Chicago - Dec. 14, 2018
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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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BWM*: 82/12
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The [Tuesday] Papers

"The [Bureau of Investigative Journalism's] 2017 annual report from our Drones team shows a massive increase in air attacks by American forces in Afghanistan, Yemen and Somalia since President Donald Trump took power.

"There have been twice as many strikes in Somalia and three times as many in Yemen as the year before. In Afghanistan the number of weapons dropped is now at levels last seen during the 2009-12 surge. There are also signs that drones are returning to Pakistan's skies."

The problem?

"More civilians are being hit. In Afghanistan the UN says there were 177 civilian casualties in the first nine months of 2017 - almost twice as many as in the same period the year before."

So is the president making us safer than his predecessor or creating more (rightfully) vengeful enemies bent on doing us harm? And is America committing war crimes?

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Also:

"As the casualties mount the U.S. has been less willing to disclose data to the Bureau and we are concerned that this makes it more difficult to hold U.S. forces to account in 2018."

We are a rogue nation.

Not that we haven't always been, on the sly, but now it's our primary identity.

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Airbsb
"The Airbnb listing for a 'HIP 1BR' apartment near Millennium Park boasts a 'prime location' - in all capital letters - with 'amenities galore,' all for just $115 a night. The listing leaves out one key word: illegal," Crain's reports.

It's one of numerous illicit rentals in Chicago still available on Airbnb four months after the city launched a computerized system to license homes rented through the shared-housing website. The East Loop apartment is in a building that prohibits vacation rentals, but city regulators have yet to catch up with "Rapheal," the Airbnb host trying to rent it.

A lot of scofflaws like Rapheal are still falling through the cracks of a shared-housing ordinance that Chicago officials like to say is among the toughest in the country. And that's frustrating landlords and aldermen.

"I'm disappointed with how the ordinance is working so far - or not working," said downtown Ald. Brendan Reilly, 42nd. "The ordinance that is on the books was designed to fail, and that's why Airbnb was happy with it."

The ordinance, crafted by the mayor, passed the council 43-7 in June 2016. It was sponsored by Ald. Joe Moore. The "No" votes were Susan Sadlowski Garza, Patrick Daley Thompson, Marty Quinn, Derrick Curtis, Scott Waguespack, John Arena and Michele Smith. Reilly voted "Yes" - though he "predicted Airbnb would flout the new rules, 'and we'll be back in a few months' trying to pass tougher regulations," according to the Trib.

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The Trib reported a year ago that "The city's new shared-housing ordinance and how it would affect Airbnb hosts was a hot topic in the mayor's inbox.

"Investor Marc Andreessen e-mailed Emanuel in November 2015, asking him to meet with Chris Lehane, Airbnb's head of global policy, to discuss Chicago's regulatory plans."

Lehane worked with Rahm Emanuel in the Clinton White House. The New York Times once called him a "Master of the Political Dark Arts."

"Those who know Mr. Lehane say his skill lies in his intricate understanding of how news organizations work, and in his uncanny ability to play one reporter off another," the Times reported.

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Back to the Trib:

"Airbnb representatives said they thought Emanuel wasn't 'fully aware of what the bureaucrats have been working on,' according to an e-mail Andreessen forwarded to the mayor. Asking for the meeting seemed to be a drastic measure: In one of the emails, Andreessen's people call it an 'unusual ask' by Airbnb.

"Airbnb spokesman Ben Breit said in a statement that the home-sharing company works with cities worldwide on clear and progressive home-sharing rules. 'Speaking with policymakers and community leaders is essential to crafting home-sharing rules that work for everyone,' he said.

"The implementation of the ordinance has since been delayed and tweaked after being challenged by a couple of lawsuits."

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Last March, the Tribune reported that Andreessen "also exchanged messages with Emanuel about how Airbnb was going to hire 'a strong supporter of yours' weeks before South Side Ald. Will Burns left City Hall to work for the company. Mark Kelly, a retired astronaut and husband of former U.S. Gabby Giffords, also e-mailed the mayor trying to set up a meeting on Airbnb's behalf."

Neither Andreessen nor Kelly had registered as lobbyists, one of a couple dozen such cases the mayor's hand-picked ethics board took up and essentially shrugged off, despite the fact that Emanuel was secretly using private e-mail to conduct public business.

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New on the Beachwood today and since the last column . . .

GOP Tax Plan Would Give 15 Of America's Largest Corporations A $236 Billion Tax Cut
Over the last 30 years, 15 of the largest U.S. corporations have accepted $3.9 trillion of corporate welfare in the form of subsidies, tax credits, and bailouts, and another $108 billion in government handouts in the form of federal contracts. Now, Republicans want to give these corporations an additional $236 billion tax cut.

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John Fox Going Down Fighting For Irrelevant Field Position
The hill he dies on.

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The Weekend In Chicago Rock
Featuring: The Rubs, Thinner, Strange Lovelies, The Obsessed, Coffin Screw, Seven Lions, Blake, Marty Stuart, Hayes Carll, Ides of March, Tab Benoit, Lia Kohl & Haley Fohr, and Jeff Tweedy & Chikamorachi.

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SportsMonday: Hit-Averse Hawks Hot
Taking non-physical hockey to the next level.

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Chicagoetry: Winter Mice
Fatalistically determined to attain heaven.

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Harvard Students And DOJ Will Find Answers Elusive In Quest To Learn About Admissions Decisions
"Both inquiries rest on the faulty assumption that admissions decisions are driven by an objective, measurable process that will yield the same results over and over again. It's more human - and random - than that."

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The World's Greatest College Football Report's Bowl Game Preview Part 1
College football fans may be among the few Americans not ready for the year to end.

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Charter Schools Are Complicit With Segregation
"A recent Associated Press analysis of national school enrollment data found that 'as of school year 2014-2015, more than 1,000 of the nation's 6,747 charter schools had minority enrollment of at least 99 percent, and the number has been rising steadily.'"

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Last Week In Chicago Rock
Featuring: Andrew Bird, Robbie Fulks & the Flat Five, Los Lobos, Lita Ford, Common, and The Mr. T Experience.

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The Political Odds
Updated to reflect recent developments.

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Trailer: Swing District
Featuring a former Chicago police officer and trader - and former Republican state legislator - who is now a 71-year-old Democratic freshman in Congress running for re-election.

This project is raising money to fund its completion. If you can help, contact me and I'll put you in touch with the filmmaker.

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The Beachwood Radio Sports Hour #179: The Ryan Pace Narratives Drive Us Nuts
Willful ignorance. Plus: Devin Hester Retires Ridiculous And So Should Zach Miller; Schwarbs Shapes Up; Maddon's Song Remains The Same; Manny Madness; Real Chicago Blackhawks; and Niko Is Back.

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Illinois Coach Banned From USA Gymnastics Over Alleged Sexual Misconduct
Parents stunned; sudden retirement of decorated Westmont coach apparently explained.

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Vonnegut's Story Shapes
The master's thesis the University of Chicago rejected.

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The Sears Motor Buggy
The 1911 model came with 30-inch rims.

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RECALL! Piller's Fine Foods Ready-To-Eat Salami
Produced in Canada and shipped to distribution centers in California, Illinois, Michigan, New Jersey and New York.

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Retroactivism In The Lesbian Archives
"Bessette considers a diverse array of primary sources, including grassroots newsletters, place-based archives, experimental documentary films, and digital video collections, to investigate how retroactivists have revised and replaced dominant accounts of lesbian deviance."

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Chicago For Dummies
Cosmopolitan yet not elite!

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ChicagoGram

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ChicagoTube

Skating with James Brown's style.

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BeachBook
A sampling.

I Can't Answer These Standardized Test Questions About My Own Poems.

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Subway Franchisees Rally Against $4.99 Subs.

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Remembering The [Rahmbo] Papers.

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TweetWood
A sampling.

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The Beachwood Tronc Line: Define irony.



Permalink

Posted on December 19, 2017


MUSIC - December In Chicago Drill.
TV - Don't Weaken Media Ownership Limits.
POLITICS - Another SRO Crisis.
SPORTS - TrackNotes: Mom.

BOOKS - How Stereo Was Sold To A Skeptical Public.

PEOPLE PLACES & THINGS - Chicago Footwork King's Bail Battle.


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