Chicago - Feb. 21, 2020
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Army Of Darkness
ElRey
5 p.m.
A discount-store employee is time-warped to a medieval castle, where he is the foretold savior who can dispel the evil there. Unfortunately, he screws up and releases an army of skeletons. (tvguide.com)
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Tribune: 51/37
Sun-Times: Ferro/McKinney
Weather Channel: 44/41
Ntl Weather Service: 54/43
BWM*: 82/12
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The [Monday] Papers

Welcome back! Chicago got really high while you were away.

"At least six Chicago dispensaries will be closed to recreational marijuana customers Monday as many retailers grapple with supply issues in the wake of legalization," the Sun-Times reports.

This is not an unexpected development.

Industry analysts - and even pro-pot lawmakers - have warned of a shortage in Illinois.

Andy Seeger - an analyst at the Brightfield Group, a cannabis research firm based in the Loop - noted that product shortages will continue to be an issue until more cannabis is cultivated and introduced into the market. A full harvest takes around 13 to 16 weeks to grow, he said.

"Demand will continue to increase for the next year and a half, two years at least as people enter the market, get more comfortable, the stigma is removed or they sample products while out with other people," Seeger said. "It's going to be up to supply to really meet that."

Go read the rest for details on which dispensaries will be closed and when they will resume sales.

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National Advancement Of Utilities
"When utilities around the country have wanted to build fossil-fuel plants, defeat energy-efficiency proposals or slow the growth of rooftop solar power, they have often turned for support to a surprisingly reliable ally: a local chapter of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People," the New York Times reports.

"In 2014, the top officials of the N.A.A.C.P.'s Florida division threw their organization's weight behind an effort to stymie the spread of solar panels on residential rooftops and cut energy efficiency standards at the behest of the energy industry. The group's Illinois chapter joined a similar industry effort in 2017. And in January 2018, the N.A.A.C.P.'s top executive in California signed a letter opposing a government program that encourages the use of renewable energy."

Boldface mine.

"The president of the group's Illinois conference, Teresa Haley, said that her group typically got $5,000 to $10,000 a year from the energy industry and that the money did not influence the group's activities. 'They do have their lobbyist who contacts us and says, "We need your support.'"

"Ms. Haley added that her group's local branches held votes on which initiatives they support, sometimes backing utilities and sometimes opposing them. In 2012, for example, the Chicago branch successfully fought to close two coal-fired power plants in minority neighborhoods."

Okay, but . . .

"In December 2016, Republican Governor Bruce Rauner signed the Future Energy Jobs Act, with support from utilities, environmentalists, renewable energy advocates, and politicians from both sides of the aisle. The legislation preserved net metering, created a community solar program, fixed the state's renewable energy standard, subsidized two Exelon nuclear power plants, and required both large utilities in the state - ComEd and Ameren - to significantly expand their energy efficiency programs," according to the Energy and Policy Institute, which describes itself as "a watchdog organization working to expose attacks on renewable energy and counter misinformation by fossil fuel and utility interests."

Months after the legislation became state law, Ameren told the Illinois Commerce Commission, the state's utility regulatory agency, that it could not realistically or cost-effectively meet the new efficiency targets for 2018.

Environmentalists and the state's consumer advocacy organization, the Citizens Utility Board (CUB), filed testimony to prevent Ameren's plan from being adopted by the ICC. Ameren fought back.

"Chicago-based bureaucrats like CUB and the Clean Jobs Coalition don't have knowledge of or interest in downstate Illinois," Ameren spokesperson Marcelyn Love told Midwest Energy News. "In fact, they have likely never been to the southern region of the state. We know the needs of our customers best. We have designed programs to meet the needs of people living in central and southern Illinois, not Chicago."

NRDC energy efficiency expert Noah Garcia said at the time that Ameren's request "adjusts the goal posts so if Ameren's goals are lower it potentially makes it easier for them to receive a financial reward by going above those targets."

As Ameren and opposing groups exchanged barbs in the press and submitted testimony to support their positions in front of the ICC, Ameren mobilized politicians in its service territory as well as influential civil rights groups to write letters in support of the utility's plan.

Midwest Energy News reported that the president and vice president of the Illinois Black Chamber of Commerce, the president of the Springfield Urban League, and the state president of the Illinois NAACP all voiced support for the company's proposal.

The Illinois Black Chamber of Commerce, Springfield Urban League, and Illinois NAACP had either received money from the Ameren corporation between 2013 and 2018, or have an Ameren-sponsored program in which the funding isn't disclosed. Additionally, months before the Springfield Urban League's president wrote a letter to the ICC in support of Ameren's plan, the utility announced a partnership with the organization and presented a $15,000 grant to the League for an after-school program.

From the second of the Midwest Energy News news articles cited by the Energy and Policy Institute:

"Next week, an Illinois utility will seek permission from state regulators to lower its energy efficiency targets - in the name of social justice."

The goods:

"The president and vice president of the Illinois Black Chamber of Commerce and the president of the Springfield Urban League recently filed comments in the commission's docket supporting Ameren's reduced targets, and the state president of the Illinois NAACP has supported the company's proposal. The AARP also filed a comment in support of Ameren's request.

"Special interest groups favor archaic 'untargeted' policies and priorities and oppose Ameren Illinois' plan," commented Springfield Urban League President and CEO Nina Harris. "The Natural Resources Defense Council, Citizens Utility Board and Environmental Defense Fund have mounted a campaign to stop investment in our community. They claim it is 'a luxury that cannot be afforded.' Nothing could be further from the truth...These groups are hypocritical and don't want to see Ameren's plan move forward, but, instead, want to see a plan designed to benefit businesses rather than the people and communities who need assistance the most."

On August 31, eight public comments were filed by individuals praising Ameren's commitment to training minority contractors and supporting minority businesses.

It seems Ameren has only ever wanted what's best for minorities.

*

And yet, from Scientific American last April:

"To us [energy] is just another dimension of social justice challenges," says Jacqueline Patterson, director of the NAACP's Environmental and Climate Justice Program. "With clean energy, not only is it often a more affordable way of accessing energy, but it also puts us in control of our energy."

Now, remember the lead of the New York Times article that kicked off this item:

"When utilities around the country have wanted to build fossil-fuel plants, defeat energy-efficiency proposals or slow the growth of rooftop solar power, they have often turned for support to a surprisingly reliable ally: a local chapter of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People."

Back to Scientific American:

"[A] study did not uncover the root of why rooftop solar panels are typically sparser in black and Hispanic neighborhoods. But the findings mesh with reports from industry and nongovernmental organizations, which have previously shown that a lack of diversity in the environmental and solar-power fields has hindered efforts to spread solar power's benefits.

Causal factors may connect to the well-documented historical pattern of racial discrimination that has left many minority neighborhoods in the U.S. stuck with problems like insufficient public infrastructure and predatory home loans.

"The disparity in rooftop solar is the same disparity as in everything else," says Naomi Davis, founder and president of the Chicago-based nonprofit organization Blacks in Green.

The study also adds to the body of research showing that black and Hispanic Americans bear the brunt of the costs of fossil fuel use. For one thing, they are exposed to higher levels of air pollution than white Americans - regardless of income levels. There are more direct economic effects as well.

Also:

The advocacy work done by Davis, the Chicago nonprofit leader, has helped shape state legislation aimed at increasing renewable energy in Illinois.

She has also secured funding for solar job training and has set up a social enterprise program in hopes of establishing a solar panel assembly plant in Chicago's predominantly black Woodlawn neighborhood by 2021.

Davis sees solar power as just one small piece of a bigger holistic approach to building sustainable neighborhoods, but she wants to make sure black communities are not left out of the economic transition to clean energy in the U.S.

"Step back and create partnerships where money flows directly to frontline environmental justice community-based organizations," Davis says. "And then depend on those organizations to write the story."

I can't vouch for any of that, but it at least sounds good and right. And this this bio of Naomi Davis is impressive.

On the other hand, her group is dependent on ComEd for funding.

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Finally, let's return to Illinois NAACP's Teresa Haley.

"The local and state leader of a national civil rights organization is The State Journal-Register's 2019 First Citizen," the Springfield paper announced in October.

"Civil rights leader Teresa Haley, president of the local branch of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People and the NAACP Illinois State Conference, was named First Citizen during a breakfast presentation Thursday at Erin's Pavilion at Southwind Park."

Go smoke pot!

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That's Joyce!
"The longtime principal at one of Chicago's elite public high schools was suspended and the school's former swimming coach was criminally charged over alleged off-the-books rentals of the school's pool facilities to outside clubs, according to a new report from the Chicago Public Schools inspector general," the Sun-Times reports.

The watchdog report released to the public Monday comes less than three years after the IG's office first discovered potential wrongdoing by the principal and coach, who were reprimanded by the school district at the time for similar dealings.

The charges against former Whitney Young High School coach Andrew Parro and the suspension of one of the district's most respected principals, Joyce Kenner, were revealed in Inspector General Nicholas Schuler's 2019 year-end report, which details the office's oversight investigations for the year.

Our old friend Joyce Kenner!

I'll say one thing for her: She's a survivor. Go read the whole article and marvel at how she not only avoided losing her job but received what the IG called "the weak side of discipline."

And it's not like Kenner has a stellar ethical track record. From this column on Jan. 17, 2019:

"I can hardly let the [mayoral] candidates' praise of Whitney Young High School principal Joyce Kenner go without noting how undeserving she is of any civic acclaim - much less how undeserving she is of still holding her job. From the Beachwood vault:

February 25, 2008:

"The youngest son of NBA legend Michael Jordan entered Whitney Young Magnet High last fall under a little-known loophole that gives principals of Chicago's elite-eight college prep schools wide-ranging discretion - on top of new powers they could get this week," the Sun-Times reports.

"Marcus Jordan was a junior-year transfer.

"That means he never had to sit through the freshman admission test that eighth-graders take for Chicago's college prep high schools. He was exempt from being judged by a mathematical formula involving tests, attendance and grades that is used by Young and seven other CPS college preps to decide freshmen admission.

"Instead, as a transfer, Marcus' fate was left up to the principal of Young, an academic and basketball powerhouse.

"'Transfers into selective-enrollment high schools are entirely principal discretion,' said CPS spokesman Michael Vaughn."

Whitney Young Principal Joyce Kenner put it this way: "[The Jordan family] has done a great deal for this city."

And this city has done a great deal for the Jordans. We made him rich and famous; rich and famous enough, in fact, to clout his kid into a magnet school.

August 25, 2009:

Anthony Beale is now the second alderman to admit he made a phone call to the principal of Whitney Young to get his daughter into the school, the Sun-Times reports.

"You're talking about an A-minus student," Beale said.

Yes. But was this straight-A student left out of Walter Payton Prep because of a similar call?

*

It gets better.

"[Whitney Young Principal Joyce] Kenner said she had a 'personal relationship' with Beale, whom she knew as a baseball coach when her son was playing baseball. 'When he called me, it wasn't about him being a political figure,' Kenner said."

It was about her personal relationship with Beale.

I don't know which is worse.

*

Similarly, Kenner didn't know Ald. Ricardo Munoz as an alderman when he called her to get his daughter into her school. "She knew Munoz as the father of a boy her son played basketball with."

*

It gets better.

"I try not to be political at all,'' Kenner said. "If you ask me how many aldermen there are, I don't even know."

The principal of Whitney Young doesn't know how many aldermen there are?

*

And finally:

"Even Michael Jordan, whose youngest son by-passed the usual admission process by transferring to Whitney Young as a junior in 2007, did not contribute [money] to the school, Kenner said."

March 22, 2010:

"In 2008, former U.S. Sen. Braun sought help for two students, though she said Monday she does not recall placing a call to Duncan's office. Pickens said she called him, seeking help getting a student into Whitney Young Magnet High School, and he asked Principal Joyce Kenner to call the former senator back.

"Braun said she called Kenner to inquire after one child's mother told her the student's application had been 'lost in a computer glitch.' Braun said Kenner told her: 'I'll take care of it.'"

Personally.

"The child got into Whitney Young, despite a below-average admission score."

Also the result of a "computer glitch."

"This process is not pure, and everyone knows it," Braun said. "The process is a disaster, and quite frankly, I don't have a problem making a call. If the process were not as convoluted as it is, parents wouldn't be asking for help."

The Chicago Way: Game the process instead of fixing it.

"Kenner, who has testified under subpoena in the federal investigation, said the admissions problems are 'old news.'"

Old news to her, she knew about the list!

"'There is a new framework in place for principal discretion,' she said in her e-mail response. 'I think we have an opportunity to move on from this issue.'"

Her e-mail account refused to answer further questions.

"Burnett requested consideration of a student in 2008 whose test score did not get him into Whitney Young. The log suggests the principal offered the student future enrollment as a consolation and notes that Burnett 'was OK with that offer.'"

March 25, 2011:

"In 2009 the Whitney Young boys varsity basketball team had one of its best seasons, winning the Class 4A state title with a squad that included seven players who joined college programs," the Tribune reports.

"But the team wasn't even supposed to be in the playoffs, the Tribune has found. After its coach, Tyrone Slaughter, was found to have violated Chicago Public Schools recruiting rules, district regulations called for the team to be banned from the postseason, but officials failed to enforce that penalty.

"Slaughter received a six-game suspension and then went on to break recruiting rules again. In February he was suspended for 10 days by the Illinois High School Association after he held a team practice at a suburban middle school 23 miles from Young."

And he still has his job?

Yup, sports sure teaches character.

*

But this is my favorite part:

"In addition, the Tribune has learned that Joyce Kenner, the principal at Young, was found to have violated CPS policy when she admitted two basketball players in 2008 even though they did not go through the required process for selective enrollment at the magnet school. The students were on the championship team roster."

January 23, 2012:

"The Chicago Schools Inspector General has recommended that Principal Joyce Kenner be banned for life from hand-picking kids for admission to Whitney Young Magnet High," the Sun-Times reported last January.

"So when candidate after candidate in their welcoming remarks slobbered over how great Kenner was, I threw up a little in my mouth. (Paul Vallas even jokingly thanked her for not running for mayor; she certainly has the graft part down.)"

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New on the Beachwood . . .

Entire Species Are Being Wiped Out
"Ecologists at the University of Sydney are estimating that nearly half a billion animals have been killed in Australia's unprecedented and catastrophic wildfires, which have sparked a continent-wide crisis and forced tens of thousands of people to flee their homes in desperation."

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American Pot Is The Gold Standard . . .
. . . but Canada is winning the export game.

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The New Public Domain
Includes George Gershwin's Rhapsody in Blue, silent films by Buster Keaton and Harold Lloyd, and books such as Thomas Mann's The Magic Mountain, E. M. Forster's A Passage to India, and A. A. Milne's When We Were Very Young.

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Another Wikipedia Gender Problem
"The gender imbalances in both Wikipedia's editor population and the site's biographies - both over 80 percent male - are well-documented. But what of the backbone of the encyclopedia - the sources cited within its pages?"

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The Complexity Of BoJack Horseman
"Few viewers will think of BoJack as a horse. Instead he is the mediator of bleak dysfunction, aided by the absurdist capacity for animation to create aesthetic distractions and exaggerate comic situations. Just as the old Road Runner cartoons represented meaningless repetition and relentless battles against the world without essential purpose or meaning, BoJack is the existential variant of this concept in the contemporary era.

"BoJack's perpetual hypocrisy, addictions and mistreatment of others may be funny, but they also serve as proof that he cannot change anything - that the world itself keeps repeating endless cycles of seemingly inhuman or inhumane models of existence."

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How The Russians Bugged Selectric Typewriters In The U.S. Embassy
The Soviets managed to intercept top secret communications in the U.S. embassy in Moscow and nobody could figure out how . . . "

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Global Electric Guitar Growth
"The electric guitar market worldwide is poised to reach $546.9 million by the year 2025, bringing in healthy gains adding significant momentum to global growth . . . The shifting dynamics supporting this growth makes it critical for businesses in this space to keep abreast of the changing pulse of the market."

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Beachwood Sports Radio: We Found The Bears' Turds
They're in the front office. Plus: Ravens Over Saints; Don Hahn; Maddon's Post Deleted; Bulls Still Suck; Blackhawks Still Suck; Bears Beat Beard In Bowl; DePaul Dropped By The Hall; Loyola Vexes Valpo; and The Illini Who Couldn't Shoot Straight.

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Chambers: Nothing (Wrong) From The Head Up
The only thing worse than these Bears crybaby excuse cooks are the fans who swallow it.

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Jim Coffman Likes That
Every once in a while, the guy who has been the butt of jokes bounces back in a big way.

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ChicagoReddit

9th floor atrium at Harold Washington :) from r/chicago

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ChicagoGram

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ChicagoTube

The Disco Biscuits at the Riv on Saturday night.

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BeachBook
A sampling of the delight and disgust you can find at our Facebook page.

How Ring Went From Shark Tank Reject To America's Scariest Surveillance Company.

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Ghosting Julian Assange.

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Sculptor Creates Detailed Miniatures Streetscapes Of Philadelphia And New Orleans.

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TweetWood
A sampling of the delight and disgust you can find @BeachwoodReport.

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We're the religious nuts.

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The Beachwood Trip Wire Line: Ope.



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Posted on January 6, 2020


MUSIC - The Last 10 Songs I Shazamed.
TV - 24 Hours With Bloomberg TV.
POLITICS - The Bagel's Socialist Roots.
SPORTS - The Ex-Cub Factor.

BOOKS - It's Happening Here.

PEOPLE PLACES & THINGS - Myths Of The Mob.


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