Friday, May 12, 2017


Is he trying to make this scandal as close to Watergate as he can? First a break-in to DNC headquarters (released via Wikileaks). Then a series of controversial firings, including the guy in charge of investigating him. Then an admission that there are tapes?

Green White

On a cold winter day in early 2010, with the US National Team preparing to go to the World Cup in South Africa, a Chicago advertising agency was looking for a little kid to represent "the next generation" for an ad. They called Green White Soccer Club. The toothless seven-year-old in the Green White stocking cap still plays for them today, seven years later. That kid is my son Sean.

Be a part of this proud 60-year history. Tryouts for Green White's 2017/2018 travel soccer season for boys and girls ages 6-15 are coming up very soon (may 22, 23, 24). Pre-register today!

I am not being paid for this endorsement.

It's mainly being done out of parental guilt :)...and because it's a good club...and because my dad was one of the founders 60 years ago...and because I'm still the manager of the U15 boys team...and because I wrote the book about the club.

And I'm on the Board of Directors as the Communications Director and it's my job to get the word out.

Revisting Sgt. Pepper

The man who savaged "Sgt. Pepper" in a review for the New York Times when it first came out in 1967, gets the opportunity to explain himself and listen to the album again. The first time, one of his speakers was broken. Now that it's considered the greatest album in rock and roll history (according to Rolling Stone magazine), and is celebrating its 50th anniversary, he listened to it with both speakers working.

Read the story here.

Chilling Op-Ed

Philip Alan Lacovara was one of the Watergate prosecutors, and in today's Washington Post he details his biggest disappointment with the current situation...

Reports about why the president was so set on ousting Comey are equally resonant of those long-ago Watergate days. Trump, according to The Post, grew increasingly infuriated with Comey for not pursuing leaks about the probe. In Capitol Hill hearings, the president’s defense team among Republicans in Congress has adopted a similar diversionary strategy, focusing on the leaks rather than the far more serious underlying abuses.

Like Trump and his allies, Nixon and his compatriots were furious about leaks emerging during the early stages of the Watergate investigation. Then, key information that put The Post’s Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein on the trail of the coverup and kept up the pressure for thorough official investigations came from a source they referred to as Deep Throat, later identified as FBI Assistant Director Mark Felt. Felt chose the difficult course of leaking important information because he feared that the Nixon administration might be successful in suppressing the FBI investigation and maintaining the coverup.

The highest duty of those in public service is to make sure that the truth about serious misconduct emerges. It would be a tragedy if threats to lock up leakers were to cow honorable FBI agents and career prosecutors into silence, even if they smell a coverup at the top. Leaks may be manipulative or mischievous, but — as in Watergate — they may be essential to the transparency and accountability that the American public has the right to expect.

After Nixon resigned, there were congratulatory comments that “the system worked.” But this assessment was overly simplistic. Now, as then, the system works only if the right people in the system do the right thing when deciding whether to roll over or to stand up.

Hundreds of Thousands of Monkeys

India is becoming overrun with monkeys. Sounds like a movie...

The orange or gray monkeys, which weigh 12 to 17 pounds, have become one of the most dreaded pests in India, biting around 1,000 people a day nationwide and overrunning cities like New Delhi. The monkey problem has become so overwhelming that officials are searching for ways to use birth control on the animals.

In the fruit-growing state of Himachal Pradesh, monkeys have increased more than fivefold in the past decade, according the government. The animals create up to $300 million in crop losses and diverted labor every year, the farmer’s group Kheti Bachao Andolan said.

“Wherever they go, panic spreads,” said primatologist Iqbal Malik, who runs a nonprofit called Vatavaran, which is Hindi for environment. “Residents warn each other to close all doors and windows. Any houses which get raided by monkeys (are left) in shambles — eatables on the floor, crockery broken, taps open, wires cut, plants mauled.”

There's only one solution...

How do you know when you've made it?

You really know you've hit the bigtime when the president rips you personally.

In a Time Magazine interview, Donald Trump raised the profile of three people on television. I'm sure Chris Cuomo, Don Lemon, and Stephen Colbert all would like to thank him...even though he called them "chained lunatic" (Cuomo), "dumbest person in broadcasting" (Lemon), and "no talent guy who talks filthy" (Colbert).

Colbert even made reference to it last night...

Thursday, May 11, 2017

Minutia Men, Episode 50

I have to head out for a few business meetings today, but I wanted to post about the new episode of Minutia Men.

It comes out later today at this link.

Nipsey Russell, Charo, Jim Henson's Fraggle Rock, and the Rick and Dave dancers will all make appearances in this 50th episode special. Should be up on the Radio Misfits site by noon or so.

Misunderstood Lyrics

From Tom Taylor's NOW Column today, a story about my old boss Jim Smith...

The listener heard indecent lyrics, then wanted to buy the song – Jim Smith was music director of top 40 WLS Chicago in the mid-1970s, and says “My secretary buzzed me to say ‘You'd better take this call. This man thinks we're playing a song about a[n] ‘f-ing bitch.’ Turns out it wasn't a complaint call. The guy wanted to identify the song so he could buy a copy. We quickly determined that it wasn't Elton John's ‘The Bitch Is Back.’ I tried to get more details. ‘It's some man singing it.’ (Uh, yeah, that narrows it down.) He couldn't tell me whether it was fast or slow, nor much of anything else helpful. Gradually, he remembered a little more from the lyrics – ‘Dance, pretty mama,’ and eventually ‘I wanna see that f-ing bitch / Dance, pretty mama, take me by my hand.’ The cadence of those lines helped more than his (in)ability to sing them. I sang it back to him, slurring the words – ‘I'd like to hear some funky Dixieland / Pretty mama, come and take me by the hand.’ Yep, that was it. ‘Black Water’ by the Doobie Brothers. I explained that ‘funky Dixieland’ was what they were singing. He went away happy. I laughed about it with just about everyone on the staff. But I neglected to ask him whether he had an Arbitron diary.”

Colbert on Comey

He was on fire last night...

You Might Want to Scrub the Oval Office

Yesterday Donald Trump invited the two Russians that have been most often mentioned as contacts with his campaign staff (and are therefore under investigation) into the White House. He refused to let American press in, but he did allow the Russian press to come in and take photos.

Think about that for a moment. These are both men who are considered Russian spies, according to our intelligence agencies. He let them into the White House, and into the Oval Office, with no one to keep an eye on them.

You don't have to be paranoid to wonder if they might have left some sort of a listening device behind. I'm not even joking when I say the entire office needs to be scrubbed. What on earth was he thinking?

Karl Lagerfeld Really Thinks You Love His Cat

From the Daily Mail...

If you thought you loved your pet more than anyone else in the world, think again. Fashion design legend Karl Lagerfeld has proven the ultimate devotion to his pet cat by immortalizing her in the form of an expensive plush toy. Choupette, 83-year-old Lagerfeld's Birman cat, has been transformed into a luxurious, limited-edition stuffed animal by German toy makers Steiff - complete with a hefty price tag of $545.

You read that price tag correctly. His cat. Seriously.

Bob Shannon

Bob Shannon wrote the 2009 book "Turn it Up! American Radio Tales 1946-1996".

This week he traveled from his hometown of Minneapolis to meet with a humble local Chicago publisher to sign a contract to write the follow up book. We'll also be releasing his first book as an e-book later this year.

Welcome aboard, Bob!

Wednesday, May 10, 2017

Memories of Watergate

The idea that Trump fired Comey because he didn't appropriately handle the end of the Hillary investigation doesn't pass the smell test. It's an obvious lie. Trump had more than a hundred days to fire him for that reason. This is all about the Russia investigation, which is starting to hit a little too close to home for Trump, and the whole world knows it.

The Associated Press (the most non-political press organization in the country) says: Trump Thrusts US Presidency into Perilous Area

Lawfare calls it a profoundly dangerous thing.

The New York Times points out that Comey had just asked for more funds to investigate this Russia story.

And Jeffrey Toobin, the legal expert at CNN put it this way...

Daily Show Reunion

Tuesday, May 09, 2017

Daily Show Reunion

Now this is Must-See-TV tonight. Stephen Colbert is reuniting his Daily Show pals for his 20th anniversary on television. From The Boston Globe...

Colbert will welcome a whole mess of “Daily Show” alums all at once, for what CBS is calling “a special night of comedy and conversation.” Jon Stewart, Samantha Bee, John Oliver, Ed Helms, and Rob Corddry, all of whom appeared during Stewart’s 1999-2015 run as “Daily Show” host, are going to reunite with Colbert. (A missing link: no word of Steve Carell.)

I will not miss this one. Already set the DVR.

An Embarrassment

I was rivited by those hearings yesterday. Sally Yates and James Clapper did a great job fielding the questions from the Senate. I thought the Republican members who were more concerned about leaks and unmasking looked small when they asked those questions, considering the gravity of the underlying reason for the hearing. They didn't seem concerned at all about how to prevent this in the future, despite the clarion call from the witnesses that it will happen again in 2018 and 2020.

Former DNI Clapper urged that the #1 thing we need to do to prevent this hacking from happening again was to educate the public.

But at the very moment he was saying that, our president was doing the exact opposite on Twitter. He was accusing the witnesses of leaking (without any evidence...the president of the friggin USA was doing this), and he was calling real news "Fake News".

Media experts from around the world say we have media institutions that are the envy of the world. Everytime the president says that the mainstream media is "fake news" we diminish those institutions. They have protected us for more than two hundred years. They are a check and balance on outside influence, and inside corruption. The Washington Post, The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, the nightly network newscasts...that's the real news. You may not like what they are saying, but they are saying the truth, as best as they can ascertain it. When they are wrong, they correct their mistakes.

Right now our president is a worldwide embarrassment.

Sinclair Changes

This purchase of Tribune Media by Sinclair is going to be very bad for original programming on WGN-TV. This is from today's Variety...

Sinclair Broadcast Group CEO Chris Ripley didn’t mince words: WGN America’s programming focus will be very different once Sinclair’s $3.9 billion acquisition of Tribune Media is completed.

Ripley told Wall Street analysts Monday that WGN America’s ratings cannot support the channel’s current level of spending on original series. Sinclair’s focus will be on “repositioning WGN America for profitable growth.” Ripley noted that WGN America already had begun paring back under the direction of interim Tribune CEO Peter Kerns, emphasizing lower-cost originals and acquired series.

“The ratings WGN America (delivers) doesn’t justify the type of spending they do on the original programming side,” Ripley said. “The channel could be run much more profitably on a fraction of what they spend on programming.”

Nicole Wallace & George Will

MSNBC has added two Republicans to the lineup. Nicole Wallace, former George W. Bush aide, will be getting the 3pm (central) time slot for her new show "Deadline: White House". She is a natural on television, and has been a valuable contributor to the entire NBC & MSNBC lineup for the last year or so. Seems right to give her a show.

Also, George Will has been hired as a contributor. That's right, George Will. He was too anti-Trump for Fox, but the arch conservative pundit has found a home on the most liberal news network.

Jimmy Kimmel's Response

Jimmy had a great response to the response to his emotional speech last week...

Monday, May 08, 2017

Net Neutrality

What he said...

Rite of Passage

Important day in the young lad's development. First time mowing. Now I've got three of 'em mowing. Dad should never have to mow again.

Anthony Rizzo

It looked like he might have broken his arm last night. Hope it's just a bruise or that could be a big blow for the Cubs. Rizzo isn't just a key player, he's a mensch. For instance...

A Day in a Life

Sometimes you need a few years to process history. Iconic song or Banned appropriately? You make the call...

Morning Joe bit

Pretty well done, SNL...

Sinclair Close to Buying Tribune Media

According to Variety, the sale is almost complete. It will be the first major sale since the new FCC changed the rules to make it easier for companies to buy more media outlets. The last time the government allowed this (under President Clinton), it changed the media a terrible, terrible way. It destroyed local radio, which may never come back. This time local television may be destroyed.

If a deal goes through, it would be the first major broadcast acquisition in the weeks since the FCC reversed a 2016 media ownership ruling, a decision that greatly expanded the number of TV stations a single entity can own. The acquisition of Tribune would make Baltimore-based Sinclair the largest TV station owner in the country, by reach and by total number of TV stations. It would expand the company’s presence for the first time into the top five TV markets of New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, Philadelphia, and Dallas. Sinclair at present owns or operates 173 TV stations, with Washington, D.C. (No. 7 overall behind San Francisco) as its largest market.

Bigger than NBC, CBS, ABC, and Fox. What could this sale do to Chicago media? It could take away our one local independent station, Chicago-institution WGN, and turn it into a news outlet to the right of Fox News. That is what Sinclair has done in previous markets. Their goal is to go after Fox News...from the right.

Healthcare Bill

I watched the Sunday morning shows and listened to Republicans like Paul Ryan, Tom Price, and Reince Preibus claim that the new Trumpcare bill actually increases Medicaid funding...even though it's cutting $880 billion.

It's the sort of anti-logic that drives me crazy. Tom Price, the HHS Secretary, really has the patter down. It sounds so reasonable, "We're thinking of the patients!" (The healthy ones, of course. The young healthy ones). "We're getting Washington out of the health care system" (Yes, of course, by cutting $880 billion!)

Thank you Washington Post fact checker for hearing the same thing and doing the math.

Four Pinocchios.