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December 31, 2020

Recall! Sriracha Chicken Ravioli

The U.S. Department of Agriculture's Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) is issuing a public health alert for approximately 49 pounds of frozen, fully cooked, not shelf stable chicken sriracha ravioli products due to misbranding and an undeclared allergen. The product may contain soy, a known allergen, which is not declared on the product label.

FSIS is issuing this public health alert out of the utmost of caution to ensure that consumers with allergic reactions to soy are aware that these products should not be consumed. A recall was not requested because it is believed that the affected products are no longer available to be directly purchased by consumers in retail.

The product labeled as "FRESH THYME FARMERS MARKET CHICKEN RAVIOLI Ovals" was formulated with a different sriracha chili sauce than normally utilized in the product formulation because the firm was unable to obtain the usual brand from their supplier. The sriracha chili sauce used on Dec. 8, 2020 contains soy, while the sauce normally used in the formulation does not. The following products are subject to the public health alert:

16-oz. plastic bags of "FRESH THYME FARMERS MARKET CHICKEN RAVIOLI Ovals" with best-by date "12/08/2021."

The products bear establishment number "EST. M-1854/P-19980" inside the USDA mark of inspection. These items were shipped to distributors/sold in retail in Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Ohio, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin.

FSIS is concerned that some product may be in consumers' freezers.

The firm's Quality Assurance Director discovered the problem during a label review. There is no product currently available for sale to consumers. There have been no confirmed reports of adverse reactions due to consumption of these products. Anyone concerned about an illness should contact a health care provider.

Consumers with food allergies who have purchased these products are urged not to consume them. These products should be thrown away.

Consumers with food safety questions can call the toll-free USDA Meat and Poultry Hotline at 1-888-MPHotline (1-888-674-6854) or live chat via Ask USDA from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. (Eastern Time) Monday through Friday.

Consumers can also browse food safety messages at Ask USDA or send a question via e-mail to MPHotline@usda.gov.

For consumers that need to report a problem with a meat, poultry, or egg product, the online Electronic Consumer Complaint Monitoring System can be accessed 24 hours a day at https://foodcomplaint.fsis.usda.gov/eCCF/.

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 5:18 PM | Permalink

December 30, 2020

Meet The First U.S. Collegiate Athlete To Capitalize On Name, Image And Likeness Rights

A historic first in collegiate sports occurred last week when Aquinas College volleyball player Chloe Mitchell became the first collegiate athlete to capitalize off of NAIA NIL legislation. She created this sponsored social post where she identified herself as a student and volleyball player at AQ:

Thanks to the passing of NAIA NIL legislation last October, Chloe will encounter ZERO eligibility problems with this post. Mitchell is a social influencer with the largest following of ANY collegiate athlete (2.6 million TikTok, 26k Instagram, 5.4K YouTube), and also happens to be a co-founder of PlayBooked.

PlayBooked, an online platform and app, hired Mitchell, a setter for the Michigan-based Aquinas College volleyball team and a verified social media influencer, to promote sporting goods in a social post where she identified as an Aquinas volleyball player. Mitchell further sets a collegiate sports precedent in that she is also a co-founder of PlayBooked, a role she was able to take on since the passing of NAIA NIL legislation in October.

PlayBooked will be the one-stop platform where college athletes engage with fans, brands and small businesses with one-click-of-a-button and athletes get paid. Currently in beta, PlayBooked was tracking to launch in summer 2021 in conjunction with the projected passing of NCAA legislation.

"When the NAIA beat the NCAA to the punch, it played in our favor as Chloe, one of our co-founders, is also a NAIA athlete with millions of followers on social media," says Playbooked President Ken Konecki. "We knew the time was right to soft launch and make history!"

PlayBooked will allow every level of college athlete to monetize their network by connecting them to brands for sponsorship opportunities, engaging directly with fans via purchased video chats, booking personal appearances, and so much more. Created for enterprising athletes, PlayBooked is for those who want to monetize their social network, personal brand, and/or launch their own business venture.

"I'm grateful to NAIA for paving the way for me to be the first!" says Mitchell. "We created PlayBooked for the athlete to have control over their own NIL rights. The platform works like a social marketplace that connects athletes with their fans and brands and athletes get paid. I know all about what it means to build a brand. Mine is DIY. When the NCAA follows suit next year, all collegiate athletes can DIY their NIL rights on PlayBooked. Until then, NAIA athletes will lead the pack!"

On October 7, the NAIA became the first college sports organization to pass name, image and likeness legislation. The NAIA governs small athletic programs across the country, sponsoring 27 national championships for more than 77,000 student athletes. The new legislation allows NAIA student athletes to earn compensation for promoting commercial products, enterprises or for public or media appearances.

Both the NAIA and Aquinas College are delighted with these historic developments for collegiate athletes and specifically Mitchell's accomplishments as an entrepreneur.

"We are happy to see our student-athletes benefiting from our recent passage of the name, image and likeness legislation," said NAIA President and CEO Jim Carr. "In the age of social media, we are hopeful that many more can take full advantage of their personal brand while competing in the NAIA."

"Aquinas College supported our student-athletes with the NAIA by approving legislation related to name, image and likeness," said Aquinas College Associate Vice President for Student Affairs and Athletics Nick Davidson. "Part of why students choose Aquinas is the personal attention and care that they receive to pursue their goals. We are excited to support Chloe as she blazes her own trail as a student-athlete and entrepreneur."

Two companies, Bloodline Golf and Delta Putt, utilized PlayBooked to book Chloe Mitchell for this precedent-setting endorsement.

"We were looking for a fresh face in the college arena and with the new legislation we landed on Chloe Mitchell through recommendations from our marketing department," said Larry Bischmann, co-founder of Bloodline Golf.

"We heard about this new platform that works with college athletes and we wanted to get on board right out of the gate," said CMO of Delta Putt, John Rider. "Who knew we would be making history!"

PlayBooked's comprehensive board of advisors includes business, athletic and social influencers including NBA veteran Anthony Tolliver (Creighton University), Super Bowl Champion Walter Thurmond III (Oregon), Avery Johnson Jr. (Alabama) from AJ Management, Quenton Brown (Central Florida University) of Brown Agency Group and retired Pro Volleyball Player Albert Hannemann (UCLA) and Greg Oden, former NBA #1 overall pick of 2007 (Ohio St.)

"PlayBooked is here for the athlete," Mitchell says. "We want to build meaningful relationships with college athletes and have many ideas how we can work together throughout their college journey and beyond. I remembered watching the Nike commercials where they said 'Just Do It.' PlayBooked takes that idea a step further by arming collegiate athletes with an app to 'Just Do It Yourself' when it comes to NIL rights."

PlayBooked
PlayBooked is a platform/app that connects fans, brands and small businesses to athletes, and athletes GET PAID. Athletes simply set up their profile and preferences within the PlayBooked app. They can opt to do video messages and/or paid appearances and then seamlessly review each fan, brand or business request - right from their phone. Once the request is complete, they get paid - in real time. Brands and businesses can commission athletes to do video messages that speak specific promotion or initiative details that can be also be leveraged on all social media channels. Fans can set up their preferences and purchase a personalized message from their favorite athletes or schedule a face to face meeting.

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Previously:

* NCAA Approves Compensation For Image, Likeness.

* Class, Race And Paying College Athletes.

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 3:29 PM | Permalink

December 28, 2020

The Beachwood Radio Sports Hour #336: All That's Left For The Bears Is The Rare Measuring Stick Lid-Closer

Only the Packers can tell us what's real now. Including: Is Matt Nagy All Growns Up?; Trubinsky; Jets Sweep. Plus: Bullskill, Blackhawks Camping, and Evanston vs. Champaign.

Beachwood Radio Network · The Beachwood Radio Sports Hour #336: Now For The Bears: The Rare Measuring Stick Lid-Closer

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SHOW NOTES

* 336.

* Offensive line actually being coordinated.

* Matt Nagy appears to be all growns up.

* The playoff narrative vs. unchanging reality.

* Stankevitz, NBC Chicago: Allen Robinson Shows Why He's Top-10 WR In NFL.

"Sunday was one of my favorite games I've seen Allen Robinson play in a Bears uniform. Eight of his 10 catches resulted in a first down; the two that didn't set up fourth downs the Bears went for and converted (one with a throw to Robinson). Robinson's ability to set up his routes with crisp inside or outside releases made him almost un-guardable when the Bears needed a play to be made. He now has 100 receptions and consecutive 1,000-yard seasons for the first time in his career. There's no question in my mind that he's a top-10 wide receiver in the NFL, and he'll get paid as such next spring - either by the Bears or some other team.

"Darnell Mooney had another solid game, snagging four passes for 39 yards, while Anthony Miller was quiet yet again with just two catches on three targets for 10 yards."

* Kmet Sweep:

+

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* Trubinsky:

+

"Bears quarterback Mitchell Trubisky (10) recovers his own fumble."

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40:08: Bullskill.

* Collier, Tribune: 3 Takeaways From The Bulls' 0-3 Start.

47:19: Blackhawks Camping.

* Thompson, Tribune: Denis Savard. Steve Larmer. Troy Murray. All 3 Were Drafted In 1980 - And Kept The Chicago Blackhawks Interesting On And Off The Ice.

* Lynch, Fansided: Preseason Injuries Hindering Blackhawks.

51:20: Evanston vs. Champaign.

* Karp, Inside NU: Northwestern Men's Basketball Enters AP Top 25 For First Time In Three Years.

* Skretta, AP: Big Ten Lands Nine Teams Including Illinois And Northwestern In Top 25.

* Kamp, Edwardsville Intelligencer: Dosunmu To Illini's Rescue.

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53:35: Bears P.S.: Pack Rats.

* Packers line surprises Coffman.

* Demovsky, ESPN: Lambeau Leaps Aside, AJ Dillon Shows What He Can Do For Packers' Offense.

* Dare Ogunbowale: Led Jaguars running game with 71 yards on 14 carries.

* Dickerson, ESPN: Bears Move Closer To Playoffs After Throttling Undermanned Jaguars.

"Far be it for the Bears - losers of six straight at one point of the year - to walk into a game overconfident, but the Jaguars had every motivation to lose, and they started Mike Glennon at quarterback. The same Mike Glennon to whom the Bears all but gifted generational wealth ($18.5 million) for what amounted to four starts in 2017. In addition, Jacksonville's promising rookie running back James Robinson was held out with an ankle injury.

"The Bears were expected to win - and by a lot. Mission accomplished . . . Chicago is an opportunistic bunch, to say the least. The Bears have feasted on the league's defensive bottom-feeders - Detroit (31st in total defense), Houston (30th), Minnesota (27th) and Jacksonville (32nd) - during their recent renaissance."

* Correction: James Robinson did not play quarterback at Illinois State - Coffman was confusing JR with Cam Meredith.

* According to Illinois State, Robinson . . .

"Finished illustrious career ranked No. 2 in the ISU record books in rushing yards (4,444), rushing touchdowns (44), all-purpose yards (5,218) and total touchdowns scored (46) . . . is third in total points scored (276) . . . ranks fourth in average yards per rush (5.58), rush yards per game (96.6) and all-purpose yards per game (113.4)."

* How Robinson went undrafted, via Brad Bigg's 10 Thoughts.

* Peyton Manning for the United Way:

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STOPPAGE: 10:32

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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 11:56 AM | Permalink

December 24, 2020

China's Repression And The Winter Olympics

The Chinese government's heightened repression from Xinjiang to Hong Kong threatens its hosting of the 2022 Winter Olympics, Human Rights Watch said this week in a letter to International Olympic Committee President Thomas Bach. The Beijing Winter Olympics are scheduled to begin on February 4, 2022.

Human Rights Watch has detailed extensive concerns about the human rights climate for hosting the games in China. These include the lack of media and internet freedom, the incarceration of more than a million Turkic Muslims in "political education" camps in Xinjiang, the lack of transparency in labor supply chains, and increasing free speech restrictions in Hong Kong.

The IOC should immediately conduct robust human rights due diligence around the preparations for the 2022 Beijing Olympics and explain its efforts to manage human rights risks connected to the Games by February 2021, one year ahead of the Games.

"The Chinese government's intensifying crackdown undermines the basic rights that are essential to hosting the Olympics," said Minky Worden, director of global initiatives at Human Rights Watch. "By the start of the one-year clock in February, the IOC needs to explain how human rights protections will be met."

Earlier in December 2020, the International Olympic Committee published its expert report Recommendations for an IOC Human Rights Strategy, an important roadmap for adopting human rights across its operations. Human Rights Watch recommended that the IOC should immediately conduct and publish thorough human rights due diligence around the preparations for the 2022 Beijing Olympics and explain how it plans to address the human rights risks connected to the Games by February 2021, one year ahead of the games.

Such action would be consistent with the steps set out in the United Nations Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights (the "Guiding Principles"), and with the IOC's ongoing work to build a strategic framework on human rights.

Human Rights Watch has extensively documented serious human rights abuses in China, and that the human rights environment has deteriorated significantly since the Beijing Olympics in 2008.

China's hosting of the 2008 Summer Games spurred multiple human rights abuses, including forced evictions and the silencing of civil society activists.

No one succeeded in obtaining a permit to protest in zones the government agreed to establish for the Games, and at least one person who tried, Ji Sizun, was imprisoned for trying to get a permit. On July 10, 2019, two months after being released from prison, Ji Sizun died under guard in state custody in a hospital in Fujian province. He was 69 and had been ill-treated in detention.

The Chinese government under President Xi Jinping - who had his term limits removed in 2018, effectively making him president for life - has significantly tightened societal controls and the supremacy of the Chinese Communist Party. The government has imposed increased curbs on religion, civil society, the internet, the media and universities; prosecuted numerous activists and journalists on baseless charges; persecuted Turkic Muslims in Xinjiang and other ethnic minorities; and drastically dismantled freedoms in Hong Kong.

The Chinese government has further restricted access to most virtual private networks (VPNs), which many journalists and others in China use to circumvent the country's online censorship, known as the "Great Firewall." Detentions in December of the Bloomberg journalist Haze Fan in Beijing and the publisher Jimmy Lai in Hong Kong spotlight the Chinese authorities' lack of compliance with media freedom and human rights requirements that are crucial to hosting the Games, Human Rights Watch said.

Chinese authorities used the 2008 Games to justify a significant expansion of the domestic security apparatus and investment and promotion of surveillance technologies such as facial recognition. This enabled greater repression over the next decade, including of ethnic minorities in Xinjiang and other regions.

"The IOC was silent on the Chinese government's crackdown prompted by the 2008 Summer Olympics," said Sophie Richardson, China director at Human Rights Watch. "Adopting new standards requires meaningful action and tough decisions, or else it's just an insult to all those who suffer from Beijing's massive rights violations."

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 12:37 AM | Permalink

December 23, 2020

Counting The Negro Leagues

I never saw a Negro League game. By the time I was old enough to have more than a passing interest in baseball, there already were a number of Black stars sprinkled onto the rosters of Major League teams, and the Negro Leagues were defunct. While we never articulated the obvious, we inherently knew the Black guys could play. We saw that for ourselves.

Being a White Sox devotee, Minoso was our man. Not only were his statistics among the American League's elite, but he lit up the field with his electric energy, devout rapture for the game, and boundless enthusiasm. Minoso getting hit by a pitch could be just as exciting as a teammate legging out a triple. Minnie, a right-handed hitter, stood inches from the inside corner of the plate, not exactly a secure position for a Black, multi-talented ballplayer in those days. Not surprisingly, Minoso led the league 10 seasons in getting hit.

Minnie arrived on the South Side in 1951 via a trade with Cleveland in which the Sox swapped plodding, slow, sometime sluggers Dave Philly and Gus Zernial, and the Go-Go Sox were born. Of course, Jackie Robinson was then in his fifth season with the Dodgers, who had added former Negro Leaguers pitcher Don Newcombe and catcher Roy Campanella. Willie Mays debuted with the Giants the same year Minoso's home became Comiskey Park.

For the most part, the National League was far more progressive when it came to signing Black players. Ernie Banks, Henry Aaron, Hank Thompson, Monte Irvin, Sam Jethroe, Frank Robinson, Joe Black and Willie McCovey were just a few of the African Americans who first played in the NL in the 1950s.

As a sign that the times were, indeed, a changin', Campanella was voted MVP in 1951 while Mays was Rookie of the Year.

Further proof of the immediate impact that Black players made on the game was the annual All-Star Game. Introduced in 1933, the American League, relying on the dominant Yankees of Ruth, Gehrig and DiMaggio, won 12 of the first 16 contests. But once the National Leaguers took the lead in employing Black players, they flipped the next 16, winning a dozen of those games. From 1960 to 1970, the National League held a commanding 13-1 advantage. (Two All-Star Games were played each season from 1959-62.)

That's probably more background than required to make the point that the announcement last week by Major League Baseball to legitimize the Negro Leagues is a meager attempt to tell us something we've known for many years.

Much of the criticism focused on the timing of this development. It's been almost 75 years since Jackie Robinson joined the Dodgers. It's been more than 50 years since MLB recognized six former leagues, including the Federal League, as legitimate major leagues. It mattered not that the Federal League was organized in 1913 and folded two years later.

The Negro Leagues stretch back to the 1880s, although the years 1920-48 are those now being recognized so that 3,400 players and their statistics can be entered into the record books. Wouldn't it be interesting to be able to question then-commissioner William (Spike) Eckert about the reasoning to omit the Negro Leagues back in 1968. However, Eckert died in 1971, a condition that was little different than what he exhibited during his short reign.

Today's commissioner Rob Manfred called the omission of the Negro Leagues 52 years ago an "error" when in reality it was the result of overt racism, fear and hate in which skin color dictated who could and could not play in the Major Leagues.

In this year of Black Lives Matter, social unrest, and a divided society, apparently Manfred and his associates decided it was high time to finally right a wrong. "[T]he Negro Leagues produced many of our game's best players, innovations, and triumphs against a backdrop of injustice," read the commissioner's statement in part. "We are now grateful to count the players of the Negro Leagues where they belong: as Major Leaguers within the official historical record." While Manfred received plaudits in some quarters, especially from the descendants of Negro League players, cynics emerged.

ESPN writer Howard Bryant is a member of this latter group.

"They did not want to live next to Black people and they did not want to play baseball with them," Bryant wrote. "The Negro Leagues did not play alongside the major leagues. They survived despite the major leagues. That intentional subjugation cannot be undone with a pen stroke. It cannot be forgotten that baseball spent a half-century undermining the credibility of the Negro Leagues."

Now comes the hard part. Since the White press and Sporting News devoted little coverage, if any, of the Negro Leagues, reconstructing the records and statistics of all those Black players could take years. Seamheads has given us a head start, but the task remains monumental.

Most of the Negro League players had agreements with their owners but no written contracts, and players jumped from team to team if they got a better offer. In fact, when Branch Rickey signed Jackie Robinson, he inquired whether Robinson had any agreement in writing from the Kansas City Monarchs. None existed so Rickey felt no compulsion to compensate the Monarchs, a historical piece of larceny seldom reported. Once the top Negro League talent escalated to the Major Leagues without compensation to the Black clubs, the Negro Leagues headed on a steady downhill slide.

As if assembling the records of players who toiled for multiple teams isn't daunting enough, once those statistics are organized, how will they be used? For instance, one of the great Black players, Oscar Charleston, who played from 1915 to 1941, never played in more than 104 games in a season, according to Seamheads. A .350 lifetime hitter, Charleston hit .400 or higher in five different seasons. Yet in none of them did he have the required 502 plate appearances that MLB stipulates are needed to qualify for a batting title in a 162-game season.

The greatest power hitter of the Negro Leagues and very possibly of all-time, Josh Gibson, is credited with 238 round-trippers, according to Seamheads. One of the too few Negro Leaguers in the Hall of Fame - he was elected in 1972 despite the fact that his venue wasn't recognized as Major League - Gibson's HOF plaque claims he hit almost 800 home runs. Why the discrepancy?

This investigation very well could be most intense when it comes to Leroy (Satchel) Paige, called the greatest pitcher ever by no less than Bob Feller, Joe DiMaggio and many others. Paige is listed as having pitched for 15 different ballclubs between 1927 and '47 before Bill Veeck signed him in 1948 for the pennant-winning Cleveland Indians. Satch was a 41-year-old "rookie" who started or relieved in 21 games, going 6-1 with a 2.48 ERA. He was the first Black pitcher to appear in a World Series.

The legendary Paige's final appearance came when he was 58 when he started one game for the Kansas City A's, hurling three scoreless innings against the Red Sox in late September. Carl Yastrzemski nicked him for a two-base hit, the only safety Satch gave up that day.

Because Paige pitched 12 months a year including barnstorming tours and winter ball all over the Caribbean, the pencil pushers will have to decipher which games count on his "official" record. This won't be easy as some accounts claim that Paige pitched as many as 400 games in a single year.

This move by MLB should have little effect for players as well-known as Paige and Gibson, but perhaps we'll learn more about some of the lesser publicized athletes which might be helpful.

In Minoso's case, he missed being elected by one vote to the Hall of Fame by the Golden Era Committee in 2014. Part of the reason was that no member of the Hall has less than 2,000 hits, a plateau that Minnie missed by 37 hits. Voters were instructed to consider only players' records at the Major League level. Minoso's Seamheads' ledger credits him with 158 hits while playing three seasons with the New York Cubans, pushing him over the magical 2,000 level. So one could argue that Manfred's maneuver came too late for my childhood favorite.

Bill James claimed that if Minoso had entered the Major Leagues five years before he did, Minnie would be one of the 30 greatest players of all time.

Thus, to declare at this time to the thousands of Negro League players and the fans that followed them that after all these years you are "legitimate" very well could be interpreted as just another instance of the White man calling the shots. This can't be the message Manfred intended. But for many of us, we're left scratching our heads and asking, "Why?" and "Why now?"

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Former Bill Veeck bar buddy Roger Wallenstein is our White Sox correspondent. He welcomes your comments.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 8:12 AM | Permalink

December 21, 2020

A WTF Timeout

One in an occasional series arising from the late, great The Week in WTF.

WTF wants to take a 30-second timeout to clear the launching pad of detritus, effluvium and raw sewage.

Let's ring in the New Year with New Sewage while we calculate how many Chicago cops it takes to break into the wrong naked woman's apartment.

The video-verified answer is 12: The Dirty and Very Dense Dozen.

SPEAKING OF RAW SEWAGE: Is it not heartening that the most despised mayor in the recent annals of Chicago can't get a job in the Biden Administration? Our Man Rahm probably will luck out with an ambassadorship to a country we don't mind insulting. Mongolia would be nice. But this provides some evidence that being a manipulative dick eventually hurts your political career. Even in America.

SPEAKING OF RICH: David Rutter, an industrialist in a business I don't understand, paid $7 million in cash for a Manhattan condo this fall. That David Rutter is not me, but maybe we're related. The day he bought the condo with cash, I found $2 in change in my sofa so I could acquire a Double Whopper With Cheese - with cash!

I'll check if that billionaire David Rutter and I are related, or if he would pay me NOT to be related. In the meantime, can anyone really comprehend someone having $7 million in cash?

As for his business, it's "blockchain," which is essentially a digital ledger technology that keeps bitcoin currency fans from stealing each other's real money.

RICH RACIST: WTFers with long memories can remember how it was essentially the Reagan Admin that popularized the "There's not a racist bone in my body" defense for their cleverly cloaked racist bones. As best I can recall, EVERYBODY in the Reagan Administration was racist. It was a rule.

The Washington Post looked up all this.

Now Sen. Kelly Loeffler (R-Ga.), has employed the same rhetoric in advance of her runoff election. It's like Heinrich Himmler's famous "I like Jews" defense.

Maybe Georgia finally is spiritually equipped to electorally reject a racist. We'll see on Jan. 5.

(By the way, you can't Electoral College without saying "oral.")

So let's agree that Loeffler has no racist bones. But what about her racist cartilage, bigoted fat and neo-Nazi innards? Lots of real ugly racist corpuscles around those really white bones.

THE OLD DAYS: We miss the Republican Party. Wait. That's not really true. We miss anything that isn't the Trump World.

We also miss the old days when lying was a bad thing.

This transformation is creepy. We remember 12 years ago when Sen. Mitt Romney seemed an oddly non-human android, like people from Utah tend to seem. In 2012 he said this: "I believe in an America where millions of Americans believe in an America that's the America millions of Americans believe in. That's the America I love."

Now he's the official voice of Republican Rationality. John McCain used to say odd, unpleasant things, too, and now he is beatified.

It's the assimilation of false positive memories that occurs when you erroneously remember your first spouse as a nice person.

There wasn't a nice bone in her body, but she had OK cartilage.

MELDING: Saturn and Jupiter came close enough Monday night that they seemed like one star. We are told that, but the skies were overcast, so who knows for sure.

But what about Uranus? Could you look up and see Uranus?

The solar system never wants to be close to Uranus. Pity Uranus.

That's as many Uranus jokes as my current court order allows. I already exceeded my limits on Rep. Anthony Weiner jokes.

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David Rutter is the former publisher/editor of the Lake County News-Sun, and more importantly, the former author of the Beachwood's late, great "The Week In WTF" column. His most recent piece for us was No Fitzmas For Bears, Please. You can also check him out at his Theeditor50's blog. He welcomes your comments.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 5:28 PM | Permalink

The Beachwood Radio Sports Hour #335: Bears Bumming Us Out

From winning ugly to winning wrong. Including: Lazor Tag; Jennings A Joke; Low Bar, Everybody Down; Miller Lite Matt and more! Plus: It's Beginning To Look A Lot Like Fitzmas; Bulls Time; Zippy Cubs, and more!

Beachwood Radio Network · The Beachwood Radio Sports Hour #335: Our Sanity Is Now In George McCaskey's Hands

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SHOW NOTES

* 335.

* The last six years happened. That six-game losing streak happened. The next two games can't change that. The fact that it's even a question is Ryan Pace's fault. This is where he's put us - and that tells us all we need to know.

* Rhodes: If you don't know if you should bring back the quarterback, then you shouldn't. If you don't know if you should bring back the general manager, then you shouldn't. If you don't know if you should bring back the coach, then you shouldn't.

17:15: Lazor Tag.

* The offense works now because it limits Trubisky - and in a way that confirms he shouldn't be brought back because of the necessity of those limitations.

21:04: Jennings A Joke.

* Get him out of the kitchen.

* On their Score post-game show, Hub Arkush and Patrick Mannelly refused to criticize Jennings, because they "know how hard the job is." First, it's not hard. Second, he's getting paid a lot of money to do that job. Third, many others would love to have that job who would be a lot better at it than he is. Fourth, Arkush and Mannelly make a living criticizing others! Not very well, either!

22:40: Low Bar, Everybody Down.

* Hoge: Accept It: Trubisky Is An Imperfect Quarterback You Can Win With.

30:31 Line Dance.

* Accidentally fixed by necessity.

34:50: Defensive Briefing.

* They stinks.

39:00: Miller Lite Matt.

* Dude at bar randomly decides not to defer.

47:00: Prophetstown's Own.

* Fast Fighting Illini.

50:10: It's Beginning To Feel A Lot Like Fitzmas.

* Don't do it, Bears.

56:32: Who Needs Fitz?

* ESPN: Boo Buie, Northwestern Stun 'Inept' No. 4 Michigan State.

58:57: Illinois Does.

* Rutgers Makes National Statement!

1:01:23: Bulls Time.

* Nobody knows anything.

1:03:34: Zippy Cubs.

* Now starring Richie Hebner.

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STOPPAGE: 10:43

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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 2:32 PM | Permalink

December 19, 2020

The Weekend Desk Report

Hola, amigos! Been a long time since I rapped at ya.

The hiatus sucks. Deus ex machina, please.

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New on the Beachwood since the last time I rapped at ya . . .

Watch Chicago Artist Sharon Bladholm Make Stained Glass Windows, Among Other Really Cool Things She Does
Also, being trapped in a jungle during the pandemic.

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The world "jungle" suddenly looks and sounds weird. What is a jungle - and it's not the jungle but a jungle . . . right? There are many jungles.

"A jungle is land covered with dense forest and tangled vegetation, usually in tropical climates. Application of the term has varied greatly during the past recent centuries."

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Data Historian Market Heats Up
" The U.S. and Canada are the major countries that contribute to the growth of the Data Historian Market in North America."

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The Beachwood Radio Sports Hour #334: Bearnesia
Jesus Christ, people. The previous six-plus years still happened. Plus: Lovie Claus Fired; The White Sox Have Some Good News And Some Bad; Remembering Jimmy Collins; Go Spiders!; and Illini Men vs. DePaul Women.

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You Don't Have To Like Adam Eaton
"If he comes anywhere close to the numbers he produced in his first stint on the South Side, the critics will have to direct their displeasure elsewhere," our very own Roger Wallenstein writes.

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I Achieved My Wildest Dreams. Then Depression Hit.
"I'd spent my life training for the Olympics, but I wasn't prepared for what came next."

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ChicagoReddit

If Chicago is losing population, why are there so many new buildings? from r/chicago

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ChicagoGram

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ChicagoTube

A Conversation With Charlie Musselwhite: From Mississippi To Chicago.

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BeachBook

Western Sahara Returns To War.

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The Audacious Return Of Blue Oyster Cult.

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Kangaroos Can Communicate With Humans.

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How The Problem Of 'Waste" Affects The Rural Poor.

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Record Number Of Journalists Jailed Worldwide.

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Australia Gears Up For The Great Koala Count.

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TweetWood

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The Beachwood Post-Vaccine Line: Unironic.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 3:28 PM | Permalink

December 14, 2020

The Beachwood Radio Sports Hour #334: Bearnesia

Jesus Christ, people. The previous six-plus years still happened. Plus: Lovie Claus Fired; The White Sox Have Some Good News And Some Bad; Remembering Jimmy Collins; Go Spiders!; and Illini Men vs. DePaul Women.

Beachwood Radio Network · The Beachwood Radio Sports Hour #334: Bearnesia

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SHOW NOTES

* 334.

1:25: The Bears Won, Alright.

* Two narratives, each of which can be true. But one is more true than the other.

* Rhodes: "Jesus Christ, one win over a crappy team doesn't erase six years of Ryan Pace's incompetence or multiple decades of the McCaskey's reign of error - or even Matt Nagy's shitty head coaching. Mitch Trubisky isn't suddenly good. The offensive doesn't suddenly 'have an identity.' Khalil Mack showing up now doesn't mean he's 'back.'

"The Texans are a bad team that had a bad game. This changes nothing. Don't have journesia. The pain we've felt for the duration of the Pace era (and before) was real. Stop talking about playoffs."

* Leiser, Sun-Times: Bears' 36-7 Trampling Of Texans Is Nice, But It Changes Nothing About Their Future.

"The Bears finally found a more inept opponent . . . Pounding on one of the worst teams in the NFL doesn't change anything about how badly this team needs a rebuild."

* Morrissey, Sun-Times: A Victory Over The Texans Is A Loss If It Stops The McCaskeys From Making Changes.

* Mitch Hitch.

* Rosenthal, Tribune: "While Cowher was ripping Houston's defense, fellow studio analyst Phil Simms praised Trubisky's mobility and strong arm.

"He's just not accurate," said Simms, a former QB himself. "So he's going to be tremendous - I'm not being smart here - he's going to be a really, really good backup for somebody next year."

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39:15 Lovie And His Beard Relieved Of Duties.

* Rutter: "How true some phrases are without intention. Illinois' board is relieved. Illini fans and boosters are relieved. Illini players are relieved if they had any ambitions. Even Lovie is relieved because he doesn't have to show up for work anymore, and he got taxpayers to pay him $20 million for . . . what? We're not sure."

* Coffman: "He wasn't able to get Illinois out of the loser zone."

* The Tribune thinks Lovie's replacement will probably be white.

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49:25: The White Sox Have Some Good News And Some Bad News.

* Edwards, FanGraphs: "No matter what metric you use, Lance Lynn has been one of the 10 best pitchers in baseball over the last two years."

* Gregor, Daily Herald: Eaton Says He's Matured As A Player, Will Be A Better Teammate.

* Wallenstein: You Don't Have To Like Adam Eaton.

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58:52: Go Spiders!

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1:00:33: Remembering Jimmy Collins.

* Tarsitano, WGN-TV: "Collins is the only coach to lead the [UIC] Flames to the NCAA tournament, doing so three times in his 14 years at the helm. He also is the winningest coach in the history of the program, amassing 218 victories and four 20-plus win seasons."

* AP, 1990: Illinois Basketball Put On Probation, Barred From NCAA Tourney.

"The NCAA said 'significant violations occurred.' But it said evidence did not substantiate the most serious allegations - that Illinois offered large sums of cash and cars to lure key recruits to campus.

"The university's recruitment in 1989 of prep star Deon Thomas touched off the investigation. The university said its own probe revealed some minor infractions.

"The NCAA also found the school guilty of improper use of complimentary tickets by former players; the setting aside of NCAA Tournament tickets for purchase by high school coaches; preferential treatment given to three players last year when the players were not required to fill out auto loan applications from a Decatur bank completely; and illegal recruiting contacts by recruiter Jimmy Collins."

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1:02:23: Illini Men vs. DePaul Women.

* No. 6 vs. No. 24.

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STOPPAGE: 15:35

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

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 1:02 PM | Permalink

You Don't Have To Like Adam Eaton

Ozzie Guillen says everyone hates the man. He had his worst year in 2020. Greater prizes continue to remain on the free agent market. Injuries, including a horrific tear of an ACL, have slowed him down the past few seasons. Social media reaction has been, to put it mildly, underwhelming.

So don't expect a bright, big, red welcome mat to be rolled out in Arizona for Adam Eaton once spring training begins, whenever that may be.

Of course, many of the same fans who are angry about the White Sox signing Eaton - one year at $7 million with a club option for 2022 at $8.5 million - also were grousing all summer about Nomar Mazara, whom the up-and-coming South Siders obtained in a trade exactly one year prior to bringing Eaton back to town to fill the void in right field. Mazara was an abject failure, hitting one lonely home run while posting an OPS of .589, compared to .754 over four years with the Rangers. Even the amateur gamblers likely would take the Over that Eaton can top those numbers.

However, focusing solely on the acquisition of Eaton, regardless of one's opinion, is misplaced.

"If we spend the entirety of what we have to spend on one position, obviously other needs aren't addressed," general manager Rick Hahn said upon signing Eaton last week.

Right field is just one of the Sox' priorities. George Springer is the plum of the free agent market, although the Joc Pederson and Michael Brantley were attractive since each, like Eaton, bats left-handed, a desirable commodity in the Sox' right-handed-heavy batting order.

However, each would have been more expensive, and, despite the marvelous news that Lance Lynn now is in the fold for one season, starting pitching remains the team's biggest need.

And because James McCann has become a member of the Mets, a backup catcher to Yasmani Grandal sure would be nice, Oh, and the team needs a closer, having lost Alex Colomé to free agency.

Liam Hendriks, whose $5.5 million salary last year was about half of what Colomé was paid, is available, having been cut loose by the budget-conscious A's. Hendriks the last two seasons has emerged as one of baseball's most effective closers, recording 39 saves and an ERA of 1.79. Assuming that Hahn has limits on Jerry Reinsdorf's bankroll, judiciousness is required. Hence, it's Eaton over Pederson or Brantley, and Springer's chances of playing on the South Side were no better than the Supreme Court flipping six or seven million votes.

Taking a closer look at Eaton, he played in 41 games last season before fracturing an index finger attempting to lay down a bunt. The Miami of Ohio product slashed a career low .226/.285/.669, far inferior to his career line of .282/.360/.775. Eaton's walk rate last season decreased to 6.8 percent of his plate appearances compared to his 9.1 over nine major league seasons. His average for batted balls in play was just .260 in 2020 compared to .335 for his career. The White Sox, who were 24th last season in drawing bases on balls and dead last the season before, need Eaton to go deep into counts and take as many walks as possible.

Let's keep in mind that the sample size for this past truncated season was quite small, like a fourth of a full season in Eaton's case. Furthermore, when Eaton played for the Sox in 2014-16, he started off slowly his first two seasons, batting .248 and .238, respectively, after 41 games. In three full seasons patrolling the outfield for the Sox, Adam's slash was .290/.362/.783. If he comes anywhere close to those numbers in his second stint on the South Side, the critics will have to direct their displeasure elsewhere.

However, the 32-year-old Eaton brings other baggage back to The Grate. Is signing Eaton a move backward, much like the hiring of Tony La Russa? Eaton performed admirably last time around, but now he's older, more fragile, and has possibly seen his better days. On the heels of La Russa's return, maybe another homecoming is too much to digest for some Sox fans. Had Rickey Renteria kept his job, the Eaton signing very well could have raised far fewer eyebrows.

Then there's the rap that echoes Guillen's comments about Eaton's popularity, or lack thereof, in the clubhouse. His feud with former Sox third baseman Todd Frazier bubbled over first in 2016 when the two had to be separated in the clubhouse - their lockers were next to one another - before coming to blows. A couple of dust-ups when each moved to the National League followed.

Of course, Frazier departed our fair city long ago. In fact, only three members of that 2016 squad - José Abeu, Tim Anderson and Leury Garcia - still are with the Sox. The rest of the guys have no history with Eaton, although Lucas Giolito and Reynaldo Lopez briefly were teammates in Washington.

Looking back four seasons, one can justifiably assume that the Sox clubhouse was a mess. As much as vice president Kenny Williams would like to, don't forget that Adam LaRoche walked away from $13 million in the middle of spring training after being told that his 14-year-old son was no longer welcome in the Sox clubhouse.

Eaton at the time was the team's union representative, an elected position which, because of Eaton's public reputation, makes you wonder whether this was more of a punishment than a reward. He along with Chris Sale were especially critical of management at the time.

Of course, later in the year Sale utilized the training staff's scissors to dismember one of those throwback uniforms that displeased him. It's safe to assume that Eaton wasn't the only problem in that clubhouse. Dysfunction reigned.

Apparently Eaton's behavior and demeanor were overcome in 2019 when the Nationals won a World Series with Eaton playing in 151 games and slashing .279/.365/.792 along with 15 homers and an equal number of stolen bases. He followed that in the World Series by hitting .320 with a .993 OPS as the Nationals dispatched the Astros in seven games.

If this sounds like the first installment of the reincarnation of the Adam Eaton Fan Club, please understand that by next July or August we all will see how this plays out. Eaton's skills may continue to diminish as they did last summer, but obviously Hahn is thinking otherwise, and not without investigation and experience with this particular athlete.

The clubhouse charge reflects the thinking in baseball that creating culture, teamwork and camaraderie are integral to having a winning ballclub, and setting those goals makes sense. But those warm, fuzzy feelings for one another don't always materialize. Many don't even speak the same language. We're talking about 25 young men along with a parade of new faces due to injuries, trades, and demotions and promotions from the minor leagues. The cast changes on a regular basis.

What can promote togetherness is winning. A team fighting for a division title or even greater heights has added incentive to play hard and support one another.

So maybe you can't go home again. However, this is a different time, and, as far as the White Sox are concerned, a different dynamic. If Eaton stumbles and falls, either figuratively or literally, someone else will step up. That's what good ballclubs do.

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Former Bill Veeck bar buddy Roger Wallenstein is our White Sox correspondent. He welcomes your comments.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 9:40 AM | Permalink

December 12, 2020

I Achieved My Wildest Dreams. Then Depression Hit.

"What if athletes and coaches were trained to look for depression just as vigilantly as they'd be watching for a hamstring pull?"


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CNN: Filmmaker And Elite Marathon Runner, Alexi Pappas Wants To Make Sure 'The Complete Person Is Happening.'

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Previously/related:

* Dak Prescott Is The Hero Skip Bayless Will Never Be.

* 'Olympic Athletes Are Dying.'

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 7:26 PM | Permalink

Watch Chicago Artist Sharon Bladholm Make Stained Glass Windows, Among Other Really Cool Things She Does

"There's definitely a process that I've honed over the years."


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From her bio:

"Sharon's work has been profoundly influenced by her participation as artist, on scientific expeditions to remote and biologically diverse ecosystems of the Peruvian and Brazilian Amazon on expeditions with the Field Museum, Conservation International and Andes to Amazon Biodiversity Program.

"She has long explored the interfaces of art, science, conservation and nature in numerous series of artworks in diverse mediums including glass, bronze and ceramic, as well as works on paper."

"Environmental artist Sharon Bladholm talks being trapped in jungle during pandemic."

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Opal Glass Studio:

"Opal Glass Studios has been in business for over 30 years, initially specializing in original stained glass designs. Opal Glass Studio has been it's present location at 319 N. Albany for 22 years, in a large industrial loft. Expanded capabilities and facilities include the casting of glass and bronze, the firing of ceramic and the slumping of glass.

"Sharon began working with glass at 18 years of age, honing her skills originally in Chicago and working in San Fransisco for over a year. Upon her return to Chicago in 1983, she opened Opal Glass Studio in Chicago at 3449 N. Sheffield. After 7 years at this location she had outgrown the space and moved her studio to Chicago's West side in East Garfield Park. 24 years at this location have seen expansions in both the types of work Sharon is capable to producing and in creative growth."

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Plus:

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 12:32 AM | Permalink

December 10, 2020

The [Thursday] Papers

Hola, amigos! Been a long time since I rapped at ya.

The hiatus is going okay, but you never get as much done as you think you will.

Anyway, here's some stuff we've posted since last week . . .

Chicago Music Poster History
With a workshop including Steve Albini.

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Lack Of Internet Access A Driver In Chicago COVID Cases
"We originally expected that air quality and use of public transportation would be drivers, but we found that heightened barriers to being able to social distance, such as low or lack of internet access, was a more significant driver of COVID-19-related deaths, possibly through a higher risk of infection in those without internet access."

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How James Baker (Dishonestly) Made George W. Bush President
A remarkable breach in the confidentiality of a court's internal deliberations coupled with sheer dishonesty and gamesmanship put the loser in the White House against the will of the people and the Electoral College. It's nothing to be commended for.

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A Series Of Fortunate Events
Seth MacFarlane, Eric Idle and the most important day on Earth in the last 100 million years explain how our lives are ruled by chance.

This is super cool, people. Highly recommended - you won't be sorry.

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Subway Art Returns To NYC
Bomb the city.

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Mr. Pringle All Glowed Up
He's single. He's Pringle. He's ready to mingle.

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And from the Beachwood Sports Desk . . .

The Beachwood Radio Sports Hour #333: Area Family Holding Football Team Hostage
It's Next McCaskey Up. Plus: No Joy In Cubrock.

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No Fitzmas For Bears, Please
Mr. Smoke meet Mr. Mirrors.

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The Real Reasons Why Len Kasper Left The Cubs For The Sox
Could no longer resist the siren call of Guaranteed Rate Field.

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Breakdancing Just The Latest Wacky Olympic Sport
Joins cannon firing, fishing, pigeon racing, firefighting, hot air ballooning, kite flying, and five categories of art.

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ChicagoReddit

Tenant rights - showings during covid from r/chicago

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ChicagoGram

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ChicagoTube

Talking Heads - Stay Hungry (Live In Chicago)

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BeachBook

Blue Tits And The Truth

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The Tyranny Of .99 Works

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When Italian Futurists Tried To Ban Pasta

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TweetWood

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The Beachwood Tip Line: Hiatable.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 2:06 PM | Permalink

Data Historian Market Heating Up

According to a new market research report Data Historian Market by Application (Production Tracking, Environmental Auditing, Asset Performance Management, and GRC Management), Component (Software/Tools, Services), Deployment Mode, Organization Size, End User, and Region - Global Forecast to 2025, published by MarketsandMarkets™, the Data Historian Market size is expected to grow from $1.1 billion in 2020 to $1.3 billion by 2025, at a Compound Annual Growth Rate (CAGR) of 5.0% during the forecast period.

Increasing demand for consolidated data for process and performance improvement, rising big industrial data, and growing investments in analytics are driving the adoption of the Data Historian Market.

Data historian solutions collect real-time data from automation and other systems to store time-stamped data at high speed and maintain the sequence of data.

The Track and Trace (TnT) serialization initiative to preserve historical data in the chemical and petrochemical industry is creating a greater need for capturing historic production records. This is to help maintain the quality of drugs and avoid the counterfeiting of products.

Additionally, it also helps in identifying the root cause of the problem in preventing any undesirable event in the production sequence. Data historian solutions and services offer new insights to enhance controls and also deliver information about the process and the equipment needed to rectify maintenance issues.

Production tracking is the most critical process in any manufacturing plant. Efficient production tracking enables quality improvement using root cause analysis, better monitoring and reporting, and improved supervision over raw material to avoid wastage.

Data historian solutions collect, store, analyze, and represent information from over a diversified production floor and data source to enable users to get real-time manufacturing intelligence outcomes.

For example, OSIsoft, through its PI historian platform, delivers robust manufacturing intelligence solutions, which include Overall Equipment Effective (OEE), product tracking and genealogy, electronic batch record reports, and asset utilization monitoring for better production tracking throughout the production life cycle.

In North America, enterprises belonging to various end-user segments have been significantly using data historian solutions. Therefore, this region is expected to dominate the market to provide growth opportunities to data historian solution providers. The region is the major and the fastest adopter of technologies, such as AI and SCADA.

Moreover, tremendous growth in customer-generated data is expected in this region in the coming years. Organizations operating in this region are highly dependable on this data, and hence are likely to adopt solutions that would enable the consolidation of data, which is collected in silos.

Furthermore, migration facilitates technologies, such as the integration of big data and BI tools toward data management, which further simplifies other business-related operations.

The U.S. and Canada are the major countries that contribute to the growth of the Data Historian Market in North America. North America has witnessed rapid adoption of digitalization technologies and high levels of consumer usage as compared to the other developed regions.

The major vendors in Data Historian Market are GE (US), ABB (Switzerland), Emerson (US), Siemens (Germany), AVEVA (UK), Honeywell (US), Rockwell Automation (US), OSIsoft (US), ICONICS (US), IBM (US), Yokogawa (Japan), PTC (US), Inductive Automation (US), Canary Labs (US), Open Automation Software (US), InfluxData (US), Progea (Italy), Kx Systems (US), SORBA (US), Savigent Software (US), Automsoft (Ireland), LiveData Utilities (US), Industrial Video & Control (US), Aspen Technology (US), and COPA-DATA (Austria).

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Previously in markets:
* Global Chewing Gum Market On Fire.

* Global Chainsaw Market On Fire.

* Automatic Labeling Machine Market On Fire.

* Tube Packaging Market Worth $9.3 Billion By 2021.

* Luxury Vinyl Tiles Flooring Market Worth $31.4 Billion By 2024.

* Global Condom Market On Fire.

* Global Sexual Lubricant Market On Fire.

* Industrial Lubricants Market Booming.

* Global Electric Guitar Growth.

* Early Impacts Of COVID-19 On The Pet Food Packaging Market.

* Global Music Recording Industry Trajectory & Analytics 2020-2025.

* The Global Premature Ejaculation Market Is Exploding Quickly.

* Pressure Sensitive Adhesives Market On Fire.

* Global TV Market Spikes With Pandemic.

* The Robust Undercurrent Of The Sports Flooring Market.

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 10:57 AM | Permalink

Breakdancing Just The Latest Wacky Olympic Sport

Surfing, skateboarding, karate and sport climbing will be the new sports included in the Tokyo 2021 Olympic Games, with BMX freestyle (think halfpipe snowboarding but on bikes) and 3x3 basketball (teams of three playing on a half court with on basket) added as disciplines in existing sports.

The Beijing 2022 Winter Games will feature seven new events - freestyle skiing big air (men's and women's), women's monobob (solo bobsledding) and mixed team events in short-track speed skating, ski jumping, freestyle skiing aerials and snowboard cross.

The latest Olympic sport added to the 2024 Paris Games is "breaking," which started as a form of dancing associated with hip hop culture and has morphed into a well-organized competitive sport governed by the World DanceSport Federation.

Not everyone is thrilled by the inclusion of breakdancing in the games, but this is all part of the ongoing transformation of the Olympics as it seeks to remain relevant to younger audiences more familiar with halfpipes than equestrian dressage.

A Push For Younger, More Extreme Sports

In fact, new sports are continually being added to the Olympics, while others are dropped.

Wrestling (a sport dating back to the ancient Olympics) was axed from the Tokyo Olympics only to be reinstated several months later. Baseball and softball were both in the Games, then out, then in again (Tokyo 2021), then out again (Paris 2024).

Other sports, such as golf and rugby, were part of the Olympics in the early 1900s, then dropped for decades before being added back in.

The impetus for some of these changes can be traced to the International Olympic Committee's Agenda 2020 policy document released in 2014. The objective was to usher the Olympic movement into a new modern era with a focus on sports that are more youth-oriented, do not require expensive venues, can ensure more gender balance and are television-friendly.

With the IOC often criticized as being male-centric and old-fashioned, the current IOC president, Thomas Bach, has been a major driver of this new way of thinking and modernizing of the Olympics.

The IOC has also been pushed in some ways by the strong influence of the Extreme Games, launched in 1995 and later rebranded the X Games.

This event, with both a summer and winter version, was developed by the ESPN sports network. And it's certainly made for TV: the focus is on action sports that have a high degree of "spectacle."

Due to their success, the Olympic movement was reasonably quick to embrace several sports that originated in the X Games.

Summer Games Are Maxed Out In Terms Of Size

In 1994, the Olympics shifted to a new two-year, alternating cycle for the Summer and Winter Games. This brought increased visibility for the Winter Olympics, which began adding new sports and grew rapidly in size.

Curling, women's hockey and snowboarding were added to the 1998 Nagano Games program. Fourteen years later, an unprecedented 12 new events had their debut at the Sochi 2014 Winter Games.

As a result, the Winter Games have blossomed from 16 events and 49 medals in 1924 to a record 109 events and 327 medals at the 2022 Beijing Winter Games.

Although the Summer Games have also grown gradually, they have been unable to add as many new sports due to size limitations and logistical factors. The Summer Games are over twice as large as the Winter Games in terms of budget and the number of athletes that take part. They also require far more purpose-built venues.

The Tokyo Games are expected to feature 11,092 athletes in 339 events, but this will actually shrink to 10,500 athletes and 329 events for the 2024 Paris Olympics.

Logically, if new contemporary sports like breakdancing are added, others (like baseball and softball) will have to go. Athlete numbers will also need to be reduced in existing sports, as will happen at the Paris Games.

The IOC also has a gender-balance goal for athletes and it is expecting to reach 50-50 parity for the first time in Paris.

A History Of Obscure Events, From Pesapallo To Kite Flying

Until 1992, numerous sports were included in the Olympics as "demonstration" events. Medals were awarded, but they were not included in the official tally. The idea was to showcase a local sport of the host country or to trial a sport that could possibly be added as a full medal sport in the future.

There have been a number of unusual and obscure demonstration events in the Games, such as bandy (a mix of ice hockey and field hockey), dogsled racing, tug of war, military patrol (a skiing and shooting sport similar to biathlon), bicycle polo, roller hockey, rope climbing, pesapallo (a Finnish version of baseball) and Australian Rules Football.



The 1900 Paris Olympics included a catalogue of strange events, such as cannon firing, fishing, pigeon racing, firefighting, hot air ballooning, and kite flying, though some were part of the adjacent World's Fair and not considered "official" Olympic events.

The Olympics also have a long tradition of including various forms of arts competitions, as well. From 1912-48, an "Art Olympics" ran alongside the Summer Games, with medals across five categories: architecture, music, literature, sculpture, and painting.

Not everyone is embracing the addition of breakdancing to the Olympic program. Some sports like netball and squash have lobbied unsuccessfully to be included in the Olympics for years, and were disappointed yet again for being passed over for the 2024 Games.

Some purists are not fans of the Olympics' embrace of youth-oriented sports, either. Bob Costas, the veteran U.S. sports commentator, once compared slopestyle skiing to the types of pranks shown on the MTV television program Jackass.

Breaking may be the lucky winner for 2024, but many other new sports are knocking on the door to get into the Summer Games.

As the IOC attempts to keep pace with a changing world, it is likely we will see even more changes to the Olympic landscape for the Los Angeles 2028 Summer Games.

And if Brisbane does follow through on a bid to host the 2032 Games, could we expect to see Aussie rules football back on the program?

Richard Baka is a senior lecturer in the College of Sport & Exercise Science at Victoria University. This post is republished from The Conversation under a Creative Commons license.

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Comments welcome.

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1. From Steve Rhodes:

It's important to remember that there is a difference between sport and competition. Sport is an athletic competition that is inherently physical. Competition can be a chess match or a spelling bee.


Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 9:07 AM | Permalink

December 8, 2020

No Fitzmas For Bears, Please

Now that the Chicago Bears seem to be hunting for new head coach - and aren't they always? - their eyes have fallen on Northwestern's Pat "Mr. Chicago" Fitzgerald.

I know a guy who knows a guy.

Matt Nagy seems to be on the endangered species list for the same flaws that doomed his immediate predecessors.

Fitz wouldn't even have to move. He already owns a $2.5 million mansion in Northfield.

Though Northwestern is a private university and need not reveal what its coaches make, many professional sleuths have figured out Fitz makes $5 million a year, which makes him one of the Top Ten paid college coaches in the country. He would be very expensive.

Fitzgerald's name - as it will when the Notre Dame job comes open - inevitably pops up in these circumstances because he has done something more profound than be a good college coach. He has mastered the art of controlling the meme. He has, to coin a phrase, rigged the election.

Fitzgerald has achieved something of a clever illusion.

Little engine that could takes whatever really smart kids it can find and puts together a ragtag (but well-dressed) football team that is often mediocre but occasionally not inept. That's the illusion that has transformed Fitzgerald from a nominally competent coach into something of a genius.

Mr. Smoke meet Mr. Mirrors.

He has managed to lower the bar for judging genius and made himself fabulously wealthy in the process. He has mastered the gee-whiz marketing narrative.

It's what the Chicago Cubs used to be. Sure, they're bad but they are "our bad" and we love them and revere their inevitable failures. It does not hurt that hundreds of media influencers are grads of Northwestern's Medill School of Journalism. Nice to have friends in public places.

What Fitzgerald has created is either the American Dream or the American Hallucination, and the Bears, if they are serious in their rumored pursuit of Fitzgerald, are about to find out which. There also are rumors the disaster-ridden New York Jets are lusting after him.

The Fitzgerald genius is open to several interpretations. In 15 years, his Wildcat teams are 104-80, a .565 winning percentage. At some schools that does not earn permanent enshrinement but a pink slip. Tom Herman stands at the edge of being fired at Texas with a .707 career winning percentage.

Charlie Weis had the same winning percentage (at 35-27) in five seasons at Notre Dame before he was condemned to the purgatory of Kansas.

Fitzgerald's record rounds out to a typical 7-5 season. Every third year the Wildcats are likely to win 9 or 10 games. Otherwise there are more 5-7 seasons that even ripe plucking of early-season bumpkins from the Mid-American Conference and mid-majors can't inflate.

They are 5-1 now in Covid Bowl season . . . but went 3-9 last year, and that includes wins over nondescript Nevada-Las Vegas and Massachusetts, plus a typically abysmal Illinois team. A year earlier they were 9-5 but lost to Duke and Akron (yikes). Even good seasons are inflated with wins over such bunny rabbits as Bowling Green, South Dakota and Maine.

When the Wildcats have bad years, local audiences and media yawn and accept the flubs as Northwestern being Northwestern. They are likable schlubs, which is a carefully tended marketing falsehood. They are very rich schlubs who spent $270 million of their own money on new sports facilities the past three years. Lovable losers don't normally have that sort of pocket change.

Fitzgerald has managed many seasons which would not be survivable elsewhere. At schools where quality was an expectation, those single seasons could get a coach fired, not exempted from negative judgement.

Besides, last year's 3-9, Fitzgerald's teams went Last year 5-7 in 2014, 5-7 in 2013, 6-7 in 2011, and 4-8 in 2008.

They tend to be good and bad in alternate years, and just successful enough for Fitz to keep his "boy genius" hat.

It's an adept manipulation of expectations that apply to Northwestern but hardly anyone else. Even some worthy seasons needed a Northwestern asterisk, which is an excuse note from mom that exempts you from gym class.

In 2010 and 2011, Fitz's boys went to two minor bowls (that's good) after losing 10 of 16 Big Ten games (that's bad).

In seven of Fitzgerald's 15 years, the Wildcats had losing records in the BIg 10. That might work just fine at Valpo or Illinois State or even the University of Illinois, but it's not much of a recommendation for the Bears.

The Bears only seem to be as patient as Northwestern. The clock on being fired begins ticking backward before the ink dries on Bears' contracts.

Nagy is 29th in EdjSports.com's head coach rankings, so his "genius lad" hat has been ripped off his head.

Chicago's decision to give Nagy a five-year contract in 2018 is something the organization never did before, though the length of NFL coaching contracts is gradually elongating, and is often disconnected from the coach's peril. Former head coach John Fox signed a four-year deal in 2015; Marc Trestman a four-year deal in 2013; and Lovie Smith a four-year deal back in 2004. All were ditched after the Bears played many seasons that now look like what occurs at Northwestern.

To survive in the pros, Fitzgerald might have the skill, but he will not be revered as he is in Evanston. Medill allies won't protect the Bears or their coach.

Plus, life happens fast in the NFL. And figurative professional death does, too.

Gregg Williams was a well-regarded defensive coordinator who just lost his Jets job. He made a terrible, boneheaded tactical decision that cost the Jets a last-minute loss. He called a maximum blitz when a routine prevention defense would have won the game.

He went from being employed to jobless in 14 seconds.

Fitzgerald has never faced that sort of risk.

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David Rutter is the former publisher/editor of the Lake County News-Sun, and more importantly, the former author of the Beachwood's late, great "The Week In WTF" column. His most recent piece for us was Afternoon In America. You can also check him out at his Theeditor50's blog. He welcomes your comments.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 12:11 PM | Permalink

A Series Of Fortunate Events

Seth MacFarlane, Eric Idle and the most important day on Earth in the last 100 million years explain how our lives are ruled by chance.


"From acclaimed writer and biologist [not the physicist] Sean B. Carroll, a rollicking, awe-inspiring story of the surprising power of chance in our lives and the world.

"Sean B. Carroll is an award-winning scientist, writer, educator, and film producer. He is Vice President for Science Education at the Howard Hughes Medical Institute and the Balo-Simon Chair of Biology at the University of Maryland. His books include The Serengeti Rules, Brave Genius, and Remarkable Creatures, which was a finalist for the National Book Award. He lives in Chevy Chase, Maryland. Twitter: @SeanBiolCarroll

"This talk was part of Skeptical Inquirer Presents and was given on Thursday, December 3rd, 2020."

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 12:24 AM | Permalink

December 7, 2020

Mr. Pringle All Glowed Up

2020 has been the year we've all learned to adjust to change and the Pringles® brand and its iconic mascot, Mr. Pringle, is no exception.

For the first time in 20 years, Pringles has updated its unmistakable can with a fresh, new look that features bold hues and a clean design, highlighting the crisps' inventive flavors and unique, stackable shape.

To complement the can's new look, Pringles also streamlined its mustachioed mascot to better highlight the flavors in every can and showcase his new range of emotions to match.

With a sleeker look including a more dynamic mustache, sharper bow tie, sparkling eyes and expressive eyebrows, Mr. P's "Glow Up" puts the focus on the irresistible taste in every Pringles crisp and stack.

pringles.jpg

"We spent the last two years in research and design to create a modern look for the cans and Mr. P's style that reflects the bold flavor in every Pringles crisp and stack," said Gareth Maguire, senior director of marketing for Pringles. "While the look may be new on the outside, I'm proud to say that it doesn't change the irresistible taste that's always been on the inside of every Pringles can and celebrates the unique snacking experience that is part of every bite."

Who better to introduce us to this new look than Victor Cruz, America's football champion, fashion-loving, "glow up" king?

Pringles partnered with Cruz to celebrate the brand evolution and help launch a national sweepstakes giving fans the chance to win their own end of 2020 "glow up" - just in time for the holidays.

"Just like Mr. P, I've spent the past few years evolving - from football champion to entertainment personality with a passion for style," said Cruz. "I've always been a fan of the brand's bold taste, and the Pringles brand refresh matches the inventive flavors I know and love. I think the 'Get Fresh As Mr. P' sweepstakes is the perfect way to kickstart the new year and give yourself that personal "Glow Up," whatever that may mean for you."

Fans can head to Twitter and enter for the chance to win $1,500 along with a selection of Pringles products featuring the new brand look. To enter, fans must tweet their favorite Pringles flavor with the hashtag #FreshAsMrPEntry for a chance to win.

Plus, fans can check out Victor Cruz on Instagram (@VictorCruz) and Twitter (@TeamVic) to see his "get fresh" tips for additional ways to freshen up their look. For official rules, click here.

The refreshed logo and brand design are featured on Pringles' new Scorchin' line arriving in store and online in December, and across all brand communications in early 2021. For more information follow @Pringles on Twitter, @PringlesUS on Instagram and check out facebook.com/PringlesUS.

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See also:

He's Single. He's Pringle. He's Ready To Mingle.

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And:

Potato Chips Market 2020: Potential Growth, Attractive Valuation Make It A Long-Term Investment

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 8:44 PM | Permalink

The Beachwood Radio Sports Hour #333: Area Family Holding Football Team Hostage

It's Next McCaskey Up.

Perpetual rebuild perpetuated.

Plus: No Joy In Cubrock.

The dream is over.

Beachwood Radio Network · The Beachwood Radio Sports Hour #333: Area Family Holding Football Team Hostage

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SHOW NOTES

* 333.

* Shunk.

* Skunk.

* Rat.

* Squirrel.

* Mice.

7:44: It's Next McCaskey Up.

* Dickerson, ESPN: Blow it up.

* via Pro Football Reference:

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Screen Shot 2020-12-07 at 1.59.44 PM.png

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57:34: No Joy In Cubrock.

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STOPPAGE: 23:02

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

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 12:56 PM | Permalink

December 4, 2020

Chicago Music Poster History

"Chicago's unique and distinctive graphic design history includes a rich tradition of poster production. From early posters advertising the 1893 World's Columbian Exposition to those announcing independent rock musicians, festivals, and concerts, Chicago's silkscreen industry has long been a lively enterprise and continues to thrive.

"Taking place November 10, 2020, Northwestern University Archivist Kevin Leonard and a panel of local printmakers discussed the art of music poster-making in Chicago, historically and today.

"This program included an overview of Chicago's music poster history and a discussion of the city's ongoing position as a vibrant hub for printmakers. Panelists highlighted music posters found in Chicago Collections Consortium's member collections alongside contemporary examples.

"Panelists included Kevin Leonard (Northwestern University, University Archivist), Thomas Lucas (Hummingbird Press), Alexandrea Pataky (High Lonesome Print), Jay Ryan (The Bird Machine), and Steve Walters (Screwball Press)."

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Companion Workshop With Jay Ryan And Steve Albini.

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 1:49 PM | Permalink

How James Baker (Dishonestly) Made George W. Bush President

With Rudy Giuliani flailing through a series of failed election challenges for the Trump campaign, a superb new political biography provides fresh evidence of just how stark the contrast is between the head of Trump's legal team and George W. Bush's hyperprepared, efficient and savvy commander-in-chief for the 2000 election political and legal fight, James Baker.

The biography The Man Who Ran Washington, by Peter Baker and Susan Glasser, provides at least three new major revelations, even for those of us election law experts steeped in that 2000 saga, which culminated in the U.S. Supreme Court's Bush v. Gore decision and Bush's consequent victory.

Screen Shot 2020-12-04 at 11.42.45 AM.pngFormer President George W. Bush, left, with James A. Baker III at the 2018 funeral of George H.W. Bush/AP Pool

Baker had headed two Cabinet departments - Treasury and State - had been White House chief of staff to two presidents and had run four successful presidential campaigns.

But after being strong-armed to relinquish being Secretary of State and take over George H.W. Bush's floundering 1992 re-election campaign, Baker failed. That failure, some claim, created a rift in one of the most important political friendships of the late 20th century.

So when Baker got the call the morning after the 2000 election to take command of George W. Bush's effort to gain the White House, Baker saw it as an opportunity to redeem himself with the Bush family.

Seeing Around Corners

The book's first revelation comes immediately: 45 minutes after being briefed on the situation that morning of Nov. 8, when Bush's lead in Florida stood at 1,784 votes out of nearly 3 million cast - and before even a machine recount had taken place that would cut that lead by two-thirds - Baker told others: "We're heading to the Supreme Court."

Screen Shot 2020-12-04 at 12.16.36 PM.pngPeter Cosgrove/AP Photos

When they expressed surprise, Baker followed up by saying: "It's the only way this can end."

Baker's acumen here was stunning. At this stage, and even later in the saga, a large majority even of election law and Supreme Court experts were highly skeptical that the court would get involved at all.

The widely shared view was that the process of recounts would be resolved completely under Florida law and through Florida's administrative processes and courts. That's how election challenges, even in federal elections, had always been handled. Baker's first choice to lead the litigation effort, former Senator John Danforth of Missouri, reflected this common view.

Danforth told Baker, "I just can't conceive that a federal court's going to take jurisdiction over a matter relating to state election law . . . I just can't believe that."

Danforth nevertheless agreed to take on the role. But Baker decided Danforth didn't believe enough in the cause, cut him loose and turned instead to a former Reagan administration high-level attorney, Ted Olson, who ultimately won in Bush v. Gore. Baker's immediate judgement that the Supreme Court would become the ultimate decision-maker structured everything he did.

Breach Of Judicial Confidentiality

The second revelation in the book is highly disturbing, if accurate.

Litigating the outcome of the 2000 election began with the Gore campaign filing requests under Florida law for manual recounts in four counties. Two weeks after Election Day, the litigation made its first appearance before the Florida Supreme Court. Just before the argument was about to begin, Baker was reportedly handed a note from an intermediary who somehow knew that the Florida justices had already decided among themselves that they were going to rule against Bush and had written a draft opinion to that effect.

Given the time urgency to resolve the election, it is neither surprising nor troubling that the court would have moved this quickly and already drafted a decision. But for a party to a case to be told that, and how the court was going to rule, is a remarkable breach in the confidentiality of a court's internal deliberations.

Once they got this note, Bush's lawyer for the argument, Michael Carvin, asserts they decided "to lose and lose big," in order to bait the Florida Supreme Court into a broad decision that would make U.S. Supreme Court intervention more likely.

Whether Carvin's self-serving strategic claim is accurate or not, that's exactly what happened. The Florida Supreme Court approved a manual recount and ordered the deadline for certifying the outcome extended by 12 days. The U.S. Supreme Court - to the surprise of many - agreed to hear the case. When it did so, the Supreme Court then unanimously vacated the Florida court's decision, in the first of the United States Supreme Court's two decisions concerning the 2000 election.

Threat Of Legislative Action

The third revelation involves an issue that has swirled around the current election: the possible role of state legislatures in directly appointing presidential electors, rather than permitting the will of the voters to determine who has won the presidential election - and hence the electors - in that state.

Federal law permits a state legislature to appoint electors if the election has "failed" in that state - a term whose meaning the law does not clarify.

No legislature has invoked this "failed" election provision since at least the Civil War, but there was a great deal of concern in 2020 that the Trump campaign's strategy was to get Republican legislatures in battleground states to do so.

The closest the U.S. has ever come to that happening is Florida in 2000. After the Florida Supreme Court decision that the Bush campaign lost, Baker asserted to the press that the Florida court had changed the rules after the election, by approving a manual recount and extending the deadline for certifying the election by 12 days.

Then Baker threatened: "So one should not now be surprised if the Florida legislature seeks to affirm the original rules."

And indeed, in early December, the Florida legislature announced it would convene a special session to discuss appointing Florida's electors itself.

That much is a matter of public record. But what the new biography reveals is that, while Baker wanted this to be seen as a threat, he did not want Florida's legislature to go through with it.

Baker presumably wanted the shadow of imminent legislative action to spur the courts to bring closure to the recount process, given that Bush was ahead in the count.

Throughout the process, Baker was just as focused on public perceptions as on the courtroom battles. He believed that, if Florida's legislature appointed the electors in favor of Bush, it would cripple Bush's presidency from the start by undermining the legitimacy of his election.

Those most involved in the 2000 election contest believe that the looming specter of Florida legislative involvement effectively shaped the overall environment in the way Baker aimed to do. Six days after the Florida legislature's action, the 5-4 Supreme Court final decision in Bush v. Gore ended the recount, without any further action from the Florida legislature - the path to Bush's victory that Baker had envisioned from the start.

Giuliani Versus Baker

In contrast to the Trump campaign's litigation this year, with lawyers filing claims, then withdrawing from cases, and new teams of lawyers swooping in at the last minute, Baker's firm hand at knowing how to structure effective organizations also played a prominent role in Florida in 2000.

Not only did he quickly assemble the most talented conservative lawyers in the country, but, as one example, he assigned different teams of attorneys to state and federal court, to enable greater specialization.

Some Democrats will never forgive Baker, nor the Supreme Court, for their roles in ending the recount before all the ballots were counted - though a consortium of major newspapers later determined that if the recount had been completed, Bush would have won under 21 of 24 possible standards for what constituted a valid vote.*

But Democrats involved in the litigation battles knew the other side had the more effective leader.** Indeed, the new Baker biography claims that when Baker was put in charge of the Florida contest, his "reputation was so formidable that Democrats knew they would lose the moment they heard of his selection."

I can confidently say that thought did not cross the mind of any Democrat when Rudy Giuliani was put in charge this time around.

Richard Pildes is a constitutional law professor at New York University. This post is republished from The Conversation under a Creative Commons license.

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Comments welcome.

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* Editor's Note: Most importantly, though, the consortium found that if everyone's vote was counted, as opposed to, say, particular counties getting recounts (and under the toughest standards), Gore would've been found to be the winner. And when you count the butterfly ballot mishap of Palm Beach County, well, the intention of Florida's voters was clear.

See also:

-> Won The Election? Who Cares

-> Democrats Should Remember Al Gore Won Florida In 2000 - But Lost The Presidency With A Pre-Emptive Surrender

-> We Really Did Inaugurate The Wrong Guy.

** Editor's Note: Baker's counterpart in the Gore campaign was Bill Daley.


Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 11:36 AM | Permalink

Exclusive! The Real Reasons Why Len Kasper Left The Cubs For The Sox

Len Kasper is moving from the Cubs' TV booth to the White Sox' radio booth - supposedly because of his all-consuming love of radio.

But the Beachwood Sports Desk has learned otherwise. Our investigation has uncovered the real reasons behind Kasper's move.

* Didn't want to work on Ricketts' bison farm in offseason anymore.

* Could no longer tolerate Jim Deshaies' dislike of Pearl Jam.

* At this stage of life, he's downsizing.

* Couldn't pass up opportunity to work with Tony La Russa.

* Wasn't allowed to wear Jerry Garcia ties on the air.

* Only way to get out of weekly hits with Bernstein.

* Only way to get out of weekly lunches with Crane Kenney.

* Could no longer resist the siren call of Guaranteed Rate Field.

* In recent divorce, wife got the Cubs.

* Sinclair's Marquee Network finally went too far when they ordered him to do play-by-play of Rudy Giuliani's election challenges.

* Time to be pleasantly mediocre on the other side of town.

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 8:58 AM | Permalink

Subway Art Returns To NYC

Graffiti artists bombed at least two dozen New York City train cars last weekend, resulting in a traveling gallery of magnificent pieces reminiscent of subway art's 1970s heyday.

graffiti_subway.0.jpg

From The City:

The bulk of the hits occurred during the nightly 1 a.m.-to-5 a.m. suspension of subway passenger service, a source with knowledge of the incidents said. Most took place in tunnels and along stretches of out-of-service tracks used to store trains - areas that are supposed to be patrolled by the NYPD.

Of the 183 subway-car graffiti hits this year, 153 of them - or 83% - have occurred in the so-called layup areas, according to an MTA spokesperson, while the remainder have come in subway yards secured by transit officials [...]

The run of graffiti and vandalism incidents come in the wake of officials at the transit agency pinning a rise in subway crime on the NYPD and what MTA Chairperson Patrick Foye has called an "inexplicable and unacceptable" decrease in the number of arrests and summonses.

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 12:31 AM | Permalink

Lack Of Internet Access A Driver In Chicago COVID Cases

New research has found that Chicago neighborhoods with barriers to social distancing, including limited access to broadband internet and low rates of health insurance, had more COVID-19 deaths in spring 2020. The study, led by researchers at the University of Illinois Chicago, is published in the Annals of Epidemiology.

"We wanted to look at neighborhood characteristics that may contribute to higher death rates in certain neighborhoods in Chicago," said Molly Scannell Bryan, a research assistant professor at the UIC Institute for Minority Health Research and corresponding author on the paper. "We originally expected that air quality and use of public transportation would be drivers, but we found that heightened barriers to being able to social distance, such as low or lack of internet access, was a more significant driver of COVID-19-related deaths, possibly through a higher risk of infection in those without internet access."

COVID-19 is the illness caused by the SARS-CoV-2 virus, which emerged in fall 2019 and declared a pandemic by the World Health Organization in March 2020. In the United States, over 270,000 Americans have died of the disease.

The researchers sought to identify patterns in the census tracts with high rates of COVID-19 mortality in Chicago during the spring and early summer of 2020.

They looked at 33 neighborhood characteristics for each census-tract. Chicago has almost 1,000 census tracts, each with approximately 4,000 people.

Neighborhood descriptors were obtained from the U.S. Census Bureau's American Community Survey, and information on COVID-19 deaths was obtained from the Office of the Medical Examiner of Cook County. Highly localized estimates of air quality, including nitrogen dioxide, ozone and very fine particulate matter, were obtained from colleagues at Northwestern University.

Between March 16 and July 22, 2,514 COVID-19 deaths were recorded in Chicago.

The data revealed that COVID-19 death rates in Chicago showed similar racial disparities to those seen nationwide. Although non-Hispanic Black residents comprise 31% of Chicago's population, they accounted for 42% of the COVID-19 deaths. Deaths among Hispanic/Latino residents occurred at a younger age - 63 years, compared with 71 for white residents.

After focusing on deaths that occurred outside of nursing homes, the researchers found that higher COVID-19 mortality was seen in neighborhoods with heightened barriers to social distancing and low health insurance coverage. Neighborhoods with a higher percentage of white and Asian residents had lower COVID-19 mortality. Mortality among white residents was highest in neighborhoods with lower educational attainment and a higher percentage of Hispanic/Latino residents. Among whites, mortality was lower in neighborhoods with a higher percentage of white or Asian residents.

"Barriers to social distancing really jumped out as a major driver of mortality, likely through increased risk of infection," Scannell Bryan said. "Neighborhoods where residents do not have internet at home means residents are more likely to need to leave the house more often and come into contact with more people outside the home. In the spring, when there were such high levels of community spread, this would have put those people at higher risk."

The researchers also found that while the overall death rate was higher among Black residents, no neighborhood characteristics were associated with COVID-19 death rates among Black residents specifically. In contrast, among white residents, neighborhood characteristics seemed to matter.

"We saw that white residents who died clustered in neighborhoods with higher levels of social vulnerability, whereas Black and Hispanic/Latino residents who died lived in neighborhoods with both high and low levels of social vulnerability," Scannell Bryan said.

"Our study revealed several neighborhood characteristics that are linked to higher COVID-19 death rates and these are the places that might benefit from additional testing and resources to connect residents to health care."

Jiehuan Sun, Jyotsna Jagai, Dr. Robert Sargis, Maria Argos of UIC and Daniel Horton and Anastasia Montgomery from Northwestern University are co-authors on the paper.

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 12:13 AM | Permalink

December 2, 2020

The [Wednesday] Papers

Just a reminder, the site is basically on hiatus through the end of the year, excepting some sporadic posting. For example:

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Meanwhile . . .

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New on the Beachwood today . . .

Class, Race & Paying College Athletes
Will COVID be the tipping point?

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ChicagoReddit

Chicago's New Emergency Travel Order from r/chicago

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ChicagoGram

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ChicagoTube

"Nightlife" / Archibald John Motley Jr.

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

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The Beachwood Tip Line: To Insure Prompt.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 7:54 PM | Permalink

Class, Race And Paying College Athletes

Despite the coronavirus pandemic, college sports have mostly chugged along - albeit with cancellations, postponements and pauses in play.

While many college athletes are grateful for the opportunity to compete, the pandemic has laid bare just how few basic rights they possess.

College athletes are navigating this strange sports season with increased health risks, but with little leverage or say about the conditions under which they'll play.

In contrast, their professional counterparts in leagues such as the NBA, WNBA, MLB and NFL, thanks to their respective unions, actively negotiated special accommodations, health measures, truncated seasons and the ability to opt out of playing.

They also continually negotiate their economic rights, such as how their sport's revenue is split up and the minimum and maximum amounts that players may be paid.

Will this unusual season be the one that finally compels the NCAA to grant players broad economic rights, too?

The public, it seems, is increasingly on board.

According to a newly published study I conducted with Ohio University sports management professor Dave Ridpath, the tide in public opinion - at least when it comes to pay - has already been turning. However, race plays a big role in determining the level of support.

Rising Support For Paying College Athletes

In our study, we analyzed survey data that I collected from nearly 4,000 U.S. adults in late 2018 through early 2019. One of the questions we asked respondents was whether college athletes should be allowed to be paid, as athletes, beyond the costs to attend school.

Based on our findings, 51% of U.S. adults indicated support for this right by early 2019. This coincides with subsequent results from other polls that indicate rising levels of support for college athletes' basic economic rights.

For example, an October 2019 Seton Hall Sports Poll found that 60% of U.S. adults supported college athletes being allowed to be paid for the use of their names, images and likenesses. Results from an AP-NORC survey in December 2019 pegged that support at 66%.

Previous research had consistently found that most U.S adults were opposed to college athletes being paid and were even against college athletes being able to negotiate for rights through a union.

The rising support for some basic economic rights for college athletes comes at a time when people are paying more attention to the massive financial hauls of some college sports programs, particularly through men's college football and basketball. These profits have led to enormous salaries for many coaches and administrators.

The NCAA has long claimed that college sports would lose their allure if college athletes were paid - that the magic of watching amateurs simply playing for pride while representing a cherished university would disappear, and fans would become less enchanted by college sports.

Yet we found that the most passionate sports fans were actually the most likely to support the idea of permitting college athletes to be paid.

Class, Race And Amateurism

Race, however, does seem to influence respondents' support for college athletes' economic rights.

In our study, the odds for white adults strongly agreeing that college athletes should be allowed to be paid were 36% lower than those for nonwhite adults. When we zeroed in on Black and white respondents, we found that the odds for Black adults strongly agreeing with payment allowances were two-and-a-half times those of whites.

Why might this be the case?

It could have to do with the way race and class are intertwined with amateurism.

In the 19th century, white, upper-class Europeans invented the concept of amateurism. They claimed that paying athletes would corrupt the purity of the game and make participants more likely to cheat. In reality, they wanted to discourage working-class athletes from competing, as most couldn't afford to play for free.

When American universities adopted amateurism in the early 20th century as its model for college sports, these social class distinctions were still in play. There was also a racial element, since, at the time, higher education was the domain of the white and wealthy.

Over the course of the 20th century, nonwhite - particularly, Black - athletes were gradually integrated into college sports, which became increasingly commercialized. Today, Black athletes constitute an outsized proportion of college football and basketball rosters.

Yet amateurism, a relic of classist and racist attitudes, remains, and the bulk of the revenue that Black athletes disproportionately generate - a number that now amounts to billions of dollars - doesn't go to them. Nor have they or other athletes been permitted to accept outside payments aside from the full cost of attendance.

So, there is very much a racial element to the economic exploitation that seems to be occurring.

But this is not solely a racial issue. Self-serving profit motives are also at play. The NCAA has inconsistently applied the principles of amateurism in order to exert more control over college sports and generate more revenue.

Still, perhaps the Black respondents in our survey were more aware of this discrepancy between profits, race and labor. We also discovered that - regardless of the respondent's racial identity - a recognition of racial discrimination in society coincided with greater support for college athletes' right to be allowed to be paid. This suggests that those inclined to perceive racial exploitation in American society might see college sports through the same lens.

Are The Times Finally Changing?

Pay, of course, is just one right. College athletes can be subjected to abuse, forced to risk their health and made to prioritize sports over academics - and still find themselves powerless to protest or enact changes.

Thanks to athlete activism, media attention, legal challenges, state legislation and shifts in public opinion on the issue of economic rights, the NCAA seems to be on the precipice of allowing college athletes to receive some forms of additional compensation.

In April, after being pressed to allow college athletes to profit from the use of their names, images and likenesses, the NCAA signaled that they will grant permission for this and will vote on proposals in January 2021. A Florida law is slated to permit this to occur in their state with or without NCAA approval in the summer of 2021.

If the NCAA won't grant basic economic and other rights to college athletes, it might be up to lawmakers to keep applying the pressure. That's exactly what a group of senators tried to do in August when they introduced a College Athletes Bill of Rights that would guarantee NCAA players financial compensation, representation, long-term health care and lifetime educational opportunities.

The bill is languishing in the Senate, where it currently lacks any Republican support. Until that changes, it may be up to the athletes themselves to raise awareness and instigate change.

Chris Knoester is an associate professor of sociology at Ohio State. This post is republished from The Conversation under a Creative Commons license.

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 12:46 AM | Permalink

December 1, 2020

The [Tuesday] Papers

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New on the Beachwood . . .

Dear Black Students . . .
Don't let whites fuck your shit up.

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Ralph Steadman's Life In Ink
Not just gonzo - but always brilliant.

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Cole Hauser's Christian Cliche
Okay, you freshman fucks, listen up!

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Mariachi Vargas Extravaganza
The 26th annual goes on.

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ChicagoReddit

Dollar Trees are open?

To the woman in the long coat at Dollar Tree at Addison Mall from r/chicago

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ChicagoGram

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ChicagoTube

Chicago's 2007 celebrities.

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

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The Beachwood Skronk Line: Jig, jag and jottle.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 8:04 PM | Permalink

MUSIC - Madonna vs. Moderna.
TV - Sundays With The Military-Industrial Complex.
POLITICS - Private Equity In The ER.
SPORTS - Suspicious Betting Trends In Soccer.

BOOKS - China Holding Swedish Publisher.

PEOPLE PLACES & THINGS - All The Styles.


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