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« November 2016 | Main | January 2017 »

December 31, 2016

The Week In Chicago Rock

You shoulda been there.

1. Quiet at Township on Wednesday night.


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2. Owen and the Ghosts at the Empty Bottle on Tuesday night.

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3. Vimic at Bottom Lounge on Wednesday night.

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Catching up with . . .

Dan Rico at the Empty Bottle on December 15th.

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 12:41 PM | Permalink

The Fight To Rein In NSA Surveillance

It's been a busy year on a number of fronts as we continue to fight to rein in the National Security Agency's sweeping surveillance of innocent people.

Since the 2013 leaks by former government contractor Edward Snowden, the secretive and powerful agency has been at the top of mind for those thinking about unconstitutional surveillance of innocent Americans and individuals abroad.

In 2016, the courts, lawmakers and others continued to grapple with questions of how much we know about NSA surveillance.

In The Courts

Early this year, one of the EFF's key cases in the fight to rein in government surveillance saw fallout from Congress's 2015 passage of the modest surveillance reform bill, the USA FREEDOM Act, which formally ended a controversial program that collected records about Americans' phone calls in bulk.

In a March decision, the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals ruled in Smith v. Obama - a case brought by Idaho neonatal nurse Anna Smith challenging the constitutionality of the phone records program - that, because the program was ended by the USA FREEDOM Act, a court could not order the government to stop collecting phone records in bulk. The ruling also sent back to a lower trial court in Idaho the question of whether the U.S. government must delete Smith's records.

We saw progress in another one of the EFF's flagship cases against government surveillance in June, when a federal judge in California gave us the green light to start asking the NSA questions related to Jewel v. NSA, a case challenging the dragnet surveillance of AT&T customers' communications and communications records.

First filed in 2008, Jewel was stymied for years as the U.S. government repeatedly sought to have it thrown out, arguing that our clients did not have standing to bring the case. The government also said that publicly available information was inadequate and could not inform a court about the legality of the NSA's surveillance but refused to provide any clarity or explanation that would help a court address that question.

While we've been able to glean considerable information about NSA surveillance through leaks, the work of investigative journalists and public officials' statements, we are finally able to pursue discovery and pose questions to the NSA about its surveillance activities over the years.

In April, we saw two disappointing actions by the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court. First, the court unsealed a ruling from November 2015 that formally approved the FBI to use information collected through the NSA's warrantless surveillance programs in general criminal investigations. While we applaud the court's move to unseal the ruling in the first place, we're disappointed that this virtually un-appealable decision condones the use of information collected without a warrant - under a sweeping surveillance program for "foreign intelligence" purposes - in domestic criminal investigations.

The court also made public a ruling granting the FBI's request to obtain and retain call records, even if those records were not relevant to an investigation.

In the first ruling on call records since the enactment of USA FREEDOM, the court showed how limited the law's restraints on government surveillance really are. The law requires the government to prove it has "reasonably articulable suspicion" that an "individual, account, or personal device" is relevant to an investigation. But the court ruled that the FBI could obtain not only "first hop" records - or those about a person, device, or account relevant to an investigation - but also the "second hop" records of any person, device, or account that communicated with the first hop, regardless of whether the second hops were relevant to an investigation.

The ruling also flew in the face of the USA FREEDOM Act's requirements that the government promptly destroy call records that are not foreign intelligence related. Instead, the court ruled that the FBI could keep the records for six months and possibly longer. Again, it's a step in the right direction that the public see these rulings at all, but we are disappointed in the way the court has narrowly applied the already-narrow restraints in the USA FREEDOM Act.

Most recently, we saw a troubling decision out of the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals in the case United States v. Mohamud that further eroded Fourth Amendment protections by allowing the warrantless surveillance of a U.S. citizen under Section 702 of the FISA Amendments Act.

The case centered on Mohammed Mohamud, who in 2012 was convicted of plotting to bomb a Christmas tree lighting ceremony and was later notified that he had been subject to Section 702 surveillance. In an amicus brief last year, we argued that the surveillance in this case was unconstitutional because information about Mohamud was "incidentally" collected through a surveillance authority intended to target foreigners and then searched without a warrant, despite Mohamud's Fourth Amendment protections as an American citizen.

We think the Ninth Circuit erred in upholding this warrantless surveillance, effectively signing off on stripping fundamental privacy protections from American citizens who communicate with people abroad.

On The Hill

Congress started off 2016 particularly attuned to concerns about NSA surveillance after the Wall Street Journal reported at the very tail end of 2015 that the NSA was eavesdropping on phone calls between members of Congress, Israeli officials and interest groups. This is just one example of the troubling surveillance the NSA conducts under overly broad and often mysterious authorities like Section 702 and Executive Order 12333. Both of those can be used to "target" sweeping groups of people and types of communications.

At the time, we pointed out the many other reasons congressional communications could end up in the hands of the NSA - including communicating with officials at the United Nations or discussing trade issues with foreign trading partners - and we urged members of Congress to ask tough questions about how their communications were collected and shared by the NSA.

Section 702 is not set to expire until the end of 2017, but Congress started thinking about reauthorizing as early as January, when the House Judiciary Committee announced a closed-door, members-only meeting to discuss the surveillance authority.

The committee briefly debated - but failed to pass - Section 702 reforms when it considered the USA FREEDOM Act in 2015, and we looked forward to the debate around many much-needed changes to the law. But the closed-door meeting shut out participation from everyone except members of the intelligence community, so we joined two-dozen other organizations in calling on the committee to hold open hearings.

A closed meeting "continues the excessive secrecy that has contributed to the surveillance abuses we have seen in recent years and to their adverse effects upon both our civil liberties and economic growth," we wrote, arguing instead for open hearings to allow input from privacy and civil liberties advocates and promote transparency.

Months later, the Senate Judiciary Committee held an open hearing on Section 702, featuring testimony from civil liberties advocates and highlighting crippling knowledge gaps around the law's implementation, which make it impossible to conduct effective oversight of the surveillance programs.

One point driven home during the hearing was the fact that no one - including members of Congress tasked with overseeing these surveillance programs - seems to know how many Americans have their communications swept up by surveillance under Section 702, which is supposed to be aimed at individuals abroad.

"When the public lacks even a rough sense of the scope of the government's surveillance program, they have no way of knowing if the government is striking the right balance, whether we are safeguarding our national security without trampling on our citizens' fundamental privacy rights," committee member and vocal privacy advocate Sen. Al Franken (D-MN) said during the hearing. "But the public can't know if we succeed in striking that balance if they don't even have the most basic information about our major surveillance programs.

The hearing also highlighted concerns about minimization procedures - or steps taken to ensure that irrelevant data about Americans incidentally swept up is deleted - applied to information collected under Section 702. David Medine, then the Chairman of the Privacy and Civil Liberties Oversight Board, told lawmakers that intelligence officials don't follow minimization procedures, which call for deletion of information about innocent Americans. "What the Board's report found is that in fact information is never deleted," he said. "It sits in the databases for five years, or sometimes longer."

As Congress continues to debate reauthorizing Section 702 ahead of the 2017 deadline, we hope lawmakers will push for more information about how many innocent Americans are impacted by these sweeping programs and what measures, if any, effectively protect their privacy.

We suffered a blow on Section 702 surveillance in June when, in the wake of the tragic nightclub shooting in Orlando, surveillance defenders in the House urged members to vote against a previously popular measure to curtail spying on Americans.

In past years, the House passed similar measures from Reps. Thomas Massie (R-KY) and Zoe Lofgren (D-CA) to prevent warrantless searches of Americans' information and keep the intelligence community from undermining encryption, including by an overwhelming 293-123 vote in 2014. But the vote fell short of the needed majority in 2016 after some lawmakers, including House Intelligence Committee Chairman Devin Nunes (R-CA), launched a campaign against the amendment, dishonestly tying it to the tragedy in Orlando.

We noted that the claims that this amendment would somehow stop a warranted search of the Orlando shooter's communications to see if he was in contact with known terrorists had been debunked, and we encouraged our supporters to voice their concerns about the vote to their representatives in Congress.

We stand ready to fight similar misinformation campaigns and scare tactics as the debate continues next year.

Looking Abroad

The privacy of individuals abroad suffered a setback in 2016 when the European Commission and the U.S. Department of Commerce reached an agreement on a new deal to let companies transfer users' data across the Atlantic. While many voiced concerns that a new cross-border data deal would pose the same privacy problems as the previous Safe Harbor agreement - which the European Court of Justice threw out in 2015 citing U.S. government surveillance - U.S. and E.U. officials went ahead with a new agreement.

We criticized the new Privacy Shield, saying the agreement "will not prevent the collection of hundreds of millions of law abiding Europeans by U.S. intelligence agencies and their partners."

We also noted that the much-lauded Judicial Redress Act - which allows European citizens and others to use the U.S. court system to defend their privacy rights - provides little in the way of actual redress for Europeans' whose data is swept up in NSA surveillance.

We're waiting to see if European courts reject the new deal like they did the old one. If and when the deal is struck down, we will continue the fight to protect individuals abroad from sweeping surveillance by the NSA.

This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 License.

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Previously:
* Yahoo E-Mail Scan Shows U.S. Spy Push To Recast Constitutional Privacy.

* Snowden: 'Journalists Are A Threatened Class' In Era Of Mass Surveillance.

* AT&T Spying On Americans For Profit.

* ACLU Demands Secret U.S. Court Reveal Secret U.S. Laws.

* Obama's New Era Of Secret Law.

* EFF To Court: Government Must Inform People That It's Accessing Their E-Mails, Personal Data.

* A Plea To Citizens, Websites: Fight The Expansion Of Government Powers To Break Into Users' Computers.

* NSA Today: Archives Of Spy Agency's Internal Newsletter Culled From Snowden Documents.

* U.S. Surveillance Court A Bigger Rubber Stamp Than Chicago City Council.

* Obama Won't Tell Congress How Many Innocent Americans He's Spying On.

* Ruling Unsealed: National Security Letters Upheld As Constitutional.

* EFF Sues For Secret Court Orders Requiring Tech Companies To Decrypt Users' Communications.

* Trying (And Trying) To Get Records From The 'Most Transparent Administration' Ever.

* EFF Urges Appeals Court To Allow Wikimedia And Others To Fight NSA Surveillance.

* U.S. Government Reveals Breadth Of Requests For Internet Records.

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

* 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 5:05 AM | Permalink

December 30, 2016

The Beachwood Radio Sports Hour's 2016 In Review: The Cubbie Effect

Everybody's new (misunderstood) model. Including: White Sox Salvage Arrow; The Rebuild-A-Bears Narrative; Bulls Blow Up; and We Love Coach Q Deja Vu.


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SHOW NOTES

* Apocalypse Not.

10:03: The Cubbie Effect.

* Everybody's New (Misunderstood) Model.

* Front Offices Move To The Forefront.

* Lady Luck.

* Agent Zero.

* Joe Maddon is fallible; Theo Epstein is a humanist.

23:12: White Sox Salvage Arrow.

* The Return Of Ricky Rentamanager.

* Rick Hahn Is Risen!

33:08: The Rebuild-A-Bears Narrative.

* The Neverending QB Conversation.

* The Annual Progress Narrative.

* One More Year For PoxFace To Definitively Hang Themselves.

48:04: Bulls Blow Up.

* Thibs' Shadow.

* Fred Floyd.

* Trade Taj?

* Rondo Bondo.

1:02:33: We Love Coach Q Deja Vu.

* The Real Model Franchise.

* More Bread.

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STOPPAGE: 18:40

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The year ends with Coach back in Cubs gear:

coachcubs.jpg


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

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 2:46 PM | Permalink

Beachwood Photo Booth: American Housemates

Happy awful new year.

20161219_214506_resized.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.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: End School Zone.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Portage Park Peek-A-Boo.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: South Side Sundown.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Susie's Drive-Thru.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Holiday Ham.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Food & Liquor, Milhouse.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: O'Hare Blue Line Man.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Schwing!
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Ad Deluxe.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Jesus At The Drive-In.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: The Tanks Of Avondale.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Conveyance Belt.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Bonk.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Esquire In The Night.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Nick's Meat Market.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Keep Havin A Good Day.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Knock Knock.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Man At Marie's.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Bonneville.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Logan Bags.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Chicago Stairwell.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Blue Velvet.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Court Is In Session.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: DLER ALKY.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Railyards Rush Hour.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Stop Killing People.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: America, Summer 2016, Part 1.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Greystone Chicago.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: You Are Beautiful.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Auto Part Overlords.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Bearground.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: America, Summer 2016, Part 2.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Skyway Sculpture.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: The Dome Car.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Hello, St. Joe.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Revolution Books.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Chicago Driveway.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Proceed To Checkout.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Summer Ghost.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Daily Double.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: We Are Moving.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: America, Summer 2016, Part 3.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Sunny Day Tap.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Ashland & Pawn.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Party Store.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Donuts.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: AAA Sales.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: House Rule.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Butcher Boy.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Endorsement.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: American Ghost.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: I Voted.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Pink(ish) Cadillac.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Stuffed With Sadness.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Air.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Economy Heating.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Season's Greetings.

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 9:18 AM | Permalink

Jonathan Pie, TV Reporter! 2016 In Review

It's really weird, idn't it? Turns out the world's richest people are also the world's biggest assholes.


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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.

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

* Jonathan Pie, TV Reporter! MP Is A Wanker Santa.

* Jonathan Pie, TV Reporter! Merry Fucking Christmas.

* Jonathan Pie, TV Reporter! New Year's Rant.

* Jonathan Pie, TV Reporter! Sexy Skype.

* Jonathan Pie, TV Reporter! TTIP Is Boring Shit.

* Jonathan Pie, TV Reporter! The Truth About Teachers & Doctors.

* Jonathan Pie, TV Reporter! Valentine's Day 2016.

* Jonathan Pie, TV Reporter! On The 'Environment" Beat.

* Jonathan Pie, TV Reporter! Political Theater As News.

* Jonathan Pie, TV Reporter! Charter Wankers International.

* Jonathan Pie, TV Reporter! The Panama Papers: They're All In It Together.

* Jonathan Pie, TV Reporter! Answer The Fucking Question.

* Jonathan Pie, TV Reporter! Snapchatting The Environment.

* Jonathan Pie, TV Reporter! Election Fever!

* Jonathan Pie, TV Reporter! Day-Glo Fuck-Nugget Trump.

* Jonathan Pie, TV Reporter! Dickens Meets The Jetsons.

* Jonathan Pie, TV Reporter! Tony Blair: Comedy Genius Or Psychopath?

* Jonathan Pie, TV Reporter! What Real Business News Should Look Like.

* Jonathan Pie, TV Reporter! Facts Are No Longer Newsworthy.

* Pie's Brexit.

* Jonathan Pie, TV Reporter! Real Life Is Not Game Of Thrones.

* Jonathan Pie, TV Reporter! Labor: The Clue's In The Title!

* Jonathan Pie, TV Reporter! The Pie Olympics.

* Occupy Pie.

* Jonathan Pie, TV Reporter! Where Is The War Against Terrorble Mental Health Services?

* Progressive Pie.

* The BBC's Bake-Off Bollocks.

* Pie Commits A Hate Crime.

* Pie Interviews A Teenage Conservative.

* Jonathan Pie's Idiot's Guide To The U.S. Election.

* President Trump: How & Why.

* Jonathan Pie, TV Reporter! All The News Is Fake!

* Happy Christmas From Jonathan Pie.

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Plus:

If Only All TV Reporters Did The News Like This.

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And:

Australia Is Horrific.

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 7:49 AM | Permalink

2016 Was Totally Awesome! (For Billionaires)

The world's wealthiest can celebrate 2016 as a banner year.

That's according to the Bloomberg Billionaires Index. Bloomberg writes:

The biggest fortunes on the planet whipsawed through $4.8 trillion of daily net worth gains and losses during the year, rising 5.7 percent to $4.4 trillion by the close of trading Dec. 27.

That translates to $237 billion more for the uber-wealthy than they started the year with.

Notching the biggest gain was American investor Warren Buffett, who boosted his wealth $11.8 billion over the year. A vocal backer of Hilary Clinton during the presidential campaign, the Berkshire Hathaway head "has done just fine so far with a Donald Trump victory," as CNBC has noted.

Bloomberg observes that Buffett "reclaimed his spot as the world's second-richest person two days after Trump's victory ignited a year-end rally that pushed Buffett's wealth up 19 percent for the year to $74.1 billion." In fact, Bloomberg adds:

U.S. billionaires - including Buffett - favored Trump's rival Hillary Clinton. Still, they profited from his victory when they added $77 billion to their fortunes in the post-election rally fueled by expectations that regulations would ease and American industry would benefit.

Also claiming one of the top five biggest gains of the year is fracking tycoon and Trump energy advisor Harold Hamm. Billionaires in his sector of energy, mining, and metals that are "best-performing category on the ranking," Bloomberg says.

Hamm's fortune was propelled by a strengthening oil price and expectations a Trump administration will slash fossil-fuel regulations. Hamm added $8.4 billion to more than double his fortune to $15.3 billion.

The new rankings come as reports show inequality in the U.S. and across the globe widening.

Meanwhile, Trump, who will preside over the richest cabinet ever, has proposed a tax plan that would benefit the wealthiest households.

This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 License.

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 5:07 AM | Permalink

December 29, 2016

Dear Chicago

If you run away, don't you go to Chicago.


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Plus:

Chicago Nights.

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See also: Laka Films.

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 12:29 AM | Permalink

December 28, 2016

The Blue & Orange Kool-Aid Report: Skinned Alive

Before we take a quick look at the year that was, let's talk about the game that just happened . . .

Mmmmm. On second thought, do we have to?

[Editor's Note (shrug): I kinda want to pretend that game never happened.]

Noice.

You know the more the years go on, the more it seems like you're starting to see things my way, buddy.

[Editor's Note: I can't imagine why that would be.]

Ha ha ha ha ha!

[Editor's Note: Have you watched the last episode of Westworld yet? It turns out that for decades, Delores has been talking to . . . ]

(Cuts off Steve abruptly.) I can't imagine what that has to do with me. But sure, I'll fire up the Tivo after I shit, I mean ship, the last of this column out.

We should talk about last Saturday a little, as the Bears provided a few individual bright spots in the 41-21 loss to Washington.

Cameron Meredith had another nice game (135 yards, one TD) and cemented his standing as a guy probably employed by the NFL next season. In the context of the game, the season, life, the universe and everything, the effort meant nothing.

But congratulations on bringing yourself one step closer to generational wealth, Mr. Meredith!

I mean that and you deserve it.

Cody Whitehair looked good again (more on him later) and linebacker Jerrell Freeman stood out on defense following his return to action following a four-game suspension for PED use.

Freeman swears he wasn't shooting liquefied rhino penis into his veins (thanks again, wisdom of the Orient), but rather using straight-up lighter fluid.

Turns out he was telling the truth, but Kingsford® Charcoal Lighter Fluid is in fact on the banned substance list.

Who woulda thunk it.

The baaaaaaaaaad news is that the Bears couldn't pressure Kirk Cousins, cover DeSean Jackson, or stop any of the Washington Redskins (still racist) from running the football, which a lot of them did for many yards.

Hence, the drubbing. But most of us weren't surprised given the match-up and the deflating nature of the prior week's loss to Green Bay.

The Bears have another bite at the apple this Sunday in Minnesota, which for pride's sake, I hope goes well.

Worried about draft position?

You shouldn't be.

With a maximum of four wins available to them, the Bears could pick anywhere from third to sixth.

As long as either offensive tackle Cam Robinson (check out this insightful piece from Sports Mockery as to why a top flight O-lineman could realistically be available for the Bears), or outside linebacker/safety/return man/general-freak-of-nature Jabrill Peppers are on the board in the first six picks, the Bears will end up with a top talent.

So all's well that ends well.

Or maybe "that ends, oh well" is a better way to put it.

2016 - 10 Positives

Woah, 10 positives?

Um Steve, I like a challenge and I don't mind when you write the headers on these things, but you saw the games this year. This is a bit extreme, don't you think?

[Editor's Note: Nah, I'm messing with you man. Just give it your best shot.]

Thank fucking Christ.

  • Jordan Howard: Dear Lord Baby Jesus: I'd like to thank you for this bountiful fifth-round harvest.

    When he's not busy running over opponents, he's . . . actually I haven't heard much about the guy outside of football.

    Hasn't been accused of domestic violence, arrested for carrying a gun in a nightclub, pinched for PEDs, called in for questioning regarding his involvement in a pyramid scheme . . . let's see (thumbs briefly through his Wikipedia page) . . . he's a supporter of the Pulmonary Fibrosis Foundation.

    I feel like my praise has all but guaranteed that multiple dead hookers will be discovered in his truck within days of this going to print, but pessimism be damned!

    Jordan Howard is probably going to become like the sixth greatest running back in Bears history! Or at least have a career statistically on par with Neal Anderson!

    Kool-Aid! Kool-Aid! Kool-Aid!

  • Leonard Floyd: I swear, if this guy figures out how to tackle with parts of his body other than his face, we've got a nice piece of the puzzle here and a potential heir to the title of "Sack Man."

    In most aspects of life, you only want to have one sack, because sacks almost always carry shit or testicles. Now don't confuse sacks with sax. You always want more sax. I give you the beach party scene from The Lost Boys*," most Sade songs** and whatever this is.

    And like '80s sax, defensive sacks are best administered early and often - though if it were legal to knock opposing QBs on their keister using nothing but the power of the blaring, sexy magic that is saxophone, I'd prefer it.

    Former Bear Calvin Thomas, get on that.

    Floyd put up 6 1/2 sacks between Weeks 6 through 13 and showcased the athleticism which hooked Bears scouts last offseason. If he stays on the field and refines his raw ability, the young man's NFL future is bright.

  • (Detective) Cody Whitehair: Aside from having a name straight out of film noir or True Detective comic***, the rookie lineman stepped in at center for the injured Hroniss Grasu and after a shaky first few games played at an extremely high level. With Grasu and Kyle Long back in the offense next year, a talented O-line is a legit reason to be excited about 2017.
  • Other Quarterbacks: This one is aimed at the Cutler haters and people young enough to have forgotten that seemingly impossible 12-month period from 2003 to 2004 during which the Chicago Bears starting QBs consisted of Kordell Stewart, Chris Chandler, Chad Hutchinson, Jonathan Quinn, Craig Krenzel and Rex Grossman.

    If you were born in the mid-'90s you don't remember how truly horrifyingly and historically inept the Bears have been at acquiring long-term answers at the most important position in sports.

    Oh, but I do.

    Trust the old-timers here, kids.

    Reading about the Thanksgiving Day game in which Craig Krenzel was outplayed by Dallas's Drew Henson, who attempted 12 of his 20 total NFL passes that day, pales in comparison to the experience of watching it in person.

    That said, you'll never have to replace your girlfriend's cousin's projection TV because you threw a handful of pogs at it either.

    Now that's something to be thankful for.

    This season's results were mixed at best, but with a little historical perspective taken into account, one has to feel like the Bears have identified a stopgap level of competence at the position until the next long-term solution is identified, which doesn't happen often.

  • Ryan Pace: The man stocking the shelves has a lot of work to do, but he's certainly laid some roster groundwork. He just has to acquire another 16 or so impact players this offseason and things should start to turn around.
  • Great Seats Were Still Available! Thanks to the performance of our beloved Bears (as in, "a hauntingly tragic performance"), it was not difficult to find outstanding seats at Soldier Field for face value or below on the secondary market.

2016 - The (Stifles Cough) Negatives

Oh boy, 2016. When a team is this far under the salary cap and the results are this bad, you can really taste the savings.

So much can be said about the things that didn't work, or pan out, or just plain sucked hairy butthole.

Suspensions for PED use (Performance Enhancing rhino-Dong-powder), terrible starting quarterback play (see Cutler, Jay), lack of scoring, a terrible turnover ratio, mysteriously serious injuries (Kyle Fuller . . . wha?), career stifling injuries (hey, remember when Jeremy Langford was the starting running back?) and endless additions to the IR.

In summation, 2016: Sad Trombone Noise.

In addition to the known-bad, there were a number of under the radar disasters this season.

  • Kyle Long tore his labrum while drunkenly testing his pass-blocking footwork against an actual bear. Hey Zangeif, save the showboating for the occasional TD reception.
  • Linebackers coach Glen Pires's marriage fell apart after he was caught having an affair with Sinestra, Mistress Of The Void. Avid readers will recall that Sinestra was hired as a consultant to resolve the Bears' early-season Time Of Possession woes. Long story short, despite a marked improvement from that point on, every member of the Bears organization is damned to an eternity in the Pits Of Azbanarth.

    As compromises go, I give this one a four.

    On the bright side, Pires is expected to accept a position as an Acolyte Of Darkness at season's end, working in the executive offices inside Sinestra's Tower Of Woe.

    Congrats on the promotion and the pending divorce, Glen!

  • John Fox bit off 30% of his tongue while trying to aggressively chew gum in the press conference immediately following Week 16's loss to the Redskins. He's listed as "questionable" for the season finale and the remainder of the 2017 season.
  • Jay Cutler tried to give a $1.5 million check to the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation, but it was intercepted and cashed by Ha Ha Clinton-Dix (the Green Bay safety, not the clown who performs outside Party City during the summer months) as he was trying to put the envelope in the mailbox. Despite the attempt at a generous offering, Cutler was roundly booed by his accounting team.
  • Matt Barkley committed nine turnovers in the last two games, which probably cost him a starting job and about $50 million in prospective income. And in related news, I'm contractually obligated to put at least one piece of actual football info in every column.
  • In other news, the man inside mascot Staley Da Bear was fired for being arrested on indecent exposure charges, stemming from a three-way between him, the Philly Phanatic and a chick wearing the head from a salvaged Chicago Sting outfit.

    I'm not sure if that counts as an FFM, an MMF, an MMM or what. For some reason I'm confident that it's not an FFF. Like, the stinger on the bee has to basically act as a phallus, right?

    Like I said . . . at least one piece of actual football information.

Eye On The Opposition: Viking Funeral
One. More. Game.

Good grief, I'm glad this season is in the books.

After starting the season 5-0, the Vikings look to end their disappointing season back where it started. At .500.

Two teams with nothing but pride to play for meet this Sunday in Minnesota's brand-spanking new stadium, the unimaginatively named "U.S. Bank Stadium."

While its moniker has all the pizazz of "Arena Name TBD," at least it's more structurally sound than its predecessor.

Or at least more structurally sound-ish?

C'mon, Minnesota. You need to get better at roofs.

The Bears are on the cusp of achieving one of the rarest of accomplishments of the 2016 season - beating one of their opponents twice.

Inversely, the Vikings have an even rarer opportunity - the chance to avenge a 2016 loss that came as a result of excellent quarterback play by one Jay Cutler.

Improbable object meets unlikely circumstance.

Who will emerge slightly less un-victorious?

Right now the big story in the Land o' Lakes is upstart receiver Adam Thielen, a former rookie camp tryout player who has risen to the ranks of competent wide receiver.

Thielen has only 40 more yards to go before he becomes the first Viking since 2009 to hit the 1,000-yard mark.

Which is to say he will become the first player in seven years that has averaged 62.5 yards per game.

Woof.

Does anybody else think that we should have upped our metrics for a successful offensive season after the schedule got changed from 14 to 16 games?

I mean, math?

Oh well.

Guess I'll just go print up shirts that read, "You Can't Stop Adam Thielen, You Can Only Hope To Contain Him To 62.5 Yards" for my friends from the greater Twin Cities metropolitan area.

Adrian Peterson attempted a comeback from devastating knee/groin injuries (at least it wasn't a knee to the groin injury), but looked flat in the season-sinking loss to Green Bay on Saturday. He has said for weeks that he would not play in games without playoff implications because it would be "pointless," which is an actual quote.

I'll check the white board again, but according to my calculations the Vikings cannot be credited with three wins against the Bears, even if they notch a "W."

Even if AP does play, this might be the first game that I don't consider his impact on the Bears to be a meaningful one, unless football teams start getting credit for a touchdown every time an offensive player rubs his temples, sighs heavily and says "ugh, fiiiiine" as he is handed the ball.

If this does happen, both teams should crack triple digits.

Kool-Aid (5 of 5 Glasses Of Champagne)
Time to look on the bright side, Bears fans: To paraphrase legendary broadcaster Hawk Harrelson, this season is OVAH!

And to paraphrase him even further, I will vacate my post entirely by sitting silent for nearly a full minute because something bad happened to the team I am rooting for.

. . . (one minute passes)

A toast to each and every one of you who hung in there and ground out the last 21 weeks of football hype, disappointment and ultimately a level of deflated indifference that has never before been seen in this town.

For the last time this year, I'm going to tell you what the Bears must do to win.

Spoiler alert: It's the same thing I prescribe every goddam week because every time Howard gets 25 or more rushing attempts, the Bears win.

Unlike last week, this is a decent matchup for the Bears.

The Vikings are banged up, Sam Bradford is a statue in the pocket, and nobody on the opposing sideline gives a flying fuck what the outcome of the game is.

Howard looks to surpass Matt Forte's rookie running back record of 1,238 yards. He will need only 62 yards to do so; look for him to be the only reason the offense does what it should have been doing all season long.

I'm gonna leave it right there, folks.

Chicago should win this one, which I know will disappoint some of you.

It's been that bad in 2016.

The Bears have even managed to anger their fanbase by, at times, winning.

There are a number of exciting players on this roster, so I invite you all to come back next year.

I have a funny feeling that it will suck a lot less.

You might say, I Still Believe.

Bears 26, Vikings 10

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About The Author
After writing one of the footnotes for this column, The Author realized that he had spent too much of his life filled with regret.

The Author quickly set about remedying the lack of joy in his existence by mastering the saxophone and fulfilling his lifelong dream of performing shirtless, in jeans, next to a trashcan fire, while coated in what audience members hoped was Vaseline.

sax.png

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* Quick personal side note: I was a quasi-professional musician in another life. I never once appeared on stage shirtless and dipped completely in arm butter, nor did I play an instrument next to an active trash can fire; failings that haunt me to this day.

** Don't give me that look. If Sade isn't DJing your hook-up attempts, you're not even trying to get laid.

*** Leaning forward in a tense posture, disgraced detective Cody Whitehair considered the woman in the white panama hat and deliberately, almost cautiously removed the small bottle of Scotch from the top drawer of his otherwise bare desk. He poured two fingers into a glass and noiselessly set the liquor to his right, leaving his left hand free to scribble notes on the buckslip placed upon the otherwise bare writing surface.

"This dame is trouble," he thought to himself as he sipped. The detective was hesitant to speak, as though losing this conversational game of chicken would expose a weakness that only this woman could see. He took a second sip, letting the silence build.

The pulsing neon of the pawn shop sign outside the room's lone window had been the only source of light and seemed to rhythmically tighten the air around them.

Until she lit the cigarette.

As she inhaled sweet poison, the faint light of the cigarette's glowing embers drew focus to the client's red lips and for a moment, broke the neon's hold on the room.

"Mr. Whitehair, I understand you are a man who understands the meaning of the word 'discretion,'" she said in a flat, clear tone. "My husband has been missing for some time and the police seem," she paused, "unwilling to help me. I need someone able and most importantly willing," she emphasized the word, "to do what it takes," again an emphasis, "to get answers, even if it means . . . " She broke off, considering her next words carefully, "acting outside the bounds of the law, when necessary."

"Trouble," Whitehair thought to himself again.

But last night's dust-up with the Gerritch boys had proven costly.

He wanted nothing to do with Carina Valenzuela, but he needed the money. Bad.

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Carl Mohrbacher is blue & orange all over. He tolerates your comments.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 7:33 PM | Permalink

Will Trump Be A Tyrant? Some Classical Pointers

No one said Trump would win the Republican nomination. He did.

No one said he'd win the Presidency. He has.

Many commentators have fears that Trump will become a tyrant. Will he?

And how will we tell, as events look set to unfold after his inauguration in January?

image-20161217-18030-1y96jkv.jpegPeisistratus the tryant enters Athens with a woman dressed as Athena (wisdom) to fool the mob.

Many of the culture warriors whose attacks on "liberalism" have paved the way for Trump's 2017 ascendancy tell us that we need to preserve Western heritage.

Very well. Since the first appearance of tyrants in 7th century BCE in the Greek world, this heritage has given us many accounts of tyranny, from Herodotus and Thucydides to figures like Franz Neumann and Leo Strauss in the 20th century.

None of them has been openly laudatory, even Machiavelli's.

According to Aristotle, tyranny inherits the worst features of other types of government: from oligarchy the love of money; from democracy the hostility to the established governing classes; and from monarchy, the contempt of the people.

image-20161218-26116-asdo6o.jpegTemple of Hera in Sicily. These giant temples were built by the tyrants of whom Thucydides speaks: then as now, tyrants have been fans of big public works.

"Tyranny," like its 20th-century legatee "totalitarianism," does double duty as both a description and a pejorative - or triple duty, as a caution or a warning.

Here then are four or five features the tradition of political philosophy suggests that we might bring to our assessments of the incipient administration, and the fears of its critics.

1. government by one man, in his own (or his family's and friends') interests

"Nor again did the tyrants of the Hellenic cities extend their thoughts beyond their own interest, that is, the security of their persons, and the aggrandizement of themselves and their families," says Thucydides, speaking of the generations of tyrants that arose in Greece and its Italian tributaries in the 7th and 6th centuries BCE.

The historian here points up the defining feature of tyranny that would soon be echoed by Plato, Aristotle, and the Roman philosophers and historians.

These classical texts tend to suppose that there are six types of regimes, three good, three bad. What differentiates them is the goal for which they govern.

A government by an elite, if in the general interest, is an aristocracy. If in the interest of the few, it is an oligarchy or plutocracy, rule by money.

Similarly, rule by one man, if in the interest of all the people, is a monarchy. A tyranny is government by one man, in the interest of himself, his family, or his friends.

image-20161218-26097-1qporue.jpegWho pulls the strings in a tyranny? One man and his executors.

Another way this idea is sometimes expressed is by saying that the tyrant treats an entire country like his own household.

The weight of this idea falls when we remember that the classical Greek male kept slaves and his women in what we would consider virtual confinement.

The Roman father had the power of life and death over his sons, and to marry his daughters to whomever he wished.

To see whether Trump has tyrannical credentials in this light, it is important to observe who his appointees are, and to see what their aims are. The thing to assess is if they come more or less exclusively from his family, friends, or else people with similar private economic interests.

Then it will be important to consider whether the policies they make, on general issues like economic well-being and the environment, serve the common American or wider good, or their own economic interests.

2. cutting down the best wheat (or draining the swamp)

"When the savages of Louisiana want fruit, they cut down the tree and gather the fruit. There you have despotic government."

These two sentences form the whole of chapter XIII of Montesquieu's classic text, The Spirit of the Laws.

They look back to a Greek anecdote about the tyrant Thrasybulus of Miletus, reported by the historian Herodotus.

A messenger from the Corinthian tyrant came to ask advice on how to run his affairs. Thrasybulus responded by taking the messenger for a walk in a field. Then he cut down all of the best and tallest ears of wheat.

image-20161217-18030-11zpk76.pngThrasybulus with his scythe.

What is the meaning of this oracle?

Born in a broadly democratic age, we can assume that tyrannical or despotic government is simply anti-democratic. In fact, when the first tyrants emerged, they were at the heads of popular parties, although some legitimate monarchs (think Henry VIII) have transitioned from monarchy to despotism.

In order to depose the existing monarchs, supported by traditional elites, the Greek tyrants needed to ally themselves with the many to win power. They presented themselves as champions of the popular interest.

Julius Caesar was one of the populares, and after overthrowing the Republic by force, stacked his Senate with members from outside the traditional governing optimates.

Other despots more openly slaughtered members of their cities' leading families, and exiled, killed or imprisoned the power-brokers of the former regime.

The classical term for such pseudo-popular leaders was "demagogues," and they usually ended by turning against their popular bases.

The model of tyranny then is not a pyramid, leader on top, then graded classes of citizens with different levels of executive, judicial or legislative authority, reaching down to the wide base of the average citizen; tyranny is like a pyramid that retains only its base and the capstone: the despot. A single column connects the two: the one-way, top-down conduit of the despot's executive will.

Aristotle thus says that tyranny is lawless rule by one man who claims to be a "law unto himself."

Plato's Republic goes so far as to suggest that tyranny is the necessary effect of the license allowed by democratic - and what we might call liberal - pluralist regimes. As history, this is indefensible in the Greek context.

Yet it describes one possible sequence that has later historical exemplars, most notoriously Germany's transition from the brilliant ebullience of Weimar culture to the rule of the Nazi Party under Adolf Hitler.

Some commentators have turned to Plato already as a kind of uncanny prophecy of the rise of Trump, the champion of Archie Bunker and the Rust Belt against crusted-in Beltway elites.

Trump's promise to drain the swamp, notable for its violent, dehumanizing language, looks something like a modern version of Thrasybulus's cutting down of the best wheat.

3. wartime leader, a state of fear

"The first thing he'll do is stir up a war so he can present himself as the defender of the people. This will also enforce his tyranny, because in war, things need to be done quickly and decisively. And things can only be done quickly and decisively if one or a very few lead from the top down," says Socrates to his group of young friends in the Republic.

It is not easy to justify removing existing elites, especially if this involves the use of violence like that so spectacularly deployed by Hitler and his cronies against the Leaders of the SA in 1934's "Night of Long Knives."

One hopes that Trump's promise to imprison "Crooked Hillary" remains one of the promises he made on the way up, not one that he will bring down extrajudicially.

image-20161218-18030-1mannc.jpegThe Fedayeen Saddam: the Praetorian Guard of Saddam Hussein, whom Trump has praised.

The strongest form of justification for such exceptional measures is an appeal to a state of emergency. Tough times call for tough measures. The tyrannical regime is one of for-us-and-against-us, simplified political logic and language:

Words had to change their ordinary meaning and to take that which was now given them. Reckless audacity came to be considered the courage of a loyal ally; prudent hesitation, specious cowardice; moderation was held to be a cloak for unmanliness; ability to see all sides of a question, inaptness to act on any. Frantic violence became the attribute of manliness; cautious plotting, a justifiable means of self-defense. The advocate of extreme measures was always trustworthy; his opponent a man to be suspected.

The tyrant in effect lays siege to his own people. Communication, if possible, will be monitored - this is today a much more real prospect than in Thrasybulus's day.

In less technological times, laws were passed preventing public assemblies of more than a few people without licenses. Tyrants deploy secret police to spy on their subjects.

The spirit of the regime of tyranny is fear, says Montesquieu (versus virtue in a republic or honor in a monarchy).

image-20161217-26093-1dtf2tj.jpegDuras the tyrant puts his city under siege from within.

It was Aristotle, not Machiavelli, in his section on tyranny in Politics, that already made this archly-Machiavellian prescription for tyrants:

. . . regimes are preserved not only by their remoteness from a source of peril, but also on occasion, by their very proximity thereto; for the dread of present danger drives a polis to keep a firmer hold on its constitution. Those, therefore, who are interested in its stability should invent causes for alarm, so as to keep the citizens perpetually alert and on their guard, like sentinels on night duty. In other words, they must bring distant peril near.

On the docks in Nuremberg, Goering would echo "the philosopher" to describe the Nazis' overthrow of the Weimar Republic, in the wake of the Reichstag fire.

An unending state of war - and imminent peril, real or imagined - is inconsistent with a free society. We must first save our skins, or secure our borders. A society in a permanent state of war may not always be tyrannical, but it will never remain democratic or liberal.

4. keep a bodyguard

One of the features of a tyrant in the ancient world was his need to keep a personal bodyguard. The state of fear he visits upon his citizens is mirrored back to its progenitor, in reality or in his imagination.

Tyrants will hence tend to keep a paramilitary guard, loyal only to him, like the SA before 1934, and the SS thereafter in Hitler's Germany.

The key register of many of the classical texts on tyranny is indeed a kind of ethical and psychological criticism of this possible career choice - a reflection of their intended readership, amongst the elite young men of the Greek poleis.

For the popular view, which sees in power and pleasure the highest goals of life, the achievement of one-person, lawless rule looks like the best thing possible. The tyrants were the rock stars of the ancient world, allowed to experiment with their every passion.

Nevertheless, so the Republic tells us, the tyrant's life is exactly 729 times more unhappy than that of a truly wise person. Not more, not less.

image-20161217-26089-3wbhki.jpegThings were not always so glorious for the out-of-heart despot Hiero of Syracuse.

Xenophon's dialogue on Hiero pictures the titular tyrant of Syracuse talking to the poet Simonides, widely accounted a wise man in the ancient world. Hiero's message is not what we might expect.

He has no true friends, since he always suspects that people are only flattering him because he has absolute power to do with them what he will.

Each of his many lovers he likewise suspects of only acting out of fear.

He fears the noble or honorable, since they might league against him to cast out his unjust government. He fears the wise, since they will see through his injustices or perhaps try to supplant him in the place of absolute rule.

All may not then be as gilded as the trappings at Trump Tower would suggest - supposing he does change the longstanding custom of living as president in the White House, a striking statement.

The tyrant always needs his paramilitary bodyguard, so little can he rely on his own people. Many tyrants had foreigners to serve in this role, since after a period of ruling, they could no longer coax any of their own people into the job.

image-20161218-26133-xqnj1b.jpegSeneca ordered to suicide by the tyrant Nero.

This is small comfort for the people they enslave, exile or execute - and their families. But there is a self-destructive dynamic to tyrannical government. This often escalates in its violence, like Henry VIII accelerating paranoia and procession of beheaded wives.

The advent of a tyranny, by provoking opposition, can sometimes even recall to a regime its forgotten founding values and principles.

A closing historical exhortative

Of course, none of this is prediction, although some of it is fear. These few pointers might provide standards to judge things, in case some commentators fall into line with the new regime, and we all lose sight of the bigger picture in the flurry of events that look set to unfold come January - and because it is truly so difficult to imagine the home of the free as an unfree society.

The culture warriors are right that relativism is to be opposed, especially when it amounts to a falling-in with whatever is sanctioned by present dictate.

We can close, in case the worst becomes the new best, with an exhortation from the French philosopher Diderot, looking admiringly across at America in 1778 in a book on the Stoic philosopher, Seneca, executed by the tyrant Nero:

After centuries of general oppression, can the revolution that has just taken place beyond the sea, offering all the inhabitants of Europe an asylum against fanaticism and tyranny, educate those who govern men on the legitimate use of their authority! May these brave Americans, who have preferred to see their wives outraged, murdered children, their homes destroyed, their fields ravaged, their cities burned, shed their blood and died rather than lose the smallest portion of their liberty, prevent the enormous increase and uneven distribution of wealth, luxury, softness, moral corruption, and provide for the maintenance of their freedom and their term of government!

May they draw back, at least for a few centuries, the decree pronounced against all things of this world; the decree which sentenced them to have their birth, time of vigor, their decay and their end! May the earth swallow their provinces rather than that one become powerful and foolish enough to seek ways to subjugate the others! May no very powerful citizen, the true enemy of his own happiness, form the project of becoming their absolute master, or may he die on the spot under the sword of the executioner or the dagger of Brutus!

We must excuse the passion of Diderot's language, for they were different times.

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Matthew Sharpe is an associate professor of philosophy at Deakin University. This article was originally published on The Conversation.

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Comments welcome.

The Conversation

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 1:51 AM | Permalink

December 26, 2016

The Weekend In Chicago Rock

You shoulda been there.

1. Merry-achi at the Concord on Friday night.


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2. Supa Bwe at the Metro on Friday night.

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3. Bear Mace at Reggies on Friday night.

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4. Dysphoria at Reggies on Friday night.

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5. Inept at the House of Blues on Friday night.

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6. 30db at Schubas on Thursday night.

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7. Cafe Tacuba at House of Blues on Wednesday night.

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8. Trans-Siberian Orchestra in Rosemont on Friday night.

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Catching up with . . .

William Basinski at the Bohemian National cemetery on December 17th.

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Sisqo at House of Blues on December 18th.

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Mary J. Blige on the West Side on December 14th.

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 11:52 AM | Permalink

Peabody Preparing To Shift Mine Cleanup Costs To Public?

Peabody Energy failed to explain how it will cover future mine cleanup costs in a reorganization plan filed late Thursday, triggering concerns over the company's use of "self-bonds."

Under a federal program called "self-bonding," large miners like Peabody have been allowed to extract coal without setting aside cash or collateral to ensure mined land is returned to its natural setting, as required by law.

The practice came under scrutiny following bankruptcy filings by some of the largest U.S. coal miners because, without collateral set aside for mine reclamation, taxpayers are potentially exposed to billions of dollars in cleanup costs.

2016-12-23T205843Z_1_LYNXMPECBM11J_RTROPTP_3_PEABODY-ENERGY-BANKRUPTCY.JPG

Environmental groups have been following the bankruptcy to see whether Peabody, the world's largest private-sector coal producer, replaces roughly $1 billion of self-bonds with other guarantees, as rival Arch Coal did in its October bankruptcy reorganization.

In Thursday's plan to eliminate over $5 billion of debt to emerge from Chapter 11, Peabody said it will address its "self-bonding reclamation obligations in accordance with applicable laws and regulations," without providing details.

While a leading U.S. coal regulator has started to toughen rules for guaranteeing mine cleanups, the future of that process under a Trump administration is unclear.

Howard Learner, executive director of the Chicago-based Environmental Law & Policy Center, said the reorganization plan dodged the issue of self-bonding, potentially shifting the risk for Peabody's environmental cleanup costs onto the public.

"Peabody should be required to live up to its mine reclamation responsibilities and assure that it will not saddle taxpayers with these costs," Learner said.

Learner said his organization would fight Peabody's reorganization plan.

Peabody hold self-bonds in Wyoming, New Mexico, Indiana and Illinois, which has expressed concerns about the practice. The company announced a temporary financing deal with the states in July to cover a portion of the risk that it will walk away from mine cleanup obligations while in bankruptcy.

Peabody spokesman Vic Svec said the company continues to fund its reclamation obligations and was in talks with states as well as third-party surety bonding firms over cleanup coverage.

"Now that we have defined a capital structure through our plan of reorganization, we can firm up components of surety bonding," Svec said.

In a revised business plan on Friday, Peabody raised its target for earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation, amortization, and restructuring (EBITDAR) to $4 billion between 2016 and 2021 from $3.1 billion projected in August, citing a temporary rise in coal prices.

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Previously:
* Bankruptcy Lawyers Strip Cash From Indiana Coal Miners' Health Insurance.

* Impact: Plan To Divert $18 Million From The Health Insurance Of Retired Indiana Coal Miners To Pay Bankruptcy Lawyers Is Dead.

* Big Company Spins Off New Company. Loads It Up With 8,400 Retirees. New Company Goes Bankrupt. Retirees Lose Benefits.

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 9:14 AM | Permalink

December 25, 2016

Happy Christmas From Jonathan Pie

"Homelessness is a sign that society is broken."

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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.

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

* Jonathan Pie, TV Reporter! MP Is A Wanker Santa.

* Jonathan Pie, TV Reporter! Merry Fucking Christmas.

* Jonathan Pie, TV Reporter! New Year's Rant.

* Jonathan Pie, TV Reporter! Sexy Skype.

* Jonathan Pie, TV Reporter! TTIP Is Boring Shit.

* Jonathan Pie, TV Reporter! The Truth About Teachers & Doctors.

* Jonathan Pie, TV Reporter! Valentine's Day 2016.

* Jonathan Pie, TV Reporter! On The 'Environment" Beat.

* Jonathan Pie, TV Reporter! Political Theater As News.

* Jonathan Pie, TV Reporter! Charter Wankers International.

* Jonathan Pie, TV Reporter! The Panama Papers: They're All In It Together.

* Jonathan Pie, TV Reporter! Answer The Fucking Question.

* Jonathan Pie, TV Reporter! Snapchatting The Environment.

* Jonathan Pie, TV Reporter! Election Fever!

* Jonathan Pie, TV Reporter! Day-Glo Fuck-Nugget Trump.

* Jonathan Pie, TV Reporter! Dickens Meets The Jetsons.

* Jonathan Pie, TV Reporter! Tony Blair: Comedy Genius Or Psychopath?

* Jonathan Pie, TV Reporter! What Real Business News Should Look Like.

* Jonathan Pie, TV Reporter! Facts Are No Longer Newsworthy.

* Pie's Brexit.

* Jonathan Pie, TV Reporter! Real Life Is Not Game Of Thrones.

* Jonathan Pie, TV Reporter! Labor: The Clue's In The Title!

* Jonathan Pie, TV Reporter! The Pie Olympics.

* Occupy Pie.

* Jonathan Pie, TV Reporter! Where Is The War Against Terrorble Mental Health Services?

* Progressive Pie.

* The BBC's Bake-Off Bollocks.

* Pie Commits A Hate Crime.

* Pie Interviews A Teenage Conservative.

* Jonathan Pie's Idiot's Guide To The U.S. Election.

* President Trump: How & Why.

* Jonathan Pie, TV Reporter! All The News Is Fake!

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Plus:

If Only All TV Reporters Did The News Like This.

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And:

Australia Is Horrific.

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 11:22 AM | Permalink

December 24, 2016

The Weekend Desk Report

Posting may be sporadic during Taint Week.

"Still looking for that perfect Christmas gift? It's not too late to buy a drone, the gift that 1 in 5 people say they'd like to receive and that 1.2 million of them are going to find under the tree," the Washington Post reports (via the Tribune).

One in five people asked for a drone? I'd check that list twice.

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Beachwood Photo Booth: Season's Greetings
From the Beachwood bears.

Beachwood Sports Radio: Yes, Virginia, It's Your Fault
The Bears' X factor making End-Times Christians of all of us. Plus: Bears Fuller Shit; Fred's Funhouse; Q's Kids; and The Old College Try.

The (Exceedingly Sparse) Week In Chicago Rock
Featuring: Domestik Animal, Los Lobos with Thea Grace, Our Last Night, and Toronzo Cannon.

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The Sound Opinions Weekend Listening Report: "Formed in 1977 in the original British punk wave, The Mekons are still going strong nearly four decades later. The band joins Jim and Greg in the studio to demonstrate its eclectic blend of country, folk, and punk rock. Plus, a review of the new album from R&B singer Dawn Richard."

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Weekend BeachBook

The Bible As Fake News? Historical Jesus Didn't Exist.

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Family Receives 38-Piece AstraZeneca Assorted Pill Sampler.

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Marion Pritchard, Who Risked Her Life To Rescue Jews From Nazis, Dead At 96.

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A Female Afghan Pilot Soars And Gives Up.

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Secular Hollywood Quietly Courts The Faithful - Beginning In Naperville.

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Weekend TweetWood

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*

*

But Trumpster John Kass says "it's all about love."

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The Weekend Desk Tronc Line: What it's all about.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 3:21 PM | Permalink

December 23, 2016

The Week In Chicago Rock

You shoulda been there.

1. Domestik Animal at Crown Liquors on Tuesday night.


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Catching up with . . .

Los Lobos with Thea Grace at SPACE in Evanston on December 15th.

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Our Last Night at Bottom Lounge on December 4th.

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Toronzo Cannon at SPACE in Evanston on December 3rd.

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 3:17 PM | Permalink

The Beachwood Radio Sports Hour #133: Yes, Virginia, It's Your Fault

Making End-Times Christians of all of us. Featuring: Bears Fuller Shit; Fred's Funhouse; Q's Kids; and The Old College Try.


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SHOW NOTES

* 133.

* Fred Barrett.

:50: Bears Fuller Shit.

* Biggs: Damning Evaluation Signals Kyle Fuller's Time With Bears Running Out.

* Virginia McCaskey Making End-Times Christians Of All Of Us.

* The last time Ryan Pace was seen it was on a milk carton.

* Alshon Jeffery Has The Nerve To 'Sound Off.'

* Rhodes: The Bears just unload assets; Belichick unloads and reloads.

* Best 3-11 Team Ever!

* Chris Ballard May Have Scared Bears In Interview.

27:58: Fred's Funhouse.

* Harder. Smarter.

40:54: Q's Kids.

47:13: Hot Stove Ice Cold.

47:39: Is The Sky Falling?

49:07: The Old College Try.

* Haugh: Christian McCaffrey And Leonard Fournette Quit On Their Schools, Teammates.

* Deadspin: How Two Investigations Into Minnesota's Sexual-Assault Scandal Reached Two Very Different Conclusions.

1:03:30: Must-Reads.

* The Long, Lonely Fall Of A Heisman Trophy Winner.

* Tragedy Made Steve Kerr See the World Beyond the Court.

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STOPPAGE: 9:38

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

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 12:43 PM | Permalink

Beachwood Photo Booth: Season's Greetings

From the Beachwood bears.

holidaybears.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.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: End School Zone.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Portage Park Peek-A-Boo.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: South Side Sundown.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Susie's Drive-Thru.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Holiday Ham.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Food & Liquor, Milhouse.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: O'Hare Blue Line Man.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Schwing!
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Ad Deluxe.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Jesus At The Drive-In.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: The Tanks Of Avondale.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Conveyance Belt.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Bonk.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Esquire In The Night.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Nick's Meat Market.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Keep Havin A Good Day.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Knock Knock.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Man At Marie's.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Bonneville.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Logan Bags.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Chicago Stairwell.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Blue Velvet.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Court Is In Session.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: DLER ALKY.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Railyards Rush Hour.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Stop Killing People.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: America, Summer 2016, Part 1.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Greystone Chicago.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: You Are Beautiful.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Auto Part Overlords.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Bearground.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: America, Summer 2016, Part 2.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Skyway Sculpture.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: The Dome Car.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Hello, St. Joe.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Revolution Books.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Chicago Driveway.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Proceed To Checkout.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Summer Ghost.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Daily Double.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: We Are Moving.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: America, Summer 2016, Part 3.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Sunny Day Tap.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Ashland & Pawn.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Party Store.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Donuts.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: AAA Sales.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: House Rule.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Butcher Boy.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Endorsement.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: American Ghost.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: I Voted.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Pink(ish) Cadillac.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Stuffed With Sadness.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Air.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Economy Heating.

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 9:06 AM | Permalink

December 22, 2016

The [Thursday] Papers

I was glad to see this lead by the Tribune on the latest Rahm e-mail dump:

Under pressure from a pair of open records lawsuits, Mayor Rahm Emanuel acknowledged for the first time Wednesday that he has used personal e-mail accounts to conduct public business, a practice that allowed him to hide some of his government correspondence from the public since he took office.

Why? Because Rahm doing city business on a private e-mail account (and server) is perhaps a bigger, more important story than the substance of the e-mails themselves.

For one thing, it clearly, irrefutably marks Rahm as a liar.

Now, some might say, "Not for the first time!"

But consider Rahm's previous statements about his private e-mail account, all from previous Tribune articles:

Sept 25, 2015: Tribune Sues Emanuel Over E-Mails: Suit Cites Refusal To Air Messages Via Private Devices On City Business.

"The Chicago Tribune filed a lawsuit Thursday alleging that Mayor Rahm Emanuel violated state open records laws by refusing to release communications about city business conducted through private e-mails and text messages.

"The lawsuit, filed in Cook County Circuit Court, asks a judge to order the mayor to comply with a state Freedom of Information Act request from the Tribune and produce the documents. The lawsuit also seeks to have Emanuel declared in violation of the Illinois Local Records Act for failing to preserve e-mails and texts he sent or received while doing city business.

"The lawsuit claims that, in recent years, Freedom of Information Act requests from the Tribune to the mayor's office 'have been met with a pattern of non-compliance, partial compliance, delay and obfuscation.' Emanuel's use of private phones and personal e-mail, the lawsuit alleges, allows the mayor to do the public's business without scrutiny and contributes to a 'lack of transparency.'

"Emanuel, appearing Thursday on WTTW-Ch. 11's Chicago Tonight, said he had not yet studied the suit but insisted that 'we always comply and work through all of the Freedom of Information (requests) in the most responsive way possible.'

Asked if he allows government business to be conducted on private e-mail accounts, he said, "I have a practice that my political and personal stays on my private e-mail, and city business is on the government, and that's the way I operate."

Today we know that's not the case.

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Also from that Trib article: "[T]he mayor's office also said it had no records responsive to the request for e-mails and texts in which Emanuel conducted city business on personal devices."

Today we know that's not the case, either.

*

June 1, 2016: Judge: Mayor's E-Mails Public: Private Messages Ruled Not Exempt From Disclosure.

"A Cook County judge ruled in favor of the Chicago Tribune on Tuesday by declaring that Mayor Rahm Emanuel's e-mails, texts and other communications are not exempt from disclosure simply because they are transmitted over private devices.

"The judge denied Emanuel's motion to dismiss the Tribune's lawsuit, which alleges the mayor violated the state's open records laws by refusing to release private e-mails and text messages about city business . . .

"City Hall asked the judge to dismiss the Tribune's lawsuit, arguing the requests constitute an 'unprecedented and unreasonable invasion of personal privacy and the 'alleged e-mails are not public records.'"

The alleged e-mails.

Today we know the e-mails are real; so too did the mayor from his first day in office in 2011 when his private account was registered.

How do we know when his private account was set up? WikiLeaks told us so. ↓

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Nov. 6, 2016: WikiLeaks Shows Emanuel Used Custom E-Mail Domain: Setup Similar To What Clinton Had When She Was Secretary Of State.

"Mayor Rahm Emanuel has used personal e-mail accounts to communicate with top government and political figures, including through his own custom e-mail domain that's similar to the one Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton used on a private e-mail server as Secretary of State.

"Emanuel registered his personal e-mail domain, rahmemail.com, on May 16, 2011 - the same day he was sworn into office as Chicago's mayor, records show.

"That personal account surfaced among thousands of hacked e-mails from Clinton campaign chairman John Podesta posted by WikiLeaks late last month. A subsequent search for the mayor's e-mail domain in 30,000 e-mails released by the State Department earlier this year found that Emanuel used the same account to communicate with Clinton when she was secretary of state . . .

"The messages mark the first direct evidence that Emanuel has used personal e-mail accounts as mayor beyond official government accounts he has at City Hall."

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Further, we learned that the reason given for setting up the private account was also a lie.

"Asked why Emanuel set up the personal rahmemail.com account on the day he was sworn in, [spokesperson Adam] Collins responded, 'After the mayor's election in 2011, the campaign fund set up a new e-mail to ensure the mayor was not using government e-mail for private or political use, which could violate city ordinance or state law."

That makes perfect sense - except it's not true. We know today that Rahm did use his private account (extensively) for public business.

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More Adam Collins:

"Asked why Emanuel used his personal e-mail to invite [Hillary] Clinton to an official event, Collins responded, 'The Mayor and the Secretary have known each other outside these two roles for more than 20 years. That's a ridiculous line of thinking.'"

Who's ridiculous now?

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Nov. 8, 2016: Emanuel Mum About Personal E-Mail: Mayor Says Answers About Private addresses Will Come In Civil Case.

"Mayor Rahm Emanuel on Monday refused to say whether he has used his personal e-mail addresses to conduct government business, suggesting his answer would come in a court of law.

"The mayor faced questions on the issue after the Tribune reported Saturday that Emanuel has used at least two personal e-mail accounts to communicate with top government and political figures, including through his own custom domain, rahmemail.com . . .

"On Monday, Emanuel was asked several times whether he had used his personal e-mail addresses to conduct government business, but he would not say. Instead, he brought up the Tribune's lawsuit.

"'We've handed the material over to you guys,' Emanuel said, referring to messages from his city e-mail account. 'You rejected it, so you went to court. That's where my answer will be.'"

Okay, but . . .

"We did it exactly consistent, exactly how you're supposed to do personal and political on one side and government on another, and we've been consistent with that."

Today we know that's an outright lie.

Emanuel also said the messages from his personal e-mails that have been revealed publicly were not government work.

"They were actually political work on a private e-mail, because if you did it the other way around, it'd be wrong and you can't do that," Emanuel said.

So he knew it was wrong. And he did it anyway - and then lied about it. Boom!

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Which brings us back to today:

"Emanuel's admission came as he directed the city's Law Department and his personal attorney to settle a lawsuit brought by the Better Government Association. The watchdog organization took Emanuel to court in October 2015 over a Freedom of Information Act request that sought official e-mails the mayor sent from a nongovernment account.

"The settlement was announced 12 days after the Chicago Tribune won a round in its ongoing lawsuit alleging the mayor violated the state's open records laws by refusing to release communications about city business Emanuel conducted through e-mails and text messages. On Dec. 9, a judge ordered Emanuel to produce an index of certain e-mails and text messages the mayor sent and received on personal devices, giving him until Jan. 27 to comply."

The Emanuel administration decided it was best to release the e-mails Wednesday night for some reason that has nothing to do with the holiday weekend or any pending vacation plans. They must have something else planned for the annual New Year's Eve news dump.

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"In settling the BGA lawsuit, Emanuel agreed to turn over about 2,700 pages of e-mails that his personal attorney determined were government-related in nature."

Allegedly!

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"An initial review of the thousands of e-mails to and from Emanuel showed the mayor communicating on a range of topics, from reaching out to business leaders and fielding complaints about crime to defending his policies and pitching what he deemed success stories of his administration to national media outlets.

"Many of the e-mails released by the mayor's attorneys show Emanuel writing very little. Most show the mayor either on the receiving end of an e-mail or forwarding one to his staff.

"What's clear, however, is that Chicago's top power brokers, including a handful of aldermen, knew they could reach Emanuel through his personal rahmemail.com address."

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"In agreeing to the settlement, the BGA accepted Emanuel and his personal attorney Michael Forde's determination of which e-mails qualified as public records rather than asking a judge to make that determination."

Wow, I wouldn't that done that. Ever hear the one about The Snake?

*

"The terms of the settlement state that Emanuel and his attorneys don't agree his personal e-mails dealing with government business are public record."

Wow, I would not have agreed to that, either.

"The parties disagree about whether e-mails stored on personal, non-city e-mail accounts related to the transaction of public business are subject to disclosure under (the Freedom of Information Act)," the settlement reads.

Andy Shaw, the BGA's president and CEO, acknowledged "there is a risk here" that Emanuel's attorneys could have incorrectly determined some of the mayor's personal e-mails are not public record.

"Is it possible that there is some material that we might have seen at the end of a long court fight but won't see right now? Sure," Shaw said. "But we're a small watchdog organization and we have to watch our costs, our use of time and our use of energy, and we thought this was the right thing to do."

Really? The BGA can't afford to press the fight?

"In a statement, Emanuel said he was 'pleased that we were able to come to a reasonable agreement with the Better Government Association today to ensure that transparency keeps up with technology and the realities of modern communication.'"

Wow, that's a pretty weaselly statement that sounds like Rahm, for public consumption, is acknowledging e-mails are public records and his administration is happy to keep up with the times, even as he states the opposite in the settlement agreement.

*

"The BGA lawsuit did not seek text messages from the mayor and did not seek e-mails on specific topics, but was based on a blanket open records request that sought all e-mails pertaining to public business sent by Emanuel and then-aides David Spielfogel and Lisa Schrader on nongovernment e-mail accounts.

"The settlement does not address the request for Spielfogel and Schrader's e-mails, other than to say the agreement represents no wrongdoing on behalf of former, current or future staffers. Spielfogel declined comment Wednesday on whether he used a personal e-mail address to conduct government business, and Schrader could not be reached."

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So what about the Trib's lawsuit?

"In its lawsuit, filed in September 2015, a month before the BGA's case, the Tribune has sought to have a judge determine whether Emanuel violated the state's open records laws by using personal e-mail to conduct government business.

"Less than two weeks ago, Cook County Judge Kathleen Pantle ordered the city and Emanuel to produce an index of certain e-mails and text messages that the mayor sent and received on personal devices.

"The Tribune lawsuit stemmed from an open records request for electronic communications related to subjects that include the city's scandal-plagued red light camera program, as well as e-mail and text correspondence between Emanuel and Michael Sacks, the mayor's close confidant and top campaign donor.

"Pantle also has ruled that public records law does not distinguish between official and personal devices so long as the subject matter is related to city business. The judge also refused to dismiss the lawsuit after the city argued that the records requests amounted to 'an unprecedented and unreasonable invasion of privacy.'"

But we're pleased to keep up with modern technology!

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"Bruce Dold, the Tribune's editor and publisher, noted that the news organization recently had won a 'significant legal victory' in its case and that the city had 'refused to produce the e-mails for well more than a year.'

"We welcome the release today of public records that pertain to the conduct of city business. It should not have required extended legal action to protect the public's right to this information," Dold said in a statement. "The city has now produced e-mails that the mayor's personal attorney, Mike Forde, has determined relate to city business. The Tribune has not reached an agreement with the city to settle its lawsuit, but is committed to working with the mayor and the city to ensure the public's right to government records."

Wait, Bruce Dold gave his own reporters a statement? He wouldn't consent to an interview?

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"There also were a handful of messages between Emanuel and Dold last year, when Dold was the Tribune's editorial page editor. Some of the e-mails centered on a time for the two to have a phone conversation or lunch, while in another, Emanuel complained that an editorial on plans for a new Whole Foods store in Englewood had not given his administration enough credit for attracting the high-end grocer to one of the city's most violent neighborhoods."

Wait, Dold knew that Rahm was conducting business on a private account - and used it himself to communicate with the mayor? No wonder he wouldn't answer reporters' questions.

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"The e-mails also showed Emanuel spending considerable time discussing press coverage with his aides, and in at least one case, suggesting which media outlet a certain story should be planted in."

Do tell! But the story ends there.

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From the Sun-Times:

"Emanuel often used his private e-mail accounts to pitch stories to journalists at the New York Times and to New Yorker magazine editor David Remnick.

"Others, such as the Washington Post, contacted Emanuel at his private e-mail addresses to seek his input. In October 2015, after the mayor announced city funding for gun buy-back events, CNN's Wolf Blitzer asked Emanuel to grant an interview.

"'How are you doing?' Blitzer wrote. 'It's been too long. Love to the family.'"

So Remnick, Blitzer and the New York Times also knew Rahm had a private e-mail account - and used it to conduct public business.

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The Sun-Times also used Rahm's statement, but with an added sentence at the end:

"I'm pleased that we were able to come to a reasonable agreement with the Better Government Association today to ensure that transparency keeps up with technology and the realities of modern communication. The new standard we have set clarifies questions not just for me, but for all of Chicago's 30,000 employees."

A) If a new standard has been set, why does the settlement state just the opposite?

B) If a new standard has been set, will you now settle the case with the Tribune?

C) Does the new standard include not lying anymore? Has that been clarified?

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#RahmDump

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Since when did Rahm Emanuel let a judicial ruling get in his way? Not when it comes to cutting retiree healthcare!

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We will find an outlet in Chicago willing to take an Op-Ed we pretend you wrote and pre-approved by the mayor! Shouldn't be hard.

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They do seem up Rahm's alley.

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Now what could possibly warrant redaction here?

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New on the Beachwood today . . .

U.S. Spy Agency Fucks With The Fourth Amendment
A growing push by officials to loosen constitutional protections Americans have against arbitrary governmental searches.

Kool-Aid Report: Cre'Von LeBleep
The Bears forgot one of the tenets of football and life in general: Always do things whole-assed.

Santa Sweating His Ass Off
Reindeer suffering.

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The Beachwood Tronc Line: Who knew.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 8:44 AM | Permalink

North Pole Temps Could Climb 50 Degrees Above Normal

Santa will likely be feeling toasty as he does his final checks on the naughty-or-nice list because temperatures at the North Pole on Thursday are forecast to be as much as 50°F above normal.

Temperatures are expected to climb to near the freezing point of 32°F, computer models show.

Zachary Labe, a doctoral student researching the Arctic at the University of California-Irvine, wrote on Twitter that the "persistence and magnitude of above average Arctic temperatures continues to remain quite impressive."

northpoleforecast.jpeg(ENLARGE)

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The Washington Post also notes: "For the second year in a row in late December and for the second time in as many months, temperatures in the high Arctic will be freakishly high compared to normal."

50degreesabove-north.jpeg(ENLARGE)

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Meteorologist Jeff Berardelli explains that the current "warming is being caused by a strong storm near Greenland pumping warm air north ahead of the storm center."

Mashable's science editor, Andrew Freedman, adds: "Record low levels of sea ice in the Arctic are also contributing to the record high temperatures, along with a weakened polar vortex that has pulled the most frigid air out of the Arctic and redistributed it into North America and Eurasia."

Indeed, last month Arctic sea ice extent hit a record low and the ice experienced a "nearly unprecedented" retreat that "coincided with a period of remarkable warmth across the region, with air temperatures 30°F-35°F above normal," the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) said.

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In its latest Arctic Report Card, NOAA said last week that the average air temperatures for the region were "unprecedented" and that "Arctic temperatures continue to increase at double the rate of the global temperature increase."

"Rarely have we seen the Arctic show a clearer, stronger, or more pronounced signal of persistent warming and its cascading effects on the environment than this year," added Jeremy Mathis, director of NOAA's Arctic Research Program.

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Meanwhile, Santa's reindeer aren't doing so well either.

A new study finds that reindeer in Svalbard, an archipelago of Norway in the Arctic Ocean, are shrinking as a result of warming temperatures.

Winter snows may now fall as rain, leaving a sheet of ice that blocks the plants the reindeer would normally be able to access by brushing off snow. That means the reindeer may starve or give birth to stunted carves, who in turn may produce stunted calves.

Asked for comment, Santa merely sent this selfie:

northpole32.jpegRichard Elzey/flickr/cc

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This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 License.

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 8:04 AM | Permalink

The Blue & Orange Kool-Aid Report: Cre'Von LeBleep

You gotta feel for Cre'Von LeBlanc. Apparently, even management did.

Coming off a big game against Detroit, the young player found himself on the ass end of another magical friggin' Aaron Rodgers dart; a 60-yard pass to Jordy Nelson on 3rd-and-11 that set up a field goal in the 11th hour, 59th minute and 59th second of last Sunday's game which damned the Bears to another loss.

Despite a valiant, 17-point fourth-quarter comeback, Chicago fell 30-27, and at first glance the blame fell squarely to LeBlanc, who was left alone in quarters coverage against Green Bay's number one receiver.

Upon further review, one could argue that the defender should have received some safety help over the top.

One might also ask, why in the seven hells did Bears defensive coordinator Vic Fangio put LeBlanc in a position to fail? Furthermore, why dial up a defense that clashed so starkly with the flow of the game?

Chicago had just tied it up on a field goal moments earlier after failing to punch it in on third down.

Fine. We're going for the tie and taking it to OT with momentum.

I know some of you wanted to see John Fox whip out some giant balls on fourth-and goal, because there's nothing left to lose this season, so to hell with it, screw the Packers.

But many a Bear fan was comfortable with the reserved strategy, or at least understood that Fox didn't want to have to spend the next day-plus defending a roll of the dice that could have easily came up snake eyes.

How-ev-rrrrrr, the Bears forgot one of the tenets of football and life in general: Always do things whole-assed.

If you're gonna make the conservative, smart money play to avoid losing, the coaching staff as a whole needs to exercise some consistency.

Bust a prevent defense out there in that situation.

If all 200 pounds of Ty Montgomery can find it in him to smash through the line for another 50 yards, you've gotta live with that.

To review, "that situation" found the Packers well out of field goal range, facing 3rd-and-11 in a tie game against an inferior opponent with 30 seconds left in regulation.

But that clearly wasn't the approach in play and when you give this A-Aron another bite at the "inexperienced corner matched with Jordy Nelson" apple, he don't mess up.

No point in dwelling on another rough loss. There will plenty of time next week for retrospectives.

Fox 'n' Friends
A few weeks ago, we took a closer look at the performance of Bears GM Ryan Pace. This week, I'd like to examine John Fox and his coaching regime.

I went into my evaluation of Pace with an opinion formed and was lucky enough to find some evidence to substantiate my thoughts.

To be honest, I've had to whiteboard my feelings about Chicago's coaching staff a bit more to reach a concrete conclusion.

With two games left and 11 losses already in the books, it's safe to label 2016 (chugs shot of blue Kool-Aid, chugs shot of orange Kool-Aid) . . . a disappointment.

Many of us, including myself, thought that the Bears overall play was ready for a marginal uptick from 2015 and the team would become a legit part of the wild card picture this season, albeit buoyed in large part by a weak schedule.

Well that didn't fucking happen!

I would argue that despite the step back, there are real positives to consider when evaluating this coaching staff.

Despite the vast number of injuries that befell the team, the coaches were able to effectively plug back-up players into the starting lineup who usually were passable or above average at their job, with a couple of exceptions; Logan Paulsen and John Timu come to mind.

In several cases, the players that replaced an injured teammate exceeded their predecessor's performance:

  • Jordan Howard outperformed Jeremy Langford.
  • Cody Whitehair was better than the injured Hroniss Grasu was last year.
  • Cameron Meredith has arguably been the Bears' best receiver in 2016.
  • Bryan Hoyer and Matt Barkley were both upgrades over 2016 Jay Cutler.

It speaks well of the coaching staff's ability to prepare the team as a whole and also a willingness to build toward next year by giving young players ample opportunity, which is an area this organization has struggled with for years.

I'd also like to point out some prospective positives. Keep in mind these thoughts come loaded with terms like "if" and "to this point."

These terms are often best avoided, for instance when you are telling your wife how long you will be at the bar on a given Wednesday evening.

For example:

"Honey, if I drink fewer than 10 beers, then I will most likely come home with fewer arrests for public urination than I have in 2016 to this point."

I can't say for sure exactly how imbued with confidence Mrs. The Author is when sentences like that come out of my mouth, but in the sober(ish) light of day I'm willing to venture a guess that it's . . . hmmmmm . . . a medium level of imbuement.

In this case, I'm willing to include some speculation in my argument because this is the penultimate column of the year and I really won't have time for this shit next week.

  • IF (capital "I", capital "F") the Bears win out, they'll have won exactly one game fewer than in 2015. Not so much of a "positive," but a "as horrific as things seem, they might not be as bad as they feel" kinda statement.
  • IF (again, all caps) the Bears beat Washington on Sunday, they will have a .500 record at home in 2016. The Bears have already tripled their home win total from 2015.
  • Aside from Week 3's game against Dallas, the 2016 Bears have been competitive in every game for at least one half of football, having lost by one score or less seven times. That's right, even the duds against the Eagles and Bucs were one-score affairs at the start of the third quarter.

The argument against bringing this group back has much to do with the offense, but not all.

Despite the discovery of a stud running back, the close nature of most games and constant upheaval at the quarterback position, the Bears have confusingly shied away from rushing the ball in numerous situations that call for it.

Outside of questionable strateeg-ery, the biggest indictment of the offensive scheme has been the team's ability to move the ball effectively between the 20s while simultaneously possessing one of the worst-scoring (29th) offenses in the league.

Missed field goals and red zone turnovers have contributed to that ranking, but when your team scores only slightly more than the president of the high school chess club, you have to question the game plan.

The defense hasn't been lily white in this affair.

Though it's the clear strength of this team (the front seven have been great overall), one of the reasons that the Bears are where they are is that the D-Unit has been terrible at creating turnovers.

Sure, the offense hasn't given the "D" much margin for error, but they need to do a better job giving the O-fense more O-pportunities.

I'd also like to point out that even though it was a bit of an anomaly, we can't ignore the horrific tackling that allowed a converted wide receiver to go off for an unthinkable 162 yards rushing last Sunday.

The oft-overlooked third and special phase has had some good moments on kick coverage and some bad moments in regards to missed field goals. For the most part, special teams feels a little down under John Fox because of the excellence this franchise has exhibited in this area over past years.

I think I speak for most Bear fans when I say that, in regards to special teams, the circumstances leading up to and the early performance of one Mr. Connor "Sure, I'll Kick The Ball Or Something" Barth has left the biggest impression on us.

In reality, judging this phase as "middle of the pack" seems about right, which is not a knock on current special teams coordinator Jeff Rodgers, but a "meh" unit with a few standouts (Josh Bellamy is pretty darn good in this role . . . dude's a real dual threat when you factor in his work in both kickoff coverage and the early days of Def Comedy Jam) is especially hard to watch after being spoiled by the outstanding coaching of Dave Toub.

While I'm not totally disappointed in any of the three phases, the amalgam has produced a football team that loses almost four times as often as it wins.

It's kind of like if instead of robot lions, Voltron was made up of five android toucans and usually got its ass beat by the minions of Emperor Zeppo. I mean, I guess I'll pay to see that, but it's a tough watch five episodes in.

If the Bears lose out, they'll be 9-23 under John Fox.

While succeeding nine out of 32 times constitutes a nice batting average (and possibly better than any stretch of hitting Jason Heyward put together last season), it's a failure by any win-loss standard unless you're the contemporary Browns or '80s Buccaneers.

There are no moral victories. Not in football, a civil lawsuit, heart surgery, or really ever.

Let's face it. For professional football fans like ourselves, we care more about the performance of the Chicago Bears than the condition of our aortas (takes massive bite of chili cheese dog, drag from cigarette, thinks about the '80s Buccaneers and considers doing cocaine because the '80s).

So if you're judging these last two years by wins and losses (I won't think any less of you if you are), these two years have been an abject failure.

Before I at long last present my conclusion, I'd like to point out one more thing.

Wholesale coaching changes on a regular basis rarely lead to success. Continuity doesn't stand for much if your favorite team is only consistent at losing, but without any kind of framework in place, a professional team is unlikely to win.

So to me, the question isn't so much, "Is this Fox's fault?" The team sucks, but is injured as all get-up and is still developing young talent at numerous positions.

The question is whether the Bears will get closer to real contention by keeping this administration intact.

My conclusion is that while the letdown that is 2016 is in part the fault of coaching (particularly on offense), I don't think Fox and his staff should be fired.

Quite an endorsement, right? You should not not have a job.

This opinion even extends to the oft/rightly offensive coordinator, Dowell Loggains.

You'll notice that list of players that outperformed the guy they replaced were all on offense. I'm hardly Loggains' biggest fan, but he deserves credit there.

I'm willing to give Loggains one more chance to iron out the kinks.

But seriously, bro.

Run. The. Ball.

So keep this group for another year and allow them to build on their framework with additional young talent and almost certainly better health.

If we're having the same conversation in the final weeks of 2017, then it's Hasta la bye bye" for the whole gang as far as I'm concerned.

Eye On The Opposition: This Is Still A Thing, Huh?
Those of you who have read the BAOKAR have likely come to realize that I'm hardly a politically correct fellow*, but I have spent a few sentences on the name of the Washington, D.C. franchise in the past.

I won't spend time rehashing all my thoughts on the topic, but here we are again, the Bears playing Washington D.C., so I gotta ask: How are we still using the name "Redskins" for a professional sports team?

We've got the Cleveland Indians, which is a bit of a stretch at best, and the Toronto Argonauts aren't making Vietnam vets real happy (hey comrade, keep your spacemen on your side of Alaska!), but if the NFL still thinks that "Redskin" is anything but a derogatory term, they've really gone off the reservation.

Since if the league is unwilling to let them change their names to Washington Pences (now that's a scary nickname!), maybe we can go with "brown people who invited a bunch of Dutch ex-pats to dinner one time" until Washington officially moves away from a name that's an actual racial slur whose level of offensiveness sits somewhere between the word "kike" and term "negro league."

Kool-Aid (1 of 5 Punch Glasses Of Eggnog)
For those of you who celebrate Christmas, congratulations - according to all marketing, you are correct.

While you're reveling in your excellent choice in heritage, enjoy a dairy-based rum drink or two!

No? Just one?

Yeah, a whole mug really does go a long way.

Washington's record isn't imposing.

At 7-6-1, they are barely better than average. They haven't run the ball particularly well for about a month, but that has more to do with amount of talent they have at the running back position than anything.

This team presents a number of match-up problems for the Bears.

The Redskins' have an effective passing game that spreads the ball around thanks to an outstanding offensive line, which has kept quarterback "James T." Kirk Cousins' jersey exceptionally clean this season.

DeSean Jackson, Pierre Garçon and Jamison Crowder are all on pace for 1,000-yard seasons, which is to say that a guy who thinks he's whiskey, a dude with a fake letter in his last name and (despite any supporting historical documentation to support the following claim) a direct decedent of the seventh president of the United States have one thing in common - well, besides the fact that Dan Snyder signs all of their checks.

Any one of them would all be the best receiver on the 2017 Bears.

Beyond the trio of top receivers, tight end Jordan Reed commands the middle of the field like few other men at his position - that is when he's not getting tossed out of games for nearly throwing out his rotator cuff in an attempt to put his fist through his opponent's helmet-clad faces.

As well as Washington's O-line can play, the Bears defense should consider employing a strategy that consists of taking the Washington QB out for a nice dinner and making very specific compliments about his outfit if they plan to put Cousins on his back.

It's never hopeless, any given Sunday and all, but this one just feels like a game where the Bears look worse than they actually are.

Washington 33, Bears 20

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About The Author
The Author hopes that your tamales are warm and your beer is cold this holiday season.

And if the thought of home and hearth doesn't do anything for you, the Author suggests you go to the gun range or something. Beats the hell out of sewing or doing your taxes.

carlgun.png

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* I'll write the word "cunt" right here, just to make the point.

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Carl Mohrbacher is our Kool-Aid correspondent. He tolerates your comments.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 6:02 AM | Permalink

Yahoo E-Mail Scan Shows U.S. Spy Push To Recast Constitutional Privacy

Yahoo's secret scanning of customer e-mails at the behest of a U.S. spy agency is part of a growing push by officials to loosen constitutional protections Americans have against arbitrary governmental searches, according to legal documents and people briefed on closed court hearings.

The order on Yahoo from the secret Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court last year resulted from the government's drive to change decades of interpretation of the U.S. Constitution's Fourth Amendment right of people to be secure against "unreasonable searches and seizures," intelligence officials and others familiar with the strategy told Reuters.

The unifying idea, they said, is to move the focus of U.S. courts away from what makes something a distinct search and toward what is "reasonable" overall.

The basis of the argument for change is that people are making much more digital data available about themselves to businesses, and that data can contain clues that would lead to authorities disrupting attacks in the United States or on U.S. interests abroad.

While it might technically count as a search if an automated program trawls through all the data, the thinking goes, there is no unreasonable harm unless a human being looks at the result of that search and orders more intrusive measures or an arrest, which even then could be reasonable.

Civil liberties groups and some other legal experts said the attempt to expand the ability of law enforcement agencies and intelligence services to sift through vast amounts of online data, in some cases without a court order, was in conflict with the Fourth Amendment because many innocent messages are included in the initial sweep.

"A lot of it is unrecognizable from a Fourth Amendment perspective," said Orin Kerr, a former federal prosecutor and George Washington University Law School expert on surveillance. "It's not where the traditional Fourth Amendment law is."

But the general counsel of the Office of the Director of National Intelligence, Robert Litt, said in an interview with Reuters on Tuesday that the legal interpretation needed to be adjusted because of technological changes.

"Computerized scanning of communications in the same way that your e-mail service provider scans looking for viruses - that should not be considered a search requiring a warrant for Fourth Amendment purposes," said Litt. He said he is leaving his post on Dec. 31 as the end of President Barack Obama's administration nears.

DIGITAL SIGNATURE

Reuters was unable to determine what data, if any, was handed over by Yahoo after its live e-mail search. The search was first reported by Reuters on Oct. 4. Yahoo and the National Security Agency declined to explain the basis for the order.

The surveillance court, whose members are appointed by U.S. Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts, oversees and approves the domestic pursuit of intelligence about foreign powers. While details of the Yahoo search are classified, people familiar with the matter have told Reuters it was aimed at isolating a digital signature for a single person or small team working for a foreign government frequently at odds with America.

The ODNI is expected to disclose as soon as next month an estimated number of Americans whose electronic communications have been caught up in online surveillance programs intended for foreigners, U.S. lawmakers said.

The ODNI's expected disclosure is unlikely to cover such orders as the one to Yahoo but would encompass those under a different surveillance authority called section 702. That section allows the operation of two internet search programs, PRISM and "upstream" collection, that were revealed by former NSA contractor Edward Snowden more than three years ago. Prism gathers the messaging data of targets from Google, Facebook, Microsoft and Apple, among others.

Upstream surveillance allows the NSA to copy web traffic to search data for certain terms called "selectors," such as e-mail addresses, that are contained in the body of messages. ODNI's Litt said ordinary words are not used as selectors.

The Fourth Amendment applies to the search and seizure of electronic devices as much as ordinary papers. Wiretaps and other surveillance in the internet age are now subject to litigation across the United States. But in the FISC, with rare exceptions, the judges hear only from the executive branch.

Their rulings have been appealed only three times, each time going to a review board. Only the government is permitted to appeal from there, and so far it has never felt the need.

PUBLIC LEGAL CHALLENGES

The FISC's reasoning, though, is heading into public courts. The 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals on Dec. 5 cited FISC precedents in rejecting an appeal of an Oregon man who was convicted of plotting to bomb a Christmas tree lighting ceremony after his e-mails were collected in another investigation.

Groups such as the American Civil Liberties Union and the Electronic Frontier Foundation are fighting the expansion of legalized surveillance in Congress and in courts.

On Dec. 8, the ACLU argued in the 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals that a lawsuit by Wikipedia's parent group against the NSA should not have been dismissed by a lower court, which ruled that the nonprofit could not show it had been snooped on and that the government could keep details of the program secret.

The concerns of civil libertarians and others have been heightened by President-elect Donald Trump's nomination of conservative U.S. Rep. Mike Pompeo of Kansas to be director of the CIA. Pompeo, writing in the Wall Street Journal in January, advocated expanding bulk collection of telephone calling records in pursuit of Islamic State and its sympathizers who could plan attacks on Americans. Pompeo said the records could be combined with "publicly available financial and lifestyle information into a comprehensive, searchable database."

Yahoo's search went far beyond what would be required to monitor a single e-mail account. The company agreed to create and then conceal a special program on its e-mail servers that would check all correspondence for a specific string of bits.

Trawling for selectors is known as "about" searching when content is collected because it is about something of interest rather than because it was sent or received by an established target. It is frequently used by the NSA in its bulk upstream collection of international telecom traffic.

The Privacy and Civil Liberties Oversight Board, an appointed panel established by Congress as part of its post-9/11 expansion of intelligence authority, reported in 2014 that "about" searches "push the program close to the line of constitutional reasonableness."

A glimpse of the new legal arguments came in a FISC proceeding last year held to review NSA and FBI annual surveillance targets and four sets of procedures for limiting the spread of information about Americans.

Judge Thomas Hogan appointed Amy Jeffress, an attorney at Arnold and Porter and a former national security prosecutor, to weigh in, the first time that court had asked an outside privacy expert for advice before making a decision.

Jeffress argued each search aimed at an American should be tested against the Fourth Amendment, while prosecutors said that only overall searching practice had to be evaluated for "reasonableness." Hogan agreed with the government, ruling that even though the Fourth Amendment was all but waived in the initial data gathering because foreigners were the targets, the voluminous data incidentally gathered on Americans could also be used to investigate drug deals or robberies.

"While they are targeting foreign intelligence information, they are collecting broader information, and there needs to be strong protections for how that information is used apart from national security," Jeffress told Reuters.

ODNI's Litt wrote in an April Yale Law Review article that the new approach was appropriate, in part because so much personal data is willingly shared by consumers with technology companies. Litt advocated for courts to evaluate "reasonableness" by looking at the entirety of the government's activity, including the degree of transparency.

Litt told Reuters that he did not mean, however, that the same techniques in "about" searches should be pushed toward the more targeted searches at e-mail providers such as Yahoo.

Although speaking generally, he said: "My own personal approach to this is you should trade off broader collection authority for stricter use authority," so that more is taken in but less is acted upon.

This position strikes some academics and participants in the process as a remarkable departure from what the highest legal authority in the land was thinking just two years ago.

That was when the Supreme Court's Roberts wrote for a majority in declaring that mobile phones usually could not be searched without warrants.

After prosecutors said they had protocols in place to protect phone privacy, Roberts wrote: "Probably a good idea, but the Founders did not fight a revolution to gain the right to government agency protocols."

With little evidence that the Supreme Court agrees with the surveillance court, it remains possible it would reverse the trend. But a case would first need to make its way up there.

Additional reporting by Dustin Volz, Mark Hosenball and John Walcott.

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Previously:
* Snowden: 'Journalists Are A Threatened Class' In Era Of Mass Surveillance.

* AT&T Spying On Americans For Profit.

* ACLU Demands Secret U.S. Court Reveal Secret U.S. Laws.

* Obama's New Era Of Secret Law.

* EFF To Court: Government Must Inform People That It's Accessing Their E-Mails, Personal Data.

* A Plea To Citizens, Websites: Fight The Expansion Of Government Powers To Break Into Users' Computers.

* NSA Today: Archives Of Spy Agency's Internal Newsletter Culled From Snowden Documents.

* U.S. Surveillance Court A Bigger Rubber Stamp Than Chicago City Council.

* Obama Won't Tell Congress How Many Innocent Americans He's Spying On.

* Ruling Unsealed: National Security Letters Upheld As Constitutional.

* EFF Sues For Secret Court Orders Requiring Tech Companies To Decrypt Users' Communications.

* Trying (And Trying) To Get Records From The 'Most Transparent Administration' Ever.

* EFF Urges Appeals Court To Allow Wikimedia And Others To Fight NSA Surveillance.

* U.S. Government Reveals Breadth Of Requests For Internet Records.

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

* 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 12:20 AM | Permalink

December 21, 2016

The [Wednesday] Papers

For completists, there was no column on Tuesday.

"Chicago Public Schools is planning to take on more than 100 construction projects in the next year. On that lengthy list is a curious project: 'New Southside High School Construction,'" Becky Vevea reports for WBEZ.

"The cost? $75 million. The location? To be determined. But several sources familiar with the district's capital planning confirmed to WBEZ that officials want the school in Englewood and are considering consolidating several existing neighborhood high schools due to low enrollment."

So building a new high school in Englewood is really a way to close high schools in Englewood.

*

"Four high schools in Englewood have among the smallest freshmen classes in the city. At TEAM Englewood, 15 freshmen were enrolled when CPS took it's official count in October. At Robeson and Harper, there were 23 and 36, respectively. At Hope College Prep, the school formerly led by Board of Education member Mahalia Hines, just 28 freshman showed up.

"Collectively, these four public high schools have just 614 students. It's a stark drop from 2010, when more than 2,500 students attended these schools."

"These schools are hanging by a thread," said Sarah Rothschild Hainds, a researcher with the Chicago Teachers Union and a member of the state task force that oversees the district's facility planning process. "They barely can offer programming. They have such tiny budgets. They have such tiny enrollment."

This is true. To the Beachwood vault, Sept. 8, 2015:

"More than 350,000 Chicago Public Schools students prepared to return to class Tuesday for the start of a new school year that already is riddled with fiscal instability," the Sun-Times reports.

And at Kelvyn Park High School, which is slated to lose an additional $2.2 million from its budget, students and teachers wondered how they're supposed to succeed with ever-shrinking resources.

"We have no college counselor," Sherilyn Flores, a 17-year-old senior, said outside the Hermosa neighborhood high school. "I'm more worried about college this year than any other senior would be."

The cuts have been going on since her freshman year in 2012, she said, adding: "High school doesn't feel like high school anymore."

That's what kids at Robeson High School in Englewood told me two years ago: It just didn't feel like high school. It felt like something less. Much, much less. And that was because budget cuts - and falling enrollment - had essentially eviscerated the school.

Kelvyn Park lost 19 staff positions, including the school's clinical social worker who led a weekly support group for girls who survived sexual assault and abuse, and students, and teachers who coached sports teams and sponsored the National Honor Society, and the lone college counselor who also started a legal clinic to help the school's immigrant families.

"And yet, they are still expected to just get by," Jennifer Velasquez, a Local School Council member and a 2012 graduate of the school, said of Kelvyn Park students. "We know they are brilliant, but why does our mayor and the Board of Education make it almost impossible for low income black and brown students to get the support we deserve?"

Indeed. Instead, some of the city schools are sent into a death spiral.

In the case of, say, Robeson, that death spiral has come in the form of "choice."

"After spending more than a decade expanding the number of public school choices in the city while the city's student population was declining, Chicago now has more than two dozen high schools with fewer than 100 freshmen," Vevea reports. "WBEZ first reported on withering enrollment in neighborhood high schools in 2013 and again in 2015."

That's right - the school district has been expanding even amidst its recent mass closing. This is a point Raise Your Hand has tried to make over and over.

(Let's be clear: "public school choices" means an expansion in quasi-public charters at the expense of neighborhood schools; Rahm has aggressively instituted a vision of citywide schools all competing against each other, the way elite colleges compete nationwide, instead of the traditional system - that works so well in the suburbs - of strong neighborhood schools that are integrated into the fabric of community life.)

How can schools with limited resources to begin with "compete" with other nearby schools?

*

"The shiny new school down the street that doesn't have the reputation of gangs? That doesn't have the reputation of any neglect? That's going to have all kinds of bells and whistles. I mean, who would say no to that as a parent?" said Sarah Rothschild Hainds, a researcher with the Chicago Teachers Union and a member of the state task force that oversees the district's facility planning process, told Vevea "A brand new school next to the brand new Whole Foods. That sounds very enticing."

To the Beachwood vault again!

"'I want you all to give yourselves a hand for making this possible, for never giving in and never giving up to the cynics who said it never was possible, that it couldn't happen in Englewood,' Emanuel said from a stage in the grocery store's parking lot."

I'm not sure anyone said it wasn't possible, but when the plans were first announced, they were scrutinized as they should be: Was this really going to create jobs for neighborhood folk? Would this be the game-changer it was advertised as by Rahm and city officials? Would local residents be able to afford the store nicknamed Whole Paycheck? There was nothing cynical about those questions, and they still ultimately remain. I've been persuaded that this development is good for Englewood, but I hate the subsidy game and I hate the politics of Rahm declaring victory and moving on instead of investing deeply in neighborhoods like this that need it. The Lucas Museum, for example, might have looked good around 63rd and Halsted. And that $10 million taxpayer subsidy? Robeson High School sure could have used it. So who's the cynic, Rahm?

Back to Vevea:

"There once was an Englewood High School, but the district decided to close it in 2005 for poor performance. The last class graduated in 2008, and now the building is shared between TEAM Englewood and a public charter school called Urban Prep Academy."

From DNAinfo Chicago:

"[Aysha Butler, president of the Resident Association of Greater Englewood] said the community is well aware that enrollment is extremely low in the neighborhood schools, partially blaming it on selective enrollment schools and the influx of charter schools in the area."

True, though falling population in Englewood has increasingly become a factor too; perhaps people are leaving because the city has invested in charter schools but not the neighborhood as a whole.

"When Ald. Toni Foulkes (16th) was alderman in the 15th Ward, her area included Harper High School. She said her biggest concern is what kind of school a new building will be because charter schools have taken most of the top students.

"They're recruiting at their homes and they're taking Tier 1 students, the cream of the crop, and leaving students with academic problems and emotional problems," Foulkes said.

Foulkes also spoke to the Sun-Times:

Foulkes said she is "not surprised they're talking about closing Harper, where they started the school year with "200-plus" students only to have enrollment drop to "100 and something."

But she argued that enrollment doesn't tell the whole story.

"When I was the alderman in the 15th, the concern of staffing at Harper was that children were being recruited by charter schools. They'd go to their houses and say, `You don't want your child going to the community school because they fight. They have bad kids there,'" Foulkes said.

"But they only target [top] students. So that leaves them with the students that are troubled, have issues and low test scores," she said. "And when those charters take them, the first time they have a problem, they kick 'em out and send 'em back."

Meanwhile, Ald. Ray Lopez was a bit confused about the concept at hand:

"A new high school would send a message that we're continuing to invest in our neighborhoods, just as we did in the Back of the Yards, when they introduced the new IB-Back of the Yards high school," said Ald. Ray Lopez (15th).

"Obviously, we don't want to talk about closing schools. But we have to be prepared for the population trends as they have been," he said. "And in my part of Greater Englewood, we are seeing new families come into the community, new homeowners buying into the area, as well as working with our longstanding homeowners. They want to make sure that our communities are vibrant and family friendly. Having a new high school in the area would definitely send that message."

Lopez was asked whether he would be willing to accept the closing of a handful of half-empty high schools if that's the price that must be paid to get a brand new high school.

"My ward has two high schools in Englewood. We have Lindblom and we have Harper. I don't want to see Harper closed, even though populations are trending downward. We have to look at ways to make that school viable as well. If that means doing co-locations where we can turn it into a K-through-12 facility, I'd be open for that. But it's too soon to say we have to close it," Lopez said.

"I can't speak for all of Englewood. But at least in my area Lindblom is very much filled," he said. "They're actually looking at expanding Lindblom. And I think we need to look at all of the options for Harper as well."

So, no, Ray, the administration isn't really looking at simply adding a snazzy new high school to the existing complement; the rest would have to go.

*

Back to the point made by Foulkes, Raise Your Hand and others, from DNAinfo:

"Between 2008 and 2015, there was a 28 percent decline in high school-age residents living in the attendance boundaries of Englewood schools, data provided at the meeting showed.

"Of those students remaining in the community, many are choosing to go to schools outside the neighborhood, the data shows.

"Back in 2008, for example, Robeson High School enrolled 74 percent of high school-age students who lived in its residential boundaries. But by 2015, only 13 percent of students who could go to Robeson actually did, the data showed. Of the 2,602 high school-age students living in the Robeson boundary, only 203 actually go to the school, the data shows."

Robeson has essentially been picked clean. Englewood has been left behind.

*

WBEZ:

"It's not clear if the district is reaching out to anyone in Englewood or other communities. Calls to several schools were unanswered or referred to the district's communications office."

*

Back to the Sun-Times:

"Emanuel's plans to build a new selective enrollment school he wanted to name for President Barack Obama were recently canceled as part of the deal to give CPS the $87.5 million in tax-increment financing money needed in October to stave off another teachers strike.

"It was not known Tuesday whether construction of the new South Side high school in Englewood might also pave the way for the mayor to resurrect that project or make it politically palatable for him to build a new high school on the Near North Side, as he originally planned."

Perhaps, but I'd say it's more likely a new Englewood school would be named after Obama to assist with the sell.

*

Finally:

"Englewood's other alderman, the recently indicted Willie Cochran (20th), could not be reached for comment."

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It's not that a new high school for Englewood is necessarily a bad idea, it's that CPS seems to be spinning its wheels while the mayor's every move is driven by political cynicism and an ultimately unworkable vision of school "choice" that weakens communities instead of strengthens them.

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The Chicago Race Riots Of 1919
Featuring Carl Sandburg and Walter Lippmann.

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NOLA's Secret Schools
One has to give a side-eye to a state agency that is widely cited for successfully reforming schools while at the same time is being sued for keeping information about that success private.

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Trump's War Authority
Sixty ambiguous words invoked at least 18 times by former President George W. Bush and at least 19 times by President Barack Obama.

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From the Wisconsin desk . . .

Wisconsin Cheese: Full Speed Ahead!
From McDonald's to Mexico.

The Midwest Aquaculture Capital
The Wisconsin Idea on the Wisconsin Fish Fry.

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Chicago Bookstore A Satanic Stronghold
Evil on Milwaukee Avenue.

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The Weekend In Chicago Rock
Featuring: Twin Peaks, Order Of Light, Blood Licker, Emancipator, Dru Hill, The Main Squeeze, Vat of Chocolate, Shiny Penny, Tim Reynolds, Dustin Laurenzi's Natural Language, The Ides of March, TCB, HMTS, Morales Phallus, and Ellie Goulding.

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BeachBook
A sampling.

Trump's National Security Advisor Met With Leader Of Party Founded By Nazis.

*

NSA Watchdog Who Insisted Edward Snowden Should Have Come To Him Removed For Whistleblower Retaliation.

*

The Regulatory Capture Of The Press.

Our own revolving door with the people we cover.

*

Downers Grove Man May Be Most Traveled In The World, According To The Tribune.

*

Why KFC Is A Christmas Tradition In Japan.

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TweetWood
A sampling.

*

*

*

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The Beachwood Tronc Line: It was the best of tronc, it was the worst of tronc.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 10:35 AM | Permalink

The Chicago Race Riots Of 1919

"Carl Sandburg likened the 1919 riot in Chicago to 'the jungle.' It was a swarming mass of violence and outrage that was sparked by one teenager unknowingly crossing an unmarked line that divided white Chicago from black Chicago on July 27, 1919, nearly 100 years ago."


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With a prescient forward by Walter Lippmann on white privilege.

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"The Most Destructive Event In The City's History."

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See also:
* Whet: Carl Sandburg, Early Wonk Blogger, On Chicago's Race Riot Of 1919.

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 7:51 AM | Permalink

Economic Opportunity, Fragile Fisheries Drive Aquaculture In Wisconsin

Around the world, an increasing proportion of the fish and other seafood people eat, catch, use as bait or put in aquariums is raised in controlled environments in a practice known as aquaculture.

This industry is growing quickly in Wisconsin, with fish-based operations ranging from small family ponds to large-scale farms like Rushing Waters in Palmyra. A few aquaculture businesses in the state are even experimenting with raising shrimp.

Researchers are applying the Wisconsin Idea to this approach to growing food, especially at the Northern Aquaculture Demonstration Facility, a project of the University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point and partner of the UW Sea Grant Institute.

uplace-food-aquaculture-uwsp-uwseagrant-nadf-tanks.jpegA series of tanks at the Northern Aquaculture Demonstration Facility in Red Cliff are used to grow yellow perch/University of Wisconsin Sea Grant Institute

Opened in 2003 in Red Cliff near the shore of Lake Superior, the facility's goal is to promote the development of aquaculture in more northerly climes.

NADF focuses on developing sustainable aquaculture systems that recirculate water to minimize environmental impact. Species raised at the facility include yellow perch, coho salmon, and various kinds of walleye.

It hosts different indoor and outdoor aquaculture systems, and collaborates with tribal, state, federal, academic and private partners to conduct research and training,

UW-Stevens Point has also partnered with Montello-based aquaponics company Nelson and Pade to develop the first university aquaponics course in Wisconsin.

NADF manager Greg Fischer offered some perspective on the state of aquaculture in Wisconsin and around the world in a July 30, 2015, lecture at the Northern Great Lakes Visitor Center in Ashland. His talk was part of the Northern Lights Tour presented by the Wednesday Nite @ the Lab lecture series and was recorded for Wisconsin Public Television's University Place.

Fischer gave an overview of how aquaculture is growing in prominence as commercial fishing in the wild threatens the stability of fish and other animal populations. He also detailed how NADF promotes the growth of aquaculture in Wisconsin through its partnerships with businesses, academics, and government agencies.

Fischer argued that farm-raised seafood, managed properly, tastes better than wild-caught options, and noted aquaculture reinforces efforts like Monterey Bay Aquarium's Seafood Watch that encourage people to think about where the food on their plates comes from.

Key Facts

  • Over time, more "capture" (commercial, open-water ) fisheries are becoming over-exploited or have crashed, while more tainted and mislabeled seafood is entering the market and ending up on consumers' plates. These challenges mean aquaculture is becoming a more crucial source of seafood to feed the growing global population's demand for protein.
  • Aquaculture is the fastest-growing method of food production in the world, and about half of the seafood eaten worldwide is raised through aquaculture.
  • More than 90 percent of the seafood Americans eat is imported from other countries, but U.S. regulators can't regulate fish farms in other nations.
  • Wisconsin has the most aquaculture activity of any state in the Midwest.
  • In Wisconsin, most live fish bait used for recreational fishing is raised through aquaculture.
  • Aquaculture does have an environmental impact, especially through waste generated by the animals being raised.
  • "Net-pen" aquaculture, which uses a cage or pen placed within a lake or ocean to raise animals for harvest, is not practiced in Wisconsin. It's one of the more environmentally damaging methods of aquaculture, because it allows waste, disease and possibly escaped fish to flow freely into wild habitat. Other aquaculture methods are closed systems kept separate from natural bodies of water, or contained within seasonal ponds.
  • Another closed and usually indoor method of aquaculture is called aquaponics, which combines the raising of fish and plants. Aquaponics systems use fish waste to fertilize the plants and plants to purify the water in which the fish live, with the intention of harvesting both.
  • In Wisconsin, there were more than 2,500 registered fish farms as of July 2015.
  • Aquaculture production is expected to rise 33 percent from 2015 to 2025. Some observers have predicted that by 2018, it will exceed commercial open-water fishing around the world.

Key Quotes

  • On the growing importance of aquaculture as the world's population (and food demand) grows: "Fish is really becoming a sought-after resource, and the capture fisheries just can't keep up with that."
  • On cheap but mislabeled imported fish and their impact on Wisconsin's Friday fish fry: "If you can get walleye for $7.99 all-you-can-eat, it's not walleye. It's probably something from Europe, like a zander, or a European walleye, and it doesn't taste the same as our walleye, and it's not farmed the same, and it's not captured the same - [it] doesn't have the same attributes that our walleye would have."
  • On impact of aquaculture on live-bait users: "You used to be able to get a dozen minnows for about a buck. How much are a dozen minnows now? They're about 7 or 8 dollars for a dozen minnows. It's because of that [regulation] and the process involved in rearing."
  • On the environmental perceptions of aquaculture: "A lot of these horror stories we hear about are related to net-pen culture, usually on the East Coast or maybe the West Coast, and we're pretty far away from that here in the Midwest, so we don't hear everything, we just hear little bits and pieces on the news, like 'net pen falls apart due to heavy waves,' and fish are released all over and officials are upset . . . but one of the cool things is, there is no net-pen fish farming in Wisconsin. We don't have it. I don't see it coming to Wisconsin anytime soon."
  • On the history of farming fish and plants together: "It goes all the way back to early Egypt and the Chinese, but recently we've seen a resurgence in aquaponics."

This article was originally published on WisContext which produced the article in a partnership between Wisconsin Public Radio, Wisconsin Public Television and Cooperative Extension.

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Scott "The Commissioner" Gordon, a Beachwood Reporter alum, welcomes your comments!

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 7:14 AM | Permalink

World's Oldest Occult Bookstore In Chicago And Surrounded By Evil

A Satanic stronghold on North Milwaukee Avenue.


That nearby hookah shop is no coincidence.

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See also: Occult Bookstore.

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 12:51 AM | Permalink

How 60 Ambiguous Words Gave The United States President Unprecedented War Powers

The President is authorized to use all necessary and appropriate force against those nations, organizations, or persons he determines planned, authorized, committed, or aided the terrorist attacks that occurred on September 11, 2001, or harbored such organizations or persons, in order to prevent any future act of international terrorism against the United States by such nations, organizations or persons.

Written in haste and passed by the U.S. Congress in the days after September 11, 2001, the ambiguously worded Authorization for the Use of Military Force (AUMF) greatly expanded the war powers of the executive branch, granting U.S. presidents the choice to bomb, raid, detain and monitor nation-states and organizations around the world as they see fit.

Centered around an interview with Representative Barbara Lee, the sole member of congress to vote against the AUMF, War Authority examines how the authorization's vague language - invoked at least 18 times by former President George W. Bush and at least 19 times by President Barack Obama - has shaped modern U.S. foreign policy and affected people around the world.


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Directed by Matthew Palmer.

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 12:26 AM | Permalink

December 20, 2016

The Weekend In Chicago Rock

You shoulda been there.

1. Twin Peaks at Thalia Hall on Friday night.


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2. Order of Night at Bric-a-Brac on Saturday.

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3. Blood Licker at Bric-a-Brac on Saturday.

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4. Emancipator at Lincoln Hall on Friday night.

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5. Dru Hill at House of Blues on Sunday night.

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6. The Main Squeeze at Bottom Lounge on Friday night.

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7. Vat of Chocolate at Reggies on Saturday night.

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8. Shiny Penny at Schubas on Friday night.

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9. Tim Reynolds at SPACE in Evanston on Friday night.

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10. Dustin Laurenzi's Natural Language at the Whistler on Sunday night.

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11. The Ides of March at the Arcada in St. Charles on Friday night.

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12. TCB at Tritriangle on Friday night.

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13. Morales Phallus at Tritriangle on Friday night.

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14. HMTS at Tritriangle on Friday night.

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Catching up with . . .

Ellie Goulding at the Jingle Ball in Rosemont on December 14th.

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 12:27 PM | Permalink

Wisconsin Cheese Production Continues To Grow

Wisconsin continues to increase monthly cheese production, marking more than two years of rising outputs.

The latest report from the U.S. Department of Agriculture shows Wisconsin produced almost 270 million pounds of cheese in October. That's almost 1 percent more than October 2015 and about 6 percent more than in 2014.

As dairy farmers continue to struggle with an oversupply of milk, dairy experts say cheese shows the strongest potential for growth in the dairy industry.

"The cheese market has held up better than we anticipated with all the milk because the retail and food service demand has stayed very, very strong," said Bob Cropp, professor emeritus at the University of Wisconsin-Madison.

wpr-news-dairy-cheese-2016production-october.jpegbeautifulcataya/CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

Cropp said per capita consumption of cheese in the U.S. continues to grow.

This steady demand has some in the dairy industry optimistic about the future, despite an unusually large amount of cheese in storage.

"[Cheese] stocks have been growing a little bit but we've started to see some movement in them again, and we've now also begun to pick up a little extra sales from export opportunities," said Mark Stephenson, director of dairy policy analysis at UW-Madison.

Stephenson said international supply of dairy products is projected to decline in the coming year, creating new markets for the U.S.

WisContext produced this article as a service of Wisconsin Public Radio, Wisconsin Public Television and Cooperative Extension.

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See also:

The Secret Behind Wisconsin Cheese.

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Wisconsin's Artisan Cheese Makers.

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And:
* McDonald's Tests Fried Cheese Curds In Wisconsin.

Review:

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* Mexico Is A Huge Market For Wisconsin Cheese.

* Why Milk Producers Get Whip-Sawed By Price Changes.

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 12:25 AM | Permalink

NOLA's Secret Schools

Here are some key recent findings about the youth of New Orleans during the last year: Their numbers are up five percent from 2014 to 2015 - but the number of black children living in the city during the same period dropped.

More are graduating from high school, but the average price of college is higher for low-income students. While the city's youth poverty rate dropped six percentage points to 37 percent from 2014 to 2015, it still surpasses the state and national rates of 28 percent and 20 percent respectively.

These findings come from the Data Center's newly released New Orleans Youth Index 2016, of which I am the lead author. The report provides a statistical snapshot of New Orleans children and youth. Borne out of the efforts of youth-centered service providers, the Index publishes baseline tools using data that help advocates develop strategies for improving academic, social, and behavioral outcomes of children and youth up to age 24.

But there's a problem: Basic data that might inform ways of solving pressing education problems weren't included in the final document because the state did not make the data available.

And when government agencies don't make data widely accessible - as in the case of Louisiana - research organizations, educators and parents don't have information they need to help and inform the public.

"We spent months trying to get basic aggregated demographic data from the Louisiana Department of Education and we were met with long delays or unjustifiable denials," said Allison Plyer, executive director of the Data Center.

"States must welcome the scrutiny of researchers, parents and the larger public if we're to distill facts from fiction."

John White, superintendent of the Louisiana Department of Education, contends that "the Obama administration directed Louisiana to remove from its public reports all numbers that could be used to identify an individual child."

He added that that at the same time, "the Louisiana legislature made it a crime to disclose any information that could be used to identify an individual child."

Plyer, however, found it difficult to complete her research. She notes that while data from the index show that public school enrollment rose six percent, the Data Center still could not determine why.

New Orleans has one of the highest proportions (if not the highest) of school-aged children attending private schools, including parents of modest means. So did the growth mean more are going public?

Plyer couldn't answer. "We could not say who is enrolling in public schools because those data were not available," she said.

They were not available because Louisiana's state education department removed datasets that it used to make available on its website.

To be clear, two problems rendered the data inaccessible: The department's restricted release of school-level information, along with a narrower release of anonymous student-level data that protects student identity.

Curating and/or curtailing both kinds of data significantly reduced transparency as well as the ability of the public, including research organizations, to hold the state education department accountable.

Through its exclusive agreements with research organizations and its failure to make basic information public, the state's education department unnecessarily kept the very public it's designed to serve at bay.

Last year, the organization Research on Reforms (who are often critical of LDOE) won on appeal a case in which the state education department denied them use of decoded student data records. The department was, however, providing these records to the Center for Research on Educational Outcomes at Stanford University, known as CREDO.

Prior to a data agreement between the state and CREDO, the education department disseminated decoded data on Louisiana students to an array of organizations that sought it. The state also readily supplied information about students upon request, without revealing their identities. The state even provided critical information on its website for researchers, parents and schools to analyze for themselves.

In 2014, however, states and districts across the country began drafting legislation around ways personal data are collected, used and disseminated, which made it harder for the general public and researchers to analyze information.

States increased the number of restrictions beyond the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act better known as FERPA. In June of 2014, Louisiana passed Act 837, which "provides for limitations and prohibitions on the collection and sharing of student information."

White acknowledged that a contradiction exists between those directives and state public records laws that require the disclosure of statistics related to individual children.
When government agencies don't make data widely accessible - as in the case of Louisiana - research organizations, educators and parents don't have information they need to help and inform the public.

However, some believe the state's actions to remove decoded data may not fall into the purview of these policies.

"FERPA only applies if you're literally going to give away a secret about a student with a numeral - something that isn't public knowledge - like a test score," said Frank LoMonte, executive director of the Student Press Law Center.

LoMonte believes many states have interpreted FERPA as an excuse to withhold any small numerical data set. "The states see FERPA as a door that only swings one way."

In contrast to Louisiana, Massachusetts provides a portal to all disciplinary data of its students. So does that mean Massachusetts is in violation of federal law?

One has to give a side-eye to a state agency that is widely cited for successfully reforming schools, while at the same time is being sued for keeping information about that success private. And making data exclusive to particular outfits prioritizes the research biases of the partner.

In response, White noted that state and federal laws "allow access to children's personally identifiable information for researchers who are bound by agreements that include strict privacy requirements."

White added that the Louisiana Department of Education establishes such agreements with scholars affiliated with research institutions, as intended in student privacy laws."

Yet the optics of not offering a data agreement to the nonprofit group Research on Reforms - which has been critical of the department - seems problematic to me. One is left with a belief that the state gets to decide who is credible enough to analyze data.

By meting data out to preferred groups, the pace at which information is released is influenced by the organizations that the state ostensibly has a relationship with - not the public they were created to serve.

The state, uncharacteristically, sued two parties who requested information to get clarification on the laws.

If going to court to test data privacy laws isn't evidence of the state's struggles, the testimonies of others should offer an idea.

"We don't have basic data that will tell us how specifically schools are serving students with special needs, suspension and expulsion rates and potential school push out as well as information around diversity and quality," said Nahliah Webber, executive director of the Orleans Public Education Network.

Webber is particularly concerned about the way discipline outcomes are self-reported by the schools.

Even researchers that have received restricted data are concerned. Douglas N. Harris, professor of economics at Tulane University, heads the Education Research Alliance on campus and has published numerous reports using data made exclusive to them (and CREDO).

Harris has also signed an agreement with the state to manage public information.

In a Brookings report released last week, Harris is among several scholars who argue that providing information is one of the most fundamental roles for government - in education and many other areas.

"Unfortunately, in Louisiana, getting access to data has been a real challenge," Harris said.

The Brookings report specifically addresses the federal government's obligation to manage data, but the same is true for states that are charged with collecting thousands of data points.

Democratizing data - making data open for different analyses - legitimizes the data.

Limiting access to public information to everyone except exclusive partners while denying it to others calls into question both the data and department reports.

Even worse, parents, students and community members don't have a basis to make good decisions if they can't analyze information for themselves.

Information is a requisite for choice, accountability and quality. These values serve as pillars for many of the reforms that have transpired in Louisiana during the last eleven years.

"The court instructed the Department to disclose all statistics related to Louisiana students, and the Department has since provided this information," said White.

While I was writing this column, the department uploaded enrollment data on its website. The LDOE should make other data that was suppressed available as well.

The astronomer Carl Sagan once said: "Skeptical scrutiny is the means, in both science and religion, by which deep thoughts can be winnowed from deep nonsense."

States must welcome the scrutiny of researchers, parents and the larger public if we're to distill fact from fiction or - more importantly - inform the public of the conditions that our children are living in.

This story was produced by The Hechinger Report, a nonprofit, independent news organization focused on inequality and innovation in education.

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Previously by Andre Perry:
* Black And Brown Kids Don't Need To Learn 'Grit,' They Need Schools To Stop Being Racist.

* Why Black Lives Matter Should Take On Charter Schools.

* Don't Be Surprised If Colin Kaepernick Prompts More Schoolchildren To Sit For The Pledge Of Allegiance.

* "Wraparound" Services Are Not The Answer.

* Youth Aren't Props.

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 12:23 AM | Permalink

December 19, 2016

SportsMonday: Bears Loss A Win-Win

Sunday's football game at Soldier Field was remarkable. Of course there were larger implications, like the Packers staying alive for the division title with their 30-27 victory, and the fact that the Bears lost again to their arch-rivals.

Just about everyone must have seen a note about this by now but just in case someone is coming in from the cold in more ways than one, the teams are now 94-94-6 against each other since 1921. That is 194 total games by the way. And both teams have won . . . I mean, wow.

Most importantly, by finding a way to lose, the Bears (3-11) protected their draft position. And they did so while still making it clear to every last viewer that they were desperately trying to win the game, rallying from a 27-10 deficit in the fourth quarter, until the last second. That's a win-win in my book.

There is every reason to believe that with just one more win, the Bears will fall out of sole possession of the fourth pick in next year's college talent disbursal. Both the Rams and the Jets are lurking at 4-10 ,and who thinks they will win any more games? If the Bears win one game the last two weeks and the Rams and Jets don't, the Bears fall into a three-way tie for the fourth spot.

Even if they then win (lose?) the tiebreaker and draft fourth in the first round, the pick would then rotate in later rounds, so the Jets would potentially draft fourth in the second and Rams would do so in the third . . . and we obviously don't want that. So just try, try some more in these last few games Bears, and then find a way to lose in the end.

As far as the actual game goes, John Fox took some heat by not going for it on fourth-and-goal from the four in the last minute but come on, the Bears offense was playing great and the Packers' wasn't. It made much more sense to play for overtime. Yes, Aaron Rodgers then threw an amazing bomb to Jordy Nelson to set up the game-winning field goal but I don't care how good he is, that play was a fluke (it was also a play on which Bears defensive back Cre'Von LeBlanc obviously should have had some deep safety help and didn't get it). And did I mention that in the end the Bears won by losing?

Did I also mention that the wind chill was often below zero at Soldier Field on Sunday? And the Bears and Packers still put on a glorious show of football featuring great offense, timely defense (how about Nick Kwiatkowski's tackle for loss blowing up that screen play on the Packers' last possession before the Bears tied it? That was awesome!) and gripping drama.

It was remarkable that either quarterback was able to display any sort of skill in those conditions.

Speaking of quarterbacks, after the game there was more chatter about Matt Barkley still not qualifying as a possibility at starting quarterback for the Bears going forward.

Are you kidding me? Which throw has the 26-year-old Barkley not made in these last four games? He has shown accuracy on throws to virtually every spot on the field - half the time in either pouring snow or bitter, bitter cold.

Yes, a few more interceptions were troublesome on Sunday but come on. Did I mention it was his fourth career start? And that he did all this in the last two games against playoff contending teams?

I am not saying Barkley is going to lead his team (hopefully it will be the Bears for at least one more season) to a championship. Neither will more than 90 percent of the quarterbacks in the NFL. But there is a great chance he will be the team's best option at the position next year. At the very least he deserves a legitimate shot at winning the job next training camp, along with a rookie drafted in the second or third round and this year's injured training camp sensation (Connor Shaw) or perhaps another veteran.

Some have also called for the firing of Fox. My unoriginal reaction to this is simple: If the Bears do it, they do indeed become the Cleveland Browns, clearing the decks every two years or so and never making progress.

That being said, if Fox tells general manager Ryan Pace after the season that he can no longer work with defensive coordinator Vic Fangio, all bets are off. If I were Pace, I would be tempted to let Fox go in that situation, keep his coordinators (OC Dowell Loggains has drawn up game plans that have enabled three different quarterbacks to play good offensive football at times for the Bears this season - he deserves a second season on the job) and maybe hire former Bears special teams coach Dave Toub as his head coach in 2017.

For a season that essentially ended about four games ago, this one still has a whole lot of intrigue. I am actually looking forward to next Sunday.

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Bears-Packers Twitter

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See also:
* Aaron Rodgers Shows Why No One Should Want To Play The Packers.

* Biggs: Bears Have Nothing To Lose, Yet Playing It Safe Comes Back To Burn Them.

* Jahns: Three-And-Out: A Look At John Fox's Decision-Making Vs. Packers.

* Haugh: Cre'Von LeBlanc The Fall Guy In Bears Loss, But Who Called That Defense?

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Jim "Coach" Coffman is our Monday correspondent. He welcomes your comments.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 10:09 AM | Permalink

The [Monday] Papers

"A men's homeless shelter on Chicago's North Side is scheduled to close days before Christmas, and staff members are reckoning with the reality that many participants lack options as the weather turns dangerously cold," WBEZ reports.

"North Side Housing and Supportive Services' Interim Housing Program for Men, at the Preston Bradley Center in the Uptown neighborhood, aims to close its doors for good Dec. 23."

The program has 72 residents.

"The program was unable to raise about $100,000 in private money it needed to qualify for $400,000 in public funds, which make up the bulk of its budget."

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"In the past five years, there has been a dramatic decrease in shelters and emergency shelter beds, said Richard Ducatenzeiler, executive director of the North Side Housing and Supportive Services. Not having enough money is not a good excuse when new, expensive projects are being announced, Ducatenzeiler said," the Tribune reports.

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"The shelter asked the city for additional funds to help with the cost, but the Department of Family and Support Services has said there's no additional funds and it can't issue a contract without a State budget, Ducatenzeiler said," DNAinfo Chicago reports.

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Maybe they can stay with Bruce Rauner in the Governor's Mansion. Rahm Emanuel could get his brother Ari and former chief of staff Lisa Schrader to get Uber to give them free rides down there.

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"The Preston Bradley Center is a beautiful landmark building with a storied history; it's a federal nonprofit 501(c)(3); it's a center for arts, culture and community."

Show Goes On
"Chicago's busiest TV and film studio is getting another hand from the government: a property-tax cut that will shift an estimated $4 million burden onto other taxpayers over the next dozen years, according to a Chicago Sun-Times analysis.

"That's on top of more than $17 million in grants that Cinespace Chicago Film Studios - home to Chicago Fire, Empire, and other hit TV shows and movies - has gotten from the state of Illinois."

Here's an idea: A new show called Chicago Homeless, with a cast of 72.

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Studio spokesman Eric Herman tells the Sun-Times:

When Cinespace came to Chicago in 2011, this property housed a defunct steel plant. The owners had shut down operations, cut more than 1,500 jobs and had no plans to invest. Cinespace purchased the campus - warts and all - and rehabbed it to build an economic catalyst.

This action will help Cinespace continue its mission of bringing 7,500 film-related jobs and $3 billion in spending to Illinois and providing an economic engine for North Lawndale.

Actually it sounds like taxpayers are footing the bill for a significant part of Cinespace's economic impact.

Cinespace is a family-owned business headed by former real estate developer Alex Pissios. It began buying the Ryerson Steel property in 2011, aiming to build what the company calls the biggest movie studio east of Los Angeles.

Pissios' company spent $12.25 million to buy the former steel factory buildings, which are spread over several blocks, and convert them to production facilities for TV shows and movies.

Between 2009 and 2010, Cinespace got four state grants totaling $17.3 million to renovate the Ryerson property. Quinn's administration handed it a fifth grant, for another $10 million, just hours before he left office last year.

So Cinespace spent $12.25 million to buy the property, then got $27.3 million to renovate it? Where can I sign up for a deal like that?

Eric Herman, who is a former Sun-Times reporter, you are Today's Worst Person In Chicago.

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"But Gov. Bruce Rauner forced the studio to return the [last $10 million] after the Sun-Times reported that the state gave Cinespace the money to buy additional land that apparently wasn't for sale."

Hey, that would make a great plot line!

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SportsMonday: Bears Loss A Win-Win
Still competing, still losing. Perfect!

Making Weekend Plans Can Ruin Your Weekend
Just play it loose, baby!

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BeachBook

Did Ari Emanuel Cover For Donald Trump On The Miss Universe Tapes?

Hint: Yes.

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Class Action Suit: McDonald's Value Meal No Value At All.

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The Lost Ancient City Of Cahokia, Illinois.

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In 1949, Hysteria Swept Through Downstate Mattoon, As Residents Reported A Paralyzing Gas Being Sprayed Into Their Bedrooms.

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Public Invited To 117-Year-Old Holiday Tradition.

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More Downsizing.

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TweetWood
A sampling.

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The Beachwood Tronc Line: Go rogue.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 9:33 AM | Permalink

Making Weekend Plans Can Actually Ruin Your Weekend

Have you ever found yourself dreading a leisurely activity you had eagerly scheduled days or weeks in advance?

I first caught myself doing this a few years ago when I was traveling home to Turkey. I had excitedly made plans to meet up with some old friends. But to my surprise, as the date approached, I started to feel reluctant and unenthusiastic about these long-awaited reunions.

"I have to go get lunch with my friend," I'd grouse to others, making it sound like a chore.

Was I an anomaly? Or do other people feel this way too? We increasingly rely on scheduling to organize our lives: phone calls, appointments, dates - and, yes, fun social activities. But can planning leisure activities also start to feel like work, too? Why might they become a source of dread?

As someone who studies consumer behavior and decision-making, I decided to explore this phenomenon with Gabbie Tonietto, a Ph.D candidate in marketing. With Tonietto leading the investigation (the results would eventually become a part of her dissertation), we conducted a series of studies to see if filling out our calendars - even with fun activities - can have unexpected side effects.

All Work, No Play?

Across 13 studies, we found that the simple act of scheduling makes otherwise fun tasks feel more like work. It also decreases how much we enjoy them.

For example, in one study, we asked participants to imagine grabbing a coffee with a friend. Half of the participants imagined that they planned this gathering a few days in advance and put it on their calendar, while the other half were told that they decided to grab a coffee on the fly. We found that this simple, relaxing activity was associated more with work-like qualities ("obligation," "effortful," "work") when it was scheduled, compared with when it was impromptu.

In several follow-up studies, we found that simply scheduling something fun - like a movie or social outing - felt like work even if it was something you regularly did, was something new or special or when you had nothing else planned for that day.

In another study, we set up a pop-up cafe on a university campus during finals that served free coffee and cookies. We flagged down students studying for their finals and gave them one of two tickets. The first asked participants to choose and schedule a time for them to take a study break and enjoy the free treats. The second simply told them that the cafe would be open during a two-hour window.

After participants showed up and had their coffee and cookie, we gave them a short questionnaire that asked them how much they enjoyed their study break. As expected, we found that those who had scheduled the study break didn't enjoy it as much.

The Constraints Of A Schedule

So why can making set plans be such a drag?

We think that it has to do with how scheduling structures time. Scheduling, at its core, is about allocating time to activities. There are set beginning and end points. Such strict scheduling, however, is at odds with how people think about leisure and relaxation, which are associated with unconstrained freedom. As the saying goes: Time flies when you're having fun.

On the flip side, structured time is associated with work activities: Meetings start and end at specific times, deadlines loom and the specter of the clock is omnipresent.

So when your weekend is structured and planned - even if the activities are fun - they start to take on some of the qualities we tend to associate with work.

In another one of the studies, we asked participants to imagine that they'd just decided to spend their afternoon at a forest preserve doing a variety of activities, like canoeing and guided hikes. We told half the participants that they'd simply do two activates with a picnic in between. The other half were told they had signed up for activities at specific times (say, 12:30 p.m. to 2 p.m.), with time reserved in between for a picnic. Basically all the participants were making spontaneous trips to the park and all were going to participate in similar activities. The only difference was that some of the participants had strict schedules while others didn't.

We found that structuring not only made the activity feel more like work, but also decreased participants' desire to engage in them. In other words, even an impromptu leisure event starts to feel like work once it's structured.

A Rough Solution

But this doesn't mean that scheduling will take the fun out of everything. After all, you can't do everything on the fly. For those who do need to make plans days or weeks in advance, something called "rough scheduling" can work wonders.

Because scheduling can make weekend activities feel like work, we reasoned that relaxing the structure might alleviate some of these negative consequences. To test this idea, we asked students to either schedule a get-together at a set time or by referring to a gap in their day ("between classes"). We found that eliminating specific boundaries not only increased excitement, but also worked as well as doing something spur of the moment.

So next time you want to make plans, make them flexible. You'll feel less constrained - and more likely to have fun, too.

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Selin Malkoc is an assistant professor of marketing at Ohio State University. This article was originally published on The Conversation.

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Comments welcome.

The Conversation

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1. From Steve Rhodes:

This rings true to me, and I think the reason why is that when something is scheduled, I hate the feeling that now it's something that I must do, even if it sounds like fun. It's now become an obligation. Plus, who knows if I'll be in the mood to do it then; how do I know what I'll feel like in a week or a month, etc.? Just be loose, baby!

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 7:42 AM | Permalink

December 18, 2016

The Weekend Desk Report

"Minister Louis Farrakhan, head of the Nation of Islam, spoke from a podium draped in the red, black and green of the Pan-African flag, a symbol of black pride," AP reports.

It was the week after Donald Trump won the presidency. The result had delighted a new generation of white supremacists, and Farrakhan was analyzing the political landscape.

In a speech before the State of the Black World Conference in New Jersey, he warned, "The white man is going to push. He's putting in place the very thing that will limit the freedom of others." Then he pointed to the crowd, smiled and said, "That's what you needed," as motivation to finally separate from whites.

"My message to Mr. Trump: Push it real good," Farrakhan said, building to a roar that drew applause and cheers. "Push it so good that black people say, 'I'm outta here. I can't take it no more.'"

Once more unto the breach, dear friends . . .

It is for us the living, rather, to be dedicated here to the unfinished work which they who fought here have thus far so nobly advanced. It is rather for us to be here dedicated to the great task remaining before us - that from these honored dead we take increased devotion to that cause for which they gave the last full measure of devotion - that we here highly resolve that these dead shall not have died in vain - that this nation, under God, shall have a new birth of freedom - and that government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth.

These, it is said, are the times that try our souls - tyranny, like hell, is not easily conquered.

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The Sinking Of The Abu Nawal
500 Migrants Drowned At Sea. No One Investigated.

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McDonald's Moving International Tax Base To UK
Chicago-based company coming under increased scrutiny from European Union regulators over its tax arrangements.

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TrackNotes: What's He To You?
"When I heard about the passing early this week of former jockey, former great, Garrett Gomez, the sadness simmered along with the memories and the question: What does this really mean to me?"

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The Beachwood Radio Sports Hour #132: Bulls Shit
Team Hoiberg falls of the cliff. Plus: RealFeeling The Bears and Joe Maddon Fails To Embrace The Target Of Accountability.

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24 Hours With RUS-TV
Podrobnosti . . . Details.

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The Week In Chicago Rock
Featuring: Pegboy, Pelican, My Epic, Silent Planet, Olivia Block, Mike Weis, The Mr. T Experience, Norma Jean, For Today, New Dougs, and Sidney Fenix & Azieb Abraha.

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The Sound Opinions Weekend Listening Report: "It's time for the 2016 Sound Opinions Holiday Spectacular! Each year, Jim and Greg are joined by holiday music collector Andy Cirzan, who shares a mix of rare Christmas records scavenged from dusty record bins around the world."

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Weekend BeachBook

Larry Colburn, Who Helped Stop My Lai Massacre, Dies At 67.

American hero.

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5 Creepy Changes The Government Forced On Movies & TV Shows.

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Where Memory Leads.

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Ivanka Trump's Boots Are Getting Hilariously Brutal Reviews On Amazon.

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David Bazan's Holiday Tunes Are A Melancholic Yule.

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How WLS Broke "Crimson and Clover."

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Bystander President To The End.

Eight years of 'Somebody really ought to do something' coming to a close.

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A New Front In Illinois Against Domestic Abuse: The Hairstylist's Chair.

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Elena Delle Donne Threatens To Leave Chicago.

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Beachwood Santas!

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Weekend TweetWood

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This should be getting more attention.

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The Beachwood Tronc Line: Brain freeze.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 1:48 PM | Permalink

The Week In Chicago Rock

You shoulda been there.

1. Pegboy at Liar's Club on Sunday night.


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2. Pelican at Emporium in Wicker Park on Thursday night.

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3. My Epic at Bottom Lounge on Thursday night.

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4. Norma Jean at Bottom Lounge on Thursday night.

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5. Silent Planet at Bottom Lounge on Thursday night.

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6. For Today at Bottom Lounge on Thursday night.

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7. Mike Weis at the Hideout on Wednesday night.

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8. Olivia Block at the Hideout on Wednesday night.


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Catching up with . . .

The Mr. T Experience at Reggies on December 9th.

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New Dougs at the Burlington on December 9th.

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Sidney Fenix and Azieb Abraha at the Observatory on December 3rd.

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 12:00 PM | Permalink

500 Migrants Drowned At Sea. No One Investigated

ALEXANDRIA, Egypt - At around 2 a.m. on Saturday, April 9, a large blue fishing boat carrying hundreds of African migrants and their children capsized just off the coast of Egypt.

Some drowned quickly. Others thrashed in the water, yelling for help in Arabic, Somali or Afan Oromo. The few with lifejackets blew whistles that pierced through the shrieks.

A solitary electric torch probed the moonless darkness. It came from a smaller boat that was circling, tantalizingly close. The men on that boat, the people-smugglers who had brought their human cargo to this point, were searching only for their comrades. They ignored the screams of the migrants and beat some back into the water.

Just 10 migrants managed to scramble up into the smaller boat to join the smugglers and 27 other migrants already aboard.

Around 500 adults and children died on the voyage, according to survivor and official estimates, the largest loss of life in the Mediterranean in 2016.

Wahab.JPGMeseda Abdel-Wahab (R), mother of teenager Fares Ezzat, and his aunt Halawethorn Abdel-Wahad with a photograph of him at the family home in the village of Meit Massoud in Aga, Egypt/Reuters stringer

Among the dead were an estimated 190 Somalis, around 150 Ethiopians, 80 Egyptians, and some 85 people from Sudan, Syria and other countries. Thirty-seven migrants survived.

Awale Sandhool, a 23-year-old who worked at a radio station in Mogadishu and had fled death threats at home, was among the few who swam to safety. Amid the chaos of the sinking, he said, his childhood friend Bilal Milyare had shouted to him from the water before drowning: "Could we not have been saved?"

Until now, no one has tried to answer that question.

A Reuters investigation in collaboration with the BBC's Newsnight has found that in the seven months since the mass drowning, no official body, national or multinational, has held anyone to account for the deaths or even opened an inquiry into the shipwreck.

When the news emerged via social media eight days after the sinking, European politicians showed brief interest. Italian President Sergio Mattarella suggested that the world should reflect on "yet another tragedy in the Mediterranean."

But Italy, where the ship was headed, has not investigated the sinking. Nor has Greece, where the survivors landed, or Egypt, from where the migrants and smugglers set sail. There has been no investigation by any United Nations body, the European Union's frontier agency, the EU police agency, any maritime agency, the North Atlantic Treaty Organization, or the EU naval task force in the Mediterranean.

The only significant official action taken so far has been a fraud case against some of the smugglers in Egypt, sparked by complaints to police by a handful of grieving parents. No one has been apprehended in that case.

Sayed.JPGAyat el-Sayed with a photograph of her teenage son El-Sayed Raaouf at the family home in the village of Kafr Dewaeda, in the province of Al-Sharkia, Egypt/Mohamed Abd El Ghany, Reuters

Reuters has identified the owners of the doomed ship and the ringleaders of the voyage, as well as the people-brokers who assembled the migrants in Cairo and Alexandria and took their money.

The investigation demonstrates the gaps in international law enforcement that make it easy for human smugglers to pursue their deadly trade in the Mediterranean. But it also shows what could be done if authorities chose to make a priority of investigating migrant deaths.

The official indifference to the disaster contrasts with how nations mobilized after EgyptAir Flight MS804 crashed in the Mediterranean on May 19, killing 66 people. Within hours of the crash, Egypt dispatched warships and air force planes to search for wreckage and survivors. France, Britain and the United States sent their own ships and aircraft. An investigation into what caused the crash and who was responsible continues in both Egypt and France.

Rob Wainwright, director of the European police agency, Europol, said that in hindsight his agency should have investigated the April sinking. Reuters inquiries might have exposed a "gap here in the collective response by Europe" to such cases, he said in an interview.

He said the news agency's inquiries had "triggered our minds about how we can improve." In late November he said that Europol would study evidence collected by Reuters with Newsnight - and would consider opening an inquiry into the case, together with Greece or another member state. "If we can find a way of expediting it and making it operational then we will try to do that."

In Egypt, Judge Khaled al-Nashar, assistant to Egypt's Minister of Justice for Parliamentary and Media Affairs, said he could not confirm what inquiries had taken place into the April sinking but further action was not ruled out. "If the occurrence of such a crime is proven, Egypt certainly will not hesitate to conduct the necessary investigations to uncover it and arrest the perpetrators and bring them to justice."

Egypt's special ambassador for migration, Naela Jabr, said security agencies were "doing their utmost" to fight illegal migration, arresting 5,076 people who tried to migrate illegally in the first six months of the year. Jabr said a people-smuggling law passed by parliament in October and ratified in November would help in the crackdown.

Some Egyptian lawyers said the government already had the power to impose justice in the case. They said that smugglers responsible for the voyage could be prosecuted for first-degree homicide, abetting illegal migration, and maritime safety breaches.

"I consider putting 500 people on this boat to be murder. There is no other way to describe it," said Sabry Tolba, an Egyptian lawyer hired by the families of some of those who died.

Reda2.JPGSaad Abass, father of teenage son Abass Reda, at the family home in the village of Meit Massoud in Aga, Egypt/Reuters stringer

The November 2000 Palermo Convention against organized crime, signed by all of the nations involved in the tragedy, also requires countries to pass laws, take effective measures and "cooperate to the fullest extent possible" to prevent and suppress the smuggling of migrants by sea.

This account is based on interviews with people involved in all aspects of the voyage: survivors, relatives of the victims, smugglers, fishermen, coastal residents in Egypt, security and maritime officials, agents who acted as the middlemen between passengers and traffickers, and money changers who handled the cash. Reuters also analyzed social media networks to track the links between smugglers and their human cargo.

Among the obstacles that had to be overcome: Survivors, fearing repatriation to Egypt and retaliation from the smuggler gangs, initially lied about key details of the trip. Those lies, widely repeated by the media and by UN agencies, have helped delay bringing the perpetrators to account.

THE PEOPLE MARKET

In the spring of this year, crowds began gathering every day on Mekka el Mokrama Street in Cairo, where the Egypt headquarters of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) is located. They were migrants, most of them from Somalia and Ethiopia, queuing to register with UNHCR so they could temporarily but legally live in Egypt.

On the street, brokers circled.

"Italy, Italy, Italy," they shouted, as they hawked places on boats headed across the Mediterranean.

Over the winter, few boats had made that trip. But now the weather was clearing and the people-smuggling business was picking up. By August, more than 11,379 migrants would make it to Italy from Egypt, more than in all of 2015. The Mediterranean would prove deadlier than ever. According to the UNHCR, more than 4,663 people have died trying to cross the sea to Europe this year, a record.

One broker touting passage was Hamza Abdirashid, a slim and well-dressed man whose Facebook profile says he comes from the city of Hargeisa in the breakaway part of Somalia known as Somaliland.

Sandhool, the young Somali from Mogadishu, met him in the Cairo suburb of Nasr City, where Somali migrants often congregate. "He came around in a car and asked me if I wanted to go to Europe," Sandhool said.

Sandhool.JPGSandhool in the back of a taxi in Athens/Stephen Grey, Reuters

The price was $1,800, Sandhool said. But "Hamza was saying if you take five people along, you will get two for free." Sandhool said he later negotiated a $500 discount for himself with one of Abdirashid's deputies, another Somali in Cairo.

Brokers charged passengers a fee of between $1,300 and $2,500, based on the traveler's ability to pay, according to more than a dozen survivors interviewed. People involved in the business said the broker typically kept $200 of that, passing on the rest to the smugglers.

Several other migrants identified Abdirashid as the main broker for Somalis on the April voyage. Other brokers handled other nationalities. The middlemen usually come from the same ethnic group as the migrants.

The brokers used messaging on apps like Facebook, WhatsApp and Viber to negotiate with migrants. Records of those interactions could help law enforcement identify the brokers. An analysis of the Facebook friends of Abdirashid, the broker, shows he was connected to at least 10 of those Somalis on board the ship: six victims and four survivors.

Contacted on social media, Abdirashid declined to comment about his role as a broker, saying that the issue of illegal migration was sensitive.

"I'm a student, I don't want to face problems," he wrote in a WhatsApp conversation with a reporter.

GOING DOWN

In the evening of Thursday, April 7, a fleet of minibuses moved through the suburbs of Cairo, picking up Somalis and Ethiopians from lay-bys and street corners.

The buses were tourist vehicles, hired from a Giza-based company called Honest Tours, said one broker. Emad Monir, transport director of the company, said he was unaware of this trip or any other involving illegal migrants. "It is like stopping a taxi on the street, the driver doesn't ask the client why is he going to the place."

The buses carried the migrants for three hours to the port city of Alexandria.

Sandhool and his fellow travelers were handed to another group of Egyptian smugglers who would earn around $220 a head. For that, the smugglers put migrants temporarily in takhzeen, or storage - apartment buildings in Alexandria or isolated compounds close to the shore. They also took care of el Nazla, or going down, shifting the migrants into waiting boats.

It was at this stage that the first known deaths occurred.

At dawn on Friday, April 8, after a night waiting in isolated car parks with curtains drawn, a group of Somalis and Ethiopians were offloaded from buses on Alexandria's Miami Beach. The beach is a tourist destination and is typically thronged with pleasure-seekers.

MiamiBeach.JPGMiami Beach, in the port city of Alexandria, Egypt/Stephen Grey, Reuters

It is also fenced off and usually protected by guards. But no guard was visible that day and nobody intervened when smugglers armed with pistols assembled the migrants into groups of 20 or 30 and loaded them onto hasakas, the small wooden boats with engines that ply this part of the coast.

"Everyone was being grabbed and thrown on. People were sitting on top of me and I felt a lot of pressure," said Sandhool. "Then the boat started moving."

Within sight of the beach, and well inside Egyptian territorial waters, the hasakas pulled up alongside a small wooden fishing boat with a cover shading its deck. So close to shore, the swell was treacherous. As people struggled out, Sandhool's hasaka began to tip. AbdiAziz Shiyo, a 23-year-from Hargeisa who had played soccer with Sandhool in Cairo, spotted the danger.

"Keep the balance!" he shouted.

It was too late. The hasaka overturned and tossed everyone in the water. Shiyo drowned, as did Asad Elmi, a pregnant woman in her twenties, and an unrelated six-month-old child. Others, including Sandhool, managed to scramble onto the fishing boat.

Osman Asad Mohamed, a migrant from southern Somalia, also witnessed the deaths. He said smugglers had a spare wooden boat ready to take away the bodies and collect any abandoned luggage.

Abdelaziz Yusuf, a criminal lawyer in Cairo, said Egyptian maritime law required all vessels to carry communication equipment and to call for help in an emergency. If anyone died, Yusuf said, the sailors could be prosecuted either under maritime law, for failure to perform their duties, or under civilian law for deliberate failure to act to save a life when they were able. The latter could be deemed premeditated first-degree murder under Article 230 of the Egyptian penal code, which carries a death penalty.

By now, the wind was picking up and the swell building. Nevertheless, the fishing boat - about 15 meters (50 feet) long, painted white with a blue and gold stripe along its hull - set off with nearly 200 people aboard.

Local sailors identified the boat as one that operated from the small, military-controlled port of Abu Qir further along the coast from Miami Beach. Local fishermen and security officials said smuggling from that port was controlled by Ismail al-Bougy, a powerful 41-year-old who got his start hawking seafood on the street. Bougy's real name, according to the security officials and a police report seen by Reuters, is Ismail Ali.

The wooden fishing boat - or "middle boat," as it became known - was to ferry the migrants to a much larger ship. Survivors would later refer to the main vessel as the "big boat."

That big boat was a deep-sea fishing trawler. It was painted blue and measured around 22 meters (72 feet). According to survivors, it had three decks: a top deck exposed to the weather, a main working deck, and a refrigerated fish-hold accessed via a narrow hatch and ladder.

By Friday night, the trawler was stationary offshore, rolling and pitching in growing waves. Instead of fish, the trawler's hold was loaded with more than 300 passengers who had been brought out from other beaches over the previous two days. The smugglers planned to cram another 150 to 200 people into the load.

SHIPS AND SMUGGLERS

Egypt's Mediterranean coast is tightly controlled by the nation's Coast Guard and military. Large sea-going vessels can only depart from a handful of creeks or Nile branches - all watched by Coast Guard towers. For this reason, the identities of ships and crew that run smuggling missions become well-known among fishermen and local Coast Guard officers.

Egypt's Coast Guard did not respond to a request to comment.

Local fishermen and other smugglers say the "big boat" that sank in April was built in a shipyard and registered at the port of Rashid, the modern name for ancient Rosetta, about 50 km (30 miles) northeast of Alexandria.

One of Egypt's top people-smugglers, who spoke on condition of anonymity, identified the sunken trawler as the Abu Nawal, registered in Rashid as RSH-123. The smuggler, who is wanted in Italy for allegedly organizing other illegal voyages, supplied a set of photographs of the vessel and said he knew about this trip because he was asked to recruit passengers for it but declined.

He said fishing boats were made in Rashid specifically for trafficking. "Nowadays we make boats to work in this business, not to fish. It is a million times more profitable." With fishing, the net was often empty. But on a smuggling trip, "you can make $400,000."

The Abu Nawal departed Rashid on March 9 to go fishing and has not returned, according to an April 16 Coast Guard report received by the fisheries ministry and seen by Reuters.

The ship's original owner, Hassan Yehia, is from Burg Mighizel, a village that lies a kilometer across the Nile from Rashid. The village is reputed to be the smuggling capital of the Nile Delta.

Burg.JPGBurg Mighizel/Stephen Grey, Reuters

Yehia says the Abu Nawal was named after his daughter and mother. He gave conflicting accounts of his connection to the ship. He first said he sold the Abu Nawal in March to a Libyan merchant, but later he said he still half-owned the vessel, which was now in Libya.

But the people-smuggler said Yehia sold the ship in March to two men he identified as the ringleaders of the April voyage: Bougy, the smuggler from Alexandria, and his partner, Ahmed Obeid, 51. Obeid is known locally as Dr Obeid, or simply "The Doctor."

Security officials and fishermen described Obeid as the leading smuggler in Burg Mighizel. Both Obeid and Bougy were detained in prison between 2005 and 2008 as a threat to security under Egypt's three-decades-long state of emergency that was lifted in 2012, according to a senior Egyptian security official. The official said the pair remained pivotal in the smuggling business.

A broker directly involved in recruiting passengers for the April voyage independently identified Obeid and Bougy as organizers of the fated trip. So did two relatives of Egyptian victims on the voyage, who separately learned of their relatives' fates by questioning the brokers.

Yehia, the ship's original owner, said he knew Obeid, who was from the same village. "You probably already know how dangerous this man could be," he said. "Dangerous to an extent that would make me and others not talk about him."

Police say both Obeid and Bougy have been sentenced in absentia several times by Egyptian courts for offenses connected to illegal migration. The latest conviction in absentia, for a misdemeanor over the trafficking of several children who went missing in April, came after a complaint from parents. Both were sentenced to a year in jail, but remain at-large.

Lawyers said police and prosecutors have not examined any connection with the April sinking. Lawyers also said those convicted of fraud would likely appeal their sentence if they were ever apprehended.

Obeid did not respond to messages left at his home in Burg Mighezel. His son Ibrahim said he acknowledged his father had arranged migrant trips but said there was no evidence tying him to the deadly voyage.

"If he arranges a trip, he does it in a way that pleases God," Ibrahim said, laughing. "You'll never find any smuggler using his real name, so there isn't real proof that it's my father."

Bougy could not be reached for comment.

THE DROWNING

It was about 2 a.m. on Saturday, April 9, when the middle boat reached the trawler. It was pitch dark and well beyond sight of the Egyptian coast. According to one fisherman with a close connection to smuggling gangs, the two vessels met a couple of hours' sailing off the port of el-Saloum, near the Libyan border.

In a rough sea and high winds, the middle boat was roped to the trawler. The smaller vessel's passengers, between 150 and 200 people, were forced to clamber across.

As the trawler, or "big boat," rocked about, its growing load suddenly shifted to one side. It listed, and then began to keel over.

In panic, the crew on the middle boat cut the tethering lines and pushed their craft, which still had 27 migrants aboard, clear of the trawler.

Sandhool was now on the trawler's top deck. He began to pray. "People on the boat all started screaming and crying together," he said. Hundreds were still crammed in the hold.

Sandhool was thrown into the water. "Myself and a couple of young guys started to swim away to try and save ourselves." Sandhool and a few others had brought along lifejackets; most had not.

Muaz Mahmud, an Ethiopian, was also thrown overboard with his wife and two-month-old infant. He survived. His family did not. "I was trying to save them," he said later, tears sweeping down his cheeks. "But I couldn't save them. They slipped away. Everybody was climbing over and hanging on me but I couldn't even hold on myself. So I took off all my clothes, left everything in the sea and tried to swim. I swam towards the light."

Mahmud.JPGMuaz Mahmud/Stephen Grey, Reuters

That light was the single torch on the middle boat. For the next half-hour, the vessel moved through the water searching for the trawler's crew and its captain, whose name was Salem. The sailors on that boat ignored the pleas of the migrants in the water and brandished knives, threatening survivors like Muaz. Nevertheless, he made it aboard. But when he grabbed someone else's hand to pull him from the sea, he said a crewman punched him until he let go. The same crewman cut loose a rope that survivors were using to clamber up.

Gamachis Abdullah, another Ethiopian student, watched helplessly from the middle boat as his mother and two brothers drowned. His eldest brother, Ramadan, nearly made it. "He was shouting up to me but the crew forcibly made us leave everyone and go," Abdullah said.

The smugglers rescued Salem and two of the trawler's crew, but within minutes Salem died of an apparent heart attack and his body was dumped overboard. Then the smugglers sailed away, leaving behind, according to Muaz, at least 100 people still alive in the water.

Yusuf, the Cairo lawyer, said the overloading of the trawler amounted to premeditated murder. Accepting such a massive load, he said, ensured the vessel had little chance of arriving safely. And just as with the drownings near the shore, he said, while there was no specific Egyptian law about sea disasters, the crew's failure to rescue "when it was in their hands to save people" could be interpreted by courts as murder under Egypt's penal code.

Nashar, the senior official in the justice ministry, said a murder charge would require proof of a "special intent to destroy a soul." In smuggling cases, he said, "the purpose is to transport individuals and smuggle them in exchange for profit." But smugglers could be charged with manslaughter, which carries a sentence of up to 10 years in jail. Laws against human trafficking, immigration and maritime laws, and laws protecting women and child rights could also have been violated.

The middle boat was equipped with radios, cell phones and a satellite phone, but none of its crew attempted to alert authorities, according to survivors. Instead, they said, the crew discussed whether to kill those left alive.

Osman Asad Mohamed, who understood Arabic from living in Yemen, said the proposal came from a tall, thin, pale-colored smuggler, the one who had cut the ropes between the two ships. "I remember his words clearly: 'Let's kill all of them and bring our boat back. Most of them are dead; they are of no value to us now.'"

Some survivors were so petrified by those words they hid in the middle boat's hold, clutching makeshift weapons for defense. But the smugglers never carried out the threat, said Mohamed, because they decided they were outnumbered by migrants.

The crew's failure to call for help was costly, say maritime safety professionals, because many of those in life jackets could have survived for hours. A senior Greek Coast Guard officer said the sea lanes off Egypt and Libya are busy with traffic exiting the Suez Canal. Those ships could have assisted had the survivors called, he said.

Mohamed recalled that just before the trawler sank, he noticed the lights of big ships in the distance.

RESCUE AND INACTION

At about 12.30 p.m. on April 16, a week after the disaster, the headquarters of the Italian Coast Guard in Rome received its first word of the sinking: a distress call from a satellite phone. The call came from one of the survivors aboard the middle boat.

By 2.19 p.m., the Italian coast guard had determined the boat was lying in international waters, within Greece's "rescue coordination zone." By treaty, maritime nations have divided the sea up into zones. Each country takes responsibility for rescue operations in its zone, even if it asserts no legal jurisdiction outside territorial waters, typically 12 nautical miles off the coast.

Just under two hours later, Greek Coast Guard officers in the port of Piraeus instructed a Dutch-operated bulk carrier, the 550-foot Eastern Confidence, to change course and find the boat full of survivors.

Obliged by maritime law to assist with the rescue, but not to collect evidence, the crew of the Confidence did not check the boat for identification marks or serial numbers that could have shown where the smugglers came from. The Confidence's operators, Orient Shipping Rotterdam, told Reuters the basic details of the rescue but declined further comment.

The Confidence ferried the survivors to the Greek port of Kalamata. It was here that they began to tell their story to the Greek Coast Guard, to the media, to agencies such as UNHCR, and, via phone, to families and friends. The survivors said that up to 500 people had drowned.

But while Greek authorities helped in the rescue and aided the survivors, they decided not to investigate the sinking. A source with knowledge of the case said that Greece's Coast Guard did not refer the case to a criminal prosecutor because there was no indication any crime had been committed on Greek territory.

Both the Coast Guard and Nikos Paraskevopoulos, the justice minister, declined to comment.

If Greek authorities had questioned survivors more closely, they might have learned that some of their accounts were untrue - notably, the initial claim that the migrants had left from Tobruk in western Libya.

Based on interviews with survivors in Greece, the UNHCR repeated this erroneous account in an April 20 press statement.

In fact, nobody had left from Tobruk.

All the migrants set sail from Egypt, according to brokers involved, relatives who spoke to victims just before they embarked, and Egyptian security officials.

Sandhool, the young Somali, originally said he had boarded in Tobruk. But he later revised his story. "I am really sorry I told you a lie," he said, explaining that survivors had agreed on the false story because they were worried they might be deported from Europe to Somalia or Egypt.

Survivors also failed to disclose that four of the Egyptians on the middle boat were sailors employed in the smuggling gang. Mahmud, the Ethiopian survivor, said the four had urged survivors to lie. "The Egyptian smugglers were with us, and they told us that the Greece authority would return us . . . if we tell them that we are from Egypt. This is the only reason why we told we are from Tobruk."

Other survivors said they were grateful to these crewmen for keeping them alive and taking them to Greece.

NO MANDATE

Like Greece, Frontex, the EU border agency, did not investigate. Izabella Cooper, a spokesperson, said it had no mandate because launching investigations into potential crimes was a "power reserved for national authorities."

The European Union runs a naval mission off the Libyan coast - Operation Sophia - to identify and capture smugglers' vessels. In practice, it also operates as a rescue service, picking up more than 16,000 migrants from the sea from January through August 2016.

Captain Antonello de Renzis Sonnino, the operation's chief spokesperson, said the force operated in an area "just outside the Libyan territorial waters" and has so far successfully identified 89 smugglers and traffickers that Italian authorities could prosecute. But asked about the April sinking, he said that based on "the information we have, the disaster occurred far away from where we had our military vessels."

NATO, which runs a separate naval mission in the Aegean to monitor illegal migration, began operations against people-smuggling in the Mediterranean last month. A spokeswoman said: "No ships under NATO command were mandated to engage directly in counter-human trafficking activities in the Mediterranean in April."

UNHCR, which assisted the survivors when they reached Athens, said it was not its job to investigate. "UNHCR is there to help the survivors and warn travelers tempted to take the journey. We do not have the investigative mandate to go after organized crime," said chief spokesperson Melissa Fleming.

Ali2.JPGEzzat Ali (L) with a photograph of his teenage son Fares Ezzat, with his sister-in-law Halawethorn Abdel-Wahad at the family home in the village of Meit Massoud in Aga, Egypt/Reuters stringer

One entity does acknowledge it could investigate: Europol. Wainwright, the Europol chief, said his agency exists to help support such investigations, although it was required to get the cooperation of a member state.

Wainwright said he was willing to take the case on and would raise it at senior levels in Greece. But, he said, the country was short of resources and already burdened by a huge influx of migrants. Any response, he said, should "be a European Union response."

Law enforcement in Europe was increasingly overwhelmed by the scale of challenges posed by illegal migration, he said, whether it was drownings or child migrants who go missing. In contrast, if a single local child went missing in England, France or Germany, it attracted huge resources for police. "It's almost a parallel world we are living in," he said. "It's very frustrating."

Somalia's Foreign Minister Abdusalam Omer said that the government asked Somali embassies to talk to officials and private organizations, such as those working with migrants, in Italy, Greece, and Egypt.

He declined to detail what help Somalia received, but urged a more compassionate response. "If you can deploy a flotilla of ships . . . to stop piracy off the coast of Somalia, why can one not deploy a flotilla of ships that saves lives in the Mediterranean? These are our children. And when I say our children, it is not just the Somali children, it is all our children, it is humanity."

THE TRAIL TO CAIRO

Egypt also chose not to investigate. Local police in Alexandria mounted a partial inquiry into the disappearance of nine Egyptian teenage boys who left for Italy in April, but have not linked the boys' disappearance to the sinking.

One father, Abdo Abdul Hamid of Alexandria, gave a statement to police. That led to a prosecutor's report, reviewed by Reuters, which named some of the smuggling ringleaders. Six of them, including Bougy and Obeid, were convicted in absentia by a court in Alexandria of defrauding the boys' families. All remain at-large.

Hamid.JPGAbdo Abdul Hamid with a photograph of his teenage son Ibrahim in the boy's bedroom at the family home in Alexandria, Egypt/Reuters stringer

"These people have to get punished," Abdul Hamid said. "I will stay after them until they all go to prison."

No Egyptian body has looked into the shipwreck itself, two senior security officials confirmed. Law enforcement officials said an ineffective legal system discourages action, and also blamed the pressure of other work. One senior security source said that illegal immigration was nothing new, and "the priority is security and drugs at the moment."

Under international law, if any of the ships involved in the disaster were flagged or registered in Egypt, as large fishing trawlers like the Abu Nawal are, then Cairo had a clear mandate and possibly even an obligation to investigate the disaster, according to Niels Frenzen, director of the Law Immigration Clinic at the University of Southern California.

Nashar, the senior official in Egypt's justice ministry, said that investigations into illegal migration were difficult because they often required collecting evidence and chasing criminals across borders, and because migrants were often reluctant to give evidence.

But, he said, "I can confirm it is not in the interests of the investigating agencies, whether the general prosecutor or any relevant law enforcement authority, to cover up on such crimes."

Nashar said that after another sinking in September, Egypt had rushed through the new law "to combat the crime of illegal migration."

In May, the six Egyptians who'd been rescued and taken to Greece - two teenage migrants and four crew - agreed to be sent home to Egypt. According to Cairo airport police records, the six told authorities they had left from an Egyptian beach.

That gave Egypt another reason to investigate. Instead of probing further, though, the police charged the six with crossing a frontier illegally.

The two teenage survivors and four smugglers were fined and paid 100 Egyptian pounds apiece, or $11. So far, this is the only punishment meted out in the sinking of the Abu Nawal.

Stephen Grey reported from Athens, Cairo and Alexandria; Amina Ismail from Cairo, Alexandria and Kafr-el-Sheikh; Additional reporting by Sameh Ellaboody in Cairo, Alexandria, Kafr-el-Sheikh and Damietta; Karolina Tagaris in Athens; Crispian Balmer and Steve Scherer in Rome; Edmund Blair in Nairobi; Abdi Sheikh in Mogadishu; and Hussein Ali Noor in Hargeisa.

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See also: In Cairo, Ethiopia's Oromos Lose Hope With UN Refugee Agency.

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 1:38 AM | Permalink

December 17, 2016

McDonald's Moving International Tax Base To UK

McDonald's said earlier this month it would move its international tax base to the United Kingdom from Luxembourg after coming under increased scrutiny from European Union regulators over its tax arrangements in the small country.

McDonald's said it would create a new international holding company domiciled in the UK that would receive the majority of royalties from licensing deals outside the United States.

"We are aligning our corporate structure with the way we do business, which is no longer in geographies, but in segments that group together countries with common market and growth characteristics," McDonald's said in a statement.

The move will also help to cut costs, McDonald's said.

LondonMcD.JPGA McDonald's in London/Neil Hall

The reorganization comes amid an investigation by the EU into what it says are sweetheart tax deals that smaller states in the bloc offer to multinational companies to lure jobs and investment.

In August, the EU ordered Apple to pay Ireland unpaid taxes of up to 13 billion euros ($13.8 billion), ruling that the iPhone maker had received illegal state aid.

McDonald's potentially faced an order from the bloc to pay back taxes of $500 million to Luxembourg, the Financial Times reported in September.

The company said in July it would create more than 5,000 jobs in Britain by the end of 2017, in a sign of its commitment to the country after the vote on June 23 to leave the EU.

A number of international companies have shifted their corporate registration or primary tax residence to the UK since Britain relaxed its rules on the taxation of companies' foreign subsidiaries in 2012.

These include U.S. lock maker Allegion, U.S. insurer Aon and Italian tractor maker CNH Industrial.

Under UK rules, profits earned by overseas arms or a UK-registered company are effectively exempt from UK tax even if the income is untaxed.

Tax campaigners say this allows companies to shift profits out of the UK before being taxed and then allows companies bring the money back tax-free.

The moves studied by Reuters create few if any jobs and have helped the companies slash their tax bills.

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Previously in Tax Scammage:
* Deepwater Horizon Settlement Comes With $5.35 Billion Tax Windfall.

* Offshoring By 29 Companies Costs Illinois $1.2 Billion Annually.

* Government Agencies Allow Corporations To Write Off Billions In Federal Settlements.

* The Gang Of 62 Vs. The World.

* How The Maker Of TurboTax Fought Free, Simple Tax Filing.

* $1.4 Trillion: Oxfam Exposes The Great Offshore Tax Scam Of U.S. Companies.

* How Barclay's Turned A $10 Billion Profit Into A Tax Loss.

* Wall Street Stock Loans Drain $1 Billion A Year From German Taxpayers.

* German Finance Minister Cries Foul Over Tax Avoidance Deals.

* Prosecutor Targets Commerzbank For Deals That Dodge German Taxes.

* A Schlupfloch Here, A Schlupfloch There. Now It's Real Money.

* How Milwaukee Landlords Avoid Taxes.

* Study: 32 Illinois Fortune 500 Companies Holding At Least $147 Billion Offshore.

* Watch Out For The Coming Tax Break Trickery.

* When A 'Tax Bonanza' Is Actually A Huge Corporate Tax Break.

* The Hypocrisy Of Corporate Welfare: It's Bigger Than Trump.

* Oxfam Names World's Worst Tax Havens Fueling 'Global Race To Bottom.'

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Previously in the Panama Papers:
* The Panama Papers: Remarkable Global Media Collaboration Cracks Walls Of Offshore Tax Haven Secrecy.

* The Panama Papers: Prosecutors Open Probes.

* The [Monday] Papers.

* Adventures In Tax Avoidance.

* Mossack Fonseca's Oligarchs, Dictators And Corrupt White-Collar Businessmen.

* Jonathan Pie, TV Reporter! They're All In It Together.

* Meet The Panama Papers Editor Who Handled 376 Reporters In 80 Countries.

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Previously in the carried interest loophole:

* Patriotic Millionaires Vs. Carried Interest.

* The Somewhat Surreal Politics Of A Private Equity Tax Loophole Costing Us Billions (That Obama Refused To Close Despite Pledging To Do So).

* Fact-Checking Trump & Clinton On The Billionaire's Tax Break.

* Offshore Tax Havens Cost Average Illinois Small Business $5,789 A Year.

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 7:35 PM | Permalink

The Beachwood Radio Sports Hour #132: Bulls Shit

Team Hoiberg falls of the cliff. Plus: RealFeeling The Bears and Joe Maddon Fails To Embrace The Target Of Accountability.


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SHOW NOTES

* 32.

:54: Bulls Shit.

* Giannis Antetokounmpo Is Now A Point Guard, A Center And Everything In Between.

* Nikola Mirotic Apologizes For Missing Walkthrough, Is Confused About Benching.

* Bernstein: Bulls Men Can't Jump.

* Jimmy Butler Held To Season-Low 7 Points.

* Mirotic's Loss Is Bobby Portis' Gain - For Now.

* Denzel Valentine To See More Playing Time.

* Beleaguered Bench Welcomes Back Doug McDermott.

* Bulls Still Waiting For Young Players To Step Forward.

* Jerian Grant Back To The Bench.

* Cavaliers Stick It To Memphis Fans.

* Blame Both Roster Construction And Coaching.

* Friedell: Front Office Deserves Most Of The Blame.

* NBA CBA: Optimism Abounds.

* Jabari Parker Rises Under The Radar.

* BrittBrau: Is Thibodeau To Blame?

42:46: RealFeeling The Bears.

* Coldest Bears Game Ever?

* Least Attended Bears Game Ever?

* You Can Call Him Gone.

* John Fox Continues To be Impressed By Matt Barkley.

* Gabriel: No, Matt Barkley Isn't A Starting-Caliber NFL Quarterback.

* Sliverstein: Josh Bellamy Is Not The Problem.

* Haugh: Fair To Wonder If Alshon Jeffery Is A John Fox Kind Of Player.

57:25: Joe Maddon Fails To Embrace Target Of Accountability.

* Joe Maddon's Aroldis Chapman Defense: I Had To Win, He Always Said Yes.

* "The part I screwed up with I didn't have someone warming up in the ninth once Rizzo hit the home run," Maddon said.

That's funny, after the game he said he didn't have enought time to warm someone up, which clearly wasn't true.

* "Every game I put him in, I talked to him and his interpreter to make sure that he was OK because this season he did not like pitching multiple innings so we stopped doing it. So I talked to him about if we did that in the playoffs, how would he feel about that and he said he was fine with that.'

That's funny, because when he was told during the season by a reporter that Chapman said he didn't like pitching multiple innings, Maddon said he was unaware of that but that it didn't matter to him anyway.

* See the segment "Cubs Always Closing," including "Maddon-Proofing The Bullpen" and "Dusty Maddon."

* "[Montgomery] had warmed up four times - in the third, fifth, ninth and 10th innings. He knew going into the game that he was gassed. His manager, Joe Maddon, had acknowledged as much to the FOX broadcast team. And Montgomery's first warmup went so poorly, he thought, 'I hope I don't get into this game.'"

This was Game 7 of the World Series.

* So Maddon apologized to Rondon for overusing him and getting him hurt; John Lackey blamed his injury during the season on Maddon warming him up in the bullpen; Maddon famously overused Travis Wood in his two seasons, rendering him useless by the end of each; Chapman, of course; and Montgomery. Plus, Pedro Strop, who knows.

* Fangraphs: The Inning The Cubs Stole.

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

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 2:04 PM | Permalink

24 Hours With RUS-TV

9:30 a.m.: Masakra, triller

11:15 a.m.: JBS predstavlyaet . . . Mudrost Doktora Rut Vesthaymer

11:35 a.m.: Ni dnya bez strochki G.Katsov

Noon: Politseyskiy uchastok 4

1 p.m.: Derevo zhizni, programma L.Katsina

1:30 p.m.: Evron'yus

2 p.m.: 9 Kanal Izrail predstavlyaet . . . Geroy dnya

2:50 p.m.: Sistema, ozdorovitel'naya pr-ma.

3:05 p.m.: Express novosti

3:10 p.m.: Novosti Ukrainy. Podrobnosti

4 p.m.: Derevo zhizni, programma L.Katsina

4:25 p.m.: JBS predstavlyaet . . . Evreyskie traditsii 101

5:05 p.m.: Naslednitsy, drama

6 p.m.: Mir segodnya s Yuriem Rostovym

6:35 p.m.: Gazarkhnews

6:45 p.m.: Bol'shie nadezhdy, molodezhniy serial

7:45 p.m.: Vesti, informatsionnaya pr-ma.

8:15 p.m.: Masakra, triller

10 p.m.: Kontakt M.Pritsker

11 p.m.: 9 Kanal Izrail predstavlyaet . . . Geroi dnya

11:45 p.m.: Ni dnya bez strochki, G.Katsov

12:10 a.m.: Politseyskiy uchastok

1 a.m.: Utrennyaya probezhka. G.Katsov

2 a.m.: Naslednitsy, drama

2:45 a.m.: Bol'shie nadezhdy, molodezhniy serial

3:30 a.m.: Chto noven'kogo? V.Pechorina

4 a.m.: Mir Segodnya

4:35 a.m.: Gazarkhnews

4:45 a.m.: Sistema, ozdorovitel'naya pr-ma.

5 a.m.: Politseyskiy uchastok 4

6 a.m.: 9 Kanal Izrail predstavlyaet . . . Geroy dnya

7 a.m.: Ytrennyaya probezhka (G.Katsov)

8 a.m.: Literaturniy razgovor, vedushiy I.Grakovskiy

8:30 a.m.: Osoboe mnenie s A.Grantom

9:30 a.m.: Masakra, triller

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Previously:
* 24 Hours With QVC
* 24 Hours With Tru TV
* 24 Hours With Current TV
* 24 Hours With The Military Channel
* 24 Hours With The Hallmark Channel
* 24 Hours With TVGN
* 24 Hours With Retroplex
* 24 Hours With Penthouse TV
* 24 Hours With The DIY Network
* 24 Hours With BET
* 24 Hours With CNBC
* 24 Hours With WWMEB
* 24 Hours With PRISM TV
* 24 Hours With Al Jazeera America.
* 24 Hours With Fuse.
* 24 Hours With Pop TV.
* 24 Hours With BET Soul.
* 24 Hours With BabyTV.
* 24 Hours With Jewelry Television.
* 24 Hours With XFHS.
* 24 Hours With Freeform.
* 24 Hours With Baby1.

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 12:05 AM | Permalink

December 16, 2016

TrackNotes: What's He To You?

Affinity for anything is all in the mind, a matter of degree.

Grandiose obsession or mere admiration. Controlled emotion, or not. Tears, or no. All-knowing smugness about "your guy," or a healthy detachment.

Pete Rose the gambler. Tiger Woods the Lothario. Rae Carruth the murderer. Ray Lewis, the who-knows-what.

Teddy bears at the accident scene, only to have Streets and San clean up the next rainy night. Chalk on the bricks on Waveland or Sheffield, and the million-psi power washer stealing all that soul just hours later. Being told to get lost in an autograph request to a player you just knew you knew, and love(d). People just want to belong, to something.

You've got to be careful with all this.

So when I heard about the passing early this week of former jockey, former great, Garrett Gomez, the sadness simmered along with the memories and the question: What does this really mean to me?

The circumstances of his death are sorrow enough. He was reportedly found dead in a hotel room of a Tucson-area casino resort, apparently of a drug overdose. He had retired in 2015, but had last ridden in the fall of 2013, during the Keeneland meet. Turned out he was unable to hang on to what he did best.

Admittedly, I didn't put it together at the time. I had heard about his suspension for substance problems - they test if they think there's a problem, and even if they don't. I just figured he would be back. These are the toughest men and women, these jockeys.

Hall of Fame rider Mike Smith thought the same.

"I saw him a few months ago and I'll be honest, he looked as good if not better than I had ever seen him. I was really surprised to hear what happened," Smith said. "I remember walking away and thinking, 'Man, it's going to be about a year, maybe, and he'll be back.'"

Patrick Valenzuela had come back. And back and back and back too many times to count. Google it, he comes up second on the suspension search results. Even after shaving himself so as not to have a single hair available for analysis.

Young Tyler Baze is riding again. Kent Desormeaux fought the battle.

Willie Shoemaker was left a quadriplegic after a single-car DUI accident after he retired. Who knows what he went through during his racing days?

We can't count all of the suspensions at all the bull rings of racing.

But what of Gomez? What's he to you, TrackNotes?

I just remember him as a very solid rider way out west on the California circuit, who would, of course, come east for the big races. I remember never having to worry about getting a straight-up ride from him, unlike some others.

I'll bitch and moan about a Julien Leparoux, a Desormeaux, sometimes Rafael Bejarano and Patient (enough to finish second or third) Pat Day (both retired), Stewart Elliott, Martin Garcia, even Triple Crown hero Victor Espinoza. All very good riders who occasionally drive you to chewing and swallowing your tote ticket. And don't get me started on some of the stiffs at Arlington or Hawthorne.

Chicken/egg, Gomez was a good rider who got good horses and gave good rides.

After his native New Mexico and the California fair circuit, Gomez climbed a rung or two and moved to Ak-Sar-Ben (yes, that's backwards for Nebraska) and Fonner Park in the Cornhusker State.

In a day when Arlington Park still may have mattered, Gomez made some serious bones here, winning the Mid-America Triple of the American Derby, the Arlington Classic and his first Grade I, the Secretariat in 1997.

He did what guys like Pat Day, Robby Albarado, Earlie Fires, Shane Sellers, Calvin Borel, Randy Romero, Rene Douglas, the iconic Bill Hartack and Shoemaker, and going all the way back to the nearly mythical international legend Jimmy Winkfield himself did - ride Arlington to make a start, or make a living. Gomez stands at 16th at Arlington all-time, with 540 of his 3,771 career wins here. Lifetime, his purse winnings were $209,444,899.

We know now the Secretariat Stakes was just the start.

He won the Arkansas Derby back-to-back too, with Concern in 1994 and Dazzling Falls in 1995.

Hauling his tack west, Gomez splashed the coast with the Hollywood riding title in 1998, with wins in those early years in the Malibu, Santa Maria Handicap, Frank E. Kilroe Mile and Goodwood Breeders' Cup Handicap. He guided Bobby Frankel's Skimming back-to-back in the Pacific Classic, an important race he would win four times, in 2000-01. He was the rider of choice for Merv Griffin and his unlucky Stevie Wonderboy.

The demons entered him, hard, in 2003, when a series of arrests and other bad behavior caused him to miss that season. Unlike many sports, especially the bereft NFL, horse racing forces you to prove you're right, or you'll never hear the starting bell again. Anything less and riders and horses can get killed.

But right Gomez was as he returned in 2004 and dominated the mid-oughts as one of the best, if not the best, jockeys in the world. He never won a Triple Crown race, but he won every other race you or I could ever think of. Gaze at this list; it's epic.

Finally earning the healthy and sometimes comic cynicism any self-proclaimed horseplayer must possess, learning to pay attention, this is just about where I came in. Gazing so many past performances, Gomez G was all over the place in the top races. He won just about all of them. I always trusted him on a horse.

2007 Kentucky Oaks, aboard the ever sweet filly Rags to Riches, he filled in for an injured Johnny Velazquez, who would run Rags' to a Belmont Stakes win later that year over the magnificent Curlin.

He won the Travers in 2008 aboard Colonel John. The 2009 Santa Anita Derby on Pioneerof the Nile, the sire of American Pharoah. The 2006 Wood Memorial on Bob and John. 2007, Haskell, Any Given Saturday. Jockey Club Gold Cup, 2005, Borrego. Great great horses? Ultimately, no, but these wins made them in the breeding shed.

Gomez also rode Beholder, who thrilled us all just last month in the Breeders' Cup Distaff, to a win in the Breeders' Cup Juvenile Fillies.

In 2008 and 2009, Gomez met his destiny aboard the successful, money-making knockabout, Blame, a horse who could spectacularly run 'em down or just as often finish second or third. Basically sharing the mount with Jamie Theriot, Gomez rode Blame in '09 to wins in the Curlin Stakes at Saratoga and the Grade II Clark Handicap at Churchill Downs.

In 2010, after wins in the Schaefer Handicap on Preakness Day and in the Stephen Foster at Churchill, Blame and Gomez finished a head in front of Quality Road, a horse whose name says it all and is one of my all-time favorite horses who never ran much.

Perhaps unknowingly, the stage was set for the ultimate showdown in the ultimate race. Introducing the Breeders' Cup Classic, starring Zenyatta.

As much as you can with a horse, Zenyatta had been carefully managed, to a perfect 19-0 record, beating up on many of the same horses in many of the same California races. Nevertheless, the huge mare was undefeated, having also won the Classic in 2009 over the ill-slotted turf specialist Gio Ponti.

America always wanting what it wants, Churchill Downs and the Kentucky bluegrass itself wilted when Blame, and Gomez, ran a brilliant, valiant race to upend Zenyatta, in probably the best race she ever ran.

Content to let four others duke it out, Gomez allowed Blame saner things, content to lead the second pack, a good seven lengths behind the leaders. As was her M.O., Zenyatta was a good six lengths dead last behind that. Her style was to lay back, way back, build up speed and momentum like the coal train she was, and nip 'em in the final hundred yards. Leaving nothing to chance, Gomez stayed on Blame, crafted the lead safely just at the head of the stretch, and when the big lady menaced and challenged about 12 lengths from the wire, Gomez and Blame said "not today." He won by a diminishing head.

Gomez excelled in the Breeders' Cup. An ultimate money rider, he won 13 times in 10 different Breeders' Cup events, right up there with Hall of Famers Jerry Bailey and Mike Smith. They included Artie Schiller in the Mile, Life Is Sweet in the Ladies Classic (Distaff), Midnight Lute back-to-back in the Sprint in 2007 and 2008. Indian Blessing (2007) and Beholder (2012) in the Juvenile Fillies.

They say in sports that all you really do is worship the laundry. It's a bit different with jockeys, because they'll Beyonce you seven times on a card with different silks for different owners.

With the hard helmets in football, the lumberjack beards in baseball and the pixie hats in hockey, it can get difficult to eyeball identify your heroes. NASCAR racing? Look for the chewing tobacco decal on the not-even-close-to-stock car hood.

With the pug-faced Mike Smith, crow-nosed Frenchman Leparoux, calm Gary Stevens, heartthrob Velazquez or baby-faced Javier Castellano, I've never had such a problem in racing. It gets even better when they approach the winners circle. Who doesn't know Euro legend Frankie Dettori's trademark leap off of all his winners?

But that's as close as I can get to thinking or saying I know these riders. I don't. All I know is what I see on the track, and Garret Gomez gave good, his best, in his races. He was rewarded with two Eclipse Awards and also won the prestigious George (Iceman) Woolf Memorial Jockey Award. He led the nation in earnings four times.

It's one thing to be able to hang on, balancing on the balls of your feet on narrow irons atop an unpredictable, amped up force of nature accelerating to 40 miles per hour in four strides. It's another to do it as well as anyone in the world.

His agent, Ron Anderson, provided some insight.

"I'm a big believer that obviously the guys I've been fortunate enough to represent - Jerry Bailey, Gary Stevens, Joel Rosario, Garrett - they have a sixth sense," Anderson said. "They have a sixth sense for the animal, and Garrett was a person that was so in tune with the idiosyncrasies of the animal and the tendencies of the animal."

There are a lot of cliches tossed around in times like these.

I'm glad he had a chance to experience so many happy times, so much success. I'm fortunate I had a chance to watch him. I won't forget him, his horses or his rides.

But if he was in such pain on this earth, might this be better for Garrett Gomez?

Nobody knows that answer, either.

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Tom Chambers is our correspondent on the rail. He welcomes your comments.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 3:12 PM | Permalink

The [Friday] Papers

"The DeVry University for-profit college chain and its Downers Grove-based parent company are paying $100 million to settle a federal lawsuit accusing the school of misleading students in ads about the success of its graduates," AP reports.

"The Federal Trade Commission had sued DeVry, which is one of the nation's largest for-profit college chains, in January."

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Now let's go after this place:

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Don't mean to let DeVry off the hook - not at all - but let's face it: All colleges are for profit.

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Also, I don't view the purpose of college to be solely - or even mostly - to train students for jobs. Just sayin', is all.

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Beachwood Photo Booth: Economy Heating
On Wealthy Street.

Why The Nazis Studied U.S. Race Laws For Inspiration
The most ardent supporters of the U.S. model were the most radical Nazis in the room.

Trump's Crazy Cabinet
White, male, anti-government and extremely wealthy.

Michael Jordan Wins In China, Too
The Chinese characters for Jordan's name read as "Qiaodan" in basketball-mad China.

The Week In Chicago Rock
Is in pre-production.

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BeachBook

Twenty States Accuse Generic Drug Companies Of Price-Fixing.

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Shortage of Reddi-wip just before the holidays!

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TweetWood
A sampling.

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Follow this to its thread. (And this is just one part of Eichenwald's disqualifying track record; his campaign stories may have been pleasing to some of you, but they were entirely unhinged.)

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Trump, the self-proclaimed law-and-order candidate, told this lie night after night after night during the campaign - and he's not stopping any time soon.

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The Beachwood Tronc Line: Via con dios.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 12:39 PM | Permalink

Trump's Cabinet Choices Wealthier Than One-Third Of U.S. Households Combined

Besides comprising the wealthiest administration in modern U.S. history, President-elect Donald Trump's 17 ultra-rich cabinet-level picks thus far have a combined wealth that surpasses that of the 43 million least wealthy American households combined.

That's according to a Quartz analysis published Thursday, based on data from the 2013 Survey of Consumer Finances. It shows that the $9.5 billion held by Trump's cabinet or cabinet-level nominees is greater than that of 43 million U.S. households combined - over one-third of the 126 million households total in the United States. (Other analyses have shown the Trump administration to have an even higher combined wealth.)

"Even if we just compare the wealth of Trump's cabinet to the median household, it is still an impressive concentration of riches," Dan Kopf wrote for Quartz. "It would take about 120,000 households with the United States median net worth of about $83,200 to match the wealth of just the four richest members of Trump's cabinet - Betsy DeVos, Wilbur Ross Jr., Linda McMahon, and Rex Tillerson."

58517f051800002d00e429de.png

In addition to uber-wealthy, Huffington Post senior political reporter Amanda Terkel wrote on Wednesday, Trump's cabinet "is shaping up to be the least diverse in recent history, with just three people so far who are not white men."

"Of the 13 people Trump has nominated for Cabinet positions, only Ben Carson (Housing and Urban Development), Elaine Chao (Transportation), and Betsy DeVos (Education) are not both white and male," she noted.

Gregory Krieg also noted the trend at CNN, writing: "Of Trump's 18 choices to date - excluding his vice president and senior White House staff - 14 are white, of which 12 are male. By comparison, 11 of the the corresponding positions in Obama's first cabinet were white - with seven men and four women - along with Latino labor and interior secretaries and three African-Americans, two of whom were women."

Trump's choice of several generals to fill top positions within his administration has also drawn flak.

This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 License.

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Comments welcome.

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More takes on Trump's cabinet . . .

Seth Myers: Plutocrats and Hardliners.

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Keith Olbermann: Cabinet of Villains.

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Fox News.

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A three-pronged attack of climate change deniers.

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 8:52 AM | Permalink

Michael Jordan Wins Trademark Case In China

SHANGHAI - China's highest court has ruled in favor of former basketball star Michael Jordan in a long-running trademark case relating to a local sportswear firm using the Chinese version of his name, overturning earlier rulings against the athlete.

The former Chicago Bulls player sued Qiaodan Sports in 2012, saying the company located in southern Fujian province had built its business around his Chinese name and famous jersey number "23" without his permission.

In 2015 a court ruled in favor of Qiaodan Sports over the trademark dispute, a ruling which was then upheld by the Beijing Municipal High People's Court. After that ruling Jordan's legal team said they would take the case to China's top court.

The Chinese characters for Jordan's name read as "Qiaodan" in basketball-mad China, which also has a homegrown superstar in former Houston Rockets player Yao Ming.

Last week, China's Supreme People's Court overturned earlier rulings in favor of Qiaodan Sports using the characters for Jordan's Chinese name, although upheld a ruling allowing the firm to use the Romanized version "Qiaodan."

"I am happy that the Supreme People's Court has recognized the right to protect my name through its ruling in the trademark cases," Jordan said in a statement sent to Reuters.

"Chinese consumers deserve to know that Qiaodan Sports and its products have no connection to me."

Jordan, who has a net worth of $1.24 billion according to Forbes, is the majority owner of the Charlotte Hornets basketball team and has a lucrative endorsement contract with Nike, which makes Air Jordan shoes.

A separate naming rights case is still to be heard.

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From China Central Television America:

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From China Uncensored, 2015:

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See also: Michael Jordan Hands Court Settlement To 23 Chicago Nonprofits.

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 8:17 AM | Permalink

Why The Nazis Studied American Race Laws For Inspiration

On June 5, 1934, about a year-and-a-half after Adolf Hitler became Chancellor of the Reich, the leading lawyers of Nazi Germany gathered at a meeting to plan what would become the Nuremberg Laws, the centerpiece anti-Jewish legislation of the Nazi race regime.

The meeting was an important one, and a stenographer was present to take down a verbatim transcript, to be preserved by the ever-diligent Nazi bureaucracy as a record of a crucial moment in the creation of the new race regime.

That transcript reveals a startling fact: the meeting involved lengthy discussions of the law of the United States of America.

idea_sized-jimcrowindurhamnc.jpegAt the bus station in Durham, North Carolina, May 1940/Jack Delano, FSA, Library of Congress

At its very opening, the Minister of Justice presented a memorandum on U.S. race law and, as the meeting progressed, the participants turned to the U.S. example repeatedly.

They debated whether they should bring Jim Crow segregation to the Third Reich. They engaged in detailed discussion of the statutes from the 30 U.S. states that criminalized racially mixed marriages. They reviewed how the various U.S. states determined who counted as a "Negro" or a "Mongol," and weighed whether they should adopt U.S. techniques in their own approach to determining who counted as a Jew.

Throughout the meeting, the most ardent supporters of the U.S. model were the most radical Nazis in the room.

The record of that meeting is only one piece of evidence in an unexamined history that is sure to make Americans cringe. Throughout the early 1930s, the years of the making of the Nuremberg Laws, Nazi policymakers looked to U.S. law for inspiration.

Hitler himself, in Mein Kampf (1925), described the U.S. as "the one state" that had made progress toward the creation of a healthy racist society, and after the Nazis seized power in 1933 they continued to cite and ponder U.S. models regularly.

They saw many things to despise in U.S. constitutional values, to be sure. But they also saw many things to admire in U.S. white supremacy, and when the Nuremberg Laws were promulgated in 1935, it is almost certainly the case that they reflected direct U.S. influence.

This story might seem incredible. Why would the Nazis have felt the need to take lessons in racism from anybody? Why, most especially, would they have looked to the U.S.?

Whatever its failings, after all, the U.S. is the home of a great liberal and democratic tradition. Moreover, the Jews of the U.S. - however many obstacles they might have confronted in the early 20th century - never faced state-sponsored persecution. And, in the end, Americans made immense sacrifices in the struggle to defeat Hitler.

But the reality is that, in the early 20th century, the U.S., with its vigorous and creative legal culture, led the world in racist lawmaking. That was not only true of the Jim Crow South. It was true on the national level as well. The U.S. had race-based immigration law, admired by racists all over the world, and the Nazis, like their right-wing European successors today (and so many U.S. voters) were obsessed with the dangers posed by immigration.

The U.S. stood alone in the world for the harshness of its anti-miscegenation laws, which not only prohibited racially mixed marriages, but also threatened mixed-race couples with severe criminal punishment.

Again, this was not law confined to the South; it was found all over the country. Nazi lawyers carefully studied the statutes, not only of states such as Virginia, but also states such as Montana.

It is true that the U.S. did not persecute Jews - or at least, as one Nazi lawyer remarked in 1936, it had not persecuted Jews "so far" - but it had created a host of forms of second-class citizenship for other minority groups, including the Chinese, Japanese, Filipinos, Puerto Ricans and Native Americans, scattered all over the Union and its colonies.

American forms of second-class citizenship were of great interest to Nazi policymakers as they set out to craft their own forms of second-class citizenship for the German Jewry.

Not least, the U.S. was the greatest economic and cultural power in the world after 1918 - dynamic, modern, wealthy. Hitler and other Nazis envied the U.S., and wanted to learn how the Americans did it; it's no great surprise that they believed that what had made America great was American racism.

Of course, however ugly American race law might have been, there was no American model for Nazi extermination camps, even if the Nazis often expressed their admiration for the American conquest of the West, when, as Hitler declared, the settlers had "shot down the millions of Redskins to a few hundred thousand."

In any case, extermination camps were not the issue during the early 1930s, when the Nuremberg Laws were framed. The Nazis were not yet contemplating mass murder. Their aim at the time was to compel the Jews by whatever means possible to flee Germany, in order to preserve the Third Reich as a pure "Aryan" country.

And here they were indeed convinced that they could identify American models - and some strange American heroes. For a young Nazi lawyer named Heinrich Krieger, for example, who had studied at the University of Arkansas as an exchange student, and whose diligent research on U.S. race law formed the basis for the work of the Nazi Ministry of Justice, the great American heroes were Thomas Jefferson and Abraham Lincoln.

Did not Jefferson say, in 1821, that it is certain "that the two races, equally free, cannot live in the same government?" Did not Lincoln often declare, before 1864, that the only real hope of America lay in the resettlement of the black population somewhere else?

For a Nazi who believed that Germany's only hope lay in the forced emigration of the Jews, these seemed like shining examples.

None of this is entirely easy to talk about. It is hard to overcome our sense that if we influenced Nazism we have polluted ourselves in ways that can never be cleansed. Nevertheless the evidence is there, and we cannot read it out of either German or American history.

James Q. Whitman is the Ford Foundation professor of comparative and foreign law at Yale Law School. His subjects are comparative law, criminal law, and legal history. His latest book is Hitler's American Model (2017).

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This article was originally published at Aeon in association with
Princeton University Press, and has been republished under a Creative Commons license.

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Comments welcome.

Aeon counter - do not remove

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 7:40 AM | Permalink

Beachwood Photo Booth: Economy Heating

On Wealthy Street.

EconomyHeating.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.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: End School Zone.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Portage Park Peek-A-Boo.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: South Side Sundown.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Susie's Drive-Thru.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Holiday Ham.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Food & Liquor, Milhouse.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: O'Hare Blue Line Man.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Schwing!
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Ad Deluxe.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Jesus At The Drive-In.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: The Tanks Of Avondale.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Conveyance Belt.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Bonk.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Esquire In The Night.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Nick's Meat Market.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Keep Havin A Good Day.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Knock Knock.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Man At Marie's.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Bonneville.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Logan Bags.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Chicago Stairwell.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Blue Velvet.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Court Is In Session.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: DLER ALKY.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Railyards Rush Hour.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Stop Killing People.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: America, Summer 2016, Part 1.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Greystone Chicago.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: You Are Beautiful.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Auto Part Overlords.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Bearground.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: America, Summer 2016, Part 2.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Skyway Sculpture.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: The Dome Car.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Hello, St. Joe.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Revolution Books.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Chicago Driveway.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Proceed To Checkout.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Summer Ghost.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Daily Double.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: We Are Moving.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: America, Summer 2016, Part 3.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Sunny Day Tap.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Ashland & Pawn.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Party Store.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Donuts.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: AAA Sales.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: House Rule.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Butcher Boy.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Endorsement.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: American Ghost.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: I Voted.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Pink(ish) Cadillac.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Stuffed With Sadness.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Air.

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 12:57 AM | Permalink

December 15, 2016

The [Thursday] Papers

"In the largest and most comprehensive study of its kind, the Tribune tested 255 pharmacies to see how often stores would dispense dangerous drug pairs without warning patients. Fifty-two percent of the pharmacies sold the medications without mentioning the potential interaction, striking evidence of an industrywide failure that places millions of consumers at risk.

"CVS, the nation's largest pharmacy retailer by store count, had the highest failure rate of any chain in the Tribune tests, dispensing the medications with no warning 63 percent of the time. Walgreens, one of CVS' main competitors, had the lowest failure rate at 30 percent - but that's still missing nearly 1 in 3 interactions."

Illish
"Illinois boasts more primary care physicians and fewer smokers than most states - but it also has higher levels of air pollution, chlamydia and excessive drinking, according to a new report ranking states on a number of health measures," the Tribune reports.

"Overall, Illinois ranked smack in the middle of the country - 26th in the nation - for total health, according to the United Health Foundation's America's Health Rankings annual report, released Thursday. That's up two spots from the year before."

School Fudge
"Officials at one Chicago public school falsified records to boost graduation rates over a seven year period, the school system's inspector general confirmed in a report released Wednesday," Sarah Karp reports for WBEZ.

"The school reclassified dropouts as homeschooled or transfers because dropouts are counted against graduation rates, CPS Inspector General Nick Schuler said in his annual report, which summarizes all investigations this fiscal year.

"The report does not name the school but WBEZ has identified it as Curie Metropolitan High School on the Southwest Side.

"A former principal there told the inspector general's office that he instructed staff to label students that stopped coming to class as being homeschooled.

"He told the inspector general that he was pressured by his supervisors 'to come up with stuff' to raise school attendance. The inspector general alleges that records were falsified from at least 2007 to 2014."

Curie High: Comin' Up With Stuff Since 2007!

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"A Chicago Board of Education report shows that some wealthy families scammed to get their children into selective-enrollment schools and that some school administrators concealed dropouts to boost attendance and graduation rates," AP reports.

"The annual report by the board's inspector general comes after Chicago Public Schools has increased consequences for anyone cheating to get into selective-enrollment programs and has tightened criteria for counting transfers.

"Inspector General Nicholas Schuler said there were 181 complaints over residency issues. In one case, a family living in a large home in an affluent Chicago suburb rented a small apartment in the Rogers Park neighborhood so their child could attend a school despite test scores that didn't make the cut."

Huh, I wonder where they got that idea from?

Exclusive!
Will Sneed get a commission for running this ad for Sandi Jackson if she gets a job out of it?

Slick Willie
"The 22-page indictment handed down Tuesday accuses [Ald. Willie] Cochran of looting a 20th Ward fund meant to help children and senior citizens, using $5,000 to pay his daughter's college tuition and withdrawing $25,000 from ATMs near his preferred casinos. The former Chicago police officer is also accused of accepting bribes from businessmen who needed favors from him," the Sun-Times reports.

"Mayor Rahm Emanuel urged reporters Wednesday not to kick the council when it's down or paint aldermen with the same broad brush, saying, 'I know that it's easy to just kick the council and then, make everybody who ever worked in it carry a badge of dishonor. [But] I wouldn't do that.'"

Good point. Cochran only stands to become the 36th Chicago alderman convicted since 1973. (Three others died after indictment but before trial.)

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"Cochran, who is paid $116,208 a year as alderman and also collects $60,280 annually from his police pension, suggested in late 2014 that aldermen should be paid more, saying he often works 60 hours a week or more," the Tribune reports.

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Previously: Willie Cochran not sharpest tool in Rahm's shed.

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'As a White Nationalist, What Do You Do?
"A pretty dreary place to be in a democracy."

The Chinese Admissions Hook-Up
The game elite colleges play, Including the University of Chicago.

Kool-Aid Report: Yo, You Holding?
House, mouse, box, Fox.

Hoverboard Amusement Park Here
Grand opening this weekend.

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BeachBook

Loop Workers Mistake 'Shooter' Drill For Real Thing, Send Messages To Loved Ones.

This is really messed up. Feel like it's been underplayed.

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Turkey's Crackdown Propels Number Of Journalists In Jail Worldwide To Record High.

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The Trump-Putin Paradigm: It's Time To Raise The Stakes From Fact To Truth.

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Lock Him Up.

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Another Conspiracy Theorist Named To High-Level Trump Post.

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TweetWood
A sampling.

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The Beachwood Tronc Line: Keep off my lawn sign.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 9:53 AM | Permalink

'As a White Nationalist, What Do You Do?'

Chip Berlet has spent the past four decades studying right-wing political movements as a writer, activist and scholar.

Now retired, he worked for many years as a senior analyst at Political Research Associates, a think tank based in the Boston area.

Working with Matthew N. Lyons, Berlet co-wrote Right-Wing Populism: Too Close for Comfort, which traces the politics back to the 1600s. He's well-positioned, then, to make sense of the forces propelling President-elect Donald Trump's ascendance.

While many observers have portrayed Trump's rise as a total break from the traditions of American politics, Berlet takes a different view: as he and Lyons write, "demagogic appeals," "demonization," and apocalyptic thinking "have repeatedly been at the center of our political conflicts, not on the fringe."

Berlet, who has written for the New York Times, the Boston Globe, the Chicago Sun-Times and many other publications, currently serves as an advisor for the Center for Right-Wing Studies at the University of California, Berkeley.

We spoke to him on Monday from his home in Massachusetts. (This interview has been edited for clarity.)

If you were going to add a new chapter to your book, if you were going to describe this moment, what would you say?

Well, first, I'm writing a new book for Routledge about it, so I'm immersed in it.

I'll tell you, the use of conspiratorial rhetoric and bigoted rhetoric targeting and demonizing 'others' is nothing new in American politics.

It comes and goes in cycles that are not regular. So it's not a pendulum. There's no time frame.

It has to do with the actual conditions people are experiencing - or think they're experiencing, because people's perceptions of their status are just as important as their actual status.

If people have been pushed down the economic, social or political ladder, well, that's real. If people feel they'll be pushed down the ladder, that's real, too.

I did a bunch of interviews down in San Antonio before the election, just talking to dozens of people. A lot of the sentiment was, 'We've been screwed over, now we're going to screw them over.'

It wasn't so much that people liked Trump - or Clinton. They figured both parties were ridiculous. And neither of them was going to do what they promised, because politicians never do. So to hell with the whole system.

That's a pretty dreary place to be in a democracy.

Late in the campaign, Trump gave a speech in Florida in which he claimed, "Hillary Clinton meets in secret with international banks to plot the destruction of U.S. sovereignty" in order to enrich her friends and allies within the financial global elite. What did you make of that messaging?

Near the end, after Steve Bannon got involved, the stuff Trump said about the international banks, that was a dog whistle. The thing about that kind of dog whistle, the coded language, is that it's heard differently by different audiences. So if you're an angry farmer in Nebraska and someone talks about "international banks" you think Wall Street maybe. But if you're in a white supremacist movement or wrapped up in conspiracy theories about money manipulation, you think Jews.

Where does this conspiratorial thinking come from?

It's a narrative in the U.S. that goes back to the late 1800s. It developed originally from a series of panics about the Illuminati and the Freemasons. And then in the 1900s, in Russia, they published The Protocols of the Elders of Zion (the bogus text used to stir up fears that Jews were plotting to take over the planet) and it actually borrows from the original two books about the Freemason conspiracy.

People will say to me, "Well, nobody really believes this stuff." But as a reporter I go out and talk to people who do believe it. And they can talk about it for hours. They can go into mind-numbing explanations about how the Jews control everything.

What are you most concerned about at this moment?

Even before the election you had the armed occupation at the federal preserve in Oregon. A few days ago you have this guy walking into the pizza place in D.C. There are armed people who think that liberals and gay people and Jews and Mexicans and Muslims are an existential threat to the constitution of the United States. They hear this every day on AM radio, every day on the Internet, every day from some of their pastors.

At some point it's going to slip one way or another: either we will slip back towards a consensus that armed violence is not a solution, or armed violence will grow.

I've never said that before . . . this is different. These are self-motivating armed people seeking to stop evil with guns.

In your view, what message are they getting from the incoming president?

That there are evil people destroying America and it's a conspiracy and time is running out and we should do something about it - that's what millions of people hear Trump saying.

So it's a very drastic message coming from the president-elect that you worry will lead to very drastic actions by people on the ground.

Even before the election I was saying that the rhetoric used by Trump was going to cause violence before and after the election. That was easy to predict. It's Sociology 101. If you scapegoat a group from a high public place for long enough it's inevitable that some people will act out on that belief and say, "If they're so evil and they're out to destroy America, why don't we get them before they get us." Some scholars call this scripted violence.

You've described the alt-right and white supremacist movements as a very small group of people . . .

Yeah, a couple hundred thousand.

So why should we be worried about them right now?

They have a lot of guns [laughs]. The alt-right is a coalition. Part of the coalition is relatively angry people with guns. Part of the coalition is intellectuals who have an idea of racial nationalism, which is very popular in right-wing populist movements in Europe. The alt-right believes in racially separate nation-states. Which begs the question: As a white nationalist, what do you do? Do you send people away? Do you force them out? Do you kill them?

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

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Previously:
* Dear Media: Stop Normalizing Trump.

* The U.S. Does A Lousy Job Of Tracking Hate Crimes.

* Donald Trump's The Wall.

* In Segregated Classrooms, Students Struggle To Understand A Trump Victory.

* How The Alt-Right Got Here.

* How Journalists Need To Begin Imagining The Unimaginable.

* In An Ugly Election Result, Hate Surges Online.

* 'Hail Trump.'

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Comments welcome.


Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 7:21 AM | Permalink

The Blue & Orange Kool-Aid Report: Yo, You Holding?

I can't figure out if the Bears are tantalizingly close to being good, or the Lions are just that close to being bad.

One thing is for certain: The Bears excel at losing close games.

Six of their 10 losses have been by one score or less.

We've seen comebacks fall short and leads blown late, but this loss was of the particularly painful variety in which a solid overall performance is marred by penalties.

The Bears committed them early, they committed them often, they committed them in the house, they committed them with a mouse, they committed them in a box and committed them with a Fox.

And they committed them at the worst possible times.

There's going to be plenty of bad news to dissect after any loss, but it's worth mentioning that the Bears bucked a couple of negative trends along the way to "L" numero "X."

For one, they put together two halves of football that were worth watching, even if the penalties made you want to throw the remote at the television.

Don't worry if you did.

Physically assaulting something is one of several effective methods of showing it you really care . . . is what my good friend Tawny Kitaen taught me back when we worked together on the "Here I Go Again" video shoot (I was her stunt double).

2016's calling card has been that half of almost every game has been, at minimum, a dumpster fire fueled by diapers filled with rancid meat.

At least this was a consistent effort, albeit a losing one.

What Worked

  • Pass Coverage: The bar is set pretty low in terms of creating turnovers, as the Bears hadn't created one in almost four games, but thanks to two interceptions in the fourth quarter last Sunday, another awful trend was nixed.

    According to the Chicago Tribune, this was the first game since Week 6 in which the Bears had multiple takeaways.

    Full disclosure, I will not be finding a second source on that one.

    If your visual of my research process is an image of me slouched in front of the computer with a thought bubble above my head that reads "meh sounds about right" upon encountering a single useful stat in an online article posted by almost any publication I've heard of, followed by a copy/paste of said stat into a Word document, you're close.

    I'm also wearing nothing but an open bathrobe, eating Saturday night's tater tachos straight out of a doggie bag and searching food.com as to whether or not unrefrigerated nacho cheese is safe to ingest after 72 hours.

    When he's been on the field, Cre'Von LeBlanc has rewarded the Bears faith in him (faith = "oh shit, this guy was on the Patriots? How bad can he be, give him a contract!") by making plays, including a rare pick six.

    Demontre Hurst contributed the other pick; a play which pads a resume that basically just includes "is NFL player" and the anagram-based nickname "Mo The Rust Nerd."

  • Matt Barkley: Another Hoyer-esque performance for the young QB, made less statistically impressive by penalties. Two consecutive holding calls against the O-line negated throws would have that put the Bears in or near field goal range on the Bears' final drive against the Lions.

    Alshon Jeffery will return against the Packers after serving a four-game suspension after testing positive for the Mexican generic alternative to Cialis, the aptly named "Sí-alis."

    As if a date with the Pack wasn't enough of a reason to watch, we'll get to see Barkley huck jump balls to a Pro Bowl-caliber wide receiver against a team desperate for a win.

    With a win and two great efforts under his belt, the time to determine if we're watching the Bears' next real quarterback is now.

    If nothing else, the man has upgraded his standing in the NFL from a guy whose game film was deemed by one anonymous scout as "a waste of time that could have been better spent on the Certified Amateurs section of Porn Hub" to "yeah, I could see this dude getting paid $3 million dollars to hold Derek Carr's clipboard one day."

  • Jim Bob Cooter: I know he's the Lions Offensive Coordinator, but hear me out . . .

    Ok, I got nothing. It was just plain awesome to hear that dude's name get tossed around constantly on last Sunday's CBS broadcast.

What Should Never Happen Again, For A While Anyway

  • Penalties: As mentioned above, the final two nails in the coffin occurred on the Bears' final drive of the game. You gotta give the O-line this: their timing is unmatched.

    I won't say that 11 penalties for 139 yards will never happen again, but it's as unlikely to happen again any sooner than someone from the cast of the movie Predator* or a member of SNL runs for office . . . so at least for another three seasons.

  • Running The Ball, Or Lack Thereof: Another alarming trend that has developed over the course of 2016 is the offense's habit of going completely away from a rushing attack that is often working.

    It's the equivalent of trotting out a sex move that drives your partner wild, then stopping abruptly and throwing a Cobb salad in their face.

    Why did you stop?

    Where did you get that salad from?

    Do you realize that you just wasted a combined $11 worth of bacon and avocado?

    Cobb salads are substantial.

    Despite being given only 15 touches, rookie sensation Jordan "Seriously Stop Calling Me Juwan" Howard totaled 110 yards from scrimmage.

    When asked about the choice to go away from Howard, Bears Offensive Coordinator Dowell Loggains responded, "Fuck that, bro."

Eye On The Opposition: Curds On The Rise
Sure, the Packers have been inconsistent on offense, shoddy in the secondary and poorly coached.

They're also ninth in the NFC and smell like feet.

But I think I speak for the entire NFL when I say that nobody wants to run into Aaron Rodgers in the playoffs.

The Pack have been rolling of late, ripping off three in a row after starting the season 4-6.
Perhaps this run is too little too late, but I'm glad Green Bay has something to play for.

For one, it would make it that much sweeter if the Bears could play spoiler. And by "spoiler," I mean I want them to effectively eliminate Green Bay from contention, thus crushing the near-term hopes/dreams of Packer fans everywhere, like on a personal level.

That's right, Justin Larkin of De Pere, Wisconsin. I'm talking to you.

Your son Cortland just came out, and while you feign acceptance of his sexual orientation, you know that he is unlikely to conceive any biological children as he and his fiancé Rayford both feel strongly about adoption.

It's a generous impulse, but it means that you've lived just long enough to watch your bloodline reach its end.

First Billy decided to pursue a career outside of the family injection molding business and now it's certain that you'll never get to experience the joy of being a "real" grandfather. So much for your legacy.

It's a shame that you can't fully accept a beautiful little Chinese baby as one of your own, Justin.

Looks like you'll die unfulfilled the moment that hereditary heart condition finally gets the best of you.

So if on Sunday the Bears manage to snatch away the Packers' playoff hopes by securing a win at the lakefront, you have to wonder . . . Can that faulty ticker of yours take another hit? Do you have it in you to limp through another Northern Wisconsin winter with a broken, bitter heart?

Do you, Justin? DO YOU?! BWA-HAHAHAAAAA!!!

Joking, of course! It's all in the spirit of friendly rivalry!

Back to the Pack.

Unsurprisingly, Green Bay's recent success is tied directly to Mr. Rodgers reclaiming his Hall Of Fame form. As their QB goes, so go the Packers.

Leg injuries and brutal cold are likely to limit Rodgers' usually fleet feet, which could be trouble for Green Bay since Rodgers is the second leading rusher on the team by only a few dozen yards (65 yards behind Eddie Lacy) and he leads the team with three (count 'em, three) rushing touchdowns.

What is working for the Packers is their passing game.

Jordy Nelson and Davante Adams (not to be confused with his son Davante Quincy Adams) are world-class deep targets for Rodgers, even without a running game to play off of.

If the Bears plan to fudge up the remainder of Green Bay's season, they'll need to put a lid on these wideouts.

Kool-Aid (4 of 5 Glasses Of Copper Fiddle's Creamy Tommy)
In general I'm more of an old school cocktail guy, but this Crystal Lake Distillery's sweet 'n' boozy concoction gives your tongue and liver reason to smile.

I mean, your doctor may not be smiling as much as you, but since this is the last game of any emotional meaning left on the schedule in 2016 short of talent evaluation, let's cut loose.

The Bears will not only need to shut down the Green Bay passing game, but will need to generate turnovers in order to compete on Sunday.

That starts with quarterback pressure and containing Aaron Rodgers in the pocket.

If the guy gets the opportunity to run bootlegs on the reg' and heave it deep with ease, we are gonna have a long day ahead of us.

Oh and Loggains.

Give Howard the rock.

Leave the Cobb salad under the bed for once.

Based on the conditions, Rodgers' leg injuries and a prescription drug-related optimism I predict an upset.

Matt Barkley isn't spectacular, but with his best receiving option back the big throws get caught by a big man at the right time.

Bears win an icy one late.

Bears 17, Packers 13

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About The Author
The Author recommends that you watch this week's contest somewhere warm and, if possible, with someone warm. It will be cold and snowy. Alcohol helps.

creamytommy.png

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* This happens more frequently than you might think. Everyone remembers Schwarzenegger and Ventura's political careers, but for those of you not tuned into the day-to-day comings and goings of the Libertarian Party, the guy who played f-ing Billy ran for Senate back in 2008. Turns out, he was dangerously racist.

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Carl Mohrbacher is our Kool-Aid Korrespondent. He tolerates your comments.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 3:03 AM | Permalink

Hoverboard Amusement Park Is Opening In West Dundee

A new concept, HoverPark is making its home in the new LifeZone360 sports complex/family fun center in West Dundee, Illinois.

HoverPark provides training for people who have never been on a hoverboard before, in addition to a variety of exciting and challenging hover courses/sections, including timed obstacle courses, hover hoops, ramps areas and an open-hover area.

HoverPark provides a revolutionary, state-of-the-art harness-based training system that eliminates the risk of those nasty backwards falls, often experienced by first-timers.

A visit to HoverPark makes it safer to experience a hoverboard, provides access to top-of-the-line UL2272 approved Swagtron hoverboards, and challenges experienced hoverboarders with advanced courses, in the safest possible environment.

HoverPark.png

HoverPark's Grand Opening is this weekend, and will feature discounted $10 pricing per 40-minute hover session.

On Saturday, the Bot Broz will provide multiple performances throughout the day and will be there to hang out with guests and participate on the timed obstacle courses.

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Additionally, DJ Tina Bree from Star 105.5 will be broadcasting live from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m.

Also on Saturday, the basketball court next to HoverPark will also be available as a free open gym for guests to hang out in between sessions. Concessions will be available and anyone is welcome to watch from above in HoverPark's elevated viewing platform.

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"College campuses, amusement parks, stadiums, airlines and even some cities across the country have banned hoverboards after reports that the self-balancing scooters were catching fire and malfunctioning."

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 12:44 AM | Permalink

How Top U.S. Colleges Hooked Up With Controversial Chinese Companies

SHANGHAI/SHELTER ISLAND, New York - Thomas Benson once ran a small liberal arts college in Vermont. Stephen Gessner served as president of the school board for New York's Shelter Island.

More recently, they've been opening doors for Chinese education companies seeking a competitive edge: getting their students direct access to admissions officers at top U.S. universities.

Over the past seven years, Benson and Gessner have worked as consultants for three major Chinese companies. They recruited dozens of U.S. admissions officers to fly to China and meet in person with the companies' student clients, with the companies picking up most of the travel expenses. Among the schools that participated: Cornell University, the University of Chicago, Stanford University and the University of California-Berkeley.

Two companies Benson and Gessner have represented - New Oriental Education & Technology Group and Dipont Education Management Group - offer services to students that go far beyond meet-and-greets with admissions officers.

Eight former and current New Oriental employees and 17 former Dipont employees told Reuters the firms have engaged in college application fraud, including writing application essays and teacher recommendations, and falsifying high school transcripts.

The New Oriental employees said most clients lacked the language skills to write their own essays or personal statements, so counselors wrote them; only the top students did original work. New Oriental and Dipont deny condoning or wittingly engaging in application fraud.

Building on a model they pioneered for Dipont, Benson and Gessner helped New Oriental introduce its clients to U.S. admissions officers, linchpin players in the fast-growing business of supplying Chinese students a prestigious American education.

Beijing-based New Oriental is a behemoth. Founded in 1993, the company is China's largest provider of private education services, serving more than two million Chinese students a year. Its shares trade on the New York Stock Exchange. The company generates about $1.5 billion in annual net revenue from programs that include test preparation and English language classes. This year, about 10,000 of its clients were enrolled in American colleges and graduate schools.

Winning the trust of American college admissions officers is an important part of the business model. New Oriental's counseling division - Beijing New Oriental Vision Overseas Consultancy Co. - has centers throughout China and 3,300 counselors and staff. It typically charges students between $1,450 and $7,300 to recommend colleges and prepare applications.

"IT'S THE NATURE OF THE INDUSTRY"

A New Oriental student contract reviewed by Reuters states that its services include "writing or polishing" parts of college applications. The contract says New Oriental will set up an e-mail account on behalf of the client for communicating with colleges, keeping sole control of the password. Several former employees said some students never even saw their applications because the company controlled the entire process, including submitting them to colleges.

The new insight into the business practices of Chinese education companies comes at a time when American colleges are relying more heavily on Chinese undergraduates, who tend to pay full tuition. Their numbers grew 9 percent to 135,629 in the 2015-2016 school year and represent nearly a third of all international undergraduates, according to the Institute of International Education.

Helping Chinese kids get into U.S. schools has become a significant industry, with hundreds of companies having sprung up in China to cash in. These businesses often charge large sums for services that sometimes include helping students cheat on standardized tests and falsifying their college applications.

Ghost-writing applications for students is so common in China that some who do it speak openly about the practice.

"I wrote essays and recommendation letters for students when I worked at New Oriental, which I still do right now for my own consultancy," former New Oriental employee David Shi told Reuters. "I know there is an ethical dilemma but it's the nature of the industry."

Many of the colleges participating in the New Oriental and Dipont trips said accepting travel expenses from the Chinese companies was appropriate, that they hadn't been aware of the fraud accusations, and that none of the students received special consideration. Some said they have stopped or will stop participating in the subsidized trips.

(Comments from the U.S. colleges named in this article are summarized here.)

Benson, in a statement responding to the fraud accusations, said: "There are many bad actors and bad practices in the world of admissions counseling, in both China and the United States. In every visit we have made to China, we have been strong advocates for the highest standards of honesty in the admissions process. We believe that we and those who have traveled with us have upheld these standards."

New Oriental said its counseling division "prides itself on its longstanding commitment to education and the very high standards it has." It added: "The company's operations are governed by robust policies and procedures designed to guard against any unendorsed behavior by employees who are assisting students."

Benson, who is 76 and speaks Mandarin, used to be president of Green Mountain College in Poultney, Vermont. He said he has had a lifelong fascination with China. He had a Chinese roommate in college and led a program for a spring term in China as a professor at the University of Maryland in the 1980s. Benson also is the co-founder of ASIANetwork, a consortium of about 170 colleges that promotes Asian studies.

"China has been in my blood and in my family history all the way through," he said.

He said he first met Gessner, 72, about eight years ago. At the time, Gessner was a consultant to Shanghai-based Dipont, which runs international programs in Chinese high schools and college-counseling services that can cost a student more than $32,000.

ESTABLISHING CREDIBILITY

Dipont executives said they wanted to help more students study in the United States. So, they initially hired Gessner, and later Benson, to help train guidance counselors and develop student exchange programs.

Beginning in 2009, Gessner and Benson launched tours and summer camps for U.S. admissions officers to meet Dipont students in China and advise them on applying to colleges. Benson said he and Gessner recruited the universities through contacts in secondary and higher education.

To establish credibility with the colleges, they said, they set up a New York-based non-profit called the Council for American Culture and Education, or CACE.

"It was a more respectable way to work as consultants. It helped us to recruit colleges," said Gessner.

The strategy worked. The early participants included admissions officers from such prestigious institutions as Cornell, Stanford, Swarthmore College, Emory University and the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor.

Reuters reported in October that the New York Attorney General's office planned to review the charity, which had failed to disclose its ties to Dipont in U.S. and New York State tax filings. The review could lead to a formal investigation if authorities find evidence that CACE violated New York law.

Reuters also reported that eight former Dipont employees had described how the company had engaged in application fraud, including writing essays for students and altering recommendation letters. Since the story, Reuters has interviewed nine additional former Dipont employees who gave similar accounts.

In a statement, Dipont said: "We will promptly and thoroughly investigate any credible evidence of any situation in which the company's legal and/or ethical standards may not have been upheld by any of its employees, and will take appropriate action if we find that there have been lapses."

In 2012, Benson and Gessner said, they were recruited as consultants by New Oriental and ceded control of CACE to Dipont.

Benson described their financial arrangement with New Oriental as "almost a carbon copy" of their deal with Dipont: The two Americans received $50,000 for arranging each tour. They also set up another New York-based nonprofit, the Council for International Culture and Education, or CICE. Benson said New Oriental has no control over CICE.

The duo enlisted many of the same colleges that had participated in Dipont camps, and added some others, including Haverford College, the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and the University of Florida. New Oriental covered travel expenses for tours to various cities in China.

THE COST OF ACCESS

To get the colleges to participate in the New Oriental trips, Benson and Gessner used the playbook they perfected at Dipont. Both Chinese companies paid airfare, hotel and other travel expenses for each of the admissions officers whom Benson and Gessner brought to China between 2009 and last year. "They wouldn't go otherwise," Benson said.

The ethics code for college admissions officers doesn't address the propriety of such arrangements. Cigus Vanni, a retired high school counselor from Wynnewood, Pennsylvania, said it was "absolutely" unethical for colleges to accept the money. He likened it to a "pay-for-play" scheme in which prospective Chinese students get special treatment. Many American applicants to elite U.S. colleges - which can receive five to 20 applications for each available slot - don't get to directly interact with admissions officers.

"You're giving these people direct access to college admissions officers that no one else has," said Vanni, who serves on the admissions practices committee of the National Association for College Admission Counseling. "And there's something expected in return for that."

New Oriental touts the benefits of this access to prospective clients. In promotional material on its website, the company described how, during the 2014 tour, it arranged for one of its students "to have opportunities to have close contact with a Carleton admissions officer."

The testimonial ends with the young woman receiving an acceptance letter from Carleton College.

Carleton admissions officers went on tours subsidized by New Oriental in 2013, 2014 and 2015 and participated in six Dipont-subsidized summer camps. Paul Thiboutot, Carleton's vice president and dean of admissions, said the Northfield, Minnesota, college was unaware of the New Oriental ad. He said Carleton is now reconsidering its involvement in such programs "and most likely will no longer participate."

"We do indeed see ethical issues in accepting all-expense-paid trips from Chinese companies if these companies allegedly engage in college application fraud," he said in an e-mail.

Dan Warner, director of admission at Rice University in Houston, said when Rice agreed to send an admissions officer on a tour in 2014, it believed the trip was underwritten by CICE, not New Oriental. He said Rice probably wouldn't have participated had it known of the company's role. Benson said New Oriental's role was made clear.

Olivia Qiu said she used New Oriental to apply to eight U.S. colleges in 2010. After completing a questionnaire, the counselors took over. "I didn't write anything. They wrote everything for me," she said.

Qiu ultimately didn't attend any of those eight colleges. Before university, she took a job at New Oriental in Tianjin and said she wrote essays for students. Other employees, she said, wrote personal statements, supplemental essays and recommendation letters. "Sometimes, the student didn't even see (the application) before they submitted it" to colleges, she said.

She said she quit over ethical concerns. "I just thought that's not right, that's not how you help students," she said.

FEELING "REALLY CONFLICTED"

A current New Oriental employee said he once falsified an entire high school transcript for a student. A former employee who worked in 2014 and 2015 compared New Oriental's college application process to an assembly line: One person was in charge of signing a service contract with parents, another compiling a college list, a third completing the application, and a fourth submitting it to universities.

Alan Li worked on applications in 2012 and 2013 in Shanghai. He said he wrote personal statements and edited recommendation letters students had written about themselves. He said he would use material for essays from questionnaires the students completed but would invent stories if necessary.

Li said he initially felt "really conflicted" but ultimately decided that a good student who was a "horrible writer" deserved a break.

By early this year, Benson and Gessner had stopped working for New Oriental and were focusing on new markets, including India, Sri Lanka and Africa.

But the duo hasn't abandoned China. In June, CICE organized a tour for admissions officers from seven U.S. colleges on behalf of another Chinese company, EIC Group.

"I am getting a late start in putting out invitations for the summer 2016 China tour, primarily because we (CICE) have moved from New Oriental to a new Chinese partner," Benson e-mailed an admissions officer at the University of Florida in March. "We were invited by EIC, a large, much more innovative Chinese organization to partner with them on a series of summer tours - boarding school, college, and graduate school."

In addition to Florida, the schools included Colorado College, Cornell, Macalester College, Smith College, the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and the University of Rochester.

EIC Group paid CICE $35,000, according to Benson, and promoted the tour with an advertisement on its website. "By 'schmoozing and exchanging ideas' with admissions officers, you are halfway to a successful application to a famous school," said the Chinese-language ad. The ad disappeared after Reuters questioned the company about it.

A spokeswoman for EIC said the events were open to the public, and aimed to improve Chinese students' applications. She didn't respond to questions about the ad.

Benson said he hadn't seen it. "That is really bad, horrible," he said. "My goodness."

Additional reporting by Renee Dudley in Boston, James Pomfret in Hong Kong and the Reuters Shanghai newsroom.

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See also: Jared Kushner Isn't Alone: Universities Still Give Rich And Connected Applicants A Leg.

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 12:18 AM | Permalink

December 14, 2016

The [Wednesday] Papers

News broke this morning that the feds have indicted Ald. Willie Cochran (20th).

Score another one for the Beachwood Bookmaking Bureau. Jason Ervin, you're up next!

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Cochran's last appearance in the Beachwood was on October 25:

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That was six days after the Tribune reported that he was under investigation:

South Side Ald. Willie Cochran faces a federal criminal investigation into whether he improperly used campaign funds for personal expenses, say sources with knowledge of the probe.

The full scope of what a grand jury is looking into was not immediately known, but state records show the 20th Ward alderman has made dozens of revisions to his campaign reports over the past two years, often to show he had paid himself with campaign funds months earlier.

While the sources said the probe focuses on Cochran's alleged misuse of campaign contributions, a real estate developer told the Tribune on Tuesday that the FBI had questioned him about a donation to Cochran for a scholarship fund the alderman supports.

Alleged motive:

Court records hint at recent financial troubles for Cochran - he has been the target of three foreclosure lawsuits over his personal home and laundry businesses he held a financial stake in.

Cochran has paid himself more than $131,000 out of his campaign fund, nearly all of it since he won a second term in 2011, according to state campaign records.

Those records show Cochran has filed an unusually large number of revisions - 70 - to his campaign finance paperwork from January 2015 through July 2016. Over the previous eight years, Cochran had filed only six amendments to his campaign records.

In some of the amended campaign finance reports, Cochran revealed he had paid himself out of his campaign fund. In several instances, Cochran did not report those payments until well after he filed his campaign reports with state elections officials - in some cases more than a year or two later.

From 2012 through 2016, Cochran spent $397,574 in campaign funds. About one-third of that - $128,297 to be specific - went to himself, the records show.

It is not against state law for candidates to pay themselves from their campaign fund for working on their own election bid, but it is relatively rare. It's also unusual for candidates to pay themselves such a high percentage of the contributions.

Look, if you get into financial trouble and you're an elected official, your campaign fund is going to start looking attractive as a solution, at least for the short term. But what kind of lifestyle was he leading?

Cochran is paid $116,208 a year as alderman and also collects $60,280 annually from his police pension, records show. While many aldermen have rejected annual raises in recent years because of the city's financial struggles, Cochran has accepted all the raises.

In late 2014, he suggested aldermen should be paid more, saying he often works 60 hours a week or more.

I'm not convicting Cochran before we see more, I'm just sayin'.

Also, Chicago:

Cochran, a former police officer, was elected in 2007 after his predecessor, Ald. Arenda Troutman, was arrested by the FBI on bribery charges alleging she solicited donations from developers seeking to do business in the ward.

After Troutman's arrest, Cochran called on her to resign, telling the Tribune that "most people in the ward are tired of our public officials being embroiled in one controversy after another."

Troutman pleaded guilty in 2008 and was sentenced to four years in prison.

Look, Cochran isn't the sharpest tool in Rahm's shed. From the Beachwood, Nov. 13, 2008:

"Elephants have a tendency to sleep four hours, then they wake up," Ald. Willie Cochran said Wednesday, arguing against an elephant cruelty ordinance. "Professional trainers need that chain on those elephants at nighttime to keep them from disturbing other elephants. That way, all the elephants will get the appropriate amount of rest and they'll be able to train and perform properly.

"If you allow an elephant to roam freely at night and wake up all the other elephants, they don't listen as well . . . If they're not listening as well, they don't perform as well. If they don't perform as well, then there could be an incident that may involve the public . . . If something happens at Ringling Brothers, we'll find ourselves in a lawsuit."

Ald. Mary Ann Smith "called Cochran's sleep deprivation argument 'bogus' and hinted that it might have something to do with 'lobbying money' from the circus industry."

Let's give Cochran the benefit of the doubt and believe that he just happened to have taken notes from his own research on Ringling Bros. stationery.

From May 6, 2010:

"[Kenneth Austin is] just one of the relatives whom aldermen paid through their annual expense allowance of $73,280, according to a Tribune review of the 2009 accounts. Others are Angela Moore, the daughter of Ald. Willie Cochran, 20th, and Dorothy Burnett, the mother of Ald. Walter Burnett, 27th . . .

"Cochran paid his daughter about $19,000 from his expense account between January and August of last year to work as an aldermanic aide in his ward office. She was later moved from the expense account to the city's regular payroll, according to city officials.

"Cochran's daughter is a college graduate who previously ran a coin laundry owned by her father.

"'In this job, it is very important that you surround yourself with people you can trust,' Cochran said."

Is that what they taught you at the Illinois Institute of Technology, Willie, when you were earning your master's degree in public administration there?

From August 13, 2015:

"Ald. Willie Cochran, whose 20th Ward encompasses the Woodlawn TIF district, declined to talk to the Reporter."

Maybe he was too busy "Getting Things DONE!"

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Cochran's donors include: Rahm Emanuel, Ed Burke, Joe Berrios, Ringling Brothers Circus, Universal Circus and the fauxgressives at SEIU.

Why the circuses? Because.

My favorite part:

"In delaying the vote, Cochran said he was concerned that a ban on the use of chains and restraining devices that Smith wants could end up depriving elephants of sleep and, as a result, endanger circus patrons."

Willie Cochran, everybody.

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Then, In the wake of the Laquan McDonald video release, when Emanuel was at the height of his toxicity:

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Cochran did face moderate challenges in his last two races.

Cochran, who is considered an ally of Mayor Rahm Emanuel, won a third term in office last year, surviving a tough runoff election against challenger Kevin Bailey.

More interesting was the race in 2011 when Rhymefest challenged Cochran, pitting the incumbent, a former cop, against someone who really understood the streets. To no avail; Cochran, backed by Emanuel, prevailed.

But even the Tribune wasn't impressed, casting its vote for the little-known third candidate in the primary . . .

20th Ward: We'd love to see Cook County Commissioner Jerry "Iceman" Butler get together with aldermanic candidate Che "Rhymefest" Smith and find out what kind of cross-generational music they'd come up with. As for the 20th Ward, Rhymefest isn't our candidate. He makes a believable argument that he has changed since he racked up convictions in 2001 for domestic violence and in 2005 for firing a gun. He's engaging, but we're not sure he would be an effective alderman. Ald. Willie Cochran, an ex-cop with a no-nonsense approach, has had some success in his first term. But why not aim higher? George Davis is an attorney who has an MBA and who has worked closely with The Woodlawn Organization. He knows the neighborhoods at a block level and has closely studied the city's complex financial challenges. He has a solid track record and sound ideas. Davis earns the endorsement.

. . . before turning to Cochran in the general.

It's tempting to go with the candidate who has won a Grammy Award. But the charming Che "Rhymefest" Smith just hasn't convinced us he would focus on the real job of being an alderman. We endorsed George Davis in the first round because we saw a very dynamic candidate, but that was a close call with Ald. Willie Cochran, a former police officer. Cochran has laid the groundwork in his first term for development of his struggling community, and he is endorsed.

In 2015, the Trib endorsed Cochran from the get-go, calling for a more holistic approach to crime in his ward even as Cochran was proposing more of the same: more cops, more cameras, longer prison sentences.

Some of the city's most startling murders in recent years have occurred in and around this ward. A 6-month-old baby was shot and killed while sitting on her father's lap in a parked car. Gunmen opened fire on a basketball game in a Back of the Yards park, hitting a 3-year-old boy in the face. He survived. Ald. Willie Cochran is vying for a third term. A retired police sergeant, he brings a well-rounded perspective to battling street violence. Only through a holistic approach of better schools, a stronger jobs climate and stable families will Chicago's most gang-infested neighborhoods get safer. Cochran has called for more police officers, installed more police cameras in the ward and supported tougher penalties for gang members caught with guns. He is endorsed over Kevin Bailey, a civil engineer, and pastor Andre Smith. Two others are on the ballot.

Cochran found himself in a runoff against Bailey, but it wasn't really as close as the Trib recalls - he notched 48% of the vote to Bailey's 20%.

In the runoff, Cochran won with 4,079 votes to Bailey's 3,267 votes.

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The Sun-Times supported Bailey:

Five candidates are running in this ward covering Woodlawn, Washington Park, Englewood, Greater Grand Crossing, New City and Back of the Yards, though just three appear to be actively campaigning.

For the endorsement, it's a toss up between Ald. Willie Cochran, a former police officer first elected in 2007, and newcomer to the ward, civil engineer Kevin Bailey.

Cochran is a thoughtful urban planner who knows his communities and crime prevention well and has helped bring infrastructure and improvements to the ward.

But he can be a bully, extremely difficult to work with and one can argue he's riding a wave of development and activity in parts of the ward, not driving it and even sometimes hindering it.

Then there's Bailey, a recent University of Illinois grad who worked for Union Pacific Railroad until recently.

Though new to the ward and politics, Bailey offers thoughtful ideas, pledges to be inclusive and listen and he has the smarts to learn on the job.

We're backing the promise of Bailey over an alderman who needs to learn how to get along.

Bailey doesn't yet have a solid grasp of the depth of the city's financial problems, suggesting that cost cutting and efficiencies are the answer. We trust he'll catch on quickly.

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The best of Cochran Twitter:

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Ambulance chaser.

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A Rob Sherman Remembrance
' . . . and in walks Rob Sherman, so we're like, GAH!'

HuffPo, BuzzFeed And Vice Lead On Climate Change Coverage
"We concluded that the three digital players were beneficial for public debate about climate change - something the legacy media would do well to take note of."

How Obama Laid The Groundwork For Trump's Coming Crackdown On The Press
Eight years of policies and prosecutions more damaging than anything since Nixon.

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Aleppo

Slaughter Recorded In Real Time On Twitter - By Its Own Victims.

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Complete Meltdown Of Humanity.

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TweetWood
A sampling.

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The Beachwood Tronc Line: Faithless.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 10:58 AM | Permalink

Huffington Post, BuzzFeed And Vice Are Blazing A New Trail On Climate Change Coverage

The deafening silence around climate change in the presidential campaign has left leading climate scientists baffled by the absence of debate about the "greatest issue of our time."

Some commentators have laid the blame firmly on the media for sticking too closely to the political agendas set by the candidates.

But it's not just in the U.S. where climate change and environmental issues have been virtually ignored. In the UK, a study by Loughborough University found that during the Brexit referendum, television news bulletins in the six-week period in May and June dedicated no time at all to environmental issues - despite the fact that much of UK environment policy is determined by the EU. Print media did little better.

So what's going on? Part of the challenge is that TV editors often see climate change as too niche or too preachy. Another is that many audiences find the issue too remote, too frightening, or too consistently depressing. In many countries too, experienced specialist reporters, including science and environment correspondents, are on the decline because of cuts driven by dwindling revenue for legacy media.

In the UK, a 2016 report showed that of the 700 journalists surveyed, just over half self-identified as specialists. But while the most populous beats were business, culture, sports and entertainment, there were "few politics, science, or religious specialists."

New Kids On The Climate Beat

The gap is partly being filled by "digital-born" players such as Huffington Post, BuzzFeed and Vice, who are the subject of our new book Something Old, Something New.

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In its 2016 Digital News Report, the Reuters Institute for the first time asked online users what media sources they most consulted for environment news.

Of those in the UK who self-identified as "highly interested" in the environment, more than half accessed news from the BBC on a weekly basis, making it by far the most popular news brand online. But after the BBC, Huffington Post was used by just under a fifth. Among those with a high interest in news about the environment, it is as popular as both the Guardian and Mail Online.

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BuzzFeed is less accessed, but among those with high interest in news about the environment it is as popular as Sky News and the Telegraph online. Vice has a small reach, but online it is comparable to The Times, due to the impact of the Murdoch's flagship's paywall.

In the U.S., Huffington Post was the most popular online news destination for those highly interested in environment news. BuzzFeed reaches as many as the New York Times and the Washington Post.

image-20161213-1594-1i66zwc.jpeg(ENLARGE)

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The relative success of Huffington Post, BuzzFeed and Vice was one of the reasons we chose to analyze their climate change coverage and compare them to legacy media. All three give editorial priority to environmental issues, all three have invested heavily in different-language sites or country-specific sites, and all three are "digital natives" with a strong interest in which format works on which platforms.

We took the Paris climate change summit of December 2015 as our case study, in part because recent studies have shown that such summits generate "networks of co-production" and a "camp feeling" where journalists often report in a very similar style and emphasis to each other.

An examination of more than 500 online articles by five different traditional and new media organizations in France, Germany, Spain, the UK and the U.S. showed that the new players adopted a range of new approaches including informal tonality, "immersive" personal narration journalism, and often an emphasis on different themes.

Of course, HuffPo, Vice and BuzzFeed are very different to each other in terms of their business models, distribution strategies and overall editorial priorities.

Countering Climate Silence

All three did a lot of straight reporting and analysis of the summit. But we found some key differences between them and legacy media. Vice stood out for its style of "immersive" video reporting, where reporters take their audience on a journey with them.

BuzzFeed used more informal, irreverent and entertaining language, found for example in its article: "10 Adorable Animals that Climate Change is Killing Off."

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Both Vice and BuzzFeed were significantly more visual in their material, relying more on photos and videos.

Huffington Post often had the same focus and volume of coverage as The Guardian and The New York Times. But it placed much more emphasis on a positive, solution-based approach to climate change. Also, more than half of HuffPo's articles were blog posts, usually adopting an activist viewpoint. Vice also gave plenty of space to activist and NGO voices.

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We concluded that the three digital players were beneficial for public debate about climate change, as they had found new ways of covering the "old," sometimes boring, often remote, theme of climate change. By thinking hard about what gets shared and liked on social media, they are helping to counter the "climate silence" and ensure that the issue remains interesting and relevant, particularly to younger audiences - something the legacy media would do well to take note of.

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James Painter is the head of the Journalism Fellowship Programme at the University of Oxford. This article was originally published on The Conversation.

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Comments welcome.

The Conversation

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 9:08 AM | Permalink

How Obama Laid The Groundwork For Trump's Coming Crackdown On The Press

In the summer of 2009, less than a year after President Obama took office, one of the first orders of business for the newly empaneled Senate Judiciary Committee was passing a long-stalled federal 'media shield' bill, which would finally provide a uniform level of protection to reporters who get subpoenaed to testify against their sources in court.

The bill, which had previously been scuttled by Republican Congress, now had strong support in a Democratic Congress, and seemingly, a newly-elected Democratic president, who had co-sponsored an almost identical bill when he was a senator.

But just as it looked like the bill would sail through Congress and make its way to the president's desk, it was stopped in its tracks. President Obama suddenly reversed course from his previous position and announced he would oppose the bill if the Senate didn't carve out a giant national security exception that would make the important protections within it all but meaningless.

Sen. Arlen Specter, then a Republican, called Obama's reversal "unacceptable" at the time, adding: "The White House's opposition to the fundamental essence of this bill is an unexpected and significant setback. It will make it hard to pass this legislation."

The Democrat's main sponsor, Sen. Chuck Schumer expressed his dismay as well. National security leak cases are usually the only cases the federal government prosecutes that regularly ensnare journalists, so Obama's decision essentially killed the bill.

Sadly, this incident was only the first of several moves by the Obama administration that laid the groundwork for a potentially unprecedented crackdown on the press by the incoming Trump administration.

In the 2016 campaign, Donald Trump was the most openly hostile presidential candidate to press freedom we have seen in modern history. But many of the tools that will be at Trump's disposal were entrenched and expanded by the Obama administration.

While a strong federal shield bill quickly became a pipe dream under Obama, there were still a patchwork of state laws and common law privileges in some federal court districts that did provide some protection to journalists who get called to testify against their sources. Unfortunately, Obama's Justice Department then moved to attack "reporter's privilege" in the courts as well.

When Obama came into office, New York Times reporter and Pulitzer Prize winner James Risen had been facing a subpoena under the Bush administration for a story in his book about a spectacularly botched CIA operation that handed over almost complete nuclear bomb blueprints to Iran. Many were expecting the Obama's Justice Department, led by then-Attorney General Eric Holder, to drop the subpoena. Instead they renewed it, and in the process, ended up destroying reporter's privilege in one of the most important federal circuits in the country.

After a district court ruled that Risen didn't have to testify against his source because he was protected by a common law reporter's privilege previously established in the Fourth Circuit, the Obama administration took their case to the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals. There, a three-judge panel reversed the prior ruling and held that reporter's privilege did not, in fact, exist. Risen would be forced to testify - along with any other reporter the Justice Department decided to subpoena in the future.

The Obama administration eventually dropped their subpoena against Risen right before the trial because Risen was threatening to go to jail rather than reveal his source, but the damage had already been done. Obama's Justice Department had eviscerated important protections for journalists in the federal court district that covers Virginia and Maryland, where hundreds of thousands of national security workers - and potential sources - live.

Under his newly-proposed Attorney General Jeff Sessions, also an avowed hater of the press, Trump is now free to subpoena reporters working in the Fourth Circuit at will. The Justice Department's "media guidelines" that supposedly restrict the Justice Department from subpoenaing or surveilling reporters - updated by the Obama administration after several other scandals involving going after journalists - can potentially be ripped up on Trump's first day in office. (Those guidelines also already contain gaping exception involving National Security Letters that the Obama administration is fighting Freedom of the Press Foundation in court to prevent from releasing.)

But the by far the biggest danger from the Trump administration is how they will decide to use the Espionage Act, the draconian and unconstitutional World War I-era law, which was originally meant for spies - not sources and whistleblowers.

Soon after taking office, Obama's Justice Department began to prosecute more sources and whistleblowers under the Espionage Act than all other administrations combined. Before 2009, only three prosecutions had ever been attempted. One those prosecutions, Daniel Ellsberg of Pentagon Papers fame (and one of our co-founders), ended in mistrial due to government misconduct. The other two were quirky cases that didn't seem to provide much in the way of precedent.

Starting in 2009, at least nine cases were brought under Attorney General Holder, and national security journalists have described an unprecedented 'chill' to their investigative reporting ever since.

Prosecuting journalists' sources under the Espionage Act is now built into the system. As Politico's Peter Sterne detailed last week, while Donald Trump has made a lot of noise about "open[ing] up our libel law," it's Trump's ability to use the Espionage Act that journalists should really be scared about.

And it's not just sources that will have to be worried about Espionage Act prosecutions under the Trump administration; it's journalists as well. While we believe the law is patently unconstitutional when applied to the publishers of secret information, at least three grand juries have been empaneled in the last 70 years with the intention of prosecuting journalists under the law. While no indictment has followed, there's nothing stopping the Trump administration from attempting to be the first.

Under the Obama administration, the Justice Department took the unprecedented step of naming Fox News reporter James Rosen (different than James Risen) as an unindicted "co-conspirator" to Espionage Act charges in another leak case. The move was met with swift backlash from press freedom advocates, and former Attorney General Eric Holder later said he regretted the move. But it's now a blueprint that could easily be followed by the Trump administration to stifle adversarial reporting.

There's no doubt that adversarial investigative reporting will be crucial to hold the Trump administration accountable. As our board member Glenn Greenwald has written, leaks and whistleblowing have never been more important or more noble. This is why at Freedom of the Press Foundation, we are stepping up our efforts in 2017 to build encryption tools and train journalists how to use digital security techniques to protect their sources in the Trump era.

But unfortunately, in part due to moves made by the Obama administration, reporters covering national security issues - and the whistleblowers who are critical to the process - have never been under more threat. And under Trump, it looks like it will only get worse.

This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.

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See also:
* Obama's War On Truth And Transparency.

* 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.

* Edward Snowden: 'Journalists Are A Threatened Class' In Era Of Mass Surveillance.

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And:
* Obama's New Era Of Secret Law.

* Obama Won't Tell Congress How Many Innocent Americans He's Spying On.

* Ruling Unsealed: National Security Letters Upheld As Constitutional.

* Trying (And Trying) To Get Records From The 'Most Transparent Administration' Ever.

* Obama Secretly Expanded NSA Spying To Internet.

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

* Smith vs. Obama.

* Lawsuit Demands DOJ Release More Secret Surveillance Court Rulings.

* Technologists Turn On Obama.

* You Know Who Else Collected Metadata? The Stasi.

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

* Jon Stewart: Obama Totally Lying About NSA Spying.

* NSA Surveillance Drives Writers To Self-Censor.

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

* Obama Vs. The World.

* A Scandal Of Historic Proportions.

* The NSA Is Out Of Control.

* Obama's Promises Disappear From Web.

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

* 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.

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

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

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

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Previously in National Security Letters:
* EFF Fights National Security Letter Demands On Behalf Of Telecom, Internet Company.

* The First Rule Of Barack Obama's National Security Letters Is That You Aren't Allowed To Talk About Barack Obama's National Security Letters.

* Why We're Suing The Justice Department Over The FBI's Secret Rules For Using National Security Letters.

* U.S. Government Reveals Breadth Of Requests For Internet Records.

* Ruling Unsealed: National Security Letters Upheld As Constitutional.

* U.S. Surveillance Court A Bigger Rubber Stamp Than Chicago City Council.

* CREDO Confirms Long-Running Legal Fight Over National Security Letters.

* Fighting NSL Gag Orders, With Help From Our Friends At CREDO And Internet Archive.

* Internet Archive, Scared Into Moving To Canada, Reveals FBI Misinformation.

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 8:16 AM | Permalink

A Rob Sherman Remembrance

Rob Sherman was a fixture of my childhood, growing up in Buffalo Grove, as he was often protesting something going on in our school district, where his son was a few years younger than me. I believe it was often the Pledge, and of course, you'd see that car with his ATHEIST plates around town.

In high school at Buffalo Grove HS, I was on the newspaper, and two other dorky friends and I started to cover the school board meetings, which hadn't been covered before. My junior year of high school, the school board took three days away from our Winter Break, so instead of getting the full two weeks, we'd come back on a Wednesday. Their argument was it was too hard to get the requisite however many days the school year had to be otherwise.

So my two dorky friends and I created a petition, and having contacts from the other school newspapers, spread this petition district-wide and presented it to the school board. So you can imagine, we're quite nervous about this and get to the board meeting, and everyone's getting settled, and in walks Rob Sherman, who is also on the agenda to discuss the winter break issue. So we're like, GAH! He's probably wanting them to eliminate it all together because of the holidays, blah blah. We think we're totally screwed because once he had something in his craw about it infringing on his atheist rights, he pursued it to the nth degree.

So after I speak nervously and present our petition, he gets up and speaks incredibly eloquently about the importance of family time and how with busy lives, winter break is two weeks for the family to slow down and be together, etc., etc. We were floored, but very grateful he wasn't against us.

And we got our three days added back in. Crowning achievement of my lifetime ;)

Rob Sherman was definitely a man before his time and viewed as somewhat of an oddity in the community - though truth be told, I think often it was the way the message was delivered than the actual message that was scoffed.

But as soon as news hit of his plane crash, I got a group text from one of my dorky friends about it, and there was a moment of sadness that we acknowledged with his passing.

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See also:
* Noted Atheist Rob Sherman Dies In Plane Crash: 'He Was Dedicated To His Causes.'

* Atheist, Activist And Aviator: Remembering Rob Sherman.

* Memories Of Rob Sherman's Worldview And His Car.

* Rob Sherman's Legal Battles Took Him From Wauconda To Zion.

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Rob Sherman on ballot access.

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Rob Sherman on his congressional agenda.

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Rob Sherman's Atheist TV News Forum.

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 3:39 AM | Permalink

December 13, 2016

Summer Of My German Soldier

Here's a promo for an NBC Theatre presentation of Summer Of My German Soldier, a made-for-TV movie starring Bruce Davison as a Nazi POW and Kristy McNichol as a young American girl who falls head over heels for him. Voiceover by Les Marshak.

This promo aired on local Chicago TV on Saturday, October 28th, 1978 during the 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. time frame. The movie aired on October 30th.


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"Summer of My German Soldier is a 1978 American made-for-television war drama romance film based on the novel of the same name written by Bette Greene."

Also featuring Esther Rolle as the maid.

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The book:

"Summer of My German Soldier is a book by Bette Greene first published in 1973.

"The story is told in first person narrative by a 12-year-old Jewish girl named Patty Bergen living in Jenkinsville, Arkansas during World War II. The story focuses on the friendship between Patty and an escaped German POW named Anton. Patty first meets Anton when a group of German POWs visits her father's store. Anton teaches Patty that she is a person of value. In return, she protects Anton by hiding him above her father's garage.

"The book was followed by a sequel, Morning Is a Long Time Coming."

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Themes:

"Prejudice exists in many forms, some of them ironic. While Anton, as a German soldier, might be assumed to be a Nazi sympathizer and therefore antisemitic, he is not pro-Nazi and develops a relationship with Patty, who is Jewish. He is, however, a German patriot and wants desperately to get back to Germany. On the other hand, the townspeople show prejudice towards the German soldiers, and many white families in town maintain black servants."

Suddenly, this post is no longer ironic.

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"A new musical version of the novel with book & lyrics by David Brush and music & arrangements by Jim Farley opened in Ohio in August 2002, staged by Encore Theater Company."

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The movie:

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 9:20 AM | Permalink

The [Tuesday] Papers

"Rob Sherman, who died over the weekend in a crash of his small plane in Marengo, operated a business helping people build aircraft from kits," the Sun-Times reports.

But the 63-year-old was better known as a colorful political activist and Green Party candidate - some might say gadfly - who called journalists and introduced himself as "Rob Sherman, your favorite atheist."

At one time, he had license plates that spelled out ATHEIST.

Though he came in for derision as a self-promoter, he challenged the use of government-sponsored Christmas creches and displays and anything he perceived as a co-mingling of church and state.

Rob Sherman did God's work - if there was a God.

Another Football Fatality
"The brother of Heisman Trophy winner [and former Chicago Bear] Rashaan Salaam told USA Today on Sunday that Salaam had 'all the symptoms' associated with chronic football head trauma before he committed suicide last week, including memory loss and depression."

Of course, we can't know for sure. But is there really any reason to doubt it?

"[Jabali] Alaji indicated that Salaam's brain was not donated for evaluation of CTE because of their Muslim faith and burial rituals, which call for burial within days after death and forbid desecration of the body. If Salaam's brain were examined, Alaji said, 'I would guarantee they'd find it. I would guarantee it.'"

Rahm's Flavor Favor
"Chicago aldermen on Monday advanced a plan to roll back part of one of Mayor Rahm Emanuel's signature initiatives to restrict the sale of flavored tobacco products near schools," the Tribune reports.

"Under the proposed ordinance passed by the Finance Committee, flavored cigarettes and cigars - including menthol cigarettes, candy-flavored cigars and other tobacco products with flavors added often favored by young smokers - could be sold in stores within 500 feet of grade schools."

That seems . . . wrong. Why the reversal?

"The Illinois Retail Merchants Association says the ban has unfairly punished small business owners, and [11th Ward Ald. Patrick] Daley Thompson said three or four corner stores are in trouble in his South Side ward with the loss of revenue from flavored tobacco sales."

Of course. Money.

"Anti-smoking advocates decried the move to undermine the flavored tobacco ban near schools. 'I'm sympathetic to the sales of loosies, but I don't know how to reconcile that with the fact that we appear to have saved an awful lot of lives and medical conditions by having ordinances such as the one that's being modified,' said Joel Africk, president and CEO of the Respiratory Health Association of Metropolitan Chicago."

Yeah, but it's not fair to businesses that make money from death.

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"In a statement Monday evening, Emanuel spokeswoman Lauren Huffman called the amended ordinance 'a fair compromise with aldermen on issues important to their communities, while preventing any setback on the progress we've made in protecting youth from tobacco use.'"

Lauren Huffman, you are Today's Worst Person In Chicago.

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"The Finance Committee also agreed Monday to pay more than $9 million to settle two lawsuits stemming from police shootings and a third in which a group of women challenged the fairness of the physical strength test for the Chicago Fire Department."

Again: Why is this material in the same article? You wouldn't have to do this if you shed your print convention mindset and your beat was a blog. Each of these is a separate entry.

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Humanity, Not Journalism, Failed

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The Press Has Fallen For Fascists Before
"[T]he Chicago Tribune credited [Mussolini] with saving Italy from the far left and revitalizing its economy."

Named: The World's Worst Tax Havens
"In these countries, big businesses are dodging taxes 'on an industrial scale,' forcing governments to reduce public spending or raise taxes on average citizens in order to make up for lost revenues . . . this level of tax dodging costs poor countries at least $100 billion every year."

Doping Probe: 'Unprecedented' Russian Corruption
More than 1,000 Russian Olympic athletes are now linked to cheating.

Summer Of My German Soldier
Suddenly, this post is no longer ironic.

Winter-Proof Your Pet
Dogs can, and do, get frostbite and hypothermia.

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BeachBook

Nixon Aide: War On Drugs Targeted Blacks.

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Year Ending With Just 20 People Overboard At Chicago Harbor Lock.

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There's An Antidote To America's Long Economic Malaise: College Towns.

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Investors Bet On Yuppie Migration To Rogers Park, Edgewater.

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TweetWood
A sampling.

A great, little read.

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The Beachwood Tronc Line: Worst tronc line ever.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 6:39 AM | Permalink

Oxfam Names World's Worst Tax Havens Fueling 'Global Race To Bottom'

Corporate tax havens around the world are starving countries of billions of dollars needed to tackle poverty and inequality, according to a new report from Oxfam that identifies the 15 nations and territories leading this "global race to the bottom."

In order of significance, those 15 worst tax havens are: Bermuda, the Cayman Islands, the Netherlands, Switzerland, Singapore, Ireland, Luxembourg, Curacao, Hong Kong, Cyprus, Bahamas, Jersey, Barbados, Mauritius, and the British Virgin Islands.

They landed on the "world's worst" list because they employ damaging tax policies "such as zero corporate tax rates, the provision of unfair and unproductive tax incentives, and a lack of cooperation with international processes against tax avoidance (including measures to increase financial transparency)," Oxfam says.

In these countries, big businesses are dodging taxes "on an industrial scale," forcing governments to reduce public spending or raise taxes on average citizens in order to make up for lost revenues. According to the non-profit, this level of tax dodging costs poor countries at least $100 billion every year.

oxfam-taxes.jpegThe skyline in Singapore, named the fifth worst tax haven in the world/Oxfam

In turn, Oxfam warns that "the most harm falls on the public, which is faced with the triple impacts of a higher tax burden, declining public goods and services, and having to subsidize corporate profits and private wealth."

Or, as Oxfam tax policy advisor Esme Berkhout put it: "Corporate tax havens are helping big business cheat countries out of billions of dollars every year. They are propping up a dangerously unequal economic system that is leaving millions of people with few opportunities for a better life."

Oxfam calls on governments to work together to stop tax dodging by:

  • Stopping unfair and unproductive tax incentives and work together to set corporate tax at a level that is fair, progressive, and contributes to the collective good.
  • Ensuring tax blacklists are based on objective, comprehensive criteria including whether a country offers zero rates of corporate tax.
  • Improving tax transparency by requiring all multinational companies to publish financial reports for every country in which they operate, so it is clear what taxes companies are paying and where.

Politico Europe says Oxfam's research "will . . . raise questions about just how effective the [European] Commission's crackdown on anti-tax avoidance can be."

Last week, a report by the European Network on Debt and Development showed that the number of sweetheart deals between EU governments and corporations has increased by almost 50 percent over the past two years - especially in Luxembourg and Belgium.

The increase comes despite the EU's public outcry over the LuxLeaks and Panama Papers scandals, which both showed to what extent companies and individual have gone to avoid paying their dues.

The initiatives proposed by the Commission in the wake of those revelations fell short, Oxfam said at the time.

This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 License.

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Previously in Tax Scammage:
* Deepwater Horizon Settlement Comes With $5.35 Billion Tax Windfall.

* Offshoring By 29 Companies Costs Illinois $1.2 Billion Annually.

* Government Agencies Allow Corporations To Write Off Billions In Federal Settlements.

* The Gang Of 62 Vs. The World.

* How The Maker Of TurboTax Fought Free, Simple Tax Filing.

* $1.4 Trillion: Oxfam Exposes The Great Offshore Tax Scam Of U.S. Companies.

* How Barclay's Turned A $10 Billion Profit Into A Tax Loss.

* Wall Street Stock Loans Drain $1 Billion A Year From German Taxpayers.

* German Finance Minister Cries Foul Over Tax Avoidance Deals.

* Prosecutor Targets Commerzbank For Deals That Dodge German Taxes.

* A Schlupfloch Here, A Schlupfloch There. Now It's Real Money.

* How Milwaukee Landlords Avoid Taxes.

* Study: 32 Illinois Fortune 500 Companies Holding At Least $147 Billion Offshore.

* Watch Out For The Coming Tax Break Trickery.

* When A 'Tax Bonanza' Is Actually A Huge Corporate Tax Break.

* The Hypocrisy Of Corporate Welfare: It's Bigger Than Trump.

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Previously in the Panama Papers:
* The Panama Papers: Remarkable Global Media Collaboration Cracks Walls Of Offshore Tax Haven Secrecy.

* The Panama Papers: Prosecutors Open Probes.

* The [Monday] Papers.

* Adventures In Tax Avoidance.

* Mossack Fonseca's Oligarchs, Dictators And Corrupt White-Collar Businessmen.

* Jonathan Pie, TV Reporter! They're All In It Together.

* Meet The Panama Papers Editor Who Handled 376 Reporters In 80 Countries.

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Previously in the carried interest loophole:

* Patriotic Millionaires Vs. Carried Interest.

* The Somewhat Surreal Politics Of A Private Equity Tax Loophole Costing Us Billions (That Obama Refused To Close Despite Pledging To Do So).

* Fact-Checking Trump & Clinton On The Billionaire's Tax Break.

* Offshore Tax Havens Cost Average Illinois Small Business $5,789 A Year.

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 6:34 AM | Permalink

Winter-Proof Your Pet

The start of dangerously cold, adverse weather conditions requires immediate action from pet owners. The Chicago Veterinary Medical Association provides the following guidelines for the public to keep their pets safe from weather hazards and prevent serious health threats.

Cold weather can be as dangerous for pets, as it is for humans. Pets may have a more difficult time regulating their body temperature, and may be more susceptible to problems from extreme temperatures if they have a condition such as diabetes, heart disease, kidney disease, or hormonal imbalances.

Since cold weather may worsen some medical conditions such as arthritis, it's crucial for pets to receive a regular preventative care examination from a veterinarian to detect any potential diseases and other health problems.

In times of subzero temperatures, even outdoor pets should be brought inside until the severe cold has passed. If they are having difficulty walking or breathing, they should be brought inside and warmed. Injuries from exposure to cold are easily prevented.

Dogs can, and do, get frostbite and hypothermia. Short-haired dogs can benefit from a doggie coat when walking outdoors. All dogs should become acclimated to the colder weather. A dog should be properly conditioned before running with its owner. An owner should know and avoid areas with potential water hazards and keep their dog on a leash to avoid falling through broken ice.

In general, if it's too cold for a person to be outside comfortably, then the same holds true for a dog. Most dogs can tolerate short periods of exposure to cold, but must be monitored closely. Dogs should have access at all times to shelter and non-frozen fresh water.

Dogs are often outdoors for walks and exercise with their owners. While longer-haired and thick-coated dog breeds bred for colder climates are more tolerant of cold weather, a dog should never be left outside below-freezing weather for long periods of time.

Ice, particularly thin ice that cracks under foot, can lead to cut paws. Snow packed between the pads of the feet can lead to frost bite. Many good booties are available that may help dogs to tolerate the conditions and prevent injury and severe cold.

Salt or ice melting products can be harmful to the feet of dogs. Pet owners should thoroughly rinse the paws after returning from a walk outside. Spilled antifreeze should be cleaned immediately; even in very small quantities this can be highly toxic to both dogs and cats because of the ethylene glycol. If untreated, ethylene glycol poisoning is always fatal.

A proper, balanced diet is important to ensure that a pet is in good health. Owners should speak with their veterinarian about a pet's nutritional needs during cold weather, because extra weight gained during the winter months has associated long-term health risks. While outdoor pets will require more calories in the winter to generate enough body heat and energy to stay warm, a pet's body condition must be monitored.

According to Chicago Veterinary Medical Association President Dr. Rosemarie Niznik:

With the cold weather upon us in the Chicagoland area, there are winter pet health concerns that every pet owner should know. Cold weather can cause the following: hypothermia, frostbite, dehydration due to frozen water, and acute poisoning from ingestion of antifreeze and ice melting products.

The cold temperature can also exacerbate existing health problems. If your pet exhibits signs of extreme lethargy, decreased appetite, vomiting, diarrhea, difficulty getting up and walking, limping, and/or open sores on the skin or feet, please take your pet to a veterinarian as soon as possible as these signs may be indicative of a more severe medical condition.

Frostbite often affects the extremities such as the ears, tail, paws, and nose. Signs include discolored white, red or black skin, and blistering or ulcers of the affected area. The skin and surrounding areas may be leather like and cold to the touch, painful, reddened, thickened, and swollen. Be aware that some skin signs may take a few days to develop.

If you suspect your pet has hypothermia or frostbite, bring them inside immediately. Wrap your pet in towels that have been warmed in a dryer or, for small areas, you can use lukewarm water at a temperature of 102-108 degrees.

DO NOT use a heating pad or hair dryer to warm the pet as higher heat from these sources can cause additional tissue damage. Do not rub or massage the affected areas as this can result in more damage and possibly additional pain for your pet. Please bring your pet to a veterinarian as soon as possible.

Use pet safe ice melting products around your home. Wipe your pet's paws with a warm cloth after daily walks to remove snow, ice, and road salt. Consider winter paw protection with commercial lotions or booties.

Bring your pets indoors during the day and especially the evenings for the winter months. Take high energy dogs on frequent but short walks. Provide indoor pets with warm bedding and access to fresh water daily. Do not give any medications or use any products without speaking to your family veterinarian first. By being diligent and prepared pet owner you can ensure that your pet will have a fun and safe winter season.

Pet owners should not only know their family veterinarian's business hours and days of operation, but also be familiar with what local emergency facilities are nearby or recommended from a veterinarian in the event of illnesses and injuries.

Taking these preventative action steps now will help to keep pets safe and healthy, and allow for owners and their pets and to have an enjoyable winter.

About The CVMA
The CVMA is an association of over 1000 veterinarians and 4000 support staff who assist more than one million Chicago area pets and their families.

The membership of the CVMA is dedicated to the health and well-being of animals through its nurturing of the human-animal bond. The CVMA will strive to fulfill the diversified needs of its members by providing nationally recognized CE programs, cultivating membership involvement, and offering innovative member services and exemplary public awareness.

Since 1896, the CVMA has continued a proud tradition of providing its members with vital services and programs which have expanded dramatically over a century to meet the ever-changing needs of the veterinary profession and its diverse patients and clients.

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 4:11 AM | Permalink

The Press Has Fallen For Fascists Before

How to report on a fascist?

How to cover the rise of a political leader who's left a paper trail of anti-constitutionalism, racism and the encouragement of violence? Does the press take the position that its subject acts outside the norms of society? Or does it take the position that someone who wins a fair election is by definition "normal," because his leadership reflects the will of the people?

These are the questions that confronted the U.S. press after the ascendance of fascist leaders in Italy and Germany in the 1920s and 1930s.

image-20161210-31396-4hib8e.gifBenito Mussolini and Adolf Hitler in Munich, Germany/National Archives Collection of Foreign Records Seized, 1675 - 1958

A Leader For Life

Benito Mussolini secured Italy's premiership by marching on Rome with 30,000 blackshirts in 1922.

By 1925 he had declared himself leader for life.

While this hardly reflected American values, Mussolini was a darling of the American press, appearing in at least 150 articles from 1925-1932, most neutral, bemused or positive in tone, according to John Diggins' Mussolini and Fascism: The View From America.

The Saturday Evening Post even serialized Il Duce's autobiography in 1928.

Acknowledging that the new "Fascisti movement" was a bit "rough in its methods," papers ranging from the New York Tribune to the Cleveland Plain Dealer to the Chicago Tribune credited it with saving Italy from the far left and revitalizing its economy. From their perspective, the post-WWI surge of anti-capitalism in Europe was a vastly worse threat than Fascism.

Ironically, while the media acknowledged that Fascism was a new "experiment," papers like The New York Times commonly credited it with returning turbulent Italy to what it called "normalcy."

Yet some journalists like Hemingway and journals like The New Yorker rejected the normalization of anti-democratic Mussolini.

John Gunther of Harper's, meanwhile, wrote a razor-sharp account of Mussolini's masterful manipulation of a U.S. press that couldn't resist him.

The 'German Mussolini'

Mussolini's success in Italy normalized Hitler's success in the eyes of the American press who, in the late 1920s and early 1930s, routinely called him "the German Mussolini."

Given Mussolini's positive press reception in that period, it was a good place from which to start.

Hitler also had the advantage that his Nazi party enjoyed stunning leaps at the polls from the mid '20s to early '30s, going from a fringe party to winning a dominant share of parliamentary seats in free elections in 1932.

But the main way that the press defanged Hitler was by portraying him as something of a joke. He was a "nonsensical" screecher of "wild words" whose appearance, according to Newsweek, "suggests Charlie Chaplin . . . [his] countenance is a caricature."

He was as "voluble" as he was "insecure," stated Cosmopolitan.

When Hitler's party won influence in Parliament, and even after he was made chancellor of Germany in 1933 - about a year-and-a-half before seizing dictatorial power - many American press outlets judged that he would either be outplayed by more traditional politicians or that he would have to become more moderate.

Sure, he had a following, but his followers were "impressionable voters" duped by "radical doctrines and quack remedies," claimed the Washington Post.

Now that Hitler actually had to operate within a government the "sober" politicians would "submerge" this movement, according to the New York Times and the Christian Science Monitor.

A "keen sense of dramatic instinct" was not enough. When it came to time to govern, his lack of "gravity" and "profundity of thought" would be exposed.

In fact, the New York Times wrote after Hitler's appointment to the chancellorship that success would only "let him expose to the German public his own futility."

Journalists wondered whether Hitler now regretted leaving the rally for the cabinet meeting, where he would have to assume some responsibility.

Yes, the tended to condemn Hitler's well-documented anti-Semitism in the early 1930s. But there were plenty of exceptions. Some papers downplayed reports of violence against Germany's Jewish citizens as propaganda like that which proliferated during the foregoing World War. Many, even those who categorically condemned the violence, repeatedly declared it to be at an end, showing a tendency to look for a return to normalcy.

Journalists were aware that they could only criticize the German regime so much and maintain their access.

When a CBS broadcaster's son was beaten up by brownshirts for not saluting the Führer, he didn't report it.

When the Chicago Daily News' Edgar Mowrer wrote that Germany was becoming "an insane asylum" in 1933, the Germans pressured the State Department to rein in American reporters.

Allen Dulles, who eventually became director of the CIA, told Mowrer he was "taking the German situation too seriously." Mowrer's publisher then transferred him out of Germany in fear of his life.

By the later 1930s, most U.S. journalists realized their mistake in underestimating Hitler or failing to imagine just how bad things could get.

(Though there remained infamous exceptions, like Douglas Chandler, who wrote a loving paean to "Changing Berlin" for National Geographic in 1937.)

Dorothy Thompson, who judged Hitler a man of "startling insignificance" in 1928, realized her mistake by mid-decade when she, like Mowrer, began raising the alarm.

"No people ever recognize their dictator in advance," she reflected in 1935.

"He never stands for election on the platform of dictatorship. He always represents himself as the instrument [of] the Incorporated National Will."

Applying the lesson to the U.S., she wrote, "When our dictator turns up you can depend on it that he will be one of the boys, and he will stand for everything traditionally American."

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John Broich is an associate professor of history at Case Western Reserve University. This article was originally published on The Conversation.

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Comments welcome.

The Conversation

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 1:59 AM | Permalink

Doping Probe: 'Unprecedented' Russian Corruption

A World Anti-Doping Agency investigation says Russia, backed by the government, corrupted the 2012 London Olympics on an "unprecedented scale."

The head of that probe said Friday more than 1,000 Russian Olympic athletes are now linked to doping.


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Previously:
* How Russia Hid Its Doping In Plain Sight.

* IOC: Sochi Doping Allegations Could Show 'Unprecedented Criminality.'

* On Eve Of Olympics, Top Investigator Details Secret Efforts To Undermine Russian Doping Probe.

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Also:
* 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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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 12:59 AM | Permalink

December 12, 2016

The [Monday] Papers

"A Chicago police sergeant who shot an apparently unarmed man last month - his second fatal shooting in three years - might have been fired years ago, but that disciplinary case fell through the cracks for reasons the Police Department cannot explain, the Tribune has learned.

"Chief police spokesman Anthony Guglielmi said Superintendent Eddie Johnson has ordered that an audit be done to try to figure out why the internal investigation of Sgt. John Poulos was never completed.

"Multiple sources told the Tribune that the allegation against Poulos was serious enough for the Police Department to consider moving to fire him well before the two fatal shootings, but it was a mystery why he was never disciplined at all.

"In an e-mailed statement last week, Guglielmi said the department's Bureau of Internal Affairs opened an investigation in 2004 into Poulos' ownership 'of an establishment that sold alcohol.' Officers are barred from holding an ownership interest in such businesses.

"Records indicate that Poulos' family has owned Gamekeepers, a popular sports bar in the Old Town neighborhood."

Click through to the Trib for more on the two shootings, which previously appeared on the Beachwood (via the Sun-Times) here.

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The (Purported) History of Gamekeepers.

Opa! Whoa!
Funny business about the closing of the Parthenon alleged.

Early Admission
"Chicago, like many cities, has been trying to expand preschool to improve life outcomes for disadvantaged children," Becky Vevea reports for WBEZ.

"But a report out Monday from the University of Chicago and the University of South Carolina suggests starting almost at birth would provide a much higher payoff.

"University of Chicago economist and Nobel Laureate James Heckman has spent years studying the benefits of birth-to-five programs. But his latest paper, written with researchers at the University of Southern California, found significantly stronger lifetime benefits than other similar studies."

Chicagoetry: When The Levee Breaks
Don't pray. Run.

Why Newsrooms, I Mean College Faculty, Are So White
"[F]aculty will bend rules, knock down walls, and build bridges to hire those they really want (often white colleagues), but when it comes to hiring faculty of color, they have to 'play by the rules' and get angry when any exceptions are made. Let me tell you a secret - exceptions are made for white people constantly in the academy; exceptions are the rule in academe."

The Weekend In Chicago Rock
Featuring: The Handcuffs, Black Cat Heart Attack, Captain Wails & the Harpoons, Genotype, Stanley Clarke Band, Road's End, The Great Ache, Red Fang, Fifth Harmony, Britney Spears, Joan Shelley, Nino Arobelidze, Sabrina Carpenter, Puddle of Mudd, Tristan Bushman, Night Terror, and Matchess & Tal Sounds.

BeachBook
A sampling.

Richest 62 People As Wealthy As Half The World.

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Yes, You Can Post A Negative Online Review.

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Sperm Bank Allegedly Misled Women About Donor's Criminal Record, Mental Health.

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Chicago Law Firm First Named In Data Security Class Action.

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Judge: Obama's Immigration Prisons Not Legitimate Childcare Facilities.

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Google Not Just A Platform; Shapes Our Worldview.

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Petraeus Helped Block Autopsy Of Afghan Man Who Died In U.S. Custody.

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U.S. and U.K. Spy Agencies Targeted In-Flight Cell Phone Use.

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The Media, Drugs and Race.

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TweetWood
A sampling.

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The Beachwood Tronc Line: Keep the Beachwood weird.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 1:35 PM | Permalink

The Weekend In Chicago Rock

You shoulda been there.

1. The Handcuffs at Liar's Club on Friday night.


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2. Black Cat Heart Attack at Liar's Club on Friday night.

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3. Captain Wails & the Harpoons at Liar's Club on Friday night.

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4. Stanley Clarke Band at SPACE in Evanston on Friday night.

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5. Genotype at Wire in Berwyn on Saturday night.

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6. Road's End at Wire in Berwyn on Saturday night.

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

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8. Red Fang at the Metro on Saturday night.

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9. Britney Spears at the B96 Jingle Bash in Rosemont on Saturday night.

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10. Fifth Harmony at the Jingle Bash.


Catching up with . . .

Joan Shelley at the Hideout on December 3rd.

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Nino Arobelidze at the Cubby Bear on December 7th.

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Sabrina Carpenter at Schubas on December 6th.

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Puddle of Mudd at Wire in Berwyn on December 1st.

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Tristan Bushman at the Cubby Bear on December 7th.

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Night Terror at Elastic on December 2nd.

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Matchess and Tal Sounds at Elastic on December 2nd.

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 11:05 AM | Permalink

The Five Things No One Will Tell You About Why Colleges Don't Hire More Faculty Of Color

While giving a talk about Minority Serving Institutions at a higher education forum last fall, I was asked a question pertaining to the lack of faculty of color at many majority institutions, especially more elite institutions.

My response was frank: "The reason we don't have more faculty of color among college faculty is that we don't want them. We simply don't want them." Those in the audience were surprised by my candor and gave me a round of applause for the honesty.

Given the short amount of time I had on the stage, I couldn't explain the evidence behind my statement. I will do so here.

I have been a faculty member since 2000, working at several research universities. In addition, I give talks, conduct research and workshops, and do consulting related to diversifying the faculty across the nation. I have learned a lot about faculty recruitment over 16 years and as a result of visiting many colleges and universities.

First, the word "quality" is used to dismiss people of color who are otherwise competitive for faculty positions. Even those people on search committees that appear to be dedicated to access and equity will point to "quality" or lack of "quality" as a reason for not hiring a person of color.

Typically, "quality" means that the person didn't go to an elite institution for their Ph.D or wasn't mentored by a prominent person in the field. What people forget is that attending the elite institutions and being mentored by prominent people is linked to social capital and systemic racism ensures that people of color have less of it.

Second, the most common excuse I hear is, "There aren't enough people of color in the faculty pipeline." It is accurate that there are fewer people of color in some disciplines such as engineering or physics. However, there are great numbers of Ph.Ds of color in the humanities and education and we still don't have great diversity on these faculties. When I hear someone say people of color aren't in the pipeline, I respond with, "Why don't you create the pipeline? Why don't you grow your own?"

Because faculty members are resistant to hiring their own graduates, why not team up with several other institutions that are "deemed to be of high quality" and bring in more Ph.Ds of color from those institutions? If you are in a field with few people of color in the pipeline, why are you working so hard to "weed" them out of undergraduate and Ph.D programs? Why not encourage, mentor, and support more people of color in your field?

Third, I have learned that faculty will bend rules, knock down walls, and build bridges to hire those they really want (often white colleagues), but when it comes to hiring faculty of color, they have to "play by the rules" and get angry when any exceptions are made. Let me tell you a secret - exceptions are made for white people constantly in the academy; exceptions are the rule in academe.

Fourth, faculty search committees are part of the problem. They are not trained in recruitment, are rarely diverse in makeup, and are often more interested in hiring people just like them rather than expanding the diversity of their department. They reach out to those they know for recommendations and rely on ads in national publications. And, even when they do receive a diverse group of applicants, often those applicants "aren't the right fit" for the institution. What is the "right fit?" Someone just like you?

Fifth, if majority colleges and universities are truly serious about increasing faculty diversity, why don't they visit Minority Serving Institutions - institutions with great student and faculty diversity - and ask them how they recruit a diverse faculty. This isn't hard. The answers are right in front of us. We need the will.

For those reading this essay, you might be wondering why faculty diversity is important. Your wondering is yet another reason why we don't have a more diverse faculty. Having a diverse faculty - in terms of race, ethnicity, gender, sexuality, religion - adds greatly to the experiences of students in the classroom. It challenges them - given that they are likely not to have had diversity in their K-12 classroom teachers - to think differently about who produces knowledge. It also challenges them to move away from a "white-centered" approach to one that is inclusive of many different voices and perspectives.

Having a diverse faculty strengthens the faculty and the institution as there is more richness in the curriculum and in conversations taking place on committees and in faculty meetings. A diverse faculty also holds the university accountable in ways that uplift people of color and center issues that are important to the large and growing communities of color across the nation.

Although I have always thought it vital that our faculty be representative of the nation's diversity, we are getting to a point in higher education where increasing faculty diversity is an absolute necessity and crucial to the future of our nation. In 2014, for the first time, the nation's K-12 student population was majority-minority. These students are on their way into colleges and universities and we are not prepared for them. Our current faculty lacks expertise in working with students of color and our resistance to diversifying the faculty means that we are not going to be ready any time soon.

I'll close by asking you to think deeply about your role in recruiting and hiring faculty. How often do you use the word "quality" when talking about increased diversity? Why do you use it? How often do you point to the lack of people of color in the faculty pipeline while doing nothing about the problem?

How many books, articles, or training sessions have you attended on how to recruit faculty of color?

How many times have you reached out to departments with great diversity in your field and asked them how they attract and retain a diverse faculty?

How often do you resist when someone asks you to bend the rules for faculty of color hires but think it's absolutely necessary when considering a white candidate (you know, so you don't lose such a wonderful candidate)?

Rather than getting angry at me for pointing out a problem that most of us are aware of, why don't you change your ways and do something to diversify your department or institution's faculty? I bet you don't, but I sure hope you do.

Marybeth Gasman is a professor of higher education in the graduate school of education at the University of Pennsylvania, where she directs the Penn Center for Minority Serving Institutions and holds secondary appointments in History, Africana Studies, and the School of Social Policy and Practice. This article first appeared in The Hechinger Report.

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 10:35 AM | Permalink

Chicagoetry: When The Levee Breaks

When the Levee Breaks

The song says
"Crying won't help you,
Praying won't do you

No good."
Now: I do believe
That crying and praying

Give comfort
To those who
Cry and pray.

I know this
From personal experience.
I do both

All the time.
They help me

Feel better.
Now: beyond that
I have grave doubts.

When a semi-truck
Is bearing down on me
As I cross four lanes

Of on-off ramps
For the expressway
To get to my L stop

I don't pray,
I run.

Well, actually,
I do both.
Now: I ask you

Do you hear
What I hear?
A god, a god,

Is praying back to us.
He says this time
It's up to us,

He says this time,
It's up to us.

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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 8:06 AM | Permalink

December 10, 2016

The Hypocrisy Of Corporate Welfare: It's Bigger Than Trump

Alarms are ringing from left, right and center over the $7 million grant by the state of Indiana to induce Carrier to keep 800 (not 1,100) jobs from moving to Mexico. (This downward revision comes from the Carrier Steelworkers local union president Chuck Jones, who courageously called Trump out for inflating the numbers. Trump has tweeted back twice to attack Jones, who now is receiving threatening calls from anonymous Trump supporters.)

Conservative pundits, so lost in their free market fictions, claim that Trump is interfering with the pristine operation of this system. He is picking winners and losers! He will ignite a trade war with his reckless tariffs! He will drive up prices of consumer goods! He will destroy more jobs than he will save!

"This is the sort of package Republicans have traditionally loathed," reports the New York Times.

Hogwash.

The "bribe" for Carrier is barely a rounding error in the tens of billions of dollars in public money and tax breaks lavished upon corporations each and every day by Republicans and Democrats alike. Profits deeply depend on the well-honed corporate art of playing states and countries against each other in order to feast at the public trough. The conservatives' beloved free enterprise system has never been free of corporate bribes and corporate job blackmail.

How Big Is The Corporate Welfare Trough? Very Big

The nonprofit research organization Good Jobs First has developed a corporate welfare tracker that goes back to 1976. There are 34 corporate welfare recipients who received over $1 billion (not million) in corporate welfare for a total of $84.5 billion in tax breaks and subsidies of the kind Carrier will receive. Here are the top 10:

  • Boeing: $14,397,024,137
  • Intel: $5,964,288,316
  • GM: $5,832,287,385
  • Alcoa: $5,798,922,493
  • Ford: $4,044,067,895
  • NRG Energy: $2,738,480,245
  • Sempra Energy: $2,576,755,550
  • Tesla Motors: $2,406,805,253
  • NextEra Energy: $2,385,022,879
  • Iberdrola: $2,248,534,669

For just one example among thousands, let's look at Alcoa, No. 4 on the corporate bribe list. In 2015, the company was scheduled to eliminate 600 jobs at its aluminum facility in upstate New York (500 layoffs and another 100 positions that would not be filled.) Lo and behold, Democratic governor Andrew Cuomo and Democratic U.S. senator Charles Schumer came to the rescue with $38.8 million in capital and operation expenses from the state's economic development arm, and another $30 million in energy cost assistance. Alcoa promised to keep the jobs in New York State for at least three years.

"I heard last night: Alcoa said they were going to keep the plant open," Schumer, who turned 65 a day earlier said. "That was the best birthday present I could have received."

[From Syracuse.com:

"Today's $69 million deal to keep Alcoa open marks the fourth time in nearly a decade that New York has offered multi-million-dollar deals to the aluminum manufacturer.

"While those public subsidies have piled up, the promises from Alcoa have shrunk.

"And even with all those past agreements, Alcoa still had the power to shutter its Massena site and walk away without ever paying New York back, according to state officials."]

The War Between The States

Not only do state and local governments worry about jobs evaporating or shifting abroad, but they are equally petrified about relocations to other U.S. states. New Jersey and Connecticut, for example, are in a cutthroat war to hold onto their own enterprises, while also luring other corporations to move jobs their way. New Jersey's largesse, under a Republican governor, knows no bounds, reports the Wall Street Journal ("New Jersey Doubles Down on Incentives for Business - State Commits Billions in Subsidies to Lure Businesses, Keep Others From Moving.") its corporate tax incentives, loans and cash bribes are rising rapidly.

5849d1ba1200002f00eee4e3.jpeg

Perhaps the most nauseating examples of corporate welfare are occurring in Connecticut ("The Constitution State"), the plush exurbia home to many Wall Street hedge funds.

Since hedge funds can operate wherever they place their people and computers, these jobs are mobile. One leafy suburb near New York and the Hamptons is as good as another. Therefore Connecticut is an easy target for some good old corporate blackmail coming from the richest of the rich. Here are two egregious examples, this time under a Democratic governor:

1. Bridgewater Associates LP, the world's largest hedge fund: $22 million.

Supposedly this package, announced in May, was to induce Bridgewater, a $150 billion hedge fund, to keep 1,400 jobs in Connecticut, and then possibly to add 700 more by 2021

This deal is nothing short of obscene. Ray Dalio, the founder and CEO of Bridgewater, had a reported income of $1.4 billion in 2014. His net worth is $14.1 billion. So the subsidy from the state to his firm amounts to 0.16% of his net worth - about one tenth of a penny on every wealth dollar.

Worse still is that Dalio gets an enormous tax break called "carried interest." Instead of being liable for a federal tax of 35 percent - before deductions - on his $1.4 billion ($490 million), his liability is only 20 percent ($280 million). So this hedge fund mogul takes advantage of a needless $210 million federal tax loophole and then still has the nerve to shake down the state for another $22 million. One wonders how Dalio justifies this level of greed.

2. AQR Capital Management: $35 million.

Once you bribe one billionaire hedge fund manager, get ready to do it again and again. On November 16, Connecticut announced a $35 million package of subsidies to another hedge fund that only has 540 jobs in the state but promises to add 600 more over the next ten years. Its CEO, University of Chicago alum Clifford Asness, has a reported net worth of $4 billion.

So let's do the simple math on these corporate bribes:

  • 600 Alcoa jobs = $114,667 per job.
  • AQR's 540 jobs = $64,815 per job.
  • 1,400 Bridgewater jobs = $15,714 per job.
  • Carrier's $7 million for 800 jobs = $8,750 per job.

I hate to say this, but Trump got a deal.

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Les Leopold is the director of the Labor Institute.

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This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 License.

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Previously in Tax Scammage:
* Deepwater Horizon Settlement Comes With $5.35 Billion Tax Windfall.

* Offshoring By 29 Companies Costs Illinois $1.2 Billion Annually.

* Government Agencies Allow Corporations To Write Off Billions In Federal Settlements.

* The Gang Of 62 Vs. The World.

* How The Maker Of TurboTax Fought Free, Simple Tax Filing.

* $1.4 Trillion: Oxfam Exposes The Great Offshore Tax Scam Of U.S. Companies.

* How Barclay's Turned A $10 Billion Profit Into A Tax Loss.

* Wall Street Stock Loans Drain $1 Billion A Year From German Taxpayers.

* German Finance Minister Cries Foul Over Tax Avoidance Deals.

* Prosecutor Targets Commerzbank For Deals That Dodge German Taxes.

* A Schlupfloch Here, A Schlupfloch There. Now It's Real Money.

* How Milwaukee Landlords Avoid Taxes.

* Study: 32 Illinois Fortune 500 Companies Holding At Least $147 Billion Offshore.

* Watch Out For The Coming Tax Break Trickery.

* When A 'Tax Bonanza' Is Actually A Huge Corporate Tax Break.

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Previously in the Panama Papers:
* The Panama Papers: Remarkable Global Media Collaboration Cracks Walls Of Offshore Tax Haven Secrecy.

* The Panama Papers: Prosecutors Open Probes.

* The [Monday] Papers.

* Adventures In Tax Avoidance.

* Mossack Fonseca's Oligarchs, Dictators And Corrupt White-Collar Businessmen.

* Jonathan Pie, TV Reporter! They're All In It Together.

* Meet The Panama Papers Editor Who Handled 376 Reporters In 80 Countries.

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Previously in the carried interest loophole:

* Patriotic Millionaires Vs. Carried Interest.

* The Somewhat Surreal Politics Of A Private Equity Tax Loophole Costing Us Billions (That Obama Refused To Close Despite Pledging To Do So).

* Fact-Checking Trump & Clinton On The Billionaire's Tax Break.

* Offshore Tax Havens Cost Average Illinois Small Business $5,789 A Year.

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 9:34 PM | Permalink

The Weekend Desk Report

"The judge overseeing the murder case against Chicago police Officer Jason Van Dyke grilled a city lawyer Thursday over whether her request to keep some 240,000 e-mails from public view violated Mayor Rahm Emanuel's pledge to be more transparent," the Tribune reports.

"The sharply worded questions from Judge Vincent Gaughan led Lisette Mojica, an assistant corporation counsel, to finally admit that as far as she knew, Emanuel hadn't been consulted.

"As is his practice, Gaughan then went into his chambers for closed-door discussions with lawyers in the hot-button case that lasted nearly 50 minutes.

"After returning to court, Gaughan said a tentative arrangement had been reached over the disputed e-mails, but he said he was not going to reveal the details because it had not been finalized."

*

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"For the second time in a week, the Chicago Tribune has sued the Chicago Police Department, this time saying the department has failed to produce public records regarding complaints against officers and disciplinary actions taken in response," the paper also reports.

"In a lawsuit filed on Friday, the Tribune said its reporters have filed three Freedom of Information Act requests that the department has failed to act upon. The first was filed on June 27 by Tribune reporter Jodi S. Cohen as part of an investigation into officer discipline at the department, according to the lawsuit."

Please assign this case to Judge Gaughan!

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"A Cook County judge on Friday ordered the city and Mayor Rahm Emanuel to produce an index of certain e-mails and text messages that the mayor sent and received on personal devices, as the Chicago Tribune and the city continue to battle over the mayor's electronic communications," the paper also reports.

"Judge Kathleen Pantle made the ruling in the Tribune's September 2015 lawsuit, which alleged that Emanuel had violated state open records laws by refusing to release communications about city business that he had conducted through e-mails and texts on personal devices."

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I was going to discuss a Sun-Times story here, but it's wreaking too much havoc with my browser. How many dollars do they leave on the table by having such a shitty website?

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"Two Chicago police officers have resigned in the face of their firing over the off-duty beating of a restaurant patron on the Northwest Side more than a decade ago," the Tribune reports.

That lead is a little confusing; they weren't fired more than a decade ago, they beat up a dude at a Taco Burrito King more than a decade ago, in 2006. They were fired in 2011, because that's how long it can take to fire cops, but stayed on the force until now because, well, that's how hard it is to fire cops.

Especially when there's no video.

Oh.

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Beachwood Photo Booth: Air
Cold, winter air.

Kevin Trudeau Officially Still A Fraud
U.S. Supreme Court says so.

Trump Prepares To Violate Constitution
Meet the Emoluments Clause.

Hypocrisy Of Corporate Welfare Bigger Than Trump
The "bribe" for Carrier is barely a rounding error in the tens of billions of dollars in public money and tax breaks lavished upon corporations each and every day by Republicans and Democrats alike.

The Week In Chicago Rock
Featuring: Davina and the Vagabonds, Avant, Wilson, Spa Moans, Steve Summers, Whitney, The King Khan & BBQ Show, The Pretenders, Marisa Anderson, and Ultimate Painting.

The Beachwood Radio Sports Hour #131: Rebuild City
The Hot Stove League is scorching. Including: White Sox Ditch Drake LaRoche Fan Club; Cubs Always Closing; Dusty Maddon; John Fox Is Officially A Clown; Hoiberg vs. Thibodeau vs. Popovich; and Marian Hossa, MVP.

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The Sound Opinions Weekend Listening Report: "If you're a music fanatic, the end of the year means one thing: best-of lists! Jim and Greg reveal their favorite albums of the year. And Sound Opinions listeners weigh-in with their favorites of 2016."

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Weekend BeachBook

Disabled In Puerto Rico Live On The Edge After Decades Of Neglect By U.S.

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Why The Rule 5 Draft Is So Awesome.

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Bias On The Bench.

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Nordstrom Selling Rock In Pouch.

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Trying To Keep The Internet Safe From Warrantless NSA Surveillance.

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Weekend TweetWood

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Just sayin' . . .

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The Beachwood Tronc Line: Pledge your allegiance.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 9:00 AM | Permalink

The U.S. Supreme Court Decision They Don't Want You To Know About

The U.S. Supreme Court on Monday rejected former TV pitchman Kevin Trudeau's bid to overturn his criminal contempt conviction and 10-year prison sentence for exaggerating the content of a weight loss book he marketed through infomercials.

Without comment, the Supreme Court let stand a Feb. 5 ruling by the federal appeals court in Chicago, which upheld Trudeau's November 2013 conviction over his promotion of the 2007 book The Weight Loss Cure 'They' Don't Want You To Know About.

Viewers were told they could "cure" obesity without dieting or exercise, but the book told readers to consume only 500 calories and walk one hour each day, take hormones, and undergo liver and colon cleanses and enema-like colonics.

Jurors found that Trudeau violated a 2004 Federal Trade Commission consent order, which barred him from misrepresenting the content of books in infomercials in which he starred.

In his Supreme Court appeal, Trudeau said his right to a speedy trial was violated, and that he would have been acquitted if prosecutors were required to prove that he knew what he was doing was wrong.

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Previously in Kevin Trudeau:

* Infomercial Review: More Natural Cures Revealed.

* What I Watched Last Night: Infomercial Armageddon.

* TruTweet:

* Kevin Trudeau Could've Been President.

* He Was Good. Real Good.

* The Refund Kevin Trudeau Doesn't Want You To Know About.

* Kevin Trudeau's Jailhouse Jig: More Oprah Than Mandela.

* Federal Appeals Court Confirms: Kevin Trudeau Is One Big Fat Contumacious Liar.

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 1:46 AM | Permalink

December 9, 2016

The Beachwood Radio Sports Hour #131: Rebuild City

The Hot Stove League is scorching. Including: White Sox Ditch Drake LaRoche Fan Club; Cubs Always Closing; Dusty Maddon; John Fox Is Officially A Clown; Hoiberg vs. Thibodeau vs. Popovich; and Marian Hossa, MVP.


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SHOW NOTES

* Anagram: "A word, phrase, or name formed by rearranging the letters of another, such as cinema, formed from iceman."

* Palindrome: "A word, number, sentence, or verse that reads the same backward or forward." Like "Otto."

* Acronym: "A word or name formed as an abbreviation from the initial components in a phrase or a word, usually individual letters (as in NATO or laser) and sometimes syllables (as in Benelux)."

:41: White Sox Ditch Drake LaRoche Fan Club.

18:21: Cubs Always Closing.

* Maddon-Proofing The Bullpen:

"We're going to try and build up a ton of depth," team president Theo Epstein told reporters Wednesday afternoon. "We're going to try and build a really talented and deep bullpen with a lot of different options we can use in close games. Instead of three late-game options, you have five or six, then you can always like who you're turning to in the bullpen and not feel the need to use a Hector Rondon four out of five times."

Rondon will return to his setup role, but not before getting an apology from Joe Maddon. The Cubs manager called him after the team acquired Wade Davis to let the right-hander know where he stands. Maddon then admitted some culpability in Rondon's late-season triceps injury.

"When a guy gets hurt like that out of the bullpen, I feel like I'm responsible," Maddon said. "Maybe using him too much in different situations."

Rondon pitched in five games over the course of seven days in late July before going down with the injury.

* Theo also said the team will use an 8-man bullpen this season. I remember when six was typical; seven at most.

* Dusty Maddon.

* Enjoy St. Louis, Dex.

* Terry Armour.

* To be clear, the Sale trade was the right thing to do, but only because the White Sox utterly failed to compete for years despite real talent on their roster.

* Coffman on the Cubs' 19% ticket hike: "It's a billionaire family, they don't need the money! It's just greed - it's flat-out, stone-cold greed. It's just avarice, plain and simple."

46: John Fox Is Officially A Clown.

* Biggs: "John Fox shot down a story Wednesday that the Bears could be headed for a split with defensive coordinator Vic Fangio. But the coach has been more adamant denying other media reports that ultimately proved accurate.

"Just last month, Fox questioned the authenticity of reports that quarterback Jay Cutler's shoulder injury was potentially season-ending. The following week Cutler underwent surgery before heading to injured reserve.

"Last December, the Tribune reported receiver Kevin White would not be activated from the physically unable to perform list and Fox said 'there are always a lot of reports. Then there's facts.' White remained on the PUP list . . .

"When it comes to staff moves, the truth comes out when the calendar turns to January. Sources remained resolute saying there's smoke inside Halas Hall when it comes to friction between Fox and Fangio and it's a matter of whether or not the fire can be extinguished."

* Potash:

"Bears coach John Fox isn't going to win a credibility war with the media, but defensive coordinator Vic Fangio is a different story . . .

50:17: Hoiberg vs. Thibodeau vs. Popovich.

* Resting Dwyane.

* Thibodeau, LOL:

"[N]ot long after his five-season run as coach of the Chicago Bulls came to an unceremonious end when he was fired in May 2015, Thibodeau set about deciding how he wanted to spend his time away from coaching.

"He knew he needed to recharge and reflect, he said. He figured the best way to do that would actually be to cram as much basketball into his life as humanly possible."

* Pop Rips Spurs For 'Going Through The Motions' Against Bulls.

* Fluke stat of the week:

58:17: Marian Hossa, MVP.

* Zawaski:

"Hossa is an incredible hockey player with three Stanley Cups, has played in 201 playoff games and has been one of the best players of this generation . . . He's as close to a perfect hockey player as I've seen in my 25-plus years watching hockey."

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STOPPAGE: 4:24

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 1:42 PM | Permalink

The Week In Chicago Rock

You shoulda been there.

1. Davina and the Vagabonds at City Winery on Wednesday night.


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2. Avant at City Winery on Tuesday night.

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3. Wilson at the House of Blues on Sunday night.

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4. Spa Moans at the Hideout on Wednesday night.

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5. Steve Summers at Danny's on Tuesday night.

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Catching up with . . .

Whitney at Reckless Records on December 3rd.

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The King Khan and BBQ Show at the Empty Bottle on December 3rd.

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The Pretenders at the big ol' hockey arena on December 3rd.

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Marisa Anderson at Beat Kitchen on December 3rd.

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Loerzel: Ultimate Painting at the Hideout on December 2nd.

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 9:52 AM | Permalink

Beachwood Photo Booth: Air

Cold, winter air.

air2.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.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: End School Zone.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Portage Park Peek-A-Boo.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: South Side Sundown.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Susie's Drive-Thru.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Holiday Ham.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Food & Liquor, Milhouse.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: O'Hare Blue Line Man.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Schwing!
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Ad Deluxe.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Jesus At The Drive-In.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: The Tanks Of Avondale.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Conveyance Belt.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Bonk.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Esquire In The Night.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Nick's Meat Market.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Keep Havin A Good Day.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Knock Knock.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Man At Marie's.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Bonneville.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Logan Bags.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Chicago Stairwell.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Blue Velvet.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Court Is In Session.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: DLER ALKY.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Railyards Rush Hour.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Stop Killing People.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: America, Summer 2016, Part 1.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Greystone Chicago.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: You Are Beautiful.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Auto Part Overlords.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Bearground.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: America, Summer 2016, Part 2.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Skyway Sculpture.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: The Dome Car.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Hello, St. Joe.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Revolution Books.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Chicago Driveway.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Proceed To Checkout.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Summer Ghost.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Daily Double.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: We Are Moving.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: America, Summer 2016, Part 3.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Sunny Day Tap.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Ashland & Pawn.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Party Store.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Donuts.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: AAA Sales.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: House Rule.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Butcher Boy.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Endorsement.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: American Ghost.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: I Voted.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Pink(ish) Cadillac.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Stuffed With Sadness.

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 5:42 AM | Permalink

Why Trump Would Almost Certainly Be Violating The Constitution If He Continues To Own His Businesses

Far from ending with President-elect Trump's announcement that he will separate himself from the management of his business empire, the constitutional debate about the meaning of the Emoluments Clause - and whether Trump will be violating it - is likely just beginning.

That's because the Emoluments Clause seems to bar Trump's ownership of his business. It has little to do with his management of it. Trump's recent tweets said he would be "completely out of business operations."

But unless Trump sells or gives his business to his children before taking office, the Emoluments Clause would almost certainly be violated. Even if he does sell or give it away, any retained residual interest, or any sale payout based on the company's results, would still give him a stake in its fortunes, again fairly clearly violating the Constitution.

The Emoluments Clause bars U.S. officials, including the president, from receiving payments from foreign governments or foreign government entities unless the payments are specifically approved by Congress.

As ProPublica and others have detailed, Trump's business has ties with foreign government entities ranging from loans and leases with the Bank of China to what appear to be tax-supported hotel deals in India and elsewhere. The full extent of such ties remains unknown, and Trump has refused to disclose them, or to make public his tax returns, through which many such deals, if they exist, would be revealed.

Foreign government investments in Trump entities would also be covered by the clause, as would foreign government officials paying to stay in Trump hotels, so long as Trump stands to share in the revenues.

One misconception about the Emoluments Clause in early press coverage of it in the wake of Trump's election is being clarified as scholars look more closely at the provision's history. That was the suggestion that it would not be a violation for the Trump Organization to conduct business with foreign government entities if "fair market value" was received by the governments.

This view had been attributed to Minnesota law professor Richard Painter, a former official of the George W. Bush administration, and privately by some others. But Laurence Tribe, the author of the leading treatise on constitutional law, and others said the Emoluments Clause was more sweeping, and mandated a ban on such dealings without congressional approval. Painter now largely agrees, telling ProPublica that no fair market value test would apply to the sale of services (specifically including hotel rooms), and such a test would apply only to the sale of goods. The Trump Organization mostly sells services, such as hotel stays, golf memberships, branding deals and management services.

The Emoluments Clause appears in Article I, Section 9 of the Constitution. It bars any "person holding any office of profit or trust under" the United States from accepting any present, Emolument, Office, or Title, of any kind whatever, from any King, Price, or foreign state" "without the consent of the Congress." The word "emolument" comes from the Latin emolumentum, meaning profit or gain. The language of the clause was lifted in its entirety from the Articles of Confederation which established the structure of the government of the United States from 1781 until the ratification of the Constitution in 1788-89.

The clause was derived from a Dutch rule dating to 1751. It was added to the draft Constitution at the Constitutional Convention on Aug. 23, 1787 on a motion by Charles Pinckney of South Carolina. As Gov. Edmund Randolph of Virginia explained to his state's ratification convention in 1788, Pinckney's motion was occasioned by Benjamin Franklin, who had been given a snuffbox, adorned with the royal portrait and encrusted with small diamonds, by Louis XVI while serving as the Continental Congress's ambassador to France. As Randolph said:

"An accident which actually happened, operated in producing the restriction. A box was presented to our ambassador by the king of our allies. It was thought proper, in order to exclude corruption and foreign influence, to prohibit any one in office from receiving emoluments from foreign states."

The Continental Congress in 1786 had consented, after a debate, to Franklin keeping the snuffbox, as it had earlier with a similar gift to envoy Arthur Lee. At the same time, consent also was given to diplomat John Jay receiving a horse from the King of Spain.

The clause was part of the basis for Alexander Hamilton's defense of the Constitution, in Federalist 22, as addressing "one of the weak sides of republics": "that they afford too easy an inlet to foreign corruption."

There is no question that the Emoluments Clause applies to the president. President Obama's counsel sought an opinion in 2009 on whether it barred him from accepting the Nobel Peace Prize. The Justice Department concluded that it did not, in part based on historical precedent (the Prize had also been awarded to Presidents Theodore Roosevelt and Woodrow Wilson, Vice President Charles Dawes and Secretary of State Henry Kissinger), but primarily because the Norwegian group that awards the prize was not deemed a governmental entity.

The clause does not seem ever to have been interpreted by a court, but it has been the subject of a number of opinions, over the years, of the U.S. attorney general and the comptroller general. Nearly all of these opinions have concluded that the clause is definitive.

In 1902, an attorney general's opinion said it is "directed against every kind of influence by foreign governments upon officers of the United States." In 1970, a comptroller general opinion declared that the clause's "drafters intended the prohibition to have the broadest possible scope and applicability." A 1994 Justice Department opinion said "the language of Emoluments Clause is both sweeping and unqualified." Among the ties deemed to violate the clause was a Nuclear Regulatory Commission employee undertaking consultant work for a firm retained by the government of Mexico.

Congress has passed one law giving blanket approval to a set of payments from foreign government entities. Known as the Foreign Gifts and Decorations Act, it is limited to gifts of "minimal value" (set as of 1981 at $100), educational scholarships and medical treatment, travel entirely outside the country "consistent with the interests of the United States," or "when it appears that to refuse the gift would likely cause offense or embarrassment or otherwise adversely affect the foreign relations of the United States." The specificity of these few exceptions reinforces the notion that other dealings with foreign government entities is forbidden without congressional approval.

One attorney-general opinion from the Reagan administration offers the possibility of a more permissive interpretation of the Emoluments Clause, indicating it could be limited to "payments which have a potential of influencing or corrupting the recipient." But whatever the meaning of this, it was the same Reagan Justice Department that banned the NRC employee from the Mexican-funded consultancy a year later.

Ironically, an "originalist" reading of the clause, usually favored these days by conservatives as exemplified by the late Justice Antonin Scalia and current Justice Clarence Thomas, would seem to bind Trump more stringently, while a "living constitution" approach, exemplified by liberals such as the late Justices Louis Brandeis and Thurgood Marshall, might offer him greater latitude.

Clearly, deciding what the Emoluments Clause means in a specific case is a complicated legal question. (The opinion on Obama's acceptance of the Nobel Prize runs to 13 printed pages.) But just as clearly, the judges of its meaning with respect to President Trump will be politicians rather than the Supreme Court.

The controversies that swirled around Presidents Richard Nixon and Bill Clinton established a number of key points. Among them are that the sole remedy for a violation of the Constitution by a president in office is impeachment, and that the House of Representatives is the sole judge of what constitutes an impeachable offense, while the Senate is the sole judge of whether such an alleged violation warrants removal from office. (Impeachments are very rare: articles of impeachment have been voted against only two presidents, Andrew Johnson and Clinton, both of whom were acquitted by the Senate, while Nixon resigned ahead of likely impeachment. Fifteen federal judges have also been impeached, and eight removed, while four resigned.)

The arguments of scholars and lawyers on the meaning of the Emoluments Clause may influence the public, and their elected representatives. But if Trump decides not to dispose of his business, it will be up to Congress to decide whether to do anything about his apparent violation of the Constitution.

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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 12:24 AM | Permalink

December 8, 2016

The [Thursday] Papers

"Chicago Public Schools' inspector general told the school board Wednesday that the district has stalled his investigation of a possible ethics violation involving its top lawyer by invoking attorney-client privilege," the Tribune reports.

"Inspector General Nicholas Schuler's office had been looking into whether a $250,000 contract awarded to Jenner & Block, the law firm where CPS general counsel Ronald Marmer was formerly a partner, amounted to a breach of the school board's ethics policy. In a March 30 disclosure statement, Marmer acknowledged he receives severance payments from the firm.

"Schuler complained during the public comment portion of Wednesday's board meeting that 'the board's assertion of privilege is preventing my office from accessing relevant documents and interviewing attorneys who likely have information pertinent to the investigation.'"

So, just to be clear: CPS's inspector general went to the school board meeting yesterday in order to use the public comment period to lob his accusation.

That, my friends, exhibits a certain level of frustration - and a desire to embarrass board members while making sure a story that first broke in July stays in the news. You might call it chutzpah. I call it awesome.

"Unless the (inspector general's office) is granted the access it needs, a critical undermining of the public trust will result," Schuler said. "Without access, the board will be effectively saying that the OIG cannot fully investigate possible violations of the board's own ethics policies by the general counsel. And worse yet, that it can stop the OIG's independent investigation by simply choosing to assert the privilege."

From the Sun-Times in July:

The Chicago Board of Education approved a deal Wednesday that will pay as much as $250,000 to a law firm where Chicago Public Schools CEO Forrest Claypool and his handpicked general counsel, Ron Marmer, both formerly worked and that still has financial ties to Marmer, records obtained by the Chicago Sun-Times show.

Acting in closed session, the Board of Ed formally voted to hire Jenner & Block LLP at the behest of Claypool for work it already had done preparing a never-filed lawsuit against the state seeking increased funding.

Marmer left Jenner & Block in 2013 but is set to receive severance payments from the law firm totaling $1 million, according to records and interviews.

Marmer didn't respond to interview requests, and CPS declined to make him available.

Here's where the story really got interesting:

The school board initially balked at Claypool's recommendation to hire Marmer. After failing to muster the votes to approve his appointment at its September 2015 meeting, the board agreed to so the following month, though two board members opposed Marmer's appointment to the $185,000-a-year post.

Marmer had no experience working for a school district or other public agency, but Claypool - tabbed by Mayor Rahm Emanuel as his schools chief a year ago - pointed to Marmer's background as a securities litigator.

Marmer and Claypool worked together decades ago at Jenner & Block. Claypool worked there in 1982, his first job out of law school. Marmer was at the firm from 1978 to 1993 and from 1997 until 2013.

Marmer - who was a sole practitioner after leaving Jenner & Block and started work at CPS on Nov. 2, 2015 - has made $24,000 in campaign contributions to Claypool's bids for elected office since 2003, including $10,000 toward Claypool's unsuccessful run for Cook County assessor in 2010. Marmer also gave $5,000 to Emanuel's 2011 campaign for mayor.

The Sun-Times followed up in October:

The top attorney for the Chicago Public Schools supervised work done for CPS by a law firm that's still making $200,000-a-year severance payments to him, email records obtained by the Chicago Sun-Times show.

When the Sun-Times first reported in July that CPS had hired Jenner & Block LLP, schools CEO Forrest Claypool said his hand-picked general counsel, Ronald Marmer, "recused himself" and had no role in choosing the firm.

But the newly obtained documents show Marmer reviewed drafts of a lawsuit the firm was preparing to file on behalf of CPS and sent revisions of the planned suit to Jenner & Block lawyers.

The records also show Claypool knew Marmer was communicating with Jenner & Block about the case.

Now, to be fair, a general counsel who recuses himself from deciding which law firm to hire for a particular case shouldn't necessarily be expected to not work with whichever firm is hired, even if he used to be in their employ and is still getting severance checks from the firm. Should he? If so, basically any lawyer with ties to a any firm that bids for CPS work would be disqualified for holding the general counsel job.

Under CPS' ethics code, employees are barred from exercising any sort of "contract management authority" over a schools contractor "with whom the employee has a business relationship."

The ethics code defines a business relationship as a transaction worth at least $2,500 in a calendar year to a schools' official. And the code's definition of contract management authority includes "supervision of contract performance."

Oh.

CPS spokeswoman [and former newspaper reporter] Emily Bittner says officials "concluded that Mr. Marmer's participation on substantive issues was consistent with the board's ethics policy."

Uh-huh.

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According to the Sun-Times, IG Schuler began his investigation into the matter last summer, after the paper's July report.

"Schuler said he believes his office has the right to the information it's been denied by the Claypool administration," the Sun-Times reported Wednesday.

"'The assertion of the attorney-client privilege by the board against the OIG is not only contrary to the OIG's express right in the Illinois school code to have, and I quote, access to all information and personnel necessary to perform the duties of the office, but it's also contrary to past board practice,' Schuler said."

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Here's the kicker:

"Frank Clark, the Board of Ed president, responded by suggesting to Schuler that the discussion be continued behind closed doors."

But Schuler was making his remarks in public because closed-door discussions had gotten him nowhere. He was driven to using the public comment period of a board meeting to air his grievance!

He did meet, though.

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"After a closed session meeting of about half an hour, Schuler would only say that the matter remained unresolved."

LOfuckingL.

Can't Schuler just sue? Isn't this a violation of inspector-client privilege?

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"Claypool, running out of CPS after that meeting, wouldn't say whether privilege would be waived, saying, 'That's a board issue.'"

And they're handling it quite well!

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Somehow Chicago's mayors consistently find the most frustrating people in the city to lead CPS. It's an even more frustrating agency than the CPD. Think about that. These are the people in charge of our schools. They're supposed to be the good guys.

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P.S.:

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Trump Advisors Aim To Privatize Oil-Rich Indian Reservations
"The plan dovetails with Trump's larger aim of slashing regulation to boost energy production. It could deeply divide Native American leaders, who hold a range of opinions on the proper balance between development and conservation.

"The proposed path to deregulated drilling - privatizing reservations - could prove even more divisive. Many Native Americans view such efforts as a violation of tribal self-determination and culture."

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The Kool-Aid Report: Slurpee-esque
You want to get to the playoffs, you gotta go through Disappointment City.

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BeachBook
A sampling.

Indiana Can't Compete On Costs. You Heard Me.

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Anheuser-Busch Giving Away Free Beer Fridges To Chicago Offices.

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7 Snobby Claims That Science Has Officially Debunked.

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30,000 Sandhill Cranes Flew Over Chicago In One Day.

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Disturbed vs. Beyonce For Best Rock Grammy: 'Something Has Gone Wrong.'

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TweetWood
A sampling.

Beat out CEOs from Arby's and Checkers.

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The Beachwood Tronc Line: Rebuilding.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 9:58 AM | Permalink

Trump Advisors Aim To Privatize Oil-Rich Indian Reservations

Native American reservations cover just 2 percent of the United States, but they may contain about a fifth of the nation's oil and gas, along with vast coal reserves.

Now, a group of advisors to President-elect Donald Trump on Native American issues wants to free those resources from what they call a suffocating federal bureaucracy that holds title to 56 million acres of tribal lands, two chairmen of the coalition told Reuters in exclusive interviews.

The group proposes to put those lands into private ownership - a politically explosive idea that could upend more than a century of policy designed to preserve Indian tribes on U.S.-owned reservations, which are governed by tribal leaders as sovereign nations.

The tribes have rights to use the land, but they do not own it. They can drill it and reap the profits, but only under regulations that are far more burdensome than those applied to private property.

"We should take tribal land away from public treatment," said Markwayne Mullin, a Republican U.S. Representative from Oklahoma and a Cherokee tribe member who is co-chairing Trump's Native American Affairs Coalition. "As long as we can do it without unintended consequences, I think we will have broad support around Indian country."

Trump's transition team did not respond to multiple requests for comment.

The plan dovetails with Trump's larger aim of slashing regulation to boost energy production. It could deeply divide Native American leaders, who hold a range of opinions on the proper balance between development and conservation.

The proposed path to deregulated drilling - privatizing reservations - could prove even more divisive. Many Native Americans view such efforts as a violation of tribal self-determination and culture.

"Our spiritual leaders are opposed to the privatization of our lands, which means the commoditization of the nature, water, air we hold sacred," said Tom Goldtooth, a member of both the Navajo and the Dakota tribes who runs the Indigenous Environmental Network. "Privatization has been the goal since colonization - to strip Native Nations of their sovereignty."

Reservations governed by the U.S. Bureau of Indian Affairs are intended in part to keep Native American lands off the private real estate market, preventing sales to non-Indians. An official at the Bureau of Indian Affairs did not respond to a request for comment.

The legal underpinnings for reservations date to treaties made between 1778 and 1871 to end wars between indigenous Indians and European settlers. Tribal governments decide how land and resources are allotted among tribe members.

Leaders of Trump's coalition did not provide details of how they propose to allocate ownership of the land or mineral rights - or to ensure they remained under Indian control.

One idea is to limit sales to non-Indian buyers, said Ross Swimmer, a co-chair on Trump's advisory coalition and an ex-chief of the Cherokee nation who worked on Indian affairs in the Reagan administration.

"It has to be done with an eye toward protecting sovereignty," he said.

$1.5 TRILLION IN RESERVES

The Trump-appointed coalition's proposal comes against a backdrop of broader environmental tensions on Indian reservations, including protests against a petroleum pipeline by the Standing Rock Sioux tribe and their supporters in North Dakota.

On Sunday, amid rising opposition, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers said it had denied a permit for the Dakota Access Pipeline project, citing a need to explore alternate routes.

DAPL.JPGConstruction equipment sits near a Dakota Access Pipeline construction site off County Road 135 near the town of Cannon Ball, North Dakota/Josh Morgan

The Trump transition team has expressed support for the pipeline, however, and his administration could revisit the decision once it takes office in January.

Tribes and their members could potentially reap vast wealth from more easily tapping resources beneath reservations. The Council of Energy Resource Tribes, a tribal energy consortium, estimated in 2009 that Indian energy resources are worth about $1.5 trillion. In 2008, the Bureau of Indian Affairs testified before Congress that reservations contained about 20 percent of untapped oil and gas reserves in the U.S.

Deregulation could also benefit private oil drillers including Devon Energy Corp, Occidental Petroleum, BP and others that have sought to develop leases on reservations through deals with tribal governments. Those companies did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

Trump's transition team commissioned the 27-member Native American Affairs Coalition to draw up a list of proposals to guide his Indian policy on issues ranging from energy to health care and education.

The backgrounds of the coalition's leadership are one sign of its pro-drilling bent. At least three of four chair-level members have links to the oil industry. Mullin received about eight percent of his campaign funding over the years from energy companies, while co-chair Sharon Clahchischilliage - a Republican New Mexico State Representative and Navajo tribe member - received about 15 percent from energy firms, according to campaign finance disclosures reviewed by Reuters.

Swimmer is a partner at a Native American-focused investment fund that has invested heavily in oil and gas companies, including Energy Transfer Partners - the owner of the pipeline being protested in North Dakota. ETP did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

The fourth co-chair, Eddie Tullis, a former chairman of the Poarch Band of Creek Indians in Alabama, is involved in casino gaming, a major industry on reservations.

Clahchischilliage and Tullis did not respond to requests for comment.

BUREAUCRATIC THICKET

Several tribes, including the Crow Nation in Montana and the Southern Ute in Colorado, have entered into mining and drilling deals that generate much-needed revenue for tribe members and finance health, education and infrastructure projects on their reservations.

Crow.JPGTwo workers look at a gas well on the Crow Nation reservation near Crow Agency, Montana/Adam Tanner

But a raft of federal permits are required to lease, mortgage, mine, or drill - a bureaucratic thicket that critics say contributes to higher poverty on reservations.

As U.S. oil and gas drilling boomed over the past decade, tribes struggled to capitalize. A 2015 report from the Government Accountability Office found that poor management by the Bureau of Indian Affairs hindered energy development and resulted in lost revenue for tribes.

"The time it takes to go from lease to production is three times longer on trust lands than on private land," said Mark Fox, chairman of the Three Affiliated Tribes in Forth Berthold, North Dakota, which produces about 160,000 barrels of oil per day.

Berthold.JPGA service truck drives past an oil well on the Fort Berthold Indian Reservation/Andrew Cullen

"If privatizing has some kind of a meaning that rights are given to private entities over tribal land, then that is worrying," Fox acknowledged. "But if it has to do with undoing federal burdens that can occur, there might be some justification."

HISTORY OF 'TERMINATION'

The contingent of Native Americans who fear tribal-land privatization cite precedents of lost sovereignty and culture.

The Dawes Act of 1887 offered Indians private lots in exchange for becoming U.S. citizens - resulting in more than 90 million acres passing out of Indian hands between the 1880s and 1930s, said Kevin Washburn, who served as Assistant Secretary for Indian Affairs at the Department of the Interior from 2012 until he resigned in December 2015.

"Privatization of Indian lands during the 1880s is widely viewed as one of the greatest mistakes in federal Indian policy," said Washburn, a citizen of Oklahoma's Chickasaw Nation.

Congress later adopted the so-called "termination" policy in 1953, designed to assimilate Native Americans into U.S. society. Over the next decade, some 2.5 million acres of land were removed from tribal control, and 12,000 Native Americans lost their tribal affiliation.

Mullin and Swimmer said the coalition does not want to repeat past mistakes and will work to preserve tribal control of reservations. They said they also will aim to retain federal support to tribes, which amounts to nearly $20 billion a year, according to a Department of Interior report in 2013.

Mullin said the finalized proposal could result in congressional legislation as early as next year.

Washburn said he doubted such a bill could pass, but Gabe Galanda, a Seattle-based lawyer specializing in Indian law, said it could be possible with Republican control of the White House and the U.S. House and Senate.

Legal challenges to such a law could also face less favorable treatment from a U.S. Supreme Court with a conservative majority, he said. Trump will soon have the chance to nominate a Supreme Court justice to replace Antonin Scalia, a conservative member who died earlier this year.

"With this alignment in the White House, Congress and the Supreme Court," he said, "we should be concerned about erosion of self-determination, if not a return to termination."

Additional reporting by Richard Valdmanis.

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 12:55 AM | Permalink

The Blue & Orange Kool-Aid Report: Slurpee-esque

You win some, you lose some. And sometimes you lose when you win.

So say many a sportswriter throughout the Internet.

Despite a convincing victory against the 49ers on Sunday, the Bears managed to draw the ire of their fan base by lowering their chances for a top three pick in the 2017 draft.

I'm not going to spend time dissecting the upcoming college draft class, as I possess neither depth of knowledge or (and this may have something to do with the lack of knowledge) the interest in college football to provide any insights.

How little interest do I have in academics, let alone minor league football?

It took 'til the third proofreading of this column to catch multiple instances of the word "collage" scattered throughout this section alone.

The notion of paying $80,000 - $200,000 to acquire a major in history, which grants you the right to spend most of your day creating pivot tables in Excel, strikes me as fundamentally disgusting.

Go learn carpentry. The world will always need tables, shelves and canoes. Might as well get paid $40 - $80 an hour for the trouble.

But back to academia's finest products - unpaid professional-caliber athletes in search of generational wealth.

The Bears will need some good ones to improve their lot in years to come.

Even if they were to end up with a 4-12 record, Chicago is still headed for a top five pick. All four of their upcoming opponents are gunning for playoff spots and are decidedly better teams. Given the state of the team (injured and poopy), winning one of the remaining games seems probable.

Wherever they end up picking, the Bears should be drafting best available talent, with an eye on the secondary. My hunch is that Michigan safety Jabrill Peppers (who is also an exciting return man) is there as late as sixth, and if he is, Ryan Pace should nab him.

Failing that, Pace will likely just reach into a hat filled with names of the remaining undrafted players coming out of Alabama, demonstrably shrug while looking at the camera, and then hold the piece of paper up to Rodger Goodell.

I'm only half joking.

My point is that it's still safe to root for your favorite team.

Even if they shock the world and go .500 the rest of the way, we're still looking at about a seventh pick overall, and that's a spot where you can pick up great talent.

Why, just look at the draft results for the last few years!

(Muttering to self as he furiously googles)

Let's see . . . 2015 . . . seventh overall . . . oh fuck, the Bears select Kevin White?!

Uh, let's keep going.

Ah, here we go! In 2014 Mike Evans was the seventh overall pick. My point exactly.

And 2013 . . . Jonathan Cooper . . . career marred by injuries . . . work ethic called into question . . . dammit.

2012 . . . Mark Barron . . . traded out of Tampa immediately . . . almost 100 tackles for the Rams in 2016 . . . close enough!

In any case, there doesn't appear to be an Andrew Luck-ish type sitting at the top of this draft.

The Bears' chances of hitting pay dirt anywhere in the top 10 are as good as anywhere else in the first round, so don't sweat a win or two.

What Worked

  • Defensive Line Play: The caveat of last week's Slurpee-esque field conditions notwithstanding (brought to you by 7-Eleven, sponsorship dollars please!), the Bears defensive front cancelled the San Francisco passing game faster than HBO axed Any Given Wednesday.*

    But if Matt Barkley can play well enough to win, 49ers fans (and people who enjoy pro/semi-pro/Pop Warner level football) can and should expect a better effort from San Francisco QBs. Slush be damned - give the Bears defense full credit on a dominating performance.

    Akiem Hicks and Eddie Goldman combined for three sacks and created sufficient havoc to allow the linebackers to pressure/sack the hapless Colin Kaepernick and Blaine Gabbert. Thanks to the men up front, ILB Nick Kwiatkoski had his best game as a pro and Leonard Floyd continued to bolster a resume that's rewarding Ryan Pace's aggressive 2015 draft selection (read: even though he looks good, still a reach) at ninth overall.

What . . . (Being Kind Here After A Fun Win) Left Something To Be Desired

  • Special Teams: I'm no football player, but I don't think you're supposed to fair catch a punt 15 feet from your own endzone. Bryce Callahan, I'll wait while you write that down. Throw in that weird delay-of-game flag on another punt, which was followed by the punt being blocked, and you got yourself a real special teams shit sandwich on your hands.
  • Speaking Of Hands, Josh Bellamy's: Don't let the final stat line fool you (94 yards receiving, 12 rushing); calling the material which constitutes Bellamy's hands "stone" is an insult to rocks, concrete or, hell, even construction aggregate. It's "stop, drop, and roll," not "stop and drop at your place of employment."

Eye On The Opposition: Detroit Lions: More Than Meets The Eye
Who woulda thunk it?

Matt Stafford is a pretty darn good quarterback even without Calvin Johnson (aka Megatron**).

The Lions have won twice as often as they've lost, boasting a division-leading 8-4 record. It's a bit of a "tallest midget" situation in the NFC North, but despite the winning record most analysts don't give Detroit much love.

Maybe it's because their defense isn't that good.

Or that they have virtually no running game to speak of.

Or maybe it's because all of their wins were of the narrow variety, with the exception of last week's victory over New Orleans.

Or that they haven't won a playoff game since Herman Moore was a rookie (for real).

Or because they're the friggin' Lions.

Or maybe it's because they've lost to the Bears, which given the current state of affairs at Soldier Field is quite a damning indictment on any of their opponents.

With all that said, the thing the Lions do well (and by "they" I mean, "he") is quarterbacking.

Detroit has few high-caliber options at receiver, so it's fair to say that their success in 2016 can be attributed directly to live action Son Of Krusty The Clown. If the Bears are going to notch another exciting/infuriating win this Sunday, they'll have to put a lid on Stafford.

Other than that, Bears, keep doing what you're doing***.

The aforementioned options include Notre Dame product Golden "Because I Was Covered In Egg Yolk And Butter When I Was Born" Tate, "Marvin-ous" Marvin Jones and tight end Eric "Probably Would Be An All-World Tight End If It Wasn't For This Blasted Knee" Ebron.

In general, Chicago keeps opposing tight ends in check, so expect a more downfield passing attack to Jones on Sunday.

If the Bears can get to Stafford before Jones can catch up to the deep heave, they've got a chance to make your day/continue to disappoint you!

Kool Aid (2 of 5 - Pints Of Liberty Street Brewing Pooh Beer)
As this is being written . . . it's f-in' cold here in Chicago.

And short of a house fire caused by faulty electrical wiring****, nothing warms me up quite like a delicious porter. This sweet seasonal brew has notes of honey and, more importantly, alcohol. You'll love it!

Aside from a race to the almost bottom, does Chicago have something to play for this week?

It's a division game, you're damn skippy they do.

Why?

Because fuck you, NFC teams within 500 miles of our fair town.

You want to get to the playoffs, you gotta go through Disappointment City.

The front seven have been great this year and they'll need to continue doing said great job (insert exclamation point, banana sticker) to contain the mobile Stafford. Like most smart QBs, he won't try to beat the Bears with his feet directly, but use his fleet feet to buy time for his receivers.

The "hand the ball to Jordan Howard" offensive schematic worked wonders last week; I say the Bears roll with it.

Good/Bad news is, it probably won't be enough to crack that elusive 23-point mark on the road (until last week, their season high in points scored), but it should be close.

Lions 23, Bears 20

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About The Author
The Author wasn't able to make it out to Ford Field this year, but the Author recommends the experience if you have a Sunday to burn, even if both of the teams competing are rarely good at the same time.

In related news, Mrs. The Author has expressed a certain amount of (The Author is searching for the right word) . . . disgust in the pictures selected for the final section of the BAOKAR and has requested that, if pictures of her must be posted to the Internet for time immemorial, more flattering pictures are provided.

The Author has considered his options and respectfully acquiesces to Mrs. The Author's . . . gentle suggestion.

MrsAuthor.png

* The show was not good, but in general I'm a fan of The Sports Guy. When you've finished ingesting all the great content at The Beachwood Reporter for the day, take a gander at The Ringer, Bill Simmons' spiritual successor to Grantland.

** Oh Christ, I just spent 45 minutes on YouTube watching clips from The Transformers: The Movie and found out that it was set in the "distant future" of 2005. And - wait a minute, this can't be right - Orson friggin' Welles was the voice of Unicron?! Realizing that Citizen Kane himself starred in a movie I saw in the theater is not making me feel any younger.

*** Which can apply to "putting pressure on the opposing QB" or "losing in spectacular fashion," depending on your rooting interest these days.

**** You said you wanted a working doorbell and the house was too cold, honey! Problem f-ing solved!

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Carl Mohrbacher is our Kool-Aid Korrespondent. He tolerates your comments.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 12:09 AM | Permalink

December 7, 2016

The [Wednesday] Papers

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Sale, All Smiles, Sold
"More than ready to leave throwback uniforms and children in the clubhouse in arrears."

Youth Aren't Props
"Making youth policy without youth is like making a car without the driver in mind."

'Hail Trump'
"The stiff-arm salute is not a trivial gesture. It is not alt-right so much as it is Third Reich redux, a revival of a dangerous ideology."

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BeachBook

The Illinois Parables.

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Trailblazer.

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U of Illinois Says No To Sanctuary Status For Immigrants.

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Both Feeling Threatened, American Muslims And Jews Join Hands.

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Trump Lesson Drawing Hitler Parallels Costs Teacher Job.

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After Marist Girls Expelled over Racist Tweets, Dads Sue.

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TweetWood
A sampling.

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Get me rewrite.

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The Beachwood Tronc Line: Get me rewrite.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 11:12 AM | Permalink

Sale, All Smiles, Sold

His face said it all. The beaming smile was one of a man who looked as though his first child had just been born. Or maybe he had just closed a deal for his dream home.

Chris Sale was free at last. His image on social media Tuesday with five buddies, including his college baseball coach, appeared to be one of relief, of a young guy full of future aspirations and more than ready to leave throwback uniforms and children in the clubhouse in arrears.

The color of Sale's socks will turn red from white, and with it he joins a band of athletes who won 93 games last season compared to the local group's 78. He joins a rotation that includes two Cy Young Award winners, Rick Porcello last season and David Price (2012). His new team scored more runs than any club in baseball last season and almost 200 more than his old team.

Before investigating the now-clear White Sox direction and the four young players Rick Hahn received in exchange for Sale, let's consider a few factors that made the Red Sox the winner of the Sale bidding.

General manager David Dombrowski, who got his start here in Chicago and learned the trade as Roland Hemond's assistant, no doubt was well aware of Sale's effectiveness against the East Division of the American League. In his seven-year career with the White Sox, Sale registered a 14-9 record against Boston's division foes, the Blue Jays, Orioles, Yankees, and Rays. In 186 innings, his ERA was 2.61. He struck out more than 10 hitters per nine innings while walking slightly less than three.

Compare that to how Sale fared against his own Central Division, and you have yet another reason for his overt elation. Sale has pitched well against just about everyone, accounting for his 74-50 lifetime record. However, he went just 30-30 in the Central Division, where his ERA was 3.50.

There was a time when Fenway Park was supposed to be a hellhole for left-handed pitchers. Facing a lineup of primarily right-handed hitters, flyballs which would be outs in most parks tended to clear the Green Monster or clang off it for singles and doubles.

But, again, in six games at Fenway in his career, Sale hasn't allowed a home run against a potent Red Sox team, while splitting two decisions, striking out a hitter an inning, and walking just four in 22-plus innings.

He joins other lefties who have had success at Fenway. Start with Babe Ruth, who went 49-19 in the venerable ballpark between 1914 and 1919. Jon Lester wasn't too shabby at Fenway during his nine years there. In 115 games, Lester's record was 51-30 with a 3.59 ERA. And last season Price was 9-3 pitching at home.

Sale is pretty much fearless. Having the left field corner 25 feet closer than it is at the ballpark formerly known as The Cell won't bother him. After all, the sucker is 37 feet high.

So we bid adieu to one of the greatest pitchers in Sox history. No more K Zone. No more nasty sliders and a devastating change-up. Gone is the Cy Young watch. No more bickering with the front office. No more national exposure over destroyed uniforms that flow over beltlines.

Instead, we enter the Rebuild Era. Only Carlos Rodon and Tim Anderson are untouchable. As you read this, Hahn is deep into conversations aimed at dealing talent like Jose Quintana, Adam Eaton, Jose Abreu, and Todd Frazier. Nate Jones and David Robertson conceivably could wind up closing for teams far from the South Side.

Hahn clearly is going all-in starting with the Sale trade. The Sox now have Yoan Moncada, the top prospect in all of baseball, according to MLB Pipeline. Not just the top Red Sox prospect. No, he's rated ahead of every doggone prospect in the game.

Moncada, a Cuban, was paid more than $31 million to sign in early 2015. The White Sox had more than a passing interest at that time with a track record of signing Cubans like Alexei Ramirez and Abreu, but Moncada was unaffordable. Now he is.

Often compared to Robinson Cano, Moncada has primarily played second base. He's a big kid: 6-foot-2, 205 pounds. He turns 22 in May. He's a switch-hitter with power and speed - he stole 45 bases and clubbed 15 homers in 106 minor-league games last season. Moncada was voted the MVP last July at the Futures Game in San Diego.

However, for a sobering tidbit, MLB Pipeline writes, "The most-hyped teenaged prospect to come out of Cuba since Jorge Soler." Oh, golly, let's hope for more. In addition, when Dustin Pedroia was hurt last September, Moncada played for 10 days in Boston without much success. He struck out 12 times in 20 plate appearances.

All of which is why Moncada will begin 2017 at Charlotte.

Then there's left-handed pitcher Michael Kopech, a 20-year-old Texan who was a first-round draft choice (33rd overall) in 2014. He's a top 100 prospect (presently No. 30 on Pipeline) on just about everyone's list. The kid's Chapman-like fastball has been clocked as high as 105. In 134-plus innings in the minors, he's struck out an average of 11.5 hitters per nine innings while walking 4.6.

In the Arizona Fall League the kid was outstanding, posting a 3-0 record with a 2.01 ERA. He fanned 26 in 22-plus innings and walked only eight.

Not only that, but Kopech has some Chris Sale in him, if not Rajon Rondo. He missed three months last season with a broken hand, the result of a spring training fight with a teammate. He also was suspended for 50 games in 2015 for using a banned stimulant. Look for Kopech to pitch at Winston-Salem or possibly Birmingham when the 2017 season begins.

The White Sox also landed Venezuelan outfielder Luis Alexander Basabe. Why the middle name? Because his twin brother Luis Alejandro Basabe also was in the Boston organization until he was traded to the Diamondbacks last July. However, our new Basabe is rated a much stronger prospect than his brother.

A switch-hitting speedster who swiped 25 bases in 30 attempts last season in A-ball, Basabe won't be of legal drinking age until August. The kid strikes out too much, but he has a .353 OBP in four minor league seasons.

The fourth player coming over in the Sale trade is 21-year-old relief pitcher Victor Diaz, a Dominican, who throws hard having struck out slight more than a hitter per inning in Single-A. "As fourth pieces in a deal go, Diaz is a pretty good one," according to Baseball Prospectus.

Where to from here? The only certainty is that Hahn is far from finished wheeling and dealing. No one has the slightest idea what the lineup will look like when the Sox open the season on April 3 at home against the Tigers.

There is another unrefutable fact. A ticket for Opening Day will be a lot less than a similar item at the other ballpark in town.

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Former Bill Veeck bar buddy Roger Wallenstein is our White Sox correspondent. He welcomes your comments.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 8:33 AM | Permalink

Youth Aren't Props

Just one-third of students rate their school culture positively, according to data released this week by the San Francisco-based nonprofit YouthTruth Student.

The stat wouldn't make for a good consumer report, but it's amazing what we can learn when we consider youths' perspectives.

"Students are the experts on their own experience," says Sonya Heisters of YouthTruth. "It's important that education decision-makers, from principals to superintendents, and from education funders to the education secretary, listen to this feedback."

A positive school climate has been shown to boost academic achievement. So why aren't there more of these studies?

Unfortunately, school leaders would rather not make any data available than share how students feel they're treated.

Policies dedicated for youth without their input on the front end miss a core perspective and the supposed purpose for the policy change.

Here's a common practice: Organizers and policymakers meet for weeks planning an event or piece of legislation that is dedicated to improving the lives of youth and students. In the final hour before the policy or project's release, someone realizes they need youth present at the press conference and asks, "Does anyone have a connection with one of the youth-serving programs in the city?"

Making youth policy without youth is like making a car without the driver in mind.

Minus young people, school and youth policies might as well be categorized as adult policies. And so-called data-driven decision-making should be considered an exercise in adults living out their policy dreams and fantasies.

Believe it or not, children can express how policy decisions impact their lives. Youth even have ideas as to how they should be governed.

Last week, I moderated a discussion in New Orleans titled "Supporting Young People on their Journey to Self-Actualization," as part of the City of New Orleans' fourth annual Youth Violence Prevention Summit. The panel of youth-serving organizations discussed ways to incorporate and institutionalize students' thoughts and perspectives in the policies that directly impact their lives.

From the court system, policing, transportation and housing to education, youth's perspectives can enhance how we construct policy.

One way that school leaders can integrate the youth in schooling is to conduct climate studies in schools and make those results public. Academic trends have to be placed in a context. Student and family satisfaction contextualizes how they are perceived and treated.

Charlotte Dial, the teacher at a Success Academy charter school caught on video yelling at a first grader for making a mistake on a math problem, may have been evaluated highly if performance was rigidly based on test scores (and low student self-esteem).

If there is a good that came out of that viral video, it's that we can see why student and teacher performance can't be rigidly weighted on test scores and why Dial should not be considered a good teacher.

Clearly, there are many developmentally, culturally and ethically inappropriate ways to boost academic achievement. And we would know this if we asked students their opinion.

A Voice Of Reason From Washington

Kudos to Secretary of Education John King for calling for an end to corporal punishment. Schools in the South are just meaner to black kids. The Brookings Institution found that seven states - Mississippi, Texas, Alabama, Arkansas, Georgia, Tennessee and Oklahoma - comprised 80 percent of in-school corporal punishment in the U.S.

Black children are twice as likely as white children to be spanked in school. Hitting a child doesn't speak well about the quality of teaching in a school.

It does say that schools will consider and include punishment as an effective means of teaching. Paddling is clearly an adult-centric practice that's rooted in sociological and religious values.

These policies could stand a healthy hearing from students. King's call to end corporate punishment is in line with the Education Department's new, high-quality, adaptable ED School Climate Surveys (EDSCLS), which affirm a belief in students' voices.

According to the YouthTruth Student Survey, "less than half of all students report that they feel discipline at their school is fair, and experiences vary widely by self-reported race/ethnicity." Black students were the least likely to feel that discipline was fair.

Schools Not Only Place Missing Youth Voice

Criminal justice, transportation, parks and recreation and other social services can use a boost. Some are taking steps to give youth some decision-making power in institutions. "In 2015, NYC Service, a city agency focused on increasing volunteerism and civic engagement, announced the goal of engaging 30,000 youth ages 14-21 on new youth leadership councils working in policy and practice or service by 2020." But first adults have to rid themselves of some beliefs and practices.

Academics and policy experts too often confuse jargon with knowledge. Whizzes can do a much better job at not alienating youth, families and others with language. Also, include students on the front end of planning. If youth aren't represented in the beginning, then they're mere tokens if squeezed in at the end. But that means we have to have meetings during times and in places where youth can be involved.

Adults also have to believe civic participation is a value and an outcome that's to be measured and rated. Remember that youth are part of the public.

Yes, there are developmental differences between a 6-, 16- and 21-year-old, but there are ways to garner their perspectives on the policies that impact their lives. Finally, avoid exploiting children's adorableness. Pity isn't empowering. When we treat youth as if they have value, we sincerely incorporate their opinion in what we do.

Youth will find a way to become a part of policymaking one way or the other. When a young John Lewis and his Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee colleagues engaged the civil rights movement and when high schoolers hit the streets in Ferguson, they changed the broader policy discussion.

However, there's a much easier way to involve youth before they invariably engage with you - by listening to the entire public.

This story was produced by The Hechinger Report, a nonprofit, independent news organization focused on inequality and innovation in education.

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Previously by Andre Perry:
* Black And Brown Kids Don't Need To Learn 'Grit,' They Need Schools To Stop Being Racist.

* Why Black Lives Matter Should Take On Charter Schools.

* Don't Be Surprised If Colin Kaepernick Prompts More Schoolchildren To Sit For The Pledge Of Allegiance.

* "Wraparound" Services Are Not The Answer.

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 3:40 AM | Permalink

'Hail Trump'

During a celebration of Donald Trump's election triumph, members of the alt-right's white supremacist in-house think tank, the National Policy Institute, were filmed extending a stiff arm in the iconic "Heil Hitler" salute of Nazi Germany. Ensuring there would be no mistaking the gesture, the NPI's president, Richard Spencer, shouted, "Hail Trump, hail our people, hail victory!"

The video echoed, on a small scale, mass rallies that were once held in Nazi Germany. Huge crowds with their arms raised "were an essential part of Nazi propaganda, designed to demonstrate public solidarity with the policies of the Nazi Party," writes Garth S. Jowett and Victoria O'Donnell in Propaganda & Persuasion.

Two years ago, when I prepared slides on the Nazi salute for my rhetoric class on "The Art of Argument," I had no idea that I would soon see that gesture reborn in the America political landscape.

Before the Nov. 8 election, the use of the Nazi salute by a fringe group might have been dismissed as a "Springtime for Hitler" moment, something too outrageous to be taken seriously, as satirized in The Producers.

Post-election, the gesture represents something that demands serious attention. Historically, hand and arm gestures have had as powerful an impact as slogans or symbols. That Nazi salute should be considered in that context.

History Of Gestures

Certain gestures can send powerful rhetoric and cultural messages. There's even an International Society for Gesture Studies which promotes gesture studies worldwide.

Consider a common two-finger salute. During World War II, the two-finger salute of "V for Victory" gave courage to Allied troops. A similar gesture morphed into the peace sign, a gesture of resistance and solidarity during the 1960s protests against the Vietnam War. Turn the V-sign palm facing in, and you have a gesture that is considered rude in the United Kingdom.

The Vulcan salute, adopted by actor Leonard Nimoy for the original Star Trek series, came from a Jewish blessing, and has become part of the American lexicon of gesture. After Nimoy's death, NASA astronaut Terry Virts made the "Live Long and Prosper" sign while aboard the International Space Station and sent it to Earth via Twitter.

The current uproar over athletes kneeling during the National Anthem pales beside the outrage that greeted athletes Tommie Smith and John Carlos when they each held aloft a black-gloved fist clenched in the "Black Power" salute during their medal ceremony at the 1968 Summer Olympics in Mexico City.

A three-fingered salute plays a key role in the book series The Hunger Games. According to narrator Katniss Everdeen, raising a hand with three fingers extended is "an old and rarely used gesture [that] means thanks, it means admiration, it means good-bye to someone you love." In the book, the gesture becomes a sign of resistance.

Fiction became reality in May 2014, when three Thailand political activists protesting a coup held their hands up in a three-finger salute and were detained.

As Old As Politics

"Gestures are as old as politics itself," writes Nathaniel Zelinsky in a Foreign Affairs article that probes the use of gestures employed by radical Islamists and other groups in Middle East. Zelinsky argues that we must pay attention to these hand signals as they "communicate complex political messages that Western observers have largely ignored."

Gestures, he notes, including the Nazi salute, became especially important with the advent of mass media in the 20th century:

Consider what is perhaps the best-known example: Adolf Hitler's fascist salute. In a single gesture, Hitler communicated the power of National Socialism, the obedience of German crowds, and his own role as a supreme leader. And because pictures of him saluting were printed in newspapers around the world, the symbol reached billions.

In Europe, the Nazi salute is so potent it can be considered hate speech. To get around these laws, a controversial French comedian created an inverted Nazi salute called the "quenelle," in which a stiff arm is held down, rather than up, and is interpreted as support of anti-Zionism. The gesture has spread across the Internet through selfies, as Gavriel Rosenfeld explores in his book Hi Hitler: How the Nazi Past Is Normalized in Contemporary Culture.

Trump supporters have displayed a Heil Hitler-like gesture at more than one Trump rally.

The stiff-arm salute is not a trivial gesture. It is not alt-right so much as it is Third Reich redux, a revival of a dangerous ideology.

gestures.jpg

Just consider the message from the National Policy Institute's website, which declares it is "dedicated to the heritage, identity, and future of people of European descent in the United States, and around the world."

It is not a stretch to compare this to the Nazi veneration of the supposed "Aryan" or "ethnically pure" race.

Thus far, the president-elect has expressed more outrage over the cast of Hamilton addressing Mike Pence at the theater than neo-Nazis saluting in his name.

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Stephanie Schorow is an adjunct professor of professional writing at Regis College. This article was originally published on The Conversation.

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Comments welcome.

The Conversation

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 2:44 AM | Permalink

December 6, 2016

Why People Delude Themselves With Sports Rituals & Superstitions

What do LeBron James, a lucky coin and a smelly goat have in common? They are all part of a rich tradition of sports superstitions.

Both athletes and fans alike have looked towards these superstitions, rituals and curses for explanations about failures and successes. What is the science behind the belief that external forces can affect the outcome of a game?

As a psychologist who conducts research into superstition and gambling-related cultural beliefs, I have studied many theories, rituals, and quirks inherent in our ideas about winning and losing.

I've interviewed gamblers about their worldviews and found their personal beliefs about luck and winning can be explained by the illusion of control, the gambler's fallacy, and beliefs in luck and supernatural force.

The End Of A Curse

The Chicago Cubs won baseball's World Series this year for the first time since 1908. The 108-year-old drought was the longest in American professional sports.

When it comes to sports superstitions, the Cubs had arguably the richest and most colorful collection of curses. The best known of these is the Curse of the Billy Goat.

goat.jpg

The curse was allegedly cast during the 1945 World Series by Billy Sianis after he was ejected from Wrigley Field because others complained about the smell of his pet goat. The Cubs would not reach the World Series again for more than 70 years.

Rituals And Superstitions

Our attempts to control the most uncontrollable of events are reflected in the work of cultural anthropologist, Bronislaw Malinowski.

Malinowski found that Melanesia's Trobriand Islanders used rituals and superstitions to gain imaginary control over events that had uncertain outcomes, but did not use rituals at other times.

Trobriand Islanders practiced rituals to soothe the gods of the ocean and pray for a bountiful catch before venturing out to rough waters beyond the safety of the coral reefs, for example, but performed no rituals or prayers for when fishing in bountiful tide pools where their results were guaranteed.

In baseball, players have direct control over the game, to some extent, by choosing certain plays or strategies. Yet player rituals and superstitions are common, including tugging uniform sleeves in a certain way, tapping the home plate three times, kissing a religious necklace, or touching the brim of a helmet.

American anthropologist George Gmelch, a minor league baseball player in his younger days, was intrigued by these superstitions.

He found most relate to the unpredictable and difficult skill of batting and pitching compared with the relatively easier skill of accurately catching and throwing a ball. Like the Trobriand Islanders and their fishing, players were using rituals to try and control uncertain outcomes.

The Fans

Sports fans also participate in superstitions and rituals in an attempt to control the outcome of a game.

In evolutionary terms, humans have perfected the skills of gathering and processing information in order to find regular patterns that help them predict the future outcome of events.

This thinking process has become so natural that sometimes sports fans watching a game at home forget that their superstitious actions in front of the TV - what beer they drink, or where they are seated - cannot possibly affect a game's result.

We know that the outcome is unpredictable, if not entirely random, but we cannot help trying to influence the results by adopting some superstitious behavior or rituals with our actions. This is a cognitive mechanism that reduces our anxiety and focuses us on the game.

Superstitions and rituals help create a sense of imaginary control over a game's unpredictable outcome.

Fans of a winning team won't change their behavior or rituals for fear of disturbing the winning momentum, while those supporting a struggling team may change those viewing habits in hopes of influencing their team's results. Sports fans, just like gamblers, believe in the illusion of control.

This illusion of control - or an inflated confidence in our ability to win - increases without us realizing it. For example, many fans learn as much as they can about the team they support, such as batting statistics of players, a coach's history, and so on.

This extra knowledge leads us to overestimate our ability to predict an outcome. The extra effort we invest in the activity of being a sports fan is a primary form of illusion of control.

A secondary illusion of control enlists supernatural sources of power or intervention such as gods, spirits, or luck to supplement our own perceived power.

Fall For The Fallacy

The gambler's fallacy, or mistakenly seeing causal connections between the past and the future performance of largely random events, can also be common among sports fans. It is the same belief gamblers have when they presume after five heads on a coin toss, the next flip is more likely to be tails.

We tend to think the future chance of our favorite team winning a game is greatly affected by their previous history of winning or losing when, in reality, the results of the game could be determined by many different and unrelated factors. Even when our favorite team has a losing streak, we cannot easily abandon it.

Cognitive dissonance - a mismatch between the emotional investment and disappointment - is resolved by changing the way we think. While we acknowledge our team did not win, we rationalize all was not completely lost.

We say the results would have been much worse if we had not cheered for them, for example. Or that a losing game was not that boring after all. Then we look for hopeful signs for next season, and seek social support of our fellow fans to reaffirm our resolve.

As for the Cubs and their curse, many wonder what finally became of Billy "Goat" Sianis. He apparently tried to remove his curse before he died in 1970 but the Cubs' fortune did not reverse until this year.

And now the Cubs' unlucky streak may have passed on to the team they defeated. The Cleveland Indians, who last won a World Series in 1948, now hold the inglorious honor of having baseball's longest title drought.

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Keis Ohtsuka is a senior lecturer in psychology at Victoria University. This article was originally published on The Conversation.

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Comments welcome.

The Conversation

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 8:44 AM | Permalink

The [Tuesday] Papers

"After a four-year court battle, a Chicago food truck owner on Monday failed in her effort to overturn what she calls 'burdensome' and 'damaging' rules governing mobile vendors in the city. The judgment likely will have a significant and lasting impact on Chicago's food truck industry, which has struggled to grow, in contrast to other U.S. cities," the Tribune reports.

"Food truck owners say the regulations, first passed in 2012, have hurt sales and caused many trucks to go out of business altogether. Those who remain say they're locked in hypercompetitive fights for parking at the most popular serving locations in the Loop, and are forced to adopt extreme strategies, like sending out cars to hold lunch spots in the early morning hours, or opting to serve in more food truck-friendly areas outside downtown."

I'm with the food truck owners on this one. I sense everyone but City Hall and the brick-and-mortar restaurants the city is protecting from competition are too. But alas:

"Cook County Circuit Judge Anna Helen Demacopoulos on Monday upheld two key components of the city's food truck ordinance: a rule that the trucks stay 200 feet away from restaurants or other businesses that serve food, like Walgreens, and a requirement that mobile vendors use a city-monitored GPS device. A lawsuit by [Laura] Pekarik, owner of the Cupcakes for Courage food truck, had argued that these rules were unconstitutional and damaged her business.

"The third main mandate of the ordinance, the requirement that food trucks may not park in any space for more than two hours, was not challenged in the lawsuit."

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I haven't researched the constitutional issues at play, but it's clear the regulations are overburdensome by design, hardly driven by safety and street congestion issues. To wit:

"City spokesman Bill McCaffrey said it is 'pleased with the ruling, which reaffirms that the ordinance strikes the right balance between the interests of food trucks and those of restaurants.'"

The only interest of restaurants is to keep competition away. By this logic, though, you may as well require one restaurant to stay 200 feet away from another restaurant - and only stay open two hours a day. I find it hard to see how a judge ought to be balancing the interests of food trucks against anything other than the public interest.

"Demacopoulos said in her ruling that the case pitted 'restaurants against the young pop star - the food truck,' but found that the law allows the city to 'balance' competition within its borders."

Really? It doesn't seem to me that the city's job is to balance competition within an industry. Encourage it, yes. Discourage it, no. Which is what these rules are really meant to do.

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According to Pekarik's lawyer, "Chicago is the only city of the top 10 metropolitan cities in the country to have these types of rules."

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This might not be Demacoupolos's worst ruling, however. From 2015:

"A Chicago Heights man charged with the 2012 murder of his live-in girlfriend will get to leave the state for Thanksgiving.

"Cook County Circuit Court Judge Anna Helen Demacopoulos on Thursday granted George Kleopa permission to travel to Florida for nine days to spend the holiday visiting his children."

Geez, at least keep the guy 200 feet from the kids and for only two hours at a time at that.

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On the other hand, see her ruling in the item Redacting Rahm from this column.

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Back to food truck madness. From August:

"Nearly four years after Chicago aldermen crafted a new law regulating food trucks, an investigation by the Chicago Sun-Times and ABC7 Chicago's I-Team has found the rules are frequently broken with violators seldom facing any consequences because enforcement by Mayor Rahm Emanuel's administration is so lax."

Next: Our joint investigation into people littering the city with newspapers.

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My guess is the administration was lax to enforce the rules because A) it had better things to do, and B) the rules exist for the discretion of the city to bring the hammer down at its convenience on behalf of a friend or to punish a foe.

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"But food-truck operators routinely violate those rules, the Sun-Times and ABC7 found. And the Emanuel administration rarely punishes them.

"For instance, in the 100 block of South Clark Street, a short walk from City Hall, reporters found the law is ignored virtually every weekday, with as many as a 13 food trucks lined up between Adams Street and Monroe Street."

Sounds like heaven to me. And now you've ruined it.

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There's a difference between being an investigative reporter and a tattletale.

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How Journalists Need To Go Beyond Fact-Checking Trump
"Trump's Twitter can't become the assignment desk of the national media. The burden of proof can't be on the media to disprove every crazy claim that the president-elect makes. The story here is the president-elect yet again made a baseless claim. That is the story. The story is that the president-elect is more factually irresponsible than any political leader in the United States in memory. That's the story. The details of exactly how this particular claim is false are really, at some point, a second-order concern."

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Is All The News Fake?
Read my comment on why this is a dangerous notion taking hold.

(You can also read my debate about this on Twitter this morning with Glenn Greenwald. You may have to follow us both to see the whole thing, but I intend to write it up for the site this week too.)

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Study Of Illinois Schools Shows Connection Between Bullying & Sexual Harassment
"For example, when youth are called "gay" or "fag," they start to sexually harass members of the opposite sex to demonstrate that they are not gay."

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The Delusions Of Sports Rituals
"Personal beliefs about luck and winning can be explained by the illusion of control, the gambler's fallacy, and beliefs in a supernatural force."

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The Weekend In Chicago Rock
Featuring: Deeper, EZTV, Lowhangers, Nakay, Rubblebucket, Cock Sparrer, Flatfoot 56, Brick Assassin, Saigon Kick, Steel Panther, Stevie Nicks, Kevin Devine, August Hotel, Jimmy Nick, Get Scared, Nonpoint, Escape the Fate, Through Fire, Fitz and the Tantrums, Catfish and the Bottlemen, Cage The Elephant, Weathers, and James Bay.

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Last Week In Chicago Rock
Featuring: Splatter, Robbie Fulks & Steve Dawson, Johnny Vomit, Weezer, Mipso, Kawabata Makoto & Tatsuya Nakatani, Spires That In The Sunset Rise, Text of Light (Lee Renaldo & Alan Licht), Summer Salt, The Mississippi Stranglers, Bev Rage and the Drinks, The Blind Shake, Thee Oh Sees, Blood Licker, Bleach Party, Clearance, Jollys, PPPMMM, and Swimsuit Addition.

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BeachBook

Winter Runner Slips And Falls After WGN Interview About How Safe Winter Running Is.

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How Multiculturalism Is Eroding Christmas.

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TweetWood
A sampling.

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Revise those takes - again!

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The Beachwood Tronc Line: Ease our pain.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 7:55 AM | Permalink

How Journalists Need To Go Beyond Fact-Checking Trump

All the way back in March, Dartmouth political science professor Brendan Nyhan wrote a prescient tweetstorm about how journalists and others should call out Donald Trump's routine violation of modern norms of democratic discourse.

ProPublica's Eric Umansky sat down with Nyhan, who is also a contributor to the New York Times' Upshot, to talk about what journalists should treat as newsworthy now that Trump is about to enter office.

The discussion follows our last podcast, where we talked with Russian-American journalist Masha Gessen about how journalists need to begin imagining the unimaginable.


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A few highlights from our discussion:

Umansky: How should we respond to fake news from the president-elect?

Nyhan: I don't think journalists should give up on, or refrain from, fact-checking when the president-elect of the United States says something that is false. It's critical to set the record straight, especially when it's about a consequential policy issue.

At the same time, journalists obviously run the risk of being manipulated to chase various shiny objects and steer the debate towards topics that the president-elect would like to focus on and away from ones he would like to avoid. Trump's Twitter can't become the assignment desk of the national media.

The burden of proof can't be on the media to disprove every crazy claim that the president-elect makes. The story here is the president-elect yet again made a baseless claim. That is the story. The story is that the president-elect is more factually irresponsible than any political leader in the United States in memory. That's the story. The details of exactly how this particular claim is false are really, at some point, a second-order concern.

These stories have to de-emphasize the claim itself, emphasize the news value of the president-elect being so widely irresponsible.

Umansky: What you're saying is it's not the lie, it's the import of the lie. In terms of Trump's baseless claim of 3 million illegal votes, it struck me that there was a spectrum of coverage: There were some early headlines that didn't even knock down the claim. Then you had coverage noting that Trump had no evidence. But finally, there was a third category of coverage that flagged Trump's claim as not merely incorrect but as remarkable and unmoored. That's what the Washington Post did, calling it a conspiracy theory right in the headline.

Nyhan: I think that's exactly the correct typology. First, it's simply reprinting the claim. CBS News had an example that circulated most widely of what you're talking about there. Some poor, recent college graduate was assigned to type up what Trump said within minutes of it happening, and it was written up in a way that just amplified the misinformation. A second set of stories said Trump, without evidence, said X, but that is also a confusing way to present information, when the claim is almost certainly false.

It's possible, of course, that Trump could magically materialize with evidence of millions of illegal votes, but it's contrary to everything we know about the electoral system. Imagine Trump says, "Lizard people are engaging in secret conspiracies to run the United States." Would we write the headline, "Trump, without evidence, says lizard people control the United States"? No. There still has to be judgment exercise about whether "without evidence" is the right standard to apply to claims that are almost surely false and for which no credible evidence has been supplied.

The correct response exactly that you're indicating is that third category of stories that indicates that this is a conspiracy theory. It's false to the best of everyone's knowledge who studied the issue. It's widespread and part of this larger effort to create false perceptions of millions of illegal votes and widespread vote fraud that's never been documented.

Umansky: How about we call it the taxonomy of truth?

Nyhan: Yes, we need catchy names for all this. I'm assigning that to ProPublica.

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Previously:
* How Journalists Need To Begin Imagining The Unimaginable.

* The Weekend Desk Report: Beyond Facts: Truth.

* Is All The News Fake?

* Two Encounters: "I Don't Need To Look It Up!"

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 12:13 AM | Permalink

December 5, 2016

The Weekend In Chicago Rock

You shoulda been there.

1. Deeper at the Hideout on Friday night.


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2. EZTV at the Hideout on Friday night.

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3. Lowhangers at Mousetrap on Saturday night.

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4. Nakay at Mousetrap on Saturday night.

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5. Rubblebucket at Chop Shop on Friday night.

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6. Cock Sparrer at the Double Door on Friday night.

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7. Flatfoot 56 at the Double Door on Friday night.

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8. Brick Assassin at the Double Door on Friday night.

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9. Saigon Kick at Reggies on Friday night.

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10. Steel Panther at House of Blues on Sunday night.

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11. Stevie Nicks at the big ol' hockey arena on Saturday night.

Legaspi: "Stevie Nicks' recent musical forays may find her mining the past to cast songs in a new light, but in so doing, she's forged a strong path forward, filtered through the wisdom she's gained. At United Center on Saturday, the icon breathed new life into decades-old songs, revisited early underrated treasures and peppered in megahits to satisfy superfans and recent acolytes alike in a two-hour set that reinforced that timeless songwriting endures."

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12. Kevin Devine at Bottom Lounge on Friday night.

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13. August Hotel at Subterranean on Sunday night.

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14. Jimmy Nick at SPACE in Evanston on Saturday night.

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15. Get Scared at House of Blues on Saturday night.

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16. Nonpoint at House of Blues on Saturday night.

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17. Escape the Fate at House of Blues on Saturday night.

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18. Through Fire at House of Blues on Saturday night.

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19. Fitz and the Tantrums at the Aragon on Saturday night.

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20. Catfish and the Bottlemen at the Aragon on Friday night.

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21. Cage The Elephant at the Aragon on Friday night.

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22. Weathers at the Aragon on Friday night.

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23. James Bay at the Chicago Theatre on Saturday night.

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 11:45 AM | Permalink

SportsMonday: Barkley Buoys Bears

How often during the past several years were Bears fans told by the local sports commentariat that they were stuck with quarterback Jay Cutler because "Who are they going to bring in who's better?" They must have repeated that mantra 10,000 times.

But there was always one primary problem: No one knows what a guy can do until he gets a chance. And with the easily offended Cutler in the way, no one was getting a legit chance with the Bears (although Brian Hoyer probably would have this year if he hadn't broken his arm).

There was one exception: Josh McCown showed what he could do with a decent offensive line and some awesome talent at receiver during eight starts when Cutler was out injured in 2013 (among other things he threw 13 touchdown passes against just one pick).

But local professional sports analysts convinced themselves that Cutler would be better going forward. And when McCown signed in Tampa and then struggled the next year, oh how they loved to tell his supporters how wrong they were. That was a Tampa team, by the way, with absolutely no playmakers of note.

Now Matt Barkley is getting a chance behind a makeshift offensive line and a receiving corps that is without its three top talents (Alshon Jeffrey, Kevin White and Zach Miller). And right off the bat let's say that, of course, the Tennessee Titans and San Francisco 49ers (who the Bears beat 26-6 on Sunday) aren't the most vigorous competition. And yes, yesterday's completion-less first quarter was downright ugly.

But there is no denying that Barkley bounced back and is showing some potential (in the pouring snow he was 11-for-18 passing for 192 yards - i.e., his yards per attempt was above 10, an impressive number). And Barkley is still young enough (26) that there is plenty of reason to believe his career could arc upward from here.

There is also reason to remember that playing quarterback in the NFL is brutally difficult. And that means Barkley almost certainly won't lead a team to a championship - and he'll have plenty of company, what with only one of 32 teams winning the thing once a year.

But the man made a host of impressive passes in tough conditions. And these weren't dinky little passes that featured tons of YAC (yards after catch). They were almost all deep outs and fades and crossing routes.

Barkley acknowledged after the game that he had to adjust some fundamental mechanics to make passing work in that weather. The fact that he was able to do so? Also promising. Colin Kaepernick had no success doing any such thing before he was benched for the fourth quarter.

Next training camp, Barkley should have a shot at the job. But so should Connor Shaw, the rookie who showed promise in training camp before suffering a broken leg. And the Bears will have to draft a signal-caller who will give them another option.

But hopefully not in the first round. Hopefully in the first round, the Bears will have a chance to further stock their defense, a defense that had a great day against a San Francisco offense that had consistently moved the ball during the last month. If the Bears get someone as good as last year's first-round pick, Leonard Floyd, who recorded his sixth and seventh sacks on Sunday, they might just be getting somewhere.

And, of course, the offense will continue to make running the football a priority. And it becomes more and more apparent that in Jordan Howard, the Bears have a powerful back with good vision and instincts. But that is never enough. The running game didn't open up Sunday until Barkley started completing passes downfield.

Finally, Barkley is certainly a better guy than Cutler, who held perhaps the most painful press conferences in Bears history in his first few years with the team, when he was still convinced he was God's greatest gift to quarterbacking.

Cutler matured a bit through the years but still had plenty of lousy habits, like making sure everyone knew when an interception was a receiver's fault or failing to execute basic passing protocols or committing the . . . most . . . infuriating . . . turnovers. The primary way he will be remembered (and he is gone after this season, let's be absolutely clear about that) is for playing just well enough for the Bears to lose, especially in games that even began to mean anything.

We can look forward to Barkley or Shaw or who knows what rookie having a chance to show what they can do in meaningful games next season.

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Jim "Coach" Coffman welcomes your comments.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 8:56 AM | Permalink

Jonathan Pie, TV Reporter! All The News Is Fake!

Since when wasn't news fake? At what point did people think we weren't making it up from the start anyway?


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Comments welcome.

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1. From Steve Rhodes:

First, Pie is wrong about Twitter. Twitter didn't "break" the news of Fidel Castro's death; that news still came from official sources and mainstream media who then distributed it on Twitter - and elsewhere - and it was then picked up by everyone else. You can't have news on Twitter without news organizations. (Though - and this is one of the great things about Twitter - sometimes news is "broken" there from sources on the ground who aren't professional journalists but eyewitnesses or actual news subjects.)

Second, and is the most important point: There is a real danger in confusing bad journalism with "fake news." I see a lot of people doing this, including Glenn Greenwald, who is usually one of the best media commentators out there. Yes, much of what constitutes "news" in the media, broadly, is constructed; it consists of public relations statements, photo opportunities, pseudo-events such as press conferences and groundbreakings, and other such somesuch. But badly executed journalism - from wasting time on pseudo-events to blowing the run-up to the Iraq War - is not the same as fake news. It's simply real news utterly bungled by media professionals. Fake news, on the other hand, is "news" made up out of whole cloth - for the very purpose of deception to make money and/or reach political ends. It is fiction. It's not just badly done news; there is no way to get it right.

Let's not allow anyone to confuse the two, creating some sort of false equivalency between imperfect journalism and perfected propaganda that exploits ideologically fervent folks prone to conspiracy theory who frankly aren't that bright. (By the way, there is fake news on the left, too; I see it in my Facebook feed all the time. But it is far less abundant than on the right, and far less outrageous.) Doing so only delegitimizes all journalism, but particularly journalism certain people - like those who consume fake news, or their associates in places like the White House - don't like even if (or because) it tells the truth.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 8:48 AM | Permalink

Study Of Illinois Schools Shows The Disturbing Connection Between Bullying And Sexual Harassment

Over the past two decades, the national media has given considerable attention to disturbing stories of youth suicides that have resulted in part from bullying.

The subject of bullying has also been a plot line in movies such as Bully and in some popular TV shows.

And amidst the greater awareness of the subject, scientists have gained a better understanding of what constitutes bullying, why some youth bully and why others are victimized. There is also a better understanding of the short- and long-term effects of bullying.

However, in spite of all these efforts, intervention programs to reduce bullying have had limited success.

Why that is is what interests me as a prevention scientist and psychologist. Two headline results are these: Bullying prevention programs fail to take into account a number of factors, including the fact that youth who bully in middle school tend to be popular and powerful. And, it turns out, sexual harassment among adolescents is directly related to bullying.

How Bullying Is Linked To Sexual Harassment

I conducted a five-year study where I was the lead researcher who followed youth from middle to high school in Illinois to examine risk factors of bullying and sexual harassment.

My research shows that fifth- and sixth-graders in the U.S. who bully students often use homophobic name-calling such as "gay" or "fag," especially when boys do not act masculine and girls do not act feminine. We found that such homophobic language is used to assert power over other students.

Worse, my research shows that homophobic name-calling sets the stage for the development of sexual harassment. For example, when youth are called "gay" or "fag," they start to sexually harass members of the opposite sex to demonstrate that they are not gay.

The Nature Of Bullying Incidents

This five-year study of over 1,300 youth was complemented by interviews with students and teachers about sexual harassment among middle-school youth. Middle-school youth responded to questions about the most upsetting incident they experienced and identified characteristics of perpetrators. Teachers shared their perceptions about sexual harassment among youth.

Not surprisingly, verbal victimization, such as unwanted sexual commentary and homophobic name-calling, was most frequent. However, our study also found that youth in school were a target of many troubling behaviors and even sexual assaults. What was most concerning was that the young people we spoke with failed to recognize the seriousness of some of those behaviors - a result, in part, of the failure of schools to address them.

Our study found that youth in schools reported a range of harassment experiences. These included being a target of homophobic language. One person said, "People call me gay but I am not." Another told us, "People tell me I a gay because my mom is," or "spread rumor I am gay." One student said they "call me gay every five seconds."

But bullying behaviors were not limited to verbal harassment: 25 percent of youth in the above also reported being forced to kiss someone and even being sexually assaulted.

Girls reported boys as perpetrators of sexual harassment and sexual assault, whereas boys reported their perpetrators as other boys and close friends.

Bullying Behaviors Not Recognized

However, what surprised us was how dismissive these youth were of such victimization experiences, even though they related them as very upsetting incidents. Youth would describe having their private parts touched and then immediately say things like "but he was just kidding."

This dismissiveness might stem from the fact that adults in schools failed to attend to and to stop sexual harassment when they saw it. For example, we found in our study that teachers, school officials and staff members did not even acknowledge that sexual harassment was happening in middle school.

One teacher explained that "Most of the sexual harassment training was viewed as a 'human resource' responsibility, aimed at adults in the workplace and not as a problem that students' experience."

We also found that in the absence of professional development on both bullying and sexual harassment, these adults in the school did not understand how sexual harassment was going on between students.

Teachers were unaware of school, district or federal policies to protect students from harmful experiences and did not recognize their own role in preventing them. Many teachers did not see the link between bullying and sexual harassment.

What Can Be Done?

This raises a larger question of how can schools stop bullying and sexual harassment among early adolescents.

As bullying in middle school - largely driven by the use of homophobic slurs - has been found to be an antecedent to sexual harassment in high school, bullying prevention programs need to address homophobic language and sexual harassment directly.

We have also found that social-emotional learning (SEL) programs can help reduce bullying, homophobic name-calling and sexual harassment in schools. These programs use activities and the teaching of skills like empathy, anger management, problem-solving, communication skills, impulse control, etc.

They help youth become self-aware, manage their emotions, build social skills (empathy, perspective-taking, respect for diversity), develop friendship skills and learn positive coping and problem-solving skills. My research shows that when teachers implemented this classroom curriculum, it led to significant reductions in sexual harassment in 36 schools with over 3,600 students.

Such programs in middle school can minimize the escalation of gender-based violence (e.g., sexual harassment, teen dating violence). When bullying involves unwanted sexual commentary, rumor-spreading or touching, this should be considered sexual harassment and should be addressed immediately.

As the U.S. Department of Education Office of Civil Rights says:

"The sexual harassment of students, including sexual violence, interferes with students' right to receive an education free from discrimination and, in the case of sexual violence, is a crime."

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Dorothy Espelage is a psychology professor at the University of Florida. This article was originally published on The Conversation.

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Comments welcome.

The Conversation

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 8:47 AM | Permalink

December 4, 2016

The Weekend Desk Report

My old friend, mentor and journalism professor David S. Allen posted this recently in a media ethics Facebook group:

As have many of us, I've been thinking a lot about journalism ethics and political life in the last few months. I haven't been able to escape this belief that something is missing - that journalism continues to fail to capture the reality of the moment. The more I think about it, the more I think that at least some of this is embedded in the role truth plays within the epistemology of journalism.

I often find myself thinking back to what I consider one of the more important statements of the journalism-politics relationship in today's world. It comes from journalist Ron Suskind's 2004 interaction with an aide for President George W. Bush:

"The aide said that guys like me were 'in what we call the reality-based community,' which he defined as people who 'believe that solutions emerge from your judicious study of discernible reality.' I nodded and murmured something about enlightenment principles and empiricism. He cut me off. 'That's not the way the world really works anymore,' he continued. 'We're an empire now, and when we act, we create our own reality. And while you're studying that reality - judiciously, as you will - we will act again, creating other new realities, which you can study too, and that's how things will sort out. We're history's actors . . . and you, all of you, will be left to just study what we do.'"

I can't help thinking that that exchange tells us more about today's political life than we might want to acknowledge. Many have written about how journalism has struggled to cover the post-factual world where image has been decoupled from reality. But the journalistic world's response to this decoupling seems to make little sense, putting ever more importance on the concept of truth. In a strange way, as political life moves further and further away from truth as a guiding concept American journalism moves to make it more central to its mission. Today we are bombarded with PolitiFact, Truth-O-Meters, fact checkers, etc. The stunning revelation that these reveal is that candidates are often times not telling the truth. I doubt that is a shock to most citizens and I'm not sure it matters to them.

In a world where truth appears to be becoming increasingly unimportant, journalism has doubled-down on the search for truth. It seems that every morning National Public Radio plays some audio clip of candidate Donald Trump making some claim, only to have a Trump surrogate explain it away. The standard response is 'he was just talking in broad strokes,' 'today he is being more nuanced,' 'that is not what he really means,' etc. The goal seems to be to highlight the contradiction between what he says and what he does - that he is not telling the truth.

I wonder whether journalism is missing the point with all of this. As journalism clings to its Enlightenment belief that truth exists and can be discovered (and that the discovery of truth is vital to a democracy), political life seems to have moved on. Is the story no longer the discovery of Truth, but helping citizens understand the process through which truth or truths are created, manipulated, and managed? And can journalism adequately tell that story? Does it want to tell that story? Or, to put it more bluntly, does truth matter?

My takeaway from this is that, of course, truth matters, but that journalists ought to not just report lies but report on the processes candidates (and, truth be told, corporations and others) use to construct their lies. In one sense, the media is doing that now with its bushel of stories about "fake news," but that's too little too late.

Instead of merely reporting what candidates say, perhaps the media needs to report what candidates are doing with what they say. For example, Trump used specific rhetorical strategies at his rallies night after night to construct a belief system among his supporters impenetrable by journalism. (Perhaps he got those strategies from the book of Hitler's speeches reportedly at his bedside, though he also reportedly doesn't read. At any rate, see "Donald Trump Supporters Are Using a Nazi Word to Attack Journalists.")

Instead of calling out something as untrue, perhaps the media should describe why a candidate is telling a particular untruth, and who they are manipulating in doing so. (The danger here is to do what too much political journalism does - speak as if the voter is not in the room. Talk to the voter, not about the voter. Journalism is not a private discussion among elites.)

For example, it was really important to Trump that he make voters believe he opposed the Iraq War, and interventions in Egypt, Libya and Syria, when he in fact did not. Exposing the truth didn't seem to matter a whit, but a renewed American isolationism borne of major foreign policy disasters did, and that's what Trump was cynically and opportunistically connecting with (along with his insatiable need to always be perceived as being right, even if he has to reconstruct his past.) Was this less important than the facts of the lie? No. But what is the purpose of the lie? In other words, after reporting the lie, report on the truth of the lie - how and why he keeps telling it. Some journalists will argue that it's up to the opposing campaign to do this. I say it's up to journalists to have their own agenda, which is determining the truths most important to democracy instead of having their agenda set by candidates, officeholders and people with power, which is how they get manipulated now.

Those foreign policy "positions," for example, fit perfectly with an always-popular America First theme - American soldiers should not die defending godforsaken Third World countries filled with dirty people who don't believe in democracy. And we won't allow those folks into our country either. We are America!

In other words, it's not just important that he lied, but that he lied in service of a particular message he was selling, and that message (and why some folks were buying it) deserved scrutiny itself.

So the questions to the candidate and his surrogates shouldn't suggest it's debatable whether the claims are true, but be based on the inviolable fact that they aren't. The factual lie has already been determined. Now go after the truth. Because none of it is a mistake; it's all of a piece. Part of that piece may be the utterings of a pathological liar, but not the whole of it. Much of Trump's campaign, for example, was originally conceived by Paul Manafort, who used many of the same techniques to elect a strongman in Ukraine.

Manafort's critics in Kyiv are scathing. "He's an evil genius," Alex Kovzhun, who spent a decade working for Tymoshenko, beginning in 2001, said. "He doesn't work statesmen. He works dictators and all-round bastards. He sells the unsellable product. If you have a dead horse and you need to sell it, you call him. He works bad guys. They pay more, of course."

Manafort's specialism, according to Kovzhun, is running expensive campaigns and targeting the "great unwashed."

"It's the same element who voted for Putin, supported Brexit, back Erdogan and who will vote for Trump. Manafort works the lowest common denominator. I find him repulsive and his message ugly. He leaves destruction in his wake."

Kovzhun said he recognized the same "moves" in Manafort's campaigns for Yanukovych and Trump. He gets his clients to do "corny stuff", Kovzhun added, with "bland political slogans" and "uncreative Soviet-style imagery."

"With Yanukovych it was: 'I'll hear everyone.' With Trump, it's: 'Make America great again.'"

And now the methods go back overseas: "Euroskeptic leaders said they would study Trump's freewheeling campaign and seek to replicate it in their own nations."

Meanwhile, back home, Manafort is back - if he, like Corey Lewandowski, was ever really gone. The next four years are going to be more of the same.

I will say I see promising (though far, far too late) signs of the media stiffening - more than I see "normalization." What I'm not sure can be overcome is reaching the people who are immune to journalism - which seems to be the great bulk of Trump supporters - and instead rely on "fake news" and propaganda outlets by which they have created a deep, and deeply false, belief system from which there seems to be no way back. While these folks mainly live in media-deprived rural areas, they also reside on the Northwest and Southwest Sides and read John Kass. They will not be persuaded; the only hope is that they are eventually outrun by demographics, including not just people of color but white male Millennials who know better.

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A lot of folks have been looking to Orwell to explain where we're at, and I would certainly never discourage that. But I think we need to look at two others, and perhaps therein find the solution to where journalism ought to go: Walter Lippmann and Joseph Goebbels.

Lippmann's Public Opinion was required reading when I was in journalism school, and for good reason. Lippmann is problematic in his own way, but also full of insight that still resonates and that the media still must grapple with. From Wikipedia:

The introduction describes man's inability to interpret the world: "The real environment is altogether too big, too complex, and too fleeting for direct acquaintance" between people and their environment. People construct a pseudo-environment that is a subjective, biased, and necessarily abridged mental image of the world, and to a degree, everyone's pseudo-environment is a fiction. People "live in the same world, but they think and feel in different ones."

Of news and truth:

The pertinent facts are never provided completely and accurately as a fraction of the whole, they are often arranged to portray a certain, subjective interpretation of an event. Often, those who know the "real" (true) environment construct a favorable, fictitious pseudo-environment in the public mind to suit private needs. Propaganda is inherently impossible without a barrier of censorship between the event and the public. As a consequence, the mass communication media, by their very nature as vehicles for informational transmission, are essentially vulnerable to manipulation.

The blame for that perceptual parallax falls not upon the mass media technology (print, radio, cinema, television) or logistical concerns but upon certain members of society who attend to life with little intellectual engagement.

On democracy:

Public Opinion proposes that the increased power of propaganda and the specialized knowledge required for effective political decisions have rendered the traditional notion of democracy impossible. The phrase "manufacture of consent" was introduced, which the public intellectuals Noam Chomsky and Edward S. Herman used as the title of their book Manufacturing Consent: The Political Economy of the Mass Media.

As for Goebbels, I was fortunate enough to have the opportunity to see "State of Deception: The Power of Nazi Propaganda" when it came to the Field Museum. As so often happens, you think you know about something and then you learn so much more. (Even more important to my experience with this exhibit was watching the experience of the kids from Robeson High School whom I was helping to chaperone there. One girl, though, thought Hitler was great. Why? "He fought for what he believed in." I'm so grateful to have witnessed her classmates try to reason with her, starting with the obvious notion that what he believed in was evil. I was proud to stand back and let them hash it out on their own; my involvement, I quickly figured out, wasn't needed, and may have been counterproductive anyway.)

I've taken to YouTube in the last few weeks to study Hitler's speeches, Nazi rhetoric and even (perhaps most fascinating) the words of former German soldiers looking back on their own experience trying to understand what happened.

(Just to note: We're in a moment when both Trump supporters and the Trump resistance are using Nazi references. Let that soak in.)

The key question for journalism now seems to be not just if truth matters, but if journalism matters - or really, if journalism matters to enough people to make the kind of difference it should.

From Politico editor Susan Glasser (one to talk, given Politico's often-abhorrent performance, but still):

I have a different and more existential fear today about the future of independent journalism and its role in our democracy. And you should too. Because the media scandal of 2016 isn't so much about what reporters failed to tell the American public; it's about what they did report on, and the fact that it didn't seem to matter. Stories that would have killed any other politician - truly worrisome revelations about everything from the federal taxes Trump dodged to the charitable donations he lied about, the women he insulted and allegedly assaulted, and the mob ties that have long dogged him - did not stop Trump from thriving in this election year. Even fact-checking perhaps the most untruthful candidate of our lifetime didn't work; the more news outlets did it, the less the facts resonated.

Now, some might say, hey, he faced a candidate just as unappealing (and to folks like Kass, more untruthful). But really, as bad a case as you can make against Hillary Clinton, it doesn't come close to the case against Trump. You can match them topic by topic - lies told, conflicts of interest held, foundation vs. foundation - and it's not even close. And only one is an existential threat to the nation.

I can't help but think, though, that all of this "truthiness" didn't start with Trump, though it may end with him. Trump denies truth on a grand scale, but politicians, corporations and other powers in public policy circles have denied the importance of truth for a long time - if not forever. And the media has largely gone along with it, normalizing lies as "spin" and "public relations," and manipulative politics as "smart" in how it wins elections.

It's as if elites are just putting on a play: We lie and you in the media try to catch us and sometimes you do and sometimes you don't and then we all go to the same Christmas parties and laugh about it.

Because I'd really like to know: Does Rahm Emanuel care about truth? The record seems clear that he does not; just power. Does Bruce Rauner care about truth? The record seems clear that he does not; just advancing his own agenda. Do corporate executives care about truth? The record seems clear that they do not; just propaganda in the form of advertising, marketing and PR that safeguards profits.

Little in our culture honors truth. Truth has been so degraded, from the nonstop scandals, greed and hypocrisy of college football to the codes of silence inside our police departments to banks still committing "massive consumer fraud" to various consumer abuses like aloe vera that doesn't contain aloe vera - we've long lived in post-truth world.

In the world of politics, post-truthiness was acceptable as long as it was delivered within a set of agreed-upon rules. From my professor friend David Allen:

Found some press commentary amusing. Trump people have come out and openly admitted they are lying. The press is disgusted - politicians lie? Everything was fine as long as no one admitted they were lying. I remember Woodward saying something like like that once in an interview with William Greider.

(See also, Greider's 1992 Who Will Tell The People: The Betrayal Of American Democracy.)

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As I've been saying for years, the media has a Quality Issue. But besides its inability to consistently do respectable work, the media's biggest problem is going along with the pols and powerbrokers who don't believe in truth. They are hailed for their very ability to craft images and spin and manipulate the media. Journalists even spend a fair amount of time publicly offering their own advice as to how to do those very things!

How sad is it that the media had to be goaded into being fact-checkers this campaign season? Hasn't that been the primary job all along? We now have to separately fact-check our own reports because we're incapable of doing it in real time!

In other words, stenographers first, reporters and editors second.

(And yet, there will always be a place in the media for people like Michael Wolff.)

But maybe we're getting this wrong, and maybe this is what my friend was getting at too: Maybe it's a post-fact world we're living in, not a post-truth world. Because facts are facts, but they are not necessarily the truth. (Team A beat Team B in college football on Saturday, and that's a fact. But the truth may be that Team B is still the better team.)

And maybe that's what is so hard for journalism to grapple with. (Reporters using the old-fashioned conventions of journalism to weigh facts in determining if the alt-right, Breitbart and Steve Bannon are white supremacists are missing the glaringly obvious truth.)

I'm reminded of what journalist Masha Gessen said recently:

We really have to figure out how to tell the truth and not just report the facts.

Sadly, given journalism's continuing inability to do the latter at a consistent rate, I'm skeptical of its ability to do the former. A change of imagination, as Gessen suggests, indeed is needed. Or, as I've been saying for a long time, the mindset of journalists has to change. And there is hardly a group more resistant to change than journalists. You'd think they'd be on the forefront of change and reform, seeing as how they report on the need for everybody else to do those things. And seeing as how change and reform is inherent in the mission of journalism; if even by objective reporting you are not trying to provoke change that will improve our lives, why bother? Journalism is not - or should not be - a profession of the status quo. And now the profession must change even faster.

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Seemingly relevant:

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This, too:

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P.S.: I still believe in facts. But facts alone are not enough.

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Police Shootings Echo Through Criminology Classes
A direct appeal to a generation that has watched or even joined protests by groups like Black Lives Matter that criticize police use of force against minorities.

The Literacy Of Black Queers
Illinois prof analyzes the life stories of 60 Black lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer (LGBTQ) people along with archival documents, literature, and film.

The Week In Chicago Rock
Is still in pre-production, sorry.

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The Sound Opinions Weekend Listening Report: "Artists are also music fans like the rest of us, often paying tribute to the musicians who inspired them. Jim and Greg share their favorite examples of Hero Worship in music - songs that name-check great artists from the history of rock and roll."

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Weekend BeachBook

Deja Bears All Over Again.

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Girl Was Told To 'Dress Like An Indian' For Class. You'll Never Believe What Happened Next.

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KING 810 Banned From Thalia Hall.

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Architects Propose Flying Pigs To Deal With Trump Chicago Sign.

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United To Pay $2.4 Million To SEC Over 'Chairman's Flight.'

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Weekend TweetWood
A sampling.

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The Beachwood Tronc Line: Pigs on the wing.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 12:58 AM | Permalink

Police Shootings Echo Through Criminology Classrooms

A new crop of ads on New York City subway cars reads "Justice now, but justice how?" The words evoke the tone of street protests over police killings of black men across the United States during the past three years.

But the ads are not a plea from civil rights activists; they are a recruiting pitch from the John Jay College of Criminal Justice in Manhattan. One of them reads, "If the system is ever going to change, this is the place where change will begin."

John Jay is one of a number of schools that are making academic changes in the wake of the high-profile killings of black men and boys by police in recent years in places such as Cleveland, Chicago, Baton Rouge, Louisiana and Ferguson, Missouri, that have fueled a debate about racial bias in the U.S. criminal justice system.

Scores of U.S. colleges and universities offer undergraduate and graduate course work in criminology. Graduates end up in a variety of jobs, from police detectives to social workers to corporate investigators.

Some schools, like the State University of New York at Albany, are trying to help more black, Hispanic and other minority researchers advance in their careers by creating jobs for those just out of graduate school.

One school, the University of California-Irvine, said it was considering a new course that would teach future police officers to empathize with people who have been arrested. Professors at other schools said they were changing how they address race in existing courses by adding material related to bias.

Some criminal justice professors may reorient their research to focus more on police-related deaths, said James Lynch, a University of Maryland professor and president of the American Society of Criminology. That is especially likely as the FBI and the U.S. Justice Department undertake a new effort to collect data on police use of force, he said.

"There's some change coming, and that's positive," Lynch said.

Not all schools offering criminology course work are making changes in light of recent events. But some, like John Jay, are making a direct appeal to a generation that has watched or even joined protests by groups like Black Lives Matter that criticize police use of force against minorities.

"We wanted to go out there with an ad campaign that's fierce, that's bold, that conveys the passions of our students and supports them," said Rama Sudhakar, a spokeswoman for John Jay, a college named after America's first chief justice.

'DRAGGED AWAY BY POLICE'

With police shootings in the news, some criminology students appear more willing to share personal experiences.

"Students are saying, 'I was racially profiled,' or, 'I saw my father dragged away by the police,'" said Teresa Dalton, who teaches criminology at the University of California-Irvine.

The criminal justice school at the State University of New York at Albany is adding six post-doctoral fellowships, temporary jobs for people who recently received doctoral degrees, for scholars who are minorities. William Pridemore, the school's dean, said the recent shootings motivated the push.

"In general in criminology we don't have a lot of minority scholars, and I think it's important that we change that," Pridemore said.

The University of California-Irvine is considering a course centered around the perspective of people who are arrested, rather than from the perspective of law enforcement, Dalton said. It would cover subjects such as obtaining bail and what it is like to be in jail.

"The purpose is to give cops perhaps a little more empathy in their discretionary decisions: You could arrest this person, or you could not arrest this person, but what will it mean?" she said.

Many police-related encounters involve officers and civilians of different races and backgrounds, so officers may benefit from learning about implicit bias, said Cory Haberman, a University of Cincinnati professor.

Implicit bias is a term used by social scientists to describe subtle associations or stereotypes that people make about groups, such as the idea that members of one race are more likely to be violent than those of another.

"These issues are definitely in the forefront of all the students' minds," said Haberman, who said he has added materials on implicit bias to a policing course he teaches.

Only about 15 percent of the 12,000 local U.S. police departments require officers to have attended college, according to the U.S. Bureau of Justice Statistics.

But many officers go. About 45 percent have at least a bachelor's degree and another 43 percent have taken some college courses, according to a 2015 research paper in the Journal of Criminal Justice Education, citing survey data from 2007-2008.

Officers who went to college are significantly less likely to use force than officers who did not, according to a 2010 study published in the academic journal Police Quarterly.

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 12:46 AM | Permalink

December 3, 2016

Examining The Literacy Lives Of Black LGBTQ People

Fashioning Lives: Black Queers and the Politics of Literacy analyzes the life stories of 60 Black lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer (LGBTQ) people along with archival documents, literature, and film.

Author Eric Darnell Pritchard provides a theoretical framework for studying the literacy work of Black LGBTQ people, who do not fit into the traditional categories imposed on their language practices and identities.

Examining the myriad ways literacy is used to inflict harm, Pritchard discusses how these harmful events prompt Black LGBTQ people to ensure their own survival by repurposing literacy through literacy performances fueled by accountability to self and communal love towards social and political change, a process the author calls "restorative literacies."

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Pritchard highlights restorative literacies in literacy institutions (e.g., libraries, schools), historical records repositories, religious and spiritual spaces, parties, community events, activist organizations, and digital spheres.

This trailblazing study draws connections between race and queerness in literacy, composition, and rhetoric and provides the basis for a sustainable dialogue on their intersections in the discipline.

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 11:07 AM | Permalink

Internet Archive, Scared Into Moving To Canada, Reveals FBI Misinformation

The Internet Archive published a formerly secret national security letter (NSL) Thursday that includes misinformation about how to contest the accompanying gag order that demanded total secrecy about the request. As a result of the Archive's challenge to the letter, the FBI has agreed to send clarifications about the law to potentially thousands of communications providers who have received NSLs in the last year-and-a-half.

The NSL issued to the Archive said the library had the right to "make an annual challenge to the nondisclosure requirement." But in 2015, Congress updated the law to allow for more than one request a year, so that communications providers could speak out about their experience without unneeded delay. Represented by the Electronic Frontier Foundation, the Archive informed the FBI that it did not have the information the agency was seeking and pointed out the legal error. The FBI agreed to drop the gag order in this case and allow the publication of the NSL.

"The free flow of information is at the heart of the Internet Archive's work, but by using national security letters in conjunction with unconstitutional gag orders, the FBI is trying to keep us all in the dark," said Brewster Kahle, founder and digital librarian of the Internet Archive.

"Here, it's even worse: that secrecy helped conceal that the FBI was giving all NSL recipients bad information about their rights. So we especially wanted to make this NSL public to give libraries and other institutions more information and help them protect their users from any improper FBI requests."

The Archive received this NSL in August, more than a year after Congress changed the law to allow more gag order challenges. In its letter removing the gag order, the FBI acknowledged that it issued other NSLs that included the error, and stated that it will inform all recipients about the mistake. Given that the FBI has said that it issued about 13,000 NSLs last year, thousands of communications providers likely received the false information, and potentially delayed petitioning the court for the right to go public.

"The opaque NSL process - including the lack of oversight by a court - makes it very vulnerable to errors of law. Add to that the routine use of gags and enforced secrecy, and those errors become difficult to find and correct," said EFF staff attorney Andrew Crocker.

"We are grateful to the Internet Archive for standing up to the FBI and shining some light on this error. We hope that others who receive the correction will also step forward to have their gags lifted and shine more light on these unconstitutional data collection tools."

This is the second NSL that the Internet Archive has published after battling with the FBI. In 2007, the Archive received an NSL that exceeded the FBI's authority to issue demands to libraries. With help from EFF and the American Civil Liberties Union, the FBI withdrew the letter and agreed to let the Archive go public in May of 2008.

But many gag orders are still in place. On Wednesday, CREDO Mobile confirmed it was at the center of EFF's long-running fight against NSLs after a three-year-old gag order was finally revoked. Along with CREDO's case, EFF is litigating two other challenges to NSL gag orders on behalf of communications providers who are still gagged.

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See also: Donald Trump Scares Internet Archive Into Moving To Canada.

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Previously in National Security Letters:
* EFF Fights National Security Letter Demands On Behalf Of Telecom, Internet Company.

* The First Rule Of Barack Obama's National Security Letters Is That You Aren't Allowed To Talk About Barack Obama's National Security Letters.

* Why We're Suing The Justice Department Over The FBI's Secret Rules For Using National Security Letters.

* U.S. Government Reveals Breadth Of Requests For Internet Records.

* Ruling Unsealed: National Security Letters Upheld As Constitutional.

* U.S. Surveillance Court A Bigger Rubber Stamp Than Chicago City Council.

* CREDO Confirms Long-Running Legal Fight Over National Security Letters.

* Fighting NSL Gag Orders, With Help From Our Friends At CREDO And Internet Archive.

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 8:39 AM | Permalink

December 2, 2016

The [Friday] Papers

I had a stomach issue yesterday. I'm on the mend, but it meant that I only slept for about an hour Wednesday night. Then on Thursday morning, I joined a friend at a cafe for work and tea. But it wasn't long until I got the most irresistible urge ever to go back to bed buried under as many blankets as I could muster. Who invented blankets? I mused. Whoever it was is one of the greatest people to have ever existed. So I looked it up. And that's how the image on Thursday's (non-)column came to be.

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Beachwood Photo Booth: Shelf Life
Stuffed with sadness.

Big Mac Creator Dead At 98
"All I got was a plaque."

Five Poems To Ruin Christmas
These poems - like the Christmas pudding sweater or Santa Claus pair of pants - are gifts that really should never have been given.

Soda Taxes Save Lives And Money
In Mexico and, likely, Cook County.

CREDO vs. Surveillance State
Fights gag order re: National Security Letter.

The Week In Chicago Rock
Is in pre-production.

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From the Beachwood sports desk . . .

Beachwood Sports Radio: V-Jay Day
Hopefully, we don't have Jay Cutler to kick around anymore. Plus: Chris Sale Is For Sale; #WorldChampionProblems; Bulls Blueprints; How About Hossa; and Greatest Soccer Game Ever?

Fantasy Fix: Barkley The Bear
"I'm not entirely convinced he wasn't mascot understudy to Staley when this season began."

Kool-Aid Report: The Case For Pace
"If you're rooting for a top pick in the 2017 draft, this is your Super Bowl."

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BeachBook
A sampling.

Will Big Law Defend The Rule Of Law?

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Feds Take Chicago Futures Firm To Trial.

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The Story Behind The Texan Guy With The Muslim Sign.

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In Wake Of Election, Self-Defense Class Sees Upsurge In Interest.

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North Side Bar Drops Miller/Coors Over Trump.

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It Worked With Oreos, Can It Work With Big Macs?

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Chicago Softball Legend Dead At 74.

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Ivanka Trump's Terrible Book Illustrates Family Ethos.

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TweetWood
A sampling.

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The Beachwood Tronc Line: Empire burlesque.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 3:14 PM | Permalink

The Week In Chicago Rock

You shoulda been there.

1. Splatter at Livewire on Thursday night.


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2. Robbie Fulks, Steve Dawson and Freda Love Smith at the Hideout on Monday night.

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3. Johnny Vomit at Livewire on Thursday night.

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4. Weezer at the Aragon on Thursday night.

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5. Mipso at City Winery on Wednesday night.

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6. Kawabata Makoto & Tatsuya Nakatani at the Empty Bottle on Tuesday night.

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7. Spires That In The Sunset Rise at the Empty Bottle on Tuesday night.

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8. Text of Light at the Rubloff on Thursday night.

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Catching up with . . .

Summer Salt at Lincoln Hall on November 26th.

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The Mississippi Stranglers at the Emporium for Chillfest on November 26th.

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Bev Rage and the Drinks at the Empty Bottle for the 2nd anniversary of Glitter Creeps on November 25th.

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The Blind Shake at the Empty Bottle on November 20th.

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Thee Oh Sees at the Empty Bottle on November 20th.

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PPPMMM at Club Rectum on November 23rd.

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Blood Licker at Club Rectum on November 23rd.

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Bleach Party at the Empty Bottle for Cuddlestock on November 18th.

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Clearance at the Empty Bottle for Cuddlestock.

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Jollys at the Empty Bottle for Cuddlestock.

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Swimsuit Addition at the Empty Bottle for Cuddlestock.

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 2:39 PM | Permalink

The Beachwood Radio Sports Hour #130: V-Jay Day

Hopefully, we don't have Jay Cutler to kick around anymore. Plus: Chris Sale Is For Sale; #WorldChampionProblems; Bulls Blueprints; How About Hossa; and Greatest Soccer Game Ever?


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* 130.

* No. 1/8.

1:54: V-Jay Day.

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Jahns: Bears Better Have Plan In Place If They Say Goodbye To Jay Cutler.

* At 41, Henry Burris Adds An Exclamation Point To A Great Canadian Career.

20:25: Chris Sale Is For Sale.

* Fulcrum of Hot Stove League.

* Rick Hahn's Defining Moment.

* The Six Teams In Hot Pursuit.

* Ha ha. Now solve your problem!

* Take 'em both!

32:34: #WorldChampionProblems.

* Jon Jay.

* The Latest On Dexter Fowler's Market.

* Todd Ricketts On Undercover Boss.

45:24: Bulls Blueprints.

* Bulls' Bench Providing Plenty Of Reason For Worry.

54:10: How About Hossa?

* Upper body injury:

1:00:47: Greatest Soccer Game Ever?

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STOPPAGE: 3:08

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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 1:31 PM | Permalink

Beachwood Photo Booth: Stuffed With Sadness

Shelf life.

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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.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: End School Zone.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Portage Park Peek-A-Boo.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: South Side Sundown.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Susie's Drive-Thru.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Holiday Ham.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Food & Liquor, Milhouse.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: O'Hare Blue Line Man.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Schwing!
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Ad Deluxe.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Jesus At The Drive-In.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: The Tanks Of Avondale.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Conveyance Belt.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Bonk.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Esquire In The Night.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Nick's Meat Market.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Keep Havin A Good Day.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Knock Knock.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Man At Marie's.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Bonneville.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Logan Bags.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Chicago Stairwell.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Blue Velvet.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Court Is In Session.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: DLER ALKY.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Railyards Rush Hour.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Stop Killing People.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: America, Summer 2016, Part 1.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Greystone Chicago.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: You Are Beautiful.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Auto Part Overlords.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Bearground.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: America, Summer 2016, Part 2.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Skyway Sculpture.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: The Dome Car.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Hello, St. Joe.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Revolution Books.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Chicago Driveway.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Proceed To Checkout.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Summer Ghost.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Daily Double.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: We Are Moving.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: America, Summer 2016, Part 3.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Sunny Day Tap.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Ashland & Pawn.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Party Store.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Donuts.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: AAA Sales.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: House Rule.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Butcher Boy.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Endorsement.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: American Ghost.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: I Voted.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Pink(ish) Cadillac.

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 9:15 AM | Permalink

Soda Tax Could Save Thousands Of Lives And $1 Billion In Mexico

Mexico's soda tax is on course to prevent diabetes, heart attacks and strokes in more than 200,000 adults and to save nearly $1 billion in healthcare costs over a decade, a new study suggests.

The research bolstered arguments in favor of soda taxes approved this month in three Northern California cities as well as in Boulder, Colorado and Cook County, Illinois. The taxes were designed to wean consumers off sugar-sweetened beverages, to curb a worldwide surge in obesity and diabetes, an epidemic fueled by soda, public health experts say.

The magnitude of the projected public health consequences of Mexico's tax surprised the study's senior author, Dr. Kirsten Bibbins-Domingo, a professor at the University of California, San Francisco.

"The criticism was this tax was not going to have an effect," she said in a telephone interview. "The benefits over the next 10 years are substantial."

Over the course of 10 years, the tax could save the lives of 18,900 Mexicans age 35 and older, according to the report.

It also could prevent 189,300 new cases of adult-onset diabetes and 20,400 strokes and heart attacks in the same group over the decade, the study found.

Ultimately, the tax could save Mexico $983 million, the authors estimate.

Bibbins-Domingo worked with researchers in Mexico to create a computer-simulation model of diabetes and cardiovascular disease using data on short-term changes in consumption following the 2014 implementation of Mexico's 10 percent tax on sugar-sweetened beverages.

Surveys showed that Mexican households reduced purchases of sugary drinks by an average of 6 percent in 2014, with a 12 percent decrease by December 2014.

The study assumed a 10 percent drop in consumption.

Although the research included only people age 35 and older, children and younger adults drink more sugar-sweetened beverages, nutrition epidemiologist Barry Popkin said in a telephone interview. Consequently, he believes the benefits in lives and money saved could be substantially higher.

"This is an underestimate of the actual health effects," he said. "I think it's actually a lower estimate than what we will find in 10 to 15 years from now in diabetes and mortality reduction."

Popkin was not involved with the new study.

Popkin believes the benefits of the measure also will increase when researchers include more recent data showing greater cuts in sugar-sweetened beverage consumption during the second year of the tax.

The International Council of Beverage Associations, which represents the soda industry, disputed the study's conclusions.

In a statement, the association criticized the tax as "a singular simplistic solution" and said the research "ignores actual results in the marketplace."

Popkin described the association's response as "just wrong." The study relies on actual consumption of sugary drinks in Mexico, he and Bibbins-Domingo said.

Bibbins-Domingo expects the savings in Mexico to surpass the savings in U.S. cities with soda taxes because Mexicans consume more sugar-sweetened beverages than Americans.

Mexicans get one-fifth of their calories from sugary drinks, the study says. About 70 percent are overweight, and 14 percent have diabetes, it says.

"In the U.S., the benefits are not as large as they are in Mexico," Bibbins-Domingo said. "But the numbers in the U.S., based on our modeling studies, would also be significant and proportionately greater in minority communities."

After Berkeley levied the nation's first soda tax in March 2015, another recent study found that residents of two low-income neighborhoods reported drinking 21 percent less sugar-sweetened beverages than they had the year before.

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 7:22 AM | Permalink

December 1, 2016

Fantasy Fix: Barkley The Bear

Random thoughts from a week in which Chicago's pro football franchise supposedly found enough spare parts to field a team.

Does new Bears starting QB Matt Barkley have fantasy value?

I'm going to call him Barkley the Bear because I'm not entirely convinced he wasn't mascot understudy to Staley when this season began.

Barley looked pretty bad at times and pretty lucky at times in his first start, but the funny thing is that he produced a pretty good fantasy line - 316 yards passing, three TDs, two INTs - that was very close to being more like 350/4/2 if his fellow spare parts in the receiving corp hadn't dropped easy passes.

Of course, Barkley might have had about six TDs if he hadn't stepped on his own foot by throwing two red zone INTs.

So, can Barkley be trusted to start this week, let's say, if you're a Marcus Mariota owner looking for a bye week replacement?

Maybe.

I would say I like Barkley's chances against a terrible 49ers defense this week better than I like rookie Jared Goff's chances leading the LA Rams into New England.

But, if you really need Barkley, you must be in a league in which several teams are rostering three QBs.

Kap Rap
Colin Kaepernick doesn't vote or stand for the national anthem, but he does have fantasy value: After a few weeks of increasing fantasy returns since earning the starting QB job in San Francisco, Kap went wild in Week 12, with 296 yards passing, 113 yards rushing and three TDs. He would have had the most fantasy points among QBs if Drew Brees and Kirk Cousins hadn't also exploded last week.

Kap essentially is becoming what many thought he could be when coach Chip Kelly came to town - the dream QB of Kelly's unique offense.

Kap was still less than 50% owned in Yahoo! leagues coming into Thursday, and we have to believe his bold/awkward/hypocritical/entirely welcome political stance has something to do with that. All I want from fantasy is stats, and Kap has the match-up of the week and his biggest opportunity this season against our own lowly Bears in Week 13.

Heroic Henry
TEN RB Derrick Henry just might be the fantasy playoff hero: The rookie hadn't done much overall this season, as the Titans have leaned on DeMarco Murray, who is having a great season, but Henry matched his season-high rushing yardage against the Bears in Week 12 with 60 yards, which isn't much to crow about, but he also scored a TD for the second time in three weeks, and his carries have been ticking upward in recent weeks.

Plus, coach Mike Mularkey has said he would like to use the beefy Henry more in short-yardage situations, which presumably means more goal-line chances.

TEN is on bye this week, but as fantasy playoffs begin next week, Henry could be a sneaky good roster addition. And potential flex sport starter. He's still available in more than 50% of Yahoo! leagues.

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

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 6:09 PM | Permalink

The [Thursday] Papers

blanket_tomb.jpeg

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 4:30 PM | Permalink

Big Mac Creator Dead At 98; 'All I Got Was A Plaque'

The man behind the Big Mac died this week at age 98.

Michael James Delligatti invented the Big Mac, which debuted at a McDonald's restaurant in Uniontown, Pennsylvania, in 1967.

McDonald's tweeted a message on Wednesday celebrating Delligatti's contribution to the fast-food company where he was a franchisee.


U.S. media reported that Delligatti died at his Pennsylvania home on Monday.

In a 2007 interview with Reuters, Delligatti said it took two years to convince McDonald's that the Big Mac was a good idea.

"I felt that we needed a big sandwich," he said. "But you couldn't do anything unless they gave you permission."

The contents of the sandwich, immortalized by the popular jingle "Two all-beef patties, special sauce, lettuce, cheese, pickles, onions on as sesame seed bun," are generally the same worldwide, although prices and nutritional value varies.

The U.S. version of the Big Mac contains about 540 calories, 28 grams of fat and 25 grams of protein, according to McDonald's.

Over the years the Big Mac's ubiquity has come to mirror that of the Golden Arches itself. It is used to track the value of foreign currencies against the U.S. dollar in a "Big Mac Index" published by The Economist magazine.

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"Mr. Delligatti, who opened the first McDonald's in western Pennsylvania in 1957, owned about a dozen franchises in the Pittsburgh area by the mid-1960s, but he struggled to compete with the Big Boy and Burger King chains," William Grimes writes for the New York Times.

"He proposed to company executives that they add a double-patty hamburger to the McDonald's menu, something along the lines of the Big Boy, that could put a dent in sales of Burger King's Whopper.

"He met with resistance. Top executives worried that any addition to the limited McDonald's menu would gum up the works, and that a higher-priced burger - the basic McDonald's hamburger cost just 18 cents - would alienate customers. After lobbying by Ralph Lanphar, a regional manager in Columbus, Ohio, headquarters gave Mr. Delligatti permission to test the Big Mac in Uniontown, using only McDonald's ingredients.

"Two patties, etc., did not fit on a standard McDonald's bun, so Mr. Delligatti went rogue, ordering a large sesame-seeded bun from a local baker. He split it in three and assembled the Big Mac as the world knows it today, with a special sauce of his own devising."

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"In 1955, he traveled to Chicago for a restaurant convention. Fatefully, it was the only year that Ray Kroc and McDonald's had a booth at the show," the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reports.

"Mr. Delligatti sold the first Big Macs (originally called 'The Aristocrat' and the 'Blue Ribbon Burger') for 45 cents in 1967 in his McDonald's in Uniontown . . .

"Mr. Delligatti would go on to own 48 franchises, and although he sold most of them back to the company in 1982, his family still runs 21 in Western Pennsylvania. Though fast food has been maligned for its association with an unhealthy lifestyle, in 2007, on the 40th anniversary of the Big Mac, Mr. Delligatti told the Post-Gazette that he still ate at least one a week - at age 89.

"That year the McDonald's Big Mac Museum Restaurant opened on Route 30 in North Huntingdon; it features a 14-by-12-foot replica of the burger."

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"Contrary to popular belief, he didn't get a percentage of Big Mac sales or a big raise from his invention. 'Everybody thinks I did. But no way. All I got was a plaque.'"

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From ABC News:

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 1:46 AM | Permalink

Five Poems To Ruin Christmas

For actors, "never work with children or animals" is excellent advice. For poets, "never write a poem about Christmas" should carry equal weight.

In the same way that, come the festive season, one's most unhappy colleague or relative gets pressured into a Santa Claus outfit, December is the time when the most desperate of poets squeeze their talents into festive verse. These poems - like the Christmas pudding sweater or Santa Claus pair of pants - are gifts that really should never have been given.

1. The Christmas Robin

Robert Graves' "The Christmas Robin" (1975) is an example of a poem in which the writer's desire to be poetic dooms the piece to absurdity. Walking down a snowy lane, lovers who had, apparently "velveted our love with fantasy" come across the unassuming little bird while walking "down a long vista-row of Christmas trees."

In direct contrast to the happiness of the couple's approaching grandchildren, the apocalyptically minded narrator realizes that:

He knew better, did the Christmas robin -
The murderous robin with his breast aglow
and legs apart, in a spade-handle perched:
He prophesied more snow, and worse than snow.

Apart from raising the question of whether a robin can cross its legs, Graves seems to feel that Christmas is less a time for giving than a time for paranoid musings and excruciating metaphor.

2. Jesus Awake

American confessional poet Anne Sexton's "Jesus Awake" (1972) places her savior in a surreal landscape, quite some distance from Bethlehem. The poem opens:

It was the year of the
How To Sex Book
The Sensuous Man and Woman were frolicking
But Jesus was fasting.

As the poet wanders through a fraught emotional landscape she eventually comes across Jesus.

He was shrouded in gold like nausea . . .
His sex was sewn onto him like a medal.

Increasingly pornographic as the poem rolls on, Sexton's obsessions project themselves onto a savior who somehow appears "like a great house / with no people, / no plans."

And here, mercifully, the poem ends.

3. The Christmas Goose

William McGonnegal's famously bad poetry didn't spare Christmas a visit. His 1878 poem "The Christmas Goose" is a tale that anticipates the most pedestrian of open mic poetry and rap. The piece opens when the evil Mr Smiggs buys a goose for Christmas, only to have it stolen.

But a policeman captur'd the naughty boy,
And gave the goose to Smiggs,
And said he was greatly bother'd
By a set of juvenile prigs.

Happily, the starving child is thrown into jail and the festive season returns to normal. The poem ends with the glorious sentiment:

No matter how the poor are clothed,
Or if they starve at home,
We'll drink our wine, and eat our goose,
Aye, and pick it to the bone.

Despite its obvious shortcomings, this hoary old clunker is arguably the verse best suited to appear on the new U.S. president-elect's Christmas card.

4. A Song for England

The penultimate poem in this rogues' gallery is not included because of its dreadful style, but for its fabulously miserable sentiments. Crisply written, efficiently delivered, and cheerfully glum, Andrew Salkey's "A Song for England" (1992) doesn't need Jesus or robins or thieving children to upset the world. All it takes is the weather. The poem runs:

An'a so de rain a-fall
An'a so de snow a-rain
An'a so de fog a-fall
An'a so de sun a-fail
An'a so de seasons mix
An'a so de bag-o-tricks
But a so me understan'
De misery o' de Englishman.

Ho, ho, ho! Perhaps this wonderful poem should be Britain's real national anthem.

5. The Christmas Truce

Carol Ann Duffy's popular "The Christmas Truce" reveals just how fond the public are of Christmas turkeys, for this is an extremely well-stuffed bird. It is a poem about the famous First World War Christmas truce between Britain and Germany.

Duffy - in my view, the Celine Dion of British poetry - is unstinting in her use of obvious metaphor. "The moon, like a medal, hung in the cold, clear sky" is swiftly followed by "silence spread and touched each man like a hand". The obvious cliche - "a lone bird sang" - watches over this scene of poetic desolation.

Duffy tosses in a robin for color and some German phrases to show that she's thinking about how dreadful things were for - you've guessed it - both "Tommy" and "Fritz."

The day, however, is described as "marvelous, festive" and the dead as "blessed."

As an exercise in sentimentality and cliche, it is a magnificent achievement; as a lesson in how not to write poetry, it is a rare and bountiful Christmas gift.

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Tim Atkins is a reader, at the University of East London This article was originally published on The Conversation.

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Comments welcome.

The Conversation

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 12:36 AM | Permalink

CREDO Confirms Long-Running Legal Fight Over National Security Letters

CREDO Mobile representatives confirmed Wednesday that their company was at the center of the long-running legal battle over the constitutionality of national security letters (NSLs), and published the letters the government sent three years ago.

Until now, CREDO was under a gag order preventing company officials from acknowledging or discussing he case. In March, a district court found that the FBI had failed to demonstrate the need for this gag, and struck it down pending an appeal by the government. But in November, the government decided to drop its appeal of that order, leaving CREDO free to talk about why the legal challenge is important to the company and its customers.

"A founding principle of CREDO is to fight for progressive causes we believe in, and we believe that NSLs are unconstitutional," CREDO CEO Ray Morris said.

"These letters, and the gag orders that came with them, infringed our free speech rights, blocking us from talking to our members about them or discussing our experience while lawmakers debated NSL reform.

"We were proud to fight these NSLs all these years, and now we are proud to publish the letters and take full part in the ensuing debate."

The Electronic Frontier Foundation has represented CREDO in this matter since 2013 - and the case, bundled with two other NSL challenges, has reached the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit.

The NSL statutes have been highly controversial since their use was expanded dramatically by the PATRIOT Act in 2001. Soon after that, internal reviews by the Department of Justice found that they had been widely misused.

With an NSL, the FBI - on its own, without court approval - can issue a secret letter to a communications provider, demanding information about its customers, nearly always accompanied by a gag order. That prevents recipients from notifying users about the NSL or even discussing the letter at all.

While the government has stopped pursuing the NSL gag orders on CREDO in this case, EFF's two other NSL challenges are still being litigated in the appeals court.

EFF's clients - who still must remain secret - argue that they are being unconstitutionally barred from discussion and debate about government use of NSLs and surveillance reform.

"The FBI issues NSL demands for customer information without a warrant or any court supervision, and slaps on a gag order to make it hard for anyone to complain," said EFF staff attorney Andrew Crocker.

"The years-long fight in this case demonstrates the difficulty of challenging these orders, and we're grateful to CREDO for stepping up for its customers and the public to fight these NSLs."

CREDO Mobile has been in business for 31 years, originally as Working Assets. CREDO believes in bringing social change through every day acts of commerce. Since its founding, it has donated $81 million to progressive causes.

See the NSLs to CREDO:
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