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The [Monday] Papers

"A new round of labor upheaval hit the classical music world on Sunday night, when the musicians of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, one of the finest ensembles in the nation, went on strike in an effort to preserve their defined-benefit pension plan," the New York Times reports.

"The players - who are among the best-paid in the field, earning a minimum annual salary of $159,000 last season, and often more - began walking a picket line outside Orchestra Hall on Monday morning."

I'm not a symphony guy myself, but I would think the CSO's players should be among the best-paid in the field. But that's not really the central point of the strike.

"While many other industries have shifted to cheaper defined-contribution plans in recent decades, defined-benefit plans remain the norm at the nation's largest orchestras - and players around the country have made preserving them a priority," the Times notes.

"But many are underfunded. The American Federation of Musicians and Employers' Pension Fund, a large multiemployer plan covering thousands of musicians, is currently considered 'in critical status,' and if its condition worsens, it could trigger a rare move to cut the benefit payments for those already retired."

Huh, I see the dilemma.

"Helen Zell, the chairwoman of the orchestra's board, said in a statement that 'it would be irresponsible for the board to continue to authorize a pension program that jeopardizes the orchestra's future.'"

Oh, you did not Helen Zell! Your husband is worth $5.3 billion, which makes him one of the 400 richest humans on the planet. He's also a giant ass.

I realize there is no direct connection between the Zells' fortune and the finances of the CSO, but the Zells' fortune leaves them in no position to preach - especially given the way some of that fortune was made.

Go Oboes!


New on the Beachwood . . .

Charter School Cap Efforts Gain Momentum Across The Country
Charter school expansion drains dollars from local districts. Whoever argues otherwise is misinformed.


Beachwood Radio Sports Hour #242: Every White Sox Story Is Really About The Cubs
Baseball is back in all its dysfunction and glory. Plus: Bears Relatively Needless - Except The One Position They Refuse To Spend More Money On To Fix; Trestman Train At Last Stop; Blackhawks Dream Over; Bulls Fantasy Beginning; and Schweinsteiger!



Where to discard old lumber? from r/chicago





R&B Artist Grounds Himself In His Chicago Roots.



Wikithon Highlights Unsung UMN Women Scientists.

I feel like I can vaguely remember efforts like this elsewhere in the Wikipedia universe, but I'm not totally sure. Similarly, the New York Times has been making an effort to supplement their archive of obituaries with overlooked women and people of color. I'd be up for aiding a similar effort in Chicago or in a particular subject area. HMU!


"No Shit, Sherlock. Let's Get On With It."

Once again, the problem is editors. It didn't take me long to figure out early in my career that most editors were ill-equipped and untrained for their jobs. That was part of the impetus behind creating my own master's program in newsroom management at Northwestern as I set out to essentially groom myself to be an editor one day, which was always my goal. That's a story I have to fully tell! But man, sometimes you just think, Where do these people come from?


The Gazillion-Dollar Standoff Over Two High-Frequency Trading Towers Near Stan Mikita's Donuts.

Maybe the real problem is flash-trading, and everyone's computer should get the data at the same time.

FB comment from Mike Halston: "'It isn't clear that the Aurora council fully comprehended the legal and technological issues involved' is likely an understatement."


La Gordiloca: The Swearing Muckraker Upending Border Journalism.

This article makes me want to buy a car and just drive around Chicago live-streaming.

P.S.: I miss my car.


Consumer Confidential: Why Are Glasses So Expensive? The Eyewear Industry Would Prefer Keeping That Blurry.

I had to buy new glasses last year and, in the end, both I and Medicaid got ripped off.

FYI: It looks like I'm getting my Medicaid restored. Thanks Greg, Kieran and Annamarie!

P.S.: Just got a call from someone at DHS reprocessing my case: "I've been looking at the case notes for 30 minutes and none of it makes sense."

I've been on Medicaid since the ACA went into effect and states were allowed to expand coverage based on income. I don't know why they're looking so hard at me now, but last July the state bureaucracy screwed up their own paperwork and wrongly took away my Medicaid, then put me under a microscope and decided I qualified after all, but only extended me then for six months. So here I am again. Now I just got off the phone with someone trying to explain that, at least according to the IRS, I'm not self-employed because I have an S Corporation. She explained that for their purposes, someone is either self-employed or employed by someone else and has pay stubs they can show. I have no pay stubs. And believe me, the IRS has looked very hard at my tax forms; I fought them for several years over taxes and fines they wrongly tried to impose on me and won - they wanted about $8,000 and in the end I only owed about $800. So whatever, Medicaid. Don't test me!

P.P.S: I should get a letter in a few days with my fate. Person on the phone today: "Hopefully there won't be any screw-ups going forward like there were in the past." Um, okay.

P.P.P.S: It would not be wise for me to accept freelance assignments this year unless I get enough of them to cover the cost of losing health insurance. What a country.


A sampling.


And they comply.






The Beachwood McRibTipLine: Windy.


Posted on March 11, 2019

MUSIC - Chief Keef Changed The Industry.
TV - Vizio's Best Product Is You.
POLITICS - UIC: Soda Taxes Work.
SPORTS - More McCaskey Malpractice.

BOOKS - All About Poop.


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