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« October 2015 | Main | December 2015 »

November 30, 2015

Song Of The Moment: 16 Shots

Artist: Sherm N Demand

They say he lunged, just a PCP-crazed thug.


Elections coming up
that Rahm needed to win
and he needed every vote
and saw what happened in Ferguson

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Previously in Song of the Moment:
* Iron Man
* The Story of Bo Diddley
* Teach Your Children
* Dream Vacation
* When The Levee Breaks
* I Kissed A Girl
* Theme From Shaft
* Rocky Mountain High
* North to Alaska
* Barracuda
* Rainy Days and Mondays
* Brother, Can You Spare A Dime?
* Baby, It's Cold Outside
* Man in the Mirror
* Birthday Sex
* Rio
* My Sharona
* Alex Chilton
* Surfin' Bird
* By The Time I Get To Arizona
* Heaven and Hell
* Sunday Bloody Sunday
* Lawless One
* Tell It Like It Is
* The Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald
* Lake Shore Drive
* On, Wisconsin!
* Anarchy in the U.K.
* Ballad of a Thin Man
* White Riot
* Know Your Rights
* Chicago Teacher
* Youngstown
* Over The Cliff
* Almost Gone (The Ballad of Bradley Manning)
* Party at the NSA
* V.E.N.T.R.A.
* Plutocrat (The Ballad of Bruce Rauner)
* Fight The Power
* Baltimore
* Go, Cubs, Go!

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Plus:
* Mayor 1%.
* Songs Of The Runoff.

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See also:
* Songs of the Occupation: To Have And To Have Not
* Songs of the Occupation: Johnny 99

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 4:10 PM | Permalink

The Weekend In Chicago Rock

You shoulda been there.

1. Health at Lincoln Hall on Saturday night.


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2. Baroness at Reckless Records in Wicker Park on Saturday.

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3. Bumsy & The Moochers at the Mutiny on Saturday night.

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4. King Diamond at the Aragon on Friday night.

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5. Cathy Richardson at SPACE in Evanston on Friday night.

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6. AM Taxi and the Ike Reilly Assassination at FitzGerald's in Berwyn on Friday night.

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7. Exodus at the Aragon on Friday night.

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8. Joseph Arthur at City Winery on Friday night.

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9. Larry Hernandez at the Aragon on Saturday night.

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10. Car Seat Headrest at Schubas on Sunday night.

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11. The Faceless at Beat Kitchen on Friday night.

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12. Houndmouth at Thalia Hall on Saturday night.

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13. Modern Baseball at Durty Nellie's in Palatine on Sunday night.

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14. Northlane at the Bottom Lounge on Friday night.

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Catching up with . . .

Tink at Chicago State University for homecoming in Nov. 21.

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Winter Jones at Moe's Tavern last Wednesday night.

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 2:48 PM | Permalink

The [Laquan McDonald] Papers: Where's Rahm?

First in a series.

"In the six days since the dash-cam video showing the fatal shooting of Laquan McDonald was released, Mayor Rahm Emanuel has not had a public schedule to allow for any questions concerning the video or subsequent protests and calls for his resignation on social media," Mary Ann Ahern reports for NBC Chicago.

"The mayor has plans to leave for Paris for the global Climate Summit for Local Leaders later this week, but it is not clear exactly when he will leave. Emanuel was originally scheduled to leave on Friday, but his spokesperson would not confirm his departure date this week."

*

Rahm does have a scheduled event for Wednesday. Will he use that to tout "something big" - perhaps announced the night before - to divert attention from the questions he should be asked about Laquan McDonald? My Magic 8 Ball says Most Definitely.

*

The summit is important - and Rahm is a Notable Speaker - but maybe dealing with aftermath of the public seeing the Laquan McDonald video is more important. Rahm isn't going to solve climate change by giving a speech.

*

"Emanuel spoke at the news conference just before the video was released last Tuesday. He then went to Millennium Park to attend the lighting of the Christmas tree, which was his last public event."

Here's what that looked like just minutes after his Laquan McDonald press conference - while the rest of us were watching the video, Rahm, in a sudden shift of mood, was waving to a tree lighting crowd:

It's not just that the optics were bad; it's that the reality was bad. This did not advance Rahm's plea for the healing to begin.

*

"Despite the lack of a public schedule, Emanuel has still been out and about in the city, attending different events. Last Wednesday night, the mayor's staff released a photo of the mayor enjoying a pre-Thanksgiving meal with refugees. His spokesperson said the meal was a 'private event,' which is why members of the media were not invited."

"On Sunday afternoon, the mayor's staff released a photo of Emanuel cutting the ribbon at Washington Park at an event that was not made public until after it happened. The Sunday ribbon cuttings at newly renovated parks have been regular stops for the mayor. Usually the alderman of the respective ward also attends these ribbon cuttings, but this time Ald. Willie Cochran did not show."

*

Rahm's office released a few other photos in the last few days via Twitter of stops not on his public schedule.

*

From this morning:

*

The Tribune reports:

"He did not list any public events on his schedule as he avoids taking questions from reporters, a practice that's continued since Tuesday's release of the initial Laquan McDonald police shooting video. Since then, protesters partially shut down Magnificent Mile shopping on Black Friday, and calls for the mayor to fire police Superintendent Garry McCarthy have increased. In addition, questions have piled up about missing video from a Burger King near the site of the shooting and why the Emanuel administration did not release video from three other police vehicles. In addition, the police union wants more detail on why charges were dropped against a protester stemming from Tuesday night's protest.

"The mayor's press shop did send out word that Emanuel stopped by a Sunday afternoon ribbon cutting at Washington Park, but only after the event had concluded. And on Thanksgiving, the mayor's press operation let reporters know that Emanuel had taken part in a 5k turkey trot, including how he finished in his age group, gender group and overall. That information, too, was released after the event was over, so journalists did not get a chance to attend and try to ask Emanuel questions about the city's pressing issues."

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One question: Is this what a leader looks like?

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See also:
* The [Thanksgiving 2015] Papers: Malcolm London explains it all.

* The Weekend Desk Report: 16 shots, hell no you can't shop.

* The Political Odds: Reflecting recent developments.

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 11:07 AM | Permalink

CyberMonday, Amazon & You

This year might be the first Cyber Monday that you can order something online and have it delivered in just a few hours.

That's because online retailers like Amazon are employing an army of delivery drivers to bring your order to your home or office with almost no turn-around time.

This might sound like a great deal for consumers. But if you happen to be one of Amazon's delivery drivers, there's a huge catch.

Despite wearing Amazon's uniform and reporting to Amazon warehouses for assignment, these drivers are classified as "contractors."

As "contractors," Amazon drivers have to use their own car, pay for their own gasoline and insurance, and cover any wear-and-tear to their vehicle. These workers aren't eligible for overtime or any of the benefits that other Amazon workers are given. When you add all these costs up, Amazon drivers make significantly less than the minimum wage.

Classifying an employee a "contractor" is a notorious form of wage theft and it's costing Amazon drivers millions in due wages.

SIGN THE PETITION: Tell Amazon to stop classifying its delivery drivers as "contractors," reimburse the drivers for vehicle expenses, and ensure that every worker is paid in full.

Amazon already has a dubious record as an employer. From forcing its warehouse employees to work in extreme heat with no air conditioning to a corporate culture that some have called emotionally abusive.

But committing wage theft on such a massive and systemic scale is simply unconscionable.

Add your name to the petition to Amazon and demand they pay their delivery drivers fairly for every hour they work.

As our consumption habits evolve, we must remain vigilant in defending the rights of those who perform the work that make these new services so convenient. Amazon is one of the biggest companies on the planet. Let's make sure they do the right thing and pay their delivery drivers a fair wage.

As always, thank you for your commitment to worker justice.

*

The PBS NewsHour On Amazon's Punishing Workplace Culture.

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Links and video inserted by The Beachwood Value Added Affairs Desk.

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 10:56 AM | Permalink

The [Monday] Papers

TUESDAY UPDATE: All of the action is on Twitter for now, what with Rahm firing Garry McCarthy, announcing formation of a task force on police accountability, and holding a press conference this morning. More here later.

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While I work on some Laquan McDonald material for today [some now below], here are some fresh posts elsewhere on the site as well as posts you may have missed over the long holiday weekend.

ADDED 4:31 P.M.:

* Song Of The Moment: 16 Shots.

From Sherm N Demand.

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ADDED 3:41 P.M.:

* The Weekend In Chicago Rock.

Featuring: Health, Baroness, Bumsy & The Moochers, King Diamond, Cathy Richardson, AM Taxi & The Ike Reilly Assassination, Exodus, Joseph Arthur, Larry Hernandez, Car Seat Headrest, The Faceless, Houndmouth, Modern Baseball, Northlake, Tink, and Winter Jones.

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ADDED 1:36 P.M.:

* The [Laquan McDonald] Papers Pt. 1: Where's Rahm?

Playing dodge ball.

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ADDED 12:51 P.M.:

* The Political Odds.

Now reflecting recent developments.

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ADDED 11:11 A.M.:

* Amazon, CyberMonday & You.

Add wage theft to a sick and abusive corporate culture.

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* Stinky Seaweed Spurs Invention.

Elastec, a downstate Carmi company that specializes in oil spill response, has made a seaweed barrier, the "Beach Bouncer," after receiving calls from resorts in Antigua and the Dominican Republic plagued by the stuff.

* Beachwood Photo Booth: End School Zone.

Begin learning.

* U.S. Taxpayers Set To Shell Out For Growing Peanut Pile.

A mountain of peanuts is piling up in the U.S. south, threatening to hand American taxpayers a near $2-billion bailout bill over the next three years, and leaving the government with a big chunk of the crop on its books.

* Surf The White Winter Wave!

Winter is on at the Cook County forest preserves - Twig-Tac-Toe, Animal Tracking, Bonfires, S'mores and more!

* New Site Tracks Social Media Content Takedowns.

At OnlineCensorship.org, users themselves can report on content takedowns from Facebook, Google+, Twitter, Instagram, Flickr, and YouTube.

* The Beachwood Radio Sports Hour #79: Bears Beat Starr, Favre, Rodgers.

Plus: Watch The Bouncing Blackhawks; Bulls Also Bounce; and the Warm Stove League.

* Fantasy Fix: The Pope's Nose Awards 2015.

A Thanksgiving tradition involving the ass of a turkey.

* The Blue & Orange Kool-Aid Report: Confidence Picks.

The fascinating evolution of Bears fans' expectations this season.

* Chicago Teachers Pension Fund Sues Wall Street.

The banks masked their collusion by using code-names for joint projects such as "Lily," "Fusion," and "Valkyrie," according to the suit.

* Who Turned My Blue State Red?

Argument: The people who most rely on the safety-net programs secured by Democrats are, by and large, not voting against their own interests by electing Republicans. Rather, they are not voting, period.

* State Lawmakers To Investigate Workers' Comp Opt Out.

Bruce Rauner no doubt watching closely.

* Jonathan Pie, TV Reporter! Grow Some Balls, Tell The Truth.

How to really deliver the news that we all know is true.

* Classic Chicago Thanksgiving TV.

Mmmm, the Carvel Tom Turkey Cake . . .

* Meet The Era: A Chicago Footwork Documentary.

Born and raised here.

* The Week In Chicago Rock.

Featuring: Lupe Fiasco, Nacho Picasso, Grimes, Nicole Dollanganger, Interpuesto, Simply Saucer, The Atlas Moth, Lights, The Pharcyde, Knuckle Puck, and Carl Palmer's ELP Legacy.

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Laquan McDonald

* The [Thanksgiving 2015] Papers.

Malcolm London explains it all.

* The Weekend Desk Report.

16 shots, hell no you can't shop.

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The Beachwood Tip Line: Hell no.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 9:59 AM | Permalink

Jonathan Pie, TV Reporter! Grow Some Balls; Tell The Truth

How to really deliver the news.


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Previously in Jonathan Pie, TV Reporter!:

* Jonathan Pie, TV Reporter! Explains The Economy.

* Jonathan Pie, TV Reporter! It's Shit Crap News, Tim.

* Jonathan Pie, TV Reporter! Is Going To Paris.

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And:

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 4:38 AM | Permalink

Stinky Seaweed Spurs Invention

KINGSTON, Jamaica - An unwelcome visitor sailed onto Caribbean beaches this year: huge rafts of seaweed.

The seaweed, called sargassum, has swept into the region in part as a result of changing weather conditions, turning many once-postcard-perfect beaches a dull pond-scum brown as it decomposes and releases a rotten egg stench.

"It's a dirty horrible brown lace that just washes ashore," said Noorani Azeez, CEO of the Saint Lucia Hotel and Tourism Association. "The foul stench of the seaweed is really an inhibitor to going (to the beach) with your family."

2015-11-17T132346Z_1_LYNXNPEBAG0QA_RTROPTP_3_MEXICO-ENVIRONMENT.JPG

The phenomenon has repeated itself across the Caribbean, with hardly any islands immune. It has created havoc for the tourism-dependent economies and disrupted other industries such as fisheries as fishermen struggle to navigate seaweed-choked waters.

In the Dominican Republic, the largest power company was forced to scale down operations as 570 metric tons of the seaweed clogged its sea water cooling system.

Even local wildlife has been affected, with reports of juvenile sea turtles struggling to climb over small mountains of the stuff to get to the ocean after hatching.

But Caribbeans are finding ways to cope, and some entrepreneurs are even developing ways to turn what they initially thought of as a scourge into a business opportunity.

The seaweed is an ochre-colored floating algae with small air-filled bladders that keep it afloat. Although some sargassum washes up naturally on beaches in the region, researchers and other observers say that in 2011 the Caribbean began to see a huge influx of the weed washing up on the region's beaches.

The trend has continued, with a spike in 2014 and again in 2015.

"We think this event is related to climate change in some respects," said Jim Franks, a senior research scientist at the Gulf Coast Research Laboratory at the University of Southern Mississippi in the United States.

Franks has been studying the phenomenon and believes that the sargassum influx may be caused by factors including warmer water and an increase in nutrients.

Instead of coming from the Sargasso Sea, an area near Bermuda where the seaweed normally occurs, Franks' theory is that the influx may come from a bloom in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean, near the equator.

SARGASSUM HACK

With Caribbean beaches inundated with the seaweed, the University of the West Indies has held several events on the problem, including a "Sargassum Hack" day as well as a symposium on how to deal with the seaweed at its Cave Hill campus in Barbados.

Participants suggested using the plant for everything from fertilizer to cosmetics.

On the French-speaking island of Guadeloupe, one business designed a boat dubbed the "Sargator" to collect the seaweed in the water before it washed onto beaches.

In Barbados, Mark Hill, who owns one of the island's largest solar power companies, started a new business, BioGen, specifically for collecting and using the copious amounts of seaweed washing up on the island's shores.

Rather than using costly and potentially environmentally damaging heavy machinery, such as tractors, to remove the seaweed from beaches, he has experimented with a horse-drawn rake.

Hill, who says he's incorporated the seaweed into his diet, also has made prototypes of products ranging from fertilizer to particleboard.

And companies as far afield as Illinois, in the United States, have been getting in on the business as well. Elastec, a downstate Carmi company that specializes in oil spill response, has made a seaweed barrier, the "Beach Bouncer," after receiving calls from resorts in Antigua and the Dominican Republic plagued by the stuff.

The barrier, made of plastic, steel and a mesh under the surface of the water, has been installed at two beaches so far, with more on order.

HERE TO STAY?

The big question is, how long will the seaweed invasion last?

The Gulf Coast Reasearch Laboratory's Franks said the jury is still out on whether the sargassum influx is a one-time event or ongoing, but his lab is working on some models that he hopes could predict future surges in sargassum into the Caribbean.

"If we can predict and at least give some sort of indication of what the future holds, then these island countries can begin to develop some response strategies based on science rather than just guesswork. We think that would be very helpful," Franks said.

BioGen's Hill is betting that there will be no shortage of seaweed for him to use as raw material.

Others are making similar bets. H. Barber & Sons, a U.S.-based company that sells the SurfRake, a machine that can be used for cleaning seaweed off beaches, said interest in its machines from the Caribbean is at least double this year as potential users decide the investment - about $50,000 for a machine - may be worth it.

"It doesn't seem to be going away," said Melissa Corcoran, the company's sales manager for the Caribbean.

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The Thomson Reuters Foundation, the charitable arm of Thomson Reuters, covers humanitarian news, climate change, women's rights, trafficking and corruption.

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Links and video inserted by The Beachwood Added Value Affairs Desk.

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 12:40 AM | Permalink

November 28, 2015

Chicago Teachers Pension Fund Sues Wall Street

A class action lawsuit, filed Wednesday, accuses 10 of Wall Street's biggest banks and two trading platforms of conspiring to limit competition in the $320 trillion market for interest-rate swaps.

The class action lawsuit, filed in U.S. District Court in Manhattan, accuses Goldman Sachs Group, Bank of America Merrill Lynch, JPMorgan Chase, Citigroup, Credit Suisse Group, Barclays Plc, BNP Paribas SA, UBS, Deutsche Bank AG, and the Royal Bank of Scotland of colluding to prevent the trading of interest rate swaps on electronic exchanges, like the ones on which stocks are traded.

As a result, the lawsuit alleges, banks have successfully prevented new competition from non-banks in the lucrative market for dealing interest rate swaps, the world's most commonly traded derivative.

The banks "have been able to extract billions of dollars in monopoly rents, year after year, from the class members in this case," the lawsuit alleged.

Goldman Sachs, Citigroup, Bank of America, BNP Paribas, Credit Suisse and Royal Bank of Scotland declined to comment.

JP Morgan, Barclays, Deutsche Bank and UBS were not immediately available to comment.

The suit was brought by The Public School Teachers' Pension and Retirement Fund of Chicago, which purchased interest rate swaps from multiple banks to help the fund hedge against interest rate risk on debt. The plaintiffs are represented by the law firm of Quinn, Emanuel, Urquhart, & Sullivan LLP, which has taken the lead in a string of antitrust suits against banks.

As a result of the banks' collusion, the suit alleges, the Chicago teachers' pension and retirement fund overpaid for those swaps.

The suit alleged that since at least 2007 the banks "have jointly threatened, boycotted, coerced, and otherwise eliminated any entity or practice that had the potential to bring exchange trading to buyside investors."

"Defendants did this for one simple reason: to preserve an extraordinary profit center," the lawsuit said.

The banks masked their collusion by using code-names for joint projects such as "Lily," "Fusion," and "Valkyrie," according to the suit.

The suit also accused broking platforms ICAP and Tradeweb, which control key cogs in the infrastructure of the swaps market, of facilitating the antitrust violations by acting as a forum for collusion and making business decisions on the banks' behalf.

Nine of the ten defendant banks own equity stakes in Tradeweb and hold positions on the company's board and governance committees. Tradeweb is majority owned by Thomson Reuters. Thomson Reuters is not named as a defendant in the suit.

Tradeweb, ICAP and Thomson Reuters declined to comment.

Bankers used those positions to control the direction of the Tradeweb and collectively blocked the development of more investor friendly swaps exchanges by firms such as the CME Group, TrueEX, Javelin Capital Markets, and TeraExchange, according to the suit.

"During the time period relevant here, Tradeweb board and governance committees . . . were organized specifically for the purpose of protecting the 'dealer community' from the growth of exchange trading," reads the suit.

Similar allegations of bank collusion in the market for another type of derivative known as credit default swaps, have been the subject of investigations by the United States Department of Justice and the European Commission, as well as a separate class action lawsuit brought by investors.

In September, 12 banks and two industry groups settled that lawsuit by agreeing to pay $1.87 billion, making it one of the largest antitrust class action lawsuits in U.S. history.

-

Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 2:14 PM | Permalink

The Weekend Desk Report


Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 10:09 AM | Permalink

November 27, 2015

The Beachwood Radio Sports Hour #79: Bears Beat Starr, Favre, Rodgers

It's clear that coaching is occurring. Plus: Blackhawks Bounce Back; Bulls Find More Ways To Win; and Warm Stove League.


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SHOW NOTES

* Kurt Becker.

* Gretzky: Largest margin of victory in the scoring race: 79 (in 1983-84).

4:28: Bears Beat Starr, Favre, Rodgers

* From signature loss to signature win.

* Bears vs. Packers on another rainy night when numbers were retired.

* Vic Fangio's Bird's-Eye View.

* Tap the brakes . . .

* Aaron Rodgers Has A Davante Adams Problem.

* Tracy Porter Leads Gritty Bears Defensive Effort In Upset Of Packers.

* Chris "Ostrowski" Prosinski.

* Dynamic duo:

* What Was Up With The Officials During The Bears-Packers Game?

* "It is clear that coaching is occurring."

* SportsMonday: Meatball Mania.

* McCarthy has to take back control of the play-calling!

* Did Eddie Lacy Fumble Before He Scored Vs. The Bears?

* Fumble Mars Another 100-Yard Game From Eddie Lacy.

* Brought to you by Jeff Rodgers.

* Colin Kaepernick.

* This is actually from 2014: We've Obtained Johnny Manziel's Scouting Report From The New England Patriots.

* Peter King: The Manziel Mistake.

* Josh McCown.

* Next: 49ers, Washington.

46:41: Blackhawks Bounce Back.

* Blackhawks Seem To Have Turned Corner After Playing Poorly Early On Road.

47:36: Bulls Find More Ways To Win.

* Rose, Bulls Continuing To Show Solid Effort Under Hoiberg.

50:20: Warm Stove League.

* Report: Yankees, Cubs Discussed Starlin Castro For Brett Gardner.

* Castro's contract.

* Alex Avila Agrees To One-Year Deal With White Sox.

* Bringing Back Jeff Samardzija A Good Risk For Cubs - At The Right Price.

* Uh-oh.

* Redamak's!

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STOPPAGE: 2:38

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For archives and other Beachwood shows, see The Beachwood Radio Network.

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 5:22 PM | Permalink

The Week In Chicago Rock

You shoulda been there.

1. Lupe Fiasco at the Concord on Wednesday night.


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2. Nacho Picasso at Subterranean on Wednesday night.

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3. Grimes at the Metro on Tuesday night.

Legaspi: Grimes Leads Offbeat Pop Music Celebration.

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4. Nicole Dollanganger at the Metro on Tuesday night.

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5. Interpuesto at Beat Kitchen on Wednesday night.

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6. Simply Saucer at the Empty Bottle on Monday night.

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7. The Atlas Moth at Reggies on Wednesday night.

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8. Lights at the House of Blues on Wednesday night.

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9. The Pharcyde at the Promontory on Wednesday night.

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10. Knuckle Puck at the Double Door on Sunday night.

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11. Carl Palmer's ELP Legacy at the Arcada Theatre in St. Charles on Wednesday night.

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 11:58 AM | Permalink

Who Turned My Blue State Red?

This story was co-published with The New York Times' Sunday Review.

It is one of the central political puzzles of our time: Parts of the country that depend on the safety-net programs supported by Democrats are increasingly voting for Republicans who favor shredding that net.

In his successful bid for the Senate in 2010, the libertarian Rand Paul railed against "intergenerational welfare" and said that "the culture of dependency on government destroys people's spirits," yet racked up winning margins in eastern Kentucky, a former Democratic stronghold that is heavily dependent on public benefits.

Last year, Paul R. LePage, the fiercely anti-welfare Republican governor of Maine, was re-elected despite a highly erratic first term - with strong support in struggling towns where many rely on public assistance.

And earlier this month, Kentucky elected as governor a conservative Republican who had vowed to largely undo the Medicaid expansion that had given the state the country's largest decrease in the uninsured under Obamacare, with roughly one in 10 residents gaining coverage.

It's enough to give Democrats the willies as they contemplate a map where the red keeps seeping outward, confining them to ever narrower redoubts of blue.

The temptation for coastal liberals is to shake their heads over those godforsaken white-working-class provincials who are voting against their own interests. But this reaction misses the complexity of the political dynamic that's taken hold in these parts of the country.

It misdiagnoses the Democratic Party's growing conundrum with working-class white voters.

And it also keeps us from fully grasping what's going on in communities where conditions have deteriorated to the point where researchers have detected alarming trends in their mortality rates.

In eastern Kentucky and other former Democratic bastions that have swung Republican in the past several decades, the people who most rely on the safety-net programs secured by Democrats are, by and large, not voting against their own interests by electing Republicans. Rather, they are not voting, period. They have, as voting data, surveys and my own reporting suggest, become profoundly disconnected from the political process.

The people in these communities who are voting Republican in larger proportions are those who are a notch or two up the economic ladder - the sheriff's deputy, the teacher, the highway worker, the motel clerk, the gas station owner and the coal miner.

And their growing allegiance to the Republicans is, in part, a reaction against what they perceive, among those below them on the economic ladder, as a growing dependency on the safety net, the most visible manifestation of downward mobility in their declining towns.

These are voters like Pamela Dougherty, a 43-year-old nurse I encountered at a restaurant across from a Walmart in Marshalltown, Iowa, where she'd come to hear Rick Santorum, the conservative former Pennsylvania senator with a working-class pitch, just before the 2012 Iowa caucuses.

In a lengthy conversation, Dougherty talked candidly about how she had benefited from government support.

After having her first child as a teenager, marrying young and divorcing, Dougherty had faced bleak prospects. But she had gotten safety-net support - most crucially, taxpayer-funded tuition breaks to attend community college, where she'd earned her nursing degree.

She landed a steady job at a nearby dialysis center and remarried. But this didn't make her a lasting supporter of safety-net programs like those that helped her. Instead, Dougherty had become a staunch opponent of them. She was reacting, she said, against the sense of entitlement she saw on display at the dialysis center.

The federal government has for years covered kidney dialysis treatment in outpatient centers through Medicare, regardless of patients' age, partly on the logic that treatment allows people with kidney disease to remain productive. But, Dougherty said, only a small fraction of the 54 people getting dialysis at her center had regular jobs.

"People waltz in when they want to," she said, explaining that, in her opinion, there was too little asked of patients. There was nothing that said "'You're getting a great benefit here, why not put in a little bit yourself.'" At least when she got her tuition help, she said, she had to keep up her grades. "When you're getting assistance, there should be hoops to jump through so that you're paying a price for your behavior," she said. "What's wrong with that?"

Yes, citizens like Dougherty are at one level voting against their own economic self-interest, to the extent that the Republican approach on taxes is slanted more to the wealthy than that of the Democrats. This was the thesis of Thomas Frank's 2004 best seller, What's the Matter With Kansas?, which argued that these voters had been distracted by social issues like guns and abortion.

But on another level, these voters are consciously opting against a Democratic economic agenda that they see as bad for them and good for other people - specifically, those undeserving benefit-recipients in their midst.

I've heard variations on this theme all over the country: people railing against the guy across the street who is collecting disability payments but is well enough to go fishing; the families using their food assistance to indulge in steaks.

In Pineville, W.Va., in the state's deeply depressed southern end, I watched in 2013 as a discussion with Senator Joe Manchin, a Democrat, quickly turned from gun control to the area's reliance on government benefits, its high rate of opiate addiction, and whether people on assistance should be tested for drugs. Playing to the room, Senator Manchin declared, "If you're on a public check, you should be subjected to a random check."

It's much the same across the border in eastern Kentucky, which, like southern West Virginia, has been devastated by the collapse of the area's coal industry. Eastern Kentucky now shows up on maps as the most benefit-dependent region in the country. The welfare reforms of the 1990s have made cash assistance hard to come by, but food-stamp use in the state rose to more than 18 percent of households in 2012 from under 10 percent in 2001.

With reliance on government benefits so prevalent, it creates constant moments of friction, on very intimate terms, said Jim Cauley, a Democratic political consultant from Pike County, a former Democratic bastion in eastern Kentucky that has flipped Republican in the past decade.

"There are a lot of people on the draw," he said.

Where opposition to the social safety net has long been fed by the specter of undeserving inner-city African-Americans - think of Ronald Reagan's notorious "welfare queen" - in places like Pike County it's fueled, more and more, by people's resentment over rising dependency they see among their own neighbors, even their own families.

"It's Cousin Bobby - 'he's on Oxy and he's on the draw and we're paying for him,'" Cauley said. "If you need help, no one begrudges you taking the program - they're good-hearted people. It's when you're able-bodied and making choices not to be able-bodied."

The political upshot is plain, Cauley added. "It's not the people on the draw that's voting against" the Democrats, he said. "It's everyone else."

This month, Pike County went 55 percent for the Republican candidate for governor, Matt Bevin. That's the opposite of how the county voted a dozen years ago.

In that election, Kentucky still sent a Republican to the governor's mansion - but Pike County went for the Democratic candidate. And 30 percent fewer people voted in the county this month than did in 2003 - 11,223 voters in a county of 63,000, far below the county's tally of food-stamp recipients, which was more than 17,000 in 2012.

In Maine, LePage was elected governor in 2010 by running on an anti-welfare platform in a state that has also grown more reliant on public programs - in 2013, the state ranked third in the nation for food-stamp use, just ahead of Kentucky.

LePage, who grew up poor in a large family, has gone at safety-net programs with a vengeance.

He slashed welfare rolls by more than half after imposing a five-year limit, reinstituted a work requirement for food-stamp recipients, and refused to expand Medicaid under Obamacare to cover 60,000 people.

He is now seeking to bar anyone with more than $5,000 in certain assets from receiving food stamps.

"I'm not going to help anybody just for the sake of helping," he said in September. "I am not that compassionate."

His crusade has resonated with many in the state, who re-elected him last year.

That pattern is right in line with surveys, which show a decades-long decline in support for redistributive policies and an increase in conservatism in the electorate even as inequality worsens.

There has been a particularly sharp drop in support for redistribution among older Americans, who perhaps see it as a threat to their own Social Security and Medicare.

Meanwhile, researchers such as Kathryn Edin, of Johns Hopkins University, have pinpointed a tendency by Americans in the second lowest quintile of the income ladder - the working or lower-middle class - to dissociate themselves from those at the bottom, where many once resided.

"There's this virulent social distancing - suddenly, you're a worker and anyone who is not a worker is a bad person," said Edin. "They're playing to the middle fifth and saying, 'I'm not those people.'"

Meanwhile, many people who in fact most use and need social benefits are simply not voting at all.

Voter participation is low among the poorest Americans, and in many parts of the country that have moved red, the rates have fallen off the charts.

West Virginia ranked 50th for turnout in 2012; also in the bottom 10 were other states that have shifted sharply red in recent years, including Kentucky, Arkansas and Tennessee.

In the spring of 2012, I visited a free weekend medical and dental clinic run by the organization Remote Area Medical in the foothills of southern Tennessee. I wanted to ask the hundreds of uninsured people flocking to the clinic what they thought of President Obama and the Affordable Care Act, whose fate was about to be decided by the Supreme Court. I was expecting a What's the Matter With Kansas? reaction - anger at the president who had signed the law geared to help them. Instead, I found sympathy for Obama. But had they voted for him? Of course not - almost no one I spoke with voted, in local, state or national elections. Not only that, but they had barely heard of the health care law.

This political disconnect among lower-income Americans has huge ramifications - polls find nonvoters are far more likely to favor spending on the poor and on government services than are voters, and the gap grows even larger among poor nonvoters.

In the early 1990s, Senator Mitch McConnell of Kentucky freely cited the desirability of having a more select electorate when he opposed an effort to expand voter registration.

And this fall, Scott Jennings, a longtime McConnell adviser, reportedly said low turnout by poor Kentuckians explained why the state's Obamacare gains wouldn't help Democrats.

"I remember being in the room when Jennings was asked whether or not Republicans were afraid of the electoral consequences of displacing 400,000-500,000 people who have insurance," State Auditor Adam Edelen, a Democrat who lost his re-election bid this year, told Joe Sonka, a Louisville journalist. "And he simply said, 'People on Medicaid don't vote.'"

Republicans would argue that the shift in their direction among voters slightly higher up the ladder is the natural progression of things - people recognize that government programs are prolonging the economic doldrums and that Republicans have a better economic program.

So where does this leave Democrats and anyone seeking to expand and build lasting support for safety-net programs such as Obamacare?

For starters, it means redoubling efforts to mobilize the people who benefit from the programs. This is no easy task with the rural poor, who are much more geographically scattered than their urban counterparts. Not helping matters in this regard is the decline of local institutions like labor unions - while the United Mine Workers of America once drove turnout in coal country, today there is not a single unionized mine still operating in Kentucky.

But it also means reckoning with the other half of the dynamic - finding ways to reduce the resentment that those slightly higher on the income ladder feel toward dependency in their midst. One way to do this is to make sure the programs are as tightly administered as possible. Instances of fraud and abuse are far rarer than welfare opponents would have one believe, but it only takes a few glaring instances to create a lasting impression.

Edin, the Hopkins researcher, suggests going further and making it easier for those collecting disability to do part-time work over the table, not just to make them seem less shiftless in the eyes of their neighbors, but to reduce the recipients' own sense of social isolation.

The best way to reduce resentment, though, would be to bring about true economic growth in the areas where the use of government benefits is on the rise, the sort of improvement that is now belatedly being discussed for coal country, including on the presidential campaign trail. If fewer people need the safety net to get by, the stigma will fade, and low-income citizens will be more likely to re-engage in their communities - not least by turning out to vote.

Related stories: For more coverage of politics, read ProPublica's previous reporting on Hillary Clinton's mixed record on Wall Street, how the gas tax impasse explains Washington and how Congress explains its absences.

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ProPublica is a Pulitzer Prize-winning investigative newsroom. Sign up for their newsletter.

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Comments welcome.


Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 10:50 AM | Permalink

Beachwood Photo Booth: End School Zone

Begin learning.

IMG_6336.JPG(ENLARGE FOR PROPER VIEWING)

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More Chicago photography from Helene Smith.

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Helene on Twitter!

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Meet Helene!

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Stationery, iPhone cases, hoodies.

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Listen to Helene talk about Photo Booth; starts at 57:54.

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Previously:
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Chicago Man Grilling
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Yum Yum Donuts
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Chicago Father's Day
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Vintage Airmaster
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Chicago Time
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Window Shade
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Illinois Slayer
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Chicago Fire Escape
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Golden Nugget
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Hollywood, Chicago
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Flag Man.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Van In Flames.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Fluid Power Automation.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Corn Dog.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Stop The Killing Car.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Chicago Backyard.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: A to Z Things.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Swedish Diner.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Rothschild Liquors.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Chicago Silos.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Chicago Wires.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Orange Garden.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Irving Park Guy.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Chicago Pigeons.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: O'Lanagan's.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: For Rent.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Marie's Pizza & Liquors.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Mori Milk.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: American Breakfast.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: A Chicago Christmas Postcard.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Holiday Harold's.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Chicago Family Fun.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Snow Bike.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Nativity Scene.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Old Warsaw.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Deluxe Cleaners.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Marie's Golden Cue.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Die Another Day.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Sears Key Shop.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Window Dressing.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Jeri's Grill.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Barry's Drugs.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Liberty.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Chicago Kitchen.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Golden Specials.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: We Won The Cup.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Bartender Man.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Blue Plane Blues.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Finest Quality.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Family Guy.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Girls Wanted.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Skokie Savanna.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Signpost.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Old Man And The Tree.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Street Fleet.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Citgo Story.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Fantasy Hair Design.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Chicago Garage.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Clark Stop.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Pole Position.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Window Dressing.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Chicago Geometry.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Found Love.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Fill In The Blank.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Vacuums Of The Night.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Dumpster Still Life.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Wagon Master.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Intersecting West Rogers Park.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Penn-Dutchman Antiques.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Cow Patrol.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Backstage Chicago.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Skully Bungalow.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Francisco Frankenstein.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Long Cool Heat.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Smokers' Mast.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Big Fat Phone.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Happy Day.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Alley Men.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Holiday Show!
* Beachwood Photo Booth: You've Got Mailbox.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Broken Window Theory.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Dali Logan.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Svengoolie.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Horner Park Hot Dogs.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Cubs Rehab.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: 20th Century Schizoid Man.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Men On Vans.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Penn-Dutchman Is Done.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Snowy Lincoln.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Waiting Room.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Avondale Chicken.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Winter's End.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: The Friendly Skies.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Boyhood Buzzer Beater.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: J Date.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: International Window Lady.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Shanghai Inn.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Open For Business.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Andersonville Unplugged.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: 3-Flat.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Evanston Turkey.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Chicagolandia.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Eat At Odge's.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Deitch Pharmacy.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Sud-Z Bubble.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Bands Wanted!
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Belmont Tavern.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Superheroic San Luis Freeze.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Evanston Oasis.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Lyndale Food & Jewelry.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Lincoln Tap.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Book Window.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Alco Dude.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Ballin Drugs.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Don't Worry, Be Cookie.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Four Trey.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: The Office.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: America From Inside The Golden Nugget In Ravenswood.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Cellphone Repair.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Boots 'N' Grill.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Sunrise Strip.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: At The Corner Of Glad And Happy.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Uptown Autumn Night.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Diner.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Mid-Century Modern Halloween.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Autumn Station Wagon.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Betty's & Nick's.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Ohio House Impact.

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 10:12 AM | Permalink

November 26, 2015

Classic Chicago Thanksgiving TV

1. A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving, Sponsored By . . . " (1980)


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2. Carvel Ice Cream's Tom Turkey Cake (1984).

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3. Zayre 60-Hour Sale (1982).

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4. Goulia Child's Thanksgiving Dinner Tips.

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See also:
* The Museum of Classic Chicago Television YouTube Channel.

* Fuzzy Memories TV.

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 12:05 PM | Permalink

Meet The Era: A Chicago Footwork Documentary

"Meet The Era is a short documentary that shows Chicago footwork from a footworker's perspective. Shot and edited over the last year with director Wills Glasspiegel, the short features dance portraits of each member in The Era. Glasspiegel (who also directed Icy Lake) is currently working with The Era and Teklife to produce a feature length documentary about footwork."


Click through for the track listing.

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See also: Thump's YouTube channel.

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Previously in Footwork:
* Remembering DJ Rashad, Chicago's Footwork Ambassador To The World.

* Chicago Footwork Denmark.

* Footworkin' The Billiken.

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 11:44 AM | Permalink

The [Thanksgiving 2015] Papers

Malcolm London explains it all.


Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 1:53 AM | Permalink

U.S. Taxpayers Set To Shell Out For Growing Peanut Pile

A mountain of peanuts is piling up in the U.S. south, threatening to hand American taxpayers a near $2-billion bailout bill over the next three years, and leaving the government with a big chunk of the crop on its books.

Peanut growers in states including Georgia and Alabama boosted sowing acreage by a fifth this spring and now are wrapping up harvesting their 3.1-million-ton crop, the second-largest ever, even as prices plumb seven-year lows.

There is a debate over why it is happening and how long the supplies and costs will build. Farmers and peanut groups blame the glut on poorer market conditions for alternative crops, such as cotton and corn, and improving yields as a result of crop rotation and new varieties.

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Some experts say it is the unintended consequence of recent changes in farm policies that create incentives for farmers to keep adding to excess supply.

One way or another, U.S. farmers look set to keep producing more peanuts than Americans can consume, leaving taxpayers on the hook.

First, the U.S. Department of Agriculture is paying farmers most of the difference between the "reference price" of $535 per ton (26.75 cents per lb) and market prices, now below $400 per ton. A Nov. 18 report to Congress estimates such payments this year for peanuts exceed those for corn and soybeans by more than $100 per acre.

Secondly, government loan guarantees mean once prices fall below levels used to value their crops as collateral, farmers have an incentive to default on the loans and hand over the peanuts to the USDA rather than sell them to make the payments.

PEANUTS FOR FLORIDA

"It's a predicament," said Tyron Spearman, executive director of the National Peanut Buying Points Association, a group commissioned by peanut shellers. "Is it a concern to us? Yes. We certainly hate any increase in cost but that's the way the program was designed."

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Through forfeitures, the USDA amassed 145,000 tons of peanuts from last year's crop, its largest stockpile in at least nine years, according to data compiled by Reuters.

That stockpile is enough to satisfy the average annual consumption of over 20 million Americans - more than the population of Florida - and puts the administration in a bind.

Storing the peanuts in shellers' and growers' warehouses comes at a cost. Selling them could depress the market further and in turn would add to the price subsidy bill.

Payments to peanut farmers could total between $960 million and $1.9 billion through fiscal 2018, according to estimates from the Congressional Budget Office and USDA projections cited in the Congressional Research Service report.

The higher costs come as the 2014 Farm Bill set high peanut reference prices relative to historic averages and cut support for production of cotton, an alternative crop, encouraging growers to dedicate more acres to peanuts, the report and experts said.

The government spends far more on big cash crops such as corn, wheat and soybeans, with support for corn alone expected to cost $3.6 billion this year, according to CBO estimates. Yet relative to crops size and value, peanut crops are costlier, with payments worth more than a third of the crop's value.

Experts say the spike in spending highlights the risk of distortions to other markets, but overall spending caps and the fact that reference prices for other crops are closer to market levels than those set for peanuts act as mitigating factors.

As peanut carryover inventories are forecast to hit a record of 1.4 million tons by end-July 2016 and as loans begin to come due next summer, farmers are expected to fork over more peanuts to the USDA.

The legume has a special place in American history, diet and popular culture - the peanut butter and jelly sandwich is as iconic as an apple pie and former president Jimmy Carter is the world's most famous peanut farmer - but there is just not enough appetite for the troves filling the warehouses.

The abundance of cheap peanuts is a boon for the handful of companies that shell peanuts bought from growers, including Archer Daniels Midland Co's ADM.N Golden Peanut Co and peanut-butter makers such as J.M. Smucker Co, the maker of Jif, and Hormel Foods, which makes Skippy.

Spokespersons for those companies declined to comment. The American Peanut Shellers Association did not respond to request for comment.

Producers, however, are scrambling to carve out new markets for their product. The United States is the world's largest producer after China and India and a top exporter, but exports account for just about 15 percent of its production.

Bob Parker, president and chief executive officer of the National Peanut Board, said he had been on two trade missions in recent months to China, a market more than 8 times the size of the U.S. one. The push is important not just because of China's potential but also because there is less room for growth at home. Parker said that 94 percent of U.S. homes have peanut butter in their pantries.

"How do you improve on that? That's the challenge."

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 12:52 AM | Permalink

New Site Tracks Social Media Content Takedowns

The Electronic Frontier Foundation and Visualizing Impact launched OnlineCensorship.org last week, a new platform to document the who, what, and why of content takedowns on social media sites. The project, made possible by a 2014 Knight News Challenge award, will address how social media sites moderate user-generated content and how free expression is affected across the globe.

Controversies over content takedowns seem to bubble up every few weeks, with users complaining about censorship of political speech, nudity, LGBT content, and many other subjects. The passionate debate about these takedowns reveals a larger issue: social media sites have an enormous impact on the public sphere, but are ultimately privately owned companies. Each corporation has their own rules and systems of governance that control users' content, while providing little transparency about how these decisions are made.

At OnlineCensorship.org, users themselves can report on content takedowns from Facebook, Google+, Twitter, Instagram, Flickr, and YouTube. By cataloging and analyzing aggregated cases of social media censorship, OnlineCensorship.org seeks to unveil trends in content removals, provide insight into the types of content being taken down, and learn how these takedowns impact different communities of users.

"We want to know how social media companies enforce their terms of service. The data we collect will allow us to raise public awareness about the ways these companies are regulating speech," said EFF Director for International Freedom of Expression and co-founder of OnlineCensorship.org Jillian C. York. "We hope that companies will respond to the data by improving their regulations and reporting mechanisms and processes - we need to hold Internet companies accountable for the ways in which they exercise power over people's digital lives."

York and OnlineCensorship.org co-founder Ramzi Jaber were inspired to action after a Facebook post in support of OneWorld's "Freedom for Palestine" project disappeared from the band Coldplay's page even though it had received nearly 7,000 largely supportive comments. It later became clear that Facebook took down the post after it was reported as "abusive" by several users.

"By collecting these reports, we're not just looking for trends. We're also looking for context, and to build an understanding of how the removal of content affects users' lives. It's important companies understand that, more often than not, the individuals and communities most impacted by online censorship are also the most vulnerable," said Jaber. "Both a company's terms of service and their enforcement mechanisms should take into account power imbalances that place already-marginalized communities at greater risk online."

OnlineCensorship.org has other tools for social media users, including a guide to the often-complex appeals process to fight a content takedown. It will also host a collection of news reports on content moderation practices.

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 12:04 AM | Permalink

November 25, 2015

The Blue & Orange Kool-Aid Report: Confidence Picks

Oh, how expectations have changed.

You needn't look any further for evidence than the reaction of the average Bear fan following Sunday's loss to the visiting Denver Broncos.

Fire John Fox.

Fire him.

Fire him NOW.

He undermined all of the confidence this team built the last eight weeks by going for it on fourth-and-goal. There were 10 minutes left.

Fire him.
Then re-hire him.
Then punch him in the balls.
Then fire him again.

It wasn't always like this.

Let's take a look at how our feelings have evolved following each of the season's losses.

Week 1 vs GB: 31-23
"Meeeeeeehhhhhhh. Waddya gonna do (sips beer)."

Week 2 vs ARI: 48-23
"That was worse than I was expecting. Somehow my eyes and groin hurt. I do believe I shall see a doctor about a tetanus shot or some Valtrex."

Week 3 @ SEA: 26-0
"Oooooohh-kay. I see what's going on here. We suck. Sucky, suck, suck. Trade everybody. This sucks. (Stomps out of living room). No, I'm fine honey . . . ENOUGH! I said . . . I'M . . . FINE!"

Week 6 @ DET: 37-34
"WHAT THE HELL, MAN?! (Flips over card table in front of the couch.) Are you F-ing KIDDING ME? To some team that can't figure out what a friggin' CATCH is?! WHERE IN THE F WERE THE ASSHATS WHO CALL THEMSELVES REFEREES ON THAT ONE????!!! (Removes shoe, starts pounding shoe into hapless card table.)

"Screw this! NO HONEY, I WON'T TAKE IT EASY!! (Once again, flips card table.) YOU TAKE IT EASY! I DON'T CARE IF YOUR MOM CAN HEAR ME, BACK OFF!!!"

Week 8 vs MIN: 23-20
[Editor's Note: you can just go ahead and insert a Christian Bale rant here. What Carl actually wrote simply can't be printed, even on the Internet - a medium in which there is no ostensible barrier for publication.]

Oh c'mon! Donald Trump just publically advocated for the creation of a database used for the express purpose of tracking people who belong to a specific religion. His stuff is allowed on the web and mine isn't? Why?

[Editor's Note: First, I assume that the Trump quotes were made publicly available as a warning to any and all who cracked open a history book which covered 1939 through 1945. Second, your "bit" about tattooing numbers on Packer fans is ranging a bit too far into that same horrific territory for my liking.]

We need to be able to easily identify them! So we don't accidentally eat Thanksgiving dinner together!

[Editor's Note: Still horrible. And doesn't even slightly explain why you advise Bear fans to avoid exposing their teeth when Aaron Rodgers is on TV, or to spit three times after accidentally making direct eye contact with any person with dark brown eyes from Door County.]

So evil spirits don't promote disease inside your village. Who needs a hex? I sure as hell don't.

[Editor's Note: Wha . . . ? As in some kind of Gypsy curse?]

I've been reading Kosinski. He had some good ideas.

[Editor's Note: "SOME GOOD IDEAS" WERE WHAT YOU TOOK AWAY FROM THE PAINTED BIRD???]

. . . can we edit this out?

News 'N' Notes: Short Week Edition

  • Jimmy Clausen's tenure as Chicago's backup QB came to an end on Tuesday. The veteran was waived in order to clear $42,000 in salary cap space, which was quickly reallocated to the purchase of a churro-centric food truck.
  • Seventh overall draft pick Kevin White has been spotted at team workouts for the first time since mid-summer, prompting optimism that the one-two offensive punch of Alshon Jeffery and White might be on display before season's end. That optimism was quickly dulled as it became clear that the rookie had been away from the game long enough to forget many of football's basics, including the meaning of the word "route" and the type of uniform to wear*.
  • kool1.png

  • Jay Cutler and Kristin Cavallari welcomed their third child into the world on Monday; daughter Saylor. Which is a fine name for a cute little girl, but an awfully odd name for a dog**.
  • In other injury news, Matt Forte is expected to be available for the Thanksgiving Day tilt against Green Bay. The star running back was expected to miss another week or so, but a medically prescribed shot of "Oh Shit It's A Contract Year 'n' I Gotsta Get Paid" alleviated his symptoms to the point where he feels he can contribute at his usual level of excellence.

Back With The Pack
This Thursday, the Green Bay Packers organization will retire Brett Favre's jersey in a pre-game ceremony.

Seems kinda strange that they haven't done that yet.

I mean the guy won 172 games and a Super Bowl in Green Bay, was a staple of the offense for 17 straight seasons . . .huh.

He retired five years ago.

Why has it taken this long to bring the ol' Gunslinger back for a party?

Did he do something wrong?

Didn't he get a happy ending from Vikings owner Zygi Wilf while his wife was at chemotherapy?

No, I think he got caught trying to convince two female meter maids to have a threesome by sending them each a picture of one of his balls. Like, he sent one gal a picture of Lefty and the other one a picture of the testicle he calls "The Hangman." I wonder if that ever works . . .

No. It totally doesn't. Put away your phone.

Oh, this (indicates cell phone in left hand)? I was just going to make a dinner reservation. For me and my family. At . . . the food place.

Stop. For so many reasons. Stop.

Sure thing guys . . . whatever you say (slowly puts phone back on desk). But those were some funky allegations by Jets employees, right?

Yeah, if you Google "Brett Favre" a sideline reporter named Jenn Sterger shows up third in the "people also searched for" section.

Maybe the Packers wanted to let a little time pass . . . so where'd Deanna Favre rank in that search?

Fifth. Behind Aaron Rodgers and before Dan Marino.

Hey, that's a slight moral victory.

Not really.

(Reviews pictures of women who are returned in a search results for "Brett Favre massage therapist")

This guy's really into brunettes.

So are you.

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So I'm in good company!

Well, yes. If you're talking about your wife. No, if you're talking about a tangential hair color-preference association, with a guy who actively and aggressively cheated on a woman who as battling cancer at the time.

Are you guys telling me to give my wife cancer so I can have threesomes with massage therapists?

No. No. A thousand times no . . .

Kool-Aid (4 of 5 Pints Of Scream)
One of my new favorite double imperial IPAs.

Try a glass, and I think you'll be saying "Next Time, Make It A Double!"

(Accepts Monopoly-esque bag with dollar sign on it)

Seriously, though, great beer. Shockingly potent, so drink responsibly. By which I mean stay away from your phone after you've had like four of these delicious elixirs.

You can't un-sext your high school Spanish teacher.

Christ, we told you to put that thing away!

That's what she said! Ha!

Anyhoo, the last time these teams met the Bears seemed happy to end that game losing by just one score. But as we discussed earlier, things have changed.

Between the improved expectations, the opponent, and the fact that this game kicks off (Ha!****) a four-day weekend for many of us, this game deserves some hype.

It's a tough match-up to call, mostly because of the overall negative momentum of Green Bay, and the overall positive momentum of Chicago.

While the dual rushing threat of Forte and Langford, coupled with the projected return of Alshon Jeffery, will make the Bears' offense potent, I don't think they'll be able contain Aaron Rodgers in the fourth quarter.

Especially after he uses his Super Mario Bros.' power star. I don't think it's going to run out in time like it did against the Panthers.

Good game, disappointing finish in store.

Packers 27, Bears 24

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* For a minute there I thought putting White into a cute lil' jockey's outfit was a touch mean . . . and then I found the actual picture that the folks at SaukValley.com settled on, which captures a moment in which the wide receiver looks like a real life Nintendo 64 rendering error. Great job, guys!

** Save your angry letters; I am not making fun of a two-day old kid***. Search the word "dog" in that article to unearth my cryptic reference.

*** But it turns out I had no problem making fun of a fetus.

**** BOOOOOOOOOO!!!

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About The Author
Carl Mohrbacher is thankful for Russian dash cam videos, Scandinavian "Victory Metal" bands and the Binny's Beverage Depot six blocks from his house. Happy Thanksgiving Everybody!

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Carl Mohrbacher is our man on the Kool-Aid. He welcomes your comments.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 3:48 PM | Permalink

State Lawmakers To Investigate Workers' Comp Opt Out

A national association of state lawmakers has announced that it will investigate a burgeoning effort to let companies opt out of workers' compensation insurance and write their own plans for how they'll care for injured workers.

The National Conference of Insurance Legislators, whose members serve on insurance committees and often act as gatekeepers for related bills in their states, said the decision was prompted by a ProPublica and NPR story last month that found that employers' opt-out plans typically provide lower benefits for injured workers, more restrictions and little independent oversight. Texas and Oklahoma currently allow companies to opt out and other states are considering similar plans.

"The issues brought forward by the recent NPR/ProPublica study regarding the Texas and Oklahoma workers' compensation programs are of significant concern to state legislators responsible for the protection of injured workers," said North Dakota state Sen. Jerry Klein, a Republican who chairs the association's workers' comp committee.

Nearly every state requires employers to carry workers' comp to provide medical care and lost wages if someone gets hurt on the job. In exchange, workers are barred from suing their employers. But Texas has allowed companies to have no insurance, sometimes forcing injured workers to go to court or arbitration to obtain benefits. And in 2013, Oklahoma passed a law allowing companies there to opt out - while still retaining their immunity from lawsuits - if they adopt an alternative benefit plan.

This year, a group founded by Walmart and several of the biggest employers in America has pushed a campaign to get laws passed in as many as a dozen states within the next decade. Tennessee and South Carolina are seriously considering such bills.

Proponents say the alternative plans save companies money by removing bureaucracy and providing better medical care. But ProPublica and NPR analyzed the plans of 120 companies and found that the Texas programs typically cut off medical treatment after about two years, don't compensate workers for most permanent disabilities, and cap payouts for deaths and catastrophic injuries. Workers' comp typically covers medical care for workplace injuries for life and death benefits for children until they graduate college.

In Oklahoma, companies that opt out must provide the same level of benefits as workers' comp, but unlike workers' comp, the benefits are subject to income and payroll taxes. In addition, in almost every plan, workers cannot choose their doctors and must report injuries within 24 hours or risk losing all benefits.

A show of support from the national association would make opt-out bills much easier to pass, while a negative assessment might cause lawmakers to try to block efforts in their states.

The group also said it would hold discussions to counter any attempts by the federal government to intervene in state workers' comp programs.

An earlier ProPublica/NPR investigation found many states have drastically scaled back workers' comp benefits in recent years. In response, several prominent members of Congress have called for increased federal oversight to ensure states are properly caring for injured workers.

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Previously:
* Injured Worker In ProPublica/NPR Story Testifies Before Illinois Legislature.

* How To Investigate Workers' Comp In Your State.

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ProPublica is a Pulitzer Prize-winning investigative newsroom. Sign up for their newsletter.

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Comments welcome.


Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 3:00 PM | Permalink

Fantasy Fix: The Pope's Nose 2015

I'm dispatching with the usual week-in-review Fantasy Fix template this week for this very special announcement: It's time again for the Pope's Nose Awards.

To summarize, to the biggest turkeys of an almost-finished fantasy football season I award one player at each position the fattiest, least desirable, but most symbolically appropriate part of any Thanksgiving turkey - its ass.

This year, the job, which I know many of you must envy, was the most difficult in the many years I've given out the award. In part, I think that has something to do with how many star players have ended up with season-ending injuries. My policy is not to kick these guys while there down, though I don't always extend the same courtesy to players who have played badly through apparent nagging injuries, as I will now demonstrate.

QB: Peyton Manning, DEN.

Nine TDs against a league-leading 17 INTs says it all. The heavily promoted match-up this week against nemesis Tom Brady will not happen, as Manning has been replaced by Brock Osweiler. Supposedly, it's only because Manning has a foot injury, but there's no way to excuse the fact the future Hall of Famer has had his worst season. It may not prove to be his last season, although it is starting to look like it should be.

RB: Eddie Lacy, GB.

He is actually coming off perhaps his best game of the season, with 100 yards rushing in Week 11, but it's too little, too late. The guy who was the third overall pick in many fantasy leagues probably already destroyed the postseason hopes of many owners with too many sluggish efforts through the meat of the schedule, including three weeks of 10 or fewer rushing yards and three or fewer fantasy points.

WR: Jordan Matthews, PHI.

He has had only one game of more than 100 yards receiving since Week 1 and has only two TDs. A lot of the blame falls on the failure of Philly's vaunted fast-paced offense, which looks far removed from the 2014 version that made Matthews a star. What I hate most is that fantasy experts continue to project him for 11 or 12 points every week because as he showed with a Week 9 overtime TD against DAL, he just needs one big play to make your week But his Week 11 totals were more consistent with what we've seen all year - four catches for a measly 13 yards.

TE: Jimmy Graham, SEA.

A lot of people wondered how well Graham would fit in in Seattle, and it turns out he doesn't fit in all that well. He hasn't had a TD since Week 3, and has grumbled about his lack of use as much as his fantasy owners have grumbled about his lack of fantasy value. Other than a 140 yards output in Week 6, he has managed more than 51 yards on only two other occasions. This looks like a failed experiment.

Enjoy a Thanksgiving free from further fantasy analysis, and avoid the Pope's Nose at all costs.

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Dan O'Shea is our man in fantasyland. He welcomes your comments.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 6:39 AM | Permalink

November 24, 2015

Help A Walmart Worker This Thanksgiving

Walmart's poverty wages are forcing many of their employees into a situation where they have to choose between food and other necessities. No working person in this nation of plenty should have to go hungry.

This holiday season, we are giving thanks and giving back for those who work so hard at Walmart, yet take home such a tiny share of the earnings. We hope you'll join us in getting involved to help feed Walmart workers and others in need this holiday season and taking action to call out Walmart and other employers who keep their workers in poverty all year long.

Here's how you can take action to support worker justice this week:

Please note: In Arkansas, California, Colorado, Florida, Maryland, Ohio, and Texas, Walmart has taken legal action to prevent concerned individuals from showing their support for Walmart employees inside their stores or in the parking lots. In these states, we ask that you remain off of Walmart property and instead place calls to the store manager.

Across the country, members of the IWJ family are delivering letters or calling Walmart management, asking them to address the fact that their wages are so low that many of their workers are regularly dealing with hunger.

Click here and let us know how you plan to give back this Thanksgiving so that we can help spread the word to others who might like to join.

If you need any assistance in creating your event, please don't hesitate to e-mail me at jbailey[at]iwj.org. Thank you so much.

Hungry for Justice,
Janel Bailey
National Organizer
Interfaith Worker Justice

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**SAMPLE LETTER TO WALMART STORE MANAGER**

November 27, 2015

ATTN: Store Manager
Walmart Store #________________
ADDRESS ____________________

Dear Walmart Store Manager:

We come to you as (neighbors OR members of _____ Congregation/Organization) and as people of faith who believe that all workers should be treated with dignity and respect. We are very concerned that workers at your store work very hard for very low pay and little respect.

This Thanksgiving Weekend, and throughout the holidays, Walmart associates are expected to work even harder and sacrifice time with loved ones to meet the demands of this period of gift giving and gatherings. Yet many of them will be forced to rely on food stamps and charity to put food on their own holiday table.

These workers are our family, friends and neighbors. Please know that we are committed to stand alongside them as they call for $15 an hour and access to full time hours.

Walmart is one of the richest corporations in the world, yet its employees still don't earn enough in wages or work enough hours to survive. Walmart has helped legitimize an economy benefiting the interests of a few wealthy executives at the expense of working people.

While Walmart workers struggle to pay bills, the Walton family has a net worth of more than $145 billion. The richest family in America, with more wealth than 42 percent of other families combined, is also one of the largest creators of poverty-wage jobs.

Every major faith tradition affirms the dignity of work, and as people of faith we are called to honor and protect the basic rights of all workers, including the right to provide for their family without fear of retaliation for addressing issues of discrimination, safety at work, status or organizing.

As a store manager, you have the power and influence to treat workers with fairness and dignity. Rather than retaliating against workers who speak out, we encourage you to develop schedules and hours that allow for full time work with benefits.

For the sake of this community, of which you are also a part, we ask that you discuss the importance of these issues with your supervisors. When your workers do better, you and the rest of the community also do better.

Respectfully,

(SIGN HERE)

CC: Doug McMillon, President and CEO Walmart Stores, Inc.

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 3:38 AM | Permalink

The [Tuesday] Papers

Wednesday Programming Note: I'm gathering material for a post (or more likely, posts, plural) on Laquan McDonald, one or more of which may come today or later in the long holiday weekend. I'll have a bunch of other material too between now and Monday, but not necessarily on a traditional schedule. So check back or follow us on Twitter and/or Facebook to stay in-the-know. (Twitter is where the action really is; I've been commenting there on the McDonald case pretty heavily since Tuesday.)

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The [Tuesday] Papers
"Mayor Rahm Emanuel called together a number of community leaders Monday to appeal for help in keeping the city calm [upon the release of the Laquan McDonald video]," AP reports.

"Some attendees of the community meeting said afterward that city officials waited too long after McDonald was shot to get them involved.

"You had this tape for a year and you are only talking to us now because you need our help keeping things calm," one of the ministers, Corey Brooks, said after the meeting.

Right. He only calls at election time and when he thinks the city is on the verge of blowing up. It's like a mayoral booty call.

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Even worse, you make the call but then lie to your friends about it:

Earlier Monday, Emanuel's office characterized the discussion as something "we regularly do on important topics." But Acree and another minister, Marshall Hatch, said it is a rare occurrence.

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Or you brag to your friends about something that never happened:

"They had the opportunity to be a good example and a model across the country on how to improve police and community relations and they missed it," Acree said.

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Rahm's message control and manipulation of the criminal justice system certainly seems to be working, though: When I first flagged that AP story on Monday night, this was its headline and content:

You can see it in the URL, too: http://bigstory.ap.org/article/0effe93415494f2781cfb7b739df5b4f/emanuel-meeting-ministers-discuss-police-shooting-video/

On Tuesday morning, at that same URL, it's this: "Source: Chicago Cop Expected To Be Charged In Teen's Death."

The information about the meeting with ministers is now pushed eight paragraphs down, behind the decision of prosecutors to charge the officer in the McDonald case and police chief Garry McCarthy's announcement at 10 p.m. last night that he had just finished his review of the Rekia Boyd case and had decided to ask the police board to fire officer Dante Servin. What timing! Just another set of Chicago Coincidences.

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The Tribune reports that Emanuel "held a conference call with ministers and other community leaders Monday to condemn what he called the 'hideous' actions of a white Chicago police officer captured on video fatally shooting an African-American teen and to defend his administration's handling of the controversy."

The AP report has "attendees" at a meeting that seems to have taken place in person. Two different events?

The Sun-Times provides the answer amidst fuller context:

"Emanuel spoke before holding a series of conference calls and meetings on Monday afternoon with black community stakeholders - from small groups of ministers, young activists, and business leaders, to members of the City Council's Black Caucus."

I'd provide the link and peruse the rest of the Sun-Times' reporting, but it froze my browser, as it is wont to do, and I lost this column and had to start all over again. Thanks for making my morning, Sun-Times! Please die already. Your best reporters will find a home.

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I just saw that the Trib did report this later in their article:

"In addition to his conference call, Emanuel was scheduled to meet with a smaller group of ministers and community leaders and attend a second meeting with the City Council's Black Caucus."

So I didn't need the Sun-Times after all. Sorry for the intrusion.

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Back to the Trib:

"Emanuel told the participants that his call was to ensure that 'everybody has similar information and also that we all, in my view, play a role as stake-holders in our city and in our respective communities throughout our city.'"

Oh, now we all play a role.

"He asked them to help ensure that any protests remain peaceful when the video is released. But Emanuel did not take questions, and there was no attempt to engage in a dialogue during the six-minute call."

But Emanuel did not take questions, and there was no attempt to engage in a dialogue during the six-minute call.

So in defending his administration's handling of the incident he's committing the very same mishandling of the incident that he's defending. And in saying all stakeholders have a part, he's saying everyone else's part is to listen to him and then go do what he says.

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"Neither Emanuel nor his office have said exactly when the video might be released, and the mayor did not give any indication during his private call with community leaders."

It's like, hey, maybe I'll see you around.

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This caught my eye:

"Any descriptions I've read of this incident, to any person, regardless if you're the mayor or just an individual, it would shock you, because it's basically not only a person taking the law into their own hands, but they don't have a measure and are not using the judgment that is expected," Emanuel said on the call, which the Tribune gained access to through one of the participants.

So someone gave the Tribune the number to dial into so they could listen. Right? Thank you, whoever did that.

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Help A Walmart Worker This Thanksgiving
Here's how you can take action to support worker justice this week.

Surf The White Winter Wave!
Twig-Tac-Toe, bonfires and animal tracking.

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BeachBook

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TweetWood
A sampling.

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The Beachwood Tip Line: Trump card.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 1:38 AM | Permalink

Surf The White Winter Wave!

Wintertime brings numerous family-friendly ways to get outdoors to enjoy the Forest Preserves of Cook County. Forest Preserves visitors can experience fun activities including sledding, snowshoeing, snowmobiling and more.

Throughout the winter, visitors can enjoy cross-country skiing in all parts of the Forest Preserves, except for golf courses and nature centers, from sunrise to sunset. Sagawau Environmental Learning Center, 12545 W. 111th St. in Lemont, offers a complete Nordic Ski Program, including groomed trails, equipment rentals and beginner lessons.

For those looking to try something new, snowshoeing events will be offered at many Forest Preserves locations. Visitors can enjoy snowshoeing lessons, hikes and more. For a calendar of snowshoeing events, visit http://fpdcc.com/events/category/activity/snow-shoeing/.

The Forest Preserves offers nine different sledding and coasting hills for the 2015-2016 season. Dan Ryan Woods, Caldwell Woods, Deer Grove Picnic Grove #5, Westchester Woods and Pioneer Woods offer sledding with lighting from 10 a.m. to 9 p.m.; and Indian Hill Woods, Indian Road Woods, Schiller Woods and Deer Grove Picnic Grove #4 offer sledding without lighting from 10 a.m. to sunset. To learn more, visit fpdcc.com/recreation/sledding-coasting.

Our six Nature Centers are a great place for free educational fun along with a number of other events and activities which are planned in the preserves throughout the season. With nearly 70,000 acres of land and various habitats such as forest woodlands, wetlands, prairie and savanna, winter also provides an excellent opportunity to bird and wildlife watch, practice photography, and appreciate the variances of Cook County's different landscapes under a soft blanket of snow.

For a complete list of winter activities, locations and rules, visit fpdcc.com/recreation/winter.

MAJOR EVENTS

Stars, Stories and S'mores
Bring the whole family to enjoy an evening in the woods with a fire, storytelling, snacks and other nature activities.
Thursday, Dec, 3, 5 p.m. - 8 p.m.
Caldwell Woods, 6350 W Devon Ave, Chicago

Christmas Past
Visit our pioneer cabins as we celebrate this joyous time of year in a simpler way with homemade toys, chestnuts roasting and popcorn popping in the open fire. Everyone is invited to make a craft to take home.
Sunday, Dec 6, 11 a.m. - 3 p.m.
Sand Ridge Nature Center, 15891 S Paxton, South Holland

Winter Breakout Adventures
Don't let the chilly winter bring you down-embrace your time off from school and head outdoors. Youth and families, join us for snowshoeing (weather permitting), crafts using wood, winter bird migration, tracking and shelter building. Warm up with a campfire and s'mores. Come for the day or just for an hour. All activities offered on each day, weather permitting. For more information, call 708-386-4042 ext 26.
Monday, Dec. 21 and Tuesday, Dec. 22, Noon - 4 p.m.
Camp Reinberg, 1801 N Quentin Road, Palatine

Winter Solstice Bonfire
Celebrate the shortest day of the year with a nature walk, bonfire and trimming of the wildlife tree. Family program; no organized groups please. In-person registration required starting 12/1. $3 per person.
Monday, Dec. 21, 7 p.m. - 8:30 p.m.
Little Red Schoolhouse, 9800 Willow Springs Rd, Willow Springs

Winter Exploration Days
Get outside and enjoy winter in the preserves. This is a great opportunity for the whole family to enjoy snowshoe nature hikes, cross-country skiing and sledding (weather permitting). We'll also have winter crafts, a campfire and more. All ages.

* Saturday, Jan.9, Noon - 4 p.m.
Caldwell Woods, 6350 W Devon Ave, Chicago

* Saturday, Feb. 6 • Noon - 4 p.m.
Dan Ryan Woods, 87th & Western Ave, Chicago

* Saturday, Feb. 27 • Noon - 4 p.m.
Rolling Knolls, 11N260 Rohrssen Rd, Elgin

• Saturday, Mar. 12, Noon - 4 p.m.
Thatcher Woods, 8030 W Chicago Ave, River Forest

Winter Wellness in the Woods
Be well and get active with winter-related activities while enjoying the benefits of nature. Learn how to dress for exercise in the cold, and join us for a brisk hike on the trails.
Saturday, Jan. 16, 9 a.m. - 11 a.m.
Swallow Cliff Stairs, 10267 Calumet Sag Rd, Palos Hills

Martin Luther King, Jr. Day of Service
Join us for a day of stewardship and service. Help staff remove invasive plants that threaten the health of our forest preserves. Also, enjoy a variety of fun, family-friendly wintertime activities.
Monday, Jan. 18, Noon - 3 p.m.
Dan Ryan Woods, 87th & Western, Chicago

Surf the White Winter Wave
Join us for a Polynesian take on winter. After skiing the "frozen wave," relax and enjoy surfing videos and live updates on surf conditions from Oahu's North Shore. Dress Hawaiian and win a prize.
Saturday, Jan. 23, 9 a.m. - 3 pm
Sagawau Environmental Learning Center, 12545 W 111th St, Lemont

Birch Leggings and the Birkie
Bring out your wooden skis and wool knickers. Learn the history of the Birkebeiner Ski Race and how it became the greatest ski race.
Saturday, Feb. 13, 9 a.m. - 3 p.m.
Sagawau Environmental Learning Center, 12545 W 111th St, Lemont

Darwin Celebration Days
Celebrate Charles Darwin's birthday! Join us as we explore adaptation, fitness, selection and survival through activities and displays. Drop-in program for adults and families.
Saturday, Feb. 13 and Sunday, Feb. 14, 11 a.m. - 3 p.m.
Trailside Museum of Natural History, 738 Thatcher Ave, River Forest

Black History Month: Underground Railroad Hike
Join us to learn about Black History with an educational display and interactive history hike. An imaginary journey follows an Underground Railroad route used in Illinois in the mid-1800s.
Sunday, Feb. 28, 11 a.m. - 3 p.m.
Sand Ridge Nature Center, 15891 S Paxton, South Holland

OTHER EVENTS

Snowshoe Trekking
There's no better way to experience the preserves in the winter than by snowshoe. Come out and try our snowshoes (conditions permitting) for free. Open to the public. No registration required. Check facebook.com/campincook for snow conditions and updates. Snow conditions at each campground will be updated by 9 a.m. on these Saturdays.

* Saturday, Jan. 16 & 30, 10 a.m. - 4 p.m.
Camp Sullivan, 14630 Oak Park Ave, Oak Forest
224-501-6631

• Saturday, Feb. 13 & 27, 10 a.m. - 4 p.m.
Camp Bullfrog Lake, 9600 Wolf Rd, Willow Springs
224-501-6633

Third Thursdays (series)
This monthly series explores nature, art and more. For more information, call 312-415-2970 or e-mail experience.nature@cookcountyil.gov.

Solstice Sunrise Celebration
Help us welcome the sunrise with a fire and celebration as we approach the shortest day of the year. All ages.
Thursday, Dec. 17, 6:30 a.m. - 8:30 a.m.
Cummings Square, 536 N Harlem Ave, River Forest

A Stroll in the Snow
Explore beautiful Thatcher Woods. Learn about plants and animals in winter, and try snow painting. Snowshoeing activities are weather permitting, and equipment is limited. All ages are welcome, but snowshoes are recommended for ages 6 and up.
Thursday, Jan. 21, 1 p.m. - 4 p.m.
Thatcher Woods, 8030 Chicago Ave, River Forest

Animal Tracking: Print, Pattern and Place
Join us as we investigate who's been visiting our local preserve. Learn about the habits and adaptations of animals in winter, and make your own animal track to take home. All ages.
Thursday, Feb. 18 • 10 a.m. - Noon
Cummings Square, 536 N Harlem Ave, River Forest

Outdoor Adventures
Calling all outdoor adventurers: meet up for outdoor skill building, exploring, hiking, nature-based art making and more. Call 312-533-5751 to reserve your spot. All ages.

Winter GPS Hunt
It can be difficult to find your way around a bare winter forest. Learn the benefits of a field GPS unit and how to use one. Then test your new skills on a coordinate-based scavenger hunt.
Wednesday, Dec. 9, 4:30 p.m. - 6:30 p.m.
Dan Ryan Woods, 87th & Western, Chicago

Twig-Tac-Toe
The forest is full of natural materials you can use to make your own fun. We'll start with an exploratory hike. Then we'll use imagination to create games and activities to try next time you're out in nature.
Wednesday, Jan. 27, 4 p.m. - 6 p.m.
Thatcher Woods, 8030 W Chicago Ave, River Forest

Tracking Nature
Join us as we investigate different habitats and look for native animal tracks. We'll play games, go on an investigative hike, and create our "own" tracks using a print-making process.
Wednesday, Feb. 24, 5 p.m. - 7 p.m.
Caldwell Woods Warming Shelter 6350 W Devon Ave, Chicago

Photo Meet-Ups (series)
This monthly series is led by a naturalist and will highlight a natural area with scenic vistas, interesting plants and wildlife. For all photographer levels and camera types.

* Saturday, Dec 26, 10 a.m.
Sand Ridge Nature Center, 15891 Paxton, South Holland

* Saturday, Jan. 17, 10 a.m.
Sand Ridge Nature Center, 15891 Paxton, South Holland

* Saturday, Feb. 6, 10 a.m.
Crabtree Nature Center, 3 Stover Rd, Barrington Hills

Winter Camping Workshops
Curious about winter camping? Want to try something different and develop new skills? Bring your family and friends out to learn the basics of winter camping. Activities include winter weather safety and layering, winter fire building, snow shelter building, winter nature activities and snowshoeing (conditions permitting). Free. No registration required.

* Wednesday, Jan. 13 • 5:30 p.m. - 7:30 p.m.
Camp Reinberg - Dining Hall, 1801 N Quentin, Palatine

* Wednesday, Feb. 10, 5:30 p.m. - 7:30 p.m.
Camp Sullivan - Bunkhouse #2, 14630 Oak Park Ave, Oak Forest

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 12:34 AM | Permalink

November 23, 2015

The Weekend In Chicago Rock

You shoulda been there.

1. FUZZ at Thalia Hall on Friday night.


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2. Acid Witch at the Cobra Lounge on Saturday night.

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3. Negative Scanner at the Gray Center on Friday night.

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4. The Dandy Warhols at Thalia Hall on Friday night.

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5. Gerald Dowd with Dave Nelson at Park West on Friday night.

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6. Jeff Tweedy at Park West on Friday night.

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7. Glen Hansard & Aoife O'Donovan at the Chicago Theatre on Saturday night.

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8. DNCE at Bottom Lounge on Friday night.

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9. The Great Ache at Moe's Tavern on Friday night.

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10. Beach Slang at Subterranean on Saturday night.

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11. The Royal Concept at Subterranean on Thursday night.

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12. Watain at Durty Nellie's in Palatine on Saturday night.

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13. Mayhem at Durty Nellie's in Palatine on Saturday night.

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14. Odesza at the Aragon on Saturday night.

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15. Rick Ross at the Chicago Theatre on Friday night.

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16. Between The Buried and Me at the House of Blues on Thursday night.

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17. Silverstein at the House of Blues on Friday night.

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18. Britt Dignan at the Tree in Joliet on Saturday night.

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19. Moon Taxi at Thalia Hall on Sunday night.

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20. Heather Styka at Transistor on Friday.

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21. Sue Fink at Transistor on Friday.

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22. The Landmarks at Bric-a-Brac on Sunday.

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23. Minor Wits at Bric-a-Brac on Sunday.

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Catching up with . . .

MELK at Subterranean on Wednesday night.

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Micachu and The Shapes at the Empty Bottle on Wednesday night.

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 10:07 AM | Permalink

SportsMonday: Meatball Mania

You can hear it echoing across the alleyways of Chicago in the aftermath of the Bears 17-15 loss to the Broncos on Sunday - the distinctive cry of the species known as the meatball sports fan.

With other animals, you have to listen close to catch the intricacies. Not so with the meatball, who caws "If the idiot coach would've just done this, our team would've won that," over and over and over again.

The meatball (and a bunch of commentators in this town for that matter) believes that all the separate little parts of a game exist in their own little vacuums. If you could, you would just go back and change what you see as the mistake, enjoy the short-term benefit, watch the rest of the game play out exactly the way it did and then bask in vindication when your team pulled out the win thanks to the adjustment you made.

There is no reasoning with a meatball. You can try to point out that it didn't make sense for the Bears to go for a field goal with 10 minutes left in a game in which they trailed by eight. If you do that and convert, you still trail by five, you still need a touchdown. Far better to go for the touchdown and if you don't get it, leave the Broncos buried deep in their territory.

But of course when the fourth-down try fails, it is right there for everyone to see. Obviously they shouldn't have gone for it. There is a slight bias there of course. You can point out that just because something didn't work out in the Bears' favor one time doesn't mean it wouldn't work out in their favor the majority of times in a series of re-stagings. Doesn't matter to a meatball.

Then you can point out that the Bears had a beautiful play call on fourth down - that they had wide receiver Marc Mariani break wide open across the back of the end zone. But quarterback Jay Cutler (who probably gave up on the route when he saw Mariani stumble briefly) didn't see him (and tossed away his tablet in disgust with himself when he watched the replay on the sideline shortly thereafter).

You can also point out that if the Broncos had led by only five rather than eight on their last possession, they probably would have gone for it on fourth-and-one from inside Bears territory, made it, and then run out the clock. You can also point out that the Bears just aren't very good and have had a higher than average number of injuries befall critical players. But you would be wasting your breath.

The meatballs also busted out a secondary whine after the two-point conversion play with 24 seconds remaining, chirping "What the hell kind of call was that?"

And it must be said that running the same play you had just run the play before for the touchdown didn't look good, especially when the Denver defense stuffed Jeremy Langford for no gain. But perhaps there were other factors at play, factors that weren't readily apparent from a fan's (or initial commentator's) viewpoint?

Sure enough, Langford gave it up in the post-game: The play in question was not a simple run up the middle. It was a play specifically designed to make it as easy as possible for Cutler to choose between a run and a pass. He chose a run. It appeared that several Bears did not realize a run had been called. Bronco safety T.J. Ward, who is quite simply one of the best defensive players at any position in the NFL, sniffed it out and grabbed hold of Langford well short of the end zone. Teammates rushed in and finished the rally-killer.

Coach John Fox and Cutler were close-mouthed afterward about who in particular had messed up the play. Some of the blame will have to go on Cutler, who failed to make sure everyone was on the same page.

Oh, and there was a factor that caused me to sing out in my own distinctive way: "Why the hell didn't you just call your last timeout at that point!"

I consider myself a member of the "at least a few brain cells are still operational" species within the sports fan genus. Folks with a few more cells still going might point out, "If you call timeout, you give the defense just as much of an extra chance to get ready for the conversion as you do the offense - more and more smart teams in multiple sports eschew late-game timeouts, knowing that stopping the momentum in those situations clearly helps the defense more."

And at that point I would simply return my attention to my species' primary form of nourishment - beer, and continue to prepare for hibernating through the last month of this football season.

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Jim "Coach" Coffman is our man on Mondays. He welcomes your comments.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 9:32 AM | Permalink

Congressional Members Honor America's Biblical Foundation Through Public Scripture Reading

WASHINGTON D.C. - The National Bible Association hosted a special scripture reading Tuesday on the east lawn of the U.S. Capitol. This special event honored America's Biblical foundation as a number of congressmen read from the historic Aitken Bible, printed in 1782. Also, there was a special reading of the Lord's prayer from the Eliot Indian Bible, the first bible printed in North America, by Naticksqw Chief Caring Hands. The bibles for this event were coordinated by Museum of the Bible.

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U.S. Senate Chaplain Barry Black offered a prayer during the event, praying for the United States as well as the people of Paris. Elected officials then read from Matthew, chapter 5 and read through chapter 7, verse 10 in succession. Readers included Rep. Robert Aderholt, Sen. Tom Carper, Rep. Louie Gohmert, Rep. Steve King, Sen. Tim Scott, and Sen. John Thain. U.S. House of Representatives Chaplain Pat Conroy was also a part of the program.

"This was an incredibly moving day for us as the words of the Bible resonated across the capitol grounds from the voices of some our governments leaders," said Richard Glickstein, president of the National Bible Society. "The opportunity to honor the scripture in public is part of the foundations of this great country and something all of us should be thankful for.

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Naticksqw Chief Caring Hands reads from the Eliot Indian Bible in front of the U.S. Capitol.
This event set the stage for the upcoming International Day of the Bible which will be held on Monday, Nov. 23 at noon in local time zones around the world. People of all ages are being invited to participate by taking pause for a few minutes to read or even sing Scripture or otherwise creatively express their love of The Good Book.

International Day of the Bible is sponsored by the National Bible Association. Organizations like The American Bible Society, YouVersion, Bible Gateway, Scripture Union, Museum of the Bible and Bibles for the World are encouraging participation within their own communities.

A person could simply read a favorite passage with family, friends, co-workers and schoolmates, but participation can go beyond just Bible reading. Other ideas include breaking into a flash mob, singing and dancing Scripture, painting or drawing a picture with a few lines of a verse, or capturing God's creations in photos, selfies included, and sharing them along with a beloved Psalm.

See content of the day unfold by following the hashtag #BibleCelebration on social media.

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 6:01 AM | Permalink

The [Monday] Papers

"Chicago Public Schools Board Vice President Jesse Ruiz, who in recent months has become the Board's most outspoken member, will be leaving that post at the end of the calendar year," Catalyst reports.

"Mayor Rahm Emanuel's office announced on Friday the appointment of Ruiz to the Board of Commissioners of the Chicago Park District, where the mayor is recommending that he be elected president by the other commissioners.

"Ruiz did not respond to messages on Friday afternoon.

"While technically a move up, Ruiz' transfer from the School Board to the Park District is being viewed by close observers as a demotion because of the lesser prominence of the Parks board."

Now here's the fun part:

Insiders say CEO Forrest Claypool and City Hall have been increasingly frustrated with some of Ruiz's lines of public questioning about charter schools and the need for more transparency.

We take this as politics as usual - especially around here - but the implications are profound. Ruiz has been removed from the school board for asking too many questions - which around here means more than zero - and his (apparent) desire for transparency.

1. If you haven't yet been convinced of the need for an elected school board, does this do it? If you are going to have a school board of puppets, why have one at all?

2. If you fell for Rahm Emanuel's campaign pledges to run a more transparent government, you've now been fooled twice. Shame on you.

3. If you believed the media's narrative about Saint Forrest Claypool, think again.

4. If you ever had any doubts that school board meetings are nothing but tightly scripted theater, those doubts should now be gone. Ruiz has been moved because he went off-script - ever so slightly. Bring on the understudy!

5. Is it really a demotion given that Ruiz now has a board presidency? Yes, unless the park district gets a mandate to close 50 parks - and even then. My guess is that the board presidency was a necessary political consolation prize to deflect criticism of Emanuel for lack of Latinos on the school board - and a strong enough message to Ruiz, who has always been an apparatchik longing for a political future, to stay in line.

Minding Marin
"Esteemed Chicago journalist Carol Marin is stepping down after 11 years as a columnist for the Sun-Times to join the faculty of DePaul University this spring," media blogger Robert Feder reports.

I'm sure I'm not the only one who got a chuckle out of this part of the story:

"[T]he Center for Journalism Integrity and Excellence will be located in the Richard M. and Maggie C. Daley Building."

The Unbearable White Maleness Of Sports Media
Progress has been grudgingly slow - and it shows.

On a special edition of Beachwood Radio - with special guest Evan F. Moore.

SportsMonday: Meatball Mania
You can hear their distinctive cry across Chicago today.

Congressmen Read The Bible
Other ideas include breaking into a flash mob.

TV Reporter Going To Paris
Finally figures out what he wants to say.

Survivor Of Holiday Lighting Accident Shares His Story
Please take note of your surroundings before decorating outside.

The Weekend In Chicago Rock
Featuring: FUZZ, Acid Witch, Negative Scanner, The Dandy Warhols, Gerald Dowd with Dave Nelson, Jeff Tweedy, Glen Hansard & Aoife O'Donovan, DNCE, The Great Ache, Beach Slang, The Royal Concept, Watain, Mayhem, Odesza, Rick Ross, Between The Buried and Me, Silverstein, Britt Dignan, Moon Taxi, Heather Styka, Sue Fink, The Landmarks, Minor Wits, MELK, and Micachu and The Shapes.

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BeachBook

ISIL is Weak

Waleed talks about how we can stop ISIL #TheProjectTVWritten by Waleed and Tom Whitty (@twhittyer)

Posted by The Project on Monday, November 16, 2015

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The chief executive officer of the Illinois Neurological Institute makes an appearance in this piece.

Posted by The Beachwood Reporter on Sunday, November 22, 2015

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TweetWood
A sampling.

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The Beachwood Tip Line: Stop pretending.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 5:58 AM | Permalink

Survivor Of Holiday Lighting Accident Shares Life-Saving Safety Lessons

SPRINGFELD, Ill. - Thanksgiving weekend for millions is when the boxes of lights come out and the holiday decorating begins. Unfortunately, the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission reports that more than 12,500 people are sent to the emergency room every holiday season because of injuries sustained from lighting and decorating. To keep the holiday season merry and bright, learn from the tragic experience of Shawn Miller who encourages people to educate themselves about electrical safety to avoid tragedy.

"I was just hanging Christmas lights at my mom's house like I do every year," explains Miller. "Only this time, I was decorating a new area - the trees that lined the front of the yard." As he tossed lights up into the trees, 7,200 volts of electricity entered his body, traveling from the overhead power lines through his strand of lights. He suffered 27 exit wounds as well as the loss of his left hand and a finger on his right hand.

"Please take note of your surroundings before decorating outside," Miller urges, "especially power lines and the service connection to your home. Make sure to keep yourself, ladders, and lights far away from them. I'm lucky to be alive. I want everyone to be careful - be aware of power lines."

"Shawn Miller has a lot to teach us about electrical safety, and we are grateful he has shared his story," says Molly Hall, executive director of the Safe Electricity program.

Miller worked with the Safe Electricity program to create public service announcements and a video of his story to help others learn from his experience.

"Had I known more before this happened, I might still have two hands and the job I loved," Miller says. "I want to help people learn from what has happened to me. Safe Electricity is helping me help others."

Safe Electricity shares the following tips for those who are undertaking outdoor lighting and decorating projects to help them do safely:

  • When decorating outside, look up and look out. Never throw holiday lights or other decorations into trees near power lines.
  • Be especially careful when working near power lines attached to your house. Keep ladders, equipment, and yourself at least 10 feet from power lines.
  • Use only lights, cords, animated displays, and decorations rated for outdoor use. Follow the manufacturer's instructions on how to use them. Use plastic or insulated hooks to hang lights.
  • Cords should be plugged into outlets equipped with Ground Fault Circuit Interrupters. Use a portable GFCI if your outdoor outlets are not equipped with them. GFCI protection is very important outdoors, where weather conditions can create dangerous electrical situations.
  • Do not staple or nail through light strings or electrical cords, and do not attach cords to utility poles.
  • Outdoor holiday lights are for seasonal use, up to 90 days. Bring them inside after the holidays.
  • Avoid decorating outside on windy or wet days. Choose to decorate in favorable weather conditions and during daylight hours.

To learn more, visit SafeElectricity.org.

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The Shawn Miller Story.

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 5:33 AM | Permalink

Jonathan Pie, TV Reporter! Is Going To Paris

Figures out how we win.


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Previously in Jonathan Pie, TV Reporter!:

* Jonathan Pie, TV Reporter! Explains The Economy.

* Jonathan Pie, TV Reporter! It's Shit Crap News, Tim.

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And:

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 5:20 AM | Permalink

November 22, 2015

Beachwood Radio Special Edition: The Unbearable White Maleness Of Sports Media

Progress has been grudging - and it shows.


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SHOW NOTES

* Evan F. Moore.

2:00: Patrick Kane vs. Derrick Rose.

* The Perception Of The Black Athlete.

* The Misconception Of NBA Players And Free Agency.

* Patrick Kane Is Not Your Friend.

* Scared White People Are Running Out Of Reasons To Hate Cam Newton.

7:30: Even This Report On (The Lack Of) Diversity In Sports Media Got Short Shrift.

The number of jobs held by women and members of minority groups in sports departments at newspapers and websites remains low, according to a study by the University of Central Florida's Institute for Diversity and Ethics in Sports.

The report once again gave the more than 100 outlets that belong to the Associated Press Sports Editors group a C-plus grade for the racial diversity of their hiring and their fourth straight failing grade for gender diversity.

Last year, 91.5 percent of sports editors, 90.2 percent of assistant sports editors, 83.5 percent of columnists, 85 percent of reporters and 83.3 percent of copy editors or designers were white. Also, 90.1 percent of sports editors were men.

* Employers Hire Potential Drinking Buddies Ahead Of Top Candidates

* National Association of Black Journalists.

* The American Society of Newspaper Editors' annual census.

* Newsroom Diversity: Why We Should Care.

* Marginalized Groups Use Internet To Broaden Networks.

* BuzzFeed's New Diversity Numbers Show Digital Media Giant Has Caught Up With The Washington Post.

13:38: Sports Media's Biggest Impasse.

"When I started at WGN . . . there were three women, and we were all update anchors," [Score update anchor Julie] DiCaro said. "They had guys coming in who hadn't been in the industry six months, right out of college, and they were getting hosting positions. But we went to update anchors."

* DiCaro: My Astoundingly Typical Rape.

* I Went To The Hospital For A Rape Kit, And It Was a 7-Hour Ordeal That Left Me Feeling Completely Alone.

* Why I Hate Reporting On Investigations.

* Michelle Beadle Has Perfect Reaction To Dan Bernstein's Gross Comments About A Female Colleague.

26:40: Your White Guy Code Word Power Rankings.

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* See the item The Insidiousness Of Racism.

* See also: The [Race] Papers.

* The Big Book Of Black Quarterbacks.

* Dan Bernstein Can Breathe. (So Can John Kass.)

* Matt Slauson Overcame Stuttering.

41:17: Numbers: Leagues, Media, Fans, Cities.

* Media Makeup Just Factually Does Not Reflect The City's Demographics. In Fact, It's Not Even Close.

* Where Are All The Black NBA Coaches?

* Also: College Hoops' Black Coaching Issue.

* African-American Fans Have The Highest Growth Rate Among NHL Fans.

* Almost All Baseball Announcers Are White Dudes. Why?

* Boo-Ya: How Stuart Scott Taught ESPN That Black Culture Matters.

* The Leading Driver Of Diversity In Sports Journalism? It's ESPN.

* Thirst trap.

49:52: Black Grantland.

* Kevin Merida Will Join ESPN To Run The Undefeated.

* Greg Howard vs. Jason Whitlock.

* The Shadow League was backed by ESPN.

56:09: Re-Education Camps For White Men!

* Kristen McQueary & Eric Zorn.

1:04:16: Upcoming from Evan F. Moore: Victim Shaming And Hero Worship.

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Some places you can find Evan F. Moore:

* @evanFmoore.

* The Shadow League.

* LinkedIn.

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For Beachwood Radio archives, see The Beachwood Radio Network.

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 5:13 AM | Permalink

November 21, 2015

The Weekend Desk Report

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Programming Note
For all the completists out there, there was no Papers column on Friday.

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Collinsville Catsup
"The World's Largest Catsup Bottle has a new owner," the downstate Belleville News-Democrat reports.

"Former owner Larry Eckert, of Bethel-Eckert Enterprise, sold the Collinsville landmark and the surrounding warehouse property to Franklin 'Al' Bieri, owner of Mississippi River Construction Co., located at 201 Scott Troy Road, O'Fallon.

"I've got a trivia question for you: Who owns the World's Largest Catsup Bottle?" Bieri said Thursday. "I do."

That's pretty good, but it'd be a lot cooler if A) we no longer used the word "catsup," and B) there was actually ketchup in the world's largest ketchup bottle. Also, it's not really a bottle, though it once did hold water.

Oh, and Illinois:

"In 2013, Bieri was sentenced in federal court to five months imprisonment, three months of home confinement and three years of supervised release for improper handling of asbestos at another property he owned."

In a statement at the time, the U.S. Attorney Stephen Wigginton said:

"This well-heeled businessman tried to save a few bucks by sending in untrained and improperly protected people, then had them dispose of this dangerous material improperly, exposing unsuspecting landfill workers. This conduct is breathtaking, literally. This jail sentence should demonstrate that no one is above the law, and my office will continue to aggressively pursue those who threaten the environment and public safety."

Bieri refused to talk to the News-Democrat about the incident

"If you want to talk about criminal history, we've got nothing to talk about," Bieri said.

Geez, Al, why not just apologize and say you hope to preserve your new ketchup bottle so it can continue to bring joy to the people? I mean, if you're going to have a bad attitude about the time you endangered the health of your workers, I'm never gonna come visit. And I love ketchup. I put it on everything, including hot dogs.

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It's on the National Register of Historic Places.

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Who owns the ketchup bottle now?!!! Don't swing it around like a big dick.

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If you go . . . Merchandise is available at the pharmacy.

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There's a festival.

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"The water tower was constructed in 1949 by the W.E. Caldwell Company," according to the bottle's Wikipedia page.

"The tower was built to supply water to the nearby Brooks catsup plant owned by the G.S. Suppiger Company. The president of the company, Gerhart S. Suppiger, is credited with the suggestion that the water tower be designed to resemble one of the company's catsup bottles."

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Brooks catsup still exists and my guess is it's pretty awful.

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Also, they should make the bottles look like the water tower. Make it a retro play.

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The Beachwood Radio Sports Hour #78: Grenver Packers Week
Bears face Brock Osweiler and Aaron Rodgers in two-game, five-day stretch. Plus: The NFL Stinks; The Slausonator; Osweiler Better Than Clausen, Fales; Packers Doom Spiral; Bulls Holding Serve; Blackhawks Gellin' Like Thornton Melon; and Cubs Hat Trick.

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The Sound Opinions Weekend Listening Report: "Sometimes we look forward to an artist's new release with great expectations, only to be crushed by the result. In honor of Thanksgiving, we present the annual Sound Opinions Turkey Shoot, where Jim and Greg share the biggest musical disappointments of the year. Later they review the new album from Canadian electronic artist Grimes, and Greg drops a quarter in the Desert Island Jukebox."

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Weekend BeachBook

This is where we're already at as a nation:"The FBI pays 15,000 fake eco-activists to spy on (and entrap)...

Posted by The Beachwood Reporter on Thursday, November 19, 2015

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Chicago taught Tavaris Sanders how to survive among gang members. Is there room for him to thrive at a liberal-arts college?

Posted by The Beachwood Reporter on Friday, November 20, 2015

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TweetWood
A sampling.

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The Weekend Desk Tip Line: No time to lose.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 8:31 AM | Permalink

November 20, 2015

The Beachwood Radio Sports Hour #78: Grenver Brackers Week

Bears face Brock Osweiler and Aaron Rodgers in two-game, five-day stretch. Plus: The NFL Stinks; The Slausonator; Osweiler Better Than Clausen, Fales; Packers Doom Spiral; Bulls Holding Serve; Blackhawks Gellin' Like Thornton Melon; and Cubs Hat Trick.


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SHOW NOTES

* Keith Van Horne.

* Eleanor Mondale.

* Van Horne: Why I'm Suing The NFL.

* Mark Schlereth.

* ESPN: Why NBA Beats NFL When It Comes To Guaranteed Contracts.

* Troy Aikman.

* WSJ: Flag Football - The Alternative For Concerned Parents.

11:40: The Slausonator.

* Bearsmentum.

18:10: Osweiler Better Than Clausen, Fales.

* David Fales back on the practice squad.

* Jimmy Clausen ranked worst backup QB in NFL. (That would make him the 60th best QB on the planet.)

* Vic Fangio calls Shea McClellin a stud.

33:48: Packers Doom Spiral.

* Thanksgiving tilt.

39:37: Bulls Holding Serve.

* Circus Trip.

* Ringling Bros. Says No More Elephants By 2018.

* Butler's Season-High 32 Powers Bulls past Suns.

* Derrick Rose (Ankle) Game-Time Decision Vs. Warriors; Aaron Brooks (Hamstring) Out.

* Can The Warriors Beat The Bulls' 72-Win Record?

* Andre Iguodala To Rescue As Warriors Escape Nets, Stay Unbeaten.

48:37: Blackhawks Gellin' Like Thornton Melon.

* NHL All-Star Game To Comprise Three 20-Minute, 3-On-3 Games.

* Duncan Keith Activated From Long-Term IR.

52:50: Cubs Hat Trick.

* Jake Arrieta Admits To Arm Fatigue In The Playoffs.

* Target One: David Price.

* David Ross's last season is also the one in which we can now accept nothing less than a World Series championship.

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STOPPAGE: 2:36

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For archives and other Beachwood shows, see The Beachwood Radio Network.

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 12:12 PM | Permalink

The Week In Chicago Rock

You shoulda been there.

1. El Vy at the Metro on Thursday night.


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2. Union 13 at the Chop Shop on Sunday night.

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3. Melanie Martinez at House of Blues on Tuesday night.

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4. Macy Gray at City Winery on Wednesday night.

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5. Minus the Bear at House of Blues on Sunday night.

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6. Murder by Death at the House of Blues on Sunday night.

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7. Audiodamn! at Schubas on Wednesday night.

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8. Copeland at the Metro on Sunday night.

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9. The Toadies at the Double Door on Sunday night.

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10. My Life With The Thrill Kill Kult at the Bottom Lounge on Sunday night.

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11. Cocksure at the Bottom Lounge on Sunday night.

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12. PiL at the Concord on Wednesday night.

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Catching up with . . .

John Prine and Loudon Wainwright III at the Rialto in Joliet last Saturday night.

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 8:32 AM | Permalink

Local Book Notes: Rahm's Struggles In The Global City, A New Deal For Bronzeville & The Unequal City

1. Third-World Meets World-Class.

The press release:

A new book, Twenty-First Century Chicago, Second Edition, investigates the social, economic, political, and governmental conditions of the Chicago metropolitan area and analyses the region's role in today's globalized economy.

The book, published Thursday by Cognella, focuses on Chicago's efforts in recent years to establish itself as a top-tier Global City and it examines the governmental actions and politics of Mayors Richard M. Daley and Rahm Emanuel as they grappled with the city's most pressing challenges.

"In this new edition, we included Mayor Emanuel's re-election speech from April 7th this year because he lists some of his goals for city and states how he intends to govern," said Dick Simpson, one of the books' three editors, a political science professor at the University of Illinois at Chicago, and a former Chicago alderman.

"We also included several articles that are highly critical of the mayor in the book, which is an anthology of news stories, memoirs, first-hand accounts, and little known research reports advocating change for Chicago."

In addition to Simpson, co-editors of the book are Constance A. Mixon, associate professor of political science and director of urban studies at Elmhurst College, and Melissa Mouritsen, assistant professor of political science at the College of DuPage.

The 288-page book is organized into seven parts: Choosing Chicago's Future; Race and Class; Chicago Politics; Chicago Government; Global Chicago; Metropolitan Chicago; and the New Chicago. The introductions to all seven parts are completely new and one-third of the 34 articles have been added since the first edition was published in 2012.

In the introduction to Part III - Chicago Politics, the editors describe Emanuel's Money Machine that relies on mutually beneficial deals between the mayor and his top campaign contributors. "His power comes from his ability to raise money," said Mixon.

Simpson, Mouritsen and Beyza Buyuker co-authored an article explaining that Chicago's city council has become more of a rubber stamp under Emanuel than under either of the two Mayor Daleys. They document that the city's legislative branch is unable and unwilling to check and balance a strong chief executive.

In an article entitled "A Tale of Two Cities: Education and Human Capital in Global Chicago," Mixon details how educational institutions in Chicago reflect an organized hierarchy that is segregated, like Chicago's neighborhoods, into haves and have-nots.

She documents disparities in the Chicago Public School System and explains how charter schools have become an integral part of the city's policy agenda that advances privatization, deregulation and free markets.

She also argues that higher education's increased focus on workforce preparation has deepened existing conflicts at colleges and universities over the democratic purposes of education and global demands for increased job training.

Mouritsen was the lead author of an article entitled, "Windy City Corruption Blows Across the State." She writes: "The City of Chicago attracts local, national, and even international attention for its long and salient culture of corruption. But the media and the general public tend to overlook the abundant political corruption that also exists in many of the region's suburbs. The predominant stereotype of the suburbs is that they have clean, efficient governments. Yet patronage, nepotism, cronyism, abuse of power and criminal activity flourish, sometimes for decades in numerous city halls, police stations and special government agencies in the suburbs surrounding Chicago and in the collar counties."

In the "Race and Class" section of the book, the editors and authors describe how race and class are intertwined in Chicago. Residential segregation, which is all too common throughout the Chicagoland area, leaves minorities confined to ghettos with underperforming schools and few job opportunities.

In another article, "The Case for Reparations," author Ta-Nehisi Coates describes how "Chicago's long history of racial segregation was created by two housing markets - one legitimate and backed by the government, the other lawless and patrolled by predators."

He explains how the gap in wealth, achievement, and in a wide range of health and well-being outcomes between black and white Americans is the result of governmental policy decisions.

Here's Simpson, Mixon and political consultant Don Rose discussing the book's first edition in 2012:

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2. A New Deal For Bronzeville.

From SIU Press:

During the Great Migration of the 1920s and 1930s, southern African Americans flocked to the South Side Chicago community of Bronzeville, the cultural, political, social and economic hub of African-American life in the city, if not the Midwest.

The area soon became the epicenter of community activism as working-class African Americans struggled for equality in housing and employment.

In this study, Lionel Kimble Jr. demonstrates how these struggles led to much of the civil rights activism that occurred from 1935 to 1955 in Chicago and shows how this working-class activism and culture helped to ground the early civil rights movement.

Despite the obstacles posed by the Depression, blue-collar African Americans worked with leftist organizations to counter job discrimination and made strong appeals to New Deal allies for access to public housing.

Kimble details how growing federal intervention in local issues during World War II helped African Americans make significant inroads into Chicago's war economy and how returning African American World War II veterans helped to continue the fight against discrimination in housing and employment after the war.

The activism that appeared in Bronzeville was not simply motivated by the "class consciousness" rhetoric of the organized labor movement but instead grew out of everyday struggles for racial justice, citizenship rights, and improved economic and material conditions.

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3. Unequal City.

"Ask yourself this question: Were you aware of inequality growing up? Your answer may depend in part on where you went to high school. Students at racially diverse schools, particularly black and Hispanic students, are more tuned in to injustice than students going to school mostly with kids that look like them," NPR reports.

"That's one of the main threads of a new book by Carla Shedd, an assistant professor of sociology and African-American studies at Columbia University. In Unequal City: Race, Schools, and Perceptions of Injustice, Shedd goes straight to the source: the students at four Chicago public high schools."

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From the publisher:

Chicago has long struggled with racial residential segregation, high rates of poverty, and deepening class stratification, and it can be a challenging place for adolescents to grow up.

Unequal City examines the ways in which Chicago's most vulnerable residents navigate their neighborhoods, life opportunities, and encounters with the law.

In this pioneering analysis of the intersection of race, place, and opportunity, sociologist and criminal justice expert Carla Shedd illuminates how schools either reinforce or ameliorate the social inequalities that shape the worlds of these adolescents.

Shedd draws from an array of data and in-depth interviews with Chicago youth to offer new insight into this understudied group.

Focusing on four public high schools with differing student bodies, Shedd reveals how the predominantly low-income African American students at one school encounter obstacles their more affluent, white counterparts on the other side of the city do not face.

Teens often travel long distances to attend school which, due to Chicago's segregated and highly unequal neighborhoods, can involve crossing class, race, and gang lines.

As Shedd explains, the disadvantaged teens who traverse these boundaries daily develop a keen "perception of injustice," or the recognition that their economic and educational opportunities are restricted by their place in the social hierarchy.

Adolescents' worldviews are also influenced by encounters with law enforcement while traveling to school and during school hours.

Shedd tracks the rise of metal detectors, surveillance cameras, and pat-downs at certain Chicago schools. Along with police procedures like stop-and-frisk, these prison-like practices lead to distrust of authority and feelings of powerlessness among the adolescents who experience mistreatment either firsthand or vicariously.

Shedd finds that the racial composition of the student body profoundly shapes students' perceptions of injustice. The more diverse a school is, the more likely its students of color will recognize whether they are subject to discriminatory treatment.

By contrast, African American and Hispanic youth whose schools and neighborhoods are both highly segregated and highly policed are less likely to understand their individual and group disadvantage due to their lack of exposure to youth of differing backgrounds.

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4. The Smut Peddler Who Was Too Real For The Art Institute.

"[T]hings came to a head when her faculty adviser called her in for a meeting and more or less advised her to uglify her own work. There was too much detail, too much realism, they complained. Her pictures actually looked like something.

"She said, 'You know what you need to do? Get a canvas and put it against the wall. Are you right-handed? OK. Take a broom handle and tie a paintbrush to [it], and put it in your left hand, and then put your back to the canvas. And paint that way!'" she recalls.

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5. Album Reviews In Comic Book Form.

"The concept is simple: each week Chris portrays a cartoon version of himself, a die-hard music fan, reviewing a band's new album over the course of six comic book panels. "

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 6:58 AM | Permalink

Which 2016 Presidential Candidates Would Win And Lose Under A Small Donor Matching Program?

Candidates in the 2016 presidential race would see a dramatic shift in fundraising success under a proposed small donor public financing system, according to a study released on Wednesday by U.S. PIRG Education Fund.

Using third quarter fundraising data filed with the Federal Election Commission (FEC) this October, the report examines the impact of a program that matches small contributions with limited public funds for candidates who agree not to accept large donations.

"Right now, most candidates from both parties are dependent on large donors to fund their campaigns, while voters across the political spectrum are calling for reform," said Abe Scarr, Illinois PIRG Education Fund director. "It doesn't have to be that way. A small donor matching program would fundamentally change the way our elections work, giving candidates who engage with regular Americans a chance to compete with fundraising by those who choose to rely on big money."

U.S. PIRG Education Fund's study examines the impact of a small donor matching system similar to those proposed in the Government by the People Act (H.R. 20) and the Fair Elections Now Act (S. 1538).

Both of these bills propose a program that would match small contributions with limited public funds at a rate of six-to-one or more and establish lower maximum contribution limits for participating candidates. Campaign finance reform advocates are pushing similar proposals in Chicago and Cook County.

Key findings from the report include:

  • Under a small donor matching system, Bernie Sanders, Hillary Clinton, Ben Carson and Ted Cruz would raise significantly more directly for their campaign than Right to Rise, the largest Super PAC in the 2016 presidential race.
  • Bernie Sanders is currently raising 80% of his contributions from small donors compared to Hillary Clinton's 18% through September, but was outraised by nearly two-to-one. Under a small donor matching system, Sanders would take a commanding lead over Clinton in fundraising, bringing in $244 million next to Clinton's $149 million.
  • While Ben Carson and Ted Cruz currently lead the Republican primary in direct fundraising, Jeb Bush remains a close third, and raises significantly more when super PAC fundraising is taken into account. Under a small donor matching system, Carson and Cruz would outpace Bush in direct fundraising by a factor of four-to-one and would remain ahead in fundraising even when super PAC funds are factored in.
  • Chris Christie is the only candidate who would have raised less under a small donor matching system that requires candidates to accept lower contribution limits. Bush's direct fundraising would increase by only 6% under a small donor matching system.

Small donor matching programs have a track record of success. New York City's program allowed participating candidates in the 2013 city council race to raise 61 percent of their contributions from small donations and matching funds. That year, 92 percent of candidates running in the primary participated in the program.

In September, a poll released by Bloomberg Politics revealed support among 78 percent of Americans for overturning Citizens United. Another poll, released by MAYDAY.US, found that 72 percent of Democrats and 62 percent of Republicans support programs that match small donor contributions with public funds.

"Our campaign finance system is broken. Voters know it, candidates know it, and it's time we do something about it." said Scarr. "Voters in Maine and Seattle took matters into their own hands this past November, approving small donor empowerment programs at the ballot box. This study demonstrates the promise of a small donor empowerment program for Presidential elections that would put regular voters back in control of our elections."

Click here for a third quarter edition of "Boosting the Impact of Small Donors: How Matching Funds Would Reshape the 2016 Presidential Election." You can also find the previous edition of the report using first and second quarter fundraising data here.

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Previously:
* The Secret Money Machine.

* lllinois' Top Campaign Corrupters.

* Illinois: The King Of Dark Money.

* Rahm Biggest Campaign Fund Cheater; Used Loopholes To Keep Donations Secret.

* Former Illinois Congressional Candidate Sues IRS In Quest To Bar Political Ads Funded By Dark Money Groups.

* Your Government Now Brought To You By 1% Of The 1%.

* A Few Rich People Vs. The Rest Of Us In Illinois' Governor's Race.

* 17 Mega-Donors Vs. Everyone Else.

* Rapid Rise In Super PACs Dominated By Single Donors.

* Chicago Mayoral Election Dominated By Big, Out Of Town Money.

* Big Money Dominated Chicago Mayoral Elections.

* New Study Shows Potential Impact Of A Small Donor Matching Program On 2016 Presidential Race.

* TV Ads To Illinois U.S. Senate Candidates: Knock It Off.

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 12:55 AM | Permalink

Beachwood Photo Booth: Ohio House Impact

River North.

ohiohouseetcbw.jpg(ENLARGE - TWICE! - FOR PROPER VIEWING)

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More Chicago photography from Helene Smith.

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Helene on Twitter!

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Meet Helene!

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Stationery, iPhone cases, hoodies.

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Listen to Helene talk about Photo Booth; starts at 57:54.

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Previously:
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Chicago Man Grilling
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Yum Yum Donuts
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Chicago Father's Day
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Vintage Airmaster
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Chicago Time
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Window Shade
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Illinois Slayer
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Chicago Fire Escape
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Golden Nugget
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Hollywood, Chicago
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Flag Man.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Van In Flames.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Fluid Power Automation.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Corn Dog.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Stop The Killing Car.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Chicago Backyard.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: A to Z Things.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Swedish Diner.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Rothschild Liquors.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Chicago Silos.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Chicago Wires.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Orange Garden.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Irving Park Guy.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Chicago Pigeons.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: O'Lanagan's.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: For Rent.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Marie's Pizza & Liquors.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Mori Milk.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: American Breakfast.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: A Chicago Christmas Postcard.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Holiday Harold's.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Chicago Family Fun.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Snow Bike.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Nativity Scene.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Old Warsaw.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Deluxe Cleaners.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Marie's Golden Cue.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Die Another Day.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Sears Key Shop.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Window Dressing.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Jeri's Grill.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Barry's Drugs.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Liberty.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Chicago Kitchen.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Golden Specials.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: We Won The Cup.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Bartender Man.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Blue Plane Blues.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Finest Quality.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Family Guy.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Girls Wanted.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Skokie Savanna.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Signpost.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Old Man And The Tree.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Street Fleet.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Citgo Story.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Fantasy Hair Design.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Chicago Garage.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Clark Stop.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Pole Position.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Window Dressing.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Chicago Geometry.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Found Love.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Fill In The Blank.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Vacuums Of The Night.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Dumpster Still Life.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Wagon Master.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Intersecting West Rogers Park.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Penn-Dutchman Antiques.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Cow Patrol.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Backstage Chicago.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Skully Bungalow.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Francisco Frankenstein.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Long Cool Heat.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Smokers' Mast.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Big Fat Phone.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Happy Day.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Alley Men.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Holiday Show!
* Beachwood Photo Booth: You've Got Mailbox.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Broken Window Theory.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Dali Logan.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Svengoolie.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Horner Park Hot Dogs.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Cubs Rehab.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: 20th Century Schizoid Man.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Men On Vans.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Penn-Dutchman Is Done.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Snowy Lincoln.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Waiting Room.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Avondale Chicken.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Winter's End.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: The Friendly Skies.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Boyhood Buzzer Beater.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: J Date.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: International Window Lady.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Shanghai Inn.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Open For Business.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Andersonville Unplugged.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: 3-Flat.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Evanston Turkey.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Chicagolandia.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Eat At Odge's.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Deitch Pharmacy.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Sud-Z Bubble.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Bands Wanted!
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Belmont Tavern.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Superheroic San Luis Freeze.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Evanston Oasis.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Lyndale Food & Jewelry.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Lincoln Tap.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Book Window.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Alco Dude.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Ballin Drugs.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Don't Worry, Be Cookie.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Four Trey.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: The Office.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: America From Inside The Golden Nugget In Ravenswood.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Cellphone Repair.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Boots 'N' Grill.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Sunrise Strip.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: At The Corner Of Glad And Happy.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Uptown Autumn Night.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Diner.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Mid-Century Modern Halloween.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Autumn Station Wagon.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Betty's & Nick's.

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 12:15 AM | Permalink

Harlem Globetrotters Bring It All Back Home

Founded in Chicago in 1926, the Harlem Globetrotters are preparing for an epic celebration tour during their 90th year. In recent months:

1. The team had an audience with the Pope.


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2. Walked the runway at New York Fashion Week.

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3. Broke seven Guinness World Records.

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4. Collaborated with STOMP in a viral video.

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The team's attention now turns to its birthplace and the Chicago area for the start of their new tour.

CHICAGOLAND / HINCKLEY GAMES

The Globetrotters will celebrate 90 years with Chicago fans during three games at the Rosemont arena on Dec. 29 and 30.

The team will then make a historic return to Hinckley in DeKalb County for a sold-out game at Hinckley-Big Rock High School on Jan. 7 - the anniversary date of the Globetrotters' first ever road game, which took place in Hinckley.

While the Hinckley game is sold out, tickets remain for the three games in Rosemont, as well as games in Valparaiso on Jan. 5 and Bourbonnais on Jan. 6. More info and tix here.

INTERVIEW OPPORTUNITY

On Tuesday, Dec. 15 through Thursday, Dec. 17, Globetrotters stars El Gato Melendez, the first Puerto Rican-born player on the team, and Slick Willie Shaw will be in Chicago to spread goodwill. Their visits will include school assemblies to present the ABCs of Bullying Prevention to local youth.

Slick is known for his incredible two-ball spin:

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THANKSGIVING PARADE

To start the team's 90th year celebration in Chicago, Globetrotters stars Zeus McClurkin and Dragon Taylor will participate in the McDonald's Thanksgiving Parade in downtown Chicago on Nov. 26.

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Previously in the Harlem Globetrotters:
* Dizzy Grant Dribbles Chicago.

* Giving Globetrotter Goose His Due.

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 12:05 AM | Permalink

November 19, 2015

The [Thursday] Papers

"Gov. Bruce Rauner's administration on Wednesday refused to say if it has cut off services to Syrian refugees following his announcement that Illinois would temporarily stop accepting those fleeing the war-torn country, even as other states have pulled the plug on resettlement services," the Tribune reports.

Sometimes there's just no comment I can make to clarify the absurdity of someone's behavior. This is one of those times.

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Meanwhile, from the If Bruce Rauner Loves Indiana So Much He Should Marry It Files:

"A Syrian family that fled the war-torn country in 2011 was welcomed Wednesday to its new home in Connecticut after Indiana officials objected to plans for the refugees to resettle in their state," AP reports.

Frankly this is a much better deal for that family. I spent a summer in Connecticut and while parts of it are shitholes, I've also been to Indiana and all of it is a shithole.

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"The married couple and their 5-year-old son had been living as refugees in Jordan and been waiting three years to resettle in the United States."

Any family waiting three years deserves more than Indiana.

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"They were scheduled to arrive in Indianapolis Thursday but were diverted when Gov. Mike Pence ordered state agencies to halt resettlement activities after the deadly attacks in Paris.

"Connecticut Gov. Dannel P. Malloy said he personally greeted the family upon their arrival Wednesday in New Haven.

"I have to say they were absolutely wonderful and charming folks," Malloy said at a news conference. "I told them that people in the United States are generous and good people but sometimes things happen elsewhere that cause people to forget about their generosity, forget about their native warmth and spirit."

That, my friends, is a governor.

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Among Malloy's achievements:

"At the end of May 2012, Malloy signed a bill that repealed Connecticut's ban on the sale of alcohol on Sundays."

Here's the kicker:

"Connecticut and Indiana had previously been the only states that still had broad restrictions on the sale of alcohol on Sundays."

Just sayin'.

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Back to AP:

"The Indiana Family and Social Services Administration sent letters Tuesday to Exodus Refugee Immigration Inc. in Indianapolis and Catholic Charities Indianapolis saying plans to accept two Syrian families should be halted."

Though they were welcome to buy weapons at any Indiana gun shop!

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"Carleen Miller, Exodus Refugee's executive director, said she doesn't believe the state has the power to stop the resettlements but thought she had no choice but to find another place for the refugees to live with their arrival imminent.

"I did not want this family to be put through any more scrutiny or drama," she said. "Would I have wanted to have more time to push back and say that this is not constitutional, that refugees can go to any state that they want because they're admitted to the U.S., not into a state? Yes. But this was a really urgent situation and I needed to make a decision on behalf of the families."

Here is Exodus Refugee's mission statement:

"Exodus Refugee Immigration works with refugees - worldwide victims of persecution, injustice and war - to establish self-sufficient lives in freedom and sanctuary for themselves and their families in Indiana."

Here is their response to Pence.

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"The second family, which has children ages 2 and 1, is scheduled to arrive in Indianapolis on Dec. 10 and be placed by Catholic Charities Indianapolis.

"Heidi Smith, director of refugee services for Catholic Charities Indianapolis, said the organization is waiting for guidance from the State Department and the national organizations that oversees the program, including the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops.

"Smith said the family scheduled to arrive in December is just the second her organization has handled. She said a family of five arrived in October."

Bless them.

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Watch, listen and/or read this account from March of Syrian refugees in Indiana.

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"Malloy clashed with Pence earlier this year after the Indiana governor signed a religious objections bill into law, calling him a bigot on national television. Malloy said Wednesday he was not surprised by Pence's effort to block the refugees.

"This is the same guy who signed a homophobic bill in the spring, surrounded by homophobes," Malloy said. "I'm not surprised by anything the governor does."

"Pence's spokesman Matt Lloyd called Malloy's comments 'sad, unfortunate and simply not true.'"

Malloy is surprised, Lloyd claimed.

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"President Obama's own FBI director stated last month in congressional testimony that there are gaps in the screening process of Syrian refugees," Lloyd said in an e-mail statement to AP.

That's a misleading interpretation of what FBI director James Comey testified to (as I wrote Wednesday), and AP shouldn't have let it stand unchallenged. Comey said vetting refugees from failed states like Syria is much more difficult than from, say, unfailed states. As it has always been! It's still the most difficult way to enter the country. Comey also said he could not offer "absolute assurance" - as no one can with everything in life. He did not say "there are gaps in the screening process of Syrian refugees." Unlike the AP reporter, I actually just watched the testimony. (What really happened is a Republican congressmen read prepared statements posing as questions that already presumed the conclusion that supported his position against the administration's refugee policy.)

Besides that, just because the FBI director says something doesn't make it true.

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Meanwhile:

That sounds productive: Protect Americans by making refugees desperate and homeless!

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I only bring up Paul here because of this from John Kass, again from Wednesday's column:

"But others were a bit more measured. Sen. Rand Paul, the Kentucky Republican running for president, introduced a bill the other day to suspend visas to refugees from Syria and 30 other countries with jihadist movements."

As I wrote:

That's measured? No more visas to people in 31 countries! Forever? And does that include France and Belgium?

Also, entering the country on a visa is not the same as entering the country as a refugee.

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Meet The Syrian Refugee Family That Was At Wednesday's City Council Meeting Wednesday
Previously featured on CHIRP Radio and in the Tribune.

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#ParisAttacks UPDATE1:
The Eagles of Death Metal, White Lines & Duran Duran's Save A Prayer.

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#ParisAttacks UPDATE2:
The main subject of Wednesday's Trail Of Paris Attackers Winds To Terrorism's Longtime Outpost was killed in yesterday's Saint-Denis raid.

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Virtually No Evidence Mass Surveillance Works
To the contrary, our good friends at ProPublica have found.

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Previously in Paris Attacks, ISIS and Syrian Refugees:
* About ISIS: A catch-all with a familiar hidden hand.

* An ISIS Reading Guide: From ProPublica.

* An Iraqi Smuggler's Tale: Wars in Iraq and Syria have been good for business.

* The [Tuesday] Papers: You have a better chance of winning the Illinois Lottery - and getting paid - than a terrorist has of slipping into the United States posing as a refugee.

* The [Wednesday] Papers: Why I want to hug a woman wearing a hijab today.

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TV Ads To Illinois U.S. Senate Candidates: Knock It Off
A challenge to put their money where their mouths are.

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Talk To The 16-Fingered Foam Hand
In The Blue & Orange Kool-Aid Report - featuring a 16-fingered foam hand.

Fantasy Fix: Cutler's Revenge
More Bears crow.

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Pop-Up Bookstore Report!
Two to know.

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BeachBook

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This is way better than what I wrote today.

Posted by The Beachwood Reporter on Wednesday, November 18, 2015

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TweetWood

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The Beachwood Tip Line: In it to win it.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 11:23 AM | Permalink

Here's The Story Of One Syrian Family That Resettled In Chicago

CHIRP Radio produced this report in September.

"The civil war in Syria drove the Adris family from their home. The war claimed three family members. After a three-year wait, they were able to resettle in Chicago thanks to the Syrian Community Network, and Suzanne Akhras Sahloul, who runs that organization as a volunteer."


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This is the same family that was at the city council meeting on Wednesday; they were also featured in theTribune in September.

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Previously:
* The [Tuesday] Papers: You have a better chance of winning the Illinois Lottery - and getting paid - than a terrorist has of slipping into the United States posing as a refugee.

* The [Wednesday] Papers: Why I want to hug a woman wearing a hijab today.

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 3:36 AM | Permalink

Pop-Up Bookstore Report!

The Chicago Book Expo - a free pop-up bookstore and literary extravaganza - is happening from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Saturday, Nov. 21, at Columbia College at 1104 S. Wabash.

Stop by the expo's book fair, where members of the Society of Midland Authors will be selling signed copies of their books.

The following authors are scheduled to appear at the Society's tables:

11 a.m.-1 p.m.: Carla Knorowski, Re'Lynn Hansen, Bill Yarrow and Marlene Targ Brill.

1-3 p.m.: George Levy, Sandi Wisenberg, Gunter Nitsch and Stan "Tex" Banash.

3-5 p.m.: Greg Borzo, Amelia Cotter and Marlene Targ Brill.

The expo will also include 19 programs, readings and workshops. Special features this year include a book drive to benefit literacy nonprofit Open Books, as well as Pixiehammer Press writing commissioned love and hate letters.

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The Hideout Pre-holiday Pop-up Book Fair.

Forget Black Friday; this is Book Tuesday.

Tuesday, Nov. 24, 5 p.m. - 8 p.m.

Come shop for books, comix and other printed matter before the rush with Belt Publishing and Chicago's finest independent authors and presses. Buy direct from creators and support independent publishing! No cover; free hot cider.

Participating authors and publishers:

Agate Publishing

Belt Publishing

Soup & Bread

Hope & Nonthings

The Ladydrawers

Anne Elizabeth Moore

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 3:20 AM | Permalink

TV Ads To U.S. Senate Frontrunners: Knock It Off

New television advertisements airing this weekend in Illinois are targeting both frontrunners in the U.S. Senate race by challenging Mark Kirk (R) and Tammy Duckworth (D) to refuse the flood of unaccountable election spending by outside groups.

The ads, which will air online during the week and on local CBS around the Chicago Bears game on Sunday, are part of a campaign run by CounterPAC, a group backed by tech entrepreneurs advocating for fair elections by curbing the influence of outside spending.

The new video ads follow print ads in October from CounterPAC in the Chicago Sun-Times and in the Springfield State Journal-Register that encouraged the candidates to "Take the Pledge" and mutually agree to reject expenditures by outside groups during the 2016 campaign. Recent reports indicate that spending from outside groups in the Senate race has already eclipsed $1.7 million, with more than $1 million favoring the Democratic side.

Here are the ads:

Mark Kirk: Kitten Killer.

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Tammy Duckworth: Stem the Tide.

The ads highlight the candidates' own criticism of the influence of outside spending and challenge them to do something about it by taking the CounterPAC pledge to reject outside money.

"Both Mark Kirk and Tammy Duckworth have been outspoken about the trouble with elections that are dominated by super PACs - so this is a chance for each of them to put their money where their mouth is," said CounterPAC executive director Jay Costa. "A simple pledge could erase outside money - giving voters a race free of unlimited outside spending and offering a model of accountability for other races across the country."

CounterPAC is prepared to act as the arbiter and enforcer of a "no outside spending" pledge after candidates have mutually agreed to the terms, which include rejecting expenditures from outside sources and countering rejected expenditures by donating 50 percent of the cost of the rejected expenditure to a charity of the opposing candidate's choice.

In the 2012 U.S. Senate race in Massachusetts, Elizabeth Warren and Scott Brown agreed to a similar pledge. That agreement set the precedent for the CounterPAC pledge and was widely regarded as successfully limiting outside spending.

A recent poll conducted by Bloomberg shows that 87% of Americans think the current campaign finance system should be reformed to curb the influence of wealthy donors, with 78% saying specifically that they disapprove of the unlimited corporate spending unleashed by the Supreme Court's 2010 Citizens United decision.

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 2:49 AM | Permalink

What's The Evidence That Mass Surveillance Works? Not Much

Current and former government officials have been pointing to the terror attacks in Paris as justification for mass surveillance programs.

CIA Director John Brennan accused privacy advocates of "hand-wringing" that has made "our ability collectively internationally to find these terrorists much more challenging."

Former National Security Agency and CIA director Michael Hayden said, "In the wake of Paris, a big stack of metadata doesn't seem to be the scariest thing in the room."

Ultimately, it's impossible to know just how successful sweeping surveillance has been, since much of the work is secret. But what has been disclosed so far suggests the programs have been of limited value. Here's a roundup of what we know.

* An internal review of the Bush administration's warrantless program - called Stellarwind - found it resulted in few useful leads from 2001-2004, and none after that.

New York Times reporter Charlie Savage obtained the findings through a Freedom of Information Act lawsuit and published them in his new book, Power Wars: Inside Obama's Post-9/11 Presidency:

[The FBI general counsel] defined as useful those [leads] that made a substantive contribution to identifying a terrorist, or identifying a potential confidential informant. Just 1.2 percent of them fit that category. In 2006, she conducted a comprehensive study of all the leads generated from the content basket of Stellarwind between March 2004 and January 2006 and discovered that zero of those had been useful.

In an endnote, Savage then added:

The program was generating numerous tips to the FBI about suspicious phone numbers and e-mail addresses, and it was the job of the FBI field offices to pursue those leads and scrutinize the people behind them. (The tips were so frequent and such a waste of time that the field offices reported back, in frustration, "You're sending us garbage.")

* In 2013, the President's Review Group on Intelligence and Communications Technologies analyzed terrorism cases from 2001 on, and determined that the NSA's bulk collection of phone records "was not essential to preventing attacks."

According to the group's report:

In at least 48 instances, traditional surveillance warrants obtained from the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court were used to obtain evidence through intercepts of phone calls and e-mails, said the researchers, whose results are in an online database.

More than half of the cases were initiated as a result of traditional investigative tools. The most common was a community or family tip to the authorities. Other methods included the use of informants, a suspicious-activity report filed by a business or community member to the FBI, or information turned up in investigations of non-terrorism cases.

* Another 2014 report by the nonprofit New America Foundation echoed those conclusions. It described the government claims about the success of surveillance programs in the wake of the 9/11 attacks as "overblown and even misleading."

An in-depth analysis of 225 individuals recruited by al-Qaeda or a like-minded group or inspired by al-Qaeda's ideology, and charged in the United States with an act of terrorism since 9/11, demonstrates that traditional investigative methods, such as the use of informants, tips from local communities, and targeted intelligence operations, provided the initial impetus for investigations in the majority of cases, while the contribution of NSA's bulk surveillance programs to these cases was minimal.

* Edward Snowden's leaks about the scope of the NSA's surveillance system in the summer of 2013 put government officials on the defensive. Many politicians and media outlets echoed the agency's claim that it had successfully thwarted more than 50 terror attacks. ProPublica examined the claim and found "no evidence that the oft-cited figure is accurate."

It's impossible to assess the role NSA surveillance played in the 54 cases because, while the agency has provided a full list to Congress, it remains classified.

The NSA has publicly discussed four cases, and just one in which surveillance made a significant difference. That case involved a San Diego taxi driver named Basaaly Moalin, who sent $8,500 to the Somali terrorist group al-Shabab. But even the details of that case are murky.

From the Washington Post:

In 2009, an FBI field intelligence group assessed that Moalin's support for al-Shabab was not ideological. Rather, according to an FBI document provided to his defense team, Moalin probably sent money to an al-Shabab leader out of "tribal affiliation" and to "promote his own status" with tribal elders.

* Also in the months after the Snowden revelations, the Justice Department said publicly that it had used warrantless wiretapping to gather evidence in a criminal case against another terrorist sympathizer, which fueled ongoing debates over the constitutionality of those methods.

From the New York Times:

Prosecutors filed such a notice late Friday in the case of Jamshid Muhtorov, who was charged in Colorado in January 2012 with providing material support to the Islamic Jihad Union, a designated terrorist organization based in Uzbekistan.

Mr. Muhtorov is accused of planning to travel abroad to join the militants and has pleaded not guilty. A criminal complaint against him showed that much of the government's case was based on intercepted e-mails and phone calls.

* Local police departments have also acknowledged the limitations of mass surveillance, as Boston Police Commissioner Ed Davis did after the Boston Marathon bombings in 2013.

Federal authorities had received Russian intelligence reports about bomber Tamerlan Tsarnaev, but had not shared this information with authorities in Massachusetts or Boston.

During a House Homeland Security Committee hearing, Davis said:

"There's no computer that's going to spit out a terrorist's name. It's the community being involved in the conversation and being appropriately open to communicating with law enforcement when something awry is identified. That really needs to happen and should be our first step."

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See also, from The Intercept: "The agency collects so much communications data from around the world that it often fails to realize what it has. That is why many surveillance experts contend that mass surveillance makes it harder to detect terrorist plots as compared to an approach of targeted surveillance: An agency that collects billions of communications events daily will fail to understand the significance of what it possesses."

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ProPublica is a Pulitzer Prize-winning investigative newsroom. Sign up for their newsletter.

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Previously:
* Why The Close Collaboration Between The NSA And AT&T Matters.

* First Library To Support Anonymous Internet Browsing Effort Stops After DHS E-Mail.

* EFF Sues For Records About 'Hemisphere' Phone Call Collection And Drug Enforcement Program.

* Snowden Documentarian Laura Poitras Sues U.S. Government To Uncover Records After Years Of Airport Detentions And Searches.

* Obama Secretly Expanded NSA Spying To Internet.

* Court: NSA Phone Program Illegal.

* The Chicago Connection To The Hidden Intelligence Breakdowns Behind The Mumbai Attacks.

* Human Rights Watch Sues DEA Over Bulk Collection Of American's Telephone Records.

* U.S. Secretly Tracked Billions Of Calls For Decades.

* Amnesty International Joins ACLU, Wikimedia In Lawsuit To Stop Mass Surveillance Program.

* Stop Spying On Wikipedia Users.

* EFF Wins Battle Over Secret Legal Opinions On Government Spying.

* The NSA's "U.S. Corporate Partners."

* I Fight Surveillance.

* Illegal Spying Below.

* Smith vs. Obama.

* EFF Sues NSA Over FOIA.

* Stand Against Spying.

* The NSA Revelations All In One Chart.

* U.S. Supreme Court Limits Cell Phone Searches.

* EFF To Court: There's No Doubt The Government Destroyed NSA Spying Evidence.

* House Committee Puts NSA On Notice Over Encryption Standards.

* Which Tech Companies Help Protect You From Government Data Demands?

* Lawsuit Demands DOJ Release More Secret Surveillance Court Rulings.

* Human Rights Organizations To Foreign Ministers: Stop Spying On Us.

* What The Proposed NSA Reforms Wouldn't Do.

* Technologists Turn On Obama.

* Dear Supreme Court: Set Limits On Cell Phone Searches.

* EFF Fights National Security Letter Demands On Behalf Of Telecom, Internet Company.

* Eighth-Grader Schools The NSA.

* You Know Who Else Collected Metadata? The Stasi.

* Today We Fight Back.

* The Day We Fight Back.

* FAQ: The NSA's Angry Birds.

* Jon Stewart: The Old Hope-A-Dope.

* Four Blatantly False Claims Obama Has Made About NSA Surveillance.

* EFF To DOJ In Lawsuit: Stop Pretending Information Revealed About NSA Over Last Seven Months Is Still A Secret.

* Judge On NSA Case Cites 9/11 Report, But It Doesn't Actually Support His Ruling.

* Edward Snowden's Christmas Message.

* Jon Stewart: Obama Totally Lying About NSA Spying.

* Presidential Panel To NSA: Stop Undermining Encryption.

* The NSA Is Coming To Town.

* 60 Minutes We Can't Get Back.

* Why Care About The NSA?

* NSA Surveillance Drives Writers To Self-Censor.

* Filed: 22 Firsthand Accounts Of How NSA Surveillance Chilled The Right To Association.

* Claim On 'Attacks Thwarted' By NSA Spreads Despite Lack Of Evidence.

* Obama Vs. The World.

* How A Telecom Helped The Government Spy On Me.

* UN Member States Asked To End Unchecked Surveillance.

* Government Standards Agency: Don't Follow Our Encryption Guidelines Because NSA.

* Five More Organizations Join Lawsuit Against NSA.

* A Scandal Of Historic Proportions.

* Item: NSA Briefing.

* The Case Of The Missing NSA Blog Post.

* The NSA Is Out Of Control.

* Patriot Act Author Joins Lawsuit Against NSA.

* Obama's Promises Disappear From Web.

* Why NSA Snooping Is A Bigger Deal In Germany.

* Item: Today's NSA Briefing.

* NSA Briefing: It Just Got Worse (Again).

* Song of the Moment: Party at the NSA.

* It Not Only Can Happen Here, It Is Happening Here.

* What NSA Transparency Looks Like.

* America's Lying About Spying: Worse Than You Think.

* Obama Continues To Lie His Ass Off About The NSA.

* The Surveillance Reforms Obama Supported Before He Was President.

* America's Spying: Worse Than You Think.

* Has The U.S. Government Lied About Its Snooping? Let's Go To The Videotape.

* Who Are We At War With? That's Classified.

* Six Ways Congress May Reform NSA Snooping.

* NSA Says It Can't Search Its Own E-Mails.

* Does The NSA Tap That?

* Obama Explains The Difference Between His Spying And Bush's Spying.

* FAQ: What You Need To Know About The NSA's Surveillance Programs.

* NSA: Responding To This FOIA Would Help "Our Adversaries".

* Fact-Check: The NSA And 9/11.

* The NSA's Black Hole: 5 Things We Still Don't Know About The Agency's Snooping.

* Defenders Of NSA Surveillance Citing Chicago Case Omit Most Of Mumbai Plotter's Story.

* Obama's War On Truth And Transparency.

* ProPublica's Guide To The Best Stories On The Growing Surveillance State.

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See also:
* Jimmy Carter: America's Shameful Human Rights Record.

* James Goodale: Only Nixon Harmed A Free Press More.

* Daniel Ellsberg: Obama Has Committed Impeachable Offenses.

* Paul Steiger: Why Reporters In The U.S. Now Need Protection.

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Comments welcome.


Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 12:39 AM | Permalink

November 18, 2015

The Blue & Orange Kool-Aid Report: Adjusting Yourself In Public

We're No. 16! We're No. 16!

As I said a few weeks back, the Bears are the best of the worst teams in the NFL.

Don't believe me? Then you can talk to the 16-fingered foam hand.

foam.png

Chicago fans are feeling pretty good this week, as opposed to the Mondays following the season's first three games, in which Bears fans were feeling pretty weak.

Mostly because they had spent so much time on Sunday throwing beer bottles at the TV and punching holes in their drywall.

Not this time.

Our favorite team made a good defense look bad, may have put the final nail in the coffin of Nick Foles' career as a starter (the Case Keenum era begins in St. Louis on Sunday), and the coaching staff once again made (gasp) adjustments in the first quarter.

In previous seasons, the Bears coaching staff seemed to view in-game adjustments as a concept that was reserved for cleat-length during rainy weather, or something a defensive coordinator would do to their balls when their sack became stuck to their leg.

Remember, it wasn't always like this. Picture the Bears fortunes in a game like this under the prior coaching regime, or for that matter under Lovie Smith.

I know it's painful, but think back to the losses in which opponents were regularly scoring over 35 points. Back to the mid-aughts when Chicago would inexplicably single-cover a team's only real receiving threat in win-or-go-home scenarios.

Or, hey, remember the 2000 season when Terrell Owens caught 20 passes in a game that took place outside of a Sega Dreamcast?

You get the point. Historically, adjustments have been something of a weakness for the franchise.

So there they were. The 2015 Bears were down a score on the road to a good opponent, thanks to a combination of punt returner Marc Mariani's weekly special teams' gaffe and a complete inability to stop the Rams' rushing attack.

It had all the makings of a game in which the Bears would "only" be down 17-7 at halftime, but would go on to lose 33-13.

But then something magical happened. It was almost as if the Bears had hired a coaching staff that is, dare I say, functional.

John Fox (into headset): Hey guys, whatever the hell we drew up in practice sucks.

Vic Fangio: Yeah. We wanted them not to score points. And hey Adam. I don't think we should throw the ball deep. These guys - where are we playing this week?

Adam Gase: In your mom.

Fangio: Oh, F-off. All these dome stadiums built in the nineties look the same to me. Seriously, the other guy is setting up his defense so you can't throw far.

Fox: I'm pretty sure that's racist.

Fangio: I'M PRETTY SURE YOU'RE RACIST!

Fox: Nice comeback, douche. I'm sure all the guys at your next Klan rally are gonna love this story.

Gase (snickers): Okay, okay. We're in St. Louis, and, yeah Vic, I see it. They're taking away long passes. I'll have Cutler throw short and see if we can bait the secondary into over-pursuing on some shorter routes.

Fox: Yeah, that sounds like football stuff. Do that.

Fast forward three quarters and VOILA! The Bears have run away with a road win.

I love it when a plan comes together and better yet, I get the feeling there's more where that came from.

The Osweiler Files
For those of you excited to watch the Bears take on Super Bowl XLI nemesis Peyton Manning, we've got some bad news for you: due to a foot injury he may never play football again.

So for the remainder of the 2015 season, you'll have to settle for a scant one-and-a-half hours of Manning-related TV per week, consisting of the aggregate airtime of Papa John's, Buick, Nationwide Insurance and Vagisil commercials broadcast on over 15 networks*.

But I've got some good news for you, NFL fans. You're about to get Osweilered.

Prior to an NFL career that primarily consisted of practicing and then being angry about remaining on the Broncos' sidelines despite his team holding a 30-point lead, Osweiler enjoyed a much more fulfilling career as a hard-boiled detective solving crimes in the greater Phoenix/Tempe metropolitan area.

Chief: DAMMIT, Osweiler! How many GODDAM times do I have to tell you that we can't question suspects when they're DEAD!

Osweiler: You're right, McSorely. I guess I should've done things by the book and let Scorpio dump those orphan kitties into the viper pit (lights cigarette and laughs to himself). And they call me a hard man (blows smoke in the Chief's face).

Chief: Save it, detective. Because of your little shitshow down at the docks yesterday, the commissioner's so far up my ass that he can tell that I forgot to floss this morning!

Osweiler: That sounds like the kind of problem you should be discussing with your proctologist, Chief. I don't think I'm qualified to help (swigs straight from a decanter of Scotch on the chief's desk). Now if you're done complaining about your asshole, here's my gun (takes a swig of Scotch from a separate decanter) and here's my badge. I've got to catch a plane to Denver (jumps out second-story window into the rear of an El Camino).

Chief: OSSSS-WEIIIIIL-ERRRRR!!!!

After four years in the pros, Osweiler finally gets to start his first game. While it won't tell the whole story of the man's career, the world will be watching closely for signs of the future in Denver.

And if that doesn't work out, I hear there's some trouble in the Middle East that might benefit from his attention.

Slow News Cycle
Huh. The Bears are winning a bit.

Thus far, Jay Ratliff hasn't returned to Halas Hall waiving a gun around demanding his spatula back. But Lake Forest law enforcement officials stand ready to assist.

The only notable roster news to speak of is that Marc Mariani hasn't been cut at time of writing.

When asked about the key to his run of consistent play, Cutler just responded "been listening to a lot of early Danzig" before putting out a cigarette on his wrist and exiting a press conference.

Interesting. I would have expected "getting high and listening to Terrapin Station on a constant loop."

Nine games in, the real story for the Bears is not where they are, but where they're going . . .

Oh, no you don't. We had this discussion at 2-3. And since then we've had two devastating losses, followed by two "okay" wins. Just because you kinda predicted ESPN's power rankings a month ago doesn't mean you get to . . .

Just because you guys are an ethereal manifestation of my sports-related doubts and insecurities doesn't mean you get to cut me off.

Uh, yeah it does. That's exactly what it means.

Shut up. I'm enjoying this for the first time in a while.

Fine, we will too.

I'll take it. Hey, guys. Here's to hoping we can win and get up to zero this week. How about a toast?

We'll take your whiskey, but let's not get ahead of ourselves.

Kool-Aid (4 of 5 Pipeworks' Ninja vs. Unicorn)
A local brewery with a wide selection of badass brews. If you like actual beer, this one will not disappoint you.

I mean, you may make a series of decisions that disappoints your family after you drink a few, but you will not be disappointed.

And that's what being an American is all about; being a hybrid pragmatist and sociopath. Enjoy your capitalism, gilk, gilk, gilk.

As my ranting and rating (oh boy that's funny in print) indicated, I'm very excited to watch this game.

With all the Osweiler talk, I neglected to mention the Broncos' defense, which is one the best in the league and the real reason that Denver is 7-2.

Buuuuuuuut so were the Rams and the Bears get Matt Forte back this week. Who knows, maybe even Alshon Jeffery will be healthy enough to play like 16 snaps.

My interest is genuinely piqued.

The deal is this: Brock Osweiler's eskimo brother Jim Sorgi is on LinkedIn.

No. That's not actually the deal. I just couldn't help myself.

I'm happy the guy is saving his money and enjoying a life after football, but there's just something inherently funny about Googling a former NFL player and having a link to his social media profile come up first. Might have been funnier if a MySpace account got top billing.

The Bears showed everyone something against a well-coached, talented defensive unit last week on the road and now they've got an opportunity to prove something by making it two in a row with a win at home.

Despite the star power on Denver's offense, it's been a very disappointing season for that side of the ball.

Which means that this should be a close game, at home, for a team with momentum.

I say the Bears take this one.

Bears 20, Broncos 17

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* Not counting Eli and Archie's spots for Citizen watches and Dr. Thud's Stereo Outlet, respectively.

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About The Author
Carl Mohrbacher is a 6-foot-1 white male who lives in the greater Chicagoland area. Or is he? HAHAHAHAHA! Better luck next time, TSA. To be a writing man is one thing, but to be a faceless man is something else entirely. Valar morghulis.

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Carl Mohrbacher is our man on the Kool-Aid. He welcomes your comments.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 10:26 PM | Permalink

Fantasy Fix: Cutler's Revenge

For the second week in a row, I'm moved to eat crow served up by a Chicago Bear. Last week, the chef was Alshon Jeffery, who I maligned after he sat for five straight weeks with mysterious injuries. This week, it's none other than Jay Cutler.

At the beginning of the season, I wrote up a series of predictions, most of which have turned out to be wildly off-base (check out what I said about Jeffery back then) and one or two which were difficult to get wrong (see Tom Brady).

For my last one on the list, I simply predicted Cutler would not be starting for the Bears by the end of the season

It could still play out that way, but is growing extremely unlikely as the weeks pass, as Cutler has proven to be one of the most productive and consistent members of a team hit by injuries. With a 4-5 record, the Bears are actually thinking they have a chance at postseason play (even if you don't think that's realistic, consider this is a team some of us thought would be in the running for the No. 1 draft pick next year.)

Week 10 provided a perfect example of how Cutler has become a fantasy asset this season. He threw for 258 yards and three TDs against St. Louis, one of the better defenses in the league. With now six straight weeks of no fewer than 23 fantasy points, Cutler is not just bye week filler.

This week, things get tougher, with Denver, the league's top passing defense. Yet, I'd still consider starting Cutler, at least in part because the Broncos will start untested quarterback Brock Osweiler. I'm figuring the Bears defense could force a few turnovers that give Cutler good field position. And if Osweiler is much better than that, it could put pressure on the Bears to lean on the pass.

Week 10 Winners

QB: Kirk Cousins, WAS.

The rule in fantasy this year if you're streaming QBs has been to start whoever is playing the Saints. It was Cousins' turn in Week 10, and he came through with 324 passing yards and four TDs. Cousins now has been one of the best fantasy QBs two of the last three weeks. (This week against Carolina doesn't offer much hope for the trend to continue.)

RB: Jeremy Langford, CHI.

Two weeks in a row he's a winner. With Matt Forte back this week, we'll have to see how the Bears divvy up touches, but Langford proved himself again with 73 yards rushing, 109 receiving and two TDs overall. He's still got fantasy value - we'll see how much this week.

WR: Martavis Bryant, PIT.

A week after his teammate Antonio Brown won this honor, Bryant snagged 178 yards receiving and a TD (Brown was no slouch either, with 139 yards) He's turning out to have major late-season returns for owners who drafted and stashed him for the several weeks he was out.

TE: Zach Miller, CHI.

No, not Martellus Bennett. The Bears seem to have rediscovered the often-injured TE who had shown very brief flashes of brilliance in recent years. His 107 yards and two TDs were impressive, though a lot of it came on one play, when he simply outran a Rams defense that seemed to disregard him. Hard to say if Miller is now the Bears TE to own in fantasy, but he has scored two straight weeks.

Week 10 Losers

QB: Andy Dalton, CIN.

Big Red came back down to earth as his team was finally beaten. He looked more like the Dalton of previous seasons, with 197 yards passing and one INT, though to be fair, his receivers dropped passes and fumbled away scoring opportunities.

RB: Darren McFadden, DAL.

Just 32 yards rushing in Week 10 after a couple of strong weeks. With Tony Romo back at QB this week, I'm guessing the Cowboys won't lean quite so much on McFadden, which is just as well, given his tendency toward streakiness.

WR: Jordan Matthews, PHI.

A week after he seemed to break out of a season-long slump with 113 yards receiving and a TD, Philly's supposed No. 1 receiver collected only 23 yards in Week 10. An injury to Sam Bradford, and the return of Mark Sanchez, the QB with which he enjoyed a strong 2014 season, didn't seem to help him last week, but maybe they rediscover each other in Week 11.

TE: Tyler Eifert, CIN.

Aided Dalton's poor week by dropping easy passes. He was one of our winners just a week ago, so it shows how the mighty can fall. Eifert caught only three of seven target for 26 yards in Week 10. He has been a huge fantasy star this year, but Week 10 showed how much he relies on TDs to make his week.

Big Play of the Week for Week 10: Jay Ajayi, RB, MIA.

The rookie was a sleeper RB pick in some drafts, though most owners probably dropped him weeks into the season, as he missed half the slate with a rib injury. In the last two weeks, he's amassed almost 89 yards rushing on just 11 touches as understudy to starter Lamar Miller. Miami is a longshot for the playoffs, so it's a good bet they will let Ajayi earn more touches. I think this is the week he scores his first TD.

Expert Wire
* USA Today sees Matthew Stafford, QB, DET as a fantasy stud for Week 11 against the Raiders. I'm a bit leery, as he's had exactly one week of passing over 300 yards, and that was against the Bears four weeks ago.

* SB Nation sees the Seattle DEF as tops for Week 11. Though it has disappointed on several occasion this season, it will be hard for Seattle to allow too much damage against a woeful 49ers squad.

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Dan O'Shea is our man in fantasyland. He welcomes your comments.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 10:06 PM | Permalink

The [Wednesday] Papers

Just as I wanted to hug every black person I saw on the day of Barack Obama's inauguration in 2008 (see The Cashier), despite all my criticism of him, today I find myself wanting to hug every woman in a hijab.

I hope that, as a white, male, lapsed Reform Jew, agnostic, disheartened and not particularly patriotic American, that isn't offensively privileged or condescending.

In 2008, I wanted to scream, "We have a black president! Kill Whitey!"

I mean, really, I've said my whole life that if every black person in America rose up and slit the throats of every white person, myself included just out of having to make the sacrifice, they would be perfectly justified. My God, what we have done to them. And it's not over yet.

Similarly, I want to hug everyone whom I stereotypically surmise might be a Muslim at least, a Syrian refugee at best, and scream, "You are safe here! I love you!"

Of course, were I to get to know any such person, I would eventually come to hate them just like I hate all humans. But that's just based on what a crappy species we are, not race, religion or any of the other common hate-triggers. I would still love them theoretically.

I hope this, too, isn't offensive or condescending or insulting in any way. I don't think it is, but it could come off like a white savior kind of thing, and that's not at all how I mean it.

Also, you aren't necessarily safe here. But some of us are trying.

As often happens after a tragedy, there is a lotta love in the air - not just the loads of hate emanating from the same predictable precincts. Funny how those of us most disheartened with America seem to believe most strongly in its (many-times broken) promise. Maybe that ought to be the true meaning of patriotism - loyalty not to a nation at any cost but to a set of values at all costs.

For some, this outpouring of love will be brief. It will take another tragedy for those to once again "put things in perspective." I've never understood that concept. You hear it a lot from professional athletes (and their subservient press corps') - they will proclaim that a tragedy (or, say, a serious illness in their family) puts things "in perspective." What kinds of lives are people leading if they live without perspective between tragedies?

Others continue to grind out the hard work day after day. They never lose perspective. They may drown in it, but they don't lose it. They are the real heroes.

Anyway, the city council today voted unanimously to reaffirm Chicago as a sanctuary city, as a response to Gov. Bruce Rauner's call on Tuesday for a "pause" in the resettlement of Syrian refugees in Illinois due to Friday's terrorist attacks in Paris. None of those identified in the attacks were Syrian refugees, of course; nor is there any evidence any of them posed as Syrian refugees. They were, however, French and Belgium.

No one has proposed banning French and Belgium citizens from emigrating to America.

Fear knocks our senses loose; that's why it's the greatest enemy we have. Reason is our ally.

Anyway, I followed the proceedings on Twitter and I have to say this might be the first time I've ever been touched by the actions of the Chicago City Council. Here's why:

That second tweet is one of my all-time favorites. I can't stop reading it.

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Let's be too great to hate.

*

Today I posted a piece from ProPublica (they encourage publishers to "steal" their stories, which is why I've published what I'm pretty sure is the most extensive collection of reporting in the city on, for example, NSA surveillance and CIA torture ) called "Trail Of Paris Attackers Winds To Terrorism's Longtime Outpost."

I was particularly struck by this passage:

Successive jihads in Afghanistan, Iraq and Syria have radicalized scores of young, disaffected, working-class Muslims. Most are of North African descent and have criminal pasts; the groups they join grew out of longtime networks active in Europe and the Muslim world . . .

In an interview, a senior Belgian law enforcement official said the swagger and savagery of the Islamic State has a disturbing appeal among aimless young criminals in Molenbeek and other neighborhoods.

"They go to Iraq and Syria because there they will be somebody," he said. "Here they are nobody. They are told that if they join the Islamic State they will get to drive a nice car, get women, they won't have to pay in the shops down there. They will be badass warriors."

The Belgian official described a police search of the home of three brothers who all joined the Islamic State and have been implicated in decapitations and other violence in Syria. Their father had a well-paid job with a U.S. automotive company. Each brother had his own room stocked with computers, video games, clothes and other consumer goods, the law enforcement official said.

"They don't work; they live with their family into their 20s," he said. "They manipulate the welfare system for money; they don't study. They go to Syria, and they come back with PTSD. They come back after they saw killing and raping. What are you supposed to do to cure them? They are ruined people. Game over."

Does that sound familiar to you? It did to me. As Dawn Turner writes for the Tribune: "Similar Conditions Help Radicalize Youth In Chicago, Paris."

Now, the comparison isn't totally apt. Our gangbangers are poor; their terrorists are middle-class, if not well-to-do (as was Osama bin Laden). Turner misses on that point, but not on the disaffection. Consider the conclusion I came to on Monday in About ISIS: A catch-all for aggrieved teenage boys without a coherent ideology but driven my a familiar hidden hand with its own agenda. That sort of sounds like a gang.

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Refusing Syrian refugees resettlement in Illinois would be like not allowing victims of gang violence to move from Englewood into your neighborhood - even worse, really, because the refugees' enemies are thousands of miles away.

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To reiterate what I wrote on Tuesday

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On Tuesday, the Tribune posted on its website a Washington Post article ("Senior Obama Officials Have Warned Of Challenges In Screening Refugees From Syria") that was entirely misleading.

To wit:

"I don't, obviously, put it past the likes of ISIL to infiltrate operatives among these refugees, so that's a huge concern of ours," director of national intelligence James Clapper said at a security industry conference in September, using another name for the Islamic State. He added that the government has "a pretty aggressive program" for screening refugees but that he is less confident about European nations.

1. Clapper wouldn't "put it past the likes of ISIL," but doesn't point to an instance of it actually happening - or explain why a terrorist would choose to enter the U.S. through a process that typically takes at least two years to complete.

2. He said this in September, just to make clear. What does he think today in relation to the Paris attacks?

3. He "added" that the U.S. has a "pretty aggressive program" but not so much the nations of Europe. Well, Europe is a different conversation, for a whole host of reasons.

4. James Clapper is a stone-cold liar.

See also: Inside The Mind Of James Clapper: The Guy Who Has To Call Newspaper Editors To Tell Them Not To Print Stories That They Usually Publish Anyway.

Then:

FBI Director James Comey added in congressional testimony last month that "a number of people who were of serious concern" slipped through the screening of Iraq War refugees, including two arrested on terrorism-related charges. "There's no doubt that was the product of a less than excellent vetting," he said.

Though Comey said the process has since "improved dramatically," Syrian refugees will be even harder to check because unlike in Iraq, U.S. soldiers have not been on the ground collecting information on the local population.

1. If the issue is the FBI's incompetence, then Comey has a point. Maybe they should spend more time vetting refugees and less time manufacturing terrorist plots.

2. Comey says the process has "improved dramatically." So citing a six-year-old FBI screw-up is disingenuous.

3. Is this what Ed Burke is referring to here - and is this true? My guess is yes, because that's all I found through the old Google:

"'Interestingly enough, since the tragedy of Sept. 11 at the World Trade Center, there've been 745,000 refugees relocated in the United States of America. 745,000. Of that 745,000, two have been arrested. That's a pretty good record,' Burke said."

As to the difficulty in backgrounding folks from Syria, Burke said something like this today too, but I couldn't find it, so I'll use this:

4. Comey doesn't have much credibility either.

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Meanwhile . . .

"A Syrian family fleeing war starts a new life in Chicago on Wednesday, despite Gov. Bruce Rauner's temporary ban on accepting Syrian refugees in the wake of the Paris attacks," Lynn Sweet reports for the Sun-Times.

"The Muslim family of five - parents and three children - will be assisted by volunteers organized by Exodus World Service, the non-profit headquartered in suburban Bloomingdale dedicated to mobilizing 'the Christian community to welcome refugees.'

"Julie Carlsen, a senior director of programs at Exodus, said in an interview, 'Exodus continues to welcome refugees, including Syrians arriving in Chicago, because we trust the secure vetting process the U.S. government, the federal government has put in place.'"

Also:

"A spokesman for the Jewish Federation of Chicago, the agency that administers the Illinois Refugee Social Services Consortium, a network of nine non-profits who contract with the federal government to provide services, said Tuesday nothing has changed."

Christians and Jews welcoming Muslims. That's how we win - and that's what the terrorists want to destroy.

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"In Illinois, only 130 Syrian refugees have settled here - half of them are children and most of the adult men are fathers," ABC7 Chicago reports.

Fatima Ibris, 40, and her family settled in the West Rogers Park neighborhood about nine months ago. Her father and brother were killed and she feared for her own life.

"We couldn't go out," she said. "When we go out, they'd kill us with guns."

Before arriving in the U.S., Ibris and her family completed an extensive background check by multiple agencies.

After three years in Lebanon, the United Nations determined Ibris and her family met the legal definition of a refugee and the family was chosen as good candidates to resettle in the U.S.

"They bring us here, they know everything about our life," Ibris said.

The resettlement process begins with a UN screening. Before refugees are allowed in the U.S, an individual must go through a rigorous multi-step security and screening process.

"Our process consists of doing intensive data gathering background checks that can be passed along to the State Department," said Galya Ruffer, of Northwestern University.

Ruffer said it could take as long as four years by the time a refugee is allowed to come to U.S. And yet, another check is done once the refugee arrives.

"The image in Europe of a single male migrating through isn't what our resettlement process. We are offering families who are legitimate refugees, a chance to resettle in the U.S.," Ruffer said.

That doesn't mean mistakes can't happen, but if a terrorist wants entry into the United States, going through the refugee resettlement program is just about the worst way to go about it.

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Here's the Tribune editorial page - in "The Case For A Refugee Pause:"

"The process of being accepted to the U.S. is painstaking. Candidates are screened for security threats by the FBI, the Department of Defense and the National Counterterrorism Center, as well as international law enforcement agencies. The candidates run a gantlet of medical screenings and background checks."

Okay, you've convinced me! You're wrong!

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The Republican party is now officially more cowardly than the French.

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Crain's, on the other hand, says "Shame On You, Governor:"

here is no rational basis for Rauner's action. The terrorists responsible for the Paris atrocities were not Syrian refugees - they were European nationals. And while the governor argues that Syrian refugees represent a security threat grave enough to merit even a temporary review of our immigration procedures, we are not hearing him object to waving in refugees from other war-torn regions. How are the thousands of refugees coming into the U.S. from Afghanistan and Iraq any different from Syrians?

To that point, Sneed reports that "Mayor Rahm Emanuel, who is traveling to China later this week, is expected to announce China Eastern Airlines will begin direct service in March between Shanghai and Chicago."

The Chinese are coming, alert the governor!

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Perhaps Brucey has his eye on higher office and will need to get through a Republican primary.

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Then there's this voice of reason:

Sorry, most of the whining I've heard has come from the other side of the aisle. If the president is getting off easy on this, it's because few are pointing out just how uncharitable his Syrian refugee program has been thus far.

*

Kass:

Those who dare question Obama's wisdom are subject to jeers from the sophisticated class.

So you prefer unsophisticates?

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Yet many reasonable Americans who aren't the least bit political have legitimate questions:

What if there are Islamic State followers among the flow of Syrian refugees?

How does Obama plan on vetting the refugees?

Those strike me as questions a reporter might ask! I had those questions and what I did was research the damn issue.

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And who will guarantee that killers - like those who pulled triggers in Paris - aren't among them?

A "guarantee" is setting the bar awfully high, isn't it?

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But others were a bit more measured. Sen. Rand Paul, the Kentucky Republican running for president, introduced a bill the other day to suspend visas to refugees from Syria and 30 other countries with jihadist movements.

That's measured? No more visas to people in 31 countries! Forever? And does that include France and Belgium?

*

Perhaps there is no Obama religious test, but there sure seems to be an Obama bureaucratic test.

According to U.S. State Department statistics, since 2011, there have been 2,219 Syrian refugees admitted into America. Of that number, 53 are Christian.

Only 53? I'm not saying one life is more valuable than another life. But in Syria there is - or was - a place called the Valley of the Christians.

So Kass is alleging that the Obama administration is purposefully keeping Christian Syrians out of the country. Just to be clear. Whoa, if true. (There's no way that's true.)

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President Obama wants to demonstrate American compassion to the rest of the world. I think he's right to do so. But you have to sell it, Mr. President.

So he actually supports the president's Syrian refugee policy? The problem is the president hasn't "sold it" well enough? Get thee to an editor!

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I'd say the president is doing a pretty good sales job.

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Again, to me, the critique of Obama ought come from a different direction. Here's what showed up in succession in my Twitter this morning:

Why not go after that instead?

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At least Kass acknowledges that he was once a Freedom Fries guy. But isn't credibility built most on getting these moments right?

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See also: From Paris to Boston, Terrorists Were Already Known to Authorities

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I got a large coffee for free today at Filter in Wicker Park because somebody left a "Buy someone coffee" card for the next guy. Now I have that card and it's my turn to pay it forward. (I cut the cashiers in on the deal by putting leaving a little something in the tip jar for them.)

coffeeforward.jpg

I think I'll give it to a woman in a hijab. It's the least I can do.

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The Beachwood Tip Line: Your choice.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 1:24 PM | Permalink

Trail Of Paris Attackers Winds To Terrorism's Longtime Outpost

Before a SWAT team stormed a tenement in the Belgian city of Verviers in January, police used listening devices to monitor their targets inside: Belgian jihadis who had returned from Syria to attack a local police station in the name of the Islamic State.

Police gunned down two suspects during the pre-dawn firefight, foiling the plot. But a chilling detail stuck with the Belgian counter-terror investigators who tracked down the plotters with help from French and U.S. intelligence. As investigators listened, the militants responded to the police assault with a ferocity forged in the battlegrounds of the Middle East.

"They were talking about their plans to commit violence here," a senior Belgian counter-terror official recalled in a recent interview. "The police flash-bang grenade goes off. And immediately these two start firing their AK-47s. No hesitation, no panic. These are guys with combat experience. They were ready to fight and die."

As the fast-paced investigation of the rampage in Paris that left at least 129 people dead unfolded, elite tactical teams carried out another pre-dawn raid Wednesday on suspected terrorists holed up in an apartment outside the French capital. The target was the accused Belgian mastermind of the thwarted effort to attack the police station in Belgium in January who is also believed to have played a central role in directing the Paris attacks last week: Abdelhamid Abaaoud.

20151118-paris-raid-abaaoud-550.jpg

Two suspects died in the gunfight this morning, one of them a woman who detonated a bomb vest, authorities said. Five SWAT officers were wounded. Police arrested five suspects.

The target of the raid was Abaaoud, who investigators now believe may have made a daring return from the Islamic State's stronghold in Syria to lead the Paris attacks in person. Authorities had not yet announced Wednesday morning whether he was among those killed or captured, or if he remained at-large.

Abaaoud, 27, is a stick-up man-turned-terror kingpin from the tough Brussels suburb of Molenbeek, which has been raided repeatedly by Belgian counter-terrorism investigators in the days since the attack. The extent of his role in the Paris massacre is not yet clear, but he had longtime links to at least two of the suspected attackers, according to European counter-terror officials.

Abaaoud's name had already surfaced in connection with previous plots targeting France and Belgium. In one instance that directly foreshadows Friday's attack in Paris, French police in August arrested a militant who had trained in Syria. He told authorities that Abaaoud had directed him to attack live music venues in France, officials say.

There are also suspicions that the Belgian was involved in a deadly shooting at the Jewish museum in Brussels last year, as well as the foiled attack on a Paris-bound train from Belgium by a Moroccan gunman who was subdued by a trio of vacationing Americans this summer.

The leading role of Belgians in the Paris massacre highlights the disproportionately large shadow cast by Belgium on the map of terror in Europe during the past two decades. Belgium featured in a wave of bombings in France by Algerian-dominated groups in the 1990s. Belgium-based terrorists have been active in al-Qaeda: killing an anti-Taliban warlord in Afghanistan two days before the Sept. 11 attacks, plotting to bomb the U.S. embassy in Paris, and sending jihadis to Pakistan, Africa and U.S.-occupied Iraq in the 2000s.

In a practice seen again in the Paris plot, operatives in the Franco-Belgian networks move back and forth across the border with speed and agility, outpacing law enforcement.

"Things are easier for terrorists in Belgium than they are in France," said Commandant Mohamed Douhane of the French national police. "They use Belgium as an outpost."

Mounting Threats, Multiple Faces

Friday's tragedy in Paris was an attack foretold. During interviews earlier this year, French and Belgian terror chiefs warned that a swarm of threats had reached overwhelming levels. They identified Abaaoud as one of several senior Francophone militants relentlessly plotting attacks on Europe from Syria.

"The threat is so high," a French counter-terror chief said during an interview in the spring. "There will be new attacks. There is a permanent fatwa from the Islamic State: Attack the West."

As disturbing intelligence reports piled up in recent months, French and U.S. counter-terror agencies teamed up to target suspected European plotters. Complicating matters, the threat had multiple faces. Al-Qaeda in Yemen had overseen the attack on the offices of Charlie Hebdo magazine in January. Although the Islamic State has many more recruits than al-Qaeda's affiliate in Syria, the latter group includes veterans who have been hatching plots against Western targets since the early 2000s, when they operated from refuges in Afghanistan and Pakistan.

"They are a direct threat and, while smaller than the Islamic State, have bigger plans," the French counter-terror chief said. "They want to do more spectacular attacks, [a] more choreographed style of attacks as opposed to shootings."

U.S. drone strikes this summer killed two top names on the al-Qaeda list who kept French spymasters awake at night: convert David Drugeon, an expert bomb-maker, and Said Arif, who had been linked to plots against France dating to 2000.

"There has been some progress made in getting guys with strong connections and who were among the most operationally capable," a U.S. counter-terror official said. "But clearly the bench is pretty deep."

Air strikes also targeted Abaaoud and two Frenchmen thought to be actively involved in Islamic State plotting against France, according to U.S. and European counter-terror officials. In October, a French bombing raid on the Syrian city of Raqqah missed Salim Benghalem, a 31-year-old Parisian ex-convict known for beheadings and sadistic treatment of hostages. Another Islamic State Frenchman who dodged an air strike was Boubaker el-Hakim, who is suspected of assassinating two political leaders in Tunisia in 2013. Both jihadis have ties to the Charlie Hebdo attackers.

About 2,000 French militants have gone to Syria, the single largest contingent of fighters from Europe. French-speaking Tunisians and Moroccan militants in Syria are thought to number close to 10,000. But the more than 500 Belgians are the largest proportionate group of Europeans. Most Francophone jihadis join the ranks of the Islamic State in Syria, where they live and fight together. They see France as their top target.

For ISIS, Shifting Strategies

The Islamic State's war on the West differs from the hands-on plotters of al-Qaeda, whose foreign operations unit has traditionally hatched plots in Pakistani and Yemeni hideouts and directed attackers to their targets. Those plots often involved bombs and specific, highly symbolic targets. Instead, the primary focus of the Islamic State, whose leaders are mostly Iraqi and Syrian, has been conquest of turf and the consolidation of their self-declared caliphate.

The Islamic State has used a social media barrage to inspire jihadis abroad to carry out strikes without training or direct contact. The group has also given its trusted foreign fighters considerable autonomy to develop attacks in the West, delegating details such as target selection to militants who best know their homelands, according to European and U.S. intelligence officials.

"The Islamic State's general directive has been to do attacks," the French counter-terror chief said, "and the Europeans propose projects."

This year, however, that dynamic seems to have evolved in response to an offensive by the coalition fighting against the Islamic State, according to U.S. and European counter-terror officials. They said the Islamic State has developed a kind of external operations unit that may be behind a flurry of large-scale attacks in Paris, Egypt and Turkey, officials said.

"Months ago they created a department to coordinate the jihad overseas based on the foreign fighter elements," a senior Spanish intelligence official said. "They weren't as interested in that before. They were interested in the territory."

'They Are Ruined People'

Belgium - small, prosperous, tolerant - has historically been a hub for espionage, arms trafficking, organized crime and extremist activity. The country has a generous welfare state and lacks the huge public housing projects that breed crime, alienation and extremism in France. Nonetheless, the integration of Muslims in Belgium remains problematic. Successive jihads in Afghanistan, Iraq and Syria have radicalized scores of young, disaffected, working-class Muslims. Most are of North African descent and have criminal pasts; the groups they join grew out of longtime networks active in Europe and the Muslim world.

Belgium has skilled counter-terror officers who know the extremist underworld, including a number of investigators of Muslim descent. Despite the intensity of the terror threat, the bureaucracy puts constraints on them. The government has scrambled to beef up counter-terror forces in recent years, with one unit tripling in size. It is hard to keep suspects in jail without overwhelming evidence, and sentences for terrorism are short - as in the rest of Europe.

In an interview, a senior Belgian law enforcement official said the swagger and savagery of the Islamic State has a disturbing appeal among aimless young criminals in Molenbeek and other neighborhoods.

"They go to Iraq and Syria because there they will be somebody," he said. "Here they are nobody. They are told that if they join the Islamic State they will get to drive a nice car, get women, they won't have to pay in the shops down there. They will be badass warriors."

The Belgian official described a police search of the home of three brothers who all joined the Islamic State and have been implicated in decapitations and other violence in Syria. Their father had a well-paid job with a U.S. automotive company. Each brother had his own room stocked with computers, video games, clothes and other consumer goods, the law enforcement official said.

"They don't work; they live with their family into their 20s," he said. "They manipulate the welfare system for money; they don't study. They go to Syria, and they come back with PTSD. They come back after they saw killing and raping. What are you supposed to do to cure them? They are ruined people. Game over."

Rise of a Paris Plotter

Abaaoud's trajectory is emblematic. He is of Moroccan descent, a wiry man with an engaging grin. Like many youths in Molenbeek, he got involved in low-level gangsterism and was arrested for a hold-up along with Salah Abdeslam of Molenbeek, who is now a fugitive suspected of renting cars and safe houses for the three Paris attack teams. Abaaoud also had ties to Abdeslam's brother, who would die in one of the Paris suicide bombings.

Abaaoud joined the Islamic State and went to Syria, where he became notorious for a video in which he hauled a pile of corpses with a tractor and joked about it. In late 2014, intelligence agencies picked up communications indicating he wanted to carry out an attack back in Belgium. U.S., Belgian, French and German intelligence tracked the plotters for three or four months, officials say.

"The Belgians proposed an action to Daesh [Islamic State], and they said yes," the senior French counter-terror official said. Islamic State bosses provided $5,000 to help finance the operation, Belgian investigators said.

Abaaoud dispatched Sofiane Amghar, 26, and Khalid Ben Larbi, 23, who had fought in a special squad of fighters in Syria, according to Belgian investigators. Amghar, a Molenbeek recruit, posted a fake obituary about himself online to cover his tracks as he made his way back. Ben Larbi returned via the United Kingdom. They set themselves up in a safe house in Verviers.

Their plot involved using stolen police uniforms to storm a police station in the Brussels area. Three plotters stockpiled weapons in the safe house, monitored by police. The SWAT team went into action because an attack seemed imminent, officials said.

"We heard them speaking about projects and manipulating weapons, it was obvious they were about to do something," a Belgian law enforcement official said. "One of them always stayed awake, standing guard. The stun grenades went off at the front room window, but they were lucky because they were in back and weren't stunned. The firefight lasted 10 minutes."

Abaaoud, however, had been directing his fighters by phone from Greece. He melted away. And if the allegations are true, he kept launching human missiles at France until his dreams of devastation came true on a Friday night in Paris.

For more reporting like this, read Sebastian Rotella's investigation into the European Union's revolving-door prisons.

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See also:
* About ISIS: A Catch-All For Extremely Aggrieved Teenage Boys - With A Familiar Hidden Hand.

* Terror In Paris And Beirut: An ISIS Reading Guide.

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ProPublica is a Pulitzer Prize-winning investigative newsroom. Sign up for their newsletter.

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Comments welcome.


Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 9:51 AM | Permalink

KBC TV Chicago

"Korean news and information for the Korean community in Chicago."


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"KBC-TV has been the only television station serving Chicago's affluent Korean community since 1994. Programming includes Korean dramas, local news and programs direct from Korea. Additionally, KBC also provides select programs serving the Filipino, Greek and Southeast Asian communities of Chicago."

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Promo:

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Located at 5235 N. Kedzie Ave.

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KBCTVUSA.com.

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The KBC-TV YouTube page.

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On Facebook.

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 6:56 AM | Permalink

Senioritis

"In this newscast, FSM News South details the experience of high school students, focusing especially on seniors. Montell Moore and Desiree Williams anchor this show with topics ranging from senioritis to financial aid. Produced by teen journalists at the Gary Comer Youth Center in Chicago."

Also: Sophomores are irrelevant.


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Previously in Free Spirit Media:
* Free Spirit Media On The Road.

* Chicago Public Schools: Closed.

* Chicago Producers On The Rise.

* Kay Kay & Von Von.

* Free Spirit Local TV News.

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See also:
* Free Spirit Media's YouTube channel.

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 6:25 AM | Permalink

November 17, 2015

The [Tuesday] Papers

"Gov. Bruce Rauner on Monday joined a wave of mostly Republican governors in announcing that Illinois would temporarily stop accepting Syrian refugees following the Paris terrorist attacks, sparking sharp criticism from advocates who said the move amounted to fear-mongering and raising questions about whether states can refuse to take those fleeing the war-torn country," the Tribune reports.

1. So far none of the attackers have been identified as Syrian, much less a Syrian refugee. Instead, they are believed to be French, Belgian and Algerian. It reminds me of this:


2. I understand that one alleged attacker reportedly had a Syrian passport, but I also understand that it wasn't really a Syrian passport but a Turkish forgery.

3. I understand that the concern for some isn't Syrian refugees per se, but the possibility of a terrorist sneaking into the country under the guise of a Syrian refugee - perhaps with a fake passport. But refugees - Syrian or otherwise - don't just show their passport at the border and walk in. I also understand that that would be just about the worst way to try to sneak into the country, given the vetting process and how long it takes as well as the numerous other far easier ways there are to get across our borders (despite what some members of the media think they understand).

In other words, you have a better chance of winning the Illinois Lottery - and getting paid - than a terrorist has of slipping into the United States posing as a refugee.

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"The Al Hammawis have found a safe haven in the land of dreams," the Rockford Register Star reported in September.

"Eight members of the Syrian refugee family - Hamed, Amal and their six children, who range in age from 7 months to 16 years old - arrived Monday night in Rockford seeking what so many others have come to the United States to find: security and opportunity."

The Al Hammawis, the paper reported at the time, were the fourth family of Syrian refugees to settle in Rockford.

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Between 2012 and 2014, the states with the most Syrian refugees were California, Arizona and Illinois, according to the Washington Post.

The Trib reports that: "According to the State Department, 169 Syrian refugees have relocated to Illinois since 2010, including 105 living in Chicago. The majority - 131 - have moved within the last year.

"RefugeeOne, a resettlement agency, is expected to welcome two refugee families from Syria after Thanksgiving weekend, according to Kim Snoddy, assistant director of development."

If I could, I'd be there to greet them personally. I hope you would too.

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Seems like a good place to drop this in:

I am so absolutely certain that there is nothing to fear from these refugee families, that Stephen Moss and I are...

Posted by Andrea Radke-Moss on Tuesday, November 17, 2015

Let's be too great to hate.

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Back to the Trib:

"The issue gained political traction as President Barack Obama doubled down on his commitment to take in at least 10,000 Syrian refugees within the next year and said that 'slamming the door in their faces would be a betrayal of our values.'"

This is being rather charitable to Obama. He originally called for slamming the door after just 5,000 Syrian refugees had walked through, and even at 10,000 had come under quite a bit of criticism before the Paris attacks for being so cold-hearted, given that America's actions in the region - and not just those of George W. Bush - primarily unleashed the chaos we face now. Now he's a hero for reiterating the same position.

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"The move by at least 21 governors marks a turn in public opinion on the crisis, which tugged at people's heartstrings in September when a photo of a drowned Syrian toddler surfaced, but has shifted somewhat after the Paris attacks."

Public opinion may have shifted, but the facts on the ground have not.

See:

* Shocking Images Of Drowned Syrian Boy Show Tragic Plight Of Refugees.

* State Department: Only 2% Of Syrian Refugees In U.S. Are Military-Aged Men With No Family.

"Our emphasis is on admitting the most vulnerable Syrians - particularly survivors of violence and torture, those with severe medical conditions, and women and children - in a manner that is consistent with U.S. national security."

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"Rauner said his office will 'consider all of our legal options' and wants a review of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security's acceptance and security processes. But refugee advocates questioned how governors would enforce bans after the federal government grants entry."

States' rights?

See also: Governors Who Want To Ban Syrian Refugees Have Something In Common.

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"Mayor Rahm Emanuel, who was Obama's first White House chief of staff, stopped short of directly criticizing Rauner."

I'll just leave that right there. For now.

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An ISIS Reading Guide
"Who is ISIS and how has the militant group grown to wield so much influence? We've rounded up some of the best reporting on the origins of ISIS, their role in the Syrian civil war and ties to terrorist attacks across the world."

Meet The Eagles Of Death Metal
Lending aid and comfort to the #ParisAttacks band that is mourning their merch manager; includes Chicago performance video. And by the way, they are not a death metal band - not that there would be anything wrong with them if they were. They are self-described as "bluegrass slide guitar mixed with stripper drum beats and Canned Heat vocals."

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Dear Football, I'm Breaking Up With You
Our very own Eric Emery writes an epic Dear John letter to the NFL.

Bad, Bad Dorothy Brown
She got a razor in her 'do.

Meet Our Urban River Otter
Now calling an isolated pond in the southern region of the Cook County forest preserves home.

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BeachBook

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JFC, the Bucket Boys are more Chicago than Ditka.

Posted by The Beachwood Reporter on Monday, November 16, 2015

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What Alan A. from Illinois learned.

Posted by The Beachwood Reporter on Monday, November 16, 2015

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TweetWood
A sampling.

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One welcomes Syrian refugees to his ward; what about the rest?

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Mayor Rahm Emanuel stopped short of directly criticizing Rauner.

It's a shonda.

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Well, Lemmy is God, so . . .

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The Beachwood Tip Line: Be great.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 11:49 AM | Permalink

Meet The Eagles Of Death Metal

Updates at bottom of post.

"Christian Pastor Steven Anderson spent part of his sermon [Sunday] telling his congregation that, while he doesn't condone the actions of the Paris attackers, the concertgoers at the Bataclan theater who were there to listen to the band Eagles of Death Metal sorta had it coming," Patheos reports.

When you go to a concert of death metal, somebody might get killed! You know, you're worshiping death, and then, all of a sudden, people start dying! . . . Well, you love death so much, you bought the ticket, you love worshiping Satan! Well, let's have some of Satan's religion come in and shoot you! I mean, that's what these people should think about before they go into such a wicked concert . . .

For those not in the know, the Eagles of Death Metal are not a death metal band - not that there would be anything wrong with that. The band is mourning its merchandise manager amidst an effort to push them to the top of the charts in a show of support and solidarity, so I thought I'd take the moment to share the band's backstory and some of their music.

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"Eagles of Death Metal is an American rock band from Palm Desert, California, formed in 1998 by Jesse Hughes and Josh Homme, who are the only permanent members of the band, though Homme rarely plays live shows because of commitments to other bands. There are also a wide range of other musicians that play under the Eagles of Death Metal moniker, both on the albums and in live shows, frequently under humorous aliases," according to the band's Wikipedia page.

"Despite their band name, Eagles of Death Metal are not a death metal band. Hughes stated that a friend was introducing Josh Homme to the death metal genre. When he played a song by the Polish band Vader and made a claim that the song was within the death metal genre, Homme then referred to Vader as 'The Eagles of Death Metal.' After hearing this phrase, he wondered what a cross between the Eagles and a death metal band would sound like. In a 2003 interview Homme described the sound of the band as a combination of 'bluegrass slide guitar mixed with stripper drum beats and Canned Heat vocals.'"

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See also: So Much Love For Eagles Of Death Metal Is Descending On Joshua Tree Right Now.

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At Riot Fest in September.

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At Bottom Lounge in 2008.

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At Logan Square Auditorium in 2006.

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Updates:

While the band is now home safe, we are horrified and still trying to come to terms with what happened in France. Our...

Posted by Eagles Of Death Metal on Wednesday, November 18, 2015

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"A UK campaign group has set out to get the Eagles of Death Metal's cover of Duran Duran's 'Save A Prayer' [to No. 1], with the song entering the charts earlier this week. Duran Duran have pledged to give all proceeds they receive to charity."

Here it is:

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EODM's opening act, White Miles, has also issued a statement.

Due to the numerous request by national as well as international news agencies after the terror attack in Paris, we...

Posted by White Miles on Wednesday, November 18, 2015

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Here's White Miles in Glasgow eight days ago.

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 10:36 AM | Permalink

Terror In Paris And Beirut: An ISIS Reading Guide

On November 13, terrorists hit Paris with a series of coordinated attacks - France's deadliest since World War II. The Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) claimed responsibility for the attacks, which killed at least 129 people, bringing a declaration of war from French President Francois Hollande and condemnation from world leaders. Who is ISIS and how has the militant group grown to wield so much influence? We've rounded up some of the best reporting on the origins of ISIS, their role in the Syrian civil war and ties to terrorist attacks across the world. Did we miss anything? Submit your suggestions in the comments.

BACKGROUND ON ISIS

How ISIS Works, The New York Times, September 2014.

ISIS has a complex organizational structure and aspires to statehood. This is a crash course in how the group works to gain more territory through violence and the strategic takeover of oil assets.

What Washington Doesn't Get About ISIS, Politico, November 2014.

How can the U.S. fight an enemy that it doesn't understand? This piece looks at some of the important things that U.S. officials misunderstand about ISIS, including tribal codes, the importance of history, and the scale of the threat that militant group presents.

What ISIS Really Wants, The Atlantic, March 2015.

Graeme Wood writes on the origins and religious ideology of ISIS, and how a fundamental misreading of the differences between ISIS and al-Qaeda has led to 'dangerous decisions' by Western leaders.

Inside Isis Inc: The Journey Of A Barrel Of Oil, Financial Times, October 2015.

Crude oil is the biggest single source of revenue for ISIS. This Financial Times' special report details how ISIS finances its terror operations, who profits, and why it's difficult to disrupt.

Watch: A 5-Minute History Of Syria's War And The Rise Of ISIS, Vox, November 2015.

From the first shots fired at Syrian protesters in 2011 to Russia's bombing of Syrian rebels fighting ISIS, this Vox video traces the evolution of Syria's civil war and ISIS's rise to power.

THE AGE OF TERROR

Fear Itself: Learning To Live In The Age Of Terrorism, Washington Post, August 2004.

Much has been made of the psychology of terror, but not about the psychology of the terrorized. In order to better understand the realities of living under imminent threat, Gene Weingarten journeyed to Madrid, "to ride the same train route that al-Qaeda blew up," and then Jerusalem. "After 9/11, Americans are concerned enough by terror to be waging a costly war against it. But, by and large, the fear of terrorism has not seeped into our bones. We are new to this thing. The Israelis are not," Weingarten writes.

The Long Fuse of Obama's Anti-ISIS Strategy, Foreign Policy, May 2015.

This is an examination of U.S. military operations against ISIS targets and the broader strategic problem that the militant group poses to the region and America's allies there.

Europe's Revolving-Door Prisons Compound Growing Terror Threat, ProPublica, June 2015.

Europe is good at catching terrorists, but not so good at keeping them locked up. Sebastian Rotella examines the jihadi ties of two Charlie Hebdo attackers who cycled through French jails, and how Europe's sentencing polices haven't yet adapted to the reality of terrorism.

Balancing Security Against Free Speech, Washington Post, July 2015.

Following an attack on tourists in Tunisia, ISIS claimed responsibility on Twitter. The group also promotes propaganda videos of mass killings on YouTube. Where the age of terror meets the age of social media, tech companies are left torn between free speech and security concerns.

RECENT ISIS ATTACKS

Palmyra: Historic Syrian City Falls Under Control Of Isis, The Guardian, May 2015.

ISIS took control of the historic city of Palmyra, once a hub of the Silk Road, over a seven-day siege. According to Rami Abdul Rahman of the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, the capture of Palmyra gave ISIS "almost complete control over the area from Palmyra to the Syrian-Iraqi border."

More: This is how the city of Palmyra looked before the attacks by ISIS.

ISIS Attacks Around The World, The New York Times, November 2015.

ISIS has now declared provinces in eight countries beyond Iraq and Syria, and has extended its reach to North America, Europe and Asia. The New York Times details the rise in ISIS-related attacks and arrests over the last year.

How Paris Terror Attacks Unfolded, The New York Times, November 2015.

On Nov. 13, 2015, terror struck Paris as more than 100 people were killed at random by terrorists. This video timeline of how the Paris Attacks unfolded from the bombings heard outside of the main sports stadium to the Bataclan Concert Hall.

Beirut, Also the Site of Deadly Attacks, Feels Forgotten, The New York Times, November 2015.

The day before the Paris attacks, 43 people were killed in suicide bombings in Beirut, Lebanon. After the Paris attacks, Facebook allowed users to notify friends and family that they were OK through the platform's "Safety Check" feature. One Lebanese doctor wrote of the disparate response: "When my people died, no country bothered to light up its landmarks in the colors of their flag."

Continuing coverage of the Paris Attacks: BBC, CNN, New York Times and France24.

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See also: About ISIS: A Catch-All For Desperately Aggrieved Teenage Boys - With A Familiar Hidden Hand.

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ProPublica is a Pulitzer Prize-winning investigative newsroom. Sign up for their newsletter.

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Comments welcome.


Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 7:22 AM | Permalink

Bad, Bad Dorothy Brown

Well in downtown old Chicago
in the saddest part of town
if you go down there, you better just be aware
of a clerk named Dorothy Brown

She got an antiquated courthouse
she got a crooked husband too
she got a patronage army and she acts real smarmy
got a razor in her 'do

And she's bad, bad Dorothy Brown
worst damn clerk in the whole damn town
badder than Moseley-Braun*
pretty soon she'll be gone

She lost her party's endorsement
even though she gave 25 large
she's headed toward indictment and that's real excitin'
in prison they'll call her Marge

And she's bad, bad Dorothy Brown
worst damn clerk in the whole damn town
better stay off her lawn
pretty soon she'll be gone

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* We know Moseley-Braun was the Cook County Recorder of Deeds, not the clerk; we just needed a rhyme and that's not the point of the line anyway.

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 5:32 AM | Permalink

An Urban River Otter Is Here!

A century after near-extinction from the State of Illinois and decades after reintroduction, an urban river otter has found its way into the southern region of the Forest Preserves of Cook County, calling an isolated pond within the preserves home.

The Forest Preserves of Cook County and the Chicago Zoological Society (CZS), which operates Brookfield Zoo, have since collaborated to study the otter's behavior. CZS veterinarians surgically implanted a transmitter in the otter, allowing wildlife biologists to track how the animal moves and learn how far the otter travels from its home base, while hopefully leading researchers to other otters in the area.

Dr. Mike explains:


"We currently have otters in all of the watersheds in Cook County, but at very low numbers. We're trying to understand what their challenges are, and to see if there is anything we can do to promote their population within Cook County," explained Chris Anchor, senior wildlife biologist for the Forest Preserves of Cook County.

According to Anchor, river otters are an alpha predator in the local wetland system, and rely on the health and well-being of the entire system beneath them. By understanding river otters' habits, researchers will be able to better identify where to restore various open land to benefit the health of otters and the biodiversity of all wildlife and humans.

"We are several years into an otter study. Urban otters, as with most urban wildlife, behave completely different than animals in a rural environment. There are many questions we do not understand about the ecology and natural history of otters that we're hoping to answer through the use of telemetry," said Anchor.

Within the implanted transmitter is a coiled antennae that emits signals. Using a directional antennae to pick up the signals, a process called triangulation, researchers are able to locate the otter to better study the animal and its habits, habitats and travel routes.

"The habitats of Cook County are diverse and in close relation to one another. By tracking the otter's movement, we are learning how it's using right of ways through neighborhoods and commercial property - this is all new information we're receiving," said Anchor.

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See also:

* River Otter Is Back In Cook County And Scientists Are Tracking Him.

* Overrun By Otters, Illinois Reinstates Trapping Season.

* Trapped: River Otters.

* The Return Of Otters To The Lower Milwaukee River.

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 12:53 AM | Permalink

Dear Football: I'm Breaking Up With You

Dear Football,

When you awake this morning, I'll be gone.

Damn it, Football. It was a great run. Sometime in 1979, I professed my love for you. After 36 years of love, I need to be true to you and to me. I am no longer in love with you. Let me be more honest. I don't even love you like a good friend. In fact, I really hate your guts. Football, I need you out of my life.

I owe you an explanation. Yes, I've met somebody else. She makes me feel whole, alive, and intellectually stimulated. And though we slowly drifted apart, my love for her surprised me. In fact, I never thought I would ever love somebody like her. And I guess I would have never looked around if you satisfied my wants and needs.

Perhaps I should have shared my feelings earlier, but I'm not sure it would have helped. Let's face facts: You've changed. And I've changed. So instead of muddling through out of some sense of obligation, let's make a clean break. That way we can each pursue our own goals.

I do feel like I owe you a better explanation, though, after all these years. Here's why I'm calling it quits.

1. You've gotten too fat.

When I first met you, you were 28 teams in six divisions - and that made you look so damn sexy, because each week I was with you, each game truly mattered.

Damn, girl, at the end of Week 16 (remember when you didn't take a week off every seaason?), each division race was much closer. That means your sexy ass was shaking all the time.

No longer. It's not so much that you are 32 teams now, but that you are also eight divisions. And your divisions don't shake like they used to. Last year only four of your eight divisions were decided by a game or less. And one of your division winners was 7-8-1. That's pretty ugly, babe.

You really let yourself go.

2. You worry way too much about money.

I know what you are going to say. You are going to say, "Back when we met, we didn't worry about money because we had less money to worry about." And I agree. Back then, there just wasn't as much to spend on players, much less their retirement. That wasn't fair, but that was the world we lived in.

Now, you make exponentially more - and so do the players. Yet, you're still begging on the streets for even more from perfect strangers. You've gotten greedy.

3. We don't agree on how to raise kids.

Should we be raising kids together? I'd feel responsible if our son played your game and injured his head. That will affect him his whole life. Let's face it, our son has a great, persistent attitude. Few, and I mean few grow up to earn NFL money. I'd feel guilty for damage to him, honey. Would you feel guilty?

4. You are a control freak.

You are so damn intent on supporting that 32/8 weight that you limit the amount of money teams can spend so the rich teams don't get that good. Guess what? Maybe you shouldn't be carrying that weight around. Why should I care about Cleveland, St. Louis or Tennessee? They stink almost every year. Why have crap teams around if they stink?

Some teams will never be run like the better teams, but consider this: If you let those crap and mediocre teams spend more, we'd have some real entertainment and drama. I don't want to make this political, but it's a little socialist of you. You have crap teams supported by the masses, you have semi-crap teams making lots of money but unable to spend fully on players, and you have well-run teams competing every year.

When all the teams make money, what is the real incentive to be great? Where is the drama in that? You want to control the money so bad you've turned every season in Groundhog Day.

5. You've become one-dimensional.

When I first met you, all good-to-great teams had something unique about them. Some had a crushing running game. Some had a great defense. Some had a great passing game. You've changed baby; you've changed big time.

Now, success depends on whether your quarterback can pass the ball eight yards down the field to the receiver more often than the opposition. What is the skill in that? Where is the running game? Where is the defense? Oh yeah, you really changed defense. You used to let the defense play defense. Now, they get to be nothing more than a shadow - they can be around the receiver and nothing more. You made offense easier and, consequently, less interesting.

Think about this, baby. We used to be able to definitely measure the skill of a quarterback. You know why? First, most of the time, they were able to overcome rules that benefited the defense. Twenty years ago, just 13 quarterbacks passed for more than 3,000 yards. Some Hall of Fame QBs were barely over 3,000 yards. Why? Some of them had good defenses. Some of them had a running game. Some of them were allowed to spend money to be better.

Last year, 22 quarterbacks passed over 3,000 yards. Yuck. That isn't entertainment. There is no drama seeing Kyle Orton succeed. I didn't wait until noon to see Alex Smith play catch without competition. Crap QBs should have difficulties each week. When you allow the crap QBs to be crap, you truly appreciate the great ones.

When we say the words "Jay Cutler passed for a very respectful 3,812 yards" for a 5-11 team, you should be punched in the throat. (I take that back, baby; I don't want to be all Ray Rice about this.)

6. Your best friend Roger is a douchebag.

Let me count the ways:

Now, it's natural to wonder, "What does this other league have that I don't have?" Or perhaps you are wondering if I'm leaving you for the NHL. I admit that I flirted with the NHL, as you always suspected, but I was always true to you. And I'm sure you thought. "I'll understand anything but soccer. You've always ridiculed soccer, so it cannot be that."

So let me be blunt. It's soccer.

English Premier League Football, to be exact.

I want to be respectful to you, but I also want you to fully understand how EPL is meeting my needs.

1. She stays in shape all year around.

Twenty teams. No divisions. That is a tight body.

And when I say "all year around," I mean "all year around." The drama unfolds over 36 weeks. With breaks for tournaments and international play, this league is loving me the whole year! Damn!

You might be thinking, "The bigger the boat, the bigger the waves." And you might be right, if I was interested in six weekly "waves" that start with "the hapless [insert crap NFL team] goes against wild-card contender [insert slightly better than mediocre NFL team]." Where is the drama? We have to wait three hours for the answer, yet chances are the story is written by halftime.

With the EPL, every game has a storyline. Why? Not only does she stay trim, she works every year to stay trim like the day I met her. How? She kicks out the three worst teams at the end of every season and promotes three new teams. Each game has drama. Will the crap team steal a point against a better team? Will the better team's manager get sacked after losing to a crap team? Will a win will move a team up three spots and into next year's premier international tournament?

Each match really matters. Let's face it, your drama culminates at the Super Bowl, when the winner is crowned World Champion. For a league of American teams. Even the headline event is soaked in hyperbole.

2. She has a healthy relationship with money.

Each league has a choice. Will money be the sole motivation?

Should we trot out veterans as a marketing partnership or can we honor veterans with a solemn minute of silence or a trumpet ditty?

Should we use pink uniforms as a marketing partnership yet control how a player mourns or can we simply give when the need is there?

Should we send our players off with health problems and little coverage (only bending after the brand was damaged) or make a system that supports players after they play, even at the lower levels?

Should we use our product as a weapon to control how we are covered or do we let our partners simply have fun?

Sure, baby, I know what you are going to say. The lower revenue EPL teams will never compete against the glory teams. A $30M team is at a distinct disadvantage to the $300M team. Let me ask you something: When did you become a socialist, bleeding heart, tree hugging hippie?

There's much more to team engagement. It's about beating your local rivals in a derby. It's about upsetting a glory team in a tournament, even when your team is a league lower. It's about doing better this year than last year.

And once a lifetime, a team rises from the fourth level (the equivalent of Single-A baseball) in seven years and earns a promotion to the big time.

Let's face it, baby, after that Cinderella would take the coach home early rather than dance with that NFL prince.

3. She has always something interesting to say.

Who gives a shit about the Cleveland Browns, right? Well, what if the Browns were the fourth-worst team in the NFL and a loss would put them in position to be relegated to a lower league. What if they played a struggling "glory team" and even a tie would increase criticisms of the glory team manager? What if they played a fellow team in the relegation zone, with the loser moving to last place? What if the Browns played a team looking to qualify for a special tournament next year?

The same for Tennessee. Or Detroit. Or Tampa Bay. Or Miami.

Now imagine if somebody could buy a player from your team. Then your team uses the money to buy a player from a different team, perhaps from a different league. WOW! Imagine the surprise.

So what if the top team spends $300M and the bottom team spends $30M? That team better finish in the top four to make next year's Champions League. What does a top four finish earn? Four EPL teams averaged 37M Euros. What? And they played games outside of the EPL? WHAT WHAT? Should their manager rest a couple key players in the first Champions League game on Tuesday because they're playing an EPL rival on Saturday? WHAT WHAT WHAT? Imagine if the EPL leader gets dismantled in the Champions League and suddenly loses confidence. (Head explodes.)

4. I like her friends better than yours.

Baby, let's admit something: You might break your arm patting yourself on the back when talking about your friends. Oh, I know they all like to wave towels and paint their faces, but that's hardly impressive. Your friends know when to yell because you tell them when to yell. How about figuring shit out for themselves?

Granted, soccer friends are not known to be classy, but they are passionate. And it's not as if your friends don't beat up the occasional opposing frenemy too, right?

Sorry for my long note, but I wanted to share as much as possible because I need to distance myself from you so I can grow. Perhaps things will be different someday, years down the road. Perhaps Roger will quit to work for the ambulance-chasing law firm he's right for. Maybe the owners will change. And maybe, just maybe, you and I will reconnect and be friends again.

But I doubt it. It's better that we just be honest and realize it's impossible to teach an old billionaire new tricks.

With fond remembrance,

Eric

P.S. No more "Here we go Steelers here we go." It's "Up the Cherries" now.

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Eric Emery was the founder of the Beachwood's Blue & Orange Kool-Aid Report. He welcomes your comments.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 12:35 AM | Permalink

November 16, 2015

SportsMonday: Bearsmentum

Now that was a victory!

After eeking out three wins against crappy teams this season by less than a cumulative touchdown to go with their four predictable losses, the Bears finally looked like a professional football team Sunday in stomping all over a mediocre St. Louis Rams team having a very bad day.

And while the sad performance of said opponent would usually call for tempering any enthusiasm about a Bears victory, this time they did what a good team does and stepped on the Rams' neck. Bravo.

The big plays were huge YACs - yards after the catch.

Zach Miller caught a 2-yard pass and ran 85 yards more for a touchdown, and Jeremy Langford caught a pass behind the line of scrimmage and, well, ran about 85 yards for a touchdown. That was literally all the Bears needed, given that they only gave up 13 points to Todd Gurley and Co.

Of course, Gurley's relative absence from the Rams' offensive game plan was the day's biggest mystery.

Yay, the Bears held Gurley to 12 carries! With double the carries, Gurley gets 100 yards and keeps the game close. So more credit there to the Rams' boneheadedness than to the Bears' run defense.

The Bears also had a good thing going with Rams quarterback Nick Foles:

And just to splash a little more cold water on Bearsmentum before returning to the positive side of the slate, consider:

To that last tweet, 7-9 now seems doable. I'm not yet prepared to say .500 is in reach, though given that the next two opponents, Denver and Green Bay, suddenly appear vulnerable, well, who knows.

I will caution that the Bears would probably rather see Peyton Manning at QB this week than backup Brock Osweiler at this point, but Osweiler it almost certainly will be.

And the Packers the following week will be coming off a game in Minnesota which will mark either their fourth consecutive loss or their bounce-back into first-place; either way, they'll be hungry for Bear.

But the main point is that for the first time this season, the Bears looked like a real professional football team. Now we find out if Brock Osweiler is a real professional quarterback.

Arch Commentary
* Jim Thomas, St. Louis Post-Dispatch: Rams Embarrass Themselves Against Bears.

* Nick Wagoner, ESPN: Foles May Not Be The Answer.

Deadspin Bears
* Martellus Bennett Roasts The Rams.

* NFL To Investigate Chicago Bears For Failing To Disclose Full Injury Report To Media.

Bears Twitter

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Kyle Long, everybody.

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This was in the first quarter with the Rams up 10-7.

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 1:01 PM | Permalink

About ISIS

In August, the New York Review of Books published "The Mystery of Isis," an essay built upon the books ISIS: Inside the Army of Terror and ISIS: The State of Terror. The piece was written by a 'former official of a NATO country with wide experience in the Middle East' and good reason to remain anonymous.

I highly recommend reading the whole thing, but just to wet your appetite, here are some key excerpts and insights:

"Ahmad Fadhil was eighteen when his father died in 1984. Photographs suggest that he was relatively short, chubby, and wore large glasses. He wasn't a particularly poor student - he received a B grade in junior high - but he decided to leave school. There was work in the garment and leather factories in his home city of Zarqa, Jordan, but he chose instead to work in a video store, and earned enough money to pay for some tattoos. He also drank alcohol, took drugs, and got into trouble with the police. So his mother sent him to an Islamic self-help class. This sobered him up and put him on a different path. By the time Ahmad Fadhil died in 2006 he had laid the foundations of an independent Islamic state of eight million people that controlled a territory larger than Jordan itself.

"The rise of Ahmad Fadhil - or as he was later known in the jihad, Abu Musab al-Zarqawi - and ISIS, the movement of which he was the founder, remains almost inexplicable."

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One takeaway from this is just how weird Zarqawi was - and just what a mystery it remains as to why so many people followed him, as opposed to a more charismatic, intellectual and ideologically rigorous figure like Osama bin Laden.

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"Zarqawi was killed by a US air strike in 2006. But his movement improbably survived the full force of the 170,000-strong, $100 billion a year US troop surge. In 2011, after the US withdrawal, the new leader, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, expanded into Syria and reestablished a presence in northwest Iraq. In June 2014 the movement took Mosul - Iraq's second-largest city - and in May 2015 the Iraqi city of Ramadi and the Syrian city of Palmyra, and its affiliates took the airport in Sirte, Libya. Today, thirty countries, including Nigeria, Libya, and the Philippines, have groups that claim to be part of the movement."

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More than anything, it seems ISIS filled a vacuum created by the U.S. invasion of Iraq - though it remains unclear why ISIS was successful doing so instead of the many other groups seemingly better positioned to do so.

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"U.S. policies such as de-Baathification in 2003 began the alienation of Sunnis, and . . . this was exacerbated by the atrocities committed by Shia militias in 2006 (fifty bodies a day were left on the streets of Baghdad, killed by power drills inserted in their skulls)."

So there's that.

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"U.S. Army studies of more than forty historical insurgencies . . . suggest again and again that holding ground, fighting pitched battles, and alienating the cultural and religious sensibilities of the local population are fatal."

Which is also a lesson for the U.S. Army.

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"By June 2010, General Ray Odierno claimed that 80 percent of the movement's top forty-two leaders had been killed or captured, with only eight remaining at large."

We can keep trying to decapitate ISIS's command-and-control structure, which is President Obama's strategy, but the movement is far too large (20,000 fighters are said to have joined) for that to be an effective way to end the threat.

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"When, as recently as April, the movement lost Tikrit and seemed to be declining, the explanation appeared obvious. Analysts were on the verge of concluding that ISIS had lost because it was reckless, abhorrent, over-extended, fighting on too many fronts, with no real local support, unable to translate terrorism into a popular program, inevitably outmatched by regular armies."

It is not a strategically coherent movement.

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"In Ramadi, three hundred ISIS fighters drove out thousands of trained and heavily equipped Iraqi soldiers. The US Defense Secretary Ashton Carter observed: 'The Iraqi forces just showed no will to fight. They were not outnumbered. In fact, they vastly outnumbered the opposing force, and yet they failed to fight.'"

Does that remind you any recent American war?

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Go read the whole thing. My take is that ISIS has become a giant catch-all for all sorts of alienated and aggrieved (mostly) teenage boys that is "successful" exactly because it is not coherent, like its rivals. It's just "against," and you don't need to know a more solid program than that to join up and fight.

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In April, Michiko Kakutani paired the same books in a piece for the New York Times, writing:

The most compelling sections of the Stern-Berger book are devoted to comparing ISIS and al-Qaeda. The authors describe al-Qaeda as an exclusive "vanguard movement," a "cabal that saw itself as the elite intellectual leaders of a global ideological revolution that it would assist and manipulate." Through the 1990s, they write, al-Qaeda "grew into a corporation, with a payroll and benefits department, and operatives who traveled around the world inserting themselves into local conflicts."

ISIS, in contrast, is more of a populist start-up operation. Online, Ms. Stern and Mr. Berger note, "it amassed and empowered a 'smart mob' of supporters," polling "its constituents and making shrewd calls about when to listen and who could safely be ignored."

al-Qaeda's vision for the restoration of the Islamic caliphate, they write, "is framed squarely in the long term" - "an idealized future that its leaders did not expect to see realized in their lifetimes." Using "a classic extremist trope" (the defense of one's own identity group against aggression), the authors assert, Osama bin Laden's organization "framed its pitch to potential recruits in more relatable terms as 'doing the right thing.' "

The Islamic State, Mr. Berger and Ms. Stern say, dispensed with such intellectual argumentation and instead emphasized horrific violence (which served to stimulate and attract disaffected, angry young men) combined with the promise of a building "a Muslim society with all the trappings." This utopian vision of "food aplenty, industry, banks, schools, health care, social services, pothole repair - even a nursing home with the insurgents' unmistakable black flag draped over the walls," they write, served as "a call for noncombatants, men and women alike, to build a nation-state alongside the warriors, with a role for engineers, doctors, filmmakers, sysadmins, and even traffic cops."

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And:

"As Mr. Weiss and Mr. Hassan see it, many reluctant supporters regard the Islamic State as "the only option on offer for Sunni Muslims who have been dealt a dismal hand in the past decade - first losing control of Iraq and now suffering nationwide atrocities, which many equate to genocide, in Syria."

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By now, we should all know this:

"Both books also provide lucid assessments of the role that missteps and disastrous decision-making on the part of the United States played in fueling the rise of the Islamic State and its antecedents and affiliates. Ms. Stern and Mr. Berger write that the 2003 invasion of Iraq 'reinforced jihadi claims about America's hegemonic designs on the Middle East, providing a recruiting bonanza at a time when the terrorists needed it most.' They add that "while some politicians wanted to see Iraq during the allied invasion as a roach motel, we see it more like a hornet's nest - with allied bombs and bullets spreading the hornets ever further, throughout the region and beyond."

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Finally, ISIS might now really be a vehicle for something not at all what it outwardly seems:

In fact, Mr. Weiss and Mr. Hassan contend that most of the Islamic State's "top decision makers served in Saddam Hussein's military or security services," and in that sense, "'secular' Baathism has returned to Iraq under the guise of Islamic fundamentalism."

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On that point, see also Liz Sly's "The Hidden Hand Behind The Islamic State Militants? Saddam Hussein's" for the Washington Post.

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 10:17 AM | Permalink

Jonathan Pie, TV Reporter! It's Shit, Crap News, Tim

Telling asthmatics to stay clear of city buses while Volkswagen and Exxon are allowed to exist.


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Previously in Jonathan Pie, TV Reporter!:

* Jonathan Pie, TV Reporter! Explains The Economy.

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And:

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 10:03 AM | Permalink

The Incestuous World Of Daily Fantasy Sports

The sports media industrial complex that invests, promotes and discusses daily fantasy sports has more conflicts of interest than a metaphor in a whorehouse.

Plus: "Daily fantasy sports sites claim they are not gambling enterprises, but they seem awfully . . . gamblish. If only their ads were more truthful."

Such as the ones provided in this journalistically inspiring ultimate takedown.


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See also:
* Beachwood Radio: The Immorality Of Daily Fantasy And Their Native Radio Announcer Advertising Tools.

* FanDuel CEO Wants Rules, Like Illinois.

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And:

“[T]he top 100 ranked players enter 330 winning lineups per day, and the top 10 players combine to win an average of 873...

Posted by The Beachwood Reporter on Tuesday, September 15, 2015

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 9:23 AM | Permalink

The [Monday] Papers

"Mayor Rahm Emanuel and top aides diverted more than $58 million away from Chicago Public Schools to help plug a budget hole at City Hall shortly after he took office," the Tribune reports.

"The extra cash went to the Chicago Police Department for unspecified security services provided before Emanuel was mayor - even though the school district offered no public accounting of what the money was paying for or a formal contract with the city for the work."

Okay, so I got a little confused reading this article the first time, but I'm not going to blame the Tribune because I'm not sure I was really bearing down on it. I'll try to do so now.

First of all, it's pretty clear that the mayor pulled a series of really slick moves - with disingenuous explanations. Let's get into it.

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"Mayor Rahm Emanuel and top aides diverted more than $58 million away from Chicago Public Schools to help plug a budget hole at City Hall shortly after he took office. The extra cash went to the Chicago Police Department for unspecified security services provided before Emanuel was mayor - even though the school district offered no public accounting of what the money was paying for or a formal contract with the city for the work."

So the budget hole was actually at the police department, caused by services provided by the schools for years that hadn't been paid for. So Emanuel decided to get CPD caught up. At least that's what I'm taking from this.

Oh, and CPD couldn't provide any specifics about just what those services were, and how much they cost. Somehow somebody came up with a number, though.

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"Now, with CPS facing a $480 million shortfall and threatening midyear teacher layoffs, Emanuel has pulled an about-face. The city is picking up the cost of officer patrols in schools at no charge to the district, a decision officials disclosed after the Chicago Tribune asked CPS questions about its police spending."

So now CPS will no longer have to pay CPD for cops in schools; City Hall will pay. Which is sort of the same as CPD paying, because CPD is obviously funded by City Hall. But I guess the mayor is saying we won't ding your current budget for it.

Oh, and also the Emanuel administration only acknowledged making this shift after the Trib started nosing around, even though the Most Transparent Administration In Chicago History just got done passing a budget.

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"The shift illustrates Emanuel's willingness to move money around based on where the financial crisis lies. CPS channeled the police money to City Hall to help balance the city's budget during a period when Emanuel had deemed raising property, sales or gas taxes politically and economically unpalatable as he faced a $636 million hole. At the time, CPS was able to deliver the money to the city as the district raised property taxes. Four years later, the opposite dynamic played out, as City Hall had hit up taxpayers for a windfall."

I'd say the shift illustrates something different: How shifty Rahm Emanuel is.

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"Emanuel communications director Kelley Quinn did not respond to questions about the sharp increase in payments CPS made to CPD as Emanuel worked to balance his first budgets as mayor. Instead, she e-mailed a statement.

"'The deployment of officers in schools has been an important component of our citywide safety strategy,' Quinn said in the statement issued Sunday. 'In recognition of the necessity of this continued partnership combined with CPS' dire financial situation, beginning this year, the city will incur the cost of officers to the schools which require them.'"

Once again, I ask: Why would any public official ever answer a reporter's questions when they know they can just e-mail a statement and get that published instead?

An e-mailed statement is the same thing as a press release. So now you're letting a press release answer your questions?

You might as well say "We have some questions about Topic A, will you send a canned statement over so we can put that in our story instead of actual answers?"

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"Prior to Emanuel's tenure, the district's annual payments to the police department were generally lower. During the 2004 through 2011 CPS budget years, the district paid an average of $8.6 million a year.

"During the four years before Emanuel was mayor, the police department received about $36.8 million from CPS. But since Emanuel took office, the payments increased sharply, with City Hall reeling in more than $100 million from CPS, records show."

Now why would that be? Honest question, because I really don't know. Truth in budgeting?

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"In February 2010, the Chicago Board of Education agreed to spend $32.8 million on CPD costs from 2009 to 2012. Officers would serve eight-hour stints at 97 schools. CPS started paying, according to city and school records. But when asked for a copy of the contract through an open records request, the school district said there wasn't one."

So how were the costs calculated? On a cocktail napkin?

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"Emanuel's hand-picked school board scrapped the less-costly 2010 agreement in favor of a new contract that would end up costing an extra $58 million."

Well of course they did.

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"Here's the math on that: In 2012, CPS agreed to pay $47 million for services provided between the 2009 and 2011 budget years and $26 million in 2013, though the district paid only $11 million that year, for a total of $58 million."

So the district paid $15 million less in 2013 than it had budgeted for? I don't understand the math on this.

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"The extra payments, the board said, were 'necessary to fully compensate CPD for charges associated with police services CPD has provided to the board since Jan. 1, 2009.'"

So the board decided to be super nice and go back and reimburse CPD for past services rendered for which there was no contract and no accounting for said services?

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"Jadine Chou, the school district's chief safety and security officer, told the Tribune that CPS had to make good on bills it owed the police department.

"There were invoices prior to that totaling up to $57 million," Chou said. "That doesn't mean that those expenses all were incurred in one school year . . . But those payments would've been, again, for invoices prior to that time period."

But the invoices didn't specify what the charges were for?

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"The Tribune filed an open records request with the school district on July 31 for the invoices and other records. CPS acknowledged receiving the request but has not provided any records."

Emphasis mine, to emphasize that it's been three months since the Trib requested public documents the city is required by law to provide.

Oh, and didn't Chou just say there were invoices? Why not hand those over?

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"When asked why the district owed the lump sums to the police department to begin with, Chou responded, 'I couldn't explain that.'"

I have an idea: I'm going to invoice the city for lump sums! Apparently they just pay off the invoices with no questions asked.

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"[Former CPS CEO Jean-Claude] Brizard, who was in charge of the district at the time, recalled feeling a responsibility 'to do the right thing.'"

Wow, what an amazing case of selective magnanimity.

"Frankly, while the money issue was a difficult pill to swallow, I did not want that to come in between us," he said. "I knew it wouldn't have, because they're professionals - but our sister agencies, you want to do what's right."

So you knew the issue wouldn't come between CPS and CPD but you paid them off anyway because you were afraid the issue would come between CPS and CPD.

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"To help come up with the sudden request for tens of millions of dollars in additional payments, the district used close to $19 million that was earmarked to pay substitute teachers."

Oh, that's just lovely! At least they were doing the right thing!

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"Just a few years after Emanuel aides insisted that the school district needed to pay more for police, the administration says that's no longer the case.

"Essentially, the rationale for why it makes sense is these are police officers who would be serving their community anyway," said Chou, the district's chief security officer.

"Potentially, the school serves as their assignment as a beat. So if you think of it that way, they're on duty serving the community as it stands."

Then go get that $58 million back! My God.

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Chicagoetry: Every Cloud A Sphinx
No Kalashnikovs, no suicide belts, no dirty bombs . . .

About ISIS
A catch-all for desperately aggrieved teenage boys - with a familiar hidden hand.

Special Report: An Iraqi Smuggler's Tale
The violent unraveling of the country has been a major source of business for traffickers.

Jonathan Pie, TV Reporter!
It's shit news, Tim.

SportsMonday: Bearsmentum
Now that was a victory; Bears finally step on the neck of one of their horrible opponents.

The Incestuous World Of Daily Fantasy Sports
Inside the absurdity of the sports-media industrial complex.

The Weekend In Chicago Rock
Featuring: Texas Toast Chainsaw Massacre, Great Influence Machine, Aviation and the War, Evil Empire, Flamin' Groovies, Mooner, Roger Clyne and the Peacemakers, Dungen, NF, Eric Roberson, Amazing Royal Crowns, Simple Simon, Raury, RAC, Hands Like Houses, The Acacia Strain, Counterparts, Kublai Khan, Fit For An Autopsy, Uncle Kracker, Royal Bliss, Rev. KM Williams, Lou Shields, AJ Gaither, Mississippi Gabe Carter, One Hand Dan, and Stardeath and White Dwarfs.

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BeachBook

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"A year ago, in Chicago, I was roofied at a bar and woke up somewhere new with some men I didn't know ... "

Posted by The Beachwood Reporter on Saturday, November 14, 2015

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Obama administration officials, urging people to sign up for health insurance under the Affordable Care Act, have...

Posted by The Beachwood Reporter on Saturday, November 14, 2015

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TweetWood
A sampling.

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The Beachwood Tip Line: Push it real good.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 8:39 AM | Permalink

Chicagoetry: Every Cloud A Sphinx

Every Cloud a Sphinx

They stray across the white-blue sky
In pieces, like classical statues
Of old gods and bitter generals, or

Streamlined griffins and soft sphinx.
I infer the nearly-unmediated sublime,
Mediated only by mind.

Then suddenly, an anomaly
In the blue, suburban sky:
Every cloud a sphinx!

No Anubis, no Crazy Horse,
Nor a single John Brown!
No crocodiles, Gojiras, genitalia,
Himalayas, no Venus nor Laocoon.

No Kalashnikovs, no suicide belts, no dirty bombs . . .

Just a flotilla of sphinx

Above the broken world.
And this sky, too, is
Everybody's sky:

From Berwyn to Burma,
Bron-Yr-Aur to Bryn Mawr,
Some other mind

Sees what I see,
In the highest definition,
This grand armada of chubby

Sphinx.

Not an illegal Glock in the hands of a child
Nor a digital rant fraught with rancor and bile.
I love the clouds, the drifting clouds, over there,

The marvelous clouds.

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J.J. Tindall is the Beachwood's poet-in-residence. He welcomes your comments. Chicagoetry is an exclusive Beachwood collection-in-progress.

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More Tindall:

* Chicagoetry: The Book

* Ready To Rock: The Music

* Kindled Tindall: The Novel

* The Viral Video: The Match Game Dance

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 12:42 AM | Permalink

The Weekend In Chicago Rock

You shoulda been there.

1. Texas Toast Chainsaw Massacre at Record Breakers on Saturday.


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2. Great Influence Machine at Quenchers on Friday night.

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3. Aviation and the War at the Abbey on Saturday night.

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4. Evil Empire at Reggies on Friday night.

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5. The Flamin' Groovies at Schubas on Thursday night.

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6. Mooner at Schubas on Thursday night.

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7. Roger Clyne and the Peacemakers at Subterranean on Saturday night.

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8. Dungen at Schubas on Thursday night.

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9. NF at Logan Square Auditorium on Thursday night.

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10. Eric Roberson at the Shrine on Saturday night.

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11. Amazing Royal Crowns at Cobra Lounge on Saturday night.

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12. Simple Simon at the Elbo Room on Saturday night.

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13. Raury at the Chop Shop on Thursday night.

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14. RAC at the Concord on Friday night.

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15. Hands Like Houses at Bottom Lounge on Friday night.

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16. The Acacia Strain at Bottom Lounge on Thursday night.

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17. Counterparts at Bottom Lounge on Thursday night.

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18. Kublai Khan at Bottom Lounge on Thursday night.

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19. Fit For An Autopsy at Bottom Lounge on Thursday night.

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20. Uncle Kracker at the Tree in Joliet on Friday night.

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21. Royal Bliss at the Tree in Joliet on Friday night.

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22. Rev. KM Williams with Jeff Stone at the Chicago Cigar Box Guitar Festival at the Brauerhouse in Lombard on Saturday.

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23. Lou Shields at the Cigar Box Festival on Saturday.

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24. AJ Gaither at the Cigar Box Festival on Friday.

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25. Mississippi Gabe Carter at the Cigar Box Festival on Saturday.

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26. One Hand Dan at the Cigar Box Festival on Friday.

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Catching up with . . .

Stardeath and White Dwarfs at Subterranean on Wednesday night.

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 12:14 AM | Permalink

Special Report: An Iraqi Smuggler's Tale

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In photo after photo, Sediq Sevo's Facebook page lays out the riches and allure of Europe.

In one picture the young Iraqi Kurd poses beneath the Eiffel Tower. In another he stands in a neon-lit restaurant in Rotterdam. A third has him grinning beside a train in Milan.

He stopped posting pictures in August. That was the month Sevo helped smuggle five fellow Iraqi Kurds to Europe, he told Reuters. They ended up dead, trapped with 66 other migrants inside a truck abandoned alongside an Austrian highway.

Like Sevo, many of the dead came from Iraqi Kurdistan. They had joined hundreds of thousands of people who have entered Europe illegally this year from homes wrecked by civil war, sectarian violence or repressive governments in countries such as Syria, Afghanistan and Eritrea. Many are young men ready to risk their lives for the chance of stability and wealth. On their side are determination, sheer numbers, and people-smugglers.

Human brokers such as Sevo play the central role in many migrants' journeys. He was the first in a chain of people that helped the five men make their way from northern Iraq through Turkey and Bulgaria to Serbia, Hungary and finally Austria.

"I have good experience in the smuggling industry," he told Reuters in a phone interview in October. "I have been working for more than seven years in the smuggling sector . . . I used to take people from Kurdistan to Turkey and from Turkey to Greece all on foot and by car."

Like the thousands of Central Americans who pour into the United States, or the Rohingya Burmese who flood into Thailand and Malaysia, illegal travelers worldwide depend on an industry run by networks of individual criminal entrepreneurs. More than 3,000 people-smugglers were arrested in Europe in the second quarter of 2015, according to European border control agency Frontex - the biggest number since records began in 2007. But the networks are often too diffuse and complex for fragmented law enforcement services to unravel.

The violent unraveling of Iraq has been a major source of business for traffickers. More than 3 million Iraqis have been displaced by fighting since the start of 2014. The United Nations' deputy humanitarian coordinator in Iraq said 10 million Iraqis would need humanitarian support by the end of this year. Some 6,000 Iraqis have reached Greece or Italy in 2015, according to the International Organization for Migration - five times more than last year.

So far, Hungarian police have arrested five men - four Bulgarians and an Afghan - in connection with the deaths. One man has also been arrested in Bulgaria. Hungary's prosecutor has agreed to take over the case; prosecutors in Budapest have yet to say whether they will raise murder charges.

Sevo is back in Iraq, where he has gone into hiding after the families of two of the migrants he helped complained to the Kurdish security services about him. He says he has nothing to apologize for, and blames another Kurdish smuggler called Bewar, whom he calls the weak link in the network. It was Bewar, Sevo says, who foolishly entrusted the five men to two other smugglers without checking up on them.

Reuters could not reach Bewar and it is unclear how close Sevo is to other smugglers in the chain into Europe. Sevo is keen to distance himself from those further down, in particular Bewar.

Neither the Austrian nor the Hungarian police would comment on their investigations. Hungary has an extradition agreement with Iraq dating to 1977 which has not been used for years, a diplomatic source said.

Sevo told Reuters he is not sure what happened to the truck, but he thinks some kind of police check must have caused the driver to abandon it and flee, so the people inside "ran out of oxygen." The last time he spoke to Bewar was on Sept. 1. His fellow smuggler had rung from Greece to ask Sevo what had become of the five men.

"Bewar is to blame because when he passed the job on . . . he didn't get any information" about the migrants' whereabouts, he said. "Even now we don't know the truth."

FRUSTRATIONS

Two of the men Sevo dealt with were second cousins who had both served in the peshmerga, the armed forces of the semi-autonomous area of Kurdistan in northern Iraq which have been fighting Islamic State since last year. The cousins came from well-off families in Duhok, the region's third biggest city.

The younger of the two, Semian Nasser Mohammed, was 25 and had pondered leaving Iraq for months. Mohammed's father described his son as quiet but amiable. He liked raising animals. His father wanted him to settle down and marry, but Mohammed said he would wait until the war was over.

His second cousin, Nashwan Mustafa Rasoul, was 28, owned a car and liked to listen to Lebanese singer Elissa, or to Ibrahim Tatlises, a Kurdish singer in Turkey. He loved Apocalypto, a Mel Gibson film set in pre-Colombus Central America. He swam and spent time in the countryside.

Both men were increasingly frustrated with life in Kurdistan. They had been fighting the Islamic State in Tel Asqof, a Christian village north of Mosul. But thanks to an economic crunch in Kurdistan over the past year they - like most other state employees - had missed three months in salaries.

"They complained about instability and the problems with electricity and petrol too," Rasoul's elder brother Sarbast said in an interview at the family's home. "They preferred to travel in search of stability and ease. Mentally (Rasoul) was not at ease. None of us are after the economic crisis."

Rasoul worried about the future and the lack of opportunity in Kurdistan, said his brother-in-law, Reveng Jalal Ibrahim. "They (fight) for their country, but their country is doing nothing for them."

When Rasoul and Mohammed returned on home-leave in early August they told their families they were leaving Iraq. Their parents tried to dissuade them but the men would not listen.

Rasoul had already made contact with Sediq Sevo, who knew the families from the past.

THE GUIDE

Sevo is from Zakho, an ancient city on the border between Iraqi Kurdistan and Turkey.

Zakho's Lost Hope
Around 30 of the migrants who died in a truck in Austria in August were Iraqi Kurds, some of them from Zakho, an ancient city on the border between Iraqi Kurdistan and Turkey.

In the 1990s, Zakho was the center of a haven set up by British and American military forces to protect the Kurds from attack by then Iraqi President Saddam Hussein. More than a million Kurds fled.

When Saddam's regime was toppled in 2003, Kurds flooded home hoping to build a new life - and possibly a new country.

Now people are leaving again.

Early last year, the government in Baghdad cut the Kurds' share of the budget. A global oil price slump, attacks by the Islamic State, and chaos in the rest of the country have made life increasingly difficult.

"Until last year I never thought I would leave Kurdistan," said 27-year-old Aydin Hassan. "But things have deteriorated so much that there is nothing left for me here anymore."

Most leave through places such as Zakho on Iraq's porous northern border, long a smuggling hub. During Saddam's time, when Iraq was under international sanctions, Kurds smuggled truckloads of oil across the border and imported goods such as cigarettes, alcohol and guns, in defiance of the embargo.

Today the most profitable cargo is human. Helping people leave is "the best way to earn money," said one Kurdish smuggler who has been in the business for nearly three decades.

"We always want to minimize the dangers so we get all the money that we have agreed on," said the smuggler. "But sometimes it is out of our hands."

- Isabel Coles

He told Reuters that in the mid-2000s he worked as a "guide" - he prefers that to smuggler - and helped take between 100 and 150 people to Europe.

In 2007, though, he was arrested for smuggling and imprisoned for about eight months.

When he was released, he worked as a painter and in construction, including a stint in Greece.

He returned from Greece on Aug. 1. Within days, he said, young men wanting to get to Europe approached him for help. Among them was Rasoul.

Sevo asked for $8,000 each to take the cousins to Germany, according to Rasoul's elder brother Sarbast. The men haggled that down to $7,500 and Rasoul sold his car for $18,900 to pay the fares.

Smugglers in Kurdistan sometimes ask would-be migrants to deposit their payment with a trusted third party who wires it when the migrant reaches Europe. Mostly, though, migrants simply transfer their payment when they get to their destination. Sevo did not ask Rasoul or Mohammed to pay upfront, their relatives say, because he was confident they would not cheat him.

Rasoul's elder brother Sarbast spoke to Sevo, who reassured him the route through Bulgaria was safe. Sevo told the men to make their way to Istanbul where he would meet them, Sevo says.

Sevo said he did not intend to get back into smuggling. He was simply doing the five men a favor by giving them the telephone numbers of smuggling contacts. He said he provided the numbers for free.

THE JOURNEY

On the evening of Aug. 11, Rasoul and Mohammed's relatives accompanied the cousins to the bus station in Duhok. The bus was meant to arrive at 9 p.m., but was late. The two men, excited and impatient, ignored last-minute pleas for them to stay and finally left at midnight.

When they arrived in Istanbul early the following morning, Sevo was already there.

A few days later, three more young men arrived from Zakho, Sevo's hometown. The trio had left without telling their parents, according to relatives.

The father of one of the boys said he spoke with Sevo by phone and urged him to send his son home. "I told him 'I don't want him to go. I beg you not to take my son.'"

But sometime in the middle of August a smuggler known to Sevo collected all five Iraqis and drove them and between 20 and 40 other people from Istanbul to Edirne near Turkey's borders with Greece and Bulgaria, according to Sevo.

The passengers got off the minibus and proceeded on foot. It is a 7- to 10-hour walk across the border, but Mohammed fell ill on the way and it took them more than a day. Once inside Bulgaria the men were driven to the capital Sofia, where they were put in an apartment. The plan was to continue on to Serbia, Sevo said, but the group had to wait for Mohammed to recover. They finally left a day late, Aug. 22.

Sevo had given the men the phone number of a smuggler from Zakho who worked in Bulgaria. The five men called him and he drove them in a Fiat from Sofia to the Serbian border, Sevo says.

Pictures posted on one of the men's Facebook pages on Aug. 22 show the trio from Zakho resting in a forest with bulky rucksacks on their backs. One of them grins and flashes a peace sign.

The men arrived in Serbia on Aug. 23. The government registered them as asylum-seekers and sent them on to Belgrade, Sevo says.

Back in Kurdistan, Rasoul's elder brother Sarbast received a call from Sevo, who gave him a number to call his brother. A smuggler answered and passed the phone to Rasoul, who confirmed the men had arrived in Serbia. It was evening, around eight, Sarbast remembers. One of the men from Zakho got on the phone and told Sarbast: "We will not be separated. We will face any situation together, good or bad. We will look after each other until we get to Germany."

The last time the men's relatives heard from them was on the evening of Aug. 24, a few hours before they set off for Hungary. "They told me they were in a flat but didn't know when they would move," Sarbast said.

THE TRUCK

Sevo said he gave the men contacts for two smugglers. The men called the one named Bewar, who told them he could get them to Germany, according to Sevo.

The travelers set off for Hungary at 10 or 11 p.m. on Aug. 24, Sevo said. It is roughly a two-hour walk across the Serbo-Hungarian border so they probably reached Hungary around midnight.

Bewar, accompanied by a translator, handed the five men over to an Afghan smuggler. Another group of migrants led by a Kurdish smuggler joined up with Bewar's group, says Sevo, who was keeping in contact with Bewar.

Based on the assumption the men arrived in Hungary around midnight, Sevo believes the men got into the truck at around 1 or 2 a.m.

Around midday on Aug. 25, Sevo spoke to Bewar, who said the five men had arrived safely in Munich.

"I said, 'How do you know?'" he said. Bewar replied that he had talked to one of the Zakho men at around 5:30 a.m., who said the men were in a trailer with 120 people.

Sevo now thinks the man did not know the difference between a trailer and a truck, and overestimated the number of passengers on board. Or perhaps Bewar misunderstood him.

Sevo told the families in Kurdistan that all was well.

Sarbast, who couldn't reach his brother, asked Sevo for a number to call him on. But Sevo said he did not have one. He added that the men might have handed themselves in to police or be in hiding.

Sarbast called Sevo every hour. "He told me to be patient."

On Aug. 27, Austrian police found a refrigerated truck stuffed with the decomposing remains of 71 people. When Sarbast saw the news on television, he called Sevo.

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"I became very tense and then worried," Sarbast said.

By this time Sevo was back in Zakho. He told Sarbast that Mohammed and Rasoul had not been in the truck. Austrian police were saying the bodies were days old. Sevo also believed the vehicle the pair had traveled in was not refrigerated, but open-air.

Sevo says he called friends and fellow smugglers for information about the men. Bewar's phone was switched off. Sevo guessed he was in prison because the Austrian police had rounded up smugglers after finding the truck.

Sarbast, by now desperate, asked a relative in Germany to go to Austria.

THE SMELL

The police were beginning to identify bodies.

Christian Rosenich, deputy head of the police identification division in the province of Burgenland, said the process was difficult. "You don't forget the smell. And on the first day it smells different from later."

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Rosenich worked from a small office filled with files and pot plants in the police headquarters of Eisenstadt, a sleepy town with a population of 14,000. He wore a sports sweater and smoked a lot.

"My cigarette consumption has gone through the roof," he said.

The Burgenland police had to deal with hundreds of calls from Kurdistan, Afghanistan, and elsewhere. They set up a call center with two multilingual interpreters and broadcast police contact details on Kurdish television.

Truck2.JPG

Families began to send in pictures or copies of passports, birth certificates, and fingerprints. The two interpreters talked to families via Whatsapp and Facebook. The police also compared clothes and bags found among the bodies to pictures on Facebook pages.

Most of the dead had family in Europe. Some relatives flew to Austria to give DNA samples. Once a positive match was made they paid 3,000 to 4,000 euros to fly a body home.

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One morning at the end of September, Rosenich placed the belongings of some of the dead in airtight bags to be sent home with the bodies. There were rings, cash found stitched into trouser pockets, and handwritten notes from the Koran. "You get tunnel vision," he said. "You deal with one case and start the next."

Some of the bodies had just a few coins on them. One had 2,000 euros ($2,144.60) cash soaked in bodily fluids. The Burgenland police brought the money to Austria's National Bank in Vienna to have it changed into clean notes. "It's their pecuniary legacy, we have to hand it over the best way we can," Rosenich said.

Ambulance2.JPG

Most relatives are grateful for the way Austria has handled the process. But some get angry and impatient. One Kurdish man rang to complain that the DNA testing was taking too long. He said he knew it only took half an hour because he watched CSI Miami.

Police have now identified more than 90 percent of the dead.

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THE FUNERALS

Rasoul and Mohammed were identified fairly quickly. The Austrians compared fingerprints from one body with Rasoul's passport. Mohammed was identified beyond reasonable doubt on Sept. 16, thanks to a DNA match between him and an uncle who came to lodge a 'missing persons' claim.

The two bodies were flown home over the Muslim Eid al-Adha holiday. They were buried side-by-side in a cemetery on a hill overlooking Duhok.

The men from Zakho took longer to identify. A bag belonging to one of them that was found in the back of the truck contained two passport photographs - one of his mother and the other of his father, his family said. But at the time, they put their hope in a rumored sighting of the men in prison. That hope proved to be false and the bodies of the three men were repatriated in October.

Sevo is adamant he should shoulder no blame - he was just helping out. When Bewar called him from Greece on Sept. 1, "I told him to return to Kurdistan and hand himself in to the authorities," Sevo said. Instead of defending himself, Bewar handed the phone to a friend who described conditions on the smuggling routes.

The friend told Sevo "There is killing and plunder and all things, so I urge you to explain to the families of those five and for them not to complain about Bewar."

Sevo told the man that was not possible. "I feel really bad about what happened, but it wasn't my fault," he said. "I was helping them."

Coles reported from Zakho, Nasralla from Eisenstadt, Austria; Additional reporting by Marton Dunai in Budapest, Aleksandar Vasovic in Belgrade, and Himanshu Ojha in London.

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 12:12 AM | Permalink

November 14, 2015

The Weekend Desk Report

"After a frightening and tragic night in Paris, Chicago Public Schools and University of Chicago officials say that all students currently in the French capital are safe and accounted for," DNAinfo Chicago reports.

"Students from Chicago's Lincoln Elementary and Chicago Agricultural High School are currently in Paris."

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"Twenty-six days after terrorists attacked the United States on September 11, 2001, this country and its allies retaliated with the invasion of Afghanistan," the Tribune editorial page says.

"There was no question of if. Just when and how this country would respond to that terror attack. The American-led invasion quickly toppled the Taliban and scattered al-Qaeda. But that war still awaits its final battle. U.S. forces remain in Afghanistan to keep the pressure on the Taliban and terrorists who seek to reprise a caliphate of cruelty in that country.

"Now a new threat rises. Islamic State, also known as ISIS, has made it clear in the past few weeks that it is not content to carve out its self-proclaimed caliphate in Iraq and Syria. Islamic State is fighting a global war."

Huh. You know what's missing from that timeline? Let me refresh the Trib's memory:

"[T]he Tribune now urges the swift launch of the war Saddam Hussein has, by his 12 years of cunning defiance, demanded," the paper wrote in March 2003.

Proponents and opponents of military action against Saddam Hussein have, in their zeal, clouded the central issue here with assertions that are well intentioned but not compelling.

Choose your (abbreviated) litany:

Proponents say Iraq broadly foments international terrorism. They predict that eliminating Hussein's regime would open the way for both resolution of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and the spread of democracy to neighboring lands.

Opponents say war is an expression of U.S. hubris that will further destabilize the region, prompt more terror attacks and ultimately fail to unify Iraq's rival factions. Many suspect that this is all about oil, or settling old scores.

The problem here is not with the dueling assertions but with what they betray: a yearning to resolve ambiguities in one direction, pro or con.

Emphasis mine to show that reality didn't prove ambiguous, though; opponents to the war were absolutely right and proponents to the war were absolutely wrong. Among those proponents: the Tribune editorial page, which concluded then that war opponents had not met the burden of persuasion that war proponents had.

Why is that important now? Because most of the Islamic State's leaders are former Iraqi officers, unleashed by the United States' invasion, dispersed and re-coalesced, as reported by the Washington Post among others. That part of the equation has to be understood if the problem is to be solved. (For example, more of the same may be counterproductive, as it has been for 15 years.)

"The raw cruelty of Hussein's Baathist regime, the disbandment of the Iraqi army after the U.S.-led invasion in 2003, the subsequent insurgency and the marginalization of Sunni Iraqis by the Shiite-dominated government all are intertwined with the Islamic State's ascent, said Hassan Hassan, a Dubai-based analyst and co-author of the book ISIS: Inside the Army of Terror.

"A lot of people think of the Islamic State as a terrorist group, and it's not useful," Hassan said. "It is a terrorist group, but it is more than that. It is a homegrown Iraqi insurgency, and it is organic to Iraq."

Thanks, Tribune.

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Now the paper seems to be saying U.S. boots should go on the ground . . . somewhere. At least I think that's what they're saying, unless they believe we can just bomb every nation where Islamic State factions reside into submission from the air. As if we aren't already trying in seven predominantly Muslim countries. How is that working out?

It's easy to talk tough from the editorial board room; I'd rather see someone talking smart.

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The Sun-Times, which was even more war-mongering than the Trib in 2003, takes a different tack:

The horror grows with every new report out of Paris, and our thoughts and emotions shift and surge. They can hardly be contained. Will we call upon the best in ourselves, or stoop low and grow small in our fury?

When we do the first, we begin to defeat the forces of evil that would carry out such attacks. When we do the latter, stooping low, we allow them to defeat us.

That, to me, is talking smart.

We are infuriated. We, like the entire civilized world, want nothing more than to strike back at such savagery - and in one way or another we will. Every terrorist attack is a reminder of precious values that must be defended at all costs.

Secure in our freedoms and commitment to tolerance, we will prevail over barbarism - so long as we live by those values even when it is most difficult.

Isn't that the missed post-9/11 opportunity we now lament that we missed? Instead of doubling down on our highest values then and leading a united world in a better direction, we halved our ideals and commenced a global torture and surveillance regime. We turned the beacon for democracy into the very kind of police and security state we used to differentiate ourselves from.

I'm not expert enough to know what all the strategic and tactical options are right now for France and its allies, including the United States, but I do know that one path has proven historically disastrous while another is the one that holds hope.

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Weekend Must-See TV
Spies of Mississippi on WYCC-TV at 10:30 p.m. on Saturday night.

"The story of the Mississippi Sovereignty Commission, a secret agency created by the state during the 1950s to spy on its citizens and maintain segregation."

Boy, were they backwards.

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The Beachwood Radio Sports Hour #77: Narrating The Bears
Kill fanboy groupthink!

Plus: Fight The Bulls Narratives!; Partisan Sports-Watching; Blackhawks Still Trying To Find A Narrative!; and The Hottish Stove League.

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The Sound Opinions Weekend Listening Report: "Sound Opinions pays tribute to New Orleans pianist, producer and songwriter Allen Toussaint who died on November 10, 2015. The music legend chatted with hosts Jim DeRogatis and Greg Kot in the studio in 2013 after the release of his album Songbook. Later in the show, Jim and Greg review a New Zealand import from The Chills."

I listened to this on Saturday afternoon and I can't recommend it highly enough; the boys' interview with Toussaint is one of the most informative and enjoyable of any artist I've heard. The Chills are good too.

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Weekend BeachBook

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Weekend TweetWood

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The Weekend Desk Tip Line: Turn it around.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 3:54 PM | Permalink

November 13, 2015

The Beachwood Radio Sports Hour #77: Narrating The Bears

Kill fanboy groupthink! Plus: Fight The Bulls Narratives!; Partisan Sports-Watching; Blackhawks Still Trying To Find A Narrative!; and The Hottish Stove League.


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SHOW NOTES

* Red Grange.

* "Iceman" Big Part Of Wheaton's Warm Football Attitude.

* John Belushi was born in Humboldt Park; his family moved to Wheaton when he was six.

* People from Wheaton.

4:47: The Galloping Bears.

* SportsMondayTuesday: Bears Win Backup Battle.

* Fight the narrative! Think for yourself! Seek out wisdom!

* Green Bay vs. Carolina.

* Alshon Jeffery, Jay Cutler & Ego Ferguson.

39:51: Fight The Bulls Narratives!

* Overreaction MondayTuesday can be found on The Mighty 1090.

* Partisan sports-watching.

53:19: Blackhawks Still Trying To Find A Narrative!

48:30: The Hottish Stove League.

* Maddon for Manager of the Year.

* Javy Baez for Trade Bait.

* Starlin Castro's contract.

1:03:30: Loews Ventana Canyon Resort.

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STOPPAGE: 5:36

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For archives and other Beachwood shows, see The Beachwood Radio Network.

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 1:01 PM | Permalink

The [Friday] Papers

"A three-star Army general from Chicago was removed from a top post at the Pentagon on Thursday amid misconduct allegations," the Tribune reports.

"Lt. Gen. Ronald Lewis, who was profiled in a front-page story in the Tribune in January, will no longer be the senior military assistant to Defense Secretary Ash Carter, according to a Pentagon statement."

Link mine.

Also, when does "front page" lose its meaning?

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Beachwood Photo Booth: Betty's & Nick's
Family hair care.

The Week In Chicago Rock
Featuring: Clearance, MAMA, Midnight Reruns, Video, Tesseract, Necrophobic, Dir En Grey, The Freedom Paradox, Galaxuu, Matt Minigell, Not For You, Parkway Drive, Miss May, Vanessa Carlton, The Polyphonic Spree, JoJo, Melkbelly, Wand, Blameshift, Fred and Toody Cole, Cinchel, TALSounds, and Saratoga.

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Hearts & Minds

I've watched this show come together this year from my front-row seat at AnySquared Studio, which is also where I live and do much of my work. Highly recommended.

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Drone Moan
"Chicago aldermen on Thursday tried to get their arms around the fast-evolving, increasingly popular practice of flying unmanned drones over the city, advancing a set of rules meant to protect low-flying jets, fans at outdoor events, schoolchildren and others from the remote-controlled craft," the Tribune reports.

A bit of patented City Council theater failed to develop at the meeting, when drone video company president Colin Hinkle declined Burke's invitation to pilot one of the craft in council chambers. "I would rather not," Hinkle said. "All these cameras here, that sounds like the YouTube moment of the week."

Geez, don't invite Hinkle to the next company party - though if Hinkle had been around to advise him, Michael Dukakis would have never put on that helmet.

Hinkle, by the way, is a freelance photographer for CBS 2 and ABC 7.

Also:

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The Beachwood Tip Line: Turn the beat around.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 3:09 AM | Permalink

Beachwood Photo Booth: Betty's & Nick's

Family hair care.

bettysandnickshairsalon.jpg(ENLARGE FOR PROPER VIEWING)

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More Chicago photography from Helene Smith.

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Helene on Twitter!

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Meet Helene!

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Stationery, iPhone cases, hoodies.

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Listen to Helene talk about Photo Booth; starts at 57:54.

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Previously:
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Chicago Man Grilling
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Yum Yum Donuts
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Chicago Father's Day
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Vintage Airmaster
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Chicago Time
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Window Shade
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Illinois Slayer
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Chicago Fire Escape
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Golden Nugget
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Hollywood, Chicago
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Flag Man.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Van In Flames.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Fluid Power Automation.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Corn Dog.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Stop The Killing Car.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Chicago Backyard.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: A to Z Things.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Swedish Diner.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Rothschild Liquors.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Chicago Silos.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Chicago Wires.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Orange Garden.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Irving Park Guy.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Chicago Pigeons.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: O'Lanagan's.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: For Rent.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Marie's Pizza & Liquors.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Mori Milk.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: American Breakfast.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: A Chicago Christmas Postcard.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Holiday Harold's.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Chicago Family Fun.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Snow Bike.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Nativity Scene.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Old Warsaw.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Deluxe Cleaners.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Marie's Golden Cue.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Die Another Day.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Sears Key Shop.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Window Dressing.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Jeri's Grill.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Barry's Drugs.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Liberty.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Chicago Kitchen.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Golden Specials.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: We Won The Cup.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Bartender Man.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Blue Plane Blues.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Finest Quality.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Family Guy.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Girls Wanted.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Skokie Savanna.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Signpost.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Old Man And The Tree.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Street Fleet.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Citgo Story.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Fantasy Hair Design.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Chicago Garage.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Clark Stop.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Pole Position.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Window Dressing.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Chicago Geometry.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Found Love.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Fill In The Blank.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Vacuums Of The Night.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Dumpster Still Life.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Wagon Master.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Intersecting West Rogers Park.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Penn-Dutchman Antiques.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Cow Patrol.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Backstage Chicago.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Skully Bungalow.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Francisco Frankenstein.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Long Cool Heat.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Smokers' Mast.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Big Fat Phone.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Happy Day.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Alley Men.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Holiday Show!
* Beachwood Photo Booth: You've Got Mailbox.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Broken Window Theory.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Dali Logan.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Svengoolie.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Horner Park Hot Dogs.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Cubs Rehab.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: 20th Century Schizoid Man.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Men On Vans.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Penn-Dutchman Is Done.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Snowy Lincoln.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Waiting Room.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Avondale Chicken.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Winter's End.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: The Friendly Skies.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Boyhood Buzzer Beater.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: J Date.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: International Window Lady.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Shanghai Inn.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Open For Business.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Andersonville Unplugged.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: 3-Flat.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Evanston Turkey.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Chicagolandia.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Eat At Odge's.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Deitch Pharmacy.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Sud-Z Bubble.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Bands Wanted!
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Belmont Tavern.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Superheroic San Luis Freeze.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Evanston Oasis.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Lyndale Food & Jewelry.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Lincoln Tap.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Book Window.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Alco Dude.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Ballin Drugs.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Don't Worry, Be Cookie.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Four Trey.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: The Office.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: America From Inside The Golden Nugget In Ravenswood.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Cellphone Repair.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Boots 'N' Grill.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Sunrise Strip.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: At The Corner Of Glad And Happy.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Uptown Autumn Night.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Diner.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Mid-Century Modern Halloween.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Autumn Station Wagon.

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 2:33 AM | Permalink

The Week In Chicago Rock

You shoulda been there.

1. Clearance at the Empty Bottle on Monday night.


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2. MAMA at the Empty Bottle on Monday night.

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3. Midnight Reruns at the Empty Bottle on Monday night.

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4. Video at the Empty Bottle on Monday night.

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5. Tesseract at Bottom Lounge on Sunday night.

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6. Necrophobic at Reggies on Sunday night.

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7. Dir En Grey at Bottom Lounge on Monday night.

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8. The Freedom Paradox at the Wire in Berwyn on Sunday night.

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9. Galaxuu at the Burlington on Sunday night.

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10. Matt Minigell at Uncommon Ground on Sunday night.

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11. Not For You at Phyllis' Musical Inn on Sunday night.

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12. Parkway Drive at the House of Blues on Monday night.

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13. Miss May at the House of Blues on Monday night.

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14. Vanessa Carlton at City Winery on Tuesday night.

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15. The Polyphonic Spree at City Winery on Sunday night.

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16. JoJo at Lincoln Hall on Wednesday night.

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Catching up with . . .

Melkbelly at the Empty Bottle last Saturday night.

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Wand at the Empty Bottle last Saturday night.

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Blameshift at the Tree in Joliet last Saturday night.

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Fred and Toody Cole at the Empty Bottle last Saturday night.

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Cinchel at Young Camelot last Saturday night.

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TALSounds at Young Camelot last Saturday night.

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Saratoga at Reggie's last Saturday night.

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 1:01 AM | Permalink

November 12, 2015

Fantasy Fix: Always Awesome Alshon

Since I questioned the fantasy value of Alshon Jeffery a few weeks ago, I feel the need to follow up now and give credit where it's due: Jeffery has been nothing short of awesome since returning to regular play three weeks ago.

In that span, he's had outings with receiving yard totals of 147 yards, 116 yards, and most recently on Monday night, 151 yards. Any concerns about lingering injury effects or Jeffery's ability to handle No. 1 receiver status have fallen away.

The most amazing part is that he probably still isn't completely in synch with Jay Cutler - he made a couple moves Monday night that were just poor play and reaction on his part, and one of them resulted in a pick-six. Imagine what happens when he shakes off more of this mental rust. He could have a 200-yard game before the season is done.

So, good for you if you kept the faith and kept him on your fantasy team, and even better for you if you managed to obtain him in a buy-low trade. Right now, I'm just glad the one trade offer I did package him in weeks ago was rejected.

Week 9 Winners

QB: Marcus Mariota, TEN.

In case we forgot while he was out with an injury for a few games, this rookie is having a pretty good year. Week 9 was his best outing so far, with 371 yards passing and four TDs. Next up is a tough assignment against Carolina.

RB: Jeremy Langford, CHI.

Several RBs ran for more than 100 yards this past week, but I've got to give the local guy some love. With 140 total yards and a TD on 18 rushes and three receptions, he did a pretty good Matt Forte impression. Not sure how long he will get a chance to be the Bears' lead back, but he may have locked himself in for some touches even when Forte returns.

Interesting question, however: Could Forte take it easy the rest of this season for a losing team, since his contract runs out after this year? That would give Langford a touch more value the rest of the slate. In any case, if Forte the free agent leaves this offseason, Langford looks like a good bet to start and earn a high fantasy draft rank next year.

WR: Antonio Brown, PIT.

With Ben Roethlisberger returned from injury, Brown looked every bit the No. 1 WR and first-round pick he was before Big Ben was injured. Week 9 featured an astounding 195 yards, a total that may have been disappointing if you saw he already had 138 of it in the first half. The big problem for Brown the next week or two is that Big Ben got hurt again.

TE: Tyler Eifert, CIN.

Not a whole lot of catches or yards - just five for 53 - but he was in the end zone when he caught three of those balls. That kind of game is what this sleeper draft pick's year has been all about. He has nine TDs in eight games, and while Andy Dalton looks for his WRs most of the way down the field, he relies on Eifert inside the 20. That shouldn't change anytime soon.

Week 9 Losers

QB: Phillip Rivers, SD.

There is nothing all that bad about 280 yards and a TD with no INTs, but the league's passing yards leader this season was expected to do so much more against the Bears. You can chalk some of it up to a bad run of injuries among his favorite WR targets. With San Diego now at 2-7, Rivers may be intent to keep hurling passes at an epic pace, but have to wonder if his team decides it's time to give rookie RB Melvin Gordon more work to log experience for next season.

RB: Eddie Lacy, GB.

He's landed on our loser list at least three times this year, but that's how terrible he continues to be. After 10 rushing yards and a fumble for negative fantasy points in some leagues last week, he's the biggest first-round draft disappointment if you discount top players lost for the season to injury.

WR: A.J. Green, CIN.

While Eifert enjoys a lot of red zone love, the Bengals' superstar WR has been mostly average this year - frequently targeted, but with only four TDs and only two games with more than 100 yards receiving (granted one of those was a 227-yard whopper, but that was way back in Week 3.) CIN used to rely so much more on getting Green long bombs for scores, but with Dalton and Eifert connecting, they don't need him to reach the end zone with every catch.

TE: Gary Barnidge, CLE.

After a great run, he finally stopped playing out of his head in Week 9, though that may have had to do with Johnny Manziel starting instead of Josh McCown. Barnidge caught two passes for 35 yards and somehow neither of those were the kind of amazing circus catches he has become famous for this year.

Big Play of the Week for Week 10: James Starks, RB, GB.

Finally named the starter over the perpetually struggling Eddie Lacy, Starks is almost certain to have a big game on the ground against the feeble Detroit Lions, especially since GB will probably get way ahead fairly early, and won't need to do much more than run out the clock.

Expert Wire
* SI.com likes Langford among its fantasy risers, though they also point out some tough defenses ahead, along with the eventuality of Forte's return.

* CBS Sports.com advises to sit Cutler this week despite a pretty good recent run of fantasy scoring. He's had at least 20 fantasy points in three straight games, but St. Louis's defense is just too tough.

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Dan O'Shea is our man in fantasyland. He welcomes your comments.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 9:48 AM | Permalink

The [Thursday] Papers

"An enormous cache of phone records obtained by The Intercept reveals a major breach of security at Securus Technologies, a leading provider of phone services inside the nation's prisons and jails," the website reports.

"The materials - leaked via SecureDrop by an anonymous hacker who believes that Securus is violating the constitutional rights of inmates - comprise over 70 million records of phone calls, placed by prisoners to at least 37 states, in addition to links to downloadable recordings of the calls. The calls span a nearly two-and-a-half year period, beginning in December 2011 and ending in the spring of 2014.

"Particularly notable within the vast trove of phone records are what appear to be at least 14,000 recorded conversations between inmates and attorneys, a strong indication that at least some of the recordings are likely confidential and privileged legal communications - calls that never should have been recorded in the first place. The recording of legally protected attorney-client communications - and the storage of those recordings - potentially offends constitutional protections, including the right to effective assistance of counsel and of access to the courts.

"'This may be the most massive breach of the attorney-client privilege in modern U.S. history,' said David Fathi, director of the ACLU's National Prison Project."

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Here's the most immediate local angle we know of so far:

"[T]he massive amount of data provided to The Intercept suggests that the scope of surveillance within the system goes far beyond what the original goals might have been. A 2012 Securus contract with the Illinois Department of Corrections describes an optional product called Threads, branding it 'one of the most powerful tools in the intelligence community.'

"'Securus has the most widely used platform in the industry, with approximately 1,700 facilities installed, over 850,000 inmates served, literally petabytes of intelligence data, and over 1 million calls processed per day,' the company bragged to Illinois officials. 'This valuable data is integrated directly into Threads and could be available at [Department of Correction]'s and [Department of Juvenile Justice]'s fingertips.'"

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Homan Square: A Report Back
A panel led by First Defense Legal Aid will discuss what the Chicago media denies is true with a bunch of people who have actually experienced it and never been interviewed by said Chicago media.

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CHICAGO MEDIA: We called a bunch of lawyers we know and they don't know anything about Homan Square.

BEACHWOOD: Why don't you call lawyers who actually have had clients there, instead of lawyers who haven't? You can get some of their names from more than two dozen reports in the Guardian.

CHICAGO MEDIA: [silence]

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Own A Vizio Smart TV? It's Watching You
In a statement, Vizio said customers' "non-personal identifiable information may be shared with select partners - to permit these companies to make, for example, better-informed decisions regarding content production, programming and advertising."

Riiiiiight.

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Fantasy Fix: Always Awesome Alshon
Mea culpa, including Jay Cutler and Jeremy Langford notes.

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The Blue & Orange Kool-Aid Report
Voodoo Football With Dr. Death & Mrs. Wifey.

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BeachBook

I can barely with this ...

Posted by The Beachwood Reporter on Wednesday, November 11, 2015

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TweetWood
A sampling.

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Obamacrats.

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The Beachwood Tip Line: Securely insecure.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 9:45 AM | Permalink

Homan Square: A Report Back

First Defense Legal Aid (FDLA, First Defense) will report back on its recent experience with Homan Square and other Chicago police facilities where youth and adults are held incommunicado on Thursday.

Chicago has made international news for Homan Square, record numbers of false confessions, police shootings, torture, and a department-wide code of silence on police crimes and misconduct, all disproportionately affecting African Americans.

Chicago can be known for a unique solution! FDLA will make specific calls to action for getting volunteer attorneys into police stations.

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The nonprofit charitable organization First Defense Legal Aid is the only way people in Chicago police custody can access their right to an attorney free, 24 hours a day, 365 days a year, when someone calls 1(800) LAW-REP-4 to alert our volunteer attorneys.

The Chicago Police Department reported that only .3% of their arrestees had a lawyer at any police station last year. The other 99.7% had the right to a lawyer too, but the public defender can't be appointed until much later, and police do not allow arrestees to use the phones until the end of the process, or provide the legal aid number. So, First Defense relies on third parties to deploy their free services.

"I was told personally that no one can make phone calls from Homan Square," says panelist Charles Jones. "It's a problem department-wide that means no one gets a lawyer when it matters most. Providing real access to our rights is part of creating a peaceful city."

"Jurisdictions that ensure real access to legal aid for all arrestees see a reduction in violent crime," says moderator Eliza Solowiej. "Miranda rights are not real if there's no way to contact a lawyer."

Flint Taylor, Charles Jones, April Kentala, Jarrett Adams, and Eliza Solowiej will speak. Taylor is a renowned attorney who recently represented people tortured by Chicago police under the direction of former Commander Jon Burge.

Jones is a Know Your Rights Organizer for FDLA who has specific policy solutions to present.

Kentala is an FDLA attorney with many experiences representing clients held at Homan Square.

Adams is a recent law school graduate and a Public Interest Fellow at the U.S. Court of Appeals who was wrongfully convicted at the age of 17 and exonerated after serving for nearly 10 years in prison.

Solowiej is the Executive Director of FDLA.

The program will be held at the Westside Justice Center, 601 S. California Ave., from 6 p.m. to 7:30 p.m.

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Solowiej on Fox News Chicago:

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Previously:
* The [Monday] Papers: Suddenly, the CPD is a fine upstanding trustworthy institution.

* The Beachwood Radio Hour #46: Explaining Chicago's Black Site.

* The [Wednesday] Papers: Another day, another Guardian story.

* The [Thursday] Papers: John Conroy vs. the Chicago media. Again.

* The Beachwood Radio Hour #47: What Chicagoans Aren't Being Told.

* The Beachwood Radio Hour #48: Carol Marin's Blinders & What Tom Durkin Really Said.

* The [Monday] Papers: Homan Squared.

* Chicago Politicians Push DOJ To investigate 'CIA Or Gestapo Tactics' At Secret Police Site.

* Chicago's Homan Square: Torture By Any Other Name . . .

* Amnesty International Calls For Federal Investigation Of Homan Square.

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 7:02 AM | Permalink

The Blue & Orange Kool-Aid Report: Voodoo, Dr. Death & Mrs. Wifey

Pre-Game

Me: Ugh. Monday night game. Guess we should cut down on the sauce. Got work tomorrow.

Mrs. Wifey: Suck it up dude. If Jon Gruden says "this guy" before one more dude's name, we have to drink a bottle of wine.

Me: One of these day's he's going to call Lisa Salters "this guy Lisa," and on that day we'll do heroin. But tonight, I better change the channel, what with the mortgage and all. If we get started now . . .

Mrs. Wifey (opening a bottle of wine): Oh, you don't like your job that much (pours two glasses). And Gruden just called Mike Tirico "this guy Mike." Bottoms up.

Me (taking a swig and watching Mrs. Wifey take her glass of wine upstairs): Hey, this Sangiovese isn't bad . . . what, you're not going to get drunk and yell at the TV with me?

Mrs. Wifey: Sure I am. But I want to watch garbage television until the pre-game is over. You're just going to complain at my show, so I'm watching upstairs in my bed.

Me: I assume that whatever you're tuning into is on Bravo? Something about a yacht crew that can't stop sleeping with each other on the job?

Mrs. Wifey (takes a slug of wine, continues scampering upstairs): Damn straight, bro. Drama and boat sex! Whoop-de WHOOP!

Actual Football
Initially, it didn't look good for the Bears on Monday. Like a stud quarterback playing for Brigham Young University, the Chicago offense refused to score despite numerous early opportunities*.

On the strength of a pair of turnovers, the Chargers looked poised to run away with the game after taking a two-score lead.

But as the game wore on, San Diego's seemingly impossible run of injuries to key players continued.

Coming into the game, the list of Chargers with damaged body parts included Keenan Allen's lacerated kidney, Ladarius Green's ankle and Orlando Franklin's knee.

Now I'm not saying I necessarily did dust off my old college voodoo dolls for the purposes of supporting my rooting interest in a football team that just happens to be from the region I was born in . . . but I'm also not going to say I didn't.

In my defense, the wife and I had been drinking, which may or may not lead to witchcraft on a regular basis.

So with particular hypothetical apologies to Malcom Floyd, who is both retiring at the end of this season and is widely reported to be one of the truly good dudes in the NFL, here is the list of players who succumbed to injuries that may or may not have been the result of my alleged deeds.

  • Malcom Floyd:Left the game early with a combination of rapid onset shoulder cancer and moderate to severe plaque psoriasis.
  • Jason Verrett: Carted off the field due to a herpes flare-up. Guess replacing his Valtrex with Pez wasn't such a clever prank after all.
  • Patrick Robinson: Went to the trainer's room with a severed carotid artery. His return is listed as "questionable."

The Verrett injury was particularly impactful as the corner had been playing phenomenal defense on Alshon Jeffery.

Jay Cutler, who according to one stat is one of the most clutch performers in the NFL since coming to the Bears in 2009 (yes, really), seized upon the opportunity and began racking up yardage by capitalizing on the mismatch in the secondary.

Second Quarter

Mrs. Wifey: I can't tell when Rivers looked more like he shit himself - during the interception return or after that extra point got missed.

Me: I think he just runs around in life wearing a bolo tie and crapping himself. Why should he act any different at work? Though Gruden seemed to like his little high-step down the sideline.

Mrs. Wifey: Gruden likes everything. Including grown men running with poop pants. Would you still love me if I crapped my pants?

Me: A) Do you look as good as Philip Rivers in a bolo tie? B) Does the dump take place while you are on the move, ala Phil-dubs while he's high-steppin' it down the sidelines, or are you just dookin' up a storm in the middle of dinner?

Mrs. Wifey: Yes.

Me: Without the bolo, it's no deal.

Easy, Warm and Available
The Bears travel to St. Louis on Sunday, possibly for the last time.

Unlike the Colts, the NFL's equivalent to the biological dad who left for a pack of smokes in '84 and never came back**, the Rams have made no secret that they want to get back together with their former squeeze, the City of Los Angeles.

I'm sure that's going about as well as anytime a guy brings up his ex during a drunken argument with his current wife***.

But it turns out that this tired old whore has two other suitors on the hook that will challenge the Rams for a place to crash for the next 30 years. Let's evaluate a few quick pros and cons of each of the three franchises rumored to be moving to La La Land.

OAKLAND

Pro: The Raiders and LA have a history together and have already enjoyed some serious success marketing their brand to youth fans of the NFL in during the late '80s.

Con: You have to question the judgement of a franchise that leaves its fate, at least in part, to a spokesman named Dr. Death. "There's no Dr. Death if they move to LA. People need to understand that. If they move, I will probably cry," said Dr. Death in an honest-to-goodness real quote.

Pro: Los Angelenos can look forward to a lot more regional Ace Hardware spots by John Madden, which means fewer weird commercials for this guy. I call that a win for everybody.

Con: A quick look at the 101 Things To Do provided by Visit Oakland reveals that Oakland really, really needs an NFL team to stay relevant as a city. For those of you too lazy to click, No.1 is eating toffee and No. 4 is smelling flowers at a cemetery. No. 57 is fighting a homeless guy for someone else's luggage under the highway.

SAN DIEGO

Pro: For those of you who watched Monday night's game with the sound on, you'll note that Bears fans were well represented. Visiting fans making a lot of noise is nothing new for San Diego and few franchises have a more legitimate desire to cultivate a fan base in a town not populated by transients.

Con: I kinda feel like people from San Diego are really into avocados and avocados are fine and all, but I think maybe people who like them should maybe stay a little further to the south, with the other people who like avocados, so they can all be more comfortable around their own kind. You know what I mean.

Pro: We can start calling Los Angeles "A Whale's Vagina."

Con: It will become more difficult to see a donkey show in Tijuana and watch a professional football game on the same Monday. Can't have that.

ST. LOUIS

Pro: Like Oakland, St. Louis offers the pedigree of a former lover. They know how LA likes to get railed, plowed and, uh, shaken violently for eight minutes? I'm sure the euphemism will come to me later.

Con: The departure of an NFL franchise would leave a void likely filled by even more St. Louis Cardinals fans. Let's not give these monsters a reason to multiply.

Pro: A dude as gangster as Rams owner Stan Kroenke needs to own a team which plays its home games in Inglewood, the reported site of the new stadium. On a level of cosmic justice, this needs to happen.

Con: Unlikely that the St. Louis area delicacy known as "Gooey Butter Cake" will port effectively to the land of kale and quinoa. This oversight could ultimately send the Rams back east within three seasons.

Fourth Quarter

Mrs. Wifey (agilely shoulder-rolling off the bed): Shit, who the hell was that?

Me: Zach Miller, but I'll be referring to him as the prick whose amazing catch stopped me from getting freaky with my wife that one time.

Mrs. Wifey: Last I heard, married people don't get laid on Mondays.

Me: Oh good, a hundred and fifty columns in, she starts reading. I was trying to break a vicious, unsexy cycle.

Mrs. Wifey: So stumbling into the bedroom mid-fart and asking me to rub your thighs was the sum total of your seductive plan?

Me: Farts are all part of my mystique.

Mrs. Wifey: How much more wine we got?

Me: None, but we have eight Leinenkugel's and some Gibson's. By the way, I'm interpreting this request for an alcohol inventory as a "yes."

Mrs. Wifey: Guess it depends how many of those Leinie's I can have.

Me: Three.

Mrs. Wifey: Then, no.

Me: I still blame Miller.

Kool-Aid (3 of 5 Bottles Of Bud Platinum)
I've had, ahem, a wide variety of beers in my time and several variants of Budweiser are on that list. Most of them are absolute garbage.

I'm not saying Bud Light Platinum is a standout in any way, with one exception: Its alcohol content is notably higher than that of other beers in its family.

Apparently I'm not the only one to notice, because when you start typing "Bud Platinum" into Google, "Bud Platinum ABV" auto-populates.

While the Bears defense has been playing passable brand of football lately, they're encountering a young star hitting his stride in Rams running back Todd Gurley.

If St. Louis is smart (and Jeff Fisher-coached teams usually are), they'll lean heavily on him rather than spend extra effort trying to help the newly signed Wes Welker resurrect the back nine of his career. This doesn't bode well for Chicago.

In addition, the Rams' defense ranks in the top tier of the league, with a specialization in shutting down the passing game.

It's not a great match-up and the Bears' chances are even less appealing on the road.

Rams 20, Bears 13

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* Those kooky Mormons. They believe in cherishing romantic relationships and saving their virtue for marriage. Everybody knows you start a family by knocking up some car wash cashier during your senior year of high school.

** Don't worry, guys. The City of Baltimore's mom married Ray Lewis and got to wake up to inspirational speeches like this all through high school, which had to be awesome.

*** Oh you know what Sheila, you know WHAT??? Maybe I WILL go back to Lynette, messed up tooth and all. At least SHE let me do stuff to her butt!!! (slams door on the way to the "gas station")

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About The Author
When picking up the young Miss Mohrbacher and her friends from a concert, Carl Mohrbacher was pretty stoked that his daughter's friend thought that he and Mrs. Wifey were the young Miss Mohrbacher's brother and her brother's girlfriend. Minutes later, Carl Mohrbacher wasn't as stoked that this assumption led the daughter's friend to believe that it was cool to openly talk about how this one bitch they all know is a real annoying drunk and Carl Mohrbacher got downright un-stoked when he heard that if this bitch was going to be all dramatic and prone to vomit, they should all definitely stop going to parties with said bitch. Carl Mohrbacher is surprised how uptight his natural reaction is when shit gets real around high school girls.

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Carl Mohrbacher is our man on the Kool-Aid. He welcomes your comments.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 2:48 AM | Permalink

Own A Vizio Smart TV? It's Watching You

TV makers are constantly crowing about the tricks their smart TVs can do. But one of the most popular brands has a feature that it's not advertising: Vizio's Smart TVs track your viewing habits and share it with advertisers, who can then find you on your phone and other devices.

The tracking - which Vizio calls "Smart Interactivity" - is turned on by default for the more than 10 million Smart TVs that the company has sold. Customers who want to escape it have to opt-out.

In a statement, Vizio said customers' "non-personal identifiable information may be shared with select partners - to permit these companies to make, for example, better-informed decisions regarding content production, programming and advertising."

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Vizio's actions appear to go beyond what others are doing in the emerging interactive television industry. Vizio rivals Samsung and LG Electronics only track users' viewing habits if customers choose to turn the feature on. And unlike Vizio, they don't appear to provide the information in a form that allows advertisers to reach users on other devices.

Vizio's technology works by analyzing snippets of the shows you're watching, whether on traditional television or streaming Internet services such as Netflix. Vizio determines the date, time, channel of programs - as well as whether you watched them live or recorded. The viewing patterns are then connected your IP address - the Internet address that can be used to identify every device in a home, from your TV to a phone.

IP addresses can increasingly be linked to individuals. Data broker Experian, for instance, offers a "data enrichment" service that provide "hundreds of attributes" such as age, profession and "wealth indicators" tied to a particular IP address.

Vizio recently updated its privacy policy to say it has begun providing data about customers' viewing habits to companies that "may combine this information with other information about devices associated with that IP address." The company does not promise to encrypt IP addresses before sharing them.

How Vizio Smart TVs Track You
  • You watch TV
  • Vizio tracks what you viewed
  • Vizio collects your IP address
  • Vizio works with data brokers to connect your IP address with your gender, age, income, and interests
  • Vizio passes this "enhanced data" to advertisers who can track all devices that have connected to your home IP address

  • Cable TV companies and video rental companies are prohibited by law from selling information about the viewing habits of their customers. However, Vizio says that those laws - the Video Privacy Protection Act and cable subscriber protections - don't apply to its business.

    Vizio hopes its new tracking forays will provide a boost to the thin profit margins it earns in the competitive television manufacturing business. In an October filing for an initial public offering, Vizio touted its ability to provide "highly specific viewing behavior data on a massive scale with great accuracy."

    The company said in its filing that revenues from its viewing data business are not yet significant. But people familiar with the company said that Vizio has begun working to combine its viewing data with information about users that it gets from data broker Neustar.

    Neustar declined to comment about the relationship, but said the company does not handle or distribute viewing information about Vizio users.

    A spokeswoman for Tapad, a company that helps identify users across their many devices, said that its contracts prevent it from sharing the name of the companies it works with.

    An Experian spokeswoman said, "We currently do not have a relationship with Vizio."

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    ProPublica is a Pulitzer Prize-winning investigative newsroom. Sign up for their newsletter.

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    Comments welcome.


    Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 12:18 AM | Permalink

    November 11, 2015

    The [Wednesday] Papers

    "Census Bureau estimates say that there are nearly three-quarters of a million veterans currently living in Illinois. Over a third of these veterans served during the Vietnam War," the Tribune reports.

    "Illinois veterans have a higher rate of unemployment compared with veterans nationwide. St. Clair County, across the Mississippi River from St. Louis, is estimated to have the most veterans per capita in its population, with nearly 15 percent of people over age 18 being veterans."

    Click through to see a nice, informative graphic the Trib put together on veterans in Illinois.

    Balcer Baloney
    "Before a political retirement that paved the way for the next generation of Daleys, Jim Balcer was the City Council's champion for veterans. As a Vietnam War vet and a proud Marine, he ended every speech on the Council floor with the words: 'Semper fidelis,' always faithful," Fran Spielman reports for the Sun-Times.

    "On Tuesday, the 240th anniversary of his beloved Marine Corps, Balcer made a triumphant return to his old political stomping grounds to champion another issue important to vets just in time for Veteran's Day.

    "At Balcer's behest, the City Council's Finance and Public Safety Committees approved an ordinance designating attacks against military personnel as 'hate crimes.'"

    Here we go.

    "Balcer ticked off a long list of attacks against military personnel across the nation, including the one that left five people dead and two injured at a recruiting station and nearby U.S. Navy facility in Chattanooga, Tn. But, the most recent violence Balcer could cite against Chicago recruiting stations and selective service offices occurred in 1969 during the height of the Vietnam War."

    So naturally the city council, without many other pressing matters, spent its time taking up Balcer's ordinance.

    "And the most recent local hate crimes against military personnel the former alderman could recall took place in 1999. That's when local bars refused to serve men and women in uniform and Balcer experienced the same thing after donning his old Marine uniform."

    What bars did that?

    I took the 30 seconds to check both the ProQuest and NewsBank databases of our esteemed Chicago newspapers and found zilch. Boy they missed a big story!

    And why 1999? The United States did not enter a war that year; it was ending its involvement in Kosovo, but that hardly sparked domestic resentment at the military among area bartenders.

    And even if bars did refuse service to military personnel, how would that have been a hate crime?

    Maybe Balcer doesn't understand that a hate crime doesn't make hating someone a crime. And I mean that sincerely, because to put it frankly Balcer is one of the dumber boxes of rocks to sit on the city council, and reporters know it. A hate crime occurs when a "regular" crime is motivated by bigotry and designed to instill fear in others who share the ethnicity, race, religion or sexual orientation of the victim, like its big brother terrorism, which is defined as a political act meant to spread fear through a civilian population.

    Distinguishing definitions of crime by using the language properly is important; otherwise everything meshes into one, words begin to mean nothing and soon it's a terroristic hate-crime to jaywalk. The way we define and treat crime is also important to our perception of crime and its origins, an understanding of which is vital to providing punishment and solutions. The motivations for one type of crime are different than from another, and each demands a different response. For example, the murder of Tyshawn Lee was not a terrorist act, as much as at least one Cook County commissioner wants to define it as, and to call it one distorts our understanding of it, and thus our policy response as we try once again to figure out how to prevent such horridness.

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    "Still, Balcer argued that there's a need for the local ordinance sponsored by Finance Committee Chairman Edward Burke (14th).

    "You had four Marines and a Navy personnel killed in Tennessee because they're in the military. Someone has to do something. At least start it and do something. Make people aware of it," Balcer said.

    Someone has to do something, and that someone should be the Chicago City Council!

    Somehow, though, I have more faith than Balcer in the ability of the U.S. military to "do something," namely, to better secure their facilities.

    (Reports the Military Times: "Defense Secretary Ash Carter has amplified his call for better security at military recruiting stations and other small, remote facilities, issuing new directives aimed at preventing another attack like this summer's deadly shooting in Chattanooga, Tennessee.

    ("Efforts will include more training alongside local law enforcement, accelerating use of extra 'physical security enhancements,' and improving mass notification alerts meant to inform local authorities and other nearby military personnel when there are specific threats or attacks already unfolding.")

    Balcer:

    "If someone has this in the back of their head, they'll think about not doing something against the military [in Chicago]."

    I'm not sure the type of person who would have this in the back of their head is the type of person to dig deep enough into the Sun-Times to stay on top of ordinances put forward by former aldermen, so I'm not real sure of the deterrent effect here.

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    Balcer:

    "It is shameful when you wear the uniform of this country and you're subject to having 500 people around you, having Molotov cocktails thrown at recruiting stations. Having your tires slashed."

    Is that happening? Is Balcer surrounded by 500 people when he wears his uniform in public? Is someone slashing his tires?

    "I'm not saying everyone is bad. But, there are groups out there that go after the military."

    Name them.

    *

    "Currently, Chicago's hate crime ordinance covers crimes based on race, color, gender, religion, national origin, age, sexual orientation, mental or physical disability. The new language adds 'active or prior military status' and raises the fines for crimes against military personnel - from $200-to-$500."

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    "Burke noted that, since 2008, at least 35 service men and women have been killed and many of their colleagues have been injured simply for their association with the U.S. military. The attacks occurred in: Fort Bliss and Ford Hood, Texas; the U.S. Naval Station in Norfolk, Va.; the Washington (D.C.) Naval Yard; Arkansas; and New York's Time[s] Square, he said."

    It's really not accurate to say those attacks occurred on service personnel "simply for their association with the U.S. military."

    Those attacks occurred mostly because of mental illness.

    Fort Bliss: "The 2015 Fort Bliss shooting occurred on January 6, 2015, when Jerry Serrato, a 48-year-old U.S. Army veteran, fatally shot Dr. Timothy Fjordbak, a mental health doctor, at the Veteran's Affairs clinic located on the grounds of William Beaumont Army Medical Center of Fort Bliss, Texas. No further casualties were reported during the shooting."

    Fort Hood: "On April 2, 2014, a shooting spree occurred at several locations on the Fort Hood military base near Killeen, Texas. Four people, including the gunman, were killed, while fourteen additional people were injured, twelve by gunshot wounds. The shooter, 34-year-old Army Specialist Ivan Lopez, died of a self-inflicted gunshot wound."

    Norfolk Naval Station: "Lax security at the gates of the Navy's largest fleet base allowed a disturbed civilian trucker to trespass deep into the base late on the night of March 24, 2014, and provoke a fatal confrontation that took the life of a heroic sentry.

    "The 35-year-old civilian, Jeffrey Tyrone Savage, passed 'unchecked through layers of security' according to the Navy's command investigation, released to Navy Times March 17. Savage, who appeared to be under the influence of drugs or otherwise impaired, was able to access the base without proper ID and wasn't followed until it was too late. By then he'd walked onto a pierside destroyer, where he killed Master at Arms 2nd Class Mark Mayo, who had shielded a fellow sailor from whom he had wrested a gun. Savage was killed moments later."

    Washington Navy Yard: "After the Navy Yard shooting, the media speculated that Alexis had appeared to be suffering from mental illness. The media reported that Alexis had filed a police report in Rhode Island on August 2, 2013, in which he claimed to be the victim of harassment and that he was hearing voices in his head.

    "According to an FBI official after the shooting, Alexis was under 'the delusional belief that he was being controlled or influenced by extremely low frequency electromagnetic waves.'

    "A message later obtained by federal authorities from Alexis' personal computing devices said, 'Ultra low frequency attack is what I've been subject to for the last 3 months. And to be perfectly honest, that is what has driven me to this.'"

    Arkansas: "The family of Larry McElroy, the man shot and killed as he threatened Little Rock Air Force Base Monday, is speaking out about their loved one's past.

    "They describe McElroy as caring and outgoing, but also as a man who was deeply troubled and desperately seeking help."

    Times Square Recruiting Station: "On the morning of March 6, 2008, an unknown individual placed a small bomb in front of a United States Armed Forces recruiting station in Times Square, located in Midtown Manhattan in New York City. There were no injuries. A security camera shows the bomber riding a bicycle as he approaches the station, dismounting the bike and planting the bomb, and then speeding off shortly before the blast."

    *

    "That list of attacks is chilling and unacceptable. As community leaders and legislators, we must acknowledge our own duty to protect our troops . . . and utilize every power in our authority to do so," Burke said."

    So you're going to re-open the mental health clinics you closed?

    -

    The Dog Ate My Vote
    How our congresspeople explain their absences, featuring a number of Illinois Democrats.

    Frogs & Snails & Mobster Tales
    In Local Book Notes.

    Charlie Brown Voice Actor Pleads Guilty
    Tells judge his bizarre and threatening behavior was caused by paranoid schizophrenia and bipolar disorder.

    How Russia Hid Its Doping In Plain Sight
    Athletes simply needed cash and a culture that rewarded a no-holds-barred drive for champions.

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    BeachBook

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    *

    *

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    TweetWood
    A sampling.

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    *

    *

    Wow. Dude.

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    The Beachwood Tip Line: Less crappy.

    Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 8:37 AM | Permalink

    Local Book Notes: Frogs And Snails And Mobster Tales

    "Robert Teitelbaum has been a casting director for films such as Born on the Fourth of July and La Bamba, and TV shows such as Hill Street Blues and Moonlighting," the Desert Sun notes.

    "He served in the Marines from 1962-'65, and owned and operated his own rare coin businesses in Los Angeles. He's run a local improv comedy chapter of TheatreSports that has competed throughout North America since 1993. He and his wife of 52 years, Carol, have two married children and three granddaughters. They've been presenting Creating Change Conferences with influential authors and speakers since 2005.

    "An All-American success story, right? Except for the fact that Bob's father was Al Capone's attorney, a life-long friend of Bugsy Siegel and a mentor for Sidney Korshak, the attorney credited with helping the Chicago Outfit integrate into legitimate businesses."

    And now, Bob Teitelbaum has written a book.

    "Bob's father, Al Teitelbaum, moved his wife and kids into a fortress-like ranch in Indio built for President Franklin D. Roosevelt after the retirement he never got to have after World War II. Then he married another woman and raised a second family in Chicago and Beverly Hills.

    "Meanwhile, the man his father hired to run his Indio ranch beat and sexually abused Bob, his older brother and two sisters until his family finally moved from Indio when Bob was 13, he said. His father was sentenced to three years in Chino State Prison in 1970 for an improper land transaction and non-distribution of a commission check. He could have had a much longer sentence, but the last thing Chino wanted was a brilliant jailhouse lawyer advising fellow inmates.

    "Bob, 70, has self-published the memoir, Frogs and Snails and Mobster Tales: Growing Up in Al Capone's Shadow.

    USA-1000
    "Sass Brown's darkly funny debut collection of poems explores both the isolation and the absurdity of twenty-something apartment living," SIU Press says.

    usa100.jpg

    "The world Brown creates in USA-1000 overflows with infomercials, classic Hollywood films, billboard messages, strip clubs, and fortune-tellers, illuminating our complex relationship with consumerism.

    "In the absence of personal intimacy, everyday objects take on unexpected importance: the clothing of a would-be couple mingles in a washing machine; a father watches pornography in a hotel room with his wife and daughter; a woman searches a shopping mall to put on hold items she'll never buy; a broken hair dryer prompts a complaint letter to the Better Business Bureau.

    "Brown's dazzling poems probe the disappointment of domestic reality in the face of America's glossy facade, abundance and emptiness hand in hand.

    "Ultimately, the book finds beauty in the deliciously artificial and resurrects 'the missing world' with words and memory."

    Errata
    "Lisa Fay Coutley's lyrical debut collection, Errata, investigates the delicate balance between parent and child, love and loss, hope and grief," SIU Press says.

    Coutley.jpg

    "Errata's narrator reflects on struggles and fears that span generations in compositions that are at once musical and bleak.

    Coutley's narrative journey is often a dark one, exploring not only the loss of loved ones but also the potential to lose one's very self.

    "The collection unravels the lingering consequences of abuse and addiction, yet threads of hope and determination weave a finely wrought path through the dark side of human relationships, illuminating the power of the will to survive.

    "Coutley's sharp yet tender collection will both haunt readers and move them to reflect, to remember, and most of all, to persevere."

    Nossa America
    "The last Palabra Pura for 2015 features the theme 'Nossa America,' with readings by Rodrigo Garcia Lopes, Jack Martínez and AKaiser," the Guild Literary Complex says.

    It will be held on November 18 from 7:30 p.m. to 9 p.m. at La Bruquena Restaurant, 2726 W. Division St.

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    "Rodrigo Garcia Lopes is a poet, translator, and composer from Brazil. He has an M.A. from ASU (USA) and a Ph.D. in English from UFSC (Brazil). He has published six collections of poetry, translations of Whitman, Rimbaud, Plath, and Riding.

    "Last year he released the historical detective novel The Troubadour. His poems have been widely published and anthologized, including in The Best 100 Brazilian Poems of the Twentieth Century."

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    "Jack Martínez (La Oroya, Peru, 1983) graduated in 2007 from the University of San Marcos (Lima, Peru) with a B.A. in Latin American Literature.

    "In 2011, he moved to the United States where he wrote his first novel, Bajo la sombra (Under the Shade), published in Peru by Animal de Invierno in 2014.

    "He is a PhD candidate in the Department of Spanish and Portuguese at Northwestern University, and is currently working on his second novel, a love story which deals with the fictions of Latin American nationalisms in the U.S."

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    "AKaiser's poems have recently appeared in Amsterdam Quarterly, Temenos Journal and Coldnoon: Travel Poetics.

    "Her poem, 'At the speed of light, squared,' was a finalist in the Wasafiri New Writing Prize 2014.

    "This past spring, AKaiser completed her MFA at Carlow University (Pittsburgh/Dublin) and was invited to JIWAR, an artists' and researchers' residency in urban creativity in Spain.

    "AKaiser curates a biannual poetry reading series in collaboration with Station Independent Projects art gallery in NYC.

    "She is also a translator of French, Spanish, and Catalan, currently working on the writings of Cebria de Montoliu, the first translator of Walt Whitman's Leaves of Grass into Catalan."

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    Comments welcome.

    Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 2:52 AM | Permalink

    Charlie Brown Voice Actor Pleads Guilty To Threat Charges

    The actor who once gave voice to beloved cartoon character Charlie Brown pled guilty on Tuesday to making threats against a mobile home park manager and a Southern California sheriff, prosecutors said.

    Three of the charges initially filed against 59-year-old Peter Robbins were dismissed on Tuesday after he pled guilty to threatening the manager and San Diego County Sheriff Bill Gore, San Diego County Deputy District Attorney Brenda Daly said.

    2015-11-11T000414Z_1_LYNXNPEBAA002_RTROPTP_3_USA-PEOPLE-CHARLIEBROWN.JPG"His behavior has become more violent," Daly said.

    Robbins was arrested in February on probation violations for cutting off his GPS monitor and drinking.

    In September, he was charged with threatening the mobile park manager and making other threats including one against a judge, a jailhouse solicitation to kill Sheriff Gore and vandalizing his cell.

    Robbins was first arrested in 2013 for harassing and threatening a former girlfriend and the plastic surgeon who enhanced her breasts.

    He pled guilty and was sentenced to eight months in residential drug treatment and five years probation, according to court records.

    Since then, he has made court appearances during which his behavior was erratic, crying through one and threatening the judge during another.

    On Tuesday, Robbins told a judge that his behavior was caused by paranoid schizophrenia and bipolar disorder, Daly said.

    Prosecutors agreed to seek a sentence of four years and eight months when Robbins is sentenced in December.

    Robbins was nine years old in 1965 when he became the voice of the world-weary yet optimistic title character of A Charlie Brown Christmas, the first of many animated TV specials based on the popular "Peanuts" comic strip by Charles Schulz.

    He voiced Charlie Brown in It's the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown, A Boy Named Charlie Brown, and other "Peanuts" animated specials that aired in the 1960s.

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    A Charlie Brown Christmas (The Meaning of Christmas).

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    A Charlie Brown Reunion.

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    Comments welcome.

    Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 2:13 AM | Permalink

    How Russia Hid Its Doping In Plain Sight

    On Monday, the World Anti-Doping Agency issued a report painting Russia's sports programs as doping machines reminiscent of East Germany's erstwhile state-sponsored drug programs.

    This year we've written about the use of prescription drugs to enhance performance and why it's so hard to catch dopers.

    But in Russia, there appeared to be no need for ever-more advanced maneuvering to evade positive tests. In Russia, athletes simply needed cash and a culture that rewarded a no-holds-barred drive for champions.

    WADA's independent commission report recommended that Russian track and field athletes be banned from the 2016 Summer Olympics, and suggested lifetime sports bans for five coaches and five track and field athletes - among them the gold and bronze medalists from the women's 800 meters at the 2012 Olympics.

    The report contained a litany of cloak-and-dagger offenses that transcend typical doping violations. Among them:

    • Russian secret service agents infiltrated and spied on Moscow's WADA-accredited laboratory during the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia.
    • A secret, second laboratory in Moscow pre-screened drug testing samples before choosing which to send on to the WADA-accredited lab for official testing.
    • Grigory Rodchenko, head of the WADA-accredited anti-doping lab in Moscow, was involved in the intentional destruction of 1,417 samples before WADA's independent commission could have them retested. The samples were likely from a range of sports, but are now lost forever.

      Rodchenko, the report said, was also involved in extorting Russian athletes in order to cover up their positive drug tests.

    • Athletes regularly bribed doping control officers.
    • The "Russian State" directly interfered with operations at the anti-doping lab in Moscow and intimidated people who worked there, compromising the lab's independence,
    • The Russian Anti-Doping Agency failed to follow up on athletes whose samples showed abnormal blood profiles.
    • Russian secret service agents at times interfered with drug testing samples.
    • Athletes who were under active sanctions for doping where sometimes allowed to compete.

    Thus far, Russian officials have claimed that the report is unfair and politically motivated.

    The country is set to host the World Cup in 2018.

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    Previously:
    * Secret To Success: A Derby Win And Racing's Doping Addiction.

    * Why It's So Hard To Catch Track And Field Cheaters.

    * Everyone's Juicing.

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    ProPublica is a Pulitzer Prize-winning investigative newsroom. Sign up for their newsletter.

    -

    Comments welcome.


    Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 1:41 AM | Permalink

    November 10, 2015

    The Dog Ate My Vote: How Congress Explains Its Absences

    On a Monday afternoon in October 2011, West Virginia Democrat Nick J. Rahall II waited at the Charleston airport for a 4:50 p.m. U.S. Airways Express flight to Washington. If the plane left on schedule, the roughly 80-minute flight would allow him to get to the Capitol in time for votes in the House of Representatives that evening.

    Things did not go according to plan. The flight didn't leave Charleston for another four hours, giving Rahall, then the top Democrat on the House Transportation & Infrastructure Committee, plenty of time to "boil over," as he later wrote. When he finally arrived in Washington, having missed three votes, he lambasted the airline's handling of the delay in a statement in the Congressional Record:

    "At moments, the arrival/departure information was so confused that the airplane would have had to violate the laws of physics in order to abide by the airline schedule," Rahall's statement read.

    "Needless to say, all passengers were inconvenienced and the airline's explanations were wholly unsatisfactory. This flight delay prevented me from carrying out my Constitutional duty to represent the people of southern West Virginia: I feel I owe them and this body an explanation about why that was not possible last night."

    Voting is one of the most important duties of a lawmaker, and most miss very few votes. Yet voting attendance has become a topic of discussion in the Republican presidential primary, as Florida Sen. Marco Rubio has missed about a third of all votes this year, by far the most in that chamber.

    In the House, unlike the Senate, lawmakers are given a chance to provide "Personal Explanations" to explain missed votes. These entries filed in the Congressional Record say not only how a representative came to be absent, but also how they would have voted though they don't have the effect of adding or changing a vote.

    The custom has been in place since at least 1845, according to a 2008 Congressional Research Service report.

    In a telephone interview, Rahall said he wanted it on the record that he would have voted in support of the three bills the House considered that day - a measure to convey federal land in Utah to the state, another changing the rules for granting ski area permits on national forest land and a third granting submerged land surrounding the Northern Mariana Islands to the American territory - if only to prevent political opponents from using the missed votes against him.

    "They could end up as a 30-second sound bite in a campaign," he said. (Rahall was defeated in 2014 by Evan Jenkins, a Republican).

    ProPublica has collected all of the Personal Explanations filed since 2007 - some 5,058 in all, covering 21,176 votes - and created a database that lets readers look up their representatives' missed votes, as well as their explanations. These statements are by no means required - only one in six absences are explained - but they document a little-discussed aspect of the lives and work of lawmakers, and provide hints at the competing priorities and difficulties of a system that, to many, seems chronically dysfunctional.

    The reasons lawmakers cite most for missing votes range from the mundane (travel delays, often due to weather, or remaining in their districts for job fairs) to more personal (the birth of a child or a graduation ceremony or illness). Lawmakers have missed more than 2,000 votes for medical reasons, and thousands more for personal and family reasons.

    The record is full of stories documenting the working lives of Representatives: Marcy Kaptur, a Democratic congresswoman from Ohio, missed a 2008 House vote because she was searching the Capitol for high school students visiting from her district. Jeff Landry, a Louisiana Republican, "completely lost track of time" and missed two votes in 2011. For Ben Ray Lujan, Democrat of New Mexico, an "operational issue" with a House voting machine meant that a 2012 vote wasn't recorded.

    For some, avoiding a vote is a sign of defiance. In 2012, Jan Schakowsky of Illinois was one of 108 Democrats who declined even to vote on a resolution holding then-Attorney General Eric Holder in contempt of Congress. She was the only one, though, to insert a statement in the Record saying she would have voted no: "I would not participate in what I strongly believe was an abuse of power by the majority."

    Although many explanations are short, lawmakers can be more expansive when a key issue is at stake. When J. Randy Forbes, a Virginia Republican who has missed less than 3 percent of votes since 2007, was absent for a January 2015 vote on a bill to ban federal funding for abortion, his explanation provided no reason, but emphasized his stance on the issue: "I am and always have been pro-life, and throughout my tenure in Congress will continue to be a strong advocate for the unborn."

    The Rules of the House say that "Every Member shall be present within the Hall of the House during its sittings, unless excused or necessarily prevented, and shall vote on each question put, unless having a direct personal or pecuniary interest in the event of such question." Lawmakers routinely say that they take their voting responsibilities seriously, and in general attendance records bear that out: most lawmakers participate in the overwhelming majority of votes held.

    Democrats have missed more votes than Republicans since the beginning of 2007, but they account for an even greater share of the explained missed votes: two of every three since the beginning of 2013.

    Luis Gutierrez, an Illinois Democrat, has missed nearly one in six votes this year, according to voting records, one of the highest rates among current members of the House. He has been absent for 15 percent of all votes since the beginning of 2007, often due to his work on immigration policy, which frequently has him on the road.

    "Congressman Gutierrez prioritizes constituent case work and spending time in the District in Chicago," said Douglas G. Rivlin, a spokesman for Gutierrez, in a statement e-mailed to ProPublica. "He also devotes a great deal of time to traveling all over the country to build support for immigration reform. As a national figure, his time is in great demand. He rarely misses substantive votes and when he does, it is because he cannot be in two places at once."

    Gutierrez sporadically explains his absences - a statement for the Record in July gave a clear reason for one: He was attending oral arguments in a federal court case over immigration policy. He also missed votes due to a family medical issue, meetings at the White House and, in 2011, "my participation in a peaceful rally and protest against the current Administration's enforcement policies against immigrant students and the families of U.S. citizens."

    Representatives' schedules are hardly overstuffed with days spent in the House chamber. In 2014, the members of the House spent only 29 weeks in session, each of which was bookended by long weekends spent doing district work, fundraising or running for re-election. The House is not scheduled to be in session for a five-day week this year.

    As lawmakers balance their duties, not every vote is created equal. Both ProPublica's analysis and research by Eleanor Neff Powell, a political scientist at the University of Wisconsin, found that lawmakers miss more lopsided votes than ones that are important to either political party.

    There have been 20 times when the number of explained missed votes exceeded the final margin of approval or defeat. Half were on amendments. One, a 2011 amendment to a spending bill about labor agreements on federal construction projects was approved by a single vote and had eight explanations from the 25 House members who did not vote, including three Republicans opposed to the amendment.

    Bills that have widespread bipartisan support often are considered "under suspension of the rules," which means they are debated fairly quickly, sometimes in a few minutes, and must have the support of two-thirds of those voting. About four in 10 personal explanations occur on these so-called suspension votes, which often are scheduled on the first day of the week that the House is in session, when travel delays could make it more likely for a member to miss votes. Absences (explained or not) on suspension votes account for 36 percent of all House votes missed between 2007 and October 2015.

    If personal explanations are optional, why do representatives use them at all? Often, to indicate to constituents that just because they didn't vote doesn't mean they don't have an opinion.

    "It shows that you care about what they're asking about," said Powell.

    For lawmakers facing tight re-election contests, missed votes can be part of a political balancing act. Opponents are quick to make use of a poor voting record. Missing a vote can be a graceful way to dodge votes designed to put lawmakers on the spot. Explanations, in turn, can provide a way to miss the actual vote and still claim that they would have voted the way constituents might have preferred.

    In 2013, Brad Schneider, an Illinois Democrat, voted against a Republican spending bill that also delayed the individual health insurance mandate created by the Affordable Care Act. The next year, he missed a vote on a bill to delay the individual mandate but explained that, had he been there, he would have voted in favor of delaying the mandate, as he did on a similar bill in July 2013. Schneider lost his seat in 2014 to Bob Dold, a Republican former congressman who voted against the health care law while in the House, in a race where the health insurance law figured prominently. He is running against Dold again in 2016; Schneider's campaign did not respond to a request for comment.

    Missing potentially controversial votes, then submitting explanations is an example of what researcher Powell calls "strategic abstention": when a member skips a vote on which her party's position is incompatible with her constituents' views. Rather than disappoint either, the representative can simply miss the vote, later explaining that she would have voted the way her constituents would have wanted, without actually doing so and creating a rift with her party.

    The ProPublica analysis, which covers a different time period than Powell's, found some evidence of this: there were 128 votes on bill passage in which a member who missed the vote later registered opposition to his or her party's majority position. Fifty-six of those contained no clear reason for the absence.

    Lawmakers' explanations cover not only missed votes, but mistaken ones as well. It's not common - explanations attempting to correct a wrong vote or saying that a member tried to vote but could not - number about 320 during the past eight years. But more than one in five current lawmakers has done it at least once since the beginning of 2007, with John Conyers, a Michigan Democrat and the chamber's longest-serving member, claiming 12 incorrect votes. The official record of a 2011 vote on an bill to expand offshore oil and gas leases shows Conyers voting in favor, when he meant to vote against the bill. Conyers, who at 86 is also the House's oldest member, did not respond to several requests for comment made through his office.

    A handful of other lawmakers have reported voting incorrectly at least four times, including Adam Smith, a Washington Democrat who is the ranking member on the House Armed Services Committee. On at least one of those occasions, on a vote that occurred at 1:53 a.m. on Feb. 18, 2011, Smith voted for an amendment and later explained that he should have voted no. Rebecca Bryant, a spokeswoman for Smith, said that in that case the congressman "had some misinformation" on the nature of the amendment that was only clarified the next morning.

    "The key thing is transparency," said Bryant of the vote explanations. "We wanted to articulate how the congressman felt."

    Occasionally, lawmakers change their minds after a vote and submit a personal explanation about it. In 2008, the House voted to censure Charlie Rangel, a New York Democrat, over ethics violations, and Texas Republican Lamar Smith voted in favor of doing so. Later, in a statement in the Record, Smith reconsidered his vote: "Members had no advance notice of the vote, and I did not familiarize myself with the substance of the motion as much as I would have liked. If the vote were taken again, I would vote present rather than 'aye'."

    -

    See also:

    * Personal Explanations: Explore The App.

    * How Do Congressional Representatives Vote, Anyway?

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    Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 7:53 PM | Permalink

    SportsMondayTuesday: Bears Win Backup Battle

    If I have to hear one more thing about the poor Chargers and their horribly unfair run of injuries . . .

    Exactly how long is it going to take for the big re-set? That will be the one when announcers like Jon Gruden and Mike Tirico (and they have plenty of company along these lines) finally figure out that NFL football games featuring only an injury or two are the exception and have been for a while.

    Do these guys, who called the Bears' 22-19 victory at San Diego on Monday night, pay attention to the injury reports at all? Because if they did, they would know that the rule is now that NFL teams deal with at least a dozen significant injuries every week and that players are dropping like flies in game after game. And it is way past time for the average NFL announcer to acknowledge this fact. I hate to break it to them, but the Chargers' run of injuries is now the norm.

    I am far from an objective observer but it sure would have been great if Tirico in particular (Gruden is just about hopeless) would have inserted a reservation or two at the end of just a few of his dozens of references to how banged up the Chargers are. If he had, he could have mentioned that just on offense, the Bears were playing with their third-string center, two guards who were not expected to start at the start of the season, another guard at right tackle and the second-string left tackle.

    He might have also noted that the Bears' second- and third-best wide receivers were out of action. Oh yeah, and the Bears' top offensive threat the last half dozen years, that guy named Matt Forte? Sidelined.

    So while the Chargers may have suffered a slightly higher rate of injury than average so far this year, it is at most slightly higher. The trick now in the NFL is to have a host of competent backups ready to go. They've had them ready to go in New England so far this year, where the Patriots have been beset by a half-dozen significant injuries to offensive linemen and have simply found different ways to proceed and moved on undefeated week after week.

    The Bears have a long, long way to go to catch the likes of the Patriots (although one ever-more-likely, late-career injury to Tom Brady will completely re-set the comparison). But it is clear that John Fox and his staff, particularly coordinators Vic Fangio and Adam Gase, are making significant progress building the team's depth.

    It is also becoming more and more apparent that general manager Ryan Pace nailed the draft earlier this year. And that is without first-round pick having played a down.
    Second-rounder Eddie Goldman of Florida State has been stout in the middle of the defensive line, a critical need especially after veteran defensive lineman Jeremiah Ratliff was cut a few weeks ago. Hroniss Grasu, who was taken in the third round out of Oregon, had battled through his debut as the team's center of the future a few weeks ago and was ready to proceed when he was sidelined by a neck injury. Who knows what to believe with the Bears' injury reports but I believe it is more likely than not that Grasu will return to the lineup in the next few weeks.

    When fourth-round pick Jeremy Langford out of Michigan State gathered himself, dove, and made that great catch of Jay Cutler's long pass down the seam in the first quarter last night, he made the play that sealed Forte's departure at the end of the year. Of course the back-up running back won't win the starting job based on one catch alone but the guy who totaled 142 yards on 21 touches (carries and receptions) took his opportunity against the Chargers and sprinted down the field with it.

    And fifth-round pick Adrian Amos is becoming a fixture in the Bears' secondary. After years of drafting safeties in the middle rounds of draft after draft, the Bears appear to have finally found a playmaker who can drop back into coverage effectively and who is even better moving up and making aggressive tackles in the run game.

    Most importantly, a host of undrafted free agents who either signed with the Bears out of college or were castoffs from other teams are contributing in myriad ways.

    Christian Jones is one of those guys. The inside linebacker, who was a teammate of Goldman's at FSU, was undrafted and then picked up by the Bears. He has become a stalwart in the middle of the Bears' starting defense. And the two guys who also rotated in at middle linebacker, LaRoy Reynolds and Jonathan Anderson, were also both former free agents who made impactful plays on Monday.

    Finally, anyone could have signed tight end Zach Miller after Jacksonville dumped him after several injury-plagued years, and the Bears watched him almost make their roster last year before suffering another season-ending injury late in the preseason. But it was Pace and Co. who signed him again this past off-season and there was Miller making the spectacular game-winning catch in the fourth quarter last night.

    Some of those guys will get injured in the next few weeks. But Fox and his staff won't bemoan their bad-luck run of injuries. They'll just send out the next, well-prepared guy.

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    Jim "Coach" Coffman is our man on Mondays, or Tuesdays when warranted. He welcomes your comments.

    Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 9:18 AM | Permalink

    Local Music Notebook: When Chicago Dissed Disturbed

    "Disturbed frontman David Draiman has recalled the band's struggle to get noticed in their early days - saying they were 'blacklisted' for not being cool enough," Loudwire recalls.

    "The Chicago band found it hard to make a name for themselves in a city better known for its alternative scene than for rock and metal.

    "Draiman tells Loudwire: 'People think it was this meteoric rise - it really wasn't. We beat the hell out of ourselves for two or three years as a local band.

    "Any time a rock show would come through town, we would pass out cassettes, stickers, t-shirts - whatever we could.

    "There was a lot of struggle in a city that wasn't conducive to hard rock and heavy metal. It was Smashing Pumpkins. It wasn't about metal so we were blacklisted. We couldn't even play inner city clubs - we weren't cool enough. We had to force our way in."

    Actually, the Smashing Pumpkins weren't cool enough either back then (or now), and Billy "William" Corgan has never forgotten it.

    Still, Draiman has a point, and the local media still doesn't give Disturbed its due.

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    For the uninitiated:

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    Yo La Dead
    Yo La Tengo's Ira Kaplan tells Las Vegas Weekly that he attended one of the Grateful Dead's reunion shows in Chicago in July.

    I had a great time. I had given no thought to going, but then Alex Bleeker from Real Estate got in touch; his other band, The Freak, were doing this aftershow in Chicago, and he asked if I wanted to be part of it and play some Dead songs, and part of saying yes meant I had an opportunity to buy a ticket. So it was kinda like, wow, if you're gonna get offered this opportunity, say yes. I went in that casually. I apologize to anyone reading this who would have given anything to be there, but I had great time. I didn't really expect anything. It had been so long since I'd seen them, that the whole culture of the village and "Shakedown Street" and all that, I had never seen that before. I think every time I saw them was in the '70s. But I loved it.

    Here's Yo La Tengo covering the Dead's "Golden Road (To Unlimited Devotion)."

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    And here's Real Estate covering "He's Gone."

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    Poor Richard's Velvet
    "Today, rare photographs - along with a treasure trove of one-of-a-kind Velvet Underground posters and fliers, unreleased recordings, handwritten lyrics, news clippings and more - have landed in a Cornell University Library vault three stories below the Arts Quad, where researchers can study the band's outsized impact, from 1960s and 1970s counterculture to today's mainstream," the Cornell Chronicle reports.

    "Highlights from the collection include an oversized poster promoting the Velvet Underground's first album, believed to be the only surviving copy; notes from Lou Reed, who died in 2013; a handwritten set list for a performance at Poor Richard's in Chicago; foreign and domestic bootleg recordings; and images of performances taken by prominent contemporary photographers."

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    "John Cale provided vocals at Poor Richard's in Chicago without Lou Reed who was recuperating from hepatitis at Beth Israel Hospital," according to Connie Lynchitz on YouTube.

    "Although NICO was advertised to appear, she was absent as was Warhol. Poor Richard's was a club inside an poorly ventilated old church in which the temperature rose to 106 degrees during that summer."

    Here's the audio Lynchitz uploaded from that show:

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    Chicago TropRocker
    "Howard Livingston was in a business meeting in China when he realized where he should be; where he wanted to spend the rest of his life - the Florida Keys," KeysNews reports.

    "I''ll never forget, I was sitting in a conference room in China, daydreaming of a warm day on a dock in the Florida Keys," Livingston recalled. "All of a sudden, someone asked me what time it was then in Chicago. I realized I had no idea what anyone had been saying in the meeting, and I replied, "I don't know about Chicago, but I'm on Key West time right now."

    "That business meeting, the epiphany it prompted - and the 'trop rock' song that it spawned - changed everything for Livingston, who was born in Kentucky, then lived and worked as an adult in Chicago, where he learned to sail on Lake Michigan."

    Here it is.

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    College Review Circuit
    * Badger Herald: Rise Against's Riotous - If Sometimes Monotonous - Rock Enraptures Orpheum.

    "Chicago punk-rock outfit delivers satisfying show, but may have been beat by impressive opener Letlive."

    Here's both of 'em.

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    * The Chicago Maroon: Hippo Campus Nearly Reaches Heights Of Their Hard Pop Inspirations.

    "When Hippo Campus finally cut loose from Verse Chorus Verse Chorus Bridge Verse Chorus, they became what I'd hoped they'd be."

    Here's Hippo Campus from JBTV:

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    * Loyola Phoenix: Deafheaven Raises Hell At The Metro.

    Here's video of Deafheaven from the Oakland Metro because video from the Chicago Metro isn't available.

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    * The Michigan Daily: The Future Is Up To Chance.

    "Chance the Rapper's new single is the first song that has ever made me yearn to be from another part of the country.

    "Chance debuted the song 'Angels' on Stephen Colbert's show, and his performance is the most Chicago thing I've ever seen.

    "Chance and Saba (who does the hook) are both wearing Chicago radio station hoodies, dancing to footwork beats with gospel synths and horns courtesy of Donnie Trumpet and the Social Experiment.

    "In the lyrics, Chance contemplates touring with Chief Keef, champions his independence from major labels and honors his Windy City loved ones who have passed away (the 'angels' that he's got all around him).

    "It's the quintessential lead single - it's exciting because it's undeniably the familiar Chance we all love, but it's also catching us up on everything that's new in his life (namely, fatherhood)."

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    Comments welcome.

    Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 5:28 AM | Permalink

    The [Tuesday] Papers

    "Republican Gov. Bruce Rauner, under fire from Democrats and their allies for cuts to popular social service programs, moved to lift those political pressure points Monday from a broader effort to win his pro-business, union-weakening legislative agenda," the Tribune reports.

    "In what Rauner's team billed as a compromise with lawmakers, the administration offered to loosen new rules that caused the state to turn away tens of thousands of low-income children from its subsidized child care program. The rookie governor also backed away from plans to reduce the number of people with disabilities who qualify for certain kinds of state assistance."

    There, I gave you back child care and disability funding, now you give me something!

    *

    "Rauner wants Democrats to approve measures to weaken union rights in collective bargaining, limit worker rights in injury claims against employers and make Illinois' civil lawsuit system less friendly to plaintiffs. Democrats want a tax hike to prop up a state budget that's billions of dollars out of whack."

    Rauner wants that tax hike too. Fact.

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    "To save money during the impasse, Rauner used his executive powers to make the child care cuts, and had been working toward the cuts to disability services, which require federal approval. All along, the governor contended that the state couldn't afford to fully pay for the programs without a true budget.

    "That position changed Monday when the Rauner administration said it was willing to roll back child care eligibility restrictions so that more - but not all - of the families that have been rejected in recent months would be able to join the program. Higher copay rates that Rauner put in place in July would remain, while the administration said other restrictions could be lifted 'pending further review and legislative consultation.'"

    In other words, the child care and disability cuts had nothing to do with the budget, but instead were Rauner-created pawns bargaining chips.

    It's like negotiating with a used-car salesman.

    SALESMAN/RAUNER: I'll agree to your price except I'm going to remove one of the wheels.

    BUYER/DEMOCRATS: No, driving the car on just three wheels is dangerous.

    SALESMAN/RAUNER: Okay, I'll give you back half of that tire. Now you give me something.

    *

    Reminder: I hate Democrats. Especially Illinois Democrats. But they should introduce their own Turnaround Agenda and then challenge the governor to compromise. It should look something like this:

    - Ban term limits.

    - Ban redistricting.

    - Increase awards for torts.

    - Increase the minimum wage to $100 an hour.

    - Increase awards for workman's compensation.

    - Raise taxes by one zillion percent.

    - Raise spending by one kabillion percent.

    Go.

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    The governor, in effect, has just compromised with himself.

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    "Also Monday, the administration announced a deal with unions and business groups that could make workers ineligible for unemployment benefits if they do things like drink on the job, lie on an employment application or refuse to follow an employer's instructions."

    I'd like to know more about this - what were the rules before this deal? What does refusing an employer's instructions mean? What qualifies as drinking on the job - an executive having a cocktail?

    Because it sounds like nonsense.

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    Vetting Ventra
    In response to my item about Ventra on Monday, a loyal reader wrote: "I got one for the first time ever over the weekend. And I was $2 over."

    So it seems an effort is underway by Ventra to get everybody to load up their cards.

    Paper City
    In response to my item about principals' paperwork on Monday, a loyal reader wrote: "You wondered in today's column if principals still do paperwork on paper. I think they may be lucky not to have to use cuneiform tablets.

    "Last year, I needed some work done on the connection between the sewer line from my home and the city's main line on Foster Avenue. As required, my plumbers came out, put a camera down the sewer, showed the city inspector where the fault was - and he readily acknowledged the fault - then gave him a copy of what the camera saw. On VHS tape.

    "When the city guy left, I asked my plumber about the tape. 'We could give it to him on DVD or on a thumb drive,' the plumber said, 'but the city will only accept VHS tapes.'"

    This reader then added:

    "As a postscript, they had to do the sewer job twice. The crew they sent out the first time screwed it up."

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    The Suneiform-Times
    On the other hand, the private sector has its issues, too.

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    SportsMonday: Bears Win Backup Battle
    Being injury-riddled is now the norm in the NFL.

    When Chicago Dissed Disturbed
    In Local Music Notebook. Plus: Yo La Tengo Does The Dead & When The Velvet Underground Played Poor Richard's In Chicago.

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    BeachBook

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    TweetWood
    A sampling.

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    The Beachwood Tip Line: Needless.

    Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 4:57 AM | Permalink

    November 9, 2015

    The [Monday] Papers



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    Bus Boo-Boo
    "The CTA's Loop Link service aimed at reducing the travel times of bus customers through the downtown is still scheduled to start next month, city officials say, but a recent blunder in the design of the $32 million bus rapid transit project does not instill confidence," Jon Hilkevitch reports for the Tribune.

    Computer simulations that determined how much pavement to set aside for buses-only red lanes on the approach and exit paths at Loop Link stations were off the mark, according to the Chicago Department of Transportation, the construction manager for the Loop Link project. After the red lanes were built on Madison and Washington streets between Michigan Avenue and Canal Street, field tests using CTA buses were run. Those field tests revealed that at four locations, the taper - the narrower points of entrance and egress - leading into and out of the bus stations was too narrow.

    "The field testing showed that making minor adjustments to the pavement would provide bus operators an optimal path,'' said Steele, the CTA's spokesman.

    But that's public relations-speak. The trial runs actually showed that without widening the lanes, the CTA's 60-foot-long articulated buses would run the risk of hitting the stations.

    In other words, Brian Steele optimized bullshit by making major adjustments to the truth.

    I Have This Rule And It's Fucking Golden
    "Speaking to a Chicago gathering of business students last month, Gov. Bruce Rauner related how a professional mentor long ago had instilled in him the importance of embracing the golden rule," the Tribune reports.

    "Treat other people the way you'd like to be treated," Rauner said.

    So, for example, if you prefer not to pay for your child's ventilator, cut off payments for other people's children's ventilators, too.

    Or if you clout your kid into Payton High, clout everyone else's kids into Payton High too!

    See! It's easy.

    Pound Foolish
    "When Illinois returns to the municipal market after its unprecedented 18-month borrowing drought, it may find its budget impasse will cost taxpayers millions of dollars in the coming decades," BloombergBusiness reports.

    "On a $1 billion offering of 25-year tax-exempt bonds, it would cost about $175 million more now than if an equal amount was issued with spreads at 2014 levels, based on data compiled by Bloomberg that assumes the yield equals the interest rate paid. Now in its fifth month without a spending plan, signs are mounting that debt sales for cash-strapped Illinois are only going to get more expensive."

    Pushing Ventra
    Maybe this is just a fluke, but for the first time since Ventra came online, I received an e-mail over the weekend warning me that my account was low. Now, my account has been low before - it actually tends to dip into the negative before I refill it. And I've never received an e-mail about it. Also, my account balance isn't low right now.

    I'm pretty sure the e-mail is legit and not a scam, so my theory is that the CTA is making a new effort to get people to keep their accounts flush in order to attain a more positive cash flow position. Anybody?

    Paper Principals
    "Chicago Public Schools principals overwhelmingly say they care more about reducing paperwork than getting extra pay, according to a new report on principal retention by the Chicago Public Education Fund," Catalyst reports.

    I'm not doubting that for a second when I say that I'd love to see a "day in the life/week" example of all the paperwork CPS principals have to fill out.

    Also, paperwork?

    Is that a euphemism or is everything there still done on paper?

    *

    Also, would they forego more money in exchange for more toilet paper?

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    The Weekend In Chicago Rock
    Featuring: God Module, Kendrick Lamar, Miranda Mullholland, The Weeknd, Mark Rose, What's Eating Gilbert, Ready and Willing, Stephen Kellogg, Los Plebes del Rancho, White Hills, BJ the Chicago Kid, and Doug Paisley & Joan Shelley.

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    BeachBook

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    TweetWood
    A sampling.

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    The Beachwood Tip Line: Alternatively.

    Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 9:44 AM | Permalink

    The Weekend In Chicago Rock

    You shoulda been there.

    1. God Module at the Abbey on Saturday night.


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    2. Kendrick Lamar at the Riv on Thursday night.

    Gendron: An Inspired Kendrick Lamar Educates, Reflects, Protests, Dreams And Channels Miles Davis At Riv.

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    3. Miranda Mulholland with Zachariah Hickman at Lincoln Hall on Thursday night.

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    4. The Weeknd at the big arena on the West Side on Friday night.

    Kot: R&B Noir Arrives In Chicago.

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    5. Mark Rose at Township on Saturday night.

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    6. What's Eating Gilbert at Township on Saturday night.

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    7. Ready and Willing at the Concord on Saturday night.

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    8. Stephen Kellogg at Lincoln Hall on Thursday night.

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    9. Los Plebes del Rancho at the Aragon on Saturday night.

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    10. Doug Paisley and Joan Shelley at the Old Town School on Friday night.

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    11. White Hills at the Red Line Tap on Thursday night.

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    Catching up with . . .

    BJ the Chicago Kid at the Metro on Wednesday night.

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    Comments welcome.

    Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 8:13 AM | Permalink

    November 7, 2015

    The Weekend Desk Report

    "Gov. Bruce Rauner used an amendatory veto Friday to rewrite legislation aimed at blocking his cuts to home care for the elderly and disabled, saying Illinois cannot afford to provide the services without more sweeping changes in the way the state does business," the Tribune reports.

    In other words, in Rauner's view, Illinois cannot afford to provide services to the elderly and disabled until it enacts term limits and lessens the cost to employers of workman's compensation to employees who have been hurt on their jobs, just to name two of the planks in the governor's Turnaround Agenda that have nothing to do with the state budget but which he is holding the elderly and disabled hostage over. Just so everybody is clear.

    By the way, Illinois' workmen's comp costs have now fallen below those of Indiana and Wisconsin, according to Crain's, due to workmen's comp reform passed by the General Assembly in 2011.

    If Rauner would like to revisit the issue, he's free to do so - by introducing new legislative reforms, for example. That's called governing.

    But trying to get his way by inflicting as much damage as he can on the poor, the elderly, the disabled and children as he thinks compassionate Democrats can take before they buckle is not only sadistic, but illustrates which party in his estimation has at least an ounce of compassion.

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    "The action comes as lawmakers prepare to return to Springfield to vote on another Democratic proposal that would roll back the Republican governor's cuts to a child care assistance program that helps low-income families."

    Lovely.

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    "These bills may be well-intentioned, but they are ultimately harmful to the programs they are trying to help," Rauner spokesman Lance Trover said in a statement. "The governor understands and shares the frustration of members who want to fund these programs, but the appropriate way to do so is in the context of a truly balanced budget."

    To be clear, the governor has yet to introduce a balanced budget, which is also his job.

    *

    "The sides remain deadlocked as the governor seeks to tie the budget-making process to winning his agenda that would limit union rights and benefit business owners."

    It's a good thing he's not a career politician, who might see the budget-making process as something separate from that agenda.

    *

    Let's review.

    Gov. Bruce Rauner: Sadist.

    Gov. Pat Quinn: Phony bumbler.

    Gov. Rod Blagojevich: Narcissist felon.

    Gov. George Ryan: Unrepentantly corrupt ex-con.

    Gov. Jim Edgar: Adultish.

    Gov. Jim Thompson: Grifter.

    Gov. Dan Walker: Late ex-con.

    Illinois: A truly awful state.

    *

    Here's the president of the Ounce of Prevention appearing in a campaign ad with Rauner:

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    Has anyone checked in with Newt Minow lately?

    *

    Are Democrats blameless? Of course not. After all, they didn't have the guts to replace Pat Quinn with a stronger candidate. And allowing Michael Madigan to rule with an iron fist for all these years surely accrued ill will among the populace that benefited Rauner in his election. But on the specifics of the budget battle? I don't see how you meet Rauner's demands.

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    The Illinois recall provisions don't help given that the state Republican lawmakers who would be needed to get the ball rolling on such a thing remain loyal to the governor who has bought their loyalty. Anyone contemplating a break from the governor must also contemplate a break from the governor's overstuffed campaign fund, which would not only be available to ensure re-election, but to ensure a ridiculously well-funded opponent.

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    This is what Rauner ran to do. He's not going to give up. He believes he's making history. My prediction: We will still be without a budget when the 2016 elections roll around. Then we see if that changes the dynamic by breaking the Democrats' super-majority or making the super-majority real by adding enough votes to overcome the two or three that aren't in Madigan's control. If neither happens, good luck until 2018.

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    The Beachwood Radio Sports Hour #76: Jay Cutler, Derrick Rose & Patrick Kane Are Back?
    Media narratives are not your friend.

    Plus: The Bears Stay The Course; Cubs At Peak Betting Value; Dusty Hoiberg; Patrick Kane Not Vindicated; Kane D.A. Shows Caveman Colors; Blackhawks Blues; and Wearing Kane's Jersey.

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    The Sound Opinions Weekend Listening Report: "Inspired by the artists of the 1950s, Low Cut Connie has dedicated itself to bringing the upright piano back to rock 'n' roll. The band (a favorite of President Obama) joins Jim and Greg for a conversation and performance. Then a review of the debut solo album by ZZ Top guitarist Billy Gibbons."

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    Weekend BeachBook

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    It's not always about the money.

    Posted by The Beachwood Reporter on Saturday, November 7, 2015

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    Weekend TweetWood

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    The Weekend Desk Tip Line: 20% is customary.

    Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 7:30 AM | Permalink

    November 6, 2015

    The Beachwood Radio Sports Hour #76: Jay Cutler, Derrick Rose & Patrick Kane Are Back (?)

    Media narratives are not your friend. Plus: The Bears Stay The Course; Cubs At Peak Betting Value; Dusty Hoiberg; Patrick Kane Not Vindicated; Kane D.A. Shows Caveman Colors; Blackhawks Blues; and Wearing Kane's Jersey.


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    SHOW NOTES

    * Steve McMichael.

    4:00: Bears Stay The Course.

    * Meanwhile, Journesia Strikes Bears Reporters, Who Have Forgotten Who Jay Cutler Is.

    * Bears Coaches Haven't Forgot.

    * Jay Cutler vs. Harrison Smith.

    Seems like he could've just run for the corner, sorry.

    * Chargers opened as 4-point favorites for Monday night's Bears game.

    * Jacquizz Rodgers.

    * Why Former 49er Chris Borland Is The Most Dangerous Man In Football.

    * Greg Gabriel.

    26:25: Bovada Has Already Installed The Cubs As The The 2016 World Series Favorite.

    28:54: Inventor Of Fantasy Sports: "I Meant It For Peaceful Purposes."

    * Chris Christie Defends Fantasy Sports In Debate Rant.

    32:15: Like Jay Cutler, Derrick Rose Is Back!

    * Hornets Bury Bulls For First Victory.

    * Rose Returns To Vintage Form, Scores 29 Against Westbrook, Thunder.

    * Billy Donovan And Joakim Noah Were A Perfect Match In College At Florida.

    * 2013: College Coaches To NBA: 20 Years Of Failure.

    * 2015: College Coaches Now Wanted By NBA.

    * Dusty Hoiberg.

    49:44: Patrick Kane Is [Not] Vindicated.

    * Haugh: "Of all the e-mails that stuffed my inbox Thursday staunchly defending Blackhawks star Patrick Kane's honor and innocence, the most fascinating came in a 462-word doozy on official letterhead. Let's say Frank from Buffalo sent it.

    "The totality of the credible evidence - the proof - does not sufficiently substantiate the complainant's allegation that she was raped by Patrick Kane, and this so-called 'case' is rife with reasonable doubt,'' the boldest part of the statement said.

    OK, Frank from Buffalo was really Erie County District Attorney Frank A. Sedita III. And though he didn't use a frown emoji or ALL CAPS to type "so-called case," his message was loud and clear - especially loud.

    Projecting the persona of a sports-talk radio caller, Sedita used unusually pointed language to announce Kane will not face rape charges after an exhaustive three-month investigation. Thus, a case full of unexpected twists and turns came to an appropriately inappropriate end with Sedita's sardonic tone making the next alleged victim of sexual assault even more reluctant to come forward for fear of public backlash.

    The rest of Haugh's piece we can do without, but that opening nails it.

    * On Tuesday, Sedita won a 14-year term on the New York Supreme Court.

    * Sedita: Kane Has A Pattern Of Being "Very Overserved."

    WGRZ-TV Interview Part 1:

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    Part 2:

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    * Coffman: "Castles of supposition based on incomplete facts."

    * Morrissey: Was Dusty Baker Wrongly Convicted For Baseball Deaths Of Kerry Wood, Mark Prior?

    1:04:15: Blackhawks Blues; Wearing Kane's Jersey.

    * Blackhawks Blow Three-Goal Lead In 6-5 Loss To Blues In Overtime.

    * Correction: Four women on the jury.

    1:08:43: Go Black Squirrels!

    haverford.jpg

    * Correction: We're actually under 76 minutes. Dammit.

    STOPPAGE: 11:34

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    For archives and other Beachwood shows, see The Beachwood Radio Network.

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    Comments welcome.

    Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 1:46 PM | Permalink

    Beachwood Photo Booth: Autumn Station Wagon

    Vintage seasonal.

    vintyelstationwagoncalihouseexp.jpg(ENLARGE FOR PROPER VIEWING)

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    More Chicago photography from Helene Smith.

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    Helene on Twitter!

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    Meet Helene!

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    Stationery, iPhone cases, hoodies.

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    Listen to Helene talk about Photo Booth; starts at 57:54.

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    Previously:
    * Beachwood Photo Booth: Chicago Man Grilling
    * Beachwood Photo Booth: Yum Yum Donuts
    * Beachwood Photo Booth: Chicago Father's Day
    * Beachwood Photo Booth: Vintage Airmaster
    * Beachwood Photo Booth: Chicago Time
    * Beachwood Photo Booth: Window Shade
    * Beachwood Photo Booth: Illinois Slayer
    * Beachwood Photo Booth: Chicago Fire Escape
    * Beachwood Photo Booth: Golden Nugget
    * Beachwood Photo Booth: Hollywood, Chicago
    * Beachwood Photo Booth: Flag Man.
    * Beachwood Photo Booth: Van In Flames.
    * Beachwood Photo Booth: Fluid Power Automation.
    * Beachwood Photo Booth: Corn Dog.
    * Beachwood Photo Booth: Stop The Killing Car.
    * Beachwood Photo Booth: Chicago Backyard.
    * Beachwood Photo Booth: A to Z Things.
    * Beachwood Photo Booth: Swedish Diner.
    * Beachwood Photo Booth: Rothschild Liquors.
    * Beachwood Photo Booth: Chicago Silos.
    * Beachwood Photo Booth: Chicago Wires.
    * Beachwood Photo Booth: Orange Garden.
    * Beachwood Photo Booth: Irving Park Guy.
    * Beachwood Photo Booth: Chicago Pigeons.
    * Beachwood Photo Booth: O'Lanagan's.
    * Beachwood Photo Booth: For Rent.
    * Beachwood Photo Booth: Marie's Pizza & Liquors.
    * Beachwood Photo Booth: Mori Milk.
    * Beachwood Photo Booth: American Breakfast.
    * Beachwood Photo Booth: A Chicago Christmas Postcard.
    * Beachwood Photo Booth: Holiday Harold's.
    * Beachwood Photo Booth: Chicago Family Fun.
    * Beachwood Photo Booth: Snow Bike.
    * Beachwood Photo Booth: Nativity Scene.
    * Beachwood Photo Booth: Old Warsaw.
    * Beachwood Photo Booth: Deluxe Cleaners.
    * Beachwood Photo Booth: Marie's Golden Cue.
    * Beachwood Photo Booth: Die Another Day.
    * Beachwood Photo Booth: Sears Key Shop.
    * Beachwood Photo Booth: Window Dressing.
    * Beachwood Photo Booth: Jeri's Grill.
    * Beachwood Photo Booth: Barry's Drugs.
    * Beachwood Photo Booth: Liberty.
    * Beachwood Photo Booth: Chicago Kitchen.
    * Beachwood Photo Booth: Golden Specials.
    * Beachwood Photo Booth: We Won The Cup.
    * Beachwood Photo Booth: Bartender Man.
    * Beachwood Photo Booth: Blue Plane Blues.
    * Beachwood Photo Booth: Finest Quality.
    * Beachwood Photo Booth: Family Guy.
    * Beachwood Photo Booth: Girls Wanted.
    * Beachwood Photo Booth: Skokie Savanna.
    * Beachwood Photo Booth: Signpost.
    * Beachwood Photo Booth: Old Man And The Tree.
    * Beachwood Photo Booth: Street Fleet.
    * Beachwood Photo Booth: Citgo Story.
    * Beachwood Photo Booth: Fantasy Hair Design.
    * Beachwood Photo Booth: Chicago Garage.
    * Beachwood Photo Booth: Clark Stop.
    * Beachwood Photo Booth: Pole Position.
    * Beachwood Photo Booth: Window Dressing.
    * Beachwood Photo Booth: Chicago Geometry.
    * Beachwood Photo Booth: Found Love.
    * Beachwood Photo Booth: Fill In The Blank.
    * Beachwood Photo Booth: Vacuums Of The Night.
    * Beachwood Photo Booth: Dumpster Still Life.
    * Beachwood Photo Booth: Wagon Master.
    * Beachwood Photo Booth: Intersecting West Rogers Park.
    * Beachwood Photo Booth: Penn-Dutchman Antiques.
    * Beachwood Photo Booth: Cow Patrol.
    * Beachwood Photo Booth: Backstage Chicago.
    * Beachwood Photo Booth: Skully Bungalow.
    * Beachwood Photo Booth: Francisco Frankenstein.
    * Beachwood Photo Booth: Long Cool Heat.
    * Beachwood Photo Booth: Smokers' Mast.
    * Beachwood Photo Booth: Big Fat Phone.
    * Beachwood Photo Booth: Happy Day.
    * Beachwood Photo Booth: Alley Men.
    * Beachwood Photo Booth: Holiday Show!
    * Beachwood Photo Booth: You've Got Mailbox.
    * Beachwood Photo Booth: Broken Window Theory.
    * Beachwood Photo Booth: Dali Logan.
    * Beachwood Photo Booth: Svengoolie.
    * Beachwood Photo Booth: Horner Park Hot Dogs.
    * Beachwood Photo Booth: Cubs Rehab.
    * Beachwood Photo Booth: 20th Century Schizoid Man.
    * Beachwood Photo Booth: Men On Vans.
    * Beachwood Photo Booth: Penn-Dutchman Is Done.
    * Beachwood Photo Booth: Snowy Lincoln.
    * Beachwood Photo Booth: Waiting Room.
    * Beachwood Photo Booth: Avondale Chicken.
    * Beachwood Photo Booth: Winter's End.
    * Beachwood Photo Booth: The Friendly Skies.
    * Beachwood Photo Booth: Boyhood Buzzer Beater.
    * Beachwood Photo Booth: J Date.
    * Beachwood Photo Booth: International Window Lady.
    * Beachwood Photo Booth: Shanghai Inn.
    * Beachwood Photo Booth: Open For Business.
    * Beachwood Photo Booth: Andersonville Unplugged.
    * Beachwood Photo Booth: 3-Flat.
    * Beachwood Photo Booth: Evanston Turkey.
    * Beachwood Photo Booth: Chicagolandia.
    * Beachwood Photo Booth: Eat At Odge's.
    * Beachwood Photo Booth: Deitch Pharmacy.
    * Beachwood Photo Booth: Sud-Z Bubble.
    * Beachwood Photo Booth: Bands Wanted!
    * Beachwood Photo Booth: Belmont Tavern.
    * Beachwood Photo Booth: Superheroic San Luis Freeze.
    * Beachwood Photo Booth: Evanston Oasis.
    * Beachwood Photo Booth: Lyndale Food & Jewelry.
    * Beachwood Photo Booth: Lincoln Tap.
    * Beachwood Photo Booth: Book Window.
    * Beachwood Photo Booth: Alco Dude.
    * Beachwood Photo Booth: Ballin Drugs.
    * Beachwood Photo Booth: Don't Worry, Be Cookie.
    * Beachwood Photo Booth: Four Trey.
    * Beachwood Photo Booth: The Office.
    * Beachwood Photo Booth: America From Inside The Golden Nugget In Ravenswood.
    * Beachwood Photo Booth: Cellphone Repair.
    * Beachwood Photo Booth: Boots 'N' Grill.
    * Beachwood Photo Booth: Sunrise Strip.
    * Beachwood Photo Booth: At The Corner Of Glad And Happy.
    * Beachwood Photo Booth: Uptown Autumn Night.
    * Beachwood Photo Booth: Diner.
    * Beachwood Photo Booth: Mid-Century Modern Halloween.

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    Comments welcome.

    Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 1:52 AM | Permalink

    The Week In Chicago Rock

    You shoulda been there.

    1. Nots at the Empty Bottle on Monday night.


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    2. The Gunshy at the Empty Bottle on Monday night.

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    3. Wolf Pac at the Empty Bottle on Monday night.

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    4. Big K.R.I.T. at the Metro on Wednesday night.

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    5. Kyle at Reggies on Sunday night.

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    6. Ex-Breathers at Margaritaville on Wednesday night.

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    7. The Ghost Inside at Bottom Lounge on Tuesday night.

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    8. Janet Jackson at the Chicago Theatre on Tuesday night.

    Kot: She Came To Dance.

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    9. John Sebastian at City Winery on Wednesday night.

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    10. Joe Jackson at Thalia Hall on Monday night.

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    11. Anderson Ponty Band at the Arcada Theatre in St. Charles on Tuesday night.

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    12. X Ambassadors at Lincoln Hall on Tuesday night.

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    13. David Ryan Harris at Schubas on Tuesday night.

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    Comments welcome.

    Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 12:56 AM | Permalink

    The [Friday] Papers

    "Disgraced Fox Lake Police Lt. Charles Joseph Gliniewicz was portrayed as a hero immediately after his staged shooting death, but his personnel records, released by the village Thursday after months of delay, show a much different story: an officer who repeatedly faced complaints that he was drunk in public, deceptive and sexually harassed women," the Sun-Times reports.

    "In a Feb. 1, 2009, letter sent to the village mayor, submitted by anonymous members of the Fox Lake Police Department, officers complained about Gliniewicz making threats and sexually harassing a dispatcher; having to be escorted out of bars by bouncers because he was highly intoxicated; stiffing another bar on a $300 tab; taking his family on vacation to Wisconsin in his squad car; grabbing women's breasts at department Christmas parties; and being found repeatedly drunk in public and being belligerent with officers who confronted him."

    And that's just the start. Go read the whole thing and wonder, as I did, how he kept his job for so long in the first place. That's something the Fox Lake Police Department has to answer for.

    UNO In Ruino
    "The United Neighborhood Organization - once the city's most powerful Hispanic community group - is 'on the brink of insolvency,' threatening the future of six schools serving 4,000 Chicago students, the group's chief executive officer says," the Sun-Times reports.

    Well, they ran their schools like a business. Unfortunately, that business was Enron.

    *

    If they go under, will the schools be taken over by a charter bank? Ha ha ha.

    *

    "In a letter Thursday to the UNO board obtained by the Chicago Sun-Times, CEO Rick Cerda wrote, 'We may have no option left than to file for bankruptcy.'

    "Cerda wrote that a bankruptcy filing by the not-for-profit organization would have a 'domino effect' on six taxpayer-funded, privately run charter schools now operating in buildings owned by UNO."

    As the article later notes, the buildings are owned by UNO, but "were constructed largely with state taxpayer dollars."

    Police Reporting
    "Chicago police officers have been disciplined for reading a police report involving Mayor Rahm Emanuel's son, police said," NBC5 Chicago reports.

    "The police report dates back to last December when Zack Emanuel was mugged near his North Side home and his cell phone was stolen.

    "Chicago Police News Affairs say 11 officers have been suspended, however Chicago police sources tell NBC5 there are more who have been reprimanded."

    NBC5 originally reported that 200 officers had been suspended.

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    Beachwood Photo Booth: Autumn Station Wagon
    Vintage seasonal.

    The Week In Chicago Rock
    Featuring: Nots, The Gunshy, Wolf Pac, Big Krit, Kyle, Ex-Breathers, The Ghost Inside, Janet Jackson, John Sebastian, Joe Jackson, Anderson Ponty Band, X Ambassadors, and David Ryan Harris.

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    BeachBook

    *

    *

    The defect rate in journalism would have long ago wiped out any other industry.

    Posted by The Beachwood Reporter on Thursday, November 5, 2015

    *

    *

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    TweetWood

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    The Beachwood Tip Line: Wide awake.

    Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 12:23 AM | Permalink

    November 5, 2015

    The [Thursday] Papers

    In at least one courtroom in America on Wednesday, justice was served.

    The jury I sat on this week found for the City of Evanston against a 72-year-old woman who claimed she tripped on a misaligned tree grate and face-planted. She asked for about $20,000 in medical reimbursement and $70,000 for pain and suffering. We said no - and it wasn't even close. In fact, deliberations would have gone even faster if we weren't enjoying the pizza brought in for lunch.

    Now, there was no question that the woman tripped and suffered injuries. There was a huge question, though, whether she tripped on the tree grate or something else, including her own feet. And even if we found our way to blame the tree grate, I doubt we would have found any differently seeing as how we determined that Evanston reasonably cared for its grates and that any misalignment - also in question - was not due to negligent maintenance.

    I may write up more about the case later, because it was sort of fascinating in its own way, even though we essentially thought it was frivolous. For now, I'll try to ease back into the news. I can't catch up with everything in one day, people!

    -

    GI Joe Media
    "Upending the portrayal of Lt. Charles Joseph Gliniewicz as a hero tragically cut down in the line of duty as he neared retirement, authorities on Wednesday said the Fox Lake officer died in a suicide he staged to look like a murder as it became clear he could face consequences for years of alleged theft," the Tribune reports.

    Oh, one word must have accidentally gotten edited out of that lead. Let me fix it:

    "Upending the media portrayal of Lt. Charles Joseph Gliniewicz . . . "

    *

    "A 30-year veteran and fixture of the lakeside village, Gliniewicz was laid to rest after a funeral attended by thousands, at which he was portrayed as a selfless public servant who gave his life for his community."

    Fox Lake has a population of about 10,000. Thousands attended his funeral not because they were residents aware of Gliniewicz's supposedly stellar service to the community, but because of the media portrayal of GI Joe after his death. And that's why he was "portrayed" the way he was at the service. If Gliniewicz himself had thought his death would receive as much attention that it did, he certainly would have planned it differently.

    *

    "[S]ome observers portrayed his death as evidence of an escalating war on police."

    Again with the passive construction. Name the observers! Some of them work for the Tribune.

    *

    The Tribune's Rex Huppke lectures us today that #FactsMatter, but he works for an organization whose purpose is to deliver those facts. Oddly, he blames an ambiguous blob of people for botching the facts in controversial cases instead of looking around his own office.

    When the news broke and the facts were few, there were ample opinions on the death of Fox Lake police Lt. Charles Joseph Gliniewicz.

    He was a hero cop gunned down in the line of duty. He was the latest victim in a war on police fomented by the Black Lives Matter movement.

    "Blue lives matter!" was the cry, as Gliniewicz's story - in the absence of facts about his death - slid neatly into a narrative that was never grounded in facts. (The conservative American Enterprise Institute recently looked at data from the "Officer Down Memorial Page" and found that "2015 will likely be one of the safest years in history for police.")

    "Blue lives matter!" was the cry from whom? From the Tribune's John Kass and its editorial board, among others, that's who!

    "[W]e have no time for investigations anymore. We have no time to sift through evidence and separate speculation from reality. So people leapt to their own conclusions and railed at others."

    People in your own building! Which reports on unfinished investigations every day.

    And then, of course, there's the obligatory Internet-blaming:

    Lake County Coroner Thomas Rudd said during Wednesday's news conference: "You have to understand, in this day and age, everything is instantaneous with the Internet."

    Tell us something we don't know.

    The Internet, an inanimate system of connecting computers, is to blame for the things that people post on popular platforms that appear on it! And who reaches the largest audiences through the Internet? Mainstream news organizations such as the one that employs Kass.

    And where did Huppke find the information for his column? On the Internet.

    *

    Huppke is a serial offender. In 2012, he wrote a widely acclaimed satirical obituary for Facts, declaring that they had died "after a long battle for relevancy with the 24-hour news cycle, blogs and the Internet."

    Because apparently before the Internet, newspapers always got their facts right. And note that Huppke blames the death of facts on "the 24-hour news cycle, blogs and the Internet," but again doesn't mention that organizations like his employer sit on the largest pieces of electronic real estate - and that blogs can hardly compete with them. (Also, "the 24-hour news cycle" only reflects the reality that we here on Earth live 24-hour days; the "news cycles" of the past were only determined by how long it took to mechanically publish and deliver something. There was never anything magical about, in particular, the morning newspaper "news cycle." In fact, I once worked for an afternoon paper, whose cycle was completely different!)

    *

    "[T] the official cause of death was from injuries suffered last week when Florida Republican Rep. Allen West steadfastly declared that as many as 81 of his fellow members of the U.S. House of Representatives are communists," Huppke wrote then.

    As if elected officials up until then had always gotten their facts straight - particularly when it came to communists inside our government.

    *

    "People unable to understand how science works began to question Facts. And at the same time there was a rise in political partisanship and a growth in the number of media outlets that would disseminate information, rarely relying on feedback from Facts."

    I've amply shown over the years that the legacy Chicago media rarely relies on feedback from Facts, so Huppke is off-point here. From the fanciful narrative about Barack Obama as weaved by David Axelrod and dutifully regurgitated by traditional news outlets here to aggressively ignoring locked-down reporting about Homan Square, just as it did with Jon Burge, the newspapers here have shown tremendous capacity to ignore Facts without any help from the blogs that have supposedly overridden its agenda-setting.

    *

    What's even worse is that no lessons will be learned from the Gliniewicz saga, just as lessons from the past go on unlearned. The media will not change its behavior. It never does.

    *

    Obviously the Sun-Times is guilty too.

    "Fox Lake Police Lt. Charles Joseph Gliniewicz, we are told, was a very good cop. We can see that clearly," the paper said in a September editorial.

    Clearly! Today the same editorial page claims it was never so clear, as we shall see. But first:

    These truths cannot escape us, especially when four police officers are slain across the U.S. in nine days.

    On Friday, a lone gunman ambushed Deputy Sheriff Darren Goforth, 47, of Harris County, Texas, while he fueled his patrol car. Goforth was shot 15 times, allegedly by Shannon Miles, in what officials described as a "coldblooded execution." Two days earlier, in Sunset, Louisiana, police officer Henry Nelson was killed with his own gun while responding to a domestic dispute. And two days before that, Louisiana state trooper Steven Vincent died after being shot in the head during a traffic stop.

    Their deaths are senseless, brutal and tragic for those who loved them and for a society that relies on these men and women to stand on the front lines of crime to protect us in matters big and small.

    These days cops are being scrutinized like never before as videos of police officers behaving badly, even criminally, continue to surface. This is an important technological development that we hope ultimately will force police departments to do a better job of training officers to deal with the public and aggressively weed out morally corrupt cops. There should be no tolerance for an officer who abuses authority.

    But the vast majority of police officers are, like Gliniewicz, among our nation's most honorable men and women, doing a job fraught with peril. That should not even need to be said.

    They deserve our respect and appreciation. Our baseline understanding should be that we need them more than ever.

    I've done police reporting in four states over the last 25 years - even before the Internet! - and I can tell you that a segment of the law enforcement community always feels like it is under fire, and given a bad shake by the media. I can also tell you that the media always bends over backwards to valorize police officers and give them every benefit of the doubt. It's nonsense.

    *

    The Sun-Times: "Lt. Gliniewicz Laid To Rest: 'Now The Nation Knows He's A Hero.'"

    Once the media spread the meme far and wide - using it to sell newspapers and induce clicks by sewing together a pleasing All-American narrative born of tragedy. Now it wants to hold everyone to account for the falsehood but itself.

    *

    "The world wants heroes, and we in the news media are always eager to supply them, especially when law enforcement gives its stamp of approval," Mark Brown writes for the Sun-Times.

    Not everyone in law enforcement gave its stamp of approval, I can assure you, but on the media, yes, Brown is right.

    *

    "This is a man so committed to preserving his gung-ho image - as well as his survivor benefits - that he shot himself not once but twice, the pain from the first shot into his bulletproof vest failing to deter him from his plan."

    I was under the impression that the first shot - into a bulletproof vest - was designed to help support his story. Facts matter!

    *

    "There's a lesson here for all of us. Even now the truth gets lost between the mythmaking and the cold, hard facts."

    Again, there is a lesson here, and not for the first time, but for the zillionth time. Does anyone really think Brown's employer will finally learn it?

    *

    "I know that it is now incumbent on us in the news media to tear down the legend of G.I. Joe as eagerly as we built it up."

    Please name those in your newsroom who were the eagerest.

    *

    "I'm most interested in the process that led to Gliniewicz being held up as a hero. It starts, as I suggested before, with a thirst for heroes . . . The news media knows this and stands ready to please. Dead heroes work best. Nobody wants to speak ill of the dead. People are more willing to suspend their natural skepticism that tells them all men and women are flawed. We smooth out the rough edges of a life and show only the good, often the only part we are shown."

    Right. So stop doing it! It's that easy.

    *

    "The only thing to prevent that hero treatment would have been a signal from law enforcement to tread softly because something didn't add up. No signal was forthcoming."

    First, you shouldn't have had to rely on a "signal" from law enforcement. Just do your job as journalists. That's all you need.

    Second, again, not all members of law enforcement bought the story from the get-go. Get better sources.

    Third, in case you think this is all hindsight from me, I can truthfully tell you that I had several conversations immediately after this incident with Tracy Siska of the Chicago Justice Project, and based on our experience and instinct, we believed that something was wrong right away. We might have ended up being wrong, but even if Gliniewicz had turned out to be the kind of victim so many thought he was, the media coverage of his heroism was totally overcooked, as was the misguided attempt to blame Black Lives Matter. One reason why I can refer to the coverage in this column as easily as I can is because I saved those stories for just this sort of review. I, you see, have learned from experience.

    *

    The Sun-Times clearly hasn't learned its lesson.

    "There is no reason for embarrassment, no cause for apology, for wanting to think the best of a person, especially a police officer," the paper says. "Cops do a vital and dangerous job, and it is only right that we should have their back. But you were duped, for which you deserve an apology."

    That apology, though, the paper says, should not be forthcoming from itself, but from Lake County officials. It's always someone else's fault.

    "[T]hey fed the 'hero' story line."

    And we were obliged to buy it!

    *

    "The possibility that Gliniewicz' death was a suicide was quietly speculated from the beginning, of course."

    Of course!

    *

    Of course, that's what I've been saying. But it's disingenuous for the Sun-Times to say now, because it seemed unaware in real time that "suicide was quietly speculated from the beginning, of course." If it was aware, then it is doubly guilty for ignoring that possibility and forging ahead with its hero narrative.

    -

    Fantasy Fix: Bears Week
    Langford, Jeffery, Cutler, Bennett.

    Kool-Aid Report: 10 Reasons To Watch
    Hank Williams Jr., Erin Andrews, New Jack City, Matt Slauson's milkshake.

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    The Beachwood Tip Line: Unsequestered.

    Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 8:10 AM | Permalink

    The Blue & Orange Kool-Aid Report: 10 Reasons To Watch

    Week 8 Recap
    BOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!

    Week 9: 10 Reasons To Watch
    There are plenty of reasons to feel down about the last two weeks, what with the losing, the injuries to key players, the bad tackling, the terrible special teams play. I repeat, GOOOOOOO!!!

    I mean, "boo." Damn you autocorrect.

    But what really grinds my gears is . . .

    [Editor's Note: It gets a little racist for about a paragraph. For those of you who read the piece before the "Top 10 Reasons That The Kolufo Tribe Are Scum" section was removed, we apologize. Please know that Carl's opinions do not reflect the views of the Beachwood Reporter and we respect your right to conduct interclan warfare on the basis of a suspicion of witchcraft.]

    . . . and the notion that you give conjugal preference to your great uncle's daughter in polygymous marriage is, at best, a dick move practiced by a real bunch of fuck-wits.

    As I was saying, rather than spend more time discussing what went wrong, let's explore some reasons to invest your time in the 2015 Bears.

    1. Philip Rivers and Jay Cutler might get into another on-field shouting match, by which I mean Rivers will yell something and Cutler will light up a smoke and walk away like he didn't hear him.

    2. Hank Williams Jr. has been invited back to sing the Monday Night Football theme [Editor's Note: shortly before this went to print Williams was dropped by ESPN a second time after he said "look at that monkey run" live on Fox & Friends when a clip of President Obama playing basketball was onscreen.]

    3. A Marriott ad featuring Erin Andrews is scheduled to run at halftime, which is weird because she left ESPN a couple years ago and currently works for Fox Sports.

    4. What, like you're going to be watching New Jack City on BET at 7 p.m. this Monday? Wait, is that the one with Mario Van Peebles, Judd Nelson and Wesley Snipes? Actually, that does sound pretty good . . .

    5. How does Matt Slauson's milkshake bring all the boys to the yard? Tune in to find out. The answer may surprise you.*

    6. Have the opportunity to witness the start of a nine-win streak . . . COUGH. Sorry, I had something in my throat there. As I was saying, the start of a non-win streak.

    7. In an effort to generate some quick revenue, Mayor Rahm Emanuel will temporarily lift the ban on cock fighting and sex work within the Chicago city limits. Some come on down to the Beachwood Inn to watch the game and bang Vicious Delicious, the warrior chicken.

    8. Decode the anagram that is comprised of the names of Chicago players Patrick Omameh, Tayo Fabuluje, Ka'Deem Carey and Hroniss Grasu and qualify to win a grand prize of $15,000.**

    9. Think how silly you'll feel on Tuesday when you can't intelligently speak to the halftime adjustments Adam Gase made to the blocking scheme with the other cashiers at Ulta.

    10. It's Monday and you're married. You aren't getting laid. You need an activity that doesn't force you to hold in your farts. So start pounding that Tostito's Zesty Queso Dip and get ready for something football-ish.

    Better Know A Langford
    Thanks to a Matt Forte injury which John Fox is calling a "mild to serious potentially leg-related contusion to the lower and/or upper uniform area that may or may not limit the player's ability to perform in the upcoming week," backup running back Jeremy Langford will get the start on Monday.

    With only a couple dozen carries in 2015, Langford is something of an unknown for most Bears fans. So let's take a moment to learn about Chicago's feature back.

    Born on March 4th, 1968, Jeremy Langford is the junior United States Senator from Oklahoma . . .

    [Editor's Note: No he isn't.]

    Alright. You got me. It's getting late and I've done absolutely no research on . . . we're talking about the city on the southern tip of Vancouver Island, right?

    [Editor's Note: Yes. We're talking about a Canadian municipality with a population of 22,000 topping the running back depth chart for the Chicago Bears.]

    As I was saying, Jeremy Langford attended Michigan State and was a fourth-round pick by the Bears in last year's draft . . . he scored a touchdown that one time against the Lions?

    [Editor's Note: Uh, actually I think you about covered it.]

    Thanks for the assist, Steve.

    Kool-Aid (2 of 5 Pints Of Stone IPA)
    I'm not setting any trends here, but like many people I am a fan of the San Diego brewery's best known brew.

    So I plan to put some in face on Monday night.

    And in totally unrelated news (read: the next statement has a strong corollary to the prior one), I plan to do a terrible job at work on Tuesday, November 10th.

    Hi boss.

    I didn't think it was possible, but the Chargers boast something empirically worse on special teams than the Bears.

    As of this writing, San Diego has racked up one, lone, single, solitary punt return yard all season.

    That's right. Catching the ball and falling forward twice would have doubled their output.

    Former Super Bowl hero Jacoby "Jesus" Jones was cut this week as a result of this poor play and in the process became my hero. One day, I dream of a moment where someone yells "You're fired, now get the hell off the property and don't let the $1.6 million dollar signing bonus hit in the ass on the way out."

    Now that I've jinxed it, smash cut to Monday at 8:20 p.m. as the Bears give up their second punt return TD in as many series.

    I truly want to believe that the Bears can beat a team that is bad, old and injured.

    They really should win . . . but after watching the secondary's "work" last week, I see them as a road dog thanks to the Chargers passing attack.

    "But Carl," you say. "Keenan Allen is injured, Jacoby Jones is unemployed, Malcom Floyd is bad and Stevie Johnson is old. Other than Danny Woodhead and Antonio Gates, who do the Chargers have to throw to?"

    "We" didn't say anything of the sort. Considering how bad the secondary covers and tackles professional football players, you just listed five legitimate threats. They've been so bad that there's even a chance that Jones might catch a pass from his couch.

    Are you guys Steve?

    [Editor's Note: No, I am.]

    Thanks again, Steve. Glad we could straighten that out.

    Bears lose in another tight one.

    Chargers 24, Bears 23

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    * Answer: Big Dong.

    ** Answer: "Kaboom ham fudge cat yak jam lube rope" - eight of the active ingredients in Papa John's pizza sauce. Monday Night Football! Brought to you by Papa John's! Don't ask what "kaboom" is.

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    About The Author
    Carl Mohrbacher invites you to help bring a masterpiece to life. His Kickstarter campaign for a fan fiction Boondock Saints novel begins this Monday, so get ready for the realization of a Saints/Star Trek TNG/Harlem Globetrotters crossover you only thought was possible in your dreams.

    Have your credit cards ready (you'll want all of them) and visit the project's home page at www.kickstarter.com/97778565/Boondock-Saints-3. You could win prizes like a writing workshop, a personalized Kwanzaa candle, or a dinner with Carl in which he "forgets" his wallet.

    carl.png

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    Carl Mohrbacher is our man on the Kool-Aid. He welcomes your comments.

    Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 1:16 AM | Permalink

    Fantasy Fix: Bears Week

    Week 8 of the NFL slate produced two of the biggest fantasy performances by QBs in recent memory, and it happened in a single game. Drew Brees, NO, threw for 505 yards and seven TDs, while his counterpart across the field, Eli Manning, NYG, aired out for 350 yards and six TDs.

    The big day for Brees was so big that he outscored Manning in fantasy points by a full 15 points in standard leagues - 62 to 47. Not that you'd hear Manning's owners complaining, since getting 47 points from your QB will go pretty far toward winning you the week.

    If you are hoping these guys can do it again, it seems highly unlikely. The Saints beat the Giants 52-49 in a game that defined the word "shootout," and that probably says more about the respective defenses than where the QBs are headed. Looking back over this season, Brees has been a yardage monster as usual, but was average about one TD and almost one INT per game coming into last week. Manning has had a couple very good games, but has been pretty inconsistent, and going into last week was not finding the end zone as often as we expected this year.

    While shootouts are fun (at least in football), massacres are not. Week 8 may be remembered less for the two stellar QB outings we witnessed than for the carnage that also took place: At least four star players went down with injuries, including LeVeon Bell, RB, PIT; Steve Smith, WR, BAL; Keenan Allen, WR, SD; and Matt Forte, RB, CHI. Local fans may breathe a sigh of relief that Forte should be back soon, but both Bell and Smith are lost for the year. Meanwhile, Reggie Bush, RB, SF may have suffered a serious injury in what was expected to be his first week this year as a fantasy factor, and Ryan Fitzpatrick, QB, NYJ, who has played himself into at least having bye week fantasy value, went down as well.

    It's turning into one of those seasons when it pays to draft the handcuff to your best fantasy players. Who knew Bears rookie RB Jeremy Langford would prove to have at least some short-term fantasy value this year?

    Week 8 Winners

    QB: Derek Carr, OAK.

    Brees and Manning clearly stole the show, but it's worth highlighting the effort of the young, emerging star. Carr threw for 333 yards and four TDs last week, and has an impressive 15 TDs to three INTs ratio. He was worth every penny as a late-round backup pick.

    RB: Todd Gurley, STL.

    In each of his first four career games, Gurley has run for no fewer than 128 yards. I would say he looks like Adrian Peterson in his prime, but he actually looks better than that. I don't know if Gurley is really this good or defenses are making the mistake of not taking him seriously because he's a rookie coming off a serious injury. What's certain is he is looking like the No. 1 or No. 2 overall fantasy draft pick next year.

    WR: Odell Beckham, Jr, NYG.

    His sophomore campaign has not been quite as good as we expected, but his QB's big week sure helped. OBJ had eight catches for 130 yards and three TDs in Week 8, and could be poised for another big game against TAM this week.

    TE: Benjamin Watson, NO.

    I noted a few weeks ago that Brees had rediscovered the art of throwing to his TEs, and Watson, like OBJ, benefited from a historic fantasy output by his QB, with 147 yards receiving and a TD. Watson suddenly is a very hot fantasy commodity. Kudos if you picked him up after his initial breakout game back in Week 6.

    Week 8 Losers

    QB: Aaron Rodgers, GB.

    Never expected to see his name in this category, but a hugely embarrassing Week 8 stat line of 77 yards passing with no TDs amounts to a career-worst in fantasy value. Rodgers had a great 15:2 TDs to INTs ratio coming into this one, but also has had only one game of more than 300 yards passing. In Week 8, he ran into the stifling Denver defense. Things don't get much better this week against Carolina.

    RB: Justin Forsett, RB, BAL.

    This one wasn't exactly terrible, as he collected 69 yards, but virtually everyone was expecting him to tear into a lousy San Diego defense for at least 100 yards rushing and a TD or two. Forsett was a borderline first round draft value who for the most part has not delivered on that promise, though he's still probably more RB-1 than RB-2.

    WR: Emmanuel Sanders, DEN.

    Despite the troubles Peyton Manning has been having, Sanders had been having a really good season in which he hadn't collected fewer than 65 yards in any week. That changed in Week 8, when he caught only two balls for 22 yards even though Manning managed to rediscover himself with 340 yards passing.

    TE: Martellus Bennett, CHI.

    After three straight games seeing more than 10 targets, he only had five targets in Week 9, catching three passes for 32 yards. The decline in looks coincides roughly with the return of Alshon Jeffery at WR, but it's not like the Bears are loaded with pass-catching talent.

    Big Play of the Week: Dez Bryant, WR, DAL, returns to action this week, and even though Dallas remains without starting QB Tony Romo, Bryant adds a dimension that Dallas has been lacking, and could find ways to beat the Philadelphia secondary.

    Expert Wire
    * Sporting News likes Langford among the sleeper RBs to make an impact in a very thin Week 9 group.

    * CBS Sports likes Jay Cutler against that poor San Diego defense (you need to dig deep in this link, but it's there).

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    Dan O'Shea is our man in fantasyland. He welcomes your comments.

    Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 12:40 AM | Permalink

    November 3, 2015

    The Weekend In Chicago Rock

    You shoulda been there.

    1. Manwolves at Martyrs on Saturday night.


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    2. Mac Miller at Freaky Deaky in Bridgeview on Sunday night.

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    3. Vic Mensa at Freaky Deaky on Sunday night.

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    4. Pretty Lights at Freaky Deaky on Sunday night.

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    5. Bassnectar at Freaky Deaky on Friday night.

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    6. Cannibal Corpse at Durty Nellie's on Friday night.

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    7. Cattle Decapitation at Durty Nellie's on Friday night.

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    8. Kataklysm at Reggies on Saturday night.

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    9. The Front Bottoms at Bottom Lounge on Saturday night.

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    10. Gavin Turek at the Double Door on Thursday night.

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    11. Armin van Buuren at the Concord on Saturday night.

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    12. Tokimonsta at the Concord on Friday night.

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    13. Arcangel at the Aragon on Saturday night.

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    14. The New Sex and Drugs at Moe's Tavern on Friday night.

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    Comments welcome.

    Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 7:24 PM | Permalink

    Car Condos In Naperville

    Dear Journalists,

    Iron Gate Motor Condos, the ultimate car lifestyle complex at 2212 Ferry Road in Naperville, has concluded development of Phase I and has just announced construction of Phase II of the 160-unit project.

    The Iron Gate facility offers car owners a highly secure, controlled environment for their collection along with the camaraderie that only a common-interest community can offer.

    Iron Gate Motor Condos has just announced pre-construction pricing on development of Building I within the 45-acre site. New options available only on pre-construction basis include drive-through units, mezzanine on outside wall, higher capacity lift space for storage, third story, and basement with walk out access.

    At Iron Gate, individual garage owners can custom design their interiors to convey personal taste and preferences and these new options allow for even more "garage" fun.

    Interested car enthusiasts and prospective owners are encouraged to tour the exclusive car complex and visit the showroom for plans, pricing, photos, and ideas for personal customization.

    For further information regarding Iron Gate Motor Condos, please visit www.irongatemotorcondos.com.

    All the best,

    Amy Falk
    President
    Falk Associates

    About Iron Gate Motor Condos

    Iron Gate Motor Condos in Naperville is the Chicago area's first, exclusive residence for classic, collector or exotic vehicles. Located just 1/2 mile north of the intersection of I-88 and Rt. 59 on Ferry Road in Naperville, the Iron Gate facility offers owners a highly secure, controlled environment and the camaraderie of fellow garage owners, frequent car shows and timely events.

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    Promo.

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    Ribbon cutting.

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    Comments welcome.

    Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 4:23 AM | Permalink

    The [Tuesday] Papers

    Programming Note: I had jury duty Monday and I actually got picked to serve despite being a journalist with a personal interest in rock and roll. Some voir dire. As I write this, we just finished Day 1 of what is expected to be a four-day trial, so I'm not sure if I'll be able to write columns this week. I already know I will have a lot to write about serving on a jury! I know that story has been told many, many, many times, but every trial has its twists and turns and interesting characters in the jury box and the courtroom, so I'm sure I'll put something together. Meanwhile, like the Kansas City Royals, I'll try to keep the line moving:

    * Car Condos In Naperville.

    At Iron Gate, individual garage owners can custom design their interiors to convey personal taste and preferences and these new options allow for even more "garage" fun.

    * SportsMonday: All Bears Must Go.

    Let the fire sale begin.

    * TrackNotes Extra: American Pharoah Goes Out Grandly.

    They'll have to train him not to run. (Updated on Monday.)

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    BeachBook

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    Chicago-based DHR International.

    Posted by The Beachwood Reporter on Saturday, October 31, 2015

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    NEW YORK TIMES - In Heroin Crisis, White Families Seek Gentler War on DrugsWith more middle-class families losing...

    Posted by The Beachwood Reporter on Saturday, October 31, 2015

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    TweetWood
    A sampling.

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    The Beachwood Tip Line: Don't stop now, boys.

    Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 3:14 AM | Permalink

    November 2, 2015

    SportsMonday: All Bears Must Go

    Well, Ryan Pace, whaddya got?

    Does Matt Forte have any trade value? Probably not due to his decent-sized contract, age and now injury, but I know you are out there looking, desperately trying to generally manage another draft pick or two into the Bears' coffers with some sort of transaction.

    Perhaps Robbie Gould? The kicker who blasted a 55-yard field goal that would have been good from 60 may have missed from 51 yards later on. but he is a proven, clutch commodity. And a really good kicker on a bad football team is like a really good closer for a baseball team on its way to 90 losses - extremely tradeworthy.

    Hell, any chance the Texans might consider some sort of deal for Jay Cutler?

    The Bears forfeited their last chance to spend the next day-and-a-half engaged in anything other than a fire sale after losing 23-20 to the Vikings to fall to 2-5.

    If they can get anything (read a draft pick) for anyone (on their roster) before the deadline tomorrow at 3 p.m. Central Standard Time, make the move. And yes, we know the NFL trade deadline is the most boring in sports because so few football teams are willing to pull the trigger (due to the salary cap or obsessions with hanging onto all draft picks or whatever else).

    But Bears brass, let's be clear, fans are counting on you to pull at least one trade in the next day that improves this team's prospects in 2016 and beyond at least a tiny bit.

    Cutler's contract is almost certainly too odious to make a deal work. Thanks again richly deservedly former general manager Phil Emery for the monster extension that makes the signal-caller almost untradeable.

    Wait a minute, you say? Cutler has been good this year, don't trade him away at this point!

    He is now, as he has been for his entire career, just good enough for his team to lose. Yes Jeremy Langford dropped a catchable third-down pass that would have put the Bears in awfully good position to go get the game-winning field goal late Sunday. But the throw was a bit behind him. And Cutler had all sorts of opportunities earlier in the game to make difference-making plays that didn't get made.

    Also, when the offensive coordinator calls a fourth or fifth wide receiver screen in a half and the veteran quarterback knows it will fail, maybe just maybe the quarterback ought to change the play. Cutler has been decent this year but the Bears have been very conservative in their play-calling and it doesn't take that great a memory to remember the terrible quarterback Cutler was last year (when in his eighth year behind center he led the league in turnovers, remember?)

    And yes, Cutler reminded us again Sunday that whatever his flaws, he is a tough son-of-a-gun. You know what all of that means, don't you? It means Cutler might be tradeable at this point. Fans with operational brain cells know that you can't trade guys away when they are playing poorly. It turns out other teams watch game video, know when guys are struggling and then, strangely enough, are not eager to trade for them. Cutler may never again have the trade value he has right now.

    Another guy who made a beautiful play Sunday and therefore might be attractive to other teams today is Kyle Fuller. The buzz last week was that maybe it was time for the Bears to think about switching the second-year cornerback to safety. I happen to think that would be goofy; that sometimes it takes guys more than a season-and-a-half to truly figure out how to play cornerback in the NFL.

    But if the brass believes he will not become a shutdown corner and can get something decent for him, make the move.

    The one guy who is almost certainly too valuable to trade is Pernell McPhee. Then again, if someone offered a top pick and something else, wouldn't you have to give it some thought?

    Enjoy the next 28 to 30 hours, Bears fans. It will be your best chance to dream of future championships for the rest of the season.

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    Jim "Coach" Coffman is our man on Mondays. He welcomes your comments.

    Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 5:40 PM | Permalink

    November 1, 2015

    TrackNotes Extra: American Pharoah Goes Out Grandly

    Ears pricked to the heavens all day, Triple Crown hero American Pharoah immediately seized control, smoothly glided over the beautiful Keeneland dirt course and thoroughly thumped seven others in the $5,000,000 Breeders' Cup Classic on Saturday, flying into history and retirement, a horse we will remember for the rest of our lives.

    'Pharoah covered the 10 furlongs in 2:00.07, smashing the Keeneland track record. His 6-plus lengths victory paid $3.40, $3.00 and $2.40. Effinex placed and Honor Code showed.

    "I knew this was going to be his last race, and I let him run," jockey Victor Espinoza said. "On the backside, the path I was in was a little deep, so I decided to move out and he accelerated a little. Turning for home, I knew I was gone."

    Trainer Bob Baffert marveled at Pharoah's performance.

    "He came back in great shape. He's ready to go around again."He really put on a show. I knew at the half-mile pole (that he would win big) from the way he was running. The way he was going, he just breaks other horses' hearts. The good horses do that, they just break other horses' hearts."

    Thankfully, the stereotypically coined term "Grand Slam" did not gain any traction. The Triple Crown is too big for that, so the son of Pioneerof the Nile (typos run in his family) and Littlerprincessemma (Yankee Gentleman) will forever be known as the Triple Crown winner who also hauled down the Breeders' Cup Classic. The first ever, as this festival did not exist for Affirmed.

    His stud fee, which will be earned just a few miles from the scene of his BC heroics, at Ashford Stud (Coolmore America), will be enormous, in the neighborhood of $200,000. It's reported Pioneerof the Nile's fee will now crack six figures as well. 'Pharoah will earn much more at stud than the $8,650,300 he cashed out in an 11-9-1-0 track career.

    Casual fans and grizzled horseplayers alike will mourn American Pharoah's retirement from the running. We'll always have our memories, but we'll need to get used to the reality of the money side of the Thoroughbred horse racing business. Secretariat did the same thing. I'm going to guess that they'll actually have to train him not to run, although I hope he gets a chance to stretch out his tremendous stride every once in a while.

    But 'Pharoah went out in the grandest manner possible, grabbing the lead just a few strides out and never looking back, his version of a tremendous machine. Cool, calm and collected all the way.

    Objectively, Ahmed Zayat and his Zayat Stables, and Baffert, who won last year's Classic with Bayern, actually ran a courageous campaign with American Pharoah in 2015. Many, if not most, others would not have.

    The champ took the Arkansas Oaklawn (and what a great venue that is!) express route on the Triple Crown trail with March's Rebel Stakes the only Grade II he ran in all year.

    Besides the Classic, his two most impressive wins were the middle jewel, the Preakness Stakes, and his Jersey Shore gem of a Haskell Invitational win at Monmouth Park.

    Daily Racing Form national handicapper Mike Watchmaker said it: "It would have been the easiest thing in the world for them to retire American Pharoah after he completed his historic Triple Crown. Instead, they shared him with us."

    'Pharoah truly was was a full participant in a glorious summer of racing. Although I believe Baffert was hesitant, Zayat answered the call of duty by running 'Pharoah in the ultra-prestigious Travers Stakes, aka the "Mid-Summer Derby." He could have easily punked the pedestrian Pennsylvania Derby, as California Chrome did the year before. But they had the guts to go to historic Saratoga, Zayat seemingly knowing that if he didn't, with this horse, he would regret it forever.

    It was 'Pharoah's only loss of the year. And I was getting really ticked off all weekend whenever a talking head would mention that second-place finish in funereal tones. Hey, he wasn't 100 percent, and after jabbing and right hooking Frosted the whole way, Keen Ice exploited it for a win, by less than a length.

    The connections, and Pharoah, gave us what we wanted, in spades.

    Huzzah huzzah American Pharoah!

    TrackNotes Notes
    In the horseshoe stream of consciousness:

    * It was a real nice Breeders' Cup weekend, with NBC doing a great job on the telecast. The track had about a day-and-a-half to dry out, but there was some anxiety as there was a light drizzle much of the day Saturday; the weather, though, basically held off. The clumps and clods were flying in the turf races, but the grass course held up pretty well.

    * Logically, NBC intro'd and featured American Pharoah on a regular basis. I got goosebumps every single time. It was reported early Saturday afternoon that 'Pharoah's stall was cordoned off. Obviously to get his horserace face on, but also to stop traffic. 'Pharoah is such a nice guy, he's curious about anybody and everybody who might stroll by. Even strike up a conversation. That would be a waste of energy.

    * We know how airlines' in America treat their customers like nuisance cattle, but a champion like American Pharoah gets a break with luxury in every mile, and he travels a lot. His skies are friendly, but we can't run as fast.

    Pharoah_FirstClass.jpg

    * Thursday scratch Beholder, whose defection deeply impacted the Classic, looked great in her stall, and trainer Richard Mandella, looking all the wistful, said she was upset that all she could do was walk the shedrow. In the interview, Beholder saw the camera and popped up to the door to see what was happening. "She feels good, so she's not happy." If she were human, she would have played, But these horses are so complicated and so delicate . . . Mandella said she will get a short rest in California and stay in training.

    * Jerry Bailey said it Friday: "Javier Castellano and Liam's Map were in more trouble than Whitey Bulger!" 'Map ran great to win the Dirt Mile, all after getting a very bad start, getting into traffic trouble, taking up at one point and then thundering to the wire. NBC's Randy Moss jumped on it immediately: "Running a race like this, he should have been in the Breeders' Cup Classic."

    Watchmaker's argument is that the Dirt Mile at two turns cannibalizes the Classic and at one turn cannibalizes the Sprint. "Moreover, the Dirt Mile has failed to generate even a semblance of a coherent yearlong series of noteworthy one-mile stakes events. I think retiring (the Dirt Mile) would be addition by subtraction for the Breeders' Cup," he said.

    Liam's Map was so full of run, it only underscored the disappointment, to put it kindly, of his connections, including frosty trainer Todd Pletcher, deciding not to take on 'Pharoah in the Classic. Pletcher is Pletcher. It's the Sabbath, so that's all I'll say.

    * We caught a glimpse of former jockey Rosie Napravnik, who won the Breeders' Cup Distaff last year with Untapable (she scratched this year with a fever), and then announced her retirement and pregnancy right then and there in the Winner's Circle, news to the world and her mother, who was standing right there. Her husband, Joe Sharp, trained Sapphire Kitten to fourth place in the Juvenile Fillies Turf. Rosie sure looked happy, and imagine having such a great jockey working out your horses. She scotched the idea of riding in a race again, but we can still hope. The baby boy slept through the whole thing.

    * Like teenage drama, the fact of trainer Maria Borell's gender and beauty hung sliceable in the air as during a profile before the Breeders' Cup Sprint, in which her insanely speedy three-year-old Runhappy ran quite happily and won the race over many older horses.

    Houston "Mattress King" James "Mac" McIngvale needed someone to recuperate the Super Saver colt from a slight fracture. With her veterinary tech experience, now 32-year-old Borell got the job. She's not shy about telling the world how much she likes Sunday Silence, his 1989 Kentucky Derby victory being her first memory in horse racing.

    Seems Runhappy loves to sleep, couch potato-style, and the shot of Borell on the deck talking to Runhappy was special. The next shot of his groom jostling the horse trying to wake him up was quite the funny scene.

    Her tears in the Winner's Circle, and those of most of the other owners and trainers male and female, for that matter, shows you just how great Breeders' Cup success really is.

    UPDATE 11/2: Borell was fired by owner McIngvale and racing manager, and McIngvale's sister-in-law, Laura Wohlers, less than 24 hours after the race.

    The breaking point apparently came when Wohlers wanted to jog Runhappy on the track Sunday morning and Borell disagreed.

    Generally, horses will walk the shedrow the morning after a race, especially one as big as a Breeders' Cup win, in order to stay loose and manage lactic acid. Notably, Runhappy has never raced with Lasix, a diuretic that helps keep a horse's lungs from bleeding during a race.

    "We wanted to take him to the track to jog and Maria said she felt some heat. Laura didn't, so it was decided to go ahead and tack-walk him instead. Runhappy went outside to graze in his paddock and had a great day," said Laura McIngvale Brown, McIngvale's daughter. "This is an issue that has actually been going on for quite a while. My dad wants to be very honest with people and if people want to come out and see the horse tomorrow and watch him train, they are more than welcome to."

    Wohlers was the horse's trainer of record in his first two races, a maiden win at Turfway Park and a bad fifth-place finish in the Grade III LeComte at Fair Grounds in January. Runhappy was shelved with a hairline fracture until July, when Borell took over training duties and ripped off four straight wins. Runhappy's 113 Beyer Speed Figure in the King's Bishop at Saratoga in August was the fastest for any three-year-old this year coming into the Breeders' Cup. Veteran jockey Edgar Prado was aboard for Runhappy's three biggest scores. Runhappy's 1:08-2/5 Sprint over six furlongs broke the Keeneland track record.

    Wohlers put some spin on it: "The decision to move in a different direction was not made today."

    I have three wishes: McIngvale had better pay Borell her share of the $1.5 million Sprint purse, upwards of $100,000; Borell gets another shot at training a good horse; and McIngvale and Wohlers don't ruin Runhappy.

    Once working with long-gone prominent trainers like Nick Zito and Bob Baffert, McIngvale's horses in his fairly minor-league barn have included Inscrutable and Dontchangetrainers. /UPDATE

    * The owners of $33.80 Breeders' Cup Turf Sprint winner Mongolian Saturday really are Mongolian. Jockey Florent Geroux, one of the best on the planet, is French.

    BreedersCup_Mongolians.jpg

    *Juvenile winner Nyquist was named after Detroit Red Wings right winger Gustav Nyquist. They didn't say why.

    * The feature on the kids painting a banner in homage to 'Pharoah was cool. Sure hope they grow up to be horse racing fans. They seem to have a good start.

    * I was truly bummed out, sad, drifting when Beholder was scratched Thursday. She very well could have won the Classic and that would have been a great story itself. Superboy versus Supergirl. We'll see Beholder again.

    Sonofagun, American Pharoah pulled me out of it.

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    Tom Chambers is our man on the rail. He welcomes your comments.

    Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 4:19 PM | Permalink

    MUSIC - The Weekend In Chicago Rock.
    TV - Time For Royal Scroungers To Earn Their Keep.
    POLITICS - More College Aid Going To The Rich.
    SPORTS - Bears At Peak McCaskey.

    BOOKS - Before Breitbart.

    PEOPLE PLACES & THINGS - Chicagoetry: New Fucking Frying Pan.


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