Chicago - Dec. 11, 2017
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Army Of Darkness
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5 p.m.
A discount-store employee is time-warped to a medieval castle, where he is the foretold savior who can dispel the evil there. Unfortunately, he screws up and releases an army of skeletons. (tvguide.com)
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Tribune: 51/37
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« December 2015 | Main | February 2016 »

January 30, 2016

The Beachwood Radio Hour #72: Massive Chicago Police Accountability Fail

Aided and abetted by the mayor and the Cook County State's Attorney's Office. Plus: Rahm Sits On Koschman Report; Chicago Police Tricking Their Way Into Your Cell Phone Without A Warrant; Rahm Keeps Red Lights Placed Through Bribery And Causing Traffic Accidents In Order To Collect The Money; Rahm Keeps Schools That Incentivize Fraud; and Beachwood Town Crier™.

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SHOW NOTES

* Strawberry Rock Show.

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* Tommy Stinson at the Double Door.

Get me out of here, get me out of here, I hate it here, get me out of here.

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* Motley Crue > Guns 'n' Roses.

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5:26: The Weekend Desk Report: The massive institutional failure of the Chicago Police Department, aided and abetted by a series of mayors and Cook County state's attorneys. (You can find links to all articles mentioned there.)

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39:13: Steve Earle at City Winery.

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40:05: Rahm Sits On Koschman Report.

42:35: Chicago Police Tricking Their Way Into Your Cell Phone Without A Warrant.

44:41: Rahm Keeps Red Lights Placed Through Bribery And Causing Traffic Accidents In Order To Collect The Money.

48:06: Rahm Keeps Schools That Incentivize Fraud.

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54:18: Tristen at the Double Door.

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* Beachwood Town Crier™.

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

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 4:07 PM | Permalink

The Weekend Desk Report

The Washington Post's Radley Balko expands Saturday on DNAinfo Chicago's report that 80 percent of the Chicago Police Department's dash-cam videos are missing audio due to "officer error" or intentional destruction.

The DNAinfo report, which Balko excerpts from and links to, reveals what is essentially known, widespread, systemic pre-planned obstruction of justice and destruction of evidence. There is little doubt that the command chain has known about this - and tacitly approved of it by not disciplining offenders for clear and serious violations of department rules and, likely, the law.

But it doesn't end there. You know who else has known? Anita Alvarez. Balko's description of her response compared to her response to citizens she has prosecuted is devastating:

This isn't a few bad apples. It's 80 percent. Why haven't these officers been prosecuted? Several years ago, a woman named Tiawanda Moore tried to file a report of alleged sexual assault by a Chicago PD officer. When the internal affairs officers with whom she was trying to file the complaint began to intimidate her, Moore began recording the conversation with her cellphone. Under Illinois law at the time, it was a felony to record a police officer without his or her permission. That law has since been struck down, but Anita Alvarez, the state's attorney for Cook County who had the power and discretion to decline to prosecute given the circumstances, pushed ahead and attempted to put Moore in prison. Her office did the same with Chicago artist Christopher Drew. Moore was eventually acquitted, in what was almost certainly an act of jury nullification.

So where has Alvarez's office been here? In December, Alvarez called the lack of audio in the Laquan McDonald video "frustrating" but added that "that's something I believe the Police Department has to address." For good measure, she said, "we would prefer to have the audio."

That's it? "We would prefer to have the audio"? At minimum, intentionally destroying dash-cam equipment is destruction of public property. You could argue that it's also tampering with or destroying evidence, particularly if there's proof that it was done after a shooting or other major incident. Alvarez tried to imprison a woman for recording the alleged harassment she received from police while attempting to file a report alleging sexual assault by another police officer. But when cops tamper with evidence of a police shooting of an unarmed man, all she can say is that it's "frustrating" and that she'd "prefer to have the audio"?

Alvarez is apparently only somewhat frustrated that what appears to be a significant portion of the Chicago PD - who, let's not forget, are government employees given the power to detain, arrest and kill - is openly and brazenly defying laws and policies aimed at holding officers accountable and keeping them transparent.

Of course, this kind of negligence isn't just a problem in Chicago - though, like everything else, it certainly seems to be a much deeper problem here than in other jurisdictions. As Balko points out, the Los Angeles Times reported in 2014 that officers there "tampered with voice recording equipment in dozens of patrol cars in an effort to avoid being monitored while on duty."

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More bad behavior on the part of the CPD - and enabled by Alvarez, as reported by the Tribune:

Hours after he was shot multiple times by a Chicago police officer, Princeton Williamson was heavily sedated after emergency surgery when detectives came to question him at his hospital bedside.

One of the detectives, Brian Johnson, later testified that Williamson was alert and didn't appear to be in pain as he talked openly about what led to his shooting, according to a court transcript.

But two nurses gave dramatically different accounts than the detective, saying Williamson was in no condition to be interviewed because of a painful open stomach incision that required a continuous intravenous feed of morphine.

Williamson was in so much discomfort he could only mumble his words, one of the nurses said, so she communicated with him by having him squeeze her hands to answer questions yes or no.

An outraged Cook County judge promptly threw out two incriminating statements that Johnson said he had obtained from Williamson and blasted the detective for his "garbage" testimony.

Here's where Alvarez comes in:

A top assistant to State's Attorney Anita Alvarez, however, recently defended Johnson's testimony, saying it was corroborated by an assistant state's attorney who sat in on one of the interviews of Williamson. The assistant state's attorney was not called to testify at the hearing last February because prosecutors didn't think his testimony would be needed, said Fabio Valentini, the office's chief of criminal prosecutions.

"(The judge) is making a credibility determination based on the totality of the evidence," Valentini said of Obbish's decision. "That doesn't necessarily rise to the level of the person being a liar."

Not necessarily!

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Here's the money quote:

"That's one of the biggest pieces of garbage I ever heard from a professional member of law enforcement," Obbish said.

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In another report, the Tribune found "a pernicious, stubborn problem: that of officers whose alleged misconduct, while perhaps minor, leads to legal settlements that eventually cost city taxpayers greatly:"

The city since 2009 has settled seven lawsuits against [Sean] Campbell, a 17-year veteran officer. He ties for second among officers named in the most lawsuits settled by the city during those past six years, the Tribune's analysis of available data shows. His partner . . . [Steven] Sautkus, was named in four settled cases.

Both were part of a small group of officers - just 124 of the city's police force of roughly 12,000 - who were identified in nearly a third of the misconduct lawsuits settled since 2009, suggesting that officers who engaged in questionable behavior did it over and over. The Tribune's investigation also found that 82 percent of the department's officers were not named in any settlements. Still, the conduct of those 124 officers cost the city $34 million, the Tribune investigation found.

Well sure, but I bet those officers work in the city's toughest neighborhoods where a little tougher policing is called for.

The Tribune also found that while many officers as well as police union officials attribute claims of misconduct to the rough and tumble of working in crime-ridden neighborhoods, complaints against Campbell, Sautkus and their colleagues have often occurred while the group patrolled relatively low-crime areas, focused on quality-of-life issues.

Oh.

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"A lengthy 'complaint registry,' or 'CR,' history shouldn't necessarily disqualify an officer from teaching at the academy, says Lori Lightfoot, a former federal prosecutor newly appointed by Mayor Rahm Emanuel as president of the Chicago Police Board, which disciplines cops," the Sun-Times reports.

"'Just because you have a CR record doesn't mean you can't be an impactful instructor,' says Lightfoot, who is also a member of the five-member task force Emanuel has appointed to review police accountability, oversight and training in the aftermath of the release of a video in late November that showed Officer Jason Van Dyke firing 16 shots into Laquan McDonald."

We know from the McDonald e-mails, by the way, that Lightfoot is an enthusiastic team player always eager to get out there and talk to the media - once she's been provided with the mayor's talking points.

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"No one scripts anything for me. I am my own person. I always speak my own mind," Lightfoot told CBS2 Chicago.

Really?

Screen Shot 2016-01-30 at 11.17.59 AM.png

Ahem.

(Here's an enlarged version of the e-mail for easier reading.)

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Context:

Screen Shot 2016-01-30 at 11.19.13 AM.png

(Enlarged)

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Screen Shot 2016-01-30 at 11.19.58 AM.png

(Enlarged)

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Screen Shot 2016-01-30 at 11.05.43 AM.png(Enlarge)

Screen Shot 2016-01-30 at 11.35.58 AM.png(Enlarge)

Screen Shot 2016-01-30 at 11.36.14 AM.png(Enlarge)

Screen Shot 2016-01-30 at 11.36.45 AM.png(Enlarge)

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And all of this is just the most recent cataloguing of misdeeds a police department, aided and abetted by mayors and prosecutors, that is a massive institutional failure. I mean, I haven't even mentioned decades of torture and mob infestation here.

But the mayor's task force is here!

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The Beachwood Radio Sports Hour #87: Blackhawks Gellin' Like A Felon
Exceeding expectations, even if Captain Serious stands accused of not being serious.

Plus: Bulls Losing Meaningless Games Against Crappy Teams In Dead Of Winter Just Like We Wanted Them To; White Sox Convention Opens At Southwest Suburban Motel 6; and John Fox's Former Teams Meeting In The Super Bowl.

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The Sound Opinions Weekend Listening Report: "Patti Smith's Horses forever changed what punk rock could be, beginning with its striking album cover and unforgettable opening line. The album turned 40 in December, so in celebration, Jim and Greg give Horses the Classic Album Dissection treatment. Later they review the new solo album from Clipse rapper Pusha T."

Personally, I have to say, enough with Horses. It's been dissected enough. Whaddya gonna do when it turns 50?

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The CAN TV Weekend Viewing Report

The Best of Mystic Vibes

This 20th anniversary special by community producer Zezel McKenzie features lively performances by reggae artists Bunny Wailer, The Itals, Queen Omega, and more.

Saturday at 2 p.m. on CAN TV19.

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Impact of State Budget Impasse

The state budget impasse affects health and human services organizations throughout Illinois. Panelists join host, the Health & Medicine Policy Research Group, to discuss the fall-out.

Sunday at 9 a.m. on CAN TV21 and online.

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Youth Employment Hearing

Teens and young adults present testimony to a panel of federal, state and local officials about being out of school and out of work at this forum hosted by the Alternative Schools Network.

Sunday at 5 p.m. on CAN TV19 and online.

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BeachBook

Article fails to name the judge.

Posted by The Beachwood Reporter on Friday, January 29, 2016

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TweetWood
A sampling.

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The Weekend Desk Tip Line: Deep state, deep city.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 9:51 AM | Permalink

January 29, 2016

The Beachwood Radio Sports Hour #87: Blackhawks Gellin' Like A Felon

Exceeding expectations, even if Captain Serious stands accused of not being serious. Plus: Bulls Losing Meaningless Games Against Crappy Teams In Dead Of Winter Just Like We Wanted Them To; White Sox Convention Opens At Southwest Suburban Motel 6; and John Fox's Former Teams Meeting In The Super Bowl.


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SHOW NOTES

* Sun-Times cover lame on several levels.

* Emery Moorehead (of the University of Colorado).

3:10: Blackhawks Gellin' Like A Felon.

* Organizations win championships.

* Captain Serious accused of not being serious.

* Bernstein: NHL Should Excuse Toews's Absence.

* Time served?

17:45: Bulls Losing Meaningless Games Against Crappy Teams In Dead Of Winter Just Like We Wanted Them To.

* Leadership Fail.

* Ice Show Trip.

* Cavs opening?

36:30: White Sox Convention Opens At Southwest Suburban Motel 6.

* Waiting for Todd Frazier to be introduced.

* Enough about the White Sox, let's talk about the Cubs.

54:36: John Fox's Former Teams Meeting In The Super Bowl.

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STOPPAGE: 5:08

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

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 6:14 PM | Permalink

The [Friday] Papers

The governor continues to play chicken with human lives.

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Also:

"Dozens of southern Illinois families still awaiting new housing after they accepted government buyouts following the 2011 Mississippi River flood instead got socked by another round of damage amid the prolonged political fight over the state's budget."

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Beachwood Photo Booth: Jesus At The Drive-In
Walk-ins welcome.

The Week In Chicago Rock
Featuring: Tommy Stinson, Steve Earle, Tristen, Colours, The Purple Flames, Lavasse, Todd Rundgren, Marina City, and Don McLean.

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BeachBook

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Of course he did.

Posted by The Beachwood Reporter on Friday, January 29, 2016

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That's about right.

Posted by The Beachwood Reporter on Friday, January 29, 2016

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Thanks, everybody, for making this an attractive neighborhood. Now get out.

Posted by The Beachwood Reporter on Thursday, January 28, 2016

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TweetWood

LOL.

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It'll be worth it in the long run if we can get the workers' comp fee scheduled amended.

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Or 'Bruce Rauner.'

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The Beachwood Tip Line: Easy credit.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 12:50 PM | Permalink

The Week In Chicago Rock

You shoulda been there.

1. Tommy Stinson at the Double Door on Sunday night.

Tommy covering Alex. My only recording from Chicago's Double Door. Focus is off, but the audio works.

Posted by René Greblo on Sunday, January 24, 2016

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2. Steve Earle at City Winery on Tuesday night.

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3. Tristen at the Double Door on Wednesday night.

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4. Colours at House of Blues on Wednesday night.

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5. The Purple Flames at Promontory on Monday night.

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6. Lavasse at the Hideout on Thursday night.

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7. Todd Rundgren at Park West on Tuesday night.

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8. Marina City at Wire in Berwyn on Sunday night.

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9. Don McLean at City WInery on Wednesday night.

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 8:46 AM | Permalink

Beachwood Photo Booth: Jesus At The Drive-In

Walk-ins welcome.

jesusbillboardfaretcbw.jpg(ENLARGE FOR PROPER VIEWING)

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See comments thread:

Walk-ins welcome.

Posted by The Beachwood Reporter on Friday, January 29, 2016

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More Chicago photography from Helene Smith.

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Helene on Twitter!

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Meet Helene!

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Stationery, iPhone cases, hoodies.

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

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Previously:
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Chicago Man Grilling
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Yum Yum Donuts
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Chicago Father's Day
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Vintage Airmaster
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Chicago Time
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Window Shade
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Illinois Slayer
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Chicago Fire Escape
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Golden Nugget
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Hollywood, Chicago
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Flag Man.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Van In Flames.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Fluid Power Automation.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Corn Dog.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Stop The Killing Car.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Chicago Backyard.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: A to Z Things.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Swedish Diner.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Rothschild Liquors.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Chicago Silos.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Chicago Wires.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Orange Garden.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Irving Park Guy.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Chicago Pigeons.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: O'Lanagan's.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: For Rent.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Marie's Pizza & Liquors.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Mori Milk.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: American Breakfast.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: A Chicago Christmas Postcard.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Holiday Harold's.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Chicago Family Fun.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Snow Bike.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Nativity Scene.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Old Warsaw.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Deluxe Cleaners.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Marie's Golden Cue.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Die Another Day.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Sears Key Shop.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Window Dressing.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Jeri's Grill.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Barry's Drugs.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Liberty.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Chicago Kitchen.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Golden Specials.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: We Won The Cup.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Bartender Man.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Blue Plane Blues.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Finest Quality.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Family Guy.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Girls Wanted.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Skokie Savanna.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Signpost.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Old Man And The Tree.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Street Fleet.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Citgo Story.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Fantasy Hair Design.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Chicago Garage.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Clark Stop.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Pole Position.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Window Dressing.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Chicago Geometry.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Found Love.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Fill In The Blank.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Vacuums Of The Night.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Dumpster Still Life.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Wagon Master.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Intersecting West Rogers Park.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Penn-Dutchman Antiques.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Cow Patrol.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Backstage Chicago.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Skully Bungalow.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Francisco Frankenstein.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Long Cool Heat.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Smokers' Mast.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Big Fat Phone.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Happy Day.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Alley Men.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Holiday Show!
* Beachwood Photo Booth: You've Got Mailbox.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Broken Window Theory.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Dali Logan.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Svengoolie.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Horner Park Hot Dogs.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Cubs Rehab.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: 20th Century Schizoid Man.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Men On Vans.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Penn-Dutchman Is Done.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Snowy Lincoln.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Waiting Room.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Avondale Chicken.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Winter's End.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: The Friendly Skies.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Boyhood Buzzer Beater.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: J Date.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: International Window Lady.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Shanghai Inn.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Open For Business.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Andersonville Unplugged.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: 3-Flat.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Evanston Turkey.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Chicagolandia.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Eat At Odge's.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Deitch Pharmacy.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Sud-Z Bubble.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Bands Wanted!
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Belmont Tavern.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Superheroic San Luis Freeze.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Evanston Oasis.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Lyndale Food & Jewelry.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Lincoln Tap.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Book Window.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Alco Dude.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Ballin Drugs.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Don't Worry, Be Cookie.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Four Trey.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: The Office.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: America From Inside The Golden Nugget In Ravenswood.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Cellphone Repair.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Boots 'N' Grill.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Sunrise Strip.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: At The Corner Of Glad And Happy.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Uptown Autumn Night.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Diner.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Mid-Century Modern Halloween.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Autumn Station Wagon.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Betty's & Nick's.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Ohio House Impact.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: End School Zone.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Portage Park Peek-A-Boo.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: South Side Sundown.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Susie's Drive-Thru.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Holiday Ham.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Food & Liquor, Milhouse.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: O'Hare Blue Line Man.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Schwing!
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Ad Deluxe.

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 2:23 AM | Permalink

January 28, 2016

The [Thursday] Papers

The Danville Commercial-News on Bruce Rauner's State of the State address:

"Simply talking about reforms, then calling for everyone to jump in line to support them, will never work.

"The governor could have used the State of the State to outline a new plan, offer compromises to his political opponents and show his willingness to put goals he holds as important aside in an effort to begin digging Illinois out of the financial quagmire it finds itself in.

"Instead, we heard 'We have the ability to lead the nation in growth and opportunity.' That might well be true, but a leader would set a new course to get there after following the same path for the past 12 months with no appreciable results."

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From the Morris Herald-News:

"Even as Illinois remains without a budget, Gov. Bruce Rauner on Wednesday used his second State of the State address to double down on his call for the Democrat-controlled Legislature to go along with his pro-business, anti-union agenda."

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From the Daily Egyptian:

"Republican Gov. Bruce Rauner recited Wednesday his mantra of promoting a business-friendly atmosphere in Illinois through principles listed on his so-called 'Turnaround Agenda' during the State of the State address.

"There was talk of freezing property taxes, curbing the power of state unions, introducing term limits for state politicians and redrawing legislative maps. Little was said regarding the ongoing budget impasse."

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From the Jacksonville Journal-Courier:

"Gov. Bruce Rauner's 'State of the State' address Tuesday outlined new goals for the state to achieve in the coming year, but was notably lacking discussion regarding the ongoing budget impasse.

"Rauner's address focused primarily on getting the state competitive again, education reforms, state corrections reform, and pension reform. When it came to the elephant in the room, the budget impasse, Rauner had little to say."

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I once believed that one or both of these folks were the key to breaking the logjam in Springfield, but Rauner appears to have them locked up tight:

I guess with all of Rauner's money just waiting to be deployed against anyone who breaks with him, they've calculated their chances at political survival to be better standing by the governor than the people of Illinois, because Radogno and Durkin never pledged their fealty at all costs to the kind of items on the Turnaround Agenda before.

It's like they're in their own version of that Twilight Zone episode where you don't want to say anything bad or the kid will wish you to the cornfield.

"It's real good that you're holding everybody hostage for your workers' comp agenda. Real good!"

goodlife_400x300.jpg

Does anyone believe that if Rauner didn't have the means to carry out his threat of unelecting anyone in his caucus who opposes him, Radogno and Durkin wouldn't have struck a budget deal with Madigan and Cullerton already? Of course they would have.

Bruce Rauner is the Illinois GOP's six-year-old Anthony Fremont.

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Rauner beat Kirk Dillard by 23,000 votes in the 2014 Republican primary. Does anyone think a Governor Dillard wouldn't have passed a budget right on time upon taking office?

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The Beachwood Tip Line: Tent revival.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 6:48 AM | Permalink

January 27, 2016

Revisiting Yummy Sandifer

The latest newscast from the Free Spirit Media teens included a comic/song montage about the horrible story of Robert "Yummy" Sandifer.

Now the good folks at MediaBurn have uploaded an episode of "Weekend TV" from September 1994, from the Fund for Innovative TV, about Yummy.

The description:

"Andrew Jones goes to the South Side of Chicago to investigate the murder of 11-year-old Robert Sandifer, who had been accused of killing 9-year-old Shavon Dean in their gang-infested Roseland neighborhood. Two brothers, Cragg and Derrick Hardaway, were arrested for the murder of Sandifer. Jones talks to family and friends about the tragedy of two murders of teenagers and how it reflects on our society."

Here it is:

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In 2014, Fox News Chicago asked if Chicago was less violent than in Yummy's day. The answer is: Resoundingly Yes. The murder rate is half of what it was then. But in the crime hype of the last few years, Fox Chicago didn't see fit to answer the question that way.

Perhaps the reason why the perception of crime is so at odds with the reality of crime, as awful and unacceptable as it continues to be, is because of the way the media reports crime. We have more crime coverage than ever, but more crime coverage is not the same as more crime. Without proper context in the reporting, people's perceptions are jacked up. And that's a fact.

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See also: The Beachwood Radio Hour: Crime Is Down.

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 10:21 AM | Permalink

Local Music Notebook: Radioheadliners?

Let's have a look-see.

Out On Redmoon Records
Some of the material on Tortoise's new record, The Catastrophist, was commissioned by the City of Chicago "to help celebrate that town's musical history."

Prairie State Freakout
"For [The Redemptions'] debut record, Broken Hearts and Shattered Glass . . . [Anthony] Fama has focused the lyrical content on his follies in love. While he doesn't shy away from his other mistakes, like flipping out on drugs at Chicago's O'Hare International Airport and having a whole wing shut down due to his behavior."

Chicago Still Touring
Hard habit to break.

Chicago Blues Brothers Still Touring
Who are these guys, at this point?

T'Pau's Geography Lesson
"We found a studio near Chicago called Royal Recorders. It was part of a golfing hotel complex that had been owned by Hugh Heffner . . . All I heard when Siren told us where we were recording was 'Chicago!' Having been raised in sleepy Shropshire and having had a huge crush on those iconic American cities, it was a dream come true. I could see myself cruising round The Windy City, having happy hour cocktails in cool bars downtown, jogging round Lake Michigan even though I hated jogging.

"We said goodbye to the fields and cows and small towns of Shropshire and flew out to Chicago O'Hare International.

"We were picked up by the studio staff in a couple of vehicles and began our drive to Royal Recorders. As the tall glass shards of Chicago's gleaming sky scrapers faded into the distance, I started to get a bit worried. After a two-hour drive we were in Lake Geneva Wisconsin, a small country town surrounded by fields and cows.

"I had not picked up on the word 'near' Chicago."

Special Consensus
"Chicago might be the last place one would expect to find a Grammy Award-nominated bluegrass group.

"After all, that metropolis is more closely associated with blues, jazz and classic rock. But banjo player Greg Cahill, co-founder of the acoustic bluegrass quartet The Special Consensus, said his band's success is proof that the genre is alive and well in the Windy City."

Go Big, Go Dumb
Muse's New Album, Chicago Show Drones On.

Radioheadliners
Lolla's big get?

Wilco Impresses Pittsburgh
Including "an acoustic six-song second encore, reaching deep into their instrument bag for banjo, xylophone and melodica."

Guitars Over Guns
"While pursuing his dream of a career in music, Phil Jacobson and some college friends are planting similar aspirations in children growing up in a far more vulnerable environment than the Buffalo Grove community that nurtured him.

"Jacobson and friends are teaching music to inner-city kids through a program called Guitars Over Guns. Launched in North Miami, Florida, in 2008 and recently exported to Chicago, the after-school program pairs professional musicians with at-risk kids and offers music as a substitute for less positive influences they might otherwise encounter."

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 9:22 AM | Permalink

Local Book Notes: Drawing Disaster

"From the inaugural issue of the Illustrated London News in 1842 to the first chapter of Art Spiegelman's Pulitzer-winning serial Maus in 1980, comics have had a long affiliation with documentary and reporting," Dominic Umile writes for the Reader.

"So why isn't the illustrated medium associated with nonfiction as reflexively as news articles and photographs? In Disaster Drawn: Visual Witness, Comics, and Documentary Form, University of Chicago professor Hillary Chute argues for recognizing comics as a substantial documentarian form that 'endeavors to express history.'"

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"I am interested in the ways people address history and understand their lives through cultural invention," Chute says on her U of C bio page.

"My current teaching and research interests lie in contemporary American literature, specifically in how public and private histories take shape in the form of innovative narrative work. I am particularly interested in the relationships between word and image, fiction and nonfiction that we see in contemporary comics, a field with roots in the 1970s that is also connected to deeper histories of drawn reportage and visual witnessing."

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"I wasn't particularly a fan of comics as a kid," Chute tells the Boston Globe.

"I became really obsessed with figuring out why the narrative worked so well for that kind of story. I don't think it's a coincidence that the most famous graphic narrative in the world, which is Maus, is about war and disaster. I'm still thinking about that question, which is why I published this book."

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"In hard-hitting accounts of Auschwitz, Bosnia, Palestine, and Hiroshima's Ground Zero, comics display a stunning capacity to bear witness to trauma," says the publisher, Harvard University Press.

"Investigating how hand-drawn comics has come of age as a serious medium for engaging history, Disaster Drawn explores the ways graphic narratives by diverse artists, including Jacques Callot, Francisco Goya, Keiji Nakazawa, Art Spiegelman, and Joe Sacco, document the disasters of war . . .

"Chute explains how the form of comics - its collection of frames - lends itself to historical narrative. By interlacing multiple temporalities over the space of the page or panel, comics can place pressure on conventional notions of causality. Aggregating and accumulating frames of information, comics calls attention to itself as evidence.

"Disaster Drawn demonstrates why, even in the era of photography and film, people understand hand-drawn images to be among the most powerful forms of historical witness."

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Here's Chute with Spiegelman in 2011.

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Downstate Reverend Inherits Images From 1723
"When the Rev. James Steele of Morris was a young man, he saw seven panels from the French books "Cérémonies et coutumes religieuses de tous les peuples du monde" in the home of his assistant priest, the Rev. Thomas Brady, in the Edgewater neighborhood in Chicago where he grew up," the Morris Herald-News reports.

"Cérémonies et coutumes religieuses de tous les peuples du monde (1723-1743) is a nine-volume folio work published by Jean Frederic Bernard, a French-language bookseller in Amsterdam, and lavishly illustrated by Bernard Picart, one of the most famous engravers of the time . . . Today, those seven panels, which each depict six scenes, are in Steele's possession, inherited after his friend and mentor died last spring.

"Both men attended seminary in New York about six years apart, and Steele recalls stopping at the used bookstores in lower Manhattan, where Brady shopped years earlier and found the panels taken from two volumes of the books.

"I suspect Tom didn't spend more than $1 apiece for them," Steele said.

Good job. The panels, it turns out, are originals printed in Amsterdam in 1723. Click through for the rest of the story.

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From UCLA:

"Cérémonies et coutumes religieuses de tous les peuples du monde (1723-1743) is a nine-volume folio work published by Jean Frederic Bernard, a French language bookseller in Amsterdam, and lavishly illustrated by Bernard Picart, one of the most famous engravers of the time.

"As their title suggests, they sought to capture the ritual and ceremonial life of all the known religions of the world.

"Because Bernard chose to remain anonymous as author, the work has long been catalogued under the name of its engraver, Picart.

"'Picart,' as many readers called it, helped create the study of comparative religion and had a long-lasting influence on the representations of the world's religions in the West."

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 8:35 AM | Permalink

The [Wednesday] Papers

"Gov. Bruce Rauner is set to give his second State of the State speech Wednesday, one that aides say will focus on reshaping state government," the Tribune reports.

"The administration late Tuesday released a list of talking points short on specifics that indicated Rauner will talk about making state government more efficient, including how taxpayer-subsidized health care is delivered and how the state buys goods and services."

Too bad Rauner hasn't focused on reshaping state government and delivering services more efficiently. That's the Rauner that won the election, anti-union rhetoric notwithstanding. That's what people expect when someone says they will run government like a business - even though anyone who has worked in the private sector knows business does not run efficiently. Look around your workplace right now. See what I mean?

Former Sun-Times political reporter Natasha Korecki, now of Politico, made this point a few months ago, I think on Chicago Tonight, and it struck me as a real insight. Where, she wondered, was the reshaping of state government of the sort expected of a business turnaround expert? Yes, I know that Rauner's private equity adventures were often exercises in sucking the assets out of businesses and leaving the carcasses to bankruptcy court, but the main proposition of a Rauner governorship was supposed to be that it would be like having a McKinsey consultant (for better and mostly worse) in charge. In that case, the Turnaround Agenda would have shut down some agencies, created others, consolidated still others, and, yes, reshaped state government - along with the kind of accounting, financial and budget expertise to better tackle the state's fiscal problems than someone like Pat Quinn could bring to bear.

(Like more of this sort of thing, which seems to have only just occurred now to give Rauner something to talk about on the eve of his State of the State address.)

It turned out that Rauner's hatred of "government union bosses" was really the only genuine part of his campaign, and it's something so visceral that you wonder what "government union bosses" did to him as a child. And that's why the state of the state is undoubtedly worse - drastically so - than it was a year ago. Rauner has not in any way "shaken up Springfield;" he's frozen it. And he has not in any way "brought Illinois back." He's brought it down.

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"I am elected to do a job," Rauner said. "And that is deliver a high-quality government that drives value for the taxpayers, it increases the quality of life for everyone here. That means a government that creates an opportunity for rising family incomes, a lower cost of living, a booming, strong, healthy economy and the best schools in America."

You haven't done that, sir. Not even close.

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Illinois isn't even working as a business under Rauner. If Illinois were a corporation, the board of directors would have fired Rauner as CEO by now for maniacally pursuing a single-minded agenda with such a failed strategy that the company is on the brink. Product is not going out the door. Our governor is even worse than Marissa Mayer.

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Emily Miller, director of policy and advocacy at Voices for Illinois Children:

"How many people have to stand in front of a microphone and say that their lives are being ruined before the governor decides to make passing a budget his number one priority?"

Rauner's response: "Change is hard."

I'm sure the state's children, elderly, poor and infirm feel great nobility in their sacrifice for the change necessary achieving the change the governor seeks. Every war needs front-line soldiers to give their lives to the greater cause of the politicians.

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Land Of Oz
"Illinois Senate President John J. Cullerton announced Tuesday that Kristin Richards will be his new chief of staff," his office says.

Richards, who had served as Cullerton's Budget and Policy Director since he became Senate President in 2009, will assume the new duties beginning Feb. 1.

"There is no one in this operation whose insights I trust more than Kristin's," Cullerton said.

That's kind of a weird thing to say right in front of everyone else:

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Radioheadliners?
Lolla's big get? Plus: Tortoise, Wilco, T'Pau, Muse and more, in our Local Music Notebook.

Drawing Disaster
University of Chicago professor's new book examines comics as documentaries. Plus: The downstate reverend who inherited Picart images from 1723.

Immerse Your Kids In The Forest!
Chicago joins Los Angeles, the San Francisco Bay Area, Boise, and Seattle in a growing number of cities with programs increasing much needed access to nature for youth.

Revisiting Yummy Sandifer
Weekend TV, September 1994.

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BeachBook

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TweetWood

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The Beachwood Tip Line: Stately.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 8:16 AM | Permalink

Immerse Your Kids In The Forest!

Outdoors Empowered Network, the largest national network of Member Organizations through which educators and youth leaders have access to wilderness training and free outdoor gear libraries, welcomes the Forest Preserves of Cook County, located in Chicago and its surrounding suburbs, as the first member program in the Midwest. Chicago joins Los Angeles, the San Francisco Bay Area, Boise, and Seattle in a growing number of cities with programs increasing much needed access to nature for youth.

The FPCC is the first government agency and land manager to join the OEN, and is emerging as a national leader in the creation of programs to support their use by youth, families and community-based organizations. The Camping Leadership Immersion Course, a program developed by the FPCC with support from OEN, provides a dynamic and affordable way to enrich the lives of young people through outdoor recreation and education. The goal of the CLIC program in the Chicagoland area, and that of the other OEN supported initiatives nationwide, is to provide outdoor experiences to youth who don't often access public lands and overnight camping.

"In 2015, the Forest Preserves of Cook County brought back public camping for the first time in fifty years with the opening of five new and revitalized campgrounds," said Arnold Randall, general superintendent of the FPCC.

"Despite being within the footprint of the third largest metropolis in the country, the FPCC manages more than 70,000 acres of natural land. Offering the CLIC program so close to an urban area is a valuable resource. Our partnership with OEN makes it possible for us to expose and immerse new and diverse audiences to camping, which can be a gateway to healthy and active living."

Through OEN's programs, which help provide organizations with a blueprint for success to train leaders and build gear libraries, participants in programs like CLIC are provided with access to all the gear they need to have a fun, safe, and meaningful camping experience: tents, sleeping bags, sleeping pads, kitchen kits, and the appropriate outerwear. Through key partnerships, the hard work of staff, and the helping hands of many volunteers, programs like these aspire to redefine the accessibility and relationship to the outdoors for the nation's youth.

In 2015 alone, OEN's programs have trained 318 youth leaders and empowered 10,000 youth participants to experience the outdoors through immersive backpacking and camping trips. Thus far the CLIC program in the Chicago area has successfully trained 43 individuals, representing 33 different organizations, ranging from schools to scout leaders. In the first season, there were 68 youth participants, the vast majority of whom were first time campers that wouldn't otherwise have access to camping gear.

"Not only did the staff walk us through best practices, but enabled us to participate in the activities we would eventually be leading with our own teens," said Judy Idrovo, CLIC participant from Mujeres Latinas en Accion-Proyecto Juventud. "This experience made camping with my youth team and teens enjoyable, adventurous, and unforgettable since I was able to rely on the knowledge I had gained through my training."

OEN's model of providing trainings to youth serving organizations, programming support and development of gear libraries across is effective, adaptive and replicable. To learn about bringing a gear library and training program to your city, contact Kyle Macdonald at 415-516-9919 or info@outdoorsempowered.org. For more information about the Forest Preserves of Cook County, camping and the CLIC program, e-mail experiencecamping@cookcountyil.gov or visit fpdcc.com/camping.

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Bonus video!

Winter Camping at Camp Bullfrog Lake.

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 7:05 AM | Permalink

January 26, 2016

The [Tuesday] Papers

"Quintonio LeGrier called 911 three times on the morning after Christmas to seek help from Chicago police shortly before he was shot and killed by an officer who responded to his father's West Side residence, according to newly released recordings by the Independent Police Review Authority," the Tribune reports.

"I need to talk to an officer," LeGrier, 19, identifying himself only as "Q," told a dispatcher. "Someone's threatening my life."

"Minutes later, LeGrier was fatally shot by Officer Robert Rialmo outside his father's residence in the 4700 block of West Erie Street after allegedly swinging a baseball bat at the officer. Bettie Jones, 55, another resident in the building, was fatally shot by the same officer in what police have called an accident."

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I believe we knew about these calls, though we hadn't heard them.

"The Tribune has previously reported that a male caller who identified himself as "Q" told a dispatcher that someone in the residence was threatening his life but that the caller refused to answer questions.

"But on Monday, IPRA disclosed that the city's Office of Emergency Management and Communications recently provided IPRA with two earlier calls by the younger LeGrier before the shooting."

Aha.

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"Officers did not respond to those earlier calls, IPRA's Chief Administrator Sharon Fairley said in a statement."

The statement did not say why officers did not respond to the earlier calls. The statement could not be reached for further comment.

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In an updated version of the story, the Tribune reported this:

"Melissa Stratton, an OEMC spokeswoman, said disciplinary proceedings are underway for that 911 operator for failing to follow proper protocol. Police should have been dispatched after the caller said his life had been threatened, Stratton said.

That operator can be heard on the recording hanging up the call after LeGrier identified himself only as "Q" and declined to detail what was happening.

"Can you just send an officer?" a clearly frustrated LeGrier asked the dispatcher at one point.

"Yeah, when you answer the question," she said.

Stratton said a 911 operator who took LeGrier's third call a few minutes later dispatched a squad car on a well-being check. As officers responded, LeGrier's father, Antonio, called 911 as well.

It's even worse than that. From the first call:

"What's the last name?" she asked.

"Could you just send an officer?" he said.

"Yeah, when you answer the question," she said.

" . . . There's an emergency. Can you send an officer?" LeGrier said in an irritable tone.

"Yes, as soon as you answer these questions," she said.

"There's an emergency!" he shouted.

"OK, if you can't answer the questions, I'm going to hang up," the operator said.

"I need the police!" LeGrier screamed.

"Terminating the call," the dispatcher said as she disconnected LeGrier.

LeGrier tried again.

LeGrier called two other times within the next few minutes. During the third call at 4:21 a.m., a different operator implored him to give her more information.

"If you can't answer the questions, how do you expect me to assist you?" she said.

Later in the call, LeGrier can be heard saying: "Stop fucking playing with me."

We killed him. He was asking for help his whole life. Our city simply didn't care enough to bother.

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Just to be clear, the Sun-Times reports that "A caller does not have to provide his or her name when they call 911, Stratton said."

Rauner's Ruinous Rap
"Republican Gov. Bruce Rauner said Monday that there is 'no good excuse' for major cuts to social service programs that have resulted from the budget impasse, blaming Democrats he said could have struck a deal but are content to cause chaos in an effort to force a tax increase," the Tribune reports.

The only thing Rauner is right about in that statement is that there is no good excuse for major cuts to social service programs that have resulted from the budget impasse. There are a lot of bad excuses though. Some context missing from the story:

1. Rauner has not submitted a balanced budget.

That's right, folks. The governor has not submitted anything even close to a balanced budget for the General Assembly to vote on - nevermind the poison pills he has submitted asking the Democratic supermajority to de-unionize the state. Wisconsin? Indiana? Rauner's model is looking more like Mississippi.

2. There actually isn't a Democratic supermajority.

Well, technically there is. And if all 71 Democrats under Michael Madigan in the House would vote as a unanimous bloc, the Democrats could run state government because they would have enough votes to override the governor's vetos.

However, not all 71 Democrats are under Madigan's control. There are two or three stray members who could not be counted on to support a Democratic-only budget that would certainly include tax increases. So what the Democrats really have is a supermajority-ish membership in the General Assembly, which isn't enough to pass things.

3. Michael Madigan is about Michael Madigan first and foremost.

Even if the Democrats had a true supermajority, history suggests that Madigan would not pass a budget with tax increases, which everybody seemingly including the governor knows have to be passed, without at least one measly Republican so his members don't have to wear the jacket in the next election.

4. Rauner has said he would sign a bill raising taxes if the General Assembly passed such a bill after they pass his Turnaround Agenda, which includes such urgent budget matters as term limits, and amending workers' comp to make it more business-friendly and less hurt worker-friendly. Party leaders in both the House and Senate would have to agree ahead of time to strike that deal. That seems unlikely.

Consider, for example, a Democratic governor insisting that the Republican (super)majority agree to a Turnaround Agenda that required every employee in the state to belong to a union, oh and also, abortion on-demand on every block in Illinois, before agreeing to a budget that cut taxes on the rich. Though slightly exaggerated, that's basically where we're at.

(One might argue that Illinois Democrats are in the same place as congressional Rebublicans, which is an admittedly imperfect analogy, yet an instructive one.)

5. It's really Rauner who is content to cause chaos to get his way.

In fact, that's his stated strategy. He has spoken quite openly, just like our mayor, about the way crisis creates opportunity, and pain to "special interests" creates leverage. In this case, the "special interests" are the poor, the infirm, the elderly, children, veterans, and really everyone in Illinois who isn't rich enough to feel the impact of his crisis-making.

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Back to the Trib:

"The governor's comments came just days after Lutheran Social Services of Illinois, the state's largest social services agency, announced it would close 30 programs and cut 750 positions because it's owed more than $6 million by the state . . .

"Meanwhile, another group announced Monday that it will no longer offer intervention services for runaways and at-risk youth in Englewood and West Englewood because of the budget impasse. Children's Home + Aid plans to shut down the programs Feb. 15, meaning as many as 70 children will be diverted from lower-cost community-based programs to the state's strained child welfare agency."

This moved me to look up the following definition:

"Negligent homicide is a much lower intent crime and is used as a charge when one person causes the death of another through criminal negligence. The charge does not involve premeditation, but focuses on what the defendant should have known and the risks associated with what he did know."

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Back to the Trib:

"On Monday, Rauner returned to his argument that Democrats could raise taxes on their own to prop up the budget, but they are 'afraid to look taxpayers in the eye and demand more.'"

I'm not here to defend or apologize for Democrats, God knows, but I'm pretty sure the Democrats have done just that.

"If the majority party in the General Assembly thought that just raising taxes to fund those services, they could do it. They haven't moved a finger to go do that," Rauner said. "They are very comfortable not having a budget and letting those services go away. To me, that's an outrage."

I believe I've already handled this bit of disingenuity.

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I discuss this - and more! - on this week's edition of The Beachwood Radio Hour, which seems to be one of the more popular episodes I've done. Also, the Show Notes have grown as they pertain to David Bowie and Glenn Frey. If nothing else, look at the Show Notes.

Also, I'm not sure some folks realize the show is downloadable, but it is. You can download it.

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Today In Beachwood Politics

* The Statues Of Kankakee. Hometown heroes worthy of being shit on.

* How Did The Flint Water Crisis Happen? Slowly and then quickly? No, just quickly.

Related from Beachwood TV: How Al Jazeera America Reported The Flint Water Crisis - A Year Ago. See the report.

* Federal Appeals Court In Chicago Asked To Rule That Accessing Cell Phone Location Records Without A Warrant Violates the Constitution. At issue are so-called Stingrays, mobile cell-site simulators that trick your phone into connecting with them. Used by Chicago and Illinois police.

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Also on today's Beachwood:

Match-Fixing Allegations Move From Tennis To Wrestling
Olympic silver medalist says she was asked to throw a bout at a world championship.

At The Adler: Sign Up Now For Summer Science!
Young space and technology enthusiasts alike will have the opportunity to spend part of their summer exploring space, using telescopes, building rockets, seeing immersive sky shows, programming robots, exploring exhibits, launching high altitude balloons, and much, much more.

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BeachBook

Breaking story out of DeKalb ...

Posted by The Beachwood Reporter on Monday, January 25, 2016

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We can break out of these damaging, tiresome and inaccurate formulas by using digital tools to change the way articles are structured. They don't have to be "written" this way.

Maddening campaign reporting from the New York Times (and typical of the media at-large):

Posted by The Beachwood Reporter on Monday, January 25, 2016

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TweetWood
A sampling.

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The Beachwood Tip Line: No khakis.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 9:31 AM | Permalink

How Al Jazeera America Reported The Flint Water Crisis - A Year Ago

A year ago this week, Al Jazeera's Bisi Onile-Ere sought answers from Flint authorities about concerns over residents' water.


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Also:

Former Chicago Tribune editor James Warren writes for the Poynter Institute, a media training organization, that the national media blew the Flint story - but leaves out Al Jazeera.

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AdWeek, meanwhile, reports that Al Jazeera got the story because Onile-Ere previously covered Flint for five years.

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Al Jazeera hired Onile-Ere, she said in 2013, "because of my expertise in Detroit."

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Plus:

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 6:15 AM | Permalink

Match-Fixing Allegations Now Hit Wrestling

Bulgaria's retired double Olympic wrestling silver medalist Stanka Zlateva said on Sunday she was once offered cash to lose a world championship final but had refused to do so.

"I was offered money at a world championship but for me, it's much more important to win," Zlateva, who retired this month, told Bulgarian national television. "No matter how much money they would offer."

2016-01-24T185221Z_1_LYNXNPEC0N0MK_RTROPTP_3_WRESTLING.JPG She did not say who 'they' were or give details.

Zlateva, competing in the 72kg-category, was five-times a world champion and also won six European titles and Olympic silver medals in Beijing in 2008 and London four years later. She also competed at the Athens 2004 Games.

Zlateva was one of the most successful Bulgarian female athletes in the last decade and was named the Balkan country's sportsperson of the year three times between 2007 and 2011.

"There was nothing out of it," added the 32-year-old, who decided to retire after failing to recover from a back injury. "I didn't even consider accepting it.

"They didn't offer me a concrete sum. They came to me and asked me if I would lose (the final)."

Zlateva's disclosure comes only a few days after world tennis was rocked by allegations that the game's authorities have failed to deal with widespread match-fixing.

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Zlateva!

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At the 2014 European World Wrestling Championships.

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See also:
* Bulgaria's National Hero - So Good That Nobody Will Fight Her.

* Prominent Bulgarian Wrestler Stanka Zlateva Announces Her Retirement.

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 5:28 AM | Permalink

At The Adler | Sign Up Now For Summer Science

Discover new worlds, engage in eye-opening experiments and play next to Lake Michigan this summer during an Adler Planetarium summer camp!

The Adler Planetarium offers a variety of unique summer day camp experiences for children ages 3 through 16. Young space and technology enthusiasts alike will have the opportunity to spend part of their summer exploring space, using telescopes, building rockets, seeing immersive sky shows, programming robots, exploring exhibits, launching high altitude balloons, and much, much more.

Adler's summer camps introduce kids, teens, and tweens to doing science while engaging their creativity. Children are invited to participate in these unique, memorable experiences during one or more summer camps at the Adler. Registration opens Tuesday.

Young Scientist Summer Program
Preschool age children learn about the skills of science exploration through participation in this fun, engaging summer camp designed to spark scientific curiosity. Activities during the week-long sessions integrate circle time, hands-on investigations, free exploration, snack, art and literacy connections while introducing young children to learning in a museum.

Mission Near-Space: A Team Experience to the Edge of Space!
If you choose to accept this mission, you will become part of a unique team of engineers and astronomers whose goal is to prepare, launch, track, and retrieve a scientific payload sent to the stratosphere aboard a high altitude balloon. The week ends with a showcase in which participants present their exploration results to family members.

Mini Camps: Astro Juniors, Explorers, & Investigators Camps
Do you have what it takes to travel through space? Join us for a two-day adventure as we explore the engineering challenges humans must face when traveling, working and living in space. What do our bodies need to live? How do we protect ourselves from the dangers of space? How do we communicate? Do hands-on experiments and activities from the perspective of an astronaut, experience Planet Explorers and other exhibits, see an immersive sky show, and much more!

Technology Camp: A Week of Geek!
Challenge yourself this summer! Campers will be engaged in the process of designing, building, testing and redesigning as they use Lego Robotics to overcome escalating challenges. Campers will also be exposed to creative design, documentation and presentation skills through the use of Sketch-Up 3D Modeling, video recording, and editing. Telescope viewing, lunch by Lake Michigan and cutting edge Sky Shows - all unique to the Adler - are the perfect setting for Tech Camp.

Summer Worlds Tour
Summer Worlds Tour offers a week of adventures in Chicago's premier museums for children entering kindergarten through fifth grade in the fall of 2016. Campers will explore engineering challenges of traveling in space at the Adler, discover games of ancient cultures at The Field Museum, and investigate underwater environments at the Shedd Aquarium. Activities include investigating exhibits, hands-on activities, creating original art projects, playing learning games, and having lunch along the shore of Lake Michigan.

More information on Adler Planetarium Summer Camps here. Or e-mail summercamp@adlerplanetarium.org.

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 3:55 AM | Permalink

EFF To Federal Appeals Court In Chicago: Accessing Cell Phone Location Records Without A Warrant Violates the Constitution

The Electronic Frontier Foundation is urging a federal appeals court in Chicago to rule that police need a warrant to access cell phone location records that can reveal our everyday travels - when we leave home, where we go and whom we visit.

In an amicus brief filed Friday in the United States Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit, EFF, the American Civil Liberties Union, and ACLU of Wisconsin said cell phone location information - data that show where our phones are at a given time and date - generates a comprehensive picture of a person's movements. Because we carry our phones with us wherever we go, these data can reveal intensely personal information like when we see a doctor, attend a political meeting or visit friends. Americans have the right to expect that this information remain private and beyond the reach of law enforcement officers unless they first obtain a search warrant.

In this case, U.S. v. Patrick, a Wisconsin man was charged with being a felon in possession of a weapon. Police tracked the man down in real time using location information from his cell phone - obtained either from a phone company or possibly collected using a cell-site simulator, devices known as Stingrays that trick mobile phones into connecting with them. He was located in a car where a gun was found at his feet and arrested. In the brief filed Friday, EFF and the ACLU explain to the court that real-time cell phone location tracking violates the Fourth Amendment's prohibition against unreasonable search and seizures.

"This is the first time this federal appeals court, whose rulings affect Illinois, Wisconsin and Indiana, is considering whether citizens have an expectation of privacy in real-time cell phone location records,'' said EFF senior staff attorney Jennifer Lynch. "This case comes as we are seeing a groundswell of recognition that this information is private. Legislatures in the three states covered by the Seventh Circuit have all now prohibited warrantless real-time cell phone. California and at least eight other states also require warrants for real-time tracking."

There have been conflicting rulings over this issue on the federal level. In 2014 the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit in Atlanta ruled that there's no expectation of privacy in historical cell site location records, so police don't need a warrant to get them, while the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit in Richmond, Virginia, last year ruled the opposite.

The U.S. Supreme Court has already recognized that data about where we go can be incredibly revealing and that cell phones hold vast amounts of private information- potentially the sum of an individual's private life. The court ruled that searching a cell phone found during an arrest and tracking a car using GPS now both require a search warrant.

"The Seventh Circuit should follow the Supreme Court's lead and recognize that police shouldn't have unfettered access to records that that can reveal our every move. Law enforcement must be required to get a warrant before accessing the vast amount of private information generated by cell phone location records,'' said EFF senior staff attorney Adam Schwartz.

Related Cases:
* Riley v. California and United States v. Wurie

* US v. Jones

* State of Maryland v. Kerron Andrews

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Previously in Stingrays:
* Illinois State Police Buy Stingrays.

* Chicago Police Acknowledge Using Stingrays.

* FBI Replies To Stingray FOIA With 5,000 Blank Pages.

* Finally! DOJ Reverses Course And Requires Warrants For Stingrays!

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 12:59 AM | Permalink

The Statues Of Kankakee

Some readers might remember a column I wrote back in October of 2010 about how the citizens of Kankakee dedicated at park bench to the native son and convicted felon George Ryan, one of Illinois's most corrupt governors.

Now a woman's organization known as the General Federation of Women's Club of Kankakee wants a life-size bronze statue of Ryan erected in a Kankakee park. It is not enough that Ryan is an ex-con with a litany of ethical and criminal violations hanging around his neck. These ladies also want a statue of Len Small, another native son and Illinois governor. It would be an awe-inspiring panel discussion in a political ethics forum to debate who was Illinois' most corrupt governor, Ryan, Small or the impeached and imprisoned Rod Blagojevich.

Small began his political career as mayor of Kankakee and eventually became state treasurer and governor. If the story stopped here, you might say "Of course his hometown is proud and should dedicate a bronze statue in his honor."

Like Ryan, though, Small has an infamous legacy. He was indicted for embezzling over a half a million dollars and running a money laundering scheme while treasurer. Small was acquitted, but he later repaid the jurors with state jobs. He also pardoned at least a thousand convicted felons including Chicago members of the mob and bootlegging gangs. Could this possibly be the political heritage and training that George Ryan learned as he rose to power in Kankakee?

I need to mention here that there is a third statue the women's organization wants. It's for Illinois 34th governor, Samuel Shapiro. He served for a short time from 1968 to 1969 after Otto Kerner resigned to accept a position as a federal judge. Sorry folks, I can't find any history of corruption for Shapiro. Most sources say he had a reputation of being honest. I know this is unusual in Illinois - his predecessor was convicted of accepting bribes, mail fraud and perjury in 1973 related to his time as governor. Thankfully, the Kankakee ladies want a statue of Shapiro to go along with Len Small and George Ryan and not Ottto Kerner, otherwise we'd have a hat trick of corruption the local pigeons could defecate on.

Now I know the local GFWC is a sincere community service organization, but I have a unyielding impetus to remind them how awful and far-reaching George Ryan's corruption was.

In November 1994, six children lost their lives in a traffic accident. The truck driver causing the accident obtained his driver's license in Illinois by paying a bribe that ultimately landed in the Citizens for Ryan campaign fund. When investigators tried to uncover that bribe along with several others, Ryan, with the help of his crony inspector general Dean Bauer, covered up those investigations. They both were convicted. The U.S. Department of Transportation estimated that at least 16 national traffic fatalities are linked to the George Ryan licenses-for-bribes scandal.

The GFWC of Kankakee is holding a fundraising dinner on March 19th called "A Saint Patrick's Day Salute to 3 Governors." They are charging $50 per person for dinner, entertainment, and a silent auction. Proceeds will go toward their planned life-size bronze statues of Small, Ryan and Shapiro.

Come on, ladies. Kankakee already has a dark cloud lingering over a park bench honoring Ryan near the county courthouse. Can't you raise money for a more worthy cause like maybe the Ethical Treatment of Crabgrass? Okay, I am being cynical, but there has to be better things to have a fundraiser for in Kankakee. After all, the mission statement of your parent organization, the General Federation of Women's Clubs, says it is "dedicated to community improvement by enhancing the lives of others through volunteer service."

If this project goes through, may I suggest Governor Shapiro should be holding an open umbrella in each hand fixed over the heads of Small and Ryan to protect them from the pigeon droppings?

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Ed Hammer is a retired police captain and author of the book One Hundred Percent Guilty. He can be reached through his website.

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Previously by Ed Hammer:
* George Ryan's Park Bench
* George Ryan's Dogs and Ponies
* George Ryan's Other Jailhouse Interview
* Bugging The Chicago School Board
* Cop vs. Teacher
* Signs of Change
* Pols vs. Teachers
* The Terre Haute Redemption
* Rahm's War On Teachers
* About Those Indicted Nurses
* Body Language Bingo: A Guide To Watching The Presidential Debates
* George Ryan's Day Of Independence
* The Ironic George Ryan.
* George Ryan Is Unrepentant.
* Must Like Puppies.
* ILGov2014: The George Ryan Connection.
* Exclusive: Trump Puts Lion Killer On VP Short List.

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See also: Honoring A True Illinois Hero.

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Comments welcome.

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1. From Tonie Kuchar:

I received a letter from the GFWC woman's club of Kankakee, asking me for a donation for these statues. I was so mad that two out of three were not someone to honor that I called the Kankakee Journal. What bothers me the most is that the Kankakee Valley Park District is in partnership with them. There are too many organizations that need donations to help stay afloat. I personally do not like to see my tax dollars go toward these statues. Funny thing is that they're asking for donations up to $10,000! Really.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 12:51 AM | Permalink

How Did The Flint Water Crisis Happen?

The water crisis in Flint, Michigan - in which the city's drinking water became contaminated with lead, bacteria and other pollutants - has come to national attention in recent weeks. President Obama declared a federal emergency in Flint, freeing up $5 million in federal aid, but Flint's water problems have been unfolding for almost two years.

Ron Fonger, reporter for The Flint Journal and MLive, has been writing about the water contamination since 2014, when the city began using the Flint River as its water source. From covering city council meetings and town hall forums, where almost immediately residents complained about discolored, tainted water, he has had a front-row seat to the crisis. On this week's podcast, Fonger speaks with ProPublica editor-in-chief Stephen Engelberg about what caused the problem, who dropped the ball, and what happens next.


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Highlights from their conversation:

4:09: For months, the government downplayed residents' complaints.

FONGER: If I wrote it once, I wrote it a hundred times. The city and the state's response was the water is fine; it's tested and it meets all of the health and safety requirements of the law. They didn't exactly say, "You people are crazy," but they said there's nothing wrong with the water.

9:28: Freedom of Information Act requests revealed that the city's testing had cherry-picked neighborhoods that didn't have a lead problem.

FONGER: We reported late last year, based on documents that we had obtained through the Freedom of Information Act, that the city filed false reports with the state. They certified to the state, as a part of complying with the lead and copper rule, that they were testing in homes that were at high risk of elevated lead. In other words, homes that had lead service lines . . . Through FOIA, we requested the service line information that the city had for each of the homes that they tested. We found out that for only a very small number - much less than half - did they have any type of data to support that they were testing in areas that had lead service lines. That cast a large doubt on their sampling results, which they kept saying showed there wasn't a problem.

13:24: Flint's socio-economic status - predominately poor, predominately of color - may have factored into how the problems were handled.

FONGER: When people say that, I can't help but recognize that there's something to that. We are an old, great industrial town. Flint is where a sit-down strike produced what is the modern-day union movement; the United Auto Workers Union was born here. The city has taken a lot of hard knocks in the past 40 years. We've lost a lot of employment. Our crime is high. A lot of people who had the means to leave Flint did so. Our population has fallen from 200,000 to about 100,000. With all of those things happening, a lot of poor people live here. If you think about this happening in a more affluent area . . . I think the population generally would've been already more mobilized, and more politically connected, to be able to demand that this get addressed.

14:54: While Gov. Rick Snyder's office has released emails related to the water crisis, suggesting that officials derided concerns as "political football," local reporters are calling for more documents to be made public.

FONGER: I went through all of those e-mails, and I was underwhelmed by what we saw. There wasn't much that had not already been reported. There's a story talking about the fact that maybe not all of these e-mails were released. The e-mails go back to the governor's contention that things got bogged down by the civil servants, that there were warnings from professionals who know about drinking water that there was something wrong. The bottom line problem didn't get addressed. The agencies were more worried about technically complying with the law and what they had to do, versus identifying the problem and getting it fixed.

Follow Fonger's reporting here.

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Previously:
* The Best Reporting (So Far) About The Flint Water Crisis.

* Item: Flint Hint.

* Democrats Own Flint Too. (53:22)

Plus:

Democrats would never knowingly ... er, ahem ...

Posted by The Beachwood Reporter on Sunday, January 24, 2016

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 12:27 AM | Permalink

January 25, 2016

The [Monday] Papers

1. Bruce Springsteen Offers Free Download Of Chicago Concert.

2. Nearly Half Of Young Black Men In Chicago Are Jobless And Not In School.

3. Rare Panhandler Jury Trial Starts In Federal Court In Chicago.

4. Bill Daley Thinks Chicago Needs More Surveillance.

5. How Bernie Sanders Made Burlington Affordable.

6. Andrew Dice Trump.

Rated "F" for Funny.

7. The Beachwood Radio Hour #71: Hotel Illinois.

Hear Bruce Rauner's mission bell. Plus: Glenn Frey vs. David Bowie; Democrats Own Flint Too; and How Glam And Punk Enabled Reagan.

8. Jonathan Pie, TV Reporter!

Once again showing us the difference between what the media says and the truth - all in the name of "objectivity."

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If you do your reporting deeply enough, you can write/speak with authority - that's objectivity, because the facts are incontrovertible. Some people mistake that, though, for subjectivity.

When a local magazine editor told me once "In magazine writing, you can have an opinion, that's what I teach my students," as if I'd never heard that before, I blanched. No, it's not about having an opinion! It's about reporting deeply enough to state the truth!

In newspaper writing, the problem is of a slightly different sort - without the time or resources to report deeply enough, reporters (and their editors) fall back on the formulas of objectivity that aren't objective at all, but instead just catalog the unvetted claims and outright lies of everyone quoted in a story. That's probably worse than simply writing an opinion because it's disguised as truth when it's the least truthy version of journalism of all.

The lack of time and resources is not an excuse, either; it can be done nonetheless. It just takes skill, hard work and a certain mindset. (It's even easier in the digital world than in print, with the ease of search, the availability of video and the tool of linking.)

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That magazine editor, by the way, didn't so much as want me to have an opinion, but to have his opinion, which, typical for him, wasn't a very good one. I stopped working for him, and I don't mean my old boss at Chicago magazine.

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I use to call my version of magazine writing a "reported conclusion," which my old boss liked very much. The only problem was getting an assignment with a pre-determined conclusion, which invalidates the whole premise of the job, and which is hugely common in the newspaper world as well. It's never served my career to come to an independent, reporting-based conclusion instead of the one an editor has dreamed up ahead of time. They tend not to like when you bring them real-world results different than what they dreamed up in their head. In other words, it's hazardous to do your job the way it's supposed to be done in this business.

Now, having a notion, an angle, a thesis going into a story is fine. Sometimes that's how you start. Sometimes you have a basis for such a thing. But that doesn't mean that's how you have to end.

9. The Beachwood Radio Sports Hour #86: Like Bon Jovi, Bulls Halfway There.

Plus: Blackhawks Have Only Won 123 Of Last 135; Riverboat Ron Has Last Laugh; and John Baker Way Better Than Dusty Baker.

10. The Weekend In Chicago Rock.

Featuring: Seet, Squared Off, Oh Wonder, Black Sabbath, Tedeschi Trucks, Rakunk, Tortoise, Deniece Williams, and Michael McDermott.

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BeachBook

Democrats would never knowingly ... er, ahem ...

Posted by The Beachwood Reporter on Sunday, January 24, 2016

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TweetWood
A sampling.

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The Beachwood Tip Line: Curds and whey.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 9:58 AM | Permalink

SportsMonday: Blackhawks Defense Broncos-Like

Fellow Blackhawks fans, work with me here.

It is time for more people to do a better job dispensing credit when the boys of winter post yet another stellar defensive performance. Our latest opportunity to do so comes in the aftermath of the home team shutting down the St. Louis Blues on Sunday night 2-0.

The victory enabled the Hawks to break out, at least a little bit, of a two-game plus stretch (2-1 and 4-0 losses to the Lightning and Panthers, respectively) of sluggish play with the puck. After scoring only a single goal in the seven periods leading into the first intermission Sunday, the Hawks finally busted out with two goals in the final two 20-minute time frames.

And the guys responsible were the ones who have been responsible so much of the time as their team has won 13 of its last 15 games.

That would be Artemi Panarin, with a primary assist from Patrick Kane, and Andrew Shaw, with a primary assist from Marian Hossa. In other words, it was leading lights from the team's top lines, who have done a remarkable job of sharing the scoring load of late, making it nearly impossible (except in Florida) for opposing teams to shut down the Hawks by shutting down a single No. 1 set of center and wingers.

But back to the defense: Yes, Corey Crawford recorded his career-high 7th shutout and, yes, even after backstopping his team to two Stanley Cups in the last three years, Crawford is playing even better than ever this season. And he was particularly superb in the first period, essentially making half (12) of his 25 overall saves.

But the first period also featured fantastic play from a defensive corps that got even better in the second and third, when the Hawks limited St. Louis to just six and seven shots on goal, respectively.

Of course, the usual suspects are leading the way from the back line. Duncan Keith (26:11 of ice time), Niklas Hjalmarsson (23:52) and Brent Seabrook (19:46) were all outstanding as usual. But interestingly enough, they were all 0 in the plus-minus category.

Perhaps the most exciting development of this season - okay, the second-most exciting after the emergence of Panarin as the front-runner for NHL Rookie of the Year - has been the ever improving play of young defensemen Trevor Van Riemsdyk and Erik Gustafsson. The former had a big night on Sunday, recording an assist and also being in the middle of the rush that resulted in Panarin's goal.

Gustafsson, who has particularly impressed with his absolutely unflappable nature so far, turned in more than 16 minutes of first-rate ice time. With these two rolling along, combined with veteran Michal Rozsival's continuing rock-solid play (he also had an assist Sunday), the Hawks have a six-pack of defensemen they can count on. And heck, if someone gets injured, another strong veteran blue-liner, Rob Scuderi, is waiting in the wings. He was a healthy scratch on Sunday but he and Rozsival are almost alternating in the sixth spot the last 10 games or so.

Of course, a little credit should also go to the Blues' offensive ineptitude. If they weren't failing to capitalize on a couple glorious chances in the first period, they were failing to even generate significant chances for large swaths of the last 40 minutes. There were the usual several instances in which our favorite announcer, Pat Foley, was going on and on about a Crawford save when the fact of the matter was, a Blues forward had shot the puck right into the goalie's padding.

In the end, the main thing is that the Hawks got back on track with a victory that upped their record to 33-15-4. They lead the Central Division of the Western Conference with 70 points (second place Dallas has 65). They have also played three more games than Dallas, but hey, that just means they are that much closer to the end of the marathon NHL season.

The Washington Capitals have 73 points to lead the Eastern Conference, so the Hawks can now set their sights on that. Goalie Braden Holtby has had an amazing season in front of the net for that team but something tells me that perhaps a few other defensive players have also played at least a small roll in the Capitals success so far.

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

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 9:34 AM | Permalink

The Weekend In Chicago Rock

You shoulda been there.

1. Seet at Moe's Tavern on Friday night.


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2. Squared Off at Township on Friday night.

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3. Oh Wonder at Lincoln Hall on Thursday night.

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4. Black Sabbath on the West Side on Friday night.

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5. Tedeschi Trucks at the Chicago Theatre on Saturday night.

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6. Rakunk at Park West on Friday night.

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7. Tortoise at Thalia Hall on Saturday night.

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8. Deniece Williams at Promontory on Sunday night.

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9. Michael McDermott at City Winery on Friday night.

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 6:50 AM | Permalink

Jonathan Pie, TV Reporter! TTIP Is Boring Shit

What's so effective here is the difference between the description of reality and the description on the TV news.


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Previously in Jonathan Pie, TV Reporter!:

* Jonathan Pie, TV Reporter! Explains The Economy.

* Jonathan Pie, TV Reporter! It's Shit Crap News, Tim.

* Jonathan Pie, TV Reporter! Is Going To Paris.

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

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

* Jonathan Pie, TV Reporter! Merry Fucking Christmas.

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

* Jonathan Pie, TV Reporter! Sexy Skype.

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Plus:

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And:

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 6:09 AM | Permalink

Andrew Dice Trump

Little Miss Muffet
Sat on a tuffet
Eating her curds and whey.
Along came a spider,
Who sat down beside her,
And said, Hey! I could shoot you and not lose any votes, bitch!

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Jack and Jill went up the hill
both with a buck and a quarter
Jill came down with $2.50.
He should not take her back. She cheated on him like a dog and will do it again - just watch. He can do much better!

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Little boy blue
Hey! He needed the money - and you know what? It really doesn't matter what the media write as long as you've got a young, and beautiful, piece of ass.

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Roses are red
Violets are blue
And Arianna Huffington is unattractive, both inside and out. I fully understand why her former husband left her for a man - he made a good decision.

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Good ol' Mother Theresa, remember her? I fucked her.

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Three blind mice,
See how they run.
They're bringing drugs. They're bringing crime. They're rapists. And some, I assume, are good people.

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Hickory dickory dock
I've said if Ivanka weren't my daughter, perhaps I'd be dating her.

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Georgie Porgie, puddin' and pie,
I have never seen a thin person drinking Diet Coke.

*

Mary had a little lamb
she kept in her backyard
And my fingers are long and beautiful, as, it has been well documented, are various other parts of my body.

*

Old Mother Hubbard
Went to the cupboard
to get her poor dog a bone
But when she bent over,
Rover took over
And I will build a great, great wall on our Southern border, mark my words.

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 12:23 AM | Permalink

January 24, 2016

The Weekend Desk Report

"On September 9, 2002, as the George W. Bush administration was launching its campaign to invade Iraq, a classified report landed on the desk of the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. It came from Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld, and it carried an ominous note," Politico reports.

"Please take a look at this material as to what we don't know about WMD," Rumsfeld wrote to Air Force General Richard Myers. "It is big."

The report, revealed here publicly for the first time, was an inventory of what U.S. intelligence knew - or more importantly didn't know - about Iraqi weapons of mass destruction. Its assessment was blunt: "We've struggled to estimate the unknowns . . . We range from 0% to about 75% knowledge on various aspects of their program."

Myers already knew about the report. The Joint Staff's director for intelligence had prepared it, but Rumsfeld's urgent tone said a great deal about how seriously the head of the Defense Department viewed the report's potential to undermine the Bush administration's case for war. But he never shared the eight-page report with key members of the administration such as then-Secretary of State Colin Powell or top officials at the CIA, according to multiple sources at the State Department, White House and CIA who agreed to speak on condition of anonymity. Instead, the report disappeared, and with it a potentially powerful counter-narrative to the administration's argument that Saddam Hussein's nuclear, chemical and biological weapons posed a grave threat to the U.S. and its allies, which was beginning to gain traction in major news outlets, led by The New York Times.

Go read the rest, and contemplate once again how the course of history changed when the United States of America invaded a country on a lie - and how it led to where we find ourselves today. Note again, as well, the media manipulation and complicity.

*

This also caught my eye:

"Efforts to reach Rumsfeld, directly and through an intermediary, were unsuccessful."

Well, to be fair, he's a very busy man.

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The Beachwood Radio Hour #71: Bruce Rauner's Hotel Illinois
You can check out any time you want; you can even leave. He doesn't give a fuck. The governor's uncompromising mission is both naive and cynical. Plus: Glenn Frey vs. David Bowie; Democrats Own Flint Too; and How Glam And Punk Enabled Reagan.

If you don't want to listen, at least click through and enjoy the Show Notes.

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The Beachwood Radio Sports Hour #86: Like Bon Jovi, Bulls Halfway There
The timing of this show couldn't be better given the team's easy win in Cleveland - just days after an ugly loss in Boston. Livin' on a prayer. Plus: Blackhawks Have Only Won 12 Of Last 134; Riverboat Ron Has Last Laugh; and John Baker Way Better Than Dusty Baker.

With Show Notes!

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Flint Hint
As I discuss on The Beachwood Radio Hour, Flint is a bipartisan disaster - the EPA administrator who resigned recently was a Democratic appointee of President Obama's who was based in Chicago and previously worked in the Illinois attorney general's office.

From today's New York Times:

"E.P.A. officials contend that they pressed Michigan regulators to take more decisive action after [a damning] report, but for months federal officials did little to inform the public of those findings or take decisive action. It was not until Thursday that the federal agency issued an emergency order and assumed oversight of lead testing in Flint."

And that's going easy on the EPA.

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Meanwhile, the Times reports:

"Health officials have tested the air and deemed it safe. Yes, the awful smell from a huge natural gas leak near the Porter Ranch neighborhood may cause vomiting, nosebleeds and other short-term symptoms, they say, but they have assured residents that it does not pose long-term health risks.

"Many people here, however, simply do not buy it. And now they look warily toward Flint, Mich., where the switch to a new water supply, which state officials insisted for months was safe, has left children with high levels of lead in their blood."

Though I would add "state officials insisted for months was safe, and federal officials kept quiet about evidence to the contrary . . . "

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Best Read Of The Weekend
Platonic, Until Death Do Us Part.

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Hate Reads Of The Weekend
Presented Without Commentary.

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The Sound Opinions Weekend Listening Report: "Only a few years into his career, Las Vegas-based singer/songwriter Shamir has already explored house, disco, indie pop, country and countless other styles. He joins Jim and Greg in the studio for a stripped-down performance and conversation about refusing to be pigeonholed, performing personal songs in front of crowds, and gender identity."

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Weekend BeachBook

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Re-upping from September:

Posted by The Beachwood Reporter on Saturday, January 23, 2016

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That's Chicago's Jamila Woods.

Posted by The Beachwood Reporter on Friday, January 22, 2016

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The biggest part of Obama's legacy will be validating George W. Bush's most heinous actions.

Posted by The Beachwood Reporter on Friday, January 22, 2016

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Weekend TweetWood

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The Weekend Desk Tip Line: The perfect storm.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 10:17 AM | Permalink

January 23, 2016

The Beachwood Radio Hour #71: Bruce Rauner's Hotel Illinois

The governor's uncompromising mission is both naive and cynical at the same time. Plus: Glenn Frey vs. David Bowie; Democrats Own Flint Too; and How Glam And Punk Enabled Reagan.


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SHOW NOTES

* Strawberry Rock Show.

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1:09: Bruce Springsteen in Chicago on Tuesday night.

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* Soozie Tyrell.

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* Springsteen's "Rebel Rebel."

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* Madonna's "Rebel Rebel."

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* Springsteen's "Royals."

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* Springsteen's "Highway to Hell."

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9:59: The Go! Team at Lincoln Hall.

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11:45: David Bowie vs. Glenn Frey.

* I always liked art rock, just not art school rock.

* Tortwa.

Eh, this band has always been too much of a wank for my tastes.

Posted by The Beachwood Reporter on Thursday, January 21, 2016

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* Unforgivable.

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Seinfeld's Desperado.

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* Christgau: Trying To Understand The Eagles.

* Klosterman:

"I hated the Eagles, too. After spending the first twenty-five years of my life believing they were merely boring, I suddenly decided they were the worst band that had ever existed (or could ever exist). I'd unconsciously internalized all the complaints that supposedly made them despicable: They were rich hippies. They were virtuosos in an idiom that did not require virtuosity. They were self-absorbed Hollywood liberals. They were not-so-secretly shallow. They were uncaring womanizers and the worst kind of cokeheads. They wanted to be seen as cowboys, but not the ones who actually rode horses. They never rocked, even after adding Joe Walsh for that express purpose (the first forty-five seconds of 'Life in the Fast Lane' are a push). They lectured college kids about their environmental footprint while flying around in private jets. They literally called themselves 'The Eagles.' It was easy to hate a band who kept telling me to take it easy when I was quite obviously trying to do so already. And then, one day in 2003, I stopped hating them."

* Adrian Belew on a Bowie world tour:

in 1990 I joined the David Bowie Sound and Vision World Tour as guitarist, singer, and music director. it was a...

Posted by Adrian Belew on Saturday, January 23, 2016

(* You know how Bowie recorded his vocals? "But with every song, when he came to sing the vocal for real, he would sing one line at a time, stop, listen to it and then do the next.")

(* Also: " . . . knowing his reputation as a magpie, scarfing up other people's ideas, sprinkling some fairy dust on them and then successfully representing them as his own . . . " This is the DeRogatis side of the Sound Opinions debate.)

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* Mike Campbell, "The Boys of Summer."

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34:48: Dorian Taj at Martyrs'.

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38:07: Bruce Rauner's Uncompromising Mission.

* Social services slaughter.

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Meanwhile . . .

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51:59: Javelin at Lincoln Hall.

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53:22: Democrats Own Flint Too.

* Among other atrocities:

(* Democrats would never knowingly poison kids with lead . . . )

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58:31: How Glam And Punk Enabled Reagan.

* Black Sabbath Says Farewell To Chicago.

(* Springsteen Dives Into Deep End Of The River In Chicago.)

* AP: "The guitarist co-founded the Eagles and with Don Henley became part of one of history's most successful songwriting teams with such hits as 'Hotel California' and 'Life in the Fast Lane.'"

Bad song choices. Don Felder wrote the music to "Hotel California" and Don Henley was mostly responsible for the lyrics. Joe Walsh wrote at least the main riff to "Life in the Fast Lane" and probably the bulk of the rest of it, including the lyrics, though on that score Frey's name comes first on the credits - which, as Felder will tell you, didn't always reflect reality.

(* Don't forget: David Bowie wrote "All The Young Dudes," recorded most successfully by Mott the Hoople. The year was 1972, and the lyric was: "And my brother's back at home with his Beatles and his Stones / We never got it off on that revolution stuff / What a drag / too many snags.")

(* And "Take It Easy" was a song co-written by Jackson Browne, who started it but couldn't seem to finish it until Frey came along and helped.)

* Similarly, The Who may have been talkin' 'bout their generation, but "Won't Get Fooled Again" is the world's greatest reactionary anthem of all time, as acknowledged by its writer, Pete Townshend and sanctified by the National Review. (If nothing in the streets looked different to Townshend in 1971, then he wasn't looking at the right streets.)

(Wikipedia: "In 2014, the British Government ran an advertisement for superfast broadband using the song as its theme music. Townshend has taken an interest in licensing the Who's work to media and advertising, and "Won't Get Fooled Again" has made several appearances on TV and film. A portion of the song has been used as the opening theme for the CBS series CSI: Miami, while a cover version of the track was played on The Simpsons' 'A Tale of Two Springfields' which featured the Who as special guests. However, Townshend refused permission for director Michael Moore to play the song over the closing credits of Fahrenheit 9/11, as he was suspicious of Moore's journalistic credentials and did not want his work to be associated with a possibly inaccurate film. Townshend later said '[o]nce I had an idea what the film was about, I was 90% certain my song was not right for them.'")

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STOPPAGE: 11:22

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

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 4:18 PM | Permalink

The Best Reporting (So Far) On The Flint Water Crisis

The outcry over the public health crisis in Flint, Michigan, has intensified in recent days, with President Obama promising $80 million in water infrastructure money and the head of the Environmental Protection Agency's Midwest region resigning. But the problem has been brewing for years. Here is some of the best reporting we've seen on the failures that led up to Flint's water crisis.

1. Flint Water Crisis Timeline: How Years Of Problems Led To Lead Poisoning, CNN

Beginning in 2011, with Michigan's takeover of Flint's budget, this timeline is a helpful guide to how the crisis developed.

See also:

* Curt Guyette's reporting, including the June 2015 report that leaked an April EPA memo on the state of Flint's water.

* Video: Flint's Water Crisis, Explained In Three Minutes, Vox

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2. E-Mails Show Feds Warned State In February Of Leaching Lead In Flint, MLive

Gov. Rick Snyder announced his plan to deal with Flint's water issue last October, but e-mails reveal the EPA warned officials about lead more than seven months earlier. The documents show that the EPA had found "actual evidence that the water is leaching contaminants from the biofilms."

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3. Chemical Testing Could Have Predicted Flint's Water Crisis, Detroit Free Press

Corrosion controls could have prevented the water crisis in Flint, and chemical testing might have predicted their necessity, according to Marc Edwards - a Virginia Tech professor who led the Flint Water Study. How much would the corrosion controls have cost the city? One report said it would be $140 a day, or $50,000 a year.

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4. EPA Stayed Silent On Flint's Tainted Water, Detroit News

The EPA knew about Flint's lack of corrosion controls as early as April 2015, but when it came to making the findings public, former regional administrator Susan Hedman said her hands were tied. "The answer kept coming back from [state officials] that 'No, we are not going to make a decision until after we see more testing results'," Hedman told the Detroit News.

See also: How The Federal Government Botched Flint's Water Crisis, Huffington Post

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5. State's Handling Of Flint Water Samples Delayed Action, Detroit Free Press

Action could have been taken sooner in the Flint water crisis - if two water samples with high lead levels weren't disqualified. "The move changed the overall lead level results to acceptable from unacceptable," the Free Press reported.

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6. Documents Show Flint Filed False Reports About Testing For Lead In Water, Flint Journal-MLive

The EPA requires that cities test water for lead at "high-risk locations" when possible to ensure water is safe to drink. In the early months of 2015, Flint officials filed certified documents claiming they only tested tap water at homes "where residents were at the highest risk of lead poisoning." Those claims were false.

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7. As Water Problems Grew, Officials Belittled Complaints from Flint, New York Times

During his State of the State address, Gov. Snyder promised to release all of his e-mails from the last two years regarding the Flint crisis. The e-mails, made public Wednesday, show state officials who at times were dismissive of the crisis, and others who turned complaints from residents into "a game of "political football."

See also from the Times: A Question Of Environmental Racism n Flint.

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ProPublica is a Pulitzer Prize-winning investigative newsroom. Sign up for their newsletter.

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Comments welcome.


Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 8:25 AM | Permalink

January 22, 2016

The Beachwood Radio Sports Hour #86: Like Bon Jovi, Bulls Halfway There

Also livin' on a prayer. Plus: Blackhawks Have Only Won 12 Of Last 13; Riverboat Ron Has Last Laugh; and John Baker Way Better Than Dusty Baker.


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SHOW NOTES

* Bob Parsons.

* After A Dreadful Rookie Season, The Bears' Todd Sauerbrun Aims To Put Some Distance Between Himself And 1995 | Bears Haven't Soured On Punter.

* No. 16.

* 3-Time Pro Bowler & 2-Time First-Team All-Pro.

* Dave Wannstedt: Low-Key Coach Becomes High-Energy Broadcasting Star.

* Forced Into A Starting Position He Couldn't Handle, Rick Mirer Failed Miserably.

* Dave Leitao.

* Loyola Ramblers Men's Basketball.

* Men's College Basketball Scoring Hitting New Lows.

14:19: Like Bon Jovi, Bulls Are Halfway There.

* Mark Jackson: Steph Curry Is Hurting The Game.

* One minute too many.

* Coach Popovich May Be The Best Coach In The NBA, But He's Still Overrated.

* Steve Kerr To Make Season Debut On Warriors Bench.

* Andre Iguodala Embarrasses A Cavaliers Fan With A Flamboyant Leg Kick.

* Warriors' Shaun Livingston Tallies 17 Points Off The Bench.

* Derrick Rose Plays Well, Gets Tired.

* Derrick Rose Is Playing Golden State By Himself.

* Free Bobby Portis.

* Struggling Nikola Mirotic Admits Confidence Down.

* Derrick Rose Has Fared Well vs. NBA's Top Point Guards.

* Sam Smith on Bulls at the halfway mark.

* Bernstein: Let's Be Real About Bulls Losing Joakim Noah.

* Bulls Defense Has Communication Issues.

(From November: Bulls Emphasize Communication After Troubling Defeat.)

43:15: Blackhawks Have Only Won 12 Of Last 13.

* Lightning Win 7th Straight, End Blackhawks 12-Game Winning Streak.

* Haugh: All Sunshine And Blue Sky For Dale Tallon.

* The Secret Behind The Ageless Jaromir Jagr.

* Rotowire: "At 36 years old, Brian Campbell is still producing at a high level and logging plenty of ice time."

* Panthers Highest-Paid Forward Dave Bolland Remains In Limbo.

52:10: Riverboat Ron Has Last Laugh.

* Take the Panthers, Patriots.

1:04:43: John Baker Way Better Than Dusty Baker.

* John Baker Rejoins Cubs As Baseball Operations Assistant.

* John Baker's Awesome Anthony Rizzo Story.

* John Baker on Twitter.

* John Baker's website, Catcher's Interference.

STOPPAGE: 12:16

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

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 2:10 PM | Permalink

The [Friday] Papers

Look, I just finished recording The Beachwood Radio Sports Hour #86 with Jim "Coach" Coffman and now I've got to prepare it for posting, so I'm gonna just roll everything into the weekend. I will catch up with Rahm and Rauner, I swear. Also: good news, Twitter has fixed their embed coding issue, so the Beachwood's pages containing embeds should have returned to their normal sizes, and TweetWood will once again appear in this space.

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The Beachwood Photo Booth: Ad Deluxe
The deluxe part of the guy inside the sign.

Free Spirit Local TV News
Including the horrible story of Robert "Yummy" Sandifer in comic and song.

Streif: One Hell Of A Ride
It's ended careers, it's ended dreams, it's crushed people.

The Week In Chicago Rock
Featuring: Bruce Springsteen, Glenn David Andrews, Rough Draft, Foxy Brown, Free Throw, EGi, Mest, and G-Eazy.

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BeachBook

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The Fiscal Savings of Accessing the Right to Legal Counsel Within 24 Hours of Arrest: Chicago and Cook County | Millions.

Posted by The Beachwood Reporter on Friday, January 22, 2016

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Eh, this band has always been too much of a wank for my tastes.

Posted by The Beachwood Reporter on Thursday, January 21, 2016

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TweetWood
A sampling.

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The Beachwood Tip Line: Cry wolf.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 1:44 PM | Permalink

The Week In Chicago Rock

You shoulda been there.

1. Bruce Springsteen on the West Side on Tuesday night.


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2. Glenn David Andrews at Promontory on Sunday night.

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3. Rough Draft at the Elbo Room on Sunday night.

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4. Foxy Brown at the Shrine on Sunday night.

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Catching up with . . .

Free Throw at Subterranean last Friday night.

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EGi at Subterranean on Saturday night.

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Mest at the Concord on Saturday night.

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G-Eazy at the Aragon on Saturday night.

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 9:39 AM | Permalink

Streif: One Hell Of A Ride

It's ended careers, it's ended dreams, it's crushed people.


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See also: The Super Bowl Of Ski Racing.

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 3:53 AM | Permalink

Free Spirit Local TV News: Teen Lives Matter

The horrible story of Robert "Yummy" Sandifer, in comic and song: Too young to die, too young to kill. Plus: Beautyism, Mizzou and #BlackLivesMatter.


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Previously in Free Spirit Media:
* Free Spirit Media On The Road.

* Chicago Public Schools: Closed.

* Chicago Producers On The Rise.

* Kay Kay & Von Von.

* Free Spirit Local TV News.

* Senioritis.

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See also:
* Free Spirit Media's YouTube channel.

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 3:15 AM | Permalink

Beachwood Photo Booth: Ad Deluxe

Sign man.

adeluxe.jpg(ENLARGE FOR PROPER VIEWING)

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More Chicago photography from Helene Smith.

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Helene on Twitter!

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Meet Helene!

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Stationery, iPhone cases, hoodies.

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

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Previously:
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Chicago Man Grilling
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Yum Yum Donuts
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Chicago Father's Day
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Vintage Airmaster
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Chicago Time
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Window Shade
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Illinois Slayer
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Chicago Fire Escape
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Golden Nugget
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Hollywood, Chicago
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Flag Man.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Van In Flames.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Fluid Power Automation.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Corn Dog.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Stop The Killing Car.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Chicago Backyard.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: A to Z Things.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Swedish Diner.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Rothschild Liquors.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Chicago Silos.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Chicago Wires.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Orange Garden.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Irving Park Guy.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Chicago Pigeons.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: O'Lanagan's.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: For Rent.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Marie's Pizza & Liquors.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Mori Milk.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: American Breakfast.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: A Chicago Christmas Postcard.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Holiday Harold's.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Chicago Family Fun.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Snow Bike.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Nativity Scene.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Old Warsaw.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Deluxe Cleaners.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Marie's Golden Cue.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Die Another Day.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Sears Key Shop.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Window Dressing.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Jeri's Grill.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Barry's Drugs.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Liberty.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Chicago Kitchen.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Golden Specials.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: We Won The Cup.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Bartender Man.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Blue Plane Blues.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Finest Quality.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Family Guy.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Girls Wanted.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Skokie Savanna.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Signpost.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Old Man And The Tree.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Street Fleet.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Citgo Story.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Fantasy Hair Design.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Chicago Garage.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Clark Stop.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Pole Position.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Window Dressing.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Chicago Geometry.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Found Love.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Fill In The Blank.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Vacuums Of The Night.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Dumpster Still Life.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Wagon Master.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Intersecting West Rogers Park.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Penn-Dutchman Antiques.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Cow Patrol.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Backstage Chicago.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Skully Bungalow.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Francisco Frankenstein.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Long Cool Heat.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Smokers' Mast.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Big Fat Phone.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Happy Day.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Alley Men.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Holiday Show!
* Beachwood Photo Booth: You've Got Mailbox.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Broken Window Theory.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Dali Logan.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Svengoolie.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Horner Park Hot Dogs.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Cubs Rehab.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: 20th Century Schizoid Man.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Men On Vans.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Penn-Dutchman Is Done.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Snowy Lincoln.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Waiting Room.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Avondale Chicken.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Winter's End.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: The Friendly Skies.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Boyhood Buzzer Beater.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: J Date.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: International Window Lady.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Shanghai Inn.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Open For Business.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Andersonville Unplugged.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: 3-Flat.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Evanston Turkey.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Chicagolandia.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Eat At Odge's.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Deitch Pharmacy.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Sud-Z Bubble.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Bands Wanted!
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Belmont Tavern.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Superheroic San Luis Freeze.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Evanston Oasis.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Lyndale Food & Jewelry.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Lincoln Tap.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Book Window.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Alco Dude.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Ballin Drugs.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Don't Worry, Be Cookie.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Four Trey.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: The Office.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: America From Inside The Golden Nugget In Ravenswood.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Cellphone Repair.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Boots 'N' Grill.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Sunrise Strip.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: At The Corner Of Glad And Happy.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Uptown Autumn Night.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Diner.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Mid-Century Modern Halloween.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Autumn Station Wagon.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Betty's & Nick's.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Ohio House Impact.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: End School Zone.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Portage Park Peek-A-Boo.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: South Side Sundown.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Susie's Drive-Thru.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Holiday Ham.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Food & Liquor, Milhouse.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: O'Hare Blue Line Man.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Schwing!

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 2:44 AM | Permalink

January 21, 2016

The [Thursday] Papers

Things got away from me today. Back tomorrow.

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Planet X At The Adler
It's a whole new universe, folks!

Memoir Wars
Rock drummer dude vs. Kristin Cavallari.

The Jay Williams Story
Broken Dreams, Broken Leg, Oprah & ESPN.

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BeachBook

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The Beachwood Tip Line: Blow your cover.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 11:36 AM | Permalink

The Jay Williams Story: Broken Dreams, Shattered Leg, Oprah & ESPN

"Like millions of kids before him, Jay Williams used to pretend he was making the game-winning shot while playing basketball in his Plainfield, New Jersey, backyard," the jacket copy of Williams' new book says.

"Unlike almost all of those other kids, he kept right on making shots until he became an NCAA champion and two-time national player of the year at Duke and the number-two overall NBA draft pick in 2002.

"But after just one season with the Chicago Bulls, a team starved for a new messiah since Michael Jordan's retirement, Williams destroyed his career when he suffered a horrific motorcycle accident. In an instant, the man with as fast a first step as any point guard in history could no longer do anything for himself, including walk.

In Life Is Not an Accident, Jay Williams shares his story - both heartbreaking and uplifting - of being a young man trying to wrest control of his life from his overinvolved parents, from the pleasures and perils of fame and money, and from the near-fatal mistake that threatened to define him.

"After a decade spent recovering from his injuries - the rehabilitations, the comeback attempts, the professional forays into the seedy underside of sports agenting - Williams recounts with a rare honesty his hard-fought path to college basketball stardom and the painful lessons he's learned while reconstructing his fractured adulthood.

"Life Is Not an Accident is also Williams's tribute to the many angels who helped him survive, including his mother, his first love, and his legendary Duke basketball coach, Mike Krzyzewski.

"Now in his 30s and an ESPN college basketball analyst, Jay Williams is happy with the man he has become - and convinced that the crash that almost killed him at 21 was no accident, but a tragedy that taught him how to live."

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Williams is scheduled to appear at Anderson's Bookshop in Naperville on Thursday, February 4th, at 7 p.m. The event is free.

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Broken Dreams.

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The Leg.

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Oprah.

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 10:21 AM | Permalink

Local Book Notes: Memoir Wars - Drummer vs. Kristin Cavallari

"Chicago Review Press has set a May 1 release date for Stick It!: My Life Of Sex, Drums, And Rock 'N' Roll, the new autobiography from legendary rock drummer Carmine Appice," Blabbermouth reports.

"The book was co-written by Ian Gittins, who wrote The Heroin Diaries with Motley Cure bassist Nikki Sixx.

"Official book description: 'Carmine Appice has enjoyed a jaw-dropping rock-and-roll life - and now he is telling his scarcely believable story. Appice ran with teenage gangs in Brooklyn before becoming a global rock star in the Summer of Love, managed by the Mob.

"He hung with Hendrix, unwittingly paid for an unknown Led Zeppelin to support him on tour, taught John Bonham to play drums (and helped Fred Astaire too), and took part in Zeppelin's infamous deflowering of a groupie with a mud shark.

"After enrolling in Rod Stewart's infamous Sex Police, he hung out with Kojak, accidentally shared a house with Prince, was blood brothers with Ozzy Osbourne and was fired by Sharon.

"He formed an all-blond hair-metal band, jammed with John McEnroe and Steven Seagal, got married five times, slept with 4,500 groupies - and, along the way, became a rock legend by single-handedly reinventing hard rock and heavy metal drumming.

"His memoir, Stick It!, is one of the most extraordinary and outrageous rock-and-roll books of the early twenty-first century."

Heh-heh. Maybe. Read the comments.

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You may not have heard of Carmine Appice, but some rate him very highly.

Glowing Girl
Kristin Cavallari's Memoir Is More Than 200 Pages Long.

Due out in March.

See also: 500 Days of Kristin.

Wordless Classics
"Nicholas Rougeux is a designer and artist from Chicago who decided to see what it would look like if all the words were removed from classic pieces of literature," Wired reports.

"The result is Between The Words, a series of posters that celebrates the dots, dashes, and quotation marks sprinkled throughout iconic literary works. Rougeux started making his swirling designs by pulling in the text of all nine books from Project Gutenberg. From there he used a software called RegExr to strip the text of words, line breaks, spaces and numbers, leaving just lines of shapes and symbols that he would later swirl into a vortex of typographical confetti."

Making Book
"If you love to bet on the ponies, then in Bookmaking, Horse Racing, and Sports Betting: An American History, Arne K. Lang you'll get a sweeping overview of legal and illegal sports and race betting in the United States, from the first thoroughbred meet at Saratoga in 1863 through the modern day," Rowman & Littlefield says.

"The cultural war between bookmakers and their adversaries is a recurring theme, as bookmakers were often forced into the shadows during times of social reform, only to bloom anew when the time was ripe. While much of bookmaking's history takes place in New York, other locales such as Chicago, Las Vegas, and Atlantic City - not to mention Cyberspace - are also discussed in this volume."

The book is due out in July.

Map Rap
"With The Curious Map Book, Ashley Baynton-Williams gathers an amazing, chronologically ordered variety of cartographic gems, mainly from the vast collection of the British Library," the University of Chicago Press says.

"He has unearthed a wide array of the whimsical and fantastic, from maps of board games to political ones, maps of the Holy Land to maps of the human soul. In his illuminating introduction, Baynton-Williams also identifies and expounds upon key themes of map production, peculiar styles, and the commerce and collection of unique maps. This incredible volume offers a wealth of gorgeous illustrations for anyone who is cartographically curious."

1206-BKS-Hammer-master675.jpg

"The most eye-catching selections in The Curious Map Book, however, are a series of anthropomorphic maps from the 19th century that satirize the geopolitical tensions of the era," Joshua Hammer writes for the New York Times.

"One exquisite creation, drawn by the lithographic artist and caricaturist Joseph John Goggins, probably in Dublin, in 1870, portrays Europe as a menagerie of grotesque humans and beasts in sometimes bellicose ­poses.

"Prussia, an obese Bismarckian figure wearing a Pickel­haube - a spiked military helmet - has one fat knee in the chest of a prostrate Austria while thrusting the other toward a bearded, alarmed France. (This was just before the outbreak of the Franco-­Prussian War.)

"An indolent Turkey, portrayed as a veiled young woman, sucks languorously on an opium pipe; to the east, a simian Russia bares its teeth and threatens to gobble up the rest of the continent.

"In much the same vein, two anthropomorphic maps from the turn of the 20th century portray imperial Russia - then wrestling with Britain in the Great Game and preparing for war with Japan - as an octopus, its tentacles reaching toward both Europe and Asia.

"'China feels the power of her suckers,' proclaims the legend in a 1900 cartoon by Fred W. Rose, 'and two of her tentacles are invidiously creeping towards Persia and Afghanistan, while another is feeling for any vantage where Turkey may be once more ­attacked.'"

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 9:03 AM | Permalink

At The Adler | A Real Ninth Planet!

The Adler Planetarium is excited to announce the release of their newest sky show set to open on May 28th. The sky show, still to be titled, will explore the largest of Pluto's neighbors in the Kuiper belt and invites visitors to join in the hunt for a new ninth planet.

The observable universe is more than 90 billion light-years across, and most of it is empty space. For centuries, astronomers have used math and physics to light the way. Decades before Clyde Tombaugh first observed Pluto, astronomers Percival Lowell and William Henry Pickering had predicted the existence of a mysterious Planet X in the same celestial neighborhood.

While Pluto's planetary status has been hotly debated among the general public since the International Astronomical Union demoted (or "reclassified") it as a dwarf planet in 2006, scientists have been exploring the rich class of worlds to which Pluto now belongs: the objects of the Kuiper belt. Their work has led them to consider a surprising possibility: that a true ninth planet, far beyond the orbit of Neptune, has been out there all along.

"We are excited to be releasing our newest sky show, especially in light of news on a potential ninth planet lurking in our solar system," says Mark SubbaRao, Ph.D., astronomer and Director of the Space Visualization Laboratory at the Adler Planetarium.

"After Mike Brown's lecture at the Adler last spring, we decided to collaborate on a sky show. Already in production for months, we were able to get ahead of the curve and give our visitors a glimpse into the very latest science, including the evidence as to why we think another large planet is out there."

Explore these dwarf planets with Mike Brown and his Caltech team in the Adler's new sky show!

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Eris

The discovery of Eris prompted the International Astronomical Union to agree on an official definition of "planet" in 2006. Eris is almost exactly the same size as Pluto, yet it weighs 25 percent more. It is also remarkably bright, reflecting 97 percent of the light it receives from the Sun. To put that in perspective, the moon reflects just 12 percent of the Sun's rays.

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Haumea

Shaped like a football, Haumea rotates incredibly fast - once every four hours! This object's fast rotation causes its unusual shape. Were it rotating more slowly, gravity would pull it into a sphere, which is why it qualifies as a dwarf planet even though it isn't round.

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Sedna

Sedna's orbit takes it deep into the far reaches of the solar system, almost 20 times as far as Pluto ever goes. A year on Sedna is 11,400 times as long as a year on Earth! But perhaps the most interesting thing about Sedna is the hints it gives us that there are many more objects yet to be found at the edges of our cosmic backyard.

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See also:

* Gizmodo: Mysterious Planet X Could Be The Ninth Planet In Our Solar System.

* Astronomy: Researchers See Signs Of A Real Planet X.

* Heavy: Is The Planet X Myth Real?

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 2:20 AM | Permalink

January 20, 2016

The [Wednesday] Papers

"Republican legislative leaders on Wednesday are expected to unveil proposals to allow Chicago Public Schools to declare bankruptcy and to put the financially struggling school district under state supervision, sources said Tuesday," the Tribune reports.

"It's the latest move as Gov. Bruce Rauner and Mayor Rahm Emanuel continue to play the blame game over CPS' $480 million budget shortfall that threatens layoffs and has led to heavy borrowing to keep the state's largest school district afloat.

"House Republican leader Jim Durkin and Senate Republican leader Christine Radogno are scheduled to unveil the proposals at a Wednesday morning news conference."

I could be wrong, but it's hard not to see this as a ham-handed negotiating tactic designed to put pressure on Emanuel and House Speaker Michael Madigan to cut a deal. The problem is that doubling down by introducing a hostile, extreme proposal is exactly the wrong thing this situation needs right now; essentially Republicans are making a threat that will almost certainly prove empty. This is a time for carrots, not sticks. Unfortunately, the governor does not seem to have that tactic - otherwise known as governing - in his toolkit.

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This tweet also adds a nice dimension to the discussion. (I'm not embedding it here because Twitter is still working on a fix for a coding change that is breaking pages on sites built a certain way, like mine. I'm assured the fix is coming; we'll see. That's why any page on this site with an embedded tweet on it right now is broken.)

To which I added this.

But I digress.

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"Declaring bankruptcy would allow the district to ditch its union contracts, which dovetails with Rauner's broader union-weakening push."

Here's the scary part: Maybe it's not a negotiating tactic at all, but what they've wanted all along. Raise Your Hand tweeted this:

"in 2012 on @wttw Chi tonight, @GovRauner said if it were up to him, he'd blow up the district and create small networks of contract scls."

You can hear it for yourself at the 10:17 mark.

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Tactic or goal, it's really not the governor's business to decide how the city of Chicago runs its schools. (Maybe he should focus on how New Trier High School is run; it wasn't good enough for his daughter, so he clouted her into . . . a Chicago public school.)

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LOL ABC7: Emanuel, Rauner Appear Optimistic About Ongoing CPS Talks.

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Irony Is Dead, Pt. 3,293,973
Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel To Speak At Mayors' Meeting On Reducing Violence And Strengthening Police/Community Trust.

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See also: Rahm Emanuel Faces Wrath Of Chicago's Black Community Over Police Violence.

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BeachBook

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The Beachwood Tip Line: To the lowest bidder.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 7:29 AM | Permalink

January 19, 2016

SportsMondayTuesday: Rose In, Noah Out, Bulls Win

Derrick Rose plays clueless basketball in the first six minutes on Monday afternoon, hoisting numerous ill-advised shots of the sort he has been missing all season, and a fan thinks maybe those who have called for his benching recently have a point as the Bulls fall behind by 13.

This comes on the heels of Rose giving even more clueless than usual answers to questions in interviews for the last six months, leading that same fan to also wonder whether Rose will ever make the kind of commitment to a team that it must have to even begin to contend for a championship.

But down the stretch, Rose is a big part of a highly satisfying run that enables the Bulls to knock off a nemesis, the Detroit Pistons, 111-101, for one of their most impressive road wins of the season. They enter this week tied for third in the Eastern Conference, with a 24-16 record at the midpoint of the season.

And then later on Monday, the fan watches the Golden State Warriors absolutely obliterate the Cavaliers in Cleveland - a 132-98 final that wasn't even that close - and thinks that none of this stuff really matters anyway because the Warriors are completely dominant. And oh by the way they are coming to town on Wednesday.

The Bulls game was a microcosm of the season's first 40 games - irritating in various ways but successful in the end (I'm guessing most Bulls fans would be good with top four in the conference in the final standings). Rose's 20 points included a couple vintage driving layups late in the fourth that took most of the steam out of the Pistons. It was another compelling chapter in the As the Rose Turns soap opera, but that is only one of numerous storylines playing out with this team.

First and foremost is the fact that Monday's action was the first game of the probable post-Joakim Noah era. And the only thing to be said regarding that is, "What the hell happened?"

How the heck did Noah go from "Defensive Player of the Year" to hobbled has-been (out for the season with a dislocated shoulder and free agent thereafter) so quickly? I am confident in the future I will remember the big guy first and foremost as one of my absolute favorite all-time Bulls, but the team is 10-2 without him this year.

One would have thought rookie big man Bobby Portis would be a big part of the team moving on, but he must have done something to piss off Fred Hoiberg because he played only three minutes against the Pistons and has spent the vast majority of his time glued to the bench lately.

Portis is one of several young players who put the lie to the idea that this Bulls team is on "one last run" to try to contend for a championship. The team is actually transitioning to a new generation of players with whom it will rise and fall, and even though Portis is in the doghouse now, he will have to be a big part of that process.

Yes, veteran Pau Gasol's dominant 31 points were the biggest reason the Bulls beat the Pistons, but even if the Bulls found a way to sign him in the off-season (Gasol has said he will probably opt out of this contract and become a free agent at the end of the year) he is a short-term fix.

Another member of the next generation, Doug McDermott, had a good offensive game against the Pistons (11 points in large part thanks to 3-of-4 shooting from behind the arc) and has improved on the other end of the court this year. But too frequently he still plays defense like a puppy, so eager to please the coaches/owners with his effort/affection that he does aggravatingly stupid things/damages stuff when he overdoes it.

It all adds up to a team in flux. Rose's words of late have been disconcerting but his performance actually continues to improve on the court. He will have to find ways to stay there (i.e., not miss games every three weeks or so with soreness) but his creating a great backcourt with Jimmy Butler continues to be the Bulls' best chance to do special things.

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Jim "Coach" Coffman is our man on Mondays, except when he is our man on Tuesdays. He welcomes your comments.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 9:52 AM | Permalink

The [Tuesday] Papers

How much of Chicago is under investigation right now? Not enough!, I write for The Youth Project. Check it out, share, comment, etc.

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Krafty Kurt
"Earlier this month, City Treasurer Kurt Summers took to Facebook to laud a post that the Rev. Michael Pfleger had put up on the social media site blasting Mayor Rahm Emanuel's administration. Was Summers' decision to draw attention to Pfleger's criticism a way for the treasurer to distance himself from the very mayor who appointed him to his current job?" Bill Ruthhart writes for the Tribune.

Here is that Facebook post:

I appreciate my friend, Father Michael Pfleger for his tremendous voice and timely message. This is a message I...

Posted by Kurt Summers on Sunday, January 3, 2016

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"At the time, Summers' office did not grant requests for an interview. But after Summers hosted a Martin Luther King Jr. event Monday, the treasurer took questions. Summers' answers showed he's trying to walk a fine line between not criticizing the man who helped him get his political start while also reacting to the public outrage and displeasure with Emanuel's response to the Laquan McDonald shooting by police."

Emphasis mine, because while Summers wasn't taking questions, and then when he was, he behaved with the typical cover, opaqueness and spin he decries here:

"We need REAL #transparency and #accountability from our public servants: elected, appointed AND sworn," Summers wrote. "Not the typical cover and opaqueness that is created by media/political spin and self-perpetuating system of governance without public engagement or representation."

To wit:

Asked twice Monday if he believed Emanuel mishandled the McDonald case, Summers was careful not to mention the mayor. Instead, Summers generally criticized public officials for couching on issues, even as he didn't directly address the question about the mayor's decisions in the McDonald case.

"I have concerns about the way that elected officials and politicians, in general, position information with spin and with couching and a way that's not the most transparent to the electorate and to the people that they serve. None of us are absolved in that," Summers said. "Fundamentally, this is bigger than one office and one person and one incident. It's pervasive, and it's a call for all of us to do better. It shouldn't be about spin, it should be about fact."

Kurt Summers, you are Today's Worst Meta-Person In Chicago.

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But wait, there's more:

Emanuel appointed Summers as treasurer in fall 2014, which gave the ambitious politician a leg up in running unopposed for the office last February. Summers previously worked as a senior vice president at Grosvenor Capital Management, a firm run by Emanuel's No. 1 campaign donor and close friend Michael Sacks. Summers has been mentioned as a possible mayoral contender in 2019.

On Monday, Summers held an event with several prominent African-American state lawmakers, aldermen and candidates for state's attorney and U.S. Senate to announce 11 financial literacy events across the city to help empower those who live in disadvantaged neighborhoods. McDonald's name was invoked by pastors who spoke at the event held at the Stone Temple Baptist Church in Lawndale, where Martin Luther King Jr. often preached during his time in Chicago.

None of the several speakers, including Summers during his two turns at the microphone, mentioned Emanuel during the hourlong event. Asked afterward if Emanuel was invited, Summers said yes, but that the mayor had attended a different interfaith event at the same church earlier in the day.

Emanuel had no events listed on his public schedule Monday.

Also, not mentioned in Ruthhart's report: On Friday, Summers attended both the mayoral's MLK breakfast and the protest MLK breakfast attended by pastors boycotting the mayor's event. (See the item Summers Time; he looked pretty chummy with Rahm.)

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See also: Item: Treasurer's Turkey Trot.

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Rose In, Noah Out, Bulls Win
Team transitioning on the fly.

Mardi Gras On Mars
A once-in-a-lifetime event.

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BeachBook

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I mentioned John Kass in this capacity - and there are others - in my column this morning at beachwoodreporter.com.

Posted by The Beachwood Reporter on Monday, January 18, 2016

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*

*

Because everyone wants to be friends with a Politico reporter.

Posted by The Beachwood Reporter on Monday, January 18, 2016

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The Beachwood Tip Line: The other side of summer.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 9:39 AM | Permalink

At The Adler | Mardi Gras On Mars

Mardi Gras is a huge celebration marked with festive street parties, masked balls, and lots of colorful beads. But why should the party begin and end on this planet? It's about time we take the festivities further into our Solar System and celebrate Mars.

On February 6th, we're saying goodbye to Earth and heading to Mars for a once-in-a-lifetime event. Guests will be transported to the Red Planet, masquerade as the first Martians, and experience first-hand what it would be like to live, work, and play on Mars. Join us on this once in a lifetime Mars-di Gras mission and let the good times rove!

Planned Martian Festivities:

Exploring Mars With Emily Lakdawalla
Was Mars ever warm and wet? Or always cold and dry? Was there Martian life? Many orbiters, landers, and rovers have been sent to Mars to attempt to answer these questions. Thanks to a recent renaissance in Mars exploration, we now have a new picture of Mars as a complex world with a rich history. The Planetary Society's Emily Lakdawalla will discuss Mars and explain the science of the Red Planet with stunning photos.

Welcome To Mars
For one day only, we're turning an exhibit into Mars! Discover new planting techniques with Plant Chicago as they showcase three out-of-this-world demos. Demos include aquaponics (goldfish and edible plants), mushroom log (mushrooms growing on organic matter such as sawdust or straw), and algae bio-reactor (algae growing from waste, food for fish). Then leave the safety of the Martian lab behind and venture out onto the surface as an astro-geologist and uncover unique samples from our Mars-Dig-Rocks! dig site.

Robotics Zoom-In
Mars-di Gras enthusiasts will have the opportunity to command a robot through a variety of challenges and learn more about the rovers that have traveled on Mars.

Mapping Mars
How will we find our way on Mars when we get there? Learn how astronomers and planetary scientists have been mapping Mars over the last 150 years, and make your own Mars globes!

Masquerade On Mars
Design and decorate you very own Martian spacesuit helmet. When you're living on Mars, you'll need a helmet that not only works well and feels good, but looks good too!

Humans Of Mars Photo-Op
The Humans of Mars photo booth gives Earth dwellers a chance to capture a memento from their travels on Mars. Deck yourself out in helmets, masks and the finest jewels the Red Planet has to offer. Post your photo on Twitter or Instagram with the hashtag #AdlerMarsDiGras or #HumansOfMars for a stellar memento of an out-of-this-world celebration!

Lowdown Brass Band
Mars-di Gras wouldn't be complete without a roaming jazz band! Hailing from Chicago, the Lowdown Brass Band (LDB) is a horn-driven tour-de-force. Featuring dynamic vocals, hip-hop MCs, and body movement, LDB will have everyone up on their feet!

Mars Drop
NASA has researched the possibilities of launching a glider on Mars through the Mars X Plane project. Take up the challenge yourself and launch your personally designed glider from a high altitude balloon floating above you! Will yours fly the farthest?

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This event is FREE with General Admission.

More information here.

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Mars 101.

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 12:42 AM | Permalink

January 18, 2016

The Weekend In Chicago Rock

You shoulda been there.

1. The Go! Team at Lincoln Hall on Saturday night.


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2. Dorian Taj at Martyrs' on Friday night.

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3. Javelin at Lincoln Hall on Saturday night.

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4. Torres at Lincoln Hall on Friday night.

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5. Palehound at Lincoln Hall on Friday night.

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6. JD's Revenge at Reggies on Sunday night.

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7. San Fermin at the Athenaeum Theater on Thursday night.

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8. The Wailers at the House of Blues on Thursday night.

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9. Panther Style at Cobra Lounge on Saturday night.

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10. Julien Baker at Lincoln Hall on Friday night.

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 9:19 AM | Permalink

The Gang Of 62 Vs. The World

Politicians and business leaders gathering in the Swiss Alps this week face an increasingly divided world, with the poor falling further behind the super-rich and political fissures in the United States, Europe and the Middle East running deeper than at any time in decades.

Just 62 people, 53 of them men, own as much wealth as the poorest half of the entire world population, and the richest 1 percent own more than the other 99 percent put together, anti-poverty charity Oxfam said on Monday.

Significantly, the wealth gap is widening faster than anyone anticipated, with the 1 percent overtaking the rest one year earlier than Oxfam had predicted only a year ago.

2016-01-18T083154Z_1_LYNXNPEC0H0BH_RTROPTP_4_DAVOS-MEETING.JPG

Rising inequality and a widening trust gap between people and their political leaders are big challenges for the global elite as they converge on Davos for the annual World Economic Forum, which runs from Jan. 20 to 23.

But the divisions go far beyond those that exist between the haves and have-nots. In the Middle East, the divide between Shi'ites and Sunnis has reached crisis point, with Iran and Saudi Arabia jostling openly for influence in a region reeling from war and the barbarism of Islamic extremists.

The conflicts there have spilled over into Europe, causing deep ideological rifts over how to handle the worst refugee crisis since World War Two and - with Britain threatening to leave the European Union - raising doubts about the future of Europe's six-decade push towards ever closer integration.

The shocking emergence of Donald Trump as the front-runner for the Republican presidential nomination has exposed a gaping political divide in the United States, stirring anxiety among Washington's allies at a time of global turmoil.

Among the key figures in Davos, will be U.S. Vice President Joe Biden, Secretary of State John Kerry, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and the foreign ministers of both Iran and Saudi Arabia.

Canada's new Prime Minister Justin Trudeau will be on hand, as will Britain's David Cameron and Mario Draghi at a time when a new transatlantic monetary policy divide is opening up between his loosening European Central Bank and a tightening U.S. Federal Reserve.

Celebrities will also be out in force, including film stars Leonardo Di Caprio and Kevin Spacey.

FUELING POPULISTS

Edelman's annual "Trust Barometer" survey shows a record gap this year in trust between the informed publics and mass populations in many countries, driven by income inequality and divergent expectations of the future. The gap is the largest in the United States, followed by the UK, France and India.

"The consequence of this is populism - exemplified by Trump and Le Pen," Richard Edelman, president and CEO of Edelman, told Reuters, referring to French far-right leader Marine Le Pen, whose National Front has surged ahead of traditional parties in opinion polls.

The next wave of technological innovation, dubbed the fourth industrial revolution and a focus of the Davos meeting, threatens further social upheaval as many traditional jobs are lost to robots.

The Oxfam report suggests that global inequality has reached levels not seen in over a century.

Last year, the organization has calculated, 62 individuals had the same wealth as 3.5 billion people, or the bottom half of humanity. The wealth of those 62 people has risen 44 percent, or more than half a trillion dollars, over the past five years, while the wealth of the bottom half has fallen by over a trillion.

"Far from trickling down, income and wealth are instead being sucked upwards at an alarming rate," the report says.

It points to a "global spider's web" of tax havens that ensures wealth stays out of reach of ordinary citizens and governments, citing a recent estimate that $7.6 trillion of individual wealth - more than the combined economies of Germany and the UK - is currently held offshore.

"It's a major wake-up call," said Jyrki Raina, general secretary of IndustriALL Global Union, which represents 50 million workers in 140 countries in the mining, energy and manufacturing sectors. "Inequality is one of the biggest threats to economic well-being and it needs to be addressed."

U.S. President Barack Obama touched on the issue in his recent State of the Union address, noting that technological change was reshaping the planet.

"It's change that can broaden opportunity, or widen inequality. And whether we like it or not, the pace of this change will only accelerate," he said.

"Companies in a global economy can locate anywhere, and face tougher competition . . . As a result, workers have less leverage for a raise. Companies have less loyalty to their communities. And more and more wealth and income is concentrated at the very top."

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It's only getting worse.

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 4:12 AM | Permalink

Game, Set, Match-Fixing

World tennis was rocked on Monday by allegations that the game's authorities have failed to deal with widespread match-fixing, just as the Australian Open, the first grand slam tournament of the year, kicked off in Melbourne.

Tennis authorities rejected reports by the BBC and online BuzzFeed News, which said 16 players who have been ranked in the top 50 had been repeatedly flagged to the Tennis Integrity Unit (TIU) over suspicions they had thrown matches in the past decade.

Eight of those players were taking part in the Australian Open, the BBC and BuzzFeed News said.

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Banned for life.

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The media reports, which follow corruption scandals in world soccer and athletics, created a stir at the event at Melbourne Park, with players expressing surprise at the allegations.

"When I'm playing, I can only answer for me, I play very hard, and every player I play seems to play hard," women's world number one Serena Williams told reporters.

"If that's going on, I don't know about it."

Men's world No. 7 Kei Nishikori of Japan said he had not heard of any incidence of match-fixing.

The BBC and BuzzFeed News said the TIU, set up to police illegal activities in tennis, either failed to act upon information that identified suspicious behavior amongst players, or impose any sanctions.

All of the 16 players, including winners of grand slam titles, were allowed to continue competing, the media reports added.

TIU director of integrity Nigel Willerton told reporters in Melbourne he would not comment on whether any players on the pro tour were under investigation, saying it would be inappropriate to do so.

Reuters was unable to independently verify the findings by the BBC and BuzzFeed News, which said they had obtained documents that included the findings of an investigation set up in 2007 by the Association of Tennis Professionals (ATP), the governing body of men's professional tennis.

The BBC and BuzzFeed News said they had not named any players because without access to their phone, bank and computer records it was not possible to determine whether they took part in match-fixing.

"The Tennis Integrity Unit and the tennis authorities absolutely reject any suggestion that evidence of match fixing has been suppressed for any reason or isn't being thoroughly investigated," said ATP chairman Chris Kermode.

"While the BBC and BuzzFeed reports mainly refer to events from about 10 years ago, we will investigate any new information," Kermode told a hastily arranged media conference at Melbourne Park.

BETTING SYNDICATES

The media reports said the 2007 ATP inquiry found betting syndicates in Russia, northern Italy and Sicily making hundreds of thousands of pounds betting on games which investigators thought to be fixed.

Three of these games were at Wimbledon.

In a confidential report for tennis authorities in 2008, the inquiry team said 28 players involved in those games should be investigated but the findings were never followed up, the news organizations said.

Tennis authorities introduced a new anti-corruption code in 2009 but after taking legal advice were told previous corruption offenses could not be pursued, they added.

Craig Tiley, Tennis Australia chief executive and Australian Open tournament director, said the Melbourne event had robust anti-corruption systems place.

"All involved in the administration of the Australian Open will not tolerate any deviations from our values and rules at any level," Tiley said.

Kermode added he was disappointed the story had taken attention away from the tournament.

"We are confident that the Tennis Integrity Unit is doing what it can and tackles this issue very, very seriously," Kermode said.

TIU investigations had resulted in sanctions against 18 players, with six issued life bans, he added.

Kermode also rejected suggestions the TIU was under-resourced and did not have necessary enforcement powers.

Tennis authorities have pumped about $14 million into anti-corruption programs, Kermode added.

TIU's Willerton said they could ask for players' electronic communication devices, though those requests could be refused.

"If they don't then consent . . . that's called non-cooperation, and they can be reported and sanctioned for non-cooperation," Willerton said.

Independent Australian Senator Nick Xenophon said sports regulators were not rigorous enough and that the very nature of tennis made it possible to engage in spot fixing, where single events are manipulated to affect live betting odds.

Additional reporting by Martyn Herman and Matt Siegel.

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The report:

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 3:32 AM | Permalink

Jonathan Pie, TV Reporter! Sexy Skype

When did the news stop just doing the news? Just tell me the fucking news.


Election Night was like a fucking Pixar movie.

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Previously in Jonathan Pie, TV Reporter!:

* Jonathan Pie, TV Reporter! Explains The Economy.

* Jonathan Pie, TV Reporter! It's Shit Crap News, Tim.

* Jonathan Pie, TV Reporter! Is Going To Paris.

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

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

* Jonathan Pie, TV Reporter! Merry Fucking Christmas.

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

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Plus:

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And:

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 3:09 AM | Permalink

The [Monday] Papers

On April 8, 1967, the Chicago Tribune ran this "Guest Editorial" from the Cincinnati Enquirer:

The unctuous Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. has been something of a hindrance to the civil rights movement since he was awarded the Nobel Peace prize. Since the award, he has specialized in speaking in Olympian tones, rather than addressing himself to the practicalities of the civil rights movement.

However, he quite definitely crossed the line when he lent himself and his prestige to an "anti-Viet Nam War" rally in Chicago.

"This war," he said sonorously, "is a blasphemy against all that America stands for.

"We are arrogant in not allowing young nations to go thru the same growing pains of turbulence and revolution that characterized our history. We must combine the fervor of the civil rights movement with the peace movement. We must demonstrate, teach, and preach until the very foundations of our nation are shaken."

What Mr. King means by this he alone knows, but it would seem he is calling for a revolution - certainly he wants to fuse the civil rights movement with favor of the pro-Communist North Viet Nam aggression.

What arrant nonsense it is for Mr. King to say: "We are arrogant in not allowing young nations to go thru the same growing pains of turbulence and revolution that characterized our history."

Does he really equate a communist take-over with "growing pains"? Is being a victim of aggression something we should "allow young nations" to experience, as if it were part of a process of maturity?

Communists took part in some early phases of the civil rights movement, certainly not to help the Negro but to create as much dissension as possible, and the promises they made were about as valid as those made by Germany in World War I when it sought to enlist Mexican support by promising Mexico the southwestern part of the United States.

Also from the archives:

July 29, 1969: "Negro Clerics Indorse Daley Riot Warning."

"Twelve Negro clergymen from the west side congratulated Mayor Daley in his office yesterday on his strong warning Thursday to those who might try to incite violence in Chicago."

It's the standard script: The real problem is outside agitators and TV cameras.

The article ends this way:

"Rep. Roman C. Pucinski [D., Ill.] said after conferring with Daley in City Hall that the "same people who tore up Detroit" are in Chicago now trying to organize violence."

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Readers of this article were also alerted to see the editorial "Timely Warning," but I couldn't find it.

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On June 4, 1968, the Tribune editorialized that "The Militants Take Over."

Words and deeds alike make it clear that the militants are taking over the "poor people's march," just as a good many people expected they would.

Yesterday's stepped-up demonstrations followed the appointment of Hosea Williams, a rabble rouser of the first order, as field operations chief. He replaced the Rev. Jesse Jackson, a Chicagoan more closely associated with the milder tactics of the late Martin Luther King Jr.

You can catch up on the real Hosea Williams here.

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Continuing . . .

Mr. Williams lost no time over amenities. "We are going to start some demonstrations in this town," he said, "that those folks on Capitol hill ain't going to take . . . If the police want to use those clubs, we're going to give them a chance . . . the picnic is over."

The threat of violence was plain.

Yes - the threat of violence from the police, who would be given the opportunity to beat demonstrators silly.

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More . . .

He urged the cooperation of every marcher "who is prepared to go to jail . . . and who is prepared to get beat up."

Somehow the Trib read this to mean that those preparing to getting beat up were the ones preparing to commit violence.

*

Then . . .

It was inevitable that the militants would take over the march, partly because they have wanted to all along and partly because increased militancy is the only way to keep up the sagging morale in Resurrection City.

The only way things can go from here, if the marchers stay in Washington and turn to violence, is worse. Worse for the poor themselves, worse for the blacks, worse for Washington, and worse for the country. If there is no leadership left among the marchers sincere and intelligent enough to recognize this, then it will have to be up to the authorities of Washington, or to the federal government, or to Congress itself, to ring down the curtain on a performance which started out from good enough intentions but which is rapidly turning into a tragedy.

Let me assure you, the Tribune never thought this "performance" started out with "good enough intentions." Further, the only threat of violence seemed to be the Trib's wish for authorities to "ring down the curtain."

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If today's media pundits had been writing then, they'd have complained that ALL civil rights matter, not just the civil rights of blacks. I'm looking at you, John Kass.

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For all the violence whites have visited upon blacks in this country, white people sure have had a steady and outsized fear of black violence, and from what they can see, for no justifiable reason.

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See also:
* King in Chicago.

Daley went into a rage about King, calling him a sonafabitch, a prick, and a rabble-rouser.

* McClain's Pain.

How the Tribune's first black editorial writer learned to hate Chicago.

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Chicagoetry: Bare Trees
Fallen star men, lost heroes.

62 vs. 99
"Just 62 people, 53 of them men, own as much wealth as the poorest half of the entire world population, and the richest 1 percent own more than the other 99 percent put together, anti-poverty charity Oxfam said on Monday."

Game, Set, Match-Fixing
"16 players who have been ranked in the top 50 had been repeatedly flagged to the Tennis Integrity Unit over suspicions they had thrown matches in the past decade."

Sexy Skype
Faking TV news authenticity even better!

The Week In Chicago Rock
Featuring: The Go! Team, Dorian Taj, Javelin, Palehound, Torres, JD's Revenge, San Fermin, The Wailers, Panther Style, and Julien Baker.

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Must-See TV
British House Of Commons Debate On Barring Donald Trump From The U.K.
C-SPAN
7 p.m.
The British House of Commons debates a resolution to bar Donald Trump from the U.K. following the Republican presidential candidate's comments about Muslims. A petition to bar his entry received more than 560,000 signatures. (tvguide.com)

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BeachBook

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TweetWood
Will return once Twitter fixes the freakin' embed code it fucked up. Get it together, Twitter.

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The Beachwood Tip Line: House of Commons.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 2:55 AM | Permalink

Chicagoetry: Bare Trees

BARE TREES

Alone in the cold
Of a winter's day,
From the rostrum

Of a raised porch,
I survey
A horizon of bare trees.

My mind
Is at it again!

Mind, that factory
Of holy grails,
That gallery

Of smiles
Behind veils,
Projects itself

Once again
Seeking wisdom, solace
And even cheer.

A reprieve from fear.

Into nature:
Seeing grails, bulls
And bears

In the clouds
And stars.
And trees:

In every copse,
A calligraphy
Of bare branches,

Each a poem
In some pictorial language
Like Chinese.

The lines create
Not a representation
Of a sound symbol-not

A word to represent
A thing-but a picture
Of the thing

Itself.

Like the "word"
For sunset
In Chinese:

A tiny painting
Of the sun
Falling behind trees.

In every direction
From my humble rostrum,
Old growth trees

Represent a series
Of thick black line drawings
In the grey light.

At first, a mystery
To me. Then I see:
A blues for life

In an
Alien alphabet.
Cyrillic, perhaps?

Alien and yet
Somehow vaguely familiar.
My mind

Starts cracking code.
In every copse,
A calligraphy

Of heavy blues,
A crush of consecutive
Private traumas,

Fallen star men, lost heroes.

An elephant
In every room.
As when comes

The long, sleepless night.

A life's uncontainable grief-
Successfully repressed in the walking, waking
Hours merely as a matter

Of survival-

Overwhelms the still, prone self
Attempting another night's struggle
For relief.

Uncontainable, like
A bear in a chalice, or
A bull in a grail.

Alone in the cold
Of a winter's night,
Is it the joys,

Victories and triumphs
That invade? Hardly.
They're but a chalice

In a bear's paw,
A grail on a bull's
Tail.

My mind
Is at it again
And there is nothing

For it but endure,
Equivocate, evade.
Divert, distract,

Disassociate.
Amidst the oak, elm
And birch

The maples
Have the clearest, thickest
Lines, and mind

Apprehends the vision:
Bear in chalice,
Bull

In grail.
Dawn burns the demons
Away and suggests

A universality
To the night terrors.
Blues in calligraphy

Bared, released and
Commanding compassion
In every direction.

In the trees
My mind sees: not alone.
We share

These fears.

I raise
My grail of grief
To yours

And offer cheers.

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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 12:47 AM | Permalink

January 16, 2016

The Weekend Desk Report

"Seconds after a Chicago police officer opened fire on him as he ran from a South Side traffic stop, 17-year-old Cedrick Chatman had collapsed in the street when the officer's partner approached to take him into custody," the Tribune reports.

"I give up. I'm shot," Chatman said to Officer Lou Toth, according to Toth's statement to investigators at the scene.

A bullet had struck Chatman in the right side, pierced his heart and lodged in his spine. He died on the way to a hospital.

The detail of Chatman's last words was included in hundreds of pages of investigative records released by the city Friday that laid out how Chatman's suspected involvement in a violent robbery and carjacking ended with his fatal shooting less than a mile away.

The documents - which included detectives' reports from the scene, autopsy results, inventory logs, lineups and transcripts of witness interviews - show that Officer Kevin Fry consistently told investigators he saw Chatman turn with a dark object in his hand as he ran full speed across the busy South Shore neighborhood intersection in the early afternoon.

"Officer Fry said he believed that the object was a handgun and he was in fear of his partner's life, as Toth was in close proximity to the offender," said an incident report documenting Fry's initial interview with detectives. The object turned out to be a black iPhone box.

Why would someone point an iPhone box at a police officer?

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Meanwhile, just as I was asking myself while reading this story if the city always released this much information about police cases or if this was a new thing, because it struck me as a new thing, I came upon this part of the Trib's report:

"The document dump came a day after surveillance footage from Chatman's January 2013 shooting was released by the city as it works to change a long-standing policy to keep evidence in police shootings under wraps."

Good.

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Also of note:

"The officers' accounts differ from statements given to reporters by Pat Camden, a spokesman for the Fraternal Order of Police, shortly after the shooting . . .

"Camden has acknowledged in a recent deposition, however, that his statements to reporters in police-involved shootings are typically based on hearsay information relayed to him by a union representative at the scene, not details coming directly from investigators or the officer who opened fire."

1. My understanding is that the union rep would relay to Camden what the officer told the rep.

2. What the officer would tell the rep, and what the rep would tell Camden, which Camden would then tell reporters, would then never reflect poorly on the officer.

3. Did reporters know this is where Camden's information was coming from? And why would reporters accept what was said by a union PR guy with an obvious agenda and no information about the actual investigation? Did the Chicago police supervisor on the scene refuse to comment? Was CPD content to let Camden do their job for them?

4. Alternately, Camden says now he was just relaying hearsay, but maybe that's to cover his ass to avoid having to testify about who told him what in any particular case.

In any case, go read the whole thing.

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Beachwood Sports Radio: Why Is Everyone So Mad At The Bulls?
So much anger for a 23-156 team. Plus: Giving It Up For The Q Man. Giggity; Cutesy Cubs Convention Convenes; and Put Jason Benetti On The Board, Yes!

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The Sound Opinions Weekend Listening Report: "Sound Opinions remembers pioneering music icon David Bowie. The pop chameleon died of cancer on January 10, 2016. Hosts Jim and Greg also review the singer's new album Blackstar, which came out on his 69th birthday, only two days prior to his death."

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The CAN TV Weekend Viewing Report

Ashley Memorial Project

"Aldermen and Familia Latina Unida call on President Barack Obama to stop the deportation of non-citizen veterans and their families."

Saturday at 7:30 p.m. on CAN TV21 and online.

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Who Will Be Chicago's Next Police Superintendent?

"The Chicago Police Board receives community input on the search for the new Superintendent of Police."

Sunday at 9:30 a.m. on CAN TV21 and online.

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Media Coverage of Black Lives Matter

Journalists discuss Black Lives Matter media coverage at this event hosted by National Association of Black Journalists Chicago Chapter and the Chicago Headline Club.

Sunday at 12:30 p.m. on CAN TV21 and online.

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Weekend BeachBook

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The Weekend Desk Tip Line: It's a small world after all.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 11:04 AM | Permalink

January 15, 2016

The Beachwood Radio Sports Hour #85: Why Is Everyone So Mad At The Bulls?

So much anger for a 23-15 team. Plus: Giving It Up For The Q Man. Giggity; Cutesy Cubs Convention Convenes; and Put Jason Benetti On The Board, Yes!


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SHOW NOTES

* The Chicago Bears.

1:01: Everyone Angry The Bulls Are Just 23-15.

* Jimmy Butler's Force Of Will Carries Bulls To OT Win Over Sixers.

* Jimmy Butler Scored A Career-High 53 Points And E'Twaun Moore Had Seven Of His 14 Points In Overtime To Lead The Chicago Bulls To A 115-111 Victory Over The Philadelphia 76ers.

* Derrick Rose Sits As He Takes Big-Picture Approach To Season.

* Banged-Up Wizards Cruise Past Bulls For 114-100 Win.

* Do John Paxson And Gar Forman See What We See?

30:15: Giving It Up For The Q Man. Giggity.

* Joel Quenneville Becomes Second-Winningest Coach In NHL History With 783rd Career Victory.

* Andrew Shaw Scores Twice As Blackhawks Win Eighth Straight.

* Corey Crawford Spectacular As Blackhawks Win Ninth Straight.

* Quenneville Agrees To 3-Year Extension With Blackhawks.

49:10: Cutesy Cubs Convention Convenes.

* St. Louis Fans Rammed Again.

* Owners Were "Blown Away" By Differences Between Inglewood And Carson.

* Ricketts Family Now Owns 9 Rooftops, Launches New Website For Tickets.

1:02:00: Put Jason Benetti On The Board, Yes!

* Yes, Rhodes kept calling him Benedetti, just like he still refers to Addison Russell as Addison Reed. We all have our things.

STOPPAGE: 10:52

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

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 2:56 PM | Permalink

The [Friday] Papers

I thought this photo of a police officer standing with a boot on the dying Cedrick Chatman . . .

cedrick.jpg

. . . paired well with this photo of a black man who at least survived his encounter as a trophy:

black-man-chicago-police-antlers.jpg

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Summers Time
The CTU notes that city treasurer Kurt Summers was at their MLK breakfast this morning, held as an alternative to the mayor's breakfast out of anger at Rahm over the Laquan McDonald case, among other insults and missteps.

The Tribune's Bill Ruthhart notes, though, that Summers also attended Rahm's breakfast.

I note that Summers not only attended Rahm's breakfast, but looked awfully chummy with him (that's Kurt in the middle):

MLK-011616_27_58640431.jpg

"Food's a lot better over here, Chief!"

*

(Photo by Brian Jackson for the Sun-Times; I hope it's within fair use to steal it in this context. If not, I apologize and will remove, because I take that seriously.)

Summers is running for something; some say mayor. He's been visible at a bunch of community meetings in recent months all over the city. And he's adept at playing both sides of the street - he's a Preckwinkle guy who got appointed to his current job by the mayor.

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The Beachwood Radio Sports Hour #85 . . .
. . . is in production!

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Beachwood Photo Booth: Schwing!
Yeah, baby.

Put Jason Benetti On The Board, Yes
Either by dumb luck or savvy judgement, the Sox have hired a young guy who wasn't a former player ready and willing to regale fans with frequently embellished stories about his athletic past.

Study: General Assembly Not Elected With Consent Of Illinois Residents
Most pols are essentially party appointees.

The Week In Chicago Rock
Featuring: Black Road, Venom Inc, Tilted Fish, Lady Lamb, American Wrestlers, and Jazz Baat.

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BeachBook

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The Beachwood Tip Line: No shirt, no service.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 1:12 PM | Permalink

The Week In Chicago Rock

You shoulda been there.

1. Black Road at the Tree in Joliet on Sunday night.


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2. Venom Inc at Reggies on Monday night.

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3. Tilted Fish at Moe's Tavern on Wednesday night.

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4. Lady Lamb at Lincoln Hall on Wednesday night.

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5. American Wrestlers at Lincoln Hall on Wednesday night.

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6. Jazz Baat at the Hideout on Wednesday night.

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 6:47 AM | Permalink

Beachwood Photo Booth: Schwing!

Yeah, baby.

pacercloseorigJPG.jpg(ENLARGE FOR PROPER VIEWING)

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More Chicago photography from Helene Smith.

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Helene on Twitter!

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Meet Helene!

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Stationery, iPhone cases, hoodies.

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

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Previously:
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Chicago Man Grilling
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Yum Yum Donuts
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Chicago Father's Day
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Vintage Airmaster
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Chicago Time
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Window Shade
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Illinois Slayer
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Chicago Fire Escape
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Golden Nugget
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Hollywood, Chicago
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Flag Man.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Van In Flames.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Fluid Power Automation.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Corn Dog.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Stop The Killing Car.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Chicago Backyard.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: A to Z Things.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Swedish Diner.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Rothschild Liquors.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Chicago Silos.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Chicago Wires.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Orange Garden.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Irving Park Guy.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Chicago Pigeons.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: O'Lanagan's.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: For Rent.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Marie's Pizza & Liquors.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Mori Milk.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: American Breakfast.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: A Chicago Christmas Postcard.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Holiday Harold's.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Chicago Family Fun.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Snow Bike.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Nativity Scene.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Old Warsaw.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Deluxe Cleaners.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Marie's Golden Cue.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Die Another Day.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Sears Key Shop.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Window Dressing.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Jeri's Grill.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Barry's Drugs.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Liberty.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Chicago Kitchen.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Golden Specials.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: We Won The Cup.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Bartender Man.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Blue Plane Blues.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Finest Quality.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Family Guy.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Girls Wanted.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Skokie Savanna.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Signpost.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Old Man And The Tree.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Street Fleet.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Citgo Story.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Fantasy Hair Design.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Chicago Garage.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Clark Stop.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Pole Position.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Window Dressing.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Chicago Geometry.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Found Love.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Fill In The Blank.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Vacuums Of The Night.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Dumpster Still Life.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Wagon Master.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Intersecting West Rogers Park.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Penn-Dutchman Antiques.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Cow Patrol.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Backstage Chicago.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Skully Bungalow.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Francisco Frankenstein.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Long Cool Heat.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Smokers' Mast.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Big Fat Phone.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Happy Day.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Alley Men.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Holiday Show!
* Beachwood Photo Booth: You've Got Mailbox.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Broken Window Theory.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Dali Logan.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Svengoolie.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Horner Park Hot Dogs.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Cubs Rehab.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: 20th Century Schizoid Man.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Men On Vans.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Penn-Dutchman Is Done.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Snowy Lincoln.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Waiting Room.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Avondale Chicken.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Winter's End.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: The Friendly Skies.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Boyhood Buzzer Beater.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: J Date.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: International Window Lady.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Shanghai Inn.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Open For Business.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Andersonville Unplugged.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: 3-Flat.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Evanston Turkey.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Chicagolandia.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Eat At Odge's.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Deitch Pharmacy.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Sud-Z Bubble.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Bands Wanted!
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Belmont Tavern.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Superheroic San Luis Freeze.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Evanston Oasis.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Lyndale Food & Jewelry.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Lincoln Tap.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Book Window.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Alco Dude.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Ballin Drugs.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Don't Worry, Be Cookie.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Four Trey.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: The Office.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: America From Inside The Golden Nugget In Ravenswood.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Cellphone Repair.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Boots 'N' Grill.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Sunrise Strip.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: At The Corner Of Glad And Happy.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Uptown Autumn Night.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Diner.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Mid-Century Modern Halloween.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Autumn Station Wagon.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Betty's & Nick's.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Ohio House Impact.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: End School Zone.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Portage Park Peek-A-Boo.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: South Side Sundown.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Susie's Drive-Thru.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Holiday Ham.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Food & Liquor, Milhouse.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: O'Hare Blue Line Man.

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 12:46 AM | Permalink

January 14, 2016

Put Jason Benetti On The Board, Yes!

This is the right size and mercifully the right shape. We can sit back, relax and strap it down. Put it on the board. Yes!

Few of us had ever heard of 32-year-old Jason Benetti until he was named to the White Sox broadcast team on Wednesday. Before he so much as utters a word, though, it's safe to say his presence and voice will be a refreshing breeze in the team's media package. The predictable clichés, the ego-boosting hyperbole, and the "in my 55 years in baseball" of Ken (Hawk) Harrelson will be carried primarily when the Sox are on the road during the 2016 season while Benetti handles the home schedule.

Either by dumb luck or savvy judgement, the Sox have hired a young guy who wasn't a former player ready and willing to regale fans with frequently embellished stories about his athletic past. Benetti is a Sox fan from south suburban Homewood who graduated from Syracuse University's top-rated broadcast communications program and then earned a law degree from Wake Forest.

Like Chicago icon Jack Brickhouse, who began his long career in Peoria, Benetti has five years' experience in Syracuse calling the Triple-A Chiefs' games. Furthermore, a significant aspect of his biography includes the fact that he was born with cerebral palsy, so the guy has never so much as played Little League.

All of which means that dead time on the air will not be filled with fables about how the game was played 50 years ago when, for instance, Sudden Sam McDowell once threw something like 200 pitches in a major league game. What we are more likely to get is akin to Vin Scully or Denny Matthews - the longest-tenured broadcasters despite never playing the game professionally - who have a combined 122 years' broadcasting experience with the Dodgers and Royals, respectively.

Because most fans attend just a handful, if any, games a season, the connection to the team most often comes through radio and TV. Regardless of the outcome of the game, the experience can be pleasurable depending on our feelings about the men (and an occasional woman) describing the action.

Harrelson has represented that connection to the White Sox continuously since 1990. He first entered the Sox booth in 1982 until owner Jerry Reinsdorf, in arguably his worst move as the owner of the White Sox and Bulls, installed Harrelson as the team's general manager in 1986. Hawk inherited a team that had won 85 games the previous season.
However, during his one season as GM, Harrelson fired manager Tony LaRussa - he hired his close pal Jim Fregosi - and assistant GM David Dombrowski en route to a 72-90 record. The team didn't finished over .500 again until 1990, the year Harrelson returned as the voice of the White Sox.

To be clear, Harrelson is a much better play-by-play announcer than he was a general manager. And his Hawkisms have become a fixture in White Sox lore. However, like many aspects of our lives, things get stale over time unless there is an infusion of creativity and change. "You can put it on the board . . . Yes!" only works if it is one of a handful of repeatable mantras rather than pages and pages of them. Each game begins to sound like every other game when we know exactly what is coming next.

Much of Harrelson's time on the air dwells on the era when he played, which was just nine seasons, 1963-71. He abruptly left the Cleveland Indians as a bench player mid-season in 1971 to try his hand at professional golf.

(Note: Harrelson played in nine PGA tournaments, making one cut and earning a total of $570. He missed the cut by one stroke in the 1972 British Open.)

Harrelson at one time was among the elite hitters in the American League, leading all hitters with 109 RBI in 1968 while hitting 35 homers for the Red Sox. He was third in the MVP voting. Had he won the award, he would have had to share it with the Green Monster.

But he was always controversial, beginning with his days in Oakland where owner Charlie Finley released Hawk in August of 1967. Apparently Hawk wasn't pleased that Finley fired manager Alvin Dark. Just as apparent was Finley's displeasure at being called a "menace to baseball" by the outspoken Harrelson. Meanwhile, it took the Red Sox just three days to sign the new free agent.

Harrelson has been contemplating retirement for the past couple of years, citing the desire to spend more time with his family and the arduous 90-mile drive to the park from his home near South Bend. Making that drive after a night game is enough to exhaust most folks, let alone a 74-year-old. Hawk decided to return to a full schedule last year after a White Sox offseason he called "the best ever," buoying his hopes of one more World Series win.

In that regard, he's like the rest of us. If the Sox are competitive, we go to the ballpark. If not, we mostly stay away. Unlike our friends on the North Side who endured unrelenting losses until last season, Sox fans are discerning. Chances are if the White Sox fall flat again this season, Hawk will call it quits.

Which brings us back to Jason Benetti. Steve Stone will be sitting next to him to provide the comparisons to the game of yesteryear if need be. (It will be interesting to see just how close Stone sits to Benetti; Stone and Hawk reside about as far apart from one another as possible while still being in the same booth.)

The prospect of having a virtually unknown play-by-play announcer enter the scene creates curiosity about his style, knowledge, tone and accuracy. The one fact we know at this time is that the new addition will not be describing how the game was played years ago. He will not tell his listeners about the games he played or about the talent, antics, and habits of old teammates. Sorry, Yaz!

No, it's more likely that Jason Benetti will be a reporter who has done his homework. He will relate tidbits about the players on the field. Maybe he'll ask Stone about Robin Ventura's strategy or inject his own views whether a bunt or stolen base is in order. Duck snorts and cans of corns will recede into oblivion replaced by different words and phrases.

We don't know whether the Sox will be a better ballclub this season, but the change in the broadcast booth seems like the right step at the right time.

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Jason Benetti's Figures of Speech.

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 4:49 PM | Permalink

Study: General Assembly Not Elected By Consent Of Illinois Residents

Partisan redistricting of Illinois state legislative district maps has created continuing partisan bias in election outcomes while making it far less likely that voters will have a choice between candidates of both major parties in the general election, and voters in primary elections have even fewer choices, according to a new research report published by CHANGE Illinois.

"By any measure, the level of competition and competitiveness in legislative elections under the last four partisan maps is extremely low and getting worse," according to Partisan Advantage and Competitiveness in Illinois Redistricting.

"These findings call into question the effectiveness of legislative elections in providing a meaningful incentive for citizen engagement. They also undermine the conventional wisdom that the members of the Illinois General Assembly are elected by the consent of Illinois residents."

CHANGE Illinois published the new research, which was conducted by political reform veteran Cindi Canary and Kent Redfield, professor emeritus of political studies at the University of Illinois at Springfield.

It examines questions about whether the partisan advantage gained through a new legislative map has lasting effects beyond the first post-redistricting election and whether the lack of contested and competitive elections under such partisan legislative maps extends to primary elections as well as general elections.

The new report updates and expands the Canary-Redfield 2014 report, Backroom Battles & Partisan Gridlock: Redistricting in Illinois.

The report's findings include:

  • In 2012, Democratic candidates in the House won 52 percent of the total vote and 60 percent of the seats, and Democratic candidates in the Senate won 54 percent of the vote and 68 percent of the seats.

    In 2014 in a midterm election favoring Republicans, the partisan bias in the 2011 maps still delivered for Democratic candidates.

    While the margin in total votes cast for Democrats running in legislative elections shrank to a near-tie statewide, Democrats still won 71 House seats, a 60 percent majority.

    The Democrats also won 11 of the 19 Senate seats that were up in 2014 while receiving less than a majority of the total votes cast in those 19 districts.

  • The percentage of General Assembly elections featuring at least two candidates has decreased significantly over time.

    In the first election under a new map in 1982 and 1992, a strong majority of the elections were contested. By 2012, 60 percent of House elections and 51 percent of Senate elections were uncontested. In 2014, 58 percent of House elections were uncontested.

    Due to staggered terms, there was an election in only one-third of the Senate districts, and 12 of the 19 (63 percent) were uncontested.

  • The degree of competition in Illinois legislative elections is low and declining.

    When a winning candidate's vote total is 55 percent or less, the district is considered "competitive." On average over the past four decades, 88 percent of voters (104 of 118 House races, 52 of 59 Senate races) had no choice at all on the ballot or a choice between a sure winner and a sure loser.

  • There has been a dramatic increase in the number of legislators elected without even a token opponent in both the primary and the general election.

    In 1982, 20 of the 177 legislators elected faced no opponent in either the primary or the general. In 2012, 69 legislators had no opponent in both the primary and the general election - essentially given a free pass.

  • The number of "free pass" legislators elected increased in 2014 even though only one-third of the Senate was up for election.

    In 2014, 58 (49 percent) of those elected to the House did not have an opponent in the primary or the general election, as did 12 of 19 (63 percent) of those elected to the Senate.

  • Voters in primary elections have even fewer choices for participation, engagement, and communication than voters in general elections.

    In the 2014 primary election, 89 percent of House and 95 percent of the Senate legislative primaries were uncontested.

  • The level of primary activity in districts dominated by one party is very low and has decreased significantly under the last two partisan maps.

    Under the 2001 and 2011 maps, the average number of same-party competitive primaries in districts dominated by one party was 11 percent in the House and 4 percent in the Senate.

    This clearly indicates that voters in districts dominated by one political party in the general election were rarely presented with meaningful choices in the primaries.

"Illinois' partisan redistricting process undermines our democracy and discourages civic participation," said Ra Joy, executive director of CHANGE Illinois. "We need to put people before partisanship and have fair maps drawn by an impartial commission listening to voters and acting in the open. That's why CHANGE Illinois supports the Independent Map Amendment."

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See also:

* Take Back Illinois!

* The Redistricting Song.

* The City Council Just Secretly Redrew Your Ward.

* Obama's Gerrymander.

* Reboot Redistricting.

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 4:16 PM | Permalink

Local Book Notes: The Road From Slave Patrols To New Trier High School

1. "My great-grandfather Vincenzo negotiated Prohibition by fermenting two barrels of wine a year," James Marone writes for the New York Times.

"It was perfectly legal, he insisted. Vincenzo was lucky to be a New Yorker. In her fine history of Prohibition, The War on Alcohol, Lisa McGirr, a professor of history at Harvard, shows us that a poor Italian in Illinois or a black man in Virginia might very well have been jailed, shot or sentenced to a chain gang.

Indeed.

"Chain gangs are a far cry from Prohibition's lore, which imagines puritans winning a ban on liquor that America flatly rejected. Magazines gleefully published "bartender's guides," directing the thirsty to the nearest whiskey. The law spawned crime, shootouts and a kind of gangster romance embodied by Jay Gatsby. Worse, drinking became hip. Young people ­sported flasks and haunted speakeasies. Eventually, inevitably, the whole mess ­collapsed.

In reality, outlawing alcohol had many supporters and inspired more fervor than any reform except abolishing slavery. An extraordinary coalition conquered liquor. Women fought for protection from abusive husbands. Southern leaders grasped for more control over black lives. Progressive reformers attacked the workers' saloons where machine politicians swapped favors for votes. Western populists hoped to tame the urban Gomorrahs. Methodists funded the Anti-Saloon League, which grew so formidable it inspired a new term of political art - the interest group. With congressional ratification of the Prohibition amendment in 1920, alcoholism plummeted; drinking levels did not rebound to pre-Prohibition levels for half a century. The "noble experiment," as McGirr shows, reflected a deep heartland yearning to protect American health and morals from the rising tide of foreigners, cities, social problems and jazz.

McGirr makes two major contributions to the historical record. First, she vividly shows how enforcers targeted immigrant and black communities.

How much of America was built on those very motives?

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"During the 1910s, immigration reached its all-time high - 41 percent of New Yorkers had been born abroad - and, suddenly, there were more people in the cities than the countryside.

McGirr documents Prohibition's nativist spasm by zooming in on Herrin, Ill., where labor violence transformed into a war on Italian drinkers. Incredibly, national ­officials deputized the local Ku Klux Klan, which raided homes, rounded up violators and shot resisters.

See The Herrin Massacre.

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"In the South, blacks faced impossible fines or hard time. McGirr has less to say about the racial tangle of segregation, lynching and Prohibition - still the untold story of the era.

"Second, McGirr tells us that Prohibition gave birth to big government - an argument that could have a major impact on how we read American political history. The audacious effort to remake drinking habits required unprecedented authority: Federal police powers grew, jail construction boomed and courts turned to plea ­bargaining and parole.

"The War on Alcohol might have delved more deeply into the judiciary, which, over hundreds of cases, rewrote Fourth Amendment law (on search and seizure) and built a legal regime later deployed by the war on drugs."

2. "Vanessa Westley is a 25-year veteran of the Chicago Police Department. She is also a single, black mother with an 18-year-old son," Nissa Rhee writes for the Christian Science Monitor.

And with the recent police shootings of young, black men like Laquan McDonald in Chicago and elsewhere, she worries about her son's day-to-day activities.

"Do I have to walk the same course as any other mother who has a black son? Yes, I do," Ms. Westley says. "And it's a little harder for me because I go to work in the same system that we're concerned about."

African-Americans make up about a quarter of the police force in Chicago. But many officers, like Westley, say that the badge does not make them immune to the type of incidents that have made headlines in recent months, most notably the fatal shooting of Laquan. They recall being pulled over without reason by white cops when they're off-duty and talk about walking the "different lanes" of black and blue.

I'd like to see an in-depth examination of how black Chicago police officers feel about recent events. Until that happens, we do have an instructive book to guide us.

African-American officers have been dealing with racism on the job for decades, says Kenneth Bolton, a professor of criminal justice at Southeastern Louisiana University. Professor Bolton researched the experiences of black police officers while writing his book, Black in Blue: African-American Police Officers and Racism, and he says that every black officer he interviewed "experienced multiple instances of racism." These instances varied from graffiti on lockers to alienating comments made by coworkers about the black officers' hair or taste in music.

While Bolton says he "found racism to be throughout the institution," he says that discrimination in the police department and by police officers does not exist in a vacuum. African-American officers face some of the same challenges of racial inequity while wearing a uniform as they do off-duty.

3. "One of the country's top public high schools will be celebrating Martin Luther King Jr. Day with a mandatory series of seminars focused on topics like white privilege, white guilt, and the 'oppression' inherent in Illinois' public school system," the Daily Caller notes disapprovingly.

"New Trier High School is one of the country's top public high schools, located in the extremely wealthy Chicago suburb of Winnetka. The school is over 90 percent white and Asian, but it has an extremely ambitious program scheduled for MLK Day. It's planning to hold over 60 different seminars on topics of racial identity. The seminars will be presented by a mix of teachers, student groups, and outside experts from the Chicago area."

Good. But don't read the comments.

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"In addition to the many seminars, the MLK Seminar Day on Race will include a keynote address by Isabel Wilkerson, a journalist and the author of The Warmth of Other Suns, a Pulitzer Prize-winning book about the Great Migration of black Americans from the South into cities such as Chicago."

Taught to the kids whose parents were part of a different migration pattern. New Trier: mandatory meta-white privilege to think it's part of the solution, not part of the problem.

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 2:22 AM | Permalink

The [Thursday] Papers

Well, Twitter's done it again. Just like they did in August, Twitter changed its embed code in such a way, without warning, so as to cause embeds to widen beyond the breaking point of my pages and, presumably, the pages of many others on the Internet.

So right now, any page on the Beachwood with an embed code is kronked. That's a lot of them. In August, they found a solution for folks like me. Now I'm back on the case. If they don't fix it, I'm utterly fucked.

So I'm placing this unfinished column here now as a placeholder for the real thing so I don't have to look at my wrecked front page anymore. Let's hope this problem is solved soon. Until it is, I won't be embedding any new tweets on the site - but I will be posting as usual otherwise, including a real Papers column later this morning. below.

In the meantime, let's take this opportunity to let Beachwood reader Paul DiGiulio tell a few jokes.

1. New Gift Item: The Mayor Rahm Emanuel Action Figure.

Comes with an Elementary School and a Sledgehammer! First elementary school you break for free; the other 49 you have to buy and break separately.

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2. During Rahm's Cuban vacation (he was the keynote speaker for the Conference for Repressive Regimes), a truck-load of blankets and comforters were delivered to his office on the fifth floor at City Hall. He had them specially ordered for his next round of cover-ups!

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3. When Emanuel first became mayor in 2011, he did three things:

One: He closed libraries.

Two: He closed schools.

And three: He closed mental health facilities.

Rahm understood if he was ever to be re-elected as Mayor of Chicago, voters had to be:

One: Uninformed.

Two: Poorly educated.

And three: Fucking crazy.

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Stick around, the late show gets better. And tip your webmaster.

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The Central Committee's Foxxy Lady
The Cook County Democratic Central Committee endorsed Cook County State's Attorney challenger Kim Foxx this morning.

"In October, committeemen reversed course and took away the circuit court clerk endorsement for incumbent Dorothy Brown and gave it to challenger Ald. Michelle Harris. Ald. Raymond Lopez, 15th Ward committeeman, said the party risks undermining itself," the Tribune reports.

"It hasn't been a very good year for the Democratic Party. It seems we can't get our house in order," said Lopez, who has not endorsed for state's attorney. "That is the bigger question for me, as a committee, as a Democratic Party: Are we putting ourselves into the irrelevant category if we keep going back and forth like this?"

Maybe they should wait to see who wins before issuing an endorsement. Or stop endorsing crooks and incompetents. Either way.

*

"John Daley, committeeman of the 11th Ward organization that gave rise to his politically powerful family, said he continues to back Alvarez."

Just so you know where everyone stands.

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"Alvarez has alleged that Foxx would be a political 'puppet' of Preckwinkle."

Reminder: John Daley, committeeman of the 11th Ward organization that gave rise to his politically powerful family, said he continues to back Alvarez.

*

You know who else supports Alvarez: Ed Burke. Just so you know where everyone stands.

*

Foxx is declaring her independence, but it might be politically wiser to embrace her ties to Preckwinkle by comparison to Alvarez's ties. "You bet Toni Preckwinkle is a mentor of mine," she might say. "I'm proud of that. Anita is funded by Ed Burke. So you have a clear choice."

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Speaking of Burke . . .

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Generally Inspecting The City Council
"The City Council's two most powerful aldermen on Wednesday temporarily derailed a groundbreaking change decades in the making," the Sun-Times reports.

"Finance Committee Chairman Edward Burke (14th) and Budget Committee Chairman Carrie Austin (34th) used a parliamentary maneuver to postpone until Feb. 10 a vote on an ordinance that would have empowered Inspector General Joe Ferguson to investigate aldermen and their employees."

Burke and Austin may be the council's most powerful aldermen - though I think the mayor's floor leader Patrick O'Connor may quietly top them both - but it's important to note that Burke and Austin are the council's finance and budget chairs because Rahm put them there (or, more accurately, Rahm left them there after taking over for Richard M. Daley, despite promising repeatedly that the days of a rubber stamp city council were over).

That's why this quote from Austin is hilarious:

"I believe in separation of power. Two different branches of government: the executive and the legislative. That's what I believe in. Ain't got nothing to do with Joe Ferguson. Nothing at all. I just believe that to my soul . . . It's the executive branch and it's the legislative branch. And we are elected separately."

*

Also priceless:

"Last fall, Austin lashed out at Ferguson for what she called the 'witch hunt' investigation that forced the resignation of her son.

"Kenny Austin resigned from his $72,384-a-year city laborer's job after an internal investigation concluded he crashed a city vehicle while driving on a suspended license, then had a co-worker cover for him to avoid taking a mandatory drug test."

Why do I get the feeling Kenny will wind up back on a public payroll soon?

*

"We don't mind being investigated," she added. "At least I don't, because I don't have anything to hide. Neither do my employees have anything to hide."

Open that investigation!

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"A few years ago, Burke clashed with Ferguson over access to workers' compensation claims administered by the finance committee."

(For more on that, see Rahm's Fiscal House.)

"Burke brushed past reporters seeking his comments about the parliamentary maneuver Wednesday."

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Rahm fan Will Burns is also a piece of work.

"Earlier this week, Ald. Will Burns (4th) questioned what 'protections' were built into the ordinance to prevent aldermanic candidates or developers angered by zoning and land-use decisions an alderman makes from filing baseless complaints.

"We tell people 'yes' or `no.' And sometimes when you tell people 'no' and you make difficult decisions . . . you could anger those people and they could file complaints and . . . abuse, unfortunately, the ethics process to harass and to seek retaliation against an alderman," Burns said.

Oh for crying out loud, really? Is there any evidence that this has happened a single time - and the inspector general has been unable to sniff it out? That's incredibly weak, Will.

Besides that, when's the last time you said no to a developer?

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I could actually see some merit to the separation of powers argument if it was being made by someone else. After all, the inspector general is appointed by the mayor.

Also, the inspector general's office has their hands full. There are some calls to put the Chicago Police Department under its aegis too. There's an argument to be made to create separate inspector generals offices for each agency/department/unit of government. (CPS has their own inspector general, for example.)

The one thing that really bugs me about this ordinance that seems to be going unspoken is how much it is driven by personality. The former legislative inspector general, Faisal Khan, was largely seen as incompetent, while the city's current inspector general, Joe Ferguson is well-regarded. So the council has confidence in coming under Ferguson's purview. But that's not the basis by which jurisdictions should be decided. After all, the next inspector general could be another Khan, and then where will everyone be? That's why there was some merit to the idea that Khan should just have been replaced. But that would have made the council look bad, too.

The narrative driven by the media, though, is simply one in which this change represents reform. There seems like no better alternative right now, and I certainly don't think Austin and Burke are sincere, but the issue actually isn't as clear as it may seem.

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Tracing Slave Patrols To New Trier High
In Local Book Notes.

The Chicago History Museum's MLK Day
Arts, crafts and no mayor.

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BeachBook

I've always wondered this too; Illinois Public Media featured here.

Posted by The Beachwood Reporter on Wednesday, January 13, 2016

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The Beachwood Tip Line: Webbed.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 12:41 AM | Permalink

What President Obama Forgot

In his final State of the Union, President Obama spoke about the spirit of the nation that has driven the progress that makes this country great. He spoke of reforming health care and the push to strengthen the middle class. He spoke of reforming the criminal justice system and fixing our broken immigration system.

The president made the critical point that progress like this is not inevitable. That we have to "make choices together" to keep moving forward.

In this moment, President Obama seemed to forget his roots. Progress isn't simply a choice that we all need to agree upon. Progress is won by the blood, sweat, and tears of workers, organizers, and allies in the street and in the union hall.

President Obama hit all the right notes Tuesday night. He just forgot to thank the band.

Nowhere did the president mention the Fight for $15 movement that has made the lofty goal of a living wage for all workers seem inevitable. Nowhere did the president mention the tens of thousands of people organizing to stop the record number of deportations that have occurred on his watch. Nowhere did the president mention the growing movement of worker centers leading the fight against wage theft and unsafe working conditions.

While we applaud President Obama for all he has accomplished during his tenure - especially given Republican opposition to his agenda at every turn - we still expect more in the final year of his presidency.

That's why we need to keep organizing.

We want the president to stop deporting refugees fleeing violence in Central America and instead welcome them as contributors to our great nation. We want the president to take a more pro-active role in supporting the Fight for $15 and the collective bargaining for all workers. We want the president to use his executive authority to expand paid parental and sick leave.

We the people are ready to back the president in these fights. But we must together acknowledge that it is organizing that forces the hard choices of which the president spoke. That these choices won't be made unless we fight for what is right.

The president also spoke of cynicism last night. He warned against those who believe that our actions "don't matter." Organizing is the antidote to that cynicism. It always has been and always will be. Organizing is what forces hard choices. Organizing is what has brought us progress during President Obama's time in the White House.

Progress is not made by the people in power. It's made by those standing off to the side, getting their hands dirty.

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See also:

* CyberMonday, Amazon & You.

* Help A Walmart Worker This Thanksgiving.

* Wage Theft In America.

* How To Investigate Workers' Comp In Your State.

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 12:26 AM | Permalink

At The Chicago History Museum: Celebrating The Life Of MLK

The Chicago History Museum will commemorate and celebrate the life and legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. with a family-friendly tradition on Monday, January 18, 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.

The Museum's annual Martin Luther King Jr. Day event incorporates spoken word, performance and craft activities that reflect Dr. King's messages of peace and justice.

Highlights include a performance of the The MLK Project: The Fight for Civil Rights by the Writers Theatre and a performance by the Chicago Chamber Choir.

This long-standing and inspiring event concludes with a reenactment of Dr. King's "I Have a Dream" speech by award-winning storyteller Oba William King.

The day's activities include:

10 a.m. - 3 p.m.: Kids' crafts with artist Sue Romanelli.

All ages welcome.

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10 a.m. and 11 a.m.: Voices of Peace and Freedom.

A 30-minute performance by storyteller Gwen Hilary and musician Enoch Williamson. Recommended for Pre-K through 2nd grade.

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10:30 a.m.: The MLK Project: Fight for Civil Rights.

Produced by the Writers Theatre. A 45-minute performance followed by post-show discussion. Recommended for 6th grade and up. All ages welcome.

A sample:

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12:30 p.m.: Precious Lord: A Tribute to Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

A 45-minute performance by the Chicago Chamber Choir.

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2:30 p.m.: "I Have a Dream" speech by Martin Luther King Jr.

Reenactment by Oba William King. Q&A to follow.

A little Oba:

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Commemorative Day activities are included with Museum admission. Museum admission is complimentary for Illinois residents on this day.

Event details are subject to change. Seating for performances is available on a first-come, first-served basis.

The Museum, in partnership with the Chicago Sinfonietta, will present several rarely seen images of Dr. King from the Museum's collection during the intermission of the Sinfonietta's Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Tribute concert. Performances take place Sunday, January 17 at Wentz Concert Hall in Naperville, and Monday, January 18 at the Symphony Center.

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 12:15 AM | Permalink

January 13, 2016

Showmen's Rest And The 1918 Hammond Circus Train Wreck

On the outskirts of metropolitan Chicago lies Forest Park, a quiet community with so many cemeteries that for much of its history the dead outnumbered the living. There, not far from a Walmart Supercenter, is Woodlawn Cemetery, and in it the 750-plot section - surrounded by five distinctive elephant statues, their trunks lowered to symbolize mourning - known as Showmen's Rest.

ShowmensRestStatue.jpg

The burial plot was purchased by the Showmen's League of America, an international association of carnival performers founded in 1913 with Buffalo Bill Cody as its first president. When they purchased the section of plots as a resting place for their fallen members, no one expected how soon they'd need it.

In the early morning hours of June 22, 1918, the members of the Hagenbeck-Wallace Circus were fast asleep in the wooden cars at the back of their train.

They were traveling to their next performance in Hammond, Indiana. But five miles east of Hammond, the train made an emergency stop to fix an overheated axle box. The conductor pulled onto a siding rail to address the issue, but the last few cars didn't quite clear the main track. A flagman went back and set numerous flares to warn approaching trains of the danger. Sadly, it wasn't enough to stop what was coming.

Barreling toward them was an empty 21-car troop train helmed by engineer Alonzo K. Sargent. Sargent had fallen asleep at the controls and blew past the warning flares. At approximately 4 a.m., he plowed into the caboose and wooden sleeping cars of the stalled Hagenbeck-Wallace train.

Many of the performers on board died instantly upon impact, and those who perished first may have been the lucky ones. When the runaway train finally came to a halt amid the wreckage of the fourth car from the end of the Hagenbeck-Wallace train, the circus train's gas lighting system caught fire.

Crowd_at_Hammond_Circus_Train_Wreck.jpg

Ultimately, 56 people perished in the crash, though other reports suggest 61. Most are thought to have died within the first few seconds, crushed to death in the collision. Others suffocated or burned to death, or died in the hospital later. Five days after the wreck, services were held at Showmen's Rest in Woodlawn Cemetery.

Many of the bodies were unidentifiable, while others belonged to roustabouts who had just been hired days before, or were known only by their stage names. The headstones related to the train tragedy in Showmen's Rest bear monikers like Smiley and Baldy, while others simply read "Unidentified Male" or "Unidentified Female." Among the identified dead are two strongmen, Arthur Dierckx and Max Nietzborn of the "Great Dierckx Brothers" act, as well as Jennie Ward Todd of "The Flying Wards" and all of the McDhu Sisters, known for aerial stunts and riding elephants.

In the ensuing days and months, colorful legends related to tragedy emerged. Rumors swirled that several circus animals had escaped the wreckage and escaped into the nearby wood. The five mourning elephant statues, added years later, also gave rise to their own urban legends. Local children, presumably conflating the cemetery with the location of wreck, told tales of five elephants that perished in the collision and were buried where they fell, as they were too heavy to move. Residents still claim to hear the trumpeting of ghostly elephants within the graveyard at night, though no elephants or any other animals are buried at Showmen's Rest.

In fact, no circus animals were involved in the Hagenbeck-Wallace train wreck at all. The animals - along with several other performers - were housed in another train that arrived in Hammond safe and sound. The handlers and their animals learned of their fellow performers' grim fate only when they gathered for roll call that morning.

While Alonzo K. Sargent was acquitted of multiple counts of manslaughter with which he was charged, federal transportation officials found him responsible of the collision. The accident contributed to changes in regulations mandating sleep for train crews.

Showmen's Rest is still used today to inter deceased circus members. Buried within are clowns, trapeze artists, strongmen, bareback riders, acrobats, roustabouts, and, of course, the victims of one of the most tragic circus disasters in history.

This story was originally featured on The-Line-Up.com. The Lineup is the premier digital destination for fans of true crime, horror, the mysterious, and the paranormal.

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 1:43 AM | Permalink

St. Louis Fans Rammed - Again

St Louis Rams fans were left distraught by the NFL's decision to move the team to Los Angeles on Tuesday, the second time the city has lost its franchise.

NFL owners voted overwhelmingly to give Rams owners Stan Kroenke approval to move the team to Los Angeles for the start of the 2016 season.

The city's original NFL team, the Cardinals, who played in St Louis from 1960, left for Arizona after the 1987 season, but the Rams took their place, moving to the Midwest from L.A in 1995.

Fans in downtown St. Louis expressed a mixture of sadness and rancor at the decision with anger directed at Kroenke, who masterminded the move.

"It is just a slap in the face for the city," said Rams fan Jermaine Chambers, sitting at the bar of Stanley's Lounge. "Even though things might not have gone the way he wanted them to, he created the relationship with the city, so it is kind of his fault. Beyond that he still made money here. To dump on the city, to dump on the people and the community I just think it was classless."

Other fans felt the NFL had let down St. Louis by failing to take into account the effort made to put together a plan for a new stadium for the 1999 Super Bowl champions.

"St Louis did everything the NFL required them to do . . . and it just seemed that they were ready the whole time to take them to L.A.," Rams fan Zach Roberts said at a downtown sports bar. "They are going to take the team that we have had for 20 years here back to a town that couldn't support them when they had them."

Zach's father Dennis Roberts said the NFL could face a backlash.

"I think they showed a lack of character and lack of concern for fans," he said. "Maybe in overloading the L.A. area in expectation of this big money grab, maybe it will fail. Two teams in an area where you have had none in 20 years? The NFL has become a bit of a bully, I just wonder if there won't be at some point a bit of blowback and the NFL will experience a little slide."

Missouri governor Jay Nixon said St.Louis had not deserved Tuesday's outcome.

"This sets a terrible precedent not only for St. Louis, but for all communities that have loyally supported their NFL franchises," he said in a statement. "Regardless of tonight's action, the fact remains that St. Louis is a world-class city deserving of a world-class NFL team. We will review the NFL's decision thoroughly before determining what next steps to take."

Those who had rallied to put together an alternative stadium plan with a $400 million commitment in public money in order to persuade the NFL to stay in St.Louis said the move was a mistake and unfair.

"Today's decision by the NFL concludes a flawed process that ends with the unthinkable result of St. Louis losing the Rams," said a statement from St Louis NFL Stadium Task Force. "Over the past 15 months, our stadium task force has delivered in every respect to what the NFL demanded of St. Louis to keep our team. We will leave it to the NFL to explain how this could happen and hope the next city that may experience what St. Louis has endured will enjoy a happier and more appropriate outcome."

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Fans beside themselves.

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Billion-dollar plan not enough.

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Fans heartbroken, angry.

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MasterMario548 weighs in.

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See also:

* The NFL's Los Angeles Derby Is A Shameless, Repulsive Shitshow.

* In Application To Move To Los Angeles, Rams Shit All Over City Of St. Louis.

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And, the hottest take of all . . .

Three-Year-Old: "Stan Kroenke is hurting everybody."

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 12:16 AM | Permalink

January 12, 2016

The [Wednesday] Papers

"More city leaders and activists are deciding to reject an invitation from the mayor's office to attend the city's 29th Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. Peace Breakfast," NBC Chicago reports.

Bishop James Dukes will also not be attending, saying: "I don't think that it's time for us to have this Kumbaya breakfast without having a sit-down talk."

"We're not entertaining any of the mayor's efforts to pacify," said activist Jedidiah Brown, who also turned down the invitation. "We don't want breakfast, we want justice. We don't want pancakes and eggs we want resources."

The mayor has even lost one of his biggest campaign endorsers:

UPDATE 11:31 A.M.: Pfleger says he decided he wouldn't participate a year ago, not in response to current calls for boycotting the breakfast.

Also adding:

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Here's the NBC Chicago report.

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Cop Shop
"The Chicago police officer who fatally shot a teen who allegedly swung a bat at him and the 55-year-old neighbor mistakenly caught up in the incident was a rookie cop just three years ago, the Tribune has learned.

At his graduation ceremony from the police academy in March 2013, Robert Rialmo told the Tribune he didn't know what to expect with his first assignment on foot patrol in the Austin police district.

"I really don't know what to expect," said the fresh-faced officer, then 23. "I'm really anxious, I'm nervous, I'm excited, all of the above."

See, it turns out the cop was quoted in a Trib article three years ago, so they give you the quotes. What they don't do is provide a link to the damn thing. Here. I've been doing this for 10 years. Christ.

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There's apparently accompanying video of Rialmo, but it doesn't show up for me and the link for that alone has been moved.

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Is it ethical to name the officer at this juncture? Generally I'm opposed to naming suspects before or until they are charged. However, in the case of Jason Van Dyke, for example, the Tribune learned last April that he had a history of citizen complaints. That's legit. Not sure we've learned anything useful about Rialmo here, though.

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The Beachwood Radio Hour #70: What The Laquan McDonald E-Mails Really Show
First and foremost, the e-mails show how Rahm's media shop manipulates outwitted reporters. Also: How City Hall spun settlement negotiations over the release of the infamous video, and allegations of witness coercion. With Show Notes.

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CPD Systems Fail
"Like many law enforcement agencies, the Chicago Police Department has an early intervention system that is supposed to flag officers at risk of serious misconduct and provide them with training and support to get on the right track," the Chicago Reporter found last month. (I'm just catching up with this now.)

"But of 162 Chicago police officers with 10 or more misconduct complaints in the past four years, just one was enrolled in the department's program as of October, according to a Chicago Reporter analysis of data obtained through a Freedom of Information Act request."

Sometimes the systems are in place, but the will is not.

"Overall, there were just 11 officers enrolled in CPD's two primary early intervention programs, out of more than 12,000 sworn officers in the department - the nation's second-largest law enforcement agency.

"Those numbers defy belief," said Samuel Walker, an emeritus professor at the University of Nebraska, and a leading national expert on police early intervention systems. "It says the system isn't working and is designed not to work."

Other problems: the FOP contract (natch) and data collection. Go read the whole thing.

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St. Louis Fans Rammed (Again)
City loses its football team for second time. Fans pissed.

Showmen's Rest & The 1918 Hammond Circus Train Wreck
In suburban Forest Park, a burial plot for clowns, trapeze artists, strongmen, bareback riders, acrobats, roustabouts - and the victims of one of the most tragic circus disasters in history.

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BeachBook

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TweetWood
Today in hate-reads.

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The Beachwood Tip Line: Wholesale therapy.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 11:28 PM | Permalink

The [Tuesday] Papers

1. I have a new podcast in the hopper - on the Laquan McDonald e-mails - but I'm still working on the Show Notes.

The Beachwood Radio Hour #70: What The Laquan McDonald E-Mails Really Show.

First and foremost, the e-mails show how Rahm's media shop manipulates outwitted reporters. Also: How City Hall spun settlement negotiations over the release of the infamous video, and allegations of witness coercion. With Show Notes.

2. #ConfessYourUnpopularOpinion: I was not a huge Bowie fan.

3. Our very own Jim "Coach" Coffman does not like the Bears' offensive coordinator hire.

4. "Chicago aldermen emboldened by a once-powerful but now wounded Mayor Rahm Emanuel on Monday questioned just about everything on the agenda of the City Council's Finance Committee," the Sun-Times reports.

"Routine matters that once sailed through without a whimper were placed under the microscope - and it wasn't limited to the protracted debate over Emanuel's plan to borrow a record $3 billion. No issue was too small for the laser-like focus."

I dunno. I want it to be true, but it sounds like the aldermen doing the questioning were the same (few) aldermen who usually do the questioning. I could be wrong, but it's one thing to say independent aldermen are emboldened and another to say the whole council - largely put in place and kept there by the mayor - is emboldened.

Still, this is good.

"A plan to use tax-increment-financing to build a $2 million park at 21st and Prairie near the Marriott Marquis Hotel being built with a $55 million TIF subsidy was placed on hold.

"So was a request for $2.6 million in fee waivers for the Metropolitan Pier and Exposition Authority, which is building a new DePaul basketball arena that will double as an event center for McCormick Place. Emanuel's original plan called for the $55 million TIF subsidy to be used to build the stadium. But the subsidy was switched to the hotel after the arena became a symbol of what critics called the mayor's misplaced priorities."

Really? Then who is paying for the stadium - Marriott?

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Also, you have to wonder if the stadium was in some way cover for expanding McCormick. And if that expansion is being done with the eventual demolition of the Lakeside Center in mind, as has often been rumored, possibly to be replaced by a casino.

But I digress:

"Aldermen Scott Waguespack (32nd), Brendan Reilly (42nd) and John Arena (45th) demanded to know why the park wasn't being bankrolled by the Marriott hotel chain."

Maybe Marriott can't afford it.

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But if it's going to be a public park, why would Marriott bankroll it?

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"A proposal to reimburse the cash-strapped Chicago Public Schools for an already built, $4.7 million artificial turf athletic field for Jones College Prep also raised eyebrows.

"Ald. Susan Sadlowski Garza (10th) demanded to know why aldermen were being asked to approve the project after the fact."

Forgive Garza, she's in her first term.

5. "Three-hundred sixty-five days into his first term as governor, Republican Bruce Rauner has yet to sign a state budget, is in a political standoff with House Speaker Michael Madigan (D-Chicago) and is battling with the state government's largest labor union, whose members are working without a contract," the Sun-Times reports.

"But despite those problems, Rauner says the ideas in his controversial - and, to date, politically paralyzing - 'turnaround agenda' are resonating not only with his Republican counterparts, but also with Chicago Democrats, including Mayor Rahm Emanuel.

"Many members of the General Assembly, in private, along with the mayor of Chicago, in private, agree that much of our agenda makes sense," Rauner told the Chicago Sun-Times Monday, the day before the first anniversary of his taking his oath of office.

It wouldn't surprise me if Rahm was saying that in private, but that's a pretty big claim to make insofar as the implication that the mayor is saying something different in public. Or does it square: Rahm has probably said in public that Rauner has some ideas that make sense - along with some that don't.

Later, he said, "Frankly, if the mayor and the [Senate] President [John Cullerton] were willing to do in public what they talk about in private, I think we'd have worked something out by now. But they are afraid to buck the speaker."

Oh.

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On the other hand, Rauner's been known to make shit up, like meetings that never happened.

But here's the real humdinger:

When asked to name the names of other Democrats in his corner, Rauner sidestepped the question.

"There are many . . . " he said before pausing briefly. "Publicly?" he then asked.

The governor then continued: "There are, I'll say, many in the Legislature - in private - and there are many business Democrats in Chicago who are very supportive of us. And they're saying 'Stay strong. Don't back down.' People know we need change."

Perhaps Rauner has a list.

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I mean, really, that's the kind of game a child plays. It's like having a girlfriend in Canada.

5. IPRA vs. Oprah.

Book club vs. old boys' club.

6. T.J. Hooker: The Chicago Connection.

"One of the most bizarre episodes of T.J. Hooker ever filmed."

7. The Adler's Reel Science.

Warp drive, destroying planets and time travel.

8. The Weekend In Chicago Rock.

Featuring: The Vulgar Boatmen, The Great Ache, Arkham, Zoned Out, Snake Eyes, IshDarr, Trapo, Webb Wilder, Chris Medina, Color Morale, Feed Me to Monsters, and Face The Fire.

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The latest malpractice.

Posted by The Beachwood Reporter on Saturday, January 9, 2016

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TweetWood
A sampling.

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The Beachwood Tip Line: Unwritten.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 11:02 AM | Permalink

SportsMondayTuesday: Bears' Hire A Short Joke

Dowell Loggains? Seriously?

I'm not completely against the hire but I sure don't love the process (apparently interviewing no one from outside the Bears' current staff), or the priority (kowtowing to the quarterback).

All it took was one season in which the Bears' signal-caller wasn't the biggest problem - and Jay Cutler was still a problem, just not the biggest - and now the quarterbacks coach is the automatic next offensive coordinator? Everyone remembers that the Bears finished 6-10 right? And they did so against an easier schedule than faced by any of the other 6-10 teams, so they draft 11th in the first round instead of 8th?

And now Loggains must be promoted to replace Adam Gase because he would work best with you know who?

The Bears brass did this before, just a few years ago. In fact, they took it a step further. They hired a head coach (Marc Trestman) they thought would work best with Cutler. Then they brought in an offensive line coach/offensive coordinator (Aaron Kromer) who would do the same. And then they totally embarrassed themselves as Cutler displayed his worst qualities in game after game after game.

Cutler improved in 2015, but he was still good for the critical turnover at just the wrong time. In other words, he was just good enough to lose game after game after game.

Yes, he has matured. Slightly. But he is still a little bit of adversity away from turning back into the same petulant malcontent who reacts to receivers running wrong routes by throwing the ball where they were supposed to be. Yes, he is physically tough, but he has still not proven to be mentally tough. And he won't prove it until he comes through to lead the Bears to a win in a game that actually matters.

Yes, he didn't choke away the game at Lambeau (in a "signature win" that turned out to mean absolutely nothing) this year, but anyone who says he was the main reason the Bears won that contest must have just completed a Bears Kool-Aid bender.

Otherwise, it has been years since Cutler turned in anything more than a slightly above average performance in a game of real consequence.

The 2015 Bears were built to operate with a conservative offensive scheme and a defense that at least wouldn't embarrass the NFL's founding franchise the way it did in 2014. In order to take the next step next season, the Bears will need to improve the defense. They will need to really improve their special teams. And they will need to upgrade their passing offense.

That will especially hold true if they do what I think they will in terms of offensive playmakers. My guess is they will decline to re-sign Matt Forte but will do what they have to do to make sure Alshon Jeffery returns. It doesn't follow that they skew their salary structure toward receivers in such a fashion (they'll also probably spend a decent amount of money to hire a good, free-agent, pass-catching tight end), the actual offense won't follow suit.

Meanwhile in the NFC Central, the Packers won another playoff game Sunday, the Vikings should have won and the Lions were one of the hottest teams in the league in the second half of the season.

Do you really trust Jay Cutler to lead the Bears back to prominence over those teams? Of course you don't. And the Bears' priority in hiring a new offensive coordinator should not have been hiring the guy who is best at potentially propping up the now 32-year-old quarterback.

The priority should have been hiring the best possible offensive mind. I would have loved to have seen them at least interview Ken Whisenhunt, who may have washed out of two NFL head coaching jobs but was a good enough offensive coordinator at various stops to have earned those two shots at head coaching.

On the plus side, Loggains has a better resume than I initially realized. He was the coordinator of a decent Tennessee Titans offense in 2013 (the team went 7-9 with Jake Locker at the helm; Locker was so bad in his brief NFL career that he retired in early 2015 after only four seasons as a pro).

Plus, you don't often see an NFL coordinator hired because "he handles the short jokes really well," as coach John Fox memorably noted earlier this week. If the Bears flop next season, that ability will almost certainly be put to the ultimate test.

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Jim "Coach" Coffman is our man on Mondays, except when he's our man on Tuesdays. He welcomes your comments.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 9:26 AM | Permalink

The Weekend In Chicago Rock

You shoulda been there.

1. The Vulgar Boatmen at Schubas on Saturday night.


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2. The Great Ache at Moe's Tavern on Friday night.

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3. Arkham at Wire in Berwyn on Saturday night.

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4. Zoned Out at Wire in Berwyn on Friday night.

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5. Snake Eyes at the Elbo Room on Sunday night.

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6. IshDARR at Chop Shop on Friday night.

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7. Trapo at Chop Shop on Friday night.

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8. Webb Wilder at FitzGerald's in Berwyn on Saturday night.

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9. Chris Medina at the Double Door on Friday night.

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10. Color Morale at Wire in Berwyn on Saturday night.

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11. Feed Me to Monsters at the House of Blues on Friday night.

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12. Face The Fire at House of Blues on Friday night.

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 8:11 AM | Permalink

The Beachwood Radio Hour #70: What The Laquan McDonald E-Mails Really Show

First and foremost, the e-mails show how Rahm's media shop manipulates outwitted reporters. Also: How City Hall spun settlement negotiations over the release of the infamous video, and allegations of witness coercion.


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SHOW NOTES

* Strawberry Rock Show.

1:05: Eleventh Dream Day at the Empty Bottle.

* The Smithereens is the band I was trying to think of.

2:49: Rahm's Massive Dump.

* See the e-mails for yourself.

* The final version of that Sun-Times story: Mayor's Office, IPRA Discussed Laquan McDonald Case, E-Mails Show.

"The e-mails raise new questions about the scope of police misconduct in the city and whether the Independent Police Review Authority is truly walled off to investigate police-involved shootings without outside interference."

Scott Ando, the former head of IPRA who was fired by Emanuel in December, concurred that the mayor's office never interfered in the agency's investigations.

But Ando said City Hall kept a tight grip on IPRA's interactions with the media. "We were generally asked to clear every messaging or release to the press," he said. "I really think if I'd been allowed to be more responsive to the questions that were posed, it would have cleared the air a lot sooner."

* AP: Newly Released E-Mails Reveal Coordination After Teen's Death.

* The Hill: Report: E-Mails Show Chicago Coordination After Shooting.

"Newly released e-mails show that Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel's office, police and the group responsible for investigating police shootings in the city coordinated their response after the death of Laquan McDonald in October 2014, the Associated Press reported Friday."

* Rahm Emanuel May Have Known More About The Laquan McDonald Video Than He Let On.

The Chicago mayor had repeatedly denied having seen the video of the 17-year-old McDonald being shot 16 times by a Chicago police officer. In early December he said that he didn't watch the video so he wouldn't have to answer questions about it: "If I watched it, reporters like you would say, 'If you get to see, how come we don't get to?'"

But a damning report from The Daily Beast suggests that even if Emanuel didn't see the video, he was aware of its contents.

Um, we knew that.

* Anita Alvarez to Carol Felsenthal (emphasis mine):

The plan was that the U.S. attorney would be looking at any possible federal charges. I would be looking at possible state charges. There's been a tremendous amount of work that has been done on this case. Some of the problems [have been caused] because I'm not at liberty to discuss them because the federal investigation is ongoing. Our goal was to be able to stand up there together and announce what we both were going to do. We knew, I knew, what I was going to do. When we found out that the video was being released, I said, "I have to come out with my charges first," even though that wasn't what we had hoped [to do].

* Carol Marin: Feds Drag Out Investigation While A City Bleeds.

The feds. They don't know how to hurry when a city is bleeding.

Really? The problem here was how long it took Alvarez to charge Van Dyke, not how long it's taking the feds to investigate civil rights violations and a cover-up.

25:10: Running at the Empty Bottle.

26:02: The Real Revelations.

It's like reading rough draft of a West Wing script, which is the Washington operating style Rahm has brought to Chicago City Hall, complete with self-important little twerps acting like they own the place.

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That means not telling the media. This is when Rahm dropped out of sight for several days. They did post on social media, though, warm photos of Rahm visiting citizens.

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At that particular moment, though, Van Dyke was only in jail because a judge ordered the city to release the videotape, spurring Anita Alvarez to finally lay charges on the officer. Nice attempt at spin, though. Later, of course, Rahm acknowledged a code of silence.

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That would be the transcript of Patton's testimony before the city council about the McDonald settlement - public information which shouldn't need his permission to be "released."

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Like, should we have him cry?

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This is back to his secret tour of the city when he disappeared from public view for a few days.

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LM = Laquan McDonald.

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That aide was David Spielfogel, also known (sort of) as Mini-Rahm.

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And if it doesn't 'line up' well?

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36:55: Nikki Bluhm and the Gramblers at the Vic.

38:22: About Burying The Video: Conflicting Stories.

* City officials in e-mails reiterated Rahm's repeated statements that the video would be released after the investigation was over.

* The family's wish for the video to not be released, commonly referenced, was backed up by a statement they issued after the judge's ruling, stating that while they "prefer that the video not be released, we understand that a court has ordered otherwise."

* But the documents show a different story; the family's lawyers were agreeable to the video remaining sealed until the investigation was concluded, but not until the case(s) were concluded:

"The provision as drafted, that we maintain the confidentiality of the materials - principally the dash cam-video - until the criminal charges are concluded, which could be in effect for years, is entirely unreasonable."

43:44: Witness Coercion.

* From USA Today:

In a separate March 6 memo to Platt, Neslund wrote that another witness who had been 'appalled' by what she had seen was taken by officers to a police station "where she was held against her will and intensively questioned for over six hours."

"During the questioning, detectives repeatedly attempted to get her to change her statement, telling her that her story 'did not match the video,' which they refused to show her," Neslund wrote. "Finally, (she) was released at approximately 4:00 a.m., after she demanded a lawyer."

46:30: IPRA's PR.

49:30: Where The City's Media Operation Went Wrong.

51:40: What Rahm Really Did Wrong.

* Should have acted with outrage immediately and faced the issue head-on. In other words, been human. He might have been rewarded for it.

56:09: Welcome Aboard, Lamestreamers!

* Chicagoland writer, co-producer and narrator Mark Konkol: Since When Does Rahm Emanuel Need A Task Force To Make Tough Decisions?

* Neil Steinberg: Rahm Kicks Can Again. But at least he's not a tinpot South American bureaucrat!

* Hurricane Kristen McQueary: The Rahm We Knew All Along.

58:35: Sam Prekop and Jim Elkington at the Empty Bottle.

* From the Tribune's New E-Mails Show Emanuel City Hall Scramble On Laquan McDonald Shooting:

As Emanuel struggled with the fallout from the video, he fired police Superintendent Garry McCarthy. But after that was announced, the former top cop was still able to track developments through his city e-mail account.

When the Emanuel administration sent out a statement Dec. 6 saying that CPD had no role in the McDonald investigation because it had referred the case to the police review board and federal authorities, McCarthy mocked it in an e-mail to a few department employees and Emanuel spokesman Adam Collins.

"Good time to put this out!" McCarthy e-mailed six days after his firing. "Oh, wait. It's a week too late."

Trib bonus - I didn't see this reported anywhere else, though that doesn't mean it wasn't:

Once news broke that the Department of Justice would launch an investigation, Emanuel's staff started reaching out to the mayor's old associates from his time as top adviser in President Bill Clinton's administration, records show.

The mayor's office enlisted the help of former Clinton press secretaries Joe Lockhart and Jake Siewert, as well as Joel Johnson, who was a Clinton senior adviser for policy and communications. Emanuel aides prepared a list of talking points for the trio and created a list of "surrogates" who could advocate for Emanuel in the media.

"Regarding the list of surrogates that we've compiled internally, I think the goal is to send it to Jake/Joe/Joel in the next few hours to get their feedback and for them to reach out to the talking heads to organize a call," mayoral press aide Stephen Spector wrote Dec. 6.

Two hours later, Spector sent an e-mail titled "Following-up from Chicago" to the three former Clinton aides. Much of the e-mail is redacted, but it suggests the trio were helping to shape the mayor's message as national criticism mounted.

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STOPPAGE: :26

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

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 7:50 AM | Permalink

T.J. Hooker: The Chicago Connection

Season: 4

Episode: 3

Heather Locklear: No

Release date: May 4, 1985

IMDB plot summary: "Hooker is sent to Chicago to pick someone who's being extradited. But upon arriving a streetwise detective who needs the prisoner to help get a criminal he's pursuing convinces Hooker to let him use the guy before he leaves. But something goes wrong and Hooker offers to help him get the criminal. Written by rcs0411@yahoo.com."

IMDB rating: 6.7

IMDB trivia: This was the last 60-minute episode; this was the last original episode broadcast on ABC; this episode was done as a tentative pilot for a retooled version of the series. (See Jason Daniel Baker's review.)

TJHooker.com: "One of the most bizarre episodes of T.J. Hooker ever filmed."

Chicago skyline shot: Of course.

Cameo: The old Sun-Times Building.

Obligatory blues soundtrack: Yes.

Obligatory shot of the El: Yes.

Obligatory Hollywood urban scene: Guys downtown warming hands on open trash can fire.

Offensive black man stereotype: Yes.

Dressed appropriately for the "coldest winter in 50 years?" No, though it does make for a (terrible) running joke. Hooker eventually buys a red parka, which he tears during a chase.

Obligatory shot of Wrigley Field: Yes.

Shot of Comiskey Park? No.

Cop who doesn't play by the rules? Yes. (Sort of a reverse 48 Hours thing going on, too.)

State of Illinois Building interior use: Yes, though TJHooker.com mistakes it for a "downtown mall."

Location of "new drug supermarket": 31st and Maxwell.

Newspaper delivery truck: Yes, Tribune.

White guy in a black bar: Yes.

Same police station exterior as in Hill Street Blues: I think so.

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Watch!

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 2:14 AM | Permalink

IPRA vs. Oprah

Oprah: Book club.
IPRA: Old boys' club.

Oprah: Has boyfriend she'll never marry.
IPRA: Has cases it'll never finish.

Oprah: Talk show.
IPRA: All talk for show.

Oprah: Free stuff under your seat.
IPRA: Free passes under the table.

Oprah: Fake spiritualist.
IPRA: Fake investigations.

Oprah: Presidential endorser.
IPRA: Mayoral appointee.

Oprah: Code of silence.
IPRA: Code of silence.

Oprah: Remove the "r" and it's Opah!
IPRA: Remove the "r" and it's IPA.

Oprah: Harpo.
IPRA: Grouchy.

Oprah: Angel Network.
IPRA: Old boys' network.

Oprah: Full of shit.
IPRA: Full of shit.

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 12:23 AM | Permalink

January 11, 2016

At The Adler | Reel Science

Have you ever wondered what warp drive might be like? Or why spacecraft in movies are always right side up? The Adler Planetarium is offering an exciting new series this winter that may be able to answer these very questions and those that you didn't even think to ask! The REEL Science Film Series will combine cinematic favorites with science conversations about the film - providing a unique opportunity to discuss the facts vs. the creative liberties taken in Hollywood.

Designed to appeal to moviegoers, science enthusiasts and families alike, this three-series offering will take place one evening in January, February and March. Purchase your tickets now for exclusive after-hours museum access, pre-show trivia, a post-show discussion and Q&A with a panel of Adler astronomers, and an opportunity to nerd-out in your favorite movie-themed costume or character of choice. Prizes will be awarded!

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SERIES DETAILS

January 14: Star Trek: The Wrath of Khan

Astronomers: Dr. Shane Larson, Dr. Grace Wolf-Chase, and Michelle Nichols.

Topics: Warp Drive, Creating and Destroying Planets.

Purchase Tickets.

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February 11: Galaxy Quest

Astronomers: Dr. Alissa Bans and Mark SubbaRao.

Topics: Future Tech, Interstellar Wars.

Purchase tickets.

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March 10: Back to the Future

Astronomers: Dr. Shane Larson, Dr. Grace Wolf-Chase, and Michelle Nichols.

Topic: Time Travel.

Purchase Tickets.

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Beachwood Bonus Video: Meet The Instructors!

Shane Larson: Pluto's Day of Reckoning.

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Grace Wolf-Chase: The Infrared Mysteries of Star Birth.

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Michelle Nichols: The Sun.

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Alissa Bans: #AstroHangout.

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Mark SubbaRao: A Cosmic Perspective.

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 4:04 AM | Permalink

January 9, 2016

The Weekend Desk Report

Programming Note: I'll be out most of the day on Monday, but I'll do some posting upon my return.

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"The rowdy, boisterous events that have come to define and propel Trump's presidential campaign are usually not the ones he holds in early voting states such as Iowa or New Hampshire," the Washington Post reports.

"Instead, he is increasingly defined by the rallies held in cities that rarely see presidential candidates this early in the process, if ever. They are also often places that are struggling: Mobile, Ala., where the unemployment rate is still higher than the national and state rates; Springfield, Ill., where the manufacturing industry has yet to recover from the recession; and Beaumont, Tex., which is worrying over the effects of low gas prices."

I've got news for Springfield: immigrants didn't send those factory jobs overseas.

But the problem for America is this: Democrats and Republicans did. Together.

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"Trump will toss local references into his rally speeches - talking cars in Michigan, tractors in Illinois, oil in Texas and Tom Brady in Massachusetts - but he mostly gives the same sort of speech, no matter which state he is in. Although Trump has ping-ponged across the country for these rallies, the concerns of the audience members from one city to the next are nearly uniform.

"There's the 47-year-old guy in Springfield who manufactures Ferris wheels, which he says feels like the last thing that's still made in America."

No. Hate is still made here too.

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I wonder if he's actually referring to the Eli Bridge Company in Jacksonville, Illinois, which is about 45 minutes from Springfield.

Barack Trump
"President Obama once said this about his administration's deportation priorities: 'We'll keep focusing enforcement resources on actual threats to our security. That means felons, not families. That means criminals, not children. It means gang members, not moms who are trying to put food on the table for their kids,'" the New York Times editorial page notes.

Encouraging words, a year ago. But a new year has dawned upon an appalling campaign of home raids by the Department of Homeland Security to find and deport hundreds of would-be refugees back to Guatemala, Honduras and El Salvador. The targets are those who arrived in a recent surge of people fleeing shockingly high levels of gang and drug violence, hunger and poverty and who offered themselves at the border to the mercy of the United States, but ultimately lost their cases in immigration court.

Since New Year's, the administration has been sending agents into homes to make an example of the offenders and to defend the principle of a secure border. A president who spoke so movingly about the violent gun deaths of children here has taken on the job of sending mothers and children on one-way trips to the deadliest countries in our hemisphere. Mothers and children who pose no threat, actual or imaginable, to our security.

Those raids are occurring all over the country, including Chicago ("Immigration Raids Send Chill Through Little Village").

See more from impacted Chicagoans at Tell President Obama To Stop Deporting Refugees.

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The Beachwood Radio Sports Hour #84: Chicago Mayor Had A Good Week
So did his butler. Plus: Crow and the Breadman; Jay Cutler's Minivan Is Back; White Sox Whiff; and The Chicago Fire Are About To Do Something.

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The Sound Opinions Weekend Listening Report: "English producer and engineer Glyn Johns has been behind the board for classic albums by Led Zeppelin, the Beatles, the Rolling Stones and the Clash. He joins hosts Jim DeRogatis and Greg Kot for a candid conversation about being re-worked by Phil Spector, trying to infuse The Eagles with the blues, and more from his storied career."

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Weekend BeachBook

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On $2 billion of annual profits.

Posted by The Beachwood Reporter on Friday, January 8, 2016

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Weekend TweetWood

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The Weekend Desk Tip Line: El Whammo.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 12:01 PM | Permalink

Tell President Obama To Stop Deporting Refugees

Most people who see the word 'refugees' these days will probably think of the war in Syria, the brash bigotry of some presidential candidates, or the fight between the president and some Republican governors over where to settle Syrians fleeing violence at home.

But just as he opens the doors to refugees from Syria, President Obama is preparing to send hundreds of families fleeing violence in Central America right back into the war zones they risked their lives to escape.

As people of faith and goodwill, we are compelled to honor and respect the inherent dignity of every human being. We challenge President Obama honor the values of his own faith and stop tearing families apart.

Will you call the White House today at 1-888-907-2053 and urge President Obama to stop deporting refugees of war?

As worker justice advocates, we know that immigrants and refugees are the mothers, fathers and children who enrich the fabric of our communities, they are the diligent students and hardworking breadwinners who contribute so much of the work that makes our country great.

Click here to report your call.

In recent weeks the focus of Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) has taken to raiding private homes at all hours of the day, according to the Los Angeles Times.

These raids are terrorizing communities across the country as families scramble to understand their rights when interacting with ICE. For example, many people aren't aware that they can refuse ICE entry into their home if there is no warrant to enter or that they have the right to remain silent.

Call the White House and tell President Obama to instruct the Department of Homeland Security and ICE to stop the raids and give asylum to refugees of war from Central America.

This inhumane treatment of refugees of war must end. President Obama has already deported more than two million people during his presidency. To continue this abhorrent record by deporting children and families back to a war zone is unacceptable.

Interfaith and religious groups have called out the Obama Administration for the "hemispheric bias in our refu­gee system" which welcomes some refugees and refuses others. Perhaps it is more politically convenient to accept some refugees and turn away others, but human rights should never be used as a political pawn.

Call 1-888-907-2053 and tell President Obama to stop the raids and stop deporting refugees.

You can find a sample script for your call here.

Thanks so much for standing up for refugee rights.

Rudy López
Executive Director
Interfaith Worker Justice

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See also:

* Immigration Raids Send Chill Through Little Village.

* This Is What A Deportation Raid Is Like.

* Illinois Immigrant, Labor, Legal Leaders Condemn ICE Raids.

* Chicago Activists Tell Undocumented Immigrants Not To Open Their Doors.

* A Shameful Round-Up Of Refugees.

* U.S. Government Deporting Central American Migrants To Their Deaths.

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 12:30 AM | Permalink

January 8, 2016

The Beachwood Radio Sports Hour #84: This Chicago Mayor Had A Good Week

So did his butler. Plus: Crow and the Breadman; Jay Cutler's Minivan Is Back; White Sox Whiff; and The Chicago Fire Are About To Do Something.


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SHOW NOTES

* Dennis McKinnon.

2:15: The Butler and The Mayor.

* Jimmy Butler's Hostile Takeover Exactly What The Bulls Needed.

* Plus:

22:15: Crow and the Breadman.

* They Call Him Crow.

* They Call Him The Breadman.

* Plus:

34:55: Jay Cutler's Minivan Is Back.

* Lovie available.

* Haugh:

"This is stupid,'' David tweeted. "We can't even have a consistent coach, 3 coaches in 5 years.''

Only in Cleveland do they think that's an acceptable turnover rate for NFL coaches.

Note: The Bears have had three coaches in four years.

* Jay Cutler's minivan is back.

* Cutler's QBR.

50:18: White Sox Whiff.

57:53: Backdraft.

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

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 4:19 PM | Permalink

The [Friday] Papers

"Mayor-elect Rahm Emanuel is naming a corporate litigator known for representing tobacco companies and defending the closure of Meigs Field to be Chicago's chief lawyer," Greg Hinz reported for Crain's in 2011.

"In an announcement scheduled for later today, Stephen Patton, 57, a senior litigation partner in the Chicago office of Kirkland & Ellis LLP, is being tapped as corporation counsel."

And yet, Rahm Emanuel said this week it was "not possible" the city's law department was part of the Chicago Police Department's "cover-up culture" despite what our own eyes just saw.

Patton, we recall today, has a proud history of defending the cover-uppers.

Meanwhile, help me complete the following sentence: Rahm has more reversals than ___.

This one didn't quite work:

Prompted by this:

"Two days after saying it was 'not possible' his Law Department is part of the cover-up culture that has tainted his Police Department, Mayor Rahm Emanuel said he will bring in a "third party" to review the city's legal practices after a federal judge found that city attorneys have withheld evidence in police cases," the Tribune reports.

"It's the latest in a series of reversals for the mayor in which he has staked out a position on the city's handling of police misconduct, only to quickly change course after facing blowback."

Rahm continues to bungle his response to the Laquan McDonald affair, as he has done every. step. of. the. way. See The [Wednesday] Papers.

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"Emanuel said Patton will soon announce that a 'third party' will look at the Law Department's Federal Civil Rights Litigation division, where attorney Jordan Marsh worked until he stepped down Monday after Chang found he had intentionally withheld evidence and lied about it in a trial over a fatal 2011 Chicago police shooting."

Patton will announce the independent review of his own department? Rahm, Rahm, Rahm. You know how a lawyer is his worst client and a doctor is his worst patient? You are your worst political consultant.

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"Steve Patton, in short order, will be announcing that they're going to bring in a third party to look at that division, create standards and make sure the standards are clear as it relates to professional standards, and to have the training that goes with that," Emanuel said. "And that's what will happen, because it's essential for people's confidence."

That sounds like Patton is bringing in a consulting firm like McKinsey or Accenture, which isn't what most of us had in mind. But the feds read the papers too, and no doubt the city's law department is on their radar.

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"The division at issue is called the Federal Civil Rights Litigation Division, and has 59 employees and a budget of $4.7 million," Fran Spielman notes for the Sun-Times.

Massive Dump
"As for the massive New Year's Eve e-mail dump that showed the mayor's staff exerting message control over the so-called Independent Police Review Authority, Emanuel tried mightily to play it down," the Sun-Times reports in the same article. "He argued that there was no conspiracy and no smoking gun."

That's half-true. The e-mails do not show a conspiracy to bury the Laquan McDonald video or interfere with the investigation(s) of the case. They do show a massively concerted effort to spin the case in an all-encompassing drive to protect the mayor. Sadly, that's also business-as-usual for this administration.

But this statement by the mayor is not true:

"The independence of IPRA is quite clear in the e-mails - and every one of you have indicated that."

Unfortunately, that's not what "every one of you" has indicated. The overarching media narrative about the e-mails, driven as far as I can tell by the Sun-Times' first post about them, is that they show an unholy alliance between the mayor's office and IPRA, including coordination on the McDonald investigation. That's simply not true.

IPRA only had the McDonald case for nine days before concluding that criminal charges were likely and shipping it off to the offices of the Cook County State's Attorney's and the U.S. Attorney. We have no evidence that in that nine days City Hall interfered.

What the e-mails do show is a coordination between Rahm's media apparatus and IPRA in responding to the accumulating media inquiries surrounding the release of the video. That probably shouldn't have happened, but one thing the media isn't telling you is that the e-mails show an utter frustration at the inability of reporters and pundits to understand how the disciplinary process works for Chicago police officers. That frustration was justified.

Rahm: "As it relates to answering your questions and inquiries in the media, we do that with all offices and coordinate it. It doesn't impair the independence of their investigations."

Now, I would say that IPRA should be left to its own devices when it comes to media inquiries, both to maintain its distance from the mayor's office and to avoid a public perception that IPRA is a bit too chummy with City Hall, and by extension, the police department. (In the case of ex-IPRA head Scott Ando, that was true, hint, hint; not as much with his predecessor Ilana Rosenzweig.)

And a chummy relationship with City Hall may impair investigations through organizational osmosis, which everyone who has ever worked in an office can attest to.

But if the investigation was impaired in this case, the e-mails do not show it. What they do show is that the media seemed continually unaware that the investigation had been in the hands of Anita Alvarez from almost the beginning.

(Which also explains why no officer could be fired; again, only the Police Board can fire an officer. It can do so only after IPRA has completed an investigation and made a recommendation to the police chief, who in turn makes a recommendation to the board. IPRA can't complete its investigation, which is administrative, if a criminal case is being made; it stops all activities until prosecutors are done. That's why you should beware stories about IPRA "still investigating" a case five years after an incident; in those instances, IPRA is usually waiting to re-open its case after it winds its way through the criminal justice system. Unfortunately, IPRA isn't always clear about this, which is why City Hall is motivated to "interfere" with its media messaging.)

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Classic Spielman, copping from herself a couple days earlier:

"But the mayor put his corporation counsel on the clock to make certain that city attorneys never again conceal evidence."

The mayor's the good guy, putting his hand-picked confidant "on the clock" to make certain that it never happens again.

Besides being hopelessly naive, why is it even necessary to include? Honest question: Does anyone edit her work?

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Back to the Tribune, briefly:

"In all, Chang has cited and rebuked five city attorneys within the past year for withholding evidence in two separate police misconduct cases."

Like it did earlier this week, the Tribune cites a second case without informing/reminding us what it was or providing a link.

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Beachwood Photo Booth: O'Hare Blue Line Man
In living color.

The Color Of Debt: How Collection Suits Squeeze Black Neighborhoods
The disparity was not merely because black families earn less than white families. Even accounting for income, the rate of judgements in three cities examined was twice as high in mostly black neighborhoods as it was in mostly white ones. It was worst in Chicago.

The Week In Chicago Rock
Featuring: Eleventh Dream Day, Sam Prekop & Jim Elkington, Keep Shelly In Athens, Dwele, and Nikki Bluhm and the Gramblers.

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BeachBook

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TweetWood
A sampling.

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The Beachwood Tip Line: Diversion therapy.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 9:20 AM | Permalink

The Week In Chicago Rock

You shoulda been there.

1. Eleventh Dream Day at the Empty Bottle on Sunday night.


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2. Sam Prekop and Jim Elkington at the Empty Bottle on Sunday night.

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3. Keep Shelly In Athens at Schubas on Sunday night.

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4. Dwele at City Winery on Thursday night.

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Catching up with . . .

Nikki Bluhm & the Gramblers at the Vic on Saturday night.

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 12:46 AM | Permalink

The Color Of Debt: How Collection Suits Squeeze Black Neighborhoods

On a recent Saturday afternoon, the mayor of Jennings, a St. Louis suburb of about 15,000, settled in before a computer in the empty city council chambers. Yolonda Fountain Henderson, 50, was elected last spring as the city's first black mayor.

On the screen was a list of every debt collection lawsuit against a resident of her city, at least 4,500 in just five years. Henderson asked to see her own street. On her block of 16 modest ranch-style homes, lawsuits had been filed against the occupants of eight. "That's my neighbor across the street," she said, pointing to one line on the screen.

And then she saw her own suit. Henderson, a single mother, fell behind on her sewer bill after losing her job a few years ago, and the utility successfully sued her. That judgement was listed, as well as how one day the company seized $382 from her credit union account - all she had, but not enough to pay off the debt.

As the lines of suits scrolled by on the screen, Henderson shook her head in disbelief, swinging her dangling, heart-shaped earrings.

"They're just suing all of us," she said.

20151008-race-debt-1200x630.jpgReporter Paul Kiel was featured in a segment of the radio program This American Life. Listen to the story of how racial disparities in debt collection lawsuits impacted an entire neighborhood. (All photos by Edwin Torres/ProPublica)

That's not only true in Jennings. The story is the same down the road in Normandy and in every other black community nearby. In fact, when ProPublica attempted to measure, for the first time, the prevalence of judgements stemming from these suits, a clear pattern emerged: they were massed in black neighborhoods.

The disparity was not merely because black families earn less than white families. Our analysis of five years of court judgements from three metropolitan areas - St. Louis, Chicago and Newark - showed that even accounting for income, the rate of judgements was twice as high in mostly black neighborhoods as it was in mostly white ones.

These findings could suggest racial bias by lenders or collectors. But we found that there is another explanation: That generations of discrimination have left black families with grossly fewer resources to draw on when they come under financial pressure.

Over the past year, ProPublica has investigated a little-known but pervasive shift in the way debt is collected in America: Companies now routinely use the courts to pursue millions of people over even small consumer debts. With the power granted by a court judgment, collectors can seize a chunk of a debtor's pay. The highest rates of garnishment are among workers who earn between $25,000 and $40,000, but the numbers are nearly as high for those who earn even less.

Despite their prevalence, these suits remain remarkably hidden, even to people in the communities most burdened by them.

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Debt1_0.JPGJennings, a suburb in north St. Louis County, has shifted since the 1960s from almost entirely white to 90 percent black.

In the city of St. Louis and surrounding St. Louis County, where Jennings lies, only about a quarter of the population lives in neighborhoods where most residents are black. But over half of court judgements were concentrated in these neighborhoods.

Armed with these judgements, plaintiffs - typically debt buyers, banks, hospitals, utilities, and auto and high-cost lenders - have seized at least $34 million from residents of St. Louis' mostly black neighborhoods through suits filed between 2008 and 2012, ProPublica's analysis found.

April Kuehnhoff, an attorney at the National Consumer Law Center, said that the analysis raised "crucial questions about how racial disparities are entering the debt collection system and what we can do to eliminate these disparities." The findings, she said, should spur lawmakers to reform overly punitive federal and state collections laws.

Collection suits - typically over smaller amounts like credit card debt - fly across the desks of local judges, sometimes hundreds in a single day. Defendants usually don't make it to court, and when they do, rarely have an attorney.

For those who do show up, the outcome isn't all that different. In Missouri, most judgements resulted in the plaintiff attempting garnishment, whether the defendant appeared in court or not, according to ProPublica's analysis.

In Jennings, which since the 1960s has shifted from almost entirely white to 90 percent black, the suits are unrelentingly common. Between 2008 and 2012, there was more than one lawsuit for every four residents. And yet, this fact astounded residents when they heard it, because it is a facet of life that most keep private. Parents hide it from their children, and neighbors never think to discuss it.

The typical household income in Jennings is about $28,000, an income level at which families spend, on average, all of their income on basic necessities, federal survey data shows. Each paycheck must be carefully apportioned with the most vital costs - mortgage or rent, food and utilities - prioritized.

A garnishment hits this kind of household budget like a bomb. Federal law and most state laws protect only the poorest of the poor from having their wages seized, otherwise allowing plaintiffs to seize up to a quarter of a worker's after-tax pay. If that paycheck is deposited in a bank, that and other money in the account can be seized to pay down the debt. When garnishment protections do exist, the burden is usually on debtors to figure out if and how the laws protect their assets.

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cityhalljennings.jpgThe City Council chambers of Jennings, Missouri. In addition to the mayor, five of the eight sitting city council members have been sued over a debt.

In Jennings, the struggles with debt compound other hardships common to black communities in St. Louis and elsewhere: conflicts and tension with police, and a municipal court system that has jailed residents over unpaid traffic tickets. To Jennings' northwest lies the city of Ferguson, where the killing of teenager Michael Brown by a police officer last year sparked protests and rioting.

The Rev. Starsky Wilson is co-chair of the Ferguson Commission, a panel created by Missouri's governor to study the underlying social and economic conditions behind the unrest. Lack of economic mobility is a key issue, he said, and there are two sides of the coin. Improvements in education, job training and wages can push people up the ladder. But equally important, he said, are the forces that drag them down.

"If you're still stuck in this web of indebtedness, you're not going to be economically mobile," he said.

Experts cite many reasons why blacks might face more lawsuits, foremost among them the immense gap in wealth between blacks and whites in the U.S. It's a gap that extends back to the institution of slavery and, more recently, to 20th century policies that promoted white homeownership while restricting it for blacks.

Today, the typical black household has a net worth of $11,000, while that of a typical white household is $141,900. As a result, while the budget is often tight for any low- or middle-income household, black households are less likely to have resources to draw on when they need it.

In Jennings, that is a reality felt even in City Hall, where, along with the mayor, five of the eight sitting city council members (seven of whom are black) have been sued over a debt - although none of them knew about their shared plight until ProPublica shared its data.

"I'm in a generational hole," said Miranda Jones, 41, a Jennings city council member and executive with Better Family Life, a St. Louis-based nonprofit devoted to supporting black families. She and her husband have been sued three times in recent years over debts, once resulting in the seizure of $800 from her bank account.

"Coming from East St. Louis from a poor family, I started off in debt," she said. She managed to transcend those circumstances to attain a college degree, but that accomplishment came with a load of student loan debt.

"I'm trying to break the cycle for my kids, and it's very difficult," she said.

* * * * *

gladys.jpgSylvester and Gladys Clayborn sit in their kitchen as their granddaughters and great niece play nearby. The couple fell into debt when Gladys was permanently disabled after heart surgery.

Walk the quiet streets of Jennings and ask residents how they came to be sued over a debt, and they will often tell you that there came a moment when they had to make a financial choice.

For Judy Harvey, a 64-year-old retiree who's lived in the same two-bedroom home with her husband for 20 years, it happened after her hours were scaled back at work. For Gladys Clayborn, 59, who lives in a house around the corner, it was heart trouble that led to major surgery and permanent disability.

However it happened, they found themselves behind on their bills, and they needed to decide which to pay.

"When you rank those bills, you're definitely going to put those things that are essential to health and safety - that you can't function without on a day-to-day basis - first," said Jones, the council member.

Sometimes it's credit card bills that get pushed to the back of the line. Sometimes it's an old medical bill or a loan with a 100 percent interest rate. And quite often in Jennings and other black communities in St. Louis, it's the sewer bill.

The Metropolitan St. Louis Sewer District provides service to almost all of the city of St. Louis and the surrounding county. The bill is not usually a large one - the average monthly rate in 2012 was about $29 for a single family home - but MSD, unlike other utilities like electricity, lacks the power to shut off service to customers who fall far behind.

In 2010, MSD decided too many customers weren't paying their bills, so it dramatically increased its collection efforts. It went from filing about 3,000 suits in 2010 to filing about 11,000 in 2012, more than any other company that year.

Most of MSD's customers are white, but the suits were largely filed against residents of black communities like Jennings. ProPublica examined MSD's court judgements against residents of lower- and middle-income neighborhoods and found that MSD obtained judgements in the mostly black neighborhoods at a rate about four times higher than in the mostly white ones.

When MSD sues, the debts can be quite small, even as little as $350. And the size of those debts may help explain why MSD files so many more suits in black neighborhoods.

ProPublica's analysis of court data for Newark and Chicago found that the debts that led to suits in mostly black neighborhoods were, on average, about 20 to 25 percent smaller than the debts of residents of mostly white ones.

In the Newark area, for instance, when a company sued a resident of a middle-income white neighborhood, the average balance was $3,466; in a black neighborhood, the average was $2,628.

This suggests white consumers are, in general, better able to resolve smaller debts.

Latanya Graves is a 38-year-old single mother of three who lives in Jennings. Sitting in her living room last August as her children tried to cook pancakes and sent smoke throughout her home, Graves remembered the desperation that set her on the path to having her wages garnished.

After a period of unemployment, she'd tried to save her home from foreclosure by taking out loans at sky-high interest rates - the only kind she could get. And with other more critical bills to pay, she'd let her MSD bill slide.

People in her position often don't have other options, Graves said. "Hoping that if they don't pay this bill for a few months and it doesn't get cut off," she said, "they could see that as a safety net for them."

Later, Graves' choices resulted in lawsuits: She fell hopelessly behind on the loans when she was laid off from her clerical job a second time and didn't see a way to catch up on her sewer bill. Then the suits led to garnishments. With the interest continuing to run on her high-cost loans, the debts had grown from hundreds of dollars to thousands.

For months at a time in 2011 and then again in 2012, a quarter of her pay was gone.

"It's a big burden on your shoulders," Graves said. "You go to bed thinking about, 'How am I going to pay these bills? How am I going to do this?' You wake up thinking about it. You go to work thinking about it."

Earning about $15 an hour at the time, she had to scramble, she remembered, to get to the end of the month. She worked as much overtime as possible. Her parents helped out by buying groceries.

"It brings back a lot of memories, a lot of bad memories," she said, wiping away tears.

Lance LeComb, MSD's spokesman, said the company had no demographic data on its customers and treated them all the same. The racial disparity in its suits, he said, is the result of "broader ills in our community that are outside of our scope and exceed our abilities and authority to do anything about."

MSD, he said, has attempted to address those ills by hiring more minority workers. The utility is also willing to work with delinquent customers and "be as generous as possible with repayment terms." But it has a duty to pursue debts to the fullest extent, he said. "We owe it to all our customers to keep our rates as low as possible and to ensure that they are treated fairly and equitably."

The utility also has to be aggressive because it needs to raise revenue, he said, primarily to pay for the billions of dollars of infrastructure improvements required to bring the sewer system up to environmental standards. The average 2015 monthly bill is about twice what it was in 2003.

MSD does have a program to reduce payments for lower-income customers. According to an estimate released by MSD earlier this year, about 39,000 customers are eligible. But as of June, only about 2,300 were enrolled. MSD is "not satisfied with this level of enrollment," LeComb said.

MSD is far from the only company flooding St. Louis courts with lawsuits over small debts. In Missouri and across the country, debt buyers are a common presence in local courtrooms. The companies buy debts for pennies on the dollar and then try to recover what they can from debtors.

The industry began filing suits in large numbers in the early 2000s, and in all three of the cities ProPublica studied, debt buyers filed the most suits of any type of plaintiffs between 2008 and 2012. In the Newark area, more than half of the 66,000 court judgements won against residents of mostly black neighborhoods stemmed from debt buyer lawsuits.

Debt buyers primarily buy defaulted credit card accounts, but the data shows that they routinely sue over smaller balances than banks do. In the Chicago and Newark areas, debt buyers filed suits with an average balance about 30 percent smaller than the average suit by a major bank.

Perhaps as a result, debt buyer lawsuits were far more numerous in black communities, ProPublica found. In Newark, for example, the rate of judgements was about twice as high among middle-income, mostly black neighborhoods than among the middle-income, mostly white ones.

Jan Stieger, executive director of the debt buyers' trade group DBA International, said debt buyers don't know the race of debtors when they buy accounts. Any racial gap in the pattern of suits, she said, is not the result of debt buyer behavior. And debt buyers typically try other methods, such as collection calls, before suing.

"Truly, nobody is treated differently in this process," she said.

* * * * *

150809_Wagedit_Torres0061-900*601-4c272a.JPGChildren play at a block party.

The clients at Beyond Housing, a St. Louis nonprofit that provides assistance to low-income families, are roughly half white and half black. But the staff has noticed a dispiriting difference: white clients are far more likely to have some kind of support to draw on, whether it's their own assets or help from a family member.

For black clients, "so much of that kind of help has been already tapped out," said Linda Ingram, the manager of the foreclosure intervention department. The lack of resources makes it harder for black clients to extricate themselves from debt. It also means the most stable members of a family can easily get overstretched.

"I can't tell you the number of times I have a 55- to 65-year-old African-American woman who can't make her mortgage payment because she's helped other members of the family to the detriment of keeping herself afloat," Ingram said.

By any measure, black households are worse off financially than white ones. They make, on average, far less money. But more pernicious is the vastly larger gap in wealth between whites and blacks - a divide that is wider than it was 30 years ago.

The source of this disparity is as deep as the nation's history, said William A. Darity Jr., a professor of economics and public policy at Duke University. And addressing it is not as straightforward as improving employment or education among blacks.

It stems largely from "differences in the capacity of one generation of parents to transfer their resources to the next," Darity said. "And those differences are strongly associated with race."

Black families have fewer assets like homes and cars, as well as less cash stashed away. The gap remains even among families toward the lower end of the income scale: According to our analysis of the Federal Reserve's 2013 Survey of Consumer Finances, the typical white family with annual income between $20,000 and $40,000 had about $2,010 in liquid assets, while the typical black family in that range had just $650.

Low-income families generally do "very, very well given the very meager resources and high expenses they have," said Michael Collins, faculty director of the Center for Financial Security at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. "But there comes a point in time when there's just nothing there. There's no more income, there's no more savings, and the options are pretty limited, because you don't have the social network, you don't have the legal and other resources available to you to find a solution."

Dora Byrd, 70, lives in Northwoods, a suburb that borders Jennings to the southwest, with her husband, Alphonso Byrd, 81. The couple married late in life after being introduced by their children. They are both retired after long careers, she as a domestic employee and he as a mechanic.

They live in the home Alphonso Byrd bought in 1968, when, he said, he was the first black man to move onto the block.

"And then signs started going up like popcorn," he said. The area is now 95 percent black.

Both have extended themselves to help their children. Alphonso Byrd put his name on his daughter's house when she was faced with losing it to foreclosure, he said. Dora Byrd allowed her disabled daughter to move into her former home after she moved in with her husband.

Both were sued by MSD when the sewer bills on those houses went unpaid.

In Dora Byrd's case, MSD went after her bank account. She'd been living primarily off of a monthly $600 Social Security check. It's illegal for federal benefits to be garnished, but at the time, she had both a checking and a savings account, and only the money electronically deposited into her checking account was automatically protected.

As a result, MSD was able to seize $645 from her savings account, more than a third of the money in her accounts, according to bank records.

The money in the savings account "was just a little something we put away if something was to come up," she said. With her reserves drained, Byrd said, the following months were tight.

LeComb, the MSD spokesman, said that the utility does not know the age of its customers, and that if Byrd had filed a claim in court stating that the funds were exempt, the garnishment would have been terminated.

* * * * *

cori2.jpgSince 2012, Cori Winfield has had her wages garnished over an unpaid car loan. Because the debt continues to run at an annual interest rate of 30 percent, she has already paid more than twice of what she owed when the car was repossessed in 2010.

Near the end of one street in Jennings sits a neat brick bungalow, similar to others lining the block. Its windows look out on a shady tree and a patch of grass just large enough to be called a lawn.

Until 2012, Cori Winfield lived here with her four kids. In 2013, Rosalyn Turner moved in with two of her children. The two women do not know each another, but they are connected by more than just the house: They have both been sued by a local subprime auto lender Midwest Acceptance.

And they have both learned a harsh lesson: Through court judgements, companies like Midwest can pursue debts for decades, following debtors to each promising new job, each new savings account.

Back in 2009, Winfield, 38, visited Allstar Motors, a used car lot, after her car disappeared from her street one morning. Believing it stolen, she'd filed a police report. It wasn't until years later, she said, that she found out the car had actually been towed because of unpaid parking tickets.

allstar.jpg

When she was a teenager, she'd saved up from her job at White Castle to buy her first car, a feat, she said, that taught her "if I can do that, I can do everything else I put my mind to."

But this time, she'd had no chance to save. Getting to work, taking her kids where they needed to go - that required a car, and she'd only put away a couple hundred dollars.

At Allstar, she found a 2002 Dodge Caravan for $8,000, more than she was used to paying for a car. Her credit was spotty, so the loan the dealer offered her was steep, too: it came at a 30 percent annual interest rate. But Winfield thought she could stretch to make the $327 monthly payment.

It was a hopeful time in Winfield's life. The year before, she'd started a new job at a brokerage services firm and had already seen a bump in pay from $12 to $13 an hour. In the fall of 2009, she and her husband, who worked as a janitor, bought the brick bungalow, their first home. She'd managed to pay off her student loans in order to qualify for the mortgage, she said. It was a landmark accomplishment.

But one year later, the minivan payments proved to be too much after all, and the lender, Midwest Acceptance, repossessed the vehicle. She and her husband separated, and she couldn't afford the mortgage on her own. The couple declared Chapter 13 bankruptcy, a move that at least put off foreclosure. But they defaulted on the bankruptcy plan payments after about five months.

In that, they were typical of black debtors. Most Chapter 13 filers default and thus retain their debts. But there's evidence that black debtors are often steered to Chapter 13 plans even though filing through Chapter 7, which is less costly and can provide near-immediate relief, would be the better choice. A 2012 study found blacks were twice as likely to file under Chapter 13 as other filers.

Robert Lawless, a law professor at the University of Illinois who was one of the authors of the 2012 study, said the racial skew in bankruptcy filings should be seen in conjunction with the disparity in debt collection lawsuits. ProPublica's analysis, "along with our study and many others, shows that the civil justice system is not working well for lower-income blacks," he said.

The day Winfield's bankruptcy was dismissed, Midwest Acceptance filed suit against her. She owed almost $5,000, the company claimed, for a car she no longer had. Midwest had auctioned off the Dodge Caravan for $3,050 - less than half what she'd paid for it just 18 months earlier - but added $1,100 in fees from the repossession to her debt. And the balance was still running at the high interest rate.

Now without a car, the whole family took the bus, which meant at least three hours a day in transit for Winfield.

Her priorities became basic: keeping the gas on, finding a place to live, saving for another car. Amid these demands, the debt to Midwest fell by the wayside. But by securing a judgement against Winfield, Midwest ensured that the company would get its money whether it fit in her budget or not.

* * * * *

turner.jpgRosalyn Turner stands on the doorstep of her home in Jennings. Turner was sued over an unpaid sewer bill that was her landlord's responsibility and an unpaid car loan she took out ten years prior. "It's hard not to go crazy and stress out, you know," she said.

Turner rented Winfield's old home in 2013, moving in with her teenage daughter and adult son, who is mentally disabled and requires special care. By that point, the house had been snatched up for $14,000 by a California-based private equity firm that invests in distressed real estate.

Turner, 43, had been forced to move quickly after a plumbing problem at her previous rental in Ferguson. Raw sewage flooded the basement, ruining her possessions and snuffing out the pilot light on the boiler, which left the family without hot water.

"That was the worst time in my life. I used to cry myself to sleep," she said.

After her landlord failed to fix the problem, Turner decided to break her lease. But before she could, she was sued by MSD. She owed over $2,000 in unpaid sewer bills for the Ferguson home, the utility claimed.

Turner's lease clearly stated that the sewer bills were the landlord's responsibility. The bills had been sent to him, not her. But when she faxed a copy of her lease to MSD's attorney and called to explain, she was told that MSD could sue her anyway, since she was listed on the account, she said.

Turner didn't see how she could afford an attorney, nor did she see a point in appearing in court. MSD received a default judgement against her.

In St. Louis, defendants had counsel in less than 8 percent of debt collection cases filed between 2008 and 2012, ProPublica's analysis shows. And in lower-income black neighborhoods, just 4 percent had a lawyer.

MSD's lawsuit named both Turner and her landlord as defendants. But so far, only Turner's wages have been garnished. Last year, Turner was taking home about $740 every two weeks from her job with the state when the garnishment hit. MSD took a quarter of that pay for three months until Turner's seasonal job was terminated. MSD has seized $1,400, but over $1,100 still remains on the debt.

MSD's LeComb said the utility had operated according to policy when suing Turner, since "the tenant is the party benefitting from the service," but that MSD would review how the policy was applied in her case and whether it ought to be changed.

Soon after Turner moved to the Jennings house, she was sued again - this time by auto lender Midwest Acceptance, who claimed she owed more than $10,000.

Turner had taken out a loan 10 years earlier that, like Winfield's, had been financed by Midwest. In 2005, after Turner was laid off and fell behind on payments, the car was repossessed and sold at auction.

According to Turner's court file, she was personally served with a summons for the lawsuit in November 2013. She doesn't recall being served, and when her court date came around, she wasn't there.

Even if Turner had appeared, it's unclear that it would have done her any good. With an attorney, however, she might have gotten the case dismissed. That's because the statute of limitations on Turner's loan under Missouri law was four years, a period that had long expired by 2013.

But the onus is on the defendant to raise such a defense. As a result, Midwest obtained a judgement.

Midwest declined to discuss Turner's case, but said that the statute of limitations could be extended if, for instance, a debtor made a voluntary payment on a debt. Turner said she hadn't done that.

Robert Swearingen, an attorney with the nonprofit Legal Services of Eastern Missouri who specializes in consumer issues, reviewed the lawsuit for ProPublica. Based on the suit and Turner's recollections, he said, "It seems clear as day to me that they filed the lawsuit outside the statute of limitations." It was something creditors often did, he said, since defendants rarely know their rights.

Turner has been looking for work since her last job, a seasonal position at UPS, ended earlier this year. Since then, she's been relying on unemployment to support her family. With a long career as a bus and truck driver, she's hopeful for work, but if she does find it, she knows she won't have the full benefit of that paycheck for long. Midwest tries to garnish her paycheck wherever she goes, from Walmart to her job with the state to UPS. And if Midwest doesn't take a chunk of her pay, MSD just might.

"It's hard not to go crazy and stress out, you know," she said. "I just keep praying and asking the Lord for help. That's all I can do."

For Winfield, the three years since losing her home have been a trial. She has moved four times, she said, most recently to leave a neighborhood where her house was robbed and shootings were frequent. And, like many black residents of the St. Louis area, she speaks bitterly of her experiences with police after an unpaid speeding ticket led to a weekend in jail.

Still, she remains determined to provide a stable environment for her children, she said recently, sitting in her current home, which remains sparsely furnished as a result of the burglary.

"I just want to do everything that I can to make sure that my kids don't go through as much as I went through," she said. Her own upbringing was marked by her mother's addiction to crack, she said, and while her kids have been through a lot, she thinks she's largely succeeding at her goal.

But garnishment has proven to be a legacy she couldn't escape. Winfield remembers her mother trying to make a reduced paycheck stretch further, and it has become part of her life, too. Midwest Acceptance began seizing 25 percent of her after-tax pay in March 2012.

Every two weeks, almost $250 was gone. "I was not making it," she said.

During an online search for help, Winfield learned she qualified for a "head of family" exemption under Missouri state law, which reduces the maximum garnishment to 10 percent. The law doesn't require anyone to tell debtors like Winfield of the exemption, and the burden is on them to claim it.

The extra $300 each month was "a lifesaver," she said. "I can at least pay rent and pay bills."

But because she is paying less each paycheck, she will be stuck paying more over the long term.

In Missouri, lenders can request that judgements accrue interest at the contract rate. In Winfield's case, her debt continues to grow at an annual rate of 30 percent. The $4,900 Winfield owed after her old car was auctioned became $6,900 by the time Midwest obtained its judgment. She has had more than $8,500 taken from her paychecks over the years and still owes more than $2,400.

If she ever pays off the loan, which at the current pace won't be until 2017, she will have paid a total of at least $13,000 to Midwest.

In a written statement, Midwest Acceptance said it was legally allowed to charge post-judgement interest at the contract rate, but was willing to accept less than was owed "as long as the client continues to communicate with us and makes a good-faith effort to reduce the balance."

The build-up of interest can be even more punishing on high-cost installment loans. The law allows lenders to make loans with interest rates in the triple digits and then attach that rate to court judgments. It's a system that can turn a $1,000 loan into a $40,000 debt, ProPublica has reported, and leave the debtor with a choice: endure garnishment in perpetuity or declare bankruptcy.

These costly debts hit black communities in St. Louis at a rate about five times higher than mostly white neighborhoods, ProPublica found. High-cost installment lenders and subprime auto lenders obtained more than 8,200 judgements against residents of mostly black neighborhoods from 2008 through 2012. The lenders have seized at least $9.5 million from debtors through those cases.

ProPublica found even more of an imbalance in the Chicago area. There, the national subprime auto lender Credit Acceptance obtained judgments against residents of mostly black neighborhoods at a rate 18 times higher than it did against residents of mostly white neighborhoods. Credit Acceptance did not respond to multiple calls and e-mails seeking comment.

There is evidence that black consumers take out higher interest loans more often than whites. For example, black consumers are much more likely to take out a payday loan than whites with similar income, according to the Survey of Consumer Finances. Recently, there have been a series of federal enforcement actions against auto lenders based on allegations that they over-charged minority borrowers.

In its statement, Midwest Acceptance said there was "no intentional disparity of any kind in lawsuits or garnishments" and that the company had no information on the race of its borrowers and treated all customers the same.

Last week, Henderson, the mayor of Jennings, picked up her paycheck at city hall, and discovered that $185 was gone - garnished by MSD. The sewer district had tracked her down at her new job and taken the maximum allowed by law, a quarter of her biweekly pay.

Without it, Henderson said, she's not sure she'll be able to cover all her expenses, which include caring for her 8-year-old son. "I'm going to have to scrap and scrounge and rob Peter to pay Paul here," she said.

When asked if she'd ever heard of the "head of family" exemption, Henderson said she hadn't, but vowed to submit the forms as soon as possible to reduce the garnishment.

She was surprised to learn that she wasn't alone - the pay of a council member had been seized by MSD last week, too. Henderson said she'd be sure to tell her about the exemption, since the council member had a son of her own.

"We're all in the same boat," she said. "It's the black community."

150809_Wagedit_Torres0060-900*601-33ae49.JPG

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Jonathan Stray contributed to this story. Produced by Hannah Birch and Emily Martinez.

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* How We Reported It.

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Previously:

* What Can Be Done Right Now To Fix The (Racist) Legal System For Debt Collection.

* Capital One Is No. 1 In Suing Its Cardholders.

* Why Small Debts Matter So Much To Black Lives.

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Comments welcome.

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* Beachwood Photo Booth: America From Inside The Golden Nugget In Ravenswood.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Cellphone Repair.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Boots 'N' Grill.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Sunrise Strip.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: At The Corner Of Glad And Happy.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Uptown Autumn Night.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Diner.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Mid-Century Modern Halloween.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Autumn Station Wagon.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Betty's & Nick's.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Ohio House Impact.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: End School Zone.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Portage Park Peek-A-Boo.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: South Side Sundown.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Susie's Drive-Thru.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Holiday Ham.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Food & Liquor, Milhouse.

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 12:09 AM | Permalink

January 7, 2016

The [Thursday] Papers

I'm trying to put together a new podcast on the Laquan McDonald e-mails, so there won't be a proper column today.

* Obama's Gun Moves Unlikely To Affect Gang Violence.

Cook County study sheds doubt on impact.

Note: The guy gives a pretty (but not new) speech, sheds a tear, and the internet memes fly with how the dude, in the words of one post I saw, "has been earning his Nobel Peace Prize for seven years." Please. Look at the content and policy, and you'll see it's pretty damn empty. As ProPublica asks, "Will simply explaining current law more clearly help save lives?" Beyond that, the measures the president is taking have little to do with the nature of gang violence in places like Chicago. Do your homework, people.

* Amy Schumer's New Chicago Boyfriend Made The Papers Here When He Was 17.

Furniture maker was a Palatine snowboard phenom.

Note: This post may seem like a departure for the Beachwood, but I was just curious and thought I'd share my findings. Also interesting: They met on a dating app. Supposition: Explains why Schumer has spent so much time here lately; she did a Christmas Eve show at the Constellation, for example.

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BeachBook

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Utterly despicable.

Posted by The Beachwood Reporter on Wednesday, January 6, 2016

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TweetWood
A sampling.

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The Beachwood Tip Line: Service without a smile.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 12:02 PM | Permalink

Amy Schumer's New Chicago Boyfriend Made The Papers Here When He Was 17

Amy Schumer's new dude, Ben Hanisch, got some love from Sun-Times outdoor columnist Dale Bowman in 2004.

Date: March 26, 2004
Headline: Mountain Rises On Lakefront - That's Snow Joke

"The metal contraption rises south of Soldier Field. Think mechanical mountain with an urban view. And fake snow. It's a weird convergence.

"While weekend weather will have Chicagoans thinking spring, the richest snowboarding event in history sets up in Chicago. A cool quarter-million in prize winnings stokes the Boost Mobile Pro of Snowboarding today and Saturday at Soldier Field South Festival Area."

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"One of those in the rail jam today is from the northwest suburbs. In the rail jams, riders perform as the spirit moves them rather than in a regimented format. Ben Hanisch, a 17-year-old junior at Fremd High School, earned a berth in the rail jam when he won a Forum Youngblood series event at Raging Buffalo Snowboard Park in Algonquin earlier this month.

"I just want to have fun, not be too scared to go against all the top guys," said Hanisch, who idolizes the styling of Eddie Wall. [It is] being as smooth as you can, so you don't look all sketched out."

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Date: April 2, 2004
Headline: Local Snowboarding Teen Jams Rail With Best

"Ben Hanisch had something in his head. It's still there. Last Friday night, Hanisch lined up with the best in the snowboarding world. A couple guys ahead was his idol, Eddie Wall.

You couldn't miss Wall. He stood out like a neon bulb in his electric green snowboarding coat.

It was the rail jam of the Boost Mobile Pro of Snowboarding held just south of Soldier Field. In a rail jam, riders (the snowboarders) slide down a short approach, then hop their boards up on a rail and perform tricks.

It's about improvisation. That's partly explains the procedure, or lack of it. Riders roughly follow each other as they arrive at the approach. But occasionally, the spirit will move one "to jump in."

Rail jams for snowboarders are cousins of the outlaw sport, perfected by skateboarders, of riding handrails and walls in public spaces.

Friday's rail jam was legitimized with a $20,000 check going to the winner.

Hanisch had a plan.

"I wanted to try one trick I had for a long time, this one thing I had in my head," Hanisch said. "I couldn't do it. It got pretty frustrating. It is a 270 [degree spin] on and, at the kink, do another 180 facing the rail. It is pretty difficult."

His first attempt was, well, an attempt.

"I went down the middle one, and slipped out," Hanisch said. "I hadn't snowboarded in like a week-and-a-half."

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"'It takes more than [chutzpah] to do good tricks on walls,' Hanisch said before the rail jam. 'These days it is all about style. Whoever looks best on the rails should come out on top.'"

The 17-year-old junior at Fremd High School in Palatine earned a spot in the rail jam by looking good and winning a Forum Youngblood series event at Raging Buffalo Snowboard Park in Algonquin on March 13.

The world of snowboarding clips along. Hanisch already has sponsorships, including Jeenyus snowboards . . .

He came to snowboarding because of his older brother Tim. Having been born in Palatine, snowboarding wasn't a natural fit. Ben started out with wakeboarding, the water sport similar to snowboarding.

"I know the next time, the next contest, I will have a lot more confidence," Hanisch said. "And I will probably end up doing better."

Part of winning the lead-in event at Raging Buffalo meant that Hanisch was put up in the same Chicago hotel with the other snowboarders for the weekend. And he tasted the lifestyle.

It seemed like an interesting life," he said. You travel around to different countries. It seemed like it would be a great profession."

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Date: November 26, 2004
Headline: [Dale Bowman's "Extreme" column]

"They made snow for two nights last week at Raging Buffalo Snowboard Park in Algonquin . . . In March, Hanisch qualified from Raging Buffalo for the Boost Mobile Pro of Snowboarding held just south of Soldier Field. Raging Buffalo will again host a Forum Youngbloods Contest on Jan. 16."

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There's also video from 2006.

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Hanisch was in a snowboarding film called workplay.

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Now, to be absolutely accurate, Hanisch was named in three suburban Daily Herald articles when he was even younger.

Date: January 12, 1998
Headline: Northwest Charger Mite AA Team Wins Tourney

" . . . defensive line held their opponents to just 4 goals in five games behind the efforts of Drew Dobson, Jim Guarino, Ben Hanisch and Jaymes Huddleston."

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Date: April 13, 1998
Headline: Travelers Coach Gets Set To Fine-Tune Young Team

"The 'group' includes Palatine residents Brenden Dailey, Patrick Doloughty, Ben Hanisch, Ryan Hoch, Jaymes Huddleston, Brian Magnuson, Matt Samojedny and Jake Wilson . . . "

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As an adult, Hanisch got some pub before Schumer. The website Five O'Clock featured Hanisch in August 2014: "Furniture Fixer, Aspiring Actor, Hockey Player. We get an early start with Last Workshop's Ben Hanisch."

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FYI: They met on the dating app Bumble.

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 8:34 AM | Permalink

Obama's Gun Moves Unlikely To Affect Gang Violence

The executive actions on guns unveiled Tuesday by President Obama drew predictable praise from gun control advocates and bile from gun-rights supporters and Republican lawmakers, including some who called his actions "unconstitutional."

But, as some have noted, the actions themselves are extremely modest, raising questions about how much they will really do to stem gun violence.

Obama's most significant step is an attempt to expand the number of gun sellers who conduct background checks on buyers. To do this, he is not changing the requirements for who is required to conduct a background check and who is not. Instead, he is giving a very high level of publicity to new "guidance" from the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives that simply explains what the current law is.

Under federal law, licensed firearm dealers have to comply with a set of regulations, including conducting background checks on prospective purchasers to make sure they are not prohibited from owning a gun because of a criminal record or other disqualifying factor. More occasional sellers of guns - one private individual selling to another private individual - do not have to follow these rules.

For decades, gun control advocates have decried this gaping loophole in the nation's federal background check law. After a mass shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School in December 2012, congressional Democrats tried and failed to close this loophole by passing legislation to require background checks on more gun sales.

Obama is now approaching the problem from a different angle: He is focusing on gun sellers who may be operating in a gray area between being an occasional seller and a licensed dealer.

According to the ATF, its new guidance breaks down how federal courts have interpreted the somewhat fuzzy line between occasional gun sellers, who are not required to conduct background checks, and people who are "engaged in the business" of selling firearms, who must have a federal license, conduct background checks, and comply with other federal regulations on dealers.

A father selling off part of his personal collection of high-end firearms to finance his son's college education does not need a federal firearms license, the ATF explained. But a man who lost his job and is now "buying firearms from friends and reselling them though an internet site" does need a license.

Experts say there's some indication that gun sellers operating in this gray area are a problem, and that they play a role in supplying guns to people with criminal records.

Daniel Webster, the director of the Johns Hopkins Center for Gun Policy and Research, said sellers whose livelihoods don't depend on gun sales may exercise prudence beyond what's required by law when making transactions. When he conducted focus groups with gun owners in Texas, he said, many said they would not sell a gun without voluntarily checking whether a potential buyer had a state-issued permit to carry a concealed weapon, so they could be sure they were selling to a person who could legally own a gun.

But private sellers who are trying to make a profit may be less scrupulous about whether the person who is buying their gun could pass a background check, Webster said.

"If you are, on a regular basis, buying and selling a whole lot of guns and are doing that to make money, I think that probably clouds judgment," he said.

Webster cited a November 2015 study by the gun control group Everytown for Gun Safety, which analyzed a year's worth of ads posted by unlicensed sellers on Armslist.com, an online gun marketplace. The report found that a small proportion of unlicensed sellers were selling a very large number of guns on the site: "Those offering 25 or more guns accounted for 1 in 500 sellers but offered 1 in 20 guns," the report found. These private, high-volume sellers should be required to be licensed, the report concluded.

It's not clear how the findings of this one study might reflect the larger online marketplace for guns - or the broader patterns of offline unlicensed sales.

"The bottom line: we don't know how big this is, but we have enough evidence to know that thousands of guns are being sold by individuals who are selling a lot of guns in fairly risky kinds of ways," Webster said.

The Everytown report also concluded that the vague legal definition of who should be a licensed gun seller had undermined efforts to prosecute people for dealing in firearms without a license.

Webster said it would be interesting to see if the White House's attempt to clarify the law resulted in more cases targeting people for selling guns without a license.

"Time will tell," he said, noting that simply putting a spotlight on these sellers should also have "some deterrent effect."

Even if the president succeeds in shrinking this gray area of the gun market, it's not clear what effect that might have on gun violence overall.

Phil Cook, a Duke University gun policy expert, was one of the researchers who recently surveyed 99 inmates at the Cook County Jail in Chicago about how they obtained their guns. Very few of them described getting their guns from licensed gun dealers, or by stealing them.

For people with criminal records, "most of these transactions are not with people who are in the real business of selling guns, licensed or unlicensed. It's much more casual transactions involving acquaintances, family members, street sources," Cook said.

The White House emphasized both gun shows and internet sales as places where it was easy to conduct risky sales with no background check requirements.

But Cook said that, according to surveys, neither the Internet nor gun shows were places were "the typical gang member or robber" goes to buy a gun.

"Nobody in the jail survey mentioned they had gone online," Cook said. "I wonder if they would trust that arrangement. What they were telling us about the transactions they were involved with - on both sides, it was important that they either knew the other person or that they had somebody who would vouch for them. There was very little dealing going on among strangers."

The 2015 Everytown study, which "analyzed every federal prosecution of 'engaging in the business' of dealing guns without a license in 2011 and 2012" also found "defendants relied on gun shows, online markets, or print ads to buy or sell their wares" in "approximately 10 percent of cases."

At the same time, Cook said, that did not mean that gun shows and the Internet did not play a role in illegal trafficking. It's extremely hard to track the movement of guns between their sale by a licensed dealer and the moment they are recovered at a crime scene or from someone not legally allowed to own them. Gun shows and the Internet might play a role in a chain of sales between these points, he said, and "might be supplying the pipeline of guns that are being trafficked into Chicago or New York."

The ATF has no estimate for how many additional people, if any, may decide to get licensed and start conducting background checks as a result of its new guidance, though "it is reasonable to believe that there will be some increase in the number of new applications for firearms licenses," ATF spokesman Corey Ray wrote in an e-mail.

Will the ATF start cracking down on gun sellers in the gray area that the guidance deals with? "Because this really isn't new regulation, the requirements are already in place and enforcement is ongoing," Ray wrote.

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See also: Obama's Gun Control Measures Unlikely To Impact Violence In Chicago - Except One.

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Previously:

* Why Don't We Know How Many People Are Shot Each Year In America?

* Democrats Push To Restart CDC Funding For Gun Violence Research.

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

* Yes, Black America Fears The Police. Here's Why.

* Myth vs. Fact: Mental Health And Violence.

* Is The Gun Lobby's Power Overstated?

* How The Gun Control Debate Ignores Black Lives.

* Why Counting Mass Shootings Is A Bad Way To Understand Gun Violence In America.

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ProPublica is a Pulitzer Prize-winning investigative newsroom. Sign up for their newsletter.

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 12:26 AM | Permalink

January 6, 2016

The [Wednesday] Papers

Rahm Emanuel's political instincts may have served him well through most of his career, but they've proven no match for his deeply ingrained need to try to outsmart everyone around him, even as he fights for survival, as we saw once again yesterday. It's killing him.

"Mayor Rahm Emanuel said Tuesday it's 'not possible' that City Hall's Law Department is part of the cover-up culture he's acknowledged exists at the Chicago Police Department - a day after a federal judge ruled that a city lawyer intentionally concealed evidence in a trial over a fatal Chicago police shooting," the Tribune reports.

"Emanuel also said it's not necessary for the U.S. Department of Justice to add the Law Department to its investigation into the Police Department's use of excessive force. And the mayor gave a vote of confidence to his top attorney, saying Stephen Patton would ensure the city's legal team is operating "at the highest level that the public should expect."

Let's break that down.

1. It's "not possible" that the city's law department is part of the "cover-up" culture that exists within the police department.

I'm not sure how someone makes a declaration like that - especially now. A reasonable person would acknowledge that it might be possible and order a review of policies and practices. Maybe Rahm thinks that would be showing weakness.

Another possibility is that such an acknowledgement - and/or finding - might lead to the conclusion that his whole administration is bathed in cover-up culture. The administration of his predecessor, Richard M. Daley, certainly was. A lot of us thought no mayoral administration could be more disingenuous than Daley's, but along came Rahm, who (like every pol these days) pledged to run the most transparent operation ever but instead has run the most secretive (and, as the New Year's Eve release of McDonald e-mails showed, the most media- and message-obsessed).

A cover-up culture isn't necessarily one in which folks are carrying out an active conspiracy, by the way. It's more often one in which putting the interests of the boss ahead of everything else - including justice - is business as usual. Think of any workplace you've experienced; it isn't hard to intuit the culture and what behavior is rewarded and what is punished.

Cover-up culture can also be non-intentional in the way that institutional racism is - a well-intended policy with consequences that haven't been properly anticipated. In the case of the city's law department, maybe the zeal to settle cases early out of the conviction that it saves money in the long run also prevents citizens from a full accounting of what the city has done wrong.

2. Rahm said it's not necessary for the U.S. Department of Justice to add the Law Department to its investigation into the Police Department's use of excessive force.

But I thought Rahm welcomed the DOJ investigation?! Look, the DOJ is gonna go where the DOJ wants to go. (In other words, the DOJ's gonna DOJ.) If their investigation takes them into the city's law department, there's nothing Rahm can do to stop it. In fact, nothing Rahm says has any impact of what the DOJ will do, so why say it's not necessary? That just makes Rahm look like he's scared that the DOJ will look at the law department.

A better person than Rahm would have said, "It's not a case of what I think is 'necessary,' it's what the DOJ thinks is necessary. The DOJ should go where their investigation takes them. We welcome their help - this is a historic opportunity, borne of horrible tragedy, to make real and dramatic changes to the way things are done in Chicago, and in the end we can come out the other side a far, far better city."

Instead, Rahm's response just invites comparisons, as the Trib notes, to his initial defiance of a DOJ investigation, just one in a series of defiances that he's been forced to reverse himself on throughout the Laquan McDonald saga.

3. Rahm not only expressed his confidence in Stephen Patton, but said that the city's legal team is operating "at the highest level that the public should expect."

Clearly, that's not true. The public should expect a higher level of operation than a federal judge issuing a scathing opinion about a lying city lawyer engaged in cover-up culture in a police-shooting case resulting in that lawyer's resignation. Patton may or may not have responsibility, but it happened on his watch. Doesn't that mean he owns it? And we all should have learned by now not to presume that this is just a case of "one bad apple." The benefit of the doubt swings the other way; we should at first assume a systemic problem until proven otherwise.

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Back to the article:

"The mayor's defense of Patton, a confidant, comes as a federal judge has cited and rebuked five city attorneys within the last year for withholding evidence in two separate police misconduct cases. In the most recent of those rulings Monday, U.S. District Judge Edmond Chang faulted lax training and oversight at Patton's department for hampering the production of Police Department records when officers are accused of misconduct."

1. I wonder if the term "confidant" could be replaced by "consigliere" and still be accurate. In any case, the Trib is signalling to us that Patton and Rahm are close enough to exchange frank advice of the most sensitive nature - and that Patton acts under Rahm's direction.

2. Five attorneys? And there's a second case? We knew about the case involving the one attorney that resulted in Chang's screed on Monday, but what's the other case about? The article doesn't mention it again.

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"On Tuesday, the mayor was asked whether the Law Department's handling of lethal force cases should be part of a federal civil rights investigation of the Police Department. He laughed and did not directly answer the question. Pressed again, Emanuel said that step is not needed to give Chicagoans confidence that necessary changes are being made."

1. Laugh when you're nervous much?

2. How in the world was Rahm not prepped for this question?

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"Chang's new ruling found that veteran city attorney Jordan Marsh, who has handled many of the city's high-profile police misconduct cases, intentionally concealed evidence by not informing the court about a relevant emergency radio dispatch in a police shooting case. The judge also found Marsh misled the court about his thought process for withholding the evidence and ruled that the co-counsel on the case, city attorney Thomas Aumann, failed to make a reasonable effort to find the radio recording."

1. Marsh, the attorney who has now resigned/been fired, "has handled many of the city's high-profile police misconduct cases." Does this give anyone heartache?

2. So Aumann also failed in that case. But there's no way the problem is systemic.

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"Despite the judge's finding, Emanuel said he does not believe the Law Department is part of a culture of cover-ups on police shootings.

"That's not possible when you're in front of a court and getting a judge's ruling," the mayor said while speaking to reporters at an unrelated event on the West Side.

What we just saw is not possible.

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"A spokesman for the city's law department said in a statement that the conduct outlined in the court ruling was 'unacceptable' and officials have taken steps, including updated training, to prevent such problems in the future," the Wall Street Journal reports.

Somehow I don't think "training" is the issue. Marsh was a senior lawyer - promoted by Patton - who had been in the department for nearly two decades.

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Fran Spielman portrayed Rahm's day quite differently for the Sun-Times: As a take-charge mayor.

Mayor Rahm Emanuel on Tuesday gave his corporation counsel a tenuous vote of confidence, but he put Stephen Patton on the clock to make certain that city attorneys never again conceal evidence.

One day after a senior city attorney resigned in disgrace after getting caught concealing evidence in a police shooting case, Emanuel said he has Patton's back, just as he once had former Police Supt. Garry McCarthy's.

But that confidence came with a caveat: Fix it. Tighten the ship.

Oh, nevermind. It's just a matter of tightening the ship.

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Cab #1555
"I kept pushing on that sound icon on the TV screen and nothing."

Women Sculptors Of Chicago
A new lecture series showcases their large scale works in stainless steel, bronze, welded steel, aluminum, carved wood, found and recycled objects, water-works, 3-D mosaics, indoor installations and gallery-sized artworks. With video!

SEC Not Required To Make Firms Disclose Political Contributions: Judge
Plaintiff argued shareholders deserve the right to assess whether corporate contributions are in companies' best interests.

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BeachBook

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TweetWood
A sampling.

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The Beachwood Tip Line: Chicago code.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 9:47 AM | Permalink

SEC Not Required To Make Firms Disclose Political Contributions: Judge

A federal judge on Monday dismissed a lawsuit seeking to force the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission to adopt a rule requiring publicly traded companies to disclose political contributions.

U.S. District Judge Rosemary Collyer in Washington, D.C. found no showing by the plaintiff Stephen Silberstein that the SEC had a "clear legal duty" to begin a rulemaking proceeding, and that its failure was arbitrary and capricious.

She also said she lacked jurisdiction to consider whether the SEC engaged in "unreasonable delay" by ignoring Silberstein's rulemaking petition. Collyer said such a claim might be raised before a federal appeals court.

The lawsuit was filed last May by the nonprofit Campaign for Accountability on behalf of Silberstein, an Aetna shareholder who had unsuccessfully sued the insurer in New York to force it to reveal its political donations.

Silberstein said improved disclosure is necessary in light of the U.S. Supreme Court's Citizens United decision in 2010, which allowed unlimited independent spending by corporations and labor unions in federal elections.

He said shareholders deserve the right to assess whether corporate contributions are in companies' best interests.

Daniel Stevens, a spokesman for the Campaign for Accountability, said the group is disappointed in Tuesday's decision and may file a complaint with the appeals court.

SEC spokesman Kevin Callahan had no immediate comment.

The regulator had argued that it had discretion, but no obligation, to begin a rulemaking proceeding.

The Citizens United decision inspired a wave of new campaign spending, including from politically-focused nonprofits that need not disclose the identities of their donors.

The Campaign for Accountability has estimated that the 2016 U.S. presidential campaign may cost at least $5 billion, roughly double the $2.6 billion that the nonprofit Center for Responsive Politics has estimated was spent on the 2012 campaign.

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 5:39 AM | Permalink

Women Sculptors Of Chicago

Some of Chicago's top female sculptors will lift the veil on the passion and creative drive that compels them to create public art showcasing the many environs of Chicago in a new lecture series presented by Chicago Sculpture International.

Women Sculptors of Chicago - Not for Men Only, debuting Saturday, Jan. 23 at the Chicago Cultural Center, features images, live process demonstrations and discussions presented by 11 extremely creative and talented female sculptors.

All of the artists, who are proud members of Chicago Sculpture International, will share their process and passion for sculpture and discuss their public sculptures which encompass a wide range of media including: large scale works in stainless steel, bronze, welded steel, aluminum, carved wood, found and recycled objects, water-works, 3-D mosaics, indoor installations and gallery-sized artworks.

The monthly lecture series will run through May 21st. Each of the five 90-minute programs will feature a Q&A with the presenters. The schedule and presenters:

January 23: Toby Zallman and Kara James.

James:

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February 27: Victoria Fuller and Donna Hapac.

Fuller working on "Global Garden Shovel."

Victoria Fuller- working on Global Garden Shovel.jpg

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March 19: Janet Austin and Nicole Beck.

Beck working on "Amplifiers."

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"Amplifiers."

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April 19: Suzanne Cohen-Lange with Niki Nolin and Christine Rojek.

Rojek's "Rubber Tipped Crane," in Schaumburg:

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May 21: Jill King and Karen Gubitz.

Gubitz:

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 5:03 AM | Permalink

Cab #1555

Date: 12/29/15
From: Wrigleyville
To: Union Station

The Cab: Normally I don't like the sound blasting loud out of those little cab TVs, but in this case, the driver was BORing. I kept pushing on that sound icon on the TV screen and nothing. An astute driver might have noticed my attempts at trying to get said TV to work, but alas, not Mister "Yep, you're my last customer of the day" (and in my mind, I'm home already).

The Driving: Started out okay. I now consider a driver that offers to help put my luggage in the trunk a "good driver." (This should not be the case! The world has gone to hell in a handbasket. Chivalry is dead. But I digress). Cab wasn't engulfed in incense or air freshener; this is good. No bald tires or squeaky, shifty, aged, seats.

We started out with the usual about weather and where we were from. He's just here six months from Texas. (But not originally from Texas. Some other country.) 30s-ish. But then nothing. Conversation flatlined.

Then I had time to observe the constant looking down at the smartphone in his lap while driving. Oh hell no. (At this point I seemed to recall a previous cab review by Steve Rhodes who brought our attention to the small print on the back of one cab seat that he decided to read. The fine print mentioned a customer's legal rights to a safe ride.) Yet there I was, exhausted by my trip and too tired to balk. I said a little prayer.

Since I was oddly ahead of schedule, there was no rush (and no adrenaline rush that would then accompany, for added interest and distraction.). Driver #1555's English was broken, in the way that after three times of not understanding a comment you just say, "Uh-huh." Dangit, it turns out I said "Uh-huh" to the crowded Kennedy on-ramp at 5:30 p.m. on a weeknight. Seriously? You said that you were just downtown and suddenly you thought this a good idea? Well, at least this time I had extra time. Extra time with no sound on the TV . . .

Finally in River North and off the expressway; driver stops on a dime (not even) and continues to make a right turn as a horn screeches from an SUV that nearly sideswipes us. I think this is the climax of this review. We are (fortunately) safe. It's not long now til I get dropped off. Oh, good.

Overall Rating: 2 Extended Arms

- Helene Smith

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There are more than 6,000 cabs in the city of Chicago. We intend to review every one of them.

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 4:42 AM | Permalink

January 5, 2016

The [Tuesday] Papers

The Papers will return on Wednesday. Chock full of other stuff.

* Random Review: Residence Inn O'Hare.

The staff poured beer and mingled.

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

He suffered more than 10 concussions, all while playing football, the first occurring at age eight.

* Remembering Natalie Cole In Chicago.

Including her landmark 1977 Arie Crown show.

* Why Small Debts Matter So Much To Black Lives.

If you are black, you're far more likely to see your electricity cut, more likely to be sued over a debt, and more likely to land in jail because of a parking ticket.

* Fight The False Holiday Narrative!

"On time. On time. On time. On time. On time."

* Church Ladies, Liberty Power & January 1973.

Oh what a month!

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BeachBook

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TweetWood
A sampling.

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The Beachwood Tip Line: Unipolar.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 4:05 PM | Permalink

Local Book Notes: Church Ladies, January 1973 & Liberty Power

"The women of Harlem's Abyssinian Baptist Church were influential leaders in the congregations of Reverend Adam Clayton Powell Senior and Junior," Oretha Winston writes for the Defender.

"Church Ladies: Untold Stories of Harlem Women in the Powell Era, written by Martia G. Goodson, explores these women's lives at the church and their roles in a Northern civil rights movement that took them and their pastor, the fiery Powell Junior, from protests for jobs on Harlem's 125th Street in the 1930s to demonstrations for justice in the halls of the United States Congress in the 1960s.

"The book animates testimony from over a dozen little-recognized women paints a vivid picture of that historic church and the struggles against Jim Crow in New York City and beyond."

January 1973
"January of 1973 was a month, as Lady Bracknell says in The Importance of Being Earnest, 'crowded with incident,'" Graham Yearley writes for the Catholic News Service.

The war in Vietnam was dragging on and the negotiations that had been going on almost as long between Henry Kissinger and the North Vietnamese hadn't produced any peace accord. Richard Nixon, having ordered the intense bombing of Cambodia and North Vietnam at Christmas time in 1972 to jump-start the negotiations, wanted a peace accord to coincide with his second inauguration.

Meanwhile, the trial of the Watergate "burglars" began and ended in that month with the country still unaware of the involvement of the White House in the break-in of the Democratic national headquarters. The inauguration went ahead on Jan. 20 with no peace accord. But the next day, South Vietnamese President Nguyen Van Thieu sent a letter agreeing with the terms of the treaty Kissinger and the North Vietnamese had struck, so Nixon's great victory came 24 hours too late. Sadly, the peace accord more resembled a cease-fire that only held until mid-February.

On Jan. 22, ex-President Lyndon Johnson died on a plane flying from his ranch to a hospital in San Antonio. The same day, the Supreme Court handed down its decision in the Roe v. Wade case. The news of Johnson's death briefly overshadowed the shock waves created by the abortion decision.

Wow.

"January 1973 is a fascinating and readable review of an important month in American history. One might argue other months like August of 1968 or even April of 1865 changed history more profoundly, but it is hard to deny that January of 1973 hardened the rifts in American politics that have led us to the stalemate we live with today."

Liberty Power
"Corey M. Brooks, A York College of Pennsylvania history professor, has written a book entitled Liberty Power on how abolitionist activists built the most transformative third-party movement in American history and effectively reshaped political structures in the decades leading up to the Civil War," the York Daily Record reports. "Liberty Power is published by the University of Chicago Press."

From the University of Chicago Press:

Abraham Lincoln's Republican Party was the first party built on opposition to slavery to win on the national stage - but its victory was rooted in the earlier efforts of under-appreciated antislavery third parties. Liberty Power tells the story of how abolitionist activists built the most transformative third-party movement in American history and effectively reshaped political structures in the decades leading up to the Civil War.

As Corey M. Brooks explains, abolitionist trailblazers who organized first the Liberty Party and later the more moderate Free Soil Party confronted formidable opposition from a two-party system expressly constructed to suppress disputes over slavery. Identifying the Whigs and Democrats as the mainstays of the southern Slave Power's national supremacy, savvy abolitionists insisted that only a party independent of slaveholder influence could wrest the federal government from its grip.

A series of shrewd electoral, lobbying, and legislative tactics enabled these antislavery third parties to wield influence far beyond their numbers. In the process, these parties transformed the national political debate and laid the groundwork for the success of the Republican Party and the end of American slavery.

A City Called Heaven
"Gospel music historian and radio host Robert Marovich will discuss his book A City Called Heaven during a Society of Midland Authors program at 6 p.m. Tuesday, Jan. 12, at the Harold Washington Library Center," the society has announced. "Gods Posse, a gospel chorus, will perform. Admission is free, and no advance reservations are required."

See also: A City Called Heaven.

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BookTweets

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 1:24 PM | Permalink

Why Small Debts Matter So Much To Black Lives

This story was co-published with The New York Times' Sunday Review.

If you are black, you're far more likely to see your electricity cut, more likely to be sued over a debt, and more likely to land in jail because of a parking ticket.

It is not unreasonable to attribute these perils to discrimination. But there's no question that the main reason small financial problems can have such a disproportionate effect on black families is that, for largely historical reasons rooted in racism, they have far smaller financial reserves to fall back on than white families.

The most recent federal survey in 2013 put the difference in net worth between the typical white and black family at $131,000. That's a big number, but here's an even more troubling statistic: About one-quarter of African-American families had less than $5 in reserve. Low-income whites had about $375.

Any setback, from a medical emergency to the unexpected loss of hours at work, can be devastating. It means that harsh punishments for the failure to pay small debts harm black families inordinately. Sometimes, the consequence is jail. Other times, electricity is cut, or wages garnished.

The modern roots of the racial wealth gap can be traced back to the post-World War II housing boom, when federal agencies blocked loans to black Americans, locking them out of the greatest wealth accumulation this country has ever experienced. More recently, the bursting of the housing bubble and subsequent recession slammed minorities. In 2013, the median wealth of white households was 13 times the median wealth of black households, the widest gap since 1989.

Earlier this year, my colleague Annie Waldman and I took a close look at debt-collection lawsuits in three major American cities. We expected to see a pattern driven by income, with collectors and credit card lenders suing people most often in lower-income areas.

But income was just half the story. Even accounting for income, the rate of court judgements from these lawsuits was twice as high in mostly black communities as it was in mostly white ones. In some neighborhoods in Newark and St. Louis, we found more than one judgement for every four residents over a five-year period. Many were families who, knocked off their feet by medical bills or job loss or other problems, had simply been unable to recover.

When debts turn into court judgements, plaintiffs gain the power to collect by cleaning out bank accounts and seizing wages. Federal and state laws generally don't protect anyone but the poorest debtors, and because judgements are valid for a decade or more, the threat of garnishment can linger for years. The paycheck from that new job may suddenly be slashed and savings may disappear.

Sometimes the consequence of not having the money to pay a bill is immediate: The power goes out. In a 2009 national survey of lower-income households by the federal Energy Information Administration, 9 percent of blacks reported having their electricity disconnected in the previous year because they had been unable to pay. For whites, the number was less than 4 percent, according to an analysis of the survey by the National Consumer Law Center.

And sometimes the consequence of unmanageable debt is to fall further into debt. In a 2013 Federal Reserve survey, about three times as many blacks reported taking out a high-interest payday loan in the previous year as did whites at the same income level. Desperate consumers turn to these loans as a way to catch up on bills, but often get tripped up by unaffordable interest payments.

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Federal survey data shows that there is a wide gap between the financial resources of white and black families, even when examining families with similar income.

When combined with discriminatory policing practices, the effect of the asset gap is to magnify the racial disparity. In its report on the Ferguson, Mo., Police Department, the Justice Department found that officers disproportionately stopped and ticketed black citizens. For a "manner of walking" violation, it was $302; for "high grass and weeds," $531.

Blacks accounted for about 67 percent of Ferguson's population and around 85 percent of the municipal court cases. But the numbers were even more lopsided when it came to the harshest consequences. Blacks accounted for 92 percent of the cases where an arrest warrant had been issued to compel payment.

And this wasn't a problem only in Ferguson. Earlier this year, the American Civil Liberties Union sued DeKalb County, Ga., which includes part of Atlanta, for jailing citizens over unpaid court fines and unpaid fees charged by a for-profit company that runs probation services for the government. About 55 percent of DeKalb County's population is black, but the ACLU found that nearly all probationers jailed for failure to pay those fines and fees were black.

The racial wealth gap "creates this cyclical effect," said Nusrat Choudhury, an ACLU attorney. An unpaid speeding ticket may result in a suspended driver's license, which may lead to a more severe violation. Unable to pay their fines, black defendants become more crushingly entangled in debt.

Cori Winfield, a single mother in St. Louis, got caught up in this cycle.

cori.jpg

After she was unable to keep up the payments on a subprime auto loan she took out in 2009, the car was repossessed the next year, but the consequences didn't stop there. Because the debt continued to be bloated by interest charges, the lender began garnishing her wages in 2012. The garnishment continues today. Because she was unable to repay, she will end up paying far more than she owed in the first place.

Making matters worse for Winfield, while her wages were being garnished, she was arrested for driving with a license that had been suspended because she had failed to pay a speeding ticket. She ended up spending a weekend in jail and having to pay the cost of bail.

Winfield has a decent clerical job, earning about $30,000 a year. But she lives month to month. When hit with an unexpected expense, she is left reeling.

Her vulnerability is typical. In a recent survey by the Pew Charitable Trusts, the typical black household earning between $25,000 and $50,000 reported having emergency savings of $400. The typical white household in that range had $2,100.

Black families were much more likely to report difficulty in recovering from a financial setback or to have fallen behind on a bill in the past year. This financial insecurity extended up the income scale. Of black households with income between $50,000 and $85,000, 30 percent said they had been unable to pay a bill. By contrast, only white households with incomes below $25,000 reported similar trouble paying bills; 31 percent said they had fallen behind.

What can be done? The best place to start is by identifying practices that are particularly damaging to black communities, and then fixing them.

In Missouri, for example, the attorney general recently proposed a series of reforms for debt-collection lawsuits to ensure that the underlying debt was valid and that lawyers' fees were not excessive. Collection-industry trade groups supported the proposal.

Lawmakers in Missouri and other states could go further and reduce the amount of income subject to garnishment. In most states (New York and New Jersey are exceptions), defendants can lose a quarter of their post-tax income, a big hit for even middle-income families.

Bank accounts are afforded even less protection, allowing collectors to seize funds without limit. It's a nonsensical system that restricts how much of a worker's paycheck a collector can seize, but allows collectors to take the entire amount once that check is deposited. Setting even a small dollar amount as automatically off limits to collectors would be a substantial improvement.

Changes like that benefit everyone, but they particularly help black families. Policy makers should pay attention. Making it easier to recover from small setbacks can make a big difference in people's lives.

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Previously:

* What Can Be Done Right Now To Fix The (Racist) Legal System For Debt Collection.

* Capital One Is No. 1 In Suing Its Cardholders.

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ProPublica is a Pulitzer Prize-winning investigative newsroom. Sign up for their newsletter.

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Comments welcome.


Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 12:38 PM | Permalink

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

A 25-year-old former college football player who sustained repeated hits to the head showed signs of brain damage after his death that may offer fresh clues about how concussions impact athletes, U.S. researchers report.

The young man had what's known as chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE), a traumatic brain disorder that can only be diagnosed during an autopsy. He died of cardiac arrest related to an infection in his heart, but the autopsy showed signs of brain damage consistent with CTE, researchers report in JAMA Neurology.

"There is a common perception that CTE affects only professional athletes; this case as well as many others shows us that contact sports athletes at the amateur level are also at risk for the disease," lead study author Dr. Ann McKee of Boston University said by e-mail.

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While this isn't the first former football player to be diagnosed with CTE after years playing contact sports, this particular athlete had a series of psychological and cognitive tests before his death that offer some insight into how symptoms of CTE might develop, McKee and colleagues note in their report.

The athlete started playing American football at age six and continued for 16 years; he played Division I college football as a defensive linebacker and special teams player.

He suffered more than 10 concussions, all while playing football, the first occurring at age eight. None resulted in hospitalization.

During his freshman year of college, he had a concussion with momentary loss of consciousness followed by ongoing headaches, neck pain, blurry vision, tinnitus, insomnia, anxiety, and difficulty with concentration. Symptoms persisted, and he stopped playing football at the beginning of his junior year.

His grades plummeted and he left school, as he continued to experience symptoms ranging from loss of appetite to thoughts of suicide, the researchers report.

At age 24, neurological tests found he had memory and recall problems, speech and language impairment and difficulties remembering and reproducing line drawings.

After his death, researchers examined his medical records and his donated brain and agreed he had post-concussive syndrome with possible CTE and major depression.

While more research is needed before drawing widespread conclusions, the researchers conclude that CTE should possibly be considered in young athletes who have repeated head trauma as well as persistent mood and behavioral symptoms.

Still, this athlete's case history and profile didn't neatly distinguish CTE from post-concussion syndrome or depression, Dr. James Noble of Columbia University Medical Center noted in an accompanying editorial.

"The relevance of this case is that it underscores how our conventional means of approaching a diagnosis in practice, including history, exam and neuropsychological testing and MRI - all of which were done for this patient - are insufficient to distinguish CTE from other disorders," Noble said by e-mail.

A better system of tracking concussions that goes beyond the current practice of noting the injury rate based on the total hours on the field might ultimately improve our understanding of CTE, Noble added. Because many injuries don't result in concussions, it might be useful to track what happens when athletes suffer hits to the head, he said.

"Aside from a summary of hits, other factors including time between hits, intensity or other hit qualities may refine our concern, but other as yet unmeasured factors could be equally or more important in establishing concussion diagnoses more accurately," Noble said.

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Previously:

* Bob Probert's Broken Brain.

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

* The College Football Report: Dementia Pugilistica.

* Blackhawks Playing Head Games.

* Jay Cutler Should Consider Retiring.

* Dislike: Friday Night Tykes.

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

* Chicago Soccer Player Patrick Grange Had CTE.

* Sony Softened Concussion To Placate NFL.

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

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

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 11:37 AM | Permalink

Fight The False Holiday Travel Narrative!

Long-time readers (see the item Turkey Story) - and listeners - have read/heard me tell the story before of when the Tribune assigned me to cover the Thanksgiving traffic snarl at O'Hare one year and I feared for losing my job because there was no such thing. Well, the same thing happened to this WGN-TV reporter over Christmas. And probably most reporters given this ridiculous assignment most years.


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Fight the narrative power!

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 7:35 AM | Permalink

Remembering Natalie Cole In Chicago

"Grammy Award-winning singer Natalie Cole, who died Thursday at the age of 65, was no stranger to Chicago audiences, having performed here at numerous concert venues over the years, most recently a concert last February in Naperville," the Sun-Times notes.

"In 2011, Ms. Cole headlined a free concert at Taste of Chicago, and 2013 she performed a double-bill with Ramsey Lewis at Ravinia."

Cole's most noteworthy Chicago appearance, though, was arguably her May 1997 two-night stand at the Arie Crown Theatre, which was also broadcast the following month on the legendary King Biscuit Flower Hour.

"She came on like an amiable dynamo on the fast numbers and suitably sentimental on the slow ones," the Tribune's Lynn Van Matre wrote at the time.

The Trib's Aaron Gold wrote that "The Arie Crown security staff wasn't prepared for the adoring Natalie Cole fans who rushed the stage at her Friday concert."

Here's "I'm Catching Hell" from that show:


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And here's the same song at Taste of Chicago in 2011:

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See also: Natalie Cole at that Ravinia show in 2013 with Ramsey Lewis:

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 7:25 AM | Permalink

Random Motel/Hotel Review: Residence Inn O'Hare

Residence Inn O'Hare.

HOTEL OR MOTEL: I could never get to the bottom of this. I finally spied "hotel" on the website, but I believe that the word is couched for a reason (I'm sorry, but this place feels more like a motel and I think they know it). Also, it is an "extended stay" hotel. "We thrive on long stays."

VENDING: Nonexistent in the traditional sense! This is my beef and part of the whole "extended stay" thing, in that it is almost more like a large apartment complex with an unattached front desk. The only goodies and pops and even the "business area" (lol; it's 2015, the sad monster desktops sit in a hall by the requisite hall bathrooms) cannot be accessed from each room! NO! One must go in bad "I'm tired and thought I was in for the night" clothes and bad hair for a long walk outside through the parking lot that circles the building to that front area. I drove! (Note: less fun to stay in hotels by O'Hare in late December). A knockoff try at assorted sundries and toiletries and a cold case for pops and such does exist by the front desk in the "lobby."

LOBBY: I must say that do like the faux hand-carved (looks like it should be outside a Cracker Barrel) bench that sits outside the front door so welcomingly, though we all know it's for the smokers, don't we? You can smell the smoke.

Once inside: very small. A lone employee is moving at the speed of sound to do about 75,000 things while the phone rings off the hook and another slew of O'Hare expatriates lean over the desk vying to be next in line. Okay, not always a line, but one can safely say this place is understaffed.

There is a crackling fake gas fire roaring, though, a few feet from the desk in a thing, near a tiny set of soft benches. Beyond that, a room full of tables, rife for the nightly specialty events: 6 - 9 p.m. Monday - "Come down for a drink and snacks and have fun! Get to know residents"! Tuesday, it's free dinner! Chicken wings and veggie burgers (OMG, they really did have veggie burgers; dry, and also, those fall-apart buns, but GD bless them!) Wednesday night is "International Night" and I didn't even really want to know. But the staff was the sweetest - they mingled and poured beer! Someone's preteens were all up in the specialty night coolers, taking as much free stuff as possible. Seriously, did those boys really want all that yogurt?

Also, a few of those hide-away from everyone (yay) booths with flat-screen TVs while you eat alone and check your phone and pretend to be having fun meeting neighbors.

BED: 3 stars! King-sized (I think; I've never had a real bed). Comfy; a bit on the soft side, but i'm quite dandy alone in it. Also I'm all about white linens - particularly ones that don't smell too perfumey. These were more on the chloriney side in terms of scent, but they were fine.Pretty and a nice warm extra fleecy backup blanket, too.

Oh, and rockin' down pillows! Four of them. I'm even allergic to down but couldn't get enough of the most perfectly firm/soft moldy pillows in the world.

After my first night and an allergy event, I did call the desk to see if any non-feather pillows existed. They sent up a foam pillow that was like a superball, so that was out. So in the end, I think their feather pillows have been my favorite pillows in all my life.

BATHROOM: Okay, here's the thing: with progress comes loss. I guess because bathrooms are now built to be wheelchair accessible, it's just all different and not cozy; a great big room with ugly cold tile floor and nothing but the toilet. I mean the tub, yeah, but the sink is like a week away outside the door.

towels.JPG But the real issue was that damn exhaust vent. First, you can't turn the light on without the loudest-ass exhaust fan going on with the light. You're just stuck hearing it. And, say, you want to relax and take a bath. Yeah.

And the other thing is, all the neighbors' to-do's coming through that bathroom ceiling vent. Like stinky. Like weed. So, yes, the place is nonsmoking. In theory.

But best maintenance man, ever! When I asked him if all the rooms were truly nonsmoking, he offered to put a new filter in the furnace! (Furnace?! Honest to GD, I thought that was an inaccessible porch behind that door. No, I did! I only knew that door had a keyhole, was locked and there was no key.)

VIEW: Beyond the pines, a great view of the back of Target (the Target semi-trucks line up and pull in for your viewing pleasure, and only use their loud semi-truck horns once in awhile). Beyond that is Allstate Arena, which you can't see too well, but you could run into backed-up traffic from hell if it's a wintry night when the Trans-Siberian Orchestra is there. Like tonight.

LIM.JPG TV CHAINED TO DESK? No! Best TV ever! Made for the elderly or people with bad vision. Huge.

(Watching Long Island Medium on a massive HD flat-screen when I've never had cable? Priceless.)

EMERGENCY EXIT CARD ON INSIDE OF DOOR? Yes.

SPECIAL FEATURES: So many! The good behind the "extended stay" is that this place is really like having your own studio apartment. It has it's own kitchenette! A full adult kitchen - more adult than I've had in apartments (because microwave and also complete dishes, cookware, dishwasher, sink, large (ugly) stainless steel fridge but a big fridge nonetheless! Coffeemaker. (Most important!) And all the little condiment helpers. Even dishwashing powder (Do you call it that? I have never used dishwashers). Even an electric stovetop! (I made tomato soup! I microwaved Amy's organic meals (there's some irony there). I made a kickass fancy salad with a knife that was actually sharp (my knives are always dull) . . . for a dinner party!

I replaced the weak pouch complimentary coffee with my fancy coffee and fancy creamer and fancy honey because . . . I'm fancy? But seriously, so cute they give you regular and decaf pouch coffees. (They are cute.).

Did I mention I like having a kitchen? It could make me want to cook. It's not as cozy all open with the bed not too too far away, but still.



ONE GRIPE: The floors are too thin. Who builds hotels? Like, who would do that? I have a loudwalker with a dog above. I can just tell it's a "he".



PERKS: Because a lot of people stay here extendedly, there are no early morning vacuums and minimal housekeeper action to wake you up early when you don't have to wake up early. Also, a "complimentary" (it means tip them!) shuttle to O'Hare and a straight shot to the Blue Line that way, baby. It was weird being alone on the shuttle and I got a talker from Homewood-Flossmoor who hates Chicago. Hates Chicago. He was slightly crabby but in a funny way, and he can't wait to move to Orlando, near where his parents moved. That's right. But I digress.

LUCK: I wasn't near an elevator (they're loud). Also, the inn was not very full of customers in my wing. Sweet.

WEIRD: To smell the neighbors' dinner cooking coming in through the bath vent.

WOULD I RETURN? Yes.

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Send us your random review, hotel/motel or not.

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 12:42 AM | Permalink

January 4, 2016

The [Monday] Papers

"Racial segregation in Chicago neighborhoods has declined as more African-Americans have opted to move to the suburbs and more whites and Latinos have moved into historically black communities, an analysis based on new census data shows," the Tribune reports.

"But while some Chicago neighborhoods have become more racially diverse, the city remains one of the most segregated large cities in the country, said William Frey, a demographer at the Brookings Institution who analyzed the data.

"Milwaukee ranks highest on the list of most segregated large cities and New York City ranks second, Frey's data show. Chicago is third, and 76 percent of the city's African-American population would have to move in order to achieve complete integration, the research shows."

How many whites would have to move?

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"[L]ocal experts who study housing trends say it's not hard to see where Chicago is starting to experiencing more integration. There are areas near downtown that were once majority African-American but have undergone a change to their racial makeup because of development."

Translation: Whites have "integrated" black neighborhoods occupying premium real estate by moving themselves in and blacks out. In this scenario, the integration is temporary until the gentrification is complete.

A decade ago the South Loop neighborhood was majority African-American, said Rob Paral, a Chicago-based demographer. Now it's more diverse.

"If you look block by block, you might see the same segregation trends," Paral said of Chicago. "When I think of Cabrini Green, that would be an area that is conceivably more integrated. Or look at the Oakland area - as the black population moves on from there, the white population is moving in. There's also Kenwood, another neighborhood that was solidly black that is now more integrated."

I rest my case.

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"The racial makeup of communities is important because it often dictates what resources are available, the poverty level and who will be voted into office, said Stephanie Schmitz Bechteler, the research and evaluation director at the Chicago Urban League."

Translation: The city is structurally racist.

"The reason we pay so much attention to segregation is because it matters in terms of life outcomes," Bechteler said. "Where you live and where you grow up matters, and so does who you grow up around. It dictates where you go to school, the access you have to healthy business corridors, even your access to healthy food and job opportunities. All this is tied to address."

I rest my case.

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I'm also guessing that the more black a neighborhood is, the less likely it is to still have a school. Therefore, such neighborhoods aren't likely to attract new families. That seems counterproductive to any sort of development strategies to create healthier communities.

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"[H]istorically black communities were hit hard by the foreclosure crisis, making houses cheap and easy to buy for Hispanics and whites who may have been willing to move for a bargain."

Translation: "Integration" achieved through financial scandal!

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"In black neighborhoods, as residents have become more prosperous they have chosen to move, Bechteler said her research shows . . .

"Greater numbers of African-Americans are moving into suburban areas - not just in Chicago but all over the country, Frey's analysis shows.

"In Chicago, the shift of African-Americans from the city to the suburbs is likely because residents are in search of better housing and schools and safer communities, said Dick Simpson, a professor of political science at the University of Illinois at Chicago and a former Chicago alderman. But many black residents still land in suburbs with majority-black populations, like Dolton, Harvey and Maywood."

So the city is achieving slight progress in integration by becoming less attractive for black people, who then re-segregate in the suburbs. Doesn't that leave the metro area as a whole unchanged in terms of segregation?

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P.S.: "A separate report released by Brookings last week shows that whites - a minority of the population in Chicago - were the city's only racial group to see their incomes rise dramatically in the past two decades."

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The Laquan McDonald E-Mails
You'll have to check @BeachwoodReport for the "highlights." More analysis to come. But the basic idea is this:

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SportsMonday: Chicago Shrugged
Bears go out with a whimper, Bulls and Blackhawks come in with a bang.

The Weekend In Chicago Rock
Featuring: Running, The Gories, The Oblivians, Dean Ween, Ministry, Choke Chains, The Promise Ring, and JEFF The Brotherhood.

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BeachBook

Also: He got a free pass for clouting Rauner's kid into Payton. Fact.

Posted by The Beachwood Reporter on Saturday, January 2, 2016

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Can't wait for the lakefront museum.

Posted by The Beachwood Reporter on Saturday, January 2, 2016

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TweetWood
A sampling.

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The Beachwood Tip Line: Auld acquaintances should not be forgot.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 10:36 AM | Permalink

SportsMonday: Out With A Whimper, In With A Bang

Chicago shrugged.

As they called it a season with a 24-20 loss to the Lions, the Bears (6-10 and out of the playoffs for the eighth time in the last nine seasons) seemed more inconsequential than ever. Did you hear the Bears lost again? Um, yeah, but how about Jimmy Butler? And Corey Crawford's even better.

What are the Cubs going to do to add starting pitching? And will the Sox (the Sox!) sign Yoenis Cespedes?

Butler scored a "Devin Hester at his peak" ridiculous team-record 40 points in the second half in Toronto yesterday to lead the Bulls all the way back from numerous double-digit deficits to a two-point victory over the Raptors.

Crawford notched his league-leading sixth shutout as the Blackhawks blanked the Ottawa Senators 3-0 later that same evening.

Both teams enter the new year/week occupying spots in the standings they would be ever so pleased to hang on to until the end of their respective seasons. The Bulls pulled themselves up to second in their conference with a 20-12 overall mark. They trail the Cavs by just 2 1/2 games (though they are also only two games out of sixth; the Raptors and Hawks are tied for fourth at 21-14).

The Blackhawks, who continue to reside in the same arena as the Bulls and yet are members of a Western conference while the Bulls hang out in the East, have also ascended to second overall. They are further behind the front-running Dallas Stars (60 points to 50) but about the same distance from fifth (currently occupied by a Nashville Predators team that has 45 points).

As for baseball, teams for the most part took a break from tossing wood into the stove during the holiday weeks. But it shouldn't be long now before White Sox fans learn whether their team will bring in a prominent free agent corner outfielder for the 2016 season. Or should we say fans will find out which outfielder the Sox will sign.

Various reports had them as one of two finalists to sign the aforementioned power hitter who sparked the Mets' long playoff run last fall. If the Sox are willing to budget enough money to make that signing a real possibility, it would certainly seem to follow that if they don't get him, they will be right there to sign either Alex Gordon or Justin Upton, either of which would represent a major upgrade over current right fielder Avisail Garcia.

The Cubs might wait to swing a deal for pitching until spring training. Did we mention that pitchers and catchers report in about a month-and-a-half?

So, where were we at the start of this column? Oh yeah, the Bears finished another lousy season by dropping their sixth consecutive decision against the Lions. That's right, they have lost six straight to the sorry-assed Lions!

At least the "state of the franchise" stories about the Bears as they approached their season finale last week followed an entertaining arc. There was initially plenty of stuff about how Ryan Pace and John Fox had "changed the culture," especially in the immediate aftermath of their thrilling victory over Lovie Smith's Buccaneers.

Then over the weekend, an inconvenient fact seemed to occur to the commentariat: Wait a minute, if this team loses this game to Detroit, it will finish last in its division again. Its record will be only one game better than it was last year.

At least one first-year coach has done a far better job than Fox. The Jets were worse than the Bears last year, posting a 4-12 record. Despite their disappointing loss Sunday, the Jets finish this season 10-6. The Bears also can't argue they had a particularly difficult schedule. Because their schedule was relatively easy, they will draft last (11th) among the four teams that finished with 6-10 marks this season.

Then again, did I mention the Blackhawks' winger Artemi Panarin has to be the favorite to be named Rookie of the Year in the NHL this year? And that Andrew Desjardins, who scored one goal in the Hawks' first 37 games, now has four in their last three games? And another thing about the Hawks . . .

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See also: The Beachwood Radio Sports Hour #83: Our Chicago Player Of The Year.

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

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 10:07 AM | Permalink

The Weekend In Chicago Rock

You shoulda been there.

1. Running at the Empty Bottle on Thursday night.


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2. The Gories at the Empty Bottle on Thursday night.

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3. The Oblivians at the Empty Bottle on Thursday night.

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4. Dean Ween & the Brownouts at the Tonic Room on Thursday night.

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5. Choke Chains at the Empty Bottle on Thursday night.

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6. Ministry at the Concord on Thursday night.

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7. The Promise Ring at the Metro on Thursday night.

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8. JEFF the Brotherhood at Lincoln Hall on Wednesday night.

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 5:10 AM | Permalink

January 3, 2016

Jonathan Pie, TV Reporter! New Year's Rant

Give him three minutes and enough beer and he'll give you the year.


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Previously in Jonathan Pie, TV Reporter!:

* Jonathan Pie, TV Reporter! Explains The Economy.

* Jonathan Pie, TV Reporter! It's Shit Crap News, Tim.

* Jonathan Pie, TV Reporter! Is Going To Paris.

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

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

* Jonathan Pie, TV Reporter! Merry Fucking Christmas.

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And:

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 10:04 AM | Permalink

January 2, 2016

The Beachwood Radio Sports Hour #83: Our Chicago Player Of The Year

A 2015/2016 review/preview. Including: Being The Blackhawks; Cartoon Cubs; As The Bulls Turn; Not Bowled Over By John Fox; Let's Talk About The White Sox Cubs; The City's Most Inconsequential Franchise; and Party Of The Year.


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SHOW NOTES

* Willie Gault.

3:00: Being The Blackhawks.

* Key moment of 2015: Patrick Kane's injury.

* Key for 2016: Patrick Kane's new line.

* Rosenbloom: When Will Blackhawks Trade To Fill Their Holes?

14:14: Cartoon Cubs.

* Key moment of 2015: One-game playoff win against the Pirates.

* Key for 2016: A fourth starter not named Hendricks or Hammel.

* FanGraphs: The Cubs As The Best Team In Baseball.

36:25: As The Bulls Turn.

* Key moment of 2015: Championship window closes.

* Key for 2016: Championship window opens.

* O'Donnell: The Bobby Portis, Nikola Mirotic Pairing Looked Great For The Bulls. Is It Viable Long-Term?

50:32: Not Bowled Over By John Fox.

* Key moment of 2015: Not drafting a quarterback.

* Key for 2016: Drafting a quarterback.

* Wiederer: How Has John Fox Measured Up Against Other First-Year Coaches?

58:12: Let's Talk About The White Sox Cubs.

* Key moment of 2015: Not firing Robin Ventura.

* Key for 2016: Firing Robin Ventura.

* Olney: The Problem With Tanking In Baseball.

1:06:40: Our Chicago Player Of The Year.

1:07:35: The City's Most Inconsequential Franchise.

* Runner-up: DePaul basketball.

* Most Illinois: University of Illinois.

1:08:36: Party Of The Year.

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STOPPAGE: 11:34

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

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 1:10 PM | Permalink

January 1, 2016

The Week In Chicago Rock

You shoulda been there.

1. Diarrhea Planet at Lincoln Hall on Wednesday night.


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2. Mike Pecucci at the Empty Bottle on Monday night.

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3. A Sunny Day in Glasgow at Schubas on Tuesday night.

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4. Miles Over Mountains at Martyrs' on Wednesday night.

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5. Elise and the Police at Wire in Berwyn on Sunday night.

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6. Living Colour at City Winery on Wednesday night.

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7. Trans-Siberian Orchestra in Rosemont on Monday night.

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8. Railroad Earth at the Vic on Wednesday night.

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9. Brandi Carlile at Thalia Hall on Wednesday night.

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10. Advance Base at Schubas on Tuesday night.

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 11:36 AM | Permalink

Beachwood Photo Booth: Food & Liquor, Milhouse

Thanks for caring and sharing!

FoodLiquorMilhouse.JPG(ENLARGE FOR PROPER VIEWING)

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More Chicago photography from Helene Smith.

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Helene on Twitter!

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Meet Helene!

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Stationery, iPhone cases, hoodies.

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

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Previously:
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Chicago Man Grilling
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Yum Yum Donuts
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Chicago Father's Day
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Vintage Airmaster
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Chicago Time
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Window Shade
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Illinois Slayer
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Chicago Fire Escape
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Golden Nugget
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Hollywood, Chicago
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Flag Man.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Van In Flames.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Fluid Power Automation.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Corn Dog.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Stop The Killing Car.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Chicago Backyard.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: A to Z Things.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Swedish Diner.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Rothschild Liquors.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Chicago Silos.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Chicago Wires.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Orange Garden.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Irving Park Guy.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Chicago Pigeons.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: O'Lanagan's.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: For Rent.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Marie's Pizza & Liquors.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Mori Milk.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: American Breakfast.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: A Chicago Christmas Postcard.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Holiday Harold's.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Chicago Family Fun.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Snow Bike.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Nativity Scene.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Old Warsaw.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Deluxe Cleaners.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Marie's Golden Cue.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Die Another Day.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Sears Key Shop.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Window Dressing.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Jeri's Grill.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Barry's Drugs.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Liberty.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Chicago Kitchen.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Golden Specials.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: We Won The Cup.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Bartender Man.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Blue Plane Blues.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Finest Quality.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Family Guy.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Girls Wanted.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Skokie Savanna.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Signpost.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Old Man And The Tree.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Street Fleet.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Citgo Story.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Fantasy Hair Design.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Chicago Garage.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Clark Stop.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Pole Position.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Window Dressing.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Chicago Geometry.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Found Love.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Fill In The Blank.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Vacuums Of The Night.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Dumpster Still Life.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Wagon Master.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Intersecting West Rogers Park.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Penn-Dutchman Antiques.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Cow Patrol.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Backstage Chicago.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Skully Bungalow.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Francisco Frankenstein.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Long Cool Heat.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Smokers' Mast.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Big Fat Phone.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Happy Day.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Alley Men.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Holiday Show!
* Beachwood Photo Booth: You've Got Mailbox.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Broken Window Theory.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Dali Logan.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Svengoolie.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Horner Park Hot Dogs.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Cubs Rehab.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: 20th Century Schizoid Man.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Men On Vans.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Penn-Dutchman Is Done.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Snowy Lincoln.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Waiting Room.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Avondale Chicken.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Winter's End.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: The Friendly Skies.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Boyhood Buzzer Beater.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: J Date.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: International Window Lady.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Shanghai Inn.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Open For Business.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Andersonville Unplugged.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: 3-Flat.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Evanston Turkey.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Chicagolandia.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Eat At Odge's.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Deitch Pharmacy.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Sud-Z Bubble.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Bands Wanted!
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Belmont Tavern.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Superheroic San Luis Freeze.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Evanston Oasis.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Lyndale Food & Jewelry.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Lincoln Tap.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Book Window.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Alco Dude.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Ballin Drugs.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Don't Worry, Be Cookie.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Four Trey.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: The Office.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: America From Inside The Golden Nugget In Ravenswood.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Cellphone Repair.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Boots 'N' Grill.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Sunrise Strip.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: At The Corner Of Glad And Happy.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Uptown Autumn Night.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Diner.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Mid-Century Modern Halloween.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Autumn Station Wagon.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Betty's & Nick's.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Ohio House Impact.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: End School Zone.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Portage Park Peek-A-Boo.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: South Side Sundown.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Susie's Drive-Thru.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Holiday Ham.

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 11:18 AM | Permalink

TrackNotes: Party Of The Year

The Chief doesn't seem real big on year-end compilations.

I'm figuring it's about dealing with the issues of the day at hand, moving ahead. So I'm gonna need a hook, an angle, a dodge, a lead.

So here it is: As we speak, American Pharoah is safely and securely ensconsed at Coolmore Ashford Stud in the paradisically named Versailles, Kentucky. You look at the Coolmore roster and your jaw drops with the thought of these horses, and the progeny they have already produced. The MLB All-Star game has absolutely nothing on these guys!

But the 'Pharoah will make it his own palace, at least for now. Cover charge: $200,000.

For 'Pharoah, running was easy. He will be judged by the success of his babies. And his wallet will reflect it.

But the son of Pioneerof the Nile, out of the Yankee Gentleman mare Littleprincessemma, is well bred. Pioneerof himself is out of Empire Maker (he out of the great Unbridled) and the Lord At War (Argentina) mare Star of Goshen. We could go on and on, but while you get the idea, they get the two hundred K.

As I sit here, I find myself still trying to process the fact that a game I love, and am fortunate enough to write about, produced in 2015 one of the most memorable horses, and seasons, in history.

American Pharoah won the effin' Triple Crown and then he won the Breeders' Cup Classic! A race that didn't exist for Secretariat, Seattle Slew or Affirmed.

He was a true super horse, his ace being the ability to recover after races - races he always ran all out. "Bob, it's the only way I know." I think I heard the big boy say that to Mr. Baffert.

He threw in the guttiest of races in the biggest race, the Kentucky Derby, running wide and willing the win over the others. Baffert later said he needed the race. Imagine needing a race and the race you're in is America's Derby!

'Pharoah caught the slop in the Preakness. He can "handle" the slop? Or he just didn't want to lose? Swimmingly, he led the whole damn way.

On to Elmont New York, American Pharoah, in my mind, was running hard, hate to say struggling, in the 12-furlong Belmont Stakes, The Test of Champions. Not a whip in sight, he drew a longer lead in the stretch, into history.

Early June to August 2, 'Pharoah's next spot was the Haskell Invitational, on Springsteen's Jersey Shore. Baffert always said the horse needs to run. Seemed to be some rust but 'Pharoah WD-40'd it and pulled away. Appropriately, big-guy announcer Frank Mirahmadi declared "The party continues!"

And here's where we get into Sports Illustrated.

You could get upset that American Pharoah and, by rights, the people who helped him, wasn't named Sportsman of the Year. But Sports Illustrated is an irrelevant publication, a legacy media sheet that doesn't know who it is or where it's going. Serena Williams wasn't even the best tennis player this year.

And this comes here because Ahmed Zayat, rumored against the wishes of trainer Bob Baffert, chose to take American Pharoah to hallowed Saratoga, to the Travers Stakes, one of the greatest races in the world. Victor Espinoza, the grooms and staff, they should all be Sportsmen of the Year. What they gave us! THAT is sportsmanship. Versus the Pennsylvania Derby, where California Chrome went. This is the respect fans rarely get. But the horse was so good, I believe he demanded it. "Let me run!"

As is his wont, 'Pharoah took the lead in the Travers, where they paint the canoe with the winner's colors, but got into a pace duel with Frosted. He lost the lead on the turn and then regained it, by two lengths, in the stretch. You want heroism? But it burned him and Keen Ice, who had been knocking on the door all year, flew up on the outside for the win. The way 'Pharoah ran . . . heart.

In the bittersweet, we got one more. The Breeders' Cup Classic. You get tempered hard in this game, horses retired in July. Losing the bet, yeah, but no more Ghostzapper, Smarty Jones, Curlin, Rachel Alexandra; it's tough.

I think American Pharoah told these people "Give me one more goddamned chance."

Since 1984, call it the modern era. Secretariat, in late 1973, had to pick his spots. American Pharoah had a sweet spot available to him.

And I'll be honest. While, of course, I didn't want to see him lose (although horses do lose races), I wanted him to win. And I wanted him to win in grand fashion. Not just win, but win well. Befitting.

And he did! He sure did.

He took the effin' one-1.5-two lane, traditionally death at Keeneland Race Course, but playing well that day. Fairness, don't you know? Wasn't a huge fan of jockey Victor Espinoza, but for this season, he was awesome.

And the 'Pharoah did it again! Led all the way. Watching these races, I believe his strength was in the turns. He uses the centrifugal energy to go so much more faster on the turns. That's where he made his lengths leads. And I clapped again today. I cheered. Goosebumps.

No offense to anyone, but while some lionize a Cubs team who had a nice season with no adversity, we'll see how that goes when Jack Armstrong goes on the DL. And the Pavlovian attention given to the Chipmunks of the Midway? A Reinsdorf who doesn't care about anything but separating you from your money.

In my little slice, I had all the wonder of the world.

There's only really one person I know who feels the same way, and she knows who she is. Pretty much everyone I know doesn't even know who American Pharoah is, and what he did, and how much it means, and that's telling. How could they not?

It's frustrating. This is one of the greatest achievements in sports history, by the horse and the people. Couldn't be done; wouldn't be done. But done.

This horse, and his people, gave us a magical season. You'd be stupid to expect it. But yet, we got it.

But that's alright. I will remember American Pharoah, and the opportunity to write about him, as long as I live.

Thanks, Chief.

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Tom Chambers is our man on the rail. He welcomes your comments.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 1:16 AM | Permalink

MUSIC - The Weekend In Chicago Rock.
TV - Cricket vs. Brexit.
POLITICS - An Odd Call From Bermuda.
SPORTS - All Is Not Forgiven, Bears.

BOOKS - Turning Points Of The Civil War.

PEOPLE PLACES & THINGS - Baxter's IV Bag Shortages.


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