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« October 2012 | Main | December 2012 »

November 30, 2012

The [Friday] Papers

LaShawn Ford, c'mon down!

You are the next contestant on the The Indictment Is Right.

And so far you are losing - big time.

*

"An indictment is an accusation and a theory of what those people believed happened as far as the life I live," Ford told OakPark.com.

Um, sort of.

"This is a case of the feds not knowing how real estate is done in the community."

Do you mean to say the feds don't know how real estate transactions work or that they don't know how they work (wink, wink) in the 'hood?

"The prosecutors - they have a good writer, and they wrote a good story," he told the Sun-Times.

It's not really that good a story. Total lack of character development.

"I'm a hard-working man. They have a way of working, and I have a way of living. I'm honest."

You just said the U.S. Attorney's Office is neither hard-working nor honest, which historically is not a great strategy.

"I'm not a bank fraud, that's for sure."

And I bet you're not a submitting false information to a bank either.

"I ran for office for times like this."

Well, every Illinois politician can say that.

"There's no reason for LaShawn Ford to resign unless he can't be a legislator for the people of the 8th District. My work speaks for itself. My actions speak for itself."

And he apparently speaks for LaShawn Ford.

*

See also: Ford Introduces Resolution To Save Bank.

*

LaShawn Ford in the Beachwood:
+ See the item Church and State.
+ Calling for the National Guard.

Paging Anita
"After a controversial trial that sparked interest in the legal community, a Chicago attorney has been acquitted of charges she improperly let a suspect in the slaying of a Chicago police officer use her cellphone in an interrogation room," the Tribune reports.

"A Cook County jury deliberated a little less than three hours Thursday evening before clearing Sladjana Vuckovic on two counts of bringing contraband into a penal institution."

Good.

"The charges sparked controversy among criminal-defense lawyers who said they routinely bring their cellphones into police interview rooms and sometimes let clients make calls," the Tribune reported on Thursday. "Some veteran attorneys said they could not remember a similar case ever being pursued by police."

Tough week for Cook County State's Attorney Anita Alvarez, who seems intent on bringing vengeful picayune cases on behalf of the Chicago Police Department - while being less aggressive on cases that really matter.

As The City On The Make Turns
"The owner of a company that recently won a $99.4 million janitorial contract from Mayor Rahm Emanuel's administration was the longtime business partner of a man accused of involvement in organized crime," the Sun-Times reports.

Guilt by associate.

*

Speaking of which, Mob Wives Chicago was canceled on Thursday. We say good riddance.

Replacing Junior
"The field is taking shape for a 2nd Congressional District race as two new candidates announced Thursday they are running to replace Jesse Jackson Jr. in Congress and a third says he has a leg up on getting key Democratic party backing," the Sun-Times reports.

See our updated Political Odds for our current assessment.

Arlington Crybabies
In TrackNotes.

We've Got A Situation
In QT.

The Week In Chicago Rock
The Who, Enrique Bunbury, Macklemore & Ryan Lewis, and the People Under The Stairs.

Renegade Beachwood
I'll be working the Flying Saucer booth at the Renegade Craft Fair on Saturday Sunday, so stop by and say hello.

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The Beachwood Tip Line: Bank shot.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 8:50 AM | Permalink

Remembering Mob Wives Chicago

The show that should never have been has been canceled after just one season. Let's take a look back at the lowlights.

1. The Supertrailer.


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2. "I'm a very private person."

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3. Father-Daughter Day.

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4. She's My Mob Wife.

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5. Steven and Jason re-create a scene.

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6. Yukking it up.

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See also: The Monsters Behind Chicago's Mob Wives

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 6:28 AM | Permalink

QT: Or Try Ezekiel 23:19-20


News Headline: "Church steeples rented out as cell phone towers."
And don't think the sexting community isn't grateful.

···

Joe Lueken, owner of supermarkets in Minnesota and North Dakota, on why he will transfer ownership to his 400 employees upon retirement:
"My employees are largely responsible for any success I've had, and they deserve to get some of the benefits of that."
Lueken knows an important truth about free enterprise:
He built that.
And so did they.

···

News Headline: "U.S. prisons could safely hold Guantanamo prisoners, report says."
Nothing doing. The prisoners stay at Guantanamo.
How else can we pretend they don't exist?

···

News Headline: "Woman's Christmas lights flip bird at neighbors."
News Headline: "Middle-finger Christmas lights ordered taken down."
Ho, Ho, Ho!

···

Why We Should Have Done Something Yesterday About the Day After Tomorrow:
Sea levels are rising 60 percent faster than earlier predicted by the so-called scientists who have been trying to panic us with the hoax of climate change.

···

News Headline: "Gun store owner who banned Obama supporters says business is booming."
Good luck for him that he isn't a book store owner.

···

Chicago artist Eric Ashcraft in an interview:
"If I had to choose between being identified as a painter, a sculptor or a conceptual artist, I would choose to be a banana."
Does QT have a new favorite artist?

···

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) on the budget deficit negotiations:
"It was with some concern that I read this morning that the President plans to hit the road this week to drum up support for. . . ."
Senator, you will have to forgive President Obama.
He is still learning how to be an American and doesn't quite know how democracies are supposed to work.

···

News Headline: "Crisis situation developing in Middle East."
News Headline: "Flooding situation has eased."
News Headline: "Iran dismisses UN report on human rights situation."
News Headline: "Who is to blame for the fiscal cliff situation?"
QT Abridged Too Far Dictionary of the English Language:
situation noun 1. physical placement. 2. state of affairs. 3. anything that is always either worsening or returning to normal. 4. a word that almost everyone can't seem to say enough. 5. even though it is almost never needed. 6. which is a situation that may worsen into a situation situation. 7. or even a situation crisis situation. 8. until it returns to normal.

···

QT Digest of Rush Limbaugh's Thursday Show (for Your Convenience):
"I am totally confused."
This is entirely out of context.
Which seems fair enough.

···

News Headline: "Pants-less intruder arrested inside Valparaiso home."
B.C., a Tinley Park reader, believes there is probably an interesting story behind that.
Especially as the intruder was wearing a Christmas stocking on one foot.
But we move on.

···

News Headline: "Conservative: Hispanics are born liberal."
And some of us are born not very bright.
We all have to make do.

···

QT Trickle-On Economics Update:
Hostess, which tripled its CEO's pay and nearly doubled the pay of other executives before announcing it could no longer afford the wages and benefits of its workers, has asked a bankruptcy judge to allow $1.8 million in additional executive bonuses.

···

Mitt Romney's campaign autobiography No Apology has fallen from 698,415th to 723,744th on the on the Amazon best-seller list while the number of Google hits for "tap-dancing militant Islamic fundamentalists" has risen slightly to 2,190, for those keeping track.

···

From Poor QT's Almanack:
On this day in history 229 years ago the preliminary Treaty of Paris was signed, leading to the end of the American Revolution and taking its place as one of 17 Treaties of Paris signed for any number of reasons in the last 783 years, putting Paris two treaties ahead of Vienna, eight ahead of London and 16 ahead of Detroit, and if you didn't know there was a Treaty of Detroit, neither did QT.

···

QT Grammar R Us Seminar on the English Language:
From a Commonwealth Edison mailing:
"You may be unaware that ComEd raised their electricity price in October. . . . "
A problem with ComEd is its--its--grammar outages.
And F.R., a Chicago reader, wants to know when did power failures become power outages, and when can we have power failures back?
And. . . .


Write to QT at qt@beachwoodreporter.com
Visit QT at facebook.com/zaynsmithqt
QT appears Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays.

Posted by Zay N. Smith at 6:00 AM | Permalink

The Week In Chicago Rock

You shoulda been there.

1. The Who in Rosemont on Thursday night.


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2. Enrique Bunbury at the Congress on Tuesday night.

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3. Macklemore & Ryan Lewis at the House of Blues on Wednesday night.

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4. People Under The Stairs at Subterranean on Wednesday night.

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 2:53 AM | Permalink

November 29, 2012

TrackNotes: Arlington Cries Itself Into Court

If your idea of the perfect gift is a shiny package of absurdities with a couple of angels ribboned, like candy canes, on the outside, this week has been a most satisfying early Christmas.

I'll let Perry White handle this one. OY!

Closer to the beat, there was this one.

Really, they both boil down to this.

A lawsuit by Arlington Park against the Illinois Racing Board for awarding 18 dark days, and the simulcast revenue that goes with them, to Hawthorne Race Course tells us all we need to know. Corporate lawyers justifying their existence, Arlington's arguments and infantile crying are so contemptuous you wish they would take their developmental league racing and just go away.

Thank god Double D didn't own the track when Secretariat ran there or we'd never hear the end of it.

It started when Churchill Downs created a new points system to replace the old graded stakes earnings rankings to determine eligibility for the increasingly silly Kentucky Derby. The goal was to eliminate the inequities of, say, a two-year-old earning enough purse money by winning an inflated purse in a freak performance or a three-year-old winning an inflated "lesser" race to get to the Derby.

Churchill Downs chose a whole roster of races and assigned points on an ascending scale, describing it as "36 stakes races overall and includ(ing) 17 marquee events for three-year-old Thoroughbreds that comprise a compact, 10-week run up to the first Saturday in May to be known as the Kentucky Derby Championship Series."

Except they left one out: The Illinois Derby!

In 2012, the Illinois Derby was a $500,000 Grade III won by Done Talking, who finished 14th in the Kentucky Derby. The race was knocked down from a Grade II in 2010 and had its purse cut to $250,000, but Hawthorne showed great faith by reinstating the half-mil for this year.

(Note to Crain's Danny Ecker: Attendance has little to do in this simulcast age with a race's prestige. It's all about the horses and the connections who show up. And Hawthorne has drawn fairly well on its big days.)

Recent stars such as Ten Most Wanted (2003), Pollard's Vision (2004), and Musket Man (2009) all won the race. Sweetnorthernsaint was the post-time favorite in Kentucky in 2006 and War Emblem in 2002 won the first two legs of the Triple Crown after taking the Illinois Derby at old Sportsman's Park.

In another bit of typically antiquated Illinois policy, all simulcast days and the fees and extra revenue that goes with them must be "hosted." When Hawthorne runs, they host. Same for Arlington. Earlier this year in the IRB racing dates meeting, Arlington called in its heavy artillery in an attempt to steal Hawthorne's spring racing days and make them dark and hosted by Arlington.

CDI even called in to the meeting a platoon of accounting suits who proceeded to bar graph and line chart Hawthorne's financials! To show how bad Hawthorne is, as if they knew. Oh for a Giant Oak to concuss those bastards with a mule kick to their heads.

When the Illinois Racing Board said no, CDI petulantly excluded the Illinois Derby from it new points system. As punishment and justice, the Illinois Racing Board (IRB) turned over 18 January/February dark days to Hawthorne. Now, Arlington is bitching and moaning and trying to get revenge.

In its September racing dates meeting to determine the 2013 schedule, the IRB, saying not much, decided to take 18 (hosting) days away from Arlington and give them to Hawthorne. It was just. IRB made an effort to give an even break, sensitive to the fact that the Illinois Derby dates back to 1923.

Being the supercilious corporation it is, CDI is crying foul in a most hypocritical and dishonest manner. Alleging lack of jurisdiction (huh?) and indifference to the welfare of Illinois racing, Arlington/CDI is suing the IRB. And you've got to love its citing of the Open Meetings Act as its main loophole.

At The Post, the Arlington house newsletter, screams at the injustice.

It says IRB's actions against Arlington come as a result of "decisions made by an organization in another state; decisions made completely independent of Arlington; decisions made by an organization beyond the jurisdiction of the Racing Board." Arlington's italics, not mine, and they use a lot of italics. As if Arlington and Churchill Downs Inc. are completely separate and autonomous entities. As if Arlington emperor Dick Duchossois is not the largest single shareholder in CDI.

The newsletter bleeds empathy for Illinois' agribusiness health while Arlington seeks to eliminate Hawthorne's role - and the agribusiness jobs it provides - in it.

In classic corporate jargon full of self-damaging contradictions, untruths and pulpit pounding, Arlington would have us believe it, and only it.

Arlington is using the same heinous marketing model as the Cubs. Sell the facility and put out a truly lousy product. The rubes will be none the wiser. Meanwhile, bully the powers that they may be spared the all-powerful CDI hellfire and damnation.

One of Arlington's big problems is that racing is a national sport. Horseplayers all over the simulcast world look at the Poly Track (which has turned black as the plastic cooks in the hot sun) and hate what they see. They look at the bush league racing and take a pass. And if the palace is truly so great, why can't Arlington run a dirt race with the prestige of the Illinois Derby? This is so Chicago sports. So loserville.

Don't talk to me about the Million. That's a whole different turf ballgame - and not a great one at that. And don't talk to me about Sir Dick. He's been milking that up-from-the-ashes crap for decades, winning legacy awards as the grandpapa of Illinois racing while he marches, like Sherman to the sea, to destroy all racing in Illinois except his own. He wishes he had the passion for the game that the Carey family of Hawthorne has.

Arlington hits you over the head with the talk, but it has absolutely no walk.

We know who Duchossois is. Handicappers know what Arlington's racing is.

Herpes at Hawthorne
Without being on the scene or a veterinarian, it's difficult to shed any light on the tragic outbreak of equine herpesvirus in some of the barns at Hawthorne. It has killed four horses since mid-October.

It is a fairly symptomless virus that many horses can overcome.

While Hawthorne's quarantine protocols have been praised, some of the Chicago Barn to Wire forum posts on the topic, contributed to by some horsemen, imply strongly that horse movement on the backstretch has been too frequent to maintain strict isolation of the problem. I've also heard that from an acquaintance who's relatively near the situation.

Hawthorne continues to run, trying to separate the healthy horses from the rest. There have been nearly 2,000 horses in residence on the Hawthorne grounds this fall.

One problem is the inability of any of those horses to move on to tracks such as Turfway, Gulfstream or Fair Grounds for winter racing. Procedures have apparently been set up to get some horses out and fortunately they are being taken to private farms for safety and evaluation.

We have to wonder if Hawthorne will be forced in the somewhat near-term to simply declare the entire grounds a quarantine area and sort things out.

At some point, it's about the horses and all we can suggest is that they do the right thing.

NFL In A Coma
Anybody who knows or cares will know what I'm talking about, but betting on the NFL has been hell this season.

The administration of the games is out of control. The referees have been transformed into pudding as they first-, second- and third-guess themselves on every play. And then the grand high-exalted mystic replay system serves only to confuse things further. Nothing is as it seems. Naturally, opportunistic assassins lead with the helmet to take full advantage of the false reality.

The NFL game has never been worse and smoke-and-mirror teams like the Bears stand to succeed because of it. Rule changes in the middle of the season?

It's so crazy that Mike McCarthy, to the puzzlement of the Stonehenge announcers who couldn't understand he was trying to give Mason Crosby confidence for the future, kicked a field goal very late to beat the spread. Profitable, but uncharacteristic.

I bide my time for the opportunity to cash in when the Bears will take their massive fall (playoff game one?), for that is one thing that is straight and true. Cutler dallies with mustaches, losing sight of the real goal. Meanwhile, Miami covers, Dallas preens losses and San Francisco provides.

The NFL has American football fans, and itself, in a coma, just ahead, in The Twilight Zone. I'm thankful I'm on this side of the picture tube.

-

Correction: This story has been changed to reflect that Churchill Down Inc.'s decision to not include the Illinois Derby in its point system for eligibility to the Kentucky Derby was announced in June, 2012, while the Illinois Racing Board's decision to move 18 racing host days from Arlington Park to Hawthorne was made in its September, 2012 dates meeting to set the 2013 racing calendar.

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Thomas Chambers is our man on the rail. He welcomes your comments.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 5:12 PM | Permalink

The [Thursday] Papers

Now I understand why Mayor Rahm Emanuel has that pained, smirking grimace on his face all the time: You would too if your pants were on fire as often as his.

"Mayor Rahm Emanuel today refused to back away from his remarks that commuters can choose whether to drive or take the CTA when fares increase, instead saying his earlier comments were misinterpreted," the Tribune reports.

"What I said is, (it's) a choice. People have a choice between public transportation and private," Rahm said.

Add misinterpretation to the list of things we're defining down.

*

"Public transportation is different from driving to work. You will make that choice," Emanuel said Monday.

Along with: "Now you, as a commuter, will pick. You can either drive to work or you can take public transportation."

In fact, Rahm repeated the talking point - along with comparisons to gas price increases - so often that there's little doubt he very deliberately chose the frame and spin with which to sell the fare increases. And now he can't admit he was wrong to do so.

*

"I did not say or imply that you could just drive," Emanuel said Wednesday. "I said there's a choice."

Right.

*

"At an unrelated news conference Wednesday, Emanuel was asked as he was leaving the podium whether he regrets suggesting that Chicagoans can choose to drive to work, rather than taking the CTA," the Sun-Times reports.

Visibly annoyed, the mayor returned to the podium - something he seldom, if ever, does - and answered the question.

"That's not what I said," the mayor replied.

Emanuel noted that Chicago's "reliable public transportation system" is one of many reasons businesses and residents are choosing to return to the city. And, after years of neglect, Chicago is now investing heavily in the CTA, he said.

"That is a choice that individuals will make. And I said it in [that] way because I think public transportation is competitive against private transportation - on price, convenience, service and comfort," the mayor said.

As he walked away from the podium for the second time, Emanuel was asked to explain how he believes his earlier comments had been misinterpreted. He ignored the question.

Maybe he was in a hurry to douse his trousers.

*

Note: I feel a bit sheepish using the "pants on fire" meme. Overdone. And "trousers?" It just sounded right - maybe because of its proximity to "douse."

Reynolds Wrap
"Mel Reynolds, an ex-con convicted of bank fraud and having sex with a 16-year-old girl when he was in his 40s, wants to replace the embattled Jesse Jackson Jr. in Congress," the Sun-Times reports.

That bank fraud conviction tends to get overshadowed by the sex crime. Here's what an adequately footnoted Wikipedia entry says:

Reynolds was sentenced to five years in prison [on the sex charges], thus he expected to be released in 1998. However, in April 1997 he was convicted on 15 unrelated counts of bank fraud and lying to SEC investigators. These charges resulted in an additional sentence of 78 months in federal prison. Reynolds served all of his first sentence, and served 42 months in prison for the later charges. At that point, President Bill Clinton commuted the sentence for bank fraud.

Of course, Reynolds' past crimes will result in media attention that other, more worthy candidates would pay good money for - and might have to.

*

If I have my numbers right (kind of hurried this morning), Jesse Jackson Jr. notched 88 percent of the vote when he ran against Reynolds in the 2004 primary, compared to 58 percent of the vote against Debbie Halvorson earlier this year.

Some commentators think Reynolds is a serious candidate, in large part due to his name recognition.

You know, Ted Bundy has name recognition too. There is such a thing as bad publicity.

*

Deja Jackson:

"Federal authorities investigating U.S. Rep. Mel Reynolds' personal finances are attempting to determine if money paid to his wife's consulting business was for work or political contributions converted into a down payment on the couple's Dolton home, according to records and interviews," the Tribune reported in 1995.

Reynolds said Wednesday that he has his own consulting firm now (apparently Reynolds Consulting, which does not appear to have a website) that facilitates business between American and Zimbabwean companies. Further reporting on that if warranted.

Ask What You Can Do For Your Family
Cook County Assessor and chairman of the Cook County Democratic Party on Wednesday proved once again that you can always find a way to justify your own unethical behavior by citing someone else who also acted unethically and therefore opened the door for the rest of us.

"Look at a great president that we had, President Kennedy. Who'd he appoint attorney general? You know? Same thing," Berrios told the Sun-Times after testifying in a Senate committee in Springfield.

"You're saying Bobby Kennedy wasn't fit for the job? He appointed his brother," Berrios continued, referring to JFK. "And in government, people help many people. This is part of the process."

A) Yes, I'm saying Bobby Kennedy wasn't fit the for the job. I think we can all agree at this juncture that JFK naming his brother to the post was a terrible mistake and nearly inconceivable today.

Also: why not cite all those politicians who don't practice nepotism as your guide?

B) If nepotism was part of the process, the Cook County ethics board wouldn't be trying to collect a $10,000 fine from Berrios and seeking the firing of at least three family members on his staff.

Dreamin' Cowboys And Bacon Fat
In our Local Music Notebook featuring The Sundowners, the Flaming Lips, Appletree Records, Luke Winslow-King, Bloodshot Records and Andre Williams.

Michael Jordan Had A TV Show
The year was 1989 and Phil Jackson had just been named head coach.

Thanking Marvin Miller
"It was the voice that I remember," our very own Roger Wallenstein writes. "Very steady. No high or low pitches. A hint of New York and exceptionally clear, reasonable and amazingly friendly. It was as though Marvin Miller was seated in my living room, chatting about the labor issues that required the ballplayers' and owners' attention.

"Of course, Miller, who died at 95 this week, wasn't in my home. The year was 1971, and the White Sox's flagship radio station was none other than WEAW-AM in Evanston. I was the post-game host because my pal Tom thought it would be a good idea to buy the time at the cost of a dollar per minute."

Helmut Jahn Explains The O'Hare Tunnel
And talks Thompson Center.

SEA Is For Cupcake
In The Blue & Orange Kool-Aid Report.

-

The Beachwood Tip Line: Drive by.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 10:18 AM | Permalink

Helmut Jahn Explains The O'Hare Tunnel

"The O'Hare United Tunnel connects two terminals and is since its opening in 1987 a glorious merge of art and architecture," writes Dennis Bangert on this YouTube upload.

"The idea of a subterranean landscape came from Helmut Jahn, the music and light installation from artist Michael Hayden."


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Also from Bangert: Jahn talks Thompson Center.

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See also: Bangert Projects.

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 10:07 AM | Permalink

Michael Jordan Had A TV Show

"Michael Jordan's Airwaves was a TV show that aired locally on WLS-TV in the Chicago area in 1989," Rich Cutter writes on this YouTube upload.

"Local sports TV guy Jim Rose interviewed Michael Jordan in an 'Oprah-style' setup, and even tapped into the audience for some one-on-one questions."


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News reports from the time say that Jordan had a three-show deal with ABC7. Jordan also reportedly became a regular guest on Jim Rose's Sports Final.

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 9:37 AM | Permalink

Local Music Notebook: Dreamin' Cowboys, Flamin' Lips, Burnin' Lamps & Bacon Fat

A loose collection of whatnot.

1. "To simply call The Sundowners a country-western trio is to diminish their free-swinging landscape of long-neck bottles, neon lights and bright ideas," Jon Langford wrote for Bloodshot Records in 2004.

"They held court in several downtown Chicago honky tonks from 1959 to 1989 and provide a direct, important historical road map of Country's Northward wanderings - away from the mountains and plains and hollers and towards the factories and jobs. They took their name from a 1960 Robert Mitchum film and learned more than 15,000 songs, playing about 7,000 songs annually."

We were moved to revisit this history when we saw that buckybadger84 had uploaded this video to YouTube this morning:

Taken from a Chicago Public Access broadcast originally recorded at The Chicago Country Music Festival July 2, 1992. The studio version of "Dreamin' Cowboy" was found on The Sundowners' self-titled album, and was issued as a single b/w "Ghost Riders In The Sky." Written by Guy Lawrence. The Sundowners were Don Walls, Curt Delaney and Bob Boyd.

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Walls was the last surviving member of the band until he died of heart failure in Mount Prospect last year.

*

Also from buckybadger84:

There are hundreds of bands who have used, or are currently using, the moniker "The Sundowners." When you mention that name in the Chicago area, these are the guys who held the name for 40+ years. Taken from a Chicago Public Access broadcast originally recorded at The Chicago Country Music Festival July 2, 1992. Here the boys cover Lefty Frizzell's "She's Gone, Gone, Gone."

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Also:

Joel Daly, ABC7's very own, did indeed sit in with The Sundowners on many a occasion. There was even a live album recorded at The Rosemont Horizon as Joel Daley & The Sundowners. I'd have´╗┐ to check but there may be a 45 release of them together as well. This show had the band backing Patsy Montana, but they started out the set by themselves.

2. Also spotted on the YouTube page of buckybadger84, the Flaming Lips at the Aragon on July 8, 2011. You may recall that the Lips recorded their own version of Dark Side of the Moon in 2009.

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3. Also this week, retrorocker uploaded this 1983 Michael Jackson promo for Appletree Records in Rockford.

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4. Bloodshot Signs Luke Winslow-King.

"Luke initially caught our ear with his unique style, emerging from the ashes of Delta blues, New Orleans traditional jazz, ragtime, and pre-war American folksong," Bloodshot says. "After being transfixed watching Luke and singer/washboard player Esther Rose perform gorgeous duets at a noisy college bar in Chicago we were straight up hooked."

Here's a taste.

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5. Andre Williams at the Hideout.

"He's a chameleon, a survivor and a hustler," Bloodshot says. "He's the fox AND the hound." And he's playing the Hideout on December 8, the label has announced. Here's his artist page. And here's a little taste.

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See also: The Year In Bloodshot Records.

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 7:54 AM | Permalink

The Blue & Orange Kool-Aid Report: SEA Is For Cakewalk

Male Bag
Last week, we touched on a concept deemed controversial by some; a variation of football that consists primarily of dozens of men getting raped for sport. As a result, my Beachwood inbox enjoyed what can be tactfully deemed "generous amounts of feedback."

By which I actually mean, 450 gigabytes worth of nude photo e-mail attachments.

All of them featuring man parts.

Score.

Occasionally, the content of the e-mail was nearly fit for print.

Sup bro, I'm in Australia twice a year for business and I'm pretty sure that "Assbee" is the sport you were talking about. It's like rugby, except the losing team has to participate in what they call a "Rooberry Squirt" at the end of the match. See, they feed a bunch of Hollywood Diet to a kangaroo and after they poke it with a cattle prod, the captain has [edited for content]. Anyway, I know where you live. See my dong, attached." -Senõr Trent Delgado, Manassas GA

Not crazy about the shot of your bang hanger, but I do appreciate the flair you bring to the game. That is one creative use of a sombrero.

Hey Kool-Aid Man! The Bears are gonna run the Vikings right back to Newfoundland! How much you wanna bet the Bears are gonna win! They're gonna win! They're gonna win! I love cocaine! Crash bing boom bang! AP can run All Day but I can do rails all night . . . TONIGHT! I put cocaine in my red Kool-Aid instead of sugar! I love cocaine! Can I get in on that game you're putting together? The one with the dudes? We can all be dude friend! We can be dude blow dude friends! Come on Bennett, LET'S PARTY! " -Sir Dr. David Lee Camacho III Esq., Los Angeles CA

OH YEAH! I don't think this guy meant to send me a nude photo, but he was wearing nothing but a ski mask and clutching a broken wooden spoon. I hope that thing is red from stirring Kool-Aid.

M*A*S*H
Devin Hester has a concussion, Matt Forte and Peanut Tillman have ankles, Lance Briggs has a boot, Jay Cutler has a lip ferret, Lance Louis has the rest of the year off, Santana ain't got nobody he can depend on and grandma got run over by a reindeer, buuuuuuuut, watching football doesn't make my eyes hurt anymore.

Good enough! Thanks Bears!

Marshall Law
We haven't talked much about Brandon Marshall here at the Kool-Aid Report because, as you may have noticed the last couple of weeks, we spend enough time stroking guys off.

Marshall has been as good or better than we all could have dreamed. A true number one, game-changing, speedy behemoth who does nothing but smile and catch.

This week may be his biggest test. An amphetamine-fueled (allegedly) pair of shutdown corners (also "allegedly," I don't watch a lot of game film to prep for this column) whose ancestors were loggers and fur traders who invented the rain slicker and perfected marketing techniques related to coffee grounds (I'm assuming football players are drafted by geography and heritage, I don't watch minor league pigskin).

Seattle's Chest
For the sake of quick, pointless tangents, I want to pose a question to the readership.
Are these hot pants designed to evoke the image of a camel toe?

Kool-Aid (3 Out of 5 Cups Of Coffee With Two Ounces Of Whiskey In Each Cup)
I know the game is in Chicago. Shut up.

One more win and the Bears will match the total of last year's Super Bowl champion.
HOORAY parity!

I think they'll do it. The Bears have proven several times this year that they can win even when running backs in Beast Mode can tear off huge chunks of yards like so much mutton.

The Bears offense finally wakes up like they're being compensated to score points, and Eric Weems runs forward to score a touchdown. Take note, Hester. The end zone is that-a-way.

"C" is for "cookie," but "Sea" is for "cakewalk."

That's good enough for me.

Bears 33
Seahawks 17

-

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

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 7:09 AM | Permalink

November 28, 2012

Thanking Marvin Miller

It was the voice that I remember. Very steady. No high or low pitches. A hint of New York and exceptionally clear, reasonable and amazingly friendly. It was as though Marvin Miller was seated in my living room, chatting about the labor issues that required the ballplayers' and owners' attention.

Of course, Miller, who died at 95 this week, wasn't in my home. The year was 1971, and the White Sox's flagship radio station was none other than WEAW-AM in Evanston. I was the post-game host because my pal Tom thought it would be a good idea to buy the time at the cost of a dollar per minute.

Let's say this was not the wisest of business decisions, but we had fun.

I can't recall how I got to Marvin Miller, but those were the days when people were not so inaccessible. He answered the phone when I called to set up the live interview one evening after the ballgame. To say he couldn't have been nicer is like saying Gandhi had patience.

The cassette tape of that interview, which lasted 15 or 20 minutes, is tucked away in some long-forgotten drawer. While the specifics of the conversation have been lost with time, the accommodation with which Mr. Miller accorded to a no-name like myself has survived in my memory for the ensuing decades.

Therefore, it was with great interest and more than a touch of nostalgia that I read the obituaries, columns and accolades that flowed freely upon Miller's death. One called his influence on baseball as great as that of Babe Ruth. Most credited Miller with opening doors for professional athletes of all sports. I doubt none of it, yet my most poignant recollection is one of a man who answered the phone when I called.

Please understand that as a kid - if anyone had foolishly asked me - I would have given full-throated support for the reserve clause. I never had to consider whether Aparicio and Fox would return in the spring to comprise the best double-play combination in the American League. No, I never had to yearn for the return of someone like A.J. Pierzynski. The Sox catcher from 1952 to 1963 was Sherman Lollar, a fixture on a solid ballclub who, despite being overshadowed by Yogi Berra, was elected to seven All-Star teams.

While A.J. no doubt will hold out for a couple of years at, say, $5 million per, the Comiskeys paid Lollar somewhere in the neighborhood of $25,000. You can credit A.J.'s talent, but Marvin Miller played a role in this scenario.

Like most ballplayers, Lollar needed to keep a winter job to supplement his salary. As I recall, Sherm had a bowling alley. So did Nellie Fox. Other athletes sold insurance or cars. Roy Campanella, the National League MVP in 1951, '53 and '55 and one of the greatest catchers ever, worked in his liquor store in Brooklyn in the off-season.

Hmmm. Wonder what Buster Posey is doing these days?

I don't profess to be a labor expert, but I know enough to understand that unions were not created to celebrate the bosses' generosity, compassion and empathy. I did read Upton Sinclair. Before the Marvin Miller Era, players would negotiate a yearly contract directly with the owners and/or general manager. Pay cuts were common even if a guy hit .300 after a season where his average was .325.

Consider an icon like Mickey Mantle. The Mick made $72,000 in 1959, not a great season for him or the Yankees as the Sox won the pennant. Mickey hit .285 that year with 31 home runs, and 75 RBI. The Yankees offered him $57,000 for 1960.

When injury, age and declining ability began to take their toll, the owners offered next to nothing - no contract, a meager pension, not even a watch. The player simply was released. There was no marketplace for free agents. The only agent in those days was the guy behind the window selling tickets for the train.

Yet many of the old-time ballplayers felt lucky. They were playing a kid's game, one that they loved, getting paid for it, and most considered themselves fortunate. Sox great Minnie Minoso is celebrating his 90th birthday this week, and his "baseball has been very, very good to me" was the mantra for lots of ballplayers.

Until they understood that they were being screwed by the owners.

Marvin Miller, in his unassuming manner, helped educate the pro baseball populace, who weren't exactly the shining light of a liberal, pro-union, protesting group. Even today one place the Republicans do quite well is within the ranks of pro athletes.

However, the tepid union hired Miller as its first full-time executive in 1966, and the landscape changed rapidly. A few months after I interviewed him, the union staged its first strike, canceling the first two weeks of the 1972 season.

In 1969 Curt Flood had challenged the reserve clause - he didn't win - and by 1975 players no longer were bound to their teams as free agency burst onto the scene.

Commissioner Bowie Kuhn, the owners' pawn from 1969 to 1984, hated Miller, as well he should have. His employers shared his disdain. All except for Bill Veeck, whose second tenure with the Sox, 1975-81, witnessed these huge changes in player-management labor relations.

Veeck respected and liked Miller and thoroughly understood why changes were occurring. Being under-financed at the time, Bill couldn't compete with the rich teams like the Yankees when it came to signing top talent, but he didn't begrudge the high salaries paid to stars like Reggie Jackson and Catfish Hunter. "I don't mind the huge money paid to the best players," he once commented (or something thereabouts). "What I object to is the high price of mediocrity."

Bill was correct. The average salary in 1967 was $18,000, jumping to $44,000 by 1975, and $185,000 by 1981. And today? Let's not go there.

Critics claimed that people like Marvin Miller would ruin baseball. They cringe at the amount of money the athletes are making today. The idea that the Dodgers were sold last year for more than $2 billion is repugnant to the folks who long for the old days. The price of a box seat ticket is enough to send some fans into a dither.

Yet attendance - with the exception of the South Side of Chicago - has never been higher. Radio and TV contracts continue to rise. And the game still captures the mystique and beauty that many of our great writers have described over the years.

So rest peacefully, Marvin Miller. Your legacy is fixed forever. And thanks for answering the phone.

-

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

-

1. From Jerry Pritikin:

The problem with baseball that came with the Miller touch is $$$! The everyday fan is as soundless as the Brooklyn Synphony these days. We been priced out of the park at the face value of a ticket.

My dad used to tell me no matter how bad the Depression was, he was able to see big league games or go to a movie house. Today, you almost have to file for bankruptcy just to buy a beer and hot dog. Who would have thought the 5-cent bag of peanuts would be replaced by a $3.50 container of water?

The owners' and the players' cash cow has priced the little guy right out of the park. To add insult to injury, the price on the ticket is the same for either an adult or a kid.

So Marvin's success and players' and owners' greed has left the average fan going to minor league games - and now some of the minor league teams are building skyboxes!

My respects to Marvin, but now maybe I can think of a way to organize a union for fans!

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 2:35 PM | Permalink

The [Wednesday] Papers

"Even as Chicago prepares to test speed cameras next week, problems in Baltimore's 3-year-old camera program are raising questions about one of the bidders for Mayor Rahm Emanuel's controversial proposal that could target speeders in school and park zones over half the city," the Tribune reports.

"Xerox State & Local Solutions Inc., one of two firms selected by the Emanuel administration to test cameras in Chicago, has come under scrutiny in recent months for faulty equipment and thousands of erroneous tickets issued in Baltimore over the past three years.

"Judges sided with motorists in more than half of the contested tickets examined in a Nov. 18 investigative report by The Baltimore Sun, which like the Chicago Tribune is owned by Tribune Co. The report followed months of complaints and controversy about Baltimore's program, which is under review by a mayoral task force. The Xerox firm, which is owned by the photocopier giant, is being replaced by another contractor in January."

(The link is theirs; yay, they're learning!)

*

"Emanuel administration officials refused to answer questions about their bidding process this week, including whether they considered the firm's performance in Baltimore."

They're too busy bragging about being transparent to be transparent.

*

The second vendor Chicago has contracted with isn't a picnic either.

"American Traffic Solutions is not without its own controversy. In 2011, officials in Canada returned about $13 million in speeding fines issued by a single faulty camera. The cameras were installed by ATS, but the company blamed the problem on the local government that maintained the cameras."

*

And, of course:

"Last month, a third top contender for the lucrative speed camera contract was disqualified by Emanuel after the Tribune disclosed allegations of corruption in the city's 10-year-old red-light program."

*

Rahm: You can always take the CTA!

Drive Time
The Millionaire Mayor's CTA.

Mel Reynolds Is In
Could win if the non-comedic candidates split the vote.

*

Alternate: Todd Stroger is out, so apparently they decided on Reynolds as the consensus comedic candidate.

*

The updated Political Odds say Reynolds wins only if Rahm wants him to.

*

Title of news release Reynolds sent out this morning: "So He Can Finish the Work."

Too easy.

*

Before he made it official, Reynolds told Bill Cameron of WLS-AM that "No one's ever claimed that I didn't do a good job in the Congress."

And then blamed the media for constantly bringing up all that other trivial stuff.

See also: Cops Tell Mel Reynolds He Lives Too Close To A School.

Tipping Point
"Federal authorities believe Jesse Jackson Jr. was tipped off to the federal investigation that ultimately contributed to the demise of his once-promising career," the Sun-Times reports.

Federal authorities also believe that the Sun-Times was tipped off about the activities of federal authorities. Perhaps even by federal authorities.

Fidler On The Fence
I'm not sure which is worse: Bob Fidler changing his vote so he could get a lucrative position in the Quinn administration or Bob Fidler changing his vote because he was a lame duck and no longer felt like he had to lie about his true feelings on income tax hikes.

Barbara Byrd-Brizard
Didn't take long for new schools chief Barbara Byrd-Bennett to earn the distrust of parents and teachers she so richly deserves.

*

*

"We asked Chicago Public Schools for a representative, but they were unable to send us one."

Maybe that's why this Chicago Tonight segment was relatively productive.

But let's be clear: It wasn't that CPS officials were unable to provide a talking head to explain their position, it's that they refused to do so.

*

-

Obama's Bait-And-Switch Drone Wars
"Most of the people who are killed don't have as their objective to strike the U.S. homeland."

Foster The People's Running Back
But the Bears' MIchael Bush is the guy you still may able to get.

QT Could Have Had A V8
"Two alligators, a pole dancer and pot at Olympia area shooting scene."

-

The Beachwood Tip Line: Authoritative.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 9:14 AM | Permalink

The Millionaire Mayor's CTA

The mayor's oft-repeated declaration on Monday that CTA riders who don't like increases in the multiday pass card fares is getting as much derision as the governor's pension python. As well it should. Remember when it was Republicans who were cartoony and out of touch?

Both have allies in the town's editorial boards, for what it is or isn't worth. More than influence, the editorial boards are a window into the souls of our city's press corps, and it's often hard not to shield your eyes at one beholds.

Both boards were likely lobbied hard and by personal visits from mayoral staff given the way they mimic the administration on the CTA budget.

The Tribune's editorial on the matter is particularly condescending.

Call it a "modest reduction in discounts." Call it a fare hike. Either way, you're likely to pay more for your commute starting in January if you ride the CTA.

No one else but the administration is calling it a "modest reduction in discounts," and that's just the sort of Orwellian formulation journalists are supposed to call bullshit on (as the Sun-Times, to their credit, did). But when you rise to the level of editorial board, I suppose, you ascend to greater levels of truth-telling in which deceptions are necessary to tame the steaming masses.

"The base fare will stay at $2.25. But a 30-day pass, now $86, will cost $100, and a seven-day pass, now $23, will cost $28. About 55 percent of customers use the multiride passes. With due respect to your beleaguered wallet, this is not unreasonable."

Let's do a little math here.

A 30-day pass goes from $86 to $100. That's $168 a year for those who use such passes year-round.

A seven-day pass goes from $23 to $28. That's $260 a year for those who use these passes year-round.

That's not what I call due respect for beleaguered wallets.

Now, 55% of CTA users reportedly use such passes, so not everyone's getting hit. And some percentage of those are tourists and/or people who can afford to pay more. And some aren't. And they aren't necessarily using those passes every day of the year.

But for those who do, those are significant dollar increases to just about anyone's budget - to go along with all the other increases we're all getting hit with, through both government fees and fines and rising prices in the marketplace.

On Monday, Rahm was asked about the 30-day pass, whom Tribune reporters say is used not by, say, tourists, but by the most needy of regular CTA riders - presumably poor folk who use the train or bus to get to work every day.

Here was Rahm's curious response:

"First of all, the tourists get charged different."

They do? Is everyone who buys a multi-day pass biometrically scanned to determine their tourist status, with fares adjusted accordingly?

I know single-ride Blue Line fares originating from O'Hare are set to increase (from $2.25 to $5), but that's not just for tourists - and not every tourist arrives via O'Hare. (Psst, Rahm: Some drive!)

"Second is, if you actually do the work and actually talk to Forrest and Terry on background, people who buy seven-day versus the 30-day are different and a lot of them get different types of subsidies and they were actually adjusted accordingly."

So first, Rahm is suggesting that if reporters talk on background to his guys, they'll get it; apparently they have studies that show just who the multiday pass users are and the neediest aren't getting the hardest. At least that's what they'll tell you; don't bother trying to FOIA those studies - and remember, your "background" conversations may be recorded.

But Rahm's real problem - and the problem with the Trib editorial - is the contempt and lack of understanding they show for those who will indeed be burdened.

Make no mistake, Rahm's talking points were carefully considered. He plotted out the repetition of comparing CTA fares with gas prices, which he predicts will only keep rising under four more years of President Obama.

And he framed the CTA as an urban yuppie perk, not transportation of the last resort for those most needing it. Indeed, that's how the system has been run at least since the 90s, and explains why North Side CTA stations get beautified while South Side bus lines get cut.

The CTA isn't likely to ever be profitable - it will always be a cost center. We pay for it with our taxes as an essential public good. But that's not the way someone like Rahm - who noted that he used his multiday pass that morning and noticed at the station how many options were available to riders like him - sees it.

Obviously the derision showed up on Rahm was based on his "let them drive cars" sentiment more than the actual increases. But the increases don't help.

"[P]eople who buy seven-day versus the 30-day are different and a lot of them get different types of subsidies and they were actually adjusted accordingly."

Perhaps, but I wish I knew just what subsidies he was talking about - and what adjustments he means. In other words, why not just answer the reporter's questions with a real answer instead of a patronizing, smirking non-answer? I'm willing to be placated!

And in a hallmark of his administration, perhaps talking a page from the book of his former boss, the president, Rahm once again posited himself as the hero who has come in and fixed what was broken almost beyond repair by his predecessor, the Mayor Who Shall Not Be Named.

"The system had not been invested in," he said, as he praised the work of CTA president Forrest Claypool.

Claypool was the former mayor's chief of staff for two years, but curiously he didn't add any insight into the notion that he had failed to goad his then-boss into investing in the CTA.

And when Rahm talks next of how he has saved the park district from his awful predecessor's immense failure, he most assuredly will forget to mention that Claypool was the superintendent for five years until he left to manage the campaign of the mayor who apparently failed at everything. (Hey, I don't necessarily disagree; it's Rahm's disingenuousness that is the problem, not his newfound assessment of Daley.)

Also leading the charge for the mayor back then was the Terry that Rahm referred to - Terry Peterson, who is now the chairman of the CTA board. Peterson is also a former Daley fixer and campaign manager. I wonder how he feels having Rahm call out his old pal so much. Probably nothing.

*

Back to the Trib editorial board, which was obviously fed Rahm's talking points:

We doubt the increases will cause many riders to abandon the buses and trains, which are still a major transportation bargain. Those who commute by car have seen steep increases in gas, tolls and parking costs in the past few years. Metra raised its fares 30 percent this year, and will increase the cost of its 10-ride tickets in 2013. And have you taken a taxi lately?

People who use the CTA have a choice: They could always take a taxi!

A cab from O'Hare International Airport to the Loop can easily cost $50. Under the CTA's new fare structure, a one-way ride on the Blue Line from O'Hare will cost $5. That increase targets tourists, as does the $4.25 increase in the one-day unlimited rides pass.

Bingo! Rahm could have just said so. But if that's the part of the increase that's targeting tourists, who gets targeted with the increase in multiday fares?

*

We've long believed commuters should shoulder more of the cost for their rides.

Unless you are high enough on the Trib totem pole to get free parking at the Tower; then we like to grouse about every increase in downtown parking rates.

*

Fare hikes are expected to bring in $56 million in 2013. The rest of the $165 million budget shortfall will be closed through roughly $50 million in management efficiencies and $60 million in labor savings contained in tentative four-year contracts with the CTA's unions.

And here we get to the real story.

That's not exactly the $160 million Claypool said last year could be wrung from what he called "gold-plated collective bargaining agreements." But again, we'll give credit. He set an ambitious target.

With contract negotiations on the horizon, Claypool took aim at "30 years worth of work rules encrusted on the system like barnacles." He complained that it took two union workers to park a train - a rail operator to drive it into the yard and a switchman to drive it into the barn - and that it took three workers to perform a brake check that could be done by one, and on and on.

Nobody likes unreasonable union work rules, but when I was at the Tribune-owned WGN-TV studio a couple weeks ago, I watched the following scene:

I sat at a desk just a few feet from Lisnek as he did the open for CLTV's Politics Tonight. Then I was asked to sit next to Lisnek for our segment on Jesse Jackson Jr. Except there wasn't a chair available for me, so Lisnek looked around and spotted one just a few steps away. At the same time I was about to get mic'd up from a mic guy who had walked up upon us.

LISNEK to MIC GUY: Should I grab that chair?

MIC GUY: I don't have anything to do with that.

ME: I'll grab it.

LISNEK: No, you don't understand. It's a union thing. He's not in the right union.

The mic guy couldn't grab the chair, and neither could Lisnek, without violating union rules.

Fortunately, a guy from the right union appeared just in time to move the chair and I sat down and got mic'd up with about half a second to spare.

So clean your own damn house first, Tribune!

*

Then again, inane union work rules have nothing on inane management work rules. Did you see the memo?

But it's also fair to expect the CTA to strip waste and inefficiencies from its budget.

In other words, let's take away people's jobs at just the time when the economy can least afford it.

*

[E]mployees will pay more toward the cost of their health care. New hires won't step up the pay scale as quickly. The CTA gained some flexibility in scheduling that should reduce overtime costs.

And middle-class workers will no longer be able to afford cars. They won't have any choice but to take the CTA - if only they had a job to take the CTA to.

(The union traded work-rule changes for a five-year no-layoff guarantee, but as we've seen with this mayor, that means nothing.)

*

"We can't keep expecting transit riders to bear more of the burden," said Ron Burke, executive director of the Active Transportation Alliance. The group is urging riders to contact elected officials and lobby for more government funding.

It was refreshing to hear that the CTA didn't consider that an option. "Washington's broke. Springfield's broke," said CTA Chairman Terry Peterson. "There's nowhere to go."

Well, who broke them? Shouldn't they be the ones to bear more of the burden?

-

So it's not the fare increases per se that is the problem here, it's the tone of a a millionaire mayor and his wealthy pals who keep chipping away at the rest of us just like his predecessor while acting as if he's doing us a favor.

-

See also:
* Ramsin Canon: Let Them Drive Cars

* Whet Moser: The Math Behind The CTA Fare Increase

* Ald. Ameya Pawar: Solving A Fiscal Problem Only To Create A Social Problem Is No Solution

-

Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 6:45 AM | Permalink

QT: Not With A Bang But A Tweet


News Headline: "Can books endure in a 140-character world?"
So. Let's see.
Call me Ishmael. Some years ago--never mind how long precisely--having little or no money in my purse, and nothing particular to interest me o
Well. OK.
Maybe not.
Moby-Dick is 8,609 tweets long, by the way.

···

News Headline: "Christmas gun sales soar in U.S."
News Headline: "Ex-Salvation Army director charged in toy theft."
Ho, Ho, Ho!

···

News Item: Record number of women elected to U.S. Congress.
News Item: No women named to chair House committees.
So? Who do women think they are? Men?

···

We Have Seen the Present, and It Does Not Work:
Climate change caused in part by fossil fuels has pushed back the Arctic ice enough to allow tankers carrying fossil fuels to make shorter Arctic crossings, increasing the profits of the companies selling the fossil fuels that contribute to climate change.

···

News Headline: "What happens if the Big Ten goes to 16 teams?"
R.M., a Las Vegas reader, theorizes that the conference may go to an even higher number in its search for a team the Fighting Illini can beat.
It is a cruel theory.

···

News Headline: "Anti-tax lobbyist Norquist slams latest tax pledge defector."
News Headline: "GOP lawmakers face heat over tax pledge."
All together now, class:
What is the first rule of politics?
Never put your lies in writing.

···

QT Digest of a Deposition by Bank of America CEO Brian Moynihan in a Lawsuit Regarding Mortgage Irregularities (for Your Convenience):
". . . I don't recall. . . I don't recall. . . I don't recall. . . no, I don't recall. . . I don't recall. . . I don't recall. . . I don't recall. . . I don't recall. . . I don't recall. . . not that I recall. . . I don't recall. . . I'm not sure that I recall. . . I don't recall one way or the other. . . I don't recall. . . I don't recall. . . I don't recall. . . I don't recall. . . I don't recall. . . I don't recall specifically. . . I don't recall. . . I don't recall. . . I don't recall. . . I don't recall. . . I don't recall. . . I don't recall. . . I don't recall specifically. . . I don't recall. . . I don't recall. . . I don't recall. . . not something that I recall. . . I don't recall. . . I don't recall. . . I don't recall. . . I don't recall either way. . . I don't remember. . . I don't recall. . . on that I have no recall. . . I don't recall. . . I don't recall. . . I don't recall. . . I don't recall. . . I really don't recall that. . . I don't recall it. . . I don't recall. . . I don't recall off the top of my head. . . I don't recall it. . . I don't recall. . . I don't recall. . . "
OK. Just so he isn't hiding anything.

···

News Headline: "Large eruptions continuing on sun."
News Headline: "Large asteroid has close call with Earth."
News Headline: "Lake in France turns blood red."
News Headline: "Chinese river turns blood red."
News Headline: "Australian beach turns blood red."
Not that there is anything to worry about.

···

QT Early Warning System:
Rick Santorum is "open" to a 2016 presidential run.
Not that there is anything to worry about.

···

News Headline: "Obama 'demonization' gone too far?"
Whoa. Wait.
When we see a Kenyan Muslim with Satanic links who was fathered by Malcolm X and mentored by Hugo Chavez and who recently used classified military technology to cause Hurricane Sandy and will soon confiscate all firearms and put millions of Americans in re-education camps while turning the country over to the United Nations while canceling the U.S. Constitution so he can run for a third term as president, how is it possible to go too far?

···

From a can of V8 in QT's refrigerator:
"100% VEGETABLE JUICE FROM CONCENTRATE WITH ADDED INGREDIENTS."
Add 100% to the list of things that aren't what they used to be.

···

News Headline: "Romney canceled campaign credit cards after concession speech, leaving staff stranded."
Mitt Romney's campaign autobiography No Apology has slipped from 601,550th to 698,415th on the on the Amazon best-seller list, for those keeping track.

···

News Headline: "Two alligators, a pole dancer and pot at Olympia area shooting scene."
There is probably an interesting story behind that.

···

From Poor QT's Almanack:
Theologian John Bunyan, who wrote, "The road of denial leads to the precipice of destruction," was born 384 years ago on the 28th day of National Fun with Fondue Month.

···

QT Grammar R Us Seminar on the English Language:
S.W., a Kendall, Wis., reader, writes:
"You used the headline: 'Lest We Forget that the Dark Ages Were a Faith-Based Initiative.' Should it be 'Dark Ages were' or, as it refers to a single period, 'Dark Ages was'?"
Well. Look at it this way:
The Dark Ages occurred in the latter half of the millennium before last.
But there were a number of ages involved that varied in length and darkness from place to place.
So some dictionaries call the whole thing a "plural noun" and leave it at that.
Which suits QT, which has Christmas shopping to do.
Or should QT have said "there was a number of ages"?


Write to QT at qt@beachwoodreporter.com
Visit QT at facebook.com/zaynsmithqt
QT appears Mondays, Wednesdays and Friday

Posted by Zay N. Smith at 6:00 AM | Permalink

Drones Not Just For Threats Against America Anymore

On Sunday the New York Times reported that the Obama administration, prompted by the possibility of losing the election, has been developing a "formal rule book" to govern the use of drone strikes, which have killed roughly 2,500 people under President Obama.

One aspect of the piece in particular caught our eye: While administration officials frequently talk about how drone strikes target suspected terrorists plotting against the U.S., the Times says the U.S. has shifted away from that.

Instead, it has often targeted enemies of allied governments in countries such as Yemen and Pakistan. From the Times:

[F]or at least two years in Pakistan, partly because of the C.I.A.'s success in decimating al-Qaeda's top ranks, most strikes have been directed at militants whose main battle is with the Pakistani authorities or who fight with the Taliban against American troops in Afghanistan.

In Yemen, some strikes apparently launched by the United States killed militants who were preparing to attack Yemeni military forces. Some of those killed were wearing suicide vests, according to Yemeni news reports.

To learn more about this underappreciated aspect of U.S. drone policy, I spoke to Micah Zenko, a fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations who has been critical of U.S. drone policy and was quoted in the Times piece. This conversation has been edited for length and clarity.

You were quoted over the weekend arguing that the U.S., with the campaign of drone strikes, is acting as the "counterinsurgency air force of Pakistan, Yemen and Somalia." How did you come to this conclusion?

Under the Obama administration, officials have argued that the drone strikes are only hitting operational al-Qaeda leaders or people who posed significant and imminent threats to the U.S. homeland. If you actually look at the vast majority of people who have been targeted by the United States, that's not who they are.

There are a couple pieces of data showing this. Peter Bergen of the New America Foundation has done estimates on who among those killed could be considered "militant leaders" - either of the Pakistani Taliban, the Afghan Taliban, or al-Qaeda. Under the Bush administration, about 30 percent of those killed could be considered militant leaders. Under Obama, that figure is only 13 percent.

Most of the people who are killed don't have as their objective to strike the U.S. homeland. Most of the people who are killed by drones want to impose some degree of sharia law where they live, they want to fight a defensive jihad against security service and the central government, or they want to unseat what they perceive as an apostate regime that rules their country.

Why does this distinction matter so much?

This is a huge outstanding dilemma. Is the primary purpose of the drone attacks counterterrorism, or is it counterinsurgency? If it's counter-insurgency, that is a very different mission, and you have to rethink the justifications and rethink what the ultimate goal is of using lethal force.

There was a February article in the New York Times reporting that the goal of U.S. policy in Yemen was to kill about two dozen al-Qaeda leaders. There's been about 50 drone strikes in Yemen since that article.

Meanwhile, according to U.S. government statements, the size of AQAP has grown from "several hundred" to "a few thousand members."

So the question is, who is actually being targeted, and how does this further U.S. counterterrorism objectives?

Is this use of drone strikes to kill people who are not imminent threats to the U.S. new?

No. The marked shift was in summer 2008 when the Bush administration decided to significantly lower the threshold of who could be attacked.

The purpose of this change was to reduce threats to U.S. servicemembers in southern Afghanistan and to intervene where some suicide attacks were organized in the tribal areas of Pakistan. This was the time when the "signature strikes" really became ingrained.

Bush administration officials called this the "'reasonable man' standard," and if you were displaying what are called "patterns of behavior," you could be killed.

People mistakenly think that this policy started under Obama, but it didn't. It did accelerate markedly under Obama. He has had more drones to do this, was much more vigorous about authorizing their use, and expanded the signature strikes into Yemen.

How does this use of drone attacks square with official administration statements describing the policy?

They will never say that the United States uses drones to fight local insurgencies. If they made that case, they would have to create a new bastion of justifications. The current stated justifications are very carefully thought out and very deliberate to loosely adhere to the post-9/11 Authorization to Use Military Force and principles of Article 51 of the UN Charter, governing the use of force.

There has been a long-term fight with people within the administration who want to reform the policy and think the U.S. needs to be more transparent - both for domestic reasons and because of the precedents being set for the use of drone strikes. If other countries follow our practice in how they will use drone strikes, that would be a very unstable, dangerous world to live in.

Note: We asked White House spokesman Tommy Vietor to respond the notion that drones strikes often involve those who are not a threat to the U.S. He declined to comment.

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Comments welcome.

-

Previously:
* Obama Supporters Think His Policies Are Crazy And Immoral When Attributed To Romney

* Update: Obama's America

* Why Obama Says He Won't Release Drone Documents

* Obama's Drone Death Figures Don't Add Up

* Dissecting Obama's Standards On Drone Strike Deaths

* The Best Watchdog Journalism On Obama's National Security Policies

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 2:00 AM | Permalink

Fantasy Fix: Foster The People's Running Back

At the beginning of this season, three running backs sat atop the fantasy draft heap, but only one of them has stayed there. Arian Foster has brought a better return on investment than either of the other two top-tier RBs, Ray Rice and LeSean McCoy.

Foster's Week 12 performance for 102 yards rushing and 2 TDs wasn't the biggest fantasy performance of the week, and often this year Foster hasn't been the top scorer in a given week. But he has been the picture of dependability, the No. 2-ranked fantasy player overall behind Robert Griffin III (RG3 being this year's shocker, of course)

Foster is not even the top RB in rushing yards, a distinction that belongs to the resurgent Adrian Peterson, who has run for 1,236 yards to Foster's 1,064. Where Foster is better than anyone else is in the scoring department, with 14 TDs overall.

Rice, meanwhile, hasn't exactly been a disappointment, second in receiving yards among RBs with 404, almost 800 rushing yards and seven TDs. Nice, but not a top 5 RB.

McCoy has exactly been a disappointment, with 750 yards rushing, five TDs overall, three lost fumbles and now a concussion that kept him out last week and possibly longer.

I don't know how things will shape up for next year's fantasy draft, but right now Foster looks more likely the clear No. 1 pick than he did this year, possibly followed by rookie sensation Doug Martin and maybe RG3 or Rice.

Expert Wire
* Yahoo! Roto Arcade recommends picking up Michael Bush for your fantasy playoff run. With Matt Forte hobbled and Bush's ability to push into the end zone, it sounds like a good bet.

* SB Nation ranks this week's top QBs, with Colin Kaepernick not surprisingly on the top of the heap.

* Rant Sports advises never sitting Trent Richardson. When was the last time anyone said that about any Browns player?

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

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 1:13 AM | Permalink

November 27, 2012

The [Tuesday] Papers

Though nobody is really talking about it, my understanding is that Republicans (and Greens?) will also have a primary to nominate a candidate in the race to replace Jesse Jackson Jr.

Of course, nobody is talking about it because the chance of a Republican winning the seat are so slight in such an overwhelmingly Democratic district as to be ignorable, though I wonder what would happen if a wealthy African American Republican businessperson jumped in.

Anyway, I bring it up because Bobby Rush said the other day that he was worried a Tea Party candidate could slip in by edging out a diffuse Democratic field - therefore party leaders ought to settle on a candidate long before voters do and push everyone else out.

I also saw a comment somewhere - can't remember where - speculating that Republicans would run in the Democratic primary. I suppose a Tom Swiss strategy could come into play, but really?

Anyway, we've got the putative field covered in the updated Political Odds.

Rahm Plays Possum
"Now that Congressman Jackson has retired, the people of the 2nd District on the South Side of the city of Chicago and in the south suburbs will have choices," Emanuel said. "And those choices are for them to make."

Because Rahm wouldn't think of trying to make up voters' minds for them.

Requiem For Junior
"The media has covered the resignation as a personal fall from grace, but Jackson's resignation will be felt widely in progressive circles," Nation editor Katrina vanden Heuvel writes for the Washington Post.

"He is a rare leader who could both inspire a crowd and explore an idea. He is a principled but original progressive, one who has read widely in U.S. history. He probed deeply into the interplay of race, division and democracy in our past and present but could make an expert's knowledge clear to the ordinary citizen.

"As an independent progressive leader in Congress, Jackson - the oldest son of the Rev. Jesse Jackson - has had the frustration of fighting on the right side of losing policy battles."

I have to agree - with a reminder that Junior did not always agree with his father; he's hardly a carbon copy.

Mayor Rahmney
"Mayor Rahm Emanuel had a message Monday for CTA riders upset about upcoming fare hikes: they're not really fare increases, public transit remains a bargain and commuters can 'make that choice' about whether to drive or take buses and trains," the Tribune reports.

Hell, why not just take a limo or use a car service?

*

"'Fares stayed the same. Basic fares stayed the same, which you cannot say about gas prices,' said Emanuel in his first public comments since the CTA announced a 2013 budget proposal last week."

You mean Obama's gas prices?

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"While it's true the standard payment for a single CTA trip will remain $2.25, the mayor's transit agency plans a 16 percent increase to the cost of a 30-day pass and higher jumps for one-day, three-day and seven-day passes. About 55 percent of CTA commuters use some kind of pass."

So the pass fares are really the "standard" fares.

*

"Now you, as a commuter, will pick. You can either drive to work or you can take public transportation, and the standard fare will stay the same," Emanuel said.

And just in case you didn't get his point the first two times:

"'Public transportation is different from driving to work. You will make that choice,' Emanuel said when asked about the hike to the 30-day pass that in particular will hit working Chicagoans who in many cases can least afford it."

Memo to Rahm: The CTA isn't just a yuppie perk; for some people it is their car.

*

It's not just what Rahm Emanuel says, it's how he says it - with that triumphant smirk as if he's bested everyone in the room with the right answer or something.

Note also how patronizing and evasive he is toward reporters - and how he believes the if he repeats something often enough it will be regarded as true no matter the facts.

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Rahm's contemptuous, lecturing tone toward his inferiors disappears, however, when he goes behind closed doors to whip up more corporate welfare for his friends.

To Rahm, relatively small increases in things like CTA fares and water bills must seem, well, relatively small. To those of us under enormous financial stress, those increased costs add up and chip away at our fragile economic health. It's not as if fare increases happen in a vacuum; soon there will be red-light tickets to add into the equation, along with the parking meter rates and electricity bills and why has my gas bill skyrocketed when I rarely use the gas?

Then bills that don't get paid or get paid late incur fees, sometimes from Rahm's banking pals, who also get their share of our tax bills to pad their outrageous compensation packages by pretending to be job creators even as they require their slimmed-down workforces to pay more of their rising health insurance costs while gilding their golden parachutes for safe landing at their next nest. It's all so redistributionist.

*

And then you're late for work because we never truly invest in public transportation, public schools or anything public - we just do the bare minimum needed for political cover and our civic leaders pat themselves on the back while passing the costs on to those least able to bear them.

If only the CTA was a stadium on wheels.

*

Rahm personally reduced student fares by 10 cents in anticipation of his re-election campaign. What's next, free rides for seniors?

That's Todd!
"Former Cook County Board President Todd Stroger is blaming an accounting error for the sudden disappearance of $500,000 from his campaign filings this year without an accompanying explanation of where the money went," the Sun-Times reports.

A) Stroger is so inept his explanation is plausible.

B) What accounts for the missing credit to DNAinfo Chicago for breaking the story?

The Year In Bloodshot Records
Twisted, troubled, wicked and beery.

Goodbye, Boss
One Man, One City, Two Seasons!

Rob Deer Is Here
With his Viz-U-Bat.

The Chicago Toy & Game Fair
Super-Sized!

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The Beachwood Tip Line: Beery.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 9:47 AM | Permalink

Let Us Now Welcome Rob Deer And His Viz-U-Bat To The Cubs

The Cubs have made former Milwaukee Brewer slugger (and Beachwood favorite) Rob Deer their assistant batting coach. Rob Deer? Was he ever known to be a student of hitting?

From Wikipedia:

"He holds the dubious honor of having the lowest official batting average while still qualifying for the batting title when he batted .179 in 1991. He is the only player since 1910 to have a batting average less than .220 in at least 400 at-bats in at least four seasons."

So Cub.

"Deer has also gained some notoriety among studiers of baseball statistics due to his propensity for the Three True Outcomes (defined as a strikeout, home run, or bases on balls.) Because of his ability to hit home runs and take walks, he remained a moderately valuable player despite his complete inability to hit for average, as evidenced by his career 17.0 Wins Over Replacement."

So Theo.

Plus, he's got the Viz-U-Bat, the inevitable Red Sox connection, and he worked under Cubs manager Dale Sveum when Sveum was the hitting coach in Milwaukee. Presto!

Let's take a look.


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And here's Robin Yount shilling for the Viz-U-Bat.

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Good luck, Cubs!

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 9:12 AM | Permalink

The Chicago Toy & Game Fair

Catching up with this year's show.

1. The Inventor of Operation!


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2. Super Stacker!

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3. Super Size Doggie Doo!

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4. Ninja Cards!

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5. The 10th Anniversary Program.

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 7:22 AM | Permalink

Goodbye, Boss

We didn't follow Boss as much as we would have liked to around here - or at all, really - except for noting its arrival in this post a year ago. ("Kelsey Grammer as Mayor McDaley . . . )

Still, its cancellation saddens us, even if it never caught on with the viewing public at large like, say, The Sopranos or even The Shield.

Let's take a look at the second and final season, and what folks are saying about its cancellation.

First, the Season 2 trailer.


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Series Finale Trailer.

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Series Finale Scene - The Press.

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Series Finale Scene - His Wife.

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Just last month, the cast of Boss was featured in this Screen Actors Guild Foundation event. Grammer discussed the future of his character in upcoming (presumed) seasons.

*

But it was not to be.

"Pay cable network Starz has canceled Kelsey Grammer 's Boss because its second season clocked fewer viewers than its first," Lisa de Moraes wrote for the Washington Post.

"The second season, ended in mid October, averaged about 940,000 viewers across multiple plays for its 18 episodes."

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Maybe it's because Grammer is a Republican.

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Is a movie in the offing?

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Winning a Golden Globe.

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Best opening credits.

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 6:18 AM | Permalink

The Year In Bloodshot Records

Bloodshot Records has always been the preferred label of the Beachwood Reporter, so it's with great pleasure that we bring you this Bloodshot press release with Beachwood added value.

ANDRE WILLIAMS
Hoods and Shades
Released: February 28, 2012
image001.jpg

"Rockabilly, psychedelic funk and twisted, swampy soul/blues combine with Williams' salty, baritone vocals for a riveting collection that's a wonderful example of music made for the love of it by a been there/done that journeyman arguably just reaching his prime." - American Songwriter

Sample: A Good Day To Feel Bad


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JUSTIN TOWNES EARLE
Nothing's Gonna Change The Way You Feel About Me Now
Released: March 27, 2012
image002.jpg

"The most effective singer/songwriters strip themselves naked, confess flaws and desires, perhaps ask for forgiveness or remain stubborn. Justin Townes Earle unflinchingly displays all of these behaviors on his superb fourth album . . . With just 10 tracks, the album yields only a brief glimpse of the singer's troubled soul, yet leaves you wanting more." - USA Today

Sample: Nothing's Gonna Change The Way You Feel About Me Now.

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THE WACO BROTHERS AND PAUL BURCH
Great Chicago Fire
Released: April 24, 2012
image003.jpg

"A bracing, wickedly smart album that draws on the strengths of both acts . . . If the Rolling Stones were still making great records, this would be it." - Chicago Tribune

Sample: Great Chicago Fire

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CORY BRANAN
Mutt
Released: May 22, 2012
image004.jpg

"Few songwriters sum up the contradictions of beery romance - of bad men drinking in barrooms, of heartbreakers darkening your door - with quite as much grit, wit and compassion as Branan, who can turn a phrase on a dime." - Paste

Sample: The Snowman

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FIREWATER
International Orange!
Released: September 11, 2012
image005.jpg

"Mr. A's an excellent singer and a masterful arranger, and the songs found here are jaunty, upbeat, and occasionally funny. But don't feel too comfortable; the happy feelings cover up a dark, dark heart." - The Big Takeover

Sample: A Little Revolution

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MURDER BY DEATH
Bitter Drink, Bitter Moon
Released: September 25, 2012
image006.jpg

"Put simply, Bitter Drink, Bitter Moon is Murder by Death's most beautiful album to date. It is a robust record brimming with all the qualities we love about the band while taking the music in a new direction. This is a band that has somehow managed to fly just under the radar of most, but if there was ever an album to put them on the map, it's this one." - Paste

Sample: Lost River

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ROSIE FLORES
Working Girl's Guitar
Released: October 16, 2012
image007.jpg

"Flores picks up a storm all over Working Girl's Guitar, and though she's tasteful enough not to let her solos get in the way of her songs, when she feels like tearing up the fretboard, her chops are just as impressive as her melodic smarts, and she can strut her stuff on tunes that lean toward country, rock & roll, surf, vintage R&B or rockabilly ('Too Much') and sound equally at home and fully in command." - Allmusic.com

Sample: Working Girl's Guitar

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 12:41 AM | Permalink

November 26, 2012

The [Monday] Papers

"The U.S. Supreme Court has blocked enforcement of an Illinois law that prohibited people from recording police officers on the job," the Tribune reports.

ACLU beats Alvarez.

*

The court did not rule on whether Rahm Emanuel's administration is allowed to commit multiple felonies by doing his own recording.

Alvarez has not said whether anyone at City Hall will be prosecuted even though guilt has been admitted, nor whether Emanuel will be investigated for allegedly instructing staff to commit such felony.

Sometimes justice is blind.

Translate This
State Sen. Martin Sandoval has a $68,400 side job translating Cicero and Melrose Park press releases into Spanish, the Sun-Times reports.

Given that his job as a state legislator pays $74,569.20, though, it's hard to tell which one is actually the side job and which is his main gig.

*

"I have never wanted to be a double-dipper," Sandoval tells the paper, which apparently explains why he's triple-dipping.

"[Sandoval] does translation services for the town's various departments, including mine, when I request translations mainly for media releases that are distributed to the Hispanic media," says Cicero spokesman Ray Hanania.

For $4,200 a month.

Meanwhile, this is free.

*

"[Sandoval] also has billed Cicero for other public relations work, including 'advertisement placement in Latino print media' and 'reassessment of media distribution list.'"

Or, and I'm just throwing this out there, you could go this route.

A Love-Hate Affair . . .
. . . With Jay Cutler. In SportsMonday.

Debbie Downer
I'm surprised Halvorson's in. Will it help her sell her tell-all? Or will her tell-all name enough enemies to sink her campaign?

*

Why surprised despite the speculation that she'd join the field? She got spanked pretty hard in the primary against Junior earlier this year after losing her seat to Adam Kinzinger two years prior. In that election, Kinzinger got 58% of the vote - which is what Halvorson got two years before that. Also, I'm not certain party leadership is all that fond of her, and she'll be seen as "the white candidate" (smartly, the first one in) trying to benefit from a presumed split black vote (which ought not be presumed, even with multiple black candidates).

She can - and will - position herself as an independent woman running against party men, but I'm not sure how far that will take her.

*

Also:

Retweeted by . . . Rhymefest.

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Lawrence Avenue
Because it has nothing better to do, the Sun-Times asks: What Would You Do If You Won $425 Million Powerball Jackpot?

Buy the Sun-Times and still have well over $400 million left?

*

Or call up Lawrence.

I believe a dude with $425 million could hook that up.

McClurg's Court
Remembering the Alexander McClurg, his theaters and his bookstore.

End Days
QT: Can You Feel It In The Air?

The Weekend In Chicago Rock
Leonard Cohen, Welkin Dusk, Kids These Days and Falldown.

Chicagoetry: Bird of Prey
I am nobody's fool but my own.

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The Beachwood Tip Line: Translatable.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 10:12 AM | Permalink

Chicagoetry: Bird of Prey

Bird of Prey

I won't say
I'm no longer a child but
I am not the child
I used to be.

I didn't grow up
In the wild, I was raised
Tame.

But I've always had my claws.
Got good at certain games.
Adapted to certain immutable laws.

Life is a nightmare
Of relentless fury.

The charm wears off
As the bodies pile up.

I fight like the devil
For my comfort and joy,

Comfort and joy.
My heart is Rome

And my arteries
Aqueducts

Of blood.
I fear evil. I am nobody's fool
But my own.

I am an owl
Of fortitude, an osprey
Of faith.

I channel my rages
Like blood down an aqueduct,
Trying to burn

Symbols into the stone.
Must Rome burn for me to sing?!
God is prey.

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

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More Tindall:

* Chicagoetry: The Book

* Ready To Rock: The Music

* Kindled Tindall: The Novel

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 9:48 AM | Permalink

SportsMonday: Loving/Hating Jay Cutler

If ever a fan sought to divine the difference between an elite quarterback and the mediocre majority in a relatively brief period of time, he or she could review the video record of the Bears' last two games.

More than anything, the difference is pinpoint passing. Right off the bat on Sunday during the Bears' bounce-back 28-10 victory over the Vikings, Jay Cutler completed two passes - one to Earl Bennett to convert a third down, and one to Kellen Davis to take the ball down to the goal line - that illustrated the difference.

After Matt Forte's almost incomprehensible fumble on the Bears' first play from scrimmage, the first of his two fumbles on what well may have been his worst day as a Bear, the Bear defense first rose up and held the Vikings to a field goal.

Then the D forced a turnover the second time the visitors had the ball. After Nick Roach punched the ball out off Adrian Peterson's hands and Charles Tillman fell on it, the Bears had only to drive about 35 yards to score a touchdown that would give them the lead.

But plays had to be made to do even that and the quarterback was on it. Cutler fired the ball to Bennett with a fraction of a second to spare before a Viking linebacker would have arrived and cleaned his clock. Bennett snatched the pass down the middle despite the threat of a big hit and ran a little further for an 11-yard gain.

Then Cutler zipped the pass to Davis, who had a defender right next to him and was just barely clear of another defender who was playing a short zone. That pass in particular traveled through a figurative window of about two feet by two feet to find the receiver who has struggled to make big catches of late.

Michael Bush banged his way into the end zone and the Bears had a lead they would not relinquish.

Those two passes, as well as the icing on the cake to Matt Spaeth in the end zone, are passes that Bear backup Jason Campbell simply can't complete. (He shouldn't feel bad, Christian Ponder can't complete them either.)

The strength and accuracy of Cutler's throws are the biggest reason that in his last three seasons with the Bears he has led them to a spot in the NFC championship game, a 7-3 record before a season-ending injury and an 8-3 record this time around that has them not just in a strong position for a playoff berth just a week after everyone thought the roof had caved in but a game up on the Packers in the North Division after that delightful Green Bay game last night.

Cutler was even caught on camera cracking a smile talking to Spaeth, and Cutler tying J'Marcus Webb's shoe was deemed worthy of (inanely) charmed media conversation.

Still, it was telling to see Cutler hanging out by the training table when right guard Lance Louis was being evaluated after Jared Allen's brutal, third-quarter cheap shot, a cheap shot that better cost him at least a couple of $10s of thousands. Cutler knows how well Louis has played for most of this year and he knows that an extended absence blows a massive hole in the Bears' already worrisome offensive line.

Then again, despite losing both starting guards (Tim Spencer went down in the first half), the line was at least decent against the strong pass-rushing Vikings. That was two games out of the last three in which the line has held against strong defenses (they did the job in pass protection against the Texans before crumbling versus the 49ers). On the other hand, the Bears often employed max protect schemes that led to only three receivers or even just two going out on routes.

And while the Bears made plenty of plays in the scoring drives with which they extended their lead to 18-3, they also benefited greatly from a pair of Vikings penalties that didn't need to be called. The unnecessary roughness flag drawn by Eric Weems in the first quarter was weak stuff - the best refs don't call that. And the 24-yard pass interference call drawn by Brandon Marshall was at best a toss-up. If anything, offensive pass interference should have been called.

For all the Bears did right, the early tone of the game might have been different had the refs gotten those calls right. But with Cutler on his game, it also likely wouldn't have mattered.

Cutler Love
* Eric Adelson of Yahoo! Sports says Cutler deserves MVP consideration.

* Michael David Smith of NBC Sports says Cutler is unappreciated.

* Matt Trowbridge of the Rockford Register Star says the Bears are back thanks to Cutler.

Cutler Hate
* Tom Jackson of ESPN thinks Cutler is, um, something because he doesn't say hello to stadium workers.

* Joe Levine of SportsGrid says Cutler's douchey unsportsmanlike conduct penalty shows he's still a sad, little man.

* The nation's fantasy football multitudes are not impressed.

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

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 8:26 AM | Permalink

The Weekend In Chicago Rock

You shoulda been there.

1. Leonard Cohen at the Akoo Theater in Rosemont on Friday night.


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2. Welkin Dusk at Reggie's on Friday night.

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3. Kids These Days at the Vic on Saturday night.

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4. Falldown at Martyr's on Friday night.

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 7:49 AM | Permalink

QT: Can't You Feel It In The Air?


News Headline: "Christmas season is finally here."
News Headline: "Man punched in face, pulls gun on line-cutting shopper."
News Headline: "Shots fired outside Walmart."
Ho, Ho, Ho!

···

News Headline: "Electronic tracking: new constraint for Saudi women."
News Headline: "Satellite images show gulags still operational in North Korea."
Electronic tracking. . . satellite images. . . .
Who says the human race isn't making progress?

···

News Headline: "Food banks brace for holiday rush."
News Headline: "Food pantries in need."
News Headline: "Food banks are getting worried."
News Headline: "New vending machine in Beverly Hills dispenses caviar, escargots, truffles."
The stories seemed to go together, for some reason.

···

The Case for Zero Tolerance of Modern School Administrators:
A school official in Vaughan, Ontario, has proposed cutting down a stand of oak trees near the school because there is the chance that a child with an allergy might eat try to eat an acorn.

···

News Headline: "Alligator hunters may be able to use guns."
P.B., a Bethesda, Md., reader, writes:
"It's about time."
QT agrees.
You will not find alligators excluded anywhere in the Second Amendment.

···

News Headline: "Naked man spends 3 hours on London statue."
Authorities have put him under psychiatric evaluation, as what rational man would spend three hours cavorting naked on a statue?
A half hour maybe. . . .

···

QT Modern Corporate Gibberish of the Week:
Xylem and Alix have announced acquisitions.

···

News Headline: "Next Big Ten expansion: Would you believe North Carolina?"
News Headline: "Big Ten getting too big for its own good?"
OK. All right.
Some worry that the Big Ten is heading toward an unwieldy sprawl of 16 teams with no identity, regional or otherwise.
But that's easily taken care of.
All we have to do is divide it into a couple of conferences.

···

QT What Passes for Miracles These Days Update:
An image of Jesus has been found on a used cupcake wrapper in Brighton, Mich.

···

News Headline: "End of the world: the Mayan prophecy of 2012."
News Headline: "Mayan apocalypse believers take refuge in French town."
Add ends of the world to the list of things that aren't what they used to be.

···

The Target chain explaining why it opened its stores on Thanksgiving:
". . . . the first thing we did was reach out to all of our store leaders and ask them to have discussions with their team members. . . ."
And R.M., a Chicago reader, wants to know when did managers and clerks become team leaders and team members, and when can we have managers and clerks back?
And. . . .

···

Modern Education + the Criminal Mind =
A Detroit teenager who stole a laptop from a woman's apartment returned later to offer it back to her for $40.
She asked him to come back the next day.
He returned the next day with the laptop, police said.

···

Rush Limbaugh regarding the Thanksgiving weekend:
"The true story of Thanksgiving is how socialism failed. With all the--"
Oh, be quiet.

···

News Headline: "Woman calls cops on Salvation Army for ringing bells."
Ho, Ho, Ho!

···

From the QT Archive of Knowledge:
+ It isn't "God rest ye, merry gentlemen," but "God rest ye merry, gentlemen."
+ Christmas pudding should be stirred clockwise.

···

Grammar R Us Seminar on the English Language:
D.C., an Owen Sound, Ontario, reader, regarding QT's wondering whether it should be "hurrah" or "hurray," writes:
"Isn't it, or wasn't it at one time, 'huzzah'?"
It is and was.
The trouble is, does this word, also known as "huzza," rhyme with "hurrah" or "hooray"?
Dictionaries tend to put it with "hurrah."
Then again, few among us can forget Alexander Pope's Essay on Man, in which he writes:
One self approving hour whole years out-weighs
Of stupid starers, and of loud huzzas.

So it was left to the poet Jack Brickhouse to set the entire matter right:
"Hey! Hey!"


Write to QT at qt@beachwoodreporter.com
Visit QT at facebook.com/zaynsmithqt
QT appears Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays.

Posted by Zay N. Smith at 6:00 AM | Permalink

November 24, 2012

The Weekend Desk Report

Natasha Julius is over the mountain and through the woods.

Rockin' The Casbah
U.S. officials are concerned about the power grab of Egyptian president Mohamed Mursi but they'll get over it once they get a handle on his disposition matrix.

Cue Bobby Rush
The answer is No.

Universal Gaffe
I believe they prefer to be called Little Planets.

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Estate Tax


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The Weekend Desk Tip Line: Shorter than Walmart's.

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The College Football Report: Spiteful Dreams.

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The Sound Opinions Weekend Listening Report: "Jim and Greg celebrate power pop innovators Big Star. The band's debut album #1 Record turns 40 this year. Plus does former 'Turkey' Chris Cornell redeem himself with the new Soundgarden release?"

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The Flying Saucer Weekend Brunch Report: The Saucer returns to regular hours today.

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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: The Resurrection Project

11-19-ResurrectionProj.jpg

Rodrigo Carillo explains the Resurrection Project's La Casa program, a combined residence hall and resource center open to local high school and university students.

Saturday, November 24 at 7:30 p.m. on CAN TV21
30 min.

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Poverty, Power, & the Public Airwaves

11-19-PublicAirwaves.jpg

Tavis Smiley, Cornel West and Amy Goodman discuss the state of the media in a post-Citizens United world, where networks serve the public interest by informing voters while simultaneously receiving millions of dollars for political advertisements.

Watch video

Sunday, November 25 at 9 a.m. on CAN TV21
2 hr 30 min

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Great Lakes Bioneers

11-19-GreatLakesBioneers.jpg

Bringing together music, poetry and environmental experts, this first annual event aims to start a movement towards making Chicago a more sustainable and socially-just city.

Sunday, November 25 at 11:30 a.m. on CAN TV21
3 hr.

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"Latino Agenda- Our Next Ten Years"

11-19-LaPresenciaLatina-sm2.jpg

At its 10th Annual Conference, the Illinois Legislative Latino Caucus Foundation looks towards the Latino agenda of the next 10 years, including education, immigration, health and human services, and the economy.

Watch Online

Sunday, November 25 at 9 a.m. on CAN TV21
1 hr. 30 min.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 9:44 AM | Permalink

The College Football Report: Spiteful Dreams

Mike Luce, our man on campus, is on campus this week. He will return next week.

Have those of us who, um, are not very fond of Notre Dame ever wanted USC to win a game more badly than today?

Have so many spiteful dreams ever rested on the shoulders of a freshman quarterback named Max?

Are Notre Dame players really so eager for this game that they are eating noisily?

Do we possibly despise Lane Kiffin enough to root for a tie? (Yes and no.)

And is this true?

Notre Dame is the 5 1/2-point favorite, with Over/Unders generally floating between 45 1/2 and 46 1/2.

Even in the Los Angeles Coliseum, it's hard to see the Trojans winning this game, and the spread would probably be wider if there weren't so many Irish-haters betting with their hearts and not their heads.

Notre Dame is going to the BCS championship game, folks.

And that's where they'll have their asses handed to them; 'Bama is already projected as a 10-point favorite.

So a Lane Kiffin loss today and a Crimson Tide win later satisfy the strongest urges of spiteful gamblers - with the biggest payoff.

Big Tent
Who knows how much longer Michigan and Ohio State will play in the same conference? Ohio State could end up in the SEC and Michigan in the Pac 10 considering the way things are going. Remember when these teams would fight to the death each year for the right to play in the Rose Bowl against USC or UCLA? Those were the days. Times were simpler then.

Ohio State is the 4-point favorite and while the Blue Maize might keep this one close, in the end the Buckeyes will cover like, um, cream on corn.

*

Michigan State is at Minnesota and while that 8-point spread is appealing, remember that the Gophers have feasted on bad teams this season and failed against even moderately talented teams. Sparty will party.

*

Northwestern is a whopping 19-point favorite at home against the absolutely awful Illini and it's hard to disagree, but point spreads that big, which aren't uncommon in the college game, can also be dangerous. Plus, we hate Northwestern around here at least as much as we hate Notre Dame, if not more. Pass.

*

Wisconsin is a 2- to 3-point underdog in Happy Valley today, depending on whether your book goes by the Mirage or the Stations line. The Mirage happens to still be our favorite casino in Vegas even if it now almost qualifies as old-school, but either way we see a real opportunity here. Badgers, babies!

*

We have no interest and nothing to say about Indiana at Purdue in the Boring Bowl.

The CFR FRC
It's interstate rivalry week and The College Football Report Free Range Chicken will be in the field monitoring from the skies.

Florida State is a 7-point favorite over Florida, which looks like a good opportunity to take the Gators and put on some Molly Hatchet.

*

Lord, the Over/Under for the Oregon-Oregon State game is 66. Pick up some brewski, take the Over and make a game of it.

*

Lord, the Over/Under for the Oklahoma-Oklahoma State game is 72! Pick up some weed, take the Under and make a, um, game of it. In your mind.

*

Mississippi State is a 1 1/2-point underdog at Ole Miss. Pass.

*

Texas State is playing Texas-San Antonio and neither of them is Texas A&M. Pass.

*

Virginia Tech hosts Virginia and is a 10-point favorite. Wow, nerds really are ascendant. Take Tech.

*

Georgia is a 14-point favorite of Georgia Tech. Revenge of the non-nerds.

The Beachwood Sports Seal
The Over/Under of the Texas Tech-Baylor game is 79 and the Seal plans to pick up some brewski and some weed, place that Over bet and make a weekend of it.

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 8:41 AM | Permalink

November 23, 2012

The Week In Chicago Rock

You shoulda been there.

1. Bow Wow Wow at The Mayne Stage on Sunday night.


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2. James Iha at Schubas on Tuesday night.

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3. Asher Roth at Reggie's on Monday night.

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4. Men Without Hats at The Mayne Stage on Sunday night.

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 8:19 AM | Permalink

That Balloon Tastes Like Apple

It doesn't fill you up, but you do get way more than your recommended daily allowance of helium.

But is it an hors d'oeurve or dessert?

And can it be baked into a pie?


-

Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 7:47 AM | Permalink

QT: Happy Thanksgiving. . . .


. . . the weekend of which QT is taking off.
See you on, well, Happy Monday!


Write to QT at qt@beachwoodreporter.com
Visit QT at facebook.com/zaynsmithqt
QT appears Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays.

Posted by Zay N. Smith at 6:00 AM | Permalink

November 22, 2012

The Blue & Orange Kool-Aid Report: Mmm Bot

Quit Yer Grinnin' And Drop Yer Lineman

I suppose if this whole "blocking" thing doesn't work out, Gabe Carimi can always go back to working the pole over at Package Deal.

By day he stands with Israel, but by night he stands at attention . . . in the pants!

Yeeeeow!!!

Loosen up those purse strings because his "A" gap is open for business aaaaaannd pleasure, ha HA!

C'mon down to stage three and say hello to Man-ischewitz!

O-Line Power Rankings (abr.)

32). Arizona Cardinals
33). 40 empty boxes of Wheaties stacked up into a pyramid
34). Eddie Murphy simultaneously performing the roles of a center, two guards and two tackles
35). Chicago Bears

SELECT * FROM [dbo].turkey WHERE family_unit LIKE 'passive aggressive'

To all of my non-Native American readers, Happy Thanksgiving!

To my Native American readers, I'd like to apologize for smallpox on behalf of my Conquistador forefathers.

Prior to mid-afternoon diabetic coma, many a Bears fan will nestle up on the couch, quietly give thanks for the Lions game and listen to their mothers point out that cousin Jared "is doing so well at the accounting firm."

The Lions? You ask incredulously, because once again your dementia is acting up and you're speaking to inanimate pixels on an iPad. Why should I be thankful for those D-wads?

Let me illustrate why by way of a short re-enactment. I'm sure many of you can relate.

"So have you thought about any of those community college brochures I sent you?"

I've been working in IT for seven years, mom. I'm not rich, but Sheila and I are doing fine.

"Oh I'm sure you are, honey. I just thought that maybe you would consider having some children, well you know, if you were working in an industry that was a little more stable."

Computers aren't going anywhere mom. We'll be fine. We don't want any kids right now.

"Well, they said the same thing about typewriters in my day. You really need more of an education than an associates degree if you expect to be a provider someday."

We're fine, mom.

"I was talking to Susan down the street and you remember her son Robbie. You guys used to play together?"

Um, yeah. When we were like, six.

"Well, Susan told me that Robbie owns his own restaurant and that his wife Sally is expecting their second! Isn't that exciting?"

What's that Sheila? Whoa! Look at the time! The Lions are about to start. Gotta go!

Division Collision

We all got excited about a home bout with the Vikings when we saw the schedule.

Phew. A break in this run of good teams. Just in time for the holidays!

Thanks, robot that makes NFL scheduling algorithms!

It turns out that Adrian Peterson didn't forget how to run through walls, even a mullet-less Jared Allen still likes to raise/rope/etc. (mullet-less-ness not pictured*) and second year QB Christian Ponder has developed nicely into a generic white guy who can throw footballs pretty good**.

The scary thing about this game is we're only a few more crap-ass offensive series' away from the Bears legitimately looking up at the Packers and Vikings in the standings.

Look, worst case scenario they'll be 7-4. I'm not suggesting it's time to do anything drastic, but it would be a good time for the coaching staff to start doing nightly bed checks, just in case any of the numerous Japanese Bears special teamers are considering honor suicides.

It's not that crazy. We had a Samurai Mike at one point.

Kool-Aid (3 Out Of 5 Glasses Of Regular Kool-Aid. No poison - for now.)

Considering the circumstances leading up to this game, it's easy to feel a little detached from this promising season, but don't worry, the Bears should play angry on Sunday.

It would be nice to get another Carolina-esqe finish (big comeback, last-minute heroics and so forth) to stir up some positive emotion, but I think it's going to go the way of the Ass Hammering.

I gotta ask, is Ass Hammering one of those rich guy sports?

Like where 11 guys aggressively try to rape 11 other guys, attempting to avoid rape themselves while the Monopoly Man and Donald Trump make $75,000 side bets?

Man (who you are trying to rape): the most dangerous game of all.

If the Lions game gets out of hand, I'll watch.

Bears 30
Vikings 14

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*Wouldn't it be awesome if Jared Allen donated his mullet to science and the robot that makes NFL schedules was the donee? Thanks for the laughs, Mullet-bot!

**How white, you ask? The thought bubble above Ponder in this picture reads "I like mayonnaise!"

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

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 8:39 AM | Permalink

November 21, 2012

The [Wednesday] Papers

"Gov. Pat Quinn Tuesday terminated the state's contract covering members of the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees union," the Springfield State Journal-Register reports.

"In 40 years of collective bargaining, Pat Quinn is the first and only Illinois governor to terminate a union contract," AFSCME executive director Henry Bayer said in a statement.

Well, Barack Obama promised he'd fight any effort to dismantle collective bargaining so I suppose he'll be spending Thanksgiving back here in Illinois.

*

"During 11 months of bargaining, the state has extended the contract three times and made significant efforts to compromise," Quinn budget spokesman Abdon Pallasch said in a statement. "But the government employees union, which has not offered a single proposal to deal with retirement health care, continues to seek millions of dollars in pay hikes the taxpayers can't afford to give them. It has refused to recognize the extraordinary financial crisis squeezing the state."

See, as a former reporter, Pallasch now gets paid twice as much to tell you half the story.

Father Fixation
"A Deerfield woman charged with stalking the Rev. Michael Pfleger told authorities that God told her that she was supposed to marry the priest, prosecutors said today."

A piece of toast shaped like Jesus told her so.

Insane Surplus
Emanuel Has $4 Million After NATO Tab Settled.

Gee, that's more than enough to open a few mental health clinics to keep our clergy safe.

Dysfunction Junction
Jesse Jackson Jr. canceled plans to speak to his staff today.

Or did he?

Rick Bryant, Jackson's chief of staff, insisted Jackson had no plans to "break his silence" Wednesday.

"We're not having a conference call tomorrow, no," Bryant told the Chicago Sun-Times.

But Frank Watkins, Jackson's spokesman, said his boss had planned to speak, but changed his mind.

Bryant and Watkins did agree that they're both polishing up their resumes.

Broadcast News
"A Boston-based investor that specializes in broadcast and wireless towers has paid $70 million for the antennas atop the John Hancock Center, another step in a plan by the skyscraper's owners to sell off the building's parts piecemeal," Crain's reports.

When does the bidding begin on the EXIT signs?

*

Hancock History Lesson

-

Record Store Black Friday
Subverting the model, sort of.

Pass The PETA Bread
In QT.

The Pope's Nose And Cutler
Is the Bears quarterback the most disappointing fantasy player this season?

Fenwick Teacher Wins Jeopardy! Tourney
Warns students: Haters will hate!

Like A Western Avenue
This time with video.

Programming Note
Posting will be sporadic through the long weekend, which begins about noon Wednesday at Beachwood HQ. But that doesn't mean we don't want you to check in often because we'll still be here, as well as on Twitter and Facebook.

-

The Beachwood Tip Line: Where every day is black.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 9:52 AM | Permalink

Record Store Day Black Friday

"In the past Black Friday was an American event celebrated by large corporate retailers as a shopping day that promoted mass produced items at super low prices in hopes of driving customers into their stores.

"RSD's Black Friday subverts the model and creates pieces of art in the form of limited special editions, often numbered, from some of the most revered artists of our time.

"RSD's version of Black Friday is an excuse to celebrate the specialness of music in our lives by putting out these unique releases. In other words, cheapness is not a main goal. Celebrating art is."

* Special releases.

* Participating Chicago stores.

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Rock It Out! Blog Interview With Dave Of Dave's Records.


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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 8:51 AM | Permalink

Colby Burnett Wins Jeopardy! Teachers Tourney

"Fenwick High School teacher Colby Burnett won the Jeopardy! Teachers Tournament and the $100,000 grand prize in an episode that aired Tuesday," the Tribune reports.

For full background, see the Beachwood's Tuesday report.

*

Here's Fenwick Television's report:


-

It's just like that time Fenwick was on the College Bowl.

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UPDATE 2/27/2013: Colby Burnett Sweeps Tournament of Champions.

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 8:11 AM | Permalink

Chicagoetry: Like A Western Avenue Along Saturn's Icy Ring

Like a Western Avenue Along Saturn's Icy Ring

A warm, dry place
here on the frozen edge
of an apparently infinite universe? Really?!

Wait: yes.
A warm, dry place here in America, like.
This kind of thing.

The sharp edge
of the sparkle
on a cold ruby ring,

a small nuclear storm
on the surface
of Jupiter.

That old saw! That's what I saw
in her tiny hand gesture on the train
earlier this afternoon, like the bright trill

of an antique Persian flute,
or an ice-dove shaped just like one,
floating upwards

along Western Avenue in the sharp, autumn
dusk. It has to be dusk, floating upwards
in the sharp autumn dusk.

Like a light, drowsy dove
floating upwards
in the sharp autumn dusk.

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

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More Tindall:

* Chicagoetry: The Book

* Ready To Rock: The Music

* Kindled Tindall: The Novel

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 6:01 AM | Permalink

QT: Time For The Party (Of The First Part)


Happy (QT offers this statement without representation or warranty as to the effects or repercussions thereof upon any and all persons who might elect to celebrate the holiday as represented therein and with the understanding that any persons taking such actions without such representation or warranty do so with the express understanding that they have agreed to indemnify and hold QT harmless from the effects thereof) Thanksgiving!

···

News Headline: "Santa Monica can block Christmas Nativity displays, judge rules."
No word yet on plans to rename the city Holiday Monica.

···

Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) avoiding a question on how old Earth is:
"I'm not a scientist, man."
The Old Testament notwithstanding, Earth is about 4.5 billion years old.
QT can say this because it isn't a dunderhead, man.

···

News Item: "Ford introduced its 2014 transit connect wagon in a news conference. . . ."
When did minivans become transit connect wagons, and when can we have minivans back?
And T.N., an Oak Lawn reader, wants to know when the local paintball park become a "scenario field," and when can we have paintball parks back?
And. . . .

···

From a Comcast movie description:
". . . pulse-pounding thriller set against the backdrop of Scotland's drug-fueled dance scene. . . ."
And add drug-fueled dance scenes to the list of things that aren't what they used to be.

···

Jack Finarelli, a Falls Church, Va., reader, regarding QT's wondering, if a group of larks is an exaltation of larks and a group of turkeys is a gang of turkeys, what a group of politicians should be called, writes that we already have the answer:
A group of politicians is a gang of turkeys.
Issue settled.

···

News Headline: "New markets, TV money driving Big Ten talks."
News Headline: "Big Ten expansion: How adding Maryland, Rutgers affects TV markets."
News Headline: "For Big Ten, money trumps tradition."
The Legends Division and Leaders Division don't seem a good fit for the Big Ten anymore.
Maybe the Cash Division and the Carry Division. . . .

···

News Headline: "Great recipes using peta bread!"
But don't try to serve it on the same table with the turkey.

···

QT News You Can Use:
+ The Rapture Index , which measures the progression of end-time prophecy according to world events, rose this week to a record high of 186.
+ The number of Google hits for "tap-dancing militant Islamic fundamentalists" has doubled in recent weeks to a record 2,140, in what may be a coincidence.

···

News Headline: "Drug tests for Texas welfare and unemployment applicants?"
The thing about Texans is that they can't seem to get enough government regulation.

···

News Headline: "Kim Kardashian books trip to Middle East."
News Headline: "Paris Hilton opens fashion store in Mecca."
Sometimes outrage in the Muslim world makes some sense.
It has been 1,983 days, by the way, since Paris Hilton announced she would be leaving public life.
Not that anyone is counting

···

QT Early Warning System:
Nine days remain until National Stress-Free Family Holidays Month.

···

From the QT Archive of Knowledge:
+ The thing beneath the turkey's beak is the wattle.
+ The thing above the beak is a snood.
Happy Thanksgiving!

···

News Headline: "Travelers getting ready for Thanksgiving."
The Transportation Security Administration warns that airline passengers will not be allowed to board with ice picks, meat cleavers, sabers, swords, baseball bats, bows and arrows, firearms, axes, cattle prods, crowbars, saws, billy clubs, black jacks, brass knuckles, pepper spray, nunchucks, blasting caps, dynamite, plastic explosives. . . .
Happy Thanksgiving!

···

QT Grammar R Us Seminar on the English Language:
News Item: ". . . chomping at the bit for Thanksgiving to get here. . . ."
News Item: ". . . holiday shoppers wait with baited breath . . . ."
News Item: ". . . classic combination is brussel sprouts and sweet potatoes. . . ."
Champing, bated, brussels sprouts.
Happy Thanksgiving!


Write to QT at qt@beachwoodreporter.com
Visit QT at facebook.com/zaynsmithqt
QT appears Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays.

Posted by Zay N. Smith at 6:00 AM | Permalink

Fantasy Fix: Jay Cutler & The Pope's Nose

I know you're all anxious to proceed with the Pope's Nose Awards, our annual Fantasy Fix Thanksgiving tradition, but first a quick recap of a fairly eventful week in fantasy football.

Week 11 saw another historic fantasy performance in the form of Texans QB Matt Schaub, who had 527 yards passing and five TDs, good for 52 points or more in many Yahoo! scoring formats. I was lucky enough to have Schaub active in a two-QB league, but in some one-QB leagues, that record performance probably was left on the bench.

It was hard to see this one coming. Though Schaub is somewhat of a hidden gem - very effective at getting at least 15 fantasy points per week despite Houston's RB-oriented approach - Week 11 was more than anyone could have expected. I don't expect it to happen again, but he could certainly be a solid starter the rest of the way if the QB position has been a problem for you.

Schaub's big game also turned out to be a big revival for his main target, Andre Johnson, who netted 273 yards receiving and three TDs. Johnson has slipped from the top ranks of WRs in recent years, but his Week 11 performance was the high point of a recent comeback bid that has seen him more frequently targeted by Schaub. I think Johnson should be a fantasy starter the rest of the way.

Another Week 11 event with major fantasy impact was the broken forearm suffered by the Patriots' Rob Gronkowski, the top fantasy TE for the second straight year and among this season's top performers overall. He's out for at least four weeks, which is the rest of the fantasy season and playoffs for many leagues. There is really no replacing Gronk, but if you need a fill-in, you could do worse than the Raiders' Brandon Myers, who has 220 yards receiving and three TDs in the last four weeks.

The Pope's Nose Awards
Once again, it's time to recognize those players who have truly disappointed this season relative to their preseason draft rankings.

QB: Jay Cutler. This is a tough one because it has not been a bad year for many QBs. Cutler has won this award before - in 2009 - but this time I think he has been done in more by a terrible O-line and weak game plans than anything else. Still, with a redrawn receiver corps, we expected more than just over 1,800 yards passing, 12 TDs, and 10 INTs. A lot more.

RB: Darren McFadden. Despite a few flashes of brilliance, this has been a lost season for a guy some us thought would overcome previous injuries and potentially become one of the top fantasy RBs. With 455 rushing yards and just two TDs, McFadden is barely among the top 25 RBs, and injuries again are becoming an issue.

WR: Robert Meacham. Just over 200 yards receiving and two TDs is well below what we expected from Meacham, who went from being one of a crowd of targets for Drew Brees in New Orleans to arguably the No. 1 WR slot in a Philip Rivers-powered offense. Right now, he is barely the third WR in that offense.

TE: Jermichael Finley. It wasn't so long ago Finley was in the top three at his position, but his high yardage mark this season was the 66 yards he just netted in Week 11, when he also scored just his second TD this year. Unless he explodes the rest of the way, he may be the most disappointing fantasy player at any position this year, which means he gets first crack at the Pope's Nose.

K: Mason Crosby. Who would have thought the vaunted Packers could have two Pope's Nose winners? Crosby has been dreadful since about Week 5, missing seven field goals in that stretch. Chosen as the No. 1 kicker in many leagues because of Green Bay's offensive prowess, Crosby could be in danger of losing his job if this keeps up.

Expert Wire
* Bleacher Report has its Gronk-less TE rankings for Week 12.

* NFL News notes Fred Jackson's return and LeSean McCoy's possible departure.

* CBS Sports.com lists which fantasy WRs deserve a closer look.

-

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

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 4:08 AM | Permalink

November 20, 2012

SportsMondayTuesday: Overmatched Bears Can Still Win Super Bowl

Listen to Jim Coffman talk Bears today with Rick Kogan at 2 p.m. on WBEZ's The Afternoon Shift.

*

Don't despair, Bears fans.

Sports commentators commit many crimes against humanity but their biggest mistake when it comes to pro football is making too much of individual games.

It is partly understandable; there is almost always a week between games and you have to fill the programming and sports pages with something during those times.

But if the parity-drenched NFL has taught us anything in the past few years, it is that teams can be terrible for a couple games or even a sizable stretch of the season and still come back and win in the end.

Just last season, a truly mediocre Giants team barely squeaked into the playoffs at 9-7 and promptly got on a roll that ended with them hoisting the Lombardi Trophy in Indianapolis.

So just because the Bears totally stunk it up by the Bay last night in a 32-7 loss in the battle of the backup quarterbacks doesn't mean the season has come to an end.

Heck, I've even got a bright side: Thank goodness Jay Cutler wasn't back there getting pounded by Aldon (and Justin) Smith.

Of course, if it had been Cutler back there, maybe he would have moved around in the pocket well enough to avoid the rush a bit more than Jason Campbell did - especially in the first half when the game was still undecided and the 49ers hadn't totally pinned their ears back and devoted themselves exclusively to the pass rush, i.e., stopped worrying about the run.

But let's be clear about one thing: It is still too early to pronounce Jason Campbell not good enough for this job.

How so?

First and foremost, because there is every reason to believe Campbell was poorly prepared by the coaching staff heading into this game - just like he was poorly prepared to enter the season as Cutler's backup.

You may recall that Campbell wasn't sharp in the Bears' first three preseason games. He wasn't even throwing tight spirals most of the time. And yet, the Bears coaching staff decided that he was good enough to sit out the final exhibition against the Browns.

As I wrote at the time: Not smart.

Makes you wonder if they were too lackadaisical - and oddly overconfident - in preparations for Campbell this week, too, even knowing he would be facing a fast and ferocious 49er defense.

I'm also officially hopping on the The Offensive Line Is Offensive bandwagon - if there is room for me at this late date.

I have resisted excessively dumping on the players up front but last night was grim.

Chilo Rachal was just outclassed by Justin Smith and really had no business being in such a key matchup.

J'Marcus Webb should at least hold somebody and take the flag instead of letting his quarterback get killed.

And Gabe Carimi, yikes.

Hey Gabe, at least stand strong and try to pound someone out there. In the second half it wasn't enough that you were getting beat inside, outside and up the middle. There were stretches there where you resembled an overmatched infantryman. In other words, you were in full retreat.

Carimi is essentially a rookie (he only played five quarters before a season-ending injury last year) and there is nothing to be done about his lack of experience in the near term. I still believe he will hold down a tackle spot for the Bears for many years to come. But when we watch him being thrown back into the quarterback by a defensive end he outweighs by at least 30 pounds, well, we have to worry.

(Lance Louis also at times allowed himself to be absolutely physically dominated by a smaller player. Time to play with a little bit of pride, fellas.)

As for the other side of the ball, did everyone see how the 49ers used the pass to set up the run?

Colin Kaepernick came out throwing, his coordinator calling plays that gave him great chances to build confidence and momentum. He took advantage.

The 49ers' offensive strategy only reinforced why all those geniuses - including Lovie Smith - asserting all week that the Bears would have to establish the running game to help their backup quarterback get comfortable before contributing with his arm were so wrong.

First, you want your quarterback throwing some passes he is completely comfortable with during his first few times out on the field. Second and most importantly, teams need to pass when the defense thinks they will run and run when the opposite is the case. You can't let the defense completely dictate what you do but whether a team has six guys in the box near the line of scrimmage or nine has to matter - a lot.

Of course, if teams run as well as the Niners did last night (and man did they put on a power running clinic), it matters less what is going on in the passing game.

Analyst Jon Gruden was especially good last night when he was gushing about the various ways San Francisco used power formations and motion to overwhelm the Bears defense to the tune of an astronomical (and approximate)10 yards per play through three quarters.

* * *

Now it's time to get back to work and make sure the most important games of the season don't slip away.

And the most important games of the season are the next one - a home contest against division rival Minnesota on Sunday - and next month's home game with the Packers.

Winning just those alone might be enough to get into the playoffs with the same 9-7 record the Giants had last season. Win a couple more and they're back on a roll.

-

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

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 8:51 AM | Permalink

The [Tuesday] Papers

More embarrassing: Squeezy the Pension Python or that Bears performance last night?

*

"Public relations strategist Thom Serafin says the governor appears to have achieved his end game of getting people to talk about pension reform," CBS2 Chicago reports.

Wrong. The exceedingly small number of people involved in the pension reform debate are talking about Squeezy and our lame governor and more than 99.9 percent of the general population has no idea that Squeezy even exists, much less is that he (or she) is the key to our children's future. Pat Quinn just made a massive joke of himself and likely won't be invited back to the governor's office in 2014.

*

By the way, comments on Quinn's video are disabled. (Way to build grassroots support!) But if you're really itching, there's a back door, so to speak.

*

As QT would say, add "grassroots" to the list of things that aren't what they used to be, right next to "hipster," "progressive" and "transparency."

*

As for the Bears, well, it may have been a near-death experience but that means they're still very much alive, writes our very own Jim "Coach" Coffman.

*

Coffman will talk Bears today with Rick Kogan on WBEZ's The Afternoon Shift. Show starts at 2 p.m. and Coffman probably goes on about 2:30 or so.

Harry Potter And The Prisoners Of Alvarez
The trial for three of the so-called NATO 5 has been pushed back to September 2013. Apparently in Cook County that means the constitutional definition of speedy.

Meanwhile, earlier this month, one of the other defendants, Sebastian "Sabi" Senakiewicz, pled guilty to drunken rants about a non-existent bomb in a non-existent Harry Potter book and was sentenced to four years in prison, though he'll likely be released after a few months in a boot camp.

As Senakiewicz's compatriots have argued, would Cook County State's Attorney Anita Alvarez really have agreed to this deal if the man was really a terrorist threat?

"Sabi pled guilty to a felony state terrorism charge and got 120 days in boot camp," one of his lawyers, Jeff Frank, said in a statement. "Honestly, how serious was this case? Does this rise to the level of what this statute was designed for? No. Sabi is guilty of imprudent language. That's hardly grounds to extract a guilty plea for a serious felony, but that's how Ms. Alvarez has chosen to spend the taxpayers' resources."

*

The fifth member of the NATO 5 is Jeremy Hammond, who is finally getting a bond hearing after eight months in jail.

The Anti-Energy Alderman
Ald. George Cardenas (12th), who most likely didn't even pretend to page through the budget he just voted in favor of, wants to ban energy drinks for those under 21.

This is such a pressing issue to Cardenas that he wants to hold hearings. Can he not think of anything else to do with his time as alderman?

Of course, while he's not attending to his job as alderman he's not attending to his job as alderman:

"Cardenas owns Cardenas and Associates, a business consulting firm, where he has worked for many fortune 500 companies including Centel Corporation, McDonalds Corporation, Andersen Worldwide, Tenneco Corporation, Ameritech/SBC Corporation. Cardenas is [also] President of QuickDinero, Inc., a retail wire transfer service.[5]"

Too bad he doesn't consult for an energy drink company.

Memory Bank I: Ald. George Cardenas Rents Ward Office From Family.

Memory Bank II: Cardenas Has Father On Payroll.

Bang Bang
Chief Keef Loves Soda, Ain't White.

Team Colby
Fenwick History Teacher In Jeopardy! Finals.

-

The Beachwood Tip Line: Pensiony.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 8:14 AM | Permalink

Fenwick History Teacher In Jeopardy! Finals

"Despite Colby Burnett's attempts to downplay his appearances on Jeopardy! a fever has swept his colleagues and students as they've watched him move forward in the TV game show's two-week teachers tournament," the Tribune reports.

"On Tuesday, Burnett, a teacher at Fenwick High School, will be seen vying against two other finalists for the $100,000 grand prize in the conclusion of episodes filmed about seven weeks ago. The show airs locally at 2:30 p.m. on WLS-Ch. 7."

*

WLS-Ch. 7's report.


*

The Huffington Post's report.

*

Burnett's Obama anecdote.

*

In action.

-

In action.

*

He does seem cocky but this is racist.

*

A student responds:

As one of Mr. Burnett's students, I was really sad to see this post about Colby Burnett and his cocky attitude. He is actually one of the most humble men in the world. As it appears, mr. Burnett was happy when he got an answer correct because he was winning the money for his mother in order to buy her a home and get her out of the west side of Chicago, a gang ridden poverty and violence stricken neighborhood. While yes, Mr. Burnett is quirky, that is exactly why we love him at Fenwick and why 700 students and 50 faculty memberships gathered together to watch him yesterday. Thank you for taking the time to read this.

please excuse typos as this was sent from my phone.

Sincerely
Q Broda

*

Official pre-Finals interview.

-

Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 4:43 AM | Permalink

Chief Keef Loves Soda, Ain't White

Like.

1. Love Soda.


-

2. Can I get some sneakers?

-

3. Ain't White.

-

Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 4:00 AM | Permalink

November 19, 2012

The [Monday] Papers

Governor Gumby is now Governor Squeezy.

And a python is the official state joke.

In The Governor Goes Squeezy.

*

On the other hand, if the goal was to get every reporter and politico in the state to watch a 3:44 video about pensions, mission accomplished.

*

I sure hope someone is filing a FOIA as we speak asking for every document relating to Squeezy so we can see just who is responsible for this debacle. Did anyone try to stop this? Abdon?

*

BREAKING: Rahm preparing response video: Smelly, The Dead Fish.

Plea Beat
"Joseph Moreno, ex-county commissioner, in plea talks in bribery case, lawyer says."

That's news? Tell me who isn't in plea talks around here.

The Poop On Groupon
"Groupon Inc. opened its first concept store in Hong Kong as the company continues its efforts to broaden beyond its daily deals website," Crain's reports.

Too easy.

Inspector Rejectors
"Chicago aldermen are accusing their handpicked inspector general of overstepping his limited authority - and going fishing - with a demand for time sheets for all full- and part-time City Council employees dating back to November 2010," the Sun-Times reports.

"The surprise request from Legislative Inspector General Faisal Khan - whose annual budget was recently increased to $354,000 - stunned and infuriated aldermen, some of whom are talking about clipping Khan's wings or eliminating his position altogether."

The last thing we want our handpicked inspector general doing is inspecting things!

*

"Some aldermen are so incensed about the time-sheet request that they've confronted Khan and demanded an explanation."

Geez, it's not like he asked for your TPS reports.

*

"Others are going through the motions to comply with his request."

I thought going through the motions in Chicago meant not complying with such requests.

*

"Even more have chosen to ignore it and dare Khan to use his subpoena powers if he thinks he has a case to justify a subpoena."

Ed Burke went so far as to double-dog dare him.

*

"This is beyond the scope of his authority," Ald. Roderick Sawyer (6th) told the Sun-Times. "He's overstepping his bounds. He's going too far. This is not what he was placed there to do."

Whatever it is he's looking for, we didn't place him there to find it!

"A lot of aldermen are upset or at least confused about what he's trying to do."

They thought he understood he was a ghost payroller.

*

"Sawyer noted that a $94,000 amendment to Mayor Rahm Emanuel's 2013 budget increased Khan's annual budget to $354,000 a year. That's $294,000 a year more than originally anticipated."

The last thing he's supposed to spend that money on is investigating aldermen!

CTA's Skinniest Escalator Ever
Racist to fat people.

On The 36th Day Before The 12 Days Of Christmas
In QT.

The Weekend In Chicago Rock
Pretty good weekend.

Tony's Picks
We predict he takes the 49ers.

-

The Beachwood Tip Line: Squeezy.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 10:48 AM | Permalink

Tony's Picks: We Predict He Takes The 49ers

The betting odds came out with the home team San Francisco 49ers favored by -4 points with an over under of 38 1/2 points. Early money has landed on the side of the home team as San Francisco is now favored by -5 points. The total has not moved off the opener of 38 1/2 points.


-

NFL Trend: San Francisco 49ers are 3-1 to the under in their past four games.

*

Jason Campbell has several years as a starter with both the Redskins and Raiders. He is one of those QBs who will frustrate you on third down as he often dumps down and completes short of the sticks.

*

Chicago allowed Houston 215 yards offensively with 127 running the football on 35 carries. The Bears defense is good, ranking high in many categories. On offense they are 27th with just 316 yards a game.

-

Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 10:34 AM | Permalink

The Governor Goes Squeezy

"After months of promising a major grass-roots effort to win public support for reforming the state's government worker pension system, Gov. Pat Quinn on Sunday unveiled a plan that featured an incomplete online strategy, children wearing red plastic megaphones and an animated 'Squeezy the Pension Python' mascot," the Tribune reports.

"There were, however, no solutions offered on how to fix the nation's most underfunded retirement system."

First, let us behold what our cartoon governor hath wrought.


*

Um, are you fucking kidding me?

*

"The Democratic governor, known for a style that sometimes veers into the corny, attempted to jump-start the pension overhaul push by lauding the power of 'the people of Illinois, good and true' through what he called the 'electronic democracy' of Twitter and Facebook. Quinn went so far as to encourage families gathering at the Thanksgiving dinner table to 'speak to each other' about the pension crisis."

DAUGHTER: Daddy, will you please pass the cranberry sauce?

FATHER: What if I said there isn't any left, honey? That's what the state's pension crisis is like. I know you were promised cranberry sauce, but those promises weren't kept and now we have to punish you. Go sit in a corner.

*

"Quinn appeared at a Thompson Center news conference with about 15 children who wore red plastic megaphones with 'Thanks in advance' stickers."

Were they the children of state workers whose retirement benefits will be cut? Are they really thankful?

*

*

"[A]s he took questions from reporters, Quinn stopped short of his previous demand that any comprehensive pension plan should gradually shift the cost of pensions for teachers outside Chicago from the state onto local school districts - and local property taxpayers. Suburban Republicans and Democrats have adamantly opposed the cost shift."

That's not what Quinn told AP on Friday:

Q: Have you softened your position on the need for a cost shift (to schools)?

A: "No. I'm for that. That's a principle of accountability.

How squeezy!

*

Then again, Quinn also said this:

Q: Are you going to see the new Lincoln movie?

A: I've already seen it . . . It's an excellent movie. If you want to see how Democracy works, see that movie . . . You will appreciate the battle to get pension reform if you see the movie and see how hard it was to abolish slavery and get that amendment for the people. And they went to great lengths to use the Democratic process properly.

Who played the python?

*

"The new website, thisismyillinois.com [link mine, ahem], remains a work in progress. It urges followers to 'think web cam' to post pictures or videos on a related Facebook page that Quinn promised will be 'shared with the legislators in Springfield.'"

You mean like this?

'Cause that's the only shot you've got.

*

Pat Quinn: Defining "Grassroots" Down.

Or up, as it were.

*

*

*

*

The Internet strikes back.

Fans of Squeezy Facebook page.

*

And from the inevitable Twitter feed.

*

See also: A Snake? Really?

-

Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 9:42 AM | Permalink

CTA Escalator Skinniest Ever?

At the North/Clybourn stop on the Red Line.

What up, CTA?


-

See also:
* Narrowest Escalator?

* "[H]ow many times has this thing not been working?"

* "It's gotta be a Peelie!"

* wcmcwalletmakers' YouTube page.

-

Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 9:20 AM | Permalink

The Weekend In Chicago Rock

You shoulda been there.

1. Red Fang at Subterranean on Saturday night.


-

2. Shapes & Colors at Reggie's on Friday night.

-

3. The Monkees at the Chicago Theatre on Friday night.

-

4. Afrojack at the Congress on Saturday night.

-

5. Stranger Cole at the Mayne Stage on Saturday night.

-

6. Deathklok at the Aragon on Friday night.

-

Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 8:51 AM | Permalink

QT: On The 36th Day Before The 12 Days Of Christmas


News Headline: "Walmart kicking off Christmas shopping earlier than ever."
News Headline: "Target is the latest retailer planning to open Thanksgiving."
News Headline: "Nordstrom not decorating for Christmas until after Thanksgiving."
Is it possible to have a department store chain as a hero?
Yes. It is.

···

News Headline: "NY district attorney admits he acted in 1970s porn films."
And then he fell in with a bad crowd and went into politics.

···

News Headline: "Oliver Stone: America is an 'outlaw nation.'"
Next: We attempt to find a nation anywhere in the world that isn't or hasn't ever been.

···

News Item: DJT Restaurant in the Las Vegas Trump International Hotel is closed temporarily when inspectors find month-old caviar, duck dating back to June, undercooked halibut, improperly thawed tuna and expired yogurt, veal stock, tomato sauce, peanut-butter sauce and chili.
But take Donald Trump's word for it.
The bacteria were HUGE.
They were HUGE.

···

QT Trickle-On Economics Update:
Hostess tripled its CEO's pay and increased the pay of its other executives up to 80 percent before announcing it could no longer afford to meet the wages and benefits of its workers.

···

News Headline: "Turkey knocks out power in Sheboygan."
The resistance strikes where it can, in the dark of night. . . .

···

News Headline: "Jay Cutler's concussion past compounds newest injury."
LXXVI Days Until Super Bowl XLVII Concussion Count UpdVIII:
NFL player concussions at the halfway point of the season: XCII.
The count including the pre-season: CXL.
As football increasingly becomes the spectator sport where we look the other way.

···

News Headline: Centers for Disease Control rules that any woman who has more than one drink a day is a "heavy drinker."
Note to any women who might like a glass or two of wine with dinner:
We're on to you now.

···

News Item: ". . . the farthest galaxy appears as a diminutive blob. . . ."
A reminder that, viewed from such places as Galaxy MACS0647-JD, we are a diminutive blob.

···

News Item: "Each Thanksgiving, the U.S. consumes 690 million pounds of Turkey. That's the weight of Singapore's entire population. . . ."
Or 1,304,078 baby grand pianos, if you are still trying to visualize it.

···

Lest We Forget that the Dark Ages Were a Faith-Based Initiative:
Nearly half the people you see on the street believe Earth is less than 10,000 years old.

···

News Headline: "Donkey banned from running in Ecuador council elections."
QT is behind schedule, so it will job out this item.
Please insert thoughts here comparing Ecuadoran elections to our elections, being sure to use the word "jackasses."
Thanks.

···

Why We Should Have Done Something Yesterday About the Day After Tomorrow:
Kevin G. Barkes, a South Park, Pa., reader (and proprietor of the KGB Report) wants you to know if you were born after April 1985, you have never experienced a month that was "colder than normal."

···

News Headline: "Einstein's brain was definitely not like others, scientists say."
News Headline: "Einstein's brain: It was better than yours."
OK. But any reason to rub it in?

···

From the QT Archive of Knowledge:
+ Women were not invited to the first Thanksgiving.
+ A group of turkeys is a gang of turkeys.

···

QT Grammar R Us Seminar on the English Language:
Bill Scott, an East Northport, N.Y., reader, regarding another reader's criticism of QT for using the word "woops," writes:
"I checked Google for 'woops' and 'whoops.' I found 4,870,000 hits for 'woops' and 25,600,000 hits for 'whoops.' Then I started this e-mail, and for the subject wrote 'Woops vs. Whoops.' The spell-checker in my e-mail flagged 'woops' as a misspelling. I think I agree with the other reader that it's 'whoops.'"
Thank you for your research.
You deserve something of a hurrah, in fact.
Or is it hurray?


Write to QT at qt@beachwoodreporter.com
Visit QT at facebook.com/zaynsmithqt
QT appears Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays.

Posted by Zay N. Smith at 1:00 AM | Permalink

November 17, 2012

The Chambers Report: Paterno

Joe Posnanski, named best sportswriter in America this year by the Sportswriters and Sportscasters Hall of Fame, agreed to pen Joe Paterno's biography just a few months before the notorious Jerry Sandusky pedophilia scandal, in November 2011, obliterated Paterno's carefully built pristine image, as well as that of his employer, Pennsylvania State University.

As the scandal was unfolding before all of us, Posnanski came more and more to view the great football coach's remarkable life story as a riveting soap opera in which an apparently profoundly moral man was suddenly brought low by human weakness, carrying down with him the now celebrated institution that he had done more than anyone else to build.

The eventual shape of Paterno, in fact, took on that of an opera, with Posnanski dividing his book into five acts, complete with arias, intermezzos, a beginning overture, a closing finale, and even an encore. Its flowery chapters are also melodic and dramatic, bearing such titles as "The Grand Experiment," "Sainthood," "Mountaintop," "Evil and Good," and "To Be or Not to Be." In the end, such bombast seems fitting to Posnanski's task. His subject, after all, was anything but an ordinary man.

The biographer opens his tale this way:

This is the story of a man named Joe Paterno, who in his long life was called moral and immoral, decent and scheming, omniscient and a figurehead, hero and fraud, Saint Joe and the devil. A life, of course, cannot be reduced to a single word, but Joe Paterno had something bold and soaring in his personality that attracted extremes. That boldness compelled him to do remarkable and unprecedented things.That boldness also led people to say that, at the end, his failures destroyed whatever good he had done.

Posnanski's orchestration follows the conventional "beginning, middle, and end" structure found in most novels and operas, as well as in many biographies. This allows him to start out with the glory days of Paterno's youth and later advancing fame at Penn State before the tragic Sandusky saga, like a looming thunderstorm, inevitably overtakes and then destroys "JoePa" (as he came to be called in State College).

When he started out, Posnanski had no clear path to the conclusion of Paterno. By the end history had found it for him.

* * *

Early on we see Joe Paterno as a talented Brooklyn boy who was born to lead. His modest father Angelo, a court clerk, did all that he could to open doors for his gifted son, making it possible for Joe - as well as his brother George - to attend Brooklyn Prep, one of the best schools in New York City, where he became a football star, developed considerable local fame, and eventually won admiration and financial support from famed comic-book "titan" Everett "Busy" Arnold, a self-made mega-millionaire who paid Joe's way to Brown University where his adult life was truly launched.

At Brown, Paterno's football skills continued to grow under the guidance of Charles A. "Rip" Engle, a member of the College Football Hall of Fame who started out playing at Western Maryland College for the legendary Dick Harlow, another Hall of Famer, who went on to coach at Harvard and, stunningly, to hold a position there simultaneously as professor of ornithology.

Young Joe was so taken with Engle that during his senior year in Providence he abandoned his father's plan for him to become a lawyer (and perhaps, at least in Angelo's dream, one day be elected President of the United States) by accepting Engle's offer to accompany him to his new coaching post at Penn State, then a relatively little- known "cow college"(Posnanski's term) in an isolated central Pennsylvania village, where Paterno would remain for six decades and become a legend himself, in the process transforming the backwater school into the colossal behemoth it is today.

From the outset at Penn State, Paterno was viewed widely as a rising star. It is often forgotten that he labored for 16 seasons as an assistant coach under Engle, waiting somewhat impatiently to succeed his mentor.

During these years, Joe married his wife Sue - whom he had met when she, a decade younger than he, was a Penn State undergraduate - had several children, and began to attract job offers from across the nation.

Posnanski frankly reports that JoePa was a poor father, often despised by his kids, who cared about very little in life other than being a football coach. Sue invariably gave in to this, for that was just the way things were to be when wed to such a focused fanatic (she often told anyone within earshot that "I wasn't courted by Joe...I was recruited!").

When in 1966 Paterno at last succeeded Engle as head Penn State football coach, he was more than ready to continue his steady ascent to the summit of the college football pyramid, a rise that would make him the most famous coach in America, the most powerful person in Pennsylvania, the winningest NCAA Division I college football coach of all time (409-136-3 in 46 regular seasons, plus winning 24 of 37 post-season bowl games, another record*), and bring him head coaching offers from everywhere - from the Baltimore Colts, the Philadelphia Eagles, and the Oakland Raiders to Yale and virtually every other Ivy League school.

Most famously, New England Patriots owner Billy Sullivan begged Joe to become the his head coach and offered him in return an unprecedented $1 million salary, along with countless other financial benefits, as well as "complete control" of the team, with no second-guessing or any questions being asked.

The package was, in a word, staggering, by far the most generous ever made to any coach at the time (1973). So magnificent was it that Joe actually accepted the offer - for one day.

By the next morning, however, he changed his mind, largely through loyalty to his kids and to Sue, who couldn't imagine living anywhere other than in State College.

According to Posnanski, "That was the moment when Joe Paterno decided who he wanted to be."

The decision animated the entire country in a difficult and impressionable era nationally, turning JoePa into a "Public Saint." The timing was auspicious; it was the Age of Watergate, of the Vietnam War, of the murder of Israeli Olympic athletes in Munich, as well as of recession at home, and "here was Joe Paterno, the coach who looked like a professor, saying no to money and glory so he could coach young men in college." When asked why he turned Sullivan's offer down, Joe said, simply, "How much money does one man need?"

Joe's life story and famously moralistic philosophy were, in a stroke, fully verified, certified, authenticated.

"His personal tale now seemed impervious to cynicism," no matter how self-righteous and sanctimonious he had long seemed to many. JoePa's great gesture gave authority to the so-called "Grand Experiment," his much ballyhooed belief that football, academics, and life lessons could - and should - be merged, could - and should - co-exist in one unified philosophical whole that would stabilize young athletes, give them purpose in life, and carry them on to glory far beyond the gridiron.

It was the "Grand Experiment" that had largely spawned Joe's holier-than-thou image in the first place. Now the recruiting pitch in living rooms across America that had long won parents, far more than students, into Paterno's orbit was accepted as truth by all. "Play for the team, not yourself. Be unselfish. There are more important things than individual glory." These lessons were now given a new kind of power.

That same summer - 1973 - the coach was invited to deliver the Penn State commencement address, an event lifting him to still greater heights as a cultural icon; it was, as Posnanski puts it, "the peak of his life."

Even so, cynicism could not be entirely stifled. As more than one on-looker, squirming under JoePa's lofty aura, put it: "Nobody's that good."

And so it proved to be. From the mountaintop experience of the commencement address, Paterno's halo began to slip. In the wake of much hagiography in such admired publications as Time, Newsweek and the New York Times, as well as in a new book which "godded up" its subject with such over-enthusiastic sentences as "This, then, is Joe Paterno. Football coach, intellectual maverick, philosopher, social worker, leader, gambler, idealist, romanticist, humanist, activist,"** there was, perhaps, only one way to go.

The slide began in earnest with a falling-out between JoePa and his adoring sportswriters (whom he often regaled behind closed doors with ribald stories, well lubricated with alcohol). After his bad-mouthing of Oklahoma coach Barry Switzer and Pitt's Jackie Sherrill at one of these boozy sessions, word leaked out, publicly besmirching the great man's flawless image and thereby haunting him to his dying day.

Though Switzer, in particular, seemed forgiving later on, he ultimately turned on Paterno when the Sandusky scandal was approaching its apex of notoriety. Although Joe held until the very end that he had been fooled, that he had not been told the complete story and did not know about Sandusky's crimes against children, Switzer simply responded, publicly, "Everyone on that staff had to know."

A defining characteristic for Joe Paterno was his deep-rooted dislike of change. As Posnanski notes, "Every drill, every meeting, every practice, every speech, was governed by how things have always been."

That's why he insisted that his team's uniforms be the plainest and simplest in college football; why he and Sue lived their entire life together in the same modest State College house; why he took his lonely daily walks along the same paths - and why he could not fire any of his assistants, including, for years, Jerry Sandusky, whom he came to despise.

Paterno and Sandusky rarely agreed on anything. As, according to Posnanski, "everyone knew," the two men hated each other almost from the start. They openly clashed in front of others. Joe thought Sandusky was a towel-slapper and a "goof-ball" and resented the fact that the Penn State players adored him for that.

Paterno was himself not a man people easily loved, including, as noted above, even his own children, for whom he had little time. He was "a stern father-figure: brilliant but distant, caring but judgmental, loving but cold." Sandusky, in sharp contrast to JoePa, was a teetotaling, deeply devout Christian - one reason he started The Second Mile for troubled youngsters (he and his wife Dottie couldn't have children of their own so they adopted six) in 1971 - who was constantly surrounded by kids.

All these kids, says Posnanski, "annoyed the hell out of Joe, though he said again and again that he saw nothing perverse in Jerry's dealing with children."

Since Paterno had never publicly fired a coach, he was long unable to get rid of Sandusky, no matter how much he came to loath him for being a slacker. For his side, Jerry was resentful because Joe would not publicly name him as his successor, even though virtually everyone in the Penn State nation thought he would deserve the job when (and if!) the time arrived - many fans, in fact, came to see Paterno as losing his powers as he aged and thus incorrectly believed that Sandusky was, in effect, running the team already. Jerry had long felt that the position should eventually be his, but that he had been betrayed by his boss.

Wherever all this stood, whatever JoePa may have been told about Sandusky's perversions, "there is," says Posnanski, "reason to believe that it didn't make much of an impact on him." He was, after all, a football coach, not a judge or jury, and it seems evident that the personal crochets of others made little difference to him. He was simply afraid, as Sue put it, to push out "the second most famous coach in Pennsylvania." Eventually, however, Joe had had enough and so in 1999 he gave Sandusky that final season, together with a generous retirement package, and "then didn't give him another thought."

This set the stage for football assistant Mike McQueary to come to Paterno with his story of having seen Sandusky naked in a gym shower with a young boy - "in either February 2001 or March 2002" (according to Posnanski, "everything about the incident would eventually become a point of contention"). In effect, the 2001 or 2002 McQueary conversation was a kind of "second mile," dredging up again seamy 1998 grand jury hearings into early complaints against Sandusky.

Whatever Paterno may or may not have known in 1998 or 2001-02, e-mails eventually emerged last year to indicate that he had earlier been neither ignorant nor innocent. Though Joe continued to insist that, with regard to his conversation with McQueary, he had done all that he had been required to do in reporting what he had been told to his supposed Penn State superiors (athletic director Tim Curley, vice president Gary Schultz, and president Graham Spanier), the trail of e-mails that surfaced (none actually sent by Paterno himself, who had no e-mail account) led to the general view that JoePa was hardly either ignorant or innocent in dealing with the 1998 or 2001-02 incidents, as he claimed; far worse, in the lacerating and lengthy report prepared by former FBI director Louis J. Freeh, he was shown instead to have been fully culpable in convincing the other three men to, in 2001, back off the Sandusky matters entirely as far as the public was concerned in favor of keeping it all in-house at Penn State.

So what is finally to be said about JoePa's guilt or innocence?

According to Posnanski, the Paterno family in the end were as one in believing "That Joe Paterno had been told a vague story about a former football coach he didn't like or trust. Then, following the law and University policy and his own guiding light, he had reported what he was told to Tim Curley. This was what he was required to do and, knowing the circumstances, they believed this is what he should have done. He had not been charged with lying to the grand jury. If Jerry Sandusky was guilty, then hundreds of people had been fooled: child care professionals, law enforcement officials, co-workers at his (Sandusky's) charity, parents, judges, close friends of Sandusky, and many others. Those closest to Paterno believed that when he went public with what he knew and what he did, most people would understand that he was fooled like everyone else."

At bottom, the story had become more about Paterno than about Sandusky. Finally understanding his isolation, Joe looked to the Penn State Board of Trustees for help and found that not one member would come forth for him. He had lost them all in 2004 following a clash in his home with Graham Spanier when he had arrogantly - and adamantly - refused the Ppresident's insistence that he retire.

When on November 4, 2011, the Pennsylvania Attorney General's Office filed its presentment against Sandusky on 40 counts of sexual assault and advances on eight boys from 1994 to 2009, the die was fully cast. As Posnansky observes, JoePa lost America over night. "Before November 5, 2011, it was very difficult to find anyone willing to say a truly bad word about Joe Paterno. After November 5, it was far more difficult to find anyone willing to say a good word."

In their final conversation just before Joe's death from cancer, the old coach asked his biographer, "What do you think of all this?"

Posnanski's response was that he should have done more when he was told about Sandusky's showering with a young boy. "You are Joe Paterno. Right or wrong, people expect more from you."

The ultimate judgments are yet to be made in this sordid case. Many people with whom I have spoken firmly insist that Paterno and Penn State got exactly what they deserved. Their anger is total, unyielding. They are entirely unforgiving and are liable to remain so. In their view, whatever else JoePa may have accomplished in his long life simply had to be erased in light of his role in the sinful cover-up that allowed the now disgraced Sandusky to continue his abuse of children (including one of his own adopted sons) for several more years.

Other people try to be more understanding and more forgiving. One of Joe's friends, Guido D'Elia, a former Penn State marketing man, for example, was of a far different mind in summing up Paterno's life for Posnanski:

"I'm not sad about Joe himself. I really am not. Nobody can touch him now. He got to do exactly what he wanted to do his whole life. He spent his retirement coaching, if you think about it. And that's all he wanted to do . . . You know what Joe told me before he died? He said he wasn't worried about his legacy. He said that in time people would see that he had tried to do the right things. He said that in time people would be able to step back and see his accomplishments as well as his mistakes and judge him for the whole life . . . There will never be another one like him."

Perhaps. When, near the end, his son Scott asked his father if he had known anything about Sandusky, Paterno responded testily: "[W]hy are you badgering me? What do I know about Jerry Sandusky? I've got Nebraska to think about, I can't worry about this."

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*These huge numbers would, after Paterno's death and delivery of the devastating Freeh commission report, be shockingly altered by unprecedented NCAA sanctions vacating all Penn State football victories since 1998.

**Joe Paterno: Football My Way by Mervin D. Hyman, of Sports Illustrated and and Gordon S. White of the New York Times, in collaboration with Paterno.

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Comments welcome.

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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

* Ayes For Atheism

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 7:22 PM | Permalink

The Weekend Desk Report

We've jumped over the fiscal cliff so you don't have to.

Market Update
The good news is, brains are apparently our most important natural resource. The bad news is, they're not worth much.

Ditka Measuring
Well, one thing is clear as the Bears and 49ers prepare to face off Monday night: Mike Ditka is not going to let Jim Harbaugh have the last word on anything.

Minor Keys
Of course, Mike Ditka's "very minor stroke" wasn't the only small, totally inconsequential bit of news this week:

1. Israel launched a very minor offensive against Hamas;
2. Long Island has some very minor power delivery problems;
3. Bashar al-Assad has a very minor insurrection on his hands;
4. Mitt Romney is a very minor league asshole;
5. Mike Ditka's son has a very minor substance abuse problem, and;
6. Jay Cutler has a very minor concussion.

Virgin Vintage
Finally this week, President Obama surprised House Speaker John Boehner with the perfect birthday gift: a 15-year-old that Boehner can consume to stay young.

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The Weekend Desk Tip Line: Cliff notes.

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The College Football Report: Cupcake Break.

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The Flying Saucer Weekend Brunch Report: The Cowboy Omelette is an old classic but who can resist that skillet?

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The Sound Opinions Weekend Listening Report: "With Thanksgiving just around the corner, it's time for Jim and Greg to take aim at the year's biggest musical turkeys. They run down 2012's biggest musical disappointments in our annual Turkey Shoot. And later, they review the new record from Oakland-based agit-rappers The Coup."

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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: Latinos Progresando

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Latinos Progresando's Luis Gutierrez shares its work to support immigrants and Latinos through legal services, community engagement, and advocacy for pro-immigrant policies.

Saturday, November 17 at 7:30 p.m. on CAN TV21
30 min

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The Public Sector: Bankruptcy Crisis

11-12-PublicSectorBankruptc.jpg

A panel of experts explores the rapidly growing financial challenges facing local governments and how to best balance the tax increases and budget cuts needed to combat them.

Sunday, November 18 at 9 a.m. on CAN TV21
1 hr 30 min

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Chicago by the Book Series: Chicago: A Biography

11-12-ChicagoBiography.jpg

Historian Dominic Pacyga traces the storied past of the Windy City, from the explorations of Joliet and Marquette in 1673 to the new wave of urban pioneers today.

Sunday, November 18 at 10:30 a.m. on CAN TV21
1 hr 30 min

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Sweating the Soft Stuff: What Schools Can Do

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University of Chicago researcher Camille Farrington argues that schools must shift their focus from raising students' test scores to developing skills needed to succeed in college, including academic perseverance, learning strategies, and social skills.

Sunday, November 18 at 12 p.m. on CAN TV21
1 hr 30 min

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Rally Against School Closings & Charter Expansion

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Community and labor organizations hold a rally and press conference at City Hall to call for a moratorium on school closings and charter expansions.

Sunday, November 18 at 1:30 p.m. on CAN TV21
1 hr

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The Impact of Charter Schools in Chicago

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Linda Lenz from Catalyst Chicago moderates a discussion on how charter schools will impact public education in Chicago.

Watch video

Sunday, November 18 at 5:30 p.m. on CAN TV19
1 hr 30 min


Posted by Natasha Julius at 9:56 AM | Permalink

November 16, 2012

The College Football Report: Cupcake Break

Much like the arrival of fall color and migratory birds taking to the wing, the seasonal pasting of hapless FCS (Div I-AA) teams begins each September.

While birders can park themselves in one spot and be guaranteed - more or less - a good view of passing flocks (or gaggles? bouquets? congresses?) of migratory birds, college football fans must monitor dozens of games across the country to spot a shocking upset.

But the overwhelming majority of these games are boring for all but gamblers, who wager on enormous point spreads posted by the LSUs (-43) of the world over the likes of Towson. (Towson covered by 27 in a 38-22 loss in Week Five, a huge upset in itself.)

Several years ago, the NCAA allowed FBS (Div-IA) teams to "count" one victory against a Div-IAA team toward the seasonal win total for purposes of bowl qualification. While scheduling cupcakes is nothing new, every FBS team suddenly had a substantial incentive to bring in (often to the tune of six figures) some woefully overmatched opponent in a tune-up game, typically scheduled prior to the start of conference play.

But for some reason this season, a number of top flight (if you will) teams will face off against cupcakes in Week 12. Why? We don't know.

We can imagine a number of reasons, including the convenient notion that a cupcake matchup would amount, more or less, to a week off and give contenders a breather prior to conference championship games and the BCS.

Alabama's game against Western Carolina is Exhibit A of the ideal scenario for top-ranked teams. The Tide play Western Carolina on Saturday, allowing Nick Saban to rest the troops for Auburn in the so-called Iron Bowl in Week 13.

In this case, the Catamounts (1-9, 0-8 in the Southern conference) should prove the perfect opponent. (Oddsmakers predict such a lopsided game that Vegas hasn't posted a point spread.) But many teams facing a I-AA team this week could suffer a letdown by "looking ahead" to the final game of the season.

Will this happen? Probably not. But the histrionics among college football commentators produced by such an event would be worth it alone. Admittedly, we would quickly tire of the "David over Goliath" storyline. Even so, watching a team like Georgia melt down would be immensely satisfying; we would put it at an 8 of 10 on the Sports Seal Schadenfreude Scale.

Wofford (8-2, 6-2 Southern Conference) at #9 South Carolina (8-2, 6-2 SEC), 1:00 p.m.
Comment: The Terriers run a variant of the triple option offense known as the "wingbone," which tends to drive Div I teams crazy. No one runs the wingbone in big conferences. South Carolina could scheme for the funny bone, charley horse, or bread basket. But the wingbone? Forget it.

Georgia Southern (8-2, 6-2 Southern Conference) at #5 Georgia (9-1, 7-1 SEC), 1:30 p.m.
Comment: From Savannah Now: "With perfect execution, the Eagles can make it tough on Goliath - or in Saturday's case, the fifth-ranked Georgia Bulldogs at Sanford Stadium."

Sam Houston State (8-2, 6-1 Southland Conference) at #8 Texas A&M (8-2, 5-2 SEC), 3:30 p.m.
Comment: If Vegas posted a spread on this game, we would take the Bearkats. (That's right. The Bearkats are so ornery that the letter "c" couldn't hang.) SHS finished last season as the runner-up in the FCS national championship and is riding a hot streak of seven consecutive wins. Meanwhile, A&M may be drinking the Kool-Aid.

Utah State (8-2, 4-0 WAC) at #20 Louisiana Tech (9-1, 4-0 WAC), 4:00 p.m.
Comment: Wait, our bad. This isn't a cupcake game, it's actually somewhat relevant. So much so, in fact, that The Free Range Chicken is making the Aggies and the points (-3) his only pick this weekend.

The Beachwood Sports Seal
The Colorado Buffaloes (1-9, 1-6 Pac-12) are the new Kentucky Wildcats for our favorite sea mammal. Picking against UK just doesn't seem fair now that head coach Joker Philips is officially a lame duck. Vegas hasn't posted a number for the 'Cats game against Samford this weekend anyway, thereby relieving the Seal of any guilt by default.

Besides, wagering against the Buffs looks just as attractive. Washington is a heavy favorite (-20.5) on Saturday, and rightly so - the Buffs have posted a meager 2-8 record ATS to date. The Seal won't even have to stay up late for this West Coast matchup - kickoff is at 1:30 p.m. Eastern, assuming someone will broadcast the game.

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

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 5:48 PM | Permalink

Rahm's Budget Defined Down

In which the winners of a 46-3 budget vote are the poorest sports in the universe. With gratitude to @DriXander for her invaluable tweeting.)

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Yes, bringing in business leaders and listening to them was totally unexpected; we need more of that.

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The term "progressive" continues to be defined down almost as fast as the term "hipster."

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Some people are just looking for a reason to have a robust discussion.

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The term "transparency" continues to be defined down almost as fast as the terms "progressive" and "hipster." Consider this Beale's announcement that he's running for Jesse Jackson Jr.'s soon-to-be old seat.

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Because what's transparency when nobody can see it?

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Neither did people voting Yes.

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The terms "luxury" and "dissent" continue to be defined down almost as fast as . . .

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Why must the 46-3 council be so polarized?

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Who is this guy and what has he done with Joe Moore?

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The balance between corporate tax breaks, downtown business interests, privatization and unproven pet programs with PR value vs. social services including mental health clinics and the homeless is nearly perfect! And transparency? That's about more than the public. Or less.

From the alderman formerly known as Joe Moore.

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We've found the silver lining to Sandi Jackson's rampant absenteeism: Even Rahm can't count on her vote. To be fair, though, she may have been tired out from helping Obama by telling young people that every single vote matters.

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They did, but they were sent to the Ag Committee. But out of curiosity, are you referring to any of the three dissenters in particular?

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 10:25 AM | Permalink

The [Friday] Papers

"Jason Campbell will replace Jay Cutler as the Chicago Bears' starting quarterback on Monday night against the San Francisco 49ers, the team announced Friday," ESPN Chicago reports.

"Cutler suffered a concussion Sunday night on an illegal hit by Houston Texans linebacker Tim Dobbins."

Again, the hit wasn't illegal; if it was Dobbins would have been charged with a crime, no? "Prohibited" might work.

"He did not immediately display the symptoms of a concussion after Dobbins' hit."

Not so sure about that.

It doesn't take a medical degree, Lovie, to know this guy should have been removed from the game immediately. Instead, we're told, Cutler didn't start drooling until halftime.

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Note: On the next play, Cutler lined up in the shotgun and ran for 11 yards off left guard. Worth it?

Junior's World
Jackson family will let us know when and where it's appropriate.

Rahm's Secret ComEd Con
"Mayor Rahm Emanuel's fast-track plan to shop for electricity in bulk got a jolt of opposition Wednesday from aldermen concerned about choosing a single supplier and about an open-ended "surcharge" with the potential to wallop consumers," the Sun-Times reports.

"Buried in the ordinance is what [Ald. Brendan] Reilly described as the 'unlimited' potential to slap a consumer surcharge onto the fixed price of electricity. Proceeds would be used to reimburse the city for administrative costs and to 'support energy-related [programs] such as renewable energy and energy efficiency initiatives.' The city has already spent $500,000 on consultants and mailers."

I knew that ballot initiative sounded too sensible to be true.

In Chicago, the benefit of the doubt means we should give the doubt the most benefit.

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Also: Reporters who repeat talking points about budgets without tax increases both miss the fact that last year's tax increases apply this year too - they aren't one-year deals - and that the city raises revenues by charging citizens in all sorts of ways that don't show up on tax bills per se. The first talking point iterated and reiterated by the administration will always be that a particular budget does not raise taxes due to the heroic and sensitive efforts of our amazing mayor. But this is a case where the technical truth - no new tax increases the budget - is deceiving to report without context that conveys larger and more important truth.

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Defining Rahm's Budget Down.

Fool's Gould
Robbie Gould should apologize for this apology.

The Soldier Field field has always been a joke and the tarp wasn't on the field before Monday night's game even as the rain came down; I assumed until now that that was a strategic choice by the Bears. Apparently it was just stupidity.

"[Gould] doesn't know what he is talking about," stadium GM Tim LeFevour told the Trib. "The field has not been an issue all year, and we haven't heard anyone else complaining."

The field has been an issue every year. If you haven't heard anyone else complaining this year, Tim, it's only because they're tired of doing so.

"Several high profile Bears players have expressed their unhappiness with the natural grass playing surface in the past few years, including quarterback Jay Cutler who called the Soldier Field turf 'one of the worst fields in the league' during a news conference in December 2010. Linebacker Brian Urlacher called the turf 'a disaster' and advocated installing FieldTurf in June 2011."

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Also on today's Liars List: Bears GM Phil Emery.

We have assembled a strong team of members from our staff and theirs that work together to evaluate the field and keep it in excellent condition. They have done a great job working with us to ensure we have the best playing surface for our players.

He must share a PR firm with the Jacksons.

TV Two-Step
I did a three-shot yesterday: WGN-TV News at 5, a CLTV interview and a Politics Tonight spot, all on Jesse Jackson Jr. I can't find links to any of them, but if anyone out there does, please just listen and don't watch. I can't bear to see myself on TV and I don't want anyone else looking either.

The Week in Chicago Rock
* Nas, Lauryn Hill, Lights and Pentatonix.

Gangsters, Gamblers & Ghosts
Meet Willow Springs.

The Charlie Brown Presidency
In QT.

The College Football Report
Our very own Mike Luce has just been buried in paperwork but promises to deliver in time to call your bookie. Posted!

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The Beachwood Tip Line: The Tip Line is In.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 10:24 AM | Permalink

Willow Springs: Gangsters, Gamblers & Ghosts

Willow Springs is a small town located between Archer Ave. & the Des Plaines River. It is about 20 miles southwest of downtown Chicago. If you drive down the main drag Archer Ave. these days you find a quiet town without much to slow you down. But it is a town with a past. One that includes a mayor who ruled the town for thirty five years and chief of police disposing of bodies for his mobster friends.


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See also: The ChiTown View YouTube page.

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 9:43 AM | Permalink

The Week in Chicago Rock

You shoulda been there.

1. Nas at the Congress on Wednesday night.


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2. Lauryn Hill at the Congress on Wednesday night.

See also: Lauryn Hill Gets Booed in Chicago.

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3. Lights at the House of Blues on Sunday night.

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4. Pentatonix at Lincoln Hall on Wednesday night.

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 6:39 AM | Permalink

QT: Much Adieu About Nothing


News Headline: "Mitt Romney blames loss on Obama 'gifts' to blacks, Hispanics, young voters."
Romney's campaign autobiography No Apology is now ranked 601,550th on the Amazon best-seller list, for those keeping track.

···

News Headline: "Hu, Wen bow out; Xi to take over as new boss."
Who's bowing out?
Yes.
I mean the fellow's name.
Hu.
When?
Yes. Him, too.
Who?
Yes. Hu.
Wait. Someone's bowing out. Who and when?
That's right. . . .

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News Item: Papa John's and Denny's to cut worker hours from full-time to part-time to avoid paying health benefits.
So many costs and burdensome regulations. . . .
One hopes these restaurants can maintain the quality they are known for.

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News Item: Public health expert at the University of Sydney says smokers should be required to purchase smoking licenses.
As we hear from the Australian chapter of the World Federation of People Who Have Found a Socially Acceptable Way to Push Other People Around.

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Mike Wolstein, a Park Ridge reader, regarding the discovery of an image of the Virgin Mary in stains on a window curtain in Oklahoma City, writes:
"Does this mean The Maiden's stains sway gainly in the plains?"
Funny. QT had just watched part of its favorite Samuel L. Jackson movie again when it considered your note.
Do you think people seeing these images suffer from fakes on the brain?

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News Headline: "BP fined $4.5 billion for Gulf oil spill."
News Headline: "BP employees charged with manslaughter, lying."
The system, on occasion, works, a little.

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News Item: "Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) said Thursday there isn't much point in raising tax rates on the wealthy because they also have the money to hire people who will help them get out of paying taxes."
Oh. The system works, all right.

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The Not Me Decade, in Which Everybody Else Is Responsible for Everything, Continues:
A couple who bought a house alongside the 18th hole of a golf course in Hamilton, Mont., sued because no warning was offered that a number of golf balls might fall on the property.

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QT Trickle-On Economics Update:
The Upper Crust pizza chain told a bankruptcy court it was closing restaurants and firing 140 workers because it had only $14,000 cash on hand--after paying its executives a month's salary in advance.

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News Headline: "NASA falling short of asteroid detection goals."
You will recall Asteroid 2012 VJ38, which was discovered Tuesday and passed between Earth and the moon late Wednesday.
It turns out the asteroid was preceded by Asteroid 2012 VH77, which passed between Earth and the moon early Monday.
This asteroid was discovered on Thursday.
But rest assured there are no other asteroids heading for us in the near future.
That we know of.

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Modern Education + the Criminal Mind =
A Rhode Island counterfeiter took great care to get the picture of Abraham Lincoln right on the $100 bills he was passing, police said.

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News Headline: "Devocalization: The controversial act of removing dogs' vocal cords"
Controversial?
QT sees no problem.
As long as the owners are spayed or neutered.

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News Headline: "Carlsbad woman arrested for using nunchucks while driving."
There is probably an interesting story behind that.

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From Poor QT's Almanack:
On this day in history 60 years ago Lucy first held a football for Charlie Brown to kick, only to pull it away, and for those who miss this fun, we still have President Obama when he talks about getting tough with Wall Street.

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QT Grammar R Us Seminar on the English Language:
Tom Nee, an Oak Lawn reader, regarding QT's using the word "woops," writes:
"I believe that the correct spelling is 'whoops,' not 'woops.' References: My Life as a Woman by Roseanne Barr, Milton Berle's Joke Book and My Lucky Life In and Out of Show Business by Dick Van Dyke."
Oops.


Write to QT at qt@beachwoodreporter.com
Visit QT at facebook.com/zaynsmithqt
QT appears Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays.

Posted by Zay N. Smith at 6:00 AM | Permalink

November 15, 2012

The [Thursday] Papers

News you can abuse.

1. Former Attorney General Fahner Calls Pension Mess 'Unfixable.'

Then he tells us how to fix it.

2. Lovie Smith Says Long-Term Harm From Concussions Unproven.

Which proves the study that shows long-term harm from concussions includes forgetting the long-term harm from concussions.

3. Nobody Knows Where Jesse Jackson Jr. Is.

Maybe we should make him the CIA director.

4. No City Hall Hearings Expected Into Police Code Of Silence.

Extending police code of silence to City Hall.

5. Rep. Jim Watson Leaving For Private Sector.

Proving once again the revolving door industry is recession-proof.

6. School Closings Complicated By Crowded Classrooms.

Kids get in the way of reform again.

7. Firearm Deer Season Beginning In Illinois.

Good. It's about time we armed the deer.

8. School Board President: "You shouldn't be trying to intimidate people."

Let's try that again: "You shouldn't be trying to intimidate people."

9. Derrick Smith Trial Set For October 2013.

Derrick Smith re-election bid set for 2014 pending appeal.

10. With Veto-Proof Majority, Cullerton Says He Still Wants GOP Input.

For example, paper or plastic?

11. Bon Jovi's Daughter Arrested After Possible Heroin OD.

She gives drugs a bad name.

12. United Computer Outage Strands Passengers Across Country.

Pending tech support, all radar screens look like this.

13. Chicago's Drunken Donuts Go National.

Finally, some good press.

14. This Week in Pizza.

Leftover from yesterday.

15. A Chicago Suburb Held A Cigar Box Guitar Festival.

And a Chicago exurb held a pizza box guitar festival.

16. The Blue & Orange Kool-Aid Report: Tight Ends And Package Deals.

The homoeroticism of the Chicago Bears.

17. London View: Chicago Blues.

Dear America: You and your president suck.

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The Beachwood Tip Line: All inbox.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 8:51 AM | Permalink

London View: Chicago Blues

"When Barack Obama first claimed victory four years ago his message of hope, change and jobs resonated across the nation. But have any of those promises been delivered to Chicago's poorest neighborhoods?"


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Journeyman Pictures is London's leading independent distributor of topical news features, documentaries and footage.

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 8:11 AM | Permalink

This Week in Pizza

PizzaTV gives a shout-out to Uno Chicago Grill's work with Services for the UnderServed.


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Also in Chicago pizza news:
* Another Pizza Delivery Man Robbed At Gunpoint.

* Jet's Pizza Comes To Chicago.

* Spike Mendelshohn's Chicago Pizza Plans On Hold.

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 7:48 AM | Permalink

Drunken Donuts Go National

But do they actually intoxicate? Unasked and unanswered.


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See also:
* Delightful Pastries.
* Boozy Donuts in New York City.
* Vodka Donuts for Hanukkah.
* Alcohol Plus Donuts Equals Mouthgasm?

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 7:07 AM | Permalink

A Chicago Suburb Held A Cigar Box Guitar Festival

It happened in Green Oaks. Some highlights.

1. SloppyJ.


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2. Lou Shields.

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3. The 2 Knights.

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4. Lone Wolf OMB.

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5. Johnny Lowebow.

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6. Justin Johnson.

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7. Stacy Puckett.

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See also:
* The event's Facebook page.

* More performances on Joe Caron's YouTube page.

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 6:19 AM | Permalink

The Blue & Orange Kool-Aid Report: Tight Ends And Package Deals

Houston, We Have A Doldrum
If you're like me, then one of the highlights of your day is taking a nice big dump. That's why I wash down my morning chili with a hearty 32oz bottle of room temperature Hollywood Diet.

The downside of having your day peak in the AM mid-BM is that the best part is usually over before work.

Ever the innovators, Chicago's offense had no such problem on Sunday, opting to stretch out the fun by crapping down their leg between about 8 p.m. and 10:30 p.m.

That was hard to watch.

Tight End All Be All
Despite season long inconsistency, this era of Bears offense has made great strides. Case in point, the most popular guy in town went from the backup quarterback (see: Chad Hutchinson, Shane Matthews) to the second-string tight end following Kellen Davis's performance against the Texans.

That's right. We've got a statistically legitimate number of fans that are clamoring for one Evan Rodriguez to crack the starting lineup as something other than an eighth-back.

So what's your big plan here guys, other than losing a six-inch mismatch in the end zone*?

What Mike Tice needs to do is ditch the Devin Hester "package" that consists of one screen and a terrible end-around that I assume either got found in the flap of some kid's Yu-Gi-Oh! Trapper Keeper or in the grass just in front of Mike Martz's old parking spot.

Tice, I'm begging you, reboot the Earl Bennett package. Fourteen-yard hooks, a second option over the middle, third down conversions; that kinda stuff.

First-Rate Second-String Matchup
As we speak, the editing room in Bristol is likely abuzz with activity whipping up Campbell vs. Kaepernick head-to-head graphics for Monday night's top NFC showdown, though I'm secretly hoping they just put up the helmeted silhouette that Madden '01 uses for players that you pretend drafted in Franchise Mode.

There's a good chance that both teams will have their full complement of starting quarterbacks, but if they don't, fans on the third coast and the left coast alike are going to have to come up with some ways of making this game entertaining.

"But Carl," you say because head trauma makes you speak aloud to the Internet, "I have work on Tuesday. I'm not some white-collar asshole that has vacation days. I need to cut myself off at 12 beers or I won't be able to stumble through my 14-hour shift at the textile mill."

To which I reply: Ha ha ha ha! You should have considered a lucrative career in online column-ism, Mr. Schmoe. You'll play your drinking game and like it.

49 Bottles Of Beer On The Wall
Take a drink every time:

1. ESPN "introduces" us to Patrick Willis. According to ESPN, nobody has enough awareness of West Coast teams because of a lack of media coverage. By ESPN.

2. The term "game manager" is uttered as it pertains to what Jason Campbell and Alex Smith do, but Jay Cutler don't. I'll see you in the emergency room around 9:30.

3. A San Francisco-themed song is played going into a commercial break.

Kool-Aid (4 Out Of 5 Soup Filled Bread Bowls)
Look, I know last week was tough to stomach, but stay chubbed. This season is worth hanging in there with. The Bears should bounce back from that stinker.

I mean, c'mon. The only time I should see the words "and one" on the TV screen is when the NBA On NBC Is Brought To You By "And One" inexpensive but EXTREME sports apparel.

6-2-1?!
Go back to Portugal, Pele.

Jay Cutler plays, Bears win.
Jason Campbell plays . . . eeeeehh? Not sure.

Bears 27, 49ers 14
49ers 14, Bears 10

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*FYI: Lakeview's "Six Inches In The Endzone" is a fine place to meet bear fans, but may not be what you had in mind if you're looking for a sports bar.

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Carl Mohrbacher is our man on the Kool-Aid. He tolerates your comments.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 5:36 AM | Permalink

November 14, 2012

The [Wednesday] Papers

Rahm Emanuel is too busy focusing on Chicago's most serious issues to concern himself with staffers secretly recording conversations with reporters, but he's got time to worry about Ding Dongs in the city's vending machines.

Yup, that sounds about right.

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Mmmm, Ding Dongs . . .

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Ding Dongs: The King of Cakes.

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Hostess is on strike, btw.

See: HostessStrike.com vs. Hostess Continues Pattern Of Misinformation.

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In other words, the union argues - persuasively - that the media took the bait.

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Also: Twilight for Twinkies?

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I feel a bit of a connection to this story because I've been inside a couple Hostess plants and I've written several stories about the Twinkie including:

- Twinkie, Twinkie, Little Star

- TWINKIE: It is what it is Snack on this, oh haters of the little cream-filled sponge cakes: They are perfect, cannot be destroyed and will outlast us all.

I also went inside the Wonder Bread factory in Waterloo, Iowa, for a story (not online) when I worked at the (crappy ass) newspaper there. Let me tell you, making this stuff isn't as fun as it sounds.

See also: Pie-Eyed And Blue.

Abbate Trial
I will be weighing in, just not today. Sorry.

Jackson Saga
I will be updating the latest with wry commentary and insight, just not today. Sorry.

But the Jacksons show up in today's new installment of The Political Odds. Click through to find out what our oddsmakers think is in store for the rapidly losing power couple.

Food Truck Muck
"Accusing Mayor Rahm Emanuel of protecting restaurants at their expense, food truck owners plan to file a lawsuit Wednesday challenging key aspects of the Chicago ordinance that authorized mobile food trucks with cooking on board," the Sun-Times reports.

"The Circuit Court suit takes aim at the requirement that food trucks stay 200 feet away from stationary restaurants and that food trucks install GPS devices on board so City Hall can track their movements."

Well, that certainly seems . . . unconstitutional.

And there's no question that the food truck ordinance was written on behalf of bricks-and-mortar restaurants; it might as well have been called the Anti-Food Truck Ordinance.

*

Now comes law department spokesman Roderick Drew, who is distinguishing himself of late as another in a long line of despicable mayoral spinners.

"Drew was tight-lipped about the lawsuit. He would only say that, after 'decades of debate,' the City Council 'has finally passed a commonsense ordinance that will allow this new industry to flourish and expand Chicago's great culinary offerings.'"

Maybe we need a bullshit ordinance that prevents the uttering of bullshit within 200 feet of any reporter. We could attach GPS devices to all spokespeople to ensure proper enforcement.

Next Food Network Star
Chicago casting call.

McDunn Is Done
"Cook County Judge Susan McDunn has stepped down, little more than a week after the Sun-Times detailed her bizarre appearances in federal court in which she claimed powerhouses in politics and the Chicago Roman Catholic Archdiocese were out to get her," the paper reports.

"On Friday, McDunn notified Illinois Supreme Court Chief Justice Thomas L. Kilbride and others in writing that she was leaving the bench immediately."

Good for her. She needs to work on her case full-time.

The judge told the Sun-Times in a phone interview late Tuesday afternoon that the "cruel and unwarranted persecution I've been dealing with for years" on the bench convinced her to pull the plug on her career - a job that pays $182,000 a year.

"This is too much," McDunn told the Sun-Times. "It's been constant for 20 years . . . It's too painful for me to be at the courthouse because that's where most of the persecution arises from," she said.

McDunn refused to provide specifics saying only that she's said she's been the victim of "defamation, harassment, stalking, invasion of privacy, invasion of medical records, invasion to my right to confidentiality in medical records, people scheming to make up stories and spread lies about me - and it's politically based."

But did she sound crazy?

"She said the 'persecution' began when she ran for a hotly contested judicial race - and ousted the slated Democrat."

Well, that certainly seems plausible.

"McDunn has fielded questions from the Sun-Times in recent weeks after asking federal judges twice in October to intervene in cases she believed had been secretly filed in her name.

"She told the court that she believes the mystery cases involve her and figures including former Mayor Richard M. Daley and Cook County State's Attorney Anita Alvarez as well as the archdiocese."

Uh-huh. Go on.

"I'm almost certain there is a case or more pending in this court under seal involving claims that I have - that I have against people," a tense McDunn told St. Eve.

But the case went nowhere because McDunn didn't provide enough evidence.

Well, it's not like there could be a code of silence in this town.

*

But no, McDunn is McNuts.

Conspiratorial
Old investigative journalism saying: It's not a conspiracy, it's the way things work.

Which today is another way of saying the Chicago Board of Elections just exposed voter information to the public, Peoples Gas wants to hike its rates, and nobody knows where Jesse Jackson Jr. is.

The New Wild Hare vs. Wrightwood
New reggae venue too gangsta for some Lincoln Parkers.

Megatron Is No Brandon Marshall
In Fantasy Fix.

Justin Bieber's Fault
Add malaise to the list of things that aren't what they used to be. In QT.

Like A Western Avenue Along Saturn's Icy Ring
In Chicagoetry.

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The Beachwood Tip Line: Captive market.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 9:40 AM | Permalink

Casting Call: ISO A Captivating Chef With A Unique Perspective On Food!

We are currently searching for innovative and experienced chefs for The Next Food Network Star, a widely successful culinary reality series on The Food Network!

We are casting for Season 9 and would like to inform you and your readers that we are holding an open casting call in Chicago on Wednesday, November 28th.

If someone is not available to attend one of our open calls, then they can still apply by submitting a home video.

For your convenience, I have attached a copy of our flyer that further details what we are looking for and information on all of our casting events.

Who: Those with a unique food perspective.

When: Wednesday, November 28th.

Where: The Westin Michigan Avenue, 909 N. Michigan Avenue.

How: Details for how to apply.

Essentially, we are looking for those with a captivating personality who believe they're at the top of the culinary game and want to inspire a Food Network audience through their passion for food and cooking!

Please help us reach out to any chef or culinary professional who might be interested in becoming the host of his or her own cooking show!

FNS9 Flyer.jpg

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 8:12 AM | Permalink

Fantasy Fix: Megatron No Brandon Marshall

Calvin Johnson, who many consider the best in fantasy football at his position, or certainly no worse than second best, had a huge Week 10, posting 207 yards receiving and a TD. What's really notable about the performance is that the TD was only his second of this season and his first since Week 3.

The man they call Megatron does lead the league in receiving yards with 974 yards, so maybe fantasy owners feel they have been getting their money's worth, but for my money, a top five WR needs to score more often.

And when you consider that last year Johnson had 9 TDs through Week 5, this year has a been a disappointment.

Maybe last week was the turning point for him, but Megatron's lack of TDs this year left him out of the list of top five WRs in fantasy points scored until last week in most standard-settings leagues (in leagues that count return yards and TDs, he wasn't even in the top 10 until last week).

If I were picking a WR today, my first choice would be either A.J. Green (first in TDs with nine, sixth in receiving yards with 820, but first overall in fantasy points among WRs because of that TD proficiency) or Brandon Marshall (tied for second in TDs with seven; third in receiving yards with 904.)

In any case, barring a dramatic finish, Megatron's days as the top-ranked, top-drafted WR may be coming to an end.

Expert Wire
* FanIQ lists Nick Foles as a hot Week 11 pick-up after a concussion did what Andy Reid should have done - bench Michael Vick. Foles is no fantasy stud yet, and was so-so against the Cowboys filling in last week, but has an easier assignment against the Redskins this week.

* Bleacher Report likes Carson Palmer against New Orleans in Week 11.

(My favorite Week 11 match-up is the San Francisco defense against our own Bears, which will not be pretty.)

* SI.com's roundtable chats about late-emerging sleepers, among other things. Names to remember as you head into the fantasy playoffs: Daryl Richardson, Rashard Mendenhall and Beanie Wells.

-

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

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 7:49 AM | Permalink

Local Music Notebook: The Wild Hare vs. Wrightwood, Rappers vs. Recorders, Lydia Loveless vs. Ha Ha Tonka

A loose collection of whatnot.

1. The Wild Hare Is Back?!

In May 2011, Ethiopian owner-musician Zeleke Gessesse decided to close Chicago's landmark reggae club and open a new one in Addis Ababa. (See One Love, Wild Hare.)

Well, it turns out new owners re-opened the Hare way back in February as a restaurant/bar serving Caribbean food at 2610 North Halsted, but the Wrightwood Neighbors Association is still fighting their application for a live music license. Some neighbors have described the Hare as loud, disturbing and gangsta.

(For what it's worth, Ald. Tom Tunney had this to say to Chicago magazine (A Wild Ride Winds Down: The Awesome Story Behind Wrigleyville's The Wild Hare) upon the bar's closing at its original location: "Zeke and The Wild Hare have been a longtime presence in the 44th ward. We helped them expand at their location on Clark Street, and they've been good neighbors. Zeke brought a real slice of creativity and independence that's sometimes lacking in the Wrigleyville neighborhood, and we're sorry to see him go.")

The city re-scheduled a license hearing for later this month. Mystic Vibes TV cut this public service announcement in support of the Hare.


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See also: Mystic Vibes TV.

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Bonus Zeleke:

Zeleke Gessesse Ft Siyamregn Teshome & Betty G. New Amharic/English music. New Ethiopian reggae. New Ethiopian Song 2012.

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2. Two Dudes Record "Larry Hoover," Then Rob Studio.

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"As their song is now getting immediate distribution, it was unclear if they committed the robbery as a stunt to promote their soundtrack, or whether they simply preyed on the crew in the studio," the Washington Post reports.

"I feel like Larry Hoover," they rapped. "I gotta get my money now."

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3. Together: Lydia Loveless & Ha Ha Tonka.

Bloodshot Records just announced this kickass bill at Subterranean on November 24.

The 21-year-old Loveless, described by Spin as "one of the most badass country or Americana songwriters working today," goes first at 7:30 p.m.

Ha Ha Tonka, described by the label as "specializ[ing] in disarming and effortless anthems that owe as much to high and lonesome Ozarks mountain music as chugging college rock," goes on at 11.

Here's Loveless live in the Sound Opinions studio in September.

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And here's Ha Ha Tonka in Madrid last month.

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 6:26 AM | Permalink

QT: Move Along, Nothing To See Here. . . .


Asteroid 2012 VJ38 was discovered yesterday.
It is passing between Earth and the moon as you read this.
But think nothing of it.

···

News Headline: "Santa arrives at Woodfield Mall."
News Headline: "Visions of sugar plums: Holiday open houses get shoppers thinking. . . ."
Can't you feel it?
Christmas (the season of which used to start the day after Thanksgiving until the voracious greed of merchandisers took hold) is in the air!

···

News Item: ". . . Justin Bieber expressed a certain existential malaise in the wake of. . . ."
Add existential malaises to the list of things that aren't what they used to be.

···

QT Trickle-On Economics Update:
Citigroup, which laid off 4,500 workers this year, has given ousted CEO Vikram Pandit a parting bonus of $6.7 million.

···

News Item: "More than 466,000 people have signed an online petition that calls for Macy's to 'dump Trump,' whose clothing line and fragrance are sold in. . . ."
Donald Trump has a fragrance?
Wait! Warning!
Do not try to imagine Donald Trump's fragr--
Too late?
Sorry.

···

Henry Kisor, an Evanston reader, having received junk mail offering a "FREE PREPAID CREMATION," writes:
"Wonder how that works."
And adds:
"Only in the Ignited States. . . ."

···

News Item: An Arizona woman, upset at President Obama's re-election, runs down her husband with a car because he failed to vote.
As the Tea Party slowly, slowly, becomes only a pleasant memory. . . .

···

News Headline: "Residents in more than 30 states file secession petitions."
News Headline: "Petition calls for stripping citizenship and exile for anyone who signs petition to secede."
Left alone, some problems solve themselves.

···

Mary Lu Larsen, an East Hazel Crest reader, regarding QT's citing the logical fallacy of post hoc ergo propter hoc, writes:
"I believe it was Stephen Leacock who wrote of an English lord in his drawing room beneath a coat of arms with the family motto: 'Hic haec hoc huius huius huius.' "
Which reminds QT of the Latin teacher who went out one night and was set upon by a bunch of hoodla.
QT will go back to English now.

···

News Headline: "Murgan Salem al-Gohary, Egyptian jihadist, wants Sphinx and pyramids destroyed."
QT almost forgot to check.
We are now up to 1,530 Google hits for "tap-dancing militant Islamic fundamentalists."

···

Have you noticed something?
QT, if it does say so, is possibly the only columnist in the nation who has managed to make it through the week without mentioning David Petraeus.
Oh.
Woops.

···

News Item: Australian drought causes shortage of cockroaches needed to pour over contestants on the "I'm a Celebrity. . . Get Me Out of Here!" TV reality show.
Will people take climate change seriously now?

···

QT Modern Corporate Gibberish of the Week:
Avanade has acquired Azaleos.

···

News Item: Cray's Titan supercomputer sets record as world's fastest, performing 17.59 quadrillion calculations per second.
Then again: Aren't we taking the computer's word for it?

···

QT Grammar R Us Seminar on the English Language:
Ellen Hinsch, a Columbia, S.C., reader, regarding QT's noting that peas are a fruit, writes:
"Regarding the definitions of fruits and vegetables and peas and the poor tomato: Although peas and tomatoes are technically fruits, we can forgive the oversight of those who believe them to be vegetables because peas and tomatoes generally keep company with other vegetables, and one is judged by one's associates. Also, 'intelligence' is knowing that the tomato is a fruit; 'wisdom' is not putting it in a fruit salad."
But we haven't yet considered the legal definitions.
The Supreme Court ruled in 1893 that the tomato is a vegetable.
Or we might want the current Supreme Court to revisit the case.
And learn that tomatoes are people, too.


Write to QT at qt@beachwoodreporter.com
Visit QT at facebook.com/zaynsmithqt
QT appears Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays.

Posted by Zay N. Smith at 6:00 AM | Permalink

November 13, 2012

The [Tuesday] Papers

"Mayor Rahm Emanuel on Monday dismissed suggestions that his staff had been secretly recording reporters, calling the reports 'much ado about nothing,'" NBC5 reports.

He also admitted he had not read the reports. No joke.

He was also a huge prick when asked about the reports. No joke.

See, unlike reporters, he's too busy caring about our children to worry about City Hall staffers committing Class 4 felonies. No joke. That's what he said.

Now, I don't much like two-party consent "eavesdropping" laws. If I do an interview over the phone, for example, what's the difference if I write down everything someone says or record everything someone says? If it's on the record, it's on the record.

There are other arguments to be made both pro and con, and with more nuance, but that's not really the point. We've just gone through a few high-profile prosecutions over alleged violations of the state eavesdropping law and it's beyond depressing to have to point out that City Hall staffers - working on behalf of the mayor and almost certainly on his orders - should be bound to the law just like the rest of us.

Surely Rahm knows this, and surely he's doing his best to play the whole thing off by portraying inquiring reporters as childish for even asking about it. In other words, to also defer to Shakespeare with a twist, methinks he doth protest too little.

*

"[Cook County State's Attorney Anita Alvarez] has certainly prosecuted vigorously these kinds of violations," ACLU Illinois legal director Harvey Grossman said in a Chicago Tonight report. "There really is no significant disticntion between the cases that Anita Alvarez has been prosecuting and the conduct of the city."

City spokesman Roderick Drew said there is no reason to believe more recordings exist beyond those identified by the Tribune, but on the contrary, there is every reason to believe more recordings exist.

"The city acknowledges that one of the mayor's press aides said, "I record conversations with journalists all the time," Paris Schutz reports in the Chicago Tonight account.

Drew later said the aide - who for some strange reason was not named - was being sarcastic.

"I talked with that aide," Schutz reports, "who would not elaborate on how prevalent this practice was."

Bingo.

*

"[L]awyer Robert Johnson, who filed a lawsuit on behalf of a woman who was acquitted of recording a conversation with Chicago police, said it was 'shocking' that city officials were doing something that's 'still against the law,'" the Sun-Times reports.

"His client was 'facing 15 years for recording public officials in the course of their duties,' he said. 'But this is a lot more serious - it's taping private individuals. Why aren't they being fired and prosecuted?'"

*

Watch Rahm cut off NBC5's Phil Rogers - certainly by design, he was briefed after all - and get away with mocking the whole thing.

*

Dear WTTW: Your embed code sucks. And not just today.

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Rahm's General
"One action does not define a lifetime of service."

How about a lifetime of bullshit?

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See also: David Petraeus Affair Causes Media Soul-Searching.

They never learn.

*

Once Petraeus gave his word to Rahm that he wouldn't run against Obama, Rahm found Petraeus a useful prop. Otherwise, the demonization of Petraeus would have begun - and you can bet it would have been Rahm placing shadowy phone calls to reporters, all off the record and unrecorded.

Dylan In Chicago
Sort of.

Cutler Should Consider Retiring
Or make reservations for Jim McMahon's world.

Farming Chicago
Turns out food deserts have land.

Circus Trip
Ringling Bros. meets the inspector general.

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The Beachwood Tip Line: Drop some eaves.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 12:00 PM | Permalink

Jay Cutler Should Consider Retiring

How many concussions is enough?

Jay Cutler has had at least six of them, according to reports. Which means he's probably had at least 12 of them.

Concussions are brain injuries.

Jay Cutler has had at least 12 brain injuries.

And as The Score's Dan Bernstein has frequently pointed out, the real danger to athletes isn't the concussions per se but the steady pounding of non-concussive hits.

Welcome to early onset dementia, Jay.

Jim McMahon has your room ready.

*

Lovie Smith pledged Monday - like all coaches do - to put the health of his players first.

Right.

"Whatever the symptoms are for a concussion, that's what he had," the caring coach also said. "I try not to be Dr. Smith."

Maybe you should. I mean, if you really care.

"The NFL's concussion protocol is laughable," former NFL player and current Tribune columnist Matt Bowen writes. "It's a guessing game in which team trainers and doctors roll the dice on head injuries."

Sometimes - if not all the time given the financial stakes - they roll wrong.

The parasites aren't in the brain but in the system.

"It's a football game," Bowen said on Chicago Tribune Live last night. "It's time we started treating these people like humans; they are not gladiators."

True, the financial rewards of the game make it a business. A big business. And in turn, players are sold as - and encouraged to become - gladiators that exemplify mythological qualities (like "toughness") that somehow satisfy the emotional needs of the worst, most zealous fans out there. Like fast food chain operators ever perfecting their ways of seduction in the nation's poorest neighborhoods, or strip clubs and casinos ever sharpening their appeals to the world's most formidable temptations, these vulnerable needy bastards are exploited by a wealthy elite who in turn chastise their lack of character. That could be tamped down if people would grow the fuck up.

"If the NFL truly wanted its teams to show America they take concussion awareness seriously, then the marquee Bears-49ers Monday Night Football game would pit backup Jason Campbell vs. backup Colin Kaepernick," David Haugh writes in the Tribune.

Would that be okay with everyone? Because it should.

(It's not just football in America with this problem, by the way; see what happened to Calgary's quarterback on Sunday.)

Every player who suffers from multiple concussions is different, but still instructive. For example, the Lions' Jahvid Best suffered his second (official) concussion last season and still hasn't returned. The Bears' Hunter Hillenmeyer never returned after his third (official) concussion. We all know what happened to Junior Seau.

And it's not just football. The NHL's best player, Sidney Crosby, has unsuccessfully tried to return from multiple concussions. The league's best player. (Hardly a new problem for pro hockey, either.)

An MLB MVP who fears concussions will end his career has also struggled, though Justin Morneau managed to finish last season seemingly without complications after a slow start.

And, according to the Centers for Disease Control, "female soccer players are second only to football players in the number of concussions they report," CNN notes. And that's only because female soccer players report their concussions more often than male soccer players, according to a study last month in the Journal of Neurosurgery Pediatrics.

(Self-reporting is a widespread problem; see Steelers' Polamalu Admits To Concealing Concussions.)

When it comes to the Bears, it's not just Cutler whose medical history should now cause profound worry.

"Phil Emery stated that the Bears were going to avoid players with an injury history," Brett Solesky wrote for Midway Illustrated last April.

"The Bears however drafted a player with an injury risk that automatically puts up a red flag as having injury concerns. Shea McClellin the DE from Boise State suffered two concussions while playing for the Broncos. The first he suffered in 2009 and then a second one he suffered in 2010."

Despite McClellin's protestations to Solesky in an e-mail that he only suffered a single "mild" concussion in college and hadn't had any problems since he changed helmets, reports about McClellin's concussion on Sunday included an admission by him that he had at least one "serious" concussion in college as well.

Some players stop there. Last month, Illinois lineman Ryan Klachko quit after suffering too many concussions in practice.

And some players will make the choice to risk their future brains to keep playing a game they love - or to at least keep getting paid.

But it's not just about them; it's about the example they set. And it's about fans, media and business owners who get off on that example, one way or another.

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 10:17 AM | Permalink

Farming Chicago

First, from the Heartland Alliance:

"We are so excited about one of our newest projects, Chicago FarmWorks which will break ground on a 2.6 acre urban farm in East Garfield Park today.

"As Chicago families look forward to Thanksgiving, Heartland Alliance's Chicago FarmWorks reminds everyone of the importance of community and how we all must work together to eradicate hunger and poverty in our city.

"We estimate that 24,000 pounds of produce will be grown in the first year, which will be distributed to low-income families by the Greater Chicago Food Depository. The project will create 90 transitional jobs in the first three years, allowing hard-to-employ people to get the training they need to re-enter the workforce on a full-time basis."

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Now, the rest of the story.

* City of Chicago FAQ.

* "The Chicago Lights Urban Farm empowers youth and community residents in the Cabrini-Green neighborhood to have increased economic opportunities through access to organic produce, nutritional education, work force training, and microenterprise development. It also provides a safe sanctuary and programs for children and youth to learn about urban agriculture."

* Urban Farming Thrives In Old Chicago Meat Plant.

* Chicago Urban Agriculture Directory.

* How Can Urban Agriculture Go From Niche To Food System?

* "[Dyett High School] collaborates with the Chicago Botanic Garden on a year-round 'youth farm' where students grow spinach, sweet peas and strawberries."

Said youth farm:

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Also:

* 1992: Schools Leader Says Racism Stalls City Agriculture School Expansion.

* 1993: ACLU Sues To Start Expansion Of City Agricultural High School.

* 1995: "Ironically, the Ag School is the kind that most Chicago neighborhoods would love to have: A 90 percent attendance rate and a 77 percent graduation rate, with 74 percent of its graduates going on to four-year colleges."

* 1995: "The Chicago Board of Education has agreed to try to enroll 'the optimal number of students' at its highly touted Chicago High School for Agricultural Sciences to settle a federal lawsuit over the crowded school's expansion plans."

* 2010: "High School Harvest: Agriculture, gardening yield a bumper crop of benefits for these teens from Chicago, suburbs."

* 2010: "CPS Won't Let Kids Eat Their Vegetables: More than 40 Chicago schools have gardens, but the produce can't be served in lunchrooms."

* 2011: "The enrollment at the Chicago High School for Agricultural Sciences may be increasing, depending on Gov. Pat Quinn's signature.

"Illinois lawmakers on Tuesday approved a measure that would expand enrollment at the school from 600 to 720 pupils. The measure sailed through the House this month, and the Senate approved it on Tuesday.

"CHSAS, the only one of its kind in the Midwest, offers students who are talented in math and science a unique opportunity to gain education in agriculture, business and science."

He signed it - with the support of a new alderman.

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And:

Urban Ag Projects in Chicago by the Chicago Botanic Garden.

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Urban Farming in Englewood.

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 9:10 AM | Permalink

Circus Trip

The Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus wraps up its run in Rosemont tonight but it's not exactly leaving town, it's just moving to the big arena on the West Side where it will remain until November 25th.

"Shaolin Kung Fu Warriors, charging Cossack riders, magnificent Asian elephants and fierce lions and tigers are all part of the two-and-a-half-hour spectacle leading up to the frenzied Globe of Steel finale and an appearance by the elusive golden fire-breathing dragon," Philip Potempa writes for the Northwest Indiana Times.

It's not all fun and games, though. The city's inspector general found the city's regulations regarding treatment of circus animals within its borders severely lacking.

"Following a series of complaints regarding the welfare of circus animals visiting Chicago and whether the City had adequate licensing and enforcement provisions in place for animal exhibitors, the IGO reviewed the City's regulation of animal exhibitors," the office wrote in the press release for a report released late last month.

"We learned that there was a statutory intent to ensure baseline standards are in place for public and animal health and safety relating to animal exhibitions - circuses in particular," said Inspector General Joe Ferguson. "However, we found that due to multiple gaps and disconnects in the local, state, and federal regulatory structure, intent alone was not enough to protect the animals, their handlers, or the general public. By focusing on the City's responsibilities, we hope our work furthers the City's goal of protecting everyone involved, and ensure each reaps the benefits of clear compliance and effective enforcement.

Here's PETA's report on the IG's report.

And here are some videos from the Rosemont leg of the tour, uploaded to YouTube by raymofuss.

1. The Elephant March.

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2. Lions and Tigers.

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3. Motorcycle Ball.

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4. Acrobats.

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See also: Our 2010 post The Circus Came To Town.

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 8:04 AM | Permalink

Dylan In Chicago

Would love to show a collection of videos from Bob Dylan's show here Friday night but - with one exception, as we shall see - they simply do not exist. Apparently Bob is quite strict about such things. What a dick. Because according to the critics - as we shall see - the show was an amazing triumph.

Now, I'm a huge Dylan fan. I happen to believe he is the greatest artist of all time, with the possible exception of William Shakespeare. But I have had absolutely no interest in his last half-dozen records or so, what we might call his Starbucks era. Because if you can't get them there, you ought to be able to.

Seems to me the music has been rudimentary and his voice, once perhaps the most underrated and unfairly, ignorantly maligned instrument in rock history, is totally shot.

Let's take a look.

*

This is the one video that has surfaced, as far as I can tell.

*

"Bob Dylan is 71, and on recent tours, time seemed to be catching up with him," Greg Kot wrote in the Tribune.

"The voice has deteriorated steadily, he no longer plays the guitar much while reportedly struggling with arthritis, and his demeanor has occasionally bordered on indifferent, if not hostile. Despite playing to a two-thirds full United Center on Friday, he performed without video screens (unlike just about every other arena performer you could name) to bring the action closer to the folks in the balconies."

Sounds about right.

"But Dylan mustered his 'A' game for this concert, or as close to 'A' as he can get anymore. No, the voice has not suddenly undergone a transformation. But he was singing with more spirit and clarity than I'd seen in years. He opened with a fierce blues instrumental, leading his crack six-piece band on guitar. Then he settled in behind a grand piano and the real action began."

Really? Wow. Sounds like an amazing show. But that "Ballad of a Thin Man" performance was the 12th song of a 14-song set (plus one encore). He's supposed to have been in his groove at this point.

*

"'Ballad of a Thin Man' was turned inside out through heavy reverb that made Dylan sound like he was being backed by Howlin' Wolf," Dave Hoekstra wrote in the Sun-Times. Maybe you had to be there.

Hoekstra had very little else to say about Friday night's show in his review, which was more about Dylan's music supposedly originates from the Mississippi River with some commentary on guest Mark Knopfler to pad things out.

Coverage by the Examiner's resident Dylan freak, Harold Lepidus, focused on the mystery opener, which he finally determined was "Sweet Home Chicago." Lame.

Alas, Dylan's whole set list seems uninspired. As epic as they are, it's hard to believe he's still carting around "Tangled Up In Blue," "All Along The Watchtower," "Like A Rolling Stone," and "Highway 61 Revisited" on yet another incarnation of the Never-Ending Tour. Maybe those are songs his voice can still rasp out.

Harsh, I know, and I trust Kot's reviewing, I'm just sayin'. And remember, again, Dylan is my musical hero. He's earned a shit-ton of latitude. But c'mon. Enough with defining Dylan down.

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See also: Chicago Does Dylan.

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Comments welcome.

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1. From Larry Rand:

Don't know about "live," but I like the way Dylan sings on "Duquesne Whistle" (jeez I hate French spelling); after going through his Leonard Cohen With Laryngitis phase, he's settled into Neo-Satchmo. It just wouldn't be a Dylan vocal if it were not disconcerting; his singing has bothered me for about 50 years. It worked amazingly well with Sixties rock, but otherwise has been some of the weirdest caterwauling in the history of pop music.

DW is also a very interesting song melodically and chordally, with the backup band playing a two-chord blues riff against what is essentially a country swing, circle of fifths chord progression. I like it a lot, except for spelling it.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 4:01 AM | Permalink

November 12, 2012

The [Monday] Papers

The Papers is having all kinds of issues and is hereby taking the rest of the day off. This is as far as I got before sinister forces conspired against me.

Rahm Milhouse Nixon
"After incidents in which phone conversations with Chicago Tribune reporters were recorded without their consent by City Hall officials, a city attorney has insisted that there is no widespread practice of such taping and that steps have been taken to ensure it does not happen again," the paper reports.

"Recording a conversation without the consent of all parties is a felony in Illinois."

Will those officials be prosecuted? After all . . .

Oblahma
QT: While Those Who Served Stand And Wait . . .

Cutler's Concussion . . .
. . . A Career Killer?

Revelations And Rock 'N' Roll
Days of Destruction, Gig Posters & Former Senate Staffers in Local Book Notes.

How Many Cops Do We Need?
Nobody seems to know.

The Week In Chicago Rock
Including: Infernal Conjuration, Matt and Kim, The Swellers, Pierce The Veil, Cellar Rats, David Bazan and more.

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The Beachwood Tip Line: With a hot poker.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 11:38 AM | Permalink

How Many Police Officers Does Chicago Need?

For weeks now, a debate has raged in the press with Mayor Emanuel saying Chicago's current police staffing levels are fine and the police unions arguing that we need more police if we are to stem the rising tide of crime.

How are we, the public, to make a judgement about who is right?

Did you know that Chicago has the most murders per capita among major US cities and the most police officers per capita?

The Chicago Justice Project just released a new study tracking policing levels in Chicago going back to 1993.

Executive director Tracy Siska appeared on Chicago Tonight to stress the need for data-driven decisions on police staffing. Click through for the video and accompanying report.

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See also:
* WBEZ: How Many Cops Are Enough?

* Sun-Times: Chicago Police Officers Retiring At Record Pace.

* Reader: What A Robbery In Edgewater Says About The Police Staffing Debate.

* Progress Illinois: Chicago Aldermen May Not Press For More Police Hires.

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Disclosure: Siska is a friend of Beachwood editor/publisher Steve Rhodes. We think his work rocks anyway.

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 10:17 AM | Permalink

SportsMonday: Cutler's Concussion A Career Killer?

This was the play of the game, win or lose. Let's take a look from several angles.

1. Hey coach Lovie, hopeful challenges are always a bad idea and that was a hopeful challenge toward the end of the first half when the concussed Cutler was penalized for throwing that pass after he had crossed the line of scrimmage.

Remember, in those situations there needs to be clear and convincing evidence that a call was wrong and, while it was close, there definitely was not clear and convincing evidence.

2. Let's not go overboard with the "at least Campbell is better than Caleb" crap.

Campbell had numerous chances to make the one big play in the second half that could have turned this game around and he failed.

In particular, I point to the third-down play from inside the 10 just before Gould's second field goal.

First of all, the field was wide open up the middle. If Campbell had audibled into a quarterback draw he would have walked into the end zone untouched.

Second, the rollout was particularly weak. It became apparent immediately that Campbell would not attempt to run for the touchdown, taking the pressure off a defense that would have been stressed if it had been forced to defend both pass and run.

Third, Campbell gave up on the play before he was really pressured. Once his first receiver was covered he was completely content to just heave the ball 20 yards out of bounds and the scurry back to the bench as the field goal team entered the fray.

Not good.

3. But is he better than Josh McCown?

4. Did the Bears put Cutler at risk by keeping him in for seven plays after the big hit? NFL.com columnist Gregg Rosenthal thinks so.

5. Did Cris Collinsworth fail to take the hit seriously enough? <The Score's Dan Bernstein thinks so.

6. Did Cutler cancel his radio show appearance this morning? Yes.

7. Was Cutler the only Bear to suffer a concussion on Sunday? No.

8. Haven't Cutler and McCellin suffered multiple concussions in the past? Yes. Does that mean their careers are in danger? Nobody seems to be talking about that, but they should. Unless Cutler doesn't mind his future looking like this.

9. Was the hit on Cutler really illegal? Not according to former Bear Hunter Hillenmeyer, who had to retire because of his concussions.

Troy Aikman agrees. Dobbins says Cutler ran into him.

10. Is there any level of irony to the Cutler concussion? Depending on how you define irony, Yes.

It will be fascinating to compare and contrast the ways the 49ers and the Bears handle head injuries to their franchise quarterbacks heading into their showdown by the Bay next Monday.

Will one team hold their guy out to be extra extra careful? Will the protocols for bringing the players back differ in any meaningful ways?

Scene Report
And now, the rest of the game . . .

We could hear the ball slam into the upright.

"Rejected," said one of the guys in my section after Robbie Gould's third field goal attempt of the evening bounced straight back onto the field after it arrived at the goalposts a couple inches wide to the left.

I took in the game with my friend Tom from seats in the second row in section 344. That location gave us a great view of Gould's failed kick and a great view of a game in which the Bears couldn't quite get over the hump.

A very good Houston defense had something to say about that, certainly, but also the Bears couldn't quite make the big play that could have turned the tide, especially in the first half.

Drops by Brandon Marshall and Devin Hester stood out, as did Cutler throwing that pass in with 2:55 left in the first half in which he got clocked after he had crossed the line of scrimmage by about as much as Gould's kick missed. If the flag hadn't flown for "illegal forward pass," the Bears would have had a first down inside the 10.

Oh, and there were the fumbles. Particularly crushing was Michael Bush's giveaway, happening is it did on a powerful 4th-and-1 play that went for 11 big yards and would have given the Bears a first down on the Texan 32 midway through the first quarter. The other turnovers hurt but that one stung.

In the second half, well, even the drummer to my left ran out of gas before the game slogged to its wet and increasingly cold conclusion. A guy with a bushy salt-and-pepper Fu Manchu mustache had spent much of the game whaling away on the tin over the cement barrier that marks the edge of the balcony in that part of the stadium. His gloves must have been drenched by the second quarter but he continued to pound away until well into the fourth quarter.

The coolest thing in the end is that it turns out section 344 is the quick-getaway to the north section. After climbing the stairs to the main concourse on the west side of the stadium, we were able to depart in a hurry, on our way back to our parking space about a mile west and north of the stadium.

The great thing about going to a night game at Soldier Field is you can't really see Ridiculous (in a bad way) Stadium on your way in. So you don't have to be offended for the thousandth time by the design of the place, and by the still unbelievable decision made by Mayor Daley II and his minions to plop down the biggest glass and steel toilet bowl in the world on top of the colonnades at this war memorial.

We were also in a great mood as we arrived. For one thing, we were properly outfitted for the wetness (or at least as properly outfitted as we could have been - when you sit in the rain for a few hours, part of you is going to get wet no matter what you are wearing). But the biggest reason for our happiness was the fact that we stopped at the Eleven City Diner on South Wabash on the way there.

Is there anything better than perfectly presented corned beef and pastrami on fresh rye bread? If I ever had to pick a last meal - well, let's say this - if I ever had to pick a last lunch, this would be it. They call the pastrami and corned beef combo "The Woody Allen" at this delightful deli and that sandwich and some good cold beer were quite simply heavenly.

Not so much the Bears' performance afterwards.

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

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 9:16 AM | Permalink

Local Book Notes: Days Of Destruction, Gig Posters & Former Senate Staffers

Over the transom.

1. Chris Hedges is here:

Hedges, one of the few voices of sanity in a post-truth, extrajudicial America, will talk about his Days of Destruction, Days of Revolt at the Newberry Library on Monday, November 12. Sponsored by Women & Children First; Details, including ticket information, here.

A sample of what you can expect:


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2. Gig Poster Gallery.

"A tradition dating back to the 1960s, the gig poster has become more than a concert souvenir - it is a lasting and accessible work of art greatly valued by both fans and musicians," the Lillstreet Gallery says.

"This month, Lillstreet Gallery presents the work of 14 members of the Chicago Printers Guild (CPG) who create art for bands such as Wilco, The Black Keys, Andrew Bird, Neko Case, M. Ward, and many others.

"The CPG is a non-profit organization that brings print culture to the greater Chicago area through lectures, workshops, field trips and art exhibits, and fosters community with the graphic arts.

"We opened the exhibition with record attendance and fine spirits. Thanks to all those who came out. If you missed the party, there is still plenty of time to see the show and take home your own piece of music history - most prints are available for $30 or less!"

Details here.

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3. Fired Durbin Staffer To Read From Latest Work.

"Kathleen Rooney, a founding editor of non-profit publisher Rose Metal Press and a Roosevelt University writer-in-residence for 2012-13, will read from her latest work, Robinson Alone, on Monday, Nov. 12 at Roosevelt's Gage Gallery, 18 S. Michigan Avenue," the school says.

"A native of West Virginia and currently a Chicago resident, Rooney received the Gatewood Prize in 2007 from Switchback Books for her poetry collection, Oneiromance (an epithalamion) and was named one of the Best New Voices of 2006 by Random House, which included her essay, 'Live Nude Girl' in its anthology Twentysomething Essays by Twentysomething Writers. She is also the recipient of the Ruth Lilly Fellowship, one of the largest awards offered to aspiring poets in the United States.

"Robinson Alone, a novel in poems released by Gold Wake Press in October, is based on the life and work of Weldon Kees and his alter ego Robinson. Through her protagonist Robinson, Rooney imagines the adult life of Kees up until his mysterious disappearance in 1955. After leaving small-town life in Nebraska for New York City, Robinson goes on a cross-country journey before police discover his Plymouth Savoy abandoned on the Golden Gate Bridge. The book is driven by Robinson's transience and an underlying desire to escape the world entirely."

The Robinson Alone short film:

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See also: Sen. Durbin Staffer Kathleen Rooney Fired For Writing A Too-Revealing Book.

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 8:04 AM | Permalink

The Weekend In Chicago Rock

You shoulda been there.

1. Pierce The Veil at House of Blues on Friday night.


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2. Escort at the Metro on Friday night.

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3. Cellar Rats at Mike's Luv 'n' Music in Summit on Friday night.

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4. David Bazan at the Metro on Thursday night.

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5. PJ Bond at Township on Saturday night.

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6. The Swellers at Beat Kitchen on Friday night.

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7. Me and the Devil at The Fat Man Bowl in Green Oaks on Saturday night.

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8. Infernal Conjuration at Cafe Lura on Saturday night.

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9. Matt and Kim at the Congress on Saturday night.

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 7:32 AM | Permalink

QT: While Those Who Served Stand and Wait. . . .


President Obama at Veterans Day ceremonies:
"Blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah."
This is how the words sound while military veterans wait an average of eight months-- sometimes much more--to be processed for disability and other benefits.
To be fair, Obama can cite reasons why the delays continue.
These include blah blah blah blah blah blah blah. . . .

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News Headline: "Meat-eating deep sea sponges discovered."
All right.
Who slipped the bath salts to the Intelligent Designer?

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News Headline: "Study: People who live close to bars drink more heavily."
We should be wary here of the logical fallacy:
Post hoc ergo propter hoc.
Well. In this case:
Post hoc ergo propter hoc. Hic.

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William Ferry, a Lafayette, La., reader, regarding QT's wondering, if a group of larks is an exaltation of larks, what a group of politicians should be called, writes:
"A bezoar of politicians. A micturition of politicians."
One thousand four hundred fifty-eight days to go until the next presidential election, by the way.

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News Headline: "Texas Republicans threaten to secede from U.S. after Obama victory."
Yes. But is there a downside?

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News Headline: "Detroit suburb sees murder spike since police layoffs."
Wait. You have something against smaller government?

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News Headline: "Study: Cardiac arrest more common in young than thought."
QT will refrain from asking:
Can we look forward to the day when thought is more common in the young than cardiac arrest?
No. You will not see such a cheap shot from QT.

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News Headline: "New Madrid Fault active? 4.3 quake strikes Kentucky."
To review: The New Madrid Fault, located in the central United States, is the nation's most destructive earthquake fault.
Its last major quake 200 years ago changed the course of the Mississippi River, rang church bells in Boston and knocked bison from their feet in Nebraska.
But there is no cause for concern.
Scientists say there is only a 10 percent chance of another major quake any moment now.

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A Tea Party activist's post-election Internet announcement:
"All family and friends, even close family and friends, who I know to be Democrats are hereby dead to me. I vow never to speak to them again for the rest of my life, or have any communications with them."
Some lucky family members there.
And friends.

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News Item: Former Seattle Mariners first baseman John Olerud wins ruling that will force neighbor to remove two trees partially obstructing his view of Lake Washington.
This is good as far as it goes.
But it might be taken a step further.
Isn't Olerud's house obstructing the view of at least two fine trees?

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News Headline: "Tea Party vows to hijack GOP in time for next election."
Democratic Party leaders want to know if there is anything they can do to help.
Please. Don't hesitate to ask.

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QT What Passes for Miracles These Days Update:
An image of the Virgin Mary has appeared in the stains on a window curtain in Oklahoma City.

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News Headline: "Naked robbers lead police to baby alligator."
There is probably an interesting story behind that.

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Beware the ides of National Model Railroad Train Month.

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QT Grammar R Us Seminar on the English Language:
Jerry King, an Evergreen Park reader, regarding QT's noting that peas are a fruit, writes:
"You seem to be overly enamored with the botanical terms for items that cooks call 'vegetables.' In botany, there are no 'vegetables.' "
You are right. QT had in mind the culinary definition of "vegetable."
In botany, there are no vegetables, as such, but we do have fruits, which comprise the ovaries of plants.
Which makes one of QT's favorite desserts an ovary compote.
But we move on.
Strawberries are not berries, by the way.


Write to QT at qt@beachwoodreporter.com
QT appears Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays.

Posted by Zay N. Smith at 6:00 AM | Permalink

November 10, 2012

The Weekend Desk Report

Despite its flaws, this is emphatically the only Weekend Desk Report written by the Weekend Desk.

Market Update
In case you were wondering, Old America fucking hates New America.

General Betray Us
In the wake of CIA Chief David Petraeus's hasty resignation, we humbly present the Weekend Desk Guide to Affair Euphemisms (2012 revised edition):

1. "I'm managing an extended troop surge."
2. "My dissertation grew into a book."
3. "I'm all in."

What About The CTA Pony?
The RTA announced this week a comprehensive smartphone app that details the myriad ways you can outrun the Red Line.

Squabbling Illini
Could changes be afoot in one of Illinois' least relevant institutions? Even after an appallingly weak early campaign, most analysts say probably not.

End Of Days
Finally this week, which is more indicative of the coming Apocalypse? A) Justin Bieber cheating with a Victoria's Secret model or B) Victoria's Secret itself?

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The Weekend Desk Tip Line: All in.

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The College Football Report: For entertainment purposes only, including gambling.

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The Flying Saucer Weekend Brunch Report: More magic from Chef Dani.

saucerbrunch.jpg-

The Sound Opinions Weekend Listening Report: "John Cale co-founded the Velvet Underground with Lou Reed, but he hasn't been sitting on his laurels. This week, the art rock experimenter is live in the Sound Opinions studio. Plus, Jim and Greg don their paisley shirts for a review of the latest album by Australian psychedelic rockers Tame Impala."

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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: Green Star Movement

11-5-GreenStar.jpg

Representatives of the Green Star Movement promote their contest for one local organization or school to win a Bricolage mural - an intricate combination of mosaic, sculpture, painting, mirror, and photography.

Saturday, November 10 at 7:30 p.m. on CAN TV21
1 hr

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Does Chicago Have Enough Police Officers?

11-5-Chicago-Police.jpg

Criminal justice expert panelists including Tracy Siska of the Chicago Justice Project discuss the size of Chicago's police force and weigh the pros and cons of increasing the number of police officers working within the city.

Sunday, November 11 at 9 a.m. on CAN TV21
1 hr

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Chicago Ideas Week: Manifesting Ideas

11-5-Manifesting.jpg

Speakers present high-energy talks on the power of an idea and what it takes to bring an idea to fruition.

Sunday, November 11 at 10 a.m. on CAN TV21
2 hr 30 min

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Pamphlet Pandemonium, 1642-2012

11-5-Pamphlets.jpg

Newberry Library President David Spadafora explains the impact and implications of the mass dissemination of printed information in the 17th Century - and how those messages changed as they were spread.

Sunday, November 11 at 12:30 p.m. on CAN TV21
1 hr 30 min

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Maria Mangual Leadership Conference

11-5-MariaMangual.jpg

Keynote speakers at this event hosted by Mujeres Latinas en Accion urge Latinos to get involved in the political process and highlight the successes of Latina women in business and politics.

Sunday, November 11 at 2 p.m. on CAN TV21
1hr 30 min


Posted by Natasha Julius at 8:08 AM | Permalink

November 9, 2012

The College Football Report: We [Heart] N. J.

Week 11 of the college football season was bad for big business.

Through Thursday, the Dow was off 281.84 points, the S&P 500 was down 36.69, and the Nasdaq had dropped 86.55 points, or 2.9 percent - the largest percentage drop of the three. Despite falling unemployment claims and rising U.S. exports, investors worry that the impending "fiscal cliff" could severely hurt an economy that has shown signs (the Dow is up 593.76 on the year) of improvement.

What is the fiscal cliff, you ask? We have no idea. But as a rule of thumb, whenever you see a word like fiscal used alongside a geological (and/or geographical, for the picky) term meaning "a significant vertical, or near vertical, rock exposure," we assume it's not good, especially if there's no mention of carabiners, harnesses, and the like. We feel the government would be wise to coin a new, less frightening, term, like the Wiley Coyote Predicament. Wiley Coyote couldn't hurt anyone, right? He's like the Stay Puft Marshmallow Man.

Fortunately, The CollegeFootball Report Free Range Chicken doesn't put all of his eggs (if you will) in one basket. Long ago, he learned the key behind sound investing: diversify! And never bet against double-digit home dogs in primetime.

For instance, heavily backing the favorites in the NFL last weekend proved a lucrative hedge against the drubbing the Chicken's stock portfolio suffered this week. Longtime veterans put the losses suffered by Vegas sportsbooks on Sunday as "the worst single, regular-season" day of action due primarily to players placing parlays on favorites such as Denver, Green Bay, Chicago, Baltimore, etc. (The Chicken also liked second-half action in many games where the favorite trailed - or wasn't covering - by halftime.) We grant that pro football is off topic for the College Football Report, but both share a common business interest: gambling.

Betting, especially sports betting, is big business and point spreads don't move in response to issues like the Wiley Coyote Predicament. The American Gaming Association (AGA) estimates that Nevada sees $3 billion in action annually across 216 individual books, but the total amount wagered, including illegal bookies and Internet sites, amounts to a bit more: somewhere between $380 billion (according to the AGA) to $500 billion.

While betting on the NFL dwarfs action on other sports, college sports are a significant draw as well. The FBI reports, for example, that as much as $2.5 billion in illegal bets are placed during March Madness alone. And yes, office pools are lumped into that figure.

But while you are fleecing your Human Resources Department and other easy marks for a few hundred bucks, the NCAA takes in approximately $770 million in revenue during the tourney - even as the NCAA pretends it abhors betting on college games.

Last month, the NCAA pulled six regional championship tournaments from New Jersey after the state announced it would begin issuing sports betting licenses in January. The license would allow books in N.J. to take bets on college games, running contrary to the NCAA's position prohibiting championship tournaments in states allowing legal "single game betting" - i.e. bets based on money lines or point spreads.

On a side note, we love The Garden State's attitude toward the NCAA's move. The revenue derived from hosting the championships - the Division III wrestling regionals in Ewing; the Division I men's and women's swimming and diving regionals in Piscataway; the Division I women's basketball regionals in Trenton; the Division III men's volleyball championship in Hoboken; and the Division II and III women's lacrosse championships in Montclair - pales in comparison to the lucrative new gambling business.

State senator Raymond Lesniak, asked about asked about the NCAA's power play, stated that the projected revenue from the college tournaments were "a drop in the bucket compared to the revenues we're going to get from sports betting." The NCAA seems to have overestimated how much leverage the women's lacrosse championships would give them. Lesniak again: "If they think that, they don't know New Jersey."

The NCAA can't acknowledge the link between college sports and gambling. For example, airtime during college games is lucrative, at least in part, due to gambling: sports betting drives viewership. Thus the NCAA must pay lip service to protecting the integrity of college sports and "protecting student-athlete well-being" by pulling events from venues in states with legalized gambling. To do otherwise would implicitly recognize the connection.

Consider a college football playoff system. The BCS currently receives more than $125 million annually from the ESPN contract for the national championship game. But the BCS system doesn't create the same atmosphere, much less the same betting options, as March Madness. Imagine the pools, parlays, and prop bets made possible by a college football playoff format that would, in turn, increase the pool of television viewers.

Asked about the new playoff system, Neil Pilson, former president of CBS Sports, called the television rights "the last big American sports event that hasn't happened yet . . . like creating beachfront property" with advertising rate increases from 25 to 40 percent. In total, experts value the playoff system between $600 million to $1.5 billion per year.

But the NCAA can't admit that the winner of the playoff auction will also win all the additional eyeballs that come with it. Instead, the NCAA relocates the Division III men's volleyball championships. We didn't even know there was such a thing, nor do we expect the residents of Hoboken to bat an eye. But the sheer hypocrisy is galling. Borrowing from a statement released by New Jersey governor Chris Christie's office in reaction, "[t]he NCAA wants to penalize New Jersey for legalizing what occurs illegally every day in every state."

Although really, we feel like New Jersey overcooked the whole deal. We would rather see the public relations office release the following statement: "Nanny nanny boo-boo!"

The Free Range Chicken

Kansas (+26) at #22 Texas Tech, 12 p.m.
Comment: The line moved from +25 to +26 for good reason.

#15 Texas A&M at #1 Alabama (-13.5), 3:30 p.m.
Comment: A hook-buying opportunity.

#18 UCLA at Washington State (+16.5), 10:30 p.m.
Comment: Probably a terrible decision, but we've made worse for less. See Kansas, above.

The Sports Seal
The long nightmare is over in the Blue Grass State. The death watch on Kentucky head coach Joker Phillips is over. Sadly, the Wildcats don't play this weekend so the Sports Seal will have to console himself by spending his Saturday afternoon rolling in a pile of herring, his winnings from fading UK in every game this season.

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

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 11:59 AM | Permalink

The [Friday] Papers

"A little-noticed tax break for investor-owned hospitals that was tucked into a deal last spring aimed at saving the Illinois Medicaid program from collapse will cost the cash-strapped state at least $10 million a year in lost revenue, according to an analysis by The Associated Press.

"Hospital industry officials say the tax credit recognizes the free care they provide to the uninsured. But some state officials were puzzled about how for-profit hospitals were able to land a major tax break in the intense closed-door negotiations at a time when Springfield was grappling with a dire financial crisis."

Let me guess: The lobbyist did it in an anteroom with a Madigan.

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"Highly involved in crafting the deal and seeing it through was A.J. Wilhelmi, who left the Illinois Senate in February to take a leadership post with the Illinois Hospital Association, the hospital lobbying group. His name is still listed as a legislative sponsor of the bill that included the tax break."

So it was a going-away gift from Madigan (D-Chicago) and Wilhelmi's direct supervisor, state senate president John Cullerton (D-Chicago). Couldn't we have all just pitched in for a watch?

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And it turns out the tax break wasn't secret to the state's highest-ranking official.

"When Quinn signed the bill, he said he hoped it would result in more charity care. The tax credit, the governor hoped, would be an incentive for hospitals to do more for the poor."

Maybe that's the way it works on Pat's home planet, but it certainly doesn't work that way here.

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From Wikipedia:

"Wilhelmi was active in the local Democratic Party when in college and law school. Between 1998 and 2004, he actively supported his brother Steve in his campaigns.

"Wilhelmi was Senator Dick Durbin's campaign coordinator for Will County in 2002. In 2008, Wilhelmi supported Obama's campaign for President of the United States.

"He served in the Illinois Senate from 2005 to 2012. He was Chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, Vice-Chairman of the Agriculture & Conservation Committee, and served on the Transportation, Gaming and Criminal Law Committees."

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From the Tribune last January:

"An attorney, Wilhelmi has worked with Murer Consultants, which handles health care issues."

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Murer's clients.

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Back to AP:

"Margaret Storey represents parents of medically fragile children who are fighting a $15 million reduction to part of the Medicaid program that helps them. Coincidentally that cut equals the hospital association's cost estimate for the tax credit.

"To know that tax credits were being given away at the same time these children's future with their families is being put at risk is just appalling," Storey said. "It makes you lose a little faith in your government when those kinds of deals get cut."

Don't lose faith, Margaret. Drive those kids to a for-profit hospital today now that they've been incentivized to help. Just say the governor sent you.

Junior World
"One of the names to surface [as a candidate to replace Jesse Jackson Jr.] Thursday was Sam Adam Jr. - the onetime attorney for convicted ex-governor Rod Blagojevich," the Sun-Times reports.

Here's an exclusive photo of that tip being phoned in.

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Oppo research: Done!

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"Adam had been approached by 'prominent individuals and an organization,' about his potential candidacy, said a source."

Yes, but they don't even live here.

Hurricane Sandi
"The sorority of female aldermen on Thursday closed ranks behind one of their own - Ald. Sandi Jackson (7th) - amid word that Jackson's newly re-elected husband, U.S. Rep. Jesse Jackson Jr. (D-Il.), is negotiating a plea deal and may have used campaign funds to buy a $40,000 Rolex for a female friend," the Sun-Times reports.

"The post-election plea bargaining was galling enough to Sandi Jackson's sisters in the City Council. Even more upsetting was the public humiliation that Sandi Jackson is enduring once again because of her husband's alleged philandering."

Oh wah! Sandi's made nearly $450,000 since 2002 from her husband's campaign fund as a consultant. That's 11 Rolexes! Plus, she apparently got her home redecorated.

And her public humiliation? She's the one calling the shots. None of this is news to her.

"You fooled us all," Ald. Carrie Austin said, "including your wife. We respected you were ill. [We said,] `Let the man heal.' And then, you come out with this poppycock? I'm angry that you would wait until the day after the election that you won handily with the support of all of us. Nobody came against you. Then, you come out the next day working out a deal? We'll deal your butt out of the Congress. Get somebody in there who's gonna be honest with us and work on our behalf. Maybe, it should be Sandi."

Memo to Austin: It wasn't Junior who waited until the day after the election to reveal that a plea bargain was in the works. It was a source who leaked it to Sneed - and that source is almost certainly tied to Sandi. She's the one who has misled everybody for months.

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"On Thursday, Sandi Jackson stayed away from a City Council meeting, avoiding reporters waiting to ambush her."

Because ambush is how you would characterize reporters at City Hall hoping to ask long unanswered questions of a public official managing a long chain of lies, misdirection and obfuscation regarding another public official whom she happens to not only draw a paycheck from but be married to. Why won't they just leave her alone?!

Besides, Sandi misses so many council meetings it's wrong to assume her husband's problems have anything to do with her absence. How would we know the difference?

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Meanwhile . . .

"CBS 2 has learned U.S. Rep. Jesse Jackson Jr. planned to step down weeks ago, ostensibly for mental health reasons, but a legal source said he talked Jackson and his wife, Sandi, out of that decision to resign before the election.

"CBS 2 Chief Correspondent Jay Levine reports the source - a longtime adviser who was involved in those discussions - said part of the reason Jackson reconsidered stepping down was the prospect of losing his federal health insurance just when he needed it most."

Well, he can't be denied a new policy because of a pre-existing condition anymore thanks to Obamacare, so . . .

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There's also the pre-existing condition of his constituents to consider. But who has time to think about that when you're busy dodging reporters, the feds and the repo man?

Secret Documents: Obama Screwed Homeowners
Coddled banks instead.

QT: Unfinished Business
Modern getaways.

The Week In Chicago Rock
Pretty thin.

The College Football Report
Will appear later today.

Election Notebooks
Will return over the weekend.

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The Beachwood Tip Line: This side up.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 9:40 AM | Permalink

Secret Documents Show Weak Oversight Of Key Foreclosure Program

The Obama administration launched its main program to prevent foreclosures in the spring of 2009 with $50 billion and abundant promises. What the Home Affordable Modification Program, or HAMP, lacked - and wouldn't have for years - was effective oversight of the big banks that were crucial to the program's success.

Documents obtained by ProPublica shed new light on this failing in 2009 and 2010, when the foreclosure crisis was at its peak and six million American homeowners were in danger of losing their homes. HAMP required mortgage servicers to offer loan modifications to eligible homeowners so that their monthly payments would be lower. The servicers - the largest of which were owned by the banks that had fueled the crisis in the first place - were in charge of reviewing homeowner applications, but the government set the rules and was supposed to supervise their work.

But the documents show that the government did not complete a major audit of the two largest banks in the program, Bank of America and Wells Fargo, until more than a year after the program launched.

Such audits were rare at the other large mortgage servicers throughout 2009 and 2010, according to the documents. During these years, when the government provided little oversight and administered no sanctions, servicers reviewed 2.7 million modification applications and denied two-thirds of them. Meanwhile, homeowners regularly complained they had been mistreated by servicers in the program.

The documents also show how the Treasury Department coddled servicers that weren't complying with the program's rules. Once a year, servicers are required to certify that they are complying with the program's rules. But servicers define for themselves what it means to comply. A company that admits violating the rules is allowed to merely submit a cover letter with their certification stating the exceptions and how it would fix the problems.

For instance, on September 28, 2010, PNC Mortgage submitted its certification. Along with that certification, it disclosed five "instances of noncompliance" or "gaps," as it called them, along with its plans to address the issues ("steps"). Like all of the documents ProPublica received, PNC's letters are heavily redacted, so the nature of their "gaps" and "steps" remains secret.

The Treasury defended the oversight of HAMP. "The robust nature of our compliance program, together with the steps we have taken to strengthen protections for homeowners under the program, are critical reasons why homeowners who enter HAMP today show a strong likelihood of long-term success to avoid foreclosure," said a Treasury spokeswoman.

Prying Loose The Documents

The documents were hard to obtain. They came as a result of two Freedom of Information Act requests by ProPublica. Initially, the Treasury Department, which administers HAMP, refused to release any documents at all. It was only after ProPublica appealed the denial that Treasury agreed to release some documents, although with large portions blacked out.

One of our requests has dragged on for more than two years, and even after all that time, the department continues to withhold certain documents, though it says it intends to turn over more. (See here for a full index of the documents we've obtained so far. If we receive more, we will add them to our collection when we receive them.)

In some cases, the Treasury even withheld the documents of servicers who never objected to their release. When ProPublica informed the Treasury that certain servicers had said they had no objection to releasing the documents, the Treasury finally turned them over.

"It seems like they're trying to prevent the information from getting out," said Rick Blum, coordinator of the Sunshine in Government Initiative, a coalition of media groups. FOIA protects business trade secrets from being divulged, but Blum doubts whether that exception is being fairly applied in this case. The documents mainly concern how servicers were breaking HAMP's rules, he noted, and "a screw-up is not a trade secret."

A Treasury Department spokeswoman said HAMP has brought "an unprecedented level of transparency" to the mortgage servicing industry and servicers are "subject to an unprecedented level of compliance oversight."

That's damning by faint praise, say consumer advocates. "The reason that the level of transparency and accountability is 'unprecedented' is because no one has ever held servicers to account. Just because you have something where before there was nothing, that doesn't mean that something works or is effective," said Diane Thompson of the National Consumer Law Center.

Audits Slow And Rare

By now, HAMP's disappointing performance is well known. The program was launched with President Obama's promise to help three to four million homeowners avoid foreclosure. Three and a half years later, the program is only approaching 1.1 million modifications. It has spent just $4 billion of its original $50 billion budget.

A recent study found a big reason for the program's failure was that, despite all its rules, it didn't change the behavior of the biggest banks. The banks did a poor job of modifying loans before HAMP was launched and weren't much better after.

To oversee the program, the Treasury awarded Freddie Mac a $209 million contract to be the program's watchdog. Freddie Mac formed a group, called Making Home Affordable - Compliance, or MHA-C for short, but it got off to an inauspicious start. In August 2009, Treasury rejected its first reviews of servicers as inadequate because they were "inconsistent and incomplete" and its staff was "unqualified."

The Treasury has refused to turn over MHA-C's audit reports - with one exception. The servicer GMAC Mortgage expressly consented to the release of the documents. Those audits, we reported last year, revealed that the servicer had seriously mishandled many loan modifications. MHA-C's audits themselves contained numerous errors, calling into question the competence of the reviews.

The Treasury didn't dispute the fact that no major audits of the biggest banks were completed until well after HAMP's launch. But the spokeswoman said "it is important to note that Treasury began unprecedented reviews of servicer compliance with program directives within the first months of program implementation." Those earlier "compliance activities" included "on-site reviews" and "sampling of homeowner loan file reviews," she said.

But the GMAC audits show how cursory those earlier reviews could be. In December 2009, MHA-C reviewed a sample of files, but when it reported its findings to GMAC, it told the servicer that the report was "being provided for informative purposes only, and no response is required from you at this time." GMAC itself was not the subject of a major audit until July 2010. It was never penalized.

In the new batch of documents, the government has kept secret the audits themselves. But ProPublica has obtained the servicers' written responses to the audits (see here for an index of the documents). The Treasury scrubbed or withheld almost all of the responses' substantive content. Even so, they reveal some basic facts.

The watchdog was very slow to conduct major audits of the biggest servicers. MHA-C's first major audit of Bank of America, the largest servicer in the program, wasn't completed until July of 2010, more than a year after HAMP launched. The first major audit of Wells Fargo was completed in August of 2010.

By July of 2010, Wells and Bank of America had already denied about 430,000 homeowners a HAMP modification.

Even for big banks that received an audit sooner, oversight was infrequent, the documents show. JPMorgan Chase, the other mortgage servicing titan, received a major audit within HAMP's first year, but through all of 2009 and 2010, it only responded to two major audits. CitiMortgage, the fourth largest servicer, only received three major audits in that time period.

When Treasury did conduct a major audit of one of the big banks, it often reviewed files that were many months old. A Wells Fargo audit delivered in March of 2011, for example, covered a "review period" of "May/June 2010."

Once the audits were finished and delivered to the servicers, there was another delay: servicers had a month to respond with "action plans with implementation dates" to address the problems.

A Bank of America audit in late November of 2010 was based on information that was six months old. One month later, Bank of America replied: "In the Report, you requested that Bank of America management respond to the observations, and if we agree, provide a detailed remediation plan, and if we disagree, provide a detailed explanation and evidence to support our position." A page of redacted text follows, so the substance of the bank's response remains secret.

Bank of America spokesman Rick Simon declined to discuss the communications: "As part of the MHA compliance reporting, servicers may provide information and statements that are of a proprietary and confidential nature, with the full expectation that the Department of Treasury and its agents will treat it appropriately."

Banks Evaluate Themselves

In September 2010, the robo-signing scandal hit. A number of the nation's biggest banks announced they were halting foreclosures to investigate whether they had submitted false filings to courts. The revelations drew immediate attention to mortgage servicers' failings and eventually led to action by bank regulators and state and federal law enforcement.

Yet the same month that the scandal erupted, mortgage servicers submitted their first annual certification to the Treasury Department that they were complying with HAMP's rules.

The certifications were toothless. In fact, following a fox-guarding-the-henhouse model, servicers could certify that they were complying even when they were not. It was up to the servicer to decide whether it was in "material compliance," according to the certification form.

What rose to the level of being a material problem? A Treasury directive gave guidance that is so vague it borders on no guidance at all: "This evaluation of materiality may or may not be quantifiable in monetary terms and should include, but is not limited to, consideration of the nature and frequency of noncompliance as well as qualitative considerations, including the impact on Program goals and objectives."

If the servicer found that it was, by its own definition, noncompliant, it was required to list the problems and its "action plan" in a separate "cover letter" to be sent with the certification filing. But that was it. There was no penalty.

The Treasury continues to withhold many of the cover letters from ProPublica. Among the documents the Treasury is still keeping secret are the letters for the four largest servicers in the program (Bank of America, Wells Fargo, JPMorgan Chase, and Citibank), although the Treasury has produced their certifications.

Still, the documents that ProPublica has received show that several servicers claimed they had no problems to report.

"None to the best of our knowledge," wrote a GMAC Mortgage executive.

There are reasons to question that statement. Two months earlier, a MHA-C audit had found a number of problems at the servicer, including that it had miscalculated homeowner income in more than 80 percent of audited cases.

And that same month, September 2010, GMAC had kicked off the robo-signing scandal by halting its foreclosures across the country.

GMAC spokeswoman Susan Fitzpatrick said the company has "rigorous internal and external controls in place that maintain consistent compliance with HAMP guidelines" and that the servicer was materially compliant with HAMP's rules when it filed the certification. "The foreclosure issues identified in September 2010 are not related to servicer compliance with HAMP guidelines."

The Treasury said the certifications were "only one part of a more comprehensive process" that included its audits. "While Treasury uses these certifications as part of the compliance process, certainly we do not rely solely on servicers to self-identify and report their weaknesses," said the department's spokeswoman. Servicers were allowed to define materiality for themselves in the certifications because, she said, a "'one size fits all' approach would not have been practical."

"All instances of non-compliance are tracked and pursued to ensure that servicers have and are executing against remediation plans, and that any potentially-affected homeowners are identified and re-evaluated if applicable," she said.

Penalties Were Late And Fleeting

It was only in the wake of the robo-signing scandal that Treasury decided to take punitive action against servicers breaking HAMP's rules. In June 2011, it withheld the program's subsidies to the three largest servicers in the program. HAMP provides incentive payments to servicers, as well as borrowers and investors, to encourage modifications. The servicer subsidies would stop until the banks showed "substantial improvement," Treasury said.

Wells Fargo soon received a passing grade, but the Treasury continued to withhold subsidies from Bank of America and JPMorgan Chase until the payments were restored as part of the February 2012, $25 billion national mortgage settlement between federal agencies, 49 states, and the five largest servicers. Together, the servicing subsidiaries of Chase and Bank of America have received about $509 million in subsidies through the program.

When asked for comment about HAMP's limited oversight, the three largest servicers in the program all pointed to Treasury's recent assessments of how servicers comply with the program's rules. Those assessments show the banks requiring only "moderate improvement."

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 9:09 AM | Permalink

The Week In Chicago Rock

You shoulda been there.

1. Misfits at the House of Blues on Monday night.


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2. Green River Ordinance at Lincoln Hall on Sunday night.

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3. Matthew Dear at Lincoln Hall on Tuesday night.

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4. W.O.R.M. at Reggie's on Thursday night.

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 7:59 AM | Permalink

QT: Unfinished Business


+ Rush Limbaugh the day before election day:
"All of my thinking says Romney big."
+ Rush Limbaugh as the polls were about to close::
"I could be proven tonight to be so wrong and so all wet that nobody should be listening to me."
So your duty is clear, Dittoheads.
You do follow directions, don't you?

···

News Headline: "Multinational corporations try to buy an election."
And fail.
But let's go easy on them.
Some of these corporations are very sensitive people.

···

News Item: Escaped tortoise in Logan, Utah, is found by a neighbor less than a block from home.
Is there a more poignant sight than a tortoise making a break for it?

···

+ Jim Kehoe, a Sydney, Australia, reader, regarding the recent presidential election, writes:
"The world feels a little safer today."
+ E.J., a Halifax, Nova Scotia, reader, writes:
"Thank you. Signed, The World."
Anytime.
Think nothing of it.

···

News Item: ". . . the most retweeted photo in U.S. history. . . ."
Let's not understate this.
It may be the most retweeted photo in human history.

···

News Headline: "Missouri Republican Akin loses after comments on rape."
It was predictable.
If a candidate is a legitimate fool, the body politic has ways to try to shut that whole thing down.

···

Stephen Smith, a Minneapolis reader, regarding QT's wondering, if a group of larks is an exaltation of larks, what a group of politicians should be called, writes:
"With any luck at all: an absence of politicians."

···

News Item: "A protest at the University of Mississippi against the re-election of President Barack Obama grew into crowd of about 400 people with shouted racial slurs as rumors of a riot spread. . . ."
Wait. There are schools in Mississippi?

···

QT Rules of Etiquette for Guys and Dolls:
+ Wing collar for white tie.
+ Normal collar for black tie.
Period. That's it.

···

News Headline: "iPhone 5 builder says supply can't match demand."
And figure the whip is being cracked now at the Chinese sweatshops of hip, progressive Apple.

···

Modern Education + the Criminal Mind =
Thieves making a getaway at 2 a.m. in Athens, Ga., kept their truck's headlights off so they wouldn't be noticeable.

···

News Headline: Idaho business consultant announces he will turn away all customers who voted for President Obama.
News Headline: Virginia jeweler protests the presidential election by closing his store for a day .
Well. That'll show everybody.

···

News Item: Tea Party activist posts Internet instructions to his wife to close the bank accounts, destroy all personal records, toss the cell phones, use back roads to avoid federal agents. . . .
So at least a few people in this country haven't taken leave of their senses.

···

QT Modern Corporate Gibberish of the Week:
Flir has acquired Lorex.

···

LXXXVI Days Until Super Bowl XLVII Concussion Count UpdVIII:
NFL player concussions at the halfway point of the season: LXXVII.
The count including the pre-season: CXXV.

···

From the QT Archive of Knowledge:
+ Grover Cleveland once worked as a hangman.
+ Peas are a fruit.

···

QT Grammar R Us Seminar on the English Language:
News Headline: "Wintry mix may make commute difficult."
When did sleet become a wintry mix, and when can we have sleet back?
And. . . .


Write to QT at qt@beachwoodreporter.com
QT appears Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays.

Posted by Zay N. Smith at 6:00 AM | Permalink

November 8, 2012

The Greatest Election Night Speech Ever

Performed at the Election Night That Rocks program, which can be seen in its entirety here.

The players: Ted Dayton, Jared Grant, Michael Lavallee and Natalie Matheson, each from Columbia College Chicago's Theater Department.

Written by Stephanie Shaw.

Recorded by Chicago Access Network Television (CAN TV).


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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 9:37 AM | Permalink

Election Notebook: The Numbers

The apoplectic reaction of some Republicans to Tuesday night's loss is a bit perplexing; after all, President Obama managed to snag just 50% of the popular vote, a mere two-point margin over Mitt Romney.

Put another way, Romney won 57,821,399 votes to Obama's 60,662,601. Libertarian candidate Gary Johnson won nearly 1.2 million votes (Green Party candidate Jill Stein won just a bit over 400,000).

Sure, we elect presidents through the Electoral College, but even there Obama's 303 votes - Florida, with 29 electoral votes, is still too close to call - isn't particularly impressive for an incumbent. Obama won 365 electoral votes in 2008. Bill Clinton was re-elected in 1996 with 379 electoral votes, a nine-vote increase from 1992. Ronald Reagan was re-elected in 1984 with 525 electoral votes, a 36-vote increase from 1980. Richard Nixon was re-elected in 1972 with 520 electoral votes, a 219-vote increase from 1968. Dwight Eisenhower was re-elected in 1956 with 457 electoral votes, a 15-vote increase from 1952. FDR's electoral vote totals were 472, 523, 449 and 432.

Now, perhaps this reflects a more divided country than in those days.

We all remember 2000. And George W. Bush was re-elected in 2004 with just 286 electoral votes, though that was a 15-vote increase from 2000. Maybe this is a trend.

Nonetheless, Obama is the first president since FDR's last of four presidential campaigns to win re-election with fewer electoral votes than four years prior.

And Obama won more than six million fewer votes than he did in 2008 - a tough feat considering that vote totals tend to at least keep pace with population increases.

True, Democrats made "small but solid gains" in both houses of Congress. But AP reports that Republicans also could end up with the most governorships they've had since the 1920s.

And it was just two years ago that the Tea Party's success at the polls scared the bejeezus out of Democrats in "the largest congressional-seat loss since 1948."

In fact, we go through this every two years. The media overreaches, the winning party overreaches, the losing party corrects and comes back, then they overreach, and the cycle goes on and on.

(Not that the media is driving this alone; Republicans are doing a lot of talk right now about "soul-searching" on their way to figuring out "what happened." Is it really such a mystery?)

Home Court
* Obama won his home state by the predictably comfortable margin of 57.3 percent to 41.1 percent.

* Obama won 74 percent of Cook County.

Others
* Gary Johnson received 54,798 votes statewide.

* "Others" received 29,336.

Congressional Delegation
* Jesse Jackson Jr. won more votes (181,067) than Jan Schakowksy (179,468). (106,129 votes were cast against Jackson.) I always said Jackson could win this race from a hospital bed or jail cell.

* Aaron Schock won more votes than any statewide candidate - other than the president - with 243,295. He was followed by Bobby Rush (225,098) and Danny Davis (224,377).

Illinois House
* Seventy of the state House's 118 districts were uncontested.

* The indicted Derrick Smith won his race with 24,276 votes to Lance Tyson's 14,412. That's Lance, with an "L." At his house today.

* More than 6,000 citizens in the 22nd District cast votes against Michael Madigan. Somehow, I don't think they are fearing retribution.

* Democrat Sam Yingling received almost 100 more votes than Madigan in his upset over incumbent Sandy Cole in the 62nd District (that's Grayslake way) to become the fourth openly gay member of the Illinois House and the first who doesn't live in Chicago.

* An endorsement by Democratic U.S. Rep. Luis Gutierrez wasn't enough to save Republican Skip Saviano in the 77th (Northwest suburbs), where Kathleen Willis won 13,449 to 12,127.

Illinois Senate
* Thirty of the state's 59 senate districts were uncontested.

* Republican Milkman madman Jim Oberweis finally won an election with 51,187 votes to Democrat Corinne Pierog's 37,749 in the 25th (St. Charles-Aurora).

Judges
* Not a single judge lost a retention race, including these six.

Cook County
Vote totals for incumbents with token opposition

* Circuit Court Clerk Dorothy Brown: 1,220,896.

* Recorder Karen Yarbrough: 1,215,387.

* State's Attorney Anita Alvarez: 1,348,783.

Wow.

On the other hand, the respective (Republican) losers got a lot of votes too - Diane Shapiro, 510,032; Sherri Griffith, 482,213; and Lori Yokoyama, 396,435.

Water Board
The most ironically worst place to be Green. Top three win.

* Debra Shore (D) 711,095.
* Patrick Daley Thompson (D) 622,191.
* Kari K. Steele (D) 614,911.
* Carl Segvich (R) 366,417.
* Harold "Noonie" Ward (R) 350,513.
* Dave Ehrlich (G) 176,200.
* Karen Roothaan (G) 156,783.
* Nasrin R. Khalili (G) 86,033.

Memo to Nasrin: You might want to go with O'Kelly next time around.

Board of Tax Review
A real barn-burner in the 1st District, where Republican Dan Patlak defeated Democrat Casey Thomas Griffin 298,084 to 281,080.

Which means Patlak got more votes than every congressman Illinois just elected.

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Previously:
* Election Notebook: Big Blue

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 7:34 AM | Permalink

Al-Jazeera: How The White House Was Won

"This episode of Fault Lines takes viewers through a tour of the US 2012 presidential campaign, from the high and low moments, to the Spin Room, to the noisy campaign ads that blanketed swing states."


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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 6:29 AM | Permalink

Local Music Notebook: Chicago Gangsters, Shawn Colvin & Jackson Amps

A loose collection of whatnot.

1. The Chicago Gangsters were actually from Ohio. More deets after the vid.


From 1975, uploaded to YouTube this week by NSFW vinyltrustkool96, perhaps to misdirect you.

*

"Despite their name, the Chicago Gangsters were originally from Ohio," according to Milk Crate Breaks, consisting of brothers James, Sam, Chris, and Leroy McCant. Their sound ranged from heavy funk and disco to sweet, smooth soul.

"They adopted the name Chicago Gangsters after catching on with the Gold Plate label, where they worked with prolific songwriter/arranger Richard Evans and a number of Chicago's top studio musicians.

"Gangster Boogie" became a massively popular sample, most prominently appearing on L.L. Cool J's hit "Mama Said Knock You Out."

Other prominent samples include these by Schoolly D, Kool Moe Dee, Bell Biv DeVoe, Geto Boys and Chilli D.

2. I've always liked the voice and songwriting of downstate's Shawn Colvin, but I agree with the Reader's Peter Margasak that she's been produced much too slickly, which ultimately is her own responsibility. Her appearances this week at the City Winery provide a good excuse to look again at our post about her memoir, in which we excerpt the Illinois parts.

3. Jackson Ampworks by the Chicago Music Exchange.

"Meet Your Maker" - A new series on the different manufacturers available at Chicago Music Exchange. In this episode the creator and master builder of Jackson Ampworks, Brad Jackson, stops by the exchange to give us the exclusive story on what his amps are all about.

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 5:37 AM | Permalink

The [Thursday] Papers

Sneed has coincidentally "learned" the day after the election that Jesse Jackson Jr. is in the "midst of plea discussions with the feds probing his alleged misuse of campaign funds."

Question: Is the source . . .

A) A fed heating up Junior
B) A Jackson rep trying to leak the news out slowly

Answer: B.

Why?

This clue:

"This has been an ongoing nightmare for the Jackson family, particularly his wife, Ald. Sandi Jackson, and the Reverend," added the source, who is familiar with the campaign funds probe.

First, I doubt that's actually a direct quote. Who would use his wife's full name and title?

Second, a family member probably would just say "Sandi."

Third, it must not be Sandi.

Fourth, a fed wouldn't care about the family dynamic. But someone "familiar with the campaign funds probe" puts a family lawyer into the mix.

Either way, Sneed is being used, as usual. Forget Western Union. If you wanna send a message, call Sneed!

Election Central
* Election Notebook: The Numbers. In which I find a lot overreaching - as usual.

* Al-Jazeera: How The White House Was Won. Al-Awesome.

* The Greatest Election Night Speech Ever. It's all of them, mashed up just right.

The Daley Who Cried Wolf
Floating this perennial is usually Sneed's job.

Burger Bull
Tom Thibodeau must be upset with how his McDonald's stock is performing.

Wrong Profession
Should've cast their votes instead.

Cows, Pigs And Priests
"Dozens of clergy members will carry a golden calf symbolizing the idols of wealth and greed to Senator Richard Durbin's office on Thursday, as a coalition of community groups demands that Durbin defend social programs - including Social Security and Medicare - in any post-election budget showdown," Curtis Black writes for Newstips.

"So far Durbin has refused to sign a pledge - backed by Majority Leader Harry Reid and 28 other senators - promising to oppose cuts to Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid."

Crime And Punishment
"On Wednesday, the U.S. 7th Circuit Court of Appeals in Chicago overturned an earlier decision of a 3-judge panel of the 7th Circuit and in an 8-3 decision ruled that two American citizens cannot sue former Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld and others over torture in Iraq," JD Journal reports.

"The two men, Donald Vance and Nathan Ertel had alleged that they were tortured by the U.S. military in Iraq, and Rumsfeld and others in the military chain of command had developed, authorized and used harsh interrogation techniques against them. Earlier, in similar cases, both the 4th Circuit and the District of Columbia Circuit have rejected suits for damages against U.S. officials over allegations of torture.

"In the instant case, the two complainants used to work for a private security company in Iraq, in 2006. They became concerned over illegal bribery and other corruption in the firm and they notified the U.S. authorities and cooperated with them. However, when they tried to act as whistleblowers against the private security firm, they were taken into custody by U.S. military forces and then taken to Camp Cropper near the airport in Baghdad. They allege that at Camp Cropper, they were subjected to harsh interrogation techniques and physical and emotional abuse."

Cheese & Crackers
Maybe these guys have it.

Local Music Notebook
Chicago Gangsters, Shawn Colvin & Jackson Amps.

Local Book Notes:
R.L. Stine Has Steak In Chicago.

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The Beachwood Tip Line: Break a few eggs.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 12:45 AM | Permalink

Local Book Notes: R.L. Stine Has Steak In Chicago

Over the transom.

1. From Simon & Schuster:

Before J.K. Rowling, Stephenie Meyer or Suzanne Collins, there was R.L. Stine. Stine invented the teen horror genre with Fear Street, the bestselling teen horror series of all time. He also changed the face of children's publishing with the mega-successful Goosebumps series that went on to become a worldwide multimedia phenomenon and which Guinness World Records cites as the Best-Selling Children's Books of all time. The Goosebumps series celebrates its 20th anniversary in 2012.

Now Stine writes for the adult fans of Fear Street and Goosebumps - those twenty- and thirtysomethings with RED RAIN: A Novel, delivering a terrifying new adult horror novel centered on a town in the grip of a sinister revolt.

Travel writer Lea Sutter finds herself on a small island, Cape Le Chat Noir, off the coast of South Carolina. A merciless, unanticipated hurricane cuts a path of destruction and Lea barely escapes with her life. She has an overwhelming desire to help the devastated island. In the storm's aftermath, she discovers orphaned twin boys and impulsively decides to adopt them. The boys, Samuel and Daniel, seem amiable and immensely grateful. Then strange things begin to happen. No one could have anticipated the twins' true nature . . . how could they?

Stine will be on book tour to Chicago on Thursday, November 8, 2012, speaking at Anderson's Bookshop in Naperville at 7 p.m.

*

"The horror is grisly," the AP's Rob Merrill writes. "Stine likes food metaphors to convey the gore: Windpipes ripped out of throats like 'some kind of long pasta noodle.' A young woman holding her intestines as 'a gusher of pink and yellow sausage' oozes through her fingers."

*

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2. From the Poetry Foundation:

Since editor Harriet Monroe founded Poetry in 1912, the magazine has requested that contributors provide photos of themselves. One hundred years later, we've amassed quite a collection.

Until November 29, Chicagoans can view hand-selected poet photos from Poetry's centennial archive by visiting our current exhibition, "Poet Photos: From the Archives of Poetry Magazine." The exhibit allows an inside look at these poets' personal lives, eccentricities and, occasionally, their vanity.

A preview of the exhibition is now available online - visit our Poet Photos Portfolio, and you'll find early photos of Louise Gluck, Ruth Stone, Robert Pinsky, Gwendolyn Brooks, Robert Creeley, Erica Jong and more - even a portrait of Yvor Winters's prized Airedale! Informative notes accompany these online photos.

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 12:26 AM | Permalink

November 7, 2012

The [Wednesday] Papers

Am I glad Romney lost? Of course! Am I sad Obama won? Yes.

* Election Notebook: Big Blue.

* QT: 1,463 Days To Go.

* Dark Money And The 2012 Election.

Cell Bell Tolls
"Chicago-based wireless carrier U.S. Cellular said Wednesday that it is selling its Chicago, St. Louis and central Illinois markets, along with three others in the Midwest, to subsidiaries of Sprint Nextel Corp. for $480 million, the Tribune reports.

You can sell a market?

"The deal, which requires regulatory approval and is expected to close in mid-2013, will transfer PCS spectrum and about 585,000 customers - just under 10 percent of U.S. Cellular's subscribers - to Sprint. The markets account for about 11 percent of U.S. Cellular's service revenues."

Um, okay. Why?

"[To get] stronger by initially getting smaller," U.S. Cellular president Mary Dillon told the Tribune.

That's very phone company of you, Mary. Will there be an extra line charge on our bills for that?

*

"In the markets that U.S. Cellular is selling to Sprint, 'we aren't reaching the rate of profitable customer growth and return on investment we need to operate effectively,' Dillon said on a conference call."

Apparently we're not efficient enough around here. Plus, we churn a lot.

*

"As part of the transition, about 640 local jobs - 160 of them in Chicago proper - will be eliminated over time."

Rahm Emanuel was not available for comment; he was busy at the post office mailing off a bunch of election-related dead fish.

*

U.S. Cellular insists it will keep its name on the White Sox' ballpark, but it seems inevitable that won't last. Thankfully, we have former Fox Chicago broadcast personality Kelly Kraft to navigate a new deal for us.

Thirty-Seven Shades Of Grey
A better idea is a museum to failed Block 37 ideas. There are at least 37 of them. Give each one its own floor.

Bud Dud
Budweiser is planning a drunkier beer.

I have a better idea: More taste, less douchey

Can Kings
"Rexam, a global leader in beverage can manufacturing, recently produced its 100-millionth 24 oz. can for The Genesee Brewery - one of the oldest and continually operating breweries in the U.S.," the company announced today.

Rexam has Chicago and Buffalo Grove facilities.

Rexam's cans.

The Blue & Orange Kool-Aid Report
Iron Fists, Garbage Pails And Texans.

Fantasy Fix
Bench Cutler.

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The Beachwood Tip Line: More filling, less taste.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 12:13 PM | Permalink

Election Notebook: Big Blue

"Democrats literally mapped out their victories in Illinois congressional races this year, winning most of the big prizes in districts that had been redrawn to squeeze out Republicans or throw them into Democrat-friendly territory," AP reports.

"The party picked up four congressional seats, including three held by GOP freshmen, Tuesday night as President Barack Obama scored an easy home-state victory en route to re-election."

What was described by one top Republican strategist as a "bloodbath" includes veto-proof Democratic majorities in both the state Senate and state House. Democrats, of course, already control the governorship, as well as Cook County government and Chicago government. A Chicagoan is also in the White House - along with his Chicago cronies.

Memo to Democrats: You unmistakably wear the jacket in these parts.

There's no one else left to blame. It's your government.

*

President Obama, too, now owns his record fully. Republicans might still control the House, but that's life in America. You have now inherited your first term, not George W. Bush's last term. If only we could identify an agenda going forward.

*

Back to the General Assembly:

"Democrats were poised to win up to 40 seats in the 59-member Senate, boosting their 35-24 margin, according to [senate president John] Cullerton spokeswoman Rikeesha Phelon," the Tribune reports. "Cullerton said voters recognized Democrats are willing to 'take on tough issues' and rejected a conservative tilt in the state's Republicans.

"House Democrats were in range of boosting their 64-54 majority to 71 seats, Madigan spokesman Steve Brown said, adding the party has been willing to 'confront the state's problems year after year.'"

Right. Illinois voters are absolutely thrilled with how effectively tough Democrats confront the issues. If you believe that, I've got a voter registration list to sell you.

"Illinois undergoes a realignment of districts after each census to adjust to changes in population, but the real exercise is over who can draw legislative districts to best help their political party," the Tribune notes.

"Democrats led by Madigan, who doubles as party chairman, had the rare opportunity to rewrite the map with little trouble because they control both legislative chambers and the governor's office.

"The result was that more than a dozen sitting Republicans were pitted against each other, forcing primary showdowns, leading some lawmakers to retire and causing some Republicans to fight Democrats this fall in unfamiliar territory."

Democracy!

*

Voters were equally as impressed with Derrick Smith's ability to face tough issues, such as his indictment and pending federal trial.

"Smith declared victory in the West Side race that pitted him against lawyer Lance Tyson, who was selected to run as an independent by some of the same Democratic leaders who helped Smith win the March primary one week after his arrest," the Tribune reports.

"[W]ith 98 percent of precincts reporting, Smith had 63 percent to 37 percent for Tyson in the battle to regain his seat."

Thank you for playing, Lance! Did you have fun?

*

Jesse Jackson Jr. addresses supporters at his victory party.

*

"Fresh from a narrow election night victory, Cook County Circuit Court Judge Cynthia Brim was in court early Wednesday - on the other side of the bench as her misdemeanor battery case plays out in court," the Sun-Times reports.

"Brim won a little more the 60 percent of yes votes to win re-election despite a highly publicized tussle in March with a sheriff's deputy at the downtown Daley Center court complex."

"In that case she allegedly shoved an officer, threw a set of keys near a security checkpoint and was subsequently arrested. Nearly a dozen bar groups gave her a thumbs down in the run-up to the election."

Brim is a mentally unstable disaster whose problems go far beyond tussling with a sheriff's deputy.

"[Brim] is faulted for inconsistent rulings, hostility toward litigants and attorneys and inadequate knowledge of the law," the Tribune editorial board wrote - in 2000.

But Democrats - including one of Governing's public officials of the year - get the judges they want; our is not to wonder why.

*

"During his campaign, Walsh portrayed himself as 'Public Enemy No. 1' to Democrats," the Sun-Times reports.

"And he slammed Duckworth for being the beneficiary of a brazen political deal allegedly brokered by presidential adviser David Axelrod, Mayor Rahm Emanuel and U.S. Sen. Dick Durbin (D-Ill.), Walsh claimed they targeted him in a remap that pushed him out of his old congressional district and placed him into a heavily Democratic district - an assertion Duckworth blithely dismissed as 'lies.'"

Whose being naive now, Tammy?

*

I think Bill Foster beat Judy Biggert, but for all I know this headline is from the primary.

*

Strange places some Americans - including Chicagoans - vote.

-

Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 10:29 AM | Permalink

Dark Money & The 2012 Election

When historians dissect the 2012 elections, they will almost certainly look beyond the daily ebb and flow of momentum to a larger truth: This was the year outside spending exploded.

The election will cost a record $6 billion, with super PACs and other outside groups spending more than $1 billion - up 260 percent from 2008.

Dark money groups have spent at least $302.5 million this year, a figure that doesn't account for activity not reported to the Federal Elections Commission. In some races, we found, dark money represented the majority of spending on behalf of both candidates.

As our reporting has shown, these dark money groups avoid disclosing their donors by saying they are "social welfare" nonprofits under IRS rules, then spend vast sums on political activity (read: how nonprofits spend millions on elections and call it social welfare).

One of the few ways to detail dark-money spending is to comb through thousands upon thousands of political ad contracts at local television stations, a process made only slightly more feasible this summer by a rule requiring stations in the top 50 television markets to put them online. The ruling came after months of resistance from the National Association of Broadcasters, who complained that the process would be too costly and onerous.

If it has been onerous for television stations to post them online, it has been more so for the people who have helped manually annotate those files through ProPublica's Free the Files project.

That's because the Federal Communications Commission declined to require stations to post the information in a uniform format, leaving voters to parse through a jumble of PDF files. Nevertheless, hundreds of volunteers have done exactly that since the project launched five weeks ago.

It has been our most ambitious - and most successful - crowdsourcing effort ever, with 870 people helping to "free" $590 million from 10,400 ad contracts (and counting) over the last six weeks, using our document review tool to tell us exactly who bought ads and how much they spent in swing markets.

Why have so many people volunteered their time and energy to this project?

Ryan Thornburg, a journalism professor at the University of North Carolina Chapel Hill, rallied his students to review documents to demonstrate how journalistic data is assembled in a digital age and how "arguments against releasing this data in machine-readable format don't hold water and, ultimately, are futile and unpopular."

Joy Piazza, Ph.D., reviewed more than 70 political ad files "because I believe in the ideals of democracy and I am concerned about the ways those ideals are diminished through political campaign spending policies and the companion ways those monies dominate conversations, perceptions, informed decision-making, and civil society."

Free the Files localizes national political spending, giving voters the ability to see how outside groups are effecting elections where they live. Free the Files also allows voters to finally see dark money nonprofits in action, as we have in Ohio and Florida, instead of in the months (or years) it may take them to report their spending to the Internal Revenue Service.

As of this writing, our volunteers have freed about 30 percent of the political ad files in 33 swing markets. This election day, we vowed to free all the files in Las Vegas, which has seen more political ads air than any other market in the country. And today, we'll continue our effort until we have a detailed accounting of dark money's role in the 2012 election.

We thank the hundreds of volunteers who've made Free the Files their mission with us, and hope you'll help us continue to fight the good fight.

-

Previously:

* 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

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

* Free The Files Volunteers Unlock $160 Million In Ad Buys In First Week

* Reporting Recipe: Four Stories You Can Write Using Free the Files

* Free The Files Tracks $294 Million In TV Ads, With Obama Topping Buyer List

-

Comments welcome.


Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 9:49 AM | Permalink

The Blue & Orange Kool-Aid Report: Iron Fists, Garbage Pails And Texans

The Tillman With The Iron Fists
Most . . . Valuable . . . Puncher.

But if history has taught us anything, Peanut is either going to have to start throwing touchdowns or step it up on the statutory rape if he is going to bring home the real MVP.

Garbage Pail Offense
Taking a page out of the 2008 Patriots playbook (25 point lead = endless passing), the side of the ball that is paid to move it forward finally did so in the fourth quarter on Sunday.

Last time I told my wife to hang out for 40 minutes while I worked out the kinks in my aerial attack (Two Words: Helicopter Balls), I did not score three times, so kudos to the Bears for getting it done in the face of disinterest.

Next time, let's call the 40-yard bomb to Brandon Marshall in the second quarter.

Thanks Tice.

Congratulations Gary Johnson
Many of you rocked the vote on Tuesday.

Maybe you threw your vote away and went Libertarian*.
Maybe you're a moron and voted for The Rock as a write in.
Maybe you're into role reversal and the vote rocked you.

Unbeknownst to me, robbing a bank in Tanzania counts as a felony in the United States, so I was only able to do one of those things.

Several of the Bears were able to cast a ballot this year and while I'm not admitting to theft, again, let's just say that I can now name at least three giant, black Republicans.

Turns out guys who make more than 120k a year want to hang onto more than 62% of their income regardless of skin pigment.

Free-Form Logic
What do you get if you give the Lions a defense and a running game? That's right, a playoff team! But more specifically, you'd have something like the Texans.

Sunday night's game against Houston will provide fans around the league a chance to set their expectations for a team known locally as a great defense with an offense that comes to the party only half chubbed.

Green Bay fans, put down that tremendous barrel of cheese curd filling and let me get a quick aside with you douchebags for just a moment.

You beat the Bears fair and square in Week Two. Cool. No problem.

I mean, it took a gadget play and a couple of blown opportunities by the Bears defense, but they all count I guess.

If the Bears win against the Texans, I don't want to hear the bullshit by-way-of-our-team-beat-the-team-that-you-beat-our-team-is-better-even-though-our-record-is-two-games-worse logic on Monday.

Save that kind of garbage for ranking Mountain West teams against the Big 12 and deciding who pays for pizza after your fat kid's tee-ball game.

Kool-Aid (5 Out Of 5 Pitchers Of Straight Up Hype Bitches!)
So here comes the run of gut-check games that will ultimately decide whether the Bears are a two-seed or a four-seed.

Uh, let me rephrase that.

Here comes the big, bad AFC comin' into our town trying to ruin our party by the lake.
Well "F" those guys. "F" them in the "E" hole (that's the grossest of all holes).

They pull a guard, we pull a knife.
They shoot a gap, we shoot their momma.
That's the Chicago way.

The Texans have an excellent defense, but compared to a squad that can, and regularly does, account for 15 points via touchdowns and field position, Houston's just . . . eh.

I like the Bears' chances.

Bears 27
Texans 24

-

*Did they get the 5% necessary for federal funding? I couldn't bear the shock of Illinois going Democrat and tuned out.

-

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

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 8:41 AM | Permalink

QT: It's All Over Now


QT Quadrennial Offering of Solace to Whichever Half of the Nation Isn't Happy the Morning After:
These words are being written before the polls close.
Just know about Dick Tuck.
Tuck made his fame as a political prankster who liked to go after Richard Nixon.
There was the time Nixon was starting a whistle-stop speech from the back of a train.
Tuck put on a railroad cap, grabbed a railroad lantern and waved the train out of the station.
Tuck ran for the California State Senate in 1966.
He lost.
He stepped before the public and delivered a concession speech that has not been surpassed:
"The people have spoken. . . the bastards."
And now we move on.

···

Ron Micetic, a Bloomington, Ill., reader, regarding QT's wondering, if a group of larks is an exaltation of larks, what a group of politicians should be called, writes:
"A cacophony of politicians."
But the cacophony is done.
The people having spoken.
And we move on.

···

News Headline: "Obama wins re-election in tight race."
News Headline: "2016 presidential field already a mix of well-knowns and long shots."
Did you enjoy your brief moment of moving on?
The next presidential campaign is under way.
One Thousand Four Hundred Sixty-Three days to go.

···

QT What Passes for Miracles These Days Update:
An image of the cross of Jesus has appeared in the tarnish on a spoon in Lancaster, Pa.

···

News Item: Dying man confesses to a 1995 murder in Nashville, Tenn., and then recovers.
Mention this to any friends who think they are having a bad day.

···

News Headline: "Republican voter suppression efforts fail."
News Headline: "Thieves thwarted by local residents."
The two stories seemed to go together, for some reason.

···

News Headline: "Romney surrogate: Obama should 'learn to be an American.' "
News Headline: "Rush Limbaugh: Obama 'hates' America."
News Headline: "Newt Gingrich: Obama has 'Kenyan' world view."
News Headline: "Donald Trump: Obama possibly a Muslim."
We are taught that the defeated should be treated with magnanimity.
QT will follow this rule even with those who worked endlessly to incite racial suspicions in our electorate.
Just a few words here to these people about the election result:
Choke on it.
Is that magnanimous enough?

···

News Headline: "Psychopaths gravitate toward journalism?"
Right. Another of those studies.
As if QT needed any more proof that it has enemies everywhere it looks.

···

The number of Google hits for "tap-dancing militant Islamic fundamentalists" is now 1,490, for those keeping track.
The number grows.
It grows slowly.
But it grows.

···

QT Early Warning System:
"Casablanca 2."

···

News Item: Svengoolie hospitalized after heart attack.
News Item: Studies show laughter improves health.
Dear Svengoolie:
QT does not have many heroes, but you, of course, are one.
So QT will do the one thing in its power to speed your recuperation.
It will dedicate to you the only real joke it has ever managed to make up:
Q. What do you call a drunken upholsterer?
A. A recovering alcoholic.
Don't you feel better already?
And now you can go after that Rich Koz guy who keeps claiming he is you.

···

News Headline: "Naked man throws rocks at swans as temperature nears freezing."
There is probably an interesting story behind that.

···

From Poor QT's Almanack:
On this day in history 1,404 years ago the Third Council of Constantinople convened and, well, it seemed important at the time.

···

QT Grammar R Us Seminar on the English Language:
Joe Mitzenmacher, a River Forest reader, writes:
"Regarding your 'grilled carne asada steak tacos,' or grilled grilled steak steak tacos: In a similar vein, the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim are the The Angels Angels of Anaheim."
And now we're in the neighborhood of the La Brea Tar Pits, or the The Tar Tar Pits.
We recently finished Daylight Saving Time, not Daylight Savings Time, by the way.


Write to QT at qt@beachwoodreporter.com
QT appears Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays.

Posted by Zay N. Smith at 6:00 AM | Permalink

Fantasy Fix: As Luck Would Have It

This is my third post in a row about a young QB, but I feel like I'm just following the hot leads. Redskins rookie Robert Griffin III has been the most pleasant surprise in fantasy football season, while Panthers sophomore Cam Newton has been among the biggest fantasy busts. Now, Colts newbie Andrew Luck is seeing his fantasy stock soar at just the right time.

Luck threw for an NFL rookie record 433 yards in Week 9. He is not the dual threat that RG3 is, but he has thrown for the fourth-most yards (2,404) among all QBs this season so far. He also has 13 total TDs (10 passing, three running), just one fewer than RG3's overall TD mark. His timing for hitting his fantasy stride is good because for the next five weeks, which pretty much covers the rest of the regular season for most fantasy leagues, he does not face any particularly scary pass defenses.

The rest of the way, I think Luck is a better choice to start as a fantasy QB than regular starters, such as Philip Rivers, Michael Vick and Ben Roethlisberger. Not bad for a guy who fantasy owners drafted as a back-up bye week option.

Okay, next week, I pledge to move away from the topic of signal callers.

Expert Wire
* Fantasy Knuckleheads calls Bucs RB Doug Martin a must-start the remainder of the season after a record run Week 9.

* NFL News says don't trade injured Vikings WR Percy Harvin just yet after his Week 9 ankle sprain.

* Bleacher Report suggests not starting Jay Cutler this week against a tough Houston defense.

* Rant Sports remarks on the resurgence of Peyton Manning, who has 20 passing TDs, the third-most among fantasy QBs.

-

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

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 5:55 AM | Permalink

November 6, 2012

The [Tuesday] Papers

As I have for 15 years or so, I voted at the Wicker Park fieldhouse across the street from the cool-ass building I rent an apartment in from the awesome Popovic family and, as always, I have some thoughts to share.

I've rarely had to wait in a line to vote there, and while there was a line when I went this morning, it was so short as to be negligible. But it was long enough for me to commit what may have been an Election Day faux pas. I tried starting a conversation with the guy in front of me.

He looked uncomfortable. Is that wrong? I wasn't electioneering; I know better than that. I just commented that we were in this beautiful gym with those wood floors and nice rims and that they should let us shoot baskets while we wait. Why tease us so? It's a pretty nice court.

Then I suggested they give us beepers like restaurants that page you when your table is ready. "Just trying to improve the experience for all Americans," I said.

And then I looked around and recalled - in my head - a conversation I had with the Parking Ticket Geek the day before. I run into him often and while we don't share many political views we actually have honest political conversations; so rare these days they should be protected by the Endangered Species Act.

We were talking about our mutual dislike of early voting. "What if you find out the day before the election that the guy you voted for is an ax murderer?"

Or, more likely, has an illicit relationship with the ax lobby.

The Geek's dislike was built more on the notion that there is a single day when we all participate in a communal act of democracy. I second that notion as well.

So while I was standing in line waiting to vote this morning, I Iooked around the gym and was touched by the scene. Ordinary Americans of all shapes, sizes and colors gathered for a common purpose. Free coffee and donuts. Volunteer election judges. Kids outside who should have been in school. It was very Norman Rockwell.

And while I'm not much a patriot - last refuge of scoundrels and all - I also noticed a modest (cheap) American flag on stick jutting out of a wall at a 45-degree angle. Even the coldest heart has to warm to that a little, even if we continue to rampage around the globe killing innocents in an irrational vengeful bloodthirst that suggests we're still experiencing national post-traumatic stress syndrome from 9/11. It was inspiring.

And then I got my ballot.

There may be places in America where the ballot is as inspiring as the exercise, but Chicago is not one of them.

In fact, a Chicago ballot, which naturally includes Cook County and Illinois races on it, must be the biggest ballot buzzkill in the world.

*

First, I realized I had forgotten my bad judges cheat sheet.

And because this is Cook County, you need a bad judges cheat sheet.

Not that the bad judges ever get voted off the bench; they don't.

But it's your civic duty to try. (Susan McDunn isn't up for retention but if she were, I'm not sure what I would; a friend pointed out to me over the weekend that she believes McDunn because Daley, Burke, Alvarez and the Archdiocese are out to get all of us.)

Then it dawned on me: Vote against all of them! It's so rare for a judge to not be retained that there is no way my single vote would cast a good judge - if there is one - off the bench. But maybe I could do my part with the bad judges.

*

Doing so required a lot of coloring; I had the kind of ballot where you complete the arrow by scribbling in the missing part.

I find punching holes much more satisfying.

*

By the way, I don't like elected judges but let's face it, judges in Cook County aren't elected as much as they are appointed - by Ed Burke and the central committee. If we're going to appoint judges, then, let's at least do it in a more accountable way.

*

Then I turned to the top of the ballot. I usually vote Green, independent or write-in for president, though not always. I cast my first presidential vote for Walter Mondale, and followed up with a vote for Michael Dukakis. Bill Clinton, successfully reimagined as a far-left liberal by the GOP and enabled in their messaging by a dipshit media, was always too conservative for my tastes, having been familiar with this work in Arkansas. When he put Ricky Ray Rector to death during the campaign, I knew I couldn't vote for him. Turned out my absentee ballot from Minnesota didn't arrive until a day after the election so it didn't matter.

I considered voting for Clinton's re-election in 1996, but his version of welfare reform was too much for me to bear. Some folks are paying the price for it now. I voted for Ralph Nader, as I did in 2000. If I lived in a state where I thought my single vote would make the difference, I would have voted for Al Gore. I voted for John Kerry in 2004, which is hard for me to even type, but I badly wanted to vote against George W. Bush.

I wrote in Bob from the Beachwood in 2008.

He wrote in me.

*

Recent message from Bob: "Looks like I'm voting for you again."

*

Everyone should get at least one vote for president in their lifetimes.

*

This time around it was between Green Party candidate Jill Stein and Justice Party candidate Rocky Anderson.

Turns out Rocky is not on the Illinois ballot, though Stein is.

I almost vote for Stein just for that reason. And then I thought, no, I'm not going to abide by Illinois' crappy ballot access rules. So I wrote in Rocky.

*

See, voting for me has become as much an exercise in spite as anything else.

*

But not always. Because of redistricting, I am now in Mike Quigley's 5th, not Luis Gutierrez's 4th. This gave me the chance to vote for Green Nancy Wade.

*

And then, depression set in.

State Sen. Willie Delgado ran unopposed, though there was a write-in slot available. I almost went with Zora Popovic, but I didn't want to make a mockery of my ballot, even though it was making a mockery of me. Zora would be great at the job, but let's face it, she would hate commuting to Springfield.

State Rep. Cynthia Soto, whom I voted for in a first ward aldermanic race years ago, also ran unopposed.

I thought I was now in Derrick Smith's district, but I did not see that race on my ballot. Did I miss it? I've gotten the mailers - some of them even told me which number to punch, even though I didn't have a punch ballot. Wasn't gonna vote in that one anyway.

A write-in spot was available in the Cook County State's Attorney's race, so I wrote in Tracy Siska.

*

I voted in favor of the referendum allowing the city to negotiate in bulk with ComEd because there is an opt-out provision. I didn't vote for or against the other referendums because they are jokes being played on you by nefarious forces.

The one referendum I would have voted in favor of - an elected school board - was not on the ballot in my precinct.

*

Instead of giving you an "I Voted" sticker, election authorities should give you an "I'm A Chump" sticker.

*

Actually we don't seem to get stickers in Chicago, just a piece of paper. Someone must have the piece of paper contract.

*

I haven't written as much as I had hoped in the days leading up to the election about the campaign for president, the third-party debate held here in Chicago to little coverage, the media's generally shameful performance, the ridiculous punditry our local journos have participated in, and so forth, because, frankly, it's tiring. And I'm already perpetually exhausted. I'm trying to conserve energy to see my way forward with this site, this company, my career and so on. But I don't think my thoughts are a secret - certainly not to longtime readers. And new readers will catch on soon enough.

Election Notebooks coming the rest of the week.

Also, keep your eyes on @BeachwoodReport.

And remember, tonight I'll be one of Jim DeRogatis's guests at this Columbia College event which will be streamed and carried live by CAN TV, whose executive director happens to be Barbara Popovic. Full circle!

Song Of The Moment
With all eyes on Ohio, it's Bruce Springsteen's "Youngstown."

Beachwood Election Guide!
Remember, you can print this out and take it with you into the voting booth and/or use it for rolling papers.

-

The Beachwood Tip Line: Spiteful.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 9:47 AM | Permalink

Beachwood Election Guide 2012!

Remember. you can print this out and take it with you into the voting booth and/or use it for rolling papers.

PRESIDENT:

It's a close call.

U.S. SENATE: Neither Illinois senator is up for re-election or indictment this year.

U.S. HOUSE: Congressional races by district:

1. Bobby Rush vs. Donald Peloquin.

I don't know what's most aggravating about Bobby Rush, his unholy alliance with the nation's telecoms, his race-baiting grandstanding or his nonsensical hyperbole. Probably it's the fact that there's no evidence he does anything for his district that couldn't be done by a cardboard cutout.

"Rush has one of the safest Democratic districts in the country, and he acts like it," the Tribune says. "He refused to meet with his Republican opponent for an interview with the editorial board." He also has "one of the worst missed-vote records in Congress over the course of his career."

It's time for a change. Peloquin is the longtime Republican mayor of Blue Island. If he doesn't represent South Side Chicagoans well in his first term, he can be sent packing with little to no harm done. Vote Peloquin.

2. Jesse Jackson Jr. vs. Brian Woodworth and a couple other mopes.

If Jackson had been forthright about his problems, it would be a lot easier to be patient and return him to Congress. Unfortunately, he hasn't. Also unfortunately, there's no reason to believe that Woodworth or the others would be good for the district. But the utter dishonesty of Team Jackson ought not be rewarded. Marcus Lewis is running as an independent and that's reason enough to give him your vote.

3. Dan Lipinski vs. Richard Grabowski.

Lipinski continues to be rewarded for being installed in this seat by his daddy, who in turn is now a lobbyist who shares certain interests with his son. No! Lipinski also refuses to make a public endorsement in the presidential race, which is the height of weaselly couragelessness. Grabowski is the official Republican in the race and we'd like to see him win - he'll get slaughtered - just to fuck things up.

4. Luis Gutierrez vs. Hector Concepcion.

Gutierrez has gotten rich off gentrification with a little help from his friends and that's not okay with us. And while it's always satisfying to see someone stick it to Mike Madigan, this soap opera is too thick with all-around grossness to enjoy or condone. Concepcion, meanwhile, may not even be a real candidate. All the more reason to vote for him.

5. Mike Quigley vs. Dan Schmitt and Nancy Wade.

Quigley was briefly thought of as a reformer when it was easy to deride the hapless Todd Stroger as a paragon of inept governing, but once elected to Congress he quickly found his level as just another Democratic hack. Nancy Wade is the Green candidate and we encourage those who live in the 5th to give her your vote.

6. Peter Roskam vs. Leslie Coolidge.

We don't much like Peter Roskam, so, you know, whatever.

7. Danny Davis vs. Rita Zak and John Monaghan.

Danny Davis has been looking for a soft landing for years and we want to give it to him! Please relieve him of his pain! Do him a favor and vote Zak. Er, scratch that; she wants the job even less. Vote Monaghan! Er . . . Crap, the help-Danny-retire vote is gonna split! Won't someone offer him a board seat or something so we can all move on?

8. Joe Walsh vs. Tammy Duckworth.

I'm not entirely sure who the Democrats would really like to see win this race; Joe Walsh is a useful idiot and incredible fund-raising tool for them. Duckworth was a lackluster candidate when Dick Durbin and Rahm Emanuel plucked her out of obscurity in a cynical and unsuccessful ploy to install her in the old 6th district instead of the real Democrat, Christine Cegelis, who might have actually won the seat, and she's still lackluster. But thank God she's rushing to fill the void of representation for the business community in Congress! Punt.

9. Jan Schakowsky vs. Tim Wolf.

Ugh.

10. Bob Dold vs. Brad Schneider.

This is getting depressing.

11. Judy Biggert vs. Bill Foster.

Foster is one of the few folks on this list we were prepared to like. But, really, Bill?

12. Blll Enyart vs. Jason Plummer and Paula Bradshaw.

No-brainer.

13. Tim Johnson vs. David Gill and John Hartman.

Hartman is the independent.

14. Randy Hultgren vs. David Anderson.

Anderson is one of the more thoughtful candidates this year, if his Tribune questionnaire is any indication.

15. John Shimkus vs. Angela Michael.

Shimkus is a royal goof; vote for the non-candidate.

16. Adam Kinzinger vs. Wanda Rohl.

Wanda Rohl is a self-described "citizens' candidate" and we like the cut of her jib.

17. Bobby Schilling vs. Cheri Bustos.

Oy.

18. Aaron Schock vs. Steve Waterworth.

Um, yeah. Is it over yet?

GENERAL ASSEMBLY:
Voting against Michael Madigan is imperative - even if his direct opponent is, as usual, MIA.

That means voting against every Madigan-backed candidate and Democratic tool who enables his demonic rule over our quasi-politico-police state.

10th: Derrick Smith vs. Lance Tyson.

Tough one. A vote for Smith would do well to send a message to Madigan & Co. On the other hand, once he's convicted and removed from the House again, they'll probably just install . . . Tyson. Danny Davis is still backing Smith to cover his ass on the West Side, which still seems to favor the indicted hack installed by a fake-repentant Jesse White; Toni Preckwinkle won't endorse Tyson because he was a Todd Stroger crony.

In other words, this race is all about the Democrats and their petty high-school crappiness; it's really rich stuff to watch them fake their outrage over one of the least corrupt members of their party who is so clean he only took his (undercover) dupe for a few thousand with a generous kickback.

Voting in this race only encourages them. So does non-voting.

JUDGES:
I didn't research judges this year, but the Trib recommends firing these six.

For more information, Jack Leyhane has links to the various judicial ratings.

COOK COUNTY:
Did you know Dorothy Brown is up for re-election?

Did you know Anita Alvarez is up for re-election?

Did you know they should both be tossed out on their asses?

Did you know there isn't any real opposition?

Did you forget you live in Cook County?

CHICAGO REFERENDA:
A joke being played on you.

*

The elected school board amendment will still be on ballots in 327 precincts in 35 wards. Of course you should vote Yes.

WATER REC BOARD:
This guy should probably go.

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 7:46 AM | Permalink

Song of the Moment: Youngstown

As the presidential race comes down the stretch, it's all about Ohio.

So we're told.

Ohio is the swing state du jour.

All eyes are on it.

Whatever.

There are many songs about Ohio. The top of the heap is - no doubt - the one by Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young.

"The Kent State shootings had a profound effect on some of the students who later became prominent musicians," according to Songfacts.

"Chrissie Hynde was a student at the time, and eventually formed The Pretenders. Mark Mothersbaugh and Jerry Casale were also on campus, and after the shootings, they developed the band Devo based on the concept of 'De-Evolution,' meaning the human race was regressing.

Said Casale, "It refocused me entirely. I don't think I would have done Devo without it. It was the deciding factor that made me live and breathe this idea and make it happen. In Chrissie Hynde's case, I'm sure it was a very powerful single event that was traumatic enough to form her sensibility and account for a lot of her anger."

Hynde, of course, went on to write "My City Was Gone," in which she lamented the mallification of her home state. The final verse:

I went back to Ohio
But my pretty countryside
had been paved down the middle
by a government that had no pride

The farms of Ohio
had been replaced by shopping malls
And Muzak filled the air
from Seneca to Cuyahoga Falls
Way to go, Ohio

Oddly, Rush Limbaugh uses the opening of the song as a "bumper" on his radio show despite the fact that Hynde does not share his politics.

"[S]he cannot stop him from using the song as long as the show continues to pay royalties," according to Songfacts.

But the Ohio song most relevant to this year's Election Day is one that has unfortunately been relevant for too long: Bruce Springsteen's "Youngstown."

Springsteen is actively campaigning for Obama and in his endorsement noted that he'll be doing so in Ohio. I happen to think that's folly. Not because I think he should be campaigning for Romney, but because it's painful to see him give cover to the guy who - among other misdeeds - has so aggressively given cover to the villainous fat cat bankers of Springsteen's songs.

Bruce would be more effective going around the country on his own singing songs like "Youngstown" and making his audiences understand exactly what it is he's saying - not just touring but campaigning for economic and political literacy and perhaps even calling for real change and supporting independent and/or third-party candidates or just causes. Now he's an insider riding on Air Force One with commander-in-chief of kill lists and drone deaths, among other civil liberty disasters. It's not just about economics.

But economics are Bruce's bread-and-butter and "Youngstown" is a song that tells a familiar tale, familiar to the Springsteen mythology of factory towns and exploited workers whipsawed by economic forces they do not understand. (It is telling that the song is from the album The Ghost of Tom Joad, which is also wholly relevant on several levels and is among his most underrated works; there's a reason why Libertyville's Tom Morello, late of Rage Against the Machine, performs his own version of the title track, as well as frequently performing the song with Springsteen himself.)

"Youngstown" isn't unlike "My Hometown," though decidedly less cloying. Those jobs are going boys, and they ain't coming back. Them big boys did what Hitler couldn't do.

Song: Youngstown

Album: The Ghost of Tom Joad

Recorded: April - June 1995.

Released: Nov. 21, 1995

Length: 3:57

Wikipedia: "Springsteen was inspired to write 'Youngstown' and 'The New Timer,' another Ghost of Tom Joad song, after reading Dale Maharidge's 1985 book Journey to Nowhere: The Saga of the New Underclass, illustrated by Michael Williamson.

"Journey to Nowhere chronicled the story of middle-class Americans who lost their jobs and had become hobos riding freight trains like in the Great Depression. The stories of dying steel towns inspired 'Youngstown' and the stories of boxcar hobos inspired 'New Timer.'

"In an interview with BBC Radio, Springsteen stated that his connection to this song was 'probably through my own kids and my own job, in the sense that the thought of being told after 30 years or so, that what you're doing isn't useful anymore, or has no place, or that the world has changed and that's the way it is. And you're 50 and gotta find something else to do. That's almost impossible . . . I don't know what I would do in that circumstance.'

"With 'Youngstown,' he managed to trace the rise of America as an industrial power, and the subsequent breaking of its social contract. This contrast between the mythology of the American Dream and the realities faced by its working-class citizens is among Springsteen's most familiar themes. Activist historian Howard Zinn included the lyrics of the song in his 2004 book Voices from a People's History of the United States."

Wikipedia suggest also seeing "Allentown." That song is from 1982. The hollowing out of America began long ago - and every presidential candidate since has promised to rebuild manufacturing here while enacting policies that only further eviscerate it.

Songfacts: "This revisits a common Springsteen theme: the division between the wealthy and the working class."

(But don't get smug: Springsteen's daughter is into dressage just like Ann Romney.)

Lyrics:

Here in Northeast Ohio
Back in 1803
James and Dan Heaton
Found the ore that was linin' Yellow Creek
They built a blast furnace
Here along the shore
And they made the cannonballs
That helped the Union win the war

Here in Youngstown
Here in Youngstown
My sweet Jenny I'm sinkin' down
Here darlin' in Youngstown

Well my daddy worked the furnaces
Kept 'em hotter than hell
I come home from 'Nam worked my way to scarfer
A job that'd suit the devil as well
Taconite coke and limestone
Fed my children and made my pay
Them smokestacks reachin' like the arms of God
Into a beautiful sky of soot and clay

Here in Youngstown
Here in Youngstown
Sweet Jenny I'm sinkin' down
Here darlin' in Youngstown

Well my daddy come on the Ohio works
When he come home from World War Two
Now the yard's just scrap and rubble
He said "Them big boys did what Hitler couldn't do."
These mills they built the tanks and bombs
That won this country's wars
We sent our sons to Korea and Vietnam
Now we're wondering what they were dyin' for

Here in Youngstown
Here in Youngstown
My sweet Jenny I'm sinkin' down
Here darlin' in Youngstown

From the Monongahela Valley
To the Mesabi Iron Range
To the coal mines of Appalachia
The story's always the same
Seven hundred tons of metal a day
Now sir you tell me the world's changed
Once I made you rich enough
Rich enough to forget my name

And Youngstown
And Youngstown
My sweet Jenny I'm sinkin' down
Here darlin' in Youngstown

When I die I don't want no part of heaven
I would not do heaven's work well
I pray the devil comes and takes me
To stand in the fiery furnaces of hell

Original Put To User Video

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In Youngstown, 1996

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On Letterman, 1995

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In Pittsburgh last month at an Obama event.
It just doesn't fit, singing on behalf of that slick Forward sign. It's just sad. Neither major candidate represents Youngstown. It's not on the agenda. It's like a last, desperate gasp for America. My sweet Jennie, I'm sinkin' down.

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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
* Chicago Teacher

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See also:
* Songs of the Occupation: To Have And To Have Not
* Songs of the Occupation: Johnny 99

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 12:42 AM | Permalink

November 5, 2012

SportsMonday: Titan of the Takeaway

Which punch did you prefer during the most extraordinary individual performance in the NFL on Sunday and maybe the most extraordinary single game in the league this season?

There is much to be said for the first, when the performer in question, Charles Tillman, slipped in behind Titan receiver Kenny Britt and executed a clean, crisp right cross that popped the ball right out of the powerfully built receiver's hand on Tennessee's first offensive play of the game. Brian Urlacher crashed in for the recovery and the Bears were on their way.

The second punch was the veteran cornerback's short right to the midsection of running back Chris Johnson later in the first quarter, which was made possible by Lance Briggs being right there to assist on the tackle. In other words, Tillman could just focus on the football and not worry about taking Johnson down all by himself.

This had to be a fan's favorite fumble recovery of the day because it featured Tillman cleverly batting the ball away (how about the fact that there was discussion among the refs at that point about whether it was an illegal bat? Who knew there was such a thing?) from Johnson. It almost went out of bounds but then safety Chris Conte flew in and clearly secured possession just before he rolled onto the sideline. He did it so well that even though it was a close play there was no need for a video review.

Moral of the story: turnovers are team efforts (even if at this point Tillman has clearly earned some sort of mythical individual moniker - how about the "Titan of the Takeaway," which is only to be used when the Bears are not in the midst of a game with Tennessee of course).

Later in the second quarter, the only Titan fumble the Bears recovered on the day that wasn't forced by Tillman became the best illustration of how the team's determination to fly to the football on every play results in turnovers. After Urlacher knocked this one out of Johnson's hands and there were about four of his teammates diving in to try to grab the football before the Titans had even one other guy on the case. A few Bears missed but eventually Julius Peppers got it.

Tillman's third punch (executed with ten-and-a-half minutes left in the first half) was a jab and almost certainly the least noteworthy of the bunch. He delivered it after Titan receiver Craig Stevens had picked up 12 yards on a pass reception in front of him and the Bears did not recover.

And the fourth was a fourth-quarter uppercut. If the Titans weren't knocked out before that one, delivered to the Titans' Jared Cook with the resulting fumble recovered by Kelvin Hayden, they certainly were moments later when Jay Cutler fired his third and final touchdown pass to Brandon Marshall to give the Bears an awesome 50 points on the day.

At that point I started to worry about Tillman's health. I think after a football player makes his second or third big play of a game it should be team policy that teammates stop slapping him on the helmet. It was starting to look like the cornerback might go down with a concussion if his teammates didn't ease up on the celebration.

For Tillman it all added up to four forced fumbles in a single game, an unheard of number. Tillman now has 36 forced fumbles in his 10-year career (which gives fans an idea of how amazing it is to have four in a single game) to go with his 32 career interceptions. There is no real NFL record in this category because the league only started keeping track of forced fumbles a few decades ago. But suffice it to say it has been a long, long time since a single defender forced four fumbles in 60 minutes.

Football coaches have forever preached the importance of turnovers but the big plays have always seemed to come and go. Teams with big pass rushes have of course been more likely to force quarterbacks to cough up the football or make ill-advised passes that end up being picked off but otherwise there has been a certain randomness to takeaways.

The veteran cornerback might just force observers to reassess accepted wisdom about fumbles. Perhaps if a razor sharp veteran defender can put himself in the middle of plays with consistency and if he plays in a good enough defense where he is confident that if he goes for the ball first rather than the tackle, teammates will take care of taking a given ballcarrier down (and make recoveries), he can become the sort of forcing fumble machine that Tillman has been of late (he has seven on the year).

Another factor may have been a different atmosphere in training camp this season. There was the story early on of star receiver Marshall, who had arrived in a trade in the off-season, holding up a practice and beckoning to Tillman to come over and guard him during a drill instead of the scrub who had initially lined up at cornerback across from him. Tillman has been at the top of his game since play one this season and it certainly seems logical to conclude that he has benefited from better competition in practice.

The Bears have benefited from a veteran defense firing on all cylinders. And the most productive of those veterans has been the one who gives the Bears a puncher's chance for a turnover on every opposing possession.

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

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 11:30 AM | Permalink

The [Monday] Papers

If you haven't made Election Night plans yet - like dousing yourself in gasoline and lighting yourself on fire - an invite to be a guest at this program hosted by Jim DeRogatis has saved me from running head first into the TV at the first mention of an exit poll, and maybe it can save you too.

Otter Fodder
"Once listed as endangered in the state, otters are increasing in number, according to wildlife officials who say the population is now big enough to support an annual harvest," the Tribune reports in "River Otters Being Trapped In Illinois For First Time Since 1929."

Congratulations, otters! Now that you've survived extinction and grown your population back to a healthy number, we're gonna slaughter you!

*

One otter fights back.

Bill Foster Is A Weasel
Not even the Otter Defense can help you here, Bill.

Private Building Commission
"As the man responsible for overseeing construction of Chicago's new schools, libraries, police stations and even a new harbor along the lakefront, James McConnell commands a salary from Chicago taxpayers higher than anyone at City Hall makes," the Sun-Times reports in "Why Do Chicago Taxpayers Pay This Man More Than The Mayor?"

"That includes Mayor Rahm Emanuel, who recently agreed to extend to a fifth year the lucrative no-bid contract that will pay the politically connected construction-management firm where McConnell is executive vice president more than $95 million by the time it runs out next year."

The answer: Because somehow extending a lucrative no-bid contract to a clout-heavy construction dude somehow saves us money?

That's what one official - actually the executive director of the Rise Group, which apparently gets big chunks of building commission business - says.

"[By comparison] She points to the construction of Millennium Park, Daley's crown jewel, which ended up costing $475 million - three times its orginal budget."

Funny, city officials under Richard M. Daley always tried to argue that there weren't any cost overruns at Millennium Park; the plan just changed.

Also, the public building commission and it's fave contractor apparently don't save us money.

[I]n the only case in which a direct comparison can be drawn, the cost of building a project through the commission and its private contractor was higher. That involved the construction of a new residential treatment unit at the Cook County Jail. Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle decided the county could build it cheaper - a move she says saved taxpayers $1.3 million in management fees that she says are too high.

"It's been more expensive to put things out through the Public Building Commission," says Owen Kilmer, a spokesman for Preckwinkle, who, as the head of the Cook County Board, also is one of the 11 members of the Public Building Commission's board.

Preckwinkle, by the way, was just named one of Governing magazine's public officials of the year - though they once conferred the same honor on Daley for his "pragmatic solutions to the most pressing urban problems."

How are those solutions working out? Badly enough for his predecessors to also win the award for cleaning them up!

*

Finally, and off-point I know, I was under the impression that Rahm was only taking $1 in salary. No?

Library Fantasy Come True
"As vice president of the Chicago Public Library's board of directors, Cherryl T. Thomas helps decide when new libraries are needed and where they are built," the Sun-Times reports.

"And as president of Ardmore Associates LLC, the company she founded after leaving a City Hall post in the late 1990s, Thomas is paid to help oversee construction of those new library buildings."

It's like a Festivus miracle! Only around here we call it a Chicago coinkydink.

"Ardmore - which City Hall has certified as being owned and operated by a woman and a minority - is a subcontractor to the Rise Group."

I, personally, would like to issue a much-belated welcome to our new Rise Group overlords.

Splash Down
When I saw that Marty Casey of the Lovehammers had "a tale to tell" in today's Splash, I finally got it: Splash has gathered the most aggressively annoying people in Chicago in one place and our job is to watch them drown. Brilliant! Haters gonna click.

Board Games
"Chicago's nonprofits say they're eager to diversify their boards, but their attempts to add more minority and female members have produced only modest results so far," Crain's reports.

That's what happens when your search for women and minorities is limited to women and minorities who think like white men.

Trinity Tale
"The uproar over Wright's quotes traumatized Trinity," the Irish Times reports.

I'll say.

"Rev. Joan Harrell, director of public communications . . . demanded that I sign an agreement not to take recordings, photographs or notes or talk to parishioners."

Excuse me, Joan, but point of theological fact: If God didn't want parishioners to talk, He woudn't have given them mouths.

*

"She accompanied me at all times."

But there was only one set of fingerprints.

Presidential Politics
* Obama Has Granted Clemency More Rarely Than Any Modern President.

* Poverty, Power & The Public Airwaves.

* QT: Election Special.

And A Peanut Shall Lead Them
SportsMonday: Titan of the Takeaway.

Weird Fiction, Twisted Poetry
Rooster-Footed Devils.

The Weekend In Chicago Rock
An exceptionally strong one.

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The Beachwood Tip Line: Exceptional.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 9:33 AM | Permalink

Poverty, Power & The Public Airwaves

While the winner of the 2012 race for the White House might not be known by Thursday, Nov. 8, one thing we will know is that this first post-Citizens United presidential election created a new normal in U.S. electoral politics.

Unprecedented amounts of corporate cash have flooded the process, creating a tsunami of SuperPAC-funded negative ads that only served to distort and disinform the public, diminishing our democracy and deterring participation.

While trading barbs on the narrow range of issues on which they differ, President Obama and Mitt Romney were united in ignoring issues of critical importance to a vast majority of people, from poverty to war and climate change.

Broadcast networks made billions during this election season, while ignoring their obligation to serve the public interest.

What role does the media play in furthering this erosion of our democracy, and how can people organize to ensure that they have a responsible, representative and responsive media, a true public media that treats our airwaves as the vital national resource that they are?

Thursday, November 8th at 7 p.m. Thorne Auditorium Northwestern Law School Downtown Campus 375 E. Chicago Ave. (Two blocks east of Chicago Red Line Stn.) FREE and open to the public Doors open at 6 p.m. RSVP via: EventBrite | Facebook

Join is for an evening of engaged discussion!

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ABOUT THE PRESENTERS

AMY GOODMAN is the host and executive producer of Democracy Now!, a national, daily, independent, award-winning news program airing on over 1,100 public television and radio stations worldwide. Time magazine named Democracy Now! its "Pick of the Podcasts," along with NBC's Meet the Press. She most recently co-authored, with Denis Moynihan, the New York Times best-seller The Silenced Majority (Haymarket Books), and has been on a 100-city tour to promote the book and to cover the untold stories of the 2012 election season.

From his celebrated conversations with world figures to his work to inspire the next generation of leaders, broadcaster, author, publisher, advocate, and philanthropist TAVIS SMILEY has emerged as an outstanding voice for change. Smiley is currently the host of the late-night television talk show Tavis Smiley on PBS as well as The Tavis Smiley Show and Smiley & West from Public Radio International (PRI). His most recent book, co-authored with Cornel West, is the New York Times best-seller The Rich and the Rest of Us: A Poverty Manifesto (SmileyBooks).

One of America's most provocative public intellectuals, CORNEL WEST has been a champion for racial justice since childhood. His writing, speaking, and teaching weave together the traditions of the black Baptist Church, progressive politics, and jazz. The New York Times has praised his "ferocious moral vision." His many books include Race Matters, Democracy Matters, and his autobiography, Brother West: Living and Loving Out Loud. Most recently, he co-authored the New York Times best-seller The Rich and the Rest of Us: A Poverty Manifesto (SmileyBooks) with Tavis Smiley.

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 8:38 AM | Permalink

The Weekend In Chicago Rock

You shoulda been there.

1. Shiny Toy Guns at Subterranean on Thursday night.


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2. Walk Off The Earth at House of Blues on Friday night.

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3. MarchFourth Marching Band at Martyr's on Saturday night.

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4. Napalm Death at Reggie's on Saturday night.

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5. Squarepusher at the Metro on Saturday night.

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6. Motel Beds at Stage Bar on Saturday night.

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7. Rosie Flores at the Old Town on Saturday night.

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8. Exhumed at Reggie's on Saturday night.

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9. Daniel Johnston at Bottom Lounge on Saturday night.

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10. Tragically Hip at the Riv on Saturday night.

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11. Lawrence Arabia at the Empty Bottle on Saturday night.

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12. Will Hoge at Joe's on Friday night.

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13. Ian Anderson at the Chicago Theatre on Friday night.

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14. Ben Gibbard at the Chicago Athenaeum on Friday night.

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15. Devil in a Woodpile at the Hideout on Friday night.

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16. The Wallflowers at Park West on Friday night.

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17. Nude Beach at the Empty Bottle on Thursday night.

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 7:48 AM | Permalink

QT: Election Special


News Headline: "Presidential race too close to call."
A call was placed.
"This is the residence of Irene Hughes."
QT wishes to speak to Irene Hughes, the noted psychic.
A moment was waited.
"Hello?"
The polls say the presidential race is close. Do you have any sense of who is going to win?
"Romney is going to win."
Really.
"Romney will win by a substantial margin."
Thank you.
"You're welcome."
QT called four more psychics.
The final survey results:
+ Mitt Romney: 2
+ President Obama: 2
+ No Prediction: 1
The trend is apparent.
One day to go.

···

QT Early Warning System:
The Democrats have 2,500 lawyers on the ground for election day in Ohio alone.

···

QT Vote Count Countdown Update (Election Final):
News Headline: "Is Obama like Carter, as Romney says?"
News Headline: "Did Romney really suggest privatizing disaster relief?"
News Headline: "Did Obama really take away all those oil leases?"
News Headline: "Is Mitt Romney 'presidential' enough?"
News Headline: "Did Chris Christie destroy Romney's new bipartisan pitch?"
News Headline: "Did Chris Christie kill his 2016 presidential chances?"
News Headline: "Is Justin Bieber sliding in popularity?"
News Headline: "Romney's secrecy: Did he get away with it?"
No, yes, no, "yes," yes, no, how did that get in there, we'll know soon enough.
Take a breath. Try to hold on.
One day to go.

···

News Headline: "Get out and vote on Tuesday."
Then again:
If you can't, say, name your senators or the capital of Afghanistan, little things like that, please don't vote.
You will be doing the nation a favor.

···

B.R., a Chicago reader, regarding QT's wondering, if a group of larks is an exaltation of larks, what a group of politicians should be called, writes:
"A boodle of politicians."
Kevin McClure, an Oak Park reader, writes:
"A feculency of politicians."

···

A Republic, If You Can Keep It:
Fifty-seven percent of the American electorate believes in demonic possession.

···

News Headline: "Woman, 97: Voter ID a 'cruel joke.' "
We all need to lighten up.
Can't this woman see the humor in Republican efforts to trip up Americans as they try to vote?

···

+ President Obama to backers booing the mention of Mitt Romney:
"Don't boo. Vote. Vote. Voting is the best revenge."
+ Mitt Romney the next day:
"Yesterday the president said something you may already have heard that I found troubling--spoke to an audience and said voting is the best revenge. . . ."
Keeping in mind that no one is happier than a politician who is troubled by his opponent's conduct.
Well. All right.
Maybe not as happy as a politician who is outraged or saddened.

···

News Item: Mitt Romney's TV ads go 99 percent negative during the final week in October.
Feel free to insert a few words here about a candidate who can't find much good to say about himself.
And then remember that President Obama 's TV ads went 85 percent negative.

···

News Headline: "Ohio secretary of state accused of installing suspicious software on voting machines."
News Headline: "Last-minute directive by Ohio secretary of state could see legal votes discarded."
And please don't make anything of the fact that he is a Republican.
He assures us there is nothing to worry about.
Goodness gracious, why is everyone so mistrustful these days?

···

News Headline: "Donald Trump vs. Mitt Romney: Who has the better tan?"
News Headline: "Who would you rather have babysit: Obama or Romney?"
News Headline: "Campaign ads cast Romney as a better boyfriend than Obama."
News Headline: "Obama and Romney: Where they stand on the issues."
Whoa. How did that last one get in there?

···

From the QT Archive of Knowledge:
+ John F. Kennedy campaigned in 49 states in 1960.
+ Richard Nixon campaigned in 50 states in 1960.
+ President Obama and Mitt Romney have campaigned in 10 states.

···

News Item: Right-wing leaders warn in campaign's closing weeks that if President Obama is re-elected, it will mean "a thousand years of darkness" marked by "dictatorship and collapse" during which the government will "erase the Second Amendment" and see to it that all who resist are "hunted down like dogs," all leading to the United States becoming "a vassal state to a global entity" that will "send in U.N. troops" of occupation and "confiscate all the tinfoil" that patriots need to maintain their stockpiles of hats.
Sorry.
Made the last one up.
But not the rest.

···

News Headline: "Mr. Burns endorses Romney."
News Headline: "Pee-Wee Herman endorses Obama."
One day to go.

···

News Headline: "Rape comment hangs over Indiana race."
News Headline: "GOP hopeful: 'Rape thing' not cause for abortion."
News Headline: "McCaskill hits Akin with new ads featuring raped women."
One day to go.

···

QT Grammar R Us Seminar on the English Language:
K.R., a Baltimore reader, writes:
"It is 'between 10 a.m. and 3 p.m.' or 'from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.,' but not, dammit, 'between 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.' I can't fathom the lack of thought about words that produces the last. Would these people stand between a pillar to post?"
Sorry. QT can't deal with this now.
It is too busy with an election that could be nip to tuck.


Write to QT at qt@beachwoodreporter.com
QT appears Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays.

Posted by Zay N. Smith at 6:00 AM | Permalink

November 3, 2012

The Weekend Desk Report

Why stop at an hour when we could fall back 40 years?

Market Update
Of course, some parts of the country this week are well on their way there already.

Nobel Peace Fried
Of course, 40 years ago the Nobel Prize committee had a much more realistic view of world peace.

Star Whoring Our Childhood
On the bright side, future generations will be able to share in our pop culture heritage. On the dark side, the next Disney princess still won't be Latina.

Groupoff
In other news, duh.

Louie Louie
Finally this week, many people wondered what comedian Louis C.K. would do during the hiatus from his TV show. Turns out he'll be busy with a new diversion.

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The Weekend Desk Tip Line: Diversive.

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The College Football Report: The Undefeated, The Overrated And The Offshore.

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Weekend Politics: Obama Least Merciful Modern President.

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Weekend PPT: Elgin's Art Deco History.

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Weekend Books: Weird Fiction And Twisted Poetry.

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The Sound Opinions Weekend Listening Report: "Get ready for some screamin', some pleadin' and some shimmyin'. Fifty years after it was recorded, Jim and Greg look back at James Brown's Live at the Apollo album with his biographer RJ Smith. Then they review Neil Young's 2nd album of 2012 and the debut record from Compton rapper Kendrick Lamar.

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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.

Press Conference: Renewal of the Violence Against Women Act

10-29-ViolenceAgainstWomen.jpg

Activist Dolores Huerta and U.S. Representative Judy Biggert (IL-13th District) join representatives from Mujeres Latinas en Acción and Casa de Esperanza as they release a new report on the reauthorization of Violence Against Women Act.

Watch Online

Saturday, November 3 at 8 p.m. on CAN TV21
1 hr.

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Chicago By the Book Series: Soldier Field: A Stadium & Its City

10-29-SoldierField.jpg

Tribune reporter and author Liam Ford shares the dramatic history of Chicago's Soldier Field and its connection with the political, cultural, and sporting life of the city.

Sunday, November 4 at 9 a.m. on CAN TV21
1 hr

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Serving Our Communities: Alternatives to Incarceration
Hosted by Protestants for the Common Good, this symposium includes speakers from Seattle, Milwaukee and Illinois to discuss best practice models for diversion.

  • Alternatives to Incarceration, Part 1

    10-29-ServingOurCommPt1.jpg

    Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle describes major issues caused by the current system of incarceration, including its cost and the safety of both staff and prisoners.

    Sunday, November 4 at 10 a.m. on CAN TV21
    2 hr

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  • Alternatives to Incarceration, Part 2

    10-29-ServingOurCommPt2.jpg

    Al Sharp of Protestants for the Common Good discusses possible alternatives to today's incarceration system.

    Sunday, November 4 at 12 p.m. on CAN TV21
    2 hr

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2013 Proposed City Budget

10-29-Budget2012.jpg

The Reader's Mick Dumke joins a community meeting hosted by the progressive caucus of the Chicago City Council to discuss the 2013 proposed city budget.

Watch Online

Sunday, November 4 at 2 p.m. on CAN TV21
1 hr 30 min

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Economic & Retirement Security Meeting with Congressional Representatives

11-5-PamphletsJanSchakowsky.jpg

Community members meet with Congressional representatives Davis, Quigley and Schakowsky to seek their commitment to safeguard social security programs, create jobs and to stop making cuts to children and senior service programs.

Watch Online

Sunday, November 4 at 5 p.m. on CAN TV19
1 hr 30 min


Posted by Natasha Julius at 9:44 AM | Permalink

November 2, 2012

Elgin's Art Deco Heritage

"Art Deco was a wildly popular design stye that originated in Paris France in the mid 1920s, and influenced art, fashion, interior design and architecture around the globe. Elgin, Illinois, played an important role in popularizing the Art Deco movement internationally. We'll tell you how in this 30-minute cable-TV program. This production was a collaboration between the Elgin Area Historical Society and the Chicago Art Deco Society."


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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 9:46 PM | Permalink

Obama Has Granted Clemency More Rarely Than Any Modern President

A former brothel manager who helped the FBI bust a national prostitution ring. A retired sheriff who inadvertently helped a money launderer buy land. A young woman who mailed ecstasy tablets for a drug-dealing boyfriend, then worked with investigators to bring him down.

All of them and hundreds more were denied pardons by President Obama, who has granted clemency at a lower rate than any modern president, a ProPublica review of pardons data shows.

The Constitution gives the president unique power to forgive individuals for federal offenses. While pardons do not wipe away convictions, they can restore a person's full rights to vote, possess firearms and obtain business licenses, as well as remove barriers to certain career opportunities and adoptions. For many applicants, a pardon is simply an opportunity for a fresh start.

But Obama has parceled out forgiveness far more rarely than his recent predecessors, pardoning just 22 individuals while denying 1,019.

He has given pardons to roughly 1 of every 50 individuals whose applications were processed by the Justice Department. At this point in his presidency, Ronald Reagan had pardoned 1 of every 3 such applicants. George H.W. Bush had pardoned 1 in 16. Bill Clinton had pardoned 1 in 8. George W. Bush had pardoned 1 in 33.

Obama also has been stingy with commutations, applications for early release by those still serving federal prison sentences.

Under Reagan and Clinton, applicants for commutations had a 1 in 100 chance of success. Under George W. Bush, that fell to a little less than 1 in 1,000. Under Obama, an applicant's chance is slightly less than 1 in 5,000.

He has commuted the sentence of one individual, a woman with terminal leukemia whose case was championed by Illinois Sen. Dick Durbin.

"This idea of 'tough on crime' took root around the time of Ronald Reagan and it is striking that President Obama is showing so much less mercy than Reagan," said Jeffrey Crouch, a political science professor at American University and the author of The Presidential Pardon Power.

Matthew Lehrich, a spokesman for the Obama administration, said in a statement Thursday that the president took his power to grant clemency "very seriously."

"Each recommendation received from the Department of Justice is carefully reviewed and evaluated on the merits," Lehrich said.

To determine who receives clemency, Obama, like his predecessors, relies on recommendations from the Office of the Pardon Attorney, the arm of the Justice Department that reviews applications. The office - led by Pardon Attorney Ronald Rodgers, a former military judge and federal prosecutor - rarely dispenses endorsements, however.

Several administration officials who agreed to discuss pardons on the condition of anonymity said the president pardoned nearly every person recommended by Rodgers for approval in his first two years in office, but that such applicants were few and far between. While the number of applicants has increased in recent years, Obama - based on Rodgers' recommendations - is denying more people more swiftly than any of his recent predecessors, the data shows.

"I don't think he has been given the same opportunity, by this process, to look at these petitioners as his predecessors were," said Mark Osler, a law professor at St. Thomas University in Minneapolis who launched the country's first law clinic for commutations.

Currently, two government officials said, there are about a dozen positive recommendations and hundreds of negative ones waiting for the president to act on.

At least one commutation request is pending. The White House also has asked for a fresh review of the case of Clarence Aaron, who is serving a triple life-sentence, without parole, for his role in a drug conspiracy. ProPublica and the Washington Post published a story about Aaron's case in May.

Obama last granted pardons in November 2011, weeks before ProPublica and the Post published a series of stories that found that between 2001 and 2008, white applicants were nearly four times as likely to be pardoned as minorities. African American applicants fared the worst, almost never receiving the pardons office's recommendation. The Justice Department has commissioned an independent study to examine ProPublica's findings.

Given the potential for political blowback, presidents often do not grant pardons while running for re-election. Presidents Obama, Clinton and the first President Bush did not pardon anyone during their campaigns for second terms.

Still, Obama's views on clemency remain largely unknown as he has not publicly commented on this presidential prerogative.

Judge Abner Mikva, an early mentor of the president who served as Clinton's first White House counsel, said that before the 2008 election he and Obama had discussed Clinton's pardon of financier Marc Rich. The pardon for Rich, whose ex-wife was a major donor to Democrats, was seen as a damaging political favor, even by many Clinton supporters.

"I do remember a lengthy discussion about Marc Rich and it wasn't so much about the power as it was about how even a good president can be corrupted by the pardons process," Mikva recalled. "I think Marc Rich looms larger with Barack Obama than with other presidents because I think he was very, very dismayed by the Marc Rich pardon and the basis on which it appears to have been granted."

Since the ProPublica series, there have been growing calls to reform the pardons process from civil rights groups, legal experts and current and former public officials.

Former Maryland Governor Robert Ehrlich, a Republican working for Romney's presidential campaign, said he is set to start a law school clinic for pardons at Catholic University in Washington.

Paul Rosenzweig, a visiting fellow at the Heritage Foundation, a conservative Washington think tank, recently authored a study that recommends taking the clemency process out of the Justice Department's hands.

"Moving the office outside of the Department of Justice would restore the pardon function to its traditional status as an exercise of pure presidential authority," wrote Rosenzweig, who served as a policy adviser in the Department of Homeland Security during the Bush administration. "Including staff who are not exclusively career prosecutors would bring a more balanced perspective to the decision-making and would eliminate the natural and understandable institutional tendency of prosecutors to be confident in the rectitude of their own judgment."

The Justice Roundtable, a group sponsored by the George Soros-funded Open Society Foundations that seeks candidates for presidential clemency, also has begun work on a blueprint for reform.

Any individual convicted of a federal crime can apply for a pardon five years after completing his or her sentence.

Katie Barribeau applied five years ago but was denied by Obama in mid-2011.

In 2001, when she was 22, Barribeau was arrested for helping her boyfriend mail ecstasy from a military base in Germany back to the United States for sale. Confronted by military investigators, she immediately confessed and cooperated. In exchange for her assistance, she was sentenced to five years of probation and a $1,000 fine for conspiracy to import ecstasy.

In the decade since, Barribeau has had no further legal troubles. She left the Army, returned to the United States and completed college in Wisconsin. Today she is married and a manager at the Green Bay company where she has worked for the last 10 years.

Barribeau said she deeply regretted her involvement in the drug scheme and that a pardon would help her in several important ways. Her company frequently holds meetings in Canada, which she cannot attend because of her conviction. She and her husband are trying to start a family and some states bar those with federal felony records from adopting.

"I want to vote, I want to have the kind of career opportunities that I have worked hard for and I want to be a new mother," she said in an interview. "But I wonder sometimes, what if I can't get pregnant, what if I want to adopt? Is this going to prevent me from being a mom?"

Still, the pardons office recommended her for denial, writing that she "lacked the maturity to resist being manipulated by others." Their evidence? She helped a different former boyfriend purchase a snowmobile for $6,000 and was still paying off the credit card debt when her application was pending. In a confidential memo to the White House obtained by ProPublica, the pardons office said Barribeau needed more time to demonstrate she had been fully rehabilitated.

The pardons office does not disclose its reasoning to applicants and Barribeau was stunned when we shared the contents of the memo with her.

"I had a rough patch and it was a first offense that I was terribly sorry for," she said. "But I don't want it to be on my record for the rest of my life, I want a second chance."

On the same day that Obama denied Barribeau's pardon application, he also turned down a request from James Poteete.

Poteete, a retired municipal worker from the Arkansas hamlet of Morrilton, pleaded guilty in 1997 to a count of failing to file a currency transaction report for his role in what turned out to be a friend's money-laundering scheme. He was sentenced to three years of probation and a $3,000 fine, which he paid immediately.

Poteete has no other criminal history and wrote on his application that he sought a pardon so he could obtain a hunting license and "for peace of mind." But the pardons office found reason to deny him too. Although he completed his sentence 11 years earlier, lawyers in the office deemed it too soon to consider forgiveness. "Additional time is needed to establish rehabilitation worthy of pardon," the office wrote in a memo to the president.

The pardons office looks favorably on community service and wrote that Poteete had "no civic involvement," though Poteete had worked as a police officer, a sheriff and then with his town's public works department. His application included character references from the current police chief and sheriff, as well as the sheriff of a neighboring town.

"I waited seven years after my probation was over before I applied. I don't see how I need more time," Poteete said in an interview.

Poteete called it "a shame" that so few individuals are pardoned. "I can't believe Obama pardoned just 22 people," he said. Still, he said he would try again in the spring, when the two-year wait period for reapplying is up. "There is no doubt that I will reapply."
Mary Price, of Families Against Mandatory Minimums, a non-partisan Washington group that advocates for sentencing reform, said worthy applicants deserved the president's consideration.

"These are people who completed their sentences, who have since led good lives and are asking this administration for a second chance and this administration is turning its back on them," Price said. "I cannot believe there are fewer deserving people today than there were during the administrations of his predecessors."

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Comments welcome.


Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 8:45 PM | Permalink

Local Book Notes: Weird Fiction, Rooster-Footed Devils And Twisted Poetry

Over the transom, with value added.

1. Weird Fiction at Roosevelt University.

China Miéville, the award-winning author whose writing is sometimes characterized as 'weird fiction,' visits Roosevelt University on Nov. 5, reading from his latest work at 5 p.m. in the Angell Reading Room of the University's 10th floor library, 430 S. Michigan Ave.

"The author of nine novels, including The City & the City, Embassytown and Railsea, the short-story collection, Looking for Jake, as well as non-fiction essays and the book, Between Equal Rights, Miéville is part of a new generation of writers who are loosely categorized as being part of what is known as the New Weird genre.

An associate professor of creative writing at Warwick University in England, Miéville is the winner of many literary awards including: the Arthur C. Clarke and British Fantasy awards in 2001 for Perdido Street Station; the British Fantasy and Locus awards in 2003 for The Scar; the Arthur C. Clarke and Hugo awards in 2010 for The City & the City, which drew comparisons to the works of Franz Kafka, George Orwell and Philip K. Dick; and for one of his most recent novels, Embassytown, which has been widely praised for its foray into science fiction.

Sponsored by the Creative Writing Program at Roosevelt University, the reading is free and open to the public.

"In May 2012, award-winning fantasy and science fiction writer China Miéville spoke to Arc's editor Simon Ings about Railsea, his delirious and parched recasting of Herman Melville's epic Moby-Dick."

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2. Rooster-Footed Devils.

The Guild Literary Complex (GLC) continues the seventh year of its Palabra Pura bilingual poetry series with a final 2012 reading titled Rooster-Footed Devils. Curated by Jennifer Patiño, this evening event will explore the complex relationship individuals and communities have to preconceived notions about Latino identity. The event will include poetry in Spanish, English, and Spanglish. Featured readers include Beatriz Ruiz, Anthony Michael Cooremans, and Iztac Metztli.
  • Beatriz J. Ruiz was born and raised in Chicago and Guanajuato. She is a writer by vocation, not profession.
  • Anthony Michael Cooremans writes poetry and short essays about modern society and history. He is an Aydos Learning National Award Winner in poetry and the current Grand Slam poetry champion for Mental Graffiti - Chicago.
  • Iztac Metztli is a Macehual Dancer, writer, and poet. Her short stories have been published in Cezanne's Carrot and El Mestizo Newsletter.

Rooster-Footed Devils will be in Humboldt Park at La Bruquena restaurant, 2726 W. Division on Wednesday, November 28, 2012 at 7:30 p.m. Admission is free.

3. Korean Sijo.

The Poetry Foundation hosts a celebration of traditional Korean sijo and the growing body of sijo in English. Though less familiar than its Japanese cousin haiku, Korean sijo has a similarly rich heritage. Like haiku, it employs three lines, although its 40-some syllables are more flexible and allow for narrative developments that aren't feasible in haiku's 17-syllable form.

David McCann, poet, translator, and one of the foremost experts on sijo poetry, teaches at Harvard and is the author of four books of poetry, including Urban Temple: Sijo Twisted and Straight, published in Korean translation by Ch'angbi Publishers in Seoul this year. A reception will follow. Co-sponsored by the Sejong Cultural Society and the Harvard Club of Chicago.

Thursday, November 15, 7:00 p.m., Poetry Foundation, 61 West Superior Street. Admission: Free.



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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 7:07 PM | Permalink

The [Friday] Papers

"In a stunning political maneuver, the Illinois Sports Facilities Authority elected former TV reporter and gubernatorial aide Kelly Kraft as its new CEO," Crain's reports.

Quinn was worried that the fix was in, so he put the fix in. And now the ISFA is doubly broken.

"The governor dumped one of his board members, Manny Sanchez - without telling him beforehand - to pave the way for a 4-3 vote in favor of Kraft for the $175,900-a-year post," the Tribune reports.

"Quinn's replacement for Sanchez, longtime ally and renowned physician Quentin Young, joined the governor's three other appointees in supporting Kraft. The mayor's appointees voted against her."

To review: Pat Quinn wanted to reward a political ally wholly unqualified for the job by installing her in the post so he could control the authority instead of Rahm Emanuel, who wanted to install a wholly qualified lackey of his own so he could control the authority. But one of Quinn's appointees wasn't playing along, so Quinn replaced him - with heretofore unsullied Dr. Quentin Young, who for unknown reasons decided to play the good mope and join the authority, which was apparently in need of a health-care professional, and give Quinn the vote he needed to pull one over on all of us.

"Kraft was a TV reporter for about a decade before joining state government in 2009, the same year she filed for personal bankruptcy," the Tribune notes. "She was selected over Diana Ferguson, a Yale graduate who served as chief financial officer at Sara Lee Corp. and Chicago Public Schools."

Crain's helpfully posted both of their resumes: Kraft. Ferguson.

Now, make no mistake, Ferguson is a piece of work.

But Kraft is a better fit to be the authority's spokesperson, not its executive director.

Ultimately, though, this is a battle of insiders for control of a public agency with no interest in the public. Otherwise there would have been a third candidate whose only qualifications were the experience, skill and gumption to do the job with complete disregard for the wishes of Quinn and Emanuel.

Ballot Fraud
"Attorney General Lisa Madigan announced today that 173 teams of assistant attorneys general and investigators from her office will be working throughout the state on Tuesday, Nov. 6, to monitor the general election to ensure that Illinoisans' voting rights are protected and that polling places are accessible."

Gotta give her credit, she will fight like hell to make sure voters have access to her father's fraudulent ballot. Just like she always does.

Court Sport
"Cook County Chief Judge Timothy Evans has put the brakes on a new gun court, saying he was blindsided when he learned Cook County President Toni Preckwinkle was planning one," the Sun-Times reports.

That's okay, he'll come around once he figures out how he can get his family to staff it.

Judge Dread
If there aren't any secret cases against her yet, there should be now.

Apparently unasked/unanswered: Why hasn't she been removed from the bench pending further review of her claims and mental fitness?

Fair Weather Rahm
"Rahm Emanuel has been calling labor unions over the past week and making a forceful case that they contribute six-figures and up to President Barack Obama's super PAC, multiple sources tell Politico.

And by multiple sources, Politico means Rahm calling from three different phone lines using three different voices.

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Unions, Rahm has been heard to sigh, can't live with them, can't get elected without them.

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Maybe if Rahm had been minding the store instead of working a second job, he wouldn't have been out-manuevered by Quinn.

The Undefeated, Overrated And Offshore
In the world's greatest College Football Report.

The Week in Chicago Rock
Including Die Antwoord. Fok.

Pots And Pans
In today's QT.

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The Beachwood Tip Line: Fok.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 11:24 AM | Permalink

The College Football Report: The Undefeated, Overrated And Offshore

At this point in every college football season, and certainly every season since the dawn of the BCS, talk turns to the undefeated teams - who has a chance of making the championship game, what will happen if more than one team finishes undefeated, would any currently undefeated team still make the championship game with only one loss, is the BCS fixed to favor Notre Dame, why can't any team from a conference other than the SEC win the championship, how will the championship be determined next season, how does the BCS formula work, which is the most overrated undefeated team, and will Georgia Southern cover the spread against #6 Georgia on November 17.

Should you find yourself in a conversation about any of the above, fear not, The College Football Report has the answers. In order, they are: any team ranked #1-10 in the BCS entering the weekend (except South Carolina and Louisville); the over/under for columns on the "final BCS controversy" will be set at 9,000; yes; no; because the SEC is much, much better at football than anywhere else in the country - see "chinstrap conference"; tiddlywinks; suffice it to say, computers are involved; Louisville; yes, in fact we are already looking for the game on offshore gambling books.

But while the sports commentary world works up a lather about the championship and the relative merits of the teams currently in contention, we turn our attention to teams with two losses. Yes, two losses. Why? Because one or more of these teams will factor prominently (take our word for it) into the national championship picture.

(On a related note, why is it that the national championship is always a picture? Why not a sculpture? Or a diorama? Or one of those crappy clay pots you made as a kid and gave to a parent, who begrudgingly left it out as a pencil holder until you forgot about it and then threw it away? Why can't it be any of those things?)

Thus, to take a page out of the David Letterman "is this anything" playbook, we will ask about every two-loss ranked team in the BCS: are they anything?

#24 Oklahoma State (5-2 overall, 3-1 in Big 12)
Comment: Oklahoma State has two respectable losses (on the road at Arizona and to #23 Texas) but the Cowboys face a brutal four-game stretch of back-to-back-to-back-to-back matchups against #2 Kansas State, #21 West Virginia, #18 Texas Tech, and #12 Oklahoma. Hoy.

Verdict: Maybe? Ask us again on November 25 after Okie State has run the gauntlet. We will give the Cowboys this much: they like to score. And by score, we mean kick field goals and/or extra points and touchdowns. Possibly a two-point conversion if they are feeling frisky. At sixth overall in the nation in "points for," we like the "over" in every remaining game.

#23 Texas (6-2 overall, 3-2 in Big 12)
Comment: Texas has a curious defensive strategy. We can't quite put a name to it, but it seems to feature allowing the other team to score as many points as possible. The Longhorns rank #100 in points allowed in Division I, including impressive totals in losses to West Virginia (45) and Oklahoma (63). Toss in the 50 the 'Horns gave up to Baylor in a 56-50 win, and the prospects for Texas look bleak.

Verdict: No, although no doubt Texas will end the season in a bowl somewhere in Texas.

#21 West Virginia (5-2 overall, 2-2 in Big 12)
Comment: We sense a trend. The Big 12 is chock-a-block with also-rans this year. Earlier this season, we described West Virginia as "Oregon before Oregon learned how to play defense." (Although we don't have record of the conversation and it may or may not have taken place in an establishment featuring adult beverages.) As it turns out, West Virginia is like Oregon before Oregon learned how to play defense and win conference games.

Verdict: We like West Virginia QB Geno Smith. He is an interesting kid. Should the Mounties win out (including games against #24 Oklahoma State and #12 Oklahoma), Smith may still have an outside shot at the Heisman. To date, Smith has gaudy passing statistics - 2,417 passing yards, 26 TDs and only 2 INTs - but he has struggled in back-to-back losses and the Heisman spotlight has moved elsewhere. In addition to his two recent lackluster performances, Smith falls short on at least two (#5, #6) possibly three (#8b) of The 10 Heismandments. Too bad, he had a good run going there for awhile.

#20 Nebraska (6-2 overall, 3-1 in Big Ten)
Comment: With wins over division opponents Michigan and Northwestern, Nebraska "controls it's own destiny" in the new "Legends" division of the Big Ten. Expect to hear the "controls it's own destiny" phrase about 322 times in coming weeks.

Verdict: The Huskers close with a four-game stretch against mediocre teams like Penn State, and with the best team (Ohio State) in the Big Ten ineligible for post-season play, somebody has to win the Big Ten title and play in the Rose Bowl. It may might as well be Nebraska . . . or maybe some other team. We don't know; let's say it is 50-50.

#18 Texas Tech (6-2 overall, 3-2 in Big 12)
Comment: Texas Tech has trounced cupcakes like Northwestern State, Texas State, New Mexico, and Iowa State en route to six wins. The Red Raiders "signature win" came against West Virginia on October 13 back when we all thought the Mountaineers were good. Tech needed three overtimes to beat TCU and suffered resounding losses to the other two ranked teams on the schedule (Oklahoma 41-20, Kansas State 55-24), leading us to believe that . . .

Verdict: No, they aren't anything. We project that the Red Raiders will finish the season in a Texas-themed bowl played somewhere in Texas. The only people who may feel otherwise are Texas Tech fans who live in or around wherever Texas Tech is located. We think it's in Texas.

#17 USC (6-2 overall, 4-2 in Pac-12)
Comment: While the Trojans may not have lived up to expectations (the USA Today projected USC would play in the BCS title game), the kids from SoCal can still be a major player. Last week's loss against Arizona put a big dent in USC's bowl position, but the Wildcats have a decent (2-3) record against Top 25 teams and that "L" may look better as the season wears on; 'Zona has a good chance at finishing 9-3 overall and 6-3 in the conference. Two huge games loom on USC's remaining schedule: at home against #4 Oregon on Saturday night and #3 Notre Dame in the Rose Bowl (the stadium, not the bowl game) to end the season.

Verdict: Absolutely. With Matt Barkley at the helm and electric wide receiver duo Marqise Lee and Robert Woods lining up outside, the Trojans are very dangerous. We will take the 8.5 points against Oregon, for example, and should USC win on Saturday, life will get very interesting for Lane Kiffin and Company. That said, Kiffin is an overrated, insufferable prick, so we would be happy to see him lose by double digits. But Kiffin's wife is super hot, so he has that going for him. Which is nice.

#16 Texas A&M (6-2 overall, 3-2 in SEC)
Comment: The SEC newbie has fared well so far with decent losses to Florida (20-17) and LSU (24-19). A&M fields a solid, well-balanced team offense, ranking in the top 20 in points for, passing yards, and rushing yards. While the Aggies will probably lose the next two games (#15 Mississippi State, #1 Alabama), our money is on a winning (4-3) conference record, far better than most expected.

Verdict: A&M isn't the sexiest Top 25 team with two losses, but scrappiness and a good offense will get you a long way.

#14 Stanford (6-2 overall, 4-1 in Pac-12)
Comment: The Cardinal got off to a hot start, winning three straight including an upset over USC. Then they turned around and promptly lost to lowly Washington and missed another upset opportunity in an overtime loss at #7 Notre Dame. We wonder if they're a good quarterback away from having a great team: junior Josh Nunes has 10 TDs and 7 INTs including two picks against ND.

Verdict: We will have to wait until next weekend when #11 Oregon State visits Stanford Stadium. Oregon State seems suspiciously overrated and won't pose a threat to run (ranking 114th in rushing yards to date), which will allow Stanford to cover up on pass coverage. The Cardinal is looking up at both Oregon State and #4 Oregon in the Pac-12 North standings but still has a shot at the BCS Rose Bowl. That whole "destiny and control thereof" is in play.

#12 Oklahoma (5-2, 3-1 in Big 12)
Comment: The Sooners don't feel that much different than the aforementioned two-loss Big 12 teams in the BCS. The ten-team Big 12 features a solid lineup this year (including #2 Kansas State) but the conference may begin to self-destruct as every ranked team faces at least one (or two, in the Oklahoma's case) fellow ranked teams.

Verdict: Landry Jones may have lost his mojo (or swag, as the kids say these days) from last season and nothing about Oklahoma jumps off the page at us. But the Sooners do have a very strong schedule this year (#4 in the current rankings) and we figure Bob Stoops will have Oklahoma finishing strong.

The Free Range Chicken Gambling Report

  • Missouri at #7 Florida (-17), 12:00 p.m. Comment: The Gators vent frustration on Mizzou after losing the World's Largest Cocktail party last weekend.
  • #14 Stanford (-28) at Colorado, 2:00 p.m.
    Comment: Colorado is the second-worst (above Kentucky; see below) team in a major conference.
  • #1 Alabama (-9) at #5 LSU, 8:00 p.m.
    Comment: The Chicken doesn't love this pick, but everybody is weighing in so we might as well.

Sports Sealant
The Sports Seal is up five "units" by laying the number against the Kentucky Wildcats this season. Head coach Joker Philips will take the blame but in his defense, nearly everything has gone wrong in 2012. Both his starting quarterback and lead running back went down to injury early in the year and what talent remains on the squad is inexperienced and already overmatched in the SEC. Maybe UK would be better off in the Sun Belt, where the 'Cats could compete with the likes of Western Kentucky. Compete, that is, not defeat - Kentucky lost to the 'Toppers back in September. And so it goes. The Seal will take Vandy and give the points this weekend.

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

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 10:28 AM | Permalink

The Week in Chicago Rock

You shoulda been there.

1. Those Darlins at Schubas on Thursday night.


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2. Die Antwoord at the Congress on Wednesday night.

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3. Chaperone at Schubas on Wednesday night.

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4. The Rural Alberta Advantage at Schubas on Sunday night.

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5. Gov't Mule as Jimi Hendrix at the Riv on Wednesday night.

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 8:50 AM | Permalink

QT: Have We Seen Sandy's Birth Certificate?


News Item: Right-wing theorists claim President Obama used a classified military project investigating the upper atmosphere--the High Frequency Active Auroral Research Program--to create Hurricane Sandy for political purposes.
Interesting.
But it is well settled that gays cause hurricanes.
Let's not turn our backs on science, shall we?

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News Headline:
Sorry.
You will not find any headlines about a former Greek health minister who has just resigned from her party to protest budget austerity.
And what the world's headline writers have against Mariliza Xenogiannakopoulou, QT will never know.

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News Headline: "Did Mitt Romney get away with keeping his tax returns secret?"
Looks like.
We may always have to wonder what Romney got away with in his financial dealings that he got away with in his tax returns that he got away with keeping secret.
Not that he has anything to hide.

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K.S., a Nashville, Tenn., reader, regarding QT's wondering, if a group of larks is an exaltation of larks, what a group of politicians should be called, writes:
"A balderdash of politicians."
Or. . . .

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Pots, Kettles and Other Kitchenware in the News:
Rush Limbaugh this week called New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie "fat and a fool."

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News Item: ". . . Sgt. Adam Steig said the woman was completely nude and running in and out of traffic in the parking lot when she was arrested on suspicion of indecent exposure. . . ."
. . . by police who evidently do not leap to conclusions.

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News Headline: "Hurricane Sandy disrupts climate change vigil in Boston."
News Headline: "Noah's Ark film set shut down due to flooding from Hurricane Sandy."
Say this for Sandy:
Not every hurricane has such a richly ironic sense of humor.

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News Headline: "Hungry New Yorkers eating out of dumpsters."
Which is a headline that could have been written six months ago.
Or could be written six months from now.

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QT Yellowstone Caldera (the eruptions of which can be violent enough to send a layer of ash six feet deep as far away as Chicago and which erupts every 600,000 or so years and last erupted 640,000 years ago) Update:
Earthquakes at Yellowstone more than doubled from 56 in September to 128 in October.
But not to worry.
Scientists assure us there is no evidence that earthquake swarms are warnings of an eruption.
Or as one put it:
"We don't know exactly what will be precursory."
See?

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We Have Seen the Present, and It Does Not Work:
A small child who becomes frightened at night and crawls into bed with his parents is not seeking comfort, according to clinical psychologists, but practicing "reactive co-sleeping."

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News Headline: "Manure management meeting ends on ugly note."
Some campaign events go better than others.

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QT What Passes for Miracles These Days Update:
An image of Jesus has been found on a dirty tea towel in Coventry, England.

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QT Vote Count Countdown Update:
Thirty-five days have passed since Mitt Romney started avoiding all questions from reporters.
Not that he has anything to hide.

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News Headline: "Rapper Shyne endorses Romney."
News Headline: "Madonna endorses Obama again."
News Headline: "Justin Bieber endorses Proactiv skin care."
Four days to go.

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QT Grammar R Us Seminar on the English Language:
Beverly Feldt, a Homewood reader, regarding QT's liking for Taco Bell's "grilled carne asada steak tacos," or grilled grilled steak steak tacos, wants you to know that a "PIN number" is a personal identification number number.
The Los Altos Hills in California are The The Hills Hills, by the way.


Write to QT at qt@beachwoodreporter.com QT appears Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays.

Posted by Zay N. Smith at 6:00 AM | Permalink

November 1, 2012

The [Thursday] Papers

"Mayor Rahm Emanuel on Wednesday introduced and defended his plan to cut a 20-year deal - potentially worth $270 million to the city - with a clout-heavy partnership that includes the French company that holds Chicago's controversial bus shelter contract," the Sun-Times reports.

"After introducing the new ordinance at Wednesday's City Council meeting, Emanuel was asked why he didn't put the digital billboard plan out to bid to see if he could get an even better deal for taxpayers.

"'We have 1,300 billboards, and we get $1 million. Here, we're talking about 34 billboards and you get $15 million. I didn't need to go to Harvard business school to know that's a better deal and it's the right deal for the city,' he said."

No, but you might need to go to Harvard to decipher what the hell he's talking about.

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While the billboard contract wasn't put out to bid, the city did form an evaluation process to review proposals.

In other words, the Rahm just privatized the public bidding process.

Junior Joke
Jesse Jackson Jr. Votes Absentee.

That's okay. His wife does her job absentee too.

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"Jackson's campaign is making decisions based on what the doctors say," the Sun-Times says.

We have yet to hear from a single doctor - even in a written statement.

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Lampe confirmed to me in August that Sandi is calling the shots.

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"It's all about him getting healthy right now," Lampe told the Sun-Times.

But he could have just stopped at "It's all about him." Or her.

Hipster Hash
First ward alderman Joe Moreno told Fox News that New York City mayor Michael Bloomberg was wrong to pass on a visit by Barack Obama just because the logistics of setting up a photo-op in the midst of massive devastation could hinder relief efforts.

"C'mon, this is not the worst catastrophe," Moreno said.

Well, it's not as big a catastrophe as a Chick-fil-A in the ward would be, but it's still pretty big.

Class Gas
"Chicago Public Schools officials said Wednesday that half of the district's schools are underutilized with nearly 140 more than half-empty, and that those numbers will play a key role in deciding what schools to close or consolidate," the Tribune reports.

"'We've got too many buildings and too few children,' district CEO Barbara Byrd-Bennett said during a conference call with reporters to discuss a draft of guidelines for school closings and related actions."

We have schools where class sizes are entirely too small!

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Alternate: The problem with CPS is the schools! If we could just get rid of those . . .

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"[T]he research shows that when a school is closed it further destabilizes a community."

That's okay, we have too many communities.

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There's never an egg-timer around when you need one.

Class War
"A developer wants the city to chip in $11.3 million for a new high-profile project in Hyde Park as part of Mayor Rahm Emanuel's first foray into special taxing districts," the Tribune reports.

"Emanuel wants to provide city incentives by setting up a tax increment finance district."

Which takes money away from schools.

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Alternate: We've got too many buildings . . .

Too Many Mental Health Patients
On that too.

Urban cleansing almost complete.

Global Solution
"World Business Chicago on Tuesday named 18 new members, bringing the total number of directors to 64," the Sun-Times reports.

Because one thing we don't have enough of is World Business Chicago directors.

Underwear King Invites You To Party
Chicago billionaire has a dream.

Duran Duran Chicago Chicago
Ambassador East for the band, Crown Hyatt for the crew.

The Blue & Orange Kool-Aid Report
Funyons & Obscenities.

Video Of The Day
Batman visits a Chicago music store and hilarity ensues.

Public Service Announcement On Behalf Of Men
Most of these aren't secrets and we have absolutely no interest in the ones that are.

Cosmo: Offending men and women (nearly) equally.

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The Beachwood Tip Line: Sling the hash.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 9:58 AM | Permalink

Super Rich Chicago Guy Invites You To His Spectacular Home For Cocktails

Former Fruit of the Loom CEO Bill Farley is throwing a party. It has multiple levels!

See, he has a drink he wants you to try. And then he wants you to sell it.

Or is he really selling you a prosperity plan with prosperity tools for purchase? No matter, come meet his beautiful family! The pleasure will be all yours!

1. Dream Night 2013.

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2. Dream Night 2012.

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See also: Zrii TV.

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 5:40 AM | Permalink

Duran Duran's John Taylor Reads Excerpts About Chicago From His New Book

Reading from In The Pleasure Groove: Love, Death and Duran Duran at the City Winery on Tuesday.

1. Ambassador East for the band, Crown Hyatt for the crew.


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2. A walk along Lake Michigan with Simon LeBon.

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3. And the final chapter from Coachella.

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See also:
* JenniMoore007
* Duraniechick

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 5:07 AM | Permalink

Rig Report: Batman & Anthrax

Axes in Chicago.

1. Perfect guitar for fighting crime.


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2. Anthrax's Scott Ian at the Vic.

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3. Anthrax's Rob Caggiano at the Vic.

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4. Atomic Blue Thinline coming to Chicago.

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 12:49 AM | Permalink

The Blue & Orange Kool-Aid Report: Funyuns & Obscenities

Don't Call It A Comeback*
Honestly, I don't know what you call that game against the Panthers, but it certainly evoked an emotion that has got to be akin to how women view 90% of their sexual encounters.

You grit your teeth through 52 minutes of a performance that, aside from the four free appletinis that lead you to this dazzling display of mis-execution, would be considered a complete waste of everybody's time at best, until you take the initiative, get on top, and grind out a winner at the very end.

Boo
Chicago's winner for scariest Halloween costume belongs to the ghastly impersonation of a lifeless offense masqueraded near the lakefront by Cutler and Company.

Second place goes to this guy.

And because Cutler didn't even have the decency to buy them a drink before fumbling his balls all over the place, the local villagers turned on the Midway's grotesque monster at halftime with a Sandy-esque downpour of malcontent.

Fortunately for the Bears, the modern mob tends to wield Funyuns and obscenities, which hurt far less than pitchforks and torches.

Going To Graceland
Aside from playing in one of the few NFL locales that can be considered in "parts unknown" (see also: the Arizona Cardinals, located between Glendale and Deathcrack, Arizona), the Tennessee Titans franchise enjoys a number of other trivia-worthy quirks.

1. Event personnel preface every customer interaction with the question "Who you commin' to see 'round here" while brandishing a firearm.**

2. The Oilers franchise is Houston's third-most notable export, ranking behind only ZZ Top and Otis Thorpe***.

3. LP Field is the only venue in North America where you can order a Sprite "extra crispy."

Kool-Aid (2 Out Of 5 Velvet Elvises)
There's going to be a certain level of intrigue built into every Bears game going forward, regardless of opponent, just because we're not sure if the offense is going to suck or not.

Note to Bears: You have two excellent running backs. Abandoning the running game when you're down six is analogous to burning down your house for the insurance money when the interest rate on your Visa goes up 2%.

The Titans have some weapons on offense including Kenny Britt, a fellow who is just the president of the Hair Club For Men and not a client and whatever nickname you give a running back who rushes for 24 yards as often as he goes for 144 (artist rendition below).

tenn.png

Bears build a big lead, then sweat it late as the "We're Winning Big, So Let's Drink Barbeque Sauce Out Of A Squeeze Bottle" strategy backfires.

But they still win.

Bears 24
Titans 17

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*Not to be confused with the classic film, Don't Call It A Cum-Black starring Sean Michaels and F.M. Bradley.

**Say "Justin Gage" and you should be alright.

***Tooooooootally unrelated, but check out this picture of Mitch Richmond that comes up in the image results on the right when you Google "Otis Thorpe." Kiss my balls France! I loved the 90's Warriors. Don't worry Mitch; American Wikipedia has your back. Lookin' svelte, bro.

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

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 12:31 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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