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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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The [Wednesday] Papers

"Safety records obtained by workers at the Amazon fulfillment center in Monee in Will County show that over 10% of its workers suffered injuries last year, and 40 were injured so badly that they couldn't return to work, often sustaining permanent disabilities, according to Warehouse Workers for Justice," Curtis Black notes for the Chicago Reporter.

"The records show that injuries in Monee dramatically increased in November and December last year, according to the group."

'Tis the season to be hurt on the job.

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Lumps Of Coal
"The Illinois Coal Basin, one of the most important coal‑producing regions in the U.S., will likely see declining production and mine closures as the industry continues to contract in the wake of coal-fired power plant retirements and falling exports, concludes a report published [Tuesday] by the Institute for Energy Economics and Financial Analysis," the IEEFA says.

"The report, Dim Future for Illinois Basin Coal, details how coal companies in Illinois, Indiana, and Kentucky, which are already facing challenging prospects, will most likely fade away over the next two decades. A significant number of the coal-fired power plants supplied by the three‑state Basin are already scheduled to be shut down by utilities while others are being run less and less often, trends that will likely continue."

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Patch's Porch Pirates
This is how we Patch.

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The Beachwood Holiday Gift Guide
* Selections from Helene Smith's Beachwood Photo Booth.

* Hockey Stick Beer Openers finely crafted from the workshop of Cub Factor Marty Gangler.

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Accounting For Bribery
I just got turned on to the "Money Stuff" newsletter produced by Bloomberg's Matt Levine. This item from Tuesday's edition should be of particular interest to folks - including reporters - here in Chicago and Illinois. Assignment Desks, activate!

It is not legal advice or anything but there is kind of a Money Stuff First Law of Bribes, which is that when you are talking about bribes, particularly in writing, you should not refer to them as "bribes," and you should certainly not refer to them as "chickens" or "sugar" or some other clever euphemism; you should refer to them by boring but technically accurate terms. For example if you are trying to get a government official to award your company a big contract, and you hand him a sack of cash to speed that along, when it comes time to account for that sack of cash in your financial records you can call it a "corporate marketing fee." That is literally true! You paid a fee to market your corporation! To him! Really bribery is the most straightforward and elemental form of marketing.

Or we have talked a few times about "success fees." You pay a fee and your bid is successful, it's a success fee, there is no problem here. "Consulting fees" is perhaps the most standard approach of all: You hire a local guy as a consultant, you pay him a large consulting fee, and his consulting consists of (1) knowing which local officials need to be bribed and (2) handing them some of the consulting fee.

This is all well-known stuff, and it's not like an automatic get-out-of-jail-free card to tell prosecutors "that wasn't a bribe, it was a consulting fee." Still using boring business terms gives you a fighting chance of not getting caught, and even if you do get caught you've got a fighting chance to persuade a jury that it was all fine, and even if you do get convicted it is just, I mean, it is aesthetically a bit less embarrassing than if you'd used the dumb euphemisms.

Last week Swedish telecom company Telefonaktiebolaget LM Ericsson agreed to pay more than $1 billion of fines to the U.S. Justice Department and SEC for bribing officials in China, Saudi Arabia and Djibouti, and the SEC complaint is full of detail on how a large professional multinational company accounts for bribes. For instance:

"Internally, EAB employees referred to these payments as 'corporate marketing fees' which some employees believed to be code for bribes."

Or:

"Ericsson China improperly recorded these payments as 'other external services,' 'site acquisition services' and 'service fulfillment of contract.'"

Or:

"On or around December 18, 2013, the head of Ericsson's Middle East region signed the Consultancy Frame Agreement on behalf of EAB's Qatar branch. The agreement stated that EAB's Qatar branch engaged Kuwait Consultant to provide services 'within the area of marketing and sales support to increase customer satisfaction and enhance Ericsson business in Kuwait . . . with the purpose of winning the LTE business with [Kuwait SOE].' These services were never provided."

No, I disagree, surely the consultant did increase customer satisfaction (by giving the customer money) and enhance Ericsson's business (with bribes). These things are all code for "bribes," but they are also all, in their way, honest.

You can subscribe to "Money Stuff" here.

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Rick Nielsen's Cheap Casino Trick
His Republican state senator buddy and fellow Rockfordian Dave Syverson wrote the state's casino bill, then advocated for Nielsen's hometown bid while trashing the other applicants.

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New on the Beachwood . . .

E-Mails Show Water Contractor Knew About Lead Risk In Flint
"Do not pass this on," wrote Rob Nicholas, then the vice president of development, in an e-mail to Veolia executives.

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The Problem With Urban Music Education? Me.
"After several chaotic classes, I wondered, What was I doing wrong? Why won't they listen to me?"

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Running: Not So Much A Hobby But A Branding Exercise
Some would even say a neoliberal cult.

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Earth At Night
"NASA's new 200-page e-book is now available online and includes more than 150 images of our planet in darkness as captured from space by Earth-observing satellites and astronauts on the International Space Station over the past 25 years."

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The Problem With Internet TV
The lack of an integrated platform for providing content, for starters.

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ChicagoReddit

A ranked choice voting bill has been introduced to the Illinois General Assembly. Contact your reps and ask them to support it at this link! Also, AMA if you don't know what RCV is. from r/chicago

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ChicagoGram

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ChicagoTube

Inner Decay at the Cobra Lounge last Thursday night.

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BeachBook

Journalists Imprisoned In 2019.

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The IRS Sent A Letter To 3.9 Million People. It Saved Some Of Their Lives.

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

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They're not wrong.

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A short thread by uber-centrist Norm freakin' Ornstein.

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The Beachwood Tip Line: Normalized.



Permalink

Posted on December 11, 2019


MUSIC - Chicago Drill vs. Brooklyn Drill vs. UK Drill.
TV - The John Oliver Coronavirus Chronicles.
POLITICS - Boeing vs. Public Broadcasting.
SPORTS - Sim Game: Blackhawks vs. Oilers.

BOOKS - A First: Comics Industry Shut Down.

PEOPLE PLACES & THINGS - Testing Chicago Electric's Drill Bit Sharpener.


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