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« August 2012 | Main | October 2012 »

September 29, 2012

The Weekend Desk Report

Man, remember when live car chases used to end with career suicide? Good times.

Market Update
The value of Tax Amnesties dropped considerably once investors began to question its underwriting philosophy.

What does $11,111 buy you these days? According to several former Apple engineers, a perfectly brewed cup of Joe. Just don't ask the Blossom One Limited to deliver your coffee to you; that feature has been suspended indefinitely.

Macro Brews
A new study of voters' drinking habits reveals what the Weekend Desk has been saying for years: Bud Light drinkers don't give a fuck about anything.

Strange Brews
So if Democrats drink microbrews and Republicans drink Sam Adams, what of the other parties? It seems Greens and Libertarians are destined to drink their own bitter tears of organized exclusion.

Plunging Stock
Finally this week, maybe all of Mitt Romney's self-deprecation and nose-diving is just a plot to make us love him. After all, it apparently works for some assholes.


The Weekend Desk Tip Line: Beer us.


The Flying Saucer Weekend Brunch Report: OMG.



The Sound Opinions Weekend Listening Report: "Canadian garage rockers Japandroids join Jim and Greg onstage for a special taping of Sound Opinions Live at Chicago's Lincoln Hall. And later Jim and Greg review new releases from Green Day and The xx."


The CAN TV Weekend Viewing 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: El Valor


Representatives of El Valor share its work to support and challenge urban families to achieve excellence and participate fully in community life.

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


The Silenced Majority with Amy Goodman


Amy Goodman of Democracy Now! and Denis Moynihan provide an alternative perspective on today's media, politics and current events.

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


The Voting Wars: From Florida to the Next Election Meltdown


Professor Richard L. Hasen chronicles and analyzes the battles over election rules from 2000 to the present, including claims of election fraud and loss of confidence in fair results by the public.

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


Escritores por Ciudad Juarez


Spanish-speaking Chicagoans use poetry and performance to increase awareness about the impact of violence and call for peace in Ciudad Juarez, Mexico.

Sunday, September 30 at 11:30 a.m. on CAN TV21
1 hr


Mathematics as Form & Substance in Science & Art


Loyola philosophy professor James Harrington illustrates how developments in science and mathematics during the 20th century influenced one another.

Sunday, September 30 at 12:30 p.m. on CAN TV21
1 hr 30 min


Press Conference on Tamms Supermax Prison Closure


Mental health advocates join Reps. Danny Davis and Bobby Rush in expressing support for the closing of the Tamms Supermax prison.

Watch Online

Sunday, September 30 at 5 p.m. on CAN TV19
1 hr


Community Safety Forum


Architectural engineer Gregory Wisniewski educates viewers about the safety issues to be concerned about in your home. These range from working smoke detectors and clear paths of escape to ways to prevent flooding and mold in your basement.

Sunday, September 30 at 7:30 p.m. on CAN TV21
30 min.

Posted by Natasha Julius at 8:54 AM | Permalink

September 28, 2012

Free The Files: Find The Dark Money Flowing Into Your Local TV Stations

Outside groups are spending hundreds of millions of dollars to influence the coming elections - money that has long been hard to track.

This summer, the Federal Communications Commission ordered TV stations to pull back the curtain a bit, requiring them to publish online detailed records of political ad buys.

Before, these records were only available by visiting stations in person, an issue ProPublica spotlighted in our Free The Files coverage.

So far the new rule only covers the top 50 markets, and it's impossible to search these files by candidate or political group - meaning it's impossible to get a full picture of the spending.

We want to change that.

So we're rebooting Free the Files with a new tool to help detail campaign ad filings in 33 swing markets.

Every day we'll be pulling fresh files from the FCC website, and asking for your help extracting key data points that will help uncover outside spending in the final days of the campaign.

Every file you help free will be added to our page, so we'll all be able to get a better picture of the outside groups' spending.

What do we expect to find in the FCC filings? A range of information - from identifying which outside groups are buying ads and where, to finding new groups that enter the fray late in the game, to details on who is behind opaque nonprofits that are playing a larger role in the election.

That's how ProPublica's Justin Elliott found the players behind the Government Integrity Fund, a little-known nonprofit that has spent big money to unseat Senator Sherrod Brown in Ohio.

We have less than six weeks to go before the election. Log in now to help us start freeing the files!

You can keep track of our progress by joining our Facebook group - tell us what you've learned from the documents, get updates from our reporters, or ask questions about the documents.


* How Nonprofits Spend Millions on Elections and Call It Public Welfare

* From Citizens United to Super PACs: A Campaign Finance Reading Guide

* Political Ad Data Comes Online, But It's Not Searchable


* Here's The Political Ad Data Chicago TV Stations Won't Put Online

* Meet The Media Companies Lobbying Against Transparency

* FCC-Required Political Ad Data Disclosures Won't Be Searchable

* Broadcasters Sue For Right To Hide Political Data

* New Political Ad Disclosure Rules Could Take Months

* Republicans Vote To Block Transparency On Political Ads

* Media Companies Make Yet Another Push To Defang Transparency Rule

* Republicans Back Down On Effort To Defund Transparency Rule

* Political Ad Transparency Rule Clears Another Hurdle

* Broadcasters Make Emergency Motion To Block Transparency Rule


Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 5:06 PM | Permalink

The College Football Report: Butt Booze, Bullets, Bow Ties And Ball State

The Ball State Hoosieroons*, also known as the Cardinals, eked out a win over the the South Florida Bulls last Saturday thanks to a spectacular catch in the end zone by Willie Snead and suddenly, at 3-1, our friends from Indiana look like bowl contenders.

So, too, do our friends from Minnesota, who, under the tutelage of former Northern Illinois Huskie coach Jerry Kill, are 4-0 entering Big Ten play against Iowa on Saturday in the annual battle for the pig trophy known as the Floyd of Rosedale.

What in the world is going on?

We're not sure but we like the Hoosieroons* giving 2 1/2 against Kent State and the (struggling) Hawkeyes giving 7, having seen too many strong non-conference starts by Gophers past evaporate into the mist once they start playing the big boys.

* Hoosieroons came in a distant fourth when the student body voted for a new nickname in 1927, but we're so fond of it that we're, um, occupying it.

The Big 10 Will Not Lose To The SEC In The BCS This Year
Because they are so bad they won't get the chance.

Exhibit A: Central Michigan over Iowa.

Exhibit B: The only undefeated teams in the conference are Ohio State, Northwestern and the aforementioned Gophers. Northwestern and Minnesota!

The numbers, however suggest that the conference really isn't any worse than it was last year - which is to say that the Big 10 Sucks concept isn't exactly news.

Maybe Big Ten teams should worry less about bow ties and more about winning football games.

This Way Both of Your Hands Are Free For Texting
Some ingenious frat boys at the University of Tennessee have blazed a new trail in alcohol abuse: The alcohol enema.

Last Saturday, the UT Medical Center admitted a student with a 0.4 blood-alcohol level who had reportedly received an alcohol enema earlier in the evening. The student, a member of Pi Kappa Alpha, which is apparently Greek for Stick An Old Style Up My Ass, was treated, released and still walking gingerly.

Bullet The Blue Sky
A woman in the stands watching last Saturday's New Mexico-New Mexico State game was struck in the leg by a stray bullet fired "from outside the stadium, from a shot fired into the air."

Campus police will start "focusing on heavier patrols outside their stadium as well as inside," which ought to solve the problem much more effectively than doing something about New Mexico's lax gun laws; the state does not require firearms registration or a permit to purchase a handgun. It also allows assault weapons and issues concealed carry permits. What could go wrong?

Throwing Is the New Running
Breaking news: The Heisman will go to a quarterback this year.

Just like it has in all but one (Alabama RB Mark Ingram in '09) of the past 11 seasons.

Chicken Pickin'
The Chicken likes the following two match-ups:

* Georgia head coach Mark Richt suspended two starters on defense - linebacker Alec Ogletree and All-American safety Bacarri Rambo - to begin the season, but chances are that on Saturday he will, in the words of The Baha Men, let the 'Dogs out. T

The Pick: Bulldogs -14 over the Volunteers.

* Ohio State-Michigan State will take center stage on ABC (2:30 p.m.) on Saturday.

OSU has been "rocked by penalties, an inability to make tackles in the open field, giving up big plays and an erratic offense that has trouble putting together first downs for long spans of time." And the problem is?

The Pick: Buckeyes (+2.5) getting points.

The Beachwood Sports Seal Speaks
In the words of T. Bert Lance, former Director of the Office of Management and Budget: "If it ain't broke, don't fix it."

The Pick: South Carolina (-20.5) over Kentucky.


Mike Luce is our man on campus. He welcomes your comments.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 9:46 AM | Permalink

Court: Rahm Rousted Grant Park Illegally

Cook County Court Judge Thomas Donnelly dismissed over 90 cases Thursday against Occupy Chicago activists who were arrested last October and charged with a violation of rarely used park curfew law. [All links added by the Beachwood Linking Squad.]

Judge Donnelly issued a written ruling Thursday which found that the city's park curfew ordinance is "unconstitutional both on its face and as applied and all complaints in this case are dismissed with prejudice." The Chicago chapter of the National Lawyers Guild (NLG) filed motions to dismiss in February on behalf of 92 Occupy Chicago protesters.

Judge Donnelly's order reads in part that, "The City's claim that citizen safety, park maintenance and park preservation constitute the substantial governmental interests that justifies closing the park seven hours nightly fails because the City routinely closes the park for fewer than seven hours nightly, making ad hoc exceptions to the Curfew for permitted groups."

The order continued that, "Because it is undisputed that the City closes Grant Park longer than necessary to serve the governments interests, the Curfew is not narrowly tailored, in violation of the First Amendment. The Curfew also violates the Illinois Constitution which provides a more vigorous right to free assembly, embracing even non-expressive assemblies."

"Judge Donnelly made the right decision by declaring the city's ordinance unconstitutional and by dismissing the remaining cases brought by the city against activists legitimately engaged in free speech," said NLG attorney Sarah Gelsomino from the People's Law Office and one of the lawyers representing the charged activists. "Hopefully this sends a clear message to the city that they must better respect the First Amendment rights of protesters no matter what their message might be."

Nearly a year ago, on October 16th and 23rd, more than 300 Occupy Chicago activists were arrested for protesting in Grant Park and accused of violating the city's park curfew, which had been inconsistently imposed from 11 p.m. - 6 a.m. Most of the 300 protesters arrested have already accepted a deal with the city to resolve their cases for community service in lieu of a conviction. It's unclear whether these agreements will need to be revisited as a result of today's ruling.

In his order, Judge Donnelly pointed out the city's inconsistent enforcement by stating that, "while the City arrested everyone remaining in Grant Park during the Occupy Chicago rally, the City arrested no one at the Obama 2008 presidential election victory rally, even though the Obama rally was equally in violation of the Curfew. That violates Defendants' right to equal protection because it treats similarly situated citizens differently."

After supporting the rights of Occupy Chicago activists for months, the Chicago chapter of the NLG went on to provide legal support for the thousands who protested against the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) summit in May.


Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 8:07 AM | Permalink

The [Friday] Papers

"The mass arrests of Occupy Chicago demonstrators that city leaders held up as a model for how to respect protesters' rights has been ruled unconstitutional and tossed out of court by a Cook County judge," the Tribune reports.

Held up as a model by the media, too.

"In a 37-page ruling issued today, Associate Judge Thomas Donnelly ruled the October 2011 arrests were unconstitutional because the city routinely chooses not to enforce the curfew for events the city supports, such as the 2008 Election Night rally for President Barack Obama. The judge noted that no arrests were made at that event, even though it went well past curfew."

I seem to remember the protesters making that argument at the time. They were ridiculed.

"With the ruling, the arrests of 92 Occupy protesters on charges related to violating the curfew were thrown out."

That's okay, Rahm got what he wanted - when he wanted it - anyway.


From Donnelly's ruling:

"The City's claim that citizen safety, park maintenance and park preservation constitute the substantial governmental interests that justifies closing the park seven hours nightly fails because the City routinely closes the park for fewer than seven hours nightly, making ad hoc exceptions to the Curfew for permitted groups . . . Because it is undisputed that the City closes Grant Park longer than necessary to serve the governments interests, the Curfew is not narrowly tailored, in violation of the First Amendment. The Curfew also violates the Illinois Constitution which provides a more vigorous right to free assembly, embracing even non-expressive assemblies."

See also: Court: Rahm Rousted Grant Park Illegally.

Clout Spout
Lawyers hoping to keep convicted Springfield power broker Bill Cellini out of prison say their client's well-known influence is a myth have and have presented letters to the court from more than 360 people including former governor Jim Edgar to prove their point.

Oh, and also from an Indonesian orphan and a man suffering from cerebral palsy, natch.


And who wrote the press release? Former longtime Tribune managing editor Dick Ciccone, who also went to work for the late skeezy Rosemont mayor Don Stephens after he left the paper and was known to be a "reporter pal" of the late convicted felon Dan Rostenkowski, whom he wrote about sympathetically.

See also: The [Cellini] Papers.

Jax Fax
"Battling mental illness and personal financial troubles, Rep. Jesse Jackson Jr. is a heavy favorite for re-election Nov. 6 despite a surreal campaign in which he has been absent for almost four months," the Tribune reports.

Let me try this line one more time: At this point Jackson could win re-election from a hospital bed or a jail cell.


"The congressman's campaign website provides a measure of how vigorously his side is approaching the race: On Thursday the site reminded visitors that early voting begins Feb. 27 - an outdated reference to the Democratic primary, which he won hands-down in March against former U.S. Rep. Debbie Halvorson."

In fact, vote now for 2014 and 2016 too!

Why ever communicate with voters again? Just cash their paychecks.


"Chicagoan Kevin Lampe, who is authorized to speak about Jackson's re-election bid, said Thursday that the lawmaker remains under medical care. 'As soon as the doctors say he can get back to work, he'll get back to work, which includes campaigning,' said Lampe."

Until the campaign produces an actual doctor actually saying that, I'll take it as pure, utter bullshit.


"Whether he will campaign at all is in question. His re-election bid is being led by his wife, Ald. Sandi Jackson, 7th, who turned down interview requests."

She only talks to Everybody's Favorite Patsy and Cheryl Burton. So, yeah, she still hasn't talked to any reporters.


If Sandi Jackson actually consented to answer questions from reporters, as is her duty, then we could give her husband the benefit of the doubt - or at least be in a position to decide whether he deserved the benefit of the doubt. Absent that, neither Jackson deserves your vote any longer.

And don't forget that the congressman has refused to speak to the media for almost four years now. Time's up.


"Republican challenger Brian Woodworth, 41, a college educator from Bourbonnais, says he is getting no financial help from the national GOP and has spent only $11,000. Independent Marcus Lewis, 53, a postal worker who lives in Matteson and has filed twice for bankruptcy, says he expects his campaign to cost $3,500.

"A third Jackson challenger, mounting a write-in campaign, has run previously against the congressman as a Democrat, a Republican, a Libertarian and a Green - and been trounced each time. He has filed for bankruptcy at least three times."

You know what? A candidate who shows up is worth a vote far more than one who doesn't, no matter how many bankruptcies they've filed.


Why is Sandi manipulating the process? Here's one guess: If Jesse Jr. had resigned his seat, Cook County Democratic Party Chairman Joe Berrios would essentially be in a position to choose his replacement. For all we know, he'd name his daughter to the post.

If Jesse Jr. resigns after the election, a special election will be held in which Sandi would have the advantage of virtual incumbency.

Remember (from the U.S. House ethics report on Jesse Jr.):

"He and his wife had a serious conversation regarding the [U.S. Senate] seat and she conducted two surveys all November 5th and 6th, respectively.

"One survey indicated that Representative Jackson's wife had an overwhelming lead in the Second District if she chose to run for the House of Representatives and the other survey indicated that Jesse Jackson Jr. was the leading choice amongst citizens in Illinois for the now vacant Senate seat."

Or maybe the Jacksons will sell the seat to the highest bidder.

Koschman Cache
"The legal tab for the investigation into David Koschman's death has topped $366,000, as special prosecutor Dan K. Webb has begun interviewing Chicago Police officers who worked on the case that involved a nephew of former Mayor Richard M. Daley," the Sun-Times reports.

Can't we just take it out of Daley's pension?

Class Assignment
Someone oughta check the resumes of our local media execs.

Bears Beat 'Boys!
According to the Czar of the Playbook.

Free The Files!
Help find the "dark money" flowing into local TV stations.

The Week In Chicago Rock
The Dollyrots, First Aid Kit, Blondie, Tremonti and more. Oh, and Prince.

Cubs Curse
Well, Theo was brought in to make history and he's about to make it.

Butt Booze & Bullets
In The College Football Report.


The Beachwood Tip Line: Breaking power.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 7:57 AM | Permalink

Czar of the Playbook: Bears Beat 'Boys

Keys for the Bears:

* For the defense: Keep Romo in the box, tackle-to-tackle.

* For the offense: As always, protect Cutler.


Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 4:16 AM | Permalink

The Week in Chicago Rock

You shoulda been there.

1. The Dollyrots at Township on Tuesday night.


2. The Robert Glasper Experiment at the House of Blues on Thursday night.


3. Prima Donna at Township on Tuesday night.


4. Prince.


5. Ed Sheeran at the Riv on Tuesday night.


6. Ben Howard at the Vic on Wednesday night.


7. Passenger at the Vic on Tuesday night.


8. Blondie at the Chicago Theatre on Wednesday nights.


9. Selah Sue at the Riv on Tuesday night.


10. Nightwish at the Congress on Monday night.


11. First Aid Kit at the Metro on Monday night.


12. Luke Winslow-King at Schubas on Monday night.


13. Pearl and the Beard at Space in Evanston on Monday night.


14. Tremonti at the Bottom Lounge on Sunday night.


Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 2:44 AM | Permalink

September 27, 2012

The [Thursday] Papers

News you can abuse.

1. Why not 200,001?

2. George Ryan is really really super guilty.


Most. Appeals. Denied. Ever.

3. It . . . is . . . alive!

4. Daley's Advice to Gary. Another Beachwood exclusive!

5. Just FYI.

6. Meet Tribune Broadcasting's Bill Cunningham Show.

7. I didn't think people still bought these things - which is probably why they're going to advertise.

8. You win some, you lose some. But you never really win.

9. Kerry Wood lobbied to bring back Flintstones vitamin abuser and non-English speaker Sammy Sosa and his corked bats back when the franchise really should have already made this happen at Wrigley.

10. Prince in Chicago: Weird, awesome.

11. The Blue & Orange Kool-Aid Report: Merry Maladies And Baby Daddies.


The Beachwood Tip Line: Merrily melodic.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 11:56 AM | Permalink

Daley's Advice To Gary

Former Chicago mayor and managerial whiz Richard M. Daley has been "tapped" by the city of Gary to help dig itself out of its decades-long doldrums.

The Beachwood, of course, has an exclusive preview of what Daley's recommendations will be.

* Find a way to get Chicago taxpayers to help fund your airport. Oops, already did!

Now bulldoze the airport and build a park!

* Hire this man to revamp your employment practices.

* Curb violence by stashing guns up people's butts.

* Use tax incentives to lure Foxconn to town.

* The Gary Bears!

* Millennium Dunes.

* Taste of Gary.

* Change name to New Gary!

* Convert the closed steel mills to scrooten factories.

* Lease itself to Morgan Stanley.

* Construct a building taller than 12 floors.

* Ghost workers and ghost candidates for a ghost town!

* Improve relations with the Mob.

* Pension reform.


Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 10:51 AM | Permalink

Meet Tribune Broadcasting's Bill Cunningham Show

Spot the fake.

1. Freaky Fetishes.


2. Sexy Sister Scandals.


3. Sex, Money and Lies.


4. I'm A Broom.


5. I'm Not Cheating So Back Off!


6. I Hate Your Lowdown Dirty Girl.


"[W]e are confident we will build a long-term, successful franchise," says Tribune Broadcasting president and CEO Nils Larsen.

Nils Larsen, everybody!


"Previously, Mr. Larsen worked as a financial analyst with CS First Boston in the taxable fixed-income/derivatives group where he was involved in raising capital for international issuers and domestic financial institutions," his corporate bio says. "Mr. Larsen graduated summa cum laude from Bowdoin College with a B.A. in economics and history."


Also on Larsen's resume: Being "instrumental" in Sam Zell's disastrous Tribune takeover.


"He's thoughtful, creative and has the vision necessary to maximize the effectiveness of the group," Tribune CEO Eddy Hartenstein said when he promoted Larsen.


"I have to give the television viewer during the day what that person, generally a female, wants," Cunningham said upon the show's launch last year. "And during the day that female does not want to talk about politics."


Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 9:43 AM | Permalink

Prince in Chicago

Highlights from his weird and awesome shows here this week.

1. Purple Rain.


2. 1999.


3. DMSR/Pop Life/Musicology.


4. Little Red Corvette. (Embedding disabled.)


5. Let's Go Crazy.


6. Hot Thing/Love Bazaar.


7. When Doves Cry.


Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 9:13 AM | Permalink

The Blue & Orange Kool-Aid Report: Merry Maladies And Baby Daddies

Hearing James Laurinaitis's name called by the Fox broadcast last week got me thinking.

No, not about the fact that he's the son of the Road Warrior Animal or that his fifth favorite bible verse is (are?) Psalm 51 "all 19 verses."

It got me thinking about other names that sound like serious health issues. As such, here are the top five ailments named after NFL players.

5. Early Onset Doucet: Dementia in 30-year-olds caused by excessively consuming gas station taquitos.

4. Kuhn's Disease: Cheese-induced inflammation of the anus.

3. Hanging Niswanger: Though it sounds like it could be a good thing, this condition is typically the result of a Lavitra overdose.

2. The Fog Of Gore: Damage to the "prudence" faculty of the skull leaves sufferers of this late 19th-century infliction distant, dull and unable to score more than six on a Wonderlic test.

1. Golden Tatitus: This strange illness causes its victims to simultaneously possess good fortune and smug, unlikable attitudes. It also mystically ends labor disputes.

Fat Jesus
James Laurinaitis's seventh favorite bible verse comes from the Gospel of Buddy.

And lo, the lord came before Buddy and said unto him, "I am the cheesesteak hoagie of life. Whoever comes into me shall not hunger. Also, take one of your sons up to the top of that mountain over there and stab him. Sure, go ahead and do Isaac. I've got plans for Rob and Rex.

The Bears march into the house that Jerry built on Monday night, where they'll be met by distracting cheerleader rump shots on a 25,000 square foot high-def scoreboard, a reunion with Kyle "Neckbeard" Orton and the seed of one of Chicago football's most celebrated heroes, Buddy Ryan's son Rob.

This is also the stadium where the 2010 Bears discovered that you can beat a pass rush with quick slant routes. We'll find out on Monday if we have a second coming of common sense.

Kool-Aid (3 Out Of 5 of 2 oz. Cowboy C*@k Sucker Shots)
It's butterscotch schnapps and Bailey's Irish Cream.

For reals-eez.

We're still not sure what we're looking at this season.

Offensive juggernaut? Not so much.

Immovable defensive object?

It's the Cover 2. Nope.

Week 4 should tell us something and that's worth getting chubbed up for.

And since you're in the mood, consider making Jay Cutler your baby daddy, even if you're a man.

The Cowboys aren't that good, or that bad. Neither are the Bears.

In a push, the home team gets the edge.

Cowboys 21
Bears 20


Carl Mohrbacher is our man on the Bears. He welcomes your comments.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 8:50 AM | Permalink

September 26, 2012

Sandi Jackson Grants Exclusive Interview To Former Chicago Honey Bear

"Ald. Sandi Jackson (7th) referred to the media as 'jackals' at a fund-raising event Tuesday night and said her husband was at home and doing well," the Sun-Times reports.

"The jackals are outside. Let them stay outside," she shouted into a microphone, referring to the press staked outside a birthday fund-raising bash. "We are family in here . . . it's because of you all that I keep it going on."

But at least one would-be jackal was considered family enough to be allowed in for an exclusive "interview."

It's not hard to see why that "reporter" was chosen.

We turned on the camera and let her talk and aired her statements without asking any real questions! And we even put some transitions between her statements and dug out some archival footage! Presto! Reporting!

(Text here if you haven't the patience.)

Of course, this doesn't qualify as an "interview" in any journalistic sense of the word, but this is local TV news, which doesn't qualify as "news" in any journalistic sense.

Examples of unasked questions:

* When did you first notice your husband experience symptoms of mental illness?

* Why have you tried so hard to connect your husband's weight-loss surgery to his bipolar disorder when apparently no doctor has made that diagnosis?

* Is Raghu Nayak a liar?

* Did you ever discuss with your husband fundraising for Rod Blagojevich in exchange for a U.S. Senate seat appointment?

* You conducted a poll in 2008 not only testing how voters viewed a Senate seat appointment for your husband but how much they supported you as his replacement in Congress. Are you saying you are now not interested? Is that a promise? Those discussions have not taken place?

* Please tell us what health plan among the hundreds available to congressman your husband is under. What exactly isn't covered? What about your city health care plan?

* So no proceeds from the sale of your house will go to legal fees?

And so on.

But then, reporting isn't exactly Burton's thing, even if she has gone to a few crime scenes in her time and empathized with victims' families long enough to get an on-air statement. That's not journalism, it's show biz. Which is where Burton got her start and where her ambitions lied all along.

From her (footnoted and verified) Wikipedia page:

Prior to Burton beginning her career in broadcasting, she was on television on Romper Room, as a contestant on Star Search, and hosted an hour long cable TV show Simply Elegant.

Perfect. And yet, it gets better.

In addition to being on television, Burton was a cheerleader. She was part of the Chicago Honey Bears cheerleading squad for the Chicago Bears for three seasons from 1983 - 1986.

Then there's this interview she gave to the incredibly obsequious David Guarino in 2001.

It's quite a leap from being the spokesmodel for the Ed McMahon vehicle Star Search in the 1980s to co-anchoring the 10 p.m. weekend news at the No. 1-rated news station in the third largest U.S. market.

It sure is!

Romper Room . . . was my first television appearance. I was on Kiddie-A-Go-Go, Bozo's Circus I did several times. But broadcasting, I have to go back, I'm not sure which qualifies. If you mean commercial television news, 'cause I did Star Search and I won several times. For the spokesmodel category.

Even more perfect!

I was teaching Special Ed. And elementary. Because my sister, who went to get her Ph.D., had Special Ed children. And she didn't want just anybody taking over her class for a whole year. So I took her class for the time she was gone.

Is that legal?

I don't want people to feel bad. They're already feeling bad. I want to do the best I can to maybe shine a positive light on whatever has occurred. I think that people look at me and they know I have compassion. That might be something that gets me in trouble, but I'm not going to treat people any other way. I just don't have it in me.

Which means you are not emotionally or intellectually equipped to be a journalist.

I mean, Ferraro ran for president.

I rest my case.


See also:
* Reporting The Jesse Jackson Jr. Story

* Item: The Lying Game (midway down)


Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 7:29 AM | Permalink

The [Wednesday] Papers

"Ald. Sandi Jackson (7th) referred to the media as 'jackals' at a fund-raising event Tuesday night and said her husband was at home and doing well," the Sun-Times reports.

"Sandi Jackson celebrated her birthday singing into the microphone and dancing with guests as 'Let's Get it Started' blasted over the speakers.

"According to people who attended the private event that cost up to $5,000 a ticket, about 200 people filled the restaurant."

So a nice haul.


"On her way in to the party, Sandi Jackson, 49, told reporters outside she'd be right back," the Tribune reports. "But the media was not invited in to the event, and Jackson's representative later said she would not be giving comments to the media."


Haplessly, though, the Tribune, however, isn't sure the term "jackals" referred to the media, despite years of that term being used to refer to, um, the media.

"At one point, Jackson referred to 'jackals' and said they could 'stay outside.' Reporters and other media formed the only crowd outside the restaurant. But it's unclear if Jackson was referring to them."

Unclear to no one but the Trib, and I wasn't even there.






Sandi Jackal. I call it!



The jackal who wasn't: Sandi Jackson Grants Exclusive Interview To Former Chicago Honey Bear.

Daley, Indiana
The punch lines are almost too obvious but maybe we'll work some up for tomorrow.

Send in yours and maybe you'll win a toaster.

Down Periscope
I'll have to cut the festivities short because I haven't been able to access the Sun-Times website for at least 45 minutes to complete the other items I had in mind for today. Their site appears to be down. Maybe response to Splash is so high the servers crashed.

Gunz Down
The world is a ghetto but this one's for Chicago.

Body Language Bingo
A Beachwood Drinking Game Guide For The Presidential Debates.

QB Controversies
Not a Cutler in site.


The Beachwood Tip Line: Full throttle.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 7:12 AM | Permalink

Gunz Down

"Now I must say, I'm not naive enough to think that one song will change what's going on in the streets, but I hope the song is listened to, felt deeply, and shared with others to spread awareness and positivity. The song can be downloaded for free here. Peace."


Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 1:21 AM | Permalink

Fantasy Fix: Quarterback Controversies

If you were able to draft Aaron Rodgers or Tom Brady as your fantasy quarterback this year - or any year, really - you probably thought you were guaranteed fantasy success with at least one position.

However, for a variety of reasons, neither of these superstars has delivered a dominant performance through the first three weeks of the season - and let's be clear, if a QB can't deliver 20-point fantasy performances week in and week out, there is no reason to draft him in the first round.

Which QBs are doing better than Rodgers and Brady? Here's a short, incomplete list:

Robert Griffin III, WAS: The rookie was not impressive in the preseason, but was anointed anyway, and now he's earning the praise, throwing and running to more than 950 total yards and seven TDs in three games, with only one INT. He's an obvious fantasy starter until some defense finds his weakness.

Andrew Luck, IND: Another rookie who in a brief sampling thus far has been increasingly impressive. Four INTs against five TDs give reason for pause to consider each week's match-up before starting him, but so far it looks like Indy had the right idea in re-booting the franchise around him.

Christian Ponder, MIN: His offensive totals are not prolific, but four TDs against no INTs makes him a nice back-up choice and a potential waiver wire sleeper as we head into bye weeks.

Carson Palmer, OAK: Anyone who drafted him as a back-up, betting he could recapture some old magic this year after wobbling through a rusty half-season last year has gotten a nice payoff. His young receivers could earn him more second-half fantasy starts.

Andy Dalton, CIN: Helps that he gets to throw to fast-rising superstar A.J. Green, but only one of his six TDs has gone to Green. Dalton bounced back from a rough Week 1 assignment against Baltimore to be arguably the best fantasy QB of the last two weeks.

Ryan Fitzpatrick, BUF: He's having a great opening stretch for the second season in a row, but last year he really went downhill as the season went on. He's tied for the league lead in TD passes even though he's averaging less than 200 yards per game, but with two RBs injured, he could be throwing more.

Joe Flacco, BAL: Forever a borderline fantasy starter - basically, if you were starting him, it meant you drafted every other position before QB - Flacco has apparently turned into Dan Marino, throwing for almost 400 yards last week. With an abundance of targets, including Ray Rice, Torrey Smith, Dennis Pitta and Anquan Boldin, he just may keep it up all season.

All of these guys have scored more fantasy points than Rodgers or Brady so far. Names of some of the other QBs doing better than Rodgers and Brady wouldn't come as such a surprise (Drew Brees and Eli Manning, for example). Rodgers and Brady have a lot of weeks left to find their form, but how many losses will their fantasy owners compile in the meantime?

Expert Wire
* RotoInfo has some hot pickups for Week 4, including some QB replacements.

* Bleacher Report eyes fantasy replacements for Matt Forte. Look no further than Michael Bush.

* Fantasy Knuckleheads ranks the RBs for Week 4, with former Fighting Illini Mikel Leshoure working his way up.


Dan O'Shea is our man in fantasyland. He welcomes your comments.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 12:49 AM | Permalink

Body Language Bingo: A Guide To Watching The Presidential Debates

Most of us are familiar the old joke, "How do you tell if a politician is lying?"

Of course the punch line is, "His lips are moving."

This is funny and, more often than not, sad but true.

Well, I have an idea that might help us decide which of the two presidential candidates is lying the most. Once we make that determination we can decide which one to vote for in the upcoming election, or as I too often do, pick the lesser of the two evils.

There are three presidential debates this 2012 election; the first is scheduled for October 3rd followed by the second on October 16 and the third on October 22. What I suggest you do is to watch the debates, but turn the sound off on your television. Since many homes are now equipped with DVRs, you can record the debate and play it back later with sound if you want to actually hear what each candidate said. I actually suggest doing this as part 2 of the process I am proposing.

This is how it works. On the TV sitcom Seinfeld, the fictional character Kramer claims that up to 94% of what we communicate to each other is non-verbal. Based on some of the experts on the political talk shows I watch, Kramer's opinion is as good as any. According to experts cited by the Center for Non-Verbal Communication, the proportion of our emotional communication that is expressed apart from words can exceed 99%.

So, why wait for the fact checkers and pundits with their post-debate analysis to tell you which candidate is lying about what? Get instant gratification or disappointment by doing it yourself. Most of us have developed these skills and may not even realize it.

Simply start looking for the wordless messages made by each candidate by means of gaze, gestures, postures or facial expressions. Let me give you some political historical examples.

After Illinois Congressman Dan Rostenkowski was indicted, he held a press conference where he stated, "I did not commit a felony." As he made this claim of innocence he gestured with his hand from his forehead down to his chin as if he was wiping his face clean. Rostenkowski was eventually convicted of that felony of which he so vociferously proclaimed he was blameless.

Before he was incarcerated, former Governor George Ryan, the organizer behind the licenses-for-bribes scandal, always put his right hand in his pocket. Since most of his press conferences were scripted and he seemed to be incapable of speaking impromptu, I have to assume that the non-verbal message of always hiding his hand was indicative of him always lying. We will have to watch and see if he continues with this habit when he starts having local media interviews after being released from federal prison in 2013.

During the debates, keep a score sheet with a column for each candidate. When you see a gesture that you believe appears to be passive, reluctant or uncomfortable on the part of the candidate, make a hash mark in his column. All that is necessary for lying is that the liar presents himself as being sincere in his presentation while his non-verbal communication uncovers the candidate's hidden secret. He doesn't believe what he is saying.

Once you watch the debate in silence, go back to the beginning and play it back with sound. Now you can see if the body language you so carefully documented on the score sheet contradicts with the bullet points regurgitated from the candidate's mouth.

During this second viewing, now with sound, clues of deception may be heard in the verbal responses, such as in Bill Clinton's infamous "I did not have sexual relations with that woman " or Rod Blagojevich's inability to simply shut his mouth.

Nixon is an example of both verbal and non-verbal clues. While stating he "never obstructed justice" and that "I am not a crook", he simultaneously crossed his arms and shook his head back and forth. The arm crossing was indicative that he wanted some physical separation from his listeners, and his head gesture is a common sign by liars that the speaker disagrees with what he is saying

You can make a second column for each candidate. This time make a hash mark when you see that the verbal responses now actually contradict the previously documented gestures.

Both of the presidential candidates are a wealth of non-verbal communication. President Obama is often accused of aloofness and has a swagger to his walk. Some might call that cool and confident, others might say cold and cocky. Governor Romney has been called robotic and jittery, almost as if he is looking for the closest exit. Maybe this has something to do with his experience as a CEO at Bain Capital.

Does my suggestion sound too long and a waste of time? Are you fed up with Obama and Romney or politics in general? Well then, make it a drinking game! Choose sides, the Romneys vs. the Obamas. Every time your guy gets a hash mark, drink a shot. Pick your favorite tequila, scotch, gin, or bourbon. It really doesn't matter, but my preference is Ouzo,

In the end, the losers will be the ones puking or passed out on the floor. Be sure to have a designated driver or cab money.


Ed Hammer is a retired police captain and author of the book One Hundred Percent Guilty and numerous columns on politics and corruption. He can be reached through his website.


Previously by Ed Hammer:
* George Ryan's Park Bench
* George Ryan's Dogs and Ponies
* George Ryan's Other Jailhouse Interview
* Bugging The Chicago School Board
* Cop vs. Teacher
* Signs of Change
* Pols vs. Teachers
* The Terre Haute Redemption
* Rahm's War On Teachers
* About Those Indicted Nurses


Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 12:37 AM | Permalink

September 25, 2012

Slouching Toward History

Please, no more Kerry Wood.

I mean, haven't we appreciated him enough? In fact, I don't think there's a more overappreciated Cub in franchise history. And that includes Ron Santo.

At least if he acts as a roving minor league pitching instructor he wouldn't be hanging around Wrigley.

But wouldn't giving him that job just be a return to the Kubs Kulture that Theo is trying to break? I'm sure Wood has a few tidbits of advice to offer, but he never struck me - nor anyone else, as far as I know - as a student of the game.

And bringing Sammy Sosa back into the fold?

Only if he brings his corked bats and Flintstone vitamins with him. Maybe he's learned to speak English again since testifying before Congress.

Go away now, Kerry. You're beginning to look like Billy going back to the frat instead of moving on.

The Week in Review: The Cubs went 1-6 which puts their Magic Number for 100 losses at six. We're rooting for you Cubs! Theo was brought in to make history, so let's make it!

The Week in Preview: Three against the Rockies in Colorado and three against the Diamondbacks in Arizona. That's six right there!

The Second Basemen Report: Is Darwin Barney the best second basemen in the league? We find it hard to care anymore.

In former second basemen news, Jeff Baker is batting .111 for Atlanta, his third team this season. Too bad for the Braves, who must have thought they were getting the guy who hit .200 for Detroit. Who must have thought they were getting the guy who hit .269 with a .306 OBP for the Cubs.

The Not So Hot Corner: Dale Sveum declined to bench Luis Valbuena for "gazing at the stars" instead of paying attention to the game because accountability is just a word this franchise uses every spring before reverting to the norm.

The Weekly Bunting Report: This team doesn't bunt anymore because bunting is just a word this franchise uses in conjunction with tournament every spring before reverting to the norm.

Endorsement No-Brainer: The Cubs for the NFL's replacement refs because they know what it's like to out of one's league.

Ameritrade Stock Pick of the Week: Shares of Caring are actually trading higher because so few people own any.

Sink or Sveum: 50% Analytical, 50% Emotional. Dale is just philosophical these days. On a scale of Bat Sh#t Crazy, (Charles Manson), Not All There, (random guy with a neck tattoo), Thinking Clearly (Jordi LaForge), and Non-Emotional Robot (Data), Dale is simultaneously Bat Sh#t Crazy and Thinking Clearly.

manson.jpgneck.jpg jordi.jpgdata.jpg

And just like your thought-to-be level-headed uncle, Dale knows when he's been set up for failure but that's just Aunt Maggie's way. Plus, he married an ugly woman and you know what happens then.

Over/Under: Cubs losses in the final nine games: +/- 6.

Don't Hassle LaHoffpauir: Bryan LaHair was an All-Star. Now he's a hassle. Next year he'll be a Ham Fighter.

Beachwood Sabermetrics: A complex algorithm performed by The Cub Factor staff using all historical data made available by Major League Baseball has determined that even in Theo's big picture this season has been a colossal failure.

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

The White Sox Report: Know the enemy.


Contact The Cub Factor!

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 8:52 AM | Permalink

Behind The Bright Lights Of Chicago's Late Great Chevrolet Sign

Uploaded to YouTube on Monday by ZarakPhoto.

"A wonderful, short film that takes a look behind the scenes of how the huge electric Chevrolet sign in Chicago works, and is maintained. Produced by Jam Handy and Chevrolet in 1935."


Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 8:01 AM | Permalink

How A Political Poem Was Bullied Out Of This Chicago Public School Teacher

This poem by Lane Tech English teacher Molly Meacham has been making the rounds.

She performed it again on Sunday as captured in this video by Cliff Potts. (Text here.)


More about and from Molly Meacham:

From SpokenWord:

Molly Meacham left her Tennessee home to avoid an MRS degree and wound up in Chicago with a double degree of theatre and poetry. She recently returned to school to get a master's degree in education. Since becoming part of the Spoken Word scene in 2005, Molly made the 2005 and 2006 Mental Graffiti Slam Teams, competed in the 2006 IWPS as the Mental Graffiti representative, and was part of Green Mill team in 2008. In the past three years, she has toured prestigious slams on the West Coast, East Coast, and in Australia. In addition to her solo Australian tour, she recently featured in Germany with the Speak'Easy Ensemble directed by Marc Smith. Back home in Chicago, she belongs to Promethean Theatre Ensemble and teaches Shakespeare with a not-for-profit called The Viola Project.


Covering a work by Boston poet Nina Simon:


From StageClick:

"Since from university graduating, she has performed with companies such as Redmoon, Collaboraction, Authentic Theatre Company, and Darknight Galleries. She teaches performance workshops to preteen and teenage girls with The Viola Project."


Repeat As Needed.


Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 7:32 AM | Permalink

The [Tuesday] Papers

"The 2.7 percent Medicaid rate cuts that Illinois nursing homes received for the current fiscal year included language setting minimum staffing levels that pleased nursing-home owners and infuriated advocates for residents," GateHouse News Service reports.

"A spokeswoman for the nursing-home industry, Pat Comstock, said the legislation, crafted without recommendations from the advocates won't chip away at the state's landmark 2010 nursing-home reform law.

"But others said residents of long-term care facilities could suffer as a result of Senate Bill 2840, which Gov. Pat Quinn signed into law, because the staffing levels in the law are inadequate and confusing to enforce.

"It's just sad," said Wendy Meltzer, director of Chicago-based Illinois Citizens for Better Care. "People are going to be neglected."


"The reform law was sparked by a series of articles in the Chicago Tribune about inadequate staffing levels in Illinois nursing homes and dangerous conditions connected with housing psychiatric patients alongside elderly and disabled patients."


"When Illinois Cares Rx fell victim to massive state Medicaid program cuts this summer, senior citizens and disabled adults had some tough decisions to make," GateHouse also reports.

"They were now on the hook for Medicare premium and prescription drug costs that before had been covered by the supplemental program. Many of them scrambled to meet with local health insurance counselors for advice on what to do.

"Some qualified for the aptly named 'Extra Help' federal Medicare assistance program or are paying more for higher-deductible Medicare benefits that cover more of their costs. Others struggled, their reduced incomes making them candidates for full Medicaid coverage they previously had shunned or for food pantry referrals.

"I would say July 1, Illinois stopped caring," said Peoria pharmacist Mike Minesinger, rattling off anecdote after anecdote of prescription-drug horror stories he's heard since Illinois Cares Rx ended July 1.

Madigan's Machinations I
Every Democrat who votes to retain Michael Madigan as Speaker is endorsing, enabling and conspiring in his conduct. Simple as that.

Madigan's Machinations II
"The Chicago Sun-Times' Carol Marin reported recently that House Speaker Michael Madigan (D-Chicago) and Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle were neutral in the Smith race," Rich Miller notes. "Madigan's spokesman told me that his boss is neutral because two Democrats are running against each other."

And instead of pressing him on the ridiculousness of that statement, I just wrote it down and now I'm posting it!


And to stay consistent, Madigan will never again back one Democrat over another in a primary.

Rahmney World
Oh, this is rich.

Nobody in America has bashed teachers quite like Rahm Emanuel has. Where were you then, Mr. President?


See also: How A Political Poem Was Bullied Out Of This Chicago School Teacher.

The Real Cal's Bombers
"A week-and-a-half ago, two young men plotted a terrorist attack outside a bar in Chicago - and it turns out the plot was mostly put out together by the FBI. The two men were reportedly encouraged for months and months by undercover agents, who eventually supplied them with a fake bomb. The 17-year-old is now facing life in prison for pushing the trigger of the fake bomb. Trevor Aaronson, the author of Terror Factory, joins us for the broader implications to the story."


Hole In One
C'mon, this is pretty great.

Indiana Folly
Whaddya think this is, Illinois?

Inspector General To City
Hands Off!

Go Away, Kerry Wood
Slouching Toward History in The Cub Factor.

Sweet Homes
Alabama vs. Chicago.

Chicago's Late Great Chevrolet Sign
Powered by monkeys.


The Beachwood Tip Line: Could care less.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 7:18 AM | Permalink

Sweet Home Alabama vs. Sweet Home Chicago

Lynyrd Skynyrd is sticking with the Confederate flag after all.

Which got us to thinking . . .

* In Birmingham they love the governor; in Chicago, not so much.

* Muscle Shoals has got the Swampers; Chicago is still trying to get grade school music teachers.

* Watergate does not bother me; does Vanecko bother you?

* Big wheels keep on turnin'; ya gotta have a guy to keep big wheels turnin'.

* They heard Mr. Young sing about her; we heard Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young sing about us.

* Name of crappy movie vs. name of awesome movie.

* In Alabama, skies are so blue. In Chicago, we electrified the blues.

* Also, Alabama vs. Chicago.

* Both sides wish the South had seceded.


Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 6:00 AM | Permalink

Inspector General To City: Hands Off!

"The Illinois Supreme Court heard oral arguments [last week] in a case that will help determine what power the city of Chicago's main watchdog has to investigate City Hall," Progress Illinois reports.

Here's the statement sent out by the IG's office ahead of those arguments:

"The City's Corporation Counsel blocked full IGO access to documents it requested in an investigation of a sole-source contract to a former City employee made in apparent violation of the City's ethics and contracting rules. The City's Law Department produced some documents but redacted others on the basis of attorney-client privilege and/or the work product doctrine.

"Believing that the City could not properly assert the attorney-client privilege and work product doctrine under these circumstances, and after unsuccessful attempts to persuade the Corporation Counsel otherwise, on October 8, 2009, the IGO issued and served a subpoena for the documents.

"The Municipal Code grants the IGO the authority to request information related to an IGO investigation from 'any [City] employee, officer, agent or licensee,' makes it the unqualified 'duty of every [City] officer, employee, department, [and] agency . . . to cooperate with the [IGO] in any investigation or hearing undertaken pursuant to [the] chapter,' and directs that '[e]ach department's premises, equipment, personnel, books, records and papers . . . be made available as soon as practicable to the inspector general.'

"After timely objection and further discussions, the Corporation Counsel declined to comply, and this lawsuit was filed on November 4, 2009.

"On December 23, 2009, the Corporation Counsel moved to dismiss all counts of the complaint, arguing that the IGO had no standing to bring the lawsuit or hire its own attorney.

"Following briefing and a hearing held on April 21, 2010, Circuit Court of Cook County Judge Nancy Arnold granted the motion to dismiss and dismissed the complaint with prejudice. The IGO appealed.

"The Appellate Court reversed and remanded, holding that that the IGO does have the right to sue the Corporation Counsel to pursue records that could aid an investigation, but that it did not have enough facts surrounding the documents to determine whether the privilege applied.

"In making its ruling, the Appellate Court stated that '[w]ithout the ability to bring an action to enforce the subpoena, the Inspector General has no means to challenge the Corporation Counsel's refusal other than asking the mayor to resolve the dispute. The ordinance creating the IGO could not have been designed to tie the Inspector General's hands in this way because in doing so its investigative process would be meaningless.'

"Corporation Counsel Stephen Patton appealed the Appellate Court's decision to the Illinois Supreme Court, asserting that the Inspector General has no capacity to bring his lawsuit and that the Appellate Court had no jurisdiction to hear the lawsuit. In making this argument, Corporation Counsel has adopted wholesale the position of the prior Administration in asserting that the IGO:

1) is not an independent agency;

2) that the IGO's authority to enforce its subpoenas is subordinate to the authority and decisions of the Law Department, even when the Law Department has a direct legal conflict of interest in the matter and;

3) that there is no IGO recourse to the courts and that the courts lack the authority to resolve such enforcement and legal conflict issues, which instead devolve to the sole discretion of the Mayor.

"The Supreme Court granted the petition for leave to appeal.

"This lawsuit is of crucial importance to determining whether the City of Chicago has a truly independent and empowered IGO.

"The Administration's positions attempt to abridge the IGO's critical independence and the functionality of its investigative process through his appeal of the Appellate Court's correctly-decided decision on jurisdiction and capacity.

"To require the Inspector General to obtain Corporation Counsel approval and legal assistance to enforce subpoenas the IGO issues - even when the IGO may be investigating misconduct within the Office of the Mayor (as in this instance) or the Law Department itself - would nullify the Inspector General's expressly granted statutory subpoena power.

"The IGO will lose its independence if the Corporation Counsel receives the outcome he seeks in his appeal: that the IGO cannot represent itself in court to enforce its subpoenas; that the Inspector General must seek the Corporation Counsel's assistance even in cases of clear conflict; and that the Inspector General cannot sue to protect his office's right to legal and functional existence.

"Further, allowing the Corporation Counsel to assert the attorney-client privilege to shield information from an official IGO investigation into possible government misconduct would allow the City's own attorneys to block internal investigations into governmental misconduct whenever they choose to assert the privilege."


Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 2:49 AM | Permalink

September 24, 2012

The [Monday] Papers

"A former lobbyist for a powerful teachers union is reaping a $100,000-a-year state pension thanks to wide-ranging retirement legislation sponsored nearly six years ago by her former boss, House Speaker Michael Madigan, and his legislative allies," the Tribune reports.

"The 2007 law let Gail Purkey, who worked at two state jobs in the 1980s, receive a state pension based mostly on her long career and six-figure salary with the Illinois Federation of Teachers, the Tribune has found."

The Illinois Federation of Teachers, of course, is not a government agency. It's a union.

"Purkey, 58, stands to collect a total of about $3 million if she lives to age 78, according to a Tribune analysis. Payroll records show that her last state salary was $36,800 - just over a third of her current state pension."

That's outrageous enough, but here's what really bothers me:

"I followed what the law said," Purkey told the Trib.

Right. The law was manipulated in your favor, and then you just followed it. Christ.

Gail Purkey, you are Today's Worst Person In Illinois.


Of course, Michael Madigan was a conspirator.

"Asked specifically if the speaker knew Purkey would benefit, [Madigan mouthpiece Steve] Brown said, 'I don't have any recollection of that.'"

That's nice. Now hand the phone over to Madigan so he can answer the damn question.


I've said it before and I'll say it again: If I was the editor of a newspaper - or any news agency - in Chicago, I would ban quotes from Steve Brown. I would rather have Michael Madigan, House Speaker and chairman of the Illinois Democratic Party, refusing to answer questions on behalf of taxpayers and citizens over and over and over again instead of letting a paid propagandist shield him from having to lie or 'fess up about misdeed after misdeed.

The Lying Game
Speaking of paid propagandists, here's Sandi Jackson spokesman Kevin Lampe once again not answering questions posed on behalf of taxpayers and citizens:

"When asked to respond to Jackson opponents who said the house sale was a sign the congressman's future prospects were doubtful, Lampe said: 'it's speculation.'"

It sure is. But that doesn't answer the question.

"His name is still on the ballot," Lampe said.

When pressed to comment on whether Jackson were still running for reelection, Lampe repeated: "He's still on the ballot."

It sure is. But that doesn't answer the question.

"We're waiting for the doctor to release him to send him back to work," Lampe added.

Name that doctor!

I don't believe that for a second.


While reporting "Jesse Jackson Jr.'s Dark Days" for Chicago magazine, I put in a call to Ald. Pat Dowell to discuss the time when Jackson surprisingly and seemingly out of the blue endorsed her aldermanic campaign against incumbent Dorothy Tillman - who was backed by Richard M. Daley and Barack Obama. That part of Junior's story - his city council involvements - didn't make it into the final version, but it led to an interesting part of the reporting.

Dowell didn't return my phone call (until weeks later) but Lampe did. He represents her. He also volunteered that he had been hired by Sandi, and he would call me the following week and dish on background. (Maybe he confused me with Sneed.)

He never called me back the following week, despite a couple follow-up calls I put back into him.

My editor at the magazine then put on a full-court press to reach Lampe and persuade him to make Sandi available for an interview. I knew that would never happen - at least not under any sort of acceptable conditions.

But, as I had predicted to my editor, Lampe did finally call me back as we were going to press. A great strategy to pretend one has fulfilled their obligation and also to try to slip something in at the last minute that really won't be questioned or even amount to much just to satisfy a desperate reporter - which certainly wasn't me. I really didn't care. I don't play ball; I do my job.

This was the conversation I had with Lampe:

ME: Hey, what's going on?

LAMPE: I'm doing my laundry.

ME: This isn't your office phone?

LAMPE: No it's my cell. I hardly use my office phone.

ME: So why the runaround, man?

LAMPE: I've just been slamming on other things . . . [Sandi] said no.

ME: She'll only talk to Sneed?

LAMPE: That was one time . . . [which isn't true]

silence . . .

ME: Hello?

LAMPE: Hang on, I'm in the elevator.

silence . . .



We reconnected and Lampe said the call just got dropped, which I'm sure it did, though he acknowledged it probably seemed like he was trying to avoid me.

"You have been avoiding me!" I said.

No, he'd just been busy on "other things." For three weeks.


ME: So why won't she talk?

LAMPE: She's focused on the health of her husband.

ME: [Laughing] C'mon!

I then pushed him on the statement put out by the Mayo Clinic that clearly did not connect Jackson's weight-loss surgery to his bipolar disease, though it was meant to do just that by the Jackson family.

Finally, Lampe said: "Their statement did not make the link. That's what [Sandi] believes."


The best stories reporters have are the ones they tell about, um, their reporting. I often think that those are the only stories they should tell instead of the ones they do; it strips away the artifice.


I also put a call into Ald. Anthony Beale and got a call back from his PR firm, which offered up Delmarie Cobb instead. "No thanks," I said. "I like to actually speak to the actual subjects involved in news stories instead of pundits who don't know what they're talking about."

Beale never called me himself, though several other aldermen weren't afraid to talk; they just didn't make it into the final version of the story, but I appreciated the discussions.


I thought Lampe's comment about the Mayo statement a pretty big scoop. I was proud of the reporting. My editors at Chicago disagreed and it didn't make it into the final version.

But the point is that no doctor that we know of has made that link. That's not to say there isn't a link; there could be. That's not to say no doctor has privately made that link, though that doesn't make sense. But reams of reporting has made the link, which seems to be just what Sandi Jackson wants.

Her disingenuousness has only continued since, pretending that her husband was ready to hit the campaign trail when he clearly wasn't (not to mention that there isn't a campaign trail; Jackson could win re-election from a hospital bed or a jail cell at this point).

I also asked Lampe if Sandi would be a candidate to replace her husband before or after the election. He told me he had never spoken to her about that, which may have been true then. But now? No one from Team Jackson deserves the benefit of the doubt anymore.

Wall-To-Wall Stonewalling
Did Rahm make up the new Clemente High School as he went along or is he hiding the ball?

The Magic Number Is The 3-Hole
The White Sox Report: It's your move, Robin.

The Weekend in Chicago Rock
A rich one at that.

Sack Happy
Back to the old Bears: Defense, special teams and a lousy offense.


See also from the Beachwood vault: He's Jay Cutler.

Truly Quixotic
Local Book Notes: A Multisensory Scrabble Experience.

Sea Otters!
Awareness Week at the Shedd.

Another Classic Fuzzy Memory
Into The Valley Of The Space Invaders.

The Cub Factor
Will appear on Tuesday.


The Beachwood Tip Line: Stacker of wheat.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 11:28 AM | Permalink

Sea Otters!

Sept. 23 to 29 is Sea Otter Awareness Week! To celebrate, Shedd Aquarium's sea otters enjoy their own "cakes" made of ice, clam, krill, shrimp and crab. The cake with a "10" on it represents the 10 years we've had otters at the aquarium.


Previously by the Shedd:

Public Debut.

7-month-old southern sea otter Cayucos made her public debut in the main sea otter habitat. Her introduction is part of the process of socializing the pup and preparing her to join Shedd's five adult sea otters full-time. It also gives her a chance to improve her deep-diving ability. For now, Cayucos will be in the big pool part-time with several of the females.



Cayucos at 8 1/2 weeks old gets help grooming her fur from trainer Lana.



Cayucos is bottle-fed by marine mammal trainer Lana.


Eating Seafood.

Cayucos eats a seafood medley.



Cayucos plays with her trainers.


See also:
* The Shedd's sea otter page
* Mari and Kiana


Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 10:59 AM | Permalink

Into The Valley Of The Space Invaders

"Here's a promo for Into the Valley of the Space Invaders on WFLD Channel 32, about the video gaming phenomenon, which aired Monday, April 26th 1982. I believe this special was produced at KBHK-TV - a Field Communications station in San Francisco - and featured Bob Wilkins as host. Voiceover by Jim Barton. This promo aired on Sunday, April 25th, 1982."


About The Museum of Classic Chicago Television:

The Museum of Classic Chicago Television's primary mission is the preservation and display of off-air, early home videotape recordings (70s and early 80s, primarily) recorded off of any and all Chicago TV channels; footage which would likely be lost if not sought out and preserved digitally. Even though (mostly) short clips are displayed here, we preserve the entire broadcasts in our archives - the complete programs with breaks (or however much is present on the tape), for historical purposes. For information on how to help in our mission, to donate or lend tapes to be converted to DVD, and to view more of the 4,000+ (and counting) video clips available for viewing in our online archive, please visit us here.


Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 9:55 AM | Permalink

SportsMonday: Sack Happy

The Bears didn't just pile up sacks during their 23-6 victory over the Rams yesterday; they piled up big sacks, ones that resulted in 10-plus yards lost. The evidence is growing that the team's pass rush is more dangerous than a crew of replacement refs.

It started early. The Rams put together a little bit of a drive the first time they had the ball. The team from St. Louis actually traveled a yard past midfield for a play. But then Amobi Okoye used a power rush to break through the line and sacked Sam Bradford for a loss of 13 big yards, forcing a punt. Okoye is the veteran tackle whom the Bears released last off-season. But when other options on the interior of the line didn't work out, they brought Okoye back.

Reunited and it feels so good.

Then on the last play of the first quarter, after the Bears caught a huge break when St. Louis wide receiver Brandon Gibson dropped a bomb that would have given the Rams possession inside the 10, Stephen Paea stepped to the fore.

The young defensive tackle from Oregon State who has struggled to overcome injury during his brief career had assisted on Okoye's sack, arriving at the quarterback a split second after his teammate. This time Paea did the damage himself, spinning Bradford down for a loss of 10.

Then, after an exchange of punts, Israel Idonije got into the act. While the defensive end's first sack only resulted in a loss of five yards, it had a big impact. It forced the punt that led to the Bears' first, and only, offensive touchdown of the day at the two-minute warning of the first half.

Nick Roach got the sack parade started in the second half. The outside linebacker from Northwestern seemed almost surprised that Bradford still had the ball in his hands when he arrived at his doorstep on a blitz with about four-and-a-half minutes left in the third quarter. Roach didn't exactly wrap the quarterback up as he ran into him but Bradford went down in a heap for a loss of nine.

Julius Peppers (remember him?) achieved a small measure of redemption when he and Idonije combined on a seven-yard sack late in the third quarter, a sack that led to a short Robbie Gould field goal that stretched the lead to 13-6. Peppers had kept a Ram drive alive with an almost unbelievably uncharacteristic late hit/unnecessary roughness personal foul a few plays earlier. But soon the Rams were punting again anyway.

It must be said that the biggest hit on Sam Bradford wasn't even a sack. It was the double shot that led to the pick six that for all intents and purposes, put this game away. Bradford got rid of the ball when he faced a heavy rush with 6:24 remaining in the third quarter but Idonije still took him down as Paea crashed in from the other side. Sure enough, a wobbly Bradford tried to force a pass on the next play; cornerback Tim Jennings broke it up and Major Harris corralled the tip and raced untouched into the end zone to give the Bears a two-score cushion.

Finally in the fourth quarter, Idonije recorded the team's last sack of the quarterback for a loss. The Bears had earlier been credited with a team sack when Bradford went down after a teammate stepped on his foot, so it added up to six glorious sacks in all. Idonije was credited with 2.5 of them in the post-game stats but Paea may have made the biggest impression. He was the player the Bears dreamed he would be when the drafted him in the second round two years ago; the sort of powerful yet quick defensive tackle who can wreak very valuable havoc on opposing offenses.

The consistent pressure was an undeniable drag on Bradford's overall performance. The quarterback who had completed more than 70 percent of his passes in his first two games combined this season (43-for-60) found his targets barely half the time (18-for-35) on Sunday.

As for the offense, well, coordinator Mike Tice had apparently been hearing it from all corners that he needed to emphasize the ground game. Play-by-play man Dick Stockton told the story that even Tice's young son had sidled up to him at some point in the last week and told him the team needed to run more.

That advice would have made a lot more sense had Matt Forte not been sidelined by injury. Backup Michael Bush made a strong initial impression with several powerful runs up the middle and by catching a screen pass and running for an unlikely third-and-long conversion in the first half. He also ran through St. Louis linebacker James Laurinaitis for a big fourth-down conversion in the first half.

But later on Tice made way too many predictable running calls, especially with third-stringer Kahlil Bell (10 carries for 20 yards) in the backfield. The possessions that consisted of Bell being blown backward followed by almost desperation pass plays on second- and third-and-long in the second half in particular conjured up ugly memories of dimwittedly conservative game plans of seasons long past.

I thought we were through with those.

The most notable thing about the special teams, besides continued excellence from Robbie Gould and continued competence from Adam Podlesh (he was especially good absorbing that cheap shot that led to the penalty that led to Gould's first field goal), was that Devin Hester was dangerous. He didn't break any particularly long returns but on several occasions he made slick and speedy little moves to slip through the first line of cover-men and into the second level of the Rams coverage. If he keeps that up, he will break one some time soon.

And look at that, we've wrapped up a Bears game without mentioning a certain signal-caller even once. Sweet.


Jim "Coach" Coffman is our man on Mondays. He welcomes your comments.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 8:44 AM | Permalink

The Weekend in Chicago Rock

You shoulda been there.

1. Alt-J at the Empty Bottle on Friday night.


2. Down at House of Blues on Saturday night.


3. Silversun Pickups at the Aragon on Friday night.


4. Undesirable People at the Underground Lounge on Friday night.


5. Conor Oberst at the Brilliant Corners of Popular Amusements festival at the Riverfront Theater on Saturday night.


6. Empires at Lincoln Hall on Friday night.


7. Mike Dillon and Marco Benevento at Martyr's on Saturday night.


8. The Melvins at the Double Door on Friday night.


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


10. Hotlips Messiah at the Ultra Lounge on Saturday night.


11. The Infected at the Ultra Lounge on Saturday night.


12. The Van Buren Boys at the Ultra Lounge on Saturday night.


13. The Weeknd at the Congress on Friday night.


14. Deerhoof at Schubas on Saturday night.


15. Blackberry Smoke at Joe's Bar on Friday night.


16. Safetysuit at Bottom Lounge on Friday night.


17. Bloc Party at the Riv on Friday night.


Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 8:37 AM | Permalink

He's Jay Cutler

Originally posted on November 23, 2009.

This list just keeps getting lamer.



Let's start it with Sid Luckman
Ending with Kyle Orton
This list of QBs who played for Chicago
Tomczak and Harbaugh
Both scared of Ditka
Lil Cutie Doug Flutie
Will Furrer Der Fuhrer
Brian Griese, Avellini
and Greg Landry

Kordell Stewart, Vince Evans
Willie Throwers a Legend
Three quarterbacks, Our only blacks, our only blacks

Now we've got Jay Cutler
Yes we've got Jay Cutler
But he's just like all the other
Bear quarterbacks who play like crap

We once had Bobby Douglass
He could throw a football
right through a brick wall but no one could catch it
Rex Grossman pathetic
And Huff you sucked
Peter Tom Willis
Rusty Lisch & Steve Fuller
Cade McNown and Jim Miller
Steve Walsh and Erik Kramer
This list keeps getter lamer
Krenzel and Dave Kreig
Bratkowski and Billy Wade
Happy Hank and Jonathan Quinn
Shane Matthews, Hutchinson

Moses Moreno, God, these QBs blow

Now we've got Jay Cutler
But he's like the other
Bear quarterbacks
throws more interceptions than touchdown receptions
No punky QB, no playoffs, no playoffs
Lovie Smith should be fired
No Super Bowl, shut his piehole, shut his piehole

He's Jay Cutler, he's Jay Cutler
Just like the other Bear quarterbacks
Who play like crap
He sure plays like crap
God, does he suck
This whole team sucks
Weren't they supposed to be better than this?
What's up with this?
God! Pathetic . . .


Comments welcome.


Also from the Beachwood Sports Parody Desk:

* We Love Q
* Eddie Elia
* 100 Seasons in the Sun
* The 1908 Song
* Please Stop Believin'
* 99 Years of Cub Losses
* Blame It On Bartman
* We Can't Wait 100 Years
* Dusty Must Get Fired
* Let's Call The Crosstown Off!
* Louuuuu!
* Ode to Ozzie
* The 12 Days of Cubness
* The Hester Man Can!
* I'm Sammy
* Calendar Bears

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 8:30 AM | Permalink

The Magic Number Is The 3-Hole

Although it was hidden in the lower right hand corner of the front page, the icon with the top hat and cane and the number 14 nailed me right in the forehead last Tuesday morning. How could the Sun-Times do this?!?

Far more lethal than the dreaded lead-off walk, the Magic Number should be strictly reserved for teams like the Reds or Giants, the two newly-crowned National League division winners. We're talking about comfortable - how about double digits? - leads. Posting a Magic Number for the White Sox is folly.

Sure, the Sox edged Detroit 5-4 on Monday to take a three-game lead over the Tigers, but only a fringe observer wouldn't understand the team's precarious position with games looming in Kansas City and Anaheim.

I still remember the end of the 1964 season when the Phillies had a six-game lead with 12 games remaining. They finished tied for second.

Just last September, the Rays and Red Sox were fighting for the wild card on the final day of the season. The Rays trailed the Yankees 7-0 in the eighth inning, while the Red Sox, who hadn't blown a ninth-inning lead all year, led the Orioles 3-2 in the final frame. When it was over, the Rays won, Red Sox lost, and Tampa went to the playoffs.

The number 14 - the combination of Sox wins and Tigers losses which would snag the division for the Sox - was a cruel joke. The real number was nine or 10, the number of wins the Sox needed to advance to the postseason. So far they have one.

Forget Detroit. Of their remaining 13 games, 10 would be at Comerica Park, and 10 would be against the Twins and Royals. They rarely lose at home and, as of last Tuesday, they were a combined 15-9 against Minnesota and Kansas City.

Even though the Tigers stumbled badly on Sunday, losing a day-night doubleheader to the inept Twins, they remain at home this week for four games against the Royals before heading to Minnesota this weekend.

Watching our athletes struggle Saturday night on their way to a 4-2 loss to the Angels in a game that pulled Detroit even in the loss column, it was time to think of ways the Sox can salvage the division at this late stage.

The team has stopped hitting, scoring an anemic 11 runs in the last six games. The team that used to be among the leaders in hitting with runners in scoring position can't buy a hit with runners at second and/or third. They're having problems hitting the cutoff man; base running blunders killed them in Kansas City; and one never can be sure whether the starting pitchers will bring their A game or be meat for the opposition.

Robin Ventura arguably has been the major factor for the team's success, and his style and strategy have been praised by players, media, and fans. However, now is the time Robin and his staff need to shake things up, think outside the box, do something different. My sense is that forging ahead with the status quo is not going to work.

What can be done? Rework the lineup by dropping Adam Dunn to the six or seven spot and inserting Alex Rios at No. 3. This is not my brainy creation. It's been voiced by a number of observers this season, and a revamped lineup might help.

After watching Dunn fail a couple of times Saturday evening - he struck out with two guys on base in the third and grounded into a double play in the sixth - I looked to see who batted third for the other American League teams on Saturday.

Here's the list in no particular order: Carlos Santana, Alex Gordon, Edwin Encarnacion, Albert Pujols, Evan Longoria, Michael Young, Kyle Seager, Miguel Cabrera, Yoenis Cespedes, Alex Rodriguez, Adam Jones, Cody Ross, and Joe Mauer.

You're familiar with most of these guys because more often than not they are the best hitters on their respective teams. Dunn is not.

My ideal No. 3 hitter is someone who hits for a decent average, makes contact, and drives in runs. If he hits a few homers, great. But that isn't the major criteria.

The idea is that Nos. 1 and 2 get on base and the third hitter, who always bats in the first inning, drives them home or at least advances them and stays out of the double play.

Of the 14 players who batted third on Saturday night, Dunn was 13th in hits with 104. Only Tampa's injury-riddled Longoria had fewer (64) because he's played in just 65 games.

Simply put, Dunn doesn't get enough hits to merit batting third.

Has he improved over his horrid season of 2011? Without question. Has he hit some game-changing homers this season? Again, a resounding "yes."

But far too often he kills rallies, fails to make contact, and generally clogs up the top of the Sox lineup.

It's not fair to compare Dunn with mega-stars like Cabrera or Pujols. Instead consider someone like Seattle's Kyle Seager, whom most people never heard of. Seager is batting a modest .257 ,which still is 50 points higher than Dunn, and has almost 40 more hits.

Seager puts the ball in play, having struck out 99 times. That's less than half the times Dunn has trudged back to the dugout after strike three.

Dunn has a lifetime .240 average, and he hit a respectable .260 in 2010, his last year in the National League. Ohhh, what we'd give to see the big guy hit .260!

Comparing Adam Dunn to Kyle Seager borders on the ludicrous. Dunn's been hitting colossal homers for years and is paid handsomely while the 24-year-old Seager is a regular for the first time this season. One could construct an argument that Adam is more productive than Seager at No. 3, but who's going to take Dunn over guys like Cabrera, Pujols, Encarnacion, Jones, Mauer - you get the idea.

Please don't misunderstand. I think Dunn has value, and the way he handled himself in 2011 amidst his tribulations earned my respect. But why not drop him down to six or seven in the order? I may have been absent the day they taught sabermetrics, but no way Adam Dunn fits the mold of the third hitter in the lineup.

Alex Rios, however, does. He's seventh in the American League in hits; he has 24 home runs and 87 RBI. Alex reaches base a third of the time and has struck out 86 times this season. Not only would I rather have him batting third than Kyle Seager, I'd take the Alex Rios of 2012 over a number of other guys on that list from Saturday.

Would shaking up the lineup at this late stage be a sign of panic? Panic was Phillies manager Gene Mauch using his outstanding starting pitchers on two days' rest as the team lost 10 straight at the end of 1964. They won the final two games, but by then it was too late. The Cardinals won the pennant.

A.J. Pierzynski was quoted by reporters after Sunday's 4-1 loss by saying the Sox just needed to play better. Paul Konerko added, "Hopefully there's a cycle that's going to turn and it's going to be good for us."

I just don't think things will turn around without some engineering from Ventura. Try something a bit different as the Sox greet Cleveland for three games at the Cell starting tonight. It can't hurt. Less than two runs a game will only result in sending the boys home in 10 days.

Time is precious, but it's never too late to take a calculated risk.


Roger Wallenstein is our man on the White Sox beat. He welcomes your comments.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 8:07 AM | Permalink

Local Book Notes: A Multisensory Scrabble Experience

Over the transom.

1. From Chicago Art Expo 2012:


2. From the Poetry Foundation: Poets on Politics:

The Poetry Foundation presents Red, White & Blue: Poets on Politics, an event that is part of a national series presented in partnership with the Poetry Society of America.

The program, which explores the role of politics in the literary landscape today, features Suji Kwock Kim, Li-Young Lee, and D. Nurkse.

Suji Kwock Kim is a Korean American whose first collection, Notes from the Divided Country, won the Walt Whitman Award.

Li-Young Lee, a Chicago poet and the son of Chinese political exiles, has published four volumes of poetry and a memoir, The Winged Seed.

D. Nurkse is the former poet laureate of Brooklyn, a frequent commentator on human rights, and the author of 10 poetry collections, most recently A Night in Brooklyn.

Alice Quinn, executive director of the Poetry Society of America, will moderate the discussion.

When: Thursday, September 27, 7:00 PM
Where: Poetry Foundation, 61 West Superior Street
Admission: Free admission on a first come, first-served basis.


3. From the Chicago Loop Alliance: State Street Poetry:

Chicago Loop Alliance (CLA) announced that it will present an unprecedented public display of audio and textual poetry along State Street beginning October 1, 2012, in partnership with the Poetry Foundation. In celebration of the centennial of Poetry magazine, the organizations will bring poetry of, by and for Chicagoans to the 220,000 pedestrians who traverse State Street each day, through an extensive installation of visual and audio poem excerpts.

Throughout the month of October, each side of State Street from Wacker Drive to Congress Parkway will be decorated with poetry-filled banners, planter signs, news racks and CTA subway entrances, and CLA's unique year-round light and sound installation Lightscape: a Multisensory Experience on State Street will fill the air with audio recordings that highlight the diversity of Poetry's authors, the rich history of the magazine and its deep connection to the city of Chicago.

Poetry excerpts will adorn the streets, from poets that include some of Poetry's early discoveries - such as Ezra Pound, T. S. Eliot and Wallace Stevens - and more contemporary writers, including former U. S. Poets Laureate Kay Ryan and Robert Hass, as well as local poets Reginald Gibbons and Li-Young Lee.

CLA's partnership with the Poetry Foundation coincides with the addition of six additional clusters to Lightscape: a Multisensory Experience on State Street, which will add visual and sound density to pedestrians' experiences.

Commissioned by CLA and unveiled last November, Lightscape is currently comprised of a dozen "prairie grass" landscapes of varying heights up to nine feet tall, "planted" along sidewalks on State Street from Lake to Van Buren Streets.

The decorative clusters feature 50-100 energy-efficient LED lights each, along with embedded speakers that broadcast musical selections and special announcements, as the lights change patterns in synchronization with audio content.

CLA's continued plans for Lightscape include updates to generate public attention and engagement, and future creative partnerships with Chicago businesses and cultural organizations. Lightscape is funded by State Street property owners.



4. From the Scrabble Literacy Challenge:

Did you know that the SCRABBLE record for most points earned in a single turn is 365 with the play of the word QUIXOTRY?

(Editor's Note: It's true!)

Join Literacy Volunteers of Illinois for our 9th annual SCRABBLE for Literacy Challenge as Scrabblers strive to break records!

This event serves the dual purpose of hosting Chicago players as well as supporting the serious issue of adult literacy.

The annual event is sponsored by Literacy Volunteers of Illinois and supported by local chapters of the North American SCRABBLE Players Association (NASPA).

It will be held at the Grossinger City Autoplex at 1500 North Dayton Street.

The special event is a fun-filled fundraiser for literacy that features three ways to play. Players find their best SCRABBLE match by entering Tournament, Competitive, or Just for Fun competitions.

Cash prizes will be awarded for the tournament and competitive play, which follows NASPA rules.

Tournament level play kicks off at 10 a.m. and these players must be NASPA members.

Registration for the Competitive and Just for Fun games begins at 3 p.m. Tickets are $25 for adults and $10 for teens. All games end at 7 p.m.

For further information, a complete schedule, and tickets and registration for the SCRABBLE for Literacy Challenge visit the Literacy Volunteers of Illinois website.


Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 6:36 AM | Permalink

Clemente FOIA: Show Us The Paper Trail

Ms. Tola Sobitan (
Assistant Attorney General -- Public Access Bureau
100 W. Randolph St. Chicago, IL 60601


Dear Ms. Sobitan:

On June 21, 2012, Mayor Emanuel announced that "Clemente Community Academy High School will become the third, wall-to-wall International Baccalaureate (IB) school" in Chicago. The mayor's press release noted that "[t]he decision to convert Clemente into a wall-to-wall IB school was made after significant engagement with the Humboldt Park community and discussions with key community stakeholders." (Emphasis added.)

On June 27, I served a Freedom of Information Act request upon the FOIA officer for Chicago Public Schools requesting all documents relating to CPS's decision to turn Clemente High School into a "wall-to-wall" IB school.

As part of my request, I asked for "all correspondence between CPS and the International Baccalaureate Organization discussing or referencing Clemente High School, as well as any applications or 'interested schools forms' that CPS/Clemente completed, any 'feasibility study' that CPS/Clemente conducted on the possible consequences of implementing the program . . . all documents that relate to CPS's plans to staff the IB program at Clemente . . . all documents [that relate to] projections regarding enrollment in the Clemente program, as well as the anticipated costs of developing and housing such a program at Clemente . . . all CPS communications with the Mayor's office and Alderman Moreno's office about the plan to convert Clemente into a 'wall-to-wall IB program' . . . any memos, studies, or emails that discuss CPS's plans for students who may be displaced by CPS's decision to convert Clemente into a 'wall-to-wall IB program,' as well as documents relating to CPS's plans to provide academic support for Clemente students who may struggle with the new program."

As you know, CPS initially ignored my request. CPS was required by law to respond within 5 business days, but it chose not to do so. By law, CPS also had the opportunity to seek a 5-day extension, but it did not ask for one.

I twice e-mailed Cassandra Daniels, CPS's FOIA officer - once on Tuesday, July 10 and once on Friday, July 13 - and asked her when CPS was going to respond to my request. Those e-mails went unanswered. In addition, I telephoned her twice and left detailed messages about the same topic - once on Friday, July 13 and once on Monday, July 16 - but again my calls went unanswered.

I finally contacted the Office of the Attorney General on Monday, July 16 and asked your office to review CPS's failure to respond to my request. I had a brief phone conversation with one of your fellow attorneys about this matter on July 25, and just minutes after hanging up the phone with her, I received a belated e-mail response from CPS stating: "The CPS has performed a diligent search for any documents responsive to your request for information. However, at this time, no documents could be found. Attached please find a copy of CPS's district wide projected enrollment data with Clemente High School's enrollment highlighted in yellow."

On August 3, I asked your office to review CPS's belated and anemic response. I told your office at that time that the "CPS response does not pass the 'straight-face test.'" On August 31, you determined that "further review" was warranted, and you notified CPS of that decision.

On September 6, CPS changed tactics. Rather than stick with its original plan -- stonewall and then deny the existence of responsive documents -- CPS elected to play a shell game.

Despite the mayor's unambiguous June 21 announcement in which he said "Clemente . . . will become the third, wall-to-wall International Baccalaureate (IB) school" in Chicago and noted that "[t]he decision to convert Clemente into a wall-to-wall IB school was made after significant engagement with the Humboldt Park community and discussions with key community stakeholders," (emphasis added) CPS decided, in its September 6 letter, to characterize the mayor's June announcement as one that "is not final."


Because CPS may now be looking to shield responsive documents under the FOIA exemption for preliminary drafts, notes, or recommendations.

CPS's new hook for claiming that the Clemente decision is "not final" is a single sentence in the mayor's June 21 press release: "In March, Mayor Emanuel and CPS CEO Jean-Claude Brizard announced the District would open five new IB programmes in neighborhood schools and five wall-to-wall IB schools in fall of 2013 with final authorization set for 2016."

CPS now argues that because "authorization" is set for 2016, nothing is final and therefore all responsive documents (none of which seemed to exist as of July 25) fall within the exemption for drafts, notes and recommendations.


Here's what you need to understand about that 2016 "authorization." It will be done by the International Baccalaureate Organization, not by CPS.

Authorization by IBO is a multi-step, multi-year process. CPS will need to show IBO that CPS and the Clemente staff have their ducks in a row -- specifically, that they've complied with IBO's requirements and can demonstrate that the ongoing Clemente program warrants IBO's final stamp of approval.

The question whether IBO will put its final "authorization" on Clemente's "wall-to-wall IB program" in 2016 cannot possibly shield any of CPS's responsive documents from my June 2012 FOIA request.

Equally troubling is CPS's attempt to avoid producing responsive e-mails.

CPS now seems to be backing off its July 25 contention that there are no responsive documents. In its September 6 response to your office, Ms. Daniels stated that "the CPS does not have the capacity to search 40,000 employee e-mail addresses for communications using key words."

That's a red herring. Think about it.

The 40,000 employees who use CPS's email system include math teachers in Bronzeville, building engineers in Sauganash, and school nurses in Pilsen. I think we can agree that those folks would have had zero involvement in the decision to transform Clemente into an IB school. So there's simply no need to search 40,000 employee e-mail addresses. CPS's FOIA officer knows better.

But pay attention to what Ms. Daniels didn't tell you in her September 6 response. She didn't say: "CPS has identified the 8 (or 10 or 12) individuals who were involved in the decision to transform Clemente into an IB school. Having identified each of those individuals, we searched not only their e-mail files, but also their paper files for documents relating to the Clemente transformation. We found nothing responsive in those files, and each of those individuals confirmed that they'd neither created nor seen any responsive documents."

You didn't get an affidavit to that effect from anyone at CPS. Instead, you got the old "we can't search 40,000 e-mail addresses" refrain.

Don't fall for it. The Clemente IB decision was not made by random lunch ladies or gym teachers; it was made by high-ranking CPS officials.

Indeed, CPS's September 6 response is intentionally hazy. Are there potentially responsive documents that CPS is now withholding? If not, why did CPS even bother raising the exemptions for drafts, notes and recommendations?

If your office's review is to have any teeth -- and, believe it or not, a lot of reporters around town following this story hope it will -- CPS initially needs to identify for you who within its organization was involved in the decision to convert Clemente, who within the organization took part in the "significant engagement with the Humboldt Park community and discussions with key community stakeholders," and who within the organization was involved in the decision to fire roughly twenty Clemente teachers just days after the mayor issued his June press release. Only then will CPS be able to assure you in any meaningful manner that its "search" for responsive documents was legitimate and thorough, and that its decision to withhold documents -- if it is now doing so -- is justified.

Mayor Emanuel reminds us regularly about his role as a responsible "steward" of taxpayers' money. Surely, he wouldn't allow his hand-picked Board of Education and CPS leadership team to make major decisions about the future of certain Chicago high schools without as much as a single e-mail being generated -- particularly when we're dealing with a revolving-door organization like CPS, where (as Catalyst's Sarah Karp recently noted) "[l]ess than a quarter of the people who worked at district headquarters at 125 S. Clark Street in 2010 are still working there." With such churn-and-burn turnover, there has to be documentation for such significant decisions, if only to ensure an institutional memory that will survive Mr. Brizard and Mr. Cawley.

Decisions that will affect the lives of thousands of kids and will involve millions of taxpayer dollars cannot be made without some paper trail.

Can they, Mayor Emanuel? Can they, Mr. Brizard?


Matt Farmer


Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 2:46 AM | Permalink

September 23, 2012

Czar of the Playbook: Bears Bounce Back

Fewer deep routes, Mr. Tice. More screen passes, please. Get rid of the ball quicker, Jay.


Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 11:04 AM | Permalink

September 22, 2012

The Weekend Desk Report

Much like Taste of Chicago, we remain truncated, reconfigured and a complete waste of time.

Market Update
Wow. We never thought CNN would be writing punch lines for us.

Overwhelming Evidence
Chicago's inspector general announced this week that the police department cannot account for some 5,000 - 10,000 pieces of evidence collected from crime scenes. Which seems pretty insignificant considering the sheer number of items the city and state can't account for.

Triumvirate Outreach
Apparently Brittney Spears is showing her powerful side by demanding to fly right the hell over Lindsay Lohan to get to Amanda Bynes even though Bynes steadfastly denies she's done anything wrong. Oh, and by the way Paris? No one's buying.

Wait a minute . . . does this mean our Fucking Ass has been Laughed Back On? Or has it been conclusively Laughed Off? Can someone please clarify the status of our Fucking Ass?!

Bitter Pill
Finally this week, maybe this Illinois law just needs to be tweaked to clarify the definition of "force." You know, for the pharmacies' own good.


The Weekend Desk Tip Line: Swallow, implant or embed.


The Flying Saucer Weekend Brunch Report: The fall seasonals are in!


The Sound Opinions Weekend Listening Report: Rapper, record mogul, and underground hip-hop producer El-P is live in the studio. Plus Jim and Greg review Tempest, the 35th studio album from American music legend Bob Dylan.


The CAN TV Weekend Viewing 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.

Chatting with Kimistry: Civics 101


Professor Rashid Carter and Curtis Monday explain the historical beginnings of America's democracy and promote the idea of every citizen's responsibility within that system to vote and be engaged in the process.

Saturday, September 22 at 4:30 p.m. on CAN TV21
30 min


Five Decades of Chicago's Puerto Rican Music Scene


Cultural activist Carlos Flores shares his personal recollections the people and places that brought Puerto Rican music to Chicago.

Sunday, September 23 at 9 a.m. on CAN TV21
2 hr


National Cancer Rights Conference: Health Insurance


Experts provide advice for dealing with insurance companies, including ensuring timely payment, asking for a second opinion, and finding coverage for children and pre-existing conditions.

Sunday, September 23 at 11 a.m. on CAN TV21
2 hr


National Cancer Rights Conference: Health Care Reform


This seminar explains changes enacted by the Affordable Care Act and other recent health care legislation, including new benefits, protections for pre-existing conditions, and limits to lifetime coverage caps.

Sunday, September 23 at 1 p.m. on CAN TV21
1 hr 30 min


200th Anniversary of the Fort Dearborn Battle


Native American, military and other local groups come together to commemorate the 1812 Battle of Fort Dearborn in this event focused on reconciliation and memorial.

Sunday, September 23 at 2:30 p.m. on CAN TV21
1 hr


"Clean Cars, Dirty Work: Worker Rights Violations in Chicago Car Washes"


Arise Chicago releases the first comprehensive study of the Chicago car wash industry. The study authored by the University of Illinois Labor Education Program reveals wages below the legal minimum, 11-plus hour shifts with no overtime, and nonexistent health and safety precautions.

Watch Online

Sunday, September 23 at 5 p.m. on CAN TV19
1 hr

Posted by Natasha Julius at 9:01 AM | Permalink

September 21, 2012

The [Friday] Papers

I'm mentally limping to the end of the week here and I've got a lot of other things to attend to, so I'm going to put off a Papers column and some other posts until later this afternoon or even Monday. In the meantime, we do have some new material on the site today.

* We Will Lose 100 Games.

Our new Cubs song from Tom Latourette and Rick Kaempfer. It's funny.

* The Week in Chicago Rock

It rocked pretty hard.

* Chicagoetry: Whey Lion in a Glade.

Trolls, tigers and texts from our very own J.J. Tindall.

* The College Football Report: Combat Wear, Hokie Tracks And Big Flats By The Six-Pack.

Signature wins and potato bowls from our very own Mike Luce.


The Beachwood Tip Line: Fife and drum.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 10:37 AM | Permalink

The College Football Report: Combat Wear, Hokie Tracks And Big Flats By The Six-Pack

Lawyers representing the child abuse victims in the Jerry Sandusky case told the AP last week that "there is a window of opportunity, which is closing" for the school to engage in a settlement agreement. The longer PSU delays, the more likely it seems the case will end in court. If so, "the sky's the limit on what the recovery could be" according to lawyer Ben Andreozzi, who has five clients involved in the case including one who testified in the Sandusky trial.

In a town hall forum on Wednesday of this week, President Rodney Erickson announced that acting athletic director David Joyner would remain in his post until Erickson steps down in June 2013 or 2014.

Joyner attended Penn State in the early 1970s, where he earned All-American honors in football under head coach Joe Paterno. Joyner served on the Penn State board of trustees from 2000 until his appointment as interim athletic director in November 2011 after former AD Tim Curley was placed on administrative leave at the outset of the Sandusky accusations.

All of which begs the question, if university officials hope to dismantle the cult of personality that grew around Paterno, why appoint an insider as athletic director?

Louis Freeh, during the release of his report on the Sandusky case, stated that the "most saddening and sobering finding is the total disregard for the safety and welfare of Sandusky's child victims by the most senior leaders at Penn State." So why not find new leaders from the outside?

As the university slowly deliberates its next steps, the Nittany Lions continue to struggle on the field. In Week Two, Penn State lost to Virginia 16-17, dropping to 0-2 to begin the season.

New placekicker Sam Ficken missed four field goals including an attempt from 42 yards as time expired. Ficken picked up the kicking duties for 2012 after Anthony Fera, the starting kicker for Penn State last season, transferred to Texas in the wake of the Sandusky trial.

In addition to handling field goals and kickoffs in 2011, Fera was also the starting punter, a rarity in college football. Fera missed three field goals in total last year and became the first Penn State player to be named Big Ten Special Teams Player of the Week for three consecutive weeks. Plus, he's got a nice haircut.

Last Saturday, Penn State finally broke through in what the media characterized as a cathartic first win under new head coach Bill O'Brien. Then again, the victory came over Navy, which came into the game as a 6.5 point underdog. O'Brien should get more relief on Saturday against the Temple Owls - Penn State is a 7.5 favorite.

Western Kentucky is T-O-P-S . . . Tops! Tops! Tops!
In case you missed it, the College Football Report Key Release for this season was Any Team Playing the University of Kentucky. To our mild surprise, the Western Kentucky Hilltoppers beat UK in Lexington on a ballsy two-point conversion to win in overtime.


Not only did WKU notch a win over a team from a major conference for the first time since joining Division IA in '08, the program took home a tidy $500,000 check as a supposed sure-fire W for the Wildcats. We imagine Kentucky head coach Joker Philips, who has a middling 12-16 mark since taking the helm in 2010, updated his profile on Sunday.

Waiting in the Wings
Why hasn't anyone offered Ohio's Frank Solich a big-time job?

Solich ran a successful program at Nebraska, notching a 58-19 record from 1998 to 2003. After Nebraska inexplicably fired him in favor of Bill Callahan (2004-2007, 27-22), Solich took a few years off from football. He took up the challenge of coaching Ohio University in 2005 and had the Bobcats in a bowl the following year, the first for the program since 1968.

Earlier this season, Solich raised his profile even higher when Ohio won at Penn State on September 1 in what the New York Times called a "signature win."

We have been tracking Solich for awhile now and as much as we would like to see him back at a major program, we would love to see a brand-name school come calling and for Solich to politely decline.

Tennessee Two-Step
The Volunteers Want to Convert Third Downs, Non-Believers.

All Your Bowls Belong to Us
Entering Week Four, the Big Ten has a total of four teams ranked in the AP Top 25 and one (Ohio State) isn't bowl-eligible.

At the beginning of the season, the media projected Michigan (#8, now #18) and Wisconsin (#12, now "Other Receiving Votes") as the top teams in the conference, and neither looks like a national powerhouse.

Yet some experts predict the conference may send as many as nine teams to the postseason.

Then again, with the proliferation of bowl games (who else is pumped for the Famous Idaho Potato Bowl?) and the number of tie-ins for BCS conferences, maybe that isn't so crazy.

Iowa's Throw-Back Uniform Actually Looks Pretty Good
The University of Iowa designed a new uniform for the Hawkeyes game against Purdue on Veterans Day in November.

Much to our surprise, Iowa's special get-up (which was spotted in the wild at a sporting goods store) actually looks pretty cool.

College programs across the country continue to roll out these one-time uniforms, sometimes with the help of major corporate sponsors such as Nike and its "Pro Combat" line.

Some, like Iowa's, are pretty sweet. Others, such as Maryland's, Nebraska's and Notre Dame's not so much.

The Free Range Chicken's New Lid Is Hot to Trot
This season, the College Football Report Free Range Chicken will be sporting a Virginia Tech "Hokie Tracks" helmet to protect against brain injuries, sun exposure and radio waves from Mars.

The special one-time helmet, worn last Saturday during the team's "White Effect" game in Blacksburg drew less than positive reviews. Hokies starting quarterback Logan Thomas on the team's headwear: "Our whiteout helmets are so ugly." Not exactly a ringing endorsement. But the magnets look fantastic, and would look great next to a "Calvin pissing on something" decal.

The Chicken's Picks
The Substitute Free Range Chicken filled in last week, going 2-3 as a serviceable stand-in. This weekend, the CFRFRC likes the following games:

* #10 Clemson at #4 Florida State: Both teams are undefeated and the Seminoles have outscored opponents 176-3 while the Tigers allowed 27 to Ball State. We like the 'Noles on Saturday night in a prime time (7 p.m.) game, giving 14.5 points.

* Maryland at #8 West Virginia: The Mountaineers haven't beaten anyone yet. The Chicken is taking the 'Terps and the points, +25.5 on Saturday at 11 a.m.

The Sports Seal Weighs In
The Seal spent the offseason packing on the pounds. As it turns out, krill are very high in calories. The Sports Seal had to give up Ol' Grand-dad this season in the wake of Paterno's passing and, combined with austerity measures,has switched to taking down Walgreens Big Flats by the six-pack. The Seal's pick: don't over-think it, take the Florida Gators (giving 24) over the Kentucky Wildcats. And maybe a few Tums.


Mike Luce is our man on campus. He welcomes your comments.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 9:47 AM | Permalink

We Will Lose 100 Games

We give so much, give our time and our money
We buy garages from Danley, and just for you.

100 Games
We drink Old Style, and we pay you $6.50 Though between you and me, that's not good brew

And the price tag, to get hit with some concrete
that will crumble on our seat, is $52

And now we're angry, cause we're making history
Only seen in '66 and '62

And we might lose 100 games
And we could lose a few games more
It's been just one bad century
But then again,who's keeping score?

Missed the wedding, in '69 and '84
And needed just five outs more, 2003

Been a bridesmaid, in '32 and '35
In '38 and '45, close as can be

This year we're betting, that a record we'll be setting
As the losses mount, your failure's all we see

Eamus Catuli, all those numbers they ain't fooling
A brand new standard of the Cub's futility
Missed the wedding, in '69 and '84
And needed just five outs more, 2003

Been a bridesmaid, in '32 and '35
In '38 and '45, close as can be

This year we're betting, that a record we'll be setting
As the losses mount, your failure's all we see

Eamus Catuli, all those numbers they ain't fooling
A brand new standard of the Cub's futility

And we might lose 100 games
And we could lose a few games more
It's been more than a century
And our butt cheeks are getting sore

Theo Epstein! Theo Epstein!
In your first year we've given you a pass
Theo Epstein! Theo Epstein!
Another year like this you're on your ass

We've had called shots, watched a ball through Leon's legs
We've got disregard for Greg, we traded Lou

We hate Garvey, and Bartman reaching in the park
And please no more Will Clark, or Stephen Drew

Another next year, that's the phrase we always hear
That's why we drown ourselves in beer, while dressed in blue

No celebration, for the suffering Cubbie Nation
Falling short is what these Cubs will always do

But your fans just keep on coming back . . . for you,

Cause we will lose 100 games
And then we'll dump a few games more
It's been a whole damn century
And our butt cheeks are getting sore

Adam Greenberg! Adam Greenberg!
In '05 that baseball hit your head
Adam Greenberg! Adam Greenberg!
Take Soriano's batting place instead

Dale Svum! Dale Sveeum!
I guess this team won't bring our Series ring.
Dale CVeum,!Dale Cvum!
This ain't the team to show us how to win

Cause we will lose 100 games
And then we'll blow a few games more
It's been a whole damn century
And this BS just makes us sore


Adapted from We Can't Wait 100 Years


See also: 100 Seasons in the Sun


Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 9:03 AM | Permalink

The Week in Chicago Rock

You shoulda been there.

1. Trash Talk at Subterranean on Sunday night.


2. Lee Bains III & The Glory Fires at Schubas on Tuesday night.


3. Hatebreed at the House of Blues on Wednesday night.


4. The Wombats at Park West on Wednesday night.


5. Lumineers at the Riv on Thursday night.


6. Decrepit Birth at Reggie's on Monday night.


7. The Devin Townsend Project at Bottom Lounge on Monday night.


8. Obituary at Reggie's on Monday night.


9. David Byrne and St. Vincent at the Chicago Theatre on Tuesday night.


10. Buckethead at the Vic on Sunday night.


11. Katatonia at the Bottom Lounge on Monday night.


12. Helvetia at the Empty Bottle on Monday night.


13. Bob Log III at the Double Door on Wednesday night.


Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 7:03 AM | Permalink

Chicagoetry: Whey Lion in a Glade

Whey Lion in a Glade

I keep seeing this thing.
A lion in apparent repose
in the gold dusk

leering with rage.

A lion surveying a bay
from a dune,

vast armadas of white clouds
glide above

along the inverted glittering gulf.
Lion, color of whey, in the bluff
commands the skyline
across the bay:

silent jazz.
Labyrinths, Ziggurats,
Minarets and Mosques.

The shadowplay of antique gods.

Trolls, tigers and texts,
tanks, tankers and jets

amidst the minarets.
City: a singular expression of consciousness.

Leering lion squints into the
windswept sunset, weary.
Keeps seeing this thing.

Trying to endure
the whirlwind nightmare.

Finally, hopefully in repose,
he sees another white fuckwad
with a camera

and a gun, probably, too,

squirming openly
in the nearby underbrush.

Like the reliquary of a few dead ideas,
fucking bleeding-heart auteur

with a sound crew,

an entourage of secrets
and spies and
a bodyguard of fevers and flies.

I keep seeing this thing.

Tears, tigers and texts beneath the minarets,

a whey lion places his bets.


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 12:31 AM | Permalink

September 20, 2012

The [Thursday] Papers

"An estimated 1.9 million people in [Illinois] were living below the federal poverty rate last year, almost 150,000 more than in 2010, according to the new American Community Survey," the Tribune reports.

"Chicago saw another 15,000 enter poverty last year, bringing the city's total to 261,400, the ACS survey showed."

Let those numbers sink in.


"Last year the median household income in Chicago was $43,628 - $4,000 less than in 2009 and part of a steady decline over the past three years, the census figures show."


"The number of workers in 2011 who earned $25,000 to $35,000 grew by nearly 9,300 compared with 2010, according to survey estimates. Meanwhile, the number of people with annual salaries of $75,000 to $100,000 dropped by almost 4,000 during the same period."

Mayor Rahmney
City Hall floats trial balloons on raising cigarette taxes. Better to take from the poor than invest in their health.


We won't tell you how we make decisions but we'll leak what we're talking about when it suits our purposes! And you'll play along!


Remember Rahm's fake luxury tax proposal? He sketched it out on a napkin one day during the mayoral campaign to blunt the impact of Gery Chico winning the Fraternal Order of Police endorsement.

He did repeal the head tax, though. And raised property taxes, hiked your water bill and successfully lobbied for tax breaks to traders.


This is where Chicago politics is so much more efficient than national politics; we combine Republicans and Democrats into one party instead of pretending they are two.

Teachers Strike Notebook
I still have a lot of leftover and follow-up material but I'm taking the day off from producing a strike notebook.

If you need to get your fix, though, see Curtis Black's Strike Notes.

Mrs. Christ
Vatican just relieved it didn't say "My husband . . . "


Does it work better to say "My partner . . . "?

Honing for the late show.


There is no more fourth wall. We're way past that.

Junior's Story
More evasion and obfuscation.

Read of the Day
Everything you need to know about Toronto mayor Rob Ford's visit this week.

Pilot Program
American Airlines Pilots Plan Picket.

Don't want to be evaluated on on-time performance because they can't control the weather.

Exporting The Chicago Way
"The state Ethics Commission Wednesday cleared Springfield's casino consultant of a possible conflict of interest," the Republican in Massachusetts reports.

"The chairman of the Massachusetts Gaming Commission, which regulates gaming, has questioned the city's judgment in hiring the Chicago law firm of Shefsky & Froelich. The chairman has said he is concerned that the firm is a registered lobbyist in Illinois for Penn National Gaming and MGM Resorts, two of the companies seeking a casino license in the city, raising doubts about the firm's objectivity in advising Springfield.

"The law firm released the ethics opinion after receiving it Wednesday. The firm said the Ethics Commission has concluded that its representation of Springfield is not a conflict under state law."

Yeah, that's more of a Shelbyville idea.

Walter's Weird Perspective
Now a book!

The Blue & Orange Kool-Aid Report
Head for the Mountains.

The Beer Thinker
Mothership Goose.


The Beachwood Tip Line: Loosey goosey.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 8:28 AM | Permalink

Walter's Weird Perspective Now A Book!

Oh Lord!

We've had our fun with ol' Walter around here. To wit:

* The Weirdness of Walter Jacobson

* Walter's Weird Whitney Wailing

But if his book really does reveal "meddling by corporate and network executives" as promised in the press release below, it will be worth a read.

Unfortunately, the publishers warn that "it is ultimately Jacobson's story, a memoir of a long and distinguished (and sometimes highly controversial) career."


From Southern Illinois University Press:

Walter Jacobson's highly readable book Walter's Perspective: A Memoir of Fifty Years in Chicago TV News provides a unique glimpse into the rough-and-tumble Chicago news business as seen through the eyes of one of its legendary players.

From his first news job working as a legman for Daily News columnist Jack Mabley in the 1950s to his later role as a news anchor and political commentator at CBS-owned WBBM, Jacobson battled along the front lines of an industry undergoing dramatic changes.

While it is ultimately Jacobson's story, a memoir of a long and distinguished (and sometimes highly controversial) career, it is also an insider's account of the inner workings of Chicago television news, including the ratings games, the process of defining news and choosing stories, the media's power and its failures, and the meddling by corporate and network executives.

Blurb from Robert Feder:

Walter Jacobson is as much a Chicago landmark as Wrigley Field or City Hall. With the same candor and courage he brought to his must-see nightly commentaries, he traces his own unlikely rise from enfante terrible to wise elder statesman of the business. Even for those of us who thought we knew him, Walter's Perspective is a revealing, provocative memoir of a local news icon feared by politicians, respected by colleagues and beloved by viewers.

The foreward, not included in press materials, is by Bill Kurtis.


* City Honors Bill Kurtis For His Service To Official Sources

* "Walter and Bill have no business being in a newsroom anymore"

We can't wait!


Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 2:41 AM | Permalink

The Blue & Orange Kool-Aid Report: Head For The Mountains

Look, there's no shame in losing to the Packers in Green Bay. They're a quality team and figure to be a big piece of the NFC landscape going forward.

However, there might be shame in dropping passes in the end zone . . . or shame in letting game-saving interceptions ricochet off of your palms . . . or shame in quickly wiping your hands on Clay Matthews just before he runs past you on his way to your quarterback . . .

To sum up Week Two, the Bears hands will go to the box, get two minutes to themselves, and they will feel shame.

So It's A Low Ankle Sprain?
Great news Bears fans!

Dr. Lovard Smithington of the Northwestern Tibia And Joint Clinic has informed us that Matt Forte's potentially season-boning injury is only a season-stroking injury.

Ankles: the appendix of the leg.

Fortunately, when we're "due" for a running back, we can head for the mountains of Busch**.

Toatals McGoatals
Let's set the Over/Under on Danny Amendola catches at 24.5; video clips of Bill Cowher tackling/injuring former Bear/current Ram Jeff Fisher at 1.5; and the number of Fox mid-play "Good Jay/Bad Jay" statistical splits where the picture of Cutler in the "Good Jay" graphic shows him poised to heroically hurl a frozen rope 70 yards downfield and the "Bad Jay" graphic is a picture of Cutler looking like he is simultaneously being stepped on and also taking a bite of a meatball sub (INHALE!) . . . at 4.5.

Totals McTopicals
Forget this Karen Lewis character, the CTU should have hired agent Tom Condon as their union chief.

$50,000,000* guaranteed, huh?

Sounds about right.

Kool-Aid (2 Out Of 5 Glasses Of Cold Shower Water)
The 2012 Bears might not beat a 10, but they can definitely beat five 2's***.

Lookie here, it's one of them 2's.

Bears fans need this win to be convincing. Not like, 30-14 convincing, but like 56-10.

Akin to hiring a prostitute to bind, gag and cane because the visage of former humanity that haunts the empty hallways of your inner being has become so emotionally vacant that the small joys which typically evoke pleasant stimulus and respite from the burdens of daily life within normal people no longer apply to your hollow shell.

Or maybe the Bears just need some momentum to appease the local fan base.

The Bears will win, but this victory will be straight missionary.

Bears 20
Rams 13


*That's Billion with an "M"
**Apropos of nothing, Mountain Dew makes women loose and turkeys dead
*** Google "George Carlin" kids


Carl Mohrbacher is our man on Kool-Aid duty. He welcomes your comments.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 12:37 AM | Permalink

The Beer Thinker: Mothership Goose

A vocal contingent of craft beer drinkers has given Goose Island a hard time about selling out to Anheuser-Busch. Yet, that doesn't stop them from swarming bars and liquor stores when Goose Island Bourbon County Brand Stout arrives, as it did this week in the Chicago area. It also doesn't stop them from buying up every last ticket to Goose events like this month's Goose Island Belgian Fest 2012.

The BCBS release and Belgian Fest offer two points of proof that Goose Island should not be dismissed in craft beer circles.

True, Goose is not by the definition of industry regulators and business analysts a craft brewer, but it hasn't been since well before the A/B acquisition.

Part of the attitude directed at Goose Island stems from paranoia. Many craft beer folks want to see their universe only as small local companies doing adventurous things with their own limited resources and independent of corporate machines and mass-market dynamics. They don't think Goose qualifies on those grounds.

But with its Bourbon County line of beers (which also includes a coffee stout, a rye stout and, reportedly, though not listed on the Goose website, a cherry stout), and its Fulton and Wood series of limited releases (my favorite of which is fig-flavored Black Mission), Goose seems to be doing what the rest of the local craft brewers are doing - innovative variations on styles it likes to brew, with very limited appeal to adventurous drinkers, and in limited volumes that won't do much for its bottom line.

At close to 15% alcohol, BCBS certainly isn't a mainstream beer, and it's practically a love note from Goose to craft beer nerds who like to cellar-age bottles for later consumption and/or sale on eBay.

I bought a four-pack of BCBS this week (roughly $22, a price that once alarmed, until other craft brewers started pursuing their own elevated pricing). I had to travel a bit further than my favored craft locals after being told by a few stores that they either didn't have it, or had already ran out (which may have been code for "saving it for ourselves.")

Goose routinely gets credit for popularizing the concept of barrel-aging beers, and it really seems to know what it's doing with BCBS. It's definitely pungent with burnt-wood bourbon odor and looks like black molasses in the glass. It's got a sweetness about it, too, but tastes more strongly of bourbon and very dark chocolate. Amazingly, it is easier to drink than the alcohol level suggesst, without any of the bourbon burn, though I'd advise sipping it from a juice glass and making a single bottle last a few hours.

I've been told this year's BCBS isn't as good as last year's. I wouldn't know, but I would put this one among my favorite barrel-aged beers from this year, a list that includes Greenbush Brewing's Mr. Hyde and Revolution Brewing's Black Power.

BCBS isn't the limit of Goose's creativity. The Belgian Fest was hosted by Goose Island's Clybourn location on September 9th, and while it wasn't a Goose-only event - featuring beers from at least a dozen breweries - the host pretty much stole the show by having about 10 beers ready to taste, at least four of them brews you won't find anywhere else. Goose already has a long line of vintage Belgian ales (Sofie, Matilda, etc.), but it continues to experiment and find new angle on a style, something A/B probably couldn't care less about.

Here are my favorites from the Belgian Fest:

* Goose Island Barrel-Aged Amaro Amo: Whiskey barrel flavor and cherries combined for something that was almost like fruit roasted on an open fire. Really interesting collaboration brew with the folks at Balena, and unlike anything else I had that day, or this year.

* Solemn Oath Whisper Kisses: It was the first beer I tasted at Belgian Fest and probably my favorite overall, a very fizzy and tart Saison.

* Destihl Brew Works St. Dekkera: Another fizzy one, this one more of a strawberry sour ale, with a deep fruity and complex flavor.

* Flossmoor Station Golden Strong: I'm not even sure what to say about this, except that it was the most balanced beer I had all day, not too much of the sweetness, tartness or earthiness that characterized some of the other Belgian riffs. It was just plain good.

The Beer Wire
* The Full Pint reviews Stone Enjoy By (9-21-2012) IPA. If you have one in your fridge, you have less than a day to drink it - if you want to play by the rules. I had one myself just after Labor Day, and was surprised how distinctively fresh and hoppy it was. Maybe the name is just effectively suggestive, but I felt like it had been bottled about a minute earlier.

* The Huffington Post looks at a new bill proposed by an Illinois state representative that would loosen restrictions on homebrewers and their ability to share their beers with more than family and friends.

* The Tribune has more on the BCBS release.


Previously in The Beer Thinker:
* Tapping Lincoln Square
* Size Matters
* Lagunitas Changes Everything
* Make Beer, Not War
* Collaboration Brewing
* Summer Brew


Dan O'Shea is The Beer Thinker. He welcomes your comments.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 12:23 AM | Permalink

September 19, 2012

The [Wednesday] Papers

"Gerald Reed was being questioned about a double murder in 1990 when a Chicago police detective working under then-Cmdr. Jon Burge allegedly knocked the chair out from under him, then kicked and stomped on his legs and torso while he was still handcuffed to the wall," Jason Meisner reports for the Tribune.

"Reed eventually signed a confession, was convicted at trial and was sentenced to life in prison.

"His claims of torture went nowhere despite jail X-rays taken shortly after the alleged beating that showed a steel rod in his leg from an old injury had been broken and two orthopedic screws knocked loose, according to court records.

"Now, 22 years later, Reed's allegations are getting a fresh look. His case was one of five involving the disgraced Burge that were assigned to judges Tuesday at the Leighton Criminal Court Building after lengthy investigations by the Illinois Torture Relief and Inquiry Commission.

"But even as those cases move forward, dozens of other torture claims filed with the commission since its inception in 2009 have been put on hold because the financially struggling state pulled the body's already meager funding earlier this year."

Somebody once said budgets are moral documents. Indeed.

Teachers Notebook 8
Seats at the Table.

Junior's Move
I think "home of choice" is actually a real estate term meaning the sale is contingent on the sellers finding another home - as opposed to already having something lined up.


Regardless, voters deserve to know more.

Obama's Agenda
He sets the private fundraiser first, then schedules a public event that gets the headline.

Chicken Joe
"A Chicago alderman who made national headlines during the summer for opposing a Chick-fil-A in his increasingly trendy Northwest Side ward has reversed course, saying he will let the fast-food chain open a store in Logan Square," the Tribune reports.

"Ald. Proco 'Joe' Moreno, 1st, said the restaurant has agreed to include a statement of respect for all sexual orientations in an internal document and promised that its not-for-profit arm would not contribute money to groups that oppose gay marriage."

Well, you have to give him credit, his Machiney arm-twisting worked.

"Though Moreno said he scored a 'big win,' the company made nearly identical pledges in a July 19 Facebook post that went up even before Moreno took issue with Chick-fil-A President Dan Cathy's opposition to gay marriage."


Nordic Thunder vs. Stone Temple Pilots
In Local Music Notebook.

Where's Welker?
In Fantasy Fix.

Leinie's Intros Big Eddy Baltic Porter
Interwoven with notes of toffee, cocoa, caramel, toasted bread and sherry fruit flavors.


The Beachwood Tip Line: Call us maybe.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 12:32 PM | Permalink

Teachers Strike Notebook 8

Now was that really so hard?

Well, yes.

But the part about the CTU's delegates asking for two days to go back to their members for input?

That part was beautiful.

After all, the delegate vote on Sunday against suspending the strike was reportedly 350-320.

After going back to teachers and studying the last contract offer, the delegates voted to suspend the strike - essentially accepting the deal - by a 98% margin.

Talk about a legitimizing process we rarely see in Illinois politics.

The teachers are united - for now - and go back to their schools with what must be a certain amount of enthusiasm, even if that's tempered by persistence of many of the problems raised in the discussion and the knowledge that we might be right back here in three years.

I would say a job well done by the union.

And let's note that CTU president Karen Lewis spoke in favor of the contract on Sunday - but did not dictate to the delegates with, say, threats and power plays the way a certain mayor would have. There was, to my knowledge, no back-room dealing.

That doesn't mean Lewis and the union are without flaws; they are decidedly not. But they made this process work despite being put in a deep hole starting with the notorious Senate Bill 7 and continuing through more than a year of a deeply cynical campaign designed to shift blame for failing schools on 20 years of failed "reform" efforts (see also the item The Emperor Was Named Daley) and the obvious socioeconomic root causes to . . . teachers. (See also the item Not Very Noble.)

Rahm's response the union's desire to actually let its membership read the contract and decided for themselves? A lawsuit.

If either side taught students a good lesson in this saga, it was undoubtedly the CTU. Maybe that's because it's members are teachers.

The Tribune reports that CPS parent Liz Shirley "was understanding at first but became frustrated when the CTU's House of Delegates didn't vote to send children back to school Monday."

And two paragaphs later: "Shirley said she didn't understand why the CTU couldn't meet again Monday, when there normally would have been school."

The reporter might have wanted to simply inform Shirley that Monday was Rosh Hashanah. Even the (Jewish) mayor didn't show up for work that day.


CPS grandparent Eardia Bassett told the Tribune that "she understood why the teachers went on strike, but thinks the issues should have been resolved during the summer."

Perhaps Bassett is unaware of the heated negotiations that continued through the summer, particularly the part where the mayor said everything would come down to an independent arbitrator's report - until it came out against him.

Then again, I'm not sure if most members of the media really understand what a long, strange trip this has been because I got awful tired of TV reporters and pundits asking "Why strike now?"

Um, because school is now in session? It's like asking factory workers why they waited for their shifts to start to go out on strike.


"These kids are already far behind," Bassett tells the Trib.

No, they're not. They're seven days behind (six if they're Jewish!). Those days are easily made up.

I'm not getting on Bassett's case, I'm getting on the Trib's case. Tighten it up.


This kind of shorthand isn't helpful either. Maybe that's why folks like Shirley and Bassett don't seem to know what they're talking about.

"The mayor also managed to secure a deal that gives teachers smaller raises than they had received under their previous five-year contract, maintains principals' right to determine which teachers will be hired and institutes, for the first time, a teacher evaluation system set out by state law that takes into account student performance."

The evaluation system is state law enacted as part of a federal directive by the Obama administration; it wasn't won by the mayor in negotiations. The union would have been happy to abide by that law - meaning that standardized test scores (not the euphemistic "student performance") would account for 25% of a teacher's evaluation. Rahm wanted 40%.

Also, why bother with tailored talking points whose premise is questionable? Such as this from Rahm:

"In this contract, we gave our children a seat at the table. In past negotiations, taxpayers paid more, but our kids got less. This time, our taxpayers are paying less, and our kids are getting more."

I'm pretty sure all of Chicago's previous mayors also said they gave children a seat at the table in teacher contract negotiations. Or would have, if they were asked.

And if Rahm is going to keep criticizing past negotiations, let's ask him if we should then blame Richard M. Daley.

Finally, are taxpayers paying less? Teachers are getting raises, after all.


The Sun-Times also couldn't resist taking as fact a cleverly turned but meaningless phrase:

"Across town at one of the city's premier high schools, Mayor Rahm Emanuel hailed the contract, with its teacher evaluations and his signature longer school day, for giving Chicago's children a seat at the table."

I'd be more interested in hearing why Rahm explain the politics behind holding his media event at Walter Payton College Prep instead of a school without air conditioning that won't get its textbooks in for another five weeks.

But the rest of the Sun-Times' account was quite strong at capturing the sentiments of teachers and, in general, the provisions of the contract.

John Cusick, a fifth-grade teacher at Ray School, said despite the strike's end, "We're not done."

He described the strike as something he would use with his students as a "teachable moment about standing up for yourself to bullies."

Many teachers said their experience with the strike had changed the way they felt about their jobs.

"I realized how much support we have from the parents and the community," said Tom Brady, a writing teacher at Henry Clay Elementary.

"The parents and the [people in the] city were with us, three-to-one against [Mayor] Rahm Emanuel," said Rolando Vazquez, a delegate from Brighton Park Elementary School. "And we made a great show of strength."


Teachers who Lewis said are "frightened'' by an expected wave of school closings and charter school expansions were relieved to see provisions that allow highly-rated tenured teachers to follow their students from a closed school to a new one, if vacancies exist in their subject in the new building.

Plus, union officials said, CPS committed to letting highly rated laid-off tenured teachers comprise half of all new hires, and to opening new full-time substitute teacher positions for them if necessary to make that quota.

On the teacher evaluation front, said CTU attorney Robert Bloch, the union was able to prevent any tenured teacher from being threatened with dismissal based solely on a drop in gains of her students from one year to the next. Even the best teachers turn out different gains in different years with kids, Bloch said.

But over and over during Wednesday's excruciating blow-by-blow of the contract's 49 articles and eight appendixes, teachers were delighted at new revelations about the contract. Some of them had no costs attached. CTU Financial Secretary Kristine Mayle said one of the biggest rounds of applause went to the clause that let teachers write their own lesson plans, rather than be forced to use a strict format.

"There were moments throughout the whole thing where people just got up and cheered,'' said Gage Park's Martinek. "They were like, 'Oh my God. I can't believe we got that . . . Wow.' Those little things that really impact our work day - that's huge.''

Parallel Universe
Bizarro strike also settled.

For some reason, John Kass takes Juan Rangel seriously instead of the typical Chicago hack he's been exposed of being.


* Teachers Strike Notebook 1: Textbooks and A/C.
* Teachers Strike Notebook 2: Obama vs. Sveum.
* Teachers Strike Notebook 3: Nickelback and Numerology.
* Teachers Strike Notebook 4: Astroturf and Optics.
* Teachers Strike Notebook 5: Rahm Hates Research.
* Teachers Strike Notebook 6: Media Frames and Chicken Joe.
* Teachers Strike Notebook 7: World-Class Teachers and Second-Rate Pols.


Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 10:33 AM | Permalink

Fantasy Fix: Where's Welker?

After just two weeks, I've decided it's already time to hate the NFL, and how coaches, game plans and business distractions screw up otherwise brilliant fantasy football strategy.

Take, for example, the sudden fall of Patriots receiver Wes Welker, one of the top-ranked WRs in the preseason (and ranked higher by me than most) because he led the NFL in catches last year even in an offense that distributed a high percentage of its passes to its tight ends. Welker has long been a favored third-down target of one of the best QBs in the game.

However, through two games this season, he's still lacking a score, and there are indications that the Pats just aren't using him as often as they once did.

Much of this has been chalked up to coaching decisions and game plans that have sent Welker to the bench for many snaps in favor of other receivers, though the other circumstance is that the Pats reportedly don't want to give Welker a new contract and are phasing him out of the offense.

The results thus far have not been pretty: Only 14 yards receiving on three catches in Week 1, and 95 yards receiving but only five catches in Week 2.

The Week 2 yardage rescued anyone who started Welker, but other indicators remain negative.

An injury to Aaron Hernandez, one of New England's sharp TEs, suggests Welker could be busier in Week 3 and possibly beyond, but unless the Pats trade Welker soon, he will become a blown draft pick.

I would suggest holding onto Welker for now, but I wouldn't start him if you have a more consistent WR option, or unless the match-up seems golden.

Expert Wire
* Yahoo! Sports reports on Falcons running back Michael Turner, who had a DUI this week, adding concern to his dismal performance so far this season.

* has hot waiver wire pick-ups for panicking owners.

* Bleacher Report ranks TEs for Week 3, with match-ups and the Hernandez injury in mind.

* CBS Sports' Trade Value Chart has a deal for you: RG3 for Slim Shady.


Dan O'Shea is our man in fantasyland. He welcomes your comments.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 9:13 AM | Permalink

Local Music Notebook: Nordic Thunder vs. Stone Temple Pilots

A loose collection of whatnot.

1. Chicagoan Justin "Nordic Thunder" Howard is your 2012 Air Guitar World Champion. Here he is rocking it out in Oulu, Finland, last month.


2. 1936 Larson Brothers Guitar in Chicago.

"This is one of the most sought after Larson guitar models. The sound of these sixteen-inch Larson jumbos is unequaled and this one is no exception."


3. Show watch: Miss Shevaughn and Yuma Wray at Quenchers on Friday, October 12. From the press materials:

Miss Shevaughn & Yuma Wray spent all of last year on the road, and without fail at every show, someone would ask, "So, where are you from?," which would always lead to a bit of stammering, "Well, Miss Shevaughn was born in Arkansas and grew up in Louisiana, Yuma grew up internationally. We met in D.C. then again in Chicago . . . " To further complicate matters, Miss Shevaughn & Yuma Wray had to leave behind their lives and apartment in Chicago in order to be able to afford to be on the road full-time. That left the duo living in their Honda Element for most of 2011.

4. Record drop: Rosie Flores, Working Girl's Guitar (Bloodshot), October 16. From the press materials:

Working Girl's Guitar marks the first time in Flores' career that she has handled ALL solo production and guitar performance duties, and as a result her virtuosic abilities soar throughout each tune in their leanest, most pure form to date. Not since her days rising out of the Los Angeles New Traditionalist scene has the music been this raw and vital.

5. Critic watch: I don't know anyone who doesn't still think Stone Temple Pilots were/are a bunch of inauthentic posers.

Trying to be something isn't the same as actually being it.

6. Follow: @LupeFiasco and @RHYMEFEST.

7. "Rock concerts are providing fertile research ground for a University of Derby electronics and sound lecturer," the Derby Telegraph reports.

For the past 10 years, Adam Hill, 28, has mixed study with working part-time for event and concert specialists Gand Concert Sound, based in his native Chicago.

Over that time, he has mixed and managed sound systems at concerts for stars including the Black Keys, the Stone Temple Pilots, Alice Cooper, the Allman Brothers Band and the Roots.

He said: "I was working over the summer at the Pitchfork Music Festival in Chicago, which mainly features indie rock acts.

"I used the time to do research on improving the performance of subwoofers, speakers used for low-pitch audio frequencies, which I plan to do a paper on in collaboration with the guys at Gand.

8. "REO Speedwagon will perform at the 6th Annual SCHOOL ROCKS! benefit concert on Thursday, October 25 at Chicago's House of Blues," Artist Direct reports. "All of the proceeds will provide scholarships and community support to inner-city students at San Miguel School Chicago."

Sadly, still no Richrath.

9. Hideout Block Party and A.V. Fest on Underground Bee.

Photos and fun.

10. Canada's Ottawa Citizen reports: Chicago-Based Punkers Rise Against Finding A Harder Edge.


Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 12:48 AM | Permalink

September 18, 2012

Leinie's Introduces Big Eddy Baltic Porter

The Jacob Leinenkugel Brewing Company is rolling out Big Eddy Baltic Porter, a hearty dark beer with a clean lager finish, perfect for any beer enthusiast. Big Eddy Baltic Porter is the third in a series of Big Eddy brews by Leinenkugel's in 2012.

Big Eddy Baltic Porter creates a warming blanket of malt flavor with seven select malts, including Munich, Crystal Rye, Roasted Barley, Special B, Chocolate malt and a blend of Pale malts. The beer is interwoven with notes of toffee, cocoa, caramel, toasted bread and sherry fruit flavors, creating a brew bold in character, yet remarkably balanced with an ABV of 8.5 percent.

Influenced by the melting pot of cultures and techniques from the Baltic region in the late-1700s, this Baltic Porter takes notes from the porters, stouts and Russian Imperial Stouts being shipped through the Baltic region from the United Kingdom and applies lager brewing techniques learned from Bavarian brewers.

"This brew is crafted in small batches to maintain the premium characteristics of a Baltic Porter," said Jake Leinenkugel, fifth-generation brewer and president of the Jacob Leinenkugel Brewing Company. "Baltic Porter is a perfect choice for the cooler weather ahead, and it pairs extremely well with grilled red meats, aromatic North African cuisine, rich stews, toffee and cocoa deserts."

Leinenkugel's Big Eddy Baltic Porter features red and copper hues that shine through the dark shade of this opulent beer.

As this Big Eddy warms it will open up to its full complexity and reveal its dark stone fruit notes of cherries, plums and raisins on top of licorice root, which adds a subtle sweetness to the aroma and adds a touch of spicy complexity within the layer of cocoa, molasses, toffee, plum and pumpernickel from the malts.

Inspired by the Big Eddy Spring, the lifeline of the Leinenkugel's brewery in Chippewa Falls, Wis. since 1867, the Big Eddy series offers big beer fans complex, yet balanced flavors.

Like its predecessors - Russian Imperial Stout, Wee Heavy Scotch Ale and the Imperial IPA - Big Eddy Baltic Porter ages and travels well.

Big Eddy Imperial Baltic Porter will be available in limited release beginning in September 2012 in Wisconsin, Minnesota, Illinois, Ohio, Michigan, Indiana, Kentucky, Iowa, North Dakota, South Dakota, Georgia, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Maryland, Washington D.C., Virginia, Kansas, Indiana, Kentucky, Texas and Arizona.

The beer will be available in four-pack bottles and on draft.


Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 4:22 PM | Permalink

The [Tuesday] Papers

Today's Teachers Strike Notebook is World-Class Teachers and Second-Rate Pols.

And now, the rest of the news . . .

1. A source tells the Tribune that the Cactus Bar & Grill was the target of alleged teen bomber Adel Daoud. The Cactus is adjacent to Cal's, so it's pretty much the same thing.

See also: Another Would-Be Terrorist Falls For Classic 'Fake Bomb' Gambit

2. "The number of inmates locked up in Illinois prisons is at an all-time high, according to an Associated Press analysis, that coincides with Gov. Pat Quinn's battle with state employees over closing correctional facilities.

"The Department of Corrections disputes the AP's findings and says the number is about 100 inmates lower. But the department's own numbers confirm that the prison population has grown to near-record highs despite its prediction of a decline in incarcerations.

"The AP's review of Corrections Department data show the population hit 49,154 over the weekend. That's 19 inmates more than the previous record, which the agency said last week was set Oct. 6."

3. Apparently there's a rule that every news organization on Earth has to do this story - just like they did in 2008.

4. "At the beginning of 1949, Whitaker and Baxter, the directors of the A.M.A.'s National Education Campaign, entered national politics, setting up headquarters in Chicago, with a staff of thirty-seven," Jill Lepore writes for the New Yorker.

Whitaker and Baxter are responsible for many of the ills and evils of modern politics.

5. Derrick Rose is super genuine and wants to encourage kids to stay in school because you never know when someone will change your grades, conveniently lose your records and arrange for someone else will take the college entrance exams you keep failing.

6. Tammy Duckworth Says She's Not A Rubber Stamp For Obama.

But not in the way you might think.

There's a lot of work to do and I think that we need to let the Bush tax cuts for people who make more than a million dollars expire, it's one of the places where I disagree with the president. He would set that number at $250,000. I think that everyone should have their shot at making their first million, but then after that let's let the Bush tax cuts expire on your second million dollars.

7. Chicago's Secret Millionaire.

As long as we're talking about rich folk and poor kids.

8. The Late Late Show at Wrigley.

Tweeting the misery.

9. The Weekend in Chicago Rock Pt. 2.

More Riot Fest, Wilco and Rush.


The Beachwood Tip Line: Worth the price.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 9:31 AM | Permalink

Teachers Strike Notebook 7

"The tentative contract calls for a 3 percent raise in its first year and 2 percent for two years after that, along with increases for experienced teachers," AP reports.

"While many teachers are upset it did not restore a 4 percent pay raise Emanuel rescinded earlier this year, the contract, if adopted, would continue to make Chicago teachers among the highest-paid in the country."

The media keeps reporting that as if it's a bad thing. Shouldn't our teachers be among the highest-paid in the country? Shouldn't we be proud of that? Isn't that what being a world-class city is all about?

Today's Lesson: Democracy
Ald. Patrick O'Connor tells the Sun-Times:

"When Jackie Vaughn said, 'This is a good deal,' the teachers trusted her judgment," he said, referring to the late CTU president. "It shouldn't be any different with Karen Lewis. It's a good deal. She said it was a good deal. What more do they need to hear?"

And that's why he's Rahm Emanuel's floor leader, a task he also performed for Richard M. Daley, whose handling of the schools the current mayor blames for the current crisis. O'Connor does what he's told and expects others to do what he tells them to do. He just can't understand anything different.

Media Mind
Eighteen parents is enough to get you a photo in the Tribune if the message is right.

Always About Him
From the New York Times:

Gary N. Chaison, professor of industrial relations at Clark University, described Mr. Emanuel's decision to take the matter to court now as "a declaration of war,' adding, "I don't think the mayor understands that the goal of negotiating is to get an agreement, not to win."


Mr. Emanuel has his enthusiastic backers in his push for more days and hours in school and for teacher evaluations that consider student test scores, but unions beyond those that represent teachers are irked at Mr. Emanuel's aggressive handling of the situation. The anger is personal, not aimed generically at some school board or City Hall but squarely at him. When he took his daughter to a Bruce Springsteen concert at Wrigley Field this month, a man approached them and started to speak to the girl. "Your father is," he began, finishing the sentence with an expletive.

In an interview, Mr. Emanuel was unapologetic for his tactics, unwilling to name anything particular he wished he had done differently, and defiant toward his critics.

Failing Leaders
"When you talk to teachers, what you find is a deep anger over cuts in education funding and the feeling that the children are not being served well by the system," CPS parent Melissa Lindberg writes for Catalyst.

They argue that every school needs a social worker and a school nurse, and text books on the first day of classes, not six weeks in. They argue that the emphasis on testing forces them to teach to the test and to teach students how to fill in little circles on a form - not to teach them critical thinking, or creativity, or love of learning. They argue that kids need art, because it unleashes creativity. They argue that kids need music and physical education, because these are lifelines for students who are otherwise drowning in the stress of their daily lives. They argue that no one should be expected to work 24% more per day and then take a pay cut. They argue that cutting health benefits means more sick days for teachers, more disruptions in the classroom. They note the major disrespect they feel from the mayor and his hand-picked Board of Education. They've been made to feel that they are at fault for everything that is wrong in the schools.

Meanwhile, Illinois is 50th in the nation in education funding. Let that sink in. And TIFs have been a major force in siphoning off money from education and into the hands of private developers, with little accountability for how those TIF dollars have been spent.

So perhaps the current situation isn't all the teachers' fault. Perhaps it is a major policy failure on the part of every single politician who has ever voted for a budget in the state, city, and county. Perhaps the appointed Board of Education is at fault for applying business models to education, with no basis in any research in education that has ever been done.

Perhaps the failure comes from the leaders, not the teachers.

Two Tiers
From Curtis Black in Newstips:

I ran into an old friend, Josh, who's spent years in classrooms, most recently teaching social studies, first in a selective enrollment high school, then in an inner-city neighborhood high school.

The contrast was striking, he said. The first school had plenty of everything - including basic things like books, enough textbooks for every student. At the second school, kids had to share textbooks or teachers had to prepare their own materials.

The first school's building was well-maintained and fully air-conditioned; the second school was run down, and only the principal's office was air-conditioned. (That's how it is in many schools listed as air-conditioned by CPS.)


Since social studies isn't a tested subject, he was told to work on their reading, an area in which he has no background.

That's just one example of why teachers have such animus against standardizing test scores and tying results to heavily to their evaluations.


Law School


See also:
* Teachers Strike Notebook 1: Textbooks and A/C.
* Teachers Strike Notebook 2: Obama vs. Sveum.
* Teachers Strike Notebook 3: Nickelback and Numerology.
* Teachers Strike Notebook 4: Astroturf and Optics.
* Teachers Strike Notebook 5: Rahm Hates Research.
* Teachers Strike Notebook 6: Media Frames and Chicken Joe.


Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 7:33 AM | Permalink

The Late Late Show At Wrigley

Here's how it unfolded.











Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 7:08 AM | Permalink

The Weekend in Chicago Rock Pt. 2

More from Riot Fest, the Hideout Block Party, Rush and other shows.

See also: Pt. 1.

1. Iggy Pop and the Stooges at Riot Fest on Sunday night.


2. Elvis Costello and the Imposters at Riot Fest on Sunday.


3. GWAR at Riot Fest on Saturday.


4. The Promise Ring at a Riot Fest aftershow at the Bottom Lounge on Saturday night.


5. Jesus and Mary Chain at Riot Fest on Sunday.


6. Wilco at the Hideout Block Party on Saturday night.


7. Rush at the big hockey barn on the West Side on Saturday night.


8. More Rush.


9. More Rush.


10. More Rush.


11. Seether at House of Blues on Saturday night.


Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 1:38 AM | Permalink

Chicago's Secret Millionaire

As long as we're talking about rich folk and poor kids, this aired over the summer and I never got a post up about it. Now is as good a time as any.


Kaplan found three organizations to give money to.

1. Kids Off The Block.

2. H.O.M.E.

3. Bin Donated.


Here's Kaplan on Windy City Live.


See also:
* Steve Kaplan: A Secret Millionaire's Journey
* Buffalo Grove's 'Secret Millionaire' Sees South Side Poverty For Himself


Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 12:32 AM | Permalink

September 17, 2012

The [Monday] Papers


It was Cal's?!

Maybe if you have a vendetta against bike messengers, but as a friend put it today, Cal's is about as far from American hegemony as you can get.


"Daoud's family on Saturday insisted he isn't violent and cast doubt on the allegations. And at least one worshipper at the mosque said he finds it laughable that Daoud posed a security threat.

"He was intellectually challenged and he seemed a lot younger than 18," said Junaid Ahmed, 36. "He was told to stop talking about that garbage."

"Ahmed said he saw Daoud daily at the mosque during Ramadan and found him "sweet" and easily-led, though Daoud never discussed terrorism in his presence. He repeatedly had to be told to be quiet while other worshippers were praying, Ahmed said.

Asked if he believed Daoud could have built a bomb without the FBI's help, Ahmed laughed. "He was retarded," Ahmed said. "I'm not a doctor, but I'd bet my life that he couldn't."

America must really be safe from internal threats if the only terrorists the FBI can find are confused and mentally challenged young 'uns who would never be able to act on their fantasies if the federal agents didn't supply them with the plans and the bombs.


"Daoud was targeting U.S. citizens because of what he perceived as American abuses overseas and because the U.S. is at war 'with Islam and Muslims,' according to an FBI affidavit."

Couldn't he have at least targeted TGIFs or Gibson's?

I mean, I know, it's not a joking matter. But it's kind of a joke.



Disability Tales
Disable Chicago Paramedic Is Now A Cook County Forest Preserve Cop

Tip Jar
"Fourteen waiters formerly employed by Graham Elliot at his eponymous and Michelin-starred Chicago restaurant sued him for illegally pooling and unfairly redistributing their tips between bussers, back-waiters, and bartenders, but Graham has finally settled out of court," the Brasier reports.

"He paid off the griping waiters in a settlement earlier this month that was signed off on by a judge. According to court documents, it was cited as a 'fair' amount, but the actual numbers weren't revealed."

Cubs Scrubs
Attendance at 10-year low. Ticket prices not.

Time Travel
"A powerful new camera built in the Chicago area by Fermilab is turning out pictures that look billions of years into the universe's past," CBS2 Chicago reports.

"The Dark Energy Camera is designed to help scientists try to figure out why the universe is speeding up as it's expanding."

Which it totally shouldn't be doing. And what is it expanding into? Nothing. Like where it came from.

Today's Beachwood
* Teachers Strike Notebook 6 is in: Media Frames and Chicken Joe.

* The Weekend in Chicago Rock: It was a huge one, from Riot Fest to the Hideout Block Party to Rush and more.

* The Chambers Report: Ayes For Atheism. The not-so-great God delusion.

(Please note: This feature was previously named Bob's Books. We changed it.)

(And also please note we mean no offense to our Jewish friends for the timing of this post.)

* The White Sox Report: Wings & Rings. Halfway between the Man Cave and the ballpark.

* SportsMonday: Immature Bears Test Brass. Babysitting is exhausting.

* The Cub Factor: Even The Kids Can't Stand It. Team has lost the 4-year-old demographic.


The Beachwood Tip Line: Cut, paste.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 10:09 AM | Permalink

Teachers Strike Notebook 6

We are seeing in the coverage of the decision by the Chicago Teachers Union's House of Delegates to take the city's latest contract offer back to the rank-and-file so they can actually read it carefully and provide input the importance of the media's ability to recognize political framing and reject it in favor of independent reporting instead of becoming the toadies of those in power who spend a lot of money on consultants to create such narrative devices.

As it did earlier in the negotiations when it falsely claimed an agreement was near, the city created a sense that the contract was a done deal but for dotting i's and crossing t's, as the media dutifully reported. The effect is to make the CTU look like it is now stubbornly stalling or, as the Tribune argues, holding out for an even "sweeter deal."

The Tribune fails badly in reading and listening comprehension. They begin their editorial today this way:

On Friday, Chicago Teachers Union President Karen Lewis sounded ebullient when she announced that the union had reached a tentative deal with Chicago Public Schools officials. The union leader, hailed by some as a national labor hero, said she was "very comfortable" with the terms. "We think it's a framework that will get us to an agreement."

Memo to the Trib: A "framework that will get us to an agreement" is not the same thing as an agreement.

The Tribune, like many of its media colleagues, argues that teachers should go back to school while the final details are worked out. There are two problems with this argument: 1) It won't be clear if only "details" remain until teachers report back to their leadership. Democracy! And 2) The Tribune doesn't seem to understand the point of a strike - it's the last but biggest and baddest piece of leverage workers have. You can't suspend a strike and hope to continue negotiating on equal footing. And once returned to the classroom, teachers aren't going to go out again; nobody in their right mind would go back before contract terms are put to rest.

The union has asked for two days for consideration - remember, today is Rosh Hashanah. That isn't unreasonable, and like so many have pointed out, it's the kind of consideration the Tribune chides the city council for not taking the time for when it comes to, oh, let's say 75-year parking meter leases.

I doubt a single member of the Tribune editorial board would accept a new contract without reading it. If so, give me a call and I'll send one out for your signature.


I admit that I, too, was initially taken back by the union's decision. My first thought was that the CTU might squander the good will it had built up by frustrating parents and appearing recalcitrant.

And then I realized that the city, abetted by the media, had once again set up false expectations instead of clarifying and emphasizing the union's process and all the possibilities.

The problem here is also a consistent one: The media tends to use the official view as the starting point in almost all of its coverage on any topic. This gives a tremendous advantage to those in power; their megaphone is only amplified by a media whose job is instead to mute it in favor of - excuse me - fair and balanced reporting. Instead, the views of those who oppose the official frame aren't evaluated equally but instead are diminished and attributed to "critics" who are something less than "officials."

In this case the union somehow shouldn't be allowed to let its processes work because, well, because we don't have time for careful consideration of a four-year contract! Of course, this would all be moot if Rahm Emanuel hadn't been stubborn and recalcitrant, but the media frame rarely works that way. He is right until proven wrong under this construct. Excuse me while I go feed the meter.

Chicken Joe Moreno
New media specialist Kenzo Shibata says it so I don't have to:

Chicago Teachers Union Delegates voted to extend the strike until Tuesday, giving members time to review the tentative agreement before voting on it.

Chicago is the city of the parking meter deal where aldermen voted to privatize parking meters before reading the deal, leading to everyday Chicagoans paying millions to park over the course of a 75-year deal. Teachers knew to read their deal before signing.

And now, one alderman in particular, Joe Moreno of the first ward, sent out this e-mail lambasting CTU leadership for continuing the strike.

He blames CTU President Karen Lewis for the delay, but it was the democratically-elected delegates who made the decisions to take the TA back to their members to consult before making a decision.

This is the same alderman who is attempting Chicago machine style zoning maneuvers to block a Chick-Fil-A in his ward.

To this date, he has yet to survey the ward over their feelings in this matter.

Just last week, Joe was on Fox Business News blaming union leadership for the strike and agreeing with the Fox News host when she suggested "blowing up" public schools.

It appears that he governs through search engine optimization. When Chick-Fil-A was trending, he was passionate about it. When Chicago Teachers Union Strike was trending, he found passion in it.

He was not so passionate when 20 teachers were fired at one school in his ward. They were fired by no fault of their own.

However, he did brag about the change in program at the school on the Huffington Post that arguably led to these firings.

Joe is known as the hipster alderman.

He is @alderman_moreno on Twitter.

I'm just saying, but you didn't hear it from me.

Karen Lewis Explains It All
Reconvening on Tuesday.


Injunction Fails
"Lawyers for Chicago Public Schools were rebuffed today in their hopes of winning a temporary restraining order and immediately ending the teachers strike," the Tribune reports.

"A Cook County Circuit Court judge did not agree to hold a hearing on the matter today."

Rahm wasn't available for comment because he was busy in his office screaming "Dead! Dead! Dead!" while stabbing a picture of the judge.

From the CTU:

"CPS' spur-of-the-moment decision to seek injunctive relief some six days later appears to be a vindictive act instigated by the mayor. This attempt to thwart our democratic process is consistent with Mayor Emanuel's bullying behavior toward public school educators. As teachers, paraprofessionals and clinicians continue to fight to make our city's public schools stronger, the mayor, CEO Brizard and members of the board want to trample our collective bargaining rights and hinder our freedom of speech and right to protest."


See also:
* Teachers Strike Notebook 1: Textbooks and A/C.
* Teachers Strike Notebook 2: Obama vs. Sveum.
* Teachers Strike Notebook 3: Nickelback and Numerology.
* Teachers Strike Notebook 4: Astroturf and Optics.
* Teachers Strike Notebook 5: Rahm Hates Research.


Comments welcome.


1. From Steve Rhodes:

That opening is incredibly long, and there's another couple rough spots, but I'm too tired to go back and fix. I have at least one antecedent problem. Just read slowly, it will all make sense!

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 9:55 AM | Permalink

SportsMonday: Immature Bears Test Brass

Whew but folks love to slam the Bears offensive line.

And with a shaky left side in particular, it is clearly a stretch at this point to classify this team as a prime championship contender.

But it says here the Bears are still plenty good enough to make the playoffs. It also says here that the people who are convinced the Bears can't possibly succeed with the line struggling like it has are forgetting their recent history.

It is also easy at this point to condemn the Bears to decrepitude because the quarterback still has maturity issues. Still! And while there is no denying that Jay Cutler's tantrum on national TV last week was tremendously disappointing, there is also the fact that he has bounced back from this sort of thing before.

Do folks remember who was playing left tackle for the Bears last season when they won five games in a row to run their record to 7-3, one of the best in football at that point? It was J'Marcus Webb. And of course Jay Cutler then broke his thumb and the season went downhill like an out-of-control freight train exiting the Rocky Mountains.

On the other hand, there is no denying that Webb hasn't progressed as quickly as anyone would like. Some have condemned him for spending too much time tweeting and not enough time adopting the serious aura of a man who is manfully dedicated to perfecting absolutely every detail of his chosen craft.

The tweeting doesn't matter. Neither do Webb's sometimes almost whimsical public statements. What matters is whether Webb can block Clay Matthews and last Thursday he failed miserably.

Is it reasonable to believe he can improve enough in time for the Bears' second regular-season match-up with the team from Green Bay to be something less than a disaster?

If he's still the starter this week it will indicate that offensive coordinator Mike Tice, to whom I would almost always defer regarding offensive line issues, believes he can.

Or he believes that Webb is his best of a bad group of options, which almost certainly means former first-round pick Chris Williams is officially a massive bust, by the way.

As for the quarterback, wait a minute, I have decided there has officially been enough written about Cutler's setback against the Pack. Let's just say that going forward he has yet another opportunity to be the leader the Bears need him to be. It would be great if he would at least take responsibility for his crappy play against Green Bay at some point this week, but I'm not holding my breath.

I will say, though, that it has become clear in the past few days that Cutler will not receive an endless number of such opportunities. My guess is that the Bear brass is officially becoming tired of his inability to control himself at critical junctures. And he is remarkably good at saving his worst behavior for high-profile games.

The question is whether that has occurred to Cutler. There are big financial ramifications as well. If the quarterback can pull himself together like he did two years ago, when he overcame an almost disastrous first half of the season to lead the Bears to the conference final, there will almost certainly be a huge contract extension awaiting him next off-season.

If not, well, guys who act like Cutler certainly are a big hit on reality shows these days. And given his baby mama's history on The Hills, surely VH-1 or whoever else will be lining up to film this couple's every move sometime soon. They could call it Jay and Kristin are Free Agents . . .

Sox Pox
The White Sox may end up winning the American League Central Division title but if they don't win this afternoon it will feel more like the Tigers lost it. A setback this afternoon would give them six losses in their final seven games against the team from the Motor City this season.

The make-up game with the Tigers marks the last chance for the South Siders to assert that they are at least the equal of the team that has emerged as their biggest rivals of late. They will still lead their division by a game if they lose to Detroit one final time but clearly a division championship won't be as triumphant if the White Sox can't at least look back at splitting the final four games with the Tigers at home.


Jim "Coach" Coffman is our man on Mondays. He welcomes your comments.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 9:23 AM | Permalink

The Weekend in Chicago Rock Pt. 1

You shoulda been there.

1. Rise Against at Riot Fest in Humboldt Park on Saturday night.


2. Coheed and Cambria at Riot Fest on Saturday.


3. Hero Monster Zero at the Elbo Room on Saturday night.


4. Wilco at the Hideout Block Party on Saturday night.


5. Sick Puppies at the House of Blues on Saturday night.


6. Glen Hansard and The Frames at the Hideout Block Party on Friday night.


7. The Offspring at Riot Fest's opening night at the Congress.


8. Minus the Bear at Riot Fest on Saturday.


9. Teenage Bottlerocket at Riot Fest on Saturday.


10. The Descendants at Riot Fest on Saturday night.


11. Neon Trees at Riot Fest's opening at the Congress on Friday night.


12. Droids Attack at Riot Fest on Saturday.


13. Dropkick Murphy's at Riot Fest on Saturday night.


14. Hot Water Music at Riot Fest on Sunday.


15. Rush at the big hockey arena on the West Side on Saturday night.


16. August Burns Red at Riot Fest on Saturday.


17. Sondre Lerche at Lincoln Hall on Friday night.


18. They Die Screaming at the Stage Bar on Friday night.


19. Naked Raygun at a Riot Fest aftershow at Subterranean on Friday night.


20. Dan Vapid & the Cheats at the Subterranean on Friday night.


21. Sam Grow at the Double Door on Friday night.


Pt. 2 will appear on Tuesday.


Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 8:28 AM | Permalink

The Chambers Report: Ayes For Atheism


Christopher Hitchens, the celebrated "public intellectual" who was born in Dartmoor, Southwestern England, but eventually became an American citizen, died of esophageal cancer on December 15, 2011, at the age of 62. As one for whom the elegant use of language was a defining attribute, Hitchens himself wryly observed the irony of ultimately losing his vocal abilities. In Mortality, his final book of essays - much reviewed recently, most prominently in The New York Times by his friend Christopher Buckley - the dying author caustically noted:

My two assets, my pen and my voice - and it had to be the esophagus. All along, while burning the candle at both ends, I had been "straying into the arena of the unwell" and now "a vulgar little tumor" was evident. This alien can't want anything; if it kills me it dies but it seems very single-minded and set in its purpose. No real irony here, though. Must take absolute care not to be self-pitying or self-centered.

As perhaps the English-speaking world's most famous and outspoken atheist, Hitchens on his deathbed became the unsurprising target of scores of religious proselytizers, all hell-bent on playing some role in bringing about an eleventh-hour conversion experience for the Great Heretic.

Not to worry, however, for various pages of Mortality are, in effect, continuations of Hitchens' atheist classic God is Not Great: How Religion Poisons Everything and thus, in Buckley's words, "devoted to a final, defiant and well-reasoned defense of his non-God-fearingness."

Hitchens' defiance in almost all matters of import joined forces with his irresistible eloquence to win for him friends and admirers across the globe. Although hardly anyone was his intellectual equal, thought-leaders in many spheres crowded entirely without envy into the Washington apartment where Hitchens and his "devoted tigress wife" Carol (the description is Buckley's) often held court for "eight-hour dinners . . . when, after consuming enough booze to render the entire population of the nation's capital insensible, Christopher would rise and deliver flawless 20-minute recitals of poetry, polemics, and jokes, capping it off saying, 'How good it is to be us.'"

Indeed! And all present agreed. As an awed participant in many such high-toned (and, let's admit, shamelessly self-congratulatory) evenings, Buckley confesses: "The truth of that declaration was evident to all who had the good fortune to be present at those dazzling recreations. Bliss it was in those wee hours to be alive and in his company, though the next mornings were usually a bit less blissful."

Yet, if there was abundant arrogance suffusing this spoiled and privileged circle, what of it? These were, after all, prodigiously talented people . . . and they knew it, even as they readily acknowledged Hitchens' rightful place as first among remarkably fortunate social equals. (Here, it should be noted, as well, that Hitch's star continued to shine just as brightly in his native UK even after his permanent departure for the US; he for years numbered Man Booker Prize winners Julian Barnes and Ian McEwan among his closest friends).

Hitchens was aware of his "specialness" even as a schoolboy in England, when he dared to correct one of his favorite teachers for erroneously confusing her two chief roles - as nature instructor and Bible teacher - in a "Satanic" effort to seduce her young charge into a lifetime of piety and unquestioning Christian belief. Even at the age of nine - "When I had not even a conception of the argument from design" - young Christopher "simply knew, almost as if I had privileged access to a higher authority, that my teacher had managed to get everything wrong."

Hitchens' specialness became ever more evident, almost daily, as he matured into a kind of intellectual Super Man inhabiting a world that was pretty much his alone. There was simply no one else like him. Buckley, employing his own considerable authorial powers, tries to describe his "unique" (a word I rarely use, but surely it rightfully applies here) friend and mentor:

He was a man of abundant gifts, Christopher: erudition, wit, argument, prose style, to say nothing of a titanium constitution that, until it betrayed him in the end, allowed him to write word-perfect essays while the rest of us were groaning from epic hangovers and reaching for the ibuprofen.

Buckley then adds that Hitchens' "greatest gift of all may have been the gift of friendship," a characteristic emphasized by each of the 31 A-listers (Buckley calls them "boldface names") who rose to speak at his memorial service. Unusual among powerful and persuasive "great" people, Hitchens, for all his talents, was steadfast to the end in believing that what should matter most in every well-lived life is not self, but devotion to others, "the stupendous importance of love, friendship, and solidarity." In his introduction to Hitch-22: A Memoir, another product of his prolific deathbed days, he wrote:

[The essentialness of love] has been made immensely more vivid to me by recent experience. I can't hope to convey the full effect of the embraces and avowals, but I can perhaps offer a crumb of counsel. If there is anybody known to you who might benefit from a letter or visit, do not on any account postpone the writing or the making of it. The difference made will almost certainly be more than you have calculated.

If in Mortality, (or, indeed, in any of Hitch's other late reminiscences) there is no "frank terror of oblivion" - the frustrated proselytizers got nowhere with their late-hour efforts - there is, nevertheless, as Buckley reports, "keen and great regret at having to leave the party early." Or, in Hitchens' own words:

The novelty of a diagnosis of malignant cancer has a tendency to wear off. The thing begins to pall, even to become banal. One can become quite used to the specter of the eternal Footman, like some lethal old bore lurking in the hallway at the end of the evening, hoping for the chance to have a word. And I don't so much object to his holding my coat in that marked manner, as if mutely reminding me that it's time to be on my way. No, it's the snickering that gets me down.

Would that we all could face the Grim Reaper with such grace, humor and inner strength.

But now, let's see what this supremely gifted observer of and commentator on our troubled world had to say in his best-known book about the "poison" that has, for millennia, been doing all that it could to destroy everything in its path.


Early on God Is Not Great, Hitchens quotes his favorite passage from the epistle of Saul of Tarsus (later to become St. Paul) to the Philippians (chapter 4, verse 8):

Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report: if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things.

What Hitchens loved most about this famous passage at the core of what was to become "Christian" teaching was that it was essentially secular . . . 'because it shone out from the wasteland of rant and complaint and bullying which surrounds it."

To go further, Hitchens says that "the argument with faith is the foundation and origin of all arguments, because it is the beginning - but by no means the end - of all arguments about philosophy, science, history, and human nature. It is also the beginning - but by no means the end - of all disputes about the good life and the just city. Religious faith is, precisely because we are still-evolving creatures, ineradicable. It will never die out, or at least not until we get over our fear of death, and of the dark, and of the unknown, and of each other."

This admission that religion, despite its horrendous failings, will seemingly always be with us would be abysmally depressing were it not for Hitchens' unyielding confidence in the staying power of reason. An inveterate Darwinian, he relies above all on the, to him, clear rightness of evolutionary law to win in the end. Until then, though, there will always be the non-sensical demons of religion to cope with.

And those demons are everywhere - always have been - to the great detriment of all human history, to which religion, in all its many guises, stands as the implacable enemy.

Hitchens' book is a brilliant screed against all religions by an atheist who believes that (1) whatever usefulness religion may once have had is now entirely in the past; that (2) its foundational texts are transparent fables; that (3) it is a totally man-made imposition on all that we know; that (4) it has long been an enemy of science and inquiry; that (5) it has subsisted almost entirely on lies and fears; and that (6) it long has been the accomplice of slavery, genocide, racism and tyranny.

Hitchens denotes that religion could be tolerated if it were merely pablum for the poor and ignorant who mostly are its witless dupes and preys, but such is not the nature of the insatiable beast - most religions go far beyond neutrality to insist on the blind conformity of those not yet seduced by its absolute demands.

In Hitchens' view, religion is by no means a benign source of hope for the downtrodden. It is - and has ever been - an almost categorically negative enemy of all things rational; "it poisons everything." His book sets out to prove this and, by its end, the thinking reader would be a fool to oppose him.

Religion has supported slavery everywhere, acted in cahoots with the Nazis, and argued intensively against every scientific advance since the Dawn of Time.

Worse, religion has, for millennia, been directly responsible for the deaths - senseless deaths - of millions of innocent people, from the Egyptians of 5,000 years ago to 9/11 and beyond.

(As I write this, we are mourning the murder of the American Ambassador to Libya, killed for no reason other than the senseless overreaction of religiously zealous Libyans to a ridiculous film now rejected even by its makers.)

Why do we continue to tolerate such things? Not, in Hitchens' view, because they have anything at all to do with morality - they don't. No, it's all purely about power - from the Pharaohs to Al-Qaeda.


If Hitchens had any competition during his lifetime for the singular title of our language's most celebrated atheist, it was from Richard Dawkins, the much-admired and outspoken British evolutionary biologist.

Like Hitchens, Dawkins attended Oxford's Balliol College, but then went his own way to become one of the leading scientists of his day.

Always a Darwinian - yet, unlike Hitchens, a professional one - Dawkins often has said that it was his dawning understanding of evolution that led to his full-throated public atheism, a stance that brought him world acclaim when he published The God Delusion in 2006.

To date, Delusion has far outsold God Is Not Great - more than 2 million copies in English alone to Great's 500,000 - and has been translated into 31 languages.

Its evidently greater popularity, however, probably has more to do with Dawkins' gift for self-promotion than with any seeming superiority inherent in either book. Their arguments are essentially the same, with the bonhomie of Hitchens being the most compelling dividing line between them.

During the last decade, Dawkins has pumped up his already swollen public persona even further as he has enjoyed a sort of secondary career as a constant and very public opponent of Al-Qaeda, whose destruction of New York's twin towers, he says, "changed everything" for atheism:

Many of us saw religion as harmless nonsense. Beliefs might lack all supporting evidence, but, we thought, if people needed a crutch for consolation, where's the harm? September 11 changed all that. Revealed faith is not harmless nonsense, it can be lethally dangerous nonsense. Dangerous because it gives people unshakeable confidence in their own righteousness. Dangerous because it gives them false confidence to kill themselves, which automatically removes normal barriers to killing others. Dangerous because it teaches enmity to others labeled only by a difference of inherited tradition. And dangerous because we have all bought into a weird respect, which uniquely protects religion from normal criticism. Let's stop being so damned respectful!

Beyond the palm leaves tossed his way, Dawkins' public and intentionally provocative declarations have also brought him much criticism from many quarters, including, of course, from religious spokespeople on all sides.

The God Delusion has certainly done its share to fan the flames - a fact that pleases the author more than a little. Clearly, Dawkins loves his fame as the self-proclaimed "most prominent atheist" in the world. Unfortunately, his zeal to live up to the title carries with it an arrogance that almost defeats his purpose.

Every page of Delusion loudly proclaims Dawkins' own faultless "rightness," even as it spotlights his obvious brilliance and eviscerates pathetically self-righteous "believers" of every stripe for the last 2,000 years.

Dawkins is not necessarily against any one religion, he's against all religions because, in his view, all demand a thoughtless, unwavering adherence that is not merely stupid and aimless, it is also malicious and perilous.

As one of the planet's singularly recognizable Darwinians, Dawkins hates most of all the (disputed) fact that, for untold centuries, all religions have relentlessly opposed all scientific advances. To him, science is, by definition, rational and always seeking answers, while religion is irrational in the extreme and invariably claims to have all the answers already at hand. To bolster his argument, he easily knocks down all the so-called proofs for the existence of God - there is no such proof! - and with a vengeance takes on every mindless creationist in sight.

To Dawkins - and Hitchens, too - religion is, by its very nature, a constant source of war and grief. It is a powerful plaything used by emperors, kings, potentate, and presidents alike to keep their people down and propel their own interests.

Worst of all, religion is used in every culture to indoctrinate children early on, warping them long before they have developed reasoning skills adequate for asking the right questions and thinking for themselves.

At bottom, for Hitchens and Dawkins alike, every religion is corrupt and founded entirely on human vanity and weakness. Whether one prefers the relatively easy-going brilliance of the former or the more in-your-face self-aggrandizement of the latter, any objective reader will profit from engaging either writer on his own turf.

Given the fact that religion - in one or several of its many guises - is deeply mired in every sphere of human activity today, to fail to challenge its hegemony is, to recall Plato, to live an unexamined life; a life not really worth living.


The Chambers Report used to be known as Bob's Books. We've renamed it. Bob welcomes your comments..


Previously in The Chambers Report:
* Steve Jobs vs. Jack Kennedy

* The Last Boy Of Summer

* Melville, Elvis And Baseball

* A Tale Of Three Cities

* How Obama And Bush Undermined America

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 7:24 AM | Permalink

Wings & Rings

The modern term, I suppose, is Man Cave, although I'm not as consumed with naming it as I am with using it.

Originally the space was our business office when we operated one. Now the basement in our home serves a number of functions: a location for computers, files, laundry, storage, coolness from the summer heat, and, not incidentally, a lovely, comfortable couch in front of the largest flat screen that fits.

And it's only half subterranean. Windows filter in unneeded sunlight, giving us a weather report any time we gaze outdoors.

If I ever intimated that this was my place - my private place - to observe the White Sox, my wife, dearest Judith, would simply indicate the part of my anatomy in most imminent danger. No, this is a combined affair, watching and waiting to see if our White Sox can outlast the Tigers in this most surprising of seasons.

I was out most of Saturday, attending a fundraiser to send kids to summer camp. I never miss the event, and Judy was there as well although we traveled separately. She returned home before I did and apparently listened to the end of the Sox's 5-3 victory over Minnesota on the radio on the way home.

I had recorded the game to watch once I got back to the Man Cave and, other than knowing that the Sox had an early 3-0 lead, I was clueless about the final outcome.

Fast forward to the bottom of the ninth. I'm watching this as though it is live, and Judy descends to the Man Cave, gazes at the screen, and says, "Oh, geez."

What am I supposed to think? I speed ahead, blinking as Addison Reed loads the bases on a hit sandwiched by two walks. Meanwhile, she's upstairs reading The Art of Fielding while I'm left to my own devices, fearing the worst.

Of course, all of us now know that Matt Thornton, he of the two season saves in six attempts, induced Justin Morneau to ground into a double play before Trevor Plouffe conveniently grounded to Gordon Beckham to end the game.

This required an explanation. "You scared me," I said. "I meant to," she responded. Must have been payback for something which eludes me at this particular time.

So yesterday I decided to mix up things a bit. Change of scenery. Something new.
I drove over to Bridgeport, found the door to Schaller's locked so I went north a few blocks to Buffalo Wings & Rings

The back bar features five TVs, the largest in the middle, and that's where I found the Sox game. There were nine of us at the bar, and only the couple to my right was more interested in the NFL games than the Sox and Twins.

Sitting to my left was Keith, who confessed to being a Cub fan who lives in Bridgeport.

"Well, I'm a Sox fan who lives about a mile-and-a-half from Wrigley Field," I said.

"Maybe we should switch houses," he replied.

"There's one thing I can't understand about Sox fans," Keith said, and I sensed what was coming. "How can they hate the Cubs so much? I know my team sucks, but that doesn't mean I hate the Sox."

We talked a bit about Theo's grand plan, which I find interesting if not compelling. We both agreed that the North Siders made a good move in signing Starlin Castro to a long-term contract, though I contend that the kid hasn't improved much as a shortstop.

The conversation was low-key and cordial as Adam Dunn and then Dayan Viciedo smacked long home runs in the Sox's six-run sixth inning, more or less salting the game away. Three guys sitting down the bar cheered loudly on both occasions, making me think that Buffalo Wings & Rings - not to be confused with Buffalo Wild Wings - was one dandy establishment.

However, Keith turned acerbic and slightly agitated when he spat, "I hate Hawk Harrelson."

The emotion had something to do with what he interpreted as a slight toward Ron Santo when Santo was elected to the Hall of Fame. Keith claimed that Hawk lauded Barry Larkin for gaining entrance to the Hall while giving Santo's accomplishment lip service. If that occurred, I can see why a Cub fan would be pissed.

Aside from Jake Peavy's six strong innings, shutout ball from three relievers, and timely hitting, the other highlight was the guy sitting to Keith's left ordering 50 wings.

I assumed that either he was expecting people to join him or he would take the wings to go and meet his buddies at home, no doubt in his own Man Cave to watch the rest of the game.

I was mistaken on all counts. He attacked the wings with a vengeance, although he slowed down around No. 30 before taking the remaining 20 home.

"I'll eat for a week," he told me.

Yeah, sure. No way those wings survived dinner.

Heading for home, I listened to Farmio and D.J. ham it up while Donnie Veal and Phil Humber - remember him? - closed out the Twins for the Sox's 14th win in 18 games against Minnesota this season. The piranhas? Remember them?

Having the Woman Cave all to herself for the afternoon, Judy announced, "When the Sox play well, they're amazing. When they don't, they stink. There's nothing in between."

Not an inaccurate assessment, although a number of teams qualify.

One of those, the Tigers, will be at the Cell this afternoon for the makeup game from last Thursday's rainout. The Sox dodged Justin Verlander, who was slated to pitch last week. That's fortunate.

The Sox come in riding the three-game sweep of the Twins while Detroit closer Jose Valverde blew the game Sunday against Cleveland. That also is good.
It's supposed to be a gorgeous late summer day, and the Sox can truly make the Tigers squirm if they can pull off a victory. So no Man Cave for me, no Buffalo Wings & Rings. I want to see this one live.


Roger Wallenstein is our man on the White Sox beat. He welcomes your comments.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 6:48 AM | Permalink

Even Kids Can't Take It

I took my 4-year-old son to his first Cub game on Sunday and I have to admit I got a little nostalgic. I remember going to the games with my dad and brothers through the years and hoped to make some memories of my own. And really, isn't that why we are all here?

I mean, you aren't reading this unless you are tied in to the Cubs or baseball in some way, and typically that's through your parents, and that is even more typically your dad. So, the "history in the making" moment was all right there. And history was made. I took my son to his first game, that was part of the history, the other part was that it was my shortest game ever.

Don't get me wrong, I didn't think my 4-year-old was going to hang in there to sing that silly "Go Cubs Go" song, but I didn't think it would be five batters into the game before he said, "Dad, I want to go home."

I have to say I was a bit disappointed those words came so early, but part of me couldn't blame him. When you don't understand all the rules of baseball, it's a little hard to watch.

And then, we were pretty far away, so even seeing the ball when hit would be a challenge. And things to do for kids at Wrigley field are non-existent.

So, a box of popcorn and a water took us a few innings further into the game. And let me tell you, you think you get ripped off for beer over there, popcorn and bottled water is no picnic either.

And the patience needed to let a 4-year-old place the water bottle back into the seat drink holder is frightening. It's not only that you would have to shell out another four bucks or whatever for a new one, it's that you have to lug a 4-year-old and everything that comes with him down to get one again. It's not like going to Wrigley with your buddies.

But that's the Old Ballgame for you. You change around it and it pretty much stays the same. We hung in there for a little while longer, did some walking around but the kid was done, and so was his dad. And what's the fun in keeping a 4-year-old somewhere he doesn't want to be?

I almost played the ice cream card, but even a 4-year-old brain can put things together and say, "No, I want to go to a different place for ice cream, daddy." Again, who can blame him.

To give him a little bit of an out - we did get there a bit too early (who knew there would be no traffic) so if we got there right at game time it would have been a bit more respectable of a showing, but it's the 2012 Cubs, and they are nowhere near respectable.

But all in all it was a good day; I spent a big chuck of my Sunday with a great kid who told me to listen to the birds on the walk down Clark Street both to and from the game. It was an experience backdropped by baseball despite the game not mattering whatsoever. But wait, isn't that the problem with Cub fans? What did I just do?

Week in Review: The Cubs took two of three from both the Astros and Pirates, which would have been great if this was April.

Week in Preview: The Cubs have one more with the Pirates before welcoming Dusty Baker's first-place Reds into town for three. Then the Cards come to town for the weekend. Good seats I am sure are still available.

The Second Basemen Report: Darwin Barney started every game this week at second and finally had the real breakout week that will make everyone think he is serviceable at second. He had 10 hits and five walks. Which would have been great if it was April, just like the ghost of Jim Hendry didn't plan it.

In former second basemen news, Augie Ojeda's whereabouts are unknown, but he is missed. was last released by the Cubs in spring training 2011. His whereabouts are unknown, but he is missed.

The Not So Hot Corner: Luis Valbuena continues to get time at third base as if he matters. Which raises the question: Does Dale Svuem talk to Theo and the boys? They can't, right?

Weekly Bunting Report: I don't recall any particular bunts this week, but I do have a question. Will the Cubs have that bunting competition again this spring training? I mean, how'd that work out for them?

Endorsement No-Brainer: About 80% of this roster for those milk cartons that have missing people on them.

Ameritrade Stock Pick of the Week: Shares of 100 Losses traded lower this week.

Sink or Sveum: 20% Analytical, 80% Emotional. Dale stands pat on the Dale-O-Meter as he's just playing out the string as spoiler to the Pirates. On a scale of Bat Sh#t Crazy, (Charles Manson), Not All There, (random guy with a neck tattoo), Thinking Clearly (Jordi LaForge), and Non-Emotional Robot (Data), Dale is Bat Sh#t Crazy for taking this job.

manson.jpgneck.jpg jordi.jpgdata.jpg

And just like your thought-to-be level-headed uncle, Dale knows that he and Uncle Carl have no chance to beat you and your cousin Patrick in the three-legged race, but if they get in your way so Uncle Tim and Aunt Shirley win it's fine with Dale.

Over/Under: The number of innings a 4-year-old should be expected to pay attention to this Cubs season: +/- 2.5.

Don't Hassle LaHoffpauir: There are probably a bunch of Japanese fans wondering why Micah is still getting playing time over some youngsters. What a hassle.

Beachwood Sabermetrics: A complex algorithm performed by The Cub Factor staff using all historical data made available by Major League Baseball has determined that I've never been more content to leave a game early.

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

The White Sox Report: Know the enemy.


Contact The Cub Factor!

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 6:20 AM | Permalink

September 15, 2012

The Weekend Desk Report

We can strike now, right? Fuck it, we're on strike.

Market Update
With Mitt Romney's heart declaring moral bankruptcy this week, analysts predict even our Lord and savior will soon be homeless.

Puffed Up
GOP VP candidate Paul Ryan appeared to waver on his position concerning medical marijuana this week. However, aides were quick to point out cannabis is approved to treat glaucoma rather than extreme myopia.

Sucked Down
Ryan's team apologized for the candidate's repeated confusion and inconsistencies. Apparently, he is being bled dry by John Boehner.

Thrills Spilled
Finally this week, it's true what they say. Sunday looks a lot less exciting when you already know that you've lost.


The Weekend Desk Tip Line: Strike back.


The College Football Report Substitute Free-Range Chicken: Advises betting against Northwestern and Michigan and for Minnesota and Wisconsin.


The Sound Opinions Weekend Listening Report: "im and Greg share some of their favorite music under the mainstream radar in the latest installment of Buried Treasures. Later, they review the debut album from indie supergroup Divine Fits."


The CAN TV Weekend Viewing 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.

The Clarice Mason Show


Tune in to this heartwarming tribute to Henry Rag, who is retiring after 32 years as a college counselor for Ada S. McKinnley Community Services, where he helped 33,000 young Chicagoans change their lives through higher education.

Saturday, September 15 at 4 p.m. on CAN TV21
1 hr


Community Forum: Action Now


Action Now's Charles Brown highlights its work organizing community members around issues of social and economic justice, home foreclosures, and gun violence.

Saturday, September 15 at 7:30 p.m. on CAN TV21
30 min


Art & Community: Wherever We Are


Pilsen muralist Hector Duarte and Puerto Rican artist Antonio Martorell discuss the impact of arts, culture, and migration on their works.

Sunday, September 16 at 9 a.m. on CAN TV21
2 hr


Violence in Black America


State representatives La Shawn Ford and Mary Flowers host an "Emergency Town Hall" meeting to discuss the recent spike in the number of homicides in Chicago's black-majority neighborhoods.

Sunday, September 16 at 11 a.m. on CAN TV21
2 hr 30 min


Religious Leaders Promote Non-Violence


Members of the Chicago Clergy Coalition discuss their efforts to combat gun violence in Chicago, including petitioning for more strict gun laws.

Sunday, September 16 at 1:30 p.m. on CAN TV21
1 hr 30 min

Posted by Natasha Julius at 9:04 AM | Permalink

The College Football Report: Alabammy Whammy And Eagle Insurance

Mike Luce is away on a mission of national import.

Well, Western Kentucky coach Willie Taggart was right: His team did not lose to Alabama (1) last week by 39 points.

They lost by 35.

Always trust the oddsmakers over the coaches - they're more ultra-objective because their paycheck depends on it.

One last look at last week before moving on to today:


Alabammy Whammy
"[Alabama] lost running back Jalston Fowler for the season with a torn PCL, so the Tide will look to their deep bench if they decide to line up in the I-Formation," Bama Hammer reports.

But this week's opponent, Arkansas, has its own problems.

"Arkansas suffered a morale-crushing loss to Louisiana-Monroe last week, and it cost them the services of starting quarterback Tyler Wilson. The Razorbacks coaching staff have been dodgy on whether quarterback Wilson would play this weekend, but that's just for show, and to force Alabama to prepare for him. Wilson will sit, and Arkansas will be forced to go with freshman Brandon Allen."

Here's the College Football Live Preview:


The line is 20.

The College Football Report Substitute Free-Range Chicken is taking Bama.

Eagle Insurance
"This season, keeping track of Northwestern's Kain Colter has become a simpler task," the Boston Globe reports.

"Last year, Colter alternated between quarterback and wide receiver, passing for six touchdowns and scoring 12 more (nine rushing, three receiving).

"As a junior, Colter has stuck to quarterback, leading Northwestern to victories over Syracuse (42-41) and Vanderbilt (23-13).

"Colter made his first start at QB in a 24-17 win over Boston College in last season's opener. The Eagles might not have known whether Colter was coming or going in that game (197 yards passing, 71 yards rushing), but they will have another chance to pin him down in Saturday's nonconference game."

The game is in Evanston but Northwestern is just a 3-1/2 point favorite so The College Football Report Substitute Free-Range Chicken advises taking BC.

Fighting Illini Fever
"University of Illinois starting quarterback Nathan Scheelhaase will not play in the team's Saturday game vs. Charleston Southern," Rant Sports reports.

If his name was Nathan Steelchase he'd tough it out - and get some endorsements. He should consider changing it. It'd be a lot cooler. Anyway . . .

"Scheelhaase suffered a sprained ankle in the season opening win against Western Michigan and had to sit out the week two loss at Arizona State. The team struggled mightily in his absence with sophomore Reilly O'Toole and Miles Osei sharing the reps at quarterback and neither had much success in the 45-14 drugging at the hands of the Sun Devils."

Does that give Charleston Southern a chance?

No. There's not even a line.

Best Coach Ever?
"St. John's University on the edge of the Minnesota prairie is home to college football's winningest coach," AP reports. "Eighty-five-year-old John Gagliardi is 486-133-11 in 64 years of coaching."


For Entertainment Purposes Only Including Gambling
Here are the rest of today's lines.

The College Football Report Substitute Free-Range Chicken likes Minnesota giving 4 and Wisconsin giving 13-1/2.

The Beachwood Sports Seal likes Massachusetts getting 45 against Michigan.


Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 8:00 AM | Permalink

September 14, 2012

The [Friday] Papers

Today's Teachers Strike Notebook is Rahm Hates Research.

And now, the rest of the news . . .

1. How Bad Did The Bears Suck? Let America Tweet The Ways.

2. The Week in Chicago Rock: Bob Mould, Melanie Fiona, Sexfist, Alabama Shakes, Mary J. Blige, Robbie Fulks and the Scavengers, and the Clams.

3. "A Chicago lawyer pleaded guilty Thursday to helping wealthy clients dodge tens of millions of dollars in taxes in what prosecutors have called the largest tax fraud prosecution in history," AP reports.

"Donna Guerin, 52, entered the plea in U.S. District Court to conspiracy to defraud the United States and tax evasion, charges that carry a total of up to 10 years in prison. Sentencing for the Elmhurst resident was set for Jan. 11. She agreed to forfeit $1.6 million.

"Guerin was one of two lawyers awaiting a retrial. The other, Paul M. Daugerdas, of Wilmette, was described by prosecutors at trial as the mastermind of the tax scheme."

4. "In 2006, months before a Walmart store was opened in the Austin neighborhood of Chicago's West Side, researchers counted 306 businesses in the surrounding area," Nate Berg writes for Atlantic Cities.

"Two years after the Walmart opened, 82 of those businesses had closed.

"That some businesses, particularly small businesses, would close after a large retailer moves into the neighborhood is to be expected. But, as the researchers found, the pattern and severity of those closures was far from typical. The closer a business was to the new Walmart store, the more likely it was to close.

"'No matter which direction you go from Walmart, there's a very high rate of business closures in the immediate vicinity, and the further away you get there's less and less,' says University of Illinois Chicago economics professor Joe Persky, one of the authors of the study, which was just published in Economic Development Quarterly."

5. "Suburban Congressional candidate Tammy Duckworth assures the business community that she is ready to respond to their needs," CBS2 Chicago reports.

I call Tammy Buckworth in the nickname pool.


"As WBBM Newsradio Political Editor Craig Dellimore reports, Duckworth, a Democrat, says manufacturers in the 8th Congressional District tell her most Democrats demonize them - criticizing them for buying parts overseas, but not praising them for the jobs they keep here.

"Duckworth says they're right, and deserve a break."

No wonder Rahm likes her so much.

6. Why not just use aldermen?


The Beachwood Tip Line: For your protection only.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 10:18 AM | Permalink

Teachers Strike Notebook 5

"The Chicago teachers strike and its focus on new ways to assess teachers remind me of a brilliant 2002 book, Children As Pawns: The Politics of Educational Reform, by Timothy A. Hacsi," Jay Mathews writes in the Washington Post. "It argued convincingly that politicians and others with the power to make education policy rarely read education research, and if they do, they only accept conclusions that confirm their biases.

"Chicago teachers don't like the hot new trend of rating teachers by how much their students improve on standardized tests. They cite research showing the tests are unreliable indicators of what is happening in classrooms, particularly when based on just a year of data. They are right.

"Test score improvement, if assessed over a few years, can identify those at the very top and bottom of the teacher effectiveness scale. But the data gets really mushy in the middle. We don't have nearly enough experience with student performance measures to put as much weight on them as we are doing in the District and several other school districts.

"Why is that? Education policymakers - including big city mayors such as Chicago's Rahm Emanuel (D) - see rating teachers by student test scores as reasonable and know voters and big foundations feel the same way. Common sense is occasionally wrong in assessing schools, but it trumps research every time, as Hacsi's book proves. Big-city leaders even overlook the fact that the successful charter schools they admire don't assess their teachers that way."

That last link is particularly fascinating and relevant given its headline/thesis: "Let Principals, Not Tests, Rate Teachers."

Rahm and his team seem hell-bent on giving principals the power to hire their own teachers - and the teachers union equally hell-bent on not allowing that to happen - but not to evaluate teachers on their own.

The reason is likely the same as an increasing reliance on quantitive teacher evaluation: Politicians who aren't experts in the subject matter and can't be bothered to educate themselves find it easier to believe that their inherently superior viewpoint represents both something smarter than the practitioners of the trade have ever accrued as well as "common sense" that just happens to appeal to a wide swath of a equally ignorant public. It's anti-intellectualism wearing a data-based mask. Just give me numbers I can work with!

Rahm has shown himself to be perhaps the best exemplar of this approach in all of politics; he doesn't care for what the research really shows about, say, red light cameras but he cloaks his argument in statistical jujitsu. This has become a pattern of his short reign; he recently went so far as to state that when it comes to the city's troubled worker's compensation program, "We're aggressively pursuing $15 million in savings from worker's comp. I don't need a report to do that. I know that it needs reform."

He's pursuing savings and knows that the program needs reform, but he's not interested in an inspector general's report that would actually examine what must be an incredibly convoluted system. Rahm just knows what needs to be done to fix it because, well, he's Rahm.

Rahm never seems to be in need of actual facts - sources tell me that instead everything coming out of City Hall is political not policy - and we're seeing how dramatic the consequences of that mode of governing can be; the mayor continues to insist, for example, on the efficacy of charter schools despite being corrected by students.

Is it any wonder that the mayor has a credibility issue with not just the CTU but anyone who has been paying attention?

Rahm is classic in the sense that he goes for the quick fix - under the guise of "urgency" and "impatience." The only urgency and impatiency he feels is to score political points. A prime example of that is trotting out his police chief pet Garry McCarthy to tout year-over-year monthly crime stats that are all but irrelevant.

Speaking of the police department, commanders are now held to account for weekly crime stats under the CompStat system installed by Rahm and McCarthy. But do they have the freedom to hire their own cops? I could be wrong, but I think the answer to that is no.

I'm not saying principals shouldn't have a role in hiring; they should. But what many folks around the country who are suddenly experts on the Chicago public school system surely don't understand is that a fair share of principals in this town have historically had their own self-interest in mind and/or participated in a patronage system in which certain loyalties are rewarded - both their loyalty to central office poohbahs and teacher loyalties to them. That's part of the culture that has riven the schools and contributed to their failures.

When it comes to assigning teachers to schools, only the central office has the big picture in mind. Someone has to balance the interests of all the schools instead of allowing principals - by themselves, anyway - to just go poaching (or seek to manage their budgets by hiring teachers with the lowest salaries instead of teachers who are the best).

Rahm's Wrong Again
Speaking of Rahm getting it wrong:

"If only Chicago teachers could be more like those enlightened educators in Boston," writes the Sun-Times editorial page - which opposes the strike.

"They settled their thorny conflicts over teacher recall, teacher evaluations and pay without a strike, Mayor Rahm Emanuel told reporters at City Hall on Wednesday.

"And Boston teachers agreed to only a 12 percent raise over six years (take that CTU, which is thumbing its nose at a 16 percent average raise over four years!)

"Or so Emanuel would like us all to believe.

Without flinching, Emanuel on Wednesday misrepresented the Boston teachers settlement, contorting the facts to help advance his cause as he battles the union. And we pause here, because we support his cause.

But the facts, they're so pesky!

Let's start with the raise: Chicago's 16 percent includes a cost-of-living pay raise plus annual increases for each extra year of service and more education. The COLA raise is only half of the 16 percent.

Shockingly, Boston's announced raise only includes the COLA. But the district, like nearly every one in the country, also offers raises for experience and education. This omission makes comparison impossible and unfair - but so hard to resist!

Those extra raises in Boston amount to an additional 2 to 3 percent a year, the school system tells us.

Boston teachers, it follows, will get raises that range from roughly 24 to 30 percent on average over six years.

Not 12 percent.

Next up is teacher recall. The Chicago Teachers Union wants teachers displaced from closed schools to get first crack at job openings, something Chicago has never had.

Boston has always had recall, always and forever guaranteeing laid-off teachers a job. Seniority trumps all else. That remains in the new contract for teachers displaced from closed schools, even though Emanuel said principals in Boston "will have the ability to hire who they want to hire." What's new in Boston is that principals will have greater flexibility in hiring when a candidate isn't from a closed school, the schools spokesman said.

Finally, there's teacher evaluations. Here, Emanuel was closest to the truth. Boston teachers agreed to evaluations based in part on student performance. Boston doesn't have a set percentage like Chicago - 40 percent of the total evaluation - and their union president tells us it will never get that high in Boston. Still, the union agreed to the new evaluation, which is more than we can say for Chicago.

Emanuel was right to praise Boston for inking a deal without dragging kids out of school, a key point as the Chicago strike heads into its fourth day.

Emanuel would have done us all a favor, himself included, if he had left it at that.

Rahm needs a full-time fact-checker because he's a royal fibber.

There's also this, from the letter Karen Lewis sent out to the media on Thursday:

The mayor loves to tout unsubstantiated statistics about how popular charter schools are among Chicago parents. Today he used a new number: now apparently the waiting list is whopping 19,000 students. Wow - that's a lot of children who were 'so unfortunate' to not get a seat at a coveted charter school.

Really? Then why did only a few hundred families show up at last year's New School Expo, even though Chicago's corporate elite spent so much money on promotional advertisements and even provided a free shuttle bus to Soldiers Field. Why did the UNO Charter School Network admit at the press conference at St. Scholastica last month that its organizers were going to go door-knocking in the neighborhood to try to recruit a couple hundred families to open the school this fall? Why did Andrew Broy of the Illinois Charter School Network say this week that there are 3,000 - 4,000 slots still available at Chicago charter schools for parents who didn't want to wait out the strike?

Now, I haven't found the information put out by the CTU to be totally reliable. But I have found Rahm's "misstatements" more willful. These claims too, then, need to be vetted. Just like everything that comes out of our mayor's mouth.


One More Time: And the baloney about Urban Prep is worse than Lewis says; the 100 percent graduation rate is an illusion.


See also:
* Teachers Strike Notebook 1: Textbooks and A/C.
* Teachers Strike Notebook 2: Obama vs. Sveum.
* Teachers Strike Notebook 3: Nickelback and Numerology.
* Teachers Strike Notebook 4: Astroturf and Optics.


Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 8:58 AM | Permalink

How Bad Did The Bears Suck? Let America Tweet The Ways

Superior crowdsourced commentary.












Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 7:54 AM | Permalink

The Week in Chicago Rock

You shoulda been there.

1. Bob Mould at the Metro on Thursday night.


2. Melanie Fiona at the big West Side basketball arena on Thursday night.


3. Sexfist at the Abbey on Tuesday night.


4. Alabama Shakes at Subterranean on Tuesday night.


5. Mary J. Blige at the big West Side basketball arena on Thursday night.


6. Robbie Fulks and the Scavengers at the Hideout on Monday night.


7. The Clams at the Burllngton on Monday night.


Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 7:05 AM | Permalink

September 13, 2012

The [Thursday] Papers

"The American Civil Liberties Union in Chicago is suing the state of Illinois over conditions inside youth prisons," WBEZ reports.

"In its lawsuit the ACLU says some of the kids locked up aren't getting enough time in the classroom, and for the time they are there, they're not getting high quality instruction."

By that standard they should sue CPS too.


"One of the principal causes of the inadequate conditions at the Illinois Department of Juvenile Justice is insufficient staffing and resources," says the ACLU's Adam Schwartz.


Our society sure doesn't like children much.


See also: Teachers Strike Notebook 4: Astroturf and Optics.

Class War
U of I Says Freshman Class Smaller But Better.

The legislative scholarship ban is working!

Lolla Grass
"Restoration of Grant Park following Lollapalooza has been completed at a cost of $350,000 picked up by the company that runs the summer music festival," the Tribune reports.

"The promoters of the fest, Texas-based C3 Presents, originally had said the renovations should cost about $150,000. But the final price tag was still far less than last year's $1 million bill for damage to the park following the festival."

I'll believe it when Jim DeRogatis sees it.

Home Base
"Illinois posted the highest foreclosure rate in the nation in August, with one of every 298 homes receiving a foreclosure notice, according to a report issued Thursday," the Tribune reports.

I wonder how many of those homes have children in the Chicago public school system.


See also: Foreclosure Fail: Study Pins Blame On Big Banks (ProPublica).

Bears Pull The Robbery
So says the Czar of the Playbook.

TV Rookie
Tavi Gevenson on Jimmy Fallon.

Fender Jazzmaster
Three-Tone Sunburst 1965.

They're Sorry
Read It Maybe.


The Beachwood Tip Line: Kid stuff.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 9:57 AM | Permalink

Teachers Strike Notebook 4

Has the strike actually been a good thing - are we better off as not only a city but a nation for having it?

When I see the discussions that the strike has sparked all over the country, I kind of start to think so.

It's been more substantive than the presidential campaign, even given the vast amount of misinformation spinning around out there.

And if it comes to an end soon, as it now again looks like it might, one week of lost instruction (that will be made up) isn't a big deal.

In fact, we all may have learned a thing or two.

Helping or Hurting
A teacher responds to Jean-Claude Brizard.

Optics Journalism
"Messaging has been an Emanuel strength," Kristen Mack wrote for the Tribune earlier this week.

In other words, he's done a really good job manipulating us!

Evaluation Games
If only reporters and editors were evaluated as thoroughly as they want for Chicago teachers. Sheesh, is anyone else in the world evaluated so stringently? Let's face it, everyone knows who the good, average and bad teachers are in a given school. Formal reviews, as an editor once told me, exist almost wholly to be used in case a boss wants to fire someone.


Robin Meade on CNN Headline News: "Teachers don't want test scores to affect their evaluation, which would affect their pay."

Simply not true. Teachers accept test scores as part of their evaluation, they just don't want them to be as huge a part as Obama and Emanuel want them to be.


"Chicago's teachers say they would accept a rating where 25 percent was based on student achievement on tests, but balk at the increase to 40 percent, higher than the state standard," the New York Times reports.

Table Games
Hipster Alderman Joe Moreno strikes again.

And here's where Rahm has been. The principals are rarely at the table until the very end.


"[Rahm] has not personally attended any of the schools negotiations and has instead sent an aide," the New York Times reports.

Nominal schools superintendent Jean-Claude Brizard hasn't attended the negotiation sessions either.

Test Case
So Rahm and the editorial boards are going to take on the Lab School next?

Political Reporting
In the mind of a political consultant, this angle might be true. But in the mind of a journalist, the only thing that should matter is determining the truth about where the president stands - and it's clearly with Rahm - and forcing him to say it aloud.

Business Opportunity
"The Chicago Teachers Union strike, now in its second day, is giving one Chicago company a boost in business," Crain's reported on Tuesday.

"Sittercity, a website that helps parents find baby sitters and nannies, has seen membership jump 35 percent in the past 24 hours in the Chicago market, said Mary Schwartz, director of public relations."

Hedging Bets
So funny - journalists hate when hedge funders buy up and run their news organizations but they don't seem to mind when they try to run school systems.

Illogical Leadership
"As an executive in banking and then trading, David Vitale was known for his strong opinions and terse logic, according to former colleagues," the Tribune reports.

"Although Vitale projected an aura of calm and quiet amid chaos, he worked tenaciously to do what he thought was right even if that left some feeling 'rubbed the wrong way,' according to A.D. Frazier, who worked with Vitale at First Chicago Corp. in the 1980s."

Great. Between him and Rahm, you've basically got two grating banksters.


"Before being tapped by Emanuel to helm the school board, Vitale chaired the Academy for Urban School Leadership, a nonprofit that manages teacher training academies in Chicago and oversees efforts to turn around several low-performing schools in Chicago.

"The move led to accusations of a conflict of interest because the turnaround operator was expected to receive new schools to manage."


"Wendy Katten, director of the parent group Raise Your Hand, said she found Vitale to be informed but at times dismissive.

"Katten recalled one particularly chaotic board meeting in which protesters shouted down board members over school closings. During a lull, Vitale quipped that he hoped the protesters had 'gotten it out of their system.'

"'He doesn't get it,' Katten said. 'Of course, they didn't get it out of their system.'"


CTU vs. Tea Party Astroturf Bully Billionaires


Letter From Karen Lewis
Sent out by the union this morning.


"The Chicago Public Schools (CPS) is so cash-strapped that it plans to close and consolidate under-utilized schools, with rumors that it could be upwards of 120 schools this coming year. Many people would consider this to be fiscally prudent. Mayor Emanuel is of course going to blame the soon-to-be agreed upon new union contract.

"What the public does not understand, however, even though both the Chicago Tribune and the Chicago Sun-Times have been writing about it for months, is that CPS is also simultaneously planning to open 60 new charter schools in the next few years. That decision was made last year under the 'Gates Compact' in which CPS went into an agreement with the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation to increase charter schools in Chicago.

"The CPS district has seen declining enrollment over the last decade, as have many other urban districts, because urban sprawl is sending our families to far-flung suburbs like Oswego where the housing is much larger and much cheaper than in the city. This is not because Chicago schools are 'failing' - this is an urban planning phenomenon that we have seen many times in the last century. Illinois' farmlands are being converted into towns and just as the highways of the 1940s and 1950s allowed for suburban commuters to live comfortably outside the city and quickly get to work downtown every day, the Metra and I-355 have been expanded out to Oswego and other suburbs to help push that housing development.

"Thus, the decline in enrollment in CPS District 299 is a natural phenomenon. Populations ebb and flow over the decades.

"But, what is not natural is the city's push for unprecedented charter expansion. The mayor loves to tout unsubstantiated statistics about how popular charter schools are among Chicago parents. Today he used a new number: now apparently the waiting list is whopping 19,000 students. Wow - that's a lot of children who were 'so unfortunate' to not get a seat at a coveted charter school.

"Really? Then why did only a few hundred families show up at last year's New School Expo, even though Chicago's corporate elite spent so much money on promotional advertisements and even provided a free shuttle bus to Soldiers Field. Why did the UNO Charter School Network admit at the press conference at St. Scholastica last month that its organizers were going to go door-knocking in the neighborhood to try to recruit a couple hundred families to open the school this fall? Why did Andrew Broy of the Illinois Charter School Network say this week that there are 3,000 - 4,000 slots still available at Chicago charter schools for parents who didn't want to wait out the strike?

"Chicagoans need to understand what is happening to our school system. The mayor and his hedge fund allies are going to replace our democratically-controlled public schools with privately-run charter schools. This will have such disastrous results and people need to rise up and refuse to allow this to happen. As a parent, do you really want your child wearing a three-piece polyester suit every day to school and pay a fine every time your child's tie isn't on straight? Do you really believe that it's okay for a school to punish your child with a three-hour detention because he or she wanted to eat some Flaming Hot Cheetos?

"And then of course, there is the dismal achievement outcome of the majority of charter schools. Urban Prep brags about its 100 percent college-bound rate when the average ACT score of its' students is only 16. Where are those students going to college?

"Finally, and most importantly, there is the cost. Mayor Emanuel says we will have to close and consolidate public schools to save money to pay for the new union contract. Does anyone in the public have any idea how much money it costs to open a brand new charter school and pay for the first few years while the school gets up and running? Hundreds of millions of dollars! CPS has an entire department dedicated to soliciting charter proposals, reviewing them, and then supporting the charter during its 'incubation period." Also during this incubation period, the school is not held accountable for its test scores because CPS understands that of course the school will not do well initially.

"This is what we want for our children? Parents don't want their kindergartner, 5th-grader or 9th-grader acting as guinea pigs for a charter school that might eventually become a good school. There is not a single charter management network that can say that all of its campuses are doing well.

"Mayor Emanuel and his charter school friends are complaining that the Chicago Teachers Union strike has kept students out of school for a few days - what about the years that students suffer in low-performing charter schools that are still trying to figure out how to manage themselves as an academic institution? Even the hedge fund billionaires that are behind this push admit that every charter school is not going to succeed - so why are we doing this? Why aren't we simply looking at what already works, at the 30 percent of CPS' neighborhood elementary schools that are scoring 85 percent and above - some at 100 percent - on state tests. Why aren't we replicating that?"


I don't agree with the urban sprawl argument - I think it was economic and safety issues that drove 200,000 people out of Chicago in the last decade, most of them African Americans - but that's not really important.

And the baloney about Urban Prep is worse than Lewis says; the 100 percent graduation rate is an illusion.

But those are details. The crux of the argument is right on and it's important to understand as the context undergirding the strike.


See also:
* Teachers Strike Notebook 1: Textbooks and A/C.
* Teachers Strike Notebook 2: Obama vs. Sveum.
* Teachers Strike Notebook 3: Nickelback and Numerology.


Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 7:53 AM | Permalink

Czar of the Playbook: The Bears In A Robbery

You don't want to play zone against Aaron Rodgers. The defensive line has to go eight deep. And the X-factor will be the Bears safeties.


See also:
* Take The Packers And The Over
* There Will Be Blood


Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 7:23 AM | Permalink

Tavi Gevinson on Jimmy Fallon

Oak Park fashion blogger, style icon and media maven Tavi Gevinson, now 16, appeared on Late Night with Jimmy Fallon this week. He seemed genuinely charmed.

She, too.

Here it is.


See also:
* Tavi's blog
* Tavi's magazine
* Tavi's Twitter


Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 7:05 AM | Permalink

The Fender Jazzmaster Three-Tone Sunburst 1965

"A very clean '65 Jazzmaster from the short period during which the guitars had a bound fingerboard and dot inlays, just after the CBS takeover. This one has the typical wide, round neck to give some nice heft to its 25 1/2"-scale neck. A smooth player, it's one of the nicer '65 Jazzmasters we've come across for both playability and looks.

"Fender has release a reissue of this guitar in 2012 for their Fender American Vintage Reissue Series. However this Jazzmaster is the REAL thing! Enjoy"


Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 5:50 AM | Permalink

Read It Maybe

"We're sorry?"


See also: The Open Books YouTube Channel.


Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 3:59 AM | Permalink

September 12, 2012

The [Wednesday] Papers

Today's Teachers Strike Notebook: Nickelback and Numerology.

Now, the rest of the news . . .

1. "A longtime top political consultant to Cook County Democratic Chairman and Assessor Joseph Berrios faces $30,400 in fines after state election authorities found he failed to file campaign-finance disclosure reports until long after they were due," the Sun-Times reports.

"Jesse Ruben Juarez didn't turn in seven reports that were due as long ago as June 2010 and as recently as March for his 1st Ward Democratic Committeeman Fund, according to Andy Nauman, deputy director for the Illinois Board of Elections' campaign disclosure division. The political committee didn't appeal and is on the hook for the penalties, Nauman says."


"[First Ward Alderman Joe] Moreno and Juarez were once allies - before the alderman unseated Juarez as the First Ward's Democratic committeeman in the March 20 primary.

"Moreno says he blew the whistle on the late campaign reports because strict reporting of campaign fund-raising and spending are important."


"Juarez has been a top campaign adviser to Illinois politicians for over a decade. In all, various political committees registered with the state have paid him and his JRJ Consulting firm nearly $764,000, according to election board records.

"About $325,000 of that has come from committees controlled by Berrios, the Cook County Democratic Party and state Rep. Maria Antonia 'Toni' Berrios (D-Chicago), the party boss' daughter.

"Juarez also was a key adviser to former First Ward Ald. Manny Flores, whose campaign committees paid Juarez and JRJ more than $154,000."


In other words, Juarez has been a political cog for years.


I accidentally just typed JRJ Consluting but you know what? I think I just coined a term.

2. "Dark Days" is up, my new Chicago magazine story about Jesse Jackson Jr.

See also: On Reporting The Jesse Jackson Jr. Story.

3. I did not know of Robin Ventura's role in the famous Bobby Valentine disguise incident until I read this story.

4. If the Cubs were decent, Alfonso Soriano wouldn't be playing for them.

5. "It's official: As of a week ago Friday, Erineo 'Eddie' Carranza, owner and operator of the embattled Congress Theater in Logan Square, now also owns the Portage Theater, that 1,325-seat gem of a 1920s movie palace at Six Corners on the city's Northwest Side," Jim DeRogatis writes on his WBEZ blog.

"But what does he want to do with it? And, given the many complaints from the community and city officials about the way he's running the Congress, what can his new neighbors and fans of the Portage expect?

"Carranza was typically uncommunicative when I traded e-mails with him yesterday. Though this blogger has done five stories totaling more than 10,000 words about the Congress since March, he started by asking what media organization I worked for."

6. "Taylor Townsend, a 16-year-old tennis prodigy from Chicago, is the numero uno junior girls' tennis player in the world, the reigning Australian Open singles champion and the junior Wimbledon doubles champion, and on Thursday she won two matches at the U.S. Open's junior tournament," Jezebel writes.

"She's awesome, is what we're getting at here, but Townsend, who is part of the USTA's player development program, had to find her own way to pay for a trip to New York because her coaches had declined to finance any tournament appearances until she lost weight."

7. Also from Jezebel: Some Idiot Asks Illinois Attn. Gen. Lisa Madigan Three Times If She Can Be a Mom and Be Governor at the Same Time.

8. Public Safety Committee Meeting Avoids Discussion Of Public Safety.


These last two headlines correspond to something I had reason to write on Facebook yesterday:

I see two lessons of the digital age when it comes to headlines, and they are basically from opposite ends of the spectrum. First, Gawker Media has really taught us how to write at least some of our headlines, even if the tone will be a bit much for many news orgs. No puns; more wit that cuts to the heart of it. OTOH, reading news digitally often calls for simple headlines that just say what the story is about; I wrote "Springsteen at Wrigley" this morning. Digital readers are often scanning and punny or pseudo-clever headlines are often meaningless outside of the context of a printed page.

9. Song of the Moment: Chicago Teacher.

10. The Whole World Is Watching The Chicago Teachers Strike.

11. Stalking The Elgin Dog Snatcher.

12. Fantasy Fix: Don't Believe The Hate.


The Beachwood Tip Line: Haters and snatchers.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 12:23 PM | Permalink

Teachers Strike Notebook 3

"Rahm Emanuel started a fight with teachers that only he can finish," Carol Marin writes in the Sun-Times.

"In his 2011 campaign for mayor, he took the Chicago Teachers Union on as an adversary rather than attempt to make them a partner. He opted for a blunt instrument rather than a finessed approach. In hammering home how he was 'for the children,' he left the implication that teachers were not."


"And then, shortly after his election, Emanuel went to Springfield to get Senate Bill 7 passed. Touted as education reform, it was really an anti-collective bargaining measure, setting up a 75 percent vote threshold for union members to authorize a strike.

"Jonah Edelman, executive director of the deep-pocketed, pro-business group Stand for Children, was caught on video gloating about its legislative victory, saying: 'The unions cannot strike in Chicago . . . They will never be able to muster the 75 percent threshold.'

"Though Edelman later publicly regretted his bravado, his agenda clearly is on behalf of the privatization of public education. And of charter schools. Even though the metrics of charter-school performance mirror the highs and lows of neighborhood public schools.

"I ran the numbers when I was at CPS," said Terry Mazany, former interim CPS superintendent and CEO of the Chicago Community Trust. "Charters, based on . . . being freed from restrictions of bureaucracy, should be knocking the socks off neighborhood schools. But they're not. It's a dead heat."

Rich Miller takes a crack at deciphering the salary figures being thrown around, even though that seems to be the least of the issues involved.

FOIA His iPod
Coldplay is next.


Right in RedEye's wheelhouse.

CTU Blueprint
The union's version of reform.

Rahm's Folly
Overpaid and unaccountable.

Hiring Power
Rahm wants principals to have the power to hire teachers instead of the central office. I haven't researched this issue fully but I don't see why the power would reside in one place or the other, instead of some sort of system where the principal takes the lead but must have choices approved by superiors - like in any other workplace.

But I do know that Rahm is wrong when he says this:

"It's just like holding a coach accountable for a team's results. They create the team."

Just not true. Dale Sveum and Robin Ventura did not choose their roster, their general managers did.

And when the central office installs principals to carry out their whims, well, it seems like teachers should have some protections. To the media: Think about, say, the new assistant city editor who brings in their own reporters and shunts you aside regardless of performance.

Rahm is practically proposing a patronage system where those loyal to him and his surrogates will in turn be rewarded. See Social Justice High.

It might be different if Rahm would stay out of it instead of insisting on running the schools himself - along with the police department and the mayor's office. But he's poisoned the system by politicizing it so much.

Hell's Angle
This is a weird frame for a story; no matter how this ends the teachers will be getting less pay and benefits than originally budgeted for, no?


Schools communication chief Becky Carroll is quoted in this story but her now-deleted tweets are far more revealing.

And guess how much money she makes?

The Whole World Is Watching
This is what they're seeing.

Cheaters Paradise
Derrick Rose can't wait until students get back to school so they can cheat on their tests the way he did.

Editors Agree . . .
. . . Chicago's Teachers Are Wrong.

Magic Solution
This press release just in:

With the Chicago Teacher's Union strike in its third day, Chicago Magician, Edd Fairman, has devised a novel plan to eliminate the boredom of CPS students being home when they should be at school and to help relieve some of the stress of caregivers.

"I was thinking of all these kids stuck at home and probably climbing the walls and their poor parents, grandparents, and baby sitters pulling their hair out," says Fairman. "Of course, what I do, being a magician, could really help in a situation like that. So, I devised a crazy plan. I am offering my show on a per child price of only $7.00." When asked why he choose $7.00 he said, "I figure it's a price that almost everyone can afford and it helps to cover my gas, etc. I couldn't do it for free, though I would love to. I'm a full time professional magician and I need to offset my costs, even if just a little."

Song of the Moment
"Chicago Teacher" by Rebel Diaz.

Of Mice And Money
"A few of our classrooms had to stop taking a standardized test because mice were running around," one teacher tells Catalyst. "A kindergarten teacher added she had 38 children in her class and no aide. And, so far this school year, books and other supplies haven't arrived.

"At Bowen High School, union delegate Denise Forbes said the school has more than 500 students and only one computer and music teacher."

Ministry of Misinformation
The Emanuel administration sure made it seem like an agreement was near when teachers went out on Monday. That's the basic conceit behind the notion that this is a "strike of choice" that could have been avoided by staying at the bargaining table for a few extra hours instead of going off half-cocked.

It turns out that was just propaganda designed to make the teachers look unreasonable.

Charter Support
Unions lift the wages of all workers; without the CTU these charter teachers would be paid about as much as Walmart greeters.


See also:
* Teachers Strike Notebook 1: Textbooks and A/C.
* Teachers Strike Notebook 2: Obama vs. Sveum.


Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 10:33 AM | Permalink

Stalking The Elgin Dog Snatcher

"Dogs are being snatched from their homes in a Chicago suburb; who or what is committing such an act?"


Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 8:28 AM | Permalink

The Whole World Is Watching The Chicago Teachers Strike

Let's take a look at what they're seeing.

1. Al Jazeera English.


2. Iran's PressTV.


3. CNN Headline News.


4. Pajamas Media.


5. Free Speech TV/Democracy Now.


6. Milwaukee.


7. AP.


8. RT (formerly Russia Today).


9. PBS.


10. ABC.


11. CCTV (China).


12. The Real News Network.


13. New Tang Dynasty TV Canada.


14. Fox News All-Star Panel.


Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 7:30 AM | Permalink

Fantasy Fix: Don't Believe The Hate

Many fantasy football draft boards had one thing in common: A complete lack of NY Jets players. With the possible exceptions of late-round picks used to nab WR Santonio Holmes, RB Shonn Greene or back-up QB/would-be miracle worker Tim Tebow, many fantasy football owners were not buying into the Rex Ryan mystique, the Tebow halo or even the hype around rookie Stephen Hill.

It was a prime example of how an already shaky team having a terrible preseason - no TDs by its first-string offense in four games - can shake any faith that fantasy drafters have in that team's individual players.

But the Jets stunned just about everybody by tallying 48 points in an opening game win against the Buffalo Bills. True, there might be questions about Buffalo's defense, but 48 points against anyone in the NFL suggests there must be a few Jets players with fantasy potential. It just goes to show that you can't believe everything you see in the preseason.

Here's my take on the fantasy value of a handful of key Jets:

Stephen Hill, WR: Big and physical, very similar in size and style to Brandon Marshall, the rookie looked like the real deal for one week. He didn't have a good preseason, but he's assured to start and get targeted for the foreseeable future. If not a top-tier WR, he's looking like a solid flex play.

Mark Sanchez, QB: During the preseason, he looked like he was trying to lose his job to Tebow. In 2011, he had a great preseason and went downhill from there, so maybe 2012 will see the reverse. In one week, he played himself from a non-draftee into a back-up fantasy option.

Shonn Greene, RB: Got very close to a 100-yard game in Week 1. Greene looks best when he doesn't have to carry the offense. Though he was drafted like a No. 2 RB or bench player, he could very well become a top 10-12 RB if the Jets offense stays balanced.

Santonio Holmes, WR: Eight TDs last year likely helped him get drafted in a few leagues, but he's more like a third-down receiver, and Hill's success will limit his opportunities.

You'll notice one big name missing from this list. If the Jets use Tebow the way they did during Week 1 - almost strictly in a wildcat formation for fewer than 10 plays - he will accumulate a few yards and maybe even a score here and there, but not enough to be activated on your fantasy roster.

Expert Wire
* Yahoo! Roto Arcade examines the panic around Wes Welker's Week 1 performance. I still like Welker long-term even if New England ends up trading him.

* Bleacher Report ranks defensive match-ups for Week 2.

* says Alfred Morris and C. J. Spiller are popular guys this week.


Dan O'Shea is our man in fantasyland. He welcomes your comments.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 7:07 AM | Permalink

Song of the Moment: Chicago Teacher

Wearin' red like the Bulls in '95.

Artist/Group: Rebel Diaz

Album: Radical Dilemma

Released: September 12, 2012

Length: 4:11

Written and Performed By: G1 and RodStarz

Produced By: Produced by DJ ILLANOIZ.

Wikipedia: "Rebel Diaz is a political hip hop duo (formerly a trio) out of the Bronx, New York and Chicago consisting of the Chilean brothers Rodrigo Venegas (known as RodStarz) and Gonzalo Venegas (known as G1). Rebel Diaz uses their music as an organizing tool and to spread knowledge about injustice.

"The children of Chilean activists, RodStarz and G1 were born in England and grew up in Chicago's North Side, and former member Lah Tere was raised in Humboldt Park, Chicago."



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
* Know Your Rights


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 6:43 AM | Permalink

September 11, 2012

The [Tuesday] Papers

Where does your alderman stand on the teachers strike? That and more in Teachers Strike Notebook 2: Obama vs. Sveum.

Seeing Red
"A quirk in Illinois traffic laws has complicated Mayor Rahm Emanuel's plan to pepper the city with speed cameras and slowed down bidding on a multimillion-dollar system scheduled to begin issuing $100 tickets by early next year," the Tribune reports.

"The problem: a 38-year-old opinion by the Illinois attorney general that says children must be 'visibly present' before school zone speed limits can be enforced."

Sources tell the Beachwood that when informed of the issue, Emanuel demanded to know who the fuck didn't do their homework.


"What that means is those robotic safety-zone cameras must not only capture high-definition images of speeding cars and their license plates, they also must seek out and photograph a child as much as a football field's distance away - preferably in the same shot.

"The legal technicality was not addressed when Emanuel persuaded state lawmakers and Chicago aldermen to quickly give City Hall authority to tag speeders near schools and parks in new safety zones that could cover half the city. The mayor argued that a crisis of pedestrian accidents required a quick response, though a Tribune analysis raised doubts about his claims

"The city also told vendors the photographs of pedestrians will be reviewed by three people to ensure an 'enforceable image' of a child."

Three people? So this is really a jobs plan?


"There could be hundreds of violations on any given day and now you have to have humans reviewing videos for all those violations," one bidder told the paper. "I don't know how that isn't cost-prohibitive."

Well, it's not about the money, it's about the children, so even if the city loses money on its new speed cameras, it must be done.

Scales Of Justice
"A woman with a history of theft - including using tape and a weighted string to fish cash out of a lock box - was sentenced to 10 years in prison Monday for stealing more than $500,000 from a Downers Grove law firm where she worked as a secretary," the Tribune reports.

"Mary Marra, 44, of Woodridge pleaded guilty in June to two counts of theft in excess of $100,000 and one count of continuing a financial crimes enterprise, all Class 1 felonies, according to a news release from the DuPage County State's Attorney Robert Berlin."

See, her big mistake was not working for a bank.

Train Wreck
"CTA President Forrest Claypool and other top transit officials have declined to speak on the record about the 5000 Series issues that commuters are abuzz about," the Tribune reports.

Perhaps that's because it was a railcar of choice.

Springsteen At Wrigley
His country in ruins.

There Will Be Blood
* The Blue & Orange Kool-Aid Report: Benson and The General.
* Bears Preview: Take The Packers And The Over.

My Prediction: Packers 33-28.

Through The Eyes Of Angels And Arts
In Local Book Notes.

Memorial Day
ABC7's 9/11 Report.


The Beachwood Tip Line: Tips of necessity.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 12:45 PM | Permalink

Local Book Notes: Through The Eyes Of Angels And Art

Over the transom in four parts.

1. From The Society of Midland Authors:

Chicago author Mahmoud Saeed, a native of Iraq, will discuss his novel The World Through the Eyes of Angels in a Society of Midland Authors program Oct. 9 at the Cliff Dwellers Club, along with one of his translators, Allen Salter of Chicago.

Saeed has written more than 20 novels and short story collections, starting with Port Saeed and Other Stories in 1963. That same year, Iraq's first military-Baathist government seized two of his novels and imprisoned him for a year. After being incarcerated six times, Saeed left Iraq in 1985. He has lived in the United States since 1999, and he now teaches Arabic and Arabic culture at DePaul University.


Saeed and Salter will speak at 7 p.m. Tuesday, Oct. 9, at the Cliff Dwellers Club, 200 S. Michigan Ave., 22nd floor, Chicago. A social hour, with complimentary snacks and a cash bar, begins at 6 p.m. Reservations are not required. Admission is free, but the Society will accept donations to defray the cost of programs. For more information, see


2. Three from The Poetry Foundation:

i) The Poetry Foundation and the Neighborhood Writing Alliance present Sonia Sanchez, the internationally acclaimed author of more than 20 books, including Homecoming, Homegirls and Handgrenades, which won the American Book Award in 1985, Shake Loose My Skin, and, most recently, Morning Haiku.

One of the founding members of the Black Arts Movement and an influential advocate for civil rights, Sanchez has received many accolades for her literature and activism, among them the Langston Hughes Award, the Robert Frost Medal, and the Peace and Freedom Award. She was recently named Philadelphia's first poet laureate.

Thursday, September 13, 7 p.m.
Poetry Foundation, 61 West Superior Street
Free admission on a first come, first-served basis.


ii) The Poetry Foundation's Harriet Reading Series presents a central influence among the Beats, New York School, and Language poets. Joanne Kyger has authored more than 20 books of poetry and prose, including As Ever: Selected Poems, Strange Big Moon: The Japan and India Journals, 1960-1964, and, most recently, About Now: Collected Poems, for which she was awarded the 2008 PEN Oakland Josephine Miles National Literary Award for Poetry. A reception will follow the reading.

Friday, September 14, 6:30 p.m.
Poetry Foundation, 61 West Superior Street
Free admission on a first come, first-served basis.


iii) The Poetry Foundation is pleased to present a celebration of 2007 Ruth Lilly Poetry Prize-winner Lucille Clifton's life and work as well as the publication of The Collected Poems of Lucille Clifton 1965-2010 (BOA Editions, 2012). Clifton, who passed away in 2010, once told an interviewer that "writing is a way of continuing to hope . . . a way of remembering I am not alone." Poets Michael S. Glaser, Li-Young Lee, Elise Paschen, Kevin Young, and other special guests will read their favorite Clifton poems. A reception will follow the reading.

Thursday, September 20, 7:00 PM
Poetry Foundation, 61 West Superior Street
Free admission on a first come, first-served basis. Doors open 30 minutes before the program, which is expected to last approximately one hour.


Comments welcome

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 9:20 AM | Permalink

ABC7 Chicago's 9/11 Report

John Drury and Diann Burns anchoring.


Uploaded to YouTube by Carlos's News Network.


Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 9:11 AM | Permalink

Springsteen At Wrigley

A nation in ruins.

1. The Promised Land.


2. Badlands.


3. The Ghost of Tom Joad with Tom Morello.


4. Atlantic City with Eddie Vedder.


5. My Hometown with Eddie Vedder.


6. Born To Run.


7. Because The Night.


8. Tenth Avenue Freeze-Out.


9. Who'll Stop The Rain.


10. Rosalita.


11. Shackled And Drawn.


12. This Depression with Tom Morello.


13. Darkness On The Edge Of Town with Eddie Vedder.


14. Death To My Hometown with Tom Morello.


15. Twist And Shout.


16. My City Of Ruins.


17. Trapped.


18. Spirit In The Night.


19. We Take Care Of Our Own.


20. Hungry Heart.


21. Out In The Street.


22. Prove It All Night.


23. None But The Brave.


24. Jungleland.


25. Leaving Wrigley.


Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 8:13 AM | Permalink

The Blue & Orange Kool-Aid Report: There Will Be Blood On Benson And The General

They've got a number one receiver, a Pro Bowl quarterback and a complete running game - now with real fullback action!

They've got a coaching staff that's so experienced and prepared that they were in charge of making the trains run on time while Rahm was at the DNC*.

They've got an opportunistic defense that will put points on the board with a rookie safety poised to perennially man the secondary for years to come!




IR? Already?

Sorry, I didn't watch the preseason.

Um . . . your move, (insert name of third-round safety here).

More Than Meets The Eye
This offseason, Phil Emery did a great job guarding against season-boning injuries thanks to the acquisitions of Jason Campbell and Michael Bush. If Jay Cutler and Matt Forte go down again, the 2012 Bears will remain competitive by transforming into the 2011 Oakland Raiders.

Back In Pack
Well, well, well. If it isn't media darling Aaron Rodgers and his new pal Robert Guillaume**.

Oh . . . different Benson.

Look, I'm not playing fantasy football this year. You can't expect me to know who's on these teams.

In my home country of Turdukistan, I'm a rugby beat reporter.

The towering strength of the 2012 Packers is their ability to film State Farm commercials, but don't be fooled; they can also give up long field goals.

Seriously, if I see a bit with Edgar Bennett and Dan Majkowski polka dancing while people don't recognize Aaron Rodgers, I'm calling The General for a minimum-coverage policy on my penguin just on principal.

Kool Aid (5 Out Of 5 Glasses Of That Weird Nacho Cheese Dip You Get At The Movies)
I've not had the pleasure of sampling the local cuisine served in the fine establishments near the intersection of Route 43 and NOTHING, so I assume it's just a mix of liquefied dairy and locks of Antonio Freeman's back hair.


As for the contest, this is as much as you can ask for in Week 2:

There will be offense.

There will be turnovers.


Well, at least until Rodger Goodell catches word of a rivalry that broke out in the Midwest like 100 years ago.

Then, players will be suspended four games each time there is blood.

Bears 30
Packers 28


* In retrospect, Mike Tice should not have let Emanuel script the first ten offensive plays in exchange for one an oversized key to the city.

** Wow! A Soap spin-off joke! Welcome back fans of timely humor!


Carl Mohrbacher is our man on the Bears beat. He welcomes your comments.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 7:27 AM | Permalink

Take The Packers And The Over

The new-look Bears pummeled the worst team in the NFL. The Packers struggled against one of the best teams in the NFL. Oddsmakers who would normally have made Green Bay a seven-point home favorite kicked the line down to five. Opportunity for the savvy bettor arises.


See also:
* Packers Not Worried About Defensive Woes

* Greg Jennings Has Groin; Status Unclear


Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 6:41 AM | Permalink

Teachers Strike Notebook 2

The president may not have the courage to admit he has an opinion about the teachers strike, and Democrats may think Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan are merely playing politics with their half-informed statements, but there is no question that Barack Obama is entangled in the proceedings on several levels.

Here's one:

"The wrangling has to do with a new teacher rating system pushed by the Obama administration, which has sparked new laws and controversy in Illinois and around the country," the Tribune reports.

"The new evaluations judge teachers in part on how their students perform, with a focus on academic gains. Teachers say that isn't fair for a lot of reasons and that bad ratings resulting from the new system could threaten teachers' livelihoods."

More to the point is that the new evaluations would dramatically increase the significance of how students perform on standardized tests. Why is this a problem?

Well, besides opposition among teachers to overvaluing standardized tests as a metric of educational success, consider the plight of Cubs manager Dale Sveum, who is trying really hard to prevent his team from losing 100 games in its inaugural season.

If he were piloting any other team in the league, he would have been fired by now. But Cubs bosses know it isn't fair to judge Sveum just on wins and losses, given the slop of a roster he's had to work with.

Now, I'm not calling Chicago public schoolkids slop. But some teachers face greater challenges than others with their "roster" in any given year in any given school. Or judging editors of wildly different staffs with variations of skill and size on the same metrics. Using student performance on standardized tests, then, is a pretty poor way to judge a teacher's effectiveness.

But if you don't want to believe the Chicago Teachers Union on this point, how about the administrators where Rahm sends his kids? To wit:

At the Laboratory Schools, teachers assess students by observing and interacting with them in the classroom, evaluating their day-to-day classroom work and homework assignments, meeting with their parents, and administering standardized tests.

Standardized testing at Lab is viewed as only part of the profile of students; it gives teachers a snapshot of each child's strengths and difficulties. Standardized tests are designed to give a common measure of students' performance. Since standardized tests are given to large groups of students throughout the country, a common standard of measure is derived. Lab teachers and administrators may use this information to tell how well school programs are succeeding or to learn more about the skills and abilities of individual students.

Somehow I don't think Rahm is paying all that dough to the Lab Schools at the same time he opposes the way his kids' teachers are evaluated. Why not just drop the same language into the CTU contract?

Obama, too, seems more than happy with de-emphasized standardized testing where he sends his kids even as he wants teachers to be more stringently judged on how well students do on standardized tests.

"At a downtown rally Monday, Rick Sawicki, a seventh-grade teacher at Evergreen Middle School, said it's unfair to tie a teacher's evaluation to student performance. He compared it to a coach not being able to pick the members of his team but still being evaluated on how they do on the field.

"There are a lot of factors that go into a child's education that is not reflected in test scores," he said. "Children are more to me than their test scores."

Hipster Joe
"It's ridiculous that they're striking," said Ald. Joe Moreno, a self-described "pragmatic progressive" punk. "In my opinion, they had a fair offer, there is a fair offer, and I just think some of the union leadership are hellbent on striking."

City Council Survey
"The willingness to cast blame on the union was not universal among aldermen, however, evidenced by the fact that only 33 of 50 signed a weekend letter to Chicago Teachers Union President Karen Lewis urging her to 'keep students in the classroom during negotiations,'" the Tribune reports.

"Several aldermen, including Ald. Robert Fioretti, 2nd, and Ald. Roderick Sawyer, 6th, said the letter should have been directed to both Lewis and the Chicago Public Schools leaders appointed by Emanuel.

"A few said they were never asked to sign. Among those was Nicholas Sposato, 36th, who was not pleased that it came down to a strike but supported the union's right to hit the picket lines.

"Ald. Timothy Cullerton, 38th, signed the letter but expressed support for the teachers. 'They certainly didn't want it to come to this,' Cullerton said. 'I support the teachers. I hope it comes to a quick resolution for everybody's sake.'"


The list:




Ald. Patrick O'Connor - Rahm's floor leader, as he was for Daley - has one of the cooler heads in the drama.

"They're close on the economic parts - but there are other issues that are holding it up and preventing them from signing off on the economic package," he told the Sun-Times.

But he did allow that he doesn't think a short strike would be "hugely devastating."

"We've been talking about it for weeks," O'Connor said. "Everybody has been steeling themselves for it. That being the case, you just hope that if they go out they keep bargaining and working to get it done . . .

"If it's a protracted strike, it may be something that has a lingering effect. If it's not, people in Chicago have seen this coming. The idea that it's here - nobody should be surprised. I don't think it's the end of the world or that it will have long lasting repercussions.

Cocktail Chatter
"[T]he most compelling figure in the debate over education is that more than eighty per cent of students in the Chicago school system qualify for free or reduced-price lunches, which is usually taken to be a measure of poverty," Rebecca Mead writes in the New Yorker. (The number in New York City is about three-quarters.)

"One problem with Chicago's schools - like schools in urban centers all over this country - is that their constituents, the students, suffer from the usual hindrances of poverty: having no place at home to study; having no support at home for studying; sometimes having no home at all.

"Another problem is that talk of breaking teachers' unions has become common parlance among the kind of people whose kids do not live below the poverty line, polite Pinkerton agents of education reform, circling at cocktail parties.

"No doubt there are some lousy teachers in Chicago, as there are everywhere. But blaming teachers for the failure of schools is like blaming doctors for the diseases they are seeking to treat."

Tweedy's Teachers
Jeff Tweedy isn't exactly a union sympathizer despite making music out of remnant Woody Guthrie lyrics with Billy Bragg, and he raised money for Rahm.

But his son Spencer, who attends a Chicago public school, stands with the teachers.

Who Is Karen Lewis?
Karen Lewis was extremely unimpressive in her Sunday night press conference timed to go live for the 10 o'clock news. And I have no illusions about union leadership, though I generally support their cause. Here is some background on Lewis from the Trib:

Lewis, the child of Chicago public school teachers and a South Side product of Chicago's public school system, grew up in Hyde Park. Street-smart and witty, Lewis attended Dartmouth College in the Ivy League, where she has said she was the only African-American female in her 1974 graduating class.

She eventually became a substitute teacher in chemistry and became enthralled with education.

Lewis, 59, taught chemistry and Advanced Placement chemistry for almost 20 years at Sullivan High School and later Lane Tech College Prep before returning to King College Prep High School, blocks from where she grew up.

At King, Wright said, Lewis was known for building strong relationships with parents, giving them her cellphone number and sending e-mails every week detailing her classroom agenda.

Maybe she should have Brizard's job.

Barbara Radner, the respected director of the Center for Urban Education at DePaul University, tells the Washington Post that "This is about anger. There is great, great hostility about the mayor right now among the teaching population. They call him 'Empermanuel.' He triggered that by saying, 'I don't need you. We're going to have a longer school day.'"

Kennedy Mystery
On August 31, I wrote this item:

The Tribune reaches all the way out to Maryland to find a commentator asking that Rahm Emanuel crush the teachers union like a bug.

But just who is Sean Kennedy and what is the Maryland Public Policy Institute where he is a visiting fellow?

Kennedy is a bit of a mystery, but the institute claims on one hand to be non-partisan but on the other "the state's leading conservative free-market policy organization."

Really, Tribune? Is this the best you can do?

Kennedy has since sent me an e-mail stating "The Trib piece was actually written under the aegis of the Lexington Institute, which is a non-partisan think tank in Arlington which has been active in the Ed Reform business for quite a while."

Got it.


See also:
* Teachers Strike Notebook 1: Textbooks and A/C.


Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 3:38 AM | Permalink

September 10, 2012

SportsMonday: Bad Start A Bears Blessing

Let's hear it for starting the season with a little humility.

After all, Jay Cutler certainly bounced back well enough on Sunday. He had to after receiving a critical reminder that he is far from perfect when despite no pass-rush pressure he tossed a brutal pick in the right flat that Colts linebacker Jerrell Freeman returned about 2.5 yards for a touchdown. It happened on the Bear offense's fourth play from scrimmage.

It was an unbelievably bad start to the season, but it could have been the best thing to happen to this team if they want Cutler to carry them to a deep playoff run.

Cutler has never been shy about barking at teammates when things go wrong, so it was good to see a little pre-emptive strike on his ego. While he improved on this score last year over the previous season - a sign of the kind of maturity he needs to be a real team leader - he is still prone to lapses in which he makes it crystal clear that his inferior teammates are not fit to wear the midnight blue and orange.

This feels like an instance where some individual adversity - that interception was nobody's fault but his own - followed by plenty of team success has a great chance to put the quarterback in the right frame of mind going forward. It certainly worked out that way on Sunday.

Cutler's strong performance and his outstanding new receivers - which we'll get to - were certainly the keys on Sunday, but the Bears also caught a few breaks that the woeful Colts could ill afford, though that's what happens to bad teams like Indy.

First, the Colts lost defensive end Dwight Freeney in the first quarter to an ankle injury.

And let's face it, while Bears offensive tackle J'Marcus Webb didn't quite cheap shot Freeney, he did reach out to get behind his ower leg just enough to make his block more like tackle. Freeney's foot got caught up underneath him and twisted and he was done for the day.

Then there was a wide-open Colts running back Donald Brown dropping the ball in the right flat on 3rd-and-2 with 1:41 left in the first quarter and the game tied. Not only was he in position to get the first down, he had a chance to turn the corner romp through the Bears' secondary. Instead, the Colts punted from the Bears' 47 and while they pinned Chicago down at their five, Cutler led them on a 95-yard scoring drive and took the lead for good.

The Bears appeared to get the benefit of a bad call on Tim Jennings' high-flying interception - the first of two by the Colts castoff on the day - given that Israel Idonije was almost certainly offsides on the play.

But these are details; the rout was on.

And credit for that goes almost entirely to the Bears' shiny new passing game, best illustrated by the longest-tenured Bear, long-snapper Patrick Mannelly, telling WBBM sideline reporter Zach Zaidman that after the final touchdown - a 42-yard catch-and-run by rookie Alshon Jeffery - he had to take off his helmet to make sure there was still a "C" on it. The Bears finished with 428 total yards and 314 of them came from the passing game.

In other words, this is a very different Bears team than even the oldest playing Bear can remember. Heck, with these sorts of receivers it is a different Bears team than any fans can ever remember seeing.

As for the defense, Henry Melton is obviously coming on, recording five tackles and two sacks.

But it was a strong game for the defensive line in general, from generating just enough push early on to force Andrew Luck into key overthrows, to (mostly) limiting the Colts' running game.

And the fact that they held the lead well enough (never allowing it to shrink to less than two touchdowns in the second half) enabled coach Lovie to keep Brian Urlacher on the sideline for most of the final two quarters - despite his objections.

And the best part of the whole thing? It's Packers Week already.


From ESPN: Zubin Mehenti and Cris Carter break down the Bears spoiling Andrew Luck's debut as Chicago defeats Indianapolis 41-21.


Jim "Coach" Coffman is our man on Mondays. He welcomes your comments.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 8:11 AM | Permalink

Teachers Strike Notebook 1

Did they both want a strike? Alexander Russo asks on This Week in Education. Check out the link for last night's dueling press conferences.

As to the question, I don't think so, but I also think that once it came down to the wire, the CTU was going to go out for at least a day or two to make a statement to Rahm.

From Rahm's perspective, I think he wanted to bend the union to his will and "break" the teachers without it getting to a strike. Now he's got a national PR mess on his hands as the guy who can't tame the teachers or the gangs.


"Talks have been productive in many areas," CTU President Karen Lewis said. "We have successfully won concessions for nursing mothers and have put more than 500 of our members back to work. We have restored some of the art, music, world language, technology and physical education classes to many of our students. The Board also agreed that we will now have textbooks on the first day of school rather than have our students and teachers wait up to six weeks before receiving instructional materials."

Teachers had to fight to have textbooks on the first day of school?

And you thought this was just about money. It sounds like teachers are fighting for students too, no?


"Recognizing the Board's fiscal woes, we are not far apart on compensation," Lewis said. However, we are apart on benefits. We want to maintain the existing health benefits."

After all, isn't Rahm touting the fact that under Obamacare you can keep your existing health plan? Unless you're a Chicago school teacher?


"We are also concerned that too much of the new evaluations will be based on students' standardized test scores," Lewis said.

So is Obama.


"Despite a new curriculum and new, stringent evaluation system, CPS proposes no increase (or even decreases) in teacher training," Lewis said.

Get better on your own time!


"We are demanding a reasonable timetable for the installation of air-conditioning in student classrooms - a sweltering, 98-degree classroom is not a productive learning environment for children," Lewis said.

Give students the air shafts, Rahm.


"Class size matters," Lewis said. "It matters to parents."

It certainly matters to Rahm - when it comes to his kids.


"In the third largest school district in Illinois there are only 350 social workers - putting their caseloads at nearly 1,000 students each," Lewis said. "We join them in their call for more social workers, counselors, audio/visual and hearing technicians and school nurses. Our children are exposed to unprecedented levels of neighborhood violence and other social issues, so the fight for wraparound services is critically important to all of us."

Makes sense if you really want to take a holistic approach to crime.


Rahm will return to the negotiating table tomorrow morning right after he drops his kids off at the Lab School.


They're not surprised in Rochester.


Rahm too busy raising money for SuperPACs to raise money for teachers.


A lot of Abe Froman reservations around town for lunch today.


Note to CPS students: The Cubs play a night game. Sorry.


Rahm thinks more cops will deter crime but denies more teachers would improve education.


"An analysis of budget documents shows that CPS leaders didn't make promised cuts in central office."


Last year ended with more than 15,000 homeless students enrolled in CPS.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 8:05 AM | Permalink

The [Monday] Papers

Is there any other kind?

But he got the headline he wanted.

More in today's Teachers Strike Notebook.

Secret Prisons
"First, Gov. Pat Quinn rejected reporters' requests to tour Illinois prisons as he plans a major shakeup in the state's corrections system," AP reports.

"Now his administration is refusing to reveal precisely who has been allowed to see inside state penitentiaries during his three years in office."

Later he'll deny the prisons even exist.


"Carefully controlled prison walk-throughs were commonplace for lawmakers, journalists and others in years past as a way to illustrate conditions for prisoners and the state employees who keep them in line. But after barring the gate to reporters last month, Quinn's administration has deemed it too burdensome to reveal who has been allowed to enter in response to a Freedom of Information request by The Associated Press."

That actually make sense because governing has proved too burdensome for the Quinn administration.


"Despite the governor's declaration that allowing reporters inside is a 'security risk,' prison officials say only individual wardens have information about tours by outside groups, and that top Department of Corrections brass don't keep track of who's coming and going, though some evidence contradicts that."

Reporters are going to smuggle in rock hammers in their notebooks?


"The AP and other media have asked to see prison conditions, which are described very differently by the two sides. (Link mine.)

"When rejected, the AP sought information about approved tours so it could speak with others who have been inside. But the state denied the information request, saying it would take too much time for a busy agency to collect the data from more than two dozen facilities."

That's because they're spending so much time rationalizing the denial of FOIA requests.


"The administration's tighter prison control comes as correctional systems nationally are trending toward more access, according to Daron Hall, president of the American Correctional Association, which accredits prison systems."

Quinn is leading from behind.


"The AP requested information on organized tours by community groups, lawmakers, reporters or others. Corrections responded that 'there is no central repository for these documents' and offered, under the law, to consider a 'narrowed' request - in this case, information from just two prisons out of two dozen."

And I'm sure Corrections would be happy to pick out which two!


"Spokeswoman Kayce Ataiyero told the AP each prison's visitor logs 'contain thousands of entries - including those representing the visits of inmates' family and friends,' making a search too laborious.

"But other evidence suggests top Corrections officials do know about separate tour groups, and are involved in approving them. When a reporter called Illinois River Correctional Center in Canton, a staff member in the warden's office said a tour request must be submitted in writing to the warden, but a deputy director of the department has final say.

"In addition, prison wardens submit weekly activity reports to one of the three deputy directors who supervise them, routinely listing approved tours.

Ataiyero did not respond to a question about whether the data could be collected from the deputy directors. Nor would she say whether the agency's computerized 'Visitor Tracking System' could provide answers."


Ataiyero is a former Tribune reporter and that makes her Today's Worst Person in Chicago.

Flaming Revolving Door
"As a lawyer and scientist for one of the world's largest makers of flame retardants, Todd Stedeford vigorously defended chemicals added to scores of household products - often by concluding the substances are far less dangerous than academic and government studies have determined," the Tribune reports.

"Studies, legal newsletters and letters he wrote or co-wrote while at Albemarle Corp. also frequently contradicted the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's positions and statements about industrial chemicals.

"He argued, for example, that people could be safely exposed to one flame retardant at doses more than 500 times higher than a standard set by the EPA and accused regulators of basing their decisions about toxic chemicals on emotion rather than reason.

"Now Stedeford is in charge of an EPA program studying whether dozens of industrial chemicals, including flame retardants, are too dangerous."


"The EPA would not make [EPA Administrator Lisa] Jackson or Stedeford available for an interview."

That would be too burdensome.

Family First
"Cook County's taxpayers are footing the bill for private legal counsel to represent Joe Berrios - the Cook County assessor, who is also chairman of the Cook County Democratic Party - in his fight against accusations he violated anti-nepotism rules by putting his son and sister on the payroll, records show," the Sun-Times reports.

Maybe just bill the taxpayers who voted for him.

Home Rule Ruse
"The state used to cap how much towns could borrow on the backs of taxpayers," the Tribune reports.

"But local officials complained they needed easier ways to borrow. Chicago's first Mayor Richard Daley led the charge for municipalities to set their own rules. The result was the 1970 Illinois Constitution and a concept that transformed how the city and suburbs are governed: home rule.

"It has let towns borrow as much as they want, and raise many taxes, all without direct voter input. Any town with at least 25,000 residents gets the power. Smaller towns can vote it in via a referendum measure."

The result?

"With no limits, some suburbs have dug themselves further into debt with what can be shaky plans for economic development.

"Among them:

* Officials in south suburban Markham raised sales and property taxes while borrowing $20 million mostly to buy a roller rink and build a senior apartment building - the latter named after the mayor.

* Northlake borrowed $14.5 million to build a 60-unit condo building that opened in 2009. The town cut prices and even helped finance mortgages, but about 20 units remain unsold.

* Country Club Hills built an amphitheater that doesn't make enough to cover debt payments and typically loses $300,000 to $1 million a year, depending on what expenses are counted.

"Some suburbs with lower debt rates also have taken big borrowing gambles without going directly to voters for approval. Bolingbrook built a golf course and plush clubhouse. Hoffman Estates tied taxpayers to a sports arena. And Schaumburg built a $240 million hotel and convention center. All those ventures have struggled at times.

"In suburbs with big budgets and big tax bases, losses on such projects may not devastate the bottom line. But in smaller or poorer suburbs, such as Bellwood, bad gambles eat up bigger chunks of the budget and leave little choice but to boost taxes."

Bears Bad Start A Blessing
In SportsMonday.

The Weekend in Chicago Rock
Chris Mills, Little Feat, Ghostface Killah, Primordial and more.

The White Sox Report
Only the Tigers' puzzling ineptitude has kept the Sox in first place.

Elephant Appreciation Day!
In Milwaukee.

The Cub Factor
A Clown Car Wreck.


The Beachwood Tip Line: Buzz to enter.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 3:48 AM | Permalink

Close At Home

Good teams win the close ones, and neither team meeting tonight at U.S. Cellular appears to be very good.

Even though the four games this week between the White Sox and Tigers very well could determine the Central Division champion, both clubs enter the series in a fog. At this point, you have to give a tepid nod to our guys simply because Detroit had such a horrid week, going 1-5 including a three-game sweep in Anaheim over the weekend.

But yesterday's 2-1, ten-inning loss to the Royals - a game where the Sox blew a number of chances - left Sox fans muttering, "If only . . . "

More than 50 years ago, another White Sox team, the 1959 pennant winners, showed just how important it was to win the tight games. That ballclub broke a 40-year drought and went to the World Series. It prided itself on winning one-run games. Thirty-five to be exact, while dropping only 15 of those as-close-as-it-gets decisions.

It was at that point that I came to understand that teams which can't shut the door on the close ones usually don't have Champagne on ice in September.

The '59 team played in cavernous Comiskey Park where it was 352 feet to each foul pole, 375 to the alleys, and a hefty 410 to dead center. It had been 440 to center before the team relocated the bullpens in front of the centerfield wall in the early 1950s. Hence the Go-Go Sox were born, teams built on speed, pitching, and defense.

Catcher Sherman Lollar led the '59 Sox in home runs with just 22, but shortstop Luis Aparicio, who led the American League nine consecutive seasons in stolen bases, swiped 56 that season and scored 98 times.

The offense more often than not featured leadoff man Aparicio getting on base, stealing second, and scoring on a base hit by Nellie Fox, who was MVP that year. Then wait two or three innings and do it again.

This worked splendidly as the starting pitchers accounted for 44 complete games while the bullpen had 36 saves led by former National Leaguers Turk Lown - he actually played for the Cubs at one time - and Gerry Staley. (Saves were not an official statistic until 1969, and there were no closers or set-up men.) That pennant-winning team more or less scored a few runs per game, shut down the opposition, and won the close ones 70 percent of the time.

And the fans seemed to enjoy this style, void of power hitters and big innings. Any time Aparicio reached first base, the mantra "go, go, go" echoed from the seats. Little Looey was fooling no one, least of all the opposition, but he still stole second more often than not, and the Sox were on their way.

I figured that was unique, but it wasn't.

Take our 2005 heroes. They also won 35 games by the slimmest of margins, while losing 19. The offense was far more robust than the team of 46 years earlier, but the bullpen - a patchwork combination including Dustin Hermanson and Bobby Jenks who followed Opening Day closer Shingo Takatsu - accounted for 54 saves, recording a 74 percent success rate.

The '05 team broke quickly from the gate, winning 27 of its first 37 games. In each of those 37, the Sox had the lead at some point during the nine innings. They obviously were adept at holding onto 27 of those leads while taking a commanding grip on the division.

Looking at this season's records for one-run games, it isn't surprising that Baltimore, with a dazzling 25-7 record, leads the majors. Eureka! No one expected Baltimore to challenge the mighty Yankees. But winning the close ones has been a key as the Birds trail the Yankees by a mere game in the AL East.

The Nationals are 27-18; the Giants 26-18; and Cincinnati has won 24 of 43 one-run games. These three division-leading clubs are among the leaders in one-run decisions.

And the Sox? Well, they're No. 6 with a 23-17 record after yesterday's depressing loss. That's not too shabby, and it has improved since Addison Reed was installed as the team's closer.

Even though the 23-year-old rookie took a tough loss Friday night when he gave up a two-run homer to Lorenzo Cain - not a blown save since the score was tied at the time - he's accounted for 26 saves in 30 opportunities. Compare that to Matt Thornton who was two-for-six earlier in the season, and you can understand how the Sox have improved in terms of winning the close ones.

Meanwhile, the Tigers rank a lowly 25th in one-run decisions with a 17-24 mark. They have lost their last seven one-run games. This makes me happy, and I hope it continues for another three weeks.

Detroit's closer, the water-spitting, crow-hopping, attention-grabbing Jose Valverde, is 28 for 32 in saves, about the same as Reed. So you really can't blame him for the Tigers' inability to win the close ones. However, Papa Grande cashed in on all 49 save opportunities in 2011, and he hasn't been as effective - nor has he had the opportunities - this season.

In addition to stumbling in the tight contests, the Tigers are a miserable 30-38 when playing on the road. Our guys are 41-29 at the Cell. This bodes well for the White Sox this week.

But the White Sox will have to execute much better than they have been. They're basically a .500 team over the past two months, and only the Tigers' puzzling ineptitude has kept the Sox in first place.

So the cards are stacked slightly in the Sox's favor beginning tonight. The team is a sparkling 66-44 in games not involving Detroit and Kansas City. Now it's time to see whether our athletes can reverse the tables and win the most meaningful games of the season.


Roger Wallenstein is our man on the White Sox beat. He welcomes your comments.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 1:01 AM | Permalink

The Weekend in Chicago Rock

You shoulda been there.

(Bruce Springsteen's weekend shows at Wrigley will be featured separately on Tuesday.)

1. Chris Mills at the Hideout on Friday night.


2. Primordial at Reggie's on Friday night.


3. Little Feat at Park West on Friday night.


4. Chris Robinson Brotherhood at Lincoln Hall on Thursday night.


5. Ghostface Killah at the Double Door on Friday night.


6. The Main Squeeze at the Elbo Room on Friday night.


7. Motley Crue in Tinley Park on Friday night.


8. Kiss in Tinley Park on Friday night.


9. LEP Bogus Boys at the Mid on Friday night.


10. Foghat at Pizza Fest in Park Ridge on Friday night.


11. The Newburys at Underground Lounge on Thursday night.


Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 12:56 AM | Permalink

Elephant Apprecation Day!

Out of all the land animals, elephants are among the most fascinating and intriguing of species. On Saturday, September 15, the Zoo invites visitors to to participate in fun and educational activities designed to spread awareness and highlight the conservation efforts for these majestic, endangered animals.

Activities take place from 10:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. Highlights include:

* Elephant Barn: Enter the world of the Zoo's two African elephants, Ruth and Brittany, for an up-close view of their daily activities and care while touring the elephant barn. (11 a.m. to 1 p.m.)

* Act Like An Elephant: Pretend you're an elephant for the day as you create elephant feet to feel what it's like to walk like an elephant! Also, get your temporary elephant tattoo to show off, in support of these animals.

* Enrichment Activities: Elephants at our Zoo participate in enrichment activities, allowing them to exhibit the same behaviors they would in the wild. Watch Ruth and Brittany interact with a giant box with treats inside (10:30 a.m.) and an enormous ice cube, filled with their favorite fruit and vegetable treats (2 p.m.).

* Elephant Art and Artifacts: Touch elephant-related artifacts like a real tusk and tail. Some of the enrichment opportunities offered to Ruth and Brittany involve creating paintings with a brush held with their trunks. Today, visitors will have the chance to purchase these unique works of art.

* Curious Questions: Visitors are encouraged to ask questions of our elephant zookeepers, such as, "How do get an animal that weighs 8,000 pounds to move from the indoor exhibit to the outdoor yard?"

* Big Behaviors: Hear and see how the elephants are trained as they display different behaviors through a special training session with zookeepers. (1:30 p.m.)

* Show Your Support: Wear your elephant ears from the day's activities and receive a free ride on the Penzeys Spices Carousel.

* Save the Species: Learn more about elephants in the wild and their habitats and how our Zoo contributes to elephant conservation projects throughout the world.

Proceeds from Elephant Appreciation Day will benefit the International Elephant Foundation.

All activities for this special event are included in regular Zoo admission.


Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 12:40 AM | Permalink

A Clown Car Wreck

At this point in the season, the Cubs are essentially like that proverbial car accident that you slow down to look at just to see if there is anything interesting going on and then you speed up quickly and go on your way.

We slowed down during the Nationals series, for example, to watch the benches empty because bench coach Jamie Quirk and catcher Steve Clevenger were being babies about Washington was still trying with a 7-2 lead in the fifth inning.

And how 'bout that play by Brett Jackson?

That was worth a slow down to a 15-mph double-take on your way to soccer practice.

And then the Cubs swept the Pirates.

So interesting things are still happening, but who cares? You gotta look at a lot of accident to get to the good stuff, and that takes more time than it's worth.

Just 22 games left in a season in which the Cubs somehow performed below the lowest expectations in franchise history. That, folks, is what we call a car wreck.

Week in Review: The Cubs went to Washington and got smacked around like the government thought they knew something, losing all four games there and running their losing streak to six. Then they went to Pittsburgh and administered their own three-game spanking to the Pirates. So at least we all know where everybody stands.

The Week in Preview: The Cubs travel to Houston for three against the eminently beatable Astros before coming home for to host the Pirates for four. Who'd a thunk there'd still be winnable games left on the schedule.

The Second Basemen Report: Is there a second baseman who can hit in the house? I think there's a better chance of someone becoming a better fielder over time than someone learning the strike zone and becoming a better hitter. I'd give up Darwin Barney's errorless streak for an on-base percentage over .300 any day. Just like the ghost of Jim Hendry would have wanted.

In former second basemen news, Matt Franco is still the nephew of actor Kurt Russell. He is missed.

The Not So Hot Corner: Josh Vitters is hitting .075 with an OBP of .125. That is all.

Weekly Bunting Report: I have to admit I didn't see much bunting this week, but Tony Campana had three hits for the week - no way at least one wasn't a bunt!

Endorsement No-Brainer: The Houston Astros for plecotomus fish: They are bottom feeders, and they suck.

Ameritrade Stock Pick of the Week: AAA.

Sink or Sveum: 30% Analytical, 70% Emotional: Dale gains five points on the Dale-O-Meter after he refreshingly and correctly throws Quirk and Clevenger under the bus. On a scale of Bat Sh#t Crazy, (Charles Manson), Not All There, (random guy with a neck tattoo), Thinking Clearly (Jordi LaForge), and Non-Emotional robot (Data), Dale is Thinking Clearly for one of the few times this season.

manson.jpgneck.jpg jordi.jpgdata.jpg

And just like your thought-to-be level-headed uncle, Dale knows you kids call him Uncle Weirdo behind his back and only use him to buy beer and give you a ride here and there, but when you get mud on his newly upholstered seats in his Mustang, you are going to get a stern talking to.

Over/Under: The number of car accidents on the Eisenhower more interesting than the Cubs this week: +/- 4.5.

Don't Hassle LaHoffpauir: Before Micah and Bryan, there was Jason. And now he's been hassled.

Beachwood Sabermetrics: A complex algorithm performed by The Cub Factor staff using all historical data made available by Major League Baseball has determined that the Bears looked pretty good on offense for a change.

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

The White Sox Report: Know the enemy.


Contact The Cub Factor!

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 12:02 AM | Permalink

September 8, 2012

The Weekend Desk Report

The Weekend Desk: Committed to getting it right. You know, the second or third time around.

Market Update
The value of Human Life slumped this week as analysts indicate at least 12 people find Human Life really fucking boring.

Strike It Rich
The prospect of a CTU strike looms large this weekend as union and CPS representatives remain locked in a stalemate. Although specifics of negotiations have not been released, issues including step and lane raises are believed to loom large and could total hundreds of millions of dollars. Or, to put it in terms Rahm Emanuel can more easily understand, a couple of super PACs.

The Replacements
Of course, CPS could always hire replacement teachers from Division III schools. What's the worst that could happen, right?

Red Bullshit
Now we know why Red Bull gives you wings - so you can make a cleaner getaway.

Windy Shitty
Lance Armstrong has officially been banned from running in next month's Chicago Marathon. Coincidentally, Paul Ryan recently announced he actually won the 2004 Tour de France.

Blades Of Glory
Finally this week, a spectacularly crappy jobs report may lead Federal Reserve chairman Ben Bernanke to enact more radical stimulus measures. Analysts say Bernanke may be willing to personally hire every single American to mow individual blades of grass on his lawn.


The Weekend Desk Tip Line: Mow better.


The Sound Opinions Weekend Listening Report: "The punk supergroup OFF! performs live in the studio. Plus Jim and Greg review new records from Cat Power and Bob Mould."


The CAN TV Weekend Viewing 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: Marriage Equality


While civil unions are legal in Chicago, same-sex marriage is not legal on a federal level. Alma Izquierdo of Amiga Latinas, and representatives of local LGBTQ organizations discuss the impact of this difference on their communities.

Saturday, September 8 at 7:30 p.m. on CAN TV21
1 hr


That's Weird, Grandma


This performance by Barrel of Monkeys brings the words of young Chicago students to the stage in unique sketches and songs.

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


Public Hearing On Criminal Records Sealing & "Ban the Box" Bills


This public hearing examines proposed legislation aimed helping ex-offenders find employment by making it easier to expunge criminal records and eliminate questions regarding criminal offenses on State of Illinois employment applications.

Sunday, September 9 at 10 a.m. on CAN TV21
4 hr


Public Meeting On Re-Opening Chicago's Mental Health Clinics


Cook County Sheriff Tom Dart describes the impact of reduced access to community mental health services on the county's prison system during this public meeting on the closure of half of the mental health clinics in Chicago.

Watch Online.

Sunday, September 9 at 5 p.m. on CAN TV19
1 hr

Posted by Natasha Julius at 9:16 AM | Permalink

September 7, 2012

The [Friday] Papers

Dem Convention Notebook 4 will appear later today. If you missed it, here's Dem Convention Notebook 3: Rahm Rockne, SuperPAC Man. And now, the rest of the day's news . . .

1. Judge Judy doesn't even allow hearsay evidence, and it's more than a little disconcerting that the General Assembly passed "Drew's Law" specifically for this case (which proved to be crucial).

UPDATE 6:44 P.M.: It appears that the vast amount of reporting attributing the hearsay evidence to Drew's Law is wrong. I stand corrected. (Does everyone else? Geez! At least I can say I really didn't follow this damn thing!)


In fact, nobody acquitted themselves well - Drew Peterson is a royal jackass and likely a multiple murderer who the media saw fit to exploit for profit and "the people" behaved like bloodthirsty children at a beheading.

It's hard to argue with much of what Thomas Peterson - son of Drew and Kathleen Savio - wrote on his Facebook page.

See also:
* Nobody Should Play Drew Peterson In A Lifetime Movie

* Watch Rob Lowe Actually Take Seriously His Role As Drew Peterson In A Crappy Lifetime Movie

2. Why not just put them at 7/11s and on parking meter boxes too and be done with it?

3. The Tribune is not naming Chief Keef as the author of a taunting tweet after the death of Lil Jojo because he has not been charged with a crime.

Normally I might agree - I have criticized the media (including the Tribune) for abandoning just such a standard in recent years.

But Chief Keef injected himself into this story, and is inextricably wound up in it - as is Lupe Fiasco and many others in their own ways. Your job, Tribune, is to explain why this is an international story that is generating so much heat and flash - perhaps in corners of the city, nation and world you aren't real familiar with, but nonetheless - so your readers can understand what this is all about. Providing a rich and mature context, especially against the backdrop of this summer's gang violence, cannot be accomplished without talking about Chief Keef.

That doesn't mean assigning guilt. It means explaining the beef that has caught the attention of so many, including the police. It may turn out that it's not related to Jojo's death at all, but it's still a time to discuss Jojo's world and tell us why we should care.


The Tribune first named Drew Peterson on Oct. 31, 2007. He was not charged with murder until May 8, 2009. In the interim, the Tribune published 113 articles naming him, according to a ProQuest database search.


Finally, Greg Kot has already named Keef in a related article featured in the Trib website. Maybe the reticence is reserved for home print subscribers who don't read Kot. Eric Zorn has also named him in consideration of his lyrics and now-infamous tweet.


The Tribune Company-owned Chicago magazine also has no such qualms; see Coming To Terms With Chief Keef.


In Anger Over Chief Keef's Tweet Mocking Rival's Murder Explodes Online, the Sun-Times reports that "[Pitchfork's] editor apologized for a video interview with Chief Keef conducted in a gun range and removed it from the website."


Previous Keef in the Beachwood:
* South Side 16-Year-Old Gets Shot, Blows Up

* Kanye West Hops On Chief Keef (Spin)

* Chief Keef at the Congress in The Weekend in Chicago Rock

* Local Music Notebook: Chicago's On Fire Right Now

* Rhymefest vs. Chief Keef

* Sucker Free Scene Report

* Chief Keef at Lollapalooza in The Weekend in Chicago Rock


4. Rahm loses 100 jobs to Aurora. No press conference to follow.

5. Gentrifiers of the Midway.

6. This week's installment of the world's greatest college football report comes with bologna and balls.

7. The (Short) Week in Chicago Rock.

8. Underemployed in Chicago.


The Beachwood Tip Line: Hold the bologna.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 10:38 AM | Permalink

The College Football Report: Bologna On Your Underdog With A Side Of Schwetty's Balls

Western Kentucky head coach Willie Taggart took exception to the Vegas line which opened with the Hilltoppers as 37-point underdogs against #1 Alabama and has since risen to 39, calling the spread "a bunch of bologna."

Taggart went on to say that WKU is going to play to win, not to "lose by 39 points."

Coach, some people would really prefer that you lost by 40 points or more, while others are hoping you only lose by 38.5 points or less. See what you can do.


Taggart has some past history against long odds - he was at the helm at Stanford when the Cardinal, a 41-point "dog," beat Southern Cal in 2007.


Taggart was also a big underdog in 1984 when he helped kick Victor Maitland's ass.


In related news, the 'Toppers have switched starting kickers and will now go with freshman Garrett Schwettman, who is leading the pack in the annual College Football Report Funny Name poll. You can follow "Schwetty" here on Twitter and see his high school highlights here. Spoiler alert: there's a lot of footage of extra points.


Also, no relation.

Mom Disapproves Of Your Language And Your Play-Calling
Florida offensive coordinator Brent Pease offered a mea culpa this week for using foul language during Florida's season opener.

Pease was caught on camera dropping F-bombs during several rants against his offense on the sidelines, which struggled to put away Bowling Green in a 27-14 snoozer.

Momma Pease did not approve, telling her son to be careful and watch his potty mouth.

The CFR can't confirm at press time but Ms. Pease supposedly wasn't too fond of the play-calling either, as Florida ran 42 rushing plays and made only 21 pass attempts.

The Gator fan base, long accustomed to a blood-thirsty air attack since the days of the 'Ol Ball Coach, may take a while to warm up to the team's new ball-control offense.

But with a starting sophomore QB with just 50 career pass attempts, we can't fault the logic.

They Were Penn State Update
Reports out of State College put Penn State's costs for "legal fees, consultants and public relations firms" related to the Jerry Sandusky child abuse case at $17 million.

For reference, Penn State allocated $50.6 million toward student aid in the 2011-12 total operating budget.

Also, the Nittany Lions lost to Ohio University (note: not the same thing as The Ohio State University) in the season opener, Penn State's first loss to open a season since 2001.

D-III QB Breaks NCAA Passing Record
Sam Durley of the Eureka (IL) Red Devils threw for 2,208 feet in a 62-55 win over the Knox College (IL) Prairie Fire on Saturday.

Durley's record-breaking feat made up nearly all of the 2,463 feet of total offense by the Devils, which set another record for total team offense.

We like reporting on yardage records in feet. Doesn't that sound much more impressive than 736 yards? The kid threw for nearly half a mile. That is far.

Kentucky Defense Goes From Bad To Outright Terrible
The defensive unit for the Kentucky Wildcats lost six starters, including star linebacker Danny Trevathan, a sixth-round pick by the Broncos in the 2012 draft. Little wonder that the 'Cats expected a tough season in the SEC, but last Saturday's performance was ominous.

UK allowed 219 rushing yards and touchdown drives of 99, 93 and 85 yards in the first half against intrastate rival Louisville. The 13.5 line looked mighty tasty and The College Football Report highly recommends taking (for entertainment purposes only) every SEC opponent UK faces this season.

The College Football Report Free-Range Chicken Feed
The Free-Range Chicken is on record with his first picks of the season. After studying his giant bingo board and carefully weighing his corn kernel options, the Chicken settled on the following games. He would have made more picks, but we had to bring him inside before he drowned in the rain. (Home teams in caps.)

KANSAS STATE (-6.5) over Miami
Washington (+24) over LSU
Purdue (+14) over NOTRE DAME


Mike Luce is our man on college football. He welcomes your comments.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 9:47 AM | Permalink

Underemployed In Chicago

Yeah, whatever.

Underemployed - Full Episodes


Filmed all around town. By people with jobs.


Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 9:20 AM | Permalink

The Week in Chicago Rock

It was a short one.

1. Miss Shevaughn at Martyr's on Monday night.


2. Stone Temple Pilots at the Vic on Tuesday night.


3. Elsinore in Old Town on Sunday.


Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 8:48 AM | Permalink

September 6, 2012

Dem Convention Notebook 3

"Is Mayor Rahm Emanuel a presidential wannabe or the second coming of legendary Notre Dame football coach Knute Rockne? Maybe both," reports an awestruck Fran Spielman of the Sun-Times.

Really. She wrote that.


"On Wednesday, the mayor's political schedule was so hectic during the abbreviated 36 hours he chose to spend in Charlotte, he didn't have or make time to eat. He scarfed down some fresh fruit while standing as reporters who may or may not someday be asked to cover an Emanuel presidential campaign were warned not to photograph him."

Did they obey? Spielman doesn't say.


"Emanuel, who did interviews Wednesday with practically every national media outlet known to man, said there's a reason he's a rock star on the national stage.

"'From working for two great presidents and doing my congressional work, I know a number of activists and party loyalists who know me, know my background and what I've done for Democrats in Congress, and they are appreciative,' Emanuel said."

Why are you a rock star, Rahm? Tell me!

Spielman couldn't think of anything else to ask him.

Then again, Rahm and Fran work for the same paper.


Here's the New York Times asking Rahm the tough questions:


SuperPac Man
"So much for keeping up the pretense that super PACs are independent from campaigns," Andrew Rosenthal writes for the New York Times.

"Rahm Emanuel announced today that he was stepping down as co-chair of the Obama campaign in order to help raise money for Priorities USA Action, a super PAC that supports President Obama, but of course never, ever coordinates with the campaign, because that would be illegal.

"Priorities USA was started by two other former Obama aides, Bill Burton, who was White House spokesman, and Sean Sweeney, who was a political aide for the administration. The White House has allowed administration officials to attend Priorities USA events and donate money to the group, which has spent heavily in support of the president.

"Mr. Obama, you may recall, opposed the Supreme Court's decision in Citizens United, which - along with subsequent federal court decisions - all but eliminated constraints on spending by corporations and unions in campaigns. You may also recall that Mr. Obama was the first presidential candidate not to accept public funds, so that he could raise unlimited amounts of money on his own."

Chicago-Style Politics


Clinton Fact-Checking


Beachwood Tweets








Presidential Preview


See also:
* Dem Convention Notebook 1: Bullshit and Bedbugs.
* Dem Convention Notebook 2: Stagecraft vs. Chicago.


Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 6:37 PM | Permalink

The [Thursday] Papers

Today's Dem Convention Notebook will appear later today. If you missed yesterday's, here it is. And now, on to the rest of the day's news . . .

1. 'There's Nothing Left' Of Old Rush Street As Two Bars Near End.

Except the old part.

2. Cubs On A Mission To Avoid 100 Losses.

But if they don't make it, there's always next year.

3. "Navistar International Corp. said it expects 200 workers to be laid off in the fourth quarter and that it may sell 'non-core businesses' as it reported a paltry third-quarter profit that nevertheless beat expectations, sending Navistar shares up nearly 10 percent," Crain's reports.

Will we get our money back? A reminder:

"WBEZ has learned that some new jobs Navistar promised under an Illinois incentive agreement are coming to the state at the expense of unionized workers in Indiana.

"Illinois Gov. Pat Quinn announced the Navistar incentives last year after the company threatened to pack up its headquarters in west suburban Warrenville and leave the state. The deal committed Illinois to a $64.7 million bundle of tax credits and job-training subsidies for the company. It committed Navistar to moving the headquarters to Lisle, a couple miles east, and to adding 400 full-time Illinois employees."

Oof, that's a two-fer for Quinn. First he destroys union jobs - and he's already in trouble with the unions. Then he doesn't even get our money's worth out of yet another crappy corporate tax "incentive" deal.

Then again, no bad deed goes unrewarded.

4. "Northwestern University, looking to bolster is case for replacing old Prentice Women's Hospital, claims that a majority of Chicago residents would rather see a new medical research facility take over the Streeterville site," Crain's reports.

"Seventy-two percent of people who participated in a poll commissioned by the university said they supported the idea - which has been the subject of a furious debate between architects, residents and university administrators. The margin of error is plus or minus 4.4 percent."

Actually, the margin of error is 100 percent until the university releases its methodology and full results.


And if it framed the debate this way, 72 percent isn't very impressive.

5. Chief Keef's Deadly Rap War.

6. "A ceiling has collapsed at the Vandalia prison in Southern Illinois forcing administrators there to move prisoners," WBEZ reports.

"[Eighty-eight] inmates had to be moved to the prison's gym . . . This is not the first time prisoners have been forced to live in the gym. One former inmate says he stayed there with about 60 men and only one working toilet. There's no word yet from IDOC on how many working toilets are in the gym now but they say plumbing is 'adequate.'

"WBEZ has been seeking a visit to the prison but Governor Pat Quinn has denied repeated requests."

7. Take The Bears And The Over.

8. Brian Urlacher Uses Same Polling Service As Northwestern.

9. "Northern Illinois University paid two senior administrators nearly $80,000 when they resigned while under investigation for misconduct - one for allegedly having a university employee clean his home during work hours, the Tribune has learned.

"The alleged misconduct comes amid other troubling behavior at the DeKalb-based public university. NIU police are conducting a criminal investigation into whether other employees sold scrap materials from university buildings and deposited the proceeds into an unauthorized bank account, using the money as a slush fund for holiday parties, retirement celebrations and similar uses.

"And it comes a year after the Tribune revealed that an NIU administrator assigned students to paint her house as one of the projects during NIU Cares Day, a one-day event in which students volunteer at service organizations in the community."

Well, to be fair, the students were enrolled in Chicago-Style Politics 101.

10. Buzz Killington Strikes Again.

11. "The Chicago Bears are the eighth-most-valuable NFL franchise for the second straight year, with a total value of nearly $1.2 billion - nearly double its estimated worth nine years ago - according to Forbes' annual Business of Football report," Danny Ecker writes for Crain's.

Good. Can we get our money back now?

12. Lost and Found: Dorian Gray in Chicago.

13. Meet Channel 2's Kate Sullivan And Her (Incredibly Lacking In Self-Awareness) Mortal Enemy.


The Beachwood Tip Line: Sincerely.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 10:40 AM | Permalink

Chief Keef's Deadly Rap War

"Chicago's hip-hop community is in a war of words that has escalated into violence, with the shooting death of a teenage rapper," Greg Kot writes for the Tribune.

"Tuesday was another night, another homicide in a year in which hundreds of Chicagoans have been gunned down; the murder rate for the year's first half is up an alarming 38 percent over last year. This time the victim was Joseph Coleman (18-year-old rapper Lil Jojo). The bicycle-riding teen was slain by a drive-by shooter in his South Side Englewood neighborhood.

"His death starkly punctuated a gang-related war of words and music between Jojo and rapper Lil Reese, associated with the biggest new star in Chicago hip-hop, Chief Keef. Jojo recently released a song on-line, '3hunna K' that mocked Reese, Keef and their '300 squad,' which is associated with a street gang.

"Keef took to his Twitter account Wednesday to respond to Jojo's death: 'It's sad cus ... Jojo wanted to be just like us #LMAO"'(Internet slang for 'laughing my ass off'). Chicago police are reportedly investigating a possible connection between the comments and Jojo's death."


Lupe Fiasco Hints At Retirement After Chief Keef Beef.




From the Beachwood vault: South Side 16-Year-Old Gets Shot, Blows Up.


Back to Kot:

"Other prominent Chicago hip-hop artists jumped in with their own Twitter comments Wednesday in the wake of the Keef-Fiasco debate.

"Psalm One, who has been recording acclaimed hip-hop albums for more than a decade, pointedly called out Keef: 'We hear you loud and clear,' but 'a lot of folks just can't rock with you on it.' And later, she questioned success built on 'talking about nothing but drugs/guns.'

"After several hours of mostly negative fallout from his more than 200,000 Twitter followers, Keef claimed his account had been hacked.

"The animated Twitter discussion dissipated by late Wednesday, but not until another respected Chicago hip-hop artist chimed in. Rhymefest, who ran unsuccessfully for alderman in the crime-riddled 20th Ward earlier this year, added this postcript: 'I warned you all about this Chicago violence in Hip Hop and I was called a Hater. Now someone else is dead.'"


Comments welcome.


1. From Daniel Pickens:

Lowkey I aint gone stunt I had a lil animosity against chief keef to cause he the same age as me and he doing way better so really I just look at him as a motivation.

2. From Nicole Murphy:

Something is def wrong with this kid. Shame on Jimmy Iovine for promoting this Death music.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 10:15 AM | Permalink

Meet Channel 2's Kate Sullivan And Her Mortal Enemy

Kate Sullivan's mortal enemy is insincerity.


Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 9:40 AM | Permalink

Lost and Found: Dorian Gray in Chicago

"When the Chicago Public Library announced its first amnesty in 20 years, it didn't expect to get back a rare classic," CBS2 Chicago reports.

"But the library also didn't know that the daughter of a patron had found a copy of Oscar Wilde's The Picture of Dorian Gray that had been checked out in 1934. She just wanted to be sure that if she turned it in now, she wouldn't go to jail."

Perhaps Rahm should make this book the next One Book, One Chicago pick. The current selection is The Book Thief.


From Wikipedia:

"The Picture of Dorian Gray is the only published novel by Oscar Wilde, appearing as the lead story in Lippincott's Monthly Magazine on 20 June 1890, printed as the July 1890 issue of this magazine. The story was criticized as immoral, and as a result, heavily censored. Wilde later revised this edition, making several alterations, and adding new chapters; the amended version was published by Ward, Lock and Company in April 1891. Some scholars believe this second version is the one Wilde would have wanted us to read today.

"The novel tells of a young man named Dorian Gray, the subject of a painting by artist Basil Hallward. Basil is impressed by Dorian's beauty and becomes infatuated with him, believing his beauty is responsible for a new mode in his art. Dorian meets Lord Henry Wotton, a friend of Basil's, and becomes enthralled by Lord Henry's world view. Espousing a new hedonism, Lord Henry suggests the only things worth pursuing in life are beauty and fulfillment of the senses. Realizing that one day his beauty will fade, Dorian (whimsically) expresses a desire to sell his soul to ensure the portrait Basil has painted would age rather than he. Dorian's wish is fulfilled, and when he subsequently pursues a life of debauchery, the portrait serves as a reminder of the effect each act has upon his soul, with each sin displayed as a disfigurement of his form, or through a sign of aging.

"The Picture of Dorian Gray is considered a work of classic gothic fiction with a strong Faustian theme."


Picture of Dorian Gray at the Art Institute.


The amnesty ends tomorrow.


Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 9:18 AM | Permalink

Take The Bears And The Over

From our two favorite YouTube prognosticators.

1. Emory Hunt, the Czar of the Playbook, for Football Gameplan:

If the Colts can run downhill on the suspect Bears interior defense, they could have some success. But the Bears have the edge at too many positions.


2. Don Best TV:

For the Bears, questions on the offensive front, but more weapons if they have time to use them. For the Colts, a new offense built around Reggie Wayne, not Andrew Luck. For bettors, the Over.


Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 8:47 AM | Permalink

September 5, 2012

The [Wednesday] Papers

Today's Dem Convention Notebook will appear later this afternoon. Now, the rest of the news:

1. Does this mean that Ozzie Guillen found a way to get paid to spout off ignorantly?

2. CTA Holds De-Crowding Hearing In Overcrowded Room.

3. I'll have the McTofu Value Meal with the soy fries.


Alternate: Would you like lentils with that?

4. Oh, come on. I loathe the White Sox but even if they lose every game the rest of the way the skeptics [now changed to "fatalists," which only eases the argument slightly] won't be proven right; it's been a helluva ride for that team and they don't have to prove anything more to anyone.

5. Dear Tribune editorial board: You can't put students first by putting teachers last. Let's put administrators and politicians last instead.


If merit pay is so great, why doesn't the Tribune editorial board use it?


Of course, no one is against "merit pay" in theory. We should all be paid according to how much we "merit." But what gets measured? And who does the measuring?

Some news executives, for example, get bonuses for cutting budgets and laying off reporters to prop up profit margins. Is this meritorious?

And to listen to Rahm Emanuel, the Chicago schools have been a dismal failure for decades. Should we take back the money we paid out to Arne Duncan, now the U.S. Secretary of Education?

Should we start garnishing Richard M. Daley's lucrative pension?

A meritocracy? Bring it on!


Now how much should we lower the salaries of editorial board members per indicted elected official they endorsed?

6. Dear Sun-Times: Drugs of all kinds often appear in packages featuring colorful names and characters. Or so I'm told. It's not necessarily an attempt to market to children, who wouldn't know what to do with a tinfoil pack of (synthetic) buds, nor is it news. It's branding.

7. "Sheriff Tom Dart's warning last year that closing the city's mental health clinics would add to the burden of the Cook County Jail is coming true, according to the Mental Health Movement," Curtis Black reports for Newstips.

"Joined by mental health professionals and consumers, Dart will discuss the impact of the clinic closings on the jail - including people who could avoid incarceration if they had access to mental health services - at a forum on Wednesday, September 5, at 6:30 p.m. at Episcopal Church Nuestra Senora, 2610 N. Francisco.

"Dart will be joined by Crystal Colon of Iraq Veterans Against the War and psychologist Rebecca Paz-Ford of Lurie Children's Hospital and Northwestern University. According to MHM, psychiatric hospitalizations doubled in April, after half of the city's clinics were closed.

"In addition, former clinic patients will talk about the devastating impact the closings had on their lives, including people suffering severe anxiety who are unable to make the long trek to clinics to which they were transferred."


Meanwhile, Rahm finds $55 million for park to honor the late Maggie Daley, the soul of our city.

8. Beachwood Exclusive: Inside AT&T's New Chicago Store.

9. Fantasy Fix: Top 12 TEs.

10. Breaking news from the University of Chicago's South Pole Telescope.


The Beachwood Tip Line: Lit up.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 9:44 AM | Permalink

Dem Convention Notebook 2

Yeah, Michelle Obama is a bad-ass.


From the Beachwood vault:

"When her husband ran for Congress in 2000, Michelle Obama groused so much about handshaking and fund-raising that Arthur Sussman, then her boss at the University of Chicago, finally asked if she truly could not find a single thing about campaigning to enjoy," Jodi Kantor reported in 2008 in the New York Times.

"Michelle Obama thought for a moment. Visiting so many living rooms had given her some new decorating ideas, she allowed."


"Earlier in their 15-year marriage, [Michelle] was often furious with her husband," Vanity Fair reported in December 2007. "'I have chosen a life with a ridiculous schedule, a life that requires me to be gone from Michelle and the girls for long stretches of time and that exposes Michelle to all sorts of stress,' Barack wrote in his best-seller The Audacity of Hope."

Available to reporters since it was published in December 2006.

"By the time their second child was born, he reported, 'my wife's anger toward me seemed barely contained. "You only think of yourself," she would tell me. "I never thought I'd have to raise a family alone."

"Mrs. Obama finally got tired of being enraged and miserable. 'One day I woke up and said, I can't live my life mad. This is just no fun,' she reports. 'For a period in my life, I thought the help I needed had to come from Barack. It wasn't that he didn't care, but he wasn't there. So I enlisted moms and babysitters and got help with the housecleaning, and I built that community myself.'"


In Audacity of Hope, Barack recalls Michelle telling him that she never expected she'd have to be a single mother.


From June 2008:

"She's the real deal, not some overcoached, carefully packaged facsimile."
- Sun-Times editorial on Michelle Obama, today

"Now her husband's presidential campaign is giving her image a subtle makeover, with a new speech in the works to emphasize her humble roots and a tough new chief of staff. On Wednesday, Mrs. Obama will do a guest turn on The View, the daytime talk show on ABC, with an eye toward softening her reputation."

- The New York Times, yesterday on the front page


From February 2008:

"In an interview with ABC's Good Morning America, on Monday, Mr. Obama's wife, Michelle, was asked if she would work to support Mrs. Clinton if she won. 'I'd have to think about that,' she replied."


Noted feminist Barack Obama accompanied Michelle to her job interview in Daley's City Hall. The Tribune picks up the story:

"Jarrett left City Hall to lead the Chicago Transit Authority and recruited Michelle Obama to 'the transit agency's citizen advisory committee' [Daley's chief of staff David Mosena], who now is president of the Museum of Science and Industry, served with [Michelle] Obama on the Commission on Chicago Landmarks . . .

"City Hall records show Michelle Obama, then still named Robinson, began work as a $60,000-a-year mayoral assistant in September of 1991. She didn't stay long in the mayor's office. Within weeks, Daley promoted Jarrett to run the new Department of Planning and Development. Obama followed.

"She had no background in economic development, but Obama served as a troubleshooter for Jarrett.

"After only 18 months at the city, she left to launch the Chicago chapter of Public Allies, a group that sought to build future community leaders by arranging apprenticeships for young adults with non-profit organizations. Barack Obama was on the founding board of Public Allies, and it was he who recommended his new wife for the job as the Chicago chapter's first executive director, recalled Paul Schmitz, the current president of the group, which is now headquartered in Milwaukee and has chapters in many cities."

She's just like us.


From the Beachwood vault, April 2007:

The Tribune also had some interesting Obama reporting over the weekend in its profile of his wife, Michelle.

First, there's the specter of Michelle spinning her job at the University of Chicago Medical Center, which apparently has been to keep poor people out of its emergency room. Her explanation for representing the hospital's budget instead of its most needy patients is right out of the Ronald Reagan handbook: "It's mutual responsibility."

See, poor people have a responsibility to take better care of themselves so they don't get sick, and the University of Chicago has a responsibility to take better care of its budget so it can continue to pay annual salaries like the $273,618 it pays Michelle Obama. How else is she supposed to be able to afford real estate deals with Tony Rezko?

Of course, that's not her only source of income.

"Not long after Barack Obama entered the U.S. Senate, for instance, his wife was offered a position on the board of TreeHouse Foods, a Westchester-based maker of specialty foods." TreeHouse's biggest customer, by far, is Wal-Mart.

Michelle Obama's compensation pacakge from TreeHouse last year was $101,083, the Tribune reports.

But her main gig is at the U of C, where her boss is . . . Susan Sher. That's Susan Sher, the city's former Corporation Counsel, whom Michelle worked with while she was employed in the Daley Administration. (Yes, she worked in the Daley Administration. Go figure.)

So when Obama says "our politics feels very much like an insider's game," he knows of what he speaks.


Oh, but she apparently gave a boffo speech last night!


"That's the man I see in those quiet moments late at night, hunched over his desk, poring over the letters people have sent him," she said. "I see the concern in his eyes . . . and I hear the determination in his voice as he tells me, 'You won't believe what these folks are going through, Michelle. . It's not right. We've got to keep working to fix this. We've got so much more to do."

Well, that's believable, if only because he has a history of poring over letters from concerned constituents, like those looking to build housing in his senate district (but not from the media asking questions about that housing.)

From the Beachwood vault, April 2007:

The Sun-Times expands today on Barack Obama's relationship with indicted political wheel Tony Rezko in the first of a two-part investigation, this part called "Obama and His Slumlord Patron."

The paper reports that "new facts [have] come to light that paint Rezko as a landlord overseeing dilapidated housing in the middle of Obama's former state Senate district," and that "Obama did legal work on some Rezko deals."

As the paper acknowledges, the scope of Obama's work remains unknown. But his involvement at some level is unmistakable - as is the absence of evidence Obama ever spoke up for the low-income citizens in his district whose lives were made miserable by the crappy housing Rezko built for them, even as he was taking campaign contributions from Rezko. On that score, the campaign would only say - in a written statement - that "Senator Obama did follow up on constituency complaints about housing as a matter of routine."

For now, I'd just like to focus on the part of the story that once again belies Obama's professed desire for a new kind of politics, one that would presumably include transparency and accountability of our elected officials, and that's the way he and his staff have tried to manage this story.

"For five weeks, the Sun-Times sought to interview Obama about Rezko and the housing deals," the paper says. "His staff wanted written questions. It responded Sunday but left many questions unanswered. Other answers didn't directly address the question."

The paper says it submitted questions in writing on March 14. It received an e-mail response yesterday. And not much of a response. "They didn't say what deals he worked on - or how much work he did."

Others have closed ranks about Obama too. The paper asked Judson Miner, a partner in the law firm Obama worked at - the one that partnered with Rezko in his ill-fated housing developments - about the cases Obama worked on.

"We'll put together a list of the cases he worked on involving Rezko/Rezmar in the next day or two," Miner told the Sun-Times.

"That was March 13," the paper reports. "He never provided the information."


Stuttering and Sincerity.

Rahm's World
If Rahm Emanuel's address to the DNC matched his efforts as Chicago mayor, he would have called for breaking the teachers' unions, building more charter schools, cutting taxes on corporations, privatizing more public assets, hiring financiers to run government more like a business and closing down mental health clinics "we can't afford." And he would have also been right at home at last week's GOP convention.

That's Pat!
"President Barack Obama's campaign tapped Illinois Gov. Pat Quinn as an attack dog tonight, using a speech at the Democratic National Convention to call GOP presidential nominee Mitt Romney an 'extreme conservative man' backed by Republicans who fail to tell the truth," the Tribune reports.

"But the Democratic governor also failed to tell the whole story when he used the convention stage to blast Romney and running mate Rep. Paul Ryan of Wisconsin over their plans to alter the federal Medicare health care system for the elderly."

Democrats, sheesh. They think their lies don't stink.


Wait, who's cutting Medicare?

That's Tammy!
From the Beachwood vault, November 2006:

Emanuel "muscled weaker Democrats out of races in favor of stronger ones." This statement by the Trib assumes that the candidates Emanuel rejected were indeed weaker than the ones he backed. But using the Tammy Duckworth campaign as an example backfires. The paper notes that Emanuel trained all the big guns at his disposal, including George Stephanopolous and David Axelord, at Christine Cegelis in Illinois' Sixth District. "Cegelis could not compete with this, losing 44 percent to 40 percent to Duckworth in the March primary," the Trib reports. But those numbers clearly show Cegelis could compete - she only lost by four percent going up against the party's own campaign committee chair! As a war amputee, Duckworth was an international sensation. Yet, she only increased the percentage of the vote Cegelis got two years ago by 4.5 percent - and only garned 1.5 percent more than John Kerry got in the district in 2004 - in an election year in which the war was front-and-center. Not only that, but she lost to a conservative - not a moderate - in a district trending to the center.

* And those ballyhooed candidate recruiting skills? "Emanuel and his staff judged a candidate almost entirley by how much money he or she brought in," the Trib reported.

Way Off The Mark
"Republicans can't tell America's auto workers they would have been better off if Obama had just let their employers go bankrupt," Mark Brown writes for the Sun-Times.

Maybe Brown was out sick that day.

"I consider myself better off with Obama in the White House because decision by decision - whether it's on immigration, tax policy, gay rights, military intervention or health care - he has demonstrated he's more likely to make the choices I would want made than Bush did or Mitt Romney would."


* Immigration.

* Tax policy.

* Gay rights.

* Military intervention.

* Health care.

Chicago Whitewashed
Carol Marin knows how Chicago politics works, but now she's drinking the Kool-Aid that's making a lot of folks around here defensive and amnesiac about our unique culture of corruption.

"If any of the prominent Chicago speakers at the Democratic convention could be viewed as a lightning rod or a thorn deep in the side of the GOP, it was Chicago mayor and former Obama chief of staff Rahm Emanuel," Marin writes.

"And yes, he is a master par excellence of the fine art of Chicago politics."

So there is a unique style of "Chicago politics." Go on.

"He was the beneficiary of an army of political patronage workers in his first congressional bid. And the recipient of a Clinton administration patronage job on the board of Freddie Mac, a board that somehow didn't spot the contours of the impending mortgage meltdown."


"But Rahm Emanuel in his relentless efforts as mayor to restore Chicago to a sound financial footing has demonstrated on a number of fronts that he is greater than the sum of his political parts."

What? What does that even mean? Which fronts? Schools? Crime? Corporate tax breaks? Transparency?

"So why do Mitt Romney and New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie keep on harping about Chicago-style ward politics?"

I don't know, why have you been harping about Chicago-style ward politics for decades?

"'Because there's such a proud tradition of honest politics in New Jersey?' wondered Quigley dryly."

Mike Quigley, reformer.


What do you mean, whatever, Carol?

Does Quigley mean to tell us that the state of New Jersey is just as corrupt as the city of Chicago? Have all the films and literature and NBC5 reports and Chicago Tonight panels just been wrong? Algren, Royko? Out of their minds?

"But 'Chicago-style?' The GOP should use the term to order its pizza."

Ah ha ha ha!

But it's not like they can't get Chicago-style pizza in New Jersey. But Jersey-style politics here? That's child's play, Carol, and you know it.


See also:
* Dem Convention Notebook 1: Bullshit and Bedbugs.


Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 9:02 AM | Permalink

Inside Chicago's New AT&T Store

"AT&T is planning a new flagship retail location in Chicago that will sport video walls, showrooms, mock household environments and a distinct Apple flavor," Mashable reports.

First, their video. Then, the Beachwood's exclusive look inside the new store.


Here's our exclusive look inside:

* Watch AT&T engineers make up new charges for your bill as you watch from behind a bulletproof glass mirror.

* Admission is "free" but by stepping into the store you agree to terms of service that only our lawyers understand.

* Each new G will cost a G.

* Everyone who enters the story will be acquired in a "merger."

* All representatives are busy; your purchase will be handled in the order of the line you are standing in.

* Instead of a Genius Bar, there will be a Dummy Dungeon.

* The aPhone is totally not a ripoff.

* Express your frustrations in the U-Verse poetry room.

* Watch third-world workers build your products via our new teleconferencing technology!

* In order to localize the store, the latest in wiretap technology

* Famous phone taps!

* By entering the store you agree to allow us to collect and sell all personal information to the highest bidders in perpetuity as well as supply the federal government with your innermost thoughts.


Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 8:49 AM | Permalink

Fantasy Fix: Top 12 TEs

This week, I present the last chapter in my fantasy football preseason draft guide. Not that my list of tight ends can help you at this point, since the season starts today and all leagues have drafted, but I guess you can still check your own results against my rankings for posterity and satisfaction (mine, that is).

My top 12 TEs (after the first 12, it's mostly just a crap-shoo):

1. Rob Gronkowski, NE: Most experts say he can't do better than last year's 1,327 yards receiving and 17 TDs, but even 1,000 yards, 10 TDs might make him the best TE.

2. Jimmy Graham, NO: He's ranked ahead of Gronkowski on many draft sheets, and could easily have another 1,310-yard, 11-TD season, assuming the Saints manage to keep their heads.

3. Antonio Gates, SD: Fading, but still a strong threat, and while the Chargers were a mess last season, Gates is injury-free for the first time since 2009, when he netted more than 1,100 yards.

4. Aaron Hernandez, NE: If defenses swarm Gronk, Hernandez could surpass 1,000 yards himself, and he could also get more RB touches this year with the backfield a sore spot for the Pats.

5. Jermichael Finley, GB: Delivered a great 2011 season - just not one that met the massive hype - with the third-most TDs among TEs at eight. He will be the league's top TE at some point.

6. Vernon Davis, SF: A strong postseason made people forget he had a down year, his worst in four years. Will his four postseason TDs make turn him into a scoring threat to open 2012?

7. Jason Witten, DAL: A spleen injury likely sidelines him for Week 1, but he's still the most reliable cog in the Dallas offense.

8. Brandon Pettigrew, DET: A key metric for him is receptions over the last three seasons: 30, 71, 83. His teammate and the NFL's best WR, Calvin Johnson, only had 13 more catches last year.

9. Fred Davis, WAS: A TE is usually assumed to be a rookie QB's best friend, and if RG-3 can read the field, he should find Davis often.

10. Tony Gonzalez, ATL: The Falcons now have two top WRs, but Gonzalez was fifth in receiving yards among TEs last year, and is in the right offense for him to stay busy at age 36.

11. Brent Celek, PHI: He was probably the most reliable receiver in a wildly inconsistent offense last year. The Eagles WRs will be better this year, though Celek should still be good for 800 yards.

12. Jermaine Gresham, CIN: Six TDs last year with a rookie QB elevated Gresham's status, and he's really the Bengal's No. 2 receiver after A.J. Green, and will benefit if Green gets hounded.

Sleeper Pick: Kyle Rudolph, MIN: He was much more of a sleeper a few weeks ago, but many team owners have caught onto the building hype that he's presumed to be almost a No. 2 receiver this year, catching balls when Percy Harvin is catching his breath.

Could Be A Waiver Wire Gem: Greg Olsen, CAR: He's getting drafted in some leagues, and QB Cam Newton looked to him fairly often last year. The key will be if Newton starts looking for him more in the end zone.

Expert Wire
* Bleacher Report lists Gronkowski among its top injury risks this year. Why? Because karma says so.

* A Yahoo! Contributor Network post points out the obvious about how that one guy in your league who insisted in taking Maurice Jones-Drew in the first round actually had the right idea.

* Fantasy Knuckleheads likes the Bears' defense Week 1 against a rookie QB and last season's worst team.


Dan O'Shea is our man in fantasyland. He welcomes your comments.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 7:40 AM | Permalink

September 4, 2012

The [Tuesday] Papers

"For decades, the state's child welfare agency has kept tens of thousands of families of abused and neglected children together while helping struggling parents cope with problems ranging from alcoholism and substance abuse to explosive anger," the Tribune reports.

"Without that assistance, called intact family services, the state's only alternative often was to place those at-risk kids in foster care - a traumatic, life-changing moment for most children and a significant expense to the state. The Illinois Department of Children and Family Services in recent years has done all it can to avoid that step, but a steep budget cut has forced the agency to slash such assistance.

"In the coming year, at least 1,500 fewer families will receive intact family care, the Tribune has learned, a 33 percent reduction so radical the agency's director predicts it will force more Illinois children into foster homes and increase state costs tied to paying for their care."

Brought to you by Pat Quinn, Democrat.


If only those kids' names were Sears, Motorola, Google or the Chicago Mercantile Exchange.

Hipster Vote Fraud
"Despite a conviction for committing vote fraud when he ran for office, Juan Elias now leads 1st Ward Ald. Joe Moreno's new 'independent Democratic political organization,'" the Sun-Times reports.

"Since becoming president of the 1st Ward First campaign group last year, Elias has wiped clean a rap sheet that also included being arrested with more than 3 pounds of marijuana.

"Elias was one of a group of convicted criminals who recently received pardons from Gov. Pat Quinn."

I don't much care about the pot as much as a convicted vote fraudster running a political organization. Even if Elias is rehabilitated, his position only (rightly) deepens the cynicism many (rightly) feel about Chicago politics. His presence in Moreno's organization only does more damage - to both of them (and us).

Marathon Man
I can't believe Paul Ryan's lies.

How could the Republicans put such a man as Ryan on a national ticket?

And have you seen his tax returns?

We should make Mitt release his too.

So glad the Democrats will not feature such a bald-faced liar at their convention.

See also: Dem Convention Notebook 1: Bullshit and Bedbugs.

Rahm's Lies vs. Ryan's Lies
"When he was campaigning for mayor, Emanuel promised to put 1,000 more police officers on the street. That did not mean hiring 1,000 new police officers. It meant reassigning officers from other duties to patrol assignments," the Tribune reports.

"Over the last few years the size of the Police Department has shrunk as budget cuts has left vacancies created by retirements unfilled. To fill the promised slots, some of the officers came from citywide specialized units that the department had used in recent years to saturate high-crime areas.

"At Friday's news conference, Emanuel highlighted that he had seen a graduating class of more than 50 police cadets earlier in the morning, and he promised that another 500 would graduate by the end of the year.

"But those additions are unlikely to keep pace with the number of police officers retiring. Through the first six months of this year, 476 police officers had retired, Fraternal Order of Police spokesman Patrick Camden said."


Twista On Chicago's Violence


The Bears Are So Cub
Backup quarterback makes our guy Jim Coffman want to give up his Cubs season tickets.

Related: The Cub Factor: Welcome to the Grand Illusion.

The Weekend in Chicago Rock
Highlights from the North Coast Music Festival, Taste of Polonia, Hall & Oates and the Live Wire.

On Corners Now Crowned
The evolution of Chicago poet Jacob Saenz's block.

Fiesta Boricua!
Puerto Rican Day in Humboldt Park.


The Beachwood Tip Line: Free beer tomorrow.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 9:58 AM | Permalink

SportsMondayTuesday: The Bears Are So Cub

Backup quarterback Jason Campbell not playing for the Bears against the Browns in the final exhibition game may result in my bowing out of season-ticket ownership. Cubs season-ticket ownership that is.

Upon further review (NFL football begins in less than 36 hours people! Time to adopt a proper mindset), I suppose I should acknowledge that the previous correlation isn't exactly direct. But the two items in that previous sentence are potentially related and I'm happy to break down why.

I was watching Josh McCown start that ludicrous exhibition football game in Cleveland last Thursday and I was thinking, are you kidding me, NFL? Cleveland fans have to pay full price for this crap? After all, tickets cost the same for pre- and regular-season games.

And that, of course, led me to say, are you kidding me, major sports? Despite record revenues, the NHL seems poised to cancel the start of the preseason in a week-and-a-half and to lock out players for the second time in a decade.

And the feelings these news items provoked dovetail quite nicely with my ongoing outrage with the Cubs' apparent plan to not try to win next season just like they didn't try to win this season.

General manager Jed Hoyer (now owner of a $2.1 million Lincoln Park home) was clear about not caring about this campaign when he dumped top starters Ryan Dempster and Paul Maholm for mediocre minor league players a month ago, and there continues to be this weird consensus among prominent sports media types in this town that the Cubs should do the same next year.

Are you kidding me?!

Listen up! This idea that the best way for the Cubs to build a consistent winner is for them to trash a couple seasons while piling up prospects is a crock. The main thing that has been accomplished this year and will be accomplished next year (unless a bunch of fans come to their senses and decide to stop mindlessly buying tickets to watch terrible baseball) is that the team has successfully slashed payroll while the revenues continue to pour in. In other words, the Ricketts ownership group has piled up profits and will continue to do so.

I have written this before but humor me here for a second. A total of 90-something percent of successful baseball teams are mixtures of veterans and young players. All you have to do is cast your gaze all the way down to the South Side for the best current example of this truth. Some giant wave of amazing young talent isn't going to usher in a decade of winning baseball at Wrigley in 2015. It will not happen.

Of course, Cubs executives would say they will trade some of the young players for veterans or they will sign veteran free agents to augment the young core but it could not be clearer that the Cubs have the money to sign veteran free agents and to develop young players. And the best players then play even if you have to eat a few contracts. This is not complicated and it is unacceptable for the Cubs to pretend they can't start doing this next year.

Now let me point out that my wife and I make about the smallest possible financial commitment that people can make and still call themselves partial season-ticket holders. We pay for a quarter of a nights-and-weekends package in the upper deck reserved at Wrigley.

And we won't bow out unless the guy whose name is on the tickets agrees to bow out as well. He is moving to Austin, Texas, and it will be a pain for him to maintain ownership. He would probably do so in certain circumstances but for the current Cubs?

Also be aware that you can't transfer ownership of tickets in this sort of situation. If our friend decides not to renew, other members of the ticket-buying group go to the back of the waiting list.

Going back to the Bears for a minute, how on God's green turf could coach Lovie have concluded from Campbell's work in his team's first three exhibition games that the backup would be good to go should he be called upon in the regular season? When Campbell wasn't sharp during that action, he was downright ragged.

Of course he could have used another half of action against the Browns to get more comfortable in Mike Tice's offense and just to have refined his throwing mechanics.

Analyst Dan Dierdorf spent much of the second half of the Bears' third preseason game breaking down how badly Campbell was playing.

Heck, even Jay Cutler should have played at least a quarter in Cleveland. He needed more work in the Bears' offense; that much was clear from the aforementioned third game.

And that work is more valuable if it comes against an opposing defense; even if it is the Browns' backups it beats going through the motions in another practice against your own guys.

The Bears' opponent in that third preseason game, the one that dominated the first half?

Oh yeah, that was the Giants. And guess who played their starters in the first quarter of their fourth preseason game? That would be . . . the Giants. Who, if I'm not mistaken, won the Super Bowl last year.

Major sports owners are taking major liberties with fans. Calling for boycotts or anything like that never works but there has to be a breaking point, doesn't there? For me, it may have been seeing Jason Campbell on the sideline.

It was so egregious it makes me want to give up on the Cubs, too.


Jim "Coach" Coffman is our man on Mondays Tuesdays. He welcomes your comments.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 9:31 AM | Permalink

Dem Convention Notebook 1

"As Illinois delegates gather each morning for breakfast to hear from political motivational speakers and to get a grab bag of tchotchkes, they're also given something else: a set of talking points to use in case they get asked questions by reporters," the Tribune reports.

"On Monday, a series of eight bullet points were placed on delegates' chairs, including the phrases 'Republicans trying to bury their unpopular ideas because they're political suicide,' and Democrats will be 'running on our ideas because we know they're the right thing to do.'"

I'd advise the Tribune and others to refuse to pass these talking points along to readers as if they are real thoughts worthy of quoting but it's too late.


That slogan, by the way, dates back to at least October 30, 2011.

Most Transparent Party Ever
This comes from the Illinois Republican Party but still appears to be true: Illinois Democrats Ban The Media At DNC.

Rahm To Return Home Early To Avoid A Coup
"Mayor Rahm Emanuel decided Monday to cut short his trip to the Democratic National Convention, as pressure mounted for him to stay home to try to avert Chicago's first teachers strike in 25 years and stop the bloodshed on city streets," the Sun-Times reports.

But that's not the official reason he's returning home early.

"The [Obama] campaign asked him to host a watch party for campaign staffers in Chicago to listen to POTUS [President of the United States] speech [Thursday night], so he's doing that," press spokesman Sarah Hamilton wrote in an e-mail to the paper.

And that makes it better how?

Neither dead kids or a looming teachers strike shall keep me from my appointed rounds, but a viewing party? I must do my duty!

Dems Service Rich
"Major Democratic donors will experience a very different convention than rank-and-file delegates who will fill the Time Warner Cable arena on Tuesday and Wednesday night and the Bank of America stadium on Thursday," Lynn Sweet reports for the Sun-Times.

"Besides getting credentials to the sessions they also have access to the best hotels and VIP finance lounges - and finance staff who will provide concierge-type services for them."

Just like their policies.

"While VIPs are discouraged from using limo services - downtown will be crowded with lots of security - there will be an Obama Victory Fund 'Finance Fun Bus.'"

With a non-union driver, this being Charlotte.

"The best VIP perks go to those who donated at least $75,800 to the joint Obama campaign/Democratic National Committee fund-raising committee with more perks going to donors who have a track record of giving at least $122,400 from Feb., 2009 to June 1 or who raised $350,000 from Jan. 1, 2011 through June 1."

The festivities will begin with the wealthiest donors burning last week's rhetoric about rich Republicans.

Better Vetter
The Obama team's answer to this question for a long time has been "We're better off than we would have been with a Republican in the White House" but they seemed to have forgotten that under direct questioning.


From The Department of Ewww!


Occupy Charlotte


Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 8:16 AM | Permalink

Fiesta Boricua

It was Puerto Rican Day.

1. From


2. "Una de las mejores actividad que tenemos los boricuas de cora en chicago, Ill USA."


3. Flickr photos.


4. Poster.



Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 5:54 AM | Permalink

The Evolution Of His Block

The Poetry Foundation named five fellowship winners last week including Chicagoan Jacob Saenz.

"Saenz was born in Chicago and raised in Cicero," the foundation notes. "He earned his B.A. from Columbia College Chicago. Saenz received the Letras Latinas Residency Fellowship in 2011, currently serves as an associate editor for RHINO, and works at a library. He has published poems in Apparatus Magazine, Columbia Poetry Review, Great River Review, Poetry, RHINO, and other journals."

Let's take a look.


Evolution of My Block.


Sweeping the States.


Interview, with Sunny Byers.


Featured poet at Seven Corners.


Interview with Letras Latinas.


At the Revolving Door Reading Series.


Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 5:36 AM | Permalink

The Weekend in Chicago Rock

You shoulda been there.

1. Paul Oakenfold at the North Coast Music Fest in Union Park on Friday night.


2. Modestep at North Coast on Sunday.


3. Myslovitz at Taste of Polonia on Saturday night.


4. Hall and Oates at Ravinia on Saturday night.


5. Death and Memphis at Live Wire on Friday night.


6. Big Sur at Live Wire on Friday night.


7. August Premier at Live Wire on Friday night.


8. Oiltanker at the Albion House on Friday night.


Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 4:51 AM | Permalink

September 3, 2012

The Grand Illusion

The most interesting thing that's happened lately to the Cubs has nothing to do with the Cubs. It has more to do with the Dodgers and Red Sox, but it certainly relates to the Cubs. What is becoming clearer is that teams in major markets make an ass-load of money.

The Dodgers proved that as a team that somehow could barely make payroll last season went out and got a quarter-billion dollars worth of contracts. Do they do that if they couldn't make that back somehow?

And what about the Red Sox? A team that could take on that kind of payroll just decides to give up on the cornerstone of the deal (Adrian Gonzalez) and throw in a few other horrible contracts.

So how does this relate to the Cubs?

In two ways. First, it shows that big-market teams should care less about payroll than small-market teams. L.A. sure could care less about that payroll now. And you think that the Dodgers make more money than the Cubs?

Well, maybe they do, but it's in the same ballpark, friends.

But we were fed a line about cutting salary as the only way things will change around here. Well, the Cubs are full of it. They can handle the payroll. They are taking advantage of the fans.

Second, I don't think it was a salary dump for Boston. It was a "let's get Theo's guys out of here" move. It just so happens that it coincided with a huge salary dump, because we now know from the Dodgers' perspective that big-market teams can have all the salary they want.

Nope, it was a move by new management to get their own people and ideas moving forward instead of the old ones.

And you can look no further than right here on the North Side to see how new management is cleaning house to get their own guys in all the while selling a bill of goods that includes cutting the major-league payroll to the bone.

We are being had, Cub fans, and you only have to take a look around the league to see why. Maybe in 2017 it'll all be worth it, but maybe not.

Week in Review: The Cubs went 2-6 for the week (and a day), losing three of four to the Brewers, two of three to the Giants, and the first of four with the Nats. A hundred losses in still possible.

The Week in Preview: The Cubs stay in D.C. for three more before heading to Pittsburgh for a weekend set with the Pirates. There will be two wins in there if they are lucky.

The Second Basemen Report: Here is a word problem: Darwin Barney is the Cubs' second baseman. The Cubs are bad at baseball, therefore Darwin Barney is bad at baseball. Except on defense, which is less than half of what really counts. Which is not what the ghost of Jim Hendry would have liked but what he left us.

In former second basemen news, Jeff Baker was traded from the Cubs to the Tigers and then from the Tigers to the Braves. So two potential playoff teams have acquired him since late July. And yet, he is not missed.

The Not So Hot Corner: Luis Valbuena still plays third most of the time because at .081, Josh Vitters can't hit his 5th-grade weight. He does have a .121 OBP, though, which is what he weighed in 6th grade.

Weekly Bunting Report: Tony Campana is back! And that means the bunt is once again in the Cubs' offensive arsenal. Not every day, mind you, because Alfonso Soriano is still getting at-bats because he's such a big part of this team's future. But buried on the bench, along with the team's running game.

Endorsement No-Brainer: Theo Epstein for David Copperfield. They both create great illusions.

Ameritrade Stock Pick of the Week: Shares of Nostalgia continue to trade higher than they should.

Sink or Sveum: 25% Analytical, 75% Emotional. Dale stands pat because how low can you go in this pretend season? On a scale of Bat Sh#t Crazy, (Charles Manson), Not All There, (random guy with a neck tattoo), Thinking Clearly (Jordi LaForge), and Non-Emotional Robot (Data), Dale is Not All There.

manson.jpgneck.jpg jordi.jpgdata.jpg

And just like your thought-to-be level-headed uncle, Dale entered the family limbo contest just for fun but he had no idea the bar would get so low and now he's worried about wrenching his back. It was a bad idea.

Over/Under: The amount of innings anyone should be watching per game right now: +/- 2.1

Don't Hassle LaHoffpauir It kinda turns out that Micah Hoffpauir and Bryan LaHair are the same person. What a hassle!

Beachwood Sabermetrics: A complex algorithm performed by The Cub Factor staff using all historical data made available by Major League Baseball has determined that September call-ups just mean you get to see more guys that you will never see again.

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

The White Sox Report: Know the enemy.


Contact The Cub Factor!

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 8:42 PM | Permalink

The [Monday] Papers

The Beachwood will be closed for Labor Day but we do have a few quick items.

1. The White Sox Report: Beat Detroit Or Go Home. The Sox get another chance with a four-game set at the Cell.

2. "Earlier this month, when thousands of union members gathered in Philadelphia for the AFL-CIO's 'Workers Stand for America' rally, labor leaders tried to pull off a difficult balancing act: firing up a weary, embattled labor movement while presenting an endorsement of Barack Obama as the lesser of two evils," Mike Elk writes for In These Times.

Obama 2008: The Messiah. Obama 2012: The Devil You Know.


"Out of fear of the Republicans' all-out war on unions, labor leaders found themselves in the awkward position of having to champion the reelection of Obama, whose actions toward organized labor have ranged from indifferent to hostile. Touting Obama at the August 11 rally posed additional difficulties because the event had been initially seen as a sort of 'shadow convention' in protest of the Democratic National Convention being held in heavily anti-union North Carolina."


"Many in organized labor fault Obama for opening the attacks on public sector workers. In a famous speech at the Hispanic Chamber of Commerce in 2009, the president called for the getting rid of 'bad teachers'; the next year, he endorsed the mass firing of unionized teachers in Central Falls, Rhode Island. Campaign for America's Future Co-President Bob Borosage has likened Obama's decision to freeze the pay of federal workers to Reagan's devastating 1981 break-up of the air traffic controllers' strike, which opened the door for more demands for cuts from other workers. Most recently, the president signed a bill in February making it more difficult for airline workers to unionize, which resulted in an unprecedented anti-union ruling by a federal district court that blocked 10,000 American Airlines customer service agents from holding an election."


"North Carolina also has in place a law dating from the Jim-Crow era that denies public employees the right to collectively bargain."

So Obama will be walking a picket line, right?


Obama's message: You helped elect me based on promises I didn't keep, and now you must help re-elect me because the other guy isn't even making promises.


"I caught up with [DNC chair Debbie] Wasserman-Schultz afterward to ask whether she believes Charlotte public sector workers should have the right to voluntarily have union dues deducted from their paycheck. Wasserman-Schultz dodged the question, saying, 'What I know is that Democrats are thrilled and excited about making sure that we put on the most open, accessible Democratic National Convention of any political convention in American history and that we have an opportunity to make sure for America's workers that they have opportunity to be a part of the American Dream.'"

He might as well have been talking to a chair.

"She continued, 'Barack Obama believes that everyone in America should have an opportunity to be successful. Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan think that millionaires and billionaires and the trickle-down economics and the failed policies of the past are the way to go.'

"I found it ironic that Wasserman-Schultz, who spoke for the AFL-CIO's Second Bill of Rights, wouldn't answer whether she agreed workers deserved some of the rights outlined in the original Bill of Rights. So later, I asked Wassermann-Schultz again to give a yes-or-no answer about whether Charlotte workers deserved voluntary dues deduction. She left the press scrum and walked away from the briefing."


Is it better to be silenced by a fake ally for another four years or go full-throated against a known opponent? This is a question many liberal interest groups must answer for themselves. I'm not sure an Obama presidency has helped their causes; sometimes being in opposition is more effective - just look at House Republicans.

3. Jorge Ramirez, the president of the Chicago Federation of Labor, had this letter published by both the Tribune and Sun-Times today.

But while Ramirez' letter seems sincere and is at least modestly inspiring, he's still a partisan drinking the Kool-Aid:

"Chicago AFL-CIO President Jorge Ramirez expects Democrats to celebrate organized labor [at their convention], unlike Republican speakers who criticized unions," ABC7 reports.

I wouldn't expect anything of the sort - at least not in prime time.

4. The Betrayal Of The American Dream.

5. On Labor Day, Little Rest For Workers.


The Beachwood Tip Line: Work it.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 9:03 AM | Permalink

Tiger Time

"Buen trabajo, mi amigo," Ozzie Guillen might have texted to fellow countryman Miguel Cabrera after Saturday's 5-1 pasting of the White Sox as the lame Cabrera had three hits and drove in a couple of runs. "Two bad ankles, but, hey, it's a big series. You showed 'em, kid."

When Ozzie was guiding the Sox, he made no secret of his friendship and admiration for the Tigers' MVP candidate. I never quite understood that. After all, since he joined the Tigers in 2008, the Sox have had little luck getting Cabrera out. He absolutely slays our team.

To think our (former) manager was pals with the guy rubbed me the wrong way. I much preferred his relationship with another Venezuelan, Magglio Ordonez, who played for Detroit after his days with the Sox. Ozzie once called him "a piece of shit."

Of course, we're talking history, and Guillen has his own of problems in Miami, while Cabrera continues to torment the Sox.

But there was reason for optimism over the weekend. Cabrera was limping around on not one, but two sore ankles. Furthermore, manager Jim Leyland put the guy at third base, opting to use a healthy Delmon Young as DH on Friday. Cabrera played every inning there over the three-game series.

The only explanation I could imagine was that Cabrera's 240 pounds were needed to balance the infield with Prince Fielder at the other corner. Put someone like Omar Infante at third, and the left side of the infield at Comerica might rise a foot or two. You have to think about these things.

Would it have been unsporting for the Sox to bunt down the third-base line, testing the gimpy Cabrera by making him move around? Of course not, but our athletes were rather kind to the Tiger star. He made a couple of errors in Friday's 7-4 Tiger victory, but the Sox were reluctant to bunt toward him in the three losses. Too bad because the guy clearly couldn't move.

However, at the plate, no problem for the big man. On Friday his two-run homer, his 33rd, off Jake Peavy after a walk to Andy Dirks - more about that later - got the Tigers on the board in the first inning and then three hits and a couple of RBIs followed on Saturday.

I remember Juan Gonzalez, a 17-year major leaguer (1989-2005) who made something like $87 million for his career. The guy hit 434 home runs and twice was the MVP while playing for Texas. But he wouldn't play hurt. We're not talking about torn rotator cuffs or even strained obliques or hammies. If he wasn't feeling well, Juan would sit.

I thought about Gonzalez and other high-salaried stars as I watched Cabrera grimace through the weekend. Cabrera doubled to lead off the fifth in Friday's game, and Fielder followed with a deep fly to Dewayne Wise in center field. Knowing that Cabrera was hobbled, Wise soft-tossed the throw back to the infield. Meanwhile, the crafty Cabrera, realizing that Wise had underestimated him, tagged up and easily advanced to third.

Think for a moment what kind of effect that had on his teammates. Cabrera easily could have sat out the weekend series, and no one would have questioned his desire and commitment to a team in the thick of a pennant race. Knowing that the team's star player was limping around in obvious pain and still helping the ballclub sent a message to his teammates.

"You can tell he's not as agile as he was earlier on," Tiger center fielder Austin Jackson told reporters. "At the same time, I'm thinking he's doing the things necessary so he can get out there and play with it."

Leyland echoed Jackson, saying, Cabrera gives "a great effort every single day, every day for however many years he's been here."

Sox pitching gave the Tigers - and the Orioles earlier in the week - lots of help because they couldn't find the strike zone. During this nightmare of a 1-6 road trip, Sox pitchers issued 31 bases on balls and hit another two batters. Eight scored.

Chris Sale pitched ten innings on the trip and walked seven hitters. Francisco Liriano, who struggles as much as Carlos Marmol with his control, walked seven - you read that correctly - in Saturday's loss. Meanwhile, Peavy hit Fielder with a pitch on Friday to load the bases ahead of Delmon Young unloading them with a long double.

(Talking about Young, his homer that beat the Sox last night came on a pitch just inches off the ground. You couldn't blame Sale for being livid. Young would have had a better chance with a 9-iron, yet he launched a line drive into the bullpen. How'd he do that?)

As weird as it sounds, the only effective starting pitcher was Dylan Axelrod, who beat the Orioles 8-1. Gavin Floyd's sore elbow was the only reason Axelrod got the nod. I'm thinking Floyd should remain right where he is - on the DL.

This being political season in America, let's put some spin on what looks like the unraveling of our athletes.

In the ninth inning last night, Orlando Hudson sent a screamer to center field with two on and two out. Jackson barely ran it down, so the Sox were only a few feet from tying the game as Jordan Danks easily would have scored from first.

Both the Sox and Detroit have 29 games remaining. But the Sox get 17 of those at home where they have a 38-26 record. Meanwhile, the Tigers play 16 on the road where they are 30-35. (At home Detroit is a whopping 42-26.)

And let's not forget that the two teams split their first eight games this season. Okay, so the Motown fellas have beaten our guys six in a row. But all those were at Comerica, and the White Sox will have a chance to turn the tables next week when the Tigers invade the Cell for four games.

The biggest problem is that the Tigers look so far superior to the South Siders. Is it possible that either Max Scherzer or Justin Verlander will lose another game this season?

Put guys on base in front of Cabrera, Fielder, and Young, and they're going to score more often than not.

The Miguel Cabrera look-alike, Avisail Garcia - yet another Venezuelan - was promoted from Double-A on Saturday, and the kid looks imposing and talented.

Closer Jose Valverde keeps Tiger fans on edge, but he's piling up saves about as often as those same fans do The Wave at Comerica.

ESPN commentators John Kruk, Dan Shulman, and Terry Francona, working the national game on Sunday night, spent three hours extolling the virtues of the Detroit ballclub. I was waiting for a rebuttal from the Hawk.

Yet they failed to mention how Cabrera & Company dropped three straight in Kansas City just prior to silencing the White Sox.

The lone certainty seems to be that the Sox will need to beat Detroit to get to the postseason. Oakland and Baltimore - or the Yankees if the Orioles somehow slide past New York - are in the driver's seat for the wild cards, while Tampa Bay and the Angels are in pursuit. Whoever finishes second in the Central Division will be going home.

Just a week ago, the White Sox were on a roll, having swept the Yankees and Mariners at home. Streaks have characterized this team since Opening Day. Whether the Sox are able to string together yet another winning week or two, or better yet three, is the big question. I'm not the only one who is dubious. But then I've been wrong before.


Roger Wallenstein is our man on the White Sox beat. He welcomes your comments.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 8:10 AM | Permalink

September 1, 2012

The Weekend Desk Report

"It's been a week of celebration in Gary for what would have been Michael Jackson's 54th birthday," WBEZ reports. "Fans from near and far have descended on MJ's boyhood hometown.

"Just a couple of years ago, former Gary Mayor Rudy Clay announced plans for a $300 million museum and performance arts center to honor Jackson's legacy and memory.

"But two years after that announcement before media lights and cameras, the plan is dead. Chelsea L. Whittington, spokeswoman for current Gary Mayor Karen Freeman Wilson, says without a funding plan, the museum cannot be built."

Which is a tribute to Neverland of its own.

Flaming Retardants
"The world's major manufacturers of flame retardants officially cut ties today with an industry-funded front group that waged a deceptive campaign to fuel demand for the chemicals in household furniture, electronics, baby products and other goods," the Tribune reports.

The move may mark the end of the Citizens for Fire Safety Institute, but the Coalition for Keeping Our Women and Children Safe From Fire is being organized as we speak.

Vagina Chronicles
Chicagoland's self-professed expert in ladyparts has resigned his job as Rich High School's girls basketball coach in order to devote himself full-time to his studies.

Ridin' Dirty
The college football season kicks off this weekend and that means the world's best College Football Report returns to the Beachwood to chronicle the most colorful - and criminal - rituals you will find in any segment of America. There are morals here, amidst the amoral.

Buckling Up
Seat-belt use in Illinois is at an all-time high, which is what happens when potholes are at an all-time high.


The Weekend Desk Tip Line: Flame retardant.


The Flying Saucer Weekend Brunch Report: The Flying Saucer will be open from 8 a.m. - 3 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday. Our holiday hours on Monday will be 10 a.m. - 2 p.m.


The Sound Opinions Weekend Listening Report: "Jim and Greg revisit their conversation with The Apples in Stereo's Robert Schneider about the Elephant 6 recording collective. Plus, they review Anastasis, the new record from longtime 4AD band Dead Can Dance."

The CAN TV Weekend Viewing 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: Little Walter Foundation


Alex Ruiz of The Little Walter Foundation highlights how the organization celebrates the legacy of blues legend Little Walter by inspiring children to be involved in the Aats.

Saturday, September 1 at 7:30 p.m. on CAN TV21
30 min


The Sounds of History: Jazz Concert Series Tribute to Miles Davis


This celebration of jazz legend Miles Davis includes live performances by The Bobby Irving Quintet with Orbert Davis & Corey Wilkes.

Sunday, September 2 at 9:30 a.m. on CAN TV21
2 hr 30 min


Art of A Community Speaks Across Generations


Artist Barbara Jones of AfriCobra discusses the history of art on the South Side and at the South Side Community Art Center with photographer and archivist Skyla Hearn.

Sunday, September 2 at 12 p.m. on CAN TV21
1 hr 30 min


Bringing Nature Home


University of Delaware professor Doug Tallamy highlights ways homeowners can maintain their landscapes to support wildlife and protect biodiversity.

Sunday, September 2 at 1:30 p.m. on CAN TV21
1 hr 30 min.


Town Hall Meeting: Issues of Movies & Violence


How do depictions of violence in movies impact our culture and the people in it? Tribune movie critic Michael Phillips and psychologist Dr. Daniel Freedman explore this issue in light of recent tragedies.

Sunday, September 2 at 3 p.m. on CAN TV21
2 hr


Stop the Violence Parade


Local organizations and residents march against gun violence in their communities.

Sunday, September 2 at 5 p.m. on CAN TV19
30 min


Chicago Clergy Coalition Unite to End Violence


Local clergy and family members of Chicagoans killed by gun violence launch a petition drive calling for stricter gun laws, including an assault weapons ban and increased oversight of handgun purchases.

Watch Online

Sunday, September 2 at 5:30 p.m. on CAN TV19
1 hr


Chicago Teachers Union Announces Notice of Intent to Strike


Chicago Teachers Union president Karen Lewis announces the filing of a 10-day intent to strike notice.

Watch Online

Sunday, September 2 at 6:30 p.m. on CAN TV19
30 min

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 10:05 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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