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« October 2018 | Main | December 2018 »

November 29, 2018

The Month In Chicago Drill

What was new in November.


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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 2:00 AM | Permalink

Sinclair's Latest "Must-Run" Segment Defends Tear-Gassing Refugees

Though President Donald Trump this week expressed an interest in establishing a state-run TV news network due to his dissatisfaction with the media's coverage of his historically unpopular presidency, the Sinclair Broadcast Group on Tuesday appeared to fulfill that role with another of its "must-run" pro-Trump segments, this time defending the use of tear gas on migrant children at the southern U.S. border.

In a segment all 173 Sinclair stations were ordered to air, former Trump adviser Boris Epshteyn rejected criticism of the tear-gassing and said the actions taken by U.S. border patrol agents on Sunday were necessary for the nation's security.

As Tim Karr of the media advocacy group Free Press wrote on Twitter, the network is already effectively serving as the state TV station the president has alluded to.

"The fact of the matter is that this is an attempted invasion of our country. Period," Epshteyn said of the asylum-seekers who have spent the past several weeks traveling from Central America through Mexico to the border. "Our border must remain intact and secure."

The so-called "caravan" played a central role in Trump's campaign speeches ahead of the midterm elections, with the president and other Republicans claiming that the relatively small group, which includes many parents and children, consisted of violent criminals.

While medical professionals warned of the long-term health effects tear gas could have on children, and Mexico's Human Rights Commission condemned the use of the chemical, Epshteyn kept up Trump's narrative in his segment. He referred to the group fleeing violence and unrest in their home countries as a "migrant crisis" and defended the use of tear gas to stop the "attack" on border patrol agents - despite the fact that the migrants were not armed.

borderpatrolteargas.jpgAP/Rodrigo Abd

Sinclair has ordered its stations across the country to air several "must-run" segments defending the Trump administration's policies. Earlier this year, Epshteyn was featured in a segment about the president's family separation policy, which led to the forcible separation of about 2,000 children from their parents, slamming Trump's critics for acting as though "those who are tough on immigration are somehow monsters."

Other "must-run" segments have included an attack on "one-sided stories" in the news media and a defense of Trump's comments about the white supremacist rally in Charlottesville in 2017 in which an attendee drove a car into a crowd of people, killing one counter-protester.

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

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Also:

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 1:28 AM | Permalink

Iceland Knows How To Stop Teen Substance Abuse But The Rest Of The World Isn't Listening

It's a little before three on a sunny Friday afternoon and Laugardalur Park, near central Reykjavik, looks practically deserted. There's an occasional adult with a pushchair, but the park's surrounded by apartment blocks and houses, and school's out - so where are all the kids?

Walking with me are Gudberg Jónsson, a local psychologist, and Harvey Milkman, an American psychology professor who teaches for part of the year at Reykjavik University. Twenty years ago, says Gudberg, Icelandic teens were among the heaviest-drinking youths in Europe. "You couldn't walk the streets in downtown Reykjavik on a Friday night because it felt unsafe," adds Milkman. "There were hordes of teenagers getting in-your-face drunk."

We approach a large building. "And here we have the indoor skating," says Gudberg.

"I was in the eye of the storm of the drug revolution," Milkman explains over tea in his apartment in Reykjavik. In the early 1970s, when he was doing an internship at the Bellevue Psychiatric Hospital in New York City, "LSD was already in, and a lot of people were smoking marijuana. And there was a lot of interest in why people took certain drugs."

Milkman's doctoral dissertation concluded that people would choose either heroin or amphetamines depending on how they liked to deal with stress. Heroin users wanted to numb themselves; amphetamine users wanted to actively confront it. After this work was published, he was among a group of researchers drafted by the US National Institute on Drug Abuse to answer questions such as: Why do people start using drugs? Why do they continue? When do they reach a threshold to abuse? When do they stop? And when do they relapse?

"Any college kid could say, Why do they start? Well, there's availability, they're risk-takers, alienation, maybe some depression," he says. "But why do they continue? So I got to the question about the threshold for abuse and the lights went on - that's when I had my version of the 'aha' experience; they could be on the threshold for abuse before they even took the drug, because it was their style of coping that they were abusing."

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At Metropolitan State College of Denver, Milkman was instrumental in developing the idea that people were getting addicted to changes in brain chemistry. Kids who were "active confronters" were after a rush - they'd get it by stealing hubcaps and radios and later cars, or through stimulant drugs. Alcohol also alters brain chemistry, of course. It's a sedative but it sedates the brain's control first, which can remove inhibitions and, in limited doses, reduce anxiety.

"People can get addicted to drink, cars, money, sex, calories, cocaine - whatever," says Milkman. "The idea of behavioral addiction became our trademark."

This idea spawned another: "Why not orchestrate a social movement around natural highs, around people getting high on their own brain chemistry - because it seems obvious to me that people want to change their consciousness - without the deleterious effects of drugs?"

By 1992, his team in Denver had won a $1.2 million government grant to form Project Self-Discovery, which offered teenagers natural-high alternatives to drugs and crime. They got referrals from teachers, school nurses and counselors, taking in kids from the age of 14 who didn't see themselves as needing treatment but who had problems with drugs or petty crime.

"We didn't say to them, you're coming in for treatment. We said, we'll teach you anything you want to learn: music, dance, hip hop, art, martial arts."

The idea was that these different classes could provide a variety of alterations in the kids' brain chemistry, and give them what they needed to cope better with life; some might crave an experience that could help reduce anxiety, others may be after a rush.

At the same time, the recruits got life-skills training, which focused on improving their thoughts about themselves and their lives, and the way they interacted with other people.

"The main principle was that drug education doesn't work because nobody pays attention to it. What is needed are the life skills to act on that information," Milkman says.

Kids were told it was a three-month program. Some stayed five years.

* * * * *

In 1991, Milkman was invited to Iceland to talk about this work, his findings and ideas. He became a consultant to the first residential drug treatment center for adolescents in Iceland, in a town called Tindar. "It was designed around the idea of giving kids better things to do," he explains. It was here that he met Gudberg, who was then a psychology undergraduate and a volunteer at Tindar. They have been close friends ever since.

Milkman started coming regularly to Iceland and giving talks. These talks, and Tindar, attracted the attention of a young researcher at the University of Iceland, Inga Dóra Sigfúsdóttir. She wondered: What if you could use healthy alternatives to drugs and alcohol as part of a program not to treat kids with problems, but to stop kids drinking or taking drugs in the first place?

173-Iceland-00Hero_0.jpg© Dave Imms

A couple of minutes ago, we passed two halls dedicated to badminton and ping pong. Here in the park, there's also an athletics track, a geothermally heated swimming pool and - at last - some visible kids, excitedly playing football on an artificial pitch.

Young people aren't hanging out in the park right now, Gudberg explains, because they're in after-school classes in these facilities, or in clubs for music, dance or art. Or they might be on outings with their parents.

Today, Iceland tops the European table for the cleanest-living teens. The percentage of 15- and 16-year-olds who had been drunk in the previous month plummeted from 42 percent in 1998 to 5 percent in 2016. The percentage who have ever used cannabis is down from 17 percent to 7 percent. Those smoking cigarettes every day fell from 23 percent to just 3 percent.

The way the country has achieved this turnaround has been both radical and evidence-based, but it has relied a lot on what might be termed enforced common sense.

"This is the most remarkably intense and profound study of stress in the lives of teenagers that I have ever seen," says Milkman. "I'm just so impressed by how well it is working."

If it was adopted in other countries, Milkman argues, the Icelandic model could benefit the general psychological and physical well-being of millions of kids, not to mention the coffers of health care agencies and broader society. It's a big if.

Have you ever tried alcohol? If so, when did you last have a drink? Have you ever been drunk? Have you tried cigarettes? If so, how often do you smoke? How much time do you spend with your parents? Do you have a close relationship with your parents? What kind of activities do you take part in?

In 1992, 14-, 15- and 16-year-olds in every school in Iceland filled in a questionnaire with these kinds of questions. This process was then repeated in 1995 and 1997.

The results of these surveys were alarming. Nationally, almost 25 percent were smoking every day, and more than 40 percent had got drunk in the past month. But when the team drilled right down into the data, they could identify precisely which schools had the worst problems - and which had the least. Their analysis revealed clear differences between the lives of kids who took up drinking, smoking and other drugs, and those who didn't. A few factors emerged as strongly protective: participation in organized activities - especially sports - three or four times a week; total time spent with parents during the week; feeling cared about at school; and not being outdoors in the late evenings.

"At that time, there had been all kinds of substance prevention efforts and programs," says Inga Dóra, who was a research assistant on the surveys. "Mostly they were built on education." Kids were being warned about the dangers of drink and drugs, but, as Milkman had observed in the U.S., these programs were not working. "We wanted to come up with a different approach."

The mayor of Reykjavik, too, was interested in trying something new, and many parents felt the same, adds Jón Sigfússon, Inga Dóra's colleague and brother. Jón had young daughters at the time and joined her new Icelandic Centre for Social Research and Analysis when it was set up in 1999. "The situation was bad," he says. "It was obvious something had to be done."

Using the survey data and insights from research including Milkman's, a new national plan was gradually introduced. It was called Youth in Iceland.

Laws were changed. It became illegal to buy tobacco under the age of 18 and alcohol under the age of 20, and tobacco and alcohol advertising was banned. Links between parents and school were strengthened through parental organizations which by law had to be established in every school, along with school councils with parent representatives. Parents were encouraged to attend talks on the importance of spending a quantity of time with their children rather than occasional "quality time," on talking to their kids about their lives, on knowing who their kids were friends with, and on keeping their children home in the evenings. A law was also passed prohibiting children aged between 13 and 16 from being outside after 10 p.m. in winter and midnight in summer. It's still in effect today.

Home and School, the national umbrella body for parental organizations, introduced agreements for parents to sign. The content varies depending on the age group, and individual organizations can decide what they want to include. For kids aged 13 and up, parents can pledge to follow all the recommendations, and also, for example, not to allow their kids to have unsupervised parties, not to buy alcohol for minors, and to keep an eye on the well-being of other children.

These agreements educate parents but also help to strengthen their authority in the home, argues Hrefna Sigurjónsdóttir, director of Home and School. "Then it becomes harder to use the oldest excuse in the book: 'But everybody else can!'"

hr-hrefna_sigurjonsdottir1039885501_90x120.jpg

State funding was increased for organized sport, music, art, dance and other clubs, to give kids alternative ways to feel part of a group, and to feel good, rather than through using alcohol and drugs, and kids from low-income families received help to take part. In Reykjavik, for instance, where more than a third of the country's population lives, a Leisure Card gives families 35,000 krona ($3,870) per year per child to pay for recreational activities.

Crucially, the surveys have continued. Each year, almost every child in Iceland completes one. This means up-to-date, reliable data is always available.

Between 1997 and 2012, the percentage of kids aged 15 and 16 who reported often or almost always spending time with their parents on weekdays doubled - from 23 percent to 46 percent - and the percentage who participated in organized sports at least four times a week increased from 24 percent to 42 percent. Meanwhile, cigarette smoking, drinking and cannabis use in this age group plummeted.

"Although this cannot be shown in the form of a causal relationship - which is a good example of why primary prevention methods are sometimes hard to sell to scientists - the trend is very clear," notes Álfgeir Kristjánsson, who worked on the data and is now at the West Virginia University School of Public Health. "Protective factors have gone up, risk factors down, and substance use has gone down - and more consistently in Iceland than in any other European country."

* * * * *

Jón Sigfússon apologies for being just a couple of minutes late. "I was on a crisis call!" He prefers not to say precisely to where, but it was to one of the cities elsewhere in the world that has now adopted, in part, the Youth in Iceland ideas.

Youth in Europe, which Jón heads, began in 2006 after the already-remarkable Icelandic data was presented at a European Cities Against Drugs meeting and, he recalls, "People asked, What are you doing?"

Participation in Youth in Europe is at a municipal level rather than being led by national governments. In the first year, there were eight municipalities. To date, 35 have taken part, across 17 countries, varying from some areas where just a few schools take part to Tarragona in Spain, where 4,200 15-year-olds are involved.

The method is always the same: Jón and his team talk to local officials and devise a questionnaire with the same core questions as those used in Iceland, plus any locally tailored extras. For example, online gambling has recently emerged as a big problem in a few areas, and local officials want to know if it's linked to other risky behavior.

Just two months after the questionnaires are returned to Iceland, the team sends back an initial report with the results, plus information on how they compare with other participating regions. "We always say that, like vegetables, information has to be fresh," says Jón. "If you bring these findings a year later, people would say, Oh, this was a long time ago and maybe things have changed . . . " As well as fresh, it has to be local so that schools, parents and officials can see exactly what problems exist in which areas.

The team has analyzed 99,000 questionnaires from places as far afield as the Faroe Islands, Malta and Romania - as well as South Korea and, very recently, Nairobi and Guinea-Bissau. Broadly, the results show that when it comes to teen substance use, the same protective and risk factors identified in Iceland apply everywhere. There are some differences: in one location (in a country "on the Baltic Sea"), participation in organized sports actually emerged as a risk factor. Further investigation revealed that this was because young ex-military men who were keen on muscle-building drugs, drinking and smoking were running the clubs. Here, then, was a well-defined, immediate, local problem that could be addressed.

jon.jpg

While Jón and his team offer advice and information on what has been found to work in Iceland, it's up to individual communities to decide what to do in the light of their results. Occasionally, they do nothing. One predominantly Muslim country, which he prefers not to identify, rejected the data because it revealed an unpalatable level of alcohol consumption. In other cities - such as the origin of Jón's "crisis call" - there is an openness to the data and there is money, but he has observed that it can be much more difficult to secure and maintain funding for health prevention strategies than for treatments.

No other country has made changes on the scale seen in Iceland. When asked if anyone has copied the laws to keep children indoors in the evening, Jón smiles. "Even Sweden laughs and calls it the child curfew!"

Across Europe, rates of teen alcohol and drug use have generally improved over the past 20 years, though nowhere as dramatically as in Iceland, and the reasons for improvements are not necessarily linked to strategies that foster teen well-being. In the UK, for example, the fact that teens are now spending more time at home interacting online rather than in person could be one of the major reasons for the drop in alcohol consumption.

But Kaunas, in Lithuania, is one example of what can happen through active intervention. Since 2006, the city has administered the questionnaires five times, and schools, parents, health care organisztions, churches, the police and social services have come together to try to improve kids' well-being and curb substance use. For instance, parents get eight or nine free parenting sessions each year, and a new program provides extra funding for public institutions and NGOs working in mental health promotion and stress management. In 2015, the city started offering free sports activities on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays, and there are plans to introduce a free ride service for low-income families, to help kids who don't live close to the facilities to attend.

Between 2006 and 2014, the number of 15- and 16-year-olds in Kaunas who reported getting drunk in the past 30 days fell by about a quarter, and daily smoking fell by more than 30 percent.

At the moment, participation in Youth in Europe is a haphazard affair, and the team in Iceland is small. Jón would like to see a centralized body with its own dedicated funding to focus on the expansion of Youth in Europe. "Even though we have been doing this for 10 years, it is not our full, main job. We would like somebody to copy this and maintain it all over Europe," he says. "And why only Europe?"

* * * * *

After our walk through Laugardalur Park, Gudberg Jónsson invites us back to his home. Outside, in the garden, his two elder sons, Jón Konrád, who's 21, and Birgir Ísar, who's 15, talk to me about drinking and smoking. Jón does drink alcohol, but Birgir says he doesn't know anyone at his school who smokes or drinks. We also talk about football training - Birgir trains five or six times a week while Jón, who is in his first year of a business degree at the University of Iceland, trains five times a week. They both started regular after-school training when they were 6-years-old.

"We have all these instruments at home," their father told me earlier. "We tried to get them into music. We used to have a horse. My wife is really into horse riding. But it didn't happen. In the end, soccer was their selection."

Did it ever feel like too much? Was there pressure to train when they'd rather have been doing something else? "No, we just had fun playing football," says Birgir. Jón adds, "We tried it and got used to it, and so we kept on doing it."

It's not all they do. While Gudberg and his wife Thórunn don't consciously plan for a certain number of hours each week with their three sons, they do try to take them regularly to the movies, the theater, restaurants, hiking, fishing and, when Iceland's sheep are brought down from the highlands each September, even on family sheep-herding outings.

Jón and Birgir may be exceptionally keen on football, and talented (Jón has been offered a soccer scholarship to the Metropolitan State University of Denver, and a few weeks after we meet, Birgir is selected to play for the under-17 national team). But could the significant rise in the percentage of kids who take part in organized sport four or more times a week be bringing benefits beyond raising healthier children?

ingadora.jpg

Could it, for instance, have anything to do with Iceland's crushing defeat of England in the Euro 2016 football championship? When asked, Inga Dóra Sigfúsdóttir, who was voted Woman of the Year in Iceland in 2016, smiles: "There is also the success in music, like Of Monsters and Men [an indie folk-pop group from Reykjavik]. These are young people who have been pushed into organized work. Some people have thanked me," she says, with a wink.

Elsewhere, cities that have joined Youth in Europe are reporting other benefits. In Bucharest, for example, the rate of teen suicides is dropping alongside use of drink and drugs. In Kaunas, the number of children committing crimes dropped by a third between 2014 and 2015.

As Inga Dóra says: "We learned through the studies that we need to create circumstances in which kids can lead healthy lives, and they do not need to use substances, because life is fun, and they have plenty to do - and they are supported by parents who will spend time with them."

When it comes down to it, the messages - if not necessarily the methods - are straightforward. And when he looks at the results, Harvey Milkman thinks of his own country, the U.S. Could the Youth in Iceland model work there, too?

Three hundred and twenty-five million people versus 330,000. Thirty-three thousand gangs versus virtually none. Around 1.3 million homeless young people versus a handful. Clearly, the U.S. has challenges that Iceland does not.

But the data from other parts of Europe, including cities such as Bucharest with major social problems and relative poverty, shows that the Icelandic model can work in very different cultures, Milkman argues. And the need in the U.S. is high: underage drinking accounts for about 11 percent of all alcohol consumed nationwide, and excessive drinking causes more than 4,300 deaths among those under 21 every year.

A national program along the lines of Youth in Iceland is unlikely to be introduced in the U.S., however. One major obstacle is that while in Iceland there is long-term commitment to the national project, community health programs in the U.S. are usually funded by short-term grants.

Milkman has learned the hard way that even widely applauded, gold-standard youth programs aren't always expanded, or even sustained.

"With Project Self-Discovery, it seemed like we had the best program in the world," he says. "I was invited to the White House twice. It won national awards. I was thinking, This will be replicated in every town and village. But it wasn't."

He thinks that is because you can't prescribe a generic model to every community because they don't all have the same resources. Any move towards giving kids in the U.S. the opportunities to participate in the kinds of activities now common in Iceland, and so helping them to stay away from alcohol and other drugs, will depend on building on what already exists. "You have to rely on the resources of the community," he says.

alfgeir.jpg

His colleague Álfgeir Kristjánsson is introducing the Icelandic ideas to the state of West Virginia. Surveys are being given to kids at several middle and high schools in the state, and a community coordinator will help get the results out to parents and anyone else who could use them to help local kids. But it might be difficult to achieve the kinds of results seen in Iceland, he concedes.

Short-termism also impedes effective prevention strategies in the UK, says Michael O'Toole, CEO of Mentor, a charity that works to reduce alcohol and drug misuse in children and young people. Here, too, there is no national coordinated alcohol and drug prevention program. It's generally left to local authorities or to schools, which can often mean kids are simply given information about the dangers of drugs and alcohol - a strategy that, he agrees, evidence shows does not work.

O'Toole fully endorses the Icelandic focus on parents, school and the community all coming together to help support kids, and on parents or carers being engaged in young people's lives. Improving support for kids could help in so many ways, he stresses. Even when it comes just to alcohol and smoking, there is plenty of data to show that the older a child is when they have their first drink or cigarette, the healthier they will be over the course of their life.

But not all the strategies would be acceptable in the UK - the child curfews being one, parental walks around neighborhoods to identify children breaking the rules perhaps another. And a trial run by Mentor in Brighton that involved inviting parents into schools for workshops found that it was difficult to get them engaged.

Public wariness and an unwillingness to engage will be challenges wherever the Icelandic methods are proposed, thinks Milkman, and go to the heart of the balance of responsibility between states and citizens. "How much control do you want the government to have over what happens with your kids? Is this too much of the government meddling in how people live their lives?"

In Iceland, the relationship between people and the state has allowed an effective national program to cut the rates of teenagers smoking and drinking to excess - and, in the process, brought families closer and helped kids to become healthier in all kinds of ways. Will no other country decide these benefits are worth the costs?

This article first appeared on Mosaic and is republished here under a Creative Commons license.

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 12:27 AM | Permalink

The [Thursday] Papers

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Who got the brown paper contract? Assignment Desk, activate!

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"Agents arrived at the office early Thursday morning, told employees to leave and papered over the glass windows at the office's entrance to conceal the investigation going on inside, a source confirmed. A woman who left the office and did not identify herself said FBI agents were inside," the Tribune reports.

"Burke's office did not immediately respond to requests for comment. Burke's ward office on the Southwest Side also had the same brown paper taped over its front door with three signs that read, 'office closed.' An officer sitting in a squad car parked behind Burke's ward office said a search warrant was being executed inside but offered no further details."

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Hannah Meisel seeking family reax:

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This ain't no party. This ain't no disco. This ain't no foolin' around.

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Footnote: Willie Cochran.

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New on the Beachwood today . . .

Tent City For Migrant Kids Shrouded In Secrecy
Lawyers alarmed, advocates worried, contractor under gag order.

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Sinclair's Latest "Must-Run" Segment Defends Tear-Gassing Refugees
In a segment all 173 Sinclair stations were ordered to air, former Trump adviser Boris Epshteyn rejected criticism of the tear-gassing and said the actions taken by U.S. border patrol agents on Sunday were necessary for the nation's security.

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Iceland Knows How To Stop Teen Substance Abuse But The Rest Of The World Isn't Listening
The main principle is that drug education doesn't work because nobody pays attention to it. The solution essentially is to simply give them better things to do.

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The Month In Chicago Drill
What was new in November.

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ChicagoGram

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ChicagoTube

The Original Caste / Sweet Chicago, B Side 1970

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BeachBook

Trumponomics Tries To Praise Trump, But Instead Exposes His Corruption.

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The Woman Who Cared For Hundreds Of Abandoned Gay Men Who Were Dying Of AIDS.

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TweetWood
A sampling.

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The Beachwood McRibTipLine: Greasy.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 12:25 AM | Permalink

Tent City For Migrant Kids Shrouded In Secrecy

TORNILLO, TEXAS - About 40 miles southeast of El Paso, past the rugged desert hills and billboards for fast food joints, residents of this small community sometimes can see the lights of the nearby detention camp glowing in the night.

Some of them have brought gifts for the roughly 2,300 children inside, only to be turned away by guards.

Months after the government erected a tent city in the desert, most of what happens inside the encampment remains hidden, even from curious neighbors in the nearby town of 1,600 residents. The only images of the minors in the camp, standing outside in an orderly line or playing soccer, have been released by the Department of Health and Human Services.

Tornillo_Photos_for_Reveal_News_22_TT.jpgWith cotton fields in the foreground and the border fence in the back, young boys walk with staff inside the tent city in Tornillo/Ivan Pierre Aguirre for Reveal

"We have the same access that the whole world has," said Tornillo schools Superintendent Rosy Vega-Barrio, "which is none."

There is one local organization that gets inside the camp regularly: Diocesan Migrant & Refugee Services. The El Paso legal nonprofit is among dozens of groups funded by the government to provide legal services to immigrant children in custody.

But lawyers at Diocesan Migrant & Refugee Services, known locally as DMRS, can't speak publicly about the children at Tornillo. Their contract prohibits them from talking to the media, executive director Melissa Lopez said in an interview. It's another aspect of the conflict of interest built into the funding for legal aid, which also prevents lawyers from taking the government to court to get children released.

She referred questions to the federal Office of Refugee Resettlement. "It's better for the details to come from them," she said. The agency has not responded to a request for comment.

When it opened over the summer, the camp was meant to be a temporary home for children ages 13 to 17 caught crossing the border alone. But with a growing population and a contract to keep it open at least through December, the camp is taking on a role similar to the government's permanent shelters for unaccompanied migrant children. It can now accommodate up to 3,800 minors.

The secrecy surrounding the camp has frustrated longtime residents of Tornillo and alarmed lawyers and advocates who question its conditions. After a tour of the tent city Sept. 24, advocates left with concerns that children were given only workbooks, but no other education, and less access to mental health counseling than found in other shelters.

There is also evidence that children aren't getting the legal representation they need.

The town's representative in the Texas Legislature, Democrat Mary González, said she is particularly concerned that the children aren't receiving adequate legal help. During a recent morning at immigration court in El Paso, she saw several minors from the camp appear before a judge without a lawyer, González said.

"DMRS is a nonprofit organization. They're doing the best that they can," González said. "But think about it this way: They were already overwhelmed with the services they had to provide in the local community. Now there's a thousand kids in Tornillo."

However strained the group has been, its contract prevents officials from complaining publicly if children aren't getting representation.

"I don't want the government telling anyone they can't speak to the press," González said. "Transparency, particularly in a situation as sensitive as this, is such a vital tool."

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There is someone who can talk about life inside the tent city.

Over the summer, a 17-year-old boy named Bruno left Guatemala and traversed 1,800 miles on buses, semitrailers and trains until he reached an El Paso port of entry in July.

After more than a month at another Texas shelter for immigrant children, Bruno was transferred. No one told him why, he said. Reveal is not using his full name due to concerns that his decision to speak publicly about Tornillo may affect his pending immigration case.

Bruno arrived at the Tornillo camp at night. He saw the tents and asked a worker where he would be sleeping. "Here," the worker told him.

His friends called the camp "el infierno," because of the sweltering summer temperatures. The teens were allowed to play soccer only early in the morning when it was cooler outside, Bruno said. He remembers one week when the air conditioning in his tent stopped working.

"My friends would tell me that maybe we would never get out," Bruno said. "And I told them we would leave one day. But then I started to think, 'I'm in the desert. I'm never leaving.'"

Children sent here were supposed to move through Tornillo quickly, on their way to placement with family in the United States while they awaited a court date. But the government's placement process has stalled. Roughly 90 children have been held at the camp for more than three months, according to recent court filings.

BCFS Health and Human Services, the contractor running the camp, has said many of the teens stuck at the camp for months were awaiting fingerprint results for their prospective sponsors, according to a court declaration from Leah J. Chavla, a visiting attorney from the Women's Refugee Commission.

In her declaration, Chavla said hundreds of children "were not far along in the reunification process," including more than 150 who had no viable sponsors.

During his seven weeks at Tornillo, Bruno remembers seeing an attorney who asked him and other teens about conditions at the camp. But he never met with a lawyer about his case or his legal rights, he said.

He tried to stay hopeful and followed orders from the staff. Bruno slept with 19 other boys in a tent lined with bunk beds. Workers taught the teens how to make bracelets. He went to church services at the cafeteria.

Bruno was released from the shelter Sept. 22 and reunited with family. He searches Facebook for the friends he left behind at Tornillo, hoping some may have been released and have access to social media.

So far, he hasn't found them.

* * * * *

As sweltering summer days at the tent city have given way to freezing fall desert nights, more and more of the children living there are going to court.

Iliana Holguin, an El Paso immigration attorney, said her understanding was that, since Tornillo was a temporary shelter, children weren't supposed to face immigration court while being held at the camp.

"We always were under the impression that the Tornillo kids were not going to be appearing in court here in El Paso because it was considered a temporary shelter," Holguin said.

Today, that's all changed. Children are hauled from Tornillo to El Paso's downtown immigration court as many as four days a week. Without their families and, in many cases, without the legal help to which they're entitled, they're forced to make major decisions like whether to return to their home countries or whether to seek asylum.

Detained migrant children are entitled to legal representation under federal law. Diocesan Migrant & Refugee Services' federally funded legal aid contract includes doing that work.

But on Oct. 11, according to a BuzzFeed report, 11 children from Tornillo faced a judge with no legal help, only a representative from BCFS Health and Human Services, the contractor that runs the shelter.

The following week, González, the state lawmaker, went to court to see for herself. This time, she said there were about 10 children, most in their mid-teens.

"The kids walk in, they're asked their name and age, they're told how important this hearing is," she recalled. "They're told, 'We advise you to get a lawyer.'"

González said there was an attorney from Diocesan Migrant & Refugee Services present, but only to give advice as a "friend of the court," not to represent the children. Instead, she said, they were given a list of pro bono legal resources - in English only - which includes DMRS and five other groups, one of which won't take clients who are in detention.

It was clear, González said, that children weren't getting the help they needed. Most were making their first court appearance and asked the judge for later court dates to prepare their asylum claims.

One of the minors was a 12-year-old boy from Guatemala, González said. It was his fourth court hearing, but the first in which he had access to a translator who spoke his indigenous language. Rather than seek asylum, she said, the boy agreed to be sent back to Guatemala.

"He was so little, he was so adorable. He came all this way from Guatemala not even speaking Spanish," she said. "I don't know, maybe that kid wanted to go home. I know he had already been in our system, detained for a significant time. I don't know his story. All I know is that in the little bit that I saw, he wasn't given full access to the United States justice system."

"I'll be honest," she said, "I walked out and I cried."

Without answers from DMRS or the federal government, it's unclear how many of the children at Tornillo are getting legal representation in court.

Another group on the list of pro bono legal providers that children are given is the Las Americas Immigrant Advocacy Center. Its director, Linda Rivas, said in an e-mail that she has not received calls from children at Tornillo seeking representation. But she's not surprised, because she knows that DMRS has a contract to represent them.

"DMRS is passionate about their representation of unaccompanied children and always has been," Rivas said. "If they were to need our help, I know they wouldn't hesitate to ask, and we would help them as much as we can."

But Holguin believes that DMRS only recently got approval from the government to begin representing kids from Tornillo directly, and not only appear with them as a "friend of the court."

Holguin was the legal aid group's executive director from 2006 to 2012. She said DMRS will have to hire more lawyers to do the job. "I'm sure they didn't have staff members to absorb that demand," she said.

If lawyers with the group already are frustrated by the sudden increase in clients, they can't say so without risking their government funding.

"The attorneys at DMRS are very hesitant to disclose something that would cause ORR (the refugee office) to potentially risk their contract, leaving these children without representation," Holguin said.

Previously, Holguin said, there was less of a concern about speaking out of turn. "I never felt like if I said something I was going to lose my ORR contract," she said. "I get the sense that it's a very different kind of threat now."

* * * * *

González, the state legislator, is one of the few people who tried to bring attention to Tornillo before the summer. She tried to extend natural gas service to homes and clean up its arsenic-laced drinking water. (The $1,000-a-day cost of housing each child at the tent camp includes delivery of water from the outside.)

"This is a beautiful, humble, loving community, and this is really antithetical to what the community stands for," González said. "It's family separation, just by another name. All these kids have a place to go, have a family to be with."

When Alfredo Escalante first heard about the encampment, he headed to the shelter with a few other residents and hauled goods, such as soccer balls and homegrown watermelon, for the children. But a guard at the gate told them to leave.

"They turned us away," Escalante said. "We were just rejected from the door."

Escalante and other Tornillo residents joined protests outside the shelter at the height of the Trump administration's policy that separated roughly 2,600 immigrant children from their parents at the border.

In conversations with school staff, Superintendent Vega-Barrio said the camp comes up often. The district has requested access to the shelter through local lawmakers, but hasn't received a response.

"We need answers - as the public, as the community, as a nation. I think that's what's really frustrating at this point in time," Vega-Barrio said. "I don't want Tornillo to be seen or to be remembered as a place where kids - underage kids - were detained. It's just not who we are."

Vega-Barrio described the town as quiet and family-oriented. There are reminders of the town's new neighbor. The lights illuminating the tents at night can be seen from the high school stadium. Large white buses heading to the camp sometimes cut through Tornillo.

Surrounded by desert and cotton fields, the town with no traffic lights has one mom-and-pop grocery store and a gas station. On a recent afternoon, Escalante's mother waited for customers to arrive at her hair salon, which she runs out of a small brick house in her backyard.

People in town talk about the shelter, Maria Escalante said. Many are sympathetic to the children because they're separated from their families and living in a strange place. Some residents, she's heard, now are working at the camp.

"It came out of nowhere," she said of the shelter. "If it was a good thing, we would feel good about it. But what's happening is just sad."

This story is by Reveal, from the Center for Investigative Reporting, via the The Texas Tribune, a nonprofit, nonpartisan media organization that informs Texans - and engages with them - about public policy, politics, government and statewide issues.

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See also:

* ProPublica: A Defendant Shows Up in Immigration Court by Himself. He's 6.

* The New York Times: The Price Tag Of Migrant Family Separation: $80 Million And Rising.

* 60 Minutes: The Chaos Behind Donald Trump's Policy Of Family Separation At The Border.

* Trump Lying About The 60 Minutes Report.

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Comments welcome.



Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 12:14 AM | Permalink

November 28, 2018

The [Wednesday] Papers

1. Chicago's Sexually Dimorphic Jumbo Yellow Perch.

"The run of yellow perch on the Chicago lakefront has been jumbo in more ways than one," Dale Bowman reports for the Sun-Times.

"So I asked Vic Santucci, Illinois' Lake Michigan Program manager, if targeting jumbos would impact the fishery.

"As you know, there is sexual dimorphism in yellow perch, where females tend to grow faster and reach a larger ultimate size than the males," Santucci e-mailed. "Because the largest perch in the population tend to be females, anglers targeting `jumbo' perch are probably harvesting more females than males. However, I don't believe the targeting and harvest of jumbo perch is having a negative effect on the perch population or fishery in Lake Michigan for a couple of reasons:

If you really want to know those reasons, click through. I'm good.

2. Chicago's Sexy Jumbo Rats.

"[A] study's analysis of more than 46,000 rat complaints from April 2017 to April 2018 showed that they were most concentrated in north and northwest side neighborhoods and that those were also areas with the least vacant land and the highest concentrations of home renters," the Tribune reports.

In other words, if you want to find the most rats, follow the money.

3. Rat Loses Perch.

"Ald. Willie Cochran (20th), under indictment on bribery and fraud charges, will change his plea on Wednesday," CBS2 Chicago reports.

"Federal prosecutors have accused him of demanding $1,500 from an attorney for a real estate developer seeking to fix up vacant homes in his ward, and a $3,000 cash bribe from a liquor store owner seeking to sell his business to someone who needed a city liquor license. The feds also accused Cochran of using $5,000 from a charity he ran to pay for his daughter's college tuition, and another $25,000 on casino gambling."

Cochran's annual aldermanic salary is $117,832.92, according to city records. He's completing his third term. That's a lot of scratch.

*

"Cochran, a three-term alderman, is not running for re-election in 2019. A former Chicago police sergeant, Cochran first was elected alderman of the 20th Ward in 2007, defeating his predecessor, Ald. Arenda Troutman, who was facing bribery charges of her own at the time. She later was convicted and sentenced to four years in prison. Another former 20th Ward alderman, Cliff Kelley, was indicted in 1986 for bribery and income tax evasion. He was convicted a year later and served 9 1/2 months in prison."

Emphasis mine. Also: Oh, 20th Ward.

*

Fifteen candidates have filed to replace Cochran.

AFTERNOON UPDATE: Cochran Rejects Plea Agreement.

4. Fishing Expedition.

"Lawyers for a political rival suing Mike Madigan for allegedly placing 'sham' candidates on the ballot will be allowed to inspect the powerful speaker's Southwest Side offices, a federal judge has ruled," the Sun-Times reports.

Attorneys for Jason Gonzales in October requested to "inspect, measure" and photograph the speaker and state Democratic Party chairman's political offices - a demand Madigan's lawyers called a violation of the First Amendment and "a political fishing expedition."

But Gonzales' legal team contends it's all part of showing that Madigan's line between politics and official government business is a "mirage."

It is a mirage - which means it's awfully hard to measure and photograph. Just what are they trying to capture?

"The goal is to inspect two of the speaker's Southwest Side offices - the political offices of Friends of Michael J. Madigan and the 13th Ward Democratic Organization offices - to show their 'layout,' attorneys said."

Okay, I still don't get it. Is it that the layouts are identical, which shows that both offices keep things in the exact same place for ease of continuity? Like, in each office we keep the patronage lists in the silver filing cabinet in the northwest corner by the coffee machine?

"Your honor, one of the things we're trying to demonstrate is that the articulated differentiation between the political and state functions between the Speaker and his political operations is really a mirage," Boulton told Kennelly in October.

Again, that's true, but I still don't get how the layout of the offices will show it.

"Part of it is we believe that over the year's the speaker's state and political functions have merged at the point where there's no real demarcation," Boulton told the Sun-Times.

Not helping.

Boulton said they have no interest in taking photos of employees, just the office. "It doesn't matter to us," Boulton said. "We're not going there for skullduggery."

I give up.

5. Lincoln Park Pigs.

"Chicago's most expensive listing - an opulent six-bedroom, 11-bathroom mansion with a record shattering $50 million price tag - has been pulled off the market," Curbed Chicago notes.

"The sprawling Lincoln Park property listed for sale in December 2016 with no reductions in asking price since, according to the Chicago Tribune.

"Completed in 2008 by insurance magnate Richard Parrillo and wife Michaela, the massive Burling Street residence spans eight city lots which were purchased by the couple in 2005 for $12.5 million. All told, the Parrillos invested a reported $65 million into creating the 25,000-square-foot mansion which includes ornate marble and plaster details and a driveway of gravel imported from France."

Emphasis mine.

Richard and Michaela Parrillo, you are Today's Worst People in Chicago. I'm now starting a Beachwood GoFundMe to buy your tacky mansion and knock it the fuck down, restoring the lives of eight properly-sized city lots. You can keep your French gravel.

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ChicagoReddit

Which beaches have public access in winter? from r/chicago

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ChicagoGram

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ChicagoTube

Street Fight Martial Arts.

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BeachBook

The Mind Is A Terrifying Place, Even For Bruce Springsteen.

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Remembering The Howard University Librarian Who Decolonized The Dewey Decimal System.

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TweetWood
A sampling.

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The Beachwood McRibTipLine: Saucy.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 12:31 AM | Permalink

November 27, 2018

Lady Blue: When Chicago Hosted The Most Violent Show On Television

"A detective and action-adventure television series, Lady Blue revolves around Chicago investigator Katy Mahoney (Jamie Rose), her violent means of dealing with criminals and tension with her co-workers," according to Wikipedia.

"She works in the Violent Crimes Division of the Chicago Police Department. The New York Observer's Bryan Reesman described Mahoney as "the fiery red head" with a "trigger happy" personality and "violent excesses."

"She frequently uses a .357 Magnum (which John J. O'Connor of The New York Times called "a grotesque extension of her right arm"), and was introduced as capable of "read[ing] a crime in progress like most guys read the sports page."

The opening is priceless:


*

"The supporting cast includes Danny Aiello, Ron Dean, Diane Dorsey, Bruce A. Young, Nan Woods, and Ricardo Gutierrez. Johnny Depp also guest-starred on the series in one of his earliest roles.

"Television critics noted Lady Blue's emphasis on violence, calling Mahoney 'Dirty Harriet' (after Clint Eastwood's character Dirty Harry). Rose said that she joined the project after being drawn to its genre. She prepared for the role by watching Eastwood's films, received advice from Eastwood on how to handle a gun, and practiced at a shooting range.

"After the pilot aired, Lady Blue was criticized by several watchdog organizations (particularly the National Coalition on Television Violence) as the most violent show on television. ABC moved the series between several time slots before cancelling it in 1986, partially due to the complaints about excessive violence.

"Critical reception to the series was primarily negative during its run, but television studies author Cary O'Dell questions whether that stemmed from contemporary sexism. Lady Blue has not been released on DVD, Blu-ray, or an online streaming service. The series' rights are owned by Metro-Goldwyn Mayer, but there are no plans for future home releases."

lady-blue-show3.jpg

*

"Mahoney's reliance on violence is emphasized in the opening scene of the pilot; she sees a bank robbery while she is in a beauty parlor, shoots and kills three of the perpetrators, and returns to the salon for a pedicure.

"Jon Anderson of the Chicago Tribune described her as "somewhat like Quick Draw McGraw with touches of John Wayne and Clint Eastwood."

"Mahoney and other characters refer to the number of excessive-force complaints filed against her during the series,[5] and she often has difficulties with Internal Affairs."

"Tom Shales of the Washington Post described the show's tone as "baldly campy [and] ultra-violent."

*

There were 13 episodes, including "While infiltrating a terrorist organization, Mahoney discovers that their main objective is to dismantle Chicago's political system" and "Mahoney is injected with a hallucinogen during an encounter with a drug dealer, and wanders around the city having strange visions."

*

From Observer:

One memorable episode of Lady Blue, "Death Valley Day," was partially filmed in Chicago's notorious Cabrini-Green projects. Mahoney was trying to bring down a fearsome gang leader named Alvin Banger who ruled a housing project known as "The Heights," and from my recollection, the hulking villain pursued on her foot in the climactic showdown. She did not have her gun and knew he was big enough to kill her with his bare hands. It showed a vulnerable and human side to a cop who seemed larger than life on the small screen.

It turns out that filming that particular episode was no picnic either. "We were shooting in Cabrini-Green and had been there all day, and the people who lived there started getting restless and tired of us," reveals Rose. "They started throwing bottles while we were shooting, and the police finally said 'Go!' We had to run because people were getting kind of violent and sick of us being there."

*

Here's Johnny Depp guest-starring, in German for some reason:

*

Here's the 90-minute pilot:

YouTube comment from GreenEyd Girl: 'I saw an episode being filmed in Stickney at Mt. Auburn cemetery . . . they buried a Lincoln Continental, it was super cool!'

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 3:40 AM | Permalink

The [Tuesday] Papers

"The race to become Chicago's next mayor is on its way to becoming one of the most crowded in the city's history, as 21 candidates filed nominating petitions by Monday's deadline to appear on the Feb. 26 ballot," the Tribune reports.

And yet, when one surveys the field, one thinks we could surely do better. But no, this is the best Chicago can do. This is who we are.

*

"The last time Chicago had an open race for mayor was 2011, when Mayor Daley announced he'd retire after holding the job for 22 years.

"That year, 20 candidates filed, but only six ended up on the ballot: Emanuel, Chico, then-City Clerk Miguel del Valle, former U.S. Sen. Carol Moseley Braun, now-state Sen. Patricia Van Pelt Watkins and perennial candidate William 'Dock' Walls. Emanuel ended up winning that race outright in February with 55 percent of the vote."

Del Valle was the best of that bunch, and Chico next, with Van Pelt Watkins flashing some talent, but the Obama halo Rahm wore blinded liberals, progressives, techsters, hipsters and African Americans to join hands with the corporate suites while the media bit on David Axelrod's makeover of his image.

*

"In 2015, just five candidates appeared on the ballot - Emanuel, Cook County Commissioner Jesus 'Chuy' Garcia, Wilson, Fioretti and Walls. Emanuel got 45 percent of the vote in February and was forced into an April runoff with Garcia, where Emanuel ultimately prevailed with 56 percent of the vote."

Chuy ran a terrible campaign but got as far as he did because even then Rahm was unpopular. He was there for the taking, but Toni Preckwinkle either didn't have the stomach for the run or so believed in the Party that she didn't think it would have been appropriate to challenge the incumbent. She didn't even back her Chuy - who was her floor leader at the county at the time.

Chuy, of course, is a U.S. congressman(-elect) now, thanks to Luis Gutierrez bequeathing his seat to him in a typical Machine maneuver. Gutierrez, like Fioretti, was once a vicious Rahm critic; then he co-chaired his 2015 campaign, as did current state Comptroller and mayoral candidate Susana Mendoza, who at the time was serving as Rahm's stalwart and loyal (no matter what she tells you now) City Clerk. Her predecessor? Miguel del Valle, who was handed the job by putative political enemy Richard M. Daley.

Whew.

Wilson won a not-insignificant 10 percent of the vote in 2015. Then he ran for president in 2016 as a Democrat, even though he later voted for Trump (and supported Republican Gov. Bruce Rauner).

Fioretti, well . . .

*

Also:

"All told, 211 candidates filed to run for alderman in the city's 50 wards, according to the election board. Downtown Ald. Brendan Reilly, 42nd, Near North Side Ald. Brian Hopkins, 2nd, Near Northwest Side Ald. Scott Waguespack, 32nd, and Northwest Side Ald. Gilbert Villegas, 36th, are unopposed. The 20th Ward, where current Ald. Willie Cochran is not running again after a federal bribery indictment, had the most candidates file with 15."

*

"Drawing particular note is a challenge to council dealmaker Ed Burke, 14th, chairman of the powerful Finance Committee, who's being opposed by Jaime Guzman, a former aide to U.S. Rep.-elect Jesus 'Chuy' Garcia."

Chuy's 2015 run raised his profile and strengthened his organization; he is now at the heights of his power locally, though he's not considered to be a major factor in Congress at his day job. He knocked Burke's brother Dan out of the General Assembly and now is going after the Big Kahuna.

Ed Burke is sufficiently concerned; he his now posting to Facebook, and in Spanish.

*

Here are the number of signatures each candidate is claiming to have filed with the elections board. It takes 12,500 to make the ballot; rule of thumb is that it takes three times that to survive challenges to the validity of the signatures, which must come from voters registered in Chicago, as well as a host of other often-absurd technicalities. Voters also aren't supposed to sign more than one candidate's petition; if they do, only the first one they signed counts. How that is determined is still beyond me.

Toni Preckwinkle: 60,000

Good showing, flexing her muscles, not dead yet.

Susana Mendoza: 30,000

Short window; she just won re-election to her current job comptrolling the state. Still fewer than expected, though; we'll see once we get through the challenges how it rates. Remember, though, that signatures are not the same as votes; instead, they are a largely forgettable but short-term sign of an organization's strength.

Bill Daley: 45,000

And they're all from corporate offices! No, but it's hard to see even 45,000 people wanting Bill Daley to be mayor.

Lori Lightfoot: 32,000

Disappointing, given that she's been in it from the start, not just post-Rahm.

Gery Chico: 32,000

He put it together pretty quickly.

Paul Vallas: 50,000

I wasn't sure he'd even make 12,500, to be honest.

Garry McCarthy: 55,000

See Paul Vallas.

Amara Enyia: 62,000

How did she get so many considering she had $60 in her campaign account before Chance The Rapper showed up? Well, Chance The Rapper showed up. Plus, she said they got "creative." They used Chance's e-mail list? Assignment Desk, activate!

Dorothy Brown: 25,000

As the Beachwood Bookmaking Bureau notes, her constituency is shrinking. Also, this:

Willie Wilson: 60,000

Pattern of deception? (Rahm dropped the challenge to avoid alienating black voters, so we never found out . . .

LaShawn Ford: 40,000

These can't be real.

Bob Fioretti: 40,000

See LaShawn Ford.

Jerry Joyce: 30,000

Really? That's a lot of Southwest Siders!

Neal Sales-Griffin: 18,000

Surprised he even got that many. He will not make the ballot unless he goes unchallenged, which would be the bigger insult.

Ja'Mal Green: Refused to say

So, not enough.

John Kozlar: Refused to say

See Ja'Mal Green.

*

If I did my math right, that equals 579,000 signatures - about a third of Chicago's registered voters.

*

How do those numbers compare with 2015?

Chuy: 63,000
Fioretti: 55,000
Wilson: 47,500
Rahm: 43,000

In 2011, Rahm filed 90,905 signatures.

Richard M. Daley used to file 100,000 signatures just to fuck with everybody.

*

Also in 2011:

Brown: 91,000
Chico: 50,000
Del Valle: 40,000

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New on the Beachwood today . . .

The Political Odds
Updated to reflect recent developments.

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Lady Blue Was A Bonkers Cop Show Set In Chicago
Known for its violence, so bad it's phenomenal. Co-starring Danny Aiello; Johnny Depp once guest-starred.

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Exclusive! The Real Reasons Why Lovie Smith Was Extended Instead Of Fired
Another Beachwood Special Report.

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ChicagoReddit

Can I go up all the sears/Willis tower stairs on my own? Do I need permission from someone? from r/chicago

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ChicagoGram

View this post on Instagram

Is that a giant #troll I see blending in with the #trees of the @mortonarb or did I consume a bit too much wine over the holiday? A troll indeed! Meet Furry Ema....& beware his trap...a grand creation by artist @thomasdambo. (Scroll left for detail views.) Made with #recycledwood, there are 6 or so of these #whimsical creatures that can be discovered on the #trollhunttma. On this beautiful snowy & peaceful day, it was an absolute joy to experience. Stay tuned for introductions to a few more trolls in future posts. #mortonarboretum #trollhunters #trollhunt #thomasdambo #sculpture #madefromwood #recycledmaterials #publicart #arboretum #amongstthetrees #walkinthewoods #chicagoart #chicagosights #chicagodaytrip #snowyday #wintersday #camoflauge #trolltrap #imaginarycreatures #fairytale #stuffoffairytales #artinstallation #youngatheart #trolling #whatbigearsyouhave

A post shared by Lady Heart Paper (@ladyheartpaper) on

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ChicagoTube

Fruit Jar Guzzlers, Chicago, March 1928.

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BeachBook
A sampling.

Jared Kushner Pushed To Inflate Saudi Arms Deal.

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Poultry Workers Fear Bathroom Breaks.

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TweetWood
A sampling.

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The Beachwood McRibTipLine: Matchy matchy.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 12:31 AM | Permalink

Exclusive! The Real Reasons Why Lovie Smith Was Extended Instead Of Fired

Illini football coach Lovie Smith is 9-27 in three seasons including 4-23 in the Big Ten - good enough to have his contract extended for two more years to 2023!

While the extension stunned most sentient human beings, the Beachwood has learned the many reasons behind athletic director Josh Whitman's move.

* Kept margin of loss to Iowa to 63 points; Whitman had Under 64 in the office pool and won a free trip to Galena.

* Lovie won the "grow a white beard and pretend we don't all see it" bet.

* Nick Saban isn't available until 2024.

* Lovie's $12 billion buyout was slightly more than the $11.9 billion the athletic department budgeted for buyouts this year.

* Didn't want to ruin Champaign-Urbana's new slogan, "We Lovie It Here!"

* Professor Smith may not being doing well on the field, but his English lit students love him.

* Whitman is auditioning for a job with the Browns.

* Whitman tanking in order to get good high school draft picks.

* Otherwise, according to a loophole in university bylaws, Whitman would have had to extend the band director, who already thinks the band is the only reason folks come to games, which is increasingly true.

* Lovie has photos of Whitman in redface.

* That's how long it's going to take for Lovie to finish his dissertation on the political economy of the Cover 2, and Whitman is his dissertation advisor.

* To improve the "living room experience" with recruits through ability to promise stable environment for losing instead of unstable environment for losing.

* Didn't want to create the continuity issues that go along with winning.

* Because it takes time to fire such a highly compensated mediocre coach and Whitman is determined to do it right.

* Whitman didn't want it to look like he was just copying UNC.

* Every pledge to Sigma Alpha Epsilon has to sign their worst employee to a contract extension has part of the hazing process, and Whitman really wants to get into Sigma Alpha Epsilon.

* Whitman so upset with Lovie's performance that he's making him stay at Illinois four more years.

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 12:19 AM | Permalink

November 26, 2018

The [Monday] Papers

The top of this column will return on Tuesday.

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New on the Beachwood . . .

SportsMonday: Loving Lovie Too Long
'The thing that saves the Illinois AD here is that so few people care.'

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Humanity In Extremis: The Life Of A Legendary War Correspondent
'Like Ernest Hemingway, Marie Colvin had invested in her own legend and sometimes strained to live up to it. But there was nothing inauthentic about her capacity for empathy or her commitment to the truth. Though in times of peace she struggled to distinguish herself, in times of crisis she unfailingly outshone her peers.'

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The Beachwood Radio Sports Hour #227: First Place Problems
Chasing the dream. Plus: Northwestern Way Better At Football Than Illinois, Which Is Really Weird When You Think About It; Joe Cowley's Premature Evaluation; Blackhawks Bummer; and Cubs Cookie Continues To Crumble.

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ChicagoReddit

How strict is the city about the two inches of snow rule? from r/chicago

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ChicagoGram

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ChicagoTube

Street Art In Chicago By Dead Bandits Artist Hori Miso.

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BeachBook
A sampling.

Winter Storm Alcohol Purchase Advisory.

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I Hate These People.

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American Exorcism.

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Immigrants Explain What Shocked Them About American Culture.

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"All profits from the sale of One Hundred Percent Guilty go to Gwendolyn Brooks College Preparatory Academy (former Mendel campus) until Jan.1, 2019."

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TweetWood
A sampling.

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The Beachwood McRibTipLine: Petition.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 12:50 PM | Permalink

SportsMonday: Loving Lovie Too Long

University of Illinois athletic director Josh Whitman actually uttered these words Sunday: "Anytime you get a coach, especially in football and men's basketball, where they have less than four years left on their contract, you start to leave them open to some criticism or vulnerability in terms of recruiting."

Less than four years? How stupid does he think fans are? If there are any fans of Illinois football left at this point, that is. It didn't matter that Lovie Smith would have had three years left on his deal. It wouldn't have mattered if he had only two.

What really happened here is then-rookie AD Whitman lost his mind and gave Smith, who was not exactly the hot candidate when Illinois hired him three years ago, a massively generous six-year (!) contract. One suspects Smith's clever agent stuck it to the inexperienced Whitman during lopsided negotiations.

And if he had fired Smith on Sunday at the end of the third year of that crushingly dim-witted deal, he would have had to trash the athletic department's budget by paying the coach a $12 million buyout.

That is the only reason Lovie gets a fourth year at the helm. And it means next year will be another wasted season in Champaign - that the Illini will be another year further away from even a modicum of respectability.

But wait, there's more: Lovie wasn't just not fired, or given a token extra contract year, he was given a two-year extension! And the justification was the "less than four years" line (again, Josh, you have to be kidding).

The thing that saves Whitman here is that so few people care. More than 99 percent of sports fans who read this story in the last 24 hours will have completely forgotten about it 24 hours from now. Heading into Whitman's fourth (!) year as AD, Illinois football is still utterly irrelevant. Good work, big guy.

If Illinois wants to continue to pretend it didn't have a choice (a real university with a real athletic department, or at least real boosters, of course has a choice), the powers that be need to at least acknowledge that the problem is the AD's incompetence, not some goofy delusion in which Smith's contract matters in recruiting. The bottom line is: If they weren't firing Smith, they should have fired Whitman.

Smith deserved to be dismissed on the basis of one score alone: his team's 63-0 loss to Iowa two weeks ago was the single worst setback in Illinois football history. And that is a history that has some legitimately proud chapters in between the numerous less-than-stellar ones. Dick Butkus played for Illinois! So did Simeon Rice! So did Red Grange, for gosh sakes!

If anyone bothers to recruit against Illinois in the coming year, they will start and finish by pointing out that Smith obviously has no clue what he is doing.

And that is enough about the utterly insignificant football program at the state's flagship university, other than the fact that the space between Chicago's Big Ten team and its supposed downstate rival is now a massive chasm.

The funniest thing there is that a few years ago, Illinois made some noise about claiming that Chicago mantle from Pat Fitzgerald's Northwestern powerhouse (they are the Western Division champs taking on Ohio State next Saturday for a spot in the Rose Bowl - that means they are a powerhouse even if they barely squeaked out an 18-15 win over Rutgers a little more than a month ago).

In the next year, Fitzgerald will survey the recruiting landscape in Illinois and indeed the entire country and give not one tiny thought to Illinois and its coach's contract. He will sell Northwestern' academic reputation, its stellar facilities and its sustained excellence on the football field (15 wins in its last 16 Big Ten games!).

Illinois won't have a chance to matter in the coming year and it won't have a chance to matter until at least year three of the next coach's reign.

It is as bad as major college sports gets.

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Jim "Coach" Coffman welcomes your comments.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 9:51 AM | Permalink

Humanity In Extremis: The Life Of A Legendary War Correspondent

For Marie Colvin, it was Lebanon's War of the Camps that brought home the power of journalism.

In April 1987, the Burj al Barajneh Palestinian refugee camp was besieged by Amal, a Shia militia backed by the Syrian regime.

Colvin and her photographer, Tom Stoddart, paid an Amal commander to briefly hold fire while they ran into the camp across no-man's land. The assault on the camp was relentless and women were forced to run a gauntlet of sniper fire to get food and water for their families.

One young woman, Haji Achmed Ali, was shot as she tried to re-enter the camp with supplies. As she lay there wounded, no man dared pull her to safety. But then, Colvin reported:

Two [women] raced from cover, plucked Achmed Ali from the dust and hauled her to safety. It is the women who are dying and it was women who tired of men's inaction.

Despite the best efforts of volunteer medics, Achmed Ali would not survive. At the hospital another woman appealed to Colvin to tell the world the young woman's story.

"War on Women," the powerful piece Colvin wrote, was splashed across the front page of the Sunday Times on April 5, 1987. "The facts were clear and brutal," writes Lindsey Hilsum in In Extremis: The Life of War Correspondent Marie Colvin, "as Marie had seen it with her own eyes."

The effect was almost immediate. Three days later the Syrian regime ordered its proxy militia to stand down and for the first time the International Committee of the Red Cross was able to enter the camp. A herd of journalists soon followed. "In a few days the War of the Camps was over," writes Hilsum.

Complexity

In Extremis is Hilsum's riveting story of how Colvin went from a carefree idealistic youth in Oyster Bay, New York to an audacious war correspondent who reported from sites of merciless violence in Lebanon, Gaza, Chechnya, East Timor, Sri Lanka, the Balkans and Libya. Until her death at the hands of the Syrian regime, Colvin remained indefatigable, never losing her idealism or youthful energy.

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By eschewing hagiography for complexity, Hilsum has created a captivating portrait. The Colvin that Hilsum reveals is shaped by the loss of a beloved father, by the spirit of competition, by being a woman in a male-dominated field, and, above all, by a moral commitment to bearing witness and a natural affinity for the underdog.

By casting Colvin's triumphs against the demons that pursued her - the turbulence of failed romances, the struggles with alcohol, the traumas of war - Hilsum gives a truer sense of the challenges that she faced. By capturing Colvin's vivacity, generosity, humor and affability, Hilsum also shows how this inveterate raconteur came to be loved and admired in equal measure.

Like Ernest Hemingway, Colvin had invested in her own legend and sometimes strained to live up to it. But there was nothing inauthentic about her capacity for empathy or her commitment to the truth. Though in times of peace she struggled to distinguish herself, in times of crisis she unfailingly outshone her peers.

East Timor was the site of her greatest triumph (her defiant refusal to abandon trapped refugees eventually led to their safe evacuation); Sri Lanka he site of her greatest trauma, losing an eye to a soldier's grenade while returning from a visit to the Tamil-controlled north. But while the trauma would haunt her and briefly sapped her confidence, she remained undeterred. She courted greater danger in subsequent years and turned the eye-patch into part of her persona.

The Making Of A Legend

By the time Colvin entered Syria in 2012, the reporting landscape had changed. Israel and Putin's Russia had demonstrated that journalists could be targeted with impunity and killers elsewhere had taken note. Before Colvin entered the besieged Syrian enclave of Baba Amr with photographer Paul Conroy, they had been warned that regime soldiers had orders to summarily execute journalists found in the area.

But Colvin and Conroy agreed that the story was worth the risk; they crawled through three kilometers of a drainage pipe to infiltrate. They found Baba Amr's only functioning hospital inundated with the dead and the dying; they met nearly 150 widows and orphans in a crowded basement sheltering from the regime's shelling. "Widows' Basement," Colvin's haunting last story for the Sunday Times, was also her most poignant.

What happened next fused Colvin's life and legend and placed her convictions beyond any cynic's doubt. Five days before her death, Colvin made it safely out of Baba Amr. But having seen what she had seen, she felt a moral compulsion to return. Conroy had misgivings, but he shared Colvin's sense of commitment.

The regime, meanwhile, had tightened the siege and an informer had alerted it to the journalists' presence. Colvin was conscious of the risks but made a fateful choice: hoping that her reporting would once again stir the international community into restraining a killer, she spoke to the BBC and CNN, emphasizing the urgency of the situation. The regime used the signal from her satellite phone to pinpoint her location and killed her with artillery. The regime would lay many more sieges and no Western journalist would dare enter another.

Colvin's last report from Syria, hours before she died.

At a 2006 Frontline Club (a London hub for foreign correspondents) event about the killing of Russian journalist Anna Politkovskaya, Colvin interrupted the panelists' abstract digressions and encouraged everyone to ask the more pertinent question:

Who killed Anna? That's the best thing we can do . . . That's what we can do as journalists

Now Colvin's family is trying to establish the same about her killers. And this is also the best thing we can do as citizens: support the investigation and ensure that Colvin's killers don't enjoy the impunity that Politkovskaya's did. Until we resolve to protect our truth-tellers, truth will remain fragile and justice will be denied.

For all her emotional turmoil, personal flaws and misjudgements, Colvin was an exemplary friend, human being and journalist. She maintained an unwavering commitment to showing "humanity in extremis" - with truth, empathy and responsibility. Hilsum has written a book as compelling as its subject.

Idrees Ahmad is a lecturer in digital journalism at the University of Stirling. This article is republished from The Conversation under a Creative Commons license.

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Trailer, A Private War:

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See also:

* Vanity Fair, 2012: Marie Colvin's Private War.

* The Guardian: Marie Colvin: 'She Illuminated The Cost Of War Through Individuals' Pain.'

* Transcript: Marie Colvin's Final CNN Interview.

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Comments welcome.


Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 12:37 AM | Permalink

November 23, 2018

The Beachwood Radio Sports Hour #227: First Place Problems

Chasing the dream. Plus: Northwestern Way Better At Football Than Illinois, Which Is Really Weird When You Think About It; Joe Cowley's Premature Evaluation; Blackhawks Bummer; and Cubs Cookie Continues To Crumble.


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SHOW NOTES

* 227.

* From the Bucktown Benny Bureau.

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:41: Chasing The Dream.

* Tony Romo Sees Bears Formidable In Playoffs With 'The Best Defense.'

* Dear Matty Nagy: Why endanger your (slow and old) backup quarterback?

* Allen Robinson: Minitron.

* 'Unbelievable Season' Continues For Eddie Jackson.

* Who is Taquan Mizzell Sr.?

* Taquan Mizzell: Scores First NFL Touchdown (Thanks To Allen Robinson's Illegal Pick).

* Arkush: Bears Game Plan Against Lions Left A Lot To Be Desired.

* The Bears' 10 Best Celebrations In 2018.

* How Soldier Field's Switch From Illinois To New Jersey Sod Caused Complaints To Virtually Disappear.

56:35: Northwestern Way Better At Football Than Illinois, Which Is Really Weird When You Think About It.

1:00:02: Joe Cowley's Premature Evaluation.

1:01:13: Blackhawks Bummer.

1:02:04: Cubs Cookie Continues To Crumble.

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STOPPAGE: 6:12

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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

November 21, 2018

The [Thanksgiving 2018] Papers

Everything about this holiday is a lie.

1. Tryptophan Is Bullshit.

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2. Dark Meat Is Way, Way Better Than White Meat.

It tastes way better and its richer in nutrients - especially when you consider that sugar, not fat, is the real killer in our diets.

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3. The Pilgrims Sucked.

Like a lot of things we should all know by now - evolution, Pizzagate, the Earth isn't flat - the Thanksgiving story is a particularly vicious lie.

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4. Black Friday Is A Scam.

"An analysis of this year's Black Friday deals by The Wall Street Journal and price-data firm Decide Inc. found that many of the bargains advertised as 'doorbusters' were available at lower prices at other times of the year."

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5. The Airport Won't Be Crowded On Sunday.

But reporters who merely propagate the cliched narratives of their editors' will tell you otherwise. That's not me.

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Speaking of Thanksgiving travel, this is interesting to know but who really flies with a turkey?

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Speaking of turkey, yours is almost certainly contaminated with salmonella.

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Yeah, here's the thing about Barack Obama "crashing" the Chicago Food Depository: Food banks and soup kitchens don't need volunteers on Thanksgiving - they are overwhelmed with folks seeking to do a good dead for the holiday. They need help the rest of the year - perhaps with a Community Benefits Agreement.

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For some reason dinner is at 2:30 on Thanksgiving.

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The Beachwood McRibTipLine: Dark meat.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 12:52 AM | Permalink

November 20, 2018

Your Turkey Probably Has Salmonella

As Americans prepare to cook and consume nearly 50 million turkeys on Thanksgiving Day, an ongoing outbreak of salmonella poisoning linked to the poultry means food safety at home is more critical than ever.

Federal health officials have identified no single source of the outbreak of Salmonella Reading, which has sickened at least 164 people in 35 states during the past year.

As of Nov. 5, the bacterial strain has led to 63 hospitalizations and, in California, one death.

gettyimages-640951162_turkey_1350.jpgDigitalVision/Getty Images

Many who fell ill reported preparing or eating such products as ground turkey, turkey parts and whole birds. Some had pets who ate raw turkey pet food; others worked at turkey processing plants or lived with someone who did.

Late Thursday, Jennie-O Turkey Store Sales of Barron, Wisconsin recalled more than 91,000 pounds of raw ground turkey products that may be connected to the illnesses.

There is no U.S. requirement that turkeys or other poultry be free of salmonella - including antibiotic-resistant strains like the one tied to the outbreak - so prevention falls largely to consumers.

That means acknowledging that the Thanksgiving turkey you lug home from the grocery store is likely contaminated, said Jennifer Quinlan, an associate professor in the Nutrition Sciences Department at Drexel University.

"They absolutely should assume there's a pathogen," she said.

Last year, right after the holiday season, Quinlan and her colleagues surveyed more than 1,300 U.S. consumers about their turkey-handling habits. Most, they found, fail to follow safe practices, despite decades of public health warnings.

Ninety percent of those surveyed washed raw birds in the sink, even though that can spread dangerous bacteria. Fifty-seven percent reported always or sometimes stuffing a turkey before cooking instead of baking dressing separately, and 77 percent said they left a cooked bird in a warm oven or at room temperature.

Such practices can allow the growth not only of salmonella but other bad bugs, such as campylobacter and Clostridium perfringens, she said.

"All of these illnesses could have been prevented. There's either cross-contamination going on in the home, or there's not thorough cooking."

safeturkeytips3.png

Other experts contend that simply telling consumers to handle food properly is unfair and ineffective. Regulators and industry should be responsible for preventing contamination in the first place.

"They ought to be going after these guys like gangbusters," said Carl Custer, a food safety microbiology consultant who spent decades at the U.S. Department of Agriculture. "This is a seriously virulent strain."

This month, Custer renewed calls for pathogenic strains of salmonella to be declared "adulterants" in poultry, which would require the USDA to test products and recall those contaminated with the bacteria.

The USDA classified E. coli O157:H7 as an adulterant in ground beef after the deadly 1993 Jack in the Box hamburger outbreak. After that, the rate of those E. coli infections plummeted. Since then, the agency has named six additional strains as adulterants in certain beef products.

Efforts to ban drug-resistant salmonella from meat and poultry have stalled, however, despite years of demands from consumer advocacy groups and lawmakers.

In February, USDA officials rejected a 2014 petition from the group Center for Science in the Public Interest to declare certain strains of drug-resistant salmonella to be adulterants, saying the group failed to distinguish strongly enough between resistant and non-resistant salmonella.

In 2015, Democratic congresswomen Rosa DeLauro of Connecticut and New York's Louise Slaughter introduced a bill that would have defined resistant and dangerous salmonella as adulterants and given USDA new power to test and recall tainted meat, poultry and eggs. It was not enacted.

"It's very hard to get attention to food safety issues in this current political climate," said Sarah Sorscher, CSPI's deputy director of regulatory affairs.

Outside observers said there's little political will for taking on the nearly $5 billion-a-year U.S. turkey industry, as well as regulators.

"I don't see a lot of traction for making it an adulterant right now," said Kirk Smith, director of the Minnesota Integrated Food Safety Center of Excellence.

"Salmonella is still common enough that it would be hugely impractical and costly to make it an adulterant," he added. "It would double the cost of poultry."

In a sharply worded statement, USDA officials refused to publicly name the producers, suppliers and brands linked to the turkey outbreak, saying it would be "grossly irresponsible and reckless" when no definite source of illness has been identified.

Because the outbreak strain of salmonella has been found at turkey-processing plants, in workers and in a wide range of food products, it will take a broad effort to detect and eradicate the source, said Smith, the Minnesota food safety expert.

"It should be a whole-system approach, starting with controls on the farm, all the way through to educating consumers as best we can," he said.

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See also: Beware The Thanksgiving Salad: CDC Says No Romaine Lettuce Is Safe.

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 12:13 AM | Permalink

The [Tuesday] Papers

There's always a past.

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ChicagoReddit

Chicago Police Officer Samuel Jimenez, Dr. O'Neal and a pharmaceutical assistant (who hasn't been named yet) have died. Three people that made a huge difference in this cold world are gone all because a worthless man couldn't accept rejection and move on. from r/chicago

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ChicagoGram

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ChicagoTube

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The Beachwood Tip Line: Break the silence.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 12:09 AM | Permalink

November 19, 2018

SportsMonday: Cody Parkey Is Back!

Another football game - another example of comprehensive competitive control.

The Bears haven't just won games as they have taken command of the NFC North this year; they have controlled them virtually throughout.

The 25-20 victory over the Vikings on Sunday night gave them seven victories in 10 tries.

The team has featured strong start after strong start, ball control (the offense has been amazingly good at avoiding three-and-outs), steady (and oft-times spectacular) defense, and, since the New England game, no disasters on special teams.

What's that you say? Cody Parkey's missing four kicks counts as a special teams disaster, doesn't it? Not in my book.

The special teams coach is responsible for special teams schemes and the personnel he deploys in them. He can control things like onside kick recovery teams (which on Sunday featured Allen Robinson in a critical receiver spot, a welcome replacement for rookie Anthony Miler). He can't make kicks for his kicker.

I suppose Chris Tabor was at least partially responsible for the decision to have Parkey practice at Soldier Field in the middle of the week. It went ridiculous in a bad way when the CodyCopters took to the skies but the bottom line is, Parkey practiced on his home field and then kicked better on Sunday.

Then again, the main thing Bears fans can be thankful for regarding their kicker's mindset is that it was nice and still at Soldier Field on Sunday. There was no wind to mess with Parkey's head and his kicks went where he kicked them.

Then there is the quarterback, who was good again - and lucky again. Another game, another dropped interception by a Bears foe (and of course the two converted picks), but overall, Mitch Trubisky has been plenty competent for the Bears. The offense had the one short series in the second half due to Tarik Cohen's fumble but otherwise always gave the defense the rest that comes with at least a couple first downs per possession. (And with punter Pat O'Donnell barely ever punting, he can focus on his bigger job - holding for Parkey and giving him moral support.)

The first of Trubisky's interceptions happened on a deep intermediate throw early on and did not feature a return by the interceptor, so at least the field position was flipped.

Sure enough, the Vikings did not take advantage. On Trubisky's second pick, which had to qualify as one of his worst passes of the season and was also hauled in by Harris, at least the Bears led by multiple scores at that point.

The bottom line is that Trubisky has oftentimes been at his best when the Bears have needed him most (the dropped pick that could have been a killer notwithstanding). That is the part of the equation that national evaluators have missed when they have dismissed him luckier than good.

As far as the Bears controlling the NFC North, let's start by pointing out that they do not lead the division by a game-and-a-half. They lead it by one-and-a-quarter. A half-game in sports is a win or a loss. A full game is a win or a loss combined with the opposite achieved by a divisional foe. So if the Bears win and the Packers lose, they lead the Packers by a game. If the Bears are then on a bye and the Packers lose again, something that is more feasible this year then it has been in too long, the Bears lead by a game-and-a-half.

If the Bears have that bye and the Packers tie, Chicago's team leads by a game-and-a-quarter. Isn't that clever? You're welcome.

The Bears control the division in largest part because of the defense. They continue to keep things relatively simple, with nickel personnel on the field most of the time. They rotate the heck out of the defensive line but behind it is two middle linebackers (Roquan Smith and Danny Trevathan) and the five defensive backs who have been stalwarts this season.

Let's hear it for corners Kyle Fuller, Prince Amukamara and Bryce Callahan, and safeties Eddie Jackson and Adrian Amos. They are finding ways to make big plays in game after game and their tackling has been good enough to avoid the sort of crushing big-play scores that made a mess of things in Miami a month-plus ago.

Bring on Turkey Day in Detroit!

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Jim "Coach" Coffman welcomes your comments.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 9:52 AM | Permalink

The [Monday] Papers

"Chicago is in for ballot bedlam starting on Monday, when an anticipated 16 candidates for mayor will begin submitting the required nominating petitions to qualify for the Feb. 26 city election," the Tribune reports.

"The arcane process, in which each hopeful turns in thousands of voter signatures, will kick off a month-long period of legal wrangling, with mayoral contenders challenging one another's petitions in a series of aggressive attempts to narrow the large field.

"To appear on the ballot, each candidate is required by law to submit 12,500 signatures from registered Chicago voters. The rule of thumb, however, is for a campaign to collect three times that number because challengers can use charges of forgery, fraud and more minor technicalities to invalidate signatures and knock opponents out of the race."

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Why is that the rule of thumb?

"The reason it takes three times as many signatures is because voter registration rates in the city are about 50 percent," said Mike Kasper, a longtime election lawyer who has worked on behalf of House Speaker Michael Madigan, Emanuel and other top Democrats. "So, if you're standing on the street corner - assuming all the people you see live in the city - you have to take half right off the top, because they're not registered."

When "only" nine candidates were running for mayor last May, the Reader's Ben Joravsky calculated that "they're going to be looking to gather up to 300,000 nominating-petition signatures between them. That's a third of the registered voters in Chicago."

Now we have twice as many candidates seeking signatures from two-thirds of Chicago's registered voters. Good luck.

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Chicago's way of limiting ballot access is unique.

"[A]s recently as 1995, it took only about 3,000 signatures to get on the mayoral ballot, with the exact number based on turnout in the previous election," Joravsky noted in a 2014 column.

Election officials raised the number to 25,000 after legislators passed a law making elections for mayor (and alderman) nonpartisan.

"In 2002 attorney Frank Avila filed a federal lawsuit to challenge the signature requirement on behalf of several fringe mayoral candidates. Partly because they knew they looked so bad, legislators then halved the requirement to 12,500, calling it reform . . .

Inquiring minds will want to know how our signature requirement compares to other cities' - as if the foolishness of others somehow justifies our own.

Well, New York City requires 3,750. Los Angeles requires 500 along with a $300 filing fee, or 1,000 signatures with no fee. Chicago doesn't charge a filing fee, but neither does Detroit, and it requires only 500 signatures.

Joravsky also pointed out in a 2010 column that "Only 5,000 signatures are needed to run in the Democratic or Republican gubernatorial primaries, whose winners are automatically on the ballot in the general election. (To get on the ballot in the general election without winning a primary requires 25,000 signatures.) Illinois has four times as many residents as Chicago."

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Back to the Trib:

"The first petition signed is the only one that counts under the law, but when voters sign petitions, they aren't required to date them. The only date that appears is when a petition passer gets the sheets notarized, which doesn't reflect the exact date someone signed."

I did not know that. Ugh.

[Former Rahm Emanuel political director Thomas] Bowen suggested this is a gray area of the law that could be tested, and the campaigns that started late after Emanuel got out of the race could be more likely to have signatures from voters who already signed for other candidates.

"Citywide campaigns have the resources to not only file challenges but to make legal arguments, and it has been the case over decades here that a law gets refined a little bit more by the court when major suits are brought up," Bowen said. "I wouldn't be surprised if Bill Daley or Gery Chico or Toni Preckwinkle or Susana Mendoza got themselves in a situation where they have to explore the courts as a method to stay on the ballot."

When you combine that with the inevitable problems lesser-known and fringe candidates will face with their petitions, it'll be a wonder any candidate gets on the ballot!

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New on the Beachwood today . . .

God, Ranked
A rare instance when we take the old white guy over the black man and the black woman.

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SportsMonday: Cody Parkey Is Back!
There was no wind to mess with Parkey's head and his kicks went where he kicked them.

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ChicagoReddit

Alone on Thanksgiving? from r/chicago

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ChicagoGram

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ChicagoTube

"William Sidney Mount's scenes of everyday life provide insight into the complex social and racial divisions of antebellum America. The central figure in this tavern is a homeless wanderer who literally dances along a line in the floorboards and, as a result, walks a symbolic line between class and race. The color of his skin unites him with the more prosperous men who urge on his drunken revelry, but his poverty makes him an outcast like the African-American man in the shadows, who smiles and looks on but is not an integral part of the group."

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BeachBook

The Land That Failed To Fail.

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TweetWood
A sampling.

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The Beachwood McRibTipLine: Eureka.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 9:25 AM | Permalink

God, Ranked

Best

1. George Burns.


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2. Twitter God.

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3. Lemmy.

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4. Family Guy God.

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5. U2's God.

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Worst

1. Old Testament God.

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2. Morgan Freeman.

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3. Joan Osborne's God.

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4. Jock God.

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5. Whoopi Goldberg.

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 12:20 AM | Permalink

November 17, 2018

The Weekend Desk Report

For completists, there was no column on Friday.

"A woman doing landscaping on her suburban Chicago property unearthed the bones of a man who died 800 to 1,000 years ago," AP reports.

"The Lake County News-Sun reports that the woman was digging in Antioch Township near Fox Lake in September when she unearthed some bones. She called authorities when she found a jaw that looked human. The newspaper said the woman didn't want to be identified.

"Crime scene investigators, anthropologists and other experts secured the area and recovered 75 percent of the skeleton of a man of about 20 to 30 years old who died at least 800 years ago."

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From the Lake County News-Sun:

"Then of course one starts thinking about the backstory," Dawn Cooper Illinois State Museum Research and Collection Center in Springfield said. "What was his life like? How did he live?"

I know Cavemen didn't work out so well, but I smell a script. Put him back together and make him a Fox Lake accountant mystified by our strange, modern ways.

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In fact, the show could go both ways, flipping between his (or her) backstory and the resurrected dude (or dudette) in today's world, with narrative arcs that compare and contrast both worlds. This is actually a good idea.

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Maybe the show is called Christopher J. Lauzen, CPA.

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Speaking of state comptrollers, if Susana Mendoza wins the Chicago mayoralship, does JB Pritzker appoint Kurt Summers to replace her? Just a thought.

Horsey Slots
"Illinois gamblers could soon have another new way to place bets, with a proposal to allow wagering on 'historical' horse races passing another hurdle," the Tribune reports.

"The Illinois Racing Board on Thursday approved proposed rules that would allow betting on videos of past races at Illinois racetracks - though the board's own former attorneys said the move was not authorized by state law.

"This type of gambling exists in some other states and involves placing bets on races that have already taken place, though the bettor doesn't know the outcome of the race beforehand."

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I'm confused. Couldn't a hardcore horseplayer remember some of those races? Do you get to consult a Daily Racing Form before making your bets? Are the odds still parimutuel?

Aha.

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My parents used to have parties when I was growing up where they would show old horse racing films for entertainment purposes only. Including gambling.

Army Training, Sir
"Data provided to IndyStar by the 3rd Recruiting Brigade - which covers Chicago, Cleveland, Columbus, Indianapolis, Great Lakes, Milwaukee, Minneapolis and Nashville - shows that since 2012, the brigade has not met its recruiting mission in those areas. Recently, the Army's 3rd Recruiting Brigade missed the mark by more than 3,000 in Fiscal Year 2018.

"Waning interest in the Midwest has contributed to disproportionate numbers in the country.

"The Army is becoming increasingly southern," [Col. Eric Lopez] said during an interview with IndyStar. "We're not getting the regional diversity that we want in the Army. We're (also) becoming more rural, so we're losing the urban centers of the Northeast and the Midwest, just like here in Indianapolis."

Well, how do college coaches do it?

Boob Inspector
"A federal judge has given a green light to a transgender performance artist's lawsuit challenging a Chicago ordinance prohibiting women but not men from exposing their breasts in certain public venues," AP reports.

"The Chicago Daily Law Bulletin reports the ruling rejects a city request to toss the suit. To prevail, Bea Sullivan-Knoff must still prove at a trial that the ordinance violates her constitutional rights and Illinois law."

The lawsuit was filed two years ago and targets the city's law that bans topless performances in venues that serve alcohol.

I've never understood that connection. The combination of bare female breasts and alcohol is just too much? You only get one or the other - or else it's anarchy!

A: Get A Therapist
"Q: I recently remarried, but I'm miserable. My husband drives me crazy, his ex-wife is psycho, and his children run the show. After three years and 11 months, my ex has realized the error of his ways and has been calling me. He tells me he's sorry that he ran off with 'that woman' and wants to get back together. I hate my life, I want to go back to my ex and I have absolutely no idea how to handle this. What's good ex-etiquette?"

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New on the Beachwood . . .

SANTUARIO|SANCTUARY
SANTUARIO|SANCTUARY is a bilingual documentary theater piece exploring the migrations of monarch butterflies and youth crossing the USA-Mexico border.

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The Beachwood Radio Sports Hour #226: To The CodyCopter™!
Aka Cody Clang. Plus: Local TV Misses Worse Than Cody Parkey; Money League Baseball; We All Owe Bob Nightengale An Apology; Don't Rewrite History; Cutting Robbie Gould Was The Right Thing To Do; The Kris Bryant Trade Scenario Isn't Hard To Figure Out; Blackhawks Hunk Gets First Win; NHL In Chintzy Tentative Concussion Settlement: Not Our Fault; Fire Thibs; Wild ATS; and Sister Jean Is So Last Year.

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Weekend ChicagoReddit

Rotten smell in the city right now? from r/chicago

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Weekend ChicagoGram

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Weekend ChicagoTube

VICE News Hired An Underwater Drone To Inspect Chicago's Trump Tower.

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Weekend BeachBook

UIC Unions Demand End To Rauner-Era Union-Busting Tactics.

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Weekend TweetWood
A sampling.

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Must be slow, habitually late and totally break down in winter.

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The Weekend McRibTipLine: Unbecoming.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 12:44 PM | Permalink

November 16, 2018

The Beachwood Radio Sports Hour #226: To The CodyCopter™!

Aka Cody Clang. Plus: Local TV Misses Worse Than Cody Parkey; Money League Baseball; We All Owe Bob Nightengale An Apology; Don't Rewrite History; Cutting Robbie Gould Was The Right Thing To Do; The Kris Bryant Trade Scenario Isn't Hard To Figure Out; Blackhawks Hunk Gets First Win; NHL In Chintzy Tentative Concussion Settlement: Not Our Fault; Fire Thibs; Wild ATS; and Sister Jean Is So Last Year.


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SHOW NOTES

* 226.

:23: Local TV Misses Worse Than Cody "Clang" Parkey.

* @DidParkeyMiss.

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Thread.

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Lame.

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* Yahoo Sports: Bears Ban TV Stations From Using Helicopter Footage Of Cody Parkey Practicing Kicks.

How is it legal for the NFL to ban TV stations from using this footage? It's public airspace over a public facility - owned by the Chicago Park District. Isn't that prior restraint? Of a kicker?

* Rosenthal, Tribune: Bears Censor TV Helicopter Coverage Of Kicker Cody Parkey Practicing At Soldier Field.

"WGN managed to air a live shot of Parkey working on the turf with a long snapper and holder as part of a prime-time special featuring its morning news team before the Bears intervened.

"Invoking its restrictions on practice video, the team effectively prohibited the stations from sharing their aerial coverage on the air or online, including via social media."

But team policy isn't the law. There's no good reason why TV outlets had to go along with the Bears' request.

* Parkey blames Jesus.

* Coffman: SportsMonday: Sunday's Real Bears Goat.

* Coffman: SportsMonday: Catching Bears Fever.

* Bernstein: Pass Or Run, It's About Points For Bears.

* How The Philadelphia Eagles Mastered The Modern NFL.

* Nagy > Fox.

* 2014: Big Nickel Package Emerging As NFL's Hottest Defensive Trend.

* 2016: Here's Why The Nickel Defense Is The New Base Defense In The NFL.

41:34: Money League Baseball.

* MLB Extends TV Deal With Fox Sports Through 2028.

* Cubs Bump Ticket Prices 2.6 Percent.

53:09: We All Owe Bob Nightengale An Apology.

55:41: Don't Rewrite History; Cutting Robbie Gould Was The Right Thing To Do.

* 'In 2015 Gould converted 33 of 39 field goals for an 84.6 percentage, 19th in the league. He struggled during the later portion of the season, missing two field goals against the 49ers and a potential game-tying kick against the Redskins, with a combined two of five field goals converted in those two games.'

He looked shitty at the end of that season. Then, the following exhibition season, he missed two extra points in the finale, as well as a field goal in another. It was hard to stick with him. If anything, the Bears' big mistake was bringing him to camp the next year and not cutting him until the final week of the preseason in favor of Connor Barth, who had just been released by the Saints.

57:20: The Kris Bryant Trade Scenario Isn't Hard To Figure Out.

* Olney: Cubs Open To Trading Bryant.

* White Sox Using Bulls Marquee To Court Bryce Harper.

* Phillies Will Spend Big Bucks In Free Agency, 'Maybe Even Be A Little Bit Stupid About It.'

1:03:50: Blackhawks Hunk Gets First Win.

* Rebuilding Is Point Of Contention For NHL's Crumbling Powerhouses.

1:07:27: NHL In Chintzy Tentative Concussion Settlement: Not Our Fault.

* What Is The Future Of Hitting In Hockey?

1:11:58: Fire Thibs.

* Jimmy Butler Trade Just A Small Loss For Wolves, Who Make Most Of No-Win Situation With Necessary Risk.

"No, Minnesota didn't get equal return for its All-Star, but it does get a solid return while avoiding a much worse deal."

1:16:10: Wild ATS.

1:17:58: Sister Jean Is So Last Year.

* Furman Defeats Loyola-Chicago On Game-Winning Baptism.

* Signing Day: Loyola, DePaul Hit It Big.

* Naperville Goalie Committed To Loyola Basketball.

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STOPPAGE: 19:54

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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 2:27 PM | Permalink

SANTUARIO | SANCTUARY

The Piven Theatre Workshop presents a staged reading of SANTUARIO | SANCTUARY today through Sunday.

SANTUARIO | SANCTUARY is a bilingual documentary theater piece exploring the migrations of monarch butterflies and youth crossing the USA-Mexico border.

Based on 30+ interviews with (im)migrants, nuns, volunteers, conservationists, and law enforcement in the USA and Mexico, SANTUARIO | SANCTUARY highlights the multifaceted complexity of the border.

The project began in 2015, when creators Teresa Veramendi and Victoria Gonzalez were in their MFA program at Naropa University and were given the prompt "migration" by visiting guest artist, Leigh Fondakowski.

In 2014, the year after DACA was passed, the border saw 30,000 more unaccompanied minors cross than the previous year.

There was also a large plummet in monarch butterfly migration numbers. Monarch butterflies are a common symbol of immigrant rights activists as they freely migrate between three countries every year, and their winter homes are protected by international law.

For over a year, the team has conducted interviews in Texas, California, Colorado, Illinois, Mexico City and Michoacán to learn more about how the border affects humans and nature. SANTUARIO | SANCTUARY is the culmination of that work.

The project was awarded the Boedecker Path to Excellence Grant in 2017, which supported a full production in Boulder, Colorado in September 2018. Its development is sponsored by Naropa University. Given the increasing news coverage of the treatment of children at the USA-Mexico border, the project seems more timely than the creators could have imagined at its inception. The world premiere in Colorado played to mostly sold out audiences.

"We are proud to weave together the narratives of immigrants with Customs and Border Patrol agents, U.S. citizens with DACA recipients, Mexican citizens with deportees, and humans with nature, to get a clearer picture of what the border really is, and what it really does to humanity and nature," says Veramendi.

One audience member responded to the Colorado production, "This show is a vessel for compassion and healing. It acts like a wellspring that softens and opens your heart to those you may not understand, to things you may not wish to hear. The integrity and respect with which [the actors, directors and producers] portray the words and stories of these people is astounding . . . Don't miss out on this heart-expanding sacred show."

Tickets range from $10-15, including discounted tickets for students, seniors, military, and undocumented attendees and DACA recipients - no questions asked.

Co-created by Amy Buckler Rusterholz, Victoria Pilar-Gonzalez, Stephanie San German, and Teresa Veramendi. Written by Teresa Veramendi. Co-directed by Jasmin Cardenas & Teresa Veramendi. Featuring a cast of primarily latinx performers. The production is bilingual with supertitles in both Spanish and English.

Tickets.

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 12:23 AM | Permalink

November 15, 2018

The [Thursday] Papers

1. Remembering Roy Clark.

"Country star Roy Clark, the guitar virtuoso and singer who headlined the cornpone TV show Hee Haw for nearly a quarter century and was known for such hits as 'Yesterday When I Was Young' and 'Honeymoon Feeling,' has died," AP reports. "He was 85."

Clark has appeared just once on the Beachwood, in The Beachwood Country All-Stars.

"It's fast cars and whiskey, long-haired girls and fun for all concerned."

2. The Nation's Slumlord.

"From his earliest days in office, HUD Secretary Ben Carson has repeatedly said he joined the Trump administration to fix the 'rats, roaches, bed bugs, mold, lead and violence' that he witnessed as a surgeon in low-income communities. Under the Trump administration, the number of HUD apartments cited for unsafe, unhealthy and physically deteriorating living conditions has been on the rise.

"An NBC News investigation has found that more than 1,000 out of HUD's nearly 28,000 federally subsidized multifamily properties failed their most recent inspection - a failure rate that is more than 30 percent higher than in 2016, according to an analysis of HUD records."

"At the same time, Carson has proposed raising rents on poor families, requiring them to pay a higher percentage of their income for housing, and the Trump administration has pushed - so far unsuccessfully - for steep budget cuts."

3. Armpit Of Chicago.

"For generations, minority and low-income communities have taken on disproportionate amounts of toxic waste and industrial pollution, and this is especially true in large metropolitan areas like Chicago, experts say," the Tribune reports.

In response to political pressure from activists, state and federal officials began establishing "environmental justice" policies in the 1990s to prevent toxic threats in poor and minority neighborhoods.

But a decade after Illinois launched its program, communities like East Side - where 80 percent of the residents are Latino and 25 percent of households make less than $25,000 a year - have seen little progress.

These lasting inequalities, in Illinois and across the nation, raise a troubling question from scholars: Are environmental justice policies actually bridging the gap, or are they solely declarations of good intentions?

Public outreach, the most tangible piece of the environmental justice program, is spotty in Illinois. According to records obtained by the Tribune, over the past 3½ years, no outreach was conducted in more than half the cases in which the state Environmental Protection Agency considered a permit that could affect air, water or soil quality in an environmental justice area. No public hearings were held in nearly two years for such cases. Even when notices were sent to neighborhood groups, the letters didn't detail how the public could become involved. Nor did they outline the period of time the public had to respond.

"Every day, after Gina Ramirez returns from her 1½ hour commute from the Loop to her home on Chicago's Southeast Side, she reaches for a mop to clean up any toxic dust that may have been tracked inside.

"Flanked by landfills, steel mills and metal scrap yards, pollution concerns have been part of life in the East Side neighborhood since Ramirez's great-grandfather immigrated to the area from Oaxaca, Mexico, in the 1930s. Some days the odors are so pungent she's afraid to open her window or let her 4-year-old son play outside.

"The vision for my neighborhood is just the status quo,' Ramirez said. 'It's just an industrial armpit of Chicago.'"

4. Trans Substantiation.

"A Chicago pastor who asked a man dressed in drag to leave a worship service because he was dressed like a woman stands by his actions after coming under fire," the Kansas City Star reports, for some reason.

The social politics of Chicago churches is one of the city's undercovered stories. No one really reports on what goes on inside these places, and it isn't always pretty.

"People in the crowd cheered and said 'Amen' and 'Thank you, Jesus.'"

5. The Finest Restructured Meat Product Ever.

"People in the crowd cheered and said 'Amen' and 'Thank you, Jesus.'"

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New on the Beachwood today . . .

Chicagoetry: I Am Iron Man
Let us coalesce.

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ChicagoReddit

Ice Sculptor Needed from r/chicago

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ChicagoGram

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ChicagoTube

Chicago Style at Santa Anita.

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BeachBook

'You Are All Inside Amazon's Second Headquarters,' Jeff Bezos Announces To Horrified Americans As Massive Dome Envelops Nation.

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Wisconsin Company Buys Guns For Every Employee For Christmas.

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Windy City Rollers Home Opener.

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TweetWood
A sampling.

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The Beachwood McRibTip Line: Slam doink.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 10:44 AM | Permalink

Chicagoetry: I Am Iron Man

I Am Iron Man
For the Hideout, in memory of the Beachwood Inn

I will cry blood
If we lose our magic hideout!
So let us coalesce

Into an Iron Hero:
Flesh of corrugated metal
Thick as a thousand

Shadows,
Heart a diamond forged
In Hell, steady as cricket creep,

Rent by betrayal, inured to terror;
Hard as the
Tip of Damocles' sword,

Poised to plunge through
Threatening skull bone.
An iron butterfly

In an asphalt field.
Don't yield.

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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

* The Viral Video: The Match Game Dance

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 5:03 AM | Permalink

November 14, 2018

The [Wednesday] Papers

For completists, there was no column on Tuesday.

Susana Mendoza made it official this morning and announced she is a candidate for mayor.

Me, on September 5:

"Before I heard that Toni Preckwinkle was making calls to gauge support, I made the case to a friend that former city clerk and state legislator Susana Mendoza, now the state comptroller, would become the immediate frontrunner if she jumped in the race."

Nonetheless, the Beachwood Bookmaking Bureau still gives Preckwinkle the slight edge.

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Beachwood Twitter:

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New on the Beachwood . . .

Exclusive! Rahm's New TV Gig
Coming soon: America's Most Buried Videos.

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Exclusive! Why Chicago Lost HQ2
It starts with Mayor Enyia and ends with Sneedlings. Oh, Chicago. You'll never be New York. Definitely not LA.

amazonchicago2.jpg

And just like the Olympics, Chicago doesn't even get a podium spot.

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Stan Lee, Flawed Hero
Some uncomfortable truths.

Screen Shot 2018-11-14 at 1.33.52 PM.png

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NHL In Chintzy Tentative Concussion Settlement: Not Our Fault
"The NHL settlement includes only 318 players who will get up to $22,000 - roughly 3% of the minimum salary for a current NHL player - and each is entitled to medical testing and treatment of up to $75,000 each.

"Only 146 former players put their names to this litigation, a list that included Steve Montador, a former Chicago Blackhawks player diagnosed with the debilitating brain disease chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE) after his death in 2015."

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ChicagoReddit

Love The Hideout? Then 'Please' Show Up To Lincoln Yards Meeting, Owners Tell Supporters from r/chicago

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ChicagoGram

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ChicagoTube

Chicago Andhra Association Cultural Day Celebrations ||MANA TV||

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BeachBook

Car-Share Nightmare In Uptown.

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People Are Going To Sell Sex In Driverless Cars, Researchers Say.

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TweetWood
A sampling.

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The Beachwood McRibTip Line: Back in black.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 1:17 PM | Permalink

Like Many Marvel Characters, Stan Lee Was A Flawed Hero

Stan Lee was the voice of my childhood. As I sat transfixed by Spider-Man cartoons on Saturday mornings, his energetic narration welcomed me into the story; made me feel part of the gang. Never mind that the animation wasn't up to much; it looked like a comic, had a great theme tune, and Stan "The Man" Lee, my buddy, was giving it his personal seal of approval.

Famously, Lee originally honed this warm persona in print. The words "Stan Lee Presents" in the Marvel comics I was also feverishly devouring - black and white British reprints of the American originals - were a guarantee of quality. When he signed off a letters page or editorial with his trademark "Excelsior!" I never failed to smile. I was, and remain in many respects, a "True Believer," as Lee called all dedicated Marvel readers. As we shall see, however, the man's performance masked some uncomfortable truths.

stanlee.jpgGage Skidmore/CC BY-SA

Lee, born Stanley Martin Lieber, had been working in comics since 1939. He was first an office assistant for Timely, the company that went on to become Marvel, before becoming an editor and writer. He would eventually rise to editor-in-chief, chairman and publisher, but it was his work as a writer in the early 1960s that changed comics forever.

At the time, superheroes had fallen out of favor, following the heyday of Superman and Batman in the 1930s and 1940s. Marvel now helped turn that around, with angsty rebellious heroes like The Fantastic Four (launched 1961), Spider-Man (1962), The Hulk (1962), The X-Men (1963) and so many more.

A huge part of the success was the fantastic artwork and storytelling of two other comics geniuses, Jack Kirby and Steve Ditko. But nobody wrote like Stan. Having written many romance and horror comics in the 1950s, his tone was over-the-top, bombastic and mock-Shakespearean - but always warm and inviting.

The mythos that Lee created also extended to the gang behind the scenes. In regular features "Bullpen Bulletins" and "Stan's Soapbox," he wove tales of the Marvel Bullpen, the lively creative hub at the center of the studio's success, with characters like Jack "King" Kirby and "Sturdy" Steve Ditko. This human touch was Lee's gift. He made these comics creators seem like friends, and made the readers feel like part of a club.

Bullpen Blues

When I learned about the history of Marvel Comics later in life, I realized that things were not always as they seemed. The angst in those Spider-Man and Hulk comics wasn't all on the page; like any business, there were tensions and rivalries behind the scenes. Many of the artists who worked with Lee harbored deep resentments.

In the 1960s, Lee and the artists developed what became known as the "Marvel method" of creating comics. At rival DC Comics, home of Superman, Batman and Wonder Woman, the editor was king, and kept a firm grip on the factory-line production process of creating a comic. But at Marvel, Lee would come up with a story idea and pass it to the artist as a kind of pitch or brief.

This allowed for huge creative freedom and sped up the production process considerably - a real benefit for a small company with big ambitions. But the artists' work was not always fully recognized. They were being credited purely for the art when they were often creating the characters and story, too - before Lee layered the dialogue and captions on top.

Lee compounded this recognition problem in interviews and in books like Origins of Marvel Comics (1974), where he talked enthusiastically about how he had created all the stories and characters. The artists knew different. Frustrated by creative differences, Ditko left in 1965 and Kirby went five years later.

jackkirby.jpgJack Kirby/Wikimedia

To make matters worse, their original artwork often wasn't returned to them - at a time when a community of comic collectors was coming together and a market was emerging for this artwork. Marvel made millions exploiting the rights to the characters and stories while the artists received very little.

Having risen to a position of power in the company, Lee could have shared more of the profits - and the limelight. But he was a showman, an impresario, and a businessman. He took the credit and protected the company he had worked so hard to build. As a salaried company man, he was not always as loyal to his collaborators - many of whom were freelancers.

Later in the 1970s and early 1980s, when young comics creators like Frank Millar were championing creator rights and lobbying for the return of artwork to Kirby and his family, Lee was sometimes cast as the villain. I am sure he wasn't. But like the best Marvel heroes, he was certainly flawed. He could have been at the forefront of creator rights and made the "Marvel method" stand for something more. Instead, Marvel ended up echoing practices at DC Comics, where artists like Jerry Siegel and Joe Shuster, creators of Superman, were made to wait decades, often in crushing poverty, for a small share of the profits.

The consequences of Lee's silence were considerable, not just for those in the Bullpen but for following generations of comics creators. Even now, the relationship between publishers and creators over rights and profit-sharing has been rocky to say the least. Lee was courageous in other ways - his comics battled racism, for instance, and he wrote a landmark essay on the subject in 1968. It also goes without saying that he helped create characters who continue to inspire millions. But had he taken a stand on creators' rights, the industry and comics historians might not be so divided on his legacy today.

Postscript: Stan's Last Act

Stan Lee's later years seemed tumultuous. He would make appearances at huge comic cons looking tired, taking photos with huge numbers of fans who paid for the privilege of meeting him. This prompted suspicions that those in charge of Lee's business affairs didn't always have his best interests at heart. Earlier this year, his lawyer brought a suit against his handlers accusing them of elder abuse.

A couple of years back, I had a chance to meet my hero at a New York Comic Con. I watched as others had their photos taken with this frail old man, and wondered how I'd condense all I wanted to say, about what he meant to me, what he'd contributed to the world. And to ask about his proudest moments, his deepest regrets. But all that was on offer were a few seconds of The Man's time, and a weak smile.

So I decided not to get my photo with him. I don't know if I made the right decision, but on hearing of Lee's death I asked an artist friend, Elliot Balson, to draw a picture of me meeting him. I know it's self-indulgent, but I'm finally meeting this man who gave me so much, where I've always met him - in the comics.

stanandme.jpgChristopher Murray is a Professor of Comics Studies at the University of Dundee. This article is republished from The Conversation under a Creative Commons license.

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See also: Stan Lee Responds To Allegations Of Sexual Harassment.

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Comments welcome.


Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 12:41 AM | Permalink

November 13, 2018

NHL In Chintzy Tentative Concussion Settlement: Not Our Fault

Plaintiffs' Counsel in the consolidated multi-district litigation In Re: National Hockey League Players' Concussion Injury Litigation, MDL, 14‑2551 SJN, and the National Hockey League announced [Wednesday] that they have reached a tentative non-class settlement of the Litigation.

This tentative settlement was reached after months of Court-ordered mediation overseen by the Honorable Jeffrey J. Keyes (ret.).

The NHL does not acknowledge any liability for any of Plaintiffs' claims in these cases. However, the parties agree that the settlement is a fair and reasonable resolution and that it is in the parties' respective best interests to receive the benefits of the settlement and to avoid the burden, risk and expense of further litigation.

* Settlement agreement.

* SettlementAgreementExhibits.

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See also:

* New York Times: In NHL Concussion Settlement, Owners Win The Fight.

"[F]ew on the plaintiff side will be happy with a deal that provides little long-term security for retired players who are suffering.

The NHL's philosophy was scorched earth and deny every issue," said Charles Zimmerman, the lead lawyer for the retired hockey players. "They denied the link between neurocognitive problems and the game of hockey, and felt that the players were not injured and wouldn't participate in large numbers. They were right on that."

* Deadspin: NHL Won't Admit Liability, Will Pay Around $19 Million In Concussion Lawsuit Settlement.

"In July, a U.S. District Judge denied the former players' attempt to make this suit a class-action lawsuit, which could have vastly expanded the number of players involved. The 146 who are a part of this suit must choose to opt into the settlement within 75 days, and in doing so they'll waive their right to future concussion-related legal action against the NHL.

"The settlement - which just happened to be announced the same day as the Hockey Hall of Fame induction ceremony - is for a far, far lower amount than a concussion settlement from a similar lawsuit that the NFL reached with its former players last year. While that settlement has some serious problems of its own, the $1 billion it was said to be worth is almost infinitely more than what the NHL players are getting, which can be attributed to the NFL's fear that their ex-players would be certified as a class and the NHL's ex-players getting denied that status."

* USA Today: Here's Why The NHL Concussion Settlement Didn't Come Close To The NFL's.

"The max a former NFL player is entitled to is $5 million and that settlement covered more than 20,000 players with an estimated cost to the league in excess of $1 billion. The NHL settlement includes only 318 players who will get up to $22,000 - roughly 3% of the minimum salary for a current NHL player - and each is entitled to medical testing and treatment of up to $75,000 each.

"Only 146 former players put their names to this litigation, a list that included Steve Montador, a former Chicago Blackhawks player diagnosed with the debilitating brain disease chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE) after his death in 2015."

* Toronto Star: NHL's Tentative Concussion Lawsuit Another Blow To The Players.

"Not everyone involved was moving on quietly. While lawyers representing the players characterized the settlement as 'good news' in a memo that recommended its acceptance, former NHLer [and former Blackhawk] Daniel Carcillo, called it 'an insulting attempt at a settlement.' Via Twitter Carcillo urged fellow alumni not to take the deal. Mike Peluso, the former NHL enforcer, told TSN's Rick Westhead that he plans to forego the settlement in favour of pursuing further legal action.

"Chris Nowinski, a spokesperson for Boston University's CTE Center, said he was 'surprised' by the 'small amount' of the proposed settlement.

"What this tells you is that it's athlete beware," Nowinski said. "The message from professional sports is: You're on your own. Once you've left the team, it doesn't matter if you're a legend, once things go south for you, you and your family are on your own."

"What the settlement also told us was this: The real winners are the lawyers. Of the $19 million the NHL has agreed to pay, more than a third of it - some $7 million - is earmarked for legal fees and costs."

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Previously:
* Bob Probert's Broken Brain.

* NFL Players Killing Themselves Because They Miss Football So Much.

* The College Football Report: Dementia Pugilistica.

* Blackhawks Playing Head Games.

* Jay Cutler Should Consider Retiring.

* Dislike: Friday Night Tykes.

* Hurt And Be Hurt: The Lessons Of Youth Sports.

* Chicago Soccer Player Patrick Grange Had CTE.

* Sony Softened Concussion To Placate NFL.

* Ultra-Realistic Madden To Simulate Game's Debilitating Concussions.

* Dear Football: I'm Breaking Up With You.

* Dead College Football Player's Brain Leaves Clues Of Concussions' Toll On Brain.

* More Bad Concussion News For Young Football Players.

* NFL Tried To Fix Concussion Study.

* The Week In Concussions: Another Enforcer Down.

* Teen Concussion Rate Rising Significantly.

* Conflict Of Interest For NFL Doctors To Report To Teams: Harvard Study.

* U.S. Supreme Court Ends Fight Over $1 Billion NFL Concussion Deal.

* U.S. High School Soccer Concussions On The Rise.

* Youth Football Finally Listening To Coach Coffman.

* Many Kids Still Don't Report Concussion Symptoms. How Can We Change That?

* Brain Damage In Former Players Fuels Soccer 'Heading' Fears.

* Canadian Youth Hockey Injuries Cut In Half After National Policy Change.

* More Teen Knowledge About Concussion May Not Increase Reporting.

* High School Boys Fear Looking 'Weak' If They Report Concussions.

* Pro Flag Football Is Now A Thing - Starring Former NFL Players!

* Nearly All Donated NFL Brains Found To Have CTE.

* Female Athletes Are Closing The Gender Gap When It Comes To Concussions.

* Whoa. Perhaps The Smartest Player In NFL History - He's In Math PhD Program At MIT - Assesses Situation And Decides To Save His Brain.

* Study: CTE Affects Football Players At All Levels.

* Dan Jiggetts Is Right About CTE.

* Letting Our Boys Onto The Football Field Is A Losing Play.

* Tackle Rings?

* CTE Season Preview.

* The CTE Diaries: The Life And Death Of A High School Football Player Killed By Concussions.

* Study: Youth Football Linked To Adult Problems.

* Can Weed Save Football?

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 4:28 PM | Permalink

Exclusive! Rahm's New TV Gig

"Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel may finally get paid for a job he's been doing for free for years: offering opinions on national politics," the Daily Beast reports.

"Emanuel announced in September that he wouldn't seek reelection as mayor and has since been largely mum about his post-mayoral plans. But he has attended meetings in New York with top executives at MSNBC and CNN in recent weeks, and discussed a potential future as a cable news pundit, according to several sources familiar with the conversations."

The Beachwood has learned the following shows are under consideration:

* America's Most Buried Videos.

Each week Rahm lectures you on why you don't get to see them.

* Rahmfeld.

"Why do they call it Ovaltine? The mug is round. The jar is round. They should call it Fucktine."

* The New Family Feud.

Every week Rahm and his brothers take on an opposing family. Week 1: The Daleys.

* To Catch A Predator.

"Didn't you really come here to close some schools today?"

* Bullshit!

A new take on the old Penn & Teller show where Rahm, only in this case Rahm tries to fool the press corps every week.

* Friends - With Benefits.

A new take on the old comedy series featuring Rahm and his five best rich friends living together in City Hall and dividing up the spoils.

* SpongeRahm SquareDance.

Getting back to his roots.

* Fuck Your Enthusiasm.

Rahm plays a lightly fictionalized version of himself in semi-retirement.

* The New Jeopardy!

Answer in the form of a fuck-you.

* That '70s Rahm.

A nostalgic comedy set in the time when Rahm was a carefree bully on the mean streets of Wilmette.

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 5:28 AM | Permalink

Exclusive! Why Chicago Lost HQ2

"After running a year-long competition that drew interest from hundreds of cities and a number of states, Amazon has chosen New York City and Northern Virginia to split duty as its second headquarters," CNN reports.

What about us? The Beachwood HQ2 Desk has learned why Chicago didn't measure up:

* Mayor Enyia.

* It all came down to Cody Parkey's kicks on Sunday.

* Chicago just not prime enough.

* About 50 schools short of what they need.

* If only there was a downtown airport for Jeff Bezos's private plane instead of that park . . .

* Republican Party here way too embarrassing.

* Chicago too clingy.

* Too close to Indiana.

* Sneedlings.

* If only there was a museum for narrative art with some Star Wars posters on the lakeshore . . .

* Sick of that "Go Cubs Go" song.

* Billy Goat only serves chips and Coke, but fries and Pepsi are Bezos's favorite.

* Didn't want headquarters in same city as Groupon.

* Obama Center got to Jackson Park location first.

* Didn't realize Hawk Harrelson is retiring, because they weren't going to put up with that.

* Rahm offered to change all the city's clocks, but only New York and Virginia offered true Eastern Standard Time.

* Hot dog rules here too strict.

* Chicago is so two years ago.

* Because neither the country's greatest city nor its capital is located here.

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 12:16 AM | Permalink

November 12, 2018

SportsMonday: Catching Bears Fever

Ryan Pace may have struggled evaluating kickers and quarterbacks during his reign as Bears GM, but he crushed it with receivers during the past year. And they put on a show during the Bears' 34-22 triumph over the Lions on Sunday.

The improvement in pass-catchers for the Bears from last year to this year has to rival the improvement of any position group on any team in the NFL.

Is there a wide receiver in the league who is getting more consistent separation from defensive backs than Bears uber-rookie Anthony Miller? How about a tight end doing the same versus Trey Burton? Yes, the coach has to call the plays and the quarterback has to throw the passes (and what a day Mitch Trubisky had on Sunday - his accuracy was magnificent from start to finish), but those jobs are much easier when the receivers are running perfectly crisp routes.

First of all, Allen Robinson reclaimed his status as the absolute No. 1 receiver. He set up the first touchdown with his first huge reception and run and later grabbed two scores of his own.

The only area where Robinson was a little subdued was after he scored. You could tell he was being careful as he barely left the ground to body-bump teammates. He didn't look like he was coming back from a pulled groin during plays but he did when he shied away from high flying touchdown celebrations.

Things went a little sideways for No. 2 man Miller at the end with a couple dumb penalties, but overall he has been everything the Bears hoped he would be when they traded away next year's second-round pick to move into this year's second round to get him. And you have to blame special teams coach Chris Tabor for the difficulties with onside kicks in the second half.

Chris my man if you can't do better than this you will be experiencing the NFL standing for Not For Long as far as your employment is concerned. The Bears' fundamental hands formation deployed against an anticipated onside kick was flawed. It was clear the Lions were probably going to kick to the left side of the Bears' receiving unit, especially given that they had a mismatch, i.e., more guys going for the recovery on that side than the Bears had trying to get it. Then they did what was anticipated and the Bears failed miserably to take advantage of the predictability.

It was hard to understand why the team had a rookie, Miller, in position to be the guy who catches the onside kick rather than a veteran. Then again it made sense not to have Robinson out there given his worries about re-aggravating his injury. But Tabor then failed to tell the rookie not to just swat the ball out of bounds. Miller committing that penalty gave the Lions a critical second chance and sure enough that time they took advantage of the mismatch.

Of course, then the Lions did the Bears a favor the next time they lined up to onside it when they tried to pooch one down the middle. That kick was recovered easily by Tarik Cohen.

Defensively, you had to be impressed with a bunch of guys, but one who stood out was nickel corner Bryce Callahan. He set the tone with a pair of immediate blitzes, one of which resulted in a sack. It was the start of a delightfully aggressive defensive performance that was highlighted by active turnovers. Sometimes football teams settle for the turnovers given to them by weak offenses. Sometimes they reach out and take them. That was what the Bears, led by Callahan and fellow cornerback Prince Amukamara did on Sunday.

And finally, in "always remember that in the NFL all that matters is what is happening now, not what might happen next year" news: the Jaguars suffered another crushing loss on Sunday and are close to falling out of the playoff hunt. These are the same Jaguars who almost knocked off the Patriots in last year's AFC championship game. During Jacksonville's great 2017-18 run, I guarantee fans were saying, "This is great but just wait 'til next year, when quarterback Blake Bortles will have another year under his belt and this team will really come together!"

Instead Bortles, whose development was botched by the Jaguars several years ago in part because they felt pressured to bring him in as the starting quarterback before he was ready, has taken a step back this season and the team is struggling mightily.

The moral? When you have a chance to win in this league, you better do everything possible to make it happen right now.

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Jim "Coach" Coffman welcomes your comments.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 9:35 AM | Permalink

The [Monday] Papers

For completists, there was no column on Friday, nor a Weekend Desk Report.

"A federal agency's proposal to build an extension of a national veterans cemetery in Chicago's northwest suburbs is drawing concerns from one local official about periodic rifle volleys expected at the site," AP reports.

"The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs hopes to acquire 15 acres in South Barrington for an extension of the Abraham Lincoln National Cemetery, the Daily Herald reported."

From the Daily Herald:

South Barrington would become home to an extension of Abraham Lincoln National Cemetery for military veterans under a federal agency's proposal that's drawn concern from the village's mayor about periodic rifle volleys expected at the site.

Under what's called an urban initiative, the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs wants to acquire 15 acres near Mundhank and Freeman roads for the columbarium cemetery. Documents show federal officials are developing a master plan to start with 5,000 niches for cremated remains to be placed in a series of walls, growing to 50,000 over 100 years . . .

Ceremonies would occur at the proposed South Barrington cemetery, including rifle volleys honoring the veterans before they are laid to rest. The rifle fire is expected three to five times per weekday when there are burials . . .

But South Barrington Mayor Paula McCombie, who stressed she supports veterans, said the "misguided" proposal would not fit in an area that includes the Barrington Homestead Estates and The Preserve of South Barrington residential subdivisions. Cook County's Paul Douglas Forest Preserve is just west of the VA's proposed project.

"We would love to have them in South Barrington, but at that location, considering they're going to be firing guns off three to five times a day in a residential district and disturbing the peace of the residents that back up to the facility, we have to wait to hear from our residents to see what their opinion is of this," McCombie said.

Artist's rendering of the proposed extension:

veteranscemetery.jpg

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See also:

* Time: African-American Veterans Hoped Their Service In World War I Would Secure Their Rights At Home. It Didn't.

* BizWomen: The Companies Where Veterans Thrive.

* Daily Southtown: Orland Park Adds 22 Names To Village's Veterans Memorial.

* WBBM: Local Military Veterans Hold Anti-War Protest.

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New on the Beachwood . . .

Illinois War
From the Revolutionary War to the bullshit War On Terror, Illinois troops have been there.

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Ald. Cardenas Says Spring Awakening Is Getting A Wake-Up Call!
Festival promoters announce a move to Douglas Park without notifying the alderman.

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The Beachwood Radio Sports Hour #225: Drama-Free Bears Suddenly More Stable Than Chaotic Cubs, Broken Blackhawks
Theo in a gorilla suit while Nagy sets the playoff table. Plus: Why Trubisky Polarizes; Unified Grand Cubs Theory; Coach Coffman, Coach Q And Coach Colliton; This Is No Time For Bulls Hot Takes; and Secret Agent Hahn.

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SportsMonday: Catching Bears Fever
"The improvement in pass-catchers for the Bears from last year to this year has to rival the improvement of any position group on any team in the NFL," our very own Jim "Coach" Coffman writes.

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ChicagoReddit

I mustache a question! from r/chicago

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ChicagoGram

View this post on Instagram

Today, Asian-American entrepreneurs continue to be drawn to Asia on Argyle, with a spate of recent eateries and cafes that opened around the "L" station. Long-standing businesses still thrive, and several have been passed onto second generation owners. Read more about this Uptown neighborhood in @wgntv's Ride the Red Line series: http://bit.ly/WGN-Uptown #exploreuptownchi #uptownchicago #asiaonargyle • • • • • #uptown #chicago #northchicago #northsidechicago #chicagogram #chicagolife #chicagoneighborhoods #chicagoneighborhood #chigram #chitecture #chicagoshots #thisischicago #igerschicago #insta_chicago #instachicago #thechicagolife #uptownproud #chicagoeats #chicagogrammers #chicagoshots

A post shared by Uptown Chicago (@exploreuptownchi) on

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ChicagoTube

Wood Watches by Holzkern 'Chicago' | Holzuhr 'Chicago'

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BeachBook

Beachwood Field Trip: Turkey Testicle Festival.

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7-11 Accused Of Weaponizing ICE Raids To Shed Troublesome Franchisees.

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Revolution's Wil Turner To Join Open Outcry As Head Of Brewery Operations.

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TweetWood
A sampling.

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The Beachwood McRibTipline: For a limited time only.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 9:20 AM | Permalink

Ald. Cardenas Says Spring Awakening Is Getting A Wake-Up Call!

Alderman [George] Cardenas was shocked to learn that React Presents recklessly announced grand plans for a music festival that draws 30,000 to 40,000 people a day at Douglas Park in the summer of 2019. This group never consulted him, or any of the many important local organizations and resident groups that make up the vibrant community surrounding Douglas Park.

"I am not against music, and I am a big fan of other festivals, but this group did this without my consent and more importantly, without the community in mind," Cardenas said.

Typically, festival organizers go through the process of aldermanic approval as well as garnering community support - React did neither.

"Festival organizers who enjoy the support of my office and our community are good partners," Cardenas said. "They have outreach events to discuss safeguards, logistics and environmental impacts, they willingly donate to local not-for-profits, provide community job opportunities and participate in neighborhood holiday events. These groups respect our community and the process. I did not authorize their decision to relocate to Douglas Park, and will be taking further action to maintain 12th ward residents' concerns as the top priority."

The alderman has contacted the park district as well as other city officials to let them know that he has not - nor will he - authorize such a large-scale music fest to take place in Douglas Park.

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Despite the alderman's statement, Spring Awakening is still promoting its 2019 festival as being held in Douglas Park. Presale is scheduled to begin Tuesday. There is nothing, however, at the link "Why The Move?"

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Riot Fest moved from Humboldt Park to Douglas Park in 2015. Hence:

(Spring Awakening has been at Addams/Medill Park the last three years.)

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"The 12th ward's Director of Communications Liliana Escarpita further confirmed that Alderman Michael Scott, Jr. - whose 24th ward also covers a piece of Douglas Park - was unaware of SAMF's impending move as well," the Tribune reports.

In a statement, React pinned the move on construction that will affect its former home throughout the spring. Organizers of the festival, which draws crowds between 30,000-40,000 people a day over the long weekend, also suggest the much-larger Douglas Park comes with "exciting new benefits" for attendees such as "including easier travel to/from the festival with just a two block walk to the CTA California Pink Line station, as well as more free street parking." Along with the new site, organizers promise additional art installations, experiences and "curious corners" for guests to lose themselves as well as new stage designs, including a brand-new Solstice Stage.

"Like everybody else, I found out through the media," Cardenas told the paper. "I heard rumors and someone had sent me what they posted on the website. Right away people started talking, 'Why didn't the alderman notify the community?' We immediately get the blame for this, but what (React) did was not right."

The festival apparently submitted a Special Event Permit Application to the Chicago Park District, though it was only received on November 2 - just three days before SAMF made their announcement on Monday. Because the application is still being evaluated, said the district, a permit has yet to be issued.

"The first thing I do as an alderman is go to my community and get their input," said Cardenas. "As of today, I'm so insulted by it, what would I do with people that have no respect for my community? But some people in the community want to hear more about it. I think we at least owe it to people to try to understand it and see if this works or not."

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"Chicago Park District officials said aldermanic approval is not required," Block Club Chicago reports.

"The Park District is currently processing a special event permit application for the Spring Awakening Music Festival, Park District spokeswoman Irene Tostado said in an e-mail. React Presents applied for the permit on Nov. 2, but no permit has been issued to date.

"The city agency does not require aldermanic approval or community input before permits are issued, Tostado said, but they encourage all event organizers to gather input from the surrounding communities."

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 2:59 AM | Permalink

Illinois At War

Normally I wouldn't retweet (earnestly) anything from the governor's account, especially in an election year, but the campaign is over, he lost, and I actually found the series of tweets emanating from his office Sunday quite interesting. Given the circumstances, with no cynical political gain to be leveraged, the benefit accrues to the reader. So here goes.

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Let's just end it right there. Crediting Ronald Reagan with ending the Cold War and honoring the soldiers of the Global War on Terror - not the soldiers' fault! - is a bit too propagandistic for me the way it's presented.

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 2:33 AM | Permalink

November 9, 2018

The Beachwood Radio Sports Hour #225: Drama-Free Bears Suddenly More Stable Than Chaotic Cubs, Broken Blackhawks

Theo in a gorilla suit while Nagy sets the playoff table. Plus: Why Trubisky Polarizes; Unified Grand Cubs Theory; Coach Coffman, Coach Q And Coach Colliton; This Is No Time For Bulls Hot Takes; and Secret Agent Hahn.


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SHOW NOTES

* 225.

1:49: Matt Nagy's Drama-Free, Unusually Healthy Bears.

* Coffman: Trubisky Is . . .

* Biggs: The Mitch Trubisky Divide: National Pundits Rip The Bears QB, While The Team Raves About Him.

* Rhodes: Why Trubisky Polarizes. This is not a column so you'll have to listen for what is absolutely the right answer!

26:40: Coach Coffman, Coach Q And Coach Colliton.

* Perfect icestorm: Stan Bowman loses touch; Quenneville can't develop young defenseman; John McDonough knows nothing about hockey. Boom.

42:10: No Time For Bulls Hot Takes; Real Team On The Way.

* Cowley: If Bulls Coach Fred Hoiberg Is On His Way Out, Gar Forman Must Go With Him.

* KC Johnson: How Much Job Security Does Fred Hoiberg Have?

* Deadspin: Jabari Parker Looks Really Disengaged Right Now.

* Fansided: Zach LaVine Is Blossoming Into A Franchise Player.

* Forbes: Wendell Carter Jr. A Beacon Of Light Shining Through Bulls' Rough Start.

49:59: Cubs Meltdown.

* Theo coming to work every day in gorilla suit.

52:15: Secret Agent Hahn.

* Extended Ricky Renteria's Contract 'A While Back.'

54:56: Rhodes' Unified Grand Cubs Theory.

* You'll have to listen to learn the real truth!

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STOPPAGE: 12:59

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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 4:21 PM | Permalink

November 7, 2018

The [Thursday] Papers

"A white kid had to be tough, confident and maybe a little nuts to venture into the South Side blues clubs in Chicago during the heyday of Muddy Waters and Howlin' Wolf and try to go toe to toe with the masters," Greg Kot writes for the Tribune.

But the late Paul Butterfield had attitude to burn and a reverence for the blues that cut deeper than any fear he might've had. The blues masters gave him a shot, and they realized the kid not only had guts, he had chops. No one played blues harmonica quite like 'Butter.'
Horn From the Heart: The Paul Butterfield Story, directed by Emmy-winner John Anderson (whose previous credits include the Brian Wilson biopic Love & Mercy), tells the story of a transformation. Through Butterfield's experience, it shows how white kids discovered and embraced the authenticity and passion of an art form created and lived by African-Americans. The masters had migrated from Southern sharecropping poverty to big northern cities such as Chicago in search of jobs. At night and on weekends, they plugged in and poured out their pain and joy in electric blues that thrived in South Side joints such as Silvio's and Pepper's Lounge.

Then a few young white faces started showing up, hungry to rub shoulders with musicians they viewed as mentors, worldly adults who had experienced more than they could imagine and expressed themselves in a way that took their breath away.

Butterfield was among them.

Click through for the rest.

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See also: Horn From The Heart: The Paul Butterfield Story. Trailer included.

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Public Art Dart
"Kerry James Marshall wasn't just upset when the city of Chicago revealed it was going to sell the painting he made for the Legler public library on Chicago's West Side back in 1995. He was so disillusioned that he vowed never to make a public artwork again," Artnet reports.

"It just seemed like a way of exploiting the work of artists in the city for short-term gain in a really short sighted kind of way," Marshall told the Chicago Tribune. "And so I made a decision at that time I would never do another public work."

And the artist hasn't changed his mind, even after news broke this week that Chicago had had a change of part and wouldn't be selling the work after all.

"There's too many contingencies that go with public art, and there are more compromises than I think I'm going to be willing to make from here on out," Marshall explained. Earlier this year, the artist unveiled a public art piece, dedicated to the country's first bar association for black lawyers, in Des Moines, Iowa. Titled A Monumental Journey, it had been in the works for 12 years, plagued by delays even after Marshall personally paid for an expensive water feasibility study for the project.

Click through for the rest.

Heights And Weights
"A new book offers an insider's view of when organized crime operations in south suburban Chicago Heights began to decline during the 1960s and 1970s," Ted Slowik writes for the Daily Southtown. "The author claims to know the answer to a notorious unsolved murder of a Chicago crime boss.

"Chicago Heights: Little Joe College, the Outfit, and the Fall of Sam Giancana, is a memoir by Charles 'Charley' Hager. The book was co-authored by Kentucky writer David T. Miller and published by Southern Illinois University Press."

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"Hager wrote that when he was 13 in 1961 he moved to Illinois to live with an uncle who ran a mob-connected bar in Chicago Heights. Mob boss Albert Tocco gave Hager the nickname 'Little Joe College' because of his street smarts.

"'I began my life as a rather naive, apprentice criminal,' he wrote. 'I moved cars and packages from one place to another, never knowing what was in them, and I was smart enough not to ask.'

"He eventually realized he was moving cash or cars that were headed for chop shops. At the time, the mob controlled police departments and judges, he wrote. Eventually, he claims he became an expert in fixing harness races at Balmoral Park in Crete."

Click through for the rest.

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Also:

From Vice in July:

From the leg-breaking to the loan-sharking, I played a role in it all. I was very deep in it. My big thing that got me on top was horse racing. I was a great earner with that. Something about being raised up in West Virginia and being around horses a lot - I got a lot of tips which [most] people wouldn't have gotten, and made a lot of money [at the] Balmoral Race Track in Crete, Illinois. I was the go-to guy. I was the fixer. Things moved from the streets to an office job because I was the golden goose for them.

You're the man, you're doing things. You're getting away with it. It's a thrill. It's almost like a man being on heroin or taking drugs, which I never did. That was a no-no for us. I was the prize for them. It's as simple as that.

But it started out as a bagman, a chauffeur. It started out popping a few heads. Then you moved onto the heavy stuff, which I won't get into, but in order to become an associate . . . I think the whole world knows what you got to do.

Click through for the rest.

Rock Doc
"[H]ere be a literary songwriter of the first rank whose pipes benefited from his long break and who's reeled in enough fine musicians to execute his ambitious arrangements," Robert Christgau writes for Noisey in his A- review of Chicago neonatologist Rich Krueger's NOWThen.

See also: Chicago Neonatologist To Release Second Record.

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New on the Beachwood . . .

Campaign Notebook
I'm this/close to finishing what I hope is merely the first installment of a series of campaign notebooks, looking back at Tuesday night's results as well as forward into the mayor's race. Stay tuned!

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ChicagoReddit

Has anyone used a hover board, electronic skateboard, or anything like that on your commute? How did it go? from r/chicago

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ChicagoGram

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ChicagoTube

When Local TV News Discovered House.

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BeachBook

Chicago Producer Victor Cervantes Is 17 And Taking Off Like A Pop Music Rocket.

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TweetWood
A sampling.

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See also:

* McRibTips.Tips.

* @TastyRib.

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The Beachwood McRibTip Line: Structured.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 5:22 PM | Permalink

Bizarro Chicago Sports World | Quenneville Fired, Maddon Lameducked, Renteria Extended

To wit:

* Deadspin: Blackhawks Fire Joel Quenneville, For Some Reason.

* Sporting News: Speculation Alert: Cubs-Dodgers Trade Involving Joe Maddon Is So Crazy It Just Might Work.

* Sox Machine: The White Sox Are Still Weird About Their Managers.

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Thread.

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 11:22 AM | Permalink

The [Wednesday] Papers

Campaign notebook:

"But even if the House voted to impeach, Trump needs only 34 Senate Republicans to keep his office. (It takes 67 votes to remove a sitting president.) Trump's standing with Senate Rs is sky high, especially after last night," Axios notes.

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"It is true that the House is the more likely chamber to flip in the first midterm of a president. But, it is also the purest test of the president's popularity. Everyone is up for re-election. The entire country voted, and Democrats won. Easily," Politico Playbook says.

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"And [the election] revealed that many of the right-of-center voters who backed Mr. Trump in 2016, as a barely palatable alternative to Hillary Clinton, were unwilling to give him enduring political loyalty," the New York Times says.

Ya know, three million more Americans voted for Hillary Clinton in 2016 than Trump. That fact always seems to get lost in the reporting. Last night's results, then, reflect 2016 pretty neatly: Democrats won the popular vote, as represented by the House, and Republicans won the Electoral College, as represented by the Senate. People vs. land.

To wit, via the Washington Post:

Senate popular vote

Democrats: 40,558,262 (55.4%)

Republicans: 31,490,026 votes (43.0%)

Senate seats: Republicans +3

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Another case in point: The GOP retained governorships in Ohio and Florida.

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So there are state elections (and state polls) and national vote totals. National vote totals (and polls) essentially don't mean a thing.

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If only Illinois Democrats now proclaiming that checks and balances in the form of legislative oversight have been restored to the federal government felt that checks and balances in the form of legislative oversight should be stored to Chicago's government.

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In production: An Illinois campaign notebook.

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New on the Beachwood today . . .

The Political Odds
Updated with clever/dumb punny one-liners reflecting last night's results.

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Horn From The Heart: The Paul Butterfield Story
A South Side white guy's blues.

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Goodbye, Apu
'Hollywood doesn't know how to address criticism of its racism. Hollywood doesn't know how to recognize racism even when it consciously perpetuates it. And, as audiences, we sometimes perpetuate the cycle of racist portrayals because our options seem so limited.'

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An Illinois Governor's Crusade Against Slavery
"Edward Coles was a wealthy heir to a central Virginia plantation, an ardent emancipator, the second governor of Illinois, the loyal personal secretary to President James Madison, and a close antislavery associate of Thomas Jefferson. Yet never before has a full-length book detailed his remarkable life story and his role in the struggle to free all slaves."

Until now.

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Mmm, Chillicothe Bottoms
'One hundred and fifty two bird species have been identified at the site. These include American black duck, great egret, lesser scaup, canvasback, brown creeper, northern harrier, marsh wren, yellow-billed cuckoo, northern flicker, bald eagle, wood thrush, yellow-breasted chat, short-billed dowitcher, hooded merganser, Connecticut warbler, Kentucky warbler, osprey, pied-billed grebe, prothonotary warbler, brown thrasher, greater yellowlegs and blue-winged warbler. Two of these species - the northern harrier and osprey - are state-listed endangered species'.'

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Illinois Campaign Notebook
The aforementioned notebook is in production, as aforementioned!

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Blackhawks/Cubs Election Day Shockers
I might put together an aggregation of Joel Quenneville/Joe Maddon tweets regarding the former's firing and the latter's lameduckedness. Consider it "in production."

And here it is:

Bizarro Chicago Sports World | Quenneville Fired, Maddon Lameducked, Renteria Extended
What in the world of the College of Coaches is going on?

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ChicagoReddit

Gentle Reminder: 56,000 voted for a literal Neo Nazi from r/chicago

It's true.

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ChicagoGram

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ChicagoTube

Interview with McCool

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BeachBook

Inside An Underground Women's Mud Wrestling Ring In Chicago.

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In An Act Of Guerrilla Art, The Father Of A Parkland School Shooting Victim Put A Bulletproof Vest On Wall Street's 'Fearless Girl.'

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TweetWood
A sampling; the really good ones will appear in my upcoming campaign notebook!

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Beachwood Tip Line: Your move.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 7:22 AM | Permalink

Horn From The Heart: The Paul Butterfield Story

"Chicago filmmaker John Anderson's 2018 documentary Horn from the Heart: the Paul Butterfield Story is a detailed and passionate tribute to the life and career of Chicago vocalist and harmonica player Paul Butterfield," Daniel Patton writes for Reel Chicago.

"Known to most fans as an incomparable musician, Butterfield was also an influential bandleader, a charismatic performer, a fierce civil rights advocate and a cultural revolutionary.

"While documenting the life of the Hyde Park native, Anderson recounts a bluesy chapter of Chicago history, explains an evolution of American music, and describes Butterfield's commitment to desegregation.

"With an endless supply of first-hand accounts, vintage clips, historic photos, and old concert posters, he amplifies the harmonica player's influence on the nation's cultural transformation from acoustic folk to psychedelic improvisation during the 1960s."

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Trailer:

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From the website:

"A white, teen-age harmonica player from Chicago's South Side, Paul learned the blues from the original black masters performing nightly in his own backyard. Muddy Waters was Paul's mentor and lifelong friend, happy to share his wisdom and expertise with such a gifted young acolyte.

"The interracial Paul Butterfield Blues Band, featuring the twin guitar sound of Michael Bloomfield and Elvin Bishop, the rhythm section of Sam Lay and Jerome Arnold, and the keyboards of Mark Naftalin, added a rock edge to the Chicago blues, bringing an authenticity to its sound that struck a chord with the vast white rock audience, and rejuvenated worldwide interest in the blues. The band's first LP, The Paul Butterfield Blues Band, released on Elektra Records in 1965, was named "#11 Blues Album of All Time" by Downbeat.

"The only artist to perform at The Newport Folk Festival in 1965, The Monterey Pop Festival in 1967 and Woodstock in 1969, Paul would continue to break new ground in the blues and to stand up for racial equality until his death at age 44 in 1987 of a drug overdose."

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Previously in Paul Butterfield:

* The item "Born in Chicago" from Chicago in Song: Hater's Paradise.

* The item "Born in Chicago" from Local Music Notebook: Chicago's Door & Prince's Protege.

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 12:49 AM | Permalink

Ducks Unlimited Transfers Chillicothe Bottoms To Illinois Audobon Society

Ducks Unlimited has transferred ownership of a 225-acre parcel of land, known as Chillicothe Bottoms, from Wetlands America Trust to the Illinois Audubon Society.

The property is adjacent to the City of Chillicothe and contains high-quality examples of wetland, swamp and floodplain forest habitat.

chilibottoms.jpg

The original purchase was completed by Ducks Unlimited in 2012 with assistance from private donors and grants from the Grand Victoria Foundation and the Illinois Clean Energy Community Foundation. Illinois Audubon Society took possession of the parcel in August 2018.

"We are very pleased to have the opportunity to join with other partners in the protection and restoration of wetlands and bottomland forest habitats in the Illinois River floodplain," stated Illinois Audubon Society executive director Jim Herkert. "Chillicothe Bottoms will be held as a natural wildlife sanctuary in perpetuity."

This was the first of five parcels protected under a multi-year grant from Illinois Clean Energy Community Foundation to Ducks Unlimited. All five properties, including Chillicothe Bottoms, have been subsequently transferred to the Illinois Department of Natural Resources and to Illinois Audubon Society for long-term care and management.

"Chillicothe Bottoms is in good hands," said Dennis O'Brien, the Foundation's executive director. "The goal of the Middle Illinois River Project was to preserve wildlife habitat for the benefit of Illinois citizens and Illinois Audubon Society has a longstanding record of getting people out into nature."

The protection of Chillicothe Bottoms is part of a broader effort to protect and restore the Middle Illinois River and represents Grand Victoria Foundation's vision to create a connected system of protected lands and waterways in Illinois.

"The partnership between Ducks Unlimited and Illinois Audubon Society creates a wonderful opportunity to protect land at scale, ensure healthy habitat for a diversity of bird species, and engage more people in the work and beauty of conservation," said foundation executive director Sharon Bush.

The Illinois Audubon Society plans to enlist the Peoria Audubon Society as the lead in overseeing management, providing stewardship and expanding future public use of the property. The area has been identified as a Conservation Opportunity Area in the Illinois Wildlife Action Plan and is a conservation priority in the US Fish & Wildlife Service's North American Waterfowl Management Plan.

One hundred and fifty two bird species have been identified at the site, including many IWAP species' of conservation concern. These include American black duck, great egret, lesser scaup, canvasback, brown creeper, northern harrier, marsh wren, yellow-billed cuckoo, northern flicker, bald eagle, wood thrush, yellow-breasted chat, short-billed dowitcher, hooded merganser, Connecticut warbler, Kentucky warbler, osprey, pied-billed grebe, prothonotary warbler, brown thrasher, greater yellowlegs and blue-winged warbler. Two of these species - the northern harrier and osprey - are state-listed endangered species'.

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Chillicothe Bottoms.

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Previously:

* Illinois Audubon Society Acquires Unique Wetland In Southern Illinois.

* Pilcher Park Now A Dedicated Nature Preserve.

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 12:31 AM | Permalink

Crusade Against Slavery

Edward Coles was a wealthy heir to a central Virginia plantation, an ardent emancipator, the second governor of Illinois, the loyal personal secretary to President James Madison, and a close antislavery associate of Thomas Jefferson. Yet never before has a full-length book detailed his remarkable life story and his role in the struggle to free all slaves. In Crusade Against Slavery, Kurt E. Leichtle and Bruce G. Carveth correct this oversight with the first modern and complete biography of a unique but little-known and quietly influential figure in American history.

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Rejecting slavery from a young age, Coles' early wishes to free his family's slaves initially were stymied by legal, practical and family barriers. Instead he went to Washington, D.C., where his work in the White House was a life-changing blend of social glitter, secretarial drudge, and distasteful political patronage.

Returning home, he researched places where he could live out his ideals. After considerable planning and preparation, he left his family's Virginia tobacco plantation in 1819 and started the long trip west to Edwardsville, Illinois, pausing along the Ohio River on an emotional April morning to free his slaves and offer each family 160 acres of Illinois land of their own.

Some continued to work for Coles, while others were left to find work for themselves. This book revisits the lives of the slaves Coles freed, including a noted preacher and contributor to the founding of what is now the second-oldest black Baptist organization in America.

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From Bruce Carveth's YouTube channel: Crusade Against Slavery - Edward Coles, Pioneer of Freedom:

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 12:23 AM | Permalink

Goodbye, Apu

The Simpsons' Apu may be dead, but stereotyping of South Asians most certainly is not. In fact, from the debates that preceded the conflicting report of his demise, we can conclude a few things about Hollywood.

One, Hollywood doesn't know how to address criticism of its racism. Two, Hollywood doesn't know how to recognize racism even when it consciously perpetuates it. And three, as audiences, we sometimes perpetuate the cycle of racist portrayals because our options seem so limited.

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Even if Apu, the Indian-American convenience store owner who speaks with an exaggerated accent, is leaving, his exit would only signal the end of a character, not the end of what Apu and other South Asian characters on television have signified.

YouTube producer Adi Shankar first announced the end of Apu last week, as reported by IndieWire. Shankar was running a script contest to help pivot Apu's character for a YouTube parody. But as he was about to announce his winner, he said he found out The Simpsons is letting Apu slowly fade away. Simpsons executive producer Al Jean refuted the claim.

From the moment Hari Kondabolu released The Problem With Apu, a 2017 documentary on Apu, Simpsons creator Matt Groening and Apu's white portrayer, Hank Azaria, have found themselves under fire for what media scholar Shilpa S. Davé has called "the performance of brownface" and the stereotypical aspects of Apu's character.

Getting rid of Apu may well be the handiest way to end the criticism. After all, while Apu is a cartoon character, South Asian characters, like other minority characters, have frequently been disposed of on television. This is all the easier when they portray sidekicks, comic relief or criminals.

Nerd, Terrorist, Sidekick: As Good As The Roles Get?

The well-known actor Kal Penn admitted to some apprehension when he accepted a role on 24 as a member of a seemingly successful and integrated American family that was really a front for a terrorist sleeper cell. (Spoiler alert: most of the brown people died.)

KalPenn.jpg Actor Kal Penn addresses the Democratic National Convention in Charlotte in September 2012/J. Scott Applewhite, AP

Abhi Sinha briefly played app developer Ravi Shapur and soap star Eileen Davidson's love interest on The Young and the Restless, only to disappear from the screen without explanation, either for fans or for the actor himself.

At least Sinha's character had some depth and was allowed the possibility of romance. Actor Utkarsh Ambudkar notes that typical Indian male roles involve being both nerdy and emasculated, although he says that as South Asian artists gain prominence, they are lobbying for change.

Isn't Everyone In The Simpsons A Stereotype Anyway?

Apu, created by a white writer and voiced by a white actor, occupies a stereotypical role as a convenience store owner, with reference to his arranged marriage and eight kids. Kondabolu's documentary includes a clip where Azaria notes that he was asked to play up the Indian accent for laughs.

Despite the evocation of blackface and minstrel shows, Groening denies that the intention was racist. The overall defense from writers on the show, and from fans, has been consistent only in its weakness, with claims that everything on The Simpsons is a stereotype.

Most recently, that defense has edged towards the discourse of neoconservatives. In an episode earlier this year, The Simpsons responded to the controversy by having the character of Lisa - generally seen as the smartest, most liberal and most empathetic on the show - decry political correctness.

Many audience members, including those with South Asian heritage, decry political correctness as well. More than 10 years ago, I conducted a study of young Canadians of South Asian descent, curious to know what value they saw in Bollywood films, which circulated widely in the diaspora and contained many offensive tropes, including portrayals of Muslim terrorists, drunken Punjabis and promiscuous Christians.

Some of the interviewees recognized these issues but noted that they had grown up in a Canada, where the media mainly showed whiteness, affecting their identity, sense of self and belonging. Even if Bollywood was problematic, it was still a platform for characters who looked like them.

Media Teaches Us About The World

This is a familiar experience for television viewers, I would venture to guess, and now some Apu fans who are of South Asian descent are rolling their eyes, dismissing claims of racism. And yes, of course, there are more significant issues involving racism in North America than pondering whether Apu is a racist caricature. However, as so many have argued, representation does matter.

For many of us, mass media is the way in which we learn about the world around us. If you don't know many people of South Asian descent, or you don't know them very well, you may come to think that the Apus and the Rajesh Koothrappalis offer great insight into what it means to be South Asian.

priyanka.jpgPriyanka Chopra during an interview with the Associated Press in Johannesburg in 2017/Denis Farrell, AP

Luckily, with the success of actors like Priyanka Chopra, Mindy Kaling and Hasan Minhaj, the picture is becoming more diverse.

This push for change doesn't invalidate the criticism around Apu, nor does it erase the effect his existence has had on some members of the audience. It is wholly insufficient to say that The Simpsons offered up a brown stereotype because its stock in trade is stereotypes.

A stereotype built upon someone's ethnicity is racist, and therefore, when Azaria says, "They've done a really good job of being, shall we say, uniformly offensive without being outright hurtful," one might want to ask if a white actor performing brownface is in a position to determine who is being hurt by this not-so-uniform offensiveness.

Whether Apu lives or dies, stays or goes, I would suggest that his legacy has been exposing the extent to which racism lives in Hollywood, and that's no laughing matter.

Faiza Hirji is an associate professor in the Department of Communication Studies and Multimedia at McMaster University. This article is republished from The Conversation under a Creative Commons license.

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Previously: The Problem With Apu.

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Comments welcome.


Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 12:22 AM | Permalink

November 6, 2018

SportsMondayTuesday: Trubisky Is . . .

So, this Trubisky guy, is he a good quarterback or what? Well?

Dude, I'm thinking. I waited an extra day to write this column to have a little more time to ponder things. And my conclusion is . . .

Yes, yes he is. Halfway into his second season, Mitch Trubisky has done more than enough to qualify as a good NFL quarterback. But there is one initial drawback: He has a long way to go to achieve greatness. And nothing but sustained greatness will justify the ridiculous in a bad way price the Bears paid to get him.

I heard dimwits on the radio Monday talking about how the most important thing is that Trubisky has a chance to play meaningful games in the second half of the season this year in order to prepare him for 2019 and 2020.

What a bunch of malarkey. The NFL, more than all other sports, is a "right now" enterprise. Heading into last Sunday, the Washington Ethnic Slurs had a promising season going. Then they lost two offensive linemen and a wide receiver to season-ending injuries. The Slurs will have to wait 'til next year.

Trubisky has a chance to lead the Bears to the playoffs and then to have success in the playoffs. He has that chance right now. Next year and 2020 (are you kidding me?) don't matter at all.

The first thing Trubisky has to do is knock off the stone-cold stupid plays. He was very fortunate his potentially crushing fumble Sunday was recovered by a teammate when the game was still scoreless. And his interception was a pathetic throw.

That being said, he made some delightfully accurate passes downfield when it mattered most - when the game was still up for grabs especially in the second quarter. And in previous games, he has done his best work when it mattered. His offense did the job in losses to the Dolphins and Patriots. Those setbacks were on the defense and the special teams, respectively. And when the Bears needed him to step up after the Jets pulled within a score two games ago, he did just that.

Of course, all that stuff won't matter if the Bears don't get the job done and win at least two of their next three games (hosting Detroit and Minnesota the next two Sundays, traveling to Detroit on Thanksgiving). That's when Trubisky can start to take that next step.

But by any objective measure, the first half-season of the Nagy-Trubisky era has been a success. (We might have called that the Nagy-Trubisky-Mack era up until three weeks ago, when Khalil Mack suffered the high ankle sprain that has caused him to miss the last two games.)

Trubisky needs to improve his accuracy overall. Brad Biggs pointed out in the Tribune that he has completed only 54 of his last 99 passes during the past four games.

But, as my son Noah pointed out to me, that part of the reason for the disappointing completion rate (at minimum, a good NFL quarterback needs to complete more than 60 percent of his passes) is that the Bears take so many shots down the field. And those aren't necessarily bomb shots - they are shots on passes designed to gain between 15 and 30 yards.

I only kind of agree with that. But the bottom line is, Trubisky has completed enough passes for the Bears to win their last two games. They faced bad teams, but they needed to win both those contests to call the first half of the season a success.

The Bears have a ton of football to play during the next two weeks and two days. But then they will get a half-bye after the holiday and the final five games feature more delightful divisional action as well as lousy foes from San Francisco and New York (the Giants).

There is plenty of reason to be optimistic they will take advantage of their opportunities before and after Turkey Day, but they will need that young quarterback character to be better than he has been so far.

So far, he has been good.

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Jim "Coach" Coffman welcomes your comments.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 9:13 AM | Permalink

The [Tuesday] Papers

All the Election Day action will be on Twitter today; follow along!

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Current Democratic Mood.


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ChicagoReddit

Any bars doing anything special for election night? from r/chicago

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ChicagoGram

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ChicagoTube

Chicago Traxman - 96 U Got 2

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BeachBook

Utah Mayor Killed In Afghanistan Was On Fourth Deployment.

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Food Stamps At Farmers Markets Jeopardized.

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South Side Pie Challenge.

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TweetWood
A sampling.

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The Beachwood Tip Line: Endure.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 6:50 AM | Permalink

November 5, 2018

The [Monday] Papers

"Since tomorrow is political journalism's Game Day, we talked with three of the cable stars of election night about how they prep," Axios reports.

Game Day for political journalists? In a sense, because we get a "final score." But really? All journos really do on Election Day - at least television anchors - is sit around and try desperately to fill time until results roll in. It's not exactly heavy lifting. For journalists doing their job right, the tougher part is the reporting that precedes Election Day.

But yeah, I guess in a narrow sense it's Game Day. For everyone.

Except, also, it's not a game.

America's Fifth Column
"Last Wednesday afternoon was typical for Donald Trump over these past weeks: The president was en route to a rally where he would let loose a torrent of falsehoods and outright lies about everything from trade to immigration to even the name of the opposing party," HuffPost reports.

Just don't bother telling that to the lady who wore the New England Patriots socks at the very front of the line to get into Hertz Arena on the outskirts of Fort Myers. Presented with a short list of Trump's most frequent falsehoods, she countered with a homemade placard with a photo showing Louis Farrakhan with former Democratic President Barack Obama and demanded to know why the media wasn't covering that.

She added that she was not interested in whether or how many times Trump might lie that evening. "I don't care if he sprouts a third dick up there," she said.

(She declined to give her name or to elaborate on her views of the president's anatomy.)

Her response, though, was typical of fans so committed to Trump that they take time off from work and spend hours in the rain or under a blazing sun to listen to his speeches. And it highlights the other half of the president's destruction of the truth: As Trump has passed through the looking glass into a make-pretend world of invented facts, legions of his fans have happily followed him.

The bigger problem than Trump's lying is that tens of millions of people believe him - or don't care. How do we, as a nation, recover from that? It's hard to see a way out. Democratic victories won't change their mind. Trump's 2020 re-election campaign - presuming he isn't in prison by then - will only intensify the phenomenon. These people are unreachable. I don't know the answer, but reasoning with them won't work.

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"Jennifer Petito, who drove across the state from Melbourne to see Trump, was similarly dismissive of proof that Trump's claims are false.

"I don't believe that," she said, joining in with the verbal assault on HuffPost for daring to challenge Trump's version of reality. "I don't believe he would lie like that."

My god.

"He doesn't like fake news. Why would he say things that are not true?" asked Barbara Guzman, who owns a label-making business in nearby Cape Coral. "Most of the things he says I agree with, and I believe."

And so on. Go read the rest.

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To be sure, there are supporters of every candidate and president who are clueless. But Trump has built a movement out of such people. And the intermediaries who could've prevented this from happening - conservative media and conservative pols - failed miserably in the 2016 primaries to stop him. Worse, they've now joined the movement themselves.

Again, I don't see a way back home. Open to suggestions.

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To wit, here's how Chicago's House Trumpster John Kass sidestepped Trump's rank dishonesty in June:

"Trump is no angel. He's famous for lies. Mueller may indeed be closing in with the Friday jailing of former Trump campaign manager Paul Manafort, who's accused of witness tampering. But Trump's lies are obvious and blustery, like those told by a bad carny hustler."

Trump's lies, Kass asserts, are obvious - and therefore harmless. Everyone knows he's lying. Which is just about as an anti-journalistic, anti-democratic, relativistic piece of tribalism as I can imagine. World events move on the president's words - and tens of millions of Americans happen to believe those lies. They are, to use a Kass term, chumbolones. Even Kass has fallen for Trump's lies when it suits him, like propagating falsehoods Hillary Clinton's health or conspiratorial memes about Robert Mueller's FBI agents or the Honduran caravan that will "invade" the United States in about a month if any of its raggedy members successfully complete their walk through the entirety of Mexico.

We need to find a way out of this place.

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By the way, Trump knows exactly what he's doing. He has said repeatedly that he inflames and lies because it works - he won and he's the president. Why should he stop now? If being honest worked, he'd do that. But lying has worked for him his whole life. Maybe that says more about us than him.

Speaking Of Lying Chief Executives
"Republican Gov. Bruce Rauner appeared on WGN-AM 720 [last] Wednesday, where host Steve Cochran asked him about the controversial TV ad that shows a character saying a bleeped F-word to describe Illinois' future if Democratic challenger J.B. Pritzker is elected governor," the Tribune reports.

In the interview, Cochran specifically asked Rauner: "Did that ad come from you or from somebody else?

Rauner replied: "Well, it didn't come from me, but it's an effort to break through the clutter and get a message out about how devastating it will be to have Pritzker and Madigan in power together."

The ad displays the required disclaimer that it was paid for by Rauner's campaign.

Now roll the tape from last Thursday in a different radio interview in a Downstate location.

Rauner appeared on WFMB-AM 1450 in Springfield, and host Sam Madonia asked the governor about the controversial ad, including: "Do you have to OK all the ads before they run?"

Rauner replied: "I see most of the ads. I don't see them all. I signed off on that ad because the truth has to get out. We've got to break through the clutter."

This is the problem, in my view, not the fact that Rauner implied a (gasp!) swear word. If Rauner spent four years truly leading a reform effort, in which reform is described as not doing business as usual but doing business honestly and fairly, he might have actually gotten enough bipartisan support to topple Michael Madigan - or at least gotten enough leverage to turn Madigan into a dealmaker. Instead, Rauner's version of reform turned out to be a single-minded focus against unions. And here we are.

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Rauner ran in 2014 in large part on a theme of not being a politician, but I'm not sure I've ever seen a more political pol than him, between his serial disingenuousness and his constant efforts at threading the needle to maximize political gain and minimize political hurt. And that includes Rod Blagojevich, who was too irrational to match Rauner's cold calculatedness.

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To wit:

Rauner Praises Trump Admin On Friday, Pretends It Did Not Happen By Monday.

Yes, the source of that link is the Democratic Governors Association, but it happens to be true - and sourced to news reports.

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And I haven't even gotten to the Quincy veterans' home or Sterigenics yet.

The truth is, Rauner's governorship has been among the worst in Illinois history. I don't have enough knowledge to place it in overall context, but the reigns of recent governors who have gone to prison were better than this. George Ryan wasn't a totally terrible governor, even if he was a totally terrible person who did some terrible things. He got some good things done. Same with Blagojevich, even if the good things probably got done as much in spite of him as because of him. Seriously, has Bruce Rauner been the worst Illinois governor in modern history - or ever? Assignment Desk, activate!

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So there we have it, the state of today's Republican Party, from Donald Trump to Bruce Rauner. God knows I hate Democrats, but right now it's up to them to save the country, because the GOP has abdicated.

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Not that the GOP as a racist, neo-Nazi party is new. But now it's abundantly clear - there is no longer any code to hide behind.

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New on the Beachwood today . . .

The Political Odds
Updated to reflect recent developments.

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ChicagoReddit

Making the night-time messages on the BCBS Tower with paper, markers, and a lot of legwork. from r/chicago

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ChicagoGram

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ChicagoTube

Plus de 44 000 œuvres digitalisées par l'Institut d'Art de Chicago

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BeachBook

The Caravan.

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TweetWood
A sampling.

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The Beachwood Tip Line: Blood lust.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 8:23 AM | Permalink

November 3, 2018

The Weekend Desk Report

For completists, there was no column on Friday.

"The Field Museum is a place of learning, but [Thursday], the museum learned a lesson of its own about offering deals to election voters," RedEye reports.

"Deals and discounts for people who can flash 'I voted' stickers or wristbands are common, but they're technically not legal. So while you might see smaller, scattered deals on food or drink throughout Chicago, the Field Museum's offer for free admission to anyone who votes caught some unwanted attention from a local official. The museum had to revoke the offer.

"The intention is golden. But under the law, you can't offer anything of value in connection with registering to vote or voting," Jim Allen, spokesman for the Chicago Board of Election Commissioners, told the Chicago Sun-Times.

"Later Thursday afternoon, the Field Museum decided to go gratis for Tuesday, Nov. 6, anyway, offering free admission for all Illinois residents, regardless of whether or not they vote."

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Beachwood Field Trip?

Hood Winked
"In a newly published interview, Donald Trump's former personal lawyer says Trump once remarked 'only the blacks could live like this' while driving through a 'rougher' neighborhood in Chicago," the Sun-Times reports.

I read this interview, in which Michael Cohen alleges Trump used racist language four times in his presence, and I was going to tweet out the part about Chicago but I couldn't get past the unlikelihood that it's true - the part about Chicago, not that Trump has said racist shit out loud. Why? Well, the allegation is that Trump made those remarks going from the airport to his hotel. So what "rough" neighborhood - or any neighborhood - would he have been going through? He would've taken the Kennedy to downtown, right? There's no rough neighborhood to see along that route. It just doesn't make sense.

32 Trillion Pinocchios
U.S. Rep. Rodney Davis, R-Taylorville, wants re-election to a federal office, but has taken a campaign cue from Republicans at the state level like Gov. Bruce Rauner by pairing Illinois House Speaker Michael Madigan, D-Chicago, with his adversary," Bernie Schoenburg reports for the Springfield State Journal-Register.

"An ad approved by Davis and being run by his campaign uses a 10-year-old proposal in the Illinois House that never became law to claim that Madigan and 2018 Democratic Davis challenger Betsy Dirksen Londrigan of Springfield have a joint health care plan.

"Oh, and it's said to cost $32 trillion - the same amount that Republicans, including Davis, say a nationwide universal health plan would cost over 10 years. The ad doesn't say the expense is over 10 years, the state proposal was for Illinois only, and that Londrigan says she does not support such a plan."

Also, Londrigan was never in the General Assembly.

I fucking hate politics.

Punditocracy
Atrios, via Tim Willette:

"If you spent your entire adult life supporting the Republican party and then wake up under Trump and decide that maybe you made a few mistakes along the way, your book and book tour should not be navel gazing. It should be 'here are people you should have listened to instead of me, a really stupid guy who caused a lot of problems.' That would be valuable!"

Me: "I can't read this right now, I'm watching Bill Kristol on TV."

Ass Action
"In a lively and freewheeling argument on Wednesday, the Supreme Court considered whether it should place limits on class-action settlements in which the plaintiffs' lawyers receive millions and their clients get nothing. In the process, several justices mused about the nature of privacy in the digital age," the New York Times reports.

"The case arose from an $8.5 million settlement between Google and class-action lawyers who said the company had violated its users' privacy rights. Under the settlement, the lawyers were paid more than $2 million, but members of the class received no money.

"Instead, the company agreed to make contributions to institutions concerned with privacy on the Internet, including centers at Harvard, Stanford and Chicago-Kent College of Law, and AARP, the group once known as the American Association of Retired Persons."

Maybe the Chicago-Kent College of Law center is this one?

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New on the Beachwood . . .

TrackNotes: Oprah, Olczyk & The Soul Of Racing
A lot at stake this weekend.

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The Beachwood Radio Sports Hour #224: Bears Turner Overdrive
Is merely taking care of business enough? Plus: Taking Care Of Bulls Shit; Blackhawks Turner Underdrive; Boston Turner Overserved; Cubs Bringing Back Camels; NIU vs. NU; and Crushing Oprah, Eddie Olczyk, The Breeders' Cup & The Soul Of Racing.

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Brush With Nature
The artworks that are displayed in this exhibition were created by local plein air artists who while outdoors at the Emily Oaks Nature Center in Skokie.

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Weekend ChicagoReddit

Phreaking (phone hacking) Scene Members from r/chicago

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Weekend ChicagoGram

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Weekend ChicagoTube

Chicago Public Art Installation Basics #30 at Calumet Park

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Weekend TweetWood
A sampling.

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The Weekend Desk Tip Line: Just deja do it.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 1:11 PM | Permalink

November 2, 2018

The Beachwood Radio Sports Hour #224: Bears Turner Overdrive

Is merely taking care of business enough? Plus: Taking Care Of Bulls Shit; Blackhawks Turner Underdrive; Boston Turner Overserved; Cubs Bringing Back Camels; NIU vs. NU; and Crushing Oprah, Eddie Olczyk, The Breeders' Cup & The Soul Of Racing.


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SHOW NOTES

* 224.

:50: Bears Turner Overdrive.

* Coffman: TCB.

* Matt Nagy Mic'd Up:

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* The Eddie Jackson play:

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* Rosenbloom: Don't Let Khalil Mack Get On The Plane To Buffalo, Bears.

35:40: Taking Care Of Bulls Shit.

* Better Defense, But More Heartbreak For The Bulls In A Loss To The Nuggets.

* No, Derrick Rose Didn't 'Overcome' His Gang Rape Allegation.

47:31: Blackhawks Turner Underdrive.

* Greenfield: 3 Takeaways From Blackhawks' Loss To The Oilers, Including Nick Schmaltz's Healthy Scratch.

50:50: Boston Turner Overserved.

* World Series Trophy Repaired From Damage Suffered At Red Sox Parade

52:53: Cubs Bringing Back Camels.

* The Rangers And Cubs Agreed To A Trade On Friday. But Why Was Cole Hamels' Name Involved?

55:48: NIU vs. NU.

* vs. Notre Dame.

* Noahbattacola.

1:02:22: Oprah, Olczyk & The Soul Of Racing.

* Indeed, he filed while we were recording.

* Previously: Crushing The Breeders' Cup:

"As the Breeders' Cup World Championships fission towards the Nov. 2-3 big blast at Louisville's Churchill Downs, there's not a helluva lot an experienced horseplayer can do except calmly keep an eye on things. Mine the increasingly banal conversations for truly unique tidbits that might be said only once. Like, Flicka was sneezing all day Wednesday. Fury had his head down all the way out to the morning jog. Or, Trigger looks like he's lost weight. Buttermilk looks feisty and on the muscle.

"It's just like a meal at Tommy's Ma's house. 'Henry, you don't talk much.' Just listenin'. That's what you do, eat your rigatoni and listen. It's delicious."

* The reference is from Goodfellas, as you can see at the link.

* Chambers: Three Stooges Slay St. Charles.

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STOPPAGE: 5:30

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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 3:34 PM | Permalink

TrackNotes: Oprah, Olczyk & The Soul Of Racing

Whoa, Nellie! It's here!

The 34th Breeders' Cup World Championships, America's bacchanalian promenade of 14 brain-busting races over two days, kicks off Friday from, appropriately in this modern age, the thoroughly social strata'd steroidal Churchill Downs, Louisville, Kentucky.

2018's gimmick is that all the juvenile races will be run Friday, with the thicker resume'd runners going on Saturday. The playing field? Heavy rains came and went Wednesday and Thursday, so the turf course figures to matriculate from soft to maybe firm as the weekend progresses. The main track will be fast.

With some quirks, the Breeders' Cup has evolved into the season's final blast, where trainers like Mike Corleone and the soldiers settle all scores and horsey business and dry clean the tuxedos in anticipation of the all-important Eclipse Awards.

Meanwhile, the weekend itself usually provides plenty of features and sidebars of proven heroes, horses and wiseguys on the make, foreign guests (I will never call them invaders again), and knuckle-biting anticipation of whether Superhorse can make (even more) history.

This year? I got nuthin'.

With one potential foreign exception, the BC 2018 profile is little or no star power or dominance. There's no Zenyatta and certainly no American Pharoah. In an unfortunate bizarro world, 2018's TRIPLE CROWN WINNER isn't even here! More on that later.

Of course, people like me approach this much more as a gambling opportunity than as simple sports entertainment. But for pure showbiz shock and drama, like one of those soap Oprahs on the Winfrey channel, this Breeders' Cup is going to have to create its own sizzle as it goes along. We hope for blanket photo finishes, dead heats and big payouts. You know, somethin' to talk about Sunday. We'll see.

The paparazzo's only target might be the four-year-old British beauty Enable, coming in off her second straight win in Europe's biggest race, the Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe and eight straight graded stakes wins overall. The daughter of Irish sire Nathaniel will go in the Breeders' Cup Turf, Saturday's race 10 (Grade I turf, 12 furlongs [1.5 miles], $4,000,000). After winning the Oct. 2017 Arc, Enable suffered knee problems this spring and didn't run again until the Group III September Stakes at Kempton. There were reports she even felt a little poorly right before last month's Arc. While this portends a dominant victory in the Turf, if she's feeling well, keep in mind, drat, that no Arc champion has ever won a Breeders' Cup race. Whatever, watch, cuz she's got heart!

Every year at this time I ask "Gee, Mr. Whoopee, what does it all mean?" Horseplayers naturally look for the next betting opportunity, but since connections all point to the Breeders' Cup, this weekend turns existential.

My 2018 mind was made up early summer when, after the humans cruelly dangled a rotten turnip, Justify, the bloody TRIPLE CROWN winner was retired. His soundness? Show me proof. Justify did not run as a two-year-old, the first such Crown winner. I've said all this crap before.

But Mike Watchmaker, national handicapper and columnist for The Daily Racing Form, discussed his personal moral dilemma.

Watchmaker's fear is that if Justify is penalized for his firecracker short career and not named 2018 Horse of the Year, it will diminish the importance of the Triple Crown, and that people will take the Crown for granted, especially because American Pharoah won it just three years earlier, after a 37-year gap back to Affirmed.

The complication is Accelerate, the 5-2 favorite in Saturday's Classic. The son of Lookin At Lucky has won five Grade I's this year, all in California and has a second in, interestingly, the Grade II Oaklawn Handicap. Watchmaker fears that's the kind of roll that with, be careful, a Classic win, would put him over as Horse of the Year.

Watchmaker is very serious about this. Perhaps hoping for an Accelerate loss to end the foolishness, Watchmaker says, "Oh yes, the fight for the soul of the history of Thoroughbred racing in the United States is also at stake."

His argument: "My belief goes straight to the fact that, as impactful as the Breeders' Cup is, the Triple Crown remains the Holy Grail of American racing. The Triple Crown - winning three races in three different states on three different tracks at three different distances in a narrow five-week span - is quite possibly the most difficult task to complete in all of sport, not just ours. Moreover, the same horse can run in the Breeders' Cup Classic several times, but a horse has only one chance at the Triple Crown. It is what everyone in the game wants most to win. That's why two to three times as many people attend the Kentucky Derby than will show up at Churchill Downs on Saturday."

I basically agree with Watchmaker's assessment, because there are plenty of young punks out there eager to forget, if they ever knew, racing's history for their own "modern" agendas. To them, Man o' War is a video game.

But there is, as always, one thing missing from Watchmaker's point: The Fans.

Being one, here's my $2 worth. The Eclipse Awards are nothing more than braggin' rights turned into big money in the breeding shed. Most years, the horses determine their own plated trophy placings. Track success means a lot, but pedigree and lineage is just as important.

As a fan, Justify's Triple Crown was very nice, but there's the big chance he precociously burned it up in a specific window of time. He'll never be at the top of my list of great horses. One reason, he's not even in Louisville this weekend. Outta sight, outta mind.

Betting Window
The Breeders' Cup Classic. This looks to be a potentially great betting race, even if it isn't a parade of champions.

With the perceived given that Churchill's dirt surface is kind to turf horses, the Kitten's Joy product Roaring Lion (20-1 morning line) is a pick of many wiseguys. Helps a lot that the Kentucky-bred sheaths the Queen Elizabeth II Stakes at Royal Ascot last out in his quiver.

Catholic Boy seems to be overpriced at 8-1, coming off an upward trend and moving off the grass for a big Travers Stakes win in August. I like him, and his price.

McKinzie (6-1), once the top Kentucky Derby hopeful with a fan in me, seems set up. He comes in with Mike Smith, who jumped off West Coast for this race, and a Pennsylvania Derby tuneup. In that same race, Axelrod (30-1) improved by 12 Beyer Speed Figure points to show the big paper giraffe. Do you see 104 Saturday or 92? At those odds, let's find out.

Overrated, in my opinion, Mind Your Biscuits (6-1) has been getting a lot of attention. That's because of his three triple-digit Beyers including a win in the Lukas Stakes at Churchill last out. I'm not a big fan of that race, I don't think he beat much, including Toast of New York, an also eligible in this race. And, I have big distance questions.

Accelerate is way out in the 14 and last post, although it won't make a ton of difference. I'm just not a big fan, especially because he's not surfing his usual California waves.

Mendelssohn (12-1) participates in my wagers, but can he settle down? He got caught in a stupidly insane red-hot pace duel in the Jockey Club Gold Cup but still did quite nicely to finish third. Pray for his odds to maintain.

Yoshida (10-1) helped me score in the Grade I Woodward on September 1. Never get romantic, but I liked the field he beat, including Saturday's runner Gunnevera and he's another looking to thrive again since switching from turf to dirt. Gunnevera? A name, but please don't fall for it. His only win in 15 months was a $62K optional claimer at, ugh, Gulfstream.

These are my players. I'll take more flyers based on the tote board, no doubt.

Last but not least, if it's turf, look to the Europeans. It's a legit angle.

Breeders' Broadcast
* Consistently, television is NBC. NBCSportsChannel 2 p.m. - 6 p.m. Friday and noon - 2:30 p.m. for the early races Saturday. The main events are 2:30 p.m. - 5 p.m. on the big peacock, NBC.

* We want Mike Tirico in Lubbock, and we'll pray on that.

* Eddie Olczyk is in the Breeders' Cup Betting Challenge. Million bucks to the winner; he's earmarked it for cancer research.

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Tom Chambers is our man on the rail. He welcomes your comments.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 2:47 PM | Permalink

Brush With Nature

The artworks that are displayed in this exhibition were created by local plein air artists who while outdoors at the Emily Oaks Nature Center in Skokie.

Dreamy Pond - Zhanna Biletska.jpgDreamy Pond/Zhanna Biletska

Exhibiting artists include: Zhanna Biletska (Chicago), Laura Frisch, (Morton Grove), Steve Johnson (Chicago), Debra Nichols (Skokie), Naomi Pollack (Skokie), Talia and Clare Prilutsky (Wheeling), Amanda Roman (Evanston) and Aruna Sarode (Round Lake).

The juried exhibition will be on display in the Emily Oaks Nature Center Gallery at 4650 Brummel Avenue in Skokie from November 16 through February 24.

A free public reception will be held on Friday, November 16, from 7p.m. - 9 p.m.

Regular viewing hours are Monday - Friday 8 a.m - 5 p.m; Saturday 8 a.m. - 4 p.m.; and Sunday 10 a.m. - 4 p.m. Phone (847) 674-1500, ext. 2500 for more information.

Brush with Nature is sponsored in part by the Village of Skokie Fine Arts Commission and the Illinois Arts Council, a state agency.

Founded in 1991, Anatomically Correct is a 501(c)(3) not-for-profit organization dedicated to showcasing works by artists in alternative spaces in a combined effort to educate, diversify, and promote community awareness of the visual and performing arts.

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 12:38 AM | Permalink

November 1, 2018

View From True North

In these edgy poems of witness, Sara Henning's speaker serves as both conduit and curator of the destructive legacies of alcoholism and multigenerational closeting. Considering the impact of addiction and sexual repression in the family and on its individual members, Henning explores with deft compassion the psychological ramifications of traumas across multiple generations.

henningpoetry.jpg

With the starling as an unspoken trope for victims who later perpetuate the cycle of abuse, suffering and shame became forces dangerous enough to down airliners. The strands Henning weaves - violent relationships, the destructive effects of long-term closeting, and the pall that shame casts over entire lives - are hauntingly epiphanic.

And yet these feverish lyric poems find a sharp beauty in their grieving, where Rolling Stone covers and hidden erotic photographs turn into talismans of regret and empathy. After the revelation that her deceased grandfather was a closeted homosexual "who lived two lives," Henning considers the lasting effects of shame in regard to the silence, oppression, and erasure of sexual identity, issues that are of contemporary concern to the LGBTQIA community.

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At the Plains Writers Series in 2015:

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 9:13 AM | Permalink

The [Thursday] Papers

Ugh, sometimes I feel like this site and this column have become so lame, I mean, I know we're far from the glory days, but I try to maintain some level of respectability. And the truth is, I still think a lot of what I do in this column is underappreciated - though shoutout to the fine folks who recently contributed donations to help keep me going. I can't thank y'all enough.

All of which is to say that I had a doctor's appointment today and I just got back - it's about 3 p.m. - so I'm just going to post the bottom half of stuff and start working on tomorrow's column, when I can hopefully deliver some meat.

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Why did my doctor's visit take so long? Well, they had to draw blood, and the (awesome) nurse couldn't find a vein, which got me talking about my fascination with Intervention and the veins of junkies (which is not me, by the way), and then they didn't want to poke the fuck out of me so they sent me to the hospital to have their lab take the blood instead. And boy did they take it. Filled up a half dozen vials, I bet. "Is this thing still going?" I said when I realized there was still something stuck in my arm. "Yeah, they ordered a lot of tests." (Don't tell mom.)

I was on foot, too, so the whole adventure took about 4 1/2 hours when all was said and done.

By the way, I was a delight. I kept the staff in stitches, ha ha. They were about to send me to the children's ward to buck up spirits there. "I'm the funniest depressed person you will ever meet," I told them. They believed me.

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Also, several years ago I told myself to quit apologizing for the days when I don't have an all-out, full-metal, four-to-the-floor column. But I feel an obligation, even if this site is free. I feel like I have to meet expectations, however lowered they may have become the last few years. It's ridiculous.

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Does that sound, like, self-important or something? I don't mean it to. I think I need a job. Or a windfall. I still care about what I do!

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I have less blood in me right now than when I woke up.

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When the first nurse was trying to take blood, she asked if I wore a costume for Halloween. I said, "Every year I think about going as a happy person, but I don't think I could pull it off."

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Then she asked that I make a fist to assist her in finding a vein. So I made a fist and grimaced and said, "I hate my boss - and I work for myself!"

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At the hospital lab, we talked about the difference between that place (Norwegian) and Northwestern. Our health-care system is fucked up. We ration away poor people. We literally do not provide proper care, if care at all, to those who need it most. We are a sick, sick society.

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By the way, I can't find a therapist who takes Medicaid. How fucked up is that.

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In my world, the doctor will call and say, "We have your test results and there's only one cure for what you've got: More rock."

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New on the Beachwood . . .

Judge: "Deliberate Indifference" Of IDOC Mental Health Care Requires Federal Oversight
"A federal court has found that the State of Illinois continues to violate the constitutional rights of more than 12,000 prisoners with mental illness."

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View From True North
"These feverish lyric poems find a sharp beauty in their grieving, where Rolling Stone covers and hidden erotic photographs turn into talismans of regret and empathy."

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RECALL! O Sole Mio Chicken Tortellini
The heat-treated, not fully cooked, not shelf-stable chicken tortellini item was shipped to Illinois.

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ChicagoReddit

Michigan Deposit Bottle Scam from r/chicago

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ChicagoGram

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ChicagoTube

Chicago Dancesport Challenge - Novice Latin Cha Cha Final

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BeachBook

Trump FCC Official Publicly Lying About Censorship On Municipal Broadband.

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TweetWood
A sampling.

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The Beachwood Tip Line: Post up.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 12:05 AM | Permalink

MUSIC - Blues Fest Highlights.
TV - The True Dangers Of Reality TV.
POLITICS - Rahm's Mental Health.
SPORTS - Afghans Play Cricket.

BOOKS - Printers Row Lit Fest Highlights.

PEOPLE PLACES & THINGS - Chicagoan Is Bartender Of The Year.


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