Posts Tagged ‘chicago’

By John Ruberry

Five years after the fictional story of the Naperville, Illinois crime family, the Byrdes, began streaming on Netflix, Ozark has come to an end. 

Late last month the final seven episodes, comprising of Season 4 Part 2, were released. 

If you haven’t heard of the Byrdes, the family is headed by Marty Byrde (Jason Bateman), a financial planner whose firm makes the fatal mistake of laundering money for a Mexican drug cartel run by Omar Navarro (Felix Solis). Marty is married to Wendy (Laura Linney), a former Democratic Party operative, although the word “Democrat” hasn’t been mentioned for the past two seasons. Their children, Charlotte (Sofia Hublitz), and Jonah (Skylar Gaertner), are reluctant partners in the family business, which is based in the Lake of the Ozarks region of Missouri. A riverboat casino is the centerpiece of their laundering operation.

Leaving an organized crime network is much harder than joining one. But that’s what the Byrdes continue to strive for, looking back at the Chicago area as a safe haven. For real. Clearly, the Byrdes haven’t been keeping an eye on the dramatic rise of violent crime here. 

The Byrdes have formed a shaky alliance with a member of a local small-time crime family, Ruth Langmore (Julia Garner). A two-time Prime Time Emmy winner for Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Drama Series for that role, Garner is simply fabulous. Marty and Wendy can’t protect and grow their operation, let alone leave it, without assistance from other villains, convenient and tired ones, including a former Republican US senator from Illinois, Randall Schafer (Bruce Davison), and the CEO of a Chicago-based pharmaceutical corporation, Clare Shaw (Katrina Lenk). Yawn. Republicans bad, pharmaceutical firms, also bad. The money laundering Brydes? Not so much, at least according to the scriptwriters. Wendy, to protect their rackets, finds herself a reluctant participant in a Midwestern vote-suppression scheme that Schafer is behind. 

In real life, between the release of Part 1 and Part 2 of Season 4 of Ozark, the decades-long Democratic boss of Illinois, Michael Madigan, was indicted. But never forget, in television land, the GOP is evil.

Oh, what was that about Netflix losing subscribers?

A character introduced in Season 4, a disgraced former Chicago Police detective with good intentions, Mel Sattem (Adam Rothenberg), confronts the Byrdes over their hubris gained from their power and money, equating them with the Kennedy family and the conservative Koch family from Wichita. Slow down there. There is no Koch-equivalent to the Kennedys using their influence to allow Ted Kennedy to walk away with only a hand slap after arguably murdering Mary Jo Kopechne at Chappaquiddick

Okay, I’ve hit the things that I didn’t enjoy with Ozark. Back to the good stuff–and there is plenty of it. 

The Navarro family has its own struggles. Omar’s nephew, Javi Elizondro (Alfonso Herrera), has plans that don’t coincide with those of his uncle. One of the many appeals of Ozark is the shifting of alliances–and the betrayals that accompany them. And of course, so are the performances–led of course by Garner–of the major characters and minor ones. One of the minor characters, Rachel Garrison (Jordana Spiro), makes a surprise return.

The cinematography of Ozark is at a feature-movie level. 

While of course set in Missouri, Ozark except for some Chicago scenes in Season 1, is filmed in the Atlanta area. In Part 1 of Season 4 I noticed a light rail train in what was supposed to be downtown Chicago. What were called streetcars way back when haven’t been running in Chicago for decades. In Part 2 of the final season, I spotted what appears to be a cabbage palm tree in front of Ruth Langmore’s Lazy-O Motel. That tree cannot survive a Midwestern winter.

And what about Wendy and Marty Byrde? As I remarked in a previous review, they are the television version of Tom and Daisy Buchanan, who in The Great Gatsby “smashed up things and creatures and then retreated back into their money or their vast carelessness.”

All four seasons are available for streaming on Netflix. The series is rated TV-MA for graphic violence, drug use, nudity, and obscene language.

Earlier post:

Review: Ozark Season 4 Part 1.

John Ruberry regularly blogs from the Chicago area at Marathon Pundit.

By John Ruberry

Last year, in his farewell column, longtime Chicago journalist Phil Kadner spoke of his praises, and he indeed deserved his own pats on the back. Kadner mostly covered the generally overlooked, but corrupt, south suburbs of Chicago. I grew up there, they are a rat-hole of graft.

A creature of the left, who called for President Trump’s impeachment in 2019, Kadner discussed in that final column, his anger after Trump said the media was “the enemy of the people.”

Is Kadner an enemy of the people? No.

But with a few exceptions, most of the media is. 

The latest example of why that is true took place at the University of Chicago, which hosted along with the Atlantic, the Disinformation and the Erosion of Democracy conference. A quick look at the speakers at the event betrays what kind of conference it was, there were no conservative panelists. Only the self-appointed “cool kids” are allowed in the tree house.

Ah, but there were at least a couple of conservatives there, including freshman U of C student Daniel Schmidt, who challenged one of the speakers, the Atlantic’s Anne Applebaum. Schmidt blew the whistle on her for dismissing the importance of the Hunter Biden laptop revelations in 2020, which at the time Applebaum wrote that it “barely registers” with her.

Her response? “My problem with Hunter Biden’s laptop I think is totally irrelevant.” Applebaum continued, “I mean it’s not whether it’s disinformation or, I mean, I didn’t think the Hunter Biden’s business relationships have anything to do with who should be president of the United States, so I don’t find it to be interesting, that would be my problem with that as a main news story.”

Ah, now here is an enemy of the people to be sure, Anna Applebaum.

Hunter Biden, if not Joe Biden, because of what has been discovered on that laptop, can rightly be called as I’ve remarked before, the head of a Chicago-style influence peddling ring

It’s arguable that the Biden family has sold out America to our enemies, particularly China. 

The Clown Prince of Disinformation is CNN’s Brian Stelter, the host of the laughably misnamed Reliable Sources. He spoke on the next day at the conference. And it was the turn of another University of Chicago freshman, Christopher Phillips, who said of Stelter’s network, “They push the Russian collusion hoax, they push the Jussie Smollett hoax, they smear Justice [Brett] Kavanaugh as a rapist, and they also smeared Nick Sandmann as a white supremacist,” Phillips told Stelter. “And yes, they dismissed the Hunter Biden laptop affair as pure Russian disinformation.” 

Phillips continued, “With mainstream corporate journalists becoming little more than apologists and cheerleaders for the [Biden] regime, is it time to finally declare that the canon of journalistic ethics is dead or no longer operative?”

Stelter quipped, “Too bad, it’s time for lunch,” but then gave a meandering reply that didn’t address any of Phillips’ points.

The Disinformation and the Erosion of Democracy conference was reminiscent of a bad Hollywood thriller, where the protagonist is finally able to report his findings of an anti-government conspiracy after escaping captivity, only to learn that those he trusts in the government are part of that nefarious plot too. 

I believe there are two possibilities in regard to what has gone wrong with the mainstream media, and neither are good. The first is that the most members of the fake-news media are indeed propagandists for the left and the Democrat Party. The second is that they’ve deluded themselves into believing that they are indeed truthful providers of information, reminiscent of when legendary New York Yankees slugger Mickey Mantle, while downing booze during breakfast, remarked to a reporter with a straight face that he’s not an alcoholic. 

Mantle died of liver cancer, despite receiving a liver transplant, and alcoholism very likely contributed to his death.

Where will the mainstream media end up?

Right now, the media, most of it, is indeed the enemy of the people.

John Ruberry regularly blogs at Marathon Pundit.

By John Ruberry

The mainstream media has been a propaganda machine for leftists since the rise of Barack Obama. Prior to then, the media had reliably liberal, but at least attempted to appear unbiased. 

For instance, the mainstream media showed minimal interest in investigating Obama’s ties to former Weather Underground terrorists Bill Ayers and Bernardine Dohrn, as well as the role of political fixer Antoin “Tony” Rezko early in Obama’s political career, as well as the Obamas’ purchase, with Rezko’s help, of their Chicago mansion. By that time Obama admitted he knew there was a cloud over Rezko, who later served time in prison for fraud and other charges. Obama in 2008 called his decision to work the Rezko on that purchase “bone-headed” in his murky explanation of that deal. A decision he made in 2008 was much more bone-headed, his naming of Joe Biden as is running mate. Had that not happened, Sleepy Joe would be enjoying a quiet, but rambling, retirement wandering the sands of Rehoboth Beach, Delaware.

Hey fact-checkers: Are you going to attack me on that last statement?

I was unaware of fact-checkers as a political force until the 2008 presidential campaign; oh sure, I knew about Snopes debunking juicy urban legends, but the fact-checkers, such as PolitiFact, which was founded in 2007, got to work attacking during that campaign such stories as the Obama-was-born-in-Kenya canard. The fact-checkers were less enthusiastic in 2008 about defending John McCain after the New York Times claimed the Republican senator had an affair with a lobbyist

Last week a friend-of-the-blog who lives in Alaska tipped me off to a Babylon Bee story, “Biden Sells Alaska Back To Russia So We Can Start Drilling For Oil There Again.”

That “report” was published last Monday, when America was still buying Russian oil; the following day, under pressure from the left and right, Biden announced America would no longer be purchasing Russian petroleum. 

Kind of a conservative and Christian alternative to the Onion, the Babylon Bee is a satire site. Not getting the joke was USA Today fact-checker Ana Faguy, who apparently discovered the story on the Being Libertarian Facebook page. She even sought a comment from the Being Libertarian FB group. Faguy labeled the Bee story “satire.” 

Duh!

Do USA Today fact-checkers investigate the Onion too?

Last year another USA Today reporter, Daniel Funke, fact-checked the internet memes, since proven true, that Biden looked at his watch several times during the ceremony when the remains of soldiers killed during a terrorist attack in Afghanistan were returned to American soil, calling it “mostly false.” After being confronted with facts, USA Today edited the story and it was upgraded, not to “true,” but to “missing context.” How brave.

It’s not just USA Today. Four years ago, another Babylon Bee piece, titled “CNN Purchases Industrial-Sized Washing Machine To Spin News Before Publication” was first labeled as “false” by Snopes. Like the Alaska-Russia fact-check, that Snopes article now deems the Bee story as “satire.”

Dan Bongino on his radio show and his podcast regularly tells his listeners that a reliable gauge that the left is getting desperate is how they protect sacred cows, such as the Biden White House, with fact-checks. One such story is the report from Russia that there are US-funded bio-labs in Ukraine.

“This story was real,” Bongino told Fox News’ Jesse Watters last week. “Yet the fact-checkers, who had no special access to information at all, came out and said: ‘No, no – no, no, no – that’s a bad story for the Biden administration – Obama may have been involved – so that’s a hoax and you’re banned from Facebook if you put it up. And you wonder why we are where we are right now with the information crisis in the country.”

Remember when Facebook, another priestly temple of truth [warning-satire!], used to routinely ban posts that claimed that the COVID-19 virus escaped from a lab in Wuhan, China? They don’t anymore.

Beneath ever fact-check entry at USA Today is this revealing note, “Our fact-check work is supported in part by a grant from Facebook.”

Here’s a story that the big-time fact-checkers, Snopes, PolitiFact, and USA Today are ignoring, Florida’s “Don’t Say Gay” bill, the name of which is actually “Parental Rights in Education.” But leftists use the first name as they demonize the legislation.

Governor Ron DeSantis says he will sign the bill, which is aimed at primary school kids. Here’s a revealing passage from the legislation: “A school district may not encourage classroom discussion about sexual orientation or gender identity in primary grade levels or in a manner that is not age-appropriate or developmentally appropriate for students.” You know what I think? Let kids be kids, particularly in primary school.

However, this is true. The word “gay” is not mentioned in the so-called “Don’t Say Gay Bill.”

Most fact-checkers, like their brethren elsewhere in journalism, are propagandists.

Blogger in Alaska, still part of the USA, in 2020

John Ruberry regularly blogs at Marathon Pundit.

By John Ruberry

If you give a press conference and the result looks like a Saturday Night Live sketch, a pre-woke version of the show that is, then you have a big problem.

So it was last week with Chicago’s inept leftist mayor, Lori Lightfoot, when she blamed retail crime victims for the rise of flash mob thieves plaguing Chicago’s Magnificent Mile shopping area.

“We still have retailers that won’t institute plans like having security officers in their stores, making sure that they’ve got cameras that are actually operational, locking up their merchandise at night, chaining high-end bags,” the first-term Democrat said. “These purses can be something that is attracting a lot of organized retail theft units.”

So it’s the victims’ fault.

Just like it was in this SNL skit from 1991, featuring Chicago native Joe Mantegna, where he blames New York City crime victims for their problems.

“Yeah, I was flying to Florida, and we had a stopover in New York,” a caller to a talk radio show told Mantegna. “Well, while we were sitting on the ground a group of ‘wilding’ teenagers boarded the plane and beat with me on the head with a pipe.”

“And which airport was this,” Mantegna asked,

“LaGuardia,” was the reply.

“Well, there you go,” Mantegna scolded the caller.

Chicago Police brass were said to have a plan in place to combat smash-and-grab thieves and avoid scenes such as what happened when a Burberry’s on North Michigan Avenue was emptied of purses–each handbag was worth more than a thousand dollars. 

If there was a plan by the CPD, then it clearly didn’t work. Since Lightfoot’s delusional presser a North Face store on the Mag Mile was struck twice. But proving that the Burberry’s looting was just a tame opening act, yesterday a luxury car dealer just off of the Magnificent Mile was robbed of an estimated $2 million worth of high-end watches–which, are you paying attention Mayor Lightfoot?– were locked up inside a locked glass display case. Yep, $2 million.

The dealership is now seeing customers on an appointment basis only–its doors are locked during store hours. Welcome to the new Chicago.

On Friday night’s Flannery Fired Up show on Fox 32 Chicago, host Mike Flannery estimated that 20 percent of the storefronts on North Michigan Avenue are empty. Regular readers of my posts know that the Mag Mile was devastated by two rounds of looting–oops, I mean “mostly peaceful protests”–in 2020. 

The luxury dealership, which sells Rolls-Royces, Bentleys, and Lamborghinis, is owned by Joe Perillo, who is rethinking operating in Chicago.

“It is wrong for someone to break into a place – if they get caught, they get let out!” Perillo explained to ABC 7. “If they get arrested, they get let go. So, how do you intend to ever solve that problem?” He added, “If they don’t do anything about this, they’re going to lose a lot of businesses. They lost Macy’s. They’re losing Neiman Marcus. They may lose this store.”

While Neiman Marcus still has a store on the North Michigan Avenue, the Gap and Disney have also left in the last year. And remember what Flannery said about Mag Mile vacancies. 

It’s not just Lightfoot’s fault.

Kim Foxx is one of those woke so-called prosecutors whose campaign was funded by radical leftist George Soros. She’s received plenty of well-deserved scorn for her mishandling of the Jussie Smollett case. But the greater sin of the Cook County state’s attorney is her catch-and-release policy involving criminals accused of serious offenses. Even some alleged murderers are out of jail on electronic surveillance.

How ’bout if a non-woke SNL updated that skit with a Chicago twist?

“Hello, my store was emptied of merchandise by flash mob looters,” a caller to that SNL-radio show might say.

“What do you sell,” Lori Lightfoot would reply.

“Purses worth more than $1,000.”

Lightfoot’s retort would be, “Well, there you go.”

Retail groups have been complaining that shoppers are now afraid to visit North Michigan Avenue. Who can blame them?

Chicago is dying. The cause of death? Woke politicians.

Well, there you go.

John Ruberry regularly blogs at Marathon Pundit.