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« January 2013 | Main | March 2013 »

February 28, 2013

The [Thursday] Papers

"President Barack Obama and his officials are doing their best to drum up public concern over the shock wave of spending cuts that could strike the government in just days. So it's a good time to be alert for sky-is-falling hype," AP reports.

For example:

"Education Secretary Arne Duncan says teacher layoffs have already begun, but he has not backed up that claim and school administrators say no pink slips are expected before May, for the next school year, if the budget crisis persists.

"This stuff is real," he said last week. "Schools are already starting to give teachers notices."

"Asked to provide backup for Duncan's assertion, spokesman Daren Briscoe said it was based on 'an unspecified call he was on with unnamed persons,' and the secretary might not be comfortable sharing details.

"Briscoe referred queries about layoffs to the American Association of School Administrators. Noelle M. Ellerson, an assistant director of the organization, said Monday that in her many discussions with superintendents at the group's just-completed annual meeting, she heard of no layoffs of teachers. While everyone is bracing for that possibility down the road, she said, 'not a single one I spoke with had already issued pink slips.'

"Most school district budgets for the next school year won't be completed for two months, she said, meaning any layoff notices would come in early to mid-May. 'No one had yet acted.'"

That doesn't mean the potential for pain isn't real, just that the administration's loose relationship with the facts leaves it with little credibility as an authoritative source on the whys and wherefores of sequestration.

(Obama himself is lying about the origins of sequestration, according to both Bob Woodward's extensive reporting, which was recalled in this Washington Post fact-check last fall, and, according to the New York Times, contemporaneous news accounts.)

But to suggest that estimated budget cuts of $44 billion to $85 billion out of a $1.2 $3.8 trillion budget is merely "a pile of crumbs" is pure sophistry; the fact that $85 billion pales in comparison to the total budget doesn't make it any less huge, but this is how journalists - and politicians - often conceive of large abstract numbers. For example, if the budget was $2.2$4.8 trillion, would $85 billion in budget cuts hurt even less? No. Whoever is on the receiving end of those cuts will still be . . . on the receiving end of those cuts. Or, to look at it another way, if your boss cut your paycheck by 10%, would it hurt you less if your company was a $2 billion concern instead of a $1 billion concern?

And if the sequestration's budget cuts can be accomplished without hurting people, then the president and Congress did a terrible job creating sequestration because it was supposed to cause a result so devastating that they would be forced to come to a budget agreement to make sure it never happened.

Not that I'm discounting the possibility that the president is doing it wrong:

-

See also:
* The Sequestering of Barack Obama
* Here We Go Again

-

And:
* Tribune: Illinois Braces For Looming Federal Cuts
* Tribune: FAA: Sequestration Could Force O'Hare Tower, Runway To Close At Times
* Tribune: Illinois Hospitals Brace For Cuts

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Then there's Roger Simon being silly in the Sun-Times:

"All sorts of things will be cut under a sequester: border security, airport security, Head Start, public housing support, NASA, special education, the FBI, the Nuclear Regulatory Commission, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and national defense.

"But do you know what does not get cut? Take a guess. That's right: The salaries of senators and representatives do not get cut under sequester."

Therefore, he writes, "bring it on!"

Because, somehow, slashing Head Start would spite Congress.

See, politicians no longer frighten him, Simon writes, because "we" survived Vietnam, Watergate and disco.

Ah ha ha ha! So funny.

But wait: We did?

My recollection is that 50,000-plus died in Vietnam, and we're still living in many ways under the fallout of both Watergate and disco, but maybe my memory is fuzzy. Or maybe it's Simon who survived. Good for him. It's always entertaining from the box seats.

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Plus: Duckworth To Take Pay Cut If Sequester Happens.

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And then there's Rahm. (Cue the Maude theme song; I'll do the parody lyrics if someone else does the music and video editing.)

"The mayor said security screeners will be cut back at O'Hare and other transportation would be effected," CBS2 Chicago reports.

And that makes sense.

But . . .

"People going shopping will feel the effects," CBS2 "reports," based solely on Rahm's White House talking point.

"What is reliability when a mother or a father or somebody else shows up at a grocery store?" Emanuel said. "We all assume food safety. Well, there is an inspector ensuring that food safety. So from O'Hare to our manufacturing in our food area, you are going to find out how important the security and safety comes from the federal government."

If the president allowed food safety inspection to be compromised by sequestration cuts, he'd probably be impeached. C'mon! He'd cut food stamps and all other manner of aid to the poor before he ever threatened the safety of America's dinner tables, and Rahm knows it.

CBS2 apparently, though, doesn't. That claim should have been challenged, as it has been by a group of Republican senators from rural, food-growing states.

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So is sequestration a big deal? Yes. We're not likely to see the worst-case scenarios put forward by the Obama administration, but services will be cut, people will be hurt and the economy will suffer. In many ways, that's business as usual, but in this case, it's business as usual in one fell swoop.

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The Beachwood Tip Line: Downright birdy.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 8:09 AM | Permalink

Gear Is Good: Wood Stock, Earthquaker Transport & Satin Walnut

Three pieces.

1. Fodera's Victor Wooten Bass.

Sam came into Bass Club Chicago to get some new strings for his Fodera YinYang standard and he just had to play this Fodera we picked up from Namm 2013. This is the Fodera Victor Wooten Limited, there are only six of these in the world and they are made from the same batch of wood as Vic's!


"From Fodera: The decision to build a Limited Edition of six EXACT replicas of Victor Wooten's original Monarch (Fodera #37) was the culmination of several distinct events. First, as we organized the shop over the past three years we discovered that we had enough Mahogany, Maple, and Indian Rosewood to build six Monarchs from exactly the same stash of woods used to build #37. Second, we still had eight original Fodera / HAZ Preamps (6 for this Limited Edition and two 'just in case'). Third, although we no longer had any New Old Stock (NOS) Schaller Tuning Machines or Bridges, these parts were still made by Schaller in almost exactly the same way as they were in back in 1983 (the only notable difference is that they say 'Made in Germany' rather than 'Made in W. Germany')! Oh yeah, and Joey even had a box of Aluminum knobs from 1983 with enough to provide original, NOS Volume-Volume-Tone knobs.

"With all this in mind, and given our friendship and association with Victor, we set about adding six VW Monarch Limited Editions to our build schedule to be delivered in 2013- our 30th Anniversary year. From the original shop stash of early 1980's woods, to the original, hand-carved body shape, original wooden butterfly logo, original preamp, 3-piece body (on a Dovetail instrument) and hand rubbed Watco oil finish, EVERYTHING about this Limited Edition is as faithful to the original as humanly possible - something that we will never again be able to recreate."

2. Earthquaker Devices Disaster Transport SR Modulated Delay and Reverb.

Joel gets ethereal with the new Disaster Transport SR modulated delay and reverb pedal. This effect has two powerful delays and a reverb packed into one stomp box.

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3. Hyundai 43" Console Piano - Satin Walnut.

From ChicagoPianos.com.

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 2:45 AM | Permalink

February 27, 2013

The Drone War Doctrine We Still Know Nothing About

The nomination of John Brennan to be CIA director has prompted intense debate on Capitol Hill and in the media about U.S. drone killings abroad. But the focus has been on the targeting of American citizens - a narrow issue that accounts for a miniscule proportion of the hundreds of drone strikes in Pakistan and Yemen in recent years.

Consider: while four American citizens are known to have been killed by drones in the past decade, the strikes have killed an estimated total of 2,600 to 4,700 people over the same period.

The focus on American citizens overshadows a far more common, and less understood, type of strike: those that do not target American citizens, al-Qaeda leaders, or, in fact, any other specific individual.

In these attacks, known as "signature strikes," drone operators fire on people whose identities they do not know based on evidence of suspicious behavior or other "signatures."

According to anonymously sourced media reports, such attacks on unidentified targets account for many, or even most, drone strikes.

Despite that, the administration has never publicly spoken about signature strikes. Basic questions remain unanswered.

What is the legal justification for signature strikes? What qualifies as a "signature" that would prompt a deadly strike? Do those being targeted have to pose a threat to the United States? And how many civilians have been killed in such strikes?

The administration has rebuffed repeated requests from Congress to provide answers - even in secret.

"How, for example, does the Administration ensure that the targets are legitimate terrorist targets and not insurgents who have no dispute with the United States?" asked three senior Democrats on the House Judiciary Committee in a letter to U.S. attorney general Eric Holder last May.

The legislators sent a second letter in December. Republicans on the committee joined in sending another letter this month. All have gone unanswered, according to committee staff.

Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., recently sent his own letter to Brennan asking several pointed questions on signature strikes.

"How do 'signature strikes' square with your statement that targeted killing operations are only approved when a targeted individual poses a 'significant threat to U.S. interests?'" McCain asked, quoting a speech Brennan gave on drone strikes last April.

"How can the Administration be certain it is not killing civilians in areas, like many parts of Yemen and Pakistan, where virtually all men, including civilians, carry weapons?" the letter continued.

A McCain spokesman said the senator had not received a response. The White House declined to comment for this story.

When Obama administration officials publicly address drone strikes, they focus on thwarting imminent threats and targeting al-Qaeda leaders, including U.S. citizens.

Brennan, for example, said at his confirmation hearing that a lethal strike only occurs when "the intelligence base is so strong and the nature of the threat is so grave and serious, as well as imminent, that we have no recourse." He was talking only about strikes targeting U.S. citizens, not signature strikes.

Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., is now threatening to filibuster Brennan's nomination until he answers questions on the U.S. citizen issue. And the Justice Department "white paper" leaked to NBC this month outlines the legal rationale for drone strikes, but only in cases when they target U.S. citizens who are also al-Qaeda leaders.

"What about the people who aren't U.S. citizens and who aren't on a list?" asks Naureen Shah, a human rights and counterterrorism expert at Columbia Law School. Of the few thousand people killed, Shah notes, "it's hard to believe all of these people are senior operational leaders of al-Qaeda."

The hazy history of 'signature strikes'

The first public reference to a signature strike appears to have been in February 2008, when the New York Times reported a change in drone strike policy, negotiated between the U.S. and Pakistan.

"Instead of having to confirm the identity of a suspected militant leader before attacking, this shift allowed American operators to strike convoys of vehicles that bear the characteristics of Qaeda or Taliban leaders on the run, for instance, so long as the risk of civilian casualties is judged to be low," the Times reported.

Over the next few years, they became the majority of strikes conducted in Pakistan, according to media reports citing unnamed officials.

The new policy contributed to an increase in strikes in Pakistan - up to a high of about 120 in 2010 - and also to an increase in the number of low-level militants or foot soldiers killed, according to a New America Foundation analysis.

It's not clear how much evidence is needed to justify a strike. In media reports, U.S. officials have offered scenarios of signature strikes hitting training camps or fighters who might cross the border from Pakistan to Afghanistan. The CIA reportedly uses drone surveillance and other intelligence to try to ensure those targeted are in fact militants.

Other officials, however, have described the policy more loosely - one calling it a "'reasonable man' standard."

Asked what the standard is for who could be hit, former Ambassador to Pakistan Cameron Munter recently told an interviewer: "The definition is a male between the ages of 20 and 40. My feeling is one man's combatant is another man's - well, a chump who went to a meeting."

It is also next to impossible to say which attacks are signature strikes.

The names of militant leaders killed in strikes are often confirmed by officials in news reports. But that doesn't necessarily mean the U.S. knew who was there ahead of the strike. One unnamed former military official claimed last year that the CIA "killed most of their 'list people' when they didn't know they were there."

Conversely, strikes in which little information emerges on who was killed could be failed attempts to hit specific individuals. (According to the New Yorker, it took as many as 16 strikes to kill Pakistani Taliban leader Baitullah Mehsud in 2009.)

The outcomes of strikes are often disputed. In one apparent signature strike two years ago, unnamed U.S. officials told the Associated Press that they had targeted a group that "was heavily armed, some of its members were connected to al-Qaeda, and all 'acted in a manner consistent with AQ (al-Qaeda)-linked militants.'" The U.S. said about 20 militants were killed. But Pakistani officials who said it had been a meeting of tribesmen and villagers provided evidence to the AP that 38 civilians were killed.

According to the Wall Street Journal, the attack prompted a debate in the White House about whether signature strikes and strikes on low-level fighters were worth the diplomatic risks.

The pace of strikes in Pakistan has tapered off since 2010, in large part because of deteriorating diplomatic relations with Pakistan, according to Bill Roggio, who tracks strikes for the Long War Journal.

Last spring, the U.S. reportedly expanded signature strikes to Yemen, though administration officials said there were stricter standards than in Pakistan and evidence of a threat to the U.S. or "U.S. interests" was required. Officials referred to the attacks with a new phrase, "Terror Attack Disruption Strikes."

That tighter standard is reportedly also part of the Obama administration's new guidelines for the targeted killing program. (The CIA's strikes in Pakistan will be exempt from any new rules for at least another year, according to the Washington Post.)

The legal debate

Brennan was asked about signature strikes last April but sidestepped the question. He replied: "You make reference to signature strikes that are frequently reported in the press. I was speaking here specifically about targeted strikes against individuals who are involved."

He continued that "everything we do, though, that is carried out against al-Qaeda is carried out consistent with the rule of law, the authorization on the use of military force, and domestic law - that's the whole purpose of whatever action we use, the tool we use, it's to prevent attack [sic] and to save lives."

The idea of killing members of an enemy force without knowing their identities isn't itself controversial.

"In a traditional conflict, there is no requirement that you know every single person's identity before you strike, so long as there are reasonable grounds for determining that the target is part of the enemy force," said Jennifer Daskal, a professor at Georgetown Law School and a former attorney in the Justice Department during the first Obama administration.

But legal observers hotly debate the bounds of the drone war, and who qualifies as a member of the enemy force. "In the conflict with a clandestine enemy like al-Qaeda, that determination is much harder," said Daskal.

While President Obama pledged in his State of the Union address to be more transparent about drone policy, the administration appears to maneuvering to avoid sharing additional information with Congress.

According to the New York Times, the administration may opt to share information on last year's Benghazi attack with Republican senators to avoid revealing any more legal memos on the drone war to Democratic senators.

Intelligence Committee Chairwoman Sen. Diane Feinstein, D-Calif., has said that her committee reviews videos of strikes. But she also recently said that the committee has long sought all of the legal opinions on drone strikes - and that the administration has withheld most of the opinions.

-

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.

* Everything You Wanted To Know About Drones But Were Afraid To Ask.

* Obama Claims Right To Kill Anyone Anytime.

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Comments welcome.


Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 8:51 AM | Permalink

The [Wednesday] Papers

"Former state Rep. Robin Kelly easily won the special Democratic primary Tuesday night in the race to replace the disgraced Jesse Jackson Jr. in Congress, helped by millions of dollars in pro-gun control ads from New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg's political fund," the Tribune reports.

"A snowstorm and lack of voter interest kept turnout low as Kelly had 52 percent to 25 percent for former U.S. Rep. Debbie Halvorson and 11 percent for Chicago 9th Ward Ald. Anthony Beale with 99 percent of precincts counted."

While others were calling Halvorson, Donne Trotter, Toi Hutchinson and even Mel Reynolds the favorite at the outset of this race, the Beachwood continued its stellar run as a superior pundit machine by tabbing Kelly early and often. Yay, us.

*

Note: Predictions are not endorsements.

*

Why Kelly? First, she wasn't an unknown around Beachwood HQ, which remembers her from her days as Matteson's community affairs director. We were aware of her deep roots in the district, her relationship with south suburban mayors, her record on guns, (some of) Hutchinson's vulnerabilities, Trotter's lackluster demeanor, Beale's lightweightedness and Halvorson's white conservatism. Kelly's generally progressive positions also most closely mirror those of the departed Jesse Jackson Jr. While the ad buys of Michael Bloomberg's PAC were a surprise, they only made the margin that much greater than Kelly would have otherwise won by. She also raised more money on her own than any other candidate and could probably have tapped into deeper pockets had she needed to (being pals with Alexi Giannoulias doesn't hurt on that score).

And like our prediction that Toni Preckwinkle would win the Cook County presidency and not Terry O'Brien, for god's sake, as many of our most esteemed pundits opined, we never bought into the notion that multiple African-American candidates would split the vote. That way of thinking is just old-fashioned Chicago reductivism.

*

"It's easy to forget that when Jackson resigned three months ago, there weren't many people who would have bet on Kelly taking the stage at the Matteson Holiday Inn on election night as the party nominee and Jackson's heir apparent," Mark Brown writes for the Sun-Times.

Our (updated) Political Odds had her on top from the start.

*

"Darnelle Fielder, of Park Forest, stood on the street corner outside the polling place carrying a sign that urged a vote for Chicago Ald. Anthony Beale (9th) for Congress," Phil Kadner reports in the SouthtownStar.

"Why was Fielder willing to stand in the sleet touting the candidacy of a Chicago alderman?

"'They're paying me $100,' she said. 'I stand outside from 7 a.m. until 7 p.m., and they pay me the money. I just did this for the money.'"

*

Beale's indignation at Bloomberg's spending is also a little hard to take given that he tried to get a piece of that New York money himself. From a statement he released a week ago:

"At no time did the Independence USA PAC reach out to other candidates in the race. When we saw the Bloomberg PAC's involvement, we immediately sent information outlining Anthony Beale's record on gun control. We also sent information to One Million Moms Against Guns and Gabby Gifford and Mark Kelly's PAC."

Obama's Drone War Doctrine
It's a secret, but it involves killing unidentified innocent civilians.

ABC News And Michelle Obama Sittin' In A Tree
Covering up for the First Lady.

A QT Coincidence
The federal budget sequester will start on National Self-Injury Awareness Day.

I Am A Pizza Delivery Guy
Dogs always think the pizza is for them.

Random Food Report
Fish fraud and bikini bodies.

Fantasy Fix: Top 20 First Basemen
Dunn vs. Rizzo.

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The Beachwood Tip Line: Dogs of gore.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 8:05 AM | Permalink

Random Food Report: Fish Tales

Mmmm.

1. Consumers have been waiting since 1962 for a non-fried fish sandwich. Or at least that what Hardee's seems to believe. The fast food chain just launched a "Charbroiled Atlantic Cod Fish Sandwich" supported by a racy ad campaign starring swimsuit model Nina Agdal.

*

Behind the scenes.

*

The new product seems to stray outside the Hardee's comfort zone - targeting guys with alluring items like the breakfast Ribeye Steak, Egg & Cheese Biscuit - by positioning the sandwich as healthier than its less charbroiled brethren like the Filet-O-Fish and the Burger King Big Fish Sandwich. Presumably, the bikini babe will distract guys from any such ideas. The charbroiled preparation may also open up a new market for Hardee's, according to CMO Brad Haley. "Women who will connect the dots between Ms. Agdal eating a char-broiled sandwich and having a bikini-ready body," he says.

It must be a gender thing, because our first thought when we see a hot girl stuffing a tartar-sauce laden sandwich in her mouth is not about how it could help us look better in a bikini.

2. According to Zagat blogger Kelly Dobkin, the new McDonald's Fish McBites taste like . . . fish, or what McDonald's describes as "white, flaky Alaskan pollock."

*

Bonus 3D Review:

-

3. We recommend snapping up these fishy delicacies while you can. According to the National Resources Defense Council,"pollock populations are now at their lowest levels in over 20 years."

4. So after we trawl out all the pollock, what's next? Our money is on lobster, which should be more affordable for restaurants in part because the Chinese have stopped using so much of it in Year of the Dragon wedding celebrations.

5. Then again, who can tell the difference between cod and lobster?

Previous fish fraud investigations:
* Boston Globe 2011
* NBC4 Southern California 2012
* Consumer Reports 2011
* Nature 2004

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Luke Chen is our pseudononymous man on food. He welcomes your comments.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 6:42 AM | Permalink

ABC News Covers For Michelle Obama

"First reported in the Washington Examiner, ABC News edited out first lady Michelle Obama's erroneous claim that Chicago teen Hadiya Pendleton was killed when she was shot with an 'automatic weapon,'" Mediate reports.

"The first lady made this claim in a Tuesday morning appearance on Good Morning America and was quoted in full in ABC News' online report. The claim was, however, edited out when the interview aired. ABC News responded to the charge on Tuesday saying the cuts were made 'solely for time.'"

That explanation strains credulity well past the breaking point when you see just how many other places a measly few words ("She was caught in the line of fire because some kids had some automatic weapons they didn't need") could have been edited out to make the interview into whatever window ABC (laughably) claims it had to work with. ABC is clearly lying.


*

Why does it matter? First, because claiming Pendleton was killed by an automatic weapon clearly dovetails with the president's efforts to pass an assault weapons ban, which gives her false statement political purpose. Second, if the First Lady is going to offer an "exclusive" interview to send a political message, she ought to get her facts straight.

But, you might ask, if the statement was wrong, wasn't ABC right to edit it out?

No. ABC News's job is fact-check public officials, not cover up their errors.

Finally, ABC News is not only lying about the edit, but once again sent a close friend of the Obamas to conduct a "news" interview. A real reporter (which the White House assiduously avoids) might have challenged Michelle Obama on the claim, and followed up with a question about how an assault weapons ban would - or would not have - saved Pendleton's life, along with other questions about how the president's policies don't often reflect her weepy claim that "we put [the nation's kids] first.

But that would be journalism. Back to you, George Stephanopoulos.

-

Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 6:06 AM | Permalink

QT: In What May Be A Coincidence. . . .


The federal budget sequester will start on National Self-Injury Awareness Day.

···

News Headline: "Montana bill would give corporations the right to vote."
Come to think of it:
Why not let corporations run for office?
Then our politicians could be in their own pockets.
Talk about efficiency in government.

···

News Headline: "Texas public schools teaching 6,000-year-old Earth."
News Headline: "NRA leader says feds are preparing to seize guns."
News Headline: "Obama's birth certificate still being questioned by some."
News Headline: "Kerry defends liberties, says Americans have 'right to be stupid.' "
A timely reminder.

···

News Headline: "Dennis Rodman visits North Korea."
It's time we got tough.
And if North Korea tests another nuke, we'll send Kim and Kanye.

···

News Item: ". . . reveals that Yahoo employees are called 'Yahoos.' Hi, I'm a Yahoo. . . ."
Which is to say:
Hi, I'm a crude and brutish person.
Or so QT's dictionaries have it.
QT Googled Yahoo, also.
And as long as we are at it: There are currently 2,460 Google hits for "tap-dancing militant Islamic fundamentalists."
And only 26 Yahoo hits.
But what can we expect from crude and brutish people?

···

News Headline: "Biological evidence that women talk more than men, study says."
What? Sorry, QT wasn't listening.

···

T.H., a Chicago reader, regarding another reader's mention that the mislabeling of fish in restaurants and grocery stores caused officials to schedule a herring and QT's asking everyone to please stop playing with fish names, writes:
"Abalone!"
Cod almighty, it never stops.

···

News Headline: "Man charged with burrito assault."
The man denied he was trying tequila when the question arroz.
This really has to stop.

···

News Headline: "Woman calls 911 for cigarettes."
As smokers nod in quiet understanding.

···

QT Modern Corporate Gibberish of the Week:
Exar has acquired Altior.

···

News Headline: "Benedict XVI to keep his name and become pope emeritus."
Or as Jack Finarelli, a Falls Church, Va., reader, suggests: The Pastor Formerly Known as Pontiff.

···

News Headline: "Shirtless Lawrence man barges into strangers' home with stolen sword, blind cat."
There is probably an interesting story behind that.

···

From Poor QT's Almanack:
On this day 97 years ago Peter De Vries was born, and if you want to know why he is QT's favorite modern writer, consider:
"Anyone informed that the universe is expanding and contracting in pulsations of eighty billion years has a right to ask, 'What's in it for me?' "

···

QT Grammar R Us Seminar on the English Language:
All right. So let's forget grammar and usage today.
Peter De Vries also wrote:
+ "The murals in restaurants are on a par with the food in museums."
+ "Human nature is pretty shabby stuff, as you may know from introspection."
+ "Nostalgia isn't what it used to be."
+ "It is final proof of God's omnipotence that he need not exist in order to save us."
The De Vries novel to start with is The Vale of Laughter.
Or maybe The Mackerel Plaza.
You can work your way up to The Blood of the Lamb.


QT appears Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays. QT welcomes your comments. For more QT, visit the QT archives. QT is also on Facebook.

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

Fantasy Fix: The Top 20 First Basemen

First base continues to be a very deep position for fantasy baseball team owners. Some of the names have changed - Miguel Cabrera*, for instance, has lost his 1B eligibility in Yahoo! leagues - but there are still many 1Bs capable of delivering the sort of punch traditionally expected of this position.

1. Joey Votto. A lock for a .320-plus BA with typical 1B power, Votto's biggest number last year was a 1.041 OPS, leading all 1Bs.

2. Albert Pujols. Always a .300 BA, 30 HR, 100 RBI threat, and will score more in beefed-up lineup

3. Prince Fielder. A .313 BA last year was overshadowed by declines in HRs and RBIs, but is very promising.

4. Edwin Encarnacion. Amazingly led all 1Bs in HRs (42) and RBIs (110) last year. Probably won't do better, but that's more than enough.

5. Buster Posey. Batting champ and NL MVP could climb this list if he hits 30 HRs.

6. Adrian Gonzalez. His potential to have a comeback season in return to NL lands him this high, but you may have to draft HRs at another position.

7. Anthony Rizzo. I'm surely drinking the local Kool-Aid, but his potential to hit higher than .300 sets him apart from your average 30/100 1B.

8. Allen Craig. 22 HRs and 92 RBIs in just 469 ABs last season suggest STL has an adequate replacement for Pujols.

9. Paul Goldschmidt. A gamble on youth, but 20 HRs last year is just a start for the 25-year-old, and 18 SBs added value.

10. Freddie Freeman. Could be looking at 30 HRs, 110 RBIs, 100-plus runs in loaded lineup.

11. Mark Teixiera. Streaky nature, injury-prone but still a threat for 35 HRs, 100-plus RBIs.

12. Adam LaRoche. Breakthrough season in 2012 suggests reliability for 30/100.

13. Billy Butler. Most hits among 1Bs last year and 100-plus RBIs make him a unique value.

14. Mark Trumbo. Could he be primed for a 40-HR season?

15. Adam Dunn. Back to being automatic for 40 HRs, but possible batting order change to fifth scares me.

16. Chris Davis. Explosive in stretches last year, though 33 HRs in 2012 could be his career best.

17. Joe Mauer. Fourth-most hits among all 1Bs make him a nice pick if you want to pick a back-up 1B and catcher at the same time.

18. Paul Konerko. Probably has one more 25-plus HR season in him.

19. Ike Davis. A quiet 32 HRs and 56 extra base hits made up for a .227 BA.

20. Brandon Moss. A .291 BA and 21 HRs in a 265-AB sample last year makes him a nice sleeper pick.

Other sleepers:
Ryan Howard. Two years removed from being a top five 1B, he is still fighting his way back to full strength from an achilles injury. Some drafters no doubt will take a chance he returns to form but I can't confidently rank him in my top 20.

Victor Martinez. Frequent injuries have killed his relevance, but he's healthy as spring starts, and there's a chance he still has a 100-RBI season in him.

Carlos Santana. Also a catcher, and I'd rank him higher at that position, but he was pathetic for most of a 2012 season that should have been his breakout year.

Eric Hosmer. Another much-hyped player going into 2012 who mostly fizzled, but great RBI potential and a little speed make him one to watch in 2013.

*In last week's overall top 50, I mislabeled Cabrera as a 1B. He had been a 1B/3B, but with a lack of starts at 1B last year, he is now only a 3B.

Expert Wire
* Yahoo! Roto Arcade gives Ryan Howard some love.

* SportsGrid has some basic fantasy baseball draft advice.

* CBS Sports provides strategic tips for head-to-head leagues.

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

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 3:39 AM | Permalink

I Am A Pizza Delivery Guy: Dog Tales

As far as household pets on four legs go, I am a dog person. I always have been. By and large, I love dogs unless they're yappy little creatures more suited for teacups and nestled within the carry-on bags and arms of Hollywood starlets or Mickey Rourke or Chicago Bears he-man Steve McMichael.

Maybe it's just me, but there's something fundamentally wrong with those people.

I show up on peoples' front porches with pizza and sandwiches. It's what I do to keep the lights on. Consequently, I often run into dog owners, and usually owners of rather large dogs. I work with other pizza-deliverin' guys whose bane of their entire existence is dogs. Not saying I'm more enlightened or anything than they are, but I actually like the dogs I run across in my pizza-deliverin' travels.

Unlike US Postal Service delivery guys, I don't carry a big can of Mace thinking I might run into a big dog. I do carry a weapon in my back pocket that could easily tear open a dog's throat if necessary, but even that's been largely unnecessary, functioning more as a big-ass door knocker than anything. When you've been on the job as long as I have, you get to know what to expect out of certain addresses you've been delivering to for several months, both in terms of household pets and the general behavior of the people coming to the door. So you adjust.

For instance, there's one particular regular customer with a pit bull who could scare the sandals off Jesus Christ. But I have to deliver regularly to this house guarded by drooling, bloodthirsty guardian-jaws of death. No problem. I call the house and whoever answers the phone comes out and meets me outside the fence. Transaction completed and life goes on. No worries, no problem. They're more likely to get eaten in their sleep than I ever will.

Yet, for the most part, I have come to view dogs as no more troublesome or threatening or annoyed with their lives than those of their owners. Dogs seem to instinctively know who's who and what's what, and apparently I pass the sniff test. I've walked into walled-in yards only to be met by a drooling bull mastiff taller than me at the shoulders with no harm whatsoever. I have, however, shared the inopportune moment in time where I was greeted at the door by a human couple in the midst of a knock-down drag-out fight to the death because they hate each other.

To their credit - especially since my pizza joint delivers really really fast - dog owners often go out of their way to hold their dogs back, like I'm an unexpected too-early repo man standing on their front porch. I can understand this, generally speaking. Shit happens. But a lot of times, the dog runs onto the front porch for a taste of freedom until a split-second later when it smells food and it doesn't know exactly what to do. Fight or flight and all that. "Stranger? Food! Stranger? Food!" So most times, I end up with a dog jumping all over me just happy to be something, being a dog. So what happens is, the customer ends up apologizing nine ways 'til Sunday for his dog just being a big lug of a dog. So I just say, "It's okay. I'm a dog person. We're all good." And I pet the hell out of the dog because, well, that's a really fine-lookin' dog there. Like, seriously. Life all good for everybody.

But still, the whole thing behind everything is the basic fact that a dog won't attack someone standing at the door holding a bunch of food. Nature knows its switches. People food is one of them. One of my favorite sayings on the front porch is - especially if a dog is getting all crazy - "Dogs always think the pizza is for them."

It's true, but it's also a good ice-breaker.

None of this, however, extends to chihuahuas. Because chihuahuas are all just born evil.

If anyone could characterize chihuahuas intos four words or less, it would boil down to "alley rat on meth." Simply put, a wild chimp tearing off your face and genitals would be a chihuahua's prison bitch. Dachsunds seem to share the same trait hear told, but having been exposed to those dogs, I tend to disagree, since every one of those dogs tend to belong to old people and have become either too fat or too slow to care about chewing anything apart. In fact, most of them seem quite content to just get a scratch behind the ears. Conversely, every chihuahua house I've encountered has a chihuahua frothing at the mouth even in its sleep, content in its dreams to let the entire bull terrier breed take the rap.

Basically, I'm thankful for dogs. They make my job easier because two out of three of everyone's doorbells don't fucking work in the first place and nobody knows I've been standing there freezing my ass off at the door until I bang on the storm door and some dog barks.

So yay, dogs. You're all okay with me. Try getting this with some stupid cat.

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Guy Essenfahr is our pseudononymous man on the pizza delivery beat. He welcomes your comments. And for more tales of working life, see our Life At Work archive.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 12:45 AM | Permalink

February 26, 2013

The [Tuesday] Papers

I don't think anyone believes this poll. Rod McCulloch isn't exactly the most respected pollster in the business, and I haven't found the methodology anywhere.

At least this post noted that "In yet another poll by We Ask America, reported Saturday by Fox Chicago, Kelly had an overwhelming lead over Halvorson- 37 percent to 19 percent - so recent polling in the race have varied significantly."

Not really. The McCulloch poll is the outlier, as it so often is, and I would have ignored it completely if not for the NBC Chicago post.

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CBS News, Progress Illinois, Patch, UPI and the Kankakee Daily Journal also bit.

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Another reason to be against early voting: Those who already cast ballots for Toi Hutchinson are essentially disenfranchised.

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Hutchinson dropped out so late her name will still appear on the ballot. Bad form, Toi.

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I still suspect she dropped out because of this, not because she didn't think she could withstand the barrage of Bloomberg ads coming her way. That makes no sense at all.

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There are also indications that Toni Preckwinkle may have advised her to bow out to avoid a bloodbath down the stretch. Any internal polling to share with us, Toni?

Governor Gumby . . .
. . . Gets The Message.

Exclusive: Chicago's New Tourist Attractions!
We have the list.

Speak of the Medicaid Devil
In Monday's column, I wrote about state Medicaid cuts.

Now comes this New York Times report:

"The Obama administration said Monday that states could cut Medicaid payments to many doctors and other health care providers to hold down costs in the program, which insures 60 million low-income people and will soon cover many more under the new health care law.

"The administration's position, set forth in a federal appeals court in California, has broad national implications as it comes as the White House is trying to persuade states to expand Medicaid as part of the new law.

"The statement of federal policy infuriated health care providers and advocates for low-income people. But it may encourage wavering Republican governors to go along with the expansion because it gives them a tool to help control costs."

Metropolitan Money Reclamation District
"Two top employees of the Metropolitan Water Reclamation District have collected more than a combined $400,000 in salary while on leave during an internal investigation in their department, the Tribune has learned.

"The taxpayer-funded water and sewer agency moved to fire one official before he agreed to resign in a deal that will pay him an additional $250,000 in salary and other compensation without ever returning to the job."

McMorrow Sorrow
I'm sorry to hear about the death of former state supreme court justice Mary Ann McMorrow, but I would be remiss if I didn't point out that the coverage conveniently leaves out the way she engineered Anne Burke's appointment to her vacated seat, though the Sun-Times has Burke noting that McMorrow was her "dearest friend."

Quigley vs. Obama
"Predicting that sequestration will occur, U.S. Representative Mike Quigley, Illinois' 5th District, said at the WPB SSA #33 Commission meeting on Feb. 20, 'Sequestration will impact you big time. It is a horrible plan, ill conceived and poorly carried out.'"

You tell 'em, Mike.

Jean-Claude McCarthy
"Mayor Rahm Emanuel gave his top cop his full support Monday, but at the same time admitted his 'impatience' with bringing down the city's murder rate," DNAinfo Chicago reports, as do many other news organizations.

I would only be the billionth - well, the thousandth - person to point out that this is exactly what Rahm said not long before he fired schools chief J.C. Brizard, so let me add value by pointing out that the media seemed to accept Rahm's dishonesty by declaring political diplomacy as an acceptable reason to be lied to, instead of just calling Rahm a liar.

Because Brizard's exit, as many of us know, had been in the works for awhile. McCarthy? I'm not entirely sure. But there are problems, and it's not just the murder rate per se.

*

Ald. Howard Brookins, chairman of the city council's Black Caucus, which is quite unhappy with McCarthy, said he's "learned to believe what the mayor says."

Not in a Chicago public school you didn't!

Blago's Burner
"After nearly two decades of pollution problems and financial woes, a tire incinerator in one of Illinois' poorest communities will close permanently as part of a legal settlement announced Monday by federal authorities," the Tribune reports.

"Still unresolved is a federal civil rights investigation into why former Gov. Rod Blagojevich's administration awarded a permit in 2005 to restart the controversial tire burner in Ford Heights, a south suburb where 95 percent of the population is black and per capita income is among the lowest in the state."

Zip Code
"Nicole Harris, who has been locked up since the 2005 death of her son, walked out of an Illinois prison today after an appeals court threw out her murder conviction," the Tribune reports.

"Harris emerged from Dwight Correctional Center in front of a gathering of news crews after being reunited with her other son.

"The Chicago woman was 23 when a jury found her guilty of killing her 4-year-old son Jaquari in their Northwest Side apartment following her confession to authorities.

"But Harris has long maintained that her confession was false and the result of threats and manipulation by police."

She should totally snitch, though, first chance she gets.

What Researchers Learned About Gun Violence . . .
. . . Before Congress Cut Their Funding.

Streak Freaks
"The Hawks have won a boatload of games and it has been an awesome ride," our very own Jim Coffman writes.

Jeff Tweedy, Chief Keef & a Pocketful of Soul
In our Local Music Notebook.

David Hernandez, Garry Wills & Pete Wentz
In Local Book Notes.

Reminiscing With Bobby Winkles
Former Sox coach was one of college baseball's greatest managers.

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The Beachwood Tip Line: Soulful.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 10:07 AM | Permalink

Local Book Notes: David Hernandez, Garry Wills & Pete Wentz

Over the transom.

1. Remembering David Hernandez.

Chicago's unofficial poet laureate.

2. Northwestern history professor Garry Wills appeared on The Colbert Report to discuss his new book Why Priests? A Failed Tradition. Here's a brief look:


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3. Pete Wentz appeared at Anderson's Bookshop in Naperville to sign his new book Gray, a fictionalized account of the life of a rock star named Pete.

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4. "In 1988 John Cappas was on top of the world. A young man in his early 20's who quickly rose to become one of the youngest drug king pins to grace the streets of the Chicago land area. John Cappas thumbed his nose at authorities, but while he was living it up making millions, spending $300,000 on cars, purchasing property, and lavishing jewelry and furs on his girlfriend, the federal government was building its case against him - a case they would win - a case that would get him a 45 year federal prison sentence.

"It seems so long ago, but prison would not break John Cappas, the never-say-die fighter who knew only one way of life - fight for what you want - continued his fight in the courts and finally returned to the streets after 15 years of hell in the Federal Penitentiary at Lewisburg Pennsylvania.

"Through his own determination and dedication he taught himself to overcome his challenges. He has now driven his life 180 degrees in the opposite direction and strives to help others avoid the mistakes he could not escape."

His newish book is Tall Money.

See also: 'Violent, Brutal' Coke Ring Depicted.

5. "A civil action was filed today in the United States District Court for the Northern District of Illinois against the Arthur Conan Doyle Estate by Sherlock Holmes scholar Leslie S. Klinger. Klinger seeks to have the Court determine that the characters of Sherlock Holmes and Dr. John H. Watson are no longer protected by federal copyright laws and that writers, filmmakers, and others are free to create new stories about Holmes, Watson, and others of their circle without paying license fees to the current owners of the remaining copyrights without paying license fees to the current owners of the remaining copyrights."

6. "Longtime LGBT rights advocate Urvashi Vaid will be in Chicago Wed., April 3 for a free event at the Center on Halsted, 3656 N. Halsted. She will discuss and sign copies of her new book, Irresistible Revolution: Confronting Race, Class, and the Assumptions of LGBT Politics.

"The event will start at 7 p.m. and is co-hosted by Center on Halsted, the Community Media Workshop; Ellen Stone Belic Institute for Women & Gender in Arts & Media, Columbia College Chicago; and Windy City Times newspaper. Women & Children First Bookstore will have books for sale at the event."

7. "I'm writing to tell you about WISCONSIN SUPPER CLUBS: An Old-Fashioned Experience by Ron Faiola. This charming book explores the decades-old tradition of the supper club, a term that's come to represent a distinctly Wisconsin-style dining establishment. Most of these supper clubs are family-owned, and they are designed to function as hubs for people to get together and enjoy an evening's worth of home-style food and good company.

"Traditional supper clubs are found all over Wisconsin and are popular destinations both for locals and vacationers. Wisconsin Supper Clubs brings these clubs to life, featuring profiles of more than 50 supper clubs - some decades old, others more contemporary interpretations of the tradition - from around the state.

"The supper club tradition originated more than 80 years ago in dance halls, roadhouses, and taverns across the country. After World War II, the supper club experienced a makeover, becoming a more gracious, family-oriented destination for an enjoyable evening out without the membership requirements of a private club. Supper clubs honor the idea that going out to dinner is a special experience and should last an entire evening. Meals at a classic supper club emphasize conviviality, slow-paced dining, and food prepared from scratch.

"Wisconsin Supper Clubs provides an intimate look at this tradition through interviews with proprietors and customers. It features beautiful full-color photographs that showcase the unique features and food of each club. Supper clubs are hugely popular in Wisconsin and are regularly frequented by Midwestern foodies 'in the know.' The book serves as an attractive guide to help your readers discover this delightful Midwestern tradition for themselves."

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 8:10 AM | Permalink

SportsMondayTuesday: Streak Freaks

"I know about this Blackhawks streak," my seven-year-old daughter said recently ("almost eight!" she would insist). Jenna has potential as a sports fan. She settles in and watches the games for long stretches, much longer than her older sister will usually tolerate.

"They've got the most wins in a row ever to start a season!"

Well, no. And I went on to note that the team's season-opening 16-0-3 run (which was about 12-0-3 at the time, but anyway) isn't an undefeated streak either. But after a little more discussion I realized we weren't getting anywhere.

Full appreciation for a stretch of 19 games without a regulation loss requires an awareness of hockey history that is beyond her at this point.

I stopped after our chat had veered into something along the lines of, well, the Blackhawks have actually lost three of those games. But because hockey used to allow games to end in a tie, it considers games that are tied after three periods to be a different class of result. You know, like there are different classes of lawsuits, or something like that . . . Yeah, that was definitely enough.

At least the Hawks won both of their most recent games, although Edmonton has some sort of "haven't lost in regulation" streak going after Monday night's 3-2 contest at the United Center. The Oilers earned a point before Marian Hossa finished things off in overtime after Patrick Sharp set it up with a determined rush to the net.

You can watch all of the highlights here:

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Still, the Hawks have slowed way down since their high-flying start. Hossa and Jonathan Toews had been held without a point in four of the previous five games. Hossa obviously snapped that streak but Toews is still searching for some offense and he appeared frustrated at times last night.

And they have never been slower all season than in stretches of Sunday's game with the Blue Jackets, a game that the undermanned team from Columbus managed to turn into slog for long enough stretches to stay competitive. Eventually the Hawks knocked one in (late in the second period off the stick of Andrew Shaw) and goaltender Corey Crawford made the goal stand up by stopping all 28 shots that came his way.

While Columbus and Edmonton have pretty meager attacks, the Hawks goaltending gets credit for staying hot nonetheless.

I have never seen any sort of table breaking down how long athletes are out with injuries versus how well they play when they come back, but Crawford has to be out near the edge of what is possible after his most recent absence. He missed a full week-and-a-half with an undisclosed injury (saying it is an "upper body injury" doesn't count as disclosure) but appeared to return in absolutely top form.)

Then fellow netminder Ray Emery continued his actual undefeated run (8-0-0) to start the season with 17 saves. And the Blackhawks have actually now won six in a row as a team.

One hopes the streaks will go on for as long as possible if for no other reason than it is now clear that once the streak is over, the playoff talk will begin. In this shortened season in particular - the Hawks are five games away from the midway point already - one's attention can't help but wander toward what everything will mean in the postseason.

For instance, Crawford and Emery have both been great so far this season but the accepted wisdom is that one will have to be the main man come the playoffs. How in the universe would coach Joel Quenneville make that decision at this point? Surely it will sort itself out at least a little bit over the next 29 games.

Then again, sometimes things don't sort themselves out. Like young hockey fans' perceptions of streaks. But there are always some fundamental truths, and in this case the one that matters is: The Hawks have won a boatload of games and it has been an awesome ride.

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

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 7:32 AM | Permalink

Local Music Notebook: Jeff Tweedy, Chief Keef And A Pocketful Of Soul

A loose collection of whatnot.

1. From the newsletter of yipster/huppie Ald. Joe Moreno:

Wilco front man, Jeff Tweedy, is a parent at Near North Montessori School, in the 1st Ward and is holding two shows at The Vic to benefit the school.

I am an enormous fan of Wilco and have seen them and Jeff over 20 times. For this show, I will have the unique and incredibly exciting honor of introducing Jeff.

You should buy tickets soon, because the first show is already sold out and the second one will sell out soon too.

Tickets went on sale on February 1 and can be purchased here. The two shows are Wednesday and Thursday, March 13 and 14, and proceeds will specifically benefit NNM's financial aid program.

Previously:
* Jeff Tweedy Oughta Be Ashamed
* Jeff Tweedy (D-Rahm) Has Broken Our Hearts

2. From Don Budzinski:

Last year I uploaded videos of the child prodigy jazz singer EMILY HADDAD to my YouTube channel. On your B.R. web site you asked if anybody knows what happened to her. I just uploaded another great clip of Emily (at the Green Mill as a 10-year-old) and alongside it a video of her dad's jazz paintings. (Habib is a great artist with an MFA from the Art Institute which he attended on a Fulbright Scholarship. Plus he's a guitarist who taught Em everything she knows in terms of jazz.)

Emily is 30 years old now and is finishing up her certification as a high school Science teacher in the Chicago Public Schools.

Thanks, Don!

3. We not only just lost Magic Slim, but Cleotha Staples.

If there's a rock 'n' roll heaven . . .

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4. Chief Keef: Crybaby of the Year?

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See also: Rooftop Reverend To Baptize Chief Keef.

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5. Uploaded to YouTube by Steve Cushing:

This was recorded at WBEZ radio in Chicago. The session was organized by Steve Cushing and Illinois Slim to record the enigmatic Good Rocking Charles and his version of "La Cucaracha." Charles got drunk and passed out and Smokey asked to do a couple of tunes we'd never heard or played before. These tunes turned out so good that the Rooster Label in Chicago issued them. Mad Dog Lester Davenport is heard on harp, Big John Trice on bass, Illinois Slim second guitar, and Steve Cushing on drums - and, of course, Smokey Smothers guitar and vocals.

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6. From Outside the Loop Radio:

The harmonica gets some love in Pocket Full of Soul: The Harmonica Documentary. It's playing at the AMC Showplace Village Crossing at 7000 Carpenter Rd. in Skokie on February 28th at 7:30 p.m.

OTL talks to director Marc Lempert here.

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 6:35 AM | Permalink

Exclusive: Chicago's New Tourist Attractions!

"Intriguing new attractions to make Chicago more appealing to international tourists could be implemented within months with the potential to attract 75 million visitors by 2020, blowing past Mayor Rahm Emanuel 50 million goal, the board chairman of Choose Chicago said Thursday," the Sun-Times reports.

"Glass-enclosed cable cars along the Chicago River, designated club cars on CTA trains to O'Hare Airport and plane rides along the lakefront may sound pie-in-the-sky but Bruce Rauner portrayed the ideas as attainable within a relatively short time frame."

And that's not nearly the half of it! The Beachwood has learned that the following ideas are also under consideration:

* Virtual City Council: Tourists invited to sit in city council meetings and cast actual votes as long as they agree to always vote Yes for the sake of historical accuracy.

* Downtown Zip Lines: Also known as Rapid Transit Air Lanes. Try one yourself or hail a Zip Cab.

* Drone Pilot For A Day: Fire missiles into random groups of Yemeni and Afghan civilians from an official U.S. military kiosk at Navy Pier.

* The Jesse Jackson Jr. Petting Zoo at Millennium Park: Stocked with just one species: Elk.

* Taste of Terre Haute: A festival featuring the food of the Terre Haute federal pen.

* Foreclosure Walking Tours: Tours last eight hours a day for a month. Patrons issued concealed 9MM Glocks, cadaver chalk and recycled red-light cameras.

* CompStat Theater: Watch from behind the glass as police chief Garry McCarthy reams out his commanders for embarrassing the mayor by not preventing crime it is impossible for them to prevent.

* Pizzeria UNO: Rebranded as the city's cloutiest pizza.

* CTA Grand Jury Trains: One of several brand extensions capitalizing on the popularity of the CTA Christmas Train franchise. Also: The CTA iPhone Robbery Train and the CTA Concealed Carry Train.

* Millennium Park 2.0: A life-size replica of a working U.S. Steel plant will rise on the site of the former U.S. Steel plant on the Southeast Side. All tourists who browse through the faux plant will be directed through the gift shop, where a half-dozen rotating part-time cashier jobs that pay minimum wage will be filled by former steelworkers who don't yet have mesothelioma.

* Charter Vest Rentals: Adventure tourists who want to visit real Chicago neighborhoods will be offered body armor rentals at airport and downtown kiosks. Proceeds will go to help struggling charter schools.

* Photos With Jim Belushi: He'll pay you to take a photo with him. Hopefully tourists will then pay it forward by spending that money at local establishments.

* Chicago 911: Tourists invited to respond to 911 calls the police don't take anymore.

* The Chicago Ghost Payroll Marathon: In lieu of actually running, spend three hours in a bar then show up at the finish line to collect your ribbon.

- J.J. Tindall, Ed Hammer, Steve Rhodes

Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 4:51 AM | Permalink

Reminiscing With Bobby Winkles

Bobby Winkles had been kicking around the White Sox organization for seven seasons, with stops in places like Colorado Springs, Waterloo, Memphis, Tulsa and Indianapolis, when in 1958 the old catcher Walker Cooper, who was the Indianapolis manager, called him into his office and said, "There's just one thing that's keeping you out of the major leagues."

"You tell me, and I'll work on it," replied the eager young infielder.

"Your ability," deadpanned Cooper.

Soon after, Winkles' days as a player were finished.

The book hardly closed on Winkles' baseball career when the Sox released him, though; He eventually made it back to the big leagues after establishing himself as one of the greatest college coaches ever.

Winkles photo 1.jpgThe year was 1959, and Arizona State was starting a baseball program. The university turned to Winkles.

"I started the team," Winkles, 82, told me last week at the Hot Stove League Luncheon in Palm Desert, California, hosted by a retired Los Angeles Times baseball writer. "I started with no scholarships, and we had to build a field. They didn't have one."

Meanwhile, archrival University of Arizona in Tucson was a national powerhouse. "When we played them when I first got there, we used to hope that we could get in nine innings before dark because they'd have so damn many runs," said Winkles. "Four years later we caught them."

Not only did Winkles and the Sun Devils catch Arizona, but he recruited the likes of Reggie Jackson, Rick Monday and Sal Bando to ASU, resulting in national titles in 1965, '67, and '69. After leaving ASU in 1971, Bobby was elected to the College Baseball Hall of Fame, and the field at Arizona State bears his name.

Then the Swifton, Arkansas, native quickly returned to the diamond as a coach with the California Angels.

"I never applied for a job in 43 years," said Winkles. "Somebody always came to me. And that's what I feel proud about."

Angels owner Gene Autry promoted Winkles to manager in 1973, and the Angels went 79-83 as attendance rose by more than 300,000. With Nolan Ryan leading the pitching staff, Winkles was confident that the Angels were going to take off.

"They had terrible teams because Mr. Autry wouldn't spend any money," Winkles lamented. "When we won 79, I think he's going to make some trades, and we're going to get some players because we had the pitching."

But no moves were made, other than replacing Winkles midway through the '74 season.

If Winkles thought he was working for a cheap, quirky owner in Autry, his next stop was Oakland where Charley Finley had depleted his championship teams of the early 70s. The former college coaching legend managed the A's for parts of the 1977 and '78 seasons.

"I just couldn't take his crap anymore," Winkles said. "[I'd be up] every morning at 6 o'clock. When you're the manager, you get home at 12 or 12:30 every night. At 2 o'clock he's calling, 'Why didn't you do this, why didn't you run that guy?' We're leading the league by two games. So I said, 'Well, I'm going to quit on top. Now's the time I'm going to do it.' He was a miserable guy."

Finley didn't appreciate his manager walking out on him. "Mr. Finley said, 'That little Arizona State SOB is not gonna get another job 'til November because he quit on me. He's a quitter," said Winkles.

No doubt much to Finley's chagrin, White Sox general manager Roland Hemond came calling right away, hiring Winkles as third-base coach.

The next season, 1979, Bill Veeck named Don Kessinger, the former standout shortstop with the Cubs, as player-manager.

"I was the third-base coach, but I did all of the spring training for him [Kessinger]," said Winkles. "I did everything for him. Finally it got to him. About July he said it's not worth it. I can't do this anymore. So then they brought in Tony [LaRussa], and I was with Tony for three years as a third base coach."

These were memorable times in Sox history with LaRussa, just 34, beginning his long, successful managerial career, and the Sox being sold in 1981 to Jerry Reinsdorf, who entered just in time for the players to strike from June until the end of August.

"When we had the strike, the White Sox kept paying the coaches, and they sent us to the different [minor league] teams," remembered Winkles. "They sent me to Appleton, WI. One day we're sitting in the stands, and I get a call from Roland Hemond. He says, 'Bob, I'd like to have breakfast with you tomorrow.'

"I don't know what he's doing. Am I doing something wrong here or whatever? He says, 'We got a proposition for you. Jerry [Reinsdorf] said to me, "Roland, I'm tired of paying these big babies money. I want you to get the best teacher in the United States, and we're going to raise our own." So Roland looked at him and said, 'Well, you got him coaching third right now,' which was quite a compliment for me."

The Sox made Winkles director of player personnel and named current Tigers' president-general manager David Dombrowski, a native of Palos Heights who already was working in the Sox front office, as scouting director. Players like Ron Kittle, Greg Walker, Britt Burns, and Richard Dotson were schooled in the Sox farm system and later contributed to the 1983 team that won 99 games, running away with the division by 20 games.

"When I took the job [the Sox farm system was rated] 24th," according to Winkles. "Three years later we were third. David Dombrowski and I were partners. We just got along like that. I still call him. He was in his 20s and just getting started."

Bobby Winkles seems like he's always just getting started. The down-home, good-ol'-boy humor, the enthusiasm and energy propel him from one story to the next.

Like the night while managing the Angels when Nolan Ryan, having thrown more than 160 pitches, was tiring in the eighth inning of a one-run game.

"He walked the first two guys, and I went out there," Winkles said. "I say, 'Nolan, you're getting the ball up. Managers know the ball starts getting up, you're getting a little tired. Looks like I ought to take you out.' He says, 'Can I ask you a question?' I said, 'Oh yeah, go ahead.' He said, 'Would you rather have a tired Nolan Ryan or that guy you got warming up?' I said, 'Go get 'em, Nolan.'"

By this time the room had emptied out so that only Winkles, myself, and one other listener remained. I got the impression the venerable baseball man was just getting warmed up. "Baseball's all about the stories," Winkles concluded. And you would be hard-pressed to find anyone who tells them better.

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

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 12:45 AM | Permalink

What Researchers Learned About Gun Violence Before Congress Killed Their Funding

President Obama has directed the Centers for Disease Control to research gun violence as part of his legislative package on gun control. The CDC hasn't pursued this kind of research since 1996 when the National Rifle Association lobbied Congress to cut funding for it, arguing that the studies were politicized and being used to promote gun control.

We've interviewed Dr. Mark Rosenberg, who led the agency's gun violence research in the nineties when he was the director of the CDC's National Center for Injury Prevention and Control. We talked to Rosenberg about the work the agency was doing before funding was cut and how it's relevant to today's gun control debate. Here's an edited transcript.

There's been coverage recently about how Congress cut funding for gun violence research, but not much about what the agency was actually researching and what it was finding. You were in charge of that. Tell us a little bit about what the CDC was doing back then.

There were basically four questions that we were trying to answer. The first question is what is the problem? Who were the victims? Who was killed? Who were injured? Where did they happen? Under what circumstances? When? What times of the year? What times of the day? What was the relationship to other events? How did they happen? What were the weapons that were used? What was the relationship between the people involved? What was the motive or the setting in which they happened?

The second question is what are the causes? What are the things that increase one's risk of being shot? What are the things that decrease one's risk of being shot?

The third question we were trying to answer is what works to prevent these? What kinds of policies, what kinds of interventions, what kinds of police practices or medical practices or education and school practices actually might prevent some of these shootings? We're not just looking at mass shootings, but also looking at the bulk of the homicides that occur every year and the suicides, which account for a majority of all gun deaths.

Then the last question is how do you do it? Once you have a program or policy that has been proven to work in one place, how do you spread it? How do you actually put it in place?

So what were you were able to find before funding got cut off?

One of the critical studies that we supported was looking at the question of whether having a firearm in your home protects you or puts you at increased risk. This was a very important question because people who want to sell more guns say that having a gun in your home is the way to protect your family.

What the research showed was not only did having a firearm in your home not protect you, but it hugely increased the risk that someone in your family would die from a firearm homicide. It increased the risk almost 300 percent, almost three times as high.

It also showed that the risk that someone in your home would commit suicide went up. It went up five-fold if you had a gun in the home. These are huge, huge risks, and to just put that in perspective, we look at a risk that someone might get a heart attack or that they might get a certain type of cancer, and if that risk might be 20 percent greater, that may be enough to ban a certain drug or a certain product.

But in this case, we're talking about a risk not 20 percent, not 100 percent, not 200 percent, but almost 300 percent or 500 percent. These are huge, huge risks.

I understand there was also an effort to collect data on gun violence through something called the Firearm Injury Surveillance System. What did that involve

We were collecting information to answer the question of who, what, where, when, and how did shootings occur?

We were finding that most homicides occur between people who know each other, people who are acquaintances or might be doing business together or might be living together. They're not stranger-on-stranger shootings. They're not mostly home intrusions.

We also found that there were a lot of firearm suicides, and in fact most firearm deaths are suicides. There were a lot of young people who were impulsive who were using guns to commit suicide.

So if you were able to continue this work, what kind of data do you think would be available today?

I think we'd know much more information about what sorts of weapons are used in what sorts of firearm deaths and injuries.

Let's say you look at robbery associated homicides, and you find that in those homicides certain weapons are used in almost all of them and that these weapons come from a limited number of sources and that those weapons are not used by people to defend their home or to hunt or to target shoot. Then you can say, "Here's a type of weapon that seems to be only used in criminal enterprises and doesn't seem to have any legitimate uses, and maybe we ought to find a way to restrict the sales or access to that type of weapon."

I think it's also important to look at what the impact of these data might be.

If you look at how many deaths have occurred between 1996, when there was this disruption to surveillance and research, and now, so that's 16 years, and if you assume that there are about 30,000 gun deaths every year, you're talking about 480,000 gun deaths over that period of time.

If even a fraction of those deaths could have been prevented, you're talking about a significant impact in terms of saving lives.

Lawmakers are now trying to figure out what the most effective policies might be to curb gun violence, and how to implement them. What were you beginning to find on that?

The largest question in this category is what kind of larger policies work? Does it work, for example, if you have an assault weapon ban? Does that reduce the number of firearm injuries and deaths? In truth, we don't know the answer to that. That requires evaluation.

Does gun licensing and registration work to reduce firearm injuries and death? We don't have the answer.

The policies that make it easier to carry concealed weapons, do those reduce or do those increase firearm injuries and deaths? We don't have the answer. Do gun bans like they have in the city of Chicago, work? We don't have the answer yet to those.

These require large-scale studies of large numbers of people, over a long period of time to see if they work or don't.

I don't think those studies were fully funded or completed.

How do you think the gun control debate might be different today, if you had been allowed to continue that research?

I would like to think that we would have had answers to what works and what doesn't work. I would hope that we know whether the kind of bans and restrictions that they have in Chicago really make a difference or don't. I would hope that we would have had information about whether an assault weapon ban saves lives or doesn't. Unfortunately, when you don't have those data that really show you, scientifically, whether or not something works, then you end up with people making statements like the following, "Obviously, the assault weapon ban didn't work, because Columbine happened."

That's kind of like saying, "Vaccines don't work because someone got the flu."

The Obama administration is asking Congress for $10 million to pursue gun-related research. If you had that budget and you had your old job, what would you use the money to look at?

I think we'd want to look at what the impact of different policies would be, both restricting and enabling policies.

The other thing that I would make sure we looked at is not just how do we prevent firearm injuries, but how do we also protect the rights of legitimate gun owners? I think it would be very important to look, for example, at legislation that restricts access by certain people to firearms.

People often think that there are maybe three things we should consider passing right now, something like an assault weapons ban, a ban on large capacity magazines, and background checks on all gun purchasers.

The truth is that there's not going to be a simple, magic pill or even three pills that cure the whole problem. If you look at suicides and the whole range of homicides and firearm injuries, the answers are going to come, bit by bit, over time, incrementally.

It's not one, two or even three things that are really going to solve the problem. They may solve our conscience, but they won't solve the problem. The research is really, really important. We really need to find out what works, so that we can save more lives.

It's been presented to people that research is going to hurt legitimate gun owners. That's the threat and how the NRA leadership has often presented it to the NRA membership. "Any sort of research is only going to result in your losing all your guns."

That's a tactic of fear. It's not at all the case. There are things we can do that will both reduce firearm injuries and protect the legitimate rights of gun owners and protect the children and their families.

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Comments welcome.


Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 12:18 AM | Permalink

February 25, 2013

The [Monday] Papers

"Savings from cuts to the Illinois Medicaid program have fallen short by $464 million, about 30 percent of the expected $1.6 billion in projected savings that Gov. Pat Quinn pushed for last year," AP reported last week.

"In the first public report on how cuts to the health care safety-net program are being carried out, Illinois Department of Healthcare and Family Services Director Julie Hamos detailed the actual savings of cost-cutting measures so far. Hamos reported to the House Human Services Appropriation Committee on Thursday in Springfield."

Boldface mine.

"Some cuts have gone as planned, such as dropping Medicaid coverage for thousands of working parents and eliminating coverage of dental care and visits to chiropractors for adults.

"We were able to achieve a billion dollars in health savings and that's never been done in Medicaid history," Hamos told The Associated Press in a telephone interview after giving the report.

Perhaps because Democrats have traditionally blocked such cuts, instead of enacting them.

"But a projected savings of $350 million from making sure only people who are eligible receive Medicaid was too optimistic, Hamos said."

Which is what Democrats have traditionally argued when Republicans have claimed massive Medicaid fraud.

"An outside vendor started the work in January. Reston, Va.-based Maximus Inc. was hired to improve the system, eliminate a backlog and make recommendations to state caseworkers.

"Hamos said that it takes time to implement a large effort to check the eligibility of 2.7 million Medicaid recipients. Her new estimate for savings from the eligibility crackdown is $150 million for this year.

"This company had to hire and train 500 people. They had to rent office space," Hamos said. "The company (Maximus) believes (this process) should take seven months. We made them do it in 90 days, and by Jan. 2, they were up and running."

Maybe they could have hired some people on Medicaid.

"Another obstacle to achieving all the projected cuts: The federal government denied permission to carry out some planned cuts that would have changed the way people are deemed to be eligible for nursing home care, preventing savings of several million dollars."

Maybe because simply changing eligibility rules doesn't change a person's need for nursing home care.

"The Illinois Hospital Association won changes to rules that will mean $30 million in cost savings won't be achieved, Hamos said. The state had planned to stop paying for entire hospital stays when certain mistakes happen - such as a surgical sponge left inside a patient. But that plan 'was basically gutted,' Hamos said, after the hospital association made its case to the Joint Committee on Administrative Rules.

I suppose the state figured the hospitals should pay for their own mistakes, but how can they afford to when they spend so much money bending legislators to their will?

"The Medicaid cuts limit patients to four prescription drugs per month without prior approval. Rep. Greg Harris, a Chicago Democrat, said he'd like to see future reports on how that's going for people with severe mental illnesses. If most are gaining authorization for their drugs because they clearly need them, Harris said, it may be wiser to drop the red tape.

"Are we just creating bureaucracy?" he asked. "I think we need to be monitoring for unintended consequences that push the costs out someplace else."

But that's the name of the game. Costs aren't being cut, they're being shifted. To the shafted.

Private Courts
"A Northwestern University student filed a lawsuit against the school in 2008, alleging top administrators failed to discipline a student who raped her," the Tribune reports.

But what happened in the case is a secret.

The student's complaint, filed under a pseudonym to protect her identity, was sealed shortly after it was filed in Cook County Circuit Court. Northwestern University says the student had the case sealed. The student's lawyer says that's not true.

The court order sealing the file that could clear that up? That's a secret too.

The Northwestern University legal dispute is one of 163 cases in the Chancery Division that judges have hidden from the public, according to a Tribune analysis of cases sealed since January 2000. Chancery judges handle various legal matters, including contract disputes, mortgage foreclosures and big-money class-action lawsuits.

State law allows some legal battles to be filed under seal, such as whistle-blower lawsuits. But the Tribune found chancery judges also have sealed cases for a fellow judge, the Wrigley family and a former Chicago Bulls basketball player.

This isn't a new story, but that doesn't mean it's not an important story - one that should be revisited every year.

Numero UNO
"Illinois House Speaker and state Democratic Party leader Michael Madigan - long a friend to Chicago's United Neighborhood Organization - had a campaign fund-raiser last Oct. 30 hosted by the influential group's chief executive, Juan Rangel, and its lobbyist, attorney Victor Reyes," the Sun-Times reports.

The turnout was good. And so was the money, records show, with UNO contractors writing checks for more than $24,000 to campaign funds controlled by Madigan, the Chicago Democrat whose district has grown increasingly Hispanic in recent years.

Madigan had given a big boost to the group's aspirations to be a major operator of charter schools in the city when he helped it get a $98 million state school-construction grant in 2009, without any requirement for competitive bidding on the work, as government agencies typically must do. The state money helped fuel UNO 's rapid growth as the operator of publicly funded schools that offer an alternative to Chicago's public schools in heavily Latino neighborhoods.

Millions of dollars from the state grant ended up going to family members of UNO 's political allies and of a top executive of the group, Miguel d'Escoto, the Chicago Sun-Times reported earlier this month. The stories prompted d'Escoto to resign his $200,000-a-year UNO post and triggering a state review.

After the Madigan benefit was held, a bill was introduced in Springfield on Jan. 2 that would have provided another $35.2 million in state money UNO was seeking to build more charter schools. The author of the bill, state Sen. Heather Steans (D-Chicago), says she isn't sure who wrote the provision benefiting UNO into her broader bill.

My money's on Ida Know.

At the October fund-raiser for Michael Madigan, the hosts also included the Roosevelt Group lobbying group - led by Reyes and Noonan - and the Reyes Kurson law firm.

UNO recently hired Reyes' law firm to lobby for a zoning change from City Hall for a new high school on the Southwest Side, city records show. Construction, expected to cost $31 million, is being funded entirely by state taxpayers. Reyes Kurson will be paid an estimated $25,000 in state funds for their work on the project.

Boldface mine.

*

Meet the Chicago alderman who serves as Reyes Kurson's counsel.

Budget Showdown Update
In today's QT.

Illinois Sequestered!
A Beachwood exclusive.

The Weekend In Chicago Rock
Huge.

Remembering Magic Slim
Keeper of the Flame.

Picasso & Chicago
Royko and The Boss.

SportsMonday
Will appear on Tuesday.

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The Beachwood Tip Line: Sequestral.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 8:39 AM | Permalink

The Weekend In Chicago Rock

You shoulda been there.

1. Passion Pit at the UIC Pavilion on Friday night.


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2. Matt & Kim at the UIC Pavilion on Friday night.

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3. Pat McGee at City Winery on Friday night.

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4. Meshuggah at the House of Blues on Friday night.

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5. Polo Urias at Vlive on Saturday night.

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6. John Michael Montgomery at the Congress on Saturday night.

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7. Gramatik at the Riv on Saturday night.

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8. Trinidad James at Reggie's on Saturday night (with Chief Keef).

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9. Soul Asylum at the Double Door on Friday night.

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10. Black Veil Brides at the House of Blues on Thursday night.

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11. Tab Benoit at FitzGeralds on Saturday night.

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12. I Lost Control at Live Wire on Saturday night.

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 6:46 AM | Permalink

QT: Budget Crisis Countdown Update


News Headline: "Tea Party rooting for sequester."
News Headline: "At National Zoo, sequester could threaten exhibits."
There must be something we can do to help these poor creatures.
And the ones in zoo, too.

···

News Headline: "Senate Democrats protect corporate jet tax loophole."
Lest we forget that corporate jets are people, too.

···

News Headline: "Giant sunspot now aimed directly at Earth."
News Headline: "How a super volcano could threaten Earth."
News Headline: "Gamma rays could end life on Earth."
Move along, nothing to see here. . . .

···

A Republic, If You Can Keep It:
Three out of 10 people you see on the street have heard "nothing at all" about the upcoming federal budget sequester.

···

We Have Seen the Present, and It Does Not Work:
F.M., a Chicago reader, notes that the iTunes book section lists Charles Darwin's On the Origin of Species under "Fiction and Literature" and the Bible under "Reference."

···

News Headline: "Why no prosecutions on Wall Street?"
News Headline: "Iran to hang four bankers on fraud charges."
Admit it.
You found this tempting, just for a moment.

···

Bob Gold, a Key West, Fla., reader, regarding another reader's mention that the mislabeling of fish in restaurants and grocery stores has caused officials to schedule a herring, writes:
"I just can't fathom this story."
+ R.T., a Chicago reader, writes:
"I like to be optimistic. But I don't believe the herring will serve any porpoise."
+ Gary Duffala, a Rio Rancho, N.M. reader, writes:
"So let's trout out one more thing to carp about."
Stop it.
Stop it now.

···

And There Happen to be Drug Therapies Available Update:
Those who grieve for more than two weeks over a death are not merely sad but suffer from prolonged grieving disorder.

···

QT News Presented Without Comment:
Jermaine Jackson has changed his name to Jermaine Jacksun for "artistic reasons."

···

News Headline: "Sen. Ted Cruz: I'm being silenced."
But is there a downside?

···

QT What Passes for Miracles These Days Update:
An image of Jesus has been found in bird droppings on a car windshield in Brooklyn, Ohio.

···

From the QT Archive of Knowledge:
+ Alfred Hitchcock never won a Best Director Oscar.
+ There is no bourbon produced in Bourbon County, Ky.

···

News Item: ". . . The total of 2 trillion plus 155 billion gallons is more water than the annual flow of the Wisconsin River at the Wisconsin Dells. It is more than three times the volume contained in Lake Winnebago. . . ."
Or enough water to fill 283,346 Boeing 747s, if you are still trying to visualize it.

···

QT Grammar R Us Seminar on the English Language:
News Item: ". . . break the yolk of the tyrant. . . ."
News Item: ". . . breaking the yolk of oligarchy. . . ."
Some people like their oppression over easy.


QT appears Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays. QT welcomes your comments. For more QT, visit the QT archives. QT is also on Facebook.

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

Illinois Sequestered!

"The White House on Sunday detailed how the deep spending cuts set to begin this week would affect programs in every state and the District, as President Obama launched a last-ditch effort to pressure congressional Republicans to compromise on a way to stop the across-the-board cuts," the Washington Post reports.

Illinois, according to the White House, would lose $33.4 million in primary and secondary education funding; $6.4 million in clean air and water funding; and services to approximately 2,700 children enrolled in Head Start, among other cuts.

While that's bad enough, a Beachwood analysis has found the White House left out a whole lotta stuff, including:

* Pat Quinn only allowed to describe Illinoisans as "good," not "good and true."

* CPS forced to use 1965 textbooks instead of 1982 textbooks.

* Chicago police chief Garry McCarthy only allowed to introduce one new strategy a week instead of three.

* One less pension crisis summit a week.

* Pension crisis summits catered by Arby's, not Boston Market.

* Coke and Pepsi replaced by RC in state vending machines.

* Chicago City Council loses subsidy for rubber stamp ink pads.

* Construction will be halted at Peotone airport.

* One less aldermanic prosecution a week.

* FBI must turn off 10 percent of its wiretaps.

* Red Line to stop only at stations whose name ends in a vowel.

* CPS lunches to contain one less flaming cheeto per serving.

* TSA strip searches to be performed by baggage handlers.

* Field Museum forced to only exhibit Pleistocene Era.

* 90/94 becomes 50/47.

* Roosevelt Road to be re-named for Teddy, not Franklin.

* Cook County Jail meals to contain one less flaming cheeto per serving.

* Great Lakes to become just Pretty Good Lakes.

* Museum of Science and Industry to be just Industry.

* MSI U-505 sub to be recommissioned by U.S. Navy.

* Millennium Park to become Century Park.

* Public offices to automatically stay in the family to save money on pretend elections.

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 12:17 AM | Permalink

February 23, 2013

Remembering Magic Slim: Keeper of the Flame

"Magic Slim, a singer and guitarist acclaimed as a keeper of the flame of electrified Chicago blues, died on Thursday in Philadelphia. He was 75," the New York Times reports.

"Magic Slim was one of the last in a long line of musicians who grew up in the Deep South and then moved to Chicago, where the blues evolved in the years after World War II from a folk music played primarily on acoustic guitars to a loud, raucous, distinctly urban music, played on electric instruments by the likes of Muddy Waters and Howlin' Wolf, that was a precursor of rock 'n' roll.

"He was known not just for his musicianship but also for the intensity of his live performances. The music magazine No Depression once described his music as "the in-your-face variety" of blues, noting, 'Magic Slim doesn't just play the blues, he body slams his audiences with a vicious guitar attack that pins them to the floor.'"

*

"Born in Torrence, Miss., [Morris 'Magic Slim' Holt] took an early interest in music," the Lincoln, Nebraska Journal Star notes.

"A cotton gin accident that took the little finger on his right hand caused the young Holt to switch from piano, his first love, to guitar

"At 11, Holt moved to nearby Grenada, Miss., where he met and became friends with guitarist Samuel 'Magic Sam' Maghett, who supplied him with guitar advice early and the name 'Magic Slim' later.

"In 1955, Holt made his first trip to Chicago, where he played bass in Magic Sam's band and picked up his new name. But he returned to Mississippi, discouraged, and educated himself in the blues.

"A few years later, he returned to Chicago, became a staple on the blues scene and began his recording career with the single 'Scufflin'' in 1966. He formed the Teardrops with brothers Nick and Douglas the next year."

*

"Slim had more than 30 albums to his credit since releasing his debut, Born On a Bad Sign, in 1977," the BBC notes.

"[Slim] became a Chicago blues fixture in his own right, developing a guitar style that blended a distinct vibrato with a slide-guitar-like sound formed with his bare fingers against the strings.

"The guitarist was recognized as much for his powerful, gruff vocals as his musicianship and was known for playing with picks on both the thumb and index finger of his right hand."

*

"When Magic Slim thundered at the microphone - his voice rough and ragged, his guitar riffs tough and punchy - listeners heard classic Chicago blues as it was conceived in the 1950s," Howard Reich writes for the Tribune.

"Not nostalgic or dated but simply unconcerned with latter-day musical fashion or commercial considerations.

"That approach, which Mr. Slim clung to throughout his career, made him a symbol of Chicago blues around the world and an upholder of its noblest traditions."

*

"Eddie Vedder was a fan, and in 1994 Slim opened a Pearl Jam show in Chicago," Pitchfork notes.

*

Blind Pig Records biography.

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Wikipedia entry.

*

In Vienna, 1991:

*

At a Chess session in Chicago, 1975:

*

At the 1125 Club in Chicago (59th and May), 1974:

*

At the Waterfront Blues Festival in Portland, 2009:

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 8:31 PM | Permalink

The Weekend Desk Report

Thank goodness the great and mighty Wheel of Life just keeps on a-turnin'.

Market Update
Markets are understandably jittery about the impending sequestration cuts. After all, the last high-profile sequester didn't turn out all that well.

For Your Consideration . . .
We will learn this weekend whether celebrated actor Daniel Day-Lewis has convinced voters to give him a third term in the Lead Role category. That's nothing - this guy's gunning for a fourth!

Miserable
We'll also learn whether Anne Hathaway has annoyed enough Academy members to lose her front-runner status. Although, from what we understand, you have to be pretty damn irritating before the membership starts to notice.

Harry Situation
Oh come on, you think this is humiliating? For goodness' sake, this guy is your third-string quarterback.

City of Greased Palmas
Finally this week, it looks like Chicago may have found its next potential sister city.

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The Weekend Desk Tip Line: In a lead role.

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Weekend Special: Picasso And Chicago.

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The Sound Opinions Listening Report: "Jim and Greg break out the shovels and metal detectors for another edition of Buried Treasures. They play 'hidden' tracks they think deserve wider notice. Plus the latest from Nick Cave!"

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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.

The Story of My Parents' Lives

2-18-MyParents.jpg

Robert and Alma Sargis, residents of Chicago for more than 80 years, present endearing autobiographies as they recount their lives from schooling to first jobs to happiest moments.

Saturday, February 23 at 4 p.m. on CAN TV19
30 min.

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Perspectivas Latinas: Brazilian Music & Dance

2-18-BrazilDance.jpg

Rachel Montiel of the Planeta Azul samba dance troupe shares the importance of samba music to Brazilian culture and how to perform basic samba steps.

Saturday, February 23 at 7:30 p.m. on CAN TV21
1 hr.

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An Evening With A Honduran LGBT Leader

2-18-HondoranLGBT.jpg

LGBT leader Pepe Palacios discusses the role of LGBT activists are playing in the movement to end violence and restore democracy in Honduras.

Sunday, February 24 at 9 a.m. on CAN TV21
2 hr.

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Association for Women Journalists 20th Anniversary with Maria Hinojosa

2-18-WomenJournalists.jpg

Journalist Maria Hinojosa shares her experiences telling America's untold stories for 25 years on radio, TV and online.

Sunday, February 24 at 11 a.m. on CAN TV21
1 hr.

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Forgotten Guantanamo Detainees

2-18-Guantanamo.jpg

This program explores why dozens of men cleared for release from Guantanamo Bay are still being held at the detention center.

Sunday, February 24 at 12 p.m. on CAN TV21
2 hr. 30 min.

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Community Forum on School Closings

2-18-SchoolsForum.jpg

Parents, students and community members assemble to discuss elementary schools that are at risk of being closed.

Sunday, February 24 at 2:30 p.m. on CAN TV21
1 hr.

Posted by Natasha Julius at 8:03 AM | Permalink

Picasso And Chicago

"The first major Picasso exhibition organized by the Art Institute in 30 years, this presentation features over 250 of Picasso's paintings, sculpture, prints, drawings, and ceramics celebrating the artist's special connections to the city and the 100th anniversary of the Armory Show, when Picasso's work was first shown in the United States. The celebration continues online with a special look at the 1913 Armory Show."


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See also:

* Tribune: When Picasso Met Chicago

* Chicago: Five Memorable Moments From Picasso And Chicago

* Alison Cuddy, WBEZ: New Art Exhibit Explores The Century-Long Connection Between Picasso And Chicago

* Discovery: Picasso's Genius Revealed: He Used Common House Paint

* Chicago Stories, WTTW: Pablo And The Boss

* Royko: Picasso And The Cultural Rebirth Of Chicago

* Wikipedia: The Chicago Picasso

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 2:03 AM | Permalink

February 22, 2013

The [Friday] Papers

"Moments after screaming in court, 'I did not kill Kathleen,' Drew Peterson was sentenced to 38 years in prison for the 2004 murder of his third wife Kathleen Savio," the Tribune reports.

"Peterson had faced as much as 60 years, but Judge Edward Burmila said he gave Peterson some consideration for his years as a police officer and his service in the military."

Shouldn't the fact that Peterson committed his crime[s] while working as a cop have worked against him instead of being a mitigating factor? And wasn't it Peterson's status as a police officer that shielded him from scrutiny for years? C'mon, judge!

*

"In my private life, I ran up to six companies at one time," Peterson said in court. "I employed nearly 100 people."

I haven't followed the details of this case closely, so that's new to me. He ran six companies at one time? Security firms? Multilevel marketing?

*

Oh. Okay, that's one . . .

*

On to a more important aspect of this case . . .

From Reuters:

After the sentencing, the former police officer's defense team told reporters they would appeal the conviction, saying the trial had been riddled with problems.

"They changed the rules to convict him, they changed the evidence," said attorney Steve Greenberg. "They changed everything."

The Illinois state legislature passed a law, dubbed "Drew's law," in response to the case, loosening requirements for circumstantial evidence.

That's still getting reported in some quarters, and that's certainly the impression I once had, but back in September when Peterson was convicted a faithful reader called me out on an item I wrote referring to "Drew's Law" and it checked out. His e-mail:

"1. Judge Judy doesn't even allow hearsay evidence, and it's more than a little disconcerting that the General Assembly passed "Drew's Law" specifically for this case (which proved to be crucial)."

The latter part "(which proved to be crucial)" is likely inaccurate.

In fact, none of Drew's law was used to introduce hearsay statements into the trial. Rather the State used common law hearsay rules to admit various statements. These same common law principles have been used for decades.

It was an odd circumstance, but Glasgow ended up arguing against the very "Drew's Law" that he drafted because it was more restrictive of hearsay than the common law.

Indeed. My reply:

As far as I can tell, you're right. Which means the bulk of reporting is wrong, but this indeed seems to be the case.

I'm not sure if the prosecution would have gone forward - at least when it did - if Drew's Law wasn't enacted, but that wasn't in any way my point so I will correct. Thanks!

I added a corrective update to the item.

He replied:

I'm an attorney and I followed this case closely. The media reporting on this makes me really sick b/c most have been lead to believe that the State went out of its way to enact a law that targeted one person, and then convicted him on it.

This is simply not true.

The state was unsure of the common law doctrine so they passed a statute to make it clear. In the meantime, the Hanson appeal came through and the State Sup. Court set the precedent that the common law hearsay doctrine ruled the land. As it should.

Everything admitted at trial was under common law doctrines which is why any competent attorney who has been following this case will tell you that his chances on appeal are slim. There were no reversible errors, and while there were some tactical errors, rarely is that reversible.

Peterson made a huge mistake in deciding to put the divorce attorney on the stand. I say Peterson b/c he had 6 attorneys My understanding is that 5 of them advised against putting him on the stand while Brodsky told him he should. Whenever this is split amongst counsel, the client gets to choose how to roll the dice. He chose to put him on the stand.

He was thinking that Stacy's alleged extortion comments might make her incredible. But the statement basically just added weight to all the other hearsay statements brought in largely by people totally unconnected to one another, which is actually a strong circumstantial case.

CNN, Trib, ST - shit everyone - has completely botched this coverage. Real lawyers will tell you that he's fucked.

And he is.

*

Previously . . .

From The [Friday] Papers (item No.9), February 2008:

"Joe Hosey of the Sun-Times Media Group's Joliet Herald News has parlayed his coverage of Drew Peterson into a book deal," Phil Rosenthal reports in the Tribune. (Low in column)

"Publishers Weekly has pegged the value of Hosey's deal at six figures."

And I'm sure he'll exercise the good taste to give that all away to charity; he wouldn't want to profit so handsomely off the exploited tragedy of another, right?

*

From Nobody Should Play Drew Peterson In A Lifetime Movie, June 2011:

The media is asking the wrong question. It's not a matter of whether Rob Lowe is the "right choice" to play Drew Peterson in a Lifetime movie, it's whether anyone should play him in any movie.

*

From Watch Rob Lowe Actually Take His Role As Drew Peterson In A Crappy Lifetime Movie Seriously, January 2012:

Meanwhile, Shorewood Patch editor Joe Hosey, who wrote the book that the movie is based on, gushes (without disclaimer) that "Lifetime has a new two-minute commercial for Drew Peterson: Untouchable, and it is packed with action and drama.

"Rob Lowe is there pushing Kaley Cuoco into a big-screen TV. He's wearing a Hawaiian shirt in a bar and talking like Dennis Farina. It even looks like the guy playing Joe Hosey shows up for a few seconds. What else could you possibly want?"

I mean, that movie had it all.

-

Hyenas & Scrod
In today's installment of QT.

The Week In Chicago Rock
Three for Thriday.

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The Beachwood Tip Line: Touchable.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 9:09 AM | Permalink

QT: No Business Like Show Business


News Headline: "House Speaker Boehner says 'it's time to act' on federal deficit."
News Headline: "U.S. deficit shrinking at fastest pace since WWII."
Boehner knows that.
As he said, he was only acting.

···

We Have Seen the Present, and It Does Not Work:
A giant sequoia in Portland, Ore., will be cut down to make way for a North Portland Greenway Project bicycle path.

···

News Headline: "South Carolina 'guns in bars' bill moving forward."
A call was placed.
"South Carolina Secretary of State."
Visitor information, please.
"We can give you that."
Just a question. Is the public allowed to bring guns into the state capitol building?
"No."
Thank you.
"You're welcome."
But the legislation is surely moving forward.

···

News Headline: "Convergent evolution: Hyenas offer clues to human past."
On so many levels.

···

News Item: "A shoeshine man has given a Pittsburgh children's hospital a total of more than $200,000 in tips he's collected over the last 30 years. . . ."
That's the 47 percent for you.

···

News Headline: "One in three fish sold at restaurants and grocery stores is mislabeled."
C.A., a Chicago reader, says officials have scheduled a herring.

···

QT Trickle-On Economics Update:
Food banks are reporting record demand as Ferrari reports record sales.

···

News Headline: "Rush Limbaugh: For the first time I'm ashamed of my country."
Ashamed of our country?
Who has he been palling around with?
And have we seen his birth certificate?

···

News Headline: "Woman turns 102, quits 82-year smoking habit."
She was right to quit.
Those things will kill you.

···

QT News You Can Use:
Steven Spielberg's yacht is available for rent at $1.3 million a week.

···

News Headline: "Colorado lawmaker apologizes for rape comments."
News Headline: "Prince Philip cracks a Filipino joke."
Always reassuring that there remain a few constants in this bustling age.

···

From Poor QT's Almanack:
On this day in history 194 years ago Spain ceded Florida to the United States, showing again that Spain could never resist a good practical joke.

···

QT Grammar R Us Seminar on the English Language:
P.S., a Montreal reader, regarding QT's quoting the headline "Kim Kardashian: If I was a man I'd want to have sex with myself," writes:
"Of course, Kim should have said, 'If I were a man. . . . '"
It isn't often we see Kim Kardashian and the subjunctive mood mentioned in the same sentence.
Or as the Boston cab driver told the tourist who asked where was the best place in town to get scrod:
"Mister, I've been asked that question a hundred times. But this is the first time in the pluperfect subjunctive."
Stop QT if you've heard that one.


QT appears Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays. QT welcomes your comments. For more QT, visit the QT archives. QT is also on Facebook.

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

The Week In Chicago Rock

You shoulda been there.

1. Kevin M Buck at Reggie's on Sunday night.

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2. Rachel Brooke at 4 Miles 2 Memphis on Monday night.

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3. Swedish House Mafia at the hockey arena on the West Side on Wednesday night.

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 5:25 AM | Permalink

February 21, 2013

The [Thursday] Papers

Here's one thing I'd like to know about the Jesse Jackson Jr. saga:

What was that first conversation like when he and Sandi decided to go down this road? I mean, were they sitting at their kitchen table one evening going over their bills when one of them said, "Um, I have an idea . . . what about all that money in the campaign fund?"

I mean, they actively planned and perpetrated the scheme together.

Who raised the idea first? Was it something like this?

JESSE (forlorn, shaking head): What are we going to do, we owe so much money . . .

SANDI (joking): We could always use your campaign credit card.

[Laughter.]

JESSE: Yeah, right.

SANDI: Can you imagine?

JESSE: That would be like paying you a monthly consulting fee!

SANDI (angry): Hey, I consult!

JESSE (contrite, soothing): I know, I know. I'm just sayin'.

SANDI: You know, it's not entirely a bad idea. I mean, we raised that money. We worked hard for it. What's the big deal? Everything we do is, um, congressional, when you think about it.

JESSE: Are you serious?

SANDI: I'm just sayin'.

JESSE: We'd never get away with it.

SANDI: Nobody's watching, honey! You act like you're such a big deal, but you're not. You're one of 435.

[Silence.]

JESSE: Well, some expenses are congressional. I gotta wipe my butt! I mean, when you look at it that way, yeah, some things are probably congressional. We could probably shift at least a little bit of money out of that account.

[Silence.]

SANDI: Let's just see what expenses we can justify.

JESSE: Okay, baby.

SANDI: Okay.

JESSE: I love you.

SANDI: I love you, too.

The next day they made their first illicit purchase. Then came a few more and then they got sloppier in their justifications and finally they just forgot about being careful as it just became a way of life. They thought they deserved it. Or they didn't think at all. Or they justified it in their minds, or thought: Just once more. Before they knew it they were in too deep. And then the 'G' knocked on their door.

*

I realize this scenario relies on an all too-familiar narrative of blaming the woman for seducing, if you will, the man into misbehavior, but while recognizing that, I will say that in this case I have always found Sandi to be far, far less trustworthy than Jesse. But who knows. He, too, had a sense of entitlement, though he often battled it, and a taste for the finer things in life, which he did not. Somehow, the two came to an agreement. How they did so is one of the most difficult scandal scenarios in Illinois history to fathom.

Rahm To Citizens: Dead! Dead! Dead!
"Burdened by a wave of murders, dissension over proposed school closings and perhaps his own hard-ball image, Mayor Rahm Emanuel's job-approval rating has taken a big hit in recent months, according to a new Crain's/Ipsos Illinois Poll," Greg Hinz reports.

"Overall, according to the survey of 600 voting-age Illinois residents, 50 percent say they at least lean toward disapproval of his performance as mayor, versus only 19 percent who somewhat or strongly approve, or lean toward approval. That's a margin of 31 percentage points."

But beware: Those are the results of Illinois residents surveyed. Theoretically, they don't vote in Chicago elections.

The results from the city are slightly better for Rahm, though still not good:

"In Chicago itself, voting-age adults aren't nearly as negative as other Illinois residents. But as he nears the middle of his four-year term, Mr. Emanuel's standing has slipped, though most of his loss of support has gone into the 'mixed feelings' or undecided category, rather than to disapproval.

"Specifically, just 2 percent of Chicagoans surveyed said they strongly approve of the mayor's job performance, with 12 percent somewhat approving and 5 percent leaning that way. At the opposite end, 13 percent strongly disapprove, 9 percent somewhat disapprove and 13 percent lean toward disapproval.

"In Chicago, that gives Mr. Emanuel a net minus 16 rating, down from the plus 4 he had in September, when 37 percent approved and 33 percent disapproved."

*

"The Crain's/Ipsos poll is a representative survey of voting-age Illinois residents conducted over the Internet. Ipsos validates the sample against offline data sources such as telephone surveys to ensure the accuracy of its weighting. The survey has an accuracy margin of plus or minus 4.7 percentage points statewide, with higher margins in sub-regions, such as Chicago or its suburbs."

I don't know how polls conducted over the Internet work. But they can't put anything on the Internet that isn't true.

Kelly's Claim
"Democratic congressional candidate Robin Kelly defended herself from a state inspector general's report and an internal audit that alleged she violated timekeeping rules during her failed campaign for state treasurer in 2010," the Tribune reports.

"Speaking after a South Side candidate forum Wednesday night, Kelly said her boss at the time, Treasurer Alexi Giannoulias, 'knew what I was doing. I was in full communication' with him about the time she took off to campaign to succeed him."

Bad answer. It's not good enough that your boss knows you are skirting the rules. You aren't supposed to skirt the rules!

And you weren't in full communication with taxpayers, who didn't know what you were doing. Bad call.

*

From the Tribune's endorsement of Kelly earlier this month:

"Throughout her career, Kelly has been meticulous about separating her campaign activities from her government work. When she ran for state treasurer in 2010, she subtracted from her time sheets any activities that could be considered election-related."

Wow. Now that sounds like pre-emptive spin engineered by the Kelly campaign.

"In this campaign, she resigned from her job in Cook County to run full time. That's rare among Illinois politicians."

And now that sounds like inoculation, not integrity.

Landmark Lawsuit
Former Illinois Congressional Candidate Sues IRS In Quest To Bar Political Ads Funded By Dark Money Groups.

Fantasy Fix: The Top 50
Our very own Dan O'Shea is back from paternity leave just in time for your baseball draft.

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The Beachwood Tip Line: The dog that barks.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 9:23 AM | Permalink

Former Illinois Congressional Candidate Sues IRS In Quest To Bar Political Ads Funded By Dark Money Groups

A former Illinois congressional candidate and a government watchdog organization have teamed up to sue the Internal Revenue Service, claiming the agency should bar dark money groups from funding political ads.

The lawsuit, filed on Tuesday by David Gill, his campaign committee and Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington, or CREW, is the first to challenge how the IRS regulates political spending by social welfare nonprofits, campaign-finance experts say.

As ProPublica has reported, these nonprofits, often called dark money groups because they don't have to identify their donors, have increasingly become major players in politics since the Supreme Court's Citizens United ruling in early 2010.

Gill, an emergency room doctor who has advocated for health-care reform, including a single-payer plan, was the Democratic candidate for the 13th district in Illinois last year. After a tight race, Gill ended up losing to the Republican candidate by 1,002 votes - a loss the lawsuit blames "largely, if not exclusively," on spending by the American Action Network, a social welfare nonprofit.

It's impossible to say for certain why Gill lost. He had lost three earlier races for a congressional seat. But the American Action Network, launched in 2010 by former Minnesota Republican Sen. Norm Coleman, played a role. It reported spending almost $1.5 million on three TV commercials and Internet ads opposing Gill, mainly in the weeks right before the election. That was more than any other outside group spent on the race, and more than Gill's principal campaign committee spent on the entire election, according to Federal Election Commission records.

Though Gill had never held public office, the American Action Network ads described him as "a mad scientist" who supported sending jobs to China, channeling money to the failed green-energy company Solyndra, and making a mess out of health care and Medicare.

Gill said he ran into people every day who said they weren't voting for him because of claims he would destroy Medicare.

"I think that certainly the money put forward - they saw that they could have an impact here," Gill said of the American Action Network. "They wanted to put their money where it could make a difference between victory and defeat."

Dan Conston, spokesman for the American Action Network, described CREW in an e-mail as a "left-wing front group." He said Gill was a "failed candidate with an extreme ideology, looking to blame anyone but himself for losing his fourth-straight congressional election."

Nonprofits like the American Action Network have poured hundreds of millions of dollars into political ads in the last two election cycles. Like Super PACs, these groups can accept unlimited donations. But Super PACs must identify their donors, allowing voters to see who is behind their messages.

The Gill lawsuit, filed in U.S. District Court in the District of Columbia, alleges the IRS failed to properly regulate the American Action Network, citing seemingly contradictory definitions the agency has applied to such groups for years.

The statute governing social welfare nonprofits says they should be operated "exclusively" for promoting social welfare. But the IRS paved the way for political spending by these groups by interpreting "exclusively" as meaning the groups had to only be "primarily" engaged in promoting the public good. Some groups have taken this to mean they can spend up to 49 percent of their money on election ads.

The lawsuit claims the IRS' interpretation of the law "is arbitrary, capricious, and contrary to law," and asks for an injunction prohibiting the agency from using it.

Melanie Sloan, CREW's executive director, blamed the IRS for sitting on its hands as social welfare nonprofits have been formed specifically to run negative ads paid for by anonymous donors.

"Now the IRS can explain its deplorable inaction in federal court," she said.

The IRS didn't respond to requests for comment Tuesday. It typically doesn't comment on issues related to individual taxpayers.

The American Action Network has been one of the more controversial dark money groups active in politics. Conston said the American Action Network's primary focus was on non-electoral activities and called the dispute over the group's election spending a "tired long-since settled argument."

In filings to the IRS, the group said it spent $25.7 million in its 2010 tax year. In separate filings to the Federal Election Commission, it reported spending about $19.4 million over the same period on political ads, or about 76 percent of the total expenditures reported to the IRS.

If the group stays on its current schedule, American Action Network won't file its taxes covering the 2012 election until May 2014.

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Previously:
* Illinois: The King of Dark Money

* Dark Money & The 2012 Election

-

Comments welcome.


Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 4:38 AM | Permalink

Fantasy Fix: The Top 50

I've returned from a long hiatus just time for the start of spring training. Over the next several weeks I'll have a position-by-position fantasy baseball breakdown, but let's start with my top 50 players:

1. Mike Trout. Everything he did as a rookie only has us thinking bigger, especially with news he has added 15 lbs. that could boost his power numbers. Totalling .330 BA/40 HR/100 RBIs/40 SBs/140 runs is, amazingly, not unthinkable.

2. Miguel Cabrera. He'll turn 30 in April, so you can start asking how long the Triple Crown winner will continue to put up seasons of .330 BA, 44 HRs, 139 RBIs, but I think at least one more year. CORRECTION 2/27: Oops. I mislabeled Cabrera as a 1B. He had been a 1B/3B, but with a lack of starts at 1B last year, he is now only a 3B.

3. Andrew McCutchen. I have him higher than most, and I guess a lot of people fear numbers like 31 HRs, 96 RBIs, 20 SBs and .327 BA last year can never be matched, but with his speed I see 30/30 potential.

4. Ryan Braun. I didn't expect a career year from him last year with a steroids scandal hanging over his head, but that's what we got. Can he do the same amid new PED allegations?

5. Carlos Gonzalez. Had a bit of a down year last year, but at 27 should be in his prime as a hitter, and like the guys at No. 1, 2 and 4 is power/speed/hitting triple threat.

6. Robinson Cano Lack of speed keeps him out of the top 5, but still a threat for 30 HRs, 100 RBIs and an average somewhere north of .300.

7. Matt Kemp. An injury-shortened 2012 season and failure to steal more than nine bases leaves me too nervous about putting him any higher than this, but supposedly he reported for spring training in great shape. Also could drive in 130 runs and score another 130 in a potent lineup.

8. Joey Votto. Continued to hit well (.337) in an injury-plagued 2012 season, and still has potential for 30 HRs, 100 RBIs if he stays healthy.

9. Albert Pujols. Ended up having a comeback season last year, and though he had knee surgery last fall, should get plenty of RBIs hitting after Trout and score plenty of runs hitting before Josh Hamilton.

10. Giancarlo Stanton. Thirty-seven HRs in less than 450 at-bats last year is startling. With Florida's lineup decimated, a lot of his homers this year will be solo, but he could still break 50.

11. Prince Fielder. His 30 HRs in 2012 were his fewest since 2006, while his .313 BA was the highest of his career. In many ways - though not physically - he's a miniature version of teammate Cabrera.

12. Clayton Kershaw. The top pitcher in the draft for the second straight year, at least in my opinion. With a powerful lineup backing him, he could be a slam dunk to lead the NL in wins, strikeouts and ERA, unless . . .

13. Stephen Strasburg. . . . a strikeout king in waiting could ruin Kershaw's chance for pitching's Triple Crown. If he gets to 200 innings this year, Strasburg could win 20 games and fan 250.

14. Justin Verlander. Could fatigue finally be a factor? Verlander could still win 20 games and strike out 230, while being a shade less dominant.

15. Jose Bautista. His teammate Edwin Encarnacion had 42 HRs and doesn't make my top 20, while Joey Bats does after an injury-shortened 27 HR campaign, but I think Bautista will again be among the top five in the AL in HRs.

16. Troy Tulowitzki. The talent is there for .300/30/100, though injuries are always a concern.

17. Adrian Beltre. With Hamilton and others gone, he's the man in Texas, but it's a great place for a hitter of his caliber to play 81 games. Overall average and power make him the sure thing of a talented but risky group of 3Bs.

18. Hanley Ramirez. Increasingly high hopes for this former top fantasy draft pick, He could go way higher than this spot in a league of gamblers, and is a good bet for 25 HRs and 25 SBs.

19. Evan Longoria. Another injury concern mitigates top 10 talent. If he could somehow manage to appear in 150 games, Longoria could easily hit 40 HRs. This year, he just might do it.

20. David Wright. Like Ramirez, he could be taken sooner after posting 21 HRs, 41 doubles and 93 RBIs in a comeback season last year.

21. Dustin Pedroia. Victim of a team failure in 2012?

22. Bryce Harper. A top 15 player in many leagues, he looks like Trout with a lower BA.

23. Felix Hernandez. Consistently dominant, but still looking for 20 wins.

24. Cole Hamels. Philly's best pitcher will leave famous teammates Halladay and Lee in his dust.

25. Edwin Encarnacion. 2012 break-out will be tough to top.

26. Justin Upton. Needs 2013 to look like 2011.

27. Ian Kinsler. Fell off after 30/30 2011, but still has power/speed combo.

28. Buster Posey. Reigning MVP barely makes top 30, but you can't draft catchers early.

29. Jose Reyes. Draft him for SBs, and hope a league switch pays off.

30. Josh Hamilton. Could have his best season ever, or could begin a long decline.

31. B.J. Upton. The better Upton last year has 30/30 potential, but faces tougher pitching.

32. Matt Cain. An ERA master still looking for 20 wins and 200 strikeouts.

33. Curtis Granderson. Now a true power hitter, and poor BA proves it.

34. Adrian Gonzalez. Numbers dipped last year, but poised to rise in great lineup.

35. Yoenis Cespedes. Star-crossed season of big numbers and frequent injuries in 2012.

36. Zack Greinke. With a great team in a pitchers' park, the stars may be aligned.

37. Chris Sale. Probably jinxing him, but his 2012 rotation debut had Cy Young written all over it until the last two weeks of the season.

38. Ryan Zimmerman. 17 HRs, 55 RBIs, .319 BA after the All-Star break in 2012.

39. Matt Holliday. Pure power hitter had 37-RBI increase from 2011 to 2012.

40. Jason Kipnis. 31 SBs in rookie campaign forgive a second-half slump.

41. Gio Gonzalez. Made 21 wins look easy, but now connected to PED scandal.

42. Starlin Castro. With all the tools, he could be ranked higher, but he also is a tool.

43. Adam Wainwright. Thinking post-injury rebound for 20-game winner in 2010.

44. R.A. Dickey. So hard to predict a knuckleballer's success, but I'll buy after 20 wins in 2012.

45. Chase Headley. Shocking 31 HRs and 115 RBIs last season will be tough to repeat.

46. Ian Desmond. Lead all shortstops in HRs last year with 25.

47. Jered Weaver. Dominant first half and 20 wins for a team that will be much better thus year.

48. Anthony Rizzo. Choosing to believe the hype, as his 2012 numbers project to about 28 HRs, 95 RBIs for a full season.

49. David Price. AL Cy Young will go higher in many leagues, but I think Sale is a better bet for more wins and strikeouts.

50. Alex Rios. According to his career track record, this should be a down season but he found an extra-base stroke last year that should serve him well this season.

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

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 4:02 AM | Permalink

February 20, 2013

The [Wednesday] Papers

"Taste of Chicago lost $1.3 million last year, leaving it deeper in the red after Mayor Rahm Emanuel raised the expectation that the venerable summer ode to overindulgence would begin to break even or turn a profit," the Tribune reports.

D'oh!

"The losses came despite Emanuel's moves to raise more money at Taste 2012 by charging attendees at the nightly concerts at the Petrillo Music Shell $25 for reserved seats and adding $40 daily gourmet meals prepared by local chefs alongside the traditional ribs-and-ice cream fare that has made the festival synonymous with Chicago summer for decades. The mayor also cut Taste from 10 days to five and moved it away from July 4.

"In 2011, Taste lost about $1 million, and afterward Emanuel said he wanted to plot a course toward profitability."

Here comes the spin:

"Since then, the administration has changed course, saying the focus is on safety rather than the bottom line. 'The whole thing is, we wanted to make sure it was the safest, most family-friendly event possible,' city spokeswoman Eve Rodriguez said Tuesday while discussing the Taste revenue numbers the city recently finalized."

For the whole story, including Rahm's initial declaration that his reformulated Taste was a rousing success, see the item Taste Truth Test.

Newspaper Addiction
"Heroin's rising popularity among suburban teenagers may have caught those who consider drug abuse an urban problem by surprise, but local parents, educators and public officials say they're coming to realize they aren't immune to the trauma of addiction," the Tribune reports.

Just like it did on February 7th ("Heroin is no longer an inner-city issue").

And last November 22nd ("[S]everal north suburban police departments are seeing an increase in heroin use").

And last November 8th ("[M]any parents have the impression that heroin use is an inner city problem").

And November 1st, October 25th, September 2nd . . . it's never-ending.

Here's a good one, from last March: "Groups in suburbs try to cope with Heroin Highway from city."

Or we could dip back into June 2011, when the Tribune declared "[T]he new face of the drug: Young white suburbanites."

In August 2010, it was "Suburbia's Heroin Addiction."

2009: "'Heroin used to be the drug that the black people on the other side of the tracks used,' said Will County Drug Court coordinator Julie Sterr. 'Now it's mostly white, middle-class high school kids.'"

Back in 2006, the Tribune did a Sunday magazine story "exploring heroin's reach into the suburbs."

In 2005, the Tribune reported that "The number of suburban heroin users began to increase in the 1990s."

Indeed. A 1995 Tribune headline: "Officials warn suburbs of more gangs, new drug threat."

Do reporters - and more importantly, editors - read their own papers? When does a trend stop being a trend and just become reality?

Deferred Reality
"It has been a dream of Dan Rutherford to make a run for governor," the Pontiac Daily Leader reports.

"It appears he may be ready to do so."

Yep, it certainly appears Rutherford may run.

"The Illinois State Treasurer told the audience Monday night at the annual Lincoln-Reagan Dinner that he may throw his hat into the ring soon."

He may decide soon.

"I'm not announcing tonight. None of you walked in this room and thought I was announcing tonight. You know I can't do it tonight, but I'm in for the governor's race for the state of Illinois and that's for doggone sure," Rutherford said to thunderous applause.

Wait. He just said he's in!

Rutherford stressed it was not his official candidacy announcement.

Oh, so he's not officially in. He's just actually in.

The media will be asked to participate in a ceremonial announcement at a later, more convenient date. And they will.

*

Alternate: "If there were still any doubts that state treasurer Dan Rutherford was running for governor, they were erased on Monday night when the Pontiac, Illinois, native declared 'I'm in' at the annual Lincoln-Reagan dinner."

*

And from now on, Rutherford should be described in all articles he appears in as a gubernatorial candidate. You don't have to wait for his approval on that.

Kim Kardashian Vs. The Bubble
In today's installment of QT.

UIC's Supercool 3D Cave
"You can just stare at science all day."

Gear Is Good
Warm fuzzy growls.

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The Beachwood Tip Line: Multidimensional.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 8:01 AM | Permalink

Gear Is Good: Warm Fuzzy Growls

Three pieces.

1. The Ritter R8 Katolox Bass.

"This bass represents the best that Ritter has to offer, a Katalox R8 Singlecut 5 string! This bass has a gorgeous quilted Katalox top, Alder body, Bone Nut, Schaller strap locks, Transparent high-gloss finish, Maple Neck with a Maple fretboard, 34.5" Scale, Ritter C-3-S Active/Passive preamp, Ritter Master Slimbucker pickups and a Hardshell case. This bass has standard string spacing 70-40MM. Bass weighs in at 8.8lbs."


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2. 1964 Gretsch Valco Amp 6162.

The guitar is rare too; a 1966 Hofner 459 VTZ Super in natural finish.

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3. JHS Prestige Buffer, Boost & Tone Enhancer.

"The last 25% of the volume range can completely destroy your amp in the best way possible, resulting in rich soaring sustain, breakup, and on some amps even a smooth warm fuzzy growl."

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 6:59 AM | Permalink

UIC's 3D Cave

"You can just stare at science all day."


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UIC trailer from last fall.

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The 1991 version.

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The official website.

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See also:
* Star Trek's Virtual Room Soon To Be A Reality

* Virtual Reality's CAVE Pioneer

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 6:09 AM | Permalink

QT: Meanwhile, In Other News. . . .


News Headline: "Physicists think alternative universe 'vacuum bubble' may destroy existence."
News Headline: "Kim Kardashian: If I was a man I'd want to have sex with myself."
Admit it. Aren't there moments when you root for the bubble?

···

News Headline: "Campaign to rebrand GOP."
News Headline: "Tea Party depicts Karl Rove as a Nazi."
The rebrand may still need a little tweaking.

···

News Headline: "Congressman who claims evolution is a 'lie from the pit of hell' to run for Senate."
News Headline: "Leading geneticist: Human intelligence is slowly declining."
Slowly?

···

+ Kevin Smith, a Nashville, Tenn., reader, regarding QT's mention that police investigating thefts of public toilets in New Mexico say they have nothing to go on, writes:
"The thieves? Flushed with success."
OK. Pipe down.
+ Mary Lu Larsen, an East Hazel Crest reader, writes:
"And then someone drilled a hole in the fence of a nudist camp. Police are looking into it."
Stop it.
Stop it now.

···

News Item: ". . . The report raises questions about TSA training of the dog-sniffing teams. . . ."
And leaves us to wonder why anyone would train a team to sniff dogs.

···

We Have Seen the Present, and It Does Not Work:
The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission has sued a North Carolina firm that requires applicants for some jobs to be able to lift 75 pounds because the requirement discriminates against those who can't lift 75 pounds.

···

QT News You Can Use:
The Rapture Index, which measures the progression of end-time prophecy according to world events, has risen to a record high of 188, citing, among other indicators, declining commodity prices, and with everything else Wall Street has brought to us, why not the end of the world?

···

News Item: "The Air Force is reportedly developing tiny winged drones that can sneak up on a suspected enemy as stealthily as a mosquito. . . ."
There are no known countermeasures.
Well. Unless you have a fly swatter.

···

QT News Presented Without Comment:
Baltimore spent $585,000 on a study to determine why the city doesn't have enough money.

···

News Item: ". . . Atlantic City casinos. . . Donald Trump once owned several, which declared for bankruptcy. . . ."
As we consider again the financial acumen it requires to manage a gambling casino into Chapter 11.

···

News Headline: "Space trips to cost $200,000."
And $10,000 for a bag of pretzels.

···

From Poor QT's Almanack:
On this day in history 221 years ago President Washington signed the Postal Service Act, creating the U.S. Post Office.
Socialist.

···

QT Grammar R Us Seminar on the English Language:
News Item: ". . . to be at his beckon call. . . ."
News Item: ". . . ample weapons at their beckon call."
QT is at the beck and call of anyone who wants review the correct usage.
Speaking of nautical terms, which suddenly we seem to be:
"Gunwale" rhymes with "tunnel."


QT welcomes your comments and queries. For more QT, visit the QT archives. QT is also on Facebook. QT appears Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays.

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

February 19, 2013

The [Tuesday] Papers

Two for Tuesday. Times three.

1. "The areas with the most possible school closures are almost a 1:1 match against communities with the most distressed real estate," WBEZ reports.

That sentence is packed with so much meaning it should be the subject of an entire presidential campaign to the exclusion of anything else.

2. "President Barack Obama is a master at limiting, shaping and manipulating media coverage of himself and his White House," Politico reports.

"The president has shut down interviews with many of the White House reporters who know the most and ask the toughest questions. Instead, he spends way more time talking directly to voters via friendly shows and media personalities. Why bother with The New York Times beat reporter when Obama can go on The View?"

Enabling Obama didn't make him more accessible, it just emboldened him further.

*

And to those who helped craft a strategy of evasion and duplicity? Seemingly boundless rewards.

*

"Obama boasted Thursday during a Google+ Hangout from the White House: 'This is the most transparent administration in history.' The people who cover him day to day see it very differently.

"The way the president's availability to the press has shrunk in the last two years is a disgrace," said ABC News White House reporter Ann Compton, who has covered every president back to Gerald R. Ford. "The president's day-to-day policy development - on immigration, on guns - is almost totally opaque to the reporters trying to do a responsible job of covering it. There are no readouts from big meetings he has with people from the outside, and many of them aren't even on his schedule. This is different from every president I covered. This White House goes to extreme lengths to keep the press away."

Among the White House's media strategies:

There's the classic weekend document dump to avoid negative coverage. By our count, the White House has done this nearly two dozen times, and almost always to minimize attention to embarrassing or messy facts. "What you guys call a document dump, we call transparency," the White House's Earnest shot back. If that's the case, the White House was exceptionally transparent during the Solyndra controversy, releasing details three times on a Friday.

And:

The president has not granted an interview to print reporters at The New York Times, The Washington Post, The Wall Street Journal, POLITICO and others in years. These are the reporters who are often most likely to ask tough, unpredictable questions.

At least he's fulfilled his promise of Change:

Martha Joynt Kumar, a political scientist at Towson University who works out of the White House press room and tallies every question a journalist asks the president, has found that in his first term Obama held brief press availabilities after photos ops or announcements one-third as often as George W. Bush did in his first term - 107 to Bush's 355.

But he treats us like adults!

[T]his administration - like its predecessors - does some good old-fashioned bullying of reporters: making clear there will be no interviews, or even questions at press conferences, if aides are displeased with their coverage.

Oh.

3. "There are some disturbing similarities between the Obama white paper and the Bush torture memos," Jane Mayer writes for the New Yorker.

"Both use slippery legal language to parse dark government programs. Both have been deliberately hidden from public and even congressional oversight. And both involve the blurring of C.I.A. and military operations, and even include some of the same personnel. John Brennan, Obama's nominee to direct the C.I.A., is a long-time veteran of the agency who, prior to joining the Obama Administration, served as chief of staff for former C.I.A. director George Tenet, under the Bush Administration during the depths of the torture scandal. Despite this, several human-rights experts have endorsed Brennan's promotion, and Obama seems to respect him deeply. Whether that trust is well-placed remains to be seen; Brennan's refusal, during his Senate confirmation hearings last week, to admit that waterboarding - the partial drowning of a prisoner - is a form of torture was a chilling display of institutional loyalty."

4. The Political Odds have been slightly updated to reflect last night's television appearance by Robin Kelly, Anthony Beale and Debbie Halvorson.

5. They Played Hockey At Soldier Field.

Peewees, pros and the public.

6. Local Music Notebook: Mods vs. Rockers vs. Rappers.

The Reverend Horton Heat vs. Joe Walsh vs. Fredo Santana.

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The Beachwood Tip Line: Modestly rocking.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 8:49 AM | Permalink

Local Music Notebook: Mods vs. Rockers vs. Rappers

A loose collection of whatnot.

1. An Indoor/Outdoor Festival of Urban Hooliganism.

"MODS vs. ROCKERS CHICAGO 2013 is Friday and Saturday June 14th & 15th and is the Largest Urban Vintage Motorcycle Rally in the United States. Watch this page for up to the minute news on the Windy City Rumble.

"We are proud to announce the REVEREND HORTON HEAT as our first signing for MODS VS ROCKERS CHICAGO 2013. THE REV will join Stray Cat Lee Rocker as the first two bands that are officially on THE BILL. These two legendary artists are just the beginning, so watch this space as we are currently seeking out the best acts to jam at the Aragon for our ROCKABILLY RUMBLE.


-

2. This New York Times post about a new Eagles documentary led us to this 1982 People magazine article that contains this nugget:

No doubt they were "monstering" in 1978 when manager Azoff was seen nodding gleefully while Eagle Joe Walsh caused $20,000 worth of damage to a Chicago hotel room with a chain saw.

The Eagles were in town for a concert at Comiskey Park that summer. Further investigation led us to this ESPN interview with Chuck Klosterman:

When John Belushi was playing host to Joe in Chicago, John wanted to eat in the best restaurant in town but didn't have a reservation. Despite a $500 bribe, John and Joe were turned away because they were wearing jeans as opposed to dress pants (oh how times have changed). Belushi came up with a brilliant solution. He bought a black can of Krylon spray paint and he and Joe proceeded to spraypaint their jeans in an alley and were eventually allowed to dine in the restaurant. Upon leaving, they realized that they completely destroyed the plush velvet Victorian chairs in said restaurant!

The Tribune published a similar remembrance last year:

"The first time he showed up at the radio station, he showed up in the bathrobe of the hotel he was staying at. That's sort of the persona he was living back in those days," recalls Bob Stroud, who worked at Chicago's WLUP radio station and is now mid-day DJ for classic-rocker The Drive (FM-97.1). "At one point, back in his crazy heyday, you might have looked at him and thought, 'God, he's never going to get out of this.' A lot of guys didn't make it out. I'm glad he did."

-

3. More on Chicago finally getting a rap scene.

"Two years ago, during a Freddie Gibbs show at Bottom Lounge, Atlanta rapper Young Jeezy made an onstage appearance to announce that he was signing the Gary, Indiana, artist to his CTE label," the Tribune noted earlier this month. "At the time, it seemed as though this type of high-profile endorsement were the only avenue of legitimation for Chicago rap.

"Gibbs and CTE recently parted ways, but the intervening period has seen the city find new types of exposure. Headlining a showcase of local rappers curated by the influential Chicago blog FakeShoreDrive Thursday night, Gibbs once again offered a look at the state of Chicago hip-hop, again at the Bottom Lounge.

"The city's rap scene is the most vibrant and exciting it's been in recent memory - perhaps ever - right now, a fact underscored by both the diversity of the night's bill and the deep catalogue of local singles played between acts. While a Chicago hip-hop show two years ago might have warmed the crowd up with national hits and a Twista song or two for the purists, Thursday's playlist from DJ Victoriouz was heavy on tracks from artists like Chief Keef, King L and Lil Durk, all of whom have helped draw national attention to the city in recent months."

*

And here comes trouble.

"Major record labels have flocked to Chicago, signing about a dozen hip-hop artists last year, and some entrepreneurs hope to seize the city's opportunity," Crain's reports.

-

4. Chicago Hip Hop Against Violence.

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5. Inspired By Chief Keef, Fredo Santana Going Straight In.

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 5:42 AM | Permalink

They Played Hockey At Soldier Field

The good old hockey game!
It's the best game you can name!
And the best game you can name,
is the good old hockey game!

1. St. Jude Peewees.


-

2. Saint Viator vs. Benet Academy.

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3. Notre Dame vs. Miami.

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4. Gopher Hockey Pride.

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5. Blackhawks Skate With Wounded Vets.

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6. The 1st Annual Nicole Cooper Memorial.

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7. Chicago Outdoor Hockey League All-Star Game.

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8. Open Skate.

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Previously:
* Gophers Prepare For Soldier Field
* Hockey City Classic At Soldier Field!

-

Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 2:33 AM | Permalink

February 18, 2013

SportsMonday: Rose Should Be Reasonable

Somewhere deep down, Derrick Rose must know it isn't realistic to expect that his knee will return to a pristine 100 percent. And this 110 percent stuff that he busted out last week in his first extended interview in months, well, that's a little out there and not just because, you know, there's no such thing as 110 percent.

Rose reiterated that he essentially would not return until his knee felt exactly the way it did before his injury, if not better.

That would be never.

The sad truth here is that Rose suffered significant, structural damage to his knee. No matter what he does in the aftermath of major surgery that entailed grafting his anterior cruciate ligament back together, he isn't returning to perfect. Ever.

The sooner he figures that out, and the sooner he adopts reasonable expectations for his rehabilitation, the sooner he'll put together the right timetable for a return to NBA basketball.

And by "reasonable expectations," I mean returning to full stability in the knee, a standard that is meetable.

In the meantime, can we stop this seemingly never-ending stream of stories in which everyone under the sun says that no one should hurry Rose's convalescence?

Exactly who is saying that some team executive should hurry Rose along? The answer is no one.

No matter how it all plays out, a little perspective will be in order. Rose must feel cursed by this injury but he is blessed to have suffered it last year and not, say, a few decades ago. Chicago sports fans have bitter experience with knee injuries that do far more than force players to miss seasons and to come back slightly less perfect than they were before.

They may have wrapped up their playing careers in the '70s but legendary Bears Gale Sayers and Dick Butkus could still fill Rose in on what it is to have beautifully promising careers cut completely short by this sort of injury.

And so expectations for this Bulls season must be reset. It now seems unlikely Rose will return this year. That is probably a good thing because the grind of a seasonal stretch run followed by the intensity of the playoffs is clearly not the best time or place for an athlete to cautiously dip his toe back into the water of competition.

(Yes, Michael Jordan returned at just such a time and place in 1985 after recovering from a foot injury. But a broken foot is very different than a torn foundational ligament in a knee.)

As for the Bulls, here's one thought going forward: It appears general manager Gar Forman may have hit a jackpot at the end of the first round of the 2011 NBA draft when he drafted shooting guard Jimmy Butler out of Marquette. Butler is now showing many signs of specialness; he's already gotten props as an exceptional defensive player, and now his offensive game is showing great promise.

It is time to, at the very least, move him up in the rotation. In fact, it might very well be time to put Butler in the starting lineup- or at least set two-guard Rip Hamilton aside (he's just about out of gas), start Marco Belinelli (he has shown he plays better when he starts), and make Butler a first-off-the-bench super-sub playing extended minutes and getting plenty of opportunities to make plays at both ends of the floor.

The Bulls clearly aren't a championship-caliber team without Rose. Of course, coach Tom Thibodeau will just keep driving, trying to win as many games as possible whatever way possible. But it shouldn't be that difficult to sync up that goal with seeing more of what Butler can do.

Just so long as Butler promises not to try to pressure Rose to return too quickly.

-

See also:
* Bulls Media Pool Feels Cheated After Reading Derrick's Rose's USA Today Interview

* The Chicago Media Are A Little Pissy Because Derrick Rose Gave His First Interview To USA Today

-

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

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 8:19 AM | Permalink

Random Food Report: Griddle Melts Galore And The Pancakes Of The Future

Mmmm.

1. IHOP Introduces New "Griddle Melts," Three Custom Made Delicious Breakfast Sandwiches to Savor Any Time of Day.

All_Melts.jpg

"IHOP's menu now includes three varieties of Griddle Melt sandwiches, each hand-crafted and made-to-order for each guest, served on artisan sourdough bread with a choice of three fluffy omelets in a large breakfast sandwich, making each sandwich an excellent value for consumers. Half sandwich servings are also being featured on the menu.

"'[Each sandwich] requires both hands - even for the half sandwich," said Natalia Franco, IHOP's Senior Vice President of Marketing.

*

Plus: IHOP Pancakes of the Future!

2. 7-Eleven Kicks Up The Heat With New Mouthwatering Chicken Chipotle Mini Tacos.

Chicken Chipotle Mini Tacos.jpg

"The world's largest convenience store retailer is cranking up the heat this winter with a delicious extension to the popular mini-taco line. To satisfy guests who are watching their dollars and always looking for value, 7-Eleven is offering their famous mini tacos in a new mouthwatering Chicken Chipotle flavor and they are only 55 calories each! Made with juicy shredded chicken, spicy green chilies, minced onions, a hint of garlic and a zesty mix of spices bundled in a mini fresh white corn tortilla - this savory combination is a fiesta for your taste buds!

"Last year, 7-Eleven introduced the Spicy Beef Mini Tacos which have proven to be a crave-able value offering for hungry guests while on the go, making this latest flavorful Latin-inspired Chicken Chipotle version a natural extension for the line. 7-Eleven Mini Tacos are prepared to lock-in flavor and provide an appetizing crunch while giving guests more bang for their buck at four for just $1."

3. Review: Lays Chicken & Waffles.

Not fantastic, but smells good.

4. McDonald's Now Openly Putting Bugs In Happy Meals.

5. February 22nd is National Margarita Day.

-

Luke Chen is our pseudononymous man on food. He welcomes your comments.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 8:07 AM | Permalink

QT: Asteroids Afoot


News Item: ". . . passage of Asteroid 2012 DA14 through the Earth-moon system on Friday. . . "
News Item: ". . . discovered last year by a Spanish dentist turned amateur astronomer. . . ."
So we had warning.
As opposed to the asteroid discovered as it hit Russia over the weekend.
This much is apparent:
We need more Spanish dentists.

···

And then there are Asteroid 2012 TV, Asteroid 2012 TM79, Asteroid 2012 VJ38, Asteroid 2012 VH77, Asteroid 2012 XE54, Asteroid 2013 BR27, Asteroid 2013 CY32 and Asteroid 2013 CL129.
Which were discovered in the past year as they passed between Earth and the moon.
But how many dentists can there be in Spain?

···

News Headline: "Police save 'sorcerers' after mob tries to burn them alive in Papua New Guinea."
For those keeping track of faith-based initiatives.

···

News Item: ". . . Republicans are not about to roll over on new gun control measures. . . ."
No need to roll over.
The gun lobby has them in a sit-stay.

···

The Case for Zero Tolerance of Modern School Administrators:
A 13-year-old boy who wore a regular tie instead of a clip-on tie to school in Brightingslea, England, was placed in isolation for a day because he was in violation of the school's zero-tolerance health and safety policies.

···

News Item: "Police follow footprints through wet grass to stolen grill, patio furniture."
The arrested man is now seeking dew process.

···

News Headline: "In New Mexico, crooks are now stealing toilets."
Investigators say they have nothing to go on.
Sorry. QT will stop it now.

···

News Headline: "Fifth-graders accused of plotting to kill classmate."
They grow up so fast, don't they?

···

News Headline: "Can the Vatican survive in our digital age?"
Yet Pope Benedict XVI warns against being swept up in our modern age:
"For Christians to be faithful, they can't be afraid to go against the current."
Or so he recently tweeted.

···

News Headline: "Study: Are some people born conservative?"
We can move along. It's too nice a day to dwell on birth defects.
Just kidding.
Just kidding.

···

News Headline: "FAA: No armed drones in U.S."
Always reassuring to be reassured by our government that it has no plans to explode any us.
At the moment.

···

News Headline: "Is Obama's universal pre-K plan too much, too soon?"
No.
And when did nursery school become pre-K, and when can we have nursery school back?

···

QT Grammar R Us Seminar on the English Language:
T.D., a Chicago reader, regarding asteroids and meteors, writes:
"If a meteoroid that enters our atmosphere is a meteor, and a meteor that hits us is a meteorite, do we also have asteroids, asters and asterites?"
Ought to.
But don't.
But feel free to think of the danger posed by asteroids as an asterisk.


QT appears Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays. QT welcomes your comments. For more QT, visit the QT archives. QT is also on Facebook.

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

The [Monday] Papers

I'm off for the holiday per the Beachwood's new furlough policy, but will return on Tuesday.

In the meantime:

* Presidents Still Dancing For Furniture.

Proof through the night, that our Maverick Dual Reclining Leather Sofa was still there.

* The Political Odds.

Toi Hutchinson drops out to spend less time with her family.

* QT: Asteroids Afoot.

An atmospheric asterisk.

* Random Food Report: Griddle Melts Galore And The Pancakes Of The Future.

Plus: Hexbugs & Waffles.

* The Weekend In Chicago Rock.

You shoulda been there.

* SportsMonday: Derrick Rose Should Be Reasonable.

No hurry, but no 110 percent either.

-

The Weekend Desk Report
By Natasha Julius

The state of our union? Eh, could be worse.

$1,200 Mink Reversible Parka
Jesus' representative on Earth resigned for the first time since Avignon because he just wasn't feeling it anymore and that's still not the most bizarre story of the week.

$10,105 in Bruce Lee Memorabilia
More than 4,200 passengers and crew were left floating in filth while waiting for a damn tugboat and that's still not the most disgusting story of the week.

$28,500 in Undisclosed Loans and Gifts
A woman claimed to be carjacked to Schaumburg, but you know - no biggie and that's still not the shadiest story of the week.

$5,000 Football
A meteor streaked across the Russian sky, scattering debris across six municipalities and damaging a KHL ice hockey arena and that still isn't the most jaw-dropping story of the week.

$750,000 Total
No, the most outrageous, incendiary story of the week? There are apparently furriers in Beverly Hills.

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The Beachwood Tip Line: Lewd, lascivious, salacious, outrageous!

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 5:56 AM | Permalink

Presidents Still Dancing For Furniture

The best part of Presidents' Day are the dancing presidents of Value City Furniture. Here's last year's awesome tribute.

And here's this year's commercial:


*

And not to ruin the magic for you, but here's a blooper reel that kind of, um, ruins the magic for you.

*

Now, one-on-one . . .

Dancing Abe!


vs.


Dancing George!

-

Honda Rip-Off:

-

Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 1:23 AM | Permalink

The Weekend In Chicago Rock

You shoulda been there (in no particular order).

1. Cloakroom at Township on Saturday night.


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2. Gold Fields at Lincoln Hall on Friday night.

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3. Kishi Bashi at Lincoln Hall on Thursday night.

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4. A Silent Film at Lincoln Hall on Thursday night.

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 1:09 AM | Permalink

February 16, 2013

The Weekend Desk Report

The state of our union? Eh, could be worse.

$1,200 Mink Reversible Parka
Jesus' representative on Earth resigned for the first time since Avignon because he just wasn't feeling it anymore and that's still not the most bizarre story of the week.

$10,105 in Bruce Lee Memorabilia
More than 4,200 passengers and crew were left floating in filth while waiting for a damn tugboat and that's still not the most disgusting story of the week.

$28,500 in Undisclosed Loans and Gifts
A woman claimed to be carjacked to Schaumburg, but you know - no biggie and that's still not the shadiest story of the week.

$5,000 Football
A meteor streaked across the Russian sky, scattering debris across six municipalities and damaging a KHL ice hockey arena and that still isn't the most jaw-dropping story of the week.

$750,000 Total
No, the most outrageous, incendiary story of the week? There are apparently furriers in Beverly Hills.

-

The Weekend Desk Tip Line: Furry.

-

The Sound Opinions Weekend Listening Report: "Fresh off a Grammy win for Best Reggae Album, Jimmy Cliff is our personal guide through reggae history. Plus Jim and Greg review guitar great Richard Thompson's latest effort, and Jim sends the late Troggs singer Reg Presley off in style."

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The Flying Saucer Weekend Brunch Report: Yummo.

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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.

Paths to the American Dream

2-11-PathToTheAmDream.jpg

Stories from Chicago's Chinese, Ethiopian, Greek and Mexican communities shed light on the many ways that immigrants come to the United States and how the journey affects them.

Sunday, February 17 at 9 a.m. on CAN TV21
2 hr.

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Follicular Lymphoma: On the Road to Cure

On World Lymphoma Awareness Day, Rush University Cancer Center, Chicago Blood Cancer Foundation, and Hope for Lymphoma host some of the world's top experts on Follicular Lymphoma for a day-long symposium.

Long-Term Survival of Follicular Lymphoma

2-11-RushDrJanineGauthier.jpg

A panel of opinion leaders in the lymphoma world including Janine Gauthier, Rush University Medical Center, share their thoughts on where treatment is headed and what survivors can do to help improve their outcomes.

Sunday, February 17 at 11 a.m. on CAN TV21
1 hr.

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Moving Towards a Cure for Follicular Lymphoma

2-11-BetsyLymphomaSurvivor.jpg

Ten-year lymphoma survivor Betsy de Parry tells her story and offers tips to others battling the disease.

Sunday, February 17 at 12 p.m. on CAN TV21
1 hr. 30 min.

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National Black Nurses Day Celebration

2-11-BlackNursesDay.jpg

The Chicago chapter of the National Black Nurses Association highlights black nurses who have been trailblazers on the local, national, and international levels.

Sunday, February 17 at 1:30 p.m. on CAN TV21
2 hr.

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Immigration Reform in 2013: Challenges & Opportunities

2-14-ImmigrationReform.jpg

An expert panel discusses prospects for immigration reform in 2013, including legislative principles recently proposed by a bipartisan group of U.S. senators, economic implications for the Midwest, and measures that are preferred by national advocates.

Watch it online.

Sunday, February 17 at 1:30 p.m. on CAN TV21
2 hr.

Posted by Natasha Julius at 10:09 AM | Permalink

February 15, 2013

The Week In Chicago Rock

You shoulda been there (in no particular order).

1. Kangaroo at the Burlington on Sunday night.


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2. Gojira at the House of Blues on Monday night.

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3. Woe, Is Me at the Bottom Lounge on Tuesday night.

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4. Cisco Adler at Reggie's on Tuesday night.

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5. Of Mice and Men at Reggie's on Tuesday night.

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6. Jon Foreman at the House of Blues on Sunday night.

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 10:43 AM | Permalink

The [Friday] Papers

Sorry, events have intervened, this will be all for today:

* QT: Rubio, Bieber & Nugent.

* The Week in Chicago Rock.

The [Thursday] Papers
"After trimming the number of schools that could be closed to 129, Mayor Rahm Emanuel's school administration has entered the latest and what is likely to be the most intense phase so far in trying to determine which schools should be shut," the Tribune reports.

"In the past, political clout has played a role in the district's final decisions. Already this year, several aldermen have spoken out on behalf of schools in their wards.

"On the Near Northwest Side, for instance, the initial list of 330 underused schools included about six in the 1st Ward. Ald. Proco 'Joe' Moreno helped organize local school council members, school administrators and parents to fight any closing. He also took that fight to leaders in City Hall and within CPS' bureaucracy. Nearly all of the schools in the ward were excluded from the list of 129.

"It is effort and it's organizing and not just showing up at meetings and yelling. Anybody can do that," Moreno said. "Those schools that proactively work before those meetings and explain what they are doing, what they need and that they are willing to accept new students, that's when politics works.

"My responsibility in this juncture was to focus on these schools," he said. "I had to work on the inside, with CPS and with City Hall, and with my schools on the outside."

And with Fox News.

*

"We know that charters work," Moreno told Fox News viewers.

We do?

*

Moreno also said he sided with the teachers, but not union leadership, on the strike.

But nearly 90% of the city's teachers authorized the strike.

So what Moreno really should have said is that he supports one in 10 teachers.

*

And that's why this happened Monday night . . .

. . . "despite his attempt at winning the crowd over by opportunistically declaring his support for keeping Brentano Academy open, 'even though it's not in [his] ward,'" video uploader sarahdashji notes.

*

"It seems parents think Moreno is being disingenuous in his support for public schools in Chicago, given his prior statements on public education in Chicago," Kevin Robinson writes for Chicagoist.

*

Moreno's response to critics chiding the ostensibly hip alderman by telling him to "go get your skateboard":

And:

*

Meanwhile . . . Most of the schools on the list are on the West and South Sides - because it makes eminent sense to shutter what in some cases are the only civic institutions left in neighborhoods already under the most duress.

*

*

*

*

*

The University of Chicago Lab School, where Rahm sends his kids, is not on the list, despite reports of trust fund underutilization.

-

I Can See Fear In Your Eyes, Bon Jovi
The best thing you will read today, this week and maybe ever.

Illinois Kids Getting Screwed
Not about the children after all.

Pat Quinn's Valentine's Day Candy Heart
Will you be my running mate?

Hideout Harmonica Hoedown!
Chicago blows.

Heavenly Bodies Then And Now
Rumi, Jay-Z and the SIU Press.

Gophers Prepare For Soldier Field
Pond hockey writ large.

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The Beachwood Tip Line: Writ large.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 10:07 AM | Permalink

QT: Water, Water, Everywhere


News Headline: "Marco Rubio's water break during GOP response goes viral."
News Headline: "Is Marco Rubio's water swig a career-ender?"
It should be.
The last thing we need in these dangerous times is a presidential candidate who drinks water.

···

Wayne LaPierre of the National Rifle Association on why every American should own a gun:
"Hurricanes. Tornadoes. Riots. Terrorists. Gangs. Lone criminals. These are perils we are sure to face."
Forgot zombies.

···

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) criticizing President Obama's proposal to raise the minimum wage above the poverty level:
"He spoke of workers' minimum wages instead of their maximum potential."
Almost a slogan.
And shouldn't this be enough for workers who have almost enough to eat?

···

News Headline: "Justin Bieber says Black Keys drummer should be 'slapped around.' "
News Headline: "Justin Bieber bares bottom on Instagram."
News Headline: "The existential ennui of Justin Bieber."
Speaking of slapping around. . . .

···

QT Rules of Etiquette for Guys and Dolls:
K.R., a Baltimore reader, regarding QT's taking a "dim view of President Obama's wearing white collar with a dinner jacket instead of tails at the Inaugural parties," writes:
"The collar should be white in either case. It's the tie that is black with the less formal attire."
Thank you for allowing QT to correct itself.
And it is always a wing collar with white tie.
And a normal collar with black tie.
As long as we are being correct.

···

News Headline: "Is Jane Austen overhyped?"
Haven't you grown weary of hearing about Jane Austen every time you turn around?

···

QT News Presented Without Comment:
House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi said she opposes a cut in congressional pay because it would diminish "the dignity of the job."

···

News Headline: "Study: 3 million political ads in 2012."
Really? Seemed like only 2 million.

···

News Headline: "Ted Nugent declares 'I will either be dead or in jail' if Obama is re-elected."
News Headline: "Not dead and not in jail: Nugent attends SOTU."
Dead. Jailed.
Can you blame Nugent for putting these off?
News Headline: "Pope says he will be 'hidden to the world' in retirement."
Or there is always a third approach. . . .

···
News Item: ". . . diagnosed with social anxiety disorder as a teenager. . . ."
When did shyness become social anxiety disorder, and when can we have shyness back?

···

News Headline: "Floods: A disaster waiting to happen."
News Headline: "Japan debt a disaster waiting to happen."
Nice thing about a disaster: It can be patient.

···

QT Grammar R Us Seminar on the English Language:
News Item: ". . . the potential to create a Frankenstein. . . ."
L.R., a Chicago reader, wants you to know that Frankenstein wasn't a monster.
Dr. Frankenstein was the man who created Frankenstein's monster.
There is no such thing as a third alternative, by the way.


QT appears Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays. QT welcomes your comments. For more QT, visit the QT archives. QT is also on Facebook.

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

February 14, 2013

Illinois Kids Getting Screwed

Illinois has made significant strides in improving the lives of children and families over the past 25 years. But that progress is now at risk, jeopardizing the health, safety and well-being of our children and threatening efforts to build a more prosperous future for the state as a whole, according to a report released today by Voices for Illinois Children.

The Illinois Kids Count 2013 report - Moving Policy, Making Progress - focuses on achievements and challenges in early childhood education, health care coverage, access to child care services and seven other featured policy areas.

Unfortunately, over the past several years, the Great Recession [Ed. Note: Not a recession, but a Great Financial Scandal] and the state fiscal crisis have stalled progress, eroded gains or undermined achievements in many of these areas.

Key Achievements, Troubling Setbacks

* Early childhood education: Illinois has been a nationwide leader in expanding access to early learning opportunities. Between FY 1998 and FY 2009, participation in state-funded preschool programs doubled. In the last four years, however, deep budget cuts have resulted in an estimated 20,000 fewer children attending state-supported preschool.

Extensive research has demonstrated the short-term and long-term educational and economic benefits of investing in high-quality preschool, and studies in Illinois have shown significant improvements in school-readiness skills among children participating in state-funded preschool programs.

* Health care coverage: Over the past several decades, there has been a "quiet revolution" in health care coverage for Illinois children. About 1.7 million children are now enrolled in Medicaid, the Children's Health Insurance Program (CHIP) and All Kids expansion. In 2011, the uninsured rate for children in Illinois was only 3.7 percent - the lowest in the Midwest and fifth lowest among the 50 states.

The "Medicaid stabilization plan" enacted last year includes some provisions that could jeopardize access to services and quality of care for Illinois children, particularly those with special health care needs. A substantial body of research indicates the effectiveness of Medicaid and CHIP in expanding access to health care services, improving health outcomes for children, and enhancing economic security for low-income families.

* Child care services: The Child Care Assistance Program (CCAP) provides low-income working families with access to affordable child care services. CCAP serves about 170,000 children each month. Unfortunately, the state budget crisis has stalled progress. Eligibility for CCAP has been made more restrictive, and required family co-payments were increased substantially in both 2011 and 2012. For a single-parent family with two children at 150 percent of poverty level, co-payments rose from $85 to $180 per month. Providing access to affordable, stable, and high-quality child care is important for both the economic security of families and the healthy development of their children.

Other key policy achievements highlighted in Illinois Kids Count 2013 include reforms in the state's child welfare system, a strategic plan to improve children's mental health services, home visiting programs for at-risk families with infants and toddlers, and the state Earned Income Tax Credit for low-income working families.

There has been significant erosion of progress in several of these policy areas. Funding reductions in the Department of Children and Family Services are posing serious risks for the state's most vulnerable children. Deep cuts in community mental health programs have severely set back efforts to promote the social-emotional well-being of children and adolescents.

Challenges and Opportunities

The findings in Moving Policy, Making Progress underline several major challenges that Illinois must address to ensure a better future for children and families, including the ongoing state fiscal crisis, disturbing trends in child poverty, persistent racial-ethnic disparities in child well-being, and the traumatic impact of children's exposure to violence. The report calls for a renewed commitment to investing in opportunities for children.

About Illinois Kids Count
Illinois Kids Count is a project of Voices for Illinois Children and is part of a nationwide network of state-level projects supported by the Annie E. Casey Foundation. The annual Illinois Kids Count report is widely regarded as the most thorough examination of children's lives in the state. It uses the best available data to monitor the educational, social-emotional, economic, and physical well-being of Illinois children.

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 9:47 AM | Permalink

The [Thursday] Papers

"After trimming the number of schools that could be closed to 129, Mayor Rahm Emanuel's school administration has entered the latest and what is likely to be the most intense phase so far in trying to determine which schools should be shut," the Tribune reports.

"In the past, political clout has played a role in the district's final decisions. Already this year, several aldermen have spoken out on behalf of schools in their wards.

"On the Near Northwest Side, for instance, the initial list of 330 underused schools included about six in the 1st Ward. Ald. Proco 'Joe' Moreno helped organize local school council members, school administrators and parents to fight any closing. He also took that fight to leaders in City Hall and within CPS' bureaucracy. Nearly all of the schools in the ward were excluded from the list of 129.

"It is effort and it's organizing and not just showing up at meetings and yelling. Anybody can do that," Moreno said. "Those schools that proactively work before those meetings and explain what they are doing, what they need and that they are willing to accept new students, that's when politics works.

"My responsibility in this juncture was to focus on these schools," he said. "I had to work on the inside, with CPS and with City Hall, and with my schools on the outside."

And with Fox News.

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"We know that charters work," Moreno told Fox News viewers.

We do?

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Moreno also said he sided with the teachers, but not union leadership, on the strike.

But nearly 90% of the city's teachers authorized the strike.

So what Moreno really should have said is that he supports one in 10 teachers.

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And that's why this happened Monday night . . .

. . . "despite his attempt at winning the crowd over by opportunistically declaring his support for keeping Brentano Academy open, 'even though it's not in [his] ward,'" video uploader sarahdashji notes.

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"It seems parents think Moreno is being disingenuous in his support for public schools in Chicago, given his prior statements on public education in Chicago," Kevin Robinson writes for Chicagoist.

*

Moreno's response to critics chiding the ostensibly hip alderman by telling him to "go get your skateboard":

And:

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Meanwhile . . . Most of the schools on the list are on the West and South Sides - because it makes eminent sense to shutter what in some cases are the only civic institutions left in neighborhoods already under the most duress.

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*

*

*

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The University of Chicago Lab School, where Rahm sends his kids, is not on the list, despite reports of trust fund underutilization.

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I Can See Fear In Your Eyes, Bon Jovi
The best thing you will read today, this week and maybe ever.

Illinois Kids Getting Screwed
Not about the children after all.

Pat Quinn's Valentine's Day Candy Heart
Will you be my running mate?

Hideout Harmonica Hoedown!
Chicago blows.

Heavenly Bodies Then And Now
Rumi, Jay-Z and the SIU Press.

Gophers Prepare For Soldier Field
Pond hockey writ large.

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The Beachwood Tip Line: Writ large.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 9:43 AM | Permalink

Harmonica Hoedown!

The Hideout hosts the The Hideout Harmonica Hoedown on Sunday. Here's the background straight from the source:

Chicago has been home to some of the finest harmonica players in its storied musical history and remains one of the top 'harmonica towns' in the world.

Joe Filisko is arguably the foremost authority on nearly all aspects of the diatonic harmonica, and one of its most respected players and teachers.

James Conway is one of the world's most recognized players not only of traditional Irish and other Celtic music, but blues, folk and many other styles.

Bob Kessler is a member of Americana group The BlackWilloughbys, former student of many of Chicago's top players and brings his own eclectic musical taste to the evening which celebrates blues, jazz, classical, celtic, Cajun, folk and more, as played on the world's most popular portable instrument.

Doors at 6, show at 7.

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Listen to Mike Stephen's preview on his Outside the Loop Radio show.

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From last year's grand finale:

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Joe Filisko with Eric Noden at the Lisle Library in January.

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James Conway from August 2011 at a performance in Annandale.

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Bob Kessler playing John Hiatt.

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The BlackWilloughbys playing Led Zeppelin on WGN-AM.

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 7:45 AM | Permalink

Gophers Prepare For Soldier Field

"The University of Minnesota Golden Gophers Hockey team travels to Wisconsin this Friday to take on the Badgers in their fight towards the top of the WCHA Standings.

"Then on Sunday, the Gophers will play in the first ever Hockey City Classic against Wisconsin at Soldier Field in Chicago. The game will be played outdoors at 3:30 p.m. following the Notre Dame vs. Miami game."

1. Unveiling The Uniforms.


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2. Pond Hockey Tradition.

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3. Wally's World Preview.

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See also: Hockey City Classic At Soldier Field!

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 7:27 AM | Permalink

Local Book Notes: Inspired By Rumi, Jay-Z And The Southern Illinois University Press

Over the transom.

1. Jamaica Kincaid.

"After a 10-year hiatus, Caribbean author Jamaica Kincaid, most known for At the Bottom of the River, is returning to the literary scene with last week's release See Now Then and making a stop at Printers Row on Feb. 21 to speak with Pulitzer Prize-winning Tribune columnist Mary Schmich about the novel and Kincaid's career. This will be the author s only Chicago appearance related to the release."

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See Now Then Reviews:
* New York Times: The Marriage Has Ended; Revenge Begins.

* USA Today: One Quirky Read.

* Los Angeles Times: Jamaica Kincaid Scrolls Through Time.
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See also:
* New York Times: Never Mind The Parallels, Don't Read It As My Life.

* Tribune/Printers Row Preview: Read It As Her Life.

2. Roxane Gay.

"Roxane Gay, a talented writer and editor, will visit Roosevelt University to read fiction and nonfiction selections at 4:30 p.m. on Thursday, Feb. 28, at Roosevelt University's Gage Gallery, 18 S. Michigan Ave.

"Gay is the author of Ayiti, a collection of fiction and essays about the Haitian diaspora experience.

"She is also the co-editor of PANK, a non-profit literary arts collection founded in 2006 that promotes access to emerging and experimental poetry and prose."

Here's Gay last May in New York City:

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3. Chicago Writers Conference Kicking Off Quarterly Events At Open Books.

"Join us for an evening of speculative fiction! This month, we kick off our quarterly events at Open Books bookstore. Join us on Thursday, February 28 for an evening of short readings hosted by Hugo and Nebula Award nominated author William Shunn. This evening will feature science fiction, fantasy, and horror readings by local authors. This free event gets underway at 6:30 p.m."

Here's Shunn reading "an epic science fiction poem" inspired by Jay-Z, from a Tuesday Funk reading in Chicago.

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4. Applied Word Series.

"The Guild Literary Complex and Chicago Danztheatre Ensemble are pleased to present an evening of performance, poetry, and visual art inspired by the poetry and mysticism of Rumi.

"'A Night of Love' includes a gallery of visual art, poetry reading, and a series of short segments from 'Touch' - a forthcoming performance by Chicago Danztheater Ensemble based on the work of Rumi. Please join us at 7 p.m. on March 9 at the Fulton Street Collective as we celebrate love and poetry."

Featured poets include: Senyo Ador, Bobby Biedrzycki, L'Oreal Patrice Jackson, Teresa Kuruvilla and John Sacelli.

Featured performers include: Jack Ryan, Wannapa P-Eubanks, Ellyzabeth Adler, Lisa Leszczewicz, Amy Swanson and Momar Ndiaye (Klou).

Featured visual artists include: David Sarallo and Joshua Longbrake.

5. National Book Award Finalist.

"Cynthia Huntington's Heavenly Bodies is a fearless and exacting exploration of illness, addiction, abuse, and the waning of American idealism," the National Book Foundation says. "These poems are unblinking in the face of dark subject matter, and surprising in their capacity for hope, for grace. Huntington's speakers are as vast and compassionate - as empathetic and multitudinous - as Whitman's, and they sing of the beauty and seductive brutality of survival in a world perpetually 'alight with new dangers.'"

Publisher of Heavenly Bodies: Southern Illinois University Press.

Just click here for video, an excerpt and more useful links.

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 6:34 AM | Permalink

Chicagoetry: I Can See Fear In Your Eyes, Bon Jovi

I CAN SEE FEAR IN YOUR EYES, BON JOVI

In the 1990s
I lived in Wicker Park.
I wanted to be
an artist.

It wasn't exactly
working out.

My friend Amy,
a special ed teacher
trained at ISU
offered me a paying job

as a "teacher's assistant"
at Oak Therapeutic Day School
near Ashland and Division.
I had

no clue.

Come to find,
this was a school
for kids from the
Chicago Public Schools
who weren't "finding success."

They either had
"learning disabilities," (poor bastards)
meaning they had special needs
that prevented them from succeeding

in public schools

or: they had a "behavior disorder,"
which meant they were fucking
gang-bangers, and were too violent
for CPS.

Super.

Holy Jesus!

I was clearly in
over my head.
But they needed
asses in the seats,

and I needed a job.

At the time,
I had long hair
worn in a pony-tail.
Shit!

Soon enough, come to find,
my nickname was "Bon Jovi."
"Bon Jovi:
get me a pencil."

I was, in a word, hazed.
Working as a Hall Monitor,
in between classes,
David Colon, who had a "behavior disorder,"

an older Hispanic
teen-ager
with huge biceps
and a shaved head

walked past
and casually looked over his shoulder at me
and said
"I can see fear in your eyes

Bon Jovi."
He was right. I was scared shitless!
The curriculum wasn't about learning
but was about "behaving."

The whole idea
was to get them to "behave."

I was assigned "art."
I had to try and teach these kids
"art!" I specialized
in drawing guitars.

Again: "behavior disorder"
meant that if they were too
violent for CPS,
they either could go to jail

or take J.J.'s art class.
When we'd get the counselors
drunk on the weekends,
we'd learn mommy's new

drug-dealing boyfriend
was beating the shit
out of them
and then sexually abusing them.

Holy Jesus.

Reggie the gang-banger
got hip to my milieu
and asked me to write him poems
he could give

to his prospective girlfriends.
I was honored!
I went straight to Motown
and, as a team, we found success.

Until I made the mistake
of writing a poem for
La Shaundria
that was meant for

La Quesha.
Reggie, come to find,
was a player.
I fucked up.

Then he got streamed out
and went to jail.

After a while, I got settled in,
and got accepted.
I got "health"
with the older, bad-ass kids.

The six of us
would sit at a table
working out of the health text.
And then I got cute.

I declared that if any of them
used the word "Nigger,"
they'd get a "time out."
That meant

they'd have to stand
facing the wall, silent,
for three minutes
or accept a harsher sentence.

It got to the point where
I could just raise my eyebrows
and the offender would smile,
look at his bros,

stand up and take the fucking
time out.
This motherfucker who likely
killed some other motherfucker

would get up and take my
time out.
I felt proud.
"OK, Bon Jovi."

Every day
I went to work
I thought
I was gonna die.

But if you find them now,
and ask them
what Van Gogh's favorite color was,
they'll say

"yellow."

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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 5:53 AM | Permalink

February 13, 2013

The [Wednesday] Papers

"The No. 2 executive of the United Neighborhood Organization quit Tuesday, eight days after the Chicago Sun-Times reported that the politically influential charter school operator paid state grant money to companies owned by two of his brothers," the paper reports.

"Miguel d'Escoto, who was UNO's senior vice president of operations, resigned 'by mutual agreement' in a letter submitted Tuesday evening, said the group's CEO, Juan Rangel."

It's deja vu all over again.

"Chicago Transportation Commissioner Miguel d'Escoto came to a City Hall meeting with his resignation letter in hand Thursday, correctly sensing that he would be the next department head to be swept from his job in Mayor Richard Daley's housecleaning," the Tribune reported in 2005.

"Daley sought and received d'Escoto's resignation because of 'a pattern of problems' that occurred on his watch."

Nice resumé, dude.

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American Exceptionalism
"Another U.S. administration official described Hadiya Pendleton as a bystander who was 'in the wrong place at the wrong time.'"

Oh, wait. That was Abdulrahman al-Awlaki.

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"Asked about the strike that killed him, a senior adviser to the president's campaign suggests he should've 'had a more responsible father.'"

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That senior adviser was Robert Gibbs, the man Barack Obama plucked from the gutter to be his spokesperson during the Hope & Change Tour of '08. Lee Atwater, being dead, wasn't available, though he frequently phoned in advice from Hell.

*

I'm doing it wrong.

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The Race To Replace Junior
Kankakee Republicans like Toi. Is a George Ryan endorsement far behind?

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Rahm's Pick Has No Plan

Hardly.

Just an awful debut for Natashia Holmes.

You can see Suppelsa's tone change as he realizes how lame she is. Totally unable to answer the obvious question about her fidelity to the mayor. Totally unable to discuss the challenge ahead of her. Totally unable to discuss the famous foibles of the council - or even what her plans are for day one, besides, you know, taking care of some things.

She has no projects on her agenda.

She has to get to know her ward.

On ethics, she'll "do what's right."

Oy.

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By the looks of her resume, she's smarter than she appeared. (And I didn't get to see her actual press conference; did Rahm let her speak?) But geez.

*

At first I wondered if it was the Emanuel administration who sold the media on describing her as a former IDOT worker, instead of the more logical and routine practice of referring to her most current job, which was working as a project manager for Metro Strategies. Smelled like lobbying to me, and I figured that appointing a lobbyist wouldn't be the kind of storyline the administration was looking for.

But Rahm's press release didn't unreasonably press the IDOT point, and she appears to have not been a lobbyist as much as a transportation policy geek.

Maybe "IDOT" just made for an easier-to-write headline.

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"Metro Strategies is a Glen Ellyn-based planning, policy and public affairs firm that works with government, businesses and nonprofit organizations," the Tribune account says. "It handled public outreach for the Chicago Department of Transportation's Streets for Cycling Plan 2020, according to company's website."

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A Waterboy's Chicago Adventure
Mike Scott in Paradise.

Local TV Notes
We choose a Check, Please! host.

QT: Timberlake, Nugent And Rand
Plus: Beware the ides of National Return Shopping Carts To The Supermarket Month.

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The Beachwood Tip Line: Check and check.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 8:26 AM | Permalink

Local TV Notes: Hardcore Pawn Chicago vs. Hell Night vs. Check, Please!

Because it's on.

1. Dude gets outta da joint, wants his watch back.


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2. "A reclusive man who lived in a central Illinois farmhouse without running water and drove a Ford truck from the 1960s nonetheless had an estate worth up to $1 million when he died last year," the ABA Journal notes.

"And 71-year-old Ray Fulk, who never married and had no children or close family members, did not die intestate. He willed the bulk of his estate to two actors he never met who were TV and movie stars in the 1980s and 1990s, the State Journal-Register reports.

"Kevin Brophy is probably best-known for his title role in the 1977's Lucan television show, in which his character was raised by wolves. Peter Barton played Dr. Scott Grainger on The Young and the Restless from 1987 to 1993. Both also had roles in the 1981 Linda Blair movie Hell Night."

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3. "Over 50 Chicagoans turned out to vie for the vacant Check, Please host position [Monday] in the first round of meet-and-greets with show producers at Calo Ristorante in Andersonville," Eater Chicago reports.

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Some audition videos culled from YouTube:

Um, no.

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Strong, but maybe too much so.

*

Not bad. Nice tone. Easygoing. Hired!

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See also: Replacing Alpana Singh.

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Comments welcome.

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1. From Noell Jezek:

I think the new host should be Rick Bayless because we don't see enough of this egomanical cook.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 6:53 AM | Permalink

Waterboy-In-Chief Mike Scott Was Once Blown Away By The Gospel At A South Side Chicago Church

From the YouTube channel of Selectively Mute this week:

"The wonderful Mike Scott was doing a bit of a book signing at Readings Bookstore in Carlton, Australia. He was reading antidotes from his new autobiography Adventures Of a Waterboy. In this video he talks about his experience visiting a gospel church in Chicago."


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Paradise Baptist, hard along Muddy Waters Drive.

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See also: Waterboys Express Spirituality: A 2006 interview with Chicago Innerview.

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Bonus video: "Stolen Child," words by Mr. Yeats.

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 6:05 AM | Permalink

QT: Pandering Has Its Limits


News Headline: "Arkansas lawmakers approve guns in churches."
A call was placed.
"Arkansas Secretary of State."
Visitor information, please.
"Yes."
Is the public allowed to bring guns into the state capitol building?
"No."
Thank you.
"You're welcome."
But the legislation is surely in the pipeline.

···

News Headline: "Obama proposes $9 minimum wage."
What would it take to bring the minimum wage to the level of, say, 1968?
About $10.50 in today's dollars.
Or try it another way:
There are currently:
+ 2,490 Google hits for "tap-dancing militant Islamic fundamentalists."
+ Zero Google hits for "bold challenges in President Obama's 2013 State of the Union message."

···

Cardinal Christoph Schoenborn regarding the selection of a new pope:
"Right now, 1.2 billion Catholics the world over are holding their breath."
Do we have video on this?

···

News Headline: "Idaho state senator thinks Ayn Rand should be required reading for high schoolers."
News Headline: "Ohio congressman wants kids to meditate."
Worth trying.
A few pages of Ayn Rand's writing, and they'll be meditating, all right.

···

QT Rules of Etiquette for Guys and Dolls:
J.C., an Atlanta reader, regarding QT's taking a dim view of President Obama's wearing white collar with a dinner jacket instead of tails at the Inaugural parties, writes:
"'Nice customs curtsy to great kings.' -Henry V, Act V, scene ii."
You may have a point.
Or put it another way:
". . . my. . . bad. . . ." -Much Ado About Nothing, Act II, scene iii.

···

We Have Seen the Present, and It Does Not Work:
The International Olympic Committee announced it will drop the ancient sport of wrestling, saying it is not "relevant," from the Summer Olympics, which still include badminton and ping-pong.

···

News Headline: "Wintry mix expected overnight."
Jack Finarelli, a Falls Church, Va., reader, wants to know when did sleet become a wintry mix, and when can we have sleet back?

···

QT News Presented Without Comment:
Justin Timberlake announced that his new album is "the best stuff I've ever done."

···

News Headline: "Neanderthals died out earlier than thought."
QT is still trying to pinpoint the death of thought.

···

News Headline: "Why Republicans have to rebuild The Big Tent."
Because everyone loves a circus.

···

Ted Nugent explaining his criticism of President Obama's gun-control proposals after the State of the Union:
"I'm a gun guy. I've never been without a gun."
Except when was a draft dodger during Vietnam.
But that was only for a number of years.
And he did become a "warrior," as he likes to put it, when he was no longer eligible to serve in a war.
So give him credit.

···

Beware the ides of National Return Shopping Carts to the Supermarket Month.

···

QT Grammar R Us Seminar on the English Language:
News Headline: "Obama speech will 'throw down the gauntlet' to Congress."
News Headline: "Obama runs RNC gantlet."
Say what you will about the man.
He knows which to throw and which to run.


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

February 12, 2013

The [Tuesday] Papers

I've got a few things to attend to this morning. Here's what we have on the site so far for today:

* The Political Odds.

Updated to reflect new political realities.

* Unicorns Play Baseball.

Our man Roger Wallenstein reports on a Chicago ex-pat who has found a field of dreams in Switzerland.

* O'Hare TSA Breaks German Cellist's Rare Bow.

And boy is he pissed.

* Local Music Notebook: Crooners & Cartoons.

Featuring Head East, R. Kelly, Mike Maldonado, John Giavonnoni, a racially offensive Boogie Woogie Bugle Boy and a message to Rahm from Jamaica's best.

* Watch A Robotic Kidney Transplant - The Patient Is Real.

A wild and wacky Chicago project.

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The Beachwood Tip Line: Unicorny.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 9:27 AM | Permalink

O'Hare TSA Breaks German Cellist's Rare Bow

"A rare Heinrich Knopf bow belonging to Alban Gerhardt was damaged by security officers as he entered the U.S.," the Strad reports.

"In what the cellist called 'an act of brutal and careless behavior', the bow stick was snapped in two, over the bridge of the cello, by air security staff at O'Hare International Airport, Chicago, as they examined the case's contents."

Gerhardt was on his way to a performance in Madison, Wisconsin.

Here's a report from RT America:


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Here's how the story unfolded on Gerhardt's Facebook page.

Status Update February 6, 11:39 P.M.:

Arrived at last in Madison, 5 hours late after a 24 hour trip, missed most of the rehearsal - and the worst: TSA broke my favorite bow right in the middle. No idea how and why ;(

February 7:

and here a photo of the poor thingy, taken at the airport last night...

Status Update February 8, 12:41 P.M.:

The editor read what happened to the bow on facebook, sent me an e-mail to explain and put it already on their webpage - that was quick!

Gerhardt later reported that he enjoyed the performance. "Great job, Madison Symphony!!"

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 8:27 AM | Permalink

Sun-Times Advice Columnist And Mass Murderer Jenny McCarthy Is Getting A Talk Show

Reposted from February 7 for ridiculous technical reasons.

"Jenny McCarthy is getting her own talk show," AP reports. "The Jenny McCarthy Show premieres Feb. 8 and will air Fridays on VH1 at 10:30 p.m. EDT."


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See also:
* Sun-Times Endorses Jenny McCarthy's Controversial Organizations.

* The Jenny McCarthy Body Count.

* Cancer Charity Replaces Antivaccination Mouthpiece Jenny McCarthy.

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SPLASH! Jenny McCarthy Dips Into Late Night.

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Previously:
* The Best Of Jenny McCarthy So Far.

* Tweeting Jenny McCarthy's Rockin' New Year's Eve.

* Why Jenny McCarthy And Brian Urlacher Broke Up.

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 4:59 AM | Permalink

Watch A University Of Illinois Robotic Kidney Transplant

Uploaded to YouTube on January 29, 2013, by Jose Oberholzer, whom we assume also did the surgery. Oberholzer is, among other things, the coordinator of the The Chicago Diabetes Project.

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See also, from last April:

"Because of his weight, Jimmie Jones was on the waiting list for a new kidney for 17 years. University of Illinois Hospital surgeons used robotic surgery to give him a life without dialysis. More in UIC News."

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 3:35 AM | Permalink

Local Music Notebook: Crooners & Cartoons

A loose collection of whatnot.

1. "The friends and family of John Giovannoni, former co-owner of The Music Room in Palatine, will gather this weekend to celebrate the local man's life," PalatinePatch notes.

"As a way to honor Giovannoni's dying wish to forgo a funeral and memorial service and instead throw a party, friends and family have organized a 'Celebration of the life of John Giovannoni' for this Sunday, Feb. 17, according to the Daily Herald. Giovannoni, 45, died on Jan. 13, according to his obituary."

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2. Last week's Local Music Notebook included an item about The Boogie Woogie Bugle Boy. A few days ago another version was uploaded to YouTube.

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3. Message To The Mayor From Jamaica:

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* See also: More messages of support for the Wild Hare.

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Previously:
* The Wild Hare vs. Wrightwood.

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The Latest:
* Wild Hare Vigil Brings In Former Reggae Performers.

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And:
* Flaco's Tacos Moves Into Former Home Of Wild Hare.

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4. "This is a tribute to the late singer Miguel 'Mike' Maldonado, who passed away on February 5, 2010," writes Carlos Flores on this YouTube upload.

"Mike was Chicago's very own Puerto Rican/Latino crooner, who for decades entertained many of us as a lead singer with groups like Conjunto Rio Platense, Orquesta NOVA, La Confidencia, 911 Mambo Orchestra and many others."

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5. Kawai KG1 5'4" Polished Ebony Baby Grand Piano - w/ Mute Rail.

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6. Following up on last week's item about R. Kelly being named a headliner for this year's Pitchfork Music Festival:

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7. In honor of one of this year's Illinois State Fair grandstand acts, just announced.

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 3:02 AM | Permalink

Unicorns Play Baseball

He was a big, gangly kid who wrapped his meaty right hand around a baseball and seemingly made it vanish. Not that Shaen Bernhardt knew quite where the horsehide was destined once he let loose, but he sure could throw hard, and he loved to play.

That was a quarter-century ago when he was a high school junior on our ballclub at Francis Parker where I was the coach. Of course, this was small-school, private-league baseball, but we were decent.

We played a lot of games, and Bernhardt patiently waited for his turn behind three senior pitchers whose concept of the location of home plate was - shall we say? - more developed than his.

I quickly lost track of him because I departed prior to his senior year. So it was with eager curiosity and anticipation that I read Bernhardt's e-mail last fall.

Here's what I learned: After graduating in international relations from Boston University, where he pitched for a couple of years until his elbow throbbed, he earned a law degree from Georgetown and then put a little icing on the academic cake with an MBA from the University of Chicago. A finance career in Chicago followed.

In the interest of full disclosure, Bernhardt wrote that his passion for the Cubs never has waned. While living here, his apartment was a block-and-a-half from the Confines as he continued to follow the game.

Today Bernhardt and his fiancée live in Zug, a 25-minute train ride south of Zurich, where they run three hedge funds.

"Those details, however, are boring to all but the small circle of finance wonks interested in our particular niche," he wrote. "What actually occasions my e-mail to you is Swiss baseball. No, really."

In addition to being impressed and totally befuddled by the writing ability of a student who was under my tutelage, the next tidbit really got me. Seems that Bernhardt landed a position last summer as pitching coach for the Hünenberg Unicorns of the Swiss Baseball Federation.

"I threw batting practice to the guys a few times in an attempt to show them what little I knew of the craft and found myself, at 41, drafted as a player within hours," Bernhardt wrote. "If you told me three years ago I would be moving to Switzerland and pitching for the first league baseball team, I would have counted you insane."

But the Unicorns knew experience and talent were in their midst. The team had split its first six games but then went on a 10-game winning streak to capture the league championship. Bernhardt hurled one of the playoff victories, a two-hitter with - by his estimation - 15 punch-outs and 10 walks. He may be living in Europe, but he's still the same guy.

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"I was stunned to find that, even with an intervening 22-year retirement from baseball, I could still throw an 80-mph fastball, a decent slow curve, a surprising circle change, and a nice, late-breaking slider," he wrote. "Alas (or 'Huzzah!'), I now find myself a part of 'Le Show Suisse.'"

However, that show isn't particularly new. The 'Corns - needless to say, I'm already a big fan - have been around for 25 years, and there actually are three leagues in the federation. The vast majority of the players are Swiss nationals with a sprinkling of diehards like Bernhardt. Many of the athletes are just learning the game, but you won't hear any yodeling between the shortstop and second baseman. They understand infield chatter.

"The Swiss are generally natural athletes," writes Bernhardt. "Despite the fact that some of the infield guys only started playing baseball a couple of years ago, they turn double plays with alarming regularity."

With the 2013 campaign on the horizon, the Unicorns are seeking a coach. The former skipper, Texan Austin Proctor, stepped down and moved back to Fort Worth after the 2012 season. Only 27, he also coached Eagles Praha in the Czech Republic before moving over to Switzerland.

"It was fantastic," Proctor said in a phone conversation last week. "They want to learn. They want to be better. The [coaching] pay obviously is not ideal so it's a 'must love' baseball position."

With the Swiss history of neutrality, camaraderie among the players is no bulletin. "All the players are great," said Proctor. "No team chemistry problems in any way. They all like each other, and they're friends outside of the team."

"Sportsmanship is a Swiss passion," Bernhardt had written in one of his e-mails to me. "The Swiss play hard and are fierce competitors, but no one headhunts, and home-plate collisions are not gratuitous."

While the attitude is positive, some of the nuances of the game escape the 'Corns.

"It can be frustrating," admitted Proctor. "[These] guys have never played the game before [so] tagging up on a fly ball is a struggle. It's a situation where they're trying so hard, but they don't know the game. The ball is hit to them, and they don't know where they're throwing."

Of course, that's where coaching becomes the name of the game. In addition to the opportunity to genuinely teach the National Pastime . . . er, baseball, there are other benefits such as the home ballpark, known as the Rony.

"[It] has a Field of Dreams feel to it," Proctor said.

The Rony is just four years old - and no one should be surprised that it's a gem. I mean, this is the country that produces world-class watches. Why shouldn't they be capable of creating a beautiful ballpark?

Bernhardt wrote that the Rony boasts a "regulation mound, permanent, standing wood and concrete dugouts for home and visitors, a covered and netted batting cage, bullpen tunnel, towering backstop fence, a fulltime groundskeeper, and a full set of lights." He also mentioned the "nicely-stocked" kiosk with beer, brats, sausage, soda and burgers.

There's more.

"There are cornfields off the first-base line, the beginning of the Swiss Alps are visible beyond left and left-center, and to the right-field side the view rolls down into the valley," Bernhardt described it in an e-mail. "It's hard to forget you're in Switzerland. The faint crack of rifles can occasionally be heard while Switzerland's citizen militia practice on the nearby Kantonal rifle ranges (don't worry, they face the other way), and it isn't unusual during practice for us to hear Alphorns echoing from the mountains, across the field, and down to the valley."

I fully expected him to tell me that Heidi was their bat girl.

Switzerland will host the European B-level baseball championships this summer, and the Rony will be one of the sites. Bernhardt calls this a "big win" for Swiss baseball.

Of course, prior to this event, the Unicorns will vie for another league championship. All they need right now is a coach.

What's Ozzie Guillen doing this summer?

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

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 1:07 AM | Permalink

February 11, 2013

SportsMonday: Trying To Celebrate The Hawks' Riches

I drove from Chicago to North Central Indiana early Sunday (to LaCrosse if you must know, located sort of between Valpo and South Bend) and I had a chance to listen to long stretches of sports talk. The aggravatingly lazy cynicism that so frequently passes for humorous commentary around here forced me to turn away at times. So many of the guys on our stations love to tell you how much whatever sucks, don't they?

Sometimes they are clever about it but more often less so.

Here I must pause to point out that the Mr. Bright Side part of me realized he was enjoying a little music interspersed with stretches of talk. I would also like to point out that this column eventually makes its way around to some Blackhawk talk. But anyway.

The chief cynic belongs to the Tribune, of course. Nothing ever happens that Mr. Steve Rosenbloom can't turn into bile. Don't miss that previous link by the way; the Tribune really goes all out with the bios of its most prominent personalities.

When Chicago teams find a way to play well enough to please good old Rosie, he simply turns his malevolent gaze on the opposition. There is always someone to ridicule and the man must have generated at least several million cheap little laughs by now.

On Sunday morning on The Score, the lead talker was Daily Herald columnist Barry Rozner. A proud Northern Illinois grad, Rozner has been writing sports columns for a living for more than 15 years now. So let's get this part out of the way - I am seriously jealous.

And I also tune into his shows believing that at some point, he won't disappoint; at some point he will offer sports commentary that at least acknowledges some complexity. All I'm asking is that guys at least consider viewpoints other than the conventional, cynical, sports talk "wisdom."

Rozner used to appear on the weekends on The Score with Matt Spiegel - of whom I am a big fan. In addition to the awesome musical work he does with Tributosaurus. Spiegel is quite simply a very good sports talker. One way to define that is that he frequently finds the right balance between skeptical and celebratory. And he is legitimately funny. Often.

Spiegel was also the founding producer of Sound Opinions almost 15 years ago now. The guy is seriously good - and he does a mean Freddie Mercury impersonation. And he sings the Feldco song! I'm not kidding!

Rozner isn't on with Spiegel anymore, but when he is on, the show is still called Hit and Run.

So on Sunday, there I was, enthused about a coming conversation about the Blackhawks. And there I went back to music when Rozner began - began - the conversation by pointing out that the local hockey team still sucks on the power play.

The Hawks were 9-0-2 going into Sunday evening's game. Nine of those 11 games had been played on the road. There is an embarrassment of riches to celebrate about this team so far, but the riches too frequently don't interest local sports radio crews filling the airwaves with crap on a rainy Sunday morning.

Later Sunday, the Hawks improved to 10-0-2 with a dominant 3-0 victory over the Predators in Nashville. Sure, Nashville had played the night before in Minnesota while the Hawks were off, but the Hawks' defense, featuring the very promising second pair of Nik Hjalmarsson and Johnny Oduya behind the ever-steadfast Brent Seabrook and Duncan Keith, refused to yield. I'm sure the Rosenblog currently has a good breakdown of how pathetic these Preds are.

I would rather find ways to celebrate a Blackhawks team that seems to absolutely have everything it needs to contend for another Cup. That certainly wouldn't suck.

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 9:15 AM | Permalink

The [Monday] Papers

"When Cook County Sheriff Tom Dart was thinking about running for Chicago mayor, he got one of his biggest campaign contributions from The Burnham Committee, one of Ald. Edward M. Burke's political funds," the Sun-Times reports.

"The $10,000 campaign gift in September 2010 came a little more than a year after Dart hired the 14th Ward alderman's son, Edward M. Burke Jr., as an assistant chief deputy sheriff - a job that paid $65,616 a year, county records show."

Chicago: The Most Coincidental City On Earth!

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"Last year, Dart promoted the younger Burke - and gave him a 25 percent pay raise, records show.

"Burke Jr. holds one of 210 jobs in the sheriff's office that are exempt from the Shakman decree, the federal court order that bans patronage hiring for most government jobs in Cook County. Another 6,430 jobs in Dart 's office are covered by the order, which means hires for those jobs are to be made based on qualifications, not clout.

"Other Shakman-exempt employees on Dart 's payroll include two nieces of his predecessor as sheriff, Michael Sheahan; the wife of Sheahan's former patronage director; and a brother of a judge who had worked for Sheahan."

Yes, but here's what really caught my eye:

Dart didn't respond to interview requests about his political hires.

Dart is usually quite accessible. Doesn't look good.

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"Burke's wife, Jackie, works for the United Neighborhood Organization, a not-for-profit organization that promotes opportunities for the Hispanic community and operates government-financed charter schools in Chicago."

Link mine.

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"Burke's mother, the alderman's wife, is Illinois Supreme Court Justice Anne M. Burke."

Refresher course.

See also the items:
* We're Number One.

* Sneedling.

* Steinberg Watch.

* No. 4.

* Nos. 8, 9, 10:

* On A Boender.

(And from a later piece: "[Boender] held a 2007 fundraiser in his home for Burke's wife, Illinois Supreme Court Justice Anne Burke."

Plus:
* On recusals and sexism.

* On Jennifer Burke and Pat Quinn.

* On Dan Burke and Anita Alvarez.

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Back to the Sun-Times:

"Nora Sheahan, 32, started work as an administrative assistant in the sheriff's communications and community affairs department in November 2010. She helps Frank Bilecki, Dart's spokesman, respond to news inquiries and produce an employee newsletter. Her pay: $69,957.

"The Sheahans 'work their asses off and should not be judged based on their last names,' says Bilecki."

And of all the places for them to get jobs, they chose to bless us with public service at the Cook County Sheriff's Office!


*

Likewise, it would be nice if someone not named Sheahan (or Burke) got a chance to work their ass off. Even if true, it's mostly beside the point.

*

Chicago: Home Of The World's Most Coincidental Families!

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I have no idea how the Sun-Times came to this story - though it's of a piece with the excellent work done by the Watchdog crew over there and it was probably just their own awesome grinding - but in conjunction with this story rumored to have been planted by City Hall, as well as his fundraising, could one reasonably surmise that Rahm is clearing the decks of potential re-election opponents?

If I didn't live in Chicago, I might not ask.

*

Also:

Ald. Willie Cochran retweeted the story this morning - without comment. Now, as most of us know by now, retweets aren't necessarily endorsements. But in this case, Cochran definitely wanted his followers to read about his council colleague's extended family network. Unless it's Dart he has it in for.

QT: Exhibition Accomplished
The drone brothers-in-chief, Nemo and Paris Hilton.

The Weekend In Chicago Rock
Totally back in business.

The Chicago School Of Shoemaking
Meet Master Cobbler Sara McIntosh.

SportsMonday
Trying To Celebrate Hawks' Riches.

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The Beachwood Tip Line: Like an extended family network.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 8:05 AM | Permalink

The Chicago School Of Shoemaking

"We recently had the pleasure of visting the Chicago School of Shoemaking, where Master Cobbler Sara McIntosh works and plays. From her quaint workshop in the city's Ravenswood neighborhood, she passes years of experience, craftsmanship and insight into this lost art."


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Additional Video:

*

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 6:54 AM | Permalink

The Weekend In Chicago Rock

You shoulda been there (in no particular order).

1. Allstar Weekend at Bottom Lounge on Saturday night.


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2. Feed Me at House of Blues on Saturday night.

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3. Wake Up at the Congress on Saturday night.

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4. moe. at the Riv on Saturday night.

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5. Alex Wiley at Reggie's on Saturday night.

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6. Amongst The Fallen at the Irish Mill in Mundelein on Saturday night.

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7. Girl Group Chicago at the Burlington on Saturday night.

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8. Coheed & Cambria at the Congress on Saturday night.

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9. Mord Fustang at the House of Blues on Friday night.

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10. Every Time I Die at the Bottom Lounge on Friday night.

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11. Walk the Moon at the Metro on Friday night.

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12. Mojo Walker at the Double Door on Friday night.

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 6:06 AM | Permalink

QT: Exhibition Accomplished


News Headline: "A critical look at the art of George W. Bush."
News Headline: "Art critic thinks George W. Bush is a 'good painter.'"
And he did some of his best work into corners.

···

News Headline: "Lawmakers urge oversight of drone program."
This may be difficult.
Polls indicate the American public is more inclined to overlook it.

···

News Headline: "Nemo: Worst blizzard name ever?"
Or put it another way:
When did the Blizzard of '13 become Nemo, and when can we have the Blizzard of '13 back?
And H.S., a Chicago reader, wants to know when did snow storms become snow events, and when can we have snow storms back?
And. . . .

···

News Item: ". . . candidate who still has fire in the belly. . . ."
News Item: ". . . candidate insists he has fire in the belly. . . ."
News Item: ". . . important that a candidate have fire in the belly. . . ."
News Item: ". . . a political system in need of reform. . . ."
Yes. In need of reform.
And antacids.

···

QT Digest of Rush Limbaugh's Friday Show (for Your Convenience):
". . . idiots. . . knuckleheads. . . garbage. . . I'll explain everything. . . I'm no fool. . . here's my brainchild. . . what a brain. . . woo-woo-woo-woo. . . Moe, Larry, the cheese!"
No. Wait.
This is a digest of a Three Stooges script.
Sorry.
Sometimes QT gets its notes mixed up.

···

News Headline: "NJ Sen. Robert Menendez says no one can buy him, defends actions that may have benefited donor."
Why do we always assume that our politicians can be bought?
Have we heard of leasing with a fair market purchase option?
Not to mention vote default swaps. . . .

···

News Headline: "'KILLER COP' FEAR HITS GRAMMYS."
No. It didn't.

···

From the Annals of the Federal Department of Police Squad:
U.S. Air Force veteran Saadiq Long, who was unable to fly from Qatar to Oklahoma City because he was mistakenly on a Homeland Security no-fly list, finally was removed from the list and flew to Oklahoma City, where he visited and is now unable to return to Qatar because he is back on the list.

···

News Headline: "Clint Eastwood isn't satisfied with Congress."
Could someone please find 535 chairs so we can have this out?

···

News Headline: "Do we know how life began? Not really."
Did QT continue reading this story?
Not really.

···

News Headline: "Meet 'addicted couple' that injects caffeine into their colons via enemas."
Love to meet them - but wait, oh, doggone it, something just came up, can you believe it?

···

News Headline: "Paris Hilton increases her brain power with nutritional supplement drink as she goes grocery shopping in stylish playsuit."
It has been 2,063 days since Paris Hilton announced she would be leaving public life.
For those keeping track.

···

QT Modern Corporate Gibberish of the Week:
Alare and Avanade have acquired Epocal and Opstera.
Respectively.

···

QT Grammar R Us Seminar on the English Language:
News Headline: "U.S. cautions Britain not to loosen E.U. ties."
Catherine Jones, a Halifax, Nova Scotia, reader, as long as we are on the subject of ties, wants you to know that "ascot" rhymes with "basket."
And are we already past time for QT's semiannual reminder that it is not "once more into the breach," but "one more unto the breach"?
Evidently.


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

February 9, 2013

The Weekend Desk Report

Is it just us, or is this year's snow particularly evil?

Market Update
Remember when March Madness just meant basketball and musical sell-outs and not, you know, the end of the fucking world?

Back To The Future
Corporate schoolmarm CBS has sent a memo to Grammy attendees dictating a ban on bared female breasts and buttocks. You know what might really be nice? A ban on beatings.

Wheedling And Dealing
What do you say, everyone? Jackson/Blagojevich 2030?

Stripped Heine
You know the real problem with Illinois corruption scandals? They're not funny enough. Come on, the new German education minister is a Wanka!

Panetta And Teller
President Obama this week bid a fond farewell to Defense Secretary Leon Panetta, wishing him luck with his new Vegas act making entire drone bases disappear.

Bey Real
Sad thing is, she still looks better than we do first thing in the morning.

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The Weekend Desk Tip Line: Tip your assassins.

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The Sound Opinions Weekend Listening Report: "When candy, flowers, and love notes fail, you've still got a shot at wooing your sweetheart back with a great Pleading Song. This Valentine's Day, Jim and Greg share their I Want You Back playlists. And later in the show - a different kind of Valentine. Jim and Greg review the first new music from My Bloody Valentine in 21 years."

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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.

Governors State 2nd Congressional District Debate

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Governors State University, in partnership with local League of Women Voters chapters, hosts a debate of the candidates seeking to fill Jesse Jackson Jr.'s vacant seat. Moderated by Mike Flannery, political editor for WFLD FOX 32.

Saturday, February 9 at 8 p.m. on CAN TV21 and online.

2 hr. 30 min.

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Reaching Back, Moving Forward: African American History

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This panel discussion of Chicago's African-American history features Dr. Christopher Reed, Roosevelt University; Chicago historian and professor Timuel D. Black, Jr. and Dr. Robert Starks, Northeastern Illinois University. M.A.D.D. Rhythms and Ken'te Kizer also perform.

Sunday, February 10 at 9 a.m. on CAN TV21
2 hr.

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Follicular Lymphoma: On the Road to Cure

On World Lymphoma Awareness Day, Rush University Cancer Center, Chicago Blood Cancer Foundation, and Hope for Lymphoma host some of the world's top experts on Follicular Lymphoma for a day-long symposium.

Treatment & Management of Follicular Lymphoma

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These opening sessions explain the basics of how follicular lymphoma is diagnosed and treated.

Sunday, February 10 at 11 a.m. on CAN TV21
1 hr. 45 min.

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Watch & Wait with Follicular Lymphoma

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Dr. Brad Kahl of the University of Wisconsin joins this lively panel on emerging paradigms and new approaches to treating follicular lymphoma.

Sunday, February 10 at 1 p.m. on CAN TV21
30 min.

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Relapse and Chemo for Follicular Lymphoma

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Dr. Christopher Flowers of the Emory University School of Medicine explores treatment options other than chemo that are available for treating follicular lymphoma.

Sunday, February 10 at 2 p.m. on CAN TV21
30 min.

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Stem Cell Transplants for Follicular Lymphoma

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Henry Fung of the Coleman Foundation and other experts explore who benefits most from stem cell transplants and the impact of advances in implanting techniques.

Sunday, February 10 at 3 p.m. on CAN TV21
30 min.

Posted by Natasha Julius at 10:12 AM | Permalink

February 8, 2013

Meet Chicago Art Conservator Barry Bauman

"Chicago-based conservator Barry Bauman explains that he has worked on tens of thousands of paintings but has never had a surprise quite like this before. Bauman and Meredith McGovern, Arts & Culture Collections Manager at the Indiana State museum, tell about the amazing discovery of a previously unknown 1890 painting by T.C. Steele."


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See also:
* Barry Bauman And His Dedicated Team Nurse Damaged Works Back To Brilliance.

* Old Murals' True Colors Shine Again In Library.

* Portrait Of Mary Todd Lincoln Is Deemed A Hoax.

* Bauman Conservation.

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 1:23 PM | Permalink

IL-2 Notebook: Facebook, Dart & The Governors State Debate

News and notes from the race to replace Jesse Jackson Jr., including Thursday night's 20-person debate moderated by Fox Chicago's Mike Flannery at Governors State University.

1. Deleting old Facebook posts is never a good idea.

*

At the last debate, Debbie Halvorson said that standing up for principles and ethics is easy "When you know what you stand for."

2. Dart for Beale.

I can only guess that Dart thinks Beale will be able to help him somehow in the future with votes from the 9th Ward if he runs for, say, mayor.

*

Meanwhile, Robin Kelly announced she has won the endorsement of the 100 ministers who comprise the International Ministers & Community Alliance.

3. From last night's debate.

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That's the Bloomberg ad. Which part is incorrect? Fact-check, please.

*

Good point. After all, they voted for budgets that cut mental health funding, right?

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Good point for context; an assault weapons ban is not a silver bullet (no pun intended). In fact, it's all too easy for Dems to support. Still, why not support it and move on? No reason not to outside of currying favor with the NRA. It's a cliché, but it's true: Hunters don't need assault weapons, nor do those defending their homes. Assault weapons are for (massive) assaults.

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*

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Junior's argument was always that a Peotone airport was the one project that could significantly affect the Southland and South Side economy and address economic inequities. Get a little of that O'Hare cheese while reducing gridlock and improving consumer competition. A regional solution. Do the candidates agree? How would they get there? Where have they been?

*

*

*

*

So true. So will you introduce a financial services tax in the city council soon? Or back the mayor's dormant campaign pledge to enact a luxury tax in the city?

*

*

*

On drones.

*

Punt.

*

Closer.

*

He's allowed to have that view, but not sure he really understands the issue.

*

I know you want to ride gun violence to glory, but c'mon.

*

Talked about job creation and development efforts in his ward.

*

Well, we hadn't talked at all about veterans yet tonight. But the question was about jobs, and shoehorning veterans into the answer is like Kelly shoehorning guns into her last answer. Too obvious.

*

I'm still wondering.

*

*

To wit.

*

Conclusion: Halvorson's performance was much stronger than at the Rich Central High School debate. She showed a command of the issues and drew on her previous work in Congress in displaying her experience and qualifications. But do second district voters like where she stands?

Hutchinson showed off her political gift of articulate evasion; she's slick. But she has yet to differentiate herself on the issues aside from her "evolving" position on guns. That's because she has no differentiation on the issues; she will be a dependable water-carrier if elected.

Kelly's low-key style is steady and mature, but dry. Will it - should it - matter? She's the relatively (this is Illinois) progressive candidate in the race and hasn't been hit yet on her tenure as chief of staff for former state treasurer Alexi Giannoulias, but perhaps that's because her next job was as chief administrator for Toni Preckwinkle, who has endorsed Hutchinson. Who is Halvorson's former chief of staff. Nonetheless, Kelly seems a little lacking in the sophistication department sometimes. (Once again, I must say, they're no Junior.)

Beale can be a bit of a clown, and it's not as if he's distinguished himself as a leader on the city council. He just happens to live in the district and sees an opportunity. He'll need to be more aggressive about policy proposals if he wants to get into this thing - and it may be too late seeing as how the election is February 26. Being from the city and not the south suburbs is a hindrance in this district, not a help.

The rest of the field? Forget it.

*

Here's the whole thing. Thanks, CAN TV!

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

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 6:54 AM | Permalink

QT: Tender Moments


News Item: "Valentine's Day spending is projected to reach $18.6 billion this year, with men expected to spend more than women--an average of $175.61 versus $89. . . ."
So, OK, men, in that moment that comes after exchanging gifts, lean over and whisper gently in her ear:
"You owe me $86.61."
She'll laugh.
She really will.

···

News Headline: "Obama continues Bush practice of shredding the Constitution."
We find bipartisanship where we can.

···

News Headline: "Asteroid to make close pass at Earth next week."
Physicist Edward T. Lu regarding the countdown for Asteroid 2012 DA14, which will pass closer than the orbits of some artificial satellites in seven days:
"For every one we know about, there are about 100 more we don't know about. We have to find the other 99."
Pssst.
Asteroid 2013 CY32 was discovered yesterday--two days after it passed closer than the orbits of some artificial satellites.
Found one.

···

News Headline: "Bones under parking lot belong to Richard III."
Stephen J. Smith, a Minneapolis reader, writes:
"No one, apparently, had a hunch he'd be back."
It was an undignified end for Richard III, moldering under all those parked cars.
Especially the tudors.

···

News Headline: "Library gives free pole-dancing lessons to boost attendance."
Which reminds QT:
National Young Readers Week this year starts Nov. 11.
Which leaves you 276 days to find one.

···

Lest We Forget that the Dark Ages Were a Faith-Based Initiative:
There are now more than 300 private schools in the United States receiving public voucher funds and teaching Old Testament creationism in science classes.

···

News Headline: "Paul Ryan: 'I've 'decided not to decide' on presidential run."
Ryan's The Path to Prosperity: A Blueprint for American Renewal has slipped from 280,344th to 315,993rd on the Amazon best-seller list, for those keeping track.

···

The Case for Zero Tolerance of Modern School Administrators:
A 7-year-old boy in Loveland, Colo., was suspended for violating his school's weapons policy when at recess he threw an imaginary grenade at an imaginary box that had something evil inside and made a grenade noise.

···

QT Economic Indicator and Sign of the Times of the Week:
Nearly 200 workers are being laid off by the Illinois Department of Employment Security.

···

News Headline: "Cell phone user allegedly choked by theatergoer in Sarasota's Performing Arts Center."
Yes. But is there a downside?

···

From the QT Archive of Knowledge:
+ Ayn Rand was pro-choice.
+ Al Gore is richer than Mitt Romney.

···

News Headline: "Outgoing Transportation Secretary LaHood: 'America is one big pothole.' "
There we go.
Always disparaging America.
Make that the greatest pothole in the world.

···

From Poor QT's Almanack:
Philosopher Martin Buber, who wrote, "Inscrutably involved, we live in the currents of universal reciprocity," was born 135 years ago on the eighth day of National Bake for Family Fun Month.

···

QT Grammar R Us Seminar on the English Language:
R.M., 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:
"Hemidemisemiquaversuperantepenultimate."
And on that note. . . .


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

Hockey City Classic At Soldier Field!

"Outdoor college ice hockey is coming to Soldier Field for the very first time!

"This one-of-a-kind doubleheader will feature four of the nation's premier men's college ice hockey programs: Minnesota vs. Wisconsin and Notre Dame vs. Miami. The puck drops Sunday, Feb. 17, 2013 at noon when Notre Dame faces off against Miami University, followed immediately by Minnesota vs. Wisconsin at approximately 3:30 p.m.

"The Hockey City Classic will be preceded by two weeks of winter festivities including two days of free public ice skating, high school hockey events, youth and adult hockey events, private ice rentals and much more."


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See also: Tribune photo gallery.

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Minnesota Gopher fans and alum are being solicited with this offer:

Prior to the Gopher game at Soldier Field on February 17th, join fellow fans at the Official Pre-game Indoor tailgate. From noon to 3:00 p.m., enjoy Chicago-style hot dogs with: Chicago-style relish, a special celery salt plus a variety of trimmings; three-bean veggie chili with locally sourced vegetables and spicy beef chili. Chili toppings include cheddar cheese, sour cream and onions. Fresh baked cookies for dessert.

And, Goose Island will be serving their award-winning, hand crafted beers.

Cost is only $40 per person and includes unlimited food and refreshments catered by Goose Island Catering. (Pricing good until Feb.13; $50 per person after that date. Walk up registration will be very limited.

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And here's a Miami of Ohio VIP package promotion.

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 3:33 AM | Permalink

The Week In Chicago Rock

You shoulda been there, in no particular order.

1. The Vaccines at Lincoln Hall on Wednesday night.


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2. Honeyhoney at Bottom Lounge on Monday night.

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 2:33 AM | Permalink

The [Friday] Papers

"The chairman of the Australian company behind Chicago's red-light program resigned this week and trading in the company's stock was suspended amid an intensifying investigation into allegations of corruption in its Chicago contract," the Tribune reports.

"Redflex Holdings Ltd. announced the extraordinary actions just days after board members were briefed by an outside legal team hired to examine ties between the company's U.S. subsidiary and the city official who oversaw its contract, a relationship first disclosed in October by the Tribune.

"In a brief statement Thursday to the newspaper, the company also revealed for the first time that it is sharing information with law enforcement authorities.

"The internal probe found that company executives systematically courted former city transportation official John Bills with thousands of dollars in free trips to the Super Bowl and other sporting events, sources familiar with the investigation told the Tribune. The company also hid the extent of the improper relationship from City Hall after the newspaper's reporting last year forced Redflex to partially reveal its ties to Bills, sources said.

"The internal probe and a parallel investigation by city Inspector General Joseph Ferguson are also raising more questions about the company's hiring of a longtime Bills friend who received more than $570,000 in company commissions as a customer service representative in Chicago, the sources said."

Wow, that's far worse than this story looked when it was first reported. Reminds me of words an old editor of mine in Florida thought every reporter should live by: It's always 10 times worse than you think it is.

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"Bills did not return calls, but has adamantly denied any wrongdoing. 'I would never have intentionally accepted a dime from Redflex, I wouldn't do that,' he told the Tribune in October.

But if a dime unintentionally found its way into my pocket, well, what're ya' gonna do about it?

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"The latest developments run counter to the company's previous contentions that a whistle-blower concocted widespread accusations of internal wrongdoing and that a single company executive had mistakenly violated procedures by paying a one-time hotel tab for Bills."

Another good guideline: Always be suspicious when blame is placed on a whistleblower.

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"Redflex lawyers told the Tribune in October that a previous company-sponsored investigation by an outside law firm in 2010 found no wrongdoing but for a single hotel stay one top executive paid for Bills. Redflex Traffic Systems sent the executive vice president in question to 'anti-bribery' training and revamped its expense accounting system, according to General Counsel Andrejs Bunkse."

And beware the company-sponsored investigation, as well as the training remedy. It's like sending Ozzie Guillen to sensitivity classes.

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"Bunkse also said that neither Bills nor his friend the customer service representative were interviewed as part of the company's 'exhaustive' three-week probe."

Ahem.

"But in the wake of the newspaper's disclosure, the company announced it would pay for another outside review, this time by David Hoffman, a former city inspector general and federal prosecutor who is now a partner at the Chicago-based law firm Sidley Austin LLP.

"Hoffman last week presented the audit committee of Redflex's board with a starkly different version of events, reporting that Bills received thousands of dollars in pricey hotel stays, including tickets to at least one Super Bowl and White Sox spring training trips over the course of many years, according to sources. Hoffman's report implicated company executives in the wrongdoing and recommended that some be fired, the sources said."

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And here's the pièce de résistance: "Bills [is] a longtime precinct captain in the political organization of House Speaker Michael Madigan."

Replacing Junior
IL-2 Notebook: Facebook, Dart & The Governors State Debate.

Stop And Frisk
Emanuel Says He Won't 'Negotiate In Public' On Police Contract.

Why not? Wouldn't that be transparency? Broadcast the negotiations on CAN TV. What's the big secret?

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Seriously. Why do we simply accept that such negotiations must occur in private?

Council Follies
The city council defied Emanuel on Thursday for the first time since he's been mayor. Yay! And what did they flex their muscle on? City council ethics reform. And so it goes . . .

Sense Of Normalcy
Landmarks Commission Unanimously Votes Itself Completely Useless.

Contract Follies
"One of the more notorious no-bid contracts to come up before the Cook County Board in recent years almost got extended for three years at Tuesday's board meeting. Until it didn't. Here's what happened."

Rahm's Shock Doctrine
Don't waste a crisis. And if you need a crisis not to waste, create one.

Shock Troops
"Police barricaded the doors at a Wednesday night Chicago Public Schools meeting as upset parents, teachers and students clamored to get in to discuss potential school closings in Pilsen and Little Village."

Shock Jocks
"Within Chicago Public Schools, high school course offerings vary drastically - from paltry, as at Bowen, to robust, as at Walter Payton on the Near North Side," Sarah Karp reports for Catalyst.

"The type and size of the school and the skill level of incoming students are factors that drive the disparity. Bowen is a neighborhood high school with just 522 students, most of them with lower-level skills.

"The most drastic dissimilarities are between high schools in impoverished neighborhoods with dwindling populations and selective enrollment high schools in more middle-class communities.

"Payton, a selective enrollment school, has a 27-page, full-color catalog of course offerings. In it, students can read descriptions of courses ranging from 20th Century Global Conflicts to Advanced Jazz Band to a physics class focused on electricity and magnetism.

"Payton also offers an all-honors curriculum for freshmen and sophomores; in junior and senior year, students can move into Advanced Placement classes.

"'The complexity of the texts is pretty significant,' says Principal Ted Devine. 'They are college-level.'

"Meanwhile, at Bowen, the course offerings are summed up on one page. Other than the special Wednesday classes, the electives are sparse, mostly reserved for seniors and straightforward, like creative writing."

QT: Tender Moments
Al Gore, Ayn Rand and Ray LaHood.

Hockey City Classic At Soldier Field
Pretty great.

Chicago's Art Conservator Extraordinaire
Meet Barry Bauman.

The Totally Paltry Week In Chicago Rock
Still, a worthy two-fer.

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The Beachwood Tip Line: Double or nothing.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 1:17 AM | Permalink

February 7, 2013

The [Thursday] Papers

"A 15-year-old boy with nearly 20 arrests on his record has been charged with armed robbery after he held up a man near his home, police said," the Tribune reports.

"It was Jesus Castaneda's 19th arrest, according to police, and his second gun-related charge. He was last arrested in August 2012 for unlawful use of a weapon, police said."

Profile, please.

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I know he's a juvenile and I know it would be a challenge, but isn't his story exactly the kind we need to tell? I see journalism ahead.

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See also: Straight Outta Chicago: Reports From The Street.

Assassin-In-Chief
Nice of everyone to finally join the party. It's been lonely.

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See also: Obama Claims Right To Kill Anyone Anytime.

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I mean, it's not like we just had a presidential campaign.

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By the way, the man in the video is Cenk Uygur, who was hired by MSNBC on the strength of his work here on his Young Turks show, but then replaced by Al Sharpton right before the presidential campaign because Sharpton promised to support the president while Uygur promised to do his job as a journalist.

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But let's keep talking about how stupid Fox News viewers are.

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And now Obama wants to make Bush torture enabler John Brennan his head of the CIA. On the other hand, Brennan has already been serving as Obama's chief counterterrorism advisor so what's the diff?

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Romney's first term vs. Bush's fourth term. Discuss.

Schock Value
"Freshman U.S. Rep. Rodney Davis, R-Taylorville, did not cooperate with the Office of Congressional Ethics in its initial probe of alleged campaign finance violations by U.S. Rep. Aaron Schock, R-Peoria," the Springfield Journal-Register reports.

The no-snitching code strikes again.

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"'The OCE infers that the information Mr. Davis refused to provide, taken together with the factual findings in this referral, supports the conclusion that there is substantial reason to believe that the alleged violation occurred,' the OCE said in a report made public Wednesday.

"The report recommends that Davis and three other non-cooperating witnesses be subpoenaed.

"The investigation, now before the House Ethics Committee, deals with allegations that Schock solicited donations of more than $5,000 per donor for a super political action committee. The OCE report says Davis, then an aide to U.S. Rep. John Shimkus, R-Collinsville, was identified by the super PAC's managing director as the contact person for five potential donors before the 2012 primary election."

Oh Cicero
"A rival of Cicero Town President Larry Dominick on Wednesday called for a federal investigation into town spending at a Berwyn hardware store," the Sun-Times reports.

"Juan Ochoa's call came a day after the Sun-Times reported that the Town of Cicero has spent more than $3 million at Lembke & Sons True Value, a store that has contributed more than $50,000 to Dominick's campaign fund since he took office in 2005."

That's a lot of hardware. Click through for the rest of the story.

State Of The State
I have nothing to add that wasn't on our Twitter feed already.

Mass Murderer Jenny McCarthy Gets Talk Show
Sun-Times advice columnist rewarded for lethal nonsense.

Free Spirit Media
On The Road.

Stan Was Truly The Man
Letter From St. Louis.

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The Beachwood Tip Line: Lead from ahead.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 8:46 AM | Permalink

Obama Claims Right To Kill Anyone Anytime

In his second inaugural address, President Barack Obama declared that "a decade of war is now ending."

White House press secretary Jay Carney later said there was "no question" that the U.S. conflict with al-Qaeda was "entering a new phase."

That day in Yemen, a U.S. drone strike reportedly killed four suspected al-Qaeda militants.

It was one of several strikes there that week and followed a spate of them in Pakistan.

Outgoing Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta said this weekend that drone strikes "ought to continue to be a tool we ought to use where necessary."

Like the war in Afghanistan, these and hundreds of other drone strikes have occurred under the authority of a concise law passed one week after 9/11. It reads:

That the President is authorized to use all necessary and appropriate force against those nations, organizations, or persons he determines planned, authorized, committed, or aided the terrorist attacks that occurred on September 11, 2001, or harbored such organizations or persons, in order to prevent any future acts of international terrorism against the United States by such nations, organizations or persons.

That law - known as the 2001 Authorization for Use of Military Force, or AUMF - is now more than 11 years old. Will it cover this "new phase" of war?

Obama, like President George W. Bush before him, has claimed that the 2001 authorization is the domestic legal basis of the authority to kill and detain not only members of al-Qaeda and the Taliban in Afghanistan but also their "associated forces."

Courts have largely agreed with that interpretation, and in 2011 Congress codified it in authorizing military detention.

A Justice Department memo - published Monday by NBC News - repeatedly cites Congress's authorization in laying out the case for targeting a U.S. citizen "who is a senior operational leader of al-Qaeda or an associated force."

Officials note the AUMF does not have a geographic boundary. Individuals far from the "hot" battlefield in Afghanistan, officials have argued, can still be said to be engaged in an armed conflict with the U.S.

But legal scholars say the AUMF's authority to detain and kill militants may be undermined if there is no "core" al-Qaeda group to speak of, or when active conflict in Afghanistan ends.

It may also falter when it isn't clear exactly how a group or individual is tied to al-Qaeda - such as in the web of militant and extremist groups operating in Africa and elsewhere that may claim an affiliation or be ideologically aligned.

"There's room for shoe-horning them into the AUMF," says Robert Chesney, a professor at University of Texas School of Law. "But any honest assessment has to concede it's not obvious that all the more loosely affiliated groups are encompassed."

The AUMF doesn't include an expiration date. But the law does have its limits, says Chesney.

"It's not claiming an armed conflict with all terrorism, but with al-Qaeda and its associated forces. In theory, there can come an end."

Last November, shortly before he stepped down as the Pentagon's general counsel, Jeh Johnson gave a speech on that end. He spoke of a "tipping point," when the U.S. counterterrorism efforts "should no longer be considered an 'armed conflict' against al-Qaeda and its associated forces."

Counterterror efforts would then be aimed against individuals and could be handled primarily by law enforcement.

Johnson conceded it was hard to imagine that tipping point. There would be no "peace treaty" to mark it, he said, and he could "offer no prediction about when this conflict will end."

A preview of the dilemma came in 2011, when the U.S. indicted a Somali man named Ahmed Abdulkadir Warsame in federal court in New York.

Warsame was a member of Al-Shabaab, a group in Somalia, and had ties to al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula, but he was not connected to any plot against the U.S.

He had initially been held by the military, but according to Newsweek reporter Daniel Klaidman, the Obama administration was unsure where he fit under the law.

Jack Goldsmith, a professor at Harvard Law School and former head of the Office of Legal Counsel for President Bush in 2003 and 2004, says "the AUMF is losing its efficacy. We're in a place when we're engaged in types of warfare that the nation hasn't openly debated."

The "shoehorn" approach may eventually run into legal gray area. Chesney points out that court decisions upholding military detention have generally been linked in some way to the conflict in Afghanistan. (So far, U.S. courts have not taken up lawsuits challenging targeted killing.)

"When the war in Afghanistan ends, and if core al-Qaeda is decimated, how do we define who we are at war with?" says Hina Shamsi, director of the National Security Project at the American Civil Liberties Union.

Shamsi argues that the Obama administration is already relying on an overbroad interpretation of the AUMF to justify strikes against alleged militants in Yemen or Somalia without demonstrating precisely how they are associated with al-Qaeda or engaged in anti-U.S. hostilities.

Militant groups have emerged as a threat in North Africa - some claiming an affiliation with al-Qaeda. The degree to which those groups are plotting against the U.S. or interested in regional control is still being debated. The U.S. is expanding its presence in the region, but at least initially, the government says it is bolstering surveillance and training and assistance for local governments, not taking military action.

A Pentagon spokesman said last week he was "unaware of any specific or credible information at this time that points to an [al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb] threat against the homeland, but, again, I'm not ruling it out."

The U.S. has provided refueling and cargo planes to assist the French intervention in Mali. That is lawful because France is acting "in response to a request for assistance from the Malian government," Tommy Vietor, a spokesman for the National Security Council, told ProPublica.

Administration officials say strikes against al-Qaeda and associated forces are permitted under international law on the basis of self-defense, in addition to the authority the AUMF provides under domestic law.

The U.N. has been investigating targeted killings and civilian casualties from drone strikes.

In a case where the 2001 AUMF did not apply, the administration could seek a new authorization from Congress or rely on presidential powers to use force against an imminent threat.

Gen. Carter Ham, the head of U.S. Africa Command, said in an interview with the Wall Street Journal in December that an authorization to address new threats in North Africa was a "worthy discussion." But what form that would take is unclear. The Pentagon and White House did not comment to ProPublica on the possibility of a new AUMF.

Presidents have used force without Congressional authorization by invoking presidential powers under Article II of the Constitution.

Obama ordered airstrikes over Libya in the spring of 2011 citing international cooperation and "national interest" as justification. (Several lawmakers subsequently sued the administration for bypassing them, but the case was dismissed.)

Obama has also claimed authority to launch pre-emptive cyberattacks, the New York Times reported this weekend.

President Bill Clinton cited the nation's right to self-defense when he bombed Afghanistan and Sudan in 1998 in retaliation for the bombing of U.S. embassies in East Africa.

Obama officials regularly cite self-defense alongside the AUMF in justifying targeted killing.

White House counterterror adviser John Brennan has said that the U.S. uses "a flexible understanding of 'imminence'" in determining what constitutes a threat.

The Justice Department memo on targeting U.S. citizens also references a "broader concept of imminence," which it holds "does not require the United States to have clear evidence that a specific attack on U.S. persons and interests will take place in the immediate future."

Shamsi and other critics of the drone war have noted that some strikes in Yemen in particular appear to target insurgents acting against local government.

The U.S. almost never acknowledges particular strikes or details the specific threat posed by an individual.

Johnson, the former Pentagon counsel, told the Wall Street Journal that "the president always has the constitutional authority to protect the nation and important national interests by responding to individual terrorist threats, militarily or otherwise."

Johnson noted that, for a "sustained armed conflict, the preference should be Congressional authorization."

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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.

* Everything You Wanted To Know About Drones But Were Afraid To Ask.

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Comments welcome.


Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 6:16 AM | Permalink

Straight Outta Chicago

Our city.

1. Killa Twilla.


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2. HoTRod & Qbreeze.

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3. Chiraq.

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 5:21 AM | Permalink

Free Spirit Media On The Road

Free Spirit Media provides education, access, and opportunity in media production to over 500 underserved urban youth every year.

1. At the Chicago Architecture Foundation.


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2. ChicagoQuest.

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3. Youth Council.

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See also: The Free Spirit Media YouTube Channel.

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 5:15 AM | Permalink

Letter From St. Louis: Stan Was Truly The Man

Here stands baseball's perfect warrior. Here stands baseball's perfect knight.
-Ford Frick

The above phrase is etched into the stone base of the statue of one Stanislaw Franciszek Musial, known here in St. Louis simply as Stan the Man. The statue stands guard outside of the newest Busch Stadium here, and serves as yet another reminder of the Cardinals' impossible good fortune over the last century. For a Cubs fan in exile like me, trapped in St. Louis, this serves as yet another reminder of 100-plus years of suffering . . .

Bear with me while I take a look at just what made this man special. Let's start - but not end - with the statistics.

The numbers truly are unbelievable, almost gaudy. Even by today's inflated standards, they are outstanding. And they stand among the greatest that this game has ever seen:

* 24 All Star Games
* 3 MVP awards
* Lifetime .331 batting average
* 7 batting titles
* 3,630 hits
* 475 home runs
* 16 consecutive seasons batting over .300
* 3 World Series championships
* First ballot Hall of Famer, 1968 (93.2% of the necessary votes)

He's considered one of the game's most overlooked players, hardly ever spoken about in the same breath as a Ruth, Gehrig, Mays, Aaron, DiMaggio or Williams. But Stan Musial was the real deal, make no mistake.

Stan Musial broke into the major leagues in 1941, collecting 20 hits in the final 12 games of that season. He went on to have one of the greatest, most statistically solid careers in baseball history, and played every one of his games wearing one uniform: that of the St. Louis Cardinals. He was praised by teammates and competitors alike, lauded by the press, and loved by fans.

Musial passed away at his home near St. Louis on January 19th of this year. There has been a lot of praise and sorrow and eulogizing going on in St. Louis ever since. A lot of people compliment his talent, his preparation, his competitive fire. Everyone seems to have a Musial story. But here's the funny thing about Musial: despite his accomplishments on the field, Stan Musial led an even more exemplary life off the field.

No scandal ever found him. He married his first true love and stayed married to her for 71 years until her passing. He attended Mass weekly. He was a loving father and a doting grandfather. There were no arrests, or children born out of wedlock, or mistresses. He served his country admirably in World War II. Local legend has it that he never turned down a fan who sought an autograph. He mentored young players in the Cardinal organization at countless spring trainings. He became as much a fixture on Cardinals Opening Day as the Budweiser Clydesdales. And he called St. Louis his home, even after retiring from the game almost 50 years ago. He was indeed a beloved civic icon, and deservedly so.

In 2011, President Obama awarded Musial the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the highest civilian honor that can be bestowed upon a United States citizen. As an aside, it's wonderful that it occurred while Musial was still alive. In his speech, Obama said Musial was "an icon untarnished, a pillar of the community, a gentleman you'd want your kids to emulate."

In contrast to the stars rejected for election to the Baseball Hall of Fame around the same time of Musial's death, the ideals that he represented seem in desperately short supply these days.

Let's be honest: This was the year that the Baseball Writers of America had been both dreading and drooling over. This was the year that the Steroids Era* was going to be on the ballot. This was the year the writers were going to make their voices heard.

Many writers were making their case for the juicers, arguing that the "everybody-did-it" excuse was a legitimate defense. Some added the "Ty Cobb was a huge racist" argument to the debate. On the other hand were the purists, a sanctimonious lot who take their job guarding entry to the Hall very seriously. They are determined to weed out the drug cheats and scoundrels. By their standards, anyone who took a crap in a major league clubhouse during the Steroids Era* most likely absorbed steroids through contact with the toilet seat and must be excluded from HoF voting.

This is the "guilt-by-association" argument, and it seems to work as well as anything else they have on the other side. But make no mistake: This was THE YEAR.

So what happened? Some of the best players of the last 20 years were denied admittance to The Hall. Some of them are the faces of the Era*. Barry Bonds, Roger Clemens and Sammy Sosa all found out that their numbers don't mean a goddamn thing. Mark McGwire found this out a few years back. They all found out that you cannot stand on your numbers alone, not anymore. How you got your numbers is just as important if you want to be enshrined among the game's greats.

Now, the casual fan can sit back and say that the writers got it right, or that they got it wrong, but I think that the writers know a helluva lot more about what those players did than the casual fan. Here's another thing those writers know: The Steroids Era* will never end. It will never end as long as athletes and trainers seek shortcuts to success and shortcuts to greatness. It will never end because the serums and juices, the Creams and the Clears, will stay years ahead of the testing that seeks to eliminate them. And let's go right to the bottom line: as long as there are mountains of money to be made by the chemists and the players they supply, as well as their agents, Major League Baseball is chasing its tail.

But I digress . . .

I was talking about Musial, wasn't I?

In Musial, baseball had found a quiet, hard-working kid from a quiet, hard-working Pennsylvania town. This kid would become one of the game's all-time greats due to his natural talent, his passion for the game, and his unorthodox, corkscrew swing.

In an era like we saw the last 20 years, Musial stands out more than ever as something different. In this era of giant egos and giant contracts, player agents and personal appearance fees, Musial was a living legend, and he was in our midst the whole time.

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Dan Sheahan is a Cubs fan in exile and the newest member of the Beachwood Sports team. He welcomes your comments.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 12:46 AM | Permalink

February 6, 2013

The [Wednesday] Papers

The imperfect victims are the most heartbreaking, because they never really had a chance.

They are also, by far, the most common. Scores of lives lost; we will never know the contributions they might have made.

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I understand the instinct to assign a greater value to victims like Hadiya Pendleton, but it's sort of heinous to declare her life more worthy than even the gangbangers who were given up on a long time ago. That doesn't mean her death isn't heartbreaking. It is. It's hard to even think about. But that's because she didn't die in anonymity, like so many. And, of course, because she had just been to the presidential inauguration and was an innocent victim. I get it. But, as John Kass writes in the column I link to above, even "guilty" victims have loved ones. Those who don't should be mourned even more, for their lives were even greater wastes.

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See also: Tragic Dimensions, a column I wrote in 2003 expanding on the point. (And note my observation then about the meager coverage of the city's first-in-the-nation murder rate - 601 would be recorded, compared to 506 last year - and how easily Richard M. Daley seemed to skate on it. Later, of course, when the murder rate came down, Daley was showered in media glory.)

(I also compared the way victims were characterized in the coverage of the Lincoln Park porch collapse to the way they were characterized in the E2 nightclub tragedy, but I can't find it. The conclusion: E2 victims were essentially blamed for their own deaths, unlike the Lincoln Parkers on a crowded porch.)

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See also: Chicago Homicides By Year.

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See also: "Six years after a catastrophic porch collapse in Lincoln Park killed 13 people and forced a Chicago-wide crackdown on dangerous porches, the city has returned to a more passive vigilance of their hazards," the Tribune reported in 2009.

Death Spiral
"The U.S. Postal Service will stop delivering mail on Saturdays but continue to deliver packages six days a week under a plan aimed at saving about $2 billion annually, the financially struggling agency says," AP reports.

Business is bad, so let's make service worse!

So Chicago
"Highland Park City Council members defended the highly publicized sign variance they granted to Smashing Pumpkins singer Billy Corgan's tea shop, saying the business didn't get special treatment," the Tribune reports.

"When the item came up Jan. 14, the council approved it unanimously and without any discussion. Members didn't even wait to hear from the rocker, who said after the meeting that he was prepared to defend the oversized neon 'ZUZU's' sign that fills the window at Madame ZuZu's Tea Shop, 582 Roger Williams Ave.

"Nor did the council members wait to hear a staff presentation on the subject, which would have outlined how neon signs, other than small ones saying a business is open, are restricted by city code. The glowing ZuZu's sign - measuring nearly 4 feet tall and more than 13 feet wide - also covers more than 50 percent of the store's external windows; code allows up to 10 percent."

So Rahm
"Although the mayor did not put his call to jury duty on his daily schedule released each evening to the media for planning purposes, Emanuel did note his arrival on Foursquare. That in turn was sent to his Twitter account."

So Illinois
"Mental health treatment programs have become a major focal point in the contentious debate over gun control," Kurt Erickson writes for the Pantagraph.

In Illinois, of course, most of the discussion has centered on how the state has reduced spending on mental health programs.

The National Alliance on Mental Health recently reported that Illinois has cut spending on community mental health by 30 percent over the past three years. The organization also noted that the state's per capita spending on mental health was significantly below the national average.

In a recent report, Dr. Lorrie Jones said she doesn't consider the system broken.

"We've had to make some unfortunate changes," Jones told The Associated Press.

Jones ought to know about changes. Until last month, Jones was the person in charge of overseeing the state's mental health system.

On Jan. 1, however, Gov. Pat Quinn moved Jones out of her post as director of the mental health division of the Illinois Department of Human Services and made her a senior policy adviser.

Quinn spokeswoman Brooke Anderson said Jones continues to have a hand in her area of expertise, but she also is focusing on bringing Obamacare to Illinois.

"She is managing and coordinating mental health issues across state agencies and helping to lead the state's implementation of the Affordable Care Act," Anderson said.

Jones is the wife of former Senate President Emil Jones, D-Chicago. For now, she will continue to earn $193,200 per year, even though she no longer is serving as head of the mental health division.

Jones' salary, which is larger than Quinn's annual pay of $172,653, was put in place during Gov. Rod Blagojevich's tenure. Records show she received a 60 percent salary bump in 2005, from $116,460 to $186,000 annually.

Records show she received a more than $5,000 raise in 2010 after Quinn took over as governor. In 2012, state records show her salary ranked among the top 35 in state government.

As a reminder, the salary increases for Jones came as the state was reducing spending on mental health treatment programs.

At least some relief may be on the way, though. AP reports:

The Illinois House has approved a measure that authorizes new road building funds and transfers money saved from prison closures to child-welfare and mental-health services. The proposal passed by a 63-52 vote Monday, after a heated discussion.

Republican legislators accused Democrats of creating more spending rather than reforming the state's wrecked budget. The so-called supplemental appropriation includes $675 million to boost transit construction and $12 million for community mental health grants, among several other expenditures.

It authorizes $600 million to pay for state worker and legislator health insurance. The measure now moves over to the Illinois Senate.

So there's that.

Offshore Tax Dodges Cost Illinois . . .
. . . $2.5 Billion.

EXCLUSIVE! Inside The Ricketts' New Wrigleyville Hotel
We have the blueprints.

Guitar Report: Loops & Flames
Chicagoland axes check in.

Chicago's Best Reverse Speller
Not named Harry Caray.

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The Beachwood Tip Line: Irreversible.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 7:41 AM | Permalink

Chicago's Reverse Speller

Krishna Pandey is on a mission to get his name into the record books as the world's most prolific backwards speller. Here's some of his recent work.

At a Chicagoland Nepali Friendship Society program in January.


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In Kansas City last November.

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On Radio Yuva last August.

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On Fun Asia Radio last July.

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 6:29 AM | Permalink

Offshore Tax Dodging Blows A $2.5 Billion Hole In Illinois' Budget

Many of America's wealthiest individuals and largest corporations use tax loopholes to shift profits made in America to offshore tax havens where they pay little to no taxes.

"Tax dodging is not a victimless offense," says Anu Dathan, program associate for the Illinois PIRG Education Fund.

"When corporations skirt taxes, the public is stuck with the tab. And since offshore tax dodgers avoid both state and federal taxes, they hurt everyday taxpayers twice. Illinois should be using that money to benefit the public."

In Illinois, $1.9 billion is lost from the corporate abuse of tax havens and $607 million from individuals.

To put these numbers in context, the $2.5 billion that Illinois lost in revenue last year is 125 times what Governor Quinn is trying to save by shutting down state-run mental health institutions.

It's also half of what the Board of Education has requested from the state government for the entire year, and enough to pay the salaries of 34,000 Chicago public school teachers.

As of 2008, at least 83 of the top 100 publicly traded corporations in the U.S. used tax havens, according to the Government Accountability Office.

At the end of 2011, 290 of the top Fortune 500 companies reported that they collectively held a staggering $1.6 trillion offshore.

By using offshore tax havens, corporations and wealthy individuals shift the tax burden to ordinary Americans, forcing us to make up the difference through cutting public services, growing our already big deficit, or raising taxes on everyday citizens.

At the national level, offshore tax loopholes cost federal taxpayers $150 billion each year, which would be more than enough to cover the scheduled spending cuts that are set to take effect in just a few weeks.

"Some budget decisions are tough, but closing the offshore tax loopholes that let large companies shift their tax burden to the rest of us is a no-brainer," Dathan says.

"Governor Quinn is looking for a way to fix Illinois' budget crisis. Here's a good place to start."

Illinois should not wait for federal action to curb tax haven abuse. The study proposes several policy solutions that states should explore right away, including:

* Decoupling state tax systems from the federal tax system.

* Requiring worldwide combined reporting for multinational corporations.

* Requiring increased disclosure of financial information.

* Withholding state taxes as part of federal FATCA (Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act) withholding.

Here are some increasingly notorious ways that some of America's largest corporations drastically shrink their tax bill:

* Boeing, headquartered in Chicago, had an effective federal tax rate of -1.8% between 2008 and 2010, meaning the company not only paid no federal taxes, it actually got money back from the government.

* Google used accounting techniques nicknamed the "double Irish" and the "Dutch sandwich," which involved two Irish subsidiaries and one in Bermuda, to help shrink its tax bill by $3.1 billion from 2008 to 2010.

* Wells Fargo paid no federal income taxes in 2008, 2009, and 2010, despite being profitable all three years, largely due to its use of 58 offshore tax haven subsidiaries.

Read the full report here.

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Comments welcome.

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See also:

* Medill Reports Chicago: Illinois Corporate Tax Loopholes Cost Taxpayers

* Tribune: Tax Havens Cost Illinois $2.5B In 2011, Group Finds

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Note:

* The study is just one localized version of a national effort all dropping on the same day.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 6:04 AM | Permalink

QT Will Return. . .


. . . Friday.


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

Guitar Report: Loops And Flames

Gear is good.

1. Meet A Guitar Teacher.


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2. Journey of the Used Guitar.

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3. Glen Burton Chicago Hollow Body Guitar.

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4. Kaoss Pad Guitar By A Gunnelpumper.

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5. Fodera Victor Wooten Classic Monarch Bass.

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 5:31 AM | Permalink

Exclusive! Inside The Ricketts' New Wrigleyville Hotel

"More than a year after the Ricketts family paid $20 million for the McDonald's lot across from Wrigley Field, the Cubs ownership group announced an agreement . . . to develop a boutique Sheraton hotel on the Wrigleyville site," Crain's reported last month.

Sources tell the Beachwood the hotel will include the following features:

* Bathrooms will look like Wrigleyville alleys. Or just go in the hall.

* Troughs on each floor for guests who would prefer to urinate as a group.

* Guaranteed drunk, vomiting neighbor.

* Bellhop guarantees successful delivery of luggage to your room .286 of the time.

* Spoken word poetry by Lee Elia at the coffee shop.

* To simulate sitting deep in the 200s section, windows 25% the size of other rooms.

* Mark Grace's Slumpbusters Steakhouse to include complementary breathalyzers.

* Skunky minibar beers at just $26 a bottle.

* Reservations $100 above face value on Cubs-owned secondary market.

* Champagne corks in Sammy Sosa Suite made from his old bats.

* Wake-up calls pre-recorded by Ronnie Woo-Woo.

* Rates by the day instead of by night - except for 30 times a year.

* D-list celebrity leads 7 p.m. stretch in the spa.

* Free in-room movie courtesy of Joe Ricketts.

* Complex algorithm will determine each guest's replacement value.

* Guests asked to be patient with 105-year remodeling plan.

* McDonald's on site starts serving McGoat.

* Front desk staff will all come from Boston.

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 12:08 AM | Permalink

February 5, 2013

The [Tuesday] Papers

"The Illinois House of Representatives has created a new committee to address inequalities in the state's criminal justice system, while the chairman of the new committee faces his own legal problems," WBEZ reports.

"State Rep. LaShawn Ford is the chairman of the new Restorative Justice Committee."

In Illinois, the punch line writes you.

*

There's never an egg-timer around when you need one.

Haw-Haw
Bill Daley even less popular than Pat Quinn.

The [UNO] Papers
The politically connected profiteers behind Chicago's charter crusade.

Replacing Junior
* Kos goes after Hutchinson.

* Halvorson nearly broke.

* Beale boo-boo.

Jax Fax
Sandi on the griddle.

Air Fare
"Northwest Side neighborhood groups are fuming over planned changes to O'Hare Airport flight patterns they say will bring more jet racket and slash property values," DNAinfo Chicago reports.

"Airplane traffic over the 33rd, 39th, 45th and 41st wards could increase by 500 percent at night and 40 percent during the day once the latest phase of the O'Hare Modernization Plan is completed in late 2013, according to data provided by the O'Hare Compatibility Noise Commission."

*

Meanwhile: Midway Flies High With Record 9.67 Million Passengers In 2012.

*

And: Peotone Checks In.

Kirk Report
Recovering congressman writes about his illness and rehab for the Washington Post.

*

Sunlight Foundation says Kirk is the most likely Republican to vote for new gun control legislation.

New Suspect In Town
Her bank's reputation precedes her.

Barbarian At The Gate
Possible Rupert Murdoch Run At Tribune Company Assets In Holding Pattern.

The Bobsledder Of Palos Hills
Olympics-bound.

Chicago's Amazing Blind Skateboarder
Also a journalism major.

Eggers, Rodman & Poehler
In Local Book Notes.

Boogie Woogie Fall Out Boys
In Local Music Notebook.

Debating Dr. Oz
In Local TV Notes.

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The Beachwood Tip Line: Garbage in, gold out.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 7:51 AM | Permalink

The [UNO] Papers

"My first encounter with the political machinery of the United Neighborhood Organization Charter Schools network came last spring when I was poking around in an Illinois House race on the Southwest Side," Mark Brown writes for the Sun-Times.

"I was curious as to why a certain Misty Gillian of Auburn, Ind., had donated $1,500 to Silvana Tabares, a Democratic legislative candidate being backed by UNO CEO Juan Rangel and other charter school advocates.

"Was Gillian such a big believer in charter schools that she had taken an interest in Chicago inner-city Latino politics, I wondered?

"When I left a phone message for Gillian, however, I received a quick return call from her husband, who offered a more familiar if mundane explanation for his wife's political activity.

"Kevin Gillian said his company, TFC Canopy, was the subcontractor that had supplied the shiny aluminum panels for the exterior of UNO 's sparkling new soccer-themed elementary school at 51st and Homan. It was in that capacity that he had been solicited for a campaign donation - and gladly complied, he said."

*

Brown's column follows Monday's package on UNO in which the Sun-Times documented how the charter school behemoth is making a fairly familiare coterie of insiders rich. (See this graphic.) I'll add that they're doing so without much - if any - evidence that they're teaching kids any better than the Chicago public schools they are essentially replacing.

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See also this excellent work from the Reader:

* UNO's Juan Rangel Sweet-Talks City Club.

* UNO's Juan Rangel Does A Damn Good Chris Christie Impression.

* Fighting For The Right To Fire Bad Teachers - And Good Ones Too.

* The Reader Goes To Charter School: A Visit With UNO's Juan Rangel.

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Meanwhile:

"Construction of a charter high school in Chicago's Gage Park neighborhood reached a milestone Tuesday even as its operators fended off criticism from one parents group about its finances," the Tribune reported last month.

"More than 100 parents, students and community members including Ald. Edward Burke, 14th, huddled in a heated tent and watched laborers hoist the last major piece of steel for the UNO Soccer Academy High School in the 5000 block of South St. Louis Avenue.

The school, which will seat 960 students, cost roughly $31 million, which came out of $98 million the United Neighborhood Organization received from the state in 2009 to build schools and relieve overcrowding in Hispanic communities. It was the largest state subsidy ever given to a charter school network.

"Last week, the parent advocacy group Parents United for Responsible Education filed a complaint with the Illinois inspector general's office, asking it to look into how the funds are being spent by UNO. PURE's executive director said UNO has not been transparent enough about the money's use."

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And from the opening of a sympathetic "Executive Profile" of Rangel in the Trib last fall:

"As America's banking system began to freeze in mid-2008, Juan Rangel's nonprofit United Neighborhood Organization was in trouble.

"Because of a gubernatorial funding veto, the Latino group, which runs one of Chicago's largest charter school networks, was running out of money. Its contractors were about to walk off a three-school construction site, and its bankers were balking at extending loans.

"Rangel, who said he was scared, turned to Ald. Edward Burke for help. Not only is Burke Chicago's most powerful alderman, his 14th Ward on the Southwest Side is majority Latino and home to the jeopardized construction project.

"Within days, Burke summoned executives from three banks to City Hall. He put them in a conference room with Rangel, his two attorneys and three elected officials, all UNO allies, and told the bankers not to leave until Rangel got what he needed. The resulting $65 million loan, which closed in June 2008, saved UNO from ruin.

"This being a tale of Chicago politics, the story doesn't end there. Less than two years later, Burke's brother, Illinois state Rep. Dan Burke, found himself in a tough re-election campaign against Mexican-American Rudy Lozano Jr. At Edward Burke's request, Rangel backed the Irish clan, lending his name to a mailer, introducing Dan Burke to voters and getting people to the polls."

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Finally, from WBEZ, 2009:

"The United Neighborhood Organization is hosting a rally at its Veterans Memorial School campus with food and prizes. When kids and parents show up . . . they'll hear how important it is to go to school. But there will also be speakers from Chicago 2016 pushing the Olympic bid.

"UNO Chief Executive Officer Juan Rangel doesn't see any conflict in tying a back-to-school rally to the Olympics . . . He serves on a council that helps promote the Olympic bid and reaches out to the community."

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 6:50 AM | Permalink

Local Book Notes: Duerson, Poehler, Rodman, Eggers, Hot Doug And Bonsai

Over the transom.

1. "Time is running out on the 2012 Great Chicago Book Sale."

And I'm already writing 2013 on all my checks.

But seriously, check it out.

Books in every subject up to 80% off!

Many gift editions at deep discounts!

Sale must end February 28!

2. Pre-Super Bowl release:

"This coming Sunday New Orleans will host the biggest game in sports: Super Bowl XLVII, which will be witnessed by hundreds of millions of viewers around the world. As popular as this game has become, many influential voices - from the NFL Players Union to President Obama - have begun discussing the immense personal costs athletes face playing for our entertainment.

"For Dave Duerson, that cost ended up being fatal. After a standout professional career, which included two Super Bowl wins and four consecutive Pro Bowl selections, Duerson embarked on a successful post-NFL life. Then in 2011, after a decade of sharp personal and professional reversals, Duerson committed suicide by shooting himself in the chest. Medical examination of his brain showed that he had suffered from the effects of chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE).

"DUERSON: Triumph, Trauma and Tragedy in the NFL, written by the award-winning journalists of the Chicago Tribune, chronicles Duerson's early personal success and then the last decade of decline as his personal, professional, and medical problems grew more severe. This ebook is more than just the tragic story of one man; it serves as a powerful reminder of the long-term health risks professional athletes face."

3. Amy Poehler Cuts Book Deal.

4. Time Out Chicago interviews Lawrence Wright about his Scientology book.

5. Dennis Rodman Visits Anderson's In Naperville To Promote Children's Book.

6. Gushing Over Dave Eggers In Lincoln Square.

7. Book By University Of Chicago's Robert Remini On John Boehner's Desk.

8. Hot Doug's: The Book Coming In July.

More details here.

9. U of Chicago Press Launches DRM-Free E-Book Line.

10. Bonsai: A Patient Art Displays The Treasures Of The Chicago Botanic Garden.

*

The Making of Bonsai: A Patient Art:

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 6:01 AM | Permalink

Meet Chicago's Amazing Blind Skateboarder

"Blind Chicago skateboarder quiets all doubters in amazing video," the New York Daily News reports. Let's take a look.


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Interviewed by Tony Hawk.

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The Tribune wrote about him in 2010.

*

McSweeney's also has interviewed him.

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 2:41 AM | Permalink

Local TV Notes: Garbage Wranglers

Because it's on.

1. CAN TV will broadcast Republican debate Tuesday night in the race to replace Jesse Jackson Jr. on Channel 27. The debate will also be streamed live here.

Then on Thursday night, CAN TV will bring you a candidates' forum from Governors State University hosted by Fox Chicago's Mike Flannery.

2. Retired NBC Journalist Was Garbage Wrangler At Marina City.

3. From the New Yorker's article about Dr. Oz:

"On the show, Oz identified Smith as a scientist, but Smith has no experience in genetics or agriculture, and has no scientific degree from any institution. He studied business at the Maharishi International University, founded by the Maharishi Mahesh Yogi.

"Before the show aired, Bruce Chassy, a noted molecular biologist, wrote to Oz; he is a founder of Academics Review, a group of researchers who often debunk popular scientific claims. Chassy is professor emeritus in the department of food science and human nutrition at the University of Illinois.

"As a public-sector scientist, researcher, and academic administrator with more than forty years' experience, I am appalled that any medical professional would give a platform to the likes of Mr. Jeffrey Smith to impart health information to the public," Chassy wrote. "His only professional experience prior to taking up his crusade against biotechnology is as a ballroom-dance teacher, yogic flying instructor, and political candidate for the Maharishi cult's natural-law party."

Here is Chassy's full letter.

4. Chicago Prisoner, Mistakenly Released, Found Watching TV.

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 1:55 AM | Permalink

Local Music Notebook: Boogie Woogie Fall Out Boys

A loose collection of whatnot.

1. Despite Pete Wentz telling fans recently not to hold their breath about a Fall Out Boy reunion, the band is back with a new single and an album (Save Rock And Roll, ugh, from a band whose celebrity bass player married Ashlee Simpson) in the can. Personally, I don't care a rat's ass about Fall Out Boy, but for posterity, here they are at their "surprise" show at Subterranean on Monday night.


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2. "In a series of investigative reports for the Chicago Sun-Times that began in 2000, which eventually numbered more than a hundred stories and which remain unchallenged to this day, this reporter, his former partner Abdon M. Pallasch, now a top spokesman for Gov. Quinn, and numerous other colleagues at the newspaper consistently documented that Kelly abused his position of wealth and fame to pursue illegal sexual relationships with underage girls, leaving dozens of ruined lives in Chicago's African-American community in his wake," Jim DeRogatis wrote on his WBEZ blog last week.

"That seems to matter not a whit to the promoters of Chicago's Pitchfork Music Festival, who have booked Kelly, along with Bjork and Belle and Sebastian, to headline the annual music festival in the West Side's Union Park from July 19 to 21."

Plus, Bjork and Belle and Sebastian?

But seriously, WTF, Pitchfork?

See also: Pitchfork & Odd Future: Endorsing Rape Or Showcasing Art?

3. UPDATE: Muddy Waters' Home Safe From Demolition.

4. The last Andrews Sister died last week and I couldn't help but be reminded of the classic "Boogie Woogie Bugle Boy," who hailed from "Chicago way" and which is on the Beachwood jukebox. Beyond that, check out this stellar performance from Abbott & Costello's 1941 Buck Privates

And now the company jumps, when he plays reveille.

See also: The song's Wikipedia entry. (Parodied once by Svengoolie; covered by Katy Perry.)

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 1:11 AM | Permalink

The Bobsledder Of Palos Hills

"With all the attention Olympic track stars Lolo Jones and Tianna Madison attracted when they tried bobsled pushing this winter, it was easy for last year's breakout athlete, Katie Eberling, to be pushed into the background," Phil Hersh wrote in the Tribune recently.

"That didn't bother the former Western Michigan volleyball player from Palos Hills, who had won a World Championship bronze medal in 2012, her rookie season as a sled pusher.

"As the coaches tried different pairings throughout the World Cup races this season, Eberling just kept quietly going about her work and wound up back in the top USA sled with driver Elana Meyers for this year's world championships in St. Moritz, Switzerland."

Let's take a look.

*

Taking home the silver at St. Moritz.

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2012 Rookie of the Year.

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2011 interview.

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Team USA profile.

@KatieEberling.

Katie's tumblr.

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 12:32 AM | Permalink

February 4, 2013

The Weekend In Chicago Rock

You shoulda been there.

1. Action Item at Bottom Lounge on Friday night.


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2. Before You Exit at Bottom Lounge on Friday night.

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3. Paradise Fears at Bottom Lounge on Friday night.

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4. Goldhouse at Bottom Lounge on Friday night.

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5. Balance and Composure at Subterranean on Saturday night.

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6. Vindictives Bible School at Cobra Lounge on Saturday night.

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7. Stat Dad at Cobra Lounge on Saturday night.

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8. Modern Day Rippers at Cobra Lounge on Saturday night.

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9. The Ridgelands at Cobra Lounge on Saturday night.

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 3:25 PM | Permalink

The [Monday] Papers

I'm still under the gun - can we even use those metaphors anymore around here? - on a freelance project and there's a lot to catch up on, like all of last week. I'll do the best I can moving forward. For today, let's peruse the news in no particular order and see what kind of folly silly humans are up to now.

1. Police Find $10 Million Worth Of Cocaine In McKinley Park Home.

"[Defense lawyer] Joseph Lopez . . . said his client was caught in the middle of a drug deal he had nothing to do with."

Well, he had something to do with it. Like being in the middle.

2. Jim McMahon's Sucky Super Bowl Week.

"It should have been the crowning career moment for former Chicago Bears quarterback Jim McMahon when he helped his team win the Super Bowl," CBS2 Chicago reports.

Super Bowl week wasn't a good time for me. I was getting death threats. We had bomb threats at the hotel. Guys wouldn't stand by me at practice. They thought for sure I was going to get shot at practice. I don't remember much of the game. I just wanted to play, and get back in that locker room, so I couldn't get shot.

3. SportsMonday: Bears' Road To The Super Bowl.

4. It's Not Rough Everywhere.

"An 18-room lakefront mansion in Winnetka has sold for $12.25 million, making it one of the single highest-priced residential sales in Chicago-area history," the Tribune reports.

5. Boeing's Bust.

"The Dreamliner was supposed to become famous for its revolutionary design," James Surowiecki writes for the New Yorker.

"Instead, it's become an object lesson in how not to build an airplane."

6. AP: Almost Passable.

7. The Weekend in Chicago Rock.

8. QT: Spider Monkey America.

9. Beers Rahm Does Not Like.

10. Sigh.

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The Beachwood Tip Line: Underachievable.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 9:43 AM | Permalink

SportsMonday: Bears' Road To The Super Bowl

The Bears' loss to the 49ers in the middle of the just-concluded NFL season wasn't just another setback for the locals. It was the beginning of Colin Kaepernick's amazing run to the cusp of Super Bowl glory.

He may have fallen just short of a world championship in his just his 10th professional start, but he went a long way since his first start in that game against the Bears - a 32-7 win that wasn't close to that close.

More importantly to folks around here, Kaepernick's immediately dominating performance couldn't have made it more clear how far the Bears had to go to be competitive with the Niners. Sure, Jay Cutler missed that contest due to a concussion and the Bears had to go with backup Jason Campbell. Kaepernick, though, was also starting because the 49ers' starter, Alex Smith, was out with a concussion. See what I mean?

Even if Cutler had been behind center, though, it's doubtful that the Bears' offensive line could have stopped the San Francisco pass rush from shellacking him the way they did Campbell.

Not so from the Bears' side of the ball. Just a few plays into the second quarter, Kaepernick had already staked his team to a 17-0 lead and put the game away. The rest was just details.

As for Super Bowl MVP Joe Flacco, props must be given to WGN/CLTV sports talker David Kaplan, who argued all season that the Ravens had a better quarterback than the Bears - and was still catching flak from dumb Bears fans like this one on Twitter last night:

*

*

Bears fans watching the Super Bowl couldn't help but imagine if Kaepernick would just be Cutler behind the Bears' offensive line, or if Cutler would be Kaepernick behind the 49ers' offensive line, or if we could ever even imagine the Bears playing offense the way the Niners - or the Ravens, for that matter - do.

The answer would have been a resounding NO if Bears general manager Phil Emery hadn't switched out Lovie Smith for Marc Trestman. Emery saw the same thing we did - in that 49er game in November and through the rest of the season. He saw that a Lovie Smith-coached team is never going to be competitive offensively with the rest of the league's elite. (Just look at that 1-6 record against Aaron Rogers and the Packers the last three season.)

Now, we can't say "In Trestman We Trust" just yet, but there is plenty of reason to believe the new head coach will implement offensive sophistication the likes of which hasn't been seen around here in, well, forever. Clearly some reinforcements will be needed but the Bears have the most important ingredient - a reasonably smart, seriously strong-armed quarterback, even if he is no Joe Flacco or Kaepernick.

The question is: Is he good enough anyway?

It won't be easy for Cutler to hit the ground running and passing accurately in his fourth offensive system in the last five years. But given the success of rookie quarterbacks of late, it is crystal clear that signal-callers can lead their teams to great seasons with only one off-season (and with the rookies it is only a partial off-season) to get comfortable with their coach's overall scheme.

This next season really is the key to Cutler's career and he has to know that. There is no more time to get acclimated or comfortable or whatever. There will only be wins or losses during the year in which Cutler turns 30. He also has a potential big payday coming the season after next if he can get it together. Otherwise, the Bears will have to start looking for someone new to lead them to the promised land.

As for reinforcements, word out of Miami last week was that pending free-agent offensive tackle Jake Long might not be particularly easy for the Dolphins to re-sign.

Long, a four-time Pro Bowler with just five seasons in the league, would be exactly what the football doctors ordered for the Bears, even if their accountants will be less enthusiastic.

Signing Long would be akin to former GM Jerry Angelo's signing of Julius Peppers-like, and would go a tremendously long way toward addressing shortcomings on the line. It would also free the Bears up to really go after "best talent available" players in the upcoming draft.

Because they will almost certainly need the best players available, and then some, if they are to compete with Kaepernick's 49ers in the NFC in coming seasons and get back to the Super Bowl - where they are likely to Tom Brady or Peyton Manning or even the great Joe Flacco.

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

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 8:33 AM | Permalink

QT: A Failing Grade


News Headline: "Harvard students withdraw after cheating in 'Intro to Congress' course."
As well they should.
These students failed to show the even most basic understanding of how Congress works.
The idea is never to be caught while cheating.

···

News Headline: "Alicia Keys' sultry Super Bowl anthem."
News Headline: "Was Alicia Keys' national anthem the longest in history?"
Yes.
But what can we expect with our sultry national anthem?

···

News Headline: "Asteroid to fly between Earth and the moon."
The story refers to Asteroid 2012 DA14, which will arrive in about nine days.
But it is a smallish asteroid.
No news headlines at all for Asteroid 2013 CY, which was discovered over the weekend.
That was five days after it passed between Earth and the moon.
But it was a smallish asteroid.

···

News Headline: "How do we protect our children from gun violence?"
News Headline: "Children at mercy of powerful NRA lobby."
Do you see what the National Rifle Association has to put up with?
There are more than 40 million children under the age of 9 in the United States.
And we can't seem to spare a few dozen now and then.

···

Robin Bond, a Chicago reader, regarding QT's mention of a news story about an assault with an avocado and the announcement that readers' games with the names of fruits had reached the end of the lime, writes:
"I hear the guy in the avocado assault had radish hair and a turnip nose. But I carrot not to continue this conversation."
Vegetables now, eh?
QT makes one promise.
It will continue to view reader submissions without fear or fava.

···

News Headline: "American gaze turns to Super Bowl extravaganza."
Or look at it this way:
The estimated amount of snacks eaten by Americans gazing at the Super Bowl weighed the equivalent of 27,720 Cadillac Escalades.
Or 14,174,000 spider monkeys, if you are still trying to visualize it.

···

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 reassured us this week that "current deformation patterns for Yellowstone are well within historical norms."
And the agency will thank you not to dwell on history going back to 638,000 B.C.

···

News Headline: "Eating cream, mayo, sausage helps Bellevue teen limit seizures."
Is there anything cream, mayo and sausage can't do?

···

QT What Passes for Miracles These Days Update:
An image of Jesus has been found on a piece of a beer crate in Bradenton, Fla.

···

From a TV commercial for a prescription drug to aid sleeping:
Walking, eating, driving or engaging in other activities while asleep without remembering it the next day have been reported. Abnormal behaviors may include aggressiveness, agitation, hallucinations or confusion. In depressed patients, worsening of depression, including risk of suicide, may occur. Alcohol may worsen these risks. Allergic reactions such as tongue or throat swelling occur rarely and may be fatal. . . .
One more warning to users:
Reading about the side effects may cause sleeplessness.

···

Today's Birthdays: Rubber Galoshes, 189; Demountable Automobile Tire Rims, 100; Dan Quayle, 66.

···

QT Grammar R Us Seminar on the English Language:
+ M.K., a Chicago reader, wants you to know that "frequent," when used as a verb, should have its accent on the second syllable.
+ M.W., a Park Ridge reader, wants you to know that the first syllable of "hummus" should rhyme with "room," not "rum."
Thirty-six percent of Illinoisans mispronounce "et cetera," by the way.
Compared with 46 percent of Floridians.


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

February 2, 2013

The Weekend Desk Report

No need to play the Big Game. Beyoncé already won.

Market Update
Turns out it was a pretty good week for unexpectedly shitty news.

Hemlock to Win
You know, if it weren't for the steadfast commitment to critical thought, this guy would make a pretty good governor. And if it weren't for the noble refusal to engage in manipulative displays, he'd make a pretty fine mayor.

Identity Theft
A grand jury in Orlando has indicted a man for allegedly impersonating a professional athlete identified solely as "S.H." and going on an extravagant shopping spree. In related news, a self-aggrandizing jury has indicted someone for impersonating someone identified solely as "C.H." and going on an extravagant bumbling spree.

Teach to Preach
Finally this week, considering a lot of these people will eventually be in Congress one day, couldn't learning how to copy each other blindly be considered job training?

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The Weekend Desk Tip Line: Socratic.

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The Sound Opinions Weekend Listening Report: "The dB's weren't ever big sellers, but they're power pop royalty. This week, the band is live in the Sound Opinions studios. And later in the show, Jim and Greg review the new EP from Beyoncé's kid sister, Solange."

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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.

Special Olympics Chicago

1-28-SpecialOlympics.jpg

The latest episode of this talk show produced by Special Olympics athletes features coach Pat Molloy and Frank Olivo, an athlete who participated in the first Special Olympics in 1968 in Chicago.

Saturday, February 2 at 9:30 a.m. on CAN TV19
30 min.

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Perspectivas Latinas: Pilsen Wellness Center

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Paul Naranjo of the Pilsen Wellness Center shares how the organization has provided affordable and culturally sensitive services to a multicultural population for more than 40 years.

Saturday, February 2 at 7:30 p.m. on CAN TV21
30 min.

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The Late Mayor Harold Washington

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Hosted by the Society of Midland Authors, this panel explores the life and legacy of the late Mayor Harold Washington nearly 30 years after he was first elected to office in Chicago. Panelists include Salim Muwakkil, Peter Nolan, Timuel Black and Robert Starks.

Watch video.

Sunday, February 3 at 9 a.m. on CAN TV21
1 hr. 30 min.

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Human Rights & International Peacekeeping

The Northwestern University Conference on Human Rights explores the complexities behind military intervention, international peacekeeping missions and local anti-violence efforts.

Opening Keynote

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Arthur Boutellis of the International Peace Institute, explains the state of international peacekeeping missions today.

Sunday, February 3 at 10:30 a.m. on CAN TV21
1 hr. 30 min.

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Human Rights & International Peacekeeping: Closing Keynote

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Tom Oliver of the World Peace Festival highlights the potential of business models to be a catalyst for social change and the power of an individual to help resolve conflicts and promote peace.

Sunday, February 3 at 12 p.m. on CAN TV21
2 hr.

Illinois 2nd Congressional District Debate

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The Young and Powerful Group hosts "The Future of the Southland," a town hall and candidate debate of 2nd congressional district candidates moderated by Gaynor Hall of WGN-TV.

Watch it online.

Sunday, February 3 at 5 p.m. on CAN TV19
2 hr.

Posted by Natasha Julius at 8:03 AM | Permalink

February 1, 2013

The [Friday] 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: CCCLXVI Days Until XLVIII.

God and Facebook.

* Whether Chicago.

With awesome bonus video.

* Illinois Department Of Agriculture Gets The Super Bowl Party Started.

With Ray's Brand Chilli and Uncle Joe's Sauces and Rubs.

* The Week In Chicago Rock.

Including Soundgarden, Ellie Goulding, Stone Sour, the Robert Cornelius 7, The Darkness and Papa Roach.

Elsewhere:

* Brandon Marshall's Priceless Surprise.

* Mark Grace Sentenced To Four Months In Jail.

* The White House's Curious Silence About Obama's Skeet Shooting Claim.

* "The Flaming Lips are very much like Hyundai," company marketing veep Steve Shannon said. "They're a little offbeat. They've been around a long time and they continue to reinvent themselves."

* Durex Launches Emergency Condom Delivery Service.

* Maria Chudzinski Closes Down Polish Air Force's Chicago Wing.

* "Do all Chicago public high schools really need two Chicago police officers stationed inside them every day - at a cost of $25 million a year?" the Sun-Times reported in July 2011.

"The tab for police service - begun under former Mayor Richard M. Daley - recently more than tripled, prompting Chicago Public School officials faced with a $712 million deficit to start taking a hard look at whether every penny of that cost is being spent effectively."

* "James L. Koutoulas, a Chicago hedge fund manager who became a voice for thousands of customers whose money disappeared," the New York Times reports.

"While Mr. Koutoulas continues to fight, it has come with collateral damage. After he appeared on CNBC in 2011 to criticize JPMorgan Chase over its role in the bankruptcy, the bank closed his account and froze his credit card."

* "I think the night life here has really deteriorated tremendously in the past five or six years, which saddens me a lot. It used to be that there were a ton of great venues and shows, and there's a lot less of that now. And while there is a wealth of culture and music and great musicians here, there aren't a lot of industry opportunities. I'm at a point in my career where I'm looking for more high-profile remix work, production work - and those gigs just don't exist here."

*


* Mission Accomplished: Obama Shuts Down Jobs Council.

* New Pawn Shop Likely Coming To North Avenue.

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The Beachwood Tip Line: Wise counsel.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 6:10 AM | Permalink

QT: And CCCLXVI Days Until XLVIII


Super Bowl XLVII Final Countdown Update:
+ XXVII percent of Americans plan to be on Facebook during the game.
+ XXVII percent of Americans believe God will determine the game's outcome.
These are not necessarily the same Americans.


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News Item: ". . . that stricter gun laws will save lives. . . ."
News Item: ". . . place undue burdens on the Second Amendment right to choose to defend ourselves. . . ."
So think of those for stricter gun laws as pro-life.
And think of those against as pro-choice.
That should eliminate any confusion.

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News Headline: "New $1.6 billion supercomputer project will attempt to simulate the human brain."
There must be a cheaper way to create a supercomputer that refuses to function much of the time.

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+ Phil Halprin, a Schaumburg reader, 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:
"Apricot of the berry ugli items in your column, I find the whole situation fruitless.
+ Mike Reynolds, a West Allis, Wis., reader, writes:
"Orange you glad this discussion is almost over?"
+ J.T,, a Key West, Fla., reader, writes:
"These dreadful fruit puns deserve a straight-out raspberry."
But that would demand araza right back.
Which means we seem to guava standoff.
QT will stop it now.
No. Really.
This is the end of the lime.

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News Headline: "Man charged in avocado assault."
Stop it.
Stop it now.

···

Lest We Forget that the Dark Ages Were a Faith-Based Initiative:
The middle schools of Cobb County, Ga., forbid any discussion on the subject of the "origin of the human species."

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News Headline: "Is it exploitative to have Sandy Hook students perform at Super Bowl?"
Or another question:
If you can think of anything that has to do with the Super Bowl that isn't exploitative, would you please let QT know?

···

QT What Passes for Miracles These Days Update:
An image of Jesus that was discovered three years ago in the chipped paint on an outside wall of a pub in Warrnambool, Australia, has been painted over because, according to the owner, everyone was sort of tired of it.

···

News Headline: "Fresh fruit is America's favorite snack, survey finds."
And lying to survey-takers is its favorite pastime.

···

The Democratic People's Republic of Korea wants you to know that Kim Jong Un's Let's Dynamically Struggle for a Final Victory is now out in paperback in Venezuela.

···

QT Modern Corporate Gibberish of the Week:
Ingenico has acquired Ogone.

···

News Headline: "Proposed quenching of phonon-induced processes in photoexcited quantum dots due to electron-hole asymmetries."
As we might have expected.

···

QT Sunspot and Solar Wind Update: 56 and 756,070 mph.
For those keeping track.

···

QT Grammar R Us Seminar on the English Language:
News Headline: "How Microsoft will convince you to buy a Windows phone."
J.K, a Chicago reader, wants you to know that we convince someone to think something--but we must persuade someone to do something.
Anyone who says "from whence," by the way, is saying "from from where."


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

Illinois Department Of Agriculture Gets The Super Bowl Party Started

To help boost the state's economy, the Illinois Department of Agriculture is encouraging consumers to shop local when they stock up for Sunday's big game.

"Illinois food companies make everything a fan could possibly need to throw a great party, from chili and pizza to chips and salsa," Jennifer Tirey, bureau chief of Marketing and Promotion said. "For a sample of the many products available, visit our Facebook page and browse through the listings."

To get the Super Bowl party started, on Feb. 1 - Feb. 3 the Dept. of Ag will select one lucky person each day from the agency's Facebook friends and Twitter followers who will score free Illinois products.

The winner of the first drawing will receive a one-year supply (52 cans) of Ray's Brand Chilli, located in Decatur. A $50 gift certificate to Lou Malnati's Chicago-Style Deep Dish Pizza will be awarded the second day and a "Game Day" gift pack of Uncle Joe's Sauces and Rubs, located in Ina, is the third day prize.

To sign up for the Game Day promotion, simply visit and "Like" the Illinois Department of Agriculture's Facebook page or "Follow" their Twitter feed by Feb. 1. For more information, please call (217) 782-8146.

Illinois is a leading producer of soybeans, corn and swine. The state's climate and varied soil types enable farmers to grow and raise cattle, wheat, oats, sorghum, hay, sheep, poultry, fruits and vegetables.

Illinois' 76,000 farms cover more than 28 million acres - nearly 80 percent of the state's total land area. Marketing of Illinois' agricultural commodities generates more than $9 billion annually. Corn accounts for nearly 40 percent of that total. Marketing of soybeans contributes about one-third, with the combined marketing of livestock, dairy and poultry generating about 23 percent.

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See also:
* The 5th Annual Beachwood Super Bowl Halftime Bet: Beyoncé Knowles Edition.
* Don't Have A Super Bowl Food Safety Foul!
* The Super Bowl Is Decadent And Depraved.

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Bonus Illinois Ag Video:

Illinois Ag Chief On Ag Census:

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Illinois Agriculture Magazine and FarmFlavor.com:

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Making Omelettes.

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Illinois Agriculture and World Markets.

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Celebrity Egg Cooking Contest.



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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 5:08 AM | Permalink

The Week In Chicago Rock

You shoulda been there.

1. Stone Sour at the Congress on Sunday night.


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2. Papa Roach at the Congress on Sunday night.

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3. The Darkness at the Vic on Sunday night.

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4. Soundgarden at the Riv on Tuesday night.

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5. Robert Cornelius 7 at City Winery on Tuesday night.

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6. Ellie Goulding at the Aragon on Tuesday night.

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 3:55 AM | Permalink

Whether In Chicago

The Guild Literary Complex continues the eighth year of Palabra Pura with an evening of bilingual poetry titled "Whether in Chicago."

Curated by Rafael Franco, this event asks us to consider what role, if any, weather plays, whether significantly or not, in writing and how that writing might weather the winds of literary exploration. The event will include poetry in Spanish, English, and Spanglish. Featured readers include Emily Rose Giddings and Alex Bonner.

* Rafael Franco is a Chicago-based actor, writer, and photographer. He is the recipient of the first annual National Short Story Prize from the Institute of Puerto Rican Culture for his collection of short stories, Alaska. His experimental novel, Las Macronicas del Temponauta is to be published this spring by Coleccion Maravilla.

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* Emily Rose Giddings is a writer and member of performance pop-rock duo Zigtebra.

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* Alex Bonner is the 2009 Windy City Story Slam Champion and the recipient of the 2010 Windy City Story Slam People's Choice Award. His books include The Deadline and Back to Print.

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"Whether in Chicago" will be in Humboldt Park at La Bruquena restaurant, 2726 W. Division, Chicago, on Wednesday, February 20, 2013 at 7:30 pm. Admission is free. As always, audiences of all backgrounds and languages are welcome.
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ABOUT THE GUILD LITERARY COMPLEX
The Guild Literary Complex (GLC) is a community-based literary organization that presents and supports diverse, divergent, and emerging voices through innovative programs including performances and readings. GLC believes that vibrant literature contributes to society and community, and that people should have access to quality literary experiences that engage them with dynamic juxtapositions of voices and ideas. GLC programs include Palabra Pura (bilingual poetry); the Poetry Performance Incubator (collaborative theatre and poetry); and open-submission writing contests such as the Gwendolyn Brooks Open Mic Award and Prose Awards for short fiction and non-fiction. Since its formation, GLC has established itself, in the words of the Illinois Arts Council, as "Chicago's premier literary center." GLC has been twice selected as a model literary center by the National Endowment for the Arts.

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ABOUT THE PALABRA PURA READING SERIES
Palabra Pura promotes literary expression in more than one tongue through a monthly bilingual poetry reading featuring Chicano and Latino artists. With an aim to foster dialogue through literature in Chicago and beyond, each evening pairs a local poet with a visiting writer along with an open mic to engage the interaction of diverse voices, ideas, and aesthetics. The readings are held the third Wednesday of every month (except August and December). Palabra Pura is presented in partnership with Letras Latinas of the Institute for Latino Studies at the University of Notre Dame and the Rafael Cintron Ortiz Cultural Center at the University of Illinois at Chicago. This series is also supported by the paper contratiempo.

Palabra Pura se enfoca en la expresion literaria en varios idiomas a traves de una serie de lecturas mensuales bilingues con artistas Chicanos y Latinos. Nuestra meta es promover el dialogo a traves de la iterature en Chicago y mas alla. Con este fin, cado lectura combina un poeta local con uno invitado, ademas de un open mic para cultivar la interaccion de voces, ideas esteticas diversas. Las lecturas se ofrecen el tercer miercoles de cada mes (con excepcion de agosto y diciembre). Palabra Pura se presenta con la colaboracion de Letras Latinas del Instituto para Estudios Latinos de la Universidad de Notre Dame y el Centro Cultural Latino Rafael Cintron Ortiz de la Universidad de Illinois en Chicago. Tambien colaboracion la revista contratiempo.

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 12:52 AM | Permalink

MUSIC - Chicago In The Rockies.
TV - Archie Bunker On Gun Control.
POLITICS - The Paradise Papers: The African Satellite Scheme.
SPORTS - Beachwood Sports Radio: Stevie Sunshine's Gold.

BOOKS - Writing's Power To Deceive.

PEOPLE PLACES & THINGS - RECALL! Triple T Chicken Salad.


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