm not out at the job, I've gotten much satisfaction by watching gays and lesbians visit the store as though they were in well-known gay-friendly enclaves like Boystown and Andersonville. They don't have to travel out of their neighborhood to be themselves.

I got further confirmation of that fact later that Sunday night. A regular, a gay waiter, unloaded his basket at a register. One of his items, a DVD of a gay romantic comedy called Adam & Steve, rested on the counter.

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A very pseudononymous Jerome Haller earns rent money as a security guard for a large, publicly-held retail chain. He welcomes your comments.

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See more tales of security guarding, pizzeria waitressing, barista-ing and office drudgering in our Life at Work collection.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 12:23 AM | Permalink

January 19, 2011

The [Wednesday] Papers

"A Chicago man has dreams of being stinking rich - and thinks a line of fragrances with the smell of money is just the ticket for combining dollars with scents," AOL reports.

"Patrick McCarthy, a vice president of sales at Microsoft, took a break from his day job to create His Money Cologne and Her Money Eau de Parfum, a line of his-and-hers fragrances that are designed to make the wearer smell like a million bucks - or more, depending on how much you put on."

money.jpeg

So that's why Rahm Emanuel is attracting so much support; he stinks.

*

"3 mayoral hopefuls say they were bullied as a child."

Rahm responds here.

*

"Three of four candidates confirmed for mayoral forum on environment and community development."

Gee, can you guess which one isn't?

*

Rahm Calls In Favor From Accused Racist To Shore Up The Black Vote.

County Bounty
"Preckwinkle said she has felt the financial pain, having to slash the number of employees in her office after discovering that former board President Todd Stroger had been spending about $600,000 more in salaries than the budget called for," the Tribune reports.

"Preckwinkle addressed the issue while announcing she had hired former city Comptroller Tariq Malhance, 66, as her new chief financial officer. He will be paid about $176,000 a year, which is $54,000 less than his predecessor, whose salary Stroger boosted after his Democratic primary election loss nearly a year ago."

Can't Stroger be sued - or arrested?

Berrios's Boy
Please see the update on the item about political operative Scott Cisek in yesterday's column.

NBC Now Only Available On Tuesdays Between 1 and 4
Local media doesn't care.

-

But they're totally onto this hot story:

* Packers-Bears Game Will Test "Mixed Marriages"

* Family Divided Over Bears-Packers Game

* Houses Divided: How Suburban Bears Fans Handle Enemies On Own Turf.

Clout vs. Innovation
"A new research space has opened at Innovation Park at Notre Dame that is expected to attract businesses and entrepreneurs," the South Bend Tribune reports.

"The 847-square-foot comprehensive analytical laboratory is equipped with an array of scientific tools to store, handle, prepare and test materials. It's leaseable by the hour or the day to established or startup businesses . . .

"F Cubed LLC, a startup firm based in Innovation Park, was the first client to lease time in the new lab. The company is working to develop a small device that will identify contaminated drinking water and infections in human blood and fluid samples, said Leslie T. Ivie, of Chicago, president of F Cubed.

"'Here in Chicago, there is nothing like Innovation Park,' he said."

*

Why? Perhaps because clout crowds out innovation.

Hotel Chic
"Fort Pitt Furniture, Chicago's warehouse of used hotel furnishings, has a pretty amazing deal going on right now," Garage Sale Warrior notes.

Pension Fun
"Dick Tracy Comic Strip To Get New Creative Team."

Maybe they oughta have him marry the retiring Brenda Starr. They can move into a retirement home next to the Lockhorns.

Czar of the Playbook
"Zone blitz will kill the Bears' offense, but if Cutler protects the football the defense and special teams will squeeze out a win," Emory Hunt says.

Then again, he picked the Seahawks.

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The Beachwood Tip Line: Lock horns.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 7:51 AM | Permalink

Rahm Calls In Favor From Accused Racist To Shore Up The Black Vote

"A 'big city' needs a 'big mayor,' and that's why Chicago needs the man who helped him pass the Crime Bill, former President Bill Clinton told a crowd of 700 people at the Cultural Center Tuesday," the Sun-Times reports.

*

We - meaning reporters - don't have to do things this way.

Alternate - or might I say journalistic - approach:

"Bill Clinton returned a favor to his former White House enforcer on Tuesday when he appeared at a $5,000-a-ticket fundraiser for mayoral candidate Rahm Emanuel.

"While touting Emanuel as the 'big mayor' a big city needs, Clinton wasn't available to discuss why the other candidates failed to measure up to that standard. Instead, Clinton issued his endorsement without displaying any evidence that he had considered the qualifications, experience and ideas of anyone else in the race - even as he urged Chicagoans to follow his advice.

"Characteristically, Emanuel's campaign refused to answer substantive questions about the Clinton endorsement, instead simply mouthing the simplistic talking points that are so far a hallmark of his campaign."

Or, we could just joke about how many times Emanuel told members of Congress to fuck off if they didn't go along with the president's proposals.

*

Subjective? No. You can write that way - and you should - if everything you write is, you know, true. Isn't that what we're supposed to do? Re-typing talking points is not in the job description.

*

After all, Clinton picking out his crime bill to highlight was a strategic choice meant to complement Emanuel's commercials in the hope that the media will reinforce the message by writing stories like . . . the Sun-Times's.

*

"Clinton continues to be popular among Democrats even after his impeachment and controversy over a sexual relationship with a White House intern," the Tribune reports. "African-Americans made up a crucial part of Clinton's supporters, and black voters are key in the Chicago mayoral contest.

"So Clinton's visit in support of Emanuel was not without controversy. Rep. Danny Davis, a former mayoral candidate, had contended Clinton risked jeopardizing his standing with the African-American community by endorsing Emanuel. Prior to Clinton's appearance, Emanuel aides used the rally stage to feature various supporters who were African-American."

Huh. I guess voters needed to be reminded about Monica Lewinsky - who was not a White House intern while involved with Clinton no matter how many times the media says so - but nobody wants to bring up those (phony) accusations from the Obama campaign that Clinton (and his wife, now Obama's Secretary of State) was racist.

Somehow it's safe to use Clinton to win black votes again.

*

Meanwhile . . .

"Rival Carol Moseley Braun, picking up an endorsement from the National Organization for Women and raising a half-million dollars from black business leaders Tuesday night, dismissed the Clinton visit," the Sun-Times account noted.

"There's a food pantry around the block from our campaign headquarters. Every day it's open, 150 people are waiting in line in the cold for food. Do you really think they care who President Clinton is telling them to vote for?" Braun campaign manager Mike Noonan said.

The exchange that followed went unreported. We imagine it went something like this:

Reporter: Hey, I just heard Bill Clinton changed his mind and he's going to endorse Carol instead.

Noonan: Really?

Reporter: Yes. Do you want to amend your statement?

Noonan: Well, just to say that we think getting the endorsement of a former president as popular and skilled as Bill Clinton shows that Carol is the right choice for Chicago. Did he say he would raise money for us?

Reporter: No. Just kidding.

Hence . . .

"Mayoral candidate Carol Moseley Braun this morning sharply attacked former President Bill Clinton's endorsement of Rahm Emanuel, calling it 'a betrayal to the people who were most loyal to him,'" the Tribune reports.

Which is why . . .

"The effort to endear Emanuel to Chicago's powerful minority voting block was pretty easy to see, even though it was never spoken," Fox News reports. "Of all the speakers at Emanuel's campaign rally in Chicago's cultural center, all but two of them were black: Rahm Emanuel and Bill Clinton."

*

We don't talk about race in our campaigns, we just exploit it.

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 6:40 AM | Permalink

NBC Now Only Available On Tuesdays Between 1 and 4

* Comcastrophe: "And so the Obama administration has reneged on yet another major campaign pledge: to halt media consolidation."

* Al Franken: "The FCC's action today is a tremendous disappointment. The Commission is supposed to protect the public interest, not corporate interests. But what we see today is an effort by the FCC to appease the very companies it's charged with regulating. With approval of this merger, the FCC has given a single media conglomerate unprecedented control over the flow of information in America. This will ultimately mean higher cable and Internet bills, fewer independent voices in the media, and less freedom of choice for all American consumers."

* And yet, you have to look very hard to find this outdated story on the Sun-Times website.

* You have too look equally as hard to find this AP story on the Tribune website. Yawn.

* And now I - just lil' ol' me - outdo the effort of the Sun-Times and equal the effort of the Tribune:

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See also:
* Stop Comcast!

* Opposing Comcast

* Regarding Comcast

* Comcast Sucks

* Thank You, Comcast, May I Have Another?

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 5:58 AM | Permalink

Czar of the Playbook Playoff Preview: Packers at Bears

Zone blitz will kill the Bears' offense, but if Cutler protects the football the defense and special teams will squeeze out a win.

-

Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 5:38 AM | Permalink

January 18, 2011

The Bill & Rahm Show: New Lost City Arkansas Traveler

"Arkansas Traveler" (excerpt: "The Residency Question")

The New Lost City Ramblers (1968)

NLCR1.jpg

NLCR2.jpg

rahm-funy.jpg

billclinton.jpg

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See also:
* Bill and Rahm's Vision of Johanna

Previously by Astralopry:
* Blago Goat Gate
* Daley's Gunbutt Diplomacy
* Obama "Spiritual Manager" A Quirky Venezuelan Tyrant
* You're In Chicawgo Now - Speak Svengalese!
* Obama and the Arkansas Sheik

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 1:56 PM | Permalink

The [Tuesday] Papers

Just in case you're wondering, The Cheeseheadquarters of Chicago is Will's Northwoods Inn.

MLK Day in Review
"The arc of the moral universe is long but it bends toward Beachwood."

- driftglass

Crook County
Watch this:

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* If only Democrats obsessed with Sarah Palin would pay attention to what their own party is up to in our own backyard.

* Note Toni Preckwinkle missing in action.

* Pat Quinn also endorsed Joe Berrios.

* When Scott Cisek, the Democratic operative who helped get both Preckwinkle and Berrios elected, started promoting his last candidate, Marina Faz-Huppert, on his LinkedIn page, I posted a comment asking if Faz-Huppert had promised to hire her relatives. Cisek replied that she "absolutely has not." I responded: "Because that would be wrong, right?" Cisek removed the thread.

*

UPDATE 4:59 P.M.: From Scott Cisek:

I never removed that comment and it is still up.

Rhodes reply: All I can say is that the thread disappeared from my news feed but other comment threads remain. But if it's my mistake, I have no problem apologizing.

Now, to the point: Do you want to answer the question, Scott? You were instrumental in getting Joe Berrios elected. Are you proud?

UPDATE 5:44 P.M.: I invite everyone to check in on Scott's latest addition to the thread. What a wanker.

Worse. An impediment, to be polite, to democracy.

From his LinkedIn profile:

General Consultant Joe Berrios for Assessor

Political Organization industry

April 2010 - December 2010 (9 months)

Strategic Consulting, including campaign planning, strategy development, and implementation for the hugely successful Joe Berrios for Assessor campaign.

*

Scott evaded similar questions about Berrios during the campaign.

I know Scott. We have mutual acquaintances from the Beachwood Inn - which he appears to be using in his latest evasion in this e-mail exchange since this all started:

Rhodes: The thread disappeared from my theme, but I see other threads from others right before my eyes. But I'll post this as an addendum to the item and also call attention to it tomorrow because most of my readers come to the site in the morning.

Do you want to answer the question now, though?

Cisek: It may have disappeared because it was a week ago.We ought to grab a beer sometime. I saw Justin last week.

*

Of course, my reply was that he oughta answer the question.

His reply to that was this: "If you want to talk this fantastic candidate about her plan for the ward - including STAFFING - let me know."

Maybe I should ask his fantastic candidate if she thinks it's wrong to hire relatives, ala Berrios, and if so, if she's bothered by her campaign manager's vigorous defense of our new assessor.

*

Recently Scott posted that 2010 was the best year of his life. Too bad we can't say the same for the citizens of Cook County. Glad you advanced your career at our expense, though!

*

Memo to liberals: Take back your party.

*

Sarah Palin doesn't scare me. Bill Daley does.

Target Practice
I unfriended an acquaintance on Facebook the other day when he - an aging peacenik - changed his profile to this:

palintarget.jpg

His response when I asked if he wasn't being just a bit hypocritical? "Ya think? Now f#$& off!"

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During the 2008 Democratic primary, I noted the irony that in all my years observing and in some cases reporting on politics, I had never run across more vicious supporters of a candidate than Obamaphiles.

Similarly, what I've heard come out of liberals' mouths since then about Sarah Palin pales in comparison to anything I've heard from Tea Partiers.

Nobody I know in progressive circles wanted to hear, though, about incidents like this sexist, racist, hate-filled screed that was virtually ignored by the vast majority of the mainstream media - while even the most innocuous offhand comments were turned into racial slurs against Barack Obama.

-

The hypnotized never lie.

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When it comes to political discourse, be the change you want to see.

-

Obama as Hitler? Bush was Hitler for eight years!

-

False equivalencies? That's always what one side accuses the other side of.

Christian Left
That new moment of silence? Brought to you by Democrats.

Richard Doper
Sun-Times publishes column rejected by high school paper.

Gear is Good
One of the most authentic and poignant bands in the history of American music will appear at the Double Door in February. Here's a sneak preview.

Derrick Rose and MLK
In Hoops at the Half.

*

Also: "Barkley: Rose is the NBA's best point guard."

Brett's Bet
Favre says Packers are best team left in playoffs.

Viriginia Is For Chicago Lovers
"Charlottesville residents have spoken and Chicago is the new preferred destination at Charlottesville-Albemarle Airport (CHO)," C-Ville reports.

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The Beachwood Tip Line: Love it.


Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 10:53 AM | Permalink

Sneak Preview: The Gear Daddies at the Double Door

An American band from Austin, Minnesota that embodies so much of what is great and profound about authentic rock and roll.

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Upcoming date: Saturday, February 12, 2011.

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1. I know I'm drunk, yeah, but I just don't think He'd care.

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2. At least I had a taste of local fame.

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3. But you know when the lights come on and the beer is gone it's still got a hold on me.

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4. You're just another stupid boy.

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5. I just keep telling myself things are bound to change.

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6. She doesn't covet what she doesn't have.

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7. She's fucked again and she don't know why.

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8. I got a past that keeps haunting me.

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9. More audio on MySpace.

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10. Song of the Moment: Dream Vacation

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 9:33 AM | Permalink

The Cheeseheadquarters of Chicago

"A Little Bit of God's Country in the Heart of South Lakeview."

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From the menu:

Fried Cheese Curds: No self-respecting Wisconsin bar would be caught dead without beer-battered cheese curds.

Moose Knuckles: Fear not. These BBQ short ribs are extra lean and meaty, and served on a bed of French fries.

Cheese Quesadillas: Marinated shredded chicken breast and melted Wisconsin cheddar grilled in a flour tortilla, served with homemade salsa & cream.

Mini Corn Dogs: These beer-battered bite sized beauties are addictive.

Badger Burger: This half-pounder is topped with Wisconsin cheddar cheese, onion rings, BBQ sauce, lettuce and tomato, all served on our corn-dusted bun. Or make it an "Angry Badger" with jalapeno peppers (at no extra charge).

Merkt's Cheddar Bacon Burger: Another half-pounder, this one is topped with the legendary spreadable favorite of Wisconsin sports fans, as well as crisp apple wood smoked bacon, lettuce and tomato, all served on our corn-dusted bun.

Beer Brat: The sausage of "God's Country." Grilled Wisconsin-style bratuwurst served with spicy brown mustard and your choice of tangy sauerkraut or sweet grilled onions.

*

On tap:

Miller Lite
Blue Moon
Bud Light
Goose Island 312
Guinness
Harp
Leinenkugel's Original
Leinenkugel's Red
Leinenkugel's Sunset Wheat
Leinenkugel's Seasonal
Leinenkugel's Honey Weiss
Newcastle Brown Ale
New Belgium Seasonal
Sam Adams
Sierra Nevada
Smithwicks
Setlla Artois
Will's Northwoods Al

*

Also serving:

Miller Lite, Miller High Life, Miller Chill, Amstel Light, Becks, Becks Light, Budweiser, Bud Light, Bud Light Lime, Bud Select, Coors Light, Fat Tire, Hacker Pschorr, Heineken, Heineken Light, Hornsby, Crispin Hard Cider, Leinenkugel Creamy Dark, Leinenkugel Sunset Wheat, Leinenkugel Berry Weiss, Schlitz, San Creek Hard Lemonade, Pilsner Urquell, Magners Big Bottles, MGD, MGD 64, Michelob Ultra, Old Style, PBR, Point Special, Point Amber, Point Pale, Point White, Sharps, Shiner Bock, Twisted Tea, and Twisted Tea Half & Half.

*

Also featuring:

Musky Fest 2010 including the Musky Queen!

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 8:49 AM | Permalink

Fantasy Fix: Hoops at the Half

If you were completely ignorant of history, you might have good reason to assume that the inventor of the game of basketball was Martin Luther King, Jr., for it is only on MLK's birthday that we can enjoy 12 straight hours of hoops on TV.

So it's a good day to assess the state of the basketball season, not only because everyone in the league is playing on the same day, but also because it falls roughly at the halfway point of the season. Though the NBA All-Star Game isn't until Feb. 20, here are my first-half fantasy stars:

WESTERN CONFERENCE

PG: Chris Paul, New Orleans.

Leads the league in assists and steals and is second in assists-to-turnovers ratio. Still, just doesn't score enough for my tastes and always goes to high in fantasy drafts.

Backup: Deron Williams, Utah. Scores more than Paul, but steals are lacking.

SG: Kobe Bryant, LA Lakers.

Yes, another obvious choice, but though his numbers are slightly down across the board, he has been healthy and consistent enough this season to be locked on a race for the scoring lead with Kevin Durant and LeBron James.

Backup: Monta Ellis, Golden State. The position's best points and assists package.

SF: Kevin Durant, Oklahoma City.

Overall, I would call his first half slightly disappointing for a guy taken first in many fantasy drafts, but he has been shooting the lights out since 2011 began.

Backup: Rudy Gay, Memphis. That's right, no 'Melo

PF: Kevin Love, Minnesota.

Probably the most deserving All-Star of all, he's getting very close to making himself a top 10 pick next year. Leads all Western PFs in points and rebounds.

Backup: Blake Griffin, LA Clippers. As amazing as Love has been, Griffin makes it a hard choice and could make it even harder with a better second half.

C: Pau Gasol, LA Lakers.

I could make an argument for Love or Griffin here, but Gasol has 81 blocks while Love has only 13 and Griffin 25 - and Gasol leads the position in assists.

Backup: LaMarcus Aldridge, Portland.

Nostalgia says Tim Duncan, but Aldridge's 20.7 PPG say otherwise.

EASTERN CONFERENCE

PG: Derrick Rose, Bulls.

I wasn't going to disappoint here, and neither has Rose. Conference position ranking is second in points and rebounds to Dwyane Wade (I have other plans for Wade), third in assists, and like Love in the West, he has earned his way into the top 10.

Backup: Raymond Felton, NY. 18 PPG, 8.8 APG is six more points and three more assists per game than last year.

SG: Dwyane Wade, Miami.

His woeful 2.4 APG proves he's a SG as much as his glittery 25.1 PPG. James and Bosh have stumbled at times, but Wade almost beat the Bulls without them last Saturday night, proving he's still MVP-good.

Backup: Paul Pierce, Boston. SG is a really thin position in the East.

SF: LeBron James, Miami.

No arguments to be made for anyone else, and showing he may perform even better when fueled by fan hatred. Recent injury could slow him down for a bit.

Backup: Danny Granger, Indiana. Really, a toss-up between Granger, Atlanta's Josh Smith and DePaul product and Knick Wilson Chandler.

PF: Amar'e Stoudemire, NY.

He has nudged his game up a notch both offensively and defensively since coming to New York. Conference position rankings make him top scorer and shot-blocker.

Backup: Josh Smith, Atlanta. Really n SF, but 8.8 RPG and 1.9 BPG per game make him a sound fit.

C: Dwight Howard, Orlando.

Started slow for the second straight season, but the big Orlando trade rejuvenated him, and 21.7 PPG and 13.3 RPG is above his career line.

Backup: Chris Bosh, Miami. Doesn't have the defensive numbers I like my centers to have, and has been a true disappointment, averaging six points and almost three reobunds fewer per game than last year. Basically, I have no case for this one.

Expert Wire
* Yahoo! NBA Skinny hands out mid-season awards to the biggest fantasy draft payoffs. Calling Dr. Love.

* Bleacher Reports has a look at the trade rumors percolating in advance of the trading deadline. No surprise that Carmelo Anthony leads the pack.

* The Faster Times says it's time to pick up Ramon Sessions, at least as a short-term fix for the flagging Mo Williams.

* ESPN's Fantasy Basketball Blog reports on Carlos Boozer coming up lame. Is it really time to pick up Kurt Thomas?

* SLAM Online still rates 'Melo a "buy low", and with good reason - he is having his worst season.

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Comments welcome.

-

For more Dan O'Shea, check out his Beachwood blog SwingsBothWays.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 8:10 AM | Permalink

January 17, 2011

The [Monday] Papers

"Like his team, Cutler gets the job done even if he hardly looks pretty doing it," our very own Jim Coffman writes this morning.

And even as - Coffman points out - the media obsesses over Cutler's image. Can we deal with reality instead?

A Man And A Lesson Plan
"While many students across the country will be out of school on Monday celebrating the Martin Luther King Jr. holiday, the nearly 550 young men and women of Providence St. Mel will be in class," Dawn Turner Trice writes for the Tribune.

"Paul J. Adams III, the school's founder and president, said Providence St. Mel has never closed its doors on King Day. Instead, the entire day always is dedicated to lessons about King."

A Segregated City Is No City At All
"In 2000, 83 percent of African Americans [in Chicago] would have had to move to be evenly distributed across the city," Megan Cottrell wrote for the Chicago Reporter last month. "In 2009, that number was 81 percent. Progress, for sure, but if we continue at this rate, we'll claim victory about halfway through year 2347."

*

Also from the Reporter:

"Chicago ranks fourth in black-white segregation among the nation's 100 largest metropolitan areas, according to a recent analysis. Chicago ranks 10th in Hispanic-white segregation. Click here to see racial segregation measures for large metro areas and states."

And:

"Chicago's racial segregation patterns are quite stark when you view a map of the city using the Mapping America: Every City, Every Block feature from The New York Times. Click here to view a map of the Chicago area."

Daley's Chicago
"From 2004 through 2008 alone, $1.2 billion in property tax dollars has been siphoned from the city's budget, parks, schools and other local taxing bodies to exclusively prime the Loop and the Near South Side community to which it abuts," the Reporter found this month. "The small piece of land comprises only two of Chicago's 77 community areas but accounted for 55 percent of all TIF money spent in those five years."

*

"12,296: The number of jobs lost in the Loop between 2002 and 2008. The bulk of those losses were felt by people living in predominately African-American communities."

*

But by all means, let's not drag race into the mayoral campaign.

Commemorative Food Stamps
"Even as the economy grew and the unemployment rate began to shrink, the number of Illinois households getting food stamps hit record levels in December, showing no signs of an economic recovery, and area food pantries say they've continued to see more people asking for help," the Sun-Times reports.

"There were 857,282 households enrolled last month in what is now called the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, commonly called food stamps. That was up 12.7 percent from a year earlier."

Maybe Groupon can organize a deal.

*

"We live in an international city, a world-class city, and yet we have neighborhoods that are described as food deserts," Miguel del Valle tells the Sun-Times. "That's Third World country talk."

Health Care Repealed On South Side
"As Provident Hospital postponed its decision to stop accepting ambulance runs, protesters called on the nearby University of Chicago Hospitals to restore its adult emergency room to trauma center status," WBBM reports.

"A group of 25 pressed their demand by staging a mock funeral outside of Rockefeller Chapel as a Martin Luther King Day celebration let out."

Michelle Obama could not be reached for comment.

Gary Woman Got King His Day
After committing mail fraud.

*

"She is famous for having introduced the bill to make Martin Luther King Jr.'s birthday a national holiday," according to The Black Past: Remembered and Reclaimed. "Representative John Conyers Jr. had first introduced legislation for the holiday days after Dr. King's assassination in 1968. However it was Hall's final version of the bill which was passed into law in 1983.

"Despite her striking victory in the 1983 special election, Hall did not win her bid for re-nomination in 1984 Democratic primary. Mrs. Hall blamed her failure on racism; however the 1984 campaign was weakly organized, and despite the symbolism of the King bill success, voters saw little economic progress during Hall's term. She failed to win the support of the black community, losing by over 4,800 votes in the eight neighborhoods with majority black populations. Democrat Peter J. Visclosky was elected instead."

Visclosky, who is white, remains in that office, though the Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington named him one of the nation's most corrupt members of Congress in 2009.

The Weirdness of Walter Jacobson
As told through his Perspectives.

Bill & Rahm's Vision of Johanna
You bet I was a different lad when I left old Arkansas.

Boiling Mad
Inside Tea Party America.

Ode To The Nice Cashier
We assumed the Nice Cashier had served her time. Subsequent events proved us wrong.

The Weekend in Chicago Rock
You shoulda been there.

Room at the Beachwood Inn
Stop by tonight as we fire up the jukebox, shoot some stick and enjoy refreshing adult beverages.

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The Beachwood Tip Line: Of age.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 8:50 AM | Permalink

Boiling Mad: Inside Tea Party America

A surprising and revealing look inside the Tea Party movement - where it came from, what it stands for, and what it means for the future of American politics.

Or, as Times Books puts it:

The First Definitive Account of a Vastly Misunderstood Movement from the New York Times Reporter Who Has Covered Them More Than Any Other Journalist.

I read this book about a month ago. Let's see how the passages I highlighted then resonate with recent events.

*

She introduces us to the first Tea Partier, a young teacher with a pierced nose who lives in Seattle with her fiance, an Obama supporter.

Huh. And to think I once suggested that one consequence of Obama's phony image as a change agent would be to instill the deepest cynicism yet in young people.

*

"The legend goes that it all started on the floor of the Chicago Mercantile Exchange on Thursday, February 19, 2009. There, a financial news commentator named Rick Santelli proclaimed on CNBC that the Obama administration's proposed mortgage assistance plan was 'promoting bad behavior,' rewarding 'the losers' at the expense of people who had played by the rules. Surrounded by cheering commodities traders, Santelli invited like-minded capitalists to join him on the shores of Lake Michigan for a modern day Boston Tea Party in protest. 'We're thinking of having a Chicago Tea Party in July,' he ventured. WIthin days, it is said, millions of Americans sprang from their couches and desk chairs to take to the streets, and a movement was born. We the People, come to Take Back America.

"It would be a wonderful creation story, if only it were that simple. In fact, the first Tea Party had already taken place three days earlier in Seattle, led by a 29-year-old woman named Keli Carender. If a lefty West Coast city was an unlikely cradle for conservative protest, Carender was an unlikely avatar of a movement that would come to derive most of its support from older white men. Half-Mexican, with a pierced nose, she taught basic math to adults on welfare and performed with an improv company on weekends."

*

"Carender, like many conservatives, hadn't thought much of any of the presidential candidates. 'None of them seemed to understand what conservatives didn't like about Bush,' she said, 'that it was the spending' . . .

"But she hardly welcomed President Barack Obama, with his promises of change. As the new administration began preparing a $787 billion economic stimulus bill in his first weeks in office, Carender said, 'I started thinking, what are we getting ourselves into? It didn't make sense to me to be spending all this money when we don't have have it. It seems more logical that we create an atmosphere where private industry can start to grow again and create jobs.'

"She tried calling her U.S. senators, Patty Murray and Maria Cantwell, both Democrats. 'It was like a brick wall,' she said. 'I mean, I'd call every day and the mailboxes would be full. I'd call in the morning and it would still be full. I'd call in the afternoon, it would be full. I understand: they had a lot of calls; it was just full. But I thought, maybe hire an extra person part-time to take down messages, or pay someone in the evening. That just seems like it's one of the most important things in a representative democracy, so it at least feels like you're getting through.'"

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"The new street protesters had a powerful ally in Fox News, which had been searching out popular opposition to the stimulus bill. When Mary Rackovich protested in Fort Myers, Fox producers quickly got her to a local affiliate so she could be interviewed by satellite by Neil Cavuto, even though her protest had, by her own account, consisted of herself, her husband, and one other person."

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"'It all started with TARP, then Mr. Obama gets in and he's fundamentally changing this country,' and he's changing it alright,' [Diana Reimer, 66, of Lansdale, Pennsylvania] said. 'The bailouts, the banks, AIG, and you see all the money these people are making and then all their bonuses, I mean, that's kind of ridiculous, who needs that much money? I just want to be able to pay our bills and stay afloat.'"

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"Lots of Tea Partiers were just as angry at Republicans as they were at Democrats. For 12 years following the Republican Revolution of 1994, the party had held nearly unbroken control of Congress, but it hadn't worked out to be much of a revolution. Despite all the promises of term limits and cutting waste and paying-as-you-go that were contained in the Contract With America, spending still skyrocketed, government still grew."

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"Nearby, in Bucks County, a perennial battleground district in a perennial battleground state, Anastasia Przybylski was just the kind of voter the two parties haggle over. A 35-year-old stay-at-home mother of three, she had voted for John McCain unenthusiastically in 2008. She had been a Democrat but had switched her registration to voe in local elections, where the critical choices were among Republicans. And she might have voted for Hillary Clinton, who had won the state's Democratic primary, had she been on the ballot in November . . .

"Przybylski left the meeting [of the local Republican committee] frustrated. She had changed her voter registration a few years earlier from Democrat to Republican so she could vote in a primary. 'What's the point of even being registered Republican and not Independent?' she said. 'If there's always an endorsement, what's the point, really? The parties have all done this the same way, and people didn't notice. We all thought we were voting and there was just one person to vote for.'"

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"They believed that if anyone was guilty of Astroturf organizing, it was their opponents on the left, with the labor unions busing in protesters to rally for health care legislation, and they insisted that the most outrageous Tea Party signs were actually sent in by the left to make the Tea Party look bad. (There was little to prove this. The staff at FreedomWorks liked to point out, correctly, that the posters showing President Obama with a Hitler moustache were printed by the supporters of Lyndon LaRouche, the octogenarian political provacateur who had likened Obama's health care plan to the gas chambers of the Third Reich. 'LaRouch fruitcakes,' Dick Armey called them. 'And we all know who the LaRouchies are,' he added. 'They're Democrats!')"

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"At its heart, the Tea Party movement was deeply divided. The people who held virulent signs at rallies were a very different group from those who sat through meetings about organizing local precincts, who in turn were different from those who stayed home but sympathized with the cause. Younger Tea Partiers extolling the wisdom of Friedrich Hayek and Ludwig von Mises had different priorities from the older Tea Partiers who wanted change but also wanted their Medicare left alone. Even the movement's harshest critics acknowledged a kind of 'good Tea Party' / 'bad Tea Party' divide. The liberal group Media Matters for America had devoted a great deal of time and effort to tracking the Fox News Channel's promotion of the Tea Partiers and debunking the movement's received wisdom, but when it sent a researcher undercover to the Tea Party Convention in Nashville, she reported back how 'affable and welcoming' her fellow conventioneers were. 'A nice surprise was the lack of violent language,' wrote the researcher, Melinda Warner, who described herself as an evangelical conservative-turned-progressive. 'The members who make those horrible signs and make violent and hateful comments either were not in attendance or kept their mouths shut and left their signs at home.'"

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What Liberals Must Know
I'll just take one, from Zernike's press materials:

It's not about race. There are fringe elements; they are just that. (Saul Alinsky, too, wanted to "take our country back.") Liberals who dismiss the Tea Party movement as simply a collection of white racists do themselves a disservice by ignoring the economic and cultural motivations that have the potential to draw independent voters away from Democratic candidates.

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What Conservatives Must Know
I'll take just one, from Zernike's press materials:

The Tea Party means different things to different people. There are people who want to make the Tea Party about immigration, English as an official language, and Obama's birth certificate, and then there are the purists, who think it should focus on economic issues only.

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Common Misconceptions
I'll take two, from Zernike's press materials:

It's not about social issues. Tea Partiers may hold conservative positions on issues like gay marriage and abortion, but they don't want to talk about those issues. They think they are divisive and increasingly irrelevant.

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They don't fall in line behind Sarah Palin. Many Tea Partiers don't think she is qualified to be president, and they don't go along with her endorsements. And she ticked them off by suggesting that the Republican Party ought to absorb the Tea Party movement. The Tea Party movement is determinedly "leaderless" and proud of the way it has mobilized electoral energy, and its loosely affiliated "members" are suspicious of anyone - even Palin - trying to co-opt that energy.

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 7:05 AM | Permalink

The Weekend in Chicago Rock

You shoulda been there.

1. Little Dragon at Lincoln Hall on Sunday night.

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2. Rubblebucket at the Double Door on Saturday night.

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3. AM Taxi at Beat Kitchen on Saturday night.

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4. Screaming Females at Lincoln Hall on Saturday night.

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5. Twin Shadow at Schubas on Friday night.

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6. The Dig at Lincoln Hall on Friday night.

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7. Title Tracks at Lincoln Hall on Friday night.

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 6:30 AM | Permalink

The Weirdness of Walter Jacobson

As told through his Perspectives.

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TV Pundits Are Polarizing Us
January 12, 2011

"Rarely do we hear the talking heads talking truth, which is that they're the ones who are polarizing America and stirring people up.

"So until they know and can explain to us what stirred up the killer in Tucson, the talking heads ought to shut up - me included."

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Mayor's Brother Won't Deliver The Goods Here
January 6, 2011

"He did not favor Chicago when Rahm Emanuel was chief of staff, and he won't while Bill Daley is chief of staff."

Nor when he hired Arne Duncan, Desiree Rogers, David Axelrod or Valerie Jarrett.


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Bring Back Shirtless President Obama
January 4, 2011

"While on vacation, his abs and his biceps were not shown even once on TV, because his orders to reporters were no pics of the pres without a shirt.

"So all we have of the president, who may be the hunkiest pres in history, is a picture on a beach two years ago.

"A healthy hunk. A message to Americans to shape up. The right message from the right man to send it.

"But he was chided for making a splash in the media, so his orders were firm: never a picture of his bod again . . .

"No way was Mao buffed like Barack. No way most people are buffed like Barack.

"So, please, Mr. President, don't be afraid.

"If you're feeling as good as you looked in a swimsuit two years ago, we'd like to see you in a swimsuit.

"You feeling good makes us feel good."

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What Walter Wants In The New Year
December 30, 2010

"And I hope, do hope, that Bill Clinton and Barack Obama stay out of our mayoral campaign because they don't know enough about governing Chicago to stick their noses into it."

Well, maybe that Obama fellow . . .

"I wish they learn enough and then come in and tell us not how to vote, but how to improve our schools and respect our cops and save the lives of our firefighters . . . "

They should study up and then tell us how to do everything but vote?

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Can General Assembly Balance Budget?
December 28, 2010

"If they want to, the lame duckers can dig us out of debt and support public education, and provide jobs and health care and clean air. And guide us through an economic recovery."

All in one little lame-duck session?

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Miley Could Use Better Guardians
December 16, 2010

"Put the adults in her life in prison before it's too late for their Miley, our Miley."

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Political Spy Game
December 7, 2010

"It's different from the good ole' days when campaigning was up front, and more honest and open, bare-knuckle, more rough-and-tumble.

"Can't speak for anyone else, but for me, the spy stuff is too sneaky."

The good old days were both more rough-and-tumble and more honest and open? Was that before videocameras and opposition research were invented?

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Shut The Door On Trick-Or-Treating
October 28, 2010

"It started out okay as an Irish festival celebrating the end of summer. But it's become a nasty game called Trick or Treat: Gimme a treat, or I'll soap your windows or wrap your bushes in toilet paper, or let the air out of your tires."

Wow, your Lincoln Park neighborhood is tougher than I thought!

"Knock on someone's door and say, 'Gimme what I want or I'll give you what you don't want.' That's Halloween: Teach our children the ways of bribery, or how to be an extortionist."

I think they can learn that just by watching your newscast.

"Why do we do that? Encourage children to knock on a door and demand some candy or buzz the bell to get a taffy apple - assuming it's safe to eat - not knowing that some predator may open the door."

Or Chris Hansen from Dateline.

"And what about the junk in candy-taffy, the sugar and fat that's harmful to children?"

What up with the taffy, dude?

"Enough of it to eat for a week and cause bad feelings at home when mom or dad takes it away."

After a week. Bad feelings.

"Or buzz-buzz-buzz that bell to say 'Boo!' and scare a little old lady half to death. What's the idea: that a lady's fear is a child's fun?"

Little old ladies don't have calendars?

"Excuse me, please, but I don't think Halloween is fun, or ought to be fun or that mom or dad ought to be calling it fun."

Forgive Walter, he ate too much taffy and he's crashing.

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Weis Meeting With Gangbangers
(Video uploaded September 3, 2010)

"During the late 60s . . . the good old days . . . [the Chicago police] went to the mother of a member of a gang and told her the next time there was a shooting in West Chatham, her son would be shot in the head by police and dropped on her front porch. For a dozen years thereafter, the bangers stayed away from Chatham. The truly good old days."

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Too Much On The Giannoulias Family Bank, Not Nearly Enough On The Issues
(Video uploaded April 16, 2010)

"Bank, bank, bank . . . And in the Chicago Sun-Times and especially the Tribune, that's the news. Except it's not news. Most of what's in the papers about Giannoulias's campaign for the U.S. Senate is of felons who borrowed some money from the bank five years ago. Which has been in the papers before. And before that. And before that.

"Alexi Giannoulias is the Illinois state treasurer. He's into his fourth year, with a pretty good record, now seeking higher office, and and being smashed in a Sun-Times-Tribune circulation war. Either that or the papers want Mark Kirk in the senate and are mixing their editorial positions with the news. That's a bad thing to do."

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 1:14 AM | Permalink

I Am A Security Guard: Ode to the Nice Cashier

I walked into the store after two days off. A young cashier leaned on the counter with a smirk on her face. That meant she had some hot gossip.

"Did you hear what happen?" she asked.

"No," I replied.

She then told me the Cool Assistant Manager had suspended the Nice Cashier following an argument. The news surprised me. The Nice Cashier is one of the kindest and most professional people at the store.

Later that night, the Cool Cashier told me the full story. A customer had tried to use an expired coupon. The Nice Cashier said no. The Cool Assistant Manager overruled her. The Nice Cashier thought the manager should have backed her up. She called him an asshole.

The incident took place in front of customers. The Cool Assistant Manager, normally a compassionate man, resented getting such disrespect in front of others. He dished out a three-day suspension.

The situation distressed the Cool Cashier. She's good friends with both parties. She felt caught in the middle.

Despite the Nice Cashier's behavior, I too felt sorry for her. She's a single mother of three children. She's also pregnant with her fourth child. Her unemployed, live-in boyfriend is the father. In short, she's the sole support of several hungry mouths.

As I've written previously, she has been an excellent worker. I admired her knowledge of the prices and locations of goods. She stayed on the lookout for thieves and con artists. Also, she worked well with both the Cool Cashier and the Cool Assistant Manager.

After the suspension, the Nice Cashier returned to duty. The Cool Cashier commiserated with her. Another assistant manager supervised the night crew. We assumed the Nice Cashier had served her time.

Subsequent events proved us wrong.

Near the end of her shift, a corporate honcho walked into the store. Fifteen minutes later, the Head Manager did the same. They huddled in the office, and then asked the Nice Cashier to join them.

The Cool Cashier and I waited. A veteran cashier started her shift. We told her the situation. She told us the company often fires employees at the end of the shift to avoid drama.

We waited, hoping against reason that the veteran was wrong. Our eyes focused on the office door.

Twenty minutes later, the Nice Cashier emerged from the office. She grimaced and hung her head. She no longer had a job.

Everyone present knew she would lose her gig. Still, her final walk toward the exit chilled most of the workers on the floor.

I could not think of anything I could do or say to comfort the Nice Cashier. Neither could the veteran cashier. We stood in silence.

The Cool Cashier, however, rose to the occasion. She hugged her friend, then walked her home.

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A very pseudononymous Jerome Haller earns rent money as a security guard for a large, publicly-held retail chain. He welcomes your comments.

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See more tales of security guarding, pizzeria waitressing, barista-ing and office drudgering in our Life at Work collection.


Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 12:14 AM | Permalink

SportsMonday: Cutlery

Jay Cutler continues to rise up. And the national sports media sinks to not necessarily new lows but predictable ones.

Yes, the Seahawks aren't very good. And yes, now Cutler faces the Packers, whose defensive schemes have tormented him in three of four games Cutler has played against them in his two years as a Bear.

But Cutler is far from the inconsistent, untrustworthy quarterback he's portrayed as, even if he did have a bad game against the Packers in the season finale - when he was sacked a half-dozen times.

Despite facing more pressure than any other signal-caller, he has come up big in all the games the Bears had to win in the second half of the season.

Of course, Cutler is also consistent in that he continues to insist on throwing one absolutely terrible red-zone pass per game.

Fortunately, the Seahawks dropped Sunday's potential gift on the goal line and Cutler was solid the rest of the way.

There were still a few throws that seemed close to interceptable, but those were more than outweighed by a dozen beautiful tosses, including two perfect touchdown bombs to Greg Olsen and Kellen Davis.

Like his team, Cutler gets the job done even if he hardly looks pretty doing it.

Last week, for example, ESPN analyst Trent Dilfer took Cutler to task for his imperfect mechanics. Cutler's touchdown pass to Davis featured just what Dilfer attacked him for - he threw the ball off his back foot while back-pedaling. He also floated an ultra-catchable pass about a foot beyond the Seahawk safety's out-stretched paw and into a grateful Davis's soft hands in stride to the end zone.

Moral of the story: Shut up about the mechanics, Trent.

Maybe the problem is that Cutler consistently takes a pass on smiling and mouthing all the cliches the genius higher profile sports reporters apparently want to hear for the millionth time.

Must we be obsessed with "image"? Let's try reality for a change.

Leave the perfect teeth and the content-free quotes to Tom Brady and Peyton Manning - both of whom will be watching the rest of the playoffs on TV.

Meanwhile, Bears fans can revel in the run-up to the absolute best NFL playoff match-up we could have possibly imagined. The Bears host the Packers for a spot in the Super Bowl? Our cup runneth so far over it's like we tried to pour a whole keg in there.

It is well beyond belief that it has come down to this. Come on. Come on!

The stars continue to align.

But it will take more than luck to beat the Packers - though the experts making the Packers a three-point road favorite is a bit much.

Clearly Aaron Rodgers played amazing football against the Falcons. Particularly impressive were his 31 completions in only 36 attempts - and the fact that he led four scoring drives of 80 or more yards.

But the game felt more like a Falcon collapse than a Packer coronation. The team from Green Bay won't be that good again, especially out in the wind and the snow.

And if the Bears advance to the Big Dance?

Well, the only team that has blown the Bears away in the last three months is now out of the picture.

People, they don't just have a great chance to make the Super Bowl. They have a great chance to win it - with Jay Cutler at the helm.

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 12:02 AM | Permalink

January 15, 2011

Op-Art: Bill and Rahm's Vision of Johanna

"Clinton To Campaign Here For Emanuel."

Bwayvaudeville.jpg

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Kelly Harrell & The Virginia String Band, "My Name is John Johanna." (1927)

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Previously by Astralopry:
* Blago Goat Gate
* Daley's Gunbutt Diplomacy
* Obama "Spiritual Manager" A Quirky Venezuelan Tyrant
* You're In Chicawgo Now - Speak Svengalese!
* Obama and the Arkansas Sheik

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 4:18 PM | Permalink

The Weekend Desk Report

We know exactly what you'll be doing this weekend. We'll just watch the news.

Market Update
So, hang on, if you raise prices but your market share keeps on shrinking, aren't you kind of breaking even?

Killer Commute
Legislation was sent to Governor Pat Quinn this week to ban the death penalty in Illinois. Unfortunately, it seems Illinois' gas chambers will remain fully operational.

It's Not About Tampons
It looks like Guns took a backseat to Tampons in this week's Penetrative Imagery Derby. And while the Weekend Desk in general agrees that long-standing attempts to correlate the healthy functions of the female reproductive system with irrationality are offensive, limiting the debate to actual hygiene products isn't really helping matters.

It's Not About That Either
Besides, the Tribune photo editor clearly feels the debate should actually be about who farted.

Really?
Finally, Chicago citizens can take heart in one thing. Voting for one of these boobs won't be the worst decision someone makes this winter.

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Weekend Specials
* From the Sports Desk: Exclusive Key Matchups For The Bears-Seahawks Game!

* From the Politics Desk: Bill and Rahm's Vision of Johanna

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And this just in from the TV Desk:

THE WEEKEND ON CAN TV

Climate Change from Chicago to Cancun: The Least Responsible are the Most Affected
ClimateChange-IanViteri.jpg
Ian Viteri, from the Little Village Environmental Justice Organization, joins artists and activists in unveiling a new mural depicting the struggle for environmental justice in the Little Village neighborhood of Chicago.

Sunday, January 16 at 9:00 a.m. on CAN TV2
25 min.

An Educational Event for Lupus
30231-Lupus.jpg
Dr. Jorge Sanchez-Guerrero, world famous lupus expert from Mexico, speaks to lupus patients at an event targeting Spanish speakers.

Sunday, January 16 at 9:30 a.m. on CAN TV21
47 min

Getting Organized! New Strategies for Tough Times
30232-GetOrganized.jpg
Kim Bobo (Interfaith Workers Justice), Jose Oliva (Restaurant Opportunities Center) and Dr. Robert Bruno (University of Illinois) discuss how workers, activists, unions and lawyers are turning to new strategies to build worker power within existing workplace labor laws.

Sunday, January 16 at 10:30 a.m. on CAN TV21
1 hr 23 min

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The Weekend Desk Tip Line: Decisive.


Posted by Natasha Julius at 9:25 AM | Permalink

January 14, 2011

The Blue & Orange Kool-Aid Report: Key Matchups Only Found Here

1. Bears Playoff Rookies vs. Dumbness

Really, Dude, you surprise me. They're not gonna kill (anyone). They're not gonna do (anything). What can they do? (Friggin') amateurs. - Walter Sobchak

This concern is pointed squarely at the offense. Other than Olin Kreutz, "Robert" Garza, Brandon Manumaleuna and Chester Taylor, there aren't any offensive regulars who can boast meaningful playing time in multiple playoff runs to this point. There aren't any situations in life or football where inexperience is a good thing. Fortunately, the Seahawks are what we call a "Practice Girl."

2. Jay Cutler vs. Jay Cutler's Pride

The night of the (Seahawks game), you may feel a slight sting. That's pride (causing you to throw into triple coverage). (Screw) pride. Pride only hurts, it never helps. - Marsellus Wallace

The Seahawks secondary can be had, but if we've learned anything about Jay Cutler this season, it's that he wins with a conservative game plan, judicious use of deep passes and the exploitation of his mobility. But when you've got a cannon, everything looks like a place to fire your balls. Ignore the sting, Jay.

3. The Bears vs. Mike Martz

Gonna take a fortnight at least to get this herd down to St. Louis on Mississippi. This glen's gonna be tough to traverse, and that river's got to be 50, 60 meters wide. And God knows how many fathoms. To hell with parliamentary procedure! We've got to wrangle up some cattles. - Liam Neeson, Family Guy Episode 506

Every so often you'll witness the emergence of a Scott Brosius or Claude Lemieux, but for the most part the playoffs are all about putting the right talent in a position to maximize their best skills. Don't miscast Matt Forte as a primary option in pass protection in the second half. Use Chester Taylor in space; you paid him well to be a third-down back. Please don't do that crappy end-around play to Hester for three yards - send him on a "Go" route for once. Any chance Jason McKie got released by the Ravens? Tight ends aren't fullbacks any more than Irishmen are cowboys.

4. Lovie Smith vs. Challenge Flags

If every instinct you have is wrong, then the opposite would have to be right. - Jerry Seinfeld

This one might be aimed a bit more at the support staff upstairs, but when you're the third winingest coach in Chicago Bears history, you get the blame along with the credit. The playoffs are a bad time to uncork new strategies, but given Lovie's approach to challenges in the past, the Costanza Instinctual Inversion Strategy should breathe life into an area of the Bears game that has traditionally been lacking. Just remember Lovie: When a questionable call comes up, think carefully about what you should do and then say to yourself, "I will do the opposite."

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We know what the Bears are: An above average defensive team that mostly wins, but has the ability to lose to any team in the NFL on a given Sunday.

With that in mind, stay away from sharp knives, sturdy rafters and delicious antifreeze on Sunday, just in case the Bears remind you of that one last time.

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 3:51 PM | Permalink

The [Friday] Papers

And now, the amazing saga of how the unelected wife of a Lincoln Park zoning lawyer cast the deciding vote to raise Illinois's taxes!

Kathy Moore, you are this young year's Worst Person In Illinois.

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"They tell me what (voting) button to push and I push it."

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They = State Senate President John Cullerton and other honchos of the Illinois Democratic Party.

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If reformers and progressives want to continue to prop up these guys, be my guest. But please stop calling yourselves reformers and progressives.

Tax Facts
"[Texas Gov. Rick] Perry on Thursday said he was troubled by the Illinois Legislature's move to "tax the rich without talking about how to make the thoughtful prioritized decisions on how to govern."

Rich Miller responds: "Tax the rich? Hey, Illinois just raised taxes on everybody, right down to the poorest of the poor."

That's right - Illinois Democrats just raised taxes on the poorest of the poor by the same exact rate as the rich.

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If reformers and progressives want to continue to prop up these guys, be my guest. But please stop calling yourselves reformers and progressives.

There's Never An Egg Timer Around When You Need One
Senate President John Cullerton: Lower Just-Raised Business Tax.

No Wonder A Chill Just Came Over Me
Bill Daley On Duty At White House.

Screwing Blacks And Whites
Unemployment Offices Closed For King Holiday.

Meat Beat
"OSHA has issued the Bridgford Foods Processing Corp. facility in Chicago 10 safety citations for failing to implement and provide training for workers on lockout/tagout procedures, thereby exposing them to energized equipment. The meat processing plant is facing proposed penalties of $212,000," Occupational Health & Safety reports.

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"Bridgford Foods manufactures frozen bread dough, biscuits, cinnamon roll doughs, sandwiches, beef jerky, snack, deli foods."

Reverse Charges
"Despite existing research stating that driving while using your mobile phone could be as dangerous as driving under the influence of alcohol, new research has found the link between mobile phone use and car crashes may have been overestimated," ANI reports.

"A study by economists from the University of Chicago and the London School of Economics used data from a Californian mobile phone company and compared it to crash statistics over an 11 day period, and found that despite a rise in phone calls made on the move, no significant correlation was found."

Not OK Corralled
"Craig Fugate, who heads the Federal Emergency Management Agency in Washington, had a potentially lifesaving item on his wish list: a tool people in a disaster-hit area could use to tell friends and relatives that they are OK without swamping cellphone-service capacity needed for emergency crews," the Christian Science Monitor reports.

"Within 24 hours of Mr. Fugate's request, small groups of self-styled hackers produced two solutions, including a cellphone app called 'I'm OK!' that with the push of a button sends a simple text message via the user's e-mail, Twitter, and Facebook accounts to spread the angst-relieving news.

"That push in November 2009 marked the birth of Random Hacks of Kindness (RHoK) - a semiannual event that saw its latest code-a-thon this month . . .

"Among the fruits of this month's effort: A team of programmers in Chicago improved 'I'm OK!' It now has a 'not OK' function that shares location information so emergency workers can more readily locate and aid senders who need help."

Chicago Condoms
"The Female Health Company (Nasdaq: FHCO), today announced that its Board of Directors has declared a quarterly cash dividend of $0.05 per share. The dividend is payable February 7, 2011 to stockholders of record as of January 31, 2011."

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"The Female Health Company, based in Chicago, Illinois, manufactures and markets the FC2 Female Condom (FC2), which is available in the U.S. and about 100 other countries around the world."

The Week in WTF
Da Bears and De Beers.

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The Beachwood Tip Line: Beery, beery good to you.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 6:16 AM | Permalink

The Week in WTF

1. Bears Fans, WTF?

After waiting for years for another legit Super Bowl contender (and the Bears are because of their defense) how lovey-dovey with the team are Chicagoans? Well, how hard will it be to get a ticket for Sunday's home playoff game with the Seahawks?

As of Thursday at 7 p.m., there were 1,522 tickets available on Stubhub! alone.

Forecasts call for 15 degrees and light snow. But, still, it's the Bears. It's the playoffs. WTF.

Maybe after all the bluster and macho puffery, Bears fans are wussies. It's cold. Better stay inside all you delicate flowers.

Tickets range from $59 to $600 or so.

Wait until Saturday afternoon. You can get them cheaper. But, Chicago, let's be honest. You're still wussified. WTF.

2. Capitalist Pigs, WTF?

Among the rhetorical goofiosity that arises when conservatives take control is the description of environmental regulations as oppressive and intrusive. It's like the swallows coming back to Capistrano. Just get out of way of capitalism and let the market roll.

But for those who remember when the air in Northwest Indiana was so clogged with steel-plant carcinogenic goop that breathing was a perilous activity, there is news that federal regulation is not only not oppressive, it might be the only answer.

Power generating NIPSCO surrendered in a long-running fight with the EPA this week and will spend $600 million to fix the air and close some of its coal-fired plants. One small step for breathing.

The essence of the argument implicit in this dispute is that NIPSCO denied it was doing what science and now the law demonstrated it was: Killing people.

And, of course. there is another obvious question. How much would NIPSCO have spent without the EPA ordering it to open the wallet? The answer is nothing. People will live because of this victory, and many others will live longer.

3. Kathryn Vail-Wesley, WTF?

Prove to us there isn't a double legal standard for male teachers who seduce students and female teachers who do the same thing.

A Christian high school on the Near West Side with just such a case on its hands seemed to punish a teenage boy more than the teacher. And the legal system seemed to go along with the less-is-more standard in her punishment phase.

On the other hand, maybe WTF is just hysterical, which wouldn't be the first time. It could be just a legal illusion d'optical.

Nonetheless, WTF's view is that society believes male teacher deviancy is disgusting and vile, while female deviancy is, well, sort of cool.

Hey, don't stone the messenger. The messenger is already stoned.

4. Mortgage Mania, WTF?

The second most effective commercial propaganda trick of our culture is the concept that walking away from a home mortgage you can no longer afford is somehow dishonest, or, at the least, amoral. We apply the welching rule to that.

But when banks do it, it's strictly a keen business decision.

Actually, giving a home back to the bank because you can't pay for it is precisely the penalty the loan arrangement demands.

The marketing trick upon which the mortgage industry is based suggests that when you do it, it's lack of scruples. When a bank does it, it's just capitalism.

5. Diamond Wedding Rings, WTF?

The best commercial marketing trick in the history of trickeration? The concept that engagements and weddings are "forever" only if a diamond ring is involved.

Making women demand diamonds - crave them, in fact - in exchange for their "favors" has legitimized an ancient professional exchange of value. It's the carat versus the stick.

For those who think this was simply a naturally occurring romantic desire, don't be a schmuck. Diamonds weren't used much for engagement rings before 1947 when a De Beers ad campaign invented the need. "Inventing the need" is one of the building blocks of capitalism.

WTF is not bitter. Really.

-

David Rutter is the former publisher/editor of the Lake County News-Sun, a Sun-Times Media property. He welcomes your comments.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 5:44 AM | Permalink

January 13, 2011

Czar of the Playbook Playoff Preview: Seahawks at Bears

Bears key on offense: Convert third downs. The last time these teams played, the Bears were 0-for-12 on third-down conversions. They lost.

Bears key on defense: Make Hasselbeck move; live in the Seahawks' backfield.

Pick: Seattle.

-

Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 4:08 AM | Permalink

The [Thursday] Papers

"On the campaign trail, Gov. Pat Quinn told voters he'd veto any income tax hike that would raise Illinois' rate over 4 percent," the Daily Herald reports.

"But Wednesday Quinn said he'll sign into law a plan to raise the rate by 2 percentage points, to 5 percent."

In July, Quinn said he would only support a 1 percentage point increase.

"I'm going to veto anything that's not my plan."

I happen to believe an increase in the state income tax rate is long overdue. I also happen to believe Illinois should move to a progressive income tax rate instead of a flat tax. And I believe politicians should keep their campaign promises - or not make promises they know they may not be able to keep.

Finally, I suspect the only reason why Michael Madigan was willing to move on this now is because it was a lame-duck session following an election. How convenient.

*

Considering the recent spurt of activity in Washington, D.C., it appears that lame duck sessions are the most productive in America. But should they even exist? Once the voters have spoken, shouldn't outgoing elected officials transition out of power immediately instead of continuing to act? It's not like the old days when the wagon train had to deliver new officials to their destinations.

*

"Illinois Democrats note that even after the increase takes effect, the 5 percent personal income tax rate will still be lower than many nearby states'," AP reports. "The top personal rate in Wisconsin is 7.75 percent, for example, and Iowa's is 8.98 percent.

"Indiana and Michigan will have lower rates, however - 3.4 percent and 4.35 percent."

Yes. But you have to actually live there to qualify.

Daley & the Death Penalty
"Gov. Pat Quinn said Wednesday that he would "follow my conscience" in deciding whether to sign a bill abolishing the death penalty that has been approved by the General Assembly," the Tribune reports.

"Mayor Richard Daley made his position clear, saying certain crimes 'should be handled' by the death penalty.

"I have met parents, that their child has died, and this person has been out of prison," Daley said. "I mean, how do they live with that?"

1. Wouldn't life without parole solve that?

2. I'd like to know which cases he's talking about because obviously the death penalty wasn't sought or for some reason wasn't granted - nor was life without parole. Or maybe Daley just wants to kill everyone.

Driving Miss Maria
"She has a driver who makes $94,000 a year and a cleaning lady making $57,000 a year. Is Cook County Treasurer Maria Pappas wasting tax dollars?

"In a joint investigation with the Better Government Association, CBS 2 Investigator Pam Zekman has been following these employees and found that their job titles have nothing to do with the work they actually do.

"For days the BGA and CBS 2 watched as Emanuel Hatzisavas picked up Pappas from her Gold Coast home. Some days he waits hours for Pappas to depart and some days he drives her to yoga lessons at the East Bank Club.

"CBS 2 hidden cameras captured Hatzisavas appearing to deliver clothes to the Pappas' home. When Pappas was showed the video and asked how she could justify Hatzisavas doing personal errands she replied, 'You know what, okay, alright, you know what look.'"

-

Bear Market
For Bears tickets.

*

Czar of the Playbook Playoff Preview: Seahawks over Bears.

Chalk Talk
Arne Duncan is a fan.

Carney Blarney
In 2009, a study by the Chicago Justice Project showed that the president of the Chicago Police Board, Demetrius Carney, missed 20 percent of the board's votes over the previous decade.

Yet, late last Friday, U.S. Sen. Dick Durbin named Carney to his judicial screening committee reviewing candidates for federal judgeships.

Let that be a lesson to all the kids out there: Attendance is overrated.

*

CJP also found that "the nine members of the board have been paid for their service on the board starting in 1999, despite the fact that the ordinance governing the Chicago Police Board says board members shall serve without compensation. After a raise in 2008, the board president receives $25,000 per year and the eight other board members each receive $15,000."

So Carney is just the sort of person you want reviewing potential judges who will be sworn to uphold the law.

*

"Demetrius E. Carney is a Partner at Perkins Coie with more than 35 years of experience in public finance, business, and real estate government relations."

Here's where it gets good:

"Mr. Carney is co-chair of the firm's public-private partnership and privatization practice and chair of the Airport Concession Industry Practice . . . current clients include Ariel Investments LLC, Baldwin Richardson Foods, Inc., Chicago Transit Authority, Chicago Board of Education, City of Chicago, Chicago Housing Authority, Cook County (Illinois) Board of Commissioners, Bluwire LLC, Hudson News Group, Lance Armstrong Foundation, PhaseNext Hospitality LLC and Robinson-Hill Hospitality Group LLC and the Metropolitan Pier and Exposition Authority."

*

No wonder he doesn't have time to show up for police board meetings.

*

Since 1997, Carney has contributed $17,849 to national Democratic candidates and the party, including $2,250 to Durbin; $1,100 to Gery Chico; and $1,000 to Carol Moseley-Braun.

Locally, Carney has contributed $1,500 to Ed Burke and $1,400 to Toni Preckwinkle.

Frankly, that's not a lot of money to any one individual, but he certainly spreads it around.

Stream Scheme
"A court hearing this week will have nationwide implications on how the public will watch high school sporting events online," the Wisconsin Rapids Tribune reports.

"A federal appeals court in Chicago will hear oral arguments Friday in a case that will determine whether the Wisconsin Interscholastic Athletics Association can sign exclusive contracts for Internet streaming of high school sports tournaments."

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The Beachwood Tip Line: Hate speech.


Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 12:21 AM | Permalink

January 12, 2011

The [Wednesday] Papers

Ripped from the headlines.

1. Taking Cell Call Tops List Of Job Interview Blunders.

What if it's a better offer?

2. Rhymefest Cleared To Run For Office In Chicago After Dispute.

"The rap star's eligibility to run in the February election was contested, amidst claims that he did not meet the residency requirements."

*

Two turntables and a microphone in his crawl space deemed evidence he always intended to return to his ward.

3. Midway Airport Worst For Delays; O'Hare 10th.

For lines at restrooms, too.

4. Death Penalty In Quinn's Hands.

Wouldn't it be safer in hands that don't shake so much?

5. Jersey's Sweetheart Is Getting Dangerous.

"Chicago-based Dangerous Marketing Company has signed a marketing agreement with Sammi 'Sweetheart' Giancola from MTV's hit show The Jersey Shore, to be the face of their new fragrance, 'Dangerous.'"

*

Maybe they oughta call it Tangerous.

6. While We Were Sleeping, Illinois Raised Our Income Tax 66 Percent.

From 3 percent to 5 percent. So you could say our taxes are going up 66 percent, or you could say our taxes are going up by 2 percent. That's the trouble with using percentages for small numbers. For example, let's say the state income tax was a penny a person. Now let's say the legislature decided to make it two pennies a person. That's a 100 percent increase!

*

While we were sleeping, the media made us dumber.

7. Chicago To Test Water For Chromium 6.

Rahm Emanuel promises chromium 7 if elected.

Carol Moseley-Braun promises chromium for all of Chicago.

Gery Chico says he won't ban chromium lobbyists from doing business with the city.

Miguel del Valle was available for comment but nobody bothered to call him.

8. Northwestern Students Ride The El - Without Pants.

Northwestern Sees 10.5 Percent Increase In Freshman Applications.

9. Walgreen Aims To Fill More 90-Day Prescriptions.

Northwestern Sees 10.5 Percent Increase In Freshman Applications.

10. Chicago Principals Favor Powerful, Politically-Connected Kids.

So do Chicago presidents.

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The Beachwood Tip Line: Best in show.


Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 8:39 AM | Permalink

Fantasy Fix: Baseball on the Brain

The snow is piling up outside my window on the Far Northwest Side as I write this, but I'm thinking about baseball. Is it the Cubs' recent acquisition of Matt Garza? The White Sox' recent signing of Will Ohman? (Well, I know it's not that.)

There has been a fair amount of hot stove activity this winter, and I feel like we're set for a really exciting baseball season, not one dominated by pitchers like last year, but one in which fantasy numbers on both hitting and pitching fronts soar to new heights. Just a hunch . . .

Anyway, this has gotten me thinking about fantasy baseball draft rankings, so here's my very preliminary take on the top 10 picks (Subject to change sometime after spring training actually starts):

1. Carlos Gonzalez, OF, Colorado.

I mentioned Car-Go a few weeks ago, and I know I'm in the minority thinking he's a No. 1 pick, but he truly has no weak categories and has the potential lead the league in RBIs, AVG., and runs and could finish second or third in HRs and in the top five in SBs.

2. Albert Pujols, 1B, St. Louis.

He may be the consensus No. 1, and certainly still has Triple Crown potential. Plus, he's going into a contract year. 45 HRs and 125 RBIs with a .320 AVG. is, astonishingly, a conservative estimation. Still, he barely gets the nod over my No. 3.

3. Miguel Cabrera, 1B, Detroit.

He's about to turn 28, and is due for his best year in an already-illustrious career. Detroit's deal for Victor Martinez will make it much harder for the opposition to pitch around him. Even though he doesn't steal bases, he's the best fantasy player in the American League.

4. Hanley Ramirez, SS, Florida.

Another player a lot of people like as a No. 1, in no small part because of his position. But, his numbers seem to be heading in the wrong direction: His average was down 42 points last year from 2009, he hasn't stolen more than 35 bases the last three seasons after having 51 in 2006 and 2007, and his 21 homers last year were his lowest since 2006. The results will still be pleasing, but don't overpay.

5. Troy Tulowitzki, SS, Colorado.

I have learned my lesson not to discount him after his slow starts because he more than makes up for it come September when you really need a fantasy playoff push. I'd like to see him run more this year. Pencil him in for 30 HRs, 105 RBIs and 20 SBs.

6. Adrian Gonzalez, 1B, Boston.

I'm a sucker for the theory that playing half his games in Fenway Park will make him the AL home run king. Even if that doesn't happen, he'll be plunking dozens of doubles off the Green Monster, and the fact that he's no longer a one-man offense should help him have a career year.

7. Robinson Cano, 2B, NY Yankees.

He had a breakout season in 2010, just like a lot of us expected. But does that mean his numbers will stay flat in 2011? Maybe, but if that means .320, 30 HRs, 110 RBIs, it still makes him the best at his position.

8. Joey Votto, 1B, Cincinnati.

I was a fan long before his 37-HR 2010 season. I think he can improve on last year's .324 AVG and 113 RBIs, and maybe even his 16 SBs, but HR-wise, I have a feeling he's peaked. Still a nice pick here if you want a 1B early and don't get Pujols or Cabrera and don't buy into the Gonzalez-meets-Fenway theory.

9. Ryan Braun, OF, Milwaukee.

A multi-category threat, but his numbers were down in every area except doubles last year. His 14 SBs last year were particularly disappointing, but he just turned 27, so power numbers may still have some bounce in them. If he can reach 30 HRs, 110 RBIs and stay above .300, he'll live up to the No. 9 spot.

10. Evan Longoria, 3B, Tampa.

Another young stud, just 25. His average has edged up each of the last three years, and .300 is a good bet in 2011. His 22 HRs last year were 11 fewer than 2009; he should be back around 30 this year. However, a couple key lineup mates - Carl Crawford and Carlos Pena - are gone, and I think his RBIs in particular will suffer.

We'll return to hoops action next week, but the baseball season can't come quick enough.

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Dan O'Shea's Fantasy Fix appears in this space every Wednesday. He welcomes your comments. You can also read about his split sports fan personality at his Beachwood blog SwingsBothWays.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 7:42 AM | Permalink

January 11, 2011

The [Tuesday] Papers

To my Facebook opponents: You can now stop arguing with me and start arguing with Jon Stewart, because apparently he's on my side.

Rahm's Race Card
"Police Supt. Jody Weis is forging ahead with plans to reallocate police resources to higher-crime districts - even though all four top mayoral contenders plan to dump him and one voiced opposition to crime-fighting solutions that 'divide the city,'" the Sun-Times reports.

"Last week, mayoral hopeful Rahm Emanuel tried to pull the rug out from under Weis' plan to shift police resources.

"Emanuel said he was determined to 'find policies that unite' the city. He argued that shifting officers away from lower-crime districts in his North Side political base to higher crime South and West Side districts would only divide Chicago."

Right. Chicago is divided when mostly white and affluent citizens are affected at the expense of mostly minority and poor citizens, but not vice versa. Memo to Rahm: Chicago is already divided.

You know all those hand-wringing, heart-wrenching, head-scratching editorials and columns and political speeches and dinner-party conversations about what we should do about the awful violence in parts of Chicago most people never see? This is one of the few concrete pieces of the policy puzzle available to us. In fact, it's a no-brainer.

Now, Rahm is right that a solution that might make everybody happy would be to hire more cops - right if the new hires were all sent to the districts that need them the most. That's a solution I've long advocated. But Rahm doesn't appear to be saying that - and if elected it's highly doubtful he'll actually fulfill his pledge to put another 1,000 officers on the street. (Only 250 of those would be new hires, paid for out of TIF funds, a strategy that may not even be legal.)

So Weis is right to realign beats. I just hope he gets it done before the next mayor takes office because I'd like to see the next mayor then try to move cops out of our most crime-ridden neighborhoods and send them back to our safest neighborhoods.

*

From the Beachwood, March 20, 2006:

"The media as a whole, for example, refuses to adequately explore the issue of realigning police beats according to where crime actually occurs. Every few years the issue of beat realignment crops up and is quickly pushed back down. How can the police have really shifted 'every extra resource' to Englewood without just such a beat realignment? The formation of 'hot spot' units doesn't count; this is a strategy above and beyond daily beats, which were supposed to be the cornerstone of community policing."

*

From the Beachwood, February 16, 2007:

"'In 2003, Daley turned his back on a campaign promise to realign Chicago's 279 police beats, arguing that it would undermine community policing and deprive middle-class neighborhoods of the officers they need to deter crime,' Fran Spielman writes today. 'Instead of picking a fight with aldermen from middle-class wards by enlarging police beats, Daley chose the path of least resistance.'

"She's halfway there, but only halfway. How in the world would beat realignment undermine community policing? Beat realignment is crucial to community policing; besides putting cops where they are most needed, novel idea I know, beat realignment puts cops closer to the people in high-crime districts where police are otherwise overwhelmed and hardly have time to walk the streets.

"And to be clear, when Spielman says 'enlarging police beats,' which sounds like a bad idea resulting in less coverage on the face of it, she means enlarging beats where the least amount of crime occurs, and shrinking beats where the most crime occurs. How does that not make sense? Unless the mayor would simply add more street cops to the force - a better idea, I think, than surveillance cameras at every intersection."

*

From the Beachwood, October 27, 2008:

"'They haven't been moved around since 1978. That's three decades of people making empty promises. Nothing against my predecessors, but at some time, you've got to look at a problem and say, I know I can't make every one of the 50 aldermen happy, but we have to make sure we have the right resources in the right locations,' Weis said. 'I'm 100 percent committed to that . . . I know we'll upset some people. But we have to have fair police service to every community.'

"Weis is right, of course. But two observations: First, it wasn't just his predecessors who made empty promises. It was the mayor himself. And second, he has now acknowledged that the police department has not been providing services fairly to every community. Guess which ones have been on the short end of the stick?

"'If we move people into other districts and other wards, we've got to take from some other place,' he said. 'I want it to be based on factors that ensure all citizens . . . get equal police coverage based upon the threat that they're facing."

"Again, this is an acknowledgment that police coverage has not been based on the crime threat. In fact, it's been the reverse.

"Finally, there is a way to avoid reducing police services in some districts and wards in order to deploy services where they are needed most: hire more cops to fill the gaps."

*

From the Beachwood, April 17, 2009:

"Think about it for just a second: Chicago's police officers are assigned to beats according to 20-year-old crime patterns and population figures.

From the Beachwood, September 15, 2010:

"I've heard that long-promised, long-denied beat realignment has actually become a de facto, um, fact - and that it's been done outside of public view and beyond the reach of the objecting city council.

"This is the right thing to do but the wrong way to do it.

"Simply put, population patterns as well as (more importantly) trends in the locations of crimes change, but the police department's deployment of manpower does not. Why? Because aldermen of both white and affluent (sometimes non-white, let's note) wards do not want to lose cops even if that means more needy areas need them more. Of course, one solution would be to simply hire more cops and assign them - or shift others - to the areas that need them most. It seems, though, as if Daley would rather privatize the police force than hire more officers - or increase their pay satisfactorily. The mayor is as responsible, if not more, for low morale in the department as anyone. No constituency, including poor African Americans, hates him more.

"Beat realignment is a matter of public policy that should be done publicly and formally - not just in the interests of democracy but in the interests of effectiveness. But that's not how Daley's Chicago works."

*

When Rahm Emanuel plays to his white base at the expense of the actual lives and deaths of black people, can we accuse him of playing racial politics?

*

When Rahm Emanuel says he'll be the mayor for all of Chicago, is he implying that his opponents would only be the mayor of black or Hispanic Chicago? Why do we allow white to be the default that encompasses everyone? And isn't that the same rhetoric used against Harold Washington - that he would only be black Chicago's mayor? And in what way was Richard M. Daley the mayor of poor blacks?

Apocalypse Watch
Mass animal deaths come to Chicago.

Teen Scream
"A drunk teenager startled a north suburban woman this weekend when he allegedly entered her home and climbed into bed with her.

"WGN reports that a teen 'reeking of alcohol' climbed into bed with the Wilmette woman and told her to 'move over' early Saturday morning. She initially thought her husband was getting into bed, but when she realized it wasn't him she told the teen to get out.

"He allegedly said 'Oh my God' before leaving the home."

The Chicago School of Rock
In action.

Hoosier TV
Who's laughing now?

I Am A Security Guard
And I won't carry a gun.

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The Beachwood Tip Line: Citizens wanted.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 10:09 AM | Permalink

I Am A Security Guard: And I Won't Carry A Gun

As part of my ongoing effort to find another job, I took the El downtown for an interview. A security company had advertised openings that paid better than the minimum wage I currently earn. During the session, I confronted one of my deepest fears.

I walked into an office and filled out an application in a cramped reception area. Eight people, all looking nervous, waited along with me. The receptionist sent us one by one into a small room for an interview.

My turn came. A man who resembled a thinner and more chiseled version of Charles Bronson sat at a table. He asked me a few basic questions. Then he plunged into the heart of the matter. "Do you have a problem carrying a gun?"

"Yes," I replied.

The interview concluded shortly thereafter. I left knowing he would not call me back.

I did not tell him the whole story. The truth is that guns scare the hell out of me. That fear dates back to my childhood.

During part of my youth, my father owned a small revolver. Occasionally, he proudly showed off the gun and his license.

Unfortunately, he also had a temper. It flared on a summer day long ago.

He gave me some money and sent me to the corner store. When I returned to our second-floor apartment, he asked for the change. I reached into my pocket. The change was missing.

I didn't steal the dough, but feared a beating anyway. Instead of saying I lost the cash, I told him someone picked my pocket.

His eyes narrowed. I waited for him to tell me to take off my clothes - the signal for a whipping with a belt.

He must have figured I didn't have the cajones to steal from him. Instead of grabbing a belt, he reached for his gun and dragged me down the stairs to his car.

After he drove to the store, he told me to point out the thief. I claimed I did not see him. By then, my father had calmed down. He drove us home.

That day continues to haunt me. My lie nearly caused my father to commit a violent act with a gun.

The apple does not fall far from the tree. The memory of my public outbursts and high school fist fights remind me that I have my father's temper. I work very hard to control myself enough to deal with the general public. Yet, I know the wrong word or action at the wrong time could set me off. People like me should not pack any heat.

When it comes to security work, The Andy Griffith Show comes to mind. Barney Fife had a fetish for his "baby." Not me. I'd rather be Andy Taylor, who did not carry a weapon.

I didn't say any of this to the interviewer. I just meekly left the building.

Back to the job search.

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A very pseudononymous Jerome Haller earns rent money as a security guard for a large, publicly-held retail chain. He welcomes your comments.

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See more tales of security guarding, pizzeria waitressing, barista-ing and office drudgering in our Life at Work collection.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 9:42 AM | Permalink

Jon Stewart Restores The Sanity

"How do you make sense of these type of senseless situations seems to be the question that's on everybody's mind and I don't know that there is a way to make sense of this sort of thing. As I watched the political pundit world, many are reflecting and grieving and trying to figure things out. But it's also true that others are working feverishly to find the tidbit or two that will exonerate their side from blame or implicate the other and watching that is as predictable as it is dispiriting.

"Did the toxic political environment cause this? A graphic image here, an ill-timed comment, violent rhetoric, those sort of things? I have no fucking idea. We live in a complex ecosystem of influences and motivations and I wouldn't blame our political rhetoric any more than I would blame heavy metal music for Columbine.

"And, by the way, that is coming from somebody who truly hates our political environment. It is toxic. It is unproductive. But to say that that is what has caused this or that the people in that are responsible for this, I just don't think you can do.

"Boy would that be nice. Boy would it be nice to be able to draw a straight line of causation from this horror to something tangible because then we could convince ourselves that if we just stopped 'this' the horrors will end. To have the feeling, however fleeting, that this type of event can be prevented forever. It's hard not to feel like it can.

"You cannot outsmart crazy. You don't know what a trouble mind will get caught on. Crazy always seems to find a way. It always has."

Arizona Shootings Reaction
www.thedailyshow.com

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"I do think that it's important for us to watch our rhetoric. I do think that it's a worthwhile goal not to conflate our political opponents with our enemies if for no other reason than to draw a better distinction between the manifesto of paranoid mad men and what passes for acceptable political pundit speak.

"It would be really nice if the ramblings of crazy people didn't in any way resemble how we actually talk to each other on TV. Let's at least make troubled individuals easier to spot."

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Comments welcome.


Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 9:09 AM | Permalink

Hoosier TV: Who's Laughing Now?

Featuring Chicago black hipster comedian Will Miles, at Morty's Comedy Club in Indianapolis.

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 8:50 AM | Permalink

In Action! The Chicago School of Rock

Magnetic.

1. Somebody To Love at Reggie's last weekend.

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2. Bertha at Kinetic Playground.

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3. Houses of the Holy at the Rave in Milwaukee.

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4. My Old School at the Rave in Milwaukee.

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5. Rhiannon at Schubas.

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6. Magic Man at Summer on Southport.

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7. Rainy Day Women # 12 and 35.

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8. No More Mr. Nice Guy at Reggie's.

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9. Have a Cigar at the Belmont Arts Festival.

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10. 96 Tears at Reggie's.

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Comments welcome.

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Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 8:08 AM | Permalink

January 10, 2011

The [Monday] Papers

Things I posted or wrote on my Facebook page this weekend:

* Not Every Terrorist Is A Product Of The Right Or Left.

* Steve Rhodes proposes a new law: You are not allowed to speak, post, tweet, write or communicate in any way unless or until you know what the hell you are talking about.

Also: ideology is now prohibited. All it is is inerrant political religion designed to manipulate masses for the benefit of elites. The world works only according to the laws of physics, not according to strictures of liberalism, conservatism or any other ism dreamed up over the millennia.

Also: Dishonesty - be it in advertising, business, politics or simple discourse - will now be punished severely. Only facts will rule; insinuation and disingenuous speculation will no longer be allowed. Instead of being distracted by diversions, let's all devote ourselves to discovering the available truths about the people, places and events of our world - no matter who gains or loses.

* The Awesome Stupidity Of Calls To Tamp Down Political Speech In The Wake Of The Giffords Shooting.

* Jared Loughner Attack On Gabrielle Giffords: America's Mental Health Breakdown.

* Dear American citizens: You're fired. I can't take you anymore. If you want to re-apply for your positions, you will have to be re-educated. The process isn't hard, it's just one class: Civics 101. Apparently, though, most of you missed it the first time.

What Country Song Best Describes Your Life?
Mine is "Things Have Gone To Pieces" by George Jones.

Rahmonomics
"The teachers in the city of Chicago work hard and they are good," Emanuel said. "They are working very hard in adverse conditions in many places but they are not underpaid."

Starting to pay for Chicago Public School teachers ranges from $50,577 to $66,560 depending on academic credentials.

The median household income in the United States is $46,326.

The median household income in Chicago is $38,625,

Rahm made $18 million in two-and-a-half years as an investment banker without any prior experience.

And:

"After Mr. Emanuel left banking to run for Congress, members of the securities and investment industry became his biggest backers, donating more than $1.5 million to his campaigns dating back to 2002, according to the Center for Responsive Politics," the New York Times reports.

"Mr. Emanuel also leaned heavily upon the industry while he was chairman of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee during the 2006 midterm elections. Financial industry donors contributed more than $5.8 million to the committee, behind only retirees."

*

Rahm explained his position regarding teacher strikes by saying that, like police officers and firefighters, teachers perform an "essential service."

But if their service is so essential, shouldn't they be paid more than those who perform unessential services, like politically connected investment bankers?

*

Rahm's three kids are split between two private schools in Washington, D.C.; Jewish Primary Day School, where tuition is $18,950 a year, and Maret, where tuition starts at $26,585 a year for kindergarten through fourth grade, and goes up to $30,600 a year for high school.

In other words, it costs half a Chicago Public Schools teacher's salary to attend a single year at one of Rahm's kids' schools.

*

So if CPS teachers aren't underpaid, can we at least agree that Rahm is overpaying for his kids' education? You can't have it both ways.

Lucky Season Ever Goes To The Next Level
Here come the Seahawks!

Low Expectations New Year's Resolutions
"Checking everything off this list is going to give me the motivation to underachieve for another year," our very own Drew Adamek writes.

The Weekend in Chicago Rock
They played at a venue near you.

Bartender Journalism
I'll be back behind the bar tonight at the venerable Beachwood Inn; stop in and say hello. Cold beer, hot jukebox, free pizza. No politics, just rock.

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The Beachwood Tip Line: Your ticket to sanity land.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 9:20 AM | Permalink

The Weekend in Chicago Rock

You shoulda been there.

1. Weezer at the Aragon on Saturday night.

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2. The Swan King at Martyrs' on Friday night.

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3. The Prep School Tragedy at Reggie's on Friday night.

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4. VentanA at Reggie's on Friday night.

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5. We Make Thunder at Gallery Cabaret on Saturday night.

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6. Go Hang at Underground Lounge on Friday night.

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7. We Came As Romans at the Bottom Lounge on Friday night.

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8. Vulgar Boatmen at Schubas on Saturday night.

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9. Wu Tang Clan at the Congress Theatre on Saturday night.

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10. Empires at Lincoln Hall on Saturday night.

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 8:13 AM | Permalink

SportsMonday: The Luckiest Season Ever Goes To The Next Level

Looking back at the immediate aftermath of the Seahawks beating the Saints and setting up a battle with the Bears next weekend, the worst thing was all the broadcast commentary and all the printed stories about how Seattle had showed the sporting world it was wrong to scoff at its playoff credentials.

Shame on those who had ridiculed the Seahawks, it was said and written, for being the first team in a non-strike year to win a division with a losing record and for needing to win the Super Bowl to finish the season with more wins than losses (if they make it that far but lose, they will finish 10-10). They were a division champ after all, just like all the other division champs. They had done what they had to do to win the NFC West and they were just as worthy as any other team in the playoffs.

I wanted to shake those folks and point out that, you know, the Seahawks sucked during the regular season no matter what may have happened after it ended. They sucked worse than any playoff team we've ever seen. And they lucked into a playoff spot by being slightly better than the other teams in a historically bad division.

Now clearly no one saw the win over the Saints coming, but that doesn't change the fact that it was ridiculous they were in the playoffs, especially ahead of much better Tampa Bay Buccaneer and New York Giant teams.

As for the worst thing going forward, well, that will be all the people warning the Bears not to take the Seahawks lightly.

First of all, I don't care if a team is facing the first-ever pro football team fielded by the Little Sisters of the Poor and placed in the postseason because the networks demanded it in the hopes of an all-time upset generating greatest-ever rankings.

If the opposition has anything to do with an NFL team's motivation in a playoff game with a spot in the conference championship on the line, it is time to introduce relegation to football and to demote that team to NCAA Division III next season.

Second, the luckiest season ever just went to the next level. This is the latest chapter in a year that saw the Bear defense feast on three different starting third-string quarterbacks during their 11-5 regular season and also enjoy remarkably good health (virtually no significant injuries - ones that cause absences of more than one game - to contributors other than weak side linebackers). Now they have a chance to play the 8-9 Seahawks in a conference semifinal. Unbelievable.

Yes, Matt Hasselbeck was awesome on Saturday and the Seahawks recorded an impressive, high-scoring win (speaking of historically bad by the way, how about New Orleans' safeties? How many times were you guys going to let receivers with mediocre speed get behind you? 10? A dozen?). And Hasselbeck burned the Bears during a Seattle win at Soldier Field earlier this season.

But it will be very, very different in Chicago next weekend.

For one thing, how did the Saints not manage to hit Hasselbeck more? After what, his second touchdown pass (?), Hasselbeck glanced off a Saints defender, went down like he'd been shot and appeared to have suffered a potentially crippling injury. Now he certainly bounced back well enough the rest of the game but surely the Bears will be able to deliver a little more punishment on the frozen Soldier Field tundra and make it very difficult for Hasselbeck to avoid re-aggravating the hip injury that kept him out of the regular season finale.

Second, Seattle's rookie head coach, Pete Carroll, is the classic rah-rah guy who struggles mightily to get a professional team to perform consistently. All those hugs may work in college but after such an emotional outpouring last week, the Seahawks are as primed as a team could be for a major letdown, especially as they leave the confines of Qwest Field.

Say what you will about Lovie Smith as a coach - and I was certainly advocating his firing after last season - but his even-keel approach limits letdowns (the Bears have had plenty of disappointing performances during his tenure, but Lovie's teams almost never lose to the dregs of the league, even after big wins). Lucky Lovie never gets too high or too low and neither does his team.

Hawk Tawk

My friend the Canucks fan informed me yesterday that his team now has the top point total in all the NHL (they had 60 after Sunday evening's action). I thought about telling him that it doesn't really matter how many points a team has if one of its primary rivals is thoroughly in its head, like say, the Hawks, have entered the head of Vancouver coach Alain Vigneault. But I didn't. Bottom line was, I was a little jealous. The Hawks have been awfully shaky the last month while the Canucks have gone on a tear.

But back to Vigneault - you may recall that he was the coach who complained that the Hawks had run up the score by playing their best players too much during the latter stages off a Hawk blowout over his team a couple months ago. He also whined about the Hawks making too much contact with his precious goaltender, Roberto Luongo, during the playoffs last year.

Just like Kansas City Chiefs coach Todd Haley made a complete fool of himself by crying about the Broncos running up the score against his team late in the NFL regular season, Vigneault may as well have stamped a giant "L" on his forehead with those comments. Until further notice, expect the Hawks to own the Canucks no matter how crafty the Sedin brothers may be. Actually, while brother Daniel is still a solid player, identical twin Henrik is off the charts so far this season. He has totaled 45 assists so far, 10 more than his nearest competitor on the NHL leader board.

But there are plenty of other teams in the Western Conference who appear perfectly capable of knocking off the defending Stanley Cup champs in the spring, if not knocking them off in the winter so many times that they don't even make the playoffs.

The Hawks (23-18-3) went into the weekend out of the projected playoffs but now stand sixth in the Western Conference with 49 points after a couple of very much needed victories. They are 11 points behind the Canucks and 10 in back of the Red Wings. Those guys will be tough to catch, especially considering they have played a few fewer games than the Hawks.

For some reason, the NHL scheduled more games for the Hawks this fall than anyone else. And so it is at this point well into the winter, the Hawks have still played two or more game more than 11 of the 15 teams in the conference. By the time February rolls around, the Hawks will have about the same number of games as just about everyone else.

I also hear they are holding a Super Bowl on the first week of February. If the season keeps going like it is, the Packers will upset Atlanta in the conference semis and thereby give the Bears the chance to host the NFC championship game. If that happens it will be impossible to identify a "worst thing," or even a slightly annoying happenstance.

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 7:27 AM | Permalink

My Low Expectations New Year's Resolutions

I quit making New Year's resolutions a long time ago. They had become a vicious cycle of failure and disappointment. Setting lofty, life-changing goals only to give up on them by January 15th made me feel like a loser who couldn't stick to a couple of simple little tasks for more than a couple of days.

Problem is, I am a very sensitive young man. I take perceived failures badly and let them spiral me out of control. One misplaced comma and suddenly I can't write for six weeks because I suck and I've always sucked and I am probably adopted and why did I bother to try because I can't even use a fucking comma right (see what I mean).

Resolutions have always set me up to react poorly; if I am not thin within a couple of days, I suck; if I haven't written a novel by January 12th, I suck; if I am not saving any money, I suck. Not meeting my goals makes me feel bad about myself, and feeling bad about myself makes it harder to meet my goals. I don't put myself through that anymore because living with that kind of emotional self-abuse is not much fun.

But I had an epiphany a couple of days ago: What if I set goals I could absolutely accomplish with little or no effort? Would meeting my goals make me feel better about myself, leading to more goals being met? Would I gain self-confidence and self-respect if I actually met my New Years resolutions, thereby improving my ability to make a better life for myself?

I believe I would.

Therefore, I resolve to have really low expectations for my goals in 2011. I am setting the bar fucking looooooow this year. No more "healthier, more productive, happier" bullshit. I need the confidence boost of not asking that much of myself for a change. I need goals I can actually stick to - shit I was probably going to do anyway. Checking everything off my resolution list is going to give me the motivation to underachieve for another year.

I feel like a new man already - just saying that I'm slacking off makes me feel more accomplished and capable. Sure, I'm overweight and underemployed, but inertia and apathy are going to solve all of that this year for sure. Yes I can, dammit. I just know it.

Here, then, are my Low Expectations New Year's Resolutions:

1. Jamming.

I resolve to listen to some music this year but I don't want to buy anything new, so I'm sticking with the same old shit I've always listened to. I'll probably listen to some Metallica; maybe really get into one of their older albums for six months. I think I'll also watch some old Rolling Stones videos on YouTube; maybe that one clip of John Lennon and Keith Richards jamming with Eric Clapton.

2. Next Tuesday.

I resolve to put off some shit until later. Could be anything; paying a bill, calling someone back, finishing that piece I started a couple of weeks ago. Whatever it is, it's going to get done at some undetermined time in the future when I feel more like it.

3. Steak Umms.

I resolve to eat and drink a lot of crap that will make me feel physically and emotionally ill. I intend on only eating things that are of a color that does not appear in the natural world. I've already stocked up on chips, Hot Pockets and Tastykakes. My hope is that by the end of 2011I'll be back up around 300 pounds and maybe have had my first pre-coronary event.

4. Automatic Renewal.

I resolve to subscribe to numerous highbrow magazines that I have no intention of reading. I'd like to brag about the intellectual breadth of my magazine subscription list without expending any actual mental effort. I want to have a massive collection of unread Economists, Atlantics, Harper's' and Scientific Americans stacked up somewhere conspicuous to constantly remind me of how far behind I am on my reading because of yesterday's Family Guy marathon.

5. Chapters 1 - 10.

I resolve to brag about the novel that I am "working on" as a way of masking my lack of productivity. See, I didn't do that thing you asked me to because I was "outlining" my novel. I hung out at the coffee shop all afternoon staring at girls' asses because I was "researching character development." When I sat on the couch with a bag of Fritos and a Fanta all day, I was "brainstorming" my narrative arc. I figure I can reasonably get to my mid-forties before anyone asks to see "my novel."

6. CRTL ALT DLT

I resolve to rot my fucking brain looking at garbage on the Internet. I've marked off March through August for this one. Seriously, I am hoping I become so desensitized to the silliness of the Internet that I eventually understand the appeal of celebrity babies and Michelle Malkin.

7. Creativity Journal.

I resolve to write down some really kickass ideas in a notebook I am going to buy soon. Believe you me, I am going to note, with creative fervor, what a cool blog my thoughts on cafe asses would make; how awesome it would be if I did a series of photos capturing the failure of the American economic system as seen through shuttered factories at night; and how that one story my friend told me would make a really cool novel.

8. Five and Dime.

I resolve to constantly complain about how broke I am. I don't intend on changing any of my financial habits (like my $75-a-week coffee shop budget) but I fully intend on letting everyone know how much I hate being poor. In fact, I'll probably start every conversation this year with "Oh, I'd like to but I don't have any money."

9. Pack-A-Day.

I resolve to start smoking pot again. It makes a lot of sense - I can't afford it, I'd feel like shit and it would make all of my anti-drug bullshit seem really hypocritical. Plus, I'll be a dirty hippie with no job, something I've always aspired to, kind of.

10. Same Old, Same Old.

I resolve to keep hoping my wife doesn't catch me punching dummy to Saved by the Bell reruns. I just have to make sure I can control myself until she heads off to work before I catch up with my old friends at Bayside High.

Damn, 2011 is going to fucking rule.

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Comments welcome.

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Other Lists By Drew Adamek:
* Today's Syllabus
* Shit My Dad Says
* Work Weirdos
* Things I Miss About Chicago
* 20 Albums I Wish I Had Never Bought
* Their Chicago
* Cities I've Slept In
* My Favorite 1980s Chicago Radio Memories
* Why Milwaukee Rules
* Why I'm Glad I Don't Live In D.C. Anymore
* The Beer Goggle Recordings
* A List Of Reader Comments To Drew's Lists
* Life's Little Victories
* The Worst Jobs I've Ever Had
* Jobs For The Zombie Apocalypse
* Lemme Get A Bite Of That
* Lists I'll Never Write
* Things I Miss About My Imprisoned Best Friend
* Things I Miss About Being Single
* Things I Love About Being Married
* Why Chuck D Should Have Been Our First Black President
* Picture This
* My Suggestions For Ways To Further Desecrate Wrigley Field
* Signs I Am Getting Older
* My Most Memorable Half-Assed Ideas
* Why My Mom Rules
* My Summer To-Do List
* Signs That My Doomsday Is Nigh
* Five Albums That Changed My Life
* Things That Make Me Happy
* My Guilty Pleasures

Plus:
* Fan Note: Me & Metallica

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 12:01 AM | Permalink

January 8, 2011

The Weekend Desk Report

The Beachwood Reporter exploded yesterday. The Weekend Desk is here to pick up the pieces.

Market Update
The Cock-Eyed Optimism Index took a hit this week as it turns out Too Much of a Good Thing is not necessarily a good thing after all.

Cable Queen
In a shock to Palinites the world over, TLC announced something definitive about the former vice presidential candidate: she will not be hosting a second season of Sarah Palin's Alaska.

However, the notably cross-over happy cable channel wouldn't rule out the following possible guest appearances:

* Palin commissions a special bike from Orange County Choppers capable of drilling for oil while burning twice as much.

* Buddy Valastro creates a special rich, vanilla Tea Party cake for Palin complete with a chocolate tax code for her to cut. Cake is canceled when Harry Reid declares the party over.

* In recognition of Palin's possible murky Twitter embrace of an incoherent gay-friendly agenda the What Not to Wear team adopts a special Don't Ask, Don't Tell policy on big hair.

* Palin stops by Kleinfeld to search for the perfect dress to wear when she finally commits to running.

Queen Carol
Finally this week, Carol Moseley-Braun appears ready to continue her ironic fight to conceal her dodgy financial status.

Many observers note these details would seem to make the former senator spectacularly well-qualified for the job.

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The Weekend Desk Tip Line: Real and spectacular.

Posted by Natasha Julius at 8:28 AM | Permalink

January 7, 2011

The [Friday] Papers

The circle is now squared.

I oughta just shut down the site today and walk away. My work here is done.

If there's anyone out there who still has illusions about who Barack Obama is - and where he came from - they need to report to the infirmary for a Kool-Aid extraction and mental health exam.

In January 2007, I posted a piece called "Barack Obama (D-Daley)." Can anyone say that I wasn't right? Was any journalist on the planet more right about Barack Obama than I was?

There is still a long list of progressives and media idiots who owe me an apology. Sorry I did your jobs for you. Sorry you couldn't handle the truth.

Even the appointment of Rahm Emanuel couldn't convince some of you.

Am I angry? You bet. I lost a lot of sleep and probably readers and money by pointing out that based on the facts Obama was a lying phony faker.

Based on the facts, not David Axelrod's propaganda.

Bill Daley is Barack Obama's new right-hand man. Rahm Emanuel was his old one. Tony Rezko was his self-described political godfather. Emil Jones was his self-described political mentor. He endorsed Joe Lieberman over Ned Lamont. Stood by Richard M. Daley and absolved him of responsibility for 20 years of corruption oozing out of City Hall. Campaigned for Rod Blagojevich when it had become clear he was an ineffectual, corrupt nothing. Helped clear a path for Todd Stroger. And on and on and on. Kept his private corporate fundraiser secret while telling America his coffers were getting fat on the little guy. Then again, his campaign strategist is known as the greatest astroturfer of them all.

And frankly, he's been an even worse president than I thought he'd be. I at least expected him to keep his grassroots energized; now I'm not sure there really are any grassroots. I at least expected him to pretend to put up a fight for the values he pretended he stood for in the campaign. I thought he'd at least be a good pretender. But not even that.

Bill Daley is Barack Obama's chief of staff!

I should just roll up this website and move on.

*

From the Beachwood, December 7, 2008:

"I can hardly wait to see where Bill Daley - a senior Obama advisor and member of his transition team - ends up."

I summarized that column as "The Daleys capture the White House."

*

A "devoted patriot"? As opposed to whom, all those undevoted patriots in the running who didn't wear flag pins to their interviews?

Besides, not so much.

The Bill Daley Show
* "Testimony In Federal Corruption Trial Details Mayor Richard Daley's Machine: Men say mayor's brother, William Daley, and longtime top strategist Timothy Degnan helped form Hispanic Democratic Organization."

* From the Beachwood, December 23, 2009:

Here's my favorite part:

"William Daley [told the Tribune] he was not aware of any promises of city jobs to campaign workers for his brother.

"'You're talking about 20 years ago,' Daley said. 'Even if it happened - and I'm not saying it did - things were different. There was nothing illegal about that stuff'."

Really?

"A 1979 ruling led to a court order in 1983 that made it unlawful to take any political factor into account in hiring public employees (with exceptions for positions such as policy making)," according to the Encyclopedia of Chicago. "Those decisions along with companion consent judgments - collectively called the Shakman decrees - are binding on more than 40 city and statewide offices."

* "You can download the testimony of former Water Department Deputy Commissioner Donald Tomczak, who is currently serving his sentence in federal prison. This testimony shows how Chicago Democrats rigged the hiring and promotion of city employees in order to unduly influence elections. To read how Tomczak's unlawful patronage workers campaigned to elect Rahm Emanuel to the U.S. Congress, see the last page, 2444. To read how Tomczak's unlawful patronage workers campaigned for former U.S. Commerce Secretary William Daley's candidate Al Gore when Bill Daley was Gore's campaign chairman, see page 2443. The federal court testimony also implicates Senior White House Adviser David Axelrod because Axelrod was Rahm Emanuel's campaign manager and Axelrod was also an adviser to Daley for multiple campaigns in which Axelrod and Daley used patronage workers to rig the elections in their favor."

* And who can forget this one?

"Morgan Stanley, the New York financial giant that employs one of Mayor Daley's nephews, has been picked to help the Cook County Board borrow $150 million to get by until the county's 1 percent sales-tax increase starts flowing into the treasury.

"It's the first deal between the county and Morgan Stanley since the company hired William Daley Jr. - a nephew of the mayor and Cook County Commissioner John Daley - to help win business.

"Over the last year, William Daley Jr. has met with County Board President Todd Stroger and his top two assistants - his chief financial officer, Donna Dunning, and former chief of staff Lance Tyson.

"'Yes, he made stops to see me,' Dunning said of Bill Daley Jr. 'But he is not working in a senior position. He accompanied William Mack, who is the senior manager for Morgan Stanley. He was there in a junior position.'

"Mack was a longtime aide to imprisoned former Gov. George Ryan. Five years ago, Mack, granted immunity from prosecution, testified about directing other state employees to shred documents that Ryan and his campaign manager Scott Fawell feared could be seized by federal agents."

Too perfect!

* And something civilians should know: What do Rahm Emanuel and Bill Daley have in common besides shared patronage armies and fake careers in finance? They are both prime off-the-record "sources" for reporters. It's a dirty secret they - and reporters - don't want you to know.

#BillDaley
From @BeachwoodReport:

Obama names #BillDaley chief of staff; says he didn't want nobody nobody sent.

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Obama names #BillDaley chief of staff; White House to create Cabinet-level Streets and San Dept.

*

Obama names #BillDaley chief of staff; 2012 campaign theme will be Status Quo.

*

Obama names #BillDaley chief of staff; all contracts now go through him.

*

HumdingerTV Kevin Myers
RT by BeachwoodReport
So... does this mean Rahm Emanuel and Bill Daley are basically switching places?

*

Obama names #BillDaley chief of staff; progressives finally admit Rhodes was right all along. Media still pretends otherwise.

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Obama names #BillDaley chief of staff; rest of Daley family to receive assignments next week.

*

Obama names #BillDaley chief of staff; says that unlike Congress, White House needs another banker in it.

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Obama names #BillDaley chief of staff; says constitution requires executive branch filled only with bankers & Bush/Clinton holdovers.

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Obama names #BillDaley chief of staff; says this proves he's not part of the Daley Machine, will now uphold campaign promises 2 change Wash.

*

Obama names #BillDaley chief of staff; names Ed Burke finance committee chair . . .

*

Obama names #BillDaley chief of staff; appoints Rahm Emanuel mayor of Chicago.

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Obama names #BillDaley chief of staff; names Angelo Torres chief of nation's hired truck program.

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Obama names #BillDaley chief of staff, asks him to sell off nation's parking meters.

Amazon vs. Illinois
Don't tax me, bro.

Justin Townes Earle Loves NY
Bloodshot on Letterman.

Cool Hand Zenyatta
Is not the Horse of the Year.

The Bears vs. Atrophy
Then, bring on the Iggles.

This Week in Comic Books
The Best of 2010 including Supergirl and Spider-Man both Amazing and Astonishing.

The Week in WTF
Butts and butt-heads.

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The Beachwood Tip Line: Butt naked.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 7:44 AM | Permalink

Justin Townes Earle Hearts NY

One-time Chicagoan and Bloodshot Records artist Justin Townes Earle appeared on Late Night With David Letterman on Wednesday.

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See also:
* Bloodshot Briefing: Justin Townes Earle

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 7:13 AM | Permalink

This Week in Comic Books: The Best of 2010

Spider-Man both Amazing and Astonishing. Plus, Supergirl and Captain America.

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 6:57 AM | Permalink

Amazon vs. Illinois

"Some Illinois-based Web businesses were furious Thursday at a legislative plan that would require online retailers, such as Amazon.com and Overstock.com, to collect a 6.25 percent state tax if they have commissioned affiliates in the state," the Tribune reports.

*

Amazon says they simply won't play along. This arrived in the Beachwood HQ inbox on Thursday:

From: associates-autoresponse@amazon.com
Subject: Possible Termination Because of New Illinois Legislation
Date: January 6, 2011 5:47:42 PM CST

Greetings from the Amazon Associates Program:

We regret to inform you that the Illinois state legislature has passed an unconstitutional tax collection scheme that, if signed by Governor Quinn, would leave Amazon.com little choice but to end its relationships with Illinois-based Associates. You are receiving this email because our records indicate that you are a resident of Illinois. If our records are incorrect, you can manage the details of your Associates account here.

Please note that this not an immediate termination notice and you are still a valued participant in the Amazon Associates Program. But if the governor signs this bill, we will need to terminate the participation of all Illinois residents in the Associates Program. After that point, we will no longer pay any advertising fees for sales referred to amazon.com, endless.com and smallparts.com nor will we accept new applications for the Associates Program from Illinois residents.

The unfortunate consequences of this legislation on Illinois residents like you were explained to the legislature, including Senate and House leadership, as well as to the governor's staff.

Over a dozen other states have considered essentially identical legislation but have rejected these proposals largely because of the adverse impact on their states' residents.

Governor Quinn's office may be reached here.

We thank you for being part of the Amazon Associates Program, and wish you continued success in the future.

Sincerely,

Amazon.com

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"The law would require Internet retailers that sell through affiliates in Illinois, and which sell at least $10,000 each year to Illinois residents, to collect the taxes, says a spokesman for state Senate president John Cullerton, a Chicago Democrat backing the bill," Internet Retailer reports.

"'The bill treats online merchants more like bricks-and-mortar merchants,' the spokesman says. 'The retailer would be responsible for collecting the tax.' He notes that the bill covers only online retailers that have affiliates in Illinois in an effort to satisfy a 1992 U.S. Supreme Court ruling that says only web merchants that have a presence within a given state must collect taxes there.

"The spokesman could give no estimate about how much Illinois might collect from such a tax, but, previously, a spokeswoman for the Illinois Department of Revenue told Internet Retailer the state could recoup $150 million annually from the use tax."

Not so fast.

"Contrary to the claims of supporters, Amazon taxes do not provide easy revenue," The Tax Foundation says. "In fact, the nation's first few Amazon taxes have not produced any revenue at all, and there is some evidence of lost revenue. For instance, Rhode Island has seen no additional sales tax revenue from its Amazon tax, and because Amazon reacted by discontinuing its affiliate program, Rhode Islanders are earning less income and paying less income tax. There's no reason why Illinois wouldn't suffer the same fate."

*

Now, the Tax Foundation isn't exactly an non-ideological source. But Amazon did indeed pull its associates program out of Rhode Island.

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Comments welcome.


Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 6:12 AM | Permalink

The Week in WTF

1. Miguel del Valle, WTF?

Read this from the Trib. Discuss among yourselves. There will be a quiz.

City Clerk Miguel del Valle today said he has raised about $150,000 in his run for Chicago mayor and argued that those who are raising more money are doing it by using political connections.

At the risk of seeming more naive than del Valle or the person who wrote that, isn't raising money through political allies, hacks and hangers-on the way this admittedly flawed process works?

Perhaps Chicago voters will ignore this year's political advertising and the money required to buy it. We can always hope. It would be a step forward for democracy. You have hopes. We have hopes. We hope that St. Francis of Assisi will show up leading a parade of cherubic little mammals and be proclaimed mayor. Until then, we might be stuck with Chicago politicians. Just a WTF theory.

2. CMB, WTF?

I'm already tired of all of them. But especially her.

Sick and tired.

Tired and sick.

If she's elected, someday soon we can look back fondly on the cogent, thoughtful and totally responsive public interviews of Hizzoner Daley. But at least now we know one reason she's running for mayor. She desperately needs the paycheck.

She's a financial car wreck. But if you'd find a bizarre event of the week your cup o' electoral tea, she's a great pick.

We especially like the technique of showing up at a teen shooting incident as a photo op and then wagging her finger at reporters and insisting they be tasteful in their inquiries. In this election, that is as close to irony-is-not-dead-it's-just-sleeping as we will get.

3. Winnetka butt-dialing, WTF?

If you look carefully at the evidence, this could not have been a case of "urban thugs" holding a Winnetka school employee hostage at his school.

At worst, they were only holding his butt against its will.

But as it developed, the thugs weren't holding his butt hostage, either.

He had a butt, but there were no urban butt hostage-takers. It was all mistaken identity. His butt was real. The hostage-takers were not.

His butt inadvertently dialed for help, as butts will, and the armed police squadron came to his butt's aid, as they will.

Finally, there's the countervailing power of common sense. An incoming gang of "urban thugs" - that's a North Shore definition of an old Chevy filled with young black men - could not have made it past Kenilworth without the SWAT team taking them down first. There are Civil Defense outposts there to guard against that.

Police said at least the event gave them a chance for a great training exercise, which will come in handy the next time an incoming Chevy containing young black men evades the Civil Defense outposts on the North Shore.

4. Brett Favre, WTF?

Brett's a great athlete. He's also a bum.

Aren't we all shocked and dismayed? I suppose we are, though we shouldn't be. After all, we're Chicagoans and can claim no surprise at human duplicity.

Sports, not religion, is the opiate of the masses. Religion is the hallucinogen of the masses.

So the next time emotion rises up through your diaphragm and provokes you into wild cheering for a sporting hero, remember you might be emotionally bonding with another Brett Favre - and everyone else who has emotionally bonded with him before you.

5. Ashley M. Blumenshine, WTF?

Plainfield District 202 spokesman Tom Hernandez said Miss Blumenshine is a "physical education teacher."

Brother, was she EV-err.

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David Rutter is the former publisher/editor of the Lake County News-Sun, a Sun-Times Media property. He welcomes your comments.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 5:49 AM | Permalink

TrackNotes: Cool Hand Zenyatta

You had to wonder if Paul Newman even cared about winning an Academy Award. He seemed too cool for that.

Nonetheless, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences must have panicked when they realized in 1985 that they had never honored one of the greatest actors of our time and gave him a lifetime achievement award.

And the following year the Academy gave him a real acting Oscar for The Color of Money. (As great as Newman always was, The Color of Money?)

I don't know about Cool Hand, but I'll tell you this: Zenyatta couldn't give a damn whether she wins the 2010 Horse of the Year trophy on January 17 when the horsey people gather in Miami Beach for the 2010 Eclipse Awards, racing's Oscars.

She's lucky she's a horse. So is her rival for the award, Blame. They don't have to listen to the bickering. Their feelings won't be hurt.

Any Eclipse Award is merely about the gratification of the massive egos of a horse's owners and trainers. This one gets even better because Zenyatta's Jerry and Ann Moss are still stinging over last year's snub, and this year, Seth Hancock's Claiborne Farm won the big showdown race, November's Breeders' Cup Classic.

In the modern American tradition of making every kid a winner, the Eclipse committee has placed one of the biggest hedge bets in history by telling the connections of Blame and Zenyatta that they're both just swell, announcing on Wednesday that it was awarding the Special Eclipse Award to "Team Zenyatta" for its part in helping Zenyatta move "Thoroughbred racing off the racing pages and into the mainstream and social media spheres." More on that later.

And Blame's Claiborne Farm will win the Eclipse Award of Merit for outstanding achievement. So the committee has it covered. But hey, they also have a TV show and a billion viewers around the globe to think about.

The Internet has been ablaze for at least 14 months over the 2009 award and speculation over the 2010 award. Fan posts on racing forums have ranged from analyses of all statistical minutae between the two horses to vicious, hate-filled language that is so much a part of today's drive-by discourse. Some of the most vitriolic comments have been on Chicago Barn to Wire, where posters have been called haters, or worse, and utter hyperbole is the order of most days.

Don't get me wrong. I love Blame and Zenyatta themselves. It's many of the fans of Zenyatta who, in my opinion, have been the most unreasonably vocal and ungracious in first not recognizing how truly special 2009's Horse of the Year Rachel Alexandra was and now not accepting that Zenyatta lost the Classic to Blame.

They've fallen back into the old cradle of "lifetime achievement" as justification for giving Zenyatta the Horse of the Year this year when the award has come to mean excellence in a particular calendar campaign.

Zenyatta fans are still irate about Rachel Alexandra's accolades after her historic season. Rachel's monumental run through 2009 made her Eclipse a given for me.

The napalm really rained when trainer Steve Asmussen foolishly declared Rachel would be ready for the Apple Blossom and a showdown with the 14-0-0-0 Zenyatta last spring if only they would push it back one week after Rachel got a prep race in. But Rachel's gut-wrenching win against the males in the Woodward the autumn before just took too much out of her. She wasn't the same horse.

That's when some Zenyatta extremists got ugly, calling Rachel a "pig" and accusing her of ducking Zenyatta when Rachel clearly was not right. Then they went to the other side of our galaxy and called Zenyatta "the greatest horse ever." Sheesh.

It only got worse last year as Zenyatta racked up win after win in a campaign eerily similar to her 2009 schedule. Having never really been out of training since 2009, or maybe ever, Zenyatta was carbon-copy, laying way back, for example, and then closing strong in the March 13 Santa Margarita at Santa Anita on her ubiquitous running surface, synthetic, and then toying with her chorus line at the aforementioned Apple Blossom on Oaklawn's dirt.

After barely edging St. Trinians, Rinterval, and Switch by no more than a half-length in the Vanity Handicap, Clement L. Hirsch Handicap and Lady's Secret Stakes, respectively, Zenyatta stayed perfect at 19-0-0-0 heading into the Breeders' Cup Classic.

She was perfect, by god. What does a girl have to do to get a little respect?

Four of her five races in 2010 were on synthetic surfaces, as had been all of her races in 2009 when she chilled at home and waited for them to come to her crib at Santa Anita's Breeders' Cup festival. From a handicapping point of view, she was staying home and beating up on the not-great California colony while fans kept crying for her to venture east and maybe take on the boys. Her connections muttered something about how hard it is to ship a horse across the Rocky Mountains. If only Ward Bond were available.

And with such narrow victories this year, Z's fans predictably started the mantra that "she just does what she has to do to win." The Breeders' Cup Classic on Churchill's dirt would be no problem. After all, she won on the dirt at Oaklawn, didn't she?

Another mantra was "19-0! 19-0!" This when she was barely winning in just-nice times with middling Beyer Speed Figures. I will give full credit to her awesome closing ability.

But if owners the Mosses and trainer John Shirreffs weren't taking it easy at home - and at Oaklawn - against a questionable level of competition in order to pad Zenyatta's record, it sure looked that way. They were pointing to the big trifecta of a perfect record, Breeders' Cup Classic win and Horse of the Year. She still wasn't getting beaucoup credit for her win in the 2009 Classic because it came on one of her home synthetics, Santa Anita.

Trouble is, with some hindsight, a loss along the road to Churchill Downs for the Classic would not have been the end of the world if it would have truly tested Zenyatta on dirt and then prepped her for the Classic win. A Breeders' Cup win means a lot, usually everything when it comes to an Eclipse. And she still possesses the record 19-0 streak. 19-1 with a Classic win? That's a HOY trophy.

All this time, Blame was on the other coast, running trainer Al Stall, Jr.'s campaign clearly meant to get him ready to peak in the Classic. After a win in the Grade III W. D. Schaeffer on Preakness Day, he beat horses including Quality Road, Musket Man and Battle Plan in the Stephen Foster and then the Whitney Handicap. Nobody was able to catch a flying Haynesfield on the lead and Blame suffered a closing four-length loss in the October 2 Jockey Club Gold Cup.

Contrast Blame's one-race-at-a-time campaign at five very different tracks, including a win on Keeneland's synthetic in the Fayette in October 2009, with Zenyatta's homebound, preserve-the-record season and it appears Zenyatta came from somewhere resembling the NFC West.

Thusly, they entered the gate for the Classic. Zenyatta's true lack of experience on dirt against top-flight competition was painfully obvious as she fell well behind, trying to get traction. Still, she made one of the greatest in-race comebacks in recent racing memory in a valiant effort to get past Blame.

But she didn't.

And she wasn't going to. Blame was too determined and fought back Zenyatta with every stride.

HOY debate began instantaneously. Zenyatta's case soon fell square on the lifetime achievement angle and, gosh, she may have just run the best race of her career, even though she lost. So she's not really a loser, is she?

That's the beauty of horse racing. If you can get them to meet on the track, that settles everything. Sunday Silence-Easy Goer, Affirmed-Alydar, Seabiscuit-War Admiral, to name just a few.

But here are a few statistics that illustrate what Blame and Zenyatta did in 2010, the campaign for which the award is given.

* Zenyatta's 23 unique opponents in 2010 won 15 stakes races, six of those graded stakes. For Blame, it was 28 unique opponents winning 40 stakes races, 30 of them graded.

* Of all the horses Zenyatta faced in 2010, 16.67 percent of them won and 47.44 percent were in the money. For Blame, it was a 29.44 winning percentage for his opponents and 62.22 percent in the money.

There's more, but you get the drift.

* * *

Zenyatta's supporters keep arguing about "all she's done for racing."

I will not buy the many arguments that she lifted racing out of its depths and firmly deposited it in the American sports mainstream. Just because a story has legs because writers parrot the press releases they want to believe doesn't make it so.

Sure, forums and blogs and personal pages were abuzz, but except for the Breeders' Cup weekend spike, Secretariat garnered more Google attention than Zenyatta this year. Secretariat still owns the mainstream and he's been dead for more than 21 years.

The rotten shame about Zenyatta is that her connections saw fit to feather her record in relatively inferior races two time zones away from the vast majority of America's racing fans. If they did so much for the game, why didn't she run at Arlington? Or Saratoga? Or Belmont with it's long stretch? Why didn't I get to see her? Amazingly, we will never know how good Zenyatta - who won 19 races in a row - really was.

It was Blame who paid his dues in 2010. It was Blame's iron will that turned back Zenyatta.

It is Blame who is the 2010 Horse of the Year.

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Thomas Chambers is our man on the rail. He welcomes your comments.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 12:54 AM | Permalink

The Blue & Orange Kool-Aid Report: Bears vs. Atrophy

For the sake of assuming that the Bears aren't terrible, let's just say Mike Martz was playing it close to the vest against the Packers, or putting some red herrings on tape for the remainder of the NFC. Any conceivably real strategy couldn't have yielded much worse of a result than what the offense produced in the second half, which for those of you scoring at home, amounted to zero points best illustrated by a potpourri of crappiness sprayed in all over a drive chart like some Pollock-ine . . . Pollock-esque . . . evocative of Pollock . . .

Anyway, judge for yourself what four punts, two interceptions and the obligatory turnover on downs looks like when committed to canvas.

With a meaningless game undeserving of any further analysis, let's begin the playoff discussion.

Wild Card Round: Bears vs. Atrophy
To the second-place winner go the second-place spoils; a week off and a home game against the highest remaining seed in the divisional round.

Since the NFL does not re-seed after each playoff week, the Bears could play any of three teams on January 16th.

* The New Orleans Saints (if the Saints beat the Seahawks and the Packers beat the Eagles)

* The Philadelphia Eagles (if the Eagles beat the Packers and the Saints beat the Seahawks)

* The Seattle Seahawks (if the Seahawks beat the Saints and the Packers beat the Eagles)

Phew. That took 30 minutes to figure out.

In the interest of selfishly eating up a few more of your minutes, let's take a closer look at the NFC matchups this Wet n' Wild Card Weekend.

Saints at Seahawks
The likelihood of Seattle beating New Orleans is virtually zero, just ask Vegas. The Seahawks are an 11-point home dog in a game in which the visiting team is traveling from effectively the East Coast to the top left portion of the country. Also, if you sat through the Sunday night game which decided the "winner" (if you can call a team that loses more than it wins a winner) of the NFC West, you know that Seattle is arguably the worst playoff team in history, though the Jake Plummer-led '98 Cardinals didn't exactly pass the eye test.

Defending Drew Brees is no easy task, especially when Lawyer Milloy is your starting safety and it's not 1999 when he was in his prime (not kidding). Also, the trademark opportunistic defense of the Saints will seize the opportunity to stop the second-worst running game in the NFL and intercept one of two bad quarterbacks, Charlie Whitehurst or Matt Hasselbeck, who will be playing poorly or injured, respectively.

Green Bay at Philadelphia
This match-up is a bit more intriguing. Green Bay's defense has shown the ability to stop Mike Vick 2.0 when it needs to, ultimately stymieing the fleet-footed-fowl's furious comeback in a Week One victory over the Eagles.

As an aside, I'd like to nominate "Mi-Vi" (pronounced "My-Vih") as Vick's shortened, hyphenated name.

The Packers' secondary is respectable on paper and recent history against Mi-Vi indicates some success against the pass (175 yards allowed to him in Week One), but chances are Charles Woodson can't keep up with the Eagles speedburner and Mi-Vi favorite deep threat, DeSean Jackson. If the Pack blitz, Vick will check down or just run for more than 100 yards himself.

The "Iggles" (which sounds like a show that airs just after Go Diego Go! on PBS) should win this one by a field goal.

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Andrew Golden and Carl Mohrbacher bring you The Blue & Orange Kool-Aid Report every week. They welcome your comments.


Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 12:07 AM | Permalink

January 6, 2011

The [Thursday] Papers

Lura Lynn Ryan is in the intensive care unit, prompting state political reporter Rich Miller to write:

"I've said in the past that the law, not emotions, should decide whether George Ryan is released from prison. But it's darned difficult to watch Lura Lynn Ryan's possibly imminent death play out in front of my face without thinking that the former governor ought to be let out for a few hours to be by her side."

But what about all the other relatives of prisoners whose seemingly final days don't play out in front of our faces? What about all those poor - and mostly minority - prisoners who don't have the benefit of TV cameras and Jim Thompson and Michael Sneed and other media allies to advocate for them?

I'm not unsympathetic, but I have less sympathy for the Ryans than virtually anybody else in prison facing the same situation. What about them?

*

This is a question other pundits have asked, but reporters have failed to answer. It isn't just theoretical.

"A spokeswoman for the Bureau of Prisons said the prison warden in Terre Haute, Ind., where the former governor is being held, has the discretion to approve his release," the Sun-Times reports.

"According to its website, bureau policy allows inmates to win a temporary release for several reasons, including a family member's illness: 'The bureau may authorize staff-escorted trips for purposes such as visiting a critically ill family member; attending a funeral; receiving medical treatment or participating in educational, religious, or work-related functions.'

"'An inmate can make a bedside request to a warden,' said Traci Billingsley, a Bureau of Prisons spokeswoman."

What I want to know is how many requests Illinois prison officials get for bedside releases every year and how many are granted. Then we will know just who deserves our sympathy.

And then I want to see Thompson and Miller and Sneed advocate on behalf of everyone else in prison in the same situation. It might be "Too painful to watch" for Miller only because he doesn't have to think about the rest of the prison population that never gets on TV.

*

For example . . .

*

It's well-known by now that the media blew its coverage of the state's early-release program, though some find it easier to simply blame "politics."

"Contrary to media reports, Meritorious Good Time-Push (MGT-Push) has not been responsible for a single illegal or premature release of dangerous criminals or for the commission of additional violent crime," a report into the early-release program found. "MGT-Push did not cut prison sentences by months or years. It did not add to the public risk or endanger public safety. And it was not 'secret' . . .

"The facts are, then, that in implementing MGT-Push, Randle at most marginally changed the 'good time' equations that had been in place since the legislature approved up to 180 days credit at the behest of the Thompson administration in 1990. The amount of time by which short term prisoners' time to serve was reduced by MGT-Push amounted to less than 2% of the time the overall MGT program reduced prison terms for the 24,172 prisoners who received on average 135 days' credit in FY 2009.

"With these facts in plain view, one might have thought that a reporter looking for a story would not have found it in MGT-Push . . .

"In the summer of 2010 Republicans in the state legislature called for an investigation of the "secret" early release program. Claiming that the Democratic leadership refused to hold hearings or provide information, Republicans formed a panel and scheduled public forums on MGT-Push. They selected Peoria, Ill. for the first hearing because it was the location of a brutal murder allegedly committed in May 2010 by a former prisoner named Edjuan L Payne who had been released from prison in September 2009 through the MGT-Push program . . .

"As it developed, and contrary to impressions created in the media, Payne's being out of prison at the time of the murder had no direct connection to MGT-Push . . .

"On Friday, August 13, 2010, the (Quinn) Administration publicly released the Report on the Meritorious Good Time and MGT Push Programs prepared by the Committee chaired by David Erickson . . .

"Almost without exception, news media and editorialists accepted the Erickson Committee's bottom line and eminently quotable finding: 'The MGT Push program was a mistake.' Almost no one noted that while generous in its criticisms, the Erickson report failed to report a single case in which an inmate released under MGT-Push was a) released contrary to law; or b) caused harm or injury to another person during the days in which the prisoner was in the community due to MGT-Push."

*

Apparently, early release is only for those the political-media establishment decide it's for.

Mayor's Race
Trying to catch up. Hope to be totally on it any day now; I've got a ton of material gathered already.

Breakdancing For Jesus
At Chicago Catholic Underground.

Breaking The Chicago Code
They picked an Australian to play a polack and other absurdities.

BGA Sues CPD Over Ed Burke
The only alderman with a 24/7 security detail.

Czar Of The Playbook Playoff Preview
Keep the backdoor closed, Packers.

The Chicago Rib Shack
Best sticky ribs in London!

INJ in the NBA
Who to keep, who to cut.

Will Chicago's Nonprofit Community Play A Role In Electing The Next Mayor?
No.

Get To The Point TV
Stop talking around shit and just say the shit.

Happy Birthday, CHIRP
The Chicago Independent Radio Project turns one.

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The Beachwood Tip Line: Man overboard.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 8:22 AM | Permalink

BGA Sues CPD Over Ed Burke Security Detail Data

"The Better Government Association filed a complaint Wednesday against the Chicago Police Department asking a judge to order the release of information about Ald. Edward Burke's security detail," Fox Chicago News reports.

-

In a post on its website, where a copy of the lawsuit is also available for reading, the BGA said:

"The lawsuit, filed in Cook County Circuit Court today (January 5), asks the court to compel the CPD to release information about the size and the cost of the police security detail assigned to Chicago Alderman Edward M. Burke (14th Ward), chairman of the Chicago City Council's committee on finance. Burke is the only Chicago alderman with a police security detail at his disposal 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year.

"'We're not trying to jeopardize Alderman Burke's safety or put him at risk,' BGA President and CEO Andy Shaw said. 'This is a transparency issue.

"'The public has a right to ask if this is a proper use of police manpower and local tax dollars at a time when there aren't enough police officers on the street to protect regular citizens or enough tax dollars to provide basic city services?

"'We can't answer those questions, or address the underlying issue - whether any Chicago alderman needs a security detail made up of sworn police officers - without accurate information about the number of officers who protect Burke over the course of the year and the number of tax dollars dedicated to the security detail.'"

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 7:57 AM | Permalink

Czar of the Playbook Playoff Preview: Packers at Eagles

Keep the backdoor closed, Packers.

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 7:40 AM | Permalink

Breaking The Chicago Code

They picked an Australian to play a Chicago polack and other absurdities.

-

See also:
* Trailer: The Chicago Code

* Making TV: The Chicago Code On Location

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 7:25 AM | Permalink

Breakdancing at Catholic Underground Chicago

Featuring a few of the B-boys from Phase II.

-

See also:
* Chris Schwartz Breakdance Ministry: Breakin' for the Kingdom

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 7:14 AM | Permalink

The Chicago Rib Shack: The Best Sticky Ribs In London!

And a great night out, covering London, Knightsbridge, Harrods, Royal Albert Hall and Hyde Park.

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 7:08 AM | Permalink

January 5, 2011

The [Wednesday] Papers

The news is weird today, my friends.

1. "Transport Canada says a United Airlines flight from Chicago to Frankfurt, Germany, was diverted to Toronto Monday after the pilot dumped a cup of coffee on the plane's communication's equipment."

*

The pilot has not yet commented.

*

Also in Chicago flight news:

"A problem with a weight on wheels (WOW) switch is being eyed in the American Airlines Boeing 757-200 that ran off the end of snow contaminated Runway 19 at Jackson Hole, Wyo., on December 29. The flight from Chicago with 181 aboard ended up in the snow 658 feet beyond the end of the 6,300-foot-long runway."

And:

"An American Eagle flight from Buffalo to Chicago landed with a flat tire at Chicago's O'Hare Airport."

2. "Butt Dialing Mistake Sends SWAT Team To Winnetka Middle School.

*

"Worried wife calls police after she thinks her husband is being held hostage."

*

The Tribune explains:

"In the popular vernacular, it was a butt dial, the bane of many a chagrined cell phone user."

*

Okay . . . but how in the world did this woman think her husband was being held hostage?

"He was listening to music and he had, I don't know, hip-hop . . . or music like that, where there were lyrics that were gangster-like," explained Mark Friedman, interim co-superintendent of District 36. "So there were lyrics on the radio as he was driving home, and she listened to it and became concerned."

*

Still makes no sense.

3. "[Mark] DeVries, the maintenance superintendent for the McHenry County Division of Transportation, is widely recognized as an expert in tackling snow and ice on the pavement," the Tribune reports. "Area transportation officials say he pioneered an anti-icing solution that many communities now use to keep ice from sticking to the roads."

4. "A McHenry County judge has handed down a three-year prison sentence to a Chicago Cubs fan who cost his former brother-in-law an eye when he kicked him in the face during a quarrel over baseball teams," the Tribune reports.

5. "The family of a woman killed in a car crash has filed a lawsuit, claiming Cook County Sheriff's police removed her clothing and photographed shots of her in the nude," Fox Chicago News reports.

6. "A Level 2 hazardous materials team was sent to O'Hare Airport after a 'crushed' container believed to be radioactive was found in the shipping area early this morning," the Northwest Herald reports.

7. "A woman from Chicago's Northwest Side desperately wanted to start 2011 with a marriage proposal, and decided that she needed a little help from the police," CBS/WBBM/AP reports.

"911, can you convince my boyfriend to marry me?

"According to CBS affiliate WBBM, 40-year-old Ana Perez called 911 around 8:30 p.m. on Sunday, claiming her boyfriend was attacking her.

"When police arrived, the alleged victim changed her story, and her tune, admitting that really she was just trying to scare her boyfriend into marrying her."

8. "Some nonprofit groups that operate urban gardens and farms are worried that their efforts might be plowed under if Chicago enacts new rules governing agricultural activities in the city. According to Chicago Breaking News Center, Mayor Richard Daley last month proposed an ordinance developed by the Department of Zoning and Land Use Planning that would set requirements for fencing, processing, landscaping and zoning," the Nonprofit Quarterly reports.

"'If this passes, our work would be over,' said Erika Allen, of Growing Power, which runs four nonprofit gardens and farms in Chicago. 'We couldn't do any of our projects.'"

9. "A Chicago man faces felony charges for allegedly impersonating a police officer and stealing from a high school principal," NBCChicago reports.

"Police say security video shows 20-year-old Clarence George walking into Foreman High School wearing a fake police uniform and carrying hand cuffs and a pellet gun last month.

"George allegedly identified himself as an officer, walked into the principal's office and made off with several items including a laptop, a digital camera and an iPod."

10. "[C]hefs (notably Grant Achatz, chef of Alinea in Chicago) have recently begun reintroducing ash into dishes, such as apple cider gel in walnut milk and vegetable ash," the Toronto Globe and Mail reports.

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The Beachwood Tip Line: Ashen.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 9:58 AM | Permalink

Will Chicago's Nonprofit Community Play a Role in Electing the Next Mayor?

I'm going out a limb and just answer my own question straight away: No.

I don't see the leaders and managers the thousands of social service, cultural and educational organizations that serve hundreds of thousand of people every week taking much of a role in electing the next mayor of Chicago.

That's not to say they shouldn't take an active role.

There may still be time if they decide they want to.

The stakes couldn't be higher. Due to state and local budget woes, area nonprofits are being decimated. Many are operating in a state of perpetual crisis. Here's the result of a recent survey of social service providers in Cook County conducted by Illinois Partners for Human Service.


services.jpeg

I call the state of affairs for nonprofits in Illinois "Death by a Thousand Cuts" - over time every line item is squeezed and nonprofit programs and workers are asked to do more with less. This is especially true in miserable financial times when people seek help in record numbers.

We bailed out the banks, the insurance companies, General Motors and Goldman Sachs to the tune of trillions of dollars. But all over America, our states, counties and cities are awash in red ink and are cutting back services and even considering declaring bankruptcy.

Our stalwart nonprofit sector is stretched and stressed out to the max. No one is bailing them out.

I've lost count of how many desperate e-mails I've received over the past six months from everyone from Voices for Illinois Children to The Responsible Budget Coalition to Arts Alliance Illinois. They are all begging me to e-mail or call someone.

So what's on tap for Chicago's mayoral election? For the first time in a couple of generations, a Daley isn't on the ballot and there is a fleeting sense of democracy stirring here.

This would be a great time for those progressive social-change champions who have been working and fighting for community development, education reform, a clean environment and social justice to come together and (a) assess the results of the Daley Era and (b) articulate a set of priorities that a new mayor must address.

But Chicago's (and, by extension, Illinois') nonprofit organizations should do much more.

They need to establish a sense of intentionality to play power politics and then they need to organize to deliver the goods. They need to instill a desire to fight and develop the skills to win in the world of politics and policy. They need to seek out and develop young leaders who will someday run for local office and whose personal values and priorities reflect what I call "The Human Agenda" that drives all nonprofits that I've seen or been associated with - that is, the desire to serve partnered with the ingenuity to invent new solutions to tough problems. How about a Human Agenda PAC to back those candidates with cash, volunteers and creative resources?

Don't bother to dismiss this idea by saying nonprofits can't engage in politics. The organizations can't but their leaders certainly can. The standard way is to create an ad hoc campaign committee. Committee members can list their names and positions with a disclaimer that their organizations are listed for identification purposes only.

I ran into a longtime nonprofit consultant and board member last week and we had a conversation along these lines. "It's the rules," she said, explaining why nonprofit leaders don't engage in this manner. "It's not about rules," I said, "It's habit and fear."

So how about the organizations and associations that serve and train the various nonprofit categories - education, health care, the arts, social services, etc., - getting together and starting down this path. Let them create a new instrumentality to do this work if necessary.

Come on, nonprofit leaders - take advantage of a literally once in a lifetime opportunity here and get involved in the 2011 election for Chicago's mayor. You can be sure every other sector of the local economy is playing. Just look at who gives who money.

A wise political operative told me a very simple rule for impacting politics. "Elected officials have a reptilian brain," he told me. "They want to know if you can help them or hurt them." It's a simple calculus. If you can help and hurt the candidate, then they listen to you. If you can do neither, then you are invisible to them. Worse, if your enemies can help and/or hurt the elected official then you are at grave risk for being attacked politically and having your programs cut.

Hey, all you artists, arts managers, creative professionals and lovers of freedom of expression - remember Culture Wars? We lost that war and America's arts and creative sector is still paying for it.

It's much more than lobbying and explaining the reasons why and how Chicago's nonprofits do so much for so many. You've got to show how you can help or hurt a candidate in order to be taken seriously.

It's the oldest political game in town. It's time for Chicago's - and America's - nonprofits to suit up and get on the field.

If you don't exert your influence now, then reconcile yourself to another four years of cuts, squeezes, unpaid contracts, and unrelenting pressure to do more with less. That's what you do best, isn't it?

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Tom Tresser is an educator, organizer and consultant. He was the Green Party candidate for Cook County Board President in the November 2010 election.

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 8:54 AM | Permalink

Fantasy Fix: INJ In The NBA

Fantasy basketball is much more affected by player injuries than either fantasy baseball or fantasy football.

Baseball has a formal disabled list, and many fantasy leagues provide a DL slot that allows you to temporarily park one or two players without losing them for the season, and then pick up replacements on the waiver wire.

And while some of you might argue that pro football's system of "Probable," "Questionable," "Doubtful," etc. can wreak havoc with fantasy teams on a weekly basis, once a player has established a pattern of being injured for a couple games, the decision to drop him becomes a lot easier because the season is so few games, and players need to log a lot of healthy practices to get decent playing time and touches.

Not so in fantasy basketball, in which there is no DL and a heck of a lot of games.

Also, regardless of how long guys are injured, they rarely lose their real-world lineup spots. So you are often faced with the decision of whether to waste a roster spot on someone who should be very good most of the time, but may miss the next 10 games or so.

Right now, in fact, there are several players who were ranked in the preseason top 50 who have missed more than a handful of games with injuries. Should we keep them or cut them?

Brandon Roy, SG/SF, Portland: He's a primo scorer when healthy and looked poised to rise from a second-round pick to first-round pick with a strong campaign this season, but a pair of aching knees and reports that he's "out indefinitely" are major cause for concern: CUT

Gerald Wallace, SF/PF, Charlotte: A multi-category juggernaut and borderline top-10 player, Wallace has had a tough year with two or three injuries already, the latest of which is a bad ankle sprain that will see him miss multiple games. Still, his overall talent may be worth the wait: KEEP

Andrea Bargnani, PF/C, Toronto: A nagging calf strain is the latest problem for a talented - but streaky - player. He shouldn't miss major time, and he's otherwise having his strongest season yet, scoring 21.2 PPG: KEEP

Danilo Gallinari, SF, New York: He will reportedly miss a solid two weeks minimum with a knee sprain. He averages a couple three-pointers per game, but his overall 15.3 PPG is replaceable. CUT

David Lee, PF/C, Golden State: He still averages a double-double (15 PPG, 10.1 RPG), but his production overall is down from last year. He missed eight games earlier this season and appears to have a nagging back injury that could keep him out of a game or two here and there. The double-double is worth tha trouble, but barely: KEEP

Andre Iguodala, SG/SF, Philadelphia: Achilles tendinitis doesn't sound good, and he's missed at least nine games with it. He could be out a bit longer, and is having an off year as it is, but 6.1 RPG and 5.5 APG is above average for a guy you can slot as a guard: KEEP

Troy Murphy, PF/C, New Jersey: One of the most injury-prone players in the NBA, yet his potential when healthy to average a double-double and sink three-pointers keeps him ranked around the top 50 when draft time comes around. He has been hurt often this year and is only averaging a few points per game on half his usual minutes: CUT

Expert Wire
* SI.com has New Year's resolutions, including staying away from injury-prone players. We hear ya.

* Bleacher Report offers some ideas for replacing Roy and another injured scorer, Caron Butler.

* SLAM Online is starting the yearly trade talk ritual. Expect rumors to be flying about Carmelo Anthony and others before the All-Star Game.

Fantasy Football
No player did more for his fantasy value during 2010 than Josh Freeman, QB, Tampa Bay. He had 25 passing TDs against just 6 INTs, and finished second only to Michael Vick in rushing yards (364) by a QB. His 3,451 passing yards were a bit more pedestrian, but don't be surprised if Freeman gets taken as a late-second-round to mid-third-round pick in next season's fantasy drafts ahead of guys like Matt Ryan, Eli Manning and Carson Palmer.

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Dan O'Shea's Fantasy Fix appears in this space every Wednesday. He welcomes your comments. You can also read his about his split sports fan personality at his Beachwood blog SwingsBothWays.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 8:27 AM | Permalink

Happy Birthday, Chicago Independent Radio Project

The Chicago Independent Radio Project will celebrate the one year anniversary of CHIRPradio.org throughout the month of January in recognition of the online radio station's first 365 days on the air.

CHIRP Radio plays a wide array of independent, eclectic, and under-appreciated music from diverse genres, and is staffed by live DJs 21 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year. The station launched online on January 17, 2010, live from studios in the North Center neighborhood of Chicago.

CHIRP also is celebrating the passage of the Local Community Radio Act, was signed into law on January 4, 2011 by President Obama. Over the past three years, CHIRP worked with an array of national partners to pass the measure, which eventually will allow the organization to apply for a low-power FM broadcast license.

2010 has been a banner year for the Chicago Independent Radio Project, and the organization's achievements are numerous:

* On January 17, 2010, CHIRPradio.org launched online, and immediately attracted listeners from Chicago as well as from around the world. Throughout the first year, listenership continued to grow, with thousands of people tuning in each month.

* More than 150 people volunteered with CHIRP Radio in its first year, putting in hundreds of hours per month not only on air but in marketing, fundraising, news reporting, technical development, music library management and other capacities. Since January 1, 2010, CHIRP volunteers contributed more than 7,200 volunteer hours to the organization.

* CHIRP received financial support at many different giving levels from listeners and supporters in Chicago and around the country. More than five hundred individuals made donations to CHIRP, and the organization also received significant support from foundations. The Crossroads Fund continued to support CHIRP with a $5,000 grant, as did the MacArthur Fund for Arts and Culture at the Driehaus Foundation, which awarded CHIRP a two-year grant of $20,000 ($10,000 per year).

* CHIRP and other media justice organizations around the United States successfully lobbied for the passage of the Local Community Radio Act to expand the availability of Low Power FM radio licenses, particularly in cities. President Barack Obama signed the bill on January 4, 2010. CHIRP will closely monitor the FCC's rulemaking in the hopes of applying for a license in the future.

Party On, CHIRP
CHIRP's celebrations include a variety of events for all interests:

* On Friday, January 14, Beauty Bar hosts a CHIRP Dance Party with DJ sets by Mad Decent artist Depressed Buttons (featuring former members of The Faint) and CHIRP DJ Dustin Drase. The party starts at 10pm and is $5. Beauty Bar is located at 1444 W. Chicago. This event is 21 & over.

* Monday, January 17 is the official one-year anniversary date of the launch of CHIRPradio.org, and will be celebrated with the monthly CHIRP benefit show at The Whistler with a live set from Rambos, plus another special surprise live set. It starts at 9:30 p.m. and is free. A portion of the bar proceeds benefits CHIRP. The Whister is located at 2421 N Milwaukee. This event is 21 & over.

* Thursday, January 20 is CHIRP's One-Year Anniversary Party at the Empty Bottle with music from Campfires (Mexican Summer Records), Black Math (Permanent Records) and Cool Memories. The show starts at 9pm and tickets are $8. The Empty Bottle is located at 1035 N. Western. This event is 21 & over. Ticket sales benefit CHIRP.

* Wednesday, January 26, CHIRP's popular reading series The First Time happens at Schubas, with "First Car" as the theme. Special guests include Robbie Fulks, Josh Caterer (Smoking Popes), Susan Messing (Annoyance Theatre), Erin Shea, James Van Osdol, Matt Spiegel and Jim DeRogatis. Guests will write original pieces on the theme featuring a musical reference. Immediately following the CHIRP House band - Steve Frisbie, Liam Davis and Gerald Dowd - will play their song. It all starts at 8 p.m. and tickets are $10. All proceeds benefit CHIRP. Schubas is located at 3159 N. Southport. This event is 21 & over.

* Thursday, January 27, The Hideout hosts a CHIRP anniversary month wrap-up party and benefit, with special guests TBA. The Hideout is located at 1354 W Wabansia. This event is 21 & over.

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For more information on CHIRP, visit chicagoindieradio.org and chirpradio.org.

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 8:10 AM | Permalink

Get To The Point TV

Stop talking around shit and just say the shit.

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 8:03 AM | Permalink

January 4, 2011

The [Tuesday] Papers

An awesomely busy night behind the bar last night combined with a pressing need for nourishment and other obligations means you'll have to wait for what I hope will be both a new column today and a new offering on our politics page.

In the meantime, here's a bunch of goodness we've already posted this morning.

And I'll be back behind the bar tonight with a special Tuesday appearance. Free pool.

* Floyd Jones: Stockyard Blues

* This Is A Test of The 1984 Emergency Broadcast System

* Replacing Ronnie. A Beachwood exclusive!

* Blunt to Fakie: An Ethnography of Skateboard Culture in Chicago & the Near West Suburbs

More later.

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The Beachwood Tip Line: To insure prompt service.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 10:09 AM | Permalink

This Is A Test Of The 1984 Emergency Broadcast System

If this had been an actual emergency . . .

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 8:50 AM | Permalink

Floyd Jones: Stockyard Blues

You know, I need to make a dollar.

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 8:42 AM | Permalink

Blunt to Fakie: An Ethnography of Skateboard Culture in Chicago & the Near West Suburbs

Only enemy we got is Mayor Daley, the cops and our parents; screw a curfew!

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Filmed at Oak Park River Forest High School by Colin Palombi.

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 8:27 AM | Permalink

Replacing Ronnie

The Cubs and WGN-AM are still looking for an analyst, ahem, to replace Ron Santo. The Beachwood has learned that the list of candidates includes the following.

*

Candidate: Ronald McDonald
Pros: Organization already clown-friendly. And he's got a ton of land in Oak Brook for club to move to if city residents keep refusing to pay for stadium improvements.
Cons: Requires large makeup staff, even for radio; refuses to eat bison.

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Candidate: Steve Stone
Pros: He'll provide an honest, critical assessment of the Cubs.
Cons: He'll provide an honest, critical assessment of the Cubs.

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Candidate: Rahm Emanuel
Pros: Has residency.
Cons: Broadcast would need permanent seven-second delay

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Candidate: Vince Vaughn
Pros: Undemanding movie roles wouldn't get in the way of a 162-game schedule.
Cons: Box-office poison.

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Candidate: Bill Kurtis & Walter Jacobson
Pros: Undemanding anchoring schedule wouldn't get in the way of a 162-game schedule.
Cons: They'd actually have an audience again.

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Candidate: Sammy Sosa
Pros: Former Cub could bring insight to telecasts.
Cons: Forgot how to speak English at some point.

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Candidate: A billy goat
Pros: Would pay more attention to the game than Santo did.
Cons: Wouldn't have the patience to put up with the Cubs' poor play.

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Candidate: Bob Uecker
Pros: Legendary clownish announcer would fit right in.
Cons: Wouldn't have the patience to put up with the Cubs' poor play.

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Candidate: Todd Stroger
Pros: Already has a high name-recognition factor.
Cons: WGN nowhere near large enough to support jobs for all his relatives.

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Candidate: Rod Blagojevich
Pros: Slick talker who could persuade even the last holdout to become a Cubs fan.
Cons: Would describe events that never took place.

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Candidate: Tom Skilling
Pros: Having someone on the payroll who can explain in painstaking detail how barometric pressure can get some extra lift under the ball can't be all bad.
Cons: Lost without a green screen.

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Candidate: Satan
Pros: Unparalleled control of the very souls of listeners.
Con: Tempted Jesus by offering to turn stones into bread during prolonged fast in the desert. Jesus refused. Does not bode well for upcoming season.

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Candidate: Jesus
Pros: Patience of a saint.
Cons: Wouldn't have the patience to put up with the Cubs' poor play.

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Candidate: Bill Murray
Pros: Noted Cubs fan with strong name recognition.
Cons: He already made Groundhog Day.

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Candidate: Classic audio of Ron Santo
Pros: Nothing he said had anything to do with the game anyway.
Cons: Nothing he said had anything to do with the game.

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Contributing: Scott Buckner, Dan O'Shea, Mike Luce, Steve Rhodes

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 8:15 AM | Permalink

January 3, 2011

The [Monday] Papers

1. "A two-day New Year's Eve party at a South Side motorcycle club came to a bloody and tragic end early Sunday when two men were shot dead and five others wounded," the Sun-Times reports.

"The Hawks - a black motorcycle club that also has chapters in Tennessee, Wisconsin and Mississippi - was hosting members of several other motorcycle clubs at its New Year's Eve bash, a club member who gave his name as 'Redman' said.

"An advertisement for the party on the club's Facebook page said the party was scheduled to run until 9 p.m. Sunday. It joked that all partygoers needed to bring were 'alibis.'"

*

Here's that Facebook page.

2. Stout Bears No Milli Vanilli.

3. "I'm incredibly defiant against neo-Nazis and skinheads," David Draiman of Disturbed tells the Jerusalem Post.

"In fact, here's a true story that occurred in the band's infancy when we were playing Southside Chicago clubs.

"One of the guys who would come to see us was a skinhead, he had a swastika tattoo, the whole nine yards.

"After he became a die-hard fan, the band was sitting down having drinks after a show and he comes in and starts going on about niggers and Jews, and I interrupted him and said, 'Dude, I don't know if you realize this but I'm Jewish.'

"He responded, 'You're Jewish! This completely changes my whole idea of what a Jew is supposed to be.' And soon after that, he had his swastika removed, and denounced the skinhead culture."

4. I'll get to the latest developments in the mayoral campaign tomorrow. I'm not in the mood this morning.

5. The Weekend in Chicago Rock.

6. Of course, I spent my New Year's Eve at the Beachwood Inn feasting on Harold's Chicken and toasting the jukebox. I'll be back there tonight for my regular Monday night bartending shift. I think we still have eggnog. Stop by, you never know who you'll meet . . .

7. "What husband saw inside Muddy Paws shelter."

8. Illinois Twins Born in Different Years.

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9. The Reality of Tim Russert.

10. Meet Chicago's Tea Party.

11. The Chicago Way Out Of Vietnam.

12. The [New Year's Week] Papers.

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The Beachwood Tip Line: New year, same story.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 9:21 AM | Permalink

SportsMonday: Stout Bears No Milli Vanilli

What was that all about?

The defense made a comeback, the offensive line regressed, and the Bears hung tough in what was essentially a meaningless game against a determined team.

All in all, not a bad showing, sacks notwithstanding.

So, no, the Bears aren't the Milli Vanilli of the NFL?

But they are still a bit of a mystery - not only winning ugly, but losing that way too.

Let's take a spin through the Internets.

1. Chicago media ruminate on Bears-Packers.

2. "There haven't been many brighter moments for that [Green Bay] defense than the second half of Sunday's 10-3 victory over the visiting Chicago Bears, when Capers pulled out all the stops to help the Packers beat their rivals to clinch an NFC wild card berth," Madison.com reports.

3. "Brett Favre Quits NFL For Third Time."

Just sayin'.

(Is it really only three?)

4. "The real stunner was that the Bears barely made a play on special teams," Mike Mulligan writes for the Sun-Times in "Nothing Special About Bears Loss."

5. "Bears Elude Disaster With Playing Time Plan."

6. Jeff Dickerson's "Five Things We Learned" on ESPN.com is as good a summary of where this team stands as I've seen. I'll give you the five things, but you'll have to go read the whole thing to totally appreciate his analysis.

* Jay Cutler is the ultimate wildcard

* The offensive line will never be completely fixed

* The defense was able to bounce back

* Tinoisamoa benefitted from the playtime time

* Nobody can figure out this NFL

7. "Chicago will face the lowest numbered seed remaining in the NFC after the wildcard round of the playoffs on Sunday, January 16th, 2011 at 1:00pm ET. That game will be shown on FOX and could be against Philadelphia, Seattle, or New Orleans," Sportsbook Gurus note.

"It's hard to rule out the Bears with their stout defense. For that reason, oddsmakers have installed them with 12 to 1 odds to win Super Bowl XLV."

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SportsMonday is brought to you every week by Jim Coffman, except when he's on vacation. He will return soon. Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 8:14 AM | Permalink

Meet Chicago's Tea Party

From: Chicago Tea Party
Subject: Our First Event of the New Year

January Monthly Meeting

2011 will be the biggest year ever for the tea party movement in Chicago. Start the year off right by joining us at our next Chicago Tea Party Monthly Meeting on Wednesday, January 5 at 7:00PM at Blackie's, 755 S. Clark. Our featured speaker at the meeting will be Cedra Crenshaw, the Mom vs. The Machine. Cedra will discuss what the Republican party needs to do to expand its base and reach out to new voters. We'll also discuss the steps the IL GOP needs to take to reform.

Please register here to attend the meeting.

Cedra became nationally known when Chicago Democrats tried to kick her off the ballot in her State Senate race even though she had far more than the required number of signatures on her nominating petitions. Before that, Cedra had been active in the tea party movement since early 2009. When the NAACP attacked the movement Cedra represented our Chicago group on television and came to our defense. You can watch that appearance here.

We will also welcome the Cook County Campaign for Liberty at our January meeting. The Cook County C4L shares many of our same goals, including promoting ethical leadership and advocating the great American principles of liberty, fiscal responsibility, transparency and limited government.

When you attend a meeting of the Chicago Tea Party, you don't just sit and listen - you can be part of the discussion. Our meetings give you a chance to get informed, stay involved and socialize with great people.

The Chicago Tea Party meets the first Wednesday of every month. We hold monthly meetings for people to meet our elected officials and candidates, ask direct questions and discuss the most important issues facing our country. Most importantly, you can meet and enjoy the company of dozens of friends and neighbors just like you. You can order from the menu and get drinks from the cash bar. There is metered parking in the area and a $6 parking lot across the street.

Have a Happy New Year!

Where you can find us:

Chicago: http://teapartychicago.org
Illinois: http://illinoistea.org
National: http://teapartypatriots.org

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 5:34 AM | Permalink

The Weekend in Chicago Rock

You shoulda been there.

1. The Black Keys at the Aragon on Friday night.

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2. Company of Thieves at Reggie's on Friday night.

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3. Hanzel and Gretyl at Reggie's on Thursday night.

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4. Local H at the Bottom Lounge on Friday night.

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5. Nobunny at the Empty Bottle on Saturday night.

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6. Hot Machines at the Empty Bottle and Saturday night.

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7. Japandroids at Schubas on Saturday night.

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8. Ramma Lamma at the Empty Bottle on Saturday night.

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9. The Spectras at the Empty Bottle on Saturday night.

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 3:47 AM | Permalink

Indonesian Journal: The Chicago Way Out Of Vietnam

No English! No!

The cop waved me away, disgusted. Zero interest in my cell phone or the voice buzzing through its receiver.

"She speaks Vietnamese," I said. "Take the call."

The cop looked at his colleague, another middle-aged and deeply creased functionary in a rumpled green uniform perched behind a banged-up gray metal desk, and the colleague shrugged. The cop took the call.

This was my third trip to a small, shabby and almost invisible local police office inside Hanoi's Old Quarter, about two blocks from the hotel where my passport had been stolen the day before. I'd come the night before after I discovered the passport missing, and the two young cops on duty at the time refused to take a report. One of them barely moved from the saturnine slouch he stubbornly held in a ratty, padded black armchair just inside the police station. He wore his uniform cap low over his eyes and was rigid in his casual defiance. The young cops said they needed their supervisor to sign any reports and the supervisor was sleeping; no way were they going to wake him. Come back tomorrow, they said. When I came back the next morning, the supervisor was still unavailable. He had stirred and left the office. Maybe he'd be back around 2 p.m., they said. Come back later. The young cops gave me a form they said I needed to complete and have translated into Vietnamese. I should bring it back with me.

So after a crosstown visit to the American embassy to apply for an emergency passport, I came back again and the supervisor finally made an appearance. He emerged from a back room wearing a food-stained striped polo shirt. As he slowly approached the intake desk, making clear how fucking boring this whole fucking business was to him, he pulled a forest green uniform shirt over his polo and then, glacially, sloppily, tied and tightened a khaki tie below the polo shirt's limp collar. He sat down heavily in front of us, taking a position beside another senior officer who would hear my story, both of them stationed below a portrait of Ho Chi Minh.

The walls were a dirty, scuffed, pitted pale yellow, the floor a worn rust-colored tile that had not been mopped in at least a month. I sat with my back to the street, the front of the police station open to the road like the roll-up storefronts that flanked it for blocks in either direction.

With me was my friend and traveling companion Jenn, who is a former detective, and the college kid we'd found on the street and recruited as our interpreter. Also there was the young assistant manager of the hotel where my passport went missing. He sat closer to the cops. The police supervisor, after settling into his seat, made it immediately clear whose side he was on. Turning to my college kid translator, the old cop began shouting and waving an index finger.

He scolded and sputtered, staring the kid down, forcing him to look away. He motioned to the assistant hotel manager, then to the kid, then pointed at the form I'd been told to prepare and have translated into Vietnamese, and said he had no intention of reading it. At no point did he look at me or Jenn or otherwise acknowledge we were in the room. His face growing red, the old copper kept up a running harangue of the translator, five minutes, six, seven. I finally interrupted the guy.

"What's he saying?" I asked my college kid.

My voice stopped the cop's badgering. He finally looked at me. I met his eyes - angry but also bored, professionally pissed - then turned to my translator for an answer.

He says you can't prove your passport was stolen from the hotel. You don't have any proof.

I'd been through this before with the assistant manager from the hotel, and later with his boss. These conversations were mildly friendly at first - the hoteliers offered to help me call all of the places I'd visited the day my passport went missing to see if I'd left it behind at, say, the Hanoi Water Puppet show - but as I continued to insist that I'd left the passport on the desk inside my room and had seen it sitting there before I left for 12 hours of sightseeing, the more hardened the hotel bosses got about my claim. It was their word against mine. There was no way my passport had been taken from inside their building, they insisted. I lost it on the street. You lost it somewhere else, they said.

I didn't lose it somewhere else, I said. I lost it here.

No!

* * *

I had discovered the passport missing about 10 p.m. Sunday night and called the hotel clerk at the front desk. I asked him to come to my room. When he got there I told him my passport was gone and asked if he would contact the hotel manager.

Was there a way to call the cleaning staff to see if any of them had it? Could the passport be somewhere else in the hotel?

The clerk, a soft-spoken young simp who a short time later would forget how to speak English and refuse to contact the police for me, said he would make some phone calls and let me know what he could find out.

Twenty minutes later, he called my room to say his supervisor was asleep for the night and he couldn't reach any of the cleaning staff and we could just deal with this in the morning.

No, we need to deal with it now, I said. Wake your supervisor up. I need to talk to the police. I need to file a police report.

I made my way to the hotel lobby and was soon joined by Jenn, who sat watching the clerk and who grew increasingly frustrated as I tried to get him to contact the police.

What's the number for the police?

The number?

Yes. The phone number. How do I call the police?

You want to call police?

The police, Jenn said. Get them on the phone, or tell us how to do it.

She thumbed through tourist books looking for emergency contact information. She found the number and I dialed it. A middle-aged man answered in Vietnamese and I asked if anyone there could speak English. He answered in Vietnamese and I tried to hand the phone to the hotel clerk, who reluctantly took it.

Instead of talking with the cop, though, he picked up a land line and called his boss, the hotel's young assistant manager. The clerk spoke quietly into the handset and held my cell in his other hand, letting the police officer hold the line for several minutes. When I took the cell phone back, the line was dead. I told the clerk I was calling the embassy. The clerk had ended the call with his boss but dialed him again and handed me the phone.

The police won't come to the hotel, the manager told me through the earpiece. You will have to wait until tomorrow to talk to them.

I want to talk to them now, I said. I'm calling the embassy. Maybe they'll help.

You should wait until tomorrow. We can talk to the cleaning staff tomorrow.

You should talk to them tonight.

Not tonight, he said and then hung up on me.

I gave the phone back to the clerk, who had now officially stopped speaking English, and used my cell to call a Marine Corps sergeant pulling late-night duty at the embassy. The Marine said he'd page the on-call foreign service officer and that somebody would get back to me soon. He didn't know what to do about a police report.

The hotel clerk stood with two phones in his hand - the hotel phone and a cell - talking to no one. He was the picture of complete ineffectuality: doing and saying nothing. We waited for the FSO to call back and sat watching the clerk.

Why won't you call the police? Jenn asked.

The clerk said nothing.

I don't understand why you won't help us, she said. Why won't you help us?

A woman from the embassy finally called back. She took my information and said I should go to the American Citizen Services window the next day and apply for an emergency replacement passport. I would need a police report, she said, so I should get one of those as soon as possible. I asked if she could help with that.

What about the hotel? she suggested.

I said I'd be at the embassy as soon as I could the next morning. I hung up and turned to greet a young guy I'd seen around the hotel earlier in the week. He was about 26 and his English was very good. He said he was sorry to hear about the loss of my passport. He wanted to help. Thanks for that, I said. He introduced himself as the hotel manager. I said the hotel manager had just hung up on me about 20 minutes ago.

I didn't hang up, he said. There was a problem with the call.

Right. This young guy, whom I later learned was really the assistant manager, told me the police would not come to the hotel; they could not be summoned from their office so late at night. He was willing to walk with us to the police station and I could file a report there.

How far is it? I asked.

I don't know, the assistant manager said. It is not close.

We walked out into the Old Quarter night, past food carts selling beer and tea and pho, and turned a corner about 100 yards from the hotel. We walked a minute, turned left and were standing in front of the police station. We hadn't walked five minutes. Two blocks.

I thought you said it wasn't close.

I'm new here, the assistant manager shrugged.

* * *

Inside the police station, we met the slouching young cop and his partner and were rebuffed in all efforts to make a report. The assistant hotel manager explained that he was powerless to make the cops do their jobs. I am a regular citizen, he said. I can do nothing. I believed him. We left the station - and the cops to their naps.

When we got back to the hotel lobby, the assistant manager dropped all pretense of friendliness.

You accuse everyone of stealing! he barked. You point at me, at everyone!

I did no such thing and you know it, I said. Somebody took my passport. I didn't say I know whom. And I didn't fucking point at anyone.

Jenn and I left the assistant manager and the feckless desk clerk standing in the hotel's small lobby. Walking upstairs to our rooms, she turned to me and asked, What was that about? Bluster, I said. The assistant manager had made a point earlier of explaining that he'd gotten out of bed and driven downtown from his home to deal with this. He was put out. He wanted some credit for the effort. Thanks, I said. But what have you done so far, exactly?

We headed to bed about 3 a.m. and were back up for a return trip to the police station at 8:30. Tired. And a long day ahead of us. We got the brush-off early enough from the cops to get to the embassy before lunch - they take an hour-and-a-half break - and I applied for an emergency passport. I hoped to continue on to Laos and, a couple days later, to return to Indonesia. I would need a passport and, crucially, I would need a new visa for Vietnam. Without one, I couldn't leave the country - and the clock was ticking. The embassy staff told me I needed to take my police report and new passport to Vietnamese immigration officials before 4 p.m. That seemed unlikely. And Jenn and I were holding tickets for a 9 a.m. flight the following day, Tuesday.

At the embassy, I explained how I'd lost my passport inside the hotel. Eventually, a tall, bald white guy in a baggy oxford and khakis emerged from inside the consular services cubicles to talk with me through bullet-proof glass. He said it was unusual for someone to steal a passport from inside a hotel in Vietnam. He asked me about my work as a Fulbright teacher and then said he would call the hotel and see if he couldn't shake the tree and see if the passport fell out. He seemed eager to help, and of course I never talked to him again. I have no idea how his conversation with the hotel staff went. He didn't say, and his Vietnamese staff inside the embassy didn't either.

When we stepped out of the embassy and back into rainy and chilly mid-day Hanoi, we badly needed a police report. We didn't trust the assistant hotel manager to represent me or my claims in any way, and the performance of the cops by the hotel so far did not exactly inspire confidence. We stopped a young man toting a backpack as he crossed the street near the embassy.

Do you speak English? Yes. We need help. Do you have a minute? Yes. Thus did Chinh enter our misadventure. My passport was stolen and I need to file a police report, I told him. Can you come with us? We'll pay you for your time.

Chinh was on his way to an afternoon college-level English class but turned straight around and hailed a cab for us. We drove to a police station near the embassy and followed Chinh inside. He approached a severe 20-something police officer in the now-familiar forest green uniform and began explaining what we needed. The cop scowled. Then he shook his head. No.

Chinh kept talking, smiling and trying to lighten the guy up - a natural dealmaker. The cop listened and shook his head some more and listened and finally took the form I'd been given at the police station near the hotel. On it I'd written the bare-bones details of the passport theft; Chinh had then handwritten Vietnamese translations for each section.

The cop read over the document and then handed it back to Chinh. No. He told Chinh to tell us he couldn't provide me with a police report to take back to the embassy or to the Vietnamese immigration office because the crime, if there was a crime, happened in a different police district. I would have to go back to the station near the hotel. I looked at Chinh, Chinh looked at the cop, the cop looked away from all of us, out the door, into the afternoon.

* * *

Every year, Berlin-based Transparency International publishes a Corruption Perceptions Index that ranks the level of perceived public-sector corruption in the world's 178 countries. This list is based on feedback provided by country experts and reputable business institutions. Last year, Vietnam was ranked 116 out of 178 nations in the world, putting it just behind Indonesia, on par with Ethiopia and just slightly ahead of Syria. In other words, it might be a fast-emerging regional economy - the evidence of international capital investment, even during a world downturn, is evident from downtown Saigon's new supermall projects to the beachfront resorts of Danang, including one involving golfer Greg Norman, to the wide and speedy new freeway to Hanoi's airport that is filled with personal cars and minivans - but Vietnam remains a one-party state and the men who run that party, and the mid- and low-level bureaucrats who lard the public payroll, treat the state as their own private cash register, their positions of authority as means to personal economic ends. In Vietnam, power means power. Those who have it use it, and those who don't, like the assistant hotel manager who could do no more than ask politely for police assistance that did not come, pay the tolls exacted by the men in uniform. Big or small, the bribes are ubiquitous. They are a cultural truism.

So I was a little surprised that no one, to this point, had asked me for some money to make something happen with the police report. Not the young cops at the station near the hotel, not the older but equally uninterested cop seated before me around the corner from the American embassy.

Chinh made a final appeal, pushing the translated statement toward the officer and asking him to take another look. He scanned the page, then turned it over and read the back. He stood and walked to a rear office. Progress?! Chinh smiled hopefully.

But a minute later the cop was back, shoving the statement toward Chinh and shaking his head. I finally asked to Chinh to tell the cop I was willing to pay a "fee" to expedite the report. The cop again shook his head. No fee. We would have to go back to the police station by the hotel and get them to file the report.

Walking to a cab that would carry us back across town, I asked Chinh why the cop wouldn't budge, even when I offered to pay him for the report. He's afraid of the embassy. They know you're talking to the embassy and don't want any trouble. So power fears power, or at least the hassle of knowingly shaking down an American. Everything would be by the book. At least with the cops.

We drove straight to the Old Quarter police station near the hotel, and here we're back to where this story began. It was me, Jenn and Chinh on one side of the room, the young assistant hotel manager to our right, and the two older police officials, including the supervisor, sitting opposite us behind the intake desk.

We'd gotten off to the shouting start from the supervisor, and the hotel manager spoke nothing but Vietnamese for about 10 minutes. I was glad to have Chinh there but it was clear we were getting nowhere. The cops wouldn't even handle the translated statement, let alone read it, and time was running desperately out for us to make it to the immigration office in time to get an exit visa for the following morning - itself a longshot gambit, anyway. Officially it takes three days to get a replacement visa. Maybe I could make something happen if I could get to the office before they closed in less than two hours, but maybe not. If not, the trip to Laos was over and the vacation effectively ended. I'd be stuck in Hanoi for the rest of the week and then back on a plane to Jakarta.

The U.S. embassy staff didn't sound too hopeful. I asked if they could call in a favor, if they could give me the name of someone to talk to, if they knew of any other way I could get on a plane the following day, visa or no, and they said, Not really. They could help with the passport but they didn't have contacts with Vietnamese immigration. I was on my own with that.

The cop supervisor finally stopped yelling and told me I would need to change my story if I hoped to get a police report from him. I would not claim to have lost the passport inside the hotel. Instead, I would say I lost it while sightseeing. No one at the hotel was responsible; I was. If I changed my story, I could have a police report today. If not, they'd have to launch an investigation that could take weeks or even months, during which time I would need to remain in Hanoi, and only at the end of the investigation would they be able to provide a report.

I called the embassy to relay the cop's offer. The woman who answered sputtered that under no circumstances should I accept the deal. Then she asked to speak with the police supervisor. I tried to hand him the phone and he spat out, No English! No! But he took the call and gave the phone back and the embassy woman said she couldn't tell me what to do but that I might want to change my story. So I did. Chinh was visibly upset. It's not right, he later said.

We drafted another handwritten statement and then I was sent along with Chinh and the assistant hotel manager to find a copy machine somewhere. The police didn't provide that kind of service.

So we fast-walked through the narrow streets near the station and found a bank branch where the staffers made a copy for us and we raced back to the station, got an official seal and signature on the report, and hopped straight into a cab. It was 3:45 p.m. Vietnamese immigration closed at 4 p.m.

From the cab I dialed the immigration office and got an English speaker on the line. He said the office was already closed. I said I was on my way, could they wait? He said no. He also said it would take three days to get an exit visa. I asked if there were a way to expedite the process; I had a plane ticket for the next morning. No chance, the guy said. Three days. I hung up and told Jenn what he'd said. It was about 4 p.m. by now and we'd reached the end. A low point. Vacation's end.

Jenn thought about it for a minute and said, You know, I have to go on to Laos.

I know, I said.

* * *

We dropped off Chinh and I paid him the equivalent of $50. He said thanks and walked off toward the house he shares with his mother. Jenn and I got to the embassy in time to pick up my replacement passport and for me to ask again if the staff had any ideas about how to obtain a replacement visa in time to fly the following day. If not on the morning flight, then on the afternoon one. They didn't have an answer. If the Vietnamese said three days, it would take three days.

I took my passport and we walked downstairs to a small library inside the embassy, a reading room for Vietnamese students looking to brush up on their English. The place had an Internet terminal and a printer and we hoped to figure something out. Jenn started e-mailing investigator friends for help; maybe someone had a chit they could call in. I dialed up the website of the private company that had handled my original entry visa to Vietnam. They offered expedited service and claimed they could turn a visa around in four hours. I could have one by noon tomorrow - too late for the morning flight to Luang Prabang, Laos, but plenty of time to get on a later one. I called the company's offices in Hanoi and was assured I could get one the next morning. It would cost about $75. I processed the request through their computer, paid with a credit card, and at least had an option on the table that might get me out of Vietnam.

Just as the embassy was closing to the public for the night I made a return trip to the Citizen Services Window to tell them about the expedited visa option I was going to try. They'd never heard of it, and they couldn't vouch for it. Fine, but the company had done well by me before and I thought they'd come through. But they wouldn't have anything for me before my flight was gone. What if I wanted to try getting on that plane? I asked.

Well, you could just go to the airport and pay a fine and probably get on the plane, a woman at the counter said.

I can just show up and pay a fine? Why didn't you tell me that before?

Well, we don't normally advise that.

So I had two new possibilities. Things seemed less grim. The embassy staffers didn't know how much the fine might be but I was willing to chance it. And if the cost was too much, I'd have the expedited visa in hand by noon. Deep breath. Skies parting. We left the reading room hungry and tired but hopeful. It was 6 p.m. and we'd been chasing a passport, a police report, and a visa since the night before.

We hailed a cab and rode through the rain to our hotel. When we got there, I told the desk clerk that I wanted to talk to the bosses about checking out in the morning. I had no intention of paying full-freight for the stay and it was time to talk brass tacks. Jenn and I headed to our rooms, showered up, changed for dinner, and were back in the lobby about 25 minutes later.

There we met three different managers - the assistant manager whom we'd dealt with at the police station, the actual hotel manager, and the boss of bosses, the general manager for the little hotel chain that operated Hanoi Elite Hotel and several other properties like it around the city. We sat opposite the manager and general manager at a dining room table, and the general manager, a tall and stout Vietnamese guy about 40 who wore his hair in a frizzy buzz-cut-gone-long, did most of the talking.

First, the passport was not stolen here, he said. It doesn't make sense. An American passport is not worth anything in Vietnam.

This was a claim made several times earlier by the assistant manager and manager. Both men had insisted, and now their boss was returning to the theme, that a stolen U.S. passport had virtually no resale value on the Hanoi black market so no one would bother stealing one.

I told him what I'd told that others: That's nonsense, and you know it. The passport was the only thing missing from my room. I'd left it out on a desk for the thief or thieves to find, in part because an electronic safe in my room did not work properly and was locked shut and in part because I simply forgot to put it back in my bag after removing it for fear of rain the day before, and returned to my room to find it gone.

I had some Indonesian currency stashed in a duffel bag but otherwise was carrying all my cash at the time of the robbery. The hotel general manager said no one would steal a passport and leave the money behind. What if it were only Indonesian rupiah? I asked.

The general manager talked and talked and explained that his company had never had a theft like this before and that they screen their cleaning staff carefully and no one would risk their jobs to steal a worthless American passport. He leaned across the table toward me and smiled.

It didn't happen, he said.

The passport had not been stolen. It didn't happen.

Well, you got the police report you wanted, I said. What are you going to do for me?

The general manager said they would charge me half the cost of my room and would provide a free ride to the airport in the morning. They would not discount Jenn's room at all - nothing had happened to her. That was it.

I need help with my visa, I said. What can you do?

I explained that I needed to be on a plane at 9 a.m. and was at that moment without an exit visa. The two older men conferred for a minute and then said they might be able to help. They had a friend at the airport, a man in the immigration office. Did I have American dollars?

I said I did. For $60, I could have an exit visa. That was $25 for the visa and $35 extra for their friend in immigration. I'd finally found my corruptible official. He was waiting for me at the airport, and his price was pretty fair. The hotel driver would take us to the airport in the morning and he would handle the transaction. He would be my fixer. I would give him my money and my passport and he would deliver these to the immigration official, who did not want to be seen with me, and I would be good to go by about 8 a.m.

And that's exactly what happened. We got up early on Tuesday morning, settled up with the hotel, and headed for the airport. I handed the cash to the driver while we were still in the hotel lobby and surrendered my passport inside the main terminal. He was gone about 30 minutes and when he returned I had a very official, very legit exit visa glued into my little replacement passport.

I took this to the check-in counter, where a Vietnam Airlines agent looked it over and then handed it back. Then I took it to the immigration line where a young man wearing a green uniform with red epaulets studied it for a long time and eventually carried it to a supervisor. The two men puzzled over the last page of the travel papers that read, "THIS PASSPORT IS A REPLACEMENT FOR A STOLEN PASSPORT AND EXPIRES ON 12-JUL-2011. IT CANNOT BE EXTENDED."

The supervisor finally nodded and the young immigration officer returned to his desk. Without looking at me, he stamped the exit visa canceled and slipped the passport back to me. I walked through a magnetometer and was at the gate for my flight to Laos.

Jenn waited for me to clear immigration before getting through herself. We walked to the gate together and as we arrived, she turned to me and said, "I feel like we just robbed a bank and got away with it."

Nah. We just played their game and barely got by. We played and paid and were now done with Vietnam. Which felt just goddamned fine.

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Brett McNeil is a former Chicago Tribune reporter, Chicago Journal editor, and Fulbright English teacher living in Indonesia. He blogs at The Year of Living Volcanically and is also the Beachwood's Southeast Asia correspondent.

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Previously:
* Indonesian Journal: Buying Flowers, Burning the Koran
* Indonesian Journal: The Control State
* Indonesian Journal: The Swarm And The Sick House
* Indonesian Journal: It's Funny Until 13 People Die

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 2:32 AM | Permalink

The Reality Of Tim Russert

Tim Russert has been dead for more than two years now so I think the time has come to speak ill of him. First, a press release that arrived in my inbox last week. Then, the truth.

*

The press release:

"Tim Russert, the late moderator of NBC's Meet the Press, will be honored posthumously with the Lincoln Leadership Prize by the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library Foundation at a benefit dinner starting at 5:30 p.m. on Thursday, Feb. 10, 2011, at The Four Seasons Hotel, 120 E. Delaware Place in Chicago. Former NBC Nightly News anchor Tom Brokaw will present the award to Russert's widow, Maureen Orth, and son, Luke Russert.

"Tim Russert is featured in one of the most popular exhibitions at the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum in Springfield, the Illinois state capitol. In it, he employs 21st century reporting techniques, complete with a television broadcast and commercials, to report on the Presidential Campaign of 1860.

"Benefit dinner co-chairs are Gregory C. Case, president and CEO, Aon Corporation; Frank M. Clark, chairman and CEO, ComEd; Steve Capus, president, NBC News; Doris Kearns Goodwin, Pulitzer Prize winning author; Paul V. La Schiazza, president, AT&T; Chaz Hammel-Smith Ebert, executive producer, Roger Ebert Presents at the Movies; Raymond F. McCaskey, CEO (retired), Blue Cross Blue Shield of
Illinois; and Gregory D. Wasson, president and CEO, Walgreen Company.

"Four levels of sponsorship, which include a table for 10, are available: platinum at $50,000, gold at $25,000, silver at $10,000 and bronze at $5,000. Individual tickets for the dinner are $500.

"As of Dec. 21, 2010, gold sponsors include Aon, AT&T, Blue Cross Blue Shield of Illinois, ComEd,McGuire Woods LLP, NiSource, Skadden Arps Slate Meagher & Flom and Walgreens. Winston & Strawn is a silver sponsor.

"Archbishop Desmond Tutu, Retired U. S. Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O'Connor and Astronaut James Lovell are the previous recipients of the Lincoln Leadership Prize.

"Established in 2006 by the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library Foundation, the Lincoln Leadership Prize recognizes outstanding leaders in fields as diverse government, business, science, journalism and the creative arts. Accepting the responsibilities imposed by history and demanded by conscience, these individuals' lifetime of service in the Lincoln tradition is marked by great strength of character, individual conscience and an unwavering commitment to the defining principles of democracy."

*

The truth:

First, let me say that any journalist feted by the corporate heads of Aon, AT&T, ComEd, Blue Cross Blue Shield and Winston & Strawn is no journalist of mine. I guess that's what the critics mean when they call Russert a "corporate journalist."

Then again, Russert was never really a journalist. He was a political hack for Daniel Moynihan and Mario Cuomo who went straight from political operating to senior vice president of NBC News' Washington operations in 1984.

But was he skilled? No. He was, to use the phrase, a consummate insider; a one-man nexus of the political-media complex whose values and methods of operation are directly opposed to those of real journalism.

But don't take it from me.

1. "If you're a journalist, and a very senior White House official calls you up on the phone, what do you do?" Dan Froomkin wrote in the Washington Post in 2007. "Do you try to get the official to address issues of urgent concern so that you can then relate that information to the public?

"Not if you're NBC Washington bureau chief Tim Russert.

"When then-vice presidential chief of staff Scooter Libby called Russert on July 10, 2003, to complain that his name was being unfairly bandied about by MSNBC host Chris Matthews, Russert apparently asked him nothing.

"And get this: According to Russert's testimony yesterday at Libby's trial, when any senior government official calls him, they are presumptively off the record.

"That's not reporting, that's enabling.

"That's how you treat your friends when you're having an innocent chat, not the people you're supposed to be holding accountable."

Of course, Russert's "sources" were his friends.

"In his cross-examination, defense attorney Theodore Wells sounded incredulous that Russert wouldn't have asked Libby some questions. After all, former ambassador Joseph Wilson had gone public just four days earlier with his provocative charge that the administration manipulated intelligence about Saddam Hussein's weapons programs to justify an invasion of Iraq. Wilson had done that in a New York Times op-ed - and on Meet the Press itself.

"'You have the chief of staff of the vice president of the United States on the telephone and you don't ask him one question about it?' Wells asked. 'As a newsperson who's known for being aggressive and going after the facts, you wouldn't have asked him about the biggest stories in the world that week?'

"Russert replied: 'What happened is exactly what I told you.'"

2. Cheney press aide Cathie Martin: "I suggested we put the vice president on Meet the Press, which was a tactic we often used. It's our best format, as it allows us to control the message."

3. From Russert's heavily footnoted Wikipedia entry:

"In the Plame affair, Scooter Libby, convicted chief of staff for Vice President Dick Cheney, told special prosecutor Patrick Fitzgerald that Russert told him of the identity of Central Intelligence Agency officer Valerie Plame (Mrs. Joseph C. Wilson). Russert testified previously, and again in United States v. I. Lewis Libby, that he would neither testify whether he spoke with Libby nor would he describe the conversation. Russert did say, however, that Plame's identity as a CIA operative was not leaked to him.

"Russert testified again in the trial on February 7, 2007. At the trial, the prosecution asserted that a Federal Bureau of Investigation agent had called Russert regarding Russert's phone call with Libby, and that Russert had told the agent that the subject of Plame had not come up during his conversation with Libby. Posthumously Russert was revealed as a thirty-year source of columnist Robert Novak, whose original article revealed Plame's affiliation with the CIA.

"In a Slate article, Jack Shafer argued that 'the Novak-Russert relationship poses a couple of questions . . . Russert's long service as an anonymous source to Novak . . .requires further explanation.' In a posthumous commentary, the L.A. Times wrote that, 'Like former New York Times reporter Judith Miller, Russert was one of the high-level Washington journalists who came out of the Libby trial looking worse than shabby' The article's author, Tim Rutten, argued that although Russert and NBC had claimed that these conversations were protected by journalistic privilege, 'it emerged under examination [that] Russert already had sung like a choirboy to the FBI concerning his conversation with Libby - and had so voluntarily from the first moment the Feds contacted him. All the litigation was for the sake of image and because the journalistic conventions required it.'

"In the lead up to the Iraq War, Meet the Press featured interviews with top government officials including Vice President Dick Cheney. CBS Evening News correspondent Anthony Mason praised Russert's interview techniques: 'In 2003, as the United States prepared to go to war in Iraq, Russert pressed Vice President Dick Cheney about White House assumptions.' However, Salon reported a statement from Cheney press aide Cathie Martin regarding advice she says she offered when the Bush administration had to respond to charges that it manipulated pre-Iraq War intelligence: 'I suggested we put the vice president on Meet the Press, which was a tactic we often used. It's our best format.' David Folkenflik quoted Russert in his May 19, 2004, Baltimore Sun article:

"'I don't think the public was, at that time, particularly receptive to hearing it,' Russert says. 'Back in October of 2002, when there was a debate in Congress about the war in Iraq - three-fourths of both houses of Congress voted with the president to go. Those in favor were so dominant. We don't make up the facts. We cover the facts as they were.'

"Folkenflik went on to write:

"'Russert's remarks would suggest a form of journalism that does not raise the insolent question from outside polite political discourse - so, if an administration's political foes aren't making an opposing case, it's unlikely to get made. In the words of one of my former editors, journalists can read the polls just like anybody else.'

"In the 2007 PBS documentary, Buying the War, Russert commented:

"'My concern was, is that there were concerns expressed by other government officials. And to this day, I wish my phone had rung, or I had access to them.'"

*

Russert wished his phone would've rang. Huh. That's not how my journalism professors taught me to find out information - like if we were going to war on a lie.

4. From Robert Novak's "My Friend and My Source:"

"A 26-year-old political operative from Buffalo on Daniel Patrick Moynihan's staff in 1977 was overshadowed by the all-star cast accompanying the newly elected senator to Washington. Not for the last time, Timothy J. Russert surpassed famous contemporaries. His first noteworthy feat was saving Moynihan from sure defeat for reelection, enabling an illustrious 24-year Senate career.

"Moynihan was in the Senate on a fluke, because multiple competitors divided New York's prevailing liberal vote in the 1976 Democratic primary. His Senate staff was dominated by glittering neoconservatives, but young Russert deftly convinced Moynihan he needed to move left to survive. The neocons all departed Moynihan and the Democratic Party, but Russert stayed and became his principal adviser.

"From the start, Russert also was an extraordinary source for me. The careful preparation that became his journalistic trademark was obvious in our conversations, when he always had something for my column - most of it about Moynihan's adversaries. He was superb in 'oppo' - research about the opposition. That skill propelled him to the top ranks of television interviewers."

Except when his phone didn't ring.

*

"Early in 1982, over drinks in a Manhattan restaurant, Tim pulled from his briefcase accurate derogatory information about Republican Rep. Bruce Caputo, who was planning to run against Moynihan. That finished Caputo.

"Russert left Moynihan for Gov. Mario Cuomo in hopes of making him president, a goal much clearer to him than it was to the governor. The peculiar pro-Cuomo slant of this column could be attributed to Russert. He arranged a secret dinner at an obscure waterfront steakhouse for me with Andrew Cuomo, now attorney general of New York but then his father's reclusive, enormously influential young adviser."

*

"I talked with Russert on the telephone two or three times a month. Tim and I disagreed on tax policy and other issues, but we never debated over the phone. Instead, we exchanged political information, and I usually was the recipient. He supplied for use in my column news tidbits he could not use. During my half-century of journalism, he was the only colleague who was a source.

"Russert and I were both uncomfortable about being witnesses, for different reasons, in the Valerie Plame CIA leak case, but we never discussed it. He always supported me, despite demands that he throw me overboard. When my memoir was published last year, Russert was generous in granting me abundant time on Meet the Press and his own MSNBC program."

5. From Bill Moyers' Journal:

BILL MOYERS: When Tim Russert died, the long time and very popular moderator of Meet the Press, and a friend of mine, by the way. The political and media elites in Washington turned out for him in mass. Do you realize that's not going to happen to you when your time comes?

GLENN GREENWALD: Yeah, but, you know, I'm actually, I consider that to be a good thing. I mean, I found it almost oxymoronic. That Tim Russert was constantly held up as the symbol of what an adversarial journalist would be. That he was supposedly this great thorn in the side of power. And yet, his celebrity was so great that when he died it was almost treated as though it was a death of Princess Diana, and everyone rushed forward in order to from the highest political elites to media stars to treat him as what he, in fact, was. Which was a celebrity.

And if you look at what Tim Russert actually did there were a couple of actually interesting episodes where not his image, but the reality of what he did was unmasked, during the Lewis Libby trial, in particular. The trial of Dick Cheney's Chief of Staff for obstruction of justice. That involved a lot of journalists, because they were participants in the effort to unmask Valerie Plame Wilson and to smear Joe Wilson. And what he said during that trial, under oath, was they asked him, well, when you have a conversation with one of your sources, with the government official, when is it that you decide that it's confidential. And when is it that you can report it? And what he said was, well, actually, when I have a conversation with the government official, I consider that conversation presumptively confidential. And I will disclose it only if they authorize me to do so.

And it was it was an extraordinary revelation, because if you talk to government officials, and you only disclose to the public things that you know, when they allow you or give you permission to do so, what you're really describing is the role of a propagandist, not of a journalist. And yet, that was what you know, Tim Russert in many ways was. That's what his celebrity was based in.

6. Back to Wikipedia:

* "Russert also received an Emmy Award in 2005 for his coverage of the funeral of former President Ronald Reagan." (For such stellar work as this, I guess.)

* "Russert, a devout Catholic, said many times he had made a promise to God to never miss Sunday Mass if his son were born healthy."

* "Some journalists criticized the amount of media coverage that Russert's death received. Jack Shafer of Slate called NBC's coverage a 'never-ending video wake.' Washington Post writer Paul Farhi also expressed disapproval, noting that a print journalist would likely not have received similar attention. Chicago Tribune columnist Julia Keller questioned the volume of coverage as well as the labeling of Russert's death as 'a national tragedy.'"

7. No, this is a national tragedy:

"During an interview with Al Franken, Tim Russert objected to Franken's assertion that 'Bush and Cheney did explicitly link Iraq to 9-11 on several occasions, especially when speaking to the naive Russert.' In fact, Cheney twice directly linked Iraq to the 9-11 attacks while appearing on Russert's NBC program Meet the Press."

8. Media Matters also notes:

"During the hour-long sit-down, [Howard] Dean faced off against a clearly combative host, Tim Russert, who prepared for the interview in part by asking the Bush Treasury Department to produce what the Washington Post later called a 'highly selective' analysis of the Democratic candidate's proposed tax program. The GOP-friendly analysis prompted Russert to ask incredulously to Dean, 'Can you honestly go across the country and say, I'm going to raise your taxes 4,000 percent or 107 percent and be elected?'

"That was Russert's second substantive question of the interview. His first was about the then-recent arrest of Dean's son for helping steal beer from a country club. Russert though, famed for his pre-show prep, botched the facts and erroneously informed viewers that Dean's teenage son had been 'indicted.'

"Deep into the interview Russert asked how many men and women were currently serving in the U.S. military, a gotcha-style question designed solely to put Dean on the spot. When Dean said he didn't know the exact number, Russert lectured the candidate, 'As commander in chief, you should know that.' Dean answered the question by saying there were between 1 and 2 million men and women in active duty; according to the Pentagon, there were in fact 1.4 million."

9. And:

"After falsely asserting that he was showing viewers 'exactly what President Clinton said,' referring to January 7 comments Bill Clinton made about Sen. Barack Obama, Tim Russert played a truncated quote from Clinton. In addition, Russert read a quote from The New York Times that truncated Hillary Clinton's statement about civil rights, omitting her reference to President Kennedy."

And it just goes on and on.

10. As also tracked by Bob Somerby at The Daily Howler. Just a taste:

* "Russert bungled Social Security, as he has done through the years."

* Fox News pushed Condi around. Russert rolled over.

* "There once was a shill from Nantucket."

11. And Somerby's five-part series:

* "Tim Russert's father deserves your respect. His son is a whole different story."

* "Being Tim Russert has its advantages, as we see when Big Russ helps him bungle."

* "It seems that Russert is never wrong - if you ask Russert, that is."

* "Russert said Dems were 'blaming America.' We felt we were catching his drift."

* "Given the valuable lessons he's learned, it's time Tim explained what he did."

12. And yet, New Yorker editor David Remnick found Russert to be a "gifted and cunning Sunday-morning interrogator" who "did not back off easily" with Dick Cheney.

Let's put the magazine's famed fact-checkers on that one.

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Comments welcome.

-

1. From Tim Willette:

From Lemann's NYer profile as quoted here:

"Just after the September 11th attacks, Russert bags an interview at Camp David with Cheney. Beforehand, naturally, he calls Big Russ for advice, and it is 'Just let him talk. Let him help get us through this.' Bingo: 'Dad was so right. Without his advice, I would have focused mostly on the future, on our response to terrorism.'"

2. Scraped from America's Debate:

* "Russert recited Irrelevant Facts on SS. None of his panelists challenged him"

* "Russert said Dems were 'blaming America'"

* "Russert pushes RNC talking points"

* "Russert tells Pelosi that criticism of the president hurts the troops"

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 12:23 AM | Permalink

January 1, 2011

The College Football Report: Sheldon The College Football Head Coach Serial Killer Strikes Even Amidst Legitimately Intriguing Bowls Season

Sheldon The College Football Head Coach Serial Killer continues to carve a swath through the ranks of programs large and small. Some coaches have received a stay of execution pending the outcome of an upcoming bowl game while others will be lame ducks - expected to coach out the postseason before bowing under the ax.

Of course, amongst all of distractions a few Legitimately Intriguing Bowls took place this week before the Saturday smorgasbord of games on New Year's Day.

Terrapin Station
Last week, we observed how a number of minority candidates had secured positions coaching for BCS schools. Vanderbilt (Vandy - imagine!) may have spurred a number of other schools into action by hiring former Maryland offensive coordinator (and head-coach-in-waiting) James Franklin. Layoff Season's hottest property (Auburn OC Gus Malzahn) turned down the offer, but some speculate that Malzahn is holding out for a plum job and accompanying big bucks.

In our season preview, we called for Maryland to be among the "be among the worst teams in any BCS conference" in 2010 (whoops!) but instead Ralph Friedgen took the Terps to an 8-4 record and a berth in the Military Bowl. Friedgen survived well past our predicted over/under date (November 15) and his Terrapins hardly resembled the 2-10 squad from 2009.

In doing so, Friedgen rightly earned ACC Coach of the Year honors (for the second time) but new MD Athletic Director Kevin Anderson canned him anyway - effective after the bowl game. After Franklin (and his seven-figure buyout clause) departed for Nashville - along with a number of other assistants - Anderson saw an opportunity to cut Friedgen.

When announcing Friedgen's firing on December 20, about a month after stating that the coach would return in 2011, Anderson made the usual comments about the best interests of the team and "moving the program from good to great." We can't see anything inherently wrong with his reasoning. But what's wrong with "good"?

Apart from a strong run from 1974 to 1985, Maryland has only won a conference championship once in recent memory - in 2001, Friedgen's first season. When Florida State joined the ACC in 1991, the balance of power shifted sharply to the south and Maryland slipped further down the ranks in 2004 with the addition of Miami and Virginia Tech. Friedgen led Maryland to a 42-36 record in the ACC and a 5-2 mark in bowl games. Seems to us like significantly raising expectations might be unrealistic - and wonder if top candidates such as Malzahn and former Texas Tech coach Mike Leach feel the same way.

After watching Malzahn dance around with Vandy, we can't help but wonder if the top candidates are coyly killing time before jobs open up at places like Michigan, Stanford and LSU. As for his soon-to-be former coach, he would like to coach somewhere next year. Go for it, Ralph. We doubted you, but after this season you deserve another shot. In the words of Terrapin freshman (and ACC Rookie of the Year) QB Danny O'Brien: "Football is a crazy business."

*

For some icing on the cake, Maryland (-7.5) blew out East Carolina 51-20 in Wednesday's Military Bowl presented by Northrop Grumman. The Terrapins shared the spotlight with an Andros HD-1 - a remote-operated robot which was called upon to deliver the game ball and appeared during a brief in-game video segment about its use defusing IEDs.

Featuring the Andros - also part of the inspiration behind Pixar's WALL-E - was a clever move by Northrop, in that it briefly put an animatronic face on a huge ($30+ billion) player in the military-industrial complex.

Harbaugh's Hot Hand
On the opposite coast, former Bears QB Jim Harbaugh may have his pick of at least two job openings.

Although Harbaugh guided Stanford to the Orange Bowl and a 11-1 record, coaching for The Cardinal can be tough. Perpetually hampered by high academic standards and at odds with perennial Pac-10 (now -12) powers like USC, Harbaugh may be seduced by the dollars and power of the NFL.

After the San Francisco 49ers dismissed Mike Singletary, speculators immediately mentioned Harbaugh's name as the best local option. But a potential opening at his alma mater Michigan may keep Harbaugh in the college ranks.

And speaking of dancing, Harbaugh has been two-stepping around a $3 million contract extension to stay in Palo Alto, further fueling the rumor mill. Add to the mix the reports that Rich Rodriguez's buyout clause from Michigan drops to only (!) $1.5 million after January 1, and we'd be willing to lay heavy action on RichRod's ouster and replacement by Harbaugh before the BCS National Championship.

Agents and Coaches
For some great reading on the role of sports agents in the hiring process, we recommend Bruce Marshall of Vegas Insider and The Gold Sheet.

In Marshall's December 19 update, he examined how super-agent Jimmy Sexton (who represents Nick Saban, Steve Spurrier, Gus Malzahn, and many others) has been pulling the strings at places like Vanderbilt and Texas.

*

And to keep track of who has landed where, we have repeatedly gone back to College Football Poll's ongoing updates on coaching changes available here.

The Beachwood Bowl Series . . .
. . . continues here.

*

Game: The Ticketcity Bowl
Time: Saturday, January 1, 11 a.m. ESPNU (Dallas, TX)
Teams: The Northwestern Wildcats vs. The Texas Tech Red Raiders (-9)
Comment: Northwestern hasn't won a bowl game since 1949. The Red Raiders are going to their 11th consecutive bowl game, led by senior QB Taylor Potts.

This season also marks the 11th consecutive year that Tech's QB has thrown for 3,000 yards or more. That means that Texas Tech has thrown for more than 18 miles in the past 11 seasons. Texas Tech calls Lubbock home. Northwestern is situated in Evanston. The (World Famous) Beachwood Inn is 17.9 miles from the Evanston campus. And there's nary a Beachwood within 18 miles of Lubbock. We'll take the points!

The Sports Seal Says: Northwestern 27, Texas Tech 35

*

Game: The Capital One Bowl
Time: Saturday, January 1, 12:00 p.m. ESPN (Orlando, FL)
Teams: #16 The Alabama Crimson Tide (-8) vs. #9 The Michigan State Spartans
Comment: Several close associates of The College Football Report will be rooting for Sparty today. And why not? The #9 team in the country are underdogs by more than a touchdown.

Michigan State missed the Rose Bowl when they finished ranked below Wisconsin in the BCS standings despite having defeated the Badgers 34-24 in Week Five. And a bad loss to Iowa cost Michigan State a shot at the Rose Bowl, possibly even a national title.

Bama, on the other hand, began the season as the defending national champion with last year's Heisman winner in the backfield. Even so, the Tide lost three conference match-ups. So why now are they so heavily favored? The SEC was good this year, but not that good.

The Sports Seal Says: Michigan State 27, Alabama 24

*

Game: The Outback Bowl
Time: Saturday, January 1, 12:00 p.m. ABC (Tampa, FL)
Teams: The Florida Gators (-6.5) vs. The Penn State Nittany Lions
Comment: We can't muster up much energy for this one. We blame Tampa. Who lives in Tampa? Do you know anything interesting about Tampa, apart from the Buccaneers? Neither do we. Tampa isn't much - by itself, it ranks as only the 54th largest city in the U.S. (When people refer to Tampa, they are often thinking of the Tampa-St. Petersburg-Clearwater region, which as a Metropolitan Statistical Area, boasts 2.7 million residents. That's a lot of people who have convinced themselves it's okay to live in Tampa.) The city flag looks as though it was designed by a deranged preschooler. Don't get us started. When it comes to Tampa, we vote no. Can we bet on the number of Tim Tebow references in the game instead?

The Sports Seal Says: Florida 17, Penn State 14

*

Game: The Progressive Gator Bowl
Time: Saturday, January 1, 12:30 p.m. ESPN2 (Jacksonville, FL)
Teams: #21 The Mississippi State Bulldogs (-3.5) vs. The Michigan Wolverines
Comment: Denard Robinson will single-handedly win this game. Why? Because Mississippi State couldn't handle Cameron Newton in Week Two - well before he got his legs under him - and failed to prove in their 38-31 loss to Arkansas (in double overtime) that they can outscore a team to win. Seeing a theme here? We may parlay all the Big Ten teams in action today.

The Sports Seal Says: Michigan 31, Mississippi State 28

*

Game: The Grandaddy of Them All, The Tournament of Roses, yes, that's right it's Keith Jackson and The Rose Bowl Game, Presented by . . . Vizio
Time: Saturday, January 1, 3:30 p.m. ESPN (Pasadena, CA)
Teams: #5 The Wisconsin Badgers vs. The Texas Christian University Horned Frogs (-3)
Comment: TCU will be out to embarrass the BCS, the NCAA, the Wisconsin Badgers and anyone else the coaching staff can name in the pregame speech.

The Sports Seal Says: TCU 41, Wisconsin 23

*

Game: The Tostitos Fiesta Bowl
Time: Saturday, January 1, 7:30 p.m. ESPN (Glendale, AZ)
Teams: The University of Connecticut Huskies vs. #7 The Oklahoma Sooners
Comment: Boomer. Sooner.

The Sports Seal Says: Oklahoma 34, UConn 17

-

Mike Luce brings you the world's greatest college football report in this space every week. He welcomes your comments.


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