Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Indicators to watch out for

Posted By on 09.30.08 at 01:02 PM

You'd think that in the New New Economy banks would want to lend to purveyors of cheap food, but McDonald's franchisees are having trouble securing more lending after blowing what they had on the company's coffee upgrades. Via Krugman, who has more on how the crisis will affect credit cards.

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The man behind the Palin nude

Posted By on 09.30.08 at 12:36 PM

Now that the nude Sarah Palin portrait is big news everywhere (sigh), you might be interested in the artist, Old Town Ale House co-owner Bruce Elliott, who was literally bequeathed the institution--which dates back to a time when the neighborhood was much more sketchy and bohemian--because he drank there so much. Scott Eden profiled Elliott and his bar for the Reader in 2006; it's really pretty moving and funny, and a nice portrait of someone who stumbles backwards into a life. It's one of my favorite pieces that the paper's published.

About my favorite part is the explanation of why the jukebox is so heavy on jazz (the last time I was there they had a lot of Bach, which made me irrepressibly happy):

"Shortly after he died, Beatrice bequeathed the place to Elliott and Mitchell on one condition: that they remain adamantly opposed to change. Aside from the ever-increasing mass of Elliott’s artwork on the walls, they’ve kept their word. They fix chairs instead of replacing them and allow nothing but jazz on the jukebox: Beatrice Klug once dated a roadie and joined him on a Rolling Stones tour, after which she refused to listen to rock music for the rest of her life."

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9/30 -- Lynn Becker at the Chicago Architecture Foundation

Posted By on 09.30.08 at 11:44 AM

Reader architecture contributor Lynn Becker is giving three free talks on his Boom Towns! exhibit at the Chicago Architecture Foundation (224 S. Michigan). The first one's today from 5:30 PM to 6 PM; the others are scheduled for Saturday, October 18, from 11 AM to 11:30 AM and Friday, November 7, from 12:30 PM to 1 PM. All take place at the foundation's ArcelorMittal CitySpace Gallery. The exhibit, which is free, runs through November 21. Call 312-922-3432 for more.

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9/30 -- Drinks and design

Posted By on 09.30.08 at 11:26 AM

There'll be more free cocktails and silk-screened tote bags as the Art of Cocktailing stops tonight at Delilah's (2771 N. Lincoln, 773-472-2771) and tomorrow at Rodan (1530 N. Milwaukee, 773-276-7036) from 9 to 11 PM.

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Oh Lord, please come down from the mountain / Some of us are broke and having problems

Posted By on 09.30.08 at 11:18 AM


The St. Pete Times has the most details on Creative Loafing's bankruptcy filing. Some highlights:

"documents included with the bankruptcy filing indicate the company had trouble keeping up with payments on a $40-million debt, including a loan taken last year to pay down $15-million in debts and to purchase the two newspapers."

"Creative Loafing missed an interest payment of $282,219 on Dec. 24, a $10,000 servicing fee on Dec. 31 and an interest payment of $294,369 due Jan. 24."

"'I’m filing (bankruptcy) because the economy sucks,' said Eason."

CL also filed suit against its lenders yesterday:

"...asking a judge to stop a default on $40 million loan. In the suit, filed with the same court, Creative Loafing said the lenders failed to act in good faith when they refused to negotiate lowering the financial covenants. Without the injunction, Creative Loafing says it has no other options in stopping the default, as it would be 'too late to save the debtors' businesses, reputation, and close-knit and effective management.'"

Me? I'm just going to listen to the Silver Jews' "Long Long Gone" over and over again. I hear IIT's law school is very strong in IP law. If I can't win the Internet, maybe I can get my revenge on it.

I have quite a bit of work to do in "finishing off our digital strategy" so posting will be much lighter for a while.

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Times is rough and tough like leather

Posted By on 09.30.08 at 10:59 AM

The city will be laying off 1,000 workers. Plus:

"Alderman Ed Smith said Monday that the administration expects revenues to continue to decline for at least the next two years, but officials have ruled out a tax increase."

The credit crunch is also going to make financing via municipal bonds much, much harder.

The mother of slain airman Blanca Luna is going to Texas for answers

Posted By on 09.30.08 at 10:34 AM


The Dallas Peace Center reports that Chicagoan Gloria Berrios, the mother of slain air force senior airman Blanca Luna, is planning to hold a press conference at the gates of Sheppard Air Force Base in Texas and is requesting a meeting with officials there on Friday. As Kari Lydersen reported in the Reader in July, despite evidence of an attack Berrios was told her daughter was an "apparent suicide." 

UPDATE: a few details of the plan.

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Michael Miner discusses the Trib redesign on WBEZ

Posted By on 09.30.08 at 09:39 AM

Tune in to WBEZ's 848 to hear Mike's take on the Chicago Tribune redesign launched yesterday.

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Experts agree: Shut up

Posted By on 09.30.08 at 12:06 AM

Right now the Washington Post has two analysis pieces on its homepage, both about how no one can make progress on the Mother of All Bailouts because the rubes aren't willing to trust their leaders in Washington.

Joel Achenbach and Ashley Surdin: "A political establishment held in higher regard might have been able to hold together some kind of coalition of the willing.... Members of Congress in both liberal and conservative districts were inundated with e-mails and phone calls from angry voters opposing the bailout. With Election Day a little more than a month away, many lawmakers appeared to pay greater heed to their constituents than to their party leaders."

Steven Pearlstein: "The basic problem here is that too many people don't understand the seriousness of the situation."

If you need the message to be any clearer, Conor Clarke at the Atlantic spells it out for you:

"The bailout crashed, and so did democracy...."

"The Republican and Democratic congressmen who voted against the bill were responding to angry constituents who thought of the bill as nothing more than a gift horse for the rich -- on CNN a moment ago a reporter said such constituents were phoning in 'a hundred to one' against the bill. The congressmen who serve these constituents are afraid of losing in November, and they are pandering with shameless zeal and reckless abandon."

Then again, maybe today's Failout Bill died because it sucked and no one liked it, including such dim-bulb hick constituents as Robert Reich, Brad DeLong, Nouriel Rubini, Dean Baker, and Ken Rogoff. The volk have already watched the wool get pulled down once, and perhaps twice, and this--crowd-sourcing? user-generated opinion? democracy?--is something like a natural response.

Besides, there will be plenty of panic tomorrow to set things in motion.

Update: Probably didn't put this clearly enough--Paulson basically began negotiations like Alec Baldwin's character from Glengarry Glenross. And I don't think people expect their treasury secretary to deal with the public like that during a time of crisis, or that we'd have to worry too much about his allegiances. So maybe the country is playing brinkmanship too. It's, you know, allowed.

But I may be exaggerating the effects of all this, given how many low-information voters there are.

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Monday, September 29, 2008

Rookie of the Year

Posted By on 09.29.08 at 10:07 PM

When the Sox tied the Tigers at two on a wild pitch in the sixth inning, I couldn't take trying to follow the game by computer anymore and headed for the dive bar across the street to watch it. I'm glad I did: I got to see the Tigers bullpen implode, loading the bases for second baseman Alexei Ramirez, whom Ozzie Guillen likes to call the Cuban Missile. That was a missile all right: a first-swing shot off Gary Glover that rocketed into deep left field. The slam--plus some thankfully decent work from the Sox bullpen--pretty much sealed the game for the Sox, though they added two more runs for good measure to win 8-2. Not a bad way to be playing when you face a one-game tiebreaker with your nemesis the day after the end of the regular season. And a very good way to help Sox fans recover from the trauma of Javier Vazquez meltdowns.

 The slam was Ramirez's fourth this season, the most ever hit by a rookie.

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