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« December 2014 | Main | February 2015 »

January 31, 2015

The Beachwood Radio Hour #42: Debating Race, The Mayor & The Super Bowl

White-on-white crime is out of control. Starring Ernie Banks, Hub Arkush and Laura Washington. Plus: More false frames! And: Pretenders and contenders take on Rahm. Finally: The Super Bowl is a circus on Mars!


SHOW NOTES

:00: Strawberry Rock Show.

1:37: Candy Hearts at the Bottom Lounge on Wednesday night.

2:45: Ernie Banks, Hub Arkush and Laura Washington.

* Ernie Banks Was Not A Wind-Up Toy, Parts 1, 2 and 3.

* White Men Can't Jump.

* Black-On-Black Crime.

* The Way We Talk About Race.

* White-On-White Crime In America Is Out Of Control.

* The False Media Narrative Of Black-On-Black Crime.

* Black People Can't Be Bitter.

* Being Poor Is A Parole Violation.

25:44: William Beckett at the Bottom Lounge on Wednesday night.

26:55: Debating The Mayor.

* The Media's False Frames.

* #tribdebate.

* Chicago State University forum.

* #CSTvote15

* Chuy Garcia, Right-Hand Man.

* Rahm And His Donors.

* A lot of crazy people have money.

* Willie Wilson does not have time for paperwork. Or does he?

49:52: Extreme at the House of Blues on Wednesday night.

* Two blonde-haired guys.

51:04: This Year's Super Bowl Is Peak NFL.

* The Beachwood Super Bowl Halftime Prop Bet: Katy Perry Edition.

* The Weekend Desk Report.

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For archives and more, see The Beachwood Radio Network.

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 7:55 PM | Permalink

The Weekend Desk Report

This Year's Super Bowl Is Peak NFL | Beyond the Square Pool: The Game, The Bets & The Depravity. On The Beachwood Radio Hour #36 with Jim "Coach" Coffman and our man on the odds Tom Chambers.

Both Jim and Tom are all in, deeply, on the Seahawks, by the way.

Also on the show: As The Bulls Turn & Finally Appreciating Ernie Banks.

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Beachwood Prop Bet
Updated to account for Missy Elliott.

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BeachBook: Super Bowl Edition
* Rolling Stone Publishes, Then Unpublishes, Column Criticizing NFL.

* 44 Lies Roger Goodell Told In His Press Conference.

* Katy Perry's Super Bowl Halftime Show Will Be 'Complete Maximum Evil.'

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The Sound Opinions Weekend Listening Report: "Last month marked the 45th anniversary of the Rolling Stones' notorious gig at the Altamont Speedway. Stanley Booth was there to witness it, and he literally wrote the book on it. Plus, we've got new albums from Bjork and Lupe Fiasco."

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TweetWood

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The Weekend Desk Tip Line: Just super.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 2:52 PM | Permalink

The Beachwood Radio Sports Hour #36: This Year's Super Bowl Is Peak NFL

Beyond the Square Pool: The Game, The Bets & The Depravity. Plus: As The Bulls Turn & Finally Appreciating Ernie Banks.


SHOW NOTES

* LeRoy Butler.

* Dave Duerson.

1:24: St. Super Bowl's Day.

* A national holiday, sure, but no one gets Monday off.

* This Year's Super Bowl Teams Really Are The Best In Their Conferences. Which almost never happens.

* Marshawn Lynch's Silence Becomes The Story.

* McMahon's headband.

* "I am befuddled that this is a pick 'em . . . there's a real good chance [Seattle] win this game by two, three touchdowns."

* Richard Sherman: An arm and a baby.

* The Beachwood Super Bowl Halftime Show Prop Bet: Katy Perry.

* LaGarrette Blount Is At The Center Of The Latest Conspiracy Theory.

* The Gronker.

22:40: Bears Blackout.

23:23: As The Bulls Turn.

* Mr. Iggy Azalea.

* The Suns beat the Bulls.

* Jeff Van Gundy vs. Bulls management, Chicago media.

* Cowley: Thibodeau And Bulls Seem To Be Headed For A Breakup.

* Thibodeau Defends Aggressive Coaching Style.

* Forman Downplays Tension With Thibodeau.

* Thibodeau Losing The Room?

41:50: Finally Appreciating Ernie Banks.

* Ernie Banks Was Not A Windup Toy Part 1.

* Ernie Banks Was Not A Windup Toy Part 2.

* Ernie Banks' 1986 Dream Game.

* The Legacy Of Ernie Banks.

55:25: Beyond The Square Pool.

* Peak NFL.

* The Super Bowl Is Decadent And Depraved.

* Roger Goodell Blasted For 'Belittling' CNN's Rachel Nichols.

* The Glantz-Culver Line.

* A circus on Mars.

* GQ: Roger Goodell's Season From Hell.

STOPPAGE TIME: 32:55

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For archives and more, see The Beachwood Radio Network.

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 7:42 AM | Permalink

January 30, 2015

The College Football Report: The Season Is Over But Beanies Are Forever

Ohio State's victory over Oregon not only settled the question of the 2014 college football championship but also validated - at least for the inaugural season - the playoff format.

As Deadspin rightly pointed out, the doubters, haters, and the delusional few who harkened back to the Golden Years of the BCS were proven wrong as Ohio State ran the table against the nation's elite. The Buckeyes took all the "Yes, but . . . " objections off the table. The only question remained, not did the best or most deserving team win, but how badly the Buckeyes would have spanked the opposition had they fielded the starting, much less second-string, quarterback for the Playoffs rather than third-stringer and surprise hero Cardale Jones.

However much it pains us to say it, Urban Meyer and his indomitable squad merit all the hardware. Oddly enough, if not for "Ohio State" on the jersey, it would have made for a classic David-Goliath story, but most people outside of Columbus (not just Ohio) hate OSU, so that doesn't work, and Jones is way too big, and far too talented, to play Rudy.

All in all, the happiest contingent had to have been the sharps. At +$175, the OSU money line paid out a tidy sum to those who believed Marcus Mariota was overhyped and the Buckeyes undervalued.

And with that, the first half of the season draws to a close with a sweet mix of relief and regret. Now, on to the second half of the season: The offseason. Mock NFL drafts are in full force, with the latest grades from the wonks weighing in on in the Senior Bowl and recruiting battles for the nation's elite high school players. We can't get too fired up about the offseason, though we have a newfound interest in the reporting of ESPN's Gerry Hamilton.

Big Ten Offseason Improvement Guide
Free advice, and totally worth it.

Illinois: Focus on improving areas of weakness on defense, such as stopping the run, stopping the pass, and preventing the other team from scoring. The Illini ranked as the 109th best defense for "points against" at 34.0 per game, so any improvement in any facet should help.

Also: work on the running game. At 117.5 yards per game (good for 114th in the FBS), U of I may be better served by taking a knee on first and second down, and passing on third-and-long in every series. At minimum, the clock would keep running and cut into opponents' time of possession.

We'll say this much, the Illini have gotten the recruiting season off to a strong start. The school brought out the big guns for two recent visitors: DT Jamal Milan (a three-star prospect from Chicago) and RB prospect KeShawn Vaughn (four stars, listed at 5'10" and a healthy 198 lb). No doubt the ice sculpture made a strong impression.

Not to be outdone, Ohio State and IU busted out the cookie cakes:

Take that, ice sculpture! Can you eat an ice helmet? No! Well, technically, yes, but it would require a good deal of effort and a pickax. You can just plow (sticking with the farm implement theme) into a cookie cake.

Indiana: Lobby for rule changes to resize the field, play on parquet flooring, replace goalposts with hoops, eliminate pads and helmets, use a rounder ball, limit lineups to five players, and mandate that quarterbacks be six-footers named Yogi.

There is some positive news for IU. Former UAB star Jordan Howard will join the team in 2015 and may fill the gaping hole left by the departure of RB Tevin Coleman. With UAB shutting down its football program, Howard is eligible to play immediately. Good thing, because IU needs him desperately. Coleman piled up a school-record 2,036 yards - obliterating the previous record-holder by more than 200 yards - at a ridiculous 7.5 yards per rush clip. Coleman's announcement on December 29 that he would forgo his senior year for the NFL surprised absolutely no one, even the bunker-dwelling diehards in Bloomington.

As an aside, we must give the Hoosiers props for all the swag accompanying the cookie cake. A cookie cake lasts but a moment, but an IU beanie is forever.

Iowa: The Hawkeyes underwhelmed in 2014, punctuated by a 45-28 drubbing in the TaxSlayer.com Bowl at the hands of equally mediocre Tennessee. Entering the season, many projected Iowa as the favorite to win the West thanks to a favorable schedule heavy with sure-wins against the likes of Northern Iowa (W), Ball State (W), and . . .oops, Iowa State (L). A 7-6 final record topped off a five-year stretch that saw head coach Kirk Ferentz (the Mark Richt of the Big Ten) post a disappointing 34-30 record overall and a 19-21 mark in conference play. Good enough for a bowl game most years, but fans expect a New Years Day berth at minimum.

Our advice to Iowa: Start playing Powerball. School officials are staring down the barrel of a hefty buyout clause in Ferentz's contract. Among the most lucrative in Division I, the contract requires a 75% payout for every remaining year following his termination. The total would reach $17.8 million if Iowa releases Ferentz before the start of next season, but the school can save $3.15 million in longevity incentives by making a move before the end of January.

Hiring a hot-shot young coach would breathe some desperately needed life into the fan base, but the available candidates might not fit in the Big Ten. As Ohio State proved in the title game, the conference doesn't field the flashiest teams on offense but can dominate with solid defense and strong running attacks - the league produced six rushers with 1,500 yards or more in '14, twice more than the next conference to do so. Offensive coordinators like Scott Frost (Oregon) and Doug Meacham (TCU) would find themselves at the helm of a team thin on playmakers, the kiss of death for zone-read offensive systems requiring hyperspeed backs and wideouts.

Is Iowa likely to let Ferentz go? No. Would it be financially sound? Yes, to the point of being a no-brainer. We doubt the Corn Belt could handle the Ritalin-binge pace of TCU's offense, but injecting some speed into the Big Ten West would be a nice change.

Michigan: On some level, Urban Meyer must be thankful for the arrival of new Michigan head coach Jim Harbaugh. Rather than "Can Ohio State Repeat?" dominating the headlines, most of the country will be asking "How Weird Is Jim Harbaugh?"

Michigan State: If MSU is to replicate 2014's success, the athletic director should politely ask head coach Mark Dantonio to stay away from the "blue vase" that features prominently on his desk. Seriously, what is that? Did Dantonio steal it from Le'Veon Bell?

The Spartans dropped only two games last year and finished 2014 with a miraculous 42-41 comeback against #4 Baylor in the Cotton Bowl. If you missed the game on New Years Day, check out this recap set to sick beats by rapper Bizzair.

That the Ls came against Ohio State and Oregon must be somewhat comforting to MSU's coaching staff, but both will reappear on the 2015 schedule. Win both, and we could be talking about the national champion Spartys this time next year.

Minnesota: Win the Ax, retire it, and bring back the Slab of Bacon.

Nebraska: We still aren't used to the idea of Nebraska being in the Big Ten. Not to the level of Maryland or Rutgers (see below), but including the Huskers on this list is offputting.

Northwestern: Northwestern needs a deeper bench. The Wildcats failed to reach the postseason again in 2014, marking the second year NU has struggled since their Gator Bowl victory in 2012. Injuries at key positions derailed the past two seasons, forcing Pat Fitzgerald to scramble after talented skill-position players went down.

Our solution: Merge with the Northeastern Illinois University, instantly deepening the pool of available talent.

Northeastern ceased all sports programs in 1998, including the Golden Eagles football team. Despite the lack of a gridiron, Fitzy should find talent on club team such as the aikido and Brazilian jiu-jitsu squads.

Imagine the Wild Eagles playbook. Inspired by the school's jiu-jitsu tradition, linebackers could terrorize opposing QBs with the Crucifix Neck Crank, the O-Line could run the Pendulum Sweep, and kickers could spring the Gogoplata Variation on unsuspecting coverage units. The Wild Eagles of Northweastern Illinois University (NEWIU, pronounced new-ee-ooh-ee) would dominate the lower echelons of the Big Ten for years, at least until Indiana and Illinois follow suit to form the Fighting Illiianawiks.

Here's the new Northweastern rallying cry: "Finish him!"

Related: Why hasn't a school used Wild Eagles as a nickname? All other Eagles (except Auburn) would sound tame (ho, ho!) by comparison.

Ohio State: Pick a name out of a hat (amongst the three potential starting QBs for 2015) and win the title again. Easy enough. Next!

Penn State: Unless the Nitanny Lions improve the offensive line, the equipment manager should stock up on smelling salts for QB Christian Hackenburg. Penn State allowed 44 sacks last season, the worst of any team in the conference and nearly the worst in the country. Not good times.

Purdue: Forget last season. Just pretend it never happened.

The Boilermakers managed to compete against Minnesota (which says volumes about the Golden Gophers in 2014; "moral" victories in Minnesota games are usually the other way around) and Michigan State but ended the year at 3-9 total and 1-7 in the Big Ten. Purdue's lone victory came against Illinois, which should also tell you everything you need to know (desperation, floundering) about the state of things in Champaign.

Wisconsin: See Minnesota.

Maryland, Rutgers: Relocate to the Midwest. Toledo, Detroit, Cleveland, and Rockford should make the short list.

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Mike Luce is our man on campus. He welcomes your comments.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 9:03 AM | Permalink

The [Friday] Papers

"While criticizing state spending and state worker salaries as too high, Republican Gov. Bruce Rauner is paying top members of his administration significantly more than their predecessors in Democratic Gov. Pat Quinn's administration, a review by The Associated Press has found.

"An AP review of state payroll records found nine of ten top administrative posts paying more under Rauner, who took office earlier this month. On an annual basis, those Rauner staffers will make more than the equivalent Quinn staffers by nearly 36 percent, or roughly $380,000."

This is good. Let's keep going.

Among those receiving more is Rauner's deputy governor, Olin "Trey" Childress III, a former chief operating officer for the state of Georgia, who is making $198,000 a year, a 24 percent increase over Quinn's deputy governor's $150,000 salary.

Rauner is paying his chief of staff and former deputy campaign manager Mike Zolnierowicz $180,000 per year, a 38 percent increase over his predecessor's salary under Quinn, according to state records. Zolnierowicz is a former deputy chief of staff for U.S. Sen. Mark Kirk.

Rauner's general counsel, Jason Barclay, a partner at Indiana law firm Barnes and Thornburg, is being paid $186,300. His salary is 53 percent higher than Quinn's general counsel, who was paid $135,000 annually.

Rauner said last week that he will "pay what we need to bring in talented people." But he also stressed a theme of "shared sacrifice" during his inaugural address Jan. 12. He has issued an executive order halting all "non-essential spending" and announced he'll be taking a salary of $1 per year. Quinn made $179,400 last year.

Rauner suggested last week at a presentation at the University of Chicago that high state salaries had served to increase the state's unpaid debt.

As I tweeted a few days ago:

But this is my favorite part:

In response to AP questions, Rauner's spokesman Lance Trover wrote Thursday in a one-sentence e-mail that the governor's overall payroll is "currently less than under Gov. Pat Quinn." But he did not provide specifics, and he did not answer specific questions about the salaries of individual staff members.

Why is that my favorite part? Because of this:

Trover, a former Kirk communications director and senior adviser to Rauner's campaign, is making $132,000 annually. His predecessor earned $86,004.

I guess you gotta pay more to get communications guys to say less.

Click through to see similar staffers getting way more than their Quinn counterparts.

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Rauner is totally using a private equity blueprint so far - bust unions, reduce worker pay, strip the entity of its assets, and reward the temporary management team. In this case, though, the entity is a state. You can't shut it down or sell it off.

And the entity's customers are citizens. They can't simply get the services they need elsewhere.

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Will the Democratic majorities in the General Assembly go along with any of Rauner's plans, including "right to work" zones, an expanded sales tax and slashing social service budgets even further than Pat Quinn did? Or will the Dems simply override the governor and manage the state themselves? That is the key question of the hour.

The Danny Davis Show
This is from November, but I spotted the headline on Capitol Fax and clicked through.

Just a few days after filing 47,000 signatures to run for mayor of Chicago, businessman/philanthropist Dr. Willie Wilson held a strategy meeting at the Chicago Baptist Institute International where Rep. Danny K. Davis (D-7th) and others pledged their full support for his candidacy.

Saying he initially supported Ald. Bob Fioretti (2nd) then Cook County Comm. Jesus "Chuy" Garcia, whom he has known since activist Rudy Lozano was killed, who was his "next guy," Rep. Davis announced his firm support for Dr. Wilson's campaign. "I'm here because of Willie Wilson. If somebody else" were running, Davis said he probably wouldn't be there.

"To me, politics is as serious as cancer," Davis told more than 200 black ministers. "It's the lifeblood of a people. I don't play with it. I don't play about it. I don't shuck and jive in terms of what my positions are and why they are."

I'd say a lot of shuck and jivin' is going on.

Trust Fund Kid
"Mayor Rahm Emanuel on Thursday touted his accomplishments - and outlined his second-term agenda - for rebuilding Chicago's crumbling infrastructure without ever mentioning the Infrastructure Trust he once described as pivotal to that effort," Fran Spielman reports for the Sun-Times.

Then Fran publishes the press release of projects we are led to believe would never have happened if not for Rahm, even though most of them started before he took office and/or are rudimentary upgrades that any and every mayor would and has overseen.

And then there's this:

"Emanuel closed by arguing that it is 'not an accident' that, since he embarked on his stepped-up plan to modernize roads, mass transit and airports, Chicago is the No. 1 city for families to return to live and the No. 1 city for corporation relocations and direct foreign investment."

Right.

"Honey, did you hear? Rahm modernized the roads. Let's move the family back to Chicago."

And this:

"If we go back to the past of not investing in our infrastructure, Chicago will go back in time."

When in the past did the city not invest in infrastructure? I mean, it's never enough, but really. During Daley's 22 years?

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Of course, Rahm is doing a bit of political positioning there, which Spielman is happy to oblige. See, he's moving Chicago forward. Electing one of his challengers would be going back - to that mythical time when nobody around here bothered to build a bridge or pave a road. If you want to go back to the dark Daley years, aided and abetted by none other than Rahm Emanuel, vote for Fioretti or Garcia. If you want to move forward at light speed beyond the dark Daley years, aided and abetted by none other than Rahm Emanuel, vote Rahm Emanuel.

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I seem to recall the media, including Spielman, going along quite easily with the Infrastructure Trust. Once again, those who raised questions about it were right. Like always. And no one is held accountable and proper credit isn't given. To wit:

- The [Infrastructure Trust] Papers (Or, Smells Like Teen Parking Meters).

- Infrastructure Critics Have A New Villain, And His Name Is Joe "Proco" Moreno.

- 11 More Things About Rahm's Bank.

For more of the day-to-day coverage of the time when Rahm's new bank was the only thing that would save Chicago from ruin and had to be passed immediately to prevent ever-looming Detroitness from befalling our city overnight, put "Infrastructure Trust" into our search bar and laugh your head off.

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Of course, the Trust hasn't failed the way some of us thought it would - it's been such a flop you can't even call it a boondoggle, having totally failed to deliver public assets to private investors at huge profits as promised. So far it's a bunch of nothing. And to think Bill Clinton came in to tout it. And all that national coverage . . . and without any follow-up. Where are the "what went wrong" stories?

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Beachwood Photo Booth
20th Century Schizoid Man.

A Victory On Government Spying
DOJ legal opinions about a controversial section of the Patriot Act to be disclosed.

The Week In Chicago Rock
Featuring: Candy Hearts, William Beckett, Robbie Fulks, Alicia Walter, Extreme, Seether, and Belly Music.

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BeachBook
* Chicago Shooting Deaths Are Up . . . Or Down.

* Beyoncé Course At UIC Not A Fluff Class.

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TweetWood

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The Beachwood Tip Line: Infrastructure you can trust.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 3:23 AM | Permalink

The Week In Chicago Rock

You shoulda been there.

1. Candy Hearts at Bottom Lounge on Wednesday night.


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2. William Beckett at Bottom Lounge on Wednesday night.

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3. Robbie Fulks at the Hideout on Monday night.

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4. Alicia Walter at the Constellation on Monday night.

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5. Extreme at the House of Blues on Wednesday night.

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6. Seether at the Riv on Sunday night.

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7. Belly Music at Mojoes in Joliet on Sunday night.

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 2:49 AM | Permalink

EFF Wins Battle Over Secret Legal Opinions On Government Spying

The Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) has won its four-year Freedom of Information Act lawsuit over secret legal interpretations of a controversial section of the Patriot Act, including legal analysis of law enforcement and intelligence agency access to census records.

The U.S. Department of Justice on Thursday filed a motion to dismiss its appeal of a ruling over legal opinions about Section 215 of the Patriot Act, the controversial provision of law relied on by the NSA to collect the call records of millions of Americans. As a result of the dismissal, the Justice Department will be forced to release a previously undisclosed opinion from the Office of Legal Counsel (OLC) concerning access by law enforcement and intelligence agencies to census data under Section 215.

"The public trusts that information disclosed for the census won't wind up in the hands of law enforcement or intelligence agencies," Staff Attorney Mark Rumold said. "The public has a right to know what the Office of Legal Counsel's conclusions were on this topic, and we're happy to have vindicated that important right."

In October 2011 - the 10th anniversary of the signing of USA Patriot Act - EFF sued the Justice Department to gain access to all "secret interpretations" of Section 215. At earlier stages in the litigation, the Justice Department had refused to publicly disclose even the number of documents that were at issue in the case, claiming the information was classified.

In June 2013, the lawsuit took a dramatic turn after The Guardian published an order from the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court authorizing the bulk collection of call records data of Verizon customers. That disclosure helped EFF secure the release of hundreds of pages of legal opinions, including multiple opinions of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court excoriating the NSA for disregarding the court's orders.

However, the Justice Department continued to fight for secrecy for the legal opinion over access to census data under Section 215. Last August, a federal district court judge ordered the government to disclose the OLC opinion.

"The Justice Department has made a wise decision in dismissing the appeal," Rumold said. "We filed this suit nearly four years ago to inform the public about the way the government was using Section 215. We're well overdue to have a fully informed, public debate about this provision of law, and hopefully the disclosure of this opinion will help move the public debate forward."

Although the motion for dismissal was filed today, the government has not provided EFF with the opinion. After receiving the document, EFF will also make it available through its website.

For more information on the case visit: https://www.eff.org/foia/section-215-usa-patriot-act.

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

* I Fight Surveillance.

* Illegal Spying Below.

* Smith vs. Obama.

* EFF Sues NSA Over FOIA.

* Stand Against Spying.

* The NSA Revelations All In One Chart.

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

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

* House Committee Puts NSA On Notice Over Encryption Standards.

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

* Lawsuit Demands DOJ Release More Secret Surveillance Court Rulings.

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

* What The Proposed NSA Reforms Wouldn't Do.

* Technologists Turn On Obama.

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

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

* Eighth-Grader Schools The NSA.

* You Know Who Else Collected Metadata? The Stasi.

* Today We Fight Back.

* The Day We Fight Back.

* FAQ: The NSA's Angry Birds.

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

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

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

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

* Edward Snowden's Christmas Message.

* Jon Stewart: Obama Totally Lying About NSA Spying.

* Presidential Panel To NSA: Stop Undermining Encryption.

* The NSA Is Coming To Town.

* 60 Minutes We Can't Get Back.

* Why Care About The NSA?

* NSA Surveillance Drives Writers To Self-Censor.

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

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

* Obama Vs. The World.

* How A Telecom Helped The Government Spy On Me.

* UN Member States Asked To End Unchecked Surveillance.

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

* Five More Organizations Join Lawsuit Against NSA.

* A Scandal Of Historic Proportions.

* Item: NSA Briefing.

* The Case Of The Missing NSA Blog Post.

* The NSA Is Out Of Control.

* Patriot Act Author Joins Lawsuit Against NSA.

* Obama's Promises Disappear From Web.

* Why NSA Snooping Is A Bigger Deal In Germany.

* Item: Today's NSA Briefing.

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

* Song of the Moment: Party at the NSA.

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

* What NSA Transparency Looks Like.

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

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

* The Surveillance Reforms Obama Supported Before He Was President.

* America's Spying: Worse Than You Think.

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

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

* Six Ways Congress May Reform NSA Snooping.

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

* Does The NSA Tap That?

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

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

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

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

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

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

* Obama's War On Truth And Transparency.

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

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

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

* Daniel Ellsberg: Obama Has Committed Impeachable Offenses.

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

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 2:16 AM | Permalink

Beachwood Photo Booth: 20th Century Schizoid Man

A classic touch.

electronicsaudiostorebw.jpg(ENLARGE FOR PROPER VIEWING)

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More Chicago photography from Helene Smith.

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Helene on Twitter!

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Meet Helene!

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Stationery, iPhone cases, hoodies.

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

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Previously:
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Chicago Man Grilling
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Yum Yum Donuts
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Chicago Father's Day
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Vintage Airmaster
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Chicago Time
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Window Shade
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Illinois Slayer
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Chicago Fire Escape
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Golden Nugget
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Hollywood, Chicago
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Flag Man.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Van In Flames.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Fluid Power Automation.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Corn Dog.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Stop The Killing Car.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Chicago Backyard.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: A to Z Things.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Swedish Diner.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Rothschild Liquors.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Chicago Silos.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Chicago Wires.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Orange Garden.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Irving Park Guy.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Chicago Pigeons.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: O'Lanagan's.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: For Rent.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Marie's Pizza & Liquors.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Mori Milk.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: American Breakfast.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: A Chicago Christmas Postcard.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Holiday Harold's.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Chicago Family Fun.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Snow Bike.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Nativity Scene.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Old Warsaw.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Deluxe Cleaners.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Marie's Golden Cue.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Die Another Day.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Sears Key Shop.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Window Dressing.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Jeri's Grill.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Barry's Drugs.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Liberty.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Chicago Kitchen.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Golden Specials.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: We Won The Cup.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Bartender Man.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Blue Plane Blues.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Finest Quality.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Family Guy.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Girls Wanted.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Skokie Savanna.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Signpost.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Old Man And The Tree.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Street Fleet.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Citgo Story.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Fantasy Hair Design.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Chicago Garage.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Clark Stop.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Pole Position.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Window Dressing.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Chicago Geometry.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Found Love.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Fill In The Blank.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Vacuums Of The Night.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Dumpster Still Life.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Wagon Master.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Intersecting West Rogers Park.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Penn-Dutchman Antiques.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Cow Patrol.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Backstage Chicago.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Skully Bungalow.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Francisco Frankenstein.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Long Cool Heat.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Smokers' Mast.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Big Fat Phone.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Happy Day.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Alley Men.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Holiday Show!
* Beachwood Photo Booth: You've Got Mailbox.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Broken Window Theory.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Dali Logan.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Svengoolie.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Horner Park Hot Dogs.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Cubs Rehab.

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 1:45 AM | Permalink

January 29, 2015

The [Thursday] Papers

"Mayoral challenger Willie Wilson bought himself instant credibility - and TV time to introduce himself to Chicago voters - by lending his campaign $1 million of his own money," Fran Spielman writes for the Sun-Times.

Credibility with who? Oh, right, the media.

See, a rich person is instantly credible no matter how wacky, uninformed, inexperienced or unknown.

A person of ordinary wealth with a world of experience, knowledge and ideas is not instantly credible, and will, in fact, find it hard to become credible because, without a bushelful of money, the media won't be interested.

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I'm not dismissing the fact that Wilson's money has bought him some support among African Americans. I don't see how that makes him credible, though. I doubt he knows how many members the city council has. He's an embarrassment beyond words, but few want to just come out and say it. I will.

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"Now, he's doubling down on that investment," Spielman writes. "Wilson has added $665,000 more to that initial investment in himself, $280,000 of it in the last week - and there's even more where that came from.

"The millionaire businessman said Wednesday he's prepared to dig even deeper into his personal fortune to avoid being beholden to special interests.

"Mayor Rahm Emanuel raked in nearly $800,000 in the last week alone, padding his huge fundraising advantage.

The people who gave the mayor $30 million - he's beholden to them. I'm running for the people. If I take money from unions and major corporations, I'm gonna owe them. I don't want to do that," Wilson said.

I find this kind of reasoning curious. Basically, Wilson is telling us he's the kind of person who would feel beholden to anyone who contributed to his campaign. That's not really a man of courage.

He's also saying, basically, though I'm sure he hasn't thought about it, that only independently wealthy folk should run for office.

I also wonder if this means he would reject, say, union money, if he got into a runoff with Rahm Emanuel.

Oh lord, this is way too much thinking about Willie Wilson. Except it's too bad he didn't possess enough self-awareness and sophistication to back someone else's campaign.

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Then again, I suspect Wilson is in the race because folks like Ricky Hendon found a pigeon.

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I haven't had a chance yet this morning to absorb the new Tribune poll, so I can't comment on it just yet, but if it's accurate, Bob Fioretti has to be immensely frustrated.

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This idea of not taking special interest money . . . well, it seemed principled when Glenn Poshard refused to while running for governor, but I'm more of the mind that I would take money from anyone who gave it to me, while clearly publicly stating that I wouldn't be afraid to stick it to any contributor. In other words, yes, I'll take your money - glad to have it - but you aren't buying my favor.

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"[T]he paycheck they give me [as mayor] I'm gonna give away to the churches," Wilson told Spielman.

Wilson has already promised not to take a salary should he become mayor, so he's either reneging on that promise already or a whole lotta churches gonna get a whole lotta nothin'.

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"During a debate this week before the Chicago Tribune's editorial board, Wilson asked Emanuel if he would like to apologize for the petition challenge that Wilson's attorney has branded 'racist and discriminatory,' akin to the poll tax in the Deep South.

Emanuel ignored the request.

"Well, Willie, we all meet a standard. You could have challenged me. That said, I dropped it. That's why you're a candidate. That's why you're also here," the mayor said.

Could Rahm have been more patronizing and condescending in that remark? It's almost as if he was saying to Wilson, "Apologize? You should thank me for letting you be here!"

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It's not the petition challenge that gives rise to Wilson's grievance, it's that Rahm's campaign said Wilson's petition signatures were 80 percent fraudulent.

Rahm's election lawyer, by the way, is also the lawyer for the Illinois Democratic Party. Conflict much?

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If Wilson's signatures are mostly fraudulent, Rahm's campaign is now abetting the fraud, right?

Still unanswered is the question of why Rahm dropped the challenge - though the kind of attention Wilson is getting at the expense of credible challengers is an obvious explanation, as well as not wanting to (further) alienate black voters.

Maybe the election board ought to independently verify candidate signatures to eliminate these kind of cynical calculations - and to ensure the integrity of the process.

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Wealthy candidates basically get a two-fer: The attention they can buy in advertising, mailers, yard signs and so on, and the attention they get from the media for being wealthy. And then when they buy advertising, mailers and so on, they get additional attention for that. In other words, the inherent advantage of wealthy candidates is multiplied by the way the media treats them.

That doesn't mean they are automatic winners; some fail miserably. But it does distort coverage of a given campaign.

The Shame Of Illinois
Poorer than we ought to be.

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Democrats emphatically oppose a flat tax nationally, but support Illinois' flat tax. And that's a big part of what's killing us, structurally.

Corrupt Illinois
"Gradel and Simpson describe the history of political corruption in the Prairie State from vote rigging in 1833, when Chicago was first incorporated, and trace the dishonorable tradition through the criminal convictions of four of the last nine Illinois governors, a $53 million embezzlement by a downstate official, and the blizzard of bribery, extortion, tax fraud and other crimes that have led to the conviction of 33 Chicago aldermen."

In Local Book Notes.

Also featured: A South Side Bard & J. Ivy's Cycle Of Pain.

Ernie Banks Was Not A Wind-Up Toy Part 2
He did, in fact, think about race.

Diary Of A Lost Pregnancy, Part 8
"Received fresh, labeled with the patient's name and designated on the requisition as 'products of conception,' is a 13.0 gram specimen consisting of a 5.0 x 3.5 x 0.8 cm aggregate of pink-tan spongy membranous tissue admixed with blood clot. No fetal parts are grossly identified."

The Only 8 Types Of TV Shows That Get Made
Example: Strong male anti-heroes on a journey of redemption.

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BeachBook
* Canada Casts Global Surveillance Dragnet Over File Downloads.

* Gains From Economic Recovery Still Limited To Top 1 Percent.

* Phil Jackson Denies Illegally Inflating Balls While Playing For The Knicks.

* Pabst Brewing Could Come Home.

* Erwin S. Korzen, Who Owned One Of Nation's Largest Bowling Alleys.

* Theologians Cast Doubt On Morality Of Drone Strikes.

Rev. Susan Thistlethwaite, former president of the Chicago Theological Seminary, called Obama's reasoning "bogus."

* Lisa Marie Varon No Longer Running Squared Circle.

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TweetWood
A sampling.

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The Beachwood Tip Line: Incredible.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 11:07 AM | Permalink

The Only 8 Types Of TV Shows That Get Made

Even the most groundbreaking TV shows all follow an extremely specific formula.


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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 10:27 AM | Permalink

Illinois' Shame

By many accounts, Illinois should be a national leader on addressing poverty: Illinois is the fifth largest state, has a rich mix of industries, is home to world-class educational institutions, and has a state economy larger than that of many independent nations. But when it comes to the well-being of its people, particularly those at the bottom of the economic spectrum, Illinois is not stepping up to be the leader it should be.

While there are some bright spots, on the whole, Illinois has plenty of room for improvement:

  • 34 states have a better unemployment rate than Illinois's 6.4% as of November 2014
  • 33 states have a lower rate of households paying over half their income on rent than Illinois's 24.2%
  • 24 states have a lower poverty rate than Illinois's 14.7%
  • 22 states have a lower uninsured rate among children and working-age adults than Illinois's 12.6%
  • 21 states have a better on-time high school completion rate than Illinois's 82%
  • 17 states have a lower food insecurity rate than Illinois's 14.2%
  • 15 states have a lower asset poverty rate than Illinois's 23.5%

Compounding Illinois's poor showing on these various indicators is the mounting state budget deficit and a tax structure that demands proportionately more from those who have less.

If our state leaders want to build Illinois's reputation as the best place to live, go to school, work, and play, they must make intentional, long-view decisions that shore up the well-being of all Illinoisans, especially the nearly one third with low incomes.

In addition to addressing the state budget's structural deficit and tax policy, the report offers additional recommendations that, if implemented, would help ensure the people of Illinois can live the best lives possible and make Illinois more competitive in the process:

  • Improve access to programs, like Illinois's Bright Start 529 college savings program, that help low- and moderate-income households save for post-secondary education.
  • Support rental housing subsidies, increase revenue for homeless prevention programs and supportive housing, and provide capital funds for construction and rehabilitation of affordable housing units.
  • Increase Illinois's minimum wage to ensure low-wage workers earn enough to meet their basic needs.
  • Invest in outreach and enrollment assistance programs for Medicaid and the Illinois health insurance marketplace.
  • Strengthen exemption laws that protect a person's bank account and other assets, up to a certain level, so those in debt can continue to work and support themselves and their families.

Here's the whole report.

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Meet Real People Whose Real Lives Are Impacted By The Decisions Of Our Elected Officials.

More videos here.

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 9:48 AM | Permalink

Diary Of A Lost Pregnancy, Part 8: Zero Is The Target

On September 17, 2014, I went for a routine 8-week prenatal check-up. It was the only routine thing I would do for more than two months.

During this time, I e-mailed a small group of people. Some were aware of the pregnancy, some had plans with me that would need to be broken, and still others simply asked after my health on the wrong day. This is the eighth of 11 such messages. They have been edited to remove identifying information and inside references, but otherwise remain largely unchanged.

November 4, 2014
Dear Friends,

Don't concern yourself - the title of this post ("Trending Down") is not a reference to my mental state. It is, rather, the way the midwife described my hCG levels. In the two weeks after the D&C the measure of pregnancy hormone in my blood dropped precipitously from more than 16,000 to just 78. As of last Friday it was down to 26. At that level, I might get a weak positive on an old-school home pregnancy test. Anything less than 5 is considered non-pregnancy level and zero is the target.

Zero is the target because of a consultation my midwife had with the pathologist. While not 100% ruling out the possibility, the pathologist does not feel there's a need to be concerned about molar pregnancy at this point. If this seems like comforting news to you, you should probably stop reading now because the truth is that nothing has changed for me. I still have to have weekly blood tests until the magical level is reached, and although it should only take another week or two it could take longer.

I don't know the exact circumstances that would trigger a revision of the diagnosis, but I assume that if the levels fluctuate or hover at some low-but-non-zero number I'll be following the molar protocol of ongoing testing until some medically reasoned condition of unmolarity is met. So another week, another vial of blood, another wait to find out whether or not I've hit rock bottom.

Buried in a flurry of communications from my midwife was a bit of heartening news, although I realize it may not seem so to those outside the situation. When I consulted with the obstetrician just before my surgery, he asked whether I was interested in chromosomal testing on the products of conception. He said that in about 7 out of 10 cases there is a clearly-identifiable chromosomal abnormality that caused the embryo to stop developing. My initial reaction was no, this wouldn't be of any use to me. However, I didn't know my husband's feelings on the subject and didn't want to pass on something that could give him closure. I requested the tests.

Since that time, I've been dreading the results. I realized quite soon after that the information was more than just irrelevant to me. It was an invitation to revisit some of the darkest thoughts that possessed me in the early stages of this ordeal. My mind immediately latched onto everything I'd done that could possibly have contributed to the loss. Was it because I got a massage? Consumed alcohol and ibuprofen before I knew I was pregnant? Used a different face wash or moisturizer than I did last time? These thoughts were not rational, but they were very real. And if I'm honest, there was a comfort to them. It's attractive to think I could've stopped this if I had just exercised a little more control. It's certainly better than thinking it's all dumb luck or worse, that it's the logical conclusion to my reproductive life. I'll be 40 years old next month; maybe I just left it too long.

Fortunately, I will not have to revisit these unhealthy thoughts because chromosomal analysis was not possible. I don't know why this was the case, nor do I care. In accordance with my provider's digital records policy, I received an abbreviated copy of the pathology report. It included a description of what was recovered, which I will reprint in the next paragraph. A warning that the description is graphic and may be upsetting to some.

"Received fresh, labeled with the patient's name and designated on the requisition as "products of conception," is a 13.0 gram specimen consisting of a 5.0 x 3.5 x 0.8 cm aggregate of pink-tan spongy membranous tissue admixed with blood clot. No fetal parts are grossly identified."

I don't know that much can be inferred from this description. It doesn't reopen any of the questions that have caused me so much pain. It doesn't give any definitive information on when the loss occurred or why it may have happened. It doesn't even confirm exactly what was lost. What it does provide is cold confirmation that this pregnancy was not healthy, and that by extension it is not healthy to keep revisiting it.

I realized as I sat down to write this that it's been less than two months since the first ultrasound. That doesn't seem possible. It's as though an extra lifetime is hidden in each hour. It has been so long since I was excited at the prospect of being pregnant, and I really like being pregnant. With a little luck, I am a week or two away from leaving these strange shadow lives behind me.

Best,
nj

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Previously:
* Diary Of A Lost Pregnancy, Part 1: No Fetal Heartbeat.

* Diary Of A Lost Pregnancy, Part 2: Firing Squad Or Hemlock?

* Diary Of A Lost Pregnancy, Part 3: Remember The Challenger.

* Diary Of A Lost Pregnancy, Part 4: Mommy, What Does Bupkes Mean?

* Diary Of A Lost Pregnancy, Part 5: D&Cs Suck.

* Diary Of A Lost Pregnancy, Part 6: The Garage Doors Of Fresno.

* Diary Of A Lost Pregnancy, Part 7: Like A Pelvic Game Of Asteroids.

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Monday: A show stopper.

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 7:56 AM | Permalink

Ernie Banks Was Not A Wind-Up Toy Part 2

In this revealing interview, Ernie Banks describes feeling more comfortable in the Negro Leagues than the Major Leagues, and how he lived a life separate from his white teammates.


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Ernie Banks Was Not A Wind-Up Toy Part 1.

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Previously:
* The Legacy Of Ernie Banks.

* Ernie Banks' 1986 Dream Game.

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 7:30 AM | Permalink

Local Book Notes: Corrupt Illinois & A South Side Bard

1. Corrupt Illinois: Patronage, Cronyism, and Criminality.

From the Society of Midland Authors:

Thomas J. Gradel and Dick Simpson will discuss their new book, Corrupt Illinois: Patronage, Cronyism, and Criminality, in a Society of Midland Authors program Tuesday, Feb. 10, at Cliff Dwellers Club, 200 S. Michigan Ave., 22nd floor. They will speak at 7 p.m. A social hour, with complimentary snacks and a cash bar, begins at 6 p.m. The program is free and open to the public. No advance registration is required.

Coming in February from the University of Illinois Press, the book examines Illinois' notorious culture of corruption, its historical roots and explains the reasons its political corruption continues to thrive well into the second decade of the 21st century.

Gradel and Simpson describe the history of political corruption in the Prairie State from vote rigging in 1833, when Chicago was first incorporated, and trace the dishonorable tradition through the criminal convictions of four of the last nine Illinois governors, a $53 million embezzlement by a downstate official, and the blizzard of bribery, extortion, tax fraud and other crimes that have led to the conviction of 33 Chicago aldermen.

Gradel, a former political media consultant, is a freelance writer and political researcher. Simpson is a political science professor at the University of Illinois at Chicago, a former Chicago alderman and a former candidate for Congress. The authors spent the past seven years researching and documenting political corruption in Chicago, Cook County, the suburbs, and in Springfield and numerous downstate cities and towns.

Drawing on research assistance from a number of UIC graduate and undergraduate students, the authors published seven anti-corruption reports and compiled a database of more than 700 Illinois elected officials, government employees, and their cronies who had been convicted of corruption since 1956.

From the University of Illinois Press:

Public funds spent on jets and horses. Shoeboxes stuffed with embezzled cash. Ghost payrolls and incarcerated ex-governors. Illinois' culture of "Where's mine?" and the public apathy it engenders has made our state and local politics a disgrace.

In Corrupt Illinois, veteran political observers Thomas J. Gradel and Dick Simpson take aim at business-as-usual. Naming names, the authors lead readers through a gallery of rogues and rotten apples to illustrate how generations of chicanery have undermined faith in, and hope for, honest government. From there, they lay out how to implement institutional reforms that provide accountability and eradicate the favoritism, sweetheart deals, and conflicts of interest corroding our civic life.

Corrupt Illinois lays out a blueprint to transform our politics from a pay-to-play-driven marketplace into what it should be: an instrument of public good.

2. The Bard of the South Side.

From Roosevelt University:

Bayo Ojikutu, award-winning author of the novels 47th Street Black and Free Burning will kick off the Roosevelt University MFA Program's Spring Reading Series with a reading and discussion at 5 p.m. on Monday, Feb. 2 in Roosevelt's Gage Gallery, 18 S. Michigan Ave.

Ojikutu's first novel, 47th Street Black won both the Washington Prize for Fiction and the Great American Book award. His short fiction has appeared in various media across the country, including the 2005 Akashic Press anthology Chicago Noir.

His short story "Yayi and Those Who Walk on Water: A Fable" received a nomination for the Pushcart Prize for outstanding fiction published in small literary presses in 2009. His second book, Free Burning was released in 2007 with much critical acclaim. Laura S. Washington in the Chicago Sun-Times said, "Its dark pages pound out more real-life social ills than you can find in the syllabus of an urban studies class."

Ojikutu was born and raised in Chicago where he lives with his wife and son. He has taught creative writing at the University of Chicago and his alma mater, DePaul University.

Roosevelt University is proud to announce this spring Ojikutu is teaching a novel writing class in Roosevelt's Master of Fine Arts in Creative Writing program.

About his debut novel, Publishers Weekly declared it "an accomplished and engaging story." His second novel, Free Burning, has been called "the most foreboding love letter the city has ever received," by Time Out Chicago and "a searing portrayal of one of the shameful realities within an oft unjust society," by Black Issues Book Review.

Free and open to the public, the reading is presented by the MFA in Creative Writing Program, the University's literary magazine, Oyez Review, and the Department of Literature and Languages at Roosevelt University.

Bonus material: At the Pygmalion Lit Fest in Champaign in 2013.

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3. J. Ivy and the Cycle of Pain.

From Chicago Tonight on Wednesday. Click through here for an excerpt and additional YouTube performance video.

See also: Grammy Award-winning spoken word artist to visit Brooklyn Museum for book talk.

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 6:52 AM | Permalink

January 28, 2015

The [Wednesday] Papers

In the Sun-Times, the mayor went on the attack Tuesday.

In the Tribune, he was on the defensive, though in a measured way.

I'd say the Trib got it right. For some reason, Fran Spielman insisted on reporting the debate from Rahm's viewpoint. The truth is, Rahm mostly controlled the debate - and mostly remained in control.

"The 90-minute forum Tuesday before the Chicago Tribune editorial board saw many questions proffered but few politically realistic answers provided by the five candidates who are vying on Feb. 24 to run an economically struggling city facing a host of severe financial problems."

That's about right.

You can see my real-time commentary on our Twitter feed; use the hashtag #tribdebate.

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"Emanuel largely stayed above the fray amid the sniping of his rivals and benefited most from frequent interruptions of the other candidates by William 'Dock' Walls, who got less than 1 percent of the vote four years ago," the Trib report says. "That dynamic created an undisciplined contrast to Emanuel's demeanor in which the mayor portrayed himself as guiding the city through economic turmoil."

Yup.

Rahm was also sitting in the middle, with Bob Fioretti and Willie Wilson to his right, and Chuy Garcia and Walls to his left. It was as if Rahm was moderating a meeting.

(Was seating determined by lot?)

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John Kass thought the race revealed Garcia as Rahm's main threat because he was the recipient of the mayor's most vicious and desperate attack.

I don't think it's news that Rahm sees Garcia as his most viable challenger - the co-chairs of the mayor's campaign are named Mendoza and Gutierrez.

(See also: Familiar Faces Behind Latino Group Supporting Emanuel.)

And I don't think the debate raised Garcia's status in the race; he mostly sat on his hands, and when he did speak, he spoke in platitudes.

Eric Zorn opined that if you could take the best elements of each mayoral challenger and put them together in one candidate, you'd have something. Isn't that what pundits always say about each party's field of presidential candidates? That's a formula that useful for punditry, but not much else. (You honestly don't need any part of Willie Wilson to create a strong candidate, except his money.)

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Diary Of A Lost Pregnancy, Part 7
Like A Pelvic Game Of Asteroids.

Ernie Banks' 1986 Dream Game
"I still got it!"

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BeachBook
* Mickey Mouse Disco.

* Torture If You Must, But Do Not Under Any Circumstance Call The New York Times.

* Sudden Removal Of Century-Old Pool Table At University Of Chicago Faculty Club Sparks A Campaign To Bring It Back.

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TweetWood

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The Beachwood Tip Line: Debatable.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 8:56 AM | Permalink

Diary Of A Lost Pregnancy, Part 7: Like A Pelvic Game Of Asteroids

On September 17, 2014, I went for a routine 8-week prenatal check-up. It was the only routine thing I would do for more than two months.

During this time, I e-mailed a small group of people. Some were aware of the pregnancy, some had plans with me that would need to be broken, and still others simply asked after my health on the wrong day. This is the seventh of 11 such messages. They have been edited to remove identifying information and inside references, but otherwise remain largely unchanged.

October 25, 2014
Dear Friends,

Yesterday was my two-week post-operative checkup. The good news is that everything appears to be in order. I'm healing and generally feeling much better.

And now for the great news. After the D&C, the products of conception were sent to a lab for analysis. One of the standard screens is to rule out a rare complication called a molar pregnancy. I urge you not to Google this as it will make your brain explode. Basically, in a molar pregnancy the cells that should develop into the placenta instead turn into small cysts. There are two kinds of molar pregnancy: a complete mole, in which no normal cells remain; and a partial mole, in which some cells appear normal and others are not. The initial screen ruled out a complete mole, but was inconclusive on the possibility of a partial mole. So the pathology lab will perform a second screen.

Molar pregnancies are treated differently than other non-viable pregnancies. Because the cystic cells are derived from products of conception, they can produce their own hCG. And because fertilized eggs implant by borrowing into the uterine wall, it's possible for some deeply-placed cystic cells to remain after a D&C. It's like a pelvic game of Asteroids - when you blow up a big rock, sometimes a bunch of little rocks come hurtling back at you and those rocks are really hard to hit. For this reason, the protocol after a molar pregnancy involves a lot of screening to make sure the hCG level comes down and stays down.

Apparently, the screening for partial moles has been tightened recently. My midwife said that the lab has been requesting extra screens quite a bit recently. They haven't turned up more molar pregnancies, but you know - pathologists be pathologizing. The extra screen could take another 2-3 weeks to complete. In the meantime, the protocol for molar pregnancy has to be observed.

I have to admit, as horror franchises go this is a pretty great twist. It's no Freddie vs. Jason, but way more creative than anything the Saw movies churned up. By the time you're this deep in a series, you're not really looking for genuine thrills and chills anymore. You're just expecting relentless unpleasantness. To go in for what should be a routine cervical prodding and find out this failed pregnancy can effectively reach out from the grave and ruin my life? That's inspired.

For the next two to three weeks, I get to have a weekly blood draw. I would prefer a weekly waterboarding. You'll remember, of course, that an extended period of weekly blood draws was the exact scenario I was trying to avoid by getting the D&C. See what I mean? Inspired.

It gets even better, though, because if the second screen confirms a molar pregnancy it means weekly or monthly blood draws for an additional six months. What's in six months? Wait for it . . . my due date. That's right - there's a slight possibility that I will get to endure a full-term pregnancy of misery. You gotta tip your hat, right? Because I sure as hell didn't see that coming.

I should stress that molar pregnancies are extremely rare, occurring in less than 0.25% of all pregnancies. I'm trying to keep that in mind as I make my way through two to three more weeks of uncertainty. However, I'm also bracing for the worst because, let's face it, I've been on quite the unprecedented run of crappy luck lately.

My husband attempted to refocus my mind last night by pointing out what he views as the most important news, that I'm healthy and well-recovered from the surgery. This is a totally fair point, but does little to alleviate the incredible sense of dread and fatigue I feel at this point. I keep hoping I'll see the end of the tightrope, and instead it disappears into the mists in front of me. I have to psych myself up for every blood draw, just hoping this'll be the last one. Do you think this is how Cary Elwes felt when he got the script for Saw 3D?

So in short, everything is fine and simultaneously terrible. But whatever, it'll all be over eventually.

Where's the sleepy Maserati when I need him?

Best,
nj

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Previously:
* Diary Of A Lost Pregnancy, Part 1: No Fetal Heartbeat.

* Diary Of A Lost Pregnancy, Part 2: Firing Squad Or Hemlock?

* Diary Of A Lost Pregnancy, Part 3: Remember The Challenger.

* Diary Of A Lost Pregnancy, Part 4: Mommy, What Does Bupkes Mean?

* Diary Of A Lost Pregnancy, Part 5: D&Cs Suck.

* Diary Of A Lost Pregnancy, Part 6: The Garage Doors Of Fresno.

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Tomorrow: No gross fetal parts identified.

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 6:37 AM | Permalink

Mr. Cub's Last Stand: Ernie Banks, 1986

On February 16, 1986, players from the 1969 Cubs and Mets met in Arizona for a charity event called The Dream Game. This video from the Media Burn Archive captures Ernie Banks chatting it up before and after his run-scoring double in the first inning.


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See also:
* Ron Santo refused to play.

* The AP game story.

* Official Program.

* The Media Burn YouTube channel.

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Previously:
* The Legacy Of Ernie Banks.

* Ernie Banks Was Not A Wind-Up Toy.

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 1:53 AM | Permalink

January 27, 2015

The [Tuesday] Papers

"Chicago's five mayoral candidates are set to answer questions as a group for the first time Tuesday morning at the Chicago Tribune editorial board's endorsement session," the paper reports.

Only one of the candidates has a chummy relationship with the editorial page editor.

Will the challengers get a Trib Nation event of their own before Election Day?

Maybe the Better Government Association should call for better media coverage of governing. Oops.

See also: The Beachwood Radio Hour #38: Lessons In Chicago Crime, Politics & Media.

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DOLD: Hi Rahm, good to see you again!

RAHM: You too, Bruce.

DOLD: And you are?

_____: Bob Fioretti. Nice to meet you.

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"And which one of you nice gentlemen is Dock Walls?"

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"The 10 a.m. session will be live streamed at chicagotribune.com and WGNtv.com," the Trib notes.

I'll be tweeting the debate in lieu of a column today, so follow along there.

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Diary Of A Lost Pregnancy, Part 6
The Garage Doors Of Fresno.

The Beachwood Super Bowl Halftime Prop Bet
Katy Perry Edition.

Who Is Lydia Loveless
In Local Music Notebook. Plus: Kanye As A Kid & OK Go's Dronefest.

The Beachwood Radio Hour
Let's not reduce Ernie Banks to a wind-up toy. Plus: Do We Really Need More Police Officers? Neither Side Wants You To Know; The Many Problems Of Political Polls; and Rahm Vs. The Field.

ICYMI: The Legacy Of Ernie Banks
Our piece by Roger Wallenstein was picked up by Crain's.

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BeachBook
* This Would Be A Fine Way To Honor Ernie Banks.

* The Illegal Campaigns Signs Of Willie Wilson, Robert Maldonado And Joe "The Poopman" Moreno.

* Brookfield Zoo: The Wildest Place Around.

* Did TV's Go-To Ball Boy Expert On Ballghazi Inflate His Bears Credentials?

* The Case For Legalized Gambling On Sports.

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TweetWood

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The Beachwood Tip Line: Swipe right.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 9:07 AM | Permalink

Local Music Notebook: Who Is Lydia Loveless?

1. 13-Year-Old Kanye West On MLK.


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2. Longtime Chicago DJ Charged After Fatal Lake Shore Drive Crash.

3. Summer Rocks Off In St. Louis.

4. OK Go Plays For Drone Lobbyists.

5. RIP: Meghan Galbraith Of 8 Inch Betsy.

6. Fall Out Boy Excited To Perform At NHL All-Star Game.

7. RIP: Paul Serrano Of Delmark Records.

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8. Who Is Lydia Loveless?

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 2:23 AM | Permalink

Diary Of A Lost Pregnancy, Part 6: The Garage Doors Of Fresno

On September 17, 2014, I went for a routine 8-week prenatal check-up. It was the only routine thing I would do for more than two months.

During this time, I e-mailed a small group of people. Some were aware of the pregnancy, some had plans with me that would need to be broken, and still others simply asked after my health on the wrong day. This is the sixth of 11 such messages. They have been edited to remove identifying information and inside references, but otherwise remain largely unchanged.

October 20, 2014
Dear Friends,

After my surgery on the 10th, I was told I should feel myself again "by Monday." To be fair, my caregivers did not specify which Monday. As of this Monday, I am finally starting to feel that things are under control.

Although recovery has been neither as quick nor as straightforward as I was lead to believe, it has never felt out of context. I understood that my hCG level, which had almost tripled in a short space of time, would likely change rapidly. Last Monday I was treated to several hours of mild-to-moderate uterine contractions; imagine the garage doors of Fresno slamming shut in waves. This was no more uncomfortable than what I felt after my first pregnancy, the key difference being that after my first pregnancy I had a beautiful baby and was awash in a fragrant bath of happy love hormones that made it very easy to ignore what was happening in my abdomen.

After a night spent under a heating pad, the contractions subsided only to be replaced by sudden puddles of inexplicable weepiness. "Inexplicable" may seem like an odd word here; a failed pregnancy should be a reasonable excuse for countless crying jags. What I mean is that the urge to sob uncontrollably would rise up out of the blue, not related to any internal or external trigger. Sometimes it would last just a moment or two, sometimes half an hour or more. I felt exhausted, shaky and disoriented. I seriously considered canceling plans as far out as this coming weekend because, as I said to my husband, "It's just so hard right now."

As confused as I felt, I had moments of startling clarity - or perhaps self-absorption. I thought about every time I've cried during this whole ordeal, trying to find a pattern to explain my sudden sadness. I cried on the phone when I told my husband there was no heartbeat. I cried with my daughter when she expressed such pain and confusion. I cried after my midwife confirmed the news. Then there was the day before my second ultrasound. I was riding the train home. A little girl in my car, about five- or six-years-old, was singing "Let It Go" to her baby sister and I could feel my heart break. I made it home somehow and put my daughter to bed. Then I sat on my couch and cried until I didn't have anything left in my head.

There have been plenty of tears since then, but I realize now that day on the train was the end of my grief over the loss of the pregnancy. When I cried after that, it was because I was frustrated or scared about how the pregnancy would end; because I felt isolated; or because I was simply tired of being the object of so much pity - the flat-stomached woman in the maternity clinic, the one all the receptionists offer tissues. None of this fits what I was feeling last week. That seems to have been the last gurgling of a pregnancy long-since gone down the drain.

Fortunately, after a second round of contractions and light bleeding late last week, my hormones began to calm. I can't say for sure everything is back to normal (whatever that means), but the volatile physical and emotional reactions seem to be over and done with. I still have my moments of stress and sadness, but that has less to do with the end of the pregnancy and more to do with my ongoing concern about the future of my fertility. The question of whether I'll have more children - whether that's feasible or advisable, whether it's even exactly what I want for myself and my family - has buzzed in the back of my mind for the better part of four years, and arguably would have done so even if the second pregnancy had progressed normally. The thought that, after a brief spell of expectation, I'm still no closer to knowing the answer is excruciating. But that specific kind of pain needs to be considered separately from the disappointment of the pregnancy itself.

I will have one more follow-up with the midwife on Friday and, hopefully, that will bring an official, medical end to this crisis. Then I can regroup with my husband and daughter and start the difficult work of understanding where we are as a family.

Thank you all again for your tremendous support. It has been a great comfort to know I can share these thoughts with you, as thorny and dark as they may be.

Much love,
nj

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Previously:
* Diary Of A Lost Pregnancy, Part 1: No Fetal Heartbeat.

* Diary Of A Lost Pregnancy, Part 2: Firing Squad Or Hemlock?

* Diary Of A Lost Pregnancy, Part 3: Remember The Challenger.

* Diary Of A Lost Pregnancy, Part 4: Mommy, What Does Bupkes Mean?

* Diary Of A Lost Pregnancy, Part 5: D&Cs Suck.

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Tomorrow: Pathologists be pathologizing.

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 2:07 AM | Permalink

It's Back! The Beachwood Super Bowl Halftime Show Prop Bet: Katy Perry Edition

UPDATE, Jan. 30: Some late-breaking news: The incongruous Lenny Kravitz is out and the delightful Missy Elliott is in. It is strongly hinted that she will be performing Work It. It should also be noted that Missy Elliott guested on "Last Friday Night," a song that chronicles the catastrophic effects of a spilled drink on Katy Perry's circuitry. Apparently, it will wipe Katy Perry's RAM cache and cause a glitch that repeats on subsequent Friday nights. It's also a song that the NFL will never, ever, ever allow Katy Perry to play for obvious inebriated-rapey reasons (sample lyric: "There's a stranger in my bed/there's a pounding in my head"). These are the facts, people.

Anyone wishing to revise their predictions based on this new information, you have until Sunday at noon.

I don't believe Katy Perry's breasts will spout anything during Missy Elliott's performance as this would not be a sufficiently hetero-normative display of temporary lesbianism.

You guys, the NFL gives up. Do you have any idea how hard it is to keep women happy? Well, not so much "happy" as "not disgusted?" Women are really sensitive about random things like child abuse and cold-cocking your fiancee and buying off the San Jose police department. And when you say you have a zero tolerance policy, women will actually expect you to tolerate zero. What's up with that?

That's why this year, the league has decided to court the only easy-to-please group of females left on earth: four-year-old girls. While grown women will sniff, "It'll take more than Idina Menzel singing the national anthem to distract me from Ballghazi," four-year-old girls will squeal, "QUEEN ELSA!!!!" And while grown women decry the alienation of actual human superstar and domestic violence survivor Rihanna (not to mention caterwauling sack of consciously-uncoupled dicks Coldplay), four-year-old girls will squeal, "KATY PERRY!!!!"

Four-year-old girls adore Katy Perry because Katy Perry is a computer program designed to appeal to four-year-old girls. Also, horny straight men between the ages of 15 and 30. As such, Katy Perry's core processor produces a binary progression of raunchy party anthems and up-tempo girl-power ballads. And then there's "Dark Horse," which was apparently composed while Katy Perry was being hacked by those Russian kids who keep stealing Target's consumer data. The big question for our purposes is, given the NFL's desperation to make it through halftime without pissing off another generation of female fans, how much raunch is too much?

Conventional wisdom would suggest that Katy Perry will not be kissing any girls during the Super Bowl halftime show. But as anyone who's seen the video for "Firework" will tell you, Katy Perry's circuitry overheats when forced to replicate too much human emotion, causing Katy Perry's breasts to spark uncontrollably. At least that's what I told my four-year-old girl, who loves Katy Perry. It should also be noted that Katy Perry will be joined on stage by Lenny Kravitz, for no apparent reason. It's sort of like that time Russell Brand "married" Katy Perry, only weirder.

Before I get to the official Halftime Show Bet questions, I feel I have to promo the real match-up next Sunday. Forget Russell "Weepy" Wilson versus Tom "Squishy" Brady. I had drinks with reigning champion Jason Hedien a couple months back and let's just say he knows a lot more about Katy Perry than a childless adult male should. But I will quote an e-mail from our once and future king Elan Meier, sent February 2, 2014: "Next Year's Super Bowl Performer: Katy Perry. That's it, I called it . . . Katy fuckin' Perry"

Anyway, here are the picks you must pick:

1. Which songs will Katy Perry perform during the Super Bowl Halftime Show?

2. Which song(s) will Lenny Kravitz perform during the Super Bowl Halftime Show?

3. Will Katy Perry's programming allow Katy to interact realistically with Lenny Kravitz?

4. Which coach from NBC's The Voice will make a surprise appearance?

5. How many costumes will Katy Perry wear?

6. Male backup dancers: clothed or shirtless?

7. What will ejaculate from Katy Perry's breasts during Katy Perry's performance?

The official Pepsi commercial promo has featured the song "Firework." In past seasons, the song featured in the Pepsi promo has always been performed.

Get your picks in by noon central next Sunday to be considered. My picks below.

1. Katy Perry will play:
- Roar
- Part of Me
- Hot and Cold
- Teenage Dream
- Firework

2. Lenny Kravitz will play "American Woman," possibly as an intro for Katy Perry, whose breasts will ejaculate red, white and blue confetti.

3. No.

4. Pharrell Williams.

5. One costume per song.

6. Shirtless.

7. In addition to the aforementioned confetti, Katy Perry's breasts will ejaculate a different substance every other song, including tequila shooters, guacamole and, of course, refreshing Pepsi-Cola.

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Previously In Beachwood Super Bowl Halftime Coverage:
* The 2009 Beachwood Super Bowl Halftime Bracket: Bruce Springsteen Edition.

* The Who's 2010 Super Bowl Suckage.

* Let's Not Get It Started And Say We Did: The 2011 Beachwood Super Bowl Halftime Prop Bet.

* The 2012 Beachwood Super Bowl Halftime Bet: Madonna Edition.

* The 2013 Beachwood Super Bowl Halftime Bet: Beyoncé Knowles Edition.

* Tweeting The 2014 Super Bowl Suckage: Bruno Mars & Red Hot Chili Peppers Edition.

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See also:
* Don't Have A Super Bowl Food Safety Foul!

* Illinois Department Of Agriculture Gets The Super Bowl Party Started.

* The Super Bowl Is Decadent And Depraved.

* Katy Perry Still No. 1.

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 12:51 AM | Permalink

January 26, 2015

SportsMonday: Deflating Deflategate

I must admit I jumped the gun last week regarding the NFL's investigation of the New England Patriots' possession of underinflated footballs. My doing so was Tom Brady's fault but still . . .

Brady answered one question in particular in classic "I need to say this in such a way as to avoid a perjury charge if someone flips on me" fashion during his press conference regarding the matter.

The quarterback was asked "Is Tom Brady a cheater?" and answered "I don't think so."

The answer, of course, should have been "No!" or even better "Absolutely not!" The quarterback might have been distracted a bit by the strange use of the third person (perhaps the questioner was a little nervous and thought the query would be less offensive if he said it that way rather than "Are you a cheater?").

Either way, Brady's unwillingness to make a strong statement struck me as damning.

But the more I think about it, and after coach Bill Belichick held a second news conference about the matter on Saturday, the more I think this is going to end up being much ado about very little.

And while plenty of people will then say the NFL is covering things up to protect the Patriots (heck, Seahawk cornerback Richard Sherman already said it), that is counter-intuitive.

If the NFL's response was going to go one way or the other based on political considerations, the response would be to throw the book at the Patriots. After all, Commissioner Roger Goodell has taken all sorts of heat for his league's pathetic investigation of Ray Rice's assault on his then-fiancee and the resulting minimal sanction. That sanction was increased only after the league was embarrassed by the release of the elevator video showing Rice knocking the woman unconscious and then dragging her only partway out of the elevator before dropping her like a sack of potatoes.

This time the last thing the commissioner would want would be to be seen as under-punishing a transgression again.

To be sure, some of Belichick's statements were obtuse to say the least, but the overall message was that the team had investigated the matter and found that a number of factors could have impacted how much air was in the footballs. He pointed out that a change in temperature (from when the balls are inflated in a warm room to when they are then taken outside into the elements) was a likely culprit for at least a portion of the deflation. And that is common sense.

He also pointed out that teams have wide latitude to work over balls to take the shine off, i.e., to make them less slippery and easier to grip. A football could also drop below the minimum standard of 12.5 pounds per square inch of pressure during that process.

Others will point to the fact that none of the Colts' balls were found to be underinflated. An attorney might say: "Objection your honor! That is immaterial!" This investigation only has to do with the actions of the Patriots. And besides, perhaps the Colts' footballs were inflated to 13.5 before the game and then they lost air pressure as well, just not enough to drop below 12.5.

The bottom line is, unless a Patriot equipment manager drops a dime - and does anyone really see that happening? - the NFL almost certainly will not be able to prove that the Patriots took additional actions to take air out of the balls other than taking them outside and then beating on them to make them less slick.

And so I predict the great under-deflation controversy (more than 40 years on from Watergate, no more referring to scandals as something-something "gate" for me) will eventually peter out into nothing. Patriots fans will claim vindication. The haters will yell "cover-up!" The appropriate response will be a shrug.

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See also: Bill Nye Says Belichick Is Full Of Hot Air, But Other Scientists Back The Coach.

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

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 9:38 AM | Permalink

The [Monday] Papers

"State prison officials hold close to 1,250 inmates beyond their release dates every year - not because they pose a threat to the public but because they cannot find a place to live that parole officers find suitable, according to court papers and interviews," the Tribune reports.

Well, that seems downright unconstitutional.

"Inmates have challenged the practice in court but have been unsuccessful. Most recently, inmate Johnny Cordrey asked the Illinois Supreme Court to rule the practice unconstitutional, saying it violated his equal protection and due process rights. Cordrey, who in 1993 was sentenced to 36 years in prison for kidnapping and rape, claimed he was imprisoned beyond his parole date because he was indigent and could not find housing.

"Cordrey was scheduled to be paroled for three years beginning in April 2013, but he could not find a home that met the requirements set by parole officers. On the day he was to be released, he instead was served with a parole violation and kept locked up at Menard Correctional Center downstate.

"He remained there for another 1 1/2 years before he was finally set free in October 2014."

Shit is fucked up, people. Real lives are involved.

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"Critics charge that the turnaround practice - as it is also known - has an outsized impact on the poor because they already face many obstacles in finding housing."

Do "critics" merely "charge" this, or is it demonstrably true? Seems to me that assertion can be stated as a fact.

Ernie Banks Was Not A Wind-Up Toy
Mr. Cub sure made a lot of white folk feel better about themselves by not complaining about the abuse he faced as the first African-American member of the franchise. Is that part of the reason he is so beloved? Good thing he wasn't angry!

On The Beachwood Radio Hour #41.

Also on the show: Do We Really Need More Police Officers? Neither Rahm Emanuel Nor His Challengers Really Wants You To Know.

And: The (Many) Problems Of Political Polls & The Failure Of Rahm's Challengers.

The Insidiousness Of Racism
Here's an example of something I hear all the time on sports radio and just in general. See if you can spot the problem.

Because, see, black people are naturally endowed with dancing ability. White people are naturally clunky and unable to dance with elan.

Now, I don't mean to bust solely on Hub Arkush; he's just the latest in a long line of sports commentators in particular, but also comedians and the culture in general, to make such a joke. (Dan Bernstein and Terry Boers on The Score frequently talk about slow white guys - you know, because black people are naturally endowed with speed.) I always find it offensive, and it demonstrates just how pernicious and deeply rooted racist thought is, even among people who may not otherwise have an ounce of bigotry in them.

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Here's another way the prism of race skews our discourse - this time coming from an ostensibly progressive black woman writing a column very similar to what angry white men have been writing in recent months.

"For months, that mantra has fueled marches, headlines, and public policy pronouncements in the wake of the police-related killings of Michael Brown in Ferguson and Eric Garner in Staten Island," Laura Washington wrote last month.

"Thousands have marched, harangued, looted, and burned to bring attention to the racial injustices wrought by our flawed criminal justice system.

"Black Lives Matter, they exhort. Black men and boys are being executed by racist police officers, they claim. They demand justice and change.

"Do black lives matter, in places like Chicago's Englewood, Roseland and Humboldt Park, when young black and Latino men and boys are shot down every day - by their own?"

This is a false equivalency. There is a big difference between the institutional racism and bigotry of white police officers targeting African Americans and treating them with utter disdain, and fucked up poor teenagers acting out in the only way they know because institutional racism has kept them under the floor of our economy with few ways out.

In the first instance, white people target black people. In the second instance, the essentially white power structure creates an environment which motivates a certain number of black kids to kill other black kids. Washington, however, blames the victims.

"We don't want to take responsibility. Chicago and other urban centers suffer from an epidemic of black-on-black crime," Washington writes.

"The mouths and megaphones scream bloody murder about cops who kill black men. Young African American males are stereotyped, targeted and demonized in our society, they cry. Law enforcement and public officials must address and police abuse of communities of color, they demand.

"When it comes to the (far greater) numbers of blacks who kill blacks, they sing the 'more' chorus. More jobs. More social programs. More cops.

"What about our own misconduct? Black men and boys in Chicago are far more likely to be murdered by a 'brother' than a cop of any color. More often the police are trying to protect us, from us.

"We must start by acknowledging the pathology and lack of personal responsibility at the root of these senseless crimes."

As I've written repeatedly, there is no such thing as black-on-black crime; there is poor-on-poor crime. Blacks aren't committing crimes against other blacks because they're black.

Race is not a motivating factor - nor even an ancillary factor. Poor black kids aren't racially profiling other black kids. The key to street crime is proximity.

That's why it's almost heartening to see poor black kids take out their frustration on North Michigan Avenue instead of in their own neighborhoods. Steal from the people who have the money!

I mean, really, you could solve "black-on-black" crime if kids from Englewood traveled to Winnetka to do their dirty deeds. Better?

Racializing the problems of the stomped-on underclass is just what the people who really won't take responsibility want us to do.

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"If black lives really matter, we should be marching - on ourselves," Washington writes.

I can't tell you how many times post-Ferguson, Garner et. al. that I saw commentary like this - almost always from white reactionaries like the John Kass caucus.

Guess what? Marches against violence in poor neighborhoods are depressingly common in Chicago. There has been no shortage of marching. Unfortunately, marching is not a policy.

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Diary Of A Lost Pregnancy, Part 5
D&Cs suck.

Chicagoetry: Chicago
I am an oligarchy / Of letters and laws, / Bettors, debtors / And broken jaws.

The Weekend In Chicago Rock
Featuring: Wild Skies, The Tornaparts, Negative Scanner, Soddy Daisy, Weird Science, and Hatebreed.

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BeachBook
* Western Illinois University Suspends Student Editor For Selling Campus Melee Video To News Outlets.

* The Five Wildly Excessive Mansions Of The Guy Who Wants You To Learn To Live With Less.

* Jim Rockford Warned Us About Google And Facebook Back In 1978.

* ESPN's Chad Ford Has Been Retroactively Editing His Draft Boards For Years.

* Halting Progress For 3 Chicagoans Held Up By Janet Yellen As Recession's Symbols.

* Failed Journalist Whose Troubles Began At The Sun-Times Finds Solace And Success In Poetry.

* Super Bowl City Still Reeling Over Sports Deals.

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TweetWood
A sampling.

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The Beachwood Tip Line: While you still can.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 9:21 AM | Permalink

The Weekend In Chicago Rock

You shoulda been there.

1. Wild Skies at Schubas on Friday night.


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2. The Tornaparts at Quenchers on Friday night.

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3. Negative Scanner at the Empty Bottle on Thursday night.

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4. Soddy Daisy at the Empty Bottle on Thursday night.

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5. Weird Science at the Empty Bottle on Thursday night.

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6. Hatebreed at Mojoes in Joliet on Friday night.

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 4:08 AM | Permalink

Diary Of A Lost Pregnancy, Part 5: D&Cs Suck

On September 17, 2014, I went for a routine 8-week prenatal check-up. It was the only routine thing I would do for more than two months.

During this time, I e-mailed a small group of people. Some were aware of the pregnancy, some had plans with me that would need to be broken, and still others simply asked after my health on the wrong day. This is the fifth of 11 such messages. They have been edited to remove identifying information and inside references, but otherwise remain largely unchanged.

October 11, 2014
Dear Friends,

Yesterday I had surgery to end my pregnancy. It involved a lot of nurses, all of whom were very kind and sympathetic; two anesthesiologists, who asked me almost identical sets of questions; and one obstetrician. By luck of the draw, the obstetrician was someone with whom I had consulted early in my first pregnancy. He encouraged me to meet with the practice's midwives, which lead to a very positive birth experience. I remembered him being very respectful and straight-forward, an impression that was reinforced yesterday.

In preparation for surgery, I was told to fast completely for eight hours. That meant no food or drink, not even water. I hadn't realized before yesterday how much water I'm accustomed to drinking in the course of a day. By the time I checked in at the hospital I was extremely thirsty and calculating how much longer I'd have to wait for a sip of water, and how much of that time I would spend unconscious. The receptionist asked me when I had last had food or drink. The first nurse asked me when I had last had food or drink. The second nurse asked me when I had last had food or drink. Both anesthesiologists asked me when I had last had food or drink. Apparently it's important not to eat or drink.

The second nurse set up my IV on my right side because I am left-handed. So was the nurse. We also discovered, through the kind of enthusiastic chit-chat that arises in excruciatingly uncomfortable situations, that her younger son was born the day before my daughter. She asked if the same obstetrician had delivered my daughter. I explained that one of the midwives had. She seemed unaware that the practice had midwives. Why would she be aware of that? She's a surgical nurse and the midwives don't attend surgeries. She also asked if the IV had been placed in my hand "the last time you were here," meaning my first delivery. I explained that I didn't have an IV. At that point it began to occur to me - to both of us, I think - how alien this environment was, like I'd slipped into a parallel universe with a lot of drugs in it.

The nurse assured me the IV would help my thirst. It didn't.

The first anesthesiologist came in and introduced himself. His last name was very similar to a high-end Italian sports car, but I found later that night that I couldn't remember if it was Maserati or Lamborghini. He seemed tired.

The obstetrician came in and said hello. I said it was nice to see him again. Then I said it wasn't. Then he said, "I'm very sorry to see you here." It was a small thing, but he seemed to be acknowledging more than just the unfortunate situation. He seemed to be saying the he knew this wasn't my preferred resolution. He knew in my universe things don't end up with IV sedation. But I can't be sure. I was still pretty thirsty.

After the tired Lamborghini had me look up and open my mouth wide, his attending anesthesiologist came in. The attending anesthesiologist was slightly harried, like he was anxious to feed his parking meter. He also had me look up and open my mouth wide. The entire interaction took less than a minute. He will probably bill my insurance enough to cover the cost of his parking ticket.

The sleepy Maserati injected something into my IV bag and told me it would feel like "a couple of drinks." I think he meant "a couple of roofies," but probably understood this would be impolitic given the circumstances. I was wheeled out of the pre-op room at 3:50. There were a lot of people - nurses and orderlies - standing in the hallways. I don't think they were there to see me off, but each took the time to meet my eyes and wordlessly express, in the most sensitive possible terms, how very much my life sucked at that moment. My right hand began to feel very cold. I mentioned this to the sleepy Maserati, who gently assured me that was OK. He said, "thank you for telling me. That's how it should feel." Even sluggish Italian sports cars can be kind.

I remember a few more nurses helping me position myself on the bed. Then I woke up in a recovery room. There was a hot pack on my abdomen and someone was asking me the phone number of my preferred pharmacy. Is this something I should know off the top of my head? The television displayed a slowly rotating series of soothing images. At first it was a river with lovely white and purple flowers in front of it. Then a broad leaf with rain dripping off the end. I remember thinking it was absolutely the right thing to have on a TV screen at that moment. Then the image changed to a rather dry-looking meadow with a rock in the middle. Something on the rock started moving, possibly a vole. Are voles known to be soothing? This seemed incorrect. Then it changed to an even drier rocky hillside. Why was everything so dry all of a sudden? And why did the screen have the acronym "C. A. P. E." in the corner? Shouldn't it be "C. A. R. E."? Maybe it was care. If only I'd had my glasses I could've known for sure. I looked around for my personal items and saw them sitting on the chairs underneath the television. That seemed too far to reach. I remembered I was thirsty and looked to my right. Someone had placed a cup of water and a few packets of saltines on the tray next to my bed. That seemed too far to reach, but I did it anyway. I glanced at the clock. It was 4:20.

As I drank my water I became aware of a persistent ache in my abdomen. It wasn't soft and squishy, the way a menstrual cramp is. It was sharper and stiffer, like the difference between a marshmallow and a stick. The third nurse told me the ibuprofen in my IV would help. It didn't. She gave me a second hot pack. It felt like a very warm stick in my abdomen. I was shaking because it felt very cold in the room. The nurse brought two heated blankets, which helped. There were compression tubes on both of my calves that inflated one after the other. It was not unpleasant. The images on the TV continued to be overly dry and mesmerizing. At one point the second compression tube kicked in a little too late. I felt slighted. How dare it not squish my calf at the expected time? I ate the saltines slowly. They were not good, but not objectionable. I asked for more water. The nurse offered me too many choices - coffee, juice, soda - and spilled the ice from my cup on my bed. There were so many blankets I didn't even notice.

A blood pressure cuff around my arm inflated periodically and machines beeped, seemingly in correspondence. The nurse told me in 13 minutes the cuff would inflate again and then I could try to stand up. She reviewed my discharge notes; I nodded intently. The nurse seemed very young and possibly a little frightened. It must be unsettling to give important information to intoxicated people. Another nurse - maybe the one who asked about the pharmacy - came in and said my family had arrived in the waiting room. The cuff puffed its last and my vital signs were deemed acceptable.

The young nurse peeled four heart monitor stickers off my chest. I hadn't realized they were there. She undid the blood pressure cuff and removed the compression tubes from my legs. I really missed those compression tubes. Then I sat up and she helped me to put on a pair of disposable underwear. She removed the IV line and held my arm slightly higher than my shoulder until it had stopped bleeding. I tried to gaze off in a way that suggested introspection rather than fatigue. I stood and took a few shaky steps around the room. I was freezing and let the nurse know that's probably why I was unsteady. She led me back to the bed. There was a lot of blood on the sheets, but if the young nurse wasn't freaking out I figured I didn't need to.

The nurse left so I could dress myself. I instantly felt better with actual warm clothes on. The nurse helped guide me out. I felt like I had been on 17 consecutive roller coasters. Also, my body was about 25% larger than I was expecting it to be. A few extra people were still milling about, but I didn't really feel like playing the eye-contact game. I did glance at the young nurse at one point. She smiled and half-giggled, "you're so cute!" It seemed like a strange thing to say to someone who's just had their broken heart removed, but I think it was kindly meant. The door to the waiting area looked really far away and I was surprised we reached it as quickly as we did. Perhaps the air was thinner than I was expecting. That's possible, right?

I stepped into the waiting room and my family smiled up at me. Either I was really tall or they were sitting. I think I thanked the nurse, or maybe I introduced her. Whatever. My daughter poked me. We all laughed. The end.

All of these details seemed extremely important. They are not.

Today 14 of the roller coasters have worn off. I am a little tired. My abdomen is still sore. I am taking ibuprofen, but a stick is a stick. I'm also feeling crampy, so it is a stick with a marshmallow on it which is still a stick. I am drinking a lot of water. No one has questioned me about it. The bleeding seems to have transitioned to heavier spotting. I am told I should feel like myself again by Monday. That seems a long way off, but maybe it'll be like the exit door.

tl;dr - The surgery is done. I am sore. D&Cs suck.

Best,
nj

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Previously:
* Diary Of A Lost Pregnancy, Part 1: No Fetal Heartbeat.

* Diary Of A Lost Pregnancy, Part 2: Firing Squad Or Hemlock?

* Diary Of A Lost Pregnancy, Part 3: Remember The Challenger.

* Diary Of A Lost Pregnancy, Part 4: Mommy, What Does Bupkes Mean?

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Tomorrow: Sudden puddles of inexplicable weepiness.

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 3:26 AM | Permalink

January 25, 2015

The Beachwood Radio Hour #41: Ernie Banks Was Not Just A Bobblehead

Let's not reduce him to a wind-up toy. Plus: Do We Really Need More Police Officers? Neither Side Wants You To Know; The Many Problems Of Political Polls; and Rahm Vs. The Field.


SHOW NOTES

:00: Strawberry Rock Show.

:48: Ernie Banks Was Not Just A Bobblehead.

* SI: Measuring Where Ernie Banks Ranks Among The Best Shortstops Ever.

* Roger Wallenstein: The Legacy of Ernie Banks.

* John Kass: Ernie Banks Gave Chicago Something To Smile About In The Turbulent '60s.

* Rick Telander: Ernie Banks Dealt With So Much But Never Let It Show.

* Rick Morrissey: Ernie Banks, Mr. Cub, Leaves This World To Play Two, If Not More.

* David Haugh: Ernie Banks Truly A Man For All Seasons.

* Bob Sirott: Ernie Banks: Under His Spell.

* David Kaplan: "I never let that stuff bother me."

That's a lot of white guys weighing in.

* Ernie Banks Put On CTA Board With $15,000 Salary.

* Ernie Banks ran for 8th Ward alderman.

16:02: The Vaselines at the Empty Bottle on Wednesday night.

18:50: Looking For Facts In The Police Staffing Debate.

* How Many Police Officers Does Chicago Need?

* The phrase I was searching for is "diminishing returns."

* Toni Preckwinkle on crime and education.

* Rahm Emanuel is trying to hide what his challengers don't want to see.

33:08: Amanda X at the Empty Bottle on Wednesday night.

35:18: The Many Problems Of Political Polls.

* Pundits explain realities that don't exist.

* Rahm's brainwashing budget.

* Branding honesty.

45:54: Twin Peaks at the Metro last Sunday night.

47:08: Rahm Vs. The Field.

* Willie Wilson is an expensive novelty item.

* Chuy Garcia: Too little, too late.

* Bob Fioretti: The forgotten candidate.

* Chuy's puffy profile.

* The only ism I believe in is journalism.

* Rahm's deceptions.

* "All governments suffer a recurring problem: Power attracts pathological personalities. It is not that power corrupts but that it is magnetic to the corruptible."

56:32 The Liqs at the Metro last Sunday night.

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For archives and more, see The Beachwood Radio Network.

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 5:18 PM | Permalink

January 24, 2015

The Chambers Report: A Death In The Beachwood Family

"Robert H. Chambers III, whose tenure as the seventh president of Western Maryland College was marked by a renovated campus, increased enrollment and expansion abroad, died Jan 15 at John F. Kennedy Memorial Hospital in Indio, Calif., of complications from an intestinal ulcer. He was 75," the Baltimore Sun reports.

As the Sun notes, Bob wrote book reviews for us in his later years; he was an energetic and elegant writer whose passion for ideas and baseball made him a good fit for us.

I knew Bob had been a college president, which I found intimidating at first as an editor, but I gleaned several fascinating aspects of Bob from the Sun that I did not know - chiefly his association with Garry Trudeau.

"During his senior year at Yale, cartoonist Gary Trudeau shared a floor with Dr. Chambers in the residential college of Davenport," the Sun reports.

"This meant I saw a lot of not just my dean, but also his wife, Alice, and especially his little daughter Lisa," said Mr. Trudeau. "It was a lovely experience, like being adopted into another family, laughing and cooking, and doing laundry a few feet away."

After graduation, Mr. Trudeau and Dr. Chambers kept in touch.

"Bob accomplished a great deal during his tenure, was justly proud of it, and enlisted me to spread the word. I volunteered my characters from Doonesbury, and some very talented graphic artists took it from there, using them on envelopes and brochures sent out to prospective students for several years thereafter," said Mr. Trudeau.

"Applicant interest shot up and enrollment swelled, for which, of course, Bob gave me full credit, feeling that Mike Doonesbury made Western Maryland's marketing material stand out," he said. "The truth, of course, was that on many levels, Bob was making the college shine, the students were happy and engaged, and word was getting out."

More that I did not know:

* "Chambers was a world traveler who had visited 70 countries on six continents and the 48 contiguous states. He hiked 530 miles across northern Spain in 2000, and as a 40-year runner, had logged some 18,000 miles."

* "His personal library included 4,000 books. He also collected antique clocks, coffee mugs and Elvis Presley memorabilia."

Bob wrote for us (almost always) from Gainesville, Florida, where he lived. He was stricken while on vacation, family members told the Sun.

I wish I had gotten to know him better.

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We posted Bob's reviews under the rubric "The Chambers Report." Here's his Beachwood archive.

* The Chambers Report: Steve Jobs vs. Jack Kennedy.

* The Chambers Report: The Last Boy Of Summer.

* The Chambers Report: Melville, Elvis And Baseball.

* The Chambers Report: A Tale Of Three Cities.

* The Chambers Report: How Bush And Obama Undermined America.

* The Chambers Report: Ayes For Atheism.

* The Chambers Report: Paterno.

* The Chambers Report: Some Guys Have All The Luck.

* The Chambers Report: Tony LaRussa & The Art Of The Cliche.

* The Chambers Report: Duke Sucks.

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 11:50 AM | Permalink

The Legacy Of Ernie Banks

He's gone now. Another flake of your childhood who departed without so much as a blink of the eye.

As youthful Sox fans, it fell to us to degrade, criticize and denigrate Ernie Banks. Oh, the arguments with our pals who loved Ernie and the Cubs.

I have no memory of discussions of Shakespeare, Hawthorne or Twain. But the inane banter of "I'd much rather have Aparicio. Banks only catches what's hit to him. He has no range. So what if he hits 40 homers. The Cubs still stink!" will remain with me until my fate coincides with Ernie's.

Somewhere in my brain is the imprint of being in a car with my mother in April 1954 as the Cubs opened the season in St. Louis. Not that the Cubs had the remotest chance of challenging the Giants, Dodgers or Cardinals, but Opening Day meant that the North Siders featured two rookies at second and short, and both were black.

Banks and Gene Baker had made cameo appearances the previous September. Ernie became the Cubs' first African American when he started at shortstop on September 17 at Wrigley. Possibly as an omen, the Phillies pummeled the listless locals 16-4 in front of less than 3,000 fans.

Three days later Baker pinch hit in St. Louis, not exactly the most welcoming venue for the two rookies who had previously played at different times for the Kansas City Monarchs. Banks was a kid, just 22. However, thanks to the color barrier, Baker was a 28-year-old rookie who would spend half of his eight-year major league seasons with the Cubs.

Listening to the radio in that car with my mom, the excitable Bert Wilson - "I don't care who wins as long as it's the Cubs" - described the game, which Chicago won 13-4. Banks didn't homer, but Baker did. Ernie batted sixth with Baker following.

Two days later, before 17,271, the Cubbies dropped their home opener to the Reds 11-5 en route to what would become a 64-90 season, rather typical for Banks and his teammates. In 12 of Ernie's first 13 seasons, the team finished above .500 a total of one time. They were 82-80 in 1963.

Therefore, it wasn't much of a stretch throughout middle and high school to remind my pals who took the North Shore line to Addison and Clark that, regardless of two MVP awards and all the home runs that Banks launched onto Waveland Avenue, the Cubs were far inferior to our White Sox. My friends were adept at agitating me, but I slept well, knowing that the Sox were contenders, and Ernie and Company were losers.

With the passage of time - try 60 years - my appreciation of Ernie Banks has grown so much that the opinionated, naive teenager of the '50s wouldn't recognize what's written here.

Perhaps the most astounding aspect of Banks' career was that he rarely missed a game. From 1954 to 1960, Banks missed only 15 games, all of which came during the 1956 season. Don't ask me how, but in 1957 and again in 1960, he played in 156 games when the schedule only called for 154. He apparently took his "Let's play two" literally.

Throughout the '50s, Banks was a shortstop. Not a flashy defender, but he was consistent, and he improved. He made 34 errors as a rookie, but by 1959 he cut that number to 12. Think about it. He played every game, half of which were day games at Wrigley, and he booted a dozen chances. Sprinkle in eight seasons of at least 100 RBI and more than 40 home runs on five occasions. Did someone say "Best Shortstop Of All-Time?"

Our shortstop, Luis Aparicio, who, like Banks, played just about everyday in his Hall of Fame career, was the antithesis of his North Side counterpart. He was flashy, often going into the hole, jumping high into the air and throwing a perfect strike to first base to nab the runner. However, he made his share of errors, totaling 35 as a rookie in 1956 before cutting that number just about in half as he matured.

While Banks slugged his way to 512 homers, Little Looey never hit more than seven in a Sox uniform, but he led the American League in stolen bases the first nine seasons of his career. If Ernie was an apple, then Looey was an orange. Hence the schoolyard arguments that peppered my childhood.

A few years ago, the Chicago History Museum featured a discussion with Banks and White Sox great Minnie Minoso, the first black player in Chicago who broke in with the Sox in 1951. Steve Edwards, then of WBEZ, was the moderator.

Much of the exchange focused on the experiences of Minoso and Banks being the first black ballplayers in Chicago. True to form, Ernie was modest and humble. He deferred to Minoso time and again, claiming that Minnie led the way. Ernie emphasized that he and Baker followed Minoso's lead. They used him as an example of how to conduct themselves amid a sea of white faces on the field and in the stands. It was vintage Banks, and I can recall walking out of the hall full of admiration for a man who exuded dignity and humanity.

Banks was a member of an exclusive club that included Jackie Robinson, Willie Mays, Roy Campanella, Henry Aaron, Larry Doby, Frank Robinson, Don Newcombe and a few others. They burst upon the scene when speaking out against racism and the status quo would have created far more problems than striking out with the bases loaded or giving up a walk-off home run.

Yet, the "Gee, I'm just glad to be here" aura of Banks never came across as phony or disingenuous. Even though losses piled up on one another and the team never was in contention until late in his career, Banks was vocal about his appreciation to be able to play a kids' game day after day. He had amazing ability which few others possessed, and he recognized how fortunate he was.

Of course, none of us shared the most private of moments with the great Ernie Banks. Was he ever despondent, disillusioned, or downcast? We'll probably never know. As far as we can tell, he greeted each day with optimism and hope. That, more than the home runs and innate athletic ability, is his legacy.

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Comments welcome.

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1. From Steve Corman:

I had the wonderful pleasure of working with Ernie for a few weeks in the early 1980s.

We hired him at NBC5 Chicago to provide commentary and analysis of the baseball playoffs (carried on NBC then). Even though I was a news producer at the time, I watched each game with Ernie and we determined which plays he would talk about after that game during the 10p news.

I then roughed out a script for him to follow.

He was a true professional and terrific person. It was a great thrill for me.

2. From James Gray:

Little Louie was truly great but Ernie was the best shortstop ever.

3. From Rory Clark:

My heart is heavy today. For those of you who know me, I love the Chicago White Sox and HATE the Chicago Cubs. It's mandatory if you are from Chicago. You have to pick sides. All who say it's different just don't understand. You just can't like both. But I can tell you this . . . there are several members of the Cubs I have liked a lot because I had the good fortune of meeting them, spending a great deal of time with them, and knowing their families.

First and foremost among these Cubs is Ernie Banks, who went home to be with the Lord last night. All the good things you will hear about him in the coming days are true. He was one of the nicest, warmest, most genuine and most sincere people I have ever met.

As an Andy Frain usher at Wrigley Field, I was often trusted to look after his twin sons, Jerry and Joey. They were a riot . . . so cute . . . with their gloves and their uniform with number 14 on the back. They were pests, too. :)

All who know Ernie will miss him. I will never forget how kind he was to me when he had no reason to be, at an age when I was very impressionable. My prayers are with his family.

Please join me in praying for them. My friend Roger Wallenstein captures the sentiments better than I can.

4. From Bill Blackwell:

Growing up downstate I was a diehard Cardinal fan, and hated anything associated with the team on the North Side of Chicago. Ernie Banks was the exception and later Billy Williams because of their skills and the way they carried themselves.

Ernie compiled unbelievable numbers while playing for teams that struggled to reach the status of the early Mets teams. He was the NL MVP twice while playing shortstop and then crossed the diamond and was an All-Star at first, all the while with a smile and the mantra of "Let's play two!"

His personality made people forget their dislike of the Cubs and to pull for the person, and he did it for almost two decades as a player and even longer as a baseball ambassador.
He will be missed.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 11:31 AM | Permalink

Chicagoetry: Chicago

CHICAGO

I created myself
From a dank creek.

A fusillade of selves, really,
Self-made and re-made
From an orgy
Of trade.

Jerusalem and Gomorrah,
Giza to Gaza,
Gargantuan Ozymandias
Of stacked prairie mud.

Steel shoulders,
Digital loins,

Concrete veins,
Railroad nerves,

Spun-glass skin
And a billion gallons
Of blood.

Blitzkrieg of egos,
Black hole of souls.

I sing the bawdy electric:

Song of my selves,
A million maws,
A murder of caws.

I am an oligarchy
Of letters and laws,
Bettors, debtors
And broken jaws.

I stun the soil,
I blanch the lake,
I am a barrage

Of makers and fakirs.

Precinct after precinct
Of gated villas,
Cadre after cadre
Of mind guerrillas.

Wireless tentacles,
Mind-forged manacles,
A whirlwind reaped

And heaped.

Dreams
Like the hurricanes
Of Jupiter.

Wicked, crooked, brutal.
Coarse, strong, cunning.

I sing of it,
I linger in it,
I binge.

I am Chicago
And I made myself:

Look upon my works,
Ye mighty,

And despair.

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J.J. Tindall is the Beachwood's poet-in-residence. He welcomes your comments. Chicagoetry is an exclusive Beachwood collection-in-progress.

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More Tindall:

* Chicagoetry: The Book

* Ready To Rock: The Music

* Kindled Tindall: The Novel

* The Viral Video: The Match Game Dance

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 11:17 AM | Permalink

The Weekend Desk Report

Turns out there's a great way to spice up Super Bore Sunday: squeeze some balls.

Market Update
If your business is flagging, try a rebrand. Lying has been killing it since it changed its name to Innovation.

Brand Fired
Of course, the switch to Innovation only came after Lying executives found the name Progress wasn't gaining traction with their target market.

Hey Mayor Trendy!
Ugh, body cameras? Someone should tell him body cameras make your ass look fat.

Green Screen
Someone should also tell Mayor Trendy that hiking up your hemline always looks desperate. No little pop of color is going to distract your critics.

Buried Lede
Sure, on the surface this appears to be a cautionary tale about the risks of not vaccinating children. However, the real message is clear: Disneyland in December is NOT the Happiest Place on Earth.

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The Weekend Desk Tip Line: Small world, big ideas.

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A Death In The Beachwood Family
"I knew Bob had been a college president, which I found intimidating at first as an editor, but I gleaned several fascinating aspects of Bob from the Sun that I did not know - chiefly his association with Garry Trudeau," Steve Rhodes writes.

The Legacy Of Ernie Banks
"Don't ask me how, but in 1957 and again in 1960, he played in 156 games when the schedule only called for 154," Roger Wallenstein writes.

Chicagoetry: Chicago
"I am an oligarchy / Of letters and laws, / Betters, debtors / And broken jaws," J.J. Tindall writes.

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The Sound Opinions Weekend Listening Report: "Sometimes the most exciting collaborations come in the most unexpected forms. Jim and Greg bring you some strange bedfellows that are actually successful. Then they review the latest album from Sleater-Kinney."

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BeachBook
* Number Of Illinois Households On Food Stamps Still Rising.

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TweetWood

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Posted by Natasha Julius at 8:02 AM | Permalink

January 23, 2015

The [Friday] Papers

The Beachwood Radio Hour is in pre-production.

The Beachwood Radio Sports Hour #35: Feeling Deflated is up!

Tom Brady's balls. Plus: Bears Dream Team; Bulls' Weird-Ass Week; and Blue Demons Try To Justify New Arena.

Beachwood Photo Booth
Cubs Rehab.

Tootsie Rolls & The Softball King
In Local Book Notes.

The Week In Chicago Rock
Featuring: The Vaselines, Amanda X, Twin Peaks, The Liqs, The Family Crest, Billy Strings, and Robbie Fulks.

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BeachBook
* How To Blow An Interview.

* The Onion's SOTU Word Cloud.

* The Worst Question In Sports.

* PR Firms Continue To Whitewash Brutal Regimes.

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TweetWood

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The Beachwood Tip Line: Make your own beats.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 4:24 PM | Permalink

The Week In Chicago Rock

You shoulda been there.

1. The Vaselines at the Empty Bottle on Wednesday night.


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2. Amanda X at the Empty Bottle on Wednesday night.

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3. Twin Peaks at the Metro on Sunday night.

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4. The Liqs at the Metro on Sunday night.

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5. The Family Crest at Schubas on Sunday night.

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6. Billy Strings and Don Julin at City Winery on Wednesday night.

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7. Robbie Fulks at the Hideout on Monday night.

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 3:12 PM | Permalink

The Beachwood Radio Sports Hour #35: Feeling Deflated

Tom Brady's balls. Plus: Bears Dream Team; Bulls' Weird-Ass Week; and Blue Demons Try To Justify New Arena.


SHOW NOTES

* Roland Harper.

3:45: Deflategate.

* The cover-up begins.

* Tom Brady a cheater?

* Everyone controls their own balls.

* My Balls Are Perfect.

* NFL Rules & Policy For Inflating & Deflating Game Balls.

* Aaron Rodgers Calls Refs Deflating Balls A Major Problem.

* D'Qwell Jackson: I Didn't Know Football Had Less Pressure.

* NFL investigation update.

* The Duct Tape Bowl.

* Deflatriots.

* Bill Belicheat.

26:46: Bears Dream Team.

* Gase vs. Trestman.

* Coffman: NFL Blames Cutler.

* This will be the last year on Matt Forte's contract.

* Darrell Bevell.

44:20: The Bulls' Weird-Ass Week.

* Slumping Bulls Back On Track With Rout Of Spurs.

* Bulls GM Denies Thibodeau On Hot Seat, While Thibs Channels Yoda.

* Bulls Clear Derrick Rose To Play Extended Minutes.

* Getting Noah, Dunleavy Back The Answer?

57:19: Blue Demons Try To Justify New Arena.

* DePaul Edges Seton Hall.

* Oliver Purnell.

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For archives and more, see The Beachwood Radio Network.

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 1:31 PM | Permalink

Local Book Notes: Racial Literacy, Tootsie Rolls & The Softball King

"Recognizing the financial difficulties students have, Jonathan Tomkin, associate director of earth, society and environment at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, created a solution to high-priced textbooks," USA Today reports.

With the help of professors at two other University of Illinois-affiliated schools - the University of Illinois at Chicago and the University of Illinois at Springfield - Tomkin created a stand alone "open-source" textbook called, Sustainability: A Comprehensive Edition, which is available online to students free of charge.

Sen. Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) and the Department of Education awarded the University of Illinois a $150,000 one-year grant in 2012 to develop open-source textbooks in students' curriculum. The grant aided the funding for Tomkin's book, which provided a stipend to the contributing authors.

The online textbook is used for "ESE 200: Earth System" and "ENSU 310: Renewable & Alternative Energy," both of which are taught by Tomkin. The 560-page book, which took more than a year to fully develop, features content on varying topics such as climate and global change and environmental and resource economics.

Click through for a video of students' reactions.

We All We Got
"Siretha White was at her 11th birthday party when she was killed in 2006. Nugget, as she was known to her family, had been celebrating in her cousin's home when gunman Moses Phillips, who had reportedly been aiming at a man who was on the porch, shot through the front window fatally wounding her as she ran toward the back of the house. It was a sudden, shocking death that devastated the Whites and many others in their neighborhood of Englewood, Chicago," Time reports.

The young girl's story quickly caught the attention of photographer Carlos Javier Ortiz, who had planned on documenting the effects of gun related violence on communities not long before. Shocked by the brutal nature of the incident - and struck by how similar it was to the death of 14-year-old Starkesia Reed, who had been killed by stray gunfire a few blocks away just days before - he approached the White family with the aim of documenting the aftermath.

"The next day I was at the house. There was a birthday cake on the table that didn't get cut [and] I spent about two hours talking to [Siretha's] mother's cousin outside," Ortiz says. "We talked about a lot of things that were wrong in this neighborhood."

Englewood often leads the city of Chicago in homicides, though there was a reported 19 percent decrease in 2013.

"[Siretha's] mother called me that same night, she is a really good friend of mine now, [and said]: 'I want you to do something. I want you to come to the radio station with me tomorrow and photograph me.' [And then] she basically let me follow her home."

Starting that day, Ortiz embedded himself with both the Whites and a larger community, locally and nationally, in an attempt to start a conversation about gun violence and its consequences. It evolved into a project that spanned eight years, and one that saw him travel between neighborhoods in Chicago and Philadelphia. Now, much of the work appears in his newest book, We All We Got, which will be on show at the Bronx Documentary Center in New York until March 22, 2015.

With all due respect, that 19 percent drop in the Englewood murder rate in 2013 is part of downward trend that is now two decades old; we need to change the frame of our discussion.

Also, the New York Times link attributing that drop to Chicago police tactics fails to explain how the whole nation has experienced a similar drop without the help of the Chicago police. In other words, local tactics don't explain national trends.

Softball King
"Known as 'Mr. Softball' and 'Eddie the Edge,' Eddie Zolna assembled, managed and pitched for championship teams that dominated Chicago's 16-inch softball scene throughout the 1960s and '70s," the Tribune reports.

Mr. Zolna's team, the Bobcats, won 12 national titles by collecting a group of talented players who won year after year under the direction of their competitive, charismatic player-manager. A pitcher in more than 5,000 games over a six-decade career, Mr. Zolna is a member of the Amateur Softball Association's National Softball Hall of Fame.

"In Chicago, when you talk about softball to anybody, the name that always popped up was Eddie Zolna," said longtime teammate Willie Simpson. "He wanted to be the best. He wanted to win. He hated losing, that's what drove him to be the way he was."

Mr. Zolna, 85, died of complications from Alzheimer's disease Tuesday, Jan. 20, at his home in Frankfort, said his daughter Jayne Zolna.

And here's why this item is appearing here: "He wrote the book Mastering Softball with former Tribune columnist Mike Conklin, published in 1981."

Jessica Hopper's New Book
"Having been a force in the music world for over 20 years, luminary journalist and culture critic Jessica Hopper is ready to showcase a selection of her finest works in a new book titled The First Collection of Criticism by a Living Female Rock Critic. The book hits stores May 12 through Featherproof," Exclaim reports.

Hopper recently joined Pitchfork.

Tootsie Roll Guy
"Melvin J. Gordon, who ran Chicago-based candy-maker Tootsie Roll Industries for more than 50 years, held the distinction of being the oldest CEO of any business listed on the two major stock exchanges," the Tribune reports.

"Mr. Gordon, 95, died Tuesday in Boston after a short illness, said his wife, Ellen. The couple had homes in Chicago's Streeterville neighborhood and in the Boston suburb of Wellesley Hills, Mass."

And here's why this item is appearing here: "Outside of work, Mr. Gordon took an interest in what then was the Soviet Union. He visited the country with his family in 1934, and in the 1950s he wrote a book titled, Better Than Communism."

Driving King
"For his book Along Martin Luther King: Travels on Black America's Main Street, author Jonathan Tilove visited nearly 500 Martin Luther King streets across the country. In his book, he described a 'nation within a nation' as 'a parallel universe,'" DNAinfo Chicago reports.

"'For many whites, a street sign that says Martin Luther King tells them they are lost,' Tilove wrote. 'For many blacks, a street sign that says Martin Luther King tells them they are found.'"

Racial Literacy
"'Race and Justice Letter to Parents,' said the e-mail in my inbox. It was from our daughter's school. This was not the kind of email that parents routinely get from the school. This was a letter directly addressing the deaths of Eric Garner and Michael Brown, speaking to parents about the school's role in shaping conversations around race and social justice. This school, the e-mail's subject signaled, was not going to tiptoe around the elephant in the classroom," Sujatha Shenoy writes for Quartz.

Unusual as the e-mail was, it was even more unusual that it was sent out at all. Amidst the media focus on New York and Ferguson, the many discussions on race and the sharing of personal experiences, the rallies and die-ins, the majority of schools have been conspicuously silent.

As news about events in New York and Ferguson ebbed and flowed, I have had conversations with other parents about the role of schools, particularly those of elementary schools. Do schools have a role in speaking to students and parents about news events that transfix the nation but can also hit home? Or should elementary schools steer clear of news that could lead to messy and potentially divisive conversations? Are these teachable moments or are these times to shelter our children for just a while longer? At a time when many private schools speak of a triangle between the student, the parent and the school, why were so many schools silent?

And here's why this item is appearing here: "'Schools struggle with what to say,' said Howard Stevenson, a University of Pennsylvania professor who has long studied emotional and racial skills and earlier this year published a book, Promoting Racial Literacy in Schools: Differences That Make A Difference. 'Most policies focus on not saying the wrong thing, as opposed to being proactive and saying the right thing.'"

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 8:30 AM | Permalink

Beachwood Photo Booth: Cubs Rehab

If only.

wrigleyremastered14bw.jpg(ENLARGE FOR PROPER VIEWING)

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More Chicago photography from Helene Smith.

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Helene on Twitter!

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Meet Helene!

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Stationery, iPhone cases, hoodies.

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

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Previously:
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Chicago Man Grilling
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Yum Yum Donuts
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Chicago Father's Day
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Vintage Airmaster
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Chicago Time
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Window Shade
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Illinois Slayer
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Chicago Fire Escape
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Golden Nugget
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Hollywood, Chicago
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Flag Man.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Van In Flames.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Fluid Power Automation.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Corn Dog.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Stop The Killing Car.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Chicago Backyard.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: A to Z Things.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Swedish Diner.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Rothschild Liquors.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Chicago Silos.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Chicago Wires.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Orange Garden.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Irving Park Guy.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Chicago Pigeons.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: O'Lanagan's.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: For Rent.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Marie's Pizza & Liquors.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Mori Milk.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: American Breakfast.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: A Chicago Christmas Postcard.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Holiday Harold's.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Chicago Family Fun.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Snow Bike.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Nativity Scene.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Old Warsaw.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Deluxe Cleaners.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Marie's Golden Cue.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Die Another Day.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Sears Key Shop.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Window Dressing.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Jeri's Grill.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Barry's Drugs.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Liberty.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Chicago Kitchen.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Golden Specials.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: We Won The Cup.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Bartender Man.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Blue Plane Blues.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Finest Quality.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Family Guy.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Girls Wanted.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Skokie Savanna.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Signpost.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Old Man And The Tree.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Street Fleet.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Citgo Story.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Fantasy Hair Design.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Chicago Garage.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Clark Stop.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Pole Position.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Window Dressing.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Chicago Geometry.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Found Love.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Fill In The Blank.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Vacuums Of The Night.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Dumpster Still Life.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Wagon Master.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Intersecting West Rogers Park.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Penn-Dutchman Antiques.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Cow Patrol.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Backstage Chicago.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Skully Bungalow.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Francisco Frankenstein.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Long Cool Heat.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Smokers' Mast.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Big Fat Phone.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Happy Day.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Alley Men.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Holiday Show!
* Beachwood Photo Booth: You've Got Mailbox.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Broken Window Theory.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Dali Logan.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Svengoolie.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Horner Park Hot Dogs.

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 8:01 AM | Permalink

January 22, 2015

Diary Of A Lost Pregnancy, Part 4: Mommy, What Does Bupkes Mean?

On September 17, 2014, I went for a routine 8-week prenatal check-up. It was the only routine thing I would do for more than two months.

During this time, I e-mailed a small group of people. Some were aware of the pregnancy, some had plans with me that would need to be broken, and still others simply asked after my health on the wrong day. This is the fourth of 11 such messages. They have been edited to remove identifying information and inside references, but otherwise remain largely unchanged.

October 10, 2014
Dear Friends,

When preparing for surgery, the best thing you can do is explain it to a four-year-old.

This is the conversation we had at dinner on Wednesday:

Me: So, sweetheart, on Friday I'm going to go to the hospital and a doctor is going to help get the embryo out of my tummy.

Daughter: Aw. I thought you were going to say a baby.

Me: No, not this time. Remember, this embryo got sick and it's not going to turn into a baby. And while it's stuck in my tummy there's no room for babies.

Dad: That's right.

Daughter: But if we're not bringing home a baby this time, what are we bringing home?

Me: Unfortunately, bupkes.

Daughter: What does bupkes mean?

Me: It means nothing. We don't get to bring home anything this time.

Daughter: Aw.

Me: But, you and Daddy get to come and pick me up and the hospital, and I'm going to be really loopy.

Daughter: [eyes light up]

Dad: Yeah, Mommy's going to be very silly. You can poke her on the arm and she won't even notice.

Daughter: Poke poke poke!

Me: Well, I also might be a bit sore and tired. And I might not be able to pick you up and carry you for a couple of days.

Daughter: Really?

Dad: Yeah, I think we're going to have to take it easy, have a nice weekend at home. Mommy's going to need some rest.

[Pause]

Daughter: I'm going to poke you! Poke poke poke!

Me: And I'm going to go, "whuuuuuh' [makes corresponding silly face]

Daughter: [laughs hystercially]

[end scene]

-

Previously:
* Diary Of A Lost Pregnancy, Part 1: No Fetal Heartbeat.

* Diary Of A Lost Pregnancy, Part 2: Firing Squad Or Hemlock?

* Diary Of A Lost Pregnancy, Part 3: Remember The Challenger.

-

Monday: Surgery and Italian sports cars.

-

Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 7:20 AM | Permalink

January 21, 2015

The [Thursday] Papers

Rahm Emanuel "taught" a civics class this morning at Brown Elementary.

-

I wonder if he taught them about this.

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A reader sent me one of these the other day. See for yourself.

Rahm Letter 1.pdf

Rahm Letter 2.pdf

Rahm Letter outer eps.pdf

Rahm Letter return eps.pdf

*

And as long as the mayor had the kids in his thrall, what about this lesson in deceit?

The Green Mayor
"Mayor Rahm Emanuel offered another spirited defense Wednesday of his push to use public park land for a proposed Barack Obama presidential library near the University of Chicago, but dodged a question on why he's not adding new public green space to compensate for all the land that would be dedicated to the complex," the Tribune reports.

Why is it so hard to make an acre-for-acre swap? The city owns plenty of vacant land. It can also acquire more.

Maybe for the same reason parks advocates don't like this deal: The precedent.

*

Also, to correct a media-driven impression about at least one of last week's two public hearings on the parkland in question, here's the Reader's Ben Joravsky:

"I stayed till the hearing was over and the last of the speakers had spoken. For the record, there were at least as many nays as yeas among the speakers - it's just that the yeas got to speak first, before much of the media had left."

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See also: Emanuel's Consensus-Building Is Disingenuous.

-

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Not Hot For Teacher

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Council Follies
The Trib reported a couple other interesting tidbits.

"Ald. Bob Fioretti, 2nd, who's running for mayor, introduced a package aimed at tightening the rules governing what lobbyists can do at City Hall. Fioretti calls for outlawing lobbyists from soliciting votes from aldermen during meetings. It's common to see lobbyists motioning aldermen to the edges of the City Council floor to whisper in their ears during debate, and for lobbyists to congregate in a back room near council chambers, waiting to make the case for their clients as aldermen walk on and off the floor."

Maybe just hook up earpieces for aldermen so lobbyists can just call in the plays.

*

"Ald. Ariel Reboyras, 30th, proposed changing city code to make it legal for people age 65 and older to ride their bicycles on the sidewalk. "It's a little dangerous for them in the streets," Reboyras said."

That strikes me as making the sidewalks dangerous.

*

"Wednesday marked the last council meeting until March 18. That allows aldermen running in the Feb. 24 city election to focus more attention on campaigning to keep their jobs."

Never let governing get in the way of campaigning.

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Wishing Things To The Cornfield
For those who don't get the reference.

See also: It's a Good Life.

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Diary Of A Lost Pregnancy, Part 4
Mommy, What Does Bupkes Mean?

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BeachBook
* Selma: Black History According To Oprah.

* Time For Science To Trump Politics In Police Staffing Debate.

* Sand: Chicago-based Marketplace radio reporter Dan Weissman looks at the $10 billion sand industry that has arisen out of the fracking boom. Included: Wacky Wisconsin politics.

* Baltimore Sun: Marc Trestman Looks To Build Upon Ravens' Offensive Success.

* Heroin Addiction Sent Me To Prison. White Privilege Got Me Out And To The Ivy League.

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TweetWood

Although I must say that one of the reasons why Trestman beat Gase for that job appears to be the desire of the Ravens to not keeping losing OCs to head coaching jobs every year - and Gase most certainly will be a candidate again next year. Trestman likely won't.

*

*

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The Beachwood Tip Line: Free journalism.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 6:27 PM | Permalink

The [Wednesday] Papers

"Former Bears Coach Mike Ditka put his endorsement behind mayoral candidate Ald. Bob Fioretti (2nd) even though he admits the two are politically polar opposites," the Sun-Times reports.

When asked what he thought about Fioretti's work with the City Council's progressive caucus, Ditka appeared taken aback by the word "progressive."

"It means inclusive, it means inclusive," Fioretti interjected, smiling.

1. Ditka apparently has no idea that Fioretti is a member of the council's Progressive Caucus.

2. Fioretti just renounced being progressive.

I'm to the far right of Attila the Hun," Ditka told the Chicago Sun-Times. "I'm not politically aligned. I'm really conservative in my thinking."

So why not endorse Rahm?

"I go back a long way with both Mayor Daleys. Great men," Ditka said. "I think we can bring it back, that's all."

Okay. But Fioretti was a thorn in Richard M. Daley's side before he was a thorn in Rahm's side.

In other words, Ditka doesn't know what the hell he's talking about.

Ditka danced around the question when asked to pinpoint what specifically Fioretti offered that Mayor Rahm Emanuel didn't.

"The business climate will be better," he said later, without elaborating.

So Ditka is a clown show. Too bad Fioretti, also, acted the fool.

This would be one of them. To wit:

* Mike Ditka Calls Being Gay A 'Choice' You Have To 'Tolerate.'

* Mike Ditka on Ferguson: 'I don't want to hear about this hands-up crap . . . This policeman's life is ruined.'

* Ditka On Redskins.

* He Reeked Of Jim Beam And Slim Jims.

Endorsements are a two-way street. Candidates are often called upon - and often accede - to return donations from unsavory characters.

Getting an endorsement from Mike Ditka isn't the worst crime in the world, but appearing with him and exploiting the moment for potential (though questionable) political gain says something about Fioretti - that he's desperate, cynical or both.

It would have been easy enough for Fioretti to simply cash the check while stating publicly that he disagrees with Ditka's politics. Instead, he held a fundraiser at Ditka's restaurant.

*

One sign of Fioretti's miscalculation is the degree to which Ditka has become a punch line:

"The American Birther Party has withdrawn an invitation to former Chicago Bear player and coach Mike Ditka to address their annual convention in Idaho. "We can't afford to be embarrassed," a Birther spokesman told eTrueSports.

-

Eric Zorn Says It So I Don't Have To
John Wrana's Status As A Vet Is Irrelevant.

(Actually, I did say it here.)

-

Put Polls Out To Pasture
My latest Op-Ed for Crain's.

-

Previously:
* Ald. Moreno's Stance Against Chik-fil-A Is Cheap, Hypocritical, Dangerous.

* Why I'm Taking A Pass On Boston Bombing Coverage - For Now.

* Blagojevich: The Gift That Keeps On Giving.

* Emanuel's 'Data Mayor' Image Doesn't Add Up.

* Save Lives - Build An Airport.

* This Bruce Isn't The Boss.

Diary Of A Lost Pregnancy, Part 3
Remember The Challenger.

Sugar Gamers Love Alleycat Comics
First stop of 2015 tour.

The 30th Anniversary Of That Victory Auto Wreckers Ad
Gotta be the door.

-

BeachBook
* Time For Science To Trump Politics In Chicago Staffing Debate.

See also: How Many Police Officers Does Chicago Need?

* Chicago Photographer Calls DNAinfo Reporter's Article 'Cunty.'

* British Spy Agency Captured E-Mails Of Top International Media.

* Grateful Dead Fans Mail Decorated Envelopes For Soldier Field Shows.

* Obama's Computer Security Solution Is A Mishmash Of Old, Outdated Ideas.

* The Iconoclast's Saint At The Art Institute.

-

TweetWood
A sampling.

*


*

*

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The Beachwood Tip Line: Headbuttal.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 11:12 AM | Permalink

The 30th Anniversary Of The Victory Auto Wreckers Commercial

Here's Rick Klein of the Museum of Classic Chicago Television talking about the infamous ad on WBEZ.


-

Here it is, first aired in 1985.

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Previous variations.

1980.

*

1981.

*

1984.

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See also: Victory Auto Wreckers To Replace Classic Ad.

-

Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 10:19 AM | Permalink

Sugar Gamers Love Alleycat Comics

"Sugar Gamer Valencia aka 'Glitch' interviews Selene Gill of Alleycat Comics on the first stop of the Chicago Comic Book Tour 2015."


"Founded as a community for female gamers, Sugar Gamers has evolved into a passionate organization of trend setters and communicators within the worlds of tech, fashion and gaming."

-

See also: Alleycat Comics.

-

Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 9:25 AM | Permalink

Diary Of A Lost Pregnancy, Part 3: Remember The Challenger

On September 17, 2014, I went for a routine 8-week prenatal check-up. It was the only routine thing I would do for more than two months.

During this time, I e-mailed a small group of people. Some were aware of the pregnancy, some had plans with me that would need to be broken, and still others simply asked after my health on the wrong day. This is the third of 11 such messages. They have been edited to remove identifying information and inside references, but otherwise remain largely unchanged.

October 7, 2014
Dear Friends,

I realize to my chagrin that some of you are too young to remember the Challenger disaster, but for those who do - particularly those who were in grade school at the time - you were probably huddled near a TV screen that day, possibly in your classroom. We were supposed to witness a marvelous mix of the extraordinary and the mundane; an ordinary school teacher launched into space, tailor-made for a month's worth of lesson plans. But that's not what we saw, and those weren't the lessons that were taught.

Imagine if, after the violence of that explosion, a chunk of the wreckage still managed to make it into orbit. And, being a well-engineered piece of scientific equipment, imagine it continued to beam signals back to Earth. Nothing intelligible, just random beeps and static, but sometimes strong enough to interfere with terrestrial electronics. Imagine all of the garage doors in Fresno opening and closing at random; container ships steaming in giant circles; surface-to-air missiles locking onto non-existent targets. What would you do? Would you wait for the signal to die out slowly, hoping the nuisance never rises to the level of a second disaster? Or would you launch an expedition to find that rogue chunk and deactivate it?

After five days of consistent light flow with small amounts of tissue passed, all signs of a natural end to my current pregnancy stopped abruptly last Friday. I experienced a rush of secondary pregnancy syndromes: breast tenderness and heaviness; waves of fatigue followed by bursts of sudden energy. A blood draw yesterday showed what I had suspected, a steep rise in the level of hCG. The ghost ship has sent out another signal.

I had a third ultrasound today, which showed no change in the size or position of the gestational sac. It's just sitting there, beaming hormones like it's hard-wired to do. Even if pharmaceutical management were successful, it could take as long as six weeks for my hCG level to come down. That means six more weeks of blood draws, six more trips to the maternity clinic, six more agonizing appearances in a waiting room packed with round, full bellies. I can't be the miserable turd in a punch bowl of fecundity anymore.

I have scheduled a D&C for Friday.

In making this choice, I grant myself the only measure of certainty I can hope for - that the pregnancy will end before I do. I never held any hope that there would be happy ending to this story, but I have been clinging to the romantic notion that my body will "sort itself out." This last twist in the process has allowed me to view things rationally. I can't expect my body to sift through the mess of empty signals any more than I could expect the garage doors of Fresno to throw off their celestial oppressor.

Perhaps this seems bleak or embittered. That's not my intent. While I'm not overflowing with positive emotions about this experience, I can say that I've made my peace with the end of this pregnancy. I'm not sure I would've reached this point had I not lived through the last three weeks. They have been miserable but necessary. I will be relieved to say this stage is over.

Best,
nj

-

Previously:
* Diary Of A Lost Pregnancy, Part 1: No Fetal Heartbeat.

* Diary Of A Lost Pregnancy, Part 2: Firing Squad Or Hemlock?

-

Tomorrow: Bupkes.

-

Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 8:56 AM | Permalink

January 20, 2015

The [Tuesday] Papers

"Of five Chicago hospitals on the South Side, the University of Chicago Medical Center is currently the best equipped to handle adult trauma patients who need emergency care, according to a recently released study," the Tribune reports.

Oh good. That's really needed.

"But while officials with the University of Chicago's Comer Children's Hospital say they plan to soon start treating juveniles as old as 17 in its trauma center, they have expressed no interest in building a level-one center to treat adults, according to the study, which was released by the Illinois Department of Public Health."

Oh. Even if we give you some parkland?

*

A Barack H. Obama Trauma Center would have far more lasting impact on actual lives than a presidential library. Maybe ask library donors to fund both?

King In Chicago
"With the election safely over, the truth about the housing summit came out . . . "

Of Course He Did
"When former Enron trader and Texas billionaire John Arnold donated more than $1 million to a November 2014 initiative to reform the public pension system in Phoenix, pension activists took notice," Politico reports.

"Arnold's donation to Proposition 487, also known as the Phoenix Pension Reform Act, constituted close to 75 percent of total donations for the ballot measure, which failed. Had it passed, it would have moved new state employees from a defined benefit plan into a less generous (and less expensive) defined contribution plan such as a 401(k) . . .

"Arnold's critics argue that he exaggerates the insolvency of public pensions nationwide. They also question his fitness to evangelize for pension austerity, given that he made his fortune at a company that in its 2001 collapse wiped out $2 billion of its own employee pension funds and cost public employees whose pension funds invested in Enron an additional $1.5 billion. 'We're talking about a former Enron executive who profited off a bankruptcy that destroyed the retirement savings of millions of hard-working Americans,' says Randi Weingarten, president of the American Federation of Teachers.

"Still, Arnold is undeterred, giving generously to politicians who support pension benefit cuts. In the 2014 cycle, Arnold and his wife donated $200,000 to a super PAC that supported Democrat Gina Raimondo's successful gubernatorial campaign in Rhode Island. As Rhode Island's state treasurer, Raimondo had enacted pension benefit cuts that cost her union support. Rahm Emanuel, who made similar changes to Chicago's pension system, also received financial assistance from Arnold."

- Tim Willette

*

See also: The Billionaire Pension Thief John Arnold Puts His Money On Rahm.

Diary Of A Lost Pregnancy
On September 17, our very own Natasha Julius went for a routine 8-week prenatal check-up. For the next two months, she e-mailed a small group of us about what was found and the ordeal that followed. This week we begin a series comprised of those 12 e-mails.

* Diary Of A Lost Pregnancy, Part 1: No Fetal Heartbeat.
* Diary Of A Lost Pregnancy, Part 2: Firing Squad Or Hemlock?

Youngest Learners Need Mental Health Treatment Too
Yet few preschools have mental health professionals on staff, leaving many children in danger of falling through the cracks.

Grateful Dead Chicago
The remaining members of the landmark band will return to the site of their last show - Soldier Field - to celebrate their 50th anniversary. We've got that last show as well as other appearances in Chicago over the years, thanks to sources close to YouTube.

-

See also: How The Media Covered Jerry Garcia's Death.

The Weekend In Chicago
Featuring: KRS-One, Zola Jesus, Mordatorium, Oozing Wound, Strand of Oaks, Ryley Walker, Degeneration, Wale, Audio Push, Bully, Cloud Nothings, Assault & Battery, The Accidentals, Gretchen Erickson, Hands Like Houses, Silverstein, and Railroad Earth.

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BeachBook
* Mike Ditka, 1985 Bears Detail Team's Excessive Painkiller Use.

* Contestant Reveals The Brutal Secrets Of The Biggest Loser.

* Guantanamo Diary Reveals Horrors Of U.S. Torture Program.

* The End Of Gangs: Cleaning Up Los Angeles.

* LA Entertainment Magazine Posts This Shit Endlessly.

* In A Safer Age, U.S. Rethinks Its 'Tough On Crime' System.

* Tony Blair Not In Jail? I Literally Don't Understand.

* CAN TV's First Permanent Home.

* Central Illinois Xpress Emerges As Unlikely Force In Fifth-Grade League.

* On First Agreeing With Maureen Dowd.

* The Callaway-Ruddle Report 1976.

* Boost For Press Freedom Campaign By European Court.

* Hazel Crest Man Is County's 15th Cold-Related Death.

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TweetWood
A sampling.

*

*

-

The Beachwood Tip Line: Be disorderly.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 10:09 AM | Permalink

Grateful Dead Chicago

"To celebrate the 50th anniversary of Grateful Dead, the four original members - Mickey Hart, Bill Kreutzmann, Phil Lesh, and Bob Weir - will reunite at Chicago's Soldier Field, nearly 20 years to the day of the last Grateful Dead concert, which took place at the same venue," the band has announced.

"'Fare Thee Well: Celebrating 50 Years of Grateful Dead' will occur over three nights on July 3, 4, and 5, 2015, marking the original members' last-ever performance together. The band will be joined by Trey Anastasio (guitar), Jeff Chimenti (keyboards), and Bruce Hornsby (piano). The group will perform two sets of music each night."

Here's the announcement by Jerry Garcia's daughter Trixie.


*

As noted by Trixie, Soldier Field is the site of the last Grateful Dead show before Garcia died.

Here's that show:

-

A sampling of other Chicago shows.

1977 at the Auditorium.

.

"Calling Dr. Beachwood . . . "

*

1990, Tinley Park.

*

1979, Shakedown Street, Uptown Theatre.

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Same show, The Music Never Stopped.

*

1978, Scarlet Begonias, Fire On The Mountain, Uptown Theatre.

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Same show, I Need A Miracle, He's Gone, The Other One, Drums, Wharf Rat, Sugar Magnolia.

*

1976, Eyes Of The World, at the Auditorium.

*

1974, Loose Lucy, International Amphitheater.

-

Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 7:33 AM | Permalink

Diary Of A Lost Pregnancy, Part 2: Firing Squad Or Hemlock?

On September 17, 2014, I went for a routine 8-week prenatal check-up. It was the only routine thing I would do for more than two months.

During this time, I e-mailed a small group of people. Some were aware of the pregnancy, some had plans with me that would need to be broken, and still others simply asked after my health on the wrong day. This is the second of 11 such messages. They have been edited to remove identifying information and inside references, but otherwise remain largely unchanged.

October 1, 2014
Dear Friends,

Once again I apologize to those who are only hearing of this now. To recount the circumstances to each individual would require more energy than I have, so a group e-mail will have to suffice.

When I last wrote, I had received confirmation through bloodwork that my pregnancy is not viable. I was told there are three options in terms of how the pregnancy will end: the natural option; the pharmaceutical option; and the surgical option. My midwife, at the recommendation of a consulting OB/GYN, suggested a second, more detailed ultrasound scan to determine the feasibility of each option. That scan was performed on Friday.

There is no good news in a situation like this, but this is as close as it gets:

1. There is nothing wrong with my reproductive organs.
2. My health is not at risk.
3. There has been no further placental development or growth of the gestational sac.

Taken together, this means that all three options remain open to me. The question is how long I am willing to wait.

This question has been a constant buzzing in my ear since I learned there was no heartbeat. I wrote before that I knew this would overwhelm me; I don't think I understood how incredibly demanding it is to be overwhelmed. It's like walking a tightrope covered in broken glass. It requires absolute concentration to stay on, and staying on is awful. I knew I needed to leave the appointment Friday with some kind of endpoint. Ultrasound cannot determine how long my body will take to end the pregnancy naturally. Therefore, my goal was to leave the appointment with either a surgery date or a prescription.

Going into the appointment, I was against the pharmaceutical option. This was based on two factors. First, the drug used to induce uterine contractions (misoprostol) has a poor reputation. It was used in the 1990s in a gel form to "ripen" the cervix as a means to speed delivery. The results were sometimes catastrophic. Second, I had read that misoprostol is often not fully effective. Many women using the option wind up needing surgery anyway.

I should point out, I was not thrilled with the idea of surgery either. It's like choosing between a firing squad and a dose of hemlock; no one wants to poison themselves, but at least you know you won't miss. After speaking with the midwife, I opted for the pharmaceutical option. She explained that the dosage and formulation of the drug are entirely different from those used for cervical ripening. This form has been used to induce medical abortions safely for many years. The success rate for terminating non-viable pregnancies relates directly to the amount of material within the uterus (referred to as "products of conception"). In my case, simply put, there's not much to expel.

I can't exactly explain why this seems the lesser of two evils. I understand and support any woman who chooses the surgical option. It is a very safe procedure and it offers definite proof that all products of conception have been removed. This is not the case for either a natural or pharmaceutical termination. I will have to undergo blood tests on a weekly basis to check that my hCG levels are dropping. If they do not, I may wind up undergoing a D&C anyway. I was also given a secondary prescription for Vicodin because apparently misoprostol is really fun, like riding a rainbow into a pile of kittens. I don't hold any illusion that this will be a positive experience, but the alternative is full sedation; in other words, no conscious experience at all. It seems to me that something of value would be lost if my intellect were suspended. I understand I won't always have a choice in these matters, but while I do I choose to live with the understanding of my physical self whether it is pleasant or not. This is the only way I can see to salvage some kind of meaning from an otherwise abject circumstance.

Getting the prescription has been a tremendous weight off my shoulders. I felt a palpable sense of relief almost immediately. Perhaps because of this, my body has shown signs of ending the pregnancy naturally. Since Sunday I've had fairly consistent spotting and heavier cramps. However, it has been slow progress and there is still no way to know how long it would take in total. I had originally planned to take the misoprostol this Friday. In consultation with the midwife, however, we have decided to reevaluate tomorrow based on how things progress. It may yet be worth waiting things out, although I'm starting to realize even this is a choice between two slightly different tortures - drinking the hemlock or being chained to a rock and left to the elements.

I remain extremely grateful for the compassionate care I have received from the medical professionals involved in the management of my case. I am also very moved by the many expressions of support from my friends. I continue to draw strength from my wonderful and loving family. They constantly remind me that, no matter what the future holds, my life is full of riches.

Best wishes to you all,
nj

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Previously:
* Diary Of A Lost Pregnancy, Part 1: No Fetal Heartbeat.

-

Tomorrow: Like The Challenger.

-

Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 7:20 AM | Permalink

Some Of The Youngest Learners Need Mental Health Treatment

When 3-year-old Julian started throwing tantrums in preschool, his teachers were unsure how to handle him. His screaming, inconsolable crying and violent outbursts soon escalated to the point where he threw a chair at a teacher. He was subsequently kicked out of the childcare program.

His mother, Angelica Pabon, knew the reason for Julian's anger and aggression: A few months earlier, the young boy had witnessed his father being shot to death. To recover from the traumatic experience, Julian needed a preschool capable of working through his emotional problems while supporting his academic growth.

After a referral from a social worker, Pabon enrolled Julian at Erie Neighborhood House, one of the few early childhood programs in Chicago offering educational and mental health services for young children. There, he received close attention from teachers in a therapeutic classroom to control his anger. He also attended one-on-one "play therapy" sessions with a psychologist. That was six years ago. Today, Julian's mother says, he is a 9-year-old doing well in fourth grade at a Chicago public school.

"If I hadn't come to this program, they would have placed Julian in special education, not because that's where his mind is, but because of the way he was acting," said Pabon, 28, a single mother of four who works in a hospital insurance department.

20140911_ECC_Yelen-Pabon_schaer-073.jpgAngelica Pabon with her 3-year-old daughter, Liliana, who attends Erie Neighborhood House, a preschool program that provides academic and mental health services for young children. Her older child, Julian, received help there after witnessing the murder of his father. (Photo: Julienne Schaer)

Julian's case illustrates a larger, more complex issue simmering inside many of the nation's early childhood centers that serve children impacted by violence and poverty. According to a recent nationally representative survey, 13 percent of infants a year-old and younger and 44 percent of all 2- to 5-year-olds were assault victims in the prior year. Eight percent of infants and 14 percent of 2-to 5-year-olds had also witnessed violence. Other studies have had similar findings.

Most assaults on young children did not involve a weapon or result in injury, and siblings and playmates were the most common perpetrators. Still, early education experts say, any experience of violence can be traumatic. Yet few preschools have mental health professionals on staff, leaving many children in danger of falling through the cracks. Early investment would save money as well as heartache later on, experts say.

"If we put that money at the front end, we will spend less on special education classes for behavior disorder, we will spend less on adolescent substance abuse, we will spend less on gang violence, we will spend less on the juvenile criminal justice system," said Margret Nickels, a clinical psychologist at Chicago's Erikson Institute who is known as an authority on early childhood mental health.

In West Town, the largely Latino neighborhood where Erie's early childhood program is located, many young children have seen violence in their homes or communities. Others show anxiety due to family hardships involving poverty, unemployment or immigration status.

On weekday mornings, mothers clutching their young children's small hands steadily file into the Erie Community Center for drop-off. Erie Community Center is home for the early childhood program and is one of three Chicago locations managed by Erie Neighborhood House. The sprawling three-story brick building on West Superior Street houses a dozen classrooms for more than 170 children. Five classrooms serve 2- and 3-year-olds and the remainder for 3- to 5-year-olds.

To offer mental health services, the program spends $160,000 annually for a full-time psychologist and social worker who provide treatment for about 70 children each year. But Erie also relies heavily on unpaid graduate students, and officials estimate the true value of their services is more than double the current budget, which is supported by federal, state and private funds.

Erie psychologist Elizabeth Yelen, who has treated hundreds of children in her 16-year career, said traumatized young learners who don't get help in the early years are in danger of long-term academic difficulties that are far more expensive.

"A lot of them go to school with less information because their behavior impacts their learning," she said. "They're already feeling bad because they might have failed in preschool, which is hard to fathom, but it happens."

She said children do better in school when they come out of preschool feeling safe and successful and knowing how to interact with their peers.

The long-term impact of violence on a young mind is real, experts say. And studies show that experiencing violence in early childhood can lead to lasting physical, mental and emotional harm, whether the child is a direct victim or a witness. Young children who are exposed to violence are more likely to suffer from attachment problems, anxiety and depression, leading to aggression and behavioral issues.

Exposure to violence can also lead to various health problems and make children more likely to be involved in the juvenile justice system. Even community violence that children do not directly witness has been shown to hurt their ability to pay attention as well as their cognitive performance.

According to experts, treating such children requires close collaboration between teachers, social workers and parents.

In the case of Julian, whose last name is being withheld for his protection, the boy was showing a range of intense emotions, from anger and aggression to profound sadness and neediness. He was literally breaking down, Yelen said. The beginning of his treatment, and in some ways the key to his later success, started with a simple act: A teacher held him.

"The teacher who was in that classroom at the time held him a lot," Yelen said. "He needed to be held. He needed to be nurtured. And that's what we were doing."

For children like Julian who have witnessed murder, "how much scarier can it get?" she continued. "They are completely flooded with anxiety. A lot of our job is helping them to feel safe. And if you feel safe, you can learn."

Julian's mother also received guidance at Erie on how to work through Julian's emotional problems at home. Pabon recalled how after his father's death, her son would constantly ask questions. Before therapy, the young mother would become exasperated and tell him to "stop asking questions."

"He would always ask, 'What are we going to do?' and it's because he's afraid, he's scared, he doesn't know what's going to happen," she said. "So now I know that I have to explain everything: 'First, we're going to do this, then we're going to do that.'"

Although Julian no longer receives services at Erie, two of his younger siblings, 5-year-old Anjel and 3-year-old Liliana, are currently enrolled there.

Nickels said there is a growing need for psychologists and social workers at preschools to support teachers in working with children's emotional needs.

In response, the Erikson Institute's Center for Children and Families last year opened a neighborhood-based therapy office in the Austin neighborhood, an underserved Chicago community with a high rate of violence. Nickels, the center's director, said several of the first children who came for therapy were 3-year-olds who had been expelled from preschool or childcare centers by teachers with no knowledge of how to handle traumatized children.

While the link between trauma and brain development has been well documented, Nickels said she still encounters ignorance on the topic from childcare workers, preschool teachers and even principals who wrongly believe that young children don't understand what is happening and are not impacted.

"Shouting, watching your parent get hit, these are emotional and physiological experiences that even infants perceive and trigger intense stress reactions," Nickels said.

"These intense stress reactions are carried by brain chemistry that have, in turn, a very damaging impact on brain development. The substances that are being released during stress responses can either halt or reverse important brain developmental processes. It can literally destroy very vital connections that are formed as the brain develops during those first few years of life."

RELATED: In New Orleans, a case study in how school, health care decentralization affect neediest children

Early recognition and treatment of emotional problems in young children would likely decrease disciplinary action and reduce the number of children misdiagnosed as special education students, she said: "If we understand that this kind of exposure to stress literally disables children in many ways that are needed for school success . . . then we understand why they're not listening. It's because they can't. They're not aggressive because they're just bad. It's because they don't know what else to do. So it becomes an issue of, 'What do we need to teach them?' rather than, 'Why are they doing this to us?'"

Inside Erie Neighborhood House's early childhood program, the preschool classrooms appear like most others at first glance, with children stacking blocks and coloring art projects. However, the program is different in several important ways. In addition to a lead teacher, each classroom has three psychology graduate students who assist in assessing each child's emotional needs. This fall, Erie has a total of 11 psychology graduate students who will likely carry 10 cases each.

During naptime, teachers meet with Yelen and her psychology students to develop plans for emotional growth through play therapy and academic growth in the classroom.

On the building's lower level, children who need individual attention participate in weekly play therapy sessions with Yelen or one of the graduate students. The cheery therapy rooms are painted in bright colors and stocked with toys, a sand and water play table, and a poster with photos and drawings illustrating various emotions including happy, worried, surprised and sad.

Of the 174 children enrolled at Erie, about 70 receive either play therapy services or psychological evaluations.

Children guide Erie's process of play therapy and choose what to play, paint, color or say in a 60-minute session. Music is used when appropriate. Therapists observe and interact according to a child's individual needs. But the overriding goal is to help children feel a sense of safety by developing a therapeutic relationship, Yelen said.

RELATED: With help of school counseling, New Orleans family tackles mental disorders of three siblings

Erie preschool teacher Angelic Santos who has taught young children for 10 years, said the collaboration between teachers and psychologists is crucial to connect educational and emotional goals.

"For a child to be able to focus and learn and understand, they need to be settled emotionally," she said. "If they are worried about all the other stresses that they have, whether it's domestic violence or not having enough food at home, if they don't learn how to cope, they are going to be too distracted. By addressing all those issues, we can help them to focus and even find solace in education and going to school."

Though much attention focuses on traumatized children who display anger and aggression, others show more subtle behavioral changes that translate into a quiet cry for help.

Two years ago, Ana Perez recalled how a domestic violence incident caused her then-3-year-old daughter, Angie to change dramatically from playful and outgoing to detached and withdrawn.

Angie became a perfectionist, so obsessed with clothes and her appearance that she would cry if she didn't like how she looked. Yelen said it is common for kids to manifest their internal struggles with a fixation on external appearance.

After two years of therapy at Erie along with family therapy, Angie, now 5 and in kindergarten, has gained self-confidence and become more engaged and excited about school, said Perez, 38, a petite, soft-spoken, mother of four working as an office assistant for a furniture company.

In play therapy, at Erie, "they're able to be free in what they want to say because Mom is not there," Perez said. "Now, Angie is very blunt, and I think that's because of therapy. And I love that because I'm not scared that she's holding something in."

This story was produced by The Hechinger Report, a nonprofit, independent news website focused on inequality and innovation in education. Read more about early childhood education.

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See also:
* The PTSD Crisis That's Being Ignored: Americans Wounded In Their Own Neighborhoods.

* The Best Reporting On Children With Post-Traumatic Stress.

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 6:45 AM | Permalink

January 19, 2015

The Weekend In Chicago Rock

You shoulda been there.

1. KRS-One at the Shrine on Friday night.


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2. Zola Jesus at the Athenaeum on Friday night.

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3. Mordatorium at Livewire on Saturday night.

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4. Oozing Wound at the Metro on Friday night.

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5. Strand of Oaks at Lincoln Hall on Saturday night.

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6. Ryley Walker at the Athenaeum on Friday night.

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7. Degeneration at Reggies on Friday night.

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8. Wale at the House of Blues on Friday night.

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9. Audio Push at the House of Blues on Friday night.

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10. Bully at the Metro on Friday night.

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11. Cloud Nothings at the Metro on Friday night.

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12. Assault & Battery at Reggies on Friday night.

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13. The Accidentals at City Winery on Saturday night.

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14. Gretchen Erickson at Reggies on Friday night.

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15. Hands Like Houses at the Bottom Lounge on Saturday night.

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16. Silverstein at the Bottom Lounge on Saturday night.

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17. Railroad Earth at the Vic on Friday night.

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 10:04 AM | Permalink

SportsMonday: John Fox's First Lesson

The Bears probably had to commit to another year of Jay Cutler to land John Fox. But once Fox has a chance to really take a look at the quarterback he inherited, as well as Cutler's potential impact on the 2016 salary cap (in addition to 2015), hopefully he will reconsider.

Once Fox is officially on board today, we all know what the next order of business will be. I am on record as saying keeping Cutler is a mistake. Another season with Cutler at the helm is another season further away from winning a championship. But there is a very good chance Fox is thinking he'll be the guy to at least convince Cutler to stop single-handedly losing games.

We know better and we dream of Fox stepping to the podium today at his introductory news conference and saying something like:

"We will strongly consider a change at quarterback. The most successful franchise in football right now is Seattle, and we are going to be shameless copycats.

"We will seek to re-create their model from 2011-12, when they knew they had to shake things up and brought in several back-up free agents who had shown flashes of potential, drafted a young quarterback in the third round, and then held a preseason audition."

Everyone forgets now that going into that process (this is me talking again by the way), no one thought Russell Wilson, the draftee, would win the starting job, at least in that first season. Free agent Matt Flynn was the big favorite. But the Seahawks had lucked out like so few pro football teams luck out these days. They had found the rookie who not only had the potential to be a great quarterback but was smart enough to already know his limitations: i.e., when he then started from Day 1, he first and foremost avoided losing games and as the season went on, the Seahawk running game featuring Marshawn Lynch and the defense featuring, well, everyone, asserted itself on its way to a playoff berth.

And they had a coach, Pete Carroll, who was confident enough to anoint Wilson the starter when many, many people were saying that was obviously a mistake. Interestingly enough, Wilson's early success seems to have kicked off an NFL trend in which virtually every rookie quarterback who shows even a glimmer of potential is thrown into the fire in his first year in the NFL even when it is clear he would be better off taking a season or two to work on his fundamentals, learn NFL schemes and study opposing defenses - also a mistake.

Teams that can't stop screwing up quarterbacks no matter what they do are one reason a fan can be at least cautiously optimistic the Bears can turn things around quickly despite a roster with massive talent gaps.

The lesson about not losing games is the one that Cutler still, still!, hasn't figured out. Another way of putting it is that if he could just stop committing moronic turnover after moronic turnover, the rest of the team might just step up and win a few games. Of course the play-caller has to give those players the chance, like, say, truly committing to Matt Forte getting 25 carries (unless the defense puts nine guys in the box play after play) per game. And then there is the fact that last year, the Bears' brutal defense and special teams were incapable of winning even a single game, let alone sparking a series of wins.

But Fox will not indicate he thinks Cutler has to go. He won't say it in part because I don't think he believes it, but also because teams have to be disingenuous about the Bears' sixth-year signal-caller. Even if they can't stand him, they have to pretend to like him so maybe just maybe some sucker will step up and trade for him. Others have said the Bears might even get a draft pick for Cutler. If only. My guess is the Bears will have to give another team a late-round draft pick in addition to Cutler just for the salary cap relief - which means of course that a trade won't happen.

Cutler may have more talent, as Chicago football touchstone Hub Arkush put it recently, than half the quarterbacks in the NFL. But plenty of those bottom-half signal-callers are younger than Cutler and still have the capability of progressing in the position. Cutler has now been in the league nine long years. He is who is he is. He will not improve in any truly meaningful way from here on out.

And then there is the fact that the Bears can't really keep Cutler for just one more year. At least they can't do so without messing up their cap for 2016 as well because if he is still on the roster on March 12 he counts another $10 million against the cap in the second year. If they dump him before then they take a huge hit this year but then are mostly done with it (I think there would still be some pro-rated signing or roster bonus charges against the cap in the next several seasons but those are happening no matter what and they are minor compared to the 10 mil.).

Welcome to the Bears, coach Fox, and good luck with all this stuff. You'll need it.

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

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 9:05 AM | Permalink

Diary Of A Lost Pregnancy, Part 1: No Fetal Heartbeat

On September 17, 2014, I went for a routine 8-week prenatal check-up. It was the only routine thing I would do for more than two months.

During this time, I e-mailed a small group of people. Some were aware of the pregnancy, some had plans with me that would need to be broken, and still others simply asked after my health on the wrong day. This is the first of 11 such messages. They have been edited to remove identifying information and inside references, but otherwise remain largely unchanged.

September 23, 2014
Dear Friends,

Apologies to those of you who are hearing about this for the first time. I have been living in two worlds for the past few days.

As some of you know, I went in for my 8-week prenatal checkup last Wednesday. When the midwife performed the ultrasound, there was no fetal heartbeat and little evidence of embryonic development. An ultrasound technician was brought in to confirm that there was a gestational sac, but she also could not find evidence of development inside the sac. The midwife ordered a series of blood tests to confirm the diagnosis of a non-viable pregnancy; she felt there was a possibility that fertilization happened later than would have been suggested by the date of my last menstrual period. I did not hold out much hope. In order for that to be possible, I would need to ovulate almost three weeks late - a considerable variation from an otherwise regular cycle. However, I agreed to treat the pregnancy as viable until the testing was complete.

Testing involved two blood draws, on Wednesday and Friday. The object was to compare levels of hCG, a key pregnancy hormone. In early pregnancy, hCG should roughly double each day. My tests showed almost no change in 48 hours. Therefore, the diagnosis of non-viable pregnancy is confirmed.

There are three possibilities for how the pregnancy ultimately will end. First, my uterus could shed its contents naturally. Second, I could take medication to induce contractions. Third, I could undergo a surgical procedure known as a D&C - dilation and curettage. There are pros and cons to each alternative, and believe me, I have been running them in my mind more or less constantly for the past five days. My preference at the moment is to let me body handle the situation naturally. However, there is no way to estimate how long that may take. The midwife is consulting with one of the practice's physicians to see how long is too long in terms of my health and safety. [UPDATE: the doctor has recommended a second ultrasound to better evaluate embryonic development. This may help clarify how long the process will take.] However, I am keenly aware that there are limits to my own endurance.

While this pregnancy continues, there is no way to evaluate my future reproductive options. My menstrual cycle will not resume until the pregnancy is complete. I find I cannot even determine if I want to try again because my body is still trying. It is like a plug in the bathtub, with more and more concern and doubt building up on top of it. I can't say whether it will overwhelm me in a week or a month or more, but it will overwhelm me eventually. I need to balance my faith in natural processes with my very real need to move on from an experience that, objectively speaking, sucks donkey balls.

There is not much in this situation that I can call positive. However, it has allowed me to appreciate the family that I have all the more. I can't say enough about the steadfast support and comfort I have received from my husband. My daughter has also been a wonder. She has been aware of the pregnancy all along and understood that not all pregnancies lead to babies. We told her a few weeks ago that there was an embryo in my tummy, and that some embryos grow into babies and some do not. My husband told her on the way back from school Wednesday that the embryo was sick and might not be able to turn into a baby. She was definitely disappointed, but seemed to accept the news. She told me on Thursday that she felt very sad and mad. She was worried that I would die and angry because, in her words, "this was my first baby and I've waited so long for my first baby." So we had a little shared cry and both felt better. When I told her today that there wouldn't be a baby she said it was OK, she knew that might happen.

I should also say that simply being a parent is helpful. We went to the circus yesterday and my daughter got her face painted. It's really hard to be depressed when your four-year-old looks like Wonder Woman and is grinning ear-to-ear.

Love,
nj

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Tomorrow: A choice of tortures.

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 8:37 AM | Permalink

January 17, 2015

The Beachwood Radio Hour #40: Coffee With Rahm

Dark roasted and devious. Plus: My Jerky Throat; The U of C Screwed The Obama Library Pooch; John Fox Is The Fixer; Chuy Garcia Has Lost Me; and This Week's Worst Journalist In Chicago.


SHOW NOTES

:00: Strawberry Rock Show.

1:00: My Jerky Throat.

* Wikipedia: Hypnic Jerk.

* Planck length.

* Band name idea: The Hypnic Jerks.

7:18: Lowell at Schubas on Wednesday.

* The Week In Chicago Rock.

8:58: The U Of C Screwed The Obama Library Pooch.

* So let me get this straight . . .

* Obama Library Follies.

* Who Is Avis LaVelle?

* UIC vs. UC.

* Elites just do what they want. Rules are for the little people.

33:30: Kill It Again at the Mutiny on Sunday night.

36:20: A Peaceful Transfer Of Power But A Great Disturbance In The Force.

* Pat Quinn is a dick.

* Bruce Rauner is a liar.

* Inauguration Blues.

* Pat Quinn's Last Move Disappoints Medical Marijuana Patients All Over Illinois.

47:28: Lia Ices at Schubas on Wednesday night.

49:38: The Beachwood Radio Sports Hour #34: Bears Hire The Fixer.

53:16: Chuy Garcia Has Lost Me.

* "I had to twist his arm a little bit."

* @MichaelKolenc.

* Dan Mihalopoulos vs. Bob Fioretti.

1:00:00: This Week's Worst Journalist In Chicago.

* See the item Today's Worst Person In Chicago.

1:07:40: The Grifters at Schubas on Thursday night.

1:10:37: More Coffee Talk.

* iPod, not Walkman.

* Chicago's Music-Loving Mayor Talks Rock.

* Insiders should be the outliers.

STOPPAGE: 18:42

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For archives and more, see The Beachwood Radio Network.

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 6:09 PM | Permalink

The Week In Chicago Rock

You shoulda been there.

1. Lowell at Schubas on Wednesday night.


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2. Kill It Again at the Mutiny on Sunday night.

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3. Lia Ices at Schubas on Wednesday night.

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4. Grifters at Schubas on Thursday night.

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5. Insomnium at Mojoes in Joliet on Thursday night.

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6. Dark Tranquillity at Mojoes in Joliet on Thursday night.

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7. Operators at Schubas on Wednesday night.

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8. Heat at Schubas on Thursday night.

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9. SIMO at the Double Door on Thursday night.

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10. Ian Maksin at City Winery on Sunday night.

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11. Goran Ivanovic Trio at City Winery on Sunday night.

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12. The Ham Council at Subterranean on Thursday night.

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13. The Tragically Hip at the House of Blues on Wednesday night.

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14. Robbie Fulks and Justin Roberts at the Hideout on Monday night.

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 3:14 PM | Permalink

The Weekend Desk Report

OK.

Market Update
The answer, as always, is not bad enough.

Special "John Fox? Oh . . . um . . . OK" Edition
Apparently some people aren't particularly enthusiastic about the Bears' hiring of veteran head coach John Fox. But despite his prematurely grandfatherly demeanor and inability to win a Super Bowl with Peyton Manning, there are still plenty of reasons to be really excited.

Here we present the Weekend Desk Top 10 Reasons this is Actually Pretty Cool:

1. He has a strong defensive background, which is great because the Bears couldn't stop a freakin' Metra train in a snowstorm last year.

2. He's got sort of a Leon Kowalski thing happening, but that is some straight-up Roy Batty hair.

3. He's coached in twice as many Super Bowls as Mike Ditka. The fact he lost them both just means we'll be spared bullshit like this in 30 years.

4. He totally made Jake Delhomme a thing for a little while there.

5. Maybe you thought new GM Ryan Pace looked like a pencil-necked dweeb with anger management problems, but you put him next to John Fox and BAM! Hello, hot stuff!

6. His wife apparently calls him "John Fox," like that's totally a thing.

7. You guys, he was in the building for Nipplegate.

8. No one wins Super Bowls with Peyton Manning anyway, so . . . right?

9. He'll never find as many people to blame as our new governor.

10. OK, Top 9 reasons.

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The Weekend Desk Tip Line: In the circle.

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The Beachwood Radio Network

* John Fix is no typo. In The Beachwood Radio Sports Hour #34.

Plus: Trouble In Bulls Paradise; The Blackhawks Remain A Delight; Super Bowl Bound; Coach On Kogan; and Our Man On The Spread.

* The Beachwood Radio Hour #40: Coffee With Rahm.

Dark roasted and devious. Plus: My Jerky Throat; The U of C Screwed The Obama Library Pooch; John Fox Is The Fixer; Chuy Garcia Has Lost Me; and This Week's Worst Journalist In Chicago.

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The Week In Chicago Rock
Featuring: Lowell, Kill It Again, Lia Ices, Grifters, Dark Tranquillity, Insomnium, Operators, Heat, SIMO, Ian Maskin, Goran Ivanovic Trio, The Ham Council, The Tragically Hip, and Robbie Fulks & Justin Roberts.

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The Sound Opinions Weekend Listening Report: "Mary J. Blige, the 'Queen of Hip-Hop Soul,' joins Jim and Greg for a conversation about her two decades in music, keeping it real on American Idol and hopping across the pond to record her new album The London Sessions. Later, Jim and Greg review the new release from Portland folk-rock group The Decemberists."

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The CAN TV Weekend Viewing Report: Technology Access Television: The Chicago Defender.

"The Chicago Defender's Kai El' Zabar joins Bruce Montgomery to discuss the state of the 100-year-old publication and plans for the future."

Saturday at 11 a.m. on CAN TV21.

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BeachBook
* Despite Being Blind, Latina Chef Opens Dream Restaurant In Chicago.

Despite being blind and Latina!

* Lupe Fiasco Doesn't Want To Be Relevant Anymore.

Mission accomplished!

* Illinois Firm Recalls Chicken Products.

* Illinois Firm Recalls Pork Products.

Not the same firm!

* Chicago-Based Empire Looking For Extras.

Must have sharp suit.

* We Lock Up The Poorest, Not The Most Dangerous.

Incontravertibly. But not a political priority. Some lives don't matter.

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TweetWood

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Posted by Natasha Julius at 12:57 PM | Permalink

January 16, 2015

The Beachwood Radio Sports Hour #34: Bears Hire The Fixer

The Fox is in. Plus: Trouble In Bulls Paradise; The Blackhawks Remain A Delight; Super Bowl Bound; Coach On Kogan; and Our Man On The Line.


SHOW NOTES

* Doug McDermott is No. 3.

* Walter Payton's 275-Yard Flu Game Against The Vikings.

* How Mike Ditka Stole Super Bowl Glory From Walter Payton.

* Walter Payton's Career Passing Touchdown Log.

* Jim Brown.

* Barry Sanders.

* Erik Kramer.

* Chuck Foreman.

9:41: Coach On Kogan.

* The Kogan Voice Translator.

* Roe Conn.

13:45: Bears Hire The Fixer.

* Red Skies/The Fixx.

* Hub Arkush is wrong.

* Inside The Mind Of John Elway.

* The quads.

* John Fox.

34:02: Trouble In Bulls Paradise.

* Errick Rose - 'cause there's no D!

* Wizards!

* Noah's knees.

* Jimmy The Butler.

* Mmm, rib tips . . .

47:34: The Blackhawks Remain A Delight.

* Joel Quenneville has many fucks to give.

* Positive Coaching Alliance.

* Blackhawks Patient Playing Waiting Game On Teuvo Teravainen's Development.

* Keith, Seabrook.

* The Bears' Two And A Half Men.

1:00:27: Super Bowl Bound.

* Panthers-Colts XLX!

1:06:36: Loyola Men's Volleyball Kicking Ass.

1:07:50: Our Man On The Line.

* About gut feelings.

* Beachwood consensus: Seahawks to win, Packers to cover.

* Beachwood consensus: Patriots to win, take the under.

* Ohio State all day long.

* Basket Case Blowing 25K To Go To Every Knicks Game This Season.

* Wanted: Better Basketball Season For A Beleagured Reporter.

* Blown calls decide games.

* Protect the Shield.

STOPPAGE TIME: 43:54

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For archives and more, see The Beachwood Radio Network.

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 4:27 PM | Permalink

The [Friday] Papers

Our very own Natasha Julius wrote this to me during an e-mail exchange this morning about the Obama library. I thought it was worthy of sharing:

What's that old adage? Follow the what now?

Anyway, my understanding is that the UIC bid included two sites (originally three, but they nixed one - to my surprise - at Illinois Medical Center): one on the main campus to house the archives and a second in North Lawndale that would house a community development center. if I'm not mistaken, the RFP from the foundation heavily stressed community involvement, jobs incubation, having a long-term vision to transform the city, etc.

UIC is a land-grant institution; it serves, on the whole, a much less advantaged population than the private U of C. It has the space to house the archives on campus and there would be a direct transit link between the first site and the second via the Blue Line. The third site, if memory serves, was to house a research center. Not sure whether that was blended into the campus site or the North Lawndale site, but the bid had a comprehensive view of how to execute the foundation's stated vision on the ground in two neighborhoods that are still lagging relative to Hyde Park and even Woodlawn. It's pretty simple: If the Obamas want to do what their foundation says, they'll choose UIC. If they want to assist a private institution in its bid to take over more public land and expand its elitist footprint, they'll choose U of C.

I've been fortunate through friends and through work to get to know a little about both communities in question. No question both places could use more investment, so now it's a question of what sort of investment. Do you want to plop down a privately-run institution that removes land from public control and maybe offers a few construction and security jobs or do you want to partner with a public institution on a long-range effort to transform a struggling neighborhood?

Sold.

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Natasha issues this disclaimer: "I have an indirect personal connection to the UIC bid. I mean, I guess I have an indirect professional connection to the U of C bid as well, but still."

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Meanwhile, our very own Tim Willette responds to my column on Thursday about park board vice president Avis LaVelle:

She's #2 - do you think she tries harder?

See what he did there?

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Though LaVelle is the board's vice president, she is the park district's point person on this issue because president Bryan Traubert has recused himself on account of being married to Commerce Secretary Penny Pritzker.

In a discussion with our very own Jim "Coach" Coffman this morning, we wondered why that was a conflict of interest. Because she owed her appointment to Obama? That's pretty weak. I speculated that perhaps the couple owns some property whose value would be enhanced by an Obama library in a particular location. Coffman thought it was simply Traubert's way of dodging involvement in a contentious issue.

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By the way, that discussion took place as we embarked upon recording this week's Beachwood Radio Sports Hour, which is now in post-production and should be posted by late Friday afternoon or early evening.

The Beachwood Radio Hour is in pre-production.

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See also: The U of C Makes Its Play For The Obama Library.

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Extra Hours In School Have To Be Better Hours
Just like our teachers tried to tell Rahm.

Heavy Haul TV
Trucking through Chicago on I-94.

Beachwood Photo Booth
Horner Park Hot Dogs.

The Week In Chicago Rock
Is in pre-production!

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TweetWood

Yup.

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Yup.

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Yup.

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Yup.

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The Beachwood Tip Line: For reals.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 2:53 PM | Permalink

Heavy Haul TV: Trucking Through Chicago On I-94

Stay out of the right lane.


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See also:
* More Heavy Haul TV.

* Sergei Dratchev's extensive YouTube channel.

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 10:15 AM | Permalink

Beachwood Photo Booth: Horner Park Hot Dogs

Window service.

hotdogtrailerhorneretc.jpg(ENLARGE FOR PROPER VIEWING)

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More Chicago photography from Helene Smith.

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Helene on Twitter!

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Meet Helene!

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Stationery, iPhone cases, hoodies.

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

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Previously:
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Chicago Man Grilling
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Yum Yum Donuts
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Chicago Father's Day
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Vintage Airmaster
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Chicago Time
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Window Shade
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Illinois Slayer
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Chicago Fire Escape
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Golden Nugget
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Hollywood, Chicago
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Flag Man.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Van In Flames.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Fluid Power Automation.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Corn Dog.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Stop The Killing Car.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Chicago Backyard.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: A to Z Things.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Swedish Diner.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Rothschild Liquors.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Chicago Silos.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Chicago Wires.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Orange Garden.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Irving Park Guy.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Chicago Pigeons.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: O'Lanagan's.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: For Rent.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Marie's Pizza & Liquors.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Mori Milk.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: American Breakfast.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: A Chicago Christmas Postcard.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Holiday Harold's.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Chicago Family Fun.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Snow Bike.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Nativity Scene.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Old Warsaw.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Deluxe Cleaners.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Marie's Golden Cue.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Die Another Day.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Sears Key Shop.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Window Dressing.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Jeri's Grill.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Barry's Drugs.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Liberty.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Chicago Kitchen.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Golden Specials.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: We Won The Cup.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Bartender Man.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Blue Plane Blues.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Finest Quality.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Family Guy.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Girls Wanted.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Skokie Savanna.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Signpost.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Old Man And The Tree.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Street Fleet.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Citgo Story.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Fantasy Hair Design.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Chicago Garage.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Clark Stop.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Pole Position.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Window Dressing.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Chicago Geometry.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Found Love.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Fill In The Blank.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Vacuums Of The Night.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Dumpster Still Life.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Wagon Master.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Intersecting West Rogers Park.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Penn-Dutchman Antiques.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Cow Patrol.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Backstage Chicago.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Skully Bungalow.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Francisco Frankenstein.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Long Cool Heat.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Smokers' Mast.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Big Fat Phone.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Happy Day.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Alley Men.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Holiday Show!
* Beachwood Photo Booth: You've Got Mailbox.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Broken Window Theory.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Dali Logan.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Svengoolie.

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 7:30 AM | Permalink

To Close The Achievement Gap, Extra Hours In School Have To Be Better Hours

As New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio ushers in a huge expansion of after-school programs for middle schoolers, educators and advocates are debating whether the new programs are academic enough. How students and teachers should spend their time when kids are behind is among the most pressing and vexing questions in education today, and it's one we have spent the past year exploring.

Related: NYC's ramped up after-school programs offer safety, supper and sports

Our Time to Learn series has taken us from New York to Chicago, Detroit, Santa Ana and beyond. Examining the length and content of regular school days and after-school and summer programming, we've heard a common refrain of quality over quantity. In other words, if you're going to give students more time to learn, it must be quality time if you want to get results.

"The achievement gap is very real, and it's killing my people," says Clarence McNeil, a fifth-grade science teacher at North Star Academy's Downtown Middle School in Newark.

Our two stories on Chicago's longer school day questioned whether cash-strapped schools there were getting the promised resources to go with extra instructional minutes. We visited a school in New Haven that scrapped a longer day for students to give teachers more planning time. And we met charter school teachers who burned out from exhaustion with very long school days and years.

When there isn't enough money for everything, is it better to start with time and build quality or work on quality first in the time already allotted? Many educators prefer the latter. But it would be a mistake to conclude that more time in school isn't needed for students from impoverished families. We have clearly seen a need for more learning hours alongside a host of other reforms to make the time meaningful.

Our series was inspired by research showing that by sixth grade, a child from a poor background has spent an estimated 6,000 fewer hours learning than a peer from an affluent household, who tends to have more exposure to everything from books to museums, from travel to summer camp.

Related: Anatomy of a 6,000-hour deficit

And that's assuming school days are all spent learning. A new report from the Institute for Democracy, Education, and Access at the University of California, Los Angeles shows that they're not: Students at high-poverty high schools face more disruptions during the academic day, from more teacher absences and insufficient qualified substitutes to building problems and calls from the main office. Based on a survey of 800 California teachers, the report concludes that students at high-poverty schools lose a half-hour a day of instruction more than students at low-poverty schools. So much for making up for lost time.

Again and again, we heard that students need engaging lessons in a variety of subjects, not endless test prep in reading and math. Much talk in the field centers on teacher training and planning time to make instruction effective and how to cultivate community partnerships bringing in the arts and sports and easing teachers' workload. The UCLA report makes a case for action far beyond that. High-poverty schools are often in old buildings where a lack of air conditioning and finicky boilers result in very uncomfortable - and therefore very distracting - learning conditions much of the year. Many schools would also benefit from restrictions on use of the loud speaker; in the neediest classrooms, "please pardon the interruption" is an all too common refrain.

Related: More time in school, with a drain on Chicago's teachers

As both a reporter and editor on the Time to Learn series, I've often been reminded that middle class kids don't get ahead sitting behind a desk. While poor kids need time in school to catch up, they also need exposure to the world beyond it. The new after-school programs in New York don't get students out of their neighborhoods, but they do provide exposure to arts and sports. In Houston, we heard about YES Prep charter schools connecting their students with the same kind of summer camps, wilderness expeditions and international travel that their affluent peers experience routinely. Families spend months fundraising, defying stereotypes that they have no resources. And parents, who are often reluctant to let their children leave home in low-income communities, become more open-minded to the idea of their kids going away to college.

A memorable interview for me was with Raul Arias, a Chicago high school student who quit his basketball and cross-country teams after the city lengthened the school day because later practice times would make it unsafe for him to travel home. I'll also remember Clarence McNeil, an African-American teacher at Newark's North Star Academy who wakes up at 4 a.m. to get to work. "I have to be here because the amount of time that we spend on this is absolutely necessary. We're at war," he told me. "The achievement gap is very real, and it's killing my people."

Giving all students the time and opportunity to fulfill their potential is a massive societal undertaking, not an either-or proposition.

This story was produced by The Hechinger Report, a nonprofit, independent news website focused on inequality and innovation in education. Read the entire Time to Learn series.

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 4:40 AM | Permalink

January 15, 2015

The [Thursday] Papers

"The second forum in as many days on using Chicago parkland for a Barack Obama presidential library again drew hundreds of people Wednesday, with arguments that boil down to the proposal either eroding valuable outdoor space or being an economic boost to the city's South Side," the Tribune reports.

"Park officials listened to comments in a gym and overflow rooms at the Washington Park field house for almost three hours, but it's unclear when the matter will come before the Park District Board of Commissioners for a vote on how to move forward with the land, Avis LaVelle, vice president of the board, said after Wednesday's public hearing."

Let us pause now to consider: Who is Avis LaVelle?

This is who.

Gross.

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From the Beachwood vault.

May 21, 2009:

Under pressure from aldermen to comply with the city's minority set-aside requirements" - because apparently doing so is optional - "LAZ Parking Chicago LLC has hastily assembled a team of subcontractors that includes former mayoral press secretary Avis LaVelle and Cortez Trotter, who was Chicago's first African-American fire commissioner before being promoted to chief emergency officer," the Sun-Times reports in "Insiders May Cash In On Meter Deal."

Ya think?

"LaVelle said she has been asked to help reverse an avalanche of negative publicity stemming from broken, overstuffed and mismarked meters that have infuriated motorists and triggered a spike in vandalism and a drop-off in on-street parking."

LAZ learned that one from the mayor: Don't fix the problem, fix the PR.

June 2, 2011:

"In the stairwells of the parking garages under Millennium and Grant parks, wires dangle from the red metal boxes that house emergency telephones," the Tribune reports.

"The phones, located on all levels, have been out of commission since mid-May because of a project to upgrade the system and won't be reconnected until July. That has left some garage users, forced to rely on spotty cellphone service, a bit nervous . . .

"Morgan Stanley, which leases the garages, is not required to provide emergency phone service but chose to invest in a system upgrade, leading to the temporary outage, according to a spokeswoman for LAZ Parking, which operates the facilities.

"'Because of the fact that you can use your cellphone, you don't really need to worry about the emergency phones,' said LAZ spokeswoman Avis LaVelle."

Then why invest in them?

"The system is being upgraded . . . to improve the quality of response."

To a higher quality than cell phones?

"[T]o reach the office in case they need help in a hurry."

Can't they just use their cell phones?

"The emergency phones are connected to the garage office, where attendants can dispatch a security guard or get help for a motorist whose car has a dead battery or other problem."

So not really for emergencies? Get it together, LAZ.

April 12, 2012:

"Meanwhile, Bombardier has in recent weeks rehired Avis LaVelle, a public relations consultant and longtime City Hall insider who also represented the company in 2006 and 2007 when it was negotiating the rail car contract.

"'My firm was engaged to increase Bombardier's visibility, put out positive information and ensure that people understand we build a quality product and that safety is the primary objective,'' said LaVelle, who worked for Mayors Harold Washington and Richard M. Daley and was appointed to the Chicago Park District Board by the current mayor."

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From LaVelle's website:

"Bombardier was vying to win the CTA contract to supply new rail cars and needed to establish its presence in the marketplace without compromising the bidding process. A. LaVelle Consulting Services (ALCS) provided the Bombardier Transportation N.A. Senior Management with public affairs, media and government relations consultation in connection with consideration of its proposal to sell rail cars to the Chicago Transit Authority. Messages were developed for all impacted constituencies and strategies devised for the most effective delivery of these messages.

"Through an aggressive but targeted public, community and government relations campaign, Bombardier sought:

* To inform CTA officials, local government and business leaders of the growing presence of Bombadier as a part of Chicago-area commerce and industry.

* To educate key constituencies about the successful engagements Bombadier has with transit agencies in other major areas around the country and the world.

* To build a team of allies to welcome them into the market and feel comfortable with the company's products and level of customer service.

* To create a favorable impression the Chicago media market by highlighting and promoting unique attributes and initiatives of the Bombardier Transportation N.A. to specialty and general market media.

Mission not yet accomplished.

May 24, 2013:

"Former Mayor Richard M. Daley's staff was aware of major problems with the city's parking-meter privatization deal in 2010 - a year and a half before the costly issues publicly surfaced, according to hundreds of pages of documents released Wednesday by Mayor Rahm Emanuel's administration," the Sun-Times reported on Thursday.

"The documents detail behind-the-scenes sparring between City Hall - under Daley and Emanuel - and Chicago Parking Meters LLC before Emanuel struck a deal last month with the meter company."

The fight was over those with disability placards parking for free at meters. But the biggest eye-opener in the documents to me was this:

The newly released documents also show the meter company paid former Daley press secretary Avis LaVelle's public relations firm $518,246 between 2009 and 2012.

LaVelle is the park's point person on the library issue because park board president Bryan Traubert has recused himself due to the fact that his wife is Commerce Secretary Penny Pritzker.

Bottom line: LaVelle and the park board aren't going to protect the interests of the park district and its constituents (us), they're going to do whatever they are asked to do.

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"Residents expressed concern [Wednesday] that not offering the park as usable land would give the Obamas reason not to locate their library in the Washington Park community," the Hyde Park Herald reports.

Really? That would be on Obama.

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Here's a novel idea: Design a library that fits into the available space owned by the preferred bidder.

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Also: Does anyone really think the Obamas haven't already decided whether they want the library in Chicago or New York? What is this all about, then? Finding an excuse to give the public for choosing Columbia or playing hardball with their own hometown to grab up more valuable resources for themselves?

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"[R]epresentatives of Friends of the the Parks, the Washington Park Conservancy and Preservation Chicago stood up to oppose the project, saying it would remove irreplaceable green space from public access," the Sun-Times reports.

"Cassandra Francis, president of Friends of the Parks, suggested the University consider an 11-acre city and CTA-owned parcel west of King Drive, just across the street from the park.

"'The city should not be forced to make a choice between having the Obama presidential library on the South Side and losing valuable park space,' Francis said."

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EXCLUSIVE! Rahm's Secret Plan To Save The Obama Library.

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Naming Rights Deals Sweep Chicago Media
Ponce just the start.

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BeachBook
* Dibs Idiots In Bridgeport Trash Car Of Sick Girl's Nurse.

* Newspaper Execs Get Huge Bonuses While Reporters Wait For Raises.

* Illinois A Terrible Ten Tax State For Reasons Bruce Rauner Doesn't Understand.

* Illinois Facility Raided In Body Part Black Market Probe.

* Former Bear Leads Ohio Court Fight Against Out-Of-State Taxes On Athletes.

* DHS Agent Who Infiltrated Silk Road Worked Out Of Chicago.

* Caesars Division Heads To Bankruptcy Court In Chicago.

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TweetWood

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The Beachwood Tip Line: Check out any time you like.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 10:02 AM | Permalink

Exclusive! Rahm's Secret Plan To Save The Obama Library

* Rename the U of C "Columbia University."

* Shift bid to Columbia College and hope for confusion.

* Ply selection committee with Bruce Rauner's wine.

* Sorry, Lucas, we need that lakefront site back!

* Obama High School is back on!

* Enlarge the gift shop.

* New location: Obama Pier!

* Take care of Barack's parking tickets.

* Add an ESPN Zone to the mix.

* Get Barack his old law instructor job back.

* Send dead fish to selection committee.

* Rename Washington Park after a president who got stuff done, and who maybe is black.

* Subvert the public process to make sure city elites get what they want regardless of anybody else's interests. Even more.

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 3:15 AM | Permalink

Naming Rights Deals Sweep Chicago Media

"Phil Ponce isn't just the host of WTTW-Channel 11's Chicago Tonight anymore," Robert Feder reports.

"From now on, he's The Alexandra and John Nichols Chief Correspondent and Host for the public television station's nightly news program.

"Marking a first in Channel 11's 60-year history, Window to the World Communications has named an on-air host's position in honor of a couple of major financial backers."

While the move is unusual, the Beachwood has learned that several other "naming rights" deals are in the works for local media members.

* Michael Sneed is close to being named the George and Lura Lynn Ryan Chief Correspondent of the Sun-Times. Unfortunately for the paper, no money is involved because Sneed has been doing the job for free for years.

* John Kass's column will now be endowed by Rush Limbaugh and renamed Dittohead. They will also write a cookbook together.

* Jim Kirk was quietly named the Rauner Family Foundation Editor at the Sun-Times last October.

* Mark Konkol's "My Chicago" column for DNAinfo Chicago will now be named "Rahm's Chicago" and funded by Robert Redford and CNN. Konkol will continue to write the column and readers shouldn't notice any difference.

* Dave Savini is pursuing a deal with Spencer's.

* Amy Jacobson is pursing a deal with Intex, but may have to settle for TMZ.

* Steve Dahl and Garry Meier have inked separate deals with Trib.

* Hawk Harrelson will now be sponsored by a Del Monte can of corn.

* Bill Kurtis will sponsor himself.

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 12:26 AM | Permalink

January 14, 2015

The [Wednesday] Papers

"Republican Gov. Bruce Rauner spent his first full day in office Tuesday vowing to overturn a series of moves Democratic Gov. Pat Quinn made on his way out the door, accusing his predecessor of engaging in 'inappropriate' political hiring and appointments," the Tribune reports.

Link mine.

Obama Library Follies
Let me get this straight: The University of Chicago's bid for the Obama presidential library includes using land it does not own?

Is there still time for me to put in my own bid? I propose building it on University of Chicago land. Where the economics department currently resides.

*

It's not just public parkland that the U of C wants to confiscate.

"Though the museum is expected to occupy only a fraction of the land, the parcels outside of Washington Park are controlled by a combination of owners, including the U. of C., the city of Chicago, the Chicago Transit Authority and private individuals and companies," the Tribune reports.

No wonder they kept their plans secret for so long.

*

Will the head of the library selection committee get the parking contract?

*

Too bad Nesbitt doesn't own any trauma centers.

Here's an idea: The Barack Obama Presidential Library and ER.

*

"Hundreds packed a South Side auditorium Tuesday night for a raucous meeting in which a University of Chicago plan to use public parkland for the construction of the Barack Obama Presidential Library was both celebrated and jeered," the Sun-Times reports.

"Before the public input meeting began, convened by the Chicago Park District at Hyde Park Academy High School, charter buses deposited attendees . . . the meeting was stacked mostly with people in favor of the proposal."

I thought some of those people looked familiar.

*

"Derek Douglas, the university's vice president of civic engagement, told the crowd that parkland was needed because the university did not own a big enough solid block of land to build upon."

Sucks to be you!

*

"'There is not a 20 to 30 acres parcel of contiguous land to house the campus without displacing people,' Douglas said.

"But architect John Vinci said the university's claims were a 'sham.'

"'What are they going to do when they say they are going to build hotels and stores?' Vinci asked. The end result will still likely lead to neighborhood residents displaced through eminent domain, he said: 'They are going to condemn your buildings.'"

Sucks to be us!

*

"Hearings on using Washington or Jackson parks for the Obama Presidential library and museum take place Tuesday and Wednesday, and if it seems dealing with this important public policy matter is rushed - well, it did not have to be this way," Lynn Sweet wrote for the Sun-Times on Monday.

Let's be clear: It happened this way because the University of Chicago - surely with Rahm's knowledge - tried to keep its plans from reaching the public until its selection was a done deal.

*

"The U. of C. should have disclosed its proposals to site the Obama presidential library and museum on Chicago Park District lands around Sept. 15, when the Obama Foundation named the school a finalist for the project. But the school didn't even let the public know it needed park land when the bid was filed on Dec. 11.

"And the complacent park district board declined to take the lead back in November - when Park District President Bryan Traubert (the husband of Commerce Sec. Penny Pritzker), who was obviously briefed on the sites, recused himself from the process. A video of end of that November meeting - posted on the park district's website - shows Traubert and his vice president Avis LaVelle both say 'hot potato.'"

I sure wish the Sun-Times would've provided that video, because I can't find it. Maybe Traubert and LaVelle were talking about getting a hot potato food court contract at the library.

*

"So the Chicago Park District knew months ago this could be controversial. City Hall knew. The Chicago based Obama Foundation knew."

Told ya so.

"And last month, a source close to the foundation - whose board members and consultants are not political dummies - said the U. of C. bid was in jeopardy because there was no process in place to acquire building rights to the public park land."

Huh, I seem to remember a process . . .

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When they came for the lakefront land, I remained silent because I was not a lakefront.

When they came for the parkland, I remained silent because I was not a parkland . . .

*

Just sayin'.

Prog Rock
"Despite contributing tens of thousands of dollars to Republicans before running for office, Fioretti has attempted in this campaign to position himself as a progressive, left-of-center alternative to the corporate-friendly mayor," Dan Mihalopoulos writes for the Sun-Times.

Um, Fioretti has been the loudest voice of the council's Progressive Caucus for eight years; he's hardly attempting to position himself anew just for the campaign.

Today's Worst Person In Chicago
"You know it's election season if Mayor Rahm Emanuel is inviting me to coffee," Shia Kapos writes for Crain's in a column titled "My Coffee With The Mayor."

Uh-oh. You know you're a patsy if the mayor is calling you during election season to invite you to coffee. Let's see if Kapos plays along.

"He wanted to talk about his favorite coffee joints around town, so I said sure."

Sure! Why not? I'll play along! I'm a tool!

*

"For a mayor who's drawn criticism for not being attentive to neighborhoods, his list of coffee houses seems to prove otherwise. It includes Cafe Jumping Bean in Pilsen, Dark Matter Coffee in Humboldt Park and Kusanya Cafe in Englewood, where he recently met with Chicago Police Chief Garry McCarthy."

Really? Criticism withdrawn! Rahm really is attentive to the neighborhoods! He can name coffee houses in several of them!

Shia Kapos, you are Today's Worst Person In Chicago. And so are your editors.

*

I wonder if Rahm can name every school he closed - as well as their neighborhoods!

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"'I hear about places and if I'm in the neighborhood, I'll try it,' he told me during our coffee meeting at Star Lounge in Humboldt Park."

Whatta guy.

"Emanuel likes his java 'straight black, always black.'"

The cynical racial appeal never ends!

"I like to try the house blend wherever I go because that's what they put their name on," he said. "(Coffee houses) have a character in the neighborhood. Each one has their own thing. It's like a brewmaster," he says, referring to beer joints. (He likes those, too.)"

Rahm likes beer joints too!

*

"The mayor likes dark roast and pour-over coffee versus drip. At home, he and wife Amy Rule use a filter and single cups. He sometimes delivers a cup to her in bed."

And then rubs her feet and fixes her hair.

*

"The trick for making just the right cup, he says, is constant stirring so the grounds circulate."

I don't know if I can do this anymore. I don't mean this column. I mean this job. Really. I give up.

*

"He sometimes has business meetings over coffee."

Welcome to the club called Everyone.

*

"Emanuel still laughs about a meeting last year in his office with Illinois House Speaker Mike Madigan.

"The discussion was about getting state funding to build schools. Madigan liked the idea and the mayor gave him a bag of coffee as a thank you. 'It was a nice deal,' he says. 'We're building schools and he gets some coffee.'"

Stop it. I'm bursting at the seams.

*

Do I need to spell it out? Rahm called you for a campaign ad, Shia. The only way you should have accepted is if you went and asked him the questions from real reporters he refuses to answer. You had a rare one-on-one shot with him and talked coffee. (And even that was so rudimentary that I doubt he even drinks the stuff. Really? That's what he wanted to express to you? That every coffeehouse has its own blend? And the secret is stirring the grounds?) And what editor/s approved this dreck? They deserve a hot scalding coffee in their lap. Now go home and think about what you've done. And don't come back.

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Uber Uber Alles
Extending the model. (Rated F for Funny.)

Punking Garth Brooks
In Local Music Notebook. Plus: Gary Records, St. Vincent's Bowie, The City Plays Chicken With The Congress, Liberace's Big Song Book, and All About That Chicago Bass.

Killer Poet Up For Parole
In Local Book Notes. Plus: Read It And Eat, Booksploitation, The C-1 Squad, and Peters' Palestinian Plight.

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BeachBook
* Wind Speed In Chicago Determines This Hotel's Discount.

* Charlie Hebdo Attack Condemned But World Leaders Silent On Their Own Press Violations.

* Richard Branson Pitches Chicago Hotel As Female-Friendly.

* How Rauner Blew It With His Inaugural Bash.

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TweetWood
A sampling.

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The Beachwood Tip Line: Your time is gonna come.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 10:08 AM | Permalink

Uber Uber Alles

I'm waiting for the Uber version of Uber, where drivers don't even have licenses or insurance. The uber-competitive model!

- Tim Willette


Uber Uber - We drive you to your Uber driver.

Reverse Uber - You drive us somewhere!

Uber Russia - Car drives you.

Uber Liquor - You save because our competitors pay for silly licenses and tax stamps and we don't.

Uber Utilities - Now with surge pricing.

Uber Undertaker - Why pay for a coffin? We dump the body in the river.

Uberserk - We drive you crazy.

Ubarfly - We drive you to drink.

Ubarleywine - We drive you to drink Barleywine.

Ubarrel - Lowest price transport over Niagara Falls.

Doober - A collection of independent contractors who are always holding and just a text away.

Progressive Uber - Pricing according to income.

Chicago Uber - Only available to those somebody sent.

Local Celebrity Uber - George Ryan will drive you around the city if you listen to him tell you about how he got screwed; Billy Corgan will drive you if you listen to him explain how underappreciated he is; Bruce Wolf will drive you if you aren't black.

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 3:39 AM | Permalink

January 13, 2015

Local Book Notes: Killer Poet Up For Parole

"The underground Chicago literary community knew him as J.J. Jameson; the Massachusetts penal system knew him as Norman A. Porter Jr., a murderer who escaped in 1985," the Los Angeles Times reports.

"In 2005, Porter/Jameson was arrested in Chicago. 'It's been a good 20-year run,' he told the police at the time. Now in his mid-70s, Porter is up for parole in Boston."

McBooks
Now with your Happy Meal.

Read It And Eat
Cookbook bookstore.

Booksploitation
"Author Robert Beck was born in the inner city of Chicago, Ill. in 1918. He is known as one of the most celebrated names in the genres coined as 'street lit' or 'black experience novels,' melding his tumultuous experiences as a career criminal and panderer with an uncanny ability to recount some of the most horrific and sorrowful scenes of urban street life and transform them into beautiful gems of literary expressionism."

The C-1 Squad
"n 1957, J. Edgar Hoover instituted the Top Hoodlum Program in response to the raid on the New York State Police in Apalachin, NY in 1957. This was a time for unchartered territory in the FBI in the war against organized crime.

"Retired FBI Special Agent Vincent L. Inserra was at the forefront of this war, heading Chicago's organized crime unit known as the C-1 Squad from 1957-1976. As tribute to these agents, C-1 and the Chicago Mob shares the resourcefulness, ingenuity and determination these agents displayed during a time when the FBI did not have the necessary tools or legislation to combat organized crime."

Peters' Plight
"When Joan Peters went to the Holy Land in the mid-1970s, her aim was to investigate the plight of Palestinian refugees who, she believed, had been unconscionably deprived of their rights by Israel, with the aid of the United States.

"A former White House foreign policy consultant for the Middle East and a self-described liberal, she devoted seven years to intensive, original research. She arrived, however, at an unexpected conclusion: Arab political and territorial claims to Israel are based on a myth.

"Joan Peters Caro, the author of the controversial bestseller From Time Immemorial: The Origins of the Arab-Jewish Conflict, died Monday night at her home in Chicago of complications from a stroke at the age of 78."

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 7:40 PM | Permalink

Local Music Notebook: Gary Records, Garth Fucking Brooks & St. Vincent's Bowie

"A few years ago, Gary Records founder Robyn Chang gathered her possessions and traveled to Taiwan for a job at Groupon, the coupon company," Jaycee Rockhold writes for the DePaulia.

Her interest in local music scenes followed her there, where she began doing research. The language barrier was a problem.

"There was one website that was in English," Chang said. "All the other ones were in Chinese."

The band names were primarily listed in Chinese as well, which proved difficult in finding homegrown bands. Chang relied on one of her friends in Taiwan, who introduced her to a few groups, but this struggle of discovering international bands led to the birth of Gary Records.

Named after drunkenly searching for pictures of a man named Gary on Google, Gary Records produces "international splits," in which two bands from different parts of the globe are paired on the same 7-inch vinyl.

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* Gary Records.

Chicago Punk Band Covers Garth Brooks
No Fences, Fuck You.

St. Bowie
St. Vincent discussing David Bowie with Jessica Hopper starts here, and continues in five more parts.

High Times
"The fifth album from Chicago quartet Disappears is so massive, so spatially aware that it appears to descend from an unattainable height without ever touching down."

Congressional Theater
"[T]he much-publicized restrictions placed by the city upon the Congress prohibiting EDM were aimed not at that musical genre or even at that specific venue, but at [owner Eddie] Carranza as an irresponsible operator who racked up dozens of complaints," Jim DeRogatis reports.

"Sources say it also was a tactic to prod React/SFX out of prolonging its legal fight. Rather than the city being anti-EDM, the move was pro-Congress, one source said."

Maybe so, but that's a dangerous and unseemly game to play.

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Liberace's Big Note Song Book

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Bass To The World
"The Pirruccello brothers took over Chicago's Lakland Bass during a tough economy and turned it around," WTTW reports.

"They're now tenants and supporters of the Jane Addams Resource Corporation, with an emphasis on job training skills. Those skills include the making of electric components for their instruments, work which used to be done overseas.

"We find out what goes into the making of the bass guitars that are favored by many superstar bands, including Black Sabbath, U2, and the Rolling Stones."

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 6:00 PM | Permalink

The [Tuesday] Papers

"Bruce Rauner took over as Illinois governor Monday and asked for shared sacrifice to help him restore a state he described as in decline, beset by financial, moral and ethical crises," the Tribune reports.

Let me fix that.

"Bruce Rauner took over as Illinois governor Monday and asked for shared sacrifice to help him restore a state he described as in decline, beset by financial, moral and ethical crises."

Let's just keep going like this.

"The first Republican chief executive in a dozen years laid out what he views as the state's problems - shaky finances, lack of competitiveness with other states and a slow-to-grow economy - and sought to blame them on the lack of pro-business initiatives and mindset."

Fun!

"'I'm nobody that nobody sent,' he said."

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Now here's an example of a link that the Trib should have actually used if, like most newspapers, it didn't continue to ignore the awesome tools of digital journalism.

"The inauguration of Rauner as the state's 42nd governor marks a new era for Illinois - a first-time officeholder who has demonstrated he will use his extensive personal wealth and that of his allies to try to leverage political and public support for his initiatives."

See how easy that is?

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The Tribune editorial page sees what it wants to see. To wit:

"Gov. Rauner Rallies The Family."

Oh come on!

Bruce Rauner hardly ran a unity campaign - rallying the "family" of Illinois has always been Pat Quinn's schtick - and he hardly gave a unifying speech. The "family" of Illinois was hardly rallied; fewer than a tenth of one percent of the state were even paying attention. Even with Toby Keith and Buddy Guy on the bill, Rauner couldn't even fill the Prairie Capital Convention Center. If Illinois is a family, they sure didn't want to go to dad's party.

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"At prior Springfield inaugurals, many of Illinois' new governors have painstakingly pandered to this and that favored voter group, this or that band of crony insiders. As if to say between winks, 'I made it, pal, and here's what's in it for you.'"

Really? Forgive me for not remembering that. Bands of cronies have never needed the public rhetoric of an inauguration speech to know who's in. (And if the Trib is so concerned about cronies, why did it endorse Richard M. Daley for two decades? In fact, why did the Trib endorse George Ryan, the croniest of the cronies?)

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"But as the clock ticked off 22 brisk minutes Monday, Gov. Bruce Rauner gave a different sort of speech. He sought to bind all Illinoisans as one, not as a collection of political constituencies. Sublime riffs, gauzy promises and breezy predictions of the easy road ahead (now that I'm here)? No, this was the hurried talk you have with frightened family members when the firefighters have run out of water and the house is burning to the ground. As if to tell the more than 12 million people of Illinois: There's only one way we'll get through this. Together."

Unless you're a public employee, a union member, a teacher, a nursing home resident, a minimum-wage worker, or Dave McKinney.

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"Rauner's tone was gracious but his indictment direct: Illinois is in crisis because, for several decades, a bipartisan cabal of leaders have been guilty of bad decisions, bad practices, bad management. And the only way out of this is for all of us to pull in tandem. To sacrifice - a word Rauner used repeatedly."

Believe me, it's not the bipartisan cabal who will be called on to sacrifice - it's the rest of us. Just look at the pension mess. A bipartisan cabal diverted payments into the pension system that public workers depend on for their retirement to pay for their own political imperatives and now call upon those same workers to sacrifice for the good of everyone else. The cabal responsible for the mess won't pony up a dime.

Similarly, the sacrifice under Rauner will fall most heavily on those least responsible for the state's fiscal mess - that is to say, not responsible at all - and least able to bear it. Those who are responsible will feel no sacrifice at all. And if Rauner is successful getting his program enacted, the wealthiest among us, in the cabal or not, will prosper even more when their taxes are cut.

That's the family pulling together alright - if the family is the Bluths.

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"Our chief disagreement came with Rauner's assertion that, 'I'm nobody nobody sent.'"

He's the guy doing the sending! For years Rauner has contributed to the campaigns of the very bipartisan cabal the Tribune thinks he's going to destroy.

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"We appreciate the independence of a wealthy man who doesn't owe debts to this state's political class. Many of them are frightened that he'll do exactly what they've done, steering campaign money to legislators who vote his way."

The state's political class is frightened that Rauner is going to, um, behave in the same manner as the state's political class?

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"On Monday those voters heard what they've been hoping for: a pledge of Statehouse accountability."

Because voters - who, believe me, weren't paying attention - have never heard a governor (or any elected official) pledge accountability before.

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"Rauner spoke of freezing nonessential spending and of reviewing contracts signed during his predecessor's lame-duckery. We expect him also to use performance metrics of what state spending does or doesn't achieve. Friday's Tribune disclosed the latest of many examples of lawmakers throwing money at a problem and declaring it solved. We're talking about the $20 million Illinois has invested to develop 1,000 teachers to work in distressed public schools. That generous if poorly monitored revenue stream for colleges and community groups has produced . . . only about 80 teachers."

First, here's the article the Trib won't link to.

Second, the $20 million the state has spent on the program over 10 years hardly comes close to the $66 million Rauner just spent to attain his job.

Third, the program may indeed have been a Democratic ruse to gain the favor of minorities, but then again so was Rauner's deposit of $1 million in a South Side credit union.

If anyone thinks money can solve problems, it's Bruce Rauner.

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"Illinois as it's been run, Rauner told the people of his state, would be morally corrupt. We imagine there was some shifting of fannies in tailored suits when the new governor said his administration will make decisions based on what's best for the next generation, not what's best for the next election."

Really, Tribune? You really think there were fannies in tailored suits who have never heard Rauner's rhetoric and expected to hear - publicly - about the goodies they would receive in his administration who shifted nervously upon learning that this good man would make the best decisions for the long term and that they would be left out of the equation?

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"The new governor's speech was a smart outreach to a state tired of losing. He spoke of an economy that creates growth and jobs. He spoke of opportunities that will bring Illinois' sons and daughters home. He wants a state that's as competitive as it can be, so it can be as compassionate as it wants to be."

Like every governor in the history of history.

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What is there to say in an editorial about an inauguration? Well, you could comment on the donors who paid for it and read like a who's who of the evil cabal the Trib speaks of. You could reflect on the events closed to the media by a governor who so often refused to answer key questions during his campaign. You could raise once again those unanswered questions and how unsatisfying it is to begin a new era of governance this way. You could point out that - despite the utterly mundane rhetoric that only the Trib found inspiring - every serious person who has looked at Bruce Rauner's budget proposals has walked away laughing and how the new governor is already behind because of his refusal to seriously engage the state's finances during the campaign. You could even say nothing.

I would rather the Tribune dispense with the nonsense and simply say: "A Republican was sworn in as governor on Monday, and we're glad."

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Meanwhile, the Sun-Times editorial board pretends it endorsed Bruce Rauner of its own volition, even as it makes Pat Quinn out to be the greatest statesman since Cincinnatus.

This was a day that neither paper wanted to be real.

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The Beachwood Tip Line: Linkage.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 6:03 AM | Permalink

January 12, 2015

The [Monday] Papers

1. Yes, please. But make sure to make them look like giant ducks, not discontinued military amphibious vehicles.

Alternate idea: Travel the river in a fireproof house!

2. I just felt a great disturbance in the Force.

3. "Who's To Blame If We Lose The Obama Library?"

Better question: Who's to blame if we win it?

Then again, I look forward to visiting the Hall of Unprosecuted Torturers and Bankers and grabbing a bite at the Drone Cafe.

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See also: Does Every President Need A Separate Library?

4. Rauner Inauguration Events Paid For By Pro-Business Interests.

Same people paying for the Obama library.

5. But what about a peaceful transfer of power?

Yes - he's busy tweeting out his sour grapes.

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I would have more respect for Quinn if he told the truth, as he so often claims (falsely) to do: "I really have no interest in watching Bruce Rauner get sworn in. He ran a campaign built on lies and money, and I'm not gonna pretend to play nice just to be a go-along guy. If anything, I'll march with anyone down there protesting his coming cuts to people in need."

Unfortunately, Quinn's truth is less about those people and more about himself.

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The Beachwood Radio Hour #39: Is Rahm Charlie?
There's a difference between being against terrorism and for free speech - and everything that entails.

Plus: I've Been Sick But Zeke Emanuel Has Not; Bloodshot's Big Weekend; Inside Seinfeld; and Is Anita Alvarez Charlie?

The Beachwood Radio Sports Hour #33: The Bears' Two And A Half Men
George, Ted and Ernie make their move.

Plus: Meet Errick Rose; The NFL Playoff Spread; South Side Cubs; and The Blackhawks Are Who We Thought They Were.

The Weekend In Chicago Rock
Featuring: Adore Delano, G-Eazy, The Wandering Boys, Royale, and White Pony.

SportsMonday: League Blames Cutler
Marc Trestman's many OC interviews can only mean one thing.

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BeachBook
* Painkillers Handed Out Like Candy At Tomah VA.

* U.S. Company Helps Russia Block Prominent Putin Critic.

* First Federal Savings Of Chicago: "Nearby."

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TweetWood

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The Beachwood Tip Line: Actions vs. words.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 10:33 AM | Permalink

SportsMonday: League Blames Cutler

Editor's Note: Listen to Jim talk sports with Rick Kogan on WGN-AM this morning between 10:15 and noon.

Reports have it that Marc Trestman had interviewed for the offensive coordinator job in Tampa Bay and has either done the same or plans to do the same in Atlanta (although presumably the head coach has to be hired there first), Jacksonville and Cleveland. And then the rumor over the weekend was that new head coach Rex Ryan wanted the man to take the job in Buffalo.

All of this does not exactly bode well for a potential Jay Cutler trade.

It would appear that a whole lot of people are not spreading around the blame for the Bears' brutal flame-out in 2014. They are putting it on one guy. And that guy isn't the coach.

Before we attempt to continue rationally breaking this all down . . . are you frickin' kidding me? We won't know for certain if a team is willing to hire Trestman as OC until they actually do, but come on. Can these people have watched any of the Bears' 2014 games after the first Packer contest? The first half of that first game against Green Bay, the fourth of the season, was the last time the Bears' offense looked like it would be one of the top units in the league.

New general manger Ryan Pace has said one of his first orders of business is to watch every play of this Bears season. If he wants, I can sum it up for him instead: The offense started to go south in the second half of the game played in Wisconsin. It bounced back briefly against Atlanta in week 6, regressed after that and became historically bad in a loss to the Patriots, a second loss to the Packers and beyond.

While the defense gave up more than 100 points combined in games eight and nine, the offense deserved plenty of blame throughout. Trestman's best couldn't control the ball and couldn't put points on the board when it mattered. The defense was terrible and the offense was right there with it. And the offense got even worse down the stretch, leading to Cutler's benching. Cutler was bad, but Trestman's play-calling and basic preparation of his team was worse. The Bears fell behind the Lions and then fell behind the Vikings as they plummeted to last place in their division.

But apparently, in at least several corners of the NFL, it was all the signal-caller's fault. And oh by the way, I do not have a problem with bashing quarterback Jay Cutler to no end. The guy is coming off his worst season in the NFL. It was his ninth. It is more than a little delusional at this point to think that a different coach will figure out how to get Cutler into the playoffs. Unfortunately that doesn't exactly pump up his trade value.

Better to take the big salary cap hit this year (they will also be on the hook for pro-rated portions of his signing bonus for years after that but those will be much less painful than the 2015 compensation) and release him. Start fresh at training camp with a couple youngsters and maybe a veteran back-up, give them all reps in the preseason and go with whoever looks most promising. Keep reminding yourself: That's how the Seahawks ended up with Russell Wilson at the helm. And if it all goes sour and the Bears are terrible next year, well, then they'll have great draft picks (i.e., top three in every round), as opposed to what they'll have if they limp to 8-8 with Cutler.

Best of all would be to trade him, but is that even slightly feasible? Barring legitimate trade interest from someone (and legitimate trade interest is not some NFL writer opining that the Titans or the Bills would be better off with Cutler than without), the Bears have to cut him before March 12, when a $10 million guarantee kicks in for 2016 (on top of his $15.5 million guaranteed in 2015).

One positive: If Ryan hires Trestman, heck if he even considers hiring him, I'll feel considerably better about the Bears not having hired the son of Buddy as their head coach. Actually, the killer there is the Bears didn't even talk to Rex Ryan. How can you say you have done a comprehensive search for a coach when you didn't even talk to the guy who has the best playoff record of any candidate?

Of course, Ryan's four playoff wins on the road happened in 2009 and '10. The Jets then suffered through four sub-par seasons in a row. I'm not saying Ryan was a perfect candidate, but Bears fans sure would appreciate it if someone at Halas Hall would at least leak a disparaging rumor or two about the guy. The fact that there wasn't even a conversation seems to indicate there was personal animosity between Ryan and the McCaskeys. Not good.

The latest word on the Bears' coaching search is that they wanted to talk to Ravens offensive coordinator Gary Kubiak but that Kubiak turned them down cold. Also not good. Other possible candidates are retread Mike Shanahan and former Bills coach Doug Marrone. The only way those guys would make sense would be if they had some chance of making the Bears competitive in 2015. They do not.

Better to go with someone young and energetic and hunker down for a big, honking rebuild.

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

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 9:33 AM | Permalink

The Weekend In Chicago Rock

You shoulda been there.

1. Adore Delano at the Bottom Lounge on Saturday night.


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2. G-Eazy at the Concord on Saturday night.

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3. The Wandering Boys at the Hideout on Thursday night.

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4. Royale at Lincoln Hall on Friday night.

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5. White Pony at Mojoes in Joliet on Saturday night.

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 7:34 AM | Permalink

January 11, 2015

The Beachwood Radio Hour #39: Is Rahm Charlie?

There's a difference between being against terrorism and for free speech - and everything that entails. Plus: I've Been Sick But Zeke Emanuel Has Not; Bloodshot's Big Weekend; Inside Seinfeld; and Is Anita Alvarez Charlie?


SHOW NOTES

:00: Strawberry Rock Show.

:47: I've Been Sick.

* Actually, I used to get strep throat every year.

* Why Scientists Guessed Wrong On The Flu Vaccine, And Why It Could Happen Again.

9:24: I'll Trade You Money For Wine by Robbie Fulks as performed by Andrew Bird & Nora O'Connor.

* The Bloodshot brand: Larger than a genre.

* Anti-rock, anti-news.

* Too news for news.

* My dream: Insurgent journalism.

16:25: My Old Drunk Friend/Freakwater.

* Where all the alleys are haunted.

17:33: Ezekiel Emanuel: Skip Your Annual Physical.

* The U.S. spends more money - by far - for worse outcomes.

* Health Costs: The New York Times Does It Again!

* If your annual exam is a waste of time and money, you're not doing it right.

28:23: Rahm's Refrigerator.

Gawd. What a horrible household to grow up in.

31:31: Cigarette State/Robbie Fulks.

* Alabama's grand - the state, not the band.

32:43: Being Charlie.

* Keith Alexander's Unethical Get-Rich-Quick Plan.

* Reporters Without Borders Free Press Index.

* Harold Washington in women's undergarments.

44:39: Bloodshot's Turning Five/Robbie Fulks.

46:30: Is Anita Alvarez Charlie?

50:46: Seinfeld Extras & Inside Looks.

55:59: The Death of Country Music/Waco Brothers.

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For archives and more, see The Beachwood Radio Network.

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 3:03 PM | Permalink

January 10, 2015

The Weekend Desk Report

1. Satire In The Muslim World: A Centuries-Long Tradition.

"Azhar Usman, a Sunni stand-up comedian working in Chicago . . . says his comedy heroes are Richard Pryor, George Carlin and a 13th-century Sufi saint named Mullah Nasreddin."

2. No More Sledding? Towns Are Closing Their Hills Because Of Liability Concerns.

Boo. The greatest sledding hill where I grew up was on the grounds of my elementary school. The school was at the bottom of the hill. I can't remember anybody ever slamming into the school, but we sure tried.

3. A Conversation With A Teenager Who 'Doesn't Know' Who Paul McCartney Is.

4. The Bears' Two And A Half Men Make Their Move.

George & Ted's Half-Assed Adventure. Plus: Spelling Derrick Rose Without The 'D'; The NFL Playoff Spread; South Side Cubs; and The Blackhawks Are Who We Thought They Were.

5. Azealia Banks vs. Lupe Fiasco.

Emotional bitches, Lupe? Really?

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The Sound Opinions Weekend Desk Listening Report: "Veteran indie rockers Spoon return to Sound Opinions for a conversation and live performance of songs off their 8th studio album They Want My Soul."

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BeachBook
* Torture Of Saudi Blogger Sentenced To 10 Years And 1,000 Lashes Begins.

Our ally.

* Man Freed From Prison After 9 Years When FOIA Requests Reveal FBI Hid Documents.

Our heroes.

* Great Lakes Teeming With Tiny Plastic Fibers.

Our fault.

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TweetWood
A sampling.

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Um, okay. Will he say how long he expects to keep that state secret from going public?

There ya' go. But really weird, Ryan.

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The Weekend Desk Tip Line: Timing is everything.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 10:17 AM | Permalink

January 9, 2015

The Beachwood Radio Sports Hour #33: The Bears' Two And A Half Men Make Their Move

George & Ted's Half-Assed Adventure. Plus: Spelling Derrick Rose Without The 'D'; The NFL Playoff Spread; South Side Cubs; and The Blackhawks Are Who We Thought They Were.


SHOW NOTES

* Gimme a Pippen!

* Tony Dorsett.

* Larry Bird.

* Rules for basketball numbers.

1:45: Bears Continue To Dominate Offseason.

* John Fox comes from the defense.

* Boy Pace.

* Notable Eastern Illinois alumni.

* Lynch Headed To CFL.

* "Face it, you started looking to better-deal her the minute you got here!"

* Accounts differ, but:

* The Beachwood Radio Sports Hour #32: The Bears Have Already Blown It.

* Bears Brass: Two And A Half Men.

* The Bears are now the Cubs. And so are the Cubs.

* Tim Jennings was out drinking the night before and therefore late for his parent-teacher conferences and . . .

* Jay Cutler, buzzkill.

* Winnipeg Blue Bombers.

31:08: Blackhawks Are Who We Thought They Were.

* Seymon Varlamov.

* Richards didn't just shoot the puck - he passed it back to Kane.

35:00: Derrick Rose's Slump Extends To Defensive End, Too.

* Spelling Derrick without the "D."

* Bulls Luck In Landing Two Core Pieces In 2011 Draft Residue Of Design.

42:35: South Side Cubs.

* Samardzija, Bonifacio, Campana.

* Tuffy Rhodes.

* The Sporting Bible.

* Betting odds leverage the idiocy of the masses; the smart gambler finds value in the difference between the perception of the masses and reality.

49:05: Chris Christie's Cowboys.

51:17: Je Suis Charlie.

53:41: Matt Flynn vs. Russell Wilson.

* Olivia Munn, Joe Flacco, John Harbaugh.

1:02:24: Our Man On The Line.

* Playing halvsies in Dallas.

* Detroit Lyin'.

* The road 'dog is live, y'all!

* Overs, unders.

* It's all about Aaron.

* The Ice Bowl.

* Smoke, mirrors and Luck!

STOPPAGE TIME: 35:02

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For archives and more, see The Beachwood Radio Network.

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 2:51 PM | Permalink

The [Friday] Papers

Boy, this thing really knocked me on my butt this week. I was so excited to get back from holiday-mode too and start kicking ass again. I can at least say I'm on the recovery curve but the Papers won't return until Monday. The Beachwood podcast studio is revving up, though; we won't miss a beat in that department over the weekend.

Meanwhile:

* Beachwood Photo Booth: Svengoolie.

* Winter Won't Stop The Dane County Farmers' Market.

* ProPublica 'Temp Land' Investigation Nails Little Village Currency Exchange.

* The Week In Chicago Rock will not appear this week. I only found one decent show so I'll just fold that into The Weekend In Chicago Rock on Monday.

* @BeachwoodReport. A lot of folks seemed to appreciate my series of tweets reacting to Rahm's education speech yesterday, so give the ol' feed a look-see. You can see my strength returning!

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BeachBook
* Police: Men Filled Box Truck With Subsidized Light Bulbs From Maine To Sell In Chicago At A Profit.

Here's a photo of the suspects.

* U.S. Drone War: 2014 In Numbers.

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The Beachwood Tip Line: Now with safety lock.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 10:22 AM | Permalink

Beachwood Photo Booth: Svengoolie

On TV.

svengoulitv (2).jpg(ENLARGE FOR PROPER VIEWING)

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More Chicago photography from Helene Smith.

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Helene on Twitter!

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Meet Helene!

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Stationery, iPhone cases, hoodies.

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

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Previously:
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Chicago Man Grilling
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Yum Yum Donuts
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Chicago Father's Day
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Vintage Airmaster
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Chicago Time
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Window Shade
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Illinois Slayer
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Chicago Fire Escape
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Golden Nugget
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Hollywood, Chicago
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Flag Man.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Van In Flames.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Fluid Power Automation.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Corn Dog.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Stop The Killing Car.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Chicago Backyard.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: A to Z Things.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Swedish Diner.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Rothschild Liquors.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Chicago Silos.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Chicago Wires.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Orange Garden.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Irving Park Guy.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Chicago Pigeons.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: O'Lanagan's.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: For Rent.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Marie's Pizza & Liquors.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Mori Milk.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: American Breakfast.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: A Chicago Christmas Postcard.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Holiday Harold's.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Chicago Family Fun.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Snow Bike.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Nativity Scene.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Old Warsaw.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Deluxe Cleaners.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Marie's Golden Cue.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Die Another Day.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Sears Key Shop.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Window Dressing.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Jeri's Grill.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Barry's Drugs.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Liberty.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Chicago Kitchen.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Golden Specials.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: We Won The Cup.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Bartender Man.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Blue Plane Blues.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Finest Quality.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Family Guy.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Girls Wanted.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Skokie Savanna.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Signpost.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Old Man And The Tree.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Street Fleet.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Citgo Story.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Fantasy Hair Design.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Chicago Garage.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Clark Stop.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Pole Position.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Window Dressing.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Chicago Geometry.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Found Love.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Fill In The Blank.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Vacuums Of The Night.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Dumpster Still Life.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Wagon Master.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Intersecting West Rogers Park.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Penn-Dutchman Antiques.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Cow Patrol.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Backstage Chicago.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Skully Bungalow.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Francisco Frankenstein.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Long Cool Heat.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Smokers' Mast.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Big Fat Phone.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Happy Day.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Alley Men.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Holiday Show!
* Beachwood Photo Booth: You've Got Mailbox.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Broken Window Theory.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Dali Logan.

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 7:23 AM | Permalink

ProPublica 'Temp Land' Investigation Nails Little Village Check Cashing Store

Illinois regulators revoked the business license last month of a check cashing store featured in a ProPublica investigation of temp agencies and labor brokers in Chicago.

The revocation order is the latest in a string of government and legislative actions taken in response to a ProPublica series on the growth of temp work in the United States.

Illinois regulators said they learned of the store's unlawful collection of fees from our story in April 2013.

According to the order, the 26th and Central Park Currency Exchange arranged a deal with a labor broker to funnel temp workers to its check-cashing business. Under the arrangement, the temp agency gave the workers' paychecks to the labor broker who then brought them to the check cashing store. The store distributed the checks only after it had deducted fees for the broker and for its services, according to the order by the state Department of Financial and Professional Regulation.

"The workers, earning minimum wage, were charged fees by the licensee well in excess of the amount permitted by law," Francisco Menchaca, director of the Division of Financial Institutions, wrote in the Dec. 2 order.

Regulatory actions rarely lead to criminal charges and the Illinois Attorney General's office said it has not received any information about the case from the agency.

The store has appealed the license revocation and is allowed to remain open until a hearing before an administrative judge.

Bruce Balonick, an attorney for the check cashing store, said he didn't believe "the currency exchange did anything wrong other than to serve its customer."

Temporary employment has surged to record levels since the most recent recession, leading to the growth of "temp towns," where it is nearly impossible to find blue-collar work without first going through a temp agency.

Workers in these largely Hispanic and African-American neighborhoods reported rampant wage theft and high fees that often brought their pay below the minimum wage.

In addition, a ProPublica analysis of workers' comp claims in California, Florida, Minnesota, Oregon and Massachusetts found that temp workers were far more likely to get injured on the job than regular workers.

ProPublica detailed the deaths of temp workers who were buried alive in sugar, pulled into a hummus grinder and crushed by a 2,000-pound pallet of flavored rum - all after bosses ignored warnings about the dangers facing temp workers in their plants.

The United States stands nearly alone in its lack of regulation, with some of the weakest labor protections for temp workers in the developed world, ProPublica found using data compiled by the international Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD).

Among the actions taken:

  • In September, California Gov. Jerry Brown signed a bill, inspired by ProPublica's investigation, which will hold the state's employers legally responsible for wage and safety violations committed by their subcontractors and temp agencies. Companies could face fines if the agencies they use fail to pay wages or provide workers' compensation insurance.
  • In July, U.S. Senator Robert Casey, who heads the Senate's workplace safety subcommittee, said he was "particularly troubled" by the death of Janio Salinas, who was buried alive in sugar 13 days after the Pennsylvania plant where he worked as a temp removed a safety screen because it slowed down production. Casey, D-Pa., wrote a letter to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) asking the agency to explain its handling of the case and what additional actions Congress could take to improve temp worker safety.
  • OSHA, which launched a temp worker initiative in April 2013, has devoted increased attention to safety violations involving temp workers and to informing temp agencies, and companies that use them, of their responsibilities. In 2014, OSHA inspected 283 worksites employing temp workers - more than four times the number of inspections in 2013, according to Nickole Winnett, an employment lawyer for Jackson Lewis. The agency now trains inspectors and company safety officials with surveillance video that ProPublica obtained showing the failures that led to the death of temp worker Day Davis on his first day at a Bacardi plant in Jacksonville, Fla.

In Illinois, ProPublica detailed abuses in the Little Village neighborhood of Chicago, where labor brokers known as raiteros picked up workers and shuttled them in buses and vans to pack products for Sony, Fresh Express, Smirnoff and Ty Inc., one of the largest makers of stuffed animals in the world.

Dozens of workers interviewed by ProPublica knew the companies they worked at only by generic Spanish names - las lechugas (the lettuces), los vinos (the wines), los peluches (the stuffed animals). Their only contact with the temp agency that officially employed them was that its name was on their paycheck. In all other respects, their employers were raiteros they knew only as Rigo, Carmen or Cirilo - drivers who would pick them up from street corners and alleyways and ferry them to suburban warehouses 30 minutes to an hour away.

The raiteros would charge the workers $8 a day for the ride. But workers who had their own rides or tried to arrange with the temp agency to drive directly to the warehouse said they lost their jobs to other workers who paid the raiteros.

Under Illinois law, it is illegal for temp agencies to charge workers for transportation. The arms-length relationship with raiteros allowed temp agencies to get around the law and benefit from free recruiting without having to open an office in the immigrant neighborhood.

The Illinois Department of Labor said it is still investigating three temp agencies on transportation issues - an inquiry that has lasted more than a year.

At the end of the work week, raiteros would pick up the paychecks from the temp agencies and bring them to check cashing places in Little Village. The check cashing store named in the revocation order, for example, made an arrangement to collect fees for Rigoberto Aguilar, a raitero who supplied workers for Select Remedy, part of one of the largest industrial temp agencies in the United States.

The check cashing store's manager, Rudy Polheber, said in 2013 that the practice was a convenience offered to Aguilar's temp workers, who would get charged a reduced rate of $1 plus 1 percent of the check, he said.

But Leone Bicchieri, director of the Chicago Workers Collaborative, said the arrangement often resulted in workers facing excessive fees, waiting weeks to get paid or getting trapped in a finger-pointing game between the temp agency and the raitero over missing pay.

It is illegal in Illinois for temp agencies to force a worker to pay fees for cashing a paycheck. But some workers, who had accounts at banks that cashed checks for free, told ProPublica they couldn't get their paychecks unless they agreed to pay the check cashing fees.

Aguilar did not return calls about the order, but responded with a text message declining to comment. Last year, Aguilar, who started as a temp worker himself, said he merely provided a service to workers who needed transportation. He said he had never denied a person work over failure to use the check cashing agency.

"It's positive that a public statement has been made," Bicchieri said, "that shady dealings between temp agency raiteros and check cashing places are not going to be tolerated."

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

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Comments welcome.


Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 4:04 AM | Permalink

January 8, 2015

Winter Won't Stop the Dane County Farmers' Market

Eating local does not stop when the snow falls and temperatures drop. Find this season's bounty of produce, meats, cheeses, eggs, preservations and more at the Dane County Farmers' Market (DCFM) every Saturday through April 11 from 8 a.m. to noon at the Madison Senior Center, 330 West Mifflin Street. Access adjacent parking in the Overture ramp and metered street parking. SNAP/EBT services are also available.

With the DCFM late winter market comes the popular Taste of the Market Breakfast, prepared on site with seating right in the middle of the market. Each week a different local chef or food-related organization serves up their creative style of menu, with inspiration and the week's ingredients sourced directly from DCFM farmers and producers.

Breakfast starts at 8:30 a.m. and runs until 11 a.m., or when the food runs out. A full breakfast costs $8.50, which includes juice and bottomless coffee or tea. There is the option of a half meal for $5 or $2 for a cup of bottomless coffee or tea.

dcfm.pngNew this year, the DCFM offers free recipe cards at each market. A variety of seasonal ingredients from the market are featured along with helpful cooking tips and buying guides on the back of each card.

This winter's series of recipes range from simple dishes with few ingredients, creative ideas for those with limited kitchens, to more involved recipes for canning, soups, and tarts. Recipe cards are available at the information booth next to the EBT/SNAP station with a limited selection on each dining table.

The Dane County Farmers' Market has long been praised as the largest producer-only market in the country, offering the highest quality products of Wisconsin. The DCFM received a recent nod from Andrew Zimmern in Food & Wine as one of the World's Best Food Markets. The DCFM late winter market is no different.

Local farmers are able to extend the growing season by utilizing greenhouses and hoop houses, proper storage techniques, and preservation. These innovations help fuel growth for farmers, diversifying their crop offerings and helping increase revenue. Winter markets provide access to locally grown and raised products and the opportunity to connect local farmers with customers. From root vegetables to microgreens, storage crops to pressed apple cider, canned preserves to fresh eggs, all are available at the DCFM during this winter.

For more information about the DCFM late winter market or upcoming Taste of the Market Breakfast menus, please visit dcfm.org or follow DCFM social media campaigns:

* DCFM eNewsletter.

* Facebook.

* Twitter.

* Instagram.

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 6:38 PM | Permalink

January 7, 2015

The [Wednesday] Papers

I thought I was getting better. I got worse. Another sick day.

Besides . . . just one thing to think about today.

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Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 1:59 PM | Permalink

January 6, 2015

The Weekend In Chicago Rock

You shoulda been there.

1. The Alex Hoffer Band at Mojoes in Joliet on Friday night.


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2. Blue Dream at the Metro on Saturday night.

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3. Suzi at the Empty Bottle on Saturday night.

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4. Element Control at Mojoes in Joliet on Friday night.

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5. The Psychedelic Furs at City Winery on Sunday night.

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 2:44 PM | Permalink

The [Tuesday] Papers

On my way back.

For today, check out The Beachwood Radio Hour #38: Lessons In Chicago Crime, Politics & Media.

An awesome and enlightening discussion with Tracy Siska of the Chicago Justice Project.

A lot of fun, too.

My summary: "How Rahm Emanuel is both vulnerable and inevitable. Plus: Media Redlining; Cops vs. Civilians; and Convicted In Cook County."

Also, the Show Notes kick a lot of ass.

For some people, that's a week's worth of work right there.

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Bonus: Some of our early podcasts have been offline since June (though you can find everything ever since here; for reasons not worth getting into, we need to rebuild our early archives. Because we reference the impressive work of Angela Caputo (then of the Chicago Reporter, now of the Tribune), in this week's podcast, I've resurrected and re-posted The Beachwood Radio Hour #8: Mortgage Street, which features Angela and her work, along with a lot of other great stuff. We had some technical difficulties on that one, but the content mix is pretty awesome.

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Unlock Congress!
This Sun-Times Op-Ed calling for four-year U.S. House terms derives from a book I helped edit.

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The Best News Bloopers Of 2014
Better than the real fake thing.

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BeachBook
* Illini's Chief Illiniwek To Perform At High School Basketball Game.

* Health Care Fixes Backed By Harvard's Experts Now Roil Its Faculty.

Paging Nelson Muntz.

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TweetWood

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The Beachwood Tip Line: Mediate.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 12:05 PM | Permalink

The Best News Bloopers Of 2014

Better than the real fake thing.


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Bonus reel.

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 6:24 AM | Permalink

The Beachwood Radio Hour #38: Lessons In Chicago Crime, Politics & Media

How Rahm Emanuel is both vulnerable and inevitable. Plus: Media Redlining; Cops vs. Civilians; and Convicted In Cook County.


SHOW NOTES

:00: Strawberry Rock Show.

2:19: JEFF The Brotherhood at the Empty Bottle on New Year's Eve.

3:10: Political Science 101.

* Most vulnerable mayor isn't vulnerable at all.

* Too little, too late. As usual.

* Better than Rahm by miles, to be sure, but besides that low standard, not buying what challengers are selling.

* Invisible coalition.

* Missed opportunity: Organizing around school closings.

* AFT's $1 million promise.

* A second term: Rahm unfettered.

* Chicago media wants a wet mayor.

* The BGA: Hooters, pot and tinted windows.

* Andy and Rahm.

* Bruce and Rahm.

* Pining for Terry Brunner.

* Sun-Times Columnist Rahm Emanuel Praises The Awesome Job Mayor Rahm Emanuel Is Doing.

* The Mayor's Office Facebook Feed on the Sun-Times.

* Media feeding the suburbs.

* Media redlining.

* Squires:

"By reducing circulation efforts among low-income, minority readers, newspapers actually improve the overall demographic profile of their audiences, which they then use to justify raising advertising rates," wrote James Squires in his 1993 book, Read All About It! The Corporate Takeover Of America's Newspapers. Squires was editor of the Tribune for eight-and-a-half years; I have yet to hear his account disputed.

When Squires was at the Tribune, the paper divided Chicagoland into five Quintiles. Quintile One had the highest demographic profile while Quintile Five had the lowest. You can guess which Quintile Englewood fell in. That's why there are fully-staffed bureaus in Vernon Hills, Schaumburg, Oak Brook, and Tinley Park, but not a single reporter (as far as I know or that anyone could glean from the newspaper's coverage) assigned to Englewood.

So when the Tribune editorial page calls on everyone else to act, it ought to consider the role its own paper is neglecting.

* Stites:

"By this time I was associate managing editor of the Chicago Tribune, and all the talk among the news management was about editing the paper for the top two quintiles of the income distribution. That means that 40 percent market penetration is the goal, not 100 percent, and that the Trib cares little about 60 percent of the people who might be its readers. And these people are the men and women in the bowling alley. Why doesn't the Trib care? Because these days nonaffluent people shop at Wal-Mart, and advertisers like Lord & Taylor and stores that sell fancy wines don't want to pay for circulation among people who can't afford their wares. It's as simple as that.

"Now almost all metro dailies want only the affluent readers. Everybody else is what advertisers call 'waste.' So publishers simply ignore the interests of the bowling alley set, or write about 'them' only as statistics or as the objects of debates among economists and policy analysts. I am absolutely confident that it takes these 'waste' readers - more than half of all Americans - very little time perusing their metro daily to see that reading further is a waste of their time."

* Marketing is pre-determining the contours of coverage.

* Angela Caputo.

* Mortgage Street.

* Rahm's campaign:

* Rahm's Reality.

* Greg Hinz: "[A]ttorneys battle over binder checks, funky handwriting, bad notaries and other minutiae that constitute Chicago's election law."

* Rahm's [Residency] Rules.

* Emanuel Allies Send Loyalty Scorecards To Aldermanic Challengers.

* Moreno (D-Rahm) vs. Waguespack.

* Four Vie For Moreno's Post.

31:25: Certain Stars at the Empty Bottle last Sunday night.

* The Week In Chicago Rock.

33:10: PD Blue.

* Cops vs. Civilians.

* Second City Cop.

* Daley's Cop Canard.

* IPRA: A Four-Year Analysis.

* Chicago Police Board: A 10-Year Analysis.

* 2 Ex-Cops Plead Guilty To Misconduct, Avoid Trial.

Two Cops Charged With Sexual Assault.

* Koschman Cop Found Soft Landing In Lisa Madigan's Office.

* Blue-Ribbon Walk Through Mount Greenwood Shows Support Of Police.

* "We are now a wartime police department."

* NYPD Union President Patrick Lynch Is Completely Nuts: A History.

* How Did The NYPD Cop Killer Get His Hands On A Gun From Georgia? Because Our Laws Are Insane.

* NYPD Shooter Had A History Of Mental Health Issues And Violence Against Women.

58:10: Karl Denson's Tiny Universe at the Park West on New Year's Eve.

58:50: Siska In Love.

* The Beachwood Radio Sports Hour #32: The Upcoming Hero Of 2015.

1:02:50: Cutler, Schmutler.

* Skate to where the puck will be.

* Trestman Spotted On Clearwater Beach With McCown.

* Cutler is uncoachable.

* Kickstarter Pitch: Raise money from fans to pay off enough of his contract to make him tradeable.

1:12:33: Convicted In Cook.

* Just another Cook County coinkydink!

* The data is factual, but it may not be true.

* It's all about patterns and trends. Context, people.

* NYC took data down.

* "Hyde Park Johnny" fakes it at the Daily Kos.

* Mandatory minimums: Stop. I'm begging you.

* Should we really hire more cops?

* Why response time is irrelevant.

* #CrimeIsDown.

* The scoop.

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Previously with Tracy Siska:

* The Beachwood Radio Hour #2: Crime Is Down.

Is the Chicago Police Department really juking murder stats? We have the surprising answer. Plus: Chicagoetry with J.J. Tindall, The Cub Factor with Marty Gangler, Remembering Big Glo, Jim "Coach" Coffman on sports and the week in politics and music.

* The Beachwood Radio Criminal Justice Hour #1: Pot.

How Chicago's New Pot Law Is Bogus, How Roosevelt University's New Study Is Bogus, And How The Media Covers The Bogosity. With Tracy Siska of the Chicago Justice Project. Plus: The Week In Juvey.

* How Many Police Officers Does Chicago Need?

* Illinois Pols Slather On The Sunscreen.

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* Siska on WBEZ on Monday:

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STOPPAGE TIME: 48:50.

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For archives and more, see The Beachwood Radio Network.

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 4:32 AM | Permalink

January 5, 2015

The [Monday] Papers

Wow, I wanted to come out firing on all cylinders today and had material all lined up and instead I'm knocked out with a bug of some sort that has the best of me. I started with a cough a few days ago and went into full preventive mode, downing chicken soup and various liquids and so on, but to no avail. It doesn't feel serious, but at the moment I'm achy and coughy and generally feel funny - and not funny like a clown. Concentrating hurts. So it looks like I'm out for today, but I really, really, really want to be back tomorrow. Even later today or tonight. I've got an awesome podcast in post-production and tons of other stuff for the whole site, so let's just see if I can push through and get back on the horse here. (Back on the horse?) I feel like I need tea. And whiskey.

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The Weekend Desk Report
By Natasha Julius

Special New Year's Would You Rather Edition
It's snaining, it's about to get cold as fuck . . . new year, same old shit. Time for the 2015 edition of Would You Rather:

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The Weekend Desk Tip Line: If you'd rather . . .

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The Beachwood Radio Network

* The Beachwood Radio Hour is in production!

* The Beachwood Radio Sports Hour is in the can!

In this episode: The Bears Have Already Blown It; The Coming Hero Of 2015; Touting Wild Card Weekend and more!

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Coffman On Kogan

It's not The Beachwood Radio Sports Hour, but it's got a lot more watts!

Our very own Jim "Coach" Coffman talks sports with Rick Kogan on WGN-AM.

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The Sound Opinions Weekend Listening Report: "Jim and Greg present their Mixtapes for 2014 with their favorite songs of the year. And they remember some music greats."

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TweetWood

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Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 11:59 AM | Permalink

SportsMonday: Considering Cutler

If Jay Cutler quarterbacks the Bears this coming season, it means only one thing. It means the Bears are another season further away from a championship.

And if a general manger or coaching candidate tells George McCaskey that he can be the guy to get the most out of Jay Cutler, that guy should be removed from consideration immediately.

We have seen enough of the 31-year-old signal caller from Santa Claus (Ind.). These last few years, all of the excuses were addressed: the offensive line was solidified, serious receiving weapons were deployed and most importantly, an offensive-minded head coach was hired. That coach and Cutler had more than enough time to put together their best possible scheme.

The result was a true, epic, fail. With the benefit of hindsight, it all seems so clear. Fans never know for sure how an athlete will react to a big contract extension but if there was ever a guy more likely than Cutler to get the big money and then lose motivation to work and improve, well, I can't think of him.

And yet there are still plenty of voices out there who say "Cutler may be the Bears' best option this year." Their best option for what? Their best option for lessening the damage? Their best option for finishing 7-9 instead of 5-11?

There are, of course, financial considerations. Cutler is guaranteed $15.5 million next season no matter what. But the killer is, if the Bears still have him on their roster on March 12, they aren't just on the hook for next season, they are on the hook for $10 million guaranteed in 2016.

And there are some indications there may be at least a little bit of a trade market for Cutler.

That seems highly, highly unlikely - unfortunately all teams have access to all Bears game films - but if the Bears can trade him before March 12, more power to them. If they can't, he still has to go. Take the financial hit for a season. Then sign a player like Jimmy Clausen, who struggled the first time he started at quarterback in the NFL but may be better the second time around. Take another look at 2014 draft pick David Fales in the preseason and draft another quarterback this time around.

And hold a quarterback audition in the preseason. Another team in the NFC did just that a few years ago and it worked out remarkably well - more on that in another paragraph or two.

There is also the chance the Bears have planted the stories about Cutler being an option in 2015. This is where a team needs to be convincingly disingenuous. If teams think the Bears are actually considering Cutler as their quarterback next year, they'll know they have to offer something to get him. This is also where it helps Bears management that they don't have the reputation of being the brightest bulb on the Christmas tree. Hopefully there will be draft-pick compensation but heck, the Bears might have to give another team a low-round selection if that team is willing to take on Cutler's contract. And that would still be a great deal.

In 2012, the Seahawks started training camp with their quarterback position up in the air. They had signed longtime Packer backup Matt Flynn as a free agent, they had drafted undersized Russell Wilson in the third round. and the incumbent was Tarvaris Jackson. In the previous year they had also considered longtime backup Charlie Whitehurst, though he was quickly ruled out.

Do you remember how that turned out? Wilson took the team to the playoffs as a rookie and to the Super Bowl at the end of his second year. The Seahawks have a great chance to repeat as champs this year in part because of historically good defense and in part because Wilson is not only good but is also still cheap (in the third year of his four-year, $2.9-million rookie contract - no quarterback has ever been a better deal for a team).

There almost certainly isn't a Russell Wilson in this year's draft. But the Bears would do well to try to create a similar scenario to what the Seahawks did, just without the incumbent.

One final note on the Bears: Football commentators from ESPN's Adam Shefter on down have suggested that candidates like Chris Ballard (general manager) and Dave Toub (head coach) should be extra appealing to the Bears because they have experience in the organization - Ballard as a longtime scout and Toub as special teams coach.

Those commentators have it exactly backward. If ever a team needed a complete outsider to come in and totally clean house, that team is the Bears. Surely people have to know at this point that experience in the Bears organization is an absolute net negative.

And it pains me to say that about Toub, who did a great job with the Bears (although it was much easier to be a great special teams coach when a team employed Devin Hester in his prime . . . OK, OK, Toub has been good with special teams in Kansas City the last few years as well). Oh, and there is the fact that it worked out pretty well for the Bears the last time they hired a special teams coach to be the head coach. What was that coach's name again?

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

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 8:55 AM | Permalink

January 3, 2015

Beachwood Photo Booth: Dali Logan

Murreality.

IMG_3229.JPG(ENLARGE FOR PROPER VIEWING)

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More Chicago photography from Helene Smith.

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Helene on Twitter!

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Meet Helene!

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Stationery, iPhone cases, hoodies.

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

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Previously:
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Chicago Man Grilling
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Yum Yum Donuts
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Chicago Father's Day
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Vintage Airmaster
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Chicago Time
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Window Shade
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Illinois Slayer
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Chicago Fire Escape
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Golden Nugget
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Hollywood, Chicago
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Flag Man.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Van In Flames.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Fluid Power Automation.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Corn Dog.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Stop The Killing Car.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Chicago Backyard.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: A to Z Things.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Swedish Diner.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Rothschild Liquors.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Chicago Silos.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Chicago Wires.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Orange Garden.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Irving Park Guy.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Chicago Pigeons.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: O'Lanagan's.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: For Rent.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Marie's Pizza & Liquors.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Mori Milk.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: American Breakfast.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: A Chicago Christmas Postcard.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Holiday Harold's.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Chicago Family Fun.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Snow Bike.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Nativity Scene.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Old Warsaw.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Deluxe Cleaners.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Marie's Golden Cue.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Die Another Day.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Sears Key Shop.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Window Dressing.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Jeri's Grill.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Barry's Drugs.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Liberty.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Chicago Kitchen.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Golden Specials.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: We Won The Cup.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Bartender Man.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Blue Plane Blues.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Finest Quality.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Family Guy.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Girls Wanted.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Skokie Savanna.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Signpost.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Old Man And The Tree.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Street Fleet.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Citgo Story.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Fantasy Hair Design.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Chicago Garage.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Clark Stop.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Pole Position.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Window Dressing.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Chicago Geometry.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Found Love.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Fill In The Blank.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Vacuums Of The Night.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Dumpster Still Life.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Wagon Master.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Intersecting West Rogers Park.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Penn-Dutchman Antiques.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Cow Patrol.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Backstage Chicago.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Skully Bungalow.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Francisco Frankenstein.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Long Cool Heat.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Smokers' Mast.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Big Fat Phone.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Happy Day.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Alley Men.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Holiday Show!
* Beachwood Photo Booth: You've Got Mailbox.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Broken Window Theory.

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 5:42 PM | Permalink

The Week In Chicago Rock

You shoulda been there.

1. JEFF the Brotherhood at the Empty Bottle on Wednesday night.


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2. Certain Stars at the Empty Bottle on Sunday night.

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3. Karl Denson's Tiny Universe at the Park West on Wednesday night.

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4. Zeds Dead at the Aragon on Wednesday night.

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5. Laura Jane Grace at the Double Door on Tuesday night.

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6. Robbie Fulks at FitzGerald's in Berwyn on Saturday night.

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 4:42 PM | Permalink

The Weekend Desk Report

Special New Year's Would You Rather Edition
It's snaining, it's about to get cold as fuck . . . new year, same old shit. Time for the 2015 edition of Would You Rather:

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The Weekend Desk Tip Line: If you'd rather . . .

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The Beachwood Radio Network

* The Beachwood Radio Hour is in production!

* The Beachwood Radio Sports Hour is in the can!

In this episode: The Bears Have Already Blown It; The Coming Hero Of 2015; Touting Wild Card Weekend and more!

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Coffman On Kogan

It's not The Beachwood Radio Sports Hour, but it's got a lot more watts!

Our very own Jim "Coach" Coffman talks sports with Rick Kogan on WGN-AM.

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The Sound Opinions Weekend Listening Report: "Jim and Greg present their Mixtapes for 2014 with their favorite songs of the year. And they remember some music greats."

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TweetWood

*

Posted by Natasha Julius at 9:52 AM | Permalink

January 2, 2015

The Beachwood Radio Sports Hour #32: The Bears Have Already Blown It

George and Ted's not-so-excellent adventure. Plus: Bucks, Ducks And College Programs Giving No Fucks; The True Story Of Costa Rica's Weird-Ass Bullfights; Wild Card Weakend, and The Hero of 2015.


SHOW NOTES

* O.J. Simpson.

* Roland Harper.

* Michael Bush.

* Gale Sayers.

* Daughter Gail.

* Latin School of Chicago.

* The Illuminati.

3:55: Our Men In Costa Rica.

* Chile.

* Costa Rica.

* San Jose.

* Punta Islito.

* Spray-on sunblock.

* Costa Rica Bullfights: The Funniest And Most Entertaining Tico Festival Tradition.

* Guaro.

11:40: Bucks, Ducks and College Programs Giving No Fucks.

* Assessing Jameis Winston:

* Assessing Marcus Mariota.

* Kyle Orton Retires. Would Bills Take A Shot At Cutler?

Tennessee Prepping For Possible Cutler Deal.

* Jaguars Fire Jedd Fisch. Go get Trestman?

Trestman Spotted On Clearwater Beach With Josh McCown.

* The Regression of Colin Kaepernick.

* The failure of college football to adequately train players for the pros.

* Cardale Jones.

* 25 Years Ago, Randall Cunningham Was The Biggest Thing In The NFL.

28:35: Wild Card Weekend.

* The Beachwood Radio Sports Hour #31: Sweet Action! A Special Report On Sports Gambling.

* Cardinals Got Screwed.

* The Myth of Bruce Arians.

* "Nobody Knows Anything."

* Doug Marrone Opts Out Of Bills Deal.

37:00: The Bears Have Already Blown It.

* Outsourced to Accorsi.

* Interviews scheduled - with Ted Phillips and George McCaskey!

* Jerry Football.

* Ted Phillips' Presence A Hindrance In Fixing Bears Operation.

* Bears Coaching Opening No Better Than Raiders, Say NFL Execs, Coaches.

* Greg Bedard.

* Dave McGinnis is alive!

* Ernie Accorsi is the most important person in the Bears organization - and he's not even in the organization!

1:01:42: Bulls, Blackhawks, All is Well. Bulls even Weller!

1:02:08: 2014: The Year The Bears Became The Cubs.

* Goat of the Year: Jay Cutler.

1:04:28: The Hero of 2015: Gar Forman.

* But the spotlight will shine hottest on the Cubs regardless of performance.

* "There's no glory in 78 wins instead of 73. Who cares?"

1:09:56: Touting Thomas.

* Cardinals at Panthers (-6.5): The money's on Carolina.

Tom's Pick: Carolina.

Steve's Pick: Arizona.

Key: Lindley.

* Ravens at Steelers (-3.5): History's with Pittsburgh.

Tom's Pick: Pittsburgh.

Steve's Pick: Baltimore.

Key: Bell.

* Bengals (-4) at Colts: Luck not enough.

Tom's Pick: Cincinnati.

Steve's Pick: Cincinnati.

Key: Green.

* Lions at Cowboys (-7.5): Everything that's wrong with the NFL.

Tom's Pick: Dallas.

Steve's Pick: Dallas.

Key: Murray.

STOPPAGE TIME: 41:46.

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For archives and more, see The Beachwood Radio Network.

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 7:49 PM | Permalink

The [Friday] Papers

Holiday-mode Beachwood continues until January 5.

The College Football Report Bowl Preview Pt. 5: Katy Perry Still No. 1
Nice try, though, Buckeyes.

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The Beachwood Radio Network

* The Beachwood Radio Hour is in pre-production!

* The Beachwood Radio Sports Hour is in post-production!

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BeachBook
* Best Chicago Musical Moment Of 2014.

* Best Local TV News Moment Of 2014.

* The Best Worst Foreign Policy Quotes Of 2014.

* North Korea/Sony Story Shows How Eagerly U.S. Media Still Regurgitates Government Claims.

* Obama Administration: North Korea Probably Not Responsible For Sony Hack But Let's Sanction Them Anyway.

* NYPD Union President Patrick Lynch Is Completely Nuts: A History.

* Chicago-Based Musician Subhi Kanna Rangnekar Debuts In Bollywood With 'Take It Easy.'

* The Art Of Plastic Surgery In Chicago Offers Specials.

* Piano Stores (Including In Wilmette And The Quad Cities) Closing As Fewer Children Show Interest.

* Business Class, United Airlines 747 Chicago To Tokyo.

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TweetWood

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The Beachwood Tip Line: Set up, like a bowling pin.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 3:58 PM | Permalink

The College Football Report Bowl Preview Pt. 5: Katy Perry Still No. 1

The bowl season rolls on.

Rose Bowl Game Presented by Northwestern Mutual (National Championship Semifinal)
#2 Oregon Ducks 59 vs. #3 Florida State Seminoles 20

Allstate Sugar Bowl (National Championship Semifinal)
#1 Alabama Crimson Tide 35 vs. #4 Ohio State Buckeyes 42

The inaugural championship playoff format gave us two, or possibly 1.5, good games on New Year's Day. To the relief of many (and disappointment of contrarians), the system functioned as designed by sorting out the best two of the top four teams. Looking back at the Rose and Sugar Bowls, there's no question Oregon and Ohio State proved they belong in the national championship.

Florida State looked overmatched and Alabama looked out of place. Substituting Alabama for Florida State would likely have yielded the same result, as Oregon looked capable of playing tough enough on defense to limit scoring opportunities and too fast and too skilled on offense to bow out against even top-ranked Ds. The national championship game will resolve the flip side of the same question by pairing up Oregon and Ohio State. As a marketing scheme, the format will undoubtedly succeed as well, as discussion of the upcoming championship will dominate sports coverage for nearly two weeks.

Even so, the four-team playoff format may fall victim to controversy in the future. A number of hypothetical scenarios will pose a problem to the current solution. For example, if teams just outside the top four post impressive results and the playoff games produce muddled or otherwise unsatisfactory outcomes, the clamor for broadening the field will grow. (Same story if the playoffs turn out duds for too many consecutive years.)

None of that happened, something we (and ESPN, which coughed up $7.3 billion for broadcast rights to the playoffs through at least 2025) should find a relief. Big-time college football has experimented with various solutions to resolve the championship question for more than two decades, not only the recently deceased BCS but also the short-lived Bowl Coalition (1992-94) and Bowl Alliance (1995-97).

The latter two acted as early stages in the evolution to the BCS, which managed to persist until last season when it finally crumpled under the weight (and distaste for same) of an excess of Byzantine rules. The opaque, and unquestionably subjective, nature of the Playoff Committee selection process may prove just as troublesome over time, but for now the approach can be proclaimed as a (one-time, so far) success.

Before diving into a championship preview next week, we'll join the deluge of "Top [x] Things We [y] in 2014" trend with the following Top 7.5 Things We Learned In the Rose Bowl and Sugar Bowl:

1. An untested but talented third-string quarterback trumps a mediocre senior QB.

2. Ohio State scores on big plays. The Buckeyes only needed about 11 minutes of possession to score four touchdowns.

3. Florida State and Oregon players are classless jerks.

4. Past performance (FSU was 29-0) doesn't necessarily predict future success.

5. Green is the new fluorescent yellow.

6. America hates Florida State.

7. Alabama punter JK Scott deserved Rose Bowl MVP despite the loss. Scott averaged a lofty 55 yards on seven punts, including four which pinned OSU inside the 10-yard line.

7.5. This is the play of the season:

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Editor's Note: I beg to differ. This is still the play of the season:

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As for the remainder this weekend:

Lockheed Martin Armed Forces Bowl
Houston Cougars (7-5) vs. Pittsburgh Panthers (6-6)
January 2, 11 a.m.
Amon G. Carter Stadium, Fort Worth

The Feline Faceoff! It's been a tough year for Panthers as the 2014 death toll hit a record high in Florida. Cougars got some good news (for cougars, not so much for area pets and toddlers) as experts predict a resurgence of the big cats in the Northeast.

Our pick: The Panthers (-5.5) need some love.

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Taxslayer Bowl
Iowa Hawkeyes (7-5) vs. Tennessee Volunteers (6-6)
January 2, 2:30 p.m.
EverBank Field, Jacksonville

We volunteer (ho ho!) the following for your consideration.

Our pick: Hawkeyes (+3)

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Valero Alamo Bowl
#11 Kansas State (9-3) vs. #14 UCLA Bruins (9-3)
January 2, 5:45 p.m.
Alamodome, San Antonio

Big 12 teams have put up some ridiculous numbers in the 2014 bowl season. (Set aside Oklahoma and Texas, both of which apparently decided not to bother competing.) Consider these point totals: 37 (West Virginia), 41 (Baylor), and 42 (TCU).

Our pick: Over. Way over. (60.5)

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Ticketcity Cactus Bowl
Washington Huskies (8-5) vs. Oklahoma State Cowboys (6-6)
January 2, 9:15 p.m.
Sun Devil Stadium, Tempe

The Cactus Bowl? Really? Let's just give up and start fresh on these names. As nearly all take place in sunny climes (no one wants to play a postseason game in Duluth), all entries would require a tie-in to weather, geography, native species, or gerontology. Our submissions would include:

- The Tumbleweed Bowl (El Paso, TX)

- The Back Nine Bowl Presented by Bionic Relief Grip Golf Gloves (Clearwater, FL)

- The San Bernardino Bowl (San Bernardino, CA)

- The Celestial Bowl (Salt Lake City, UT)

- The LAP-BAND System Bowl (Biloxi, MS)

- The National Rifle Association Bowl (Tombstone, AZ)

- The Double-Down Bowl (Las Vegas, NV)

Our pick: Washington (-7)

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Birmingham Bowl
East Carolina Pirates (8-4) vs. Florida Gators (6-5)
January 3, 11 a.m.
Legion Field, Birmingham

Similar to the Cactus Bowl, the title Birmingham Bowl doesn't inspire much interest. Nor does this match-up. The NCAA should rename this one "The Pittsburgh of the South Bowl" and mandate that Pitt, if bowl eligible, make the trek to Birmingham every season. Panthers versus Gators? We'd tune in. Not quite Godzilla vs. Mothra, but still.

Our pick: East Carolina (+7)

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GoDaddy Bowl
Toledo Rockets (8-4) vs. Arkansas State Red Wolves (7-5)
January 4, 8 p.m.
Ladd-Peebles Stadium, Mobile

Bring on the salacious commercials! We love the GoDaddy.

Our pick: Scantily-clad celebrity endorsements and Toledo (-4)

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Previously:
* The College Football Report Bowl Preview Pt. 1: Cheap Trick, Gold Toes & Loaded Potatoes.

* The College Football Report Bowl Preview Pt. 2: Porn, Chicken & Bitcoins.

* The College Football Report Bowl Preview Pt. 3: Koozies For Floozies.

* The College Football Report Bowl Preview Pt. 4: Winner, Winner, Cricket Dinner.

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Mike Luce is our man on campus. He welcomes your comments.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 1:55 PM | Permalink

January 1, 2015

The [New Year's Day 2014] Papers

Holiday-mode Beachwood continues until January 5.

Chicago Nuke Attack Planned For 2015
Sources say.

The Trews Vs. Budweiser
A puppy, a horse and beer.

Local Book Leftovers 2014
Richard Pryor, Teenage Drivers & Chicago Jagoffs.

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BeachBook

* And The Winner Of The 'War On Terror'-Financed Dream Home 2014 Giveaway Is . . .

* 51 Years After Wreck, 7-Inch Turn Signal Found In Illinois Man's Arm.

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TweetWood

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The Beachwood Tip Line: It's an information war.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 3:16 PM | Permalink

Chicago Nuke Attack Planned For 2015

Alex Jones talks with Infowars reporter Paul Joseph Watson about the latest news from famed hacker Guccifer, he claims there is a nuclear attack planned for Chicago in 2015.


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See also: For Guccifer, Hacking Was Easy. Prison Is Hard.

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 3:10 PM | Permalink

Local Book Leftovers 2014

Emptying the notebook.

1. Becoming Richard Pryor.

"Becoming Richard Pryor is a book that breaks new ground, even if it has a tendency to take its insights very seriously and its audience's knowledge of the Pryor oeuvre for granted. It spends a long time on this tormented funnyman's childhood years in Peoria, Ill.," Janet Maslin wrote for the New York Times last month.

"Pryor got a lot of mileage out of the fact that he grew up in his grandmother's brothel. [Author Scott] Saul gets a lot of mileage out of explaining what kind of matriarch that pistol-packing grandma, Marie Pryor, was, and what a huge influence she was in Richard's life.

"The details about his father, Buck, a pimp and a brawler, are also unexpectedly revealing, especially because Richard was the only one of his children whom he chose to keep. Mr. Saul does not dwell on the luridness of this background, because, to the young boy who lived it, it was almost ordinary.

"He details the amazing way Richard found his way out of the life for which he seemed destined and into the world of the performing arts. If this book has a heroine, it is Juliette Whittaker, the drama teacher who recognized this shy kid as the true original that he was."

2. Escape From Art Institute Mountain.

"The late author and illustrator Alexander Key became famous for his children's science fiction novels in the late 1960s. The most famous of those books, Escape From Witch Mountain has been made into a movie three times," the Tallahassee Democrat reported last month.

"But before the Maryland-born Key found his niche, he wrote and illustrated a pair of historical novels about nearby Apalachicola, where he lived for a decade as a young artist.

"The two books, The Wrath and the Wind (1949) and Island Light (1950) had long been out of print - until now. Thanks to a group of North Florida enthusiasts, both books have been re-issued. And the generally acclaimed superior of those two books, The Wrath and Wind, will be the centerpiece of discussion Thursday night at Mission San Luis."

Here's the local angle:

"At 18, he enrolled in the Chicago Art Institute, becoming a book illustrator, who illustrated hundreds of books, including his own. He also took up writing, cranking out short stories for pulp magazines such as Argosy and Clue Detective.

"In the early 1930s, with the Great Depression in full swing, Key and his first wife, fellow Chicago Art Institute student Margaret Livings, moved to Apalachicola."

See also: Alexander Key.

3. Illinois Historic Farms.

4. What Teenage Drivers Don't Know.

"What Teenage Drivers Don't Know is a supplement to drivers ed curriculums that contains information many motorists only find out through years of experience behind the wheel," the Tribune reported earlier this week.

"What should you do when your car hits a patch of black ice? How should you dress and behave if you have to appear in traffic court? How should you drive and what should you watch for in a parking lot?

"The answers to these questions and more can be found in a new book that might soon be used by drivers education students in both Naperville school districts.

"What Teenage Drivers Don't Know is the work of John Harmata and Paul Zientarski, both of Naperville."

5. A Field Guide To Chicago Jagoffs.

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Comments welcome.


Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 9:54 AM | Permalink

The Trews Vs. A Budweiser Super Bowl Commercial

Wherein a horse and a puppy fall in love. Because they are buds. Therefore, drink Budweiser.


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Previously:
* The Trews vs. Coca-Cola's Christmas Commercial.

* The Trews vs. Sainsbury Chocolates.

* The Trews vs. The Real Enemy.

* The Trews vs. Gitmo Bullshit.

* The Trews vs. CIA Torture Report Bullshit.

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 8:46 AM | Permalink

MUSIC - The Week In Chicago Rock.
TV - Cricket vs. Brexit.
POLITICS - Trailer: Swing District.
SPORTS - Ryan Pace's Narratives Are Killing Us.

BOOKS - Chicago For Dummies.

PEOPLE PLACES & THINGS - The Sears Motor Buggy.


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