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The [Monday] Papers

"Billionaire Michael Bloomberg is the 8th richest person on the planet with a fortune estimated at $57.1 billion. His wealth has spared him from doing any fundraising for his presidential campaign. He will spend at least $150 million on television and internet ads. He has a $10 million ad that will air during the Super Bowl," Erick Johnson writes for the Crusader.

"On Wednesday, January 8, Bloomberg brought his presidential campaign to Olive-Harvey College on Chicago's Far South Side.

"It's a neighborhood that has far less wealth and affluence than Bloomberg. So does most of Black Chicago, which has long suffered from poverty, disinvestment, little affordable housing and the many police brutality issues that have impacted Blacks in the last several years.

"None of these were mentioned in Bloomberg's speech."

Johnson isn't the first reporter to make that point, but he goes on to effectively make points such as this one:

"The rally at Olive-Harvey was held inside a large auto shop garage where students learn the vocational trade of repairing vehicles while earning college credit. Most of the students are Black. Hardly any of them were among the largely white crowd that came to see Bloomberg promote his All-In Economy campaign, which aims to include people from all socioeconomic backgrounds in succeeding in America's economic market."

I'd like to excerpt the rest of the story, but that would be stealing, so go read the rest.

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Like An Old Neighbor
"State Farm, for decades the top dog of U.S. auto insurance, is on track to lose that status within just a few years unless trends favoring online insurers abate," Crain's reports.

Perhaps State Farm could up its online game instead of pretending/wishing - like so many newspapers - that the Internet doesn't exist? Oh, but the good old days!

"After business losses following a series of uncharacteristically sharp rate hikes in 2016 and 2017, the 17 percent national market share the Bloomington-based giant held in 2018 was its lowest in more than 20 years. Nipping at its heels was Geico at 13.4 percent."

Huh. Is that because of the Internet or because of that damn gecko?

"If the growth rates the two have averaged over the last five years persist, Chevy Chase, Md.-based Geico will overtake State Farm as the country's largest auto insurer around 2022."

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"For its part, State Farm says 2019 was a pretty good year, but it didn't provide numbers to back that up.

"Our most recent 2019 data shows growth in auto policies in a majority of states, including the states you've mentioned," spokeswoman Gina Morss-Fischer says. "It's common for auto market share to fluctuate, especially after instituting auto rate cuts, because market share is measured by premium. We're unable to share our growth plans, because the information is proprietary."

Gina Morss-Fischer, you are Today's Worst Person In Chicago. Or Illinois. Or wherever you are. But Crain's is a close second for feeling obligated to publish your nonsense. Doing so, as news organizations so often do, only makes articles less true.

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Formula For Success
"A west suburban accountant pleaded guilty Friday to embezzling millions of dollars from a trustee of the Art Institute of Chicago, using the money to finance a luxurious lifestyle that included the purchase of yachts and homes," AP reports.

Sultan Issa admitted in a plea agreement with federal prosecutors that the wealthy family wasn't his only victim. He also stole millions from individual investors, including $500,000 from a widow who trusted him to invest funds from her late husband's estate.

The 46-year-old Hinsdale resident admitted to stealing a total of at least $65 million over seven years. But prosecutors say a tabulation of Issa's thievery continues and the final total could be higher.

During his appearance before U.S. District Judge Andrea Wood, Issa said he is taking prescription medication and seeing a psychologist to treat his anxiety and depression. Asked what he did wrong, Issa replied: "I just basically lied to a lot of people."

Hey, it worked for Rahm Emanuel - and Donald Trump, for that matter - so you can hardly blame him. Maybe the lies just weren't big enough.

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Crop Circle
"Production of Illinois' two most valuable crops fell by roughly one-fifth last year, according to final crop yield numbers released Friday by the U.S. Department of Agriculture," the Springfield State Journal-Register reports.

Corn and soybean growers saw production drop 18.6% and 20.4% respectively compared with 2018.

Farmers harvested just over 1.8 billion bushels of corn, down from more than 2.2 billion the year before. Soybean production decreased from around 667 million bushels to just over 532 million.

2019 was the worst year for corn since 2012, when farmers produced about 1.3 billion bushels. Soybean production had its worst year since 2013, which saw 461 million bushels.

Holy cow, what's up?

"Wetter-than-normal planting and growing conditions are to blame for last year's stunted production, said Mike Doherty, senior economist at the Illinois Farm Bureau in Bloomington.

"We had the latest-planted corn crop at least in my history of 30 years as an ag economist here" because of record-breaking spring rain, Doherty said. "I've never seen anything like it."

January through June was the wettest first six months on record in Illinois, according to the state climatologist's office.

In April, the month when farmers begin to plant corn and soybeans, less than a week was suitable for planting. Illinois then saw its third-wettest May and wettest June in state history, forcing many farmers to plant most of their crop in the summer.

"Just about every time these farmers were turning around, they were being hammered with the worst field conditions that they had seen," Doherty said.

Well, does that have anything to do with climate change?

Unasked, and therefore unanswered.

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Prosperity Gospel
"The slogan once plastered outside the Rev. Clarence Smith Jr.'s storefront church on Chicago's West Side promised to make the 'ministry meaningful to the imperfect man,'" the Tribune reports.

"It turns out Smith has been far from perfect himself, federal authorities allege.

"Smith, who has led the New Life Impact Church in the Lawndale neighborhood for years, has been indicted on charges alleging he stole hundreds of thousands of dollars from a federal program intended to feed needy children, spending the money on a $142,000 Bentley luxury vehicle and other personal expenses."

Perhaps he was driven to it by climate change. (You're welcome, defense bar.)

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"It's not the first time that Smith, 45, has been accused of financial malfeasance. Nearly a decade ago, he pleaded guilty in DuPage County to using forged signatures to swindle an elderly man's estate out of more than $100,000, court records show."

And yet, he was able to get his priest license, or whatever.

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"In 2012, four years before purchasing the Bentley, Smith filed for personal bankruptcy, claiming he had only $20 in cash on hand and owed more than $80,000 in restitution from his DuPage conviction, according to court records.

"He has been sued by at least two food supply companies for defaulting on contracts and currently owes more than $8,000 in overdue property taxes on his one-story brick church in the 3500 block of West Cermak Road, records show."

Now I'm starting to be impressed. The guy hustles.

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Deere's Headlights
"[Moline-based] Deere & Co. [last] Wednesday said it will cut costs and ramp up investment in data-driven agriculture technology and its services business to make itself more profitable," Reuters reports.

Note: Cutting costs means laying people off. Not to make itself profitable, but to make itself more profitable.

*

"In a pitch to investors, Chief Executive Officer John May said the measures are expected to boost operating profit margin to 15% by 2022 from 12.5% projected for this year."

Played that way, it's a zero-sum game, folks. We fire you to put more money in our pockets.

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"May, who took over Deere's reins in November, aims to shore up the company's fortunes which have taken a hit from Sino-U.S. trade tensions as well as poor weather in the American farm belt that has slowed equipment purchases by farmers."

Note: Sino-U.S. trade tensions means Donald Trump's insane tariffs. Poor weather means climate change.

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"In response to weak demand, the company has cut production and laid off workers . . . The company is also carrying out a voluntary separation program for its salaried employees, now projected to result in savings of $120 million, lower than $150 million estimated earlier. May expects the cuts to add 1 percentage point to Deere's profits by 2022."

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P.S.: Speaking of voluntary separations . . .

It's the same playbook everywhere. And it's fueled by greed.

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New on the Beachwood . . .

Beachwood Sports Radio: 'Yotes & Notes
News, views and blues. Including: It's Already Too Late For The Cubs; The Bullhawks; Coach Likes That; The Vegas Bowl; The Ryan Pace Bowl; Sox's Steves; Repulsive Rickettses; Red Star Fiancee; and The Disastrous Chicago Fire.

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The Top 100 Chicago Rap Songs Of The Decade
It ends where it starts.

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Upcoming Spacewalks
NASA TV this month.

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Insurance, Minorities & Cancer
"This is the first study to use statistical mediation methods and a large cancer registry database to quantify the extent that adequate health insurance is a factor in the stage of breast cancer diagnosis among a diverse population of women in the United States."

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How To Blow The Whistle
"If you need to avoid leaving a metadata trail about your interest in this topic, make sure to buy at a physical bookstore and pay with cash."

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Easy Ice Acquired By (Yikes) Freeman Spogli
The company operates under three brands: Ice Masters in Kansas and Missouri; Automatic Icemakers in Chicago; and Easy Ice in all other cities and states.

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ChicagoReddit

Oak Street Beach From the Signature Room Today. from r/chicago

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ChicagoGram

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ChicagoTube

"Lawndale Blues" / Eddie Taylor

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BeachBook

Two States. Eight Textbooks. Two American Stories.

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Remembering June Bacon-Bercey, A Pioneering African-American Meteorologist.

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The Dutch Don't Want You To Refer To The Netherlands As Holland Anymore.

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An Oral History Of Rickrolling.

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

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The Beachwood Tip Line: Free laundering.



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Posted on January 13, 2020


MUSIC - Pandemophenia.
TV - NBC's Bicentennial Special.
POLITICS - Stand Up For Your Lungs.
SPORTS - The Devolution Of Cuban Baseball.

BOOKS - The Slave Who Escaped George And Martha Washington.

PEOPLE PLACES & THINGS - Bari Weiss vs. Barry White.


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