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April 30, 2016

U.S. Surveillance Court A Bigger Rubber Stamp Than Chicago City Council

The secretive U.S. Foreign Surveillance Intelligence Court did not deny a single government request in 2015 for electronic surveillance orders granted for foreign intelligence purposes, continuing a longstanding trend, a Justice Department document showed.

The court received 1,457 requests last year on behalf of the National Security Agency and the Federal Bureau of Investigation for authority to intercept communications, including email and phone calls, according to a Justice Department memo sent to leaders of relevant congressional committees on Friday and seen by Reuters. The court did not reject any of the applications in whole or in part, the memo showed.

The total represented a slight uptick from 2014, when the court received 1,379 applications and rejected none.

The court, which acts behind closed doors, was established in 1978 to handle applications for surveillance warrants against foreign suspects by U.S. law enforcement and intelligence agencies and grew more controversial after 2013 leaks by former NSA contractor Edward Snowden.

The electronic surveillance often is conducted with the assistance of internet and telecommunications companies.

Civil liberties advocates have long derided the court for acting as a "rubber stamp" for government surveillance operations. Government officials have said the Justice Department is careful about its applications and that sometimes orders are modified substantially by the court.

The court modified 80 applications in 2015, a more than fourfold increase from the 19 modifications made in 2014.

The memo also stated that 48,642 national security letter (NSL) requests were made in 2015 by the FBI.

NSLs are a type of subpoena authority used to compel Internet and telecommunications firms to hand over customer data, such as web browsing history, e-mail addresses and subscriber information.

One NSL often contains multiple requests for information, such as a sequence of e-mails believed relevant to an investigation.

The majority of NSL requests, 31,863, made in 2015 sought information on foreigners, regarding a total of 2,053 individuals, the memo stated.

The FBI made 9,418 requests for national security letters in 2015 for information about U.S. citizens and legal immigrants, regarding a total of 3,746 individuals, it showed.

The FBI also made 7,361 NSL requests for only "subscriber information," typically names, addresses and billing records, of Americans and foreigners regarding 3,347 different people.

National security letters have been available as a law enforcement tool since the 1970s, but their frequency and breadth expanded dramatically under the USA Patriot Act enacted shortly after the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks on the United States.

They are almost always accompanied by an open-ended gag order issued by the Justice Department barring companies from disclosing the contents of the demand for customer data.

The government also made 142 applications to the surveillance court for access to business records, and it did not deny any of those requests, according to the memo.

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Previously:
* Obama Won't Tell Congress How Many Innocent Americans He's Spying On.

* Ruling Unsealed: National Security Letters Upheld As Constitutional.

* EFF Sues For Secret Court Orders Requiring Tech Companies To Decrypt Users' Communications.

* Trying (And Trying) To Get Records From The 'Most Transparent Administration' Ever.

* EFF Urges Appeals Court To Allow Wikimedia And Others To Fight NSA Surveillance.

* U.S. Government Reveals Breadth Of Requests For Internet Records.

* What's The Evidence That Mass Surveillance Works? Not Much.

* Why The Close Collaboration Between The NSA And AT&T Matters.

* First Library To Support Anonymous Internet Browsing Effort Stops After DHS E-Mail.

* EFF Sues For Records About 'Hemisphere' Phone Call Collection And Drug Enforcement Program.

* Snowden Documentarian Laura Poitras Sues U.S. Government To Uncover Records After Years Of Airport Detentions And Searches.

* Obama Secretly Expanded NSA Spying To Internet.

* Court: NSA Phone Program Illegal.

* The Chicago Connection To The Hidden Intelligence Breakdowns Behind The Mumbai Attacks.

* Human Rights Watch Sues DEA Over Bulk Collection Of American's Telephone Records.

* U.S. Secretly Tracked Billions Of Calls For Decades.

* Amnesty International Joins ACLU, Wikimedia In Lawsuit To Stop Mass Surveillance Program.

* Stop Spying On Wikipedia Users.

* EFF Wins Battle Over Secret Legal Opinions On Government Spying.

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

* I Fight Surveillance.

* Illegal Spying Below.

* Smith vs. Obama.

* EFF Sues NSA Over FOIA.

* Stand Against Spying.

* The NSA Revelations All In One Chart.

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

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

* House Committee Puts NSA On Notice Over Encryption Standards.

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

* Lawsuit Demands DOJ Release More Secret Surveillance Court Rulings.

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

* What The Proposed NSA Reforms Wouldn't Do.

* Technologists Turn On Obama.

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

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

* Eighth-Grader Schools The NSA.

* You Know Who Else Collected Metadata? The Stasi.

* Today We Fight Back.

* The Day We Fight Back.

* FAQ: The NSA's Angry Birds.

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

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

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

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

* Edward Snowden's Christmas Message.

* Jon Stewart: Obama Totally Lying About NSA Spying.

* Presidential Panel To NSA: Stop Undermining Encryption.

* The NSA Is Coming To Town.

* 60 Minutes We Can't Get Back.

* Why Care About The NSA?

* NSA Surveillance Drives Writers To Self-Censor.

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

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

* Obama Vs. The World.

* How A Telecom Helped The Government Spy On Me.

* UN Member States Asked To End Unchecked Surveillance.

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

* Five More Organizations Join Lawsuit Against NSA.

* A Scandal Of Historic Proportions.

* Item: NSA Briefing.

* The Case Of The Missing NSA Blog Post.

* The NSA Is Out Of Control.

* Patriot Act Author Joins Lawsuit Against NSA.

* Obama's Promises Disappear From Web.

* Why NSA Snooping Is A Bigger Deal In Germany.

* Item: Today's NSA Briefing.

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

* Song of the Moment: Party at the NSA.

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

* What NSA Transparency Looks Like.

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

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

* The Surveillance Reforms Obama Supported Before He Was President.

* America's Spying: Worse Than You Think.

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

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

* Six Ways Congress May Reform NSA Snooping.

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

* Does The NSA Tap That?

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

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

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

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

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

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

* Obama's War On Truth And Transparency.

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

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

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

* Daniel Ellsberg: Obama Has Committed Impeachable Offenses.

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

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 7:23 AM | Permalink

Amid Public Feuds, A Venerated Medical Journal Finds Itself Under Attack

This story was co-published with the Boston Globe.

The New England Journal of Medicine is arguably the best-known and most venerated medical journal in the world. Studies featured in its pages are cited more often, on average, than those of any of its peers. And the careers of young researchers can take off if their work is deemed worthy of appearing in it.

But following a series of well-publicized feuds with prominent medical researchers and former editors of the Journal, some are questioning whether the publication is slipping in relevancy and reputation. The Journal and its top editor, critics say, have resisted correcting errors and lag behind others in an industry-wide push for more openness in medical research. And dissent has been dismissed with a paternalistic arrogance, they say.

In a widely derided editorial earlier this year, Dr. Jeffrey M. Drazen, the Journal's editor-in-chief, and a deputy used the term "research parasites" to describe researchers who seek others' data to analyze or replicate their studies, which many say is a crucial step in the scientific process. And last year, the Journal ran a controversial series saying concerns about conflicts of interest in medicine are oversimplified and overblown.

"They basically have a view that . . . they don't need to change or adapt. It's their way or the highway," said Dr. Eric Topol, director of the Scripps Translational Science Institute and chief academic officer at Scripps Health in La Jolla, California.

Topol and another cardiologist were called out by Drazen and his co-authors last year after they wrote an opinion piece in The New York Times saying the data behind a groundbreaking study about blood pressure treatment should be made available to doctors right away - not delayed for journal publication.

"Most people are afraid to say anything about the New England Journal because they're afraid they won't get something published there," said Topol, whose last piece appeared in its pages in 2011. "That's part of this oppression."

In an interview, Drazen said the recent criticisms are misguided. The goal for the research the Journal publishes is to be accurate, he said, while its editorials are sometimes designed to be "controversial" as a means of triggering discussion.

"If there's anything that I have a passion for, it's getting it right," he said. "We work very hard at that. We're not arrogant. We're not dismissive."

Brooding over the Journal's future comes at a pivotal moment for medical journals more broadly. Like the larger publishing world, their traditionally slow pace and often imperious control have been jolted by the freedom and brashness of the Internet. So-called open-access journals, which publish online and don't charge for subscriptions, are proliferating, as are websites that allow researchers to post their results before they have been externally vetted. Respected academics, including Harvard's medical school dean Dr. Jeffrey Flier, are calling for fundamental changes in the way research is reviewed and published, even proposing that peer reviewers give up their historic anonymity.

This push for transparency tracks the rise of research watchdogs who hunt for evidence of fraud and misconduct, then publicize their findings, often blasting out viral bombs via social media. There's even a popular website called Retraction Watch whose main goal is to flag such lapses, which had largely gone unnoticed even a few years ago.

In response, some top journals, including the BMJ, formerly the British Medical Journal, have already begun moving toward more openness in their operations. The BMJ now requires researchers to share the underlying data that forms the basis of their clinical trials, and allows comments on all of its articles, upending the strong hand editors previously had to determine which dissent was worthy of airing. It has even had outsiders examine questions raised about controversial studies.

The Journal, in contrast, its critics say, has steadfastly clung to an increasingly antiquated view of medical journals as sole arbiters of what should made be public and whether dissenting views should be heard.

"The BMJ wants to take us forward in the new century and the New England Journal of Medicine is trying to take us backwards," said Dr. Vinay Prasad, an expert in evidence-based medicine and an assistant professor of medicine at Oregon Health & Science University. Prasad has become an outspoken critic of the Journal.

Financial Conflicts Of Interest

The publication Drazen inherited was initially launched a quarterly in January 1812 with the less pithy title of the New England Journal of Medicine and Surgery and the Collateral Branches of Medical Science. Today, it is read each week by more than 600,000 people in 177 countries, according to the journal's website.

In 1984, the Journal was at the forefront of a nascent effort to respond to the potential bias arising from financial ties between pharmaceutical companies and device makers and physicians. Editor Arnold S. Relman established a new policy, calling on doctors and researchers to disclose their funding and commercial interests. Six years later he went a step further, prohibiting authors with ties to companies from writing editorials or reviews of medical literature relating to their products.

Drazen's own ties to the pharmaceutical industry presented something of an obstacle when he was named editor in May 2000. A well-known pulmonologist, he had received money for consulting or research into asthma and its treatments from nine drug companies. Because of those ties, he recused himself for two years from editing or personally selecting any papers related to asthma or to those companies.

Dr.-Jeffrey-Drazen-NEJM.jpg

Two years into his editorship, he loosened the Journal's conflict policy. Drazen wrote that the policy Relman had put in place - and that his successors had affirmed - had "constrained" editors from publishing the best information for doctors. The new policy said authors of editorials and reviews couldn't have "significant" ties to a company, which are defined as receiving more than $10,000 annually from a single business.

The Journal dug into the topic again last May with a three-part series questioning efforts to curb financial conflicts of interest among doctors and researchers.

"Although, by definition, a conflict of interest represents a risk that judgement will be compromised - not a determination that such a lapse has actually occurred - the pharmascolds' narrative about conflicts of interest often conflates the two," author Lisa Rosenbaum wrote, using a pejorative word some have used to describe those who lament the influence of industry on medical decisions.

Drazen's predecessors Jerome P. Kassirer and Marcia Angell, and former senior editor Robert Steinbrook, took to the pages of the BMJ to criticize their former home. "Judges are expected to recuse themselves from hearing a case in which there are concerns that they could benefit financially from the outcome. Journalists are expected not to write stories on topics in which they have a financial conflict of interest," they wrote. "Yet Rosenbaum and Drazen seem to think it is insulting to physicians and medical researchers to suggest that their judgement can be affected in the same way.

Asked if the Journal had plans to further revise its policy on conflicts of interest, Drazen said, "We always continually evaluate what we do to make sure we're doing the best job possible."

None of Rosenbaum's pieces, he added, "mentioned anything about us changing our policy."

Since 2010, ProPublica has written extensively about conflicts of interest in medicine, and has created a tool called Dollars for Docs that allows users to look up payments to doctors by drug and medical device companies. A second tool, Surgeon Scorecard, that includes complication rates, was criticized by Rosenbaum in perspective piece in the Journal last year.

Rosenbaum, in an e-mail, said the reaction to the series was much as she had hoped.

"One of the primary goals of the series was to start a conversation so that we could move beyond what has become a very reflexive (and typically negative) response to physician-industry interactions," she wrote.

Switched Outcomes

Some researchers and doctors have also decried what they perceive as the Journal's resistance to becoming more transparent about the research it publishes.

In February, a group of British scientists faulted the Journal, as well as some of its peers, for failing to disclose that the questions being answered in certain studies were not the same as those in the researchers' original protocols. Changes are normal and sometimes to be expected, but they need to be disclosed, the group believes.

When the group shared its findings in a series of letters to the editor, the Journal's editors sent dismissive responses, they said, declining to make any changes to the papers or publish the team's criticisms.

In an interview, Drazen said his staff initially reviewed a couple of the group's claims, found them without merit and moved on. Through a spokeswoman, he e-mailed documents that he said rebutted the group's contentions regarding two of the studies.

"We went through this and it just wasn't worth our effort because it isn't helping the people we're trying to help," Drazen said.

A leader of the group, British researcher and author Ben Goldacre, is "trying to sell his books and he's trying to tell the world that clinical trials aren't reliable," Drazen said.

Drazen also noted that in recent years, the Journal began posting the protocols and statistical analysis plan for all clinical trials it publishes.

Shown the Journal's rebuttals, Goldacre and his team said it not only failed to rebut their contentions, but showed that the editors may not have fully understood the studies' findings and metrics.

"There is this whole belief that the scientific literature is rigorous, that things are checked, and that researchers can point out errors post-publication, so the system is self-correcting," Goldacre said in an e-mail. "What we've shown is clear: that doesn't happen, the system doesn't work."

Doubling Down On Studies

The critiques of the Journal have moved onto the pages of competing journals and mainstream news sources, with several recently questioning why it has been slow to correct or clarify studies.

A piece last month in the BMJ reported on mounting concerns over the Journal's handling of a major 2012 study that compared the risks of two different products - saline and hydroxyethyl starch - that boost blood volume in critically ill patients. Though the results were not conclusive, the study suggested that starch solutions were more dangerous, leading to a warning from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration and a precipitous drop in sales.

The company that manufactured starch solutions wrote a letter skeptical of the study's methodology and results. The Journal, according to the BMJ article, wouldn't correct the article or publish the company's letter. Within days of the BMJ article, the Journal appended a correction to the study about the values in a table, but editors otherwise stood by the findings.

In an interview, Drazen said that when concerns are raised about a study, the authors are asked for a response, which is analyzed by statistical reviewers.

"Recently we got another query about the same issue," Drazen said. "When we went back to re-query the author, there, in fact, was an error in the paper that was published."

Separately, at least one researcher was so troubled at what he viewed as a fundamentally flawed and misleading study in the Journal that he spent five years trying to persuade the Journal to pull it.

Dr. Peter Bach, director of the Center for Health Policy and Outcomes at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, spotted problems with the 2006 study soon after it was published.

The authors said that annual computerized tomography (CT) screenings to detect lung cancer could prevent 80 percent of lung cancer deaths. Critics of the study - and investigative journalists - caused it to be corrected or clarified three times.

The first noted that the authors received royalties for inventing CT screening methods that had been licensed to GE Healthcare, a maker of scanning equipment, a disclosure missing from the original study.

The second disclosed that one of the foundations that supported the study was underwritten by the Vector Group, the parent company of Liggett Tobacco, which manufactures cigarettes.

The third said that certain numbers in the study were wrong, but asserted that the errors did not change the findings.

But Bach felt the paper should be further corrected or retracted. He said he communicated his concerns to the Journal's editors but when they didn't act, he submitted them for publication in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute, which published his paper in 2011.

Even now, the text of the study continues to contain some incorrect numbers. In order to track the corrections, readers must click on separate links to see the accurate data. If the study is simply printed out, that information is not included. Bach said he fears the study's bad data may continue to have lingering influence.

"All the journals should aspire to making sure the scientific record is as accurate as possible, and this was clearly an example where I was able to show empirically that the data was impossible," Bach said.

The study's primary author has vigorously defended its accuracy. Journal spokeswoman Jennifer Zeis said in an e-mail that the correction to the data "is prominently and permanently attached to the online article. This correction only resulted in very slight changes to the results and no change to the conclusion and interpretation of the data."

A study funded by the National Institutes of Health subsequently found that CT screening does reduce mortality from lung cancer, she said. (It was to a far lesser degree than the 2006 article posited.)

Ivan Oransky, who co-founded Retraction Watch in 2010 to track retractions in science in response to their hidden nature, said "Many journals have come to realize or have long realized that correcting the record even with retractions is a sign of health. The New England Journal of Medicine continues to see retractions and even corrections as a badge of shame, and that's a problem."

'Research Parasites'

The incident that has provoked the biggest storm came in January, when Drazen and a deputy editor wrote an editorial that some interpreted as critical of burgeoning efforts to share data on clinical research so others can assess the findings and perhaps replicate the analyses.

"There is concern among some front-line researchers that the system will be taken over by what some researchers have characterized as 'research parasites,'" Drazen and deputy editor Dan Longo wrote.

They defined such people as those "who had nothing to do with the design and execution of the study but use another group's data for their own ends, possibly stealing from the research productivity planned by the data gatherers, or even use the data to try to disprove what the original investigators had posited."

The criticism was immediate, fierce and widespread - probably more than for anything else the Journal has done in many years. In an editorial in the journal Science, entitled "#IAmAResearchParasite," editor Marcia McNutt wrote: "No more excuses: Let's step up to data sharing."

Barry Marshall, a winner of the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine, tweeted: "Plenty of Nobel prizes came from a new look at other people's data."

And Prasad, of Oregon Health & Science University, said despite Drazen's contention that he was reflecting the views of others, the phrase "research parasites" had never appeared in published medical literature before the editor used the term.

Drazen quickly published a second editorial in which he appeared to backtrack somewhat (he used the word "clarify"), saying he and the Journal did support data sharing.

The worry he was initially trying to articulate, Drazen said in an interview, is that scientists not involved with original research will swoop in, conduct additional analyses (perhaps without understanding the data) and then take credit from those who spent months or years working on the underlying research.

"The datasets are very, very, very complex," he said. "You don't want someone to analyze the dataset not fully understanding it."

For his part, Drazen said he doesn't see the controversies that have arisen in recent months as any different from those of other periods of his tenure. He is one of the longest-serving editors of a major medical journal at this point.

"In the 16 years, I can't say that I think this particular last 12 months has been different by a lot," he said. "When issues come up we pay attention to them, and there are always issues coming up."

In the interest of full disclosure, the author of this article served on the board of directors of the Association of Health Care Journalists with Oransky.

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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 1:35 AM | Permalink

April 29, 2016

The Week In Chicago Rock

You shoulda been there.

1. Dilly Dally at the Empty Bottle on Wednesday night.


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2. Buckethead at Park West on Monday night.

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3. Courtney Barnett at the Riviera on Thursday night.

Kot: Courtney Barnett Shreds At Riviera.

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4. Dawes at the Vic on Wednesday night.

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5. Shock Theatre at Cobra Lounge on Monday night.

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6. Ciara in Rosemont on Thursday night.

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7. Jadakiss at Promontory on Thursday night.

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8. Apocalyptica at House of Blues on Tuesday night.

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9. Fanfare Ciocarlia at City Winery on Sunday night.

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10. RavenEye at House of Blues on Wednesday night.

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11. The Darkness at House of Blues on Wednesday night.

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12. Thy Art Is Murder at Durty Nellie's in Palatine on Thursday night.

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13. Rings of Saturn at Durty Nellie's in Palatine on Tuesday night.

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14. William Fitzsimmons at SPACE in Evanston on Thursday night.

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Catching up with . . .

Fantasia at the Arie Crown Theatre last Saturday night.

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 7:38 PM | Permalink

The Beachwood Radio Sports Hour #100: The Gas Mask Draft

L-I-V-I-N. Plus: Leonard "Pink" Floyd; Johnny Oduya, MVP: No Danks You; Cubs Have Owies; Jake Arrieta vs. Dee Gordon; and The Everton Minute.


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SHOW NOTES

* Base Ten system, y'all!

2:35: Coffman & Kaufmann.

5:23: The Gas Mask Draft.

* Hub Arkush: "I covered my very first NFL Draft in 1979 at the old Roosevelt Hotel in Manhattan. Of the 36 Drafts since I am hard-pressed to remember a wilder or more unpredictable first round than what transpired Thursday night in Chicago."

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24:19: Leonard "Pink" Floyd Is L-I-V-I-N.

Hoge: "Inside the Auditorium Theatre Thursday night, the excitement built after NFL commissioner Roger Goodell announced that the Chicago Bears had traded up two spots and now held the No. 9 overall pick.

"And then the room went flat.

"No one booed when Goodell returned to the stage to announce that the Bears had drafted Georgia linebacker Leonard Floyd. But no one really cheered either."

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37:30: Blackhawks Post-Mortem: Sad But Not Angry.

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45:05: White Sox? No Danks!

* We told you so!

48:24: Cubs Have Owies.

* Javy Baez is who I was trying to think of, not Matt Ceaser (I've just declared that this will be the Beachwood style of spelling Matt Czcurzcuruczr's name).

* Tanking spanking:

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* The Fallacy Of How The Cubs Were Built.

56:48: Jake Arrieta vs. Dee Gordon.

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1:06:34: The Everton Minute: Who Could Replace Roberto Martinez?

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STOPPAGE: 7:12

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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 2:17 PM | Permalink

How A Reporter Pierced The Hype Behind Theranos

When the blood-testing company Theranos opened to the public in 2013, founder Elizabeth Holmes made bold claims of having revolutionized the diagnostic-lab business.

With just a few drops of blood pricked from a finger (as opposed to several vials drawn from a syringe in the arm), the company said it could not only run the full range of laboratory tests, but also turn around results within hours, all at a low cost.

Theranos received fawning early media coverage, but last October Wall Street Journal reporter John Carreyrou took a more critical look. With descriptions of unreliable equipment, skeptical employees and deficient practices, he reported that the company's PR blitz outpaced its actual medical technology.

On this podcast, Carreyrou talks with ProPublica senior reporter Charles Ornstein about why he decided to look into Theranos in the first place, the problems with the company's claims, and the recent actions from federal inspectors and Walgreens that lend credence to his investigation.

[NOTE: After the recording of this podcast, the Wall Street Journal reported that Walgreens threatened to terminate its retail partnership with Theranos unless it addresses mounting problems.]


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Highlights from their conversation:

Investors have poured millions into Theranos (which is valued at $9 billion) despite having little information on the company's operations.

Carreyrou: What people saw in it - other than Elizabeth Holmes's pitch that she had made this scientific breakthrough - is not clear. I've heard, and pretty much ascertained during my reporting, that the company did not offer any information about the science, and about how the technology worked, about how its laboratory instrument worked, or about its financials. So investors who were ponying up this money were, for the most part, going in blind.

The problems, Carreyrou says, are bigger than dishonest marketing.

Carreyrou: I had ex-employees telling me that they questioned the accuracy of the Edison machine [Theranos' proprietary lab instrument], and that Theranos was also doing things like diluting small blood samples in order to create a bigger volume to run them on commercial analyzers. That also created problems with accuracy . . . I talked to patients and doctors in Arizona, and came up with anecdotal evidence of a test that didn't seem to square with comparative tests done at other laboratories. All of that made me realize that it wasn't just about a company that had overhyped its science and its breakthroughs, but it might also be a matter of public health.

Holmes and Theranos also played a role in the passage of an Arizona law that allows people to get blood tests without a doctor's order.

Carreyrou: That was controversial, because there are many in the medical profession, including the general practitioners who would usually be the middlemen and give you that prescription, who say, "Well, how is that progress?" Because once the patient has those test results, more likely than not, they're going to need a doctor's opinion to decipher them and to know what those results mean. So why not keep the doctor involved from the beginning so that, first of all, there is a logic for getting the blood test, and then there's an expert opinion there when the test results arrive to help you interpret them.

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See also: Clinton Fundraiser Hosted by Theranos Founder To Be Held At Private Home, Not Company Headquarters.

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 1:49 PM | Permalink

Has The Library Outlived Its Usefulness In The Internet Age?

U.S. institutions of higher education and U.S. local governments are under extraordinary pressure to cut costs and eliminate from institutional or governmental ledgers any expenses whose absence would cause little or no pain.

In this political climate, academic and public libraries may be in danger. The existence of vast amounts of information - a lot of it free - on the Internet might suggest that the library has outlived its usefulness.

But has it? The numbers tell a very different story.

In spite of the findings of a survey in which Americans say they are using public libraries less, the usage numbers reported by libraries indicate the opposite.

In the last two decades, the total number of U.S. public libraries slightly increased - inching up from 8,921 in 1994 to 9,082 in 2012 (a gain of 2.14 percent). Over the same period, the data also show that use of public libraries in the U.S went up as well.

image-20160425-22387-1l3340r.jpgU.S. public library usage statistics: 1993-2012. Charts by Donald Barclay using data from the National Center for Education Statistics, CC BY

Here's what data on circulation (books and other items checked out to library users) and annual visits to public libraries reveal.

* The number of books and other items borrowed from U.S. public libraries increased from 6.5 items per capita in 1993 to 8.0 items per capita in 2012 (up 23 percent). Over the same time span, the number of visits to U.S. public libraries rose 22.5 percent.

* The one major public library usage measure that did decrease was the number of times library users asked questions of reference librarians, dropping 18 percent from 1993 to 2012.

* The popularity of U.S. public libraries is, it seems, at least as strong as it was before the web became a household word (much less a household necessity).

For academic libraries, the data are more mixed. Circulation of physical items (books, DVDs, etc.) in U.S. academic libraries has been on a steady decline throughout the web era, falling 29 percent from 1997 to 2011.

libraries2.jpgTotal circulations (in 1000s) by U.S. degree-granting post-secondary institution libraries: 1997 through 2011

More tellingly, over the same time span and among the same academic libraries, the annual number of circulations (of books, DVDs, etc.) per full-time student dropped from 20 circulations to 10 (down 50 percent).

libraries3.jpgNumber of circulation transactions per full-time student in U.S. degree-granting post-secondary institution libraries: 1997 through 2011

That fewer books are circulating is hardly a surprise given the vast amount of scholarly information (the bulk of it purchased with academic library budget dollars) that is now available to students via their electronic device of choice.

Electronic scholarly journals have driven their print-format predecessors to obsolescence, if not quite extinction, while e-books have become increasingly plentiful.

In 2012, U.S. academic libraries collectively held 252,599,161 e-books. This means that over the course of about a decade, U.S. academic libraries have acquired e-books equal to about one-fourth the total number of physical books, bound volumes of old journals, government documents and other paper materials acquired by those same libraries since 1638 - the year Harvard College established the first academic library in what is now the United States.

E-books are not only plentiful, they are popular with academic users (in spite of some shortcomings in usability). For example, data provided to the author show that when the University of California-San Diego made a collection of academic e-books available to students and faculty through the popular JSTOR interface, the usage numbers proved impressive.

In just under a year, UCSD students and faculty used 11,992 JSTOR e-books, racking up 59,120 views and 34,258 downloads. In response to user demand, the UCSD Library outright purchased over 3,100 of the titles offered via JSTOR, making those e-books a permanent part of the UCSD library collection.

Who Needs The Encyclopedia?

As with circulation numbers, reference questions asked of librarians in U.S. academic libraries have undergone a sharp decline - standing now at 56,000,000 per year, down 28.4 percent from 16 years ago.

For the 60 largest U.S. academic libraries, the average number of reference transactions dropped from 6,056 per week in 1994 to 1,294 per week in 2012 (down 79 percent).

libraries4.jpgAverage number of reference transactions per week for the 60 largest U.S. academic libraries: 1994-2012

There's not much mystery behind the drop in reference transactions. When I first began working as an academic reference librarian in 1990, hardly a day went by when I didn't put my hands on such reference works as the Places Rated Almanac, The Statistical Abstract of the United States and College Catalogs on Microfiche to answer reference questions.

Today, students access information digitally. The Google app on their smartphones allows students to look up information they once would have found only in analog, library-owned reference sources. And as for that old reference warhorse, the printed Encyclopedia Britannica churned out its final set in 2010.

Further contributing to the decline of in-person reference service is the fact that students are increasingly able to consult with academic librarians via the Internet.

By 2012, 77 percent of U.S. academic libraries were offering reference services via e-mail or web chat. Currently, more than 400 academic libraries provide around-the-clock, chat-based reference service as members of OCLC's 24/7 Reference Cooperative, a global library cooperative that provides shared technology services.

Given only the above numbers, the hasty conclusion would seem to be that everything is online and nobody uses academic libraries any more.

But not so fast.

Even while circulation and reference transaction numbers were tanking, the data show a steady increase in the number of people actually setting foot in academic libraries.

The cumulative weekly gate count for the 60 largest U.S. academic libraries increased nearly 39 percent from 2000 to 2012. Library gate count data for all U.S. institutions of higher education show a similar (38 percent) increase from 1998 to 2012.

libraries5.jpgCumulative weekly gate count for the 60 largest U.S. academic libraries: 2000-2012

So if students are not going to the academic library to access print collections or ask reference questions, why are they going at all?

I believe that students are trekking to academic libraries because academic libraries have been actively reinventing themselves to meet the needs of today's students.

Academic library square footage is increasingly being converted from space to house printed books to space for students to study, collaborate, learn and, yes, socialize.

libraries6.jpgLibraries are no longer cold, forbidding spaces

Besides providing some of the last refuges of quiet in a noisy, distraction-filled world, academic libraries have taken such student-friendly steps as relaxing (or eliminating) longstanding prohibitions on food and drink, providing 24/7 study spaces and generally re-creating themselves to be comfortable and friendly rather than cold and forbidding.

Examples of how forward-leaning academic libraries are attracting students include:

* The Grand Valley State University Library's Knowledge Market provides students with peer consultation services for research, writing, public speaking, graphic design and analyzing quantitative data. Among a number of specialized spaces, the library offers rooms devoted to media preparation, digital collaboration, and presentation practice.

* The libraries of North Carolina State University offer Makerspace areas where students get hands-on practice with electronics, 3D printing and scanning, cutting and milling, creating wearables, and connecting objects to the Internet of Things. In addition, NCSU students can visit campus libraries to make use of digital media labs, media production studios, music practice rooms, visualization spaces and presentation rooms, among other specialized spaces.

* The Ohio State University Library Research Commons offers not only a writing center but also consultation services for copyright, data management plans, funding opportunities and human subjects research. Specialized spaces in the library include conference and project rooms, digital visualization and brainstorming rooms, and colloquia and classroom spaces.

Reimagining Libraries

By thinking beyond the book as they re-imagine libraries, academic librarians are adding onto and broadening a long learning tradition rather than turning their backs on it. In the words of Sam Demas, college librarian emeritus of Carleton College:

For several generations, academic librarians were primarily preoccupied with the role of their library buildings as portals to information, print and later digital. In recent years, we have reawakened to the fact that libraries are fundamentally about people - how they learn, how they use information and how they participate in the life of a learning community. As a result, we are beginning to design libraries that seek to restore parts of the library's historic role as an institution of learning, culture and intellectual community.

Any library, public or academic, able to live up to so important a role will never outlive its usefulness.

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Donald A. Barclay is the deputy university librarian at the University of California-Merced. This article was originally published on The Conversation.

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Comments welcome.

The Conversation

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 9:44 AM | Permalink

Beachwood Photo Booth: Court Is In Session

Englewood branch.

bballenglewoodfilmfilresizedetcbw2cr.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!
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Ad Deluxe.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Jesus At The Drive-In.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: The Tanks Of Avondale.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Conveyance Belt.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Bonk.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Esquire In The Night.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Nick's Meat Market.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Keep Havin A Good Day.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Knock Knock.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Man At Marie's.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Bonneville.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Logan Bags.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Chicago Stairwell.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Blue Velvet.

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 8:53 AM | Permalink

April 28, 2016

The [Thursday] Papers

The wheels are coming off here at Beachwood HQ!

I just ditched the Dennis Hastert column I was writing. I've been monumentally distracted this morning (and afternoon) and it just wasn't my best work - or even rising to the level of mediocrity. I need to get some things together, so I might not write the Papers again until Monday; I might even take a week off, though I'll still be posting other material to the site. We'll see.

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LOL: Chicago GOP Re-Elects Its Chairman
It's fun to play pretend.

Fantasy Fix: Pitching Help
Three arms to turn to.

Chicago's True Nature
A documentary about the Forest Preserves of Cook County.

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BeachBook

Prince William And Duchess Kate Are Your Favorite Well-Meaning White Friends.

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TweetWood

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The Beachwood Tip Line: The good-guy tuna company.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 1:36 PM | Permalink

Cook County Forest Preserves Documentary To Premiere

The Forest Preserves of Cook County is hosting a VIP screening of its documentary Chicago's True Nature: The Forest Preserves of Cook County next Wednesday at the IMAX Theater on Navy Pier.

The hour-long documentary captures the sights and sounds within the Forest Preserves as it marked its 100th anniversary throughout 2015. Audiences will learn about the benefits of nature, the impact of open land to our quality of life and what lies ahead in the next century for the one of the oldest and largest forest preserves in the nation.

The documentary will be followed by a brief discussion on how the Forest Preserves is engaging the next generation of conservationists as well as a Q&A for the audience of partners, allies and leaders of FPCC.

The screening begins at 5:30 p.m.

The film will then premiere May 15 on WYCC PBS Chicago at 7 p.m., with repeat broadcasts Monday, May 16 at 9 p.m.; Saturday, May 21 at 7 p.m.; and Sunday, May 22 at 4 p.m.

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Trailer:

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YouTube description:

"The Forest Preserves of Cook County, in partnership with WYCC PBS Chicago and Juneteenth Productions, is proud to present Chicago's True Nature: The Forest Preserves of Cook County.

"Like many natural wonders, the Forest Preserves are 'hidden in plain sight.' While the Preserves are well-known for family parties and cookouts, many are unaware of its vast biodiversity - the flora and fauna of the urban preserves and the diversity of native plants that struggle to flourish against invasive species. Chicago's True Nature takes viewers beyond the picnic groves and introduces them to the nearby wonders of nature.

"Despite living in one of the most densely populated urban areas of the country, Cook County residents are surrounded by nearly 70,000 acres of open space managed by the Forest Preserves. This documentary highlights the conservation and research initiatives, educational programs, volunteer efforts and the wide variety of recreational activities that can be enjoyed right here in Cook County."

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 10:58 AM | Permalink

Attention NFL Draftees: Be Like Israel Idonije

Every year, the National Football League draft makes a number of strapping young men very, very rich.

Enjoy the moment, lads. But a word of advice from former NFL stars: Start thinking about your next career right away.

"As an athlete, your body is your company - and you're a depreciating asset," said Israel Idonije, a former defensive end with the Chicago Bears and Detroit Lions for more than a decade, starting in 2003. "That's why it's important to lay a foundation for life after football, while you're still in the league."

That is exactly what Idonije did, buying a company that supplies communion cups to churches around the world, while he was still suiting up for the Bears. During his last few years in the league, when Idonjie was making the veteran's minimum salary, he was actually bringing in more cash via his side gig.

When he eventually retired in 2015, "I took off my cleats and stepped into the business the next day, because I'd been doing it the whole time," he said.

Pro athletes, notorious for blowing through millions of dollars, should take note. The average NFL career is a scant 3 1/2 years. Waste millions on fancy cars and lavish homes and your retirement future is bleak. According to the National Bureau of Economic Research, 16 percent of drafted players filed for bankruptcy in the dozen years following retirement.

"These guys don't realize how quickly doors close, after they stop playing," says Ed Butowsky, a Dallas wealth manager with Chapwood Investments who handles money for many professional athletes.

For the young men who will make the first round of the 2016 NFL draft, and for anyone who might hit it big for a short amount of time, here a few tips about how to prepare for the long game:

1. Leverage your access.

Pretty much anyone in the country will pick up the phone and agree to a meeting with you if you are a professional sports player. The people you want to call are CEOs with the ability to hire people with the snap of the finger, said Butowsky. In the basketball world they are called "Front-Row People"; in football they are referred to as "Suite People."

Once you are out of the league, that kind of universal access goes away - so strike while the iron is hot.

"If you call up a CEO and say, 'I play for the Atlanta Falcons, and I'd love to buy you lunch and learn about your business' - you don't think that would go a long way?" Butowsky said.

2. Train for the next stage.

The NFL holds a "Broadcast Boot Camp" for pros interested in cultivating careers as anchors and analysts. One of those who has taken advantage is former Pittsburgh Steelers and New York Jets offensive line stalwart Willie Colon.

"They do a remarkable job of putting you around the cream of the crop in the business, like James Brown of CBS," said Colon, a 6-foot-3, 320-pound gentle giant, who is rehabbing his knee and working as a studio analyst for SNY network. "But there are no shortcuts. If you're not working hard and staying up on topics, then you're going to lose. I'm reading more than I ever have in my life."

The NFL Players Association also runs an organization called The Trust, devoted to helping ex-NFLers with the challenging post-football transition.

3. Get a running start.

Even when Idonije was still putting on his pads for the Bears, he devoted a portion of his week to learning his new business. Every NFL player gets one day off a week, and Idonije earmarked a couple of hours of that day to his side hustle.

But beware of putting your own money in the first thing that comes along. Investing in ill-advised, private businesses is the "No. 1 reason players go broke," said Butowsky.

After all, crooks take one look at young, naive millionaires who lack financial education and get dollar signs in their eyes.

Better to put that NFL salary into an index fund and lock the key. "Eventually you will reach the point where your body can't take it, or your heart just isn't in it anymore," said Colon. "And then you want to have that Plan B ready to go."

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See also:
* SI: How And Why Athletes Go Broke.

* ESPN 30 for 30: Broke.

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 12:31 AM | Permalink

April 27, 2016

LOL: Chicago GOP Re-Elects Its Chairman

Chris Cleveland, 43rd Ward Republican Committeeman, was re-elected Chairman of the Chicago Republican Party last night. The Republican ward committeemen in Chicago gathered in a conference room of a Loop law firm to select a chairman for a four-year term.

Cleveland won with 94% of the weighted vote, up from 74% when he was first elected a year ago to fill the unexpired term of his predecessor Adam Robinson.

Cleveland is credited with revitalizing the Party over the last few years, having led a team that recruited candidates across the city, raised money, and supported Governor Rauner's effort to raise the Republican vote in Chicago in his successful 2014 campaign.

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Previously in LOL: Chicago Republicans:
* LOL: City Of Chicago Threatens The Chicago GOP Over Signage.

UPDATE 4/28:

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 3:32 PM | Permalink

Fantasy Fix: Pitching Help

Sure, you could have drafted Chris Sale and Jake Arrieta in the first and second rounds of your draft, but instead you thought it wiser to use those precious opportunities on much-hyped position players like, say, A.J. Pollock and Kyle Schwarber.

Well, if you landed both of the latter two, who are now thoroughly injured, you might have bigger problems than a lack of firepower in your starting rotation. But let's solve your pitching problems first.

Here are a few possible pitcher pick-ups, each with some waiver wire availability last time I checked:

Mat Latos, SP, WHITE SOX: Available in 26% of Yahoo! leagues. A week ago, he was about 90% available, but word is getting around about two things: Both the Sox and Latos are good again.

I was afraid during the preseason that he would be nothing but homer-bait at The Cell, but with a 4-0 record, 0.74 ERA and 0.82 WHIP, he's looking like the guy who had three 14-win seasons earlier this decade, rather than the chronically-injured mess he was the last two seasons.

Rich Hill, SP/RP, OAK: Available in 58% of Yahoo! leagues. Yes, that Rich Hill.

Former Cub curveball phenom turned journeyman bullpen arm is delivering on his promise eight or nine years later than expected. If you really need strikeouts, Hill is a better choice than Latos, with 37 in 26 IP to the Latos' 13 in 25 IP. He's got three wins and a 2.42 ERA.

His 1.27 WHIP reflects he's getting hit a lot - 24 hits to be exact - but he's missing a lot of bats, too. Maybe not a long-term bet, but at least a short-term boost.

Rick Porcello, SP, BOS: Available in 49% of Yahoo! leagues. Porcello has quietly had a pretty good career, with at least 10 wins in each of his first six seasons until a 9-15 swoon last year.

His career ERA of 4.37 and low career strikeout-per-nine IP might be the reason he stays under the radar, but this season he's off to a 4-0 start, with 30 strikeouts in 25 IP, just five walks, a 3.51 ERA and 0.94 WHIP.

Don't know if he keeps up that strikeout pace, but if you let Sale and Arrieta pass you by, you have to take what you can get.

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Disco Dan O'Shea is our fantasy sports correspondent. He welcomes your comments.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 3:19 PM | Permalink

The [Wednesday] Papers

I have some top secret government work to attend to today so there won't be a proper column. The column has gotten short shrift in the last week or so due to various distractions and attempts at scheme-hatching, sorry! As always, I direct you, dear reader, to @BeachwoodReport for real-time commentary on various goings-ons. I know it's not the same - for better and worse - but it's the best I can do right now.

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I feel like I'm always apologizing for not giving you bastards more for free than I can manage. It's really just a recognition that I can't always live up to the standards I've set for this site and to which we were once much closer to meeting. It pains me. And there is so much work to be done, so much bullshit and tomfoolery in both the media and political worlds that needs to be exposed. Above all, as I've written repeatedly, there is a huge quality issue in journalism. And it's about to get worse right here in Chicago whether Michael Ferro survives or Gannett succeeds. Either way, readers - citizens - will lose.

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Bogan High Grad Supports One Of Navy's Most Verstatile Combat Ships
Meet Christopher Edmondson.

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Now, you may be saying, Steve, if you call me that because no one calls me by my given name, they just sort of say, Hey, or, Rhodes, though some friends in Minneapolis use to call me Dusty and some in Chicago Tuffy, but you may be saying, Why do you reprint Navy press releases? To which I say:

I love these. They remind us that the military isn't a faceless monolith - it is comprised of real human beings; human beings who have lived among us and, God bless, will live among us again. And it's fascinating to learn of their roles on their ships and so on, even if only in brief. It's not a political comment at all - it's not meant to support militarism or patriotism (which is a concept I'm not too fond of, as it veers too close to exceptionalism for my tastes) or anything like that. It's just to recognize the real people from our area who are serving. There are still wars (that I'm not too fond of) going on involving American troops. Let's not forget that.

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BeachBook

I usually don't share posts here from my personal page, but these are getting a ton of response this morning.

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TweetWood

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The Beachwood Tip Line: Before it's too late.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 9:44 AM | Permalink

Bogan High Grad Supports One Of Navy's Most Verstatile Combat Ships

SAN DIEGO - A 2006 Bogan High School graduate and Chicago native is serving in the U.S. Navy as part of a team supporting one of the country's most versatile combat ships.

Petty Officer 3rd Class Christopher Edmondson is a logistics specialist and a member of the Logistics Support Team which supports both variants of littoral combat ships based in San Diego.

A Navy logistics specialist is responsible for all the logistic needs of the LCS ships.

"I like knowing that my input adds to the big picture of the Navy," said Edmondson. "It adds gratification to what I'm doing, seeing that."

The LCS platform has a unique manning concept called "3-2-1," where three crews serve aboard two different littoral combat ships, one of which is deployed. This innovative manning concept allows the LCS to spend more time forward deployed without overtaxing the crew, according to Navy officials.

Designed to defeat threats such as mines, quiet diesel submarines and fast surface craft, littoral combat ships are a bold departure from traditional Navy shipbuilding programs. The LCS sustainment strategy was developed to take into account the unique design and manning of LCS and its associated mission modules.

"It's exciting working with the newest class of ships that the Navy is putting out in the fleet," said Edmondson.

According to Navy officials, the path to becoming an LCS sailor is a long one. Following an 18-month training pipeline, sailors have to qualify on a simulator that is nearly identical to the ship. This intense and realistic training pipeline allows sailors to execute their roles and responsibilities immediately upon stepping onboard.

"Sailors that work aboard this platform are expected to be capable of performing a variety of tasks to assist in the completion of the LCS mission," said Capt. Warren R Buller, Commander, LCS Squadron One. "The training that is required of our sailors is rigorous and difficult. This ensures that they are mission-ready to defend and protect America at all times."

As a service member supporting the LCS mission, Edmondson explained they are building a legacy that will last beyond their lifetimes. Sailors know how important it is for the Navy to develop new war-fighting capabilities to continue their success on the world's oceans.

"Serving in the Navy means I'm paying forward freedom to my children and my grandchildren," added Edmondson.

Through innovative planning, the design of systems, and crew requirements, the LCS platform allows the fleet to increase forward presence and optimize its personnel, improving the ability of the Navy to be where it matters, when it matters.

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Previously:
* Chicago Navy Commander's Continuing Promise.

* Meet Chicago Sailor Joshua Johnson.

* Meet Chicago Quartermaster Seaman Maribel Torres.

* Meet Chicago Navy Commander Chad Hennings.

* Meet Chicago Navy Seaman Desmond Cooke.

* Meet Chicago Airman Dominique Williams.

* Whitney Young Grad To Serve Aboard USS Essex.

* Proviso West Grad To Serve Aboard USS Paul Hamilton.

* Hyde Park High School Grad Serving On Nuclear-Powered Sub.

* Plainfield East Grad Serving On Nuclear-Powered Sub.

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 3:14 AM | Permalink

April 26, 2016

SportsMondayTuesday: Just Wait 'Til Next Year

So this means we definitely don't get any more Hawk games this season, doesn't it.

And a second straight championship celebration and fourth in the last seven years . . . that is out as well, eh? (Just because all the Canadian teams missed the postseason doesn't mean we can't add a little Canuckian seasoning every once in a while).

All of this after the Hawks bowed out 3-2 to St. Louis on Monday night to lose their conference quarterfinal series 4-3 and end the 2015-16 season.

No more slick stickhandling from Artemi Panarin or Patrick Kane or "strong net-front presence" from Andrew Shaw or Artem Anisimov. And the blocked shots, the ridiculously obviously painful blocked shots offered up by Niklas Hjalmarsson time after time to stop dangerous situations before they started, those are gone too for another season.

No more trying to figure out the best way for the new guys to fit in. In particular, Andrew Ladd will be missed when he signs a big contract with a team that has plenty of room under the cap looking for a veteran power forward who knows how to win. The new guy you have to think the Hawks will try to hang onto first and foremost is Richard Panik, who showed in the last two playoff games that there may be a whole lot more to his game that previously suspected.

We're definitely done with Trevor Van Riemsdyk's (I won't miss trying to remember how these guys spell their names for the next five months or so) efforts to prove himself a worthy successor to Johnny Oduya as the fourth defenseman.

And no more excellent work in short-handed situations from the likes of Andrew Desjardins and Marcus Kruger, who came back from what was believed to be a dislocated wrist this season; when Brian Urlacher suffered a similar injury, it was immediately determined he would miss the rest of that season. We will also miss the insane toughness of hockey players.

Goodbye to speculating about whether coach Q made the right call in terms of who he played and who he healthy scratched. And I am bummed there is no more chance to watch the coach on occasion lose his mind in response to a call that didn't go his team's way.

Generally I can't stand it when coaches have tantrums but somehow when coach Q does it, I am far less offended.

Then there is the goalie - Corey Crawford sometimes gets too much credit when the Hawks win and too much blame when they lose (although hockey teams are just about psychotic about defending their goalie's performances in public no matter how shaky they might have been), but he deserved all sorts of credit for having his best regular season yet this time around.

And so long to Brent Seabrook's uncannily accurate point shots and all-around steady play. At times during the season it appeared that Seabrook was starting to slow down after all of the amazing work he has done for the Hawks on coming up on a decade now. But perhaps a longer-than-usual summer break will be rejuvenating.

I'll tell you one thing: Jonathan Toews, Marian Hossa and Duncan Keith deserve the extra time off that comes with a first-round elimination as much as any NHL players have ever deserved that sort of break. In seven post-seasons since 2010, they have each played in 18 playoff series averaging between five and six games apiece. That is about 100 more games than players who have missed the playoffs have played during that time.

Hey guys, have a few drinks on me (you'll have to send me an e-mail in order to collect payment - the link is at the end of the column) on a cruise to somewhere luxurious.

This would all be slightly sadder if we weren't aware of the fact that, as I mentioned before, most of these guys will be back in action for the glorious hockey nation of Blackhawkistan all of about five-and-a-half months from now.

When we say "Just wait 'til next year" with this team, all hockey fans know we're saying "Just wait until this team kicks everyone's ass next year."

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Jim Coffman is our man on Mondays, except when situations warrant Tuesdays. Comments welcome

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 11:40 AM | Permalink

The [Tuesday] Papers

When Gannett flagship USA Today first came on the scene, it infamously inverted the journalism paradigm by focusing relentlessly on the sunny side of things. Thus, the classic headline "Miracle: 327 survive, 55 die."

The paper is not quite so smarmy these days, but it's still USA Today, and its satellite publications are still essentially McPapers - each one uses the same template for its website, for example.

Seeing as how Gannett is now in the midst of a hostile bid for Tribune Publishing, I thought I'd reimagine some Chicago news as if Gannett had owned the Tribune when it happened:

* 610 Schools Survive; 50 Closed.

* 49 Aldermen Not Indicted; 1 Charged.

* Thousands Of Suspects Not Tortured By Jon Burge: Report.

Well, you get the idea.

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For a look at the boardroom maneuverings now taking place, I highly recommend this scathing Andrew Ross Sorkin column, which identifies the Tribune board of directors as a bunch of neophyte pushovers essentially committing financial malpractice.

Also, the Wall Street Journal reports that someone is lying - either the CEO of Tribune or the CEO of Gannett.

Locally, Joe Cahill of Crain's writes that "In the consolidation game, Tribune Publishing makes a better target than an acquirer."

Standing in the way? Michael Ferro's perverted dream of "saving journalism" - and hungry shareholders who must feel like Christmas just came early.

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See also: After Gannett's Bid For Tribune, 8 Things To Look Out For:

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The Fiction Of Farm-To-Table
The Tampa Bay Times's examination of bogus restaurant menus is already one of my all-time favorite investigations, so today we're carrying a ProPublica interview with the reporter who pulled it off, food critic Laura Reiley.

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TweetWood

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The Beachwood Tip Line: Miracle survivor.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 10:30 AM | Permalink

The Fiction Of 'Farm To Table'

If you dine out regularly, chances are you've seen "farm-to-table," "locally sourced" and "sustainable" options on the menu. But are those claims true? Tampa Bay Times food critic Laura Reiley wanted to find out. And she discovered that often these labels are bogus. In one case, a meal advertised as veal schnitzel may have been frozen pork chops and sliced pork.

In the aftermath of her investigation, several restaurants changed their menus and chalkboards to reflect true food sourcing. I spoke with Reiley about the investigation and how what's going on at Tampa Bay restaurants might be happening at places near you.


Some highlights from our conversation:

There isn't really much value in the term "farm-to-table" anymore.

Reiley: It's a term that I think is bordering on bankrupt. I know a bunch of restaurants here that are doing everything right, that are really working through local purveyors, that work closely with local farmers and get all their seafood from the Gulf of Mexico, etc., who really object to the term "farm-to-table." They haven't figured out a new term that they like better, but they bristle a bit when you call them that.

What it's like getting Sysco, a large-scale distributor, to talk.

Reiley: Sysco is a hermetically sealed box. They do not tell anything. If you try to investigate, call a local distributor, call a local branch of Sysco, they immediately refer you to corporate. It was very hard for U.S. foods and Sysco. They don't want to reveal. They know precisely what's happening - that many of their buyers, basically, the restaurants - are sourcing through Sysco and saying they're buying from local farms. They have a lot of incentive to obfuscate.

This isn't just Tampa Bay. It's indicative of a larger issue.

Reiley: Shortly after the story went out there, I was getting a hundred e-mails an hour. And half of them, each hour, were from people in Seattle, in Portland, in Southern California, in the Finger Lakes of New York, from all over the country . . . This wasn't people saying, "I'm so sorry things are lousy in Tampa Bay, and you have all those bad apples." It was people everywhere saying, "We know this is happening here." I think it's a national phenomenon, definitely.

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 4:54 AM | Permalink

April 25, 2016

The [Monday] Papers

Chicago Today?

Just trying to imagine what the Tribune would look like under Gannett management.

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At loggerheads.

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DeLayed Gratification
"Attorneys for ex-speaker Dennis Hastert on Friday filed dozens of letters of support from former colleagues, constituents and friends, asking a federal judge to consider the former lawmaker's decades of service when he is sentenced next week on bank fraud charge," USA Today reports.

Former House Majority Leader Tom DeLay (R-Texas) wrote that "We all have our flaws, but Dennis Hastert has very few. He is a good man that loves the Lord. He gets his integrity and values from Him. He doesn't deserve what he is going through."

A little history is in order. From Politico last June:

"What Hastert did do was protect his closest ally and mentor, Majority Leader Tom DeLay, from tough investigation of misconduct by intervening with the House ethics oversight committee . . .

"Apart from the Abramoff scandal, DeLay earlier faced other ethical challenges in which Hastert went to bat to help him. When three of DeLay's political allies in Texas were indicted, Hastert helped engineer a rule change that would have permitted DeLay to remain Majority Leader should he too be indicted. Hastert also shuffled the leadership of the House Ethics Committee, which had been probing and exposing misconduct by DeLay."

And then they went to Bible study.

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"Further underscoring Hastert's insensitivity to ethical matters was the scandal sparked by Rep. Mark Foley when it was revealed in September 2006 that he was sending suggestive online messages to young male pages. In this case, Hastert's failure to act was particularly awkward and confusing: Boehner and Rep. Tom Reynolds (R-N.Y.) said they had alerted the Speaker to Foley's escapades months before the news broke. Hastert lamely said he didn't recall being told about Foley's improprieties."

Maybe he just pulled up a chair to watch.

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Also, a reminder:

"Hastert personally enriched himself by millions of dollars while Speaker in part by the shrewd use of an earmark. In early 2006, the Sunlight Foundation revealed that Hastert had made a little over $2 million on a complicated and unusual land transaction in Illinois. Working in tandem with rich political allies in Illinois, Hastert bought some land at a cheap price while his allies bought nearby land at a much steeper price. The adjacent properties were then consolidated and a trust was set up in which Hastert had a bigger share.

"Next, the Speaker deployed his muscle to push a transportation bill and he managed to attach an earmark that subsidized a highway interchange roughly a mile from the property - even though state authorities or neighbors did not desire it. The payoff from the earmark for Hastert: the property's value soared. After a chunk of it was sold to a developer, Hastert had garnered a profit of over $2 million and he still had valuable land holdings."

Yup, good ol' Denny.

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See also: Wrestling Propelled Hastert's Career, And Provided Opportunity For Abuse.

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The Cub Factor: Laughably Historic
The last time the Cubs were this good ye olde Ricketts family had just formed a Super PAC for Herbert Hoover.

The White Sox Report: Gifted
We would be remiss if we didn't point out the generosity of the fellows providing the opposition.

SportsMonday: Game Seven
SportsMonday will appear on Tuesday so Jim Coffman can tell us what went wrong with the Blackhawks' season - or how they came back to defeat the Blues in this series.

Obama Speaks No Evil
Won't tell Congress how many innocent Americans he's spying on.

Snapchatting The Environment
The Rainforest vs. the ability to send disappearing dick pics.

At The Art Insitute: The Modern Chair
Are you sitting comfortably?

The Weekend In Chicago Rock
Featuring: Bleached, Chris Spencer, Wild Belle, Elway, Sick/Tired, Sea of Shit, Hocico, Jay Idk, Freddie Gibbs, Lissie, and The Summer Set.

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BeachBook
This new embed code is still giving me fits. Bear with me until I find a solution.

Obama Has Deported More Immigrants Than Any Other President. Now He's Running Up The Score.

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Jimmy Carter: The U.S. Is An "Oligarchy With Unlimited Political Bribery."

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Final Illinois Primary Tally Shows Why Bernie Sanders Won't Quit.

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America's Long Misguided War To Control The Greater Middle East.

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Amazon Same-Day Delivery Basically Serves All Of Chicago Except South Side.

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Open The Cages!

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The Mobile Web Sucks.

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How Fusion Is Producing Investigative Journalism For The Jon Stewart Generation.

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Chicago Web Series Maybe Worth Checking Out.

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SIU Adds Degree In Brewing.

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La Margarita Restaurants Commercial, 1981.

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TweetWood
A sampling.

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The Beachwood Tip Line: Leisurely.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 11:17 AM | Permalink

The Weekend In Chicago Rock

You shoulda been there.

1. Bleached at the Empty Bottle on Friday night.


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2. Chris Spencer at Thalia Hall on Wednesday night.

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3. Wild Belle at the Garfield Park Conservatory on Friday night.

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4. Elway at Quenchers on Friday night.

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5. Sick/Tired at Reckless Records in Wicker Park on Saturday night.

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6. Sea of Shit at Reckless Records in Wicker Park on Saturday night.

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7. Hocico at Beat Kitchen on Friday night.

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8. Jay Idk at Thalia Hall on Wednesday night.

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9. Freddie Gibbs at Thalia Hall on Wednesday night.

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10. Lissie at Thalia Hall on Friday night.

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11. The Summer Set at Bottom Lounge on Sunday night.

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 9:47 AM | Permalink

At The Art Institute | The Modern Chair

"The Modern Chair focuses on a piece of furniture that has captivated the popular imagination like no other.

"Beginning in the Machine Age with the promise of industrial production, chair design took off in new directions dynamically engaged with contemporary forms.

"Furniture design moved out of the realms of the carpenter and the decorator as architects and industrial designers took on the chair as a problem of engineering, materials research, and the scientific study of the human body.

"With this new attitude, one of the most important drivers of modern chair design became new materials - from tubular steel in 1920s Europe to the later largely American development of plywood and fiberglass chairs.

"This exhibition presents iconic examples from throughout the 20th century by makers including Le Corbusier and Charlotte Perriand, Harry Bertoia, and Charles and Ray Eames, all of whose work contributed to the evolution of a new, modern ideal."


Through September 11, 2016.

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See also: Are You Sitting Comfortably?

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 1:28 AM | Permalink

Jonathan Pie, TV Reporter! Snapchatting The Environment

The Rainforest vs. the ability to send disappearing dick pics.


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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.

* Jonathan Pie, TV Reporter! TTIP Is Boring Shit.

* Jonathan Pie, TV Reporter! The Truth About Teachers & Doctors.

* Jonathan Pie, TV Reporter! Valentine's Day 2016.

* Jonathan Pie, TV Reporter! On The 'Environment" Beat.

* Jonathan Pie, TV Reporter! Political Theater As News.

* Jonathan Pie, TV Reporter! Charter Wankers International.

* Jonathan Pie, TV Reporter! The Panama Papers: They're All In It Together.

* Jonathan Pie, TV Reporter! Answer The Fucking Question.

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Plus:

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And:

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 1:14 AM | Permalink

Obama Won't Tell Congress How Many Innocent Americans He's Spying On

"A bipartisan group of lawmakers is none too happy that the executive branch is asking them to reauthorize two key surveillance programs next year without answering the single most important question about them," the Intercept reports.

"The programs, authorized under Section 702 of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act, are called PRISM and Upstream. PRISM collects hundreds of millions of internet communications of 'targeted individuals' from providers such as Facebook, Yahoo, and Skype. Upstream takes communications straight from the major U.S. internet backbones run by telecommunications companies such as AT&T and Verizon and harvests data that involves selectors related to foreign targets.

"But both programs, though nominally targeted at foreigners overseas, inevitably sweep up massive amounts of data involving innocent Americans.

"The question is: How much? The government won't answer."

Click through for the rest.

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Previously:
* Ruling Unsealed: National Security Letters Upheld As Constitutional.

* EFF Sues For Secret Court Orders Requiring Tech Companies To Decrypt Users' Communications.

* Trying (And Trying) To Get Records From The 'Most Transparent Administration' Ever.

* EFF Urges Appeals Court To Allow Wikimedia And Others To Fight NSA Surveillance.

* U.S. Government Reveals Breadth Of Requests For Internet Records.

* What's The Evidence That Mass Surveillance Works? Not Much.

* Why The Close Collaboration Between The NSA And AT&T Matters.

* First Library To Support Anonymous Internet Browsing Effort Stops After DHS E-Mail.

* EFF Sues For Records About 'Hemisphere' Phone Call Collection And Drug Enforcement Program.

* Snowden Documentarian Laura Poitras Sues U.S. Government To Uncover Records After Years Of Airport Detentions And Searches.

* Obama Secretly Expanded NSA Spying To Internet.

* Court: NSA Phone Program Illegal.

* The Chicago Connection To The Hidden Intelligence Breakdowns Behind The Mumbai Attacks.

* Human Rights Watch Sues DEA Over Bulk Collection Of American's Telephone Records.

* U.S. Secretly Tracked Billions Of Calls For Decades.

* Amnesty International Joins ACLU, Wikimedia In Lawsuit To Stop Mass Surveillance Program.

* Stop Spying On Wikipedia Users.

* EFF Wins Battle Over Secret Legal Opinions On Government Spying.

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

* I Fight Surveillance.

* Illegal Spying Below.

* Smith vs. Obama.

* EFF Sues NSA Over FOIA.

* Stand Against Spying.

* The NSA Revelations All In One Chart.

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

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

* House Committee Puts NSA On Notice Over Encryption Standards.

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

* Lawsuit Demands DOJ Release More Secret Surveillance Court Rulings.

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

* What The Proposed NSA Reforms Wouldn't Do.

* Technologists Turn On Obama.

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

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

* Eighth-Grader Schools The NSA.

* You Know Who Else Collected Metadata? The Stasi.

* Today We Fight Back.

* The Day We Fight Back.

* FAQ: The NSA's Angry Birds.

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

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

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

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

* Edward Snowden's Christmas Message.

* Jon Stewart: Obama Totally Lying About NSA Spying.

* Presidential Panel To NSA: Stop Undermining Encryption.

* The NSA Is Coming To Town.

* 60 Minutes We Can't Get Back.

* Why Care About The NSA?

* NSA Surveillance Drives Writers To Self-Censor.

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

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

* Obama Vs. The World.

* How A Telecom Helped The Government Spy On Me.

* UN Member States Asked To End Unchecked Surveillance.

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

* Five More Organizations Join Lawsuit Against NSA.

* A Scandal Of Historic Proportions.

* Item: NSA Briefing.

* The Case Of The Missing NSA Blog Post.

* The NSA Is Out Of Control.

* Patriot Act Author Joins Lawsuit Against NSA.

* Obama's Promises Disappear From Web.

* Why NSA Snooping Is A Bigger Deal In Germany.

* Item: Today's NSA Briefing.

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

* Song of the Moment: Party at the NSA.

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

* What NSA Transparency Looks Like.

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

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

* The Surveillance Reforms Obama Supported Before He Was President.

* America's Spying: Worse Than You Think.

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

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

* Six Ways Congress May Reform NSA Snooping.

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

* Does The NSA Tap That?

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

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

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

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

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

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

* Obama's War On Truth And Transparency.

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

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

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

* Daniel Ellsberg: Obama Has Committed Impeachable Offenses.

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

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 12:18 AM | Permalink

Laughably Historic

As this magical season keeps moving on I'm constantly hearing of all the things the Cubs have done for the first time in ____. Like the last time the Cubs were 14-5 to start the season was 1969, and some other year I think. I just can't care about these things. They seem so meaningless because the Cubs have been so bad for so long. It's almost laughable. But with this in mind we here at The Cub Factor have put together our own type of list.

* The last time the Cubs were this good history was still at World War 0.

* The last time the Cubs scored this much the A's were still playing in Philadelphia and the chocolate chip cookie had just been invented.

* The last time Cubs pitchers were this good the Cubs hadn't even won their last World Series.

* The last time the Cubs were this good goats were still allowed in the ballpark.

* The last time the Cubs were this good Steve Bartman's great-great-grandparents were interfering with foul balls.

* The last time the Cubs were this good the Ricketts family had just formed a Super PAC for Herbert Hoover.

* The last time the Cubs were this good the bros in Wrigleyville wore fedoras unironically.

* The last time the Cubs were this good a Daley had not yet been mayor.

* The last time Cubs tickets cost this much was 2015.

Week in Review: The Cubs went 5-2 for the week, taking two of three from the Cardinals and three of four from the Reds. In the process, they scored an assload of runs, which is even more than a buttload. Like crazy amounts of runs. Like so crazy they need to be committed to a mental hospital. Oh, and Jake Arrieta pitched his first no-hitter of the season.

Week in Preview: The wunderkinds head home this week for three each against the Brewers and Braves. So you should know it's not going to be a cakewalk all season against the lowly Reds - because the Brew Crew and Braves are even worse than Cincinnati. Time to get fat, boys.

Musical Outfielders: And no, we aren't talking about Matt Szczur playing the French horn. Big takeaway this week is that Kris Bryant had three starts in left. Jorge Soler had three as well, with Szczur getting the other one. Soler also got a start in right and managed to go 2-for-18 with seven strikeouts and one walk. And the Cubs still scored a dump truck full of runs. Something has got to change there or there will be changes . . . what?

Former Annoying Cub Of The Week: One of the big stories the first week of the season was the hot hitting of Starlin Castro, who quickly endeared himself to Yankees fans. We knew better. Good ol' Starlin's one-week BA of .400 is now down to .258, and that's no longer considered a "hot start." I would consider it a "Starlin Castro." He is not missed.

Current Annoying Cub Of The Week: I wanted to hate on Tommy La Stella a bit because he seemed to keep getting playing time yet not doing anything with it. Sure he was hurt last season, but even when he wasn't hurt he bugged me. But he's raking right now and I like the lineup with him in there and Bryant in left. So that makes Soler the annoying one.

Mad(don) Scientist: Big Poppa Joe's charity t-shirt was banned from Busch Stadium, which will only be good for t-shirt sales. Oh, and Joe is planting seeds to make sure everyone knows why he's going to be playing Javy Baez more and more. Oh, and where's the bouncy house? We are due for something soon, right?

Kubs Kalender: On Saturday the Cubs will be giving away Ron Santo replica statues, which would be a lot better if you could pull a string in his back and hear this.

Over/Under: The number of starts until Arrieta gets another no hitter: +/- 4.

Beachwood Sabermetrics: A complex algorithm performed by The Cub Factor staff using all historical data made available by Major League Baseball has determined that _____.

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Marty Gangler is The Cub Factor. He welcomes your comments.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 12:09 AM | Permalink

April 24, 2016

Gifted

The White Sox have outperformed what anyone could have expected this spring with 13 wins in 19 games despite scoring more runs than only one of the other 29 major league teams. We have Sox pitching primarily to thank.

However, we would be remiss if we didn't point out the generosity of the fellows providing the opposition. No, they are not friends - comrades of the same union to be sure, but in most cases not bosom buddies - but their goofy mistakes and misjudgements have played a notable role as the White Sox have more victories than any other American League contingent.

Take Friday's already legendary triple play that the Sox pulled off in the first of a three-game sweep of the West Division leader Texas Rangers. Sailing along with a 5-0 lead in the top of the seventh, Jose Quintana allowed the Rangers to load the bases on a double by Prince Fielder, a single by Adrian Beltre, and a walk to Ian Desmond. Please note that this trio is not exactly inexperienced. Between them, they've been in the big leagues for 39 seasons.

Yet when Mitch Moreland lined out to right fielder Adam Eaton - who, by the way, looks like a Gold Glove performer in his new position - Desmond conveniently (for the White Sox) ventured 20 or 30 feet toward second base. Eaton threw behind him to Jose Abreu who joined Desmond in a ballet fit for the Joffrey as Desmond deked, ducked, bobbed and weaved in an attempt to get back to first safely.

What was Fielder doing all this time? Best guess is observing the dance while his pal Beltre made his way toward third base. Fielder is a large human being. Didn't Beltre see him hesitate? Once Abreu applied the tag to Desmond, he threw from his knees to Sox catcher Dioner Navarro.

Let's stop right here. In seasons past, executing an effective rundown was problematic for this team. Often one could confuse them with a Pony League bunch. However, Navarro knew exactly what to do since Fielder, not of fleet foot, was less than a third of the way toward home.

Dioner fired a perfect strike to shortstop Tyler Saladino, who, despite being just a second-year player, proved that he's no dummy. Chasing Beltre a few more steps toward third, Saladino quickly turned his attention to Fielder, who by this time was ready to call it quits. Another accurate toss back to Navarro, and Fielder was a goner as third baseman Todd Frazier wound up tagging him out.

Had the Rangers rehearsed the play prior to the game, they couldn't have accommodated the White Sox any better. They were such willing accomplices.

And they didn't stop there. The very next afternoon in the bottom of the 11th of a 3-3 deadlock, manager Jeff Banister badly manipulated his pitching staff so that recently recalled Nick Martinez opened the frame in his first appearance of the season. His last action came 11 days earlier in a starting role at Round Rock, the Rangers' Triple-A affiliate.
Martinez turned out to be the next White Sox best friend, loading the bases on 12 pitches - just two for strikes - as he hit Austin Jackson in the ribs sandwiched by walks to Navarro and Eaton. Talk about cooperation!

Lest we conclude that the Sox are the smartest guys in the room, Jimmy Rollins followed by taking a ball but then swinging at the next pitch before grounding a 3-2 pitch out of the strike zone as Navarro was forced at home.

However, the slump-plagued Abreu finished things minutes later with a ground ball single through a pulled in five-man infield. Rollins could have been the hero, walking with the bases loaded, but Abreu bailed him out.

The Rangers weren't the only friendly foes at The Cell last week. On Wednesday afternoon, the Sox played one of their typical games, nursing a 2-1 lead over the visiting Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim (that's a mouthful!) in the top of the ninth with closer David Robertson vying for a four-out save. Robertson got the first out before superstar Mike Trout's grounder was deftly fielded by third baseman Todd Frazier going to his left. However, Frazier's throw eluded Jerry Sands, subbing for Abreu at first base.

Trout attempted to change course and head for second, but he lost his footing for a moment, which was enough time for Sands, who is not a good first baseman, to retrieve the ball and throw to Saladino in time to nail Trout.

Apparently Trout, who didn't see the ball bounce off the wall behind first, thought he heard teammates in the dugout shout, "Go." Uhhh. Maybe it was "No."

Despite the audio challenges, once Trout slipped, his chance to wind up at second was lost. Again, a talented, veteran player accommodated our athletes as Robertson then retired Albert Pujols to end the game.

Aside from the strokes of good fortune that the team is experiencing, manager Robin Ventura has been much more of a gambler this season. Because he realizes that his charges continue to struggle offensively, he's made greater use of the sacrifice bunt, hit-and-run, and stolen base. Or possibly his new personnel is far more adept at execution than in the recent past.

In Saturday's extra-inning win, the Sox took a 3-2 lead in the bottom of the eighth on a Frazier home run and an RBI single by Navarro. Jackson tried to pad the lead with a squeeze bunt with Avisail Garcia on third. Maybe the bunt was a bit too hard as first baseman Mitch Moreland threw out Garcia at home, but Avi also got a poor jump.

When Rollins led off the ninth with a hit, he attempted to steal second, which he did safely before taking third as the throw bounced into center field. However, the umpires ruled that Abreu interfered with the catcher, negating Rollins' aggressiveness.

The point is that the Sox do resemble last season's club in one important regard: They don't score any runs. So adopting a running, bunting game can contribute to scratching for a much-needed run here and there. So far the strategy has paid off nicely for the South Siders.

None of this early-season success would be possible without Sox pitching that continues to lead the league with a 2.28 ERA and a 1.02 WHIP. Mat Latos continued his mastery Sunday, limiting the Angels to a solo home run by Nomar Mazara, the game's second batter. That was it for the Rangers as the Sox triumphed 4-1. Latos now is 4-0 with a 0.74 ERA. This is not fantasy, folks. It's actually happening.

A few other observations:

* Watch Frazier play third base. Not only does he cover ground both to his right and left, but he has an amazingly accurate arm. Almost all his throws to first are waist- to letter-high.

* This is the third team that Brett Lawrie has played for in the last three seasons, but it appears that he has found a home on the South Side. The guy plays with an edge. That mouthpiece he wears - I assume it's intended to relax him by minimizing the grinding of his teeth - gives him a pitbull appearance, and he backs it up with energy and enthusiasm too seldom seen with Ventura's teams. His behind-the-back flip to Rollins for a force at second base in Saturday's third inning made all the highlight videos.

He also has delivered some clutch hits.

* Look for the Sox to have a short leash with Avisail Garcia. Pretty much relegated to the DH role, the kid continues to swing at bad pitches, and his slow, sad walk back to the dugout reflects a young player who is struggling. Avi has struck out in about one-third of his at-bats, accounting for a .135 average. J.B. Shuck was sent to Charlotte to make room for pitcher Erik Johnson. Shuck bats left-handed, is a good outfielder, can bunt, makes contact, and he's a .262 hitter playing parts of five big-league seasons. So why not have the two trade places, giving Garcia a chance to play the outfield every day and gain back some confidence?

* While any number of factors have fallen into place so far this season, the team's new, enlarged video boards show that size at The Cell does not matter. The boards are basically a series of modules, about half of which are advertisements. Okay, the Sox need revenue to sign more free agents like Latos and Jackson.

But consider that last Tuesday against the Angels, Melky Cabrera ran along the left-field foul line for a fly ball off the bat of Cliff Pennington. The ball hit Melky's glove and came out, yet Pennington walked back to the dugout. Angels manager Mike Scioscia came out and challenged the play although no replay was shown to the fans at The Cell.

You could excuse the 12,093 in attendance who were freezing their asses off in the 40-degree weather for thinking that the folks at home were watching replay after replay of what turned out to be fan interference. After five minutes, the shivering fans finally got a look at the contested play.

In fact, the boards show very few replays. At the risk of heresy, once the Cubs installed their new video boards, fans at Wrigley were treated to replays of every occurrence on the field, much like the fans viewing at home.

The video boards also inform the folks at the park that a hitter has gone 0-2 or 1-3 in his previous at-bats. No mention whether he grounded out, struck out, or hit a triple. Other parks I've visited do offer these details. And the hitter's season average is hidden on the facades in the corners of the upper deck in left and right field. Previously those stats were on a strip in dead center field.

Maybe the Sox don't want their hitters to confront the fact that they're below the Mendoza line. But hey, Cabrera's hitting .333. Why hide that?

Sox management has all week to find a better formula for its new video offerings while the club travels to Toronto for three games before four more in Baltimore. Chances are these two East Division foes will be far less generous than the team's last two opponents.

However, if the pitchers keep up their current pace and the hitters snap out of their slump, they just might not need the gifts they've enjoyed so far.

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

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 10:44 PM | Permalink

April 23, 2016

The Weekend Desk Report

Heh-heh.

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The Beachwood Radio Sports Hour #(19)99: Prince, Kane & Jake
Game-winners and no-hitters. Plus: The Secret History Of Tiger Woods; The Who Sox; Blame Butler; Timberwolves Land Tom Thibodeau For Phil Jackson Money; Loyola Investigating Sheryl Swoopes After Mass Transfers; and Everton Board Rumored To Hold Emergency Meeting.

Ruling Unsealed: National Security Letters Upheld As Constitutional
"NSL recipients still can be gagged at the FBI's say-so, without any procedural protections, time limits or judicial oversight. This is a prior restraint on free speech, and it's unconstitutional."

The Week In Chicago Rock
Featuring: The Avett Brothers, The White Buffalo, Fear Factory, The Residents, Shawn Mullins and Honey Dewdrops, Jakubi, Kyle Gass Band, Consume The Divide, Asaf Avidan, Defeater, Basement, Turnstile, In The Weeds, Moonface, Fort Frances, John Waite, Lukas Graham, Noah Gunderson, and One Ok Rock.

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The Weekend Sound Opinions Listening Report: "Like all human activity, even rock music has an ecological impact. On this Earth Day, environmentalist Bill McKibben and musician/activist Adam Gardner join Jim and Greg for a discussion about the complicated relationship between music and the environment. Jim and Greg also talk to music supervisor Randall Poster about bringing tunes to the big and small screens."

Note: Prince's death occurred on their deadline; a tribute show is in the works.

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The Weekend Desk Pizza Report
A pie chart of 40 types of pizza including "The only one we can all agree is truly terrible and not even really pizza . . . Chicago deep dish."

The Weekend Desk Hot Dog Report
"It may be a little roadside stand on Route 140 in Mendon, but Larry Joe's New England Fire Pit serves some of the biggest and best hot dogs in New England," CBS Boston reports.

"Larry Joe's makes half-pound all-beef natural casing old fashioned-style hot dogs and sausages. They're marinated in hot apple juice and molasses to help make them juicy, plump and sweet before being placed on the hot grill.

"Bringing a taste of Chicago to Natick, Spalla's is known for their addictive Italian-style beef sandwiches and real deal Chicago-style hot dogs."

The Weekend Desk Italian Beef Report
"55 Chicago open[ed] its doors to the public at, you guessed it, 55 West Chicago Street in downtown Chandler, right next door to The Perch," Phoenix New Times reports.

"The Chicago-themed restaurant and bar features indoor and outdoor seating, as well as a fireplace, modern decor, and a large bar. The menu will include everything from burgers and panini to salads, fajitas, and lasagna. And in keeping with the Windy City theme, 55 Chicago will also serve a deep-dish pizza, Chicago-style hot dog, and hot Italian beef."

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Weekend BeachBook

How A Local Radio Station Became The World's Prince Memorial.

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DePaul Student: Men Have Taken Away Women's Right To Simply Say No To Their Advances.

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A Chinese Vlogger Just Sold An Ad Spot For $3.4 Million.

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Weekend TweetWood

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The Weekend Desk Tip Line: Forever young.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 12:27 PM | Permalink

The Week In Chicago Rock

You shoulda been there.

1. The Avett Brothers at the Chicago Theatre on Thursday night.


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2. The White Buffalo at Bottom Lounge on Wednesday night.

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3. Fear Factory at the Concord on Tuesday night.

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4. The Residents at Thalia Hall on Monday night.

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5. Shawn Mullins and Honey Dewdrops at City Winery on Wednesday night.

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6. Jakubi at Schubas on Wednesday night.

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7. Kyle Gass Band at Beat Kitchen on Sunday night.

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8. Consume The Divide at the Tree in Joliet on Sunday night.

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9. Asaf Avidan at Lincoln Hall on Tuesday night.

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10. Defeater at Bottom Lounge on Tuesday night.

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11. Basement at Bottom Lounge on Tuesday night.

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12. Turnstile at Bottom Lounge on Tuesday night.

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13. In The Weeds at Livewire on Sunday night.

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14. Moonface at Lincoln Hall on Sunday night.

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15. Fort Frances at City Winery on Thursday night.

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16. John Waite at the Arcada Theatre in St. Charles on Sunday night.

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17. Lukas Graham at the Double Door on Thursday night.

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18. Noah Gunderson at SPACE in Evanston on Thursday night.

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19. One Ok Rock at the House of Blues on Monday night.

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 9:04 AM | Permalink

Ruling Unsealed: National Security Letters Upheld As Constitutional

A federal judge has unsealed her ruling that National Security Letter provisions in federal law - as amended by the USA FREEDOM Act - don't violate the Constitution. The ruling allows the FBI to continue to issue the letters with accompanying gag orders that silence anyone from disclosing they have received an NSL, often for years. The Electronic Frontier Foundation represents two service providers in challenging the NSL statutes, who will appeal this decision to the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit.

"Our heroic clients want to talk about the NSLs they received from the government, but they've been gagged - one of them since 2011," said EFF deputy executive director Kurt Opsahl. "This government silencing means the service providers cannot issue open and honest transparency reports and can't share their experiences as part of the ongoing public debate over NSLs and their potential for abuse. Despite this setback, we will take this fight to the appeals court, again, to combat USA FREEDOM's unconstitutional NSL provisions."

This long-running battle started in 2011, after one of EFF's clients challenged an NSL and the gag order it received. In 2013, U.S. District Court Judge Susan Illston issued a groundbreaking decision, ruling that the NSL power was unconstitutional. However, the government appealed, and the Ninth Circuit found that changes made by the USA FREEDOM Act passed by Congress last year required a new review by the district court.

In the decision unsealed this week, the District Court found that the USA FREEDOM Act sufficiently addressed the facial constitutional problems with the NSL law. However, she also ruled that the FBI had failed to provide a sufficient justification for one of our client's challenges to the NSLs. After reviewing the government's justification, the court found no "reasonable likelihood that disclosure . . . would result in danger to the national security of the United States," or other asserted dangers, and prohibited the government from enforcing that gag. However, the client still cannot identify itself because the court stayed this portion of the decision pending appeal.

"We are extremely disappointed that the superficial changes in the NSL statutes were determined to be good enough to meet the requirements of the First Amendment," said EFF staff attorney Andrew Crocker. "NSL recipients still can be gagged at the FBI's say-so, without any procedural protections, time limits or judicial oversight. This is a prior restraint on free speech, and it's unconstitutional."

The NSL statutes have been highly controversial since their use was expanded under the USA PATRIOT Act. With an NSL, the FBI - on its own, without any judge's approval - can issue a secret letter to communications service providers, requiring the service to turn over subscriber and other basic non-content information about their customers. The gag orders that the FBI routinely issues along with an NSL have hampered discussion and debate about the process.

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Previously in National Security Letters:
* EFF Fights National Security Letter Demands On Behalf Of Telecom, Internet Company.

* The First Rule Of Barack Obama's National Security Letters Is That You Aren't Allowed To Talk About Barack Obama's National Security Letters.

* Why We're Suing The Justice Department Over The FBI's Secret Rules For Using National Security Letters.

* U.S. Government Reveals Breadth Of Requests For Internet Records.

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 8:07 AM | Permalink

April 22, 2016

The Beachwood Radio Sports Hour #(19)99: Prince, Kane & Jake

Game-winners and no-hitters. Plus: The Secret History Of Tiger Woods; The Who Sox; Blame Butler; Timberwolves Land Tom Thibodeau For Phil Jackson Money; Loyola Investigating Sheryl Swoopes After Mass Transfers; and Everton Board Rumored To Hold Emergency Meeting.


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SHOW NOTES

* Dan Hampton.

* GQ: Why Prince's Love Of Basketball Made Us Love Him Even More.

2:00: Blackhawks Survive Game Five.

* Kane's Glorious Game-Winner:

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* Blackhawks Don't Have Their Usual Depth, And It Shows.

* Richard Sandomir, New York Times:

Andrew Shaw and Curt Schilling insulted the gay and transgender community in recent days. But how they responded afterward suggests that one of them (Shaw) comprehends the ramifications of what he did, and the other (Schilling) does not.

Shaw, a Chicago Blackhawks forward, was suspended for Game 5 of his team's playoff series against St. Louis on Thursday night for shouting an anti-gay slur after being sent to the penalty box during Tuesday's game.

"I get it," he said after being disciplined by the N.H.L. "It's 2016 now. It's time that everyone is treated equally."

Schilling did not choose the road to contrition after he shared a post on Facebook that was an apparent response to the North Carolina law that bars transgender people from using bathrooms and locker rooms that do not correspond with their birth genders. On his blog, he snarled at "all of you out there who are just dying to be offended so you can create some sort of faux cause to rally behind."

* Corey Crawford Saves Blackhawks' Season In Double Overtime.

* Composure And Tarasenko's Pair Give Blues 3-1 Lead.

* Are The Blackhawks The Cardinals?

* Meaningful?

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* Gordo: Blackhawks Still Champions, For Now.

* Not Duncan Keith?

* Hjalmarsson Blocks Shots With Abandon.

20:23: Jake From The Cubs Sounds Unhittable.

* This made a comeback Thursday night:

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* Jake Arrieta's Numbers Are Out Of This World.

* After 24th Straight Gem, Jake Arrieta Closing In On Clayton Kershaw As Game's Best.

* "It felt sloppy."

* Maddon: ""Pitch counts go out the window when it comes to no-hitters."

* Blouses:

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* The Fallacy Of How The Cubs Were Built.

* How The Jake Arrieta Trade Came Together And Became A Blockbuster For The Cubs.

* Heh-heh:

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* Lost In Arrieta No-Hitter: Kris Bryant Busted Loose Thursday For Cubs.

* Awwwww.

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* Four pitches away from perfect game.

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* They meet every fifth day.

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52:28: The Secret History Of Tiger Woods.

57:07: The Who Sox.

58:09: Blame Butler.

58:31: Timberwolves Land Tom Thibodeau For Phil Jackson Money.

1:00:37: Loyola Investigating Sheryl Swoopes After Mass Transfers.

* Previously: Iverson, Shaq and Swoopes!

1:03:26: Royal Blue Mersey: Everton Board Rumored To Hold Emergency Meeting.

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STOPPAGE: 4:06

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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 5:42 PM | Permalink

The [Friday] Papers

The Best of Prince in the Beachwood . . .

1. Bin Dive | Prince: Chaos and Disorder.

"Sure, he was in deep hate with Warner Brothers when he delivered Chaos, but that can only make Prince just so careless. As illustrated by all the marketing schemes he's hatched since, the man is incapable of leaving strategy out of his game altogether, even when he's working on a contractual obligation. In other words, it's not that the major label system stifled Prince too much. In the case of this weird, engaging little album, I'd say it stifled him just enough, and in all the right ways."

2. The [Monday] Papers | February 4, 2008.

"In the four years since Nipplegate, the infamous wardrobe malfunction that guaranteed that MTV will never produce another Super Bowl halftime show, the NFL has played it safe with a procession of classic-rock heroes: Paul McCartney (2005), the Rolling Stones (2006) and Prince (2007)," Jim DeRogatis writes in his review of Tom Petty's performance on Sunday.

Likewise, Greg Kot writes: "Then came Nipplegate, the infamous Janet Jackson-Justin Timberlake 'wardrobe malfunction' at halftime of the 2004 game. The NFL is all about charging fans big money to watch oversized men in armor smash in each other's brains, but show a little skin and the league caretakers turn into moral crusaders.

"As a result, the NFL tightened up its halftime editing policies with the TV networks and vowed to censor any unsanctioned language or choreography. They also skewed away from younger, more risque performers and started booking older mainstream acts in recent years: the Rolling Stones, Paul McCartney and Prince."

I have to say, I hardly think Prince was a safe choice. After all . . .

3. Robert Novak's Little Black Corvette.

4. Bloodshot Briefing: Scotland Yard Gospel Choir.

"We holed up at Studio Chicago on the North Side, jamming the studio with string quartets, horn players, a guitar player brought in just to make noise and so many others. The mixing board is Prince's old one. He recorded Purple Rain on it."

5. Purple Rain Revisited.

6. Retrospective | Prince in Chicago.

7. The Super Bowl's Halftime Malfunction, Possibly Sponsored By Groupon.

RT OnionSports: Looks like the @NFL learned its lesson with Prince: Don't ever let the #halftime show be good again

8. When Local Drummer Hannah Ford Was Just On Prince's Shortlist.

9. When Local Drummer Hannah Ford Was Hired By Prince.

10. Item: Star Bores.

"After seven years of dating, George Lucas, 69, and Mellody Hobson, 44, finally tied the knot two weeks ago at the Star Wars creator's Skywalker Ranch in Marin County, California," Business Insider (among many others) reports.

"On Saturday, the couple followed up their nuptials with a star-studded party in Chicago, where Hobson is from . . .

"Musician Prince, along with a 20-piece band, performed for guests such as Robin Williams, Star Wars star Mark Hamill, Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel, Gayle King, Al Roker, Al Sharpton, Jesse Jackson, Graydon Carter, Tina Brown, Grammy winner Ne-Yo, Star Wars prequel star Hayden Christensen and his fiance, OC star Rachel Bilson."

I would have no interest in spending a Saturday night - or any night - with any of those people, except Prince.

See also: Video from Prince's after-wedding show at City Winery.

11. Segment: Prince's Vault.

12. Important Win For Fair Use In 'Dancing Baby' Lawsuit.

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Beachwood Photo Booth: Blue Velvet
In season.

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"Blueberries aren't actually blue, but deep purple, which is the colour of anthocyanin, a pigment that is especially rich in blueberries."

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The Week In Chicago Rock
Is in pre-production.

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The Beachwood Radio Sports Hour #(19)99
Is in post-production.

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BeachBook

Paul Westerberg on Prince.

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The Replacements covering "I Could Never Take The Place Of Your Man," 1987.

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TweetWood

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*

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The Beachwood Tip Line: Dig if you will a picture.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 11:57 AM | Permalink

Beachwood Photo Booth: Blue Velvet

In season.

20160421_200600_005_resized.jpg(ENLARGE FOR BEAUTIFUL 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!
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Ad Deluxe.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Jesus At The Drive-In.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: The Tanks Of Avondale.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Conveyance Belt.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Bonk.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Esquire In The Night.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Nick's Meat Market.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Keep Havin A Good Day.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Knock Knock.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Man At Marie's.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Bonneville.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Logan Bags.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Chicago Stairwell.

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 3:08 AM | Permalink

April 21, 2016

The [Thursday] Papers

No proper column today, so just enjoy the rest of what we can offer.

Obama's Afghan Drone War
A Reuters exclusive we're carrying today.

Fantasy Fix: Marathon Men
Don't panic - yet - about these slow starts.

Plainfield East Grad On Nuclear Sub
Once saved a man from drowning.

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BeachBook

U.S. Ranks 41st In Press Freedom Index Thanks To Obama's War On Whistleblowers.

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At National Press Club, Journos Ask Penny Pritzker About Her Marathon Training But Not About The Panama Papers.

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Why Obama And Congress Turned Their Backs On Food Safety.

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New Top Cop Wholly Unqualified To Lead Reform.

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Chicago Rapper G Herbo Is Very Excited About The New Harriet Tubman $20s.

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Rihanna's "Anti" World Tour Is Not Anti-Anything.

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Chicago Wrestler's Remarkable Journey Reaches Brink Of Olympics.

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A Very Special Chicago Weather Report.

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Doc Film: "And When I Die, I Won't Stay Dead." The Life of Beat Bob Kaufman.

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Rising Pop Punk Band Sleep On It Features DePaul Alumni.

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David Sanborn, "Chicago Song."

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TweetWood

*

*

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The Beachwood Tip Line: All about the Tubmans.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 12:18 PM | Permalink

Exclusive: Obama's Afghan Drone War

KANDAHAR, Afghanistan - Drones fired more weapons than conventional warplanes for the first time in Afghanistan last year and the ratio is rising, previously unreported U.S. Air Force data show, underlining how reliant the military has become on unmanned aircraft.

The trend may give clues to the U.S. military's strategy as it considers withdrawing more troops from the country, while at the same time shoring up local forces who have struggled to stem a worsening Taliban insurgency.

U.S. President Barack Obama said in 2013 that the Afghan drawdown after 2014 and progress against al-Qaeda would "reduce the need for unmanned strikes," amid concerns from human rights groups and some foreign governments over civilian casualties.

On one level, that has played out; the number of missiles and bombs dropped by drones in Afghanistan actually fell last year, largely because the U.S.-led NATO mission ceased combat operations at the end of 2014 and is now a fraction of the size.

Yet as the force has shrunk, it has leant on unmanned aircraft more than ever, the Air Force data reveal, with drone strikes accounting for at least 61 percent of weapons deployed in the first quarter of this year.

Drone7.JPG

"In recent months it's definitely flowed more," Lieutenant Colonel Michael Navicky, commander of the Air Force's 62nd Expeditionary Reconnaissance Squadron, said of the tempo of both drone strikes and surveillance operations.

"We've seen increased weapons deployment in the past few months, and the demand is insatiable," he told Reuters at the operations center of a U.S. air base in the southern city of Kandahar.

The longer term shift towards drones has gone largely unnoticed amid the large conventional air campaign.

Data reviewed by Reuters show strikes by unmanned aircraft accounted for 56 percent of weapons deployed by the Air Force in Afghanistan in 2015, up dramatically from 5 percent in 2011.

The role of drones is likely to form a key part of a review underway by U.S. General John Nicholson, head of NATO troops in Afghanistan, as he prepares to report to Washington in June on how many soldiers he thinks should stay on.

Drone5.JPG

Nicholson declined to discuss details of the review in a recent interview with Reuters.

The current plan is to roughly halve the U.S. presence to 5,500 troops by 2017, most involved in counter-terrorism operations. The training and advising mission would be largely wound down.

U.S. MILITARY "REVERSED COURSE"

In 2015, drones released around 530 bombs and missiles in Afghanistan, half the number in 2014 when weapons dropped by unmanned aircraft peaked.

The 2015 total is, however, almost double the number of bombs and missiles released by drones at the height of the "surge," when the NATO mission expanded to well over 100,000 troops after 2009, mainly Americans.

Like much of the U.S military machine in Afghanistan, the drone operation had been winding down in line with plans for further withdrawals, Navicky said.

Drone2.JPG

At the end of 2015, however, military commanders "hit the brakes and reversed course" on the drone reduction, and have since ordered more air strikes, especially against Islamic State militants who pose a threat in the east, he said.

The Taliban have also forged closer links with al-Qaeda, Nicholson said, potentially blurring the lines between what is a legitimate target and what is not, while the Taliban themselves have made gains in the north and south.

Around 300 weapons were deployed by the Air Force in the first quarter of the year, with drones accounting for 61 percent.

The data cover strikes conducted by the Air Force, which handles the majority of Afghan air operations.

The CIA, U.S. Army, and special operations units also have smaller fleets of drones and other aircraft, so the Air Force data may reflect a redistribution among different organizations, although they tend to coordinate closely on missions.

"BLIND SPOT" FOR DRONE ANALYSIS

Because the Islamist militant Taliban movement, the main threat to security in Afghanistan, is not designated a terrorist outfit by the U.S. government, the bulk of armed drone attacks are aimed at other jihadi networks like al-Qaeda.

But Taliban insurgents are gaining territory, and, in extreme circumstances, U.S. raids have been conducted against them.

Expanding the authority of U.S. forces to attack the Taliban is currently under review by Nicholson.

Afghanistan's own air force, meanwhile, is being built from scratch and will need support for years to come, officials say.

Drone missions are secretive and have been widely criticized in Afghanistan and Pakistan, where locals and officials have blamed them for unnecessary loss of civilian life.

Drone3.JPG

In the latest instance, residents in Paktika province complained that a series of air strikes in April, which locals said were from drones, killed nearly 20 civilians. The U.S. military said it was still looking into the incident.

Activists and investigators have focused on covert air operations in places like Pakistan and Yemen, leaving Afghanistan as "really a blind spot for drone analysis," said Sarah Kreps, a professor at Cornell University who studies unmanned aircraft.

"The strikes in Afghanistan are one of the most under-reported aspects of drones."

Despite resources being sent to battle the Islamic State in Syria and Iraq, the mission in Afghanistan is still significant, accounting for nearly 20 percent of the 60 armed drone missions the Air Force can have in the air in the world at any one time, officials said.

In a time of troop limits imposed by leaders in Washington, the drone squadron is especially useful as only about 200 of nearly 1,000 personnel who support and operate the aircraft are deployed to Afghanistan, Navicky said.

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"Remotely piloted aircraft mean more flexibility with fewer people and aircraft," he said. "Because they are unmanned, sometimes you can accept more risk. All that is always going to be valuable."

Additional reporting by John Walcott in WASHINGTON.

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PHOTOS:

1. A U.S. airman controls the sensors on a U.S. Air Force drone from a command trailer at Kandahar Airfield, Afghanistan. (Reuters/Josh Smith/File Photo)

2. U.S. Air Force ground crew secure weapons and other components of an MQ-9 Reaper drone after it returned from a mission, at Kandahar Airfield, Afghanistan March 9, 2016. (Reuters/Josh Smith/File Photo)

3. Three 500-pound bombs wait to be loaded on U.S. Air Force drones at Kandahar Airfield, Afghanistan March 9, 2016. (Reuters/Josh Smith/File Photo)

4. A U.S. Marine with Marine Unmanned Aerial Vehicle Squadron 1 pushes an RQ-7B Shadow UAV following its landing at Camp Leatherneck, Afghanistan in this November 10, 2011 USMC handout photo obtained by Reuters February 6, 2013.

5. A U.S. airman guides a U.S. Air Force MQ-9 Reaper drone as it taxis to the runway at Kandahar Airfield, Afghanistan March 9, 2016. (Reuters/Josh Smith/File Photo)

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Previously:
* Drones Not Just For Threats Against America Anymore.

* Why Obama Says He Won't Release Drone Documents.

* Obama's Drone Death Figures Don't Add Up.

* Dissecting Obama's Standards On Drone Strike Deaths.

* The Best Watchdog Journalism On Obama's National Security Policies.

* Everything You Wanted To Know About Drones But Were Afraid To Ask.

* Obama Claims Right To Kill Anyone Anytime.

* The Drone War Doctrine We Still Know Nothing About.

* How Does The U.S. Mark Unidentified Men In Pakistan And Yemen As Drone Targets?

* Hearts, Minds And Dollars: Condolence Payments In The Drone Strike Age.

* Boy's Death In Drone Strike Tests Obama's Transparency Pledge.

* Does The U.S. Pay Families When Drones Kill Innocent Yemenis?

* Confirmed: Obama's Drone War Is Illegal And Immoral.

* Six Months After Obama Promised To Divulge More On Drones, Here's What We Still Don't Know.

* One Month After Drones Report, Administration Still Fails To Explain Killings.

* What If A Drone Strike Hit An American Wedding?

* Jon Langford's "Drone Operator" Debuts Again.

* Confirmed: American Bombs Killing Civilians In Yemen.

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Comments welcome.


Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 1:02 AM | Permalink

Plainfield East Grad Serving On Nuclear-Powered Sub

PEARL HARBOR - A 2013 Plainfield East High School graduate and Chicago native is serving in the U.S. Navy as part of a crew working aboard one of the world's most advanced nuclear-powered fast attack submarines, USS Santa Fe.

Petty Officer 3rd Class Joe Lewicki is a machinist's mate serving aboard the Pearl Harbor-based submarine, one of 40 Los Angeles-class submarines making it the backbone of the submarine force.

The Navy machinist's mate is responsible for operating and maintaining the submarine's non-nuclear hydraulics, air, refrigeration, atmosphere control, plumbing and diesel mechanical systems.

"It's a lot of machinery to take care of, we're constantly busy," said Lewicki. "We all make the necessary sacrifices to get the job done."

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With a crew of 130, this submarine is 360 feet long and weighs approximately 6,900 tons. A nuclear-powered propulsion system helps push the submarine through the water at more than 25 mph.

Attack submarines are designed to hunt down and destroy enemy submarines and surface ships; strike targets ashore with cruise missiles; carry and deliver Navy SEALs; carry out intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance missions; and engage in mine warfare. Their primary tactical advantage is stealth, operating undetected under the sea for long periods of time.

"Submarine sailors never cease to amaze me with their ability to complete complex missions in the world's most challenging environments," said Rear Adm. Fritz Roegge, Commander, Submarine Force, U.S. Pacific Fleet. "Continued U.S. undersea superiority is not possible without their dedication, expertise and professionalism."

According to Navy officials, because of the demanding environment aboard submarines, personnel are accepted only after rigorous testing and observation. Submariners are some of the most highly trained and skilled people in the Navy. The training is highly technical and each crew has to be able to operate, maintain, and repair every system or piece of equipment on board. Regardless of their specialty, everyone also has to learn how everything on the ship works and how to respond in emergencies to become "qualified in submarines" and earn the right to wear the coveted gold or silver dolphins on their uniform.

"We're a 'Battle-E' decorated sub," Lewicki said. "The best boat in the squadron. Kind of sums up the dedication and discipline the leadership has instilled here."

Challenging submarine living conditions actually build strong fellowship among the elite crew, Navy officials explained. The crews are highly motivated, and quickly adapt to changing conditions. It is a busy life of specialized work, watches, and drills.

"I take pride in doing my part to protect this country," Lewicki added. "That's the main motivation I have in serving."

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See also: Navy Honors Plainfield East Grad For Saving Drowning Man.

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Previously:
* Chicago Navy Commander's Continuing Promise.

* Meet Chicago Sailor Joshua Johnson.

* Meet Chicago Quartermaster Seaman Maribel Torres.

* Meet Chicago Navy Commander Chad Hennings.

* Meet Chicago Navy Seaman Desmond Cooke.

* Meet Chicago Airman Dominique Williams.

* Whitney Young Grad To Serve Aboard USS Essex.

* Proviso West Grad To Serve Aboard USS Paul Hamilton.

* Hyde Park High School Grad Serving On Nuclear-Powered Sub.

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 12:38 AM | Permalink

April 20, 2016

Fantasy Fix: Marathon Men

Cubs manager Joe Maddon didn't invent the saying "It's a marathon, not a sprint," but he has been fond of deploying it to remind both Cubs players and fans that no one wins the World Series in April. The long season, as fun as it might be, requires above many other things endurance and patience.

This is what you have to tell yourself anyway when it's April 20 and you've watched some of the players you praised in the preseason do little of fantasy value for the first three weeks of the regular season.

Who are the primary offenders?

Mike Trout, OF, LAA: I went against my own advice and actually picked him first overall in one of my leagues, partially based in reports that he planned to steal a lot more bases this year to go along with his typical power and other skills.

So far, he's not keeping pace with my vision of a 40 HR/40 SB season; he's hitting just .220 with one HR, four RBI, one SB and a truly lackluster .661 OPS heading into Wednesday's match-up with the White Sox

But now is a good time to remind myself that April is the cruelest month to the Big Fish, in which over the span of his career he has fewer HRs and RBI than in any other month, and fewer SBs and a lower BA than in most other months. There is nothing to do but wait for his annual May-to-August stat spree.

Zack Greinke, SP, ARI: I liked this off-season signing of a reliable top-tier pitcher who had a masterful 2015 only to get Arrieta'd out of the Cy Young prize. The potential for ARI's busy offense to make Greinke a 20-game winner seemed particularly enticing. What we've gotten so far is an 0-2 record with a 6.75 ERA and 1.56 WHIP. Panic time?

I wouldn't entertain bargain-hunting trade offers just yet, though there have been a lot of reminders from MLB analysts of late that Arizona's home field is a hitter's paradise.

Still, the same observers have pointed out that once it gets stifling hot, the D-backs will play more games under a closed roof that allegedly takes the air out from under the ball . . . or something.

Well, hopefully either ballpark wisdom about domes is true or Greinke simply retracts head from butt.

Matt Harvey, SP, NYM: As much as the Cubs fan in me like to see a Met fail, I thought prior to the season that Harvey would be a dark horse candidate for NL Cy Young this year. An awful 0-3 record with just nine strikeouts in 17.1 IP, a 5.71 ERA and 1.56 WHIP seems shocking.

Harvey reportedly is healthy a full year distant from surgery that cost him all of 2014, but apparently is having some mechanical issues.

It may not help to hear that before this year, Harvey actually had been pretty strong at the season's start, with a career April record of 8-3, a 2.88 ERA, 1.01 WHIP and 88 strikeouts in 84 IP.

Again, nothing to do but wait, which certainly sucks if you jumped on the Harvey hype that people like me helped create.

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Disco Dan O'Shea is our fantasyland man. He welcomes your comments.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 6:09 PM | Permalink

The [Wednesday] Papers

Last year's playoff series between the Cubs and the Cardinals felt a bit like the passing of the torch in the NL Central Division, even if the Cubs were a third-place wild card team and the Cards had won 100 regular-season games. That's because the Cardinals seemed to unwittingly acknowledge a shift in trajectories when they lost their composure while the Cubs maintained a steady and even joyous mindset unaffected by the pressures of the proceedings.

I wonder if the same thing is happening in reverse to the Blackhawks in their current playoff series against the St. Louis Blues.

To wit:

&:

And in Game 3:

Then again, the Blackhawks under Joel Quenneville have some sort of insane playoff record in Games 5, 6 and 7, so let's not count them out yet. But geez.

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It Ain't So
It's not as if racial slurs have never emanated from the stands at Wrigley Field, so the air of superiority that emanated from some local corners when this story first broke struck me as odd, and now there's this:

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EFF Sues Secret Court
"The Electronic Frontier Foundation filed a Freedom of Information lawsuit Tuesday against the Justice Department to shed light on whether the government has ever used secret court orders to force technology companies to decrypt their customers' private communications, a practice that could undermine the safety and security of devices used by millions of people.

"The lawsuit argues that the DOJ must disclose if the government has ever sought or obtained an order from the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court requiring third parties - like Apple or Google - to provide technical assistance to carry out surveillance.

"The suit separately alleges that the agency has failed to turn over other significant FISC opinions that must be declassified as part of surveillance reforms that Congress enacted with the USA FREEDOM Act."

Free Speech, Winning Elections & Memory
Many political and cultural leaders feared that extending freedom of expression to agitators would undermine society. In Local Book Notes.

Celebrate Earth Day In The Forest Preserves!
Volunteer opportunities, educational programs and fun events.

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BeachBook
Still coping best I can with the new irritating embed code until I can find a solution.

This cab story is good, and I'm assuming it's true and not some old folk tale.

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Was I 'Raped Enough' To Call Myself A Survivor?

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Logan Square Gentrification Activists Take It To The Bank.

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Upcoming Book On CPD Unsurprisingly Finds Systemic Issues.

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Clinton & Goldman: Why It Matters.

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Crisis In Brazil.

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A Vodka Diet Coke Is Not A Cocktail.

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Guardian's Homan Square Investigation Reveals Investigation Of Music Bootleggers. (I dunno, the cops probably just wanted to sweat them for info and found a pretext for doing so. But who knows.)

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Brix Smith-Start's Bonkers Life.

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McDonald's Testing Different Big Mac Sizes.

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TweetWood
A sampling.

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The Beachwood Tip Line: Melts steel.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 8:09 AM | Permalink

EFF Sues For Secret Court Orders Requiring Tech Companies To Decrypt Users' Communications

The Electronic Frontier Foundation filed a Freedom of Information lawsuit Tuesday against the Justice Department to shed light on whether the government has ever used secret court orders to force technology companies to decrypt their customers' private communications, a practice that could undermine the safety and security of devices used by millions of people.

The lawsuit argues that the DOJ must disclose if the government has ever sought or obtained an order from the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court requiring third parties - like Apple or Google - to provide technical assistance to carry out surveillance.

The suit separately alleges that the agency has failed to turn over other significant FISC opinions that must be declassified as part of surveillance reforms that Congress enacted with the USA FREEDOM Act.

EFF filed its FOIA requests in October and March amid increasing government pressure on technology companies to provide access to customers' devices and encrypted communications for investigations. Although the FBI has sought orders from public federal courts to create a backdoor to an iPhone, it is unclear to what extent the government has sought or obtained similar orders from the FISC. The FISC operates mostly in secret and grants nearly every government surveillance request it receives.

The FBI's controversial attempt to force Apple to build a special backdoor to an iPhone after the San Bernardino attacks underscored EFF's concerns that the government is threatening the security of millions of people who use these devices daily. Many citizens, technologists and companies expressed similar outrage and concern over the FBI's actions.

Given the public concern regarding government efforts to force private companies to make their customers less secure, EFF wants to know whether similar efforts are happening in secret before the FISC. There is good reason to think so. News outlets have reported that the government has sought FISC orders and opinions requiring companies to turn over source code so that federal agents can find and exploit security vulnerabilities for surveillance purposes.

Whether done in public or in secret, forcing companies to weaken or break encryption or create backdoors to devices undermines the safety and security of millions of people whose laptops and smartphones contain deeply personal, private information, said EFF senior staff attorney Nate Cardozo.

"If the government is obtaining FISC orders to force a company to build backdoors or decrypt their users' communications, the public has a right to know about those secret demands to compromise people's phones and computers," said Cardozo. "The government should not be able to conscript private companies into weakening the security of these devices, particularly via secret court orders."

In addition to concerns about secret orders for technical assistance, the lawsuit is also necessary to force the government to comply with the USA FREEDOM Act, said EFF senior staff attorney Mark Rumold. Transparency provisions of the law require FISC decisions that contain significant or novel legal interpretations to be declassified and made public. However, the government has argued that USA FREEDOM only applies to significant FISC decisions written after the law was passed.

"Even setting aside the existence of technical assistance orders, there's no question that other, significant FISC opinions remain hidden from the public. The government's narrow interpretation of its transparency obligations under USA FREEDOM is inconsistent with the language of the statute and Congress' intent,'' said Rumold. "Congress wanted to bring an end to secret surveillance law, so it required that all significant FISC opinions be declassified and released. Our lawsuit seeks to hold DOJ accountable to the law."

See the full complaint here.

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See also:
* Court Troubled By Surveillance Excesses At FBI, NSA.

"In a just-released court opinion, a federal court judge overseeing government surveillance programs said he was 'extremely concerned' about a series of incidents in which the Federal Bureau of Investigation and National Security Agency deviated from court-approved limits on their snooping activities.

"Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court Judge Thomas Hogan sharply criticized the two agencies over the episodes, referred to by intelligence gatherers as 'compliance incidents.' He also raised concerns that the government had taken years to bring the NSA-related issues to the court's attention and he said that delay might have run afoul of the government's duty of candor to the court."

* U.S. Spy Court Judge Dismissed Privacy Advocate's Concerns About Data Use.

"An independent lawyer assigned to represent Americans' privacy interests before the nation's top-secret spy court failed to persuade a judge to block FBI agents from searching intelligence databases to hunt for evidence of traditional crimes rather than restricting them to national security probes, according to a newly declassified court opinion," the Los Angeles Times reports.

"The ruling released Tuesday provides one of the first glimpses into how a 2015 bipartisan law aiming at reining in government intelligence-gathering is being implemented at the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court, which oversees requests for surveillance warrants from law enforcement agencies involving suspects inside the U.S.

"In the aftermath of domestic surveillance programs exposed by former National Security Agency contractor Edward Snowden, Congress last year passed the USA Freedom Act, which allowed certain information-gathering practices to continue, but created a privacy advocate to represent the public interest.

"The newly released documents also reveal that the FBI is storing encrypted communications it has obtained in intelligence investigations until they can be decrypted and analyzed by specialists."

* Bill Gates Says U.S. Needs Limits On Covert E-Mail Searches.

"Bill Gates said on Monday that no one was an 'absolutist' on either side of the digital privacy debate, but the co-founder of Microsoft said he supports his company's lawsuit against the U.S. government seeking the freedom to tell customers when federal agencies have sought their data.

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Previously:
* Trying (And Trying) To Get Records From The 'Most Transparent Administration' Ever.

* EFF Urges Appeals Court To Allow Wikimedia And Others To Fight NSA Surveillance.

* U.S. Government Reveals Breadth Of Requests For Internet Records.

* What's The Evidence That Mass Surveillance Works? Not Much.

* Why The Close Collaboration Between The NSA And AT&T Matters.

* First Library To Support Anonymous Internet Browsing Effort Stops After DHS E-Mail.

* EFF Sues For Records About 'Hemisphere' Phone Call Collection And Drug Enforcement Program.

* Snowden Documentarian Laura Poitras Sues U.S. Government To Uncover Records After Years Of Airport Detentions And Searches.

* Obama Secretly Expanded NSA Spying To Internet.

* Court: NSA Phone Program Illegal.

* The Chicago Connection To The Hidden Intelligence Breakdowns Behind The Mumbai Attacks.

* Human Rights Watch Sues DEA Over Bulk Collection Of American's Telephone Records.

* U.S. Secretly Tracked Billions Of Calls For Decades.

* Amnesty International Joins ACLU, Wikimedia In Lawsuit To Stop Mass Surveillance Program.

* Stop Spying On Wikipedia Users.

* EFF Wins Battle Over Secret Legal Opinions On Government Spying.

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

* I Fight Surveillance.

* Illegal Spying Below.

* Smith vs. Obama.

* EFF Sues NSA Over FOIA.

* Stand Against Spying.

* The NSA Revelations All In One Chart.

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

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

* House Committee Puts NSA On Notice Over Encryption Standards.

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

* Lawsuit Demands DOJ Release More Secret Surveillance Court Rulings.

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

* What The Proposed NSA Reforms Wouldn't Do.

* Technologists Turn On Obama.

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

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

* Eighth-Grader Schools The NSA.

* You Know Who Else Collected Metadata? The Stasi.

* Today We Fight Back.

* The Day We Fight Back.

* FAQ: The NSA's Angry Birds.

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

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

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

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

* Edward Snowden's Christmas Message.

* Jon Stewart: Obama Totally Lying About NSA Spying.

* Presidential Panel To NSA: Stop Undermining Encryption.

* The NSA Is Coming To Town.

* 60 Minutes We Can't Get Back.

* Why Care About The NSA?

* NSA Surveillance Drives Writers To Self-Censor.

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

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

* Obama Vs. The World.

* How A Telecom Helped The Government Spy On Me.

* UN Member States Asked To End Unchecked Surveillance.

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

* Five More Organizations Join Lawsuit Against NSA.

* A Scandal Of Historic Proportions.

* Item: NSA Briefing.

* The Case Of The Missing NSA Blog Post.

* The NSA Is Out Of Control.

* Patriot Act Author Joins Lawsuit Against NSA.

* Obama's Promises Disappear From Web.

* Why NSA Snooping Is A Bigger Deal In Germany.

* Item: Today's NSA Briefing.

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

* Song of the Moment: Party at the NSA.

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

* What NSA Transparency Looks Like.

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

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

* The Surveillance Reforms Obama Supported Before He Was President.

* America's Spying: Worse Than You Think.

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

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

* Six Ways Congress May Reform NSA Snooping.

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

* Does The NSA Tap That?

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

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

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

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

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

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

* Obama's War On Truth And Transparency.

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

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

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

* Daniel Ellsberg: Obama Has Committed Impeachable Offenses.

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

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 2:09 AM | Permalink

Local Book Notes: Free Speech, Winning Elections & Memory

"Most Americans today view freedom of speech as a bedrock of all other liberties, a defining feature of American citizenship," SIU Press says.

"During the 19th century, the popular concept of American freedom of speech was still being formed. In An Indispensable Liberty: The Fight for Free Speech in Nineteenth-Century America, contributors examine attempts to restrict freedom of speech and the press during and after the Civil War.

"The 11 essays that make up this collection show how, despite judicial, political and public proclamations of support for freedom of expression, factors like tradition, gender stereotypes, religion and fear of social unrest often led to narrow judicial and political protection for freedom of expression by people whose views upset the status quo.

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"These views, expressed by abolitionists, suffragists and labor leaders, challenged rigid cultural mores of the day, and many political and cultural leaders feared that extending freedom of expression to agitators would undermine society.

"The Civil War intensified questions about the duties and privileges of citizenship. After the war, key conflicts over freedom of expression were triggered by Reconstruction, suffrage, the Comstock Act, and questions about libel.

"The volume's contributors blend social, cultural, and intellectual history to untangle the complicated strands of nineteenth-century legal thought. By chronicling the development of modern-day notions of free speech, this timely collection offers both a valuable exploration of the First Amendment in 19th-century America and a useful perspective on the challenges we face today."

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The book is edited by media historian and former reporter Mary Cronin.

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Winning Elections
"The University Press of Kansas (has) announced the publication of Winning Elections in the 21st Century by political science professors Dick Simpson and Betty O'Shaughnessy," Simpson colleague Thomas J. Gradel says in a press release.

"Their book enables readers to get under the hood of modern political campaigns and to learn how candidates and campaign teams use cell phones, computers, data analytics and social media to target, contact, and then persuade a winning number of individuals to join their campaigns, contribute needed funds, and then vote on election day.

"We looked at methods as old as those used in Cicero's Roman campaigns two millennia ago and in Abraham Lincoln's contests in the1860s, and we studied the newest tricks of the trade in 2016," said Simpson, a political science professor at the University of Illinois-Chicago. "We found that the basic approach of identifying persuadable voters, talking to them about their concerns and then getting them to vote, has remained constant, but the technology and the strategic utilization of data has changed dramatically."

"Simpson served two terms (from 1971-79) as an alderman in Chicago's City Council and he ran unsuccessfully for Congress in 1992 and 1994.

"We also found that techniques such as micro-targeting and on-line fundraising, and the effective use of the Internet and social media, which were first implemented at high cost during presidential campaigns, are now available and affordable for state and local elections," O'Shaughnessy said.

"O'Shaughnessy is a visiting lecturer at UIC and a social studies teacher at Loyola Academy in Wilmette."

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This looks like the most interesting chapter:

"A highlight of the book is an entire chapter case study of 'The Winning Campaign to Elect Will Guzzardi.' In 2014, Guzzardi, a 26-year-old online journalist, defeated incumbent State Rep. Maria "Toni" Berrios with a volunteer heavy, grassroots campaign that stunned the political pundits.

"Toni Berrios had been elected in 2004 to serve a mixed white and Hispanic district on Chicago's Northwest Side. She was easily re-elected four times with help from her father, Joseph Berrios, the powerful Cook County Assessor, who was also Chairman of the Cook County Democratic Party.

"The chapter was written by campaign volunteer Elise Doody-Jones and was edited by the Guzzardi campaign manager, Erica Sagrans."

Oh. Suddenly less interesting.

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Here are the authors discussing how campaigns are run with veteran political consultant Don Rose:

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Memory
Avant-garde poet, writer and visual artist Bernadette Mayer discusses her work and recollection of 'Memory,' a poetic audio-visual installation currently on view in the Poetry Foundation gallery, with poets Jennifer Karmin and Stephanie Anderson on Thursday at noon. A brief slide show and audio presentation precedes the afternoon's conversation.

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Installing "Memory."

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 12:37 AM | Permalink

Celebrate Earth Day In The Forest Preserves!

Join the Forest Preserves of Cook County as we celebrate Earth Day with volunteer opportunities, educational programs and fun events.

"The Forest Preserves are among the most important assets of Cook County. Ensuring that they thrive as a source of beauty, inspiration, economic vitality and health is critical to the success of our region," said Forest Preserves president Toni Preckwinkle.

"The Preserves help control floods in our neighborhoods, clean the air and improve the health and quality of life for millions of people. They also provide visitors with the opportunity to reconnect with nature, and to explore and learn more about the world.

"For these reasons and many more, we must make a sincere commitment to restoring the ecological health of the Preserves, and Earth Day is excellent opportunity to do that."

Celebrating Earth Day is a great way to explore the Forest Preserves while renewing our commitment to the natural environment. It's also an opportunity to continue preserving habitat for the millions of plants, animals and other living things that call the Forest Preserves home.

Earth Day Celebration and Preserves Clean Up
Saturday, April 23, 9 a.m. - 1 p.m.
Whistler Woods, 480 Acme Dr, Riverdale
Clean up the Preserves in partnership with Friends of the Parks in the morning, and then afterward celebrate with fun nature activities and snacks.

Earth Day
Saturday, April 23, 10 a.m. - 3 p.m.
Sand Ridge Nature Center, 15891 S. Paxton Ave., South Holland
Join us for a day set aside as a reminder to be good stewards of our planet every day. Activities include hikes, puppet shows, a craft and Earth Day Jeopardy!

Earth Day Woodland Walk
Saturday, April 23, 1 p.m.
Trailside Museum of Natural History, 738 Thatcher Ave., River Forest
Join us for a guided walk to view the many wonders of our Earth in the springtime woods. Family program.

Earth Day, Nature Play
Sunday, April 24, Noon - 3 p.m.
Crabtree Nature Center, 3 Stover Rd., Barrington Hills
Catch, craft, and climb! Special Earth Day family activities in our three-acre nature play area.

Across Cook County, hundreds of volunteers are contributing many hours of hard work to help restore the preserves, with numerous workdays taking place around Earth Day. To help celebrate the day by participating in a public workday, or for volunteer opportunities year-round, visit fpdcc.com/volunteer.

For a complete list of events in the Forest Preserves of Cook County, visit fpdcc.com/events.

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 12:21 AM | Permalink

April 19, 2016

The [Tuesday] Papers

"Columbia College's restive part-time faculty union lobbed another shell at the administration today, contending that members receive only 13 percent of school wages and salaries, despite teaching nearly half of all classes," Crain's reports.

"The union known as P-fac issued a no-confidence vote last summer in President Kwang-wu Kim, who is struggling like many college leaders to balance budgets amid declining enrollment and other financial headwinds, which in Illinois include the state budget mess.

"P-fac said it hired a CPA firm to do the math. Part-time faculty salaries totaled $13.3 million, it said, about 6 percent of Columbia's fiscal 2016 budget of $207.7 million. The union said 1,470 of 3,065 assigned course sections were taught by part-time faculty in spring 2014."

Not only is that unfair to part-time faculty, it's unfair to students.

Lucas Mucus
For my commentary on the latest Lucas Museum maneuvers, scroll through @BeachwoodReport.

Landings Of The Free
"Sadaf Subijano, a security officer at O'Hare International Airport for 20 years, recently became a leader in a union-backed movement to advocate for better working conditions for low-wage airport workers," the Tribune reports.

Friday, a union trying to organize airport workers says she and a fellow security officer have been fired for comments made to the media that their employer says revealed sensitive security information.

"I was shocked," Subijano, 42, said. "Twenty years and this is what I got."

Subijano, who spoke with media outlets including the Chicago Tribune as workers at O'Hare and eight other airports prepared to strike last month, was employed by Universal Security, which is under contract with the city to provide security services at O'Hare.

In an April 13 letter to Subijano notifying her of her termination, Universal Security said it had come to its attention that she spoke with a number of media outlets over the past several weeks regarding details of her security work.

"Your comments have included sensitive security information," says the letter, a picture of which was provided to the Tribune by the Service Employees International Union. "As you are aware, Universal's General Post Orders, which are mandated by the Chicago Department of Aviation, make clear that Universal personnel are not permitted to speak to the media regarding security operations at the airport."

I'm glad to see the city and its contractor so on the ball when it comes to protecting our freedoms.

Ken Skunkin'
"Chicago-based State Representative Ken Dunkin lost a bid to keep his legislative seat last month, but held onto something else: a pile of money," WBEZ (among others) reports.

"Dunkin broke rank with fellow Democrats last year in their standoff with Republican Governor Bruce Rauner.

"The primary that followed drew more campaign dollars than any state-legislative race in Illinois history, and a group tied with Rauner gave Dunkin's campaign $1.3 million.

"Now, records show that Dunkin's campaign didn't bother to spend about $1 million from those donations. That money has stayed in his campaign fund."

I believe the story was first reported by the Illinois Observer.

I wonder if Dunkin knows that - unlike in the old days - candidates/officeholders can no longer convert what's left in their campaign funds to personal use.

And, as many others by now (I'm late to this) have noted, are the donors (or donor singular) upset that Dunkin didn't spend down the account in an effort to beat back the Michael Madigan-backed Juliana Stratton? Did Dunkin simply know he couldn't win no matter how much money he spent? And what will he do with the money now - how will he leverage it?

My guess is he'll spend it in whatever way gets him back into the good-enough graces of someone who will then help him secure his own financial future.

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Forrest Claypool [Hearts] Ayn Rand
Keeps a picture of her in his office.

The Fallacy Of How The Cubs Were Built
It wasn't through the draft.

Chicago's Poetry Pulitzer
'Bearing witness to the old losses and tragedies that undergird a global age of danger and uncertainty.'

Hyde Park HS Grad On Nuclear Sub
Meet electrician's mate David Taylor.

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BeachBook

How Tobacco Companies Led A Devastating 50-Year Infiltration Into Black Communities.

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Meet Politico's Business Model.

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Binny's Expansion Into Indiana Thwarted By State Liquor Law Changes.

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TweetWood
A sampling.

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Deceased human remains - is there any other kind?

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The Beachwood Tip Line: Remain in light.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 12:09 PM | Permalink

Forrest Claypool [Hearts] Ayn Rand

In a 2001 Op-Ed in the Tribune titled "Liberty And The Permanent Congress," current Chicago Public Schools chief Forrest Claypool and then lawyer and former chief of the Chicago Parks District wrote:

"Novelist Ayn Rand said there is only America, meaning only one true exemplar of individual and economic freedom in a world given to regulating human activity."

A Cook County Democratic apparatchik citing libertarian hero Ayn Rand? Oh, it goes much deeper than that. Let's take a look.

Headline: Forrest Claypool: Contender To The Throne.
Publication: Windy City Times
Date: December 7, 2005
Excerpt: "Well, I think the thing that motivates me most is a fundamental belief in the individual. The individual, not the collective and not the state, is what matters. It's about protecting the rights, dignity and potential of every single human being. In my office, I have two photographs; one is of Martin Luther King and the other is of Ayn Rand. I have those because I believe that both were champions of power and the rights of individuals. I think too often that the state, in the name of religion or something else, tends to dehumanize or minimize or restrain the power of individuals."

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Headline: Commissioner Takes On The Powerful - Again: Says County's $3 Billion Budget Full Of Waste, Bloat
Publication: Sun-Times
Date: March 6, 2006
Excerpt: "Forrest Claypool's office walls are not unlike his personality - there's nothing flashy or boastful.

"But featured prominently are two pictures - of slain civil rights leader the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. and of novelist Ayn Rand.

"'It reflects the power and importance of an individual,' said Claypool, a 48-year-old father of three and a first-term Cook County commissioner. 'It's about standing up to the abuses of power and the critical need to protect the civil rights and liberties of individuals.'"

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Headline: Ex-Aide To Daley Forges Own Path; The Man Credited With Restructuring Chicago's Park District Hopes To Do The Same For Cook County As Board President
Publication: Tribune
Date: March 10, 2006
Excerpt: "It's a view influenced, at least in part, by the teachings of writer-philosopher Ayn Rand, whose picture Claypool keeps on the wall of his county office next to a poster of Martin Luther King Jr.

"'Ayn Rand was similar to Martin Luther King in the sense that she taught the power of an individual who stands up to popular convention . . . in order to advance a cause which is noble or purposeful,' Claypool said. 'And that individuals are the ones in society who tend to advance society - not groups, not the collective, not the state.'"

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A reminder from John Nichols in the Nation:

"(King) died while supporting the right of public employees to organize labor unions and to fight for the preservation of public services."

Indeed, King was in Memphis that day to support the Memphis Sanitation Workers Strike.

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 10:32 AM | Permalink

The Fallacy Of How The Cubs Were Built

We all know the Cubs were built into a World Series contender through a farm system rejuvenated by high draft picks resulting from three seasons of tanking, right? Wrong.

Let's take a look at the team's 25-man roster and how they all came to be Cubs.

Miguel Montero: TRADE

David Ross: FREE AGENT

Anthony Rizzo: TRADE

Ben Zobrist: FREE AGENT

Addison Russell: TRADE

Kris Bryant: DRAFT (Theo Epstein)

Tommy La Stella: TRADE

Javy Baez: DRAFT (Jim Hendry)

Jorge Soler: FREE AGENT (International)

Dexter Fowler: TRADE & FREE AGENT

Jason Heyward: FREE AGENT

Matt Szczur: DRAFT (Hendry)

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If you wanted to include Kyle Schwarber, yes, he was drafted by Theo.

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Jake Arrieta: TRADE

Jon Lester: FREE AGENT

John Lackey: FREE AGENT

Jason Hammel: FREE AGENT (Twice)

Kyle Hendricks: TRADE

Hector Rondon: RULE 5 (from Cleveland)

Pedro Strop: TRADE

Justin Grimm: TRADE

Neil Ramirez: TRADE

Travis Wood: TRADE

Trevor Cahill: FREE AGENT (Twice)

Clayton Richard: PURCHASED (from Pittsburgh)

Adam Warren: TRADE

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Now you may be thinking that Theo used some of his hot draft picks in those trades. Nope. Let's review.

Montero: Acquired from Arizona for Jeferson Mejia (a Theo free agent signed out of the Dominican) and Zack Godley (a Theo 10th-round draft pick).

Rizzo: Acquired from San Diego for Hendry draft pick Andrew Cashner.

Russell: Acquired from Oakland with Billy McKinney and Dan Straily for Jason Hammell (free agent) and Jeff Samardzija (Hendry draft pick). Straily was later dealt with Luis Valbuena to Houston for Dexter Fowler. Valbuena became a Cub when Theo plucked him off waivers from Toronto.

La Stella: Acquired from Atlanta for Arodys Vizcaino. Vizcaino was originally acquired from Atlanta with Jaye Chapman for Reed Johnson (a Hendry free agent), Paul Maholm (a Theo free agent) and cash.

Arrieta: Acquired from Baltimore with Pedro Strop for Scott Feldman (a Theo free agent) and Steve Clevenger (a Hendry draft pick).

Hendricks: Acquired from Texas with Christian Villanueva for Ryan Dempster (a Hendry free agent).

Grimm and Ramirez: Acquired from Texas with Carl Edwards and Mike Olt for Matt Garza (acquired in a Hendry trade).

Wood: Acquired from Cincinnati with Dave Sappelt and Ronald Torreyes for Sean Marshall (a Hendry draft pick).

Warren: Acquired from the Yankees with Brendan Ryan for Starlin Castro (a Hendry draft pick).

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So how did Theo really build the Cubs? Relentless flipping.

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 9:58 AM | Permalink

Chicago's Poetry Pulitzer

"New Jersey native Peter Balakian has won the 2016 Pulitzer Prize for poetry," NJ.com notes.

"Balakian, 65, who grew up in Teaneck and Tenafly, wins for Ozone Journal (University of Chicago Press, March 2015), a book of poems that the Pulitzer board says "bear witness to the old losses and tragedies that undergird a global age of danger and uncertainty."

"The book's title poem centers on Balakian's experience excavating bones of victims of the Armenian genocide with a TV crew and weaves in other parts of his life."

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From the University of Chicago Press:

"The title poem of Peter Balakian's Ozone Journal is a sequence of fifty-four short sections, each a poem in itself, recounting the speaker's memory of excavating the bones of Armenian genocide victims in the Syrian desert with a crew of television journalists in 2009.

balakian.jpg

"These memories spark others - the dissolution of his marriage, his life as a young single parent in Manhattan in the nineties, visits and conversations with a cousin dying of AIDS - creating a montage that has the feel of history as lived experience.

"Bookending this sequence are shorter lyrics that span times and locations, from Nairobi to the Native American villages of New Mexico.

"In the dynamic, sensual language of these poems, we are reminded that the history of atrocity, trauma, and forgetting is both global and ancient; but we are reminded, too, of the beauty and richness of culture and the resilience of love."

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In 2013, Balakian spoke at the Illinois Holocaust Museum "for the occasion of the 98th anniversary of the Armenian Genocide, and also commenced his work with the museum as Senior Scholar for the Armenian Genocide exhibit it will mount in 2015, for the genocide's 100th anniversary."

In 2015, Balakian spoke at the museum and "called genocide denial the last step of genocide," according to the Tribune.

From that talk:

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Balakian appeared on Charlie Rose in 2009. In two parts:

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"Balakian, 65, has published seven collections of poetry, but readers are more likely to know his nonfiction, particularly his writing on the Armenian genocide, such as The Burning Tigris, published in 2004. His memoir, Black Dog of Fate, was also widely praised," the Washington Post notes.

"Prose books get public attention in a way that poems don't," Balakian said by phone from the University of Illinois where he was giving a reading when he heard the good news. "But my productivity as a poet has been pretty continuous. My first book was in 1980. Poetry has been the center of my life from the start even when I was writing in other genres."

"Don Share, the editor of Poetry magazine, was surprised but pleased with the Pulitzer committee's choice. 'This book seemed slightly overlooked,' he said. 'And yet Balakian has been a fine poet - and prose writer - for decades, so it feels very just.'"

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 8:36 AM | Permalink

Hyde Park High School Grad Serving On Nuclear-Powered Sub

PEARL HARBOR - A 2010 Hyde Park High School graduate and Chicago native is serving in the U.S. Navy as part of a crew working aboard one of the world's most advanced nuclear-powered fast attack submarines, USS Santa Fe.

Petty Officer 3rd Class David Taylor is an electrician's mate (nuclear power) serving aboard the Pearl Harbor-based submarine, one of 40 Los Angeles-class submarines making it the backbone of the submarine force.

TAYLOR_160405-N-YM440-176.jpg

A Navy electrician's mate is responsible for working on the myriad pumps, motors and generators associated with the reactor plant.

"The people I work with are the best part of the job," Taylor says. "They are all dedicated equally to professionalism and mentoring."

With a crew of 130, this submarine is 360 feet long and weighs approximately 6,900 tons. A nuclear-powered propulsion system helps push the submarine through the water at more than 25 mph.

Attack submarines are designed to hunt down and destroy enemy submarines and surface ships; strike targets ashore with cruise missiles; carry and deliver Navy SEALs; carry out intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance missions; and engage in mine warfare. Their primary tactical advantage is stealth, operating undetected under the sea for long periods of time.

"Submarine sailors never cease to amaze me with their ability to complete complex missions in the world's most challenging environments," said Rear Adm. Fritz Roegge, Commander, Submarine Force, U.S. Pacific Fleet. "Continued U.S. undersea superiority is not possible without their dedication, expertise and professionalism."

According to Navy officials, because of the demanding environment aboard submarines, personnel are accepted only after rigorous testing and observation. Submariners are some of the most highly trained and skilled people in the Navy. The training is highly technical and each crew has to be able to operate, maintain and repair every system or piece of equipment on board. Regardless of their specialty, everyone also has to learn how everything on the ship works and how to respond in emergencies to become "qualified in submarines" and earn the right to wear the coveted gold or silver dolphins on their uniform.

"The sense of belonging we have on this sub has created an atmosphere of togetherness and trust," said Taylor. "We all have each other's backs."

Challenging submarine living conditions actually build strong fellowship among the elite crew, Navy officials explained. The crews are highly motivated, and quickly adapt to changing conditions. It is a busy life of specialized work, watches, and drills.

"Being in the Navy is a source of pride for me, knowing that I can take care of my family and also serve my country," added Taylor.

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"Why Being There Matters"
On our planet, more than 70 percent of which is covered by water, being there means having the ability to act from the sea. The Navy is uniquely positioned to be there; the world's oceans give the Navy the power to protect America's interests anywhere, and at any time. Your Navy protects and defends America on the world's oceans. Navy ships, submarines, aircraft and, most importantly, tens of thousands of America's finest young men and women are deployed around the world doing just that. They are there now. They will be there when we are sleeping tonight. They will be there every Saturday, Sunday and holiday this year. They are there around the clock, far from our shores, defending America at all times.

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Note: Links added by Beachwood.

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Previously:
* Chicago Navy Commander's Continuing Promise.

* Meet Chicago Sailor Joshua Johnson.

* Meet Chicago Quartermaster Seaman Maribel Torres.

* Meet Chicago Navy Commander Chad Hennings.

* Meet Chicago Navy Seaman Desmond Cooke.

* Meet Chicago Airman Dominique Williams.

* Whitney Young Grad To Serve Aboard USS Essex.

* Proviso West Grad To Serve Aboard USS Paul Hamilton.

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 4:37 AM | Permalink

April 18, 2016

The [Monday] Papers

"Corporate borrowers across the world have defaulted on $50B of debt so far this year as the number of delinquent companies accelerates at its fastest pace since the financial crisis in 2009."

There's nothing magical about the private sector. Companies go bankrupt all the time. Companies fail. Companies screw up. Companies harm people. Running government like a business is a meaningless concept: Do you mean running government to turn a profit? Do you mean investing hundreds of millions of dollars in R&D? Do you mean ping pong tables and air hockey for Secretary of State employees? Do you mean back-stabbing office politics? Surely you don't mean being more fiscally responsible. Because that's not what the private sector is.

Mission Critical
"What's required of Eddie Johnson, Chicago's new police chief, is nothing short of perfect balance. He needs to offer just enough reassurance to Chicago's African-Americans that he has heard the message so they'll start to trust police. At the same time, he needs to show the men and women on the force who risk their lives every day that he has their backs," Greg Hinz writes for Crain's.

False binary framing. One doesn't need to be balanced by the other - unless by "having the backs" of the rank-and-file means giving them permission to kick the shit out of anyone whenever deemed necessary, which is some folks' idea (Hinz, perhaps) of what is necessary to police the city. Which puts us right back at square one.

Note: This is the description of Hinz's column in the Crain's morning e-mail; I hit the paywall and couldn't read the whole thing. But even if I'm missing some caveats, this is not an uncommon notion. The primacy of reform gave way to the need for reassuring the troops as quickly as Rahm switched from Cedric Alexander to Eddie Johnson.

Also, it's not about reassuring African Americans with messages of trust. As the mayor's task force - and oodles of evidence over decades - shows, it's about systemic institutional change.

Bring On The Watermelons
"Earlier this month, a couple of inventive young go-getters at BuzzFeed tied enough rubber bands around the center of a watermelon to make it explode. Nearly a million people watched the giant berry burst on Facebook Live. It racked up more than 10 million views in the days that followed," media columnist Jim Rutenberg writes for the New York Times.

"Traditional journalists everywhere saw themselves as the seeds, flying out of the frame. How do we compete with that? And if that's the future of news and information, what's next for our democracy? President Kardashian?"

What nonsense. Newspapers have a long history of blowing up watermelons. They still friggin' run horoscopes, for godsakes. Find new watermelons, newspapers!

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Those watermelons, by the way, help fund BuzzFeed's investigative reporting, which is always the way it has been. The business model isn't broken, it's been forgotten.

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"When I met with Mr. VandeHei and Mr. Allen, they were tight-lipped about their next venture. They would only describe it in the broadest terms, as 'a media company' that will focus on news and information, exist largely on mobile devices and social media, and not directly compete against Politico.

"But that was O.K. for my purposes. I was more interested in hearing what this venture wouldn't be doing."

Really? That's an awfully backwards way of doing your job. Wouldn't readers be better served if your purpose was to find out what the venture will be instead of what it won't be? A bit too clever by half, to suit your purposes, which seem to be to fit into a preconceived narrative.

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When Rutenberg's own paper discovered watermelons:

"Mr. Sulzberger reshaped The Times. In the mid-1970s, another financially difficult period in which he might have chosen to retrench, he expanded the paper to four sections from two, creating separate sections for metropolitan and business news and introducing new ones oriented toward consumers.

"They were a gamble, begun in the hope of attracting new readers, especially women, and advertisers.

"Some critics dismissed the feature sections as unworthy of a serious newspaper. But the sections - SportsMonday, Science Times, Living, Home and Weekend - were an instant success, without compromising the paper's hard-news core. They were widely imitated.

"Over the next two decades, a billion-dollar investment in new printing facilities made still more innovations possible, among them a national edition, special regional editions and the daily use of color photos and graphics."

That's always been the formula - not "getting people to pay for news." News isn't a commodity. It's very difficult to find a price point for an article about a shooting or a proposed museum or a city council meeting. Newspapers sold a bundle - and cheaply.

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Not only that, but Rutenberg's piece could have been written 10 years ago. Please advance the ball.

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The watermelon explosion was joyous, and not at all the same as the cynicism behind the media's obsession with and mutual exploitation of covering the Kardashians.

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Mission Accomplished
"Two months ago, then-interim Chicago police Supt. John Escalante handed down a one-year suspension to a detective involved in the botched investigation that cleared former Mayor Richard M. Daley's nephew of David Koschman's homicide," the Sun-Times reports.

"Since then, Escalante has signed off on a deal that will allow the detective, Nicholas Spanos, to shave as much as 10 months off that suspension, according to a city inspector general's report released Monday."

Message: We've got your backs.

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SportsMonday: Q & Kane
Coffman has questions.

The Cub Factor: Scar Tissue
If the rest of the season keeps going like this, how can any fan hold on to that anger of the past?

The White Sox Report: Hitless Wonders
Near-perfect pitching, upgrade in smarts propels team to strong start. But man, they still can't hit.

100% Guilty
Political corruption is a social disease that eats away at our society as much as any other criminal activity. It feeds off the participation of some and the tolerance of others.

$1.4 Trillion: Oxfam Exposes The Great Offshore Tax Scam Of U.S. Companies
"Using an 'opaque and secretive network' of subsidiaries in tax havens, top American corporations have stashed $1.4 trillion offshore, a new report from Oxfam shows.

"With 'a range of tricks, tools, and loopholes,' for tax avoidance, the 50 largest U.S. companies, including well-known names like Goldman Sachs, Verizon Communications, Apple, Coca-Cola, IBM and Chevron, raked in $4 trillion in profits globally between 2008 and 2014."

See also:

Offshoring By 29 Companies Costs Illinois $1.2 Billion Annually.

Mr. Politician, What Is Your Pre-Rehearsed Soundbite To This Question . . .
Answer the fucking question.

Today: Among The Wild Mulattos
Questioning the idea of human uniqueness.

Cook County Bird Of The Month
The Wood Duck - a unique parent!

The Weekend In Chicago Rock
Featuring: The OBN IIIs, The Wild Feathers, El Vy, Ben Harper & The Innocent Criminals, Yo Gotti, Peter Murphy, Lisa Loeb, Ana Gabriel, Local H, Will Hoge, Joe Satriani, Rihanna, Kevin Gates, Johnny Clegg, Jesse Clegg, SonicSoul, and K. Michelle.

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BeachBook
Note: Apparently Facebook made a recent change to their embed code and it's showing up all kinds of weird here, so I'm just doing the best I can while looking for a solution.

A Chicago Man's Wish: 'I Pray To God That He Takes Me Soon.'

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How A Philanthropist Saved A Tax Loophole That Billionaires Love.

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Futuristic McDonald's With All-You-Can-Eat Fries.

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Redhead Piano Bar Owner Dies.

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The Web We Want.

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Thunderfrog: "Chicago," at Variety Records.

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TweetWood
A sampling.

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The Beachwood Tip Line: Trust issues.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 11:20 AM | Permalink

SportsMonday: Q & Kane

Joel Quenneville moved into second on the all-time list of NHL coaches as ranked by regular season victories earlier this season. He has of course led the Hawks to three Stanley Cups. So if you want to argue he can do no wrong, a part of me is inclined to agree.

But it seems as though during just about every playoff run at the helm of the Hawks, he has made a lineup decision or two that leave(s) me scratching my head. And it happened again yesterday as the Hawks fell behind the Blues 2-1 in their first-round playoff series with a 3-2 loss. My questions are as follows:

Surely it wasn't a complete coincidence the Blackhawks' penalty kill was pathetic (if they can't do better than two goals allowed in the Blues' first two power plays, their season will be over shortly) and Andrew Desjardins was a healthy scratch?

Did Coach Q feel some sort of compunction to play Tomas Fleischmann because the team had acquired him in a trade late in the season rather than playing Desjardins, who has proven to be a top performer when the Hawks are down a man? And Richard Panik (also acquired this year in a trade) was in the lineup instead of Desjardins why exactly?

The penalty kill failed but there was plenty more that went wrong for the Hawks, especially in the third period. Corey Crawford seemed on his way to not quite stealing a win (that can't happen when a goalie's team is outshooting its opponent by a half dozen) but certainly utilizing some larceny to keep the Hawks in front through the second period and into the third. ↓

But then a ridiculously lucky deflection and bounce led to the tying goal flying into the net over Crawford's glove hand. (I could hear meatball hockey fans everywhere saying "Haven't I always told them to just shoot the puck!") Patrik Berglund threw the puck at the net from just inside the Hawks' zone and saw it go off Michal Rozsival's leg and down off the ice before finding the back of the net. ↓

And then Patrick Kane botched it big time, flinging his stick toward the ceiling in a low-percentage effort to lift an opposing stick and steal a puck. He clipped Alex Pietrangelo in the face and drew blood. ↓

The Blues promptly scored on the first of the two minor penalties called against Kane for high sticking. ↓

It could have been even worse - the Hawks then had to kill the second power play. They managed to do so, their only successful kill of the game.

In the end, the Hawks offense came up short again, which raises another question: Will Quenneville try to jump-start things by changing the lines? My guess is yes, there will be some changes and I have to say that is another element of hockey that has at times left me befuddled.

Why is it accepted practice to change which centers are playing with which wingers when a team is struggling to score? I understand that there is significant pressure on a coach to make changes when things aren't going well, but how is it an improvement to go from lines where guys have been playing together for most of the season and have the best possible awareness of what their teammates will do when to a jumble of mixed up match-ups?

The Hawks have 48 hours to find some answers. My guess is Quenneville and his assistants will conclude that Sunday's loss mostly resulted from one-time factors. But will that be the right call? When a playoff series starts to feel as though it is getting away, no one can feel completely certain about anything.

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One final note: Thanks again to the delightful NHL for the ridiculous 8:30 p.m. starting times for playoff games featuring two teams in the Central Time Zone. The Hawks and Blues are back at it in Chicago on Tuesday and St. Louis two days later and both games start at 8:30 so the league can set up doubleheaders with East Coast games starting at 6.

This would make sense if the NHL had a national fan base. It does not. (Just check the TV ratings for goodness sakes!) It is a regional league. What actually makes sense is to start the games at times that are most convenient for the fans in those teams' regions.

One last question: Why is the NHL so stupid about stuff like this?

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Jim "Coach" Coffman welcomes your comments.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 9:01 AM | Permalink

The Weekend In Chicago Rock

You shoulda been there.

1. The OBN III's at the Emtpy Bottle on Saturday night.


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2. The Wild Feathers at Bottom Lounge on Friday night.

WGN-TV in-studio: The Next Great American Rock 'N' Roll Band.

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3. El Vy at the Metro on Sunday night.

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4. Ben Harper & The Innocent Criminals at the Riv on Saturday night.

Grateful Web: "[T]he electricty on the stage had that 'getting-the-band-back-together' vibe."

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5. Yo Gotti at the Chicago Theatre on Saturday night.

Rolling Out: "Gotti could have just stood there the entire set because the audience sang all the words. Gotti got the streets on lock."

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6. Peter Murphy at Thalia Hall on Thursday night.

Setlist.

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7. Lisa Loeb at the Old Town School on Sunday night.

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8. Ana Gabriel at the Rosemont Theatre on Sunday night.

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9. Local H at the Metro on Friday night.

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10. Will Hoge at SPACE in Evanston on Thursday night.

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11. Joe Satriani at the Chicago Theatre on Friday night.

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12. Rihanna on the West Side on Friday night.

Kot: Rihanna Plays It Cool.

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13. Kevin Gates at the Chicago Theatre on Saturday night.

Rolling Out: "Gates came out to a raucous crowd and it got louder when he performed his song 'Two Phones.'"

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14. Johnny Clegg at City Winery on Thursday night.

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15. Jesse Clegg (Johnny's special guest) at City Winery on Thursday night.

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16. SonicSoul at the Arcada Theatre in St. Charles on Friday night.

Opening for Robert Cray, but no Cray video was available.

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17. K. Michelle at the Chicago Theatre on Saturday night.

Rolling Out: "She took the audience on a rollercoaster ride of emotions."

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 5:15 AM | Permalink

Scar Tissue

As I look at this 2016 incarnation of the Cubs, it's hard for me not to think about my shoulder.

Sure, that sounds a bit odd, but I just had shoulder surgery. So I can't think of much of anything right now without thinking about my shoulder.

For a little background, I initially hurt my shoulder 20-some years ago playing inline street hockey on a tennis court. I wiped out and my shoulder popped out of its socket. It would continue to do this over the years and I'd have to pop it back in myself. This got to be a bit too much to deal with and I had surgery to tighten up the joint. But now the issue has become too much to deal with again and I needed a clean-out. Weird thing these days is they give you a DVD of the surgery as the doc goes in with a camera himself to work his magic. Turns out I had a ton of scar tissue, loose debris, bone chips, even an old license plate from Louisiana in there.

Okay, not the license plate, but the doc was in there cleaning up a mess from years of a degenerating joint. Which of course makes me think of the 2016 Cubs.

I can't say I was ever a fan of the tanking-on-purpose initiative. And I was pretty critical through the years over management decisions, fanboy ownership, forced nostalgia, the parade of crappy second basemen, pricing out the old-school fans, etc.

And Old Wrigley Field? Talk about a degenerative joint.

But man, getting on to the other side now, it's almost like a clean slate. If the rest of the season keeps going like this, how can any fan hold on to that anger of the past?

Sure, the disappointment is still there lurking and waiting to strike in October, like in your knees and your intermittent back pain, but man, your shoulder feels better than it's been in a long time. And that is a real good thing.

Week in Review: The Cubs went 4-2 for the week and stand with a record of 9-3 for the young season. They swept three from the Reds and lost two of three to the Rockies. And while losing a series to the Rockies kinda stinks, the Cubs have to lose here and there. It is baseball.

Week in Preview: The boys in blue head to St Lou for three with the Cards and then straight to Cincy for four with the Reds. So, that's a lot of red for one week. The Cubs in a four-ggame series have to scare the crap out of a pitching coach. Working walks and upping pitch counts is what these guys do. Maybe a few more hits will help but there should be a stretch where pitchers start coming after these guys, and that's when the real magic happens.

Musical Outfielders: And no, we aren't talking about Matt Szczur playing the French horn. The main point of contention this season (going in) was to know how there would be enough playing time for both Jorge Soler and Kyle Schwarber in left field. But somehow that worked itself out in the form of a season-ending injury. Is it mean to say that in that fashion? I mean, it was almost like they planned it to happen. So Jorge started five of the games this week in left with Kris Bryant getting the other start. But it's not like Soler finishes games in left, because he doesn't. Should be interesting to see how this all plays out. Not to mention Bryant committing a couple errors this week at the hot corner. He really could be the left fielder for the stretch run.

Former Annoying Cub: Yes, this is my column and I will discuss the Cubs from the past who have bugged me. Interesting tidbit in here about Darwin Barney. He forgot to mention the part about the Cubs losing on purpose while he was a regular, because if they were trying to win even "Darwin Barney, the good years" would still not be a starter. So yeah, you'll have to forgive me that I think I disliked the right Cub because the "Darwin Barney, I think I'm better than I am" era was a disaster and it certainly sounds like he admits he was an idiot. He is not missed.

Current Annoying Cub: Can't say anyone is jumping out for me so far this season. But being the spokesperson for this is really pretty lame. I am no fashion plate, but no one thinks this is cool, right?

Mad(don) Scientist: Big Poppa Joe is not feeling the new clubhouse. I think you can read between the lines that he's not super on board. He is saying the right things to keep the peace and not fly in the face of management yadda yadda, but I think he'll stand by his "less is more" philosophy about being at the park if push ever comes to shove. But yeah, the sound system is sweet.

Kubs Kalender: On Saturday in Cincy the Reds will be giving away Joey "Vottomatic" bobbleheads. I didn't know that was his nickname, but I like it. So you could say, even in a big RBI situation, Joey will Vottomatically take the walk.

Over/Under: The number of games the Cubs will be up by the end of April: +/- more than you expected.

Beachwood Sabermetrics: A complex algorithm performed by The Cub Factor staff using all historical data made available by Major League Baseball has determined that this is going to be a fun regular season.

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Marty Gangler is The Cub Factor. He welcomes your comments.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 4:26 AM | Permalink

$1.4 Trillion: Oxfam Exposes The Great Offshore Tax Scam Of U.S. Companies

Using an "opaque and secretive network" of subsidiaries in tax havens, top American corporations have stashed $1.4 trillion offshore, a new report from Oxfam shows.

With "a range of tricks, tools, and loopholes," for tax avoidance, the 50 largest U.S. companies, including well-known names like Goldman Sachs, Verizon Communications, Apple, Coca-Cola, IBM and Chevron, raked in $4 trillion in profits globally between 2008 and 2014, are contributing to inequality, the anti-poverty group said.

The report, "Broken at the Top," states that such tax dodging is one of the "profit-making strategies of many multinational corporations."

As noted in the report:

* From 2008 - 2014, the 50 largest U.S. companies collectively received $27 in federal loans, loan guarantees and bailouts for every $1 they paid in federal taxes.

* From 2008 - 2014, these 50 companies spent approximately $2.6 billion on lobbying while receiving nearly $11.2 trillion in federal loans, loan guarantees and bailouts.

Explaining part of their strategy to lower their overall tax rate, the report states: "As a group, U.S. multinationals report that 43 % of their foreign earnings come from five tax haven jurisdictions, yet these countries accounted for only 4% of the companies' foreign workforces and just 7% of their foreign investment."

Take Bermuda, for example. The report states that U.S. companies reported $80 billion of profits in 2012 in the archipelago - but that's more than the companies' reported profits in Japan, China, Germany and France combined. In other words, it "clearly does not reflect the real economic activity taking place in Bermuda."

bermudabeach-a.jpg(Photo: /flickr/cc)

A point highlighted by the report: "We should not lose sight of why tax dodging matters to average people."

It notes: "Fair tax systems are vital to finance well-functioning and efficient states and to enable governments to fulfill their obligations to uphold citizens' rights to essential services such as healthcare, education, and social protection for low income families."

Look no farther than Flint, Michigan - a city facing "falling tax revenues and budget cuts" that took the purported cost-reducing strategies of installing an emergency manager and switching the water system to the Flint River from the Detroit water system, which lead to thousands of children being exposed to lead contamination.

As the report was released in the wake of the Panama Papers, a massive leak that exposed how the world's rich and powerful use tax havens to hide their wealth, Robbie Silverman, Senior Tax Advisor at Oxfam, said, "Yet again we have evidence of a massive systematic abuse of the global tax system.

"When corporations don't pay their fair share of taxes governments are forced to cut back on essential services or levy higher taxes on the rest of us. It's time governments stopped pandering to big business and started working for the good of their citizens.

"We can't go on with a situation where the rich and powerful are not paying their fair share of tax, leaving the rest of us to foot the bill. Governments across the globe must come together now to end the era of tax havens," Silverman said.

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This work originally appeared at Common Dreams and is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 License.

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From Oxfam:

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Previously in Tax Scams:
* Deepwater Horizon Settlement Comes With $5.35 Billion Tax Windfall.

* Offshoring By 29 Companies Costs Illinois $1.2 Billion Annually.

* Government Agencies Allow Corporations To Write Off Billions In Federal Settlements.

* The Gang Of 62 Vs. The World.

* Tax Day: Patriotic Millionaires Available For Comment.

* How The Maker Of TurboTax Fought Free, Simple Tax Filing.

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Previously in the Panama Papers:
* The Panama Papers: Remarkable Global Media Collaboration Cracks Walls Of Offshore Tax Haven Secrecy.

* The Panama Papers: Prosecutors Open Probes.

* The [Monday] Papers.

* Adventures In Tax Avoidance.

* Mossack Fonseca's Oligarchs, Dictators And Corrupt White-Collar Businessmen.

* Jonathan Pie, TV Reporter! They're All In It Together.

* Meet The Panama Papers Editor Who Handled 376 Reporters In 80 Countries.

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 2:35 AM | Permalink

Among The Wild Mulattos

Tom Williams, whose book Among the Wild Mulattos was named one of the best of 2015 by National Public Radio, will read from his work at 5 p.m. Monday, April 18, in Roosevelt University's seventh floor Gage Building at 18 South Michigan Avenue.

"You could call him an author to watch, but he's really a writer we should have been watching a long time ago," said NPR's Michael Schaub, who defined Williams as "an uncompromising writer with a fiercely original voice . . . (who) questions the idea of human uniqueness."

His most recent work, a short story collection titled Among the Wild Mulattos and Other Tales, was published in 2015 by Texas Review Press and has since put him on the map as one of today's promising writers.

atwm.jpg"(The novel) is playful, inventive, and hilarious . . . these stories are an unpretentious, compulsively readable delight," said Michael Copperman, from The Rumpus.

Currently the chair of English at Morehead State University in Kentucky, Williams is also the author of The Mimic's Own Voice, published in 2011, and Don't Start Me Talkin' in 2014. His story "Dear Dad" appeared in the anthology Daddy Cool in 2013 and he was also a collaborator on Four Fathers in 2014.

Part of Roosevelt's Spring Reading Series, the event is free and open to the public.

Tom Williams.jpg

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 2:10 AM | Permalink

Jonathan Pie, TV Reporter! Mr. Politician, What Is Your Pre-Rehearsed Soundbite To This Question . . .

Answer the fucking question.


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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.

* Jonathan Pie, TV Reporter! TTIP Is Boring Shit.

* Jonathan Pie, TV Reporter! The Truth About Teachers & Doctors.

* Jonathan Pie, TV Reporter! Valentine's Day 2016.

* Jonathan Pie, TV Reporter! On The 'Environment" Beat.

* Jonathan Pie, TV Reporter! Political Theater As News.

* Jonathan Pie, TV Reporter! Charter Wankers International.

* Jonathan Pie, TV Reporter! The Panama Papers: They're All In It Together.

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Plus:

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And:

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 12:56 AM | Permalink

Cook County Bird Of The Month: The Wood Duck!

Throughout 2016, the Forest Preserves of Cook County invites visitors to see some of the most interesting native and migrating birds in the preserves.

Each month during the Forest Preserves' 2016 Bird the Preserves initiative, a new bird will be highlighted. Visitors will have the opportunity to spot the bird of the month at an event or program, and learn what makes that bird so special. The April Bird of the Month is the wood duck.

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Wood ducks make unique parents. These breeding and parenting practices have led to success:

* Pick early: Choosing mates as early as January, most arrive to spring breeding grounds paired up.

* Nest high: Wood ducks nest in existing tree cavities or in elevated human-made nest boxes.

* Don't play favorites: Females often engage in egg dumping (or laying eggs in another wood duck's nest). Victims of egg dumping will incubate the imposter eggs and raise the ducklings as their own.

* Expect big things: Shortly after the ducklings hatch, the female leaves the nest and calls for them to join her. Lucky ducklings have a short jump into water, but some will jump from as high as 50 feet onto land without injury.

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To see the April Bird of the Month, check out this event:

Penny Road Pond Big Year Field Trip
Friday, April 22, 7 a.m.
Penny Road Pond, E. Penny Rd & Old Sutton Rd, Barrington
Hosted by the Chicago Audubon Society

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In addition to learning about the featured Bird of the Month and enjoying birding programs and events, birders of all skill levels can explore the preserves with teams competing in the Forest Preserves' Big Year birding competition. During the Big Year competition, the preserves compete instead of the people. Participants will visit their team's preserve and log all bird sightings in eBird, an online birding checklist program. All are welcome to join these searches and binoculars will be available for loan.

The competition runs from March 1 to Dec. 31, and is a great way to challenge yourself and explore a local preserve, make new friends and experience what birding is all about. To learn more about the Big Year competition, visit fpdcc.com/2016-Big-Year.

On May 7, each of the Forest Preserves' six nature centers will be hosting The Big Sit. Visitors can join in at any time between 5:30 a.m. and 5 p.m. to see how many birds can be heard or spotted from within a 17-foot circle. Citizen science events like The Big Sit can help ecologists make better decisions about the conservation of bird habitat.

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Previously:
* Experience Birding In The Cook County Forest Preserves!

* Cook County Bird Of The Month: The Timberdoodle.

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BOM-March-page-002.jpg

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 12:32 AM | Permalink

Hitless Wonders

You can point to any number of factors leading to the early season success of the new, improved Chicago White Sox.

Robin Ventura's club, as yet, hasn't shown noticeably more punch than a year ago, scoring three or fewer runs in seven of the team's first 12 games. What is different is that the Sox have won three of those games because Sox pitchers have a 2.49 ERA, tops in the American League and third in all of baseball.

In his season preview, Tyler Kepner of the New York Times tabbed Chris Sale as most likely to win the American League's Cy Young Award.

So far Sale has been as good as any starter, posting wins in his first three outings, the latest a sterling complete-game 1-0 shutout of the Tampa Bay Rays last Friday.

Sale was masterful in dispatching the Rays on 106 pitches. He walked no one - in 23 innings this April, Sale was issued just three free passes while striking out 23. The Sox's 27-year-old feisty lefthander, who already is among baseball's elite pitchers, appears to be on the threshold of even greater feats.

And Sale is not alone. Jose Quintana (who got beat 3-2 on Sunday when he missed the bag after taking a toss from Jose Abreu) and Carlos Rodon are a combined 2-2 with a 2.05 ERA.

The biggest surprise, however, is Mat Latos. After a worrisome spring training in Arizona, Latos has won his first two outings, giving up a lone run in 12 innings.

Latos beat the Twins 3-1 last Thursday to complete an unlikely sweep of the three-game series as Minnesota's losing streak reached nine to start the season. (The Twins awakened over the weekend, sweeping the Angels, who will open a four-game set beginning tonight at The Cell.)

No one, including Latos himself, could have foreseen his early supremacy. Latos's final spring appearance against the Padres in San Diego possibly provided a dose of needed confidence going into the season. He pitched four scoreless innings before giving up three runs in the fifth, ending the spring with that horrendous 10.38 ERA.

But all along Latos has insisted that past injuries have healed, and a consistent rhythm and spotting his pitches were all he required to rebound to his former effectiveness.

After all, Latos reminded anyone listening, spring training is merely an exercise to prepare for the occasions when the games mean something.

The fact that Latos was assured of a spot in the rotation - the Sox demoted potential starter Erik Johnson to Triple A on March 21 - possibly has something to do with his resurgence. Signed on February 9 just days before the beginning of spring training, Latos might have been unsure of his status when he reported. However, with Johnson struggling - his two starts at Charlotte have also been lackluster - Latos may have experienced the elixir of job security.

At age 28 with 66 major league wins behind him, we can be excused for thinking that Latos may represent a legitimate right-handed starting pitcher on the South Side.

Latos got a huge boost last Thursday from third baseman Todd Frazier, another example that the Sox are doing the little things needed to be successful. With the Sox leading 2-1 in the bottom of the sixth, Eddie Rosario led off with a base hit, one of the three Latos gave up. Rosario promptly stole second.

Joe Mauer followed with a grounder down the third base line that Frazier backhanded with little chance of nailing Mauer at first. Figuring incorrectly that he could race to third as Frazier threw to first, Rosario strayed off second. To his dismay, Frazier only pumped his arm for the throw, hanging Rosario out to dry as Frazier's perfect throw to second baseman Brett Lawrie caught Rosario in a rundown that the Sox actually executed with distinction, yet another improvement we've seen in the first two weeks. A popup and a flyout later, and Latos jogged to the dugout.

Rosario's foolish baserunning was a common occurrence for recent White Sox teams. (See Alejandro De Aza.) But Friday night, Jimmy Rollins' heady play resulted in Sale's third win. The Sox had battled the Rays for eight innings to a scoreless tie before Rollins opened the ninth with a single. After one out, Frazier lifted a flyball to medium center. The Rays' Gold Glove center fielder Kevin Kiermaier had left the game earlier after a collision with second baseman Logan Forsythe, forcing the Rays to move Brandon Guyer from right to center field.

Assuming that Rollins realized that Guyer is more comfortable playing a side outfield position, Jimmy tagged up and easily slid safely into second from where he scored the game's only run on a base hit by Melky Cabrera.

Have the tables turned? Whereas the Sox have been the victims of amateurish baserunning and a lack of clutch hitting, do we now have a club which actually knows how to play the game? Is this edition of the White Sox capable of taking advantage of their opponents' mistakes? So far the answer is affirmative.

In addition, the White Sox bullpen, with the exception of Saturday's failures in the 7-2 loss to the Rays, has been exceptional.

David Robertson is a perfect five-for-five in save situations. Matt Albers, like Latos a pitcher nabbed off the junk pile by general manager Rick Hahn almost exactly a year before Hahn signed Latos, hasn't allowed a run is his last 25 appearances covering 29.1 innings dating back to last season. The Sox bullpen's ERA is 1.50. No bullpen has been better in the season's first two weeks.

Lest we gush about the domination of Sox pitching, the performance so far of John Danks shocks us back to reality. Over two starts he has performed, well, like John Danks. In the final year of a huge four-year contract - Danks is making $15,750,000 this season - the lefty was beaten in the home opener by Cleveland, and he didn't have much better luck last Saturday in the loss at Tampa Bay.

Danks, who turned 31 last week, was an impressive 15-11 in 2010. Since then he's won 33 and lost 58 with an ERA of 4.76. Of course, he battled injuries for some of that time and doesn't throw as hard as he used to. Nevertheless, we're going on six seasons with a pitcher who needs to be almost perfect to be effective. Danks has a WHIP of 1.39 since 2010, meaning that he usually pitches with runners on base. When his changeup floats to the plate waist high, he gets shelled. Danks gives up more than a hit an inning, so limiting walks is crucial, yet he averages about three per nine innings over his career.

Assuming Danks is healthy, he'll start about 30 games this season. It doesn't take a Rick Hahn or Robin Ventura to understand that the Sox can't play from behind each time Danks's turn comes up. How long they'll stick with him clearly depends if he can put together some quality starts (I can't stand that term) to keep his mates competitive. If not, the club needs to look elsewhere.

Meanwhile, Sox hitters continue to slump. They're hitting just .228, scoring a bit more than three runs a game. In the three-game series in Tampa Bay, the Sox collected just 18 hits in 97 at-bats for a .186 mark. Brett Lawrie hit the team's lone home run.

That kind of impotence tends to put undue pressure on a club's pitching staff. For the most part, the Sox pitchers have responded splendidly. Playing at home this week in the friendly Cell might wake up the Sox offense. Now is the time.

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Former Bill Veeck bar buddy Roger Wallenstein welcomes your comments.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 12:00 AM | Permalink

April 17, 2016

Ten Years Ago Today: 100% Guilty

April 17, 2006 - 10 years ago today - is a day of historical significance to Illinois citizens. It is a day that marks the victorious battle for the righteous over the perpetual culture of corruption. It is the day that George Ryan, former governor, lieutenant governor, secretary of state, and speaker of the Illinois House of Representatives, was convicted by a federal jury on 18 counts of corruption spanning from 1992 to 2002.

I remember the day very well. I would have been in federal court to hear the announcement of the verdict were it not that I was a new assistant professor teaching criminal justice at Northwestern College and attending a mandatory faculty meeting. My boss let me know that they were about to announce a verdict on the radio. I excused myself, and while walking back to my office another department dean reprimanded me for not being in the meeting. I mumbled something back to her about this being an important part of my life. I bet she neither cared nor understood.

The conviction of Ryan is as significant to me as others may find Victory Day when the Japanese surrendered to General Douglas MacArthur, or as the day of the landmark U.S. Supreme Court decision Roe v. Wade is significant to others.

Russ Sonneveld and I were investigators responsible for rooting out corruption in the Illinois Secretary of State's Office. From 1992 through 1995 we discovered a pattern of corruption where stolen state revenue and bribe money from commercial driver's license applicants were being distributed to the Citizens for Ryan campaign fund. Our investigations were routinely halted by Dean Bauer, Ryan's inspector general - and confidante.

It all came to a head when the six Willis children became victims of a traffic fatality on November 7, 1994. The truck driver who caused the accident illegally obtained his driver's license from the Secretary of State's driver's license bureau. The employee who issued it ultimately admitted to the FBI she contributed $80,000 in bribes to Ryan's campaign fund.

The following January, Sonneveld and I met with an assistant US attorney to report the bribery and cover-ups. Over a period of the next six months, in a series of acts of obstruction of justice, Ryan, Bauer and chief of staff Scott Fawell conspired to dissolve the Department of Inspector General and rid the office of the investigators who were causing them "trouble." Sonneveld was fired. I was demoted and reassigned back to the Illinois Secretary of State police.

On the morning of April 20, 2006, the headline of my local paper, the Southtown, read "100% GUILTY." I had already started writing a book about my experiences that led to the seven-month trial of George Ryan. When I saw the headline in bold black print, I decided it would be my book's title. That day's edition had four full pages of coverage and an editorial dedicated to the George Ryan scandal.

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Columnist Phil Kadner said, "He had it coming."

Rob Grant, the Chicago FBI Special Agent in Charge calling Ryan's corruption "political prostitution."

Tammy Raynor, a low-level driver's license facility employee who was a well-known whistleblower, said, "I didn't know it then, but Ryan had brought in Bauer to cover up the corruption."

Columnist Kristen McQueary, now on the Chicago Tribune's editorial board, was sympathetic to Ryan, almost justifying his business-as-usual defense. The case, she said, was "not that tidy."

Ryan's hometown paper, the Kankakee Daily Journal, published a special edition about the verdict in which a Kankakee resident and Salvation Army Thrift Store worker said, "Just because of who he was, people were intimidated. This was a long time coming."

It certainly was. Eleven years had passed since the Willis children were killed. Eleven years had passed since Sonneveld and I visited with an assistant U.S. attorney for the first time. A day did not go by when the investigation was not on my mind.

Often people, including fellow law-enforcement officers, would say things to me like, "You sure hold a grudge for a long time."

Once, when I was attending a dinner party and describing the case to another guest, the hostess piped in demanding, "No discussing politics."

"It's not politics," I replied in frustration, "it is a criminal investigation."

No one felt the pain more than Scott and Janet Willis, the parents of the six children who died as a result of the accident in November 1994. The Southtown's article about them covered half a page.

"Our main concern is that we don't rejoice in the downfall of someone else, but rejoice in the justice that's being done," Scott Willis said.

Ryan eventually was sentenced to 6 1/2 years in a federal prison. He began serving his time in Oxford, Wisconsin, one day shy of 13 years after the six Willis children were killed in Milwaukee.

Scott Willis wrote the forward of my book One Hundred Percent Guilty. "Putting an unsafe and illegal driver at the wheel of a semi-truck in exchange for political contribution is criminal. To quash the incendiary evidence of corruption is unconscionable."

Assistant U.S. attorney Patrick Collins, who prosecuted the case, once asked, "Is the corruption systemic, or is it in anomaly? I really don't know the answer." He finally found out.

In all, there were 80 convictions. Then there were individuals who turned state's evidence, turned a blind eye to corruption, walked away unharmed.

My book's title is not only about all 18 counts of Ryan's conviction; it's also about our collective complacency. To rid our political system of corruption, we must dig deep into our own consciences and end our daily tolerance of all corruption, big or small, business as usual or not.

Political corruption is a social disease that eats away at our society as much as any other criminal activity. It feeds off the participation of some and the tolerance of others. The George Ryan scandal stands out as the example of its tragic consequences. We need to be reminded of our past so we do our best not to repeat these tragedies.

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Ed Hammer will be the guest speaker at the April meeting on Wednesday of the Metro Retired State Employees Association, talking about his book One Hundred Percent Guilty and the 10th Anniversary of George Ryan's conviction. The event will be held at 222 North LaSalle Street in Chicago, Room 710. Call 773-275-1464 to RSVP.

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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.
* The Statues Of Kankakee.
* Now Even Statues Of Dirty Illinois Governors Want Your Money.
* Ex-Con George Ryan To Personally Appeal For Statue.
* Kankakee Statues Saga Takes Mayberryesque Turn.

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See also: Honoring A True Illinois Hero.

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 12:35 AM | Permalink

April 16, 2016

The Weekend Desk Report

"For the majority of his life, Nasir Bin Zakaria was a citizen of nowhere," Marwa Eltagouri reports for the Tribune.

"He was 14 when he was kidnapped by militants at a bazaar in west Myanmar. 'Kalah,' they hissed at him, a racial slur used toward Rohingya - the ethnic Muslim minority residing among the country's Buddhist majority. He spent a night at the militant camp before escaping to Malaysia. He never saw his parents again.

"Now, at 45, he's among almost 1,000 Rohingya refugees who've found a new home in Chicago, the majority of whom began arriving in 2013. The local group makes up nearly a fifth of the Rohingya refugees resettled across the country since 2010, U.S. Department of State officials said.

"Most of the roughly 300 Rohingya families in Chicago live in the Rogers Park and Albany Park neighborhoods."

Weekend Politics Report
How Inuit, Maker Of TurboTax, Fought Free, Simple Tax Filing.

The Beachwood Radio Sports Hour #98: Disco Cubs Embrace Target
Ready to party on the Lido Deck. Plus: Same Old Sox!; Shhh! The Blackhawks Are In The Playoffs!; Chicago BullsShit; Big Trade In Draft Town: Chicago Racing Loses A Gem; and The Everton Minute.

The Sound Opinions Weekend Listening Report: "Producer, songwriter, and record executive L.A. Reid has crafted hits for more than four decades. He joins Jim and Greg for a candid conversation about the major label system and working with Rihanna, Michael Jackson, Kanye West, and more."

Weekend Chicago Pizza Report
* Giordano's Opening First Restaurant In Michigan.

* Lou Malnati's To Open In Phoenix.

* Anna Chlumsky tells Travel & Leisure:

"Deep-dish pizza isn't really Chicago-style pizza - I mean, it is, but it was invented in the '70s - it's a marketing thing. To me, real Chicago pizza is what they call tavern-style pizza now. They only call it that because they have to distinguish it from deep dish, but really it's just thin crust pizza in Chicago that you're going to get it in squares. All the kids fight for the corners, and that's what I like."

* WiseGuys In Indian Harbour Beach Does Pizza The Chicago Way.

* LaGrange Police Blotter: Blocks Of Cheese Missing From Pizzeria.

Weekend Chicago Hot Dog Report
* Korean Barbecue Might Replace Tasty Pup In Park Ridge.

Weekend Chicago Italian Beef Report
* Anna Chlumsky tells Travel & Leisure:

"I'm originally from Chicago. I go back about once a year. You have to have Italian beef there - many people don't realize that's a very Chicago thing - and my favorite Italian beef is Johnnie's."

* USA Today: "A few things are undisputed about the Italian Beef Sandwich: it originated on the 'Sout' Side of Chicago by Italian immigrants, it's served in hundreds of places around the city and when made correctly, it should leave a trail of juice down your arm."

* Portillo's Brandon Opening Draws Hundreds Of Chicago Transplants.

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Weekend Jukebox

Conqueror/Aurora.

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New World Man/Rush.

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Don't Say No/Billy Squier.

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Respect/Sasha Go Hard.

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Weekend Protest Report
Fight for $15.

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Weekend BeachBook

A Restaurant Named Chi-RAQ.

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Day In The Life Of A CPS Principal.

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ACLU Sues Bureau Of Prisons For Missing Torture Documents.

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Steven Salaita Saga Resurfaces In Beirut.

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After Faculty Opposition, Retired General Will Not Take Post At Northwestern.

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As We Celebrate Kobe Bryant's Career, We Should Remember Its Darkest Chapter Too.

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Record Store Day Backlash.

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Easily Amused Editor Visits Chicago, Gets Shit Wrong.

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Weekend TweetWood

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The Weekend Desk Tip Line: Paging weekend warriors.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 1:24 PM | Permalink

How The Maker Of TurboTax Fought Free, Simple Tax Filing

Originally published on March 26, 2013.

Update, April 14, 2016: In 2013, we detailed how Intuit has lobbied against allowing the government to estimate your taxes for you. So this week, we called Intuit and asked if they still oppose free, government-prepared returns. The answer: Yes.

"Our legislative, our policy position on that hasn't changed," said spokeswoman Julie Miller. She called Intuit "a staunch opponent to government-prepared tax returns."

Meanwhile, Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren proposed a bill Wednesday to allow free government-prepped returns. Her office also released a report on the tax industry's opposition to simpler filing solutions. It cited the article below as well as another story we did on how a rabbi, civil rights activist, and others were misled into supporting Intuit's campaign.

This story was co-produced with NPR.

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Imagine filing your income taxes in five minutes - and for free. You'd open up a pre-filled return, see what the government thinks you owe, make any needed changes and be done. The miserable annual IRS shuffle, gone.

It's already a reality in Denmark, Sweden and Spain. The government-prepared return would estimate your taxes using information your employer and bank already send it.

Advocates say tens of millions of taxpayers could use such a system each year, saving them a collective $2 billion and 225 million hours in prep costs and time, according to one estimate.

The idea, known as "return-free filing," would be a voluntary alternative to hiring a tax preparer or using commercial tax software. The concept has been around for decades and has been endorsed by both President Ronald Reagan and a campaigning Barack Obama.

"This is not some pie-in-the-sky that's never been done before," said William Gale, co-director of the Urban-Brookings Tax Policy Center. "It's doable, feasible, implementable, and at a relatively low cost."

So why hasn't it become a reality?

Well, for one thing, it doesn't help that it's been opposed for years by the company behind the most popular consumer tax software - Intuit, maker of TurboTax. Conservative tax activist Grover Norquist and an influential computer industry group also have fought return-free filing.

Intuit has spent about $11.5 million on federal lobbying in the past five years - more than Apple or Amazon. Although the lobbying spans a range of issues, Intuit's disclosures pointedly note that the company "opposes IRS government tax preparation."

The disclosures show that Intuit as recently as 2011 lobbied on two bills, both of which died, that would have allowed many taxpayers to file pre-filled returns for free.

The company also lobbied on bills in 2007 and 2011 that would have barred the Treasury Department, which includes the IRS, from initiating return-free filing.

Intuit argues that allowing the IRS to act as a tax preparer could result in taxpayers paying more money.

It is also a member of the Computer & Communications Industry Association (CCIA), which sponsors a "STOP IRS TAKEOVER" campaign and a website calling return-free filing a "massive expansion of the U.S. government through a big government program."

In an e-mailed statement, Intuit spokeswoman Julie Miller said, "Like many other companies, Intuit actively participates in the political process." Return-free programs curtail citizen participation in the tax process, she said, and also have "implications for accuracy and fairness in taxation." (Here is Intuit's full statement.)

In its latest annual report filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission, however, Intuit also says that free government tax preparation presents a risk to its business.

Roughly 25 million Americans used TurboTax last year, and a recent GAO analysis said the software accounted for more than half of individual returns filed electronically. TurboTax products and services made up 35 percent of Intuit's $4.2 billion in total revenues last year.

Versions of TurboTax for individuals and small businesses range in price from free to $150.

(H&R Block, whose tax filing product H&R Block At Home competes with TurboTax, declined to discuss return-free filing with ProPublica. The company's disclosure forms state that it also has lobbied on at least one bill related to return-free filing.)

* * *

Proponents of return-free filing say Intuit and other critics are exaggerating the risks of government involvement. No one would be forced to accept the IRS accounting of their taxes, they say, so there's little to fear.

"It's voluntary," Austan Goolsbee, who served as the chief economist for the President's Economic Recovery Advisory Board, told ProPublica. "If you don't trust the government, you don't have to do it."

Goolsbee has written in favor of the idea and published the estimate of $2 billion in saved preparation costs in a 2006 paper that also said return-free "could significantly reduce the time lag in resolving disputes and accelerate the time to receive a refund."

Other advocates point out that the IRS would be doing essentially the same work it does now. The agency would simply share its tax calculation before a taxpayer files rather than afterward when it checks a return.

"When you make an appointment for a car to get serviced, the service history is all there. Since the IRS already has all that info anyway, it's not a big challenge to put it in a format where we could see it," said Paul Caron, a tax professor at University of Cincinnati College of Law. "For a big slice of the population, that's 100 percent of what's on their tax return."

Taxpayers would have three options when they receive a pre-filled return: accept it as is; make adjustments, say to filing status or income; or reject it and file a return by other means.

"I've been shocked as a tax person and citizen that this hasn't happened by now," Caron said.

Some conservative activists have sided with Intuit. In 2005, Norquist testified before the President's Advisory Panel on Federal Tax Reform arguing against return-free filing. The next year, Norquist and others wrote in a letter to President Bush that getting an official-looking "bill" from the IRS could be "extremely intimidating, particularly for seniors, low-income and non-English speaking citizens."

Norquist, founder of Americans for Tax Reform, declined to comment, but a spokesman pointed to a letter he and other conservatives sent this month to members of Congress. The letter says the IRS wants to "socialize all tax preparation in America" to get higher tax revenues. (Update: Norquist's spokesman, John Kartch, disputes that "Norquist declined comment." During the course of reporting the story, we contacted Kartch to get a comment from Norquist, to which Kartch simply referred us to the letter.)

A year after Norquist wrote Bush, a bill to limit return-free filing was introduced by a pair of unlikely allies: Reps. Eric Cantor, R-Va., the conservative House majority leader, and Zoe Lofgren, D-Calif., a liberal stalwart whose district includes Silicon Valley.

Intuit's political committee and employees have contributed to both. Cantor and his leadership PAC have received $26,100 in the past five years from the company's PAC and employees. In the last two years, the Intuit PAC and employees donated $26,000 to Lofgren.

A spokeswoman said in an e-mail that Cantor "doesn't believe the IRS should be in the business of filling out your tax returns for you," and that the bill was designed to "prevent the IRS from circumventing Congress."

Lofgren did not respond to requests for comment.

* * *

Intuit did not issue public statements on the return-free filing bills, but CCIA President Ed Black has called return-free filing "brilliantly Machiavellian."

When Sens. Ron Wyden, D-Ore., and Dan Coats, R-Ind., introduced a bipartisan tax reform bill in 2011 that included a return-free plan called "Easyfile," Norquist blasted it.

"The clear goal of this measure is to raise taxes in a way that leaves politicians with clean hands," he wrote in a letter to the two senators.

Political opposition hasn't been the only hurdle. Supporters say return-free filing has been overshadowed in a tax debate that has focused more on rates, deductions and deficits.

Further, return-free filing would not be available to everyone. It's best for the slice of taxpayers with straightforward returns who don't itemize or claim various credits.

Still, past studies estimate that this group might include 40 percent of filers or more; the IRS expects to process 147 million individual returns this year.

In separate reports, the CCIA and a think tank that Intuit helps sponsor argue that potential costs outweigh return-free filing's benefits.

Among other things, the reports say that not many taxpayers are likely to use return-free, that new data reporting requirements could raise costs for employers, and that taxpayers could face new privacy and security risks.

The reports and Intuit also note that many taxpayers can already get free tax filing through the Free File Alliance, a consortium involving the IRS and a handful of companies.

But last tax year, only about three million filers had used Free File, according to a Treasury tally through April 28.

In an SEC filing, Intuit said it provided about 1.2 million free federal returns for the 2011 tax season. The company and competitors typically advertise free federal filing on the Web but also pitch other paid services, such as filing certain state returns.

Government studies have split about whether a return-free system would save or cost the IRS money, according to a 2003 Treasury report. Unless the tax code was simplified, the report said, it would add work for employers and the IRS, which would have to process tax records sooner.

Some independent tax experts see potential problems with a return-free system.

Eric Toder, co-director of the Urban-Brookings Tax Policy Center, said the IRS, "an overpressed agency that's being asked to do a lot of things," shouldn't be asked to do what software companies could easily do.

James Maule, a professor at Villanova University School of Law, said the average taxpayer probably wouldn't scrutinize a pre-filled return for accuracy or potential credits. "Some people might get this thing that says this is your tax bill and just pay it, like with property tax bills," said Maule.

* * *

So far, the only true test case for return-free filing in the U.S. has been in Intuit's home state.

In 2005, California launched a pilot program called ReadyReturn. As it fought against the program over the next five years, Intuit spent more than $3 million on overall lobbying and political campaigns in the state, according to Dennis J. Ventry Jr., a professor at UC Davis School of Law who specializes in tax policy and legal ethics.

Explaining the company's stance, Intuit spokeswoman Miller told the Los Angeles Times in 2006 that it was "a fundamental conflict of interest for the state's tax collector and enforcer to also become people's tax preparer."

The following month, an ad in the Sacramento Bee, paid for by the CCIA, cautioned "Taxpayers beware" and said ReadyReturn "could be very harmful to taxpayers." The ad pointed to a now-defunct website, taxthreat.com, opposing ReadyReturn.

Former California Republican legislator Tom Campbell recalls being surprised at the opposition.

"The government imposed the income tax burden in the first place," he told ProPublica. "So if it wants to make it easier, for heaven's sake, why not?"

In a Los Angeles Times Op-Ed at the time, Campbell wrote he "never saw as clear a case of lobbying power putting private interests first over public benefit."

Joseph Bankman, a Stanford Law School professor who helped design ReadyReturn, says he spent close to $30,000 of his own money to hire a lobbyist to defend the program in the legislature. Intuit made political contributions to scores of legislative candidates, Bankman said, and gave $1 million in 2006 to a group backing a ReadyReturn opponent for state controller.

ReadyReturn survived, but with essentially no marketing budget it is not widely known. Fewer than 90,000 California taxpayers used it last year - although those who do use it seem to be happy. Ninety-eight percent of users who filled out a survey said they would use it again. The state's tax agency has also praised ReadyReturns, saying they are cheaper to process than paper returns.

Bankman thinks national return-free filing could make many others happy, too.

"We'd have tens of millions of taxpayers," he said, "no longer find April 15 a day of frustration and anxiety."

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GET INVOLVED: Help us chart the cost/benefits of federal income tax prep services by telling us how you are filing.

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Want to keep up with stories like this? Follow ProPublica on Facebook and Twitter. Follow @LizDDay.

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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 4:14 AM | Permalink

April 15, 2016

The Beachwood Radio Sport Hour #98: Disco Cubs Embrace The Target

Ready to party on the Lido Deck. Plus: Same Old Sox!; Shhh! The Blackhawks Are In The Playoffs!; Chicago BullsShit; Big Trade In Draft Town: Chicago Racing Loses A Gem; and The Everton Minute.


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SHOW NOTES

* Bryan Robinson.

:48: Same Old Sox!

* Opening Day.

* Chance The White Sox Rapper.

4:23: Disco Cubs Embrace The Target.

* Kris Bryant ranked 8th in fielding percentage among qualified NL third basemen last season. (Todd Frazier ranked 7th.)

* Anthony Rizzo ranked 7th in fielding percentage among qualified NL first basemen last season.

* Dexter Fowler ranked 8th in fielding percentage among qualified NL centerfielders last season.

* Editor's Note: With Miguel Sano, Byron Buxton and Eddie Rosario, the Twins really didn't have room for Fowler - especially on a multi-year deal in a corner outfield spot, which is where he'd have to play because Buxton is said to already have a golder glove than Kirby Puckett and Torii Hunter. Also, the only team that seemed to seriously approach Fowler was the Orioles; teams didn't think Fowler - especially at the multi-year contract he was demanding at age 30, having just had a terrific second half of a season but a terrible first - was worth the compensatory draft pick they would have had to give up.

* From Wikipedia:

"Szczur played wide receiver, running back, wildcat QB and was a return specialist on special teams for the Villanova Wildcats football team. He gained 270 all-purpose yards and scored two touchdowns in a winning effort in the 2009 Division I FCS National Championship Game helping Villanova capture their first NCAA Football Championship. He was named MVP of that Championship Game. Also was a consensus All-American and 2009 CAA Offensive Player of the Year."

Oh, and:

"Matt also played centerfield for the Villanova Baseball Program."

* Batting the pitcher 8th:

"Maddon got 'some really good feedback' from the team's nerds," Chicago Cubs Online reported during spring training, "and he will likely start Addison Russell out hitting towards the bottom of the lineup in the seventh or eighth spot.

"He's probably towards the bottom of course. I'm probably leaning at this point towards having the pitcher hit ninth.I thought last year, Addison a big part of his development would be that he would be protected and that's where I wanted him nine and afforded the pitcher to the eighth slot," Maddon said. "I think he made a lot of progress from last year to this year. I think he's better able to stand on his own feet right now. So, more than likely a seven or an eight spot would be the slots I'm looking at right now."

Reports Inside The 'Zona: "[T]he distinctions are very, very small - frequently found to be a matter of a few runs per year."

* Addison Russell, Pimp.

* Coffman, July 2014: Wrong on Russell, wrong on Schwarber.

* The Hammel Beard.

* Fangraphs: This Cubs Lineup Might Be The Most Disciplined Ever.

* Kyle Farnsworth's pants.

* Why The Average Fan My Never Hear About The Next Wave Of Baseball Stats. (Editor's Note: While this article says the gap between public data and propietary data remains small, a former public sabermetrician who went on to work for a major league team has written that the proprietary data is humbling and caused him to regret the certainty of his previous analyses; I can't find it right now, though.)

* The Rise of the Cut Fastball.

29:50: Shhhh! The Blackhawks Are In The Playoffs!

* The Glow Puck.

In action:

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44:23: Chicago BullsShit.

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55:52: How Will The Big NFL Trade Affect Draft Town?

* The Johnny Manziel Death Watch.

1:04:35: TrackNotes: Chicago Racing Loses A Gem.

* Press release/obit.

1:09:59: The Everton Minute: Good managers will get Everton out of current league apathy, so it's for Martinez to prove that.

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STOPPAGE: 10:08

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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 3:18 PM | Permalink

The [Friday] Papers

"A police accountability task force confirmed what communities of color live with daily. A report by Mayor Rahm Emanuel's hand-picked group called out the nation's third-largest police department for racism," Chicago Reporter editor and publisher Susan Smith Richardson writes today.

"But the strong acknowledgment of racial discrimination and the clear recommendations in the report, including getting rid of the primary agency that disciplines officers, may be trumped by the mayor's diminished public credibility. A spoiler alert has hovered over the work of the task force from the beginning: Is the process legitimate, and will the mayor act on the task force's recommendations?"

Richardson is (rightly so) skeptical.

"[H]ours before the report was released, the City Council unanimously approved the mayor's pick for police chief, Eddie Johnson, who is African American. The Police Department veteran didn't apply for the job. Despite a search process led by the Police Board, which [task force leader Lori] Lightfoot chairs, the mayor dismissed the group's finalists and advanced Johnson to interim and then permanent superintendent with support from black aldermen.

"The mayor's handling of Johnson's appointment - bypassing an established process - is a bad omen for the adoption of the task force's recommendations."

Agreed. Rahm's elevation of chief of patrol Johnson - and the end-run around the law (sanctioned by the city council) he used to make the choice - is as if the last five months never happened. This isn't the choice - or the process - of someone who has learned even a single lesson.

*

"Many of the recommendations respond to the longstanding complaints in communities of color about structural racism in policing - from disproportionate stops to the use of excessive force."

Like with the Chicago Public Schools closings (and the media, often), structural (or "institutional") racism doesn't require personal bigotry to exist - though it often does. That's what makes structural racism so pernicious and complicated to solve. It's a lot easier to simply fire (or vote out of office) a bigot. It's incredibly hard to change a system - however well-intentioned - that produces racist outcomes.

"Other recommendations recycle old ideas. A 1972 police commission proposed more independent oversight of Chicago police. The new report proposes replacing the Independent Police Review Authority, which handles the most egregious complaints against officers, with an independent inspector general. The agency's dismal record was cited in the report: From 2011 to 2015, 40 percent of complaints filed were not investigated. And the report also nods to the agency's bias in favor of police officers.

"The task force also took aim at the police union contract, which the City Council approves, for provisions that reinforce the code of silence and protect and perpetuate misconduct."

The code of silence that so damages the integrity of the police department is far more deadly - ultimately - than the code of silence among frightened neighbors unwilling to cooperate with police in their investigations. Some of us have been saying that for years. It all starts with the police department, not the community. It starts with fixing institutional power, not changing the behavior of those who are the most powerless.

*

"The process [for reconciliation] would begin with the police chief acknowledging the department's history of racial discrimination."

And acknowledging widespread misconduct, which this police chief denies ever seeing in 27 years on the force. To that end, the city could still benefit from a Burge truth commission; the department coming clean about the David Koschman case; answering the questions the Guardian has posted - to no avail - about Homan Square; an honest retelling of the department's history; and a new era of transparency and openness. Does anyone think Eddie Johnson is the person to bring about that kind of change? Because without out, nothing changes.

*

Finally:

"Chicago has had its share of hearings, commissions and recommendations about police practices over the years. Truth-telling could be cathartic for Chicagoans, but only if the mayor, aldermen and the Police Department act on the truth."

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Beachwood Photo Booth: Chicago Stairway
Beachwood Landings.

Chicago Loses A Racing Gem
A tribute to Janine Starykowicz. Plus: The Muddy Derby Field; Bye-Bye Bo-Rail; and Songbird Serenade. In TrackNotes.

The Week In Chicago Rock
Featuring: Aurora Aksnes, The Mountain Goats, Donnie Fritts, Kneedelus, and the Smashing Pumpkins.

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The Beachwood Radio Sports Hour #98
Is in post-production!

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Noted

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BeachBook

Farm To Fable. This is a really great investigation that can be done in your city!

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The New Gilded Age: Half Of All Super PAC Money Comes From Just 50 Donors.

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Definitely.

*

Rare Garfield Goose.

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Norway's "Slow TV."

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Mob Priest Gets Wrist Slapped.

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To many, Sanders is what they wanted Obama to be.

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Hoaxing a reporter - and readers - is a real dick move.

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Bruce Rauner is just the worst.

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50 Largest Corporations Hiding $1.4 TRILLION In Offshore Tax Havens.

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Ohio Newspaper Chain Won't Publish Articles About LGBTQ People.

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Dear Abby: Woman Worries Friends Will Find Out She's Rich.

See also:

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Exclusive: UN Bribery Allegations.

*

Best Homan Square summary.

*

Adam LaRoche's Sex Slavery Adventure.

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TweetWood
A sampling.

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*

*

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The Beachwood Tip Line: Fry day.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 11:08 AM | Permalink

The Week In Chicago Rock

You shoulda been there.

1. Aurora Aksnes at Schubas on Thursday night.


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2. The Mountain Goats at City Winery on Monday night.

Setlist.

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3. Donnie Fritts at SPACE in Evanston on Wednesday night.

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4. Kneedelus at Schubas on Sunday night.

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5. The Smashing Pumpkins (with James Iha) at the Lyric Opera on Thursday night.

Setlist.

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 6:11 AM | Permalink

Beachwood Photo Booth: Chicago Stairwell

Landings.

20160323_133952_resized.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!
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Ad Deluxe.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Jesus At The Drive-In.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: The Tanks Of Avondale.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Conveyance Belt.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Bonk.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Esquire In The Night.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Nick's Meat Market.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Keep Havin A Good Day.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Knock Knock.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Man At Marie's.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Bonneville.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Logan Bags.

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 5:37 AM | Permalink

TrackNotes: Derby Field Muddy, Bye-Bye Bo-Rail & Chicago Racing Loses A Gem

With the Wood Memorial (Aqueduct), Blue Grass Stakes (Keeneland) and Santa Anita Derby all Grade Is going off this weekend, you would think we'd have gotten more of a handle on at least three of the shooters who will run around in a circle on May 7th trying to win a blanket of roses and other prizes at Churchill Downs.

But after Saturday's mudfest, all I can say is we don't know much of nuthin'.

If you're making your Kentucky Derby pick today, that's a problem. But we'll wait for the post parade and relax for now

The Uncle Mo colt Outwork lived up to his name in edging 81-1 moonshot Trojan Nation by less than a head in the heavy mud at Aqueduct. Outwork showed the same pluck as he did last out in the Tampa Bay Derby March 12 when he was beaten a length by Destin.

Successful or not - he's 3-3-1-0 lifetime - Outwork will try to outwork you (hey, it was just laying there) if he's close to the lead, which he always is. Trainer Todd Pletcher had a genuine look of terror on his face while waiting for the wire photo. Outwork won by a full nose, but it looked tighter than that live. Trojan Nation just wasn't close enough to get in a winning head bob.

We do know Outwork has the cred to be in the Kentucky Derby, but after a hot pace - 22.91 for the first quarter and 46.93 for the first half-mile - the tires started losing air and they crawled home in 1:52.92, the slowest time in the 92-year history of the race. Adventist finished third but the flip-side angle is that Shagaf, he of the lofty 451 Tomlinson (breeding rating for wet tracks) Rating and winner of the Gotham at Aqueduct a month earlier, finished a poor fifth and Matt King Coal, the pacesetter, fourth. He looks more like a sprinter.

At sunny Keeneland, the Blue Grass was more formful as Brody's Cause, winner of the Breeders' Cup Juvenile at Keeneland last fall, came from almost last in the first turn to win by two. His Beyer Speed Figure of 91 is three higher than his previous best, an 88 in the Juvenile. But they don't run the Derby at Keeneland, although he has won at Churchill.

Morning line favorite Zulu finished a horrible 12th out of 14. My Man Sam, Julien Leparoux aboard, who should have enough points today to make the Derby, finished second.

I need your help. The next time I even think of putting a bet on a Leparoux horse, put socks and rubber bands on my hands and cut the mouse cord. The guy's a bum.

The Frenchman is a better turf rider and he has his moments, but he was horrible Saturday. He can't, or seems afraid to, get his horse out of trouble that he shouldn't have been put in in the first place. He was often behind the wall of leading horses and never attempted to swing out. He's at a 16 percent win clip for the year, which is dime a dozen. JJ Castellano is at 22 percent, John Velazquez at 20 percent. Irad Ortiz, who won five races at Aqueduct Saturday (his brother Jose won three), is at 26 percent. Dems some good riders!

Out at Santa Anita in sunny Arcadia, California - wait a minute - it's raining cats, dogs and coconuts out there. I don't remember the last time I've seen the SA track sealed (rolled hard so the water slides off). As a horseplayer, I didn't like it, but they sure need the precip, so I won't begrudge it.

Kent Desormeaux piloted Exaggerator out of the clouds to take the Santa Anita Derby six-plus lengths over Mor Spirit, who has failed in his last two big races. Also disappointing was Danzing Candy, who wired those two in the Grade II San Felipe prep for this race.

Exaggerator, trained by Kent's brother Keith Desormeaux, laid back, way back, inside the first eighth and was out of the TV picture on the backstretch. Approaching the final turn, the son of Curlin turned on the rockets and began consuming the field, almost the whole run missed by track announcer Michael Wrona who, if he's still auditioning for the job, didn't do himself any favors in this one.

Exaggerator, as a precocious 2-year-old, won three very close races out of five, including the Saratoga Special and the Delta Downs Jackpot. He also lost to probable Derby favorite Nyquist in February's San Vicente, but no shame there. The BIG question is that his best performances have been in the mud or slop. What are the odds of getting that on May 7?

The next and last big installment of The Road to Kentucky will be this week's Arkansas Derby, where Cupid will try to parlay a win in the Rebel Stakes. With Beyers of 88 and 95 in his last two, Cupid will need to improve - or not falter - in his upward swing. He looked tough in his fast-slow-fast Rebel, when he had to hit the accelerator again in the late stretch to hold off Whitmore, whom he'll see again here.

Bye-Bye Bo-Rail
Calvin "Bo-Rail" Borel retired from race riding suddenly March 30th, telling his jockey agent Larry Melancon he was finished. Former Borel agent Jerry Hissam said Borel told him "It's time." Borel is 50 years old.

The colorful Cajun, a Hall of Famer, finished with 5,146 career victories, good for $127,087,376 in purse earnings and 27th on the all-time list. Just think about that. I could spin out the names of 26 great jockeys in a New York minute.

His achievements were borne out of determined, consistent effort, faithfully working out the horses in the morning, and being a riding stalwart in multiple afternoon races.

He ended up the king of Oaklawn Park with 947 wins there, topping Pat Day and Larry Snyder. He won 16 riding titles at tracks including Churchill Downs (more than 1,000 wins there), Louisiana Downs, Delta Downs, Ellis Park, Turfway Park and the all-turf Kentucky Downs. He rode many more than a few times at Arlington Park, occasionally full meets.

But he also had his share of spectacular single moments, perhaps none better than the string of pearls he put together from 2007 to 2010.

In 2007, he guided Street Sense to the roses in the Kentucky Derby, the first time a horse had ever won the Breeders' Cup Juvenile and then the Derby.

As often happens, America got a bit manic about a guy who had already been around many years after Borel showed Mine That Bird the daylight on the magic rail at Churchill in 2009's Derby and brought him home at 50-1, making a move that no other jockey seemed to have the guts to pull off.

The field content to merry-go-round in the two-three-four-five lanes, Borel went with it for awhile. As soon as they straightened out in the stretch, his eyes probably bugging, Borel saw the daylight, pulled a Walter Payton cutback left and shot the 'Bird to the wide open one lane, tight on the rail, and romped by six. It wasn't clear if he did it in that race, but Borel was no stranger to scraping his boots on the rail for being so close.

When given the inevitable Triple Crown query moments later, he immediately said he'd be riding Rachel Alexandra, with whom he had won the Kentucky Oaks the day before, in the Preakness. "No question. She's a better horse," Borel said. Simple as that. Rachel won the Preakness.

Borel then won the Derby in 2010 on Street Sense.

Later that year, on the world's racing stage, Borel waged an epic battle with Castellano in the Breeders' Cup Marathon. Not with horses on the track, but with fists in the Winner's Circle.

"Javier Castellano on Prince Will I Am cut off Martin Garcia on Romp as they came out of the turn in the 1-3/4-mile race," I wrote then. "Romp went to his knees and Garcia literally pulled him back up, by his own description. As Garcia was dealing with his disaster, Borel, on A. U. Miner, came up to Garcia's right and had to check up himself. In recovering, Garcia was completely out of the saddle, hanging on for dear life with just the reins to hold. He plopped back down on his seat and I believe Borel was so close to him, horses touching, that he may have helped Garcia get back in the saddle."

Borel was furious. In the post-race weigh-in area, Borel forcefully trying to teach the kid a lesson, Castellano threw a left cross that Borel blocked and followed with a short right hook to Borel's face. Then it was on. It took four people to keep Bo-Rail from inflicting certain damage. Just as well, as Borel's eyes were popping out in true rage. I happen to think he was right, and Castellano started it.

Borel was one of the last of the throwbacks in race riding, willing to do what he had to to win a race. Even if it meant getting pinched way down on the (Bo)Rail.

Songbird Serenade
Sorry, but every time I see her run, you're going to hear about how great Songbird is and how exciting it is to watch her.

She continued her perfection in the Santa Anita Oaks, winning by nearly four lengths that could have easily been a dozen.

"She's just incredible," jockey Mike Smith said. "I feel so blessed and I keep pinching myself, having to remind myself that I'm the one that gets to keep the weight on her. That's really all I do."

The others looking like horsehead oil pumps, she just glides right along. She led all the way. God forbid she gets any mud on her party dress or her jockey.

Remembering Janine
There is very sad news in the world of Chicago horse racing and for like-minded fans around the country.

Janine Starykowicz, proprietor of web site Chicago Barn to Wire, passed away Saturday after a brief illness. She was 56.

She had journalism and political science degrees from the University of Indiana and worked for several years for Indiana Sen. Richard Lugar.

The news and general racing interest site, launched in 2000 because she just wanted to, features two separate forums, one for Thoroughbred racing and one for harness. With its own share of spit-and-vinegar craziness over the years, the forum has matured quite nicely into a lively debate over every racing issue you can imagine, particularly valuable for the latest on the goings-on in Springfield. Janine would protect your free speech, but truly act like a knucklehead (and there were a few) and you'd be out faster than a sprint furlong.

Janine was a dedicated advocate for the welfare of horses and was one of the prime champions of the campaign to end horse slaughter in Illinois and beyond.

I communicated with her a couple of times, but not about anything truly important. If she knew behind my BTW handle of my work for The Beachwood Reporter, she never said. And I never made a point of telling her. But you got to feel like you knew her.

Amid all of the hot air of the forums, there was one constant: Janine's the best. I would never, but blast Janine or "the moderator" unfairly, and members would set you straight in no uncertain terms.

After her passing, there were heartfelt condolences all around. Then BTW posters got back to talking racing.

Just the way Janine would have wanted it.

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Tom Chambers is our man on the rail. He welcomes your comments.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 12:17 AM | Permalink

April 14, 2016

The [Thursday] Papers

Well that was a helluva task force, wasn't it? I'm not sure what's more surprising - what they said or the fact that they said it. I'll have more in the coming days.

UPDATE: 8:13 P.M.: Yeah, this is as far as I got today. I'll be back on Friday - but not right away in the morning because we're recording The Beachwood Radio Sports Hour at 9:15 a.m. So, whenever, after that.

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Comments welcome!

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 12:39 PM | Permalink

Fantasy Fix: Early Risers

Every baseball season has its share of surprising, fantasy-relevant performers in the early going, but they always come tagged with the difficult question, "Is this guy for real?"

Here are a few of this season's surprising early risers:

Trevor Story, SS, COL: If you didn't know about the history-making slugger yet - seven HRs in his first six games - you're too late to do anything about it, as he's now 95% owned in Yahoo! leagues. Even though he had a fabulous spring, I didn't include him in my pre-season SS rankings, mainly because of uncertainty surrounding suspended veteran Jose Reyes.

But, is this guy for real? He's not going to hit 100 HRs this season, and probably not even 50, but he had eight during spring training and was a clear power-hitting prospect on his way through the minors. I wouldn't be surprised if he hits 25-30 HRs this season, which sounds disappointing, given he's a quarter of the way there, but still a lot of fantasy value for a SS.

The bigger thing to watch is how he handles increasingly frequent strikeouts. If/when Reyes comes back, Story will lose his job if he's hitting .240 and striking out three times per game. If he keeps learning and takes singles where they're available instead of HRs, Reyes could be the one out of a job.

Jeremy Hazelbaker, OF, STL: I wrote when I revisited my rankings that the STL outfield could offer some sneaky fantasy value. Hazelbaker wasn't among the names I mentioned, but got a starting job when Tommy Pham was injured and Randall Grichuk forgot how to hit. Now, the 28-year-old non-prospect late bloomer has two HRs, five RBI, two SBs and a whopping 1.575 OPS after a week of play.

But, is this guy for real? I've read some about how he changed his whole mental approach to the game after languishing in the minors, but the bigger thing is, according to reports, the speed part of his game is for real. It sounds like strikeouts always have been a problem, but if he keeps that number down, he's a 30+ SB talent.

Tyler White, 1B/3B, HOU: He's hitting .520 after his first week, with three HRs and 10 RBI after winning the starting job at 1B during spring training.

But, is this guy for real? I've seen him poke the ball to the opposite field enough times already that he seems like a legit hitter. I don't know about the power, but it's clear that no one is creeping up on him to steal his job, so it seems like he could continue contributing hits, RBI and runs in HOU's productive lineup.

Eugenio Suarez, 3B/SS, CIN: Four of his first 10 hits this season have been HRs. He's already scored nine runs and has a 1.248 for the surprising Reds.

But, is this guy for real? I had him listed in my pre-season rankings as a back-up fantasy talent at SS because I liked what I had seen in short stretches the last couple seasons, and he's only 24 and probably still improving. The new 3B eligibility gives him definite fantasy value, and like White, no one looks to be pushing him out of a job. I don't think he'll continue to hit HRs at this pace, but he did have 35 extra-base hits in 372 ABs in 2015, so he'll contribute to your fantasy team.

Jeremy Hellickson, SP, PHI: He's had two pretty strong outings in a row, featuring 11 strikeouts and just one walk over 11.2 IP, getting one win for his trouble. He now has a 1.54 ERA and a 0.63 WHIP.

But, is this guy for real? Once considered a top-shelf prospect, the 29-year-old Hellickson did have three straight seasons of double-digit wins for the Rays earlier this decade, in the last three seasons, he hasn't managed to post an ERA below 4.52 or a WHIP below 1.33. We're guessing regression is forthcoming, and even if he does manage to keep it going, I don't think the Phillies will give him many chances to visit the win column.

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Disco Dan O'Shea welcomes your comments.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 6:26 AM | Permalink

April 13, 2016

The [Wednesday] Papers

"For nearly two decades, when Chicago's police brought people under arrest to their detentions and interrogations warehouse, not even the vast majority of the police force knew where they were, according to an internal memo acquired by the Guardian," the Guardian reports.

Right: Like a black site.

"Homan Square, a warehouse complex headquartering narcotics, vice and intelligence units for the Chicago police, has also served as a secretive facility for detaining and interrogating thousands of people without providing access to attorneys and with little way for their loved ones to find them. Records documenting the presence of someone at Homan Square, especially while they are there, have existed largely outside Chicago police's electronic records system.

"Now, documents and evidence from senior officers have for the first time disclosed detailed official accounts of how police based at the unit were able to operate - and how it was almost impossible to tell who was being held inside."

Those would be the "disappeared."

"Depositions of senior officers, memorandums for the current police chief and other internal police records portray Chicago police procedures and record-keeping that obscured visibility into Homan Square's apparatus of detentions, both to the public and even to police themselves.

"The records and supporting testimony portray a complicated system of documentation that helps explain how Chicago police, particularly from the bureau of organized crime, could use their headquarters for incommunicado detentions and interrogations without attracting significant public notice.

"Interrogations are the purpose of the incommunicado detentions, the police depositions indicate. In practice, police leverage an arrestee's inability to notify relatives or lawyers about their whereabouts - a perilous position, from a civil rights perspective - to generate information about guns or drugs on Chicago's streets."

Exactly as some of us have been saying.

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The depositions are key to this latest installment of the Guardian's series - the third piece this week out of about two-dozen in all. The CPD continues to refuse to comment - and the local media is making it easier by not asking questions at all - but the Guardian was able to put police officials under oath as part of their lawsuit against the department. So now we have some semblance of official confirmation.

And the Guardian's reporting has made a difference, just as local attorneys and activists have also been saying, at least to those few of us paying attention:

Over a year into the Guardian's ongoing exposé of what happened inside Homan Square, it appears that police have recently changed their logging procedures there.

"Prior to 2016, the only electronic record that could determine with any certainty that an individual was at the Homan Square facility is via the Arrestee Movement records in the Automated Arrest Application," Randolph Nichols, a senior officer in the Chicago police research department, wrote to acting superintendent John J. Escalante in an 11 March memo about the Guardian's freedom of information lawsuit into Homan Square.

In a possible indication of changes to the logging system, Nichols told the Guardian in a September deposition that the police "actually just created a unit the other day for Homan Square arrest processing."

Still skeptical?

"Asked how a member of the public can find anyone held at Homan Square while police hold them there, a senior police official said in sworn deposition: 'I don't know that you can contemporaneously.'"

That's a black site, folks! People who often will never be charged with a crime are disappeared into it for interrogation. They rarely have access to counsel and they cannot contact friends or family.

Now, the police official who said that also said that a person in a regular ol' station house would also be unable to locate. That's a problem - but at a regular ol' station house, chances are much higher that an arrestee has been logged in (and has access to a phone). And anyone can walk into a station house and ask about a detainee at the front desk. Not so at Homan. You simply cannot get in there.

"Police contend that the Guardian's coverage of Homan Square overemphasizes the secrecy surrounding the warehouse's detentions and interrogations practices. But in court, they also concede the secrecy, and argue for its necessity, on the grounds that a normal police station, vastly more open to the public, cannot accommodate undercover officers."

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There's nothing wrong with having a facility - or multiple facilities - where undercover officers can do their work and cooperative actors (or those police hope will become cooperative) can meet without the sort of notice one might get at a regular district station. But that doesn't mean a place should exist to hold arrestees taken off the street by masked officers in the middle of the night who don't know where they are, don't have access to a lawyer and don't have access to family and friends. And in a facility like that, abuses both physical and psychological are likely to occur.

"The impact is that the arrest and interrogation of more than 7,000 people was able to happen without a public notification of their whereabouts."

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Some of what one police official, Lt. William Kilroy, said in his deposition is in conflict with what the Guardian has reported. For example:

"Kilroy estimated that there have been 'six or seven attorneys who have come to Homan Square over the past, I don't know, five, 10 years. It's been that infrequent.' Chicago police have disclosed 86 attorney visits over the past decade - nine of which occurred after the Guardian's reporting on the warehouse began - and say, through their lawyers, that the tally is comprehensive. At least two arrestees who the disclosures say received lawyers have denied it to the Guardian.

"Lawyers interviewed by the Guardian have said they have been turned away from Homan Square when they came seeking their clients. Last year, attorney Cliff Nellis said that when he arrived at Homan Square seeking a client in 2014, police told him: 'This isn't a police station, we don't hold people here.' Nellis and other attorneys say that frequently, after police turn them away at Homan Square, their clients materialize hours later at the nearby 11th district police station."

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For what it's worth, Kilroy has had three complaints lodged against him since 2010 - including at least one emanating from Homan.

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And then, there's this bit of weirdness:

"While most arrests concern guns and drugs, consistent with the narcotics, anti-gang and vice units operating out of the warehouse, others deal with less urgent crime priorities.

"According to police documents, at least 11 people observed by investigators for the Recording Industry Association of America selling bootleg CDs and DVDs (including Jay Z albums and Marvel's Iron Man movie) were 'taken to Homan Square for processing.' A woman was 'transported to Homan Square for processing' after police observing a fencing location for stolen goods found her with '2 cans of Tasters Choice decaffeinated coffee with Walgreens anti-theft stickers.'"

I don't know either.

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Previously in Homan Square:

* The [Monday] Papers: Suddenly, the CPD is a fine upstanding trustworthy institution.

* The Beachwood Radio Hour #46: Explaining Chicago's Black Site.

* The [Wednesday] Papers: Another day, another Guardian story.

* The [Thursday] Papers: John Conroy vs. the Chicago media. Again.

* The Beachwood Radio Hour #47: What Chicagoans Aren't Being Told.

* The Beachwood Radio Hour #48: Carol Marin's Blinders & What Tom Durkin Really Said.

* The [Monday] Papers: Homan Squared.

* Chicago Politicians Push DOJ To investigate 'CIA Or Gestapo Tactics' At Secret Police Site.

* Chicago's Homan Square: Torture By Any Other Name . . .

* Amnesty International Calls For Federal Investigation Of Homan Square.

* The [Wednesday] Papers: Public Hearings Ignored By Chicago Media.

* The [Monday] Papers: Records Document Physical Abuse At Homan.

* The [Tuesday] Papers: A Guardian transparency lawsuit has revealed the second person known to have died in police custody at Homan Square. And the discrepancies in the reports are stark.

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Top Cop Mob Shop
You can find my real-time commentary on the top cop shenanigans at @BeachwoodReport.

Including:

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Exclusive! What's Really Inside The New Cubs Clubhouse
Another Beachwood Special Report.

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Plus:

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Galileo's Finger, Brain Ghosts & Stonewall
We've added value to this year's Midland Book Awards!

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Meet The Panama Papers Editor Who Handled 376 Reporters In 80 Countries
All those reporters, and yet: "The New York Times blew its chance on the Panama Papers, and so did CNN and 60 Minutes."

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Into It: Sidewalk Chalk. Over It: The Orwells vs. The Sound Man
Plus: Smoking Popeage & Area Man Becomes Chicago Music Teacher. In Local Music Notebook.

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BeachBook

In Settlement's Fine Print, Goldman May Save $1 Billion.

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Confessions Of A Panama Papers Hit Man.

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Privacy? What Privacy? Nordic Tax Records Are A Phone Call Away.

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Red Light Camera Vigilante Strikes Again.

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Chicago Comic Quick On The Draw.

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TweetWood
A sampling.

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The Beachwood Tip Line: Dope-ass.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 12:17 PM | Permalink

Local Music Notebook: Into It: Sidewalk Chalk; Over It: The Orwells vs. Sound Man

1. How Vermont's Rebel Yell Shaped the New Record From Chicago's Into It. Over It.

Here they are playing a song from that record in Orlando on Sunday night:


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2. "[Chicago-born jazz saxophonist Jon] Irabagon will open his fascinating box of musical tricks at the Levontin 7 club in Tel Aviv on Sunday and Monday (both 8 p.m.), alongside a couple of heavyweight collaborators in the form of bassist Mark Helias and drummer Barry Altschul."

Here he is in Brooklyn in February:

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3. Smoking Popes Drummer Excited About New Band.

Here they are in Barrington in February:

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4. "A Chicago beatmaker/producer, a New York bassist, a global TV star, and a Kiwi guitarist - they didn't entirely mean to form a band, but the music they made while hanging out as friends was too exciting to leave alone."

Here they are in London last month:

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5. Watch The Orwells Fight With The Sound Man At Dallas Gig.

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6. How Three DePaul Students Became Concert Photographers.

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7. "The concept for Chicago-based band Sidewalk Chalk sounds almost gimmicky at first blush: eight musicians, including a jazz vocalist, a rapper, a tap dancer and a horn section, joining forces to fuse the genres of hip-hop and jazz."

Here they are in Durham last October:

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8. Love Of Music Leads To Teaching Career In Chicago For Gibson City Man.

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On the road . . .

* Negative Scanner is in San Diego next week.

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 10:14 AM | Permalink

Exclusive! What's Really Inside The Cubs' New Clubhouse

The media is gushing about the Cubs' new clubhouse, but are you really getting the full story? No! You're only getting the sanitized version of the tour!

It turns out there are plenty of parts to the clubhouse the media wasn't allowed to see - but we did! Here's what we can exclusively report:

* To be politically correct, the Cubs have installed cage-free batting cages.

* The Cubs Chapel with services led by an animatronic Harry Caray and readings from the Bro Bible.

* The Kerry Wood Memorial Towel Drill Towel. Look, but don't touch.

* The Blow Room. In fitting with the clubhouse's disco aesthetic, this is where Cubs players do blow.

* Theo's Mausoleum. (And in the shadows: Jed's Mausoleum.)

* A full-service Walgreens pharmacy at the corner of Happy and Speedy.

* Slump-busting rooms.

* A sweatshop where underage Chinese workers turn out onesies.

* Gold-lined urinals and personal human butt-wipers.

* The Chamber of Dead Souls, featuring Mike Quade, Dale Sveum and Ricky Renteria.

* Bunk beds for Bryant and Rizzo.

* David "Grampa" Ross's private Early Bird Special dining room.

* A full-service studio with green screen so players can do their endorsements without having to go anywhere.

* Mascot quarters for Eddie Vedder, John Cusack, Jim Belushi.

* The Real Steve Bartman.

* A tunnel to El Chapo's cell.

* Showers featuring the only lead-free water in the city.

* A 5,000-foot tax shelter.

* World Series-ring sizing room.

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 9:18 AM | Permalink

Midland Awards | Galileo's Middle Finger, Brain Ghosts & Stonewall

The Society of Midland Authors will present its annual awards May 10 in Chicago, honoring its choices for the best books by Midwest authors published in 2015:

ADULT NONFICTION

WINNER: Alice Dreger, Galileo's Middle Finger: Heretics, Activists, and One Scholar's Search for Justice, Penguin Press. (Author lives in the Chicago area.)

From the New York Times:

"Soon enough," Alice Dreger writes at the beginning of her romp of a book, "I will get to the death threats, the sex charges, the alleged genocides, the epidemics, the alien abductees, the anti-lesbian drug, the unethical ethicists, the fight with Martina Navratilova and, of course, Galileo's middle finger. But first I have to tell you a little bit about how I got into this mess."

As is so often the case, what got ­Dreger into trouble was sex. A historian of science and medicine, she criticized a group of transgender activists who had attacked a sex researcher for his findings on why some people want to change gender. Having hounded the researcher mercilessly, the activists attacked Dreger too. The bad news is that this was hard on ­Dreger. (More on that momentarily. For now, I'll just note they called her son a "womb turd.") The good news is that from this mess emerged not only a sharp, disruptive scholar but this smart, delightful book.

Galileo's Middle Finger is many things: a rant, a manifesto, a treasury of evocative new terms (sissyphobia, autogynephilia, phall-o-meter) and an account of the author's transformation "from an activist going after establishment scientists into an aide-de-camp to scientists who found themselves the target of activists like me" - and back again.

Here's Dreger at the Wisconsin Center for the Advancement of Post-Secondary Education last month:


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FINALISTS:

* Clark Elliott, The Ghost in My Brain: How a Concussion Stole My Life and How the New Science of Brain Plasticity Helped Me Get it Back, Viking. (Author lives in the Chicago area.)

From Chicago Tonight last July:

"In 1999, a car accident left DePaul University professor Clark Elliott concussed. As a leading scientist in the field of artificial intelligence he was intrigued by the impact on his brain and kept meticulous notes documenting the effects of his traumatic brain injury. Those notes became the basis for his new book, The Ghost In My Brain: How a Concussion Stole My Life and How the New Science of Brain Plasticity Helped Me Get It Back. Elliott joins us to discuss his long journey to recover brain function and his sense of self."

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* Kathryn J. Edin and H. Luke Shaefer, $2.00 a Day: Living on Almost Nothing in America, Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. (Shaefer lives in Michigan; Edin lives in the Baltimore area.)

From the PBS NewsHour in December:

"In their new book, "$2.00 a Day: Living on Almost Nothing in America, academics Kathryn J. Edin and H. Luke Shaefer reveal that there are nearly 1.5 million American households with practically no cash income.

"That figure has been on the rise, nearly doubling since 1996 - the same year that a major welfare reform bill was passed. Under the new rules, cash benefits known as welfare were paired with strict work or training requirements.

"The policy goal was to decrease people's dependence on government help and that work would then be supplemented if necessary. The reforms successfully encouraged many people to join the workforce. But those unable to find work found themselves falling without a safety net."

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* Jeremy Smith, Epic Measures: One Doctor. Seven Billion Patients, Harper Wave. (Author was born and raised in Evanston and now lives in Missoula, Montana.)

From the New York Times last April:

"In a new book, Epic Measures: One Doctor, Seven Billion Patients, the journalist Jeremy N. Smith profiles the Global Burden of Disease report and the impatient genius behind it. The doctor is Christopher Murray. In 1973, Murray's parents, a cardiologist and a microbiologist, shipped a generator, cardiograph machine, microscope and two weeks' worth of medical supplies from Minnesota to England, bought two Land Rovers, and ferried and drove to Niger, crossing the Sahara roadless and alone with their three children. There they ran a hospital for a year by themselves. Later, the family would go back to Africa every summer to run medical clinics.

"Epic Measures is a biography of Murray and his attempt to diagnose the world. For a book about compiling data, it's remarkably entertaining. But it also reveals the importance of data in its least glamorous form. The researchers in the Global Burden study got their information by combing through birth and death records and hospital files and doing household surveys. They found such arcane bits of data as per-capita lunch meat consumption in Bulgaria, figures for four different kinds of liver cancer in Tanzania, and information on eating disorders, nonvenomous animal bites and acne. Put together, this data allows policymakers to make better use of their scarce health resources by spending them on what's most important."

Here's Smith at Dartmouth in November:

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The judges for Adult Nonfiction were Connie Fletcher and Kim Hiltwein.

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BIOGRAPHY & MEMOIR

WINNER: Ray E. Boomhower, John Bartlow Martin: A Voice for the Underdog, Indiana University Press. (Author lives in Indianapolis.)

FINALISTS:

* Michele Weldon, Escape Points: A Memoir, Chicago Review Press. (Author lives in River Forest, Illinois.)

* Joseph Tabbi, Nobody Grew but the Business: On the Life and Work of William Gaddis, Northwestern University Press. (Author lives in Chicago.)

The judges for Biography & Memoir were Davis Schneiderman, Robert Remer and John Hallwas.

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JAMES FRIEND MEMORIAL AWARD FOR LITERARY AND DRAMATIC CRITICISM WINNER: Kelli Christiansen, founder and editor of the Chicago Book Review.

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ADULT FICTION

WINNER: Joe Meno, Marvel and a Wonder, Akashic Books. (Author lives in Chicago.)

From the New York Times: "Throughout the novel, Meno shows us how a single decision can change the course of events absolutely."

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FINALISTS:

* Bonnie Jo Campbell, Mothers, Tell Your Daughters, W.W. Norton. (Author lives in Kalamazoo, Michigan.)

* Rebecca Makkai, Music for Wartime, Viking. (Author lives in Chicago.)

The judges for Adult Fiction were Mark Eleveld, Tony Romano and Michele Weldon.

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POETRY

WINNER: Iliana Rocha, Karankawa, University of Pittsburgh Press. (Author lives in Portage, Michigan.)

FINALISTS:

* Dennis Hinrichsen, Skin Music, Southern Indiana Review Press. (Author lives in Lansing, Michigan.)

* Lisa Fay Coutley, Errata, Southern Illinois University Press. (Author lives in Ephraim, Utah, and is a former Michigan resident.)

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The judges for Poetry were Jim McGarrah, Grace Bauer and Joshua Corey.

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CHILDREN'S NONFICTION

WINNER: Ann Bausum, Stonewall: Breaking Out in the Fight for Gay Rights, Viking Books for Young Readers. (Author lives in Janesville, Wisconsin.)

FINALISTS:

* Suzanne Slade, The Inventor's Secret: What Thomas Edison Told Henry Ford, Charlesbridge. (Author lives in Libertyville, Illinois.)

* Fern Schumer Chapman, Like Finding My Twin, Gussie Rose Press. (Author lives in Lake Bluff, Illinois.)

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The judges for Children's Nonfiction were Margaret McMullan and Ilene Cooper.

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CHILDREN'S FICTION

WINNER: Evan Kuhlman, Great Ball of Light, Atheneum Books for Young Readers. (Author lives in Ohio.)

FINALISTS:

* Stephen T. Johnson, Alphabet School, Simon & Schuster/Paula Wiseman Books. (Author lives in Lawrence, Kansas.)

* Kate DiCamillo, Francine Poulet Meets the Ghost Raccoon: Tales from Deckawoo Drive, Volume Two, Candlewick. (Author lives in Minneapolis.)

* Melinda Braun, Stranded, Simon Pulse. (Author grew up in Wisconsin and lives in the Minneapolis-St. Paul area.)

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The judges for Children's Fiction were Nancy Crocker and Judith Fradin.

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DISTINGUISHED SERVICE AWARD WINNER: Robert Remer.

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This year's winners will receive a $500 award and a recognition plaque. The coordinator of this year's contest was Marlene Targ Brill. Since 2002, the Society has also hosted the presentation of the James Friend Memorial Award for Literary and Dramatic Criticism at its banquet.

The annual awards dinner will take place Tuesday, May 10, at the Cliff Dwellers Club, 200 S. Michigan, 22nd floor, which features a beautiful view of Lake Michigan and Millennium Park. A reception with cash bar begins at 6 p.m. followed by the dinner and awards ceremony at 7 p.m.

The master of ceremonies will be Rex Huppke, columnist for the Chicago Tribune.

Tickets are $75 each. Reservations can by made by PayPal or check at www.midlandauthors.com.

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 7:51 AM | Permalink

Meet The Panama Papers Editor Who Handled 376 Reporters In 80 Countries

As the Panama Papers continue to embarrass leaders across continents, one thought has kept occurring to me: How the hell did the organizers pull it off? I mean, how did they corral hundreds of reporters? How did they make sense of so many documents? And, most importantly, how did they stay sane during it all?

So I spoke with Marina Walker Guevara, who helped shepherd the project. Walker is deputy director of the International Consortium of Investigative Journalism, which has a long history of collaborating with many, many far-flung partners. In early 2015, Walker and ICIJ were finishing up work on another big leak. "We're never going to do this again," Marina recalled thinking. "It's great. But we're exhausted and we need a vacation."

Then ICIJ got a phone call from the German paper Süddeutsche Zeitung about a way bigger file they wanted to share . . .

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Some tidbits from our conversation:

The New York Times blew its chance on the Panama Papers, and so did CNN and 60 Minutes . . .

Walker Guevara: We approached the Times twice in the past. The first time was in 2012 and that was the first offshore investigation we did. It was called Offshore Leaks and there were many meetings in New York where [ICIJ director] Gerard Ryle went and pitched the story and then in the end it looked like we were getting nowhere. There were just too many questions, it proved to be too complicated, and we didn't proceed. Then we went back to them again in the Swiss Leaks investigation in 2014 and in that case we were not as insistent. We sent e-mails but when we didn't hear back we didn't try harder.

For the Panama Papers, we were approached by McClatchy. They have a very good reputation and were eager to work with us.

We also pitched it to CNN. They said yes, but then they said no. They decided to pursue their own investigation rather than join ours. We were a little disappointed, but we understood. Then we pitched the story to 60 Minutes and this time they said no as well. In the end we had Univision and Fusion. We had worked with both of them in previous investigations.

Walker had to push often-secretive investigative reporters to share.

Walker Guevara: When it's been a week or two and I haven't seen them in our encrypted forum, I ask them and they usually are like, "Well I just found this, I wasn't sure what to do." Then I encourage them to share it because Süddeutsche Zeitung was sharing all 11.5 million records with all of us. That's how generous they were.

It's just having these conversations and making them understand you cannot treat this data as your own property. Sometimes they called me a "cat herder."

They all decided to ignore news along the way.

Walker Guevara: When news on FIFA was breaking, well we had a ton of information on FIFA. But we didn't publish of course. There was also the huge corruption scandal in Brazil. We had more than 100 offshore companies linked to the biggest characters in that case and we couldn't publish.

Because part of our model is that we all publish together. That's because we want to create a commotion when we publish. We want to have global impact. We don't want the story to drip and to start turning out in little pieces that make the news for one day or two in a country and then go away.

Some of these journalists sometimes had to keep details quiet from their own bosses because to make sure that nobody got too excited and would be under pressure to publish.

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Previously in the Panama Papers:
* The Panama Papers: Remarkable Global Media Collaboration Cracks Walls Of Offshore Tax Haven Secrecy.

* The Panama Papers: Prosecutors Open Probes.

* The [Monday] Papers.

* Adventures In Tax Avoidance.

* Mossack Fonseca's Oligarchs, Dictators And Corrupt White-Collar Businessmen.

* Jonathan Pie, TV Reporter! They're All In It Together.

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 12:15 AM | Permalink

April 12, 2016

The [Tuesday] Papers

"It has been a decade since [Jamie] Galvan's mysterious death in custody at Homan Square. His family feels frozen in time. An official autopsy report concluded that Galvan, who had been arrested for selling cocaine, had died after ingesting narcotics. Family and friends arrested alongside Galvan, backed by independent forensic evidence, tell a different story," the Guardian reports today.

"Galvan's official autopsy contrasts in significant ways with an independent one the family ordered as part of a failed police brutality lawsuit. Chicago police even gave the media the wrong place of his death.

"But a Guardian transparency lawsuit has revealed Galvan as the second person known to have died in police custody at Homan Square."

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Nearly every family claims their deceased did nothing wrong, or didn't do drugs, or wasn't in a gang, and so on. But please read this - the discrepancies in the reports are stark, and reminiscent of recent events surrounding the Chicago Police Department. The CPD, by the way, again refused to answer a single question. They always do when it comes to Homan Square, and the local media doesn't seem to mind. It's like a don't ask-don't tell zone has been declared around that place by the Chicago press corps because they got beat like a drum - and somehow that means the CPD is mysteriously telling the truth (and only through non-responsive canned statements) about just this one thing: Homan Square.

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Previously in Homan Square:

* The [Monday] Papers: Suddenly, the CPD is a fine upstanding trustworthy institution.

* The Beachwood Radio Hour #46: Explaining Chicago's Black Site.

* The [Wednesday] Papers: Another day, another Guardian story.

* The [Thursday] Papers: John Conroy vs. the Chicago media. Again.

* The Beachwood Radio Hour #47: What Chicagoans Aren't Being Told.

* The Beachwood Radio Hour #48: Carol Marin's Blinders & What Tom Durkin Really Said.

* The [Monday] Papers: Homan Squared.

* Chicago Politicians Push DOJ To investigate 'CIA Or Gestapo Tactics' At Secret Police Site.

* Chicago's Homan Square: Torture By Any Other Name . . .

* Amnesty International Calls For Federal Investigation Of Homan Square.

* The [Wednesday] Papers: Public Hearings Ignored By Chicago Media.

* The [Monday] Papers: Records Document Physical Abuse At Homan.

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'A Machinery Of Denial'
"Chicago police officer Gil Sierra shot three black men in six months and stayed on the force. This is how the city with more police shootings than any other in America circles its wagons," BuzzFeed reports in a long examination of yet another, separate case.

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The way many longtime Chicago residents saw it, the system worked exactly the way it always had. Officers have lied in police reports and intimidated witnesses - and the city's public authorities have protected them.

"These are policies and practices of institutional denial and secrecy so deeply ingrained as normal here in Chicago," said Craig Futterman, a University of Chicago Law School professor who has studied policing in America. "This isn't anything new. This is an entrenched systemic practice. A machinery of denial."

The city government and police have been caught in high-profile lies before. After a police raid killed Black Panther leader Fred Hampton in 1969, local authorities falsely claimed that officers opened fire in self-defense. Police commander Jon Burge tortured dozens of suspects from the 1970s to the 1990s: The city and the department denied allegations, in at least two court cases, that Burge oversaw the beatings and electrocutions, and the denials continued for years before the city apologized in 2015, reaching a $5.5 million settlement with more than 50 victims. There was the Laquan McDonald shooting in 2014: For more than a year, Mayor Rahm Emanuel and State's Attorney Anita Alvarez withheld from the public video footage that conflicted with the statements given by every officer at the scene, who all claimed the 17-year-old lunged with a knife before Officer Jason Van Dyke opened fire.

"You couldn't have the code of silence here if the higher-up police officials, the state's attorney, and assistant state's attorneys, and the judges all didn't work together in one for this to keep going," said Flint Taylor, a longtime civil rights lawyer in the city.

This culture of protection and secrecy begins with police rank and file and spreads throughout the city's institutions. The code of silence in the Chicago Police Department "is more observably entrenched and has been more difficult to break" than at other departments across the country, said Futterman.

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Meanwhile, the city council is working this week on a "one-time exception" codifying Rahm Emanuel's decision to violate ordinance and hire a rank-and-file cop's cop who says he has never seen misconduct in 27 years on the force as the new police chief. Way to meet the moment. Shaking my damn head.

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Whose Ghetto?
Ghettos are created - and maintained.

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Tax Day: Patriotic Millionaires Available For Comment
Traitors to their class.

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Meet The Adler's New Vice President Of Astronomy!
Dude's actually a geographer.

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Breaking: Coffman Concedes On Cubs!
"I've had massive reservations about the way this Cub team has been built. And I've gone on and on about them. Tanking three seasons was not OK with me, especially given ownership's unwillingness to throw fans the tiniest of bones. (Would it have killed ya to knock a buck off the price of a ticket when the team was losing on purpose? We know the billionaire Ricketts family would have somehow survived the financial hit.)

"When people yammered at me about Theo Epstein's glorious 'Plan,' I always pointed out that a big part of it was Ricky Renteria."

But . . .

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Testing, Testing, 1, 2, Inifinity
I had occasion to dig up this 1999 Newsweek cover story - I did the Chicago reporting for it. Quite revealing to look back at it now. Also, several familiar names.

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Follow the Twitter thread to see a little about how far back my own history opposing standardized testing mania goes. (Hint: All the way back!)

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BeachBook

Uber Assigns Its IP To Bermuda, Leaving Less Than 2% Of Its Revenue Taxable By The U.S.

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Target Field Food News The Shirt-Stained, Artery-Clogged Media Won't Tell You.

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Change You Can't Believe In? Coin-Counting Machines May Shortchange You.

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TweetWood

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The Beachwood Tip Line: Take the Lemon Pledge.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 12:27 PM | Permalink

SportsMondayTuesday: Coffman Concedes On Cubs!

I give up. It's time to just be a fan for a while.

I've had massive reservations about the way this Cub team has been built. And I've gone on and on about them. Tanking three seasons was not OK with me, especially given ownership's unwillingness to throw fans the tiniest of bones. (Would it have killed ya to knock a buck off the price of a ticket when the team was losing on purpose? We know the billionaire Ricketts family would have somehow survived the financial hit.)

When people yammered at me about Theo Epstein's glorious "Plan," I always pointed out that a big part of it was Ricky Renteria.

But I was a tiny minority, a fraction of a single percent. During the season after friends and I gave up our season tickets, the season the Cubs declined to compete for a third year in a row, attendance actually increased. That was also the season the team celebrated 100 years of losing by dubbing it a "Century at Wrigley." The lemmings also known as cutesy Cubbie fans wouldn't stop buying tickets.

And then the miracle of a sloppily written contract enabled manager Joe Maddon to opt out of his deal in Tampa Bay and sign on with the Cubs. The team survived more penny pinching at the beginning of last year (sending Kris Bryant to the minors for two weeks despite it being obvious to everyone he was major-league ready so they could theoretically save money on his contract seven years down the road). There was no denying that last year was nothing but a huge success.

So here we are, going on a 108 years without a World Series title on the North Side, and the Cubs have opened the season like a popular World Series pick should, with six wins in their first seven games. They have combined with the White Sox to go 11-3 in the first seven days of the season in Chicago.

The weather even cooperated Monday night with the game time temperature topping 50 degrees and blue skies prevailing after a week-and-a-half of cold rain and intermittent snow. Kyle Schwarber's shocking season-ending injury last week did some damage but the team has continued to post successful results in the big galoot's absence.

It was fascinating to watch the White Sox open the season with three wins in four games in Oakland - a place they couldn't buy a winning series for about a decade before the last few seasons - because the fortunes of the Athletics and the Cubs pivoted after one key trade in the middle of the 2015 season and the teams have headed in opposite directions ever since.

Enough time has passed at this point to declare that Epstein totally fleeced Oakland general manager Billy Beane when he traded him pitchers Jeff Samardzija and Jason Hammel for prospects at that time. The leading youngster in that deal was of course shortstop Addison Russell and there was Russell launching the bomb of a three-run home run late last night to give the Cubs a 5-3 lead they would not relinquish.

Russell is a picture of professionalism at virtually all times on the field and off. He admitted to "pimping" after last night's home run - something he virtually never does - because the circumstances demanded it. He was right.

And so the A's continue to sink toward another last-place finish in the AL West as the Cubs take up residence in the top spot in the NL Central.

As Russell rounded the bases, I could feel myself letting go of some of the animus toward the people who would have you believe the Cubs have played all of this perfectly - that they are the deserving benefactors of an amazing, meticulous plan.

This is a remarkable collection of talented and determined players led by a manager at the absolute top of his game. Time to just enjoy it.

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Jim "Coach" Coffman is our case of the Mondays, except when he writes on Tuesday. He welcomes your comments.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 9:38 AM | Permalink

Whose Ghetto?

"The consequences of ghettoization provided an apparent justification for the original condition," sociologist Mitchell Duneier writes in his new book, Ghetto: The Invention of a Place, the History of an Idea.

Or as Khalil Gibran Muhammad writes in The New York Times: "This 'pernicious circular logic' - using ghetto squalor, brought about by segregation and neglect, to justify more segregation and neglect - would characterize approaches to the ghetto for centuries after."

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"Contrary to contemporary understanding, Jews - not African Americans - are the original "ghettoized people," he writes, noting that most of his students these days have no clue. "The link between blacks and the ghetto has been around for less than 10 percent of the term's 500-year ­history . . .

The metaphor of African-Americans as "America's Jews" started in 1945 with the publication of Black Metropolis: A Study of Negro Life in a Northern City, by Horace Cayton and St. Clair Drake, two black University of Chicago graduate students. They presented a seminal and devastating critique of Northern racism in ­migration-era Chicago, based on an extensive W.P.A.-sponsored multiyear research project led by Cayton. Using imagery of the Nazi ghetto, the authors told of white neighborhoods closed to aspiring black homeowners and renters who "hit the invisible barbed-wire fence of restrictive covenants." Like the yellow badge worn by Warsaw's Jews, Cayton and Drake noted, Chicago's blacks, "regardless of their affluence or respectability, wear the badge of color." And yet black people managed to find cultural agency and build a robust life inside the ghetto, as others had for centuries.

Black Metropolis also observed that African-Americans in Chicago's Bronzeville thought American hypocrisy would have to end with World War II. In light of Europe's horrors, if America wanted to be a true beacon of democracy and freedom, surely it would treat its black citizens better than its German prisoners.

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Further:

"[Vaunted University of Chicago president] Robert Maynard Hutchins, publicly supported restrictive covenants, and used university funds to maintain them."

Ghettos are created - and maintained.

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"Philanthropy, ­Duneier writes, is a weak 'substitute for public policy.'"

For one thing, it's not sustainable. For another thing, philanthropy doesn't change the system, it just tries to ameliorate its effects enough to ameliorate the guilt of creating and maintaining a system that results in those effects.

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Duneier has always been of particular interest to me because he spent time in the Tribune newsroom on a special project ("Andrea's Dream;" here's the final installment) while he was at the University of Chicago, in one of many creative moves by then-editor Howard Tyner, whose tenure remains underrated, perhaps because the execution of his ideas often fell short of their intentions (perhaps in part because of a recalcitrant newsroom).

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Duneier also took on Eric Klinenberg's conclusions in Heat Wave. I happen to think Heat Wave is a masterful work that, among other things, revealed the cynicism of Richard M. Daley and his administration at its worst - when public relations was more important than human lives, which is to say, all the time, but even then. The political establishment was never fully held to account, certainly not by the media, which was similarly exposed as disconnected from Chicago's neighborhoods and generally uncaring about waves of fatalities among people they did not know. But so be it, Duneier makes his argument. (I also found Slim's Table to be pretty rudimentary and unoriginal stuff.)

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Here is Duneier at the L.A. Times Festival of Books three days ago:

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Waiting for someone to write a New York Review of Books essay derived from Ghetto, The Defender and The South Side.

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 5:13 AM | Permalink

At The Adler | Meet The New Vice President Of Astronomy!

The Adler Planetarium is excited to welcome Dr. Andrew K. Johnston as the museum's Vice President of Astronomy & Collections.

Reporting to the Adler's President and CEO, Michelle B. Larson, Ph.D, Johnston will offer leadership to the museum's efforts in astronomy research and engagement, cutting-edge space visualizations, near-space exploration, history of astronomy research, and conservation of and outreach with the Adler's world-renowned collections.

"I'm honored to be the newest member of the Adler team and I feel grateful for the opportunity to enhance the world-class astronomy research and collections," says Johnston. "There are limitless opportunities to connect people with the excitement of space and astronomy."

Before joining the Adler team, Johnston has worked in museums for 30 years, conducting science research and developing new museum programs. He previously worked at the Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum as a geographer, where he researched environmental dynamics and planetary landforms.

His research focused on using remote sensing techniques to investigate land cover changes, forest canopy dynamics, patterns of human settlement, and surface processes on Earth and other terrestrial planets.

He led the development of museum exhibits, programs, publications on Earth and space science, and planetarium programming.

Johnston received his Ph.D in Geographical Sciences from the University of Maryland, College Park.

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The Book
Johnston is the author of Earth from Space.

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The Lecture

In full:

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In seven parts:

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The Other Book/Lecture
Johnston is also one of four authors of Time and Navigation: The Untold Story of Getting from Here to There.

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 4:22 AM | Permalink

Tax Day | Patriotic Millionaires Available For Comment

EVERYWHERE, USA - As Americans across the country finalize their tax returns this week, the Patriotic Millionaires will be available for media appearances and on-the-record interviews in cities across the country.

The Patriotic Millionaires are a group of 200 high-net-worth Americans. They have appeared on hundreds of media outlets here and abroad including The Daily Show with Jon Stewart, the PBS NewsHour, The New York Times, Washington Post, CNN, MSNBC, Fox News, and many others. The appeared on stage with President Obama during his 2012 Tax Day address.


Proudly "traitors to their class," the Patriotic Millionaires are dedicated to ending the wholesale corruption of our tax code and implementing a fair tax system that can adequately fund our citizens' common interests.

Patriotic Millionaires board chair Morris Pearl was the Managing Director of BlackRock, one of the largest investment firms in the world, before leaving to be the Chairman of our Board. Other members include: the founder of Men's Wearhouse George Zimmer, founder of MOMs Organic Market Scott Nash, several Google engineers including employee number 20 and number 59 David desJardins and Doug Edwards respectively, filmmaker Abigail Disney, textile entrepreneur Great Neck Richman, corrugated cardboard mogul Dennis Mehiel and many other high net worth individuals from across the country.

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Plus:

"While the wealthiest taxpayers will gain financially if Republicans and the president successfully extend the Bush-era tax cuts in Congress, a group of millionaires and business owners said they will be disheartened if they pay less taxes next year," ABC News reported in 2010.

"Members of the Patriotic Millionaires for Fiscal Strength, a group of 89 millionaires, petitioned President Obama to allow tax cuts on incomes greater than $1 million to expire at the end of the year, as scheduled.

"Morris Pearl, a managing director with BlackRock and a petition signatory, said he was 'sad' rather than angry at President Obama for agreeing to the proposed tax cuts."

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 4:16 AM | Permalink

April 11, 2016

The [Monday] Papers

"Internal documents from the Chicago police department show that officers used physical force on at least 14 men already in custody at the warehouse known as Homan Square," the Guardian reports.

"Police used punches, knee strikes, elbow strikes, slaps, wrist twists, baton blows and Tasers at Homan Square, according to documents released to the Guardian in the course of its transparency lawsuit about the warehouse. The new information contradicts an official denial about treatment of prisoners at the facility."

The article is the latest in an extensive investigation of nearly two dozen articles that have essentially been dismissed by the local media.

But the Guardian shows no signs of stopping.

"Documents released to the Guardian include the account of a man who died in police custody under questionable circumstances. His family and friends, supported by an independent autopsy that materially differs from the one Cook County performed, believe the police killed him and covered it up. The Guardian will tell his story tomorrow."

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Previously in Homan Square:

* The [Monday] Papers: Suddenly, the CPD is a fine upstanding trustworthy institution.

* The Beachwood Radio Hour #46: Explaining Chicago's Black Site.

* The [Wednesday] Papers: Another day, another Guardian story.

* The [Thursday] Papers: John Conroy vs. the Chicago media. Again.

* The Beachwood Radio Hour #47: What Chicagoans Aren't Being Told.

* The Beachwood Radio Hour #48: Carol Marin's Blinders & What Tom Durkin Really Said.

* The [Monday] Papers: Homan Squared.

* Chicago Politicians Push DOJ To investigate 'CIA Or Gestapo Tactics' At Secret Police Site.

* Chicago's Homan Square: Torture By Any Other Name . . .

* Amnesty International Calls For Federal Investigation Of Homan Square.

* The [Wednesday] Papers: Public Hearings Ignored By Chicago Media.

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The Cub Factor: Home Opener Limericks!
There once was a fielder named Schwarber . . .

The Panama Papers: They're All In It Together
"We hear about how it's people on benefits that are the scourge of our society, but now we finally know it isn't the poor, the disadvantaged, the badly educated, the disabled and the obese that is the drain on our economy, no, it is the rich, the overprivileged, the privately educated."

Prosecutorial Misconduct Rarely Punished
"In each state, researchers examined court rulings from 2004 through 2008 in which judges found that prosecutors had committed violations such as mischaracterizing evidence or suborning perjury. All told, the researchers discovered 660 findings of prosecutorial error or misconduct. Only one prosecutor was disciplined by any oversight authorities."

Chicagoetry: Loon
Unattended packages/Or suspicious activity.

The Weekend In Chicago Rock
Featuring: Savages, Autolux, Chance the Rapper, Famous Dex, Abbath, Mungion, The Symposium, Scarlet Architect, Michael Kiwanuka, The Whiskey Bends, PWR BTTM, Bel-Air & The Burbs, and Michael Graves.

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BeachBook

How An Internet Mapping Glitch Turned A Random Kansas Farm Into a Digital Hell.

This is an amazing story.

Posted by The Beachwood Reporter on Monday, April 11, 2016

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In Syria, CIA-Armed Militias Fight Pentagon-Armed Militias.

Good job, everyone.

Posted by The Beachwood Reporter on Sunday, April 10, 2016

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When A Feminist Pledges A Sorority.

Gross. Includes a student from Illinois.

Posted by The Beachwood Reporter on Sunday, April 10, 2016

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New Treasury Rule Could Make It Easier To Hide Money In The U.S.

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Medium Gentrifies.

Gross. It's like an upscale Chicago Now.

Posted by The Beachwood Reporter on Sunday, April 10, 2016

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The Disaster Of Richard Nixon.

Prolonging the war was an expensive choice. More than 21,000 Americans died in Vietnam after Nixon became president,...

Posted by The Beachwood Reporter on Sunday, April 10, 2016

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Rare, Canceled Beavis & Butt-head Game Surfaces In Chicago-Area Arcade.

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TweetWood
A sampling.

Media coverage at historic high.

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The Beachwood Tip Line: Heating and venting.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 12:55 PM | Permalink

Home Opener Limericks

When we last left you, it was with limericks.

Let's start the season the same way:

There once was a fielder named Schwarber
his parents wanted him to be a lawber
But he played ball instead
Rocks in his head
And then he ran into Dexter Fowler and ruined the season.

There once was a goat who cursed
He said really bad things and worse
He was just misunderstood
Meant to do good
But now Kyle Schwarber needs a nurse

Welcome to town, John Lackey!
Your first start sure was hacky!
We know you like Lester
and don't mean to pester
But this ain't no hacky sacky

Welcome back Jason Hammel
On our dreams you sure did trammel
You're good 'til July
and then just a guy
who can't pitch as well as a camel

There once was Tommy La Stella
He sure seemed like a damn nice fella
But once he's exposed
He'll wilt like a rose
and the Cubs will be low sellas

There once was Jorge Soler
Between his ears was all air
He filled in for Kyle
Was easy to rile
and finished the season an Oriole

There once was a writer named Marty
He sure liked to party real hearty
But his shoulder he tweaked
He'll be out for a week
And he'll come back extra farty

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Week In Review: The Cubs went 5-1 on the road before coming home today for the opener at Wrigley, taking two from the Angels and three of four from the D-backs. They are on a pace to clinch a World Series berth by Friday.

The Week In Preview: The Reds and Rockies come in for three games each to open the Cubs' home season, and that means there's a good chance they could be 11-1 when they head to St. Louis next week.

The Second Basemen Report: Starlin Castro is "scorching hot" far in New York and Darwin Barney is actually holding it down in Toronto. But Ben Zobrist's opening week .483 OBP ain't bad either.

In former second baseman news, Tommy La Stella is playing third and left field. He is missed.

Mad(don) Scientist: Seems like ol' Joe has lost his touch!

Maddon's Next Gimmick: To make Kyle Schwarber feel at home, all players will show up to the ballpark today in doctors' scrubs. Tension broke!

Kubs Kalendar: To honor Jackie Robinson Day on Friday, the Ricketts family will donate 42 cents to Ted Cruz's campaign for every 42 fans in attendance.

Wrigley Renovation: The hotel replacing the McDonald's on Addison and Clark will feature a heritage Big Mac for $19.67, commemmorating the year it was invented.

Over/Under: This was the last entry of last season:

Consecutive days of the offseason that will pass without discussion of where Kyle Schwarber will/should play: +/-.5.

So, same.

Beachwood Sabermetrics: The last entry last season was this:

A complex algorithm performed by The Cub Factor staff using all historical data made available by Major League Baseball has determined that if the Cubs don't win it all in 2016, The Plan didn't work.

So, same.

Touch 'Em All: The Cub Factor archives.

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 11:26 AM | Permalink

The Weekend In Chicago Rock

You shoulda been there.

1. Savages at the Metro on Thursday night.

DeRogatis: Mind. Blown. Again.

"If there is a better band in rock today than Savages, I haven't heard it."

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2. Autolux at the Empty Bottle on Saturday night.

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3. Chance the Rapper at the Chicago Theatre on Saturday night.

Tribune photo gallery.

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4. Famous Dex at the Chicago Theatre on Saturday night.

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5. Mobb Deep at Promontory on Friday night.

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6. Abbath at the Metro on Friday night.

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7. Mungion at Durty Nellie's in Palatine on Friday night.

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8. The Symposium at the Double Door on Thursday night.

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9. Michael Kiwanuka at the Double Door on Saturday night.

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10. Scarlet Architect at Cobra Lounge on Saturday night.

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11. PWR BTTM at Lincoln Hall on Friday night.

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12. Bel-Air & The Burbs at Durty Nellie's on Sunday night.

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13. The Whiskey Bends at the Red Line Tap on Saturday night.

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14. Michael Graves at the Red Line Tap on Sunday night.

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 7:13 AM | Permalink

Chicagoetry: Loon

Loon

Death lurks, not looming.
Breath is a fender
Protecting the works.
Breath

Is a boon, my beloved,
A watchful loon
On a slender heath
Offering no surrender,

The same loon
From a hundred zen koans
Holding vigil

In the shimmering gloam.
Or a fat crow

In a cornfield,
Settled content
On a slanted scarecrow

(Each a crucifix
In grunge).

Death lurks
Like a coward,
Betrays paucity
In its cowering,

Slave to fate,
Chance and kings.

Death lurks in tree shade
And alley shadow,
In eaves and in drains,
In each drop of rain.

On the trains, in
"Unattended packages
Or suspicious activity."

Life is a lark,
The same lark
From a hundred

English pub signs,
Spry and spirited
Given adequate provender.
Breath is wealth.

Death works around
The spring bloom and flirts
With the demi-gods
Through autumn's gloom.

Best lean into
The inevitable
Crowing, larking

And looning.

Death lurks.
Breath is wealth, joy
And tender swoon.

Breath is the burst of it,
An explosion of grace,

A stark moonbeam
In the frosty gloaming,

Though it miss the loon,
Skirt the crow

And hit the lark.
Life booms!

Breath is king.
Death is nothing.

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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 6:36 AM | Permalink

Trial and Error: Report Says Prosecutors Rarely Pay Price for Mistakes and Misconduct

The Innocence Project has released a report alleging that prosecutors across the country are almost never punished when they withhold evidence or commit other forms of misconduct that land innocent people in prison.

The Innocence Project, a nonprofit legal group that represents people seeking exonerations, examined records in Arizona, California, Texas, New York and Pennsylvania, and interviewed a wide assortment of defense lawyers, prosecutors and legal experts.

In each state, researchers examined court rulings from 2004 through 2008 in which judges found that prosecutors had committed violations such as mischaracterizing evidence or suborning perjury. All told, the researchers discovered 660 findings of prosecutorial error or misconduct. In the overwhelming majority of cases, 527, judges upheld the convictions, finding that the prosecutorial lapse did not impact the fairness of the defendant's original trial. In 133 cases, convictions were thrown out.

Only one prosecutor was disciplined by any oversight authorities, the report asserts.

The report was issued on the anniversary of a controversial Supreme Court ruling for those trying to achieve justice in the wake of wrongful convictions. In a 5-4 decision in the case known as Connick v. Thompson, the court tossed out a $14-million dollar award by a Louisiana jury to John Thompson, a New Orleans man who served 18 years in prison for a murder and robbery he did not commit.

The majority ruled that while the trial prosecutors had withheld critical evidence of Thompson's likely innocence - blood samples from the crime scene - the Orleans Parish District Attorney's office could not be found civilly liable for what the justices essentially determined was the mistake of a handful of employees. The decision hinged on a critical finding: that the District Attorney's office, and the legal profession in general, provides sufficient training and oversight for all prosecutors.

The Innocence Project study echoes a 2013 ProPublica examination focused on New York City prosecutors. In 2013, ProPublica used a similar methodology to analyze more than a decade's worth of state and federal court rulings. We found more than two dozen instances in which judges explicitly concluded that city prosecutors had committed harmful misconduct.

Several of the wrongfully convicted people in these cases successfully sued New York City. In recent years, New York City and state have doled out tens of million dollars in settlements stemming from such lawsuits. Former Brooklyn District Attorney Charles Hynes was voted out of office, in part because of wrongful convictions gained through misconduct on the part of his prosecutors or police detectives working with them.

But only one New York City prosecutor, ProPublica's analysis found, was formally disciplined: Claude Stuart, a former low-level Queens Assistant District Attorney, lost his license. He was involved in three separate conviction reversals.

Just as we found in New York, the Innocence Project's report found that appellate judges and others almost never report findings of misconduct to state panels and bar associations that are authorized to investigate them.

"In the handful of situations where an investigation is launched," the report found, "The committees generally failed to properly discipline the prosecutor who committed the misconduct."

The report concludes with several recommendations on how to improve accountability for prosecutors. It suggests, among other things, that judges ought to mandatorily report all findings of misconduct or error and that state legislatures pass laws requiring prosecutors to turn over all law enforcement material well before trial.

But perhaps most powerful is the report's introduction, a 2011 letter to then-Attorney General Eric Holder and two national prosecutor associations. It was written in response to the Connick ruling and signed by 19 people whose wrongful convictions were secured in part by prosecutorial misconduct.

"We, the undersigned and our families, have suffered profound harm at the hands of careless, overzealous and unethical prosecutors," the letter said. "Now that the wrongfully convicted have virtually no meaningful access to the courts to hold prosecutors liable for their misdeeds, we demand to know what you intend to do to put a check on the otherwise unchecked and enormous power that prosecutors wield over the justice system."

According to the Innocence Project, the Justice Department never responded to the letter.

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See also the Chicago Tribune's Trial & Error:

"With impunity, prosecutors across the country have violated their oaths and the law, committing the worst kinds of deception in the most serious of cases.

"They have prosecuted black men, hiding evidence the real killers were white. They have prosecuted a wife, hiding evidence her husband committed suicide. They have prosecuted parents, hiding evidence their daughter was killed by wild dogs.They do it to win.

"They do it because they won't get punished.

"They have done it to defendants who came within hours of being executed, only to be exonerated.

"In the first study of its kind, a Chicago Tribune analysis of thousands of court records, appellate rulings and lawyer disciplinary records from across the United States has found . . . "

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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 6:19 AM | Permalink

Jonathan Pie, TV Reporter! The Panama Papers: They're All In It Together

"We hear about how it's people on benefits that are the scourge of our society, but now we finally know it isn't the poor, the disadvantaged, the badly educated, the disabled and the obese that is the drain on our economy, no, it is the rich, the overprivileged, the privately educated."


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Previously in the Panama Papers:
* The Panama Papers: Remarkable Global Media Collaboration Cracks Walls Of Offshore Tax Haven Secrecy.

* The Panama Papers: Prosecutors Open Probes.

* The [Monday] Papers.

* Adventures In Tax Avoidance.

* Mossack Fonseca's Oligarchs, Dictators And Corrupt White-Collar Businessmen.

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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.

* Jonathan Pie, TV Reporter! TTIP Is Boring Shit.

* Jonathan Pie, TV Reporter! The Truth About Teachers & Doctors.

* Jonathan Pie, TV Reporter! Valentine's Day 2016.

* Jonathan Pie, TV Reporter! On The 'Environment" Beat.

* Jonathan Pie, TV Reporter! Political Theater As News.

* Jonathan Pie, TV Reporter! Charter Wankers International.

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Plus:

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And:

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 6:01 AM | Permalink

Big League Flushers

I picked the right Opening Day.

Was it because I simply couldn't wait four days to see the retooled White Sox? Did I have a premonition that the Sox and Cleveland would play in near-blizzard conditions at The Cell on Friday? Or as the featured match-up between Chris Sale and the A's Sonny Gray was too intriguing to pass up. (Gray got the stomach flu, possibly the first sign that luck just might be on the Sox side this season.)

No, I just happened to be a lot closer to Oakland than Chicago last week, and I'd never seen a White Sox road opener. Nor had I ever visited the, ah, Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum. I mean, the O.co Coliseum. Correction: the Oakland Coliseum. Possibly Overstock.com didn't pay its bills. Hence the new moniker for the decrepit stadium, built in 1966 for football.

Whatever they call it - since the A's moved to Oakland in 1968, the place also has been the Network Associates Coliseum and the McAfee Coliseum, a salute to nearby Silicon Valley - this is not the place where baseball should be played. You might even declare the venue off limits to children 12 and under.

The plumbing problems at the home of the A's are notorious. I visited the men's room just once to find the Wrigley-like troughs still in vogue. After a June game in 2013, the A's and Mariners were forced to share the locker room of the football Raiders after both systems in the baseball clubhouses were backed up with sewage. The Angels once claimed that E. coli had invaded their training room at the Coliseum.

The cult-like A's fans couldn't care less. No attention is paid to plumbing, bathrooms or sewage. No big deal. This is baseball, and they love their team. A capacity crowd of 35,067 came out last Monday night to watch our White Sox eke out a 4-3 victory, our team's first of four wins last week against two losses. The place was a sea of yellow and green, and the rituals they practiced were in full force. From the drum-beating, flag-waving crazies in right field who have created a folk hero in Josh Reddick to the rehearsed trance that greets closer Sean Doolittle, you have to be impressed with this core of fanatics who are both knowledgeable and frenetic.

(Jimmy Rollins' ninth-inning, game-winning homer off Doolittle on Tuesday night did little to discourage Doolittle's devoted legion.)

Last season the A's and White Sox both attracted slightly less than 22,000 fans per game. Twenty-five teams drew more. Both clubs are second-class citizens, the Sox being runners-up to the Cubs, and the A's to the Giants, who average more than 41,000 a contest across the bay. The Giants have sold out every home game since October 1, 2010. And I'm told the toilets at AT&T Park are big-league flushers.

While our ballclub has participated in the post-season just four times since 1988, Oakland has made the playoffs 12 times, winning the World Series in the earthquake series of 1989. Until the A's faltered to a last place finish in 2015, they were a playoff team the previous three seasons. All with a payroll that never has exceeded $89 million.

Of course, this all has been documented in Moneyball, but observing it firsthand was an eye-opener. It's not so much what's happening on the field. In fact, the A's, the worst defensive team in baseball a year ago, accommodated the visiting Sox with errors and mental mistakes that played a major role in two one-run wins as the season opened.

Despite the ineptitude on the part of the athletes, the fans never stopped making noise. The volume increased at tense moments like when A's pitchers got two strikes on a hitter with men on base. Obviously these folks not only are watching the game, but they also are educated as far as baseball is concerned. What they lack in quantity - Tuesday's attendance was 10,478 - is made up by the quality of their allegiance and knowledge of the game.

Tuesday's contest was noteworthy, not only for Rollins' heroics, but also because the Golden State Warriors had a home game across the parking lot at Oracle Arena. Parking cost $20 for the baseball opener, and tailgaters were out in force. However, the A's sent e-mails to ticket-holders warning them that because of the dual events - to say nothing of the passion the Warriors have created in the Bay Area - parking for Tuesday's game would be $30. Take BART, warned the A's website.

That works alright in terms of arriving in the vicinity of the Coliseum, but the distance along the ramps and corridors leading to the park is enough to qualify for a daily workout. The Warriors drew 20,000 for their overtime loss to the Timberwolves, making one question why both teams were scheduled at home a half-hour apart.

And while we're at it, exiting the Coliseum with 35,000 fellow fans requires time and a level head. There simply aren't many gates leading outside from the dark, foreboding concourses. Being a first-time visitor, panic was at the doorstep. Being jostled by the crowd, I flashed on a similar feeling I once had at The House on the Rock in Dodgeville, Wisconsin, which also requires experience and cunning to escape a challenging maze.

At least the Sox won the season's first two games, but once Gray recovered from his tummy ache on Wednesday, he edged the South Siders 2-1. Carlos Rodon matched Gray's seven innings on a yield of seven hits. The kid looked really tough in a losing cause, walking just one batter while striking out six. Compare that to Rodon's first three starts as a rookie in 2015 when he walked 15 in as many innings.

Before traveling home to Chicago on Thursday, our fellows busted loose in a 6-1 triumph highlighted by Mat Latos yielding just one single to former Cub Chris Coghlan in six innings of work. Latos had a rough spring in three appearances with a 10.38 ERA, but last Thursday he looked like the double-digit winner he was in the National League.

In fact, as a group, Sox pitchers were outstanding in the first week. In 53 innings, they walked only 13 hitters while striking out 52. Their WHIP stands at 1.08.

The promising White Sox offense provided a nice preview on Saturday against Cleveland before Sunday's game was justifiably postponed. Losing 3-2 going into the bottom of the seventh, Robin Ventura's crew put five runs on the board highlighted by Avisail Garcia's three-run homer. It was an impressive outburst and made a winner out of Chris Sale for the second time in the young season.

Forgotten was John Danks' snowy debacle in the home opener. Cleveland had a 5-0 lead after just two innings aided by catcher Alex Avila's throwing error in the first inning that helped the Indians get off to a rousing beginning. The Sox were never in the game, losing 7-1 in front of an announced crowd of 38,019. Considering the outcome and weather, I again was thankful I picked the road opener.

With four wins in their first six games, it is tempting to investigate the last time our athletes were as successful this early in the year. In the famous 2005 season, Ozzie Guillen's crew won six of its first eight. The Sox also matched a 4-2 beginning four times since that World Series season. In fact, as recently as 2013, the team started 4-2, but sadly finished with 99 losses that sad campaign. So getting too jazzed up over the season's start would be folly.

Nevertheless, the early success is a welcome respite from the past few seasons. Jose Abreu and Todd Frazier both have a couple of home runs. Adam Eaton had four multiple-hit games to start the season. No Sox player had done that since Nellie Fox in 1955. The team is 15th in runs scored after being 28th a year ago. As mentioned, with one exception, the pitching has been outstanding.

After a week-long road trip to Minnesota and Tampa, the Sox will return. It will be warmer. There won't be snow and ice. It's entirely possible the team will still be respectable. And thankfully the toilets at The Cell will flush in fine form.

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Roger Wallenstein, who was once Bill Veeck's bar buddy, is our White Sox correspondent. He welcomes your comments.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 5:07 AM | Permalink

April 9, 2016

While Federal DREAM Act Stalls, Some Public Universities Already Welcome The Undocumented

Lupe Sanchez and Jacqueline Delgadillo have a lot in common.

Both were born in Mexico and were brought across the border into the United States as small children, without documents. Both did well in American public schools. And both were given at least temporary protection from deportation under the Obama administration's Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, or DACA, policy, which applies to some undocumented immigrants who arrived before they were 16.

Then their paths diverged dramatically - mainly because of where they live.

IRIS-SCHNEIDER-IMG_6951-960x600-c-default.jpgLupe Sanchez/Photos by Iris Schneider

Sanchez grew up in California, where tuition and financial aid policies encourage undocumented students to enroll at public colleges and help them afford it. She's now a freshman psychology major at UCLA and gets substantial state aid for her tuition and other costs.

Delgadillo's family settled in Georgia, which has some of the most restrictive rules in the nation for undocumented students, even banning them from attending some public universities. She has delayed starting college for two years and now hopes that a private, out-of-state school will accept her and provide her scholarships.

"It's crazy. Being undocumented in Georgia is a totally different experience than being undocumented in California," Delgadillo said. "I do wish I was in California."

Political dysfunction has deadlocked a national DREAM Act that would, among other things, make federal loans available to some undocumented students and make it easier for states to charge them lower in-state tuition at public universities and colleges. But an increasing number of states have already extended those benefits, and even added scholarship support.

The contrast among them, however, illustrates the fractured national picture - and difficult personal dilemmas - facing undocumented immigrants who aspire to go to college.

Some state legislatures and university governing boards continue to be roiled by questions of whether longtime resident undocumented immigrants should be charged sharply discounted in-state tuition rates, or, like out-of-staters and international students, pay double or three times as much. Several lawsuits on the matter are in state courts; in February, the Georgia Supreme Court upheld the higher tuition when it ruled that the higher-education governing board could not be sued by immigrant advocates.

Debate also continues over whether the undocumented, with or without DACA status, should be eligible for state financial aid. That's important because no undocumented students can get federal Pell Grants or, without a national DREAM Act, federal subsidized loans.

Opponents of such aid say it might encourage more illegal immigration, and that public resources are limited.

Missouri, for example, has placed restrictions on tuition discounts and aid to undocumented students at state universities and colleges. In the fall, the state legislature overrode a gubernatorial veto and passed a law forbidding even immigrants with DACA protection from getting scholarships toward community college tuition.

Giving the funds to undocumented students "would be taking money away from everyone else," said Missouri state Rep. David Wood, a Republican who is chairman of the legislature's Joint Committee on Education. "My vote was to take care of those who had legal status in the state of Missouri first."

Advocates for such aid contend it makes no sense to put educational barriers in the way of people who came to the United States as children, and that undocumented immigrants can help the nation meet its goals of increasing the proportion of the population with degrees - goals toward which the nation is falling behind.

Many policymakers seem to agree. The recent trend has been for more states to adopt so-called "tuition equity" allowing the undocumented to pay the in-state rates, according to the National Immigration Law Center, a pro-immigrant organization. All or some public colleges in 21 states offer such equity, a survey by the center found.

At least six states - California and Texas being the largest - provide some financial aid to undocumented students who meet various criteria. Some public universities in others, such as Hawaii, Illinois and Minnesota, offer aid that's paid for by private sources. In states without explicit policies, some colleges quietly create their own "don't ask, don't tell" rules.

"It's definitely been a more positive trend," said Tanya Broder, staff attorney at the immigration law center.

More than 75 percent of foreign-born residents live in states with tuition equity across the board or at some major campuses, Broder said.

While solid national statistics are not available on the impact on this, she said it appears that significantly more undocumented students are studying at state universities than just a few years ago. In California, for example, university officials estimate that 1,100 undocumented students study at the two most coveted campuses, UCLA and UC Berkeley - four times as many as were enrolled before they qualified for state financial aid beginning in 2012.

Just the hope of being able to afford to go to college may help reduce high school dropout rates and create high school climates where "the expectation is that everyone is at least thinking" about applying to colleges, said Broder.

But restrictions seem firmly in place in some states, particularly in the Southeast.

Georgia bans the enrollment of any undocumented students at its top five campuses, including the University of Georgia and Georgia Tech, and charges them higher out-of-state rates at its other campuses - even if they've lived there for the period of time required of other residents.

At Georgia Southern University, that means $9,222 for tuition this year, compared to $2,613 for people recognized as in-state residents. Immigrant students lost their court challenge to this rule.

In the Atlanta area, an organization called the Freedom University offers undocumented young people college-level classes along with SAT prep, college counseling and financial support.

The program is unaccredited, meaning that the credits can't be transferred or used toward a degree. But many of its students go on to attend private colleges, often in other states, that offer financial aid, said Laura Emiko Soltis, executive director.

The result, she said: a "brain drain" out of Georgia.

"It's a loss for our state," said Delgadillo. "It doesn't make sense to me how [state leaders] are okay with so many students going out of state and then contributing to other states."

That's precisely the reason six state senators have given for sponsoring a bill, introduced in January, that would reverse Georgia's restrictions on undocumented immigrants.

When Delgadillo graduated from high school in 2014, she said, she was priced out of public colleges and even a private one in Georgia that offered some aid, but not enough. Her father who works on road construction and her homemaker mother don't have the money to pay for her tuition. So she's been taking classes and getting counseling at Freedom University, working at an ice cream store, and applying to out-of-state private colleges. She hopes to major in communications and media studies.

Many private colleges and universities will admit and award aid to undocumented students. But some categorize them as international students, which means there can be significantly less aid available compared to what U.S. citizens may receive, according to a survey by the National Association for College Admission Counseling.

Meanwhile at UCLA, Sanchez has benefitted greatly from financial aid. Without such help, the UCLA freshman from Los Angeles said she probably would have gone to a community college or worked for a while to save money since her parents - her father is a janitor and her mother is out of work - can't afford to help much.

She said she wishes students nationwide could get similar support.

"They've worked hard and are doing all the right things," she said. "But solely for the lack of documents, they are not able to afford their education."

sanchez2.jpg

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

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 9:10 AM | Permalink

The Weekend Desk Report

"Political dysfunction has deadlocked a national DREAM Act that would, among other things, make federal loans available to some undocumented students and make it easier for states to charge them lower in-state tuition at public universities and colleges. But an increasing number of states have already extended those benefits, and even added scholarship support," the Hechinger Report reports.

"At least six states - California and Texas being the largest - provide some financial aid to undocumented students who meet various criteria. Some public universities in others, such as Hawaii, Illinois and Minnesota, offer aid that's paid for by private sources. In states without explicit policies, some colleges quietly create their own 'don't ask, don't tell' rules."

We're carrying the whole article this weekend, so please see "While Federal DREAM Act Stalls, Some Public Universities Already Welcome The Undocumented."

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The Beachwood Radio Sports Hour #97: Cubs On The Run

Brizzo on the basepaths. Schwarber out! Plus: Latos To The Party; Blackhawks Blues; Bulls Go Out With A Whimpering Screech; Mock Draft Mockery 2.0; Iverson, Shaq and Swoopes!; and The Everton Minute: Nani!

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Weekend Jukebox

Whiskeytown: "Silver Wings" (Merle Haggard/The Knitters cover)

From the 1999 Bloodshot album Poor Little Knitter on the Road: A Tribute to the Knitters.

Says Bloodshot: "The Knitters helped open all our ears to the fact that loving country and loving punk was not nearly as crazy as it sounds."

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The new solo album “Sleep Late” by Gear Daddies drummer Billy Dankert was released today on vinyl and for online...

Posted by Gear Daddies on Friday, April 1, 2016

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Rush: "Vital Signs"

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The Joy Formidable: "The Last Thing On My Mind"

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Weekend Protest

Blocking traffic right now at California and Milwaukee in Logan Square! Our community is not your property market! #LSQNot4Sale #JoeMorenoEscucha #interruptbrunch

Posted by Logan Square Gentrification: Dialogue & Action on Saturday, April 9, 2016

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When We Fight, We Win! Come support our members who have been arrested fighting against displacement! Jail support at Western and Belmont NOW #LSQnot4sale #interruptbrunch #LSQNoSeVende

Posted by Logan Square Gentrification: Dialogue & Action on Saturday, April 9, 2016

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#MorenoEscucha #InterruptBrunch #LSQNot4Sale

Posted by Logan Square Gentrification: Dialogue & Action on Saturday, April 9, 2016

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But TOD!

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The Sound Opinions Weekend Listening Report: "More like H&R Rock: Nothing improves the irritation of filing taxes like a good soundtrack. As we prepare to give back to Uncle Sam, Jim and Greg carry out an audit of the best songs for Tax Day. Then, they review the new album from veteran British rocker PJ Harvey."

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Here's "The Wheel" from that new record, The Hope Six Demolition Project.

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See also "PJ Harvey's Collaborators And Admirers On The Enigmatic Star's Artistic Genius," a fascinating look at her process that fills me with admiration.

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Weekend BeachBook

Take 1 minute out of your day and watch this!

Posted by Anonymous on Friday, March 25, 2016

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Weekend TweetWood

On the 1994 crime bill.

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The Weekend Desk Tip Line: Tip to the line, y'all.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 8:44 AM | Permalink

April 8, 2016

The Beachwood Radio Sports Hour #97: Cubs On The Run

Brizzo on the basepaths. Plus: Latos To The Party; Blackhawks Blues; Bulls Go Out With A Whimpering Screech; Mock Draft Mockery 2.0; Iverson, Shaq and Swoopes!; and The Everton Minute: Nani!


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SHOW NOTES

* Chris Zorich.

* Former Bear Chris Zorich Sentenced To Probation In Tax Case.

* Ex-Bear Chris Zorich Faces New Challenge At Prairie State.

* Chicago Vocational High School.

* Larry Bloom: Mr. Clean Wasn't.

4:15: Cubs On The Run.

* Before coming to the Cubs, Dexter Flower played one year in Houston after six years in Colorado.

* MLB Highlights: "Anthony Rizzo plated six runs and John Lackey earned his first team win as the Cubs topped the D-backs 14-6."

* Baserunning (MLB videos format weird for some reason):

Schwarber to DL:

UPDATE: Out for the year. But he didn't break his ankle!

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* Baez brimmed.

* Cubs Acquire Anthony Rizzo In Trade With Padres.

21:50: Latos To The Party.

* Latos' 1-Hit Outing A Promising Return To Form.

* "Having worked with new Sox catcher Dioner Navarro was one reason the Sox appealed to Latos."

* White Sox clubhouse filled with asbestos.

* Rollins vs. Eaton:

* White Sox Ace First Chemistry Test.

29:49: Blackhawks Blues.

* Hossa, Shaw And Anisimov Not Traveling For Blackhawks Regular Season Finale.

* CBC: Playoff Hockey Drought For Canada's Teams Could Prompt Many Fans To Change Channel.

* Canuck.

47:00: Bulls Go Out With A Whimpering Screech.

* Massively Disappointing Season For Rockets, Bulls.

55:33: Mock Draft Mockery 2.0.

* Peter King and the Nickel Defense.

1:00:30: Iverson, Shaq And Swoopes!

* Sheryl Swoopes, The Female Jordan.

1:04: The Everton Minute: Nani!

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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 3:37 PM | Permalink

The [Friday] Papers

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"When I wrote about the Panamanian law firm Mossack Fonseca in 2014, the company was virtually unknown beyond the world of money-laundering practitioners and specialists, which is just the way the company liked it," Ken Silverstein writes for Foreign Policy.

"My story, which ran in Vice, revealed that Mossack Fonseca had helped an astonishing range of oligarchs, dictators, and corrupt white-collar businessmen hide their loot offshore. Earlier this year, the story was cited in an indictment in Brazil that charged three members of the state oil company, Petrobras, with laundering proceeds abroad.

"Now, thanks to a flood of news stories based on the leak of 11.5 million internal company records - the so-called 'Panama Papers' - Mossack Fonseca has become globally infamous. The records show that the firm helped clients launder cash, evade international sanctions, and avoid taxes. More than 100 politicians - including roughly a dozen current or former heads of state - from more than 50 countries have been implicated in the scandal."

And more is coming.

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About Denny Hastert
Who knew what when?

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Also, regarding the congressional page scandal . . .

Check out that link for a good review of Hastert's horrible career.

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But good ol' Denny! Just a small town wrestling coach! Like good ol' George Ryan, just a pharmacist from Kankakee!

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Also from back then:

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The Beachwood Radio Sports Hour #97
Is in post-production.

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Beachwood Photo Booth: Logan Bags
Fake plastic trees.

Confirmed: American Bombs Killing Civilians In Yemen
"The 2,000-pound general-purpose bomb, of the American standard Mark 80 series, is the largest of its class. American warplanes typically carry smaller bombs, often in the 500-pound class, in part to reduce property damage and dangers to noncombatants."

#Legacy #NobelPeacePrize

The Week In Chicago Rock
Featuring: The Joy Formidable, Quilt, David Gilmour, Iron Maiden, Iggy Pop, Tornadoes, Mangchi, The Count Basie Orchestra, Loco, Lil Herb, Pusha T, '68, Metal Church, Koji, Majid Jordan, A Great Big World, and Parachute.

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BeachBook

Illinois Man Pissed About Text Messages.

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TweetWood
A sampling.

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The Beachwood Tip Line: Wash, dry and fold.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 1:28 PM | Permalink

The Week In Chicago Rock

You shoulda been there.

1. The Joy Formidable at the Double Door on Wednesday night.


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2. Quilt at Schuba's on Wednesday night.

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3. David Gilmour at the big hockey arena on Monday night.

Gendron: David Gilmour was in a contemplative mood Monday at a packed United Center. The Pink Floyd legend, who appear[ed] Wednesday at the Auditorium Theatre before returning to the UC Friday on his first tour since 2006, took an unhurried approach at a concert loaded with musings on existence, death and time. While the slow pace caused lulls in momentum, the patient arrangements underlined the brilliance of Gilmour's guitar playing - a feat that often made everything else happening onstage incidental."

See also: Jeff Elbel's Q&A with Gilmour for Illinois Entertainer.

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4. Iron Maiden at the big hockey arena on Wednesday night.

Spinelli: "August 5,1982 - Iron Maiden headlined Jane Byrne's Chicagofest Rock Stage (supporting the Number of the Beast album) and it was arguably considered one of the single greatest heavy metal concerts by those who attended. The performance was a headache for festival staff, Chicago police, and the opening act, Bohemia, who were pelted with debris by rabid Maiden fans. Nearly 25,000 fans allegedly attended that night (only 5,000 were expected), and Iron Maiden made a special connection with the Windy City which they have held dear all this time - even thanking Chicago on their 1983 follow up album Piece of Mind.

"Fast forward 34 years later and a few lucky Maiden fans paid homage at the United Center Wednesday night as they relived their glory days."

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5. Iggy Pop at the Chicago Theatre on Wednesday night.

Kot: "The show was winding down, and Iggy Pop sounded like he was throwing his long-discarded tuxedo jacket over his shoulder and preparing to wander off into the night, never to be seen again.

"He was performing 'Paraguay,' the final song of what he hints might be his final album, the recently released Post Pop Depression. The song starts off as a punk-rock answer to 'My Way,' one last chin-held-high anthem to resilience and all that sentimental gibberish that Iggy Pop spent a career upending. But about halfway through, the song and the singer were transformed. The dignified farewell became a hilariously obscene rant, in which the bare-chested narrator wielded his microphone like a set of brass knuckles, jabbed at an unseen tormentor and slapped his chest in bring-it-on defiance."

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6. Tornadoes at Beat Kitchen on Monday night.

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7. Mangchi at the East Room on Monday night.

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8. The Count Basie Orchestra at Fitzgerald's in Berwyn on Sunday night.

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9. Loco at the House of Blues on Tuesday night.

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10. Lil Herb at the Vic on Tuesday night.

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11. Pusha T at the Vic on Tuesday night.

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12. '68 at Beat Kitchen on Monday night.

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13. Metal Church at Reggies on Monday night.

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14. Koji at Township on Wednesday night.

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15. Majid Jordan at Lincoln Hall on Wednesday night.

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16. A Great Big World at Lincoln Hall on Sunday night.

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17. Parachute at the House of Blues on Thursday night.

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 10:15 AM | Permalink

Beachwood Photo Booth: Logan Bags

Fake plastic trees.

loganbags.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!
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Ad Deluxe.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Jesus At The Drive-In.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: The Tanks Of Avondale.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Conveyance Belt.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Bonk.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Esquire In The Night.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Nick's Meat Market.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Keep Havin A Good Day.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Knock Knock.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Man At Marie's.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Bonneville.

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 7:43 AM | Permalink

Confirmed: American Bombs Killing Civilians In Yemen

The year-long campaign of Saudi-led airstrikes in Yemen reached a new low last month with a deliberate attack on a marketplace full of civilians that killed over 100, including 25 children, and a new report has found that the bombs that did the killing came from the United States.

2016-04-mena-yemen-05_0.jpgThe market in Yemen that was destroyed by U.S.-made bombs on March 15. (Photo: Amal al-Yarisi/Human Rights Watch)

Human Rights Watch released the report on Thursday. Its findings detailed how the March 15 airstrike on a civilian target was made with U.S.-supplied weaponry, and renewed calls for an embargo on weapons to Saudi Arabia.

"One of the deadliest strikes against civilians in Yemen's year-long war involved US-supplied weapons, illustrating tragically why countries should stop selling arms to Saudi Arabia," said Priyanka Motaparthy, emergencies researcher at Human Rights Watch.

"The U.S. and other coalition allies should send a clear message to Saudi Arabia that they want no part in unlawful killings of civilians."

The rights group spoke to the airstrike's victims and witnesses and showed footage of what it identified as U.S.-made bomb fragments:

The group "conducted on-site investigations on March 28, and found remnants at the market of a GBU-31 satellite-guided bomb, which consists of a US-supplied MK-84 2,000-pound bomb mated with a JDAM satellite guidance kit, also US-supplied," Human Rights Watch wrote. "A team of journalists from ITV, a British news channel, visited the site on March 26, and found remnants of an MK-84 bomb paired with a Paveway laser guidance kit."

"If confirmed, the use of 2,000-pound bombs would reflect a decision by the Saudi-led coalition that carried substantial risks for civilians," the New York Times writes.

"The 2,000-pound general-purpose bomb, of the American standard Mark 80 series, is the largest of its class. American warplanes typically carry smaller bombs, often in the 500-pound class, in part to reduce property damage and dangers to noncombatants," the newspaper points out.

There have been outraged calls for an embargo on weapons sales to Saudi Arabia in response to its bombing campaign in Yemen, most notably from the EU and the Netherlands, but the United States has remained silent and continued to sell weapons to the Saudis.

In fact, the U.S. is deeply intertwined with Saudi Arabia's bombing campaign in Yemen, including "specific military operations, such as providing advice on targeting decisions and aerial refueling during bombing raids," Human Rights Watch says.

Despite that involvement, the U.S. continually argues that it is not responsible for the atrocities committed in Yemen by the Saudi-led coalition carrying out the airstrikes.

Indeed, a spokesperson for the United States Central Command, or Centcom, told the Times on Thursday that the "decisions on the conduct of operations to include selection and final vetting of targets in the campaign are made by the members of the Saudi-led coalition, not the United States."

However, Human Rights Watch argues, the United States' involvement is such that it could be culpable for the Saudis' war crimes. The group writes, "U.S. participation in specific military operations, such as providing advice on targeting decisions and aerial refueling during bombing raids, may make U.S. forces jointly responsible for laws-of-war violations by coalition forces. As a party to the conflict, the U.S. is obligated to investigate allegedly unlawful attacks in which it took part."

"Even after dozens of airstrikes on markets, schools, hospitals, and residential neighborhoods have killed hundreds of Yemeni civilians, the coalition refuses to provide redress or change its practices," Motaparthy argued. "The U.S. and others should pull the plug on arms to the Saudis or further share responsibility for civilian lives lost."

Critics say the United States' lack of concern for civilian lives lost is par for the course: on Thursday another human rights group, Reprieve, called attention to the U.K.'s involvement in the United States' covert drone program in Yemen and its killing of unknown civilians.

An investigation found that "'multiple kills' of named targets are common in the U.S. drone program, with some 1,147 unknown people killed in attempts to target 41 named individuals," the group reports.

"Asked about the issue last weekend," writes Reprieve, "President Obama said that there was 'no doubt' that civilians had been killed by U.S. drones."

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This work originally appeared at Common Dreams and is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 License.

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 6:57 AM | Permalink

April 7, 2016

The [Thursday] Papers

"For months, federal authorities have hinted at the motive behind the hush-money payments former U.S. House Speaker Dennis Hastert has admitted to making: the sexual abuse of a teenage boy when Hastert was still a suburban high school teacher and wrestling coach," the Tribune reports.

"But now, a Tribune investigation has uncovered new details of the case - at least four people have made what law enforcement sources say are credible allegations of sexual abuse against Hastert."

A dogged piece of reporting that was absolutely necessary - as I understand it, sexual abusers rarely have just one victim. Read the whole thing.

*

"The Tribune has determined the identities of three of them, all men, whose allegations stretch over a decade when they were teenagers and Hastert was their coach. One is dead. The Tribune has approached the other two - described in federal court records as Individuals A and D - and confirmed their roles in the case."

How did they do it? Shoe leather.

"Tribune reporters spent 10 months contacting scores of athletes and students coached and taught by Hastert. The Tribune approached some in person to ask about their time with Hastert. Several still live in the Fox Valley. Reporters sent follow-up letters and e-mails to many."

Reporting like this is not glamorous - it's a grind. It takes gumption. And in this case, a mix of strength and sensitivity.

*

Judge Thomas Durkin hasn't made it any easier.

"'If Individual D wants to come in and talk about being a victim of sexual abuse, he's entitled to do so because that informs my decision about the history and characteristics of the defendant,' Durkin said in a mostly empty courtroom, according to a transcript of the late March hearing obtained by the Tribune. 'It's that simple.'

"It was the second time in a week the judge had held a hearing in the case without any public disclosure in advance. The hearing became known only after Durkin posted an order announcing Hastert's sentencing date had been pushed back to accommodate Individual D's schedule, should he appear for the sentencing."

Emphasis mine. In a case involving hush money, the judge is holding hush hearings.

*

Hastert also isn't helping. The article's kicker:

"Hastert's attorneys, at least preliminarily, said they didn't plan to contest any facts alleged by Individual D, according to the transcript.

"With the sentencing hearing looming, a source said Hastert called one of Individual D's relatives, hoping to get a letter to show Hastert had done good things with his life; that letter could help persuade Durkin to give Hastert a more lenient sentence.

"Individual D then made a call of his own. He told federal authorities he would prepare a statement to be used in court detailing what Hastert did to him."

Again, go read the whole thing. I'll be here when you get back.

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Plus 1:

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BeachBook

Fans Excitedly Track Iron Maiden's Plane Landing At O'Hare.

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Here's video - what a smooth landing.

Click through to YouTube for details on the craft.

*

East Dundee's Haeger Potteries Closing After 145 Years In Business.

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See also: 'If You Grew Up In Dundee You Worked At Haeger Potteries.'

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More Haeger.

From 2007:

-

From last summer:

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Home Improvement TV Star Bob Vila Sues Illinois Man He Says Posed As His Agent.

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TweetWood
A sampling.

The historic marquee didn't have Toyota's name on it.

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The Beachwood Tip Line: Still the original.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 8:47 AM | Permalink

April 6, 2016

The [Wednesday] Papers

In January, the Tribune published a giddy story headlined "White Sox Believe Scoreboard Project 'Will Change Game Experience.'"

On Tuesday, the "centerpiece" of the project was unveiled - and the giddy Tribune was there.

But Baseball Prospectus's White Sox correspondent Chris Lamberti has a different, more important take today:

As the White Sox take the field for the home opener this season, new outfield video boards will gleam and sparkle above them, and we will be awed.

The video boards will seem in that moment - in all of their high-definition, altitudinous glory - to be money well spent by the state of Illinois.

But, in that moment, we should also take time to ponder the gift of video boards in the larger context of the politics of state funding for things.

For example, we might ask what kind of world we live in, where we can pay for $7 million worth of state-of-the-art digital technology at the White Sox baseball stadium, but we can't pay for computers in our classrooms?

The answer is that Jerry Reinsdorf has a much better deal with the state than our schools. Illinois ranks lowest among states in education spending, but is near the top in stadium money giveaways (to my knowledge, the Sox still enjoy the cheapest rent in the league).

Moreover, the US Cellular Field lease agreement requires the state pay to replace "any obsolete component of the Stadium with more modern replacements which may in the future become in use in at least seventy-five (75%) percent of Major League Baseball stadiums."

Go read the rest.

*

I don't mean to pick on the Tribune - I'm not sure any other local media really picked up on this angle.

For example, Danny Ecker reported the story this way for Crain's in February:

"The experience of going to a Chicago White Sox game is about to drastically change, and it has nothing to do with what's happening on the field.

"The three massive video boards going up this offseason at U.S. Cellular Field are not just a much-needed upgrade from the antiquated dot matrix boards the publicly owned stadium has sported for more than a decade.

"They're also going to allow the South Siders to showcase sponsors, stats and video, and to interact with fans in real time like never before."

Only at the end of his story did Ecker add that "Chicago taxpayers are to thank for the improvement."

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Adventures In Tax Avoidance
"The unprecedented leak of millions of documents - known as the Panama Papers - from tax haven law firm Mossack Fonseca prompted me to pick up an old book on my shelf. Written in 1969, Adventures in Tax Avoidance (with 120 Practical Tax Hints) by Peter Clyne presents 'the adventure' of tax avoidance as a game 'played by experts, locked in a perennial battle with the revenue authorities' team of experts.'"

Seemingly related:

BP Can Take Big Tax Deduction On Big Chunk Of Its Oil-Spill Settlement.

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Zodiac Animal Heads Alert
Ai Weiwei's installation is coming to an end here.

Four Reasons To Watch ONE: GLOBAL RIVALS
"The pressure that comes with being Ben Askren is felt each time 'Funky' steps inside the cage."

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BeachBook

Obama's Most Dangerous Drone Tactic Is Here To Stay.

#legacy #NobelPeacePrize

Posted by The Beachwood Reporter on Wednesday, April 6, 2016

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Union-Hating Retailer Vows To Not Build Store As Long As Obama Is President.

*

United Flight Attendant Uses Evacuation Slide - To Escape Parked Plane.

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Why Therapists Should Talk Politics.

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TweetWood
A sampling.

*

*

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The Beachwood Tip Line: Re-authorized.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 10:45 AM | Permalink

Four Reasons To Watch ONE: GLOBAL RIVALS

Unbeaten ONE Championship Welterweight World Champion Ben Askren returns to action in April against Nikolay Aleksakhin in the main event of ONE: GLOBAL RIVALS.

The event takes place on April 15 at the Mall of Asia Arena in Manila, Philippines, and while seeing the former Olympic wrestler compete is reason enough to tune in, ONE officials have put together quite the card to complement the headlining bout.

Here are four reasons to watch:

1. Can Askren stay undefeated and stop Aleksakhin?

MMA1.JPG

The pressure that comes with being Ben Askren is felt each time "Funky" steps inside the cage. That will once again be the case when he takes on Russia's Nikolay Aleksakhin, who is riding high off a 6-fight win streak.

Fourteen fighters before Aleksakhin have believed with all their heart that they would be the one to defeat Askren or end his unbeaten run, and 14 times, they have failed.

Askren, one of the most well-conditioned athletes in all of MMA thanks to his impressive background in wrestling, just might face someone willing to push him the distance this time around.

Aleksakhin has nine decision victories in his career to go along with six knockouts, and has not been defeated in his last six, which means he has all the tools he needs to defeat the American.

After earning back-to-back first round finishes to start his career with ONE after a successful run as Bellator champion, Askren's lone 2015 bout vs. Luis "Sapo" Santos ended in a no-contest due to an eye poke.

He was scheduled for a rematch, but issues at weigh-ins cancelled that, which means Askren has been out of active competition for quite a while.

2. Who will move up the flyweight ranks: Eustaquio or Subba?

MMA2.JPG

Another intriguing matchup on the night would be the flyweight battle between Geje "Gravity" Eustaquio and Gianni Subba. Essentially, the winner of this bout could very well be the next challenger for Kairat "The Kazakh" Akhmetov's ONE Flyweight World Championship.

Subba is likely right on the cusp of competing for the belt thanks to four consecutive victories. If he can add Eustaquio to his resume, it will be a trademark win for the 23-year-old, and he is not short on confidence that he can achieve that.

However, Eustaquio could leapfrog Subba in the rankings with a win in Manila. "Gravity" first earned himself a shot at Adriano "Black Diamond" Moraes and the ONE title in 2014, but was bested via submission. He might have suffered a split decision defeat last year, but quickly rebounded in 2016 by knocking out Saiful "The Vampire" Merican in January to place himself right back into contention.

3. Is Koji Ando the one to end Lowen Tynanes' perfect record?

MMA3.JPG

Lowen Tynanes has yet to taste defeat over eight professional bouts and four amateur fights, meaning the proud Hawaiian is in fine form. But after winning his first four fights in ONE Championship, he will take a huge step up in competition against Koji "The Commander" Ando.

Ando owns victories over former ONE Featherweight World Champion Jadambaa Narantungalag, Zorobabel "Zoro" Moreira and legendary veteran Roger "El Matador" Huerta. He has also shared the cage with current ONE Lightweight World Champion Shinya "Tobikan Judan" Aoki, which means he's got all the right experience and skills to be in the cage with the best.

Should Tynanes find himself on the winning end of this bout, a crack at Aoki and his title could be in his near future, while an Ando win would similarly make a good case for an Aoki rematch.

4. Which prospect takes the next step forward?

MMA4.JPG

ONE Championship is home to some of the brightest prospects in the world of MMA today, and this event is another showcase of just that.

There is a dazzling array of talent that will be on display in Manila, which makes many bouts compelling in their own way. Unbeaten Muin "Tajik" Gafurov returns against Reece "Lightning" McLaren, Martin "The Situ-Asian" Nguyen battles Li Kai Wen, and Joshua Pacio takes on Rabin "The Rock" Catalan.

With the chance to perform in front of a packed stadium before them, each is sure to rise to the occasion and put themselves on the path to glory by going for a highlight-reel finish.

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Previously in MMA:
* Hey Gov, Let Us Have Tito Ortiz!

* The Author Of Thrown Here To Tell Us What Makes Mixed Martial Arts Cage Fighting So Alluring.

* The Rise And Fall Of Ultimate Fighting (And Why Boxing Is Now So Passé).

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 8:50 AM | Permalink

Adventures In Tax Avoidance

MELBOURNE - The unprecedented leak of millions of documents - known as the Panama Papers - from tax haven law firm Mossack Fonseca prompted me to pick up an old book on my shelf. Written in 1969, Adventures in Tax Avoidance (with 120 Practical Tax Hints) by Peter Clyne presents "the adventure" of tax avoidance as a game "played by experts, locked in a perennial battle with the revenue authorities' team of experts."

The rules of the game are provided by the letter of the law, with the judge - and occasionally the decisions made by the Australian Tax Office (ATO) - as referee. Tax law is as much a weapon to avoid paying tax as it is a tool to combat tax evasion. What is legal (and judged to be legal) is legal. Morality, yet alone criminality, has nothing to do with it.

The Panama Papers would suggest otherwise. The experts (tax accountants, lawyers and bankers) and the "game" are present but so too are middlemen with dubious histories. They provide a front, obscuring access to those who profit from these tax avoidance games. Their involvement brings the world of white collar crime together with other more familiar crimes such drug dealing and money laundering.

There is a rich Australian history here. In the 1980s, Adam Sutton wrote on the Bottom of the Harbour tax scandal, a case that resonates with the Panama scandal of today particularly in the rise of dodgy middlemen.

The middlemen need to be put into the context of what allowed them to emerge, he argued. In the Bottom of the Harbour case, courts legitimized questionable tax arrangements that saw an industry in tax avoidance develop.

The schemes, named Currans and Slutzkins after the court cases that approved them, involved shifting wealth into companies. In the case of Slutzkins, making the company liable for tax and, in the case of Currans, watering down shares in a company and claiming the loss in revenue from the shares sold as a tax deduction.

Tax avoidance moved beyond the preserve of the extremely wealthy (who often pay very little tax) to the middle class, as dodgy brokers flooded into a new market opportunity in tax avoidance schemes. These brokers avoided the necessary paperwork and, in the case of Currans, simply gave away companies to the homeless and criminals to obscure the paper trail.

Elegant avoidance became inelegant evasion. When the extent of the avoidance and evasion was exposed, it threatened the legitimacy of governments seen to let tax dodgers free reign whilst Pay As You Earn citizens paid their way. The law reform that followed closed some, but not all, of the loopholes created.

How might we understand the rise of the dodgy middlemen in the case of the Panama revelations? As with the Bottom of the Harbour, there has been an increased supply of tax avoidance opportunities, this time created by the mass marketing of offshore companies that have attracted high custom. At the same time there has been the closure of some loopholes that allowed avoidance.

Banks have been caught out by earlier ICIJ revelations and in response to this pressure, have distanced themselves from setting up these companies. In this vacuum, middlemen with dubious careers have moved in to set them up.

However, banks may still manage the accounts involved. In light of this recent scandal, a key question is whether banks will now cut their ties completely with suspect individuals or whether the profitability involved will mean that new methods of keeping names out of the public eye will emerge. Pressure from the revelations may yet result not only in greater transparency and improved behavior but also a greater effort by banks and others to ensure secrecy in new ways, ways which may consolidate closer connections between tax evasion and other forms of crime.

The capacity of law enforcement to deal with the latter outcome needs close scrutiny. Authorities will have to demonstrate whether any scheme, new or old, can be demonstrated to break the law. At the present time it is not clear how much of the behavior was actually illegal at the time it occurred.

Articles also emphasize the legality of some reasons for setting up offshore companies. As a result, there will be a considerable challenge for the ATO in figuring out exactly who can be made legally accountable for their activities.

This will take years to resolve. The ATO might decide on a path of lesser resistance to get those involved to pay significant amounts of money to them without naming them or any case ever reaching the courts as they did in 2009 with an unnamed High Wealth Individual paying $242 million in unpaid taxes. Secret accounts may yet be met by greater secrecy in law enforcement.

In the world of tax avoidance, public and enforcement pressure can lead down divergent paths. Greater levels of tax may be paid and higher ethical standards achieved in compliance with the law. New avoidance schemes will arise, they are inevitable. Yet, the pressure created may see avoidance pushed towards evasion with greater obscurity in where money is hidden - and by whom.

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The Panama Papers: Australia.

*

The ABC's Four Corners:

Teasers.

*

The show (video and transcript).

-

Fiona Haines is a criminology professor at the University of Melbourne. This article was originally published on The Conversation.

-

Previously in the Panama Papers:
* The Panama Papers: Remarkable Global Media Collaboration Cracks Walls Of Offshore Tax Haven Secrecy.

* The Panama Papers: Prosecutors Open Probes.

* The [Monday] Papers.

-

Comments welcome.

The Conversation

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 7:12 AM | Permalink

Zodiac Animal Heads Alert

The last day to admire the touring outdoor sculptural exhibition "Circle of Animals/Zodiac Heads: Bronze" is April 17.

12 Heads in Place.JPG

The zodiac head installation, which is a recreation of the zodiac clock at Yuanmingyuan, the Garden of Perfect Brightness in China, is currently on display at the Copernicus Plaza located outside of the Adler Planetarium.

Chicago was the14th city to host the12 bronze animal heads that were sculpted by the Chinese political artist Ai Weiwei to represent the Chinese zodiac signs.

The Chicago Park District and the City of Chicago's Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events coordinated to bring the public art installation to Chicago in September 2014, and after a successful run, it will continue on its world tour.

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See also: ZodiacHeads.com.

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There is both a Bronze series and a Gold series.

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In Jackson, Wyoming.

*

In Portland.

*

In Prague.

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 12:36 AM | Permalink

April 5, 2016

The [Tuesday] Papers

Ticket sales were just announced for Andrew Dice Clay, who is scheduled to appear at the Copernicus Center on June 18. Which gives me a good reason to re-up Andrew Dice Trump . . .

dice.jpg

I don't have Photoshop anymore. Can someone insert Trump's face into that image for me?

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Top Kop
"Mayor Rahm Emanuel's newly appointed interim top cop Eddie Johnson's fiancee is a Chicago Police lieutenant named in an investigation into alleged cheating on the department's lieutenant's exam, DNAinfo Chicago has learned."

"It's the same cheating probe that sources said helped derail Deputy Chief Eugene Williams' chances of being promoted to police superintendent. Now the allegations are part of a separate probe, this one by the city's Inspector General Joe Ferguson, sources said."

I don't know that Williams was going to get the job anyway, but let's take a look at the most interesting parts of this report.

* "[Lt. Nakia] Fenner . . . declined in an interview with DNAinfo Chicago to characterize her relationship with Johnson."

Johnson, however, confirmed they are engaged. Why wouldn't Fenner just say, "Yeah, I'm engaged to Eddie." It can't be a secret, can it? And should it be?

(I searched for a registry but didn't find one; maybe the date hasn't been set yet.)

* "Right now all I know is it to be rumor. I don't know if there is an actual official investigation," Johnson said. "Whether or not it's an actual subject of investigation I really can't tell you right now."

I don't doubt DNA's reporting that the IG has opened a probe, but I'm always uncomfortable with reporting about investigations; at this point it really isn't much beyond a rumor as far as we know.

* "I can tell you that Internal Affairs for CPD, we don't routinely handle anonymous complaints," Johnson said.

That's a problem. No investigative unit is a serious one if it doesn't handle anonymous complaints - even more so for a police department where members are all but told to keep their mouths shut. And told! Put that on the list of needed reforms.

* "Johnson said he was aware that his fiancee belonged to multiple study groups, which he said is customary when people prepare for promotional exams.

"Fenner, however, told DNAinfo Chicago she 'did not participate in any study groups.'"

Maybe that's just where she told Eddie she was going every Tuesday night. Also, she doesn't want anyone to know they're engaged. Internal Affairs indeed!

* "Chicago's new interim police boss told reporters that broken trust and 'the few examples of excessive force' have overshadowed 'incidents of courage and professionalism' and 'undermine our department and our relationship with the community . . . 'One of the byproducts of that is one bad cop makes it difficult for all the good cops on this job. One bad act will paint us all in that broad brush.'"

Johnson is clearly of the mind that the department's problems are merely the result of the proverbial bad apples - after all this time and everything the city has been through with the CPD. That is not the mind of a reformer. He is not the change we sought or need. The mayor needs to be asked about this more squarely.

* "Misconduct just simply can't be tolerated," he said.

This from the man who says he's never seen misconduct in his 27 years in the department.

Johnson needs to be asked about this more squarely.

* "Johnson's personal connection a subject of the cheating allegations also casts a shadow on Emanuel's decision to circumvent the Police Board selection process and install Johnson."

What casts a shadow on Emanuel's decision to circumvent the Police Board selection process is Emanuel's decision to circumvent the Police Board selection process. It doesn't appear to be legal, which is probably why Emanuel named "precedent" as a justifier. The media seems relatively uninterested in this part of the story.

* "[T]he mayor publicly has said he has great confidence in [Johnson] as the department works to reduce violent crime and boost morale among the rank and file."

Every new police chief is tasked with reducing violent crime and boosting morale among the rank-and-file. This was a particular moment in Chicago policing, however, that followed the firing of Garry McCarthy amidst the fallout of the Laquan McDonald video and the ensuing U.S. Department of Justice investigation, which was instigated by the broad sweep of misconduct here that has constituted a systemic problem noted in the phrase "patterns and practices." This was a time as much as any other that demanded a police chief pick who would begin the difficult work of changing the culture of the CPD. This was a time when the citizens needed their morale boosted. Instead, Rahm gave us Eddie Johnson, who is, as sports pundits would say about an easily replaceable player, just a guy. (And one "who has no immediate plans to change any crime-fighting strategies," so tell us again then what attributes he has that make him special?)

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Related: Rahm Runs From Laquan McDonald, CTU Action Questions.

Rebel Diaz rolls up on Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel at NYC Airport.

Ñ Don't Stop had the opportunity to do an impromptu interview with Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel after taking a flight together into New York City. He refused to talk to us when questioned about recent CPD murders and The Chicago Teachers Union strike. He said his reason was that he was with his family, yet we asked him what about Laquan McDonalds family? #RahmEmanuel #ResignRahm #RunEmanuel #JusticeForLaquanMcDonald #CTUStrike #RebelDiaz #Crook #ÑDontStop

Posted by Ñ Don't Stop on Monday, April 4, 2016

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This was at LaGuardia airport; Rahm and his wife and daughter were in New York City, as I understand it, to see Hamilton.

And I get it: The man is with his family, on personal time.

But you know what? When you are a public official in a public place, you are fair game. The questions may have been loaded - but no less than the reverse loading of the media who ask their subjects to tell them how great they are - but they were not in any way inappropriate. If Rahm was a better human, he would have answered. He could have easily taken a few minutes to say something like, "Look, no one feels as bad for the McDonald family as I do, and I made a big mistake that I've acknowledged and even gave a speech about. I was wrong and Laquan McDonald should never have been shot - even once - and I made a huge mistake when it came to releasing the videotape. I thought I was doing the right thing, but I was wrong. I feel the burden of that every day, and I will for the rest of my days - that my actions only compounded that family's grief. Now it's up to me to make that mistake mean something in terms of reforming my practices and, more importantly, reforming the police department so things like this don't happen again."

Would that have been so hard?

The fact that he didn't do that speaks volumes about how he doesn't feel that way in the slightest.

He could have even added, "I'm glad you asked me, it's fair to ask me, and I ask for your help going forward."

But that never occurred to him. He had no time to think so he simply acted on instinct, and what we saw was his immediate ugly truth.

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The Panama Papers: Prosecutors Open Probes
"Governments across the world began investigating possible financial wrongdoing by the rich and powerful on Monday after a leak of four decades of documents from a Panamanian law firm that specialized in setting up offshore companies," Reuters reports, with added value provided by the Beachwood.

"The 'Panama Papers' revealed financial arrangements of politicians and public figures including friends of Russian President Vladimir Putin, relatives of the prime ministers of Britain, Iceland and Pakistan, and the president of Ukraine.

"While holding money in offshore companies is not illegal, journalists who received the leaked documents said they could provide evidence of wealth hidden for tax evasion, money laundering, sanctions busting, drug deals or other crimes."

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Villanova Makes Michael Jordan Really Cry
Wild finish by Wildcats takes us to Meme Town.

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BeachBook

Bruce Rauner has spent a lot of time talking about his Turnaround Agenda to local Chambers of Commerce, but how well do they really represent businesses? Not well at all, it appears. Journalists should also take note that what chambers say doesn't necessarily represent "the business community." In other words, let's not grant them an authority they haven't earned.

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The Beachwood Tip Line: Chambered.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 10:25 AM | Permalink

The Panama Papers: Prosecutors Open Probes

LONDON/PANAMA CITY - Governments across the world began investigating possible financial wrongdoing by the rich and powerful on Monday after a leak of four decades of documents from a Panamanian law firm that specialized in setting up offshore companies.

The "Panama Papers" revealed financial arrangements of politicians and public figures including friends of Russian President Vladimir Putin, relatives of the prime ministers of Britain, Iceland and Pakistan, and the president of Ukraine.

While holding money in offshore companies is not illegal, journalists who received the leaked documents said they could provide evidence of wealth hidden for tax evasion, money laundering, sanctions busting, drug deals or other crimes.

Panama1.JPG

The law firm, Mossack Fonseca, which says it has set up more than 240,000 offshore companies for clients around the globe, denied any wrongdoing and called itself the victim of a campaign against privacy. Mossack Fonseca, in a statement posted on its website on Monday, said media reports had "misrepresented the nature of our work."

"We routinely resign from client engagements when ongoing due diligence and updates to sanctions lists reveal that a beneficial owner of a company for which we provide services is compromised," it said.

The law firm added that "excluding the professional fees we earn, we do not take possession or custody of clients' money, or have anything to do with any of the direct financial aspects" of their business operations.

Leading figures responded to the leaks with denials as prosecutors and regulators began a review of the reports from the investigation by the U.S.-based International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (ICIJ).

The U.S. Department of Justice would determine whether there was evidence of corruption and other violations of U.S. law, a spokesman said. A White House spokesman said that "in spite of the lack of transparency that exists in many of these transactions," there were U.S. experts who could find out whether they violated sanctions and laws.

Financial prosecutors in France announced the opening of a preliminary investigation for aggravated tax fraud.

Germany would also "pick up the ball" in the case, a Finance Ministry spokesman said on Monday. Financial market watchdog Bafin is looking into the matter, said a source close to the regulator, which reports to the ministry.

Australia, Austria, Sweden and the Netherlands were among other countries that said they had begun investigating the allegations based on more than 11.5 million documents. Banks came under the spotlight over allegations they helped clients hide their wealth offshore.

In Argentina, political opposition parties demanded an explanation from center-right President Mauricio Macri because he served as a director of an offshore company in the Bahamas related to his wealthy father's business in the past.

In a short television interview, Macri denied any wrongdoing and said the company his father founded was legal.

"It was an offshore company to invest in Brazil, an investment that ultimately wasn't completed, and where I was director," Macri said. "There is nothing strange about this."

In Brazil, where a corruption crisis threatens President Dilma Rousseff's administration, the O Estado de S.Paulo newspaper said politicians from seven parties were named as Mossack Fonseca clients. They did not include politicians from Rousseff's Workers' Party.

Brazil's tax agency said it would verify information about offshore tax avoidance in the documents and could impose fines on undeclared assets in offshore accounts of up to 150 percent of their value.

FORTY YEARS

The documents, covering a period from 1977 until last December, were leaked to more than 100 news organizations around the world in cooperation with the ICIJ.

"I think the leak will prove to be probably the biggest blow the offshore world has ever taken because of the extent of the documents," ICIJ Director Gerard Ryle said.

The Kremlin said the documents contained "nothing concrete and nothing new," while a spokesman for British Prime Minister David Cameron said his late father's reported links to an offshore company were a "private matter."

Pakistan denied any wrongdoing by the family of Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif after his daughter and son were linked to offshore companies.

Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko defended his commitment to transparency after lawmakers called for an investigation into allegations in the documents that he had used an offshore firm to avoid tax. Poroshenko purportedly moved his confectionery business, Roshen, to the British Virgin Islands in August 2014 as fighting between Ukraine and pro-Russian separatists peaked.

"I believe I might be the first top official in Ukraine who treats declaring of assets, paying taxes, conflict of interest issues seriously," Poroshenko tweeted.

Iceland's prime minister, Sigmundur Gunnlaugsson, faced calls for his resignation after ICIJ said he and his wife were connected with a secretive company in an offshore haven. His political opposition filed a no-confidence motion.

"I certainly won't (resign) because what we've seen is the fact that, well, my wife has always paid her taxes. We've also seen that she has avoided any conflict of interest by investing in Icelandic companies at the same time that I'm in politics," he told Reuters TV.

Britain's Guardian newspaper said the documents showed a network of secret offshore deals and loans worth $2 billion led to associates of Putin, including concert cellist Sergei Roldugin, a childhood friend of the president. Reuters could not confirm those details.

Putin's spokesman dismissed the reports as "Putinophobia."

The British government asked for a copy of the leaked data, which could be embarrassing for Cameron, who has spoken out against tax evasion and tax avoidance.

His late father, Ian Cameron, a wealthy stockbroker, is mentioned in the files, alongside some members of his Conservative Party, former Conservative lawmakers and party donors, British media said.

Jennie Granger, head of enforcement and compliance at HM Revenue and Customs, said the government would examine the information "and act on it swiftly and appropriately."

Cameron's spokeswoman declined to comment on whether the leader's family had money invested in offshore funds set up by his father, saying it was a "private matter."

The Australian Tax Office said it was investigating more than 800 wealthy Mossack Fonseca clients and had linked more than 120 of them to an associate offshore service provider located in Hong Kong, which it did not name.

"We regret any misuse of companies that we incorporate or the services we provide and take steps to uncover or stop such use," the law firm's statement said.

Media reports said the leaked data pointed to a link between a member of global soccer body FIFA's ethics committee and a Uruguayan soccer official arrested last year as part of a U.S. probe into corruption in the sport. Mossack Fonseca said it had "no connection or involvement with these matters in any way."

The British-based Tax Justice Network said too many offshore lawyers, accountants and bankers saw it as their role to shield their clients from financial regulations. Director John Christensen said in a statement that the law firm operated with "extreme secrecy and discretion" for their clients, "which was attractive to many clients engaged in tax evasion, fraud, hiding conflicts of interest, and other white collar crimes."

The Paris-based Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, which has pushed for more transparency on taxes, said Panama "must put its house in order." OECD said it had warned G20 finance ministers before the leaks that Panama was backtracking on a commitment to share information on accounts with other governments.

"The consequences of Panama's failure to meet the international tax transparency standards are now out there in full public view," OECD Secretary General Angel Gurria said in a statement.

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Additional reporting by Andreas Kroener in Frankfurt and Matthias Sobolewski in Berlin.

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Previously: The Panama Papers: Remarkable Global Media Collaboration Cracks Walls Of Offshore Tax Haven Secrecy.

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 7:23 AM | Permalink

Villanova Makes Michael Jordan Really Cry

Kris Jenkins buried a buzzer-beating three-pointer to lift Villanova to a thrilling 77-74 upset victory over North Carolina in the U.S. college basketball championship game in Houston on Monday.

It was a fitting end to a springtime single-elimination competition known affectionately as 'March Madness' for its regular upsets and last-second victories.

Jenkins' jump shot from distance splashed through the hoop with no time left on the clock, five seconds after Marcus Paige had rattled in an off-balance heave from outside the arc for the Tar Heels to tie the NCAA Final at 74-74.

The victory gave the Philadelphia-area university a second national title, adding to a 1985 upset victory over Georgetown.

Back-up guard Phil Booth led the winners with 20 points, hitting six-of-seven shots with backcourt mate Ryan Arcidiacono adding 16. Paige led North Carolina with 21 points with his fellow guard Joel Berry scoring 20.

Top seeds North Carolina, a double-digit winner in each of their five games en route to the final, held a 39-34 halftime lead in pursuit of a sixth title but the Wildcats battled back, going on a 33-16 run to forge a 10-point lead with 5:29 left.

Second seeds Villanova were denied a stroll to the finish by the desperate Tar Heels, whose fan section featured more than 50 former players, including Hall of Famer Michael Jordan, who as a freshman hit the winning shot in their 1982 title victory.

Using superior size to shut down access to the hoop, North Carolina (33-7) staged a fierce comeback, capped by Paige's desperation three-pointer that seemed likely to send the game to overtime.

However, senior guard Arcidiacono raced down the court and shoveled a pass to an open Jenkins, who pulled the trigger on a classic game-winner that sent ecstatic Villanova (35-5) players into a heap on the floor as confetti rained down.

After Paige's electric, game-tying three-pointer, Villanova coach Jay Wright called time to set up their final play.

"We put it in Arch's hands," Wright said. "It's Arch's job to make a decision. Arch made the perfect pass and Kris Jenkins lives for that moment."

Jenkins, nicknamed the Big Smooth, said: "I think every shot is going in. So that one was no different."

Arcidiacono, named the Final Four's Most Outstanding Player, said: "It's an unbelievable way to go out. That's just something that everyone dreams about."

Teary-eyed North Carolina coach Roy Williams said: "I've been a head coach for 28 years and the worst thing is, with a loss like this I feel so inadequate because I don't know how to make it better."

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Highlights and post-game press conference.

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See also:

* North Carolina Savaged By Crying Michael Jordan Memes After Loss To Villanova.

* It Looks Like Someone Slugged UNC's Mascot After The Championship-Winning Shot.

* Here's Every Angle And Every Call Of Villanova's NCAA Tournament-Winning Buzzer-Beater.

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TweetTown:

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 5:20 AM | Permalink

April 4, 2016

The [Monday] Papers

First, about that wacky weekend weather: It was perfectly normal. Please file away for next year.

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Now, to the Panama Papers:

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See also: The Panama Papers: Remarkable Global Media Collaboration Cracks Walls Of Offshore Tax Haven Secrecy.

Noted: This is the third such leak, though undoubtedly the largest.

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Previously:

* Offshoring By 29 Companies Costs Illinois $1.2 Billion Annually.

* Part Of Bruce Rauner's Fortune Located In Caribbean Tax Haven.

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Opening Day
* Coffman: Harshing The Cubs' Buzz.

* Wallenstein: Mustard, Lemonade & Red Bull.

* Rhodes: Blue Jays over Diamondbacks in the 2016 World Series.

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At The Art Institute: The First Gay Male Supermodel
Old dude's teenage lover.

Charter Wankers International
In Jonathan Pie, TV Reporter!

The Weekend In Chicago Rock
Featuring: The Run Around, Willy Dynamite, Cheap Trick, Cloud Cult, Famous Dex and Lil Yachty, 2Cellos, Slaves, Deal's Gone Bad, and Plini.

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BeachBook

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I don't have a problem with native advertising/sponsored content - as long as it's properly labeled so as to not allow a...

Posted by The Beachwood Reporter on Sunday, April 3, 2016

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Ted Glasser, my undergraduate journalism advisor at the University of Minnesota (now at Stanford), is in this one.

Posted by The Beachwood Reporter on Sunday, April 3, 2016

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Re-upped.

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Headline should say "DePaul student" but SEO.

Posted by The Beachwood Reporter on Sunday, April 3, 2016

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TweetWood
A sampling.

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The Beachwood Tip Line: Foam free.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 11:35 AM | Permalink

SportsMonday: Harshing The Cubs' Buzz

Everyone picking the locals to go to the World Series, you guys are aware that the Mets' pitching remains the same? And that means it isn't just a little better than the Cubs'? But don't feel bad, North Side Baseball Club. The Mets' pitching is way better than anyone's.

The Cubs have a better lineup but if New York's unbelievably young crew of power arms pitches like it did down the stretch into the postseason last year, having a superior lineup will matter about as much as it did for the Cubs in the playoffs last year.

Now let me also make mention of the fact that, barring big injuries, I don't see how the Cubs don't win at least 90 and make the playoffs. And how cool is it going to be to enjoy a full season of the exploits of young ultra-talented power hitters Kris Bryant and Kyle Schwarber?

Both the Cubs and Mets have the ace at the front of the rotation, of course. Matt Harvey took the loss Sunday night (4-3) in the season opener against the Royals, but he has the stuff and the mindset to lead New York's staff.

And the Cubs have Jake Arrieta, who in the last three months of 2015 only had the best half season of any starting pitcher in the National League since Bob Gibson in 1968. Bob Frickin' Gibson! But then of course the Cubs drop off while New York continues with "aces on any other staff" Jacob deGrom and Noah Syndergaard.

Cubs No. 2 Jon Lester appears to have worked hard on his fielding issues in the preseason. But he apparently still needs a security blanket catcher (David Ross) who can't hit a lick, meaning that every time he pitches, the Cubs essentially go into battle with two-thirds of a lineup. [Editor's Note: 8/9ths of a lineup?]

And oh by the way, just because he worked hard on his pick-off and defensive throws doesn't mean Lester will improve in those areas. He's been lousy throwing to first (when he hasn't just been stone cold afraid to do so) for a long, long time now.

John Lackey is a solid No. 3 but he's running out of time. In the post-steroid era, pitchers like Lackey have gone back to just about always completely running out of gas at some point between ages 35 and 40. Lackey is 37.

And how the hell is Jason Hammel still this team's No. 4? I thought everyone agreed that this spot in the rotation needed to be upgraded? I've got no major beef with Kyle Hendricks at No. 5, but again, Hammel and Hendricks do not measure up well against the Mets' Steven Matz and Bartolo Colon and they really won't match up well against Matz and Zack Wheeler when Wheeler returns from injury. That is projected to happen around the mid-point of the season.

Speaking of injury, of all the pitchers mentioned in the previous six graphs or so, the guy most likely to get hurt this year is Arrieta. When guys increase their total innings pitched by almost 100 from season to season like Arrieta did from 2014 to 2015 (156.2 to 248.2), injury rates skyrocket the year after. Sorry to harsh the preseason buzz there dudes but probability is probability.

Baseball got this one thing right: There is no need for Chicago baseball teams to open the season at home. And so it is great that both the Cubs and the White Sox will start in California today. The Cubs take on the Angels starting at 9:05 this evening.

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See also: The Beachwood Radio Sports Hour #96: Everyone Is Vine Line Now, on which Rhodes asks Coffman: What if the Cubs had Heyward, Zobrist and Lackey in that Mets playoff series last year? Coffman: They'd have lost in 6.

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Jim "Coach" Coffman welcomes your comments.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 10:45 AM | Permalink

The Weekend In Chicago Rock

You shoulda been there.

1. The Run Around at Cobra Lounge on Saturday night.


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2. Willy Dynamite at the Tonic Room on Saturday night.

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3. Cheap Trick at the Metro on Friday night.

Gendron: Cheap Trick Lets Melody And Fun Rule The Night At Metro.

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4. Cloud Cult at Thalia Hall on Sunday night.

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5. Famous Dex and Lil Yachty at the Metro on Thursday night.

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6. 2Cellos at the Chicago Theatre on Saturday night.

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7. Slaves at Bottom Lounge on Friday night.

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8. Deal's Gone Bad at Cobra Lounge on Saturday night.

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Catching up with . . .

Plini at Reggies last Tuesday night.

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 9:49 AM | Permalink

At The Art Institute | The First Gay Male Supermodel

"An international collaboration among the Art Institute of Chicago, the Palazzo Altemps Museum in Rome, and the University of Chicago uses new technologies to make an improbable discovery about two statues from the 2nd century AD."

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See also:

* Antinous: The First Gale Male Supermodel.

* Scandalous Affairs: Antinous And Hadrian.

* Beloved and God: The Story of Hadrian and Antinous.

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BBC: Hadrian's Grief.

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 9:13 AM | Permalink

Jonathan Pie, TV Reporter! Charter Wankers International

Sound familiar?


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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.

* Jonathan Pie, TV Reporter! TTIP Is Boring Shit.

* Jonathan Pie, TV Reporter! The Truth About Teachers & Doctors.

* Jonathan Pie, TV Reporter! Valentine's Day 2016.

* Jonathan Pie, TV Reporter! On The 'Environment" Beat.

* Jonathan Pie, TV Reporter! Political Theater As News.

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Plus:

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And:

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 7:35 AM | Permalink

The Panama Papers: Remarkable Global Media Collaboration Cracks Walls Of Offshore Tax Haven Secrecy

With the Panama Papers exposé, perhaps we can now say the fortress walls of offshore secrecy are finally cracking. Such havens allow corruption and tax avoidance to take place on a massive international scale by some of the richest and most powerful people on Earth. Meanwhile, the poor get poorer.

Western politicians have huffed and puffed about clamping down on offshore havens, but in reality their collective breath would not have knocked over a little piggie's straw house let alone bastions of vested interest. It is thanks to investigative reporters, whistleblowers and an unprecedented international media collaboration that the matter is being forced.

The advocacy group Global Financial Integrity reports that the channelling of profits offshore cost developing countries nearly $6 trillion between 2001 and 2010. As Facebook posters like to remind us, 1% of the world's population owns half the wealth and they like to hoard it.

But finally things may be changing. We are being treated to the third major offshore data leak in as many years. The first was the Cayman Islands tax leak in 2013 that exposed a huge number of major figures worldwide as holding accounts in the tiny island - a British dependency - in secrecy.

Then there was the great HSBC leak, which revealed that the company's Swiss private bank had helped wealthy account holders from other nations to dodge huge sums of due tax. Now it is the turn of Panama - an excellent place to park large sums of money.

The Panama investigation has again featured a network of like-minded journalists in a range of countries. The network has been built up over a series of multinational collaborations. Among the organizations involved are the Guardian and BBC TV's Panorama program, which have a longstanding relationship with the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists, which is at the heart of this operation. The material is reported to have been leaked to the German newspaper Süddeutsche Zeitung from the database of Mossack Fonseca, the world's fourth biggest offshore law firm.

panama1.png

As the cracks appear in the once invincible wall of tax haven secrecy, it must be dawning on the rich and powerful that their privacy is no longer guaranteed. The opening reports of the Panama Papers focus on a $2 billion trail to Vladimir Putin, the president of Russia. But we can expect the coming days to bring revelations about many more people. The last thing the rich and powerful who have offshore bank accounts want is publicity about them. Their questions must be "Where next?" and "Which havens remain safe?"

Secret Banking Paradise

What is important about Panama's financial services industry? If you tap "Panama offshore" into Google you get a long list of adverts offering to set up a Panama offshore (secret) bank account for you.

For those wanting to establish a really secret tax avoidance scheme it is not good enough just to pick one offshore tax haven - say the British Virgin Islands or the Cayman Islands. You need a series of interlocking offshore accounts in different jurisdictions to guarantee anonymity. The British Virgin Islands is good for setting up companies and the Caymans provides extremely discreet bank accounts. Meanwhile Panama is tax exempt and stonewalls requests for company information from investigators in the rest of the world.

Offshore companies incorporated in Panama - and the owners of the companies - are exempt from any corporate taxes, withholding taxes, income tax, capital gains tax, local taxes, and estate or inheritance taxes, including gift taxes.

Panama has more than 350,000 secretive International Business Companies (IBCs) registered - the third largest number in the world after Hong Kong and the British Virgin Islands. Alongside incorporation of IBCs, Panamanian financial services are proactive in forming tax-avoiding foundations and trusts, insurance, and boat and shipping registration. Violation of financial secrecy is punishable by prison.

Panama ranks 14th position on the 2015 Financial Secrecy Index. But it remains a jurisdiction of particular concern. The Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development's Pascal Saint Amans summed up the problem recently: "From the standpoint of reputation, Panama is still the only place where people still believe they can hide their money."

The Tax Justice Network says that "Until now Panama has been fairly indifferent to reputational issues, but the increased attention that Panama receives will inevitably raise concerns among the punters that Panama is no longer able to effectively protect the identity of the crooks and scammers attracted by its dodgy laws and equally dodgy law firms."

TJN says Panama has long been the recipient of drug money from Latin America, plus ample other sources of dirty money from the U.S. and elsewhere - it is one of the oldest and best known tax havens in the Americas. In recent years it has adopted a hard-line position as a jurisdiction that refuses to cooperate with international transparency initiatives.

In Jeffrey Robinson's 2003 examination of tax havens: The Sink: Terror, Crime and Dirty Money in the Offshore World, a U.S. Customs official is quoted as saying:

The country is filled with dishonest lawyers, dishonest bankers, dishonest company formation agents and dishonest companies registered there by those dishonest lawyers so that they can deposit dirty money into their dishonest banks. The Free Trade Zone is the black hole through which Panama has become one of the filthiest money laundering sinks in the world.

The Investigators

The emergence of a multinational network of journalists prepared to take on these secret havens has at its heart the investigative journalist Gerald Ryle, who spent 26 years working as a reporter and editor in Australia and Ireland, including many years at the Sydney Morning Herald and The Age newspapers.

panama2.jpgA quiet spoken man, he uncovered some of the biggest stories in Australian journalism, winning four prestigious Walkley Awards including the Gold Walkley, Australia's highest award for journalism.

While working for the Sydney Morning Herald in Australia, Ryle was told by a source he would receive an significant package which could be the biggest story of his career.

I still remember the day it arrived, there was just the office manager there, I just hugged her and thanked her and walked back to my office. I pulled the package open and there was a hard drive inside.

At first he did not know what it all meant but it became clear that it was an enormous cache of details of confidential e-mails, documents and files from the offshore world. From what could be made of the scattered and vastly disorganized material, Ryle later recalled his thoughts.

I know it is a potential goldmine but I don't actually know what I'm looking at, I'm not sure how valuable it is.

Ryle knew it was information from the secretive offshore world, was authentic and that the next step was to organize extracting the data in some kind of meaningful format. A chance to have access to the resources needed for this type of operation became available when Ryle was offered a job heading the International Consortium of Investigative journalists in Washington D.C.

Founded in 1997, ICIJ was launched as a project of the Center for Public Integrity to extend the center's style of watchdog journalism, focusing on issues that do not stop at national frontiers: cross-border crime, corruption, and the accountability of power.

Teamwork

With the consortium's resources available to him, Ryle started to organize an international effort to structure the information so that journalists worldwide could analyze and find big names and stories from the data on a safe and secure platform in an efficient and ordered way.

Within 24 hours of publication of details of Cayman Island tax havens in April 2013, the Guardian was filled with stories from a collaboration with the International Consortium of Investigative journalists. The tie-up also included the BBC in the UK, Le Monde in France, Süddeutsche Zeitung and Norddeutscher Rundfunk in Germany, the Washington Post, the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation and 31 other international media partners.

According to the ICIJ, 86 journalists from 46 countries used both hi-tech data crunching and traditional reporting to sift through e-mails and account ledgers covering nearly 30 years. One of the biggest hits for the ICIJ was on Azerbijan's president Ilham Aliyev, after he and members of his family were revealed as shareholders in at least four offshore companies. It is against Azerbaijani law to be involved in business while in power. By September 2013, journalists from 190 countries had produced stories from the database about prominent citizens who had hidden offshore accounts.

HSBC Leak

Then in February 2015 a team of journalists from 45 countries opened to public scrutiny secret bank accounts maintained for criminals, traffickers, tax dodgers, politicians and celebrities. Secret documents in the data batch revealed that global banking giant HSBC profited from doing business with arms dealers, the ICIJ reported. The leaked files, based on the inner workings of a Swiss private banking arm of HSBC, related to accounts holding more than $100 billion. They provided a rare glimpse inside the super-secret Swiss banking system.

The documents, obtained by the ICIJ via the French newspaper Le Monde, showed the private banking arm had dealt with clients who were engaged in illegal behavior.

In February 2015, after being informed of the full extent of the reporting team's findings, HSBC gave a conciliatory response, telling ICIJ: "We acknowledge that the compliance culture and standards of due diligence in HSBC's Swiss private bank, as well as the industry in general, were significantly lower than they are today."

Later that year ICIJ was given access to the largest data haul so far - some 11 million documents covering accounts held by the rich across the globe. The follow-up stories are now breaking now and will fill news bulletins for months - maybe years. It is proof - if any were needed - of the need for investigative journalists to hold the powerful to account.

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Paul Lashmar is a senior lecturer in journalism at the University of Sussex. This article was originally published on The Conversation.

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Previously:
* Offshoring By 29 Companies Costs Illinois $1.2 Billion Annually.

* Part Of Bruce Rauner's Fortune Located In Caribbean Tax Haven.

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Comments welcome.

The Conversation

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 6:22 AM | Permalink

Mustard, Lemonade & Red Bull

It's not really the gooey descriptions like "the verdant expanse" or "emerald jewel," the "lush outfield" or the "symmetry of the diamond."

No, it's more like Williams, Mantle, Berra, Aaron, Feller, Ford, Pierce and Minoso, the men who left indelible impressions on the boy.

It's the mustard smell, the iron pipes with layers of yellow paint surrounding the box seats, the non-descript scoreboards listing the results of the other seven games. It's not rap, but the organ belching "Roll Out the Barrel," and Whitey the Field Announcer telling us to "Get your pencils and scorecards ready."

It's the vendor hawking "Hey, Lemonade," and the men in the left field stands stacking an ever-expanding snake of empty beer cups, a live monument representing their prodigious thirsts when no one focused on their ability to drive home.

What's noteworthy is that the games, moments, personalities and milestones of 50 to 60 years ago provide more clarity to someone my age than those of the '80s and '90s when work, family, health and stability interfered with the attention one could pay to the sport. Even now White Sox pinch hitter deluxe Smoky Burgess (1964-67) occupies a clearer presence in my long-term memory than the team's DH in 2005 - it was Carl Everett - when they somehow won the whole shebang.

In a letter to Charles McGrath, the former fiction editor of the New Yorker, Roger Angell wrote, "I think fans still don't have any notion of how hard big-league baseball really is - how the season gets to you. Other sports beat you up - this one happens every day and it grinds you down. It's by far the hardest sport to play at a high level."

Angell wrote those words not so much as an excuse but as an explanation for the edge - be it greenies, PEDs, coffee or Red Bull - the athletes sought/seek to cope with the marathon that unravels for a half-year.

Those of us observing from the seats behind third base or from our sofas might not need the artificial enhancements that the athletes favor, but we are entitled to a few plaudits for beginning yet another journey following the daily happenings between now and the beginning of October. Past experience dictates that we neither get overly enthusiastic nor too despondent at this early stage. We are careful not to buy into the dictum that everyone starts out even when we know that the folks in Milwaukee, Miami, Cincinnati and Colorado will soon be following losing teams. The same could be the case for Oakland where the White Sox open the season this evening. The hope is that our fellows will be a cut above those ballclubs - a healthy cut above.

Instead of Micah Johnson, Alexei Ramirez and Conor Gillaspie at second, short and third, respectively, on Opening Day a year ago, we're sure that Brett Lawrie, Jimmy Rollins and Todd Frazier represent improvement. The former trio, of whom only Ramirez lasted the entire season, hit .244 with 13 homers and 81 RBI. But the current threesome, all regulars the entire 2015 season, accounted for 64 round-trippers and 190 RBI even though their aggregate batting average was a modest .247. For a ballclub that outscored only two of the other 29 teams in 2015, the new faces should provide noticeably more pop.

Free agent Austin Jackson, the 29-year-old center fielder, has a respectable slash line of .273/.333/.732 over his six seasons. His presence means that Adam Eaton can patrol a side field, giving the Sox two outfield defenders who can go get the ball. Let's hope that Melky Cabrera and Avi Garcia don't mess up too badly when called upon to catch and throw. Knowing that only one of them will be in the outfield on most days is a good thing. Of course, Eaton, Cabrera and Garcia often will handle the DH duties, another step up from the departed former National Leaguer who took his bat and son and went home.

The real sleeper in terms of the new guys very well could turn out to be catcher Dioner Navarro. He was an All-Star in Tampa Bay in 2008, and as recently as 2014 as the regular in Toronto, the 32-year-old Venezuelan hit .274 with a dozen homers and 69 RBI in 139 games.

The unpleasant memory of Navarro smashing three home runs - including two at the expense of John Danks - in Wrigley Field on May 29, 2013 as the Cubs drubbed the Sox 9-3 could be assuaged if the switch hitter gets enough playing time on the South Side. In addition, Navarro makes contact. He has struck out a bit less than 14 percent of his plate appearances over 12 years, welcome relief from Tyler Flowers who fanned a third of the time. Now it's up to manager Robin Ventura to play the guy - he also has newcomer Alex Avila - behind the plate or at DH.

While Cactus League games are admittedly only practice, the 51 home runs the Sox hit in spring led the major leagues. So what if the games don't count. That's impressive.

As far as pitching is concerned, the team has just one new face: the oft-injured Mat Latos, who is trying to rebound at age 28 to the effectiveness he showed as recently as 2013 when he went 14-7 for Cincinnati. Ventura can be confident that Chris Sale, Jose Quintana, and Carlos Rodon will keep his club competitive, but we will excuse him if he's a bit testy on days when Latos and Danks pitch. Both need to assert themselves as legitimate major league starting pitchers.

As the season opened the past three years, the Sox rotation included the likes of Dylan Axelrod, Felipe Paulino and Hector Noesi. So there is nothing new about huge question marks, which turned into gaping holes, for starting pitching in the recent past. However, none of the aforementioned trio ever had the success of Latos on their ledgers.

Here's something to contemplate. In the past two seasons, Danks has an 18-26 record and an ERA of 4.73, while Latos is 9-15 with a 4.16.

Meanwhile, there's an unsigned free agent out there whose combined 2014-15 record is 28-18 with an ERA of 3.59. His name is Mark Buehrle. Just sayin'.

The bullpen remains the same, which is pretty good because of closer David Robertson, a healthy Nate Jones, along with lefties Zach Duke and Dan Jennings, and righties Zach Putnam, Matt Albers, and Jake Petricka.

What the Sox need right now is a good start. Last year the club lost its first four games, and they never really recovered. The new faces - Frazier, Jackson, Lawrie and Rollins - have been on winning teams in the past, and they need to contribute to and lead a positive outlook. A winning April will tend to do that.

By the time all of this comes to a close, faces will come and go, the disabled list will have many visits, help may come from places like Charlotte and Birmingham, and Ventura either will experience job security or find at least one foot out the door. Part of the appeal is how it all unfolds. That is the fodder that keeps us interested. If we wish to escape harsh realities in our lives, the daily drama can serve a useful purpose. If the Sox lose today, maybe they'll win tomorrow. For those of us watching from the sidelines, it's not a bad deal.

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Roger Wallenstein, who was once Bill Veeck's bar buddy, is our White Sox correspondent. He welcomes your comments.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 5:39 AM | Permalink

April 2, 2016

The Weekend Desk Report

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The Beachwood Radio Sports Hour #96: Everyone Is Vine Line Now
MAKE. FANBOY. CUBS. MEDIA. STOP. Plus: Our World Series Predictions, In Which Neither Of Us Pick The Cubs; As The Blackhawks Suddenly Turn; The Magnetic Derrick Rose; Bears Sign More No-Name Linemen; Media Mistakes Activity For Genius; Let She Who Generates More Revenue Earn More Money; Cheaters Prosper!; and The Everton Minute.

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Chicago Free Spirit Local TV News: Gangs, Oscars & Money
"In this news show, Free Spirit Media teen journalists at the Gary Comer Youth Center cover several topics relevant to teens' lives.

"Melody Epps and Zaharia Safforld anchor this show featuring topics such as gang activity in schools, the Oscars' lack of diversity, and the dangers of living beyond your financial means."

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The Sound Opinions Weekend Listening Report: "While never achieving the commercial success of its alt-rock peers like Nirvana and Smashing Pumpkins, Eleventh Dream Day has outlasted these bands and remain critical darlings. They join Jim and Greg for a conversation and live performance. Plus, a review of the new album from French electronic band M83."

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Weekend BeachBook

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What do billionaires like Esprit Founder Susie Buell of California, and Sri Lankan lobbyist Imaad Zuberi of California,...

Posted by The Beachwood Reporter on Saturday, April 2, 2016

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Weekend TweetWood

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The Weekend Desk Tip Line: Meow.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 9:26 AM | Permalink

Free Spirit Local TV News: Gangs, Oscars & Money

"In this news show, Free Spirit Media teen journalists at the Gary Comer Youth Center cover several topics relevant to teens' lives.

"Melody Epps and Zaharia Safforld anchor this show featuring topics such as gang activity in schools, the Oscars' lack of diversity, and the dangers of living beyond your financial means."


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Previously in Free Spirit Media:
* Teen Lives Matter.

* 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 8:37 AM | Permalink

April 1, 2016

The Beachwood Radio Sports Hour #96: Everyone Is Vine Line Now

MAKE. FANBOY. CUBS. MEDIA. STOP. Plus: Our World Series Predictions, In Which Neither Of Us Pick The Cubs; As The Blackhawks Suddenly Turn; The Magnetic Derrick Rose; Bears Sign More No-Name Linemen; Media Mistakes Activity For Genius; Let She Who Generates More Revenue Earn More Money; Cheaters Prosper!; and The Everton Minute.


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SHOW NOTES

* Clyde Simmons.

1:06: Kill Cubs Media.

* Totally unadorable bear cubs.

* No way! Classic!

* Make. It. Stop.

* Enough.

* Wacky!

* Red Sox Going With Shaw Over Sandoval.

* Javier Baez Learning Hard Way That Head-First Slides Can Be Costly, We Learn 10 Days After It Happened.

* April Fuld.

* Junior Lake does not make Blue Jays roster.

* SI.com: Scouts' Takes.

* Nationals Assign Tony Campana To Minors Camp.

* Kerry Wood Cubs Field.

* Everyone is Vine Line now.

* Steve's WS Pick: Blue Jays vs. Diamondbacks.

* Jake is a Jerk.

* Jake Arrieta Had 'Tremendous Struggle' With Orioles, Was In 'Constant Tug-Of-War.'

* Is Jimmy Rollins For Real?

* Jim's WS Pick: Mets vs. Royals.

* Taylor Teagarden Suspended 80 Games After Appearing In PED Report.

* Defense matters.

* Why So Many Baseball Experts Whiffed With Last Year's Predictions.

48:40 As The Blackhawks Suddenly Turn.

* Corey Crawford Making 'Good Progress' On Mysterious Upper-Body Injury That Probably Isn't Rehab.

* Haugh: Duncan Keith's Indefensible Action Only Adds To Blackhawks Concerns.

* Breaking: Duncan Keith Suspended Six Games.

58:10: The Magnetic Derrick Rose.

1:02:00: Bears Sign More No-Name Linemen; Media Mistakes Activity For Genius.

1:03:46: Let She Who Generates More Revenue Earn More Money.

1:07:25: Cheaters Prosper!

1:08:35: The Everton Minute: Bold Claim Over Finances!

* "Ardavan Farhad Moshiri is a British-Iranian businessman and investor who resides in Monaco. Moshiri owns and has shares in numerous steel and energy companies in the UK and Russia."

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STOPPAGE: 12:04

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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 7:33 PM | Permalink

The Week In Chicago Rock

You shoulda been there.

1. Rockie Fresh at Lincoln Hall on Tuesday night.


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2. Intervals at Reggies on Tuesday night.

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3. Kitten at Beat Kitchen on Tuesday night.

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4. Angel Vivaldi at Reggies on Tuesday night.

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5. Taka Goto at Bottom Lounge on Wednesday night.

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6. Norma Jean at Beat Kitchen on Monday night.

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7. Gaz Coombes at Lincoln Hall on Wednesday night.

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8. He Is Legend at Beat Kitchen on Monday night.

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9. The Necks at the Constellation on Sunday night.

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10. Vishal-Shekar at the Copernicus on Sunday night.

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11. Counterparts at Beat Kitchen on Thursday night.

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12. Sonata Arctica at the Concord on Monday night.

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13. Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros at the Old Town School on Tuesday night.

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Catching up with . . .

Clearance at Wally's World last Wednesday night.

See also: A Fond Farewell To Logan Square DIY Venue Wally's World.

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Zapruder Point at Transistor last Friday night.

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 10:51 AM | Permalink

The [Friday] Papers

Today in Top Cop:

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Fees FAIL
"Figures from Comptroller Leslie Munger's office show Illinois has spent more than $900 million on late-payment penalties over the last six years because of the state's inability to pay its bills on time," AP reports.

That's only $100 million short of a billion.

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Then again, the state can get it back in a hurry if it makes a blockbuster or gets really lucky.

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Beachwood Photo Booth: Bonneville
And friend.

LOL Chicago Republicans
Fails to understand city sign permitting.

Dangerous Dream Comes True At Bells
Meet Courtney Conlogue.

NBC Sells $1 Billion In Ads For Rio Olympics
Time zone favorable to U.S. viewers.

The Week In Chicago Rock
Is in pre-production.

Featuring: Clearance, Zapruder Point, Rockie Fresh, Intervals, Kitten, Angel Vivaldi, Taka Goto, Norma Jean, Gaz Coombes, He Is Legend, The Necks, Vishal-Shekar, Counterparts, Sonata Arctica, and Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros.

The Beachwood Radio Sports Hour
Is in pre-production.

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BeachBook

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TweetWood
A sampling.

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The Beachwood Tip Line: Bring the broom.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 9:41 AM | Permalink

NBC Sells $1 Billion In Ads For Rio Olympics

NBC, a unit of Comcast, said it had sold $1 billion in national ads for the Summer Olympics in Rio de Janeiro, as the network prepares to broadcast a rare Games where some of the most high-profile contests will air live in prime time for U.S. audiences.

NBC said in a statement on Tuesday that the Games, which start on Aug. 5, were on pace to generate the biggest Olympics advertising sales ever. The $1 billion figure includes national broadcast, cable and digital ad sales, the network said.

"We've surpassed the $1 billion mark four months ahead of (the 2012 Summer Games in) London," Seth Winter, NBC Sports' executive vice president of advertising Sales, said in a statement.

By nature of a short time zone difference between Brazil and the United States, the Rio games will feature more live events such as track and field and swimming than in London, over 17 consecutive nights in August.

U.S. advertisers have already bought out some inventory, but some prime-time advertising is still available on the main NBC broadcast network and cable channels, according to NBC.

The network has not yet revealed its streaming plans for online viewing but said digital ad sales were healthy. Live streaming of events at the 2014 Winter Games in Sochi generated tens of millions of dollars in advertising.

NBC signed on two years ago to pay $7.65 billion for the right to air six Olympic Games from 2022 to 2032 before any other U.S. media company could bid.

NBC and rival networks have been stocking up on live sports content, which is popular with advertisers because large audiences watch in real-time and cannot skip the TV commercials.

"The Olympics' ability to dominate prime time for 17 consecutive nights is unmatched," Winter said.

Official Olympics sponsors spend significant amounts on ad time from NBC, with some even signing exclusive deals that keep other advertisers out of certain categories for the entire Games.

Shares of Comcast were down 0.3 percent at $59.90 in morning trading.

Sponsors have been announcing their rosters of athletes in recent weeks. Citigroup said earlier this month it was sponsoring gymnast Gabby Douglas, beach volleyball's Kerri Walsh Jennings and rugby's Carlin Isles.

Visa, a global Olympics sponsor, is backing swimmer Missy Franklin and fencer Ibtihaj Muhammad, the first Muslim American to complete in a hijab.

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 2:25 AM | Permalink

Beachwood Photo Booth: Bonneville

And friend.

DSCN5883.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!
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Ad Deluxe.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Jesus At The Drive-In.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: The Tanks Of Avondale.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Conveyance Belt.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Bonk.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Esquire In The Night.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Nick's Meat Market.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Keep Havin A Good Day.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Knock Knock.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Man At Marie's.

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 1:30 AM | Permalink

Courtney Conlogue Triumphs With Massive Bells Win

Two years after injuring herself at the break, the Californian surfed her way to a redemptive win.


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See also: Courtney Conlogue Realizes Her Dangerous Dream.

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Plus:

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 1:14 AM | Permalink

LOL: City Of Chicago Threatens The Chicago GOP Over Signage

The Chicago Department of Buildings has issued a "Notice of Violation and Summons" to the building that houses the Chicago Republican Party over a sign the party erected earlier this year. The notice raises a serious question of First Amendment rights.

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The sign, which simply reads "Chicago Republican Party, Chris Cleveland, Chairman," was found to be in violation of a Chicago ordinance that requires that a business first seek permission from the City to display a sign. Such permits, which are normally obtained through sign companies, typically cost $475 including fees and take up to three months to issue.

"What the City doesn't understand is that numerous court decisions prohibit them from regulating political speech in the same way that they regulate commercial speech," said Cleveland. "And a sign announcing that we exist is pretty much the definition of political speech.

"Besides, if we'd waited three months, we would have missed the primary season, when we needed the sign to attract volunteers.

"I'm not going to ask anyone's permission to put up a political sign on private property. I refuse to apply for a permit."

It isn't clear who filed the complaint with the City over the sign.

There are other signs in the vicinity which lack permits, so it appears that the Republican Party's sign was singled out.

There is no allegation that the sign violates any rule other than the one that requires a permit. The sign itself is an unlit, lightweight vinyl banner attached to the side of the building.

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 12:56 AM | Permalink

MUSIC - The Weekend In Chicago Rock.
TV - Cricket vs. Brexit.
POLITICS - Charter Schools Complicit With Segregation.
SPORTS - USA Gymnastics Bans Illinois Coach.

BOOKS - The Randomness Of Harvard Admissions.

PEOPLE PLACES & THINGS - Public Lands Matter.


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