Why I Love the Chicago Reader


I'm in Chicago right now. I'm one of those dudes with the Mac laptop and the blazer and the tea. I arrived about two hours ago from my First Amendment gig at Iowa State.

Ever since spending last summer in this city, I've been in love with it. The trains, the culture, the improv, the food, the non-assholic people. But what I really loved was the Chicago Reader, a great alternative weekly which seems to serve this great city with a true sense of duty.

As I walked into Filter, a coffee shop at the Corner of Damen and North Aves, I grabbed a Reader, ordered my dinner sandwich and dug in to both. I am still floored by the cover story. I am still weeping.

Killed On Camera
Officer Alvin Weems shot an unarmed man point-blank in view of CTA security cameras. Investigators recommended that he be fired. Phil Cline promoted him.

Phil Cline was the superintendent of the Chicago Police Department until April 2 when he belatedly resigned amid continuing revelations of horrendous police brutality and abuse of power cases (you may remember the cop-on-bartender beating). In its "Killed On Camera" feature, the Reader walks through the devastatingly callous attitude the CPD seems to have toward the lives of the citizens it is sworn to protect.

Police misconduct is nothing new, especially in Chicago, but I strongly recommend people read the entire account. The website has the video of the incident with voiceover reporting. Every authority involved in this crime needs to be brought to justice. Resignation and press conferences are not enough. Throw the entire goddamned lot of the out. This is ridiculous.

If you have any sort of conscious, this story will ruin your day.

Another notable piece



The paper takes the city to task for the millions it is spending to lure the Olympics while simultaneously underfunding the athletic programs of its own public schools. It also highlights the city's use of taxpayer money to lure a company with record profits to move its headquarters to Chitown.

I have spent the past few days immersed in the First Amendment, the role of the press and political discourse in this country. It is fitting that I should come across the Chicago Reader on this day, to stand as a shining example of what the Fourth Estate should do for a democracy: inform the public, provide a check on government power and thus serve its community.


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