Chicago - Oct. 15, 2018
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« September 2018 | Main

October 15, 2018

The [Monday] Papers

"Chicago's Affordable Requirement Ordinance has fallen short of creating the affordable housing needed in communities most at-risk of displacement," James Rudyk, the executive director of the Northwest Side Housing Center, writes in a letter to the Sun-Times.

"According to the City of Chicago data portal, as of July 2018, the ARO has only generated 334 affordable units, under both the original 2007 ordinance and the 2015 revision that set a five-year goal of 1,200 units by 2020."

That's pathetic. What does Bill Daley propose?

Sears Jeers
"In more bad news for Sears, a suburban school district is suing the once-mighty retail giant, saying the schools should get back some of the millions of dollars in diverted tax money because Sears has violated the agreement that brought its headquarters to Hoffman Estates," the Tribune reports.

Nearly 30 years ago, to lure Sears' home base from Sears Tower in Chicago and keep it in Illinois, the retailer received nearly $250 million in tax breaks and incentives to move to its sprawling Hoffman Estates headquarters.

With that deal, much of the property tax revenue generated by Sears' head offices in Hoffman Estates went back into the development of the surrounding Prairie Stone Business Park, near the Jane Addams Tollway at Illinois Route 59.

When the deal was to expire in 2012, local taxing districts like Community Unit School District 300 were supposed to see the full benefit of the increased tax base, but instead Sears landed an extended deal with the renewed threat of leaving the state.

Sears, you are Today's Worst Business In Illinois.

*

This story reminds me of one that I did for the Tribune in 1994:

When Sears threatened to pull out of The Centre at Park Forest in 1987, the village worked with the shopping center to put together an attractive incentive package, including $1.5 million to renovate the store.

Sears decided to stay and signed a 10-year contract.

But when Sears announced earlier this month that it was leaving three years early because it had been lured to Lincoln Mall in nearby Matteson, Park Forest officials decided not to yield to the rules of the economic development game.

Instead, they are demanding that the retail giant give the village its money back. Not just the $1.5 million in renovation money, but the $2.5 million it projects it would have received in property and sales taxes over the next three years. And when it goes, the officials want Sears to take its building with it.

This was the money quote:

"It's unfortunate that Sears has a reputation of being where America shops and of having dependable products, and they come to the All-American city, the All-American suburb, and they're breaking their word," said Village Manager Jack Manahan. "I wish they were as dependable as their products."

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New on the Beachwood . . .

SportsMonday: Come On, Vic!
This one is on the defense.

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Chicago Book Haul: The Dial
From transcendalist journal to modern literary magazine to bookstore.

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Chicagoetry: West Side Blues
Even Joey the Clown had to move.

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ChicagoReddit

Sears files for bankruptcy. from r/chicago

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ChicagoGram

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ChicagoTube

2015 Chicago Halloween Parade Thriller Finale

"For the first time, Columbus Drive hosted a Halloween Parade in Chicago. A Michael Jackson impersonator led an impressive Thriller dance to top of the festivities. Earlier, Lupe Fiasco served as Grand Marshal."

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TweetWood
A sampling.

The media honoring bloodlines continues to amaze me.

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The Beachwood Tip Line: Fish, chips.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 1:01 PM | Permalink

Chicago Book Haul: The Dial

"A new and used bookshop located on the second floor of the historic Fine Arts Building in downtown Chicago. Open every day!"


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"The Dial was a literary magazine founded in 1840. From 1840 to 1844 it was a transcendentalist journal. Margaret Fuller served as its editor and its most notable contributor was Ralph Waldo Emerson. In 1880 Francis Fisher Brown revived the magazine in The Fine Arts Building, with a focus on politics and literary criticism. The Dial's final and best known incarnation (1920-1929) was as a modernist literary magazine which published many influential writers, including T.S. Eliot, William Butler Yeats, William Carlos Williams and E.E. Cummings."

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 9:32 AM | Permalink

SportsMonday: Come On, Vic!

This one is on the defense. It isn't even close.

Yes, the offense had two brutal red-zone turnovers and another killer fumble late in regulation of the Bears' 31-28 loss to the Dolphins. And yes, Matt Nagy did some strange things at the end of the Bears' final possession.

Oh, and the refs sucked, what with the "Brushing the Passer" (thank you, Steve) call on Leonard Floyd and the infuriatingly ridiculous offensive pass interference on Trey Burton in the end zone. The zebras capped it all off with a crushing unwillingness to flag obvious holding down the stretch as Dolphins obviously grabbed Bear pass-rushers Khalil Mack continuously and Aaron Lynch on one huge play in particular.

But this was a supposed better-than-average defense against a back-up quarterback with limited arm strength. And that unit stunk it up all day long. Just like the Packers game when the Bears completely failed to take advantage of a hobbled Aaron Rodgers, Vic Fangio's unit failed to take advantage of an obvious, extended mismatch.

Come on, Vic! When the quarterback can't throw a pass of more than 25 yards with any accuracy you have your defensive backs move up and attack. Why is that so difficult for you? It is as though the man is so in love with his game plan (which this week was designed to counter strong-armed starter Ryan Tannehill rather than Brock Osweiler) that he will not change it no matter what.

Also, the tackling. I mean, are you kidding me? That was the most miserable display of tackling from the Bears since the atrocious one-two punch of huge losses to the Patriots and Packers in 2014 that sealed Marc Trestman's doom.

Albert Wilson, superstar! Except the Dolphins' until-now fringe receiver isn't that guy. Not even close. And yet the Bears defense treated him like he was freaking Barry Sanders at his absolute best.

One guy who does not wear goat horns in any way, shape or form? Mitch Trubisky. Yes the end zone interception was brutal, and if the second-year quarterback heaves up another wounded duck way back to the left after he rolls right (like he did twice on Sunday), we will have to stage an intervention.

But Trubisky did way more than enough to win. And when he had a chance to drive the Bears to decisive scores late, he was thwarted by Tarik Cohen's brutal fumble near midfield at the end of regulation and by Nagy's weird play-calling in OT.

After Akiem Hicks' miraculous forced fumble at the one and Eddie Goldman's fortuitous recovery on the goal line rather than even a couple inches further forward, the Bears took over on the 20 and Jordan Howard went to work.

Howard blasted forward for gains of 19 and 15 yards to take the Bears to the verge of field goal range (the Miami 41). Unfortunately, that apparently was all Howard could muster because coach "Ultimate Whiteboard" Nagy first brought in Tarik Cohen for a run up the middle (two yards) and then Bennie Cunningham (three) before finally going back to Howard, who was stuffed for no gain on third down.

It was as though Nagy thought the Bears were on the 31 rather than the 41 when they started that series of downs. Hopefully going forward, the coach will know that you don't go completely conservative when you are still looking at an eventual field goal attempt of more than 50 yards.

You also don't go completely conservative with Cohen and Cunningham! If you have those guys in the game you don't call plays that are obviously made for a bruiser like Howard. I'm guessing Howard was in good enough shape to do something that shouldn't have been that hard - run the ball for a third consecutive time. But the Bears rotated in other backs without calling plays for them - or for their quarterback who has shown he can run the football - or for anyone else doing anything else.

Cody Parkey came in for a much longer than necessary 53-yard field goal attempt, tried to give it a little extra oomph and lost it out to the right. Then the Bears defense failed one final time.

All of that being said, a loss on the road against a non-conference foe is not going to make or break this season. The Bears still have five games left against division opponents. Three of those will be at home. The contests against the Vikings, Packers and Lions are going to be what matters.

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Jim "Coach" Coffman welcomes your comments.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 9:05 AM | Permalink

Chicagoetry: West Town Blues

West Town Blues

Rose of Sharon thrived in the odd patch of hard dirt
Amid the asphalt, concrete and steel when I lived in West Town.

Defiant rose, city rose, hard rose. "Jaybird, when Joey the Clown
Ran the neighborhood, women could walk home from work

At 2:30 in the morning and feel safe," declared my landlord, Dominic.
I would watch my neighbors celebrate their daughter's Quinceanera

Across the back alley, uncertain what it was at first but
Guessing it was a coming of age ceremony in the Hispanic community

Like Confirmation or Bar Mitzvah. Right:
When a young woman turns fifteen, when the rose grows thorns.

For decades, when ethnicities were segregated
By neighborhood, West Town was largely Italian.

Dominic had houses throughout a three-block radius, his investment portfolio.
True to form, he was secretive about the basement.

The water heater was just one of many cut corners.
One time I found him down there kibitzing the repairman

To NOT repair the thing properly because the replacement parts
Would cost too much.

Lately it became a more Hispanic neighborhood,
Though the "white" folk were still mostly Old School

Italian. Like, literal stone-cutter Italians, descended from the
Original residents. Then one morning, I get in my car

To run errands, and here comes Dominic,
In the middle of the morning street, loudly, and with a smile:

"I'd vote for a nigger, Jay, before I'd vote
For your Irish buddy Daley!"

I hadn't asked. Him, and the remnants of a legacy where it mattered
Which white you were and

When one revered men like Joey the Clown.
Fuckin' Dominic.

This is how they roll: bigots can't wait
To trot out their slurs, especially if they think

You'll be offended. I did wonder

How I hadn't "passed," what with my English Protestant sounding
Last name, how he sussed that I was Potato Famine

Irish on both sides. This was my West Town
From 1987 until 2007, when the Developers

Finally took moved in. I faced the music: "You got to move."
So: west up Grand to Humboldt Park. Many ethnic Chicagoans followed

A common diagonal boulevard upwards and outwards by generation:
Poles up Milwaukee, Germans up Lincoln, Scandinavians up Clark, etc.

For the Italians, west up Grand to Elmwood Park
Where they finally found Joey in hiding at a friend's,

On the lam in '05. Late in life, he fled
His home on Ohio Street just west of Hoyne,

A block from my old flat, charged with racketeering,
Extortion and loan sharking. He'd grown a long beard

A la Saddam Hussein. Beard of thorns.
Hard rose. I wonder how he voted.

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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 1:50 AM | Permalink

October 14, 2018

Lyric Musicians Ratify Contract

The musicians of the Chicago Lyric Opera Orchestra ratified on Sunday the tentative agreement reached Saturday evening with Lyric management.

The musicians of the orchestra went on strike on October 9 for one reason: to preserve the Lyric Opera that generations of Chicagoans have built over the past 65 years. A world-class opera company needs a world-class orchestra. The musicians will never stop fighting for that ideal, but at this time, the music needs to return to the Civic Opera House. Further cancellations by Lyric management were threatened, and the result would have been destructive for everyone - Lyric, the musicians and other Lyric employees, and Lyric's loyal patrons.

Additionally, given that Lyric's other unions (including IATSE and AGMA) had settled their contracts earlier, we were keenly aware of the pressure on the members of those unions and their families. We needed to settle this contract not only for us, but for them.

In the end, both parties compromised. This is still a concessionary contract, but much less so. When we started bargaining in March, management was demanding pay cuts of up to 43 percent. That was still on the table as recently as 10 days ago. The final agreement includes a reduction in the number of main opera season weeks from 24 to 22 and a reduction in the number of musicians, but those concessions are mitigated by more favorable terms we were able to obtain:

  • There is now a 5.6 percent increase in weekly salary over the 3-year contract term.
  • The 2019-20 season now includes a guarantee of five additional weeks for the "Ring" cycle, outside of the 22-week main opera season.
  • The orchestra size will be reduced by four instead of five musicians, delayed until the 2019-20 season.
  • The spring musical is now guaranteed to employ 37 members of the orchestra, and the salary for the musicals increases significantly (by 6.6 percent).
  • There are new guarantees regarding the hiring of orchestra musicians for Joffrey Ballet productions beginning in 2020.
  • Health care benefits are maintained as is; family leave is now eight paid weeks; and there are numerous other improvements in working conditions.

The musicians of the orchestra are forever grateful for the overwhelming support we received from Lyric's patrons and donors from the moment the strike began. That outpouring of support gives us great hope for the future of Lyric Opera. We are confident that they are ready to stand with us as we continue to fight to preserve Lyric Opera of Chicago as one of the world's greatest opera companies and the crown jewel of Chicago's cultural life.

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Previously: Lyric Opera Strike | A View From The Pit.

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 6:29 PM | Permalink

The Weekend Desk Report

For completists, there was no column on Friday.

"A central Illinois pork-processing plant last year discharged more nitrogen from animal waste into waterways than any other slaughterhouse in the country, according to a report published Thursday," the Tribune reports.

In an assessment of water pollution produced by 98 large meat-processing facilities across the United States, the Washington, D.C.-based nonprofit Environmental Integrity Project found that a plant in Beardstown, Ill., owned by meat-processing giant JBS released about 1,850 pounds of nitrogen on average each day into a tributary of the Illinois River. That's the amount contained in raw sewage produced daily by a city with the population roughly the size of Evanston, the report says.

The facility, about 240 miles southwest of Chicago, is within its permitted discharge limits under the Clean Water Act, but the disclosure raises questions about the stringency of federal water pollution standards surrounding meatpacking plants.

Illinois is the fourth-largest producer of pork, and it shoulders a significant share of environmental problems as a result. A Tribune investigation found that between 2005 and 2014, pollution incidents from hog confinement operations killed at least 492,000 fish and impaired 67 miles of the state's rivers, creeks and waterways.

From JBS's website:

"At JBS USA and Pilgrim's, how we leave the planet in a better condition than which we found it is at the heart of each environmental, economic and social decision we make."

*

FYI, via Wikipedia:

"BS USA Holdings, Inc. is an American food processing company and a wholly owned subsidiary of JBS S.A., a Brazilian company that is the world's largest processor of fresh beef and pork, with more than $50 billion in annual sales as of 2017. The subsidiary was created when JBS entered the U.S. market in 2007 with its purchase of Swift & Company . . .

"JBS USA's operations can be traced back to 1855, when 16-year-old Gustavus Franklin Swift founded a butchering operation in Eastham, Massachusetts. Its early origins on Cape Cod, led to later Brighton, MA, Albany, NY, and Buffalo, NY locations, and in 1875 Swift and Company was incorporated in Chicago."

*

Interesting:

"In December 2006, six of the company's meat-packing facilities in Colorado, Nebraska, Texas, Utah, Iowa, and Minnesota were raided by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement officials, resulting in the apprehension of 1,282 undocumented immigrants from Mexico, Guatemala, Honduras, El Salvador, Peru, Laos, Sudan, and Ethiopia, and nearly 200 of them were criminally charged after a ten-month investigation into identity theft."

*

Also, bribery investigations.

*

And:

"The USDA has added more stores to the retail distribution list in the JBS Tolleson [a unit of JBS USA] ground beef Salmonella Newport outbreak. The case count still stands at 57 people sick in 16 states," Food Poisoning Bulletin reports. "More than 30% of those patients have been hospitalized because they are so ill. Almost 7 million pounds of ground beef and ground beef products have been recalled."

*

The USDA had previously complained of "egregious" practices at the Tolleson facility.

*

In July, the Cass County Gazette named JBS the Business of the Month.

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New on the Beachwood . . .

The Beachwood Radio Sports Hour #221: Are The Blackhawks Back?
Sort of, but not really. Plus: Chili Cook-Off; MLB's Final Four; Non-Jew Tarik Cohen And The Bears Taking Their Talents To South Florida; Jimmy Hollywood vs. Toledo Thibs; 2018 Bulls Should Get Sponsorship From Elon Musk's Boring Company; and Golf At The Grate.

*

Conway Barbour And The Challenges Of The Black Middle Class In 19th-Century America
Despite an unconventional life, Barbour found in each place he lived that he was one of many free black people who fought to better themselves alongside their white countrymen.

*

Recall! Malone's Pork Head Cheese
These items were shipped to retail locations in Illinois, Michigan and Wisconsin and were also sold via internet catalog sales.

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Weekend ChicagoReddit

Good Hedgehog Vet In Chicago?

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Weekend ChicagoGram

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Weekend ChicagoTube

Sweet Home Chicago / Blues Club Art Tokyo

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Weekend BeachBook
A sampling.

"Bob Smith" Was A Black Lives Matter Sympathizer With Lots Of Facebook Friends. It Turned Out He Was A White Undercover Police Officer.

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Avocados And Almonds Are Not Vegan.

Is anything, really?

*

Chicago Man Makes 500th Blood Donation.

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Weekend TweetWood
A sampling.

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The Beachwood Tip Line: 20 percent.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 1:27 PM | Permalink

October 12, 2018

The Beachwood Radio Sports Hour #221: Are The Blackhawks Back?

Sort of, but not really. Plus: Chili Cook-Off; MLB's Final Four; Non-Jew Tarik Cohen And The Bears Taking Their Talents To South Florida; Jimmy Hollywood vs. Toledo Thibs; 2018 Bulls Should Get Sponsorship From Elon Musk's Boring Company; and Golf At The Grate.


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SHOW NOTES

* 221.

* The alternative universe(s) of Kanye West.

* Transcript: Kanye West's White House Meeting With Donald Trump.

1:51: Chili Cook-Off.

* Gonzalez: Cubs Fire Hitting Coach Chili Davis.

* Dave Magadan played for the Cubs in 1996, slashing .254/.360/.367 in 201 PAs.

* Coffman: Trade Almora.

15:25: MLB's Final Four.

* Red Sox vs. Astros.

* Brewers vs. Dodgers.

* AL over NL.

* Billy Witz, New York Times: Seeds Of The Yankees' Playoff Loss Were Planted Last Winter.

* Richard Justice, MLB.com: Attanasio In Awe Of Brewers' Rapid Ascent.

27:40: Non-Jew Tarik Cohen And The Bears Taking Their Talents To South Florida.

* Wiederer: 'He Really Believed In Me': A Scout's Discovery Of Tarik Cohen And The Bears' Vision For What's Ahead.

* Tarik Cohen's Jewish Combine:

* The Hora.

37:28: Jimmy Hollywood vs. Toledo Thibs.

* Kevin Garnett Says The Jimmy Butler Drama In Minnesota Is A 'Shit Storm.'

46:31: 2018 Bulls Should Get Sponsorship From Elon Musk's Boring Company.

* But Coach Coffman is here for it!

* Johnson: Jabari Parker Says Reserve Role Would Be 'Huge Adjustment.'

54:38: Are The Blackhawks Back?

* Nick Ashbourne, Yahoo Canada Sports: Toews And DeBrincat Combo Has Blackhawks Flying Again.

1:04:35: Golf At The Grate.

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STOPPAGE: 6:00

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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 2:24 PM | Permalink

Conway Barbour And The Challenges Of The Black Middle Class In 19th-Century America

Focusing on the life of ambitious former slave Conway Barbour, Victoria L. Harrison argues that the idea of a black middle class traced its origins to the free black population of the mid-19th century and developed alongside the idea of a white middle class. Although slavery and racism meant that the definition of middle class was not identical for white people and free people of color, they shared similar desires for advancement.

conwaybarbour.jpg

Born a slave in western Virginia about 1815, Barbour was a free man by the late 1840s. His adventurous life took him through Lexington and Louisville, Kentucky; Cleveland, Ohio; Alton, Illinois; and Little Rock and Lake Village, Arkansas.

In search of upward mobility, he worked as a steamboat steward, tried his hand at several commercial ventures, and entered politics.

He sought, but was denied, a Civil War military appointment that would have provided financial stability.

Blessed with intelligence, competence, and energy, Barbour was quick to identify opportunities as they appeared in personal relationships - he was simultaneously married to two women - business and politics.

Despite an unconventional life, Barbour found in each place he lived that he was one of many free black people who fought to better themselves alongside their white countrymen.

Harrison's argument about black class formation reframes the customary narrative of downtrodden free African Americans in the mid-19th century and engages current discussions of black inclusion, the concept of "otherness" and the breaking down of societal barriers.

Demonstrating that careful research can reveal the stories of people who have been invisible to history, Fight Like a Tiger complicates our understanding of the intersection of race and class in the Civil War era.

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 8:19 AM | Permalink

Recall! Malone's Pork Head Cheese

Malone's Fine Sausage, a Milwaukee establishment, is recalling approximately 26,323 pounds of ready-to-eat pork head cheese product that may be adulterated with Listeria monocytogenes, the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Food Safety and Inspection Service announced Wednesday.

The ready-to-eat pork head cheese items were produced on various dates from Aug. 27, 2018 through Oct. 5, 2018. The following products are subject to recall:

* Various weights of vacuum-sealed packages containing "Glorious Malone's Fine Sausage, INC. GOURMET PORK DELICACY HOT SEASONED HEADCHEESE" with a "Sell By" dates from 10/26/2018 through 12/5/2018 and lot codes 3524 through 3540.

* Various weights of vacuum-sealed packages containing "Glorious Malone's Fine Sausage, INC. GOURMET PORK DELICACY MILD SEASONED HEADCHEESE" with a "Sell By" dates from 10/26/2018 through 12/5/2018 and lot codes 3524 through 3540.

The products subject to recall bear establishment number "EST. 15702" inside the USDA mark of inspection. These items were shipped to retail locations in Illinois, Michigan and Wisconsin and were also sold via internet catalog sales.

The problem was discovered on Oct. 9, 2018 by FSIS inspection program personnel while verifying the disposition of product that FSIS tested positive for Listeria monocytogenes.

There have been no confirmed reports of adverse reactions due to consumption of these products. Anyone concerned about an injury or illness should contact a healthcare provider.

Consumption of food contaminated with L. monocytogenes can cause listeriosis, a serious infection that primarily affects older adults, persons with weakened immune systems, and pregnant women and their newborns. Less commonly, persons outside these risk groups are affected.

Listeriosis can cause fever, muscle aches, headache, stiff neck, confusion, loss of balance and convulsions sometimes preceded by diarrhea or other gastrointestinal symptoms. An invasive infection spreads beyond the gastrointestinal tract. In pregnant women, the infection can cause miscarriages, stillbirths, premature delivery or life-threatening infection of the newborn. In addition, serious and sometimes fatal infections in older adults and persons with weakened immune systems. Listeriosis is treated with antibiotics. Persons in the higher-risk categories who experience flu-like symptoms within two months after eating contaminated food should seek medical care and tell the health care provider about eating the contaminated food.

Consumers who have purchased these products are urged not to consume them. These products should be thrown away or returned to the place of purchase.

FSIS routinely conducts recall effectiveness checks to verify recalling firms notify their customers of the recall and that steps are taken to make certain that the product is no longer available to consumers. When available, the retail distribution list(s) will be posted on the FSIS website.

Media and consumers with questions regarding the recall can contact Daphne Jones, president at Malone's Fine Sausage, at (414) 732-1820.

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Consumers with food safety questions can "Ask Karen," the FSIS virtual representative available 24 hours a day at AskKaren.gov or via smartphone at m.askkaren.gov.

The online Electronic Consumer Complaint Monitoring System can be accessed 24 hours a day at: http://www.fsis.usda.gov/reportproblem.

NOTE: Access news releases and other information at FSIS' website at http://www.fsis.usda.gov/recalls.

Follow FSIS on Twitter at twitter.com/usdafoodsafety or in Spanish at: twitter.com/usdafoodsafe_es.

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 5:31 AM | Permalink

October 11, 2018

The [Thursday] Papers

In no particular order.

1. Daley Crowned.

"Bill Daley is padding his lead in the mayoral fundraising sweepstakes - and topping the $1 million benchmark - with help from two of Mayor Rahm Emanuel's most reliable campaign contributors," the Sun-Times reports.

"On Tuesday, Daley reported receiving $75,000 from Lester, Patricia and Paula Crown and another $25,000 contribution from Richard Robb, an executive with Henry Crown & Co., who is married to Rebecca Crown."

Lester, Patricia, Paula and Rebecca Crown, you are Today's Worst Family In Chicago.

*

"Daley also bagged a $50,000 contribution from Chicago venture capital pioneer Bryan Cressey. Cressey was an early partner in the private-equity firm GTCR that once included Gov. Bruce Rauner. The 'C' stood for Cressey. The 'R' stood for Rauner. Cressey gave $276,200 to Emanuel's mayoral campaigns."

*

Meanwhile . . .

"On Thursday, Daley bristled when asked whether he was in the race to stay.

"I'm not even gonna answer that stupid question," Daley said. "I'm not insulting you. But, it is a stupid question."

It's only a stupid question because of the way it was presumably posed: "Are you in the race to stay?" Um no, I'm in the race to drop out. I mean, he does have a track record of dropping out of races - sometimes before he even gets started. And there are better questions to ask him. But still, poor form, Bill.

2. Bulls' Official Asset Manager.

"The Chicago Bulls and Calamos Investments today announced a multi-year partnership that makes the metropolitan Chicago-based global asset manager the first company to display its logo on the Bulls court apron in the United Center," the team announced.

*

About founder John Calamos:

"It was at that time in the late 60's, fighting a war in Vietnam, when he started thinking about managing risks in the markets and convertible securities."

3. AFL-CIO LOL.

"The biggest federation of unions in the United States has called on companies this year to raise worker pay amid a flourishing economy. But now employees of the AFL-CIO say the labor group isn't practicing what it preaches - and they're prepared to picket over it," the Washington Post reports.

"About 50 janitors, drivers, secretaries and accountants at the union's offices in greater Washington, all represented by the Office and Professional Employees International Union (OPEIU), voted Tuesday to authorize a strike if their employer does not meet their demands."

4. Biometric Burke.

"A proposed amendment to the Chicago municipal code would allow businesses to use face surveillance systems that could invade biometric and location privacy, and violate a pioneering state privacy law adopted by Illinois a decade ago," the Electronic Freedom Foundation says.

The amendment's sponsor is Ed Burke.

5. Who Own Da Beach?

"In an unexpected twist, the State of Illinois has emerged as the owner of Lincoln Street beach, once the private lakefront domain of Northwestern University that opened to Evanston residents this year," the Evanston Review reports.

"Lincoln Street beach is not the property of Northwestern University. I cannot tell you whose property it is," Evanston City Manager Wally Bobkiewicz said at a Sept. 17 City Council meeting.

But on Oct. 1, Bobkiewicz confirmed it likely belongs to the state.

"We've had some further discussion with (Illinois Department of Natural Resources) and they believe they" own it, Bobkiewicz said. "The State of Illinois."

Does that mean Bruce Rauner can now privatize it?

6. Food Desert Debacle.

"Improving food access in 'food desert' communities is a stated priority of the City of Chicago," Marynia Kolak, Daniel Block and Myles Wolf write for the Chicago Reporter.

Over the past few years, City-led initiatives promoted new store openings in high need areas, such as the Whole Foods in Englewood. Most, but not all, of the Dominick's stores that closed in 2013 have reopened under new banners.

Despite these seemingly positive steps, findings in our recent study "Urban foodscape trends: Disparities in healthy food access in Chicago, 2017-2014" suggest that many of the new stores that were added provided even more options - but only in areas that already had many options. They did little to improve supermarket access in areas with persistently low access in 2007 and 2011.

Good job, everyone!

*

"Despite an increase in the total number of supermarkets in Chicago, food deserts and food inequity persists. For example, African Americans make up approximately one third of Chicago's population, but almost 80 percent of the population of persistently low or volatile food access areas."

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New on the Beachwood today . . .

Lyric Opera Strike An Old Story
CEO gets a big raise while cutting workers' pay.

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USA Today's Op-Ed Disaster
A difference in degree, not kind, of the egregious practice followed by nearly all the nation's newspapers, including the New York Times and the local Chicago dailies.

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Let's Face It, College Athletes Don't Have Time For School
The data is in.

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Political Books Red Hot
Bob Woodward's Fear was the fastest-selling title for Barnes & Noble in over three years, with stores selling more than a book every second on the first day.

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Chicago Man Named America's Best Driver
Thank you, Myron Hubbard.

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ChicagoReddit

Going to Chicago soon and wondering if I can purchase a bottle of Malort at the Duty-Free shop in the O'Hare airport from r/chicago

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ChicagoGram

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ChicagoTube

Houston Nileators vs. Chicago Lights.

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BeachBook

Just 100 Companies Responsible For 71% Of Global Emissions.

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"Can Anyone Hear Me?" Shout Terrified Climate Scientists Frantically Waving Arms As Passerbys Walk Straight By.

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Instagram Poetry Is A Huckster's Paradise.

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Epson Tricked Its Customers With A Dangerous Fake Update.

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TweetWood
A sampling.

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The Beachwood Tip Line: Any day now.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 1:37 PM | Permalink

Lyric Opera Strike | A View From The Pit

As the strike continues, we must turn our attention to where so many of Lyric's problems lie: the management of Lyric Opera of Chicago and, in particular, Anthony Freud.

A Familiar Story: The CEO Gets a Big Raise While Cutting Workers' Pay
It is undisputed that Freud and Lyric's upper management have exploded the budget from $60.4 million in 2012 to $84.5 million in 2017. Where has that $24 million gone? Certainly not to the orchestra. As we've pointed out, the orchestra's share of the budget shrank from 14.6 percent to 11.9 percent during that time.

Here's one clue: While the musicians' salaries have stagnated, Freud's has not. He saw a compensation increase of 18 percent from 2014 to 2017. In 2016 alone, right after the orchestra musicians agreed to a wage-neutral contract with health care cuts, Freud got a 16 percent raise. His annual salary last year was a staggering $784,387 - roughly 12 times a musician's base salary of $65,912 this year.

Consider this simple fact: Each orchestra musician stands to lose at least $6,000 this year as a result of Freud's proposed cuts. He makes that much in just three days.

Paying the musicians less, cutting the number of musicians, gutting the number of performances . . . while at the same time the CEO gives himself a massive raise? This is not a "new business model" or "sustainable" financial approach, as Freud feebly claims. It is a very old business model. It was discredited long ago. We cannot return to the Dark Ages.

Freud's Track Record Of Failure
Since the strike began, Freud has protested that Lyric must downsize because not enough people are interested in opera. But his approach would make it a self-fulfilling prophecy. By eliminating Lyric's popular radio broadcasts and slashing the number of performances by 35 percent - alienating longtime subscribers in the process - Freud has made it virtually impossible for music lovers to access opera. It's a recipe for failure; fewer performances, plus no broadcasts, equals less opportunity to hear or experience opera.

Freud also claims that donors won't support Lyric anymore unless the musicians get on board with his slash-and-burn agenda. That's nonsense. Our donors have been loyal and generous, and we are grateful every day for their support. They support Lyric Opera because they love opera. Donors want to be confident that Lyric is a good steward of their generous gifts, for sure, but most of all, they want to know that their generosity is supporting opera, and they must be given reasons to be excited about it. Nobody gives to a balance sheet.

Continuing his baseless attacks, Freud complains that he doesn't want to "pay musicians for work not done." That is the height of irony. If Freud's assertions of financial distress are to be believed, then it happened entirely on his watch. If he wants to point the finger at anyone being paid for not doing their job, he need only look in the mirror. Eight hundred thousand dollars is a lot of money to pay for failure.

This Must Stop
Lyric and Freud are recklessly careening down the wrong path. Lyric is trying to cut its way to success - cut the orchestra, eliminate radio broadcasts, and cut the number of performances. Everyone in the arts knows that is the path to ruin. Far from building anything "sustainable," it instead guarantees a downward spiral. We, the musicians of the Lyric Opera Orchestra, cannot allow ourselves to be a party to Freud's demolition of Chicago's great opera company.

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See also: Lyric Opera Responds To Union Charges.

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 10:10 AM | Permalink

Political Books Red Hot

Political books have seen a 57% sales jump compared to last year.

The data also shows that three states that voted blue in 2016 have trended toward books that are positive to President Trump, while two states that voted red lean toward buying books critical of him.

Meanwhile, the states that were most likely to buy books supporting Trump were: Texas, Florida and North Carolina. The states that were most likely to buy books critical of the president were: New York, California and Massachusetts.

"U.S. politics has been red-hot in 2018 as readers have flocked to analyses and insider accounts of the White House and the U.S. political scene," said Liz Harwell, senior director of Merchandising, Trade Books. "One of the hottest political books of 2018, Fear, was the fastest-selling title for the company in over three years, with our stores selling more than a book every second on the first day. From October through the holidays, we have a variety of big books from across the political spectrum, with authors ranging from Tucker Carlson to Bernie Sanders."

Barnes & Noble's Top 10 Political Bestsellers in 2018

1. Fear: Trump in the White House, Bob Woodward

2. Fire and Fury: Inside the Trump White House, Michael Wolff

3. Higher Loyalty: Truth, Lies, and Leadership, James Comey

4. The Russia Hoax: The Illicit Scheme to Clear Hillary Clinton and Frame Donald Trump, Gregg Jarrett

5. Russian Roulette: The Inside Story of Putin's War on America and the Election of Donald Trump, Michael Isikoff and David Corn

6. The Restless Wave: Good Times, Just Causes, Great Fights, and Other Appreciations, John McCain

7. Liars, Leakers, and Liberals: The Case Against the Anti-Trump Conspiracy, Jeanine Pirro

8. Killing the Deep State: The Fight to Save President Trump, Jerome R. Corsi

9. Secret Empires: How the American Political Class Hides Corruption and Enriches Family and Friends, Peter Schweizer

10. Unhinged: An Insider's Account of the Trump White House, Omarosa Manigault Newman

Red and Blue States: By the Book

To get a regional view of political book-buying, we looked at which states are more likely to buy books that support Trump, and which states lean toward titles critical of the White House. We also compared our results of book-buying to the 2016 electoral map, which showed five states whose book-buying trends went counter to the election results.

Three states that voted Democratic in 2016 but were more likely to buy books positive toward Trump: Nevada, New Hampshire, and Colorado. Two states that voted Republican but tended to buy books critical of Trump: Wisconsin and Pennsylvania.

In the map below, red states lean more toward books that are positive toward the President. Blue states lean more toward titles that are critical of him. Those that ran counter to the 2016 electoral map are marked with a star.

barnes2.jpg

Political Books to Watch

Recent and forthcoming political books that span the political spectrum:

* Ship of Fools: How a Selfish Ruling Class is Bringing America to the Brink of Revolution, Tucker Carlson, released Oct. 2 by Simon & Schuster

* Full Disclosure, Stormy Daniels, released Oct. 2 by St. Martin's Press

* Why We Fight: Defeating America's Enemies - With No Apologies, Sebastian Gorka, released Oct. 9 by Regnery Publishing

* The Red and the Blue: The 1990s and the Birth of Political Tribalism, Steve Kornacki, released Oct. 2 by HarperCollins

* Trump's Enemies: How the Deep State Is Undermining the Presidency, Corey R. Lewandowski and David N. Bossie, releasing Nov. 27 by Center Street

* The Fifth Risk: Undoing Democracy, Michael Lewis, released Oct. 2 by Norton, W.W. & Company

* The Threat: How the FBI Protects America in the Age of Terror and Trump, Andrew G. McCabe, releasing Dec. 4 by St. Martin's Press

* The Apprentice: Trump, Russia and the Subversion of American Democracy, Greg Miller, released Oct. 2 by HarperCollins

* Where We Go From Here: Two Years in the Resistance, Bernie Sanders, releasing November 27 by St. Martin's Press

* Them: Why We Hate Each Other - and How to Heal, Ben Sasse, releasing Oct. 16 by St. Martin's Press

* Trump, the Blue-Collar President, Anthony Scaramucci, releasing Oct. 23 by Center Street

* Shade: A Tale of Two Presidents, Pete Souza, releasing Oct. 16 by Little, Brown and Company

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 12:57 AM | Permalink

Fact Check: USA Today Published An Op-Ed They Agreed To Pretend Was Written By President Donald Trump That Is - Surprise - Riddled With Falsehoods. That's Just A FACT.

Note: On Wednesday, USA Today published an Op-Ed by President Donald Trump that included several falsehoods about single-payer health care.

Lies and deceptions from Trump are nothing new. Lies and deceptions from Trump about Medicare-for All are new, so it's worth correcting his USA Today column attacking such a system.

One reason his attacks on Medicare-for-All are new is that he probably has supported it in the past. But whatever, there's no reason to think Trump particularly believed what he said then, or what he says now. On to the major lies and deceits:

  • Medicare-for-All would not "end Medicare as we know it and take away benefits that seniors have paid for all their lives." The reason it's called Medicare-for-All is because it would take the existing program and expand it to everyone. Seniors' benefits would not be taken away - in fact, they would be improved, but everyone else would gain the benefits of Medicare, too.
  • Medicare-for-All is not going to cost an "astonishing $32.6 trillion" over 10 years, because it will introduce major savings not adequately accounted for in the study Trump cites. Significant savings would come from eliminating vast amounts of paperwork and bureaucracy imposed by the current dysfunctional system, and steeply dropping costs for brand-name pharmaceuticals. But even if Medicare-for-All cost as much as Trump alleges, that amount would be less than projections for our current system, which also leaves tens of millions of Americans without coverage.
  • Trump's claim to have kept his pledge to maintain coverage for people with pre-existing conditions and create new health insurance options is completely deceptive. First, the protections for pre-existing conditions remain in place only because Trump failed to repeal the Affordable Care Act. Meanwhile, a Republican-led lawsuit is challenging the ACA, including guarantees for pre-existing conditions, and there's a real worry that, especially with Brett Kavanaugh now on the Supreme Court, it might succeed. As for new junk health insurance options Trump has authorized, they offer only the illusion of care, because they permit insurers to skirt the requirement to cover pre-existing conditions.
  • Medicare-for-All would not "lead to the massive rationing of health care." It is the current system that rations care, based on the ability to pay. One-third of Americans say they had a problem accessing medical care because of cost in the last year. With Medicare-for-All, everyone will be able to see a doctor or access treatment, irrespective of how much money they have.

Why is support for Medicare-for-All skyrocketing? First, because Americans know from their own experience that the current system is a total mess. Health care is unaffordable, co-pays are a killer and doctors make you wait and then don't have enough time for you. The data backs up people's impressions: We pay far more than other countries for health care, and we get far less - among rich countries, we alone have massive coverage gaps, and our health care outcomes are by far inferior.

Medicare-for-All would take the best performing part of our health care system - Medicare - improve it, and then extend it to all Americans. That system alone will ensure coverage for all Americans, and, by wiping out the massive inefficiencies of the current corporate-dominated system, it will enable us to expand coverage and improve quality for no additional cost.

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

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See also:

* Kessler, Washington Post: Fact-Checking President Trump's USA Today Op-Ed On Medicare-For-All.

* Hiltzik, Los Angeles Times: Trump's USA Today Op-Ed On Medicare Is Full Of Lies - And USA Today Should Not Have Published It.

* Yglesias, Vox: Trump's USA Today Op-Ed On Heath Care Is An Absurd Tissue Of Lies.

* The Hill: USA Today Defends Running Trump's 'Medicare For All' Op-Ed.

* PolitiFact: Fact-Checking Donald Trump's Op-Ed Against Medicare For All In USA Today.

* NPR: FACT CHECK: Trump's False Claims On 'Medicare For All.'

* Bustle: 8 Claims In Trump's USA Today Op-Ed On 'Medicare For All' That Are False.

* The Root: USA Today Allows Trump To Publish Fake News.

* Pierce, Esquire: Congratulations, USA Today, You're Now A Propaganda Organ Of The Trump Administration.

* GQ: Why Is USA Today Helping Donald Trump Lie?

* Boing Boing: Trump's Health Care Column With All The Lies Removed.

* Fox News: Trump Tears Into 'Radical Socialist' Dems, Medicare For All In Rare Op-Ed.

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And:

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Comments welcome.

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1. From Steve Rhodes:

This is really just a difference in degree, not kind, of the egregious practice followed by nearly all the nation's newspapers, including the New York Times and the local Chicago dailies - gladly publishing unvetted press releases of public officials who already use their power and media managers to shape narratives. (See, for example, Rahm's Op-Ed About Laquan McDonald Is Misleading At Best.) It's not as if these are opinions that would otherwise go unheard - or even that the public officials have actually written the pieces themselves instead of their staff. As I've written on this site for years, it's a deceptive, anti-journalistic practice that ought to end.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 12:48 AM | Permalink

It's Naive To Think College Athletes Have Time For School

From my first day as a sociology professor at a university with Division I football and men's basketball teams, education and athletics struck me as being inherently at odds.

Student-athletes filled my courses to take advantage of the fact that the classes met early in the morning.

The football and men's basketball players - most of whom were black - quickly fell behind due to scheduling constraints. Only so much time was set aside for academics and, often, it wasn't enough. Academic rigor and athletic success were simply incompatible goals.

Now - as a researcher who is studying college athletes through the lens of race and class - I have compiled evidence to show just how much more time college athletes devote to sports over academics.

Lopsided But 'Normal'

Early data from my ongoing research on the academic experiences of black Division I football and men's basketball players shows that they spend three times as many hours per week on athletics as they do on academics.

On average, the players spend more than 25 hours on sports-related activities other than games, such as practice, workouts, general team meetings, film sessions and travel.

On the other hand, the players spend less than eight hours on academics outside of class, such as writing papers, studying, getting tutored or working on group projects.

This imbalance is institutionally constructed and perpetuated. Perhaps most disturbingly, the student-athletes I surveyed perceive this lopsided situation as "normal."

Some may argue that the players should be satisfied with the fact that their scholarships enable them to reap the benefits of a college education.

The problem with that argument is that college athletes aren't able to fully actualize their identities as students to the same degree as their classmates. College sports are just too demanding, and universities do not make any special concessions for athletes' additional time commitments.

Money At Stake

It is important to distinguish the lives of college athletes who don't generate money for their institutions, such as soccer and tennis players, and those who are deeply intertwined with the generation of revenue for colleges, universities and the NCAA, which cleared $1 billion in revenue in 2017.

That kind of money cannot be made without serious time commitments by the players.

Every time I watch a college football or men's basketball game on TV, I can't help but wonder what the players on my screen missed in class that day.

They are students such as Jalen (a pseudonym), a football player who requested a meeting with me mid-semester. He wanted to discuss how my office hours conflicted with team practices and film sessions.

For an hour we discussed what he understood as unfixable. Jalen wanted and needed to utilize the main academic support systems provided by the college, but literally didn't have the time.

Jalen was by no means alone. Rather, his plight was emblematic of untold numbers of college athletes who struggle to balance sports and academics.

Workers Or Students?

So, are college athletes workers who attend school part-time? Or are they students who play sports part-time?

Players at schools across the country are speaking up about the fact that they generate revenue for the colleges they play for but not for themselves.

They have attempted to unionize and filed lawsuits to get what they see as their fair share.

Meanwhile, the NCAA claims that student-athlete balance is not only possible, but that most Division I players achieve it.

Disparities Persist

The reality is that most football and men's basketball players underperform academically and routinely graduate at lower rates than "other student-athletes, black non-athletes and undergraduates in general."

Recent academic scandals - from fraudulent classes to inappropriate tutor support and administrative cover-ups - reveal that a sports-first mentality permeates college campuses.

The NCAA continues to describe Division I football and basketball players as "regular students who happen to play sports." However, the NCAA rarely details how this student-athlete balance is supposed to work.

There are tournament-time commercials that remind viewers how most college athletes "will go pro in something other than sports." However, less mentioned, if at all, are what kind of practical routes exist to this theoretically "balanced" identity.

Even the NCAA's own surveys of college athletes show that athletics takes precedence over academics.

Coaches and college staffers are getting rich in the name of higher education while their mostly black players are - in their own words - "broke."

And this despite the fact that student-athlete responsibilities have grown as the business of college sports grows.

For instance, some of the games last longer, and the average hours that players spend per week on athletics continue to creep upward.

Conflicts Continue

Recently, 2017 Heisman runner-up Bryce Love drew criticism for "setting a bad precedent" for choosing to attend summer classes instead of Stanford's media day.

Almost 60 percent of participants in my current national research study find it difficult or very difficult to balance sports and academics - from the moment they set foot on campus until graduation, if they graduate at all.

Considering the fact that less than 2 percent of college football players get into the NFL, and only 1.2 percent of college basketball players get drafted into the NBA, the reality is that most college athletes will never see a payoff in professional sports.

But the real tragedy is that, having devoted so much time to sports instead of their studies, they won't really get to see their college education pay off, either.

Jasmine Harris is an assistant professor of sociology at Ursinus College. This article is republished from The Conversation under a Creative Commons license.

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Previously:

* Relevant Excerpt: The Cartel: Inside The Rise And Imminent Fall Of The NCAA.

* In Scandal After Scandal, NCAA Takes Fall For Complicit Colleges.

* The Man Who Made March Madness A Monster Moneymaker.

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Comments welcome.


Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 12:44 AM | Permalink

Chicago Man Named Best Driver In America

For Myron Hubbard, work isn't really work at all if you love what you do. And what Hubbard loves most is transporting people with special needs around the Chicago area as a driver for SCR Medical Transportation.

"It doesn't matter how much we've amassed; it matters how much we've helped others," said Hubbard, who spent 25 years working in child care, two years driving for the Southeast Michigan Authority for Regional Transportation, and 10 years as a Greyhound bus driver before joining SCR Medical Transportation eight years ago. "We're people helping people, and I love the fact we are helping people with special needs."

That dedication will be recognized on the national stage later this month when the Taxicab, Limousine & Paratransit Association recognizes Hubbard as its Paratransit & Contracting Driver of the Year, the top driver award in the industry. The TLPA is the oldest and largest trade organization of its kind in the world.

Hubbard's attention to delivering the safest ride with the utmost care is now the standard for SCR, which entrusts him with training thousands of other drivers.

"If I had to describe somebody I want all of our drivers to emulate, Myron is that person," said Michael Staley, director of operations at SCR. "To have the opportunity for somebody who exemplifies the characteristics that Mr. Hubbard does, to be honored in such a way by such an organization, is truly an honor for SCR and Mr. Hubbard."

Hubbard will receive his award in front of hundreds of industry leaders at the TLPA's 100th Annual Convention & Trade Show on Oct. 29 at Caesars Palace in Las Vegas.

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 12:26 AM | Permalink

October 10, 2018

The [Wednesday] Papers

For completists, there was no column on Tuesday.

"Elon Musk's settlement of a securities-fraud case has removed a cloud over the company and its leader. But another remains: how its electric-car production is measuring up against Mr. Musk's ambitious forecasts, a matter that a federal regulator is still investigating," the New York Times reports.

"One group of internet sleuths thinks it has found clues in plain sight, pointing to lots and garages in California, New Jersey, Arizona and other states where Tesla cars have been found parked in large numbers.

"The group's efforts to document those sites could shed light on the delivery troubles that the Tesla chief has acknowledged, and reveal whether demand for the company's cars is as high as he has suggested.

"Since July, Tesla has been parking anywhere from a couple of dozen to a few hundred cars at a lot in Burbank, Calif. In Lathrop, 70 miles east of San Francisco, Tesla has as many as 400 cars at an industrial site. A similar number turned up outside an industrial building nearby. At times cars have been seen entering and leaving the building, suggesting it may be a collection point or repair center.

"Hundreds more have been found in Antioch, northeast of San Francisco. On Thursday, a batch of about 100 Model 3s turned up in Bellevue, Wash. Smaller collections have surfaced in Chicago, Dallas, Las Vegas and Salt Lake City."

Assignment Desk, activate!

Don't Cross The Oboe Line
"The 64th season of the Lyric Opera of Chicago was disrupted Tuesday when musicians walked off the job to protest cuts proposed by management," AP reports.

"The musicians set up a picket line outside the Civic Opera House on Tuesday and played excerpts from various operas as they expressed opposition by the opera company to cut the number of orchestra musicians by five."

"What we are suggesting to the orchestra is that we reduce the number of core players through attrition and with voluntary retirement benefits," said Lyric Opera CEO Anthony Freud. "The thing is that currently, the core number of musicians is 74. Many of the operas we perform don't need an orchestra of 74."

Well, that certainly seems to make sense.

"The opera company also wants to cut the pay of remaining musicians by 8 percent and the number of working weeks by two weeks to 22 weeks."

Oh.

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"The musicians' contract with the opera company expired June 30. At issue is management's contention the previous contract no longer reflects the company's economic reality. Lyric Opera contends its diminishing audience can no longer support as many weeks of performances as in the past.

"It's a national trend that opera performances are harder and more expensive to sell than they ever have been," Freud said. "We're scheduling the maximum number of opera performances we believe we can sell."

Well, that certainly seems to make sense.

"Taking aim at Freud, [a] statement [by striking musicians] notes that the company general director's salary increased 18% from 2014 to 2017 to over $800,000, noting that his 16% jump in 2016 came immediately after the musicians agreed to a cost-neutral contract with cuts to health care," Chicago Classical Review reports.

Oh.

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"Is there a future for grand opera in Chicago?" the Reader's Deanna Isaacs asked last February.

"[I]n spite of years of trying to build it, the audience for opera, in comparison to the fans who'll turn out for Broadway musicals, is paltry. It's also diminishing."

Solidarity Opportunity
"Three unions that represent faculty and staff at City Colleges of Chicago say the college's bargaining team will not come to the table to negotiate contracts," WBEZ reports.

"The unions said they plan to picket all City Colleges of Chicago board meetings until contract agreements are reached."

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Meanwhile, the Chicago hotel strike is down to two properties.

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New on the Beachwood . . .

Get Ready For Pinball!
The most nonstop excitement ever is coming to the Westin Chicago North Shore.

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How To Save A Democracy
Two University of Chicago law professors have a plan.

They don't really outline it here, but apparently they do in a new book. Meanwhile, they have thoughts on Kavanaugh.

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Did The Jackson Park Wolfpack Play Their Last Homecoming - Again?
The Wolfpack is a community football team that plays on the field in Jackson Park where the Obama Center will be located. They're still awaiting a plan.

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Trump-Proofing The Presidency
"We now know how to strengthen the system against future presidents who lack an ethical compass."

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ChicagoReddit

Gorilla Glue Used to Stick Tracking Transmitters on Turtles' Shells from r/chicago

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ChicagoGram

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ChicagoTube

Tachuelita Show TV - En la Aventura : Congreso de Payasos Chicago 2018

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TweetWood
A sampling.

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The Beachwood Tip Line: Past due.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 6:10 AM | Permalink

October 9, 2018

Trump-Proofing The Presidency

President Donald Trump has exposed serious shortcomings in executive branch ethics laws that threaten our democracy and must be addressed, according to a report issued by Public Citizen and Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW).

The report outlines specific policy reforms, ranging from requiring that presidents divest assets that pose a risk of conflict of interest and disclose tax returns and other detailed financial information to implementing a broader nepotism law and banning preferential treatment in security clearances for a president's family member.

Trump differs starkly from all of his modern day predecessors - and likely all presidents in U.S. history - due to the breadth of his assets, his refusal to divest himself of those assets and his disregard for avoiding conflicts of interest as a check on government corruption, the groups said.

Trump's decision to retain his financial interests in the Trump Organization set the tone for the present ethics crisis. He has used the presidency to promote his business interests, and serious questions have been raised about whether his business interests have improperly influenced his decisions in office. That's why all modern presidents before Trump have generally divested themselves of such interests.

"No president has pushed the ethical boundaries like Trump," said Lisa Gilbert, vice president of legislative affairs for Public Citizen. "Trump has shown utter disregard for the norms of avoiding conflicts of interest as a check on government corruption. The only silver lining is that because of Trump, we now know how to strengthen the system against future presidents who lack an ethical compass."

"Many of the unprecedented ethical problems we see with this administration stem from President Trump's failure to divest from his businesses," CREW executive director Noah Bookbinder said. "This administration's catastrophic ethical failings have provided a clear road map of the gaps in our system of presidential ethics which must be filled. If Congress does not address these problems and fix this inherently broken system, then Trump won't be the exception - he'll likely be the start of a new trend."

The groups identified four areas of reform:

  • Preventing Conflicts of Interest. Solutions include requiring the president and vice president to divest assets that pose a risk of conflict of interest within 30 days of the president's inauguration and creating an inspector general's office to investigate potential ethics violations across the executive branch, including within the White House.
  • Improving Financial Disclosure of Candidates and Officeholders. Solutions include improving the specificity of financial disclosure forms and requiring presidential and vice presidential candidates and officeholders to disclose their tax returns prior to election.
  • Enhancing Rules on Gifts to Candidates and Public Officials. Solutions include limiting contributions to inaugural committees; prohibiting sitting presidents from collecting money for their future libraries or other legacy buildings; and enhancing disclosure requirements for legal defense funds established by executive branch officials.
  • Strengthening the Integrity of Government. Solutions include clarifying that the current law banning presidents from hiring immediate family members supersedes other laws on White House employment; restricting the size of federal contracts that family members of a president may receive; prohibiting a president's family member from receiving security clearances except in certain cases; requiring disclosure of all White House visitor logs; preventing the White House from unduly interfering in Justice Department affairs; ensuring that government employees don't improperly engage in political activities; ensuring that people who influence policy are covered by ethics rules; applying ethics and transparency rules to presidential transition teams; and ending the practice of post-election transition teams relying on private donations to fund their work.

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 9:20 PM | Permalink

Get Ready For Pinball!

The longest continuously running pinball spectacular is coming to the Westin Chicago North Shore in Wheeling on October 17 though October 20.

Pinball Expo, now in its 34th year, promises to be the most non-stop excitement ever with something for everyone.

Tour the world's largest pinball factory and get an up-close look at how today's modern marvels are designed and built. Want to be the first to see and play the inaugural machine from Team Pinball? They are coming all the way from their headquarters in Cardiff, South Wales. Pinball Expo 2018 is the place to be for this and so much more.

pinball1.jpg

How about four days of 10 different tournaments with a chance to win over $25,000 in cash and prizes?

And it's not just for pinball. There are video game competitions and a host of other amazing events to test your skills. If you want to hear and learn from the industry movers and shakers, over 30 hours of seminars and presentations fill the calendar. And don't forget about playing dozens of pinball machines, literally around the clock. Enjoy silverball madness from vintage classics to the latest high-tech offerings.

Mark your calendars for Pinball Expo 2018 and be a part of pinball history. Maybe you will even make your own pinball history. For more information and special event packages, please contact Rob Berk, call (330) 716-3139 or visit the official website for Pinball Expo 2018.

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Pinball Expo 2018 Preview:

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Pinball Expo 2017:

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Pinball Expo 2016:

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Pinball Expo 2015:

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1998!

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Stern Tour, 2015:

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The Greatest Pinball Machine Ever Made.

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Beachwood Inn Review: The Pinball Machine.

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 5:21 PM | Permalink

Did The Jackson Park Community Football Team Just Play Its Last Homecoming?

The Wolfpack is a community football team that plays on the field in Jackson Park where the Obama Center will be located. On Sunday on the field in Jackson Park at 61st and Stony Island, they played their 21st, and what might be their last, homecoming game there.

"We are concerned that with the construction on the new field halted, we may not have anywhere to go," said Wolfpack head coach Ernest Radcliffe. "I want the Obama Center, and the new field in Jackson Park, but I also want a CBA ordinance to make sure our youth participants don't get pushed out of the neighborhood."

The Wolfpack are part of the Obama CBA coalition.

"Just like a church" Radcliffe said, "that field is our sanctuary. It's where we do mentoring with youth and parents."

Thousands of youth have participated in the Wolfpack athletic program over its 21-year history.

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Previously: Jackson Park Community Football Team Holds What They Fear Will Be Their Final Homecoming Game On Field Where Obama Library Set To Be Built.

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 3:08 AM | Permalink

How To Save A Constitutional Democracy With A Tainted Judiciary

Aziz Huq and Tom Ginsburg's book How to Save a Constitutional Democracy is out from the University of Chicago Press later this month, and will be the basis of a blog symposium on Take Care.

The confirmation process of Brett Kavanaugh has been decried by many for damaging the U.S. Senate's norms of civility and the U.S. Supreme Court's nonpartisan reputation. But that process, and in particular the September 27th hearing on allegations of attempted rape by Kavanaugh, has had a much more specific risk to the Court as an independent institution. This risk will cast a disabling shadow on any vote cast by Kavanaugh in a case that yields predictable partisan divisions.

The risk arises primarily (though not only) because of Kavanaugh's denials of heavy drinking habits in high school and college. These are at odds with the recollections of a large number of his peers. The discrepancy is no small matter. Rather, it goes to the core of sexual assault allegations against him. If Kavanaugh falsely stated that he never drank enough to blackout and memory impairment, then he cannot categorically deny the possibility that Dr. Christine Blasey Ford's grave allegations are correct. Yet, he has repeatedly done so. (There are other grounds for questioning Kavanaugh's truthfulness under oath on a surprising range of issues; we set those aside here for the sake of brevity and analytic clarity.)

Kavanaugh's aggressive deflections of questioning about his drinking suggest he understood how crucial this fact was. Democrats understand it, too. Some quickly called for an FBI investigation into potential perjury respecting this very issue. The FBI investigation did not reach these questions. After November, however, some Democrats may wield subpoena power permitting them to find out more, and perhaps even to draw up articles of impeachment.

Allegations of perjury go not only to matters of legitimacy or reputation. They also bite on Kavanaugh's independence from the currently dominant political coalition. Simply put, his fate is now hitched to the electoral fortunes of the Republican Party. His freedom from a substantial risk of impeachment now rests on the preservation of Republican control of key national institutions.

Kavanaugh should understand the risk of impeachment. Indeed, as a key player in Ken Starr's investigation of the Clintons, he helped create it. The first article of President Clinton's impeachment, flowing from that investigation, hinged on his "perjurious, false and misleading testimony" to a grand jury regarding his relationship with Monica Lewinsky. That article prevailed in the U.S. House 228-206, but failed in the Senate.

It is hard to see a difference between perjury to a grand jury and perjury before the Senate, at least when it comes to impeachment. Nor is there a good reason to differentiate lying about sex from lying about drinking. Potential perjury in seeking a seat on the Court is a stronger basis for impeachment than the facts alleged in the Clinton impeachment. Indeed, a decade ago, two (conservative) legal scholars sketched a colorable case for removing federal judges outside the impeachment mechanism on the even-more slender basis of a judicial finding of misbehavior.

Kavanaugh's potential perjury means that he will always be shadowed by at least the prospect of impeachment. This threat has no statute of limitations. It means concretely that whether Kavanaugh remains on the bench depends on whether Democrats at some point seize enough political power to credibly threaten impeachment. And because Kavanaugh's tenure is directly tied to the persistence of Republican control of Congress, he has a direct and personal interest in maintaining Republicans in power.

It is important to see that this follows even if you think Kavanaugh did not lie, or commit attempted rape; what matters is that Democrats can credibly threaten impeachment in relation to those allegations, and have ample incentive given their base's sentiments to do so. Of course, Republicans have no such incentive. It is this asymmetry that creates the functional linkage between Kavanaugh's expected tenure and Republican political power.

This linkage is, in our view, intrinsically troubling. But it also means that votes by Kavanaugh on disclosure rules, gerrymandering, or (say) the subpoenaing of a sitting president will be necessarily occluded in doubt about his motives. As a sitting justice, moreover, Kavanaugh would have the power to act alone to issue stays and orders in some ongoing case. This power to stay matters is especially potent in time-sensitive election-related litigation. It is easy to imagine this power generating great controversy. Finally, every doctrinal innovation Kavanaugh introduces that helps Republicans will be tainted by doubt about its bona fides.

America has known ideologically committed judges aplenty. But a justice whose very place on the Court depends on a partisan majority is new. We can think of no account of judicial independence that is consistent with this state of affairs.

This tainting of judicial independence cannot be untangled from a risk to democracy writ large. As we document in our new book, capturing the judiciary is an important element of democratic backsliding. From Venezuela and Bolivia to Hungary, Poland and Turkey, many democracies have suffered when populist movements won elections and seized legal and constitutional tools to entrench themselves beyond defeat at the polls. A first move in their playbook is to co-opt the courts. In Eastern Europe, the Fidesz and Law and Justice parties purged their nations' constitutional courts, stocking them instead with loyalists. After a 2016 coup attempt, Turkey President Recep Tayyep Erdogan locked up or dismissed about a thousand judges. In the Philippines, a chief justice critical of President Rodrigo Duterte has been impeached. Duterte himself remained untouched by the law, despite having bragged of extrajudicial executions.

Targeting judges make sense. Supreme courts can impose critical frictions on populists bent on evading the law. In Colombia, for example, the Supreme Court stymied President Alvaro Uribe's second attempt to do away with term limits - a move that would allowed him unprecedented power over state agencies. In South Africa, the Constitutional Court prevented former president Jacob Zuma from avoiding penalties for major graft and appointing a stooge as chief prosecutor. Its actions were pivotal to catalyzing Zuma's resignation in February 2018.

Kavanaugh's appointment to the Court was always going to produce some damage to democracy. His prior jurisprudence shows skepticism of efforts to reduce money's effects in politics, not just by regulating campaign contributions and expenditures, but also via disclosure mandates. Kavanaugh is not only unlikely to allow challenges to partisan gerrymandering or voter suppression, he may also vote to overrule a 2015 precedent permitting states to establish nonpartisan redistricting commissions. A 2016 decision allowing states to use their whole populations, rather than eligible voter populations, may even be at risk. Kavanaugh's mere elevation will likely embolden state and federal officials who are more comfortable picking their voters, and tightening their links with big money donors, than allowing voters to select them.

The damage done by Kavanaugh's testimony to his structural independence, however, is qualitatively different. It also marks a turning point - for the worse - on the part of the Supreme Court's trajectory in American politics.

No matter how well-intentioned Kavanaugh may prove, he cannot erase the shadow on the Court's independence that his own testimony has created.

Kavanaugh's testimony created a new - and unprecedented - risk that he will be personally beholden to his fellow Republicans in the House and the Senate, above and beyond his manifest ideological commitments.

This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.

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Aziz Huq and Tom Ginsburg are both professors at the University of Chicago Law School.

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 12:34 AM | Permalink

October 8, 2018

SportsMonday: The Plan

So what should the Cubs do now? I have some thoughts.

Trade Albert Almora and move Jason Heyward to center. And have the switch-hitting Ian Happ spend extra time during the off-season hitting right-handed because when he isn't subbing for Heyward against tough lefties he'll be subbing for Kyle Schwarber over in left.

The Cubs should give Schwarber, who hit all but one of his 26 homers in 2018 against righties, 550 more at-bats to take one last shot at his becoming the big-time, almost-everyday power hitter they projected him to be. If a hitter is going to be much better against one sort of pitcher than another, better it be against righties just because there are so many of them among humans (usually estimated at 90 percent of the population). In other words, Happ will usually sub for Heyward. Unless Happ is playing second base.

Almora had a decent year hitting the baseball (less so drawing walks but why should he be different than anyone else in this goofy organization?). He is an above average defensive centerfielder (remember that the average major league centerfielder is at least good). He is just the sort of guy that a successful team with well above average hitting at the corners (first and third, left and right) can put in center to play great defense first and foremost.

Almora (third on the team with a .286 batting average) doesn't do a good enough job drawing walks and he has at-best doubles power. I'm not saying you will get a huge haul for him but someone should be willing to part with at least a decent prospect and at least one more guy who has least a long shot at contributing in the majors some day. Teams need at least a few batting average guys. They can hit sixth or seventh (or eighth if the team is good enough) and actually drive in runs rather than coax yet another walk that doesn't drive in the guys on second and third. And hopefully at least a few teams haven't noticed what a lousy baserunner he is.

Sign or trade for a great hitter who can play at least average right field. The chances of the Cubs signing Bryce Harper are not great and they should think long and hard before they even get involved in that bidding war. And someone other than Theo Epstein needs to weigh in with a persuasive case to make a big free agency signing.

When you look at Epstein's extra-large moves during his tenure with the Cubs - and his final few years in Boston - the record of failure is downright disturbing. The general manager signed Carl Crawford, Hanley Ramirez, Jason Heyward and Yu Darvish to deals worth almost $600 million collectively. Other than Heyward's glorious Game 7 speech, the deals haven't paid off. Thank goodness that isn't my money. And don't feel bad for the Rickettses. The billionaire family is still doing just fine.

Here's an idea: work out a trade for Miggy Cabrera. Of course, the Tigers will have to pick up a big chunk of his contract to make it work (although again, I don't care). Sure, Miggy has been more of a first baseman of late but I'll bet he can play a decent right field . . . wait a minute, I just looked at his contract. The injury-prone now 35-year-old ballplayer is owed $30 million in 2019, 2020 and 2021 and $32 million in 2022 and 2023. Maybe that isn't such a good idea and moving on now as we say a prayer of thanksgiving that we aren't Detroit sports fans (although nice win over the Packers on Sunday, Lions!).

The main thing I'm trying to say is the Cubs are probably better going and getting a bad contract (but not Cabrera's disaster) to fill the hole in right than they would be having Theo give Harper who knows how much moolah. Have Theo make a trade rather than break the free agency bank.

In the infield, it is hard to believe that Addison Russell will play another game for the Cubs. Hey Addison, you accepted a 40-game suspension. If you want to play here again, you will need to make a statement expressing way more contrition than you have yet.

So Javy settles in at short. My thought would be to then stick with Kris Bryant at third (he is above-average defensively at the position - far less so in left field) and give David Bote a shot at second. And if Bote can't do it well enough, bring in Happ.

The first priority in the offseason is to find a veteran catcher who will be a new David Ross going forward. Willson Contreras regressed massively during the last few months of the 2018 season. He looked like he was maturing in the first half of the season but at the end he was the same overly emotional mess that he has been too frequently during his Cub career. And he couldn't buy an extra-base hit to save his life.

There we go. Just a few moves to make the lineup better going forward while remembering that this 2018 team did win 95 games.

As far as the pitching goes, well, with eight legit major league starters under contract for next year, doesn't it makes sense to groom at least one of them, if not two, to be Andrew Miller style multi-inning relievers? Of course it does.

Go get em, Theo!

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Jim "Coach" Coffman welcomes your comments.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 9:20 AM | Permalink

The [Monday] Papers

"The city of Columbus, Ohio, will not observe the controversial federal holiday honoring its namesake, Italian explorer Christopher Columbus, for the first time this year," USA Today reports.

"City offices are instead scheduled to close on Veterans Day in November, though a spokesperson for the mayor's office said the decision was not spurred by movements to replace Columbus Day with Indigenous Peoples Day, a counter-celebration held on the same day to commemorate Native Americans."

Then why?

"Ohio's capital city is the most populated city named after Columbus, with 860,000 people in the 2016 U.S. census. The city, however, lacks the funding to give its 8,500 employees both Veterans Day and Columbus Day off, said Robin Davis, a spokesperson for Mayor Andrew Ginther."

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"Columbus made its announcement Thursday in a two-paragraph news release focused on the impact on trash pickup and parking enforcement schedules," CBS News reports.

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By the way . . .

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Last word:

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Postscript | Resignifying the day at Logan Bar:

LoganDC2.jpg

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New on the Beachwood . . .

SportsMonday: The Plan
What should the Cubs do now? Our very own Jim "Coach" Coffman has some ideas.

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The Beachwood Radio Sports Hour #220: Worst 95-Win Team Ever!
Offense cold as The Freeze. Plus: Judging Joe; Back To The Future; Joe's Job (In)security; Jason Benetti's Awesome Statcast; The 2018 Cubs Lacked Killer Instinct; Dr. Theo & Mr. Epstein; Bring Cole Hamels Back; White Sox Season In Verse; State Of The Bears; Blackhawks Should Get Used To Winning Ugly; Bulls Set To Open Most Boring Season Yet; There Is Nothing To Say About College Football; TrackNotes, Racing Luck; Ugly Light-Up Christmas Sweaters Now With Audio!; and Tempered Expectations For 2019 Cubs.

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Chicago Reddit

Is it legal to plant a tree on the verge in front of my house ? from r/chicago

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ChicagoGram

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ChicagoTube

Incredible CN lashup at the Chicago Marathon w/ IC 1000, IC 1003, and WC 3018

"[A]t Canal/Cermak just south of downtown."

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BeachBook

Melania Trump Cosplays Nazi Villain On Holiday In Egypt - Continues Search For The Ark.

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U.S. Government Requests For Comment Are Routinely Flooded By Pro-Corporate Bots.

The most pseudo-patriotic companies and the people who lead them are also those who most pervert democracy in order to attain their own egoistic, greedy desires.

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TweetWood
A sampling.

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I finally came up with a nickname for JB.

As for the incumbent, I'm thinking about Raunerovich, as a play on Baloneyvich, which I thought was my best ever and never caught on because this world sucks.

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The Beachwood Tip Line: Five dollars and footlong.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 12:31 AM | Permalink

October 6, 2018

The Beachwood Radio Sports Hour #220: Worst 95-Win Team Ever!

Offense cold as The Freeze. Plus: Judging Joe; Back To The Future; Joe's Job (In)security; Jason Benetti's Awesome Statcast; The 2018 Cubs Lacked Killer Instincts; Dr. Theo & Mr. Epstein; Bring Cole Hamels Back; White Sox Season In Verse; State Of The Bears; Blackhawks Should Get Used To Winning Ugly; Bulls Set To Open Most Boring Season Yet; There Is Nothing To Say About College Football; TrackNotes, Racing Luck; Ugly Light-Up Christmas Sweaters Now With Audio!; and Tempered Expectations For 2019 Cubs.


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SHOW NOTES

* 220.

* Coffman: "My god, someone get a freakin' hit!"

* Theo's State of the Cubs Union: "Our offense broke."

8:40: Judging Joe.

* Rhodes: "It's possible for both of the following statements to be true . . . "

* Terrance Gore's Other Job:

* When you don't want to see Jason Heyward or Kyle Schwarber in a pinch-hit situation.

* FanGraphs: Kyle Chokeber.

16:43: Back To The Future.

* Get Manny!

* Get rid of Addy!

* Rhodes: "Theo is the Ryan Pace of the Cubs!"

* Worst 95-win team ever!

24:05: Maddon's Job (In)security.

* Joe Thibodeau!

* Now we know why Maddon was so defensive this year.

* Theo: "Launch angle is not a fad."

37:30: Jason Benetti's Awesome Statcast.

39:59: Theo: 2018 Cubs Lacked Killer Instinct.

* Lester: Team was complacent, arrogant.

* Rhodes: Maybe Maddon's Game 3 and getaway day lineups were complacent . . .

* Javy: We paid too much attention to other teams.

50:16 Dr. Theo & Mr. Epstein.

* Terrible offseason, great midseason.

54:11 Bring Cole Hamels Back.

54:52: White Sox Season In Verse.

55:19: State Of The Bears.

* Coffman: "Jordan Howard better get over himself."

* Trubisky? How 'bout Mahomes!

* Next up: Fins, Pats.

* Smokin' Jay Cutler.

1:04:53: Blackhawks Should Get Used To Winning Ugly.

* Analysis Of A Roof Shot.

* Cam Ward Overcomes Rough Start For OT Win: 'Needed to take a deep breath.'

1:07:47: Bulls Set To Open Most Boring Season Yet.

1:08:05: There Is Nothing To Say About College Football.

1:08:12: TrackNotes: Racing Luck.

1:08:17: Ugly Light-Up Christmas Sweaters Now With Audio!

1:12:15: Tempered Cubs Expectations For 2019?

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STOPPAGE: 12:42

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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 9:34 AM | Permalink

October 5, 2018

The (Not Even Close) Case Against Jason Van Dyke

"After about two hours of closing arguments, jurors [in the Jason Van Dyke trial] were instructed on the law by Judge Vincent Gaughan and sent back at about 12:30 p.m. to begin deliberating what will be one of the most closely watched verdicts in Cook County history. If no verdict is reached Thursday, it is believed the jurors will be sequestered at a nearby hotel before resuming discussions Friday," the Tribune reported late Thursday.

No verdict was reached and, indeed, jurors were sequestered overnight. Deliberations are expected to continue today.

"Van Dyke, 40, is charged with two counts of first-degree murder, 16 counts of aggravated battery with a firearm and one count of official misconduct.

"Jurors, though, will have the option to instead find Van Dyke guilty of the lesser charge of second-degree murder. To do that, they would need to find that Van Dyke's claim he feared for his safety when he fired 16 shots at McDonald was unreasonable."

After reviewing coverage of the trial, I believe Van Dyke will be found guilty, one way or another. At least it's obvious to me that he should be found guilty. But you never know what a jury will do.

I will also say that Van Dyke's lawyer, Daniel Herbert, was less adept in the courtroom than I expected him to be, and that, surprisingly, Van Dyke's best day was the day he testified on his own behalf, simply because that's when he became human to the jury, flaws and all. He may have earned some sympathy that day. But that day also might have been his worst, because his testimony was so at odds with the video we've all seen and with the established facts of the case.

Anyway, I last wrote about the trial on September 18, when (or thereabouts) the prosecution wrapped up their case. Here are the highlights of what's happened since - the defense's case, the prosecution's cross-examination, Van Dyke's own testimony, and closing arguments - in roughly chronological order, with occasional commentary and analysis.

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"A defense expert in the trial of a white police officer charged with murder in the death of Laquan McDonald on Monday criticized the official autopsy results in testimony that seemed to contradict what video of the 2014 shooting shows," the AP's Don Babwin reported, again unafraid to vet the testimony with his own eyes for us.

"Forensic pathologist Shaku Teas testified that she believes at least 12 of the 16 shots fired by Officer Jason Van Dyke on Oct. 20, 2014, hit McDonald before the 17-year-old was on the ground. Prosecutors told the jury last week that the video shows McDonald hitting the ground less than two seconds after the first shot was fired. Twelve more seconds of gunfire then follows, they said.

"Under intense questioning by prosecutors, Teas seemed to contradict her own testimony, saying she had no opinion on whether five of the shots hit the teen before he fell. She then stated that she didn't know how many shots hit McDonald before he fell."

In other words, Teas's testimony was a mess. A win for the prosecution.

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"Later Monday, Van Dyke's attorneys turned to another key component of their strategy: McDonald himself. They called witnesses to testify about the teen's history of violent behavior. Miguel DeJsuus, who works at the Cook County Juvenile Detention Center, told jurors of an incident in which McDonald told him he was on drugs before striking him. Joseph Plaud of the Cook County's Sheriff's Department testified about seeing McDonald 'yelling, screaming, swearing' while he was in the juvenile court lockup a little more than a year before the shooting."

Objection, your honor - relevance!

"But both witnesses along with another man who worked in the lockup acknowledged that they never spoke to Van Dyke about McDonald before the shooting - admissions designed to tell the jury that Van Dyke knew nothing about the teen's past when he shot him."

Another win for the prosecution on the facts, though maybe the defense got half a point in its effort to present McDonald as a dangerous person - though I doubt it.

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"Truck driver Rudy Barillas testified Wednesday he was parking in a secured lot on Chicago's Southwest Side in October 2014 when he spotted a black youth inside a truck, told him to leave and then called 911," the Tribune reported.

"'He pulled out a knife, and he wanted to hurt me,' Barillas said through a Spanish interpreter. 'He came towards me and tried to stab me.'

"As a rapt Cook County jury watched, Barillas rose on the witness stand and demonstrated how the attacker - later identified as 17-year-old Laquan McDonald - thrust the knife toward him in his right hand. Barillas said he was able to fend off the attack by throwing his cellphone at the man and then gravel at his face. He said the man fled when he heard him calling the police a second time.

"Barillas' story of his encounter with McDonald - which occurred minutes before the teen was fatally shot by Chicago police Officer Jason Van Dyke - bolstered the image Van Dyke's defense team has carefully painted of McDonald as an armed and aggressive individual who was a threat to both police and citizens.

"But it came with a catch: None of the police officers responding to the scene that night - including Van Dyke - knew that McDonald had tried to stab Barillas. In fact, the only information Van Dyke had at the time he opened fire was that the teen may have been burglarizing trucks and had 'popped' a squad car tire with his knife."

Another win for the prosecution, as the defense continues what will become a pattern of presenting witnesses who do not help their cause.

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"In a tense cross-examination, [CPD officer Leticia] Velez stuck by her testimony that she was concerned that McDonald might have had a gun. However, she conceded that the entire incident happened so quickly that she didn't have time to warn other officers about her concern. She also said she was in shock at the time," the Tribune reported.

"While Velez initially said she did not recall whether she unholstered her weapon that night, after assistant special prosecutor Jody Gleason showed Velez her sworn testimony from another proceeding in 2015, the officer conceded she may have had her gun out.

"Velez also said under oath in 2015 that after Van Dyke's partner, Joseph Walsh, kicked the knife out of McDonald's hand after he had been shot 16 times, he conducted a thorough pat-down to search for weapons. However, the dashcam video of the shooting does not show Walsh taking that action, Gleason pointed out.

"When pressed, Velez maintained that Walsh did, in fact, conduct the search.

"'I'm saying he searched him, OK?' she said."

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"The first time Yvette Patterson laid eyes on Laquan McDonald, he was hanging out in the alley behind her house as she came home from a party in the early morning hours of Oct. 20, 2014," the Sun-Times reported.

"He walked over and was like, 'Can I see your car? I just want to use it. I'll bring it right back,'" Patterson recalled on the witness stand Thursday, as a witness for the defense of Jason Van Dyke, the police officer who fatally shot McDonald less than 20 hours later.

"In her testimony Thursday, Patterson remembered 'laughing and talking' with the 17-year-old, and politely declining to loan him her car. Defense attorney Dan Herbert noted that she'd called 911 and in a 2015 interview with the FBI, she'd told agents the conversation started with McDonald asking her 'Who the fuck do you know that lives here?'

"Patterson insisted she wasn't frightened of McDonald but did want to be protected as she went inside.

"'I ended up calling the police for the simple fact that I wanted to get into the house, I wasn't in fear at all,' she said. 'He was a very nice young guy, evidently.'

"Patterson's cheery testimony was one of several blows to Van Dyke's defense, as his lawyers have struggled to build the case they previewed in their opening statement that McDonald was on a 'wild rampage' the night he was shot."

The defense might have been better off not presenting any witnesses at all.

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"Assistant special prosecutor Joseph Cullen questioned [Dr. James Thomas] O'Donnell on whether McDonald was displaying rage that night - from the effects of the PCP - or whether he was simply trying to avoid police," the Tribune reported.

"'He continued to walk away from officers toward an empty fence . . . That's what you describe as rage?' Cullen asked.

"'Yes,' O'Donnell replied. 'He's still in the situation with a knife in his hand and disobeying orders from the police . . . still showing aggressive behavior and actions. I would describe that as violent rage behavior.'"

Erratic, yes. Violent rage? No.

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"A Chicago police officer has told jurors at the trial of a white officer charged with murder in the shooting of Laquan McDonald that he once told officers to beware of people possibly carrying guns disguised as knives," AP reported.

"The testimony came Wednesday as defense attorneys sought to bolster their argument that Jason Van Dyke legitimately saw McDonald as a threat before shooting him 16 times as he walked away carrying a knife.

"William Schield said he raised the prospect with officers in 2012, two years before McDonald was killed, about knives specially fashioned to shoot bullets. The implication was that Van Dyke could have imagined McDonald had such a device."

This argument depends on the unlikelihood that Van Dyke - and no other officers at the scene - remembered that warning 24 months after, purportedly, hearing it. It also ignores that no other officer on the scene felt threatened when Van Dyke rolled up, jumped out of his car and unloaded 16 shots into McDonald. Maybe no one else got the 2012 memo.

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"There were no explicit references to racism during the testimony, though witnesses made subtle references to skin color on several occasions. The defense, for example, commissioned an animated video of the shooting in which the designer put the McDonald character in all-black clothing and with a hoodie pulled over his head, despite video evidence showing him dressed in jeans with large, light-colored pockets and his sweatshirt hood down," the Tribune reported.

A) Why was the defense allowed to show an animated version of the shooting when a real version already exists on video?

B) Really with the hoodie and all-black clothing?

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"The designer also testified he typically does not put skin color on animated characters, but he did so in this case."

Gee, I wonder why.

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Also:

"On the stand, Van Dyke referred to McDonald in police parlance as a 'male black' in a hoodie at least four times during his testimony."

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Now, if one was to give Van Dyke the benefit of the doubt in any way, shape or form, it might be that he misunderstood the situation he was pulling up into.

"But [Laurence] Miller, the defense psychologist, told the jury that in the moments before Van Dyke had arrived on the scene, he told his partner that he might have to shoot the offender," the Tribune reports.

"Oh my God, we are going to have to shoot the guy," Van Dyke recalled telling his partner during an interview with the psychologist.

"Van Dyke also knew officers had asked for a Taser to subdue McDonald, but he also openly questioned why police didn't shoot the teen after he popped their car tire and scratched a windshield, Miller said.

"Why didn't they shoot him if he's attacking them?" Van Dyke asked his partner, according to Miller.

Of course, he wasn't attacking them.

"During cross-examination Tuesday, Van Dyke did not deny making the comments to Walsh, his partner that night," the Tribune reported.

"I thought the officers were under attack," Van Dyke said. "The whole thing was just shocking to me."

If Van Dyke indeed misunderstood the situation, that might explain - not justify - why he did what he did. I've always wondered if Van Dyke was ever tested for drugs or was having a particularly bad day because he arrived on the scene seemingly super-agitated. Sixteen shots indicate some sort of uneven mental state. In any case, these statements might be the ones that do him in.

"Legal experts, including veteran defense attorney Terry Ekl, who believes Van Dyke did well on the witness stand, told the Tribune that those statements were damning.

"'It showed he had an aggressive state of mind before he even got there,' Ekl said. 'It shows a predisposition. I thought it was significant.'"

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"Van Dyke faltered at times under cross-examination, saying he couldn't remember certain details, particularly when it came to statements he made to police immediately after the shooting. He grew testy at several points, snapping at the prosecutor to let him finish his answers and addressing her sharply as 'Miss,'" the Tribune reported.

"Van Dyke testified that he started firing at McDonald again, at one point actually aiming at the knife to try to knock it out of the teen's hand. When his weapon was empty, he began to reload because that's what he had been trained to do, but he stopped when Walsh told him it wasn't necessary, Van Dyke testified.

"Jason, I got this," he said Walsh told him.

Van Dyke said he watched Walsh kick the knife out of McDonald's hand. Once that threat was eliminated, he called for help, he told the jury.

"I screamed into the radio, 'We need an ambulance,'" he said.

Assistant special prosecutor Jody Gleason quickly pounced on Van Dyke's version of events during cross-examination, first challenging his account of McDonald raising the knife before being shot.

"Now you sat here for several days," Gleason said. "Where do you see that in the video?"

"The video doesn't show my perspective," answered Van Dyke, repeating a common theme of the defense throughout the trial.

Gleason then showed Van Dyke the computer animation created by the defense that was intended to show the shooting from the officer's perspective. She asked where McDonald lifted the knife in the computer-generated model. Van Dyke said the defense's own video also didn't depict what he saw.

So his testimony was not only at odds with the real-time video we've all seen, but with the animated video that his own defense team made in sympathy with his purported point-of-view.

Toast.

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"Gleason also questioned why Van Dyke didn't use the six seconds between the time he got out of his squad car and the time he opened fire to move away from McDonald or take cover behind the car.

"In that six seconds, he got a lot closer to me," Van Dyke said.

Gleason pointed out that the video showed Van Dyke took a step closer to McDonald, despite his initial claims that he backpedaled as McDonald came closer.

"I know that now, yeah," he said. "Not intentionally. I thought I was backpedaling."

"What?" Gleason asked with a tone of incredulity.

"Miss, I thought I was backpedaling that night," Van Dyke said.

"You thought you were backpedaling as you're firing shot after shot after shot?" Gleason asked.

"What I know now and what I thought at the time are two different things," Van Dyke shot back.

Van Dyke said during his testimony that McDonald never turned his back on officers, despite prosecutors insisting he was "walking away."

"He could have made a decisive turn and walked in the opposite direction," he said. "He could have thrown that knife away and ended it all right then and there."

Gleason, the prosecutor, rephrased the question moments later.

"And you could have ended it all the minute he hit the ground, correct?" Gleason asked.

Van Dyke said he took that amount of time for him to "reassess" the situation.

"But you testified that even when you reassessed the situation, you continued to shoot him," Gleason said.

"Because to me it seemed like he was getting back up," he said.

I would guess that any sliver of sympathy jurors may have held for Van Dyke evaporated at this point.

*

A couple of more exchanges between Gleason and Van Dyke, via the Sun-Times:

Assistant Special Prosecutor Jody Gleason: And then you continued to shoot him after that?

Van Dyke: I shot at that knife. I wanted him to get rid of that knife.

Gleason: Okay. Let's talk about the knife. You're not trained as a police officer to shoot at somebody's knife, are you?

Van Dyke: No, you're not.

Gleason: You're trained to shoot at center mass, correct?

Van Dyke: Yes.

Gleason: So why did you continue to shoot at his knife? That's not what you're trained to do.

Van Dyke: My focus was just on that knife, and I just wanted him to get rid of that knife. That's all I could think.

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And:

Gleason: Now, you stopped shooting because your gun was empty, correct?

Van Dyke: Yes.

Gleason: And it wasn't because you thought the threat was over with, right?

Van Dyke: (After a long pause) I'm sorry?

Gleason: It wasn't because you thought the threat was over with, right?

Van Dyke: Between the time I stopped shooting and the time I reloaded, the situation had drastically changed.

Gleason: Really? What changed?

Van Dyke: There was no longer a threat by the time I reloaded my weapon and brought it up to the ready position.

Gleason: Why wasn't he?

Van Dyke: In those couple of seconds he, um, he had stopped moving.

*

"Prosecutors called just one witness in their rebuttal case," the Tribune reported.

"Cook County Sheriff's Officer Adam Murphy was the only officer on the scene to comfort McDonald after the shooting, telling him to hang in there and assuring him paramedics were coming. On Wednesday, Murphy told jurors that he saw a pool of blood around McDonald on Pulaski Road and that the blood was coming from the teen's body - testimony meant to dispute the defense team's suggestion that McDonald died so quickly there wasn't much blood at the scene."

Every defense witness appears to have been successfully rebutted.

*

Now about the jury . . . here are the ones who could hang this thing. Descriptions via NBCChicago.

Juror 1: "On her questionnaire she said she respects police and 'they are just doing their job.'"

Juror 5: "She said she knows about the case from the news and has seen the video. 'I had different thoughts,' she said. 'Why did Laquan keep walking away? Why didn't he stop?'"

Juror 7: "A white male who said he has not seen the video. Though he said on the questionnaire he had not heard about the case, he admitted to the judge he had. He also said, 'I'm just a big supporter of the 2nd amendment. And I have a lot of respect for police officers.'"

He wanted on this jury. How was he allowed when he was untruthful about having seen the video?

Juror 10: The most intriguing juror.

"A Hispanic woman who works for a downtown parking company but is applying to become a Chicago police officer."

Whoa, how is she allowed on the panel? And what a box she's in - she can voted to convict and risk going into the department as a pariah or vote to acquit and be deemed by at least some elements of the command staff as lacking the judgement to be a cop.

But note: "On her questionnaire, she wrote 'no one is above the law.'"

Juror 11: "He said he has seen the video but hasn't formed an opinion."

How do you see that video and not form an opinion?

Juror 12: "A white female who wrote on the questionnaire, 'No matter what your occupation is, if you knowingly did something wrong, you should face consequences.'"

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Two alternate jurors now dismissed because they won't be needed were leaning toward conviction, the Tribune reports.

"Most definitely I would have said guilty," said one dismissed alternate, a Hispanic man who drives a truck for FedEx. "For me he should have waited a little bit longer. I mean he knew the Taser was coming. That's what did it for me."

And:

The other alternate, a white woman who works in marketing at a downtown law firm, said she was swayed by the fact that other officers on the scene that night didn't feel the need to use deadly force - and McDonald was trying to get away from officers, not charge toward them.

"When he was on a dark street with someone, he popped a tire to try to get away. He hit a car to try to disable it. He wasn't coming at folks," she said. "Where was he actually causing an issue that Jason Van Dyke thought that he needed to use deadly force? I just didn't understand that."

*

"Fraternal Order of Police President Kevin Graham said Van Dyke "gave a very honest, unrehearsed account of what he saw that night," the Sun-Times reports.

If Van Dyke's testimony was unrehearsed, his lawyer should be disbarred.

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The jury has asked for a transcript of the testimony of Joseph Walsh, Van Dyke's partner that night.

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Finally, our scary police department:

"If he's convicted, other officers wondered if police would become even more hesitant to do aggressive police work out of fear of being sued, indicted or fired," the Tribune reports.

Really? So CPD should be given carte blanche to commit murder in order for the force to keep their edge?

"The officers, who spoke on the condition of anonymity because they're not authorized by the department to speak to the media, also offered opinions on whether Van Dyke should be convicted, with most of those the Tribune talked to saying they believed he did nothing illegal. Many did think Van Dyke will be fired, however."

*

"Some of the officers interviewed by the Tribune believe a conviction for Van Dyke would be a blow to the police, making officers less proactive on the streets. But others say that type of aggressive policing has already plummeted ever since the dashboard camera video of the McDonald shooting was released by court order in November 2015 on the same day Van Dyke became the first officer in decades to be charged with first-degree murder for an on-duty shooting.

"Because of that, some officers said police have already stepped back on their aggressiveness, only responding to 911 calls over the radio without relying on their street smarts to act on their own."

Great, officers fearing a loss of impunity are now half-assing their jobs.

"It's not going to make a difference because those people have already shut down," said one supervisor who works in some of the city's most violence-plagued neighborhoods. "The damage is done."

Another sergeant disagreed, saying a conviction could still have an impact on police. "Even people who haven't de-policed over the years, they may de-police," the sergeant said.

Did any officers - even just one - say that a conviction would be a win for the department because it would show they are accountable, it would help build trust with the people they serve, and it would be a step forward toward reforming the department?

*

"Another veteran supervisor thinks there's going to be unrest no matter the verdict.

"They were happy when the Bulls won, and the city (nearly) burned to the ground," said the supervisor, who works in a citywide unit. "A lot of people may use the trial . . . to do their nasty deeds."

I wonder who the supervisor means by "they."

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See also:

"Jason Van Dyke's fellow officers began working to keep him out of trouble almost immediately after he shot Laquan McDonald, and detectives and higher-ranking officers continued to try to protect him even months after the department cleared him of wrongdoing, according to a court document unsealed Thursday," the Sun-Times reports.

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 1:50 AM | Permalink

The [Friday] Papers

For completists, there was no column on Thursday.

"Jeppson's Malort, a bitter wormwood liquor that's simultaneously embraced and reviled by many Chicagoans, has been acquired by the Pilsen-based CH Distillery," the Tribune reports.

"CH Distillery, a craft distillery known for its organic vodka, plans to make and bottle Malort at its Pilsen distillery beginning next year, effectively bringing Malort, a Swedish liquor with deep Chicago roots, back to its hometown."

By the way, you are allowed to put ketchup on your Malort.

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New on the Beachwood . . .

The (Not Even Close) Case Against Jason Van Dyke
The defense might have been better off not calling any witnesses at all.

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How We Know Brett Kavanaugh Is Lying
A comprehensive reader that leaves absolutely no doubt.

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New NFL Bluetooth® Ugly Christmas Sweater Has Fans Dancing Into The Holiday Spirit
With audio! Audio sweaters!

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Modern By Design: Chicago Streamlines America
Discover how Chicago brought modern design to the American marketplace.

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How Torture Tears Apart Societies From Within
A profound tear in the fabric that makes us human.

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The Beachwood Radio Sports Hour
Is in pre-production.

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ChicagoGram

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ChicagoTube

Chicago Pneumatic CP50804200H18 12 W x 18 L 05 HP General Air Belt Sander review

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BeachBook

John Carlos And Tommie Smith 50 Years Later.

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East Germany's Secret Underground Murals.

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Guantanamo's Banned Books Week.

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Public Art Advocates Speak Out Against The Sale Of Chicago Library's Kerry James Marshall Mural.

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Kim Kardashian's Theory About Why Chicago Looks More Like Her Than Kanye.

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Hersheypark Unveils Plans For Chocolatetown.

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TweetWood
A sampling.

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The Beachwood Tip Line: Did anyone get that this whole time?

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 12:50 AM | Permalink

October 4, 2018

How We Know Brett Kavanaugh Is Lying

Recognizing that his 10,000-word essay was potentially "a lot" for some consumers, Nathan J. Robinson, editor-in-chief of Current Affairs magazine, has created a video version with the same title - "How We Know Kavanaugh Is Lying" - for those who might find it easier to digest.

Robinson first published his essay on Saturday, after the testimony of Dr. Christine Blasey Ford and Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh before the Senate Judiciary Committee on Thursday, but the video version was posted online Monday evening.

If you have 15 minutes and want to hear a good explanation of why Kavanaugh proved himself a liar whereas Ford came out of her testimony more credible than even before she went in, watch this:

As numerous observers and lawmakers have now pointed out, if it's shown definitively that Kavanaugh lied to the Senate Judiciary Committee while under oath, that would be a clear case of perjury and "disqualifying" for a nominee seeking a lifetime seat on the U.S. Supreme Court. Indeed, as Sen. Bernie Sanders declared Monday night, if Kavanaugh lied about anything that would be a federal crime.

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

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See also:

* I Was Brett Kavanaugh's Roommate. He Lied Under Oath.

* I Know Brett Kavanaugh, But I Wouldn't Confirm Him.

* Brett Kavanaugh Isn't Robert Bork. He's John Tower.

* Brett Kavanaugh's Character Cannot Be Found In His Resume.

* Brett Kavanaugh: A Youth Pastor's Perspective.

* Amid Concerns Of Narrow FBI Probe, Why Definition Of 'Boofing,' Kavanaugh's Drinking Habits, And His Truthfulness Are Crucial.

* Prosecutor's "Reprehensible" Memo Proves GOP Aimed To Put Accuser Ford On Trial, Not Brett Kavanaugh.

* The American Bar Association Had Concerns About Kavanaugh 12 Years Ago. Republicans Dismissed Those, Too.

* The Unbearable Dishonesty Of Brett Kavanaugh.

* Kavanaugh Said He Had 'No Connections' to Yale. He Was, In Fact, A Legacy Student.

* Kavanaugh And The Blackout Theory.

* At Times, Kavanaugh's Defense Misleads Or Veers Off Point.

* The Lies That Senators Must Tell Themselves To Support Brett Kavanaugh.

* 'I Got Into Yale' Isn't A Moral Defense.

* E-Mails Show That Republican Senate Staff Stymied A Kavanaugh Accuser's Effort To Give Testimony.

* Here's Where Kavanaugh's Sworn Testimony Was Misleading Or Wrong.

* Wikipedia Entry For 'Devil's Triangle' Changed To Match Kavanaugh's Answer.

* Why Brett Kavanaugh Wasn't Believable.

* The Elite Legal World's 'Conspiracy of Silence.'

* Feinstein: Kavanaugh Misled About Grand Jury Secrecy In Vince Foster Probe.

* Evidence Of Kavanaugh Perjury Mounts After Durbin Releases More 'Confidential' Documents.

* Brett Kavanaugh's Unlikely Story About Democrats' Stolen Documents.

* I Wrote Some Of The Stolen Memos That Brett Kavanaugh Lied To The Senate About.

* A Conservative's Conservative Before He Was Nominated And An Open-Minded Jurist After.

* 'Not An Accident' Kavanaugh's Female Law Clerks 'Looked Like Models,' Yale Professors Advised Students.

* How 65 Women Came To Kavanaugh's Defense In Matter Of Hours.

* 'Brett Was Involved' - Inside Supreme Court Nominee's Work For Bill Clinton Probe.

* The Brett Kavanaugh Files: Explore The Documents.

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Plus:

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He signed his Beach Week letter "Bart."

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Judge has since reportedly been interviewed by the FBI - now that he knows from Kavanaugh's testimony what the corroborating answers are.

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This is true, this is what FFFFF means.

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 12:54 PM | Permalink

New NFL Bluetooth® Ugly Christmas Sweater Has Fans Dancing Into The Holiday Spirit

Forever Collectibles (FOCO) introduce today the first series of Bluetooth-enabled ugly Christmas sweaters. It's never too early to prepare for ugly Christmas sweater season, and if you're a sports fan, the time is now. The officially-licensed knitted NFL team light-up Bluetooth sweaters for the 2018 holiday season have arrived! The sweaters, debuting this fall with the National Football League, will also be released across all major professional and collegiate sports and availability will vary by team and league later this fall.

bearssweaterfront.jpg

bearssweaterback.jpg

"Last season we introduced the light-up sweater and it was a huge success," said Matthew Katz, senior licensing manager. "This year we had to up the ante, and the only way to do that was to add a sound feature. Now your sweater can literally play any sound you want it to, whether it's a touchdown celebration dance or the team's theme song. We know our sweaters now deliver the closest in-game experience to fans!"

FOCO is widely regarded as one of the largest suppliers of licensed products in professional sports, offering more than 3,000 items to sports fans since 1998. Ugly Christmas sweaters have traditionally been one of the company's best-sellers in the past and with the introduction of the new Light Up Bluetooth speaker, the company stays on the forefront of the category.

Compatible with both Android and Apple devices, the new Light Up Bluetooth Sweater collection includes all 32 NFL teams complete with a speaker enclosed in the bottom of the sweater powered by triple-A batteries. Sweaters light up with an additional on/off switch located on the sweater. Fans can pre-order and shop the entire Light Up Bluetooth holiday sweater collection at www.foco.com under sweaters or by team. The sweaters are available for pre-order for $89.99 with free shipping for "squad members" on orders over $100. Availability will vary by team and league.

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 12:23 PM | Permalink

How Torture Tears Apart Societies From Within

Munir is a Kurdish man in his forties. We met several times in his home, with his family, and in the clinic where he has been for therapy. It took him a long time to open up.

Even though his wife knew that he had received medical assistance to counter the long-term effects of physical torture under Saddam Hussein's regime in Iraq, she did not know the details of what had been going on in the multiple places of confinement he, as a Kurdish activist, had been detained in Iraq - least of all that he was raped at a local branch of the Mukhabarat, the regime's infamous intelligence service.

About his time in prison, Munir stated that "I lost everything there; I lost my manhood." Derivatively, his imprisonment had on more than one occasion resulted in a row in which his wife would wonder about his lack of desire for conjugal intimacy. In this sense both his actual time in the prison and the way in which this moment in time continuously exert pressure on his conjugal relation has turned his imprisonment into a temporal marker of emasculation because of both the rape and the way in which his wife misconceives of him.

Munir is one of the many people I met while conducting ethnographic fieldwork among clients and health professionals in a Danish NGO in 2003-2004 and 2016-2018.

Accepting The Traumatic Victim

For over 30 years this NGO has offered interdisciplinary rehabilitation for survivors of torture. As such, my fieldwork has unfolded within the heart of what Didier Fassin and Richard Rechtman argued is The Empire of Trauma, namely the global apparatus of psychiatric interventions, manuals and theories which have given way to the traumatic victim as being culturally and morally respectable.

empireoftrauma.png

Many in Denmark complain that - out of approximately 160,000 who have gained residency there - too many refugees fail to integrate. That is, they do not learn Danish; they fail to contribute to the workforce; and they generally do not display proper "Danish" markers of belonging, despite the fact that belonging might be felt yet not always be tangible in familiar cultural gestures, such as performing the handshake irrespective of gender; consuming alcohol; and sending small children to state nurseries rather than taking care of them at home.

What those critical of migration tend to forget is that reinhabiting life after torture or any trauma - one-third of all refugees in Denmark have experienced or witnessed an event of torture - is one of the most fundamental difficulties faced by patients as well as by therapists.

Understanding why it is difficult is crucial, not only for current victims but also for their kin.

A Fundamental Inversion Of The Social World

Indeed, crafting a new social fabric in another country is often hampered because their social worlds have been torn to the extent that they might never be stitched back again.

As the philosopher Jean Améry writes, torture is a fundamental inversion of the social world.

Building on personal experience of the extermination camps of the World War II, Améry teaches us that torture is never only about the here and now in which an individual is suffering at the hands of a perpetrator. Rather, torture is such a profound tear in the fabric that makes us human that it can distort even the most fundamental elements of social existence, including, not least, social relations with near as well as distant others.

Repercussions On Kin And Generations

Understanding the reverberations of Munir's experience of torture, we are aided by anthropologist Shahla Talebi's rendering of violence and loss in the case of a female Iranian prisoner who committed suicide after she was released from prison under first the Shah and later the Islamic Republic.

talebi.jpg

Talebi knows from her own experience the torture and excruciating circumstances of imprisonment because she was imprisoned in Tehran for a decade herself. In the book Ghosts of Revolution, she teaches us how life after torture might in fact never become inhabitable again, thus her fellow inmate's suicide:

The gravity of the losses that result from multiple forms of violence, including society's gendered expectations and judgements, prevents her from redefining her subjectivity under the current conditions of her life and beyond the loss.

Munir did not commit suicide. But we sense his struggle to redefine male subjectivity from being a Kurdish political activist to being a caring father and responsible husband. Despite his secret, Munir has in his own words a strong and warm friendship with his wife, part of the story being the care he takes never to speak about his past experience of violence in front of her and their children. We see how his gestures of care toward his family are braided with his unrevealed memory and embodied sense of thwarted masculinity. Munir's experience of rape thereby surfaces not only in intimate moments with his wife, but as much in his continuous effort to care for his wife and children.

Anthropologist Veena Das offers a way to understand Munir's experience of simultaneously care and defeat by asking us to understand the conjoining forces of kinship, politics and pain where torture is made to stand out as a singular event but which is actually always folded into the ordinary. It reveals itself in the social ties through kinship or with other communities of belonging.

Does Treatment Make A Difference?

Underlining how difficult the process of healing might be for the survivor's sense of self, recent scientific studies have concluded that whereas specialized treatment might not make a notable difference for the individual survivor, it does if measured at the family level where the effects of treatment are seen in the upward socioeconomic status of the children of the survivors.

Meanwhile, other studies estimate that torture-related trauma increases the risk of violence within a family, as such underlining Améry's insight that torture scars the social world fundamentally.

The clinical staff among whom I do fieldwork know these challenges intimately from years of professional practice. As such there is a schism in working to ameliorate the effects of torture while knowing that those very effects may only hardly be treated. As stated, the beneficiary effects might not even be tangible until the next generation. How is this schism worked through in and beyond therapy?

The Wall

A senior psychotherapist recounted to me how she had just initiated a treatment plan with a client, who in turn had offered her a picture of what taking up therapy at the clinic meant to her: To be able to let go, break down, and simultaneously have the sensation that there was a wall behind her so that even if she fell there was something, and someone behind her to help her piece together not only herself but her relationships to her children, too.

In therapy, she did not have to keep up appearances; did not have to communicate how and why she was not well. The therapists knew.

finlandtorture.jpgUtö, Finland, graffiti/Aaron Blanco Tejedor, Unsplash

The woman's expression of the wall as a picture of therapy and the therapist who receives this picture both acknowledge what kind of object the wall is. It is a picture showing us that the client and the therapist agree on what suffering means and on the fact that no one can prevent the afflicted of falling apart. They also accept that this failure is part of the attempt of stitching together a fractured social world. This eventually enables a process of healing, not necessarily for the torture survivor but for the next generation.

This article was published in collaboration with the International Violence and Exiting Violence Platform and republished from The Conversation under a Creative Commons license.

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Lotte Buch Segal is an assistant anthropology professor at the University of Copenhagen, Foundation House of Human Sciences.

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See also John Conroy's Unspeakable Acts, Ordinary People: The Dynamics of Torture.

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Previously in torture:
* Doc Of Rages.

* They Said No To Torture.

* The Trews: What Should We Think About CIA Torture.

* The Tortured History Of The Senate Torture Report.

* Torture USA.

* The Best Reporting On Detention And Rendition Under Obama.

* Primer: Indefinite Detention And The NDAA.

* The Senate Report On CIA Interrogations You May Never See.

* Guantanamo: If The Light Goes Out.

* The Prison That Just Can't Be Closed.

* Barack Obama's Secret Island Prison.

* Guantanamo Prisoner Lifts Lid.

* Read The Fucking Torture Report, People.

* American Torture Story - Chicago Chapter.

* Obama Administration Blocks Release Of New Torture Details.

* REVEALED: The Boom And Bust Of The CIA's Secret Torture Sites.

* Torture By Iraqi Militias: The Report Washington Did Not Want You To See.

* 'Stunning:' CIA Admits 'Mistakenly' Deleting Copy of Senate Torture Report.

* Incommunicado' Forever: Gitmo Detainee's Case Stalled For 2,477 Days And Counting.

* The Terror Suspect Who Had Nothing To Give.

* Abducted, Tortured And Held 14 Years Without Trial, Gitmo Diary Author Finally Free.

* CIA Cables Detail New Deputy Director's Role in Torture.

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And, of course, for our voluminous coverage (too voluminous to list) of Jon Burge (and Homan Square), just pop his name into the search bar there on the right rail.

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Comments welcome.


Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 1:09 AM | Permalink

Modern By Design: Chicago Streamlines America

Inspired by modern technology, streamlined design emerged during the early 1930s and became one of the most popular design styles in history.

Discover how Chicago brought modern design to the American marketplace in the new exhibition, Modern by Design: Chicago Streamlines America, opening Saturday, October 27, at the Chicago History Museum. The exhibition is presented as part of the yearlong Art Design Chicago initiative of the Terra Foundation for American Art.

"Chicago is world-famous for modern architecture but its contributions to modern design are often overlooked," said Olivia Mahoney, senior curator at the Chicago History Museum. "This exhibition explores how Chicago shaped the look and feel of modern America with streamlined graphics, products and interior design."

Visitors will discover how Chicago introduced streamlined design on a mass scale at the 1933-34 Chicago World's Fair and how Chicago companies subsequently adapted the style to make a wide range of products for American consumers who wanted the latest look and technology in their homes and workplaces.

Nearly 300 objects, photographs and documents from the 1930s-1950s trace this compelling story. Objects on view, many for the first time, include:

  • Tubular steel furniture designed by Wolfgang Hoffmann for the W.W. Howell Company.
  • Streamlined appliances and products by Sunbeam, Sears and Montgomery Ward.
  • Advertisements for Wrigley Gum designed by Otis Shepard.
  • McCormick-Deering Farmall tractor designed by Raymond Loewy.
  • American Flyer toy trains, Radio Flyer wagons, and Tootsie Toy cars.

The exhibition will feature personal stories about designers such as Marianne Willisch and Lyn Colby, interior designers; Otis Shepard and Henry Harringer, graphic designers; and Wolfgang Hoffmann, Robert Budlong and John Morgan, industrial designers.

Art Deco Chicago: Designing Modern America serves as the companion publication to Modern by Design. The book is an expansive take on American Art Deco that explores Chicago's pivotal role in developing the architecture, graphic design, and product design that came to define the middle-class style in the 20th century.

Public programs will take place throughout the run of the exhibition. Programs include "Family Design Day at CHM."

Admission to the exhibition is included with regular Museum admission ($19 adults/ $17 seniors and students, and free for children 12 years of age and younger and Illinois residents 18 years and younger). The exhibition will run through December 1, 2019.

micdesign.jpgUnidyne microphone made by Shure Brothers, Chicago, c. 1940

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clockdesign.jpgWall clock designed by George Stephens and made by the Hammond Clock Company, Chicago, 1938.

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potdesign.jpgCoffee set designed by Michael McArdle and and made the Chicago Flexible Shaft Company, 1935.

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tabledesign.jpgTubular steel coffee table with glass top designed by Wolfgang Hoffmann for the W.W. Howell Company, Geneva, Illinois, c. 1935.

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 12:37 AM | Permalink

October 3, 2018

The [Wednesday] Papers

1. Assignment Desk, Activate: How They Really Got Rich.

Every one of these people should get the New York Times treatment.

Who's with me? Grant money? Publishing partners? I'm ready to work.

2. A History Of Police Violence In Chicago.

"At the turn of the century, Chicago police killed 307 people, one in 18 homicides in the city - three times the body count of local gangsters," historian Jeffrey S. Adler has found.

"African Americans made up 3 percent of Chicago's population and 21 percent of police homicide victims from 1910 to 1920."

3. Beer Bubble Bingo.

"Lagunitas Brewing Co. said Tuesday that it would cut 12 percent of its workforce, citing a retrenchment of the American craft beer market," the Santa Rosa Press Democrat reports.

I guess it was time for the craft beer bubble to pop.

"The decision to downsize comes 17 months after Dutch brewing giant Heineken International acquired full ownership of the homegrown brewery company."

Ohhhhhhhh. I guess it was time for the corporate ownership bubble to pop.

"The workforce reduction will affect every department in the company, which operates a production plant in Chicago and a taproom in Seattle, CEO Maria Stipp said in a prepared statement."

Maria Tipp, you are Today's Worst Person With A Connection To Chicago.

4. Cicero And 372 Other Cities Growing Faster Than Chicago.

Rahm's job here is done.

5. Possessing Pilsen.

"After 34 years operating Chavez Jewelry in Pilsen, the family business will permanently close its doors at 1420 W. 18th St., the owner confirmed.

"Chavez, 67, said a shift in neighborhood's demographics has played a role in the closing. Since 2011, she has seen rents in the area continue to climb, while her mostly Latino clientele has dwindled."

"I love what I do, but the rents have become too high," Chavez said. "I can't afford it anymore."

Because affluent white people have decided to claim the neighborhood for their own. That's gentrification in a nutshell.

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ChicagoReddit

Transplant city? from r/chicago

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ChicagoGram

View this post on Instagram

Wuv

A post shared by Tim Inklebarger (@timinklebarger) on

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ChicagoTube

We Are Medieval Times.

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TweetWood
A sampling.

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The Beachwood Tronc Line: Gastro of the soul.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 12:38 AM | Permalink

October 2, 2018

The [Tuesday] Papers

More tomorrow.

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ChicagoReddit

PSA: anyone considering renting out the boombox pop-up shops at Randolph and Halsted, do not do it it is a total waste of time. from r/chicago

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ChicagoGram

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ChicagoTube

Salmon Fishing On The Chicago Lakefront.

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TweetWood
A sampling.

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The Beachwood Tronc Line: Sparring partner.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 12:28 AM | Permalink

October 1, 2018

SportsMonday: Trumagic

It was still a stupid trade. But maybe ol' Mitch will justify it after all.

Ryan Pace was still negotiating against himself when he traded three draft picks to move up one spot (from No. 3 to 2) in the first round of the 2017 draft to draft the quarterback from North Carolina named Trubisky. He was fleeced by a rookie general manager (the 49ers' John Lynch) in his first 10 minutes on the job of drafting players for San Francisco.

Don't believe me? Ask Hub Arkush, who has way better sources than you do. Our man Hub has said on numerous occasions that there were no other offers for the 49ers' pick (and even if there had been, none included the No. 3 pick, the primary asset the Bears sent away - if the Browns had made the trade with the Niners, the primary asset would have been their next pick, No. 12). Pace got it in his head that he was going to be Mr. Aggressive and there was no stopping him.

But now we have the first evidence that it wasn't just justified, it was totally justified dude! In other words, the team that obliterated the Tampa Bay Buccaneers 48-10 Sunday looks like it has enough depth to be successful despite the lost picks. And the guy they did it for, the young quarterback with the glorious arm, has written a first chapter in a book of greatness.

My goodness could a game be more fun than that for a Bears fan? It was the most satisfying victory around here at least since 2013, when Marc Trestman was still an exciting offensive innovator. And it might have been the best since, I don't know, the 2006 NFC Championship?

Okay, let's try to calm down a little bit. But before we do, we can definitely revel in the fact that these last 30 days now qualify as one of the more remarkable portions of Bears history.

The Bucs defense was terrible. They were playing after a short week of preparation (after losing to the Steelers on Monday night) but still . . . the Bears put the wide open in wide receivers, and running back Tarik Cohen.

The coolest thing is that Trubisky became the first Bears quarterback since Johnny Lujack in 1949 (!) to throw six touchdown passes in a game. And Lujack never threw the kind of spirals Trubisky does. Of course the ball was fatter when the former Notre Dame great plied his trade.

Defensively the Bears made it clear it doesn't matter if they are facing a veteran or a promising (relative) youngster, they are consistently able to make the big plays that make a difference. How about the fact that Khalil Mack has strip sacks in four consecutive games?! Thanks again, Coach Gruden.

The team's run of health continued. Sam Acho suffered an injury and may be out for awhile but the Bears will almost certainly get injured cornerback Prince Amakumara back for the next contest. They will also see Marcus Cooper return but given the emergence of undrafted rookie corner Kevin Toliver, Cooper is probably falling down the depth chart.

Now the Bears get a few days to revel in it with the bye looming on Sunday. And after that are the Dolphins and then the Patriots. And eventually after that they get back into a division competition that should be great.

This team is looking so good, Pace might not have to trade away any more draft picks for the foreseeable future.

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Jim "Coach" Coffman welcomes your comments.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 10:05 AM | Permalink

The [Monday] Papers

"For more than 100 years, my family's business, General Iron Industries, has provided a vital service: We process and recycle the Chicago area's discarded metal products, including demolition debris, vehicles and kitchen appliances. While the need for our recycling service has grown, our neighborhood along the North Branch of the Chicago River has changed dramatically," one of GII's owners, Adam Labkon, writes in a Tribune Op-Ed headlined "Polluter Or Good Neighbor? Setting The Record Straight."

What record is he setting straight, exactly? At least in part, the record reported by the Tribune's own environment reporter, Michael Hawthorne, as well as that of the paper's editorial board. In other words, the paper itself!

"Unfortunately, some have branded us with a scarlet 'P' for polluter, and questioned the motives of aldermen who recently defeated an order ostensibly to restrict our hours, but which effectively would have crippled our operations," Labkon writes in a persuasive piece - to anyone not familiar with the record in question.

"In the cynical view of such critics, aldermen who acknowledged the necessity of our business and our tenure in the neighborhood were deemed compromised, while the lone alderman who moved to effectively shut us down had only altruistic motives. This conclusion is both wrongheaded and dangerous because it lacks a thoughtful examination of the facts, starting with the record before a City Council committee and the entire council."

A thoughtful examination of the facts? How about these - missing from Labkon's piece:

* "Federal authorities cracked down Friday on a controversial scrap shredder along the North Branch of the Chicago River, the latest in a series of legal actions prompted by complaints about clouds of metallic pollution drifting into the Bucktown and Lincoln Park neighborhoods," Hawthorne reported in July.

"The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's regional office in Chicago cited General Iron Industries with multiple violations of the Clean Air Act after inspectors found the scrap yard had failed to contain lung-damaging particulate matter within the company's property. The agency also accused General Iron of violating the law by failing to reduce emissions of noxious chemicals and heavy metals linked to birth defects and cancer, including lead, mercury and zinc.

"General Iron has been on the EPA's watchlist of chronic polluters since at least the late 1990s. But the agency didn't step in this time until Ald. Brian Hopkins, 2nd, revealed last year that University of Illinois at Chicago researchers had found alarming levels of particulate matter downwind from the facility. The independent monitoring, commissioned by a neighbor fed up with smoke and noise from the facility's two massive shredders, prompted the EPA to order its own set of tests, which General Iron conducted in May under agency supervision."

* "Mayor Rahm Emanuel's administration and a group of aldermen vigorously defended a clout-heavy scrap yard on Tuesday, brushing aside neighbors who shared stories about noxious pollution and loud noises from one of the last industrial operations in a fast-gentrifying corridor along the North Branch of the Chicago River," Hawthorne reported in mid-September.

"[Ald. George] Cardenas and other aldermen offered decidedly more positive stories about General Iron. Emanuel administration officials testified that dozens of city inspections haven't found anything wrong at the scrap yard and questioned whether Hopkins' measure would hold up in court.

"We don't want to be counterproductive to business in the city," Cardenas said. "We need to be more compassionate to these industries."

"The Labkons also have spread more than $500,000 in political contributions among local politicians during the past seven years, according to campaign finance records.

"Burnett got $16,000. Other recipients included Emanuel, $51,500; Tunney, $39,750; and Cardenas, $15,000.

"A dozen City Hall lobbyists have been on the family's payroll in recent years, including John Borovicka, who worked for Emanuel when the mayor was a congressman; Victor Reyes, a former political operative for Mayor Richard M. Daley; and John R. Daley, son of Cook County Commissioner John Daley and the former mayor's nephew."

* "Since the late 1990s, it's been on the Environmental Protection Agency's watchlist of chronic polluters. General Iron has been the subject of EPA crackdowns three times in the last decade and a half. The latest came in July, when the agency cited General Iron for failing to contain lung-damaging particulate matter within the company's property. The EPA also accused the company of failing to reduce emissions of chemicals and heavy metals linked to birth defects and cancer," the Tribune wrote in a September editorial headlined "The Tale Of Lincoln Park's Misunderstood' Scrap Yard."

"All of that has made living near General Iron a noxious nightmare. Georgia Nicholson, who lives across the street from the scrap yard, says she washes metallic particles off her patio several times each day, the Tribune's Michael Hawthorne reports. In years past, other neighbors have complained about the noise, the fumes, 'the oily film that they find on their cars, on their sidewalks, on the wading pools,' says Ald. Brian Hopkins, 2nd, whose ward includes the site . . .

"How could we even think that ulterior motives explain why aldermen would passionately back up a scrap yard with a history of pollution violations?

"Hopkins' request was soundly defeated. It's heartening to see aldermen so vociferously defend what they describe as a misunderstood scrap business. We wonder, though, if those same aldermen would be as enthusiastic if they were the ones sweeping metallic dust off their patios."

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Obviously Labkon deserves every opportunity to defend his family's business. I'm sure Hawthorne would be willing - if not eager - to sit down with him and discuss the issue at length. What Labkon doesn't deserve is the opportunity to present an unvetted Op-Ed purportedly "setting the record" of the newspaper (and neighbors and the EPA) "straight" in a fact-free manner, opinion piece or not. The result is a disservice to readers, who come away deceived, not to mention a reporter whose work is undermined.

Adam Labkon is Today's Worst Person In Chicago, but whoever at the Tribune allowed his piece to be published is Today's Worst Enabler.

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With Nation Transfixed By Kavanaugh Monstrosity, House GOP Votes To Give Rich Another $3 Trillion In Tax Cuts

With the nation's attention rightly transfixed by the Senate GOP's monstrous efforts to ram through a Supreme Court nominee who has been credibly accused by multiple women of sexual assault, House Republicans on Friday voted overwhelmingly to approve another $3 trillion in tax cuts for the wealthiest Americans just weeks before the November midterms.

"Today the GOP doubled down on last year's giveaway to the donor class known as the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act," Morris Pearl, chair of the Patriotic Millionaires, said in a statement following the 220-191 vote. "Tax Cuts 2.0 gives nearly $3 trillion to the wealthiest Americans, and will become yet another excuse for Republicans to slash Medicare and Social Security."

"In less than a year, House Republicans have handed out trillions of tax cuts for the wealthy and big corporations," added Rep. Richard Neal (D-Mass.), ranking member of the House Ways and Means Committee. "Now, middle class families are on the hook for higher health care costs, and Medicare and Social Security on the chopping block."

Three Democrats - Reps. Conor Lamb (Penn.), Jacky Rosen (Nev.), and Kyrsten Sinema (Ariz.) - voted for the GOP-crafted measure, which would permanently extend the individual tax cuts under the current Republican tax law.

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"The richest one percent of filers would see an average tax cut of $40,000, while those in the middle 20 percent of earners would see an average cut of $980," the Washington Post noted in a summary of TPC's findings.

"The American people are already paying too high a price for the GOP's blatant disregard for our families and our economy," Ryan Thomas of the Not One Penny coalition said in a statement on Friday. "This is yet another shameful tax law that would swindle working families and siphon even more funding from the programs that help our communities thrive - all in order to give more tax breaks to millionaires and billionaires and wealthy corporations."

"Today's vote is yet another call for us to end the culture of corruption endemic in the Republican Party," Thomas concluded. "The GOP believes they can continue to put the wants of the wealthiest people and corporations above the needs of the American people - but the American people are watching and we will hold them accountable."

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

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