Written in journalistic fashion (copious amounts of research, broadly described events, but no flights of purple prose), the book repeatedly sketches how upperworld corruption was an essential part of The Outfit’s business operation. Bold face names like Tom Pendergast and his protege, Harry Truman, guys like Richard Nixon, Joe (and Jack) Kennedy, various Chicago mayors (Daley the elder, Cermak, etc.), movie moguls like Louis B. Mayer and Harry Cohn, and so on all pop up as equal partners in various criminal schemes.
Surprisingly though, was a minor tidbit about Harry Reid while Gaming Commisioner in Nevada (pgs 347-349 in the paperback edition). Apparently, in the late 1950’s, after Nevada had been turned from a sleepy, two-bit cowboy town into a Rat Pack mecca by ambitious gangsters, the Mormon power-brokers decided that Italians were not to be welcomed anymore. Hence, in 1959 the Gaming Control Act which encouraged licensing to ‘savory characters’ only. However, in the first year of the act, licenses were approved for several convicted WASP bookies, gamblers, tax cheats, bribers, and murderers (such as Charles “Babe” Baron, twice arrested for murder). Italians need not apply – even squeaky clean ones like the gourmet chef, Joseph Pignatello.
Soon the Board instituted
the infamous Black Book, which listed “unsavory characters” who not only could never be licensed, but were barred for life from setting foot in a Las Vegas casino. The introductory remarks noted that the list had been devised so that certain individuals “not discredit the gaming industry”. Discredit gambling? This is the same pastime that the board’s Mormon dogma prohibits and labels immoral. All those listed were so included without formal notification, hearing, or appeal. And the reasons for their inclusion could be mere hearsay. Of the initial eleven placed in the Black Book, eight were Italian, and most had been implicated or convicted in the same sorts of crimes as the WASPs who were licensed:bootlegging and bookmaking.
…Over the years, 62 percent of those placed in the Black Book have been Italian, dwarfing the numbers of the runners-up, Anglo-Saxons (15 percent)…“The mere Italian sound of a man’s name generated considerable suspicion.” In a candid moment, board chairman Harry Reid once said, “The reasons for their being singled out are not important as far as we’re concerned.”
Does this even matter? Somehow, to me, it does. Granted, politicians are as frequently racist, ignorant, jerk-offs as the rest of us, but I dream of leaders who have higher standards then the norm. I had halfway allowed myself to respect Harry Reid, especially after recent comments like:
in May of 2005 when he said of George W. Bush, “The man’s father is a wonderful human being. I think this guy is a loser.”
Oh well, throw him back on the heap. I’m done with him.
Perhaps I’m just sympathetic to profiling, having been searched so many times at airports (12 straight times at one point, though that’s better now, I guess I’ve been taken off the list, knock on wood-like object), attacked by drunken frat boys, or whatever. I still cling to my idealism, regardless of how delusional it is. Blame the hillbilly heroin my doctor recently proscribed for back pain….
Not too sure if this proposed Big Screw building will ever even be built, but certainly is an unusual structure. Seems like it might unbalance the skyline, but the other proposal was for two bulky mid-rise buildings without much style. So, in a binary world, I’d choose the funky over the prosaic. If this were a binary decision, which I don’t think it is.
In Chicago, Plans for a High-Rise Raise Interest and Post-9/11 Security Concerns – New York Times:
In a city known for its skyscrapers, in an era when tall buildings have become targets, can the skyline handle one more that stretches the limit? In Chicago, it seems, the answer may be yes – if the architect is a “starchitect” like Santiago Calatrava.
…Living in the Calatrava tower would not come cheap, by Chicago standards. Mr. Carley said he expected one-bedroom units to sell initially for at least $600,000, with full-floor units of some 7,200-square-feet topping out at $5 million.
The twisting design, which was recently tested in a wind tunnel in Canada, would disperse Chicago’s gusting winds, Mr. Carley said. And Mr. Calatrava designed the interior so that posts and columns would be toward the structure’s center, to allow balconies on some floors and maximize the floor-to-ceiling views.
A far less well known developer, Chicago’s Christopher Carley, will unveil his proposal Wednesday for a slender, 115-story tower with a steel spire that could soar higher than 2,000 feet.
Designed by superstar Spanish-born architect and engineer Santiago Calatrava, the skyscraper would rise next to Lake Shore Drive and near the entrance to Navy Pier. Its tapering glass facade would ripple like folds of drapery.
For Carley, the chairman of Fordham Co., the planned hotel and condo tower would be taller than the combined height of his last three previous projects: two towers of roughly 50 stories and an eight-story structure.
Financing for his latest project has not yet been arranged, and will largely depend on achieving prices rarely seen in a downtown market. “Is this going to get done?” Carley said. “It’ll be market-driven.”
But the ambitious proposal, to be called Fordham Spire, would dramatically shift the focus of Chicago’s skyline, and it likely faces community opposition and the challenge of obtaining financing in what some are calling an overheated real estate market.
The Tribune revealed in May that Carley was working with Calatrava–the architect of the bird-like Milwaukee Art Museum addition, the Athens Olympics sports complex and the planned transportation center at Ground Zero–to design a tower on at least one of two sites along the west side of Lake Shore Drive and the north bank of the Chicago River.
Under Carley’s plan, those sites would be combined into a single 2.2-acre parcel at 346 E. North Water St. The area is now an unruly patch, filled with overgrown grass, gravel, trees and a construction trailer.
From it would sprout a tower utterly different from the boxy forms found elsewhere on the Chicago skyline: A skyscraper with gently curving, concave outer walls attached to a massive reinforced concrete core.
Each floor would rotate a little more than 2 degrees from the one below. The floors would turn 270 degrees around the core as they rise, making the building appear to twist.
Carley and Calatrava noted that the skyscraper’s thin profile–it would have just 920,000 total square feet, compared with 4.5 million for Sears Tower–would make it a benign, not overbearing, presence along the city’s lakefront.
That is far better, they maintain, than two towers of roughly 50 and 35 stories, which current zoning allows. Towers of that size would be far more bulky and cast greater shadows, the developer and architect argue.
“The tower is without any doubt tall, but it is not big. It is very slender. It is extremely slender,” Calatrava said.
Our other major skyscrapers – the Hancock Center, the Sears Tower, the Aon Center and even the upcoming Trump Tower (see the Trib’s Trump Cam for progress) — have a sturdy quality that fits nicely with our town’s nickname, “The City of the Big Shoulders.”
Now what are we supposed to be? “The City of the Big Screw”?
Nora Ephron wonders, again, about that weird incident with the airplane in restricted airspace, which didn’t even merit a call to GWB.
…As you may recall, on May 11, 2005, a small plane made an unauthorized detour into the air space over the nation’s Capitol, setting off a red alert. The Secret Service evacuated Dick Cheney and rushed Laura Bush to a bunker in the White House. The President was not there. He was off riding his bicycle in Beltsville, Maryland, and the Secret Service didn’t notify him about the incident until it was over. At the time they claimed they didn’t want to disturb his bicycle ride.
The internets were blazing with various explanations, maybe the simplest is that Bush isn’t really involved in governing.
But I’ve been wondering about what’s going on with W ever since he emerged from his bizarre groundhog-like vacation and responded to Hurricane Katrina as if he were under water. He had no affect at all. He was almost robotic. His meager vocabulary seemed to have shrunk even further. He conveyed no feeling for the victims — and this was early on, way before anyone realized how many poor people were involved. It was strange. …
At the time I wondered if Bush was on Paxil or Lexapro, drugs that several of my friends are taking and that seem to have turned them into strangely muted versions of themselves. I asked my friend Rita, who’s a shrink, but Rita is very careful about committing on subjects of this sort. She did point out, though, that sometimes, when the President talks, his mouth has a strange sideways twitch, which is apparently common in people who are on antidepressants. …. On the Chris Matthews Show, there was some old footage of the president from last year’s presidential campaign. He was outdoors, talking to a group of people in hard hats; he was energetic, focused, confident, on top of the world. Now you could easily counter: of course he was, it was a lovely day, he was surrounded by supporters, things were going well. But the President we’re seeing these days is a completely different man.
He has, of course, a lot of reasons to be depressed — no point in enumerating them, you know what they are. But most of all, I think he’s depressed because the job has turned out to be so much more onerous than he expected — he said as much to a friend of mine in September. “You have no idea,” he said, “how hard these five years have been.” This is a fairly breathtaking remark given the number of people who, thanks to this president, are now dead as a result of his five years in the Oval Office, but never mind.
The point is that it seems possible to me that when George Bush gave up alcohol in 1986, he dealt with the depression that often accompanies sobriety by becoming an obsessive exerciser. And that’s what he’s essentially done ever since. He’s never held anything that could be confused with a job. Owning a football team [she means baseball team] is not a job. Even being governor of Texas takes only a couple of months a year, it turns out. So he was free to exercise.
But at some point this year, something happened and the exercise regimen stopped working. Bush started becoming depressed. My theory is that a certain amount of panic ensued, and more exercise was prescribed: hence, the afternoon on the bicycle in Maryland, and the reluctance to disturb an already disturbed, irritable man. (Interestingly, the incident happened just after the President returned from a four-day trip to Europe, which had not only required him to work several hours each day but undoubtedly interrupted his exercise routine.) Then came the vacation in August, the odd, sequestered vacation, a perfect time for the President’s doctor to try medication, or change medication, or adjust medication. Then Katrina and the emergence in the fall of an unenergetic, irritable, muted, unfocussed President, the man you see today.
Look it up: depression + symptoms. You’ll read it for yourself: loss of energy, irritability, feeling “slowed down,” inability to concentrate.
Plenty of people have noticed that something is altered in George Bush’s affect. We’ve speculated, on these pages, and elsewhere, that Bush is suffering the after-effects of a stroke, or of a reoccurrence of alcoholism, or that he’s started snorting coke again, or perhaps he is on some sort of anti-depressent. Something certainly seems different from 1999.
Track Your Kit – The Genographic Project: DNA ANALYSIS AND QUALITY CONTROL The samples are transferred into PCR amplification plates for testing using a robotic liquid handling station. The appropriate chemicals are added to the samples to amplify the targeted regions of the DNA for testing. The samples are heated and cooled in a thermal cycler in order to run the PCR amplification. The PCR amplification products are loaded into the capillary electrophoresis machine and the products are sorted by size and color. A laboratory staff member uses a computer program to assign scores to the samples. The computer generated scores are then reviewed by two additional laboratory staff members to produce finalized data.
Our DNA samples have moved to the next step in the Genographic Project….
Track Your Kit – The Genographic Project: DNA ISOLATION The cells are broken open by incubation with a protein-cutting enzyme overnight. Chemicals and the samples are transferred into deep well blocks for robotic DNA isolation. The blocks of chemicals and samples are placed on the extraction robot. The robotic DNA isolation uses silica-coated iron beads. In the presence of the appropriate chemicals DNA will bind to silica. The robot then uses magnetic probes to collect the beads (and DNA) and transfer them through several chemical washes and finally into a storage buffer, which allows the beads to release the DNA. At this point the beads are collected and discarded.
Our DNA has made it to Houston, and is currently being isolated.
Track Your Kit – The Genographic Project: ARRIVAL AND BATCH CREATION The kits are received at the Houston office of Family Tree DNA and checked in. All of the kits are assigned to a batch and shipped to the Arizona Research Labs at the University of Arizona. The samples are received at the university and the orders are transferred to a computer system. The computer sorts the orders and assigns each sample to a specific location in one of many sample grids As the barcodes on the samples are read the computer directs the researchers where to place each sample (which tray and which coordinates).
We received our swab sample kits for the Genographic Project in the mail. Have to avoid liquids, especially warm liquids, for an hour before collecting the first inner-cheek sample. Eight hours later, same procedure. We will probably collect our DNA in the morning.
The fine print reiterates that everything is anonymously tabulated, then the actual cells are discarded. So, unless some freak accident happens, no clones of us will be created ten years from now. Sounds like a Hollywood B movie plot though, I should do a treatment.
Are any pharmaceutical or insurance companies involved in the Genographic Project? No. The Genographic Project is supported by private foundations in conjunction with National Geographic and IBM, the project’s lead partner.
Is the Genographic Project bio-prospecting? No. the Genographic Project research centers will release the resulting genetic data (on an anonymous and aggregate basis) into the public domain to promote further research. The genetic data will be treated as discoveries, rather than inventions, and will not be patented.
Is the Genographic Project linked to any medical research? No. The samples collected from the indigenous groups as well as the samples submitted by the general public via the Public Participation Kits will be analyzed for historical and anthropological data.
“There are still many questions we haven’t answered. Was there any interbreeding with Neanderthals as modern humans moved into Europe? Did any of the migrations to the Americas come across the Pacific – or even the Atlantic?”
These and other unanswered questions form the research goals of the project. They include:
• Who are the oldest populations in Africa – and therefore the world?
•Did Alexander the Great’s armies leave a genetic trail?
• Who were the first people to colonise India?
• Is it possible to obtain intact DNA from the remains of Homo erectus and other extinct hominids?
• How has colonialism affected genetic patterns in Africa?
• Was there any admixture with Homo erectus as modern humans spread throughout South-East Asia?
• Is there any relationship between Australian Aboriginal genetic patterns and their oral histories?
• What are the origins of differences between human groups?
A total of 10 DNA collection centres located around the world will focus on obtaining samples from indigenous peoples. The genetic markers in the blood of these groups have remained relatively unchanged for generations.
The National Geographic has initiated a very unusual genetic project. You send them a cheek swab (via a $107 kit), and they do a detailed workup on your genetic ancestry. I think I’m doing it as a belated birthday present to myself. Just hope it isn’t some Patriot Act related subterfuge….
Your Genetic Journey – The Genographic Project: Once you have purchased your own Genographic Project Public Participation Kit, you can begin the exploration into your deep ancestry. The first step involves a painless cheek swap to acquire a DNA sample. Once you have completed the cheek swabbing process, you will secure the swabs inside the transport tubes and mail the tubes off to the lab using the supplied envelope. It’s that simple, and guaranteed anonymous. Your haplogroup’s story may evolve as the Genographic Project collects thousands of DNA samples during the next few years. When it does, tantalizing new chapters will be added to this website and your information will be updated.
The entire online process is completely anonymous so no one, including project scientists, will ever be able to access your results. But, if you choose, you can share them. A printable, hi-resolution certificate of participation, map, and haplogroup overview serve as compelling documentation of your deep ancestry.
I’m watching a classic 1988 Bulls vs. Pistons game (first aired on April 3, 1988) on NBA-TV, and I figured out why Jordan shaved his head the following summer. In this game, Jordan still has his normal hair, but is rapidly thinning in front. Somewhere buried on the Bulls bench (and playing a few minutes in 1st Q/2nd Q) is a center Granville Waiters, who had an advanced state of male pattern baldness, as much as Bozo the Clown in fact.
I’m sure a young Jordan, razzing Waiters one day in practice suddenly realized that he might be next, and decided to shave his remaining hair off to avoid the embarrassment. Perfectly logical.
update, rewound the TiVo, and Waiters definitely was the guy that started the trend. See this photo. Nuff said…
Fans of HBO’s hit crime series “The Wire” may have been shocked off their couches last night when one of the show’s main characters, the calculating drug dealer Stringer Bell, was gunned down in a gruesome ambush.
But it is unlikely that anyone in the Sunday-night audience was as stunned as Idris Elba, the 32-year-old actor who has brought Stringer to life since “The Wire” began three years ago. “When I first read the script I was like: ‘What? No! This isn’t supposed to happen,’ ” Mr. Elba said over dinner at an Upper West Side restaurant. “I was deeply disappointed. It was a surprise, a complete surprise.”
Mr. Elba, who is far more sensitive than the stoic Stringer, said his last day of work was particularly emotional. Michael K. Williams, who plays Omar Devone Little, the gay, shotgun-toting thug who blasts away Stringer, said: “There were a lot of wet eyes on the set. I just had to keep telling myself that Idris is alive and he has a bright future ahead of him.”
Fans of the show may be surprised to learn that Mr. Elba is not African American. The only child of a mother from Ghana and father from Sierre Leone, Mr. Elba was born and brought up in Hackney, a working-class borough of London. It is a fact he reluctantly shares with fans, preferring instead to use his American accent when talking with those who request autographs. “Wherever I go the real hard-core dudes come up to me and confide in me,” said Mr. Elba, who over the years has been approached by dozens of drug dealers identifying with Stringer. “I almost feel guilty turning around and saying: ‘Hello, mate. My name’s Idris and I’m from London.’ ” Mr. Elba burst into an exaggerated version of his cockney accent. “I don’t want to break the illusion.”
Yes, I’m a little bit obsessed with playlists. This post triggered a quick browse through my iTunes library. I didn’t bother with all the variants of Knockin’ On Heavens Door by Bob Dylan, there are literally dozens, and not all are worth hearing very often. The original is my favorite: from the Sam Peckinpah western, Pat Garrett & Billy the Kid. Also ignored a few other covers of that song by other artists, but this list as configured isn’t bad. My favorite is probably still the Rolling Stones song, too bad Mick Taylor didn’t last longer with the band: those records are the best albums they ever recorded.
B.B. King– Bowlegged Woman, Knock-Kneed Man More Treasures From The Vault
Jay-Z– Can’t Knock The Hustle Jay-Z Unplugged
Rolling Stones– Can’t You Hear Me Knocking Sticky Fingers
Fats Domino– Don’t Come Knockin’ Fats Domino – Walking to New Orleans (Disc 3)
Mavis Staples– Don’t Knock You Are Not Alone
Pickett, Wilson– Don’t Knock My Love (Part 1) Greatest Hits
Jay-Z– Hard Knock Life Chapter One
Dave Edmunds– I Hear You Knocking Rockpile
Fats Domino– I Hear You Knocking Fats Domino – Walking to New Orleans (Disc 3)
Smiley Lewis– I Hear You Knocking Doctors, Professors, Kings & Queens
Little Richard– Keep A Knockin’ Uncut Not Fade Away: 15 Classics That Fired Up The Rolling Stones
Sonics, The– Keep A Knockin’ Here Are The Sonics!!!
Louis Jordan & His Tympany Five– Keep A Knockin’ But You Can’t Come In Disc A: 1938-1940
Fleetwood Mac– Keep A Knocking The Early Years
Little Richard– Keep On Knockin’ Greatest Gold Hits
Death– Keep On Knocking Uncut: May 2010 Search And Destroy
Mississippi John Hurt– Keep On Knocking The Immortal Mississippi John Hurt
Allen, Lily– Knock ’em Out Uncut August 2006
Weezer– Knock Down Drag Out Weezer (Green Album)
Hives– Knock Knock Veni Vidi Vicious
Louis Jordan & His Tympany Five– Knock Me A Kiss Disc B: 1941-1944
La’s, The– Knock Me Down The La’s
Redding, Otis– Knock On Wood (w/ Carla Thomas) The Very Best Of Otis Redding, Vol 2
The Upsetters– Knock Three Times Trojan Upsetter Box Set (Disc 1)
The Humane Society– Knock, Knock Nuggets: Original Artyfacts From The First Psychedelic Era, Vol. 3
Kings Of Leon– Knocked Up Because Of The Times
Armstrong, Louis– Knockin’ A Jug Hot Fives & Sevens Volume 3
Lil Green– Knockin’ Myself Out Reefer Songs
Antony & The Johnsons– Knockin’ On Heaven’s Door I’m Not There
Booker T. Jones– Knockin’ On Heaven’s Door How Many Roads: Black America Sings Bob Dylan
Denny, Sandy– Knockin’ On Heaven’s Door Who Knows Where The Time Goes – Disc 3
Dylan, Bob– Knockin’ On Heaven’s Door Pat Garrett & Billy The Kid
Ferry, Bryan– Knockin’ On Heaven’s Door Dylanesque
Grateful Dead– Knockin’ on Heaven’s Door Knockin’ on Heaven’s Door
Guns N’ Roses– Knockin’ On Heaven’s Door Use Your Illusion II
Luciano– Knockin’ On Heaven’s Door Is It Rolling Bob?
U2– Knockin’ On Heaven’s Door Covering ‘Em
Warren Zevon– Knockin’ On Heaven’s Door The Wind
The Unknown– Knockin’ On Heaven’s Door Dub Is It Rolling Bob?
Dylan, Bob– Knockin’ On Heavens Door Live 1975 – The Rolling Thunder Revue (Bootleg Series Vol. 5)
Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds– Knockin’ On Joe The Firstborn Is Dead
Elmore James– Knocking At Your Door Uncut – April 2008 – When The Levee Breaks
Uncle Tupelo– Knocking On heavens door Colorblind & Rhymeless
Wonder, Stevie– Knocks Me Off My Feet Songs In The Key of Life
Bonnie “Prince” Billy– Knockturne I See A Darkness
Sharon Jones & The Dap-Kings– Let Them Knock 100 Days, 100 Nights
LL Cool J– Mama Said Knock You Out (w/ Bob Dylan intro) Bob Dylan – Theme Time 2 Mother
Gil Scott-Heron– No Knock The Revolution Will Not Be Televised
Social Distortion– She’s A Knockout Social Distortion
Plant, Robert and the Strange Sensation– Somebody Knocking Mighty Rearranger
Louis Jordan & His Tympany Five– That’ll Just ‘Bout Knock Me Out Disc B: 1941-1944