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September 30, 2011

The College Football Report: Coyote Ugly, Evil Empires And Aggie Nation

We're headed into Week Five with some big (Clemson-Virginia Tech, Nebraska-Wisconsin) match-ups as conference play starts up across the country. Before the weekend gets underway, let's get caught up on some recent headlines.

* Coyote Ugly: New Mexico released head coach Mike Locksley after the Lobos lost another game last Saturday, bringing the UNM season record to 0-4. Locksley leaves behind a less than illustrious record (2-26) during his tenure and a history of deplorable behavior off the field. Less than six months into the job, an assistant in Locksley's office filed a sexual harassment suit against him. (Locksley was eventually cleared of the charges.)

Later in his first year, Locksley received a reprimand from the university after allegedly punching receivers coach JB Gerald coach in the face.

The other shoe(s) dropped last weekend after the loss to I-AA Sam Houston State - and the arrest for DWI earlier that evening of an underage family friend who was at the wheel of a car registered to the Locksley family.

Tags: gettin' tipsy, Hawk Harrelson

* The Beatings Will Continue Until Morale Improves: A number of teams have gotten off to a rough start this season, and not just those from the Creampuff Conferences: Arizona (1-3), Boston College (1-3), Indiana (1-3) and almost all of the Sun Belt (Florida Atlantic, Louisiana Monroe, Middle Tennessee, North Texas and Western Kentucky, a combined 2-15) are taking it on the ear.

Then again, teams from the Big Six conferences pony up financial guarantees in the high six figures to visiting creampuffs. So they've got that going for them, which is nice. And as Sam Houston State proved, not all creampuffs prove accommodating guests.

Tags: Cinderella story, creampuffs

* Pada Who Now? A reporter dropped a Star Wars reference into a question to Florida Gators coach Will Muschamp about the upcoming game against his former boss, Nick Saban and Alabama. Muschamp didn't get it. He stopped at Empire. And really, if you were going to watch any two of the series, Parts Four and Five (or the first and second movie, for those of us old enough to remember them as such) are the way to go. Also, he doesn't speak "French."

Tags: evil empire, geek humor

* Yeah, What He Said: SEC commissioner Mike Slive pooh-poohed the idea of further expansion for the 2012-13 season in a conference call on Tuesday. When asked about expanding the Southeastern Conference beyond 13 teams, Slive said that no teams "are currently under speculation."

Apparently Tennessee athletic director Mike Hart didn't get the memo; two days later he told USA Today that "at some point 13 will not be the number."

What's standing in the way of an even number? As Hart put it, a "multitude of components." That's it, just a bunch of components, some accessories, maybe a few extra cables and possibly a universal remote.

Tags: super conferences, who's on first

Live From The Situation Room: In a post last week in the New York Times blog "The Quad" statistician Nate Silver broke down conference realignment by examining the geographical dispersal of college football fans nationwide.

By looking at the size of various television markets and associating the survey results from the CommonCensus Sports Map, Silver shed some light on the allure of teams like Texas A&M.

As Silver explains in his post, courting A&M "becomes easier to understand once you recognize that the Aggies have among the largest fan bases in the country." In fact, at approximately 2 million, Texas A&M fan base ranks sixth in the nation. The math looks a bit like this: more fans = more television screens = more leverage, specifically, in negotiating broadcast fees with the networks.

The article is well suited to the New York Times but treating realignment so dispassionately (although we understand that was the whole idea) seems to miss the emotional reaction most fans have to the issue.

Further, most football fans aren't inclined to read columns filled with words, numbers, charts and tables. Know your audience, Nate! Us college football fans read your article and saw "blah blah blah market share blah regional variances blah blah geographic coordinates blah . . . " You need an enormous touch-screen map! We can only understand if you stand in front of a gigantic flat screen and wildly point and drag a bunch of shapes and highlight with pretty colors. Who reads any more?

NOTE: The College Football Reportress has an enormous nerd crush (as do her Hyde Park cronies) on Mr. Silver, recently exacerbated by discovering that both use the same tailor. We hope she gets this far (she is a fervent supporter but not a devoted reader) in the Report to spot our reference to Silver's article. God knows he puts the realignment chaos in rational terms. Whereas, when asked, we froth at the mouth, hyperventilate and collapse in convulsions.

Tags: fellow (much more prominent) bloggers, mo money mo problems, network dirtbags,

West F###### Virginia: Earlier this season, West Virginia athletic director Oliver Luck issued an open letter to Mountaineer fans to "reconsider their choice of attire."

Specifically, Luck points out a certain t-shirt popular among Mounties. In the opening game against Marshall, the ESPN cameras panned across two fans sporting the team colors [read: expletive] in the stands. Not exactly the image the administration wants to promote to the nation, but then again, nearly everyone who attends West Virginia is from West Virginia, so who fucking cares?

NOTE: The model displaying the t-shirt is not an accurate depiction of your average West Virginia fan.

BONUS: The young man on the left, presumably a student, represents the 4.2% population of African-Americans among WVU's total enrollment. In other words, one out of approximately 1,094. He must feel good about beating the odds to make the picture, regardless of apparel.

Tags: Deadspin, Henry Cho

Chug It, Granny!: By comparison, LSU fans are the epitome of the class.

Tags: keg stands, tailgating

*

Seal vs. Chicken
The Sports Seal comes into Week Five in the black (6-3-1) against the number while the mysterious methods of the Free Range Chicken have produced middling (3-3) results. Let's see what plays the animal kingdom likes this weekend.

The Sports Seal's Picks, Week Five

Saturday, September 31

Kentucky @ LSU (-30), 11:20AM Central
Buffalo @ Tennessee (-28.5), 11:30AM Central
Nebraska @ Wisconsin (-10), 7:00PM Central

The Free Range Chicken's Picks, Week Five

Saturday, September 31

Kent State @ Ohio (-16.5), 2:00PM Central; Kent State by 40
San Jose State @ Colorado State (-3.5), 3:00PM Central; Colorado State by 2
North Texas @ Tulsa (-23), 7:00PM Central; Tulsa by 32

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 1:55 PM | Permalink

The [Friday] Papers

1. Tickets for TeaCon 2011, which will be held at the Renaissance Schaumburg Hotel & Convention Center this weekend, are sold out. Just FYI.

2. United CEO Says Boeing 787 'A Game-Changer'.

Plane flies totally on instruments.

*

"The new jet is the first commercial airliner built using carbon fiber - a strong, lightweight, high-tech plastic - rather than the typical aluminum skin."

Or you can choose paper.

*

"It is quieter and uses about 20 percent less fuel than a comparably sized aluminum aircraft," AP reports."

Though it is also 20 percent less recyclable.

*

"The 787s have an extended range and its cabin have bigger windows and larger overhead compartments."

Additional fees may apply.

*

"For improved passenger comfort, the humidity can be controlled and the air pressure during flights will be equivalent to an altitude of 6,000 feet instead of the conventional 8,000 feet."

So the equivalent of being within earshot of Rahm Emanuel.

3. "A Central Illinois farmer and the manager of the former Towanda Grain Co. were indicted Thursday for their alleged roles in a $14 million fraud scheme against the elevator, a financial services firm and other businesses, federal prosecutors said Thursday," the Bloomington Pantagraph reports.

The elevator declined to comment but through a spokesman said it was filled with regret.

4. What is the true state of the Chicago Public Schools? Who knows. A new study has implications not only for the claims of school officials and political leaders but a media that lazily repeats those claims without rigorous examination.

*

"What's surprising is the results we came up with are the opposite of what publicly reported statistics show," Stuart Luppescu, the lead author of the study, told the Sun-Times. "Publicly reported statistics show the elementary schools improving, and the high schools have been flat."

*

"While high schools have long been considered the system's Achilles heel, the study indicates CPS high schools 'managed to accomplish a miracle,' said Barbara Radner, director of DePaul University's Center for Urban Education. Although each year of arriving freshmen showed up unprepared and not much more capable than the batch before them, high schools held on to an increasing number of them, and prodded them into improved ACT scores, Radner said.

"However, Radner said, after years of news conferences in which Daley trumpeted gains in elementary reading scores, 'in the end, the emperor doesn't have as many clothes as we thought.'"

Funny, in fact, how fast the emperor has been shedding clothes since he left office.

*

"Among the report's major messages is that 'publicly reported statistics used to hold schools and districts accountable for making academic progress are not accurate measures of progress.' Changes to the state tests, including changes in content and scoring , makes 'year over year comparisons nearly impossible without complex statistical analyses, such as those undertaken for this report,' Consortium researchers contended."

Duh. If only the Consortium would now go back and study how local news organizations have reported test scores and other commonly used statistics to make their readers and viewers dumber, not smarter.

*

"Luppescu blamed the publicly reported gains that vanished under further scrutiny on not only test changes but on state reporting methods that divide kids into those who passed or didn't pass state standards. The passing bar is too low and crude of a measuring stick, Luppescu said, and schools would be better served looking at their average score rather than the percent who passed."

If education were just about test scores, we could just turn the whole operation over to Stanley Kaplan. And if measuring success was just about crunching numbers, we could replace a lot of administrators with computers. Let's not lose sight of our educational goals - and while those include a certain level of job-training, schools are not solely career centers. They are also - even mostly - about citizenship, civility, and developing broad, inquisitive minds. That sort of thing doesn't always show up in a test score, but it sure impacts a large number of lives.

*

But that's not all.

"The report faults CPS leaders for a widening achievement gap between white and black elementary students, defying the national trend," the Tribune reports. "It partly blames that gap on the rapid opening and closing of schools in the last decade, especially in low-income neighborhoods."

Funny how those fringy critics never taken seriously by the media given their quick acceptance of official explanations almost always turn out to be right. What's next, another story about what a disaster the CHA "Plan for Transformation" has been?

*

"On Thursday, two of the men who ran CPS during this tumultuous period - current U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan and Paul Vallas - sharply criticized the University of Chicago Consortium on School Research's study, saying it selectively chose data to paint a skewed picture of their records.

"'It's really important to look at outcomes,' Duncan told the Tribune, touting his success raising some test scores as well as graduation rates, particularly for African-Americans."

I think looking at outcomes - instead of rhetoric and publicly massaged statistics - was the point of the study.

*

"Vallas was more pointed: 'I don't know what planet they're on.'"

I think it's called Planet Fact.

"[T]the report provides a clearer picture of the accomplishments of CPS since the late 1980s by going beyond simply how many students met or exceeded state standards, information that is provided to the public, and looking at the actual scores. The result is a far less flattering portrait than CPS' leaders had previously touted."

And the media retouted.

*

"Chicago's best elementary and middle schools made modest gains under Duncan . . . but schools from the city's poorest communities fell further behind."

That's Daley's Chicago. And Obama's education secretary.

*

"[Jean-Claude] Brizard, CPS' new chief, released a statement Thursday, saying the report underscores the urgency to invest in education by lengthening the school day and adopting the more rigorous Common Core curriculum standards in 2014."

A statement Brizard would have released if the study showed the opposite too; don't stop now, boys!

5. I did not know we had a two-tiered ambulance system.

"Then-Mayor Richard M. Daley launched the two-tiered system in June 2000 with a goal of freeing the 10 busiest ambulances for life-threatening calls," the Sun-Times reports. "Critics accused Daley of 'playing Russian roulette' with public safety."

The emperor just lost another sock.

6. The Glorious Return of Beavis & Butt-Head.

7. The Week in Chicago Rock: We have the video.

8. The Ghost of Jim Hendry Will Haunt The 2012 Cubs. In our season-ending Cub Factor.

9. The Week in WTF: Funny how God so often suggests his ministers diddle the congregants. Plus, Walter Payton and Bank of America.

10. Play me off, Johnny!

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The Beachwood Tip Line: Galloping.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 6:27 AM | Permalink

The Week in Chicago Rock

You shoulda been there.

1. Evergrey at Reggie's on Monday night.


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2. The Rapture at the Metro on Thursday night.

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3. Robbie Fulks and Randy Lee at the Hideout on Monday night.

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4. Starfucker at Lincoln Hall on Tuesday night.

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5. Imperative Reaction at Reggie's on Tuesday night.

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6. Laetitia Sadier at the Abbey on Sunday night.

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7. God Module at Reggie's on Tuesday night.

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8. Sam Prekop at the Abbey on Sunday night.

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9. Bella Morte at Reggie's on Tuesday night.

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10. Beirut at the Congress on Monday night.

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 4:10 AM | Permalink

The Glorious Return Of Beavis And Butt-Head

1. Jersey Sore preview.


-

2. Holy Cornholio.

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3. Shake Weights.

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4. Friday.

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See also: Beavis and Butt-Head Are Back

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 3:50 AM | Permalink

The Week in WTF

1. Walter Payton, WTF?

Thus even our designated gods have ugly warts, which no one much discusses when they are alive because that gets in the way of fawning adulation.

He was a great football player. But we could not allow that to be enough. We must also make him spiritual and noble on the theory that being athletically gifted also confers superior humanness. Fool's gold. He was not more flawed than many are, but we - and he - could not accept a truth that interrupted the profitable and comfortable illusion. Sports demands a spirit-bending cynicism.

"The fault, dear Brutus, is not in our stars, But in ourselves, that we are underlings."

2. Suzi Schmidt, WTF?

Because WTF has a big loud mouth and the will to use it often, we sympathize with state Sen. Suzi Schmidt's world-class big mouth, which she on occasion uses to talk forcefully and other occasions uses to bite her husband of 31 years like he's an ear of sweet corn.

But consider this. As the acknowledged most powerful - or at least most well-connected - female local politician in Lake County, she could well have told deputies to skip the event and pretend it didn't happen. Except for acknowledging the event because it was all over police radio, deputies did nothing and neither did prosecutors. Both the sheriff's department and state's attorneys office are led by Republicans, which we are sure is a coincidence.

The last event was the third at the Schmidt home, some of it involving spilled blood.

She has embarrassed the state Republican party, and that might be the error that does her real damage.

3. Bank of America, WTF?

BoA customers can wring their 40 million hands in worry and gripe about the new debit card fee, but why not just dump your account there and go elsewhere? Power to the People! You could break the Liar, Liar, Pants on Fire Savings and Loan tomorrow if you wanted. In case you forget, BoA's $197 billion in assets are mostly yours.

BOA's answer for all of this is to blame that terribly oppressive bank regulation bill and higher costs for capital, both of which they caused.

Or, and we're really proud of this idea, let's all go back to using fat wads of real cash and hide it in our mattresses?

WTF is so old he remembers banks selling the benefit of automatic teller technology as way to save consumer money on bank tellers. It's so cheap it's almost free, they said.

4. The Rev. Phillip Livingston, WTF?

If WTF is ever tempted to a slightly non-traditional religious experience, we're not sure a bankrupt concrete contractor would be our first choice for guru.

This Wauconda rev's devotees insist he talks directly to God, which shows that God has a lot of time on his hands. Funny how God so often suggests his ministers diddle the congregants.

Perhaps we should start our own church - the Holy Cow WTF Hands-On Outreach Ministry. We have job openings. They're all missionary positions.

5. Dennis Spearing WTF?

Mr. Spearing was not found guilty of bad taste but only because there seems to be no such law. He was also not found guilty of being a schmuck from Canada. If it existed, that should be a fourth-degree misdemeanor.

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 1:59 AM | Permalink

September 29, 2011

The [Thursday] Papers

1. The Real Walter Payton.

2. All-Lego Ford Explorer Rolls Off Chicago Assembly Line.

3. Bill Kurtis Keynoter for Meat Industry Hall of Fame Ceremony.

Stick around for the meet-and-greet with lobbyists and then an evening Q&A on media ethics.

4. Labor's Pension Scam.

5. Fracking And The Honey Badger.

6. Jason Washington Is Not A Millionaire Either.

7. Mastering, Pressing and Packaging Wilco's New Record.

8. Carl's Cubs Mailbag: The 2011 Cubs Happened, And We Let It Happen.

9. The Blue & Orange Kool-Aid Report: The Most Important Game Of The Year. (First in a series of six.)

10. "Samuel Adams announces the expansion of its philanthropic initiative, Samuel Adams Brewing the American Dream, to include Chicagoland small businesses through a partnership with ACCION Chicago, a member of the ACCION U.S. Network. Aspiring and current local small business owners in the food, beverage and hospitality industry can apply for loans and take part in business and financial literacy training. This program aims to help people start, strengthen or grow their businesses."

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The Beachwood Tip Line: Stupefy.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 7:46 AM | Permalink

The Real Walter Payton

"The book Sweetness, written by Jeff Pearlman, is highlighted in the current edition of Sports Illustrated and reports Payton was involved in several extra-marital affairs and fathered an illegitimate son," the Tribune reports. "The author also cites sources who claim Payton routinely mixed a cocktail of Tylenol and Vicodin after his playing days.

"'I don't know why people would want to tarnish his image 12 years later with stuff people probably don't want to hear,' said former Bears tight end Emery Moorehead, who was a teammate of Payton on the Super Bowl XX champions."

I'll tell you why.

Because a false image of Payton was created that was then sold to fans. And no one was damaged more by that than Payton himself, who, like many star athletes, was dehumanized.

"Anything for a buck, I guess," Moorehead says.

Well, yes. For Payton. He lived an incredible set of lies for a buck. And it made him miserable. Perhaps there's a lesson there; perhaps now Payton can really be a role model.

*

Excerpts from the Sports Illustrated excerpt of Sweetness:

"Now that he was retired, the self-medicating only intensified. Payton habitually ingested a cocktail of Tylenol and Vicodin. In a particularly embarrassing episode, in 1988, Payton visited a handful of dental offices, complaining of severe tooth pain. He received several prescriptions for morphine and hit up a handful of drugstores to have them filled. When one of the pharmacists noticed the activity, he contacted the police, who arrived at Payton's house and discussed the situation. Payton was merely issued a warning."

That kind of special treatment did Payton no favors. Perhaps the consequences of a drug bust would have changed his dark trajectory.

*

"Shortly after he learned he'd been voted into the Hall of Fame, Payton spoke with Lita Gonzalez [not her real name], a New Jersey-based flight attendant with whom he'd been in a tempestuous relationship since they'd met at the Michael Spinks-Mike Tyson heavyweight title fight in Atlantic City in 1988. 'I'm coming to the ceremony,' Gonzalez said. 'There's no way I'd miss it.' The last thing Payton needed was to have his Hall of Fame weekend complicated and compromised. But Lita was coming, and she expected to be treated as his girlfriend. 'She was insisting she be seated in the front row,' says Tucker. 'We said, Lita, are you insane? We're marketing this man as a family-friendly spokesperson. His whole image is based around decency. You will ruin him.'"

Perhaps knowing the real man and not an image created for profit would have been healthier for him and us both.

*

"One of Payton's favorite employees was Elmer Hutson, a 28-year-old manager known to the staff as J.R. On the afternoon of Wednesday, April 13, 1988, Hutson arrived early at the bar and engaged in a heated phone exchange with Mike McKenna, a Coors Light representative. Fifteen minutes after hanging up, Hutson was summoned to see Payton. 'I walk into his office, and he had a couch and two chairs up against the wall,' says Hutson. 'He was sitting on one chair and Mike McKenna - who came to complain about me - was in the other. I sat down on the arm of the couch. Walter had the phone to his ear, talking to Connie.' In his right hand Payton was holding a 9-mm French-made Manurhin Pistolet that he'd recently purchased. As he spoke with his wife, Payton spun the gun and jokingly pointing it toward Hutson. 'He twirled it a couple of times, then came back up with the gun and put it down again,' Hutson says. 'That's when it went off.' The bullet entered Hutson's left knee, fragmenting his kneecap, and traveled nine inches up his thigh, taking out approximately two inches of hamstring and all his cartilage. It exited through the rear of the leg, leaving a three-inch hole.

"The next morning the news that the NFL's all-time leading rusher had shot an employee swept the nation, and talk radio hosts wondered whether Payton would face charges. (He didn't.)"

I wonder how Plaxico Burress feels about that. Or, for that matter, all the schmucks in prison for lesser incidents.

Payton was a danger to himself and others; he reportedly talked incessantly about not only killing himself but taking others out with him. Again, giving him special treatment - no charges? Really? - did him no favors. He needed help, not worship.

-

Comments welcome.

-

1. From Jerry Pritikin:

Sometimes the truth hurts, and in this case it's no different. I have met many of my sports idols as well as other legends and found the pedestal they stood on were too often based on P.R. and not facts. I happen to live across the street from the Walter Payton College Prep High School and feel sorry for many of the students and faculty. Those kids were painted a picture a Sweetness as a hero for his legendary life on the football field. It's for them I feel the pain of this story.

I met Walter at a Chicago Sports Show at Mc Cormick Place in the late 1980s. He was signing autographs for a License NFL products manufacturer. When it was my turn, I mentioned to him, that I had made a popular Walter Payton Voodoo doll that was a 49er fan favorite when the Bears were in San Francisco. He looked up at me and said "Maybe that's why he's been hurting so much." It was not yet known publicly of his illness. Often, after sports stars retire, they begin to believe the stories that fans had based their devotion on, too.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 7:13 AM | Permalink

Labor's Pension Scam

In the wake of the Tribune's report last week about the backdoor pension deals of a select few union leaders, a faithful Beachwood reader sent me this note:

"I, as a union member and staffer at my Local, am shamed by the Trib expose of the last two days. (for the record I read those articles in the Library, because I would never give money to a filthy union-busting outfit like the Tribune.)

"But isn't an equally important story the fact that the deal for these pensions was put in place right when Daley was running for election and his brother John was the state senator who was pulling much of the weight for the bill downstate?

"And Daley had to have city agencies approve the deal. That was treated in barely two paragraphs in the story. But it is the basis for the whole thing. Why risk enhancing union leaders' pensions if not to secure there support and the support of their membership for political gain?

"And if no one can remember 15 years ago whose fingers are on the papyrus of the bill, how about the board members of the Municipal Benefit Fund. Didn't any of them have a comment on a state law that would cripple the financial status of the funds and conflict with the fiduciary responsibility of the board members? My father was a building engineer for the Bd. of Ed and paid into that fund his whole working life."

Indeed.

*

"As Chicago's 1991 municipal elections approached, Mayor Richard M. Daley was consolidating power for his first re-election campaign," the Tribune opined on Sunday. "In Springfield, two state senators - Daley's brother John and his political ally Jeremiah Joyce - introduced a 'shell bill,' an empty vessel into which lawmakers later would stuff an astonishing public pension giveaway to Chicago union officials.

"That pension giveaway was among more than 100 provisions eventually added to the shell bill, but never debated by either chamber of the General Assembly. Instead, 10 members of a bicameral 'conference committee' that evidently never held a meeting shaped the legislation to achieve their political goals. By the time the heavily larded bill was ready for passage by the two chambers, another Chicago Democrat, state Sen. Emil Jones, assured his colleagues that the bill wasn't controversial. 'These provisions incorporated within this bill have been agreed to by the (city) administration and the pension system and the laborers,' Jones told his Senate colleagues the day the bill passed in January 1991. 'The people in the city of Chicago came together and agreed.'

"That wasn't true. As with most Illinois sweetheart deals, only the insiders who would benefit from this looting of city pension funds 'came together and agreed.' Nobody consulted 'the people in the city' who, as taxpayers, would foot the exorbitant cost of this legislation for decades to come. Nor did anyone ask rank-and-file union members who someday would rely on city pension funds.

"Twenty years later, as the Tribune and WGN-TV reported last week, 23 retired union officials from Chicago stand to collect about $56 million from two ailing city pension funds, thanks to the 1991 law. More union officials evidently are in the pipeline to receive the lavish benefits included in that legislation.

"Sure enough, two days after the pension changes passed the Legislature - departing Gov. James Thompson signed it into law - the city's unions lined up to endorse Mayor Daley's re-election campaign. He would serve another 20 years with organized labor's support and acquiescence."

*

Of the 10 members of that phantom conference committee, only one still serves in the General Assembly: Senate President John Cullerton.

From the Tribune's original story:

"Cullerton, who declined to be interviewed for this story, denied being involved in the changes and issued a statement that acknowledged the law now looks like a bad idea.

"Municipal pensions should be for the hard-working municipal employees, who typically toil in obscurity, loyally contribute to the pension funds and aren't about to get rich off of their retirements," he said in a prepared statement. "Outliers such as those highlighted by the WGN and Tribune reports should be corrected in order to help restore the system's fiscal and public integrity."

Denied being involved in the changes? Was he on the conference committee or not? If not, why was he unwilling to answer a reporter's questions? If so, why was he unwilling to describe how he had no involvement in these changes? He's the president of the Illinois Senate. If you want to restore public integrity, sir, answer the damn question.

*

"At the time of the change, Cullerton was the House Democratic floor leader, which meant he served as field general for Speaker Michael Madigan, ensuring bills moved efficiently and jibed with the speaker's priorities," the Trib reports.

"Through a spokesman, Cullerton said he doesn't recall the bill and played no role in drafting the pension giveaway to union leaders."

But he's unwilling to say that himself. Illinois, sir, doesn't need "leaders" who hide behind spokesman. We've got enough of those.

*

"He also said the Legislature's process for passing pension laws is more transparent today than it was in 1991 and that he has directed staff to research the legislation identified by the Tribune and WGN-TV."

Knowing that tracks were covered and the Trib has already struck a dry hole on that account.

*

"In retrospect, one can see how, year after year, pension funds were used as credit cards by governors and lawmakers to prop up state spending rather than face tough action on either raising revenues, cutting services or both," he wrote.

Governors and lawmakers. But not me!

*

Cullerton and Daley are not the only weasels, of course. Naturally, Jim Thompson is the governor who signed the bill.

*

And then there's Barack Obama's self-proclaimed political mentor.

"These provisions incorporated within this bill have been agreed to by the (city) administration and the pension system and the laborers," Jones told his Senate colleagues the day the bill passed in January 1991. "The people in the city of Chicago came together and agreed."

"Jones, currently chairman of the Illinois Sports Facilities Authority, declined to be interviewed for this story."

None of your damn business!

*

"Joyce did not respond to interview requests, and John Daley said he doesn't remember the bill. 'I don't recall it at all,' Daley said."

Well, that's understandable. There were so many dirty bills, who can remember them all?

*

James McNally must.

"James McNally, vice president of the International Union of Operating Engineers Local 150 . . . receives nearly $115,000 a year even though at the time he retired, in 2008, he had not worked for the city in more than 13 years. He was only 51 when he started collecting a city pension. By the time he turns 78, he will have received roughly $4 million from the city laborers' fund."

Solidarity!

"McNally declined to be interviewed for this story but provided a written statement.

"'I had the option to continue making contributions to my (city) pension, which required me to personally pay both my share and the city's share. Making these payments required a very significant financial commitment from me and my family.'

"However, for six of the 13 years of union service applied to his city pension, McNally didn't have to make contributions for the city's share. Chicago got a pass on making contributions toward the laborers' pension fund between 2000 and 2006, and the same arrangement applied to McNally.

"That's one reason the pension fund is in such bad financial shape - and why city taxpayers and current city workers will end up covering a large chunk of McNally's pension."

Maybe that's why he refused to answer a reporter's questions.

*

And then there's Al.

"Liberato 'Al' Naimoli, president of the Cement Workers Union Local 76 . . . retired last year from a $15,000-a-year city job that he last held a quarter-century ago. Today, Naimoli receives more than $13,000 a month from the city laborers' pension fund even as he continues to earn nearly $300,000 annually as president of Local 76 . . .

"None of these pension deals could happen without the blessing of city government, which has granted lengthy leaves of absence to union officials. The average leave of absence for city employees who are on a leave to work for a union is nearly eight years. Roughly a third have been on leave for more than 12 years.

"No city worker has received a longer leave of absence than Naimoli, who retired last year at age 58 from a $15,000-a-year city job as a cement mixer even though he hadn't held that job in more than 25 years.

"Normally, city leaves of absence expire after a set period of time, and employees are required to renew the leaves or lose their jobs. Yet when the commissioner of the city's Department of Streets and Sanitation approved Naimoli's request for a leave in 1986, no expiration date was filled in."

Just a coincidence! Nobody recalls!

"That indefinite leave allowed Naimoli to receive a city pension that is paying him about $157,000 a year even as he collects a $292,000 salary from Local 76."

*

Capitol Fax impresario Rich Miller points out that the Sun-Times reported similar findings in a series two years ago. From that report:

"[Labor leader Dennis] Gannon defends his city pension deal.

"'I'm probably not the only labor guy taking advantage of that state law,'' Gannon said."

Which apparently makes it right.

*

McNally also spoke back then.

"I really don't know how I found out about this," McNally said. "I had to pay the city's portion, as well as my own portion. It was a financial hardship on me. I guess good things come to those who wait."

Or to those with connections to scurrilous political leaders.

*

From the Beachwood at the time of the Sun-Times series:

"I know I get a big pension," Dawn Clark Netsch says. "What am I supposed to do? Refuse it?''

Yes!

*

"I'm probably not the only labor guy taking advantage of that state law," says Chicago Federation of Labor chief Dennis Gannon.

And somehow that makes it okay that his taxpayer-funded pension is based on his private union job and not his stint as a steamroller operator for the city.

*

Values and principles mean nothing if you just mouth them instead of act in service to them. That inherently means sacrifice will be involved. So be it. It doesn't wash to sit back and say "Gee, somebody ought to change this rotten system that is rewarding me so nicely!"

Didn't someone recently say we should be the change we want to see?

*

"It's unfortunate that people focus on a pension rather than why kids in urban areas aren't receiving the education they should," said Reginald Weaver, a former Harvey high school teacher whose taxpayer-funded pension is based on his presidency of the private National Education Association.

Maybe one reason why kids in urban areas don't receive the education they should is that our spending priorities are so screwed up.

I can't help it if the system can be gamed to my financial advantage! What am I supposed to do?! I'm helpless!

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Comments welcome.

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1. From Michael O'Connor:

Thanks for using my rant to fuel your excellent review and comment of the pension abuses. A follow-up: After the Trib series was concluded, Rep Tom Cross, [Republican] minority leader of the Illinois Assembly, offered a bill to reform the scam outlined in the news. Not one of the usual suspects. Not the 20-year Speaker. But the opposition leader. No one who knows who is responsible for it could look in the mirror as say, "I can make this right." So even the shame of a multi-day news story arc is insufficient to penetrate the filmy layer of graft that covers them so fully.


Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 6:09 AM | Permalink

Mastering, Pressing And Packaging Wilco's New Record

"Take a quick behind the scenes look at the pressing of Wilco's new record, The Whole Love. From mastering and lacquer-cutting at Bernie Grundman Mastering to galvanics, vinyl pressing and packaging at Furnace MFG Pallas USA, you'll see how all the magic happens."


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Ccmments welcome.

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1. From Steve Rhodes:

Seems way too labor-intensive for the modern economy.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 1:24 AM | Permalink

Jason Washington Is Not A Millionaire Either

First it was John Kuczaj.

Now it is Jason Washington.

Can't anyone from Chicago play this game?

From Millionaire HQ:

"Jason Washington, an admissions advisor at Colorado Technical University (online) from Downers Grove, IL was a contestant on Wednesday's episode of 'Double Your Money Week' on Who Wants To Be A Millionaire.

"After the questions and money in Jason's first round were all shuffled, host Meredith Vieira revealed to him that his 'Double Money' question would be his fifth question. Once Jason made it to his fifth question, he ended up not knowing the answer and used his 'Jump The Question' lifeline. Jason ultimately made it to the sixth question, but unfortunately provided an incorrect answer, which meant that he walked away with $1,000 in winnings."

*

Here are the questions Jason faced:

Question #1: Category, 'Bad Traffic Ahead'

In 2011, Georgia police advised motorists to watch out for zombies and gunfire from the filming of what cable show?

A: Breaking Bad
B: The Walking Dead
C: Burn Notice
D: Royal Pains

* Lifelines Used: none
* Correct Answer: B
* $ Value of Question: $1,000
* Accumulated Millionaire Bank: $1,000

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Question #2: Category, 'Gaga Games'

In a special section called GagaVille, Lady Gaga released songs from her newest album through what addictive online game?

A: Treasure Isle
B: Mafia Wars
C: FarmVille
D: Bejeweled Blitz

* Lifelines Used: none
* Correct Answer: C
* $ Value of Question: $25,000
* Accumulated Millionaire Bank: $26,000

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Question #3: Category, 'Funny Rabbi'

At an event in Cleveland that determines the city's "funniest rabbi," many of the competitors cracking jokes wore what?

A: Hijabs
B: Burkas
C: Yarmulkes
D: Saris

* Lifelines Used: none
* Correct Answer: C
* $ Value of Question: $5,000
* Accumulated Millionaire Bank: $31,000

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Question #4: Category, 'Western Women'

An 1880 census document lists the Dakota Territory's Charles and Caroline Ingalls as the parents of a 13-year-old named what?

A: Clara
B: Susan
C: Laura
D: Annie

* Lifelines Used: none
* Correct Answer: C
* $ Value of Question: $3,000
* Accumulated Millionaire Bank: $34,000

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Question #5: Category, 'Bad Words'

Although it's usually used to mean "sexist," the word "chauvinist" originally referred to someone who was excessively what?

A: Narcissistic
B: Hedonistic
C: Patriotic
D: Neurotic

* Lifelines Used: "Jump The Question" #1 (Jason was able to jump over the question but also had to forfeit the money attached to the question)
* Correct Answer: C
* $ Value of Question: $15,000 (DOUBLE MONEY = IF JASON HAD NOT JUMPED THIS QUESTION AND ANSWERED CORRECTLY, HE WOULD HAVE ADDED $30,000 TO HIS BANK!)
* Accumulated Millionaire Bank: $34,000

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Question #6: Category, 'So Goes the Nation'

Beginning in 1964, what U.S. state has voted for the winning candidate in the last 12 Presidential elections?

A: Nevada
B: Missouri
C: Ohio
D: Virginia

Jason guessed the answer to be "B," but unfortunately the correct answer was "C." Jason left the show with $1,000 in winnings and left his "Ask The Audience" and "Jump The Question #2" lifeline unused.

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Comments welcome.


Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 12:08 AM | Permalink

September 28, 2011

The Blue & Orange Kool-Aid Report: The Most Important Game Of The Year

New Trick, Old Dog
I haven't decided whether to give Lovie Smith and his staff credit for playing to win by running one of the best special teams trick plays in recent memory or to lambast them for putting it on tape in a game that was basically out of reach. Since it got called back, we can't give it a cool nickname like the Homer in the Gloamin' or the Dirty Bay Reacharound, so we'll have to settle on the Windy City Nothing.

The Streets Will Run Red With Riveras of Bad Blood
How bad was the taste in Ron Rivera's mouth after being shown the door a year after leading a championship caliber defense?

Spoonful of earwax bad.

Seriously, next time you pull your car keys out of your ears (you know you do it), give those things a whiff.

Expect Cam Newton to heave the ball in the direction of that guy with the no-name name that the Bears decided to single-cover in the '05 playoffs a couple (read: 15) times. And then expect Rivera to have it heaved his way a couple more just to make a point.

Speaking of guys we've met . . .

Ain't Nothin' But A G (Reg) Thing
Six catches for 80 yards and while he's laughing at these guys, a second TD in their eyes.

In their eyes?

That's right, in their eyes.

This is what ol' blondie looks like with a legitimate wide receiver drawing larger corners.

It's Spelled Sanzen . . . uh, wait I know this . . . ba . . . h . . . v . . . kar? 'F' It. It's Dane. His Name Is Dane.
If this guy is still available in your fantasy league (he's out there in 99.99 of the leagues on ESPN.com), gobble him up!

Kool-Aid (3 out of 5 Samples of Jungle Cat Urine)
The most important game of the season is Sunday*. If the Bears are to remain respectable for a couple more weeks (just setting expectations here, we ain't going 5-1 in the North this year), they have to win.

How did this happen two years in a row?

Unfortunately, this is the game DeAngelo Williams breaks out. Newton can be had, but the surprisingly bad Bears run defense has been hiding behind the crap play of the offense up to this point.

Carolina 24, Bears 20

*I'll just cut that line and paste it in the next six columns . . .

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Comments welcome.


Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 7:10 PM | Permalink

Carl's Cubs Mailbag: The 2011 Cubs Happened, And We All Let It Happen

Which team should I adopt for the postseason?
-Oliver, Warbucks TN

Without question, adopt the Yankees. I'm tired of seeing teams take themselves off the "haven't won a title in X number of years" or the "haven't won a title ever" lists.

The last thing you want to see during a tang lull is your roommate parading a series of 10's through the apartment.

Oh god-[dang] it. All I wanted this weekend was to see the Cubs [screw] up the Cardinals season. Those [soda]-guzzling redbird [stupid]-heads can go choke on a big fat [lollypop], you know what I'm saying? [Forget] you, St. Louis. Go [hug] yourself.
-The Entire North Side Of Chicago

I guess we should give the Chicago bullpen a big fat [thumbs up] while we're at it.

I know he's been playing a bunch this month, but do you ever get the feeling like Jeff Baker could be watching the game at home and no one would notice? Something about him makes me want to turn off the TV.
-Barry, Gibb City GA

Baker does have a bit of that blend-in-with-the-wallpaper type of anonymity, and that coupled with the amount of travel baseball requires, have allowed him to engage in a series of Kung Fu-esque adventures. Frank Miller and I are chronicling these escapades in the upcoming graphic novel Jeff Baker M.D: Detective At Law.

How would you evaluate the Cubs 2011 season?
-Harry, Seaward AK

I look at the greasy pile of waste behind me, contemplating the promise of the day's beginning and silently pontificate on the choices that lead us to this unfulfilling end.

When did I eat cashews?

I've heard Richard Roeper say in a review of Running With Scissors that it takes a truly talented cast and crew to make a terrible movie. The same could be said of the 2011 Cubs.

Let's throw the song "State Of Shock" in there as well. Between this one and the Dancing In The Streets duet with David Bowie, we ought to consider revoking Mick Jagger's passport.

Along those lines, you ever get drunk, flip through the channels, run across a movie like Trois on BET and start unzipping your pants?

Forty-five minutes later you're frustratedly hurling your special sock in the corner and heading back to the kitchen for another Scotch with nary a drop of seed spilled.

Fooled again.

So there it is.

The 2011 Cubs were a combination of colorful poop, terrible music and basic cable nudity teases.

Toodles for now.

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Comments welcome.


Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 6:48 PM | Permalink

The [Wednesday] Papers

MythBusters Exhibit Coming To Chicago.

What, the one about Daley being a great mayor? I think that exhibit has already been on display since Rahm Emanuel took office and learned what a mess had been bequeathed to him.

*

See also: Has Rahm Emanuel Indirectly Acknowledged Daley Was A Failure?

*

And: "Without mentioning Daley by name, Emanuel pointed the finger of blame at his predecessor for a decade of deficit spending."

*

Plus: After Months Of Being The Whipping Boy, Daley Gives Mayor Emanuel The Finger

Making Millions The American Way
"In a damning new report, experts from the University of Illinois at Chicago paint a grim portrait of conditions at a Chicago psychiatric hospital, describing an environment of chaos, physical attacks and sexual assaults that regularly puts its young patients in harm's way," the Tribune reports.

"The report, released Tuesday by the state Department of Children and Family Services, found that Hartgrove Hospital, on Chicago's West Side, often was understaffed and over capacity - a dangerous combination that created opportunities for frequent attacks by patients on other patients and hospital staff."

*

"In a statement, officials from Universal Health Services Inc., the Pennsylvania-based parent company of Hartgrove, said: 'Despite the findings in the UIC report, Hartgrove is proud of its track record and has many more success stories to its credit than the negative ones highlighted in the report.'"

We totally sexually assault fewer patients than not.

*

Rick Santorum is on the board of Universal Health Services.

Or was.

*

"UHS maintains one of the strongest balance sheets and is rated amongst the highest in the hospital services industry by Moody's and Standard & Poor's," the company says. "This strong capital position has enabled the company to develop and acquire many new facilities over the past few years.

"The UHS strategy is to build or purchase healthcare properties in rapidly-growing markets and create a strong franchise based on exceptional service and effective cost control. UHS owes its success to a responsive management style and to a service philosophy that is based on integrity, competence and compassion."

*

"Universal Health Services, Inc. (NYSE: UHS) announced today that net income attributable to UHS was $103.6 million, or $1.04 per diluted share, during the second quarter of 2011 as compared to $65.6 million, or $.67 per diluted share, during the comparable prior year quarter," the company said in July. "After adjusting the reported results for last year's second quarter to neutralize the impact of the below-mentioned adjustments (no such adjustments were applicable to the second quarter of 2011), our adjusted net income attributable to UHS during the second quarter of 2010 was $66.7 million, or $.68 per diluted share.

"Net revenues increased 42% to $1.90 billion during the second quarter of 2011 as compared to $1.34 billion during the second quarter of 2010. The increase in net revenues during the second quarter of 2011, as compared to the comparable quarter of the prior year, was due primarily to the revenues generated at the behavioral health care facilities acquired from Psychiatric Solutions, Inc. ('PSI') in November, 2010."

We're making more money off crazy people than ever!

*

And wouldn't you know it . . .

To be fair, that was published before UHS acquired them. But still . . .

"[CEO Alan Miller] said the company would benefit from a recent federal law that requires insurers to cover treatment of mental illnesses," the Philadelphia Inquirer reported last November.

"About half of UHS's revenue will now come from its nearly 200 behavioral-health facilities and schools. Miller says he wants a company that has acute-care and psychiatric hospitals. 'That was my strategy,' he said. 'It's like having two good horses.' When one isn't running well, he said, 'the other one is doing better.'"

Even if you have to whip one of them to get across the profit line.

*

"Miller said some top PSI leaders would lose their jobs, but he wouldn't say how many. There will not be layoffs at hospitals, he said. There will be hiring in this region, but Miller would not say how much."

Depends on how much cheap labor we can find to replace the current workforce.

*

"UHS said it expected "annual cost synergies" of $35 million to $40 million from the purchase."

Mostly from feeding patients hay.

*

Our long-term prognosis looks good because people never stop getting sick!

*

Can't have a for-profit health care system, folks.

John Kuczaj Is Not A Millionaire
Potential Beachwood Investor Lets Us Down.

Hideout Rocks A Million (Or So) Faces
A block party for the ages.

NFL Lets Down Millions
Fantasy season already in shambles.

Worth A Million Bucks
Cal's Neon Sign.

We Hope To Make A Million
"Announcing the Chicago Independent Ad Network, a powerful new channel for advertisers to reach Chicago's most civically engaged and influential readers. Composed of 15, local high-quality news sites, the Chicago Independent Ad Network is a digital-only network providing over one million monthly guaranteed impressions.

"Every publisher in the Chicago Independent Ad Network serves up the same size ad, 300 x 250 pixels. Also, only five advertisers a month may participate in the network, ensuring their messages stay above the clutter.

"Operated by Brown Line Media, The Chicago Independent Ad Network will go live on Tuesday, November 1 across the network, including this site.

"If you want to reach a citywide audience of influential consumers, check here for a complete list of publishers participating in the network and for our rates. To reserve your position today, contact Kathy Chapman at (773) 966-2720 or Kathy@chicagoindyads.com."

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The Beachwood Tip Line: Adifying.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 7:55 AM | Permalink

Cal's Liquors Vintage Neon Sign

"Located on the south end of the loop at Wells and Van Buren lies Cal's Liquors & Bar. It's a swell joint; it was in Playboy's survey of great American bars, Lady Gaga stopped by, the food's tasty and they have a cool neon sign. Stop in bar and if you don't have time hit the liquor store.

"Check out our Neon Chicago playlist for more clips of these fast vanishing works of art."


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See also these fine Flickr photos:

* Cal's in winter

* Cal's watercolor

* Liquors

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 6:41 AM | Permalink

The Hideout Block Party

From last weekend's extravaganza.

1. Mavis Staples with Tim Tuten introduction.


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2. Mavis Staples with Nora O'Connor.

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3. The Burlington Welsh Male Choir.

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4. Andrew Bird.

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5. Booker T. Jones.

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6. Guitarkestra!

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7. Kids These Days.

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8. The Eternals.

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9. White Mystery.

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10. Jon Langford, Sally Timms and the Burlington Welsh Male Choir.

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 6:05 AM | Permalink

The Ghost Of Jim Hendry Will Haunt 2012

Finally, that debacle is over.

We here at The Cub Factor are actually excited now that we can look ahead to next season. Will there be an Upton Brothers Report? A Disguise of the Week for new manager Bobby Valentine? The adventures of Chicago's new great crime stopper, The Clevenger? Mount Listach? The possibilities are endless.

Year in Review: The Cubs went 71-91 to finish in fifth place. Luckily the Cubs play in the only division with six teams in it and one of those teams is the Astros, so they didn't finish last, except in our hearts.

The Season in Preview: It can't get any worse, can it? Er, wait . . .

The Second Basemen Report: Jeff Baker, Blake DeWitt, Darwin Barney and DJ LeMahieu all played second base for the Cubs in 2011. Jeff Baker, Blake DeWitt, Darwin Barney and DJ LeMahieu will all play second base for the Cubs in 2012. Just like the ghost of Jim Hendry drew it up.

In former second basemen news, Johnny Evers is still the last second baseman to win the World Series with the Cubs. He is missed.

The Zam Bomb: Big Z is selling his River Forest home, which features 13 rooms - one for each of his personalities. Just for old times' sake, we'll set his final status at Boom.

zam_Boom.jpg

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Marlon Byrd Supplemental Report: Conte has been injecting Marlon with "Starting Job in 2012" but we can't tell if it's working.

Lost in Translation: Nextee yerio Carlos-san Marmolio is Japanese for we should have traded this guy when he had value.

Endorsement No-Brainer: Alfonso Soriano for weed. Because this guy really thinks his spot in the batting order was the problem.

Sweet and Sour Quade: 12% sweet, 88% sour. Mike stood pat this week as he continues to believe he'll be back managing the Cubs next season. And just like your thought-to-be well-adjusted uncle, Mike was your favorite uncle when you were a kid. You thought he was the best. He took you to ballgames, taught you how to throw a curveball, and let you stay up late and watch SNL when your folks were out. But as you got older you realized that he was just acting as if he was eternally 15. Which isn't a bad thing until you actually have to count on him to pick you up from the airport or watch your kids.

Ameritrade Stock Pick of the Week: Shares of Hope will trade higher this offseason for a brief moment, so take advantage of the market inefficiency to lock your friends into bets they'll regret come the regular season.

Over/Under: The amount of time it will take to hire a GM: +/- a little more time than everyone would like.

Beachwood Sabermetrics: A complex algorithm performed by The Cub Factor staff using all historical data made available by Major League Baseball has determined that sabermetrics are important.

Farm Report: Where have you gone, Esmailin Caridad? A lonely Cubs Nation turns its eyes to you.

The Cub Factor: Unlike Soriano, you can catch 'em all!

The White Sox Report: Know the enemy.

Mike Quade Status Update: Quade In No Rush To See Moneyball.

Waiting for the book.

Well-Adjusted / Delirious / High

dazed_and_confused_smiley.jpg

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Contact The Cub Factor!

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 12:33 AM | Permalink

The College Football Report: Fracking And The Honey Badger

Car wash attendant turned jazz singer Landau Eugene Murphy Jr. opened the LSU-West Virginia game Saturday night at Mountaineer Field in front of 62,056 ravenous WVU fans. Regardless of your feelings about America's Got Talent, soul singers or car washes, Murphy's story is a good one. Homeless at the age of 19, Murphy dedicated himself to singing while scraping by on odd jobs. We confess, we didn't know who the hell this guy was or why the crowd was so fired up about his performance but a bit of Googling turned up news of his AGT (as the kids call it) win and - more important for fans of the home team - his hometown: Logan, West Virginia.

We were also puzzled by the emblem on Eugene's snappy WVU jacket. Perhaps we are conditioned to ignore more familiar corporate badges on team gear and uniforms, such as Nike, Russell and Under Armour, but a logo like "Friends of Coal" stands out.

West Virginia University and the coal industry maintain a cozy relationship with Friends of Coal that extends far beyond a few complimentary windbreakers. The FOC (as the kids call it) claims to "inform and educate West Virginia citizens about the coal industry and its vital role in the state's future," and part of that information campaign seems to include routing massive donations to the university.

Since 2006, the FOC has sponsored an annual game between the Mountaineers and rival Marshall University from nearby Maple Grove. The so-called Friends of Coal Bowl series, scheduled to wrap up next season, carries the heavy mark of its sponsor beyond the (football shaped!) lump of coal encased within the Governor's Cup trophy awarded to the winner. Beyond attaching the FOC name to the Coal Bowl, the lobby presumably played a part in establishing a new "tradition" for tailgating fans before each WVU home game: the Mountaineer Mantrip.

Named after a mining contraption that shuttles miners underground, the Mantrip takes place about two hours before kickoff as fans rally around the team bus and walk with the players to the stadium. Team walks are not unusual - fans, cheerleaders and the school band escort the home squad to the field at campuses across the country (although the Michigan State team walk that takes place before departing for road games is pretty bizarre; each player files past a fountain on campus and drops a penny beneath the bare ass of some sculpture.) But a team walk - or any event associated with a college athletic program - sponsored by a political advocacy group? We haven't heard of any other similar situations, nor any as problematic as the case of Friends of Coal and West Virginia.

We aren't alone in voicing our concern over the troubling nature of a public university consorting with Washington lobbyists. Local bloggers in Morgantown (writing for, appropriately enough, the City of Morgantown blog) presented an open letter to WVU President James Clements. The letter reads, in part:

With the exception of higher education and research issues that directly affect the school's mission, is it not in West Virginia University's best interest to remain as apolitical as possible? . . . What if the annual Maryland-WVU series was approached by Democratic or Republican Parties of WV? Certainly sponsorship by a group with such an obvious agenda wouldn't be considered. Why, then, is Friends of Coal given a platform for their cause?

We grant that one blogger does not represent a groundswell of local discontent about the coal industry sponsoring the Mountaineers football team. Nor can we overlook the counterargument that any lines between sponsors (corporate or otherwise) and football programs are hopelessly blurred, meaning that our critique of FOC's involvement is arbitrary and unprincipled. We would point to the openly political nature of the Friends of Coal as a counterbalance to this objection. Corporate sponsors rarely, if ever, take a position on issues as politically, environmentally and economically complicated as energy and natural resources. For example, in a 2009 press release, the Friends of Coal asserted that the coal industry, and the $7 billion dollars (their figure) it contributes to the West Virginia economy, is under attack. The release further states that:

". . . [the industry] is threatened by the Obama Administration, its allies in Congress, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and radical anti-coal extremists. Coal use, they say, must be stopped. The nation's coal-fired electric generation plants must be shut down. Coal miners, they say, must find other work. The Friends of Coal say such arguments are based simply on politics and not on science or reason."

Other notable donors to West Virginia include Foresight Energy president Chris Cline, dubbed New King Coal by Bloomberg. In May, Cline, who also does a lot of business in Illinois, announced a donation of $5 million dollars to the university. Forbes estimates Cline's net worth at $2.3 billion, making him one of the richest (#256, to be precise) men in America.

If we decide universities should be allowed to entertain sponsorship offers from political advocacy groups, the landscape of college football - already the biggest moneymaker, by far, in the NCAA - will change dramatically. With hundreds of thousands of fans presenting a lucrative target to interest groups, insidious sponsorships will inevitably creep into every prominent aspect of the game. The guys at Exxon, for example, could sponsor neighboring Penn State. Pennsylvania is a battleground in the debate over gas and oil mined from deep beds of shale. To help sway opinions among the 106,572 attending Penn State home games, Exxon could sponsor "Frackin' Friday" pep rallies and coin a new slogan for the program: "Nittany Lions Football Is On Fire! Just Like Your Tapwater!"

For that matter, West Virginia might as well go all the way and court sponsorship money from the National Rifle Association. After all, their mascot already carries a muzzleloader.

The Honey Badger Don't Give A Shit
Just as we predicted in our season preview, LSU pasted (or mauled, as the case may be) host West Virginia last week.

LSU sophomore defensive back Tyrann Mathieu played a big part in the swarming Tiger defense that forced two fumbles and two interceptions. We first saw Mathieu produce some great plays as a true freshman last year, especially on the big stage in LSU's bowl win over Texas A&M when he forced two fumbles, recovered one, made an interception and (just for good measure) registered a sack.

He picked up where left off in Week One when he stripped a punt in the primetime game against Oregon.

As a high school senior, Mathieu was lightly recruited due to his slight stature and the increasing emphasis on size in cover corners forced to match up with Randy Moss-sized wideouts.

A native of New Orleans, Mathieu received limited interest from SEC teams - only Tennessee expressed mild interest - and even less (SMU, Southern Miss, Tulane, et al.) from outside the conference.

Even after impressive performances at summer camps hosted by the Volunteers and Alabama, coaches shied away from the diminutive back.

No one apart from Frank Wilson, a recruiter at LSU with a keen eye for talent, believed the kid was big enough or fast enough to play on an elite level.

The Rivals.com recruiting experts listed him at (generous, by about two inches) 5'10" and 170lb and ranked him as the #13 recruit at his position and #191 overall in the nation.

Not that you could tell by watching Mathieu. On Saturday night, #7 stripped a catch resulting in a fumble and, in what will stand as one of the most phenomenal plays of the 2011 season, tipped a pass to himself in an eye-opening interception to set up an LSU score.

At the age of 19, he has carved out a leadership role on what some call an NFL-caliber defense and a following in the locker room. His teammates have even coined a nickname for him inspired by Mathieu's dyed hair and a nature documentary clip gone viral: The Honey Badger.

While we deplore the current state of college football, we also - like most fans of the game - bear a deep love for the sport. Players like Mathieu help keep that feeling alive. Among rosters stocked with stud athletes recruited under dubious circumstances, here is a young man who plays with heart, the ultimate intangible combination of abandon and intensity impossible to measure or capture on paper. In other words, for us, the embodiment of what college football should be all about.

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Comments welcome.


Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 12:21 AM | Permalink

John Kuczaj Is Not A Millionaire

Of all the questions to trip up Chicago guy John Kuczaj, who would've thought it would be one about the Sports Illustrated swimsuit issue? We here at the Beachwood don't know John personally, but we have know him comedically and observantly for years and he strikes us as someone who just might still have every swimsuit issue ever published under his bed. Geez, John! We were counting on you!

Alas, John did not become a millionaire on national television on Tuesday. Oh well. Good news for the president . . . one guy now likely to still support taxing the rich.

Here are the deets . . . the questions John faced, his own blog entry on the experience and the latest press release from Who Wants To Be A Millionaire HQ.

1. Area Men Might Be Millionaires

2. From Kuczaj's blog:

* The Audition
* The Prep Work
* The Game Is Afoot

3. From Millionaire HQ:

RECAP OF JOHN KUCZAJ'S APPEARANCE ON TUESDAY'S EPISODE OF MILLIONAIRE:

"John Kuczaj (pronounced 'Kooch-Eye'), an account service representative from Chicago IL, was a contestant on Tuesday's episode of 'Double Your Money Week' on Who Wants To Be A Millionaire. After the questions and money in John's first round were all shuffled, host Meredith Vieira revealed to him that his "Double Money" question would be his fourth question. John did indeed correctly answer his fourth question, which was revealed to be worth only $1000 - meaning that he was able to add an additional $200 to his Millionaire Bank. John ultimately made it up to his eighth question, but unfortunately provided an incorrect answer, which meant that he walked away with $1,000 in winnings."

*

Here are the questions John faced.

Question #1: Category, 'Bewildering Bylines'

What unusual twosome co-wrote an opinion piece in USA Today in 2011 about the need to eradicate dirty stoves in homes worldwide?

A: Angelina Jolie and Bob Dole
B: Sandra Bullock and Joe Biden
C: Julia Roberts and Hillary Clinton
D: Madonna and Colin Powell

* Lifelines Used: "Jump The Question" #1 (John was able to jump over the question but also had to forfeit the money attached to the question)
* Correct Answer: C
* $ Value of Question: $1,000
* Accumulated Millionaire Bank: $0

-

Question #2: Category, 'Ancient Trends'

Finding 57 of them preserved on a 5,300-year-old mummy, scientists had to rethink the origins of what body decoration?

A: Tattoos
B: Bracelets
C: Piercings
D: Necklaces

* Lifelines Used: "Jump The Question" #2
* Correct Answer: A
* $ Value of Question: $3,000
* Accumulated Millionaire Bank: $0

-

Question #3: Category, 'Party Time'

A recent social trend, "dadchelor parties" are events thrown for men who are about to what?

A: Graduate from college
B: Buy a home
C: Have a baby
D: Retire from a job

* Lifelines Used: none
* Correct Answer: C
* $ Value of Question: $25,000
* Accumulated Millionaire Bank: $25,000

-

Question #4: Category, 'Book Buying'

Using an image from a classic children's book, Barnes & Noble offers a gift card that shows a girl and her pig looking at a what?

A: Ant
B: Butterfly
C: Spider
D: Grasshopper

* Lifelines Used: "Ask The Audience" (A=1% B=9% C=87% D=3%)
* Correct Answer: C
* $ Value of Question: $100 (DOUBLE MONEY = $200)
* Accumulated Millionaire Bank: $25,200

-

Question #5: Category, 'Winning Formulas'

"All I had to do was keep turning left," said George Robson about his 1946 victory in what sporting event?

A: Boston Marathon
B: Indianapolis 500
C: PGA Championship
D: Wimbledon

* Lifelines Used: none
* Correct Answer: B
* $ Value of Question: $7,000
* Accumulated Millionaire Bank: $32,200

-

Question #6: Category, 'Different Strokes'

Due to his unusual painting technique, what artist earned the nickname "Jack the Dripper"?

A: Jackson Pollock
B: Salvador Dalí
C: Jasper Johns
D: Marcel Duchamp

* Lifelines Used: none
* Correct Answer: A
* $ Value of Question: $15,000
* Accumulated Millionaire Bank: $47,200

-

Question #7: Category, 'Foreign Leaders'

In the 1950s and '60s, what Asian country had a president who was affectionately referred to by his citizens as "Uncle Ho"?

A: Japan
B: India
C: Vietnam
D: China

* Lifelines Used: none
* Correct Answer: C
* $ Value of Question: $500
* Accumulated Millionaire Bank: $47,700

-

Question #8: Category, 'Cover Girl'

What supermodel has appeared on the most covers of the annual Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue?

A: Elle Macpherson
B: Christie Brinkley
C: Kathy Ireland
D: Cheryl Tiegs

FYI: Elle Macpherson has been on the cover 5 times: 1986, 1987, 1988, 1994 and 2006.

John guessed the answer to be "C," but unfortunately the correct answer was "A." John left the show with $1,000 in winnings.

4. "REMINDER: Jason Washington, an admissions advisor at Colorado Technical University (online) from Downers Grove, IL will be a contestant on [today's] episode of Who Wants To Be A Millionaire - WEDNESDAY, SEPTEMBER 28."

Jason, buddy!

-

Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 12:07 AM | Permalink

September 27, 2011

Fantasy Fix: Already A Nightmare

Fantasy football leagues enter Week 4 with injuries and statistical underachievement still marring the performance of many of the sport's brightest stars.

Kenny Britt, WR, Tennessee, who had unexpectedly surged to the top of the WR ranks from the opening bell, is done for the season with a knee injury. He joins top RB Jamaal Charles, Kansas City, on fantasy IR. Meanwhile, Indianapolis continues to force Peyton Manning owners to retain him in hopes of a late-season return, though all signs suggest Manning should be on IR and done for the year.

Injury woes also continue to court owners of Arian Foster, RB, Houston, who went No. 1 in some preseason drafts. Foster may return stronger for Week 4, but his lingering problems have forced him into a likely time-share with Ben Tate. If you're a Foster owner, either acquire Tate, or ship him to Tate's current owner to recover some value.

Injuries aren't the only problem. Most of the Yahoo! preseason top 10 is in a shambles. The brightest star has been Raiders running back Darren McFadden rewarding owners who might have gambled to take him higher than his No. 7 preseason rank. He's currently the top-ranked RB in Yahoo! leagues, followed closely by LeSean McCoy, who was ranked No. 11 in the preseason by Yahoo!

McFadden and McCoy are ranked third and fourth overall, behind that reliable New England pair, Tom Brady and Wes Welker. Brady and Welker were expected to both have great seasons, though they have been unexpectedly dominant, with Brady leading all passers in yards and TDs, and Welker leading all WRs in receiving yards and total fantasy points.

So, what of the Yahoo! preseason top 10? Here they are by original rank, what's gone wrong and what to expect for the rest of the season:

1) Adrian Peterson, RB, Minnesota: Current ranking: 13

What's wrong: He's averaging just under 100 yards per game, but it appears Minny isn't giving him enough red-zone carries to score much. The Vikings are relying a bit more on the arm of QB Donovan McNabb than anyone anticipated.

What to expect: A quick rebound. With Minnesota losing, Peterson is likely to get more touches, not fewer, because management likely will see his pedestrian numbers as part of the problem.

2) Arian Foster, RB, Houston: Current ranking: 1,778

What's wrong: An injury problem that probably should have been a red flag at draft time. He's collected just 33 rushing yards thus far.

What to expect: A gradual rebound. By the second half of the season, if his health holds, bigger numbers should be in store, but for now, it is unlikely he'll get as many carries as most No. 1 rushers.

3) Ray Rice, RB, Baltimore: Current ranking: 9

What's wrong: Nothing really, though his numbers have turned a bit lower than expected as QB Joe Flacco has been more successful on longer pass plays.

What to expect: As defenses migrate to cover WRs Anquan Boldin, Lee Evans and Torrey Smith, ice's numbers should bounce back from more check-down passes and more red zone carries.

4) Chris Johnson, RB, Tennessee: Current ranking: 154

What's wrong: Not enough practice and too much money. Hard to say whether the holdout of the pressure to live up to a new contract - or perhaps the absence of need to earn one - is affecting him more, but his problems are compounded by QB Matt Hasselbeck's success.

What to expect: More of the same, unfortunately. He is due for a big game, but Hasselbeck is a veteran QB who won't throw safe, short passes to Johnson - the RB's bread and butter - if he doesn't want to.

5) Rashard Mendenhall, RB, Pittsburgh: Current ranking: 135

What's wrong: With the exception of WR Mike Wallace, most of the Steelers' offense and defense is playing erratically, and Mendenhall isn't getting the ball enough.

What to expect: Things should swing back in his favor at some point if Pitt can get ahead in games and its defense goes into lock-down mode.

6) Andre Johnson, WR, Houston: Current ranking: 21

What's wrong: His team's attack was balanced in Weeks 1 and 2, and though he scored both weeks, he wasn't need as much. 128 of his 316 receiving yards came in Houston's Week 3 loss.

What to expect: The RB situation could mean more passing, but Johnson's fantasy owners should hope for Houston to struggle - that's when they need him most.

7) Darren McFadden, RB, Oakland: Current ranking: 3

What's wrong: Absolutely nothing. His preseason ranking acknowledged that some people thought his games last season were the exception rather than the rule.

What to expect: More of everything, as the Oakland game plan seems tipped in his favor. Looking at somewhere close to 2,000 yards rushing if he stays in good health.

8) Aaron Rodgers, QB, Green Bay: Current ranking: 15

What's wrong: Green Bay is too good, too quickly. Though he throws even with big leads, there's little pressure to create pass TDs after halftime, and no need for him to scramble for yards.

What to expect: He's averaging only 5.7 yards rushing per game, and if that keeps up, and the Pack keeps dominating early in games, his rank will most likely stay around 15-20.

9) Larry Fitzgerald, WR, Arizona: Current ranking: 39

What's wrong: Has struggled to get looks from QB Kevin Kolb, who, generally speaking, has struggled to complete passes to his own men.

What to expect: He's Arizona's best chance to score, and will get red-zone chances, but to get the 100-yard games we expected, Kolb needs to get better, which is a long-term prospect.

10) Maurice Jones-Drew, RB, Jacksonville: Current ranking: 27

What's wrong: He hasn't lived up to what became a bloated ranking at the last minute of the preseason as questions lingered about RBs like Foster and Chris Johnson. Translation: With 307 yards rushing, he's about where he should be.

What to expect: As he strengthens following off-season surgery, big yardage games are in his future, but scores won't be unless the Jags can keep a series or two going during his off-downs.

Expert Wire
* Yahoo! Pickups of the Week still likes Rex Grossman despite the INTs and fumbles.

* Bleacher Report lists the season's top 10 surprise performers. Look beyond the obvious (Cam Newton) for the real treasure: Raiders receiver Denarious Moore.

* The Cover Two examines hot pickups for Week 4 including my favorite, Titans WR Nate Washington. Someone will need to catch all the Hasselbeck passes that won't be going to Britt or Chris Johnson.

* SI.com looks at the fantasy effect on Michael Vick's hand injury. It's still not certain Vick will miss any time, but if he does, should the QB nod go to Vince Young or Northwestern product Mike Kafka?

-

Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 3:41 PM | Permalink

The [Tuesday] Papers

The Beachwood will return on Wednesday, unless I either die of exhaustion or the congestion in my sinuses finally blows my head off. Either would be fine with me.

(Also: fire sale!)

The [Monday] Papers
"Seven-year-old Aaron Pointer spoke his last words from the back of an ambulance," Natasha Korecki writes for the Sun-Times today.

"'I . . . am . . . tired . . . of . . . breathing,' the asthmatic boy gasped, taking breaths between each word, according to a nurse's report.

"From the front seat of the ambulance, worried mother Sharese Pointer waited and waited, hoping at any minute they'd arrive at the hospital.

"It would be the third hospital in 11 hours that her son was taken to after he suffered an asthma attack at home early in the morning of Sept. 13, 2010."

Go read the whole heartbreaking story.

Culture Wars
"Seven former Chicago aldermen - William J.P. Banks, Charles Bernardini, Mark Fary, Terry Gabinski, Patrick Huels, Terry Peterson and Miguel Santiago - are cashing in on their clout, lobbying their former City Council colleagues and other city officials to approve projects for developers and other businessmen," the Sun-Times reports.

*

See also: Skunk Population Jumps In Illinois

Mystery GOP Google Debate Theater
This transcript edited for clarity and comedy.

Pack Attack
"The Green Bay Packers have too much firepower for the Chicago Bears," Pete Dougherty writes for the Green Bay Press-Gazette

"So when the Bears failed to turn this NFC North Division rivalry into a slowdown game Sunday, they simply couldn't match the Packers at the positions that matter most.

"Quarterback? No contest, Aaron Rodgers over Jay Cutler. Receiver? The Bears don't have anyone who can make plays like Greg Jennings or a difference maker with the talent of tight end of Jermichael Finley, whose three touchdown catches announced his return to a prime role in coach Mike McCarthy's scheme

"No, when the Packers shut down Bears halfback Matt Forte, all that was left was determining the margin, which the Packers held at 27-17 in front of 62,339 spectators at Soldier Field, the same stadium where the Packers won the NFC championship eight months ago."

Or, as our very own Jim Coffman writes today:

"There isn't anything special about the Bears right now . . . The Packers on the other hand, couldn't be more special. They're so special they make you want to puke."

*

"We should have won by a larger margin that we did," Packers nose tackle B.J. Raji said.

Ouch. But true.

*

On the other hand, it's one game. And the last two games are two games. Atlanta was one game It's not that yesterday's loss isn't worrying for the Bears, it's just that it's a long season and we all (should) know by now not to get too high after wins and too low after losses.

Gas-X
"More than one-fourth of Illinois gas station operators have underreported the amount of fuel they sell to the public, allowing them to pocket millions of dollars in sales tax owed to the state," the Tribune reports.

"The three-year [state] investigation began with tips from distributors, who also operated gas stations and couldn't fathom how their rivals were selling fuel so cheaply."

Radio Daze
"The city has spent nearly $23 million on a new digital communications system that still doesn't work after more than five years - a shortcoming back in the spotlight following a federal report that criticizes the Chicago Fire Department for not having enough radios during a December fire that killed two firefighters," the Tribune reports.

"The switch to a better communications system has been delayed since Motorola got a no-bid contract in March 2006 under what the city's chief internal watchdog has said were questionable circumstances."

*

"The Chicago inspector general says that top officials of the Office of Emergency Management and Communication ignored the rules and simply handed out a $23 million contract for new digital radio equipment to a vendor of their own choosing," Chuck Goudie reported for ABC 7 last October.

"Even 'more troubling,' says the inspector general, city officials then falsified documents to cover their tracks."

*

From the Tribune:

"Chicago, which makes do with its half-century-old analog system, is the largest city in the country that doesn't equip every firefighter with a radio."

Fake Plastic Trees
"New Trier High School's finance committee will soon discuss whether to embark on what could become an approximately $3 million project to install artificial turf on two athletic fields at its Northfield campus," TribLocal Winnetka/Northfield reports.

Maybe they'll have to shorten the school day so the fields get enough use to justify the expense.

*

Yeah, well, every other comment I tried seemed too obvious.

*

"After his family moved to Wilmette, [Rahm Emanuel] attended public schools: Romona School, Locust Junior High School, and New Trier West High School."

Yeah, well, some schools are less public than others.

Bully Pulpit
One In Three CPS Students Bullied.

And two of three CPS teachers.

Area Men Might Be Millionaires
Tune in this week to see!

The Weekend In Chicago Rock
Jam-packed.

Looking For Ozzie
The choice is clear.

Dead Daisies
I wish my hair was like the leaves.

Programming Note
I'm back behind the bar tonight at the venerable Beachwood Inn. Stop in for a cold brew and witty lamentations.

-

The Beachwood Tip Line: Lamenting.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 9:06 AM | Permalink

September 26, 2011

The [Monday] Papers

"Seven-year-old Aaron Pointer spoke his last words from the back of an ambulance," Natasha Korecki writes for the Sun-Times today.

"'I . . . am . . . tired . . . of . . . breathing,' the asthmatic boy gasped, taking breaths between each word, according to a nurse's report.

"From the front seat of the ambulance, worried mother Sharese Pointer waited and waited, hoping at any minute they'd arrive at the hospital.

"It would be the third hospital in 11 hours that her son was taken to after he suffered an asthma attack at home early in the morning of Sept. 13, 2010."

Go read the whole heartbreaking story.

Culture Wars
"Seven former Chicago aldermen - William J.P. Banks, Charles Bernardini, Mark Fary, Terry Gabinski, Patrick Huels, Terry Peterson and Miguel Santiago - are cashing in on their clout, lobbying their former City Council colleagues and other city officials to approve projects for developers and other businessmen," the Sun-Times reports.

*

See also: Skunk Population Jumps In Illinois

Mystery GOP Google Debate Theater
This transcript edited for clarity and comedy.

Pack Attack
"The Green Bay Packers have too much firepower for the Chicago Bears," Pete Dougherty writes for the Green Bay Press-Gazette

"So when the Bears failed to turn this NFC North Division rivalry into a slowdown game Sunday, they simply couldn't match the Packers at the positions that matter most.

"Quarterback? No contest, Aaron Rodgers over Jay Cutler. Receiver? The Bears don't have anyone who can make plays like Greg Jennings or a difference maker with the talent of tight end of Jermichael Finley, whose three touchdown catches announced his return to a prime role in coach Mike McCarthy's scheme

"No, when the Packers shut down Bears halfback Matt Forte, all that was left was determining the margin, which the Packers held at 27-17 in front of 62,339 spectators at Soldier Field, the same stadium where the Packers won the NFC championship eight months ago."

Or, as our very own Jim Coffman writes today:

"There isn't anything special about the Bears right now . . . The Packers on the other hand, couldn't be more special. They're so special they make you want to puke."

*

"We should have won by a larger margin that we did," Packers nose tackle B.J. Raji said.

Ouch. But true.

*

On the other hand, it's one game. And the last two games are two games. Atlanta was one game It's not that yesterday's loss isn't worrying for the Bears, it's just that it's a long season and we all (should) know by now not to get too high after wins and too low after losses.

Gas-X
"More than one-fourth of Illinois gas station operators have underreported the amount of fuel they sell to the public, allowing them to pocket millions of dollars in sales tax owed to the state," the Tribune reports.

"The three-year [state] investigation began with tips from distributors, who also operated gas stations and couldn't fathom how their rivals were selling fuel so cheaply."

Radio Daze
"The city has spent nearly $23 million on a new digital communications system that still doesn't work after more than five years - a shortcoming back in the spotlight following a federal report that criticizes the Chicago Fire Department for not having enough radios during a December fire that killed two firefighters," the Tribune reports.

"The switch to a better communications system has been delayed since Motorola got a no-bid contract in March 2006 under what the city's chief internal watchdog has said were questionable circumstances."

*

"The Chicago inspector general says that top officials of the Office of Emergency Management and Communication ignored the rules and simply handed out a $23 million contract for new digital radio equipment to a vendor of their own choosing," Chuck Goudie reported for ABC 7 last October.

"Even 'more troubling,' says the inspector general, city officials then falsified documents to cover their tracks."

*

From the Tribune:

"Chicago, which makes do with its half-century-old analog system, is the largest city in the country that doesn't equip every firefighter with a radio."

Fake Plastic Trees
"New Trier High School's finance committee will soon discuss whether to embark on what could become an approximately $3 million project to install artificial turf on two athletic fields at its Northfield campus," TribLocal Winnetka/Northfield reports.

Maybe they'll have to shorten the school day so the fields get enough use to justify the expense.

*

Yeah, well, every other comment I tried seemed too obvious.

*

"After his family moved to Wilmette, [Rahm Emanuel] attended public schools: Romona School, Locust Junior High School, and New Trier West High School."

Yeah, well, some schools are less public than others.

Bully Pulpit
One In Three CPS Students Bullied.

And two of three CPS teachers.

Area Men Might Be Millionaires
Tune in this week to see!

The Weekend In Chicago Rock
Jam-packed.

Looking For Ozzie
The choice is clear.

Dead Daisies
I wish my hair was like the leaves.

Programming Note
I'm back behind the bar tonight at the venerable Beachwood Inn. Stop in for a cold brew and witty lamentations.

-

The Beachwood Tip Line: Lamenting.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 10:33 AM | Permalink

SportsMonday: Packers Induce Vomiting

Other than Brian Urlacher's interceptions, there isn't anything special about the Bears right now. There are no stellar playmakers leaving foes gasping for air. There are no defensive dervishes demanding attention on every snap.

Their special teams were almost special in the last two minutes on Sunday, of course. But then the Bears were called for holding an imaginary player on Johnny Knox's punt return for touchdown (after Devin Hester's epic fake) and that was that. The Packers prevailed 27-17 to drop the Bears to an aggravating 1-2.

The Packers on the other hand, couldn't be more special. They're so special they make you want to puke. How did this happen? How did they set up camp on the sporting mountaintop with such a relatively inexperienced team (second youngest in the league), led by a 27-year-old quarterback who could do absolutely no wrong throughout the playoffs last year and is doing it again so far this time around? General Manager Ted Thompson is smart but he isn't that smart. Coach Mike McCarthy is a great play-caller but the offense he ran in San Francisco the year before he took over the Pack finished last in the NFL. Argh.

At least the Bears stabilized the pass protection! Jay Cutler operated in a notably better pocket pretty much throughout, despite the Packers eventually recording three sacks. Of course, to create said pocket, the Bears apparently had to pass block on every play. No wonder Matt Forte averaged about a half-yard per carry.

There is a new problem, though, and it was typified by Aaron Rodgers avoiding a sack late in the game, buying some time and then passing for a big third-down conversion. At that point, the contrast between quarterbacks couldn't have been clearer. Cutler never seems to do that anymore; he never seems to move around the pocket smoothly, avoiding the rush and making a play. He plants and waits . . . and waits . . . and waits . . . for receivers to complete long downfield patterns.

I've never been an advocate of rollouts. Move your quarterback out to the side and the further he goes, the more it shrinks the field he has to work with. But the Bears need to do something to get Cutler going - using his athleticism as well as his big arm.

As for the big picture, well, there is actually reason for at least a little optimism. Not to be a Pollyanna or anything - who am I kidding, my middle name is Pollyanna - but the schedule eases up the next few weeks.

Then again I suppose that depends on whether you believe in the (3-0) Lions, whom the Bears face week after next. I vote for seeing if they can keep it going for at least a half-dozen games or so before proclaiming them the next great thing.

If not, a slate featuring Carolina next week (Cam Newton has had an amazing start to his career but slowed way down on Sunday despite his team's 13-8 win) and Minnesota on the other side of the Lions game presents an opportunity for a nice little win streak.

Game Notes
* Whew, that was a typically intelligent football fight between Devin Hester and Packer cornerback Sam Shields in the fourth quarter. At some point in a football player's career, wouldn't it become absolutely clear that punching someone wearing the impregnable personal fortress otherwise known as a football helmet is not a good idea?

No wonder they ran that fake punt shortly thereafter. After whacking Shields in the facemask several times, Hester probably couldn't feel his fingers.

* The pass protection was better but there was one huge breakdown and not surprisingly it involved Chris Williams, who blew it on the very first play of the second half. He moved to his right to double a tackle when over to his left was another lineman proceeded unimpeded to a sack.Williams was also victimized several times in the run game by quick defensive linemen slipping through his spot in the line and making tackles for losses. It is almost time to proclaim Williams, who has already washed out of the only position (left tackle) that justified his being drafted in the first round, an absolute bust.

* Paging Marion Barber . . . Marion? Hello? Did the Bears' backup running back's calf fall off? Will he ever return from the supposed lower leg strain that has now sidelined him for more than a month after he showed so much promise in the first few exhibition games? His ability to at least get a couple yards even when the blocking isn't stellar would surely be appreciated at some point this Bears season.

-

Comments welcome.


Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 9:30 AM | Permalink

The Weekend in Chicago Rock

You shoulda been there.

1. Mavis Staples feat. Andrew Bird at the Hideout Block Party on Saturday.


-

2. Jane's Addiction at the Metro on Saturday night.

-

3. Tom Tom Club at the House of Blues on Saturday night.

-

4. They Might Be Giants at the Vic on Friday night.

-

5. OMD at the Vic on Saturday night.

-

6. Jon Walker at Schubas on Saturday night.

-

7. Black Star at the House of Blues on Friday night.

-

8. Psychedelic Furs at the House of Blues on Saturday night.

-

9. Beardyman at the Double Door on Friday night.

-

10. Magic Child at the Elbo Room on Saturday night.

-

11. The Ivorys at Quenchers on Saturday night.

-

12. The Vibrators at the Ultra Lounge on Saturday night.

-

13. Eric Church at the Tinley Park shed on Saturday night.

-

14. Toro Y Moi at Lincoln Hall on Sunday night.

-

Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 8:57 AM | Permalink

Looking For Ozzie

It was one of those spring days early in the 1985 season when the air was brisk, optimism reigned, and the ballpark was lively.

On old friend found me walking in the aisle between third and home. His eyes were dancing and his energy was contagious. He said something like, "Have you seen this kid? Isn't he fabulous? I love the way he plays."

Of course, he was referring to 21-year-old rookie shortstop Ozzie Guillen, who had come over from San Diego during the winter in a trade for pitcher LaMarr Hoyt.

The kid started off well enough, sometimes leading off, other times batting ninth in Tony LaRussa's lineup. He had decent - not outstanding - speed and no power, but he made contact and used the entire diamond to drop in his singles and doubles.

Ozzie hit a solid .273 in what turned out to be his first of 13 seasons as the Sox shortstop, and he easily outdistanced all rivals to win Rookie of the Year.

Venezuelan shortstops weren't strangers at Comiskey Park. Guillen modeled his play after Luis Aparicio, who manned the position for the Sox from 1956 until 1962. Aparicio had taken over from fellow countryman Chico Carrasquel, who played the previous six seasons for the Sox, dazzling the American League with his fielding prowess.

Let's just say we had a pretty good idea the new Venezuelan would know how to pick up a ground ball.

Guillen's appeal, however, went far beyond the numbers. He won just one Gold Glove (1990) and never batted .300, although he was a model of consistency both offensively and defensively.

But it was the joie de vivre that he brought to Comiskey that set Ozzie apart. Aside from smiling and laughing and having a genuinely lovely time, Guillen more or less skipped out to his position each inning. He ran out every ground ball. He kept up a constant chatter with players and umpires. Even throwing the ball around the infield after an out was a big deal for him. He simply loved the game, and we all knew it.

Ozzie turning DP.JPG

I much prefer the joyful, talented Ozzie Guillen to the present-day Ozzie who orates about where he'll be in the future. He swallows the writers' bait every time they ask him about his contract or his relationship with Kenny Williams. He keeps telling us that he has his players' backs, even those who hit .161 or .225 and strike out 170 times. But we're not blind; the performances speak for themselves.

This season, more than any other, has taken a toll on this man, who still is young at 47. He appears angry and agitated far too often. He's not the same guy who played shortstop all those years. What happened to the sense of humor?

Going 4-18 early in the season or losing 17 of the last 26 games en route to elimination can do that to a fellow.

Jimmy Dykes (1935-46) and Al Lopez (1957-65) are the only two managers in Sox history with longer tenures than Guillen. With the exception of Connie Mack, who managed the Philadelphia A's for 50 years, few skippers continue with a ballclub much longer than Guillen. (Mack had an excuse - he also owned the team, and he saw little upside in firing himself.)

I'm not convinced that the Sox's fortunes hinge on Ozzie staying or leaving. I'm comfortable either way. The long-term contracts of Dunn and Rios and the impending departure of Mark Buehrle will be barriers to hurdle. What if Gordon Beckham really can't hit? Can Jake Peavy ever return to his previous form?

On the other hand, Brent Morel has had a rookie year reminiscent to Robin Ventura, and we all know what a splendid player he turned out to be. Alejandro De Aza looks like the leadoff man of the future and Dayan Viciedo possesses lots of promise, as do a few of the young pitchers.

Don't tell me that Guillen - or any manager - can shake Rios and Dunn out of their funks. They'll have to do it themselves.

I do think that Ozzie has a positive influence over some young players such as Alexi Ramirez, who played very little shortstop - his natural position - when he first joined the Sox in 2008. Guillen never has received enough credit for developing Ramirez, who is a solid player. Now the question is whether he has reached his peak at age 30.

Conversely, I wonder about Beckham and his problems at the plate. His production was much better when he first came up two years ago.

As far as strategy is concerned, Ozzie is not afraid to start runners, steal bases, both sacrifice and squeeze bunt, and hit-and-run. Guillen becomes very aggravated when the team doesn't execute, say, a sacrifice bunt, and I like that, too.

He also "discovered" Bobby Jenks in 2005 after closer Dustin Hermanson went down with a bum back, and this season he quickly identified Sergio Santos as the answer to the closer vacancy. Along with Don Cooper, I find little to criticize about the handling of Sox pitchers this season, especially after the Edwin Jackson trade. The emergence of Philip Humber the first half of the season would not have occurred without Ozzie's and Cooper's support.

But all the focus on Guillen's status with the club is yet one more disappointing aspect of this painful campaign. The blogs and tweets telling Ozzie to go back to Venezuela or take his vacation to Spain and make it permanent are ugly and racially-tainted.

My guess is that Wednesday will mark Guillen's last night in the Sox dugout. If so, he'll go down to Miami, and the Marlins will be better off with him in command.

If Ozzie somehow survives this most frustrating of summers, let's hope that the sense of humor, positive energy, and joy of the game return with him. The choice is clear: The Sox need the old Ozzie or a new manager.

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Comments welcome.



Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 8:25 AM | Permalink

Area Men Might Be Millionaires

Occasional Beachwood contributor (mostly when I steal his clever remarks on Facebook) John Kuczaj is one of two Chicagoland contestants who will appear on Who Wants To Be A Millionaire this week. It happens to be "Double Your Money Week," so double-fun.

The shows, of course, have already been taped and we do not know the results. We do know a little bit about the journey Kuczaj took to get there, as we will see from some Facebook posts I'll reproduce below.

First, here is the press release from Millionaire HQ:

*

There will be two local contestants from the Chicago area appearing on Millionaire's "Double Your Money" shows this week.

John Kuczaj (pronounced "Kooch-Eye"), an account service representative from Chicago IL will air on TUESDAY, SEPTEMBER 27 and Jason Washington, an admissions advisor at Colorado Technical University (online) from Downers Grove, IL will air on WEDNESDAY, SEPTEMBER 28.

Hosted by the Emmy Award-winning Meredith Vieira, Who Wants To Be A Millionaire can be seen locally in the Chicago area on WGN (CW), weekdays at 4 p.m.

BIOGRAPHICAL INFO ON JOHN KUCZAJ (MALE, AGE 42) - AIRING 09/27:

JohnKuczaj125482_9587.JPG

* John's girlfriend Crystal came to NYC with him and sat in the Millionaire audience as his on-air companion for the show. John is the son of Rose Kuczaj of Bloomingdale, IL.

* John writes and performs under the name "Atomic Shop" and can be seen at bars and open mic events in the Chicago area.

* Saying that John "collects" comic books is an understatement. Even after selling 2/3 of his collection, he currently still owns 20,000 comic books, including the first issue of Iron Man (which is worth about $600)!

* John said that if he won big on Millionaire, he would pay off debt, go on a vacation and finance his music career. With $1 million . . . hire a butler, of course!

BIOGRAPHICAL INFO ON JASON WASHINGTON (MALE, AGE 31) - AIRING 09/28:

* Jason was willing to do just about anything to get to the set of Millionaire. When bad weather canceled his flight to NYC, Jason hopped on a bus and rode all the way to the Big Apple for his chance at $1 million!

* Jason has never learned to drive and said he would be terrified of hitting the safety cones if he were to take a driving class.

* Although he works as a college admissions advisor, he secretly wishes he were a professional wrestler! His love of the sport began at the age of three when he used to watch it on TV with his grandmother.

* Jason said that if he won big on Millionaire, he would travel around America by train.

JasonWashington125483_9673.JPG

*

From John's Facebook Feed:

July 15, 6:51 a.m.: Feeling foolish, standing in a very loooong line next to a horseracing track.

July 15, 7:23 a.m.: Worst part of standing on line - having to listen to inane people who won't shut up. For even a minute. Where's my gun?

July 15, 7:39 a.m.: Intimidated. Guy in front of me obviously knows he is the smartest person in the room. Also funniest. Also has gas

July 15, 7:45 a.m.: Going to be in 2nd group testing for Millionaire...got here at 6:30...will get into the test at 8:30. Sweet.

July 15, 10:19 a.m.: Holy crap...passed the test...passed the interview. Waiting for an on-camera interview!

July 15, 10:28 a.m.: Holy crap...interview #2 @MillionaireTV !!!! #GiantButterflies

July 15, 11:05 a.m.: Oh no, the butterflies in my stomach are vomiting!!!!! @MillionaireTV

July 15, 11:40 a.m.: Okay...made it thru the Millionaire auditions. Within the next 2 weeks I will find out if I am in the contestant pool or not. Fingers X'd!!!!!

July 25, 7:26 p.m.: I made it into the "Who Wants To Be A Millionaire" contestant pool! Giggidy-Giggidy-Giggidy-Goo!

July 29, 4:55 p.m.: If I appear on "Millionaire", instead of the "Jump The Question" lifeline I'll lick my lips then tell Meredith I want to "Jump The Host".

August 9, 5:54 p.m.: Wow, that was quick! I just got the call. Have to be in New York City on August 30th for the taping. I'M GONNA BE ON "WHO WANTS TO BE A MILLIONAIRE"!!!!

August 15, 12:51 p.m.: so now the question is: if a guy flakes and does not send in all the required signed documents on Friday as the Producers requested but does fax everything noon the following Monday, will he still be on the show or is he a supreme dumbass and did his flakiness cost him his chance? Stay tuned.

August 30, 4:09 p.m.: Millionaire taping went well. Should have a preliminary air date soon. :)

August 31, 7:01 p.m.: Compared to LaGuardia, Midway airport is a Freakin Palace! My God, what a dump LGA is!!!!

September 2, 4:59 p.m.: Looking forward to a relaxing weekend after a surreal week.

September 20, 1:55 p.m.: They don't pay you until 30 days after it airs. They also can withhold paying you if you divulge how you did before it airs.

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 12:51 AM | Permalink

Chicagoetry: Dead Daisies

DEAD DAISIES

I wish.

I wish my hair
was like the leaves
of a tree, wait,

like a copse
of oak and elm.

All because of autumn.
That my hair
would change

with the seasons.
Can you imagine?!

Spring: light green
with lavender highlights,
rose tints
in the beard.

Summer: green a depth
of southern rivers
waved by the moon.

Yes: autumn would be glory.
Burnt orange, fuschia (!),
auburn and amethyst.
A festival

of blood-like tinges.
Winter? Christ.
Best the metaphor mix, fellas.

It doesn't fall out
in clumps but rather turns
a distinguished white, like

the feathery curtains
of the Buchanan manse
In East Egg. Grand!

Summer past is like Limoges
Daisy: "Do they miss me
(in Chicago)?"

"The whole town
is desolate," jills a sweating and
(can you imagine?!) young

Sam Waterston.
"All the cars
have their left rear wheels
painted black

as a mourning wreath
and there is a persistent wail

all night." Burgeoning night,
elbowing daylight to the
far side

of the feather bed.

Now the daisies
break out the wool skirt,
the velvet cloche,

the spiky boot,
with a voice of gladness,
a smile of elegance and beauty,

gliding into
our darker musings.
And my burgeoning vanity.

Comes the Nordic night,
the chastening gale and
the retreat to remembrance.

Before the brusque lake buries
our painted wheels
and dead daisies

in thick, grey drifts:
ye dreamers with empty hands

make a wish.

-

J.J. Tindall is the Beachwood's poet-in-residence. He welcomes your comments. Chicagoetry is an exclusive Beachwood collection-in-progress.

-

More Tindall:

* Chicagoetry: The Book

* Ready To Rock: The Music

* Kindled Tindall: The Novel


Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 12:23 AM | Permalink

September 25, 2011

Mystery GOP Google Debate Theater

"Despite being the third debate in the same number of weeks, the Fox News/Google-organized debate last Thursday night clocked in as the most-watched debate on television of the 2012 cycle, and netted Fox News its high-rated primetime hour this year," Mediaite reports.

Let's take a look. This transcript edited for clarity and comedy.

BRET BAIER: What makes this debate unique is that not only did you submit the questions, you voted on them, letting everyone know which questions you think the candidates should be asked tonight.

RHODES: Of course, those using the finest tuned SEO strategies had their questions rise to the top. Plus, a lot of Santorum questions for some reason.

BAIER: Governor Perry, the thing we heard from most people who submitted questions is they wanted specifics. They wanted details. Most of the people on the stage, opponents, have a specific jobs plan on paper that people can read. Where is your jobs plan?

RHODES: For now it's just a theory. It has a lot of gaps in it. But it's evolving.

BAIER: Governor Romney, you have a specific plan. In recent days, actually, the top rising search of your name on Google actually dealt with people searching for specifics of that plan.

RHODES: That's because he named it Santorum.

BAIER: But a Wall Street Journal editorial recently called your 59-point economic plan, quote, "Surprisingly timid and tactical considering our economic predicament." Specifically, the editorial board had a problem with you picking the $200,000 income threshold for eliminating interest dividends and capital gains taxes, writing that you are afraid of President Obama's, quote, "class warfare rhetoric." How do you respond to that criticism?

ROMNEY: President Obama has done everything wrong.

*

ROMNEY: I know what you have to do to make America the most attractive place in the world for business.

RHODES: Mandate health insurance?

ROMNEY: Government and regulators have to be allies of business.

RHODES: Because the revolving door industry is recession-proof.

*

BAIER: So, sir, what do you consider rich? Is half a million dollars rich, a million dollars rich? At what income does someone reach your definition of rich?

ROMNEY: I don't try to define who's rich and who's not rich. I want everybody in America to be rich.

RHODES: Doesn't that make you a socialist?

ROMNEY: I know that the president's party wants to try and take from some people and give to the others.

RHODES: And I'm sick of Wall Street getting everything and Main Street getting screwed!

ROMNEY: The way to lift America is to give people opportunity and to let them enjoy the freedoms that have made us the envy of the world.

RHODES: If we're the envy of the world, why do we have to spend so much on defense?

*

MEGYN KELLY: Congresswoman Bachmann, after the last debate a young member of the California Tea Party said he didn't feel that he had had his question fully answered.

RHODES: And that question was, were you retarded by a vaccine?

KELLY: And the question was, "Out of every dollar I earn, how much do you think that I deserve to keep?"

BACHMANN: And after the debate I talked to that young man. And I said I wish I could have answered that question because I want to tell you what my answer is. I think you earned every dollar. You should get to keep every dollar that you earn. That's your money. That's not the government's money. That's the whole point. Barack Obama seems to think that when we earn money, it belongs to him, and we're lucky just to keep a little bit of it. I don't think that at all. I think when people make money, it's their money.

RHODES: So who should pay your salary?

BACHMANN: Obviously we have to give money back to the government so that we can run the government.

RHODES: So he can't keep every dollar.

BACHMANN: What does work is private solutions that are permanent in the private sector.

RHODES: Maybe she'll answer that young man in the next debate.

*

KELLY: Senator Santorum, next question is for you.

RHODES: And as you have just seen, feel free to not answer it.

KELLY: As this map from Google depicts, 22 states in the U.S. are right-to-work states. In the other 28, if a business is a union shop, you have to join the union if you want to work there. Now, this next question is one of the top-voted questions online, and it comes to us via YouTube from Yates Wilburn of Hilton Head, South Carolina.

Q: With unemployment numbers remaining above 9 percent, union issues such as the National Labor Relations Board lawsuit against Boeing and several union battles in state legislatures across the country have become incredibly relevant to the national discussion. For all the candidates: Would you support some form of a federal right-to-work law allowing all workers to choose whether or not to join a union?

SANTORUM: I - I - I think the most important area that we have to focus in on when it comes to unions is public employee unions.

RHODES: That wasn't the question, but apparently answering questions are voluntary - just like Ron Paul's proposed air traffic control system.

SANTORUM: That's the area of unionization that's growing the fastest, and it's costing us the most money. We've seen these battles on the state level, where unions have really bankrupted states from pension plans to here in the federal level for example, 30 to 40 percent union employees make above their private sector equivalents. I do not believe that state, federal or local workers should be involved in unions. And I would actually support a bill that says that we should not have public employee unions for the purposes of wages and benefits to be negotiated.

RHODES: I propose union rules forcing candidates to answer questions.

*

KELLY: Speaker Gingrich, you criticized extending unemployment benefits, saying that you were, quote, "opposed to giving people money for doing nothing." Benefits have already been extended to 99 weeks, and they are set to expire soon. If you were president today, would you extend unemployment benefits? And if not, how do you justify that to the millions of unemployed Americans who are looking in earnest and whose families are depending on those checks?

GINGRICH: Well, what I've said is that I think unemployment compensation should be tied directly to a training program. And if you don't have a job and you need help, then in order for us to give you the help, you should sign up for a business-led training program so that that 99 weeks becomes an investment in human capital, giving us the best-trained workforce in the world.

RHODES: And with no jobs to place them in, we'll have the most skilled unemployment lines in the world.

GINGRICH: But I believe it is fundamentally wrong to give people money for 99 weeks for doing nothing. That's why we had welfare reform.

RHODES: I thought we had welfare reform so Bill Clinton could get re-elected.

GINGRICH: And frankly, the easiest thing for Congress to do if the president sends up a proposed extension is to allow all 50 states to experiment at the state level with developing a mandatory training component of unemployment compensation so you'd have 50 parallel experiments and not pretend that Washington knows best or that Washington can solve the problem by itself.

RHODES: Let's pretend Illinois knows best instead.

*

CHRIS WALLACE: Governor Huntsman, in Utah you offered millions of dollars in tax credits to promote clean energy. In June you said that, as president, you would subsidize natural gas companies. How is that different from the Obama administration, which gave the solar panel company Solyndra a half a billion dollars in federal loan guarantees? And as we all know, that company ended up bankrupt and we taxpayers ended up on the hook.

HUNTSMAN: We have learned that subsidies don't work and that we can no longer afford them.

RHODES: Tell that to Pat Quinn and Rahm Emanuel.

WALLACE: But just a 30-second follow-up, sir, in June you told the New Hampshire Union Leader that, as president, you would subsidize the natural gas industry.

HUNTSMAN: I would be willing to begin an effort, so long as there was a rapid phaseout.

RHODES: Like my first answer.

*

WALLACE: Mr. Cain, I want to follow up on your 9-9-9 . . .

RHODES: Drink!

WALLACE: . . . plan for economic growth. That's a 9 percent flat corporate tax, a 9 percent flat income tax and a new 9 percent national sales tax. Now conservatives usually say repeal the income tax before you impose a new tax. Isn't there a danger with your 9-9-9 plan, with these three taxes, that some government down the road after President Cain is going to increase three forms of taxation on Americans?

CAIN: No, there is no danger in that.

RHODES: Because there won't be a President Cain.

CAIN: This economy is on life support. That's why my 9-9-9 plan is a bold solution. It starts with throw out the current tax code and pass the 9 business flat tax, the 9 personal income and the 9 percent national sales tax. This is the most important part. It eliminates or replaces corporate income tax, personal income tax, capital gains tax, as well as the estate tax. Then it treats all businesses the same. And the people who are paying only payroll tax, 15.3 (percent), that 15.3 they don't have to pay. Now they only have to pay that 9 percent. And unlike Governor Romney's plan, my plan throws out the old one. He's still hooked to the current tax code. That dog won't hunt.

RHODES: Because he's 9-years-old.

*

WALLACE: Congressman Paul, I want to show you the video that got the most votes of all the video questions submitted to YouTube. And this one comes, as you can see, from Brandy and Michael in Spencer, Indiana.

Q: There's growing concern among Americans about the size and the scope of the federal government and its infringement upon state and individual rights.

Q: If you're elected president, how do you plan to restore the 10th Amendment, hold the federal government only to those enumerated powers in the Constitution and allow states to govern themselves?

PAUL: Well, obviously it would take more than one individual.

RHODES: Unless that individual was Herman Cain.

PAUL: But the responsibility of the president would be to veto every single bill that violates the 10th Amendment.

RHODES: Brandy and Michael don't know what a veto is. They weren't exactly star students at Spencer High - though they did plead with the city council that now was their time to dance.

*

BAIER: Governor Johnson, same question to you about the 10th Amendment, with this added: You are an outspoken libertarian. What makes you a better choice for libertarian Republicans that Congressman Paul?

JOHNSON: I started a one-man handyman business in Albuquerque in 1974 and grew it to over a thousand employees . . .

RHODES: This is like a Bud Light commercial: Here we go . . .

*

KELLY: Governor Perry, Governor Romney has been hammering you on your idea of turning Social Security back to the states, repeatedly. Can you explain specifically how 50 separate Social Security systems are supposed to work?

RHODES: Sort of like a Ponzi scheme.

PERRY: The bottom line is, is we never said that we were going to move this back to the states. What we said was we ought to have as one of the options - the state employees and the state retirees, they being able to go off of the current system onto one that the states would operate themselves. As a matter of fact, in Massachusetts, his home state, almost 96 percent of the people who are on that program, retirees and state people, are off of the Social Security program. So having that option out there to have the states - Louisiana does it - almost every state has their state employees and the retirees - that are options to go off of Social Security. That makes sense. It's an option that we should have.

RHODES: It sounds like we already do!

ROMNEY: Well, it's different than what the governor put in his book just, what, six months ago and what you said on your interviews following the book. So I don't know - there's a Rick Perry out there that's saying that it - almost to quote, it says that the federal government shouldn't be in the pension business, that it's unconstitutional, and it should be returned to the states. So you'd better find that Rick Perry and get him to stop saying that.

RHODES: He's busy right now injecting girls with vaccines.

PERRY: Speaking of books and talking about being able to have things in your books and back and forth, your economic adviser talked about "Romneycare" and how that was an absolute bust, and it was exactly what "Obamacare" was all about. As a matter of fact, between books, your hard copy book, you said that it was exactly what the American people needed to have - that's "Romneycare" - given to them as you had in Massachusetts. Then in your paperback, you took that line out. So, speaking of not getting it straight in your book, sir . . .

ROMNEY: I actually wrote my book, and in my book I said no such thing. What I said - actually, when I put my health care plan together - and I met with Dan Balz, for instance, of The Washington Post. He said, is this a plan that if you were president you would put on the nation, have the whole nation adopt it? I said, absolutely not. I said, this is a state plan for a state, it is not a national plan.

And it's fine for you to retreat from your own words in your own book, but please don't try and make me retreat from the words that I wrote in my book. I stand by what I wrote. I believe in what I did.

KELLY: Congresswoman Bachmann has said that President Obama has "ushered in socialism during his first term. "Governor Perry says that this administration is "hell-bent toward taking America toward a socialist country." When Speaker Gingrich was asked if he believes President Obama is a socialist, he responded, "Sure, of course he is." Do you, Governor Romney, believe that President Obama is a socialist?

ROMNEY: Let me tell you the title that I want to hear said about President Obama, and that is "former President Barack Obama."

RHODES: His socialism for Wall Street failed, and he lost re-election!

ROMNEY: Let me tell you this, what President Obama is, is a big-spending liberal. And he takes his political inspiration from Europe and from the socialist democrats in Europe.

RHODES: Really? That Obama must be with that other Rick Perry.

*

KELLY: Governor Huntsman, this next one's for you. This week, President Obama proposed a tax hike on millionaires, saying that they need to pay their "fair share." According to an August Gallup poll, 66 percent of American adults actually believe that a tax hike on the wealthy is a good idea to help tackle our mounting debt. Is there any scenario under which you could side with the 66 percent of people who believe that it is a good idea to raise taxes on millionaires?

HUNTSMAN: We're not going to raise taxes. This is the worst time to be raising taxes, and everybody knows that.

We need to grow. We need to be reminded of what Ronald Reagan told us so beautifully, that which is great about America - freedom.

RHODES: Right before he raised taxes seven times.

KELLY: Mr. Cain, this question was one of the top 10 video questions voted on by people online, and it comes to us from Lee Doren of Arlington, Virginia, via YouTube.

Q: My question is, if you were forced to eliminate one department from the federal government, which one would you eliminate and why?

CAIN: I would start with the EPA. It's out of control. Now I know that makes some people nervous, but the EPA has gone wild.

RHODES: Especially on spring break.

CAIN: The fact that they have a regulation that goes into effect January 1st, 2012 to regulate dust says that they've gone too far.

RHODES: Maybe the EPA should regulate Herman Cain's manure instead.

*

KELLY: Every day the federal government takes in about $6 billion, but spends about 10. So we borrow 40 cents of every dollar we spend. Now I understand that you believe that if we modernize the federal government that it will help a lot; it will saves billions. But given the resistance that we've seen in Washington, the seeming intractable resistance we've seen in Washington to spending cuts, how can you possibly slash spending by 40 percent? How can you do it?

GINGRICH: Well, the way you described the question, you can't.

RHODES: Kobayashi Maru!

GINGRICH: I believe with leadership, we can balance the budget. I did it for four consecutive years.

RHODES: Who knew Republicans in 2011 would take credit for Bill Clinton's presidency. I suppose Newt got those blow jobs too.

GINGRICH: We went from $2.2 trillion projected deficit over a decade to $2.7 trillion projected surplus when I left.

RHODES: Suck it, Boehner!

*

BAIER: The next question is for all of the candidates. It comes to us from Atlanta, Georgia, on the topic of education.

Q: Hi, I'm Stella Lohmann from Atlanta, Georgia. I've taught in both public and private schools and now as a substitute teacher. I see administrators more focused on satisfying federal mandates, retaining funding, trying not to get sued, while the teachers are jumping through hoops trying to serve up a one-size-fits-all education for their students. What, as president, would you seriously do about what I consider a massive overreach of big government into the classroom?

JOHNSON: I am going to promise to advocate the abolishment of the federal Department of Education.

SANTORUM: Yeah.

GINGRICH: You need to dramatically shrink the federal Department of Education.

RHODES: To the size of a classroom.

PAUL: If you care about your children, you'll get the federal government out of the business of educating our kids.

RHODES: And replace it with the nation's highly effective state and local governments.

PERRY: There is one person on this stage that is for Obama's Race to the Top, and that is Governor Romney. He said so just this last week. And I think that is an important difference between the rest of the people on this stage and one person that wants to run for the presidency. Being in favor of the Obama Race to the Top, that is not conservative.

ROMNEY: Nice try. (Laughter.) Let me tell you what I think I'd do. One, education has to be held at the local and state level, not at the federal level. We need to get the federal government out of education.

And secondly, all the talk about we need smaller classroom size. Look: That's promoted by the teacher's unions to hire more teachers.

RHODES: I mean, the student to teacher ratio at Cranbrook was ">8:1!

ROMNEY: We looked at what drives good education in our state. What we found is the best thing for education is great teachers. Hire the very best and brightest to be teachers, pay them properly, make sure that you have school choice, test your kids to see if they're meeting the standards that need to be met and make sure that you put the parents in charge. And as president, I'll stand up to the national teacher's unions.

RHODES: Just like Rahm.

*

BAIER: Did Governor Perry say something that wasn't true?

ROMNEY: I'm not sure exactly what he's saying.

RHODES: No one is.

ROMNEY: I don't support any particular program that he's describing. I think that the secretary of education, Arne Duncan, is doing a good thing by saying, you know what? We should insist that teachers get evaluated and that schools have the opportunity to see which teachers are succeeding and which ones are failing and that teachers that are not successful are removed from the classroom. Those ideas by Secretary Duncan, that's a lot better than what the president did, which is cutting off school choice in the Washington, D.C., schools.

BACHMANN: I would go over to the Department of Education, I'd turn out the lights, I'd lock the door . . .

RHODES: And accidentally drop a match on a bunch of oily rags in the basement.

*

WALLACE: Governor Romney, in Massachusetts, you vetoed legislation to provide in-state tuition rates to the children of illegals. Governor Perry of course signed the Texas Dream Act to do exactly that.

But what about Governor Perry's argument that it's better you get these kids an education and to get them jobs than to consign them just to being a burden on the state?

ROMNEY: It's an argument I just can't follow. I got to be honest with you. I don't see how it is that a state like Texas, to go to the University of Texas, if you're an illegal alien, you get an in-state tuition discount. You know how much that is? It's $22,000 a year. Four years of college, almost a $100,000 discount, if you're an illegal alien, to go to University of Texas.

If you're a United States citizen from any one of the other 49 states, you have to pay $100,000 more. That doesn't make sense to me. And that kind of magnet draws people into this country to get that education, to get the $100,000 break. It makes no sense.

We have to have a fence. We have to have enough Border Patrol agents to secure the fence. We have to have a system like E-Verify that employers can use to identify who's here legally and illegally. We have to crack down on employers that hire people that are here illegally. And we have to turn off the magnet of extraordinary government benefits like a $100,000 tax credit or discount for going to University of Texas.That shouldn't be allowed. It makes no sense at all.

WALLACE: Governor Perry, Dave Hollenback of Arizona sent this: "To date, it appears that you have not tried to stop the illegals from coming. We have high unemployment and a considerable amount of jobs going to illegals. Are you going to exert an effort to stop the abuse of U.S. citizens by illegals?"

Now, last year more than 16,000 children of illegals, young people in Texas, took advantage of your in-state tuition rate. Speak to that issue. And just generally, how do you feel being criticized by a number of these other candidates on the stage for being too soft on immigration, sir?

PERRY: Well, I feel pretty normal getting criticized by these folks.

RHODES: Instead of the wild-eyed right-wing nutcase I usually feel like.

PERRY: But the fact of the matter is this: There is nobody on this stage who has spent more time working on border security than I have. For a decade I've been the governor of a state with a 1,200-mile border with Mexico. We put $400 million of our taxpayer money into securing that border. We've got our Texas Ranger recon teams there now. I supported Arizona's immigration law by joining in that lawsuit to defend it. Every day I have Texans on that border that are doing their job.

But if you say that we should not educate children who have come into our state for no other reason than they've been brought there by no fault of their own, I don't think you have a heart. We need to be educating these children because they will become a drag on our society.

I think that's what Texans wanted to do. Out of 181 members of the Texas legislature when this issue came up, only four dissenting votes. This was a state issue. Texans voted on it. And I still support it greatly.

WALLACE: Senator Santorum, you say that Governor Perry's opposition to building a fence along the entire border shows that he is "a big-government moderate." Is he soft on illegal immigration?

SANTORUM: Governor Perry, no one is suggesting up here that the students that are illegal in this country shouldn't be able to go to a college and university. I think you're sort of making this leap that unless the taxpayers subsidize it, they won't be able to go. Well, most folks who want to go to the state of Texas or any other state out-of-state have to pay the full boat. The point is not that they can't go. They can go. They just have to borrow money, find other sources to be able to go. And why should they be given preferential treatment as an illegal in this country? That's what we're saying.

And so yes, I would say that he is soft on illegal immigration. I think the fact that he doesn't want to build a fence 0 he gave in a speech in 2001 where he talked about binational health insurance between Mexico and Texas. I mean, I don't even think Barack Obama would be for binational health insurance.

RHODES: Would it be mandatory?

SANTORUM: So I think he's very weak on this issue of American sovereignty and protecting our borders and not being a magnet for illegal immigration, yes.

PERRY: I've got one question for him: Have you ever even been to the border with Mexico?

SANTORUM: Yes.

RHODES: Crap.

PERRY: I'm surprised if you have, but you weren't paying attention, because the idea that you are going to build a wall, a fence for 1,200 miles and then go 800 miles more to Tijuana does not make sense. You put the boots on the ground. We know how to make this work. You put the boots on the ground.

SANTORUM: But it's not working -

PERRY: You put the aviation assets on the ground.

RHODES: Don't you put them in the air? No wonder it's not working!

SANTORUM: It's not working.

PERRY: No, it's not working, because the federal government is not -

SANTORUM: You're saying we know how it works. Is it working in Texas?

PERRY: The federal government is not engaged in this at all.

RHODES: They returned it to the states.

PERRY: When I'm the president of the United States, I'll promise one you one thing.

SANTORUM: But you're saying you put the assets there. Has it worked in Texas?

PERRY: We will put the assets on the ground, the boots on the ground, the aviation assets on the ground. And we will stop illegal immigration, we will stop the drug cartels and we will make America secure.

SANTORUM: Can you answer the question? Is it working?

WALLACE: Well, you know, you asked your question, he gave his answer, sir.

RHODES: He did?

WALLACE: Sometimes we're frustrated with all of you answering questions.

RHODES: And those asking them.

*

WALLACE: Congressman Paul, I want to ask you a question about a comment you made a couple of weeks ago about a border fence with Mexico. Here's what you said, sir. "There's capital controls and there's people control. So every time you think of a fence keeping all those bad people out, think about those fences maybe being used against us keeping us in."

Do you know a lot of Americans who want to take their money and flee the United States of America? (Laughter.)

PAUL: There are some. All the candidates up here talk about repatriation of dollars. They've already taken them overseas. We're talking about trying to bring in a trillion-and-a-half dollars because they leave our country because we make it uncomfortable; too many regulations, too much taxation; they can't start a business; they've lost confidence. Yes, when countries destroy a currency, they do lead to capital controls and they lead to people control. So I think it is a real concern.

And also, once you have these databanks, the databanks means that everybody's going to be in the databank. You say, oh, no, the databank's there for the illegals. But everybody's in the databank. That's a national ID card. If you care about your personal liberty, you'll be cautious when you feel comfortable, blame all the illegal immigrants for everything. What you need to do is attack their benefits. No free education, no free subsidies, no citizenship, no birthright citizenship. That will get to the bottom of it a lot sooner. But economically, you should not ignore the fact that in tough economic times, money and people want to leave the country. That's unfortunate.

RHODES: So a fence can keep them in? I mean, I suppose if all aviation assets are on the ground, but . . .

*

SANTORUM: Just because our economy is sick does not mean our country is sick and doesn't mean our values are sick.

RHODES: Yeah, but I don't wanna go to school today.

*

KELLY: Congresswoman Bachmann, in 2006, you said that public schools are "teaching children that there is separation of church and state" and said "I am here to tell you that's a myth." Do you believe that there is a limit on government's ability to inject religion into the public square?

BACHMANN: Well, I think that Thomas Jefferson stated it best.

RHODES: Indeed: "If we don't get some cool rules ourselves, pronto, we'll be bogus too."

BACHMANN: He was the author of the religious liberty that he valued so much, and that's that the United States government should not be a state church. That's really what the fundamental was of separation of church and state. And when Jefferson wrote a letter to the Danbury Baptists, the Danbury Baptists wanted to know, will you have a national church in the United States? He said no because we believe in freedom of conscience. We believe in freedom of religious liberty and expression and speech. That's a foundational principle in the United States.

RHODES: Yes. Let me recall that letter to the Danbury Baptists: "Believing with you that religion is a matter which lies solely between Man & his God, that he owes account to none other for his faith or his worship, that the legitimate powers of government reach actions only, & not opinions, I contemplate with sovereign reverence that act of the whole American people which declared that their legislature should 'make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof,' thus building a wall of separation between Church & State."

BACHMANN: But that doesn't mean that we aren't people of faith and that people of faith shouldn't be allowed to exercise religious liberty in the public square. Of course we should be able to exercise our faith. And whether that expression occurs in a public school or occurs in a public building, we should be able to have freedom for all people to express our belief in God.

RHODES: Including Muslims and their morning prayer during homeroom, Satan's Prayer in the cafeteria and announcements by atheists during recess.

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KELLY: Senator Santorum, this question stirred up a whole lot of controversy online. It comes from Stephen Hill, who is a soldier serving in Iraq.

Q: In 2010 when I was deployed to Iraq, I had to lie about who I was because I'm a gay soldier, and I didn't want to lose my job. My question is under one of your presidencies, do you intend to circumvent the progress that's been made for gay and lesbian soldiers in the military. (Boos.)

RHODES: That fag fought for our country! Boo! He tried to protect my freedom! Boo! He's kinda cute! Boo!

SANTORUM: Yeah, I would say any type of sexual activity has absolutely no place in the military.

RHODES: Good luck.

SANTORUM: And the fact that they're making a point to include it as a provision within the military that we are going to recognize a group of people and give them a special privilege.

RHODES: What's the special privilege, more stylish shoes?

SANTORUM: Removing "don't ask, don't tell," I think, tries to inject social policy into the military.

RHODES: Which we should never do.

SANTORUM: And the military's job is to do one thing, and that is to defend our country.

RHODES: Gay or not. Let's not inject social policy into it.

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KELLY: Governor Perry, you and our former president, George W. Bush, have a lot in common. You're both Republicans from Texas. You both ran on the same ticket for the statehouse. You both share a deep religious faith.

RHODES: And you're both ill-suited to be president.

KELLY: And you've made a point of saying, well, we went to different colleges, Texas A&M and Yale, and point out that you have a different approach from President Bush when it comes to government spending.

But what are the other differences that you can cite between you and President Bush? And what say you about these reports that there is some bad blood between the two of you?

PERRY: Well, let me address the first - or the last issue first. And we got a great rapport. I talk to the president from time to time, call him on his birthday, wish him happy birthday, talk to him on a relatively regular basis. I highly respect the president and his public service. What we have in difference is probably as much as in style as in substance on various issues.

For instance, you know, I was very vocal in my disagreement with him on Medicaid Part B, that the federal government should be involved in that very expensive program. And I was also vocal against No Child Left Behind. It gets back to the federal government has no business telling the states how to educate our children.

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WALLACE: Mr. Cain, you are a survivor of stage four colon and liver cancer. But you say if "Obamacare" had been in effect when you were first being treated, you'd be dead now. Why?

CAIN: The reason I said that I would be dead on "Obamacare" is because my cancer was detected in March of 2006. And from March 2006 all the way to the end of 2006, for that number of months, I was able to get the necessary CAT scan tests, go to the necessary doctors, get a second opinion, get chemotherapy, go to get surgery, recuperate from surgery, get more chemotherapy in a span of nine months. If we had been on the "Obamacare" and a bureaucrat was trying to tell me when I could get that CAT scan, that would have delayed my treatment. My surgeons and doctors have told me that because I was able to get the treatment as fast as I could, based upon my timetable and not the government's timetable, that's what saved my life because I only had a 30 percent chance of survival. And now I'm here five years cancer free because I could do it on my timetable and not on a bureaucrat's timetable.

This is one of the reasons I believe a lot of people are objecting to "Obamacare," because we need to get bureaucrats out of the business of trying to micromanage health care in this nation.

RHODES: And leave it in the hands of insurance agents.

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WALLACE: Governor Huntsman, you say that President Obama's health care plan is "a trillion-dollar bomb dropped on taxpayers and job creation." But I want to show you the top-voted question on YouTube that was submitted on health care, and it comes from Ian McDonald of Michigan, who says he has a health problem. Watch it, sir.

Q: Hi. I'm a student and I have a chronic heart condition. So for me and those like me, the Democrat health care reform, allowing us to stay on our parents' insurance longer, was a godsend. If you were elected, would you work, as is the stated position of your party, to repeal this reform? And if so, are we supposed to sign up for 12 credit hours and pray really hard that our ailments don't prevent us from going to class?

WALLACE: Governor, what about provisions that Ian talks about, for instance the one that allows kids to stay on their parents' policies until they're 26, or not limiting coverage for pre-existing conditions? President Obama says the only way that insurance companies can afford to provide those kinds of

HUNTSMAN: When I hear this discussion, I think of my daughter Elizabeth, who's sitting on the front row, who suffers from juvenile diabetes. And I also am reminded that we're fundamentally approaching health care reform the wrong way. This $1 trillion bomb that "Obamacare" means to this country over 10 years is creating such uncertainty in the marketplace that businesses aren't willing to hire. They're not willing to deploy capital into the marketplace. It has gummed up our system.

So you say what do we do? I say we go out to the states and let the states experiment and find breakthroughs in how we address health care reform.

RHODES: Let Pat Quinn, Michael Madigan and John Cullerton figure out how to save Ian's life.

*

HUNTSMAN: Health care reform is a $3 trillion industry. It's the size of the GDP of France. It's large. It's complicated. All I want to do is do the kind of thing we did in the state of Utah in direct response. We need affordable insurance policies. We don't have affordable insurance policy today. We got one in the state of Utah, a stripped-down, bare-bones catastrophic coverage policy that young people could finally afford. And then you can start whittling down the high percentage of the people who are uninsured in this country because they have an affordable policy.

BAIER: Congresswoman Bachmann, in the last debate, you criticized Governor Perry for his executive order mandating that sixth-graders get the HPV vaccine to prevent cervical cancer. Then afterwards you suggested that the vaccine was linked to mental retardation, and you said that it could, quote, "potentially be a very dangerous drug." But the American Academy of Pediatrics has looked at it and says that the HPV vaccine has an excellent safety record. So my question to you is, do you stand by your statement that the HPV vaccine is potentially dangerous, and if not, should you be more careful when you're talking about a public health issue?

BACHMANN: Well, first, I didn't make that claim, nor did I make that statement. Immediately after the debate, a mother came up to me, and she was visibly shaken and heartbroken because of what her daughter had gone through, and so I only related what her story was.

RHODES: I'm only relating that some members of your staff think you are a dolt. Not my claim, just what others are saying. Also: spaghetti causes cancer and evolution is just a theory.

BACHMANN: But here's the real issue. Governor Perry mandated a health care decision on all 12-year-old little girls in the state of Texas. And by that mandate, those girls had to have a shot for a sexually transmitted disease. That is not appropriate to be a decision that a governor makes. It's appropriate that parents make that decision in consultation with their doctor.

But here's the even more important point, because Governor Perry made a decision where he gave parental rights to a big drug company. That big drug company gave him campaign contributions, and hired his former chief of staff to lobby him to benefit the big drug company. That's what was wrong with that picture.

PERRY: I got lobbied on this issue. I got lobbied by a 31-year-old young lady who had stage four cervical cancer. I spent a lot of time with her. She came by my office. She talked to me about this program. I've readily admitted that we should have had an opt-in in this program, but I don't know what part of opt-out most parents don't get.

RHODES: The opt-out part.

PERRY: And the fact is, I erred on the side of life, and I will always err on the side of life.

RHODES: Except when it comes to the death penalty.

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WALLACE: Governor Perry, Texas has the most uninsured residents of any state in the country, 25 percent. In the last debate, you blamed it on restrictions imposed by the federal government, but we checked about that, sir. In fact, the feds treat Texas like they do all the other big states. On its own, Texas has imposed some of the toughest eligibility rules for Medicaid of any state in the country. In fact, you rank 49th in Medicaid coverage of low-income residents. So the question is, isn't Texas' uninsured problem because of decisions made by Texas?

PERRY: Well, I disagree with your analysis there because we've had a request in for the federal government so that we could have a Medicaid waiver for years and the federal government has stopped us from having that Medicaid waiver. Allowing the state of Texas, or for that matter the other states that we're making reference to here, to have waivers give them more options to be able to give the options. There's a menu of options that we could have, just like Jon Huntsman talked about. That is how we go forward with our health care, each state deciding how they're going to deliver that health care, not one-size-fits-all.

RHODES: Or none-size-fits-all.

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WALLACE: Governor Romney, the other day Governor Perry called "Romneycare" "socialized medicine." He said it has failed in Western Europe and in Massachusetts, and he warns that Republicans should not nominate - his words - "Obama Lite."

RHODES: Isn't "Obama Lite" redundant?

ROMNEY: I don't think he knows what he's talking about in that regard.

Let me tell you this about our system in Massachusetts. Ninety-two percent of our people were insured before we put our plan in place. Nothing's changed for them. The system is the same. They have private, market-based insurance.

We had 8 percent of our people that weren't insured. And so what we did is, we said let's find a way to get them insurance - again, market-based, private insurance. We didn't come up with some new government insurance plan. Our plan in Massachusetts has some good parts, some bad parts, some things I'd change, some things I like about it. It's different than "Obamacare." And what you heard from Herman Cain is one absolutely key point, which is "Obamacare" intends to put someone between you and your physician.

RHODES: I got news for you, Mitt: They're already there.

PERRY: I think Americans just don't know sometimes which Mitt Romney they're dealing with. Is it the Mitt Romney that was on the side of - against the Second Amendment before he was for the Second Amendment? Was it - was before - he was before the social programs from the standpoint of - he was for standing up for Roe versus Wade before he was against first - Roe versus Wade? Him - he was for Race to the Top. He's for "Obamacare" and now he's against it.

ROMNEY: I'll use the same term again: nice try. Governor, I wrote a book two years ago and I laid out in that a book what my views are on a wide range of issues. I'm a conservative businessman. I haven't spent my life in politics, I spent my life in business. I know how jobs come, how jobs go. My positions are laid out in that book. I stand by them.

Governor Perry, you wrote a book six months ago. You're already retreating from the positions that were in that book.

PERRY: Not a - not a - not an inch, sir.

ROMNEY: Yeah, well, in that book it says that Social Security was forced upon the American people. It says that by any measure, Social Security is a failure. Not to 75 million people. And you also said that it should be returned to the states. Now, those are the positions in your book.

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BAIER: Independent New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg recently fretted over the possibility of the unemployed rioting in the streets. Ohio's Republican governor, John Kasich, recently said, "For the first time in my life, I'm worried about this country." And recently a liberal columnist wrote this, quote: "We've lost our mojo." You know, President Obama promised hope and change. And according to many polls, fewer and fewer Americans believe he's delivered. Now, I'm not asking for your jobs plan here. What I'm asking for is how are you going to turn this country around?

RHODES: Give it back to the states.

CAIN: I've already laid out how I would do that with my 9-9-9 plan.

RHODES: Drink!

BACHMANN: It's time to reach for the brass ring of liberty once again.

RHODES: The one attached to her husband's nipple?

ROMNEY: These are tough times for a lot of people in this country, but we are a patriotic people. We place our hand over our heart during the playing of the national anthem. No other people on Earth do that.

RHODES: That's true.

SANTORUM: America is a great country because we are a country that believes in God-given rights to every single man, woman and child in America.

RHODES: Except the gays.

*

JOHNSON: My next-door neighbor's two dogs have created more shovel-ready jobs than this current administration.

*

BAIER: Our wild card question come from Darrell Owens in Richmond, Virginia.

Q: If you had to choose one of your opponents on the stage tonight to be your running mate in the 2012 election, who would you choose and why? And why would this person help you make the country better?

JOHNSON: Well, that would be the guy three down, Congressman Paul.

SANTORUM: Newt Gingrich.

GINGRICH: Yeah, I'm going disappoint those in the audience who want this to be a Hollywood game. I don't have any idea who I would pick as the vice presidential nominee. What I do know is it would have to be a person capable of being the president of the United States, and that would be the first criteria.

PAUL: I don't plan to make a choice at the moment because I am on national polls. It seems like I'm in third place now. I think it would be inappropriate.

As soon as I'm one of the two top tier, then I will start thinking along that line. But right now I'm going to defer and just work very hard and make sure that I stay in the top tier and then eventually be one of the top two contenders.

PERRY: Well, staying with the game show idea here, I don't know how you would do this but if you could take Herman Cain and mate him up with Newt Gingrich, I think you would have a couple of really interesting guys to work with.

RHODES: Mate him up?

ROMNEY: There are a couple of images I'm going to have a hard time getting out of my mind. That's one, and Gary Johnson's dogs are the other.

*

BAIER: Governor Romney, I hate to follow up here, but you called Governor Perry unelectable based on his Social Security -

AUDIENCE MEMBERS: Oooh!

ROMNEY: Actually, I didn't use that term, but the newspaper did. That happens now and then.

BACHMANN: Obviously we need to have a strong constitutional conservative. And that's what I would look for in a vice president. But I want to say this as well: Every four years conservatives are told that we have to settle. And it's anybody but Obama - that's what we're hearing this year. I don't think that's true. I think if there's any year - President Obama has the lowest public approval ratings of any president in modern time.

RHODES: Not even close.

CAIN: This is a game, and it is hypothetical. I'll play the game. If Governor Romney would throw out his jobs growth plan and replace it with "999" . . .

RHODES: Drink!

CAIN: . . . he has a shot. If he does not, I would probably go with Speaker Gingrich, who I have the greatest admiration for, in all seriousness, because of his history and then because of his depth of knowledge.

HUNTSMAN: You know, I'm tempted to say that when all is said and done, the two guys standing in the middle here, Romney and Perry, aren't going to be around because they're going to bludgeon each other to death.

But I'm also reminded of about four years ago, we had two front-runners in similar situations, one by the name of Rudy Giuliani, I think, and the other by the name of Fred Thompson. They seemed to disappear altogether. I can't remember where they went.

But I would have to say since Chris Wallace doesn't qualify as somebody on the stage, so I can't - I can't pick one of you, that Herman Cain, because of his selection of ties, the fact that we both apparently agree with the gold standard; we're, you know, wearing yellow ties here tonight - and because the good neighbor policy, 999, mixed with my tax policy, would be the most competitive thing this nation could ever achieve, I'd have to say Herman's my man.

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 2:17 PM | Permalink

September 24, 2011

The Weekend Desk Report

We'll be doing a lot of things this weekend, but this sure as hell isn't one of them.

Market Update
Well, take heart. The next time the market decides to plummet there's only a 1-in-22 trillion chance that it will crush you to death.

United Front
The international community is shuffling uncomfortably and staring at its shoes this week after Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas formally requested UN recognition. In addition to forcing Israel's hand, full statehood clears the way for Palestine to opt out of No Child Left Behind. Which is, in a word, awkward!

Call of Duty
What looks worse than refusing to accept a few unpaid furlough days for a job you barely work? Admitting you've barely been working it of course.

Solar Flair
A flurry of activity has greeted the news that scientists at Cern have found something that travels faster than the speed of light. That thing is, of course, graft.

Ray of Light
Of course, scientists at Chicagoland's Fermilab have already discovered something traveling faster than the speed of light: a CTA bus.

Rock the Vote
At least one county in Indiana has rejected a state law aimed at streamlining election ballots by removing the names of unopposed candidates. Meanwhile, state senate leaders have vowed to fix the law and cut costs by informing citizens of election results before they even show up to vote.

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The Weekend Desk Tip Line: Streamlined.

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The College Football Report!

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The CAN TV Weekend Viewing Guide

A Community Forum on Immigration

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IL Rep. Luis Gutierrez holds a community meeting to highlight the impact of new policies announced by the Obama administration on immigrants facing deportation.

Watch this program online.

Sunday, September 25 at 9 a.m. on CAN TV21
1 hr

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New Legislations' Impact On Illinois Homeowners

31163-Condo.jpg

IL Sen. John Cullerton explains how new and proposed legislation will affect owners and residents of condominiums, cooperatives, and homeowners associations in Illinois.

Sunday, September 25 at 10 a.m. on CAN TV21
42 min

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North America Now: A Closer Look at the Continent Ten Years After 9/11

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Journalist Marcus Riley joins cultural leaders, politicians, and others to explore relations between Canada, the United States, and Mexico on the 10th anniversary of the 9/11 attacks.

Sunday, September 25 at 1:30 p.m. on CAN TV21
2 hrs

Posted by Natasha Julius at 9:24 AM | Permalink

September 23, 2011

The College Football Report's Long (Somewhat) And Illustrious (Kind Of) History Of The Big Six

In mid-August, as the Texas A&M Board of Regents mulled the move to the Southeastern Conference, the axis of the college football world (and sports commentary in general) went on tilt. The Texas A&M Aggies, of all people (things?), seemed poised to violate the sanctity of the Big Six power conferences.

But a closer look at the conferences in question offers some perspective on all the hysteria.

We take issue with the reasons behind the latest realignment (never that noble historically, much less today), and would rather focus on root causes and leave the hand-wringing to others.

Besides, it's not as if the regents nailed a list of grievances to the Big 12 headquarters, although it's possible A&M just didn't have a printer big enough enough to handle the task.

We wish the Aggies all the best, although the consensus around the water cooler paints a bleak picture for their prospects against the likes of LSU, Alabama, Auburn, Tennessee, Georgia and Florida. Yikes. Why would anyone willingly walk into that lions' (and Volunteers, and Bulldogs, and Gators . . . ) den? We have a theory - see below.

The Long (somewhat) and Illustrious (kind of) History of the Big Six, CFR Edition

The Atlantic Conference: Of the eight founding schools, seven remain. The ACC has added five programs since 1978, and three (Miami, Virginia Tech and Boston College) as recently as 2004-05. Last Saturday, in the midst of the latest upheaval, the conference approved the formal applications of two new members as a bulwark against any further sallies from fellow conferences. Welcome, Syracuse and Pittsburgh to the ACC. We are glad you're here.

The Big East: Anchored in the East Coast and along the Atlantic seaboard, the Big East formed in 1979 when a group of schools renowned for hoops banded together. (This is good. We like hoops that band things.) The founding universities included the likes Syracuse, St. John's, UConn and Georgetown. The Big East did not have much of a reputation for football until 1991, when the conference pursued several southern teams - like Miami and Virginia Tech - to join. Full league play didn't start until 1993 and despite this rich and storied history of gridiron glory, six football programs have seen fit to switch allegiances in the past 18 years. The Big East has managed to stay afloat, despite perpetual threats from neighboring conferences like the ACC, and recently (2005) added another three programs followed by TCU effective in 2012. The Big East: like that girl you dated but never took out in public.

The Big Ten: Arguably the most stable conference, membership in the Big Ten remained unchanged (more or less) from 1912 (with the addition of Ohio State) through 1950 (Michigan State) until 1990. At that point, the Nittany Lions of Penn State joined, raising the total to eleven. Further confusing the matter, Nebraska joined effective for the 2011 season making the Big Ten the Big 12 although still called the Big Ten, for obvious reasons. Is it just us, or does the new conference logo look a little like . . . the Big 16?

Little known fact: The University of Chicago was a founding member and remained in the conference until 1946. Probably just as well. We doubt the Maroons would stand up well to the likes of Wisconsin and Ohio State.

The Big 12: The powerhouse conference, bookended by Texas and Oklahoma, didn't exist prior to 1996. In 1994, the Big Eight members joined with four Texas schools from the (now defunct) Southwest Conference. The Big 12 does not claim any of the history or prior records of the Big Eight although traditional rivalries (and ill-will) have stood the test of time. With Colorado (Pac-12) and Nebraska gone, and A&M slipping out the back door, nine of the Big 12 remain. The conference intends to add a tenth, possibly BYU, TCU or Louisville, although the latter doesn't seem to make much sense from a geographic perspective.

The Pac-12, formerly the Pac-10: We have to give respect to the Pacific-12 Conference - while every other league has kept the traditional nomenclature in place, the Pac-12 simply added two. Although we understand the Big Ten/Big 12 predicament. Then again, that is why we called in the Free Range Chicken last week!

The SEC: The "chinstrap conference" dates to 1932 when 13 members of the Southern Conference formed what is now the Southeastern Conference. Ten of the original group persist, joined by Arkansas and South Carolina in 1991. SEC fans take pride in the cohesive nature and geographic proximity of the league - as the story goes, every campus (but Arkansas) can be reached in an afternoon's drive from the conference headquarters in Birmingham, Alabama. After adding A&M, SEC fans will put a lot more miles on their campers - College Station is 683 miles from Birmingham. That sounds like an all-day trip to us. Cletus, to the Tailgatemobile!

The Aggies cited a number of reasons for their departure from the Big 12, but the largest figure hasn't been mentioned in press conference or interviews: $220 million. That is the amount the Southeastern Conference distributed to member schools for the 2010-11 fiscal year. While Texas A&M needs to resolve some paperwork to make the move, most reports seem to agree that the Aggies are all but gone from the Big 12. We assume the school presidents of the SEC won't need to convene for long before making matters official.

Bonus: Founding member Sewanee dropped out of the SEC in 1940. That's right, the University of the South couldn't hack it. Ah, Sewanee, home of "serious intellectual pursuit, collaborative learning, community outreach, and spiritual growth." And Confederate belt buckles. You can't forget the Lost Cause. God knows Sewanee hasn't.

Texas, Oklahoma, To Take Their Ball And Go Home

In the wake of A&M's departure, Texas and Oklahoma, the mainstays of the Big 12, flirted briefly with the Pac-12. Despite any statements to the contrary, the two schools did not stay based on the 100+ years of conference rivalries.

For example, Texas can't be bothered to continue the annual game against A&M which has played every year since 1894.

No, instead the Big 12 powers stuck together for two reasons: The BCS and cash - of the cold hard variety.

Regarding the former, Oklahoma head coach Bob Stoops spoke for . . . well, the Sooners of course, but also presumably Texas as no one else in the remaining Big 12 has a reasonable shot at a BCS championship: "[T]he way it's been structured has been good for football and all of the teams."

Well, no. It's been good to UT, OU and Nebraska, and the Huskers are gone. So, that leaves you two. As for the finances, the nine remaining programs signed a binding six-year agreement leashing every member to the conference with golden handcuffs. Remember those?

Well, the Big 12 poobahs resurrected the idea, constructing a stiff set of penalties that would force schools to return all revenues from games broadcast by ABC, ESPN and Fox to the Big 12 upon departure from the conference. Presumably, that means all the cash over the course of the agreement, not just the season prior to leaving. Ouch.

What does it all mean? On the one hand, not much. The status quo - the rule of big money and hubris - has not changed. As Pete Thamel of the New York Times put it ("The Only Thing That Rules College Football Is Anarchy") in the midst of the A&M turmoil:

"For all the billions of dollars, millions of fans and boundless passion that surround college football, that has always been its glaring and bizarre flaw. No one is looking out for the greater good of the game. No one is guiding the sport toward long-term prosperity and short-term sensibility. No one is building consensus and channeling all of the ratings, financial success and popularity toward an outcome that is positive for everyone in the sport."

Does that make us rubes for caring? Probably, but we should feel more foolish about yearning for a Golden Age that never existed. We propose a new condition, following the historical precedents of nostalgia (at one point a medical condition) and solastalgia: footballgia. In a world where Yugo-nostalgia can be a thing, why not footballgia?

The Sports Seal's Picks, Week Four

Saturday, September 24

Central Michigan @ Michigan State (-21.5), 11:00AM Central
San Diego State (+10.5) @ Michigan, 11:00AM Central
Georgia (-10) @ Ole Miss, 11:20AM Central
Florida (-19.5) @ Kentucky, 6:00PM Central

The Free Range Chicken's Picks, Week Four

Arkansas @ Alabama (-11), 2:30PM Central; Alabama by 40
Rice @ Baylor (-20.5), 6:00PM Central; Rice by 24
LSU (-6) @ West Virginia, 7:00PM Central; LSU by 2

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 6:14 PM | Permalink

The [Friday] Papers

1. Block Party Returns To Hideout After Two-Year Hiatus.

2. "The regulatory agencies in charge of finalizing some of the most controversial rules mandated by the financial reform law are leaning toward making them looser and more favorable to banks and other traders," ProPublica reports.

Obama's real class war.

3. "Environment Illinois [Thursday] released a new report finding dangerous levels of smog pollution in Chicago, the St. Louis area, and across Illinois. The new report, Danger in the Air: Unhealthy Air Days in 2010 and 2011, shows that Chicagoland residents were exposed to air pollution levels that make it dangerous to breathe on 10 days in 2010. In the St. Louis metropolitan area, there were 23 such days, ranking it the 7th smoggiest large metropolitan area in the country. Smog is a harmful air pollutant that leads to asthma attacks and exacerbates respiratory illnesses, especially among children and the elderly."

Obama's real class war.

4. The Business Of Michael Jordan Is Booming.

I wonder if he pays more or less in taxes than his secretary.

5. Goddard Schools throughout Chicagoland will participate in a national effort to make the Guinness Book of World Records for the Largest Game of Simon Says in Multiple Venues, according to TribLocal Elgin.

The Chicago City Council holds the record for the Longest Game Of The Mayor Says.

6. Mini-Medical School Open To Community Members.

Evil mini-medical school?

7. "By the time Maxwell Gabriel allegedly crashed his taxi into a pedestrian, he had been stopped 22 times by police in the last 3 1/2 years," the Tribune reports.

"According to the citations, Gabriel had sped at twice the posted limit, blown through stop signs and caused three other crashes before the woman was hit while crossing Michigan Avenue in June. In all, he had racked up 34 tickets since 2008 - well beyond the city's three-a-year limit for flagging dangerous cabdrivers.

"But almost all the tickets were wiped from his driving record, allowing Gabriel to renew his taxi license year after year.

"That's because Cook County judges dismissed the vast majority of his tickets, as they have done with many other heavily ticketed cabbies, the Tribune has found.

"An analysis by the newspaper suggests that a far higher percentage of tickets are thrown out for cabbies on average than for regular drivers. The frequent court dismissals have repeatedly helped cabbies keep their chauffeur's licenses - including drivers who were later blamed for injuring or killing pedestrians."

8. "SkeeNation, a fan-run league for the classic coin-op game of skee-ball, expands to Chicago this week and has added a dedicated Web page to report and promote player activity in the Windy City," Vending Times reports. "The group is online at SkeeNation.com and on Facebook."

9. "Jerry Reinsdorf has launched another attempt to buy the Phoenix Coyotes," the Edmonton Journal reports.

10. The Chicago Foreclosure Logjam.

11. Troy Davis: American Sacrifice.

12. NPR saves All My Children.

13. The Week in Chicago Rock.

14. The Week in WTF.

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The Beachwood Tip Line: Skin, teeth.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 10:07 AM | Permalink

Troy Davis: American Sacrifice

"Michael Leo Owens, associate professor of political science at Emory University in Atlanta, discusses the potentially flawed mechanics of America's democratic justice system."

"Owens specializes in urban, state and local politics, political penology, governance and public policy processes, religion and politics, and African American politics. Owens is an associate of Emory's Office of University-Community Partnerships and Center for the Study of Law and Religion.

"Author of God and Government in the Ghetto: The Politics of Church-State Collaboration in Black America (University of Chicago Press, 2007), his current book project is Prisoners of Democracy, a study of the politics, policies and attitudes that diminish the citizenship of felons in the United States."

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 9:44 AM | Permalink

The Chicago Foreclosure Logjam

Chicago region foreclosure cases are taking longer to complete the foreclosure process, resulting in a dramatic drop in foreclosure completions from the first half of 2010 to the first half of 2011, new data from Woodstock Institute show. As fewer cases complete the foreclosure process each quarter, it is likely that the number of homes tied up in the foreclosure process is growing.

1h11auctions.png

The data show that:

* The Chicago region experienced a significant decrease in foreclosure auction activity in the first six months of 2011 as compared to the first six months of 2010. In the six-county region, 8,515 cases completed the foreclosure process at auction in the first half of 2011. This represents a 50.9 percent decline in regional auction activity when compared to the first half of 2010, when 17,331 cases completed the foreclosure process.

* Lake County and Cook County saw the greatest declines from the first half of 2010 to the first half of 2011. Over that time period, completed foreclosure auctions declined by 55.2 percent in Lake County and by 55.1 percent in Cook County.

* Completed foreclosure auction activity in the second quarter of 2011 was at its lowest level since the beginning of the housing crisis. In the six-county region, only 3,604 properties completed the foreclosure process in second quarter of 2011 - fewer auctions than in any other quarter since 2007.

* Fewer cases completing in a given quarter are likely influenced by longer foreclosure process times, which are currently at record highs. For cases in the six-county region that completed the foreclosure process at auction in the second quarter of 2011, the median length of the foreclosure process was 359 days--a record high since 2008. This is 25.5 percent longer than cases completing in second quarter of 2010, 26.9 percent longer than cases completing in the second quarter of 2009, and 50.8 percent longer than cases completing in the second quarter of 2008.

* Kane County and Will County saw the longest median length of the foreclosure process for cases completing in the second half of 2011. Cases in Kane County spent a median of 390 days in the foreclosure process, while the median days-in-process was 373 days in Will County.

* Foreclosure process times were the shortest in McHenry County, where median days-in-process was 307 days for cases completing in the second quarter of 2011.

* As fewer cases complete the foreclosure process each quarter, the number of cases and properties tied up in the foreclosure process is growing. In the second quarter of 2011, seven percent of Illinois loans held by a servicer were in foreclosure - one of the four highest rates in the nation.

These trends are a continuation of declines in foreclosure auctions observed at the end of 2010. The 2010 declines were attributed to the moratoria that many servicers imposed in response to the robo-signing scandal. Today, county courts are processing cases that would have been scheduled in 2010 in addition to foreclosure cases filed in 2011, which is likely straining their capacity.

"A prolonged foreclosure process cuts both ways. It means that vacant homes in foreclosure have more time to become blighted and destabilize neighborhoods," says Sarah Duda, Senior Research and Project Associate at Woodstock Institute. "If a family is still in the home, however, the longer process could give them more time to negotiate a solution with their loan servicer.

"Significant outreach efforts must be made to inform homeowners of their rights and connect them with housing counseling, mediation, and legal aid resources. In addition, county courts should investigate ways to expedite the foreclosure process for vacant homes so that they have less time to deteriorate. Illinois should also pursue legislation that empowers communities to better hold servicers accountable for maintenance of homes before the foreclosure process is completed."

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 9:29 AM | Permalink

Saving All My Children Through The Generous Support Of National Public Radio

As the venerable soap opera All My Children finishes its 42-year run today due to the high cost of production and recent ratings - i.e., lack of funding - it's time for a modest programming proposal:

All My Children, known as "AMC," can still be saved by All Things Considered, known as "ATC" - which recently just managed to hang on to its own funding from the federal government. The new show shall be called All My Considerations ("AMC"), hosted by Erica Kane and Robert Siegel, with correspondents from both ancestor programs. Staff romances shall be encouraged to interfere with the news. Let's listen in.

Robert Siegel: Good evening, this is All My Considerations. I'm Robert Siegel.

Erica Kane (breathy): And I'm Erica Kane. And I love your voice, Robert.

Robert Siegel: Thank you Erica. On Capital Hill today -

Erica Kane (sultry): It's so well-modulated, the timbre is so . . . authoritative. Why, I just can't help believing everything you tell me. You can even get me to listen to yet another recently discovered cache of Depression-era field tapes of excruciatingly bad Appalachian folk singers.

Robert Siegel: All right Erica, now in Washington today -

Erica Kane (steely): Yes Robert, I can believe anything you tell me, except your pathetic excuses for coming home late every night!

Robert Siegel: Erica, be reasonable. Pine Valley is a long commute, and I really did get a flat tire in Center City yesterday. Can I help it if Center City is populated almost exclusively by prostitutes with hearts of gold?

Erica Kane (teary): There are plenty of poor people who turn out to be related to Pine Valley residents too! That's where we used to get all our new black characters!

Robert Siegel: I swear, the tow truck driver wouldn't come to Center City, so I had to accept a ride from that young hooker.

Erica Kane (hysterical): No, I won't listen! Your calm, fatherly tone always makes me feel like you'll make everything better, but you don't! There are still horrible earthquakes and serial killers and Michelle Bachmann! You can't control the news, and you can't control me either anymore!

Robert Siegel: We'll discuss this over dinner, Erica. Just us.

Erica (breathy): Really? Alright. I - I'm sorry. Now, to Capitol Hill. Michele Norris and Tad Martin bring us the latest.

Michele Norris: House Speaker John Boehner continued attacking President Obama's new jobs plan as -

Tad Martin: Michelle, are you trying to seduce me?

Michele Norris: No Tad, this is how I always talk when I'm broadcasting.

Tad Martin: Oh, sorry! What, did you take elocution lessons from Erica?

Michele Norris: Again Tad, no. This is simply my professional speaking voice.

Tad Martin: Interesting. What do you sound like off the air?

Michele Norris: Phyllis Diller, I'm told.

Tad Martin: You know who else you remind me of? My old high school girlfriend's mom, Mrs. Colby. What a voice. That's why I couldn't resist sleeping with both of them.

Michele Norris: Thank you, Tad. I should still be hosting with Robert, don't you think? Instead of Erica?

Tad Martin: Oooh. I'm not getting in the middle of that one, but I can't wait for the catfight between you two.

Michele Norris: That will be next Friday, the last story.

Robert Siegel: The crisis continues at Japan's crippled Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant. Anthony Kuhn reports from Tokyo.

SFX: Door crashing open.

Jackson Montgomery: Wait! Don't talk to him!

Erica Kane: Well my goodness Jack, the door wasn't locked, you didn't have to knock it down. What is it?

Jackson Montgomery: Erica, remember when you asked me whatever happened to Alan Alda? Well he's been in Asia! Anthony Kuhn is Alan Alda!

Erica Kane: That's impossible.

Jackson Montgomery: Wait - remember that geeky kid who secretly videotaped the NPR fundraiser with fake Muslim donors, forcing the CEO of NPR to resign?

Robert Siegel: James O'Keefe has been completely discredited. He edited that tape, Jack.

Jackson Montgomery: But he just released another videotape of Anthony Kuhn to prove he's Alan Alda, and that NPR reporters are all part of a vast liberal conspiracy to bring Americans the only decent daily broadcast journalism in the country!

Robert Siegel: Oh my God. Did he go after Eleanor Beardsley too?

Jackson Montgomery: Yes! She's really Sarah Vowell!

Erica Kane: Then that means . . .

Robert Siegel: Yes. Peter Overby is David Sedaris.

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Comments welcome.


Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 9:07 AM | Permalink

The Week in Chicago Rock

You shoulda been there.

1. Cut Copy at the Riv on Tuesday night.


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2. Laura Marling at Lincoln Hall on Thursday night.

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3. Guster at Montrose Beach on Thursday night.

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4. Ikarus Down at the Elbo Room on Tuesday night.

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5. Brad Paisley at Joe's Bar on Wednesday night.

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6. Ani DiFranco at the Vic on Wednesday night.

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7. Scott Lucas at Lincoln Hall on Wednesday night.

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8. Washed Out at the Riv on Tuesday night.

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9. The Raincoats at the Double Door on Tuesday night.

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10. The Nawal Quartet at Millennium Park on Wednesday night.

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 8:26 AM | Permalink

The Week in WTF

1. Dennis Gannon, WTF?

State Republican leader Tom Cross wants to put an end to this, though you wonder how the law ever got passed in the first place. Oh, wait a sec. It's Chicago, where armed robbery does not require a gun.

But let's put two disparate facts together about how things work in Chicago to reach a wholly different conclusion.

First, there's this organized pension hijack. And then there's this. One of the inexplicable aspects of the still-undecided gambling expansion bill allows Chicago to have its own commission to enforce fairness and integrity for the city's presumed new casino. Yes, Chicago's foxes-in-the-henhouse powerbrokers running the gambling house and keeping organized crime away. What possibly could go wrong ethically with that?

2. Cook County Commissioners, WTF?

County Board President Toni Preckwinkle says the hell-no-we-won't-furlough commishes are not acting as "role models" for weaseling out on the county vote to take less pay and more time off. A few problems. When did we ever think they were role models? And why are we so mean to weasels comparing them to Cook County commissioners?

3. Guy aisles, WTF?

If they add easily accessible porn and cheap lap dances, this would be the perfect merchandising plan.

4. Sylshina London, WTF?

The first group of people who forget they are being videoed on Chicago's blue-light cameras apparently are cops. Look up, folks. Despite the exculpatory evidence on hand, prosecutors did not bother to look at it and convicted the innocent citizen anyway. We need the cameras focused on prosecutors, too. You can't use the word "exculpatory" too often.

5. Dan Rutherford, WTF?

Attention shoppers: There's a large pile of weasel manure in Aisle 5, and Illinois Treasurer Dan Rutherford left it.

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 7:56 AM | Permalink

September 22, 2011

The [Thursday] Papers

"Most city workers spend decades in public service to build up modest pensions. But for former labor leader Dennis Gannon, the keys to securing a public pension were one day on the city payroll and some help from the Daley administration," the Tribune reports.

"And his city pension is more than modest. It's the highest of any retired union leader: $158,000. That's roughly five times greater than what the typical retired city worker receives.

"In fact, his pension is so high that it exceeds federal limits and required the city pension fund to file special paperwork with the Internal Revenue Service to give it to him.

"Gannon's inflated pension is a prime example of how government officials and labor leaders have manipulated city pension funds at the expense of union workers and taxpayers."

Dennis Gannon, you are Today's Worst Person In Chicago.

*

"Gannon declined to be interviewed for this story but issued a statement through a spokesman for the Illinois Sports Facilities Authority, where he is a board member."

Wait - he used a spokesman for a board that has nothing to do with the story to issue a statement? Isn't that an inappropriate use of a state employee - besides being incredibly cowardly?

"I am extremely proud of my many years of service to the city of Chicago and the working men and women of organized labor," Gannon wrote. "I have always followed the pension laws governed by the state of Illinois statute as well as the city of Chicago municipal pension plan."

I am also unwilling to answer questions about the generosity of Illinois taxpayers. I don't owe any explanations to anyone, even those who support my lavish lifestyle.

*

(Also on the ISFA board: ethics guru Emil Jones; the honorable Elzie Higginbottom and the esteemed nephew of Richard M. Daley.)

*

Unfortunately, it's not just Gannon.

"All it took to give nearly two dozen labor leaders from Chicago a windfall worth millions was a few tweaks to a handful of sentences in the state's lengthy pension code," the Tribune reports.

"The changes became law with no public debate among state legislators and, more importantly, no cost analysis.

"Twenty years later, 23 retired union officials from Chicago stand to collect about $56 million from two ailing city pension funds thanks to the changes, a Tribune/WGN-TV investigation found."

*

"No one from either the state Legislature or city government will take credit for the law, which passed in 1991, and the process of drafting pension legislation in Springfield is so shrouded in secrecy that there's no way of knowing exactly whom to hold responsible."

"The Tribune and WGN-TV found that Senate President John Cullerton was one of only 10 lawmakers on the committee that inserted the changes into a much larger bill. He's also the only one who is still in office.

"Cullerton, who declined to be interviewed for this story, denied being involved in the changes and issued a statement that acknowledged the law now looks like a bad idea."

Alternate: "Cullerton refused to answer questions about his role in spending taxpayer money as one of our elected representatives granted the power to watch over the public purse, apparently not wanting to embarrass or implicate himself or perhaps just feeling like it's none of our business.

"He does, however, get free access to our news pages on his own terms whenever he wants."

Cook's Children
"Five Cook County commissioners no longer want to take the 10 unpaid days they unanimously voted for earlier this year," ABC 7 reports.

They are also refusing to take their naps.

"All commissioners make $85,000 a year. The furlough and government shutdown days would reduce their salaries by almost 5-percent."

So, $4,250. That's not pleasant, but $85,000 a year puts Cook County commissioners in the 78th percentile of U.S. household income distribution - and who knows how much income spouses and/or other jobs (because they always have them) bring in. It's not an unreasonable sacrifice.

"We can't ask our workforce to continue to do things we are not willing to do ourselves," Cook Co. Board President Toni Preckwinkle said.

Why not? Tradition!

"William Beavers, who represents Chicago's South Side and south suburbs, said he has changed his mind.

"'I decided not to take the furlough days because she didn't have the money for the hospitals, so my deal is off,' Beavers said. He said his vote to take unpaid days was tied to keeping Oak Forest Hospital open. In an effort to save money, the county converted that hospital into an outpatient clinic."

In other words, he's doing it for the sick people.

"Commissioner Earlean Collins also refuses to take furlough days.

"'In my budget there is no contingency. Every dime I spend on transportation comes out of my salary,' Commissioner Collins said."

Huh? She's paying for her own gas or something?

"Collins said she has to pay for many expenses out of her pocket because district office budgets are now equal, which reduced her budget."

Huh. Well, I could help you with that, Earlean. Let's go over your budget together.

"Commissioner Deborah Sims, Robert Steele and Joan Patricia Murphy have also asked for their money back."

Maybe Sims is just doing the Lord's work. From the Beachwood in 2009:

Cook County Commissioner Deborah Sims flipped her vote on Tuesday to defeat a half-penny rollback of Todd Stroger's sales tax.

Why?

"This is a decision I made talking to my God."

*

In July, Sims co-sponsored a measure to do the same thing she just voted against.

God must have been busy that day.

And let's not forget how Robert Steele got his job.

Finally, Joan Murphy once declared that Todd Stroger deserved a statue in Grant Park.

Which presents a dilemma for people like me. How do you embarrass someone more than they unknowingly embarrass themselves?

I Am Troy Davis
Moment of Silence in Daley Plaza.

Carl's Cubs Mailbag
Why you should attend the last home game of the season.

B is for Bears Blowout
In The Blue & Orange Kool-Aid Report.

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The Beachwood Tip Line: Blow us away.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 8:33 AM | Permalink

Troy Davis: Moment of Silence in Daley Plaza

6 p.m. Wednesday.


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"Strapped to a gurney in Georgia's death chamber, Troy Davis lifted his head and declared one last time that he did not kill police officer Mark MacPhail," AP reports. "Just a few feet away behind a glass window, MacPhail's son and brother watched in silence.

"Outside the prison, a crowd of more than 500 demonstrators cried, hugged, prayed and held candles. They represented hundreds of thousands of supporters worldwide who took up the anti-death penalty cause as Davis' final days ticked away.

"'I am innocent,' Davis said moments before he was executed Wednesday night. 'All I can ask . . . is that you look deeper into this case so that you really can finally see the truth. I ask my family and friends to continue to fight this fight.'"

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 7:57 AM | Permalink

Movie Eleven, 1976

"Finally the 'classic' Movie Eleven opening from the 70's."

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Also: "Meet Larry Charet. He was the owner of Larry's Comic Book Store, the first comic specialty store in Chicago and one of the first in the country, which closed in 2002."

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 7:44 AM | Permalink

The Blue & Orange Kool-Aid Report: "B" Is for Blowout

Number Six Is Sick Of Sacks
The Bears QB spent more time on his back than a $5 prosti-turtle flipped on its shell. The good news is that there is no way Cutler will be sacked 52 times in 2011, like he was in 2010. The bad news is that he will only play nine games in 2011.

Runnin' With The Devil
Many have demanded to know why the Bears didn't attempt more rushing plays against the Saints. In an abbreviated press conference, Mike Martz briefly mumbled something about running backs who can't run between the tackles "don't get no paper" before announcing loudly that he had a bad case of diarrhea and stormed away from the podium.

Sha-not, Shalom
Gabe Carimi is likely to miss Sunday's tilt with the Packers due to a knee injury, which means other than third-string long snapper Saul Bramburg, there are no Hebrews on the active roster. In order to meet the NFL roster requirements, Mort "Big Jew" Williams from accounting will be backing up Frank Omiyale.

"A" Is For Aaron . . .
He's not just first in alphabetical order, but first in the hearts of Packers fans . . . at least the ones that don't meet him in an airport. Unfortunately, "B" is for blowout and "C" is Caleb Hanie, who will be taking snaps by 5:34 in the third if the line doesn't get its "F"-ing act together.

School Of Hard Knox
Dwindling confidence in Devin Hester and an injury to Earl Bennett will lead Jay Cutler to throw to Johnny Knox 35 times against the Packers. The other 35 targets will be divvied up between Matt Forte and those guys who run the first-down markers along the sideline.

Major Wrong
In order to avoid being burned over the top again, the Bears second-year safety will play exclusively on the five-yard line.

Kool-Aid (1 out of 5 pitchers)
Never a good sign when the air goes completely out of your season's balloon in the third quarter of Week 2. Well, here we are.

The Bears can definitely win this game, but with enough patience and knockout gas I can definitely get busy with Mila Kunis.

I'm feeling as much hype for this game as I am for the aforementioned $5 prosti-turtle.
Sure I'm getting a shell-job, but I had to pay for it.

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Comments welcome.

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1. From Roger Wallenstein:

I believe the punter Podlesh also is Jewish. Tell the guy from accounting to back off.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 7:07 AM | Permalink

Carl's Cubs Mailbag: Raw Doggin' Some Randoms

I have tickets to the last home game of 2011. Should I go?
-J.J., Abrams WI

Of course!

In addition to potentially seeing Starlin Castro's 200th hit, there are at least 10 good reasons to attend.

* You'll see the last game Mike Quade manages at Wrigley Field.

* It will be the only time in history a baseball team that included eight black cattle ranchers clinched a division . . . at least in the National League.

* Marlee Matlin is singing the seventh-inning stretch.

• The Ricketts family has opted to replace the face-painting booth with a nipple-painting booth.

* The third annual Red Cross Chicago Sperm Drive is being held in the main concourse after the game.

* First eight fans through the turnstiles get to play left field.

* Ken Burns is going to have a special viewing of his new Cubs documentary, Pandering To Suckers: A Century Of Optimism.

* The guy Sammy Sosa got traded for* might hit a home run . . . and isn't that the only reason we go to see the Cubs anyway?

* Your 11-year-old daughter needs help with her math homework. Remember what happened last time? Avoid further embarrassment and go to the game.

* Turns out this whole failed season was part of a plot by Old Man Withers (owner of the haunted coffee bar on Grace Street) to devalue the Cubs organization and lower property taxes in Wrigleyville. And he would have gotten away with it if it weren't for those snooping kids . . . oh wait. He got away with it.

Is it worse to be the Cubs or the Astros this year?
-Pat, Swayze IN

It's not like either team was expected to provide the baseball equivalent of a raw doggin' some randoms this season.

But even though the Astros are basically running the Durham Bulls onto Minute Enron Field every day, I'll go with the Cubs, who may fail to meet our collective 75- to 85-win expectation.

This team is gonna suck next year too, isn't it?
-Doug, Gilmore City IA

I choose to look on the bright side.

This time next year we could be having a discussion about Tyler Colvin providing inadequate protection in the fifth spot to Albert Pujols.

Or, the Cubs would have been in the wild-card hunt if Andrew Cashner hadn't broken down in mid-July.

Dare to dream, Cubs Nation. Dare to dream.

*True story. I lost a bet that the Orioles second baseman coming back in the Sosa trade would start more than 300 games for the Cubs . . . because I got Jerry Hairston Jr. confused with Brian Roberts. Glossing over the particulars, I'll say that I don't look good in drag and I won't be making any "tuck" wagers in the future.

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Send your questions and comments to Carl!

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 6:44 AM | Permalink

September 21, 2011

The [Wednesday] Papers

Bits and pieces.

* Motorola Hunting For Office Space In Chicago

How about all those desks Chicago cops supposedly aren't using anymore?

* Apparently he was not asked about trying to avoid sitting for a deposition about Jon Burge, which is only the most pressing issue before him right now.

But it's good to know he misses the people.

* "Billionaire investor Warren Buffett is coming to Chicago to help raise money for President Barack Obama's re-election campaign at a $35,800-per-ticket fundraiser next month at the North Shore home of investment banker Byron Trott, according to a draft invitation," Crain's reports.

"Mr. Trott, a former Goldman Sachs Group Inc. partner whom Mr. Buffett has called his favorite investment banker, isn't known as an outspoken Obama supporter. Over the years, Mr. Trott has donated to both Republican and Democratic candidates running for national office, according to campaign finance records.

"Among his latest disclosed contributions, in June, was $2,500 to former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney, who is seeking the GOP presidential nomination. During the last presidential campaign, Mr. Trott's donations were spread among Messrs. Romney and Obama, as well as Republican nominee John McCain."

Maybe he doesn't see a difference.

* Groupon Launches In Denmark

Trying to set a record for losing money in the most countries at the same time.

* Why Is AT&T LTE Fast In Houston, Slow In Chicago?

Because nobody's figured out who the wireless alderman is yet.

* "Many of the top-earning lobbyists have ties to top city and state politicians," the Tribune reports.

"For example, onetime Emanuel attorney Michael Kasper and his associates, Courtney Nottage and David Dring, are listed as taking in nearly $236,000 to lobby the mayor, aldermen and others during the six-month period, the data show. Among the firm's clients were Advocate Health Care Network, Apple Inc. and the Academy for Urban School Leadership, a nonprofit that runs 19 public 'turnaround' schools Emanuel's schools chief has praised.

"Kasper, the state Democratic Party's lawyer, fended off a challenge to Emanuel's residency during the mayoral campaign. Nottage, also an attorney, was chief of staff for former Illinois Senate President Emil Jones Jr. Dring was spokesman for state House Republican leader Tom Cross, R-Oswego.

"Those connections are touted on Kasper's consulting firm's website, and the firm's city disclosure practices result in triple reporting of some of its income, which pushes Kasper, Nottage and Dring onto the list of top-10 earners."

But hey, it's all just a coincidence.

"If (former Cook County State's Attorney) Dick Devine calls you up and asks you for a meeting, you are going to grant him the meeting, if for no other reason than he's Dick Devine," Ald. Joe Moore said.

Why? Just say no. It's that easy.

"If you have got a lobbyist who has good relationships with people in power, it gives you an edge," Moore added. "It doesn't guarantee the results."

An edge is what clients pay for. It's like rich kids who say that their daddy may have gotten them the interview, but they had to get the job. Think about how many people don't get the interview; that's half the battle. A foot in the door is a foot in the door others aren't granted.

"Another listed lobbyist with a tie to the mayor is Demetrius Carney, who was paid $84,000 during the six-month period, the data show. The money came from the Hudson Group, which has concessions at O'Hare and Midway airport.

"Emanuel recently reappointed Carney as president of the Chicago Police Board, an agency that reviews how Chicago cops are disciplined. As president, Carney was being paid $25,000 a year, but Emanuel cut that annual stipend by $15,000.

"Carney has done legal work for the city, Chicago Transit Authority, Chicago Board of Education and Chicago Housing Authority, according to his online biography."

Maybe that's why he's been too busy to make it to so many police board meetings.

"He did not return calls seeking comment."

In other words, the recently reappointed president of the feckless police board refused to answer questions about his politicking of and legal representation for various city agencies and possible conflicts of interests therein as he tries to preserve his relationships with people in power. Maybe say it that way.

"Politics is no different than any other business, in that relationships play an important role, and good lobbyists build those relationships," Moore said.

"Moore wasn't naming names, but his description fits zoning and land use lawyer Langdon Neal, a paid political appointee whose family has been involved in city government for three generations. In the corridors of City Hall, he's on a first-name basis with aldermen."

And Neal would never want to impair his relationships with those folks even as he double as chairman of the Chicago Board of Elections.

"The decisions Neal makes on the election board have the potential to impact some of the same politicians he tries to influence on zoning cases.

"His firm handled zoning issues on behalf of the Chicago Public Building Commission, which handles construction projects for the city and county; the Metropolitan Pier and Exposition Authority, which owns Navy Pier and McCormick Place; the Chicago Public Schools; and corporations ranging from Wal-Mart to nonprofit hospitals.

"The city, meanwhile, has paid Neal's firm more than $4.3 million since the start of 2010, city records indicate. That work was related to city land acquisition, mostly for the expansion of O'Hare, Neal said.

"On top of his day job, Neal gets about $91,000 a year as elections chairman. 'I do the job as a public service,' said Neal, who was first appointed to the job by Cook County's chief judge in 1997."

Oh, thank you so much! We're so grateful! And for just $91,000 a year, bless you!

"Neal said he would never even think of using his election board power to pressure city officials."

Because that's just not how Chicago works.

* The Amazingly Awesome Chicago Boyz Athletic Team

* Bears-Packers Preview: Zone Blitz Kills Cutler

* The Mexican Independence Day Parade

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The Beachwood Tip Line: An open door.


Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 9:21 AM | Permalink

Czar of the Playbook Preview: Packers at Bears

Zone blitz kills Cutler.

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 8:27 AM | Permalink

The Amazingly Awesome Chicago Boyz Acrobatic Team

"Founded in 1999 by professional gymnast Tim Shaw, these young inner city youth are taught discipline, respect, hard work, integrity and teamwork. Members must maintain a 'C' average in school, are not allowed to drop out of school, associate with gangs, drugs, alcohol or tobacco. Through Tim's positive impact, many kids have not only become professional polished gymnasts, but turned their lives around in the process."


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Comments welcome.


Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 8:13 AM | Permalink

The Mexican Independence Day Parade

On 26th Street last Sunday.


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See also:
* Flickr photos from the downtown version of the parade on Saturday

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Comments welcome.


Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 7:59 AM | Permalink

September 20, 2011

The [Tuesday] Papers

I've got to fly to Minneapolis today and I'll be there until Friday morning. I'll still be posting the fabulous work of our writers and maybe even a few columns and other stuff; we'll see how it goes. Of course, I'll also still be on Facebook and Twitter.

The [Monday] Papers
"State budget cuts are leaving many Illinois social services agencies scrambling, especially homeless shelters," AP reports.

"The result is many of the state's poorest and most vulnerable are left with fewer options and more uncertainty. This comes at a time when census data show Illinois' highest poverty rate in nearly two decades and a high jobless rate.

"Legislators chopped the Department of Human Services budget by hundreds of millions of dollars, including $4.7 million for homeless services."

*

In related news . . . state gives Motorola Mobility $100 million in tax incentives . . . Google buys Motorola Mobility for $12.5 billion . . . Sanjay Iha walks out the door with $66 million . . . reminds me of this scene . . .

Futures Shock
"CME Group Inc. is making progress in talks with Illinois officials about a tax deal to keep its headquarters in Chicago, even as it expects to receive concrete proposals this week from five states seeking to lure the futures exchange operator away, people familiar with the conversations tell Crain's."

Maybe the homeless have to threaten to leave the state. Er, wait. Maybe they ought to threaten to loot; that's what rich people do.

Sara Lee CEO's Compensation Rises 80%
And he didn't even have to lengthen his work day.

Beer Goggles
"John Edel, director of Chicago's innovative vertical farm and food business incubator, The Plant, has been awarded a total of $1.5 million in grant funds from the Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity (DCEO)," the company announced on Friday.

"DCEO awarded two grants to support a comprehensive renewable energy system that will accept up to 12,000 tons of food scraps annually. Most of that material will be spent grain from an onsite craft brewery, New Chicago Brewing Company, as well as other breweries around Chicago - material that is currently sent to landfills. What was once thought of as food waste will now help feed a digester which then powers The Plant."

This sounds good but it's really no different than subsidies to corporations like Boeing and Groupon. Why should taxpayer money fund business ventures - no matter how desirable?

I'm not even sure it should be legal. As I've written before, we should keep government and business separate. And that goes for charity, too. No more business foundations. That's not an appropriate use of resources that otherwise would benefit workers and consumers.

It's like business being a health insurance provider . . . no! Not their responsibilty - and is it any wonder, then, that we are chained to crappy policies and practices?

Business, government, charity . . . the federal government, states, counties and cities . . . each has its own responsibilities. Let's get clear on it.

Jobs Plan
Maybe a more focused approach is in order. For example, what if the Obama administration announced it was going to create the greatest postal service known to mankind. Included: e-mail services provided by usps.gov.

*

And maybe we need more post offices, not less! Construction jobs to build them, workers to staff them . . . and some ideas to keep them profitable. For example, off-track betting at some of the facilities.

Here are some other ideas.

Englewood Freight Plan
Maybe if the jobs were promised to residents of the neighborhood. Start training them now.

Patented Obama
"President Barack Obama signed legislation Friday that will overhaul the U.S. patent system for the first time since 1952," CNN reports.

"'We have to do everything we can to encourage the entrepreneurial spirit wherever we find it,' Obama said at a signing ceremony at a high school in Arlington, Virginia. This measure 'cuts away the red tape that slows down our inventors and entrepreneurs.'"

Really?

"The provision of the America Invents Act, which passed the Senate on Sept. 8 and is awaiting President Barack Obama's signature, is intended to weed out bad patents by allowing for any party to petition a post-grant review within nine months of a patent being issued by the USPTO," Law360 reports. (link not available)

"The new procedure is likely to cost patent owners hundreds of thousands of dollars to defend, putting individual inventors and startup companies at a huge disadvantage, according to Paul Vickrey, a partner at Niro Haller & Niro Ltd.

"'I foresee this as being a very expensive headache and very problematic for folks who can't afford to effectively defend against a post-grant review,' he said.

"Patent owners with limited resources may run into problems trying to retain counsel for a post-grant review if they are seeking attorneys to work on a contingency fee basis, Vickrey said. If there are no infringing products on the market from which to seek damages, lawyers willing to work on contingency will be hard to come by, he said."

Campus Creep
GOP Sees Opportunity In Waning Obama Enthusiasm Among College Students

*

Ironically, as I warned in 2008, this president just may end up creating the most cynical generation of all time. They believed.

Barry Manilow Likes Ron Paul
No kidding.

*

This was as far as I got:

His name was Ron Paul, he spouted freedom
Like the right to horribly die, 'cause you don't have an insurance guy
He said liberty, was an unsafe SUV
Let the market sort it out, let that burger give you gout
And a pandemic flu, and industrial goo
Tainted blood and a poisoned apple
And you're not allowed to sue!

At the Copa, uninspected Copa
The fire doors don't work, and asbestos is a perk
At the Copa, libertarian Copa
Cancer and rat poop were always in fashion
At the Copa . . . they got real sick

Bears Back To Reality
Isn't Jerry Angelo tired of it?

$1.3 Trillion In Misreported Funds
"U.S. continues to lack genuine accountability for government spending."

Reaches Out And Grabs Them!
A Chicago TV Station With A Special Appeal For The Young Adult Of 1970.

The Weekend In Chicago Rock
Shellac, Material re-Issue, Erasure, Rockit Girl and more.

The Cub Factor
"And just like your thought-to-be well-adjusted uncle, after Mike was let go from the cannery he would still show up every morning and wait outside as if they would change their minds and ask him to come in and can some fish."

The 57th Street Children's Book Fair
Donuts and monkeys.

The Joseph Rosenberg Fountain
So a thirsty man can drink.

Losing Team, Great Experience
Not the Cubs.

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The Beachwood Tip Line: Thirsty.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 10:31 AM | Permalink

September 19, 2011

Federal Spending Reporting System Still Broken; $1.3 Trillion In Misreported Funds

Today, the Sunlight Foundation releases its latest Clearspending report, a website and scorecard that analyzes how well U.S. government agencies report their spending data on USASpending.gov. The analysis is a follow-up to last year's inaugural report and covers federal spending for fiscal year 2008 through FY 2010.

According to Sunlight's analysis, $1.3 trillion in federal spending was misreported in 2010. These data inaccuracies account for 94.5 percent of the total grant spending data reported last year, a less than one percent decrease over the previous year. Misreported funds for FY 2008 were 96.5 percent.

Sunlight testified twice before Congress this past spring on the issue, and lawmakers have responded with concern to the inaccuracies that our first Clearspending report uncovered.

The Digital Accountability and Transparency Act (DATA Act) was introduced in June and would establish an independent body to track all federal spending on a single website and require the use of consistent government-wide data standards. The White House also issued an executive order that called for a board to enforce greater transparency around federal spending.

"As the results of Clearspending show, the U.S. continues to lack genuine accountability for government spending," said Ellen Miller, co-founder and executive director of the Sunlight Foundation.

"Although we've seen improvements in the past year, the truth is we cannot fully account for how the federal government spends about $1.3 trillion.

"That's no negligible amount, especially when you compare it to the 'Super Committee's' task of finding $1.5 trillion in deficit cuts.

"Spending accountability, data accuracy and independent review will help correct the vast misreporting on USASpending.gov. Sunlight's Clearspending studies identify the problems, now it's critical that we fix them so that Americans have all the tools they need to track federal spending."

You can read the full report online here.

Clearspending offers a critique on the reliability of data from USASpending.gov, across three metrics - consistency, completeness and timeliness. Overall, the data quality on USASpending.gov remains poor and only one of the three metrics shows improvement:

Consistency: Only 33 percent of federal programs are reporting spending consistently between USASpending.gov and the Catalog of Federal Domestic Assistance (another reporting mechanism). A lack of enforcement has weakened the incentive for agencies or programs to accurately report their spending, and this trend is likely to hold until such an incentive is introduced.

Completeness: In contrast to the rules required when applying for a government grant, the government doesn't subject itself to the same level of scrutiny for USASpending.gov with 87 percent of all reported 2010 spending lacking some required information.

Timeliness: There has been considerable improvement from 2008 to 2010 in terms of timeliness. For the first time, in 2010, the average program-reporting lag was within the 30-day requirement. The latest average is 27 days, which is down nearly 50 percent from 51 days in 2008.

The Clearspending website also has a searchable scorecard that breaks down how federal programs are reporting their spending. Sunlight has identified over 200 programs that report well across all metrics for 2010, including:

* Violence Against Women Act Court Training and Improvement Grants (Dept. of Justice)

* Special Education Grants for Infants and Families (Dept. of Education)

* Special Education Preschool Grants (Dept. of Education)

* Energy Efficient Appliance Rebate Program (Dept. of Energy)

* Cooperative Forestry Research (Dept. of Agriculture)

* Payments to Agricultural Experiment Stations (Dept. of Agriculture)

* State Senior Environmental Employment Programs (EPA)

* Even Start (Dept. of Education)

* Specialty Crop Research Initiative (Dept. of Agriculture)

* Civic Education Cooperative Education Exchange Program (Dept. of Education)

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More information on Clearspending's methodology here.

A video explaining more about Clearspending is available here.

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The Sunlight Foundation is a non-partisan non-profit that uses cutting-edge technology and ideas to make government transparent and accountable. Visit Sunlight Foundation to learn more about Sunlight's projects, including Political Party Time and Influence Explorer.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 10:07 AM | Permalink

The Joseph Rosenberg Fountain

"Near the south end of Chicago's Grant Park stands this beautiful little 120-year-old fountain. It was a bequest from Joseph Rosenberg a one-time Chicagoan who went west and made his fortune. He never forgot his childhood as a newsboy in the area always going thirsty because there were no fountains."

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Also:

"The 11-foot tall bronze figure holding a goblet and pitcher represents Hebe, daughter of Zeus and Hera. As the Goddess of Youth and the Cupbearer to the Gods, Hebe symbolizes rejuvenation," Public Art in Chicago writes.

"German sculptor Franz Machtl created the bronze sculpture, which was cast in Munich. The drinking fountain is enclosed by a columned structure which emulates a miniature Greek temple. Chicago architects Bauer and Hill designed the Greek-inspired structure."

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 9:57 AM | Permalink

The 57th Street Children's Book Fair

"Showcase of authors exhibiting at the 2011 57th Street Children's Book Fair in Hyde Park Chicago. Held indoors at Ray School because of rain."


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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 9:49 AM | Permalink

A Station With A Special Appeal For The Young Adult Of 1970

"This is Part 1 of a WFLD promotional film for (I assume) the sales department, meant to be shown to prospective advertisers on why WFLD was such a kick-arse station to buy time on.

Voiceover:

"Young-thinking, forward-thinking station in Chicago . . . a station with special appeal for the young adult. The kind of station that reaches out and grabs them where they live . . . "


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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 9:43 AM | Permalink

The Weekend in Chicago Rock

You shoulda been there.

1. Shellac at the Brilliant Corners of Popular Amusements festival at Eckhart Park on Sunday night.


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2. Avenged Sevenfold at the Uproar Festival at the Tinley Park shed on Sunday night.

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3. Three Days Grace at the Uproar Festival on Sunday night.

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4. Seether at the Uproar Festival on Sunday night.

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5. Material re-Issue with Scott Lucas, Jay O'Rourke and John Haggerty at Lincoln Hall on Saturday night.

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6. Bullet For My Valentine at the Uproar Festival on Sunday night.

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7. Erasure at the Congress on Friday night.

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8. Full Service at the Beat Kitchen on Friday night.

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9. Ryan Alan at the Bottom Lounge on Friday night.

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10. Rockit Girl at Lincoln Hall on Saturday night.

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 9:17 AM | Permalink

SportsMonday: Bears Back To Reality

The killer about the Bears' 30-13 loss to the Saints on Sunday was the fact that the game was there for the contesting about five minutes into the third quarter. The Bear defense had risen up to start the second half and recorded a pair of three-and-outs. The offense was a few first downs away from a field goal to tie (at 16) if not a touchdown to take the lead.

But then a Saints blitzer, linebacker Turk McBride, slipped around tight end Kellen Davis, blind-sided Jay Cutler and forced a fumble that New Orleans recovered. A minute or two later the home team scored a touchdown to take a 23-13 lead and the Bears were in trouble.

Here was yet another game in which one critical turnover at one critical time was decisive.

It was very similar to the opener against the Falcons when a diving interception by Brian Urlacher set up a Bear touchdown and a lead the team would not relinquish. Atlanta couldn't muster the sort of turnover that might have turned that one back around; the Bears couldn't do the same in Week 2.

That being said, I've got to take it easy on the Kool-Aid the next time the Bears start the season with an exciting win over a team expected to make the playoffs.

After one week of amnesia, fans were reminded on Sunday of why they were concerned (again) about the offensive line and wide receiver position groups.

And it was not a shocker that a major screw-up by the inexperienced Bear secondary put the Saints in front to stay in the first half. On a third-and-12 (third-and-12!), second-year safety Major Wright allowed Devery Henderson to slip past him in the deep middle and Drew Brees threw a beautiful bomb that his receiver hauled in without breaking stride in the slightest on his way to a 79-yard touchdown.

And in the second half, well, wouldn't you think Jerry Angelo would get tired of it? Wouldn't you think the Bears general manager would decide to do everything in his power to ensure he doesn't have to watch yet another overmatched left tackle (second-year man J'Marcus Webb this time around) allow the sorts of hits that threaten the quarterback's continued good health?

Apparently not, given that the Bears declined to sign an experienced free-agent tackle in free agency before the season. The Bears made a run at Steelers tackle Willie Colon, but when he decided to re-sign with Pittsburgh, Angelo decided to go with what he had despite several other decent candidates still being on the market.

Oh, and the receivers aren't good enough, again. Yes Roy Williams would have helped a little had he not been sidelined by a groin pull, but it isn't just Bears fans that believe the team is undermanned at the position. Maybe analyst Troy Aikman going on and on about Devin Hester not being a number one receiver will finally cause the team to deploy him more in the slot, where he would be in his element. (Aikman doesn't think Williams is a number one either.)

Of course, if Hester doesn't stop fumbling (two in two games although the Bears haven't lost either of them), it won't matter where he lines up.

Fake/Make
How irritating was the fact that Sean Payton made one of the worst calls of the day with the Saints going for a 48-yard field goal in the second quarter and then didn't pay for it?

He had his team run a goofy fake with former Missouri star quarterback Chase Daniel hopping up from his spot as the holder and lining up in shotgun formation. Not surprisingly, the gimmick play backfired when one of the Saints false-started.

So then Saints kicker John Kasay had to take aim from 53 yards. If there was justice in the word he would have missed but instead he put it right through.

Personal Pan
One couldn't help but notice the national junk food commercials featuring Reggie Bush during the Bear telecast. Reggie Bush? Still? Really? You know they took his Heisman Trophy away don't you, Pizza Hut? Because his activities - taking money from a street agent and the like - were the centerpiece of a big scandal at USC?

And he's been a big, honkin' bust since he was drafted into the pros. He played a small role for the Saints Super Bowl champions but after the next season New Orleans unceremoniously dumped him.

On Sunday Aikman couldn't have been more clear if he'd come out and said it: The Saints are so much better off with Darren Sproles in the role of change-of-pace back/returner extraordinaire than they were with Bush. But there was Bush starring for Pizza Hut. Very, very strange.

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Comments welcome.


Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 8:48 AM | Permalink

Losing Team, Great Experience (Not The Cubs)

We found ourselves in Seattle last weekend visiting family. There is much to do in the Emerald City. They have a first-class aquarium, harbor cruises, tours of Boeing, the Space Needle, Pike Street Market, Mt. Rainier and the Olympics.

So, of course, we went to the ballgame.

We'd been to Safeco Field a number of times in the past and always have liked the place. It's a different experience than any stadium I've encountered.

I never thought I'd admit that I would enjoy a mall-like atmosphere when it comes to baseball, but it is helpful to be hungry when arriving at Safeco.

Let me explain. We entered via the left field gate where the woman who scanned our tickets thanked us for being there. More about that later.

Once you climb the few stairs onto the concourse, the All Levels Food Roster, a six-foot high board, greets you. Water Tower Place would be envious.

There really is no reason to ever stray further than left field unless your jones for sushi or seafood is overpowering.

For openers, there is The Sweet Spot, a full service candy shop. Or how about Grounders for world-famous chicken wings? La Creperie beckoned. No chance a guy from Chicago - or from anywhere - is going to eat a crepe at a ballgame. Especially with hot dogs just steps away.

These are not your regular ball park hot dogs. Grilled onions reliably buried the dog, but those were topped with red and yellow pepperoncini, and the entire production was covered with - get ready! - cream cheese. Not that I'm going to start drowning all my hot dogs with cream cheese, but it took only the better part of 90 seconds to ingest the sausage.

hot dog.JPG

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And, man, do they have beer! The long bar in the middle of the concourse offered ten adult beverages on tap. They included the predictable Coors regular and light, but the Pacific Northwest was ably represented with Manny's, Pyramid, and Red Hook. Lager, amber ale, porter, stout . . . they have it all.

beer offerings.JPG

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The Mariners' web site declares, "Safeco Field has something for every appetite from traditional ballpark fare like hot dogs and garlic fries to sushi and gluten-free and vegetarian offerings."

Aside from learning that garlic fries are traditional, I was eager to check out food offerings throughout the park. The tourist seafood restaurant Ivar's has a full range of fare, and the Intentional Wok begins the Asian offerings. Of course, the Ichiroll tops the sushi menu, and this being Seattle, the Grounds Crew is the place for espresso. No one was lined up at the Wine Bar, but the micro brews were selling nicely.

sushi menu.JPG

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Since the game had started by the time we got to our seats, we had to wait until a lull in the action to actually sit down.

Safeco, you see, is the most civil of ballyards. The greeters at the gate are just the tip of the iceberg. Ushers hold signs saying, "As a courtesy to other guests, please wait until this at-bat is complete before returning to your seats. Thank you." Honest. I thought I was at the Goodman.

There was no waiting at the urinals. However, I was third in line to wash my hands.

This was the season's final weekend - the Mariners have three more home games on weekdays - so there were the usual fan appreciation gifts. These were not just items like team photos, baseballs, and bobbleheads which take up space in teams' closets over the winter. A number of fans won iPads and other technological gems, and one lucky soul won an hour of batting practice at Safeco for himself and 10 friends.

"THANKS" was written in Diamond-Dri behind second base, and you got the impression they meant it.

THANKS.JPG

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While management appears kind and gentle, so do the fans. When centerfielder Michael Saunders, a .152 hitter, tapped meekly back to the (Texas) pitcher with the tying run on second base in the bottom of the sixth, nary a boo was heard. Think Adam Dunn might enjoy playing in Seattle?

I also must say that watching a game without a rooting interest is exceptionally liberating.

Texas trailed 4-1, but they slammed their way to a 7-6 victory, thanks in part to three third-inning solo home runs by Elvis Andrus, Josh Hamilton, and Adrian Beltre.

After watching the Sox the past six months, I was genuinely entertained by the Ranger hitters, who actually swing at good pitches and hit them a long way. It was also fun watching Ichiro display his fantastic arm, holding runners at third base with missiles that really do hit the cutoff man.

And I felt little remorse when we had to depart before the end of the game. After all, with a full stomach of food and drink, it was time for a nap.

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 8:15 AM | Permalink

Learning To Walk Instead Of Crawling

Was it me or did that four-game series with the Reds feel like it took a month? It didn't even feel like that long of a week at the old day job.

Lost in those long four days, though, was a gem of a comment made by Bob Brenly. He said something to the fact that Joey Votto of the Reds has more walks than four Cubs starters combined. So I took a look and did some math.

Votto has 106 walks while Marlon Byrd (24), A-Ram (42), Darwin Barney (19), and Starlin Castro (33) have a combined 118. How pathetic.

With this in mind, we here at The Cub Factor thought it might be wise to make a list of a few things we would like General Manager X to do/be aware of as he comes in:

Go see Moneyball. Not only is it supposed to be good, but Jonah Hill is trying to be a dramatic actor. Let's see if he's got the chops.

If a player is clearly your best hitter, make the manager bat him third. It took Quade most of the season before he put A-Ram in the 3-hole. I'm not even an A-ram fan, but still.

If you have a guy batting .320, make the manager keep playing him until he doesn't bat .320 anymore. Why Reed Johnson doesn't play every day makes no sense.

Wins are more important than being a good guy. If you can trade guys like Kerry Wood and Ryan Dempster to make your team better, then do it. Really change the lovable loser culture.

Distance yourself from everything "Cub." There is no reason to embrace the horrible past. Let's all move on and say things like "That guy didn't win anything, let's not make another statue."

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Week in Review: The Cubs went 3-4 for the week, losing three of four to the Reds and winning two of three from the Astros. At least we are one week closer to General Manager X.

The Week in Preview: The Cubs stay home for three against the Brewers and then travel to St Louis for three vs. the Cards. I'm sure the schedule-makers thought these games might mean something at the end of the season vs. division rivals, but the only one that it means something for is Mike Quade.

The Second Basemen Report: Darwin Barney got six starts this week; Blake DeWitt got the other one. Quade must have thought Barney was getting tired of being mediocre and had to give him a rest for a day. Which was just like Jim Hendry drew up.

In former second basemen news, Joey Amalfitano last played second base for the Cubs in 1967. He last managed for the Cub in 1981. His height is listed at 5'10" but he seemed shorter to me. He is missed.

The Zam Bomb: Big Z will continue to be apologetic or angry or somewhere in between all to himself this season.

zam_gettingAngry.jpg

Marlon Byrd Supplemental Report: Conte has been injecting Marlon with "lost season."

Lost in Translation: Kosuke-san Fukudome is Japanese for pretty much the same regardless what team he plays for.

Endorsement No-Brainer: Ryan Dempster for hourglasses. Because his time is up.

Sweet and Sour Quade: 12% sweet, 88% sour. Mike jumped up another two points this week due to managing like his job is on the line. And just like your thought-to-be well-adjusted uncle, after Mike was let go from the cannery he would still show up every morning and wait outside as if they would change their minds and ask him to come in and can some fish.

Ameritrade Stock Pick of the Week: Shares of Beer and Cheese should trade lower this week as our friends to the north come down and rub in their good team in our faces.

Over/Under: The number of "Brewer blue" shirts in the crowd this week: +/- more than anyone wants.

Beachwood Sabermetrics: A complex algorithm performed by The Cub Factor staff using all historical data made available by Major League Baseball has determined that walks are not overrated.

Farm Report: "The Tennessee Smokies lost to the Mobile BayBears (Diamondbacks), 6-4," Bleed Cubbie Blue reports. "This means that the BayBears have won the Southern League Championship, three games to one. It's the third straight season that the Smokies have lost the Southern League Championship in four games . . .

"This is the end of the minor league season for the Cubs farm system."

It continues for the big-league club for a couple more weeks, however.

The Cub Factor: Unlike Soriano, you can catch 'em all!

The White Sox Report: Know the enemy.

Mike Quade Status Update: "The topic of statistics this time of year first came up with Mike Quade last week when the Cubs' manger said he'd do whatever he could to help starter Ryan Dempster reach 200 innings pitched," ESPN Chicago reports.

Because personal goals are more important than team needs. It's the Kubs Way.

Well-Adjusted / Delirious / High

dazed_and_confused_smiley.jpg

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Contact The Cub Factor!

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 7:28 AM | Permalink

The [Monday] Papers

"State budget cuts are leaving many Illinois social services agencies scrambling, especially homeless shelters," AP reports.

"The result is many of the state's poorest and most vulnerable are left with fewer options and more uncertainty. This comes at a time when census data show Illinois' highest poverty rate in nearly two decades and a high jobless rate.

"Legislators chopped the Department of Human Services budget by hundreds of millions of dollars, including $4.7 million for homeless services."

*

In related news . . . state gives Motorola Mobility $100 million in tax incentives . . . Google buys Motorola Mobility for $12.5 billion . . . Sanjay Iha walks out the door with $66 million . . . reminds me of this scene . . .

Futures Shock
"CME Group Inc. is making progress in talks with Illinois officials about a tax deal to keep its headquarters in Chicago, even as it expects to receive concrete proposals this week from five states seeking to lure the futures exchange operator away, people familiar with the conversations tell Crain's."

Maybe the homeless have to threaten to leave the state. Er, wait. Maybe they ought to threaten to loot; that's what rich people do.

Sara Lee CEO's Compensation Rises 80%
And he didn't even have to lengthen his work day.

Beer Goggles
"John Edel, director of Chicago's innovative vertical farm and food business incubator, The Plant, has been awarded a total of $1.5 million in grant funds from the Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity (DCEO)," the company announced on Friday.

"DCEO awarded two grants to support a comprehensive renewable energy system that will accept up to 12,000 tons of food scraps annually. Most of that material will be spent grain from an onsite craft brewery, New Chicago Brewing Company, as well as other breweries around Chicago - material that is currently sent to landfills. What was once thought of as food waste will now help feed a digester which then powers The Plant."

This sounds good but it's really no different than subsidies to corporations like Boeing and Groupon. Why should taxpayer money fund business ventures - no matter how desirable?

I'm not even sure it should be legal. As I've written before, we should keep government and business separate. And that goes for charity, too. No more business foundations. That's not an appropriate use of resources that otherwise would benefit workers and consumers.

It's like business being a health insurance provider . . . no! Not their responsibilty - and is it any wonder, then, that we are chained to crappy policies and practices?

Business, government, charity . . . the federal government, states, counties and cities . . . each has its own responsibilities. Let's get clear on it.

Jobs Plan
Maybe a more focused approach is in order. For example, what if the Obama administration announced it was going to create the greatest postal service known to mankind. Included: e-mail services provided by usps.gov.

*

And maybe we need more post offices, not less! Construction jobs to build them, workers to staff them . . . and some ideas to keep them profitable. For example, off-track betting at some of the facilities.

Here are some other ideas.

Englewood Freight Plan
Maybe if the jobs were promised to residents of the neighborhood. Start training them now.

Patented Obama
"President Barack Obama signed legislation Friday that will overhaul the U.S. patent system for the first time since 1952," CNN reports.

"'We have to do everything we can to encourage the entrepreneurial spirit wherever we find it,' Obama said at a signing ceremony at a high school in Arlington, Virginia. This measure 'cuts away the red tape that slows down our inventors and entrepreneurs.'"

Really?

"The provision of the America Invents Act, which passed the Senate on Sept. 8 and is awaiting President Barack Obama's signature, is intended to weed out bad patents by allowing for any party to petition a post-grant review within nine months of a patent being issued by the USPTO," Law360 reports. (link not available)

"The new procedure is likely to cost patent owners hundreds of thousands of dollars to defend, putting individual inventors and startup companies at a huge disadvantage, according to Paul Vickrey, a partner at Niro Haller & Niro Ltd.

"'I foresee this as being a very expensive headache and very problematic for folks who can't afford to effectively defend against a post-grant review,' he said.

"Patent owners with limited resources may run into problems trying to retain counsel for a post-grant review if they are seeking attorneys to work on a contingency fee basis, Vickrey said. If there are no infringing products on the market from which to seek damages, lawyers willing to work on contingency will be hard to come by, he said."

Campus Creep
GOP Sees Opportunity In Waning Obama Enthusiasm Among College Students

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Ironically, as I warned in 2008, this president just may end up creating the most cynical generation of all time. They believed.

Barry Manilow Likes Ron Paul
No kidding.

*

This was as far as I got:

His name was Ron Paul, he spouted freedom
Like the right to horribly die, 'cause you don't have an insurance guy
He said liberty, was an unsafe SUV
Let the market sort it out, let that burger give you gout
And a pandemic flu, and industrial goo
Tainted blood and a poisoned apple
And you're not allowed to sue!

At the Copa, uninspected Copa
The fire doors don't work, and asbestos is a perk
At the Copa, libertarian Copa
Cancer and rat poop were always in fashion
At the Copa . . . they got real sick

Bears Back To Reality
Isn't Jerry Angelo tired of it?

$1.3 Trillion In Misreported Funds
"U.S. continues to lack genuine accountability for government spending."

Reaches Out And Grabs Them!
A Chicago TV Station With A Special Appeal For The Young Adult Of 1970.

The Weekend In Chicago Rock
Shellac, Material re-Issue, Erasure, Rockit Girl and more.

The Cub Factor
"And just like your thought-to-be well-adjusted uncle, after Mike was let go from the cannery he would still show up every morning and wait outside as if they would change their minds and ask him to come in and can some fish."

The 57th Street Children's Book Fair
Donuts and monkeys.

The Joseph Rosenberg Fountain
So a thirsty man can drink.

Losing Team, Great Experience
Not the Cubs.

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The Beachwood Tip Line: Thirsty.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 1:12 AM | Permalink

September 17, 2011

The Weekend Desk Report

Natasha Julius is on a special assignment involving fracking, macking and phone-hacking. We hope to God she returns next week.

Market Update
Shares of the Canyonero fell sharply this week amidst revelations that it doesn't perform well in winter or in pursuit of criminals, which are kind of two of the most important factors in a Chicago police vehicle.

Driver's Ed
Maybe those Tahoes can be repurposed.

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"A recent visit to a driving site revealed cars with strips of duct tape, busted taillights and several dents and depressions."

And that was just the teachers' parking lot.

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Possibly ironic.

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Whatever happened to walking a beat? It could save some cops some money.

Revenue Enhancements
Why stop here?

Greeting cards ($5): Congratulations on your recent zoning approval!

Autographed photos ($7.50): It was nice doing business with you! Sincerely, the Finance Committee

Manny's Groupon: 50 percent off your next lunch if 100 people who plead out a marijuana possession case buy in.

R. Kelly's Closet
Because Peach Panties was taken.

College Prep
The world's greatest college football report. For entertainment purposes only, including gambling.

Prank Props
A 30-foot long banner made by high school students in New Orleans in preparation for the Saints-Bears game on Sunday was stolen.

*

Police investigation going nowhere.

Saturday Night Live
I'm filling in tonight behind the bar at the venerable Beachwood Inn so stop in for a cold brew or two. Doors open at 3! I'll be there until 9 and then (almost certainly, unless it's totally dead) back at 11 until close - at 3! Bring your jukebox money.

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The Weekend Desk Tip Line: Seats 35.

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The CAN TV Weekend Report

The Sorcerer

Sorceror-STILL.jpg

The Gilbert and Sullivan Opera Company performs a comedic opera with accompaniment from the University of Chicago Chamber Orchestra.

Saturday, September 17 at 1:30 p.m. on CAN TV19
1 hr 41 min

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Chinese Fine Arts Society Winners Concert

CFAS2010-Still.jpg

Young musicians perform classical music at the Preston Bradley Hall as part of the 26th Annual Winners Concert.

Saturday, September 17 at 5:30 p.m. on CAN TV19
2 hrs

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Bucket Drummers of Berger Park

Berger-Park.jpg

Chicago youth showcase their bucket drumming skills developed through a summer arts program held at Berger Park.

This program was made possible by a special partnership between the Chicago Park District, CAN TV & Chicago Moving Company.

Sunday, September 18 at 2:30 p.m. on CAN TV21
18 min

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 7:47 AM | Permalink

September 16, 2011

The College Football Report: Reversals of Genetically Modified Fortune

In case you missed anything this week, and by "anything" we mean "pretty much every headline in college football because you don't follow the sport apart from sporadically reading this column," the College Football Reporter, the Free Range Chicken and the Beachwood Sports Seal have you covered. In return, the least you can do is send us some genetically engineered chicken feed or a bottle of Ol' Grand-Dad.

Or how about some OGD produced from gossypol-enhanced chicken feed? Pro: gossypol prevents breast cancer. Cons: toxic, tastes like old sweaters. Bonus: would still get you drunk!

Here we go:

* Hot piece of brass: The College Football Hall of Fame sustained $100,000 of water damage due to flooding on Tuesday night.

The culprit? A missing brass sprinkler fitting. Thieves made off with the widget, reportedly worth about $5 on the scrap metal market, causing a backup and releasing several inches of water in the Hall's basement. The basement contains, or contained, the HOF museum of college memorabilia and collectibles. (Maybe not the place to store valuable trinkets, as anyone in the Chicagoland area learned earlier this year.)

Also hot this season: copper.

Tags: WTF, robbin', sump pumps

* Hammering the ballbag: Former Florida State football coach Bobby Bowden disclosed his history of prostate cancer to the Associated Press on Tuesday. In the call, Bowden shared his experience following his diagnosis in 2007. Addressing his silence at the time and over the following four years, Bowden (now retired) divulged his fear that, should the news of his condition surface, opposing schools would use his cancer as a weapon in recruiting battles.

Bowden, who has since undergone successful treatment for the disease, opened up to lend his support to Prostate Cancer Awareness Month Awareness Month, stating "we're really putting the hammer down this week." A few notes: a) we didn't know PCAM existed, b) "prostate" and "hammer" should not be used in the same sentence and c) what sort of scumbag would use an opposing coach's cancer as leverage? What would you say in that situation? "You should come play for us, not some old man with a cancer-riddled ballsack."

Despite Bowden's silence, FSU still missed some top-drawer recruits late in his career, such as the highly coveted Will Hill. The New Jersey high school phenom, and world-class tweeter, elected to sign with the Florida Gators in September 2007. Hill, a senior at the time, had led St. Peter's Prep (NJ) to two consecutive state championships and was rated as high as #2 in the '08 class. No doubt Bowden and the Seminoles took comfort when, years later in 2010, Hill's (public) Twitter feed made headlines. His Twitter profile picture says everything you need to know. A few highlights: "Chick tryin to swallow my kids for fathers day," "How the fuck a baby fracture its arm" and "Takin a shit in the airport."

Hill left the university in January 2011 to declare for the NFL draft. He was not selected.

Sadly, the end for Bowden at Florida State did not reflect his long history of success. The NCAA forced FSU to vacate twelve games in 2006-07 due to the use of ineligible players, and after two more ho-hum seasons (16-10 overall), FSU forced out the legendary coach. Bowden finished his career second only to Joe Paterno in all-time wins (377). JoePa, a Sports Seal favorite, has racked up 402 Ws . . . and counting.

[Note: Prostate cancer is no joke. The National Cancer Institute estimates that 240,000 men are diagnosed every year and more than 33,000 die from the disease. We should all be so lucky as Bowden, who is still going strong at the age of 82.]

Tags: Twitter, FSU, Bobby Bowden, #2, NFL draft prospects

* Straighten up, fly right: Auburn's mascot, a bald eagle named Spirit, smashed into a luxury box in Jordan-Hare stadium last Saturday. The raptor careened into the window during a ritual pregame flight and fluttered to land at the handler on the field, apparently shaken but unharmed. The College Football Report Animal Welfare Committee has issued a memorandum demanding that Auburn officials fit Spirit (aged 14) for corrective lenses. And maybe a helmet.

Tags: what's our vector, rumors lies and innuendo

* Bizzaro Vegas: After all the tumult on the first Saturday of the season, we didn't expect more chaos in Week Two. Torrential downpours caused long delays in Week One and ultimately forced an early end to two games: Western Michigan-Michigan and Marshall-West Virginia. Mother Nature served notice to college bettors (ahem) about two long-standing rules in Vegas: 1) action on the point spread requires at least 55 minutes of play and 2) wagers on the over-under are invalid if the game ends before regulation.

Last week, all hell broke loose again. Trailing Washington 38-26, Hawaii scored a touchdown with 1:39 remaining in the fourth quarter. Setting up for the extra kick, the scoreboard read Huskies 38, Warriors 32. Many outside Seattle and Honolulu took note as the PAT would cut the margin to five points - or a "push" - as many sportsbooks had installed the Huskies as a five-point favorite. Seconds later, Washington blocked the extra point and UW special teamer Desmond Trufant returned it for a two-point conversion. Final score: Washington 40, Hawaii 32.

No stranger to big plays, Trufant saved the game a week earlier by intercepting Eastern Washington QB Bo Levi Mitchell to preserve a 30-27 UW win. Remember: do not bet against Trufant (and Washington) this year.

Tags: Mother Nature, sports books, cats and dogs

* Double Bizzarro: If the end of UH-UW wasn't wild enough, the conclusion of Utah-Southern Cal took things to a new level of weirdness. With time expiring, Utah attempted a 41-yard field goal to tie the game and force overtime. The Trojans blocked the try by Utah PK Coleman Petersen and returned the live ball for a touchdown, putting the score at 23-14 - enough to cover the Vegas line of 8.5 points.

The referees disallowed the touchdown, however, after flagging USC for unsportsmanlike conduct as players streamed onto the turf in celebration. Later in the evening, the Pac-12 ruled that the penalty should not nullify the touchdown and instead be imposed on the kickoff.

Here's the kicker, so to speak: bettors holding slips with Utah +8.5 cashed in immediately after the game when the ruling placed the final score at 17-14. But two hours later, those who took the USC side (and had not yet tossed their slips) could also cash in when Pac-12 officials reversed the call, resulting in a USC cover.

Tags: double-dipping, WTF, sportsbooks

* Also recovering: An alert bystander saved the life of a Notre Dame fan on Saturday night in the Big House. Leo Staudacher suffered a heart attack and collapsed in the second quarter of Notre Dame-Michigan. A fellow fan performed CPR until the medics arrived with an automated electric defibrillator and then rushed Staudacher to the hospital.

Doctors managed to stabilize the 69-year old in time for him to watch the Wolverines stun the Irish with a last-second play to win the game. CFR could not confirm rumors of Staudacher's quote in reaction to the loss: "Send me back."

Tags: Touchdown Jesus, divine intervention

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Now that we are all caught up on the happenings of the past week, let's move on to the action (if you will) for Week Three. We welcome back the Sports Seal for his entertainment-purposes-only picks this weekend

Saturday, September 17

Akron @ Cincinnati (-34), 2:30PM Central
Louisville @ Kentucky (Under 41), 6:00PM Central
Ohio State @ (Other 25 #29) Miami, Florida (-2.5), 6:30PM Central

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And this week, we are running the inaugural picks by The College Football Report Free Range Chicken. Don't ask us how he does it folks, but if you could please include a Family Size box of Corn Flakes in your care package it would be much appreciated.

Saturday, September 17

Ole Miss (-2.5) @ Vanderbilt, 11:20AM Central; Vanderbilt by 34
Michigan State @ Notre Dame (-5), 2:30PM Central; Notre Dame by 7
Gardner Webb @ Wake Forest (-35), 5:30PM Central; Gardner Webb by 11

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Mike Luce brings you the world's greatest college football report (nearly) every Tuesday and Friday. He welcomes your comments.


Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 2:32 PM | Permalink

The [Friday] Papers

1. "What started out as a personal tribute to her grandmother has evolved into a grand art project that is on display for the masses at the National Museum of Mexican Art in Chicago," the Palm Springs Desert Sun reports.

"Yreina Flores Ortiz, 32, created a 3-foot-by-4-foot 'papel picado' banner - translated into English as punched or poked paper - out of tissue paper that is part of an altar centerpiece for the museum's Day of the Dead exhibit that runs until Dec. 11."

2. "Today, two giant mascot characters representing the Textbook Rebellion, a national coalition for lower college textbook prices, will join forces with Illinois PIRG at Truman College to gather petition signatures and distribute information about making textbooks affordable," Illinois PIRG says in a press release. "The event will take place in the front lobby of Truman College's main building from 10 a.m. to 12 p.m., and members of the media are encouraged to come at 11 a.m. for Q&A with an Illinois PIRG issue expert and local students affected by the high cost of textbooks.

"The mascots are visiting campus as they travel cross-country on a six-week, 40-campus tour rally support for the issue. Their spectacular larger-than-life costumes visually represent the problem, outrageously expensive textbooks that frequently exceed $200 a piece, and the solution, affordable alternatives such as freely available 'open textbooks.'"

3. "By 1919, the city of Chicago became over-populated and streets became a hazardous place to be" students at Eastern Illinois University learned this week. "The Irish began beating blacks on the south side of Chicago. The beatings became know as the 'Black Belt.'"

4. "A volunteer holds the end of a 47-foot long bratwurst as Chicago's Berghoff Restaurant goes for the Guinness World Record for the Midwest's Longest Brat on Thursday September 15, 2011."

5. "[Pork] rinds are also the object of an intense rivalry, with Rudolph's claims to being 'largest pork rind manufacturer' hotly contested by Chicago's Evans Food Group Ltd. 'No question, we are the No. 1 pork rind maker in the world,' says Alejandro Silva, Evans's CEO and principal owner."

6. Bill Daley Under Fire.

7. On this weekend's Sound Opinions: "Funkmaster Bootsy Collins walks Jim and Greg through a history of the genre."

8. Good fortune for the execs at Deerfield-based Fortune Brands.

9. "An Ohio-based manufacturing company wants a total of about $3.7 million in local and state incentives to move its national headquarters to Chicago," the Tribune reported this week.

"JMC Steel Group, which has already secured $2 million from Illinois, is requesting an additional $1.12 million from the city. It came one step closer to its goal on Tuesday, when the city's Community Development Commission approved that amount in tax increment financing funds to subsidize renovations of the company's new offices."

10. "Illinois' unemployment rate shot up almost half a percentage point in August to 9.9 percent," AP reports. "It was a fourth straight month of diminishing job prospects that state officials blame on weak consumer confidence and the struggles of the national economy."

11. The Week in Chicago Rock.

12. The Monster Rally Movie Promo That Aired In Chicago in 1977.

13. The Week in WTF.

14. In a special weekend appearance, I'll be behind the bar on Saturday from 3 p.m. to 9 p.m. and possibly from 11 p.m. to 3 a.m. if needed for the late shift.

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The Beachwood Tip Line: Like a highway song.


Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 8:43 AM | Permalink

Bill Daley Under Fire

A Bill Daley narrative is shaping up in Washington. Let's take a look.

The Huffington Post: "When [Bill] Daley does get involved, he leaves progressives wishing he'd stuck to his laissez-faire approach. Democrats have taken issue with Daley for cozying up to Republicans and conceding too much, too soon, in negotiations with them. He routinely reminds GOP leaders how his business background colors his politics, trying to get across the message that he's not so different from them. 'He constantly feels the need to tell [House Speaker John] Boehner and [Majority Leader Eric] Cantor that he agrees with us on regulations,' said one House Republican aide. 'It's almost an obsession.'

"Last month, Daley was reportedly a driving force behind Obama's decision not to roll out new draft ozone standards. The move outraged environmental groups but Republicans hailed it as a step in the right direction, saying it freed up businesses to create jobs by freeing them from cumbersome regulations.

"'He's working with Congress? Which side of the aisle?' said Rep. Peter DeFazio (D-Ore.), a member of the Congressional Progressive Caucus and a frequent Obama administration critic.

"'The few people I know who have had conversations with him came away less than satisfied,' DeFazio said. 'He's not responsive . . . I never even hear the leaders talk about him.'

"Daley's Democratic critics, however, fail to recognize one of the main purposes of bringing him on as the campaign season ramps up: He's there to raise money."

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Politico: "'Is there a level of unhappiness with Bill around the White House? Yeah,' said a person close to Obama who spoke on condition of anonymity, like almost all other insiders interviewed for this story . . .

"Daley 'has no understanding of the [congressional] process, and he doesn't want to understand the process,' said a senior Democratic aide. 'The entire Senate Democratic Caucus has a problem with Daley.'"

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The Hill: "The involvement of President Obama's chief of staff in last week's decision to withdraw a smog rule might signal a more muscular White House role in vetting costly regulations ahead of the 2012 election.

"Obama's surprise move to block an ozone regulation from the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) followed immense pressure from industry trade associations, which made numerous personal appeals to White House Chief of Staff Bill Daley.

"Daley met with the heads of several business groups more than two weeks before Obama withdrew the regulation - an unusual level of senior White House involvement in the regulatory process."

*

And:

Wall Street Pit: "In recent months, Daley has made no secret of his agitation with his current role with former Wall Street associates (the president continues to rely on senior adviser Valerie Jarrett on the most important issues, Daley has told people) and his desire to become Treasury Secretary if Geithner should step down or if the president wins a second term and Geithner, as expected, leaves."

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Comments welcome.


Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 7:50 AM | Permalink

Blast From The Past: Monster Rally Movie Promo Of '77

"[A] promo for the Monster Rally Movie presentation of The Death Ray of Dr. Mabuse on WSNS Channel 44. This movie aired on Friday, April 15th, 1977, at 10:30 p.m."


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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 3:10 AM | Permalink

The Week in Chicago Rock

You shoulda been there.

1. The Jim Jones Revue at Schubas on Wednesday night.


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2. Paul Kelly at Schubas on Tuesday night.

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3. Bring Me The Horizon at the House of Blues on Wednesday night.

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4. Empire of the Sun at the Congress on Wednesday night.

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 2:34 AM | Permalink

The Week in WTF

1. Sentencing Blago, WTF?

We doubt this will be the ex-gov's sentence though we can always hope, and we also doubt prosecutors even proposed it to the judge. But gosh, it sure is fun to scare the ever-lovin' clown pants off Blago, isn't it? Who said federal prosecutors don't have a riotous sense of humor.

2. The Daleys' Security Detail, WTF?

The city can cut down its active-duty cop security and transport perk for Richie Daley because he doesn't really need it, and besides he's a millionaire who can cover the bill just fine on his own.

But Rahm says the detail of three cops needs to stay so former first lady Maggie Daley can get to her doctor's appointments. Her husband is the same millionaire we just referenced. We like her better than hubby, but sheesh, it's rich people.

The new mayor says it's only a token perk which now means it's several hundred thousand dollars of tax money. Token used to mean something else. For people with lots of money, the definition of token can be stretched.

3. Jerome Richmond, WTF?

So Jereme Richmond's lawyer - the judge seems to actually be considering it - wants to let the former Waukegan and Illinois basketball player and full-time punk go out of town to Vegas and LA to "sharpen his skills" in basketball camps and perhaps get a job in the NBA - No Bullies Allowed. This is while the court mulls gun charges and terrorist threatening to a former girlfriend. Sure, Jereme Richmond on the loose in Vegas and LA. What possibly could go wrong?

4. Joe Walsh Redux, WTF?

This proves that you can thumb your nose at the president of the United States but messing with a Chicago judge might be an expensive diss.

For a guy who just wants to get this child support thingy settled, Walsh sure has a hard time getting to the finish line. Reading between very clear lines of text, the judge seems to be saying he's short on the money and the only question is why.

We expect he'll be hit with a $100,000 judgment for child support just about simultaneously with his forced exit from Congress. Then he can file for relief on the judgment because he's out of work again.

He's also had five lawyers on this case. Wonder if they've all been paid.

5. U of C Infection, WTF?

If getting a suspicious skin infection is a suitable rationale for shutting down an enterprise then most of the restaurants that WTF has patronized recently should be out of business soon.

When we go out to dinner, it's always a rash decision.

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Comments welcome.



Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 2:08 AM | Permalink

September 15, 2011

The [Thursday] Papers

"Lawyers in a class-action case accuse insurance giant State Farm of defrauding the Illinois Supreme Court by covering up its support of the Republican candidate in the most expensive state judicial race in U.S. history," McClatchy-Tribune Information Services reports.

"Those attorneys, including former television star and U.S. senator Fred Thompson, allege State Farm lied and mislead the court, hiding its 'extraordinary support of Justice (Lloyd) Karmeier's campaign and to thwart Justice Karmeier's disqualification.'

"A petition was filed last week, asking the court to reconsider its decision to void a $1 billion verdict against State Farm. The petition is based on an investigation by former FBI agent Michael Reece."

Like a good fundraiser, State Farm is there.

Outside The Lines
"Illinois may be swimming in red ink, but that hasn't stopped lawmakers and other public officials from using state tax dollars to print and distribute coloring books," Lee Enterprises reports.

"Along with offering kids the opportunity to color things like the official state snack - popcorn - and the official state prairie grass - Big Bluestem - the booklets also prominently feature the name, contact information and picture of the lawmaker or state official.

"In some instances, children can even color in a likeness of their local legislator."

For example . . .

Businesses wishing to relocate here are also encouraged to color in a dollar amount on drawings of blank checks.

Blago Beat
"Federal prosecutors argue Rod Blagojevich could serve 30 years to life in prison, sources say - a sentencing range that will be bitterly disputed by the former governor's defense lawyers," the Sun-Times reports.

Really? George Ryan 6 1/2 years. Sounds like "sources" are trying to prep the media frame.

Obama Drama
"It's open season on President Barack Obama - and that's just from members of his own party," Politico reports.

"With frustration and disappointment mounting from stinging defeats in Tuesday's two special elections and over Obama's jobs plan, the media is filled on Thursday with Democrats on the record publicly questioning and doubting the president and some of his policies, and a few even unleashing biting criticism."

Also from Politico today:

* Obama's Blue-State Blues: "In Democratic strongholds from Vermont to California - not to mention New York City, where the president helped sink his party's nominee in Tuesday's special election - Obama isn't quite tanking, but he's moving unmistakably in the wrong direction."

* Carville Wants W.H. Firings: "In a CNN column, former Clinton adviser James Carville says it's time for Barack Obama to 'panic,' and suggests how the president might start."

. . . Or Hardly Working?
"Ever since Google agreed to buy Motorola Mobility Holdings for $12.5 billion last month, the deal has attracted a lot of attention," Footnoted reports. "As we footnoted a month ago, Motorola Mobility CEO Sanjay Jha is set to walk away with more than $66 million once the deal closes. And as the NY Times' DealBook reported yesterday, the deal was negotiated very quickly and Google raised its own initial bid, even without other third-party suitors involved.

"But there are other fascinating details about the deal that we discovered after putting on the scuba gear and diving in to the preliminary merger proxy that Motorola Mobility filed late Tuesday. Most of these involve the astronomical fees, for doing what seems like very little work. Let's just say that there's probably a few I-bankers who are probably buying very nice thank you gifts for all those special people in their lives."

Vs.

"Five men appeared in DuPage County bond court Wednesday accused of robbing a Naperville gas station of iced tea, Cheetos and cigarettes," TribLocal Naperville reports.

*

Steal a little and they throw you in jail, steal a lot and they make you king.

Fault Line
"Notices of mortgage default, the first step in the home foreclosure process, jumped 25 percent in Illinois last month, putting the threat of additional strain on local housing markets," the Tribune reports.

State China
"Gov. Pat Quinn departs Friday for an eight-day trade mission to China, leading a delegation of 30 politicians, academics, business and union leaders in what his office is billing as the first overseas trip of its kind by an Illinois governor since 2002," the Tribune reports.

"Behind Canada and Mexico, China is the state's third leading country for exports. China purchased more than $3 billion worth of products from Illinois in 2010, helping boost the state's exports by nearly 20 percent from the year before. In all, Illinois sold nearly $50 billion in goods to countries across the world last year, according to the state's Office of Trade and Investment.

"But Quinn wants more, saying that building relationships with other countries is key to keeping Illinoisans employed at home."

And child labor employed abroad.

"They have a lot of mouths to feed there, a lot of animals as well," Quinn said.

And a lot of people treated like animals. So a terrific market.

"We have to understand that our customers in places like China, we want to have good relations with them."

Plus, it's a captive market!

"Also among those scheduled to go on the China trip are Democratic state Sens. Kwame Raoul, Mattie Hunter and Tony Munoz, all of Chicago; John Coli, president of Teamsters Joint Council 25; Daniel Lynch, managing director of corporate and government affairs at United Airlines; Lawrence M. Kaplan, president and CEO of NAVTEQ Corp.; and Sanford M. Stein of law firm Quarles & Brady."

Representatives from Human Rights Watch Chicago were not invited.

The Political Odds
New updates at the Beachwood Sports & Newsbook.

The Blue & Orange Kool-Aid Report
Oh yeah!

The Erie-LaSalle Body Shop
Lifetime warranty.

The Les Paul Guitar That Debuted In Chicago
The Fretless Wonder they called Black Beauty.

From The Son Of Svengoolie Vault
Including Richard Simmons and Laury's Discount Records.

Carl's Cubs Mailbag
Wrath of the Table Saw.

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The Beachwood Tip Line: Wrathful.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 9:57 AM | Permalink

The Erie-LaSalle Body Shop

Lifetime warranty.


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See also: The Erie-LaSalle Body Shop on Flickr.

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 8:54 AM | Permalink

From The Son of Svengoolie Vault: Off-Air Footage From PM Chicago 1981

"This aired on local Chicago TV on Friday, July 31st 1981 . . . thanks to Phantom we know that the rebroadcast of the story was on Thursday, October 29th 1981."


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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 8:40 AM | Permalink

The Incomparable Les Paul Guitar That Debuted In Chicago In 1954

"The introduction of the Les Paul Model in 1952 provided the fundamental template for the design of what would eventually become the most revered stringed instrument in the world. Yet Gibson president Ted McCarty and the guitar's namesake, Les Paul, also sought to introduce a 'deluxe' version of the soon-to-be iconic model. The final design for the new Les Paul Custom was completed in early 1954, and the guitar made its official debut at the Chicago NAMM show in July 1954."


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See the full product description here.

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 8:28 AM | Permalink

Carl's Cubs Mailbag: Wrath Of The Table Saw

Is DJ LeMahieu just a right-handed Micah Hoffpauir?
-Caleb, Henning IL

No, because DJ has a job in the major leagues.

Fun trivia fact about LeMahieu:

His birth name is actually Doug Goldblatt. Doug had some success after college as a rave disc jockey and picked up the alias LeMahieu during an ecstasy bender in which he believed he was a French concierge. In 2006, he lost a bet with the ghost of Andy Warhol that he couldn't eat 60 croissants without vomiting, so he put down the glowstick, stopped chopping righteous mixes and picked up a bat.

Will Carlos Pena be back next season?
-Gilbert, Gottfried IL

Yes, but as an assistant to the new GM. Like Greg Maddux, he will be paid a high six-figure income to show up at the office 60 times a year, show DJ LeMahieu how to pick short hops at first base and occasionally come out of the dugout to talk to players in Spanish as he juggles a rosin bag.

When are the renovations of Wrigley Field going to start?
-David, Justice IL

Soon. Those Under Armour signs in the outfield are load-bearing lead/asbestos composite, so unless we get a fresh coat of paint on those suckers before the end of winter, the bleachers will collapse.

Ugh. 6-2 Reds in the 7th. How do I stomach this garbage?
-Blake, DeWitt IL

Make anagrams.

Logan Ondrusek: One Drunk's Goal

Darwin Barney: Drab n' Rainy . . . Ew.

Tony Campana: A Pact On Many

What did Koyie Hill do to piss off Quade?
-Koyie, Chicago IL

He don't play much, do he.

Or is it "heie" don't play much, do "heie?"

Rumor has it the Cubs skipper took it the wrong way when Hill brought his wife's minx cat to the ballpark on the way to the vet. Hence the 175 at-bats for the season.

Fun trivia fact about Hill (or is it Hillie):

In his spare time, the Cubs backup catcher has been working on a labor of true love: A rock opera collaboration called Wrath Of The Table Saw featuring Tommy Shaw, Ted Nugent and Jack Blades.

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Send your questions and comments to Carl!


Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 12:46 AM | Permalink

Lovie's Cover 2 Live Crew

It Bears Repeating
During his rendition of the national anthem, Jim Cornelison didn't just bring the thunder. He brought a 30-case of Thunder, pounded a two-liter of Cougar Boost Energy Drink and showed this chump how it's done by blasting America's collective tears of pride right off our face.

A Special Teams Special
For the second week in a row, two of the leagues best kick-return units face off. Thanks to Darren Sproles (with assists from rum and tourist nudity), folks in New Orleans are quickly forgetting about Reggie Bush's impact as a punt returner. Vegas is setting the over/under for Sproles/Hester comparison graphics at 7.5.

How 'Bout A Nice Hawaiian Punch?
Lookie here! Fred Miller's old pal Olin Kruetz will be snapping the ball on Sunday for the New Orleans Saints and Bears defensive lineman Henry Melton can't wait.

"I love pushing aging, undersized Pacific islanders into astroturf," Melton was quoted as saying during an imaginary press conference.

Marques, Your Brother
If you picked Week 2 in your "2 Live Crew" Kool-Aid Report Lyrical Reference office pool, congrats! I went into this week assuming that I could make light of Saints receiver Marques Colston's proclivity for injury, but his brittle collar bone beat me to the punch.

DA: 'No Allegation Against' Meriweather For Reported Rape
Boy, if you move that quote over one word it looks a lot more troubling.

The only things the Bears new free safety will be taking advantage of are the deep passes thrown by Drew Brees and the low, low prices at Bob Rohrman Schaumburg Ford!

That's right folks, the universal sporting event media-buy purchased by Bob Rohrman and Jeff Vukovich now includes The Beachwood Reporter.

Kool-Aid: 2 Out Of 5 Pitchers
Enjoy some burnt orange sugar water, but do so with a raised eyebrow and a skepticism chaser. If the Bears pass rush looks good two weeks in a row, I'll prescribe a third jug for the game against the Packers.

-

Comments welcome.




Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 12:00 AM | Permalink

September 14, 2011

The [Wednesday] Papers

I'm way behind this week so be patient. I'll eventually get to all the nonsense our public officials continue to perpetrate on the (enabling) populace. For now, it's whatever I can muster.

1. Mystery Tea Party Debate Theater.

This took a long time, but it's really good. And not just for my smart-ass comments, but as an abridged transcript that delivers only the parts you need and dispenses with the rest.

2. "Political groups owe the state of Illinois hundreds of thousands of dollars in overdue fines," WBEZ reports. "All campaign committees must make public who gave them money, and how they spent it. That's the law. And if they file these reports late, they can be fined. But a lot of times those fines just sit there unpaid."

3. At this juncture, Chicago teachers must feel about Rahm the way Chicago police officers felt about Daley.

4. The world is mostly populated by selfish, immature two-faced phonies whose only satisfaction in life comes from their petty dramas which disregard facts in favor of gossip and speculation, revealing more about themselves than anyone around them.

Oh, and most people don't know what they're talking about and facts won't persuade them otherwise. Facts are not respected in our culture; image, narrative, spin, interpretation and thought-shaping are. And it's shocking how few people can really tell the difference between facts and opinion. Also, charlatans and their snow jobs rule. No one learns lessons. Rewards go to the devious. Character never counts. Ethics are a novelty. Creativity and innovation are dissed at the exact rate they are hailed by organizations and individuals.

How is your week going?!

*

I feel nothing for their game where beauty goes unrecognized.

5. In an excellent response to my column on Monday, Larry Kart writes re: 'That Matt Forte TD Screen Pass':

"Both accounts are true. Sean Weatherspoon's 'tackle' attempt was pathetic (though not untypical in today's NFL), but a bit further downfield on that play Tyler Clutts did block at least two (maybe three) Falcons, some of whom would have had a good shot at stopping Forte before he scored.

"Football, as you know, is a very synergistic game, and I would say (based on more years of often painful experience than I want to think about) that maybe two-thirds or more of the Falcons' ineptitude on Sunday was the result of the Bears' superiority on that day in preparation, skills, and match-ups (in particular, the Bears D-line versus the Falcons' O-line). If the Bears' defense can get enough pressure from the front four, the cover-two scheme is very tough to beat, as former NFL safety and commentator Matt Bowen and many others have pointed out. But we shall see."

Thanks, Larry. Write to us anytime.

6. In response to this, I wrote the following comments on Facebook yesterday:

"Memo to Libertarians: We don't live in tribes anymore. The world is a complicated place; the country is 300 million strong; the economy is more sophisticated than individuals can manage alone. We organize ourselves voluntarily to create government entities to help us all. It's not a competition to show who can survive best with the most 'liberty.'

"We're never 'free' from our obligations to others. We are all responsible because all of our actions impact everyone else on the planet. It's an unfortunate fact of the physical world.

"We also cannot spend all our time researching which unregulated products are safe; which uninspected meat won't kill us; which drugs work; which air traffic controllers are qualified. We subcontract that work to others; it's called division of labor and representative democracy."

Thanks to everyone for their thoughtful replies.

7. Massive CIA Cover-Up: 'U.S. Hushes Blatant Human Rights Violations'

8. "When President Obama shelved stricter environmental regulations for ground-level ozone until at least 2013, the administration said that delay was meant to alleviate regulatory pressures on a recovering economy," the National Journal reports. "But former Vice President Al Gore accused Obama of 'embracing' a scientifically outdated Bush-era environmental standard, and other critics said that the administration is caving to big polluters.

"Many National Journal Energy and Environment Insiders say that President Obama's retreat on environmental issues isn't over yet."

Not by a longshot. And not just on the environment. This campaign is going to be a real test of just how much so-called liberals can stomach.

*

"But then in a second term he can do what he really wants!"

Even if that was true, there is nothing in the record of Obama's entire political career to indicate that he really wants anything much different than what he's done so far.

But Beachwood readers know that already.

*

And then there will be the 2014 midterms and then the 2016 presidential race. Just hold your tongue until . . . when?

*

A Facebook friend writes:

"I know, I know . . . but c'mon . . . Obama vs Perry?"

I reply:

"Agreed. But maybe an independent; and why not a primary challenge? And why not a third party or a left version of the Tea Party, though that is a more eclectic group than given credit for. I'm just saying the two-party straitjacket serves certain interests that are not your interests, and at some point folks have to break away."

And to expand:

Not every election is the end-all, be-all. For example, would it be better to have Barack Obama as president for one-term and then eight years of Rick Perry (or Mitt Romney) or to have suffered through one term of John McCain and eight years of a Democrat?

Also, you never know how things are going to work out. Republicans were actually quite pleased with most of Bill Clinton's presidency, even as some of them were trying to impeach him.

And the White House is not the only position of power. At the moment, for example, it seems a certain caucus within the U.S. House of Representatives is the place to be.

Sometimes it's better to fight for your values and principles regardless of who is in power - and sometimes knowing clearly and exactly who the political villains are is preferable to not.

9. Gary Chicago Airport Facing Expansion Delays.

*

From last spring:

"A number of speakers Wednesday expressed thanks to the city of Chicago for the $9.5 million it is putting into the Gary airport's expansion. But the key question of Chicago's continued support for the Gary airport was left unanswered at Wednesday's event.

"New Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel wrote to Clay, expressing regrets he could not attend. He sent Chicago Department of Aviation CFO Michael Zonsius in his place.

"The Gary airport currently receives a $3.1 million slice of annual passenger fees collected at O'Hare and Midway airports under a compact agreement signed between the cities of Chicago and Gary in 1995. There has been concern about what may happen to that support as Emanuel struggles to close the city's budget deficit."

Pull the plug, Rahm. It was just political fun and games to Daley anyway.

10. "A senior appeals court judge said Tuesday that if Illinois' eavesdropping law were expanded, gang bangers and 'snooping' reporters would run rampant, secretly recording conversations unchecked," the Sun-Times reports.

"'If you permit the audio recordings, they'll be a lot more eavesdropping . . . There's going to be a lot of this snooping around by reporters and bloggers,' U.S. 7th Circuit Judge Richard Posner said. 'Yes, it's a bad thing. There is such a thing as privacy.'"

Not for police officers on official business.

*

Richard Posner is a disgrace to the judiciary.

11. "Week 1 of the NFL season has a way of making you want to throw away your whole fantasy football game plan. Nothing ever goes quite as anyone expected. Guys that are supposed to be great end up falling on their faces, while players who didn't make your preseason draft list end up at the top of the week's fantasy stat board," writes our very own Dan O'Shea in this week's Fantasy Fix.

"It's the sort of thing that makes you want to hate the so-called fantasy experts. I forcefully hesitate to call myself an expert, and think of my role as much more of an assistant, helping you find your way to information that may prove useful. But I wouldn't blame you if you hate me for not suggesting to you last week that Carolina QB Cam Newton would throw for 400-plus yards; that Green Bay WR Randall Cobb would score two TDs; or that troubled Cincinnati RB Cedric Benson would run for 121 yards. I'm kind of mad at myself, too.

"The big question to ask though - while we're filling the world with more hate - is how many of these Week 1 performances are indicative of future returns?"

You'll have to click through to see what Dan thinks.

-

The Beachwood Tip Line: Where hope goes to die.


Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 10:45 AM | Permalink

Mystery Tea Party Debate Theater

This transcript has been edited for sanity, clarity and comedy.

CNN: Tonight, eight candidates, one stage, one chance to take part in a groundbreaking debate. The Tea Party support and the Republican nomination, on the line right now.

RHODES: Seven candidates go home!

*

WOLF BLITZER: And welcome to the Florida State Fairgrounds here in Tampa , the site of the first ever Tea Party/Republican presidential debate.

One year from now, right here in Tampa, the Republican National Convention will nominate the Republican candidate for president of the United States.

Candidates, please take your podiums. And while you do, I want to tell all of our viewers, everyone here a little bit more about how this debate will work.

RHODES: I will ask the most obvious questions that have been asked many times before and will be again. You will respond by repeating the rehearsed statements you and your advisors have been working on regardless of the question. I will fail to follow-up and you will pretend this is a real debate. Later, my news colleagues and peers will write and produce news stories and segments that also pretend something important happened here tonight, as if this wasn't a staged pseudo-event designed for TV for the benefit of select interests.

Of course, if you say something that could be interpreted as a "gaffe," no matter how inconsequential, we will blow it out of proportion in order to develop a narrative reflecting what we secretly think about you but are unwilling to report as news. True or not, you will then have to live with it. Is everyone ready?

BLITZER: Governor Huntsman, we'll begin with you.

HUNTSMAN: Wolf, delighted to be here.

RHODES: Can I call you Wolf?

HERMAN CAIN: I'm Herman Cain. I am the only non-politician on this stage tonight.

RHODES: I dunno, no one else on the stage is much of a politician either!

BACHMANN: My name is Michele Bachmann. I know we can do so much better in this country. That's why I'm the chief author of the bill to repeal Dodd-Frank, the bill to repeal Obamacare. And that's why I brought the voice of the Tea Party to the United States Congress as the founder of the Tea Party Caucus.

RHODES: Bitches!

ROMNEY: My name is Mitt Romney. And like you, I recognize that America 's economy is in crisis. Got a lot of people without work, and a lot of people wonder whether the future is going to be brighter for their kids. I spent my life in the private sector. I understand how jobs come to America and why they go.

RHODES: To make guys like me rich, for example.

PERRY: I'm Governor Rick Perry. And I'm proud to be here today with the Tea Party Express. And I simply want to get America working again and make Washington, D.C., as inconsequential in your life as I can.

RHODES: If elected, I will totally do nothing as your president!

PAUL: My goal has always been to promote the cause of liberty and to obey the Constitution. I plan to do that as president, as well.

RHODES: For example, nowhere in the Constitution does it say that the federal government is responsible for monitoring the food supply for E. coli or guiding airplanes safely through the air. In a Ron Paul presidency, you will be totally free to eat poisoned food of freedom and fly on planes liberated to follow their own unsafe flight plans!

GINGRICH: I think it is totally appropriate that we're having this particular debate on 9/12. And in the spirit of 9/12 . . .

RHODES: I'm going to tap your phones, suspend habeas corpus, invade a country on a whim and make Katy Perry a star.

GINGRICH: . . . I hope to work with you to fundamentally, profoundly change Washington in what will be a long and difficult struggle against the forces of reaction and special interests.

RHODES: And that's just the Republican primary!

SANTORUM: I'm a former two-term senator from a state that has over a million more registered Democrats than Republicans, and I won two elections there without having to change my policies or my party to win.

RHODES: Until losing his Senate seat in 2006 by the largest margin ever in the state to a Democrat in the biggest loss of the year nationwide.

BLITZER: Ladies and gentlemen, the eight Republican presidential candidates.

RHODES: That we choose to acknowledge. We don't just report the news, we invent it.

*

QUESTION: Tea Party, Jacksonville, Florida. My question:

How will you convince senior citizens that Social Security and Medicare need to be changed and get their vote?

BACHMANN: Well, one thing that we need to let senior citizens know is, for those who are currently on the Social Security system, the United States government made a promise to senior citizens, and we have to keep that promise to them.

But we also need to know that for those who are not yet on the system, the system simply has to be reformed in order for it to work. The same goes with Medicare. We know that President Obama stole over $500 billion out of Medicare to switch it over to Obamacare.

RHODES: It's on surveillance tape. He's the one in the Ronald Reagan mask.

*

BLITZER: Governor Perry, speaking of Social Security, you've said in the past it's a Ponzi scheme, an absolute failure, unconstitutional, but today you wrote an article in USA Today saying it must be saved and reformed, very different tone. Why?

RHODES: Because Florida is a very important primary state, Wolf.

PERRY: Well, first off, the people who are on Social Security today need to understand something. Slam-dunk guaranteed, that program is going to be there in place for those.

RHODES: Um, let me rephrase that.

PERRY: But the idea that we have not had the courage to stand up and look Americans in the face, young mid-career professionals or kids that are my children's age and look them in the eye and said, listen, this is a broken system. It has been called a Ponzi scheme by many people long before me.

RHODES: By some of the very people attacking you now.

PERRY: But no one's had the courage to stand up and say, here is how we're going to reform it.

RHODES: Except every Republican presidential candidate since time immemoriam - and most of the Democrats.

BLITZER: Governor Romney, you said that Governor Perry's position on Social Security is, quote, unacceptable and could even obliterate the Republican Party. Are you saying he could not, as Republican nominee, beat Barack Obama?

ROMNEY: No, what I'm saying is that what he just said, I think most people agree with, although the term Ponzi scheme I think is over-the-top and unnecessary and frightful to many people. But the real issue is in writing his book, Governor Perry pointed out that in his view that Social Security is unconstitutional, that this is not something the federal government ought to be involved in, that instead it should be given back to the states.

And I think the view that somehow Social Security has been forced on us over the past 70 years that by any measure, again quoting book, by any measure Social Security has been a failure, this is after 70 years of tens of millions of people relying on Social Security, that's a very different matter.

So the financing of Social Security, we've all talked about at great length. In the last campaign four years around, John McCain said it was bankrupt. I put in my book a series of proposals on how to get it on sound financial footing so that our kids can count on it not just our current seniors.

But the real question is, does Governor Perry continue to believe that Social Security should not be a federal program, that it's unconstitutional and it should be returned to the states or is he going to retreat from that view?

PERRY: If what you're trying to say is that back in the '30s and the '40s that the federal government made all the right decisions, I disagree with you. And it's time for us to get back to the Constitution and a program that's been there 70 or 80 years, obviously we're not going to take that program away. But for people to stand up and support what they did in the '30s or what they're doing in the 2010s is not appropriate for America .

ROMNEY: But the question is, do you still believe that Social Security should be ended as a federal program as you did six months ago when your book came out and returned to the states or do you want to retreat from that?

PERRY: I think we ought to have a conversation.

ROMNEY: We're having that right now, governor. We're running for president.

PERRY: And I'll finish this conversation. But the issue is, are there ways to move the states into Social Security for state employees or for retirees? We did in the state of Texas back in the 1980s. I think those types of thoughtful conversations with America, rather than trying to scare seniors like you're doing and other people, it's time to have a legitimate conversation in this country about how to fix that program where it's not bankrupt and our children actually know that there's going to be a retirement program there for them.

ROMNEY: Governor, the term Ponzi scheme is what scared seniors, number one. And number two, suggesting that Social Security should no longer be a federal program and returned to the states and unconstitutional is likewise frightening.

RHODES: I'll say.

ROMNEY: Look, there are a lot of bright people who agree with you. And that's your view. I happen to have a different one. I think that Social Security is an essential program that we should change the way we're funding it. You called it a criminal . . .

PERRY: You said if people did it in the private sector it would be called criminal. That's in your book.

ROMNEY: Governor Perry you've got to quote me correctly. You said it's criminal. What I said was Congress taking money out of the Social Security trust fund is criminal and it's wrong.

BLITZER: Congressman Paul, let me expand this conversation.

RHODES: Before a real debate breaks out.

BLITZER: Do you agree with Governor Perry that Social Security is a Ponzi scheme?

PAUL: Well, I agree that Social Security is broke. We spent all the money and it's on its last legs unless we do something. One bill that I had in Congress that never got passed was to prevent Congress from spending any of that money on the wars and all the nonsense that we do around the world.

Now, what I would like to do is to allow all the young people to get out of Social Security and go on their own. Now, the big question is, is how would the funding occur?

RHODES: Freedom dollars?

BLITZER: Alright. Hold that thought for a minute, because I want Herman Cain to get involved.

RHODES: For all those on acid out there.

BLITZER: Are you with Governor Perry that Social Security is a Ponzi scheme?

CAIN: I don't care what you call it, it's broken. And here's my solution. Start with optional personal retirement accounts. In 1981, the Galveston County employees, they opted out because that was a very short window of opportunity. They took it.

Today, when people retire in Galveston County, Texas, they retire making at least 50 percent more than they would ever get out of Social Security.

RHODES: Half-true.

CAIN: The Galveston County model worked, and it also worked in the small country of Chile.

RHODES: Not again.

HUNTSMAN: I don't think anything should be off the table except maybe some of the drama that's playing out here on this floor today. I mean, to hear these two go at it over here, it's almost incredible.

You've got Governor Romney, who called it a fraud in his book No Apology. I don't know if that was written by Kurt Cobain or not.

RHODES: Not.

HUNTSMAN: And then you've got Governor Perry, who is calling this a Ponzi scheme.

BLITZER: Speaker Gingrich, would you raise the retirement age for Social Security recipients?

GINGRICH: No, not necessarily, but let me start with - I'm not particularly worried about Governor Perry and Governor Romney frightening the American people when President Obama scares them every single day.

RHODES: Not as much as you.

BLITZER: Let me just pinpoint the question. What would you do to fix Social Security?

GINGRICH: Okay. But can I also expand for a second? Because that was not a rhetorical joke.

President Obama twice said recently he couldn't guarantee delivering the checks to Social Security recipients. Now, why should young people who are 16- to 25- years-old have politicians who have the power for the rest of their life to threaten to take away their Social Security?

RHODES: Let's transfer that power to unregulated hedge funds!

BLITZER: Senator Santorum, when it comes to Social Security, are you with Governor Romney or Governor Perry?

SANTORUM: Well, the question is who is with me? Because I've been out here talking about - you want to talk about courage to tell the truth, Governor? I was out in 1994 running against a Democratic incumbent in a campaign managed by James Carville, and I went out and talked about Social Security reform.

RHODES: And in 2006 he lost his Senate seat talking about Social Security reform.

*

DR. BRIDGET MELSON, PLEASANTON TEA PARTY: What is your plan to balance the budget and get this spending under control so that my children's share of the debt is erased without compromising my retired mother's already tenuous financial future?

BLITZER: How do you do that? How do you protected seniors, balance the budget?

So much of the budget goes to defense and entitlements like Social Security, Medicare.

GINGRICH: But that's just a Washington mythology. And anybody who knows anything about the federal government knows that there's such an enormous volume of waste, that if you simply had a serious effort to modernize the federal government, you would have hundreds of billions of dollars of savings falling off.

RHODES: Vote Gore!

GINGRICH: Let me say, I helped balance the budget for four straight years.

RHODES: Vote Clinton!

*

BLITZER: Senator Santorum, you voted for the prescription drug benefits for seniors when you were in the United States Senate costing about $1 trillion. If you had to do it over again, you wouldn't vote for that, but if you were president of the United States, would you repeal prescription drug benefits for seniors under Medicare?

SANTORUM: I think we have to keep a prescription drug component, but we have to pay for it. In other words, we have to have a program that is funded.

Now, the reason that that program has actually worked well is it's come in 40 percent under budget because it's a program that uses private sector insurance, not government-run, one-size-fits-all health care. If we do that for the rest of Medicare, which is what the Ryan proposal suggests, and something that I proposed, again, years ago, had the courage to go out and lead on this issue, then we would be able to have a prescription drug program and we'd be able to have Medicare that you choose.

The idea that unless we have a government-run, one-size-fits-all Medicare program, that that's throwing grandma off a cliff, is Washington think - is people who think in Washington this president, who believes that they know better than you how to run your life and how to purchase your health care. I trust you, I trust the American people.

RHODES: Except those in government.

BLITZER: Governor Perry, it was President Bush who pushed for prescription drug benefits for senior, not President Obama.

If you were president, would you vote to eliminate, to repeal those prescription drug benefits for seniors under Medicare?

PERRY: No. It's a $17 trillion hole that we have in our budget we've got to deal with. And I think that's the issue of, how do you find the savings and still deliver the services?

For instance, in the state of Texas, we combined a substantial amount of our health and human services from 10 down to five agencies. We put an Office of Inspector General into place, and we saved over $5.3 billion, Newt, just by finding the waste and the fraud in Texas state government. I'm thinking there might be more waste and fraud in the federal government than even there is in the Texas government.

RHODES: So you fund prescription drug benefits by finding $17 trillion of waste? Sounds like a Ponzi scheme to me.

BLITZER: Just to be precise, if you were president, you wouldn't repeal prescription drug benefits for seniors under Medicare?

PERRY: That's what I said.

RHODES: Not precisely.

*

QUESTION: My name is Sandra Jones from Yorktown, Virginia. My question is, what would you do to get the economy moving forward? Do you have a plan? And, if so, what is it?

BLITZER: Alright, good question.

RHODES: For a fifth-grader. My God. Um, yeah, I was just wondering, is there somewhere I can read about your background, you know, where you're from, if you're married, if you have a plan to move the economy forward? 'Cause if y'all do have a plan, I'd love to know all about it!

HUNTSMAN: I have put forward a program that I want all of you to understand is basically patterned after what I did as governor.

RHODES: Tax Mormons?

HUNTSMAN: First and foremost, I want to reform this tax code.

RHODES: Unlike every presidential candidate - Democrat and Republican - from time immemorial.

HUNTSMAN: I put forward a program that the Wall Street Journal has come out and endorsed. It basically calls for stripping out the loopholes and the deductions and lowering the rates for individuals, cleaning out corporate welfare and subsidies on the corporate side and lowering the rate, leaving us a whole lot more competitive for the 21st century.

RHODES: Or we could collect a tax for every time a politician promises to get rid of waste, fraud, and abuse while reforming the tax code and closing those darn loopholes. We'd balance the budget in seven to 10 days.

*

HUNTSMAN: This country needs to wean itself from its heroin-like addiction to foreign oil. We need energy independence desperately in this country.

RHODES: Elect Carter!

*

BLITZER: Governor Perry, the president in his new plan has a lot of tax cuts, payroll tax cuts, middle-class tax cuts, tax credits for hiring veterans, tax credits for hiring long-term unemployed people. Are those things you would support?

PERRY: And he's going to pay for them all with raising your taxes.

RHODES: And cutting them!

PERRY: He had $800 billion worth of stimulus in the first round of stimulus. It created zero jobs, $400-plus billion dollars in this package. And I can do the math on that one. Half of zero jobs is going to be zero jobs.

RHODES: Governor Perry, are you saying the president's stimulus plan didn't create a single job? Not one? Wolf? Bueller?

*

BLITZER: So just to be precise, Governor, whenever the president supports tax cuts, that has to be balanced with spending cuts?

PERRY: I would suggest to you that people are tired of spending money we don't have on programs we don't want.

RHODES: Name those programs.

*

CAIN: I believe we throw out the entire tax code and put in my 9-9-9 plan.

RHODES: Drink!

CAIN: 9-9-9. A 9 percent business flat tax, a 9 percent personal income tax and a 9 percent national sales tax.

RHODES: And a 9 percent crazy tax, a 9 percent nutso tax and a 9 percent can you believe this guy was a CEO tax.

*

ROMNEY: What's happened over the last 20, 30 years is we've gone from a pay phone world to a smartphone world . . .

RHODES: Unless you're Ron Paul.

*

ROMNEY: I think Governor Perry would agree with me that if you're dealt four aces that doesn't make you necessarily a great poker player.

RHODES: Or three 9s.

ROMNEY: And the four aces that are terrific aces are the ones the nation should learn from, the ones I described, zero income tax, low regulation, right to work state, oil in the ground and a Republican legislature. Those things are terrific.

And by the way, there has been great growth in Texas. Under Ann Richards, job growth was under 2.5 percent a year, under George Bush was 3 percent a year, under Rick Perry it's been 1 percent a year.

RHODES: Under Cain it was 9 percent.

*

BLITZER: Congressman Paul, you're from Texas. Does your governor deserve all that credit?

PAUL: Not quite.

(LAUGHTER)

PAUL: I'm a taxpayer there. My taxes have gone up. Our taxes have doubled since he's been in office. Our spending has gone up double. Our debt has gone up nearly triple.

So, no. And 170,000 of the jobs were government jobs. So I would put a little damper on this, but I don't want to offend the governor, because he might raise my taxes or something.

PERRY: While I've been governor, we have cut taxes by $14 billion, 65 different pieces of legislation.

RHODES: Not quite, but a far more accurate claim than Paul's.

*

BLITZER: Let me bring Speaker Gingrich into this conversation. If you were president, would you work with the Democrats, assuming they were the majority in the House or the Senate? Would you compromise with them on some of these gut issues?

GINGRICH: Well, you know, after the last debate, when Governor Huntsman and Governor Perry and Governor Romney each explained how their state was the best at job creation, Brady Cassis, who works with me, went back and checked.

In the four years I was Speaker, we created - the American people, not me - created more jobs in Utah than under Governor Huntsman, more jobs in Massachusetts than under Governor Romney, and more jobs in Texas than in the 11 years of Governor Perry.

RHODES: Same with the four years when I freelanced.

GINGRICH: Now, I don't claim credit for that because it was done by investors . . .

RHODES: #humblebrag.

GINGRICH: . . . and in fact, Mitt, at that time, as the private sector, was part of the job creation. But I just want to point out, the American people create jobs, not government. Okay?

RHODES: Okay.

*

BLITZER: We have a question via CNNPolitics.com. "All of you profess to be pro-business candidates for president. Can you be pro-worker at the same time?"

CAIN: The answer is absolutely yes, because I was a worker before I was an executive and before I was a business owner.

And when I ran the National Restaurant Association, it is a collection of small businesses. Godfather's Pizza is the same way, when I ran the region for Burger King. One restaurant is the basic fundamental business unit in this country.

And so, yes, I know how to be pro-worker because I came from a pro-worker family. My mother was a domestic worker, my father was a barber, a janitor, and a chauffeur, all at the same time. I understand work because that's how I came up. So the answer is, absolutely yes.

RHODES: Actually Cain's record at Godfather's is quite impressive.

*

HUNTSMAN: Let me just say about workers, this country needs more workers. Can we say that?

RHODES: Not at a Tea Party debate.

*

BLITZER: Congresswoman Bachmann, you know that Governor Perry has suggested that Ben Bernanke, the head of the Federal Reserve, potentially should be tried for treason for what he's doing. Do you agree?

BACHMANN: Well, as president of the United States, I would not be reappointing Ben Bernanke, but I want to say this. During the bailout, the $700 billion bailout, I worked behind the scenes against the bailout, because one of the things that I saw from the Federal Reserve, the enabling act legislation is written so broadly that, quite literally, Congress has given the Federal Reserve almost unlimited power over the economy.

That has to change. They can no longer have that power. Why? Because what we saw, with all of the $700 billion bailout, is that the Federal Reserve opened its discount window and was making loans to private American businesses. And not only that, they're making loans to foreign governments.

This cannot be. The Federal Reserve has a lot to answer for. And that's why it's important that they're not only audited, but they have got be shrunk back down to such a tight leash that they're going to squeak.

*

ROMNEY: But at the same time, we recognize that we need to have a Fed. Why do I say that? Because if we don't have a Fed, who's going to run the currency?

RHODES: Ron Paul would let it run itself.

*

QUESTION: Hi. My name is Tyler Hensley. I'm from Napa, California.

RHODES: I like quiet dinners and long walks on the beach.

HENSLEY: My question is, out of every dollar that I earn, how much do you think that I deserve to keep?

RHODES: 9 percent!

*

HUNTSMAN: On the corporate side, I think we recognize the reality that a whole lot of companies can afford to have lobbyists and lawyers on Capitol Hill working their magic.

RHODES: Then maybe we aren't taxing them enough!

HUNTSMAN: Let's recognize the reality that they're all paying 35 percent.

RHODES: Let's not. [Editor's Note: To be fair to Huntsman, I suspect the transcript dropped a "not."]

BLITZER: Speaker Gingrich, some of the biggest companies in the United States, the oil companies, they got - I guess some would call government handouts in the form of tax breaks, tax exemptions, loopholes. They're making billions and billions of dollars. Is that fair?

GINGRICH: You know, I thought for a second, you were going to refer to General Electric, which has paid no taxes.

RHODES: Go on.

GINGRICH: You know, I was astonished the other night to have the president there in the joint session with the head of GE sitting up there and the president talking about taking care of loopholes. And I thought to myself, doesn't he realize that every green tax credit is a loophole . . . that everything he wants - everything General Electric is doing is a loophole? Now, why did we get to breaks for ethanol, breaks for oil and gas, et cetera? We got to them because of this idea, which the young man just represented. If we make it possible for you to keep more of your own money, you will do more of it.

We have a simple choice. We can depend on Saudi Arabia, Iran, Iraq, Venezuela, or we can encourage development in the United States of manufacturing, as Rick said.

We can encourage development of oil and gas. We can do it by saying we're going to let you keep more of your money if you create more of what we want.

RHODES: So . . . you are pro-loophole?

BLITZER: But I just want to follow up, Mr. Speaker. If you eliminate some of those loopholes, those exemptions, whether for ExxonMobil or GE or some other companies, there are those who argue that is, in effect, a tax increase and it would violate a pledge that so many Republicans have made not to raise taxes.

GINGRICH: Yes, a lot of people argue that. They're technically right, which is why I'm - look, I'm cheerfully opposed to raising taxes. This government - we have a problem of overspending. We don't have a problem of undertaxing.

And I think that it would be good for us to say, we're not going to raise any - which is why I'm also in favor of keeping the current tax cut for people who are working on Social Security and Medicare. I think trying to raise the tax on working Americans in the middle of the Obama depression is a destructive policy. So I don't want to have any tax increase at any level for anyone. I want to shrink government to fit income, not raise income to try to catch up with government.

RHODES: So . . . you are pro-loophole?

*

BLITZER: Alright, let's go to Cincinnati.

QUESTION: Would any of you be willing to support the fair tax?

BLITZER: Governor Romney? A fair tax basically is a national sales tax.

ROMNEY: The idea of a national sales tax or a consumption tax has a lot going for it. One, it would make us more competitive globally, as we send products around the world, because under the provisions of the World Trade Organization, you can reimburse that to an exporter. We can't reimburse our taxes right now. It also would level the playing field in the country, making sure everybody is paying some part of their fair share.

But the way the fair tax has been structured, it has a real problem and that is it lowers the burden on the very highest income folks and the very lowest and raises it on middle income people. And the people who have been hurt most by the Obama-economy are the middle class.

And so my plan is to take the middle class individuals and dramatically reduce their taxes by the following measure. And that is for middle income Americans, no tax on interest, dividends or capital gains. Let people save their money as the way they think is best for them, for their kids, for their future, for their retirement.

*

BLITZER: We have another question from Portsmouth, Virginia.

QUESTION: My name is Linda Gunn. I'm part of the Virginia Taxpayers Alliance. My question has to do with executive orders. Under what circumstances should a president sign an executive order? And how frequently should such an order be signed?

RHODES: Depends on which president is doing the signing! No, but seriously . . .

PAUL: The executive orders have been grossly abused by all administrations for a lot of years. Some executive orders are legal. When the president executes proper function of the presidency like moving troops and other things, yes, it's done with an executive order. But the executive order should never be used to legislate. That is what is so bad.

So the executive order should be taken under control. And I have made a promise that as president I would never use the executive order to legislate.

BLITZER: Governor Perry, as you well know, you signed an executive order requiring little girls 11- and 12-year-old girls to get a vaccine to deal with a sexually transmitted disease that could lead to cervical cancer. Was that a mistake?

PERRY: It was. And indeed, if I had it to do over again, I would have done it differently. I would have gone to the legislature, worked with them. But what was driving me was, obviously, making a difference about young people's lives.

Cervical cancer is a horrible way to die. And I happen to think that what we were trying to do was to clearly send a message that we're going to give moms and dads the opportunity to make that decision with parental opt-out.

Parental rights are very important in state of Texas. We do it on a long list of vaccines that are made, but on that particular issue, I will tell you that I made a mistake by not going to the legislature first.

Let me address Ron Paul just a minute by saying I will use an executive order to get rid of as much of Obamacare as I can on day one.

RHODES: So it was a mistake to issue an executive order regarding the health of young women instead of consulting with the legislature, but it's not a mistake to issue an executive order dismantling Obamacare without consulting Congress, which only spent an entire year thrashing out the legislation. Just when, Governor Perry, is an executive order an appropriate tool? That's what the caller wants to know.

BLITZER: Congresswoman Bachmann, do you have anything to say about what Governor Perry just said. You're a mom.

RHODES: Moms issue executive orders.

BACHMANN: I'm a mom of three children. And to have innocent little 12-year-old girls be forced to have a government injection through an executive order is just flat-out wrong. That should never be done. It's a violation of a liberty interest.

Little girls who have a negative reaction to this potentially dangerous drug don't get a mulligan. They don't get a do-over. The parents don't get a do-over. That's why I fought so hard in Washington , D.C., against President Obama and Obamacare.

RHODES: I thought Perry was doing the injecting.

BACHMANN: President Obama in a stunning, shocking level of power now just recently told all private insurance companies you must offer the morning-after abortion pill, because I said so.

RHODES: You Can't Have An Abortion If You Are Not Pregnant. Though there are probably gaps in that theory.

BLITZER: Let's let Governor Perry respond. Was what you signed into law, that vaccine for 11- and 12-year-old girls, was that, as some of your critics have suggested, a mandate?

PERRY: No, sir it wasn't. It was very clear. It had an opt-out. And at the end of the day, this was about trying to stop a cancer and giving the parental option to opt out of that. And at the end of the day, you may criticize me about the way that I went about it, but at the end of the day, I am always going to err on the side of life.

RHODES: Except when it comes to executing people.

BACHMANN: I just wanted to add that we cannot forget that in the midst of this executive order there is a big drug company that made millions of dollars because of this mandate.

BLITZER: What are you suggesting?

RHODES: You heard me, Wolf!

BACHMANN: What I'm saying is that it's wrong for a drug company, because the governor's former chief of staff was the chief lobbyist for this drug company. The drug company gave thousands of dollars in political donations to the governor, and this is just flat-out wrong.

RHODES: Doesn't the drug company have free speech rights? It's a person too.

BACHMANN: The question is, is it about life, or was it about millions of dollars and potentially billions for a drug company?

PERRY: The company was Merck, and it was a $5,000 contribution that I had received from them. I raise about $30 million. And if you're saying that I can be bought for $5,000, I'm offended.

BACHMANN: Well, I'm offended for all the little girls and the parents that didn't have a choice.

SANTORUM: I think we need to hear what Governor Perry's saying. He's saying that his policy was right. He believes that what he did was right. He thinks he went about it the wrong way.

I believe your policy is wrong. Why, ladies and gentlemen, why do we inoculate people with vaccines in public schools? Because we're afraid of those diseases being communicable between people at school. And therefore, to protect the rest of the people at school, we have vaccinations to protect those children.

Unless Texas has a very progressive way of communicating diseases in their school by way of their curriculum, then there is no government purpose served for having little girls inoculated at the force and compulsion of the government.

RHODES: I don't get it. Aren't schools run by government? And aren't the vaccines inoculated there done so by government mandate?

BLITZER: I'm going to move on, Governor Perry, unless you want to say anything else.

PERRY: Look, I think we made decisions in Texas. We put a $3 billion effort in to find the cure for cancer.

RHODES: Now Ron Paul is offended.

PERRY: I passed parental notification piece of legislation.

RHODES: Isn't that a mandate on doctors?

*

QUESTION: I'm Caroline Taylor. I'm from Orange Park, Florida, with the Peoples Tea Party.

My question is, health insurance is expensive because health care is expensive. What is your plan to reduce the cost of health care so that our insurance premiums and other related costs can also be reduced?

CAIN: First, repeal Obamacare in its entirety. Secondly, pass market-driven, patient-centered reforms such as, under the current code, deductibility of health insurance premiums regardless of who pays for it. But as you know, I want to throw that out and put in my 999 plan.

RHODES: Drink!

*

BLITZER: Governor Romney, a lot of the Tea Party supporters here and around the country have a real serious problem with the health care mandate that you got through in Massachusetts. Is there anything you want to say to them to revise or amend? Do you stand by what you did?

ROMNEY: Absolutely. And I agree with almost everything you said, Herman, but the reason health care is so expensive, I think you hit the nail on head. You said it's not just because of insurance, it's because of the cost of providing care.

RHODES: Actually the caller said that, not Cain.

ROMNEY: And one reason for that is the person who receives care in America generally doesn't care how much it costs, because once they've paid their deductible, it's free. And the provider, the more they do, the more they get paid.

We have something that's not working like a market. It's working like a government utility.

And so what we have to do is make sure that individuals have a concern and care about how much something costs.

RHODES: So it's sick people's fault.

ROMNEY: And if I'm president, on day one I'll direct the secretary of Health and Human Services to grant a waiver from Obamacare to all 50 states. It's a problem that's bad law, it's not constitutional. I'll get rid of it.

*

ROMNEY: We dealt with the people in our state that were uninsured, some nine percent. His bill deals with 100 percent of the people.

RHODES: There are some gaps in your theory.

*

BLITZER: You're a physician, Ron Paul.

RHODES: And a surprising one.

BLITZER: Let me ask you this hypothetical question. A healthy 30-year-old young man has a good job, makes a good living, but decides, you know what? I'm not going to spend $200 or $300 a month for health insurance because I'm healthy, I don't need it. But something terrible happens, all of a sudden he needs it.

Who's going to pay if he goes into a coma, for example? Who pays for that?

PAUL: Well, in a society that you accept welfarism and socialism, he expects the government to take care of him.

BLITZER: Well, what do you want?

PAUL: What he should do is whatever he wants to do, and assume responsibility for himself. My advice to him would be to have a major medical policy, but not be forced -

BLITZER: But he doesn't have that. He doesn't have it, and he needs intensive care for six months.

PAUL: That's what freedom is all about, taking your own risks. This whole idea that you have to prepare and take care of everybody -

BLITZER: But Congressman, are you saying that society should just let him die?

PAUL: No. I practiced medicine before we had Medicaid, in the early 1960s, when I got out of medical school. I practiced at Santa Rosa Hospital in San Antonio, and the churches took care of them. We never turned anybody away from the hospitals.

And we've given up on this whole concept that we might take care of ourselves and assume responsibility for ourselves. Our neighbors, our friends, our churches would do it.

RHODES: Have you met our neighbors, our friends and our churches?

PAUL: There's no competition in medicine. Everybody is protected by licensing. And we should actually legalize alternative health care, allow people to practice what they want.

BLITZER: Congresswoman Bachmann, go ahead and weigh in on this hypothetical 30-year-old who needs six months of intensive care, has no insurance.

BACHMANN: Well, first of all, what I want to say, with all due respect to the governors, I've read this health care bill, I've been fighting this fight the last couple of years.

BLITZER: Which health care bill?

BACHMANN: President Obama's Obamacare bill. And waivers and executive orders won't cut it. If you could solve Obamacare with an executive order, any president could do it and any president could undo it.

That's not how it can be done.

*

BLITZER: Let's go to Cincinnati.

QUESTION: What would you do to remove the illegal immigrants from our country?

SANTORUM: I'm the son of an Italian immigrant. I believe in immigration. I believe that immigration is an important part of the lifeblood of this country.

But what we have is a problem of an unsecure border. Unlike Governor Perry, I believe we need to build more fence.

RHODES: I've got to have more fence.

SANTORUM: Until we build that border, we should neither have stormtroopers come in and throw people out of the country nor should we provide amnesty.

What we should do is enforce the laws in this country with respect to employers, and we should secure the border. And then after the border is secured, then we can deal with the problem that are in this country.

But I think it's very important that we understand and we explain to folks that immigration is an important lifeblood of this country, something that I strongly support and something that we have to do legally if we're going to have respect for the law.

PERRY: There's not anybody on this stage that's had to deal with the issue of border security more than I have, with 1,200 miles of Texas and Mexico. And our federal government has been an abject failure at securing our border.

RHODES: Maybe it should be left to the states.

PERRY: But the idea that you're going to build a wall from Brownsville to El Paso and go left for another 800 miles to Tijuana is just not reality.

*

BLITZER: What are the candidates doing to attract the Latino voters?

RHODES: Toning down the spic jokes.

SANTORUM: Well, I mean, what Governor Perry's done is he provided in-state tuition for illegal immigrants. Maybe that was an attempt to attract the illegal vote - I mean, the Latino voters.

RHODES: No he diin't!

SANTORUM: But you track Latino voters by talking about the importance of immigration in this country. You talk about the importance of - as Newt has talked about for many years - having English as the official language of this country.

RHODES: That will win them over. But tell it to them in Spanish so they understand.

SANTORUM: We're a melting pot, not a salad bowl.

RHODES: In Chicago we're surf-and-turf.

BLITZER: Governor Perry, you did sign legislation giving some illegal immigrants in Texas the opportunity to have in-state tuition at universities in Texas.

PERRY: In the state of Texas, if you've been in the state of Texas for three years, if you're working towards your college degree, and if you are working and pursuing citizenship in the state of Texas, you pay in-state tuition there.

RHODES: Even if you entered illegally? What happened to boots on the ground? Or does eluding border agents show the kind of gumption Texas likes?

PERRY: No matter how you got into that state, from the standpoint of your parents brought you there or what have you. And that's what we've done in the state of Texas.

RHODES: Wow.

PERRY: That's the American way. And I'm proud that we are having those individuals be contributing members of our society rather than telling them, you go be on the government dole.

RHODES: Okay, who are you and what have you done with the real Rick Perry?

BLITZER: You heard some boos there. But go ahead, Congresswoman Bachmann, is that basically the DREAM Act that President Obama wants as well?

BACHMANN: Yes, it's very similar. And I think that the American way is not to give taxpayer subsidized benefits to people who have broken our laws or who are here in the United States illegally. That is not the American way.

PERRY: I'm not for the DREAM Act that they are talking about in Washington D.C. that is amnesty. What we did in the state of Texas was clearly a states' right issue. And the legislature passed with only four dissenting votes in the House and the Senate to allow this to occur.

We were clearly sending a message to young people, regardless of what the sound of their last name is, that we believe in you. That if you want to live in the state of Texas and you want to pursue citizenship, that we're going to allow you the opportunity to be contributing members in the state of Texas and not be a drag on our state.

BLITZER: Governor Huntsman, you also signed legislation in Utah that gave driving privileges to illegal immigrants. Was that a good idea?

HUNTSMAN: Well, first of all, let me say for Rick to say that you can't secure the border I think is pretty much a treasonous comment.

RHODES: Maybe border patrol is a Ponzi scheme.

HUNTSMAN: Rick, we can secure the border. We can secure the border through means of fences, through technology, through the deployment of our National Guard troops, we can get it done. In fact, when the elected president of the United States, I would work with you and the other three border governors to ensure that through your law enforcement officials you can verify that that border is secure.

But I will tell you before Wolf here directs a question, they were given a driver's license before and they were using that for identification purposes. And I thought that was wrong. Instead we issued a driver privilege card, which in our state allowed our economy to continue to function.

RHODES: I don't get it. So they could drive to their jobs that Americans refuse to do?

*

ROMNEY: The question began by saying how do we attract Latino voters. And the answer is by telling them what they know in their heart, which is they or their ancestors did not come here for a handout. If they came here for a handout, they'd be voting for Democrats.

RHODES: No he diin't!

*

ROMNEY: With regards to illegal immigration, of course we build a fence and of course we do not give instate tuition credits to people who come here illegally. That only attracts people to come here and take advantage of America's great beneficence.

PERRY: This is a states' right issue. If in Massachusetts you didn't want to do that or Utah you didn't want to do this, that's fine. But in the state of Texas where Mexico has a clear and a long relationship with this state, we decided it was in the best interest of those young people to give them the opportunity to go on to college and to have the opportunity. They're pursuing citizenship in this country rather than saying, you know, we're going to put you over here and put you on the government dole for the rest of your life. We don't think that was the right thing to do. And it's working. And it's working well in the state of Texas.

*

HUNTSMAN: I think we can spend all night talking about where Mitt's been on all the issues of the day. And that would take forever.

RHODES: No he diin't!

HUNTSMAN: But let me just say that all the Latino voters, Hispanic voters want is opportunity, can we say that? The greatest thing that we can do for the people in this country on illegal immigration is fix homeland security.

I mean, when are we going to have an honest conversation in this country about the root causes. We can't process people. The H1B visa process is broken. We need to bring in brain power to this country to shore up our economic might.

RHODES: And think of things Americans refuse to think of themselves.

*

BLITZER: Let's take a question from Phoenix.

QUESTION: The United States has an abundance of coal, oil, natural gas and uranium. The American people have been told for decades that energy independence is a top priority. What will you do in your first 100 days in office to assure the American people that energy independence will finally become reality.

CAIN: I would put together a regulatory reduction commission for every agency starting with the EPA. The people that I would appoint to that commission will be people who have been abused by the EPA

RHODES: There would be 999 members.

*

BLITZER: Do you plan to decrease defense spending to balance spending?

PAUL: First thing I would like to do is make sure that you understand there's a difference between military spending and defense spending. So I would say there's a lot of room to cut on the military, but not on the defense. You can slash the military spending. We don't need to be building airplanes that were used in World War II.

SANTORUM: On your website on 9/11, you had a blog post that basically blamed the United States for 9/11. On your website, yesterday, you said that it was our actions that brought about the actions of 9/11.

PAUL: This whole idea that the whole Muslim world is responsible for this, and they're attacking us because we're free and prosperous, that is just not true.

Osama bin Laden and al-Qaeda have been explicit - they have been explicit, and they wrote and said that we attacked America because you had bases on our holy land in Saudi Arabia, you do not give Palestinians fair treatment, and you have been bombing -

(BOOING)

PAUL: I'm trying to get you to understand what the motive was behind the bombing, at the same time we had been bombing and killing hundreds of thousands of Iraqis for 10 years.

Would you be annoyed?

*

SAHAR HEKMATI, TEA PARTY EXPRESS: Hi. My name is Sahar Hekmati. And my question to you is, as the next president of the United States, what will you do to secure safety and protection for the women and the children of Afghanistan from the radicals?

HUNTSMAN: We are 10 years into this war, Sahar. America has given its all in Afghanistan.

We have families who have given the ultimate sacrifice. And it's to them that we offer our heartfelt salute and a deep sense of gratitude. But the time has come for us to get out of Afghanistan

RHODES: In other words, you're on your own, Sahar.

*

BLITZER: Eight Republican presidential candidates on the stage.

You know, Americans are looking at you. They also want to know a little bit more about you.

I'm going to start with Senator Santorum. I want to go down and get your thoughts on something you would bring to the White House if you were the next president of the United States.

An example, President George H. W. Bush put in a horseshoe pit. President Clinton put in a jogging track. President Obama added a vegetable garden.

Senator Santorum, if you're president, what would you bring to the White House?

SANTORUM: Well, mine is pretty obvious. Karen and I have seven children, so we'd add a bedroom to the White House.

RHODES: Borrrring.

GINGRICH: Well, first of all, I would reduce the White House by kicking out all the White House czars the first day, creating a lot more space

RHODES: Please, can't you be gracious for just one question?

PAUL: I'd bring a bushel basket full of common sense. And I would also bring a course in Austrian economics to teach the people the business cycle and why the Fed creates inflation and depressions and all our unemployment problems.

RHODES: Let me repeat the question . . .

PERRY: I'm going to bring the most beautiful, most thoughtful, incredible First Lady that this country's ever seen.

RHODES: Let me repeat the question . . .

ROMNEY: You know, one of my heroes was a man who had an extraordinary turn of phrase. He once said about us, he said, you know, you can count on the Americans to get things right after they've exhausted all the alternatives. And now and then we've made a couple of mistakes. We're quite a nation. And this man, Winston Churchill, used to have his bust in the Oval Office. And if I'm president of the United States, it'll be there again.

RHODES: Dog whistle.

BACHMANN: I would bring a copy of the Declaration of Independence, the Constitution of the United States, the Bill of Rights, and that's it.

RHODES: Let me repeat the question . . .

CAIN: I would bring a sense of humor to the White House, because America's too uptight.

HUNTSMAN: I would bring my Harley-Davidson and my motocross bike.

RHODES: With a driver's privilege card.

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Comments welcome.


Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 9:02 AM | Permalink

Fantasy Fix: Our Annual Test Of Patience

Week 1 of the NFL season has a way of making you want to throw away your whole fantasy football game plan. Nothing ever goes quite as anyone expected. Guys that are supposed to be great end up falling on their faces, while players who didn't make your preseason draft list end up at the top of the week's fantasy stat board.

It's the sort of thing that makes you want to hate the so-called fantasy experts. I forcefully hesitate to call myself an expert, and think of my role as much more of an assistant, helping you find your way to information that may prove useful. But I wouldn't blame you if you hate me for not suggesting to you last week that Carolina QB Cam Newton would throw for 400-plus yards; that Green Bay WR Randall Cobb would score two TDs; or that troubled Cincinnati RB Cedric Benson would run for 121 yards. I'm kind of mad at myself, too.

The big question to ask though - while we're filling the world with more hate - is how many of these Week 1 performances are indicative of future returns? Here's my analysis of some surprising Week 1 stars:

Newton: He was so good, with 422 yards passing and 3 TDs, he broke the record for a rookie QB debut, previously held by some guy named Peyton Manning. He will have a much tougher time against Green Bay this week, and the Arizona defense Newton shredded last week was among the worst league-wide in 2010. Newton is a definite waiver wire pickup, but keep in mind his two passing TDs from Week 1 were in the first half and were amazing plays by veteran wild man WR Steve Smith. Arizona seemed to figure Newton out a little in the second half, intercepting a pass, though Newton did rush for a TD as well.

Cobb: His biggest play was an NFL record-tying 108-yard kick return TD, yards that may not count in some league formats, though it was pretty clear QB Aaron Rodgers saw Cobb as a premiere option despite his wealth of more obvious targets. Another nice wire pickup if you have the space, Cobb may not pile up receiving yards every week, but seems to have the moves and speed to score whenever and wherever he touches the ball.

Benson: Despite doing jail time during the preseason, Benson was sharp Sunday, continuing to do stuff for the Bengals that he never did as a Bear. The lack of preseason practice had some of us thinking he might split carries with A.J. Green, but with a rookie QB, Andy Dalton, on the line, it looks like Cincinnati will ride Benson until he inevitably gets in trouble again.

Ben Tate, RB, Houston: I did mention him last week, but 116 yards rushing and a TD was far more than I imagined. He started because No. 1 fantasy pick Arian Foster was out with a hamstring injury. I think he is most valuable when handcuffed to Foster, and because of Foster's versatility, I doubt he will have much value when Foster does start.

Early Doucet, WR, Arizona: A disappointing week for teammate Larry Fitzgerald turned into a great week for Doucet, with 105 yards receiving and a TD. QB Kevin Kolb and Fitzgerald will figure out how to connect, but Doucet should be the obvious No. 2 receiver on a team that will pass a lot.

Ryan Fitzpatrick, QB, Buffalo: He never gets drafted in fantasy leagues, but is almost always a mid-season pick-up. He led a 41-7 rout of Kansas City with only 208 yards passing, but 4 TDs and no INTs. I would still slate him as no more than a backup, and before you think otherwise, consider he fumbled (though Buffalo recovered it) in Week 1, and historically has had a problem with fumbles.

Rex Grossman, QB, Washington: Speaking of fumbles, a QB that Bears fans associate with them actually lost a fumble again during Week 1 (now 15 fumbles lost out of 24 total fumbles in 43 career games at QB), but Grossman made up for it with 305 yards passing and 2 TDs. He actually would be a great start again this week vs. Arizona. He can achieve some nice yardage games, but turnovers will keep him as a second-tier choice.

Expert Wire
* Yahoo! Roto Arcade has its own piece on Week 1 surprises, starring Newton and Tate.

* CBS Sports looks at the injury-shaken WR ranks, with Marques Colston and others headed to the infirmary.

* Bleacher Report notes oft-injured St. Louis RB Steven Jackson is out again. Could fantasy owners be in the market for a Cadillac?

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 3:20 AM | Permalink

September 13, 2011

E-Books and The 'L'

A discussion on e-books and a tour of Chicago transit history will kick off the Society of Midland Authors' 2011-12 season. The Society will host six public events at the Cliff Dwellers Club in downtown Chicago.

Oct. 11: E-books: A panel discussion on trends in electronic publishing, with Dominique Raccah, Libby Fischer Hellmann and Kelly Griffin.

Raccah is the CEO & publisher of Sourcebooks, a company she founded in 1987 which is now the country's largest woman-owned trade book publishing company. Sourcebooks is known for its innovative e-books and mixed-media titles. She is the first-ever woman co-chair of the Book Industry Study Group, which recently released a national survey on the state of the book industry.

Hellmann is an award-winning author of seven crime-thriller novels, including the recent Set the Night on Fire. All her work is available digitally, and some of her books have been published first as e-books without print versions, including Toxicity and The Last Page (co-written with David Walker).

Griffin is a member of the Chicago Public Library's Collections Development Division, where she helps to develop the library's e-book collection.

Nov. 8: Greg Borzo, author of The Chicago 'L'. Discover the world-famous Chicago "L" in all its grit and glory. Travel through time on one of Chicago's most enduring icons, a working antique that has contributed mightily to the growth and development of the city and suburbs.

An award-winning journalist, Borzo was editor of Modern Railroads Magazine and has been a health and/or science writer for the American Medical Association, Harcourt Brace, Field Museum and the University of Chicago.

He conducts public tours of the "L," local history and The Devil in the White City for the Chicago History Museum, Chicago Cycling Club and other organizations. His most recent book is Where to Bike Chicago: Best Biking in City and Suburbs.

The Society is also planning programs for January, February, March and April 2012. Details to be announced.

All programs are at 7 p.m. at the Cliff Dwellers Club, 200 S. Michigan Ave., 22nd floor, Chicago. A social hour, with complimentary snacks and a cash bar, begins at 6 p.m. Reservations are not required. Admission is free, but the Society will accept donations to defray the cost of programs. For more information, see www.midlandauthors.com.

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 2:03 PM | Permalink

The College Football Report: The Kettle Fried Conference, Safety School Division And Neglected Touchpads

Other 25 Update: Going into Week Three, the College Football Report Preseason Other 25 has posted a respectable record overall (34-13) and has posted a .500 winning percentage (10-10) against schools from BCS conferences (including Notre Dame) highlighted by South Florida's win against the Irish in Week One. In view of ND's last-second loss to Michigan on Saturday, the Bulls upset over Notre Dame might not look as impressive as the season rolls on.

The Other 25 has not fared nearly so well (2-5) against ranked teams, although we would be hard-pressed to consider that failing. After all, the ranked teams are supposed to be better, right? Against "the number," the Other 25 has struggled as well, posting only 19 wins against the spread versus 28 losses. Later this season, we will do a bit more analysis to see how well The Other 25 fares in various situations: at home, on the road, as underdogs, etc.

Rearranging the Deli Counter or How the College Football Report Free Range Chicken Would Handle Conference Realignment: We think the experts should stop trying so hard and turn the realignment over to The College Football Report Free Range Chicken. After making short work of the BCS bowl predictions, the CFR FRC has been sharpening his beak for the next challenge. After reviewing his options, he pecked out the four new super conferences and divisions within each.

The Big League East Coast
Composed largely of teams from the (now defunct) ACC and Big East, the BLEC extends from Boston and Syracuse down the eastern seaboard all the way to Miami. The 16 teams of the BLEC excel at basketball (Connecticut, Duke, UNC), football (Florida State, Miami) and nose-picking (West Virginia). Bonus: the BLEC boasts the greatest number of schools in the path of a hurricane.
`
Clam Chowder Division: Boston College, Connecticut, Maryland, Rutgers

Five Point O Division: Clemson, Florida State, Miami, South Florida

Protractor Division: Duke, Georgia Tech, Syracuse, Virginia

Skoal Division: North Carolina, North Carolina State, Wake Forest, West Virginia

The Confucius Conference
Composed of Midwestern teams with Midwestern values, the CC-16 would likely represent the last group of BCS teams to assemble into a 16-team conference, citing a little-known quote by the Zen master: "If you can't beat 'em, join 'em." Bonus: the league would boast the most unlikely group of mascots ever assembled, including outlandish (at least by mascot standards) wildlife (Badgers, Hawkeyes, Gophers, Wolverines) two birds (both Cardinals), various humanoids (Spartans, Boilermakers, Cornhuskers, Hoosiers), imaginary animals (Bearcats, Nittany Lions) and one tree-human hybrid thing (Buckeyes).

Yin Division: Cincinnati, Illinois, Iowa, Louisville, Michigan, Nebraska, Penn State, Purdue

Yang Division: Indiana, Iowa State, Michigan State, Minnesota, Northwestern, Ohio State, Pittsburgh, Wisconsin

The Kettle Fried Conference
In this scenario, the SEC makes a brazen power grab and starts the dominoes to fall by absorbing not only Texas A&M (despite the quibbling objections by the likes of Baylor) but also Kansas, Missouri and Virginia Tech. The departure by the Aggies and Jayhawks from the former Big-12 would render the former powerhouse conference obsolete, triggering a flight to the newly formed KFC and elsewhere. The addition of Mizzou and KU maintains another traditional rivalry (along with Florida-Georgia, Auburn-Alabama, etc.) and the Jayhawks figure to bolster the KFC's otherwise football-heavy slant. Finally, Va Tech enters as the last of 16 teams because... well, the KFC might as well dominate everyone on the gridiron.

Chitlins Division: Alabama, Auburn, Kansas, Missiouri

Hog Maws Division: Arkansas, Kentucky, Tennessee, Texas A&M

Hushpuppy Division: Florida, Mississippi State, Ole Miss, South Carolina

Sweet Tea Division: Georgia, LSU, Vanderbilt, Virginia Tech

The Waaaay Out West 16
The Pac-12, prior to the days of the superconference, seemed most stable. The Pac-10 painlessly (more or less) absorbed Colorado and Utah, which suggests that adding a few more - particularly homeless titans like Texas and Oklahoma - shouldn't be too much trouble. The WOW-16 thus maintains all the original (if something formed in 2010 can be called that) Pac-12 members and adds the Longhorns (more for the TV market than anything else), Oklahoma (as a package deal with UT), Oklahoma State (a consistent contender) and Texas Tech (as a thorn in the side of all the new members).

The Blotter Division: California, Oregon, Stanford, UCLA

The Okie Dokie Division: Colorado, Oklahoma, Oklahoma State, Washington (yes, we realize the Huskies have nothing to do with the other teams, but we didn't know where else to put them)

The Safety School Division: Arizona State, Oregon State, Texas Tech, Washington State
The SPF Division: Arizona, Texas, USC, Utah

Finally, the remnants and castoffs need somewhere to go. Notre Dame and BYU can remain independent, as can Army and Navy. The Chicken placed BYU, Boise and TCU into the independent ranks as well. At press time, we don't know if the bird has some sort of issue with Mormons and Catholics or if it's just the prospect of six wildcards that got his little feathered breast heaving.

You might (or might not) notice that two teams have been omitted from the FRC's grand scheme: The Baylor Bears and the Kansas State Wildcats. With all due respect to Baylor, we imagine their exclusion could have something to do with the fact that the school can only claim two outright conference championships (of another defunct league, the Southwest Conference) since 1924. As for KSU, the Wildcats have spent time in six (!) different conferences over their history (all of which have ceased to exist, including the Big Eight, Border, Mountain States, Southern and Southwest Conferences) so moving to a to-be-determined (the Dust Bowl Conference?) catch-all league shouldn't be too tough.

Just What Do You Think You're Doing, Dave? This just in the from the Beachwood Artificial Intelligence Desk: all sportswriters have been replaced by algorithms! No longer limited to populating your "You May Also Like" list on Amazon or displaying ads on the likes of Google and Facebook, computer programs will now generate content for sports networks. The technology takes automatic writing to new heights by writing material used for, among other things, updates and recaps on sporting events.

The industry leader, Narrative Science, claims to "turn data into stories" by translating "facts and figures into compelling stories in real time" and, if that doesn't sell you on the concept, the content does not require "human authoring or editing." Nor will the computer code ever take a coffee break, spend an hour in the bathroom or step out for a cigarette. The program also won't post nasty columns directed at itself, violate Twitter policy or go on a sexual harassment rampage. Although, who knows . . . maybe if the machinery behind Narrative Science starts to feel neglected, readers would begin to notice odd references to neglected touchpads, a decrease in battery power and why no one plugs into its USB port anymore.

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Mike Luce brings you the world's greatest college football report (almost) every Tuesday and Friday. He welcomes your comments.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 1:30 PM | Permalink

The [Tuesday] Papers

Tuesdays are always tough, seeing as how I work the bar on Monday nights. So here's what we have on the site today; I'll finish up our Mystery Tea Party Debate Theater later and get it posted between now and tomorrow.

* The College Football Report: The Kettle Fried Conference, Safety School Division And Neglected Touchpads

* E-Books And The 'L'.

* The Early Line: Ugly Bears A 6.5 Dog

* Turtle Love At The Shedd

Now, let's take a quick spin through the news.

1. "U.S. Attorney Patrick Fitzgerald said he sometimes wants to smack people 'upside the head' who tell him after he's convicted someone that they knew all along the person was a crook," the Sun-Times reports.

*

"It is my view that sometimes we say that's the way it is in Illinois or that's the way it is in Chicago. If you're finding yourself saying that, what you're really saying is 'That's the way I will allow it to be,'" Fitzgerald said. "You either speak up and do something about it or you're part of the problem. That's the only way to look at it."

Amen.

*

"Fitzgerald reiterated a plea he's made in the past to corporations to hire ex-felons to help give them an option other than returning to drugs or gangs and keep down recidivism."

And no one would accuse Fitzgerald of being soft on criminals.

2. "How many more have to fall into poverty before we say enough?" Alan W. Houseman, executive director of the Center for Law and Social Policy, writes for Progress Illinois.

As I've said before, we are not living in Nixonland, we are living in Reaganland. (After all . . . and Democrats, including our president, throw elbows to embrace the man too).

And one thing Reagan did was make it okay to not give a shit about the poor.

*

He also cleared the way for people like Rahm Emanuel to hate teachers, but that's for another day.

3. "The head of a tax watchdog group said Illinois could benefit from infrastructure investments based on historical evidence that such spending pays off, but cutting business and worker payroll taxes probably wouldn't help," AP reports.

"'Spending money in the local economy creates a positive economic multiplier,' said Ralph Martire, executive director of the Chicago-based Center for Tax and Budget Accountability. But he said the idea that cutting business payroll taxes would spur new hiring is 'bogus' because corporate profits already are up without a corresponding increase in hiring."

Indeed, corporations aren't hiring because of continued economic uncertainty and (real or perceived) lack of demand, not because they aren't profitable. Profits are at record levels and corporations are sitting on oodles of cash. That's just a fact.

Says Martire: "What makes you think letting businesses keep more of their profits going forward is going to create more jobs when it's not now? There is no logical basis to make that assumption."

But Ronald Reagan once said it was so, and it's his world, boss.

4. "The Congressional Progressive Caucus released a plan on Tuesday that would create jobs, invest in clean energy and rebuild American infrastructure - and has little to no chance of passage," Elise Foley writes for Huffington Post.

"At issue for these House members is the proposed payroll tax cut for employers, which could hurt the revenue stream for Social Security. But they were careful to say that they support the vast majority of the president's bill, despite some concerns about how it will affect key entitlement programs."

Because we all know entitlement programs got us in this mess instead of Wall Street's (and the wealthy's) sense of entitlement.

*

Meanwhile, HuffPo has a new jobs plan.

*

Liberals: The biggest fakers ever.

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5. Poverty vs. The Insurance Industry.

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ObamaCare swings into action!

6. Emanuel On Maggie Daley's Police Detail: 'We're a city of big hearts'

Our hearts are so big we take care of those who least need our help.

Everyone else can go fuck themselves.

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The Beachwood Tip Line: Superfantastico.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 11:46 AM | Permalink

The Early Line: Ugly Bears A 6.5 Dog

Jay Cutler is much improved and Mike Martz has figured out how to use Matt Forte, but the Saints will be able to move the football against the Bears in a way the Falcons couldn't.


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See also:

* Las Vegas Line Movements: Bears at Saints

* Offshore Movements: Bears at Saints

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 9:21 AM | Permalink

Turtle Love At The Shedd

I want to make sexy time!


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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 9:14 AM | Permalink

September 12, 2011

The [Monday] Papers

It's fascinating to read the sports pages through the prism of hometown writers. Just like those whose political views shade and refract their understanding of the world, sports reporters who watch a game only through the eyes of "their" team offer distorted accounts of what they - and we - have seen.

Today's fresh example is coverage of the Bears-Falcons game on Sunday. To wit:

* "The hallmarks of Mike Smith's three previous Atlanta Falcons' teams have been their propensity for solid and smart play mixed in with a heavy dose of solid tackling," D. Orlando Ledbetter writes in the game report for the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.

"The Falcons, most everyone's favorite to repeat as the NFC South champion, looked lethargic on offense and unsure on defense as Bears quarterback Jay Cutler rifled holes in their zone defense.

"With nine penalties, several missed tackles and three turnovers, the Falcons were made to look very ordinary, as they were routed 30-12 by the Bears at historic Soldier Field."

While Jay Cutler and the Bears are given credit in this report, mostly Ledbetter sees a Falcons team that played stupid, lazy, mistake-filled football.

Compare and contrast.

"The Bears didn't just announce to doubters they're to be taken seriously in the NFC this season. They screamed it," Brad Biggs wrote in his report for the Chicago Tribune.

"A 30-12 dismantling of the Falcons in the season opener Sunday at Soldier Field was as much an affirmation as it was a victory. They took apart the conference's top-seeded team from a year ago piece by piece, dominating at the point of attack and winning in all phases.

"The Falcons have a glitzy offense with stars all over the place, but the Bears were the ones that showcased playmakers in a victory as impressive as the 2008 opener in Indianapolis and the 2006 shutout to begin the year in Green Bay."

In this account, it was all about how amazingly awesome the Bears were. "[T]he Bears made the Falcons one-dimensional," Biggs wrote.

Similarly, the Sun-Times account by Sean Jensen boiled down to the Bears making "a series of statements."

The Falcons were almost a neutral observer - even a straw man - to the Bears' greatness, useful almost wholly because of its credential from last year.

*

The view from Atlanta:

"Cutler threw a simple screen pass to running back Matt Forte, who scored from 56 yards out. During the run, Forte bounced off a shoulder shot from Falcons linebacker Sean Weatherspoon. Smith was irate and could be seen giving some 'instruction' to Weatherspoon on the sideline."

The view from the Sun-Times:

"But on first-and-10 from the Bears 44 in a 3-3 game, he took a screen pass from Jay Cutler, got key blocks from wide receiver Johnny Knox and fullback Tyler Clutts, bounced off Falcons defensive end John Abraham at the 35 and completed a 56-yard touchdown reception for a 10-3 lead with 1:10 left in the first quarter."

In the first account, a simple screen turned into a touchdown because a Falcon's tackling attempt was so bad his coach berated him on the sidelines.

In the second account, key blocks made the play possible.

(Also note: In the Atlanta account, Forte "bounced" off Sean Witherspoon. In the Chicago account, he "bounced" off John Abraham.)

And instead of missed tackles, this Tribune account credits Forte "breaking tackles and eluding defenders."

*

Or this from Atlanta:

"On Chicago's ensuing possession, wide receiver Devin Hester broke loose on another screen pass and ran 53 yards to the Falcons' 1-yard line. On the play, cornerback Dunta Robinson slipped, safety William Moore and middle linebacker Curtis Lofton took bad angles."

The play, then, is offered as further evidence of the Falcons' sloppy play. In the Chicago papers, the play is barely mentioned as an afterthought, but nonetheless as additional evidence of the Bears' dominance.

*

It was a great victory for the Bears, no doubt. And an embarrassing loss for the Falcons. But only an evenhanded evaluation can tell us how to apportion the credit and blame - and how to better understand where each team is at.

*

The same could - and should - be said for the rest of the news. Extrapolate at will.

MartzWorld
Our very own Jim Coffman offers up this analysis in The Revenge of Mike Martz:

"In retrospect, the primary question for the Bears' offense going into this season wasn't whether the offensive line would hold up or whether Roy Williams would take the receiving corps to the next level. The No. 1 question was if Martz could prepare an offense and then make all the calls necessary to put a team in contention for a championship."

*

By the way, here's how Coffman described the Forte play:

"Sure enough Martz, who you can't help suspect called that early reverse to reinforce the idea in the Falcons' collective mindset that the Bears loved the play and would keep calling it no matter what, called for a fake reverse this time around and a pass into the flat on the other side to Matt Forte.

"Not surprisingly Forte was wide open, gained about 15 yards before a tackler imposed any real threat, broke a couple weak tackle attempts and then flashed his impressive game speed (as opposed to combine speed, the lack of which enabled the Bears to get him in the second round a few years ago) on his way to a touchdown."

A bit more informative, no?

Drip, Drip, Drip . . .
"For seven years, the Chicago Police Department has portrayed David Koschman as the aggressor in the drunken confrontation on Division Street that ended when a nephew of then-Mayor Richard M. Daley knocked him out with a punch that left Koschman with brain injuries from which he would die 11 days later," the Sun-Times reports.

"Now, a police report from 2004 that was never made public - and which the police say they only recently 'discovered' - says a witness told the police that Daley nephew Richard J. 'R.J' Vanecko had been acting in a 'very aggressive' manner toward Koschman in the moments before the punch."

*

"That report and another one, also from 2004, which includes a handwritten notation identifying Vanecko as a nephew of Daley, were among dozens of pages of records that the police department never turned over to the detectives who reinvestigated Koschman's case earlier this year during Daley's final months in office."

The Weekend in Chicago Rock
They played at a venue near you, and we've got the video to prove it.

CAN TV vs. RCN
"Alderman Moore and other aldermen have repeatedly gone on the record that funding of CAN TV is key to any cable company continuing to do business here."

Wake The Cubs When September Ends
"This season needs to end so the Cubs can actually get someone in charge of the baseball operations," our very own Marty Gangler writes in this week's Cub Factor. "Like walking and chewing gum, this franchise can't do both at the same time."

Unfortunately, Tom Ricketts seems to fashion himself as the team's lead baseball man.

What's next, Sam Zell as a media guru?

The Ghost of Nellie Fox
You can see it in Paul Konerko and Juan Pierre - and not many others on this White Sox team.

Beer Me
I'm back behind the bar tonight at the venerable Beachwood Inn. Cold Old Style, free pizza, jukebox galore. 5p - 2a.

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The Beachwood Tip Line: Freeze-dried.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 8:48 AM | Permalink

Aldermen Back CAN TV Over RCN

At the September 8, 2011, city council meeting, Chicago aldermen united to protect the public's channels, with 48 aldermen signing a letter opposing any RCN cable renewal deal that excludes CAN TV and calling on RCN to reach agreement for CAN TV's funding without further delay.

RCN's franchise renewal was due to be introduced [last] week but was held by the administration because RCN, the first of three cable companies to renew its franchise, has failed to reach agreement on CAN TV's funding.

"CAN TV channels are the public's channels. That's what we're standing together to protect," said 49th Ward Alderman, Joe Moore. "Cable company revenues are healthy, and the future for cable in Chicago looks bright. But that picture changes if the public ceases to be a priority for companies doing business in Chicago."

Alderman Moore and other aldermen have repeatedly gone on the record that funding of CAN TV is key to any cable company continuing to do business here.

In June, the council approved a three-month extension of RCN's franchise that provided for funding of the City's franchise fee to continue, but since RCN has failed to reach agreement with CAN TV, its funding of CAN TV stopped on June 24th, 2011.

*

Meet the Keep Us Connected coalition.

*

Disclaimer: Barbara Popovic, executive director of CAN TV, is a friend of (and landlord to) the Beachwood's Steve Rhodes.

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 7:55 AM | Permalink

The Weekend in Chicago Rock

You shoulda been there.

1. Archers of Loaf at A.V. Fest the Hideout on Sunday night.


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2. Marcy Playground at the Wells Street Fall Fest on Sunday night.

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3. Samiam at Reggie's on Saturday night.

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4. Velocicopter at Pancho's on Saturday night.

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5. Black Moth Super Rainbow at the Metro on Thursday night.

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6. Koffin Kats at Reggie's on Thursday night.

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7. The Disappears at the AV Fest on Saturday.

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 7:31 AM | Permalink

SportsMonday: The Revenge of Mike Martz

Mike Martz has still got it.

In retrospect, the primary question for the Bears' offense going into this season wasn't whether the offensive line would hold up or whether Roy Williams would take the receiving corps to the next level. The No. 1 question was if Martz could prepare an offense and then make all the calls necessary to put a team in contention for a championship.

Because - and I've been harping on this for a while now - the Bears have a championship-caliber quarterback. Hello, NFL! The Bears have a championship-caliber quarterback! It is time for all of the experts to acknowledge what they should have figured out way back in the second half of last season. Maurice Jones-Drew and the rest of the short-attention-spanners who questioned Jay Cutler's desire and toughness during and after the NFC championship game hadn't paid enough attention to the Bears season until the final few games.

They hadn't watched as Cutler survived a disastrous first third of the season in which his unbelievably bad offensive line literally put his life in danger. They hadn't watched as somehow this team, with no receivers anyone would place in the top 30 in the league, somehow pulled itself together with Cutler at the helm and claimed the second seed in the NFC playoffs. The second seed in the NFC playoffs!

Now Cutler is back for more, and for the first time in four years he is playing in the same system for a second year in a row. It is amazing what just a little familiarity and a little comfort in a system will do, as evidenced by the Bears' delightfully comprehensive 30-12 thrashing of the Falcons (last year's No. 1 NFC playoff seed) in the season-opener Sunday.

Last year, it took a while for Martz to acknowledge he had to make some adjustments to his beloved system (and it is beloved for a reason - it won a Super Bowl in St. Louis and should have won at least one more). If the Bears were going to be competitive, he had to put in more hot reads and quick throws. So Martz did that and the Bears started winning football games at least in part due to their offense and not just because the defense and special teams were awesome as usual and the offense managed to not totally screw things up.

One of the great things about Cutler is that he knows that for Martz's system to work, sometimes a quarterback has to stay in the pocket longer than seems wise. Sometimes he has to hang in there after the long seven-step drop and take a big hit to make a big play. There he was again on Sunday, holding on to the ball longer than we wanted him to on several occasions in the first half. And that resulted in a couple sacks. But he also held the ball a little longer than seemed wise during several plays that resulted in big completions.

The guy has guts enough and then some to stay in there and do what his offensive coordinator needs him to do - even if it puts his health at risk. His willingness to do that finally resulted in his suffering a concussion in the Bears' nadir last season, the "nine sacks against in the first half" game against the Giants. Hopefully that won't happen again this time around. And if the second half in which he threw the ball away a few times when the pressure grew a bit too intense was any indication, perhaps this time around he will do a little better job of striking a balance between taking a hit to make a play and throwing it away to give himself a chance to make a play later on.

Anyway, Martz clearly still knows how to coordinate the offense of a top team; that was on display on Sunday. How cool was it to see the Bears remember how bad some of their reverses were last season, capped off by a terrible reverse handoff to Earl Bennett late in the NFC championship loss to the Packers.

So the Bears call another reverse early Sunday and it gets blown up for a loss of at least three. And then Brian Urlacher makes that awesome diving interception - the play that was obviously the turning point in the game - and the time arrives quickly for a game-changing call.

Sure enough Martz, who you can't help suspect called that early reverse to reinforce the idea in the Falcons' collective mindset that the Bears loved the play and would keep calling it no matter what, called for a fake reverse this time around and a pass into the flat on the other side to Matt Forte.

Not surprisingly Forte was wide open, gained about 15 yards before a tackler imposed any real threat, broke a couple weak tackle attempts and then flashed his impressive game speed (as opposed to combine speed, the lack of which enabled the Bears to get him in the second round a few years ago) on his way to a touchdown.

Late in the first half, Martz was at it again. The Bears had driven deep into Falcon territory, and in the process had just about run off enough clock to absolutely ensure Atlanta would not have enough time to come back and score in the final minute before the intermission. Cutler took the snap and rolled right with all but two of his teammates. He had a few receivers out in front of him but they appeared to be covered. The play had incomplete pass or sack written all over it.

Except then Cutler turned on a dime and heaved a pass back the other direction. Then we could see it. Tight end Kellen Davis was as wide open as wide open could be. No defender was within 15 yards of him, and even if one had been, guard Chris Williams was there to knock him into next week as Davis strolled into the end zone. Martz had again drawn up, practiced and then called a perfect play that was going to be a back-breaker for the Falcons.

Of course, then Cutler overthrew Davis by about a half-dozen yards and the Bears had to settle for a field goal and a 16-3 halftime lead. Still, Martz's mastery was out there for everyone to see. These were just two of at least two dozen play calls that established conclusively the the Bears' offensive guru is still very much on top of his game. His scheme's ability to set up wide open plays when his team needed them was undeniable.

One final, wonderful, if slightly scary, element of the Martz system: The guy runs fewer give-up plays than just about anyone. If his team is called for holding and has a running play stuffed and throws an incomplete pass to result in a third-and-loooong, 90-something percent of the time he calls a play intended to gain the 21 yards needed for a first down. There were no no-chance third-and-long draw plays on Sunday, no dumb-assed flanker screens. If he needs 17 yards for a first down, he will give Jay Cutler a couple of options to gain at least 18 yards even if it might increase the chances for a big defensive play going the other way.

* * *

One slight disclaimer: It is important to remember that the Bears were playing at home. The Falcons play their home games on artificial turf in a dome.

In other words, they play in a different world than the Bears. Quarterback Matt Ryan hasn't just been much better at home during his career, he has been much better on turf. This is why home field advantage is usually so big in the NFL - or should we say, home-conditions advantage.

Other game notes:

* Good to see you, Henry Melton. Repeatedly. The Bears coaches weren't lying when they talked him up during the preseason. This third-year defensive tackle out of Texas who had two sacks on the day looks like he is ready to break out and create the kind of pressure up the middle that could have defensive end Julius Peppers at the top of the sack leader board all season long. Of course, he'll have to beat fellow tackles Matt Toeaina and Amobi Okoye to the quarterback if he is to record sacks of his own, and that may not end up being an easy task.

It was very cool to see those guys buck up in the midst or at the end of some substantial Atlanta drives in the third and fourth quarters and record sacks of their own (to go with Peppers' two). So often defensive tackles wear out during those sorts of scenarios and opposing quarterbacks are able to sit back and relax in their pockets.

Of course the fact that those guys were making plays late also probably had something to do with the fact that the Bears have delightful depth in the middle of their defensive line. They were rotating a bunch of powerful players into the mix as the game went on and that pays off late in games.

* Back-up running back Kahlil Bell looked good out there didn't he? A few good runs were negated by holding penalties but the guy carried the ball well. He probably can't catch and run like Matt Forte but his good plays reminded why NFL general managers are more and more hesitant to pay running backs big bucks. If the blocks are there, good runners like Forte and Bell can make things happen.

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Comments welcome.


Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 7:04 AM | Permalink

Wake Them Up When September Ends

Okay, meaningless September baseball is something that Cubs fans are pretty used to. But extra inning meaningless September baseball is just the pits.

I mean, these guys have angered us all season, can't they do us a solid and just end the game in the normal allotment of innings? Isn't that fair?

Can't we ask baseball to institute some sort of rule where teams flip a coin after nine innings when both teams are officially out of the pennant race? Would anyone not be a fan of this?

Or maybe just use computer simulations the rest of the way. This season needs to end so the Cubs can actually get someone in charge of the baseball operations. Like walking and chewing gum, this franchise can't do both at the same time.

And leaving Tom Ricketts in charge with no voice to counter his is a disaster. Extending the contract of Oneri Fleita while the GM position is still open is like buying gas for a car you don't own.

So let's get this season over with before the next few go down the drain with it.

Week in Review: The Cubs took two of three from both the Reds and the Mets. And they have a better record than the Padres now. Score!

The Week in Preview: The Cubs have four more with the Reds and then the lowly Astros come to town for three games. They could catch the Marlins!

The Second Basemen Report: Darwin Barney got three starts, Jeff Baker got two, and DJ LeMahieu got one. Blake DeWitt got no starts despite hitting a homer last week in his only start. But we're glad DJ is in the mix. Keeping the other team guessing which mediocre guy we'll send out there each day has been the Cubs' best strategy. It doesn't lead to wins, but it's their best strategy. Just like general manager X would have drawn it up.

In former second basemen news, Sparky Adams last played second base for the Cubs in 1927. At 5'4" he was the smallest guy in the league when he played. He also had an odd batting follow-through if this picture is correct. He is missed.

The Zam Bomb: Big Z will continue to be Apologetic or Getting Angry or somewhere in between all to himself this season.

zam_gettingAngry.jpg

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Marlon Byrd Supplemental Report: Conte has apparently been injecting Marlon with sugar water all season because Marlon really had just another Marlon season. Nothing better.

Lost in Translation: Le-Lo-Lou-san is Japanese for September call ups DJ LeMahieu, Bryan LaHair, and Lou Montanez.

Endorsement No-Brainer: DJ LeMahieu, Bryan LaHair, and Lou Montanez for that soccer chant that goes le lo le lo le lo lou,le lou, le lou.

Sweet and Sour Quade: 10% sweet, 90% sour. Mike jumped up two points this week due to winning meaningless games. And just like your thought-to-be well-adjusted uncle, Mike once again took first prize in the annual 50-and-over male beauty pageant at the church picnic. He is the only one who enters every year and doesn't realize it's kind of just a gag deal.

Ameritrade Stock Pick of the Week: Shares of Old Style traded about the same as they always do as the Cubs will sell the beer just like they always do.

Over/Under: The amount of at-bats Jeff Baker and Reed Johnson should see the rest of the season +/- .5.

Beachwood Sabermetrics: A complex algorithm performed by The Cub Factor staff using all historical data made available by Major League Baseball has determined that we should have seen these kids three months ago.

Farm Report: The Iowa Cubs had their first losing season since 2005. So their training is taking hold.

The Cub Factor: Unlike Soriano, you can catch 'em all!

The White Sox Report: Know the enemy.

Mike Quade Status Update: "We don't do things the easy way, that's for sure," the Cubs skipper said this weekend.

Actually, the problem is that the Cubs do do things the easy way.

Well-Adjusted / Delirious / High

dazed_and_confused_smiley.jpg

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Contact The Cub Factor!

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 6:33 AM | Permalink

Paulie, Juan And The Ghost Of Nellie Fox

Let's assume, for a moment, that Paul Konerko leads a long and healthy life. Imagine also that he reaches a ripe old age when his reflexes and awareness aren't what they used to be. His adult children begin to worry about his driving skills.

This is not an uncommon experience for folks whose parents get to a point where operating a motor vehicle poses a risk to themselves and other motorists. At least in the eyes of the Baby Boomer "kids."

In Paulie's case, he might confront this situation with something like, "Hey, I'm not going to drive at night. If I take the highway, I'll stay in the right lane. I never exceed the speed limit. And you would never catch me texting or talking on the phone when I'm behind the wheel."

The point of this is that Konerko knows how to adjust and adapt. He's a wonderful fastball hitter, who can pull the ball into the left field seats or line a double into the left field corner with regularity.

However, given the situation - say, two strikes and a breaking pitch on the outside corner - Konerko is content to make contact and put the ball in play.

Twelve days ago in that dismal game against the Twins when Peavy was touched for six first-inning runs, Paulie came to bat in the bottom of the ninth.

The Sox had made up ground and trailed 7-4 with runners on second and third and two outs. A long one by Paulie, and the game's tied. But Joe Nathan got two strikes on Konerko, and he certainly wasn't about to offer one that the Sox slugger could pull. So Konerko adjusted. If Nathan erred and threw something middle-in, a long ball was a distinct possibility.

But Nathan is no pushover, and he caught the outside corner. Konerko looked to make contact, and his short pop-up fell behind first base, driving in two runs.

In contrast, Nathan froze the next hitter, Alex Rios, who took a called third strike to end the game.

August was a difficult period health-wise for Konerko. He was hit in the calf by a pitch the last day of July and sat out three games. He came back as the DH, being able to swing the bat but little else. Konerko's power was more or less non-existent in August. He hit just three home runs. But he still hit .370 for the month. Apparently he adjusted to what his body was able to do.

Or how about 2008 when he was hitting .213 at the end of July? A hand injury didn't help. Some fans wondered whether he was washed up at 32. He rebounded to hit almost .300 the rest of the season and has been the Sox' best hitter ever since.

You have to wonder whether guys like Adam Dunn, Gordon Beckham, Rios and others are watching. I may be missing something, but most of those guys make the same swing regardless of the count or the situation. Occasionally Beckham hits the ball to the right side to move along a runner, but wouldn't it nice to see him choke up an inch or two when he's down in the count just to make contact?

I was raised on a steady diet of Nellie Fox, the Sox' second baseman in the '50s. Fox was a little guy - he weighed 160 - and not a great athlete. He wasn't fast, nor did he have an exceptional arm. He hit from the left side and used what was known as a bottle bat - the handle was almost as thick as the barrel.

But that bat may as well have been a magic wand. Fox choked up a good two inches, and the opposition knew not to play deep. But that's all they knew. No one had a clue where the ball was going. He was as likely to get a soft base hit to left field as a line drive to right. The Sox' head groundskeeper Gene Bossard, Roger's dad, doctored the third base line so that Fox's bunts tended to stay fair; the little guy was the best bunter in baseball.

Of course, Nellie Fox hit just 35 home runs in 19 seasons, but he also amassed more than 2,600 singles, doubles, and triples. Furthermore, he was almost impossible to strike out. He averaged 11 whiffs a season!

Fox batted second in the order behind Luis Aparicio, and he made adjustments every time he came to the plate. If Looey was going to run, Nellie would take some pitches or intentionally swing and miss to make it tough on the catcher. The result? Aparicio led the American League in steals nine consecutive seasons.

If Looey already was on second, Fox could bunt, hit to the right side, or line one up the middle. He was a master at sizing up a situation and deciding what he wanted to do.Juan Pierre is the only player on the present club who even remotely mimics Fox's style.

Please understand that Pierre is no Nellie Fox, but Juan uses the entire field, he can bunt, and he's a tough guy to strike out.

Pierre got off to a slow start, accentuated by dropped fly balls and failed attempts at stealing bases. However, since June 1, he's hit a tick under.300, tracked down most balls to left field, stolen a few bases, and knocked in 46 runs from the leadoff position. After Konerko, Pierre is the team's best clutch hitter, which on this club isn't saying much.

In the case of Nellie Fox, he returned to his usual spot on the South Side, being a fixture at second base from 1950 until 1963. The singles, bunts, solid defense, and intelligence took him all the way to Cooperstown.

In the present-day environment, Juan Pierre's abilities will no doubt get him nothing more than a pink slip. He's making $8 million this season and will be a free agent in a few weeks. With the hefty contracts of Dunn, Rios, and others, chances are they won't spend millions on Pierre.

Too bad it's not the other way around.

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Comments welcome.


Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 6:17 AM | Permalink

September 10, 2011

The Weekend Desk Report

We're so excited about this Report, we're ready to fucking blow.

Market Update
You know a really good way to take your mind off widespread socioeconomic devastation? Go see a movie about widespread socioeconomic devastation.

Kickoff Weekend
After a summer of brinksmanship, another long season on the gridiron gets underway this weekend. The Cowboys look to take down a slick East Coast operation; New England faces something kind of fishy; and splashy Minnesota proved itself to be largely irrelevant.

Incendiary Claims
Of course, Texas Governor Rick Perry is also facing a natural disaster in his home state. Residents will no doubt be comforted to know there's apparently no hard scientific proof that burning has any lasting detrimental impact.

Rivalry Season
Meanwhile in the college game, the sheen may be off some of the classic match-ups as fans increasingly realize both sides pretty much suck.

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The Weekend Desk Tip Line: Incendiary.

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The CAN TV Weekend Report

Potential of Bus Rapid Transit

31153-BusRapidTransit.jpg

The Metropolitan Planning Council proposes a bus rapid transit system in Chicago to improve transportation and promote community development.

Sunday, September 11 at 9 a.m. on CAN TV21
1 hr 48 min

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Challenges to Corporate Personhood

31156-Cobb.jpg

Activist David Cobb argues in favor of amending the Constitution to counteract legal precedents granting corporations the same rights as individuals.

Sunday, September 11 at 11 a.m. on CAN TV21
1 hr 30 min

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Voter Engagement 2012

31158-VoterEngagement.jpg

Langdon Neal, Chair of the Chicago Board of Election Commissioners, explains new voting regulations and efforts to increase voter turnout for Chicago's 2012 elections.

Sunday, September 11 at 2:30 p.m. on CAN TV21
1 hr 17 min



Posted by Natasha Julius at 9:50 AM | Permalink

September 9, 2011

The [Friday] Papers

1. Pass the unwritten bill right away!

Memo to Obama: Congress isn't the Chicago City Council.

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In 10 days I'll tell you how I'm going to pay for it!

Memo to Obama: And you're no Richard M. Daley.

*

Could this presidency be any more generic? What happened to the Obama brand?

The American Jobs Act might as well be brought to you by Walgreens.

*

Seriously, for a president touting an innovation economy he sure doesn't have any himself.

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Doesn't matter much anyway. Nobody believes you anymore.

*

"On The Daily Show, Jon Stewart acknowledged up front that the speech was being made after he taped his show, and since he doesn't air a new edition on Fridays, he'd deal with the Obama plan 'on Monday, when you don't give a shit anymore.'"

2. Ten Years Gone.

3. Houston Finally Kills Red Light Cameras.

No longer world-class.

4. Same As It Ever Was: Obama's Secret Renditions.

5. Czars of the Playbook: Falcons at Bears.

6. The Week in WTF: Cuckoo for Cocoa Puffs.

7. Wrigley Field Movie Night Considered.

Might even start during the day.

8. "Tonight, the President laid out a plan that will put Americans back to work," Gov. Pat Quinn said in a statement.

And I've laid out a plan throw them back out.

9. For a short week it's been an awfully long week. That's all I've got in me this morning. Cheers.

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The Beachwood Tip Line: Bottoms up.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 8:13 AM | Permalink

Under Obama Administration, Renditions - And Secrecy Around Them - Continue

New documents in recent days have brought up several new details about the shadowy practice of snatching terrorism suspects from one country and rendering them into the custody of another. As we noted last week, several documents on rendition emerged as part of an obscure court case in the state of New York. Others were discovered by Human Rights Watch in Libya.

Of course, it's been known for years that the Bush administration practiced (and on several occasions, botched) rendition.

What's less appreciated: While the Obama administration has tried to distance itself from the some of the harshest counterterrorism techniques, it has also said that at least some forms of renditions will continue.

In confirmation hearings in 2009, CIA director nominee Leon Panetta said that the Obama administration would not conduct what's known as "extraordinary rendition," which he defined as "when we send someone for the purpose of torture or actions by another country that violate our human values." Rendition that delivers suspects to another country to be prosecuted in that country's judicial system is still an "appropriate use of rendition," he said.

Months later, the newly installed Panetta again tried to distance the administration from the Bush-era actions. "The worst part of rendition was rendition to a black site," he told The New Yorker. "That will not be the case anymore. If we render someone, it will be to a country with jurisdiction over that individual." The Obama administration had ordered the closure of the CIA black sites.

It's hard to tell what such statements have meant in practice because the Obama administration has also followed another aspect of the Bush adminstration's rendition policy: utter secrecy. The Obama White House invoked the state secrets privilege to block evidence that could reveal details about past renditions under Bush and, more recently, has declined to comment on the latest documents discovered in Libya and the details that emerged in the litigation in New York.

Though an Obama administration task force recommended that greater accountability measures be imposed on countries that suspects are rendered to, the extent to which the recommendations have been implemented is unclear, and public statements by officials have been vague.

The administration has said it will continue seeking what are known as diplomatic assurances, or assurances from the receiving country promising that suspects won't be tortured in their custody.

"I will seek the same kind of assurances that they will not be treated inhumanely," Panetta stated in his confirmation hearings. "I intend to use the State Department to be sure those assurances are implemented and stood by."

The Bush administration relied on such assurances for years, and human rights groups have long decried the use of diplomatic assurances as unreliable, citing instances in which those assurances were violated.

In 2005, the Washington Post cited several current and former intelligence officers asserting that the diplomatic assurances relied on by the CIA were essentially highly questionable pledges. "They say they are not abusing them, and that satisfies the legal requirement, but we all know they do," one anonymous official told the Post. Then-Attorney General Alberto Gonzalez also acknowledged that "we can't fully control what a country might do."

That semblance of an accountability system was in place even when the CIA rendered Abdul Hakim Belhaj, now the top rebel commander in Libya, back in 2005. Belhaj has said that after being rendered by the United States, he was tortured by CIA agents and then delivered by Qaddafi's government in Libya, which also abused him. One CIA memo dated 2005, found by Human Rights Watch, corroborates the basic facts of his rendition and shows the U.S. spy agency requesting an assurance from Libya that he would be treated humanely. (See the memo, which we've posted.)

According to Joanne Mariner, director of the human rights program at Hunter College, the Libya case is "a really compelling example of how diplomatic assurances do not work." She says that while there aren't known cases of the Obama administration using rendition in a problematic way, it's not clear whether diplomatic assurances have been any more meaningful under this administration than the last.

"What the Obama administration has said is not terribly reassuring," Mariner said, pointing to a general lack of transparency. "What we do know is that this administration has publicly stood behind the concept of diplomatic assurances and has expressed confidence in diplomatic assurances."

At least one Obama administration official has maintained that rendition is legal under U.S. law, even if the receiving country might torture the suspect. As the Washington Post's SpyTalk blog noted, CIA assistant General Counsel Daniel Pines, writing for a law journal last year, asserted that while U.S. officials could not themselves torture suspects during rendition, "U.S. law does not even preclude the United States from rendering an individual to a foreign location where he or she could be abused or tortured." Pines said he was expressing his own views, and not the official views of the CIA or U.S. government.

But on the international stage, the United States and its allies have been accused of breaching international law in their practice of extraordinary rendition under the Bush administration. A 2009 report by the United Nations special rapporteur stated that the U.S. system of extraordinary renditions and secret detention "violate the prohibition against torture and other forms of ill-treatment."

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 7:32 AM | Permalink

Czar of the Playbook Preview: Falcons at Bears

I don't trust these Bears wide receivers. I'm going with the Falcons.


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See also:

No quarterback has thrown more interceptions than Jay Cutler since he's been in the league. But the defense is so solid it will keep them in the game.

*

And:

Chicago's falling apart. Why is Roy Williams on the field?

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 7:09 AM | Permalink

The Week in Chicago Rock

You shoulda been there.

1. Simon Flory at the Double Door on Monday night.


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2. Blondie at the House of Blues on Wednesday night.

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3. Miss Shevaughn & Yuma Wray at the Double Door on Monday night.

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4. Bilal at the Double Door on Monday night.

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 6:28 AM | Permalink

Ten Years Gone

TEN YEARS GONE

Again: For CDR Dan F. Shanower, USN, who was my friend.

I.

You linger in my mind, an art-deco
showplace

built in 1921,
recently restored to its original
cathedral-like glory,

where Frank Sinatra
used to play
seven shows a day.

You permeate my grief, designed by
Skidmore, Owings & Merrill,
completed in 1973

and still
the tallest building in America.
They actually evacuated it

after you were killed
at the Pentagon.

You recur in the landscape
of my dreams, originally a shallow
creek meandering
through a dank swamp
of wild onions

until Europeans discovered it
and began to settle there and

which is now
the third largest city
in America.

II.

There's a memorial to you
and the others lost
back home in Naperville,
on the river

which you used to call
"the Mighty DuPage."
It includes a post-modern sculpture

which reminds me
of the Object
from the cover
of Led Zeppelin's "Presence."

Your portrait, in full Navy dress,
is in a small corner.

Somehow, you are not quite
there. Nope: can't almost
hear you breathe.

I hoard
what I loved about you
in my being.
There, you are.

A presence.

There we are, piling into Speedy's mom's
van, after school, Hell-bent on the head shops
of Old Town.
Secret mission.

Bust outta Naperville
for the big, bad city,
the rush, the charge,
the fear.

When we'd hit
I-88 (and not a second sooner),
we'd punch in the tape of
"Houses of the Holy,"

kicking off with
"The Song Remains the Same,"
ideal epic saga tattoo.

Get to Bizarre Bazaar:
bongs, bootleg LPs and
groovy Civil Defense jackets.

Together, see what else
is out there.
We knew: in sleepy Naperville
there's just no place for
"street fighting men."

Now: I wonder how often,
on our way to a Cubs game,
we sauntered past the Doughboy statue,
the World War One memorial
at the Naperville train station,

oblivious, as they say,
"not a care
in the world."

Let there be
not a care
in the world.

III.

You burnish my soul, built in 1916
as a commercial port of call
for Great Lakes shipping,

taken over by the U.S. Navy
who converted it into
a training base for pilots,

including the first
President Bush,

in the Second World War.

Then it was the campus
of the University of Illinois at Chicago
and is now

the number one tourist attraction
in the state.

IV.

Remember when Speedy died?
That was rough.

Remember Baccalaureate?
He was co-Valedictorian.
In his speech, he challenged us--
quoting Frost--
to take "the road
less traveled."

I believe
we came through.

He always called us
"The Unholy Three." Remember?
Then, first week of September,

he was gone.

We became the
unraveling two,
bearing him
to his grave.

Our paths
were already diverging
as we struggled to become
our own men.

By the time
you were killed,
we weren't
getting along
so well

anymore.
O Lord:

I'm sorry.

Whenever I remember
this kind of September,
I get a little skittish.

Surly, pre-occupied,
churning with fleeting joys
and lingering sorrows.

I want to cry out--
fait un cri de coeur--
but I don't want
to attract attention.

So I thought
I'd write it
in a poem

so no one
would know.


Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 6:24 AM | Permalink

The Week in WTF

1. DuPage County, WTF?

The reality of public life and what constitutes free speech has tilted so far into the twilight that spending public money this way appears to have no antidote. Who knows, maybe real folks who work for their wages and hope to live normal lives have become so inured to this trend that it no longer seems philosophically preposterous. Even Alice eventually forgot she was in a bad dream.

It didn't take the Supreme Court ruling on "corporate free speech" to validate this insanity, but eventually the inertial forces make this oozing slide back to the primordial pool as inevitable as a noxious glacier.

2. Highway Samurai, WTF?

Who among us has not wished to march down an interstate while waving a sword and declare we are cuckoo for Cocoa Puffs?

It would have been better if he were naked at the time, but you can't ask for everything.

3. Rick Perry, WTF?

We have become a nation of whack jobs masquerading our goofiness as piety. The sacrament of choice is Cocoa Puffs.

4. David Protess, WTF?

Northwestern University is less concerned about the particulars of a journalistic hero being run out of town on a rail than about the higher value of, er, what exactly? We're not sure what Northwestern's values are in this case, but the integrity of Medill's J-school foundry has suffered a terrible blow. For the price of a degree, Northwestern students are getting a good lesson in how the world really works.

5. Frank Clark, WTF?

Canonization seems somewhat hyperbolic for the guy who ran ComEd for 10 years but can a mediocre company really be operated by wonderful, exceptional executives? A company cannot be as self-interested and publicly indifferent as ComEd if not for the poeple who operate it. If you believe these pre-posthumous accolades, it must be true that he's a fabulous success story. Chief Operating Officer Anne Pramaggiore is the wonderful, exceptional executive destined for the chair next.

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Comments welcome.


Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 5:47 AM | Permalink

September 8, 2011

The [Thursday] Papers

1. Mystery GOP Debate Theater: Simi Valley

2. Carl's Cubs Mailbag: The Law Of Diminishing Returns Starring That Hot Community College Chick And Carlos Marmol's Chubby Calves

3. Charles Evans of the Chicago Federal Reserve released a paper yesterday spelling out why high unemployment is a huge failure of Fed policymakers," FDL notes.

4. "Unionized Hyatt hotel workers in Chicago and three other cities launched a weeklong strike Thursday, in an attempt to turn up the heat in a contract battle with the Chicago-based hotel chain that has dragged on for more than two years," the Tribune reports.

"Annemarie Strassel, the spokesperson for Local 1, which represents about 1,000 workers at the two hotels, said the sticking point with Hyatt wasn't the wage and benefit package, but the company's rejection of the union's proposed changes in work rules. Hyatt, she claimed, has the worst record among the major national hotel chains when it comes to working conditions."

Must be owned by Republicans.

"Hyatt, which is controlled by Chicago's wealthy Pritzker family, is . . . the last of the major hotel chains to come to terms with Unite Here."

Oh.

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But certainly President Obama sides with the workers.

Oh.

*

Well, she can't be that bad, can she?

Oh.

*

Maybe he's just been too busy to buy a comfortable pair of shoes.

*

You might call it a lemon pledge.

*

As I understand it, the major sticking point for the hotel union is working conditions, not money (though replacing full-time positions with part-time temps is also a problem). But let's stop to think about the notion these days that the economy is so bad nobody should expect a raise. How does that make sense?

First, corporations are sitting on record amounts of cash and profit margins are fat.

Second, corporations nonetheless aren't hiring because - they say - demand is too slack.

Third, demand is slack because people don't have enough money to spend.

Fourth, giving raises to workers would give them more money to spend.

Fifth, isn't that the logic behind tax cuts - particularly the payroll tax cut the president will propose tonight? Personally, I think a jobs program is far, far more effective, but every little bit helps.

Sixth, isn't it reasonable to conclude, then, that the best thing corporations can do for the economy is give their workers raises?

It would be different if corporations were tapped out. They aren't.

Finally, isn't it the role of the government to step in when the market fails? In this case, Obama could just give Penny a ring and say, hey, we're better than this - dumping on hotel housekeepers. Is that really Obama's America? Or is it Rick Perry's America?

Sadly, we all know the answer to that by now.

5. What's most remarkable about this story is what isn't being remarked upon: Up until now city employees didn't have paid maternity leave?

From the Sun-Times's Fran Spielman in 2001:

Any day now - maybe even any minute - Mara Georges, the Chicago city corporation counsel, will give birth to her first child, ending a difficult pregnancy that has kept her bedridden for days at a time.

It would be an unmitigated joy and a gigantic relief, if not for the fact City Hall has no maternity policy for its 13,391 female employees.

*

"The city doesn't have a maternity policy - zip, zilch, nada," said deputy personnel director Adrianne Bryant, who took off four months after her pregnancy. "I cobbled together my sick time, vacation time and a little administrative leave, and there were times when I wasn't receiving a paycheck."

*

Cook County offers its 27,000 employees the opportunity to take six weeks of maternity or paternity leave at half pay after a normal delivery and eight weeks after a Caesarean, according to Mark Kilgallon, the county's director of human resources. The benefit is covered by the county pension fund, Kilgallon said.

Women who work for state government receive three weeks of paid maternity leave . Men are entitled to two weeks of paid paternity leave, according to the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees.

At the city, paid maternity leave was not on the bargaining table in the last round of contract talks, said AFSCME spokeswoman Marrianne McMullen.

*

"You've got to ask for the things that you can realistically achieve and that your members are strongly behind," McMullen said. "The city has generally not been open to these kinds of formalized, family-friendly policies. Going for paid maternity leave was probably considered far too much of a long shot."

*

"We've never had anybody bring that up," said FOP president Bill Nolan. "We've had three women on our negotiating team. . . . If they were dissatisfied, they should have brought something up. None of them ever did."

Building Department spokeswoman Kristen Lobbins-Cabanban, whose baby is due in November, has only 10 vacation days left.

"It'll be tough. I won't be able to take as long as most people can," Lobbins-Cabanban said.

"When I was thinking about getting pregnant, I heard people say there was no policy. I chose to get pregnant. What else are you going to do? It's unfortunate, but it is what it is. You just deal with it. This is what the city offers."

6. "The Renaissance Blackstone Hotel, located on 636 South Michigan Avenue, is offering bonus Marriott Rewards points for stays at the hotel and group bookings for meetings," News Junky Journal reports.

"Through 2011, all the customer has to do is say, 'Put it on Capone's Tab' for 1,000 bonus points on a night's stay or double points including a free reception in the Blackstone's Art Hall when booking a group or meeting."

I wonder how they treat their housekeepers.

7. "After two years of trying to find a buyer the old-fashioned way, a French-inspired chateau that ranks as the most expensive home listing on Chicago's North Shore is going to auction next month," the Tribune reports.

"The 26-room, 26,500-square-foot home Winnetka home, owned by investment company CEO Sherwin Jarol and his wife, Deborah, was unofficially put up for sale in 2009 for $32 million. In early 2010, it was officially listed and placed in the local multiple listing service, with a $28 million asking price. It eventually was pulled from the market."

I wonder how they treat their housekeepers.

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The Beachwood Tip Line: Pledge allegiance.


Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 11:07 AM | Permalink

Mystery GOP Debate Theater 2011: Simi Valley

Once again our Mystery Debate Theater team gathered at Beachwood HQ . . . well, not really. I went solo on Wednesday night. This transcript edited for clarity and comedy.

NBC's BRIAN WILLIAMS: Tonight, from the Ronald Reagan Presidential Foundation and Library, in a place dedicated to the memory of this Republican icon, in the 100th year after his birth, we will hear from the eight candidates who would like to claim his legacy.

RHODES: Hey, that's mean!

WILLIAMS: Thank you especially for joining us here in this spectacular space, this spectacular presidential library, where we are all gathered under the wings of Air Force One.

RHODES: And to celebrate Ronald Reagan's legacy, this is the Air Force One used in the movie, not the real one.

WILLIAMS: Governor Perry, you have touted your state's low taxes, the lack of regulation, tough tort reform as the recipe for job growth in the Lone Star State, but Texas ranks last among those who have completed high school, there are only eight other states with more living in poverty, no other state has more working at or below the minimum wage. So is that the kind of answer all Americans are looking for?

PERRY: Actually, what Americans are looking for is someone who can get this country working again. And we put the model in place in the state of Texas.

RHODES: Come for the dropouts, stay for the indentured servitude.

*

WILLIAMS: Governor Romney . . .

RHODES: Who dyed your hair? It looks like a barrel of ink fell on it.

WILLIAMS: Bain Capital, a company you helped to form, among other things, often buys up companies, strips them down, gets them ready, resells them at a net job loss to American workers.

ROMNEY: You know, that might be how some people would like to characterize what we did, but in fact, we started business at Bain Capital, and when we acquired businesses, in each case we tried to make them bigger, make them more successful and grow. The idea that somehow you can strip things down and it makes them more valuable is not a real effective investment strategy. We tried to make these businesses more successful.

By the way, they didn't all work. But when it was all said and done, and we looked at the record we had during the years I was there, we added tens of thousands of jobs to he businesses we helped support. That experience, succeeding, failing, competing around the world, is what gives me the capacity to help get this economy going again.

RHODES: If Brian Williams is prepared, he will follow up with some information gleaned from this Boston Globe article.

WILLIAMS: Time.

RHODES: Guess not.

*

ROMNEY: States are different. Texas is a great state. Texas has zero income tax. Texas has a right to work state, a Republican legislature, a Republican Supreme Court. Texas has a lot of oil and gas in the ground.

Those are wonderful things, but Governor Perry doesn't believe that he created those things. If he tried to say that, well, it would be like Al Gore saying he invented the Internet.

RHODES: You mean it would be like a made-up quote endlessly repeated by the media that Brian Williams will once again fail to correct here tonight?

*

ROMNEY: I came into a state that was in real trouble - a huge budget gap, losing jobs every month. We turned it around. Three out of four years, we had unemployment rate below the national average, we ended up with 4.7 percent unemployment rate.

PERRY: Michael Dukakis created jobs three times faster than you did, Mitt.

ROMNEY: Well, as a matter of fact, George Bush and his predecessor created jobs at a faster rate than you did, Governor.

RHODES: The Clinton economy ruled!

PERRY: That's not correct.

ROMNEY: Yes, that is correct.

WILLIAMS: Nice to see everybody came prepared for tonight's conversation.

RHODES: Except you.

*

CAIN: Here's how I would fix this economy. First, eliminate the current tax code.

RHODES: Then, get rid of unemployment. Next, make everyone a millionaire. Finally, outlaw sadness.

CAIN: I call it my 9-9-9 economic growth plan.

RHODES: That's 6-6-6 upside down.

CAIN: A 9 percent tax on corporate income, our 9 percent tax on personal income and a 9 percent national sales tax. If 10 percent is good enough for God, 9 percent ought to be good enough for the federal government. This will replace all federal income taxes. It will also replace the payroll tax, so everybody gets some skin in the game. And it replaces the capital gains tax.

RHODES: And the sales tax, so when you buy something for $9.99 it's really $9.99!

*

HUNTSMAN: I hate to rain on the parade of the Lone Star governor, but as governor of Utah, we were the number one job creator in this country during my years of service. That was 5.9 percent when you were creating jobs at 4.9 percent.

RHODES: Yeah, but Utah has a lot of Mormons in the ground.

*

BACHMANN: ObamaCare is killing jobs.

RHODES: Jobs death panels!

BACHMANN: I've raised five biological kids and 23 foster kids in my home.

RHODES: And none of them are gay. Anymore.

*

WILLIAMS: Over to Congressman Paul, you're known as the absolutist in the bunch, someone who has consistently opposed federal government from having any role - and I think by your definition - that isn't explicitly laid out in the Constitution.

So this makes people curious: Is there a line with you? Where do you draw it? Does this include things like making cars safe, making medicine safe, air traffic control controlling the jets above our heads?

PAUL: If you need detailed regulations, you can do it at the state level.

RHODES: Have you been to Illinois?

WILLIAMS: Well, 30 seconds more for devil's advocate here, because would you then put it on the drug companies to say, "No, we're bringing this to market, trust us, it's a fantastic drug"? All the pilots in the sky, to add to their responsibilities, their own air traffic control, in an organic way?

PAUL:

*

PAUL: You would have private institutions that could become credible.

RHODES: "Honey, I don't think we should fly to Florida this winter, Consumer Reports says the air traffic control over Georgia only rates one star."

*

GINGRICH: When I was speaker, we added 11 million jobs, in a bipartisan effort, including welfare reform, the largest capital gains tax cut in history. We balanced the budget for four straight years.

RHODES: That's why I'm endorsing Bill Clinton for a third term!

*

ROMNEY: What we face in our state is different than what other states face. What we had is a lot of people who found that they could simply stop getting insurance, go to the hospital, and get free care paid for by the people, paid for by taxpayers. We were spending hundreds of millions of dollars in our state giving care to people who in some cases could afford to take care of themselves.

RHODES: Unlike the other 49 states in the union.

ROMNEY: And we said, you know what? You've either got to get insurance, if you can afford it, or you're going to have to help pay the cost of providing that care to you.

OBAMA: The only difference between Sen. Clinton's health care plan and mine is that she thinks the problem for people without health care is that nobody has mandated - forced - them to get health care.

RHODES: Oops, how did that get in here?

POLITICO's JOHN HARRIS: Governor Perry, you clearly don't like the Massachusetts plan as an example for other states, but Massachusetts has nearly universal health insurance. It's first in the country. In Texas, about a quarter of the people don't have health insurance. That's 50 out of 50, dead last. Sir, it's pretty hard to defend dead last.

PERRY: Well, I'll tell you what the people in the state of Texas don't want: They don't want a health care plan like what Governor Romney put in place in Massachusetts.

RHODES: No matter how sick they get.

HARRIS: Why are so many people in Texas uninsured?

RHODES: Lazy?

PERRY: Well, bottom line is that we would not have that many people uninsured in the state of Texas if you didn't have the federal government.

RHODES:

*

HUNTSMAN: You know, at some point, we're going to get around to talking about individual and personal responsibility. And I'm raising seven kids. I've got a couple of them here. The most important thing we can do in this health care debate - right, Rick - is talk about individual responsibility, personal responsibility.

RHODES: For example, I've been employed by the government as an ambassador three times. My family's got great health insurance!

*

BACHMANN: We just learned today that if the federal government would pull back on all of the regulatory restrictions on American energy production, we could see 1.2 million jobs created in the United States.

RHODES: Most of them in disaster relief!

*

BACHMANN: Don't forget the day that President Obama took office, gasoline was $1.79 a gallon.

RHODES: Herman Cain has a plan to make it $9.99.

*

PAUL: I do want to address the subject of $2 oil or gasoline, because I can do it much better than that. I can get you a gallon of gasoline for a dime. You can buy a gallon of gasoline today for a silver dime. A silver dime is worth $3.50.

RHODES: So is a domestic beer at the Beachwood. You're still not really paying 10 cents for a gallon of gas - or a Pabst Blue Ribbon.

*

PAUL: I strongly supported Ronald Reagan . . . But in the 1980s, we spent too much, we taxed too much, we built up our deficits, and it was a bad scene.

RHODES: Right on, man.

*

WILLIAMS: We would be remiss, of course, any gathering in this space would, without a mention, perhaps a short tribute, to one of the most important people here tonight.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

WILLIAMS (voice-over): The legacy represented here at the Ronald Reagan Presidential Foundation and Library is impressive: over 1 million photos, 60 million pages of documents, tens of thousands of audio and videotapes encompassing the life and work of the late president.

RHODES: From his denial of AIDS to Iran-Contra.

WILLIAMS: But even this great place can't evoke the full magnitude and spirit of Ronald Reagan's life like his partner. Reagan has always said her life started when she met Ronald Wilson Reagan. And from that point onward, they tackled everything together.

RHODES: Unless her astrologist advised otherwise.

WILLIAMS: All along, Mrs. Reagan was his advisor and champion-in-chief. Their love for one another was an enduring image at the White House. That bond would sustain them through the unthinkable.

RHODES: Ollie North?

WILLIAMS: Mrs. Reagan decided to dedicate herself to the Just Say No campaign.

NANCY REAGAN: If you're ever offered drugs, please, please, just say no.

RHODES: Unlike Betty Ford. Or George W. Bush.

WILLIAMS: It was with great dignity and grace that President Reagan announced in 1994 he'd been diagnosed with Alzheimer's.

RHODES: Even though he'd had it since his second term.

*

HARRIS: Vice President Cheney said [Social Security is] not a Ponzi scheme. You say it is.

PERRY: Absolutely.

ROMNEY: The issue in [Perry's] book Fed Up, Governor, is you say that by any measure, Social Security is a failure. You can't say that to tens of millions of Americans who live on Social Security and those who have lived on it.

The governor says look, states ought to be able to opt out of Social Security. Our nominee has to be someone who isn't committed to abolishing Social Security, but who is committed to saving Social Security.

Under no circumstances would I ever say by any measure it's a failure. It is working for millions of Americans, and I'll keep it working for millions of Americans. And we've got to do that as a party.

PERRY: We're about fixing things. You can either have reasons or you can have results. And the American people expect us to put results in place.

RHODES: Without reasons.

PERRY: You cannot keep the status quo in place and not call it anything other than a Ponzi scheme. It is. That is what it is. Americans know that, and regardless of what anyone says, oh, it's not - and that's provocative language - maybe it's time to have some provocative language in this country and say things like, let's get America working again and do whatever it takes to make that happen.

RHODES: Which is only provocative if you say it naked.

*

CAIN: I believe in the Chilean model, where you give a personal retirement account option so we can move this society from an entitlement society to an empowerment society.

Chile had a broken system the way we did. Thirty years ago, a worker was paying 28 cents on a dollar into a broken system. They finally awakened and put in a system where the younger workers could have a choice.

Give them a choice with an account with their name on it, and over time we would eliminate the current broken system that we have. That is a solution to the problem. Rather than continuing to talk about how broken it is, let's just fix it using the Chilean model.

RHODES: Now that's a Ponzi scheme.

*

HARRIS: Congressman Paul, we've been talking just now about Governor Perry's rhetoric, but let's talk about his record.

Just this morning, your campaign put out a statement accusing him of pushing for bailout money, supporting welfare for illegal immigrants, and trying to forcibly vaccinate 12-year-old girls against sexually transmitted diseases.

He's your home state governor. Is he less conservative than meets the eye?

PAUL: Much more so, yes.

Just take the HPV. Forcing 12-year-old girls to take an inoculation to prevent this sexually transmitted disease, this is not good medicine.

BACHMANN: When it comes to dealing with children, it's the parents who need to make that decision.

PERRY: But here's the facts of that issue. There was an opt-out in that piece.

I hate cancer. We passed a $3 billion cancer initiative that same legislative session of which we're trying to find over the next 10 years cures to cancers. Cervical cancer is caused by HPV. We wanted to bring that to the attention of these tens of thousands of young people in our state. We allowed for an opt-out.

I don't know what's more strong for parental rights than having that opt-out. There's a long list of diseases that cost our state and cost our country. It was on that list.

Now, did we handle it right? Should we have talked to the legislature first before we did it? Probably so. But at the end of the day, I will always err on the side of saving lives.

RHODES: Except when it comes to health insurance.

*

HARRIS: Senator Santorum, one final note on this book, Fed Up, Governor Perry says in his book that it was, quote, "unprincipled" for Republicans to vote in favor of creating the Department of Homeland Security.

RHODES: Democrats, too.

*

SANTORUM: I want to get back to this . . . How about parental rights being more important than state's rights? How about having, instead of an opt-out, an opt- in?

RHODES: Wasn't there already an opt-in? It involved a telephone, your doctor and an insurance company. It was called Life.

*

GINGRICH: We need to understand, there are people out there who want to kill us.

RHODES: In here, too.

*

WILLIAMS: Congressman Paul, you want to demolish the TSA. What would exist in its place?

PAUL: The airlines that are responsible for carrying their cargo and their passengers. I mean . . . the airlines could do that.

RHODES: Um, have you flown lately?

*

PAUL: Just remember, 9/11 came about because there was too much government.

RHODES: Oh. I thought it was too many Bilderbergs.

*

WILLIAMS: The question is, federal aid, something like FEMA, if you object to what its become, how it's run, your position is to remove it, take it away, abolish it. What happens in its absence?

PAUL: Well, what happened before 1979? We didn't have FEMA.

RHODES: Not exactly.

CAIN: The federal government is not good at micromanaging anything. This is why I believe in empowering the states to do more and limit what the federal government does with regard to those kinds of programs.

RHODES: Again, have you been to Illinois?

*

WILLIAMS: Governor Huntsman, you know, the upside to this is, I guess, you could fly with your shoes on. The downside is, who does the job the next day?

HUNTSMAN: Let me just say, while this is an important discussion that we're having, we've spent about 15 minutes now on homeland security. But I'm guessing there are a whole lot of people tuned in around this country who are saying, why are we spending all this time talking about the smaller issues?

RHODES: Yes, can't we get back to that 9-9-9 thing?

HUNTSMAN: We've got 14 million people unemployed.

RHODES: Maybe the Department of Homeland Security could hire them.

HUNTSMAN: How are we going to get this country back on its feet?

RHODES: Like it was in the 90s under Clinton.

*

WILLIAMS: Governor Perry, you can't have much of a workforce without a basis of education.

RHODES: You can with the kind of jobs we have in Texas!

WILLIAMS: As you know, your state ranks among the worst in the country in high school graduation rates, as we established, yet you recently signed a budget cut for millions in education funding. You pushed for greater cuts than were in the budget that the legislature passed. You've said that education is a top priority, but explain cutting it the way you did, please.

PERRY: Well, I think the reductions that we made were thoughtful reductions, and the fact of the matter is, Texas has made great progress in the 10 years that I've been governor, from the standpoint of our graduation rates now are up to 84 percent, higher than they've been during any period of time before that.

Our 4th and 8th grader African-American and Hispanics on the NAEP test, they were some of the highest in the country. We're making progress. When you share the border with Mexico, and when you have as many individuals that we have coming into the state of Texas, we have a unique situation in our state.

RHODES: Immigrants are taking tests Americans refuse to! No, but really, it's hard for spoiled American children to compete with kids so motivated they risked their lives crossing the border.

PERRY: When Caterpillar and Toyota and eBay and Facebook move to your state, it's not because you've got a workforce that's not capable.

RHODES: It's because you've got a workforce dumb enough to take slave wages.

*

GINGRICH: I visited schools where, three years earlier, there were fights, there were dropouts, there was no hope. They were taken over by a charter school in downtown Philadelphia, and all of a sudden the kids didn't fight anymore.

RHODES: And today, the Xanax Charter School is second in the state in peacefulness only to the Ritalin Academy.

*

ROMNEY: The reason [illegal immigrants] come in such great numbers is because we've left the magnet on.

RHODES: I thought Obama turned the magnet off.

GINGRICH: We ought to control the border, we ought to have a legal guest worker program. We ought to outsource it, frankly, to American Express, Visa, and MasterCard.

RHODES: The Guest Worker Rewards Card: Come for the jobs, stay for the points. (Restrictions may apply.)

*

GINGRICH: We should insist that first-generation immigrants who come here learn American history in order to become citizens. We should also insist that American children learn American history.

RHODES: Stop stealing my lines, Newt.

*

SANTORUM: Look, I'm the son of an Italian immigrant. I think immigration is one of the great things that has made this country the dynamic country that it continues to be, people who are drawn because of the ideals of this country. And so we should not have a debate talking about how we don't want people to come to this country, but we want them to come here like my grandfather and my father came here.

RHODES: Through the mob.

*

BACHMANN: One thing that we do know, our immigration law worked beautifully back in the 1950s, up until the early 1960s, when people had to demonstrate that they had money in their pocket, they had no contagious diseases, they weren't a felon. They had to agree to learn to speak the English language, they had to learn American history and the Constitution.

And the one thing they had to promise is that they would not become a burden on the American taxpayer.

RHODES: Newt's right: We should insist that all Americans learn their history.

*

HUNTSMAN: For example, why is it that Vancouver is the fastest-growing real estate market in the world today? They allow immigrants in legally, and it lifts all boats.

RHODES: Say what?

*

PAUL: I think this fence business is designed and may well be used against us and keep us in. In economic turmoil, the people want to leave with their capital. And there's capital controls and there's people control. So, every time you think of fence keeping all those bad people out, think about those fences maybe being used against us, keeping us in.

RHODES:

*

PERRY: Let me just say something about the president of the United States. And I know he's taken lots of slings and arrows here today. But one thing that I want to say that he did do that I agree with is that he maintained the chase and we took out a very bad man in the form of bin Laden, and I tip my hat to him.

I give more props to those Navy SEALs that did the job, but the other thing this president's done, he has proven for once and for all that government spending will not create one job.

RHODES: Except for Navy SEALs and everyone else employed to take out bin Laden.

*

PERRY: We should never put our young men and women's lives at risk when American interests are not clearly defined by the president of the United States.

RHODES: Like in Grenada?

*

BACHMANN: I sit on the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence. We deal with the nation's classified secrets.

RHODES: Suddenly I do not feel safer today than I did on 9/11.

*

BACHMANN: Well, I believe that it was wrong for the president to go into Libya . . . If there is no vital interest, that doesn't even meet the threshold of the first test for military involvement.

RHODES: Like Grenada.

*

HARRIS: Governor Huntsman, your chief political adviser has been quoted very prominently as describing the Republican Party as "a bunch of cranks," and said your opponents on the stage "make a buffet of crazy and inane comments." I'm sure that's insulting to some of these people up here.

We're now here face to face. Tell us which one of these people are saying crazy or inane things.

HUNTSMAN: Well, I'm sure you have John Weaver's telephone number. You can go ahead and give him a call.

HARRIS: Okay.

HUNTSMAN: But let me just say . . .

HARRIS: Well, hang on. Let's follow up on that, because you speak for yourself.

You yourself have said the party is in danger of becoming anti-science. Who on this stage is anti-science?

HUNTSMAN: Listen, when you make comments that fly in the face of what 98 out of 100 climate scientists have said, when you call into question the science of evolution, all I'm saying is that, in order for the Republican Party to win, we can't run from science. We can't run from mainstream conservative philosophy. We've got to win voters. And by making comments that basically don't reflect the reality of the situation, we turn people off.

RHODES: Except Republicans.

*

PERRY: The science is not settled on [climate change].

RHODES: There's still a guy in Idaho who isn't convinced.

PERRY: Just because you have a group of scientists that have stood up and said here is the fact, Galileo got outvoted for a spell.

RHODES: Yes. By a church that refused to accept science - the same church, by the way, that now accepts evolution.

PERRY: Find out what the science truly is before you start putting the American economy in jeopardy.

HARRIS: Tell us how you've done that. Are there specific scientists or specific theories that you've found especially compelling?

PERRY: Let me tell you what I find compelling, is what we've done in the state of Texas, using our ability to regulate our clean air. We cleaned up our air in the state of Texas, more than any other state in the nation during the decade. Nitrous oxide levels, down by 57 percent. Ozone levels down by 27 percent.

RHODES: Sure, but that's according to science.

PERRY: That's the way you need to do it, not by some scientist somewhere saying, "Here is what we think is happening out there."

RHODES: So you measured the nitrous oxide levels yourself? That explains a lot.

*

WILLIAMS: Speaker Gingrich, the chairman of the Federal Reserve, Ben Bernanke, will come to the end of his term in 2014. Would you reappoint Ben Bernanke?

GINGRICH: I would fire him tomorrow.

WILLIAMS: Why?

GINGRICH: I think he's been the most inflationary, dangerous, and power-centered chairman of the Fed in the history of the Fed.

RHODES: Inflationary?

GINGRICH: I want to take the rest of my time, Brian, to go back to a question you asked that was very important. We were asked the wrong question at the last debate. The question isn't, would we favor a tax increase? The question is, how would we generate revenue?

There are three good ways. The Ronald Reagan technique put 3,700,000 more people back to work as of last Friday.

RHODES: A) I thought he was dead. B) He did it by placing tiny ads in newspapers all across the country. C) You mean deficit spending?

GINGRICH: The committee of 12 ought to be looking at, how do you create more revenue, not how do you raise taxes.

RHODES: For example, "I Survived Newt Gingrich's Presidential Campaign" t-shirts.

*

WILLIAMS: Governor Romney, you often hear this figure, 47 percent of Americans pay no federal income tax, and the promised effort underway soon, at least, in Washington to correct that. Isn't some of this argument semantics? And won't the effort to correct that be a de facto tax increase?

ROMNEY: You know, I must admit, I have a bit of a hard time with the idea that there are people who don't feel like they're supporting our troops by contributing tax revenue through the income tax or through other tax vehicles.

I don't want to raise taxes on the American people, but I think everybody ought to feel that they're part of this effort and that they're providing for our military, providing for our roads, providing for our schools. That ought to be part of what every American experiences.

RHODES: They're talking about rich people, right?

WILLIAMS: Would Ben Bernanke have a job in your administration?

ROMNEY: No, I'd be looking for somebody new. I think Ben Bernanke has over-inflated the amount of currency that he's created.

RHODES: After all, a silver dime is now worth $3.50.

*

WILLIAMS: Governor Perry, your state has executed 234 death row inmates, more than any other governor in modern times.

(LOUD, RAVENOUS APPLAUSE)

Have you struggled to sleep at night with the idea that any one of those might have been innocent?

PERRY: No, sir. I've never struggled with that at all. The state of Texas has a very thoughtful, very clear process in place of which when someone commits the most heinous of crimes against our citizens, they get a fair hearing, they go through an appellate process, they go up to the Supreme Court of the United States, if that's required.

But in the state of Texas, if you come into our state and you kill one of our children, you kill a police officer, you're involved with another crime and you kill one of our citizens, you will face the ultimate justice in the state of Texas, and that is, you will be executed.

RHODES: And sometimes even if you don't.

WILLIAMS: What do you make of that dynamic that just happened here, the mention of the execution of 234 people drew applause?

PERRY: I think Americans understand justice.

RHODES: Just not Texans.

*

HARRIS: Mr. Cain, the General Electric Corporation last year made $14.2 billion in profits worldwide, but paid no U.S. taxes. Perfectly legal, but does it strike you as fair?

CAIN: This is why I proposed my 9-9-9 plan. The government needs to get out of the business of picking winners and losers. The government needs to get out of the business of trying to figure out who gets a tax break here, who gets a tax break there.

When you go to 9-9-9, it levels the playing field for all businesses. What a novel idea. And the government won't be in the business of trying to determine who's going to be able to make more money and pay no taxes and vice versa.

RHODES: Here's another novel idea: If you watch a Republican debate long enough, Herman Cain will begin to make sense.

-

Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 9:02 AM | Permalink

Carl's Cubs Mailbag: The Law Of Diminishing Returns Starring That Hot Community College Chick And Carlos Marmol's Chubby Calves

Is Carlos Marmol still a good closer?
-Rick, Springfield IL

The Law of Diminishing Returns:
"The tendency for a continuing application of effort or skill toward a particular project or goal to decline in effectiveness after a certain level of result has been achieved."

Example:
After you started hanging out with that hot chick from the community college a couple times a week, she stopped looking so hot.

See also: Marmol, Carlos.

So to answer your question: Yes. He's still got some of the best stuff in the game. But you've seen him one too many times at the socio-economics study group not to notice his chubby calves.

Reed Johnson had a really nice, subtle play at home against the Reds this weekend. If he was Derek Jeter, would the ESPN give him a ton of credit for being blessed by Zeus' lightning bolt of baseball smartness?
-Wes, Montgomery IL

Reed wasn't smart enough to bring his .330 average and impressive overall baseball acumen to the Brewers or Braves last offseason, so let's not give him too much credit.

If you saw Jeter's recent HBO special, you'll know that he has his personal assistant put on his pants one leg at a time . . . just like the rest of us. Totally relatable.

I can think of literally dozens of baseball players who would be better subjects of a 60-minute cable special or biography. For instance:

* Rod Beck: Fat Don't Tear

* Remember That One Time I Hit A Ball Like 600 Feet? The Dan Pasqua Story

* Ricky Henderson: The Only Autobiography In History Written In The Third Person

* How To Hire A Housekeeper and Other Recruiting Secrets by Lenny Dykstra

Is Hong-Chih Kuo the Jedi from The Phantom Menace or a pitcher?
-Annie, New Lenox IL

Both. And he's not the only major leaguer to wield the force.

Here are some other notable players with a high midi-chlorian count:

* Obi Wan Zobrist

* Hee Seop Qui Gon Choi

* Mario Mendoza (how else could he have stayed in the majors?)

-

Send your questions and comments to Carl!

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 12:55 AM | Permalink

September 7, 2011

Robo-Signing Settlement Could Undermine Benefits

With home values continuing a steep decline, little change in the unemployment rate, and 26 percent of Illinoisans owing more than their home is worth, little has been done to buoy confidence that an economic recovery is at hand. A settlement of the investigations surrounding last year's robo-signing scandal that, among other things, achieves widespread principal reduction commitments from major servicers, could change that - but only if done carefully.

During the past four years, Illinois communities have experienced the worst decline in housing prices and the greatest wholesale neighborhood disinvestment that we have observed in our organization's nearly 40-year history. Struggling homeowners would clearly benefit from the modest gains in equity, affordable payments, and local housing market stabilization that effective servicer oversight and principal reduction could provide. If settling the robo-signing investigations now means better outcomes for homeowners who are still (barely) hanging on to their homes, we think that is a cause worth pursuing.

The wealth of communities is, to a large extent, tied directly to housing. Sustainable housing options, economic mobility, and retirement security all suffer when residents lose their homes, can't move for a new job, or can't sell to finance their retirement.

We look forward to a settlement that restores some of this lost neighborhood wealth. But to do any good, the settlement should include mandatory, widely applicable principal reductions targeted to homeowners who were the hardest hit. It should include heightened loss mitigation standards that are a significant improvement over the complicated, frustrating, and unfair process that has characterized the process to date. It should include a forbearance program to help unemployed homeowners, and it must be implemented by a third party administrator designated to enforce the settlement terms. Finally, it should provide retroactive relief to homeowners who wrongly lost their homes.

These key provisions are directly related to the harm caused by fraudulent document preparation, the unjustified foreclosures of countless homeowners, and the resulting loss of community wealth. If these commitments can be secured, releasing banks from liability for robo-signing claims would be well worth it.

A settlement that provides immediate, substantive relief to homeowners in exchange for releasing banks from future liability for just one piece of the foreclosure puzzle would require banks to take measures to stabilize communities that they have been largely unwilling to try, despite repeated entreaties from homeowners and advocates. Across the board, banks have demonstrated their reluctance to reduce mortgage principals - which is the single best way to restore modest equity, reduce payments and keep borrowers in their homes. Instead, they have chosen to force local housing markets into an uncontrolled tailspin rather than accept known, but heretofore unrealized, losses. The proposed commitments outlined above would force banks to reluctantly accept some losses in return for stabilizing local housing markets and keeping homeowners in their homes.

Widespread reckless practices, not just related to the robo-signing scandal, caused the ongoing financial and foreclosure crisis, and these practices deserve careful consideration. At Woodstock, we expect close investigation of the securitization, fair lending, and other claims at both the state and federal level. But settling the robo-signing investigations, getting immediate relief for struggling homeowners and putting local housing markets back on track to stabilization should be policymakers' top priority.

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This post was culled from today's Woodstock Institute e-mail newsletter.

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Comments welcome.


Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 12:03 PM | Permalink

The [Wednesday] Papers

The Daley deposition is off - for now.

"Daley, through his city-paid attorneys, sent [attorney Flint] Taylor a letter saying 'no,'" Carol Marin writes. "Under no circumstances will he sit for questioning by lawyers representing men who claim to have been tortured by Chicago Police."

In this case, that man is Michael Tillman, who spent 24 years in prison for a murder he did not commit.

"Even the man who convicted him in a bench trial in 1986, Judge Kenneth Gillis, admits to second thoughts. Knowing now what he did not know then about Tillman's torture, Judge Gillis stated in a June deposition, 'I'm ashamed I convicted him.'"

*

I wonder if anyone at the big book party gala bothered to ask Rahm Emanuel about the lack of cooperation coming from the attorneys he employs. Nah, they were too busy chumming around and enjoying the good-time musical stylings of Rahm fundraiser Jeff Tweedy.

*

Maybe if the torture occurred under Cook County State's Attorney Dick Cheney . . .

*

How was Tillman's case covered in real-time? Let's take a look from then to now.

Murder Shatters Teen's Baseball Dream
By Rosalind Rossi
Sun-Times
August 21, 1986:

Steven Bell juggled three jobs this summer so he could return to college and work toward his dream of being drafted by the Pittsburgh Pirates.

While at Bloom Township High School, Bell so impressed Pirate scouts that they recommended he attend Kishwaukee Junior College, whose baseball team was rated fourth in the state last year. The 18-year-old was hoping for a Pirate draft in January.

But his dream was shattered yesterday when prosecutors announced he had been indicted with two other men in the murder and aggravated criminal sexual assault of Betty Howard, a 42-year-old postal worker.

Howard was found stabbed, shot and tied to a radiator on July 21 in a vacant apartment at 2860 E. 76th. She lived in the building and Bell had been doing part-time painting there for the janitor, Michael Tillman .

Bell, of 10215 S. Calhoun; Tillman, 20, of 2860 E. 76th, and Clarence Trotter, 27, of 6942 S. Chappel, are being held without bond.

"I can't believe this is happening," said Pamela Johnsen, 43, the mother of Bell's Kishwaukee roomate. "Steve is a great kid. Baseball was his dream. They're destroying him, destroying his future."

Bell's mother, Luana Bell, 40, said her son worked as a packer at Johnson Hair Products, as a Burger King restaurant counterman and did painting for Tillman to raise money to attend Kishwaukee, in downstate Malta.

Bell's attorney, George Howard, insisted Bell was at Johnson Products or a Burger King restaurant at the time of the slaying.

He said that for two days, police were unable to obtain a judge's approval to hold Bell, so on the third day, under pressure to release Bell, they said he had admitted to police his role in the killing. But Howard says his client denies that.

*

Cop Tells Of Confession In Murder
By Rudolph Unger
Tribune
Dec. 2, 1986:

A Chicago police detective testified Monday that one of two young men on trial on charges of sexually assaulting and killing a 42-year-old woman in a vacant apartment on the South Side last July made a detailed confession to the crime.

The body of Betty Howard was discovered July 21 bound to a radiator in a vacant apartment at 2860 E. 76th St., the building where she lived. Her 2- year-old son was found alive by police in a bathroom of the same apartment.

On trial this week before Judge Kenneth Gillis of Cook County Circuit Court are Steven Bell, 18, of 10215 S. Calhoun Ave., and Michael Tillman, 20.

Both had been working as painters in the building at the time of the attack, and Tillman lived there.

Friends and relatives last summer expressed disbelief at Bell's arrest, saying he was a hard worker, a baseball player at Kishwaukee Junior College who was being scouted by professional teams and "a great kid."

Detective Ronald Boffo of the Pullman Area violent crimes unit testified Monday under questioning by Assistant State's Atty. Lawrence Lykowski.

Boffo said that on July 21, Tillman showed police and members of Howard's family where her body was while police were responding to a missing person's report.

Tillman said he had found something suspicious in a seventh-floor apartment, and later told the family members, 'That's your momma,' when a flashlight revealed the victim, Boffo testified. Boffo said he and his partner discovered the child in the bathroom.

On July 22, Boffo said, Tillman and Bell were questioned by police. After being told his rights, Bell made a lengthy statement, Boffo said.

According to Boffo, Bell said the following:

On the night of July 19, Bell and Tillman were in the elevator of Howard's building when they saw Howard on the fifth floor, where she lived.

Bell said Tillman stopped the elevator and Bell grabbed Howard and pushed her into her apartment, where Tillman tied up the child. Bell said he pushed the woman to the floor, disrobed her, assaulted her and took money from her handbag.

Bell said Tillman suggested they take Howard to the seventh floor, where Tillman tied her and gagged her. Bell said he tightened the knots. After Tillman threatened her with a knife, Bell and Tillman had sex with her, Bell said.

Bell said that when the woman made noise, he took the knife and stabbed her once, and Tillman took the knife and stabbed her numerous times.

A third man, Clarence Trotter, 27, of 6942 S. Chappel Ave., whose fingerprints allegedly were found at the scene, is scheduled to be tried later in connection with the crime.

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1 Convicted, 1 Freed In Bizarre Death Case But More Are Involved, Judge Says
By Linnet Myers
Tribune
Dec. 19, 1986:

One man was found guilty and a second was found innocent Thursday of a brutal murder that involved perplexing twists of evidence, a missing murder weapon and a young college student with hopes of becoming a professional baseball player.

Steven Bell, 18, left the courtroom a free man, acquitted of the murder of 42-year-old Betty Howard. Michael Tillman, 20, put his hand over his face and shook his head when he was found guilty of the murder and sexual assault.

Meanwhile, Cook County Criminal Court Judge Kenneth Gillis told the courtroom that "more criminal agents than are sitting in this courtroom now were involved in this case."

According to police, Bell and Tillman confessed to the murder of Howard, who was found July 21 in her building at 2860 E. 76th St., stabbed and shot to death.

Her young son was locked in a bathroom, unharmed. The day before, relatives missed them when they failed to come to the child's 2d birthday party.

In their alleged confessions, both Tillman - the building's janitor - and Bell spoke of stabbing Howard. But neither mentioned the gunshot to her head, and the murder weapon remained missing for three weeks after their arrests.

When the handgun was found, it was traced to Clarence Trotter, a 27-year- old man with no apparent connection to either Tillman or Bell. Trotter was found with stolen goods from Howard's apartment - and his fingerprints were found on the murder scene. He is awaiting trial for the murder.

When he argued for Bell's innocence, defense lawyer Daniel Franks placed a row of chairs in front of Judge Gillis - chairs that he said symbolized missing participants in the crime.

The first chairs were for the men caught in Howard's stolen car; another chair was for the man who finally gave police the murder weapon; the last chair was for Trotter - the man Franks said was the real murderer.

Prosecutors Lawrence Lykowski and Lynne Kawamoto argued that Bell would never have confessed to the crime if he hadn't committed it. The judge himself told Bell that he didn't believe his charges that he confessed because he was beaten by Pullman Area police.

But the judge said Bell, who testified that he was working at a fast-food restaurant at the time of the crime, had a "solid alibi" and said other evidence against him was "not conclusive."

After the trial, Franks said that Bell's baseball coach at Kishwaukee Junior College "is waiting for him." The verdict "was fair all the way," said Bell's father, Ernest J. Bell.

Most of Howard's relatives said they still felt both men committed the crime. "But the judge can only go on what is presented to him," said her brother-in-law, James Howard. "He had a tough job."

Tillman, who could face the death penalty, will be sentenced Jan. 22.

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South Sider Convicted Of '86 Murder
By Rosalind Rossi
Sun-Times
November 19, 1988:

A South Side man was convicted Friday of raping and killing a 42-year-old woman who was abducted outside her apartment while on her way to a birthday party for her 2-year-old son.

The victim, Betty Howard, was found July 21, 1986, shot in the temple, stabbed through the heart and tied to a radiator in a vacant apartment in the building where she lived, 2860 E. 76th St.

After the jury's verdict, Assistant State's Attorneys Scott Nelson and Lynne Kawamoto announced they would seek the death penalty for Clarence Trotter on Monday.

Assistant Public Defenders Mary Danahy and Ahmed Patel contended that two other men had admitted committing the crime, and they never mentioned that a third person was involved. One of those men, Michael Tillman , 22, was convicted and sentenced to life in prison. The other, Steven Bell, 20, was acquitted.

Prosecutors said Trotter's fingerprints were found on a soda can at the murder scene and the victim's stolen camera and stereo were discovered in his apartment at 6942 S. Chappell.

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Court Rejects Conviction In 1986 Slaying
By Lou Ortiz
Sun-Times
September 16, 1993:

The Illinois Appellate Court on Wednesday threw out the murder conviction of a man who allegedly confessed to kidnapping, sexually assaulting and murdering a South Side woman in 1986.

The court said Clarence Trotter's conviction was based on a confession that police improperly obtained after Trotter said he wanted to talk to a lawyer.

Trotter will get a new trial in the death of Betty Howard, who allegedly was abducted as she walked to a birthday party for her 2-year-old son. She was found shot, stabbed and tied to a radiator in a vacant apartment in the building where she lived in the 2800 block of East 75th Street.

Trotter, one of three defendants in the case, was convicted in 1988 of murder, sexual assault, aggravated kidnapping and residential burglary. The other defendants were Michael Tillman , who got life in prison, and Steven Bell, who was acquitted.

Trotter's fingerprints were on a soda can at the murder scene, and Howard's camera and stereo were found in his South Side apartment. Trotter, who had three prior burglary convictions and a robbery conviction, was sentenced to life in prison.

"(The police) were eroding (the) defendant's will," the court said. "His statements were improperly obtained and should have been suppressed."

Prosecutors had argued that Trotter freely made the statements "because he was sick and tired of waiting for his lawyer," court records show.

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Inmate Claiming Burge Torture Seeks To Be Freed - Locked Up 23 Years In case With No Evidence Tying Him To Crime, Only His Confession
By Maudlyne Ihejirika
SunTimes
July 22, 2009:

Over three days in police custody, Michael Tillman was beaten with a phone book, punched in the face and stomach until he vomited blood, had a plastic bag put over his head and 7 Up poured into his nose in a crude form of waterboarding, a court petition says.

Tillman, then 20, the father of a 3-year-old daughter and infant son, confessed to a crime he never committed after hours of torture under former Chicago Police Cmdr. Jon Burge's officers, his attorneys say.

"It does not get any uglier than this case," said Locke Bowman of Northwestern University's MacArthur Justice Center, which with the People's Law Office has investigated several Burge cases.

And 23 years after Tillman's imprisonment, those attorneys on Tuesday filed a petition seeking to vacate his conviction in the murder and rape of 42-year-old mail clerk Betty Howard, and grant him a new trial.

Now 43, Tillman was arrested on July 22, 1986, in the murder of Howard, whose body was found in a building where Tillman lived with his girlfriend and was the janitor. He was convicted on Dec. 18, 1986, - absent any physical evidence and based solely on his confession - according to the petition filed in Cook County Circuit Court.

Tillman's attorney raised the torture allegations at trial, but the judge refused to throw out his confession, and Tillman was sentenced to life in prison.

Police later arrested 27-year-old Clarence Trotter, who was found with Howard's possessions, and whose fingerprints and other physical evidence linked him to Howard's murder. Trotter too was charged and convicted, and given life in prison. But Tillman lost a 1999 appeal, when the judge in the appellate decision, while noting lack of evidence tying him to the crime or to Trotter, wrote that his confession was "sufficient."

"It took 23 years to get to this point because the system has failed at every step along the way, at the police level, the prosecution level, the appellate level," said Bowman.

Burge, former Area 2 commander, and more than 20 officers who worked with him have been accused of torturing confessions from murder victims in the 1970s and 1980s. Convictions in several Burge cases have been reversed, remanded or overturned, and tens of millions paid by the city in civil settlements.

Indicted last year on charges of perjury and obstruction of justice in relation to one of the civil suits, Burge is expected in court today on his pending January 2010 trial.

The People's Law Office and MacArthur Center claim 23 people who were tortured by Burge and his men still remain in prison, including Tillman, who is being held at Menard Correctional Center.

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'Justice Prevailed,' Freed Inmate Says - Allegedly Tortured Under Burge, Tillman Out After 23 Years
By Rumanna Hussain
Sun-Times
January 15, 2010:

Alleged police torture victim Michael Tillman slowly let his newfound freedom sink in Thursday, indicating that the shock of leaving prison after 23 years was equally as jolting as being convicted for a crime he says he didn't commit.

"I'm glad that justice finally prevailed. It feels good. I have to take it one day at a time, just like jail," Tillman said after Cook County prosecutors' decision to drop charges stemming from the 1986 rape and murder of Betty Howard, 42.

Tillman is the latest of released former felons who claimed they were beaten under the authority of disgraced Area 2 Cmdr. Jon Burge. Tillman had been serving a life sentence.

"I want to get to know my family better," the 43-year-old father of two said.

Tillman has yet to be formally exonerated, but special assistant state's attorneys declined to retry him, citing "unreliable" and "forced confessions."

Tillman, 20 at the time of his arrest, said he was beaten with a phone book, punched in the face and stomach until he vomited blood, had a plastic bag put over his head and pop poured into his nose.

When it was over, he confessed to killing Howard and implicated two other men. One of those men never was charged and the other, Steven Bell, was acquitted.

Another man, Clarence Trotter, also was arrested and convicted for Howard's murder. Trotter was found with Howard's possessions, and his fingerprints and other physical evidence linked him to the mail clerk's killing.

Tillman lived and worked as a janitor in Howard's building at the time of the murder. Her daughter, Angelita, and fiance, Ora Russell, still believe Tillman had a hand in Howard's death and angrily voiced their disgust at Tillman's release.

Asked about how the case fell apart because of the police torture allegations, Russell said: "I'm sorry it fell apart, but . . . I would have did more than that to them."

When Tillman heard how Howard's family felt, he quietly replied, "Well, I was a victim, too."

OTHERS WHO HAVE GONE FREE

These men have gone free or been granted new trials after saying they confessed to crimes only after being beaten by detectives working under then-Chicago Police Cmdr. Jon Burge:

- Madison Hobley, Aaron Patterson, Leroy Orange and Stanley Howard, all pardoned by then-Gov. George Ryan in 2003.

- Mark Clements, released from prison in August after nearly 30 years in the slayings of four people in 1981. Clements says he is innocent but took a deal to plead guilty to one killing in exchange for his freedom.

- Ronald Kitchen, cleared in July of the 1988 drug-related slayings of two women and their three children on the Southwest Side.

- Cortez Brown, convicted of a 1990 slaying and granted a new trial in May.

- David Fauntleroy, against whom charges in a 1983 double murder were dropped in January 2009.

- Darrell Cannon, released in 2007 on a parole review decision after spending 23 years in prison.

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Mayor Urges End To Burge Chapter
By Fran Spielman
Sun-Times
August 16, 2011:

Mayor Rahm Emanuel said Monday he is "working towards" settling outstanding police torture allegations against convicted former Area 2 Cmdr. Jon Burge because it's "time we end" one of the ugliest chapters in the history of the Chicago Police Department.

"We have a future to build, not a past to settle. That's what I look at," the mayor said in an exclusive interview with the Chicago Sun-Times.

"How old is this now - 30 years old? It is time we end it."

Emanuel talked about the possibility of compensating Michael Tillman and other victims of police torture, even as he defended his decision to provide a legal defense for former Mayor Richard M. Daley for his role in the case.

Daley has received notice to appear for a Sept. 8 deposition now that U.S. District Judge Rebecca Pallmeyer has ruled that the former mayor can be sued as a defendant.

If the case is settled, the deposition will be avoided. Daley will not have to answer questions from attorneys representing alleged victims, all African American, who charge their abuse came at the hands of a small band of predominantly white police officers under Burge's Area 2 command.

"I know we can settle - and we're working towards that. Settlement is a possibility," the mayor said.

"But, in the case itself right now, I don't have a choice . . . As it relates to the former mayor's legal expenses, it is an ordinance of the city and it's required. I don't relish this. It's what's required. I've got to do it."

Last week the Chicago Sun-Times disclosed that Pallmeyer had ruled that Daley can be sued as a defendant against allegations that he helped engineer a citywide conspiracy to cover up the torture allegations.

Emanuel responded by walking a political tightrope on the Burge controversy. He argued that Burge should be denied a city pension but that Daley must be provided with a legal defense for his role in the case.

"I answered one question. Some people say, 'This pulls Rahm into it.' That's wrong. This is like the most ridiculous thing I've ever heard," the mayor said Monday.

"This is the law. He's allowed to have the cost of his legal defense . . . That's it. I'm not part of it."

Burge was convicted last summer of perjury and obstruction of justice for lying in a civil court case when asked if he knew of the torture that went on under his watch. He is currently serving a four-and-a-half year sentence in federal prison.

The Burge case has already cost Chicago taxpayers more than $43 million in settlements and outside legal fees.

Civil rights attorney Flint Taylor has urged Emanuel to enter into settlement negotiations to make a clean break with an ugly past that has undermined police-community relations in African-American neighborhoods.

"What's happening now is the city is throwing good money after bad by defending the indefensible. It's totally established that Burge tortured these people, yet the defense goes on," Taylor told the Sun-Times last week.

"Not only should he resolve these cases so taxpayers can compensate the victims rather than the torturers, he should apologize to the African-American community and to the victims for this pattern of torture."

In 2008, the City Council approved a $19.8 million settlement with four alleged torture victims, but Tillman 's case and others remain unsettled.

Tillman spent 23 1/2 years in the penitentiary based on a tortured confession. He has now been declared innocent by the chief judge of Criminal Court.

Sources close to Daley have argued that the former mayor's deposition is "not a done deal," because attorneys representing the former mayor have filed a motion to reconsider.

They're trying to block the deposition on grounds that Daley's involvement in the case stems from his tenure as state's attorney and that prosecutors have "absolute immunity."

A $7 million report by special prosecutors concluded that Burge and his Area 2 underlings tortured criminal suspects for two decades while police brass looked the other way. But the report concluded it's too late to prosecute because the statute of limitations has long since run out.

Delay has proven a most useful tactic, hasn't it?

The Freeing of Michael Tillman
Michael Miner's blog post from 2010 provides more insight than any of the daily newspaper accounts, especially given that he linked to the reporting done elsewhere on Tillman's case that was never done here.

"According to Tillman's 1986 trial testimony, when he arrived at the Area 2 police station in the predawn hours of July 22, 1986, Detectives Ronald Boffo and Peter Dignan took him to a second-floor interrogation room and pressed him for information about the murder of 42-year-old Betty Howard, whose body was found the day prior in the apartment building Tillman oversaw," Jessica Pupovac reported for AlterNet in 2008.

"When he told the detectives that he knew nothing about the murder, he says that Boffo and Dignan, along with three other officers, became abusive. Without ever reading him his Miranda rights, he says they handcuffed him to the wall, hit him in the face and punched him in the stomach until he vomited blood. During the course of what appeared to be three days, rotating pairs of officers brought him to the railroad tracks behind the station and held a gun to his head, suffocated him repeatedly with thick plastic bags, poured soda up his nose and forced him into Dumpsters outside of the apartment building, ordering him to search through the rubbish for a murder weapon until, according to Detective John Yucaitis, Tillman confessed to the crime."

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Pupovac goes on to write:

"By 1999, it was 'common knowledge,' according to U.S. District Judge Milton Shadur, "that in the early to mid-1980s, (Jon Burge) and many officers working under him regularly engaged in the physical abuse and torture of prisoners to extract confessions. Both internal police accounts and numerous lawsuits and appeals brought by suspects alleging such abuse substantiate that those beatings and other means of torture occurred as an established practice, not just on an isolated basis."

Richard M. Daley was the Cook County State's Attorney from 1980 to 1989.

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Is it any wonder that a full accounting of the "established practice" of those years never came to light during Daley's subsequent 22 years as mayor?

Two years less, by the way, than Tillman served in prison.

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The Beachwood Tip Line: Vigilante justice.


Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 9:01 AM | Permalink

Built in Chicago: The Zenith Spirit of 76

"Zenith Spirit of 76 Portable Black & White TV, Part Two, Made by the Zenith Radio Corporation, Model Number G1176X, Chassis 9GB1X, Chicago Illinois, Components from Zenith Taiwan, Grantley Waters, Declaration of Independents, 1976, 1776, 120Volts, 60 HZ, .32 Amps."


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"She's just a fine old one."

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"It works on household current or through the cigarette lighter in your car," Popular Science noted.

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"We sold quite a few of them in the store when they were first offered by Zenith, then after the novelty wore off later in the year they were impossible to sell," Mr. Detrola writes at Antique Radios. "Pretty much the same thing happened with the other bicentennial sets that were available such as the red white and blue GE's that actually sold better than the Zeniths did."

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"As I recall, around that time, Zenith also made one covered in denim; they called it the 'Sidekick,'" Tim Tress in the same Antique Radios forum. "I haven't seen one in many years."

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 8:21 AM | Permalink

Fantasy Fix: Boo Boos and Handcuffs

The NFL season is about to kick off and already we find lingering injuries and injury rumors to be a factor in our Week 1 plans - and perhaps longer.

The most notable boo-boo belongs to Peyton Manning, who is not recovering from neck surgery as expected. In the span of a couple weeks, Manning has gone from being questionable for Week 1 to being likely to start to now being formally listed as doubtful.

His sub, Kerry Collins, is not a viable fantasy play. Alternative plays still more than 50% available in Yahoo! leagues: Donovan McNabb and Ryan Fitzpatrick, or if you really want to gamble, Colt McCoy and Cam Newton.

Next up, the overall top-ranked fantasy player of last season, Arian Foster, got in trouble for tweeting an image from an MRI on his hamstring that reportedly showed damage. Foster was trying to be lighthearted and reassure fans that he would play Week 1, but Houston management wasn't happy. The team has yet to change his status for Week 1, but now would be the time to congratulate yourself for handcuffing Foster to fellow Houston RB Ben Tate when you drafted your team.

If you didn't get Tate, you still might be able to grab him, as he is still available in 57% of Yahoo! leagues. Other options: James Starks, C.J. Spiller, Darren Sproles (the last two particularly if your league counts return yards).

Maurice Jones-Drew is recovering from last year's season-ending injury and is not expected to be affected this year - though he did fall in most drafts. However, his backup and potential handcuff mate for sensitive MJD owners has been Rashad Jennings, who landed on the IR last week. That led to the promotion of Southern Illinois University product and much-hyped return man Deji Karim. Karim could be a hot pick for Week 2 if he sees Week 1 action.

Finally, Ryan Grant, like MJD, is not injured, but he did miss most of last season with an injury. Though he has looked strong this preseason, taking more carries than fellow RB James Starks, the scuttlebutt is that Grant and Starks will share the load as the season starts. Grant wasn't among the top drafted RBs, so this isn't much of a scandal, but if you have him as a second or third RB, you may want to reassess or have him handcuffed with Starks if you have the roster space.

Expert Wire
* CNBC wonders if the Manning injury could cost fantasy football owners $65 million in potential winnings. Yes, Virginia, fantasy football has its own economy.

* Yahoo! Roto Arcade acknowledges the hype on Matthew Stafford, QB, Detroit, but wonders if he's a smart Week 1 play.

* Bleacher Report thinks Kansas City QB Matt Cassel will be a bust. Not if WRs Dwayne Bowe and Steve Breaston have anything to say about it.

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 7:56 AM | Permalink

September 6, 2011

The [Tuesday] Papers

1. Quinn planning thousands of layoffs as president (and nation) pleads for jobs.

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Maybe the president ought to get his own party in order attacking the other one.

2. "Former Chicago Mayor Richard Daley is refusing to answer questions about the Jon Burge torture scandal," WBEZ reports.

Damn, it feels good to be a gangsta.

3. "The Tevatron has been the pride of the Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory, near Chicago, for a quarter of a century. But at the end of this month, the Tevatron is shutting down," WBEZ reports.

"It's no longer the most powerful machine in the world for smashing bits of atoms together so that scientists can search through the sub-atomic rubble.

"That title belongs to the Large Hadron Collider near Geneva. Its circular racetrack for particles is 17 miles around, and this new collider is now the big draw for the world's physicists."

We don't even smash particles in this country anymore.

4. Someone in the suburbs pissed Rahm off.

5. "BP America, facing a spate of investigations and lawsuits stemming from the catastrophic Gulf oil spill, has chosen former Pentagon press secretary Geoff Morrell as its head of communications, signaling an aggressive new effort to recover from past communications debacles and improve its image in an essential market," Politico reports.

He must be an exceptional liar.

"Morrell, 42, has worked both sides of the podium: He covered the White House for ABC News, then was Pentagon press secretary throughout the tenure of Defense Secretary Robert Gates, spanning two presidencies and consumed by two wars. BP, despite a Justice Department inquiry and increased regulatory scrutiny, has continued to pursue aggressive and creative deals, and has said it wants to set the safety standard for the industry."

Through better imaging.

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Morrell is a former "reporter" for Channel 2.

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See also: The Serial Deceit of Geoff Morrell.

6. "Fallen media baron Conrad Black was set to return to a US prison Tuesday on charges of fraud and obstruction of justice while at the helm of his once vast newspaper empire," AFP reports.

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The criminal justice system appears to have made the notoriously conservative Black a liberal.

"Once a cultural elitist, Mr. Black now prefers the company of jailbirds to the hypocritical 'habitues of the boxes at the Metropolitan Opera House and the most exalted socioeconomic echelons of the Style section of the Sunday New York Times,'"
Jonathan Kay writes in the National Post. "Once an unabashed defender of laissez-faire capitalism, he now depicts the U.S. financial sector as a late-stage Rome plagued by massively overpaid pin-striped parasites siphoning off the nation's wealth through money-churning schemes and outright fraud. Once a 'rabid' cheerleader of American democracy, he now denounces the cruelties of the country's legal 'prosecutocracy' and prison-industrial complex.

"By Mr. Black's estimation, up to 20 percent of prisoners in American jails have done absolutely nothing illegal to merit their sentences. A decade ago, these forfeit lives meant nothing to him. But in prison, they became his meal companions and students; and their tall tales, street wisdom and outsider posturings have shaped his worldview and attracted his sympathy.

"He is even willing to extend the benefit of the doubt to that lowest of the low on the prison totem pole - the child molestor (or 'chomo,' as they're apparently called in that world):

"'If they were guilty of physical abuse of defenceless people, their offences were disgusting and the fate of their victims was pitiable; but I also sympathized for the maladjustment that would have driven them to such acts.'

"Drawing from his own experiences with America's 'carceral state,' Mr. Black argues that many chomos likely didn't molest another living soul, but had merely been ensnared in dubious sting operations.

"'The basic problem is that prisoners have no political constituency in the United States,' he told me during our interview. 'There has always been a respected penal-reform movement in advanced societies - the John Howard Society, and so on. But in the U.S., [politicians] got on this bandwagon about guaranteed mandatory minimum sentences and three-strikes-and-you're-out. They bought into this phony drug war. It's cost over a trillion dollars, and [all the while] the price of drugs has gone down and the quality and availability has increased. They've imprisoned over a million people but achieved nothing - except for those who directly profit from it.'"

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Strange times when Conrad Black becomes likable and Barack Obama becomes detestable.

7. Obama Did What?

8. There Goes Quade, Here Comes Cutler.

9. The (Kinda Funky) Weekend in Chicago Rock.

10. Yes We CAN TV!

11. The Cub Factor: Ball of Confusion. (They'll start changing the culture later.)

12. The Chicago Opener: World's Best Card Trick.

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The Beachwood Tip Line: Open and shut.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 12:18 PM | Permalink

The Chicago Opener: The Best Card Trick In The World

"Chicago Opener also known as Red Hot Mama is a card routine in which the back of a freely selected card changes color (e.g. from blue to red) and is set aside," IllusionWiki explains. "A second card is selected and the red-backed card is seen to have transformed into the second selection."

Here's a tutorial from Yovah Magic, uploaded this weekend.


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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 11:58 AM | Permalink

Obama Now Against Clean Air

We have some tremendously upsetting news: Late Friday, President Obama overruled EPA science and blocked crucial new protections against smog pollution that have been years in the making.*

The decision came after a major campaign by corporate polluters and Republicans to kill the rules.** The result, according to the Environmental Protection Agency, is likely to be tens of thousands of premature deaths, as well as increased illness among seniors, kids with asthma, and people who have lung problems.***

Worse, in announcing his decision, President Obama repeated discredited tea party talking points about environmental rules costing jobs. The reality is that these standards were the best thing for the economy and the environment. And clean air protections are the perfect issue to remind Americans that enforcing rules to protect citizens' health and safety is one of the most important roles for our government.

With congressional Republicans planning a series of votes starting this week to block other health and environmental standards, we need to set the record straight, right away.****

Will you write a letter to the editor of your local paper reminding folks that environmental protections like these smog rules protect our health AND strengthen our economy?

Our website will give you some tips and make it easy for you to submit the letter to a newspaper near you. And your letter will help persuade folks in your community that we shouldn't be tearing our government down - we should be making it work.

President Obama tried to bury this news by announcing it hours before Labor Day weekend. But on Labor Day we need him standing up for the kinds of health and safety protections that working folks and labor unions have spent decades fighting for, not repeating Republican talking points about how we don't need them.

What's more, Nobel-Prize-winning economist Paul Krugman pointed out that this anti-smog rule would actually create clean energy jobs: "It would have forced firms to spend on upgrading or replacing equipment, helping to boost demand. Yes, it would have cost money - but that's the point!"*****

Help push back against tea party Republicans' message that we can't afford to protect our health and safety.

Write a letter to the editor today.

Thank you.

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Sources:

* "Obama pulls back proposed smog standards, in victory for business," The Washington Post, Sept. 2, 2011.

** ibid.

*** "Obama asks EPA to back off draft ozone standard," Los Angeles Times, Sept. 2, 2011.

**** "A Debate Arises on Job Creation and Environment," The New York Times, Sept. 4, 2011.

***** "Broken Windows, Ozone, and Jobs," The New York Times, Sept. 3, 2011.

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 11:36 AM | Permalink

The Weekend in Chicago Rock

You shoulda been there.

1. The New Mastersounds at the Bottom Lounge on Saturday night.


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2. Bassnectar at the North Coast Music Festival in Union Park on Sunday night.

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3. ATB at the North Coast Music Festival on Sunday night.

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4. Thievery Corporation at North Coast after-party at the Congress on Sunday night.

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5. Common at the North Coast festival on Saturday night.

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6. Lettuce at the Bottom Lounge on Sunday night.

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7. Bruce Lamont, Man's Gin at the Empty Bottle on Friday night.

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8. Wiz Khalifa at North Coast on Friday night.

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9. Rocksteady Boys at the Congress on Saturday night.

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10. Persistence of Memory at the Hard Rock on Friday night.

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Comments welcome.


Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 11:01 AM | Permalink

Yes We CAN TV

"[I]t's down to the wire on a new deal for CAN TV with RCN, one of Chicago's cable providers, that will set the stage for other franchise deals this decade," James Warren of the Chicago News Cooperative wrote over the weekend.

"Cable revenue has soared despite the recession, but financing for CAN TV, whose budget is $2 million, has declined. The RCN renewal is expected before the City Council shortly and the public could be shortchanged."

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Part of the Solution: One Man's Story


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Disclaimer: Barbara Popovic, the executive director of CAN TV, is both a friend and landlord to the Beachwood's Steve Rhodes.

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 10:51 AM | Permalink

SportsMondayTuesday: There Goes Quade, Here Comes Cutler

The tightly packed thin gray waves of clouds marched across the sky over Wrigley Field all Labor Day afternoon, blown along by a persistent chilly wind out of the north. It is easy to overdo the weather metaphors but this one was too insistent. Summer was on its way out. Or should we say the summer sport. We've had a couple weeks of high school football and a weekend of collegiate gridiron action but the transition to football really begins this Sunday.

The Tribune's Paul Sullivan notes that Monday marked the last day of the "summer tourist season" at the North Side ballpark. Before it went, new Cub first baseman Bryan LaHair provided one final memorable highlight. The 28-year-old first baseman, who had 38 homers in Triple A this year but is not considered a top prospect (?!), stepped into the lefty batter's box in the eighth inning against the Reds' Aroldis Chapman, a left-handed flame-thrower. Welcome to the big leagues, kid.

Except LaHair promptly zeroed in on Chapman's 97-mile-an-hour heater and launched a double down the right-field line. Sure Geo Soto, who had reached on an error, was then thrown out at home as LaHair advanced to third, but that didn't diminish the promise embodied by LaHair's hit against the guy who is probably the hardest thrower in the league. Later, Chapman hit 100 on the radar gun as he struck out a pinch-hitting Darwin Barney.

And that's enough about baseball.

As for the Bears, the number is 10. But it drops to nine projected victories this season if the team doesn't sign star running back Matt Forte to an extension (he has one year left on his contract paying him about $550,000 - to get an idea of how underpaid he is, know that his backup last year, Chester Taylor, received about $7,000,000). Heck, it might drop to eight.

A realist projects nine, maybe eight wins for the Bears this season no matter what happens with Forte. I'm going with a more optimistic outlook in part because the Bears should be receiving more respect than they have after a division championship last year and a spot in the conference final. But I'm also doing it simply because optimistic is a much better way to go through life.

One of my mantras is that if you can't find a way to be optimistic about your teams in the offseason, you should find another hobby . . . maybe knitting, or model airplanes maybe.

The offseason is time for thoughts like, "Sure, the Bears didn't add anyone in free agency to an offensive line that almost got quarterback Jay Cutler killed last year but hey, they drafted The Jewish Hammer! Former University of Wisconsin road grader Gabe Carimi has the best nickname of any rookie anywhere and he will bring power and purpose to a right tackle spot sorely in need of it.

And sure, the linebacking corps is as thin as Erin Heatherton, who I watched play basketball at Niles North back when she was Erin Bubley (oh so strange but oh so true), and the secondary is at-best shaky though the Bears just signed two-time All-Pro safety Brandon Meriweather.

Sure the kid had all sorts of problems with previous coach Bill Belichick and has found all sorts of trouble off the field (including an incident all of five years ago in which a group he was in was fired upon by an attacker and Meriweather took gun in hand and returned fire).

But Meriweather is the sort of talent teams rarely, rarely find on the last weekend before the regular season starts. And in Chicago we are especially familiar with the concept of guys being cut by their original team and then waking up and going on to have success with a subsequent squad - even if the transaction usually goes the other way - out of Chicago.

Then there is the fact that the offseason was dominated by the lockout, meaning there wasn't enough time for teams in the bottom half of the league to put in the kind of radical new schemes that would be more likely to turn the standings upside down this time around.

Finally, there is the undeniable truth that the only consistent winners in the NFL are the teams with great quarterbacks and/or great defenses. And while the defense is getting old, the Bears have a signal-caller on the verge of establishing himself as one of the greats. Cutler had a very good season last year despite a non-descript group of receivers and the aforementioned line. He is as comfortable as can be in his second year in Mike Martz's complicated, intricate offense, just the sort of system that lesser quarterbacks or ones with less experience would not be capable of mastering in a first year.

Here comes Jay Cutler. And here comes football.

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 10:01 AM | Permalink

Ball of Confusion

After attending the game at Wrigley on Saturday, I am more confused now about the state of the Cubs than I was last week, when I wrote about the difficult adjustment to no longer having Jim Hendry to blame..

This time, it's Cub fans themselves who have me bewildered. And I'm a lifelong Cubs fan.

Who are these people, and what do they want now?

Obviously, my expectations for the game were low. Winning and losing at this point is irrelevant, right?

Not to the crowd at Wrigley. They acted like the game mattered. They cheered as if every play meant something. They cheered as if every fly ball meant something. They even cared enough to boo.

In fact, when it started raining, they booed the umpires who called the rain delay - yet cheered every time there was a big clap of thunder and a flash of lightning. This seemed counterproductive. They were booing and cheering the same rainstorm.

I left the game more confused and angry than when I arrived. Not because Carlos Marmol gave up a game-winning grand slam to former Cub Derrek Lee in the top of the ninth with two outs, but because I didn't know what the crowd wanted. Maybe they didn't know what they wanted.

This season is lost in more than just the normal ways.

*

From Roger Wallenstein's White Sox Report this week:

I was channel-surfing Saturday and watched part of the Cub-Pirate game. How can there be a more meaningless September contest than one between fourth- and fifth-place teams with neither closer than 11 games to .500?

In addition, the North Siders are in disarray. They have no general manager, a field manager who appears clueless, a disgraced star pitcher, paralyzing long-term contracts, and an owner who long ago ceased gushing, "Oh, golly, I met my wife in the bleachers, and now - behold! - I'm owner of the Cubs!"

Yet here they were in the bottom of the seventh, game tied 3-3, Soriano at bat with runners at second and third. The same scene at the Cell might create a slight increase in interest and enthusiasm - despite the ad nauseum use of something called the Fan-O-Meter telling all present to cheer, cheer, and cheer some more. On the North Side, 30,000 fans rise to their feet, clap, yell, and act like the lowly bums are headed for October heroics.

And when Soriano doubled, the place went nuts. Never mind that they lost in the ninth; Cub fans seem, well, happier than we are. It matters little whether the team wins or loses. It's as though they plant a rose bush which fails to thrive. If it comes back to life and produces a lovely flower, that's great. If it dies off, they'll plant another one.

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Week in Review: The Cubs went 4-3 for the week, winning two of three from the Giants and losing two of three of three to the Pirates; they also won the first of a three-game set against the Reds. So they won the series against the team that is good and lost the series against the team that is bad. None of this season makes any sense.

The Week in Preview: The boys in blue finish up with two more against the Reds before heading to New York for three against the Mets. Gotta love the Apple.

The Second Basemen Report: Blake DeWitt got the first start at second last Monday and went 2-5 with a homer and 3 RBI. Darwin Barney got the next five starts and went 1-19. Jeff Baker started yesterday. Just like Jim Hendry drew it up.

In former second basemen news, Eric Young is the first-base coach for the NL West-leading Arizona Diamondbacks. He is missed.

The Zam Bomb: Big Z will continue to be Apologetic or Getting Angry or somewhere in-between all to himself this season.

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Marlon Byrd Supplemental Report: Conte has been injecting Marlon with "Just 11 More RBI Than Tyler Colvin Despite 200 More At-Bats."

Lost in Translation: Tahnkee yu verree little-o is Japanese for Randy Wells' last two good outings.

Endorsement No-Brainer: Matt Garza for the Rivers Casino. Because the guy is the real deal.

Sweet and Sour Quade: 8% sweet, 92% sour. Mike stood pat this week due to not knowing any better. And just like your thought-to-be well-adjusted uncle, Mike was thought to be wise when he kept his mouth shut and revealed to be a fool when he opened it.

Ameritrade Stock Pick of the Week: Shares of Reality traded lower this week on Saturday at Wrigley Field.

Over/Under: The chances Randy Wells will ever beat Tim Lincecum again: +/- 8%.

Beachwood Sabermetrics: A complex algorithm performed by The Cub Factor staff using all historical data made available by Major League Baseball has determined that the 2012 season just can't get here quick enough. Or at least the end of the 2011 season.

Farm Report: Bryan LaHair was finally called up and has three hits in eight at-bats, including a double and an RBI. He clearly doesn't understand Kubs Kulture enough to be considered major league material.

The Cub Factor: Unlike Soriano, you can catch 'em all!

The White Sox Report: Know the enemy.

Mike Quade Status Update: "Sean Marshall saved the Cubs' win Sunday with a scoreless ninth, but manager Mike Quade said Carlos Marmol will remain his closer the remainder of the season," Paul Sullivan writes for the Tribune.

"Can the Cubs open 2012 with Marmol as closer?

"'The last thing I thought about was next year,' Quade said."

Because why should he be different than anyone else in the organization?

*

They'll start changing the culture later.

Well-Adjusted / Delirious / High

dazed_and_confused_smiley.jpg

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Contact The Cub Factor!


Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 8:31 AM | Permalink

September 5, 2011

Everything Coming Up Crabgrass

T.S. Eliot got it wrong. April is not the cruelest month. September is.

If there was any doubt, it was erased when Miguel Cabrera's long ninth-inning drive settled well up into the left-field stands at a drenched Comerica Park on Saturday evening.

How could this possibly happen? The Sox held an 8-1 lead after the Tigers and the umpires helped our athletes score five times in the fourth inning - three coming on Alexi Ramirez' home run - and twice more on back-to-back homers by Alejandro De Aza and Brent Morel in the fifth.

(By the way, that's Brent More-ell and not Brent Moral as Fox play-by-play announcer Matt Vasgersian referred to him all afternoon. His MLB network pal Mitch Williams failed to correct him. Pathetic!)

When Delmon Young began the Tigers' comeback with a two-run shot off Gavin Floyd in the bottom of the fifth, uneasiness permeated Soxdom.

Was the lightning and thunder that delayed the game for 36 minutes in the eighth inning an omen that the Sox were in jeopardy of finally losing all hope of catching Detroit?

Seems that way if you consider that the Motown crew scored a run off Chris Sale - who's about as good as it gets - to draw within 8-6 going into the ninth.

So the game was in the hands of Sergio Santos, who, by the way, found April not to be the least bit cruel because no one scored on him. But his first September appearance was a disaster. Austin Jackson tripled and Ryan Raburn slammed a game-tying homer before Cabrera reminded us all that the Tigers are a lot better than the Sox.

If there was any lingering questions, the 18-2 dismemberment of the Sox on Sunday was an embarrassing exclamation point.

Our White Sox have not treated us nicely. They've messed with us for more than five months. They got out of the gate quickly, winning seven of their first 11 games. We were confident, psyched up for a big year, believing that this team could go places.

Of course, 18 losses in the next 22 games put the Sox in a place where they were trying to get well the rest of the season. They finally got even at 42-42 after beating the Cubs 1-0 on July 2. Surely this was the benchmark, the point at which the team would take off. The confidence was back. Look out Central Division!

Not so. They split the next 20 to return to .500 on July 29 but then lost six in a row to the Red Sox and Yankees. This is the point where Sox fans should have felt betrayed. The season was over. Why couldn't Ozzie's guys simply have tread lightly the rest of the way, letting Detroit and Cleveland slug it out.

Not these fellows. After beating the Twins a couple of games last week, they moved three games over the break-even point and we began to ask, "What if?"

Why don't we know better? How can one explain this masochism?

This is a ballclub which leaves more runners on base than Elizabeth Taylor had husbands. Fly balls that should be caught - usually in center field - drop for doubles. Starting pitchers give up too many early runs too often so the rest of the day is a game of catch-up. Three or four guys in the lineup are hitting .230 or below.

We should have known long ago that it would all end as it did on Saturday. In reality, the season was over when the Sox sat at 11-22. No way this team has the ability to climb that mountain.

I was channel-surfing Saturday and watched part of the Cub-Pirate game. How can there be a more meaningless September contest than one between fourth- and fifth-place teams with neither closer than 11 games to .500?

In addition, the North Siders are in disarray. They have no general manager, a field manager who appears clueless, a disgraced star pitcher, paralyzing long-term contracts, and an owner who long ago ceased gushing, "Oh, golly, I met my wife in the bleachers, and now - behold! - I'm owner of the Cubs!"

Yet here they were in the bottom of the seventh, game tied 3-3, Soriano at bat with runners at second and third. The same scene at the Cell might create a slight increase in interest and enthusiasm - despite the ad nauseum use of something called the Fan-O-Meter telling all present to cheer, cheer, and cheer some more. On the North Side, 30,000 fans rise to their feet, clap, yell, and act like the lowly bums are headed for October heroics.

And when Soriano doubled, the place went nuts. Never mind that they lost in the ninth; Cub fans seem, well, happier than we are. It matters little whether the team wins or loses. It's as though they plant a rose bush which fails to thrive. If it comes back to life and produces a lovely flower, that's great. If it dies off, they'll plant another one.

The 2011 edition of the White Sox is anything but roses. It is more like crabgrass. At a distance, the lawn looks green and healthy. But on closer inspection, it's the unwanted broad-leafed weed that gives the appearance of greenery. And you can't get rid of the stuff. You simply have to wait for winter to kill it off and hope that the lawn is a lot healthier come spring.

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Comments welcome.


Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 9:51 AM | Permalink

September 3, 2011

The Weekend Desk Report

It's Labor Day, or as 14 million Americans call it, Monday. Happy Monday, everyone!

Market Update
Just to review, that's no new jobs for Labor Day weekend. Apparently, the Department of Labor doesn't even want us to work on our jokes.

Why They Play the Games . . .
It seems really unnecessary since the Irish have been clobbering anything remotely resembling a bull for years now.

School Tries
A new report suggests Chicago public high school students struggle once they reach college. Of course, many colleges seem to struggle with basic concepts like counting.

Stubborn As . . .
Meanwhile, both sides in the Rahm Emanuel vs. Public Workers spat apparently dug in their heels this week. We'd say they're stubborn as the day is long but they can't even agree on that right now.

Change Report
Memo to the President: We believe you. You can stop changing any time you feel like it.

Bogus Bonus
Finally this week, maybe this wasn't the best move . . . $6 million buys a lot of cigarettes and protection.

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The Weekend Desk Tip Line: Prison shape.

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The CAN TV Weekend Report

Foreclosures in Chicago: Data and Resources

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Advocates, elected officials, and experts, including attorney Daniel Lindsey, highlight the latest statistics and services for homeowners facing foreclosure.

Sunday, September 4 at 9 a.m. on CAN TV21
1 hr 30 min

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Opposition to "Secure Communities"

31152-NoToSecureCommunities.jpg

Alie Kabba of the Illinois Coalition for Immigrant and Refugee Rights joins community members at a press conference against "Secure Communities," a controversial federal immigration program.

Sunday, September 4 at 11 a.m. on CAN TV21
40 min

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Celebrating Labor Day

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In honor of Labor Day, CAN TV will feature the May Day Plaque Dedication and the Haymarket Martyrs Monument Rededication from this past year.

Starting Monday, September 5 at 5:30 p.m. on CAN TV21

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The White Sox Report
"Cub fans seem, well, happier than we are," Roger Wallenstein writes.

Programming Note
The bar is open for Labor Day. 5p - 2a.


Posted by Natasha Julius at 9:40 AM | Permalink

September 2, 2011

The [Friday] Papers

1. $1.1 million that could have been spent a zillion better ways.

Way to go, Rahm!

*

"You will find across the city that teachers spend on average $1,500 a year on school supplies out of their own pocket," says Chicago Teachers Union president Karen Lewis.

*

Wouldn't it have been nice if Rahm had said "In lieu of inauguration festivities, please send your donation to the Chicago School Supplies Fund that I've just created. I cannot in good conscience throw a million-dollar party when some of our schoolchildren still go without the essentials."

But that would be a different world than the one we live in.

*

"Some teachers I know have bought coats, mittens, bus cards, lunch boxes, and a lot more for their students," Christine Whitley writes for her ChicagoNow blog. "No matter whether you think teachers are overpaid whiners or underpaid, under-sung heroes I think we can all agree that a teacher should not have to buy her students proper winter clothing."

*

Back to the list: What a coincidence that compiling the list was completed just in time for Labor Day weekend. Will wonders never cease?

Talk about insults.

*

It presumably went like this . . .

RAHM: Just make damn sure we don't release that fucking list next to news about asking for shared sacrifice, or cutting the cop budget or rescinding teacher raises. I don't want my million-dollar bash juxtaposed against poor kids or dead police officers.

2. "High school seniors planning to apply to DePaul University for the freshman class of 2012 can leave some key information off their applications," the Sun-Times reports. "Their ACT or SAT scores."

Bravo, DePaul.

An education researcher told me this week that studies show conclusively that the best predictor of "success" in college is high school GPA and the quality of the college (not the high school a student is coming from). High-stakes testing is bullshit.

And I would add that the definition of "success" is probably pretty lame, too.

Schools aren't supposed to be assembly lines turning out workers who can "compete" in the "global economy." The corporatization of our education system has perverted its values. Education is supposed to create well-rounded, inquisitive citizens who have been thoughtfully exposed to the world of ideas and taught how to think critically about the world around them. Gaining some career skills along the way is good, too, but not necessarily the point. The point is education as a public good that is essential to both democracy and a civil society. The economic benefits flow from that, not the other way around.

*

By the way, I never took an SAT or ACT. I did take the PSAT as a high school junior, and I took the GRE - hungover - for graduate school. I'm a good test-taker but I find these tests highly flawed and the emphasis on test preparation to actually be anti-educational. We've lost our bearings.

3. Lynn Sweet's "Understanding The Obama-Boehner Speech Mess" misses the point. The White House never should have scheduled the president's speech for the same night as a GOP debate (including three House members who would otherwise be attending a joint session of Congress called by the president) in the first place. That was a purely political move that was also politically stupid; how they didn't foresee the folly that ensued is beyond me, but competence is clearly emerging as an issue with this president.

4. "Emanuel used the occasion to strike blows against the 'dishonest' budget policies of 22-year Mayor Richard Daley, without ever mentioning his predecessor by name," Progress Illinois notes in its report on the mayor's second town hall meeting on the budget.

It's extraordinary what a mess Daley left the city in if you go by what we're hearing from the Emanuel administration - the 911 system is broken, the schools are a disaster, the budget is smoke and mirrors . . . and nobody spoke up all these years!

5. I dunno, maybe this guy should run for president.

*

What does Barack Obama really bring to the presidency? Besides his other flaws, he's just so generic. He has no particular agenda - and is certainly lacking for big ideas. He's just kinda there, doing the generic centrist Democratic thing - and not very well. His administration was supposed to be built around a theme - reforming America. Changing the way we think about our politics. Inspiring and uniting us toward a higher, common purpose. He could have used the economic crisis he walked into to do just that. Rebuild America! Inevitably, that would mean making some people mad - like Wall Street. Too bad! At least now we know what a John Kerry presidency would have been like.

*

Actually, this presidency is worse. Far worse than even I expected.

*

Presidents should have some experience. Obama had never been in charge of anything except his campaign. That's not good enough. The presidency ought to be the last line of the resume, the pinnacle of a career. I want a president who has been at the table and knows the players and has learned the lessons of leadership and gained some wisdom along the way. It should be your last job, capping off a long (and even varied) career. Perhaps Obama would have made a good president 20 years from now. He'd certainly have a better understanding of how to do the job. Those who (childishly imbued with partisanship) dismissed his lack of experience showed both a disrespect and an absurdly gross misunderstanding of the office. And now we're all paying the price.

6. A lot of people I know somehow still believe in the Democratic Party. Understanding your so-called friends is just as important as understanding your opponents. You're just being used, folks.

7. The Week in WTF.

8. Here we go again:

"Tribune Co. asked the judge in its bankruptcy case Wednesday for authority to pay management bonuses for 2011 ranging from $16.4 million to $42.5 million, despite declining performance at the Chicago-based media conglomerate," the Tribune reports.

"The potential payments, which are slightly lower than those requested in 2010, would be made to 640 management employees based on how much operating cash flow the company generates in 2011 relative to a plan approved by the board in February, court documents show."

*

"[T]he governor who last year promised to 'cut, cut, cut' state government has been insulting citizens by quietly giving his employees nice raises," the Tribune said in an editorial last year called "Clueless in Illinois."

"[O]ut here in taxpaying Illinois - where many people have accepted frozen or reduced wages because that means they still have jobs - the governor looks downright clueless."

Well, at least he's running government like a business!

*

The people at the top always take care of themselves, don't they? "Shared sacrifice" is for the rest of us. Just look at Rahm's inauguration.

9. The World's Greatest College Football Report: Dirtbags, Lies and Godwottery.

10. The Week in Chicago Rock.

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The Beachwood Tip Line: Godwottery.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 3:45 AM | Permalink

The Week in Chicago Rock

You shoulda been there.

1. The Heligoats at the Hideout on Sunday night.


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2. Kampfar at Reggie's on Tuesday night.

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3. Scott Lucas & The Married Man at Bar Deville on Tuesday night.

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4. Wale at the Alhambra Palace on Monday night.

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5. Melanie Fiona at the Alhambra Palace on Monday night.

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 2:57 AM | Permalink

The Week in WTF

1. Sara Lee, WTF?

WTF's bullshit meter was wailing aplenty this week with word from Sara Lee's boss sodium sifter Christopher J. Fraleigh who apparently managed an entire speech on the health effects of Sara Lee products without ever coming close to a true statement.

His basic theory is that President Obama is making his life hell by requiring Sara Lee products to contain less sodium. The horror.

Sara Lee's new corporate motto - "Fatter Kids; Fatter Profits" - was not in evidence in this particular dog-and-pony exhibit.

Fraleigh apparently believes that corporate junk food advertising aimed specifically at children is a good thing when done "the right way." Of course, mostly it's a societal carcinogenic lump that should dispatch some swell-suited guys to hell as soon as the express bus arrives.

But we're not enlightened enough to hold people with real power really accountable. Good thing there's a God.

Think of this as a moral concept: Grownups paying other grownups to find a way to psych-trick children into becoming sodium addicts. What a great country.

2. CEO pay, WTF?

And speaking of people who need a raise, consider this list from The Atlantic of CEOs who make more than their companies pay in federal taxes.

Some local fat felines:

* Motorola Mobility's Sanjay Jha, who makes $13,016,126. Mobility's federal tax bill was $12 million. Now that's Google's problem.

* Boeing's Jim McNerney, who took home $13,768,019 for a company that paid $13 million.

* Aon's Gregory Case, who got $20,783,301 for a company that paid $16 million in corporate taxes.

Coincidentally, WTF has ever been quite sure what Aon does and, when we looked at their corporate website, we still couldn't quite tell. We think it's a cross between Enron and the management company that operates the village in The Prisoner.

WTF is not sure quite why, but this seems somehow so strange and disquieting. He is No. 6.

3. The Miner/Garrity family from hell, WTF?

WTF would suppose this proves that everything is not perfectly perfect in the Perfectly Wonderful Land of Horse Country.

What kind of place breeds this stunning level of moral vapidity, and does this issue actually require more than five minutes in front of a real judge?

Based on the premise of this lawsuit, WTF would have faced the death penalty for his parenting skills, and probably deserved it.

But we also think civil courts need bouncers for these cases. Like a Laurel and Hardy episode where The Boys are picked up by their collars by several large, dour men and tossed out the door onto their chins. WTF just hates the 21st century.

4. North Chicago, WTF?

Almost anyone who has had official dealings with this city knows to check their fingers after any handshake to make sure they are all still there.

In North Chicago, the socio-economic gumbo is a spoonful short of a full recipe - too little real industry and commerce which means public officials tend to be attracted to flimflam.

This all is fallout from the only real industry in town, the Great Lakes Naval Training Base, putting the kibosh on local hookers, the only other viable industry there.

North Chicago is the North Shore version of Gary when it comes to banana republicanism. Away from the shoreline, Illinois has a fuller volume of strong candidates - Country Club Hills and Crestwood come to mind.

5. Hail, Cicero, WTF?

Of course, the suburbs are the suburbs. If you want traditional, old-time Chicago political skunkery, there's always good ol' Cicero for inspiration.

In Cicero, even the hot dogs are connected.

Of the $120,000 spent there on wired-in City Hall-approved hotdogs, we especially are captivated by the $3,000 bill detailing 'dogs purchased for a "dignitary reception."

Cicero has dignitary receptions? Who knew?

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 12:51 AM | Permalink

September 1, 2011

The College Football Report: Dirtbags, Lies and Godwottery

Before we kick off the 2011 season, we want to bring you up to speed on some headlines and errata:

* Update: ESPN made it official on Wednesday - integrity has been routed by shameless money-grubbing. The Worldwide Leader debuted the 2011 version of the weekly "Top 25 Preview" page including one odd outlier: The Texas Longhorns (unranked in the AP Poll) vs. The Rice Owls. When Awful Announcing took a screenshot and publicly called out ESPN, the game quickly disappeared.

Why all the hubbub?

ESPN uses the AP Poll when listing the weekly matchups - and Texas isn't ranked in the AP. The network conveniently forgot and used the Coaches Poll rank instead - but only for the Texas game. Earlier this week, we trashed ESPN for reporting bias in favor of the major football powers, but we didn't think it would get this bad.

The network has since pulled the Texas game from the preview, without comment. (You can see the screen cap here.)

Tags: Awful Announcing, Deadspin, fellow (much more prominent) bloggers, network dirtbags, conspiracy theories

* Rumored: We can't confirm at press time, but allegations have the Galactic Empire moving headquarters from Coruscant to Connecticut.

Tags: geek humor, evil empire, rumors lies and innuendo

* More ESPN bias: You may (or may not) recall our skepticism about the dismissal of former head coach Mike Leach at Texas Tech. The school, egged on by ESPN commentator Craig James, fired Leach in response to allegations concerning Leach's treatment of receiver Adam James. In other words, as we said last year, Leach made the mistake of "poorly managing an injury to the son of an ESPN commentator." (Oh, and the school saved itself $800,000 in the process.)

Earlier this summer, ESPN indefinitely suspended (as reported by Sports by Brooks) college football writer Bruce Feldman for playing a role in the Mike Leach biography. As of Thursday, Feldman announced via Twitter that he had resigned his post at the Worldwide Leader to take a position at CBS.

Tags: free bruce, self-referential, network dirtbags, conspiracy theories, Awful Announcing, Sports by Brooks, fellow (much more prominent) bloggers

* They Gone: Texas A&M announced their departure from the Big 12 (soon to be The Big 12 Conference of Nine Teams) to seek a berth with another conference. The Aggies' membership in the Big 12 will cease as of June 30, 2012, assuming the school has found another home. By joining the SEC (the presumed destination), Texas A&M can renew their long-standing rivalry with . . . nobody. But Steve Spurrier put the base motives at play best, stating that the move "will be a huge addition to the SEC" because - wait for it - "[it] really increases SEC TV markets."

Tags: Hawk Harrelson, super conferences

* In related news: The Mormons may be taking their talents south to the Big 12.

Tags: BYU, Cougars don't cut corners

* Rap sheet: The latest arrests from football programs include Colorado State (two players), Tulsa (one) and Marshall (one). Come on, kid, charging your girlfriend $.034 for $1,283 worth of merch at Macy's? Even we could figure that out.

Tags: pool partyin', robbin', embezzlin'

* "Total poppycock": So says a Virginia Tech spokesman in response to rumors that the Hokies will join Texas A&M (and possibly Clemson and possibly Florida State) in the SEC next year. Gadzooks! With all this tomfoolery, our world has gone catawampus!

Tags: super conferences, rumors lies and innuendo, godwottery

* Beats us: We don't know what to do with this story, but the situation at LSU does not sound good. Adding insult to (alleged) injury, LSU's quarterback had 49 pairs of shoes seized from his apartment in a search for possible evidence.

Tags: nothing funny about this one

* Let the games begin: The season gets underway Thursday night! Thank God. While we're on the subject, you will have the chance to watch star quarterback Russell Wilson's debut for Wisconsin. His pilgrimage led him from North Carolina State, where he had lost his starting job, to Madison. (In lieu of the North Star, he followed the smell of brats.) We are to believe that the Badgers' national title hopes, big-time TV exposure and pro-style (NFL-friendly) offense did not play a part in his decision but that instead it was The Man Upstairs who came to Wilson and urged him to transfer. Oh, and "give [himself] the opportunity to play in the NFL" with his last year of eligibility. We wonder if the The Big Man will remind Wilson to pass the plate next year.

Tags: divine intervention, NFL draft prospects, utter bullshit

With the start of the season fast approaching, we will step aside and let the Sports Seal get down to business. The Seal has spent the offseason sharpening his gambling instincts after a dispiriting 2010 which left the Beachwood Bankroll borderline bankrupt. This season, we won't burden the Seal with the bankroll, we will just run his picks (smeared with anchovies, reeking of cigars . . . ) every week.

Thursday, September 1
Montana State at (Other 25 #28) Utah (-28.5), 7:00PM Central

Saturday, September 2
(Other 25 #31) Northwestern (+3) at Boston College, 11:00AM Central

(AP #12) South Carolina (-20.5) at East Carolina, 6:00PM Central

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Send your comments to Mike Luce, the Beachwood Sports Seal and/or the College Football Report Free Range Chicken.


Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 12:34 PM | Permalink

The [Thursday] Papers

"Top aides to Mayor Rahm Emanuel said Wednesday that they will release this week the list of donors to the mayor's May inauguration festivities, after first promising months ago to quickly make it public," the Tribune reports.

"The Emanuel camp originally committed to releasing the list of private donors within days of the May 16 inaugural. After the Tribune began asking Monday about the delay, Emanuel aides said the list was being compiled and would be released sometime before the Labor Day weekend. Politicians often dump unpopular or potentially controversial news on Fridays, when it is less likely to be widely circulated."

*

The list is being compiled, alright. Very slowly. First, one aide has to make a phone call to another aide. That aide must direct a staffer to notify all the key players. The key players must meet to discuss the list, which has been kept in a safe place.

After a political and media strategy has been hashed out, the reporters who have been nosing around are called back. We are working on it, they are told. The list is being compiled. This is true by a broad definition of the word compiled, such as No. 3 - translating into Machine language.

Once that is done, an aide must phone a staffer who will direct a member of the clerical staff to retrieve the list from a filing cabinet, where it is inside a folder. The folder must be removed and handed to the staffer, who must transport it to the aide. A member of the law department and the press secretary must then peruse the list to complete its compiling. All of this must be done within a time frame that suits each of the players without distracting them from the most urgent business of their days. Once done, a date to release the list will be confirmed, because it would be reckless to simply hand out the list. Its release must be planned. For safety reasons.

Upon the appointed day and hour, the list will be removed from the folder and placed face down on the copy machine. A limited number of copies will be made, for security reasons and budget efficiencies. The copies will be placed in a folder and transported to the press office at the safest and most efficient moment. The folder will be opened and a copy of the list will be handed over to the reporters asking for it. This will complete its compiling. The whole process can take months.

*

Or the administration could just say, "Sure, here's the list." And post it to their damn website. Because if it really took three months to "compile" the list, you wouldn't trust these guys to plow your streets, pick up your garbage, police your streets or educate your kids. It's a list, dammit!

*

Now, back to your regular scheduled programming slobbering over Rahm's first 100 days.

*

"A spokesman for the [judicial candidate Mary Jane] Theis campaign said Emanuel's organization made it known they wanted to support the most experienced candidate," the Tribune reports. "Her vote in the 7-0 decision on Emanuel's residency had nothing to do with it, Theis spokesman Brendan O'Sullivan said."

But if Theis had voted against the famously vindictive Rahm in the residency case, would the mayor have still thought her to be worthy of the bench?

*

Isn't it funny how journos acted all scandalized by the swearing of Rod Blagojevich but when the same words come out of the mouth or Emanuel at twice the speed and three times the frequency it's simply charming?

*

Maybe ComEd should just start announcing who has power.

*

"A company that served as a showcase for the Obama administration's effort to create jobs in clean technology shut down Wednesday, leaving 1,100 people out of work and taxpayers obligated for $535 million in federal loans," the Washington Post reports.

"Solyndra, a California solar panel maker, had long been an administration favorite. Over the past two years, President Obama and Energy Secretary Steven Chu each had made congratulatory visits to the company's Silicon Valley headquarters."

Investing in Solyndra was a predictably bad idea.

Republicans are right in this case; it's never a good idea for the government to "pick winners and losers." That goes for corporate subsidies as well. (Paging Pat Quinn!)

Here's an idea that I think both parties can get behind: Let's keep business and government separate. Let's take health care out of the hands of employers and put it where it belongs: in the purview of a democratic government. And let's keep taxpayer money where it belongs: in the public sector. And let's let the private sector battle it out in the marketplace without government putting its thumb on the scale. Oh, and next time let's actually use stimulus money for jobs instead of tax cuts and pork projects and business subsidies. Put people to work WPA-style rebuilding America. That was the plan we needed in 2009. Just think where we'd be now.

*

Speaking of jobs, the only thing the White House did right in this fiasco was to cut its losses before it looked any more incompetent than it already has. The GOP debate was obviously scheduled first, and it includes three members of the House. The White House could have picked any day it wanted for its joint session. You think they didn't have a long and hard discussion about this? You have to wonder if they would rather be seen as disingenuous or incompetent.

Besides that, a joint session is unnecessary showbiz; politics pure and simple. Just show us the damn plan! Could have been announced any time in the last month - or year. It'll probably be warmed-over junk anyway.

*

Sure, Condoleeza Rice is "firing back" at Dick Cheney. But shouldn't the former chief of staff to Colin Powell be getting more attention? His story hasn't appeared in either Chicago daily.

And what about the astonishing but largely ignored acknowledgement by Gen. Barry McCaffrey?

"We tortured people unmercifully," McCaffrey says. "We probably murdered dozens of them during the course of that, both the armed forces and the C.I.A."

Obama is silent.

*

"A Woodlawn low-income housing complex once criticized for its deplorable conditions while being managed by a firm headed by a close adviser to President Barack Obama will now benefit from a federal grant that Mayor Rahm Emanuel hopes will make it a community anchor," the Tribune reports.

"Chicago was one of five U.S. cities to get an inaugural Choice Neighborhoods Initiative grant. The city will join with the nonprofit Preservation of Affordable Housing, which won the $30.5 million grant by proposing to fix up Grove Parc Plaza, a federally subsidized 504-unit complex built in the 1960s . . .

"In 2006, Grove Parc was being managed by Habitat Co., a property management firm then run by Valerie Jarrett, an Obama confidant who went on to become one of his senior advisers in the White House.

"At the time, the development flunked a federal inspection with a score of 11 points out of a possible 100. An official at the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development told the Tribune then that the complex was in 'deplorable' condition, citing code violations and resident complaints about roaches, rats and bad plumbing."

And here I thought this story was going to be about Tony Rezko.

*

"Grove Parc and several other prominent failures were developed and managed by Obama's close friends and political supporters," the Boston Globe reported in 2008. "Those people profited from the subsidies even as many of Obama's constituents suffered. Tenants lost their homes; surrounding neighborhoods were blighted.

"Some of the residents of Grove Parc say they are angry that Obama did not notice their plight. The development straddles the boundary of Obama's state Senate district. Many of the tenants have been his constituents for more than a decade . . .

"The campaign did not respond to questions about whether Obama was aware of the problems with buildings in his district during his time as a state senator, nor did it comment on the roles played by people connected to the senator."

*

"The principal at a prominent Near Northwest Side high school is under fire for allegedly racking up nearly $17,000 in charges on overseas travel to France, Great Britain, South Korea and other exotic locations on his Chicago Public Schools-issued credit card," the Tribune reports.

"The spending is reminiscent of sprees by former CPS Board Presidents Michael Scott and Rufus Williams during that same time period. District records showed Scott and Williams spent freely with their CPS credits cards on travel, artwork, dining and personal gifts to a variety of charities."

Here's an idea: Give school-issued credit cards to teachers so they don't have to pay out of their own pockets to supply their students with paper, pencils and even books. Christ.

*

"Mayor Rahm Emanuel tried to set the tone tonight for his second budget town hall meeting at the outset, saying he wanted to hear 'ideas, not insults,'" the Tribune reports.

That's pretty rich coming from the king of insults himself. That's like Don Rickles calling for an end to insult comedy.

*

The Rahm Emanuel Insult Fill-In-The-Blank Challenge.

*

"Chicago taxpayers spent $9.54 million to compensate 1,119 employees for unused vacation time thanks to a liberal policy that Emanuel has vowed to eliminate," the Sun-Times reports.

"Former Mayor Richard M. Daley's 12th and final chief-of-staff Ray Orozco walked out with an $81,451 check for accrued vacation days, $5,143 more than the payment Orozco authorized to former Police Supt. Jody Weis for 64 unused vacation days.

"The Chicago Sun-Times reported in June that Weis and his chief of staff Mike Masters were among 1,026 city employees paid $7.4 million for their unused vacation days since September 2010 in the transition from Daley to Mayor Rahm Emanuel.

"On Tuesday, City Hall released the final list. It includes the names of 93 other city employees - led by Orozco - who received $2.14 million in additional payments."

The list had been kept in a safe place. Never lose the list.

*

"The 10 members of the Stephens family on the [Village of Rosemont's] payroll received almost $1 million in compensation last year, according to village financial records," the Daily Herald reports. "Additionally, five other elected officials and their 13 combined family members totaled another million dollars in pay in 2010. That means out of 679 village employees, these 28 members of six families were responsible for 10 percent of Rosemont's $20 million in personnel costs last year."

Here's the best part:

"Attempts to procure a copy of the village's anti-nepotism policy were unsuccessful. It's not clear whether one exists. Unlike many suburbs, Rosemont does not provide an online copy of the village's codes on its website. Calls to the village's attorney and clerk were also not returned."

*

Yeah, this isn't going to end well.

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The Beachwood Tip Line: Bold and beautiful.


Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 5:35 AM | Permalink

Carl's Cubs Mailbag: Put My Money On The Chorizo

Is the first name of the Braves third baseman really Chipper?
-Mallory, Archertown NJ

It is not.

He got the nickname during a short stint as the voice of Theodore the Chipmunk in 1990.

Does Vegas accept bets on the Sausage Race at Miller Park?
-Randy, Elgin IL

Probably. I'd put my money on the chorizo. That guy is muy rapido.

As a trivia side note, Put My Money On The Chorizo was the last movie Joey Silvera appeared in before retiring from the adult film industry.

What's up with the Cubs having a nice game against Lincecum?
-Rock, Pahrump NV

I dunno.

What's up with fools gold or desert mirages?

Sometimes crappy stuff just looks good in snippets (like previews for The Godfather: Part III, or Mexico) and good stuff just looks crappy at the end because it was pressing (like The Town or me on my wedding night).

Will you come to see my tribute band, Moving Pitchers? We change the lyrics to Rush songs so that they're all baseball-related.
-Gary, Lee IL

Not all the way out in Lee I won't.

But you should come to see my Rush tribute band Jacob's Bladder. We only play dance marathons in which each contestant is required to do a keg stand every 20 minutes.

You lose if you have to leave the floor take a leak.

Should I be disappointed that the Cubs have come back down to Earth?
-Tony, Billings MT

Frankly, I was becoming suspicious. The Cubs hot streak was akin to a fat girlfriend finally hitting the gym. You had to wonder what suddenly got her motivated.

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Send your questions and comments to Carl!


Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 12:23 AM | Permalink

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

BOOKS - The Randomness Of Harvard Admissions.

PEOPLE PLACES & THINGS - Public Lands Matter.


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