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January 31, 2013

The [Thursday] Papers

The Papers will be sporadic this week as I'm on a freelance deadline that is sucking my brain apart and redistributing it to all corners of the universe, but we'll still have plenty of good material throughout the site. Here's today's:

* The Top Candidates To Replace Jesse Jackson Jr. - Plus A Lawyer Named Ernest B. Fenton - Held A Debate.

I'll say this: They're not Junior!

* The Political Odds.

Revised and extended to reflect the debate.

* Obama's Flip-Flops On Money In Politics: A Brief History.

Hypocrite-in-chief strikes again.

* Local Music Notebook: Chief Keef, Pet Lions & The Chicago Shuffle.

Plus: Yo La Tengo And George Young.

* Latest Chicago Tonight Survey Strangely Focused On Science.

Again.

* Comment From Mary T. Burke:

Thank you to Ed Hammer and Russ Sonneveld. Anyone who is uneducated about the kind of person George Ryan really is should read 100% Guilty. The depth and breadth of the corruption is eye-opening. Whenever I hear people dismiss political corruption, I tell them political corruption costs lives. The book is filled with sleaze-filled examples of what George Ryan and his pals did to the state. It was interesting to see Jim Thompson trying to get in the picture next to George. They both deserve to go directly to hell.

-

The Beachwood Tip Line: Slow ride on a fast track.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 8:07 AM | Permalink

The Top Candidates To Replace Jesse Jackson Jr. - Plus A Lawyer Named Ernest B. Fenton - Held A Debate

Notes from my couch while watching the debate at Rich Central High School on Wednesday night. (You can replay it yourself here.) Participating: Robin Kelly, Toi Hutchinson, Debbie Halvorson, Anthony Beale and Ernest B. Fenton.

*

Wouldn't it be easier if the white candidate dropped out?

*

Beale goes all in on Peotone - and Walmart.

*

Fenton: Being an attorney and military man makes him ethical because he's learned to follow rules.

*

Halvorson: "When you know what you stand for, it's easy."

Really?

"Halvorson denies her campaign website ducks the issue of guns, claiming her list of issue positions didn't touch on that hot-button subject because her ideas are still in formation . . . Halvorson claims her views have evolved since she was in Congress."

*

Beale on ethics: "I have a 14-year spotless record."

Really?

See item No. 7.

And then read about the greasy glide path of Chicago alderman's daughter.

*

Halvorson: Local community banks are the good guys, not like the big bad banks. Local banks need flexibility. Would reinstate Glass-Steagall.

*

Fenton: Knowledgeable about HAMP through his foreclosure work as a lawyer. Rips Beale for holding up Altgeld Gardens as a success story when he just sees a ghost town. Rips Halvorson on the idea of foreclosed residents renting those homes back because banks want them to be vacant so they can re-sell them. Prone to uncomfortably bad jokes.

*

Hutchinson: Against NLCB for relying too much on standardized testing, but for Race to the Top.

*

Beale: Convoluted answer on education.

*

Fenton: Harvard Law. Also plugs his Social Justice hour and Gospel Truth shows on WVON.

*

Kelly: School funding will never be fair so she favors partnerships with businesses that adopt schools and/or work with schools to make sure students are being trained for the jobs of today and tomorrow.

So she's given up on fighting for equitable school funding?

*

Halvorson on education: We haven't talked enough about our veterans.

Translation: We haven't pandered to our veterans yet.

Wants to put vo-tech back in high schools.

*

Beale: When Clinton was in office, the city got $300 million in community development block grants. In the Bush era, that's down to $70 million.

I told y'all it's still the Bush era!

*

Fenton: If we can fund a 10-year war in Afghanistan, we can fund early childhood education.

Right on!

Free college education.

Right on!

My policy? Simple, young lady. Books for everyone.

Um, yeah. That young lady you just condescended to is WGN-TV's Gaynor Hall. But we'll be expecting that Books For Everyone Act on your first day in Congress.

*

Kelly: No matter what we do, comunities that have and communites that have not . . .

Wow, she's just kind of given up on inequality . . .

Suggests paying teachers more to work in distressed communities instead of places like New Trier.

*

Beale: Says the Peotone airport has failed to get built because no one has brought the three counties (Cook, Will, Kankakee) together. Slap at Junior?

*

Fenton: I have a payroll, Alderman Beale, of a half a millon dollars today.

Fenton attacking Beale all night.

"Congressmen don't create jobs. aldermen don't create jobs. We create opportunities for the real job-makers to create jobs."

Says he doesn't know much about the other candidates at the debate; hasn't checked their backgrounds. But he sure knows a lot about himself.

*

Beale: Passed the city's gun ordinance of 2010 when he was chairman of the police committee. "I didn't take a pledge to stop gun violence, I put in an ordinance to stop gun violence."

D'oh!

Plus:

*

Fenton: Lawmakers don't stop guns, they create opportunities for the gun-stoppers to stop guns.

Or so I very badly wanted him to say.

Fenton: Crime is not an issue of guns; this is a cultural war, a moral war, a spiritual war. Mentions for the second time that he was a problem child. Says this is an issue about young men of color.

*

Kelly: Leads with child abuse and domestic abuse, but as important as those are, they aren't the kind of violence we're discussing here. Moves on to straw purchase legislation she passed in the General Assembly.

"Kelly's very first bill as a Illinois state legislator in the House criminalized the straw purchase of firearms. In the Illinois Senate, one of the bill's co-sponsors was a bright, up-and-coming state senator, Barack Obama. The bill passed the Illinois House 112 to 4 and became effective on Aug. 7, 2003."

If gun control is going to cut in this race, it's going to cut in Kelly's favor. Not even close.

*

Halvorson: Violence prevention needs common sense, comprehensive approach. Universal backround checks, more penalties for straw buyers. Need to go after the criminals. Brings up Bloomberg commercial.

Says the problem is mental illness; state cut $187 million out of mental health services, the city closed down half its mental health clinics. Less than 2 percent of murders in Cook County are committed with assault weapons.

Also: "I'm a victim of domestic abuse. Most killings are done by spouses who harm their wives."

*

Toi: Hadiya Pendleton the same age as her daughter. Shared same interests like dancing.

Hutchinson is a fairly strong speaker. Halvorson comes off a little buggy and incoherent. Kelly is more business-like. Fenton is charismatic, but off-putting in a salesman-y, preacher, motivational speaker kind of way. Beale isn't a total dummy, but he doesn't appear to have great campaign skills and doesn't seem to understand he's running for Congress, not the state legislature.

Clearly this is between Kelly and Hutchinson. The differences between them? Plenty. Kelly is the anti-NRA candidate; Hutchinson is NRA-endorsed (and was once Halvorson's chief of staff.) Kelly is more progressive; Hutchinson sponsored the bill to give tax breaks to Sears and the CME. Kelly, however, is tainted by working as chief of staff to Alexi Giannoulias in the state treasurer's office. I can finally see Hutchinson's appeal in terms of her speaking skills and ability to connect, but those are theatrical skills; what matters are the issues, as boring as it is to keep insisting. Kelly seems a bit brainier; Hutchinson more emotive.

*

Beale: Talk of new gun legislation has led to lines outside the doors of gun dealers. Says there's a reason for that. And?

"Assault weapons to harm us. We cannot sugarcoat this issue."

Um, is sugarcoating a problem right now?

Wants the president and the Congress to look at Beale's ordinance of 2010.

I take what I said back; Beale is a dummy. Are you kidding me? Besides, it was Daley's ordinance, dude. And then you lost your chairmanship.

*

Fenton: Gun violence in my family. Can't have a temporary conversation about change instead of transformation to change lives. Sweden per capita has more guns than U.S. but fewer murders.

(The per capita part is actually not true.)

Wants to make guns like Siberian white tigers. You can purchase them, but you just can't take them home! I am Ernest B. Fenton! Drops mic. Really.

*

Hutchinson: We're in a moment in time. The country is evolving.

And so are you and Debbie!.

I listened to Gabby Giffords' husband talk at the hearing today . . .

Hutchinson was the only one to mention Hidaya Pendleton and Gabby Giffords..

*

It just occurred to me: Where's Mel Reynolds?

Most recent sighting.

*

Fenton clearly loves to hear himself talk.

*

Kelly: Says she's a change agent and a unifier. Grew up middle-class, parents ran a mom-and-pop grocery store, but "life happens." Got divorced, was so poor kid(s?) had to eat Cheerio's for dinner.

Has D.C. relationships, which Halvorson has been boasting of ("nobody has those relationships"); knows the president. Wants to be an ally but not a rubber stamp.

*

I'll say this: They're not Junior!

*

Halvorson: Husband from Harvey. Was first female state senate majority leader (name checks Emil Jones). In 2008, Obama and Durbin suggested she run for Congress. Explains - too defensively - how she lost her congressional seat to redistricting and the Tea Party. But she believes that God has a plan. Says she will never vote to raise the retirement age or cut Social Security. Brought a veterans' home to Joliet, creating 7,00 jobs. (True?)

*

Hutchinson: I don't lead with I'm a senator. I lead with I'm PJ, Ryan and Cameron's mom.

Not entirely sure on the names. But as if.

If you have veterans' benefits (again with the veterans) but you don't have a facility nearby it's like not having benefits at all.

*

Beale: How many Christians do we have in the house?

Uh-oh.

Because the bible says he who is last shall be first. See, he's the last to speak.

Says he didn't not grow up in anybody's organization and was not grown in anybody's political family. I dunno, my understanding has always been that Beale is a creature of Junior but they had a falling out when Beale decided he had gotten there on his own, though Jackson might have been trying to control him too much.

Former chairman of police and historic landmarks committees, and current chairman of transportation committee.

"I believe that being an alderman is a training ground for congressmen." Cites Gutierrez, Rush and Davis.

*

*

+1.

-

Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 7:13 AM | Permalink

Local Music Notebook: Chief Keef, Pet Lions & The Chicago Shuffle

A loose collection of whatnot.

1. Chief Keef on Power 92.1. Bang bang.

-

2. The Chicago Shuffle.

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3. DeRogatis on Yo La Tengo.

Yo La Tengo plays the Vic on Friday.

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4. Speed-art illustration for Pet Lions.

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5. "Can't Stop Me Now" by George Young on Mercury Records, 1958, Chicago. (Via CheesebrewWaxArchive.)

-

Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 3:46 AM | Permalink

Latest Chicago Tonight Survey Strangely Focused On Science

Dear Chicago Tonight viewer and friend of WTTW:

We need your feedback! Chicago Tonight is undergoing a robust evaluation process to determine your thoughts on our reporting. With your help we can make Chicago Tonight as enriching and informative as possible.

As a special incentive, everyone who completes the survey will be entered into a drawing for a 16GB Apple iPad mini with Wi-Fi!

Here's the survey, which you can't actually complete without an invite. Slightly edited for clarity.

1. Overall, how would you rate Chicago Tonight?

(On a scaled of 1 to 7, with one being "poor" and seven being "excellent." Also provides a box to explain.)

2. Now we'd like to get your thoughts on Chicago and some of the other topics presented on Chicago Tonight. How interested are you in each of the following topics?

(On a scale of one to seven, with one being "Not at all interested" and seven being "very interested.")

Nature

Business

Local politics

Science

Arts and culture

Sports

Chicago history

3. How knowledgeable do you consider yourself to be on the following topics?

(From one to seven, which one being "Not at all knowledgeable" and seven being "Very knowlededgeable.")

Local politics

Chicago history

Science

Sports

Nature

Arts and culture

Business

4. How much do you agree or disagree with the following statements about Chicago?

(On a scale of one to seven, with one being "Strongly disagree" and one being "Strongly agree.")

Chicago's professional sports scene offers world-class athletic talent.

Chicago's restaurants are among the best in the country.

Chicago is a "green" city.

Chicago is a hub of scientific research and innovation.

Chicago is an important player on the national political stage.

Chicago is a leader in contemporary and cutting-edge arts and culture.

5. How much do you agree or disagree with the following statements about science?

(On a scale of one to seven, with one being "Strongly disagree" and one being "Strongly agree.")

It is important to promote science education in schools.

Science used to be one of my favorite subjects in school.

It's important to pay attention to scientific breakthroughs.

I hear about local scientists advancing scientific discovery through their research.

Scientists are bad at communicating with a general audience.

I seek out science-related activities that are happening in my community.

I regularly pay attention to news about the latest advances in science and technology.

Science topics are intimidating to learn about.

I am curious about scientific topics.

6. How likely are you to do each of the following in the next six months?

(On a scale of one to seven, with one being "Not at all likely" and seven being "Very likely.")

Seek out science news or information in magazines, newspapers, or on the Internet.

Rent a science documentary (e.g., from Netflix, Redbox, or your local video store)

Visit a science museum, zoo, or aquarium in Chicago.

Watch a science program on television.

Attend a science event or program, such as a lecture or panel organized by a local
science institution.

Subscribe to a science magazine.

Read a "popular science" book.

7. How familiar are you with each of the following institutions?

(Options: I am not at all familiar with it; I've heard of it but have never visited; I have heard of it and visited before; I visit this institution regularly.)

The Morton Arboretum.

The Adler Planetarium.

Lincoln Park Zoo.

Shedd Aquarium.

Chicago Botanic Garden.

The Peggy Notebaert Nature Museum.

The Field Museum.

Brookfield Zoo.

Museum of Science & Industry.

8. We are interested in your reactions to some of the segments presented on Chicago Tonight.

Do you recall seeing the "Artbeat" segment on artist Irving Penn that aired on Tuesday, January 29, on Chicago Tonight?

(Options: Yes, I recall seeing that segment; No, I watched that episode but do not recall the segment; I did not watch that episode of Chicago Tonight I don't know/I don't remember.)

9. Is there anything else that would help improve Chicago Tonight for you?

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Previously:
* Chicago Tonight's Science Survey

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 12:12 AM | Permalink

January 30, 2013

Obama's Flip-Flops On Money In Politics: A Brief History

When President Obama told supporters that he would morph his campaign into a new nonprofit that would accept unlimited corporate donations, the announcement set off a familiar round of griping from campaign finance reformers.

The creation this month of Organizing for Action, which will promote the president's second-term agenda, appears to be the fourth reversal by Obama on major money-in-politics issues since 2008.

"No big bank or corporation will donate million-dollar checks to OFA without the expectation that it will impact which issues they engage on, and that's very troubling," said Adam Green of the Progressive Change Campaign Committee.

The Washington Post noted that in reorganizing his campaign as a tax-exempt social welfare group, the president is embracing a structure that has been criticized for allowing called out the president's "brazen hypocrisy."

Neither the White House nor Organizing for America responded to requests for comment.

Here's a brief history of Obama's other shifts on money-in-politics issues going back to 2008:

  • Public financing

In November 2007, then-Sen. Barack Obama pledged to take part in the presidential public financing system for the general election, calling himself "a longtime advocate for public financing of campaigns." Under the system, created in the wake of Watergate, a candidate receives taxpayer money ($84 million in 2008) and cannot accept most private donations or spend beyond the amount of the government grant.

Less than a year later, in June 2008, Obama reversed himself and announced he was opting out of the system. He maintained he still supported the system in principle but said it should be reformed.

Obama became the first candidate to decline general election public financing since the creation of the system and went on to raise a then-record $745 million for the cycle. He outspent John McCain, who did accept public money, by four-to-one. Obama's 2008 decision generally takes at least some of the blame from campaign finance observers for killing the system.

Neither Obama nor Mitt Romney accepted public financing in the 2012 race. The Obama campaign raised $782 million for the cycle.

  • Super PACs

When the U.S. Supreme Court issued its 2010 Citizens United decision, opening the way for the creation of super PACs financed with unlimited corporate or individual money, Obama became the ruling's biggest critic.

"Last week the Supreme Court reversed a century of law that I believe will open the floodgates for special interests - including foreign corporations - to spend without limit in our elections," Obama said in his State of the Union address a few days after the decision. "I don't think American elections should be bankrolled by America's most powerful interests, or worse, by foreign entities."

That criticism turned into a pledge not to use the new funding vehicles. In July 2011, Obama campaign spokesman Ben LaBolt told the Washington Post: "Neither the president nor his campaign staff or aides will fundraise for super PACs. Our campaign will continue to lead the way when it comes to transparency and reform."

Seven months later, the campaign reversed itself and embraced a super PAC founded by former White House aides called Priorities USA Action. "[O]ur campaign has to face the reality of the law as it currently stands," wrote campaign manager Jim Messina in a blog post.

With the blessing of the campaign, top Obama aides, such as then-Chief of Staff Jack Lew and confidantes like Rahm Emanuel, were dispatched to solicit super PAC donations from Democratic millionaires and billionaires. Priorities USA ultimately spent more than $60 million to help re-elect the president.

  • Inaugural festivities funding

After Obama's victory in 2008, his inaugural committee abided by what it called "an unprecedented set of limitations on fundraising as part of President-elect Obama's pledge to put the country on a new path." That meant taking no corporate money and no individual contributions in excess of $50,000 to pay for the myriad parties and balls that end up costing tens of millions of dollars.

The second time around, Obama reversed the policy. The inaugural committee organizing this month's inaugural festivities accepted corporate money and imposed no limits on giving. A spokesperson cited the need to "meet the fund-raising requirements for this civic event after the most expensive presidential campaign in history."

  • Unlimited special interest spending

Just a few months ago, the Obama campaign sent me a memo on the president's campaign finance record, highlighting his repeated denunciations of special interest money in politics.

"That's one of the reasons I ran for President: because I believe so strongly that the voices of ordinary Americans were being drowned out by the clamor of a privileged few in Washington," he said in May 2010, decrying the way Citizens United "gives corporations and other special interests the power to spend unlimited amounts of money - literally millions of dollars - to affect elections throughout our country."

In 2012, the Obama campaign specifically called out social welfare, or 501(c)(4),  groups that spent hundreds of millions of dollars of anonymous money on political ads.

That's why campaign finance reformers are so angry: Organizing for Action is a 501(c)(4) that will advocate for the president's second-term agenda.

The group has said that despite its status, it will voluntarily disclose donors. But it's not clear whether that will involve full, prompt disclosure of who is giving and how much, or simply providing a list of names at some point.

A spokeswoman for the new group told NBC this week the disclosure issue is "still being worked out."

Unnamed Democratic officials have told media outlets that the group will take corporate money (though not donations from registered lobbyists). Indeed, at a meeting this month at the Newseum in Washington, Obama campaign aides pitched top Democratic donors, reported Politico, which obtained a ticket to the event.

The meeting was sponsored by a trade association founded by Fortune 100 companies, including UnitedHealthcare, Microsoft, Wal-Mart, and Duke Energy.

Social welfare groups are formed to promote the common good and may be involved in politics. Under IRS rules, they are not supposed to be primarily engaged in campaigns.

It's unclear whether Organizing for Action will get involved in electoral politics as other such nonprofits have in recent years. The group's spokeswoman told NBC it will run "issue" ads to support Obama's agenda - but that's a category of political advocacy that has been open to wide interpretation.

-

Comments welcome.


Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 2:32 PM | Permalink

Chicagoetry: The Word Listen

THE WORD LISTEN

I am the word listen.
I hear the river
And I hear the expressway.
Neither is ever empty.

The river is never still,
The expressway never silent

("The river and the highway"
Has a pleasing rhythm

But "the highway" is pastoral.
The expressway, as I need it
To be here, is urbane).

Of course the river
Is also the expressway
Between the living
And the dead,

It is the thief of life.

Stoic as a tree,
I listen to the river.
Silent as a stone
I hear the expressway.

The river is grief
And the expressway, a thief.
Neither ever empty,
Silent or still.

The river is grief:
Organic, omnipresent, eternal.
The expressway is a thief:
Hand-hewn, intermittent, temporal.

I am the word "listen"
And I am the world.
The expressway roars
And the river whirls.

I am the whirled,
Glistening with tears.
I am a swirl
Of fever dreams and fears.

I am the word. Listen
To the music
Of the overwhelming world.
Listen to the teardrops glisten.

I am the world,
Listening.

-

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

-

More Tindall:

* Chicagoetry: The Book

* Ready To Rock: The Music

* Kindled Tindall: The Novel

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 6:50 AM | Permalink

QT: Semper Shy

News Item: Former Marine infantryman speaks out against allowing women in combat, saying fellow Marines "forced to be naked in front of the opposite sex" might find it "traumatizing."
Add Marines to the list of things that aren't what they used to be.

···

News Headline: "How the Obama administration protected Wall Street from prosecutions."
By shamelessly looking the other way.
Some news stories are very short.

···

Super Bowl XLVII Countdown Update:
Antacid sales will increase an estimated XX percent the day after the Super Bowl.

···

News Headline: "Scientists build human heart from pigs and detergent."
News Headline: "Obama: 'I don't know what's in Rush Limbaugh's heart.' "
At least now we have a hunch.

···

We Have Seen the Present, and It Does Not Work;
The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission lists grass as an unsafe playing surface for children.

···

+ Mike Wolstein, a Park Ridge reader, regarding QT's mention that a case of vandalism by fruit-throwers in New Rochelle, N.Y., had caused police to investigate persimmons of interest, followed by a reader's mention that a suspicious pear had been lurking in the area, writes:
"I think this story line is turning ugli."
+ Paul Shubin, a Montreal reader, writes:
"I'm berry happy with this discussion."
Wait.
Kiwi please make a decision here?

···

News Headline: "Missile launcher shows up at Seattle gun buyback."
Or do you question an American's right to hunt deer and protect his home with a missile launcher?
Some people will never understand the Second Amendment.

···

QT News Presented Without Comment:
The State Department announced that the office it opened to close the Guantanamo prison, which is still open, is now closed.

···

News Headline: "U.S. debt headed for 200 percent of GDP."
All right.
But before we all run screaming into the streets:
The national debt is now a little above 100 percent of the gross domestic product.
This is about where it was after World War II.
And it is still rising, although this has slowed significantly because federal revenues have risen and annual deficits have fallen over the past four years.
So, yes, the debt is headed for 200 percent.
Have you ever driven from Chicago to Milwaukee?
You were headed for the North Pole.

···

News Headline: "Can tragedy prompt positive change?
Or another question:
If you can think of a positive change in human history that wasn't prompted by a tragedy, could you please let QT know?

···

QT Latest Carjacker Who Failed Because He Didn't Know How to Work a Manual Transmission Worldwide Pinpoint Locator:
11 p.m. Monday, 1414 Kuhl Ave., Orlando, Fla.

···

News Headline: "Sense of humor reveals who you truly are."
QT slept under its car last night.
Needed to get up oily.
Now you know who QT truly is.

···

Astrophysicist Brian Thomas on the possibility of a collision of black holes or neutron stars within 200 light years of Earth sending out a burst of gamma rays that would end all life here:
"We wouldn't see it coming."
So why give it a second thought?

···

Today's Birthdays: "Strange Interlude," 85; Dick Cheney, 72.

···

QT Grammar R Us Seminar on the English Language:
J.M.C., a Tucson, Ariz., reader, writes:
"A Greek-American friend who used to operate a hot dog stand often complained that when customers ordered a gyro, they always pronounced it as in 'gyroscope.' It is, of course YEAR-oh. But when I order from a non-Greek counterperson and pronounce it correctly, I am met with confused looks. What do I do?"
You might try a cheezborger.
The next time a restaurant offers you menu item "with au jus sauce," by the way, know that it will be "with with sauce sauce."


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 [Wednesday] Papers

The Papers will be sporadic this week as I'm on a freelance deadline that is sucking my brain apart and redistributing it to all corners of the universe, but we'll still have plenty of good material throughout the site. Here's today's:

* QT: Semper Shy. Add Marines to the list of things that aren't what they used to be.

* Chicagoetry: The Word Listen. The river is also the expressway between the living and the dead.

* The 3rd Annual Beachwood Super Bowl Halftime Bet: Beyoncé Knowles Edition. Beyoncé will kill this show. She will take it, break it, rebuild it in her image, and then destroy it just because she can.

Plus:

* Beachwood contributor Ed Hammer will discuss George Ryan's release from prison with the Tribune's John Kass on WLS 890 AM this morning between 9 and 11.

See also:

* George Ryan's Park Bench
* George Ryan's Dogs and Ponies
* George Ryan's Other Jailhouse Interview

-

Note:

Hammer is a retired Illinois Secretary of State Police Captain and author of the book One Hundred Percent Guilty: How an Insider Links the Death of Six Children to the Politics of Convicted Governor George Ryan.

-

See also: Honoring A True Illinois Hero.

-

Finally:

CAN TV will broadcast tonight's debate from Rich Central High School between six candidates in the race to replace Jesse Jackson Jr. in Congress: Robin Kelly, Toi Hutchinson, Debbie Halvorson, Anthony Beale, Napoleon Harris and Lenny McAllister. Starts at 6:30 p.m. on Channel 27. CAN TV will also stream the debate online here.

-

The Beachwood Tip Line: Pro forma.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 5:51 AM | Permalink

The 3rd 5th Annual Beachwood Super Bowl Halftime Bet: Beyoncé Knowles Edition

I'm totally torn about this year's halftime show. On the one hand, it's Beyoncé Fucking Knowles. For the first time since Nipplegate, we're actually getting a relevant, contemporary superstar who's had a #1 single in the last five years. Oh fine, I guess the Black Eyed Peas count but . . . come ON.

On the other hand, despite Beyoncé's cultural influence the back catalog is not particularly rich. And while Queen Bey hasn't pulled a full Roger Daltrey and leaked the whole set list, a lot of details have already been announced. Here's what we know:

1. Beyoncé will start out alone singing past hits.

2. Beyoncé will be joined on stage by Kelly Rowland and Michelle Williams for an official Destiny's Child reunion. They will perform "a medley" of their hits.

3. Destiny's Child will then bring an end to the long national nightmare by performing their first new single in nine excruciating years. The single is called "Nuclear."

4. Beyoncé will close out the show alone, performing her newest multi-platinum megahit "Ratchet."

5. The promo song that has been running on CBS is "Crazy in Love" because apparently "Single Ladies" had to wash its hair or something.

6. Beyoncé will kill this show. She will take it, break it, rebuild it in her image, and then destroy it just because she can. We know this because, depending on your interpretation of this week's events, she's either perfect or ruthlessly obsessed with the image of her perfection.

7. The NFL will cancel next year's Super Bowl and possibly the second half of this year's game because - seriously - who wants to follow THAT?

So here's the thing: I really doubt Beyoncé is going to offer any surprises, so we're looking at top-5 tracks for the open. I'd guess two songs at the most before Destiny's Child reforms before our very eyes. Unless she goes medley, but she's not going to go medley because that'd be a medley-medley and it would be like those Japanese cartoons that give everyone seizures. And what are the chances those two songs WON'T be the two mentioned above? There's a better chance John Boehner goes a month without spray tan.

All of the tension in the Destiny's Child reunion comes down to your definition of "medley." Is two short songs a medley? Three? Four? Not four, right? Because no one knows four Destiny's Child songs.

I think this year the bracket is all down to the side bets. Song order. Costume changes. Karat weight of earrings. Additional guests (Beyoncé has collaborated with Gaga, Swizz Beatz (whose wife is doing the national anthem), Timberlake (come on, CBS, let bygones be bygones!), Ne-Yo, Pharell Williams, and her own husband Jay-Z). So let's get down to it. Here's my official picks:

1. Single Ladies
2. Crazy in Love
3. Destiny's Child Medley: Bootylicious, Independent Women, Survivor
4. Nuclear
5. Ratchet

Side Bets:
* How many costumes will Beyoncé wear? Over/under at 2.5
* How many additional guests will there be? Over/under at 1.5
* Karat weight of Beyoncé's earrings? Over/under at 5
* Will Kelly rip out her earpiece to show Bey how it's really done?
* Would Michelle dare do the same?
* Will Beyoncé artistically announce she's once again pregnant?

I'm going to go under on the costumes, under on the guests (no true diva wants to share the stage with that many people), way over on the earrings. It's Beyoncé. She can rock the stage with a Richard Burton wedding gift on each ear. I think Kelly keeps the earpiece in, but does some fussing just to show she can sing blind too. Michelle? Please. I don't even think her mic was on. And you know what? I'm gonna say yes on new baby announcement. Why the hell not? I like those crazy kids.

In Beyoncé we trust.

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Accepting comments and wagers.

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Previously:
* The Beachwood Super Bowl Halftime Bracket.

* Springsteen's Super Bowl Suckage.

* Let's Not Get It Started And Say We Did: The Beachwood Super Bowl Halftime Prop Bet 2011.

* The 2012 Beachwood Super Bowl Halftime Prop Bet.

See also:
* The Who's Super Bowl Suckage.

* The Super Bowl's Halftime Malfunction, Quite Possibly Sponsored By Groupon.

* The Best Of The Beachwood's Super Bowl Tweets.

* The Super Bowl Is Decadent And Depraved.

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UPDATED WITH RESULTS:

Sometimes hindsight truly is 20/20. In retrospect, we should have known that Beyoncé would cover the stage in Destiny's doppelgangers, the better to disguise the actual appearance of Destiny's Child. We should've known that Bey would reduce Kelly and Michelle to her video hoochies for a group rendition of "Single Ladies." And we should've known that 20 minutes of Beyonciosity would be enough to drain the power from half the Super Dome.

We had some close calls and canny guesses. I called that the other Destiny's Children would arise from under the stage; I did not, however, guess that they would be shot out of subterranean cannons and forced to rely on their cat-like reflexes to survive. Jessica didn't think we'd get an original DC song and she was right. We were all way under on the backup dancers and the whole thing turned out to be one big ass dance-off. And while my prediction that Beyoncé would "take it, break it, rebuild it in her image and then destroy it just because she can" proved all too true, even I didn't envision the lead guitarist whose instrument ejaculated flames. How could we all have been so blind?!

What a bizarre night, but the dust has settled and we have a champion. While his beloved 9ers finished third in the Super Bowl, Elan Meier can proudly celebrate the defense of his half time pool title. His genius pick of "just one verse of Halo" proved the decisive factor in an otherwise tight race. This is Elan's third win, having also shared the glory in Bruce Springsteen's year.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 12:36 AM | Permalink

January 29, 2013

The [Tuesday] Papers

The Papers will be sporadic this week as I'm on a freelance deadline that is sucking my brain apart and redistributing it to all corners of the universe, but we'll still have plenty of good material throughout the site. Here's today's:

* Save Chief Keef: Straight outta Chicago's teen murder culture.

* The Political Odds: Slightly updated to reflect Toni Preckwinkle's endorsement of Toi Hutchinson in the race to replace Jesse Jackson Jr.

Does Joe Berrios come with her?

* Open Letter: Natasha Julius revives our Open Letter feature with a plea to the asses of Chicago commuters.

* SportsMonday: Rooftop Charm Long Gone: In case you missed it.

And, speaking of our very own Jim "Coach" Coffman, here he is on WBEZ's Afternoon Shift on Monday discussing how the Bulls have remained competitive without Derrick Rose.

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The Beachwood Tip Line: Competitive.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 8:07 AM | Permalink

Save Chief Keef

Three minutes of Chief Keef behind the scenes.


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See also: DGainz' You Tube channel.

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Waka Flocka responds:

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See also:
*Rockie Fresh: People Too Hard On Chief Keef.

* Chief Keef Child Support Story Clarified.

* Gang Signs With Mom On Instagram.

* The Creation of Chief Keef: Fixing Chicago's Teen Murder Culture.

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Previously:
* South Side 16-Year-Old Gets Shot, Blows Up

* Rhymefest vs. Chief Keef

* Chief Keef's Deadly Rap War

* More Sh!t Chief Keef Don't Like

* Chief Keef Loves Soda, Ain't White

* Chief Keef: Baller of Confusion

* Free Chief Keef!

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 7:28 AM | Permalink

Open Letter

How are you doing down there? Are you cozy? Warm? Efficiently supported by a minimally-cushioned CTA train or bus seat? Oh good. What a relief.

I'm writing on behalf of the rest of the body to which you are attached. Your argument down the years, if I understand correctly, has been that your comfort should be paramount to all other concerns. Apparently you've been quite vocal - or perhaps guttural - about it, because the CTA agrees. It recently launched a "crowding reduction plan" aimed primarily at making sure you never have to stay upright again. You win.

The rest of your human? He or she just wants to get to work on time.

Let me break this down for you. The CTA's big plan to guarantee you an expanse of brownish or bluish fabric during rush hour involves running more buses on already crowded surface streets. You know how sometimes you can get a little backed up? And then your human keeps on feeding his or her mouth anyway and things just get more and more uncomfortable for you? That's what Belmont Avenue is like at 8:00 in the morning these days; it's constipated. There'll be a long line of barely-moving #77 buses mixed in with all the kamikaze cabs and delivery trucks. And if your human misses the tail end of that procession, he or she has to wait 10-15 minutes before the same excruciating process begins again.

Adding more trains during rush hour seems like a no-brainer, provided the track equipment works. If it doesn't - and here's a hint; it doesn't - you end up with a situation similar to the one described above. Right about now, when your human is standing on a Brown Line platform waiting hopelessly for a train that won't come, he or she is probably wishing for the kind of reassuring redundancy that the #11 Lincoln/Sedgwick bus provided. Alas, that route was given the heave-ho so you could ride in style.

I know this letter will most likely fall on deaf and dumb asses. You probably like the way your pants fit now that your human, like me, has to run three blocks from the train station to get to work on time. But I'm begging you, in the interest of your corporeal neighbors, please end this madness. Talk to all the influential asses you know at the CTA and tell them you're willing to make this small sacrifice. I've already spoken to the elbows and they are totally willing to forego the extra room.

Come on, guys. It's time for you to stand up for us.

Yours respectfully,

A Red-Assed Commuter

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Open Letter is open to letters.

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See also: The Open Letter Archive.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 1:52 AM | Permalink

January 28, 2013

SportsMonday: Rooftop Charm Long Gone

The rooftops across the street have long since ceased being part of Wrigley Field's charm.

Once the first occupant of a particularly cool Lakeview apartment on Waveland or Sheffield was denied entry onto his or her building's roof because there was money to be made charging outsiders, the wonder that was watching the Cubs from a decent seat outside the ballpark started fading.

And once the last cheap folding chair was broken down and put away after the final three-flat with a view was replaced by a "club" expressly constructed to do business based on views of something going on across the street, the charm was completely gone.

Those chairs were what people sat on back when roof-sitting was a delightful little deal enjoyed by a handful of ballpark neighbors.

It is hard to describe those ridiculous clubs, owned and operated by wealthy Wrigleyville bar and club owners, as anything other than parasites.

Let me be clear, though, that I'm not taking Cubs management's side in the dispute over whether the team should be able to put up advertising that blocks the views from across the street. The Ricketts family knew what it was getting into when it purchased the Cubs. They knew a 20-year contract had been signed with the rooftop owners a few years prior, a contract that still has more than 10 years left to go. A plague on both their houses.

Except, of course, I don't really feel that way about the house owned by the baseball team I've been a fanatic for since childhood. I'm sure just about everyone can agree that the glorious old ballpark should remain plague-less. The Rickettses on the other hand . . . I suppose I have a tiny personal stake in this because I had the great good fortune to take in three innings of a playoff game from the rooftop of what I believe was the fourth building north of Addison on Sheffield in 1989.

It was Game 1 of the National League Championship Series (a game the Cubs would lose 11-3 to the Giants - their first of four losses in five playoff games that year) and I had been sent over to the ballpark by the City News Bureau to collect some "color" from the neighborhood.

As I walked down the street behind Wrigley's right field I was inspired to yell up to a few guys I could see up on top of the multilevel residence in question and they invited me in. I had to go around to the back, climb a couple sets of stairs and then hoist myself up the long ladder that poked through to the roof. Once there I explained what I was doing and who I was working for (I think they believed me although, as usual, they hadn't heard of City News), conducted a few interviews with and took in the scene and the game. There were maybe eight people up there total. It would have been worth it to pay an extra hundred a month at least in rent to live in that building.

When I think about that 1989 Cubs playoff appearance, that's what I remember.

Well, that and Will Clark getting a hit just about every time up (he hit .650 in that series, including an RBI double in the first inning while I was on the rooftop).

These days, a reporter wouldn't be so lucky; they'd probably have to arrange to sit on a rooftop ahead of time and then bear being surrounded by a bunch of suits masquerading as fans.

There would be no charming ladders and no crappy patio furniture. And no one who really knew much about the game.

Those aren't the rooftops the building owners are fighting for anymore.

Back in 1989, by the way, the Giants had the best of it by far in the NLCS, but the World Series, the team's first since 1962, was a different story. San Francisco was swept by Oakland but the big story was the Loma Prieta earthquake. The 15-second tumbler struck about a half-hour before Game 3 and did serious damage all over the Bay Area. Huge sections of Interstate 880 collapsed and 42 people died. The Series was delayed for 10 days.

I suppose the moral of that story is that it could be worse, Cubs fans; the ballpark could be damaged by an earthquake.

On the other hand, it may take some sort of natural phenomenon to bridge the divide between the two sides on this one.

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

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 9:24 AM | Permalink

The [Monday] Papers

The Papers will be sporadic this week as I'm on a freelance deadline that is sucking my brain apart and redistributing it to all corners of the universe, but we'll still have plenty of good material throughout the site all week. Here's today's:

* The Weekend In Chicago Rock: Including Excision, Archie Powell, the Mutts and Escalofrio, among others.

* Replacing Alpana Singh: We've got the short list.

* The IQRA Book Center: Serving your Islamic needs.

* The Pizza Doctors Of LaCrosse: Exploratory surgery nightly.

* Another Precinct Heard From: In today's installment of QT.

* SportsMonday: Will be posted later this morning. Rooftop Charm Long Gone.

* Old Drunk Friends, Stinky Vans & Jackasses. In case you missed our Local Music Notebook over the weekend.

* The Weekend Desk Report: In case you missed it.

* @BeachwoodReport.

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The Beachwood Tip Line: Time is at hand.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 8:51 AM | Permalink

IQRA Book Center

"IQRA' International Education Foundation is a non-profit Islamic educational establishment (waqf) instituted to creatively respond to the growing need of our children, youth, and adults for sound Islamic instruction in the modern global village."


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See also: IQRA Book Center.

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 8:26 AM | Permalink

The Weekend In Chicago Rock

You shoulda been there.

1. Excision at the Congress on Saturday night.


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2. Archie Powell & The Exports at Goose Island on Friday night.

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3. Mutts at Goose Island on Friday night.

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4. Olly Murs at the House of Blues on Saturday night.

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5. Esh at Uncommon Ground on Saturday night.

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6. Flogging Molly at the Aragon on Saturday night.

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7. Silverstein at the Bottom Lounge on Saturday night.

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8. Escalofrio at The 2040 on Saturday night.

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 7:15 AM | Permalink

The Pizza Doctors Of LaCrosse

Exploratory surgery nightly.

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Also featured on the Food Network in 2010:

*

And scheduled to appear on the Travel Channel's Pizza Paradise 2 on January 30 at 10 p.m.

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See also: Pizza Doctors: The Pizza Buffet Professionals.

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 7:07 AM | Permalink

QT: Another Precinct Heard From


News Headline: "Bobby Jindal: GOP must stop being 'stupid party.' "
News Headline: "Haley Barbour agrees GOP must stop being 'stupid.' "
No. Let's be fair.
Let's hear what the Democrats have to say.

···

Super Bowl XLVII Countdown Update:
San Francisco Police, with VI days to go, announced there will be CD officers on duty Sunday to deal with fan violence, III times the normal number.

···

News Headline: "Wild weather: Extreme is the new normal."
News Headline: "Climate-change reality laps up on Florida shores."
News Headline: "White House offers few details on climate-change plan."
Take your time, Mr. President.
We have all the time in the world.

···

A Scout Is Friendly, Courteous, Kind, Obedient, Cheerful, Thrifty, Brave, Clean, Reverent and Intolerant Update:
Pack 442 of Cloverly, Md., has dropped its posted policy against discrimination based on "race, religion, national origin, ability or sexual orientation" after the Boy Scouts of America threatened to take away the pack's charter.

···

News Headline: "Child labor uncovered in Apple's supply chain."
How can this company get any more progressive and hip?

···

K.R., a Baltimore reader, regarding QT's mention that a case of vandalism by fruit-throwers in New Rochelle, N.Y., had caused police to investigate persimmons of interest, followed by a reader's mention that a suspicious pear had been lurking in the area, writes:
"I should think you would have squashed this nonsense by now."
You are right.
QT discourages any further attempts to mango our language.

···

News Headline: "Armed man's capitol intrusion unnerves Idaho lawmakers."
News Headline: "For sixth time in a week, man shot at a gun show."
OK. We've been trying it the National Rifle Association's way.
How long would it take to manufacture 315 million assault rifles?
Then we can all just have it out.

···

QT News Presented Without Comment:
A 93-year-old man in Kansas City, Mo., said he killed his wife of 70 years because he "couldn't take it anymore."

···

News Headline: "Palin: 'We have just begun to fight!'"
News Headline: "Mitt Romney: 'I'm not going away.'"
News Headline: "New research needed to combat resistant infections."
Scientists are doing what they can.

···

The number of Google hits for "tap-dancing militant Islamic fundamentalists" has been at 2,830 for two weeks, for those keeping track.
There remain zero Google hits for "aggressive criminal prosecutions of Wall Street executives by the Obama administration."

···

QT Early Warning System:
Three days remain until National Boost Your Self-Esteem Month.
For all the good it will do.

···

Today's Birthdays: Henry VII, 556; Mustapha III, 296; Clementine IX, 413; Super Bowl XXIV, 23.

···

QT Grammar R Us Seminar on the English Language:
+ M.J., a Mokena reader, regarding QT's reminder that that the first two syllables of "gerrymander" should be pronounced GARY, not JERRY, writes:
"Webster's New World Dictionary lists JERRY as the first pronunciation example for gerrymander. It also lists GARY as the proper pronunciation for Elbridge."
QT Abridged Too Far Dictionary of the English Language:
gerrymander verb 1. to divide an area into voting districts that give one party an unfair advantage in elections 2. and, right, it's a noun, too. 3. both of which are pronounced GARY-mander because they are named after Vice President Elbridge Gerry, who pronounced his name GARY. 4. but other dictionaries are giving up on this after more than a century of sloppy pronunciation, the same way they are giving up on the difference between "imply" and "infer." 5. So there we are.
+ R.R., a Chicago reader, regarding QT's wondering what comes before suprapreantepenultimate, which comes before preantepenultimate, which comes before antepenultimate, which comes before penultimate, which comes before ultimate, writes:
"Foresuprapreantepenultimate?"
There is no "x" in espresso, by the way.


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

Replacing Alpana Singh

"Alpana Singh, the longtime face of WTTW's restaurant review show Check, Please! announced Wednesday she'll be stepping down as host after 10 seasons," the Tribune reports.

The Beachwood has obtained WTTW's short-list for replacement candidates, including internal concerns about how each of those candidates would alter the dynamics of the show.

Chief Keef: Everyone would be too scared to go to the restaurants he would recommend. In fact, everyone would be too scared to watch.

Lovie Smith: Needs a new gig, but would only answer questions about his meal defensively, i.e., "Why do you want to know if I liked the soup? What's it to you?"

George Ryan: Needs a gig fresh out of prison, but would only allow guests to choose restaurants that hold fundraisers for him.

Billy Corgan: Would make everyone go to his frickin' tea shop.

Ozzie Guillen: Needs new gig, but would soon be unwelcome in Boystown, Andersonville, and the restaurants of every ethnicity he has offended.

Pat Quinn: Will need new gig soon, but fear he's the type who would keep sending his soup back.

Richard M. Daley: Doesn't need a new gig, but does need image repair. Would try too hard to show how thrifty he could be by stealing sugar packets. Too late, Mr. Mayor.

Sandi Jackson: Restaurants reviewed really need to be in Chicago, not Washington.

Siskel and Ebert: If only it was possible.

Walter Jacobson: Too many rants about how customer service isn't what it used to be.

David Axelrod: You could never tell if he was being sincere.

Michelle Obama: Too scoldy.

Joe Walsh: Would frequently skip out on the bill.

Theo Epstein: Would use too many algorithms to determine if a meal was a good value.

Hawk Harrelson: Would order a hot dog every time - and it would never be as good as the hot dogs Yaz used to order.

Steve Stone: Ability to predict every diner's order, and their reaction to it, would make things too anticlimactic.

Todd Stroger: Would hire waiters for top-level jobs he no longer controls just for old times' sake.

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 12:19 AM | Permalink

January 26, 2013

The Weekend Desk Report

Super Bore Sunday Special
Every year we here at the Weekend Desk try to help you cope with the horrible week between the conference championships and the Super Bowl. After all, there is such a thing as life without football. Well, real serious football, anyway.

  1. Hug Gary Bettman. With your eyes.
  2. Run for governor. Or Congress. Whatever.
  3. Procrastinate. Nothing bad ever happens when you do that.
  4. Inflate your grades. If you do so long enough it won't sting so much when you deflate them.
  5. Failing that, talk to Slovakia. You know, find out what they're doing right.
  6. Whoa. Stay the fuck out of Riverside.
  7. January's a great time to go to the movies. Or watch a real life shit show unfold before your eyes.

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The Weekend Desk Tip Line: Not a bore.

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A Special Weekend Edition of Local Music Notebook: Old Drunk Friends, Stinky Vans & Jackasses.

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The Sound Opinions Weekend Listening Report: "South Park fans rejoice! Trey Parker and Matt Stone - the creative minds behind the TV series and the Tony Award-winning musical Book of Mormon - are live in the Sound Opinions studio talking comedy and music. Later, Jim and Greg review new albums from New Order and Parquet Courts."

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The Flying Saucer Weekend Brunch Report: New t-shirts are in!

saucertshirt.jpg

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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.

Breaking New Ground

The Campaign for Better Health Care's annual meeting examines the challenges and opportunities facing the U.S. health care system following the passage of the Affordable Care Act.

2012 National Health Care Justice Leader of the Year

1-21-BreakingNewGrd-Keynote.jpg

U.S. Rep. Donna Edwards (D-Maryland) discusses implementing the Affordable Care Act and bringing fairness, inclusivity and a new direction to healthcare in the United States.

Sunday, January 27 at 9 a.m. on CAN TV21
2 hr.

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Healthcare Justice Awards

1-21-HealthJusticeAwards.jpg

Journalists, public officials and activists are recognized for their work promoting healthcare justice. Award recipients include investigative journalist Wendell Potter, Cook County president Toni Preckwinkle, and U.S. Secretary of Health and Human Services Kathleen Sebelius.

Sunday, January 27 at 11 a.m. on CAN TV21
1 hr.

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Health Insurance Exchange

1-21-HealthInsurance.jpg

Dave Chandra of the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities highlights the differences between health insurance exchanges being administered by states themselves or by state-federal partnerships.

Sunday, January 27 at 12 p.m. on CAN TV21
1 hr.

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Campaign for Better Health Care Panel

1-21-HealthCare.jpg

A panel of experts from a wide range of community organizations discuss ways to advance healthcare and address community needs in the United States.

Sunday, January 27 at 1 p.m. on CAN TV21
1 hr.


Posted by Natasha Julius at 9:01 AM | Permalink

Local Music Notebook: Old Drunk Friends, Stinky Vans & Jackasses

A loose collection of whatnot.

1. Reggie's.


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2. Robert Nighthawk on Maxwell Street.

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3. "Once upon a time the house at 4339 S. Lake Park Ave. was filled with children, home cooking and the kind of music that has made Chicago famous around the world," Heather Gillers wrote for the Tribune this week.

Blues icon Muddy Waters owned the home and lived there from 1954 until he moved to Westmont two decades later, according to published accounts and interviews.

"It was the rocking house," said harmonica star James Cotton, who used to play music in the basement "for days" with Muddy Waters and other blues greats.

But these days the home is quiet and dark, and this month the city issued a warning letter to the owner after an inspection found the property to be unsafe.

Records show the Nov. 29 buildings department inspection described the property as "dangerous," with the windows, doors, stairway and porch in need of proper maintenance.

The letter, dated Jan. 11, is the first step in the process of obtaining a court order that would allow demolition but gives the owner 15 days to remedy the problems.

"According to a records search, the unoccupied building is owned by a great granddaughter of Waters'," Lee Bey reported on his WBEZ blog.

Earlier this week, the city affixed a red "X" to the building's facade - a signal to first-responders that the home is structurally unsound. Although the building department is seeking a court order to get a permit to demolish the building, Massel said the agency would rather have the owner take better care of the property. A court date has not yet been set.

"We want compliance," she said. "Demo is not imminent."

We'll see. It's Chicago.

4. Kelly Hogan: Home Sweet Van.

5. Dale Watson responds to Blake Shelton calling classic country music fans and artists "old farts" and "jackasses."

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6. No Depression dug this one out of the vault this week.

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7. Dolly Varden: The Making Of For A While.

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8. Rockie Fresh and Sasha Go Hard bomb in New York.

9. DeRo in two parts.

* Rock Docs of Note.

* Joliet To Host Massive Three-Day Rave.

10. Inside Chief Keef's record deal.

11. "The facade of the Krause Music Store (4611 N. Lincoln Ave.) was the last commission by architect Louis Sullivan."

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12. Not much video available from Freakwater's show this week at the Hideout, so let's enjoy this old favorite from the group's appearance at the 4th Annual Cabin Fever Festival at Stuart's Opera House in Nelsonville, Ohio, on January 19th.

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 8:22 AM | Permalink

January 25, 2013

The [Friday] Papers

"The Ricketts family has been angling to fix aging Wrigley Field since buying the Cubs in 2009, only to see plan after plan of how to pay for improvements fail amid political considerations and public relations gaffes," the Tribune reports.

"Now after months of behind-the-scenes talks between team officials and City Hall, the latest plan to spend $300 million repairing the historic ballpark emerged this week, creating a sense of momentum even as competing interests continue to try to wring out the best deal."

A sense of momentum that apparently won't be interrupted by reporters asking the questions that fall outside of the narrative they are being fed.

"The talks have placed Emanuel in the role of a deal broker."

Enter our hero! But, um, in what scenario would Emanuel not be the deal broker? How have "talks" passively "placed" him there? He's the mayor.

"The mayor is putting the pressure on publicly, saying this week he's "asked all the parties involved to finish this up."

That innocuous statement hardly equates with public pressure. The real story is whatever kind of pressure the mayor is using behind the scenes.

"For Emanuel, getting a Wrigley renovation done, especially without tax money, would be a major coup two years into his tenure."

Really? This is just the latest in a series of renovations of the ol' ballpark, and for the most part inevitable. It might even be underway by now if Rahm didn't (reportedly) let the political views of Joe Ricketts get in the way of pursuing the public's best interests. Should the mayor really be allowed to hold up a project because a business owner opposes the president? Rahm really got a free ride on that one - unlike Ald. Joe Moreno on the the much-less significant Chick-fil-A fiasco.

(Note: Guess who's the money behind DNAinfo Chicago? Joe Ricketts.)

But now Rahm is riding to the rescue of . . . himself!

"Not only would it further burnish his image as a mayor rebuilding the city, Emanuel will have accomplished what his predecessor could not."

First, does Rahm have an image of rebuilding a city? That's the image he tries to project but is it so? And how could he have such an image given that his predecessor had an image of building a city? Who unbuilt it?

Also, was Richard M. Daley really unable to accomplish a Wrigley renovation (which presumes that this is something a mayor should do)? The Tribune Company owned Wrigley Field for most of Daley's tenure. It made its own "improvements" to the ballpark. It's not like it just sat there deteriorating while Daley sat on his ass.

"To that end, Emanuel is prodding all parties to move quickly, said a source in the mayor's office."

But it hasn't been quickly! Wasn't Rahm, again, the one to delay it due to Papa Joe? Or was all that reporting wrong?

"Emanuel believes there's a good shot at bringing all sides together and thinks 44th Ward Ald. Tom Tunney can play a key role in making that happen, the source said."

Now that's public pressure. And an explicit threat to Tunney delivered from the mayor's office through the Tribune.

"Emanuel also is hoping he doesn't have to take a more aggressive stance and can avoid pushing through a deal that doesn't have the backing of all interest groups, the source added."

He's hoping he doesn't have to push through a deal that doesn't have everyone's backing! But he will if he has to!

This is the kind of story you usually see in the Sun-Times, where Fran Spielman is City Hall's favorite tool of message delivery. The Tribune has its own problems, but usually producing this kind of piece isn't one of them.

*

"For its part, the team says renovations are necessary to modernize the stadium, protect fans from the crumbling concrete and generate more money to help win an elusive World Series."

Oy. You mean the team currently isn't protecting fans from crumbling concrete? And that one of the richest families in America needs even more money to win a World Series? (Even more than what's already on the way?)

"The breakthrough came when the team removed taxpayer funding from the equation - Emanuel viewed it as an opportunity that needed to be grabbed, the administration source said."

Our hero! I'm glad Rahm took the stance he did toward taxpayer money, but he certainly hasn't been shy about doling it out to other businesses (while taking it away from those who really need it.)

Why is Rahm holding the line this time? I mean, he's right, but probably not for the right reasons.

*

"The debate raises larger policy issues about how much restraint should government place on a commercial enterprise that benefits from its distinctive urban setting but also benefits the city."

Is that really the larger public policy issue this raises? That somehow government is unduly restraining the Ricketts'?

"We're told what we can do to the park," he said. "We're told what we can do in the park. We're told what we can do around the park. We think, from our position, if you just let us run our business, we can get started on some substantial renovations, make the fan experience better, make the player experience better and really preserve the park for the next 50 years. We're not a museum. We're a business."

Oh for god's sake. Call the wahmbulance! Wrigley Field is a museum. (And you've been saying that for years now; get a new line.) It has landmark status. The Ricketts' knew that going in. And you are a business protected by an anti-trust exemption that would probably be deemed unconstitutional were it to be seriously challenged. Government has done enough for you.

*

"University of Chicago economist Allen Sanderson, who does not support taxpayer subsidies to build sports stadiums, said the Cubs owners have a compelling argument. The city and the Wrigleyville neighborhood owe something to the Cubs because the team has a greater economic impact on the city than Chicago's other professional sports teams, he said."

I've followed Sanderson for years - and interviewed him several times - and I doubt this really reflects his view. But if it does, he's finally wrong about something. The city and Wrigleyville don't owe the Cubs a damn thing. Who made the Cubs - and Wrigley Field - so valuable? The fans. The Cubs have been one of the most ridiculously horrible franchises in sports history; it doesn't derive its value from anything other than the fans. They owe us.

*

Or, as our very own Joel C. Boehm once wrote: Stewardship matters.

*

"But Cubs spokesman Julian Green said . . . "

That would be former City Hall, Obama and Miller Coors spokesman Julian Green.

So proceed with caution.

*

"In 2005, Tribune Co. received city approval to expand the bleachers. In exchange, the owners promised to build a parking garage on the triangular-shaped property just west of the stadium. Tribune Co. never followed through and the Ricketts family has tabled plans for a 'Triangle' building, preferring to keep the space open for an ice rink, farmers' market and other uses."

So much for promises to the neighborhood.

*

"Many residents support the construction of a hotel, and the prospect of more night games and concerts, said Will DeMille, president of the Lake View Citizens' Council."

And many do not.

*

"DeMille acknowledged residents of Wrigleyville moved into the area knowing the ballpark was there."

It opened in 1914!

*

Plenty of Wrigleyville residents moved into the neighborhood before it was even called Wrigleyville. Others moved in perfectly willing to accept the benefits of the ballpark in conjunction with the quite reasonable restrictions put in place to maintain its compatibility with its unique neighborhood location. You could just as easily - and more validly - say that the Ricketts' bought a ballpark knowing it was in the middle of an urban neighborhood and everything that entails.

*

But look, you might as well just knock the damn thing down at this point anyway. There aren't many of us true believers left. The whole thing has already been ruined. I mean, what's the point of a Wrigley Field that isn't Wrigley Field? It reminds me of when Friar's diner closed in Wicker Park many years ago as the faux retro Diner Deluxe opened; here's a new version of the old version you loved so much because of its serendipitous organic authenticity, which we've replicated here only without all the yucky serendipitous organic authenticity!

Rich people can never leave well enough alone. Which reminds me of this oft-told anecdote:

At a party given by a billionaire on Shelter Island, Kurt Vonnegut informs his pal, Joseph Heller, that their host, a hedge fund manager, had made more money in a single day than Heller had earned from his wildly popular novel Catch 22 over its whole history. Heller responds, "Yes, but I have something he will never have . . . Enough."

*

Reporters on this story don't have to just mediate between our millionaire mayor and the billionaire Cubs. The real public policy this issue raises is how the public interest is protected when it comes to public assets in private hands, including sports franchises, stadiums and the streets around them. The value the Cubs have brought to the city is derived almost solely from the way longtime fans embraced the Wrigley Field panaroma, the rooftops, the (former) lack of advertising inside the ballpark, the bleachers, the day games . . . everything that made Wrigley so charming that it became home to an otherwise forlorn franchise worth even more than the $845 million the Ricketts' paid for it. There is no other reason why the franchise is worth so much. Just losing a lot doesn't do it.

All the Ricketts are doing now is increasing revenue while decreasing the franchise's long-term value. In a way, then, Tom Ricketts is the perfect owner for the times (just like hipster yuppie and faux progressive Joe Moreno is the perfect alderman for what Wicker Park is now, instead of what it once was and should have remained); he's the frat boy from the bleachers who gentrified what was once cool without truly understanding what made it so. He's a modern-day bleacher bum who was never a bum at all but a rich frat kid who moved into the neighborhood and loved everything about it except everything.

*

In other words, we have already seen The Ghost of Wrigley Future and whatever Rahm and the Ricketts' are up to are just details in a negotiation the public is not invited to. True Cubs fans have already been kicked to the curb and new Cubs fans will never know what being a Cubs fan meant in the first place.

*

Plus:

Ricketts Not Rich Enough Yet.

*

Finally:

Beware the Yawkey Way model the Ricketts' keep talking about.

-

The Week In Chicago Rock
You shoulda been there.

Lumpen Comics, Dark Hearts & Inner Lives
In Local Book Notes.

Circus Guy
An Ethiopian torture victim survives in Chicago.

Today's QT
No one ever said the bar was set high for Earth's greatest nation.

-

The Beachwood Tip Line: Everything.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 7:08 AM | Permalink

Local Book Notes: Lumpen Comics, Dark Hearts & Inner Lives

Over the transom.

1. From The Lumpen Times:

"Please join us as we celebrate the release of the long awaited Comics Issue of Lumpen magazine. We haven't done one since the 90's and we are super thrilled to see a compilation of some of the best comic artists in America all contained in one juicy newsprint concoction.

"We are mounting an exhibition of works by the artists featured in the issue. Complementary beverages will be served. There is no cover."

Friday, January 25, at the Co-Prosperity Sphere, 3219 S Morgan Street.

*
Here's the cover.

lumpen_cover_119.jpg

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2. From The Society of Midland Authors:

"Gillian Flynn, author of the No. 1 New York Times fiction best-seller Gone Girl, will speak at 6 p.m. Wednesday, Feb. 13, in a Society of Midland Authors program at the Harold Washington Library Center, 400 S. State St., Chicago.

"The Chicago writer is a former TV critic for Entertainment Weekly. Her previous novels are Sharp Objects, an Edgar Award finalist and the winner of two of Britain's Dagger Awards, and Dark Places.

"The free event begins at 6 p.m. sharp in the library's Cindy Pritzker Auditorium. After speaking, Flynn will sign copies of her books, which will be for sale at the event. Seating is available first come, first served. Reservations are not required.

"NOTE: Unlike previous Society of Midland Authors events, this one does not feature a social hour with drinks and appetizers. The talk will begin promptly at 6 p.m. The Society is holding its February and March events at the Harold Washington Library Center while our usual venue, the Cliff Dwellers Club, is temporarily closed for renovations."

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3. Non-local bonus item from Secrecy News:

"When U.S. Army Lt. Col. Anthony Shaffer wrote a memoir of his service as an intelligence officer in Afghanistan called Operation Dark Heart in 2010, the Department of Defense intervened to block publication, asserting that the manuscript contained classified information.

"An initial print run of the book was destroyed, and the work was republished with hundreds of passages redacted. However, a limited number of uncensored review copies and early sales editions have remained in circulation.

"Now the Pentagon has decided that many of the claimed redactions are no longer necessary, and may be disclosed in future editions of the book."

Click through here for the rest of the story.

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4. Earlier this month from the Tribune:

"As sure as an automobile could not have been built by even the most enterprising Neanderthal, the appearance of humans on Earth could not have occurred without the myriad of developments that began with the birth of the universe, and continued with the evolution of our planet.

"Neil Shubin, a paleontologist and evolutionary biologist at the University of Chicago and author of the critically acclaimed, Your Inner Fish, reveals in his newest book, The Universe Within, our intimate relationship with the planet that shaped us. We spoke recently by phone; the following is an edited transcript of our conversation."

-

Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 6:17 AM | Permalink

Circus Guy: Story Of A Survivor

"Mishu's father was killed in an act of clan warfare [in Ethiopia]. Although Mishu had no intention of revenge, it was assumed by a rival clan that he would avenge his father. They arranged for his arrest without charge for an indefinite amount of time. While in prison, Mishu suffered repeated interrogations about a person he did not know.

"Family members raised bribe money to release Mishu from jail. To flee the country, he hired on with a circus traveling to the United States. When the tour was finished, he chose to stay . . . in Chicago."


-

See also:
* The Marjorie Kovler Center
* The Kibera Social Circus
* Frank Dina's YouTube channel

-

Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 5:29 AM | Permalink

QT: An Alarming RVIII?


News Headline: "NFL players more likely to develop depression, problems with thinking skills."
QT NFL Concussion Count with IX Days to Go Until Super Bowl XLVII:
As of the end of the season and playoffs, NFL players had suffered CCXXXVI concussions.
QT hoped to estimate how many times NFL concussions might be mentioned during the Super Bowl broadcast.
But there is no Roman numeral for zero.

···

News Headline: "Democrats surrender on filibuster reform."
News Headline: "Surgeon general issues call for spine donors."
Sorry. Made the second one up.

···

News Headline: "Hail new combat roles for women."
No comment from the Peace Movement, as it no longer exists.

···

News Headline: "House suspends the debt limit: Are Republicans in the driver's seat?"
Are we asking if Republicans are in the driver's seat of the government they are trying to put up on blocks, hoping to sell off parts?
Or maybe they can get behind the wheel and make vroom noises.

···

QT News Presented Without Comment:
A Roman Catholic hospital in Colorado is arguing in a malpractice suit that fetuses aren't people.

···

Jerry Kohn, a Skokie reader, regarding a QT item about three-day weekends, writes:
"Just wanted to correct you. Veterans Day is always observed on November 11, regardless of what day of the week it is."
You are right.
It was a part of three-day weekends for a while under the Uniform Monday Holiday Act.
People complained.
Still no complaints about Memorial Day, which will be shoved three days forward this year so our remembering of the soldiers and sailors who have laid down their lives for us can be more convenient.

···

News Item: ". . . take the debt ceiling off the table. . . ."
News Item: ". . . bring the debt ceiling to the floor. . . ."
News Item: ". . . suspend the debt ceiling until May 19. . . ."
News Item: ". . . aren't voting to lift the debt ceiling. . . ."
Which poses the problem: How can we suspend the ceiling if we don't first lift it off floor and back above the table?

···

News Item: ". . . watching this unfold in real time. . . ."
News Item: ". . . trying in real time to get the best information. . . ."
S.W., a Chicago reader, wants to know when did "at the time" become "in real time," and when can we have "at the time" back?

···

News Headline: "Obama: We live in the greatest nation on Earth."
News Headline: "17 million children go hungry in U.S."
News Headline: "5 campus shootings since Sandy Hook."
News Headline: "Oregon man begs on roadside for kidney."
No one ever said the bar was set that high for Earth's greatest nation.

···

News Item: "The Canadian Foreskin Awareness Project will hold a protest outside the. . . ."
For those who doubt there is any subject imaginable for which an organization does not exist.

···

News Headline: "Justin Bieber dethrones Lady Gaga to rule Twitter."
We can all breathe easier now.

···

From the QT Archive of Knowledge:
+ Donald Trump has never used an ATM.
+ Dung beetles are capable of celestial navigation.

···

News Headline: "Naked carnival worker does flying tackle off roof, empties vacuum cleaner."
You don't want to know what he did after that.

···

QT Grammar R Us Seminar on the English Language:
News Item: ". . . said he underwent training in order to become a youth leader and a background check."
Jim West, a Macomb, Ill., reader writes:
"Since when did you need training to be a background check?"
As long as we are on the subject of things in general:
We will be hearing more about "gerrymanders" in the coming months.
Note to TV news announcers: The first two syllables should be pronounced GARY, not JERRY.
Thank you.


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 5:26 AM | Permalink

The Week In Chicago Rock

You shoulda been there.

1. Underoath at the Metro on Sunday night.


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2. Jessie Ware at Lincoln Hall on Sunday night.

-

3. NARP at the Elbo Room on Sunday night.

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4. Somnistatic at Moe's Tavern on Sunday night.

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5. Femi Kuti and the Positive Force at the Metro on Monday night.

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6. Emeli Sande at Lincoln Hall on Tuesday night.

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7. Liquid Soul at the Double Door on Sunday.

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8. Late Night Alumni at Studio Paris on Wednesday night.

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9. Chris Young at Joe's Bar on Wednesday night.

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10. The Squeeze at Martyr's on Wednesday night.

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11. Freakwater at the Hideout on Monday night.

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12. The Used at the House of Blues on Wednesday night.

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 4:36 AM | Permalink

January 24, 2013

The [Thursday] Papers

"North Korea said on Thursday it would carry out further rocket launches and a nuclear test that would target the United States, dramatically stepping up its threats against a country it called its 'sworn enemy,'" Reuters reports.

The best reporting on North Korea lately, though, was done by the daughter of Google chairman Eric Schmidt. See Sophie in North Korea.

Rahmley Field
"Mayor Rahm Emanuel indicated Wednesday that he'd like the various parties involved in Wrigley Field renovation talks to reach a compromise but doesn't want to negotiate his end of the deal in public," the Tribune reports.

That doesn't mean the mayor isn't for transparency in the process, though. After all, the public will be to see the results of any deal unfold right before their eyes.

Missing Media
"A moving truck was seen outside former Congressman Jesse Jackson Jr.'s home on the South Side on Wednesday," CBS2 Chicago reports.

"While it was initially believed the Jackson family might be moving out of their home in Washington, D.C., and back into their home in Chicago, it turned out the movers were bringing items from his former Congressional office on Capitol Hill."

Oops, a couple words accidentally got edited out of Jay Levine's report. I'll restore them:

"While it was initially believed by the media who could think of no other reason for a moving van to be there that the Jackson family might be moving out of their home in Washington, D.C. . . . "

To wit:

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Just Another Police Lawsuit
"Chicago police killed a man by running him over and shooting him twice in the back, then told his grieving mother it was 'just another nigger dead,' the mother claims in court," Courthouse News Service reports.

"Riots broke out on Chicago's South Side after police shot Jamaal Moore to death on Dec. 15, according to Chicago newspapers. The Tribune and others reported that the shooting came after a police chase, and that Moore, 23, and others, were suspected of robbing a truck driver."

*

Sam Adam Jr. is representing the family, DNAinfo Chicago reports.

*

Also from DNA:

"A Freedom of Information Act request from DNAinfo Chicago was returned by the Chicago Police Department redacted in its entirety."

Just like in North Korea.

Regrets, They Should Have A Few
"A South Shore alderman whose ward includes a condo building where two people died said Wednesday she has 'no second thoughts' about having spearheaded a move to give the owners of that building and other pre-1975 high-rises until 2015 to make fire safety improvements," the Sun-Times reports.

The 16-story building at 6730 S. South Shore Drive was not equipped with a sprinkler system. Nor did it have a hard-wired alarm or communications system to disable elevators and alert condominium owners.

It's one of 759 pre-1975 residential high-rises exempt from the sprinkler requirement, but that were supposed to make other, less-costly 'life safety improvements' by Jan. 1, 2012.

In December 2011, Ald. Leslie Hairston (5th) joined North Side Ald. Tom Tunney (44th) in co-sponsoring an ordinance giving building owners three more years to make the improvements. At the time, they argued that struggling owners were having trouble footing the bill.

The delayed safety requirements may have put some building owners out of business, but now some of their tenants are out of their lives.

*

"Just over a year ago, Tunney was facing the same questions after a 32-year-old woman died in a high-rise fire at 3130 N. Lake Shore. Her neighbors had left the door to their burning 12th-floor apartment propped open because their cat refused to leave.

"Like the South Shore condo, that 21-story building was a pre-1975 high-rise that was not equipped with a sprinkler system, nor did it have hard-wired alarm or communications system to disable elevators and alert residents of the roughly 300 apartments.

"Like Hairston, Tunney said at the time he had 'no regrets' about pushing back the deadline for life-safety improvements."

The Political Odds
Updated.

Awfully Beautiful
The Noir Of New Poetry Foundation President Robert Polito.

Lupe Loves Hebru
So does Jay-Z.

Shoe Fest
It happened and it will happen again.

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The Beachwood Tip Line: We the people.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 6:43 AM | Permalink

Shoe Fest Happened And Will Happen Again

Shoe Fest announced last week that it would return for its third year next September 6-8.

"We will once again be hosted by the beautiful Camp Shaw-Waw-Nas-See in Manteno, IL, less than an hour south of Chicago city limits."

Yay!

Last year's Shoe Fest (poster here) fell through the cracks here at Beachwood Music, and we've wanted to make it up ever since. Now's our chance. Here are some Shoe Fest 2012 highlights grabbed from chickenheadfan's YouTube channel with appreciation and gratitude.

(And bookmark Shoe-Fest.com to keep apprised of the lineup and other details.)

1. Ben Miller Band.


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2. Keller and the Keels.

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3. Jaik Willis.

-

4. Old Shoe.

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 5:25 AM | Permalink

The Noir Of New Poetry Foundation President Robert Polito

"Robert Polito, the director of the creative writing program at The New School since 1992, has been named the new president of the Poetry Foundation, based in Chicago," the New York Times reports.

"Mr. Polito will begin his tenure on July 8. The organization's inaugural president, John Barr, who caused occasional ripples in the poetry world, is set to retire but will stay on until July and then help with the transition.

"Mr. Polito is a poet, critic and author of several books, including Savage Art, a biography of the crime writer Jim Thompson that won a National Book Critics Circle Award in 1995."

Polito then moved on to Hollywood and God in a collection of that name.

"Ever sense I wrote a biography of crime novelist Jim Thompson I've stayed fascinated with noir, and for me at least there are echoes of noir in 'Hollywood & God," he wrote in 2009.

"But I first arrived at noir, whether Thompson, David Goodis, or Patricia Highsmith, through Samuel Beckett: those beautiful sentences saying the most awful things."

Here's Polito reading two poems by the Oak Park poet of the Depression Kenneth Fearing at NoirCon in Philadelphia in 2010.

-

Bio deets from the Poetry Foundation press release:

"Born in Boston in 1951, he earned a doctorate in English and American language and literature from Harvard University.

Polito's poetry, which blends lyric, collage, and narrative impulses and draws on both American pop culture and literary tradition, has been collected in two books, Hollywood & God (2009) and Doubles (1995).

"His scholarly works include A Reader's Guide to James Merrill's The Changing Light at Sandover (1995) and Savage Art: A Biography of Jim Thompson (1996), for which he received a National Book Critics Circle Award.

"Polito's interest in crime novels and film noir has served him as editor of several books on cinema, poetry, and popular culture of the American midcentury.

"He has written about Manny Farber's paintings, the music of the Kinks, Andy Warhol and Andrew Marvell, Bob Dylan, the Pogues, Orson Welles, Elizabeth Bishop, Jean Vigo, and Allen Ginsberg's 'Howl,' among many other subjects."

-

Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 2:26 AM | Permalink

January 23, 2013

Lupe Loves Hebru

Lupe Fiasco gave a shout-out to local artist Hebru Brantley in the Sun-Times this week. Let's take a look at Brantley's work.

1. Five years ago.


*

2. Four years ago.

*

3. Three years ago.

*

4. Two years ago.

*

5. One year ago.

*

6. One month ago.

Artist Hebru Brantley takes over Wynwood Walls and Art Basel 2012. His painting "Everyone's Scared" was purchased by none other than Jay-Z.

-

See also:
* Drinking With . . . Hebru Brantley.
* Q&A with Hebru Brantley.

-

Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 9:07 PM | Permalink

The [Wednesday] Papers

"For the past three weeks, Chicago drivers have unknowingly been enjoying a reprieve from paying America's highest parking meter rates," the Expired Meter reports.

"That's because none of the city's more than 4,100 parking meter pay boxes have been changed to reflect the higher rate which officially went into effect on Jan. 1.

"That means city parkers, who are still paying the 2012 rate, have collectively saved close to $900,000, based on past monthly revenues generated by the meters."

That's a lot of money for our parking meter overlords to leave on the table. Is something afoot?

"By contract, CPM has 60 days to implement the rate change," said Chicago Department of Finance Deputy Comptroller Holly Stutz. "Due to contract issues, they have decided to start the rate change the first week of February. They will begin in the Central Business District working their way outward to the neighborhoods."

City officials would not elaborate on the specific contract issues that were delaying the rate changes. A mayoral spokeswoman later denied contract issues were involved in the delay.

If Rahm Emanuel is able to rework this contract, he may not need that pile of cash to get re-elected.

*

But can you run for president on it?

-

Oh, Illinois

*

Reader Mary T. Burke writes:

Do you think when George gets out that Sneed will be there to give him a big kiss on the lips?

Yes. Yes I do.

*

"Sneed has verified the [release] date through numerous sources familiar with friends Ryan has made in prison."

They get Capitol Fax in prison?

Daley's Detail
"For the 22 years he was mayor, Richard M. Daley relied upon a select group of police officers to ensure his safety and that of his family," the Sun-Times reported on Monday.

"The security detail's members routinely traveled with Daley and his family. They drove his kids to school. They ran errands for the family.

"Now, members of the police security detail that served Daley are being questioned by Dan K. Webb, the special prosecutor appointed to reinvestigate the 2004 death of David Koschman and also to determine whether criminal charges should be filed regarding the handling of the Koschman case by police and prosecutors."

Click through to read how Patrick Daley tried to run away after that infamous Grand Beach incident.

Background here:

"Vanecko is particularly close to his cousin Patrick Daley, son of the second Mayor Daley . . . When they were in high school, Vanecko , then 17, and Patrick Daley, then 16, made headlines when they threw a drinking party on Feb. 29, 1992, at Mayor Daley's second home, in Grand Beach. The party ended when Vanecko held a 20-gauge shotgun as one of Patrick Daley's classmates, Mark Lawler, clubbed an Indiana teen in the head with a baseball bat, according to police reports and a civil lawsuit that was settled in 1995 for undisclosed terms."

*

"The Indiana teen suffered a skull fracture and underwent brain surgery, just as Koschman would years later. Unlike Koschman, he recovered after 10 days in the hospital.

"Vanecko pleaded guilty to aiming a firearm without malice and possession of alcohol, both misdemeanors, and Patrick Daley pleaded guilty to furnishing alcohol to minors and disturbing the peace. Each was given probation. Lawler, who has since died, was found guilty of aggravated assault."

See also: Victim In 1992 Bat Attack At Daley Summer Home Now Runs Tea Company.

*

Patrick Daley pleaded guilty to a juvenile charge of furnishing alcohol to minors. Vanecko, then 17, pleaded guilty to aiming a firearm without malice. Both got probation.

Funny, Chief Keef got 60 days for handling a gun at a shooting range at the behest of Pitchfork and his record company for an interview. Without malice.

Cue the music!

-

Chi City Checks In
A South Side story to tell.

K-Love Spits Fire
Across platforms.

Super Bowl Food Safety
Tips from the federal government.

Today's QT
A suspicious pear and a rare Oprah doll.

-

The Beachwood Tip Line: A fine blend of ice.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 6:11 AM | Permalink

QT: A Slip Of The Tongue


News Item: "Chief Justice John Roberts got it right this time--but President Barack Obama appeared to stumble over the word 'states' during his ceremonial swearing-in. . . ."
Now why did he stumble on this word?
Let's see . . . states. . . states. . . states' rights. . . rights of the people. . . rights of the people trampled by secret plan to bring in U.N. troops during second term to confiscate firearms and. . . .
No wonder he stumbled.
And he almost got it past us, too.

···

News Headline: "Inauguration 2013: Tweets from NJ politicians."
It may be safe to move on to other stories now.

···

News Headline: "FDA aims to reduce overmedication in elderly."
News Headline: "ADHD in children jumps 24 percent in year, study says."
We have to overmedicate somewhere, don't we?

···

News Headline: "Boeing battery-fire probe gets tricky."
Please. There is no cause for concern here.
Meanwhile, QT has a train to catch.

···

We Have Seen the Present, and It Does Not Work:
A University of Colorado study has recommended that teachers stop using red ink to correct student work because the color red subjects students to "emotional loading" that can make them feel "shouted at," damaging their self-esteem.

···

D.W., a Denver reader, regarding QT's mention that a case of vandalism by fruit-throwers in New Rochelle, N.Y., had caused police to investigate persimmons of interest, writes:
"Witnesses said they saw a suspicious pear lurking in the area."
Or. . . .

···

News Item: "A shooting on a Texas community college campus wounded at least two people Tuesday and sent students fleeing for. . . ."
Then again, does this even qualify as news anymore?

···

News Headline: "Police renew push to resolve case of stolen rare foot-tall porcelain Oprah doll."
The reassuring news here being that foot-tall porcelain Oprah dolls are rare.

···

News Item: ". . . wedding guests crowded closer to the officers. . . standing back-to-back over a now-handcuffed. . . crowd assaulted the. . . pelting them with ice and liquids. . . officers called for backup. . . . ."
It's the little things that go wrong at weddings that can provide our most treasured memories.

···

From the QT Archive of Knowledge:
+ Atheism is a capital crime in Afghanistan, Iran, the Maldives, Mauritania, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia and Sudan.
+ Neanderthals were prone to ear infections.

···

News Headline: "Clarksville police arrest intoxicated zombie shouter."
There is probably an interesting story behind that.

···

From Poor QT's Almanack:
On this day in history 200 years ago an earthquake occurred in the Middle West's New Madrid Fault that changed the course of the Mississippi River and toppled chimneys as far away as Maine, but be assured that a sixfold increase in tremors over the past decade has not affected the geological assessment that there is only a 10 percent chance of any new major quakes in the next 50 years, which includes any moment now.

···

QT Grammar R Us Seminar on the English Language:
Dave Carr, an Owen Sound, Ontario, reader, regarding QT's wondering what comes before preantepenultimate, which comes before antepenultimate, which comes before penultimate, which comes before ultimate, writes:
"Suprapreantepenutlitmate?"
QT suspects we have not heard the last of this.


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

Chi City Checks In

"Hailing from Southside Chicago, Chi City is undeniably one of the most lyrically explosive rappers in the Midwest. Chi City has inched his way into the music game as a writer, lyricist, performer, and he has been expanding his brand to reach audiences across the U.S.

"Unlike so many rappers out that talk more about partying and sex, Chi City's 'Story To Tell' tells the story of so many who strive to make it out of the streets and projects.

"From the start, the song hits you with a nice strong and smooth street beat. Chi City reminds us of a young Kanye West as he details the struggles to make ends meet and his dreams of success in an unbalanced and cruel world where he fights against becoming a statistic of the streets. Chi City reaches out to emerging East Coast emcee The Kid Daytona to paint a vivid picture of growing up in the streets of New York. In the end they share the same heart ache and pain as they both travel the same road to success."


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Directed by: Klay Dot
Edited by: Hookmodo

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 5:27 AM | Permalink

K-Love Spits Fire

"Mellow Concepts co-owner Frank Johnson interviews Chicago's K-Love the Poet in the brand's 1st installment of the Mellow Moment interview series."


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Upcoming Event: Celebrating 10 Years of Art By K-Love

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Bonus video:

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Bonus Audio.

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 3:40 AM | Permalink

January 22, 2013

Don't Have A Super Bowl Food Safety Foul!

Whether your favorite team made into the Super Bowl this year, Super Bowl Sunday is always a fun day to get together with friends and family, eat lots of good food and cheer for good old fashioned American football. While eating all those delicious finger foods is easy, sometimes keeping food bacteria-free isn't. USA.gov makes sure you keep your guests healthy with these food safety tips:

* The U.S. Department of Agriculture says unclean hands are one of the biggest ways to spread bacteria. With flu season in full swing right now, it's more important than ever to wash your hands before preparing foods and make sure you do so for at least 20 seconds with soap.

The USDA also suggests using one cutting board for uncooked meat and another for veggies and other foods so they won't be contaminated with bacteria from the meat.

* Prevent foodborne illness when you're shopping for Super Bowl Sunday by staying away from canned goods that are deformed or jars that have cracked or loose lids. Make sure to refrigerate food that requires it, and dispose of food that looks or smells suspicious. Foodborne illness is like a bad halftime show - no one wants either on Super Bowl Sunday.

* Slow cookers and crock pots are popular cooking tools when it comes to meatballs, chili and other all American favorites. Foodsafety.gov answers some common questions about slow cooker faux pas to help you get to game time without worrying about what's going on in the kitchen.

For example, unthawed food should not go directly into a slow cooker; it must be properly thawed before you heat it up.

If you have any questions about keeping your food safe before sharing it with your friends and family, Foodsafety.gov has all the information for you in one place. Learn about recent recalls and alerts from the government, how to keep all different types of food safe, how to avoid food poisoning and much more.

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Bonus video!

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 1:47 PM | Permalink

The [Tuesday] Papers

"Instead of bearing witness to President Barack Obama 's second inauguration in prime seats in Washington, D.C., Father Michael Pfleger went to an Aurora High School Monday night with a Martin Luther King Day warning: The slain civil rights leader's message must not be watered down, and he should not be treated like a history lesson," the Sun-Times reports.

"Let me make it clear. If you've studied Dr. King, his message was prophetic, and his message was radical," the pastor from Chicago's South Side said.

And then the Sun-Times proceeds to water down King's message with empty quotes instead of daring to explore what he really said about race, economics and American militarism.

*

For example.

*

Let us add: A Chance To Revisit The Real Dr. King.

It speaks eloquently to the problem with demonizing political opponents. The result of such a political discourse - which Obama could have changed if he ordered his campaign and political staffs to engage in a different kind of rhetoric - is the kind of polarization we see now, along with the worst kind of hypocrisy.

To wit:

*

You would think that the coincidence of Barack Obama's second inauguration with the King holiday would spur some hard thinking in the media instead of the most simple, surface narrative - if you lived in an alternate universe.

In this universe, local news organizations sent reporters to Washington to cover a speech, a parade and a handful of (corporate-sponsored) balls. For what? So each reporter could see for themselves which designer Michelle wore?

If only that much attention was paid to the decimation of the South and West Sides that happened right under our noses in the last decade. But then, that kind of coverage never makes it into the marketing plan.

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"As he was ceremonially sworn in for a second term on Monday, President Barack Obama made it clear he would embrace a progressive agenda that would likely push for further reforms in immigration, gun safety, climate change and gay rights," the Sun-Times reports.

Did he really? He made it clear he would embrace a progressive agenda? Why would he do that now when he's never done it before? One thing he has done before, however, is mouth the words. That's not the same as embracing.

Besides that, his agenda on immigration, gun safety, climate change and gay rights hardly qualifies as "progressive," unless we are now using that word interchangeably with "standard centrism."

And what's missing from that agenda? JOBS.

Maybe that's your lead.

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"He pushed for unity, repeating 'We, the people,' his voice echoing to the back of the National Mall. 'My fellow Americans, we are made for this moment,' the president said."

What does that even mean? In what way are we "made for this moment." What moment? A moment of economic crisis and political polarization? Is that the moment we are made for? We were made by, um, God, to, you know, meet this moment?

We can read the transcript and watch the video. We don't need public relations stenography.

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The Tribune used a Los Angeles Times/Tribune Company report, as is its habit, for its standard inauguration story - which also neglected to point out the president's apparent omission of the economy in his speech.

"Just over 18 minutes - relatively short by historical standards - the address hit several major policy priorities that Obama hopes to pursue," David Lauter writes.

First up is gay rights. Of course, reports in neither paper mention that not only was Obama once against gay marriage on religious grounds, but that his "evolution" stops short of federal action and instead endorses states' rights on the issue.

Next is action on climate change, which at least Lauter notes was ignored by the president in his first term.

Then comes immigration reform. Reports fail to note that Obama has overseen more deportations by far than under the George W. Bush administration - and they've risen each year Obama has been in office. Reform thyself!

(The Tribune at least reported on this in its pre-inauguration coverage.)

Finally, gun control legislation. To paraphrase Sydney Ellen Wade: Congratulations, it will only have taken you five years to put together gun control legislation which has no hope of controlling guns.

Now, I haven't yet read through all of the inauguration coverage, so if I'm missing something, let me know. But I've seen enough to know it's a wank.

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What Gary Larson said.

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A small, tiny, infinitesimal piece of credit: At least CBS2 Chicago asked the question.

Cancelled out in spades, however, by How To Get Michelle Obama's New Look.

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The Sun-Times, representing the vast majority of the Chicago media contingent:



vs. Esquire, which asks "Is President Obama Evil?":

vs. the Atlantic:

vs. me:

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MID-MORNING UPDATE:

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For more inaugural coverage, see @BeachwoodReport.

Sneak Preview
Hoarders in Humboldt Park.

Keef, Lupe & Ludacris
From jail, the inauguration and Markham.

Poetry Off The Shelf . . .
. . . And Out Loud. Plan accordingly.

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The Beachwood Tip Line: What Larson said.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 7:25 AM | Permalink

Poetry Off The Shelf & Out Loud

The Poetry Foundation, publisher of Poetry magazine, is pleased to present the schedule for its Winter/Spring 2013 Literary Series.

Highlights this season include a reading by current United States Poet Laureate Natasha Trethewey, a rare stateside appearance by Australian poet Les Murray, a new staged reading directed by Bernard Sahlins featuring poetry and comedy, and an appearance by poet Campbell McGrath.

In our gallery, we are very pleased to show Joan Mitchell: At Home in Poetry, an exhibition of the abstract expressionist painter's work, letters, and other ephemera. This is the first solo exhibition of Mitchell's work in Chicago, and the first to consider her relationship to poetry and the city itself.

Most Poetry Foundation events are free on a first-come, first-served basis. Doors generally open 30 minutes before a program, and programs typically last one hour.

Events

Thursday, January 31, 7 PM
Poetry Off the Shelf
Drinking Gourd: Poetry, Song, Dance

Poetry Foundation
61 W. Superior
Free admission

Join us for a celebration of words, music, and dance as we help launch The Drinking Gourd Poetry Prize Chapbook Series.

Renowned poet Ed Roberson, author of eight books of poetry and winner of the Iowa Poetry Prize, joins poet and playwright Kristiana Rae Colón, winner of the inaugural Drinking Gourd Prize.

The evening will include readings from Roberson's Closest Pronunciation and Colón's promised instruments; live vocal performances of the great coded songs of the Underground Railroad and other African-American spirituals by Timothy McNair, bass at the Bienen School of Music at Northwestern University; and contemporary dance with original choreography by Devin Buchanan of Giordano Dance Chicago.

The Drinking Gourd Chapbook Poetry Prize is a first-book award for emerging poets of color, combining the efforts of Northwestern's Poetry and Poetics Colloquium and Northwestern University Press in celebrating and publishing works of lasting cultural value and literary excellence. For more information visit poetry.northwestern.edu.

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Tuesday, February 5, 7 PM
Poetry Off the Shelf
Natasha Trethewey

Poetry Foundation
61 W. Superior
Free admission

Thursday, February 7, 6:30 PM
Poetry Off the Shelf
Natasha Trethewey

Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum
Springfield, IL
Free admission

When she was named the 19th United States Poet Laureate in June, 2012, Natasha Trethewey was among the youngest poets appointed to the post, the first African American since Rita Dove, and the first Southerner since Robert Penn Warren held the office in the 1980s.

Born in Gulfport, Mississippi, she is the author of four collections of poetry, including Native Guard, which won the Pulitzer Prize in 2007, and Thrall, her latest volume of verse. She has also published Beyond Katrina: A Mediation on the Mississippi Gulf Coast and has a memoir coming out this year.

Librarian of Congress James Billington has written that Trethewey's poems "dig beneath the surface of history - personal and communal, from childhood or from a century ago - to explore the human struggles we all face."

Native Guard, for example, draws its title from an unsung regiment of African American soldiers who were commissioned to watch over Confederate prisoners of war, while some of the poems in Thrall explore mixed-race marriage from both cultural and personal perspectives.

Among Trethewey's many other honors are fellowships from the Guggenheim Foundation and the National Endowment for the Arts, as well as the Cave Canem Prize for her first collection, Domestic Work. Trethewey holds the Phillis Wheatley Distinguished Chair in Poetry at Emory University.

Co-sponsored with the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum.

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Saturday, February 9, 7 PM
Sunday, February 10, 3 PM

Poetry & Music
And the Poet Sang: The Heart's Place with Jamie O'Reilly and Michael P. Smith

Poetry Foundation
61 W. Superior
Free admission

And the Poet Sang: The Heart's Place features celebrated duo Jamie O'Reilly and Michael P. Smith performing songs of love - love of place, heart, and homeland. They will perform original song-settings of poems by luminaries ranging from Gabriela Mistral and Frederico García Lorca to Anne Carson andancient Irish and Chinese writers. Material from Smith and O'Reilly's folk cabarets, Pasiones: Songs of the Spanish Civil War and Hello Dali: From the Sublime to the Surreal, will also be featured.

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Thursday, February 21, 10:30 AM - 1 PM
Poetry Out Loud
Chicago Regional Finals

Poetry Foundation
61 W. Superior
Free admission

Champions from Chicago high schools recite poems for the chance to represent Illinois at the Poetry Out Loud National Finals in Washington, D.C., in April. Last year 365,000 students around the country participated. More than $100,000 in scholarship awards and school stipends is at stake.

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Wednesday, February 27, 7 PM
Poetry Off the Shelf
Fulcrum Point Goes Ivy League

Poetry Foundation
61 W. Superior
Free admission

In its ongoing Ivy League series, Chicago's endlessly innovative Fulcrum Point New Music Project explores poetry and music associated with Princeton University. The impressive roster of poets who attended or have taught at Princeton includes John Berryman, W. S. Merwin, Galway Kinnell, C. K. Williams, Jane Hirshfield, Paul Muldoon, Susan Wheeler, Michael Dickman, and this year's Pulitzer Prize winner Tracy K. Smith. Princeton composers Steve Mackey, Andy Akiho, and Andrea Mazziarello join in this multimedia event of music, electronics, percussion, and drama.

Co-sponsored with Fulcrum Point New Music Project.

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Sunday, March 24, 3 PM
Monday, March 25, 7 PM

Poetry on Stage
Poetry as Comedy

Poetry Foundation
61 W. Superior
Free admission

From W. H. Auden to Lewis Carroll, John Updike to Ogden Nash, Ezra Pound to Dorothy Parker, some of our brightest poetic minds have enjoyed using their skills in works designed to tickle our funny bones. This program will bushwhack through poetry in English, bouncing from Robert Lowell to Edward Lear, Emily Dickinson to Wallace Stevens, and Elizabeth Bishop to Edna St. Vincent Millay. Under the direction of Bernard Sahlins, a trio of Chicago's finest actors will bring us an evening of poems and laughter.

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Saturday, April 13, 7 PM
Poetry Off the Shelf
Poesía en Abril with Coral Bracho and Juan Carlos Mestre

Poetry Foundation
61 W. Superior
Free admission

Now a spring tradition in Chicago, the sixth edition of Poesía en Abril is presented by contratiempo and DePaul University. For the second consecutive year, the Poetry Foundation hosts a special festival recognition night highlighting the influential and inspiring work of two poets who have made significant contributions to Spanish-language poetry. Coral Bracho, who has been compared to John Ashbery, has received the Aguacalientes Prize and a Guggenheim Fellowship. She teaches in Mexico City. Juan Carlos Mestre was awarded the National Poetry Prize by Spain's Ministry of Culture for La casa roja. Also an acclaimed visual artist, she has exhibited internationally. The evening will feature visual poetry and bilingual readings.

Co-sponsored with contratiempo, Instituto Cervantes, and DePaul University.

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Wednesday, April 17, 6:30 PM
Poetry Off the Shelf
Marge Piercy and Ira Wood

Poetry Foundation
61 W. Superior
Free admission

Marge Piercy is the author of eighteen poetry collections and seventeen novels, and her work has been translated into nineteen languages. Her latest books are Pesach for the Rest of Us: Making the Passover Seder Your Own (2011) and The Hunger Moon: New & Selected Poems 1980-2010 (2011). In 2002, Harper Perennial released her memoir, Sleeping with Cats. She also co-authored with Ira Wood So You Want To Write: How to Master the Craft of Fiction and Personal Narrative. Ira Wood is the author of three novels, a teacher, a former publisher, and the host of a weekly radio program called "The Lowdown" on WOMR-FM, Cape Cod's Community Radio Station. His short pieces have been published in Ploughshares, Tikkun, and Fifth Wednesday Journal, among many other literary magazines. In 1996 he and Piercy established the Leapfrog Press, an internationally distributed "boutique" publishing company, which they sold in 2007. You're Married to HER?, his new book of autobiographical essays, was released in August 2012. A reception will follow.

Co-sponsored with Fifth Wednesday Journal.

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Thursday, April 25, 7 PM
Poetry Off the Shelf
Les Murray

Poetry Foundation
61 W. Superior
Free admission

Australian Les Murray grew up on his grandparents' farm in Bunyah, New South Wales, and returned there with his own family in 1985. The recipient of numerous honors for his poetry, he has published collections including The Ilex Tree (with Geoff Lehmann, 1965) and Dog Fox Field (1990), both winners of the Grace Levin Prize for poetry; Subhuman Redneck Poems (1996), a UK Poetry Society Choice and winner of the T.S. Eliot Prize for poetry; Learning Human (2000); Conscious and Verbal (2001), a title inspired by press reports following his battle with a liver ailment and three week coma; and Poems the Size of Photographs (2004). His latest books, both released in 2011, are Taller When Prone: Poems and Killing the Black Dog: A Memoir of Depression. Murray's work explores the subjects of Australia's history and landscape. He was formerly the editor of Poetry Australia and is currently the editor of Quadrant magazine.

Co-sponsored with the Harriet Monroe Poetry Institute as part of the International Poets in Conversation series.

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Saturday, April 27, 2 PM
Poetry Off the Shelf
Campbell McGrath

Cindy Pritzker Auditorium
Harold Washington Library Center
Free, first-come admission. Doors open at 1 PM.

Kingsley Tufts winner and MacArthur "Genius" Campbell McGrath will deliver the keynote reading at this year's Chicago Public Library Poetry Fest. In eight formally inventive collections, McGrath has established himself as a gifted inheritor of Whitman's impulse to explore the fullness of the American psyche and landscape. Wit and irony shape his work, but so, too, does the sublime, or, as he writes "the self and the soul in the darkness / chanting to the ecstatic chance of existence." He teaches at Florida International University.

Co-sponsored with the Chicago Public Library.

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Friday, May 10, 7 PM
Poetry Off the Shelf
Ars Poetica: Art Song

Poetry Foundation
61 W. Superior
Free admission

Simply put, an art song is poetry set to music. Ars Poetica brings together contemporary poets, composers, and musicians for an evening of art song. The concert will feature music and words by up-and-coming artists, including Chicago composer Brian Baxter's interpretation of poetry by 2012 Ruth Lilly Fellow Richie Hofmann, as well as several other composer-poet collaborations. String quartet Chicago Q Ensemble, a rising star in Chicago's chamber music scene, will perform.

Co-sponsored by Memorious.org and Singers On New Ground.

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Saturday, May 18, 6 PM
Poetry Off the Shelf
Bodies of Work Festival with Jim Ferris, Leroy F. Moore, and Barry Silesky

Poetry Foundation
61 W. Superior
Free admission

The Bodies of Work Festival presents art and culture that illuminates the disability experience. Taking place in various locations throughout the city and suburbs, the festival features lectures, workshops, visual arts, film, and live performances. The Poetry Foundation hosts a reading by Jim Ferris, Leroy F. Moore, and Barry Silesky. Ferris is the author of Hospital Poems, which received the 2004 Main Street Rag book award, and several influential essays, including "The Enjambed Body." He chairs the Disability Studies Program at the University of Toledo. Moore is the award-winning founder of Krip-Hop Nation and Sins Invalid. He has received many awards for his advocacy on race and disability matters. Acclaimed biographer of Lawrence Ferlinghetti and John Gardner, Silesky is the author of three books of poetry, most recently, This Disease; founding editor of Another Chicago Magazine; and an instructor at the School of the Art Institute and Loyola University.

Co-sponsored with the Bodies of Work Festival.

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Thursday, May 30, 7 PM
Harriet Reading Series
Catherine Wagner and Dana Ward

Poetry Foundation
61 W. Superior
Free admission

The Harriet Reading Series features presentations by poets who have appeared on Harriet, the Poetry Foundation's blog. The series features both established and emerging poets whose writing findsinnovative approaches to the craft of poetry. Catherine Wagner's books include Nervous Device, My New Job, Macular Hole, and Miss America. She has performed widely in the U.S. and abroad. With Rebecca Wolff, she edited Not for Mothers Only, an anthology of poetry exploring maternity and motherhood. She is associate professor of English at Miami University in Ohio. Dana Ward is the author of This Can't Be Life, The Crisis of Infinite Worlds, and Some Other Deaths of Bas Jan Ader. Based in Cincinnati, he curates the Cy Press Poetry @ Thunder Sky reading series and co-edits Perfect Lovers Press.

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Library Book Club
January 18 and February 15, 12:30 - 1:30 PM (additional dates to be announced)
All experience levels are welcome to a monthly book group moderated by library staff. In 2013, the library will ask individuals from varied backgrounds to select titles that have been meaningful to them. January's curator, Jayne Anne Phillips, selected Irene McKinney's Unthinkable: Selected Poems. Space is limited to 15 participants. Please register in advance by e-mailing library@poetryfoundation.org.

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Poetry Foundation Gallery
Joan Mitchell: At Home in Poetry
Monday, February 4 - Friday, May 31

Abstract Expressionist painter Joan Mitchell (1925-1992) was born and raised in Chicago, and her mother, Marion Strobel, was associate editor at Poetry magazine. Poetry was fundamental to Mitchell's sensibility and to her paintings, and many of her closest personal and professional relationships were with poets. This exhibition, which includes the large-scale quadriptych painting Minnesota (1980), as well as photographs, letters, and books of poems illustrated by Mitchell, will explore her relationships and collaborations with poets including Frank O'Hara, Bill Berkson, John Ashbery, Nathan Kernan, and her mother. Related programming will consider the interrelations of poetry and the visual arts more broadly. School groups wishing to tour the exhibition should contact library@poetryfoundation.org to schedule a visit.

Co-sponsored with the Joan Mitchell Foundation.

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 5:16 AM | Permalink

Local Music Notebook: Keef, Lupe, Ludacris

A loose collection of whatnot.

1. More trouble for Chief Keef.

"Troubled teenage rap star Chief Keef is facing a child-support lawsuit from a girl who alleges he fathered a 14-month-old child with her," the Sun-Times reports.

Meanwhile . . .

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And . . .

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2. "Rapper Ludacris appeared [last week] at the Cook County courthouse in Markham to testify at a trial over a pair of canceled appearances in the south suburbs more than six years ago," the Sun-Times reports.

Ludacris, whose real name is Christopher Brian Bridges, entered and left Judge Robert Clifford's courtroom through a rear entrance. Dressed in a gray suit, white shirt and dark tie, he calmly answered lawyers' questions amid what appeared to be enhanced security.

He testified he's been "commercially successful" in the entertainment industry since 2000, and since then he said he has never dealt personally with promoters. Instead, he said he's left that up to a manager, Jeff Dixon, who he's trusted "absolutely" for 13 years.

Ludacris , who lives in Atlanta, said he was told a November 2006 concert planned at the Jo River Center in Dolton was canceled because of a fire. His attorney said a January 2007 party appearance at a nightclub in Harvey didn't happen because the rapper wasn't paid.

Whatevs.

3. If Lupe Fiasco had done this at a George W. Bush inaugural event, a lot of the same people criticizing him now - if not all of them - would be cheering.

Slate's David Weigel reminds readers how many folks enjoyed it when that dude threw a shoe at W.

What I wrote in a Facebook thread:

"Please keep in mind that this was a private, corporate event for which he was booked, not an official inaugural event. He didn't go on a rant, he was singing a song from his Grammy nominated album. The first tweet from a co-sponsor of the event decried Lupe being political at an event that was purportedly non-political. Shows a lot of ignorance on the part of the event sponsors. Hard to see what Lupe did wrong."

Admittedly, he sang the same verse for 30 minutes. Brilliant!

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4. Rare Chicago doo-wop uploaded to YouTube on Monday by rtoledo1111.

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 3:23 AM | Permalink

Sneak Preview: Hoarding In Humboldt Park

"Today we made our 2nd appearance on TLC's Hoarding: Buried Alive. We filled an entire 50-cubic yard dumpster before the customer realized we threw away a bag with her wallet, cell phone, and medications.

"Then, at the request of the producer, we emptied the entire 50-yard dumpster one bag at a time, cutting open each bag to check for the missing items, and finally found the lady's valuables. In the real world, we would never empty a dumpster to retrieve a mistakenly loaded item, but in order to make a great episode for reality TV we accommodated the request."


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"They really worked myself and the crew hard. We moved the equivalent of 200 cubic yards in an 8-hour day - three 50-cubic yard dumpsters of debris loaded and another 50 cubic yards of in-house moving.

"The episode should air in April of 2013."

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From hoardercleanouts.com:

"Able Removal Service [also] made an appearance on the 2011 season premiere of TLC's Hoarding: Buried Alive with a hoarder named Jahn.

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See also: Able Removal's YouTube channel.

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 2:51 AM | Permalink

January 21, 2013

SportsMonday: Hawks' Hot Start Heals The Hurt

How are we going to stay pissed at hockey if the Blackhawks are going to go around piling up goals and immediately winning road games against the teams that lorded over the Western Conference in the playoffs last year?

The Hawks kicked off the lockout-shortened NHL season by jumping all over the defending Stanley Cup champ Kings in Los Angeles on Saturday, scoring three goals in the first period on the way to a 5-2 victory. Then they traveled down to Phoenix late last night to face the team the Kings beat in the Western Conference finals and all they did at the Jobing.com Arena in suburban Glendale was rally from a pair of early deficits to defeat the Coyotes 6-4.

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We will stay at least a little hacked off when we remember that at the very least there should have been a month-and-a half more NHL hockey this winter. The owners insulted the players with their first lowball offer when negotiations kicked off in the late summer and by the time the scheduled start of the season came around and the lockout began, there was still substantial space between the players' proposals and the owners'.

But by the beginning of December, the general parameters of a future deal were clear. The players, whose aggregate salaries had represented some 57 percent of total hockey-related revenues in the 2011-12 season, were going to accept a sizable reduction in the number, probably taking it down to a seemingly ultra-fair 50-50.

But a group of hawkish owners took the lead in the negotiations at that point and torpedoed a potential deal. It appeared that even though the players were making substantial concessions, this group of owners, led by Jeremy Jacobs of Boston and Murray Edwards of Calgary, wouldn't agree to a deal unless they brought the players' union not just to its knees but made sure it was absolutely flattened.

Eventually sanity prevailed and the more moderate owners made sure the ideologues didn't trash the season. The sides settled for a deal that looked a whole heck of a lot like the one on the table at the start of December.

The bad news was that NHL hockey wasn't played during the holiday season. The good news was that Blackhawks chairman Rocky Wirtz wasn't one of the owners who was - publicly, at least - out front of the anti-union demagoguery.

Anyway, Hawks fans were desperate that the season not be canceled because there was plenty of reason to believe that their team would be in the hunt for the championship. And sure enough the Hawks have enjoyed a rousing start with a big old party now set for Tuesday at the United Center. That's when the St. Louis Blues come to town for the home opener.

Fans will have to savor that time with the Hawks and a home game a little further down the line against the Red Wings because Chicago otherwise plays 10 of its first 12 games on the road.

As for the piles of goals we were talking rejoicing about the fact that Marian Hossa already has the biggest one (he has scored four) is the best sign so far. The lockout was actually good for the awesomely skilled two-way forward who will have to be a huge part of any sort of successful run the Hawks make this season.

The Hawks' 2011-12 season essentially ended when Coyote punk Raffi Torres executed the cheapest possible shot on Hossa's head in Game 3 of their first-round playoff series. There were, of course, other factors in Chicago losing the series four games to two, but putting Hossa on the sideline with a severe concussion gave Phoenix a huge edge.

Hossa finally felt right again in about November-December and when it came time to take the ice to prepare for a season starting in January, he was ready to go.

Now he has scored two goals in each of the Hawks' first two games and is clearly back to his old self. So far the Hawks have put Hossa on the first line with center Jonathan Toews, and Patricks Kane and Sharp on the second line with center Dave Bolland and it has worked great. Many fans believed the Hawks had to go out and find a big-time second center during the off-season but the team chose to fill the position from within with the player who is in his fifth full year with the team.

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What wasn't so good was back-up goalie Ray Emery's effort between the pipes. He gave up a tissue-soft goal to the Coyotes' David Moss in the first period and was leaking dangerous rebounds all night. Fortunately, Coyote goalie Mike Smith was even worse. He capped off a rough night by whiffing on a puck that popped into the air after a tip-in attempt by Bolland and it resulted in the Hawks' sixth goal.

Smith was so pissed to have missed (the puck) that he proceeded to smash his stick in two on one of his goalposts.

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Hockey fans knew how he felt but if the Hawks keep playing like they have, the lockout anger will fade as fast as the Zamboni sheen on the ice after an NHL period begins.

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

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 11:50 AM | Permalink

The Weekend In Chicago Rock

You shoulda been there.

1. Niki and the Dove at Lincoln Hall on Friday night.


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2. Grace Potter at the Riv on Friday night.

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3. Midge Ure at The Mayne Stage on Saturday night.

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4. The Handcuffs at 27 Live in Evanston on Saturday night.

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5. As Cities Burn at the Metro on Sunday night.

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 8:07 AM | Permalink

The [Monday] Papers

Just briefly today as I have a morning appointment.

* We Would Have Jailed Martin Luther King Jr. Under NDAA.

* Obama: MLK Would Have Backed Occupy Protests.

And then Obama Would Have Jailed Him.

* Obama Leaves Out Most Mentions Of Poverty.

* MLK on Poverty.

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* King in Chicago.

* Lupe Fiasco Kicked Off Stage At Inaugural Event.

* Obama: No Questions, Please!

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Also:
* The Weekend in Chicago Rock.

* QT: Obama, metal hips and King.

* The Chambers Report: Some Guys Have All The Luck.

* The Weekend Desk Report. If you missed it.

* SportsMonday will appear later today. Hawks' Hot Start Heals The Hurt.

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* On CAN TV.

Democracy Now! 2013 Inauguration Coverage

"Democracy Now! will be broadcasting live from Washington, D.C., observing Martin Luther King Jr. Day and covering the presidential Inauguration, including a look back at President Obama's first term in office, analyzing prospects for his second term and covering the inauguration proceedings."

Starting at 8 a.m. on CAN TV27

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The Beachwood Tip Line: Dreams vs. schemes.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 7:31 AM | Permalink

Obama: No Questions, Please!

"President Obama promised to have the most transparent administration to date, but it seems that the Obama administration continues to dodge the tough questions."


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Previously:
* On The Anniversary Of The Freedom Of Information Act, Obama Turns Back The Clock

* Obama's FOIA Fail

* The Atlantic: Obama's War On Whistleblowers

* Salon: Obama's Unprecedented War On Whistleblowers

* Mother Jones: Obama's War On Whistleblowers

* The New Yorker: The Secret Sharer: Is Thomas Drake An Enemy Of The State?

* Salon: Obama Targets Journalists

* Reason: Obama's War On Whistleblowers Could Send Investigative Journalism Back To The Stone Age

* ABC News: The White House Loves Aggressive Journalism - Abroad

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 7:01 AM | Permalink

Lupe Fiasco Kicked Off Stage At Inaugural Event

"Pretty much everybody who pays attention to Lupe Fiasco knows he's not exactly a fan of President Barack Obama, but for some reason the group Start Up Rock On booked him to headline their inauguration party Sunday night," New York magazine reports. "It didn't go well."

Click through for the tweets that tell the story. Here's the video:

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Here are the conflicting tweets from sponsor hypervocal:

*

*

Here's the official video of the song Lupe was singing:

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And here are the lyrics:

[Skylar Grey]
It's so loud Inside my head
With words that I should have said!
As I drown in my regrets
I can't take back the words I never said
I can't take back the words I never said

[Lupe Fiasco]
I really think the war on terror is a bunch of bullshit
Just a poor excuse for you to use up all your bullets
How much money does it take to really make a full clip
9/11 building 7 did they really pull it
Uhh, And a bunch of other cover-ups
Your child's future was the first to go with budget cuts
If you think that hurts then, wait here comes the uppercut
The school was garbage in the first place, that's on the up-and-up
Keep you at the bottom but tease you with the uppercrust
You get it then they move it so you never keeping up enough
If you turn on TV all you see's a bunch of "what the fucks"
Dude is dating so-and-so blabbering bout such and such
And that ain't Jersey Shore, homie that's the news
And these the same people that supposed to be telling us the truth
Limbaugh is a racist, Glenn Beck is a racist
Gaza strip was getting bombed, Obama didn't say shit
That's why I ain't vote for him, next one either
I'ma part of the problem, my problem is I'm peaceful
And I believe in the people.

[Skylar Grey]
It's so loud inside my head
With words that I should have said!
As I drown in my regrets
I can't take back the words I never said
I can't take back the words I never said

[Lupe Fiasco]
Now you can say it ain't our fault if we never heard it
But if we know better than we probably deserve it
Jihad is not a holy war, where's that in the worship?
Murdering is not Islam!
And you are not observant
And you are not a Muslim
Israel don't take my side cause look how far you've pushed them
Walk with me into the ghetto, this where all the Kush went
Complain about the liquor store but what you drinking liquor for?
Complain about the gloom but when'd you pick a broom up?
Just listening to Pac ain't gone make it stop
A rebel in your thoughts, ain't gonna make it halt
If you don't become an actor you'll never be a factor
Pills with million side effects
Take em when the pains felt
Wash them down with diet soda!
Killin' off your brain cells
Crooked banks around the world
Would gladly give a loan today
So if you ever miss a payment
They can take your home away!

[Skylar Grey]
It's so loud inside my head
With words that I should have said!
As I drown in my regrets
I can't take back the words I never said, never said
I can't take back the words I never said

[Lupe Fiasco]
I think that all the silence is worse than all the violence
Fear is such a weak emotion that's why I despise it
We scared of almost everything, afraid to even tell the truth
So scared of what you think of me, I'm scared of even telling you
Sometimes I'm like the only person I feel safe to tell it to
I'm locked inside a cell in me, I know that there's a jail in you
Consider this your bailing out, so take a breath, inhale a few
My screams is finally getting free, my thoughts is finally yelling through

[Skylar Grey]
It's so loud Inside my head
With words that I should have said!
As I drown in my regrets
I can't take back the words I never said

-

Previously:
* Lupe Fiasco vs. Kanye West

* Lupe Fiasco: The Biggest Terrorist Is Obama

* The Ghosts of Lupe Fiasco's West Side

-

Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 6:37 AM | Permalink

QT: But It Was Done His Way


News Headline: "Obama is sworn in for second term: 'I did it.'"
What President Obama meant to say, of course, was that he did it with the help of a teacher along the way, maybe, and system that allowed him to thrive and somebody who. . . .
He did mean to say that, didn't he?
Hey. Wait a minute. . . .

···

News Headline: "New regulations on the way for food safety."
News Headline: "Propose tighter regulations for all-metal hip implants."
Always the first step.
Soon they will try to take away our food.
And our hips.
And we all know who they are.

···

News Headline: "Five ways to honor Martin Luther King Jr."
One of the ways might be:
Mark his day on January 15, his birthday, to show that the purpose is to honor him, not have another day to move around for the convenience of another three-day weekend, which is how we treat Memorial Day and Veterans Day, also, and shame on us.
Or put it another way.
Think ahead a few months this year.
Happy Eighth of July!

···

Tom Hedeen, a Chicago reader, regarding QT's noting that there is probably an interesting story behind the headline "Man arrested after running naked in law firm," writes:
"Perhaps they should have drawn up his briefs."
Stop it.
Stop it now.

···

News Item: Cars in New Rochelle, N.Y., are damaged by fruit-throwing vandals.
Police are investigating persimmons of interest.
OK. It is hard to stop.

···

The Case for Zero Tolerance of Modern School Administrators:
A 5-year-old girl in Mount Carmel, Pa., was suspended and ordered to undergo psychiatric evaluation after she told a classmate she was going to shoot another little girl with her Hello Kitty gun, which sprays pink bubbles.

···

News Headline: "Cross-dressing, porn store-owning priest busted in meth ring."
Everybody's a critic.

···

News Headline: "School guard leaves gun in bathroom."
News Headline: "5 hurt in accidental shootings at 3 U.S. gun shows."
As the first National Gun Appreciation Day drew to its close . . . and the next day began.

···

News Headline: "Bill Gates: I have no use for money."
Oh, be quiet.

···

News Headline: "Michelle Obama wears bangs, Reed Krakoff dress to swearing-in."
News Headline: "Prediction: Michelle Obama will wear a repeat gown on Inauguration Day."
The day will come when we have a woman president--and a First Gentlemen will have to put up with all this endless fashion reporting.
Except he won't.

···

News Headline: "Man on probation for donkey molesting arrested on new charges."
Amazing what he was arrested for this time.

···

All right, all right.
All he did was steal some batteries.
Police said.

···

From Poor QT's Almanack:
On this day--no, let's see, yesterday--143 years ago Hiram R. Revels of Mississippi was elected the first black senator in U.S. history, although some tried to stop this, arguing that it was required he be a citizen for nine years, and the 14th Amendment, which made him a citizen, had been ratified only two years earlier, as if we needed a reminder that every age has its Tea Party.

···

QT Grammar R Us Seminar on the English Language:
S.L., a Chicago reader, writes:
"How many people do you think know the meaning of the word 'penultimate'?"
QT tested a sample survey on this, which means it asked around.
The final, or ultimate, person it asked knew the definition.
The person before that, the penultimate, didn't.
The person before that, the antepenultimate, did.
The person before that, the preantepenultimate, didn't.
QT will have to stop its survey there.
Unless someone knows what comes before "preantepenultimate."


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 Chambers Report: Some Guys Have All The Luck

I.

So, if you have a raspy, high-pitched baritone voice and decide to try your luck as a rock singer, what might the payoffs be? If you are Roddy Stewart, son of a north London plumber, they are considerable: Sales of 200 million records in 70 countries; concerts across the world before audiences numbering as many as 3.5 million fans (New Year's Eve 1994, Copacabana Beach, Rio); a two-year contract for 52 concerts at Caesar's Palace in Las Vegas (all sold out in a 4,100-seat venue); palatial homes in London, Scotland, Palm Beach, Beverly Hills, Spain, and all around the Mediterranean; ownership of every conceivable variety of exotic automobile (his consistent favorites have long been Lamborghinis, but there has always been room in his many garages for the occasional Ferrari, Porsche, Jaguar, Mercedes, or Rolls Royce); and, perhaps best of all, virtually non-stop sex for years with countless of the world's most beautiful women (he's married four of them and fathered seven children, all gorgeous).

"Excess" is the word for Rod Stewart, who has since his late teen years wanted almost everything . . . and gotten most of it. Now approaching 70, Stewart is still in remarkable physical shape and strong voice (as this writer witnessed at Caesar's only three months ago). For decades he has shown himself to be one of the world's greatest entertainers, and the awards have continually flowed in - twice elected to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame (with his early band the Faces and on his own); many platinum recordings; an invitation to sing for the Queen; appointment as Commander of the British Empire.

And, more recently, Rod: The Autobiography, making its way up best-seller lists in several countries.

There have been downsides to Stewart's career, too, but not many. A little-known bout with thyroid cancer in his 50s, for example, threatened his singular singing voice. But, typically, its timeline from surprise diagnosis through surgery to clean bill-of-health was only five days - no chemo, no radiation, no lasting damage.

And, when his packed arenas around the world began to show signs of emptying out a decade ago, Rod, against the advice of his inner circle, embarked on a series of American Songbook albums of old standards that ultimately sold 22 million copies worldwide and entirely jump-started his flagging career.

II.

For a rocker once known for slovenly dress, deplorable hygiene, and regularly trashing hotel rooms - he and the Faces were long banned from Holiday Inns everywhere - "our hero," as he consistently refers to himself in this book, eventually matured into a fashion-plate adult of admirable self-discipline.

His famously tousled hair, for instance, was an invention of sheerest need and determination - he wanted a trademark and decided that hours of work on his hair each week could be well worth the time and effort required.

His celebrated do - seen now spiking above his eyes in countless posters all over Vegas - became Rod's signature.

That, and the raspy voice that belongs to him alone. (When this reviewer asked a music professor and saloon singer friend his opinion of the quality of Stewart's singing voice, he responded that "Its quality is irrelevant. His voice is utterly distinctive, and that's why everybody loves to hear him sing.")

Caring for his unique voice is another sign of Rod's remarkable self-discipline. To protect it, he long ago gave up cocaine, cigarettes, and steroids as means of preserving his singular gift. And, as hinted above, he has always remained in splendid physical condition, readily living up to his "Rod the Bod" pseudonym for a half-century.

Stewart's life-long desire to stay in shape has always been rooted in his obsession with football, a devotion nurtured by his soccer-fanatic Scottish-born father Robert. Early on, Rod's dad taught his soon-to-be famous son that there were three essential ingredients to a grown man's contentment: a job, a sport, and a hobby. This simple recipe has guided and focused Rod all his adult life.

His job, of course, is being lead singer in a rock band - "quite simply the best job in the world," as he has often noted. His sport, which he still practices every week, even into his late 60s, is football. And his hobby, also pursued with singular drive each week, is model railroading, a hobby practiced religiously by other singers as well, including Frank Sinatra, Jr., and Roger Daltrey.

Stewart's "job" is the primary topic of his autobiography, but the other two sides of the triangle also get their due. Throughout the book, Rod is seen flying all across the globe at tremendous expense to be present at football games, especially those of Glasgow's beloved Celtics, a squad adopted by the singer years ago, whose green and white jersey he wears at virtually every concert and who inspired his signature kicking of autographed soccer balls into the crowd in each venue.

So deep is his devotion to football and its top-level players that Stewart has often said that if his athletic skills were good enough, he might have preferred the professional life of a soccer star to that of a rock icon. As a means of seducing football greats into his world, he actually built a world-class soccer pitch on the grounds of one of his London mansions.

To this reader, even more fascinating than Rod's football mania is his daily focus on model railroading. It's no surprise to learn that this, too, is pursued at a fanatical maxi-level. We are not talking here about the trains that ran on circular tracks around our childhood Christmas trees. No, Rod specializes in erecting the elaborate sites for his hobby far more than on the trains themselves. The buildings he constructs are sizable, amazingly realistic masterpieces, some several feet tall, that must be seen to be believed.

Such constructions require massive space, so Stewart purchases his fabulous homes in no small part to house them effectively. The entire top floor of his current Beverly Hills mansion - he left England for Los Angeles in 1975 as a "tax exile" weary of paying his British rate of 81%, as did Joe Cocker and Eric Clapton at about the same time - is a gigantic and beautiful model train facility upon which the rock star labors in some fashion every day, whether at home or on tour.

What is one to make of all this - of the handsome singer who is ridiculously talented and obscenely rich, who seemingly has slept with half the world's beautiful women, who plays football every week (he started a senior club in LA years ago), who constructs model railroad sites non-stop, and who remains an absolutely electrifying performer? Does anyone deserve to live at such a stratospheric level every day?

As Clint Eastwood points out in the most memorable line from his great film Unforgiven (when he's about to blow away the malevolent Little Bill, played brilliantly by Gene Hackman), "Deserve's got nothin' to do with it."

Rod Stewart would be the first to agree with this sentiment. As "our hero" puts it in the closing of his book:

"Rock 'n' Roll is full of singers who got lucky and started putting it down to hard work. And of course, there is hard work involved, but what you are working with, and trying to make the most of, is your amazing piece of luck in the first place, the quirk of fortune which means that, when you open your mouth, this particular sound comes out, rather than any other particular sound, and that this particular sound sells more than 200 million records and brings you fame all over the world and secures you a life more charmed than anyone has a right to dream of.

"In those circumstances, to be the recipient of another quirk of fortune which meant that, when you got thyroid cancer, you were rid of it within a matter of days and free to carry on . . . well, lucky, lucky man. Lucky as fuck."

III.

On top of it all, Rod can write far better than merely decent prose. His Autobiography is a treat to wallow in from beginning to end, a treat made even richer by hosts of fabulous photographs of Stewart's living his wonderful life - all the cars, the beautiful women, the model railroads, the football, and, finally, his gorgeous family, probably his greatest achievement of all.

Some guys have all the luck.

-

Comments welcome.

-

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

* Paterno.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 12:56 AM | Permalink

January 19, 2013

The Weekend Desk Report

Hey, you know a really great way to get young people excited about your newspaper? Insult them right in the headline.

Market Update
You thought overlooking a fraudulent girlfriend was bad? Try overlooking a fraudulent economic system.

Notre Blame
Come now, Chicago. Let he (or she) amongst us who hasn't tried to tailor a narrative cast the first stone.

Jacked Up
Just remember, Swarbrick, love means never having to say you're sorry. You know what else means never saying sorry? Being an unrepentant fucking asshole.

PWNed
Finally this week, let's hope Oprah's seedy gamble really pays off. In 14 years, who doesn't want to see this incredibly uncomfortable conversation?

-

The Weekend Desk Tip Line: Own it.

-

The Sound Opinions Weekend Listening Report: "With tongues planted firmly in cheek, Jim and Greg share their picks for the Best Satirical Songs in rock 'n' roll. Later Greg and our own "Son of Jersey" Jim DeRogatis review the new record from Hoboken's Yo La Tengo."

-

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.

Special Olympics Chicago

1-17-SpecialOlympics.jpg

Jennifer Kramer, president of Special Children's Charities, and Jason Erkes, president of Chicago Sport and Social Club, talk about events, like the Polar Plunge and the Chicago Marathon, to help raise money and awareness for Special Olympics Chicago.

Saturday, January 19 at 9:30 a.m. on CAN TV19
30 min.

-

The Goblins

1-14-Goblins.jpg

Local band The Goblins perform a "50th Anniversary" rock concert.

Saturday, January 19 at 2:30 p.m. on CAN TV19
30 min.

-

Community Forum: Chicago Alliance Against Sexual Exploitation

1-14-CAASE.jpg

CAASE's executive director Rachel Durchslag explains how it encourages high-school-age men to work against sexual exploitation and to work towards a future that does not have a need or a want for sex trafficking.

Saturday, January 19 at 7:30 p.m. on CAN TV21
30 min.

-

Ending the Nuclear Age Conference

Seventy years after an experiment at the University of Chicago led by Enrico Fermi created the first nuclear chain reaction, activists and experts discuss the legacy of the Nuclear Age, including nuclear waste, a new generation of weapons, and the impact of disasters like the meltdown at Japan's Fukushima reactor.

Hosted by: Nuclear Energy Information Service and Beyond Nuclear.

Commemoration of Victims of Nuclear Disasters

1-14-NuclearCommemoration.jpg

Activists and others gather at the Henry Moore Sculpture to Nuclear Power to commemorate those who died as a result of a reactor meltdown or other nuclear disaster.

Saturday, January 19 at 8 p.m. on CAN TV21
1 hr.

-

History & Treatment of Waste

1-14-HistoryOfWaste.jpg

Diane D'Arrigo of the Nuclear Information and Resource Service joins a discussion of the type of waste generated by nuclear power and how it has been transported and stored in the past.

Sunday, January 20 at 9 a.m. on CAN TV21
1 hr. 30 min.

-

Transport & Future of Waste

1-14-FutureOfWaste.jpg

Kevin Kamps of Beyond Nuclear sheds light on the next steps that can be taken to manage nuclear waste.

Sunday, January 20 at 10:30 a.m. on CAN TV21
1 hr. 30 min.

-

A Hibakusha's View of the Nuclear Age

1-14-Hibakusha.jpg

Setsuko Thurlow, a "hibakusha" who survived the dropping of an atomic bomb on Hiroshima, Japan, shares her perspective of the Nuclear Age's impact and legacy.

Sunday, January 20 at 12 p.m. on CAN TV21
1 hr.

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The Way Forward Without Nuclear Power & Weapons

1-14-TheWayForward.jpg

Arne Jungjohann of the Heinrich Böll Foundation, envisions a Germany without nukes and the future without nuclear weapons or power.

Sunday, January 20 at 1 p.m. on CAN TV21
1 hr. 30 min.

-

Marching for King's Dream on MLK Drive

1-14-MLKMarch2.jpg

Occupy the Southside and other local organizations march to commemorate the birthday of Martin Luther King, Jr., and honor the 506 people who were murdered in Chicago in 2012.

Watch Online

Sunday, January 20 at 5 p.m. on CAN TV19
1 hr. 30 min.

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ALBA-TCP Chicago Conference

1-14-ALBA-TCP.jpg

Officials from Venezuela, Honduras and other Latin American nations participate in a conference on ALBA: Latin America, an alternative to the Free Trade Area of the Americas (FTAA) that grew into a movement for unity among Central and South American nations.

Sunday, January 20 at 8 p.m. on CAN TV21
1 hr. 30 min.

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Democracy Now! 2013 Inauguration Coverage

1-18-Inauguration.jpg

Democracy Now! will be broadcasting live from Washington, D.C., observing Martin Luther King Jr. Day and covering the presidential Inauguration, including a look back at President Obama's first term in office, analyzing prospects for his second term and covering the inauguration proceedings.

Monday, January 21 starting at 8 a.m. on CAN TV27
5 hr.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 8:39 AM | Permalink

January 18, 2013

To Be Young And In Love . . . With Someone Who Doesn't Exist . . . And To Have Maybe Made Up The Whole Thing

Heisman runner-up Manti Te'o may or may not have been complicit in faking the death of his cancer-stricken, nonexistent, online girlfriend. As reported by Deadspin this week, the tragic story of Lennay Kekua, her romance with Te'o, the serious car accident that led doctors to discover her leukemia, and her death were all entirely fabricated. The Deadspin article reads like the screenplay of The Usual Suspects 2. There is no Lennay Kekua.

As the story has unraveled, the rest of the country has been clued in to what seems to have been common knowledge in South Bend. In an interview with ESPN, one Notre Dame teammate stopped just short of accusing Te'o for participating in the hoax, but instead believes Te'o "played along" with the dead-girlfriend story.

According to multiple sources, players knew the relationship between Manti and (the imaginary) Lennay was not serious, or at least not serious enough to consider it boyfriend/girlfriend. Many resented how Manti and the school turned the (actual) death of his (real) grandmother and (illusionary) girlfriend into a public relations campaign.

But the story proved too juicy to resist to a compliant media willing to look the other way to tell the heartbreaking story of the Golden Domer golden boy. Te'o's triumph over adversity became a refrain in the "team of destiny" theme surrounding Notre Dame's 2012-13 season.

According to the timeline of events, Te'o mentioned Lennay twice in interviews even after he had purportedly discovered the hoax, on December 8 and again on December 10. Yet, according to Te'o, he had learned on December 6 that his "girlfriend" didn't exist.

We have to agree, then, with CBSSports.com lead college football analyst Gregg Doyel, who wrote that "Nothing about this story has been comprehensible, or logical, and that extends to what happens next. I cannot comprehend Manti Te'o saying anything that could make me believe he was a victim."

For their part, the perpetrators of the hoax likely won't face any criminal charges. No one was hurt - the public that was suckered and the media that abetted the act don't count - and no one tried to extort Te'o. The case also doesn't meet the usual criteria for cybercrime.

Te'o could file a tort in civil court for damages - presumably the losses he will suffer as his NFL draft stock plummets - but he would expose himself to, at minimum, more humiliation as the story would continue to play out in the press during a trial, and possibly more risk if a trial reveals he did participate in the scam.

Meanwhile, he guys from the MTV show Catfish, presumed experts on online phony profiles for lovelorn linebackers, have weighed in. Co-creator Nev Schulman, on what he may have said to Te'o: "The likelihood of your girlfriend getting into a terrible car accident only to discover she has leukemia, in my eyes, indicates that there very well might be something going on here."

The College Football Reporter highly recommends the movie version of Catfish, which follows Nev as he becomes romantically involved with a woman he meets online, only to discover she's really a middle-aged Michigan housewife.

Like the Te'o story, the film claims to be a documentary, but may itself be a fake.

Aaron Rodgers Shits On The Read Option
With Chip Kelly's move from Oregon to the Philadelphia Eagles, the NFL has been abuzz with the rising popularity of the "read option" offense and all the variants ran by teams like Oregon. The option has traditionally been considered a system that could never succeed at the pro level, given the size and speed of NFL defenders and the complexity of defensive schemes that would limit the success of running quarterbacks. However, the success of RG3 and Colin Kaepernick has contributed to speculation that the NFL, long known as a copycat league, may begin widely adopting the option.

Aaron Rodgers isn't buying it.

Me neither. For starters, Rodgers is absolutely right on the fundamental nature of the NFL: trends come and go, some (the "Wildcat") faster than others (the "West Coast" offense and all its bastard cousins).

While the athletic quarterback will continue to be a coveted asset, teams will not be able to afford the inevitable wear-and-tear of the hits a scrambling quarterback sustains after leaving the pocket. Further, the number of athletes who can play at the position is limited.

Let's take a look at the quarterbacks in Division I who ranked among the Top 100 in rushing yards this season. (Approximately. Marcus Mariota came in at #109 with 752 yards rushing.)

Denard Robinson, Michigan: Exhibit A of why few college QBs from read option offenses will work in the NFL. Robinson has been projected at a number of positions for the April NFL draft - kick returner, cornerback, etc. - but not as a quarterback.

Jordan Lynch, NIU: Too small, and there are questions about the competition he has faced.

Kain Colter, Northwestern: Also too shrimpy

Trent Steelman, Army: Played for Army. Enough said.

Taylor Martinez, Nebraska: The next Tim Tebow.

Terrance Broadway, Louisiana-Lafayette: A potential prospect, but his name is Terrance

Cody Fajardo, Nevada: Has several years to develop in the same system that produced Kaepernick; he might work out.

Johnny "Football" Manziel, Oklahoma: May be seen as a "system quarterback," but it's pretty hard to hate on the freshman Heisman winner.

Marcus Mariota, Oregon: Fits the mold to a "T", but how will he fare without Kelly?

Collin Klein, Kansas State: Probably the best bet (rushed 207 times for 920 yards and 23 TDs).

That's about three candidates for the read option system in the pros, none of whom look like Cam Newton, RG3 or Kaepernick, and only one (Klein) senior. We have a ways to go.

Palate Cleanser
Tired of Te'o? We are too. Here is a reminder of why we love college football: Six minutes of the game's greatest plays ever.

-

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

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 9:19 AM | Permalink

Rahm Emanuel vs. Michael Hastings

"Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel allegedly grabbed a reporter by the arm in order to communicate 'a threat of physical violence' in the course of an interview that went south during the presidential campaign," PressTV reports.

"I've never experienced anything like this in my career from an American public official," Buzzfeed's Michael Hastings, author of Panic 2012: The Sublime and Terrifying Inside Story of Barack Obama's Final Campaign, said on Current TV.

Here's the video:


-

Hastings was the author of a Rolling Stone article that resulted in President Obama firing McChrystal.

Emanuel apparently feared that he, too, could suffer consequences from remarks he made in public and on tape.

We'll update this post later with relevant excerpts from Hastings' book once we've had the chance to review it.

-

Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 8:25 AM | Permalink

The [Friday] Papers

Talk to me, people.

1. Someone please tell me how Chief Keef's lyrics are relevant to whether his participation in a Pitchfork video in which he fires a handgun given to him at a gun range constitutes violation of his probation.

2. "A suburban Chicago woman was sentenced Wednesday to one year of probation after two of her children were found bound and blindfolded in a Walmart parking lot in Kansas," AP reports.

Just don't blindfold anyone for Pitchfork in the next 12 months or you'll find your ass in jail.

3. Someone please tell me how this constitutes an exclusive in any sense of the word. An "exclusive" isn't "breaking" a story hours before everyone else because you're the favorite patsy of the powerful. And that's not "breaking" a story, either. Let's not define journalism down any more than we've already done.

4. Same for this. "Exclusive" apparently now means "interview," because Quinn gave them to a lot of folks. Same thing used to happen with Richard M. Daley, who would give every TV channel their shot on, say, a soft retrospective of his reign, and each would label the interview as the only one of the mayor ever conducted in history. The national networks do it too, with the president. Please stop.

3. + 4. = 5. "Journalism is printing what someone else does not want printed: everything else is public relations." - George Orwell

While I wouldn't totally agree with that statement, you get the point.

6. Rahm Emanuel Allegedly Threatened Journalist Michael Hastings In An Attempt To Intimidate Him As Well As To Seek Vengeance For Him Doing His Job.

7. Ed Burke wants to ban the sale of energy drinks in Chicago.

That's okay, as long as we can still buy them at suburban gun shops just across the city line.

*

Dear Ed:

"A class action lawsuit filed on Tuesday seeks to ground marketing claims by the makers of Red Bull that the energy drink 'gives you wings,'" the ABA Journal notes.

"According to the suit filed in Manhattan federal court, Red Bull claims its mixture of ingredients improves physical and mental performance. But the suit claims the popular drink is no better at providing energy than a cup of coffee, Reuters reports.

"The suit cites recent reports in the scientific journal Nutrition Reviews and in the New York Times suggesting that proof of Red Bull's superiority is lacking."

*

Dear CBS2 Chicago, purported home of Original Reporting:

"'Researchers found that these energy drinks contain high levels of caffeine and warned of dangerous, even life threatening, effects on blood pressure, heart rate and brain function,' language in the proposed ordinance says," you reported.

And I'm sure that's accurate. But just because it's in a proposed ordinance doesn't make it true.

From the Times:

[O]ne thing is clear, interviews with researchers and a review of scientific studies show: the energy drink industry is based on a brew of ingredients that, apart from caffeine, have little, if any benefit for consumers.

"If you had a cup of coffee you are going to affect metabolism in the same way," said Dr. Robert W. Pettitt, an associate professor at Minnesota State University in Mankato, who has studied the drinks.

Google: Better Than What Some People Call Original Reporting.

*

"There were 20,000 emergency room admissions linked to consumption of energy drinks in 2011, Burke said, citing a federal study," CBS2 also "reports."

Seeing as how these are the people who did the study, some skepticism is warranted.

*

I'm not saying there isn't a danger to energy drinks; it's a lot easier to down five "shots" of the stuff than drink five coffees. And in conjunction with alcohol and other drugs, there could be dangers.

But I doubt Burke and his colleagues, as well as our esteemed local press corps. are best equipped to decipher the data and craft a public policy response. Not that I have that much more faith in the state health department or the FDA - which is on the case for better and worse - but this really isn't a local issue.

But he sure took our minds off those big police settlements and how he compared poor young black men to lions in the wild.

*

By the way, do you suppose he thinks of Notre Dame as a lions' den?

8. The Monarchs of Pilsen.

9. The Tribune's David Haugh said on The Score this morning that the awkward stage presence of Marc Trestman explains why the quarterback guru hasn't gotten a head coaching job until now. The Bears will need general manager Phil Emery "to manage the perception and shape the message" of the franchise as a result.

Just the latest example of journalists offering public relations advice to the people they cover. Please do a better job of fooling us! More style, less substance! Tie it up in a neat bow for us!

And that's how Lance Armstrong and Manti Te'o happen.

10. The College Football Report: Te'o, Rodgers & Rockne.

-

The Beachwood Tip Line: Like butterfly wings.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 7:21 AM | Permalink

The Monarchs Of Pilsen

"Viajeras (Travelers), an art exhibit that will open here this week, tries to make a connection between the long southbound migrations of Monarch butterflies to their winter home in Mexico and the Mexican immigrants who travel to the United States to find work, and thereby survive," Hispanically Speaking News reports.

"The exhibit, sponsored by the Pintoras Mexicanas (Mexican Painters) collective, will open on Friday at the Casa Michoacan in Chicago's mainly Latino Pilsen neighborhood and consists of 75 interpretations of Monarch butterflies."

*

Fitting, because Pilsen is already home to a permanent Monarch sanctuary teaching a similar but expanded lesson.


-

See also:
* Pilsen's Mary Zepeda Garden Takes Flight.
* Field Museum Climate Action Toolkit Profile: Pilsen.

-

Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 6:08 AM | Permalink

QT: Rules Are Rules


News Headline: "Obama asks backers to push Congress on gun control."
Typical of the man.
These are senators and representatives who have been bought by the gun lobby.
And they will stay bought.
Integrity still means something on Capitol Hill.

···

News Headline: "17-year-old dead in shooting after Chicago high school game."
News Headline: "One dead, two injured in Wilkes-Barre shootings."
News Headline: "Two dead after separate college shootings."
News Headline: "Two dead in Milwaukee shootings."
News Headline: "One dead, one injured in Las Vegas shootings."
News Headline: "1 dead, 2 injured in shootings in north Fla."
News Headline: "Shootings leave two dead in Dallas"
News Headline: "2 dead in Wadesboro shootings."
News Headline: "Shootings in Ga. bar leave 1 dead, 6 injured."
News Headline: "Two dead in unrelated shootings in Tabor City."
News Headline: "One dead, one wounded in. . . ."
Happy National Gun Appreciation Day Eve.

···

News Item: Comcast lauds "new technology" in reducing service windows to two hours.
Kids, go find grandpa.
Ask him about the time before new technology when companies made and kept appointments for specific times.

···

News Item: ". . . take the debt ceiling off the table. . . ."
News Item: ". . . bring the debt ceiling to the floor. . . ."
News Item: ". . . debt ceiling windows that stay open only so long. . . ."
News Item: ". . . the debt ceiling hinges on. . . ."
We've already noted that that a ceiling weakened with windows might be expected to collapse to the table and then to the floor.
Well. Especially after its hinges give way.
Who designs these debt ceilings?
Oh. Right.

···

Tom Nee, an Oak Lawn reader, regarding QT's noting that there is probably an interesting story behind the headline "Man arrested after running naked in law firm," suggests it wouldn't be the first time a man has entered a law firm and left with nothing.

···

News Headline: "Whole Foods CEO says he regrets calling Obamacare 'fascist.'"
You may have shopped at one of his stores.
And seen proof that Congress has yet to pass an Affordable Food Act.

···

News Headline: "Woman's water breaking on dance floor leads to man shot in buttocks."
As the Founding Fathers envisioned when they ratified the Second Amendment.

···

Modern Education + the Criminal Mind =
A New Orleans burglar put a bucket over his head to disguise himself from store security cameras, lifting the front of the bucket only a couple of times to see where he was going.

···

News Item: ". . . in an appeal to the low-information voter. . . ."
News Item: ". . . might be a surprise to the novice news consumer. . . ."
We're always looking for new ways to say it.
Who likes to say "ignoramus"?

···

The number of Google hits for "tap-dancing militant Islamic fundamentalists" is at 2,830 and climbing, for those keeping track.
There remain 0 Google hits for "informed and honest national discussion about the national debt."

···

From the QT Archive of Knowledge:
+ The United States exported 441,130 tons of beet pulp in 2007.
+ A viscount outranks a baron.

···

News Headline: "Paris Hilton's plea to Kim Kardashian."
There probably isn't an interesting story behind that.

···

QT Grammar R Us Seminar on the English Language:
News Item: ". . . mentioned frequently in his three-hour peroration. . . ."
News Item: ". . . sit quietly through another five-hour peroration. . . ."
M.R., a Chicago reader, wants you to know that a peroration is not a long-winded speech but the conclusion of a speech.
Something that is jury-rigged, by the way, is not always jerry-built.


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. Born Ruffians at Lincoln Hall on Thursday night.


-

2. Blackberry Smoke at the House of Blues on Sunday night.

-

Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 2:29 AM | Permalink

January 17, 2013

The [Thursday] Papers

Seth Meyers won the Internet on Wednesday - and it was very competitive:

*

By the time I got logged on and got the news it was too late to even try; all the best Rudy, Oprah and Lance Armstrong jokes were taken.

But . . .

I mean, really.

*

One problem, of course, is the media's penchant for myth-making. But real lives rarely conform to the neat arcs and outlines of novels and narratives - and they are far more interesting for it. (That was one of the much-ignored - and apparently little understood -lessons of Richard Ben Cramer's What It Takes, despite his repeated exhortations right there in the book.)

*

But I don't much feel like whinging about the media today. I'm going to another city council meeting shortly - I'm working on a new project, hence my presence at committee meetings that I've written about in recent days - and I can only take so much phoniness in a 24-hour period.

(To those aldermen who have received my interview requests: I don't [necessarily] mean you!)

*

Funny, I just included in a list of book ideas I sent to a colleague one called Culture of Deceit . . .

*

Speaking of phonies, please read Sandi Jackson's Disdainful Goodbye.

*

Speaking of heroes, please read Aaron Swartz Laid To Rest.

*

Heroes in a smaller but still important way: Windy City Rollers A Charity Case.

In Trestman I Trust
New Bears coach Marc Trestman comes from the same Minneapolis suburb - St. Louis Park - as Al Franken and the Coen brothers.

Trestman's father ran - maybe still runs - a music store there called Trestman's.

I remember Trestman as a University of Minnesota quarterback in the '70s.

Personally, I'd rather see Trestman coaching the Vikings. The Bears can take Leslie Frazier back.

*

Trestman has a website.

Nuts For America
Proposed for next White House petition: A graduated fee scale paid by citizens to kick the president, your congressmen, the governor, the mayor, your alderman and selected celebrities in the nuts. (We'll give all the women a pass.) All money to governmental treasuries. Deficits solved.

-

The Beachwood Tip Line: Don't futz.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 7:19 AM | Permalink

Aaron Swartz Laid To Rest

"The funeral for 26-year-old US hacktivist Aaron Swartz, who committed suicide after federal charges snowballed, is held at Central Avenue Synagogue in Chicago."


-

"On Tuesday, the family of Aaron Swartz laid the Internet activist to rest just outside Chicago, Illinois. According to reports, Swartz committed suicide last Friday after an ongoing legal battle involving the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and the online academic document company JSTOR. Swartz's father has publicly blamed the US government for his son's death, but now a California Congresswoman is calling to update the computer fraud and abuse act which could have landed Swartz a 30 plus year sentence behind bars. Trevor Timm, activist with the Electronic Frontier Foundation, joins us with his take on the proposition."

-

"On Tuesday, Internet prodigy-turned-activist Aaron Swartz was laid to rest near Chicago, Illinois after he was found dead in his Brooklyn apartment last week where he reportedly committed suicide. Hundreds gathered to remember the achievements of the 26 year old that was facing allegations of wire and computer fraud in a case involving the Massaschusetts Institute of Technology. Manny Rapalo brings us more."

-

"On Tuesday, the funeral services of Aaron Swartz took place outside of Chicago, Illinois. Swartz reportedly committed suicide on Friday, and his family says the US government is to blame for the legal action taken against the 26 year old for allegedly hacking into secured computers. RT web producer Andrew Blake brings us more from Highland Park, Illinois."

-

Ortiz Defends Prosecution.

U.S. Attorney Carmen M. Ortiz said Wednesday that prosecutors recognized that there was no evidence against Internet activist Aaron Swartz that warranted severe punishment.

The U.S. Attorney for Massachusetts has been criticized for her handling of the prosecution of Swartz, who committed suicide last Friday.

"The prosecutors recognized that there was no evidence against Mr. Swartz indicating that he committed his acts for personal financial gain, and they recognized that his conduct - while a violation of the law - did not warrant the severe punishments authorized by Congress and called for by the Sentencing Guidelines in appropriate cases," Ortiz said in a statement reported by various media . . .

In discussions with Swartz's counsel about a resolution of the case, Ortiz's office sought an appropriate sentence that matched the alleged conduct, which she described as "a sentence that we would recommend to the judge of six months in a low security setting." His defense counsel would at the same time have been free to recommend a sentence of probation, she added.

"Ultimately, any sentence imposed would have been up to the judge," Ortiz said in the statement. "At no time did this office ever seek - or ever tell Mr. Swartz's attorneys that it intended to seek - maximum penalties under the law."

-

Lawyer Told Prosecutor Swartz Was Suicidal.

A lawyer who formerly represented Internet freedom activist Aaron Swartz on hacking charges said Monday he told federal prosecutors about a year ago that Swartz was a suicide risk . . .

Andrew Good, a Boston attorney who represented Swartz in the case last year, said he told federal prosecutors in Massachusetts that Swartz was a suicide risk.

"Their response was, put him in jail, he'll be safe there," Good said . . .

Swartz's most recent attorney, Elliot Peters, said prosecutors told him two days before Swartz's death that Swartz would have to spend six months in prison and plead guilty to 13 charges if he wanted to avoid going to trial.

-

The Bitter Taste Of Suicide.

Whatever the circumstances that led to his suicide may be, we look at Swartz and see a young man who possessed the rare talent to leave a lasting mark on the world.

Instead, his survivors will grapple with anger, sadness, guilt, and unanswered questions for years to come. For some, their lives will never be the same. And always, that is the bitter fruit of suicide.

-

See also: Remembering Aaron Swartz in The [Monday] Papers.

-

Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 5:53 AM | Permalink

Sandi Jackson's Disdainful Goodbye

"Sandi Jackson assured her faithful supporters that she was still large and in charge as she signed off as the 7th Ward alderman Tuesday night," Mary Mitchell writes for the Sun-Times.

"It was almost symbolic that Jackson, who commuted from Washington, D.C., to represent the South Side ward, said goodbye by telephone."

It wasn't almost symbolic, and it wasn't even symbolic; it was fitting. She said goodbye the way she governed: From a distance.

"Media were barred from the gathering, but the alderman's remarks were recorded by someone in the room with a cellphone who turned it over to the Chicago Sun-Times."

Jackson did not want the public to know her real thoughts. Fitting.

"Although Mayor Rahm Emanuel has promised that his first aldermanic appointment would be based on a transparent community process, Jackson all but declared her chief of staff, Keiana Barrett, as her successor.

"From an insider's point of view, Mayor Rahm may say he wants to have interviews. The people he will interview will be the people I am suggesting," Jackson told the gathering made up mostly of precinct workers. "They are interviewing people in the community, but they do that to calm people down. People want to have their input. But for the most part, they turn that matter over to the alderman."

Let's break that down.

1. From an insider's point of view, Mayor Rahm may say he wants to have interviews

True. He's even taking online applications. Somebody in his administration may even review them over lunch one day, if they're bored.

2. The people he will interview will be the people I am suggesting.

False. Except insofar as it is in Rahm's political interest to give courtesy interviews as he reportedly ramps up his re-election campaign and seeks to solidify support. Or to identify enemies. But not because he's interested in Jackson's suggestions.

3. They are interviewing people in the community, but they do that to calm people down.

True. (Sources close to my imagination say that Rahm's response to this assertion was "Why doesn't she shut the fuck up?") More interesting than the fact that she actually said what we already know - that politics is a form of public theater designed to calm people down using a facade of falsity - is that she did so approvingly.

4. People want to have their input.

True. And Jackson and the mayor will do whatever is necessary to create the illusion that public input has occurred.

5. But for the most part, they turn that matter over to the alderman.

False. Except insofar as the departing alderman has a preference among stooges equally amenable to being the mayor's tool.

*

"On Tuesday, Sun-Times columnist Michael Sneed reported that Barrett was under consideration as Jackson's replacement until it was discovered that she doesn't live in the ward."

At least appointing her would provide continuity.

*

"Jackson told supporters that Barrett would be appointed after the residency issue is resolved."

Just like Rahm was.

*

"One mayoral source laughed when I shared Jackson's comments about selecting her successor.

"'As the mayor outlined yesterday, there will be a comprehensive process to identify a replacement to serve Chicago's 7th Ward,' said Tarrah Cooper, the mayor's press secretary, in an e-mail."

And then they'll do what they wanted to do all along. That's why Mitchell's source was laughing.

*

"Jackson also noted that all of the furnishings for her ward office at 71st and Exchange were bought with campaign dollars.

"That means the city does not own any of the furniture that you are currently sitting on, any of the furniture that is in the campaign office, any of the furniture that is in the aldermanic office. I bought every item personally, and if the mayor upholds my wishes, everything in that office will stay the same. Keiana will inherit everything," Jackson said.

When the only leverage you have left is the furniture . . .

*

"[I]n an interview Wednesday, Barrett said she could not recall exactly what Jackson said about the looming aldermanic appointment.

"I don't recall any of that," she said.

You are now ready to be an alderman.

*

"It is important that everything stays the same. We have to have the same continuity, the same flow. Should the mayor go against my wishes and decide to appoint somebody I do not agree with . . . " said Jackson, specifically naming past opponent Darcel Beavers, "I will not share those resources and I will find somebody to run against that person. I will disband that office before I let another Beavers supporter come back and take it over."

I will manage that campaign from Washington, D.C., and you will also not get my furniture!

*

Barrett is a former spokesperson for Rev. Jesse Jackson, Rainbow/PUSH and the Congressional Black Caucus. So she knows how to bullshit.

She was also the director of external affairs at the DuSable Museum. So she knows how to fundraise.

You are now ready to be an alderman.

*

She was also the community affairs director for Jesse Jackson Jr., so she's the closest thing to family Sandi has to bequeath her seat to; her real kids are still too young to assume the throne in grand Illinois tradition.

*

"If Barrett decides not to step up, Jackson told the group she also had recommended the Rev. Scott Onque, pastor of St. Luke Missionary Baptist Church at 7262 S. Coles, as a replacement."

And you thought it was only Republicans who mix religion with politics.

*

The Stylish Rev.

*

But would he get to keep the furniture too?

-

Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 3:58 AM | Permalink

January 16, 2013

Windy City Rollers Again A Charity Case

For their 2013 home season, the Windy City Rollers are once again teaming up with a few hand-picked charities, this year through their Charity Round-Robin Bout. This bout pairs the Hell's Belles, Manic Attackers, Double Crossers, and The Fury each with a charity which they will support throughout the entire home season.

The Windy City Rollers are strong proponents of community outreach and engagement both on and off the track. Chicago's premier roller derby league has a history of spotlighting a local charitable organization at each one of its bouts to support their mission and values through public awareness, while offering each of these charities a financial donation.

On January 26, the Windy City Rollers will host a single-elimination tournament for these charities with four 30-minute mini-bouts. First, the Manic Attackers will face the Hell's Belles. Directly following, The Fury will take on the Double Crossers. The winners of the first two bouts will then fight for the opportunity to award their charity of choice prize money in the last bout of the night.

All four of the charities are confirmed and include CircEsteem, Urban Initiatives and the Working Bikes Cooperative.

* The Working Bikes Cooperative gives life to old bikes and independence to those who ride them in the underserved communities of Chicago, Africa and Central and South America. The Cooperative gives away more than 5,000 bikes a year, some in Chicago. Many are shipped to places like El Salvador where a bicycle can mean the difference between poverty and transportation to a job. Currently it receives no government or foundation monies. All its operations are funded through the sale of the bicycles at its storefront located at 2434 S. Western Avenue in Pilsen.

* Urban Initiatives is a nonprofit organization that runs health, education and character development programming for kids in the Chicago Public Schools (CPS). By actively engaging participants in our extracurricular activities at a young age, Urban Initiatives empowers youth to live a healthy lifestyle, value education and enhance their personal and social development. Urban Initiatives takes a collaborative, whole child approach to development in order to provide children with the opportunity to reach their full potential.

* Rape Victim Advocates is an independent, not-for-profit organization dedicated to the healing and empowerment of sexual assault survivors through non-judgmental crisis intervention counseling, individual and group counseling, and medical and legal advocacy in the greater Chicago metropolitan area. RVA provides public education and institutional advocacy in order to improve the treatment of sexual assault survivors and to effect positive change in policies and public attitudes toward sexual assault.

* Since 2001, CircEsteem's mission has been to unite youth from diverse racial, cultural and economic backgrounds and help them build self-esteem and mutual respect through the practice of circus arts. CircEsteem programs give students a chance to shine as center-ring stars in their very own circus, enhancing self-esteem as they overcome obstacles, achieve goals, and proudly exclaim, "Look what I can do!" Fostering confidence and cooperation, our professional circus staff teaches a variety of skills such as clowning, juggling, stilt-walking, ball-walking, unicycling, gym wheel and acrobatics. Students progress at their own pace while working hands-on with instructors in a safe and supportive environment.

Please visit our website for tickets information.

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WINDY CITY ROLLERS 2013 SEASON DATES:

January 26 - Charity Round-Robin Bout
Four 30-minute bouts
Manic Attackers vs. Hell's Belles
The Fury vs. Double Crossers
Losers of bouts 1 and 2
Winners of bouts 1 and 2

February 9 - Home Season Opener
Manic Attackers vs. The Fury
Double Crossers vs. Hell's Belles

March 1 (Friday night)
Manic Attackers vs. Double Crossers
Hell's Belles vs. The Fury

March 30 - First Home Travel Team Bout
Toronto vs. Second Wind
Montreal vs. WCR All-Stars

April 20
The Fury vs. Double Crossers
Hell's Belles vs. Manic Attackers

May 4 - Home Team Playoffs

June 8 - Ivy King Cup Championship Bout

July-November
Travel Team Season Schedule TBD

-

Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 4:11 PM | Permalink

The [Wednesday] Papers

"The City Council Finance Committee [Tuesday] endorsed spending $32.7 million to settle two police misconduct cases, including what may be the single largest payment of its kind in city history," the Tribune reports.

"The larger settlement, now set for a Thursday vote of the full council, is for $22.5 million to the family of Christina Eilman. She was left severely and permanently disabled nearly seven years ago after plummeting from a seventh-floor window of a vacant apartment at a public housing complex."

This was not unexpected. But what committee chair Ed Burke said was.

I happened to be at the meeting and what the Tribune account doesn't tell you is that the reaction from some African-American aldermen to the words of U.S. Appeals Court Judge Frank Easterbrook writing that Eilman "might as well have released her into the lion's den at the Brookfield Zoo" didn't come out of thin air but from Burke approvingly reading that part of Easterbrook's ruling.

In fact, Burke didn't just say it once, but paused for dramatic effect and said it again.

"That's a racist statement!" an elderly black man sitting near me in the gallery exclaimed. He had earlier sat with his head in his hands while listening to the re-telling of the case of Alton Logan, an African-American man imprisoned for 26 years for a crime he didn't commit, another injustice the committee agreed to settle with cold, hard cash instead of fighting at trial.

At first it seemed the Burke statement would go by without notice by anyone but my fellow spectator.

Then Ald. Pat Dowell (3rd) spoke up. "Comparing a community to animals is inappropriate," she said. "There could have been another way to say that. I take exception with the language used by the court."

And Ald. Leslie Hairston (5th) felt moved to offer that "I just think that kind of commentary is extremely racially insensitive."

Indeed. Burke should know better by now, given his history as the opposition leader of the white faction that opposed Mayor Harold Washington during Council Wars that earned him accusations of bigotry, and his subsequent foster parentage of an African-American child on his road to a public rehabilitation of sorts. I don't know Easterbrook's story.

*

The Sun-Times also reported the story as if aldermen were merely reacting to Easterbrook's nine-month-old ruling instead of Burke's approving reading of the offensive portion - which, again, he repeated for dramatic effect.

Burke offered no apology or any other sort of response to the aggrieved aldermen, sitting stone-faced during their comments.

*

Here's what I wrote last April when Easterbrook's ruling first came out:

"'They might as well have released her into the lions' den at the Brookfield Zoo,' Chief Judge Frank Easterbrook wrote in the opinion from the three-judge panel of the U.S. 7th Circuit Court of Appeals, which said the only way to sort out whether officers violated Christina Eilman's rights is to have a trial."

I agree, for what it's worth, but Easterbrook's opinion disturbs me. Comparing poor black males to animals is never a good idea, and in this case Easterbrook makes it sound almost inevitable that a young woman left in a dangerous Chicago neighborhood would be raped.

"She was lost, unable to appreciate her danger, and dressed in a manner to attract attention," Easterbrook wrote.

Again, I get the point, but the judge comes awfully close to equating the woman's dress with asking for it.

He added, "she is white and well off while the local population is predominantly black and not affluent, causing her to stand out as a person unfamiliar with the environment and thus a potential target for crime."

Another fine line. Yes, dropping this woman off in a dangerous neighborhood was allegedly the wicked point; cops have been known to drop gang members off in rival territory. But the real reason she was so readily brutalized was because she was mentally unstable.

As Ald. Willie Cochran (20th) said Tuesday, "Everybody is released from that lockup into that neighborood."

*

I wonder if Easterbrook and Burke also imagine the suburbs as lions' dens.

*

It was the police who left Eilman defenseless, as Easterbrook wrote and Burke also read: "[The police] did not warn Eilman about the neighborhood's dangers, did not walk her to the nearest CTA station, did not drive her back to the airport, where she could have used her ticket to return to California, did not put her in contact with her mother, who had called the station house repeatedly . . . did not even return her cell phone."

And now taxpayers are paying the price - though nowhere near the price being paid by Eilman and her family.

Free Chief Keef!
Or make him live in Northbrook.

A New Era In Veterans Affairs
In today's installment of QT.

Ending Poverty
They believe.

If The Light Goes Out
Gitmo exhibit to make its U.S. debut in Chicago.

-

The Beachwood Tip Line: We'll keep a light on for you.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 8:49 AM | Permalink

Guantanamo: If The Light Goes Out

Guantanamo: If The Light Goes Out, an exhibit exploring ideas about home and power through documentary and fine art images by award-winning British photographer Edmund Clark opens for the first time in the United States on Feb. 7 at Roosevelt University's Gage Gallery.

Featuring shifting notions about home and power for detainees, soldiers and staff, as well as those released from the Guantanamo Bay detention facility in Cuba, the exhibit includes 35 photos taken by Clark shortly after Barack Obama became president in 2009.

Guantanamo1.jpg (Enlarge)

The winner of the 2011 Royal Photographic Society Hood Medal and a finalist in this year's Prix Pictet, Clark will be on hand to discuss the photographs that capture spaces rather than people as well as the exhibit's collection of correspondence called Letters to Omar during an opening reception being held at 5 p.m. Feb. 7 at Gage Gallery, 18 S. Michigan Ave., Chicago.

The images by Clark capture what home is like for Americans at the naval base at Guantanamo; detainees being held in Guantanamo's camps; and former detainees now rebuilding their lives in Britain.

The exhibit's aim is to capture the disorientation and dislocation associated with the Guantanamo experience for those who have been demonized as among the worst of the worst, yet who live, sleep, eat and relax in very ordinary places.

Guantanamo5.jpg(Enlarge)

"Part of what I was interested to see was how looking at (their home) spaces would re-humanize people who had been through that process of dehumanization," Clark told the Photo District News.

A collection of cards and letters that were sent but were not received as originals by Omar Deghayes, a Guantanamo Bay detainee who became well known for his struggle for release, also are part of the exhibit. These documents, which are color photocopies of the originals, include the redactions made by the U.S. military and speak to the control that was a part of life at Guantanamo.

The exhibit is free and open to the public. It is co-sponsored by Roosevelt's College of Arts and Sciences and the Joseph Loundy Center for Human Rights at Roosevelt University, and is made possible in part through the generosity of Susan B. Rubnitz.

Gage Gallery hours are 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Mondays through Fridays and 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturdays.

-

Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 7:09 AM | Permalink

QT: The Least We Can Do


News Headline: "Walmart promises to hire 100,000 veterans."
News Headline: "Bill would give homeless veterans unclaimed clothing from airports."
A lot of thought has gone into honoring our veterans.
Now they will have secondhand clothing to wear when they start their underpaid jobs with no benefits.

···

News Headline: "GM ushers in new era of American sports car."
News Headline: "Lane Kiffin ushers in new era of USC football."
News Headline: "French president's visit to Algeria ushers in new era of bilateral ties."
The trouble with eras is they always have trouble finding their seats.

···

News Headline: "House GOP eyes default, shutdown in debt ceiling battle."
News Headline: "Man arrested after refusing to pay $770 bill at Boston strip club."
The stories seemed to go together, for some reason.

···

News Item: ". . . take the debt ceiling off the table. . . ."
News Item: ". . . bring the debt ceiling to the floor. . . ."
News Item: ". . . debt ceiling windows that stay open only so long. . . ."
We might have predicted that a ceiling weakened with windows might collapse to the table and then to the floor.

···

Lest We Forget that the Dark Ages Were a Faith-Based Initiative:
Rep. Paul Broun (R-Georgia), who believes Earth is "about 9,000 years old" and that evolution and the Big Bang theory are "lies straight from the pit of Hell," has retained his seat on the House Science Committee.

···

News Headline: "Four-year-old child accidentally shoots, kills man."
News Headline: "Grandma hit by stray bullet in Brooklyn."
Can it be only three days until National Gun Appreciation Day?

···

S.D., a Racine, Wis., reader, writes;
"Why don't we have a Cordless Drill Appreciation Day? There are any number of inanimate objects we can appreciate. The gun manufacturers have opened a new world of quasi-worship."
We would be safer if everyone carried a cordless drill.
This is not just QT's opinion.
It comes straight from the National Cordless Drill Association.

···

Asteroid 2012 DA14 will pass closer to Earth than the orbits of some of our satellites on Feb. 15.
But if it hit us, it would, at worst, create a crater a only a mile or so wide and destroy everything for only seven miles in every direction.
So please enjoy your Valentine'sDay.

···

Modern Education + the Criminal Mind =
A thief going into the Art Institute of Philadelphia to steal laptops stopped at the entrance to sign the visitors log.

···

QT News Presented Without Comment:
A bald eagle's nest was removed with a chainsaw to make way for a wind turbine in Haldimand County, Ontario.

···

From the QT Archive of Knowledge:
+ The chemical name for the protein tryptophan synthetase is methionylglutaminylarginyltyrosylglutamylserylleucylpheny 
lalanylalanylglutaminylleucyllysylglutamylarginyllysylglutal 
myglycylalanylphenylalanylvalylprolylphenylalanylvalylthre 
onylleucylglycylaspartylprolylglycylisoleucylglutamylglutam 
inylserylleucyllysylisoleucylaspartylthreonylleucylisoleucylg 
lutamylalanylglycylalanylaspartylalanylleucylglutamylleucyl 
glycylisoleucylprolylphenylalanylserylaspartylprolylleucylal 
anylaspartylglycylprolylthreonylisoleucylglutaminylaspara 
ginylalanylthreonylleucylarginylalanylphenylalanylalanylala 
nylglycylvalylthreonylprolylalanylglutaminylcysteinylpheny 
lalanylglutamylmethionylleucylalanylleucylisoleucylarginylgl 
utaminyllysylhistidylprolylthreonylisoleucylprolylisoleucylglyc 
ylleucylleucylmethionyltyrosylalanylasparaginylleucylvalylp 
henylalanylasparaginyllysylglycylisoleucylaspartylglutamylph 
enylallanyltyrosylalanylglutaminylcysteinylglutamyllysylvalylg 
lycylvalylaspartylserylvalylleucylvalylalanylaspartylvalylprolyl 
valylglutaminylglutamylserylalanylprolylphenylalanylarginylgl 
utaminylalanylalanylleucylarginylhistidylasparaginylvalylalany 
lprolylisoleucylphenylalanylisoleucylcysteinylprolylprolylaspar 
tylalanylaspartylaspartylaspartylleucylleucylarginylglutaminylit 
ylalsoleucylalanylseryityrosylglycylarginylglycyltyrosylthreony 
ltyrosylleucylleucylserylarginylalanyglycylvalylthreonylglycylal 
anylglutamylasparaginylarginylalanylalanylleucylprolylleucylas 
paraginylhistidylleucylvalylalanyllysylleucyllysylglutamyltyrosyl 
asparaginylalanylalanylprolylprolylleucylglutaminylglycylpheny 
lalanylglysylisoleucylserylalanylprolylaspartylglutaminylvalyllys 
ylalanylalanylisoleucylaspartylalanylglycylalanylalanylglycylala 
nylisoleucylserylglycylserylalanylisoleucylvalyllysylisoleucyisol 
eucylglutamylglutaminylhistidylasparaginylileucylglutamylproly 
lglutamyllysylmethionylleucylalanylalanylleucyllysylvalylphenyl 
alanylvalylglutaminylprolylmethionyllysylalanylalanylthreonylar 
ginylserine.
+ QT is a couple of items short today.

···

News Headline: "Man arrested after running naked in law firm."
There is probably an interesting story behind that.

···

QT Grammar R Us Seminar on the English Language:
Bill McCormick, a Chicago reader, regarding the widespread misuse of "factoid," which is a brief statement that looks like a fact but isn't true, writes:
"Is it legal to slap people who use 'factoid' incorrectly?"
Today's Factoid: It is legal in 37 states to slap people who use "factoid" incorrectly.
Possession isn't nine-tenths of the law, by the way, but nine points of the law.


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

Free Chief Keef!

"Just weeks after releasing his debut album, Finally Rich, South Side rapper Chief Keef was taken in handcuffs from juvenile court Tuesday after a Cook County judge ordered him held in custody," the Tribune reports.

"Judge Carl Anthony Walker ruled that Chief Keef had violated his probation for a 2011 gun conviction by holding a rifle at a gun range in New York while a video was being shot last summer.

"Prosecutors have been seeking to detain the 17-year-old rap sensation for weeks, most recently alleging that he had violated his probation by moving to a north suburb without telling authorities. Police interest in Chief Keef, whose real name is Keith Cozart, grew after he sent a taunting tweet following the slaying of aspiring rapper Lil Jojo in September.

"After the judge ordered him taken into custody, Chief Keef emptied his pockets and handed his cellphone to his uncle before a court deputy escorted him from the courtroom in handcuffs, according to his lawyer.

"During the approximately two-hour hearing, a gun range employee testified that Chief Keef was holding the rifle during an on-camera interview by Pitchfork Media, an Internet-based music publication.

"The judge ruled that by holding the firearm, Chief Keef violated the terms of his 18-month probation sentence for pointing a gun at a Chicago police officer in 2011, according to Andy Conklin, a spokesman for the state's attorney's office."

Could you sound more clueless, Tribune? Yes, if you are the Sun-Times! But first . . .

Describing "Pitchfork Media" as "an Internet-based music publication" is like describing Rolling Stone as a "print-based music publication in case you've never heard of it."

It may have escaped notice of Trib staffers outside of rock critic Greg Kot, but Pitchfork has been the most influential music authority for years - and it was founded right here in Chicago!

(There are ways to write both knowingly and for less-informed readers at the same time; for example, you could write ". . . a video interview for Pitchfork, which in its 17-odd years has eclipsed Rolling Stone as the leading arbiter of taste among the young, the hip and most discerning - some would say insufferable - music fans." Or, just write "Pitchfork, widely regarded as the coolest kids on the block - for better and worse - when it comes to music tastemaking.")

Second, the Trib account makes it sound like Keef came to a video shoot strapped, quite casually violating the terms of his probation. Wrong. Pitchfork arranged the shoot (no pun intended) and it was at a gun range. He was given a gun. By the range. For this, Pitchfork has apologized.

That's what makes this ruling so maddening. And that's what this sentiment is all about:

*

The police are interested in Keef because A) his probation stems from an incident in which he allegedly pointed a gun at officers chasing him; B) his tweet implying he was happy to see Lil Jojo get gunned down, leading authorities to wonder if he had a part in it; and C) his alleged gang affiliations and record as, well, a delinquent.

None of which gives the criminal justice system the right to harass him. Authorities in Washington, D.C., had a better case against David Gregory, who intentionally waved an illegal gun clip on the air despite being warned against it, than authorities here going after Keef for that video shoot.

A little discretion, please.

*

The Sun-Times report is even worse; it doesn't even mention Pitchfork.

Rising Chicago rapper Chief Keef nestled the butt of a Ruger 10/22 semiautomatic rifle against his shoulder and squeezed off a burst of bullets.

The markmanship demonstration was videotaped in June at a New York gun range as part of a promotion for the 17-year-old musician.

But on Tuesday, the video came back to haunt Keef, whose real name is Keith Cozart. He was thrown in jail after a Cook County juvenile court judge decided the video was evidence of a probation violation.

"There is a clear record of a disregard for the court's authority," Judge Carl Anthony Walker said. He scheduled a sentencing hearing for Thursday.

Hardly.

"[Keef attorney Dennis] Berkson also told the judge that Cozart didn't violate the spirit of his probation restrictions when he fired the gun at the New York range."

Which is true. I mean, c'mon!

The video shows Cozart - wearing white-framed sunglasses - sitting in a classroom gun-safety lecture. Later, he's on the range, wearing blue ear muffs and admiring the holes he has just fired into the chest of a paper target. He spent about 20 minutes firing the rifle, a range worker testified.

Berkson said Cozart never took the gun outside of the range and the target practice was under the strict supervision of a trainer.

"Was it stupid? Yes. Did it violate the court order? No," Berkson told the judge.

Berkson added that his teenage client was simply doing the bidding of his record company, Interscope, which arranged the target practice as part of a promotional tour.

But Brevard responded that the young rapper can't use the record company as an excuse. The company doesn't have the power to supersede a court order, he said, telling the judge: "You are above Interscope Records. You are above Chief Keef."

Oh please. Will Interscope be charged, then, with aiding and abetting a criminal?

*

I understand the authorities' interest in Keef, but I also understand that there is a right way and a wrong way for law enforcement to express that interest. For example, selective enforcement of the trivial - including going after his posters in a city littered with them - is the wrong way.

*

Also, wouldn't it be a good thing if Keef had actually moved to Northbrook? (Hmmm, I wonder who those "sources" were . . . )

Yes, you don't move without telling your probation officer.

Then again, a judge found that there was "no credible evidence" that he had done so.

*

Maybe for punishment the judge ought to make him live in Northbrook.

*

Back to the Sun-Times:

"Also Tuesday, prosecutors presented new evidence involving [Keef's] living arrangements.

"They said a relative of Cozart is renting a home in upscale Northbrook and [Keef's] name is on the lease - even though the rapper told his probation officer that he was living in south suburban Dolton.

"At a previous hearing, the judge was told that Cozart's manager owns the home.

"It's just more lies," said Assistant Cook County State's Attorney Jullian Brevard.

But Cozart's attorney, Dennis Berkson, insisted that his client's primary residence is in Dolton and that he's recording his second album in a studio set up in the Northbrook home.

I'm not here to defend Chief Keef but to question the integrity of a criminal justice system that is behaving in exactly the way that produces kids like him. He's a bad dude who even scares Lupe Fiasco - but is it really that hard to understand how he came to be?

*

Fiasco later apologized for being scared.

*

Meanwhile:

Chief Keef's Stepbrother Shot Dead On South Side.

And:

Chief Keef's Finally Rich Has A Home At Northbrook Public Library.

-

Previously:
* South Side 16-Year-Old Gets Shot, Blows Up

* Rhymefest vs. Chief Keef

* Chief Keef's Deadly Rap War

* More Sh!t Chief Keef Don't Like

* Chief Keef Loves Soda, Ain't White

* Chief Keef: Baller of Confusion

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 12:49 AM | Permalink

January 15, 2013

Ending Poverty

Happy new year to you and thank you for your support as we celebrate a fresh start this season! As we begin this new year, we're also beginning a special celebration - Heartland Alliance's 125th anniversary.

As we celebrate this fresh start, we at Heartland Alliance have an opportunity for a new beginning, and we're taking it, rededicating ourselves to the core of our mission - ending poverty. Over these 125 years, we've found solutions that work - housing, healthcare, jobs, and justice - the foundation of a stable life. We renew our dedication not only to providing those services, but to the participants receiving them.

We hope you will enjoy this video that describes our work and the amazing people we serve every day.


Join us on Facebook and Twitter as we launch our #WeBelieve campaign. Each month we will be posting about something we believe in and asking you to join the conversation. We need your comments, photos and videos! So join us by following the hash tag #WeBelieve.

*

Who are Illinois's 33%? Watch this video trailer to the Social IMPACT Research Center's upcoming report to learn more.

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See also: Illinois's 33%: One in Three Illinoisans Live in or Near Poverty According to Heartland Alliance.

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 5:39 PM | Permalink

The [Tuesday] Papers

"Chicago police Superintendent Garry McCarthy held a news conference Monday in which his department 'put on display several of the firearms seized . . . during the first two weeks of 2013,' according to a police news release," the Tribune reports.

"But that wasn't exactly the case.

"A police spokeswoman said McCarthy had hoped to display 25 weapons from among the more than 300 seized since Jan. 1 - but in fact the ones shown were from last year. Some dated from last summer, according to inventory tags on the weapons."

Doh!

"Reporters attending the news conference at the Gresham district station, 7808 S. Halsted St., noticed the inventory tags, and McCarthy was asked about them. He said the guns weren't the actual ones seized in 2013, but were 'representative' of them."

That's okay, our prisons are full of people who aren't actually the real killers, but representative of them.

*

McCarthy's press conference was orchestrated to coincide with the appearance of Mayor Rahm Emanuel in Washington, D.C., scoring political points in advance of an ordinance being introduced in city council this week that would require gun owners to report any loss, theft or sale to authorities - like in New York City.

McCarthy said on WGN-TV last week that the reason why Chicago has more murders and guns than New York is because of that reporting law, as well as stricter sentencing for gun law violations.

Perhaps, but Chicago also has always had a more entrenched gang problem than either New York or LA, as well as more severe conditions in public housing and more rigid segregation sealing in the misery. Maybe we should investigate that.

Or maybe McCarthy was just being "representative."

*

That's okay, many members of our media don't mind the news being "representative" and approvingly airing anything any official says without vetting the claims or including additional sources

*

McCarthy misspoke: He was being misrepresentative.

*

CPS is also just being "representative" these days.

At least McCarthy didn't pull the weapons out of a hidden drawer.

*

Speaking of hidden drawers, here's the problem with the Alton Logan settlement - and, really, all settlements of this nature:

"The 11th-hour settlement with Alton Logan will head off a trial that could have forced Burge to testify in court - via video hook-up from a federal prison in North Carolina - for the first time in 20 years."

And:

"Last year, Mayor Rahm Emanuel signed off on $7.1 million in settlements that spared former Mayor Richard M. Daley from answering questions under oath about allegations that - as state's attorney and as mayor - he failed to investigate torture allegations against Burge."

No one begrudges the victims for taking the money, but taxpayers pick up the bill while being denied a full airing of the cases and no one is really held responsible, which is why a Burge truth commission with subpoeana power remains a good idea but one that city officials will never let happen.

*

"The question now is whether Emanuel will deliver the apology that Logan demanded but never heard from Daley, who was serving as state's attorney at the time of Logan's arrest.

"There's only one person whose mouth I want to hear that [apology] come out of, but I know he'll never say it. Your mayor," Logan said on the day that a Cook County judge dismissed the charges against him.

Referring to Daley, Logan said, "He was the man [who] signed the death certificate. That's the only apology I want. But, I know I'll never get it."

At the time, Daley responded to Logan's demand by claiming he couldn't even remember the case of the man whose legal odyssey was featured on 60 Minutes.

Pressed on whether an apology was warranted, Daley said then, "I have no idea. You know how many cases we had in the state's attorney's office?"

*

Also on the docket today for the city council finance committee to consider:

"Nearly seven years after Christina Eilman wandered out of a South Side police station and into a catastrophe, her tragic entanglement with the Chicago Police Department began to come to an end Monday - with a proposed $22.5 million legal settlement that may be the largest the city ever offered to a single victim of police misconduct," the Tribune reports.

See also: She Begged For Help; Guards Said 'Shut Up'.

*

"McCarthy May Turn To Celebrities To Help Combat Police Mistrust."

Right. Here are a few other people McCarthy could turn to:

A.) Himself. No more "representative" press conferences just because your maniacal mayor orders them. You basically lied to the media and the public.

B.) His own officers. The problems leading to a continual parade of settlements for officers acting badly remain - and that's why "snitches" don't want to cooperate with you.

C.) His state's attorney's office. And everyone who worked there from the Burge years to the present. Attitude adjustment needed.

D.) His boss. See A.

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Albini Eats, Corgan Cheats
In our Local Music Notebook.

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The Beachwood Tip Line: A click away.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 7:08 AM | Permalink

Local Music Notebook: Ray Charles Jazz Tribute, Steve Albini On Kuma's Slayer & Billy Corgan's Illegal Sign

A loose collection of whatnot.

1. Albini explains the Slayer to Sinful Desire in the studio.


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2. Billy's folly.

"The nearly 4-feet-tall glowing letters in the front window of Billy Corgan's Highland Park tea shop presented a glaring problem recently - the city doesn't allow neon signs that large, and the business never applied for a permit," the Tribune reports.

"A representative for Corgan said new tea shop management is unsure why the previous managers didn't apply for a sign permit.

"Corgan's letter argues the business depends on drive-by traffic, but that the sign doesn't 'obscure the vision of motorists nor does it compete with traffic signals, warning or parking signs.'

"It's not the first time Madame ZuZu's has tangled with the city over aesthetics. In August, Highland Park's Design Review Commission denied a request by the tea shop to paint its entire external facade black, saying it 'was not in context with the neighborhood,' according to a staff memo."

UPDATE: Corgan's Tea Shop Sign Approved.

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3. Two weeks ago, the Chicago Jazz Orchestra performed a tribute to Frank Zappa.

Next: Ray Charles.

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4. Kanile'a K-1 Tenor Premium Uke.

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 12:10 AM | Permalink

January 14, 2013

SportsMonday: The Bulls Suck At Home

Hey Bulls, any time you want to stop with this deal where you turn in your by far worst performances at home against the dregs of the league, that would be great. It has been hard enough to build up excitement about this season what with a certain superstar still sidelined.

The loss at the United Center against the terrible Suns (13-26 overall, tied for the second fewest wins in the Western Conference) over the weekend was the third in the last two weeks to opponents the home team should have handled easily.

Earlier last week, the Bulls dropped a decision against a Bucks squad that had just separated from its coach (Scott Skiles) and the week before featured a home setback against a Charlotte Bobcats team that is 9-27 overall headed into this week.

Of course, during the same stretch, this split-personality team has racked up several big-time road wins over Miami and New York. What it adds up to is an outfit that is tied for the best road record in the league at 10-5 but has stumbled to a 10-10 mark at home.
Speaking as a fan who has made a relatively small investment (I've got a piece of a second-balcony season-ticket package - section 314 if you must know), it would be great if we could see a slightly larger return, i.e., just a little of the drama featured in these road triumphs.

The problem with the Bulls, other than the fact that the whole season has been nothing but a giant waiting game, is that they are one losing streak away from absolute mediocrity. Every time this team seems poised to go on at least a mini-roll it finds a way to not just play down to the opposition but to play truly subterranean basketball.

As for that waiting game, well, the Bulls will not hurry Derrick Rose's return from injury. You got that? Derrick Rose will complete the rehabilitation of torn ligaments in his knee when he is good and ready - other athlete's rehabilitation schedules be damned. (New York Knick and former Oak Park-River Forest Huskie Iman Shumpert suffered almost exactly the same injury as Rose on exactly the same day of last year's playoffs. He will almost certainly be returning to the court sooner than the Bulls point guard.)

Remember, way back when (1985), Bulls head man Jerry Reinsdorf felt pressured into allowing Michael Jordan to return early from a broken foot. It was twenty-freaking-eight years ago but he remembers it like it was yesterday and is adamant that it won't happen again.

Except, Jerry, everything worked out fine with Jordan!

He thought he was ready to come back, his doctors didn't forbid it, and then when he did come back he reeled off a run of great games culminating in one of his all-time great performances. That would be the epic first-round playoff game against the Celtics that cemented Jordan's status as the up-and-coming superstar in the league.

I'm sure Rose is anxious to return to action but he isn't desperate to do so like a certain young shooting guard was almost three decades ago - negative consequences to the Bulls' draft position be damned. After all, if Jordan had stayed out, the Bulls almost certainly would have ended up in the lottery for top spots in the next draft. And don't think that then-new general manager Jerry Krause wasn't keenly aware of that fact.

Reinsdorf may be tempted to meddle, but Rose should return when he and his doctors believe he should return. Bulls management should have very little to do with it.

But let's hope Rose finds a way to do so before the Bulls play so poorly at home that fans start asking for refunds.

-

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

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 11:34 AM | Permalink

QT: Cheer Up, The Universe Isn't Everything


News Headline: "Scientists find evidence that the universe is a 'giant brain.'"
News Headline: "Most galaxies in the universe are moving away from us."
Every universe has its right to second thoughts.

···

News Headline: "Weapon training company's CEO threatens to 'start killing people' over Obama's gun control policies."
A hard part of stopping potential mass murderers is discerning the subtle signs and clues.

···

QT Digest of Rush Limbaugh's Friday Show (for Your Convenience):
". . . I. . . admit. . . I'm . . . predatory. . . and. . . a . . . buffoon. . . ."
OK. Finally.

···

News Headline: "Man suspected of shooting toddler surrenders."
News Headline: "Toddler accidentally shoots self."
Five days until National Gun Appreciation Day. . . .

···

QT What Passes for Miracles These Days Update:
An image of Jesus has been found on a grilled cheese sandwich in Los Angeles.
The cheese was provolone.

···

News Headline: "Patriotic group to build armed 'defensible' neighborhood fortress."
It takes a village.
Well. OK. And some village idiots.

···

QT Early Warning System:
A Glenn Beck theme park is planned in Texas.

···

News Headline: "Rick Perry: I can't make Cuomo a Texan."
Might try having him huff paint for a while.
Might work.

···

From the QT Archive of Knowledge:
+ Germany's Weimar Republic had tougher gun laws that the Nazi Reich that came after it.
+ U.S. gun manufacturing has nearly doubled in the past five years.

···

The Case for Zero Tolerance of Modern School Administrators:
Miss California 2012 rehearsing for the Q&A session of the Miss America Pageant:
Q. "What are your feelings on euthanasia becoming legalized?"
A. "That's actually one thing I'm not very educated on. So I need to look up on exactly what that means. But I do know that's a vaccine, correct?"

···

QT Rules of Etiquette for Guys and Dolls:
+ Dinner jacket with black tie.
+ Tails with white tie.
+ Unlike the 2009 Inaugural Balls, during which President Obama wore a sort of dinner jacket with white tie.
+ The thought of which has been mildly troubling QT for four years.
+ QT will move on now.

···

News Headline: "Is silence evidence of guilt?"
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

···

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:
The weekend's sudden swarm of earthquakes at Yellowstone has stopped.
So there is nothing to be concerned about.

···

News Item: "What could be the largest structure yet seen in the observable universe has emerged. . . an apparent cluster of quasars some 4 billion light-years across. . . ."
Or the equivalent of 60 quintillion Great Walls of China built end to end, for those still trying to visualize it.
Give or take.

···

Today's Birthdays: "Tosca," 113; "Tutti Frutti," 57.

···

QT Grammar R Us Seminar on the English Language:
Rich Rzadzki, a Chicago reader, writes:
"I notice 'factoid' is finding its way back into common parlance."
Never left.
But once again:
A factoid is not a quick fact or a little fact.
It is something that resembles a fact but is not true.
QT has just iterated a point, by the way.
It will not reiterate the point until it iterates it another time.


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 [Monday] Papers

"Getting 'real information' to people on the World Wide Web is 13-year-old Aaron Swartz's job," the Tribune reported in June 2000.

"He's tired of all the banner ads, the sponsorships and other miscellaneous 'junk' hogging the screens.

"'That's not what the Internet was made for. It was based on open standards and freedom, not ads,' said Swartz of Highland Park, the youngest of 10 finalists in the annual Arsdigita Foundation Teen Web Site Contest."

Swartz went on to be a key developer of RSS web content syndication, a co-founder of Reddit and a leading activist for the freedom of information, but despite his global status as a computer prodigy and Internet thought leader, he never appeared again in the Tribune until Sunday's report of his suicide.

Swartz never appeared in the Sun-Times until its (AP-assisted) suicide report.

Neither does he show up in the archives of the Reader nor Crain's.

And yet, Swartz was one of the most influential people to come out of this area in a lifetime.

*

"I remember when we all went to a talk by Barbara Ehrenreich at the Newberry Library in Chicago - the Internet tells me it was 2006 - and he spent any down time in the activity around him doing this weird thing on his cell phone, fingers flying," local author and journalist Rick Perlstein writes for The Nation.

"Which added up to two memories: one, of a soul squeezing meaning out of every last second of his life. And two, of the first time I saw a person send e-mail from a machine he kept in his pocket! Afterward, at a restaurant, I remember him patiently but exuberantly explaining to Barbara Ehrenreich what RSS was ('a computer code that provided a format for delivering regularly changing Web content': yes, he thought of that), what Reddit was, why it mattered, etc."

*

Swartz suffered from depression (and a host of other mysterious illnesses).

"You feel as if streaks of pain are running through your head, you thrash your body, you search for some escape but find none," he wrote in 2007.

"The economist Richard Layard, after advocating that the goal of public policy should be to maximize happiness, set out to learn what the greatest impediment to happiness was today. His conclusion: depression. Depression causes nearly half of all disability, it affects one in six, and explains more current unhappiness than poverty. And (important for public policy) Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy has a short-term success rate of 50%.

"Sadly, depression (like other mental illnesses, especially addiction) is not seen as 'real' enough to deserve the investment and awareness of conditions like breast cancer (1 in 8) or AIDS (1 in 150).

*

His family, friends and admirers say the U.S. government has blood on its hands for aggressively prosecuting him for downloading millions of subscription-only journal articles through an opening in MIT's computer network.

"Aaron's death is not simply a personal tragedy," his family says in a statement. "It is the product of a criminal justice system rife with intimidation and prosecutorial overreach. Decisions made by officials in the Massachusetts U.S. Attorney's office and at MIT contributed to his death. The US Attorney's office pursued an exceptionally harsh array of charges, carrying potentially over 30 years in prison, to punish an alleged crime that had no victims. Meanwhile, unlike JSTOR, MIT refused to stand up for Aaron and its own community's most cherished principles."

*

For ongoing coverage (and catching up on background), this Boing Boing post with its attendant links is a good place to start.

*

"Aaron's funeral will be held on Tuesday, January 15 at Central Avenue Synagogue, 874 Central Avenue, Highland Park, Illinois 60035," the family has announced. "Further details, including the specific time, will be posted at http://rememberaaronsw.com, along with announcements about memorial services to be held in other cities in coming weeks."

*

See also: How Aaron Swartz Helped Save My Ass.

And: Legal Case Strained Troubled Web Activist.

-

In other news . . .

United Airlines' Tax Dodge
"In a tiny office in rural Sycamore, next to a chiropractor and an attorney, United Airlines buys billions of dollars in jet fuel," the Sun-Times reports.

"But the jet fuel never gets anywhere near Sycamore, which is 100 miles west of Chicago.

"It goes to O'Hare, and that upsets the Regional Transit Authority, which says it is out at least $96 million in lost sales taxes as a result of the actions of United and another company, American Airlines.

"The RTA plans to file suit Monday against United and the city of Sycamore, contending United operates a 'sham' office in the DeKalb County town in order to avoid higher sales taxes in Cook County."

See also: The item Sycamore Tree from this 2011 column.

United Center's Tax Dodge
"For United Center owners Jerry Reinsdorf and Rocky Wirtz, one of the great things about the property tax break the arena has enjoyed since it opened in 1995 is that nobody really knows exactly how much the building is worth," Danny Ecker writes for Crain's.

"There are no comparable Cook County properties against which it can be measured, leaving plenty of mystery as to its true market value, and, therefore, what its owners ought to pay into public coffers.

"But a new report commissioned by the Chicago Teachers Union sheds a little light on just how sweet of a deal they get. The report asserts that the arena's owners have unfairly saved nearly $30 million in property taxes during the past decade."

The Weekend In Chicago Rock
Back on track.

QT: The Universe Isn't Everything
We'll find another one.

The Weekend Desk Report
If you missed it, catch up here.

And you can always catch up on Weekend Desk Reports and Papers columns going all the way back to the beginning right here.

SportsMonday
Will appear later today. The Bulls Suck At Home.

-

The Beachwood Tip Line: Real.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 5:10 AM | Permalink

January 13, 2013

The Weekend In Chicago Rock

You shoulda been there.

1. Rakim at The Shrine on Friday night.


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2. The Life and Times at the Empty Bottle on Friday night.

-

3. Quicksand at the Metro on Saturday night.

-

4. Wild Jesus with Nordic Thunder at the Double Door on Friday night.

-

5. Shirley Manson and Chris Connelly at the Metro on Friday night as part of Sons of the Silent Age, a benefit for the Pablove Foundation featuring Manson, Connelly and Matt Walker playing the music of David Bowie; the Waco Brothers playing T. Rex, and Death on The Autobahn playing Kraftwerk (as previewed here).

-

6. Fada Dougou & The Drastics at the Mayne Stage on Friday night.

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7. The Four Star Brass Band at Martyr's on Saturday night.

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 12:23 AM | Permalink

January 12, 2013

The Weekend Desk Report

"After weeks of rumors and equally strenuous denials, Sandi Jackson resigned as Chicago's 7th Ward alderman Friday, the latest chapter in the stunning, scandal-laced downfall of what had been one of the city's most prominent and powerful political duos," the Tribune reports.

We'll have more on this in the days to come, but for now, let's turn to the Beachwood Twitter feed:

*

*

*

*

*

*

*

-

In other news . . .

And It's Not Donald Trump's Ego
Largest structure in the universe discovered.

Alternates:
* And It's Not Rahm Emanuel's Ego
* And It's Not Rahm Emanuel's Potty Mouth
* And It's Not Illinois's Pension Deficit
* And It's Not The National Debt
* And It's Not Lance Armstrong's Web Of Lies

Inauguration: What If The Prez Didn't Show?
It happened in Venezuela.

Holy Fucking Hell
Australia's Incredible Wall of Sand.

*

Australia's Wall of Sand vs. Phil Spector's Wall of Sound. Discuss.

Everything You Wanted To Know About . . .
. . . Obama's Drone Wars But Were Afraid To Ask.

Joe Biden's Way With Words
No pun intended.

Pain Mail
"Facebook Testing $100 Fee To Mail Mark Zuckerberg."

Or $200 not to. Hey-o!

Taylor Swift Is Never Ever Putting Out Again
Not that she ever did.

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The Weekend Desk Tip Line: Mean.

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The Sound Opinions Weekend Listening Report: "Songwriting, comedy, boxing - is there anything Aimee Mann doesn't do? The renaissance woman joins Jim and Greg in the studio to perform songs from her latest album, Charmer. Later, Jim and Greg review the new record from pop phenom Bruno Mars."

Comment: I happen to find Aimee Mann to be one of the most overrated underrated songwriters ever; a bit too precious, songcrafty (mechanical) and even smug, with very little to say and lyrics not half as intelligent as she and her fans seem to think. But that's just me!

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The Flying Saucer Weekend Brunch Report: If you go, check out the the new floor!

saucerspecial.jpg
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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 how the organization supports immigrants and Latinos with low-cost legal immigration services, community education/engagement, and by advocating for the improvement of immigration policies.

Saturday, January 12 at 7:30 p.m. on CAN TV21
30 min.

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Ending the Nuclear Age Conference

Seventy years after an experiment at the University of Chicago led by Enrico Fermi created the first nuclear chain reaction at University of Chicago, activists and experts discuss the legacy of the Nuclear Age, including nuclear waste, a new generation of weapons, and the impact of disasters like the meltdown at Japan's Fukushima reactor.

Hosted by: Nuclear Energy Information Service and Beyond Nuclear.

Nuclear Reactors & Weapons

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Whistleblower and nuclear engineer Arnie Gundersen of Fairewinds Associates discusses problems with nuclear power that he says began in 1942 and persist today, including secrecy, cost, and waste.

Saturday, January 12 at 9 p.m. on CAN TV21
1 hr. 30 min.

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Dr. Norma Field Keynote Presentation: "Where Are The People?"

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Dr. Norma Field, professor of Japanese Studies at the University of Chicago, draws attention to the experiences of communities directly impacted by nuclear technology.

Watch Online

Saturday, January 12 at 10:30 p.m. on CAN TV21
1 hr.

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Those Impacted by Nuclear Energy

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Members of Native American and other communities share how they are impacted by living near facilities used for the different aspects of nuclear energy production, from the mining and processing of uranium to the disposal of nuclear waste.

Sunday, January 13 at 9 a.m. on CAN TV21
2 hr.

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The Way Forward Without Nuclear Energy

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Dr. Arjun Makhijani of the Institute for Energy and Environmental Research discusses how low-carbon energy sources can serve as an alternative to nuclear power plants.

Sunday, January 13 at 11 a.m. on CAN TV21
1 hr. 30 min.

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Fukushima: The Never Ending Story

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Akiko Yoshida from Friends of the Earth discusses the ongoing impact of the disaster at Japan's Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant.

Sunday, January 13 at 12:30 p.m. on CAN TV21
1 hr.

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The Nuclear Power & Weapons Connection

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Paul Gunter of Beyond Nuclear provides historic perspective on the connection between the development of new weapons in the U.S. and the technology developed for nuclear energy.

Sunday, January 13 at 1:30 p.m. on CAN TV21
2 hr.

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Groups Call for Closure of Guantanamo Bay, Protest Zero Dark Thirty

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As part of a national day of action, local groups are calling for the closure of the Guantanamo Bay detention facility and demonstrating against the film Zero Dark Thirty for what they say is a message supporting indefinite detention and torture.

Watch Online

Sunday, January 13 at 5 p.m. on CAN TV19
2 hr.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 6:59 AM | Permalink

Everything You Wanted To Know About Obama's Drone Wars But Were Afraid To Ask

You might have heard about the "kill list." You've certainly heard about drones. But the details of the U.S. campaign against militants in Pakistan, Yemen, and Somalia - a centerpiece of the Obama administration's national security approach - remain shrouded in secrecy. Here's our guide to what we know - and what we don't know.

Where is the drone war? Who carries it out?

Drones have been the Obama administration's tool of choice for taking out militants outside of Iraq and Afghanistan. Drones aren't the exclusive weapon - traditional airstrikes and other attacks have also been reported. But by one estimate, 95 percent of targeted killings since 9/11 have been conducted by drones. Among the benefits of drones: they don't put American troops in harm's way.

The first reported drone strike against al-Qaeda happened in Yemen in 2002. The CIA ramped up secret drone strikes in Pakistan under President George W. Bush in 2008. Under Obama, they have expanded drastically there and in Yemen in 2011.

The CIA isn't alone in conducting drone strikes. The military has acknowledged "direct action" in Yemen and Somalia. Strikes in those countries are reportedly carried out by the secretive, elite Joint Special Operations Command. Since 9/11, JSOC has grown more than tenfold, taking on intelligence-gathering as well as combat roles. (For example, JSOC was responsible for the operation that killed Osama Bin Laden.)

The drone war is carried out remotely, from the U.S. and a network of secret bases around the world. The Washington Post got a glimpse - through examining construction contracts and showing up uninvited - at the base in the tiny African nation of Djibouti from which many of the strikes on Yemen and Somalia are carried out. Earlier this year, Wired pieced together an account of the war against Somalia's al-Shabaab militant group and the U.S.'s expanded military presence throughout Africa.

The number of strikes in Pakistan has ebbed in recent years, from a peak of more than 100 in 2008, to an estimated 46 last year. Meanwhile, the pace in Yemen picked up, with more than 40 last year. But there have been seven strikes in Pakistan in the first ten days of 2013.

How are targets chosen?

A series of articles based largely on anonymous comments from administration officials have given partial picture of how the U.S. picks targets and carries out strikes. Two recent reports - from researchers at Columbia Law School and from the Council on Foreign Relations - also give detailed overviews of what's known about the process.

The CIA and the military have reportedly long maintained overlapping "kill lists." According to news reports last spring, the military's list was hashed out in Pentagon-run interagency meetings, with the White House approving proposed targets. Obama would authorize particularly sensitive missions himself.

This year, the process reportedly changed, to concentrate the review of individuals and targeting criteria in the White House. According to the Washington Post, the reviews now happen at regular interagency meetings at the National Counterterrorism Center. Recommendations are sent to a panel of National Security Council officials. Final revisions go through White House counterterror adviser John Brennan to the president. Several profiles have highlighted Brennan's powerful and controversial role in shaping the trajectory of the targeted killing program. This week, Obama nominated Brennan to head the CIA.

At least some CIA strikes don't have to get White House signoff. The director of the CIA can reportedly green-light strikes in Pakistan. In a 2011 interview, John Rizzo, previously the CIA's top lawyer, said agency attorneys did an exhaustive review of each target.

Doesn't the U.S. sometimes target people whose names they don't know?

Yes. While administration officials often have frequently framed drone strikes as going after "high-level al-Qaeda leaders who are planning attacks" against the U.S., many strikes go after apparent militants whose identities the U.S. doesn't know. The so-called "signature strikes" began under Bush in early 2008 and were expanded by Obama. Exactly what portion of strikes are signature strikes isn't clear.

At various points the CIA's use of signature strikes in Pakistan in particular have caused tensions with the White House and State Department. One official told the New York Times about a joke that for the CIA, "three guys doing jumping jacks," was a terrorist training camp.

In Yemen and Somalia, there is debate about whether the militants targeted by the U.S. are in fact plotting against the U.S. or instead fighting against their own country. Micah Zenko, a fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations who has been critical of the drone program, told ProPublica that the U.S. is essentially running "a counterinsurgency air force" for allied countries. At times, strikes have relied on local intelligence that later proves faulty. The Los Angeles Times recently examined the case of a Yemeni man killed by a U.S. drone and the complex web of allegiances and politics surrounding his death.

How many people have been killed in strikes?

The precise number isn't known, but some estimates peg the total around 3,000.

A number of groups are tracking strikes and estimating casualties:

How many of those killed are have been civilians?

It's impossible to know.

There has been considerable back-and-forth about the tally of civilian casualties. For instance, the New America Foundation estimates between 261 and 305 civilians have been killed in Pakistan; The Bureau of Investigative Journalism gives a range of 475 - 891. All of the counts are much higher than the very low numbers of deaths the administration claims. (We've detailed inconsistencies even within those low estimates.) Some analyses show that civilian deaths have dropped proportionally in recent years.

The estimates are largely compiled by interpreting news reports relying on anonymous officials or accounts from local media, whose credibility may vary. (For example, the Washington Post reported last month that the Yemeni government often tries to conceal the U.S.'s role in airstrikes that kill civilians.)

The controversy has been compounded by the fact that the U.S. reportedly counts any military-age male killed in a drone strike as a militant. An administration official told ProPublica, "If a group of fighting age males are in a home where we know they are constructing explosives or plotting an attack, it's assumed that all of them are in on that effort." It's not clear what if any investigation occurs after the fact.

Columbia Law School conducted an in-depth analysis of what we know about the U.S.'s efforts to mitigate and calculate civilian casualties. It concluded that the drone war's covert nature hampered accountability measures taken in traditional military actions. Another report from Stanford and NYU documented "anxiety and psychological trauma" among Pakistani villagers.

This fall, the U.N. announced an investigation into the civilian impact u2013 in particular, allegations of "double-tap" strikes, in which a second strike targets rescuers.

Why just kill? What about capture?

Administration officials have said in speeches that militants are targeted for killing when they pose an imminent threat to the U.S. and capture isn't feasible. But killing appears to be far more common than capture, and accounts of strikes don't generally shed light on "imminent" or "feasible." Cases involving secret, overseas captures under Obama show the political and diplomatic quandaries in deciding how and where a suspect could be picked up.

This fall, the Washington Post described something called the "disposition matrix" - a process that has contingency plans for what to do with terrorists depending where they are. The Atlantic mapped out how that decision-making might happen in the case of a U.S. citizen, based on known examples. But of course, the details of the disposition matrix, like the "kill lists" it reportedly supplants, aren't known.

What's the legal rationale for all this?

Obama administration officials have given a series of speeches broadly outlining the legal underpinning for strikes, but they never talk about specific cases. In fact, they don't officially acknowledge the drone war at all.

The White House argues that Congress's 2001 Authorization for Use of Military Force as well as international law on nations' right to self-defense provides sound legal basis for targeting individuals affiliated with al-Qaeda or "associated forces," even outside Afghanistan. That can include U.S. citizens.

"Due process," said Attorney General Eric Holder said in a speech at Northwestern University last March, "takes into account the realities of combat."

What form that "due process" takes hasn't been detailed. And, as we've reported, the government frequently clams up when it comes to specific questions - like civilian casualties, or the reasons specific individuals were killed.

Just last week, a federal judge ruled that the government did not have to release a secret legal memo making the case for the killing of Anwar al-Awlaki, a U.S. citizen. The judge also ruled the government did not have to respond to other requests seeking more information about targeted killing in general. (In making the ruling, the judge acknowledged a "Catch-22," saying that the government claimed "as perfectly lawful certain actions that seem on their face incompatible with our Constitution and laws while keeping the reasons for their conclusion a secret.")

The U.S. has also sought to dismiss a lawsuit brought by family members over Awlaki's death and that of his 16-year-old son - also a U.S. citizen - who was killed in a drone strike.

When does the drone war end?

The administration has reportedly discussed scaling back the drone war, but by other accounts, it is formalizing the targeted killing program for the long haul. The U.S. estimates al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula has a "few thousand" members, but officials have also said the U.S. cannot "capture or kill every last terrorist who claims an affiliation with al-Qaeda."

The State Department's legal counsel, Jeh Johnson, who just stepped down as general counsel for the Pentagon, gave a speech last month entitled, "The Conflict Against Al-Qaeda and its Affiliates: How Will It End?" He didn't give a date.

John Brennan has reportedly said the CIA should return to its focus on intelligence-gathering. But Brennan's key role in running the drone war from the White House has led to debate about how much he would actually curtail the agency's involvement if he is confirmed as CIA chief.

What about backlash abroad?

There appears to be plenty of it. Drone strikes are deeply unpopular in the countries where they occur, sparking frequent protests. Despite that, Brennan said last August that the U.S. saw "little evidence that these actions are generating widespread anti-American sentiment or recruits."

General Stanley McChrystal, who led the military in Afghanistan, recently contradicted that, saying that "The resentment created by American use of unmanned strikes . . . is much greater than the average American appreciates. They are hated on a visceral level, even by people who've never seen one or seen the effects of one." The New York Times recently reported that Pakistani militants have carried out a campaign of brutal reprisals against locals, accusing them of spying for the U.S.

As for international governments: Top U.S. allies have mostly kept silent. A 2010 U.N. report raised concerns about the precedent of a covert, boundary-less war. The President of Yemen, Abdu Hadi, supports the U.S. campaign, while Pakistan maintains an uneasy combination of public protest and apparent acquiescence.

Who to Follow

For reporting and commentary on the drone war on Twitter:

  • @drones collects op-eds and news on well, drones. (Run by members of the Electronic Frontiers Foundation, which has been outspoken about privacy concerns in the use of domestic drones, but it also covers national security.)
  • @natlsecuritycnn has breaking news.
  • @Dangerroom from Wired covers national security and technology, including a lot on drones.
  • @lawfareblog covers the drone war's legal dimensions.
  • @gregorydjohnsen is an expert on Yemen, who is closely following the war there.
  • @AfPakChannel from the New America Foundation and Foreign Policy tweets news and commentary on Afghanistan and Pakistan.

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Previously:
* Drones Not Just For Threats Against America Anymore.

* 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.

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NOTE: ProPublica updated this post on January 23, 2013.

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Comments welcome.


Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 4:59 AM | Permalink

January 11, 2013

The [Friday] Papers

I'll be on WBEZ's Morning Shift this morning discussing the week's news with Achy Obejas and host Tony Sarabia. I have some other obligations to tend to as well, so chances are there won't be a Papers column today. Our fabulous and lovely weekend desk editor Natasha Julius is sick and experiencing, among other things, "weaponized uber-snot," so if she doesn't turn things around in the next 24 hours I'll use the Weekend Desk Report to catch up on what I'm missing today. (She doesn't have the flu, by the way, just . . . something else.)

Our fine Beachwood contributors are still hard at work, however. Here's what we do have today:

*

QT: The Several-Party System.

We better make for the door if the ceiling is already on the table.

*

The College Football Report: Post-Mortem.

Season ends appropriately with a dirty old man salivating over a beauty pageant queen in a blowout.

*

Chicagoetry: The Time Machine.

The Green Line and dreams.

*

The Week in Chicago Rock.

Frankly, we only found two shows to show you from this week - and even one of those we initially rejected. Worst Week In Chicago Rock Ever.

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The Beachwood Tip Line: Short but mighty.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 7:02 AM | Permalink

Chicagoetry: The Time Machine

THE TIME MACHINE

Behold a bird of diamonds:
a stylized falcon, the treasure
of Jeweler's Row,
redolent of crow's breath, lark skull
and jay tongue.

It soars sitting still
in a lockbox behind a gun safe,
a representation of a dream, something
of a ruse, like the storefronts
themselves there from Monroe
north to Washington.

It's like a wild-west movie set;
only the front walls are original,
a fascimile of 19th century Chicago.
So here the Green Line becomes
a time machine, a shrieking steel rattlesnake
back to the Gilded Age.

A designer dreamt a diamond falcon
now a legend to connoisseurs
and a hard-on for collectors,
a miracle of art, soaring sitting still.
And not in Paris, nor Milan
nor the dark mines of Zimbabwe.

This is a perfect dream:
diesel soot, stardust, train wash
and rat claw,
a perfect dream
in a ravaged bog

somewhere in time.

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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 6:13 AM | Permalink

The Week In Chicago Rock

You shoulda been in only a couple places this week.

1. A Man and His Clone at Quenchers on Wednesday night.


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2. The Fruit Flies at the Elbo Room on Tuesday night.

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That's all, folks!

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 3:46 AM | Permalink

The College Football Report: Post-Mortem

The college football season is over, but not the College Football Report. There is much to talk about, at least enough for a few weeks of wrap-up. This week, we offer our obligatory analysis of the one-sided affair that was the BCS National Championship Game.

Mess With The Elephant, Get The Tusks
Outclassed. Outgunned. Overmatched. Overwhelmed. Notre Dame was out- and over-everythinged.

Despite what Steve Spurrier would have you believe, the Crimson Tide couldn't compete in the NFL. But against Notre Dame, 'Bama looked like a Super Bowl contender.

In what was the final nail of the coffin for the BCS system, the #1 Irish took a 42-14 drubbing from #2 Alabama.

The vaunted Irish defense repeatedly failed to bring down 'Bama junior RB Eddie Lacy (140 yards, 1 TD) and freshman T.J. Yeldon (108 yards, 1 TD), and overall Alabama averaged an absurd 5.9 yards per rush.

Highlights of the game feature Lacy shedding ND defenders on runs of 17 (x2) and 20 (x2) yards.

Maybe the Irish can blame those special Adidas gloves and cleats cleats for the game, though we suspect the Domers could have been wearing Stick'Em and it wouldn't have mattered.

Even Manti Te'o, Heisman runner-up and heroic face of the Irish "D," missed a number of tackles, leading analysts to believe that the game badly exposed his two major weaknesses - tackling and speed - and may have dropped him out of the first round in April's NFL draft. But his tattoo is still super awesome, so there's that.

In other silver-lining news for the Fighting Irish, a BCS computer named the Colley Matrix, a second cousin of the 1951 Wolverhampton Instrument for Teaching Computing from Harwell (WITCH), still has Notre Dame ranked #1.

AJ McCarron Scores Big
When ABC scanned the crowd during a break in the action in the first quarter, the camera settled on Katherine Webb, former Miss Alabama and main squeeze of 'Bama QB McCarron.

Play-by-play man Brent Musburger worked himself into a lather pointing out the "lovely lady" in the stands, and how fortunate 'Bama QBs are "to get all the good-lookin' women . . . " For emphasis he added, "What a beautiful woman, wow! Woah!"

But our favorite part has to be his passing mention of McCarron's mom, standing to Webb's left. Brent should have skipped the post-game apology and sent Dee Dee some flowers instead.

Note that this is not the first time Musburger has spotted some off-the-field talent.

During a shot of the sidelines in a 2005 game between Florida State and Miami, Musburger called out a group of Seminoles coeds, notably the bikini-clad Jenn Sterger, who vaulted into instant B-list celebrity status.

Similar to Sterger, Webb has capitalized on the opportunity, landing a swimsuit shoot (maybe) for Sports Illustrated, job offers from Donald Trump and softballs from Matt Lauer.

But There's Always Next Year, Right? Coach?
A week ago, the future looked bright for ND. The team was in the championship and coach Brian Kelly had landed the top recruiting class for next year. Now the program is fresh off an embarrassment in prime time and Kelly is flirting with the NFL. Even the recruits are looking for the nearest exit: Alex Anzalone, a Top 150 player, flipped to Florida at the last minute on Thursday, bumping the Gators up to the top spot.

Popular opinion holds that Kelly should stay in South Bend and build a legacy. Others argue that his dalliance with the Philadelphia Eagles is a feint to squeeze more cash out of ND. But Kelly may not care to stay in South Bend for any amount. We agree with CBS columnist Dennis Dodd: Kelly may realize he has taken the Irish about as far as possible, and his stock may never be higher. Who are we to judge?

Kelly has progressed from an assistant (1987-90) and then head coach (1991-2003) for the Grand Valley State Lakers in Division II, followed by Central Michigan (2004-06), and Cincinnati (2007-09). Now, after three seasons (8-5, 8-5, and 12-1), three bowls (1-2), and one BCS appearance (and we're using the word "appearance" generously), with Notre Dame, Kelly has seen the future . . . and the future is the SEC.

High above Touchdown Jesus, the vultures are already circling, although why any top coaching prospect would want to deal with all of the Irish baggage at this point is beyond us.

Parting Thought Of The Notre Dame Post-Mortem
Finally, our thoughts go out to the Crimson Tide student who was severely injured in when his pickup crashed into the Alabama cheerleaders' bus en route to Tuscaloosa.

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

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 2:37 AM | Permalink

QT: The Several-Party System


News Headline: "Inauguration Fever: The best places to party in Washington."
Jobs are low.
Poverty is high.
The war continues.
We've got to do something. . . .
Toga!

···

News Headline: "'Doomsday asteroid' Apophis much bigger than first thought."
News Headline: "Impact threat from asteroid Apophis in 2036 now ruled out."
Unless the asteroid that is much bigger than we first thought is on a slightly different course than we now think.

···

A man in Boone, N.C., regarding a large oak tree that narrowly missed him when it was pushed into his house by a windstorm:
"God was watching over us."
The man was right.
When God started that windstorm, He must have seen quite a show.

···

News Item: ". . . or some equivalent strategy will simply take the debt ceiling off the table. . . ."
Katherine Rylaarsdam, a Baltimore reader, suggests we had better make for the door if the ceiling is already on the table.

···

News Headline: "Gunman storms California high school."
News Headline: "Alabama woman sentenced in children's shootings."
Eight days until National Gun Appreciation Day. . . .

···

News Headline: "McDonald's to give away books with Happy Meals in Britain."
News Headline: "Wendy's employees made part-time; franchise avoids paying for health insurance."
QT is feeling peckish.
Where to get a fast burger?
Decisions, decisions. . . .

···

News Headline: "Lance Armstrong to ask Oprah for absolution, forgiveness."
Or maybe a free Chevrolet?

···

Rush Limbaugh contemplating his life:
"I'm not one that likes fame."
A cry for help.
The least we can do is ignore him completely.

···

QT Modern Corporate Gibberish of the Week:
Aliaxis has acquired Vinilit.

···

News Headline: "Feds miss 39 percent of illegals crossing border."
Give credit to Homeland Security, which has found a way to compute the percentage of what it doesn't notice.

···

The Democratic People's Republic of Korea wants you to know that Kim Jong Un's The Great Comrade Kim Il Sung Is the Eternal Leader of Our Party and People is now out in paperback in the Czech Republic.

···

Newth Headline: "Pierthing: Magnetic tongue thtudth may be very dangerouth."
Turnth out you can thwallow them.
Then what happenth ith not pretty.
Tho now you have fair warning.

···

News Headline: "Ted Nugent: Gun owners are the next Rosa Parks, will sit down on 'front seat of the bus.' "
Has it been 274 days since Nugent promised he would "either be dead or in jail by this time next year" if voters re-elected President Obama?
Not that anyone is counting.

···

From the QT Archive of Knowledge:
+ Fifty-five percent of the London Underground is above ground.
+ John F. Kennedy wore a size 10D shoe.

···

Beware the ides of National Soup Month.

···

QT Grammar R Us Seminar on the English Language:
William Ferry, a Lafayette, La., reader, regarding QT's mention that it is "lackadaisical," not "laxadaisical," writes:
"So it's not laxity in attention to detail, but a lack of attention to detail?"
The word comes from "lackaday," which comes from "alack the day," or something like that, as QT didn't take notes and, you know, whatever.
It isn't "just desserts," by the way, but "just deserts."


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 12:06 AM | Permalink

January 10, 2013

The [Thursday] Papers

Let's break down a few stories that appear in today's papers and fail, in my view, to meet minimum standards of publication.

1. Lottery Death.

"The father-in-law of Urooj Khan - the million-dollar lottery winner who died of cyanide poisoning weeks later - allegedly owed more than $120,000 in back taxes, a debt that led the Internal Revenue Service to place liens on Khan's Far North Side house almost two years ago, according to records obtained by the Tribune," the paper reports.

This troubles me. Not the father-in-law, but including this information in an article to show that he may have had a motive to commit murder. So?

Maybe he did it. Maybe he didn't. But the man hasn't been charged. Is this really fair?

Additionally, the Tribune reports that he allegedly owed more than $120,000 in back taxes. Is this in dispute? Wouldn't the man's lawyer, whom the paper talked to, say?

The paper also reports that the alleged debt led to liens being placed on his house two years ago. What's happened in those two years? Has he been fighting the IRS? Are the liens still there? Has he been working?

It's a lead worth pursuing but not one yet worthy of publishing. I dislike the premature publishing of reporting on open, ongoing investigations, which almost always happens in tabloid cases in which the media's misguided competitive juices trump whatever harm they may do to those unfortunate souls whose tragedies can be exploited for page views, newsstand sales and twisted egos.

The time to report this kind of background is when someone is charged as well as when additional context can be provided - or when a reporter can convincingly show that the police have missed the boat on a suspect right before their eyes. This is not that time.

2. Debt Collection Ordinance.

"Mayor Rahm Emanuel's plan to protect consumers against financial scams ran into a buzzsaw of opposition Wednesday from retailers and debt collectors fearful they could lose their licenses for mere technical violations," the Sun-Times reports.

"The City Council's Committee on License and Consumer Protection - under pressure from a hearing room full of critics led by the Illinois Retail Merchants Association - put off a vote on Emanuel's plan to license and regulate debt collectors. The critics essentially accused the mayor of attacking a fly with a sledgehammer and dictating an ordinance that goes too far without consulting impacted parties."

The hearing room was full of even more supporters of the ordinance, brought there by Arise Chicago. That fact is conveniently left out - as is the fact that the vote was deferred without any previous notice. A lot of people went to a lot of trouble to show up. Critics and supporters of the ordinance alike were there to testify. The committee punted.

Presumably industry lobbyists will now try to rewrite the ordinance more to its satisfaction, and who knows, maybe they have some valid points. Here's what they told Fran Spielman, who dutifully wrote their words down and passed them along to readers without any further reporting:

"It's a lot broader than debt collection. If you have a wage violation anywhere in the last five years - for not getting checks out on time, not paying vacation pay on time or underpaying - they can take your license away or deny you a license," said David Vite, president of the merchants association.

"Let's say I have 6,000 stores. I could have made a mistake in Idaho. Does that mean I should lose my license in Chicago?"

Debt collectors also accused the mayor of going too far in his crackdown against an industry that's already heavily regulated by the state and federal governments.

"If you send out a letter to a consumer and inadvertently had the wrong font [print] size, you could lose your license for something that was innocent and done to a consumer in Texas or California," said Todd J. Lansky, president of the Resurgence Legal Group, a debt-buying company based in Chicago.

"Any innocent clerical error - something that's not necessarily intentional to harm a consumer but a violation done by mistake - you can essentially lose your license for four years."

Is any of that true? It would be nice to know, but Spielman neither quotes the language of the ordinance or includes any comments from either its proponents or the mayor's office.

*

The Tribune account is also goofy.

"Aldermen on Wednesday put the brakes on Mayor Rahm Emanuel's plan to toughen debt collection and wage payment standards in Chicago amid concerns from business groups that the new rules would make it tricky for them to collect unpaid bills and get them in trouble for accidentally breaking wage rules," the paper reports.

"The City Council Committee on License and Consumer Protection put off a vote on two Emanuel-backed ordinances. One would add new rules for debt collectors, and the other would allow the city to deny or revoke business licenses for people who have broken state or federal wage laws.

"Last month, Emanuel touted the regulations as key parts of a package to fight consumer fraud he unveiled during a news conference with Richard Cordray, director of the federal Consumer Financial Protection Bureau.

"Representatives of various business lobbying groups are trying to negotiate with the administration on the proposals. They declined to comment Wednesday about their specific problems with one of the mayor's signature ideas."

They commented to Spielman! And in this case, it doesn't make sense that they did so knowing they'd get a free ride.

"But Ald. Emma Mitts, 37th, the committee chairwoman, said officials from hospitals and other companies worry they would unintentionally run afoul of the debt collection ordinance while trying to compel people to pay for medical procedures and other services. The mayor's plan would require anyone trying to collect a business debt to keep detailed records of contact with the debtor and any payments made, and would allow for cash penalties and up to six months in jail for violations.

"In addition, business owners think they could be in line to lose their licenses under the mayor's wage protection plan if they inadvertently miscalculated overtime or vacation pay for workers and one of their employees filed a complaint, according to Mitts."

Okay. So just when did Mitts decide to defer the issue? It was on the agenda. And did the Emanuel administration not consult with the appropriate business groups when crafting the ordinance? That seems very un-Rahmlike.

Also, no mention of the Arise contingent.

*

Finally, neither article mentions this.

3. CPD Survey.

"When some Chicagoans think of the police department, disgraced cops like Anthony Abbate or Jon Burge might come to mind," the Sun-Times reports.

"Or last year's rising gun violence.

"But a University of Illinois at Chicago survey of more than 4,000 people showed a mostly positive public opinion of the men and women in blue.

"More than 80 percent of those surveyed said they were somewhat satisfied - or very satisfied - about their recent encounters with officers."

Okay, first problem. The headline says "Survey: More Than Eight Of Ten People Satisfied With Treatment By Chicago Cops." But really, more than eight of 10 said they were at least "somewhat" satisfied with their treatment by Chicago cops. I wonder what "somewhat satisfied" means in people's minds, because it indicates to me a certain level of dissatisfaction. Further, I wonder why the researchers chose this particularly methodology instead of choosing a more specific range of responses or even using a 10-point scale.

"The level of satisfaction was slightly higher among whites than blacks and Latinos - and far lower among people under 30 years old."

Well, that probably correlates to who has the most contact with police, as well as the obvious socioeconomic correlation.

"And those involved in traffic stops didn't feel as warm and fuzzy about the police as those involved in car crashes or those who reported a crime."

So simply reporting a crime is lumped in with being, say, a suspect in this survey?

"But the average person - what we call the 'silent majority' - is pleased with the performance of the police department," said Dennis Rosenbaum, a professor at the University of Illinois at Chicago, which conducted the study.

"Too often, individual incidents and extreme cases get more attention in the media," he said.

I'm not sure what that means. Too often cases like Burge (which went virtually unreported by the entire local media complex for years besides John Conroy's work at the Reader) and Abbate get too much attention instead of warm and fuzzy stories about officers helping little old ladies across the street, which by the way litter our media landscape?

"In November 2011, police Supt. Garry McCarthy asked the university to measure the quality of police encounters with the public. Nine police districts - a cross-section of the city - were involved in the survey, Rosenbaum said."

Which ones, please.

"Anyone who reported a crime or was in an accident or a traffic stop received a letter from McCarthy asking them to participate in a satisfaction survey over the phone or online."

So this survey had nothing to do at all with those whose encounters with police were adversarial, or potentially so, which is the crux of the issue when it comes to police relations with the community. This is about how well the cops act in traffic stops.

"The department didn't know who participated in the study and officers' identities were protected, Rosenbaum said. Those surveyed were told it wasn't part of the department's 'complaint process,' he added."

Which kind of says: Don't complain.

"Between 5 and 10 percent of those who received letters took part in the survey."

Five percent of 4,000 is 200. "160 People Satisfied With Chicago Police!"

And did the responses come from a cross-section of the city or were they all from Lincoln Park?

"Drivers' satisfaction with how they were treated declined dramatically when a ticket was issued - from 83 percent to 48 percent. Still, an officer's 'car-side manners' made a difference in a driver's view of the officer, Rosenbaum said."

Not by much!

Finally, how much did CPD pay for this study and what are they going to do with the results?

Or was getting that headline the result that was intended?

4. Tammy Duckworth.

"With a military background and coming from a family of marksmen, U.S. Rep. Tammy Duckworth has plenty of experience with firearms," the Sun-Times reports.

"My husband and I certainly enjoy target practice," she said. "I'm a very good shot."

Still, Duckworth plans on being a "calm voice" in her role in the gun rights debate that's raging in Congress.

What does that mean? She won't speak up? Apparently, yes. She goes on to say that we won't see her pushing gun legislation on the Sunday morning talk shows. Really? You'll turn down any invites?

But here's the real problem with this article:

"In an interview from her new Schaumburg congressional office on Wednesday, the Hoffman Estates Democrat talked about the big issues facing Congress and set the agenda for her first term. It includes setting up health care workshops for seniors, slashing waste on a government oversight panel and ensuring the Elgin-O'Hare Expressway extension happens without any kinks."

That's a pretty unambitious agenda. And an unambitious, one-source, content-free article.

"Duckworth laid out some of her target issues in the midst of her first full week on the job. Duckworth, 44, was elected in November after a contentious campaign against incumbent Tea Party Republican Joe Walsh.

"Sitting in the new office with few chairs and bare walls and still-boxed up computers and phones, Duckworth said she knows what tops her list.

"I think what I am going to do first and foremost is to support our local communities and make sure that the funding for Elgin-O'Hare does get carried through and a lot of infrastructure projects stay on schedule," she said.

First and foremost, she's going to support local communities.

"This week, Duckworth announced that one of the committees on which she will serve is the Government Oversight and Reform Committee. There she said she plans to carefully look at waste in federal spending."

Because no one has ever done that before.

"Duckworth said she plans to release a schedule of workshops to walk seniors in her district through how the Affordable Health Care Act will affect them."

That's nice. But at the top of her agenda?

"On the gun issue, Duckworth said there's no doubt it's of white-hot importance right now in Washington. 'I think we did reach somewhat of a watershed moment,' she said, refering to the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting.

"Duckworth, who has a FOID card but does not have a weapon, said she supports a ban on assault weapons and high-capacity magazines.

"'I come from a family of marksmen. . . . This is where I hope to be a calm voice on the issue. You're not going to see me on all the Sunday talk-shows pushing for something,' Duckworth said. 'But I'm going to be that calm voice and say, look, if you are a hunter and you need 30 rounds to hunt, you have a really bad shot.'"

So . . . the assault weapons ban. We can count you as a Yes. And you're against hunters who are bad shots. Anything else you want to do over the next two years?

I understand that if this is all she is saying, it's hard to report anything more, but there are a few things a reporter can do. First, press her. (Are those the issues she campaigned on? Does she really think she'll ferret out waste others haven't? What about other gun control measures being considered, like extending waiting times and new restrictions on gun show purchases and so on?) Second, write up the story with a tone reflecting her emptiness low-key approach. ("While ambitious new congressmen around the country are eager to tackle the great national issue of our times, from gun control to the nation's deficit, new Illinois representative Tammy Duckworth has a more modest ambition: making sure the Elgin-O'Hare Expressway gets done without any kinks.") Third, add at least a second frickin' source to the story. Maybe even a third! What do officials of her local communities have to say? Have they presented wish lists yet? Do party leaders have any particular plans for her? Anyone think the Elgin-O'Hare is in trouble?

"A wounded Iraq War veteran, Duckworth said she'll continue her visits to Walter Reed as a peer, essentially a former patient trained to talk to those in similar situations.

"Mostly it's listening to their fears," Duckworth said."Mostly it's walking in on the artificial legs and they realize, '[Duckworth's] amputations are so much worse than mine are going to be, so if she can do it, I can too.'"

Uh-huh. We get it. Any particular veteran's issues you intend to pursue, though, now that you're in office? She's a United States congressman. Let's start questioning her like one.

*

Look, I realize not every story can be the end-all, be-all. And that reporters are under severe time constraints and pressures from their editors. I know. I've been there. But you can still make every story count. They exist for actual readers to be informed. Would it have been too much to fill out the reporting? Or provide links to, say, the license ordinance under consideration as well as previous stories about the issue? Or to challenge an elected official to say something of consequence?

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Bonus Beachwood Feature: What Rahm Saw In Vietnam.

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Bonus Video: Kids Upset They Are Going To Disney World Instead Of Chicago.

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The Beachwood Tip Line: Indebted.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 5:58 AM | Permalink

What Rahm Saw In Vietnam

To grow up an Emanuel (see the item Being Emanuel) means to take an intensely grand vacation somewhere exotic every year and probably get quizzed by your manic, short-tempered, impatient dad, who has really important things to do back home so hurry up and enjoy the hell out of this as fast as you can because all this "relaxing" is keeping him away from what he loves to do most: Bust skulls.

This year the winter holiday trip was 10 days in Vietnam - it either felt like five or 20 to the kids - and we thought it would be interesting to see what Rahm confronted in the local press there.

(But first, imagine if you will, Rahm the tour guide: "Here's where Lyndon fucking Johnson lost us the White House and gave us Richard fucking Nixon, and if only that cocksucker Hubert fucking Humphrey wouldn't have been such a fucking pussy and Gene fucking McCarthy would have shut his fucking mouth and Robert fucking Kennedy hadn't been killed, and goddamn Bill Ayers and his fucking kook squad would have shut the fuck up, and Crosby, Stills & Nash singing 'Chicago,' well, fuck them, goddamn Mayor Daley should have sealed off Grant Park ahead of time like we did with NATO and then maybe we could have fucking won the damn thing because remember, kids, you never want to let a serious crisis go to waste.")

Anyway, here were the headlines in Vietnam during Rahm's stay there that we thought would have caught his eye:

* Vietnamese Teen Boys Crazy About Weed.

* Survey Finds Diarrhea Bug In Seafood.

* Vietnam Comes Second In Desired Destination List Of 2013.

* Lack Of Public Toilets Cramps Tourism Sector.

* The Ho Chi Minh Department Of Culture, Sports And Tourism Is Hosting A Gastronomy Festival Entitled 'Taste Of The World' From December 26, 2011 - January 1, 2012.

* The Prime Minister Has Asked The Hanoi People's Committee To Speed Up Land Clearance And Resettlement For The Hoa Lac Hi-Tech Park.

* Whole-Army Party And Political Work Observed.

* Starbucks To Open First Outlet In Vietnam In Early February.

* Malaysia To Raise Minimum Wage For Vietnamese Laborers.

* Vietnam Metro To Become Fashion Hub.

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 12:14 AM | Permalink

January 9, 2013

Springfield Follies

In four acts.

Pension Punt
"State lawmakers on Tuesday bequeathed the government worker pension problem to the next General Assembly, rejecting Gov. Pat Quinn's roundly criticized 'Hail Mary' plan to ask a committee to fix the worst-in-the-nation retirement system," the Tribune's Rick Pearson reports.

That was Quinn's sudden, last-minute idea to establish a base-closings style commission to solve the pension issue that he once declared he was "put on Earth" to solve.

It also marked the end of a "grassroots" effort to build support for a pension solution in part by drawing on an animated python named Squeezy.

Not to worry, though; a new fiesta is in the making. The new legislature gets sworn in today.

Though he will start the new session Wednesday with a new supermajority of 40 Democrats out of 59 senators, [state senate president John] Cullerton said he still will seek Republican support because there are opponents to the pension legislation on both sides of the aisle. "We really are one bill away from solving this problem," Cullerton said.

[Senate Republican leader Christine] Radogno was skeptical.

"Well, quite frankly, I share the concern that nothing will get accomplished because when you look at the dynamics of the General Assembly, the Democrats have had clear, clear majorities now for 10 years," she said. "The problem is the Democrat majorities do not agree on pension reform and frankly, I'm not sure they want it.

"(House Speaker Michael) Madigan and Cullerton don't agree on a framework, and that's a huge problem. And, of course, we have a governor who is unable to bring people together," she said. "I don't know if it's doable with the current cast of characters."

Yep.

Criminal Class
"When Illinois' new General Assembly takes the oath of office Wednesday, the state that's still struggling to rebuild its image after two consecutive governors went to prison will set yet another precedent of sorts: Three sitting lawmakers facing criminal charges," AP reports to the world.

In Illinois, the oath should be administered by the U.S. attorney.

"Do you swear to tell the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth, so help you God?"

"I do."

"You realize you're under oath now, right?"

"Um . . . "

"Also, you have the right to remain silent . . . "

Driving Deal
"After failing by just two votes in 2007, legislation to provide driver's licenses to illegal immigrants passed the Illinois House by a vote of 65-46. Gov. Pat Quinn's office issued a statement shortly afterward saying he plans to sign the bill, which cleared the state Senate in December," the Tribune reports.

Good. But what seems to have been forgotten and left out of the reporting is that this issue created one of the great flashpoints of the 2008 primary. Hillary Clinton was well on her way to waxing Barack Obama in yet another debate - this one in Philadelphia - when she was asked about her support of New York Gov. Eliot Spitzer's plan to allow undocumented immigrants to get driver's licenses even though she didn't support a presidential action doing so in the absence of comprehensive immigration reform.

She got roasted for the alleged inconsistency in one of the campaign's turning points.The authors of Game Change, in fact, titles their chapter on the debate "The Turning Point," and describes how the Obama team set-up weeks in advance attacks on Clinton it knew would be abetted by the media - and the other campaigns - by giving a front-page interview to the New York Times.

And that was just what happened.

Game Change's authors called it "one of the most extraordinary group assaults in the history of presidential debates."

(Obama complained in that Times interview, among other things, that Clinton was, in Game Change's words, "acting like a Republican on foreign policy," which is quite a laugh today, as is his assertion then that we didn't need eight more years of partisan bickering that a Clinton presidency would bring, which nobody noticed presumed her re-election.)

*

And where is that federal action on driver's licenses and comprehensive immigration reform today? Still undone by the Obama administration.

See also: The item Driving Me Crazy.

Casino Quinn
"A dormant gambling expansion bill that would bring a casino to Chicago moved to Gov. Pat Quinn's desk Tuesday after the state Senate's top Democrat quietly lifted a parliamentary paperweight that he'd placed on the plan nearly two years ago," the Sun-Times's Dave McKinney reports.

"The likelihood that the governor would affix his signature to the package seemed remote since Quinn once belittled the effort as 'top heavy' and 'excessive,' and the top state gambling regulator whom the governor appointed called it a 'pile of garbage.'"

He's not going to sign that bill, but McKinney raises the possibility that Quinn could use it next session to negotiate a pension bill. I don't see how the governor has any leverage, though; with Democratic supermajorities in the new legislature, he's not really at the table anymore. Why would legislative leaders and/or Rahm - who really, really, really, really wants a casino - give up anything to Quinn to get pension reform in exchange for getting a gambling bill signed when they can now pass a veto-proof gambling bill on their own?

Quinn is now about as relevant as Squeezy.

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 6:44 AM | Permalink

The [Wednesday] Papers

Totally not in order of importance.

1. Beer Brawl.

"There's a battle brewing at 5 Rabbit Cerveceria Inc. as co-founder Andres Araya has sued co-founder Isaac Showaki, alleging defamation," Crain's reports.

"The two started the Chicago microbrewery in 2011 and quickly gained a following among craft beer lovers. Seems that a power struggle came to a head as production and recognition grew."

2. Springfield Follies.

Curtain catcalls.

3. The Chicago Casino.

Where to put it.

See also:
* A Beachwood Open Letter To Legislators Considering A Chicago Casino.

And:
* About That Chicago Casino.

* The Casino Meat Is A-Cookin'.

* Daley's Casino Royale.

4. Styx Booked For Opening Night Of Ribfest.

That's about right.

But please, don't ever, ever, ever do this again:

It's no grand illusion, the Exchange Club of Naperville is aiming to give Styx fans the best of times at Ribfest this summer.

5. Robin Kelly On A Roll.

Wins top ballot spot.

6. Deja Daley.

Every four years, Sneed publishes this "tip."

7. Too Big To Epically Fail.

"Two of Chicago Public Schools' largest vendors investigated by the inspector general for significant ethical lapses may be too large to ban from district business - and still CPS fails to even monitor them adequately, the schools' watchdog said in an annual report released Monday," the Sun-Times reports.

"Removing the giant vendors for wining and dining employees and providing other perks for preferential treatment 'would critically affect the ability of CPS to provide necessary services at market prices,' according to the report written by Inspector General James M. Sullivan."

Well, CPS will just have to crack down on them, then.

"Despite his recommendations that CPS appoint a monitor over such large vendors, 'that recommendation has fallen on deaf ears.'"

Oh. I suppose that's because they're the ones being wined and dined.

*

"Fraud also continues to plague the lunch program intended for poor children. More than 50 CPS employees have been caught enrolling their own children for free or reduced-price lunches over the last four years."

Well, times are tough. I don't know if I see that as a huge fraud so much.

"The cases reported this year are especially important because the results show that fraud is being committed by high-level and highly-paid CPS administrators, and that the lucrative state and federal benefits tied to the forms drives the fraud," Sullivan wrote. "Cumulatively, the issues the [inspector general] has reported on suggest wide-spread, systematic fraud."

Oh.

"Several students attending CPS' competitive selective-enrollment schools were found to live in suburbs, including children of CPS staffers."

A sign our schools are getting better?

"Most of the staff residency cases involved CPS employees found to be living in the south suburbs."

So not as good as North Shore schools, but still . . .

"Sullivan said his office was able to investigate just 27.5 percent of the 1,651 complaints it received in fiscal year 2012, according to the report, creating 'a substantial risk that waste fraud, financial mismanagement and employee misconduct go undetected.'"

He needs more staff; I smell a jobs program. In fact, all our local inspector generals need more staff. And plenty of people need jobs. It's a labor market mismatch! Rahm?

P.S.: The Tribune reports:

"Last spring, CPS food chief Louise Esaian resigned after being accused of accepting thousands of dollars in improper gifts from CPS' two largest food vendors. Monday's report also cites an earlier case in which the chief of one of the district's networks, who resigned in August 2011, was found to have received a $10,000 scholarship from an educational materials company that she then helped land $287,692 in contracts."

8. On The Road To Literacy.

9. QT: How NU Won The National Championship.

10. Hobby Lobby Hobby Horse.

* Hobby Lobby Donates Former Johnson Products Site To South Side Church.

* Hobby Lobby Risks Fines To Defy Obamacare.

* What the fuck is Hobby Lobby? Oh.

And they're all over the suburbs. But not welcome in the 1st Ward.

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The Beachwood Tip Line: Too small to fail.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 6:42 AM | Permalink

On The Road To Literacy

Low literacy is the root of many social and economic problems.

More than one quarter of Chicagoans lack the basic literacy skills to function competitively and communicate effectively in society. This affects everything from our high unemployment rate to our struggling education system to violent crime and overcrowded prisons.

The 22nd annual On the Road to Literacy conference, which will be held on March 23, 2013, from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. at the UIC Center for Literacy, 1040 W Harrison, brings together the students, teachers and tutors, and administrators of the many literacy programs across Chicago and Illinois who are tackling the roots of low literacy.

The conference is presented by Literacy Volunteers of Illinois and the University of Illinois at Chicago Center for Literacy.

Over the years, the conference has become a point of reference in surveying the achievements the literacy community has made and the challenges that lie ahead. More than 20 workshops throughout the day address the experiences of tutors, staff and students in their work together.

On the Road to Literacy provides valuable training and resources for tutors and students, but it also acts as a forum for discussion between dozens of agencies and exposes more effective ways of achieving shared goals.

"This conference serves as an annual reminder that the work we are doing is critical to improving our society," said Dorothy Miaso, Executive Director of Literacy Volunteers of Illinois.

This is an important event for a community that makes up one of Chicago's greatest social services and educational resources. Anyone can register to attend, whether you are a tutor, a student, or simply interested in the critical work that we do and what else needs to be done. Register at www.lvillinois.org under the link On The Road to Literacy.

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 5:32 AM | Permalink

QT: And The Winner Is. . . .


News Headline: "Alabama wins national championship, routing Notre Dame."
All right. Not so fast.
Let's take a closer look at the college football season.
Alabama earlier lost to Texas A&M.
Texas A&M lost to Florida.
Florida lost to Louisville.
Louisville lost to Connecticut.
Connecticut lost to Syracuse.
Syracuse lost to Northwestern.
Which means. . . .
Northwestern is the 2012 National Champion.
Spread the word.
Go Cats!

···

News Headline: "Study: Billions of Earth-size planets in Milky Way."
And we're the one that gets Donald Trump.

···

News Headline: "First national 'Gun Appreciation Day' is January 19."
In other news, a pregnant woman was shot to death on a street in Miami, Fla., as the countdown to Gun Appreciation Day continued. . . .

···

News Headline: "Alabama teen arrested in bomb plot."
And have we considered a long-overdue Bomb Appreciation Day?

···

From an Internet ad for cleaning supplies:
". . . pre-expedited shipping available. . . ."
P.C., a Chicago reader, wants to know when did express shipping become pre-expedited shipping, and when can we have express shipping back?
And. . . .

···

News Headline: "Fiscal Cliff gives way to Fiscal Grand Canyon."
Our metaphor brokers might want to slow down.
All we have left is a Fiscal Mariana Trench.

···
John Pellegrini, a Grand Rapids, Mich., reader, wants you to know that much of Emily Dickinson's poetry can be sung to "The Yellow Rose of Texas."

···

News Headline: "AIG mulling lawsuit alleging unfair bailout terms by U.S. government."
News Headline: "Greedy ungrateful bastards who should be hung by their thumbs."
Which headline do you like better?
Yeah. QT, too.

···

News Item: Survey finds 8 percent of Americans believe Elvis is alive.
News Item: Survey finds 8 percent of Americans now say they are Tea Party members.
No. C'mon.
These are not the same 8 percent.
Well. Not necessarily.
Although. . . .

···

QT What Passes for Miracles These Days Update:
An image of Jesus has been found on an uncooked bean in Chicago.

···

News Headline: "White House petition to let Texas secede."
News Headline: "White House petition to try Dianne Feinstein for treason."
News Headline: "White House petition to save Twinkies."
News Headline: "New White House petition: End petitions."
Problem solved.
See how easy?

···

News Headline: "How Twitter pros describe themselves."
Necessarily in brief, we can be thankful.

···

From the QT Archive of Knowledge:
+ Two percent of British women have tea bags in their purses.
+ Basotho live in Lesotho.

···

QT Grammar R Us Seminar on the English Language:
Dialogue as two detectives enter police headquarters during a recent episode of Blue Bloods on CBS:
DETECTIVE 1: Sorry, but giving up is not my forte. [Pronounces it FORT.]
DETECTIVE 2: You mean For-TAY.
DETECTIVE 1: No. I meant FORT. It's pronounced FORT.
DETECTIVE 2: How much do you want to bet?
DETECTIVE 1: Oh, well, I'll bet you the house. But you know what? Let's start with 20 bucks. I'll go easy on you.
DETECTIVE 2: Done.
DETECTIVE 1: Let's see. [Checks in dictionary at desk.]
DETECTIVE 2: It begins with an "F."
DETECTIVE 1: Yes, I'm aware of that. "Forte." Pronounced FORT. Read it and weep.
DETECTIVE 2: It can't be.
DETECTIVE 1: But it can so be.
Then a lot of people are murdered.
And who says TV isn't educational?


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 12:06 AM | Permalink

January 8, 2013

The [Tuesday] Papers

"Twenty two candidates met a Monday deadline to file paperwork for a spot on the ballot in the special election to succeed former U.S. Rep. Jesse Jackson Jr.," the Tribune reports.

"The field of 17 Democrats and five Republicans still could be winnowed, however, as campaigns try to knock opponents off what would be a crowded Feb. 26 primary ballot in the 2nd Congressional District."

Indeed. And there are probably a half dozen candidates at most who really have a shot at this. You can see the whole field here.

*

"So, we have three African-American women and eight African-American men and one white woman with high name recognition from her time in Congress and her bid against Jackson last year," Rich Miller writes on his Capitol Fax blog. "If Halvorson can raise a few bucks and doesn't run an awful campaign, you have to consider her the current frontrunner."

Disagree. Halvorson got smoked in the primary last time around, and it wasn't just because Jesse Jackson Jr. was still on the ballot. This is the kind of thinking that had some prominent pundits thinking unknown but white and Irish water rec commissioner Terry O'Brien was going to win the Cook County presidency in 2010. He didn't come close.

This is a race between Robin Kelly and Toi Hutchinson. My money's on Kelly, as it has been from the start.

See also: The Political Odds.

*

If anyone is going to pull off a surprise in this race, it could be Joyce Washington. But I doubt it.

*

"On Monday, onetime state representative Robin Kelly, who resigned from Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle's staff last month, announced she already raised $200,000 just since December," the Sun-Times reports.

"Last week, state Sen. Toi Hutchinson announced she raised $130,000 despite December being 'traditionally the most difficult fundraising month of the year.'"

So while Hutchinson was patting herself on the back she was easily outdone by Kelly.

*

"Both Kelly and Hutchinson lauded their fund-raising prowess as a sign of widespread support within the sprawling district that includes the South Side of Chicago, south suburbs and runs down to Kankakee and Will counties.

"One-term former U.S. Rep. Debbie Halvorson, who lost against Jackson in a primary last year, didn't disclose her total, saying she hadn't added up the numbers yet. But Halvorson said she doesn't have to work as hard at raising money to run ads because she's already gone through the initial introduction to the district."

Yeah, that's the sort of thing someone who didn't raise a lot of money says. I'm not sure her name recognition in the district - which isn't the one she served her single congressional term in - is as high as pundits assume, and name recognition doesn't equally favorability.

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See also: To Replace Jesse Jackson Jr., Candidates Court Clergy, by former Beachwood intern Steven Yaccino, in the New York Times.

Weak Hand
"Chicago's most powerful labor leader suggested Monday that a land-based city casino be located at the James R. Thompson Center, state government's problem-plagued downtown headquarters," the Sun-Times reports.

"Chicagoland Chamber of Commerce President Jerry Roper was the first to suggest putting a casino on the lower level and first floor of the building that occupies a full city block at Clark and Randolph with hotel rooms on the floors above."

That sounds like a spectacularly bad idea.

1. Not enough floor space; splitting the field of play between two floors isn't something I'm guessing a casino operator would be keen on.

2. Not enough room for future expansion.

3. Not an area in need of ancillary development.

4. Can you imagine the gridlock?

5. The renovation needed including fixing the building's myriad existing problems isn't likely to be attractive to whatever company gets the bid; you can bet they'll want to build their own extravagant complex - with plenty of city subsidies to help out. Think of the construction jobs, dude!

*

"We've heard concerns that it's too close to City Hall. We get that."

Physical proximity isn't the problem, though the transformation of the state's downtown headquarters into a gambling parlor isn't symbolically pretty. City Hall will never be more than an arm's length away from its casino, no matter how many miles you put between the buildings.

Hashtag NotreDame
The BCS debacle's best tweets.

Chicago, Illnoize & A Harp Named Anna
In our Local Music Notebook.

Programming Note
Lots more news to catch up with but I've got a morning appointment to make. And to my Facebook friends, it's not a flu shot, though I'll probably get one of those this week.

See:
* Flu Sidelines Muti From CSO Concerts
* Surge Of Flu Patients Taxes Area Emergency Rooms

I've never gotten the flu shot, though I've certainly gotten the flu. Had the swine thing a couple years ago and it was the worst I've ever felt in my life.

Plus, I've got the world's greatest doctor and this is the note he sent me after I expressed some skepticism about getting the shot:

"I think flu shots are very good things. Stop by sometime this week to get one."

So I will. But meanwhile, I'm off to do some reporting on a different matter altogether . . .

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The Beachwood Tip Line: Double down.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 7:20 AM | Permalink

Tweeting The Destruction Of Notre Dame

"The only suspense for the national TV audience was how many times Brent Musburger would reference Alabama quarterback AJ McCarron's girlfriend," David Haugh, who predicted a Notre Dame victory, writes for the Tribune

"As Crimson Tide players and coaches celebrated the rout Notre Dame skeptics predicted, the elephant in the room wasn't that goofy Alabama mascot. The elephant in the room was the idea that perhaps Notre Dame's unbeaten season indeed was the product of fluky plays, that the outcome confirmed Notre Dame was lucky and Alabama simply too good."

As chronicled aptly, as usual, on Twitter. Let's take a look.

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 6:45 AM | Permalink

Local Music Notebook: Chicago, Illnoize & A Harp Named Anna

A loose collection of whatnot.

1. Illnoize.

Snippet of Illnoize recording with Nathan Rogers at MYU Entertainment's Dimensions Studio (Chicago, IL). The song being recorded is "One Day" a track off of "Illusion," an original EP from Illnoize, Illusion will be available for purchase on iTunes, Amazon.com and http://WeAreHockstar.com.


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2. A 1929 Chicago Harp.

This is a Lyon & Healy Style 15 (#3314) Pedal Harp that was built in Chicago in June of 1929. This harp has been, remarkably, in the same family since 1929 until very recently when, in December of 2012, I was fortunate enough to obtain it directly from the family.

After these many years the harp has developed an attractive honey amber appearance along with a warm, bright, full sound that once again emanates from this beautiful antique harp to soothe the heart and soul.

It certainly is a little "gem" of harp history to be treasured and enjoyed for many years to come both visually and musically.

In honor of the harps first owner back in 1929, Anna O'Conner, I have named the harp "Anna". The other harp shown, as if standing guard, is a beautiful ornate Art Nouveau style Venus "Aria" Concert Grand Pedal Harp built in Chicago by the W&W Musical Instrument Company, also known as Venus Harps.

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3. "Chicago" feat. Chrissie Hynde, David Gilmour and Bob Geldof.

This was uploaded to YouTube this morning - though it's not the first time it's been posted there. It was, however, the first time our staff at Beachwood HQ had seen it. Turns out it's from 2009 and was a direct appeal to President Barack Obama. For more on the story behind the appeal, see this Wikipedia entry; here's a Wired story from last month telling us how it all turned out.

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 12:49 AM | Permalink

January 7, 2013

The Weekend In Chicago Rock

You shoulda been there.

1. Our Neighborhood at the Double Door on Thursday night.


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2. Weber Band at the Double Door on Saturday night.

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3. Youth of Today at House of Blues on Saturday night.

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4. Gorilla Biscuits at House of Blues on Saturday night.

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5. Black Actress at the Empty Bottle on Saturday night.

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6. Kindred The Family Soul at The Shrine on Saturday night.

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 8:45 AM | Permalink

SportsMonday: An Even-Up Call For NHL Fans

My nephew Isaac is a huge Washington (D.C.) sports fan. When the announcement came through that there would be a hockey season this winter, he came to mind because as happy as I am for my fellow Blackhawks fans, I'm even happier that an especially bleak winter sports season has been averted. My nephew will be able to root for a team other than the atrocious Wizards for the next three-and-a-half months.

But when my son and I talked to Isaac Sunday evening about the pending return of the Capitals in general and Alex Ovechkin in particular, you could practically hear him shrug long distance. And this is a kid who owns multiple Capitals sweaters with several player autographs scribbled on the back of each one.

Mostly he was sad the Redskins had just taken it on the chin. But it was also clear that Isaac just doesn't care about hockey at this point.

Now we've all seen this sort of thing happen before in the aftermath of work stoppages. And the fans have always come back, even after the NHL cancelled a whole season a decade ago. But it isn't a sure thing this time around.

In Washington, it won't be long (mid-February) before sports fans of all ages' attention turns to Nationals pitchers and catchers reporting to spring training. If the Capitals aren't good enough in the next few months to grab Isaac's attention, it will wander. As the calendar turns to March, he'll zero in on the baseball team that broke through last year (before suffering a hideous playoff demise but still . . . ) even though it is still early in the preseason. And obviously he won't be the only one.

Now, Isaac is of a class of fan that doesn't really matter to management. He's 12 and his parents have never been and never will be spectator-sports obsessed. But my nephew and the big-money fans have one thing in particular in common: They have been taken for granted again. It happened despite the fact that hockey is still far from established as must-see entertainment in most of this country.

So is there anything to be done about it? Why yes, yes there is.

Now is clearly the time for me to reiterate that season-ticket holding fans could take one step in particular to assert themselves: They could form partnerships with neighboring seat-holders and slash the number of tickets they purchase.

In other words, you hold two season tickets and the guy next to you holds two tickets. So you form a partnership to split the cost of your two tickets (or his) and then let the other two tickets go. It would mean less hockey viewed in person but it would be a satisfying swift kick in managements' pants.

Fortunately (or cleverly) for Rocky Wirtz, the Blackhawks' chairman hasn't been seen as a hawk (heh heh heh) during collective bargaining negotiations. He can come to his fan base and convincingly say that he feels terrible about the lockout and the disruption in the livelihoods of the many people who work on the periphery of Blackhawks hockey.

And so there is very little chance that the Blackhawks will suffer a significant backlash from their fans. They just won the Cup a few years ago, for goodness sakes.

That isn't the case for Bruins owner Jeremy Jacobs or Calgary Flames head man Murray Edwards. They were both active obstructionists when negotiations heated up about a month ago. When they were instrumental in a deal not happening at that point it seemed clear they were ready to torpedo a season to get their way.

It is the fans of those franchises who really need to think about whether they will keep feeding the guys who were ready to trash hockey to make a few more dollars.

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See also: Toews Admits 'A Lot Of Damage Was Done To Our Game.'

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

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 8:18 AM | Permalink

QT: Notes From Backward Cultures


News Headline: "Saudi Arabia lashes abused woman for remarrying without consent."
News Headline: "House GOP blocks Violence Against Women Act."
It's a small world, after all.

···

News Headline: "Climate change warning ignored."
Or maybe if we started calling it the Climate Cliff. . . .

···

News Headline: "Libraries remake themselves in digital era."
News Headline: "1.1 million books to be removed from University of Saskatchewan libraries."
News Headline: "Library of Congress has amassed 170 billion tweets."
tim 2 + libryS 2 d list of tngs dat Rnt w@ dey uzd 2 B.

···

News Headline: "NASA considers capturing an asteroid, setting it to orbit moon."
What could possibly go wrong?

···

News Headline: "Obama sends up trial balloon on Social Security cuts."
News Headline: "Obama trial balloon on Gitmo."
News Headline: "Obama floats trial balloon on stricter gun control."
News Headline: "Obama trial balloon on Hagel?"
News Headline: "Nationwide helium shortage continues."
And whom might we blame for that?

···

QT Rules of Etiquette for Guys and Dolls:
+ All Christmas decorations should be taken down after the Twelve Days of Christmas.
+ Which ended the day before yesterday.
+ And the decorations should not go up again until the day after Thanksgiving.
+ Which is 325 days from now.
+ Ho, Ho, Ho!

···

The Case for Zero Tolerance of Modern School Administrators:
A six-year-old boy who pointed his finger and said "Pow!" was suspended by his school in Silver Spring, Md., while an entry was made in his record that he had "threatened to shoot another student."

···

News Headline: "Paul Ryan votes against aid for Hurricane Sandy victims."
Ryan's The Path to Prosperity: A Blueprint for American Renewal is now 1,559,895th on the Amazon best-seller list, for those keeping track.

···

Perihelion Day was five days ago.
Sorry. Forgot to mention it.
Again.
Boy, if QT had a nickel for every time it mixed up its periapsides. . . .

···

News Headline: "Concussion talk muted, dangers remain."
QT NFL Concussion Count with XXVIII Days to Go Until Super Bowl XLVI:
As of the season's end, NFL players had suffered CLXXV concussions.
Expect a baker's XII or so during the playoffs.

···
News Item: ". . . While cutting the number of smokers trims government outlays over the short run, the increased longevity of non-smokers eventually would cost taxpayers tens of billions of dollars. . . ."
So light up.
What kind of patriot are you?

···

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:
The U.S. Geological Survey reported "a notable increase in earthquake swarms" during December.
QT misplaced its dictionary.
Isn't "notable" a good thing?

···
News Headline: "Urinating man made noise like elephant."
There is probably an interesting story behind that.

···

QT Early Warning System:
Fourteen days remain until National Hugging Day.

···

QT Grammar R Us Seminar on the English Language:
News Item: ". . . She looks at Robert Frost's poem 'Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening' and observes that when it was written. . . ."
. . . no one gave much thought to the fact that it could be sung to the tune of "Hernando's Hideaway."
And some have yet to discover that much of Emily Dickinson's poetry can be sung to the Gilligan's Island theme.
Which isn't to mention what can be accomplished with "Yankee Doodle" and William Wordsworth. . . .


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 [Monday] Papers

"In one suburb, weeds grow chest-high on long-dormant youth baseball diamonds. And the village's water is drawn from wells so laced with a toxic chemical that the state had to drag in a new filtration system," the Tribune reports.

"They are the kinds of problems that could prompt a village to hike taxes, and Sauk Village did just that in recent years, raising them even higher than the tax-capped town is usually allowed.

"But the extra cash hasn't gone to the ballfields or to the water system.

"Instead, the money is going to pay off a gleaming Village Hall - for which officials borrowed big to build, without seeking voter approval."

Suburban governments, in turns out, are reckless and arrogant too, as the Tribune has been reporting.

(See, for example, Fire Stadium Burning Taxpayers.)

*

"In northwest suburban Lakewood, the town decided to get the special loan in 1991 to buy a golf course," the Tribune reports.

"At the time, officials from the small suburb said a sports management firm projected that the course would pay for itself. Some residents remained skeptical, including Roger Reid, who recalls going with a small group to the Village Board meeting to ask for assurance that taxes would not go up because of the deal.

"We were assured - up and down and sideways - that, 'This is not going to go on your tax bill,'" Reid recalled.

"Then Lakewood residents were hit with the catch in the law: If projections are off, taxes can go up.

"Turns out, the town's projections were so far off that the golf course couldn't even pay a penny toward its loan payment for six years. And, by the time the bond was paid off two years ago, records show, 53 percent of it was paid off through higher taxes, not the projected golf-course profit."

Passage Of The Year Nominee
"Daley offered the money that CME said they didn't request to keep ICE from doing something that they said they had no intention of doing," Ben Joravsky writes for the Reader.

"Effectively, Mayor Daley offered your property-tax dollars to give one billion-dollar corporation a leg up on another billion-dollar corporation in a bidding war to buy out a third billion-dollar corporation."

Click through for the ugly details.

Garden Party
"Back when former Gov. George Ryan was letting lawmakers pass out grants to boost the economy and build political support, a young state senator named Barack Obama secured $100,000 in state money to help a not-for-profit group create a botanic garden in Englewood," the Sun-Times reports.

"Now, more than a decade later, Illinois state officials are still trying to recover that grant, which they say the garden's developers misspent. And the effort isn't going well."

Click through for the ugly details.

Oscar Wiener
"Made in China are three little words that really rile Scott Siegel," Crain's reports.

"He believes cheaper overseas labor brought a tragic end to his family's ownership of R.S. Owens & Co., a small manufacturer that has made the Oscar and Emmy awards for more than 30 years."

Click through for the ugly details.

*

Maybe Hollywood's liberal elite have something to say about the labor source of their vanity trophies?

The Chicago Shark
Shark Tank's Lori Greiner is a Gold Coast gal who used to work in the Tribune newsroom.

The NHL Is Back
But our very own Jim Coffman thinks the owners still need to be punished.

In SportsMonday: An Even-Up Call For NHL Fans.

The Political Odds
We've added the latest list of no-names to the board.

Trial Balloons
In today's installment of QT.

Electric Highways & Sweet Dreams
In our Local Music Notebook.

Poetry, Harold Washington & Chicago's Cable Cars
In Local Book Notes.

The Weekend in Chicago Rock
Including a song about lawyers.

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The Beachwood Tip Line: Electric dreams.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 1:14 AM | Permalink

January 6, 2013

Local Book Notes: Poetry, Harold Washington & Chicago's Cable Cars

Over the transom.

1. The Society of Midland Authors presents a panel discussion Tuesday on Harold Washington as we near the 30th anniversary of his landmark mayoral election.

The deets:

6 p.m. in the Cindy Pritzker Auditorium of the Harold Washington Library.

The panel:

Peter Nolan is a former NBC5 reporter whose book Campaign! The 1983 Election That Rocked Chicago is a firsthand account of Washington's election to mayor.

Timuel Black is the author of Bridges of Memory, a two-volume history of black Chicago.

Salim Muwakkil is a senior editor at In These Times, a host on WVON-AM 1690 and the author of the text in Harold! Photographs from the Harold Washington Years.

Robert Starks is founder of the Harold Washington Institute for Research and Policy Studies at Northeastern Illinois University.

*

2. "Public transportation became an absolute necessity for Chicago around 1860, when the city's population had ballooned to more than 112,000 from about 30,000 only 10 years earlier," Jon Hilkevitch writes for the Tribune.

About 7,000 horses were pulling transit vehicles in the city by the 1880s. Horsepower provided mobility to the burgeoning metropolitan area, but it also deposited millions of pounds of manure and countless gallons of urine on the streets each year, creating health hazards that included the tetanus virus carried in horse feces.

A cleaner, faster, smoother and more reliable form of transport was urgently needed. Between the transitions from the horse-drawn omnibus (from Latin for "all," and later shortened to "bus") in the early 19th century to horsecar street railways, and later, electric trolleys in the 1890s, one of the largest cable-car systems in the world operated in Chicago.

Chicago historian and transportation author Greg Borzo has chronicled that forgotten era, which lasted not quite 25 years (1882 to 1906), in his new book, Chicago Cable Cars, published by The History Press.

Borzo is scheduled to speak at the Harold Washington Library on January 24.

*

3. Poetry Magazine Editor Steps Down.

From The Poetry Foundation:

"Christian Wiman announced that he will leave Poetry on June 30, 2013, after a decade as the editor of the magazine, to join the faculty of the Yale Institute of Sacred Music and Yale Divinity School."

*

"Born and raised in West Texas, Wiman attended Washington and Lee University. He has taught at Stanford University, Northwestern University, and the Prague School of Economics.

"He is the author of three books of poetry, most recently Every Riven Thing, and a book of personal and critical essays titled Ambition and Survival: Becoming a Poet.

"In 2012, in addition to The Open Door, he published Stolen Air: Selected Poems of Osip Mandelstam.

"His work has appeared in the New Yorker, the Atlantic, the New York Times Book Review, and many other venues.

"His new book of nonfiction, My Bright Abyss: Meditation of a Modern Believer, will be released in April by Farrar, Straus and Giroux."

*

"A national search for Wiman's successor will begin this spring."

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 12:59 PM | Permalink

The Chicago Shark

"Lori Greiner is an American inventor and entrepreneur from Chicago, Illinois," according to Wikipedia.

Lori Greiner! The Queen of QVC! Whom many of us only know through Shark Tank!

But wait, there's more.

"Greiner grew up in the Near North Side community area of Chicago and her parents divorced when she was 8-years-old. She earned a degree in Communications and worked in the Chicago Tribune newsroom."


*

What did Greiner do for the Trib? Reports don't say.

*

"She has a communications degree [in Television & Film] from Loyola University Chicago and planned to be a writer before detouring into the home-products business," Crain's reported in 2009.

"Greiner's husband, Dan, was an assistant controller at the former Bell & Howell Co. (now Bowe Bell & Howell of Wheeling) before joining For Your Ease Only 10 years ago. As the business began to take off, he crunched a few numbers and decided to join her full-time: "'I thought, This is going to be big,'" Greiner says.

"The two, who met at the Lincoln Park bar Kincaid's, now work at a partner desk in a large, sunny home office. They also own a home in suburban Philadelphia, near QVC headquarters, and spend about six months a year there."

*

Please note: She was able to get her business off the ground with the help of a $300,000 bank loan. You kind of already have to be rich to get that kind of scratch.

*

"Greiner estimates she's invested more than $3 million in Shark Tank projects," the Sun-Times reported in December. "Some have paid off handsomely, like the magnetic eyeglass holders she bought into last season - a simple contraption she says logged more than $4 million in sales in less than a year.

"They're not all success stories. An entrepreneur pitching his Plate Topper food-storage invention this season caused a feeding frenzy among the sharks, with Greiner at one point offering him 10 times the $90,000 he'd asked for. His slippery negotiating style soon turned off a lot of the sharks, who uttered the dream-crushing words, 'I'm out!'"

"'I loved the product so I forged ahead anyway,' said Greiner, who settled on giving the Plate Topper guy $90,000 for 8 percent equity. 'Afterwards he was as difficult, if not more difficult, than he was during the episode. It's a no-go.'"

*

Here's how that went:

-

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Another one that didn't work out was the Wine Balloon.

"I thought it was a great product, but he just wasn't interested in moving forward," she told the New York Times.

*

Her big Shark Tank success story is the Reader Rest.

*

Back to Wikipedia:

"Greiner lives with her husband in Chicago's Gold Coast Historic District. She has donated thousands of her products to the charities: Habitat for Humanity, Howard Brown Health Center and the Salvation Army."

-

Comments welcome.

-

1. From Don Hall Jr.:

I, Don Hall Jr., will pay Mrs. Greiner $1,000 for five minutes of her time just to hear my idea, I'm that sure of it.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 5:19 AM | Permalink

Local Music Notebook: Electric Highways And Sweet Dreams

A loose collection of whatnot.

1. Rockie Fresh's new tape, Electric Highway, drops on January 21 with a debut LP to follow.

From Brooklyn Vegan:

Rockie Fresh will be playing a pair of record release shows for Electric Highway: One at NYC's SOB's on January 23 with Lunice and another at [Chicago's] Bottom Lounge on February 2 with Chance the Rapper, Mark Battles, and R.O.E.. Advance tickets for the Chicago show are on sale now. All proceeds will go to benefit JDRF, a charity in effort to help juvenile diabetics.

Here's "Nobody," the first single:


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See also:
* Rockie Fresh at Reggie's last January (No. 5).

* Rockie Fresh at the Metro in October (No. 7).

* Rockie Fresh on the Chicago scene (No. 1).

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2. Bloodshot Triple Play.

Bloodshot Records has three new releases scheduled for the year's first quarter:

* February 12: Roger Knox and the Pine Valley Cosmonauts/Stranger In My Land.

* February 26: Wayne Hancock/Ride.

* March 26: Luke Winslow-King/The Coming Tide.

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3. Just before Christmas, Fake Shore Drive confirmed that the L.E.P. Bogus Boys had signed with a new Interscope imprint called Blueprint.

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4. Angel Olsen's new video for "Sweet Dreams" comes with a 16mm transatlantic backstory.

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See also: Olsen at Saki in December (No.3).

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 12:54 AM | Permalink

January 5, 2013

The Weekend Desk Report

Happy New Year, everyone. Welcome to 2013, the Year of the Respiratory Flu.

Market Update
Now that we've technically survived going over the fiscal cliff, it's time to choose the apocalyptic nickname for the next impending budgetary disaster. Would you rather:

1. Be locked out of the fiscal season;

2. Be jilted at the fiscal altar;

3. Or be crushed by the fiscal boredom?

Justice Delayed
Supporters of marriage equality will have to wait a little longer for a vote in Illinois. Meanwhile, supporters of California's Proposition 8 may start to wonder what exactly they're defending.

Bear Up
The list of possible replacements for Lovie Smith continues to grow as Phil Emery plans to interview Joe DeCamillis this weekend. DeCamillis reportedly knows how to deal with a grade A pain in the neck, which bodes well as the Bears apparently come with a grade A pain in the ass.

Touchdown Grievous
Finally this week, if professional football proves too depressing, you could always set your sights on the BCS Championship Game. That's just good, clean fun, right? It's not like someone got killed or anyth . . . oh wait . . .

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The Weekend Desk Tip Line: Fiscal graffiti.

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The College Football Report: Carousels & Lily Pads.

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The Week In Chicago Rock: They played at a venue near you.

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The Sound Opinions Weekend Listening Report: "Jim and Greg dive into the influential UK genre known as Shoegaze and review the latest record from Outkast's Big Boi."

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The Flying Saucer Weekend Brunch Report: Tribune recognizes the "Rolls Royce of vegetarian breakfast options." The rest of the menu ain't too shabby either.

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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.

International Relations Issues Affecting Chicago Immigrants

12-31-InternationalRelation.jpg

Louis Guiamatsia of the Cameroonian Brothers Association of Chicago joins a panel of experts representing ethnic groups from around the world to discuss international relations from the perspective of those living it every day.

Sunday, January 6 at 9 a.m. on CAN TV21
2 hr.

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Home Grown Solutions: Policies & Programs To Re-Enroll Out-Of-School Youth

12-31-HomeGrown.jpg

Educational and legislative leaders participate in a forum on the difficulties faced by high school dropouts in the modern economy and strategies for increasing their earning potential, including re-enrolling them in school.

Sunday, January 6 at 11 a.m. on CAN TV21
2 hr. 30 min.

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The Riots on the Warpland: 3rd Annual South Side Poetry Slam

12-31-PoetrySlam.jpg

Students from schools on Chicago's South Side participate in a poetry slam competition that showcases their original works.

Watch Online

Sunday, January 6 at 1:30 p.m. on CAN TV21
2 hr.

Posted by Natasha Julius at 8:15 AM | Permalink

The Week In Chicago Rock

You shoulda been there.

1. Screeching Weasel at Reggie's on Sunday night.


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2. Rhett Miller at City Winery on Sunday night.

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3. Paul Oakenfold at Vision on Monday night.

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4. Vatican Shadow at the Empty Bottle on Thursday night.

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 12:16 AM | Permalink

January 4, 2013

The College Football Report: Carousels & Lily Pads

As bowl season winds down, everyone is starting to play musical chairs. Players such as Florida State DE Bjoern Werner and LSU LB Kevin Minter are leaving school early to declare for the NFL draft while the coaching carousel begins to spin. There has even been a Ron Turner sighting in the wilds of Florida! Sources confirm that Turner has molted, shedding his old Tampa Bay Buccaneers coloring for the vibrant spring plumage of Florida International.

Two teams are hemorrhaging star players: Michigan State and Florida. In East Lansing, MSU RB Le'Veon Bell and TE Dion Sims will be making the leap as well as junior defensive end William Gholston.

That is three nationally ranked top ten (ish) players at each position gone. We hope Spartan coach Mark Dantonio has been stashing away some cash from his new 2011 contract.

After not showing up for the Sugar Bowl, several key players of the vaunted Florida State "D" have decided not to show up to school next year either. Safety Matt Elam and defensive tackle Shariff Floyd are gone, with DT Dominique Easley possibly close behind. In the future, we will keep a more careful eye on the draft status of key players going into big bowl games.

Some coaches are looking for a new lily pad in the NFL as well. Oregon head coach Chip Kelly? Maybe. Penn State's Bill O'Brien? No.

List us among the skeptics regarding Kelly. For one, why leave at all? And two, who believes Kelly's system would work at the pro level? Anyone? You know, apart from all these GMs in the National Football League who want to give Kelly huge stacks of cash?

For the record, we think Kelly is brilliant. We think his system is genius. But we don't believe pro offenses are going the way of the Ducks, at least not for some time, in part due to the current level of investment in quarterbacks falling into the Kevin Kolb and John Skelton model. In other words, modestly mobile pocket passers.

* * *

Due to scheduling conflicts, our remaining bowl picks will be abbreviated. Look for our write-up on the BCS Championship Game on Monday.

Game: AT&T Cotton Bowl ("Classic," so they say)

Time: Friday, January 4, FOX, 8 p.m. (Cowboys Stadium, Arlington)

Teams: #9 Texas A&M Aggies (10-2, 6-2 SEC) vs. #11 Oklahoma Sooners (10-2, 8-1 Big 12)

Pick: Johnny Football (-3)

*

Game: BBVA Compass Bowl

Time: Saturday, January 5, ESPN, 1 p.m. (Legion Field, Birmingham)

Teams: Pittsburgh Panthers (6-6, 3-4 Big East) vs. Ole Miss Rebels (6-6, 3-5 SEC)

Comment: This must be the least inspiring bowl game of the season. It's as if BBVA saved the mediocre-ist game for last. Well done. Despite our lack of interest, we like the Rebels enough in this one that we may actually put a friendly wager down. Pip pip, old chap! Cheerio!

Pick: Ole Miss (-3.5)

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


Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 9:24 AM | Permalink

The [Friday] Papers

"The Chicago City Council is about to lose its second-longest serving member - and a healthy chunk of its colorful personality and institutional memory," the Sun-Times reports.

"Ald. Richard Mell (33rd) - powerful chairman of the City Council's Rules Committee and father-in-law of convicted former Gov. Rod Blagojevich - has told associates he is preparing to step down within the next few months after 38 years as a Chicago alderman."

His replacement has already been decided upon.

That's right: Deb Mell.

*

"Sources said Mell, 75, who lost his wife in 2006 and recently got engaged, already has persuaded Mayor Rahm Emanuel to appoint the alderman's daughter, State Rep. Deb Mell (D-Chicago), to replace him in the City Council."

Proving - as if we needed to - that Rahm the Reformer is every bit the reformer that Rod the Reformer was.

*

"As Rules and Ethics Committee chairman, Mell controls a $160,460 annual budget, along with a handful of coveted jobs, including the City Council's $91,180-a-year sergeant-at-arms.

"Sources said Emanuel plans to transfer control over those jobs to Ald. Michelle Harris (8th), the Council's president pro tem. That would make the Rules Committee job less desirable - especially now that a new ward map has been drawn."

Dick Mell, chairman of the ethics committee. Oh Chicago.

*

"Sources said [Deb Mell] was initially reluctant to accept a mayoral appointment for fear of following in the footsteps of other family political dynasties, including the Madigans, the Lipinskis and the Hyneses. But sources said Dick Mell has convinced his daughter that it would be best to get a leg up on the competition."

I'm sure Deb was absolutely torn.

"[T]he rookie legislator has already shown herself to be a bit of a mercenary," I wrote in 2009.

"Before even taking her seat and serving a single minute in the state House seat that she won in an election engineered for her by her father, Ald. Dick Mell, she contemplated running for the congressional opening left by the departure of Rahm Emanuel from 5th district."

*

And remember this?

"Deborah Mell - a Northwest Side state rep - is at risk of getting knocked off the ballot in her re-election bid because she is allegedly not registered to vote at the address listed on her nominating petitions. Oops!"

*

Then there was her priceless tweet from 2010 made even more priceless when sister Patti retweeted it:

Quinn not living in mansion as promised - chicagotribune.com http://shar.es/mjK9e 2:36 PM May 26th via ShareThis.com Retweeted by pblagojevich and 2 others

A valid point if only it didn't come from the women whose brother-in-law governed the state from his dining room table in Ravenswood - or the bathroom when he was hiding from his budget director.

*

So Deb Mell is a clown, meaning she'll fit right in.

As for her father, well, see the "The Lord of His Ward," the Tribune's show-off piece to the national political class visiting the city in 1996 for the Democratic National Convention, even if it pushes Mell's filth through a typical braggartly Chicago frame that results in passages like this:

He's a skilled organizer and a charismatic field marshal. And, if at times he's skirted the edge of propriety - using a gang leader as a campaign worker, and hitting up liquor licensees for political contributions, even as he threatens to close their businesses--well, you have to do what it takes to win.

In return, Mell has reaped the spoils of victory.

Take city jobs. The alderman has. Hundreds of them, for members of his political organization and his family.

Or city services. New curbs, new streets, new alleys, new water mains - Chicago's taxpayers have financed hundreds of thousands of dollars in improvements for blocks in the ward where Mell lives and owns property.

This isn't exactly democracy as the nation's founders envisioned it. But, when it comes to winning elections, Mell could teach Democratic Party leaders a thing or two.

It must be nice to get an investigative team's seal of approval on all your dirty work.

Programming Note
Posting will continue to be sporadic through the weekend until the Beachwood - including QT - returns in full on Monday.

-

The Beachwood Tip Line: Filthy.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 8:04 AM | Permalink

January 3, 2013

The [Thursday] Papers

Wondering how those tax subsidies for NASCAR, Disney and Goldman Sachs got into the fiscal cliff bill, even as a payroll tax cut was rescinded?

The White House insisted on it.

Four more years!

Gay Games
"Illinois Republican Party Chairman Pat Brady of St. Charles is calling GOP lawmakers asking them to support a proposal to legalize same-sex marriage," the Daily Herald reports.

Obama beat him there by just three days.

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"White House spokesman Shin Inouye told the Chicago Sun-Times' Lynn Sweet Sunday that the president 'believes in treating everyone fairly and equally, with dignity and respect' and that, were he still a member of the Illinois state legislature, 'he would support this measure that would treat all Illinois couples equally.'"

Perhaps. Then again, when he was in the U.S. Senate, he opposed gay marriage.

"I'm a Christian," Obama said during the 2004 U.S. Senate campaign, "and my religious beliefs say that marriage is something sanctified between a man and a woman."

He was even elected president - the first time - while opposing gay marriage.

My guess is that, had he the chance, he would have voted "present."

See also: Obama's Gay Marriage Gambit.

Prayer Circle
"A Democratic state representative from Illinois recently told a group of ministers that he believes they need to work to get prayer back in school," the Christian News Network reports.

Um, make that an indicted Democratic state rep.

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Payback?

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More likely, just pandering.

"[R]eports state that none of the ministers present supported Ford's idea."

What's Wrong With This Picture?
From a Grio report on the race to replace Jesse Jackson Jr.:

"Potential Democratic candidates vying for the seat must gather at least 1,256 signatures on nominating petitions to be eligible to run for the special primary election, while a Republican candidate would need 288 signatures. Independent candidates would need as many as 25,095 signatures while any new party candidates would need at least 15,682."

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Petition filing begins today.

Car Share Dare
"A day after its purchase by car rental company Avis, Zipcar's website still is topped by the slogan 'Car sharing: An alternative to car rental and car ownership,'" Crain's notes.

"The deal shows the different directions taken by players in the car-sharing industry - and likely will have effects on Zipcar's much smaller rivals, including Chicago-based nonprofit I-GO. Zipcar controls about 75 percent of the $400 million car-sharing industry in the U.S., according to Reuters."

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"I-GO was founded in Chicago in 2002 as a pilot program of the Center of Neighborhood Technology and took off in 2004 when Ms. [Sharon] Feigon became CEO. The company now has more than more than 250 vehicles and more than 16,000 subscribers and offers a joint initiative with the CTA that gives customers access to both I-GO cars and CTA trains and buses with a smart card."

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"In Chicago, Zipcar and I-GO vehicles are often parked side by side. Many customers have accounts with both companies. The Chicago Tribune published an article in 2011 noting some of the initial friction between Zipcar and I-GO and describing a lunch meeting in 2006 between the Zipcar CEO and Ms. Feigon.

Feigon remembers Zipcar (CEO) Scott Griffith telling her that Zipcar was moving into Chicago and asking whether she had an exit strategy, implying Zipcar would blow her tiny Chicago nonprofit off the road.

"He thought he would intimidate me. I wasn't intimidated," said Feigon, an activist with an MBA whose background includes starting a collectively owned ice cream parlor in Seattle and battling for such causes as tenant rights. "If anything, something like that makes me want to fight more. I don't want anyone standing in our way. We have a mission, and we're on the side of the community."

See also: Zipcar: Startup Genius, Public Failure.

Bears Vs. The Offseason
In The Blue & Orange Kool-Aid Report.

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The Beachwood Tip Line: U-Go.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 8:27 AM | Permalink

The Blue & Orange Kool-Aid Report: Bears vs. The Offseason

No point in mincing words, this offensive scheme was silly and I completely blame it for the Bears not winning the division.

I blame it like I blame Animal's cocaine habit for breaking up Dr. Teeth And The Electric Mayhem.

I blame it like I blame John Wilkes Booth for ruining the third act of Our American Cousin.

I blame it like I blame Scott Bakula for . . . well, he knows why we can't visit Rochester again.

The blocking schemes showed improvement over the course of the year, but just because shredded salami makes a better salad than dead leaves and shit doesn't make it a salad.

If I had written "Mike Tice will accidentally run that Earl Bennett screen three times against Detroit because he kept pushing 'A' on the Xbox controller while he was bullshitting with Scott Linehan on the phone and was only paying half attention to the game" in one of my bullet point prediction bits, you would have bought that as a joke, right?

That . . . friggin' . . . happened.

(Deep breath) . . . the thing about the play action pass is that IT DOES NOT F-ING WORK WITH AN EMPTY BACKFIELD ON 2ND AND 8!!!

A whole season of that. Literally a whole season.

Luv-E Is Just A Four-Letter Word
You have to wonder what it would have taken to change the public perception of Lovie Smith's tenure.

One more win against the Texans in '08, one more win against the Vikings in '12 and one really suggestive striptease to "Pony" in Virginia McCaskey's office and the guy probably has a job today.

In all cases, it's a game of inches.

Don't feel bad for the clean-mouthed, straight 'n' narrow Smith, though.

He'll spend the next several months cutting loose by experimenting with different types of Crystal Lite, reading parts of the Bible he hasn't covered in a while and touring the Texas bar circuit fronting his King's X cover band It's Lovie.

Meanwhile, the rest of us have another wacky Bears coaching search to look forward to. Interviewing Pat Summitt covers the Rooney Rule, right?

Better Than Golf
* Charles Tillman: The man they call "Peanut" will spend the offseason touring middle schools as a speaker and recording PSAs* on behalf of the Safety Concern Of America Council in an effort to warn the country's youth of Teabagging's inherent dangers. Apparently kids are making YouTube videos centered around seeing how long one can put their balls in hot liquids. So we're done with LOL Cats?

* Devin Hester: After a season of putting up Jerricho Cotchery-type numbers, Hester retires so he can pick up where his research team left off at "The U" and gets a job at Fermilab working toward leveraging the potential of particle acceleration as a renewable energy source.

* Roberto Garza: Will temporarily take over as the host of Sabado Gigante after Chilean superstar Don Fransisco is forced to resign amidst scandal when it is revealed that he has been happily married for 30 years.

* Rod Marinelli: Going back to Vietnam to finish the job.

SURPRISE! It's Over.
We've sipped it, pounded it, slurped it and some of you weirdos even snorted it. As a result, we're all out of Kool-Aid this year and it's going to take another 16 weeks to restock our shelves.

I predict Phil Emery will do the sensible thing and trade his second through fifth-round picks for a first-round can't-miss offensive lineman, but if this year has taught me anything it's that life is full of surprises.

Not like, surprise I bought you a cake.

Like, BOO! Your favorite team is on the couch this week while seemingly 13 rookie quarterbacks have managed to get a first-round bye.

Also, you have gout.

And your wife has been carrying on with that guy from the King's X cover band.

Now if you'll excuse me, I'm going to go boil some water, drop my pants and grab my cell phone. Peanut Tillman told me there's a quick way to get famous on the internet.

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*"Hi, I'm Charles Tillman. Many of you know me as a cornerback for the Chicago Bears and I'm here to talk to you about ball security."

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

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 5:39 AM | Permalink

January 2, 2013

The [Wednesday] Papers

The Tribune reports that not a single food truck application has been approved by the Emanuel administration after the city council passed an ordinance ostensibly allowing the practice but which many critics said was geared more toward protecting brick-and-mortar restaurants than nurturing a new and potentially lucrative industry.

No food trucks for you!

Food Fight
"A major contract battle has broken out over renewal of lucrative pacts to manage and provide food services at the Chicago Bears' stadium, and with bragging rights - and a lot of money - on the table, the contenders reportedly are loading up with some heavy political clout," Greg Hinz reports for Crain's.

"Among those who reportedly are involved are veteran media consultants Guy Chipparoni, whose firm represents Chicago Blackhawks owner Rocky Wirtz, and Dennis Culloton, whose clients include Cubs owner Tom Ricketts. Among others are a former top aide to ex-Mayor Richard M. Daley, Terry Teele; Mayor Rahm Emanuel's election lawyer, Mike Kasper, and Metropolitan Sanitary District Commissioner Mike Alvarez.

So, the usual suspects.

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Maybe it's just a practice run for the multiple battles about to break out for Chicago casino contracts.

Chicago In A Bottle
Not quite what I expected, which was a story about a clever entrepreneur selling the real scents of Chicago, from the smell of pork bellies and hog futures to the stink of clout lists and contracts.

The Political Odds
Early money on Robin Kelly looking good.

Heart Stopping
"The hot-selling blood-thinner Plavix is blamed for more than ten deaths in two Chicago lawsuits that charge the expensive drug is no better than aspirin, costs 100 times more and increases the risk of heart attack, stroke, internal bldding and other complications," Consumer Affairs reports.

Chicago Drums
In all sorts of ways.

In The Air
Retired Juggler Floats Idea For Museum Dedicated To Sport.

Beachwood Writer Is Miss April 2013
From Couch Potato To Calendar Girl.

Our Constitutional Scholar President
"Of course, while everyone in Washington, and the courtier press that serves them, were endlessly droning on and on about the Gentle Fiscal Incline, the Bill Of Rights closed out 2012 by having one of the worst weeks it's had in the two centuries of its existence," Charles Pierce writes for Esquire.

And the Bush tax cuts are now permanent. Mission accomplished!

The Papers Archive
Wanna catch up with the Papers? You can always click on this link, featured daily near the bottom of the left rail on our front page.

Programming Note
As it has been throughout the holiday break, posting will remain sporadic until Monday, when we will return in full.

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The Beachwood Tip Line: Unscented.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 9:24 AM | Permalink

Chicago Drums

In all sorts of ways.

1. Pipes and Sticks on Route 66.

Arguably the greatest drummer in the world, Jim Kilpatrick was one of five musicians who traveled on a 2,400-mile concert tour down America's most famous highway.


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2. Nine-year-old jazz drumming student David Harris.

David demonstrated you're never too young to swing along with a big band jazz piece entitled: "Nice, Kick it Up A Touch" live at our drum recital on December 9th, 2012.

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3. Snare Drum Demo: 1930s Slingerland Cloud Badge 7x14 single ply Radio King.

The Slingerland Radio King is black and gold duco finish with a 3 point strainer, single ply Gene Krupa model from around 1933. Simply a warm - deep bellow - unique tone.

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4. XtremeDrummer33 scholarship video.

This is a video that i made for a scholarship for Columbia College of Chicago.

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5. Gong demo.

Paiste 38" SC Earth Gong demo at Andy's Music Chicago 12/20. With M3 and M6 mallets.

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See also:

* Jimmy Chamberlin Drum Clinic.

* Meet Hannah Ford.

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 7:07 AM | Permalink

January 1, 2013

From Couch Potato To Calendar Girl: Conquering The Fitness Phobia

It's New Year's Day 2013, and many of us have either made resolutions or will make them today. Most of those resolutions will have to do with health and fitness - this year, we're going to make better diet choices. This year, we're going to run a 5K. This year, we're going to join a gym and actually go.

A few of us will keep them. Most of us will stick with it for anywhere from a few weeks to early March, which is the window during which most New Year's Resolutions go their merry way and we go back to being our old, sedentary selves.

I gave up making resolutions long ago, because they were a recipe for disappointment and a source of increasingly negative feelings about myself because I couldn't stick with whatever it was I'd resolved to do.

The seeds of change were planted in the fall of 2011. I got sick (again), and I couldn't get well. I coughed and hacked and cracked a couple of ribs. I missed six weeks of work during the busiest season of the year. I took antibiotics and over-the-counter everything and even when the coughing was over, I was chronically tired and uncomfortable. I was also fat. Somehow, between the spring of 2011 and early 2012, I put on 50 pounds and went from being a size 2 to a size 14. I don't really know what happened - it was as if my metabolism just stopped dead. But I had hit rock bottom. My immune system could take no more. Neither could my self-image.

I consulted my doctor, who was just as puzzled as I. He ordered tests, as doctors do when they have no idea what the heck has happened to you, and in February of 2012, he announced the findings: My body was completely depleted of Vitamin B12, which gives us energy and keeps our immune systems healthy. Also, my triglycerides were getting high. But instead of prescribing drugs, he did a few things that changed my life. First, he started me on B12 injections; first weekly, then monthly. He also told me to take fish oil capsules. And he reiterated the importance of diet and exercise.

He wasn't the first person to point out that, aside from having a job that required me to be on my feet, I was totally lacking in the exercise department. Nor was he the first person to point out that my diet was made up of complete junk. But for the first time, I really listened to what he had to say and I slowly began to make changes.

At first, I admit, I focused on the diet part, because exercise has always been somewhat terrifying. So I cut way back on carbs, quit drinking beer and started buying fresh foods, including fruits and veggies that I would never have otherwise eaten. Everywhere I saw a chance to substitute something healthier for something drowning in saturated fats or full of preservatives, I did it. And I began to feel better. But it wasn't enough. I was using an app called My Fitness Pal to keep track of my calories eaten versus my calories burned every day, but I felt like I needed something more. How could I find healthier recipes? How could I get a handle on what claimed to be healthy and what actually was healthy? And how on earth could I, at age 37, start exercising? Other than intermittent periods of bike riding or rollerblading through Humboldt Park, I hadn't regularly exercised since before college.

At 14, my competitive diving career ended with the first of many shoulder dislocations caused by a congenital defect in my bone structure. Doctors and physical therapists told me I'd never have upper body strength like other people. And exercises like running were boring and seemed pointless. Exercise in general seemed futile.

But I found myself wanting more. Maybe it was the extra energy from the B12. Maybe it was just time. Either way, I was no longer satisfied with my couch potato status. Fifteen days after my 37th birthday, on April 25, 2012, I did a search for the best health and fitness apps for my iPhone and stumbled across Fitocracy. It had good reviews, and, even better, it was free. I downloaded it and now, a little over seven months later, I can honestly say it was one of the best things I've ever done for myself.

Fitocracy was developed by two former self-described video game addicts, Dick Talens and Brian Wang, who met in the weight room as students at Penn. Dick had become unhealthily overweight from his years in front of the console, while Brian was skinny and weak. Both had begun to change that with weightlifting, and both had a desire to help others transform themselves.

They also both had something in common with me, and with many of the people I know: they were once couch potatoes. And, as video game junkies, they knew something that many people don't realize: people respond to the reward of scoring points, even if the points are ultimately meaningless to the world at-large.

My journey into the world of Fitocracy began in a group called "Healthy Eating," because I wasn't yet ready to tackle serious exercise. Fitocracy is set up much like Facebook, in that users relate to one another through posts, can "follow" one another, can "prop" each others' posts, can send private messages, and can get the interaction with others that our social-media crazed society seems to need. Not only did I instantly feel welcomed, I felt at home. No one made judgements. When I made good choices and posted about them, I got props and soon I acquired a few followers. I read what others wrote, asked questions, followed others, gave props, and within a week was logging what little exercise I was getting, from walking the dog to choosing to take the stairs at work instead of the elevator.

Over the past seven months, I have gone from being an unhealthy, worried, health-phobic person to being a member of a growing online community of healthy, supportive people who encourage and inspire me. I now belong to my local community center's fitness center, and the young girl who would never have any upper body strength has become a woman who strives to break personal records (I can now deadlift 90 lbs. and actually enjoy bench pressing and leg presses (PR 140 lbs), among other activities.

Yesterday, I earned the points to "level up" to level 28 (the higher your level, the harder it is to level up). I pay a monthly fee for the privilege of being a "Fitocracy Hero," which allows me to duel with friends and followers (of which I have almost 500 now!), among other things. I even have a personal trainer, Daniel Kreger, who runs his training business almost entirely online based on your goals and abilities. He writes programs for his clients on a weekly basis, and stays in close touch to make sure you're on track, or, if you're not, what he can do to help you get there. For those of you who find trainers intimidating and obnoxious, I highly recommend Dan, one of the world's nicest people. His blog and contact information can be found at www.djkreger.me.

In early December I had the opportunity to go to New York City and meet many fellow Fitocrats, including much of the Fitocracy team (Talens, Wang, CPO Jared Cocken, and others). It was a terrific event that included some great discussions about health and nutrition, training, and pretty much every other topic under the sun (plus an open bar, courtesy of Fitocracy!). Realizing that the people I interacted with online were real people who go through many of the same struggles I do, and enjoying the company of like-minded people with similar desires to improve themselves, was a real coup for me.

Finally, there's the calendar. Earlier in the fall of 2012, I joined a group created by a Fitocracy member that was intended for people who were interested in seeing both male and female Fito calendars for 2013. The calendars would feature members and be free for download. There was some sort of challenge included, although I didn't pay attention to that part - I was simply interested to see what the finished product would look like.

Join Fitocracy. Join the Fitocrat Calendar Group. Check out Miss April.

P.S. I've now lost 20 lbs. of fat, can wear a size 8, and gained a surprising amount of muscle and self-confidence. I've still got a long way to go. My resolve isn't going anywhere. Bring it, 2013!

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ML Van Valkenburgh is a longtime Beachwood contributor and former Chicagoan now living in Florida. She welcomes your comments.

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Previously by ML Van Valkenburgh:

* Letter From Tampa.

* Booklist: A Beachwood Book Guide.

* Cab #1309.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 2:12 PM | Permalink

The [Tuesday] Papers

Posting will continue to be sporadic until we return in full on Wednesday, though we might not really return in full until Monday. We still have a lot of end-of-year housecleaning and beginning-of-year planning to do. And by "we," I mostly mean me.

Still, the Beachwood rolls on . . .

* America Tweets Jenny McCarthy's Rockin' New Year's Eve.

* The College Football Report: NU & NIU Are Both In New Year's Day Bowls And Other Oddities.

* Local Music Notebook: Wacos As T. Rex, Polkaholics Go Vinyl.

* TableTalk: Cheaters, Liars & Bell Ringing.

* Posted late yesterday: The Weekend in Chicago Rock.

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* In other news . . . in case this was in your plans:

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* And finally, Accuweather remembers snow:

Between Jan. 2 and 4, 1999, a massive blizzard impacted the Midwest. It is the second-worst blizzard to hit Chicago in the 20th century, behind the Blizzard of 1967.

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The Beachwood Tip Line: A winter wonderland.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 7:57 AM | Permalink

Tweeting Jenny McCarthy's Rockin' New Year's Eve

Sun-Times advice columnist Jenny McCarthy inexplicably co-hosted Dick Clark's Rockin' New Year's Eve on Monday night with Ryan Seacrest and, um, America responded. Let's take a look.

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 7:17 AM | Permalink

TableTalk: Cheaters, Liars & Ringing Bells

The holiday lunch table conversation - replete with juicy burgers, greasy fries, and my wimpy chicken Caesar wrap - covered a variety of topics, starting with Barry Bonds, Roger Clemens, Sammy Sosa and the Steroids Era. Should these mopes gain entrance into the Hall of Fame when the balloting is announced on January 9th?

We all know the answer to this one, yet it continues to occupy our attention. My two pals, Bill and Doug, like myself, are in their 60s, and none of us made the case to let any of the denounced athletes into the sacred bastion. However, the cases of Bonds and Clemens, both of whom had Hall of Fame numbers prior to ramping up their games and extending their careers with PEDs, at least merit discussion.

In seven years in Pittsburgh between the ages of 21 and 27, Bonds averaged better than 26 home runs a season; he drove in more than 100 runs three times; he was MVP at age 25, and; he reached base at a .456 clip in 1992. Whose performance was better than that?

Breaking in with the Red Sox as a 21-year-old in 1984, Clemens won 95 games his first six seasons, including 1986 when he won 24 games and snagged both the Cy Young and MVP awards. If only he had laid off the juice, never met Brian McNamee, not lied to Congress, and decided that pitching to age 38 instead of 44 was acceptable, he'd be a shoo-in.

But the issue, in my mind, isn't solely about Barry or Roger. What about the writers who vote? There were few cynics or questioning observers in the 90s when the ballparks were filled with crazed fans as the nation witnessed the re-writing of the record book.

"McGwire and Sosa's breathtaking race for the single-season home run record that has changed hands just once in 71 years is a godsend for baseball, a welcome respite for stressed parents, and yet another opportunity for the nation to play out its racial and ethnic anxieties," reporters for the Washington Post gushed in a way typically over-the-top report from September 1998.

"But most of all, in an era of disillusionment with heroes, in a summer of soiled role models, McGwire and Sosa - who hit his 57th homer Friday night - have captivated millions of fans who had soured on baseball.

"Wherever McGwire and Sosa go, and for millions more watching on TV or listening to the radio, the home-run race is about something more than a desire to witness history. It is about recalling what is good, about renewing faith. It's about who we want to be."

Only if we aspire to being revealed as frauds, it turns out.

Yet many of the same writers who pulsated over 70 home runs have a very different take on the same athletes today. They want nothing to do with them. Keep them as far away as possible.

If a Hall of Fame for writers existed, would the members of the press who wrote glowingly about the accomplishments of guys like Bonds and Clemens be shunned today?

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While we were on the subject of cheating, the departure of A.J. Pierzynski arose. Doug is a Tigers fan, having grown up in Toledo, so he feels little nostalgia about the Sox's erstwhile catcher.

Meanwhile, Bill and I will never lose the vision of A.J. taking off for first base as Angels catcher Josh Paul rolled the ball back to the mound in the bottom of the ninth in the second game of the 2005 ALCS. This was to White Sox history what Merkle's Boner - I just love that! - or historic home runs by Bobby Thompson, Bill Mazeroski, or Kirk Gibson are to the rest of baseball.

Arguably the defining moment in franchise history since the Sox had lost the first game of the series - as it turned out the only loss of their entire postseason - the Angels were about to force extra innings in Game 2. Had they won that contest at the Cell, the Sox would have been down 0-2 heading to Anaheim.

Pablo Ozuna ran for A.J., stole second, and came around on Joe Crede's double. Our guys never looked back.

Baseball is a game where (non-chemical) trickery is celebrated rather than condemned. A coach who can steal signs is a valuable commodity, and tell me the last time an outfielder trapped a ball and didn't try to sell it as a legitimate catch. There is no finer example of a sly, crafty competitor than Pierzynski. And now he's gone.

The Sox easily could have kept him since A.J. got the minimum - a one-year deal from Texas. I wonder whether Jake Peavy, whom the Sox signed for two years at $29 million, could have had some influence on A.J.'s departure.

Jake and A.J. had a bit of a flare-up in 2011 after Jake was lifted in a game against the Cubs, although both downplayed the incident. However, Tyler Flowers, A.J.'s apparent successor, had a presence when Peavy pitched last season, starting 12 of the 32 games when Jake was on the mound. (For comparison, Chris Sale started 29 games and Flowers was his catcher only six times.)

Possibly Jake and others wanted to take their chances with Flowers rather than continue with Pierzynski.

Tony La Russa's latest book is a tedious account of the Cardinals' 2011 championship season, but his take on team chemistry is worth noting:

"[Former White Sox GM] Roland Hemond - the most beloved guy still alive in baseball - once told me, 'If you have true chemistry on your team, it will be like tomorrow I added a superstar to your roster - a 20-game winner, a top closer, or a 30/30/30 middle-of-the-lineup hitter,'" LaRussa writes.

I never digested the periodic chart and Bunsen burners were an enigma to me. But if you believe people like La Russa, the social dynamics of a group of 25 young men - working, traveling and living in close proximity - over the course of six months is one factor in a team's success. Maybe it was time for A.J. to leave. But the memories endure.

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Finally, what would a luncheon be without mentioning violence in football, the popularity of grave concern about concussions, former players with dementia and brain trauma, and dissecting the brains of poor fellows like Junior Seau and Dave Duerson?

The question is, "Knowing what you know now, would you let your kids play tackle football?"

Most people to whom I've posed this inquiry, including my lunchmates, quickly reply in the negative.

I'm not convinced that letting your youngster participate in a park district or Pop Warner league is detrimental, but a steady diet of the game into high school and college might be cause for concern.

What is curious is the about-face NFL Films, ESPN, Fox Sports and the other purveyors of the game have assumed since concussions - and far more serious injuries - became an issue. When was the last time you heard Cris Collinsworth or Joe Buck describe a player as having gotten his "bell rung?" You think Jon Gruden or Al Michaels ever describes a wide receiver who just "got knocked into next week" anymore?

After decades of big hits highlights and putting Dick Butkus, Jack Tatum, Ray Lewis and numerous other notorious vicious defenders on a pedestal, we now have tags like Football at a Crossroads, ESPN's investigation of the health issues surrounding the game. This coming from the very same people who publicized and celebrated the most aggressive and life-threatening snapshots week after week.

No one should be surprised. These are the folks who gave us Barry Bonds, Mark McGwire, and Sammy Sosa until our bellies were overflowing. They ought to have naming rights for the Whatever Works Network.

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

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1. From Tom Weinberg:

You chicken wrap wimp. Glad you agreed that Tony's book sucked except for a few paragraphs. His cursory mention of the guy who anointed him as a 30-something-year-old manager, then did Socratic dialogue with him after every game in the Bards Room pissed me off. Veeck was so lovable. Tony is and was a hard-boiled guy . . . definitely blessed with a growing baseball mind, but warm, outgoing with others - no way.

Wasn't sure whether you think AJ should be gone. This other guy can't hit, no matter what the chemistry is or isn't.

2. From Brad Herzog:

I don't know, Roger. I'm kind of partial to the argument that if we removed any player who ever used amphetamines or corked his bat, we'd be left with Christy Mathewson and empty wall space. The problem, as I see it, isn't what we should do about Sosa and McGwire and the rest. It's how do we handle Jeff Bagwell and Mike Piazza and all the other folks who . . . well, maybe they juiced, maybe they didn't. We start getting into a sort of baseball McCarthyism - convicted via suspicion. And then we have a few folks who make the Hall of Fame just because they got away with it. It's a mess.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 12:42 AM | Permalink

Local Music Notebook: Wacos As T. Rex, Polkaholics Go Vinyl

A loose collection of whatnot.

1. Waco Brothers Play T. Rex.

And for a good cause. This is a benefit show for the Pablove Foundation and Rock For Kids at the Metro on Friday, January 11.

But the Wacos are hardly alone on the bill. Take a look.

CHRIS-POSTER-FLAT-NEW-2.jpg

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Preview: Here's the Wacos doing "20th Century Boy" in Cleveland (June 2010).

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2. The Polkaholics Record Release Party Is Really For A Record!

From Polkaholic HQ:

The Polkaholics have just released a 7-inch record with new polkas "Blue Haired Lady" and "Spaced," and will celebrate with a record release party at Quenchers, 2401 N. Western, on Saturday February 2nd, at 9 p.m., $5. It will also be Dandy Don's birthday, and so all attendees will receive a FREE copy of the record as a party favor.

Though The Polkaholics have put out eight CDs in their 15-year history, this is the first vinyl release for the band. And what a release it is! "Blue Haired Lady" tells the tale of the polka cougar that The Polkaholics hope to meet some day - a classy dame with blue hair, hard candy, tissues, coupons, Aquanet, and, of course, a will.

"Spaced" is all about a far-out pleasure trip to the moon with The Polkaholics, and how some Australian brewers saved the adventure from going terribly flat.

Both songs were recorded and mixed at Mystery Street Recording Company in Chicago, with Joe Tessone engineering and mixing. Artwork for the record was done by Nate Lilly.

Since 1997, The Polkaholics have been shaking some action with a heavy polka beat, creating a sound that fuses the beer garden with the mosh pit. Using a rock power trio of guitar (founder Dandy Don Hedeker), bass (Blitz Linster), and drums (Stylin' Steve Glover), The Polkaholics simultaneously eschew polka tradition in terms of instrumentation while embracing its tradition of do-it-yourself fun and good times.

The Polkaholics strive to make polka cool again, putting the umph into the oompah-POW and blasting polka screaming into the 21st century! In recognition of the band's longevity and impact, The Polkaholics were recently awarded a Certificate of Appreciation from the International Polka Association for "15 Years of Promoting Polka Music." After 15 years, the party has just begun!

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3. Green Day To Resume Tour In Chicago.

"The band canceled the rest of its 2012 club schedule and postponed the start of a 2013 arena tour after singer-guitarist Billie Joe Armstrong's substance abuse problems emerged publicly in September when he had a profane meltdown on the stage of the iHeartRadio Music Festival in Las Vegas," AP reports.

"Armstrong told fans in a statement Monday that he's 'getting better every day' and 'the show must go on.'

"The tour is scheduled to begin March 28 at the Allstate Arena in the Chicago area."

-

Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 12:42 AM | Permalink

The College Football Report: NU & NIU Are Both In New Year's Day Bowls And Other Oddities

Happy New Year, college football fans. Take advantage of the bargains on offer today and start the New Year right. With a little luck, you might offset the cost of the O-bombs, cab fares and/or escorts from December 31. For fun, we suggest a four-team parlay: Oklahoma State, South Carolina, Georgia and Florida State. At 10-1, the payoff could be one hell of a kickoff. That said, our selections thus far in bowl season have been ludicrously bad. But we feel the Free Range Chicken is due for a comeback.

Game: TaxSlayer.com Gator Bowl

Time: Tuesday, January 1, ESPN2, Noon (Everbank Field, Jacksonville)

Teams: Mississippi State Bulldogs (8-4, 4-4 SEC) vs. #20 Northwestern Wildcats (9-3, 5-3 Big Ten)

How they got here: The Bulldogs treaded water again in the SEC. Under head coach Dan Mullen, Mississippi State has gone 29-21 overall including back-to-back postseason wins, crushing Michigan 52-14 in the 2010 Gator Bowl, followed by a 23-17 win over Wake Forest in the Music City Bowl. Wins in-conference have been harder to come by, and Mullen's squad has only posted a 13-19 record since 2009.

Granted, MSU must face division foes LSU and Alabama every season, two games you can chalk up as Ls before Week One. Winning under these circumstances can't be much fun, so it's no wonder that Mullen's name has surfaced for other top jobs. Most recently, Colorado may or may not have expressed serious interest in Mullen in December prior to hiring former San Jose State head coach Mike MacIntyre. (We like Mike. Put him on the waiting list for the 2013 College Football Report All-Darlings Team.) Mullen will hang on provided he keeps beating Ole Miss (MSU is 3-1 in the last four) in the annual Egg Bowl, one of the nation's oldest rivalries dating back to 1901.

Besides, Mississippi State needs something to feel good about because Ole Miss girls are totally hotter.

NWU looks to record its third 10-win season in school history. The Wildcats, under the leadership of dynamic head coach Pat Fitzgerald, also hope to snap a bowl-losing streak stretching back to 1949. Fitzgerald has coached the team to four winning seasons in his seven years, taking a traditional Big Ten punching bag to 9-4 (5-3 in conference) in his third season after starting 4-8 (2-6) in 2006 followed by ongoing success, an unusual circumstance in Evanston. NWU fans love Fitz: he is an alum, played linebacker on the '95 Rose Bowl squad and took over the program with grace after the sudden death of coach Randy Walker in 2006. If the Wildcats can beat MSU, expectations for the program will continue to rise.

Comment: You might have noticed that we referred to Northwestern as NWU above. As a diligent College Football Report reader, we know you noticed. We did this on purpose. ESPN broadcasts show Northwestern abbreviated as "NWU" in the little scoreboard box, something that inexplicably drives Wildcats fans berserk. True, Northwestern should be abbreviated as "NU" in these circumstances but no one in Lincoln complains when Nebraska is abbreviated as "NEB," which confirms our long-time suspicion that Northwestern fans are a bunch of hair-splitting dorks with fragile egos. NWU backers should lobby ESPN to display "YALE" instead. Maybe that would make them feel better.

Pick: As we go to press, NWU is a 2-point favorite after opening as a 2-point dog. We have learned our lesson. We will give the points.

*

Game: Heart of Dallas Bowl

Time: Tuesday, January 1, ESPNU, Noon (Cotton Bowl, Dallas)

Teams: Purdue Boilermakers (6-6, 3-5 Big Ten) vs. Oklahoma State Cowboys (7-5, 5-4 Big 12)

How they got here: We had never heard of the Heart of Dallas Bowl until we started writing this Report. Upon further research, we have discovered that the Heart of Dallas Bowl is the reanimated corpse of the TicketCity Bowl, which was briefly (for two months) known as the Dallas Football Classic in its inaugural 2010 season. The Undead Bowl was summoned into the physical plane to replace the departed Cotton Bowl Classic, bewitched into moving to Cowboys Stadium by Jerry Jones. Thus the Cotton Bowl (now the AT&T Cotton Bowl Classic) is played in Arlington and the Heart of Dallas Bowl is played in the Cotton Bowl. We could take issue with the use of "Classic" in the new name of the Not-Quite-Cotton-Bowl, but we won't.

We will grant that the Heart of Dallas is, at least in part, aptly named. The Cotton Bowl (stadium) is located at the intersection of I-30 and I-45 at the center of the lifeless blight that is Dallas. Long story short, we have no idea how anyone could figure out where this game will be played.

Comment: No comment.

Pick: This game will be a beatdown. Go heavy on the Cowboys (-17) and the Over (70.5).

*

Game: Outback Bowl

Time: Tuesday, January 1, ESPN, 1 p.m. (Raymond James Stadium, Tampa)

Teams: #10 South Carolina Gamecocks (10-2, 6-2 SEC) vs. #18 Michigan Wolverines (8-4, 6-2 Big Ten)

How they got here: The record books should bear a question mark for the Wolverines. Michigan's Denard Robinson suffered an injury to his throwing arm late in the season and couldn't go at QB for the final two games. The Gamecocks lost star running back Marcus Lattimore against Tennessee but still managed to win the remaining three games, including a big W over rival #11 Clemson.

Comment: Commentators will point to South Carolina defensive end Jadeveon Clowney as the "difference maker" in this game. We agree. Clowney is a 19-year-old sophomore who stands 6-foot-6, weighs 247 pounds and runs a 40 in 4.6 seconds. By comparison, Devin Hester is eight inches shorter, 57 pounds lighter and runs 40 yards a rounding error (.19 seconds) faster.

Pick: We can't pick the Wolverines because Clowney could run from Tampa to Chicago in 65 hours. Not that we would pick Michigan anyway. South Carolina -5.

*

Game: Capital One Bowl

Time: Tuesday, January 1, ABC, 1 p.m. (Florida Citrus Bowl, Orlando)

Teams: #7 Georgia Bulldogs (11-2, 7-1 SEC) vs. #16 Nebraska Cornhuskers (10-3, 7-1 Big Ten)

How they got here: This is why people have been crying for a playoff system. Without a playoff, this game is irrelevant. How can the Big Ten runner-up (to Wisconsin, who won the championship game but finished with a 4-4 conference record) play the SEC runner-up in the Capital One Bowl? The game will share airtime with three other bowls. The only upside for fans is the constant channel surfing.

Comment: The Capital One Bowl will be a litmus test for the SEC-Big Ten rivalry. The two conferences have played in nearly the same number of BCS bowls, but the SEC owns the championship record (10 wins) over the Big Ten (3). Overall, the SEC owns a comparably huge advantage (40-24) in all bowl games. The Big Ten expansion and newly minted championship game can be seen as efforts to keep pace with the SEC. The 2013 Capital One Bowl will be an early test of the Big Ten's strategy.

Pick: Whatever. Georgia -9.

*

Game: Rose Bowl Game Presented by Vizio

Time: Tuesday, January 1, ESPN, 5 p.m. (Rose Bowl, Pasadena)

Teams: Wisconsin Badgers (8-5, 4-4 Big Ten) vs. #6 Stanford Cardinal (11-2, 8-1 Pac-12)

How they got here: Yet another instance of the playoff problem. The Rose Bowl has featured odd match-ups between the Big Ten and Pac-12 (nee Pac-10) before, so this year is not that much of an exception. Illinois played in 2007 with three losses (two in conference), Purdue in 2001 with three losses (two in conference), and Stanford appeared in 2000 with three Ls as well.

Comment: Barry Alvarez is back to coach his first game since retiring after the 2005 season. Lovingly nicknamed "The Godfather" by Wisconsin players, Alvarez has stepped in to temporarily replace Bret Bielema who departed for sunny Fayetteville, Arkansas. With a win, Alvarez can tie Big Ten coaching legend Woody Hayes for the most Rose Bowl victories in conference history.

Pick: The Over on The Godfather's supposedly-interim coaching tenure. We expect the bug will bite Barry, and bite hard.

*

Game: Discover Orange Bowl

Time: Tuesday, January 1, ESPN, 8:30 p.m. (Sun Life Stadium, Miami)

Teams: #15 Northern Illinois Huskies (12-1, 8-0 MAC) vs. #12 Florida State Seminoles (11-2, 7-1 ACC)

How they got here: We don't know. Well, that's not true. NIU "busted" the BCS and seeks to become the sixth team from a non-automatic qualifying conference to win a BCS bowl. But then you know that, unless you have been living under a proverbial rock.

The Seminoles won a 21-15 squeaker over Georgia Tech in the ACC title game, only to land in a lose-lose situation as the Goliath to the Huskies' David. Win, and FSU has only done what everyone expected. Lose, and you go down in the books next to Oklahoma, losers of the 2007 Fiesta Bowl to the (then) relatively unknown Boise State.

Comment: Everyone will be pulling for NIU in this one, but we can't muster up much excitement.

Pick: Florida State (-13.5).

-

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

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 12:20 AM | Permalink

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