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« December 2011 | Main | February 2012 »

January 31, 2012

The [Tuesday] Papers

"Newt Gingrich might feel like Rocky Balboa when he takes the stage at campaign events to Survivor's 1982 hit 'Eye of the Tiger,"' but it's the co-writer of the song who is ready for a fight," the Sun-Times reports.

"Chicago-born Frankie Sullivan sued Gingrich in federal court Monday, saying the Republican presidential candidate is using his Rocky III anthem in his campaign without permission.

"Sullivan, who has a home in the northwest suburbs, insisted it's not about politics. It's about someone who should know better using his copyright material for free."

Here's my favorite part, though:

"Sullivan didn't want to get into whether he likes Gingrich or his politics. His co-writer on the song, fellow Survivor founding member Jim Peterik, however, gave Gingrich a partial endorsement.

"'My wife is a big fan,' Peterik said. 'I'm becoming a fan of Newt Gingrich. He has a mind of his own. He's not a talking head. Originally, I didn't like him, but look at the competition. He's looking better and better.'

"Peterik described himself as 'very apolitical' - and wouldn't draw a line on which politician should use 'Eye' for events.

"'If someone is out there trying to make a difference, let him do it . . . Unless it was Adolf Hitler,' Peterik said."

Anyone but Hitler, that's where he draws the line.

Wally World
"Walgreen Co. said Monday it is buying prescription files and inventory from 33 Kmart pharmacies in 16 states," AP reports.

Kmart has pharmacies? Ewww!

Race Wars
Chicago remains the nation's most segregated big city.

Second To None!


So much for yet another part of Richard M. Daley's crumbling legacy.


The funny thing, though, is that the racially-riven city Daley supposedly healed was racially-riven because of white people, not black. Namely, Ed Burke and Ed Vrdolyak. Daley left Burke in place - and so did Rahm Emanuel.


Harold Washington wasn't allowed to heal the city; only a white mayor was given permission to do that. After all, Chicago needs either a white or a wet mayor.

Don't Tell My Mom
This plus this equals this.

Nuke Puke
"The seemingly minor accident at Exelon Nuclear's Byron Generating Station about 95 miles north of Chicago, which resulted in a small release of radioactive Tritium on Monday, evokes memories of then-Sen. Obama's deep connections to the Illinois energy giant and the cash collected from Exelon by Obama, David Axelrod and Rahm Emanuel," Politico reports.

Mayor Transparency Strikes Again
"Mayor Rahm Emanuel is not commenting directly on whether it is appropriate for faith-based groups that are backing of his education agenda to get millions of dollars worth of city contracts," CBS 2 reports.

Nor indirectly.


But if you wanna know where the city's snowplows are . . .

Mayor Reform Strikes Again
TIF tiff.

Hustlin' In The Snow
A visual Chicago rap compilation.

Chicago's Best Dance Crews
But are they America's?

The Beachwood Super Bowl Prop Bet
Submit your entry now!

WBEZ's New Lineup!
A Beachwood exclusive you don't want to miss.


The Beachwood Tip Line: Quaky.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 8:57 AM | Permalink

Chicago's Best Dance Crews

Local highlights from ABDC Season 7 auditions.


See also: Dance Grind TV's YouTube channel.


Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 8:18 AM | Permalink

Hustlin' In The Snow: A Chicago Rap Compilation

We don't care about blue lights, take a picture!


Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 8:06 AM | Permalink

Will Rahm's TIF Reform Go Far Enough?

Mayor Rahm Emanuel announced Monday that he will be immediately implementing some of the reforms proposed by his Tax Increment Financing (TIF) Reform Panel five months ago. All of the proposed reforms are necessary to fix TIF and need to become law before more of our tax dollars are wasted.

Every year, $500 million worth of property tax revenue collected from Chicago taxpayers flows into a funding pool that, up until very recently, has been completely off the books - allowing for an out-of-control spending spree to well-connected developers and other special interests.

For example, in 2009, Chicago taxpayers unknowingly shelled out $31 million to United Airlines - just to help it move its corporate headquarters to the Willis Tower! Even more infuriating is that this money came from a program that is supposed to revitalize struggling areas of the city. Have you been to the Willis Tower lately? I would hardly say helping a large corporation move in there meets that requirement.

The United Airlines giveaway is only one of countless stories about the recent track record of Chicago's TIF program.

Concerns about waste and abuse in Chicago's TIF program came under increased scrutiny during last year's mayoral campaign. Once in office, Mayor Emanuel vowed to reform Chicago's TIF process and created a panel of experts to review the city's policies and historical use of this program. In August, the panel proposed meaningful reforms that would move the city in the right direction, and at the time, the mayor called for their immediate implementation.

The panel's recommendations include integrating TIF into the overall city budget, which would place TIF spending under more democratic control, without the power over TIF spending being concentrated in the mayor's office. They include measuring the performance of TIF districts and projects and propose measures to hold developers accountable for delivering on their goals. And, overall, these proposals will make it easier for the public to know where our money is being spent and if it is being spent appropriately.

Coincidentally, after the mayor's press conference Monday calling for partial TIF reform, it was announced that three companies would be returning a total of $34 million to the City of Chicago. Two of these companies are refunding TIF money because they did not deliver on their goals to create jobs. It's a good step, but without a law on the books, there's no money back guarantee for taxpayers that would discourage money from being wasted in the first place. Promises from politicians and pledges from companies to return the money aren't enough to protect taxpayers.

Not to mention, taxpayers have already waited five months and the City has already approved spending $26 million in TIF money since the first time the mayor called for the implementation of his reform panel's recommendations back in August. If the mayor and the city council admit that TIF is broken, why would they continue to use the program before it gets fixed?

With so many more TIF proposals in the queue and with millions in public money at stake, the City should not wait any longer to act. Until we see the needed reforms passed into law, the City should put a moratorium on all new TIF spending, so no more of our tax dollars are wasted.


To find out more, read Illinois PIRG's new report out today, Cleaning Up Tax Increment Financing: Rethinking Chicago's Troubled Redevelopment Program.


See also:
* From the reporter who started it all: The Chicago Reader TIF Archive.

* A Chicago Talks investigation: TIF Subsidies Bypass City Neighborhoods In Need Of Jobs.

* Chicago Inspector General report: TIFs And Maggie Daley.

* Emanuel Uses TIF As VC Fund For Testing Firm.


Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 7:22 AM | Permalink

January 30, 2012

The [Monday] Papers

"By his 28th birthday, Michael A. Alvarez - whose family is close to influential Chicago Ald. Richard Mell - already had worked for three powerful politicians: Richard M. Daley, Rod R. Blagojevich and Barack Obama," the Sun-Times reports

Now, at 31, Alvarez's political connections are helping provide him with an annual income topping $200,000 from three separate jobs in or involving government:

* He makes $70,000 a year as one of nine elected commissioners of the Metropolitan Water Reclamation District of Greater Chicago, the billion-dollar, government sewage-treatment agency that he hopes to lead after its longtime president, Terry O'Brien, retires in December.

* He has a $60,000-a-year public relations contract with the Illinois Sports Facilities Authority, the state agency that owns U.S. Cellular Field.

* And now he has a lucrative, fast-growing lobbying practice at City Hall - having first registered as a city lobbyist in July, six weeks after Rahm Emanuel was sworn in as mayor.

Hey, maybe he's that good!

"Alvarez isn't the only elected official who also works as a lobbyist - others include Chicago Ald. Michael Zalewski (23rd) and Cook County Commissioner Larry Suffredin (D-Evanston).

"But Alvarez's lobbying work posed a potential conflict-of-interest problem for him earlier this month. One of his clients, Avaya communications, wanted the Water Reclamation District board to increase its contract by $242,000. Alvarez says he was prepared to abstain from voting, but the matter was removed from the board's agenda.

"'I don't think I have any more of a conflict than any other elected official,' Alvarez says . . . "

They all have equal conflicts of interest!

" . . . adding that he won't vote on any issue involving a client and would never help his clients get business from the Water Reclamation District."

In fact, he's developed some sort of potion that gives the district, its board and his clients amnesia whenever they need to forget who he is and who he works for. It's like medical abstention!

"Alvarez is the son of Patricia McEvilly-Alvarez and Jesus 'Al' Alvarez, a Cuban immigrant who worked in the Cook County Circuit Court clerk's office before retiring as a top supervisor in 2008. He grew up on the North Side, but his family later moved to Skokie so he could attend Niles North High School.

"As a boy, Alvarez romped around Ald. Mell's ward office as his father did volunteer work for Mell's 33rd Ward Regular Democratic Organization.

"'I've known him since he was knee high to a duck,' Mell says of Michael Alvarez. 'He's a bright young guy. I think he works hard.'"

He must; he's juggling an awful lot. I wonder how he keeps it all straight. Heh-heh.

"In the late 1990s, Alvarez worked two summers at the Water Reclamation District and began attending Northwestern University. In 2000, he landed an unpaid internship in the Washington congressional office of then-U.S. Rep. Blagojevich, Mell's son-in-law."

What a coincidence! Also: It wasn't really unpaid. Let's just say payment was deferred.

"Alvarez got a bachelor's degree from Northwestern in 2002. In early 2003, Mayor Daley's campaign paid him $2,930 to run Daley's Northwest Side field office, a campaign that ended with a landslide Daley victory over the Rev. Paul Jakes."

Daley always was a cheap SOB. Mell not so much:

"By that time, Blagojevich had been elected governor, and Alvarez went to work for the state as a deputy director of the Illinois Department of Employment Security - a job that Mell helped him get, according to a database that Blagojevich's office kept.

"Alvarez, who was 22 at the time, made $4,130 a month when he started with the state in May 2003. He got a 5 percent raise two months later, bringing his salary to $52,044 a year."

And here's where it gets even more interesting to those of you who still think Barack Obama was, to steal from John Kass, floated down the Chicago River in a reed basket one day as a baby, pure as the driven snow.

"He left the state payroll in November 2005 to become outreach director for then-Sen. Obama, a job that paid him $60,472 annually, according to Legistorm, a website that tracks congressional spending."

He reached out for Obama. He was good at it.

"He left Obama's staff in the fall of 2007 and started his lobbying and consulting business, which runs out of the Sauganash home where he lives with his wife and two kids.

"Alvarez was lobbying state and federal government officials and also doing public relations consulting for the Sports Facilities Authority when he was elected to his six-year term on the Water Reclamation District board in November 2010."

Because what's good for Michael Alarez is good for government. And Dick Mell. And a few other folks - not including us.

"As a commissioner, Alvarez has two assistants. One of them, Nancy Cullerton, is the wife of Chicago Ald. Tim Cullerton (38th). She previously worked for Alvarez's predecessor, Gloria Majewski, and is paid $87,794 annually.

"Alvarez filled the other job by hiring Yomaira Herrera, who makes $83,872. Alvarez says Herrera is a family friend with a background in human resources. She's also Mell's girlfriend."

That is so much better than I was expecting! Truly, bravo, Mr. Mell. Bravo.

"Alvarez, who has a $170,736 balance in his political campaign fund, says he intends to serve his full six-year term with the Water Reclamation District, a $1-billion-a-year government agency that treats most of the sewage in Cook County.

"He's hoping to replace the retiring O'Brien as board president. He needs votes from half of the other eight commissioners to do that. Mell has asked some of those commissioners to support Alvarez.

"Still, Alvarez says, 'If you talk about a Dick Mell guy, I don't know what that means. I'm as much a Mell guy as I am an Obama guy.'"


"I don't want to be in a country where we only are looking at success for a small group of people," Obama said on Friday, echoing his State of the Union message.

"We want a country where everybody has a chance. Where everybody has a chance. We don't want to become a country where a shrinking number of Americans do really well while a growing number barely get by. That's not the future we want. Not the future I want for you, it's not the future I want for my daughters. I want this to be a big, bold, generous country where everybody gets a fair shot, everybody is doing their fair share, everybody is playing by the same set of rules. That's the America I know."

That's certainly not the Chicago he knows, nor the Illinois he knows. And if that's the America he knows, that's the America of a far-off fantasy where even he doesn't reside.

Private Sector Vector
It's not just government ripping you off; it's the private sector too. Via Consumer World:

* "In the brutal world of online commerce, where a competing product is just a click away, retailers need all the juice they can get to close a sale," the New York Times reports. "Some exalt themselves by anonymously posting their own laudatory reviews. Now there is an even simpler approach: offering a refund to customers in exchange for a write-up.

"By the time VIP Deals ended its rebate on late last month, its leather case for the Kindle Fire was receiving the sort of acclaim once reserved for the likes of Kim Jong-il. Hundreds of reviewers proclaimed the case a marvel, a delight, exactly what they needed to achieve bliss. And definitely worth five stars . . .

"Researchers like Bing Liu, a computer science professor at the University of Illinois at Chicago, are also taking notice, trying to devise mathematical models to systematically unmask the bogus endorsements. 'More people are depending on reviews for what to buy and where to go, so the incentives for faking are getting bigger,' said Mr. Liu. 'It's a very cheap way of marketing.'"

* 10 Things Electronic Retailers Won't Say.

* "On February 1, 2012, J.C. Penney is revamping its pricing strategy to one where it offers everyday low prices, and only runs sales a couple of times a month," Mouse Print reports.

"This is a huge departure for a company that, along with Kohl's, historically advertised huge discounts from inflated 'regular' or 'original' prices that they rarely if ever charged. In a New York Times article, JCP's new CEO even admitted that those regular prices were phony."

Johnson comes from Apple, so he knows a little bit about brand management. Like how to hide ugly truths from Americans.

What Camp Counselors Know
The shame of Joe Paterno's legacy.

Judges For Sale
Loyalty to the Democratic Party is the key selling point.

The Media And Missing Minorities
How the case of a missing Austin teen has been covered.

WBEZ's New Lineup!
A Beachwood exclusive.

The Beachwood Super Bowl Prop Bet
Enter now!

Books As Art
Each one an original experience.

Heat Hate
Has yours faded? In SportsMonday.

The Weekend In Chicago Rock
Rise Against, The Honeybees, XV, Ono, Rockie Fresh, Wastegate, Mucca Pazza, A Day To Remember, The M Machine and Los Campesinos! all played venues near you.

Programming Note
I'm back behind the bar tonight at the venerable Beachwood Inn. Drop off your Super Bowl prop bet or just enjoy the fine krausening of a cold Old Style. Or do both! 5p - 2a.


The Beachwood Tip Line: Connect Four.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 10:27 AM | Permalink

SportsMonday: The Heat Is On But The Hate Isn't

The Heat hate is fading.

The Bulls' first showdown with their primary rivals for the 2011-12 Eastern Conference crown (a 97-93 loss yesterday afternoon) brought it all back - the negative obsession that seethed through last season. Especially by the time last year's playoffs rolled around, the only thing the vast majority of NBA fans cared about was that someone, anyone, knock off Miami.

The Magic couldn't do it and neither could the Bulls. But miraculously enough, an old and fragile Dallas Mavericks team held together just long enough to eke out a win in six games in the Finals.

After LeBron James had "taken his talents to South Beach" to join Dwyane Wade (the Favre-ian spelling of the first name is correct by the way) . . . after silky smooth-shooting power forward Chris Bosh had spurned the Bulls to officially give Miami absolutely over-the-top talent . . . after the Heat had held a "championship style" celebration before playing a minute together . . . they went down and they went down hard.

This time around there is a different feel. The lockout extended the off-season and everyone affiliated with the league took a hit. James was in just about perfect form right from the start of the season and quickly reminded fans what an amazing player he is - especially in the first three quarters. Another super team may be coming together on the West Coast (the Clippers with Chris Paul and Blake Griffin) and another super team will probably result from Dwight Howard almost certainly leaving the Magic during or after this season.

Perhaps the main thing is the simplest: time passed.

In retrospect, James and friends' transgressions have been relatively minor. The Decision television show on which he announced he was joining the Heat was a mistake. But it raised significant charitable funds. The preseason 2010 rally at which James and Bosh were introduced to thousands of Heat fans was dim-wittedly cocky. But the Heat received its comeuppance. The Mavericks showed that the whole of team basketball can still prevail over the sum of a collection of superstars.

And there is the fact that the league operates with a relatively restrictive salary cap and an even more so luxury tax, so it isn't as though the Heat is Steinbrenner's Yankees, spending far more than everyone one else to try to buy a title.

Now, I must admit I am a little biased when it comes to James. I saw him play in a high school all-star game at the United Center when he was a senior and he was spectacular. I remember in particular a bounce pass from half court to a streaking teammate who laid it in as being a particularly vivid demonstration of his vast potential.

And when James played in Chicago as a professional for the first time, I also had a chance to take in the game. I remember James piling up about a half-dozen assists in the first quarter to make sure his relatively weak teammates were into the game, then taking over in the fourth quarter and hitting all the shots the Cavaliers needed to finish off a victory. The Tribune called it "positively Jordanesque."

It is also funny that there is still a fundamental insecurity about the Heat both during games and off the court. Everyone affiliated with the team tries so hard to be cool but you can clearly see them straining. How about those ridiculous black-on-black uniforms, which they have worn previously this season but which certainly had their biggest audience on Sunday? You could easily imagine marketing guys saying "other teams may wear cool black uniforms like the Raiders or the White Sox but ours aren't just blacker than theirs, they are the blackest ever!"

And James and friends are still working out who should do what down the stretch of close contests. Sometimes James tries to just be the distributor but he is too talented to just play point forward. Sometimes he tries to take all the shots but he is too easily baited into relatively low percentage jump shots rather than going to the rim or fighting for good position in the low post.

As for the Bulls, Sunday's was a tough loss, especially on the heels of an even worse loss (at home) to the Pacers in the middle of the week. But this team has already shown enough this season for fans to begin to make plans for another long playoff run - unless at some point everyone goes on the injury list at the same time.

The home team is in for a tough stretch over the next few weeks. They play the terrible Wizards on Monday night but after a day off take on Doug Collins' much-improved 76ers in Philly and the Knicks at the Garden on Wednesday and Thursday, respectively. And after that there are five more road games before a return home around Valentine's Day.

But with Joakim Noah finding his stride in the last half-dozen games and Derrick Rose still delivering routine transcendence of the kind that led to the NBA labeling him "The Chicago Contortionist" in last night's highlight package.

Rose's missed free throws were an absolute fluke (although the point guard will miss shots late when his coach plays him too many minutes - the 44 he played on Sunday were too many).

And soon enough, Luol Deng will return from injury.

Oh, and did I mention there are three more games with the Heat in the regular season alone?


Send your comments to Coach Coffman.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 9:31 AM | Permalink

Books As Art

Uploaded by ianissitt on Jan 29, 2012

"ArtDrift is series of artist interviews presented by NEW_BOUND.MEDIA featuring working artists in the Midwest.

"Clifton Meador is a book artist. He has been making books-as-art for thirty years, and still finds the codex, as an artistic form, deeply engaging. His books frequently combine photography, writing, and design as part of a unified whole: the book as an original experience in art.

"Clifton is the Director of the Interdisciplinary MFA program in the Book & Paper department of Columbia College Chicago."


See also:
* Clifton Meador's website
* ianisitt's YouTube channel
* New_Bound.Media's website


Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 8:38 AM | Permalink

The Weekend in Chicago Rock

You shoulda been there.

1. Rise Against at the UIC Pavilion on Friday night.


2. The Honeybees at Reggie's on Saturday night.


3. XV at Schubas on Friday night.


4. Ono at the Co-Prosperity Sphere on Saturday night.


5. Rockie Fresh at Reggie's on Thursday night.


6. Wastegate at the Stage Bar on Saturday night.


7. Mucca Pazza at the Double Door on Saturday night.


8. A Day To Remember at the UIC Pavilion on Friday night.


9. The M Machine at the Bottom Lounge on Friday night.


10. Los Campesinos! at the Metro on Friday night.


Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 7:56 AM | Permalink

Exclusive! WBEZ's New Lineup

Earlier this month WBEZ announced changes to its lineup described as the start of a five-year plan to bring more local programming to the station.

The Beachwood has obtained a confidential part of that plan outlining far more dramatic changes ahead than so far acknowledged. Let's take a look.

6 a.m.: School Daze: Supt. Jean-Claude Brizard - or a paid stand-in - reads the day's lunch menus, closings and turnarounds.

6:30 a.m.: Weather and Traffic on the Whines: Chicagoans whine about weather and traffic.

7 a.m.: Yuppie Worldviews: A daily rundown of First World Problems.

8 a.m.: Eight Forties At Eight: Gangstas do the news.

9 a.m.: Wait, Wait, Please Tell Me!: A daily review of the latest Freedom of Information Act requests denied by City Hall.

10 a.m.: Talk of the Gaytion: Live from Boystown Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays; from Andersonville on Tuesdays and Thursdays.

11 a.m.: Where's Flatfoot? Find the beat cops as Rahm and Gerry shuffle the deck again. Tweet 'em if you see 'em.

Noon: More About Chicago Pizzas & Hot Dogs: Hosted by Mike North because we can't help ourselves. With Terry Savage crunching the numbers.

1 p.m.: Buckshot! The Michael Sneed Outdoors Show.

2 p.m.: Stale Air: Daily reports from our Pilsen and Little Village bureaus.

3 p.m.: Click and Clack: Officials from the Chicago Taxi Drivers Union take your questions.

4 p.m.: The Wacky Groupon Variety Hour: Andrew Mason reads the day's best Groupons on the air and you laugh uproariously at how hilarious they are.

5 p.m.: A Few Things Endlessly Reconsidered: Repeating the same media narratives for the millionth time.

6 p.m.: Ain't It A Shame: Meditations about how somebody should really help the poor.

7 p.m.: Today in Aldermanic Expense Reports. In conjunction with the Chicago News Cooperative.

7:30 p.m.: Hail Rahm! An hour of aldermen praising Rahm Emanuel for acknowledging their existence.

8 p.m.: TIF, TIF, TSK, TSK: Hosted by Ben Joravsky.

8:30 p.m.: We Hear They're Great: Reviewing five-star Chicago restaurants you'll never get to go to.

9 p.m.: The Best of Pledge Drive. Our most effective please aggregated for your convenience.

9:30 p.m.: Ask Tom Why. Philosophical explorations with Tom Skilling.

10 pm.: North Shore Nannies. Inside Chicagoland's most ostentatious nurseries.

10:30 p.m.: From Wilmette to Winnetka: An audio review of the day on WTTW.

11 p.m.: This American Muslim Life: Hosted by Ibrahim Gulab.

Midnight to 6 a.m.: Vocalo. Nobody's listening anyway.


Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 2:09 AM | Permalink

January 29, 2012

What Camp Counselors Know: Joe Paterno's Shameful Legacy

After reading Sports Illustrated's articles on the death of Joe Paterno - a repetitive, pedestrian description of his life, career, iconic status, and the final shame of having unspeakable acts committed against young boys occurring just steps away from his office - like most people I'm ready to read about something else. Of course, I'll be interested to find out the result of the prosecution of the monster who apparently committed the crimes, but other than that, I'm done with it.

Well, not completely. There are numbers of us who have worked with young people as teachers, coaches, mentors, supervisors, and in other positions. For 15 years I directed a resident summer camp, a place that too often can be a magnet for child predators. I've also spent an additional 22 years as a teacher and coach.

My wife and I stepped out of the camping business more than seven years ago, but the Penn State situation leaves us wondering what the people in Happy Valley were thinking. There wasn't a camping conference in the '80s and '90s that didn't include workshops and panels about child predators - how to detect them, how to interview job applicants, what to do if kids are molested under one's watch. It was grim stuff, and we all took it seriously.

Our approach - which wasn't dissimilar from many other programs - was to educate our staff during orientation week before the campers arrived. Since we had a healthy staff return rate, many of our counselors heard our message multiple times. The fact that someone had already sat through these sessions in the past in no way excused him or her from hearing the message again. In fact, we often had some of our returnees help lead these discussions.

What was the message? To begin with child abuse was/is something that wasn't unfamiliar to our population. For instance, a 12-year-old boy more likely than not had never been abused, but he certainly may have had a friend or a student at his school who was a victim. Or he had read about abuse in the newspaper or surely seen something on television. While these crimes may have been whispered about - or ignored - in the 1950s, by the time children were being victimized at Penn State, any responsible adult working with kids should have known how to respond.

We schooled our staff in ways to protect oneself from accusations of abuse. We emphasized that kids knew what abuse was, that sometimes kids imagine things, and that children occasionally might even accuse a counselor of abuse as a tool to get back at him for some real or imagined wrong.

So, to illustrate, if a staff member were to enter a shower room where one or two kids were present, he (the counselor) should pull a U-turn, either saying nothing, or claiming he forgot something back at the cabin. Under no circumstance should a staff member be showering with one or two kids. Was Penn State listening?

Summer camp is a place where loads of kids become homesick or upset by something as trivial as flunking a swim test. It is not unusual for a youngster to be found alone in the cabin, on his bunk, teary-eyed and/or crying. By all means, the counselor needs to be supportive, providing encouragement and a positive attitude. But not alone in the cabin. Lead the kid to a bench where they can be seen by passersby. Take a walk around the property in full view of others. Make camp a place where it's okay to show emotion in public.

These are just a few examples of the background and information we provided. We also covered what to do if a staff member suspected that a child had been abused or how to respond if one believed that a fellow staff member was abusing children.

And we made it clear that the local laws required us to report to the police any instance - suspected or corroborated - of child abuse.

We made it our business to contact the authorities in our county government as a matter of course. We went to lunch to introduce ourselves and our camp. We described our practices and asked for advice and/or additions.

Did we ever need help? On one occasion, we had a staff member who clearly was grooming campers, touching them where they didn't want to be touched, and generally scaring the crap out of at least two of them. The kids were brave, savvy and informed, and they reported the guy before he fulfilled his cruelest fantasies. Within a hour or two, the local police were informed, and the staff member, who claimed that he was simply a "physical person," was gone for good.

Because the parents of the campers did not want their kids to testify in court, no charges ever were brought. But two detectives did interview the campers.

Lest one thinks that I'm about to dislocate a shoulder from patting myself on the back, I'll say that anyone with a genuine concern for the welfare of children would act swiftly and appropriately to protect them. And there are millions of people who do exactly that. It's not rocket science, and it doesn't take excessive amounts of courage. You simply want to make sure that our children are safe.

Getting back to Penn State, after two losing seasons in 2003-04 fans questioned whether the game had passed by Joe Paterno. He proved them wrong by bouncing back for 11-win seasons in 2008 and 2009, and his team was 8-1 when he was fired last fall.

But maybe the times passed him by ten or 20 years ago. Was he not horrified, angered, and outraged about the actions of his assistant coach? As far as I know, no one reported that Paterno even confronted the man to voice his betrayal and disgust. I suspect there are more than a few football coaches - to say nothing of people outside the sports arena - who would be inclined to become violent with this fool. That is, after making sure that the police knew every gory detail.

Could it be that Paterno was still living in the '50s, thinking that this would all go away if he and Penn State just kept things quiet and maintained a low profile, concentrating on and celebrating Nittany Lions football?

Somewhere in the newspaper or on the Internet, I saw a survey of almost 30,000 people where 84 percent thought that Paterno's legacy would be positive. If we kept score for these kinds of things, Joe's positive influence on thousands of his players (and other students at PSU) would far surpass the number of lives ruined by his degenerate assistant coach. Tell that to the kid who was raped in the shower.


Comments welcome.


The following comments were delivered to Roger Wallenstein via his personal e-mail account:

1. This is a wonderfully written piece which I've forwarded to a couple of people I know who think JoePa should only be remembered for his accomplishments in winning football games.

2. This came from a retired teacher: You said what I and I'm sure others thought but media has not said. I do keep thinking about the messages our silence sends to kids.

3. Paterno promoted State College as an isolated, safe, controlled bastion where his players could achieve as both athletes and scholars: Unusual and laudable. My sense is that Paterno's influence at the institution (both as a coach and major donor) and his zeal to protect the image he built in "Happy Valley" overshadowed what he knew such an allegation would do to his program.

4. The old white men network is still very much involved in controlling the message.

5. Another retired teacher: I remember teaching in a boarding school in the early- to mid-seventies, when very little was said explicitly to discourage sexual relations between faculty and students. There was a blanket statement that faculty would be fired if such conduct were discovered, but I know there were favorite teachers and students with wealthy parents who were left alone as long as they were discreet. That some of the relationships were technically consensual should not have been an excuse. And I have no way of knowing how many students were coerced into relationships that they didn't want. The moral lines were all too often blurred. I'm glad to see that there is now a lot more attention paid to such matters, at least in some institutions. Thank you for this post.

6. From a law professor who served his university as its NCAA rep: Like a lot of head coaches his age and tenure I think he may have been out of touch with the real world outside of football. If he would have called you instead of the administrators it would have been a different scenario altogether. Looking back on it I am sure he felt sick to his stomach about how he handled it. But these coaches do not act like you and me, and he was one of most honest ones around.

My thought from day one was that the media had a field day with this whole sordid affair. My initial reaction was that the media should step back and let the legal system handle the matter. Everyone, even Sandusky, is innocent until proven guilty. If you start making exceptions to the rule of law, then you and I may be next to get our constitutional rights stripped.

Reacting to the media coverage, the Chairman of PSU Board fired Paterno with no hearing or chance to meet in person with the Board. If he would have lived that long, the guy would have resigned on his own this spring.

As you state in your article, the matter will be fleshed out in the courts and from the Paterno family's perspective, it would have been excruciating if JoPa would have been around to be deposed in a civil case or called to testify in the criminal case. A good lawyer would've made mince meat of the man.

Your last line really hit home. Franco [Harris] and all of the former players are quick to come to his aid, but I would like to see how any of them would react if it was their kid in the shower. I am just not sure Paterno understood the situation at the time and he got no help from the people to whom he apparently reported the incident. It is hard to judge someone unless you have been in their shoes at the time.

7. I really cannot understand the fascination with Paterno, the mantle they refuse to let him down from, it is pathetic. This guy knew about Sandusky and his issues with little boys for 25 years at a minimum, and he did almost nothing, literally nothing. My guess is many coaches knew this guy was a predator, which is why he never got another coaching gig after being the #2 guy at the best program in the country for 25 years. I am 110% sure many other people knew all about this, there is no question, you do not become a sexual predator at age 55.

The entire group of white-male idiots is pathetic. It is a shame all of these folks get up and say Paterno was done wrong in the end, he didn't deserve this treatment, the University should have been nicer, ugh, it all makes me want to puke.

We have an employee (24 years old) who went to Happy Valley and I asked him how he felt. Now this employee is about as Pennsylvania puritan as it gets. Soft-spoken, god fearing, family kid, grew up on a farm, and I have never heard him say anything bad about anyone or thing. So I asked him how he felt about the entire situation. This young man is not a sports fan, and admittedly went to only a few Nittany Lions games during his four years at Penn St. What was his take, and I am summarizing here, "I just feel bad for Jo-Pa, this wasn't his fault, and you feel bad that they just fired him and all that. Otherwise it is hard to believe,and I feel bad for those kids." 

I was stunned to be honest. Here is a super good kid, quiet, shy, goes to Church, and the only thing he really wishes to say about the travesty that occurred at his alma mater was that he felt a bit bad for the guy who let it happen not getting a proper send off . . . and this kid doesn't even like football!

It's nuts. I guess I should feel bad for all the priests who got caught molesting children in church, because they did not get to finish out their life commitment to God . . . wow, hard to relate.

8. All this hero worship is kinda shocking to me. But then again, I ain't a sports guy.

9. It is beyond belief that Paterno has been so lionized, and that the instances of child abuse have been, by many, trivialized.

10. Really good stuff from someone who should know. We all were aghast with JoePa's ignorance (as told to Sally Jenkins just before his death) of child sex abuse. He really was out of touch with reality.

11. Of course, you're right - these things are not rocket science. They are common sense. And if you don't have common sense, they are the law, and that should spare people like Joe Paterno the effort of using their common sense.

12. Does this ever hit the nail on the head! The thing that strikes me is that you guys were more interested in the welfare of the kids in your charge rather than the welfare of the institution you had set up. And, of course, since you cared more about the kids, your camp became the respected institution that you hoped it would be.

13. Many well-wishers to Coach Pa seem to forget the most important aspect of this tragedy are the victims. [Phil] Knight's remarks were well-intended, but sadly he glossed over accountability. "Not on my watch" is multi-faceted and the Coach fell short of his responsibility when he did not call the police and confront/suspend Sandusky.

14. So well said, Roger, and so much needed. Football holds way too much sway over American culture, appeals to the lowest sensibilities (excepting my 84-year-old ex-nun, rampant Packers fan cousin). More baseball, I say.

15. These incidents of molestation or outright sexual assault go unheeded so there's always other stories that come to light about past transgressions that the authorities did not take seriously and act upon. Now we're reading about an elementary school teacher who was binding and gagging his 10- and 11-year-old students and feeding them his semen. UGH. And, yet, in today's LA Times it's reported that he was the target of police investigation 18 years ago.

Kids are so embarrassed and intimidated by the actions of people they're taught to respect and trust that it's no wonder they don't come forward, and oftentimes their own parents dismiss the incident as the product of an overactive imagination or misinterpretation. 

Will the Joe Paterno story and even worse, the actions of the assistant who witnessed the rape change what goes on in institutions that serve our children? Has the outcry about abusive priests made significant changes in the Catholic Church? Considering our position as a first world country, the United States ranks lower than many other countries in how we treat our children. I don't feel we are as child-friendly as we like to think we are. I'd like to see more large companies provide day care for working mothers. And changing facilities for mothers with infants. And what about the cutbacks in education? We are so far behind many countries . . . 25th or 28th on the list in math and science. And who will be able to afford higher education the way tuition increases are going. Even the University of California schools . . . a public institution are becoming out of reach.

16. Fucking hell Roger, this is a great read. Interesting to understand what sort of training a reasonable organization goes through to educate its employees about pedophilia. What is striking is how wildly inappropriate and egregious the situation at PSU was, particularly with all the information and training one could assume they had at their avail. You really drive the point home with the last sentence. Powerful stuff. This situation makes me really angry; reading this piece was cathartic.

17. I feel exactly as you do. I couldn't believe the excessive mourning and adulations that occurred at Joe Paterno's death. Whatever good things he accomplished for football at Penn State were certainly negated in my mind by his turning a blind eye to the sexual abuse going on under his watch. There was NO excuse for his not following through on an investigation of Sandusky.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 12:33 PM | Permalink

Judges For Sale

Hey bud, would you like to buy a judge?

Judges in Illinois can be bought by cash or votes. The Central Committee of the Democratic Party of Cook County buys judges with the promise of votes, naming them to the party's official slate in exchange for implicit support. The key phrase at the slating session of prospective judges is "I am a lifelong Democrat," which is code for saying, I'll decide cases when I can the way the party wants.

Terry Lavin, a current slated candidate, put his credentials for judge at the slating session this way: "I have been a loyal Democrat. I voted in each of the Democratic primaries [of the] last twenty years. I helped the Speaker [Illinois House Speaker Michael Madigan] out on a number of elections in the south suburbs, same thing for [former state Senate President] Senator Emil Jones. When the Democratic Party wanted somebody to go down and testify in Springfield, I did that. When they needed help writing legislation, I did that."

Lavin is an able candidate, former president of the Illinois Trial Lawyers Association with many victories as a trial lawyer, but before the party slatemakers, that doesn't count as much as party loyalty.

The political parties choose the judicial candidates for the bedsheet ballot, which has so many people running for so many offices that even informed political junkies don't know much about the candidates for judges except their party affiliation. But campaign contributions also buy judges.

Lawyers give contributions to the very judicial candidates before whom they will appear. A thousand dollar contribution to this candidate and a thousand to that and pretty soon, you become a very effective lawyer, winning a lot of cases. You don't need to know a whole lot of law if you buy the right judges.

On Dec. 15, 2011, the Illinois Campaign Finance Reform Task Force held public hearings on its working draft report, Public Campaign Financing and Illinois Elections. It was an excellent background report providing balanced information on the state of campaign financing, including judicial campaigns. The final report will be given to the governor this month.

The weakness in the draft, which more than a dozen witnesses including political and civic leaders from New Jersey and New Mexico pointed out, was that it ended without making any recommendations. This is despite the fact that the report provides evidence of major problems in interest group involvements in campaigns and the undue influence of large donors. I, and the other witnesses, testified that the Task Force needed to add a conclusion in support of the adoption of public funding - most especially, public funding of judicial campaigns.

Fittingly, the task force was meeting a week after former Governor Rod Blagojevich was sentenced to 14 years in jail for public corruption. Altogether more than 1,500 public officials have been convicted since the 1970s of corruption. Research at the University of Illinois at Chicago has estimated the "corruption tax" on the taxpayers is more than $500 million a year.

Operation Greylord
and other corruption investigations by the FBI and the U.S. Attorney General have led to the conviction of judges, lawyers and court personnel fixing cases - even murder cases - for bribes. The nexus of party politics, crime and the courts has been known for decades.

But even when the mob isn't involved, campaign contributions for judges undermine the credibility of the judicial system. In downstate judicial elections, supporters and opponents of "tort reform" and the outcome of "tort" lawsuits spent millions of dollars electing and defeating certain judicial candidates to win verdicts in the courtroom.

Illinois has a new campaign finance law which went into effect last year, but restrictions on truly large contributions (beyond $5,000 a person per candidate) and better reporting requirements are not enough. I personally support public financing at all levels like they have in Maine. But as I urged the task force, we must demand that the state legislature and governor pass legislation at least to support public funding of judicial elections. Merit selection of judges would be better still, but public funding would lessen corruption immediately.


Dick Simpson is a former Chicago alderman in the political science department at the University of Illinois-Chicago. Originally published in the Chicago Journal. Links added by the Beachwood Linking Unit. Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 7:49 AM | Permalink

The Yasmin Acree Story: How The Media Has Treated The Case Of A Missing Austin Teen

TV One launched Find Our Missing this month with a show that included the cases of Austin teenager Yasmin Acree and the missing South Side Bradley sisters under the well-documented proposition that black girls - and poor black girls in particular - who have disappeared don't get nearly the media coverage (if any) that white girls - pretty white girls in particular, and the wealthier the better - get.

"Find our Missing, launched Jan. 18, was designed to put names and faces to people of color, like Yasmin, who've disappeared without a trace. Each episode tells the story of a missing person or persons, beginning with the day they vanished and the frantic searches by loved ones and investigators to find them," Austin Talks reports.

"Nearly one-third of the missing in this country are black Americans, while we make up only 12 percent of the population. Yet stories about missing people of color are rarely told in the national media,' Wonya Lucas, president and CEO of TV One, the network airing the series, said in a press release."

Point taken. But Acree's case actually has attracted a fair amount of national media coverage, as we shall see, and her disappearance is more complicated than one may think, as we shall also see. And then you can check out TV One's telling of her case.


On January 25, 2008, the Tribune reported:

Nine days after Yasmin Acree, 15, went missing from her Austin home , a local clergy group offered a $1,000 reward for information leading to her whereabouts.

Standing with Yasmin's mother Thursday afternoon at Chicago Police Department headquarters, officials with the Leaders Network pleaded for Chicagoans to keep watch for the Austin Polytechnical Academy freshman.

Yasmin's family reported her missing Jan. 16, after finding the locks on two outside gates cut and the door to the basement, where Yasmin's bedroom is , forced open, said her mother, Rose Starnes.

Police, however, said there was no evidence of a break-in and that Yasmin told her friends she was planning to run away.

Police, who are investigating Yasmin's disappearance as a missing persons case.

Starnes, who said she is certain her daughter was kidnapped, said the friend who claimed she planned to run away later recanted the statement.

On July 10, 2008, the Tribune reported:

Before she disappeared in January, Yasmin Acree talked excitedly about starting her first job and taking an annual summer trip with a YMCA mentoring program, which was considering her for a prominent role in a new job initiative.

"There are so many reasons why my daughter wouldn't run away," said Rose Starnes, who reported her 15-year-old daughter missing almost six months ago.

On Wednesday, family, friends and several ministers gathered in front of the Chicago Police Department's Grand-Central headquarters on the West Side to urge officials to heighten their investigation into Acree's disappearance.

"Because she's a 15-year-old African-American honor student from the West Side, this case isn't getting the attention it deserves," said Rev. Marshall Hatch of New Mt. Pilgrim Missionary Baptist Church.

Acree's family wonders why it took two days for police to gather what the family considers key evidence - a lock that may have been cut from a wrought-iron gate outside the missing teen's home.

Chicago police spokeswoman Monique Bond said evidence technicians were at the scene in January and collected what they thought was appropriate. She said police have no suspects.

Grand-Central Cmdr. Joseph Salemme said Wednesday that the criticism was "a little insulting." He said police have spent more than 2,000 hours on the case and sent numerous items to the state crime lab.

The investigation has gone into California and Kentucky, where other family members live, Bond said.

She also said police have not gotten full cooperation from people who may have information about the missing teen.

On September 11, 2009, the Tribune reported:

Chicago police on Thursday were trying to assure the family of a missing teenager that they continue to devote resources to the case after an internal investigation substantiated misconduct allegations against investigators.

More than a year after Yasmin Acree disappeared from her West Side home, Internal Affairs investigators sustained allegations by her family that the honor student's disappearance wasn't thoroughly investigated.

The case "remains active and is being aggressively investigated," police said in a statement.

On October 16, 2009, the Tribune reported:

Nobody has heard from Yasmin, and police are aggressively investigating her disappearance. But it wasn't that way initially, family members allege, and police now admit.

"I think they saw this house, this neighborhood and our color and race," says Starnes, who is African-American, as is Yasmin. "When black girls disappear, for some reason, they think she ran away with a boy and will come home."

Starnes says she frantically told responding officers that, "It was plum out of [Yasmin's] character to run away" and that doors leading from the basement to the alleyway had been forced, and a lock was cut off with bolt cutters.

"They didn't even look at the door or go downstairs to her room," Starnes says. During that time, the family and several local pastors tried to publicize the disappearance, prompting police to return to look for fingerprints and evidence, including the lock, she says.

In a rare concession, police admitted in a letter this year that the situation was mishandled.

"All available evidence was evaluated and it has been determined that misconduct on the part of the Department member(s) has been proven," wrote Juan Rivera, chief of the Internal Affairs Division. The letter to Starnes was in response to a formal complaint she had filed in July 2008 about the initial investigation.

Chicago police spokesman Roderick Drew said officers should have taken the lock. Detectives returned the next day to retrieve it, and the mistake did not impede the investigation, he said.

Seven other stories have appeared in the Tribune since, and we will look at one in particular later.

By contrast, the Sun-Times has only reported on Yasmin twice, according to the ProQuest database, and the first time was on July 8, 2008 - six months after the Tribune's first report - when columnist Mary Mitchell complained about the media's alleged disinterest in Yasmin's case.

Shortly after she vanished, Yasmin was profiled by CLTV, NBC-5 and Fox News.

But the coverage was nothing compared to the media blitz that followed the disappearance of two suburban women last year.

Stacy Peterson, 23, went missing on Oct. 28, in Bolingbrook. At least 150 articles or columns mentioning Peterson have appeared in this newspaper alone.

Before then, the "missing person" spotlight was on a 37-year-old Plainfield woman, Lisa Stebic. She went missing April 30, 2007, and her case also dominated the news.

I don't disagree with the disparity, but I'd argue that the problem isn't that Yasmin hasn't gotten enough attention but that Peterson and Stebic have gotten too much - and while race likely has something to do with it, so does the fact that the Peterson and Stebic cases had dramatic Hollywoodesque elements that, these days, trump journalism values.

Mitchell wrote:

Starnes' former boyfriend should have been hounded by the media and the police just as the men in the Stebic and Peterson cases were hounded.

Disagree. Our job as journalists isn't to hound suspects; that's the job of the police. Our job is to hound the police.

"Frankly, the blatant disparity in how the media handles missing person cases exposes an industrywide bias."

A longtime truth. Minor crimes in Lincoln Park often get more coverage than major crimes in Englewood. Talk to your editors, Mary. They're as guilty as the other news managers in this town and around the country. Where does change start, if not from within?

On September 11, 2009, the Sun-Times reported:

The Chicago Police Department has sustained a complaint against two officers in connection with the investigation into the disappearance of a 15-year-old girl, a police source confirmed Thursday.

The department would not officially discuss the nature of the complaint or what punishment the officers might face, if any.

But a source said the complaint was filed by Rose Starnes, an aunt of Yasmin Acree , who was reported missing from the West Side on Jan. 16, 2008.

In her complaint, Starnes said two officers responded to her home in the 4800 block of West Congress to take a missing-person report.

Starnes said she showed them a lock that had been cut off a rear basement door. Yasmin lived in the lower level of the house.

But the officers would not inventory the lock, Starnes said in her complaint.

The family continued to call police about the lock, which Starnes considered evidence in Yasmin 's disappearance. On Jan. 17, 2008, the lock was inventoried by police. Starnes filed her complaint Jan. 18, 2008.

The police source said the officers should have inventoried the lock at the time they first responded to the home.

Starnes and a group of ministers gathered outside police headquarters Thursday to announce that the officers were "found guilty of misconduct."

But police Supt. Jody Weis told reporters that "in no way did these officers' actions impact the investigation" into Yasmin 's disappearance.

By the time of that report, Yasmin's case had already been on America's Most Wanted and Nancy Grace.


Last March, the Tribune turned in a stellar piece of reporting on Yasmin's disappearance that illustrates the failures of police as well as the clouded circumstances of the case that make it not as clear-cut as some portrayals make it:

The 2008 disappearance of 15-year-old Yasmin Acree sparked a massive police investigation that sent detectives on hundreds of leads, including false sightings that stretched from her tough West Side neighborhood to Michigan and New York City.

But Tribune reporters recently uncovered a piece of potential evidence that hadn't been turned up by police: a diary Yasmin hid in her bedroom.

In it, Yasmin twice mentioned a 35-year-old man who had lived for several months in a separate second-floor apartment at her two-flat.

"I miss Tyrell . . . ," Yasmin wrote.

Yasmin was referring to Jimmie Terrell Smith, who had moved into her building after serving more than 10 years for attempted murder.

Described in court records as a brutal predator, Smith is now in Cook County Jail awaiting trial on charges of raping five females, including two 14-year-olds he is alleged to have kidnapped. Smith had shown an interest in Yasmin and had contact with her after he moved out of her two-flat, including at a family friend's house shortly before she vanished, according to Tribune interviews.

In three recent jailhouse interviews, Smith told the Tribune he had vital information about Yasmin's disappearance.

"I know what happened to her," Smith said, although he did not admit any direct involvement in Yasmin's vanishing.

Smith claimed he also was responsible for four uncharged homicides. But for now, Smith said, he wasn't going to say what he knew. "I'd be putting my head in a noose."

Smith's statements may be the fabrications of a career criminal facing the possibility of years behind bars, and Yasmin's diary entries may simply reflect her private teenage fantasies.

But over the last 18 months, detectives have twice brought Smith from jail to question him about Yasmin, including once for more than 30 hours. And earlier this month, based on information uncovered by the Tribune, police obtained a warrant to search a now-empty South Side home where Smith had lived on and off with a girlfriend in 2008 and 2009.

For 90 minutes eight officers moved in and out of the frame house in the rain on the evening of March 4. An evidence photographer's strobe lit the home from within and officers' flashlight beams swept the backyard as they combed slowly for evidence amid the downpour. Police left with four evidence bags.

The Tribune's reporting on Yasmin's disappearance not only sheds light on Smith's contacts with her, but adds new dimension to her life and the often-criticized police investigation into the case.

Police failed to uncover potential leads, even beyond the diary discovered by reporters. It took nearly a year and a half for detectives to learn that Smith had lived in the building's second-floor apartment.

Yasmin's diary, as well as Tribune interviews with more than a dozen relatives and renters in Yasmin's two-flat and hundreds of pages of government records, shows the fragile girl was in many ways left unprotected by the adults in her life, including child welfare authorities.

I recommend reading the whole thing. And I recommend the Tribune and other papers not be afraid, as they always have been, of re-running or repeating in various clever (or not) ways important stories that disappear within a day. With the Internet, it makes even more sense. "With the broadcast of Find Our Missing tonight, we thought we'd provide this account from March 2011 for background . . . "

In the old days, newsrooms have always had a weird bias against re-running stories, as if readers/citizens only get one shot and too bad if they miss it. I always argued there was value, in some cases, of giving folks a second chance to see a story they may have missed. Now on the Internet, stories can have what they call a long tail. But they have to be highlighted to do so effectively.


I didn't review local TV coverage other than seeing some of the references in the articles above.


Yasmin's story appeared last week on channel 172, for those of you with Comcast. The embed provided doesn't work, but you can watch the show here.


Police have also released this rendering of what Yasmin might look like today:


The family is offering a reward: $5,000 to anyone with information that will help solve the case. Those with information should call 1-800-843-5678.


Press release issued Friday from Ira J. Acree via Chinta Strausberg (links added):

Chicago Pastor calls for restoration of FCC law that would help report black missing children

Denounces the disparity in media coverage

Taking his fight for parity in investigating missing black children on a national front, Ira J. Acree, pastor of the Greater St. John Bible Church, a cousin to then 15-year-old Yasmine Rayon Acree missing since January 15, 2008, appeared on ABC's The View today to discuss the obvious disparity of media coverage between black and white missing children. He was accompanied by Rose Starnes, the mother of Yasmine who is a cousin to Pastor Acree who later told Challenge News he blames the predominately white-controlled male media for their lack of sensitivity in covering missing black children.

And, he believes it's time for the restoration of the FCC's Minority Tax Certificate program that was in existence from 1978-1995 - a program that increased minority ownership of radio and TV stations; that is until it was repealed.

If this program were restored, Acree said there would be the diversity in the newsrooms so when a story like missing Yasmin would come across the wire this could like the other white high profile missing persons would have been covered.

Before going on The View, Acree read reports from The American Society of Newspaper Editors that discussed the disparity in reporting missing black vs. white children. "Initially, were very stunned and shocked by the lack of national attention for Yasmin and other black children, but when we researched it, there are probably reasons behind this," said Acree.

"The national media is dominated by white males even though the minority population is 28 percent, out of all the newsroom employees, minorities only make up 13 percent and minorities only own 3 percent of TV ownership and 7 percent of radio. We are truly a minority voice," he reasoned. "I don't think it may be intentional racism, but it is because of the cultural background of the white males who dominate the industry and their natural comfort zone" that may be the problem.

At that time Yasmin disappeared, Mrs. Starnes said she made out a police report. Acree said they had difficulty only because the initial investigating officer "inaccurately classified Yasmin as a runaway rather than missing."

And, because of that erroneous classification, Acree said they were unable to get coverage all except the Austin Weekly newspaper which covered a prayer vigil. Acree said Channel 5 came out but explained because the police classified her as a runaway, they couldn't do much with the story.

That prompted Acree and the mother to file a complaint with Internal Affairs. Ultimately, the runaway classification was dismissed and Yasmine was labeled a missing person; however, that was a year later. In the interim, many "missteps" were made by the police, Acree said pointing out that the first 48-hours after a person is missing are crucial.

Starnes' home had been broken into that day including the cutting of a lock that was never confiscated by the police. Yasmin's mother continues to believe her daughter's abduction was targeted and that the break-in was planned "since the only thing missing" was her youngest child, Yasmin whose bedroom was in the basement.

Like Acree, Starnes said, "I do believe there is a disparity between the investigations of black and white missing children. "You hear a lot in the media, how they are searching for that child but when whites are missing, they do more. There are a lot of black children missing, but we don't hear anything about it," said the mother of four.

Acree added, "I think that attributes to these innocent children being put in harms way. We are victimized by the white dominated male media. For a better America, I believe the FCC should come in and restore the FCC's Minority Tax Certificate Program that allowed cable owners to sell to minority owners to get a tax break. I think that would be very helpful. It would make for a safer and better America for everyone," said Acree.

"When you have diversity in the media, that would give them incentive" to cover minorities. He said when a child is missing it is critical to let the public know. "If there is more diversity, I think we'll have a better share of everybody getting a fair share of media exposure. And restoring the FCC Minority Tax Certificate would help the public to have a role in locating missing children," said Acree.


From The View:


See also: What's Missing From Television Coverage Of Missing Persons?


And from the American Journalism Review vault:

The City News Bureau of Chicago, which expired March 1 awash in nostalgia, was legendary for its hard-nosed approach, epitomized by the saying: "If your mother says she loves you, check it out." But there was another, less admirable and more common phrase used 40 years ago that does not reflect as well on the training ground for so many Chicago journalists: "Cheap it out."

One meaning of this phrase was that a story offered by a rookie reporter did not meet the standard for publication in any of the Chicago newspapers that supported the bureau. But "cheap it out" also had a racial connotation. If a story involved African Americans, the typical response of the desk editors to reporters was to ignore it, or "cheap it out."


Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 5:39 AM | Permalink

The 2012 Beachwood Super Bowl Halftime Prop Bet

Updated February 6: The results are in!

Oh my GAWD, everybody!

The shadowy figures behind the Super Bowl halftime show have decided to ROCK OUR WORLD by transporting us back 20 years!

That's right, y'all. It's 1992, Lady Gaga is in kindergarten, and we're all rushing to our local Border's to buy Sex, Madonna's shocking new book of mildly titillating pseudo-erotica. And can you even flipping BELIEVE, the Queen of Pop herself is totally going to play at the Super Bowl?! Don't they know how current, exciting and controversial she is? Didn't they see the video for "Justify My Love?" There were nipples in it, for pancakes' sake! And not just one brief flash of Janet Jackson's right hooter - I'm talking actual pairs of female nipples attached to actual BREASTS!!! If the Internet existed right now, it would be BLOWING the hell UP!

Of course, back here in the early '90s we've never experienced a wardrobe malfunction, so there's no model of halftime depravity to which Madonna can live up or down. Whatever slightly naughty hijinks she gets up to - simulated fapping, talking in a fake British accent - will be incredibly memorable because everything she does is just so fresh and new!

Wait, what's that you say? It's 2012 and a good nine years since Madonna tried to suck her way back to relevance via Britney Spears' tongue? She's now too old to swap spit with Katy Perry and too young to be retro. So maybe the Super Bowl gig doesn't signal NBC's willingness to rattle our cultural cages so much as it signals the death rattle of a bygone zeitgeist.

Whatever the symbolism, our mission is clear. We've got a setlist to predict. The back catalog is daunting, but the facts are these:

1. The song playing on all of the NBC promos is "Music." It's not a hard and fast rule, but in previous years the promo song has been performed during halftime.

2. Madonna has a new film and a new album coming out soon. The first single off the album is called "Give Me All Your Luvin'." I really wanted this to be a ZZ Top cover, but it's actually slightly worse. It features a duet with nubile young pretender to the pop tart throne Nicki Minaj. She is already rumored to make an appearance in Indianapolis, assuming Madonna hasn't drained the life force from her in a desperate attempt to reflate her veiny hands by then.

3. Other rumored special guests include LMFAO and Cee-Lo Green, who would probably release his last collaboration with Listerine if he thought it would have an audience.

Based on years past, we have between three and six songs to guess. I'm going to allow four official picks, because I don't believe for a second Madonna is humble enough to perform less gargantuan megahits than Bruce Springsteen. And while something tells me she's also too egotistical to share the stage with that many people, I'm betting she'll want to show she can draw bigger names than the Black Eyed Peas (seriously? Slash and Usher? I'm still not sure what the hell that was all about). So I'm setting the over under on special guests at 2.5.

Official tiebreaker question: Will Madonna will play a musical instrument during this performance?

Extra credit: Guess the special guests.

Prizes: To be awarded at the Beachwood Inn.



1. Give Me All Your Luvin'

2. Express Yourself (just to show that bitch Gaga how it's done)

3. Ray of Light

4. Like a Virgin

I'm taking the under on guests; I think it'll be just Nicki Minaj and end in a chaste kiss without tongue. But I'd be super psyched if Madonna got the joke and actually invited ZZ Top.

And yes, Madonna will play the tambourine, because nothing says "dynamic live performer" like a tambourine.


Submit your picks here.


Steve Rhodes

1. Holiday.

2. Ray of Light.

3. Express Yourself with surprise appearance by Lady Gaga.

4. GIve Me All Your Luvin' with Gaga, Minaj and M.I.A.

No instrument.


Jeanette Pesnikov

1. Give me all your luvin' (Minaj, MIA)

2. Material Girl

3. Ray of Light

4. 4 minutes (w/J. Timberlake)

She may whip out that guitar if she plays something from Music.


Marty Gangler

1. Holiday

2. Ray of Light

3. Material Girl

4. Some sort of Super Medley including Like A Prayer.

I'll take the over with special guests. I could see Steven Tyler and/or Joe Perry from as a surprise to satisfy a missing demographic.

And I'll take the over for costume changes at 1.5.

She'll play the guitar and something else, like a turntable during Walk This Way.

And The Winner Is . . .
You guys, despite my cynicism I found myself charmed by Madonna and her "singing" and "dancing" and that part where Will Ferrell bounced around on a tightrope for no reason and when the prop manager magically fixed it so she would be taller than Cee Lo and her "hair" got caught in her costume. Sure, it wasn't the freshest show. I mean, in this strange post-modern age, the Cleopatra entrance feels a lot like Madonna ripping off Gaga (ripping off Liz) and ending with the choir was so cliche everyone in the pool steered clear. But come on, you guys! She can still make Nicki Minaj and MIA her bitches! And she was so sincere at the end there I almost believed "Like a Prayer" is about world peace and not giving head. Bless her shriveled little heart.

Well this pool was probably the most collectively off-the-mark in all our years of playing. The actual playlist was:

1. Vogue
2. Music
3. LMFAO interlude
4. Gimme All Your Luv
5. Open Your Heart to Me
6. Like a Prayer

We were way over on the special guests and, yes, the ornamental harp counts as a musical instrument.

Absolutely no one in this pool picked the last two songs, which in retrospect does seem kind of shocking. After tallying everyone's responses, I'm happy to award the win and the gloating rights to Elan Maier. Elan correctly predicted "Vogue," "Gimme All Your Luv," and he actually picked "LMFAO interlude" which is exactly what it was. He was right on the Over and successfully named all special guests except the choir and Will Ferrell (yes, I know it wasn't him, but it should have been!).

I think this is Elan's second win, which puts him in the same league as half-time pool legend Mike Smith.

Thanks to all for playing and we'll see you next year!

Editor's Note: Elan didn't appear on the Beachwood pool list but played in the invite-only Natasha bracket. Next year the title is ours, Beachwoodz!

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 12:33 AM | Permalink

January 28, 2012

The Weekend Desk Report

Super-Bore Sunday Edition, 2012

What's worse than the void at the end of football season? The void just before it. We bring you our annual list of suggestions for coping.

1. Avoid assholes. Good luck, though. They're almost as ubiquitous as that fucking swoosh.

2. Throw a party. But watch out; a bunch of losers might try to join in.

3. Take liberties. It's got to be more popular than seizing them.

4. Steal a wallet. It's probably less dangerous than stealing an election these days.

5. Have whatever she's having. As long as it's not what she's having.

6. Retire. Or be forced out. Or be usurped by someone younger and suddenly find yourself irrelevant. Or perform at halftime.


The Weekend Desk Tip Line: Unboring.


The Sound Opinions Weekend Report: "Jim and Greg are joined by Blondie's Debbie Harry for a look back at her decades-long career. They also review the latest from that songwriter's songwriter, Leonard Cohen."


The CAN TV Weekend Report: CAN TV brings you local, relevant issues from Chicago's neighborhoods and communities. See what's happening around the city in education, the arts, government, cultural events, social services and community activities.

Perspectivas Latinas: Little Village Environmental Justice Organization


Kim Wasserman Nieto, executive director of the Little Village Environmental Justice Organization, explains their clean power campaign and their fight against air pollution in the Little Village neighborhood.

Saturday, January 28 at 7:30 p.m. on CAN TV21
30 min


Twenty-First Century Chicago


Dick Simpson, Constance A. Mixon, and Don Rose discuss Twenty First Century Chicago, which investigates the social, economic, and governmental conditions of the city in this century.

Watch Online

Sunday, January 29 at 9 a.m. on CAN TV21
1 hr


The Riots on the Warpland: 2nd Annual South Side Youth Poetry Championships


This poetry slam hosted by Young Chicago Authors features students from schools across the South Side of Chicago.

Sunday, January 29 at 10:30 a.m. on CAN TV21
1 hr 30 min


Chicago Government in Focus: Alexandra Holt


City of Chicago Budget Director Alexandra Holt engages in a dialogue about city finances and other issues in this event hosted by the League of Women Voters of Chicago and Union League Club of Chicago.

Sunday, January 29 at 10:30 a.m. on CAN TV21
1 hr 30 min


Reflections of Tomorrow


Presented by the NEIU in Chicago, this Black History Month program aims to bring the university and community together in a positive way.

Sunday, January 29 at 11:30 a.m. on CAN TV19
30 min


Nuestro Barrio


This family-friendly telenovela mixes dramatic storylines with meaningful messages, entertaining viewers while educating them about financial literacy and other issues. In Spanish.

Mondays at 6 p.m. on CAN TV19
30 min

Posted by Natasha Julius at 10:10 AM | Permalink

January 27, 2012

Epstein's Mother Stars In Robert Hegyes Death Tweets

"Robert Hegyes, the New Jersey-born actor who played Jewish Puerto-Rican wheeler-dealer Juan Luis Pedro Phillipo de Huevos Epstein on the 1970s classic Welcome Back Kotter, died after an apparent heart attack in his Metuchen, N.J., home Thursday morning," McClatchy Newspapers reports. "He was 60."

According to Twitter, Epstein's mother signed the note. Let's take a look.

OpieRadio: Juan Epstein from Welcome Back Kotter has died from apparently a rubber hose up his nose. Signed, Epsteins mother

kimthewriter: Very sad day for we children of the 70s. Signed, Epstein's Mother.

Chuck Greenberg: RIP Robert Hegyes aka Juan Epstein. Welcome Back Kotter was a highlight of soph yr of HS. Here's to 1 last note from Epstein's Mother

Chris Jericho: Just heard Robert Hegyes passed away. He played one of the greatest tv characters of all time and he'll be sadly missed-signed Epstein's mom

Half Street: Dear Mr. Kotter: Epstein will not be returning to class. He died of a heart attack today. Signed, Epstein's Mom

Jake Fogelnest: RIP Robert Hegyes. Signed, Epstein's Mother. :(

Darla Crane: Dear Mr Kotter, please excuse Juan from class today. He's dead. Signed, Epstein's mother. =(

Devin Faraci: Death certificate signed Juan Epstein's Mother

Aaron Trites: Dear Mr. Kotter, please excuse Epstein from class... forever. Signed, Epstein's Mom

Kevin Byrne: Dear Mr. Kotter - Please excuse Juan from class today. He's off playing hooky with God. - Signed, Epstein's Mother


Pour one out for Epstein tonight. Maybe while you play this song, which has been on the Beachwood jukebox for years.


Comments welcome. Signed, Epstein's mother.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 7:37 AM | Permalink

The [Friday] Papers

"Faith-based groups that have become the face of community support for Mayor Rahm Emanuel's controversial plans to lengthen the school day and close failing schools also receive millions of dollars in grants from his administration," the Tribune reports.

"City Hall has long enjoyed the support of church leaders who receive grants to run after-school programs and other social services, but that relationship is coming under new scrutiny in response to complaints that some groups paid people to testify in support of Emanuel reforms at recent public hearings."

Rich Miller has a roundup of that fiasco on his Capitol Fax Blog; I also wrote about it yesterday.

Back to the Tribune:

"One of the key players touting grass-roots support for Emanuel's agenda is the Rev. Roosevelt Watkins, a minister and longtime ally of former Mayor Richard Daley who has seen an uninterrupted flow of contracts to provide services to Chicago Public Schools students. Watkins acknowledged his group pays small stipends to people who receive training as community activists and attend public meetings."

Pro-City Hall "activists," that is.

"CPS spokeswoman Becky Carroll said school officials 'cannot control or dictate who may or may not attend' a public meeting."

I mean, if homeless people and churchgoers with no personal stake in any particular school issue want to show up at a public meeting and voice support for our side even though they don't know what they're voicing support for in exchange for a small fee, who are we to control that? I mean, outside of encouraging it through our explicit or implicit blessing of conducting politics as usual by delivering millions of dollars in city contracts to those doing the organizing?

"A roughly one-month, $1 million contract was awarded for this spring to three groups, including HOPE, for a program designed to keep children off the street during school breaks. In June, Emanuel's then-newly appointed schools CEO, Jean-Claude Brizard, lauded the Safe Haven, Safe Summer program, which the district said involved about 100 churches.

"In July, Watkins' group was among 10 community organizations that collectively received a one-year, $6.3 million Safe Passage contract to watch over children going to and from school and to defuse potential conflict, according to public records.

"And on the cusp of the new school year in August, Emanuel attended a breakfast at U.S. Cellular Field with hundreds of pastors and encouraged them to sermonize about the benefits of a longer school day and year. Watkins sat at the head table next to the mayor and Brizard. Many pastors signed a pledge to support a longer school day."

For a dollar more, they would have pledged to support a shorter school day. For two dollars more, they would have pledged to support no school day!

They are men of God.

"In his statement, Watkins defended the practice of paying community members to participate.

"'Like every other neighborhood, members of the faith community engage residents, parishioners and activists on how to (effect) change, including participating in community meetings on issues of significant importance - like education,' Watkins said. 'Often, for their time and involvement in training programs and activities, we provide a small stipend to help offset expenses such as transportation, food and child care.'"

What we don't do is tell them just what change they're trying to effect!

"Watkins invited CPS to review his group's accounting and said 'none of these activities were funded by CPS Safe Haven and Safe Passage grants to the HOPE Organization.'

"Carroll, the CPS spokeswoman, said 'every CPS dollar invested in these programs supported the safety and security of our students and was not used to serve any other purpose.'"

Because money isn't fungible!

Also, if Carroll conducted an audit that quickly she should run for comptroller.


Sometimes CPS does decide who can attend public meetings.


I wonder why City Hall didn't have their activists arrested for disturbing the peace, obstructing justice and, let's see, jaywalking would be a good one too. We'll think of more when we get to the station.


Unused line: Activists must be back by midnight or additional fees will apply!

A Mother's Lament
"A mother says she repeatedly warned school and city officials that her son was in danger because of racial tensions at his high school, but her warnings were ignored and her son was shot in the back in the school parking lot," Courthouse News Service reports.

"Calvette Mixon and her son Robert sued Chicago, its Board of Education and six of its members, Hubbard High School principal Andrew Manno and police Cmdr. C.J. Kupczeyk, in Federal Court.

"Robert Mixon was shot on Jan. 26, 2010. Robert is black; Hubbard has a predominantly Latino student body. It is an inner-city school on Chicago's South Side.

"The Mixons' attorney, Sean Mulroney, told Courthouse News in an interview:

"'The real problem is the mother tried to do everything she could to prevent the situation. She knew that her son and some of his friends had been targeted. She went to the principal, the Board of Education and the head of the district. She told them this was going to be a problem and got no help from anybody. Had they done anything, as simple as walking the kids to the bus, this could have been avoided.'"

Maybe she should have hired some churchgoers.

The Week in Chicago Rock
They played at a venue near you. We have the video.

Signed, Epstein's Mother
Stars in Robert Hegyes Death Tweets.


The Beachwood Tip Line: Astrological.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 7:19 AM | Permalink

The Week in Chicago Rock

You shoulda been there.

1. Ghost at the Bottom Lounge on Tuesday night.


2. The Wanted at the Bottom Lounge on Thursday night.


3. You Me At Six at Beat Kitchen on Wednesday night.


4. Machine Head at House of Blues on Sunday night.


5. Suicide Silence at House of Blues on Sunday night.


6. A Lot Like Birds at Subterranean on Tuesday night.


7. Blood Ceremony at Bottom Lounge on Wednesday night.


8. Jack's Mannequin at the House of Blues on Tuesday night.


9. Hardcore Gives Back Benefit at The Box Social on Sunday night.


Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 3:51 AM | Permalink

January 26, 2012

The [Thursday] Papers

"The Chicago Public Schools inspector general said Wednesday he is investigating reports that bused protesters were paid to carry signs or read scripts at school closing hearings," the Sun-Times reports.

"News of the probe came as Mayor Rahm Emanuel sloughed off questions about whether the practice was appropriate."

Sloughed off, indeed.

"The ministers have a right - who have been long involved in school reform, longer school day, turnaround schools, who don't accept the status quo - to speak up," Emanuel said Wednesday. "And I'm proud that people are having a discussion about the school system."


"Pressed repeatedly if he had a problem with what critics have called 'rent-a-protesters,' Emanuel said "I'm not speaking [about that]. I'm speaking about the fact that ministers care about their schools and care about their community.'"

Right. But you were asked to speak about paid protesters.

Like these.

Rahm's Chicago: Sit down and shut up - unless we're paying you to stand up and shout.

Rahm's Fine Print
"Chicago cabdrivers have already accused Mayor Rahm Emanuel of changing virtually everything about the taxicab industry except by giving them the thing that matters most to them: a fare increase," the Sun-Times reports.

"Now, they're complaining about being 'disenfranchised' when it comes to their future ability to petition the City Council for higher fares.

"A little-noticed section of the mayor's sweeping overhaul changes the process for granting future fare hikes."

Mayor Transparency strikes again.

"Currently, the City Council's Transportation Committee is compelled to hold a hearing within 60 days whenever cabdrivers file petitions bearing signatures from 10 percent of the city's 14,000 licensed drivers.

"The mayor's ordinance, approved earlier this month, does not compel Chicago aldermen to do anything.

"It simply states that the City Council 'may, from time to time, revise' cab fares and that the Transportation Committee 'may hold a hearing to determine whether' an increase is necessary.

"'We've been disenfranchised. Our ability to petition has been removed. There is no mechanism for getting our issues addressed before the government that regulates us,' said cabdriver Peter Enger, a spokesman for the United Taxidrivers Community Council.

"'Four times in five years, we've gone to the City Council and gotten nothing. But, there's been a hearing. It's a vehicle for getting our issues out and reaching the public. Now, they've removed that. It's grounds for a lawsuit.'

"Jennifer Lipford, a spokeswoman for the city's Department of Business Affairs and Consumer Protection, insisted that the change was made to make it easier for cabbies to get a fare hike - not more difficult.

"'Under the old ordinance, they could only petition once a year. Now, they can ask for it more often and they don't have to get the signatures. It's easier,' Lipford said."

I would believe that if:

A) The provision Lipford insists is to the great benefit of cab drivers had actually been discussed with them instead of secretly inserted, and

B) Rahm would have ballyooed the provision as one of the stellar aspects of his taxi cab "reform" . . . unless he didn't want the public to know the chances of fares going up had increased thanks to him. In which case he failed the transparency test by secretly setting us up for higher rates.

Either way, Lipford is being disingenuous on behalf of her boss. Just like those paid protesters.

Sick Of Being Sickened
"For Wayne Watson, it sure paid to stay healthy," the BGA reports in conjunction with the Chicago News Cooperative.

"By the time Watson left his job as chancellor of City Colleges of Chicago in 2009, he had accrued around 500 unused sick days over his three-decade career with the community college system.

"While many public and private employers have a 'use-it-or-lose-it' policy on sick time, City Colleges converted Watson's unused days into cash - a whopping $500,000 that's being paid to him in five annual increments, the Better Government Association has learned."

Watson would not comment.

"You're asking me about three years ago and a different institution," he said.

Watson is currently the president of Chicago State University.

"Aside from the $100,000 annually that City Colleges still is paying him for sick time, Watson is receiving nearly $140,000 a year in pension payouts through the State Universities Retirement System and $250,000 a year in salary from Chicago State, according to records and interviews."

Turns out Wayne Watson is a sick man after all.

Keystone Illinois
I didn't realize until I saw a map on TV last night that one part of the controversial Keystone Pipeline would deliver its crude to Illinois. My oversight or has this been sorely missing in local media coverage? Sorely missing, it turns out.

The first sentence of Keystone's Wikipedia entry, in fact, says "The Keystone Pipeline System is a pipeline system to transport synthetic crude oil and diluted bitumen ("dilbit") from the Athabasca Oil Sands in northeastern Alberta, Canada to multiple destinations in the United States, which include refineries in Illinois, Cushing oil distribution hub in Oklahoma, and proposed connections to refineries along the Gulf Coast of Texas."

For some reason I was under the impression the pipeline just went to, like, Houston.

But no, part of it goes to Wood River and Patoka downstate.

According to the ProQuest database, neither the Tribune nor the Sun-Times has published a story with the keywords "Patoka" and "Keystone."

I realize Southern Illinois isn't part of the market for even the Tribune anymore, which long ago withdrew from its mission to be the paper of the Midwest and instead enjoys being the paper of the Chicagoland suburbs with the proper demographics, but you'd think given the national debate over Keystone . . . well, I guess you wouldn't think anything anymore.

Then again, the Evansville Courier & Press of Indiana published a piece about Keystone as far back as 2009 that opened with "By early next year, hundreds of thousands of barrels a day of Canadian crude oil will flow into a giant tank farm in Southern Illinois."

Evansville is 275 miles away from Patoka - as is Chicago.

Obama's Gerrymander
He wanted to represent the rich, not poor blacks.

Chicago After People
Horto everywhere.

Pumped Up Kicks
Grandpa Tribune better run.

Words From Chicago's Cipher
Louder than a bomb.


The Beachwood Tip Line: Rent-free.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 10:30 AM | Permalink

Obama's Gerrymander

We've been following the ways that politicians and special interests try to influence the redistricting process for their own gain, often at the expense of voters.

An article this week in The New Yorker suggests that President Barack Obama's own political rise in Chicago was partially the result of gerrymandering.

As The New Yorker's Ryan Lizza reported, Obama worked with a Democratic redistricting consultant to draw a state senate district tailored for him.

Lizza wrote about the incident four years ago, detailing how Obama had learned the hard way that a University of Chicago academic was not necessarily someone whom all of Chicago's African-American voters would trust.

In 1999, Obama suffered a serious defeat when he tried to take on longtime South Side Congressman Bobby Rush, who represents a district that is more than 62 percent African-American.

Two years later, with the Democrats in control of Illinois redistricting, Obama was apparently able to reshape his state senate district to his own specifications, which included drawing in wealthy supporters from Chicago's Gold Coast.

Lizza interviewed John Corrigan, a Chicago Democrat who worked on the 2001 redistricting process:

Corrigan remembers two things about the district that he and Obama drew. First, it retained Obama's Hyde Park base - he had managed to beat Rush in Hyde Park - then swooped upward along the lakefront and toward downtown. By the end of the final redistricting process, his new district bore little resemblance to his old one. Rather than jutting far to the west, like a long thin dagger, into a swath of poor black neighborhoods of bungalow homes, Obama's map now shot north, encompassing about half of the Loop, whose southern portion was beginning to be transformed by developers like Tony Rezko and stretched far up Michigan Avenue and into the Gold Coast, covering much of the city's economic heart, its main retail thoroughfares, and its finest museums, parks, skyscrapers, and lakefront apartment buildings. African-Americans still were a majority, and the map contained some of the poorest sections of Chicago, but Obama's new district was wealthier, whiter, more Jewish, less blue-collar, and better educated. It also included one of the highest concentrations of Republicans in Chicago.
"It was a radical change," Corrigan said.

Lizza wrote that the gerrymandering effort "may have been the most important event in Obama's early political life" because it gave him the resources, both financial and political, to run for the U.S. Senate in 2004.

We asked both Corrigan and Obama's campaign for comment but haven't received responses.

Obama has occasionally spoken about how redistricting can cater to politicians and not voters.

"The system of redistricting in the U.S. tends to allow representatives to choose people instead of people choosing representatives," Obama told The Hyde Park Herald in 2001. "It's just politics."

Obama was responding to apparent evidence that he was himself the target of a gerrymander. The Hyde Park Herald reported in 2001 that Obama's home and the home of another Rush opponent were carefully drawn out of Rush's congressional district, which would have made it harder for them to challenge him in the future.

Rush's spokesman at the time denied that the congressman had anything to do with the map lines that excluded Obama and another candidate.

"Members of Congress don't draw congressional maps," Rush's current chief of staff, Stanley Watkins, said in a statement e-mailed to ProPublica.


Comments welcome.


1. From Steve Rhodes:

This is important for several reasons.

A) It shows, again, that Obama always cozied up to the wealthy elite; despite his early community organizing he was never a champion for the poor and dispossessed.

B) It illustrates, again, that he was always more interested in using the system to his advantage just like other pols rather than challenging it like a reformer.

C) It's timely given that a panel of federal judges just described the latest congressional redistricting in Illinois as "a blatant political move to increase the number of Democratic congressional seats" while letting the map stand and that even a softie on the status quo just described the new Chicago ward map as "the worst mess ever."

We know what the systemic problems with our political structure are, but depending on the very people who benefit from those problems to reform them hasn't worked. What will?

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 8:57 AM | Permalink

Words From Chicago's Cipher

"feat. Defcee, Virus, QSolar, and that first dude (whose name i don't know, my bad)

"EVERY TUESDAY we at 1180 N. Milwaukee at 6pm all-ages open mic"


See also: Kevin Coval's YouTube channel.


Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 8:35 AM | Permalink

Chicago After People

This was first broadcast in 2009, but we're just catching up with it now (!) after seeing it re-posted on YouTube recently.

At the time, John Kass wrote in the Tribune:

"And without humans to tend it, Chicago wasn't 'Urbs in Horto' anymore. It was just plain old wild Horto.

"Paris, too, the Eiffel Tower cracking to the ground, and Seattle, the Space Needle falling, and New York, the cables of the Brooklyn Bridge rotting, snapping, all of it plunging into the East River in the History Channel special Life After People.

"There was Horto everywhere, Horto relentlessly triumphant, as befits seamless mass televised celebrations of the sacrament of Earth Day."

Let's take a look.


Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 8:16 AM | Permalink

About a Song: Pumped Up Kicks

I'm a big fan of Songfacts, so I found the year-end results of most requested Songfacts of 2011 quite interesting. A lot of Adele. But No. 1 was "Pumped Up Kicks," a song I was vaguely familiar with to the point of asking a buddy of mine what it was every time it came on at Filter. Now I know for reals. It's pretty great.

Not everyone thinks so though - once they realize what the song is about. I couldn't disagree more with those folks.

For example, here's the Tribune's Steve Johnson:

"Maybe we're desensitized by the almost absurdly violent first-person-shooter video games so many kids spend their afternoons playing. Maybe naming the song after fancy sneakers instead of the weaponry creates enough emotional distance.

"Or maybe we figure - as I initially did - that it's just pop music, and its ear-candy qualities trump whatever the point of view might be.

"But after looking closely at the song's lyrics and listening to it many extra times, I have come to agree that this song is more deserving of a push away than the warm embrace it has mostly received."

Really? Another in a long line of student revenge fantasies is just too much because it's so, um, catchy?

"I don't for a moment fear that my kids or yours are one ill-considered pop song away from going bad, but I'd just rather not have their environment include a school shooting treated with all the gravity of bubble-gum pop - with whistling!"

Wow. First, the song hardly sounds like bubble-gum pop to me. It's not The Archies.

Besides that, dark lyrical matter is often ensconced in bubblegum casing. True, that can sometimes be a problem. "Born in the U.S.A." was easily mistaken for a Reaganesque testament to patriotism in part because of its anthemic chorus. But those kinds of mistakes are mostly attributable to lazy listening. And sometimes - often - the contrast of inner truths with outer sweetness is part of the point.

Also, it's not the music doesn't really sugarcoat the lyrics. It's sufficiently ominous, with its swirly keyboards opening the song and the disembodied voice achieved using whatever kind of microphone that is or whatever studio effect is in play.

"[I]n interviews, when the song's dark subject matter has been an issue, he's seemed able to satisfy questioners by referencing Truman Capote's In Cold Blood.

"He has said that he wrote the song because he's been troubled by school shootings, telling, for instance, NPR Music's "World Cafe" that he wondered 'what would it be like to be inside of a kid's head that's a teenager and is basically losing his mind.'

"Yet, when that interview went up on the NPR website, the introductory text reduced the song to 'a breezy summer jam with a subtly sinister edge.'"

That's NPR's fault, not the artist's.

"[W]hile I will certainly stand up for Foster's right to try such a thing, and while I don't doubt his sincerity, his reach simply exceeds his grasp."

Does it? He's not writing a book. And inquisitive music fans got it. From Songfacts:

"So why did you flock in your hundreds of thousands to check out this particular number? Mostly to reconcile the cheery, feel-good tune with the lyrics about an unhinged, psychotic kid plotting revenge. That and to find out if it has anything to do with those Reebok Pump basketball sneakers from the '80s."


Back to Johnson: "Foster is no Katy Perry, brazenly exploiting teen sexuality for the sake of 'controversy.' But you can't do In Cold Blood - even a Cliff's Notes version of In Cold Blood - in two cryptic verses and eight repeats of the chorus. There's just not enough information there."

I dunno, I'd say "All those kids with the pumped-up kicks better outrun my gun" is enough information in 12 words, especially given the tone in which it's sung. Not every work of art has to be a treatise or a Springsteenesque song-story or even "Jeremy."

"Contrast that with Bob Geldof and the Boomtown Rats' 'I Don't Like Mondays,' the 1980s hit about a school shooting that made the 'dark reason' the girl gave into its title and chorus and artfully contrasted that with the people around her trying to find out why, really.

"Popular music, to be sure, is full of murder songs, many of them classics: Johnny Cash 'shot a man in Reno just to watch him die.' Robert Earl Keen's oft-recorded country rave-up 'The Road Goes On Forever' tells of a drug dealer who shoots a cop so his girlfriend can get away. Queen's 'Bohemian Rhapsody' opens with a son confessing murder.

"But these songs have consequence, both narrative and musical weight. Cash's character is in Folsom Prison at the time he sings, with a hard case of the blues. The Keen character, in the final verse, 'is going to the chair.' The 'Bohemian Rhapsody' protagonist pours out his regret operatically."

Yes, and innumerable commentators have also argued that the Beatles' "yeah, yeah, yeah" is one of the greatest rock 'n' roll lyrics of all time.

Art, music and entertainment come in many forms, big and small, wordy and not, vague and specific.

"'Pumped Up Kicks,' by contrast, introduces its star as 'a cowboy kid' with 'a rolled cigarette hanging out (of) his mouth.'"

That one's easy. He's a kid fantasizing about being a big man - based on media images and probably old movies. It's just shorthand.

"We don't know why he's planning to do what he does, only that the songs temporary narrator sees him as sort of glamorous."

I don't think so. I think the song empathizes but certainly doesn't advocate.

"And, if we bother to think beyond the song's 4 minutes and 16 seconds, we know that he will bring a lifetime of agony to people who have done nothing to deserve it."

Did they do nothing to deserve it? Like the kids blown away at the end of "Jeremy"?

Or did they flaunt their privilege and make the boy feel small - so small he emulates cowboys to feel strong and dangles a cigarette in his mouth to feel cool?

Doesn't the song imply that his father mistreats him? And that he feels invisible? And the he's probably bullied and belittled at school? All those kids better run!

"That just doesn't feel very pop."

Well, that's a very limited view of pop. It's not the 1950s anymore. The pop landscape is littered with dark material and serious topics. (Even the chorus to one of Britney Spears' biggest hits opens with My loneliness is killing me.")

Wondering if those expensive, trendy shoes could outrun the bullet from my gun is just another entry in a long thematic line of a pop world grown up.


Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 12:24 AM | Permalink

January 25, 2012

The [Wednesday] Papers

To me the real point of these unemployment charts featured by Rich Miller on his Capitol Fax Blog this morning is the remarkable degree to which state - and I dare say local - economies are tied to the fortune's of the national (and as we've been seeing in recent years, global) economy.

In the 90s there were an awful lot of genius governors and mayors deemed rising stars who were somehow so much smarter than their 80s counterparts. Now, not so much. Get it?

So while sleazy governing and mismanagement in Springfield have certainly exacerbated the problems with our state economy, they are not the direct cause. For that, we can blame Washington and Wall Street. And after three years, a certain former Illinois legislator whose slight experience here learning how to vote present hardly prepared him to lead a world power.

Which is not to say that Republican leaders have been offering anything better. Contrary to their nonstop rhetoric, government bloat is hardly the cause of our problems either.

Illinois, for example, has fewer state employees per capita than any other state.

The City of Chicago says it "the fewest number of positions in more than decade, and 10,000 fewer than there were in 2000" - and I believe them.

We had a cataclysmic economic event in this country - around the globe, really - and yet Republicans want to blame our fiscal crisis on the president's (admittedly lame) recovery efforts and Democrats are afraid of being exposed as complicit in Wall Street shenanigans as well as blaming the financial community no matter how much they deserve it.

A plea for fairness? Please. And it's way too late for this and Tim Geithner will probably just slow-walk it anyway. That ship has sailed - and Obama did the christening.

* Obama Prosecuting Fewer Financial Crimes Than Under Reagan Or Either Bush.

* Why No Financial Prosecutions? "It's Just Too Hard."

* Obama Policy Of Covering Up For Elite Financial Criminals.

* Obama On Verge Of Horrible Bank Mortgage Fraud Settlement Deal.


But hey, at least he's a constitutional scholar.


Well, at least he's repaying the media for all the love it's bestowed on him.

* Obama's War On Whistle Blowers.

* "The prosecution of Mr. Kiriakou is the sixth criminal case brought under President Obama against current or former government officials accused of providing classified information to the media, more such cases than all previous presidents combined."

Vote for that? Never.


"Is he the lesser of two evils?" Conors Friedersdorf writes for the Atlantic. "Maybe so. But lauding him as a president who has governed 'with grace and calm' and 'who as yet has not had a single significant scandal to his name'? If indefinite detention, secret kill lists, warrantless spying, a war on whistleblowers, violating the War Powers Resolution, and abuse of the state secrets privilege don't fit one's definition of 'scandal,' what does? If they're peripheral flaws rather than central, unacceptable transgressions, America is doomed to these radical, illiberal policies for the foreseeable future."


"These are bigger issues than any election."

Media Madness
* The reporting characterizations of the Los Angeles Times' David Lauter now represent the official perspective of all Tribune Company newspapers due to budget cuts that eliminated the redundancies of independent reportorial thought.

* The Sun-Times relies on the same story published today in small town newspapers across the country by going with AP; in the suburbs they pretend "reaction" is news.

* USA Today
* ABC News
* FOX News
* Washington Post
* AP

Chicago Po-Po Don't Need No Stinkin' Badges
Preparing for G8/NATO.

Air Jordan Retro Chicago 10s Have Dropped
And the (video) reviews are coming in.

How Awesome Was The Chimp Channel
Pretty damn awesome.

That Really Grinds Rich Munnich's Gears
Snowbound with carrots and muffin mix.

Adam Clayton Bass Arrives In Chicago
Only three notes played!


The Beachwood Tip Line: Getting stronger.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 10:05 AM | Permalink

The Air Jordan Retro Chicago 10s Have Dropped

"The first big sneaker release of 2012 is almost upon us," StupidDope wrote on Friday. "In a year that is set to offer a wide array of stellar releases for its ever growing sneaker community, January has already seem a few notable drops. However, none have been more pressing than the City Series favorite Air Jordan 10 'Chicago.' While this classic in the Jordan lineup hasn't seen the light of day since 1995, tomorrow January 21st marks a great day for JB and sneakerheads alike.

"The Air Jordan 10 'Chicago' is by far one of the rarest in this timeless collection. Laced in white, varsity red and black, the 'Chicago' was originally released during the 1994-95 NBA season, one that didn't see MJ suit up. Nonetheless, this shoe has been worn by countless NBA stars and you can finally get your hands on a pair tomorrow. Check out the finals looks of the Air Jordan 10 'Chicago' and check for them in various retailers tomorrow January 21st for $160 USD."

Well, the shoes have dropped. Let's take a look at the reviews.

1. By Syrss: Bow! Swag.


2. By Elite Sneaker Freaks: Can't really expect the best from Jordan now.


3. By ATV Guitar Guy Look amazing on feet. Not really from the side, they look kinda plain.


4. By FFlane/Elite Kicks: Never crazy about the 10s and 2s.


5. By swagOnHaterzOut: It took 'em 17 years to drop.


6. By joeygotsole: I've got a lot of things to complain about.


Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 8:57 AM | Permalink

Chicago Police Don't Need No Stinkin' Badges

On Friday, January 20, Chicago police blog Second City Cop posted a blog entry entitled "Your New G-8 Best Friend" with an image of a roll of black electrical tape. The post stated, "Use as necessary," followed by a series of updates that read, "It's not for securing anything," and "Hint - it covers things."

Following this post, Chicago police officers, most of whom posted anonymously, weighed in on the suggestion. One commenter stated, "We should be able to cover up our names and badges with tape if our department is not going to protect us . . ." The officer expressed concern that the hacktivist collective "Anonymous" would release personal information on those identified.

Members of Anonymous have previously released personal information including addresses, e-mails, phone numbers, and even credit card and social security numbers of police officers identified at protests associated with Occupy Wall Street. Publicly exposing their targets' details, known as doxing, has become a common practice for Anonymous.

Another comment on the blog proposed police wear a "mourning band," commonly used by members of police departments to honor fallen officers. "so what if it happens to fall across your star number," the commenter posted.

Others warned against covering their badges due to an incident following an Occupy protest in Oakland November 2 last year in which an officer was suspended and his supervisor demoted when he was caught on camera with his name taped over. Chicago Police Department uniform directives require all officers to clearly display their name and star/badge at all times while on duty. Section X. H. 8. of the directives states that officers must not, "conceal or alter the star, badge, cap shield / insignia, or nameplate / unit designator while in uniform."


From the Beachwood Movie Vault:




Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 8:29 AM | Permalink

Grinding Rich Munnich's Gears: Snowbound Carrots

Eight bags. Thinking of things we can make.


* Grinding Rich Munnich's Gears: Seven Deadly Sins
* The Chicago Tribune Hit My Door


See also: Rich Munnich's YouTube channel.


Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 4:20 AM | Permalink

The Genius That Was The Chimp Channel

"The National Institutes of Health [last month] suspended all new grants for biomedical and behavioral research on chimpanzees and accepted the first uniform criteria for assessing the necessity of such research," the New York Times reported recently. "Those guidelines require that the research be necessary for human health, and that there be no other way to accomplish it."

For some reason we thought this gave us a good excuse to replay highlights from the late, lamented Chimp Channel.

1. Promo 1.



2. Promo 2.


3. Star Wars.


4. Jeopardy.


See also: "CareerBuilder is doubling down on the chimps, according to Forbes," AdAge reports. "This, despite increasing outcries from animal-rights groups and pledges from other marketers and many ad agencies not to use live apes in advertising."


And from the vault:

Beat the Chimp.


And, of course, Lancelot Link.


Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 3:42 AM | Permalink

Buried Treasure Not For Sale: An Adam Clayton Bass Arrives In Chicago

"Bass Club Chicago just got in a Fender Custom Shop Adam Clayton Precision Bass and what a beautiful instrument it is. When Adam had a moment away from touring with U2, he sat down with Fender Master Builder Paul Waller to design this instrument. This bass is a part of Fenders '2011 Limited Collection' with only 60 pcs being made. The Gold Sparkle finish makes it feel like you're opening buried treasure every time you open the case. This bass not only plays well but with the Abby Hand-wound Pickup, has tone for days. This bass is already spoken for and is not available for sale."


Discussion: The Adam Clayton CS P Has Hit eBay including this comment from Mike in Chicago who is possibly a fireman:

Well, of it's a Adam Clayton bass you know only 3 notes per song was played on it.




See also: The Bass Club Chicago YouTube channel.


Previously: Cobain Jaguars Arrive On West Hubbard


Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 3:05 AM | Permalink

January 24, 2012

The [Tuesday] Papers

"Without mentioning Ald. Anthony Beale (9th) by name, Mayor Rahm Emanuel on Monday offered thinly veiled criticism of the South Side alderman for the legislative scholarship awarded to Beale's daughter," the Sun-Times reports.

Rahm only mentions your name if you're a teacher or librarian.

"A joint investigation by the Chicago Sun-Times and the Better Government Association disclosed this week that State Rep. Robert Rita (D-Blue Island) - a friend and political ally of Beale who employs the alderman's wife - gave Beale's daughter a four-year, tuition-free ride to the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.

"It's the latest in a string of examples of coveted legislative scholarships benefitting the children of political insiders."

Who can't get their kids into private schools.

"On Monday, Emanuel was asked whether he considered the Taylor Beale scholarship appropriate.

"The mayor was reluctant to criticize Beale by name after partnering with the alderman on taxicab reform."

Really? He knows owes something to the guy who helped the mayor add a dollar to the flag pull?

"But, Emanuel left little doubt about where he stands at a time when college costs are skyrocketing out of control for the average Joe." (Hey, this guy's salary isn't going to make itself.)

"We've got to make sure, in an era where you earn what you learn, that college is accessible to everybody and that nobody loses out because somebody else gained," Rahm said.

But most assuredly, those who applied to Bob Rita for a legislative scholarship without the benefit of having a sitting alderman for a friend whose wife works for him lost out.

"As for the future of the much-criticized legislative scholarship program, Emanuel said it's up to the Illinois General Assembly to 'look at reforming and [bringing] integrity to a system to make sure that everybody in the neighborhood and everybody in our state has access to a college education who deserves it.'"

In other words, faced with an issue with blinding moral clarity, Rahm punted.


"Asked to respond to the mayor's criticism . . . "

Criticism? What, was he making faces when he made the most neutral statement possible?

" . . . Beale said, 'I agree with him. The fact that a person goes through the proper process and meets all the criteria - they should not be excluded from the process.'"

You know, the process we set up to benefit us and ours as long as we go through said process properly and meet all the criteria that we refuse to disclose to the public.

(Unasked of Beale: But Rita "won't say how many applications he gets or discuss how he chooses who'll get the college freebie" so how do we know the process was followed properly and all the criteria was met? Will you call on Rita to make the process and criteria public - including in the case of your daughter?)

Anthony Beale, Bob Rita and Rahm Emanuel, you are collectively today's Worst People In Chicago.

Everyone Poops
"Dozens of mom, dads, community leaders and young activists chanted slogans against CME Group Inc.'s 'corporate welfare' as they delivered a golden toilet to Chairman Terry Duffy," the Tribune reports.

"CME spokesman Michael Shore wouldn't comment on the protest. 'However, on the tax issue, the disparity in corporate taxes was debated, discussed and resolved in the state legislature,' he wrote in an email."

The proper process was followed and all the criteria were met.

Head Slap
"Community groups confronted HUD Secretary Shaun Donovan and Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan on Monday over a foreclosure fraud settlement the groups say is entirely inadequate," Curtis Black writes for Newstips.

"The groups object to the deal with the five largest mortgage services - including Bank of America and JPMorgan Chase - as a 'slap on the wrist' that would shield them from legal liability for a wide range of foreclosure misconduct."

Hey, c'mon now, let's not name names . . .

Slap Back
"We've all seen the headlines," the Better Government Association says. "Lawmakers have abused legislative scholarships for long enough - it's time to get rid of them.

"In theory, scholarships are for deserving young people.

"In reality, Illinois lawmakers dole out tens of thousands of dollars to children or relatives of their buddies, political allies or campaign workers.

"Lawmakers are returning to Springfield at the end of the month, and they can fix this problem be eliminating legislative scholarships.

"Will you add your name to our petition urging lawmakers to eliminate legislative scholarships?"

Honked Off
Librarians Refuse To Sit Down And Shut Up.

Under The Bridge
Illinois Drinking Water Could Go Radioactive.

The Showdown Begins
The Fury to defend the Ivy King Cup in bid for women's roller hockey history.

Head Cut
Larry's Barber College now in Cook County Jail.

Etta James & Chicago
From Chess Records to Soundstage to Blues Fest. With video.


The Beachwood Tip Line: Scholarly.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 1:05 PM | Permalink

Illinois Drinking Water Could Go Radioactive

(Links added.)

The drinking water for 652,000 people in Illinois could be at risk of radioactive contamination from a leak or accident at a local nuclear power plant, says a new study released today by the Illinois Public Interest Research Group Education Fund (Illinois PIRG).

"The danger of nuclear power is too close to home. Nuclear power plants in Illinois pose a risk to drinking water for more than 600,000 Illinoisans," said Brian Imus, Illinois PIRG state director. "An accident like the one in Fukushima or a leak could spew cancer-causing radioactive waste into our drinking water."

The nuclear meltdown in Fukushima last year drew a spotlight on the many risks associated with nuclear power. After the disaster, airborne radiation left areas around the plant uninhabitable, and even contaminated drinking water sources near Tokyo, 130 miles from the plant.

According to the new report, Too Close to Home: Nuclear Power and the Threat to Drinking Water, the drinking water for 652,000 people in Illinois is within 50 miles of an active nuclear power plant - the distance the Nuclear Regulatory Commission uses to measure risk to food and water supplies.

"This is an important study that underscores the dramatic risks nuclear plants pose to our health," said Dr. Sam Epstein, a medical doctor and professor emeritus at the University of Illinois at Chicago School of Public Health. "Any radiation from a nuclear plant in Illinois would increase the risk of cancer and other serious illnesses."

Radiation from a disaster like the one in Fukushima can contaminate drinking water and food supplies, as well as harm our health. But disaster or no disaster, a common leak at a nuclear power plant can also threaten the drinking water for millions of people. As our nuclear facilities get older, leaks are more common. In fact, 75 percent of U.S. nuclear plants have leaked tritium, a radioactive form of hydrogen that can cause cancer and genetic defects.

In December 2005, investigators found tritium in a drinking water well at a home near Braidwood Nuclear Generating Station in Illinois. Levels of tritium above the safe drinking water standard were found near the plant, and much higher levels were detected on the plant grounds. The leak was eventually traced to a pipe carrying normally non-radioactive water away for discharge.

"Tritium should be considered a major problem issue with nuclear plants," notes David Kraft, director of the Chicago-based Nuclear Energy Information Service, a nuclear power watchdog organization. "Especially among the Great Lakes region's 33 nuclear reactors, and especially with the Canadian CANDU reactors, which belch out many more times the tritium than do the U.S. reactors."

Local bodies of water also play a critical role in cooling nuclear reactors and are at risk of contamination. In the case of the Fukushima meltdown, large quantities of seawater were pumped into the plant to cool it, and contaminated seawater then leaked and was dumped back into the ocean, carrying radioactivity from the plant with it. The Mississippi River provides cooling water for the Quad Cities Nuclear Plant in Illinois and could be at risk.

"With nuclear power, there's too much at risk and the dangers are too close to home. Illinoisans shouldn't have to worry about getting cancer from drinking a glass of water," said Imus.

The report recommends that the United States moves to a future without nuclear power by retiring existing plants, abandoning plans for new plants, and expanding energy efficiency and the production clean, renewable energy such as wind and solar power.

In order to reduce the risks nuclear power poses to water supplies immediately, the report recommends completing a thorough safety review of U.S. nuclear power plants, requiring plant operators to implement recommended changes immediately and requiring nuclear plant operators to implement regular groundwater tests in order to catch tritium leaks, among other actions.

"There are far cleaner, cheaper, and less-risky ways to get our energy," concluded Max Muller with Environment Illinois. "Illinois and the United States should move away from nuclear power immediately and invest in safer alternatives such as efficiency and wind and solar power."


Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 11:56 AM | Permalink

Honk If You Love Libraries More Than Rahm Does

"I spent a shivering couple of hours Monday morning with Chicago Public Library workers protesting outside the Bucktown-Wicker Park Branch," Mark Brown writes for the Sun-Times in "Libraries Have Become More Than Just A Quiet Place To Read."

"There was hot chocolate and picket signs. 'Honk if you love libraries,' was the most popular, judging by the constant refrain of horns sounding along Milwaukee Avenue.

"The library, of course, was closed, as all branch libraries will continue to be closed on Monday mornings in Chicago for the foreseeable future.

"Closing them was Mayor Rahm Emanuel's call, although this particular location is among the half of branch libraries always closed on Monday and Wednesday mornings under the alternating schedule instituted by Mayor Daley two years ago.

"That was when the library system first slashed its hours to 48 a week from the previous 64 in a cost-cutting move.

"It's a sorry state of affairs for a great city, a problem not even half-solved by Emanuel's announcement over the weekend that he will reopen the branches for half-days on Monday afternoons starting next month."


"Has Emanuel Met His Match In Chicago Librarians?"


"After weeks of negotiations, Mayor Rahm Emanuel announced Saturday that the city's 76 branch libraries will reopen most Monday afternoons starting Feb. 6 and that he will hire back 65 of laid off workers," the Tribune reports.

"But the libraries will still be closed most Monday mornings, and 107 library workers will remain laid off."


"The move is still getting some criticism," WBEZ reports. "Monday morning library workers and community members gathered at three branches, including the Little Village library.

"They chanted, 'Mayor Emanuel, listen up! Please don't make theses awful cuts!' as motorists drove down Kedzie Ave., many of them honking in support.

"Bridgeport branch librarian Jeremy Kitchen said he's all for branches re-opening Monday afternoons, but only if they're adequately staffed. He said the recent closures of Mondays has been 'crazy' for his branch.

"'The cuts affect us in many ways. We come into overflowing book drops - to boxes and boxes of books that we have to process to get out to people. We're not able to give the customer service that we take a lot of pride in,' Kitchen said."


See also: Rahm Plays Library Card.


Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 11:33 AM | Permalink

Chicas Furiosa Goes For Threepeat! Ivy King Cup Defense At Stake With Season Premiere At Hand

Fasten your seat belts, little babies.

This could be a rough ride.

"I want that Cup."


The Windy City Rollers, Chicago's all-female flat-track roller derby league, officially kicks off its eighth home season on Saturday, February 11 at the UIC Pavilion.

In 2011, The Fury skated undefeated to their second consecutive WCR championship, winning the Ivy King Cup. (The ring acceptance ceremony was held at Reggie's Rock Club.) The slate is clean in 2012 as all four Windy City Rollers home teams gear up to claim this year's championship.

Fury co-captain Kola Loka has high hopes for another championship win in 2012:

"The Fury had back to back amazing seasons, culminating in the second successive and third time winning the Ivy King Cup. We owe that to the excellent leadership of Ol Drrrty Go-Go and Tori Adore. This year, we have a very new team, having lost six veteran blockers, and are focusing on building the new generation of Chicas Furiosas. We plan on trying out some new strategies, but focusing on good ole hard hitting, fast skating, and fun to watch derby!"

Bout one kicks off at 6 p.m. as the the Hell's Belles will take on last year's champs, The Fury. Directly following, the Manic Attackers will face the Double Crossers in the second bout of the evening.

The 2012 home team season continues through June, ending with the home team championship bout, the Ivy King Cup. The Windy City All-Stars have their first home bout on March 31, which will give audiences a taste of what the North Central Region's #1 team can do. They return to the UIC Pavilion in July to take on some of the nation's top competitors.

The Windy City Rollers are back for another thrilling year of hard-hitting action at UIC Pavilion, located in downtown Chicago at 525 S. Racine Ave., and easily accessible from I-290, I-94, and the Blue Line. Doors open at 5 p.m., and the action starts at 6 p.m.. Tickets are available through Ticketmaster at and the UIC Pavilion Box Office (312-413-5740).



January 28
Pre-Season Charity Bout

February 11 - Home Season Opener
Hell's Belles vs. The Fury
Manic Attackers vs. Double Crossers

March 10
Hell's Belles vs. Manic Attackers
The Fury vs. Double Crossers

March 31 - First Home Travel Team Bout
Naptown Roller Girls Warning Belles vs. Second Wind
Naptown Roller Girls Tornado Sirens vs. WCR All-Stars

April 21
Double Crossers vs. Hell's Belles
Manic Attackers vs. The Fury

May 13

June 2
Ivy King Cup Championship Bout

July 14
TBD vs. Second Wind
TBD vs. WCR All-Stars

August 25
Denver Roller Dolls Bruising Altitude vs. Second Wind
Denver Roller Dolls Mile High Club vs. WCR All-Stars

October 20
TBD vs. Second Wind
TBD vs. WCR All-Stars


Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 10:42 AM | Permalink

Inspiration: Larry's Barber College

Now inside Cook County Jail.


Cool promo:


See also:

* Larry's Barber College

* Inspiration 1390


Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 9:43 AM | Permalink

Etta James & Chicago

"Last Friday, the renowned blues and R&B singer Etta James died at a hospital in Riverside, California, outside L.A.," Davis Inman writes for American Songwriter. "James had battled health problems and years of drug abuse, but died from complications of leukemia.

"Though James had an early hit in her career with a song called 'Dance With Me, Henry' (also known as 'Roll With Me, Henry') and success with a girl group called The Peaches in the '50s, the singer really hit her stride when she signed with Chicago's Chess Records in 1960."

Indeed. Here she is portrayed by Beyoncé Knowles in the 2008 chronicle of Chess, Cadillac Records.


But we can also bring you the real thing. Here are the few Etta James performances on video to be found; the first three from her appearance with Dr. John and Allen Toussaint on on WTTW's Soundstage in 1982 and the other captured from rehearsal for the Blues Fest in 1988.

1. Groove Me.


2. Amazing Grace.


3. Something's Got A Hold On Me.


4. Tell Mama et al.


Finally, here's my favorite Koko Taylor recording - which is an Etta James song.


See also:
* Whet Moser: RIP Etta James, Genius of Chicago Crossover Soul

* Time: A Voice of Gold, A Life of Pain

* New York Times: A Versatile and Direct Voice


Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 4:14 AM | Permalink

January 23, 2012

SportsMonday: Get Prince!

Good morning, Theo.

I'm sorry I haven't been more in touch since you took over the Cubs but I'm here for you now and I have one thing in particular I'd like to discuss.

It is time to seriously pursue Prince Fielder.

I know you're in love with the idea of Anthony Rizzo playing first base at Wrigley in the near future despite flaming out during a .140-hitting 60-game tryout in the bigs last year. Rizzo will start the season in Triple-A.

And I know you're set on giving Bryan LaHair his dream shot at first before Rizzo is ready, and that's sweet.

Those guys clearly deserve a chance, Mr. Cubs President. But they don't necessarily deserve a shot with the team that calls Wrigley Field home.

That team has drawn more than three million fans to its relatively small ball park every year since 2004 (the Cubs only drew 2.9 million in 2003). That team is one of the highest revenue-producing teams in the National League.

Did I mention that Prince Fielder is available? And that he can almost certainly be had at a substantial discount? That this is the same Prince Fielder who has already hit 230 home runs in his six-season career and has also recorded an average of 110 walk his last three years? He slumped a bit in 2010 but his on-base plus slugging, the stat that quite simply counts the most for hitters, was .981 last year and was 1.014 in 2009. Oh by the way it was 1.013 in 2007.

You and I both know these are outstanding numbers. They are historic numbers. You and I both know there is a pretty good chance you will never have a chance to sign a better hitter in your career as a baseball executive. Oh, and this first baseman is only 27-years-old. 27!

And Theo, it must also be pointed out that those who think Fielder is a higher-than-average injury risk because he is not exactly svelte, well, those folks don't know what they are talking about. First of all, Fielder has missed exactly one game in the past three years. That's right, he has played 485 out of a possible 486 games since the start of the 2009 season. In the three years prior to that, Fielder did miss a few games; he only averaged 158 games played per season.

Fielder can be had for a discount because agent Scott Boras hasn't been able to find a Tom Hicks. Hicks was the owner of the Texas Rangers in the year 2000 who was so determined to make a free-agency splash that he gave Alex Rodriguez a $252 million, 10-year contract. Specifics of other offers aren't available but it is safe to say the total dollars in that contract were way beyond what anyone else was even considering offering at the time.

Actually this year Boras isn't looking for a Tim Hicks, he's looking for another Arte Moreno. Moreno is the Angels owner who signed a $250 million contract with Albert Pujols last month. Everyone assumed Fielder, who is four years younger than Pujols, would get an even better deal, but just about all of the big money teams left either aren't interested (the Red Sox and Yankees) or haven't come close to meeting Boras' initial demands. A few smaller middle-money teams, like the Seattle Mariners and the Washington Nationals, are reportedly still interested but they seemingly haven't been close to willing to pay Boras' price.

It appeared the Texas Rangers, who recently signed a huge local TV deal, would be a natural suitor for Fielder. But they just spent more than $110 million to sign 25-year-old Japanese ace pitcher Yu Darvish. And over the weekend one of their principal managers said he would rather spend big dollars on a contract extension for Josh Hamilton, who is a free agent after the 2012 season, than Fielder.

So what will it take for the Cubs to sign Fielder? Would it be possible to offer him, say, a front-loaded eight-year deal for $200 million? Boras would almost certainly want an opt-out for his client after three years and couldn't the Cubs set it up so they could opt-out too? That way they would really only be on the hook for three years at, say, $80 million?

The beautiful thing is the Cubs could do this deal tomorrow and thanks to the fact that they no longer have to pay Aramis Ramirez and Kosuke Fukudome and several other expensive players whose contracts ran out at the end of last year, their payroll would still be down from last year. If the Cubs don't sign Fielder, they will go into next season with a far lower payroll than in 2011.

And if that is the case, Theo, tell your guy Tom Ricketts that at the very least he better not be coming to the taxpayers of Chicago looking for hundreds of millions of dollars worth of tax revenues to renovate Wrigley Field.


See also:

* Fielder On Minds Of All Despite Darvish Signing

* Yahoo! Big League Stew: Is This The Week Prince Fielder Finally Signs?

* New York Times: Fielder's Options Are As Narrow As His Talent Is Vast


Correction: During last week's celebration of the fact that the Packers would not win consecutive Super Bowls for the second time, I neglected to mention that there had indeed been one other team who had accomplished the feat. That would of course - of course! - have been the Steel Curtain Steelers of 1975 and 1976 and 1979 and 1980. The columnist regrets the error.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 10:23 AM | Permalink

The [Monday] Papers

"In state Rep. Robert Rita's legislative district - which covers a swath of Chicago's south suburbs and part of the city's far South Side - just one out of 10 people has a college degree," the Sun-Times reports with assistance from the Better Government Association. "The daughter of Ald. Anthony Beale (9th) - a friend and political ally of Rita - is being given the chance to buck those odds and earn a degree from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign tuition-free courtesy of a coveted 'legislative scholarship' handed to her by Rita."

Another Cubbie Occurrence. Er, I mean, Chicago Coincidence.

"Beale, who makes $110,556 a year as a Chicago alderman, says none of that put his daughter, Taylor Beale, at the head of the line when Rita was deciding which students would get four years of free college tuition."

She was awarded the scholarship from the back of the line. That's the beauty of it!

"Beale and Rita (D-Blue Island) have close ties. Beale has endorsed Rita for re-election in the past, calling him a 'strong' ally. Beale's wife works for Rita. Dana Beale is a part-time, $400-a-month legislative aide at Rita's district office who, until recently, was also making $76,684 a year working for Illinois Secretary of State Jesse White. And Rita has contributed more than $20,000 to the alderman's election campaigns over the years."

So at the least, Rita ought to have recused himself and his office from considering the young Beale. After all, she appears to be a decent student. But then, why couldn't she compete for a non-political scholarship on her own like thousands of other Illinois kids, instead of relying on clout?

It gets better.

"A National Honor Society scholar, a Who's Who Among High School Students member, a city champion on the girls' varsity tennis team, a community Little League volunteer and a sterling recommendation from her principal at Whitney Young Magnet High School were the reasons that earned Taylor Beale a tuition waiver," Rita said in a statement.

Guess how she got into Whitney Young? From the Beachwood Wayback Machine:

"Anthony Beale is now the second alderman to admit he made a phone call to the principal of Whitney Young to get his daughter into the school, the Sun-Times reports.

[Whitney Young Principal Joyce] Kenner said she had a 'personal relationship' with Beale, whom she knew as a baseball coach when her son was playing baseball. 'When he called me, it wasn't about him being a political figure,' Kenner said."

It was about her personal relationship with Beale.

I don't know which is worse.


Similarly, Kenner didn't know Ald. Ricardo Munoz as an alderman when he called her to get his daughter into her school. "She knew Munoz as the father of a boy her son played basketball with."


It gets better.

"I try not to be political at all,'' Kenner said. "If you ask me how many aldermen there are, I don't even know."

The principal of Whitney Young doesn't know how many aldermen there are?

Not done yet.

"The Chicago Schools Inspector General has recommended that Principal Joyce Kenner be banned for life from hand-picking kids for admission to Whitney Young Magnet High," the Sun-Times reported last January.

Can we do the same to Rita - and his pals in Springfield?

"Rita, now serving his fifth two-year term in the Illinois House, voted against legislation in 2010 that would have ended the scholarship perk. He declined interview requests about the tuition waiver for Beale's daughter. He also won't say how many applications he gets or discuss how he chooses who'll get the college freebie."

It's none of our business, dammit!

"The state's public universities and community colleges are on the hook for the estimated $13.5 million a year to cover the cost of the education the scholarships cover."

And when Taylor Beale graduates from the U of I, I'm sure there will be a taxpayer-funded job waiting for her.


Robert Rita in the Beachwood, August 19, 2008:

"Emil Jones III, 31, worked for the state between May 1999 and November 2006, when he briefly left the payroll," the Sun-Times reports. "Despite not having a college degree, he was hired in April 2007 as an administrator for Gov. Blagojevich's Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity - a job that pays $59,436. Attempts to reach him Monday were unsuccessful."


"Give him a chance to prove himself," state Rep. Robert Rita (D-Blue Island) says.


Beale in the Beachwood, July 1, 2010:

For his efforts regarding Walmart, the Tribune editorial board lionizes Ald. Anthony Beale (9th) as the greatest alderman since Hinky Dink Kenna. In reality, Beale is a Daley tool. He's also pretty much a doorknob, according to sources close to the alderman.

Yet once again the Tribune, like its legacy media counterparts, ignores the blazing Big Lie that Beale has apparently been telling this whole time.

And while the Trib crows that Beale "has been single-minded in his efforts to build a better quality of life for his constituents," the record shows otherwise.

From the August 19, 2009 Papers:

Returning for a moment to the Tribune's story about aldermen's expense accounts:

"Six aldermen tapped their expense accounts to pay for public relations firms and other consultants - for everything from setting up community meetings to expert advice.

"Ald. Anthony Beale (9th) spent more than any other alderman on public relations, with more than $16,000 paid to The Publicity Works, a company owned by longtime Democratic political consultant Delmarie Cobb."

From the January 14, 2009 Papers:

It was a real meeting of the minds on Tuesday when Roland Burris appeared before the Chicago City Council for absolutely no good reason.


"We all know we got issues with the person [who] appointed him and that the process had been tainted," said Ald. Anthony Beale (9th). "But when he chose Roland Burris, he untainted the process."

And from the June 28, 2006 Papers:

"Madigan anointed his daughter. Tom Hynes anointed his son. Bill Lipinski anointed his son. So why can't John Stroger anoint his son?" asks Ald. Anthony Beale.

Maybe the Trib confused Beale with someone else when they wrote today that "It's a pleasure to point to a political figure who follows his best instincts and acts in the interest of his neighborhood."

Finally, a reminder of where Beale came from courtesy of Laura Washington in the Sun-Times in 2002:

"U.S. Rep. Jesse Jackson Jr. and his father, the Rev. Jesse L. Jackson Sr., longtime head of Rainbow/PUSH, are quietly revving up a new political machine in Chicago. Flush from their rancorous but victorious battle to unseat Democratic state Sen. Bill Shaw, the Jacksons are now aiming for more accountability and independence in the Chicago City Council. On Nov. 5, they turned a longtime rivalry with Shaw into electoral clout when they helped the Rev. James Meeks, pastor of Salem Baptist Church, knock out the senator from Dolton.

"Shaw sealed his destiny in the March primary, with his ham-handed attempt to confuse voters and derail Rep. Jackson's re-election bid by putting up a retired truck driver named Jesse Jackson in the 2nd District congressional race. The Jacksons turned their pique and the voters' ire to a victory for Meeks in the fall campaign.

"The Jackson Machine's first major victory came in 1999, when they helped Anthony Beale snare the 9th Ward aldermanic seat in an effort to curb the proliferation of liquor establishments in Roseland."


As for Rita, his rich past is too thick to get into now, but the Daily Southtown editorial board wrote this in March 2006:

Robert 'Bob' Rita has served two terms in the Legislature, thanks to the ability of the regular Democratic Party within the district - of which his father is one of the key players - to get out the vote. This year Rita , of Blue Island, faces three Chicagoans: Michael Mayden, Brenda Williams and Florida Cresswell. Williams and Cresswell appear to be "ghost" candidates, whose names have been put on the ballot to divide the votes among the challengers but who do virtually no campaigning. Mayden's candidacy is being challenged in court by the Rita camp because he wants to appear on the ballot with his nickname, "The Coach."

Rita has fostered some legislation in Springfield, such as finding an acceptable use for the Robbins incinerator as a garbage transfer station. But overall he has shown relatively little initiative, and he shows virtually no sign of breaking from the chokehold of the Democratic leadership and displaying any independence. What's more, Rita has refused to defend his record to the Southtown. After tentatively agreeing to be interviewed by a Southtown reporter and by our editorial board, he failed to return numerous calls to confirm the interviews and has made himself unavailable. Gov. Rod Blagojevich found time to meet with us, as did virtually every other candidate we asked, but Rita went into hiding.

Mayden accuses Rita of being inaccessible and unaccountable to the voters, and Rita 's non-response to our interview requests certainly seems to support Mayden's claim.

Unfortunately for voters in the district, Williams and Cresswell aren't real candidates. Mayden is a well-spoken, concerned citizen who can identify problems that need addressing, but he provides few solutions. So we offer no endorsement in this race. There are no Republican candidates, and the winner of the Democratic primary will most likely represent the district in Springfield. What a shame for the residents.

Sun-Times Drops Endorsements
I've long believed that newspapers not only had no business endorsing political candidates but have no business writing editorials at all. A strong opinion section? Sure. An institutional viewpoint representing the publisher's partisanship or corporate interests, as funneled through a small cadre of ex-reporters deemed willing to comply? No thanks.

The Tribune's longtime editorial page editor Bruce Dold once defended his page's role by citing his experience in seeing "things get done" as a result. Yes, but what things? That position assumes that editorial boards have some special insight that allows them to pick the "right" outcomes. We know that isn't true.

Editorial boards enjoy, I'm sure, being a power center of their own, but they are one that influences elections yet goes without the same scrutiny that attaches to other endorsers and supporters.

Finally, endorsements (and editorials in general, really) just create more headaches for reporters trying to do their job fairly without suspicion easily cast on their biases and motives.

So I welcome the Sun-Times's decision to drop political endorsements, though it does come with some questions.

Remember, for example, when the Sun-Times went to great lengths to reposition itself as an editorially liberal newspaper after years in the wilderness of Conrad Black's right-wing mania? All previous opinions (again) non-operational!

And does this have anything to do with the fact that - according to his donor pattern - new owner Michael Ferro favors Republicans? Maybe another sea change would be too much whiplash for readers.

Oxymoron: Jobless Recovery
Ford Motor Company comes to the 'hood.

Rahm Plays Library Card
At the poker table with Chicago's future.

The Joke's On The People's Court
Comedy stylings from Chicago's Nick and Nora.

The Weekend In Chicago Rock
They played at a venue near you. We have the video.

A Swan In A Swamp
In Chicagoetry.

Memo To Theo
Get Prince!


The Beachwood Tip Line: Princely.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 8:35 AM | Permalink

The Joke's On The People's Court

"During a brief romantic and creative hiatus, Nora sued Nick on The People's Court," Nick and Nora of The Nick and Nora Variety Hour say on a Tumblr dedicated to the well-timed launch of their new show. "These were dark days for the both of us, but with the help of Judge Marilyn Milian and the American judicial system justice and love triumphed."

Nick & Nora on The People's Court from The Nick and Nora Variety Hour! on Vimeo.


Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 8:04 AM | Permalink

Rahm Plays Library Card

Thank you, friend of the Chicago public libraries! You are making a real difference.

Earlier this week we announced that library staff and supporters will hold the People's Library Hours outside three branch libraries on Monday, January 23. The response was immediate and enthusiastic from library lovers like you all across Chicago.

[On Saturday] Mayor Emanuel also responded. He announced that he is altering his plan to shut down all branch libraries on Mondays - and that the branches will now be open on Monday afternoon.

Undoubtedly this is a step in the right direction. But we can't stop now. Details of the mayor's plan are still unclear, but we do know that less than half of the hours are being restored and less than half of the laid-off library staff are being called back.

That's why it's essential that we keep on speaking out in support of our libraries. Since the branches will still be closed on Monday morning, we will still be gathering for the People's Library Hours this Monday at 10 a.m. Please be there with us at the Bucktown, Little Village or Beverly branch libraries for story time, hot chocolate, music and more. Click here for a PDF flyer with the details.

We'll celebrate the progress we've made - and continue to press for a full restoration of library services, hours and staff.

We hope to see you there on Monday morning!



This Monday morning at 10 a.m., library staff and supporters will gather in front of three branch libraries in three city neighborhoods - Bucktown, Little Village and Beverly - to hold People's Library Hours with story time, hot chocolate, music and more.

Can you be there to help show that Chicagoans love their libraries?

People's Library Hours
Monday, Jan. 23 at 10 a.m.
Bucktown Library, 1701 N. Milwaukee
Little Village Library, 2311 S. Kedzie
Beverly Library, 1962 W. 95th Street

Mayor Emanuel cut the Chicago Public Library budget and laid off 176 library staff. Then he unilaterally closed the branch libraries on Mondays. These closures and layoffs hurt all Chicago residents and neighborhoods.

This Monday morning, join us at the Bucktown, Little Village or Beverly branch. Together we'll show that the libraries belong not to the mayor but to all the people of the city - and the people want their branch libraries fully open and fully staffed.


See also:

* Tribune: City Libraries To Be Open Monday Afternoons

* Sun-Times: Emanuel Announces Plan To Reopen Libraries On Mondays

* Chicago News Cooperative: City Libraries To Reopen Mondays

* Newstips: Library Cuts Restored: Whose Victory?


Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 4:09 AM | Permalink

Oxymoron: Jobless Recovery

"Ten degrees out with an eight-below wind-chill and people have been camped out all night long just to get an application to work for Ford Motor Company. They turned people away and closed the doors.

"All these people praying for a job. Where are all the jobs, Mr. President, mayor, governor and crooked-ass aldermen and crooked-ass politicians?! Where the hell is the help you bastards promised the people for voting you assholes into office?"


See also: J-Hustle's YouTube channel.


Via: OperationLeakS


Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 3:01 AM | Permalink

The Weekend in Chicago Rock

You shoulda been there.

1. Sound Tribe Sector 9 at the Congress on Friday night.


2. The Del McCoury Band at the Auditorium on Saturday night.


3. The Root Cause at The Montrose Room on Friday night.


4. The Kills at the Riv on Friday night.


5. D.R.U.G.S. at the House of Blues on Thursday night.


Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 2:30 AM | Permalink

Chicagoetry: A Swan In A Swamp

A Swan in a Swamp

So: there's an angel
in my guts,

a swan in my swamp.

White swamp, snow bog,
like rain after a blizzard.

The egrets and heron belong
but the swan

seems wrong, a slim wizard
in a fat fog,

a cherub
'midst the bats and frogs.

Cottonmouth bastards,
croc motherfuckers

then this black-billed
trumpeter swan

taking no guff.
I had myself black-balled

but the angel
called my bluff.

Warrior angel,
swan with a sword.

Knee-boots, cap of lures,
cherry-red shotgun.

God: I thought it was a brittle flamingo
but mercy it's a blood-flecked swan.

Meaty motherfucker.

Here is my angel, my
cold salvation.

Thought I was a goner,
a scorp-scarred loner
but the swan don't scare.

It sits, it swims, it stares.
Ain't goin' nowhere.

Christ: like a loyal friend!
A miracle, a good-witch fiend.

The slush, the sluice,
the shit-bag Canadian goose
passing through.

Thought I was a goner
but then came the angel
with a black trumpet,

honking out some
cherry-red blues.

The herons
start to dance.
Jazz angel
don't take no

for an answer.


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 12:52 AM | Permalink

January 21, 2012

The Weekend Desk Report

The Beachwood Reporter Weekend Desk: the third time's definitely not the charm.

Market Update
Good Ideas took a tumble this week when top rating agency S&P determined most of them are actually incredibly bad ideas.

Warded Off
Remember when Mayor Emanuel's difficult decisions included things like reforming inefficient city services and axing a bloated payroll? We'd all better watch our backs; that new 2nd Ward map looks suspiciously like a giant X carved through the heart of the city.

Back to Reality
Remember when soap operas featured sex and cartoonish villains and secret heirs apparent no one knew anything about? Now it's just a bunch of boring white guys and a state that can't count. No wonder folks are turning back to cable access.

State of Charity
Remember when charities in Pennsylvania used to be, you know, charitable? Yeah, neither do we.

Cold Comfort
Finally this week, remember when Rick Santorum actually had a job in government? He'd better watch out: turns out South Carolina isn't the best place to show up without one.


The Weekend Desk Tip Line: With that new ward map smell.


The Sound Opinions Weekend Report: "Call them short, petite or brief, but our favorite under two minute tracks are some of rock's best. Tune in for Short But Sweet. And stick around for Jim and Greg's review of Hold Steady frontman Craig Finn's first solo effort."


The CAN TV Weekend Report: CAN TV brings you local, relevant issues from Chicago's neighborhoods and communities. See what's happening around the city in education, the arts, government, cultural events, social services and community activities.

Community Forum: Golden Apple Foundation


2007 Golden Apple Scholar Paulina Mosqueda explains how the organization works to inspire, develop and support teacher excellence in Illinois , especially at schools in need.

Saturday, January 21 at 7:30 p.m. on CAN TV21
30 min


Occupy the Dream: A Martin Luther King Celebration


U.S. Rep. Jesse Jackson Jr. (2nd Dist.) joins religious leaders, civil rights activists, and elected officials from Illinois and Indiana to commemorate the legacy of Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr. and urge a continued movement for economic and political equality.

Saturday, January 21 at 9 p.m. on CAN TV21 and Sunday, January 22 at 5 p.m. on CAN TV19
1 hr 30 min


Race: A Fatal Invention? A Conversation with Dorothy Roberts


Author and critic Dorothy Roberts makes the case that cutting-edge sciences are once again justifying a belief in race that promotes inequality and undermines a just society.

Sunday, January 22 at 9 a.m. on CAN TV21
1 hr 30 min


People Wasn't Made to Burn: A True Story of Housing, Race, and Murder in Chicago


Author Joe Allen explores how the World War II-era trial of Chicagoan James Hickman illustrates the impact of racial segregation and poverty in the city.

Sunday, January 22 at 10:30 a.m. on CAN TV21
1 hr 30 min


Reflections of Tomorrow


Presented by NEIU in Chicago, this Black History Month program aims to bring the university and community together in a positive way.

Sunday, January 22 at 11:30 a.m. on CAN TV19
30 min


Leonard D White Memorial Lecture: Demystifying the Chinese Economy


Justin Yifu Lin, chief economist and senior vice president of the World Bank, discusses the lessons of Chinese development since its 1979 economic reforms.

Sunday, January 22 at 12 p.m. on CAN TV21
1 hr 30 min

Posted by Natasha Julius at 8:09 AM | Permalink

January 20, 2012

The [Friday] Papers

"Starting in 2015, tens of thousands of Chicagoans will find themselves in new wards with a different alderman under a remap adopted by a 41-8 vote and no public hearing," the Tribune reports.

In other words: The City Council Just Secretly Redrew Your Ward.

"Once there were five candidates for Cook County judge in a Southwest Side district dominated by Democratic boss Mike Madigan," John Kass writes in the Tribune.

"There was the incumbent judge, who had been a criminal attorney for 20 years before his appointment last year. There was also an attorney for the city of Chicago, a public defender and an assistant Illinois attorney general. And there was that fifth candidate, who suffered from an acute shortage of legal experience.

"But what does experience matter when it comes time to don the black robes and dance along The Chicago Way?

"Though short on courtroom time, the fifth candidate did have something more valuable: oodles of political chops. And he had the Mount Olympus of political hack jobs, executive director of the Cook County employee pension fund. But his most outstanding qualification was that his father was the political brain (and fist) of former Mayor Richard M. Daley.

"So guess how many candidates are left on the ballot now? If you said 'just one,' meaning the political guy with the father with the clout, you'd be right.


"The Democratic Party of Illinois is proud to work with Illinoisans in every region of the state to elect our candidates to federal, state and local offices in the November 6, 2012 election. At this time of tremendous challenge for our state and nation, we believe Democrats offer the best vision, programs and policies to set the course for a brighter future."

- Michael J. Madigan, Democratic Party of Illinois Chairman


"Political bank accounts controlled by Illinois House Speaker Michael Madigan received more than $1.5 million in campaign contributions in the final three months of 2011, records filed with state elections officials showed Tuesday," the Tribune reports.

"The donations gave Madigan, the state Democratic chairman and longest-serving leader of the House, more than $2.27 million in campaign cash to start 2012 - an election year in which all 118 House seats are up for election.

"Among the top donors to the Friends of Michael J. Madigan and Democratic Majority political funds were various political action committees tied to the Laborers' union with at least $147,000 in contributions. The Associated Firefighters of Illinois PAC donated at least $95,000, while the Health Care Council of Illinois PAC gave at least $85,000, campaign records showed."

Hull Mull
"The need for its services is as strong as ever, but after years of rising costs and dwindling income from fundraising the Jane Addams Hull House Association will close and file for bankruptcy, the agency said today," the Tribune reports.

Unlike the chairman of the state political party that advocates for the poor, Hull House's cupboard is bare.

Bummer, dude!
"Aon Corp.'s headquarters move to London from Chicago is supposed to benefit shareholders by lightening the company's tax burden and raising its earnings," Crain's reports.

"But the maneuver appears as if it will have precisely the opposite effect on one of Aon's largest shareholders, company founder and retired Chairman Patrick Ryan. If shareholders approve the move, Mr. Ryan is expected to get a tax bill in the tens of millions, based on a reading of the company's registration statement, filed Jan. 13 with the Securities and Exchange Commission."


"Mr. Ryan and his spokeswoman didn't respond to repeated requests for comment."

Maybe they were having soup down at Hull House.

Ghost Of Lawsuits Future
"The city of Chicago is in talks to settle a case with almost 900 people who were arrested and detained in 2003 during a protest at the beginning of the Iraq war," WBEZ reports. "The demonstration was a spontaneous response to the outbreak of the war so there was no set route. Police escorted the large crowd up Lake Shore Drive, but the march ended in confusion

"Attorney Joey Mogul says some protestors got caught between two lines of police with no way to disperse and almost everyone was arrested."

See also: The Constitutional Substitute For Revolution.

Dixie Kicks
"Bulldozers soon may finish what Jake and Elwood started more than 30 years ago: the destruction of the Dixie Square Mall," the Tribune reports.

"The mall has been vacant since John Belushi and Dan Aykroyd raced through it with police cars in hot pursuit, scattering extras and laying waste to much of the 600,000 square feet of retail space in an iconic chase scene from the 1980 film The Blues Brothers.

"In the decades since, vandals and the elements nearly finished the job, while officials in south suburban Harvey have tried - at least a dozen times - to find someone to redevelop a site that has become both the city's bleakest eyesore and most famous landmark."


I'll never forget the time I was with Jesse Jackson Jr. in his SUV and he just drove on through the ravaged remains of that place. Here was the scene from my 2005 Jackson profile in Chicago magazine:

"This is the Dixie Square Mall," he announces, pulling into a parking lot in Harvey, the next stop on his district tour. "This mall has not been the same since Jake and Elwood Blues drove through it on a mission from God to get to an orphanage in downtown Chicago. That was the last time anything ever happened here."

The mall looks as if it had been struck by a tornado - multiple times. "I don't think we should drive in there," [aide Rick] Bryant says, as Jackson maneuvers the SUV down the mall's onetime concourse, debris crackling under his tires. There is still a patchwork roof overhead. "This mall didn't die because the roof collapsed," Jackson says. "It died for want of someone shopping in it. This mall has collapsed and failed because the service-based economy has not made it to Harvey yet."

That's why, for Jackson, the mall is really about the airport. "People [won't be] flying to the Abraham Lincoln airport because they want to get to Peotone," he says. "People [will be] flying into Abraham Lincoln because they can't get into [O'Hare]. I want them to fly into this airport to get them to drive through Harvey to get to Chicago. And when it comes to Harvey, I want to shake them down at my mall," he says with a laugh. And for Jackson, the only way to make that particular dream a reality is to land the airport.

JBTV Bad, Nationwide
Will now hit 14 markets across the country.

The Week in Chicago Rock
Young Distractions, Billy Joe Shaver, Robbie Fulks, Advance Base, Surfer Blood, Two Gallants, The Dance Party.

Cabrini Greens
The Chicago Lights Urban Farm.


The Beachwood Tip Line: Remap your brain.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 7:17 AM | Permalink

The City Council Just Secretly Redrew Your Ward

"The run-up to Thursday's City Council approval of a new ward map was quintessential Chicago politics," the Tribune reports.

"The deal - if not the details - had been largely finished the night before behind closed doors in a third-floor City Hall room that's no longer smoke-filled like it might have been a couple decades ago. Mapmakers pulled an all-nighter, tweaking the street boundaries to keep enough aldermen happy.

"As soon as the maps could be printed, aldermen were handed copies. Less than an hour later, as Mayor Rahm Emanuel led the proceedings, the map was rammed through 41-8. There was no public hearing on the final plan, and the lopsided vote followed a discussion focused far more on legal technicalities than impact on Chicago residents.

"Reform groups and opposing aldermen asked what the rush was, given that there's no city election until 2015."

The rush was that democracy just gets in the way. The last thing Mayor Rahm wanted was a prolonged discussion and a frank exchange of views. Rushing legislation through - just like this week's protest ordinance, hardly seen in its final version by aldermen and just like Mayor Richard M. Daley's parking meters lease - is a way to tamp down debate and stifle dissent. And if you think that changed with Mayor Transparency, I've got a public asset to sell you.


"The Chicago City Council in November approved a resolution stating that it would conduct the ward redistricting in a 'transparent and accountable manner.' Today's vote was anything but what was promised," Brian Gladstein of the Illinois Campaign for Political Reform said in a statement Thursday.

"Approving a map without any public comment on the final product, let alone the chance for residents to even see it, is totally unacceptable. The final map wasn't even made public until after the vote. This is not an example of open government. There is no justification for rushing to approve a map before the public had a chance to view it and provide feedback.

"Throughout the process, Chicagoans from all different backgrounds and wards asked the City Council to let them weigh in on the final proposal before it was passed. It appears those requests fell on deaf ears.

"Actions like today's rush to vote on a remap damage the public's faith in government and its elected officials. The City Council has let Chicago down."


(See if your ward has changed.)


From the tweetstream of Ald. Bob Fioretti:

the public should have seen it Rt "@allshiny: Thanks to @Fioretti2ndWard for trying to defer/publish today's #chicouncil #remap vote."


"Unfortunately this map, despite numerous public hearings, was not one that the public was able to review and provide input," Ald. Roderick Sawyer wrote on his website.

"This map only benefits a few self-serving aldermen . . . There are numerous problems with the process. There was blatant disrespect for the outcome of the last election as certain individuals were determined to disregard the well-stated preferences of their community and allowed rules to be broken in the process.

"I left with an agreement on my map, with particular boundaries that, while not perfect represented what I worked for, only to receive a call this morning to find that my map had been unilaterally changed with no notice to me.

"This was done in spite of the fact that such an action is in clear violation of the rules set up to govern this process. There is no way that I could support such egregious actions that disrespected so many of the people who sent me to office, but it is a wake-up call about the priorities of certain individuals and exactly what they think of our community."


From the tweetstream of Joe Macare:

So @DriXander heard an Alderman today say someone from UNO got more time in the map room than they had to see their own ward. #remap


From the tweetstream of the ICPR as the committee was being called to order:

We still don't know what, exactly, the Council is supposed to consider. Really.


Also from ICPR:

Mell noted numerous public hearings his #remap committee held, but none of those were on the exact plan being considered today #transparency


From Greg Hinz's "Rahm Wins, Others Lose:"

"The final passage took all of 20 minutes - such a short time that one alderman quoted the old song, asking, 'Is that all there is?'"


More from Hinz:

"The way the map was approved was 'borderline criminal,' Ald. Nicholas Sposato said. "'Our people didn't have any say. There's no doubt in my mind we will be sued and have to spend a lot of money.'"


And this:

"The final vote that counted came when Mr. Mell agreed to roughly restore the lines of the Lincoln Park 43d Ward. That brought Alderman Michele Smith in line with the crucial 41st vote - and may deprive potential map challengers of big Lincoln Park cash to pay for a lawsuit.

"'I saved my neighborhood,' she said before casting her vote."



"Voting no were Aldermen Bob Fioretti (2nd), Roderick Sawyer (6th), Mike Zalewski (23rd), Michael Chandler (24th), Scott Waguespack (32nd), Rey Colon (35th), Mr. Sposato and John Arena (45th). Toni Foulkes (15th) did not vote.

"All other aldermen voted yes. Notably included was downtown Alderman Brendan Reilly (42nd), who passed on the initial roll call before determining at the last second that his 'yes' vote was needed."


Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 5:50 AM | Permalink

The Constitutional Substitute For Revolution

"It never fails. The G8 or some similar international summit comes to town and local officials invoke something akin to martial law. They call out massive officer brigades, engage in surveillance and covert acts, and cordon off public spaces where protest is permitted so that attendees can be kept safe from the rabble. Now came Mayor Rahm Emanuel," writes Timothy Zick, author of Speech Out of Doors: Preserving First Amendment Liberties in Public Places.

"[Rahm's new protest ordinance instates] an increased number of surveillance cameras; closing of parks and beaches until 6 a.m.; parade restrictions and higher fees for parades and protests. The police supt. is also empowered to 'deputize' out-of-state law enforcement personnel experienced in handling civil unrest. If the past is a reliable guide (and I'm betting it is), these and other measures will lead to substantial limits on public protest, many lawsuits, and settlement liability imposed on the City of Chicago.

"This is not the 1968 DNC. It's too bad we have progressed so little in terms of how we often characterize, and how officials treat, lawful protest activity. Before the first parade has hit the streets, the Mayor is seeking emergency powers and police are preparing to do battle with boots on the ground. It's true that mass protests come with some threat to public safety. So do state fairs, holiday parades, and large conventions. But the act of public protest is not itself a threat. Chicago officials would do well to keep that in mind as they prepare for May."

From Zick's book:

"During the Civil Rights Era and is aftermath, the Supreme Court firmly embraced the view earlier expressed by Justice Douglass in Termiello v. Chicago (1949): "[A] function of free speech under our system of government is to invite dispute. It may indeed best serve its high purpose when it induces a condition of unrest, creates dissatisfaction with conditions as they are, or even stirs people to anger."


"John Inazu's Liberty's Refuge: The Forgotten Freedom of Assembly and Timothy Zick's Speech Out of Doors: Preserving First Amendment Liberties in Public Places investigate the disappearance of the First Amendment 'right of the people peaceably to assemble,' in contemporary America," Jeremy Kessler writes in The New Republic.

"Although Inazu and Zick wrote their books before the Occupation emerged, their histories help to explain - and even to justify - the Occupy Wall Street movement's extreme mode of assembly: an assembly that insists on peculiar decision-making procedures, engages in twenty-four-hour protest, and refuses to cooperate with government officials and their permitting regimes."


"The freedom of assembly has been at the heart of some of the most important social movements in American history: antebellum abolitionism, women's suffrage in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, the labor movement in the Progressive Era and after the New Deal, and the civil rights movement," an abstract of the paper that led to Inazu's book says.

"Claims of assembly stood against the ideological tyranny that exploded during the first Red Scare in the years surrounding the First World War and the second Red Scare of 1950s McCarthyism. Abraham Lincoln once called 'the right of the people peaceably to assemble' part of 'the Constitutional substitute for revolution.' In 1939, the popular press heralded it as one of the 'four freedoms' at the core of the Bill of Rights. And even as late as 1973, John Rawls characterized it as one of the 'basic liberties.'

"But in the past thirty years, assembly has been reduced to a historical footnote in American law and political theory. Why has assembly so utterly disappeared from our democratic fabric?"


See also: City Council Demands You Shut Up And Sit Down, Just Like They Do


Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 5:10 AM | Permalink

Cabrini Greens: The Chicago Lights Urban Farm

"For more than forty years, Fourth Presbyterian Church has been involved with the children and families living in Cabrini-Green," the church says on its website.

"As an outgrowth of that relationship, in 2001 the church bought property in the Cabrini-Green community, on Chicago Avenue between Hudson and Cleveland, at 444 W. Chicago Avenue. In doing so, the church and Chicago Lights signaled their commitment to helping the neighborhood become a thriving diverse community and to ensuring that present residents are not cast aside in the process of its transformation into a mixed-income neighborhood.

"As the first step in this important endeavor, the Chicago Avenue site was transformed into a community garden, as a way to strengthen the relationships with the families and children in the Cabrini community.The Chicago Avenue property became the site for a community garden in the Cabrini-Green neighborhood in 2003, and the Chicago Lights Chicago Avenue Outreach continued to thrive as a garden through 2009.

"In 2010, in collaboration with Growing Power, a nationally recognized leader in urban agriculture, the garden has expanded to become an urban farm, with hoop greenhouses extending the growing season to nine to twelve months.

"The Chicago Lights Urban Farm provides job training and youth development. Through the urban farm, young adults not only learn about agriculture as they work with food production, but also gain life skills and job readiness. Families learn about nutrition and have access to affordable, healthy produce. And relationships in the community continue to be fostered as people of diverse backgrounds work side by side and enjoy community celebrations together."

This video was uploaded to YouTube earlier today.



Movers & Shakers.


The Home Place.


NBC Chicago Green Week.


Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 3:57 AM | Permalink

The Week in Chicago Rock

You shoulda been there.

1. Young Distractions at Chrome Chicago on Thursday night.


2. Surfer Blood at Schubas on Tuesday night.


3. Billy Joe Shaver at Fitzgerald's on Wednesday night.


4. Robbie Fulks at the Hideout on Monday night.


5. The Dance Party at the Elbo Room on Monday night.


6. Two Gallants at Lincoln Hall on Sunday night.


7. Advance Base at the Empty Bottle on Tuesday night.


Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 3:17 AM | Permalink

JBTV Is Bad, Nationwide

This just in from JBTV HQ, augmented by the Beachwood YouTube Curation Desk:

JBTV, Chicago's longest-running music television show that mixes cutting-edge interviews, music videos and live, in-studio musical performances from emerging and established artists, has inked a deal with NBC Universal that will bring the weekly, one-hour program to 14 major markets across the United States.

Beginning on Saturday, February 18th, 2012, JBTV will air weekly one-hour episodes on Saturday nights at 10 p.m. on NBC's newly-consolidated, national NBC "Nonstop" channel in Chicago, New York City/New Jersey, Los Angeles, San Diego, San Francisco/San Jose/Bay Area, Miami/South Florida, Philadelphia, Dallas/Ft. Worth, Connecticut, Delaware, Washington D.C., Maryland and Northern Virginia.


The NBC "Nonstop" digital sub-channel is available free over-the-air and via digital television, and through national cable carriers Comcast, Time Warner, WOW!, Cox, Verizon FIOS and RCN.


JBTV was founded in 1984 by namesake Jerry Bryant and has been an iconic showcase for local Chicago and national music talent for over 27 years. While Bryant still hosts many of the hour-long weekly episodes produced from JBTV's Chicago studio, the show underwent a major revamp in early 2010 under the guidance of Chicago music entrepreneur and JBTV General Manager and Executive Producer Christian Picciolini. The show also features former Q101 radio mainstay and current SiriusXM Howard Stern 101 personality Ryan Manno as host, as well as co-hosts Jenna Martinelli, Tobias Jeg and Brendan Kelly, who conduct interviews and other segments.

Since the show's format change in early 2010, JBTV has won a Regional Emmy Award and garnered multiple Emmy nominations (three in 2010 and two in 2011) and has become an industry-leading outlet for introducing cutting-edge musical content from critically acclaimed, emerging artists. JBTV's engaging interviews, lifestyle segments, and live musical performances from their distinctive high-definition (HD) sound stage have earned them a reputation for high production value and a keen discernment for exposing new, undiscovered talent.

JBTV has produced and aired more than 3,800 episodes and featured thousands of burgeoning musical artists. The program has spotlighted many of the biggest names in rock music, most before they achieved international fame. Among them:

Smashing Pumpkins . . .


Radiohead . . .


Green Day . . .


Garbage . . .


Alanis Morrissette . . .


. . . and hundreds more, as well as lesser-known - yet critically acclaimed - up-and-coming acts such as . . .

Grammy-nominated Silversun Pickups . . .


The Gaslight Anthem . . .




and Fitz & the Tantrums.


JBTV currently airs several times each week on broadcast television (NBC Chicago "Nonstop" Ch. 5.2 and WJYS Ch. 62) and on cable/satellite channels. Full episodes and clips are also available on the JBTV YouTube Channel, for free download on Apple iTunes and their website:


Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 12:29 AM | Permalink

January 19, 2012

The [Thursday] Papers

"Mayor Rahm Emanuel easily won approval Wednesday for two measures that will tighten parade rules, increase fines for violating the restrictions and give him unfettered power to spend money on two international summits coming to Chicago in May," the Tribune reports.

My take: City Council Demands You Shut Up And Sit Down, Just Like They Do.

Durbin To Internet: Drop Dead
Though a staffer now says "It's not a top priority," Dick Durbin is a co-sponsor of PIPA - the Senate version of SOPA.

Nobel Prize
"This April, an unprecedented global event lands in Chicago," Fox Chicago reports. "A number of Nobel Peace Prize winners will gather in town for the World Summit of Nobel Peace Laureates.

New protest rules will be in effect.

Occupy via Chicago
"Weeks after their eviction from several area encampments, anti-Wall Street activists in San Francisco, including a former Pacific Stock Exchange president, are vowing to disrupt the city's financial district on Friday with a series of protests," Reuters reports.

"On Wednesday, the protesters held a carefully-scripted press conference in front of the former world headquarters of Bank of America.

"A half dozen activist groups, including the California Nurses Association and Iraq Veterans Against the War, held up identical 'Occupy Wall Street West' signs as they stood in a semicircle around a bank of broadcasters' microphones. One person dressed up as a giant squid to symbolize the global reach of Goldman Sachs, the Wall Street investment giant.

"The speakers included Vivian Richardson, a San Francisco homeowner who credited the Occupy movement with helping her resist foreclosure, and R. Warren Langley, 69, who served as president of the now-defunct Pacific Stock Exchange until 1999.

"Langley's grew up in Alabama and served in the U.S. Air Force before beginning his career in finance.

"As an executive at Hull Trading in Chicago, he lobbied for the deregulation of financial services, he said. But as he contemplated the future of his grandchildren, he rejected the positions of his former colleagues.

"'It's not that these people are doing anything illegal,' he said. 'It's just that the laws have been set up for them. The game has been rigged. This is the last chance to level the playing field so my grandchildren can enjoy the kind of opportunities I enjoyed.'

"Langley said he planned to demonstrate in front of a Bank of America branch on Friday."

Bad Optics
Obama To Deliver Convention Speech At Bank of America Stadium.

Know Your Rights
In Song of the Moment.

When WTTW Pledge Master Marty Robinson . . .
. . . Kept Interrupting Doctor Who.

That Happened
The 2011 Chicago Underwater Hockey Finals.

Wakeboarding And Scuba Emporium
At the 2012 Chicago Boat Show.


The Beachwood Tip Line: Tasty waves.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 10:16 AM | Permalink

City Council Demands You Shut Up And Sit Down, Just Like They Do

I could write that the the Chicago City Council passed Mayor Rahm Emanuel's draconian crackdown on free speech on Wednesday because they are still a collection of spineless twits, naifs and plain lousy persons, and that city government is still a boss and his tools, despite the malarkey emanating from aldermen being played in a kinder, gentler but more devious way, but then Ald. Joe Moore would accuse me of "overheated rhetoric and over-the-top hyperbole."

What seems to be overheated and over-the-top to me, though, are the two ordinances Moore and his colleagues just passed despite the ink barely being dry on some of the provisions that just had to be rushed into law without due debate because the G8/NATO summits which have been scheduled for a year are now . . . four months away.

But there was Moore - and his so-called hip partner in progressive politics Joe Moreno - falling all over themselves to heap praise on Rahm Emanuel and his listening skills as if they would otherwise be carted off to jail themselves for violating the new rules that, as reported by Progress Illnois, include provisions requiring "paying parade insurance to the city, and registering for a protest permit 15 days prior to the event. The ordinance also says that protesters must provide the city with a list of all signs, banners, sound equipment, or 'attention-getting devices' that need more than one person to carry them."

Of course, rules like this need never be written for the council itself because they never object to anything anyway.

"Mayor Emanuel should be congratulated for his open-mindedness," Moore said.

On the other hand, there's the hyperbole of University of Chicago student Sam Brody: "If something egregious happens on a Tuesday, we should be able to have a large protest about it outside of City Hall on Wednesday."

Whoa! Slow down, partner.


There were actually two ordinances passed on Wednesday, described thusly by the Tribune: "Mayor Rahm Emanuel easily won approval Wednesday for two measures that will tighten parade rules, increase fines for violating the restrictions and give him unfettered power to spend money on two international summits coming to Chicago in May."

I'll get to that unfettered power in a bit.

But first, a public service announcement from the Reader's Mick Dumke:

"Aldermen didn't get much time to study Mayor Rahm Emanuel's newest proposals for tightening protest regulations before they came before two City Council committees Tuesday. In the latest episode of an ongoing story, most of the new rules were handed out to aldermen a few minutes after the start of the meeting called to approve them.

"Nor could our council representatives have possibly gotten the message that their constituents are in favor of the plans to deputize police from outside Chicago, restrict access to public parks and beaches, raise fees for parades and marches, and require preapproval from the city for the use of large signs, banners, or sound equipment. Scores of opponents ripped the proposals in a demonstration before the committee hearings and in testimony to aldermen.

"Plus, a number of the aldermen expressed their own concerns about the intent and impact of the proposals, pushed by Emanuel in advance of the NATO and G8 summits Chicago will host in May. 'I think we all agree on the need to prepare,' said 44th Ward alderman Tom Tunney. 'But my question is with the First Amendment part of this.'

"On the other hand, the mayor wanted the proposals passed."

And pass they did:

"[Leslie Hairston (5th)] was joined in opposing the parade and protest rules by Robert Fioretti (2nd), Will Burns (4th), and Nicholas Sposato (36th). The same four cast nays on the contracting and deputizing ordinance, along with Sandi Jackson (7th)."

The rest went with Rahm.

"I do not think we've had enough time to see how far these measures go," Hairston said.

Which was just the point - both of activists upset with the ordinance and City Hall, which didn't want restrictions of free speech up for discussion.


"Almost everyone agrees that having these two summits in our city is a great opportunity to solidify our rightful place as a world city," Ald. Joe Moreno wrote on Huffington Post explaining his votes in favor of the new ordinances.

I'm not sure which part of that declaration is worse: "Almost everyone," "great opportunity," or "solidify our rightful place as a world city."

My guess is that almost everyone agrees this is a nightmare in the making; hence the crackdown. Little good can come of hosting both these events in the current political environment. That's why Rahm has put the city on a crisis footing.

Rahm didn't just make a mistake when he made a grab for emergency powers; he thinks this is an emergency.

And while business leaders, for example, may agree with Moreno that it's a "great opportunity" to show off the elite parts of the city to the world's elites, even that noted bastion of dirty hippiedom called Crain's Chicago Business thinks the new rules go way too far. You might say they aren't befitting of a world-class city.

But Crain's doesn't sit on the city council, so they still have their souls intact.

"While my original position was to vote against this ordinance," Moreno writes, "my opinion changed over the last two days, because of the concessions and changes made to the original proposal."

Really? Which concessions in particular were the big sticking points that won you over?

"[I]n the end, I don't believe that the particulars of this ordinance significantly curtail 1st Amendment rights enough to justify a no vote."

They just curtail a little bit!


And then there's the money.

"Thirty-first Ward alderman Ray Suarez, hardly a frequent dissenter himself, wanted clarity about another point - who's going to be on the hook for the estimated $40 million to $65 million expense of hosting the summits this spring?" Dumke reports.

"'That has not been determined, [police chief Garry] McCarthy said.

"Suarez looked confused. 'In our briefings we were led to believe that the federal government will cover the cost of this thing. Now you're telling me something different.'

"A number of administration officials and fellow aldermen jumped in to tell Suarez he shouldn't worry, since the city had appealed to federal officials and was planning to apply for grants to cover the expenses. 'I've been assured it will not cost the city," said Carrie Austin, the council's budget committee chair.'"

The money isn't even in the city's hands. Oy.


Of course, we've seen this movie before. The parking meter leasing deal that aldermen didn't have time to read; authority over contracts shifted from the council to the mayor's office; scare tactics over security used to chip away at civil liberties.

Just the sort of things activists are upset about.


Scene report from a Beachwood associate:

"They wouldn't let Occupiers into the council chambers. First they claimed it was a capacity. So I went up to the mezzanine and photographed empty seats and came back down to the 2nd floor. When I showed them the evidence they were lying, the cops reconvened then announced that the mayor simply refused us inside."

You aren't allowed to protest a vote about protest restrictions! In fact, you can't even watch it!


Some protesters were eventually let in - and some eventually kicked out. Next time they'll have to preregister and buy insurance.


From @BeachwoodReport:

* City council overwhelmingly approves Rahm's Rules for Pesky Protests. Now he'll get what he's asking for this spring. #wholeworldwatching

* Maybe there'd be more outrage if Rahm outlawed dibs instead of our civil rights.

* Rahm's mom was a civil rights worker so his dismantling of the same civil liberties she fought for should be accepted for our own good.

* Breaking! New parade ordinance fines Ringling elephants $1,000 for not cleaning up their poop. And $2,000 for complaining about it.

* Breaking! New protest/dibs ordinance replaces aldermen with plastic chairs.

* Breaking! New protest ordinance includes provision prohibiting returns to Sears. #shutupandsitdown

* Rahm: "You're mad as hell and you're gonna sit there and take it!"

* Breaking! New protest ordinance prohibits booing at Chicago sports events. "Makes us look bad to the rest of the world.

* Reminder: Rahm Emanuel and the Chicago City Council are DEMOCRATS.

* Rahm/Obama mashup: Pay to protest or we'll detain you indefinitely.

* Rahm/SOPA/Obama mashup: Notify us in advance of signs you plan to bring so we can black out the bad words or detain you indefinitely.

* Rahm/Obama 2012 mashup: Shut up and sit down or Mitt Romney will get elected and take away your civil rights!


Song of the Moment: Know Your Rights.


Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 8:21 AM | Permalink

Scene Report: The 2012 Chicago Boat Show

"Total attendance for the Progressive Insurance Chicago Boat, Sports & RV Show increased 7 percent despite slower days Thursday and Friday because of bad weather, the National Marine Manufacturers Association reported," Trade Only reports.

"The NMMA said 35,402 people attended the event, which ran Jan. 12-16 at McCormick Place. The show switched its date pattern this year, moving from Wednesday-Sunday to Thursday-Monday to take advantage of the Martin Luther King holiday."


Show highlights uploaded to YouTube this week by North Point Digital Productions:

"Segments of the 2012 Chicago Boat Show including the Scuba Emporium's intro to SCUBA which introduced over 400 to the world of SCUBA. Wakeboard professionals entertained the crowds with their Rail Jam. Many other features - too numerous to show them all - but a great time for all at the boat show."


Coming Attraction
"She is constructed of high-tech carbon fiber, measures 86 feet from stem to stern with a 100 foot mast and a 14 foot keel, and her biggest sail is 5,000 square feet. 'Ocean' is the largest sailboat ever to be displayed at an indoor boat show, and will be the Featured Yacht at the center of the Progressive Insurance Strictly Sail Chicago Show, January 26 - 29, at Navy Pier."


Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 7:48 AM | Permalink

That Happened: The 2011 Women's Underwater Hockey Chicago Finals

"A very unique game in that it is 3-dimensional and requires you to play while holding your breath," says the Chicago Underwater Hockey Club.

"Also called Octopush and Water Hockey," according to Wikipedia.


The Finals: First Half:


The Finals: Second Half


Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 7:18 AM | Permalink

When WTTW Pledge Master Marty Robinson Kept Interrupting Doctor Who

"Nearly 15 years ago, Marty Robinson appeared before a WTTW-TV camera on his first pledge night reading from a script written by the engineer," the Sun-Times reported in 1986. "Since then, Robinson has become a star of improvisational fund-raising for the station."

The Video Archive Project uploaded a reminder of why to YouTube this week, accompanied by this text:

"Anyone growing up in Chicago between the mid 70s all the way to 1998 will remember the face and voice of Marty Robinson - a Chicago broadcasting legend and the host of many WTTW subscription drives.

"This one was put to VHS because it was during Doctor Who, my favorite show on the network. This was also at a time when Channel 11 was being very aggressive in its purchasing and broadcasting of Doctor Who and this particular evening kicked off 'The Trial Of A Timelord' - one of the seasons during Colin Baker's tenure as The Doctor."


And previously from FuzzyMemoriesTV:


"In addition to real fund-raisers, he also has appeared in a spoof of pledge drives," the Sun-Times story said. "Wearing torn clothes, Robinson warned viewers that the station would be torn down unless they sent money. Suddenly a beam fell into the set, and an actress told construction workers: 'You've killed Marty Robinson!'"

In 2007, Robinson posted this on a WTTW message board:

"I'm still doing an occasional voice-over and am training professionals in tv techniques as I have been since 1973. Right now, my wife Mary and I and our standard schnauzer Diva are enjoying our annual Winter hiatus in Florida. To the previous writer, I was at WTTW from 1971 to 1998. Thanks for remembering."

No, Marty. Thank you.


Comments welcome.


1. From Adrienne Doherty:

Chicago was lucky to have Marty Robinson at WTTW. With the possible exception of WFMT radio, it seems that there is almost no broadcast talent with his wit, polish and intelligence available today. Should we be wondering why?

Mr. Robinson's consummate performance is a reminder of how things have changed . . . sadly, for the worse. (Certainly, PBS has.)

It is encouraging to know that Mr. Robinson was/is active in training others in his field.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 7:10 AM | Permalink

Song of the Moment: Know Your Rights

You have the right to remain silent.

Song: Know Your Rights

Album: Combat Rock

Recorded: 1982

Released: April 3, 1982

Format: 7"

Length: 3:51

Wikipedia: It was released as a single prior to the release of the album, Combat Rock, on which it appears. The song was the first single from the album. (The next single was "Should I Stay Or Should I Go?")

Charts: No. 43 on the UK Singles chart

Covers: Primal Scream covered the song as a B-side to "Kowalski" in 1997.

Pearl Jam has performed the song live many times, most notably during their Riot Act Tour in 2003. It also has been recorded on their live albums 7/11/03 - Mansfield, Massachusetts, 7/9/03 - New York, New York, and 3/3/03 - Tokyo, Japan.


This is a public service announcement
With guitar
Know your rights all three of them

Number 1
You have the right not to be killed
Murder is a CRIME!
Unless it was done by a
Policeman or aristocrat
Know your rights

And Number 2
You have the right to food money
Providing of course you
Don't mind a little
Investigation, humiliation
And if you cross your fingers

Know your rights
These are your rights

Know these rights

Number 3
You have the right to free
Speech as long as you're not
Dumb enough to actually try it.

Know your rights
These are your rights
All three of 'em
It has been suggested
In some quarters that this is not enough!

Get off the streets
Get off the streets
You don't have a home to go to

Finally then I will read you your rights

You have the right to remain silent
You are warned that anything you say
Can and will be taken down
And used as evidence against you

Listen to this

Original Single:




Mixing Part 1:


Mixing Part 2:




Pearl Jam, New York 2003:


The Aggrolites, 2007, at the premiere of Joe Strummer: The Future Is Unwritten at the L.A. Film Festival:


See also: RP61 Loop Mix.


Previously in Song of the Moment:
* Iron Man
* The Story of Bo Diddley
* Teach Your Children
* Dream Vacation
* When The Levee Breaks
* I Kissed A Girl
* Theme From Shaft
* Rocky Mountain High
* North to Alaska
* Barracuda
* Rainy Days and Mondays
* Brother, Can You Spare A Dime?
* Baby, It's Cold Outside
* Man in the Mirror
* Birthday Sex
* Rio
* My Sharona
* Alex Chilton
* Surfin' Bird
* By The Time I Get To Arizona
* Heaven and Hell
* Sunday Bloody Sunday
* Lawless One
* Tell It Like It Is
* The Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald
* Lake Shore Drive
* On, Wisconsin!
* Anarchy in the U.K.
* Ballad of a Thin Man
* White Riot


See also:
* Songs of the Occupation: To Have And To Have Not
* Songs of the Occupation: Johnny 99


Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 5:54 AM | Permalink

January 18, 2012

The [Wednesday] Papers

"One of the three senior citizens about to go on trial for allegedly plotting an armored car robbery and break-in at the home of a deceased mob boss pleaded guilty this morning - and another one was set to plead," the Tribune reports.

"[The] third defendant, Arthur Rachel, has decided to go ahead with the trial and fight the charges against him."


"The three defendants, all in their 70s, were charged with racketeering and conspiracy in connection with allegedly plotting an armored car robbery and a break-in at the home of dead mob boss Angelo LaPietra. Prosecutors said the trio hoped to find a hidden stash of valuables in the house.

"[Joseph] Scalise and [Arthur] Rachel, both reputed Chicago Outfit members, are well-known for robbing a London jeweler in 1980 of the 45-carat Marlborough Diamond. They served 13-year prison terms, but the diamond was never recovered."


"The [Marlborough diamond] robbers were less efficient covering their tracks than they were with the robbery and within 11 hours of the raid were arrested as they stepped off a British Airways plane in Chicago," the BBC says.

"The thieves were named as Joseph Scalise and Arthur Rachel - both Chicago Mob gangsters.

"The men were extradited to England where they were tried and imprisoned for nine years, but the Marlborough diamond has never been recovered."


"Two Chicago men - one said to be a master thief, the other a near genius - were arrested as they stepped off a flight from London 12 hours after a $3.4 million jewelry theft there that included the 48-carat Marlborough diamond," AP reported at the time.


Here's the report NBC Chicago's John Cochran filed back then:


See also: Secret Recordings Reveal How Three Aging Robbers Plotted Heist


Scalise's attorney remains Ed Genson after all these years. Which gives me the opportunity to once again refer y'all to the profile of Genson I did in 2005 when I worked at Chicago magazine: The Devils' Advocate.

Liar's Poker
Rahm's Cute Concessions Still Leave Huge Freakin' Holes In Our Civil Liberties.

Junior's Warm
"Both sides in the hotly contested Democratic primary election match-up between Rep. Jesse Jackson Jr. and former Rep. Debbie Halvorson released recent poll results to the Sun-Times Tuesday - and each portrayed their poll as good news for their side," the paper reports.

"Both polls find Jackson 13 or 14 points ahead of Halvorson."

So how does Halvorson portray that as good news?

"Halvorson said that with the incumbent polling so low, she sees a 'path to victory' for herself, especially with so many voters in the district telling her they don't like Jackson: 'I don't barely have time to get my name out and they say, Oh, you've got my vote,' Halvorson said."

A) Maybe that's why her name recognition is still so low (56 percent); she doesn't even have time to get it out!

B) Clearly, substantially more voters are saying the same thing to Jackson.

C) Clearly, Halvorson sees a path to victory for the GOP presidential nominee given that the incumbent is polling near or below Jackson.

D) Even after having negative statements read to them about Jackson, including the ongoing House Ethics Committee investigation into whether Junior improperly used the resources of his office to campaign for an appointment to the U.S. Senate, Halvorson was losing.

It's not that the race is sewn up for Jackson. Not at all. It's just that spin makes me nauseous. I'd rather Halvorson just say, "We're still down but we're gonna keep working" and leave it at that.

Worst To First
"Mayor Rahm Emanuel will propose a 'Chicago first' ordinance designed to give Chicago-based companies a better chance of winning a share of the $2 billion in contracts City Hall makes each year," Crain's reports.

The new ordinance would replace the Daley First program.

Cab Crab
It now costs $3.25 just to get into a cab in Chicago.

Tide Wide
"A new, upscale dry cleaning chain owned by Procter & Gamble Co. and named after its Tide detergent is coming to the Chicago area," Crain's reports.

"According to brokers at Baum Realty Group, who represented Cincinnati-based Procter & Gamble, a Tide Dry Cleaners will open a 3,000-square-foot drive-through franchise in west suburban Naperville next summer.

"The business will include 24-hour pick-up, alterations, same-day service - and clothes that come back tinged with that classic Tide scent rather than chemicals."

You know, to hide the scent of chemicals.


"The American Chemical Society designated the development of Tide as the first heavy-duty synthetic detergent a National Historic Chemical Landmark on October 25, 2006."

Dirty Thirty
Thirty Fortune 500 Companies Spent More On Lobbying Than Taxes.

Four were based in Illinois: Boeing, Integrys Energy Group, Baxter International, and Navistar International.

Corporate Welfare
"Gov. Pat Quinn's administration said Tuesday that it has pledged more than $2.6 million incentives to a manufacturing company to create 100 jobs in the state's north central region," the Tribune reports.

"In exchange for the incentives, Pekin, Ill.-based Excel Foundry & Machine, a maker of bronze parts for machines used in the mining industry, plans to invest $7.4 million to build a warehouse and expand its office space and its foundry."

So if the state hadn't given Excel Foundry the money to create 100 jobs at $260,000 per it wouldn't have invested $7.4 million to expand? I don't get it.

Paging Pat Quinn, the poker game starts at 9 . . . bring beer.


"The state's package includes more than $1 million in tax credits and training funds, a $750,000 grant and more than $859,000 for road improvements."

Huh. I hate to say it, but I think I'd rather have had Bain make the deal.


"This is the second incentives package for Excel Foundry & Machine, which employs 230. Through October, the company was eligible to claim $392,697 in tax credits from a 2004 incentives package to create at least 15 jobs in Pekin."


Yeah, well, Excel already has quite a few openings and I have a feeling they would have expanded without the taxpayers' generous contributions.

After all . . .

"Having seen record profits in the first quarter of 2011, Pekin-based Excel Foundry and Machine plans to expand its operations - and increase the size of its workforce - to take advantage of growth in the global mining industry," the Pekin Daily-Times reported in spring.

"The business has grown from $10 million in earnings in 2000 to $100 million in 2011," the paper noted in its report today.

Quaker Shaker
Maybe Excel could fund their expansion this way.

The Student Newscast . . .
. . . Chicago Academy High School Didn't Want You To See.

Fantasy Fix: Ditching Joakim Noah
And the rest of the deadweight on your roster.

When Glencoe Was Fun
As remembered by Blind John Davis.


The Beachwood Tip Line: Blind man's bluff.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 10:41 AM | Permalink

Liar's Poker: Rahm's Minor Concessions Leave Gaping Holes In Our Civil Liberties

In response to a firestorm of protest, the Emanuel administration has dropped some of the more widely-publicized repressive measures of its proposed anti-protester ordinances, but has vastly misrepresented the magnitude of its concessions, say protest organizers.

Here's why:

1. While the administration has made much of its dropping of increased penalties for resisting arrest, left unaddressed was Chicago's unique interpretation of "resisting" which makes many forms of non-violent civil disobedience subject to punishment under the statute. This would be in addition to more conventional charges, like trespassing, that one would be likely to get for such non-violent protest.

2. The minimum fine for violation of the City's parade permit ordinance would jump four-fold, from $50 to $200. A "concession" rolled out yesterday by the administration would keep the maximum penalty at "only" $1000 and/or 10 days in jail. However, given that the new version of the ordinance offers so many new ways to violate it, this "victory" for protesters may be illusory.


[Beachwood Addendum From Martin Luther King's "Letter From a Birmingham Jail":

Sometimes a law is just on its face and unjust in its application. For instance, I have been arrested on a charge of parading without a permit. Now, there is nothing wrong in having an ordinance which requires a permit for a parade. But such an ordinance becomes unjust when it is used to maintain segregation and to deny citizens the First-Amendment privilege of peaceful assembly and protest.]

3. In advance of a demonstration, organizers still would be required to provide the City with a list of all signs, banners, sound equipment or "attention-getting devices" that require more than one person to carry them. It is unclear whether such information would be required on the permit application (i.e., months in advance), or at some later time in advance of the demonstration. Either way, the proposal is totally unworkable and a license for the city to "ding" organizers with absurd repeated fines.

Yesterday, City representatives made a great deal over a minor concession regarding this provision. Its earlier proposal demanded that all signs, banners, etc. be registered. This is now replaced by a requirement that "only" those signs, banners, etc. that require two or more people to carry them be registered. Speaking at the Special Events committee meeting, Michelle T. Boone, the Commissioner of the Department of Cultural affairs and Special Events tried to soft-pedal this provision by implying that there would be no penalty for violation of it. But if that's so, why include the provision in the ordinance at all?

4. The no-bid contracts provision for G8/NATO activities, an invitation to rampant graft and contract favoritism, remains intact.

5. The provision allowing deputizing of "law enforcement" by the Chicago Police Department remains intact. After listing a bunch of different bodies that would be subject to deputizing, like the DEA, the FBI and the Illinois State Police, Emanuel's latest proposal also includes "and other law enforcement agencies as determined by the superintendent of police to be necessary for the fulfillment of law enforcement functions." In other words, anyone he wants. For a city that has had great problems keeping its directly sworn officers in check, this looser authority is an even greater license for abuse.


6. The proposed, huge financial burdens for virtually all downtown street demonstrations would remain in the latest version of the ordinance proposals. Virtually all downtown protest marches would require that organizers get $1 million insurance coverage, "indemnify the city against any additional or uncovered third party claims against the city arising out of or caused by the parade," and "agree to reimburse the city for any damage to the public way or city property arising out of or caused by the parade."

In other words, someone not at all associated with you or your organization could decide to disrupt an event by causing damage to city property, and then the City could insist that organizers of the event pick up the tab for the damage. While the financial requirements can be waived by the Commissioner of Transportation, this decision would be up to his/her discretion.

At one point during yesterday afternoon's committee meeting, a member of the public raised concerns about the permit requirements for public assemblies (i.e., rallies, pickets, and sidewalk marches that do not require street closings). Boone responded that the language for the new public assembly ordinance, 10-8-334, is taken directly from public assembly provisions of the current 10-8-330 permit ordinance, and that thus no one should be alarmed about it because "they [the police] don't enforce a lot of it."

But that just highlights a major reason why the current permit ordinance is deficient, say protest organizers, and why the mayor's new proposals make it much worse. While "they don't enforce a lot of it" against very disruptive events like the St. Patrick's Day parade and other events that have City Hall's favor, "they" - the Chicago Police - very much enforce it against anti-war protesters and others with First Amendment messages with which they disagree. Selective enforcement of the current ordinance already gives police officers plenty of arbitrary authority to take out their personal animus on messages and individuals they loathe, and the additional requirements of Emanuel's new ordinances give them even more license for abuse.

During yesterday afternoon's meeting of the Committee on Special Events, Cultural Affairs and Recreation, mayoral spokespeople occasionally cited as a major reason for their ordinance revisions a decision by federal judge Richard Posner condemning the City for its handling of a mass anti-war march on the start of the Iraq War (Vodak v. City of Chicago, et al). But the City's citing of the Posner decision was entirely disingenuous, and their "solution" - the new ordinances - is not what Posner said should be done.

"The indifference of the superintendent and his subordinates to the danger to public safety and convenience of a mass antiwar demonstration cannot be attributed to the ordinance, defective as it undoubtedly is," wrote Posner [emphasis ours]. The defectiveness in the ordinance, Posner implies, is due to its convoluted nature. To add even more requirements, then, would be to go in the direction opposite to that which Posner suggests.

"The City may disagree with Judge Posner," said Andy Thayer of the Coalition Against the NATO/G8 War & Poverty Agenda (CANG8). "That is their right. But they cannot cite him in their defense of an even worse ordinance, which ironically, they want to impose just weeks before this major class-action suit against the City for alleged wholesale police abuse of protesters goes to trial."


[Beachwood Addendum: In fact, according to the Tribune, "Posner blasted the 'idiocy' of the city's protest rules . . .

["Posner said the city's puzzling permit rules and poor decision-making by police led to mass confusion during the demonstration on March 20, 2003, with police informally deciding to let the march take over Lake Shore Drive with no firm understanding of where it would end.

[But when police drew a hard line at preventing access to Michigan Avenue, hundreds of confused demonstrators who were unclear about the order became trapped at the intersection with Chicago Avenue. Although most told police they just wanted to go home, more than 800 people were detained for hours, with more than 500 of them arrested, held overnight and charged with crimes, Posner noted. All of the charges were dismissed in court, he wrote.

[Posner said the evidence suggests that police "perhaps in some panic, resorted to mass arrests without justification."]


[Additional Beachwood Addendum. From the Trib:

[But some on the City Council say that though they support improving the permit rules, they are concerned that higher fines and other changes will do little more than antagonize demonstrators.

["If people come here to break windows and commit crimes, we have laws right now on the books that deal with that," said Ald.Proco "Joe" Moreno, 1st, who was himself an activist on death penalty issues before he was appointed to the council. "I would rather err on the side of allowing people to freely assemble and protest rather than err on the side of moving toward a lockdown."

[The restrictions risk creating more problems than they solve by taking the wrong tone with demonstrators, he said.

["I don't get it, because this mayor is a pragmatist," Moreno said. "The thing about protests, the more you antagonize (protesters), the more they're going to want to push back."]

Memo To Moreno:

1. He's not a "pragmatist," he's a cynic.

2. He's not only a cynic, he's a control freak. None of this should come as a surprise, except to the naive. Just look at his record. He's Rahm Emanuel!


See, among much else in the record: Reading Rahm Part 1: The Master Media Manipulator.


See also: The Rest Of Chicago Fights For Its Rights.


Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 8:54 AM | Permalink

Fantasy Fix: Ditching Deadweight (Joakim Noah, Anyone?)

A few weeks into the basketball season is typically when fantasy team owners realize their weaknesses - that is to say, their teams' weak stat categories. Once you have found some deadweight on your team (Joakim Noah, anyone?), it's time to swap it out to build up your weakest area. Here are a few potential pick-ups, each designed to freshen up a different stat category:

Weakness: Three-pointers.

Waiver wire solution: Anthony Morrow, SG/SF, New Jersey. 2.4 threes per game. Available in 44% of Yahoo! leagues.


Weakness: Points

Waiver wire solution: Byron Mullens, C, Charlotte. Who? Exactly. Largely unheralded, Mullens is starting, with a 12.7 PPG that's on the rise. The only center above 12 PPG with more than 40% (47%) availability.


Weakness: Rebounds.

Waiver wire solution: Udonis Haslem, PF/C, Miami. He is still really only a one-stat player, but at 10.2 RPG, this is his stat if you need a boost and can afford to take on a player not averaging double-digit PPG (8.2). Available in 40% of Yahoo! leagues.


Weakness: Assists.

Waiver wire solution: Andre Miller, PG, Denver. Available in more than 30% of Yahoo! leagues, with 5.8 APG, he may not get you much more.


Weakness: Steals.

Waiver wire solution: Iman Shumpert, PG, NY. His 2.3 SPG is fourth in the NBA overall, yet he is still available in 51% of Yahoo! leagues.


Weakness: Blocks.

Waiver wire solution: Samuel Dalembert, C, Houston. He is routinely a single-digit scorer and a second-tier rebounder, but along with his 2.5 BPG, he is averaging a double-double in points and rebounds for the last week.

Expert Wire
* Yahoo! Court report looks at Amar'e Stoudemire's lost season.

* Washburn Review ranks the rookies, putting Ricky Rubio at the top.


Send your comments and complaints to Disco Danny O'Shea..

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 8:42 AM | Permalink

Chicago Academy High Banned This Student Newscast

Uploaded to YouTube this week by jctCHI:

"The 2009-10 Journalism class at Chicago Academy H.S. were required to make a newscast to explain the rules and regulations of CAHS to incoming freshman. Since we were so real and funny, they didn't allow us to show it, just the boring non-funny parts. So enjoy this real corny and low quality newscast made by former students who worked hard but also had a great sense of humor."


The bigger problem, of course, is requiring a journalism class to make a video explaining the school's rules when instead it should be taught to report on them.


Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 8:28 AM | Permalink

When Blind John Davis Remembered When Glencoe Was Fun

From the documentary Sweet Home Chicago, uploaded to YouTube this week by RawBluesTV.


"John Henry Davis, better known to the Blues world as Blind John Davis, migrated to Chicago way before most," according to the Cascade Blues Association.

"He was born in Hattiesburg, Mississippi on December 7, 1913. His father, John Wesley Davis, was a sawmill worker and his mother, Lillie, was a former minstrel show dancer.

"When John was three, his father moved the family to Chicago and found work in a wheel foundry. Prohibition came along and John's father took advantage of the opportunities it created to make money. He opened a number of 'good time' or 'sporting' houses, where people secretly consumed bootleg spirits. His father made different home brews and supplemented his income so his family did not feel the setbacks others felt during the depression.

"John was nine when he lost his eyesight. He stepped on a rusty nail and the infection set in his eyes. His mother tried to cure him with a home remedy, but was unsuccessful.

"Music was the main form of entertainment at John's father's sporting houses, thus, he was exposed to it whenever his father took him by one. John learned to play piano when he was fourteen, out of jealousy. His father paid people to play piano in his houses, so John asked his father if he would pay him if he learned to play. His father bought him a piano and John taught himself by listening to others play on the radio and in the houses.

"Within a couple of years, John was playing in his father's places and at parties in the area. He found work in many white clubs in town because of his wide selection of songs.

"In 1933 he put together his first band, Johnny Lee's Music Masters, and later another group called the Johnny Davis Rhythm Boys. They played many of the white speakeasies in the suburbs and the downtown area."


More Blind John Davis.


Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 8:00 AM | Permalink

January 17, 2012

The [Tuesday] Papers

"Kraft Foods plans to cut 1,600 positions from its North American division this year as it prepares to split into two companies, the Northfield-based packaged foods giant announced Tuesday," the Tribune reports.

"As part of its restructuring, Kraft will shut down its center in Glenview, which is home to the company's test kitchens."

That's a bummer. Test kitchens are cool.

From a 2006 Tribune Q&A with a Kraft test kitchen manager:

Q. When you interned in the Kraft Kitchens, was the experience what you'd expected?

A. Yes. I washed dishes, cleaned a lot of ovens and did a lot of food preparation.

Nobody likes to do grunt work. But doing the chopping and preparing is where you learn the most. My favorite part is interacting with people about the food they're eating.

It was very challenging. We wanted to do the recipes exactly the way consumers would do them at home.

With grilling recipes, that meant climbing out the window onto the lower-level roof of the downtown Chicago building where our kitchens were at that time. That way we could test recipes on grills like consumers would at home.

Back to today's Tribune:

"A Kraft spokesman said the company has yet to make a decision regarding the future of its Northfield headquarters."

Uh-oh. Here we go again.

"Both new companies will be located in the Chicago area."



"The Oscar Mayer management center in Madison, Wis., will remain the site for the Oscar Mayer business unit."

And a test kitchen.

Hardly Working
"U.S. Reps. Bobby Rush and Luis Gutierrez of Chicago have racked up so many absences from the House floor that their voting records are among the worst in Congress," the Tribune reports.

"Rush has missed 13.2 percent of the votes in his congressional career, the fourth-worst record among current House members. Gutierrez has missed 11.6 percent of votes, which ranks him as the seventh-least-frequent voter in the House."

Here's the coup de grace:

"Rush and Gutierrez, both Democrats who entered Congress in 1993, turned down interview requests from the Tribune, leaving the explanations to their staffs."

Maybe they were busy at a get-out-the-vote rally.


Congressional votes aren't the end-all be-all, but the Trib does a pretty good job destroying the lame excuses offered by the likes of Rush spokesperson Renee Ferguson, a former local TV reporter who once described her job as "looking to see if there is a larger pattern to a singular event."


She also said:

"I may ask the client to shoot (video) undercover for me."

Wow. All sorts of issues there. Then again, perhaps we could ask her to shoot undercover video of where Rush is when he's supposed to be voting.

Emperor Rahm
Score one for the 99%.

Maybe losing Crain's was the key.

See also: The Rest Of Chicago Fights For Its Rights.

Feeling Moody
We're No. Last.

Billy Club
"Two weeks after former state Sen. William Marovitz settled federal insider-trading allegations last summer over his sale of Playboy stock, he gave up his work as an outside lawyer for two Chicago city pension funds - and applied for a city pension even though he wasn't a city employee," the Sun-Times reports.

"Marovitz - a lawyer and longtime Democratic Party leader in Illinois who is separated from his wife, former Playboy chief executive officer Christie Hefner - already gets a government pension of $102,480 a year for the 20 years he served as a state legislator and member of the Illinois Pollution Control Board.

"He was seeking a second government pension - which would have paid an estimated $50,000 a year - for the 27 years he did legal work for two City Hall pension funds.

"One problem: He was never a city employee, just a lawyer in private practice whose clients included two city pension funds.

"That was the view of city pension officials including Mayor Rahm Emanuel's two top financial advisers. They unanimously rejected Marovitz's application for a city pension.

"'We voted against Mr. Marovitz receiving a pension because there were serious questions about whether serving as a part-time, outside counsel satisfied the state law requirements that determine what defines an employee who is eligible for a pension,' Emanuel's city comptroller, Amer Ahmad, and chief financial officer Lois Scott said in a written statement. Ahmad and Scott also serve on the pension board."

Well, whatever gave Marovitz the idea that he could get a city pension without having held a city job?

"Marovitz was seeking a pension deal similar to the one that was granted in 1998 to then-Mayor Richard M. Daley's brother-in-law, Dr. Robert M. Vanecko, when Vanecko - then chief of staff at Northwestern Memorial Hospital - gave up his side job as the city pension fund's medical adviser."


"Vanecko, who still works at Northwestern, gets a $77,000 yearly government pension, which so far has paid him a total of $875,000.

"So why did City Hall under Emanuel deny Marovitz the same deal Vanecko got from the Daley administration?

"'Different board, different time,' says city Treasurer Stephanie Neely, one of the pension board members who voted against granting Marovitz a city pension. 'Just because they did it doesn't make it right. Should we make the same mistake?'"

It was hardly a mistake, Stephanie, but how interesting not just that the skeletons keep falling out of Richard M. Daley's closet - truthfully, they weren't much hidden while he was in office - but that the locals are suddenly so at-ease to finally acknowledge our former emperor was naked.

But where were you when?

Praising Daley as an "outstanding leader for the people of Chicago" and "a great personal mentor to me" in a statement that has vanished from the treasurer's website.


An aside: Please don't settle.


Back to the story:

"Marovitz and Vanecko didn't return calls."


It gets even better:

"Marovitz, as the pension board's attorney, was present when Vanecko's pension was approved by a 5-0 vote. The five were: the second Mayor Daley's chief financial officer, Walter Knorr; Daley's city comptroller, Phoebe Selden; city Treasurer Miriam Santos; board secretary Iacullo; and trustee John Briatta, who, like Vanecko, is a brother-in-law of Cook County Commissioner John Daley. Briatta went to prison as a result of the federal Hired Truck Program investigation for taking bribes.

"Vanecko, 76, has three sons. The oldest, also named Robert Vanecko, landed a deal to manage $68 million in city pension money that's been under investigation by a federal grand jury. Middle son Mark Vanecko helped Lollapalooza concert promoters land a 10-year deal with the Chicago Park District under which they don't have to pay city amusement taxes on the Grant Park festival. And youngest son Richard J. 'R.J.' Vanecko was the subject of two investigations by the Chicago Police Department for throwing a punch that resulted in the death of David Koschman in 2004, though he wasn't charged."

When Jazz Was King On The South Side
And NBC came to investigate.

In Other Words, This Isn't A News Event At All! (But WGN Reporter Strains To Make The Most Of It).

Cubs Cult Holds Annual Induction Ceremony
Children prepared for lifetime of delusion, disappointment.

Homeless Honey
Land sold out from under the Chicago Honey Cooperative.


The Beachwood Tip Line: Swing into action.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 10:54 AM | Permalink

The Chicago Honey Co-Op Is Homeless

After eight years at our current apiary on Chicago's West Side, the land has been sold and we must find a new home for the bees. You can help by making a donation in honor of the Chicago Honey Co-op. Read more about our story on our blog.



How it got started.


A summer visit.


Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 10:33 AM | Permalink

Cubs Cult Holds Annual Induction Ceremony

"The Cubs closed out their 2012 Convention Sunday afternoon," Comcast Sports Net reports. "It was a crazy weekend filled with groundbreaking news, interactions with players and the overarching theme of doing things 'The Cubs Way.'"




Accused Castro Is Still A Favorite At Cubs Gathering


"During Friday's opening ceremonies, Soriano received a tepid reception and was the only Cub to hear boos," the Northwest Herald reports.


Tommy! Tommy! Tommy!


Fathers, Sons Share Stage At Cubs Convention.


All Cubbed Out.


These poor kids. Prepare yourself for a lifetime of disappointment . . .



Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 9:43 AM | Permalink

In Other Words, This Isn't A News Event At All!

The blowing! The drifting!


Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 9:33 AM | Permalink

When Jazz Was King On The South Side Of Chicago

1. Ray Price via verycoolsounds:

Fancy girls out working honky tonk's a place
these were a part of the good old days
When I used to swing on the South Side of Chicago

Twenty-first and Wentworth was its beating heart
the place with action first got it start
Back when jazz was king on the South Side of Chicago

I still can hear those silver trumpets blowin'
in little places filled with people glowin'

New Orleans was groovy
Memphis light and gay
And who could put down New York's Broadway
But there was everything on the South Side of Chicago

Yes, there was everything on the South Side of Chicago

2. Via hoffmannjazz:

"11/26/61 NBC-TV Chicago & All That Jazz - NEW ORLEANS BAND: Red Allen (t) Kid Ory (tb) Buster Bailey (cl) Lil Armstrong (p,v) Johnny St. Cyr (bj) Milt Hinton (b) Zutty Singleton (d) Mae Barnes (v,d) *plus CHICAGOANS: Jimmy McPartland(t) Jack Teagarden(tb) PeeWee Russell (cl) Bud Freeman (ts) Joe Sullivan (p) Eddie Condon (g) Bob Hagart (b) Gene Krupa (d) Blossom Seely (v) Garry Moore (m.c.)."


Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 9:01 AM | Permalink

The Rest of Chicago Fights For Its Rights

The essence of democracy is at stake.

1. The 99% vs. Rahm.

"A coalition of unions, religious leaders, community organizations and other concerned citizens is set to condemn a package of ordinances proposed by Mayor Rahm Emanuel that amounts to an all-out assault on the civil liberties of Chicagoans," Danny Postel writes in a statement for Stand Up! Chicago. (Links added.)

"The group will conduct a press conference on Tuesday at a.m. on the 2nd floor of City Hall (one hour before a budget committee hearing on the proposed ordinances).

"The new restrictions place onerous limits on the First Amendment right to free speech and assembly, including burdensome permit requirements for even small sidewalk protests, the threat of steep new fines and other provisions that are practically impossible to comply with. The upshot is that almost any organization or group of individuals that wishes to express dissent can quickly find themselves on the wrong side of the law and subject to arrest and fines.

"Though Emanuel initially claimed that the provisions were solely aimed at planned protests of the upcoming NATO/G8 summit in May, he later admitted that they would indeed be permanent, giving police sweeping new powers to crack down on protests of all sorts.

"This is especially worrisome at a time when groups of all sorts - labor unions, community organizations, schoolteachers and health-care providers - are faced with the need to mobilize to defend public education and city services from the mayor's budget axe. And it sets up a situation that will give police sweeping powers to crack down on the First Amendment rights of the thousands of people expected to protest the NATO/G8 summit that will take place in Chicago, May 19-21.

"'Human rights earned by years of struggle and hope must not be vanquished in a moment of fear,' said Rev. Jesse Jackson in a statement of solidarity to Chicago activists. 'And so we march to preserve that which is intrinsic to the integrity of our nation and our self-worth. I appeal to the mayor to honor time-honored principles of our democracy. The right to fight for our rights is what democracy looks like. So long as our fight is nonviolent and transparent, our rights must be honored.'

"'We teach our students that free speech, public protest and civic participation are the hallmarks of democracy in our nation,' said Chicago Teachers Union President Karen Lewis. 'The plan to restrict Chicagoan's First Amendment rights and impose huge fines on those who dare to stand up for what they believe sends the wrong message to over 400,000 CPS students who've been taught our civil liberties exist so we might keep those we entrust with our democratic process accessible and accountable.'

"Emanuel is already responding to the outcry about his broadside against the right to dissent, according to Joe Iosbaker, an organizer with the Coalition Against NATO/G8 Agenda of War and Poverty (CANG8).
 'The tide of opposition to the Mayor's assault on civil liberties is the reason that the city has granted our permit to march on May 19 during the summit where NATO will discuss its plans for war and the G8 will figure out how to further attack the living standards of working people,' said Iosbaker. 'But we will keep bringing pressure to bear until the mayor stops trying to push through his 'sit-down-and-shut-up' ordinance that targets the right to dissent for all Chicagoans."'

"Mark Clements was tortured by former Chicago police commander Jon Burge, falsely convicted, and sent to prison until a campaign to free him finally succeeded. 'I am a Chicago police torture victim,' said Clements. 'I was tortured into signing a false confession under Jon Burge. I won my freedom largely because activists pursued the call for justice, and they did so in the streets until they got results. I say that Mayor Emanuel must not place any restrictions on our constitutionally guaranteed rights.'

"According to a statement by Occupy Chicago, the proposed ordinance changes contain 'a host of bureaucratic tools, created by and for the 1 percent to relegate, abridge, fine, arrest, and silence our speech. It is an attempt to bully and intimidate with increased police power and fines the brave working people who demand the ability to participate democratically in the organizing of our society. It is an attempt, by the 1 percent, to restrict and regulate the voice of the people when it upsets the structure that put them in power. The timing of the ordinance demonstrates that it has nothing to do with public safety but that its sole purpose is to stifle the voice and trample upon the constitutional liberties of all the people of Chicago.'

"'From the perspective of a nurse who was arrested while providing first-aid care to protestors, Mayor Emanuel's aggressive treatment of peaceful protesters this past year has been disgraceful,' said registered nurse Martese Chism. Chism is a member of National Nurses United and was arrested as part of Occupy Chicago's attempt to establish an encampment. 'And with his proposed ordinance changes, he wants to further repress the 99 percent by attacking our constitutional rights of free speech and assembly.'

"In addition to the above individuals and organizations, Andy Thayer, who has done a line-by-line analysis of the new ordinances, will speak on behalf of CANG8 and the Gay Liberation Network regarding the many remaining problems with Emanuel's 'new and improved' revised proposal.

"Larry Greenfield, the Executive Minister of the American Baptist Churches of Metro Chicago, will speak about a petition being circulated by members of Chicago's faith communities.

"Jorge Mugica will speak about the impact on immigrant communities; a member of the Immigrant Youth Justice League will address the implications for their community.

"Jeff Frank with the National Lawyers Guild will provide legal details about the chilling effect of the proposed restrictions on the exercise of free speech.

"Martin Luther King Jr. perfectly summarized the grave concerns that the above groups have in his 'Letter from Birmingham Jail' in 1963. 'Sometimes a law is just on its face and unjust in its application,' wrote Dr. King. 'For instance, I have been arrested on a charge of parading without a permit. Now, there is nothing wrong in having an ordinance which requires a permit for a parade. But such an ordinance becomes unjust when it is used to maintain segregation and to deny citizens the First-Amendment privilege of peaceful assembly and protest.'

"For this very reason, this broad coalition stands together, united, to demand that the city respect the basic civil liberties that generations have fought to preserve."

2. Those protesters are a bunch of whiners. Oh wait, Crain's said that?

"Mayor Rahm Emanuel's proposal to crack down on protesters and sidestep competitive bidding for the G8 and NATO summits reinforces the very stereotypes that Chicago is trying to shed.

"The springtime gathering of world leaders (and their media entourages) provides a tremendous opportunity to show off Chicago--our parks, architecture, hospitality and arts. Instead, Mr. Emanuel is dragging out a city that still runs on clout and is eager to pick a fight with "outside agitators," to use one of Mayor Richard J. Daley's memorable phrases.

"The City Council should reject Mr. Emanuel's proposed ordinance when it comes up for a vote, scheduled for Wednesday."


"The mayor's time-is-of-the-essence justification seems questionable. Chicago was selected in June, but Mr. Emanuel didn't introduce his proposed ordinance until Dec. 14. It would be far better to speed up the existing contracting process than throw it out.

Mr. Emanuel also is sending the wrong message with his plan to address demonstrations. Doubling the fine for resisting a police officer to as much as $1,000 seems unlikely to deter rabble-rousers. Closing the parks at night for seven hours, instead of five, may do little more than disrupt the routines of city residents.

"The clashes between police and protesters in 1968 still echo, despite the successful, if emotionless, staging of the Democratic convention 28 years later. Mr. Emanuel's proposals seem driven more by a fear of reliving those bad memories than a sense that we have learned to tolerate raucous expressions of political views."

3. From the Tribune's "Secrecy Shrouds Emanuel's Planning For G8 And NATO Summits":

"Questions about the cost and plans for the summits remain as the City Council faces expected votes Wednesday on Emanuel's request for broad spending authority and changes in protest rules.

"On Tuesday, the Budget and Government Operations Committee is scheduled to consider Emanuel's request for unilateral contract authority if something is needed for the events that cannot be provided at the time by existing contracts. Those emergency contracts would not require competitive bidding.

"The Special Events, Cultural Affairs and Recreation Committee also is expected to consider a controversial new parade ordinance that would seek to regulate protests for this event and all future demonstrations.

"[Host committee executive director Lori] Healey said the mayor is essentially seeking emergency procurement powers in case something arises at the last minute."

4. Actions planned today, according to Occupy Chicago:

* National Call-In Day: Call the City of Chicago, and your alderman, and demand that protest rights are not trampled on.

* 9 a.m. - Press conference ahead of planned City Council vote on January 18, City Hall, 121 N. LaSalle Street

* 4:30 p.m. - Funeral for the Bill of Rights, Jackson and LaSalle St.

* 6 p.m. - Town Hall meeting with 5th Ward Alderman, U of C International House (1414 E 54th St)

5. From the Tribune's "Chicago Summits Could Cost $65 Million":

"The first glimpse of what it will take to stage the G-8 and NATO gatherings came at a City Hall briefing conducted by Emanuel aides and the private organizing group he picked to lead the city's efforts. The setup provides Emanuel a measure of distance from any potential problems with the large events that could attract thousands of demonstrators to Chicago and inconvenience residents and commuters alike.

"Emanuel aides have promised for weeks to provide details of how the city will make good on the mayor's pledge to showcase Chicago to the world - including how the costs will be covered. But the Washington-style background briefing - used by government officials to provide information without attribution - left many questions unanswered. The mayor did not attend.

"In an interview with the Tribune after the briefing, Lori Healey, executive director of the private G-8/NATO host committee, estimated the cost will be between $40 million to $65 million.

"But she did not break down how the money will be spent, other than to give the broad parameters of public safety, marketing and social events. The city will be reimbursed through federal grants and private donations, according to Healey."


"Emanuel has handed many of the hosting duties for the summits to World Business Chicago, his hand-picked group of top business executives that functions as an economic development arm of the city. The WBC, which is funded in part with taxpayer money, controls the host committee and will be in charge of raising private donations to pay for some portion of the summit costs. Healey said the committee will disclose summit donors sometime this year, but how much individuals contributed will not be disclosed until a year after the summit."

6. ACLU: Vote No.


Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 7:44 AM | Permalink

January 16, 2012

SportsMonday: The Packers Are Still (Way) Better Than The Bears

Down goes the Pack.

Unfortunately, the amount of schadenfreude I feel at times like this has officially plummeted. Would this Bears fan have busted out significant celebratory conniptions at this point five years ago? Certainly I would have been seriously fired up to watch the prohibitive favorite Cheeseheads flame out a decade back. In the process they blew their chance to become the first second NFL franchise to record two sets of back-to-back Super Bowl championships.

And don't get me wrong, I was definitely rooting hard for the visitors in Green Bay late Sunday.

But working yourself into a frenzy after a rival team's downfall is just lame. Even with the loss, Green Bay is still a much more successful franchise than the Bears, plain and simple. A Chicago fan can eventually move on from the "my team is better than your team" debate (an argument lost to Packer backers every time) to making fun of someone for having to live in, or at least, in some way be affiliated with, Wisconsin. But that causes the needle on the lame meter to spike as well.

Again, I'm not saying I wasn't happy to watch the Giants prevail. Wait a minute, where do the Giants call home again? Argh. At least with Eli Manning's boys, we can always point out to the most irritating of New Yorkers that they can't be 100 percent proud of a team that actually calls New Jersey home, can they?

And at least Bears fans can still lord it over non-Super Bowl winning Lions and Vikings fans. Cubs backers on the other hand . . .

Kubs Konvention
I suppose that is a big part of the draw of the annual Cutesy Cubbie winter convention - at least a Cubs supporter can be certain he won't be spending any time interacting with a jerko Cardinal fan at the Hilton and Towers in the middle of January. The average Cards fan can, of course, always obliterate any sort of trash back-and-forth by simply uttering the number 11 (World Series championships since the Cubs had one).

People can spend their money on whatever they want, of course, and I'm not denying that the hiring of Theo Epstein was an exciting event for all Cubs fans. But why would you go to a convention celebrating a team that has been in serious decline for three years now and shows no signs whatsoever that it will bounce back in any significant way (meaning at least contending for a division title) in 2012?

The Cardinals may have lost Albert Pujols but their pitching, especially with the anticipated return of ace Adam Wainwright from an elbow injury that sidelined him for all of 2011 (oh yeah, they won the stinkin' World Series without their ace - double argh), will be far superior to that of the Cubs.

I don't plan on ever attending a Cubs Convention (although if my son, who is now a 12-year-old White Sox fan, ever converted, I would probably be forced to re-consider) but if I was going to go, I certainly wouldn't do it after a sustained run of utter failure. How about we see if any of Theo's guys can actually play before we start forking over significant cash to cheer wildly as the Cubs announce the re-signing of a decent, almost-over-the-hill middle reliever? I like Kerry Wood and his commitment to Chicago as much as the next guy but . . . come on!

Hawk Tawk
A big, big, big regulation win for the Hawks versus the Sharks early Sunday evening at the United Center . . . oh so big. We highlight "regulation" because at some point in the NHL, overtime wins don't cut it. Especially against strong in-conference foes, a team has to find a way to win in three periods at least some of the time. Otherwise the one-point overtime or shootout decisions (the team that wins gets two points while the loser is awarded one for having participated in what was a "tie" at what was the end of the game for most of the history of the NHL) don't enable it to gain significant standings real estate.

The Blackhawks have bounced back after losing four in a row as the New Year came and went but the positive trend had seemed tentative after a second weekend loss in a row against the Red Wings suffered Saturday. Last night the Blackhawks had the better of the play virtually throughout, overcame unlucky and soft second-period goals against and held on through a chaotic final minute to win 4-3.

The first star was the captain, Jonathan Toews, who notched another goal and another assist and is having his best-ever scoring season (if he keeps up his point per game pace - 24 goals and 22 assists in 46 games so far - he would post a new single-season personal high). Toews' scoring is especially important because Patrick Kane still can't find the net with a detailed map, a perfect compass and a guide like Toews' perfect two-on-one pass in the first period Sunday that Kane somehow managed to shoot into Shark goalie Antti Niemi's glove despite massive amounts of empty net around it.

Kane has scored only three goals in the Blackhawks' last 27 games - an abysmal streak that needs to end, soon. After all, the guy isn't exactly a defensive force, and despite his ludicrous posting to the All-Star team yet again last week (what season are the selectors watching?) he is having a very disappointing season.

In retrospect, even the loss to the Red Wings on Saturday wasn't that bad because of course the Hawks forced overtime with Toews' goal in the final minute of the third period. Big Todd Bertuzzi scored the winner for the winged wheels in the extra period but the Hawks lost only a point in the standings. They take a two-point lead over division rivals St. Louis and Detroit into action this week. Unfortunately both the Blues and the Red Wings have two games in hand.


Send your comments and complaints to Jim "Coach" Coffman.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 8:51 AM | Permalink

The [Monday] Papers

Just like they do with John Lennon, a lot of folks today who despised him in his time - or would have - will speak glowingly of Dr. Martin Luther King today. I have no patience for such posers.

If King were with us today, for example, have no doubt that he'd be with Cornel West, not Barack Obama; the difference being that, unlike West, King would not have been fooled in the first place.

When a young Barack Obama said "That's my story" after reading Taylor Branch's Parting the Waters, well, I don't know which version of the book he read but I don't see any parallels between King's deep-seated, religiously anchored struggle for moral justice and a smart but somewhat wayward youth whose accommodationist ways were already evident in a struggle not with the world but with himself over his own identity. How dare he.

And I'm sure Rahm Emanuel will have some kind words to say about Dr. King today - even as he schemes to discourage and punish protesters whom King would have stood with.

Pat Quinn will join Rahm at a prayer's breakfast this morning, but do you really think King would be pleased with the governor awarding tax breaks to crybaby corporation who asks while social service vendors go begging for money already owed them?

King didn't preach candy-cotton and unicorns. He aggressively took a side. He unequivocally stood for a set of principles which will maddeningly be glossed over today.

"When the Civil Rights movement was building, Dr. King was reviled as an outside agitator and slandered as a communist," Jesse Jackson said in a statement from the Rainbow PUSH Coalition. "Dr King challenged legal segregation in America and the institutional structures resulting in racial inequality and poverty. Entrenched privilege does not surrender its privilege easily. The Occupy Movement is a spirit and in many ways is addressing the same ills Dr. King sought to combat. Occupy is taking on the most powerful interests. But nothing, as Victor Hugo wrote, is more powerful than an idea whose time has come. As Dr. King urged, 'Don't sleep through the revolution.' It is time to take a stand."

King in Chicago
Part 1: Daley mobilizes black machine politicians to undermine King.

Part 2: Daley denies there are slums in Chicago - then pledges to eliminate them within a year.

Part 3: Daley's private feelings about King are revealed.

Conclusion: A battle between two very different visions of Chicago.


"Many ministers who were with us had to back off because they didn't want their buildings to be condemned or given citations for electrical work, faulty plumbing, or fire code violations."

- Rev. Clay Evans, via History Discarded, History Preserved - The Different Fate Of Two Chicago Churches Associated With Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

Occupy The Dream
"Religious and civil rights leaders joined forces Sunday with the Occupy Chicago movement, urging those fighting for economic and political equality to remember the passion and purpose with which the Rev.Martin Luther King Jr. helped change the country," the Tribune reports.

The Rooftop Pastor
"The church sits in the middle of the territory of four different street gangs, and Brooks's congregation of about 2,500 people includes dozens of former gang members," the Chicago News Cooperative reports. "'I've always wanted to minister to the people Jesus would, the outcasts, the rejects, the dispossessed,' he said. 'Everybody is welcome. Everybody has a soul.'"


Today In White Guilt
Is it possible that some white people hate black people more than they like a three-day weekend?


Mental Ward Room
NBC Ward Room correspondent Ted McClelland started with a Facebook post about Green Bay's playoff loss yesterday with a status update that said "So long, Fudge Packers. The stereo in the bar is playing 'New York, New York.'"


But this really took it over the top:


I'm not sure any of the pols McClelland covers would survive that.

Packers Still (Way) Better Than Bears
And the Cardinals are still (way) better than the Cubs. And the Red Wings . . . in SportsMonday.

Tribute To The Fish Of Lake Michigan
As found at the Pratt underpass.

Naty's Barber & Beauty Shop
Local commercial goodness.

The Weekend in Chicago Rock
The sights, the sounds.

Frontline Books vs. U of C
An update.

King Day Celebration
The DuSable Museum lineup.

Programming Note
I'm back behind the bar tonight at the venerable Beachwood Inn. Drinks will be extra civil rightsy and maybe I'll be moved to give my own (very brief) dream speech, which some of you have heard. 5p - 2a.


The Beachwood Tip Line: Dare to dream.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 8:24 AM | Permalink

King Day Celebration

DuSable Museum will celebrate the legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., and the Civil Rights Movement with our annual King Day celebration. The day will be filled with live performances, storytelling, films, food and activities for the entire family.

IBLA Auditorium - Live Performances

11 a.m.: I'm Your Puppet Productions (60 min)

12:30 p.m.: Mighty Times: The Children's March

1:30 p.m.: Alyo Children's Theatre (45 min)

2:30 p.m.: Maggie Brown

4 p.m.: "A Legacy for America's Children," written by Joan Collaso, is a musical narrative play that touches on the life and contributions of Civil Rights leader Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

5 p.m.: Hip Hop Detoxx (60 min)

Ames - Live Performances

10:15 a.m.: Mighty Times: The Children's March

11 a.m.: "Meet Dr. King" performed by Marcus Gentry (60 min)

12:30 p.m.: Favorite Storytellers: K. Brownlee / T. Banks (60 min)

2 p.m.: Sounds of the Revolution Film

3:30 p.m.: Legacy Maggie Brown has a dynamic, entertaining way of teaching about the history and evolution of African American music in her one-woman show

Films in Studio A

10:15 a.m. and every 15 mins.: Martin's Big Words

Bust Gallery

10:00 a.m. - 4 p.m.: Arts and Crafts

King Bust Dedication with Tom Burrell 3 p.m.

Strolling Characters - 6 Degrees of Separation from King 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.

Paula Anglin
Rosa Parks - Bench outside Gospel Exhibit

Sharon Jaddua
Bessie Coleman - Red White Blue and Black Exhibit

Joe Plummer
George - Pullman Porter - Founder's Fall/Africa Speaks

Toya Turner
Lt. Uhuru - Star Trek - Obama Quilts Area

Lionel Gentle
Jackie Robinson - Sky Light gallery

9 a.m. - Noon: POWER 92
3 p.m. - 7 p.m.: AM1390 WVON


Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 7:42 AM | Permalink

Tribute To The Fish Of Lake Michigan

On the CTA Red line underpass at Pratt Avenue in Rogers Park.


"Tribute To The Fish Of Lake Michigan" was one of 13 mural designs selected through participatory budgeting in the 49th Ward.


For more Amanda Paulson:


Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 7:28 AM | Permalink

Update: Frontline Books vs. U of C Construction

Rallying the troops.


Previously: U of C Construction Screwing Black Bookstore


Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 6:59 AM | Permalink

Local Commercial Goodness: Naty's Barber & Beauty Shop

Beards. Eyebrows.


Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 6:45 AM | Permalink

The Weekend in Chicago Rock

You shoulda been there.

1. Hopsin at Reggie's on Sunday night.


2. Grouplove at Lincoln Hall on Saturday night.


3. Pharoahe Monch at the Double Door on Saturday night.


4. Theophilus London at Lincoln Hall on Friday night.


5. Wastegate at Reggie's on Thursday night.


6. Dan Vapid & the Cheats at the Beat Kitchen on Friday night.


7. Eastland Disaster at the Beat Kitchen on Friday night.


Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 6:12 AM | Permalink

January 14, 2012

The Weekend Desk Report

We're back and we're 100% family fucking friendly now.

Market Update
It turns out the S&P credit rating system is almost as serpentine and confusing as the sizing for a nursing bra. Which suggests certain Eurozone economies are failing strategically so that their contents can be sucked dry more efficiently.

Bumpy Ride
It's been a very mild winter, so the Sun-Times would like to remind you that water in its frozen form is slippery. After all, it's not like any relevant information is buried under there or anything.

Mass Hysteria
Look, we know the jokes are there. It's the battle of the Patriots and The Chosen One and it's happening in New England. We just can't figure out who is who.

Tiger Beat
In case you were wondering, this is a bad idea. But not as bad as this. Or this.

Offal Tempting
Finally this week, the bad news is processed meats apparently raise your risk of developing pancreatic cancer significantly. The good news? The diabetes and heart disease will probably get you first.


The Weekend Desk Tip Line: Eurozoning.


The Sound Opinions Weekend Report: "Reunited Minneapolis quintet The Jayhawks performs its classic track 'Blue' and new ones from Mockingbird Time. Later Jim and Greg review internet sensation The Weeknd."



The CAN TV Weekend Report:
CAN TV brings you local, relevant issues from Chicago's neighborhoods and communities. See what's happening around the city in education, the arts, government, cultural events, social services and community activities.

Perspectivas Latinas: National Council of La Raza


Maricela Garcia of the National Council of La Raza explains how it improves opportunities for Hispanic Americans through civil rights and advocacy work.

Saturday, January 14 at 7:30 p.m. on CAN TV21
1 hr


In Pursuit of Petroleum Pigs, Power Pirates, and High-Finance Carnivores


Investigative journalist and author Greg Palast sheds light on the relationship between the oil and banking industries to the governmental agencies that regulate them.

Sunday, January 15 at 9 a.m. on CAN TV21
1 hr


The Science and Policy of Obesity
Presented by the Chicago Council on Science and Technology and the Center for Human Potential and Public Policy, this program addresses the causes and effects of obesity.

The Science of Obesity


Dr. Arlene Hankinson, M.S., and other Chicago-based scientists describe the ways obesity harms the body, how food choices can impact health, and local and national health-determinant patterns.

Sunday, January 15 at 10:30 a.m. on CAN TV21
2 hr


The Policy of Obesity


Chicago Department of Public Health Commissioner Bechara Choucair highlights the latest obesity research and the potential roles government and individuals can play to combat obesity.

Sunday, January 15 at 12:30 p.m. on CAN TV21
2 hr


Symphony for the Sons of Vietnam


This Air Force Band performance features original music composed by local artist and Vietnam Veteran Kimo Williams.

Sunday, January 15 at 11:30 a.m. on CAN TV19
22 min


Implementing the Common Core and Pre-K-12 Continuum


Baltimore City Public Schools' Chief Academic Officer Sonja Santelises joins a forum on the impact of raising educational standards for students in Illinois.

Sunday, January 15 at 2:30 p.m. on CAN TV21
2 hr

Posted by Natasha Julius at 8:31 AM | Permalink

January 13, 2012

The [Friday] Papers

At first I thought this was big news:

"Insurance brokerage Aon Corp. plans to move its corporate headquarters from Chicago to London to improve its access to emerging markets and increase its financial flexibility," Crain's reports.

Now I'm not so sure.

"But Aon will add 750 jobs to its offices at the Aon Center in the East Loop, a spokesman says. Those jobs will be a combination of new positions and transfers from elsewhere in the U.S., he said.

"The company said Chicago will remain its headquarters for the Americas."

So should the headline be "Aon's International Executives Moving To London?"

Seems so.

"About 20 employees including Chief Executive Officer Greg Case will move to the broker's existing London offices in the city's financial district known as the Square Mile," Bloomberg Businessweek reports.


Memo to Crain's initial commenters:

"We made this decision based the fact that our business is evolving globally," spokesman David Prosperi told the Tribune, shooting down the idea that a higher corporate tax rate in Illinois pushed them away. "We are not doing this for any public policy reasons in Illinois."

That was confirmed by The Insurance Insider in an interview with Aon Risk Services CEO Steve McGill.

"This was a strategic play, not a tax play," McGill told the publication.


"The company already has a big presence in the United Kingdom," AP reports. "It is the main sponsor of the soccer team Manchester United through a four-year contract totaling 80 million British pounds ($122.6 million). Manchester United is ranked as the most valuable soccer team in the world by Forbes magazine.

"Aon also has about 6,000 employees in London in its risk brokerage and human resources consulting businesses."


Greg Case, by the way, is the 139th highest paid CEO in America, according to Forbes


Speaking of emerging markets, Aon paid $16.2 million to settle bribery charges last month.

"The government alleged that Aon subsidiaries made more than $3.6 million in improper payments to officials all over the world, from Vietnam and Costa Rica to Egypt and the United Arab Emirates.

"The charges are not based 'on an isolated instance of misconduct,' Kara Brockmeyer, head of the SEC's enforcement unit specializing in Foreign Corrupt Practices Act probes, said in a statement.

"'Aon's subsidiaries repeatedly engaged in misconduct around the world,' she said."

Chicago just wasn't big enough to hold 'em anymore.

UPDATE 2:40 P.M.: "The publicly traded Chicago-based company announced Friday that it's moving its headquarters at least partly to reduce its tax burden, according to a Securities and Exchange Commission filing," the Tribune reports.

I'm not sure if that's true. A benefit isn't the same as a reason; in this case it appears that, at the least, Aon executives are using tax advantages that will supposedly accrue to shareholders as part of their appeal for approval.

At the same time, according to the Trib, Aon's board has considered the bad publicity this move may engender, and perhaps company execs are minimizing tax breaks to avoid the perception that they are abandoning their American base - mostly on paper, anyway - to keep more of their money out of the U.S. Treasury. Occupy Aon!

Zorn Porn
From The Newt Gingrich Deserves Fact-Checking Except When He's On My Side Department:

It's full of egregious errors. Passing it along may make for good - if disingenuous - partisan politics, but it certainly doesn't make for good journalism.


See also: Fact or Fiction? Romney's Private Equity Past.


Also, from Zorn today:

"'There's a big difference between financial manipulation and capitalism,' said Newt Gingrich, the GOP candidate whose technically unaffiliated political action committee will spend a reported $5 million in South Carolina this week to promote and air When Mitt Romney Came To Town, a 28-minute video that portrays Romney the businessman as rapacious, heartless and obtuse."

I'm not here to defend Romney, but if you read Confidence Men you'll be far more upset with the president's economic mismanagement than Romney's undeniably huge success in his chosen, if sometimes greasy, field - one that plenty of the president's friends traffick in.


Hell, the head of the president's jobs council runs a giant corporation that doesn't pay taxes.

See also: Obama's Private Equity Alums


UPDATE 10:41 A.M.: Another fact-check on When Mitt Romney Came To Town: That's not Mitt getting a shoeshine, that's Mitt going through a security check.

See also: Inside Salon: Long Live Mitt's Shoeshine!

UPDATE: 2:32 P.M.: "Saying he does not want false claims made on his behalf, Republican presidential contender Newt Gingrich on Friday morning called on a 'super PAC' that supports him to withdraw commercials it ran in South Carolina criticizing Mitt Romney and his old company Bain Capital," the Los Angeles Times reports.

Meanwhile, Zorn has added a (nearly impossible to find) link to the fact-checking piece I used above that absolutely destroys the video to his column as an "update" but has not in any way admitted error in posting it (twice - two versions, one embeddable - with the transcript) in the first place.

Should journalists be truth vigilantes?

The Week in Occupy Chicago
Obama, pot, Rahm, porn, MLK.

Professional Courtesy
"A Chicago police officer who stopped an off-duty cop suspected in a fatal hit-and-run testified Thursday that her watch commander ordered her to 'hold off' on a field sobriety test," the Tribune reports.

"It wasn't until two hours later that the officer said she had off-duty Officer Richard Bolling perform a series of field-sobriety tests."

Problem Solved
"Emanuel Wants Public's Ideas On Keeping Pols Honest."

Here's one: Be honest!


I mean, we shouldn't have to "keep" them honest. That's not our job. We are not our pols' keepers! I mean, without citizen restraints they just can't help themselves? Stop us before we lie again! Do something before we steal more!


Rahm has formed an Ethics Task Force to look into the matter. One member is Dawn Clark Netsch, who has collected approximately $1.6 million in pension money since 1995 and memorably said upon that revelation, "I know I get a big pension. What am I supposed to do? Refuse it?"


That's the difference between what's ethical and what's legal. You know it's wrong, Dawn, yet you keep cashing those checks. Apparently you need us to "keep" you from doing it.

Yeah, She Tweeted It
God help us all.

COMMENT 2:30 P.M.: From a faithful reader:

best part about stella column: she never mentions her twitter handle.

The Week in Chicago Rock
Quality over quantity.

The Week in WTF
Rahm, Michelle and a couple of mopes.


The Beachwood Tip Line: Couples skate.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 8:13 AM | Permalink

The Week in Occupy Chicago

This week, the president. Next spring, the world.

1. Occupying Obama.


2. "City Hall lifted the veil on this summer's G8/NATO summit meetings here, disclosing significant new details on how much the events are likely to cost, what security preparations are being made and how the city intends to protect both free speech and public safety," Greg Hinz reports in Crain's.

"In a background briefing in Mayor Rahm Emanuel's office, city executives - though not the mayor himself - also announced they have issued the first demonstration permit and decided to pull back some on proposed higher fines for those who resist police.

"Under terms of the unusual briefing, I can't tell you exactly who said what, but I can tell you that among those speaking were Press Secretary Sarah Hamilton, Corporation Counsel Steve Patton, summit host committee chief Lori Healey and Felicia Davis, Mr. Emanuel's top aide for security matters."

Under terms of the briefing, reporters apparently aren't allowed to affix statements to public officials. Nice.

3. "Activists with the Coalition Against the NATO and G8 War & Poverty Agenda (CANG8) this afternoon received a permit from the City of Chicago for a Saturday, May 19 march from Daley Plaza to McCormick Place, site of the NATO / G8 summits to be held May 19-21," the coalition said Thursday.

"'The issuance of this permit shows that the current ordinances, while not perfect, are more than adequate for large public events in our city, and that the Mayor should rescind his proposed anti-protester ordinances,' said Andy Thayer of CANG8. 'These proposed ordinance changes have been roundly condemned by all civil liberties experts who have reviewed them. The time to withdraw them is now.'

"The cover letter from the City accompanying the CANG8 permit contains a disturbing 'escape clause,' which reads, 'In the event [that] the Secret Service designates specific security zones or areas that impact your route, please note that the Chicago Department of Transportation will work with you to find an alternate route for your event.'

"'We reject the notion that the Secret Service should reject permits that have already been approved,' said Thayer. 'The feds have had at least six months to study the security issues surrounding the summits. In the event that they attempt to make large sections of the city inaccessible, we demand that the City insist that the protests proceed unimpeded and unmolested. Anything less would be hypocrisy on the Mayor's part.'

"The City Council is scheduled to vote on Emanuel's ordinance changes at its meeting on Wednesday, January 18. Two City Council committees are scheduled to discuss the changes on Tuesday, January 17 - the Committee on Budget and Government Operations at 10 AM in the 2nd floor City Council chambers, and the Committee on Special Events, Cultural Affairs and Recreation at 1 PM in Room 201A."

4. Operation Roll Call: Demand That Your Aldermen Defend Your Rights.

5. "Just two weeks after Occupy Chicago activists celebrated helping a young homeless woman's family into a Northwest Side squat, she was arrested and charged with felony drug possession Saturday," the Sun-Times reported on Monday.

"Destiny Cummings, 17, was found with 32 grams of marijuana during a traffic stop in the 3900 block of West Armitage Saturday evening, according to a police report. She and her family started squatting in a vacant home in the 2100 block of North Mulligan in November.

"Housing activists invited the media to a Hanukkah celebration at the squat on Dec. 26. Communities United Against Foreclosure and Eviction activists used the event to draw attention to what they said were 174,000 vacant homes in the city following the foreclosure crisis."

Thirty-two grams is about an ounce.

6. Movement To Occupy Vacant Houses Spreads.


7. From @OccupyChicago:

Mark Wilson @OccupyChicago

Chicago: Where it's illegal to occupy in the name of free speech but legal to occupy a parking spot with old furniture.

8. From Occupy Chicago HQ:

Arrestees: Get To The NLG Meeting!

Help us get the word out to those arrested at the horse who are planning to fight the charges!

Months after members from Occupy Chicago were arrested en masse during "Take the Horse," occupants are still involved in a plethora of other actions. We still remember those two weekends in October, but they have begun to fade in our memories as we work to occupy and fight to defend our civil liberties which are more and more frequently being stripped (NDAA, SOPA, Rahm's new anti-protest law.....).

Many of us who were arrested are still involved in the legal struggle to overturn these unfair charges. February 15th is our next court date for the consolidation of our cases, on the road to a jury trial. We have a very important meeting with the NLG on January 15th (next Sunday!) that everyone who is planning to fight the charges should definitely attend.

We are looking to consolidate even further the group who will take the matter to a jury trial, attempting to create a group that demonstrates the varied social structure of the 99%. It is important that everyone who has filed the motion attend the meeting.

Please help us spread word. The NLG, as wonderful as they have been, is unable to provide us with the contact info of all the arrestees because of legalities. So we must reach out to our comrades, to strengthen our case as much as possible.

The take away: NATIONAL LAWYERS GUILD AND OCCUPY CHICAGO ARRESTEES (those who have filed a motion to dismiss) in Merchandise Mart suite 400 on January 15th at 2:00 PM.

9. "Occupy Chicago announces the following events in honor of Dr. Martin Luther King's day of celebration and public meeting."

10. Occupy Bartlesville (Oklahoma) Visits Occupy Chicago.


Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 6:45 AM | Permalink

The Week in WTF

And what a week it was.

1. Rahm and Michelle, WTF?

If the crux of the parlor game d'jour asks whether First Lady O is a bigger jerk than our mayor, we stand foursquare with the available evidence: Michelle Obama might be strong-willed and focused the way really smart people can be, but we know for sure that the mayor is foul-mouthed bully.

On the WTF Jerk-O-Meter, we give Mrs. Obama a 4.5. Rahm is clearly a 98. WTF's a 137.65, only because we've been around since the Dead Sea was just really sick. We've also had to deal with more jerks.

(As for White House Chief of Staff-in-Exile Bill Daley, he was just another financier (a 37.5 on the Jerk-O-Meter) whose public face was better absent from a pending presidential campaign in which evil bankers will be the target of political opportunity. We have no evidence he is a jerk, either, but, really, who ranks higher in jerkdom than Emanuel? Hey Rahm, the Jerk Store called and they're running out of you!)

2. Lake County Jail, WTF?

If nothing else, the case of Lyvita Gomes shows not just how easy it is to die in jail when no one is watching, but how easy to die in jail when everyone is watching.

3. Heroin Couple, WTF?

They just made it under the deadline, but this happy twosome have been awarded our Chicagoland Parenting Couple of the Year traveling trophy for 2011. Congrats, you crazy kids!

4. White Power Twins, WTF?

We suspect that white supremacists have not invented any new life-saving scientific gadgets or cardiac treatments or written the Great American Novel recently. Some bulbs use 200 watts. Some use just one. But do WS-ers have to be as stupendously stupid as these two?

It's a rhetorical question. Of course they do.

5. William Francis Blankenship, WTF?

Okay, we admit he's a low level punk but you have to give budding skunks their due. William Francis is clearly a good match for the rural gendarmes in Northwest Indiana.

We're even sympathetic to the police. Of the most embarrassing duties for a cop is being required to file a stolen car report . . . on his own cop car.


Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 3:15 AM | Permalink

Friday Night Fights At The El Rey Ballroom

FIGHT NIGHT FOUR (Chicago) - Chicago boxer Shawn Simpson plans to represent his country this summer at the London Olympics.

But first he and other Chicago boxing stars will appear in front of his hometown crowd at Mike Cericola's FIGHT NIGHT FOUR on Friday, January 20, 2012 at the El Rey Ballroom (3504 South Western Avenue) in Chicago. Doors open at 6:30 p.m. and the first bout is at 7 p.m.

Simpson, 18, a senior at Chicago Vocational High School, is the reigning National Police Athletic League and Chicago Golden Gloves flyweight (114 pound) champion and was also the 2009 Junior Olympic National Flyweight Champion. Simpson intends to compete in the light flyweight (108 pound) weight class at the upcoming USA Boxing National Championships February 27 - March 3 in Colorado Springs as part of qualifying for the London Olympics.

FIGHT NIGHT FOUR will be Simpson's final bout in preparation for the Nationals.

"I plan on representing Chicago and America in the Olympics this summer and I am excited about fighting in front of my hometown crowd on January 20 one last time before I start my Olympic journey," said Simpson.

FIGHT NIGHT FOUR promoter Mike Cericola commented: "We are very excited about our latest edition of FIGHT NIGHT which will as always entertain the fans and also help provide resources to disadvantaged youths through our sponsorships and proceeds from the event."

Simpson is trained by 1996 Olympic heavyweight bronze medalist Nate Jones, who is part of pound-for-pound champion and former Olympic teammate Floyd Mayweather's training team.

2011 Chicago Golden Gloves Champion Nick Aiello (147 pounds) and reigning Illinois Silver Gloves champions Diego Chavez (139 pounds) and Yousif Saleh (115 pounds) are also scheduled to appear on the card. Chavez and Saleh have a busy January as they are appearing on the FIGHT NIGHT FOUR card while pursuing berths in the National Silver Gloves Championships February 1-4.


Shawn Simpson video:

At the 2010 National Junior Olympics at Camp Lejeune, North Carolina. At 114 lbs., Simpson (in red) beats Jaime Estrada of New York 7-4 in the quarterfinal.


In the finals, Simpson loses 15-3 to Gary Salazar of Fresno.


Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 2:27 AM | Permalink

The Week in Chicago Rock

You shoulda been there,

1. Rainbow Gun Show at LOKaL on Wednesday night.


2. Mixed Company at Reggie's on Sunday night.


3. Active Child at Lincoln Hall on Thursday night.


4. Tycho at Lincoln Hall on Thursday night.


5. Largo at the Elbo Room on Sunday night.


Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 12:28 AM | Permalink

January 12, 2012

The [Thursday] Papers

How is Obama like a wayward son? He only comes home when he needs money.

I stole (and adapted) that from somewhere lost to my memory, so don't accuse me of plagiarism.

And Obama, we've already heard your joke wondering if anyone's mowing the lawn at the Hyde Park mansion your self-described political godfather and convicted con man Tony Rezko helped you buy. Get some new material. Like maybe about how nobody's looking out for civil liberties while you're gone.


"If you're willing to work even harder in this election than you did in that last election, I promise you change will come," he said.

Oh no you di'int!

"And If you want to end the cynicism and stop the game playing that passes for politics these days and you want to send a message about what is possible, then you can't back down, not now."

Then the president attended a $35,800 per couple fundraising dinner followed by a $7,500 per ticket fundraising reception held at the home of a Bear Stearns executive.

Super PAC Men
"President Obama raised more than $68 million for his re-election and the Democratic Party in the fourth quarter of 2011, his campaign announced this morning, capping off a lucrative fundraising year," the Los Angeles Times reports.

"[Campaign manager Jim] Messina pushed back against the widely-held expectation that Obama's fundraising would top $1 billion this cycle. He also raised the specter of super PACs, the independent groups that can raise unlimited money and have already acted aggressively in the GOP primary.

"'When we get an opponent, we'll be facing down their fundraising operation, as well as all the outside groups already spending money for them,' Messina said.

"Of course, Obama will not be without super PAC help of his own as the general election heats up. Former White House aides Bill Burton and Sean Sweeney launched the super PAC Priorities USA Action (as well as affiliated group Priorities USA, a 501(c)4 organization that does not need to disclose its donors) last April. Burton has said the groups hope to raise $100 million for the 2012 race."

(This is the best Super Pac news of the day, though:

("A super PAC supporting [Newt Gingrich] plans to spend $3.4 million in TV ads in South Carolina portraying Mr. Romney as Gordon Gekko without the social conscience," the Wall Street Journal reports. "The financing for these ads will come from a billionaire who made his money in the casino business, which Mr. Gingrich apparently considers morally superior to investing in companies in the hope of making a profit.")

Change Range
"President Barack Obama and his White House minions may be pooh poohing New York Times reporter Jodi Kantor's glitz & glam book The Obamas - but ousted former White House Social Secretary Desiree Rogers is zipping her lip," Sneed reports.

"The upshot: 'Unfortunately, Desiree is not commenting on the book," said Crystal Howard, a spokeswoman for Johnson Publishing Company - where Rogers is CEO."

Why is that unfortunate? I mean, from her perspective? Because a publishing company CEO refuses to speak for publication?

"The buckshot: The book, which details life in the early days of the Obama White House, contends Desiree 'hurt her own cause considerably' when she appeared on the cover of the Wall Street Journal magazine wearing earrings which reportedly cost $110,000.

"The bigger buckshot: The book's disclosure of the controversial 2009 White House Halloween party attended by costumed actor Johnny Depp, director Tim Burton and Chewbacca from Star Wars which also featured 'vials of blood' containing fruit juice - was also organized by Rogers."

Way to protect Obama's brand!

The flipside: Kantor also claims the change in Rogers' status wasn't entirely about her. First lady Michelle Obama had also changed."


All links mine.


And bam! We have the first "Bill Daley for governor" meme later in Sneed's column, just as I predicted. Not gonna happen but we'll have to hear about it for the next three years.

It Just Keeps On Giving
"A large security perimeter will prevent motorists from driving and parking on some downtown streets during the NATO and G-8 summits, but the host committee agreed Wednesday to cover the cost of lost parking meter revenues."

That's Neil!
In a column about Rahm Emanuel's plans to curtail free speech during the G8/NATO summits, Neil Steinberg wrote:

"While waiting to see if the mayor would talk to me on this subject, I checked to see what he has said publicly so far.

"'Guys, it's not a big deal,' Emanuel said, trying to deflect questions about his preparations. 'This is a one-time event.'"

Apparently Steinberg didn't check very hard.


Nonetheless, Steinberg scored this gem from the Rev. Phil Blackwell, who apparently was once the Loop's only full-time resident, as "the minister of the First United Methodist Church, who lives in a three-story parsonage starting on the 22nd floor of the Chicago Temple, the quirky gothic structure south of Daley Plaza, with its 'Chapel in the Sky' on the 25th floor."

From Steinberg:

"I got in touch with Rev. Blackwell to see if he could shed some light, but he had something beyond Loop demographics on his mind, and invited me by his office, its leaded glass windows overlooking Daley Plaza.

"He handed me a typed message:

"'I have lived across the street from Daley Plaza for 10 years,' it begins. 'During that time I have seen and heard:

"'Tea Party protesters. War in Iraq objectors. Halloween clowns, Whirling Dervishes, Blackhawks celebrators, World Cup spectators, Christmas ornament purchasers, 21-gun salutes, children sliding down the Picasso, wedding couples being photographed at the fountain, movie casts playing their roles, people who are homeless sleeping on benches, farmers selling produce, gun violence opponents bowing in silence, hundreds of bicyclists ready to command the streets, blues, country, gospel, and jazz musicians, workers sunning at lunchtime, Sox fans rejoicing, sister-city promoters, creches, menorahs, and crescents and stars, and placard-carrying/bullhorn-proclaiming/marching stalwarts for most everything.'

"Yet suddenly, he said, the city seems to be reconsidering if our rights will be respected.

"'Daley Plaza is the public square in Chicago,' Rev. Blackwell said. 'As the mayor and the City Council discuss circumscribing the people's use of the plaza during the summits coming in May and then extending the limitations indefinitely, the question is: Do they have any capacity for nuance? The first indication suggests that the answer is, No.'"

Chicagoans For Ron Paul
Rand, race and revolution.

Chicago's Gift of Gospel
From Mahalia Jackson to Rev. James Meeks' daughter.

How To Be Black
And a ninja.

Why It's A Great Time To . . .
. . . Buy A Gold Coast Mansion!

John Lucas III vs. Caleb Hanie
Bulls smart, Bears dumb.

WGN's Dirty Weather Maps
Cockadoodle do.


Goodbye, Roufus


The Beachwood Tip Line: Hum along.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 8:44 AM | Permalink

John Lucas III vs. Caleb Hanie

"Chicago Bulls guard John Lucas chats with the media after scoring a career-high 25 points (also career highs in rebounds and assists, 8 in each category) in a 78-64 victory Jan. 11, 2012, over the Washington WIzards at the United Center. Lucas was replacing NBA MVP Derrick Rose, who sat out the game because of injury."


See also:
* John Lucas III on Wikipedia

* John Lucas III's NBA Info Page

* Washington Post: Lucas Goes Wild As Rose Replacement

* Dan Bernstein on Twitter: "And yes, longtime @Boers_Bernstein fans, we are girded for the insane John Lucas calls tomorrow. I'll try to sleep well and be hydrated."


Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 7:21 AM | Permalink

Here's Why It's A Great Time To Buy A Gold Coast Mansion

You can reasonably expect to get a smaller option for $2 million or less!


Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 7:16 AM | Permalink

Chicagoans for Ron Paul

He heard the call.


See also:
* Chicago for Ron Paul 2012 on Facebook

* Greater Chicago Ron Paul Meetup

* Ron Paul wins Illinois straw poll

* The Uncomfortable Cultism of Ron Paul and Ayn Rand

* Steve Chapman: Ron Paul's Racist Newsletters


Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 7:02 AM | Permalink

How To Be Black

"Baratunde Thurston, one of the most viral people on the internet, digital capo for The Onion, author, and recent magazine cover boy drops by for a pint and some conversation. We discuss his upcoming book 'How To Be Black,' calling out social media 'gurus,' the truth behind the term 'ninja,' and a lot of other stuff."


See also:
* Ernest Wilkins' YouTube channel
* Ernest Wilkins' on Twitter


Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 6:41 AM | Permalink

WGN'S Dirty Weather Maps

This one's getting a lot of play, but Deadspin's been collecting these from its realm for years now.

Still, kudos, WGN!



1. Just how we like it.


2. Being A Weatherman Is Harder Than It Looks


3. Oklahoma City epic.


Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 6:16 AM | Permalink

Chicago's Gift of Gospel

The DuSable Museum's exhibit Spread the Word! The Evolution Of Gospel From Chicago To The World has been up since September - and runs until May - but a Tribune story last week spurred me to take a closer look (short of attending, which I hope to but haven't yet).

("This exhibition at the DuSable Museum of African American History celebrates the rich history of gospel music, from its origins in Chicago to the contributions made to the genre by gospel legends such as Mahalia Jackson, Albertina Walker, Thomas Dorsey, James Cleveland, Sallie Martin and many others," the city's tourism website says.)

Additionally, the city recently announced that the Gospel Festival will be spun back out of Taste of Chicago and held on its own this June, albeit at multiple locations yet to be determined.

Let's go to YouTube and take a look and listen to some relevant Chicago gospel.

1. The Rev. Charles Nicks explains gospel to the square media.


2. James Cleveland & The Metro Mass Choir of the Gospel Music Workshop Chicago Chapter.


3. "Mahalia Jackson sang this song right before Martin Luther King made his famous 'I have a dream speech' in Washington D.C. 1963."


4. "Bob Dylan's stunning song 'Pressing On,' sung by Regina McCrary and the Chicago Mass Gospel Choir."


5. "Pastor James T. Meeks' daughter makes her debut singing at Salem Baptist Church of Chicago."


6. "Deep Chicago gospel. If you know anything about the performers, please get in touch."


7. Tramaine Hawkins, "Goin' Up Yonder," 2008


Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 12:56 AM | Permalink

January 11, 2012

The [Wednesday] Papers

Tom Skilling's forecast predicts a high of 52 today and a low of 9 tomorrow. I uselessly call on the news to act like we've lived here before.

Now on to the news.

Alexi's Authenticity
From Alexi Giannoulias's dormant U.S. Senate campaign website:

"This election presents a stark choice between Congressman Kirk, a Republican politician who has abandoned small businesses in favor of catering to big Wall Street interests, and Alexi, who is a proven fighter for our businesses and communities."

From today's Crain's reporting that Alexi has accepted a job working for and catering to Wall Street interests:

"The banker-turned-politician, who won a statewide race for Illinois treasurer and then lost to Republican Mark Kirk in a bid for President Barack Obama's former Senate seat, is joining the Chicago office of Bank of New York Mellon Corp. as senior adviser for strategic relationships. In the newly created post, Mr. Giannoulias, 35, will take on a business-development role for the New York-based bank's new wealth-management business in Chicago."

This is fun. Let's do more.


Alexi's campaign website:

"He believes in a government that belongs to the citizens it represents. With the worst economic downturn in a generation sending shockwaves through our nation, the American people want their government standing up for them instead of the corporate special interests that have been running Washington for the past decade."


"He also will help BNY Mellon win new municipal, state and federal government clients nationwide, the company announced."

Alexi's campaign website:

"Wall Street continues to make billions in profit and enjoy countless corporate tax breaks while wages remain stagnant, and executive bonuses continue to grow while the average worker is seeing their benefits cut."


"BNY Mellon is a global giant that administers trillions in assets for institutions and also manages about $170 billion for well-off families and individuals in its private client business."


Look, Alexi Giannoulias is free to take whatever job he wants. But a true desire to fight for the little guy and work on behalf of average Americans against a system that is gamed for the wealthy doesn't start and stop with a political campaign - especially for a self-described progressive who already has immense wealth. Authentic lives are led with a certain kind of consistency. In that respect, I guess we can be happy for Giannoulias going back to his banking roots now that he doesn't need us anymore.

Quite Contrary
Lombard Man Wins $1 Million Lottery Prize Twice In A Decade.

Once wasn't enough? Man kept playing even after winning the Merry Millionaire game nine years ago.

For $35,800 a couple, you could be having dinner with the president tonight.

Similar fundraisers are being held around the country - including one hosted by Spike Lee.

So the next time the Obama campaign claims that most of its money comes from small donors, remember that raising $38,506 can be done through small donors by a 2:1 ratio if two people give $3 each and one person gives $38,500.


Her policy views are more important than yours.

Raise Stakes
"A pair of Chicago aldermen on Tuesday called on city library workers to give up pay raises so branch libraries can stay open six days a week," the Tribune reports.

"The proposal came in a letter from Ald. Edward Burke, 14th, longtime chairman of the Finance Committee, and Ald. Brendan Reilly, 42nd, vice chairman of the Budget Committee."

That's rich.

Contrast and Compare
Emanuel Defends Daley As Chief of Staff.

"He made me look really good!"

File Under . . .
. . . You Know Times Are Tough When . . .

The Patisserie Protest
Trouble at Rolf's.

Grinding Rich Munnich's Gears
Cash, politics and the evening news.

Tim Tebow vs. Ryan Braun
In Fantasy Fix.


The Beachwood Tip Line: Meet the new news, same as the old news.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 6:55 AM | Permalink

Grinding Rich Munnich's Gears: Seven Deadly Sins

"Does anyone recall what the seven deadly sins are? Don't forget to vote March 20, 2012 in Illinois. That phone is a year old and the wire is fraying. I taped it up with electrical tape."


* The Chicago Tribune Hit My Door


Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 3:32 AM | Permalink

The Patisserie Protest

Updated January 18, 2012.

Seventy former workers of Rolf's Patisserie rallied with community and religious supporters outside their recently-shuttered factory Tuesday, announcing the filing of a class-action lawsuit for violations of the WARN Act, a federal worker protection law, and denouncing the theft of their final paychecks by their former employer.

"We just want justice," said Karen Leyva, an assistant office manager at the company for six years, while standing in the shadow of her former employer. "We demand them to pay us what we worked so hard for."

Workers, some of whom had devoted over a decade to the company, were shocked to discover via their company's web site that the plant would be closing. Without warning, they were all terminated immediately, their lives unexpectedly thrown into turmoil just days before Christmas.

"It was a Christmas we're never going to forget," said Leyva. "with no money for food, rent, medicine, or gifts for our kids. It was a great injustice."

Rolf's workers were told on Dec. 10th that their plant would be briefly closed for cleaning on the 11th, but they should report as usual on Dec. 12. On the 11th, the factory's president and owner Lloyd Culbertson - a former investment banker - asked the production manager to log him into the company's web site, then demanded the worker leave the room. Thirty minutes later, workers checked the company's site. They were shocked to discover a three-sentence announcement that the plant was now closed. Culbertson had not informed any of the plant's 136 workers of the plant's impending closure; the site's announcement was the first any employee had heard that they were terminated.

Still reeling from their firings and unsure how to support their families, workers took their final paychecks - their only remaining resources - to banks and currency exchanges. They would be shocked a second time: their checks had bounced, and workers were now facing harassment from collections agencies and were responsible for debilitating fees from those same banks and currency exchanges.

"The workers were kicked while already down," said Arise Chicago Workers Center director Adam Kader. "On top of losing their jobs out of nowhere, they had the last of their earned wages blatantly stolen from them."

The WARN Act requires employers with more than 100 workers to provide at least 60 days notice of a workplace closure or 60 days severance pay - neither of which were provided to workers.

Kader says that "a poorly performing business in a slumping economy does not justify the company's actions.

"The economy is hurting everyone right now, but hard times are no excuse for breaking the law," said Kader. "These workers aren't demanding anything outlandish - just what they're legally owed."

"We earned that money," added Karen Leyva, referring to her final bounced check. "Those wages were stolen from us."


Arise Chicago builds partnerships between faith communities and workers to fight workplace injustice through education and organizing and advocating for public policy changes. Its Worker Center is a community resource for workers, both immigrant and native-born, to learn about their rights and join fellow workers to improve workplace conditions.


See also:

* "The fatal blow [is] likely to have been an outbreak of staphylococcus aureus-related food poisoning almost exactly a year ago, which caused over a hundred cases of foodborne illness and was traced back to Rolf's," GrubStreet Chicago reported in December.

* Rolf's Bakery To Reopen After Tainted Desserts Sickened 100.

* FDA Warning Letter.


* "The Lincolnwood, Ill.-based wholesale bakery has taken the right steps over the years, yielding 15 to 20 percent average annual sales growth since brothers Lloyd and Ford Culbertson purchased the business in 1984," Baking Management wrote in 2010.

"Lloyd, a former investment banker, is president of the company. He's the voice of the business, the numbers man and business administrator. Ford, a master baker and certified pastry chef, is the executive chef. He's the soft-spoken baker, teacher of the craft and the creative brain behind Rolf's product line and production operations."


Note: "Neither Culbertson could be reached for comment Tuesday."


UPDATE January 18, 2012: From ARISE Chicago:

After protesting the unjust closure of their factory, where workers were illegally denied 60 days notice or severance pay, 136 former Rolf's Patisserie workers have won their first victory in a larger campaign: commitment to payment of a small amount of what their former employer owes them under federal law, as part of their continuing campaign for the full amount of what is legally and morally owed them.

"It's a small fraction of what they legally owe us," says Deyanira Alvarez, a former customer service representative of Rolf's.

"If we hadn't come together, we wouldn't have these checks," said Angel Hernandez, a packing worker at Rolf's for more than a decade. "We had to get together to win."

Workers insist that receiving their final paychecks is only the beginning, as "they have been victims of multiple injustices," says Adam Kader, director of Arise Chicago Workers Center. Though they've received their final paychecks, Rolf's workers say they will continue demanding the 60 days compensation owed to them under the WARN Act.

"We're only asking for what we're owed, but look at what we have to go through," says Karen Leyva, a Rolf's employee of six years. "No one should have to fight this hard just to make their boss follow the law."

After employees worked with Arise Chicago to organize a demonstration in front of their shuttered factory, owner Lloyd Culbertson - a former investment banker - agreed to pay their final checks and accrued vacation pay. He has not, however, offered to pay workers severance - more than 80 percent of what he owes workers under law.


Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 2:34 AM | Permalink

Fantasy Fix: Tim Tebow vs. Ryan Braun

Random observations from every corner of the fantasy sports world.

* Tim Tebow saw his fantasy draft prospects for next year jump with the huge playoff upset of Pittsburgh. Many experts had dismissed him after he was gobbled up and spit out by New England late in the regular season, and started already projecting back-up Brady Quinn as next year's starter. Tebow faces the Patriots again this week, and regardless of how he does, we saw again last week that with his fast receivers out-running coverage he can be a big-play QB. He doesn't necessarily need to throw mid-range, and probably shouldn't unless defense start playing to prevent the long ball. I don't know how many 300-yard games he'll have next year, but if he can pass for 100+ yards, run for at least 50 and account for two to three TDs per game, that should make him a top second-tier QB next year.

* Josh Smith is a fantasy basketball heartbreaker - that's what I've learned in the past anyway. He's capable of leading the SF position in steals and blocks, but is often terribly inconsistent. He started out this season in similar fashion, logging points in every fantasy category, but shooting horribly. Last week, I advocated trading him, but within the last five games, his production has exploded across the board, including field-goal shooting above .500. I'm keeping him for now, but cautious about how long the good will last.

* Ryan Braun could have been the top pick in many fantasy baseball drafts this spring. His positive test for banned substances, and the increasing likelihood that he'll be banned for the first 50 games of the season, means that won't happen. Assuming he's given the 50-game punishment, I'd figure him more as a third- or fourth-round pick (the former is you want to beat other owners to the punch). That makes him a second or third outfield on most fantasy teams, and he should still easily hit .300+, pound 20+ HRs and drive in 60+ RBI. However, that means you also definitely have to draft an above-average fourth outfielder, which in turn means another position will get less of your attention.

So, who should be the No. 1 pick in fantasy baseball drafts for 2012? I am a week or two from compiling my top 20, but right now, I'm leaning, not confidently, toward Matt Kemp.

Expert Wire
* Opposing View has a solid analysis of Braun's draft status.

* Bleacher Report likes Grizzlies center Marreese Speights as a Zach Randolph replacement. Randolph is out for a month with a knee injury and Speights just arrived via trade, though Marc Gasol may be the better big man from Memphis to own.

* NFL Soup has an early NFL Mock Draft, featuring QB Andrew Luck at No.1. Some young QBs - Tebow, Cam Newton, Andy Dalton, T.J. Yates - made big fantasy impact this year, but don't expect that from Luck with Peyton Manning coming back.


Send your comments and complaints to Disco Danny O'Shea.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 2:08 AM | Permalink

January 10, 2012

The [Tuesday] Papers

1. Bill Daley is returning to Chicago to:

A) Work on comprehensive parking meter lease reform.

B) Pretend for the umpteenth time that he's running for governor or U.S. Senator.

C) Lay the groundwork for Patrick Daley's mayoral campaign.

D) Enjoy the Midwest's crisp, refreshing air.

2. The governor got the PR hit this morning that he negotiated with legislators in return for signing a corporate tax giveaway under cover of darkness.


"Gov. Pat Quinn on Tuesday signed legislation that expands the state's earned-income tax credit. It's now 5 percent of the federal credit, would climb to 7.5 percent next year and 10 percent the year after," AP reports.

"State officials say it translates into about $100 a year per family."


The rich get cake; the poor get crumbs.

3. Apparently you won't have to show ID to buy Drano after all; the last thing legislators want to do is make it more difficult to flush your money down the drain.

4. Obama's new 1% club.

5. Obama's old 1% club.

6. Air Tran, Frontier To Battle It Out For Chicago-Cancun Rights.

7. Chicago Boogie: Better than Milwaukee's sound.

8. River Rats Swim Onto Chicago Menus.

9. "City Hall has fired Marvin Ditkowsky, an 87-year-old Department of Aviation police officer at O'Hare Airport, for violating the city's residency ordinance - for the past 15 years.

"In August, a Chicago Sun-Times reporter found Ditkowsky living in Norridge, just across the street from Chicago's city limits."

10. NewsVault: High-Rise Rescue. It happened in 1996.

11. Todd Stroger Still Todd Stroger.

12. A DIY Response To Poverty: Start your own food bank.


The Beachwood Tip Line: Ways, means.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 1:09 PM | Permalink

A DIY Response To Poverty

"Pastor Erik, St Luke's Lutheran of Chicago's Logan Square. Describes how you and your congregation can get involved and start a food pantry that feeds 5,000."


See also:
* St. Luke's of Logan Square.
* Rev. Megan Rohrer's YouTube Channel


Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 12:45 PM | Permalink

NewsVault: High-Rise Rescue

"Chicago firefighters rescuing an injured window repair man who fell several stories onto an eight-foot ledge. Crews had to rappel down a rain soaked, slippery section of the building to pull the man to safety. He was hospitalized with a broken leg." (1996)


From Joel Kaplan in the Tribune on June 18, 1996:

"Chicago firefighters engaged in a dramatic rescue Monday of a window repairer who suffered a broken leg when he fell 75 feet from the top floor of a downtown high-rise to a steel grating during a heavy rain.

"Firefighter Art Noonan was lowered from the roof of the 203 N. LaSalle St. building to the 8-foot wide metal grate outside the building's 23rd floor and gingerly placed Tom O'Keefe, 36, into the rescue basket.

"'This is up there among the most difficult we've ever done," Noonan said. "It was made more difficult because of the rain and the lightning and the thunder.'

"The rescue occurred in full view of dozens of employees from the Coopers & Lybrand accounting firm, which occupies the top six floors of the building."


"The incident happened shortly before 9 a.m. when O'Keefe, a longtime employee of Service Glass, 4161 S. Morgan St., attempted to repair and caulk some windows that had been leaking. The windows face the Clark Street side of the building.

"According to witnesses, the repairer started shimmying up a rope to the roof as it began to rain. He slipped and slid down the side of the windows until the steel grate broke his fall."


"The rescue of window washers from downtown high-rises is not unusual, said Fire Commissioner Raymond Orozco, who witnessed this one from the 27th floor.

"He said the city performs about a half-dozen rescues a year, usually when scaffolding gets stuck or breaks."


See also: CaughtOnTapeTV


Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 12:16 PM | Permalink

Chicago Boogie

Somebody said "Jump the boogie!" That's what we're gonna do.


See also:
* The Chess Rarities 1947 - 1966
* Retro 45 RPM


Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 11:58 AM | Permalink

January 9, 2012

SportsMonday: Angelo's Legacy Still Unwritten

It's easy to fire a coach or a general manager. It's hard to have a plan to replace someone in one of those roles with an upgrade and then to execute that plan.

If Bears president Ted Phillips and chairman of the board George McCaskey even had such a plan before they dismissed Jerry Angelo last week, there are already plenty of reasons to believe it is compromised.

The fact that Ravens' assistant general manager Eric DeCosta wouldn't even talk to the home team certainly wasn't a good sign. But it shouldn't have been a surprise. Reports noted that the Ravens had recently upped his salary to "average NFL general manager" range and given him more authority. He appears to be the power, or at least the by-far leading voice, behind the throne where longtime Raven general manager Ozzie Newsome sits.

You also have to figure there was no way in the universe the Ravens were going to let the Bears get DeCosta because they are still pissed about the trade snafu that played out on the first day of the 2011 draft.

Then there was the case of Packers' assistant G.M. Reggie McKenzie (some of these guys have different official titles but the best way to describe them is as an assistant to the guy who runs the personnel show and the best generic term for that guy is "general manager"). There was some buzz that the Bears were interested in signing him but the Raiders swept in and took McKenzie off the market right after the season ended.

The fact that the Raiders - whose latest managerial fiasco was paying the Bengals considerably more than anyone else was offering for quarterback Carson Palmer at last year's trade deadline and then watched him pile up the interceptions as the team disintegrated down the stretch - were so interested in McKenzie was a strike against him. No big loss there.

Late last week, the word was the Bears were seriously considering promoting their own assistant GM (and Angelo's best friend Tim Ruskell to the big chair. Surely that wasn't the plan was it?

Then again, the one preseason move we know was Ruskell's worked out pretty well. The Bears brought in Chris Spencer, who Ruskell had drafted when he was with the Seahawks, and Spencer, a center for the past half-dozen years, had a good year filling in at guard despite playing for a long while with a plate and screws in a broken hand suffered early in the campaign.

There is always the possibility the Bears could move aggressively and decisively this week. But in the immediate aftermath of Angelo's dismissal, the team was flailing.

On the other hand, and contrary to the sports media's conventional wisdom, not being able to hire the head coach isn't going to be a big issue for potential general manager candidates. In fact, I think having Lovie Smith in place is actually a positive. Whoever takes this job will have a year to evaluate the coach and his staff and to survey the field regarding potential replacements. If the Bears don't make it to the playoffs and, really, win at least a game there next year, the new general manager will have the chance to dump Lovie (who will only have one year left on his contract) and start from scratch with a valuable year's worth of experience under his belt.

Looking back, Angelo's draft record was clearly checkered in the first few rounds through the years. I had known that no offensive player he had drafted for the Bears had made the Pro Bowl until second-round pick Matt Forte did it a month ago, but it was still jarring to be reminded of that state of affairs when Forte was honored.

Other Angelo picks didn't develop as hoped and it is too soon to tell about many of the guys taken in the last few years. And certain elements of his philosophy, particularly his refusal to bring in at least one big-time receiver to help Jay Cutler really get the passing game humming, became more and more irritating as time went by.

Still, the primary way he should be remembered is as the guy who brought in the franchise quarterback the Bears had been seeking for just about forever. If Jay Cutler can just stay healthy for a full season and the playoffs, and get a little bit of help through free agency and the draft in the coming offseason, Angelo's legacy could very well be an overall positive one.

My final thought on this past week is also positive. I never thought I would see the day that the McCaskey family would agree to fire a high-salaried officer in their organization with two years left on his deal. The move made it clear that George McCaskey is willing to spend more money to try to build a winner than the siblings who have run the team before him.


Send your comments and complaints to Jim "Coach" Coffman.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 10:31 AM | Permalink

The [Monday] Papers

"A troubled Cook County program put faulty camera equipment in police cars, wasting perhaps millions of federal dollars, the Department of Homeland Security's inspector general said in an audit released this morning," the Tribune reports.

"Sen. Mark Kirk and U.S. Rep. Michael Quigley scheduled a press conference for later this morning to call for an FBI investigation over 'potential criminal misuse of federal funds' on 'equipment that does not perform as intended' in the program, known as Project Shield.

"The U.S. report found that Cook County did not adequately plan or manage the $44 million project to ensure that equipment worked properly and could be operated in an emergency situation."

Here's my favorite part:

"The $65,000 cameras not only didn't work, but blocked air bag deployment in the cars."


Carol Marin has more details, including:

"The report takes FEMA, the Federal Emergency Management Agency, to task for lack of oversight.

"Urban Areas Security Initiative (UASI) grants were funneled from DHS to the State and on to Cook County. The report concludes, 'FEMA did not adequately ensure that the State of Illinois effectively monitored Cook County's expenditures . . . '"

Gee, you'd never think anything could go wrong with FEMA funds funneled to Cook County through the State of Illinois! Talk about the blind leading the blind leading the blind.

But this isn't just a story about public sector incompetence.

"IBM was the initial contractor for the first two phases of Project Shield. Milwaukee-based Johnson Controls was brought in for Phase 3."

Here's a better idea: Supply cops with iPhones. Problem solved.

Rahmen Noodles
"This morning at 9 a.m. Occupy the South Side and Occupy Rogers Park delivered to all 50 Chicago aldermen a stern warning that support of the mayor's now infamous 'Sit Down and Shut Up' ordinance will be met with strong and principled resistance in their respective communities," Occupy Rogers Park announces.

"Questions abound regarding 'Sit Down and Shut Up,' both of its actual scope and the veracity of Mayor Emanuel's incomplete and misleading presentation of it. The mayor's office is dictating that 'Sit Down and Shut Up' be passed quickly, with little scrutiny. The mayor's demand continues the sordid tradition of rushing flawed legislation that has greatly damaged the welfare of our city.

"Both 'Sit Down and Shut Up' and the mayor's tactics stand in stark contrast to Chicago's democratic values. According to the Occupy notice: 'It is difficult to overstate the contrast between celebrating the life and work of Dr. King on Monday, and codifying the suppression of dissent on Wednesday.'

"Occupy the South Side and Occupy Rogers Park also presented a 'Pledge Against Sit Down and Shut Up,' inviting aldermen to stand against the Mayor's attempt to bully them into suppressing non-violent free speech in their communities."

Dear Alderman:

We are writing to draw your attention to policy concerns about legislation pending for the City Council meeting scheduled for January 18, 2012. Specifically of concern are O2011-9743, "Amendment of various sections of Municipal Code and providing associated authorization regarding upcoming NATO and G-8 summits, and O2011-9742, "Amendment of various provisions of Municipal Code regarding parades, athletic events and public assemblies."

As you are no doubt aware, Mayor Emanuel sponsored this ordinance and has promoted it in the media as a "temporary" measure aimed at controlling protesters during specified events taking place later this year. As you've surely read, the Mayor has since been forced to retract his claim that these changes were ever meant to be temporary. Another blatant inconsistency is that the ordinance applies to the entire city, while the NATO and G8 summits occur only downtown. Other inconsistencies in the presentation of this ordinance are similarly problematic.

Given what the ordinance actually says, it cannot be construed as an effort to protect the integrity of G8 and NATO conferences. This measure is a permanent attack on public protest in the City of Chicago. The consequences of this attack will be far reaching, and will be felt by protesters throughout the city, most of whom will never have any connection to the protests associated with these events.

As you are also aware, we celebrate the legacy of the Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. on January 16, 2012. Dr. King's legacy is not one of obedience to municipal authorities, but rather the inspiring story of a man who led a community that was willing to face down oppressive lawmakers by violating exactly the type of ordinance the Mayor is asking you to support.

It is difficult to overstate the contrast between celebrating the life and work of Dr. King on Monday, and codifying the suppression of dissent on Wednesday.

More disturbing than the symbolism of attacking Dr. King's legacy is the perpetuation of the continued oppression that he gave his life to oppose. This ordinance does not exist in a vacuum. After all, political speech is not about speech itself. It is about issues of public policy that affect citizens who wish to convey their concerns in the public space. While the city's leadership has talked of tough choices, and the need to balance the budget, communities of Color have been forced to endure the greatest losses in areas of education, medical care, and access to living-wage employment. Restricting our ability to speak to those concerns would be unconscionable.

Citizens of the City of Chicago are facing attacks on the fundamental building blocks of their lives. We are losing access to health care, seeing their schools close, and losing our jobs. In each case, the impact of these attacks has been deliberately targeted, through legislation and governmental policy, at the City's predominantly black and Hispanic south side neighborhoods.

With regard to jobs, an analysis by the Chicago Reader demonstrates that the overwhelming majority of the City's payroll reductions will fall on communities of Color. With regard to health care, the City is closing six mental health clinics, five of which are in the same neighborhoods where jobs are being cut. With regard to schools, a map of recent adverse school actions falls again in the same Black and Hispanic neighborhoods where jobs and health care are being cut.

Enacting a new ordinance to suppress dissent by citizens with good cause to complain is bad enough. To enact such an ordinance two days after Martin Luther King Day is a disrespectful slap in the face to his legacy.

The work of the Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. is not a past triumph best left to history books. It is a continuing struggle that opposes governmental oppression against communities of Color. Out of respect for Dr. King, your constituents, and the spirit of peaceful protest, we are asking you to sign the attached pledge, which rejects this errant legislation.

Occupy the SouthSide and Occupy Rogers Park


Under no circumstances will I fail to vote against City of Chicago (proposed) ordinances restricting free speech*, or any variation thereof that additionally restricts in any way the right of the people of Chicago to exercise their rights to free speech and assembly.

Signed: ________________________________
Alderman, City of Chicago

*O2011-9743 "Amendment of various sections of Municipal Code and providing associated authorization regarding upcoming NATO and G-8 summits," and O2011-9742, "Amendment of various provisions of Municipal Code regarding parades, athletic events and public assemblies."


See also: The Weekend in Occupy Chicago.

Stat of the Day
"[M]ore than 10,660 [Chicago Public Schools'] students who were homeless at the beginning of the school year," the Sun-Times reports. "That's 1,466 more than at the same point in the previous school year, according to a CPS tally.

"And since the last school year ended with a record 15,580 students with nowhere to call home, the current surge means this school year is on pace to be another record breaker."

Wait. CPS has more than 10,000 homeless students?

And Terry Duffy is the squeaky wheel who gets the grease?


Revisit: "You wonder if you're the only kid in your class who is living in a homeless shelter."

Sign of the Times
Illinois Law Lets Motorists Salvage Fur, Food From Roadkill.


Huh, that reminds me of something.


Which is why this is as timely as ever:


Flagship Walgreens
"[Walgreens] tomorrow will welcome residents, commuters and visitors to its new two-story flagship location at the corner of State and Randolph on Chicago's historic State Street," the company announced. "The store, which opens to the public at 6:30 a.m. Tuesday, Jan. 10, features an extensive collection of innovative offerings, products and services unexpected from a drugstore."

Noooooo! No innovations!!! You're Walgreens! Protect your brand!

"An Upmarket Cafe offer[s] a barista preparing fresh brewed premium coffee, including the exclusive State and Randolph brand."


"A bakery will serve a range of fresh baked breads and pastries daily."

Noooooo! What's so wrong with the stale Hostess rack?! Ding Dongs!


"This unique urban retailing concept raises the bar for drugstore retailing and sets us apart in our industry," said Joe Magnacca, Walgreens president of daily living products and solutions.

The last thing I want is Walgreens raising the bar! I go to Walgreens (almost every day) precisely because it has a low bar. That's the point.

UIC's Nacho.

AdVault: Moondog's 1985
Chicagoland's place for Robotech.

The Weekend in Chicago Rock
They played at a venue near you.

Angelo's Legacy Still Unwritten
It all depends on Cutler's future success. Or failure.


The Beachwood Tip Line: Signs, times.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 9:08 AM | Permalink

The Weekend in Occupy Chicago

You shoulda been there.

1. Rahmen noodles.

"The 2012 Allied Social Science Associations (ASSA) national conference [was] held Jan. 6-8 in Chicago, with an agenda strongly influenced by the American Economic Association (AEA). For decades the AEA has fostered a narrow, free-market orthodoxy in the economics profession.

"Unlike other professional organization, the AEA has no code of ethics and its members no incentive to disclose the source of research funding or other conflicts of interest. Some members presenting at this year's conference, including John Campbell, chairman of Harvard Economics Department, were featured defending the status quo even as the global economy went into a tailspin in the Oscar-winning documentary Inside Job directed by Charles Ferguson.

"'Members of the AEA who put their own self-interest and that of the 1% above a functioning economy for all are making the AEA morally, intellectually, and academically bankrupt,' says David Orlikoff, film critic and Occupy Chicago organizer. 'Profiteering AEA members of both parties move between academia and government, spinning failed free-market theory, and are essentially subsidized by the 1% and the politicians they fund. This corrupt system leads to failed ideas such as trickle-down theory, austerity and low capital gains tax rates. The data are in, and the results are disastrous for our country.'"


2. Empty Bottle benefit.

"Jamming out at an all-ages benefit show for Occupy Chicago. Other bands appearing: When Flying Feels Like Falling, Cathy Santones, Waste, Bajas, Giveback, Going Backwards, Ephemeral Sunrise with help from the School of Rock."


3. Mind The Gap.

"Long before it was a rallying cry, Catholic social justice groups were pointing fingers at the 1 percent," according to the National Catholic Reporter.

"That enthusiasm for the power of the Occupy movement was echoed by Sr. Kathleen Desautels, a member of Chicago's 8th Day Center for Justice, which was founded in 1974 as a coalition of religious congregations working on social justice issues.

"Desautels said her group has close ties with the Occupy movement in Chicago, joining the group at protests every Tuesday morning, and even serving as the protesters' fiscal agent until they are able to obtain nonprofit tax status.

"Staff members at the 8th Day Center, Desautels said, decided to provide that support because of the energy of the Occupy movement and 'its ability to make the connections' between injustice in a range of economic issues.

"'To have such a nationwide movement demonstrating in their signs and actions these interconnections is something I never thought I'd see in my lifetime,' said Desautels, a member of the Sisters of Providence of St. Mary-of-the-Woods.

"Staff at the social justice center also found 'refreshing' the Occupy protesters' circular organizational structure, which is similar to 8th Day's, where all major decisions are made with consensus, said Desautels, who has worked at the center since 1986.

"'I'm sure there are bumps along the way, but they're making clear that the top-down, hierarchical decision-making process is part of what got us to where we are in the first place.'"


See also:
* Chicago's Richest 1 Percent.
* Occupy's Favorite Banker.
* Where's Team Obama?


And: The item Rahmen Noodles in today's Papers column.


Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 7:50 AM | Permalink

Wallflip: UIC's Nacho



Bonus Nacho!


Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 7:43 AM | Permalink

AdVault: Moondog's 1985

"A Robotech-themed commercial for Moondogs, a chain of Chicagoland comic book shops. Don't miss out on the Christmas promotion!"


Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 7:26 AM | Permalink

The Weekend in Chicago Rock

You shoulda been there.

1. Magatha Trysty at Martyr's on Friday night.


2. Eleven Dollar Life at House of Blues on Friday night.


3. Wu-Tang Clan at the Congress on Sunday night.


4. Good Luck Jane at the Beat Kitchen on Saturday night.


5. Going Backwards at the Empty Bottle's Occupy Chicago benefit on Saturday.


6. Matt Hill at Smoke Daddy on Thursday night.


Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 6:52 AM | Permalink

January 7, 2012

The Weekend Desk Report

The Weekend Desk: Taking control of the narrative since 2006.

Market Update
Sense of Humor saw its value skyrocket this week, because let's face it: we're all going to need one.

Spread 'Em
More good news for Rick Santorum this week as it appears he can now claim he was Google raped.

Mental Ward
Chicago's once-powerful city council was left feeling marginalized and insecure this week as Mayor Rahm Emanuel joined forces with a powerful woman to curry public favor. In other words, the city council has been Bidened.

Iron Lady
Of course, Hillary Clinton needs to complete her inevitable climb to power in the next four years or Meryl Streep will have retired.

Vegas Values
Finally this week, we just want to make sure we have this straight: Floyd Mayweather doesn't have to serve his time for punching someone's lights out until after he's punched someone else's lights out. Stay classy, Vegas.


The Weekend Desk Tip Line: Call us sometime when you have no class.


The Sound Opinions Weekend Report: "We've got big new releases coming out of our ears! Tune in to find out if the latest by Common, Guided By Voices and more get a Buy It, Burn It or Trash It."


The CAN TV Weekend Report: CAN TV brings you local, relevant issues from Chicago's neighborhoods and communities. See what's happening around the city in education, the arts, government, cultural events, social services and community activities.

Veterans Day Celebration


On-location coverage of the South Side Veterans Day parade and ceremonies.

Saturday, January 7 at 6 p.m. on CAN TV19
1 hr


Community Forum: IL Hunger Coalition


Executive Director Diane Doherty highlights the Illinois Hunger Coalition's work to alleviate and end hunger through organizing, advocacy, and education.

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


Re-Enrolling Out of School Youth


Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle joins experts and local officials to discuss the individual and societal costs of high school dropouts.

Other participants include Chicago Public Schools CEO Jean-Claude Brizard and Illinois State Board of Education Chairman Gery Chico.

Sunday, January 8 at 9 a.m. on CAN TV21
3 hr


Republic, Lost: How Money Corrupts Congress and a Plan to Stop It


Harvard Law School Professor Lawrence Lessig examines how the U.S. political system is influenced by outside interests and ways to make it more representative of voters' desires instead.

Sunday, January 8 at 12 p.m. on CAN TV21
1 hr 30 min


Deciding the Best Business Model for Your Creative Endeavors


William Rattner, executive director of Lawyers for the Creative Arts, leads a forum on the implications and benefits of non-profit status for cultural organizations.

Sunday, January 8 at 1:30 p.m. on CAN TV21
2 hr


Fair Taxation & The Justice System


Walter Bush of The Renaissance Collaborative participates in a panel considering reforms to promote fairness and accountability in the U.S. taxation and justice systems.

Sunday, January 8 at 5 p.m. on CAN TV19
2 hr

Posted by Natasha Julius at 9:07 AM | Permalink

January 6, 2012

The [Friday] Papers

"Chicago Public libraries will close all day Mondays - instead of Monday and Friday mornings as promised - stunning and infuriating aldermen who thought they had an agreement with Mayor Rahm Emanuel," the Sun-Times reports.

Maybe he just means during the NATO/G8 summits.

No, but really, they're quite mad.

"That's not what was proposed or voted on," Ald. Scott Waguespack (32nd) said. "It's completely contrary."

The funny thing is that the city keeps building new libraries even as it claims budget woes have forced it to cut hours at the existing ones.

If only our kids could read construction blueprints; at least they could get paid to build libraries we (supposedly) can't afford to keep open.

"Deputy mayoral press secretary Jennifer Hoyle explained the change in an e-mail to the Chicago Sun-Times.

"'Closing for two half-days, rather than one full day was contingent upon the union agreement to give us increased flexibility in scheduling,' Hoyle wrote.

"'We are talking to the unions, but haven't yet reached an agreement. For that reason, in the meantime, the branch libraries will be closed on Monday.'

"Anders Lindall, a spokesman for AFSCME Council 31 representing the 176 library employees, acknowledged that the union is negotiating with the city. But, he categorically denied that the union had forced the city's hand."

Oh, so that's what this is all about; Rahm finding yet another avenue to beat down unions and show he's the big dog in town. Even if kids get, you know, the shaft.

"'Whether a reduction in hours comes for four hours on two days a week or eight hours on one day is not acceptable to people of the city who want and deserve access to their libraries at all times. They shouldn't be forced to accept reduced access,' Lindall said.

"We haven't seen a proposal from the city that would prevent those reduced hours. We've had discussions. Those discussions continue. We hope to reach an agreement to prevent reduced hours and rescind the layoffs."

Hoyle's e-mail account couldn't be reached to respond.

"Waguespack doesn't care who is to blame. He's livid that the compromise aldermen thought they had reached with Emanuel has been reversed in a way that could devastate some of his constituents.

"'Monday is the day they want to get out of the house looking for work on the computer. It's the day they want to get the kids out of the house and into the reading room,' Waguespack said.

"'It would be detrimental to people who have relied on kicking off the week. Especially in the winter, you get out of the house and head straight for the library.'

"Even Ald. Pat O'Connor (40th), the mayor's City Council floor leader, was taken aback by the all-day Monday closing."

Apparently Rahm forgot to take time out from his awesome vacation and let him know.

"We budgeted for two half-days," O'Connor said. But, he added, "It would require the unions to agree to it."

"Rachel Javellana, 33, is a poet-instructor who runs a community writing group Mondays at Mabel Manning Branch library on the West Side. Javellana said she isn't sure the library will be able to accommodate her group on another evening.

"'The thing that bothers me is that Mondays are a really busy day at the library,' Javellana said. 'It's discouraging to see a roll-back of this invaluable resource that exists for the people.'

"Javellana said the Monday closure will have the greatest impact on the city's poor - many of whom depend on libraries for their only e-mail access."

Too bad; we spent the money on a website you won't be able to access on Mondays either.

(FYI: Detroit had it first.)


Hey, maybe Rahm is just re-branding Mondays.

Wouldn't Call It Working
"After multiple rounds of payroll trimming and early retirements, there are now 2,100 fewer south siders working for the city than five years ago," the Reader reports. "That means the mostly black and Latino communities there bore a disproportionate share of the cuts: though about 30 percent of all city workers lived in south side neighborhoods five years ago, they've accounted for about 37 percent of the axed jobs."

And now they can't even go to the library on Mondays to look for work.


"Meanwhile, northwest side residents made up roughly 22 percent of the city workforce but only sustained 11 percent of the cuts. But that doesn't mean the news was cheery there either - northwest side neighborhoods still suffered a net loss of more than 600 city jobs.

"The eight zip codes that ranked highest in city job losses were all in predominately black and Hispanic neighborhoods on the south and southwest sides.

"Public sector jobs have helped many families make the middle class and pay mortgages. In fact, they're the anchors in neighborhoods like Auburn-Gresham, Avalon Park, and West Lawn. So it's probably not a coincidence that many of the zip codes with the biggest city job losses have also been hit hardest by the ongoing foreclosure crisis."

That's okay, they'll muddle through.


But look at what's happening: A transfer of taxpayer dollars from public sector workers struggling to hold down the middle class to, well, the 1%.

Brown Economy
"Illinois industries generated 10 million more pounds of toxic pollution in 2010 than they did in 2009," AP reports.

And that's just what came out of the mouths of politicians.

Ah ha ha ha ha!

Hey, they can't all be fresh.

Simon Sez
"Lt. Governor To Play Banjo At Chicago School."

And outside libraries every Monday. She's got plenty of time on her hands.

Moby Dick via Chicago
Melville was a blowhard.

Occupy The Empty Bottle
The venerable rock club will host a benefit for Occupy Chicago on Saturday night.

The Week in Chicago Rock
They played at various venues near you on New Year's Eve and since.

The Week in WTF
Cardinal George should follow Big Z and Jerry Angelo out the door.


The Beachwood Tip Line: Muddle through.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 8:10 AM | Permalink

Moby Dick via Chicago

It could have used a lot of editing. Melville was a blowhard.


See also: The Bookfighters You Tube Channel


Comments, critiques, contributors and a section editor welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 7:30 AM | Permalink

The Week in WTF

1. Carlos Zambrano, WTF?

On most days, a one-way Greyhound bus ticket from Chicago to Miami runs about $180. The Cubs bought the $15 million ticket just to get Carlos Zambrano out of town more expeditiously.

Think of this carefully. They paid $15 million of the last $18 million they owe him to pitch for anyone, anywhere else other than Chicago. That's one heaping pile of get-out-of-town.
Theo Epstein to Carlos: We hate you. But wait. It gets worse for Z. Not only did the Marlins have to give back only a small stipend to make it seem like a real transaction and one less-than-mediocre (but young) starter, it also means this was the official word of Organized Baseball.

This was the best deal the Cubs could attract, and they couldn't even get Carlos out of the league where he might come back to bite them.

Apparently general managers everywhere have been watching Zambrano's self-immolations with similar alarm.

2. North Chicago's Police Chief, WTF?

Don't worry. It's not what it looks like. North Chicago's chief constable is just taking a break to spend more time with his family to spend more time with his family. Right. If he doesn't have one of his own, he'll take any family.

Aside from the Great Lakes Naval Base and Abbott (which is run like a keep-out-the-locals Guns of Navarone fortress there) the only real going business in North Chicago is litigation over police beatdowns. It's a growth industry.

Their motto: You run, we chase; we catch, we beat.

3. Jerry Angelo, WTF?

And speaking of spending more time with this family, the ousted Bears GM will have some spare time for hearth and kin, as well.

Aside from the obvious sins made visible this year - the constantly inexplicable drafts, the quarterback menagerie of broken toys, the Hester Disaster - his greatest sin was subtler.
Even with marginally better offense this season, the Bears were a team built on defense that mostly survived as best it could even during the Cutler-Forte mess.

But when the season disintegrated this year, it was a rank waste of time.

In essence, by dawdling over the quarterbacks and letting the season wither on the vine, Angelo wasted an entire year for players who won't be here forever - Urlacher, Briggs, Peppers etc.

They are facing an age barrier that can tolerate no wastefulness.

By wasting their time, he also wasted the owners' time. And ours.

4. May, Kay and Sean, WTF?

For all you who thought the North Shore was just an insipid bastion of quiche-scooping, merlot-chugging trust fund babies, here's good news: They have lowlife scum living right there in Wilmette, too.

But in keeping with the presumption of superiority, even these mouth breathers had a fully formed but totally specious explanation for how the stolen TV got from there over to here. We give the story a solid B-plus grade on that.

Plus, on the North Shore, thieves just steal. Other places in Chicago and this would have ended in a full-fledged semi-automatic shootout. And somebody in the shootout would have said it all started over a lack of respect.

5. Cardinal George, WTF?

What are the chances an 84-year-old pope will tell a 74-year old cardinal it's time to retire because of creeping age?

Cardinal Francis George can retire now under the church's rules, but usually the exiting prelate is allowed to stage the exit at his own pace unless the pope insists.

However, it does seem as though it's getting closer to the proper time. His dust-up with the local gay community last month was both unnecessary and ugly.

It was the sort of trumped up argument that cranky old people are prone to employ. And stay off my grass, ya young punks!

In fact, it was gay community organizers who agreed to change the time of the offending parade to meet parish concerns.

But the underlying issue is as much generational as it is theological.

George believes the old view, that gays offend most Catholics because simply being gay is a bad thing. He thinks most Catholics agree.

That, of course, is not true and has not been true for decades. In fact, most studies of lay Catholic attitudes toward gays find them much in accord with the general tenor of the secular times.


Comments, complaints and suggestions welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 7:09 AM | Permalink

The Week in Chicago Rock

You shoulda been there.

1. Cage The Elephant & Friends at the Aragon on Saturday night.


2. Monkey Paw at the Bottom Lounge on Saturday night.


3. Cage The Elephant at the Aragon on Saturday night.


4. Disco Biscuits at The Auditorium on Saturday night.


5. Garret Santora at the Double Door on Wednesday night.


6. Rusko at the Congress on Saturday night.


7. The Cell Phones in a Humboldt Park apartment on Saturday night.


See also: Robbie Fulks Kills 2011


Comments, music writers and a music section editor welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 6:24 AM | Permalink

January 5, 2012

The [Thursday] Papers

By the time Illinois holds its Republican primary in March, Rick Santorum may be long gone from the race, but for now stories like this one that include his yearbook photo from Carmel Catholic High School in Mundelein are fun and interesting to read.

See also:

He Fought For Your Rights
"As the longest-serving executive director of the Illinois ACLU, Jay Miller was at the center of legal battles that stretched from defending protestors at the 1968 Democratic National Convention to challenging racial profiling at the turn of the century," the Sun-Times reports.

"In his four decades with the organization, he denounced threats to civil liberties wherever he saw them - whether it was filing suit on behalf of women who were subjected to police strip-searches after traffic stops, or criticizing angry African-American aldermen who ripped a student painting of Mayor Harold Washington in women's undergarments off a wall of the School of the Art Institute.

"Mr. Miller, 83, died Tuesday in Evanston of complications from emphysema, said his son, Joshua.

Thank you for your service, Jay Miller.

Standard Issue
At this point, you can pretty much just fill in the blank on these Obama hypocrisy stories.

Your Vote Rarely Counts
"Every vote really does count," the Tribune reports.

"That adage rang true Tuesday for Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney after he was declared the winner in the Iowa caucuses by a scant eight votes over Rick Santorum.

"The concept of close votes easily brings to mind the 2000 presidential election in which a narrow margin of votes between George W. Bush and Al Gore brought court challenges, concerns about voting technology and popularization of 'hanging chads.'"

Um, not really.

Al Gore received 543,895 more votes than George W. Bush in 2000.

And in Florida, Gore clearly received more votes than Bush - even before considering the butterfly ballot in Palm Beach County.

As far as Iowa goes, 122,255 votes were cast and for all intents and purposes it was a tie. Mitt Romney and Santorum each received 11 delegates. Big whoop.

Ron Paul Not Dead Yet
His racist newsletters will play well in South Carolina, no?

Punchline Please
"Mayor Rahm Emanuel today justified cutting Taste of Chicago in half, saying the number of days do not determine the appeal of the lakefront restaurant showcase," the Tribune reports.

"It's what we fill those days with and what quality of both food and experience we bring to the families of the city of Chicago," Emanuel said.

I feel like that's begging for a punchline, but I can't seem to find it. Maybe something about turkey legs.

"Chicago Public Schools employees repeatedly took advantage of lax oversight or exploited the system to benefit themselves financially during the year leading to an overhaul of CPS leadership, says the annual report released Wednesday by the district's inspector general," the Tribune reports.

"The report noted systemic abuses of the federal free lunch program at one West Side high school where school and even district employees had enrolled their children to receive free or reduced lunches despite earning six-figure salaries."

I feel like that's begging for a punchline, but I can't seem to find it. Maybe something about Taste of Chicago.


"According to the report, payroll errors led to 185 retired teachers being paid more than $1.13 million in improper vacation and holiday pay after returning to the classroom to teach part time."

The Bobs notified payroll; the glitch will work itself out.

Movie Madness
Watch Rob Lowe Actually Take His Role As Drew Peterson In A Crappy Lifetime Movie Seriously.


The Beachwood Tip Line: Glitchy.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 8:02 AM | Permalink

Watch Rob Lowe Actually Take His Role As Drew Peterson In A Crappy Lifetime Movie Seriously

As a news junkie, he explains, he had a lot of footage to draw on to "build" his character.


Meanwhile, Shorewood Patch editor Joe Hosey, who wrote the book that the movie is based on, gushes (without disclaimer) that "Lifetime has a new two-minute commercial for Drew Peterson: Untouchable, and it is packed with action and drama.

"Rob Lowe is there pushing Kaley Cuoco into a big-screen TV. He's wearing a Hawaiian shirt in a bar and talking like Dennis Farina. It even looks like the guy playing Joe Hosey shows up for a few seconds. What else could you possibly want?"


FYI: Peterson has yet to be convicted of murdering anyone; he is still awaiting trial.


From the Beachwood vault: Nobody Should Play Drew Peterson In A Lifetime Movie


See also:
* Lifetime Movie On Drew Peterson Captures His Personality But Takes Some Liberties

* Drew Peterson Finds Rob Lowe Lifetime Movie Trailer Hilarious


Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 7:16 AM | Permalink

January 4, 2012

Option Monster TV

Let's get in the zone. The cash money zone.


See also:
* The Option Monster TV YouTube Channel.
* Wilkinson's Twitter feed.
* Wilkinson's Futures & Options On Futures site.


Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 11:58 AM | Permalink

The [Wednesday] Papers

And then that happened.

See also: The Iowa Caucus Report From The Beachwood Political Affairs Desk.

Who won? The dumb-ass media. Who lost? You.

NOTE: Additionally material including from our Twitter feed now in the comments section.

See also: Rick Santorum Has Illinois Roots.

From Where They Sit
Elites - including Barack Obama - are fond of reassuring the citizenry that we Americans have faced down challenges before and always "made it through."

What they fail to say - or even understand, at least in their gut - is that elites always "make it through." A shitload of other folks . . . well, don't. They die because of health complications exacerbated by poverty or because they don't have health insurance. Or have crappy health insurance.

They lose their homes. They lose their marriages. They lose their jobs. They fall into despair. Dreams are destroyed. The middle class continues to disappear. The poor simply disintegrate.

I wish Obama ("And as tough as things may be right now, I know we will overcome. I know it because we always have") and others would detail who exactly "makes it through" our national crises. Our dead soldiers? No. Our economic front lines? No.

Today it's the Tribune editorial page's turn to voice its nonsensical and narrow optimism.

"Investors greeted 2012 with a cheer during the new year's first trading session Tuesday. Financial markets rose despite ample reasons for pessimism. The gains make sense, however, considering the one overriding reason for optimism. The financial meltdown four years ago gave way to hard times, but the system of markets, credit and banking that propel the world's largest economies didn't grind to a halt.

"Business kept functioning. People muddled through. The scariest economic crisis since the 1930s isn't over by a long shot, but concern about the ability to recover has subsided."

Really? Have these people muddled through? Concern over recovery has subsided?

"[I]t's not as if any other system is rising up to take the place of the one we've got," the Trib opines. "On the contrary, capitalism is busting out all over."

Don't fret, we're not socialist yet!

"For individuals, states or nations, the process of managing excessive debt is pretty much the same.

"Make sure the money going out in spending is less than the amount coming in through paychecks - or tax revenues. Negotiate with creditors for the best possible repayment terms. Systematically pay down what is owed over time. As credit becomes available again, don't borrow too much.

"The reward? Financial stability."

It's that easy!

Unless you want to get there by putting millions more out of work.

Cheap cheerleading won't get us there either.

Occupy Livestream Shut Down
"Occupy Wall Street [was] in the middle of one of its day-long marches in New York Tuesday, protesting the National Defense Authorization Act, but for those following along on the Global Revolution livestream, the real action [was] happening in the broadcast studio itself. That's because police have apparently just raided the Brooklyn studio of and taken some of the project's key volunteers into custody," the Atlantic reports.

"The raid Tuesday follows a notice to vacate that police delivered to the Bushwick studio on Monday night. Victoria Sobel, a Global Revolution volunteer, said Vlad Teichberg and a guy named Spike, both of whom maintain the live feed aggregator, had been taken into custody by police, along with four or five others."

Don't tell Rahm.


Doesn't Rahm's "clarification" make it even worse? Now the new rules won't just be while the G8 is in town but . . . forever.

Best Jerry Angelo Line
"A guard is playing center, a center is playing guard, a guard is playing right tackle, a right tackle is playing left tackle, and the last guy is a backup for a left guard who's paid like a left tackle and can't last a full season anywhere because he's always getting hurt because he came here hurt."

- Steve Rosenbloom

Kanye West Plays The Palace
Caresses the Casbah.

Option Monster TV
Straight outta da pits.

Fantasy Fix: Fish or Cut Bait?
Rip Hamilton among those already on thin ice.


The Beachwood Tip Line: On ice.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 11:05 AM | Permalink

Five One-Hundreths Of One Percent Of Voting Age Americans Have Spoken!

Iowa caucus observations from the Beachwood Political Affairs Desk.

Who Won?
According to the pundits:

Mitt Romney literally.

Rick Santorum figuratively.

Barack Obama politically.

Yes, But Who Really Won?
It was a tie. Both Romney and Santorum nabbed 11 delegates. And as Democrats remember from 2008, it's all about the delegates.

Then Who Finished Second?
According to Ron Paul, he did.

"We're actually in second place; they were tied for first."

Whose Dropping Out?
Perry and Bachmann.

Why Do Candidates Drop Out After Doing Poorly In A Caucus That Rarely Picks The Final Winner And Thus Doesn't Appear As Relevant As The Salivating Media Make It?
Because of the salivating media.

And money.

It's hard to fundraise after a poor showing in Iowa. And you need money to pay for advertising on media channels which will no longer cover your campaign with anything but derision of you don't drop out.

Was Last Night Bad For Romney?
Only according to media pundits pointing out that he never won over Iowa's hardest-core caucus conservatives.

Is That Important?
Historically, no.

Does The Iowa Caucus Produce More Animal Waste Than All Of Iowa's Farms Combined?

Does It Get Worse Every Year?

The media can't help themselves. It's entertainment to them. Covering something like the National Defense Authorization Act is hard, boring and depressing for anyone but teenagers.

Don't They Ever Learn?




Didn't Pat Robertson Win The Iowa Caucus One Year?
No. He finished second. Ahead of George H.W. Bush. Who went on to become president while Robertson quit before the primaries were over and slunk back to his bully pulpit.

Did The Media Buy Into Robertson?
Well, the Tribune wrote this:

"Pat Robertson's revival-style presidential campaign, fueled by devout grass-roots organizing and the invocation of divine destiny, has begun to shake the nonfaith of some of the flinty-eyed political agnostics and prophets of electoral doom.

"But Robertson, the former director of the Christian Broadcasting Network in Virginia Beach, Va., has displayed unexpected savvy in erecting an energetic corps of volunteers for his political crusade, and he has wrested fresh attention from news reporters who now portray him as a formidable force with which his party must reckon."

Didn't Michelle Bachmann Win The Iowa Straw Poll?
Yes, back in August.

Did The Media Think That Was Important?

Where Is Jon Huntsman?
In New Hampshire.

Why Don't Hard-Core Conservatives Like Him?
Maybe because Obama named him ambassador to China in part to sandbag him.

"The administration is now doing its best to shift attention away from the political aspects of the decision, but White House aides were pleased with themselves for pulling this off," Salon reported at the time. "Obama's campaign manager, David Plouffe, had said recently that Huntsman was someone worth fearing in 2012."

But not wholly because of that. For example, he believes in evolution.

Would Obama Really Do That?
Huntsman doesn't realize yet that he's the mark at the poker table. Democrats have played him like a mayor plays the Chicago City Council. For example, that was Bill Clinton the other day telling Bill O'Reilly that Huntsman was the true conservative in the field.

Not on social issues, of course. Huntsman doesn't have that much hate in him. But Team Obama would like to take social issues off the table for its own weird reasons.

Will Santorum Go Down Next?


Comments welcome. Santorum sex jokes not. Unless they're REALLY good.


1. From @BeachwoodReport last night:

* Iowa Caucus Result: Obama wins Republican nomination.

* Iowa Caucus Result: In a landslide, Gingrich uses the words "frankly" and "profoundly" more than any candidate in human history.

* Iowa Caucus News: Perry asks New Hampshire voters to give him victory tonight.

* Iowa Caucus News: Santorum disses welfare recipients in between desperate pleas for more campaign cash.

* Iowa Caucus News: All media predictions & analyses 2nite will be forgotten the second they turn out wrong in the coming days, weeks, months.

* Iowa Caucus News: In Dem race, Obama in tight battle with Maytag repairman.

* Iowa Caucus News: Ron Paul declares caucuses an unwelcome government intrusion into the private sector.

* Goldman Sachs wins Wall Street primary; will run White House for at least another four years.

* In Beachwood caucus news, Old Style holds a slim lead over Miller High Life, with 25 percent of the drinkers reporting.

* Beachwood Inn Exit Poll: Whatever Beer Is The Cheapest holding slight lead over Turn The Jukebox Up and Is It Hot In Here Or Is It Just You?

* RT pourmecoffee: It's not clear who won the African-American vote. Someone should ask him. #iacaucus

* RT Angus Johnston: Every time a pundit uses the words "Santorum" and "threeway" together in a sentence, an angel gets its wings. #iacaucus

* RT Ryan Brack: Fellow #iacaucus junkie? Check out Google's killer elections page. County breakdown & clear visual display of vote.

* RT Danny Zuker: AP is reporting that the Iowa Caucuses are currently too pathetic to call.

* RT Buddy Roemer: Hermain Cain is currently beating me in Iowa. #seriously

* RT The Onion: 600-Pound Butter Cow Sculpture Wins Iowa Caucus

2. From Steve Rhodes:

What about the fact that Romney barely campaigned in the state until the end? Isn't that in his favor both because of how he "managed expectations" and how he might have had a larger margin had he gone as hard as Santorum, who needed the collapse of Bachmann, Cain and Gingrich in order to "surge?"

Good point.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 9:19 AM | Permalink

Kanye West Plays The Palace

"Kanye West and Jay-Z earned a nice buck [in December] when they were hired by a billionaire to perform at his daughter's Sweet 16 birthday party," Tale Tela - among many other blogs and news services but neither of the Chicago dailies or the Reader - reports.

"The lucky girl in question is the sister of Mansour bin Zayed Al Nahyan who owns Manchester City football team and the daughter of Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan, the original founder of the United Arab Emirates."

I dunno, I kinda think Kanye West is still a local story. To wit:

"Kanye West was born in Atlanta, Georgia, where he lived with his parents," according to his Wikipedia bio. "When he was three years old, his parents divorced, and he and his mother moved to Chicago, Illinois.

"His father was Ray West, a former Black Panther who was one of the first black photojournalists at The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, and is now a Christian counselor.

"West's mother, Dr. Donda West, was a Professor of English at Clark Atlanta University, and the Chair of the English Department at Chicago State University before retiring to serve as West's manager.

"He was raised in a middle-class background, attending Polaris High School in suburban Oak Lawn, Illinois after living in Chicago . . .

"West attended art classes at the American Academy of Art in Chicago, and also enrolled at Chicago State University, but dropped out to focus on his music career."

This is also the kind of story that coverage of celebrities so often provides to mostly serious news organizations: An opening to a conversation. I mean, isn't it obvious?

A) Once again, we have to ask: Is it immoral to spend so much money on a Sweet 16 party? See also My Super Sweet 16.

B) Sweet 16 parties? What is this, the 50s?

C) Is it immoral to accept so much money to perform at a Sweet 16?

D) Will Kanye West donate the money to the Occupy movement that he supports? Or is he okay with banking millions by entertaining the ridiculously spoiled offspring of the 1%?

E) How does West - and Jay-Z - feel about entertaining for the rulers of a nation described as "a federation of seven monarchies, whose rulers retain absolute power within their emirates?"

F) Does it matter if West - and Jay-Z - would turn around and give the money to underprivileged children somewhere in the world?

In other words . . . can we talk?


Meanwhile . . .

"Jay-Z has been slapped with a lawsuit by the Workers' Compensation Board of New York. Apparently Hov was late paying a fine for not providing employee insurance for his domestic help," Pop Crush writes.

"According to TMZ, the suit claims the rap mogul failed to compensate his domestic help - housekeepers, cooks, chauffeurs, etc. - with workers' insurance for three months in 2009. For those lapses in payments, Jay was hit with a $18,000 fine. Since then, he has secured the right insurance and the matter was rectified. However, Jay forgot to pay the fine."


Obviously, West is following in a long line of American entertainers who make big bucks overseas for questionable-at-best and brutal-murderers-at-worst despots. Truly, will immensely wealthy people do anything to become even more immensely wealthy? Do they have moral responsibilities?

To wit:

"Inaugurated by popstar Jennifer Lopez in front of the cream of Moroccan society, Casablanca's first mega mall, complete with two-story-high aquarium, is dripping with glamour and luxury," AP reported last month.

"While developers describe it as a step bringing Morocco closer to the ranks of the developed world, detractors worry that it is a vanity project that a country teetering on the edge of an economic crisis can ill afford.

"Morocco at first seems a curious choice for what its developers are billing as the biggest mall in Africa. It already has world-renowned traditional bazaars featuring exquisite ceramics and rugs that draw tourists from across the globe.

"The North African kingdom of 32 million is home to the largest income inequalities in the Arab world - and now hosts Louis Vuitton, Gucci, Dior and Ralph Lauren boutiques and department store Galeries Lafayette in the new mall, a futuristic, bulbous silver structure perched on Morocco's coast overlooking the crashing waves of the Atlantic.

"It is a stark symbol of the contrasts of a country with 8.5 million people in poverty that ranks 130 out of 186 on the U.N.'s human development index, but will still host acts like Shakira and Kanye West for a summer concert series."


"In 2008, Mariah Carey performed for Muatassim Gadhafi at a New Year's Eve party on the island of St. Barts for $1 million," according to Rolling Out.

In 2009, it was Beyoncé. Nelly Furtado performed for the Gadhafi family in 2007 for $1 million.

And it's not just despots.

"Earlier this year, Drake, earned a cool $250,000 for a performance at a high-profile bar mitzvah for the son of NBC executive Jeff Zucker after Kanye West's performance price was deemed too high for the organizers."

It's really about cosmopolitan elites across borders who have more in common with each other than they do with their fellow citizens. Class is a global issue - and so is the economy and its collapse.

But to a good many people with power and wealth, all that matters is other people with power and wealth. You can serve each other in the lap of luxury. How you got power and wealth, and how you use it, is not important. The rest of us are just their playthings.

Tweet from West on December 27:

Ok, what does Rock the Casbah mean exactly?

All these years and you still don't know? You could've just looked it up:

"The song gives a fabulist account of a ban on rock music by the Sharif or King being defied by the population, who proceed to 'rock the casbah.' The King orders jet fighters to bomb any people in violation of the ban. The pilots ignored the orders, and instead play rock music on their cockpit radios."

In a broader sense, the song is about cultural control by authoritarians. Get it, Kanye?


Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 7:34 AM | Permalink

January 3, 2012

Fantasy Fix: Fish or Cut Bait?

Most fantasy basketball campaigns allow you some time to measure how effectively you drafted. You can let the slow starters find their way, while you monitor whether fast starters still on the waiver wire are flashes in the pan or the real thing.

But with a short season moving at a fast clip, you may need to make these decisions more quickly this year, and jump to the waiver wire or the trading table earlier than you expected.

Here are a few players I drafted this year who are already skating on thin ice:

Josh Smith, SF/PF, Atlanta: A notoriously inconsistent player I gambled on because he almost always does something in every stat category every time he hits the floor. However, his field goal shooting is hovering around .350, and has him averaging only 10 PPG, with other stats running light. I'm already thinking about trading him for a better pure shooter.

Richard Hamilton, SG/SF, Chicago: I saw huge upside for Hamilton as a late-round sleeper with a chance to deliver 20+ PPG by filling a void for the Bulls. However, Hamilton isn't getting the minutes and is nursing a groin injury. I'm cutting him now to fish the waiver wire, with a plan to look in on how he's doing later in the season.

Rudy Gay, SF/PF, Memphis: Flirted with 20 PPG his first two seasons, but .350 FG shooting has him at 13 PPG now, with assist and steals also off his usual averages. Rebounds per game, however, are up this year to about 8.3, so I'm keeping him and hoping he can beef up the rest of his stat line.

John Wall, PG, Washington: Another bricklayer, with a woeful .317 FG shooting mark. PPG and assists per game are just below his rookie year averages, but 2.0 steals per game and 1.6 block per game are a nice surprise. I'll keep him, but might bench him if I'm going into the last day of the week with a victory hanging on FG%.

Lamar Odom, SF/PF, Dallas: A shocking 8-for-41 from the floor, Odom is having an even harder time adjusting to his new team than anyone. I drafted him well below his preseason rank, and I'm still disappointed. He will be seen as a buy-low for the opportunists out there, so I don't know if I even want to trouble myself with a trade. My team is otherwise strong at SF and PF, so I may just dump him for somebody setting the waiver wire on fire.

Expert Wire
* Yahoo! Court Report says Manu Ginobili, SG/SF, San Antonio, could be out six weeks with a broken hand. Too bad, since he seemed to be starting fast this season.

* Give Me The Rock notes that Jarrett Jack, PG, New Orleans, is doing well replacing Chris Paul. Eight assists per game are close to Paul-like.

* ESPN's Fantasy Basketball Blog reports on the return of Andrew Bynum, PF/C, LA Lakers, who may stand to deliver greater returns with Odom gone from LA.


Send your comments, tips and suggestions to Disco Danny O'Shea.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 5:46 PM | Permalink

The [Tuesday] Papers

"Medicaid payment delays of up to six months are causing fits for supportive living centers throughout Illinois, and some owners are worried they may have to close if the situation doesn't improve soon," AP reports.

This is the price some people are paying for the economic scandal - yes, let's start calling it a scandal - while the very comfortable complain about how unfairly they're being treated.

"'It's a crisis for us because reserves and lines of credit are being exhausted,' Wayne Smallwood, executive director of the Springfield-based Affordable Assisted Living Coalition, said last week. 'This is the worst we've seen, and there's no relief in sight.'

"Illinois' festering budget problems, the sagging economy and the end of the federal economic stimulus program in June have contributed to growing payment delays that also hamstring nursing homes, hospitals, doctors and other medical providers."

Sears Tears
Swell, but you're no J.C. Penney.

Fat Cat
Speaking of outrageous complaints from the outrageously comfortable . . .

"Caterpillar Inc.'s Electro-Motive unit has decided to lock out locomotive manufacturing workers in London, Ontario, after finding out the Canadian Auto Workers told members not to strike following the breakdown of contract negotiations," Reuters reports.

"Electro-Motive said earlier on Sunday that it was unilaterally imposing changes in wage and benefit terms for its workers in Canada after talks broke down, and that workers were encouraged to show up for work.

"But the company's stance changed after the CAW surprised the company on Sunday afternoon by not calling a strike and instead instructing workers to report for duty."

Rahm's Chicago
"A City Hall rewrite to tighten rules for protesters at this spring's gathering of international leaders in Chicago would also place permanent and little-publicized restrictions on all future demonstrations," the Tribune reports.

"Mayor Rahm Emanuel proposed the changes to the city's parade ordinance in his December request to the City Council for expanded powers to deal with the NATO and G-8 summits, set to overlap between May 19-21. The mayor said his request for new spending authority and additional restrictions on public gatherings 'is temporary and it's just for the conference and it's appropriate.'

"But the mayor's office now acknowledges the protest rules would be permanent. And a closer look at Emanuel's proposals reveals a series of changes to arcane parade regulations that would be accompanied by a large boost in fines for violations - from the current $50 for some to a minimum $1,000 per violation."

Must. Stifle. Protests. Against. Companies. Like. CME. And. Caterpillar.

And even make some money doing it.

Back In The Real World
Peanut butter alert.

Family Affair
"As a convicted felon, William F. Cellini - the longtime Republican power broker recently convicted of corruption tied to former Gov. Rod Blagojevich's 'pay-to-play' schemes - can no longer do business with the state of Illinois, as he has done for more than four decades," the Sun-Times reports.

"But the Illinois law under which Cellini faces a five-year ban on getting any state contracts doesn't apply to his vast network of business ventures, some of which have been turned over to his daughter and son, according to state officials."

It's good to be the Pope. Or his children.

Following Finney
"Is the Woodlawn pastor an overextended do-gooder or a political rainmaker?"

Asking For Help
"Kids from working-class families less likely to ask questions in class than middle-class counterparts, study finds," the Tribune reported last month. (via This Week in Education.)

Stock Crock
"'It's a stock picker's market.' I heard that dreaded phrase the other day and cringed," David Roeder writes for the Sun-Times.

"It's a lie. It's a scam. And the next time you hear it from a talking head on CNBC, throw your shoe at the TV. (OK - not a good idea in this age of delicate flat screens, so throw a stocking instead.)

"When an investment professional declares a 'stock picker's market,' it's an assertion that they have a handle on it, that they are most to be trusted with your money and that poor ignorant you can't hope to match their performance.

"Research shows they are wrong on every count. The investments of most fund managers don't match the performance of the most comparable index and, when you think about it, the reason is clear. An index is a passive grouping of stocks, but a money manager with a large asset base and a need to spread the risk must make many decisions about stocks to include.

"Above all, they need to put money to work, knowing that customers don't seek them out to hoard cash. So they invest in, say, 100 companies, but how much conviction do they really have once they get to their 90th best investment idea?"

Value Pick
Sidley Austin lawyer decides to learn his son's name.

Fight For Your Right . . .
. . . To Peddle Street Art.

Drawing Rip Hamilton . . .
. . . In Four Minutes.

Hell On Earth . . .
. . . In River North.


The Beachwood Tip Line: Fish filleted.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 9:17 AM | Permalink

Hell On Earth In River North

Fish fucking filet in two parts.

1. Oh my . . .


1. . . . God.


Suggest yours.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 7:51 AM | Permalink

Drawing Rip Hamilton

In under four minutes. With your headphones on.


Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 7:25 AM | Permalink

The Fight For Your Right To Peddle Art In Chicago

I am Chris Drew, the volunteer Executive Director of the Uptown Multi-Cultural Art Center for the past 24 years. I work for you without pay. Our groundbreaking lawsuit against the Chicago peddlers license is soon to be filed. The stakes are high. Your help is needed to make Chicago more friendly to artists.

Cindy is not her name but her story is common in Chicago. She is an artist facing poverty, out of a job, prolific, but unable to sell her art in public. Even with a peddlers license her opportunities are limited because there are no art scenes where she is able to sell her art. When she ventures out, she finds herself confused by the public with the homeless who they are used to seeing on the streets of Chicago. The homeless have won their First Amendment rights to meet the public in Chicago while artists have not. In the few marginalized areas of Chicago where the peddlers license allows her to sell, she is not joined by other artists in a vibrant street arts scene. The public sees her as a lone figure against a bleak cityscape and pass on by. She is unable to survive, as she should, by her art in Chicago because street art culture has been killed by unfriendly laws and prohibitive park policies.

Remember Lee Godie - the lady who became famous selling her art in front of the Art Institute? Chicago outlawed her activity the year she died, 1994, by requiring a peddlers license that defined the sidewalk before the Art Institute and most of the best locations in Chicago as prohibited areas. There have been few, if any, artists legally surviving by selling their art in public in Chicago since that time. Chicago's cultural character is largely hidden. We envision a future art Mecca of street art scenes showcasing Chicago artists in public with myriad opportunities for artists to survive by their creative activities. Chicago's streets should bloom with art and culture every spring.

How badly do we need change? When I tried to challenge the constitutionality of this peddlers license law by selling art for $1 in public the State attempted to put me in prison for up to 15 years using the unconstitutional Illinois eavesdropping law. I didn't back down. In Illinois we don't have the right to gather the evidence of what police say to us in public to defend ourselves in court. My actions are resulting in a move to change this law in Springfield this year that will bring Illinois in line with the rest of America allowing you to audio-record your police in public in Illinois. We are creating change with pure guts. We are winning real freedoms for you. Now we are also going forward with our lawsuit to increase artists' rights to sell art in public, as we originally intended.

Our peddlers license lawsuit, that we will present to the court soon, will spearhead a smart direction in the national legal debate over how to determine what art deserves First Amendment protection. In our study of the case law on artists' rights to sell art in public, we have discovered major flaws in the judicial attempts to define what art is protected by the First Amendment. There is division between differing Federal Circuit Court decisions on how to define the art which is protected by the First Amendment when it comes to the sale of art in public. We have gathered scholastic arguments for a new way for the courts to determine what art is protected.

Throughout all this turmoil of legal battles over your rights we have continued to conduct our free Screen Print Workshop for Artists. This workshop teaches artists the basics of screen printing using the least expensive and least technical methods providing them with another tool to better survive by their art. Our Art Patch Project to educate Chicago on artists rights is an on-going growing exhibit of art printed on cotton patches. We print the designs submitted to us by artists supporting our fight for their right to sell art in public and give them away to the public. Exhibits of this growing body of artwork are being prepared to travel around Chicago and other cities to increase the awareness of our movement. These two effective community art programs are a solid basis for the creative change we are engaged in. They deserve your support all by themselves.

Stay tuned for more details in our fight to support greater freedoms for everyone and artists in the new year. Support our pioneering efforts at changing Chicago and America to make them more friendly to artists in the future. Donate to the Uptown Multi-Cultural Art Center. We are a most effective, all volunteer arts non-profit making change by supporting and promoting the art and artists of our communities. Make a tax deductible donation now. Change Chicago and Illinois. The freedoms we fight for belong to you.

Chris Drew


See also:
* Lee Godie, French Impressionist
* Baglady Artist Lee Godie Is A Wacky Success

* State's Eavesdropping Law Faces Growing Challenges
* Chris Drew Arrested In Front Of Macy's


Send us your comments or complaints.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 3:19 AM | Permalink

January 2, 2012

The [Monday] Papers

Is it possible to already be hopelessly behind on the second day of the year?

Yes. Because evil doesn't take a vacation.

1. Please send your correspondence to Richard M. Daley at Katten Muchin.


And don't forget:

"The full council approves the deal 40-5, with the nays coming from Toni Preckwinkle, Leslie Hairston, Rey Colon, Waguespack, and Ocasio. Five aldermen - Shiller, Carothers, George Cardenas, Ariel Reboyras, and Sandi Jackson - manage to miss the vote."

2. Powerball tickets will cost more this year, too.

3. Other things that will be more expensive in 2012.

4. Buying Drano just got ridiculously aggravating.

5. So did riding in the backseat and getting rid of your old TV.

6. Duh.

7. Robbie Fulks Kills 2011.

8. Iowa Caucus Pundit Summary:

If Mitt Romney wins, he doesn't really win because that's what was expected. So the second-place finisher wins. Unless that's Ron Paul. Ron Paul never wins. Even if he wins.

If Rick Santorum wins, he doesn't really win because he'll be next in line for media scrutiny and opponents' attack ads that will see him sink faster than Newt, Herman and Michelle. So Santorum is better off finishing second - or even a strong third.

If Michelle Bachmann wins, she doesn't really win because no one will take it seriously. Finishing third would seem like less of a fluke.

Jon Huntsman either wins by not competing in Iowa or loses by not competing in Iowa. But you don't really win if you don't compete in Iowa.

If Newt Gingrich wins, he doesn't really win because he's been so damaged. And if Newt Gingrich doesn't win, he also loses because he's so damaged.

If Rick Perry wins, he doesn't really win because nobody takes him seriously anymore. He's really vying for the Santorum-Bachmann second- or third-place finish.

In other words, no one wins Iowa - though some survive. It's really a pundit primary.

9. Obama acts like he's trying to win the Republican nomination.

"Asked to describe the circumstances under which the Constitution permits a president to order the targeted killing of a citizen who has not been sentenced to death by a court, Mr. Gingrich, Mr. Huntsman, Mr. Perry and Mr. Romney all said that a president could order the killing of a citizen who joins an enemy force that is at war with the United States, at least under certain conditions," the New York Times reports.

"My preference would be to capture, interrogate, and prosecute any U.S. citizen who has engaged in acts of war against the United States," Mr. Romney wrote. "But if necessary to defend the country, I would be willing to authorize the use of lethal force."

The Obama administration embraced similar reasoning as the basis for a drone strike in Yemen this year that killed Anwar al-Awlaki, an American citizen whom executive branch officials accused of being a terrorist operative.

Mr. Paul, by contrast, described the circumstances in which a president could order the extrajudicial killing of a citizen in one word: "None."

One reason to hope Ron Paul gets the nomination: To see him debate these kinds of issues with constitutional law lecturer Barack Obama.

Two other Republican candidates, Michele Bachmann and Rick Santorum, did not answer the questions. Mr. Obama did not either; his re-election campaign said he had "pursued policies that strengthen our security" while "upholding our laws and values" and suggested that he would debate such matters in greater detail after Republicans chose his opponent.

Mr. Obama - along with Mr. Romney and Mr. Paul - participated in a similar project by The Boston Globe during the 2008 presidential primary campaign. His record in office shows how circumstances and the assumption of power can alter views expressed in a campaign.

Asked if a president could bomb Iran without Congressional permission, Mr. Obama, then a senator, said, "The president does not have power under the Constitution to unilaterally authorize a military attack in a situation that does not involve stopping an actual or imminent threat to the nation."

In 2011, after the United Nations approved an air campaign in Libya to protect civilians, Mr. Obama - without Congressional permission - deployed the American military to join NATO allies in airborne attacks on Libyan government forces. In asserting the legality of that step, the Justice Department issued a memorandum saying that Mr. Obama had inherent constitutional power to do so because he could "reasonably determine that such use of force was in the national interest."

Later, Mr. Obama also adopted the view - overruling Justice Department and Pentagon lawyers - that he could lawfully continue the bombing and drone strikes beyond a 60-day clock imposed by the War Powers Resolution because they did not constitute the sort of "hostilities" regulated by that law.

And you thought John McCain would be Bush's third term.

10. Obama better not be pinning his re-election hopes on a campaign theme of defending the middle class; that constituency is now way too small to qualify as a base. We've got some better ideas.

11. Chicagoetry: Black and Blue.

Programming Note
I'm back behind the bar tonight to start the year right with discount Old Style, tasty Schlitz, a fine collection of beers from the Bell's brewery of Kalamazoo, and free pizza and a great jukebox. Stop in and share your regrets and resolutions. 5p - 2a.


The Beachwood Tip Line: Ask for Black Horseshoe.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 10:23 AM | Permalink

Robbie Fulks Kills 2011

At Fitzgerald's on December 29, 2011.

1. The Year In Review.


2. The Candidates.


3. Arab Spring.


4. Top Ten Songs Of 2011.


5. North Shore Ain't Bullshittin'.


6. It's Always Raining Somewhere.


7. Blister in the Sun.


Thanks to hmc1410 for your continuing good work; we have embedded your videos frequently and we are grateful you are out there.


Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 9:30 AM | Permalink

Exclusive! Obama Re-Election Slogans

"It's Official: Obama Reelection Campaign Will Highlight His Defense Of The Middle Class," the Blaze notes, relying on a McClatchy-Tribune report.

"[T]he Obama administration, up until this point, has relied mostly on the 'It Could Be Worse' tactic while defending its economic initiatives," the Blaze's Becket Adams writes. "However, for all the obvious reason, strategists in the Obama camp don't think this message will go far with the average American."

On the other hand, the New York Times reports that "Obama to Target Congress in 2012 Re-election Campaign," suggesting the theme to replace Hope & Change is still in flux.

The Beachwood has learned, in fact, that the following themes are still under consideration:

* No, Really, It Could Be Way Worse, Believe Us.

* Defending The Remaining Middle Class.

* Why Does The Black Guy Only Get One Term When The White Guy Got Two?

* Obama: The Devil You Know.

* Why Change Horses In Mid-Depression?

* Faith: Believing In Evidence Not Seen.

* Hope: Down To The Last Drop.

* Change: Harder Than We Thought.

* Still Not McCain.

* Hillary!

* [ _____ ] Is Way Too Extreme For America.

* Bin Laden Is Dead. Any Questions?

* A Kinder, Gentler Tool Of Corporate Interests.

* Remember: We Now Have The Power To Indefinitely Detain You.


Your suggestions welcome.


1. From Larry Horist:

I have one all encompassing slogan:

My First Term Was Bush's Fault.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 8:43 AM | Permalink

Chicagoetry: Black and Blue

Black and Blue

One black morning
the ordinary returned.

Savings and career

inundated, enervated by
cheap, trite platitudes

to counting blessings
and "staying positive;"

insistent on owning
my righteous rage

(the only route I know
to letting it go).

The life of the legs
pickled in lead,

iron gills wheeze
and knock against the chill

dread. Blind sills brawn
with brittle damp,

empty trees
gaze like fools

caught in the windless
dawn. Beetles lurch

and spiders
softly hiss.

The blue sun stumbles
upon the haughty black.

Spies in shirts, knaves in shoes
and the ash

into which all collapses
return. Ordinary terror



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 6:05 AM | Permalink

MUSIC - Christgau Loves Chicago Neonatologist.
TV - Amazon & The Way Of The World.
POLITICS - Yes On Vouchers For After-School Programs.
SPORTS - The Ex-Cub Factor.

BOOKS - Writers Under Surveillance.

PEOPLE PLACES & THINGS - Original Warrior.

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