Ode To An Eyesore

It sits there so humble, squatting flush against the river, its gunmetal gray worn and weathered, a tired servant from another time. In those days, it was a working building, a manufacturing plant that took in newsprint by rail and river and rolled it through a roaring assembly line of presses, spitting out daily editions of the newspaper at the other end.

Purposefully low-slung, the building defers to the architectural icons that frame it, more ambitious buildings with grander auras, though th

The Day Clout Struck Out

One day about four years ago, a young man named Kevin Flynn paid a visit to Don Stephens, the feisty and plainspoken mayor of Rosemont. The two made an odd match. Stephens, then 69, had almost single-handedly transformed Rosemont from a seedy stretch of strip joints and garbage dumps near O'Hare into a tax-rich haven for airport hotels, restaurants, and office buildings. In the process, he had become one of the state's most powerful politicians. By contrast, Flynn, then 30, had a rather thin résumé–a business degree from Marquette and a few years working for his father, Donald Flynn, a former Arthur Andersen accountant who had made a fortune with Waste Management and Blockbuster Entertainment.
The day they met, however, the two had something in common. Stephens eagerly wanted to bring Rosemont a casino, with its promise of vast lucre for village coffers and his own conveniently placed associates. Kevin Flynn was in the casino business; he ran a Michigan City, Indiana, riverboat and his father owned an outfit named HP Inc., a company anxious to move its shuttered gambling operation from East Dubuque, Illinois, to a more promising location.

Despite their mutual interests, the meeting turned into a disaster. By Stephens's account, Kevin Flynn was little more than a cocky, gabby rich kid. "Kevin proceeded to tell me how he was going to save Rosemont and the whole world," Stephens recalled later in a deposition he gave in a federal lawsuit. "I gave him a very short time. I said goodbye and I told [the friend who had set up the meeting], 'Don't ever send that idiot in here again.'"

The Beachwood Radio Hour #70: What The Laquan McDonald E-Mails Really Show

First and foremost, the e-mails show how Rahm’s media shop manipulates outwitted reporters. Also: How City Hall spun settlement negotiations over the release of the infamous video, and allegations of witness coercion.

* Strawberry Rock Show.

1:05: Eleventh Dream Day at the Empty Bottle.

* The Smithereens is the band I was trying to think of.

2:49: Rahm’s Massive Dump.

* See the e-mails for yourself.

* The final version of that Sun-Times story: Mayor’s Office, IPRA Discusse

The Beachwood Radio Hour #46: Explaining Chicago's Black Site

A guide to Homan for our comprehension-challenged local media.

00: Strawberry Rock Show.

1:10: Koffin Kats at Reggies last Friday night.

2:25: Explaining Homan.

* “How do you think the local media will react?” “Oh, they’ll try to knock it down. That’s their mindset.”

* Spencer Ackerman lives in Brooklyn and works for Guardian US.

* The context: Zuley.

* Siska Guardian Op-Ed.

* Touchless torture.

* Tribune: Abuse Citywide, Therefore Homan Not A Story.

18:48: Brooke Fras

The Beachwood Radio Hour #2: Crime Is Down

Is the Chicago Police Department really juking murder stats? We have the surprising answer. Plus: Chicagoetry with J.J. Tindall, The Cub Factor with Marty Gangler, Remembering Big Glo, Jim “Coach” Coffman on sports and the week in politics and music. (Now with Show Notes!)

0:00: Opening theme.

1:20: “What I Do,” Big Glo aka Blood Money.

2:25: “Big Glo Dead: Slain Rapper Was Chief Keef’s Cousin.”

3:08: TV Reporter, Spirit of ’73: Rock for Choice.

3:20: Charters Are Not Smarter, T

Untold Stories Behind The Chicago Teachers Strike

National outlets are doing a lot of spectacle-laden stories sympathetic to the striking teachers, notes guest columnist Steve Rhodes, while local news outlets have produced too much ‘he said, she said’ coverage. Neither gets at what’s really going on.

In the past, the American mainstream media wasn’t exactly known for sympathetic coverage of unions and strikes. Labor reporters have long been an endangered species.

But if recent sympathetic coverage of teachers strikes is any indication, that p

Deconstructing Emanuel's Mea Culpa

On the same day that Rahm Emanuel executed a Friday news dump of hundreds pages of documents in the Laquan McDonald case, the mayor placed the same Op-Ed in both the Tribune and Sun-Times. (Full disclosure: Crain's ran the piece after the Trib and Sun-Times published it.)

Shame on those papers for — once again — participating in Emanuel's cynical media manipulations. It's not as if Emanuel hasn't had ample forums to express his views on the case. You need to give him an even bigger megaphone?

The Case Against Daley

First, let's get the caveats out of the way. Yes, Richard M. Daley has had a tremendous run as mayor of Chicago. He's polished an international, tourist-friendly city that looks sharp and stays culturally vital. He's energized city departments and stressed the effective delivery of city services.

He's taken responsibility for the schools and public housing. He's presided over a city on the move, with improvement projects and beautification programs touching every neighborhood. Construction cran