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May 31, 2018

Springfieldhouse Rock: She's Just A Bill

She's just a bill.
Yes, she's only a bill.
And she's sitting there on Cullerton's hill


Well, it's been a long, long journey
To Springfield city.
It was a long, long wait
like the Cubs' World Series,
But I know she'll be a law someday
At least I hope and pray that she will,
But today she is still just a bill.

Girl: Gee, Bill, you certainly have a lot of patience and courage.

Bill: Well, I got this far. When I started, I wasn't even a bill, I was just an idea. Some folks back home decided they wanted a law passed, so they called their local legislators and they said, "You're right, there oughta be a law." Then they sat down and wrote me out and introduced me to the General Assembly. And I became a bill, and I'll remain a bill until they decide to make me a law.

She's just a bill
Yes she's only a bill,
And she got as far as Cullerton's hill

Well, now she's stuck in purgatory
And she'll sit here and wait
While Rahm puts his foot on the brake
And won't let her become a law.
How I hope and pray that she will,
But today she's still just a bill.

Girl: Listen to those legislators arguing! Is all that discussion and debate about you?

Bill: No, that's Rahm and Rauner and John and Michael laughing their asses off about me. Most bills never even get this far, but it was all just a smokescreen. See, there's this thing called the Machine . . .

Girl: Machine?

Bill: Yeah, Machine. It's the bipartisan web of political organizations that control our state and local government.

Girl: Really? Why?

Bill: Greed, power, ego.

Girl: Oh no!

Bill: Oh yes!

She's just a bill
Yes, she's only a bill
And she'll wait forever on Cullerton's hill

Well, then she's off to die
A legislative lie
When she should be on a desk
For the governor to sign

And if the governor signed her, she'd be a law.
How I hope and pray that one day he will,
But today she is still just a bill.

Girl: You mean even if the whole General Assembly says you should be a law, the governor can still say no?

Bill: Yes, that's called a veto. But it won't even get that far because legislative leaders have these things called bricks . . .

Girl: But the GA voted for you overwhelmingly! And so did the people in several referenda! It's not easy to become a law, is it?

Bill: No! Not unless Rahm and Bruce and John and Michael want you to.

But how I hope and I pray that someday she will,
But today she is still just a bill.

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 10:48 AM | Permalink

The [Thursday] Papers

"As the White House's policy to separate immigrant parents from their children at the border continues to fan the flames of the national immigration debate, attorneys with the American Civil Liberties Union said Wednesday that the case of a woman detained in El Paso could be the catalyst for change," the Texas Tribune reports.

U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions announced last month his office was imposing a "zero tolerance" policy on people who enter the country illegally. The policy means that parents caught with their children will go to a detention facility while their children are placed elsewhere. He doubled-down on that pledge this month in separate speeches.

"If you're smuggling a child, then we're going to prosecute you, and that child will be separated from you, probably, as required by law," he said. "If you don't want your child separated, then don't bring them across the border illegally. It's not our fault that somebody does that."

Lee Gelernt, an attorney with the American Civil Liberties Union, said it's not clear how many families have been affected since the policy was announced because "only the government" knows. But he said his case against the federal government would reverse that policy if a federal district judge in California grants a preliminary injunction against the practice.

The Texas case involves a Brazilian referred to only as "Ms. C" in court documents. She arrived at the U.S.-Mexico border last summer and was approached by a federal border agent within seconds, court documents state. She explained she was applying for asylum, passed a credible fear interview, but was subsequently placed in custody after being prosecuted for illegal entry. Her minor son was sent to a facility for unaccompanied children in Chicago. She completed her 25-day criminal misdemeanor sentence in September and was sent to an immigration detention facility in El Paso, the filing states."

Boldface mine. Assignment Desk, activate!

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This February article from the Los Angeles Times (which appears to have run on the Tribune's website, though I can only find it in Spanish, therefore the translated version) appears to be about the same case:

"[T]he case of a Brazilian woman and her child illustrates what immigrant advocates call a harsher approach to immigration enforcement, which aims to separate parents and children.

"Currently, the woman is detained in Texas, while the child was taken to a shelter in Illinois. The unspoken goal, advocates claim, is to discourage parents from crossing without permission or attempting to seek asylum.

"The Brazilian mother - who asked to be identified only as Jocelyn, because she fled domestic violence - entered the United States. last August with his [sic] 14-year-old son, who, he [sic] claimed, was being threatened by gangs. Both expected to apply for asylum . . .

"Jocelyn was charged with a misdemeanor, and her son was transferred to a shelter in Chicago."

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Also from the Texas Tribune earlier this month: Report: After Donald Trump Took office, ICE Transfers Jumped 60 Percent In Most Populous Texas County.

While "sanctuary" policies on immigration enforcement in California and Illinois are getting in the way of the Trump administration's goal of a nationwide crackdown, federal immigration authorities are finding plenty of help in Texas counties, a new report shows.

From January to May of 2017, while the Texas Legislature was debating Senate Bill 4, its own immigration enforcement bill, Texas counties were some of the most compliant when it came to working with U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, according to an analysis released Tuesday by the Migration Policy Institute, a Washington-based immigration think tank . . .

The report states that between Jan. 20 and May 4, 2017 - three days before SB 4 was signed into law - the number of people transferred into ICE custody from county jails was 60 percent higher in Harris County than during the same period in 2016, and there was no record of local officials there declining detainer requests during that time frame.

Though its main focus was on Harris County, the report includes statistics from the 25 U.S. counties with the most ICE detainer requests. In Texas, that includes Hidalgo, Bexar, Dallas, Webb and Travis counties. The report shows that Bexar and Webb counties complied with every detainer request they received, while Hidalgo declined only one. Dallas County officials declined 17 detainers, and Travis County officials declined 130. That's compared to 267 declined detainers in New York City, 161 in Los Angeles County and 80 in Illinois' Cook County, which contains much of Chicago.

Boldface mine, and not just because Cook County contains all of Chicago.

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Also, about a separate case, from earlier this month, this time from the (Chicago) Tribune:

The nightmare began four years ago for Ana and her family, when the brutal MS-13 gang killed her husband in their native El Salvador. The family had been the target of shakedowns and assault by the gang, and the tormenting only continued after the murder.

She and her family left everything behind and fled to the United States in 2015 to escape from the violence, Ana said. They made it only so far.

Immigration authorities detained the family at the U.S.-Mexico border, and Ana's daughter, Yesica, was deported. Ana and her two sons were allowed to stay and apply for asylum. Back in El Salvador, the violence continued for Yesica - she testified that she was sexually assaulted and decided to make another try at entering the United States. But again, she was caught and is being held at a detention center in Texas.

Today, the family members remain separated. Ana, 42, and her sons are in Evanston, living in a church as they wait on their application for asylum to be heard in a Chicago immigration court. Yesica's deportation is imminent, but she is waiting for the Supreme Court to consider a request for a stay that was filed on Friday. The Tribune is not using the family's last name for safety reasons.

Their case has drawn increasing support from advocates and Chicago-area lawmakers, including U.S. Rep. Jan Schakowsky, who has reached out to U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement officials on the family's behalf.

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And how 'bout this one:

In the two decades since Ricardo Rodriguez was convicted of murder, he has maintained his innocence.

This week, the Cook County state's attorney agreed to drop the case against him amid allegations that a discredited police detective manipulated witnesses.

But instead of walking out of prison a free man Wednesday, Rodriguez was taken into custody by federal immigration authorities, adding a new and tragic twist to his story.

Before he was sent to prison for a 1995 murder, Rodriguez was a lawful permanent resident. His status was revoked when he was convicted, his attorneys said.

Now he faces the possibility of being deported despite being freed.

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Another:

Ending a 16-month quest to stay in a country where he was raised and that he fought to defend, Miguel Perez Jr., a veteran with a green card and a felony drug conviction, has been deported to Mexico, where he has not lived since childhood.

U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement confirmed Sunday that Perez boarded an ICE Air Operations flight at Gary International Airport and was flown to Brownsville, Texas. There, ICE officers escorted Perez across the U.S.-Mexico border and turned him over to Mexican authorities.

Perez was deported without the customary warning and opportunity to say goodbye to his family. He had no money or clothes, except for a few items from the detention center, and was left in Matamoros, a border town in the state of Tamaulipas, where the U.S. State Department has warned Americans not to travel because of high crime . . .

On Monday, his mother, his minister and another advocate flew to Tijuana, where Perez is now in hiding, to deliver a suitcase of clothes, shoes, a Cubs baseball cap and prescriptions.

"This is an intolerable way to treat a man who fought bravely for this nation," said Emma Lozano, a minister at Lincoln United Methodist Church who has been fighting Perez's case. "They have left him homeless and penniless in a dangerous place, without food or money or clothes or needed medications."

His mother, Esperanza Montes Perez, said this outcome is no more painful than the past 16 months, which have kept her in constant agony.

"Who will be responsible if my son loses his life over there?" she said tearfully.

Raised in Chicago since age 8, Perez enlisted before 9/11 and served until 2004. He was deployed to Afghanistan and served with the 2nd Battalion, 3rd Special Forces Group.

After his military service, Perez sought treatment at the Veterans Affairs hospital near Maywood, where doctors diagnosed him with post-traumatic stress disorder.

He was supposed to return for more tests to determine whether he also had a traumatic brain injury.

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Previously (including under Obama):

* Immigration Raids Send Chill Through Little Village.

* This Is What A Deportation Raid Is Like.

* Illinois Immigrant, Labor, Legal Leaders Condemn ICE Raids.

* Chicago Activists Tell Undocumented Immigrants Not To Open Their Doors.

* A Shameful Round-Up Of Refugees.

* U.S. Government Deporting Central American Migrants To Their Deaths.

* Tell President Obama To Stop Deporting Refugees.

* Immigrants Arrested In U.S. Raids Say They Were Misled On Right To Counsel.

* Obama Planning Huge Deportation Sweep Of Immigrant Families.

* Immigrants Deported Under Obama Share Stories Of Terror And Rights Violations.

* Chicago Family Sues ICE & City Over Raid, Gang Database.

* Immigrants In Detention Centers Are Often Hundreds Of Miles From Legal Help.

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More Blago Media Malfeasance
"President Donald Trump indicated Thursday he is strongly considering commuting the remaining sentence for disgraced former Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich," Politico reports.

"Eighteen years in jail for being stupid and saying things that every other politician, you know that many other politicians say," Trump said, according to a pool report from Air Force One.

"Blagojevich served as governor of Illinois from 2003 until 2009, when he was impeached and removed from office on corruption charges over allegations he solicited bribes for political appointments, including the seat vacated by former president and Illinois senator Barack Obama after he was elected in 2008.

"He was convicted and sentenced to 14 years in federal prison; Trump misstated the length of the sentence in his comments to reporters."

Politico - like many other outlets, I'm sure - did readers a disservice by correcting the length of Blago's sentence but not the factually incorrect assertion that Blago was in prison because of "being stupid and saying things that every other politician, you know that many other politicians say."

Unfortunately, in America we still can't put politicians in jail for being stupid. If we could, Donald Trump would be serving multiple life sentences.

(And by the way, talk alone can be a crime - threats, for example.)

Blago did more than talk - he took action. Repeatedly. In a pattern clearly designed to trade state action for campaign contributions. That's a fact, no matter what his apologists - many in the media - keep telling you.

And when Politico says, as most media reports do, that "he was impeached and removed from office on corruption charges over allegations he solicited bribes for political appointments, including the seat vacated by former president and Illinois senator Barack Obama after he was elected in 2008," they aren't really getting to the heart of the matter either.

Blagojevich was convicted on evidence including his own voice captured on wiretaps for, among other things, shaking down a children's hospital. Why not include that in your summaries? I doubt much of the public even knows that.

And maybe include that the conviction was upheld at every level by federal courts that essentially laughed at his appeals and noted that he got a huge break on his sentence considering the nature of his crimes.

And finally that the U.S. Supreme Court refused to hear his case altogether.

*

The courts don't always get it right - even up to the Supreme Court - we all know that. And yes, overzealous prosecutors are an issue in our criminal justice system. But the evidence against Blagojevich is so voluminous that there's no honest way to argue that he merely did what every other pol did. That's not to say he didn't do what many other pols do, but they haven't been caught. Either way, Blago's actions remain simply indefensible.

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Finally: Is the strategy of Rod and Patti to directly appeal to Trump smart?

That's the word a lot of pundits are using, but I'd use some different words, such as shameful or deceitful. Or even a phrase such as "lying to the end."

There is absolutely no remorse from those two. In return, they deserve absolutely no sympathy from us.

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Springfieldhouse Rock: She's Just A Bill
Sitting there on Cullerton's hill.

Screen Shot 2018-05-31 at 10.54.29 AM.png

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ChicagoGram

Hey Chicago friends! If you ever wanted to buy my art for cheap(25bux!) or more importantly, see and buy art from an international group of legendary creators... Come out this Friday 6-10 for the opening Of #SlapsShow ! I am honored and humbled to be part of this amazing group show, it's gonna be 🔥🔥🔥! . Here's a #wip of 2 more of my 4 pieces that will be on display 😊 hope you can come out and party with us! This one created with #ink and #screentones ! . . The show will be supporting local organization, I Support the Girls-Chicago. @isupportthegirls Who collect and distribute donations of new/used bras and new, sealed packages of tampons and maxi pads to homeless women and girls across North America (and in 4 locations worldwide). . They'll be accepting donation for feminine hygiene products on site! If you have donations but can't make the show, let me know and I can take them for you! . . MOARR SHOW INFO below! Check out the @slapsshow page for more info and find link to FB event page!! . SLAPS! Is a collection of USPS sticker art from artists around the nation. These, often ubiquitous, "slaps" can be found all over major cities and are often seen as vandalism. For this exhibition, this art form will move from the streets and be placed in an intimate gallery setting to challenge the idea of what is and isn't worthy of "high art" praise. . Location: Casa Calle 20 1538 W Cullerton St Chicago, IL 60608 . Opening reception: June 1st, 2018 6pm-10pm . curated by: @kawaii.suga & @egobooty . . #JG2D #Chicago #artist #traditionalart #art #artistsofinstagram #create #stickerart #usps #prioritymail #slaps . #CCC #PARTYTIME . #chicago #chicagoart #chicagoartists #chicagosaturday #artevent #chicagoevents #artshow #angelsanddevils #godblessamerica

A post shared by JG2D - Joshua Gilley (@gilleyman) on

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ChicagoTube

1960s Blue Angels Airshow In Chicago.

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BeachBook

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TweetWood
A sampling.

This is just such a bizarre - but typical - thing for Baquet to say. Maybe the story is that Trump lies 25 times a day. Maybe that's the biggest story every day. We have a president who is a pathological liar. The impact is vast.

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Trexit.

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This is about right. 🙄

Hmm, homelessness and housing are so boring, what can I do that's . . . hip? I know, scooters!

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Of all the things to get ahead of in a city where more and more people will soon have to live on a scooter because rents are skyrocketing.

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Tiny Scooter Life! Sponsored by Amazon and Malort!

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Even scooters will gentrify, folks. And Joe Moreno is on it!

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The Beachwood Tronc Line: Flash point break.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 4:37 AM | Permalink

May 30, 2018

The [Wednesday] Papers

"Cook County Commissioner Bridget Gainer, who's weighing whether to try to unseat Mayor Rahm Emanuel next year, already has done her part to boost City Hall's finances," the Sun-Times reports.

"Records show that, since 2013, the three vehicles registered to Gainer's Lakeview home have been ticketed nearly 200 times for speed-camera, red-light-camera and parking violations."

Whoa. That hardly even seems possible - I mean, given that Gainer is white.

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"Gainer's family has paid more than $16,500 in fines over the past five years for a long list of infractions the City of Chicago has issued against their 2008 Toyota Highlander sport-utility vehicle and two BMWs - a 2011 BMW 328xi and a 2015 BMW 228xi."

That's a bad look, but let's not jump to conclusions; surely Gainer has a reasonable explanation for what seems from the outside to be gross entitlement and obnoxiousness.

"Gainer wouldn't answer questions about the tickets except to say by e-mail, 'These are family cars and all tickets have been paid.'"

Oh.

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Family cars, but public roads. I mean, it's like saying "These are family knives and the hospital bills of that dude I stabbed have been paid."

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At least she didn't say "I'm juggling a lot like every other working mother."

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The BMWs were not available for comment, but could be seen huddling with Gainer's million-dollar house.

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Game over, Gainer.

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New on the Beachwood . . .

Court Rules Government Officials Who Tweet To The Public Can't Block Users They Disagree With
First Amendment triumphs over Trump. But who will press the matter around here? Assignment Desk, activate!

mrclean.jpg

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Free At Last | A Century Later, The First Black Heavyweight Champion Of The World Is Pardoned Posthumously
After Obama declined, Jack Johnson's Chicago family lost all hope.

johnsonpardon2.jpg

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What Nazi Exhibitions Tell Us About How The Far Right Engages Audiences Today
Welcome to Kekistan.

kekistan.png

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ChicagoGram

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ChicagoTube

Ancient Coins Shine In Chicago Auction

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BeachBook

Common Cause Urges FEC To Enact Stronger Proposal For Disclosure Of Online Political Ads,

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Vitamins Don't Work.

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Park District Pulls Proposal For Floating Water Park At Montrose Beach.

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TweetWood
A sampling.

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Pants on fucking golden fire.

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Apparently what this means is that (T)ronc doesn't think it's worth it to serve up its websites without tracking the fuck out of you.

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The Beachwood Tronc Line: Trexit.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 7:54 AM | Permalink

Court Rules Government Officials Who Tweet To The Public Can't Block Users They Disagree With

President Donald Trump's blocking of people on Twitter because they criticize him violates the First Amendment, a federal judge in New York ruled last week in a resounding victory for freedom of speech and the public's right to communicate opposing political views directly to elected officials and government agencies.

The ruling comes in a lawsuit filed by the Knight First Amendment Institute alleging the president and his communications team violated the First Amendment by blocking seven people from the @realDonaldTrump Twitter account because they criticized the president or his policies. The seven individuals include a university professor, a surgeon, a comedy writer, a community organizer, an author, a legal analyst and a police officer.

The plaintiffs were blocked by Trump on Twitter shortly after they posted tweets to the @realDonaldTrump account that were critical. President Trump and the other defendants conceded that they did so because they disliked the viewpoints the plaintiffs expressed in their tweets. U.S. District Judge Naomi Reice Buchwald ruled that such viewpoint-based exclusion is "impermissible under the First Amendment." The ruling is a win for the public's right to speak out to public officials and engage with other members of the public on social media.

In an amicus brief filed on behalf of the plaintiffs, EFF argued governmental use of social media platforms to communicate to and with the public, and allow the public to communication with each other, is now the rule of democratic engagement, not the exception. As a result, First Amendment rights of both access to those accounts and the ability to speak in them must apply in full force.

"The court ruling is a major win for the First Amendment rights of the public on social media," said EFF Civil Liberties Director David Greene. "Governmental officials and agencies, big and small, at all levels of government, are using social media to speak to the public and allow the public to speak to them and each other. This development has brought democracy closer to the people. But the people's First Amendment rights to see these messages and respond to them must be respected."

See also: When Tweets Are Governmental Business, Officials Don't Get To Pick And Choose Who Gets To Receive, Comment On, And Reply To Them. That Goes For The President, Too.

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Comments welcome.

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1. From Steve Rhodes:

Will anyone press the matter around here? Assignment Desk, activate!

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 7:36 AM | Permalink

What Nazi Exhibitions Tell Us About How The Far Right Engages Audiences Today

For many people, events such as the "Unite the Right" rally in Charlottesville, Virginia, with its torchlight parade, eagle-emblazoned shields and Nazi flags, bring with them uncomfortable reminders of fascist visual culture from the 1920s to 1945.

While individuals and organizations associated with the far right have long appropriated elements from fascist visual culture, the sheer brazenness with which symbols and images were appropriated in Charlottesville, the ensuing violence and the proliferation of photographs and videos depicting these events made the specter of fascism seem disconcertingly close.

If we wish to understand how the far right engages audiences today, it is useful to reflect on how fascist visual culture functioned nearly a century ago - particularly in Germany, where the most virulently racist and antisemitic strand of fascism took hold.

eiermann.jpgA hall designed by Egon Eiermann for the 1937 exhibition Gebt mir vier Jahre Zeit (Give Me Four Years)/Taubert-Neumann

Fascist visual culture is an expansive and heterogeneous field of study, and I make no pretense of speaking for the field in its entirety. But my recent research about National Socialist exhibitions has helped give me an understanding of the complex ways in which fascist visual culture motivated audiences.

Nazi exhibitions are largely known for their role in attacking modern art - a role exemplified by the notoriety and popular success of the Entartete Kunst or "Degenerate Art" exhibition, which reached several million visitors while touring Germany and Austria between 1937 and 1941.

But what is less well known is that many Nazi exhibitions - from exhibitions celebrating economic achievements to those promoting antisemitism - served as sites of formal experimentation for artists, architects and graphic designers to draw upon and reconfigure modernist ideas and practices.

You can see this in the space designed by the architect Egon Eiermann for the 1937 exhibition Gebt mir vier Jahre Zeit, which promoted Nazi Germany's recently announced Four-Year Plan.

As I explain in a recent book, a core motivation for the experimental approaches to Nazi exhibition design was an interest in provoking what I call "engaged spectatorship." This term describes attempts to design exhibitions in ways that beckoned visitors to become involved in wider processes of social and political change.

naziexhibitions.jpg

One such example is the way designers for the 1937-38 exhibition Der ewige Jude (The eternal Jew) used plunging walls, dark lighting and other devices to create a theatrical sense of angst among spectators while viewing images of Jews in order to broaden support for antisemitic policies.

eternaljew.jpg

The concept of engaged spectatorship arguably has implications for how we think about the visual culture of the far right today, even if I do not discuss these implications in the book itself. For example, exhibitions may no longer be a dominant platform for disseminating political ideas, largely because other media have overtaken this function - particularly social media.

But when we think broadly about the visual culture of the far right today - from anti-immigrant posters and Nazi salutes among white supremacists to internet memes that make more cryptic references to fascism - all such examples engage spectators in roughly similar ways as Nazi exhibitions.

On the one hand, they heighten the individual's sense of belonging within a community. On the other hand, they attempt to stoke fear and anger against those excluded from this community based on race, religion, or other criteria.

Virtual Communities

But there's a crucial difference. Whereas Nazi exhibitions brought spectators together in a physical space to create what the German philosopher Walter Benjamin called, in 1936, an experience of "simultaneous collective reception," the far right today places much greater emphasis on virtual communities.

There were certainly attempts to create virtual communities under National Socialism and fascism more generally - above all through radio and film, which complemented audiences' experiences in the physical spaces of exhibitions, rallies and other forms of spectacle. But the virtual communities of the far right today are defined largely by user-driven content. This includes user-created imagery posted with comments to imageboard sites, vlogs uploaded to YouTube, or materials produced by others that users share via various social media platforms.

This user-driven content extends the core interest in engaging audiences. However, it does so in more personalized and dynamic ways that more emphatically break down the distinction between the producers and audiences of content. User-driven content within virtual communities also engages audiences in ways that are more bottom-up than top-down. This gives the feeling of a grassroots movement, even though such bottom-up content is often shaped by governments, political parties or other organizations posting via fake social-media accounts or harvesting social media data to optimize the materials that users see and share.

At first glance, the formal experimentation used in Nazi exhibition design to foster engaged spectatorship might seem antithetical to the imagery generated by members of the far right today, which is sometimes slick but frequently has a clunky, DIY quality. Yet it is precisely this content that constitutes the most disturbingly experimental frontier of the far right's efforts to engage audiences through visual culture. You can see this in the multiple layers of irony, the elaborate meme culture and the mash up of imagery from historical and contemporary sources that define posts on 4chan and other far right-friendly online hangouts.

Welcome To Kekistan

kekistan.pngThe flag of Kekistan, linked to far-right ideas/Blysbane

As one striking example, take a look at the image above. Modeled on a 1935-38 Nazi war flag, this image was posted online as a flag for Kekistan, the fictional country invented by users of 4chan's discussion board. The image has since found its way onto countless banners in political rallies, largely functioning as a way to acknowledge the carrier's support for ideas associated with the far right - all under the guise of playful irreverence and political incorrectness.

kekistantrump.jpgA Trump supporter on May 1, 2017 in New York with a flag of Kekistan/Alec Perkins, CC BY-SA

Seen from this perspective, although the concept of engaged spectatorship was conceived as a way of analyzing Nazi exhibitions, it also provides a springboard for considering some overlaps and differences between the visual culture of the far right today and that of interwar fascism.

Such comparisons, in turn, may help us better understand how visual cultural today continues to encourage individuals to think or behave in ways that advance ideas rooted in nativism and violence. This is vital at a moment when - much like the interwar period - these ideas are rapidly shifting from the margins to the mainstream.

Michael Tymkiw is a lecturer in the School of Philosophy and Art History at the University of Essex. This article was originally published on The Conversation.

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Previously in the Beachwood:

As for Goebbels, I was fortunate enough to have the opportunity to see "State of Deception: The Power of Nazi Propaganda" when it came to the Field Museum. As so often happens, you think you know about something and then you learn so much more. (Even more important to my experience with this exhibit was watching the experience of the kids from Robeson High School whom I was helping to chaperone there. One girl, though, thought Hitler was great. Why? "He fought for what he believed in." I'm so grateful to have witnessed her classmates try to reason with her, starting with the obvious notion that what he believed in was evil. I was proud to stand back and let them hash it out on their own; my involvement, I quickly figured out, wasn't needed, and may have been counterproductive anyway.)

I've taken to YouTube in the last few weeks to study Hitler's speeches, Nazi rhetoric and even (perhaps most fascinating) the words of former German soldiers looking back on their own experience trying to understand what happened.

(Just to note: We're in a moment when both Trump supporters and the Trump resistance are using Nazi references. Let that soak in.)

Editor's Note: What really struck me about that exhibition was how the Nazis had already perfected target/niche marketing, with posters and other materials directed toward particular groups with tailored messages, be it farmers, factory workers, housewives and so on.

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Comments welcome.

The Conversation

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 2:42 AM | Permalink

Free At Last | A Century Later, The First Black Heavyweight Champion Of The World Is Pardoned Posthumously

A century later, a deserving man has been pardoned and his memory and reputation set free.

Thanks to all of those who worked so hard for this day to come, the day Jack Johnson, the first black heavyweight champion of the world, was pardoned for the crime of defying the laws and taboos of Jim Crow and American apartheid.

Johnson was convicted in 1913 of transporting a white woman - his girlfriend, whom he married - across state lines "for immoral purposes."

He eventually served 10 months in federal prison. His spirit, however, stayed forever free.

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As legend goes, a police officer once stopped Johnson for speeding and issued him a $50 ticket. Johnson handed the officer a $100 bill, telling him to keep the change because he planned to return on the same road.

President Trump should be commended for issuing the long overdue pardon. But the struggle to clear Johnson's name has been long and bipartisan. My son, former U.S. congressman Jesse Jackson, Jr., and other members of the Congressional Black Caucus, as well as former Democratic Senator Harry Reid, Republican Senator John McCain, writers, documentary filmmaker Ken Burns, movie stars such as Samuel L. Jackson and Sylvester Stallone, and many others have pushed for the iconic champion to be pardoned.

Yet no one has worked harder for this day than Johnson's great-great niece, Linda Haywood of Chicago.

Over the years, she kept getting knocked down by rejection and indifference to her mission to clear her uncle's name.

Each time she got right back up and returned to the ring. She knew what Jack Johnson knew. The ground is no place for a champion.

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Thanks, Obama
January 2017: No Obama Pardon For Boxer Jack Johnson, And Now His Family Has Lost Hope.

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February 2005: Heavyweight Champion Jack Johnson Didn't Back Down During His 1913 Trial In Chicago When Prosecutors Accused Him Of Violating The Mann Act.

"The Tribune examined a transcript of the trial at the National Archives and Records Administration's Chicago branch. The documents show how Johnson confronted his accusers, particularly under questioning from Asst. U.S. District Atty. Harry Parkin and the defendant's own attorney, Benjamin Bachrach . . . "

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Jack Johnson in the Beachwood:
* On Joe Louis, Race And How Society Treats Its Sports Heroes.

* A Long History Of Protest For Black Athletes.

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Jack Johnson vs. Jim Jeffries, 1910.

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 12:34 AM | Permalink

May 29, 2018

SportsMondayTuesday: Memorial Cubs

There ya go Cubbies. Oh, and Clint Hurdle sucks.

About 18 hours after Tyler Chatwood screamed at himself when it became clear he was going to have another rocky night on Sunday (and that was right after the first inning and therefore before he walked the Giants' pitcher twice in the next two innings), the North Siders had bounced back as well as a team can bounce back to wrap up a highly satisfying Memorial Day Weekend of baseball fun.

Despite Chatwood giving up three in the first, continuing to teeter on the edge in the second and only getting two outs in the third, the Giants would never score again. The bullpen locked it down and the bats led the way to a comfortable 8-3 win.

And then Mike Montgomery threw 5 2/3 shutout innings Monday afternoon as the Cubs cruised to a 7-0 triumph. It added up to a victorious series versus San Fran and a great start in Pittsburgh. The Cubs hit the 50-game mark with 28 wins and are two games behind the scorching Brewers in the loss column. (Whey are also seven behind in wins but there's no need to dwell on that in the middle of a win streak now is there?)

And then attention quickly turned to Pirate manager Hurdle's crying about the Cubs daring to play a little good old-fashioned baseball.

Despite the fact that Hurdle and several Pirates acted shocked that Anthony Rizzo would choose to try to break up a potential double-play rather than meekly slide around catcher Elias Diaz, Rizzo's play wasn't just allowed, it should be celebrated.

And, hang onto your hat, it worked! Diaz did a lousy job getting himself clear of the plate after recording a force and when he threw as Rizzo made contact, he launched it into right field, giving the Cubs a pair of insurance runs.

Hurdle had his tantrum and got tossed and maybe he will fire up his team but Joe Maddon was right on the money when he expressed his displeasure with the play even being reviewed. Rizzo's slide obviously enabled him to catch plenty of the plate.

So now the umps need to step up. Any sort of warnings about beanballs should be issued at the start of tonight's game, especially after a couple Pirates continued to struggle postgame to understand that Rizzo was playing the game the way it is supposed to be played. That way the first beanball will result in an ejection. It is never okay for a pitcher to reach back and intentionally fire a fastball at a player (don't talk to me about the unwritten rules of baseball! Intentionally hitting a fellow ballplayer is assault). And most of all it is never okay to do so with premeditation.

Monday's game also marked the return of one of the best television tandems in baseball broadcasting. Thank goodness we could get back to Len Kasper and Jim Deshaies, who are absolutely at the top of their game these days, on the mikes. It was such a stark contrast to ESPN's lame, gimmicky broadcast from the right-field bleachers the night before. Enough said.

The Cubs' bullpen was the story on Sunday, and to a certain extent has been the story all year. And it would appear that this team has enough depth in the back end of its pitching staff that even if the manager does burn out a reliever or two, they'll have reinforcements at the ready.

Lefthander Randy Rosario went two-and-a-third to gain his first major league victory against the Giants in immediate relief of Chatwood. He has hit the ground throwing strikes in his first major league stint. Newcomer Justin Hancock used his mid- to upper-90s heat to give the Cubs a big inning later on and then on Monday, Luke Farrell (called up to replace Hancock to give the Cubs another fresh arm) threw a one-two-three ninth to start to bounce back from a bad couple games in St. Louis during his first 2018 major league stint earlier in the season.

And multi-year stalwarts Brian Duensing (two shutout innings on Sunday), Carl Edwards (an inning Sunday), Justin Wilson and Pedro Strop (one-two-three innings Monday) continued to do the job and then some. All that great relief pitching and they never even had to use closer Brandon Morrow.

It sure feels like it is time to leave Mike Montgomery in the starting rotation. At least give him another start and if it doesn't go well, Chatwood can slot back in there. But given how good Montgomery has been in spot starts over the past few years, you have to believe he will probably take a chance like that and run with it.

At the plate, a variety of Cubs contributed in a variety of ways but the big blows were Javy Baez's three-run bomb to the opposite field to put the team in front for good on Sunday and Addison Russell's pinch-hit, two-run homer to make the lead 3-0 on Sunday.

Atta boys!

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Jim "Coach" Coffman welcomes your comments.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 9:30 AM | Permalink

The [Tuesday] Papers

"The solemn ritual of a burial with military honors is repeated dozens of times a day, in foul weather or fair, at Arlington National Cemetery, honoring service members from privates to presidents. But in order to preserve the tradition of burial at the nation's foremost military cemetery for future generations, the Army, which runs Arlington, says that it may have to deny it to nearly all veterans who are living today," the New York Times reports.

"Arlington is running out of room."

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"Part of me is irritated by the military fetish in the U.S," David Salvi writes in "Awkward on Memorial Day - A Reflection."

"We are obsessed with men and women in uniform, not knowing what they did, who they may have killed or didn't kill, if they succeeded or failed, or if they even are good soldiers. We simply erase any doubt and put our brain in autopilot - standing up at ballgames to applaud military folk, shake the hands of service people in airplanes, airports, bus stations, train stations, etc. Just because.

"I'm more irritated by the barrage of apparent patriotism by my fellow human beings. Flooding social media channels doesn't make you more patriotic or bleed red, white, and blue more than the next American. Save for this blog, I avoid posting a thing. I don't create an elaborate ode, or confiscate an old adage or quote for the sake of likes, comments, or retweets.

"Part of me is sad for the grieving families, especially children who lose a parent. I could not imagine. I wish not to."

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"Chinese Deputy Consul General in Chicago Liu Jun placed a bunch of flowers on the tomb of Joseph Cooper in a cemetery about 59 km northwest of Chicago on the Memorial Day, which falls on this last Monday of May," Xinhuanet reports.

"Cooper, 1920-2006, is remembered as a veteran soldier of the legendary Flying Tigers, a group of American volunteers who have stood shoulder in shoulder with Chinese people in their fight against Japanese invaders from 1941 to 1945.

"With General Claire Lee Chennault as its commander, the Flying Tigers is a household name in China."

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Meanwhile, on the home front . . .

36 People Shot In Chicago Over Memorial Day Weekend, Marking A Reduction In Gun Violence.

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By the way, Fox News has 8 killed and 25 wounded; the Tribune has 7 killed and 32 wounded; WLS-TV has 9 killed and 29 wounded; and the Sun-Times has 7 killed and 22 wounded.

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"With sunny skies and hot temperatures, Chicago's beaches proved a popular destination for Memorial Day weekend revelers, but lakefront visitors didn't leave the sand as pristine as they found it," CBS2 Chicago reports.

"Chicago Park District crews moved in early Tuesday to clean up all the junk left behind in the sand at North Avenue, 31st Street, and other beaches along Lake Michigan.

"Workers used huge surf rakes towed by tractors to pick up all the empty water bottles, food wrappers, and other trash left behind by the huge crowds that swarmed the lakefront over the long weekend."

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"The Chicago Fire Department says an ambulance was hit by a bullet on the South Side and an angry patient inside allegedly attacked paramedics as they sought to treat her," NBC5 Chicago reports.

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"A Chicago Fire Department diver died and two others were injured Monday night while searching for a 28-year-old man who fell off a boat on the Chicago River on the Lower West Side," the Sun-Times reports.

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New on the Beachwood . . .

The Weekend In Chicago Rock
Featuring: Chicago Threez, Gallery Night, Negative Scanner, The Spits, Slayer, Anthrax, Luke Shalia, Terranaut, John Waite, Potions, and Domestik.

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Federal Judge: Illinois Care For Mentally Ill Prisoners So Bad It's Unconstitutional
Constitutes cruel and unusual punishment.

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Plus:

"The Illinois Department of Corrections indicated Monday it will consider appealing a federal judge's order that the agency immediately provide sufficient staff and treatment to 12,000 mentally ill inmates, arguing that it has made significant strides in complying with a two-year-old lawsuit settlement," AP reports.

I'd LOL if it wasn't so sad and shameful.

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War Of Words: Why Journalists Need To Understand Grammar To Write Accurately About Violence
"The bad news for journalists is there is no neutral mode. If your words sound neutral, it's likely you've simply avoided laying responsibility for the killings, or have imputed responsibility only indirectly."

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The Beachwood Radio Sports Hour #202: Is Joe Maddon Okay?
Overmanaging, defensiveness and arrogance at all-time high. Plus: Honoring Hossa; Golden Knight Moves; Bulls Blew Bell; Golden State's Non-Indigenous Warriors; The Boston Irish; This Is Why They Kneel; Chicago Bears (And Their Toadying Media) Offensive To Bears; Say It Ain't So, Welington Castillo; and Schweinsteiger!

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The Chicago School Of Fusing
Art quilting.

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He Got Caught
The apology we'd like to see, but never will.

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Reality TV That Lied Straight To Your Face
But also, the greatest reveal in TV history - which Viacom is now blocking.

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SportsMondayTuesday: Memorial Cubs
Now the umps need to step up.

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The [Last] Week In Chicago Rock
Featuring: Courtney Barnett, Blackmarket Democracy, Quintrons Weather Warlock, Che Arthur, Bruce Lamont, Shakey Graves, U2, The Sea and Cake, Ivy Queen, Trampled by Turtles, Utopia, Death and Memphis, Trivium, Bill MacKay and Ryley Walker, Luis Miguel, Ike Reilly, and Rick Springfield.

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ChicagoGram

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ChicagoTube

Acting Is The Art (1970) | Chicago Youth Drama Workshop.

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BeachBook
A sampling.

The Past Wholesale Destruction Of Bird Life Across The Midwest.

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Samsung's Ridiculously Deceitful Ad.

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Rahm's Kool-Aid.

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Dispatches From The Panicked GDPR Front Line.

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TweetWood
A sampling.

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The Beachwood Tronc Line: Sing a song of sixpence.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 8:37 AM | Permalink

May 28, 2018

The Weekend In Chicago Rock

You shoulda been there.

1. Chicago Threez at the Mutiny on Saturday night.


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2. Gallery Night at the Empty Bottle on Friday night.

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

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4. The Spits at the Empty Bottle on Friday night.

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5. Slayer in Tinley Park on Friday night.

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6. Anthrax in Tinley Park on Friday night.

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7. Luke Shalia at Yolanda on Friday night.

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8. Terranaut at the Forge in Joliet on Friday night.

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9. John Waite at City Winery on Friday night.

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10. Potions at the Hideout on Saturday night.

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11. Domestik at the Hideout on Saturday night.

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 2:50 PM | Permalink

The Chicago School Of Fusing: Prairie Flowers

"Frieda Anderson and Laura Wasilowski are art quilters and members of the Chicago School of Fusing. In this video, Frieda shares the basics of fused art quilts in this fun project Prairie Flowers. This is one of three videos. You can find the pattern with directions here."

Part 1.


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Part 2.

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 10:38 AM | Permalink

War Of Words: Why Journalists Need To Understand Grammar To Write Accurately About Violence

The recent killing of unarmed Palestinians by Israeli forces has sparked not only a reasonable outcry, but commentary on the language journalists use to report these events.

For instance, writer and English professor Moustafa Bayoumi, of City University of New York, writes:

It is the peculiar fate of oppressed people everywhere that when they are killed, they are killed twice: first by bullet or bomb, and next by the language used to describe their deaths.

Bayoumi draws attention to one of the most important but contested roles of modern journalism: the act of putting political violence into words.

The bad news for journalists is there is no neutral mode. If your words sound neutral, it's likely you've simply avoided laying responsibility for the killings, or have imputed responsibility only indirectly.

Linguistically, there are many ways of doing this.

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Grammatical Voice

One well-known grammatical structure is the passive voice. While it is well-known, it is largely misunderstood. For example, Bayoumi criticised a New York Times tweet that construed the killing of Palestinian protesters in the following way:

Bayoumi, like many commentators on Twitter, took umbrage as this reporting, arguing that with these words the perpetrators of the violence were not made visible. The accompanying image, which shows Palestinians but not Israeli soldiers, echoes this choice.

Bayoumi wrongly called this structure the passive voice. The passive voice version would look like this:

Dozens of Palestinians have been killed in protests as the US prepares to open its Jerusalem Embassy.

The passive voice puts the object of the action first. More specifically, the passive voice involves making the object of the action the subject of the clause. We use it to give more prominence to the people or things affected by an action.

Because the passive voice puts the people or things acted on before the verb, writers have a choice about whether to name the agent of the action. The passive voice lets you leave out the agent: in my example above, the Palestinians were killed, but who or what killed them is not mentioned.

Equally, you can put the agent in the clause, as urged by many on Twitter. In these examples, "Israeli soldiers" and "Israeli forces" are named as the perpetrators.

Editor's Note: It's not at all clear that the moving of the U.S. embassy had anything to do with the Palestinian action; the "March of Return" was long-planned.

Active, Passive And Middle Voice

The headline of the The New York Times article actually identified the perpetrator and opted for active voice:

Israel Kills Dozens at Gaza Border as US Embassy Opens in Jerusalem

Active voice is a structure where the agent of the action is also the subject of the clause.

The active and passive voices have something important in common: they construe action as involving two participants: one that carries out the action, the other that is affected by the action. These kinds of actions are called "transitive."

The New York Times' tweet - "Palestinians have died . . . " - construed the killing of Palestinians by Israeli soldiers using the "middle voice" or "intransitive" structure.

By construing the violence in this way, the New York Times offered its readers one and only one participant: Palestinians, who died without reference to any cause.

Laying Responsibility With Something That Is Not Human

Another way to avoid making the perpetrators visible is to assign responsibility to a non-human entity. CBS news, for instance, recently gave further killings of Palestinians by Israeli soldiers the following headline:

Israeli fire in new border protest kills 4 Palestinians.

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Rather than putting responsibility on people, journalists gave responsibility to "Israeli fire." Grammatically, the action of "firing" has been turned into a noun and put in the grammatical role of agent.

This has the effect of taking responsibility away from humans, which avoids any suggestion of intention. Let's note also that CBS coupled this indirect way of construing agency with an image showing a Palestinian as an agent of violence.

Here's a common variation on this theme, from the Gulf News:

16 Palestinians killed in clashes near Israel border.

The headline uses passive voice and leaves out the agent of the action. Instead, the deaths are explained as a consequence of "clashes." Not only is human agency avoided, but the violence is construed as between two equal parties, involved in bi-directional action.

Given 60 Palestinians were killed, but no Israelis, the idea this was a fight on equal terms is a bit of a stretch.

Main Versus Dependent Clauses

Yet another way of avoiding making the perpetrators of an act of killing visible is the choice to distribute the information across two separate clauses.

For example, USA Today reported:

Israeli troops fire on Palestinian protesters, leaving at least 14 dead near Gaza border.

By using two clauses, these journalists separated the actions of Israeli troops from their consequences. The action of firing on Palestinians is put into one clause, while the effect of this action happens in a separate clause.

Note the grammatical choice to put the deaths of 14 Palestinians in a dependent clause.

This grammatical choice means the actions of Israeli troops are given prominence (by occupying the main clause in this structure), while the deaths of Palestinians, which are the direct and predictable result of these actions, are construed as secondary, as if an unfortunate byproduct of these actions.

The causal link between what the Israeli troops did and the consequence is even more attenuated by the choice of lexical verb. To "leave dead" is not the same as "to kill." To "leave (them) dead" turns the action of killing into an adjective describing the victims of the action.

These few examples are the tip of the iceberg. A fuller discussion of the many and varied ways journalists avoid attributing responsibility for the deaths in political violence is available in my forthcoming book.

Why Aren't Journalists Taught About The Mechanics Of Grammar?

Despite the importance of understanding the invisible machinery of language, few journalism or communications students are taught the intricate patterns from which they must choose in the act of writing a news story.

Editor's Note: I was!

Journalism educators might eschew this knowledge. But journalists cannot get away from the effects of these linguistic structures on the meanings they give to important events. It's better to know their implications rather than be at their mercy.

Annabelle Lukin is an associate professor in linguistics at Macquarie University. This article was originally published on The Conversation.

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Comments welcome.

The Conversation

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 10:10 AM | Permalink

He Got Caught

Since Major League Baseball established a drug policy in 2004, 59 major league players, including six who got caught more than once, have been suspended anywhere from 10 days to a lifetime. Hundreds more minor leaguers also have been benched for violating the policy.

But none has hurt the White Sox as much as the 80-game ban handed down last week to catcher Welington Castillo.

Make no mistake. Castillo is not on the level of the game's elite catchers like Yadier Molina and a few others. However, the lack of his veteran presence behind the plate, guiding young pitchers such as Lucas Giolito, Reynaldo Lopez and Carson Fulmer, certainly won't help their progress especially, since the catching corps now is comprised of the bumbling Omar Narvaez and the unknown Alfredo Gonzalez.

Castillo led all big-league catchers last season when he was with Baltimore by throwing out 24 of 49 would-be base-stealers, about twice the rate of the average catcher and 13 percentage points better than Molina.

Using Giolito as an example, in the 10 games he's pitched, 11 runners have stolen bases while just one has been thrown out. On May 13th, the Cubs swiped five bases with Giolito on the mound and Narvaez behind the plate. For a young pitcher like Giolito, who's walked almost seven batters per nine innings, having a catcher who can limit the running game and cut down a runner or two can be the difference between a win and an early exit.

Offensively, Castillo had career highs last season with a .282 batting average and 20 home runs. He was headed in the same direction this season after signing with the Sox for two years for $15 million. His six homers and a slash of .267/.309/.774 is being replaced by Narvaez' slash line of .174/.278/.510, with nary a round-tripper.

So why would a guy like Castillo not only betray his teammates and fans but also risk losing the $3,750,000 that the suspension will cost him?

He reportedly tested positive for Erythropoietin (EPO), which seems to have two purposes: 1) promoting red blood cell production, and 2) stumping some poor 10-year-old in a national spelling bee. The kidneys produce EPO naturally, but an injection every so often purportedly increases endurance. It was one of Lance Armstrong's drugs of choice.
Catchers take a lot of punishment, and Castillo is no exception; he's had at least eight trips to the DL in his professional career including twice last season with right shoulder tendonitis and a hematoma in his groin after a pitch ricocheted off Didi Gregorius' hand and hit Castillo square in his privates. For the brave of heart, check out the replay here.

" . . . [A]s a catcher, it's hard to perform 100 percent every day because you're sore, you get hit every day, you're so involved in the game," Castillo told the Baltimore Sun a year ago. "But it doesn't matter if you're 100 percent or not. I'm going to give everything I've got . . . "

At age 31 with almost 1,200 games under his belt at all levels, you might understand why Castillo would be tempted by the prospect of healing faster and extending his career via artificial means. Stated another way, it's happened before. Lots of times.

A disproportionate number of the juicing suspensions have been served by players from Castillo's home country, the Dominican Republic. Approximately 10 percent of today's major leaguers are Dominican, yet 40 percent of doping suspensions have targeted ballplayers from the Caribbean nation.

Fellow Dominican Robinson Cano of the Mariners also was benched for 80 games just days prior to Castillo's suspension. Cano tested positively for a diuretic whose purpose apparently is to mask use of PEDs.

The Seattle Times' Geoff Baker last week chronicled the preponderance of PEDs associated with Dominican ballplayers.

"All the (U.S.) scouts want players who are 16 or 17 to throw over 90 miles per hour," said a supplier of drugs in the Dominican when Baker clandestinely interviewed him in 2005. "In the U.S., even when you're 20, the scouts only ask for 86 or 87. That's why so many players make the decision to use the stuff."

Some PEDs such as testosterone are legal in the Dominican while others are readily available via street agents and "buscones," the talent scouts who prey on kids as young as 12 or 13. The goal is a fat signing bonus where the agents take as much as a 40 percent cut. The dream of playing major league baseball has been present for decades in a country where per capita income is just under $7,000 annually.

Patrick Madden of public radio's WAMU in Washington, D.C., spent time in the DR a few years ago investigating steroid use among baseball prospects.

"it's hard to separate baseball from the issue of steroid abuse down there because of just how popular the game is, and the incentives to become a major league baseball player," Madden says.

"And the incentives are so great down there, it's one of those things where you just have to follow the money. I mean, the average signing bonus for a Dominican prospect is $100,000 - the average income for a Dominican family is $25,000. So to make it in baseball - it's a way to really succeed, and that means that the incentives to cheat are high."

Charles Farrell is co-founder of the Dominican Republic Sports and Education Academy, who on the same program said, "It is a common belief among every young boy [in the Dominican] . . . that I am going to play in the big leagues. And obviously, not every player has the physical size or speed or strength and if they can see a way to say, I can be a little bit faster, a little bit stronger, then I'm going to do it."

All this could tempt those of us with far greater material wealth and comfort to question the moral compass of the Dominican athletes, trainers, agents and parents who aspire to reap the rewards that grace the world of an elite baseball player. However, there are legitimate reasons why all 30 major league clubs have academies in the island nation, dating back almost 40 years. The combination of raw talent, desire, dedication, expert coaching and hard work have given us the likes of Juan Marichal, Pedro Martinez, Vladimir Guerrero, Adrian Beltre, David Ortiz and many, many others.

Yet that doesn't dull the frustration of Welington Castillo's hiatus at this juncture. Maybe it's no accident that he and Cano are close friends who, according to the Baltimore Sun, work out together in the offseason. Castillo said that he texts daily with Cano.

What usually happens in these instances is that the suspended player issues a statement very similar to the one attributed to Castillo that included, "The positive test resulted from an extremely poor decision that I, and I alone, made. I take full responsibility for my conduct. I have let many people down, including my family, my teammates, the White Sox organization and its fans, and from my heart, I apologize."

What I'd like to hear, but never will, goes something like this: "I've been playing this game for a long time and now that I'm getting older, my body is beginning to break down. I'd like to keep going for a few more years, playing at the level I'm accustomed to. When given the chance to inject a banned substance, I made a decision to use a PED rather than see my career wind down before I'm ready. Unfortunately, I got caught. When I come back later this season, I will continue to give 100 percent to help my team and play the game I love as long as I physically can."

Castillo's last game was Wednesday, an 11-1 Sox victory over Baltimore in which Dylan Covey, recalled from Charlotte to replace the demoted Fulmer, won his first major league game in 13 tries. With Castillo behind the plate, Covey hurled seven innings of one-run ball.
Since Castillo's departure, the Sox have dropped three of four, losing the series finale to Baltimore and dropping one-run decisions Friday and Sunday in Detroit which sandwiched an offensive outburst on Saturday, resulting in an 8-4 White Sox victory.

The man behind the plate on any team is the one player on the field who sees the entire tableau. Aside from batted balls, both fair and foul, the catcher touches every pitch, the type of which he also calls. The catcher needs to be a leader, a guy who can encourage and provide confidence in his pitcher, and a respected teammate. Castillo possesses those kinds of qualities. On a poor ballclub with a number of developing young players like the White Sox, he will be sorely missed.

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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 7:28 AM | Permalink

Reality TV That Lied Straight To Your Face

Ha ha, suckers.


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Plus:

Reality TV Hoaxes That Everyone Fell For.

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But then again . . . the most brilliant reveal in television history, which is unfortunately blocked by Viacom.

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 6:16 AM | Permalink

Mentally Ill Prisoners Win Injunction; Judge Declares IDOC's Failure To Provide Mental Health Care An "Emergency Situation"

U.S. District Court Judge Michael M. Mihm issued an opinion Friday in the class action case Rasho v. Baldwin ordering the Illinois Department of Corrections to provide mental health treatment to prisoners who are on "crisis watches" and in segregation, as well as to provide medication management, mental health evaluations and necessary mental health staff throughout the system.

The judge ruled that IDOC's failure to provide mental health care constitutes cruel and unusual punishment, in violation of the U.S. Constitution, as well as violates the settlement agreement that the department entered.

In a 42-page decision, Mihm found that IDOC's deliberate indifference to mentally ill prisoners is causing "irreparable harm" that requires the court to issue injunctive relief. The court decision states that the constraints faced by IDOC "are dwarfed by the immense harm to the inmates."

"These are mentally ill individuals, who themselves are left, in a very real way, at the mercy of the IDOC to provide them with the constitutionally minimal level of health care. And this is simply not being done, and based on the record presented, will not be done unless there is a preliminary injunction issued by this Court."

This order comes almost two years to the day after a settlement agreement was reached by IDOC and lawyers representing the more-than 12,000 prisoners with mental illness in Illinois. The original class action challenge to the treatment of prisoners with mental illness was filed in 2007.

Last year, the court-appointed independent monitor's report of Illinois prisons characterized the psychiatric care provided by IDOC as "grossly insufficient," "extremely poor in quality" and "oftentimes dangerous." When IDOC failed to address the monitor's findings, he sent them a letter declaring that psychiatric care in Illinois prisons was in "a state of emergency."

After IDOC repeatedly failed to address the monitor's findings, lawyers for the prisoners filed a Motion to Enforce the federal settlement agreement in October of 2017. The court held evidentiary hearings that began in December 2017 and completed in March 2018.

Testimony at the hearings demonstrated how mental illness is negatively impacted by isolation. Several prisoners testified how their own mental illness became worse - with increasing paranoia and distress - as a result of years of segregation (or isolation). One prisoner testified to multiple suicide attempts in recent months, including that at the time of the testimony he had batteries in his stomach that he had swallowed. In response, IDOC placed him in isolation for months with no mental health treatment other than psychiatric medications. He was frequently strapped to a bed with his hands restrained over his head (in a painful and unnecessary position) for hours to days at a time.

IDOC's Chief of Mental Health admitted in his testimony that mentally ill prisoners in segregation are "across the board" getting worse without the treatment and out-of-cell time that they need, and which was promised by the settlement agreement. Likewise, IDOC's former Chief of Psychiatry testified that the psychiatric system was in a state of emergency and was causing actual physical and mental injuries to prisoners with mental illness.

The Court decision states that:

"The testimony of almost all of the medical doctors at the hearing clearly stated, in one form or another, the system in place to treat mentally ill inmates at the IDOC is in a state of emergency . . .

"The testimony during the hearing shows deficiencies in medical treatment in segregation have created an extremely dangerous situation. The length of time, sometimes staggering, that inmates are put in segregation, without properly addressing their mental health medical needs, furthers the mental decomposition of the inmate."

At last week's hearing, Mihm reprimanded the state for its failure to address these problems, noting that the Department of Corrections has long known about the mentally ill prisoners being harmed.

Currently, IDOC mental health appointments are extremely backlogged; psychiatrists do not review the powerful medications they prescribe or check for potentially devastating side effects; treatment plans either do not exist, or are so vague as to be useless; mental health referrals are backlogged; and those in crisis and solitary confinement continue to suffer without the treatment they need. Isolation, itself detrimental to mental health, is the typical response to prisoners with serious mental health issues.

"We are gratified the court reached the conclusion that mentally ill inmates are receiving grossly inadequate care. We remain saddened that IDOC has simply failed to fulfill the promises it made in the settlement agreement," said Harold Hirshman, senior counsel, Dentons, and lead pro bono counsel in the case.

"We are thrilled that the judge is addressing this important issue by forcing the Department of Corrections to comply with the settlement. It is appalling that a year after the monitor informed IDOC that its psychiatric care was in a 'state of emergency,' the Department still has no plan to fix it," said Alan Mills, attorney and executive director at Uptown People's Law Center. "It is clear that IDOC wants to run its prisons without accountability. It counts on people not caring enough about prisoners to investigate prison conditions and force the Department to improve them to meet constitutional standards."

"Thousands of people with mental illness throughout Illinois prisons are suffering every day because they are not getting the treatment that the Department admits they need," said Amanda Antholt, senior attorney at Equip for Equality and one of the attorneys representing the plaintiffs. "This court order is necessary to stop the Department from further harming our clients with mental illness."

Among other things, the order to enforce requires:

  • IDOC to provide appropriate mental health treatment to stabilize symptoms;
  • Treatment and out-of-cell time to protect against deterioration of mental health in segregation;
  • Individualized treatment planning and psychiatric care; and
  • Sufficient staffing levels to provide mental health care.

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 12:47 AM | Permalink

May 25, 2018

The Week In Chicago Rock

You shoulda been there.

1. Courtney Barnett at the Chicago Cultural Center on Monday night.


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2. Blackmarket Democracy at Cheers in Midlothian on Sunday night.

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3. Quintrons Weather Warlock at the Empty Bottle on Tuesday night.

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4. Che Arthur at the Empty Bottle on Tuesday night.

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5. Bruce Lamont at the Empty Bottle on Tuesday night.

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6. Shakey Graves at the Vic on Tuesday night.

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7. U2 at the big West Side arena on Wednesday night.

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8. The Sea and Cake at the Empty Bottle on Wednesday night.

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9. Ivy Queen at the House of Blues on Tuesday night.

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10. Trampled by Turtles at Thalia Hall on Sunday night.

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11. Utopia at the Chicago Theatre on Tuesday night.

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12. Death and Memphis at the Double Play Saloon in Blue Island on Sunday night.

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13. Trivium at the Forge in Joliet on Wednesday night.

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14. Bill MacKay and Ryley Walker at Constellation on Wednesday night.

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15. Luis Miguel at the Rosemont arena on Wednesday night.

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16. Ike Reilly at the Old Town School on Thursday night.

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17. Rick Springfield at the Genesee in Waukegan on Sunday night.

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 4:08 PM | Permalink

The Beachwood Radio Sports Hour #202: Is Joe Maddon Okay?

Overmanaging, defensiveness and arrogance at all-time high. Plus: Honoring Hossa; Golden Knight Moves; Bulls Blew Bell; Golden State's Non-Indigenous Warriors; The Boston Irish; This Is Why They Kneel; Chicago Bears (And Their Toadying Media) Offensive To Bears; Say It Ain't So, Welington Castillo; and Schweinsteiger!


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SHOW NOTES

* 202.

2:04: Honoring Hossa.

* "I will not play hockey anymore."

6:18: Golden Knight Moves.

* How The Golden Knights Were Built.

* Valley Bettors Hoping For Golden Knights Win, Major Payouts

* Media Value Of Golden Knights' Success Could Be Worth Millions.

15:24: Bulls Blew Bell.

* For some reason - possibly the playoffs - this made its way into my media stream this week. It's from December.

22:32: Golden State's Non-Indigenous Warriors.

* Formerly the Philadelphia Warriors.

25:53: The Boston Irish.

* Celtics were originally a New York team.

28:59: This Is Why They Kneel.

* The NBA Shouldn't Get Credit Just For Not Being The NFL.

43:30: Chicago Bears (And Their Toadying Media) Offensive To Bears.

* 'Built Ford Tough': Bears WR Kevin White Gets Salty With Media, But That's OK.

* If Public Perception Changes On Kevin White, It Will Be Because Of His Play, Not His Words.

46:55: Say It Ain't So, Welington Castillo.

* Seby Zavala.

52:23: Just Say It's So-So, Joe.

* Rosenbloom: If It's The Indians, Then It's Joe Maddon Overmanaging.

Just against the Indians, Rosey?

* Maddon Explains His Reasoning On Botched Squeeze Play.

* Pythagorean.

* Maddon Rails Against "Lineupistas."

1:05:43: Schweinsteiger!

* Playoff Hopes Could Be In Trouble.

* Chicago Fire Pitch.

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STOPPAGE: 8:19

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

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 2:12 PM | Permalink

May 24, 2018

The [Thursday] Papers

I'm on my way to the Beachwood Bucktown Bureau for another Weekend at Benny's.

Tales of adventure to come.

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ChicagoGram

If you're walking too quick you might miss it @iamsamkirk #chicago

A post shared by Yulianna C. (@yulianna_heartbeet) on

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ChicagoTube

This is really compelling - Chicago, 1934, with sound.

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BeachBook

Why Meghan Markle Does Not Give Me Hope.

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TweetWood
A sampling.

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The Beachwood Tronc Line: A sampling.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 10:44 AM | Permalink

May 23, 2018

The [Wednesday] Papers

Monologue . . .

"Chicago, long home to traders of everything from stock options to soybean futures, is increasingly adding cryptocurrencies to its domain," Bloomberg reports.

Well, we've had a cryptomayor for seven years, so . . .

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The term "cryptocurrency" always makes me think it's money for goths . . .

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The goth economy: Putting the crypt into crypto.

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Goth money: Scrypt.

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Goth mayor.

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Cryptofascist.

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"Fireworks were expected at Wednesday's Chicago City Council meeting, as the Fraternal Order of Police was urging all its members to storm City Hall in a protest against Mayor Rahm Emanuel," NBC Chicago reports.

If the police become protesters, who will become the police in order to kick the shit out of them? Schrodinger's cops!

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"The police union spent the early morning Wednesday setting up transportation to bring officers to City Hall by the busload because they believe the mayor has turned his back on police."

Sure, but he's turned his front on police reform.

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Is there a better local example of male fragility than the police union? The new cop academy should be sponsored by Pampers.

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Maximo, the largest dinosaur ever uncovered, is moving into the Field museum, CBS Chicago reports.

Huh, I thought Ed Burke was the largest uncovered dinosaur.

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Study: Guns In Chicago Just '2.5 Handshakes' Away.

That's just half a handshake more than it took to wire the Obama Presidential Library Center deal.

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State Rep. Says She's Facing Retaliation for Speaking Out Against Madigan.

Michael Madigan must be losing his touch; usually he avoids these kinds of problems by engaging in pretaliation.

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ChicagoGram

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ChicagoTube

North To Chicago.

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BeachBook

Sparkly blood diamonds glued to her hat.

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TweetWood
A sampling.

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The Beachwood Tronc Line: Happening.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 6:48 AM | Permalink

May 22, 2018

The [Tuesday] Papers

"Despite Mayor Rahm Emanuel's promise that mass school closings in 2013 would lead to a 'brighter future,"' Chicago students didn't benefit academically and on average their performance suffered, particularly in math, according to a University of Chicago Consortium on School Research study released on Tuesday," Sarah Karp reports for WBEZ.

"The groundbreaking study goes on to report that for students and teachers, the transition was traumatic and chaotic."

And yet, the People Who Told You So and seem to always tell us so will remain marginalized by the Establishment That's Always Wrong (Or Lying) and it's Media Arm.

Remember this the next time - probably today! - the mayor and his commentariat moralize about accountability.

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"Previous studies also have found that school closings hurt children."

As some of us pointed out repeatedly.

"But this time, city and school district officials said they could mitigate the damage by investing $180 million in schools that took in children from underenrolled closed schools and with a logistics company to make the transition smooth."

As if.

But the transition was smooth for someone. From the link:

Chicago's board of education will consider yet another significant increase in what it is paying to empty out Chicago's closed school buildings.

Back in April - even before the vote to close 50 schools - the district signed a contract with logistics firm Global Workplace Solutions to move all the things out of schools. Price tag: $8.9 million.

GWS worked throughout the summer to inventory and move computers, books, furniture and other supplies from closed schools into so-called Welcoming Schools.

In September, the district quietly doubled the amount of the contract, to $18.9 million. Chicago Public Schools' closing czar said the reason for the overrun had to do with the volume of stuff movers found in the 43 shuttered buildings they are emptying out.

Now, the agenda for Wednesday's school board meeting shows the board will vote on another increase, this time to $30.9 million, more than tripling the amount of the original contract with GWS.

Greed Whacks Schools.

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"The study is the first in-depth examination of the impact of the 50 school closings - the largest number closed at once in the United States. Some 11,000 students attended the closed schools, and another 13,000 students attended the schools that received them. All told, 95 schools buildings were packed up and moved."

A superlative for Rahm: Biggest Mass School Closing Ever.

For everyone else:

"Closing schools - even poorly performing ones - does not improve the outcome of displaced children, on average," the study concludes. "Closing under-enrolled schools may seem like a viable solution to policymakers who seek to address fiscal deficits and declining enrollment, but our findings shows that closing schools caused large disruptions without clear benefits for students."

This was Rahm's big move. The city's schoolchildren lost.

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"Emanuel did not comment on the findings."

Maybe he's exhausted from providing media toadies with his summer reading list and reflections of an empty-nester.

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"CPS had said that closing the 50 schools would save $43 million annually and $437 million over time by not having to fix or maintain the shuttered buildings. But the school district has never provided any detailed information on whether those savings were or will be realized."

So the closings didn't even save money (as the history of school closings, some of us noted, predicted). It was all for nothing - except a show of political power. Kids got hurt. The person Rahm brought in to coordinate the closings is in prison. Neighborhoods lost their anchors. Not a dime was saved. Can we finally learn some lessons?

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Given Rahm's micromanagement, I always said one of his problems as mayor was that he had three jobs - the other two being police chief and schools superintendent. He's failed at all three. His police department is about to enter a consent decree and the state is taking over the school district's bungled special education program. He's on his fourth schools chief - of the first three, one is in prison and the other two were forced out. He's on just his second police chief, not counting the interim, but a second police chief he chose personally, ignoring the slate his police board developed, after he fired his first police chief for something Rahm himself did: fighting like the dickens - in court and out - to keep secret the Laquan McDonald video. Let's face it, he's not very good at his job.

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"CPS' current Schools Chief Janice Jackson called what happened 'unacceptable.' But said the outcome will not deter her from closing schools in the future."

We will not let the facts of what happened, which perfectly match the history of such events over the years throughout history, stand in the way of repeating such a momentous mistake if it suits our perverted political goals, nor will we ever acknowledge a mistake! We are CPS!

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New on the Beachwood . . .

The Shooting Statistics Are Clear: It's Not Schools That Are Dangerous
"Students and adults in America's schools are only slightly more likely to be gun homicide victims than the general population in Denmark.

"For all gun killings (including homicides, suicides, and accident), American schools are safer than most of Western Europe."

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The Weekend In Chicago Rock
Featuring: Fever Ray, Fury, Sheer Mag, Red Death, Power Trip, Blue Dream, St. Marlboro, The NowaDays, Tomorrow's Bad Seeds, Plini, Tesseract, Sevendust, Hall & Oates, and Train.

feverray.jpg

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Last Week In Chicago Rock
Featuring: Charly Bliss, The Armed, Dust Bolt, Helmet, Prong, Spaceface, Kobra & the Lotus, Hawthorne Heights, Traveller, The Fever 333, Priests, and The Brian Jonestown Massacre.

charlybliss.jpg

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ChicagoGram

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ChicagoTube

Chicago Karts.

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BeachBook

A Night At The Homer, Illinois Opera House.

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Chicago's New LED Streetlights Could Do More Harm Than Good.

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TweetWood
A sampling.

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The Beachwood Tronc Line: Hablo.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 5:22 AM | Permalink

Olympian Alleges USA Swimming Of Abuse Cover-Up

"Olympic swimmer Ariana Kukors Smith sued USA Swimming, alleging the sport's national governing body knew her former coach sexually abused her as a minor and covered it up."


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Extended remarks.

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Her lawyer speaks.

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From the New York Times:

"Ariana Kukors Smith, an Olympic swimmer who earlier this year accused her former coach of sexually abusing her as a teenager, filed a lawsuit on Monday against him and USA Swimming, claiming the organization ultimately turned a blind eye to the matter.

"In the lawsuit, Ms. Smith, who competed in the 2012 Games in London, alleged that the coach, Sean Hutchison, began grooming her for a relationship when she was 13-years-old and was molesting her by age 16.

"Ms. Smith, 28, said that USA Swimming, the organization that governs the sport in the United States, was alerted to the relationship in 2010 but did nothing. In February, USA Swimming said that it had conducted an investigation into the rumored relationship in 2010, but that Ms. Kukors and Mr. Hutchison, now 46, both 'unequivocally denied the existence of a romantic or sexual relationship,' and the case was closed.

"On Monday, B. Robert Allard, Ms. Smith's lawyer, called USA Swimming's investigation a 'sham.'

"Ms. Smith said in the lawsuit that USA Swimming officials looked the other way because Mr. Hutchison delivered Olympic-level athletes."

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Previously in USA Olympics abuse allegations:

* When USA Gymnastics Turned A Blind Eye To Sexual Abuse.

* USA Gymnastics Named In New Sexual Abuse Lawsuit.

* Illinois Coach Banned From USA Gymnastics Over Alleged Sexual Misconduct.

* Olympian: 'Red Flags' Ignored In Nassar Abuse.

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 4:19 AM | Permalink

The Shooting Statistics Are Clear: It's Not Schools That Are Dangerous

Every day, 42 Americans die in gun homicides, the grim backdrop against which to talk about school shootings.

In the three months between the 10 shot dead in Santa Fe, Texas, on Friday, and the 17 in Parkland, Florida, on Feb. 14, around 4,000 Americans lost their lives in firearms homicides.

In the initial horror following a school shooting, we witness the "thoughts and prayers," finger-wagging from politicians not wanting to "politicize" the shooting, and promises to "do something." Then, just as predictably, nothing happens.

Or, worse, bad things are done. The survivors of the February shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas in Parkland, Florida, took center stage to argue passionately for action, and adults initially appeared to be listening. Gov. Rick Scott signed a reform bill into law, but on balance, it does more harm than good. The limited beneficial steps, such as modestly extending background checks and waiting periods on potential gun buyers and banning "bump stocks," accompanied popular but ineffectual measures such as raising the gun-buying age to 21. Also one very, very bad idea: procedures to arm more teachers and school officers.

But whether those steps will change anything is unlikely. That's because, while shootings at schools are terrible, it's not the schools that are the problem. The real problem is that America as a whole is dangerous. As crazy as it might sound after the mass school shootings in the last two decades at Columbine, Sandy Hook, Parkland and now Santa Fe High School, it's true: We should be exploring ways to make the rest of society as safe from guns as schools are.

That means doing something Americans find hard with it comes to evaluating risks and designing policy: incorporating critical perspective.

Over the 12 months leading up to May 18, 2018, a gun was fired in 63 American schools, including 24 where homicides occurred. We can all agree that should be zero.

However, it is crucial to point out that the United States has 130,000 public and private elementary and secondary schools attended by 52 million students and 5 million teachers and staff.

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention projections indicate during the past 12 months Americans suffered approximately 15,500 gun homicides (along with 31,000 gun injuries). Of these, Everytown for Gun Safety reports (and including Friday's shooting in Texas), 38 gun deaths and 71 injuries occurred in or around a school.

Per person-hour spent at school (based on 93 percent attendance and an eight-hour school day, 180 days per year), students and adults in America's schools are only slightly more likely to be gun homicide victims than the general population in Denmark.

For all gun killings (including homicides, suicides, and accidents), American schools are safer than most of Western Europe.

School time occupies around one-sixth of school-age children's total hours, but schools are the sites of fewer than 3 percent of students' gun homicides; the other 97 percent occur somewhere other than school. In fact, the most likely place for a child to be shot and killed is at home, with the shooter most likely to be an adult in the household.

Features that make American schools and modern teenagers uniquely safe from shootings could inform social and gun policies in a country whose overall gun homicide rate is 15 times higher than in other Western countries.

First, there are very few guns in schools at present. Unfortunately, responses to school shootings include proposals like President Donald Trump's to arm 20 percent of teachers. If implemented, that would mean 800,000 more armed adults in schools, which would only add to the numbers of school shootings by teachers, principals, school officers and law enforcement.

Second, schools are occupied by millions of preteen and teenage students, a demographic that, contrary to popular stereotype, has uniquely low rates of gun homicides. CDC data show that since the early 1990s, the number of teenage homicides by gun has dropped 50 percent nationally, far more than for other age groups. Nationally, FBI estimates indicate arrests of youths for gun homicides have fallen by nearly 80 percent over the last generation to levels well below those of adults.

In 1990, middle school and high school teens (ages 13 to 18) had gun homicide rates 50 percent above the average for all ages. Today, students 13 to 18 have below-average gun homicide rates.

Third, enhancing the first two trends, youths who stay in school, graduate and attend college suffer gun homicide death rates just one/25th that of dropouts (by definition, a population unlikely to be at school). Since 1990, the school dropout rate among teenagers and young adults has fallen by 60 percent while college enrollments and graduations have risen, making today's students singularly gun-averse.

The emerging student movement against gun violence should be raising two key points: younger generations themselves have made stunning progress toward reducing shootings and making schools and students safe, and that progress deserves attention and study rather than continued fearmongering. Reducing poverty and education costs, along with background checks and bans on high-capacity weapons offer promise for decreasing gun suicide rates and domestic killings, and, eventually, mass shootings.

The worthy goal of making campuses safer still is being warped by the myth that they're uniquely dangerous. Basing perception and policy on rare mass shootings and obsolete prejudices against teenagers invites panicked, harmful responses. Far from keeping their kids home out of fear of gun violence, Americans should feel safer when kids are in school.

This article was written for YES! Magazine and licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 License.

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Mike Males is senior researcher for the Center on Juvenile and Criminal Justice in San Francisco.

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 12:55 AM | Permalink

May 21, 2018

The Weekend In Chicago Rock

You shoulda been there.

1. Fever Ray at the Metro on Friday night.


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2. Fury at the Empty Bottle on Saturday night.

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3. Sheer Mag at the Empty Bottle on Saturday night.

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4. Red Death at the Empty Bottle on Saturday night.

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5. Power Trip at the Empty Bottle on Saturday night.

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6. Blue Dream at Moe's Tavern on Saturday night.

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7. St. Marlboro at Moe's Tavern on Saturday night.

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8. The NowaDays at Cheers in Midlothian on Sunday night.

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9. Tomorrow's Bad Seeds at Beat Kitchen on Friday night.

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10. Plini at the Metro on Saturday night.

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11. Tesseract at the Metro on Saturday night.

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12. Sevendust at the Forge in Joliet on Saturday night.

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13. Hall & Oates at the Blackhawks arena on Friday night.

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14.Train at the Blackhawks arena on Friday night.

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 5:40 PM | Permalink

The [Monday] Papers

For completists, there was no Weekend Desk Report.

The Beachwood covers the Royal Wedding the only journalistically responsible way:

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I thought y'all meant it, man. I know I did.

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New on the Beachwood . . .

Thousands Illegally Denied Health Coverage In Illinois
"Among the widespread suffering and hardship, pregnant women are giving birth without health coverage, people facing mental health crises are missing treatment, and children with serious medical conditions are foregoing crucial medication."

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Chicago Zine Fest 2018 Is In The Books
Winner: Taco Bell Is My Only Friend.

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From the Beachwood sports desk . . .

The Beachwood Radio Sports Hour #201: Much Ado About Machado
Meanwhile, Mad Joe Maddon is driving us mad. Plus: Bulls: We Stanks; Captain Kane; Ryan Pace Still Sucks; Last Year Was Supposed To Be Rock Bottom; Mike Trout, GOAT?; C'mon, Ricky, More Nicky!; and Schweinsteiger!

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TrackNotes: Now, Justify
A Triple Crown? Tom's Magic-8 Ball sez . . .

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Some People Still Attending White Sox Games
Our man at the Grate asks them why.

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SportsMonday: Joe & Javy
They are who they are.

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In production . . .

The Weekend In Chicago Rock
They played at a venue near you.

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ChicagoGram

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ChicagoTube

Roller skating prodigy.

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BeachBook

The Disgrace Of Minor League Baseball.

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The Sciences And #MeToo.

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Whose Country Is This?

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Ally Sheedy On Her Experience With Hollywood Sexism.

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TweetWood
A sampling.

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The Beachwood Tronc Line: Royal.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 12:19 PM | Permalink

SportsMonday: Joe And Javy Do It Their Way

Joe is gonna Joe.

The Cubs manager will do things his way. Maddon will sit down a hot Kris Bryant on Sunday despite the fact that he has the next day off and another one three days later. He'll bring in reliever Steve Cishek to pitch the ninth up 10-0 in the second game of a doubleheader on Saturday after Cishek also pitched in the first.

He'll do it his way and if his players bail him out, like his hitters did during his mismanagement of the last three games of the 2016 World Series, everything will be fine. And after a good week last, the Cubs turn their attention to a two-game series with Cleveland starting Tuesday with a 25-19 record. They are a game-and-a-half behind the Brewers in the NL Central but only because the Brewers have played (and won) three more games.

Overall, Maddon looks like he is well on his way to burning out a couple relievers by the All-Star break. The Cubs brought in new pitching coach Jim Hickey to replace the highly successful Chris Bosio in the off-season in the hope that Hickey could get through to the manager. Maybe Hickey, who worked with Maddon in Tampa Bay, could convince him not to do hare-brained things like trying to have Wade Davis get a seven-out save last year when he hadn't had a save of more than three outs in his career before the final month of the season.

So far Hickey isn't getting through.

There was Maddon last week, bringing in a reliever in the sixth inning to replace a starter, Tyler Chatwood, who was absolutely cruising and had thrown fewer than 80 pitches. Maddon said after the game that he "had to" do it because of the opportunity to engineer the lefty-lefty match-ups he loves as much as anything in baseball.

Of course, when you keep doing things like that you end up "having to" have two relievers make 20 appearances in the season's first 40 games. You overuse Carl Edwards Jr. and he slumps not two months into the season. Hey, Coach Hickey, you are here to challenge a manager who has a blind spot when it comes to bullpen usage. Get busy!

The weekend games with Cincinnati go into the books as capping off a winning series against a bad team. But as is so often the case in baseball, each game featured truly wacky and entertaining tidbits. Actually, the first game on Saturday, a 5-4 11-inning loss, was just excruciating. The Cubs batted 1-for-16 with runners in scoring position and lost a game they shouldn't have lost in a million years. There isn't much a manager can do about 1-for-16.

But it was a cakewalk from there. Jose Quintana stepped up and threw seven shutout innings to set the tone that evening. And Ben Zobrist and Ian Happ continued a great stretch of baseball. On the series, Happ was 5-for-11 at the plate and had nine walks (five of which were intentional!). That's an on-base percentage of over .700.

And on Saturday night alone, Zobrist led off five separate innings and reached in four of them. Then three times, second hitter Tommy La Stella followed with hits of his own, which resulted in Zobrist first-to-thirding it every time. Time for Zobrist to be the everyday leadoff man even if it cuts into Jason Heyward's playing time in a big way.

Sunday was all about Yu Darvish, and the so-far fragile starter had several opportunities to let little setbacks mess him up. He threw 39 pitches in the first inning but was able to get out of it with only one run against. In the fourth he walked the pitcher and took a moment to compose himself before coming back to finish the inning.

And in the fifth, the inning in which he's had so much trouble this season, he induced a double-play ground ball from Joey Votto that was the play of the game.

Shortstop Javy Baez turned two in that instance and of course did it with unparalleled flair, sliding past the bag while gobbling up the ground ball, reaching back to touch the base with his glove, and then hopping up and gunning the ball to first for the final out of the inning.

It capped off a typical Baez weekend that featured inciting a bench-clearing incident by complaining that the pitcher was celebrating too much (dude, next time you should try to remember that you have done a little celebrating yourself at times), struggling through the end of a 2-for-22 stretch at the plate and then hitting a towering home run on Sunday, just after Kyle Schwarber went deep.

Javy's gonna Javy.

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Jim "Coach" Coffman welcomes your comments.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 10:53 AM | Permalink

Some Fans Don't Quit

A chilling breeze was whistling through the ballpark last Thursday evening as two last-place teams, the White Sox and Rangers, faced off in the first of a four-game series. The temperature was mired in the mid-50s on this school night. Starting pitchers James Shields for the Sox and Doug Fister for Texas are both in their mid-30s with far more baseball behind rather than in front of them. If ever there was a ho-hum match-up, this was it.

Was there any rational explanation why 17,666 fans showed up as witnesses? Was it the "Ricky's Boys Don't Quit" t-shirts? Or the opportunity to see if the Sox could break out of their slump at home where their record was 3-15?

rickysboys.jpg

Not only were these folks present, but the energy and enthusiasm was palpable, especially when manager Ricky Renteria removed Shields with one out in the top of the eighth inning with the Rangers holding a slim 1-0 lead.

Shields mastered the Rangers, allowing only three hits, walking two and striking out eight. In parts of three seasons on the South Side, the man known as Big Game has a 10-23 record with an ERA of a whopping 5.78. Needless to say, Shields has exited games as a member of the White Sox way earlier than last Thursday, usually to a chorus of negative reactions. The previous sentence was written in the interest of kindness.

But not Thursday. The fans rose to their feet, hailing Big Game for a performance seldom seen so far this season.

Of course, reliever Luis Avilan soon yielded a run-producing triple to Nomar Mazara, and few in the crowd could have predicted what happened minutes later.

Yes, the Sox mounted a totally unexpected late-inning rally helped by the Rangers who played like, well, a last-place ballclub. An error, a passed ball, three walks - one to Nicky Delmonico with the bases loaded on a 3-2 count that home plate umpire Paul Nauert clearly got wrong - preceded a base hit by catcher Welington Castillo that scored two runs, giving the Sox a 4-2 lead. Did I mention that all this occurred after two outs?

By the time Nate Jones was nailing down the save with runners on second and third, the crowd, most of whom had stuck around, was on its feet, cheering, clamoring, begging, and imploring Jones to close out the Rangers. He responded by striking out Delino DeShields to end a game that meant almost nothing in the standings. You wouldn't know it from the fans' behavior. This was more like a September contest with two teams fighting for a playoff position.

Sitting (and standing) in short left field, Box 147 to be exact, we were surrounded both by rabid Sox fans and others like Erica, an Indians' fan, who was sitting behind us.

"I love watching baseball," she said. "I love going to a baseball game."

She was there to introduce her friend Darwin Rios, a Honduran, to a totally unfamiliar sport. He might not have understood it all, but a hot dog and beer clearly fostered an appreciation for being present.

"This is his first baseball game, and because it's always been important to me, I wanted to bring him to see what baseball's all about even though it's the worst team and it is freezing," Erica said.

Down the row sat the Marantz family of four, who live in Andersonville. Similar to Erica and Darwin, they have no close ties to the White Sox. Dad Craig was raised in Los Angeles, and he likes the Dodgers. They had bid on and won a voucher at a benefit fundraiser for Victory Gardens Theater, and "this seemed like a good night to come," said Craig, ignoring the fact that they could have chosen a warm summer night when a good team provided the opposition.

"We don't have plans to come to another one," admitted Marantz, "but we could. It's fun. These are nice seats. I know the Sox are up-and-coming. There will be some good days and bad days. But they have good players, young and talented like Yoan Moncada.

"They say the food's really good here," Marantz pointed out. "They're not lying."

Moving across the aisle, wearing his Sox regalia, was Ignacio Villalobos of Hickory Hills, who already had been to six games in this young season.

"I knew it was going to be bad this year, but I'm supportive," said Villalobos, whose father took him to his first Sox game in the mid-80s. "I know it's going to take a couple of years. Everybody says it's going to be 2020. I say 2021."

No doubt the Sox' appalling start to the season made Villalobos adjust his prediction of just how long the rebuild will take.

"We got 10 wins," Ignacio pointed out. "I thought maybe we were going to have 20 wins [by now]. I didn't know we were going to be this bad."

Does Villalobos think Renteria is the man to lead the White Sox back to respectability?

"I like him. I'm Latino. He's Latino," said Villalobos who grew up on the South Side. "He relates to the players. There are some boneheaded plays that I don't like, and there's plays that I do like. But I don't know, maybe in about two years they might be making a move. It's just the way it is. You know what they say, 'Nice guys finish last.' He's a nice guy."

Making the trip from Mokena were Dean Reszel and Bob Smith with his son Zach. Smith said he was "born with a Sox hat on," while Reszel said, "I'm 63-years-old so I've been a Sox fan since I knew what baseball was."

Each believes in the rebuild. "Got to be patient," said Smith. "It's frustrating. You just got to be patient," while Reszel added, "I think it's going to be fine, but I thought they'd be close to .500 [at this time]." Prior to the season Dean thought the Sox would win 70 to 75 games.

Right before Avilan relieved Shields, Dean bemoaned the fact that the bullpen has given away so many games. "It's been terrible," he said. "The Sox have lost like 13 games this year when they've had the lead."

Actually the Sox have dropped 14 games where they have led at some point, but about half of those losses can be pinned on starting pitchers who haven't been able to hold onto early leads.

Both Reszel and Smith go to about 15 Sox games a season. However, what's most impressive is that Smith has attended every Opening Day since 1967. That's 52 straight for those keeping score at home. Reszel said he's been at 28 of the last 32 openers.

Neither thinks that Renteria will be a long-term Sox manager. "I'm looking at Omar Vizquel," said Smith, referring to the future Hall of Famer who is the Sox manager at Single-A Winston-Salem. "Yeah, he'll be the next manager," Reszel agreed.

The Rebuild stalled a bit on Friday as Carson Fulmer earned a trip to Charlotte by throwing 75 pitches - 38 for strikes and 37 for balls - in two-plus innings before Renteria gave him the hook and a plane ticket. Poor Fulmer was charged with eight runs although he was relieved by Chris Volstad who, after getting two outs, yielded a grand slam home run to Shin-Soo Choo.

But things were back on track over the weekend, thanks to six innings of decent pitching by Lucas Giolito, who got his third win in a 5-3 Sox victory on Saturday before Reynaldo Lopez shut out the Rangers on two hits over eight innings as the Sox triumphed 3-0.

Lefthander Jace Fry got the save on Sunday. He's been scary good, having pitched eight-plus innings over seven games without giving up a hit while striking out 12. A third-round draft choice in 2014 out of Oregon State, Fry is just 24, has a marvelous command of his breaking ball, walking just two batters in almost 15 innings this season between Charlotte and the South Side. Who knew?

There was more good news as Carlos Rodon threw his first pitch in competition at low Single-A Kannapolis on Saturday, hurling five innings and 65 pitches. He walked none while striking out six and allowing a lone run. A start at Charlotte probably is next, and we could see Rodon in Chicago in the next couple of weeks.

In addition, the Sox' next opponent is another cellar-dweller, the Baltimore Orioles, whose 14-32 record is a half-game worse than Ricky's boys. The O's will be here for four games.

The Cubs also will be home this week, entertaining the Cleveland Indians in a match-up of the 2016 World Series contestants. I couldn't resist asking Smith and Reszel if they ever go to Wrigley Field.

"Absolutely not," said Smith, "unless we're forced to at gunpoint."

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

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 8:04 AM | Permalink

May 20, 2018

Chicago Zine Fest 2018 Is In The Books

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 5:26 PM | Permalink

TrackNotes: Two Down For Justify. One To Go?

It's a mantra, alright.

And like the best chants, you are required to repeat it, for true attainment is elusive, making its fulfillment the most satisfying moment.

The Beachwood gang even asked: "Can he win the Triple Crown?"

Like the Magic Eight Ball, the best I had was "all signs point to . . . "

Justify, who looked beatable Saturday, still makes people wonder if there is a horse out there who truly can beat him as he won the 143rd Preakness at Baltimore's Pimlico Race Course, coming out of the envelope of a fog that seemingly set itself up just so for the big race, almost a nod to favorite son Edgar Allen Poe.

The son of Scat Daddy and grandson of Ghostzapper held off a valiant effort by the now rival - and foil - Good Magic, who ended up fourth, only a length back. Bravazo, conditioned by six-time Preakness winner D. Wayne Lukas, finished second a neck back and Tenfold, guided by a hot-on-the-day Ricardo Santana, was another neck back for third.

At 2-5, Justify paid only $2.80, $2.80 and $2.60, the odds and the ducks lining up the way we all figured as this one has drawn the biggest of talk all year.

Hall of Fame rider Mike Smith explained.

"He rose to the competition but he reacted a few ways to the narrow track and a few things. He did get a little tired, but it's a good kind of tired," Smith said post-race, conceding the fact that Justify has now run only five times, all this year. On the other hand, he has now made his own foundation, compressing those races since mid-February.

Smith referred to Justify "jumping the tracks," leaping over starting gate tire tracks near the wire. Pimlico's tender care of the track, keeping it sealed in a driving, all-day rain, seemed lacking.

Good Magic's pilot, Jose Ortiz, blamed himself.

He broke well and basically owned the lead - not to Ortiz's or trainer Chad Brown's plan.

"I didn't want the horse on the lead," Brown said. "I'm disappointed with the trip. Post [position] didn't help, we were inside the other horse the whole way. Unfortunately, our horse took the worst of it being on the fence, getting pressed the whole way; he's just not a horse that runs on the lead, so I'm disappointed."

Ortiz summed himself up: "Not my best ride."

So, with the anvil hanging by a rope snapping strand by strand, what now?

Justify's trainer Bob Baffert, who tied R. Wyndham Walden's (last one 1888) Preakness record with seven, acknowledged his own luck.

"That was a nail-biter. They put it to him. That was a good horse. Somebody had to give and I'm glad it wasn't us."

Without actually saying Justify won't win the Belmont, more than one ominously reported his struggles Saturday.

Randy Moss on NBC right after the race: ""He had a pace today that wasn't nearly as demanding as the pace he had in the Derby. And it looked to me like he digressed. And he was still able to win anyway. When you have four horses like that at the wire, that's a tell-tale sign of a slow race. Of a weaker-than-expected race. Give him credit. But it's going to be tough in the Belmont."

It's completely ironic that the heat Justify took for not racing at 2-years-old - busting the Apollo "streak" - now turns around to his racing too much in 2018.

"After all, it's now impossible not to wonder if the busy Triple Crown prep schedule Justify had to overcome to make and win the Derby might now be taking its toll," Daily Racing Form's Mike Watchmaker said.

The horse who will beat Justify in Elmont, New York, is named 12 Furlongs, aka Mile-and-a-Half. He's 139-12 under these circumstances.

NBC OK
I wouldn't call it redemption, but NBC was much better yesterday.

NBCSN was typically good in the early coverage with Laffit Pincay III conducting. There weren't as many distractions as with the Kentucky Derby flotsam jetsam and hats.

Pimlico angles itself as the debauched infield partay. I don't understand how people can woo-hoo like that sober. And how many watered-down light beers would it take to get hammered enough to act that way? Listeners, call in.

Same as last week, Mike Tirico was on the feature telecast and he hasn't improved. Maybe my steam was released last week, but I found myself ignoring him. But a couple times, like when my cats perk their ears when I say their name even if they're sleeping, I heard a couple Tiricoisms and did a big double-take WHAT? But I didn't even have the desire to rewind to find out.

But they let Randy Moss and Jerry Bailey actually analyze and that was great. Kenny Rice down in the barn area told how Baffert seems to have as much confidence in Justify as he had with American Pharoah and Arrogate. Even with a pinch of salt, that's interesting.

Carolyn Manno wore a natty plastic raincoat that reminded me of my grandmother's sofa covering. If she was kidding about loving being in the Woodstock mud in the infield, she still sold it.

Eddie Olczyk was in Stanley Cup form, taking the hits for his losses and giving it back with his wins. The montage of his Derby weekend was great. In the end, he choked on some chalk, as the point is to surrender to the win.

Cats As His Witness
When you see a horse, or a performance like this, you have to make mention. Even with the camera on a wire going with them, Mitole in the Chick Lang Sprint (6 furlongs, $200,000) looked just frickin' fast, even on TV. He toyed and romped for fun. Quite exciting.

The 3-year-old son of Eskendereya, who I took a real liking to and who scratched just before the Derby in 2010, never to run again, looked like he wanted to just run away. Cats as my witness, I promised to keep an eye on this one.

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Tom Chambers is our man on the rail. He welcomes your comments.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 2:37 PM | Permalink

May 19, 2018

Thousands Illegally Denied Health Coverage In Illinois

Attorneys on behalf of thousands of low-income people filed a motion in court on Wednesday to enforce federal law and the State of Illinois' agreement to process Medicaid applications in a timely fashion. The attorneys charge that the State is violating both federal law and an Illinois court order by significantly delaying Medicaid applications and denying residents access to health coverage.

The motion, filed in U.S. District Court in Chicago, asks the court to enforce an existing consent decree that requires the State to determine eligibility for Medicaid within federal timelines, and to offer temporary medical assistance to people whose applications nonetheless pend beyond the federal time limits. The advocates allege the State is woefully behind on its processing and has not offered temporary medical assistance as a solution.

"I have represented a multitude of youth clients experiencing homelessness, many of whom have significant physical and mental healthcare needs, who are going without access to care for months," said Tanya Gassenheimer, youth health attorney at the Chicago Coalition for the Homeless.

Gassenheimer, who helps youth experiencing homelessness apply for Medicaid and file appeals with DHS regarding any issues with those applications, filed a declaration in the motion.

"My clients rely on programs like Medicaid for survival. These issues are simply inexcusable and it's well past time for DHS to act."

Under federal law, the State of Illinois is required to process most applications for Medicaid - the federal-state program that provides health coverage to roughly 3 million Illinoisans - within 45 days. Pursuant to the existing consent decree in Cohen v. Wright, if a determination has not been made in that period, the State must notify applicants that they are eligible for temporary coverage and promptly provide it if requested.

Yet, as detailed in declarations filed by enrollment assisters and healthcare providers, the Illinois Department of Human Services is months behind in processing applications and has also stopped sending notices offering temporary eligibility. As a result, tens of thousands of low-income people throughout Illinois are being denied medical care. Among the widespread suffering and hardship, pregnant women are giving birth without health coverage, people facing mental health crises are missing treatment, and children with serious medical conditions are foregoing crucial medication.

"The State of Illinois is clearly in violation of federal law and thousands of Illinoisans are suffering gravely because of it," said Carrie Chapman, director of advocacy at Legal Council for Health Justice, one of the organizations that helped file the motion. "DHS must provide our clients with access to the care they need and are legally entitled to - we simply can't wait any longer."

Plaintiffs allege that delays in processing Medicaid applications have worsened in the last several months, and that eligible individuals are routinely waiting for three to six months to have their applications processed and approved. The lawsuit comes after lawyers representing the plaintiffs tried for months to resolve the issues without legal action, but were unable to compel DHS to comply.

The plaintiffs are also represented by attorneys from the Sargent Shriver National Center on Poverty Law and Sidley Austin.

"People with low income need healthcare coverage to stay healthy and pursue financial security," said Stephanie Altman, senior director of policy and healthcare justice at the Shriver Center. "By restricting access to vital care, the State of Illinois is jeopardizing both the short- and long-term well-being of our clients."

A copy of the motion can be found here.

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 6:26 AM | Permalink

May 18, 2018

The Week In Chicago Rock

You shoulda been there.

1. Charly Bliss at the Empty Bottle on Thursday night.


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2. The Armed at the Beat Kitchen on Monday night.

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3. Dust Bolt at the Metro on Sunday night.

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4. Helmet at Bottom Lounge on Thursday night.

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5. Prong at Bottom Lounge on Thursday night.

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6. Spaceface at Schubas on Sunday night.

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7. Kobra & the Lotus at the Forge in Joliet on Thursday night.

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8. Hawthorne Heights at Durty Nellie's in Palatine on Monday night.

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9. Traveller at SPACE in Evanston on Monday night.

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10. The Fever 333 at Cobra Lounge on Monday night.

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Catching up with . . .

Priests at Lincoln Hall on May 1st.

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The Brian Jonestown Massacre at the Vic on May 11th.

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 6:47 PM | Permalink

The Beachwood Radio Sports Hour #201: Much Ado About Machado

Meanwhile, Mad Joe Maddon is driving us mad. Plus: Bulls: We Stanks; Captain Kane; Ryan Pace Still Sucks; Last Year Was Supposed To Be Rock Bottom; Mike Trout, GOAT?; C'mon, Ricky, More Nicky!; and Schweinsteiger!


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SHOW NOTES

* 201.

1:03: Bulls: We Stanks.

* We got cows.

* NBA draft details (it's in Brooklyn).

19:24: Captain Kane.

"Captain Patrick Kane scored two goals to lift the United States to a 3-2 win over the Czech Republic in the quarterfinals of the ice hockey world championship on Thursday while Canada beat Russia 5-4 in overtime," AP reports.

"Kane claimed the third-period winner to take the outright lead in the scoring table on 19 points, a U.S. record, with eight goals and 11 assists and set up a semifinal against defending champion Sweden or Latvia on Saturday."

24:12: Ryan Pace Still Sucks.

* And Jesus Christ, Chicago sports media, not every player in mini-camp is the next coming of . . . Jesus Christ!

35:08: Last Year Was Supposed To Be Rock Bottom.

* Wallenstein: "We hear how Ricky's Boys Don't Quit, but even quitters might have been able to eke a few more wins than these guys have at this juncture."

41:38: Mike Trout: GOAT?

* Trout-Ohtani: 1-2.

43:55: C'mon, Ricky, More Nicky!

44:36: Much Ado About Machado.

* And other Cubs stuff.

1:02:42: Schweinsteiger!

* Tom Ricketts, Lincoln Yards, Live Nation and SeatGeek.

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STOPPAGE: 7:20

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

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 3:30 PM | Permalink

The [Friday] Papers

"The State of Illinois regularly keep prisoners with disabilities beyond their release dates because of inadequate options for housing - though it's difficult to know exactly how often, because the Department of Corrections said they don't track that number," WBEZ reports.

"A WBEZ review of facilities on a corrections department's housing list found many did not accept people with a disability, including psychiatric disabilities. Equip for Equality, a disability rights advocacy group, said the situation could be a violation of laws meant to protect people from discrimination - and costs the state more money than placing people in the community."

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"Despite months of requests, the Illinois Department of Corrections refused an interview for this story. In a statement, IDOC said they would like to increase the number of housing placements they provide for people on parole or supervised release, but lawmakers would need to provide the budget for that. The department said it works diligently to provide host sites."

Maybe they can be placed in Amazon's dumpsters, should the billions in tax incentives the state is offering suffice enough to lure them here.

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"WBEZ obtained IDOC's housing directory through the state's open records laws. Most facilities on the list said they would not accept a person coming from prison who was deaf, blind, or had a psychiatric disability. After calling all 75 places, WBEZ was able to identify only 13 that would accommodate someone who used a wheelchair coming from prison - one of those facilities said they had only one wheelchair accessible room and another told us that their waiting list for an accessible bed was months long.

"In 2017, IDOC said 152 people were in prison, even though their release date had already passed. (This number excludes people with sex offenses, who are also routinely kept in prison beyond their release but for a different reason.) The Department of Corrections does not track how many of those 152 people have disabilities. But Amanda Antholt, a lawyer with Equip for Equality, said she regularly hears from people in prison who can't get into halfway houses because of their disability."

Juvenile Injustice
"Research shows prolonged solitary confinement can lead to depression, anxiety and psychosis, and children are particularly vulnerable to these negative reactions because their brains are still developing, according to the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry. Mental health professionals, advocates, and even many detention center administrators say the practice should be sharply curbed, if not eliminated," the Chicago Reporter reports.

"Instead, staff at the Cook County Juvenile Temporary Detention Center, one of the largest juvenile jails in the country, regularly confine kids for hours at a time, the Reporter has found. Youth in the jail say it's not uncommon for staff to threaten them with solitary for bad behavior.

"Over the past two-and-a-half years, kids at the JTDC have been confined to their cells more than 55,000 times. Taken together, the time they've spent in solitary adds up to nearly 25 years.

"The punitive use of solitary confinement at the JTDC has risen over the past two years, even as the population has shrunk. There were 1,000 more punitive confinements in 2017 than in 2016, an increase of almost 25 percent. The average daily population dropped about 20 percent over the same period."

Designer Dogs
"A Tribune investigation found that a loophole in [a] city ordinance allows three Chicago pet stores to sell puppies supplied by rescues that are closely linked to longtime commercial dealers. In an arrangement that is not an express violation of the ordinance but runs counter to the spirit of the ban, records show these rescues provide city shops each year with hundreds of purebred and designer-mix puppies - all of which come through kennels and properties owned by for-profit businesses or breeders," the paper reports.

"By exploiting that opening in the law, critics say the businesses hinder the ordinance's goal to reduce the number of shelter dogs euthanized in the city each year. The practice also raises questions about whether customers could be misled into believing their pricey pet was an unwanted rescue puppy in need of a good home."

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"After reviewing more than 10,000 pages of inspection reports, tax forms, veterinary records and other public documents, the Tribune identified two dealers who opened not-for-profit rescues after the ordinance's passage and began supplying puppies to the three Chicago pet stores. In the past two years, Hobo K-9 Rescue in Britt, Iowa, and Missouri-based Dog Mother Rescue Society have sent more than 1,200 dogs to the city stores but nowhere else in Illinois, according to records released by their states' agriculture departments.

"Meanwhile, the commercial businesses owned by the rescuers - Iowa's J.A.K.'S Puppies and Missouri's Lonewolf Kennels - send their Illinois-bound pets to stores outside the city limits, where shops can legally sell puppies provided by large-scale breeders. The Tribune has identified more than two dozen instances over the past year when puppies of the same breed and birthdate arrived in Illinois on the same day with one tagged as a commercially bred dog and the other a rescue."

NOTE: I added links to each of these items.

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New on the Beachwood today . . .

The Beachwood Radio Sports Hour #201
Is in post-production.

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The Week In Chicago Rock
Is in pre-production.

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ChicagoGram

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ChicagoTube

What a tough break!

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BeachBook

America's New Aristocracy: The 9.9% And Their Delusion Of Hereditary Meritocracy.

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TweetWood
A sampling.

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Some people have lived in Chicago long enough to know to get it in writing - at the least.

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The Beachwood Tronc Line: In writing.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 11:51 AM | Permalink

May 17, 2018

The [Thursday] Papers

"U.S. prosecutors filed a criminal charge Wednesday against the CEO of Bumble Bee Foods as part of an ongoing investigation into price fixing in the packaged seafood industry," AP reports.

Oh, Bumble Bee . . . you could've been the Good Guy Tuna Company.


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I'm really jammed up today. Hopefully a full column tomorrow, after me and Jim "Coach" Coffman record The Beachwood Radio Sports Hour #201.

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ChicagoGram

This weekend! Quimby's is proud to co-sponsor CHICAGO ZINE FEST! . Friday, May 18th: Panel discussion & exhibitor reading, 6:30-9:30, at the Institute of Cultural Affairs, 4750 N. Sheridan Road . Sat, 11-6 Tabling exhibition at The Plumbers Union Hall, 1340 W Washington Blvd. . Saturday, May 19th 2018: Chicago Zine Fest Afterparty w/ Punk Rock Karaoke! 7:30pm-midnight at Co-Prosperity Sphere, 3219 S Morgan St. Poster by Miguel Centeno. . Grab an exclusive new Chicago Zine Fest tote bag for $10 on Exhibition Day! . More info at chicagozinefest.org . #CZF2018 #ChicagoZineFest #ChicagoZineFest2018 #zines #zinefest #quimbys #quimbysbookstore #quimbysbookstorechicago #punkrockkaraoke #PlumbersUnion #CoProsperitySphere

A post shared by Quimbys Bookstore (@quimbysbookstore) on

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ChicagoTube

Chicago Cases.

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The Beachwood Tronc Line: For The Windfall.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 12:04 AM | Permalink

May 16, 2018

Charles White: A Retrospective | At The Art Institute

"Born in Chicago and educated at the School of the Art Institute, Charles White was part of the city's flourishing black artistic community of the 1930s.

"He was determined to employ art in the struggle for social change, declaring, 'Paint is the only weapon I have with which to fight what I resent.'

"Influenced by Mexican muralists such as Diego Rivera, White completed several important mural commissions in the city, including one for a branch of the Chicago Public Library."


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"Charles White (1918-1979) powerfully interpreted African-American history, culture, and lives over the course of his four-decade career," the Art Institute says.

"A superbly gifted draftsman and printmaker as well as a talented mural and easel painter, he developed a distinctive and labor-intensive approach to art making and remained committed to a representational style at a time when the art world increasingly favored abstraction.

"His work magnified the power of the black figure through scale and form, communicating universal human themes while also focusing attention on the lives of African Americans and the struggle for equality.

"This exhibition - the first major retrospective of White's work in more than 35 years - showcases an accomplished artist whose work continues to resonate amid today's national dialogues about race, work, equality and history."

June 8 - September 3.

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Harvest Talk.

Harvest Talk.jpg

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From Wikipedia:

"Charles Wilbert White was born on April 2, 1918, to Ethelene Gary, a domestic servant, and Charles White Sr, a railroad and construction worker, on the South Side of Chicago.

"Due to their poverty, his parents could not afford a babysitter while they worked, so his mother would leave him at the library. This caused a young Charles to develop an affinity towards art and reading at a young age.

"White's mother bought him an oil paint set when White was 7-years-old, which hooked White on art and painting.

"White also played music as a child, studied modern dance, and was part of theatre groups; however, he stated that art was his true passion.

"White's mother brought the young White to the Art Institute of Chicago, where he would read and look at paintings - developing a particular interest in the works of Winslow Homer and George Inness.

"During the Great Depression, White tried to conceal his art passion in fear of embarrassment; however, this ended when White got a job painting signs at the age of 14.

"Since White had little money growing up, he often painted on whatever surfaces he could find including shirts, cardboard, and window blinds.

"White later learned how to mix paints by sitting in everyday for a week on an Art Institute of Chicago painting class that was taking place at a park near his home in Chicago."

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 7:12 AM | Permalink

Supreme Court Delivers For Sports Bettors. Now States Need To Scramble

On Monday, the United States Supreme Court invalidated the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act, a federal law that prohibited states, aside from a few exemptions like Nevada, from allowing sports betting operations.

The court ruled that the law unconstitutionally interfered with states' ability to implement their own legislation on the issue.

So now what? As someone who studies sports wagering and gambling law, I've been following the case closely. While the decision marks an end to years of legal action to challenge the federal law, it also now creates a host of issues for states, including Illinois, that are considering sports betting legislation and regulation.

sportsbettors.jpgPeople line up to place bets in the sportsbook at the South Point hotel-casino in Las Vegas/John Locher, AP

To Legalize Or Not To Legalize

First and foremost, it's now on states to decide whether to legalize sports betting. Many, like Pennsylvania and New York, have preemptively introduced or passed legislation to do just that.

But for those that have already legalized sports betting or end up doing so in the coming months, there's a lot of work to be done - and decisions to be made.

The states that do legalize sports betting will have to decide whether it will be operated by the state, like lotteries, or if private enterprises will be allowed to offer sports bets. If private businesses are permitted, states must consider whether sports betting will be limited to certain types, such as casinos and racetracks, or if online operators and smaller retailers will also be able to participate.

Then there are the types of wagers that will be permitted and prohibited. Does the legalization of sports betting allow for wagering on events that are related to professional sports, such as the NBA draft? Do e-sports count as a "sport" for wagering purposes? Will betting on events beyond sports be legalized, too? For example, in Nevada, you can't bet on the outcome of elections, but you can bet on approved e-sports events and the NBA draft.

States will also need to determine whether live betting - also known as in-running, live-game or in-game betting - will be offered. This type of wager, which has become increasingly popular in Nevada, allows you to bet on certain aspects of the game as it unfolds. For example, at halftime of a game, you could bet on the outcome regardless of what happened in the first half.

There's also the issue of how bettors will establish betting accounts and place their bets. Will they be able to do so through an app on their phones? Or must it be done in person at a licensed location?

Building A Regulatory Framework

Some elected officials think the federal government could play a role by building a regulatory template for states to follow. Before the decision, U.S. Rep. Frank Pallone (D-New Jersey) had already introduced legislation to create one. However, Congress might not have the appetite to tackle the issue, given other priorities and the upcoming midterm elections.

Moreover, Nevada's system could easily serve as a starting point for states from which to build. Since 1949, the state has been auditing sportsbooks, resolving patron disputes, approving technology for use in sportsbooks, and approving wagering options.

So far, little has been said about the benefit the federal government will receive from an expansion of sports wagering throughout the United States. The current tax code imposes a 0.25 percent federal tax on the total amount wagered on sports.

However, the sports leagues also want a cut of the bets and have pushed for what they call an "integrity fee." But it's really just a share of all wagers made. This could prove detrimental to sportsbook operators, since sports betting, by its nature, is a relatively low-margin business - after all, they do have to pay out on winning wagers. If states aren't careful, integrity fees, burdensome taxes, license fees and regulatory costs might push out suitable, experienced operators - and force patrons to remain in the illegal market.

These are just a snapshot of issues that states will have to grapple with, and a careful, cautious and informed approach must be undertaken. But in the long term, it will serve states and bettors well: A legal, regulated market is much better than the illegal, unaccountable system that's been operating for years.

Jennifer Roberts is an adjunct law professor at UNLV. This article was originally published on The Conversation.

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Previously:

* The Beachwood Radio Sports Hour #31: Sweet Action! A Special Report On Sports Gambling.

* Welcome, Sportsbooks!

* States Getting Ready For U.S. Supreme Court To Legalize Sports Gambling.

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Comments welcome.

The Conversation

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 5:55 AM | Permalink

New Television's New Families

Our present, many have noted, is a new golden age of television, defined by the rise of a range of sophisticated, creative and powerful serial shows.

We know that, time and again in history, forms of art arise to meet the demands of even the most profound and unsettling changes in the world.

Several centuries ago, it was the novel and its alleged ability to engage with what the Hungarian philosopher György Lukács in 1914 termed our "transcendental homelessness."

After that came film, and - as thinkers from Walter Benjamin to Robert Warshow noted - its ability to give some order, at least for a couple of hours, to our otherwise discordant experience.

"All care about movies, await them, respond to them, remember them, talk about them, hate some of them, are grateful for some of them," is how the philosopher Stanley Cavell put it in The World Viewed.

Moving images, in other words, have an inherent egalitarian quality; you need little more than an ability to acknowledge motion and sound to appreciate them.

To what moment does the rise of television respond? And what is the significance of this medium?

Above all, new television responds to an omnipresent loss of normative authority, of a robust failure of humans to feel at home in their world; to trust their governments, their leaders, their role models, their traditions and, ultimately, even their senses.

New television confronts this state of affairs artistically and politically, presenting - like film - some order to such a world, but over weeks and months and years.

idea_sized-carl-lori-rick-walking-dead-1024x683.jpgRick Grimes (Andrew Lincoln) and family in The Walking Dead/Courtesy AMC

Within these shows, the family emerges as the sole site where normative authority still exists; it is the only motivation that still makes any sense.

If one had to count the number of characters that are doing whatever it is they're doing "for their family," one would likely produce a number almost equivalent to the number of new TV shows.

In this context, think of shows as diverse as Sons of Anarchy (2008-14), a drama about motorcycle gangs, to Weeds (2005-12), a comedy about the suburban drug trade, to The Americans (2013-), a thriller about Soviet-era spies, to True Blood (2008-14), a political vampire show, to Six Feet Under (2001-05), a funeral home drama, to Peaky Blinders (2013-), an early 20th-century British gangster show, to name just a few.

In The Origins of Totalitarianism, Hannah Arendt worried about the atomization that the modern world produces, an atomization that fuels the creation of masses.

Masses - collections of individuals who are essentially nobodies, that is who, as the expression goes, stand for nothing and thereby fall for anything - are the main input into the totalitarian phenomena that drives her work.

Arendt notes that masses grow out of "a highly atomized society" marked by its "competitive structure and concomitant loneliness."

Since Arendt wrote those words nearly 70 years ago, we can now say only that our masses are more atomized, more competitive, and thereby more lonely.

The reasons driving these changes include the rise of hyper-capitalism, the disintegration of various forms of authority, and the difficulties in establishing new ones, the spread of neocolonialism, the resurgence in racial thinking, and more.

Frequently linked to David Lynch's Twin Peaks, new television reveals a pedigree that connects it to, and perhaps even better actualizes the possibilities of, film.

(It is not by accident, then, that Lynch recently claimed that television and cinema "are exactly the same thing.")

So, television matters as art, and to a great many. But why?

Behind new television's response to contemporary affairs are rich political currents. Note the extent to which new TV forcefully responds to the radical atomization definitive of our world. Whether we are talking about police procedurals (The Wire, The Shield), sci-fi epics (Fringe, Dollhouse, Battlestar Galactica), legal dramas (Better Call Saul, Damages), gangster shows (Peaky Blinders, The Sopranos), Westerns (Deadwood, Justified), period pieces (Mad Men, Boardwalk Empire), or whatever else in between and beyond, new TV presents the viewer with a ubiquitous collapse of normative authority.

Whatever institutions are being exhibited, in whatever domain, they are presented as incapable of sustaining the agents who make use of them; nothing is what it claims or aspires to be, and everything rots from within, a breakdown that ultimately undermines the capacity of agents to feel at home.

In this way, The Walking Dead (2010-) is the blueprint for the genre. The Wire (2002-08) traces the loss of such normative authority and the emptiness that comes with it in meticulous detail through an examination of Baltimore's various institutions. Deadwood (2004-06) follows it through the social disorder of the early American West, and Breaking Bad (2008-13) within contemporary science or the gangster underworld. The Walking Dead is even less subtle. It bludgeons the viewer with it in the form of a zombie apocalypse. In this way, the loss of normative authority that these shows exhibit perfectly captures, and thereby responds to, the loss of normative authority that agents feel across the globe.

How might we understand new television's invocation of the family? The first thing to note is that these invocations are not commitments to traditional "family values," where what's being affirmed is a nuclear family; the range of families for which characters act are quite broad and often not traditional. We are not dealing here with reproduction or property. Yet, we shouldn't think that these invocations aren't potentially regressive. Most new TV presents and responds to the increasing atomization and the breakdown in our world by withdrawing into and idolizing the institution most representative of it.

The family is conceived as the last site of functioning normative authority; it is presented somehow as exempt from the otherwise pervasive breakdown. The family, however, cannot carry this messianic weight - it will not be what saves us.

At the same time, there are shows - here I would place Weeds (2005-12), Justified (2010-15) and Buffy the Vampire Slayer (1997-2003) - that locate their commitment to the family around the idea of the family as our best metaphor for political possibility.

On such a view, the invocation of family signifies only a commitment to the sort of openness and "thinking without banisters" that Arendt described as essential to contemporary politics.

"Thinking without banisters" suggests that ability to introduce something new into the world, an ability that responds to a particular phenomenon by inventing the sort of concept or category that orients our relationship to it.

In this way, such thinking operates independently of (even as it responds to) any existing normative authority; it is thereby entirely compatible with a seemingly total loss of such authority.

In short, the successes of new television harness the family to present a political picture that extols novelty, suggesting that, if anything saves us, it'll be something wholly human and yet wholly new.

The great achievement of new television, then, like all good art, is its ability to bring into focus elements of the existing world even while suggesting that our focus cannot be only on these elements, or indeed on any presently existing elements.

New television, however, excels and sometimes shows its radical potential (even more so than film, which always harbors the avant-garde), in the simple fact that it requires no training or deep learning to bear its fruits, remaining accessible essentially to anyone.

Martin Shuster is director of Judaic Studies and assistant professor at the Center for Geographies of Justice at Goucher College in Baltimore. His latest book is New Television: The Aesthetics and Politics of a Genre (University of Chicago Press, 2017).

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This post was originally published at Aeon and has been republished under Creative Commons.

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Comments welcome.

Aeon counter - do not remove

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 5:54 AM | Permalink

The [Wednesday] Papers

It was a particularly egregious day of lying on Tuesday.

Our star practitioners of were at the top of their game.

Bruce Rauner opened the festivities claiming that Minnesota is "struggling like we are," as a way to evade the inescapable fact that the economic model of that state has vastly outperformed Midwest cohorts Wisconsin and Indiana, the states Rauner looks to as examples of prosperous right-wing governance. The governor simply refuses to let the facts get in the way of his ideology.

Then Rahm Emanuel and his schools chief Janice Jackson wholly insulted a raft of parents with children needing special education by claiming satisfaction that they had agreed to an independent monitor to oversee that realm of the district. Their self-congratulations directly opposed the fact that for years the mayor has ignored the desperate pleas these parents made to Rahm's previous schools chief (and board president) that services were frittering away, in one of the grandest recent examples of mass gaslighting.

Meanwhile, the normally sober and relatively competent Toni Preckwinkle made an astounding preachment of the necessity of moral and political courage in the every day moments in which we, and our institutions, such as Cook County, face racism and segregation. This, after standing stoutly and defiantly behind Cook County Assessor and Democratic Party machine leader Joe Berrios even after the startling discovery that his assessment system stole from poor people of color and redistributed their meager wealth to the already wealthy white folk of the sort whose contributions kept the ethically addled Berrios flush all these years.

Rauner returned to cap off the day with a tweet commending the U.S. - he carefully substituted the country for the name of the man responsible - for moving the U.S. embassy in Israel from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem. Rauner has steadfastly refused to comment on Donald Trump or virtually any position he has taken or decree he has issued, outside of cutting taxes on corporations, of course, and yet somehow found this nugget of perilous foreign policy worthy of comment (while ignoring the carnage that just accompanied it). We know why, of course; he's appealing to the hard right he's trying to bring back into the fold after his near-death primary experience. For someone who entered the arena proclaiming to the high heavens that he wasn't a politician, Rauner has proven to be one of the biggest political animals we've seen around these parts, which is saying a lot considering the nature of the competition. In fact, Rauner's problem is that he's so political he's unable to govern; after all, the General Assembly isn't the Chicago City Council, or, as I call it, the Department of Aldermen. You think Rauner doesn't wish his power was unfettered? He'd shut up about term limits in a hurry.

I'm sure many other public officials and private punks lied, spun and evaded you and your interests on Tuesday, but this grouping struck me as unusually vile.

*

At least the news wasn't all bad. Of course, this is Chicago, so all that really means is that something scurrilous was at least partially, and at least temporarily, rectified.

"A Cook County judge has found that Mayor Rahm Emanuel and his office violated state law by withholding for nearly a year-and-a-half e-mails sent and received on his personal cellphones that related to city business, including e-mails about the scandal-plagued red light camera program," the Tribune reported.

"Judge Kathleen Pantle agreed with the Chicago Tribune that Emanuel and his office violated the state's open records act by belatedly releasing the e-mails, handing the newspaper a victory in its ongoing court battle over the mayor's use of personal devices and accounts to conduct the public's business.

"In addition, the judge opened the door to having Emanuel testify about whether he and his office failed to preserve texts and e-mails on his personal phones and accounts in violation of another state law relating to the preservation of government records."

Maybe if forced to testify Emanuel will regale the court with this theory that e-mails are simply phone conversations on paper - and the public doesn't get to listen in!

Trib reporter David Kidwell: But you do have an e-mail. Some of it gets done by e-mail?

RE: That's a phone conversation in my view.

DK: Do you think under the law, under the public records law, they are the same thing?

RE: I believe, and I am not talking about the law, I believe that a large part of what is done by e-mail, yes, no, OK, is all like a phone call. It's not like what you guys think is a written memo.

From the same interview:

DK: The question is whether or not you have conducted city business through e-mail or on your phone or on your . . . ?

RE (interrupting): I have a cellphone. I call my staff on my cellphone. That's the answer.

DK: And you e-mail them?

RE: I have a government e-mail, I deal with it. I assume it's a government e-mail.

*

DK: Do you avoid e-mail? Do you tell people, don't e-mail me? Do you have a . . .

RE: Again, you want to know how I set goals and hold people accountable. I have cards I write every other day what I've got to get done. I showed you what the president wrote.

DK: Is there a policy on e-mailing you or you e-mailing other people?

RE: No.

DK: I mean, is there . . . You have to understand why it's confusing to us that you, in our log of e-mails, you are completely absent.

Rahm came clean, sort of, in December 2016:

"Under pressure from a pair of open records lawsuits, Mayor Rahm Emanuel acknowledged for the first time Wednesday that he has used personal e-mail accounts to conduct public business, a practice that allowed him to hide some of his government correspondence from the public since he took office," the Tribune reported.

"Emanuel's admission came as he directed the city's Law Department and his personal attorney to settle a lawsuit brought by the Better Government Association. The watchdog organization took Emanuel to court in October 2015 over a Freedom of Information Act request that sought official emails the mayor sent from a non-government account.

"The settlement was announced 12 days after the Chicago Tribune won a round in its ongoing lawsuit alleging the mayor violated the state's open records laws by refusing to release communications about city business Emanuel conducted through e-mails and text messages."

*

Back to the current-day Tribune:

"The city has never turned over any texts in response to the Tribune's request. The Tribune contends that texts relating to public business were deleted or not properly retained. The city refused to answer any interrogatories where certain records were not preserved. Instead, the city filed an affidavit from Emanuel's personal lawyer stating that 'text messages cannot now be located on the Mayor's phones.'"

Look, even on Snapchat the messages aren't really really gone.

"In her ruling, Pantle noted that Emanuel and his office 'have produced no evidence on the actual issue in this case: whether public record stored on the Mayor's phones or in his privately-owned e-mail account existed and then were destroyed. Defendants now try to sidestep the issue by arguing that they voluntarily adopted a policy on the use of mobile devices by City employees."

*

Now let's travel back to that December 2016 article for a moment:

"Many of the e-mails released by the mayor's attorneys show Emanuel writing very little. Most show the mayor either on the receiving end of an email or forwarding one to his staff. What's clear, however, is that Chicago's top power brokers, including a handful of aldermen, knew they could reach Emanuel through his personal rahmemail.com address."

Including some members of the media, including the paper's top editor, Bruce Dold.

"There also were a handful of messages between Emanuel and Dold last year, when Dold was the Tribune's editorial page editor. Some of the e-mails centered on a time for the two to have a phone conversation or lunch, while in another, Emanuel complained that an editorial on plans for a new Whole Foods store in Englewood had not given his administration enough credit for attracting the high-end grocer to one of the city's most violent neighborhoods.

"While it is a great mission and worthy of editorial it does not tell the whole story of why chicago of all places," Emanuel wrote.

"Ok, but hey - this is nothing but a positive editorial about Chicago," Dold responded.

It's not clear that Dold was asked about this by the Trib reporter. It is clear that Dold provided the reporter with a statement about the paper's glorious victory against the mayor.

*

Now, back to Rauner.

On Monday: Home Of The Whopper.

Today: Rauner's Alternate Reality On The Mitsubishi Plant.

What a week he's having.

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I'm reminded once again of this quote from our post Monday about the ethos of Mad magazine:

The editorial mission statement has always been the same: 'Everyone is lying to you, including magazines. Think for yourself. Question authority.'

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New on the Beachwood today . . .

Charles White Retrospective
"Charles Wilbert White was born on April 2, 1918, to Ethelene Gary, a domestic servant, and Charles White Sr, a railroad and construction worker, on the South Side of Chicago . . . "

A public library, a public park and the Art Institute would come to change his life.

Harvest Talk.jpg

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Supreme Court Delivers For Sports Bettors. Now States Need To Scramble
Now it comes down to, essentially, who gets a cut.

sportsbettors.jpg

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New Television's New Families
Amidst the breakdown of normative authority, traced back to Twin Peaks and better than film.

idea_sized-carl-lori-rick-walking-dead-1024x683.jpg

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ChicagoGram

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ChicagoTube

Castles, Episode 1.

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BeachBook

That Weekend In Chicago Rock.

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TweetWood
A sampling.

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The Beachwood Tronc Line: Ginger ale.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 12:01 AM | Permalink

May 15, 2018

Any Educational Reform That Ignores Segregation Is Doomed To Failure

"In education, America does everything but equity." With these words, Failing Brown v. Board, a new report from the civil rights group Journey for Justice Alliance, makes plain how the machine of educational reform, with all its innovations and disruptive technologies, is missing an essential cog: the resources to deliver a quality neighborhood school.

Most states cut education spending in the 2008 recession. Yet, despite the economy having recovered, there is less funding today for education than even those lean years, according to the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities. Researchers from this non-profit found that in 2015, "29 states were still providing less total school funding per student than they were in 2008."

No wonder the quality of our schools is suffering, and parents are grasping at straws. But the seductive promise of educational programs that don't grapple with the roots of inequality will eventually ring hollow.

On Monday, the director of Journey for Justice Alliance, Chicago's Jitu Brown - alongside other civil rights groups including the NAACP, the Advancement Project, American Federation of Teachers and the National Education Association - held a press conference on the steps of the Supreme Court in Washington, D.C. The occasion was the release of the report, to do what many reformers openly refuse to - confront a system of segregated schools.

Segregated housing and schools, gerrymandered districts and voter suppression picked up were Jim Crow left off. Housing ghettos are born of racist housing policies that rob the black community of opportunities to amass wealth. According to Prosperity Now, a national nonprofit to expand economic opportunity for low-income families, and the Institute for Policy Studies, a progressive think tank, white households have seven times the amount of wealth as African Americans, and six times as much as Latinos.

Wealthier neighborhoods hoard wealth and maintain a racially separate school system through a financial structure based on property taxes. Local school districts rely heavily on the revenue that comes from local property taxes, creating funding disparities between rich and poor districts. These primary sources of inequality continue to limit opportunities, suppressing the social mobility of subsequent generations. Yet many education reformers avoid, accept - or even embrace! - segregation, knowing that federal policy got us into this mess and only federal policy can get us out.

In December 2017, in response to an Associated Press report that showed charters were more segregated than traditional schools, the National Alliance for Public Charters essentially said, research be damned; that it was not their concern. "In the end, parents' and students' opinions are the only ones that matter," read the official statement.

That was the moment many charters school leaders relinquished any claim of being reformers. It was white parents choosing segregation that helped get us to this state. Education reform must be in the business of educating our youth in non-discriminatory environments. Making people upwardly mobile requires providing great schools and dismantling systems that keep students from receiving what they need to be successful. I've argued in earlier columns that because charter schools aren't bound to geographic zones, they should be strategically placed to integrate areas where racial and economic segregation is reinforced by district lines.

Brown and the other activists are right to demand the right to have a decent neighborhood school. If the leaders of the charter school lobby were truly sincere about equity in education, they should have joined Brown on those Supreme Court steps. Working on federal policy and law that gives people a pathway out of poverty requires more than lip service to "choice."

"Every parent deserves choices about where they will send their child to school," proclaimed Texas Governor Greg according to a Texas Observer report on a 2017 rally for school choice. "All these parents know this isn't a Republican issue, it's not a Democrat issue. This is a civil rights issue." Choice has been the rallying cry for defenders of charter schools, voucher systems and other contrivances that purport to free students from oppressive public school structures. Many claim this is the civil rights issue of our time.

Some civil rights groups, including those who attended Monday's rally, feel differently. When the NAACP, one of our country's foremost civil right organizations, voted on a resolution to place a moratorium on charter schools, the backlash from charter advocates was swift and often times mean-spirited. One hundred and sixty black leaders, part of the charter lobby, signed a letter encouraging the NAACP to back off, saying: "For many urban Black families, charter schools are making it possible to do what affluent families have long been able to do: rescue their children from failing schools." This is a lie. Giving low-income, black people charter schools without making them wealthy will never give them the same educational options as the affluent class. As a former charter leader, I've seen us make wealthy people the standard, then pitch false promises to families on how to reach it. But it never works.

In addition, more schooling isn't going to close the racial wealth gap. Let's stop promoting the idea that affluent people became wealthy from their dedication to education. Slavery, job discrimination and redlining, which took away the ability of black people to establish equity in a home, had much more to do with creating affluence for white people and giving them the ability to choose. Charter schools that accept segregation as a default don't help rescue black children, contrary to what the letter to the NAACP argued. Students aren't trapped in failing schools as much as they are trapped in poverty fueled by segregation.

As the Failing Brown v. Board report states, "The refusal to offer Black and Brown and poor children the same resources and educational opportunities that are offered to white and wealthy children continues to be a national crisis that has yet to be acknowledged or addressed by those in positions of power."

Elsewhere, the report references the Little Rock 9, who in 1957 integrated Central High School in Little Rock, Arkansas. It was a test case to see if a district would enforce the landmark 1954 Supreme Court ruling that desegregated education, Brown v Board. "These students endured discrimination, physical and emotional violence for their entire time at Central High School to make America honor a Supreme Court mandate," Brown wrote. Reformers keep trying to work around segregation, discrimination and structural racism. Yet as those nine teenagers showed us, change requires us to break down these barriers. And in order to do that, we need to fight segregated schools.

This story was produced by The Hechinger Report, a nonprofit, independent news organization focused on inequality and innovation in education.

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Previously by Andre Perry:
* Black And Brown Kids Don't Need To Learn 'Grit,' They Need Schools To Stop Being Racist.

* Why Black Lives Matter Should Take On Charter Schools.

* Don't Be Surprised If Colin Kaepernick Prompts More Schoolchildren To Sit For The Pledge Of Allegiance.

* "Wraparound" Services Are Not The Answer.

* Youth Aren't Props.

* NOLA's Secret Schools.

* Poor Whites Just Realized They Need Education Equity As Much As Black Folk.

* Letting Our Boys Onto The Football Field Is A Losing Play.

* America Has Never Had A Merit-Based System For College Admissions.

* Don't Ever Conflate Disaster Recovery With Education Reform.

* Black Athletes Can Teach Us About More Than Just Sports.

* Charter Schools Are Complicit With Segregation.

* When Parents Cheat To Get Their Child Into A "Good" School.

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 7:16 AM | Permalink

The [Tuesday] Papers

"Supermassive black holes at the centers of galaxies can get absurdly huge, sometimes reaching masses billions of times greater than our Sun," George Dvorsky writes for Gizmodo.

"The rate at which black holes grow can vary, but Australian astronomers have detected one such object with an unusually intense appetite, making it the fastest-growing black hole ever detected in the observable universe."

This is the kind of news I wish would get more attention. I mean, my god!

*

"This bloated supermassive black hole has an equally bloated name, QSO SMSS J215728.21-360215.1, or J2157-3602 for short. At 12 billion light-years away, it's not close, so we're observing this bright behemoth not as it is today, but as it existed some four billion years after the Big Bang."

Are you fucking kidding me? Four billion years after the Big Bang! Come on, people! How can we even see that?!

*

"Observations show that J2157-3602 is the size of about 20 billion suns, and it's growing at a rate of 1 percent every million years."

I'm reminded of a quote often attributed to Joseph Stalin: "One death is a tragedy; one million is a statistic." Is that why this isn't the day's biggest news?

I mean, yes, we have life, death and tragedy right here in front of us on Earth every minute of every day to occupy us, but . . . the nature of the universe is . . . the story of our time? Of our own existence!

*

"Every two days, this black hole devours a mass equivalent to our Sun, gobbling up dust, gas, bits of celestial debris, and whatever else it can suck in using its powerful gravitational influence. Astronomers have observed fast-growing QSOs before, but this one is a record setter, making it the fastest-growing and the brightest-glowing black hole ever detected."

Ever. That's news!

*

"Indeed, J2157-3602 is glowing with mind-boggling intensity. Its rapid rate of growth is causing it to shine thousands of time more brightly than an entire galaxy."

I'm only the zillionth person to say this, but maybe if we thought about the immense mysteries of the universe more, we'd have more perspective and less of the ridiculous pettiness that infects our everyday life in ways tiny and tragic.

*

"We're only human," I can hear some people say.

Yes, and that only reinforces the notion that we are a failed species.

Have a great day!

*

Or perhaps the awe-inspiring universe is simply a cold, dark, mechanistic master that has made us this way, instead of a wonderworld to behold, and we are only doing the best we can in the conditions we find ourselves in, having evolved from inert goo.

Either way, Bruce Rauner is a bad person.

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New on the Beachwood . . .

Any Educational Reform That Ignores Segregation Is Doomed To Failure
White parents and charter schools are killing us.

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ChicagoGram

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ChicagoTube

Former NFL Star Running Back Eddie George Is Starring In A Toronto Production Of Chicago.

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BeachBook

What A Family's Murder Reveals About Chicago's Chinese Gangs.

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Remembering The Brilliance Of SCTV.

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Hunter S. Thompson's Misrule.

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TweetWood
A sampling.

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The Beachwood Tronc Line: First mover.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 6:42 AM | Permalink

May 14, 2018

The [Monday] Papers

From Governor Bruce Rauner's amendatory veto of a bill passed by the General Assembly designed to institute a 72-hour waiting period before purchase of an assault weapon could be completed:

[A]nyone who deliberately kills a law enforcement officer or is a mass murderer deserves the death penalty. There are legitimate reasons for concern about the death penalty, reasons that I take seriously. Chief among those concerns is the alarming number of people who have been convicted by juries "beyond a reasonable doubt" and sentenced to death, but were later exonerated based on DNA or other evidence demonstrating that the jury convicted the wrong person. Consequently, the only morally justifiable standard of proof in a death penalty case is "beyond all doubt." This standard would apply not only at trial but also on appeal. There is ample evidence that juries and judges are more likely to sentence black men to death than others, resulting in obvious bias based on race and gender. If a person is justly convicted beyond all doubt of a crime for which death is deserved by a carefully crafted definition, then the only sentence objectively consistent with the demands of justice is death. For these reasons and in the interest of justice in cases of mass murder or murder of a police officer, I am exercising my amendatory veto authority to submit to the General Assembly a statute creating the offense of "death penalty murder," which would: 1) apply only to persons whose crime is so heinous as to clearly deserve to be executed; 2) require that any doubt regarding identification and guilt be resolved in favor of the accused both at trial and on appeal; and 3) provide that the only authorized sentence for death penalty murder is death, with a safety valve for those for whom the death penalty would be manifestly unjust, such as those with intellectual disability.

Yikes.

*

"Illinois Gov. Pat Quinn abolished the death penalty Wednesday, more than a decade after the state imposed a moratorium on executions out of concern that innocent people could be put to death by a justice system that had wrongly condemned 13 men. Quinn also commuted the sentences of all 15 inmates remaining on Illinois' death row. They will now serve life in prison," NPR reported in 2011.

"Illinois' moratorium [went] back to 2000, when then-Republican Gov. George Ryan made international headlines by suspending executions. He acted after years of growing doubts about the justices system and after courts threw out the death sentences of 13 condemned men. Shortly before leaving office in 2003, Ryan also cleared death row, commuting the sentences of 167 inmates to life in prison. Illinois' last execution was in 1999."

*

For someone who repeatedly insists he's not a politician, I've never seen as political a person in public office this side of Rahm Emanuel as Bruce Rauner. This is clearly a campaign document and not a serious public policy proposal.

First, the form of the proposal. In an amendatory veto? If Rauner were serious, he would have actually put forth a real piece of legislation that would undergo the proper vetting and debate such a momentous change - with lives literally on the line - deserves.

Second, the timing. Rauner suddenly got the death penalty religion between the time the GA passed an assault weapon waiting period bill and the time it reached his desk?

It's not as if the death penalty, exclusively for mass murderers or those who have killed police officers or not, has been a big agenda item for him. (It certainly was never part of the Turnaround Agenda, heh-heh. And he famously insisted during his 2014 campaign that he had "no social agenda," which presumably would include the death penalty, even if it was essentially a dog whistle about abortion.)

In fact, according to the Chicago Tribune archives, Rauner has never publicly uttered a word about the death penalty. Ever.

The closest I could find was a March 5, 2014 article in which the Trib noted in the 17th paragraph of a 19-paragraph story, that "All four [GOP primary] contenders said they want to see the death penalty restored in Illinois for the most serious crimes - if wrongful convictions can be avoided."

Now, the Trib isn't the end-all, be-all; I didn't check the rest of Illinois' media archives. But for all the Trib's blind spots, I doubt they would have missed a death penalty pronouncement from a sitting governor - or even a candidate for governor. After all, it was the Trib's work on the death penalty that went a long way toward its banishment in Illinois.

As Rich Miller writes on his Capitol Fax blog, "Rauner has very real problems with his GOP base."

That's what this is about. And it's despicable because, as so many pols are wont to do, Rauner is pimping dead police officers to score political points.

*

Because it's not a serious proposal, I'm hesitant to take up the actual issue at hand, as it were, but a few quick points:

+ While attacks on police officers are said (by law enforcement) to be attacks on our very institutions of justice, police officers' lives are actually not any more valuable than anyone else's. That doesn't dishonor or disrespect police officers in any way; it honors and respects all lives (heh-heh).

+ We shouldn't blindly value an entire profession over other professions. A cop who is killed may be a horrible, crooked person while a teacher who is killed may be an angel who has changed the lives of untold numbers of people. (It should go without saying but I know it doesn't: Nobody deserves to murdered. So let's not make it a test of character at all by assigning halos to a select few.)

+ What about the death penalty for police officers convicted of murder? Few do more damage to our institutions of justice than the Jason Van Dykes of the world.

+ Despite the ever-present political rhetoric and media hype to the contrary, it's exceedingly rare for police officers to be killed in the line of duty - and the trend downward is pronounced. "The number of law enforcement officers killed in the line of duty dropped sharply in 2017, marking the second-lowest toll in more than 50 years," USA Today reported last December.

+ I'm not a constitutional scholar, but I'm guessing Rauner's proposed new "beyond all doubt" standard in cases previously decided by the longstanding "beyond a reasonable doubt" standard is, um, constitutionally suspect.

Rauner's "proposal" is a political wonder. By citing successful death penalty prosecutions overturned later through, say, DNA evidence, as well as the institutionally racist application of the death penalty, Rauner covers his bases against the most immediate objections. And by also including in his amendatory veto an extension of the proposed 72-hour waiting period for assault weapon buyers to buyers of all guns, he even throws a cookie to gun control advocates. There are also provisions in his AV for bump stocks, trigger cranks, FOID cards, school security, and sentencing and plea bargain transparency. It's a one-man, comprehensive grand bargain by a desperate governor likely to lose his job unless something dramatic happens. This is not that thing. But it is, arguably, the Greatest Amendatory Veto ever, in all its clever, opportunistic gall. Bravo, Governor.

Six more months.

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New on the Beachwood . . .

The Beachwood Radio Sports Hour #200: Is Chicago A Great Sports Town? Was Val Kilmer The Greatest Doc Holliday Of All Time? Is Tom Ricketts The Best Chicago Owner Ever? An All-Star Special Edition.
Plus: The Greatest Chicago Baseball Moment Ever & Illinois' (Cross Our Fingers) Pot-Filled Sportsbooks

Featuring: Veeck As In Wreck; Ricketts As In Wrecketts; One Last Thing About The Cubs; A Very Special Schweinsteiger! And Much, Much More.

BRPodcastLogo.jpg

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The Weekend In Chicago Rock
Featuring: Behavior, Bruised, No Age, Grendel, Ghostfeeder, Smoking Popes, Amazing Heeby Jeebies, Blood Red Shoes, Ghost Ship Octavius, Glen Phillips, Half the Animal, Jukebox the Ghost, Maluma, Haim, Dweezil Zappa, Andrew Bird, and Russo.

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Why Mad Magazine's Ethos Is Better Than The Washington Post's
"The editorial mission statement has always been the same: 'Everyone is lying to you, including magazines. Think for yourself. Question authority,'" according to longtime editor John Ficarra.

Sure beats "Democracy dies in darkness."

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WOAT
"We hear how Ricky's Boys Don't Quit, but even quitters might have been able to eke a few more wins than these guys have at this juncture," our very own Roger Wallenstein writes.

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ChicagoGram

Guy with a #snake #chicago #streetphotography #street

A post shared by @ gboozell on

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ChicagoTube

1213 Art Center.

"Support the development of our Hip Hop arts youth community center!"

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TweetWood
A sampling.

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The Beachwood Tronc Line: Brains for shit.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 1:17 PM | Permalink

WOAT

The White Sox made it official on Saturday. When Jose Abreu's bases-loaded ground ball in the damp, dusky evening at Wrigley squashed any hope of a miraculous comeback, this team became the worst in the 118-year history of the franchise to open the season. The 8-4 loss was the 27th in the ballclub's first 36 games, surpassing the unspeakable 10-26 mark of the 1948 White Sox.

What would The Old Roman - to say nothing of Shoeless Joe, Zeke Bonura, Teddy Lyons, or Ol' Aches and Pains - have to say about a team that has a mere five wins (they finally beat the Cubs 5-3 on Sunday) - against teams not named Kansas City here in the middle of May?

We hear how Ricky's Boys Don't Quit, but even quitters might have been able to eke a few more wins than these guys have at this juncture.

The losses are bad enough, and Sox fans everywhere acknowledged early on that at this stage in the rebuilding process, there would be plenty of bumps along the way. But this team figures out all kinds of creative and new ways to get beat.

Young hopeful Carson Fulmer took the mound Friday against the Cubs, and six batters into the bottom of the first, the Sox were behind 5-0, thanks primarily to a grand slam off the bat of Cub catcher Willson Contreras.

Veteran James Shields followed on Saturday and did just a wee bit better. After an inning, the Sox trailed 4-0. This time it was Anthony Rizzo's first-inning damage, a three-run shot into the first row of the left-centerfield bleachers.

Last Wednesday afternoon playing at home, Renteria's outfit took a 5-2 lead into the ninth when he summoned reliever Nate Jones to nail down the victory. It took the Pirates all of 10 pitches from Jones to score four times as the Bucs swept the short two-game series.

The Cubs outscored the Sox 11-0 in the first inning of the weekend's three-game encounter. Thankfully, Lucas Giolito limited the North Siders to just a pair of runs in the first frame on Sunday, and the Sox clawed their way back on the strength of a Matt Davidson solo home run (his 11th), some shoddy Cub defense, and key hits by Nicky Delmonico and Leury Garcia. Giolito walked seven before he departed with two outs in the Cub sixth, but he was nicked for only two hits as he got his second win.

Trailing 8-1 Saturday after seven innings, the team mounted a comeback on the strength of a three-run homer by Davidson, and then loaded the bases in the ninth against Cub closer Brandon Morrow. Had Abreu, the team's hottest hitter and a legitimate major league player, found the bleachers, then maybe the 1948 White Sox would have retained their place as the worst Sox team out of the gate. But it was not to be.

During Saturday's telecast, Steve Stone mentioned that he was talking to Sox catcher Welington Castillo, who was a member of the Cubs in 2013-14 when the team lost a total of 185 games. Renteria, of course, managed that club in 2014. According to Stone, Castillo opined that the Sox have more talent on their roster this season than those Cub teams in the doldrums of early rebuilding.

So maybe we need to be much less pessimistic. After all, in the last 11 innings of the weekend series, the Sox outscored the Cubs 8-3. The Sox bullpen of Jace Fry, Jones and Bruce Rondon blanked the Cubs over the final three-plus innings, allowing just one baserunner. This performance reduced the bullpen's season ERA to 4.73. Only the Royals are less effective.

Chances also are that Rondon will get additional opportunities as the team's closer. Jones and Joakim Soria have five saves between them, but they've also blown four.

If it's any comfort, the Sox are not alone in their struggles. While they have baseball's worst record, teams like Kansas City, Baltimore, Miami and a few others either are in the rebuilding process or will be after this season.

According to the statistics of fivethirtyeight.com, eight teams are headed for at least 90 losses. Right now the algorithms have the Sox coming in at 102.

Since 2010, there have been two seasons, 2013 and 2014, when as few as six teams dropped a minimum of 90 games. Going back to 2004 there were 10 teams that stumbled at least 90 times.

What this indicates is that we're seeing basically two types of ballclubs: contenders and rebuilders, along with a few outliers such as under-financed and continual rebuilder Oakland. Fivethirtyeight says the A's have a nine percent chance of making the playoffs. Billy Beane no doubt is comfortable with that since his teams have reached the post-season eight times since 2000.

So here's the question: If you have almost a third of the teams losing 90 games and either contemplating or in the midst of rebuilding, what happens if the rebuilds bear fruit like the Cubs and Astros? Only two teams each year reach the World Series, and obviously there is a lone champion each season. Isn't the goal to win the season's final game and reach the pinnacle of the baseball world? But how realistic is that?

Since 2000, there have been 12 teams that have won the World Series. Four have multiple titles with the Giants and Red Sox having won three, and the Yankees and Cardinals two apiece. None of these champions engineered a total teardown where they routinely lost 90 more games for a number of consecutive seasons. Their fan bases wouldn't have tolerated it.

The Cubs and Astros put a new spin on the rebuilding process whereby they literally cleaned house, piled up the draft choices, and then made some pivotal trades and free agent signings. The Cubs had a fan base who believed in Theo Epstein and a misplaced allegiance to a decaying ballpark. Meanwhile, Astro attendance slipped mightily to approximately where the White Sox stand today. Similar to the Sox, Houston forged ahead undaunted, and the franchise has been receiving its payoff.

The Cubs and Astros appear poised to be contenders for the foreseeable future. However, winning another World Series in the next few years remains problematic. All of which means that a reasonable goal for the White Sox is to keep plugging away in front of an empty stadium with the idea that we'll see a contending team on the South Side in the next few years. A World Series champion might be a stretch, but if recent history is any indication, we'll witness a metamorphosis from rebuilder to contender.

Honoring Ichiro
He didn't play in a major league game until he was 27, yet Ichiro Suzuki left a mark on the game that was barely mentioned when he retired quietly on May 3rd. Outside of Seattle, few people took notice.

In an age when striking out 150 times a season and hitting .250 have become acceptable, Ichiro amassed 3,089 hits while averaging 60 strikeouts over 18 seasons. In his first 10 seasons playing for Seattle starting in 2001, Ichiro never had fewer than 206 hits. In 2004, his 262 hits set the all-time record, breaking the old mark which had stood for 84 years. He and Fred Lynn are the only two players to be named Rookie of the Year and MVP the same season.

In addition, Ichiro accounted for 1,278 hits while playing in Japan before coming to Seattle. While the Japanese league might not be on the level as MLB, his total of 4,367 is mind-boggling.

The comparison to all-time hit leader Pete Rose is inevitable. Rose banged out 4,256 hits in 24 seasons, breaking Ty Cobb's mark by 67. Rose played 24 seasons and accounted for 899 hits by the time he was 27. Assuming that Ichiro would have hit safely about as often as Rose at the same age, Ichiro would have been right around the 4,000 hit total.

The rap on Ichiro and the reason his retirement was underreported is that he traded in the long ball for contact - singles and doubles. Chances are he could have hit far more than the 117 home runs on his final record. You have to assume that anyone who hit that many homers could have hit more if he had chosen to do so. The same case could be made for Rose, who hit 160 homers.

However, Ichiro was the ultimate student of the game. He could hit to all fields. If a ground ball to the right side was called for, he came through. A fly ball with a man on third? He was your man. He also was one of the greatest right fielders in the game. Possessor of an outstanding arm, he assiduously studied the hitters and never was out of position. His wins above replacement (WAR) of 59.4 was only tied for 123rd all-time, but the same as Yogi Berra's.

You'd think that today's players would look at a guy like Ichiro and try to emulate his approach. Maybe not totally, but at least notice how he swung the bat, often hitting down on the ball to send a hard grounder into the outfield or a line drive into the gap.

Of course, the singles hitters don't make the big bucks. How's $167 million sound for his career?

For those of us who remember the days when a .250 hitter who had trouble making contact often found himself in the minor leagues, a player like Ichiro is celebrated and appreciated like few others. He knew how to play the game.

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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 10:02 AM | Permalink

The Weekend In Chicago Rock

You shoulda been there.

1. Behavior at the Empty Bottle on Thursday night.


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2. Bruised at the Empty Bottle on Thursday night.

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3. No Age at the Empty Bottle on Thursday night.

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4. Grendel at Reggies on Friday night.

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5. Ghostfeeder at Reggies on Friday night.

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6. Smoking Popes at Bottom Lounge on Friday night.

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7. Amazing Heeby Jeebies at Beat Kitchen on Saturday night.

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8. Blood Red Shoes at the Metro on Friday night.

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9. Ghost Ship Octavius at the Forge in Joliet on Friday night.

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10. Glen Phillips at City Winery on Sunday night.

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11. Half the Animal at House of Blues on Friday night.

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12. Jukebox the Ghost at House of Blues on Thursday night.

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13. Maluma at the Rosemont arena on Saturday night.

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14. Haim at the Aragon on Friday night.

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Catching up with . . .

Dweezil Zappa at the Arcada in St. Charles on May 6th.

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Andrew Bird at Thalia Hall on May 9th.

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Russo at Bottom Lounge on May 8th.

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 5:57 AM | Permalink

Mad's Clout May Have Faded, But Its Ethos Matters More Than Ever

Mad magazine is still hanging on. In April, it launched a reboot, jokingly calling it its "first issue."

But in terms of cultural resonance and mass popularity, it's largely lost its clout.

At its apex in the early 1970s, Mad's circulation surpassed 2 million. As of 2017, it was 140,000.

As strange as it sounds, I believe the "usual gang of idiots" that produced Mad was performing a vital public service, teaching American adolescents that they shouldn't believe everything they read in their textbooks or saw on TV.

Mad preached subversion and unadulterated truth-telling when so-called objective journalism remained deferential to authority.

file-20180509-34006-1lhp104.pngNick Lehr/The Conversation via Jasperdo, CC BY-NC-ND

While newscasters regularly parroted questionable government claims, Mad was calling politicians liars when they lied.

Long before responsible organs of public opinion like the New York Times and the CBS Evening News discovered it, Mad told its readers all about the credibility gap.

The periodical's skeptical approach to advertisers and authority figures helped raise a less credulous and more critical generation in the 1960s and 1970s.

Today's media environment differs considerably from the era in which Mad flourished. But it could be argued that consumers are dealing with many of the same issues, from devious advertising to mendacious propaganda.

While Mad's satiric legacy endures, the question of whether its educational ethos - its implicit media literacy efforts - remains part of our youth culture is less clear.

A Merry-Go-Round Of Media Panics

In my research on media, broadcasting and advertising history, I've noted the cyclical nature of media panics and media reform movements throughout American history.

The pattern goes something like this: A new medium gains popularity. Chagrined politicians and outraged citizens demand new restraints, claiming that opportunists are too easily able to exploit its persuasive power and dupe consumers, rendering their critical faculties useless. But the outrage is overblown. Eventually, audience members become more savvy and educated, rendering such criticism quaint and anachronistic.

During the penny press era of the 1830s, periodicals often fabricated sensational stories like the "Great Moon Hoax" to sell more copies. For a while, it worked, until accurate reporting became more valuable to readers.

file-20180510-34006-mf08ss.jpgDuring the "Great Moon Hoax," the New York Sun claimed to have discovered a colony of creatures on the moon/Wikimedia Commons

When radios became more prevalent in the 1930s, Orson Welles perpetrated a similar extraterrestrial hoax with his infamous War of the Worlds program. This broadcast didn't actually cause widespread fear of an alien invasion among listeners, as some have claimed. But it did spark a national conversation about radio's power and audience gullibility.

Aside from the penny newspapers and radio, we've witnessed moral panics about dime novels, muckraking magazines, telephones, comic books, television, the VCR, and now the Internet.

Holding Up A Mirror To Our Gullibility

But there's another theme in the country's media history that's often overlooked. In response to each new medium's persuasive power, a healthy popular response ridiculing the rubes falling for the spectacle has arisen.

For example, in The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, Mark Twain gave us the duke and the dauphin, two con artists traveling from town to town exploiting ignorance with ridiculous theatrical performances and fabricated tall tales.

They were proto-purveyors of fake news, and Twain, the former journalist, knew all about selling buncombe. His classic short story "Journalism in Tennessee" excoriates crackpot editors and the ridiculous fiction often published as fact in American newspapers.

Then there's the great P.T. Barnum, who ripped people off in marvelously inventive ways.

"This way to the egress," read a series of signs inside his famous museum. Ignorant customers, assuming the egress was some sort of exotic animal, soon found themselves passing through the exit door and locked out.

They might have felt ripped off, but, in fact, Barnum had done them a great - and intended - service. His museum made its customers more wary of hyperbole. It employed humor and irony to teach skepticism. Like Twain, Barnum held up a funhouse mirror to America's emerging mass culture in order to make people reflect on the excesses of commercial communication.

'Think For Yourself. Question Authority'

Mad embodies this same spirit. Begun originally as a horror comic, the periodical evolved into a satirical humor outlet that skewered Madison Avenue, hypocritical politicians and mindless consumption.

Teaching its adolescent readers that governments lie - and only suckers fall for hucksters - Mad implicitly and explicitly subverted the sunny optimism of the Eisenhower and Kennedy years. Its writers and artists poked fun at everyone and everything that claimed a monopoly on truth and virtue.

"The editorial mission statement has always been the same: 'Everyone is lying to you, including magazines. Think for yourself. Question authority,'" according to longtime editor John Ficarra.

[Editor's Note: Sure beats "Democracy dies in darkness."]

That was a subversive message, especially in an era when the profusion of advertising and Cold War propaganda infected everything in American culture. At a time when American television only relayed three networks and consolidation limited alternative media options, Mad's message stood out.

Just as intellectuals Daniel Boorstin, Marshall McLuhan and Guy Debord were starting to level critiques against this media environment, Mad was doing the same - but in a way that was widely accessible, proudly idiotic and surprisingly sophisticated.

For example, the implicit existentialism hidden beneath the chaos in every "Spy v. Spy" panel spoke directly to the insanity of Cold War brinksmanship. Conceived and drawn by Cuban exile Antonio Prohías, "Spy v. Spy" featured two spies who, like the United States and the Soviet Union, both observed the doctrine of Mutually Assured Destruction. Each spy was pledged to no one ideology, but rather the complete obliteration of the other - and every plan ultimately backfired in their arms race to nowhere.

file-20180509-5968-1nmks7w.jpgMad skewered those who mindlessly supported the people who controlled the levers of power/Jasperdo, CC BY-NC-SA

The cartoon highlighted the irrationality of mindless hatred and senseless violence. In an essay on the plight of the Vietnam War soldier, literary critic Paul Fussell once wrote that U.S. soldiers were "condemned to sadistic lunacy" by the monotony of violence without end. So too the "Spy v. Spy" guys.

As the credibility gap widened from the Johnson to Nixon administrations, the logic of Mad's Cold War critique became more relevant. Circulation soared. Sociologist Todd Gitlin - who had been a leader of the Students for a Democratic Society in the 1960s - credited Mad with serving an important educational function for his generation.

"In junior high and high school," he wrote, "I devoured it."

A Step Backward?

And yet that healthy skepticism seems to have evaporated in the ensuing decades. Both the run-up to the Iraq War and the acquiescence to the carnival-like coverage of our first reality TV star president seem to be evidence of a widespread failure of media literacy.

We're still grappling with how to deal with the Internet and the way it facilitates information overload, filter bubbles, propaganda and, yes, fake news.

But history has shown that while we can be stupid and credulous, we can also learn to identify irony, recognize hypocrisy and laugh at ourselves. And we'll learn far more about employing our critical faculties when we're disarmed by humor than when we're lectured at by pedants. A direct thread skewering the gullibility of media consumers can be traced from Barnum to Twain to Mad to South Park to the Onion.

While Mad's legacy lives on, today's media environment is more polarized and diffuse. It also tends to be far more cynical and nihilistic. Mad humorously taught kids that adults hid truths from them, not that in a world of fake news, the very notion of truth was meaningless. Paradox informed the Mad ethos; at its best, Mad could be biting and gentle, humorous and tragic, and ruthless and endearing - all at the same time.

That's the sensibility we've lost. And it's why we need an outlet like Mad more than ever.

Michael J. Socolow is an associate professor of communication and journalism at the University of Maine. This article was originally published on The Conversation.

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Comments welcome.

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1. From Steve Rhodes:

Let's not be confused - and let Donald Trump muddy the waters - about what "fake news" is in today's world: It's wholly made-up news to further a political agenda. You might call it extreme propaganda.

Also, I wouldn't equate Mark Zuckerberg's Facebook with Orson Welles' War of the Worlds; Welles wasn't collecting and selling psychodata while serving up a platform for the bad actors influence a presidential election and sow social division. He just made a clever radio show.

The Conversation

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 12:50 AM | Permalink

May 13, 2018

The Beachwood Radio Sports Hour #200: Is Chicago A Great Sports Town? Was Val Kilmer The Greatest Doc Holliday Of All Time? Is Tom Ricketts The Best Chicago Owner Ever? An All-Star Special Edition.

Featuring: Veeck As In Wreck; Ricketts As In Wrecketts; One Last Thing About The Cubs; A Very Special Schweinsteiger! And Much, Much More.


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SHOW NOTES

* 200.

* Jim Coffman.

* Tom Chambers.

* Natasha Julius.

* Mike Luce.

* Roger Wallenstein.

* Quick Pitch.

13:32: Is Chicago A Great Sports Town?

* Dick Motta:

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* Wallenstein: Oscar Gamble Was More Than Just A Great Head Of Hair.

19:31: The City Series Sucks.

* Bat Days.

* Nun recruitment.

* The Tickle:

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24:09: Veeck As In Wreck; Ricketts As In Wrecketts.

* Sterch's.

* Bill Veeck's beer of choice:

Edelweiss-Beer-Coasters-Over-4-Inches-Schoenhofen-Edelweiss-Company_29219-1.jpg

* A Man For Any Season:

34:20: The Greatest Moment In Chicago Baseball History.

* Not Dick Allen Smoking A Cigarette In The Dugout.

* Randall Simon vs. The Italian Sausage:

My apologies, Simon didn't join the Cubs until the following year. I guess it was so Cub-like that my memory made it so.

* "Wisconsin's most famous sausage has decided to retire, but she'll always relish the memories," ESPN reported in 2004.

Mandy Block received attention after Simon hit her over the head with his bat as she passed by the visitors' dugout. Veronica Chandler, the hot dog who tripped over Block's fallen sausage, never ran again.

The whacking was broadcast worldwide, but Block brushed aside the controversy, accepting Simon's apology and declaring herself "just a sausage."

Simon was handcuffed by Milwaukee County sheriff's deputies after the game, taken to a police station and fined $432 for disorderly conduct. Major League Baseball suspended him for three days.

Simon sent Block an autographed bat and apologized several times. When he returned to Miller Park later in the season, as a Chicago Cub, he bought a section of fans Italian sausages.

The Curacao Tourism Board offered their own apology, an all expenses-paid trip for Block and Chandler. Simon is from the small Caribbean island.

Block also was recognized by the National Hot Dog & Sausage Council with a certificate of bravery.

"I'm proud of it," Block said. "I didn't even know there was a hot dog council."

36:32: Val Kilmer Was The Greatest Doc Holliday Ever.

38:13: Breaking From The Beachwood Radio Sports Hour Update Desk:

* Tiger Woods Fades, But Caps Great Weekend At Players.

39:01: Willson CONEtreras Is En Fuego.

40:28: About Chicago's Sports Media.

40:34: One Last Thing About The Cubs.

42:02: Throwing It Back.

* "Apparently back in 1969, the founder of the now-famous Cub's Bleacher Bums, Ron Grousl, was the first fan to ever throw a home run ball back on the field after the legendary Hank Aaron smacked one into the stands."

52:13: Arlington Park: Both Beauty And Beast.

59:50: A Sportsbook On Every Corner, Please.

1:11:00: Schweinsteiger!

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STOPPAGE: 15:31

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

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 1:00 PM | Permalink

May 12, 2018

The Weekend Desk Report

"As a consumer, Reese Mathers is living the dream, according to the testimonials left on websites of businesses across the globe," Matthew Walberg reports for the Tribune.

The clothes always fit perfectly. The business advice was really helpful. The couples massage was relaxing and romantic.

But as a writer of online reviews for businesses in Chicago and around the world, Reese appears to be stuck in a bit of a rut.

"Two thumbs up," Mathers wrote in her review on the website for Dependable Flooring in Brunswick, Ga. "If you're in need of an honest, professional and reliable Flooring Service, then look no further than Dependable Flooring. I've relied on the service providers from Dependable Flooring on numerous occasions and have yet to be disappointed."

Reese wrote the same thing for AJ Truck Wash in Summit, Ill.

And for RYT Builders, a construction company in the Philippines.

And also for The Water Smith, a water treatment company in Chuluota, Fla.

In fact, a quick web search of Mathers' name and the phrase "two thumbs up" returns page after page of results showing Mathers' ubiquitous praise on company websites.

You'll have to click through to find out what's going on - and it's almost certainly not what you think.

Fox Con Air
"Illinois' Attorney General said on Friday she plans to sue the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency for allowing a proposed Foxconn Technology Co Ltd plant in neighboring Wisconsin to operate without stringent pollution controls," Reuters reports.

"On Tuesday, the EPA identified 51 areas in 22 states that do not meet federal air quality requirements for ozone, a step toward enforcing the standards issued in 2015.

"An exempted area was Racine County, Wisconsin, just north of the Illinois border that is known to have heavily polluted air, where Taiwan-based Foxconn is building a $10 billion liquid-crystal display plant."

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Reminder from last week:

"[EPA Administrator Scott] Pruitt also pared back the list of counties with dirty air in Illinois and Indiana, a decision that could add to Chicago's chronic problems with pollution linked to asthma attacks, heart disease and early deaths.

"Tweaking the list of counties in violation of federal smog standards is the latest attempt by Pruitt to roll back or delay environmental regulations enacted during the Obama administration."

You no longer live in a region in violation of federal smog standards, but will die at a rate as if you did!

Thin Blue Line
"A former Chicago cop who was sentenced to federal prison for leaking sensitive police information to her gang-leader boyfriend was still able to land a job with the state of Illinois investigating doctors despite her criminal background, records show," the Sun-Times reports.

"[Tashika] Miner, now 41, was sentenced to 10 months in federal prison in 2007 after pleading guilty to participating in a drug conspiracy.

"In 2016, the state Department of Financial and Professional Regulation hired her as a health-services investigator with access to sensitive Blue Cross/Blue Shield insurance information, state records show."

Illinois' version of the revolving door is weird.

Seal Team Sex
"The commanding officer and the senior enlisted adviser of a Virginia Beach-based Navy SEAL team deployed in East Africa have been relieved of their duties because of allegations of sexual assault and harassment. In addition, 11 members of other East Coast SEAL units tested positive for drugs and face disciplinary action, according to a Navy official and two members of the special operations community," the Intercept reports.

Never meet your heroes.

ME Chicago
Nearly 100,000 people in Illinois have what used to be called Chronic Fatigue Syndrome and now known as ME (myalgic encephalomyelitis), notes the Reader's Megan Doherty.

"[That] would make the disease more common than Parkinson's, multiple sclerosis, or HIV/AIDS."

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ME is real, as anyone who knows someone who has it, like I do, can attest. It is absolutely brutal. Doherty, who suffers from ME, reports on the latest research out of Chicago; it's well worth the read.

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New on the Beachwood this weekend . . .

The Beachwood Radio Sports Hour #200
A special All-Star edition recorded Saturday morning is in post-production!

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ChicagoGram

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ChicagoTube

Since Christ Left Chicago.

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Weekend TweetWood
A sampling.

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This is the appellate court that sits in Chicago; please click through to read the short thread.

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Particular Chicago relevance noted in this article.

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The Weekend Desk Tronc Line: The tough, the weird and the pro.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 8:39 PM | Permalink

May 11, 2018

The Week In Chicago Rock

You shoulda been there.

1. Demilich at Reggies on Sunday night.


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2. Alice Glass at Bottom Lounge on Wednesday night.

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3. Tricky at Bottom Lounge on Sunday night.

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4. Roadance at Schubas on Tuesday night.

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5. The Struts at the Metro on Wednesday night.

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6. King's X at the Arcada in St. Charles on Thursday night.

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8. The Breeders at the Vic on Tuesday night.

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9. Melkbelly at the Vic on Tuesday night.

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 10:05 AM | Permalink

Chicagoetry: King Love

King Love

They squared off
Revolver to revolver,
Maybe six feet apart -

Let's call it four -
A beat cop
And a Latin King

(A child), in a standoff
On the sidewalk in front
Of my second-story flat

After sirens,
Squealing tires and shrieks
Of "KING LOVE!!!"

Race Street, West Town, near
Grand & Damen, in the full light
Of a spring morning, say 1993.

Our block was part of Insane Unknown
Territory, if I recall. I actually tried
Not to know, or mind.

That would just trigger helpless anxiety.
At the time, I had
No place else to go.

So I coped.
"GOD, please! . . . "

The Latin Kings versus
The Insane Unknowns, the latter
Clearly a hodgepodge

Of mostly white double-losers,
Leftovers of leftovers.
Nobodies. Insane. Unknown.

In this case I figured
The Unknowns killed a King.
Neither group of teenagers

Gave a single flying fuck
About being surrounded
By fully armed cops.

Not a single, solitary
Flying fuck.

I'm from Naperville!
One is socialized to give
A fuck, flying or otherwise.

I waited for blunt noise
And bloody death.
Somehow, neither came.

The cops got that King
In cuffs though he kept shrieking
"KING LOVE!!!"

Somehow, it got
Resolved without the bloodbath
I thought I was sure to witness.

Twenty-five years later,
I distinctly recall the pistols,
All the way round.

No rifles.

The kids had Glocks;
Even the cops
(That I could see) had

Revolvers,
Only revolvers.

I wish I couldn't
See it so clearly now.
I wish.

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

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More Tindall:

* Chicagoetry: The Book

* Ready To Rock: The Music

* The Viral Video: The Match Game Dance

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 9:39 AM | Permalink

Five Problematic Sex Messages Perpetuated By Advice Manuals

I can't recommend reading over 60 sex advice manuals. I spent several months doing this and it results in a particular combination of sadness, anger and frustration that I'd rather never repeat.

The reason for my painful few months was my new book, Mediated Intimacy: Sex Advice in Media Culture with Rosalind Gill and Laura Harvey. The book explores the changing forms of "sexpertise" and how they influence ideas and practices around sex.

In addition to sex manuals, we studied blogs, magazines, reality TV shows such as Sex Box (which actually gets people to have sex in a box), newspaper problem pages, websites, apps, and more.

sexadvice.jpgSex advice falls short/Mavich Stock Man, Shutterstock

We emphasize throughout our book that it's rarely a matter of any sex advice being all good or all bad. Rather, sexpertise often opens up some things - in terms of ways of understanding or experiencing sex - at the same time that it closes down others. And the same text has the potential to be read in different ways by different readers. For example, somebody might read sex advice to get ideas, to enjoy sexual images, to find humor in it - or a combination of these.

But it's also important to acknowledge just how deeply problematic the vast majority of mainstream sex advice is. Especially in this moment of #MeToo, and greater awareness of intersecting systems of privilege and oppression, it's most concerning how few texts even mention consent, and how many assume that sex equates to penis-in-vagina intercourse, often depicted by endless images of young, white, slim, non-disabled, normative male/female couples.

When the panic around the messages that young people receive about sex so often focuses on sexually explicit material, it's about time we turned our attention to the insidious and disturbing messages that people are receiving from materials which are supposedly designed to educate, inform and advise about sex.

So - in true sex advice "top tips" form - here are the top five problematic messages that we've found are perpetuated by the majority of sex advice.

1. There's a set script for 'proper' sex.

As sex therapist Clare Staunton puts it, the "kiss, kiss, boob, boob, penis in vagina" approach to sex is found everywhere. Even advice which tries to expand sex beyond this formula often defaults to an assumption that penetration is somehow better or more ideal than other forms of sex. In addition to the number of sexual identities and practices this excludes or marginalizes, it also makes ongoing consent more difficult as it is easy to simply default to the script without checking whether you find this pleasurable or whether it is what the other person wants.

2. Certain bodies are sexy and sexual, others aren't.

People are encouraged to engage in surveillance and disciplining of their bodies in order to have a sexy appearance, and to perform sexually. From the images found throughout mainstream sex advice it's clear that older bodies, disabled bodies and fat bodies are not deemed sexual given that they are absent or - if they ever do appear - clothed. Again, this marginalizes many bodies, and encourages people to treat their bodies in unkind ways that takes them away from the potential for embodied erotic experiences.

3. Individuals are responsible for having great sex.

The ideal self in sex advice is one who has banished repression, overcome taboos, dealt with any "issues," and become a properly adventurous neoliberal lover. Sexual problems are almost always located within the individual - often a woman - who is also told they are responsible for improving themselves through various "technologies of sexiness" (toys, techniques, and so on). There's very little consideration of how wider cultural messages and social structures frequently restrict our capacities for sexual desire and pleasure.

4. Pleasure is imperative (but restricted).

Sex advice emphasizes that people must experience sexual pleasure - even suggesting that it's an imperative of being a healthy person or having a healthy relationship. But there's little unpacking of what pleasure is. Rather, it's assumed that the range of acts presented in sex advice will be pleasurable - often equated with resulting in orgasm. There's little consideration of the complex interweaving of pleasure and other experiences in sex (such as duty, shame, validation, disappointment, relief), or the ways in which goal-focused approaches to sex often result in less pleasure and more pressure.

5. No need to mention consent.

Shockingly, hardly any mainstream sex advice we looked at mentioned consent in any detail. When it was touched upon it was almost always in relation to having safewords for kinky sex, with no sense that other forms of sex may also require consent, and that it may be about far more than just "saying no." Advice about communication hardly ever gave consent as a reason for communicating, or as something that people might need to communicate about.

This is even more concerning considering that much sex advice actually gives messages that run counter to treating yourself - and others - consensually. For example, women are encouraged to provide unwanted quickies or forms of sex they did not enjoy so as not to risk losing the relationship; to allow partners to do anything they liked at the point of orgasm; or to begin having sex when they didn't feel like it - because supposedly women don't get into it until they've been doing it for a while.

The most recent NATSAL survey found that nearly half of people report a sexual difficulty of some kind. This seems unsurprising given the the pressures and restrictions sex advice places on sex, and the lack of advice about how to expand our erotic imaginations, to tune into and communicate our desires, and to have sex in ways that don't risk further non-consensual experiences.

Meg-John Barker is a senior lecturer in psychology at The Open University. This article was originally published on The Conversation.

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Comments welcome.

The Conversation

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 12:21 AM | Permalink

May 10, 2018

The [Friday] Papers

I will get back to filling this area with media critique and political analysis, I promise. Unless one of my schemes hatches. Working on it.

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Meanwhile, we've scheduled the 200th episode of The Beachwood Radio Sports Hour for this Saturday at 10:30 a.m., followed by a beery liquid lunch across the street at Revolution Brewing. Guests welcome! If you want to be on the air or just part of the studio audience, let me know.

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New on the Beachwood today . . .

The Week In Chicago Rock
Featuring: Demilich, Alice Glass, Tricky, Roadance, The Struts, King's X, The Breeders, and Melkbelly.

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Bad Sex Advice
From the mainstream media.

sexadvice.jpg

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Chicagoetry: King Love
The kids had Glocks.

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ChicagoGram

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ChicagoTube

"Meet Me in the City," January 19, 2016, Chicago.

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BeachBook

How Far Can Becky Hammon Go In The NBA?

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The Most Unlikely DA In America.

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TIDAL Accused Of Faking Kanye West And Beyonce Streaming Numbers.

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TweetWood
A sampling.

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The Beachwood Tronc Line: Booberry.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 12:30 PM | Permalink

The [Thursday] Papers

For completists, there was no column on Wednesday.

I will get back to filling this area with media critique and political analysis, I promise. Unless one of my schemes hatches. Working on it.

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Meanwhile, we've scheduled the 200th episode of The Beachwood Radio Sports Hour for this Saturday at 10:30 a.m., followed by a beery liquid lunch across the street at Revolution Brewing. Guests welcome! If you want to be on the air or just part of the studio audience, let me know.

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New on the Beachwood . . .

Gibson Guitars: The Sound Of Rock, Bankruptcy Notwithstanding
"Gibson is an iconic brand, intrinsically linked with one of the greatest art forms of all time. Their guitars have played a hugely significant role in defining the sound of popular music, music which soundtracks the most important moments of our lives. Long may they continue to build these instruments."

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Sinclair-Fox Station Deal Enabled By FCC Is Dangerous For Democracy
"Sinclair's plan to sell seven stations to Fox as part of its Tribune takeover shows everything that's wrong with the media-ownership landscape."

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Trump Vowed To Punish Companies That Moved Jobs Overseas. Is Congress Rewarding Them?
"Inside the 500-page bill are tariff reductions for hundreds of such items: baby strollers, hiking boots, pimiento-stuffed olives, boxing gloves, coffee makers, toasters, plastic spoons and forks, sparklers and party poppers, nicotine gum, pet toys, pajamas, reusable grocery bags, leather belts, sweaters, glass vases, basketballs, unicycles, yoga mats and vertical waffle makers."

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The Political Odds
Lori Lightfoot is in - and by far Rahm's top challenger.

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The Ex-Cub Factor
See which former, left-for-dead Cub is really mashing now.

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Translating The Counterculture: The Reception Of The Beats In Turkey
Repurposing Ginsberg, Kerouac and Burroughs.

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Globetrotting Mosquitoes Suck
"Some of North America's most important and emerging insect pests originate elsewhere on the planet: the Japanese beetle, emerald ash borer, brown marmorated stink bug, and the spotted lanternfly."

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ChicagoGram

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ChicagoTube

Chicago Pipe Show 2018.

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BeachBook

CIA Looked Into Possible Conspiracy Behind Soviets' Surprise Upset In 1972 Olympics.

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TweetWood
A sampling.

Minnesota: The Midwest Model Bruce Rauner Refuses To Confront.

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The Beachwood Tronc Line: It's about time.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 8:22 AM | Permalink

Trump Vowed To Punish Companies That Moved Jobs Overseas. Is Congress Rewarding Them?

Two weeks before the presidential election, Donald Trump flew into a faded textile town in North Carolina and riled up the crowd over one of his campaign's signature promises: bringing back the jobs that businesses had shipped overseas.

"They wouldn't be doing it if I was president," Trump said to cheers. "Believe me, when they say, 'We want to send our product' - whatever the hell they make - 'We want to send our product back into the United States,' I'd say, 'We'd love to have your product - 35 percent tax. Let's see if you move.'"

He ticked off a list of companies that had closed factories in the state, calling attention to Leviton Manufacturing, a maker of light switches and electrical outlets found in homes and offices around the world, including Trump's real-estate properties.

"I buy a lot of Leviton switches," Trump said. "I'm not buying 'em anymore."

Fast-forward 18 months. Leviton now stands to benefit from a bill that would eliminate the taxes the company pays to import an outlet it makes in China - not, as Trump vowed, raise them.

Tom Kiefer_Leviton_01.jpgTom Kiefer Jr., 51, lost his job of 21 years when the Leviton electrical outlet factory in Warwick, Rhode Island, shut down. His father Tom Kiefer Sr. had worked there for nearly 50 years. (Steven G. Smith for ProPublica)

The bill's supporters say it will get rid of punishing tariffs on raw materials and components that are critical to American manufacturing. But that's not all it does. Tucked into the legislation are tariff waivers like the one Leviton requested, which exempt hundreds of finished consumer products - from microwaves to pillows to fishing rods - that used to be made in America.

Leviton qualified through a little-known provision that allows for waivers on finished products so long as there are no competing U.S. manufacturers. But Leviton wasn't required to disclose that one of the reasons the outlets are no longer made in America is that the company shut down four U.S. factories between 2005 and 2013, laying off more than 1,000 workers and shifting the work to Mexico and China.

"The whole thing kind of stinks," said Tom Kiefer, a toolmaker who lost his job of 21 years when the company's Warwick, Rhode Island, factory closed. "It's not made here because they sent it to China."

The legislation, known as the Miscellaneous Tariff Bill Act, is emblematic of the contradiction at the heart of the country's trade policy: Congressional Republicans and many Democrats who support the bill want to ease the tariff burden on corporations - no matter where they make their products - even as the Republican president promises to punish companies that don't manufacture in the U.S.

The Trump administration has not commented publicly on the bill, which passed the House in January and is awaiting approval by the Senate. His aides have so far sent mixed signals, sending a letter to congressional staff expressing concerns only to later withdraw it. Their reticence runs contrary to the president's very vocal opinions about trade. Trump resurrected the issue from a policy backwater and has shaken the global economic order this year with new tariffs on solar panels, washing machines, steel and aluminum. Taking aim at China, he recently threatened to slap tariffs on hundreds of its exports in retaliation for the country's technology policies.

For now, the policy split in Washington means that later this spring, around the same time that Trump could impose tariffs on hundreds of products from China, Congress is expected to hand him a bill asking him to do the exact opposite - reduce or eliminate import taxes on finished products, including more than 400 from China.

Here's just one bewildering example: The current bill would lower tariffs on electric delivery vans from China just nine years after the Obama administration spent billions of dollars to try to build an electric-vehicle industry in the United States. Meanwhile, Trump's top trade representative has specifically - and publicly - vowed to raise import fees on China's electric vehicles.

Many companies, including Leviton, are effectively asking for tax breaks on the same products that they used to make domestically, but that are now made overseas. Granting companies such waivers amounts to a reward for shifting jobs to other countries, some workers and U.S. manufacturers say, and only encourages others to follow.

To find companies seeking tax breaks after closing U.S. factories, ProPublica compared the 1,662 waiver requests in the bill to Labor Department data on workers who've lost their jobs due to international trade. The analysis found that the companies requesting waivers on finished goods have eliminated an estimated 175,000 jobs due to outsourcing and competition from foreign imports since 1975, when the Labor Department began keeping track. Measuring it a different way, the industries impacted by the bill have especially seen manufacturing leave the U.S. - with more than 150,000 jobs lost in the last decade alone.

Among those pressing the government to lower the tariffs on their foreign-produced goods are a slate of corporations many consumers view as quintessentially American. Whirlpool, Caterpillar, PetSmart and the Gap all submitted petitions to the U.S. International Trade Commission, saying the import taxes on certain kitchen appliances, clothing, pet supplies and equipment are unnecessary, even if they used to be made domestically.

The fitness equipment company Nautilus, for example, is seeking waivers for its Bowflex TreadClimber and other cardio machines, which it now imports from China. In 2008, Nautilus closed the Tulsa factory where it used to make these machines, laid off 150 people and moved production to China and Taiwan.

The cosmetics manufacturer Revlon closed its tweezer and nail-clipper factory in Irvington, New Jersey, in 2007 after 50 years. Now, it's asking Congress to drop the duties it pays to import tweezers, nail clippers and manicure/pedicure sets from China and South Korea.

In 2012, Rubbermaid left Wooster, Ohio, the town where it was founded 90 years before and formerly manufactured many products. Now, the company wants tariffs lifted on plastic lids for food containers made in China and Malaysia. (A Revlon representative said the "majority of functions" performed in New Jersey moved to North Carolina and that its application for tariff relief complied with the law. Neither Nautilus nor Rubbermaid responded to calls or emails about their waiver applications.)

"The whole idea of miscellaneous tariff bills is the bill should be for U.S. manufacturing - not retailers and importers," said Democratic Senator Sherrod Brown of Ohio. "The exemptions here have really undermined the intent of Congress. Congress needs to look at this again."

Supporters of the consumer product waivers in the bill say it helps U.S. companies stay in business, even if they've moved parts of their operations to another country. "Everybody wants to make trade the boogeyman," said Nicole Bivens Collinson, a lobbyist and former trade negotiator whose firm handled several requests. "Many times, it's only because companies have been able to source some goods overseas that they've been able to maintain U.S. manufacturing."

The National Association of Manufacturers, which has been the biggest proponent of the bill, declined to comment. But in a blog post, it defended the inclusion of finished products, saying that eliminating the tariffs would lower prices for American consumers. Other supporters note that the waivers last only three years and the rules cap the government's financial loss on any one item.

While those claims are true, lifting those tariffs can still mean big tax breaks for some companies. For example, Bayer, the German pharmaceutical and agricultural company, requested suspensions on more than 100 products in the bill, including aspirin. That means that it and other importers of those products would see $100 million in savings over three years - more than a third of it on items Bayer described as finished products, a ProPublica analysis found. Amazon didn't request any waivers itself, but is listed as a likely beneficiary on $50 million worth of tariff reductions because it also imports the items.

Some small manufacturers have objected to their competitors' waiver requests, saying they still make the products in the United States. Others, like the trade association for U.S. textile manufacturers, have argued that including finished products weakens the U.S. negotiating position by lowering trade barriers with other countries without concessions, such as requiring countries to open up their markets or raise their labor and environmental standards.

For Leviton, moving production overseas was perhaps an inevitable transition for a 112-year-old company whose timeline intertwines with America's industrial history. The company took off by manufacturing a lamp holder for Thomas Edison's light bulb and later made beaded chains for the dog tags soldiers wore in World War II.

Leviton declined to make executives available for interviews or to answer specific questions. In a statement, it said, "We are committed to doing all we can to keep jobs here in the U.S. and only operate elsewhere to remain competitive, protect our overall business and serve the best interest of our customers."

When Leviton shut down its factory in Warwick, it left a hole - which turned into a literal one. A few years after the company left town, a developer demolished the iconic 19th-century redbrick mill that housed Leviton's main building. The company had been there since 1939 and many workers could count several generations of relatives who had passed through.

"You had whole families working there," Kiefer said. His father worked as a mechanic for nearly 50 years until the warehouse closed in 2010. When his father was out with a back injury, his mother took his place, working "mother hours" so she could see the kids off to school and be home when they returned. Kiefer's sister worked there. So did his brother-in-law, an aunt and two uncles.

Before Trump turned tariffs into a cudgel, they served various purposes, first generating revenue for the federal government before the income-tax system and later protecting domestic industries from foreign competition. Generally, unless a country is part of a separate free-trade agreement like the North American Free Trade Agreement, importers must pay a tax on products and materials they bring into the United States.

The current fees were set through various international negotiations over the past few decades that left U.S. tariffs relatively low compared with those of other countries. In exchange, American companies are able to sell their products overseas, even if they have to pay a higher tariff to do so. As a side benefit, leaders often hope that war is less likely among countries that do business together.

Many Americans blame low trade barriers for the loss of blue-collar jobs, but there is competing evidence. Light trucks, which have far higher tariffs than cars, are mostly made in North America. But high import taxes on sneakers have done little to prevent footwear companies from manufacturing in Asia.

Miscellaneous tariff bills were designed decades ago to help American manufacturers compete against foreign companies by dropping fees on imported chemicals, minerals and other necessary components that weren't available domestically. But as global trade grew in the late 1990s and 2000s, the bills began to include finished consumer products that had no U.S. competitors.

About 750 of the 1,662 products included in the current bill are identified as finished goods, a ProPublica analysis found. (The National Association of Manufacturers says that only about 400 are finished products but declined to explain its numbers.) As recently as 2004, similar tariff bills contained only a few dozen.

Past bills granted waivers more informally. Companies and industry groups simply submitted requests to members of Congress, who reviewed them with government experts and inserted them into trade bills. But after House Republicans adopted a ban on earmarks in 2010, some lawmakers worried that the process could be seen as doling out special favors. As a result, a renewal of past tariff suspensions languished and no new ones were granted, costing businesses $750 million a year, according to the manufacturers' association.

In 2016, Congress created a more transparent system, requiring companies to file petitions with the International Trade Commission, an independent federal agency that provides expertise on trade to legislators and policymakers. The commission reviews the requests and makes recommendations to Congress, based in part on whether there is any relevant domestic manufacturing.

Many companies fit the original legislative intent of easing taxes on foreign components that are critical to manufacturing final products in the U.S. Lasko Products of Pennsylvania, for example, is the last remaining U.S. manufacturer of electric pedestal and desktop fans, but it imports the fans' motors from China.

At a congressional hearing last fall, the company's chief operating officer, Ed McAssey, said Lasko employs 638 workers who assemble the fans at its factories in Tennessee and Texas, earning an average of $16 an hour. The company used to make the motors domestically but couldn't compete with cheaper foreign manufacturers. The tariff relief, McAssey said, "enables us to compete with suppliers in China who do not incur the costs of livable wages, health insurance and retirement contributions that we provide our employees."

The bill's supporters often trot out such textbook examples of small to midsize U.S. manufacturers that waivers help to compete. But they rarely mention the multinational corporations like Mattel - or retailers, such as the Home Shopping Network - that are also seeking tariff breaks on products that require no American manufacturing.

Inside the 500-page bill are tariff reductions for hundreds of such items: baby strollers, hiking boots, pimiento-stuffed olives, boxing gloves, coffee makers, toasters, plastic spoons and forks, sparklers and party poppers, nicotine gum, pet toys, pajamas, reusable grocery bags, leather belts, sweaters, glass vases, basketballs, unicycles, yoga mats and vertical waffle makers.

"This is not what I ever thought the miscellaneous tariff bills were intended to do," said Jennifer Hillman, a Georgetown University professor who worked on past bills as a Democratic congressional aide and served on the trade commission. "It's supposed to benefit domestic companies that are manufacturing in the United States."

Dan Ikenson of the libertarian Cato Institute, however, said that there's good reason to get rid of tariffs on finished products as well as component parts.

"You see an old textile mill in South Carolina with a rusty gate and a rusty chain around it and you see the blight in the town, you think this is the cost of trade liberalization," Ikenson said. But what's not seen, he said, are the jobs created by the extra money people have to spend because they pay less for imported clothes.

Indeed, in supporting the waiver requests, companies made little attempt to justify them as creating American manufacturing jobs. For its request to eliminate import fees on microwaves, Whirlpool wrote, "This product supports U.S. marketing and distribution jobs and complements U.S.-assembled cooking products." When the owner of Ann Taylor stores requested a tariff suspension for women's hats, the headwear company Dorfman Pacific submitted a public comment in support, noting that "hats offer an extra layer of protection against skin cancer and premature aging."

The International Trade Commission did reject hundreds of requests from companies to include products in the bill after finding that doing so would harm U.S. manufacturers. And Congress culled the list further, removing items such as air conditioners, which would have been controversial after Trump made a big deal of stopping Carrier Corporation from moving a factory to Mexico.

But whether the companies' decisions to close their own factories helped them qualify for the waivers was not part of the review - or perhaps even known to lawmakers.

ProPublica analyzed the trade commission's database of approved requests against data from the Labor Department's Trade Adjustment Assistance program, which provides financial help and job training to workers who lose their jobs due to increased foreign imports and outsourcing. In calculating job losses, ProPublica excluded companies seeking waivers for components and focused solely on finished products. Because the trade database identifies products while the labor data uses industries, it's not clear in every case if workers were making the exact same products or only similar products. But through additional reporting, several companies stood out.

Nautilus's factory in Tulsa got its start churning out StairMasters during the fitness craze of the 1980s. The company had bought StairMaster out of bankruptcy, and by 2007, it appeared stable. The local press reported that business was so good that Nautilus was adding an assembly line and even bringing back jobs from overseas.

But just over a year later, Nautilus announced it was closing the factory. According to Labor Department records, 178 workers were affected as the company shifted some production to China and Taiwan. At the time, many companies still made fitness equipment in the U.S. But the trade-assistance data shows a cascade of layoffs followed Nautilus's decision, as other companies like Core Industries and Icon Health & Fitness also closed their factories, affecting an additional 2,000 workers.

Rick Haselton, who helped design the TreadClimber, on which Nautilus is now seeking lower tariffs, said companies should face a penalty for moving manufacturing outside the U.S. "It helps them do their job a little cheaper," he said. "But all these jobs like I was in - that was what I depended on. That was my bread and butter, my livelihood."

20180508-tariffs-rick-haselton-b.jpgRick Haselton was on the team that helped design the TreadClimber for the Nautilus fitness company before it closed its Tulsa, Oklahoma, factory in 2008. Now, Nautilus is seeking to lower the tariffs it pays to import the TreadClimber from China. (Brandi Simons for ProPublica)

The bill also seems to sacrifice high-tech manufacturing like electric vehicles. In 2010, Smith Electric Vehicles received a $30 million federal stimulus grant to build battery-powered trucks in Kansas City, Missouri. At the time, then-President Barack Obama toured the factory, telling workers they were "building the economy of America's future." But Smith suspended production at the end of 2013 and, in 2015, formed a joint venture with Chinese investors called Nohm.

The company has asked Congress to eliminate the 25 percent tariff on electric commercial vehicles like the ones it makes in China. The trade commission approved the petition but balked at a full waiver, agreeing to only slightly reduce the duties. (No one at the company, which is now called Chanje, returned calls or e-mails seeking comment.)

Lawmakers asked almost no questions about the finished products included in the bill at a sparsely attended congressional hearing last fall. Representative Ron Kind, a Democrat from Wisconsin, summed up the mood in the room when he said, "This is kind of a boring hearing because it's not that controversial."

The bill passed the full House 402-0. It was widely expected to be attached to the omnibus spending bill that passed Congress in March, but was left out as the Trump administration expressed concern about the number of imports from China.

Republican and Democratic congressional aides said the bill is still moving forward, as senators work through some of the line items.

Brown, for example, said in an interview that he managed to remove electric vehicles from the Senate version of the bill, but the amendments have not yet been made public.

When Tom Kiefer walked into the Leviton factory shortly after graduating high school in 1984, the plant hummed with 1,800 workers, many of them with little advanced education, assembling electrical outlets, light switches and lamp holders largely by hand.

He joined an apprenticeship program training new hires as toolmakers to help design the machines that would eventually automate most of the lines. At the time, the business manager of the union local had a slogan: "Automation is our salvation."

But in the late 1980s, a few years before NAFTA was signed, Leviton opened a factory in Tijuana.

"That's when they started sending stuff to Mexico," said Kiefer, 51, as he sat near the carousel in the Warwick Mall food court with his father, Tom Kiefer Sr., and another former toolmaker, Nick Izzi, at the end of March.

"When we were building the automated machines, they were sending them out one at a time," said Izzi, 55, "making us think that they were just sending them to the other plants."

Ground-fault circuit interrupters, or GFCI outlets, on which Leviton requested the tariff waivers, were particularly labor-intensive. They're the kind of electrical outlets found in bathrooms and kitchens that are designed to shut off if the current comes into contact with water. The outlets were made in Warwick for a while but eventually made their way to Leviton's factory in Dongguan, China.

Kiefer Jr. and his wife were having an inspection on their new house the day that the bosses announced they were closing the plant in 2005.

After three months out of work, he took another machinist job for $5 an hour less than the $21 an hour he made at Leviton. Still, he felt lucky. Other workers ended up at Walmart or as janitors at the local hospital.

"Before the end," Izzi said, "we even had the Mexicans come and watch us build them so that they could build them themselves."

"They came in and they were actually complaining that Leviton was moving all the production they were making over to China," Kiefer Jr. said. "We were like, 'Well, now you know how we feel.'"

After the Warwick factory closed, Leviton closed two plants in western North Carolina in 2008 and 2009 and a factory in El Paso in 2013. The company said in a statement that it still has thousands of employees in the U.S., but declined to say how many work in manufacturing.

"Most people, even though they hated it when they worked there, there was no place like that," Kiefer Jr. said.

"I think half of Rhode Island worked there at one time or another," said Kiefer Sr., 78.

20180508-tariffs-tom-kiefer.jpgMany former Leviton workers can count several generations of their families who once worked at the factory. Tom Kiefer Jr.'s father, mother, sister, brother-in-law, aunt and uncles also worked at Leviton. (Steven G. Smith for ProPublica)

Sure enough, as they talked amid the mall's afternoon crowds, a few former Leviton workers or their relatives happened by.

One was Rui Carrinho, the longtime union leader at the plant. Talk turned to Leviton's request to get rid of the tariffs.

"That's the government giving them an incentive to move the jobs abroad," Carrinho said.

But even if Leviton doesn't get the waivers on the outlets now, because of a technology trade agreement signed in 2015, the tariffs on them are due to phase out within the next five years.

"To me, it's just frustrating because the state, they're looking for all these high-tech jobs - a lot of people can't do those kind of jobs," Kiefer Jr. said. "They want manufacturing that people who can work with their hands can do. But there's not a lot of a jobs like that anymore."

Data reporter Hannah Fresques contributed to this report.

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Comments welcome.


Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 7:35 AM | Permalink

Gibson Guitars: The Sound Of Rock, Bankruptcy Notwithstanding

Following months of rumors, Gibson, the legendary guitar manufacturer, has filed for bankruptcy with debts of between $100 million and $500 million. More significantly, the company also announced plans to reorganize and restructure its business, saying it has agreements with holders of more than 69% of its debt that would allow it to continue to operate. To me, this is the real story here and it speaks volumes.

When the opportunity arose to write this article, I was asked what my angle would be. My initial response was: "Quite simply, Gibson is the sound of rock." But it's so much more than that. The warm tones of the 335, one of their earliest electric guitars, dominates jazz and blues music. B.B. King was a lifelong player - his famous guitar "Lucille" is still a popular signature series instrument.

And when reggae pioneer Bob Marley first appeared on Top of the Pops he was playing a Les Paul Special, a guitar he was to become forever associated with, its offbeat choppy attack helping define the genre.

bbking.jpgShutterstock

What's Your Rig?

In truth, Gibson guitars have played a major part in defining the sound of popular music. In the popular YouTube documentary series, Rig Rundown, famous guitarists and their technicians discuss the minutiae of complex guitar effects systems, unusual string gauges, and the range of different amplifiers used to create their signature sound. In the programm that focuses on AC/DC, the secret to one of the world's most iconic guitar tones is finally - almost disappointingly - revealed. Standard edition Gibson SG guitar, cable and amp. It's that simple.

Rock music wouldn't be the same without the Gibson. Picture Chuck Berry with his zoot suit and quiff, duck-walking across the stage mid-solo - or Jimmy Page at the peak of his powers, attacking his instrument with a violin bow while a spellbound Madison Square Garden crowd looks on.

Consider the twin-horned attack of Angus Young as he lies, spotlit and center stage, legs spasming, turning in endless circles with his guitar screaming; or Slash, pretty much at any point in his 30-year career, top hat and hair, cigarette dangling from his lips and a low-slung guitar dangling from his shoulder. Central to all of these is the Gibson guitar.

The guitars are also beautiful. We see them in shop window displays, hanging on people's walls, some never to be played but their mere presence making the space just that bit edgier and cooler. One of my earliest memories is walking to nursery school, a route which took me past a music shop. From first sight, I was mesmerized. The shop spotlights catching the warm sunburst glow of a line of Les Pauls, the intricate grain of the wood clearly visible, shining hardware, lethal looking strings - each instrument different, yet also strikingly familiar.

gibsonlespaul.jpgThe Gibson Les Paul: rock's most famous guitar/Shutterstock

Rise Of A Rock 'N' Roll Classic

Orville Gibson founded the company in 1902 as the Gibson Mandolin-Guitar Mfg. Co. Ltd. in Kalamazoo. The company initially made mandolins and other similar instruments - but, as the business developed, so did Gibson. First they invented "archtop" guitars, which mimicked the shape of the violin; then, by the 1930s the more familiar "flat top" acoustic guitars that we see today. The release of the Gibson Les Paul in 1952 cemented the company's reputation as a builder of top class instruments. To date, this is still their most successful guitar.

If you've ever held a Gibson guitar, you can feel the history. Hollow body models feel fragile, almost insubstantial, seemingly poorly equipped to cope with the rigors of modern music performance. Solid body guitars feel like they've been knocked together in someone's garage from spare offcuts of wood - the switches and knobs quaint 1950s artifacts. The first Les Paul was fashioned from a single four-foot wooden board and was affectionately known as The Log. A modern Les Paul is really not much different. They are heavy, in both senses of the word.

Perhaps part of Gibson's problem has been that the instruments are truly cherished by the people who play them. Most of the original guitars from the 1950s, 1960s and 1970s are still in service, many commanding extraordinary sums of money on the secondhand market. Provenance adds further desirability and further value. Keith Richards' 1959 Les Paul Standard, played on the Rolling Stones' first U.S. TV appearance on The Ed Sullivan Show, made history when it sold for $1 million back in 2003. Not bad for a piece of wood and a few bits of metal.

There has also been some speculation in the media that Gibson's bankruptcy is due to the decline of guitar bands; that we no longer have guitar heroes. But then look at the roster of artists currently dominating festival headline slots: Foo Fighters, Radiohead, Ed Sheeran, Fall Out Boy, Kings of Leon, Courteeners, The Vaccines, Biffy Clyro and, guess what - the guitar, that six-stringed wonder, is central to each one of these artists' sounds.

Gibson is an iconic brand, intrinsically linked with one of the greatest art forms of all time. Their guitars have played a hugely significant role in defining the sound of popular music, music which soundtracks the most important moments of our lives. Long may they continue to build these instruments. I have no doubt that they will.

Alex Evans is a senior lecturer in Popular Music & Music Technology at Kingston University. This article was originally published on The Conversation.

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Comments welcome.

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1. From Steve Rhodes:

But my favorite guitar is still the Fender Stratocaster - even if Gary Richrath played a Gibson Les Paul.

The Conversation

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 2:22 AM | Permalink

The Ex-Cub Factor

One in an occasional series tracking the movements of those who have worn Cubbie blue.

1. Jorge Soler Is Mashing.

"Soler is now off to a great start in 2018, and the Royals control him at a low cost for the next four seasons, although there is a reasonable argument to be made that winning the trade is impossible at this juncture," Craig Edwards writes at Fangraphs.

"After a .144/.245/.258 season with a 32 wRC+ in 110 plate appearances, Soler has authored a gigantic turnaround. In 133 plate appearances this year, the Royals right fielder is hitting .324/.436/.546 with a 166 wRC+.

"That batting line is greatly helped by a .411 BABIP; however, the 16% walk rate, a reduced 24% strikeout rate, and an ISO above .200 provide a solid base for Soler to be a productive hitter if fewer balls drop in for hits . . .

"As for how Soler has made such dramatic changes to his fortune, he lost some weight and reworked his swing. Maria Torres of the Kansas City Star discussed the change with Soler in the offseason."

2. Jim Riggleman Is Now Managing The Reds.

"He's brash and hard-headed and reacts quickly and decisively, sometimes to his own detriment. But he loves and knows the game. Boy, does he know the game," Barry M. Bloom writes for Forbes.

Huh, I never thought of Riggs as "brash." Anything but. But whatever.

3. A Felix Pie Sighting!

"Felix Pie is slashing .378/.432/.694 with eight home runs in 125 plate appearances for Bravos de Leon in the Mexican League," David Laurila notes for Fangraphs.

4. Peter Bourjos Back With The Braves.

He was DFA'd - and cleared waivers - but was brought back on a minor league deal. Now playing for the Gwinnett Stripers.

5. Is The Dan Vogelbach Dream Over?

After a hot spring that landed him on the Mariners' big league club, Vogelbach has regressed and is back in Triple-A.

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 12:32 AM | Permalink

May 9, 2018

Globetrotting Mosquitoes May Stow Away In Unexpected Places

Since the earliest days of humankind, people have excelled at exploring and expanding their presence to nearly every spot on the map. With all of this wanderlust, humans have been equally adept at taking other species with them on their travels - often with unintended consequences.

In some situations, species have been deliberately moved by humans: livestock to the Western Hemisphere, the introduction of birds from Shakespeare's plays into Central Park, and even the notorious gypsy moth that was transported from Europe in a failed attempt at launching an American silkmoth industry.

On top of that, there's also an extraordinarily long list of species that have been accidentally moved, with significant impacts. Stowaway rats on the ships of European explorers and traders are one of the most notorious examples. Upon their introduction to new island environments, the rodents wreaked havoc on native birds and reptiles by devouring vulnerable eggs.

insects-mosquitoes-invasive-asiantigermosquito-asianrockpoolmosquito.jpgAn Asian tiger mosquito (left) and Asian rock pool mosquito (right) feed on a person/Ari Farajollahi, Bugwood.org (CC BY 3.0)

Insects have also been transported around the globe with devastating results. Some of North America's most important and emerging insect pests originate elsewhere on the planet: the Japanese beetle, emerald ash borer, brown marmorated stink bug, and the spotted lanternfly.

One of the insects best adapted to follow humans wherever they go is the notorious mosquito (family Culicidae).

insects-mosquitoes-invasive-asianrockpoolmosquito.jpgTwo Asian rock pool mosquitoes alight on a flower/Ari Farajollahi, Bugwood.org

Certain species of this pest possess traits that allow them to take advantage of conditions in areas disturbed by humans and thrive in those spots, and are considered peridomestic. With humans came environmental modification, construction and discarded trash of one kind or another. Mosquitoes whose reproduction might have originally relied on the water pooled in natural containers, such as rotted out tree stumps, can just as easily take advantage of water-filled containers, ditches and other artificial habitats.

Automotive tires have become a key habitat for certain mosquito species over the last century. Tires not only are perfect objects for holding water for extended periods, but they also provide the dark, sheltered habitat favored by some female mosquitoes looking to lay eggs. Tires are an important way for mosquitoes, like the Asian tiger mosquito (Aedes albopictus) to be moved into and around the United States (including the Midwest). Other species, like the Asian rock pool mosquito (Ochlerotatus japonicus), are also easily transported in human materials.

A spring 2018 finding at the University of Wisconsin-Madison Insect Diagnostic Lab illustrates the ease with which non-native mosquitoes can be moved around the United States. In the early parts of the year, some stores sell hyacinth bulbs in vases pre-filled with water as a way to force the bulbs to bloom into a flash of color. As discovered in southeastern Wisconsin following such a purchase at a local store, a vase ended up yielding half a dozen larvae of the non-native Asian rock pool mosquito. The exact origin of the mosquitoes isn't known at this time.

mosquito-larvae-gif-a.gifA bonus surprise - larvae of the Asian rock pool mosquito!/PJ Liesch, UW Insect Diagnostic Lab

These mosquitoes won't be much of a concern in the grand scheme of things, as Ochlerotatus japonicus has been present in Wisconsin for over a decade and is already established in the state. However, such cases do leave open the possibility of other non-native mosquitoes being moved into parts of the country where these pests have not been encountered before. Where humans go, pests will boldly follow.

University of Wisconsin-Extension entomologist PJ Liesch is director of the University of Wisconsin-Madison Insect Diagnostic Lab. He blogs about Wisconsin insects and can be found @WiBugGuy on Twitter.

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This post was originally published on WisContext which produced the article in a partnership between Wisconsin Public Radio, Wisconsin Public Television and Cooperative Extension.

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 9:31 PM | Permalink

Translating The Counterculture: The Reception Of The Beats In Turkey

"In Turkey the Beat message of dissent is being given renewed life as publishers, editors, critics, readers, and others dissatisfied with the conservative social and political trends in the country have turned to the Beats and other countercultural forebears for alternatives.

"Through an examination of a broad range of literary translations, media portrayals, interviews, and other related materials, this book seeks to uncover how the Beats and their texts are being circulated, discussed, and used in Turkey to rethink the possibilities they might hold for social critique today.

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"Mortenson examines how in Turkey the Beats have been framed by the label 'underground literature;' explores the ways they are repurposed in the counterculture-inspired journal Underground Poetix; looks at the reception of Jack Kerouac's On the Road and how that reaction provides a better understanding of the construction of "American-ness"; delves into the recent obscenity trial of William S. Burroughs's novel The Soft Machine and the attention the book's supporters brought to government repression and Turkish homophobia; and analyzes the various translations of Allen Ginsberg's Howl to demonstrate the relevance Ginsberg still holds for social rebellion today."

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Erik Mortenson presentation in January.

"I argue that Beat concepts such as personal freedom, spatial mobility and the importance of the individual that may seem self-evident in a Western context become rearticulated when deployed in Turkey.

"This unexpected return of Beat nonconformity and protest into new cultural and temporal conditions offers a unique opportunity to rethink both the cultural logics that made the Beats possible in the first place, as well as the possibilities they might still hold for social critique in our globalized 21st century."

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More work by Mortenson.

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 4:57 PM | Permalink

Sinclair-Fox Station Deal Enabled By FCC Is Dangerous For Democracy

On Wednesday, 21st Century Fox announced a deal to acquire seven stations from Sinclair Broadcast Group for $910 million as part of Sinclair's proposed takeover of Tribune Media.

Sinclair needs to divest a certain number of stations as part of its $3.9-billion proposal to buy Tribune. As originally proposed, the Tribune deal would have given Sinclair control of more than 233 local TV stations reaching 72 percent of the country's population, far in excess of congressional and FCC limits on national and local media ownership.

Both the Sinclair-Tribune and Sinclair-Fox deals would not have been possible were it not for recent Trump FCC efforts, under Chairman Ajit Pai, to gut longstanding broadcast-ownership limits.

Free Press and its allies, including Common Cause, Media Mobilizing Project and the National Hispanic Media Coalition, have petitioned the D.C. Court of Appeals to overturn the agency's 2017 decision to reinstate the UHF discount, arguing that it was a technologically obsolete rule the FCC restored simply to pave the way for further broadcast-industry consolidation. The Georgetown Institute for Public Representation represented the petitioners' case in court.

Free Press President and CEO Craig Aaron made the following statement:

"Sinclair's plan to sell seven stations to Fox as part of its Tribune takeover shows everything that's wrong with the media-ownership landscape.

"At a time when our communities are clamoring for local coverage and independent voices, TV stations are being swallowed up by a few huge conglomerates that care more about pushing their reactionary agendas and vacuuming up election ad dollars than serving local needs. This much media concentration is dangerous for our democracy.

"The deal would put both Sinclair and Fox far in excess of the limits for media ownership set by Congress, but they're getting away with it thanks to special favors from Trump's FCC chairman.

"The UHF discount is an outdated rule that Pai resurrected solely to let these companies evade media-ownership limits and get even larger. This arbitrary giveaway never should have been permitted, and that's why we're suing to have it overturned.

"The FCC should reject the Sinclair-Tribune merger and stop Fox from getting bigger. Unfortunately, Ajit Pail is more concerned with pumping up the profits of his political allies than protecting the public airwaves."

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Previously:
* Item: Former Trump Aide Joins Sinclair.

* Trump's FCC Chair Continues To Shaft The Public, Offer Major Handouts To Big Media.

* Trump-Friendly Sinclair's Takeover Of Tribune TV Stations Brought To You By Trump's FCC Chairman.

* Jonathan Pie, TV Reporter! Make The Air Fair.

* 'Maybe The Worst FCC I've Ever Seen.'

* A Pair Of Decades-Old Policies May Change The Way Rural America Gets Local News.

* Tribune's Disastrous Sale To Sinclair.

* Lawmakers Demand Answers About FCC's Favoritism Toward Sinclair.

* Can Anyone Stop Trump's FCC From Approving A Conservative Local News Empire?

* Sinclair's Flippant FCC Ruling.

* FCC Presses Sinclair For Answers On Tribune Merger.

* Trump FCC Eliminates Local Broadcast Main Studio Requirement In A Handout To Sinclair That Will Harm Local Communities.

* Trump's FCC Chairman Announces Plan To Scrap Media Ownership Limits Standing In Way Of Tribune-Sinclair Mega-Merger.

* Lisa Madigan et al. vs. Sinclair-Tribune.

* Local TV News Is About To Get Even Worse.

* Trump's Secret Weapon Against A Free Press.

* With Massive Handouts To Sinclair, FCC Clears Path To New Wave Of Media Consolidation.

* Trump FCC Opens Corporate Media Merger Floodgates.

* FCC Wraps New Gift For Sinclair.

* FCC Inspector General Investigating Sinclair Rulings.

* Behind Sinclair's 'Project Baltimore.'

* Don't Be Fooled By Sinclair's Shell Games.

* Free Press Sues The FCC For Dramatic Reversal Of Media Ownership Limits That Pave Way For Media Mergers.

* Thanks, Tribune Media, All You Did Was Weaken A Country.

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See also:

* Sinclair Broadcast Group Solicits Its News Directors For Its Political Fundraising Efforts.

* FCC Plans To Fine Sinclair $13.3 million Over Undisclosed Commercials.

* Sinclair's New Media-Bashing Promos Rankle Local Anchors.

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 4:13 PM | Permalink

May 8, 2018

SportsMondayTuesday: The Cubs, Captain Obvious & Contreras

Last night I decided to take in the first few innings of the Cubs game on the radio while I sat on my front porch. The weather was perfect and baseball does so lend itself to radio - if the announcers aren't distractingly bad, like the guys who broadcast from the South Side.

I have long been a Pat Hughes fan, although at least one of his weaknesses has become more pronounced over the last few years and it is a growing annoyance. I realize that the longtime play-by-play man needs to balance his broadcast given a decent-sized range of fans listening in, but too often he wastes time breaking down simple baseball strategy that 90 percent of Cubs fans listening on the radio don't need him to break down. In other words, he needs to do a better job of not being Captain Obvious.

Then there is the matter of the proper pronunciation of Willson Contreras's last name. All of last year, Hughes pronounced it "CONE-treras." That is flat-out wrong and consistently distracting. It isn't just that everyone else pronounces it "Con-TRER-as," it is also that I have a good friend whose last name is Contreras and he tells me that Hughes is definitely getting it wrong.

This could be one of those situations where humans are failed by their ears. One of my daughters has played soccer for years with a young woman whose Bosnian first name is pronounced "Zeh-ra." Many of the non-Bosnian people she meets and interact with pronounce it ZAR-a and when you try to correct them, they insist they are saying it the same way you are. This young woman long ago decided to stop trying to correct people. She even had a Serbian coach a few years ago who didn't pronounce it correctly.

So Hughes has an excuse. I think this is a relatively common phenomenon. At times this year, he seems to have adjusted. At other times he has been back to saying it wrong.

Anyway, Hughes and analyst Ron Coomer were a delight for the first three innings last night. Coomer pulled a Steve Stone in the first inning and perfectly predicted that Marlins pitcher Jarlin Garcia would try to come inside on Kris Bryant and that he would be ready for it. Several Cardinals pitchers had deployed that strategy last weekend and Bryant responded on Sunday with a tape-measure home run.

Sure enough, Garcia threw some inside heat that wasn't inside enough literally a pitch later and Bryant launched it deep into the left field seats for a two-run home run.

Coomer joked that he was heading to a casino and the Cubs ended a ridiculous streak that Hughes had mentioned early in the inning - their previous 13 home runs had been solo shots. The offense was off and running after more than a week-and-a-half of sucking. They eventually piled up four multi-run homers - two by Ian Happ - on their way to a delightful 14-2 victory that upped their record to 17-15. (The division-leading Cardinals are 20-13.)

Bryant's homer got the scoring started but it was Javy Baez's three-run shot in the third that made the biggest difference. Baez is turning into an absolute star this year (his RBIs moved him back into the National League lead in that category), although he suffered a pulled groin later in the game. That happened when Bryant blew what should have been an easy inning-ending double play with a lousy throw to second. Baez had to stretch to get it, came off the bag but then made a heads-up play (like he makes remarkably consistently) to reach back and touch it with his glove to at least get the force.

Dexter Fowler's ridiculous two-out, two-run home run in the bottom of the 14th the night before obscured the fact that Baez had come up and hit the solo blast in the top of that inning that should have been the game-winner. Hopefully, hopefully, hopefully the injury isn't serious. (I'm betting it isn't. And Baez has bounced back quickly from injury in the past.) The guy is worth the price of admission in game after game after game. Anyone who misses a game misses an opportunity to see baseball greatness. (Oh, and he was drafted by Jim Hendry, just in case anyone has forgotten.)

The Cubs are going to be fine but I was right there with everyone else who was highly irritated by their recent lousy play - especially their inability to hit anything but the very occasional solo home run. Baez's home run was big in part because it came right after Bryant's miserable failure to take advantage of a 3-0 count to drive in at least one run (or just take a walk) in a first-and-third-with-no-outs situation. If the Cubs had failed to score in that inning they could have slipped right back into their funk.

In the bigger picture, the biggest worry about the Cubs at this point is that none of these guys (other than Bryant, Anthony Rizzo and now Baez) is going to turn out to be anything special in terms of hitting. Check that, Kyle Schwarber will certainly be better than average at the plate but will that overcome his defensive deficiencies? The guys I'm speaking of, of course, are Addison Russell, Albert Almora, Ian Happ and Mr. Contreras.

The thing about Schwarber's defense is that he is still refusing to do outfield fundamentals. Good outfielders hustle back to the wall, locate it when there is time and then are all set to attack fly balls. Schwarber drifts until he is in lousy position, and is fortunate when he doesn't pay a price. He paid a price in Game 2 versus the Cardinals when a ball he should have caught easily on the warning track instead dropped for an extra-base hit. Later that game he fell down on an absolutely routine fly ball and actually lost a shoe; he was fortunate to be able to scramble back up and make the catch.

Anyway, the Cubs are not even a full fifth of the way into the season, just completed a highly irritating series in St. Louis, but still only trail the division leaders by two games in the loss column. Kyle Hendricks came up big yesterday with eight innings of wonderfully efficient pitching and enabled the bullpen to not only recover from the 14-inning game the night before but also prepare for a game without Yu Darvish (on the 10-day DL with a virus) starting tonight.

Good chance I will bust out the radio again.

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Jim "Coach" Coffman welcomes your comments.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 9:56 AM | Permalink

Hillside Resident Wins National Pool Championship

A Hillside resident is $15,000 richer after a recent visit to Sin City. But his good fortune didn't happen in the casino. Joe Gotch won the 2018 APA 8-Ball Classic Pool Championship held in late April in Las Vegas.

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Gotch was among nearly 6,000 poolplayers throughout North America who attempted to qualify for the American Poolplayers Association's 8-Ball Classic. He was one of only 612 who advanced to the national finals at the Westgate Resort & Casino.

Gotch competed in the Orange Tier of the 8-Ball Classic and received a prize package worth $15,000 and ultimate bragging rights upon returning home to his local poolroom. The 8-Ball Classic featured five individual tiers all based on skill level.

Gotch is a member of the local APA Leagues that includes thousands of members and hundreds of teams throughout the Chicago area.

The 8-Ball Classic, held April 25-27, was part of the APA's Poolplayer Championships, which featured five divisions of individual and doubles competition, more than 2,300 total players and nearly $700,000 in prize money.

The APA, based in Lake Saint Louis, Mo., sanctions the world's largest amateur pool league, known as the APA Pool League throughout the United States, and as the Canadian Pool League in Canada. Nearly 250,000 members compete in weekly 8-Ball and 9‑Ball League play. The APA is generally recognized as the Governing Body of Amateur Pool, having established the official rules, championships, formats and handicap systems for the sport of amateur billiards.

The APA produces four major tournaments each year - the APA World Pool Championships, the APA Poolplayer Championships, the APA Junior Championships and the U.S. Amateur Championship - that, together, pay out nearly $2 Million in cash and prizes annually!

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The finals.

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And:

Taking third place in the Blue Tier: Angela Roskopf of Oak Lawn.

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* Pool Hall Junkees.

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 9:20 AM | Permalink

The [Tuesday] Papers

I will get back to filling this area with media critique and political analysis, I promise. Unless one of my schemes hatches. Working on it.

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Meanwhile, we've scheduled the 200th episode of The Beachwood Radio Sports Hour for this Saturday at 10:30 a.m., followed by a beery liquid lunch across the street at Revolution Brewing. Guests welcome! If you want to be on the air or just part of the studio audience, let me know.

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From the Beachwood music desk . . .

The Weekend In Chicago Rock
Featuring: Sarah Shook & the Disarmers, Regular Oatmeal, Minus The Bear, Dead Kennedys, Peter Hook, Werewolf Jones, Sueves, Negative Scanner, Crisco Thunder, Birthday Suits, Eleanor Friedberger, Imperial Sound, The Handcuffs, Dr. Dog, Sin Thetic, Railheart, Jonathan Davis, and Daniel Donato.

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Catching up in reverse chronological order (newest to oldest) . . .

The Week In Chicago Rock
Featuring: Joshua Hedley, Devil in a Woodpile, Wicca Phase Springs Eternal, Allie X, DDG, and The Gene Simmons Band.

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The Weekend In Chicago Rock
Featuring: Frenship, Preoccupations, Kevin Morby, The Rumble, Pancho Barraza, Hank Wood & the Hammerheads, Chew, Violent End, Greg Ashley, Space Raft, and Rick Murray & The Mudcats.

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The Week In Chicago Rock
Featuring: Exeunt, Martha, Bad Moves, Jeff Rosenstock, Claire and the Bears, District 97, Carpenter Brut, Archspire, Carnifex, Keb' Mo', Au/Ra, and Rick Astley.

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New on the Beachwood . . .

Porch Radio Cubs
"I have long been a Pat Hughes fan, although at least one of his weaknesses has become more pronounced over the last few years and it is a growing annoyance," our very own Jim "Coach" Coffman writes.

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Area Man Wins National Pool Tournament; Area Woman Finishes Third
See Hillside's Joe Gotch with an oversized $15,000 check!

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Chicago Zine Fest No. 9!
Check out this cool stuff, people.

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Chicago E-Skate
Float Life.

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WGN's Technical Difficulties
Please stand by.

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ChicagoGram

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ChicagoTube

Kids Kite Day, Montrose Beach, Saturday.

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BeachBook

Logan Hardware Closes Down.

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In Trump's American, A Subprime Lender Is Chicago's Biggest Winner On Wall Street.

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Our Very Own Mike Luce Has A New Business . . .

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TweetWood
A sampling.

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The Beachwood Tronc Line: Bobbly.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 3:32 AM | Permalink

WGN's Technical Difficulties

Please stand by.


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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 2:54 AM | Permalink

Chicago E-Skate

"Chicago Eskate is a community I've had the privilege to help create and flourish. I truly appreciate each and every person that comes to a ride and gives of themselves to be part of a positive community. Cheers, everyone and Float On."


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On Reddit.

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More Chicago e-skating from slydogstroh.

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See also:

* Andrew Stroh: The Float Life.

* Instagram/Picbear.

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 2:26 AM | Permalink

Chicago Zine Fest No. 9!

On May 18-19, Chicago Zine Fest will present its 9th annual celebration of independent publishers in the Chicago area and across the nation.

Highlights of the two-day festival include a panel discussion and readings on Friday, May 18 and an exhibition day featuring more than 250 exhibitors and interactive workshops on Saturday, May 19.

New for this year, CZF will debut a youth area geared toward the next generation of zinemakers.

CZF 2018 kicks off at 6:30 p.m. Friday, May 18 with a panel discussion, "On Speaking Terms: Zines, Librarians and Communities," sponsored by the University of Chicago Library.

This panel discussion features local zinester and Chicago Public Library employee Oscar Arriola, Doro of the School of the Art Institute of Chicago's zine collection, and Milo from Queer Zine Archive Project, and will be moderated by the University of Chicago's zine archivist, Sarah G. Wenzel.

The panelists will discuss how librarians and archivists acquire zines and why, how they shape their collections, the decisions they make every day, and ways that they share zines on ordinary days and through special events. A Q&A will follow.

Immediately following the panel discussion, our Friday night event continues at 8 p.m. with our annual Exhibitor Readings. Zine creators exhibiting at this year's festival will share stories and comics as entertaining as they are moving. Our readers for this year are Zach Auburn, Shira Mario, Megan M. Metzger, Ariel Chan, Marian Runk, Katie Armentrout, and Cathy Hannah.

All Friday events will be held at the Institute of Cultural Affairs, 4750 N. Sheridan Rd. in Uptown. Uptown United is sponsoring our Friday events.

The festival continues 11 a.m. - 6 p.m. Saturday, May 19 with an Exhibition Day featuring more than 250 self-publishers at Plumbers Union Hall, 1340 W. Washington Blvd. in the West Loop. Attendees will have the opportunity to buy and trade zines and comics made by exhibitors from Chicago and around the country.

This year, CZF has expanded its offerings for the next generation of zine creators on Exhibition Day. A new youth area will offer a place for young zinemakers from all over the city to meet each other and share their work.

Youth organizations represented at the festival include 826CHI, YouMedia, Lane Tech Zine Club, Pathways in Education-Ashburn, Gallery 37, Ag47, and the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. Festivalgoers will hear directly from these young zinemakers at our youth reading, "Zines: The Next Generation," which will be emceed by Jane Serenska of 826CHI.

CZF offers the community ways to engage and learn through a selection of workshops held during the festival. This year's interactive workshops include framing moments in comics with Chicago Alternative Comics Expo (CAKE), creating fabric banners with the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, and supporting safer spaces in DIY communities with OurMusicMyBody and the F12 Network.

There also will be hands-on activities for all ages provided by Busy Beaver Button Company, The Wasteshed. Spudnik Press, and Ag47.

There will be a photo booth by Glitter Guts, coffee by Colectivo Coffee, a hair styling station by Haircuts for Change, food trucks, a bake sale, and more!

Also onsite will be the Read/Write Library's BiblioTreka mobile bike library, and Chicago Books to Women in Prison will be accepting book donations.

Sponsors of the 2018 festival include Chicago Publishers Resource Center (CHIPRC), InoPrints, Perfectly Acceptable Press, Quimby's Bookstore, Replica Chicago (REP CHI), The University of Chicago Library, and Uptown United. CZF 2018 artwork was created by Chicago artist Yewon Kwon.

All CZF 2018 events are free, open to the public, wheelchair accessible, and offer nearby parking options.

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See also:

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 12:27 AM | Permalink

May 7, 2018

The [Monday] Papers

Planning underway for the 200th episode of The Beachwood Radio Sports Hour! Details to come.

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New on the Beachwood . . .

TrackNotes: NBC's Derby Day Septic Tank
"I really don't like to use profanity in TrackNotes," our man on the rail Tom Chambers writes. "But rest assured the bad words were bouncing off the big screen like Bulls jump shots."

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The White Sox Report: Young Guns
Testing the waters with the future five.

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Married To A Chicago Bully
"Heavy is the head that wears the crown. But being married to a Chicago bully is even more of a headache. Will these women live through it? Or will the pressure be too much?"

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Recall! Eddy's Smoked Sausages
Approximately 49,558 pounds of smoked sausage products that may be contaminated with foreign matter, specifically hard plastic.

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ChicagoGram

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Asbestos Services Demo Video for Asbestos Contractors in Chicago.

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BeachBook

Charlie Rose Is An Absolutely Awful Person With Monumental Insecurity And Vanity Like So Many People Of His Stature.

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TweetWood
A sampling.

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The Beachwood Tronc Line: Together.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 9:36 AM | Permalink

Young Guns

His photo graced the entire back page of the Sun-Times on Saturday. He's been interviewed live during at least one game this spring. Every time he pitches, a graphic chronicles his exploits. He was the White Sox Pitcher of the Month in April.

In addition, there are other less-publicized factoids about 22-year-old fireballer Michael Kopech, baseball's 10th-rated prospect. As a member of the Red Sox organization in 2015 - Kopech came over in the Chris Sale deal prior to last season - the right-hander was benched for 50 games for using one of the 134 banned substances on the MLB list. He missed time also at the start of the next season because of a broken right hand sustained in spring training, the result of an altercation with a teammate.

But those temporary setbacks are much less enticing than the fact that Kopech's fastball once was timed at 105 mph in a Carolina League game. With a running start, he's hurled a baseball at 110 mph into a net. You don't see that very often. Granted, he doesn't throw as hard as Sidd Finch, but thankfully Kopech is no fictional character.

Flinging a baseball at triple-digit speeds in no way guarantees that a pitcher can stifle big league hitters, and one assumes that is why Kopech continues pitching a Triple-A Charlotte rather than on the South Side. But surely his time is coming. We just don't know when.

Back in 2014, Kopech was headed to the University of Arizona until the Red Sox drafted him in the first round (33rd overall). In all likelihood, a signing bonus of more than $1.6 million persuaded the young man and his parents that college could wait or be ignored altogether. Contributing to the mix were 129 strikeouts in 64 innings his senior year of high school in Mt. Pleasant, Texas, about 120 miles east of Dallas. The Boston front office had reason to feel especially generous.

Fast forward to the present, and we find that Kopech has toiled for parts of five seasons in the minor leagues. He's appeared in 66 games, all but one as a starter. He's pitched almost 300 innings, averaging 11.5 strikeouts for nine innings and 4.3 walks. His WHIP (walks plus hits per inning) is a sparkling 1.18. Although his won-loss record is a mediocre 17-16, Kopech owns a more-than-respectable 2.73 ERA.

To try to grasp the progress of Kopech, we might look at two young pitchers presently in the Sox' rotation. Similar to Kopech, both Lucas Giolito and Reynaldo Lopez signed contracts as teenagers, and both spent parts of six seasons in the minor leagues. Time has been required for them to develop their skills.

Pitching in the Nationals and Sox systems, Giolito, also a first-round pick, appeared in 99 games, all except two as a starter, pitching almost 500 innings in the minors with solid numbers: 31-25 record, 3.18 ERA, and a WHIP of 1.248.

Lopez, who also came to the Sox from Washington, appeared in 83 games and started 78 in the minor leagues. His ERA was 3.34 with an outstanding WHIP of 1.159. He also averaged a strikeout an inning.

Those are strong numbers, and both Lopez, who is just 24, and Giolito, 23, spent more time in the minors than Kopech has to this point. Obviously neither was rushed to the major leagues, although both Lopez and Giolito pitched some games for the Nationals in 2016 before spending most of last season at Charlotte. Each was promoted to the big club last August.

So, judging from the experiences of Giolito and Lopez and the way the White Sox handled them, chances are, barring injury or other unforeseen circumstances, we will see Kopech in a Sox uniform possibly in July but certainly by August. With a rotation that presently includes Hector Santiago, occasionally Chris Volstad, and Miguel Gonzalez when he comes back from an injury, Kopech will enter with grand fanfare.

When he does arrive, Kopech very well might join Carlos Rodon as a regular White Sox starter. You remember him, the lefty out of North Carolina State, and the Sox' top draft choice in 2014. Much less has been written about Rodon these days than Kopech, but Rodon is projected as a top-of-the-staff pitcher. He was selected third overall four years ago behind two high school kids neither of whom has spent a day above Single-A ball. The Cubs took Kyle Schwarber with the fourth pick.

But I digress. The path to the big leagues for a college pitcher is markedly different than the high school prodigies. Rodon pitched a total of 34-plus innings in the minors in 2014 before he appeared in a Sox uniform in April of 2015. After three relief appearances, he started every fifth day and went 9-6 with a 3.75 ERA. Without question Rodon required far less seasoning than guys who don't pitch in college.

Unfortunately, since that inaugural season, a series of arm and shoulder problems have plagued Rodon, who's been pitching in Arizona in extended spring training, whatever that is. Last week the team's website reported, "Rodon will make his third start at extended spring camp this week. His fourth most likely will come in Arizona as he works the rehab trail back from arthroscopic shoulder surgery last September. 'Our next update on him will be assigning him to a certain affiliate for a rehab outing,' [general manager Rick] Hahn said."

In other words, we might see Rodon pitching for the Sox sometime in June. He would join another former college pitcher, teammate Carson Fulmer, who followed Rodon a year later as the Sox' top draft pick (8th overall) after pitching in the College World Series for Vanderbilt. At this point it appears that Fulmer has fewer skills than Rodon. After signing, Fulmer pitched 23 innings in the low minors in 2015 before being promoted the next season to Double- and Triple-A. The Sox brought him up in July two years ago, and he was, well, awful. In eight relief appearances, Carson's ERA was 8.49.

Fulmer spent most of last season at Charlotte before being summoned again to the South Side. This time he was improved. In seven games, Carson went 3-1 with an ERA of 3.86 and a WHIP of 1.33.

Now at age 24, Fulmer takes the ball every fifth day, and so far this season, it's been a mixed bag. A week ago Saturday, he threw seven shutout innings against Kansas City for his second straight strong outing. However, last Friday night pitching at home against the Twins, Fulmer couldn't get out of the fourth inning. The Twinkies slammed four home runs off Fulmer, leading to a 6-4 White Sox defeat. You could excuse the fans for thinking they were watching batting practice.

Although Fulmer is pitching at the big league level, he remains a work in progress. The best starting pitcher in baseball is Max Scherzer. When he was Fulmer's age in 2009, he was a member of the Diamondbacks with just parts of two season of minor league baseball under his belt after pitching at the University of Missouri. That season Scherzer was 9-11 with an ERA of 4.12. Like Fulmer, he had a few blow-up games leading to an early exit. The key was that Scherzer was good and healthy enough to log 170 innings nine years ago as he was learning how to pitch at the highest level. He was traded to Detroit and two years later won 15 games. Since then he's won three Cy Youngs and, not so incidentally, banked millions of dollars.

Sox fans would be absolutely giddy if Fulmer turned out to be anywhere near as effective as Scherzer, but the point is that Fulmer, along with his young compadres, basically is beginning to test the waters. The Sox no doubt will have a number of weeks like the last one in which they lost five of six games as Fulmer and others pile up the innings, endure a formidable dose of misfortune, and rebound to pitch another day.

While Kopech is receiving most of the attention and publicity now, the development of Fulmer - along with Lopez, Giolito, and Rodon - is equally important. That's why we continue to watch . . . and hope.

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

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 8:27 AM | Permalink

Married To A Chicago Bully

"Heavy is the head that wears the crown. But being married to a Chicago bully is even more of a headache. Will these women live through it? Or will the pressure be too much?"


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Sample:

Screen Shot 2018-05-07 at 4.32.56 AM.png

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Via Amazon:

Bad lil' thang, fine as hell. If you got a man, let him know I'm coming for him. And if you don't, let these dudes know you belong to me - Atif

Known on the streets of the Chi as God, Atif had no interest in being with one woman and one woman only. With his reputation as judge, jury and executioner wrapped into one, being in love has no place in his chosen line of work. Bumping into Kapri twice in one day was more than a coincidence, he had to know more about the exotic beauty whose eyes told the story of love and pain.

You should know not to mess with me, I'll break your heart - Kapri

Chicago's wild, wild west side was known for gunfights and shootouts on a daily basis. Kapri grew up as a product of her environment determined not to stay that way. Little did anyone know she was keeping a dark secret that no one would understand if it ever got out. Does she allow her past to dictate her future? Or can she teach Atif how to love a woman?

When I found out my husband cheated on me I was determined to get back at him - Tanjalyn

Tanjalyn had her own cross to bear stuck in a loveless marriage. Steve grounded her and provided her with stability while her heart begged to be with Prince, God's ace. When Steve receives yet another commendation and promotion as an officer in the Navy, naturally he wants his family back together. Does she follow her heart or choose stability?

The fact that she was married was the ONLY thing stopping me from putting her name on the deed to this house and the bank accounts. - Prince

Prince treated women as disposable before meeting Tanjalyn. One date turned into a baby and a potentially messy situation two years later. Can he balance being one of Chicago's biggest bullies while being a family man?

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51xtH5u+LvL._SY346_.jpg

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About Fatima Munroe:

"Growing up in Chicago, Illinois, I always wanted to write, and loved to read. During my childhood years, I won numerous awards and competed against other students from across the city. As a teenager, I abandoned my dream of writing for a job in retail. College was a must. Majoring in Human Resource Management, I enjoyed a career in various capacities of retail business management. However, as all writers know, there's always a story somewhere. Those stories were all around me, begging to be told. After a number of years, I decided to dust off my literary skills, mix in some life experience, and see what happens. Lucky for me, it led me to the current chapter in my life story. Currently I reside in the suburbs of Atlanta, along with my four children. In my spare time, I enjoy traveling, movies and spending time with my family. In 2015 I signed with Urban Chapters Publications."

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 4:29 AM | Permalink

The Weekend In Chicago Rock

You shoulda been there.

1. Sarah Shook & the Disarmers at the Empty Bottle on Friday night.


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2. Regular Oatmeal at the Burlington on Friday night.

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3. Minus The Bear at the House of Blues on Friday night.

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4. Dead Kennedys at the Forge in Joliet on Friday night.

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5. Peter Hook at the Metro on Friday night.

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6. Werewolf Jones at Cole's on Friday night.

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7. Sueves at Cole's on Friday night.

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8. Negative Scanner at Cole's on Friday night.

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9. Crisco Thunder at the Auxiliary on Saturday night.

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10. Birthday Suits at the Auxiliary on Saturday night.

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11. Eleanor Friedberger at Reckless on Saturday.

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12. Imperial Sound at the Montrose Saloon on Saturday night.

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13. The Handcuffs at the Montrose Saloon on Saturday night.

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14. Dr. Dog at the Riv on Saturday night.

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15. Sin Thetic at Livewire on Saturday night.

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16. Jonathan Davis at the House of Blues on Sunday night.

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17. Railheart at SPACE in Evanston on Sunday night.

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18. Daniel Donato at SPACE in Evanston on Sunday night.

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 4:18 AM | Permalink

RECALL! Eddy's Smoked Sausage

WASHINGTON - Eddy Packing Co., a Yoakum, Texas establishment, is recalling approximately 49,558 pounds of smoked sausage products that may be contaminated with foreign matter, specifically hard plastic, the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Food Safety and Inspection Service announced.

The smoked sausage items were originally processed on April 5, 2018, with packing dates of April 5-6, 2018. The following products are subject to recall:

* 2.5-lb. vacuum-packed packages containing "Eddy FULLY COOKED PREMIUM SMOKED SAUSAGE" with sell-by date 6/29/2018, case code PU1642 and lot code 8095.

* 2.5-lb. vacuum-packed packages containing "Eddy FULLY COOKED PREMIUM SMOKED SAUSAGE" with sell-by date 6/30/2018, case code PU1663 and lot code 8096.

* 12-oz. vacuum-packed packages containing "DICKEY'S BARBEQUE PIT ORIGINAL SMOKED FRESH POLISH SAUSAGE MADE WITH PORK AND BEEF" with sell-by date 6/10/2018, case code PU1656 and lot code 8096.

* 40-oz. vacuum-packed packages containing "LOWE'S ORIGINAL RECIPE NATURALLY HARDWOOD SMOKED SAUSAGE MADE WITH PORK AND BEEF" with sell-by date 6/29/2018, case code PU1644 and lot code 8095.

* 10-lb. cases containing "Eddy SMOKED SAUSAGE MADE WITH PORK AND BEEF" with sell-by date 4/6/2019, case code PU1658 and lot code 8096.

* 30-lb. cases containing "CARL'S PORK AND BEEF SMOKED SAUSAGE" with sell-by date 4/6/2019, case code PU1660 and lot code 8096.

* 10-lb. cases containing "Eddy SOUTHERN STYLE PORK AND BEEF SMOKED SAUSAGE" with sell-by date 4/6/2019, case code PU1659 and lot code 8096.

* 20-lb cases with four 5-lb. vacuum-packed packages containing "DICKEY CHEESE/JALAPENO PORK AND BEEF SAUSAGE RING" with sell-by date 4/6/2019, case code PU1655 and lot code 8096.

The products subject to recall bear establishment number "EST. 4800" inside the USDA mark of inspection. These items were shipped to food service and retail locations in California, Georgia, Illinois, New Mexico, Oklahoma and Texas.

The problem was discovered after the company received complaints from a restaurant that pieces of white, hard plastic were found embedded in the sausage during slicing.

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

FSIS is concerned that some product may be frozen and in consumers' freezers. Consumers who have purchased these products are urged not to consume them. These products should be thrown away or returned to the place of purchase

FSIS routinely conducts recall effectiveness checks to verify that recalling firms are notifying their customers of the recall and that actions are being taken to make certain that the product is no longer available to consumers.

When available, the retail distribution list(s) will be posted here on the FSIS website.

Consumers and members of the media with questions about the recall can contact Francisco Montejano, Communications and Public Affairs Officer, Eddy Packing Company at (361) 293-2361 ext. 771.

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

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

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

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

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 12:03 AM | Permalink

May 6, 2018

TrackNotes: NBC's Derby Day Septic Tank

Justify, the huge son of Scat Daddy, out of the Ghostzapper mare Stage Magic, agreeing to join a blistering pace, became the first horse since 1882's Apollo to win the Kentucky Derby without having run a race at two-years-old.

Justify won the 144th running; Apollo the eighth.

His nearly three-length victory over Good Magic was a tremendous performance that culminated a Saturday, and weekend, that deteriorated before our very eyes into primordial slop as Louisville found itself trapped under the train tracks of heavy rain storms, which also prompted flood warnings in the area.

On another storm front, NBC Sports descended into a septic tank of a two-day broadcast that stunk of demographic research, a hungover rerun of last year's telecast, key players out of position, embarrassing laziness and blatant disregard of horse racing as a festival to be celebrated. The conspiracy bin is full, but it would not be at all shocking if Churchill Downs Inc. had its soldiers in the pre-show production meeting. No flipping, we'll get to it.

Wiseguys aren't so wise if they fall for the escalating hype that insisted this was the deepest Derby in years. How many years? Depending on when you tuned in, it escalated to at least 15.

Instead, the favorite won for the sixth straight time and top-tier odds horses Good Magic and Audible took Place and Show. Based on the depth theory, horses like Bolt d'Oro, Mendelssohn and highly touted Vino Rosso should have been right behind.

Bolt' hung in most of the way, but was never going to be able to parlay keeping up and beating Justify, finishing 12th. Mendelssohn had a brutal start, probably pleaded with rider Ryan Moore and was eventually eased up, finishing last. Vino' probably ran to his level, ending up a middling ninth.

Coffee percolating Saturday morning, My Boy Jack, who should have been 20- or 30-1, lo and behold sat the second favorite at 5-1 all day. He ended up one of the true feel-good stories, finishing fifth at 7-1. He outran the odds he should have had, but ran to the odds he did have.

Kid Rock said it all: "My Boy Jack. I like the name." Aaron Rodgers, despite coming to the Derby for quite a few years now, doesn't seem to have absorbed the game. "Audible, because it's my favorite thing to do and My Boy Jack, it's a cool name."

Justify, Hall of Famer Mike Smith up, proved relentless. After some of the pixie sticks quickly sorted themselves out in the safety of running abreast before entering the turn, he menacingly tucked in behind expected pacesetter Promises Fulfilled. What a pace! At :22-1 and :45-3, they flew through the first half. It was a pretty simple race: simply powerful as Justify dictated his own terms. When Good Magic made his bid in the stretch, Justify perturbedly dug deeper and dismissed him.

At the start, Justify (7) was less than perfect out of the gate, air underneath his front a step out. But he was always with the leaders as Jimmy Graham and Lone Sailor took a left turn and settled in the three lane behind the first pack. Mendelssohn (14), the last horse in the main starting gate, was bumped severely from his right - with the frame and the tires, you have to wonder if he even saw the horses in the auxiliary gate - then was sandwiched and sensed horses bearing down on him from behind. This was all before he crossed the finish line for the first time. They all maintained, Flameaway (4) in good position, but entering the far turn, Justify did a little dipsy do in three strides to assert his lead and the race was pretty much over. Good Magic, who probably couldn't see him, finished just a nose in front of Audible.

Trainer Bob Baffert, who won his fifth Derby, seemed to check himself after calling Arrogate the best he's ever seen after his historic Travers win last summer. When asked about Justify versus Arrogate and Triple Crown legend American Pharoah, he was less emotional.

"They're cut from the same cloth," he said.

Elliott Walden, president of WinStar Farm, who owns the horse along with China Horse Club, Starlight Racing and Head of Plains Partners, perhaps revealed why Justify didn't run at two. "I got excited when Bob told me that he was going to run him, that he had a plan to get to the Derby. I said, 'Bob, don't rush this horse.'"

Baffert sounded nervous. "We knew he was capable. I knew I had something really special, but he had to prove it today."

It figures to be on to Pimlico for the Preakness. Justify is such a big kid, he might just take on those 9.5 furlongs almost as if he just kept on running from Kentucky.

Belmont? American Pharoah had otherworldly powers of recovery. We'll see about this one.

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NOTE: He seems to be favoring his left rear leg this morning, and even staggering a little bit.

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Septic Tank
NBC.

The pressure gauge on this old tramp steamer rose steadily all weekend as the Peacock Network, currently running institutional character house ads, eviscerated all of the genuine drama, pageantry and enjoyment from an event that is one of America's most important sporting events.

After it was over, I knew I had to cool off and then sleep on it. I couldn't help but think the producers met and decided to use all of the clichéd elements from last year and, most importantly, consciously declare that just about the only race they would talk about would be the Derby itself, both days.

They also made the iron-anvil, draconian decision to cross-promote everything NBC does, especially sports.

Before crashing, I started a topic on a racing forum saying the same things I'm saying here. Many said why watch. Watch the track feed. I responded that I watch both, because I have to take notes on the broadcast version.

It didn't take long until the moderator chimed in: "Who are these people who get so upset at a freakin' television broadcast? I really couldn't care less . . . just happy I can watch the race in HD . . . " Many of the other responses took the tone of "We deserve this. There must be victims and we are they." Or "Why does that flaming gay guy (Johnny Weir) have to be on."

I don't mind Weir - although he was half-checked out all day - and I realize they have to show the hats, making the super expensive Mint Julep (how about the history of the drink?), talk to celebrities, run features on trainers (it was interesting to learn that Bolt d'Oro's trainer/owner Mick Ruis made his money in scaffolding in the Navy yard), and show many of the celebrities' picks.

They went to the well twice in condescending, childish, highly scripted bits in a grammar school classroom where Weir and Tara Lipinski went over basic fun facts of the Derby, until the kids showed they knew more. Har-Har. NASCAR bellboy Rutledge Wood, whose hair should be out of style if it isn't already, did basically the same bit in the same classroom.

Lipinski and Wood did do a fairly informative piece with American Pharoah to describe the breeding process. But they were giggling like kids the whole time.

NBCSportsNet aired the first few hours both days with Laffit Pincay III, Randy Moss and Hall of Fame jockey Jerry Bailey on the desk. Laffit, whose grandfather was a jockey in Panama and whose father is the legendary Hall of Famer Laffit Pincay Jr., is great. He describes the scene and sets up Moss and Bailey perfectly.

Early Friday, they even talked about the politics of John Velazquez riding Vino Rosso, and Javier Castellano, who had recently been riding Bolt, taking the mount on Audible. Bailey said Johnny V felt better about riding Vino, knowing Castellano had a ride. Moss, like Woodward and Bernstein, looked at the camera and revealed to us Ruis told him Castellano was under great pressure to ride Audible.

Bailey shot: "That's what we (jockeys) always say! We say, hey, I'm getting a lot of pressure, hope you don't mind. And there's no hard feelings."

Except for the always-solid Eddie Olczyk placing his bets for all the races, that was about the end of the racing insight. Or even coverage.

In the late afternoons, Pincay was switched out for Mike Tirico. Mike Tirico! He don't need no more horizons.

I don't watch NFL football, but I guess he might still be pissed off about being dragged off that gig. Shame, because all he knows is football. All, football. He also had the unmitigated disrespect to barely do any homework on the races. Thankfully, he told us the Derby is run on dirt.

They could not escape the quicksand of cross promotion, especially the NFL, and they sickly did a save-the-date for the Olympics.

Breathlessly, Tirico said Churchill Downs is big as 100 football fields, the grandstand is the length of a dozen Olympic-sized swimming pools and attendance is three times the Super Bowl.

Not letting up, Bob Costas, The Boy Who Won't Leave, came on with a piece out of Highlights for Children. The Super Bowl (fawning shots of the Patriots) is hard to get to, but Baffert and Pletcher get here all the time; people like underdogs, shots of college basketball players, shots of "cheap" horses; we love old timers (Tom Watson) and a shot of D. Wayne Lukas; then the mystery contender (Las Vegas Golden Knights) and Mendelssohn(?). Then, some people try to buy their way in (A-Rod and Yankees) and then Vinny Viola and Vino Rosso. Bobby, good horses are expensive! You have to buy horses, they don't just saunter into your barn! Why do you think they call it The Sport of Kings?!

Do you see a trend here? Champions, like the Patriots. Exciting, like the NHL playoffs. Important, like the Olympics. Then, of course, we got the Jimmy Fallon crossover with him releasing white puppies.

When I said Friday at least we won't have the buttinsky NFL because Gronkowski was scratched, I was sadly wrong. NBC couldn't resist and the football player wasn't even there.

The weather chick from the Today show kept promising a break in the clouds, as if the track would recover. Donna Brothers showed the saturated track, showed how they rolled it, "that's called sealing," and that's the first and last time the word sealed was used. Nevermind how it can affect a race.

Perhaps the most egregious failing was the decision to not talk about the other races. "We're back. Justify is still the favorite . . ." 40 times in the two days. They'd talk two minutes before the other stakes races and then a minute after.

No perspective on the other stakes races, no feel for the rhythms of the horseplayer on days like this, track tasks, not much real analysis of the effect of the track, even though it doesn't have to be the end of the world.

Carolyn Manno was great on the social scene, when they used her. Britney Eurton was good in the paddock. Kenny Rice, six seconds at a time, knows racing. Why not set up a betting duel with him and Eddie?

Sports Illustrated's Tim Layden's and Ashley Judd's treacly waxings were forced and nauseating.

I have to think Churchill Downs is complicit. These same people did not do as badly at the Breeders' Cup last November, probably under direction of the Breeders' Cup itself.

I really don't like to use profanity in TrackNotes. But rest assured the bad words were bouncing off the big screen like Bulls jump shots.

I'm very sorry these SOBs get paid so damn much to televise the NFL, a lousy sport with lousy people. I choose not to watch it, but it's like radioactive fallout getting into childrens' milk. You cannot escape it.

Even on Kentucky Derby Day.

TrackNotes Notes

* TV ratings were down 13 percent in the overnights while the share was down 8.7 percent. NBC blames the NBA, where a game started during the Derby, which was running a few minutes late.

* Wagering broke another record. Derby and Derby Day full card wagering was up 8 percent.

* Always Dreaming, last year's Derby winner, should probably be retired. Since that Derby, he hasn't won or even run well. In Friday's Alysheba, he started out well enough but then showed an indifference we've been seeing for a year. Velazquez said when the challenge was made, he didn't care to engage. It's been sad to watch him.

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Tom Chambers is our man on the rail. He welcomes your comments.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 3:24 PM | Permalink

The Weekend Desk Report

I don't know where the weekend went.

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New on the Beachwood . . .

Last Year, Amazon Paid No Federal Income Taxes . . .
. . . Now, It's Trying To Kill A Local Tax That Aims To Help the Homeless.

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TrackNotes: Derby Testament
"The race is so aberrational. Just a stampede at a distance many of them won't handle at a steroidal facility run by a corporation that just makes the skin crawl."

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The Beachwood Radio Sports Hour #199: Panic! At Wrigley Field
What Up With Youth? Plus: Spammy Sosa; White Sox Stuff; Bears Breakdown; Schweinsteiger!; Chicago's Pearl; and Meet The Chicago Wildfire.

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Chicagoetry: Darling Buds
Mind and wind.

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Weekend ChicagoGram

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Weekend ChicagoTube

Chicago Lingo.

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Weekend BeachBook

Author Mary Karr Reminds The World That David Foster Wallace Abused And Stalked Her And Nobody Cared.

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Why And When Roseanne Was Good (The First Time Around).

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How Trump Fixer Michael Cohen Built His 'Shadowy' Business Empire.

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Check Out The Otherworldly Lifeforms Scientists Found On The Bottom Of The Ocean Floor.

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James Comey Was A Fun Interview Back In The Day.

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Weekend TweetWood
A sampling.

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Still asking.

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The Weekend Desk Tronc Line: Pro tip.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 6:25 AM | Permalink

May 5, 2018

Last Year, Amazon Paid No Federal Income Taxes. Now, It's Trying To Kill A Local Tax That Aims To Help the Homeless

After Amazon stocks soared last week - making founder Jeff Bezos, the world's richest man, $12 billion richer - Sen. Bernie Sanders tweeted that the company paid no federal income tax last year, which was confirmed by independent analysis on Thursday, and comes as Amazon is trying to kill a proposed tax that aims to end Seattle's homelessness crisis.

"You know what Amazon paid in federal income taxes last year?" Sanders said Monday. "Zero."

"He's right," PolitiFact declared. "We've taken a look at a series of exaggerated claims about Amazon in the past. But in this case, Sanders is on the money."

With no public tax return and no cooperation from Amazon, fact-checkers dug into the company's annual filings to the Securities and Exchange Commission. They found, based on a February 2018 filing, "that not only would the company not be paying anything in 2017 federal income taxes, but it would be getting a $137 million tax refund."

Fox News agrees.

PolitiFact's findings come as the company has halted massive expansion plans in its hometown of Seattle, in an apparent effort to bully the City Council into rejecting a tax measure that the New York Times reports "would charge large employers in the city about $500 per employee, with the money going to help alleviate a housing crisis" that the company has been accused of fueling.

Amazon vice president Drew Herdener confirmed to the Seattle Times "that pending the outcome of the head tax vote by the city council, Amazon has paused all construction planning on our Block 18 project in downtown Seattle and is evaluating options to sublease all space in our recently leased Rainier Square building." Those moves are jeopardizing plans to add 7,000 to 8,000 local jobs.

"I'm deeply concerned about the impact this decision will have on a large range of jobs - from our building trades, to restaurant workers, to nurses, manufacturing jobs, and tech workers," Mayor Jenny Durkan, who has supported the tax measure, responded in a statement.

"At the same time, our city must urgently address our homelessness and affordability crisis and lift up those who have been left behind. I fundamentally believe we can do both by working together," Durkan added, vowing to convene meetings with community leaders "to see how we might forge common ground in dealing with our challenges while keeping jobs."

Our Revolution, the progressive political group that grew out of Sanders' 2016 presidential run, noted that "Amazon is on pace to be the first trillion-dollar company - which makes it all the more despicable that it's extorting the city of Seattle over a modest tax to fund affordable housing in the city."

Sanders also weighed in on the company's recent decisions, tweeting: "This is what corporate power and oligarchy is all about."

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

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Previously in Amazon:

* Amazon Finally Drops Deceptive Price List Comparisons.

* Who Has Your Back? Not Amazon.

* Chicago's Attempt To Impress Amazon Backfired After It Destroyed A 'Priceless' Graffiti Artwork In HQ2 Bid Clean-Up.

* Amazon, Boeing, Chicago And Cautionary Tales.

Let's face it, the math doesn't matter - Rahm just wants the win. Like Scott Walker and Foxconn (and Richard M. Daley and the 2016 Olympics). It's a helluva thing to campaign on. "I got Amazon!" It doesn't matter how disastrous that might be - it's all about one man's political interests.

* Item: Amazon HQ2-fer.

"Later this year, Amazon will begin accepting grocery orders from customers using the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, the federal anti-poverty program formerly known as food stamps. As the nation's largest e-commerce grocer, Amazon stands to profit more than any other retailer when the $70 billion program goes online after an initial eight-state pilot," the Intercept reports.

"But this new revenue will effectively function as a double subsidy for the company: In Arizona, new data suggests that one in three of the company's own employees depend on SNAP to put food on the table. In Pennsylvania and Ohio, the figure appears to be around one in 10. Overall, of five states that responded to a public records request for a list of their top employers of SNAP recipients, Amazon cracked the top 20 in four."
the problem with amazon's short list

This is a long, in-depth report that demands particular attention here as Chicago vies for Amazon's "second headquarters" through a combination of begging, pleading, and massive tax subsidies contained in a secret offer we may never see.

Also, let's ask the mayor about this.

* Amazon's Same-Day Delivery Serves Basically All Of Chicago . . . Except The South Side.

* Amazon Insists On Silence From Twenty HQ2 Finalists.

* Lucy Parsons Labs Sues Rahm Emanuel To Jar Loose The Chicago's Amazon HQ2 Bid.

* CyberMonday, Amazon & You.

* Amazon Short-List Proves Something "Deeply Wrong" With America's Race-To-The-Bottom Economy.

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See also: About Chicago's Late Head Tax.

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 11:42 AM | Permalink

May 4, 2018

The Week In Chicago Rock

You shoulda been there.

1. Joshua Hedley at SPACE in Evanston on Thursday night.


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2. Devil in a Woodpile at the Hideout on Thursday night.

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3. Wicca Phase Springs Eternal at Subterranean on Thursday night.

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4. Allie X at the House of Blues on Thursday night.

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5. DDG at the Promontory on Thursday night.

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6. The Gene Simmons Band at the Arcada in St. Charles on Thursday night.

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 9:50 PM | Permalink

TrackNotes: Derby Testament

Doctor! Doctor!

I've got the fever, Derby Fever.

Or do I?

On the eve of the 144th running of the Kentucky Derby, I wonder about the meaning of it all, as I do every year. Here we go again, although it's a lot better than being a beat reporter "covering" Maddon's schtick, the Sox futility and the Bears' incompetence.

The race is so aberrational. Just a stampede at a distance many of them won't handle at a steroidal facility run by a corporation that just makes the skin crawl. It's all embedded in the TrackNotes Testament.

But then I remember, these are all new horses who haven't done anything wrong. That's the beauty of this race. It's 20 bonus babies with proven talent embarking upon their quests, instead of all the same ol' gazillionaires of the new de rigueur styling a triple into a single.

You don't worship the silks in this game, although I've seen ladies - more power to 'em - win bets on just that kind of colorful appeal. You don't watch it "for the commercials," although I do like the stallion ads that show great horses of recent vintage winning the races of our memories.

It's a solitary endeavor, if you're serious about it, because with the death of the OTB in my neighborhoods, 99 percent of the people in bars or parties don't care. As an extreme, Arlington Park is charging $18/$6 parking, lousy card included, if you want to dress up and pretend you're at Churchill Downs. For many it's just the appeal of a $2 bet and rubbing elbows with decrepit ne'er-do-wells in the dingy netherworld of horse racing. For them, Sunday's just another day, while we ponder Triple Crowns and new shooters in the Preakness, just two weeks away.

This time, the valid consensus is that this could be the best Kentucky Derby in years. Include me, unless the two favorites finish first and third. But then, that's why we race. And wager. I also feel damn good that I've paid attention to the preps more carefully this year. I've seen most of these colts.

We also caught a huge break when Gronkowski, a European horse who got the Euro exemption, was scratched with a virus. The football player even bought a small share of the horse, so now we'll be spared the presence of the buttinsky NFL. Plus, the tight end can probably run better.

You'll hear a lot about breaking Apollo's Curse, the idea that two horses this year will try to win the Derby after not having raced at 2-years-old. Apollo, 1882, you've read it here many times. Just as I hate the word "Wars" in the endeavor of baking cupcakes, why must something like this, like goats, have such an ominous name: Curse? I couldn't find it's origin, but it seems recent to me.

Sure, Justify and Magnum Moon have a real chance this year. But it just figures that over those 136 years, with horses running so often at two and three, it's odds against when coming in green.

Saturday, the trainer ranks are loaded. Todd Pletcher has four, and his mentor, the legendary D. Wayne Lukas sends out his 49th Derby horse, Bravazo, in a quest to win his fifth. Bob Baffert has two, including probable favorite Justify. Wunderkind Chad Brown, a disciple of the late great Bobby Frankel, contends with Good Magic. Aidan O'Brien, the best trainer in the world, ships in Mendelssohn after his boffo smash hit in Dubai. The king of Churchill Downs, Dale Romans, looks for his first Derby win with two, Free Drop Billy and Promises Fulfilled.

We've got horses this year who contend Saturday and should make noise the rest of the season. In post position order:

1. Firenze Fire (Jockey Paco Lopez, Trainer Jason Servis, Sire Poseidon's Warrior)

The one-hole is the kiss of death, but I don't like this one anyway. His Beyer Speed Figures are less than mediocre, and he's a miler. So put him in the Pat Day Mile. Geez.

2. Free Drop Billy (Robby Albarado, Dale Romans, Union Rags)

The dope is that from a bad post, he might be able to save some ground and use his closing style to get a piece of the Superfecta. I'm tired of these Daily Racing Form analysts saying all of these horses have a chance "underneath." He beat two of these in the Breeders' Futurity at Keeneland (that's not the Breeders' Cup) last October with a mediocre Beyer. Beaten a total 45 lengths in four races since.

3. Promises Fulfilled (Corey Lanerie, Dale Romans, Shackleford)

He is figured to set a hot pace, and then burn up on reentry. He did that and ran away in the Fountain of Youth with a 96 Beyer. He did that and finished 36 back in the Florida Derby. Shackleford wasn't much of a classic distance horse either, although he won the Preakness at 1-3/16ths.

4. Flameaway (Jose Lezcano, Todd Pletcher, Scat Daddy)

I think there's something to like here, although he'll have to take a big step up to win. He won the Sam F. Davis prep to a second in the Tampa Bay Derby and another second in the Blue Grass, not too far behind Good Magic. That may be as good as he is as his Beyers have stalled in the low 90s. That portends third at best here, which is a Grade I, get my drift?

5. Audible (Javier Castellano, Todd Pletcher, Into Mischief)

An early buzz horse, he should be fresh after winning the March 31 Florida Derby over Hofburg. Pletcher will do that, train for weeks into a big race. He won the Holy Bull over Free Drop Billy and has the what-you-want-to-see 99 Beyers in his last two. With a step up, that's plenty. The angle is that John Velazquez jumped off him to ride Vino Rosso, but Vino' has known no other rider. Ten furlongs is a question mark hanging over his head, but if the pace screws up up front, he can either stalk or close big. Would like no less than his ML 8-1. Seriously consider.

6. Good Magic (Jose Ortiz, Chad Brown, Curlin)

Considered a monster after winning the Breeders' Cup Juvenile over Solomini and Bolt d'Oro and being named Two-Year Old Horse of the Year. Only two races this year with a 95 Beyer win in the Blue Grass, a 14-point improvement in 2018. Through no fault of his own, he's caught some shade and might even be an attractive price, 8-1 ML. Training great, great trainer and jock, Mr. Prospector, Hard Spun and Curlin in the family picture. Don't tell anyone, get a price and enjoy.

7. Justify (Mike Smith, Bob Baffert, Scat Daddy)

In his short stud career, Scat Daddy, who sired four in this field, became a supreme producer of winners. It's no wonder Justify will be favored, with Storm Cat, Hennessy and Johannesburg also on his daddy's side and Ghostzapper, Awesome Again and Pulpit behind his mum. Faced with the Apollo factor, will his great talent be enough in this race? Is he savvy enough? He's only run against 17 total horses in his life in three races, all at Santa Anita. 101-104-107 Beyers culminating in the Santa Anita Derby fuel his store window appeal. But while he'll be 3-2 or 2-1 at the bell, I think he should be no less than 3-1, maybe even up to 4-1 or 5-1, with his question marks. He likes to be near the lead. Through inexperience, will he get caught in a hot pace? He has the breeding, but running hard near the front and then getting that last furlong, it could mess with his young head. The crowd. The surface. Whatever happens Saturday, he will learn a lot. Depending on his recoverability, he has Triple Crown talent. But for this Derby, I don't want him to win, especially at that price. But you do have to include him, which bums me out. Third with a couple bombers in front of him would suit me fine.

8. Lone Sailor (Jimmy Graham, Tom Amoss, Majestic Warrior)

I'll be taking a flyer on this one at 50-1 or better. You have to love a 17-point Beyer improvement in the Louisiana Derby, a neck behind Noble Indy and in front of My Boy Jack. That screams tightening and foundation for this one, and you've got some more folding money if you look at his 57 and 3/5ths five-furlong bullet workout over this track a couple weeks ago. We love Graham, a mainstay on the Chicago scene, but this is his first Derby. I like his closing-ish style. Flyer to win and maybe a $1 Trifecta box with him and a couple favorites.

9. Hofburg (Irad Ortiz, Bill Mott, Tapit)

Don't hassle the Hof, for he is the darling of the wiseguys. But he's going to have to step up large after a 94-Beyer second three back in the Florida Derby. Another problem is that he'll be way lower than his 20-1 morning line, with all the talk I've been hearing. Mott's rep is that he never runs 'em unless he believes. The distance should be fine, but I dunno. Anywhere in the money might be all we can ask.

10. My Boy Jack (Kent Desormeaux, Keith Desormeaux, Creative Cause)

Thirty-to-one in the morning line, this horse has nonetheless gained a following. My friend Ed on the east coast, who's been to the Melbourne Cup(!) and has a few horseplayers in the clan, says they'll be on this horse in the spirit of a fine young man who wore the name greatly. I firmly believe this horse will take action from all the people who have a Jack in their lives. Chances? Beyers in the mid-90s, but won the Southwest at Oaklawn and the Lexington at Keeneland last out. He's already run 10 times, against quality company, including four of these. I'll have him across the board for $2, for Jack, of course.

11. Bolt d'Oro (Victor Espinoza, Mick Ruis, Medaglia d'Oro)

Rodney, this horse just ain't getting no respect this week! This is a professional warhorse, winner of four of six and in the money every time. He knows what he's doing and has all the Beyer bones he needs. He was placed first after jousting with the DQd McKinzie in the San Felipe. Coming in 3-0, he was third in the Breeders Cup Juvenile behind Good Magic and couldn't catch Justify in the Santa Anita Derby. He's also got a rookie trainer. If his batteries are charged and he gets 10-1, I think he knows what to do.

12. Enticed (Junior Alvarado, Kiaran McLaughlin, Medaglia d'Oro)

People are bashing the Wood Memorial, where he finished second behind Vino Rosso. His Beyers are flat in the mid 90s in the last two. A sleeper with fantastic pedigree, you have to include him, especially at a potentially great price.

13. Bravazo (Luis Contreras, D. Wayne Lukas, Awesome Again)

Don't see it. He may have peaked in two 2018 races before a bomb in the Louisiana Derby. Nice to have D. Wayne in Louisville, but his horse is running, not his legacy.

14. Mendelssohn (Ryan Moore, Aidan O'Brien, Scat Daddy)

This Scat Daddy pulled off a Very Lite Secretariat in the Dubai UAE Derby in March, powering to an expanding 18.5 lengths win. He won the Breeders' Cup Juvenile Turf at Del Mar and then prepped in Ireland for Dubai. He has all the talent to win, but is dissed for the ship from Dubai. No horse has ever done it. But he's the best so far who's tried. His price will be low-ish. You decide.

15. Instilled Regard (Drayden Van Dyke, Jerry Hollendorfer, Arch)

Talk softly to him all the way around and hope the race doesn't traumatize him. Stuck at low-90s Beyers, find another race.

16. Magnum Moon (Luis Saez, Todd Pletcher, Malibu Moon)

He looked like Otis Campbell in the Arkansas Derby stretch, but won by four over Quip, who opted for the Preakness. He's also looking at Apollo in the mirror. He's very talented and has every right to mature and improve. Just not in the frickin' Kentucky Derby! If he gets up to 20-1, Win-Place-Show flyer. Then wait for later.

17. Solomini (Flavien Prat, Bob Baffert, Curlin)

Yeah, 30-1. Should be more. Claim to fame is Baffert and a win/DQ in the Los Alamitos Futurity. Stuck in the low 90s Beyers. He is who he is, and doesn't belong here.

18. Vino Rosso (John Velazquez, Todd Pletcher, Curlin)

Diss the Wood Memorial, but it was an impressive win by three and a 14-point Beyer improvement to 98 is just what you want. Make what you will of Johnny V.'s decision to ride this horse, but he's been Vino's only rider. And I wouldn't want it any other way for this horse in this race. He bulleted four furlongs in his last workout, so this horse is ready. My only concern is an attack on his 12-1 morning line.

19. Noble Indy (Florent Geroux, Todd Pletcher, Take Charge Indy)

Likes to be near the lead, but has never shown he'd be able to do this from the 19 hole! Unless you dropped into 2000-1 on the Todd Pletcher Superfecta, no.

20. Combatant (Ricardo Santana Jr., Steve Asmussen, Scat Daddy)

Twenty-hole? Only win was a maiden special weight? He only got in because others dropped out. Doesn't belong.

I would love to see a Bolt d'Oro win, especially at a decent price. Audible and Good Magic should be up there. For wagering, I love Enticed, Vino Rosso and Flameaway. Justify would screw up the wagering by finishing first or second. The knowing bettors will try to keep Mendelssohn's price, but it will be a battle against the Pavlovian attention he's getting.

Would that be funny if a Dubai winner wins his first Derby instead of Apollo's Curse being overturned?

On television, NBC SportsNet carries 11 a.m. to 1:30 pm. The Peacock Network picks it up from there through the Derby.

Enjoy and remember many of these names. You'll see them all down the road.

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 4:06 PM | Permalink

The Beachwood Radio Hour #199: Panic! At Wrigley Field

What Up With Youth? Plus: Spammy Sosa; White Sox Stuff; Bears Breakdown; Schweinsteiger!; Chicago's Pearl; and Meet The Chicago Wildfire.


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SHOW NOTES

* 199.

* Pie-Eyed And Blue.

* Coffman: "It's so funny about fruit."

* Colonoscopy.

6:40: What Up With Youth?

* What Up With Youth.

* Where's Tommy?!

* Concave vs. Convex.

* Yu Darvish. Sucks?

33:40: Spammy Sosa.

* Don't be fooled.

* I'm Sammy.

* Vitiligo?

* Sosa, Braun, A-Rod.

* Rhodes: Actions should have consequences!

* Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle.

47:30: White Sox Stuff.

* Trayce Thompson walk-off.

* Did Yolmer Sanchez Just Change The Gatorade Game?

54:47: Bears Breakdown.

* Campbell: Matt Nagy And Ryan Pace's First Draft Together Continues Bears' Momentum. LOL.

1:06:00: Schweinsteiger!

1:06:06: Meet Pearl Gonzalez: From The Mean Streets Of Chicago To The MMA Cage.

1:09:59: Meet The Chicago Wildfire: Cool!

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STOPPAGE: 12:35

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

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 2:00 PM | Permalink

Chicagoetry: Darling Buds

Darling Buds

"This is what I mean."
Said the wind.
"I am music, I am motion,

I carry
The gods.

I enswirl you
With fresh light, ensnare you
In the dust of the darling buds

Of May
(Which seem to come so suddenly,
Like the new sunrise, now off kilter.

You look away a few days
And everything changes).

"This is what I am,"
Said the mind.
"Trained by art

To see winter's black-and-white sketch
Filled in inexorably
With the myriad colors of spring,

Like rich, fat oils and lush pastels
Over brusque charcoal.
This is life again.

This is what I mean:

No life without death,
No spring without winter.
From grimace to smiley-face,

From bud to bloom,
Each a tiny, supple eruption
Of grace.

Fresh light through the roof
Of this prison of time,
All according

To my favorite rhyme:
Wind and mind.

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

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More Tindall:

* Chicagoetry: The Book

* Ready To Rock: The Music

* The Viral Video: The Match Game Dance

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 10:18 AM | Permalink

May 3, 2018

The [Thursday] Papers

"The Trump administration on Tuesday exempted most of southeast Wisconsin from the latest federal limits on lung-damaging smog pollution, delivering a political victory to Gov. Scott Walker as he makes a new Foxconn Technology Group factory the centerpiece of his re-election campaign," the Tribune reports.

"By dramatically reducing the size of the areas required to crack down on smog, Trump EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt overruled the agency's career staff, a move that will save Foxconn from having to make expensive improvements as it builds a sprawling new electronics plant in Racine County, just north of the Illinois border in an area with some of the state's dirtiest air."

Pruitt overruled EPA staff in deciding to allow Foxconn to pollute the lungs of southeast Wisconsin residents. Taxpayer-subsidized flat screens for the rest of us!

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"Pruitt also pared back the list of counties with dirty air in Illinois and Indiana, a decision that could add to Chicago's chronic problems with pollution linked to asthma attacks, heart disease and early deaths.

"Tweaking the list of counties in violation of federal smog standards is the latest attempt by Pruitt to roll back or delay environmental regulations enacted during the Obama administration."

You are no longer in violation of federal smog standards, but you will die at a higher rate!

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"Walker blames Chicago for making the air unhealthy to breathe in parts of Wisconsin."

He's probably not entirely wrong - but making the air even more unhealthy as a response seems, um, counterproductive.

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"[D]ocuments filed with the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources show Foxconn would be a major new source of smog-forming pollution."

Smog Wars, Season 1: Chicago vs. Wisconsin.

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See also: Chicago vs. Wisconsin.

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"In addition to completely exempting Racine County from the smog standards, Pruitt scaled back the EPA staff recommendations for other parts of Wisconsin, leaving only strips of land along Lake Michigan in Door, Kenosha, Milwaukee, Ozaukee, Sheboygan and Manitowoc counties on the list of areas that need to take more aggressive steps to improve air quality.

"At the urging of two other Republican governors, Bruce Rauner in Illinois and Eric Holcomb in Indiana, Pruitt also removed all of McHenry County, Ill., and Porter County, Ind., and part of Lake County, Ind., from the list of areas that contribute to chronic smog problems in the Chicago area."

Emphasis mine. cc: JB Pritzker.

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The Foxconn Files, from the Beachwood vault:

* February 6, 2011: "Far more disturbing than greed on paper is the nagging feeling that some poor kid in China died so I could enjoy my MacBook."

* September 19, 2017: The Bloody Decade Of The iPhone.

* April 13, 2018: Wisconsin Clears The Way For Foxconn By Bulldozing Working Peoples' Homes And Paying Them Pennies On The Dollar.

* April 29, 2018: Foxconn Will Drain 7 Million Gallons Of Water Per Day From Lake Michigan To Make LCD Screens.

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See also:

* America And The Foxconn Dream.

"Wisconsin is about to shell out as much as $3 billion for the privilege of luring Foxconn Technology Group . . . Politicians, lobbyists and Foxconn can make the figures work by being generous with the facts. For example, if every one of those jobs came to fruition, they can claim 29,000 positions for $3 billion, or $103,000 per job. But that's not going to happen.

"Foxconn has factories in China and another dozen countries globally, yet that stated $10 billion investment is more than the group's publicly traded flagship - Hon Hai Precision Industry Co. - has devoted to capital expenditure over the past five years combined."

* Foxconn Could Get Up To $200 million In Cash A Year From State Residents For Up To 15 Years.

"Speaking about critics of the deal on a radio broadcast, Wisconsin governor Scott Walker said, 'they can can go suck lemons.'"

* This 1 Number Sums Up Why That Foxconn Deal Is Over-The-Top Bad For Wisconsin.

"[T]he numbers on this economic development deal, touted as the largest in state history, don't seem to add up on many counts. In fact, by one measure, the subsidy from Wisconsin taxpayers could more than cover the salaries Foxconn will pay its workers."

* Foxconn Has A Long History Of Lying About Its Plans To Open Plants And Create Jobs.

"Just ask the folks in Pennsylvania who were promised a flat-panel display plant in 2013 and instead got 'an empty office in Harrisburg and nothing further' - and then ask the Indonesians who are waiting on Foxconn to make good on its 2013 written promise to open a factory; the Vietnamese who got their written promise in 2007, and the Brazilians who've been watching the ink dry on their Foxconn letter since 2011, and who've sent $12 billion to the company in the intervening years. Michigan's deep-red red-state governor Rick Snyder also has a great vaporware deal underway with the Foxconn PR machine."

* Illinois Might Get A Lot Of Those Wisconsin Taxpayer-Subsidized Jobs.

"Walker's administration stands by the prediction that 90 percent of Foxconn jobs would go to Wisconsin residents. A consultant hired by Wisconsin's economic development agency initially estimated out-of-state residents would grab 40 to 50 percent of jobs, but recalculated the number after that estimate drew criticism."

* Foxconn Got A Really Good Deal From Wisconsin. And It's Getting Better.

"Associated sweeteners have now grown to more than $4 billion - adding in the cost of local government incentives and various infrastructure projects, like roads and highways, sewer and power lines . . .

"[A]mong the additional costs to the Foxconn project is a $6.8 million advertising campaign to woo workers from out of state to work in Wisconsin, including at the new plant . . .

"The Village of Mount Pleasant and Racine County, where the plant is to be built, have also agreed to provide $764 million in tax incentives to help get the facility constructed, including buying the land and giving it to Foxconn for free.

"The state expects to spend about $400 million on road improvements, including adding two lanes to the nearby Interstate 94. And it's seeking $246 million more in federal money to help pay for the interstate expansion.

"In addition, the local electric utility is upgrading its lines and adding substations to provide the necessary power that will be used by the plant, at a cost of $140 million. The cost of those projects will be paid by 5 million customers in the area."

* In Racine County, Neatly Maintained Homes And Dream Houses Are Being Designated 'Blighted' To Make Way For Foxconn.

"The Village is telling us our land is worthless, while at the same time you're telling Foxconn it's the best property in the world. I don't know how any of you guys can sit here and do this."

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And yet, by the way, in just one in a series of editorials in despair at "losing" Foxconn to Wisconsin . . .

* Fiscally Conservative Tribune Editorial Board Mad We Didn't Get Chance To Spend $3 Billion In Taxpayer Money To Kill Ourselves More Quickly.

"This is a huge win for Scott Walker, the Republican governor of Wisconsin whom Illinois Democrats loathe. Just as this is an embarrassment for Illinois House Speaker Michael Madigan and Senate President John Cullerton . . .

"Wisconsin boasts a freshly burnished global image. One of the planet's largest tech firms, with a million workers worldwide, says its search led it to bet a fraction of its future on Wisconsin. Assuming that happens, expect robust economic growth from suppliers, subcontractors, construction companies and other businesses that will serve Foxconn and its workforce."

We're already seeing who should be embarrassed - and ashamed.

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New on the Beachwood today . . .

Scoring Family Guy
With Woody-nominated Walter Murphy.

*

Awesome Chicago Wildfire Highlights
Super cool stuff from the local ultimate disc team.

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ChicagoGram

Good Morning #Chicago lovely to see you again..

A post shared by Kayd Currier (@kayd_ic) on

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ChicagoTube

The First Chicago Be-In, 1967.

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TweetWood
A sampling.

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*

*

*

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The Beachwood Tronc Line: Tonight.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 7:29 AM | Permalink

Scoring Family Guy

"One of the defining features of Family Guy, apart from its resolutely irreverent sense of humur, is its use of lush musical arrangements.

"Almost every episode features a musical number, and these are performed by top swing players and recorded on the legendary Newman scoring stage at Fox Studios in Hollywood.

"While the show's writers pen the lyrics, someone has to turn these into musical pieces that work. That person is Walter Murphy, a musician of note in his own right whose disco version of Beethoven's Fifth Symphony shot to fame as part of the Saturday Night Fever soundtrack."


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Walter Murphy's "A Fifth of Beethoven."

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Roller Skating to "A Fifth of Beethoven."

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When Walter Murphy was up for a Woody.

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 1:29 AM | Permalink

Chicago Wildfire Game Highlights

* Indianapolis AlleyCats prevail.

* Wildfire go to 1-2.

* 20 players have returned from last season.


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The Top 10 Wildfire Plays Of 2017.

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See also:

* A primer.

* The AUDL.

* Wildfire schedule.

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 1:07 AM | Permalink

May 2, 2018

The [Wednesday] Papers

Working on some stuff.

Meanwhile, enjoy these smatterings . . .

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New on the Beachwood today . . .

Chicago MMA Fighter Pearl Gonzalez Is A Badass
From the mean streets of Pilsen and Cicero to the Invictus cage, with a stop in the Cook County Jail. Her story.

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ChicagoGram

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ChicagoTube

A 1992 Southwest Airlines Commercial For $59 Flights To Cleveland From Midway.

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BeachBook

The donor-media class vs. the people.

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TweetWood
A sampling.

Sorry, folks, but facts matter even when they ruin your ironic outrage.

*

*

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The Beachwood Tronc Line: Conscious.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 12:48 AM | Permalink

Meet Pearl Gonzalez: From The Mean Streets Of Chicago To The MMA

"Strawweight contender Pearl Gonzalez and her journey from the hard streets of Chicago (and the Cook County Jail) to the Invicta cage."

Directed and edited by Cynthia Vance. Cinematography by Cynthia Vance and Ruben Rodriguez.

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* Combat-Do.

* Master Bob Schirmer.

* PearlGonzalez.com.

* Variety Pack:

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Sample fight: vs. Kali Robbins, Invicta FC 28.

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 12:15 AM | Permalink

May 1, 2018

The [Tuesday] Papers

Got waylaid today.

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New on the Beachwood . . .

Delmark Gets New Owners
Big move for Chicago icon.

*

Big Money Wins Again
Dominant in state legislative races.

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The Political Odds
Updated to reflect recent developments.

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States Prepare For Legal Sports Betting
But it might not yield as much tax revenue as thought.

*

Spitting Image
"Taking as its primary theme the exploration of the female body in current culture, Spitting Image (SIU Press) considers the myriad intersections of the body and gender, desire, relationships, and otherness."

*

Vanishing Vending Machines
A fraud solved by the Chicago division of the U.S. Postal Inspection Service.

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ChicagoGram

#lillstreetartcenter #gbhasse #figuresculpture #process

A post shared by Gretchen Hasse (@gbhasse) on

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ChicagoTube

LOS MÁRTIRES DE CHICAGO - 1 de Mayo - Día del Trabajo.

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BeachBook

Court Rules In Favor Of Selective Disclosure.

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Shedd Vet Headed To Africa To Rescue Thousands Of Rare Tortoises Found In Poacher's Home.

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TweetWood
A sampling.

*

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The Beachwood Tronc Line: Shedding.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 6:07 PM | Permalink

Delmark Gets New Owners

Chicago's Delmark Records, America's oldest independent blues and jazz label, announced new ownership Tuesday.

Chicago musicians/composers/educators Julia A. Miller and Elbio Barilari have acquired the label and all of its subsidiary labels; the label's catalogue of masters from the 1920s to the present; all the company's inventory of CDs and LPs; and Riverside Studio, the traditional recording facility located at 4121 N. Rockwell in Chicago (also known as "Delmark House").

Under Miller and Barilari, Delmark Records plans release several new albums by fall: a blues anthology celebrating the label's 65th anniversary; a jazz title by Miller and Barilari's musical collaboration project Volcano Radar featuring the multi-Grammy Award winner and NEA Jazz Master Paquito D'Rivera; a new album with guitar virtuoso Fareed Haque; and previously unreleased recordings by jazz innovator Sun Ra.

So far this year, Delmark Records has released three blues recordings: Night After Night by Corey Dennison Band; Back to Chicago by the Rockwell Avenue Blues Band; and the Bell family tribute album.

"Owning a record label and recording studio has been a dream of mine for 25 years," says Miller who will serve as the label's president and CEO. "At the Art Institute, in my Song class, I always begin with spoken blues. Blues is a living history; Delmark embodies a living history of the blues in Chicago, and for the world."

Barilari, who will serve as vice president and artistic director, says: "This is a very exciting opportunity both artistically and from a business perspective. Personally, it also offers me the chance to give back to Chicago's musical community for the generous support I have been given during the 20 years I have been living here."

Veteran Delmark Records producer and recording engineer Steve Wagner will remain as studio manager and producer.

Delmark Records' owner and founder Bob Koester will continue to run his record store Bob's Blues and Jazz Mart (3419 West Irving Park). Koester's legacy will be honored by the City of Chicago with a special salute at the 2018 Chicago Blues Festival on Friday, June 8.

This special day-long celebration will kick off the annual festival and will feature a variety of Delmark artists, including Sharon Lewis, Dave Specter, Linsey Alexander and Eddie Taylor, Jr.; a jam session led by Kenny "Beedy Eyes" Smith; and a "Tribute to Those Who Came Before and Bob Koester," including Jimmy Burns' "Tribute to Big Joe Williams," Lurrie and Steve Bell's "Tribute to Carey Bell," and Jimmy Johnson and Dave Specter's "Tribute to Magic Sam."

Four-DKPs8548_350dpi_AdobeRGB.jpgBarilari, Miller, Koester and Wagner

ABOUT JULIA MILLER

Julia A. Miller is a guitarist, composer, improviser, sound artist, visual artist, curator and educator. She specializes in synthesized electric guitar, performing as a soloist, collaborator, and Volcano Radar band member. Miller's new role at Delmark ties in with her current work with historical recording technology as a Professor of Sound at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. She also serves as Guitar Professor at Carthage College in Kenosha. She is also an Artistic Advisory Board member for High Concept Labs and Ragdale Foundation.

Miller was the first finalist in electronic music for the Gaudeamus Prize. A live recording of her solo performance on Chicago's Experimental Sound Studio Sunday Solos Series, "Solo Variations," was released as a digital EP on the Chicago netlabel Pan y Rosas. Miller also participated in the $100 Guitar Project, a double CD of improvised and composed short pieces by 65 different guitarists which was released on Bridge Records with proceeds benefiting CARE. Her music can also be heard on the Artco and Pilgrim Talk labels.

Miller was awarded the prestigious Helen and Tim Coburn Meier Foundation Award for her work with improvised opera. She received a DMA in composition from Northwestern University in 2005.

ABOUT ELBIO BARILARI

Uruguayan born composer, writer, and multi-instrumentalist Elbio Barilari moved to Chicago in 1998. He is a Professor of Jazz History and Latin American Music at UIC, hosts the internationally syndicated Latin American music radio show Fiesta on WFMT-FM, and is co-director of the Chicago Latino Music Festival.

Barilari is both a classical music composer and a jazz musician. His classical pieces have been commissioned and performed by orchestras and chamber ensembles such as Grant Park Music Festival, Ravinia Festival, Chicago Sinfonietta, Chicago Arts Orchestra, Avalon String Quartet, Fulcrum Point, Kaia String Quartet and many others at the national and international levels.

In the jazz and improvised music fields, Barilari has premiered five extended jazz compositions: "Gondwana Suite" at Millennium Park with Paquito D'Rivera's United Nations Orchestra; "Lincolniana," commissioned by Ravinia Festival for President Lincoln's bicentennial and featuring Orbert Davis; "Sounds of Hope," commissioned by the Morse Theater for President Obama's first inauguration; "Flags from Ashes," commissioned by WFMT-FM for the 10th anniversary of September 11th; and "Diasporas," commissioned by the Cohn Foundation to celebrate Chicago's ethnic and cultural diversity.

ABOUT DELMARK RECORDS

Delmark Records is America's oldest existing jazz and blues independent record label. It was founded by Bob Koester Sr. in St. Louis, Missouri in 1953, originally under the name "Delmar." In 1958, Koester and the label relocated to Chicago with the label's current name: Delmark.

Throughout its history, Delmark has released records by historical jazz and blues artists such as Sonny Stitt, the Art Ensemble of Chicago, Junior Wells, J. B. Hutto, Robert Nighthawk, Luther Allison, Magic Sam, Jimmy Dawkins, Malachi Thompson, Jimmy Johnson, Sleepy John Estes, Arthur Crudup, Otis Rush, Yank Rachell and Roosevelt Sykes.

The label also has released albums by musicians from Chicago's Association for the Advancement of Creative Musicians. The first record was Roscoe Mitchell's Sound (1966) which received a five-star review in Downbeat. This was followed by a string of releases on Delmark that highlighted the new music being played in Chicago by artists associated with the AACM including Muhal Richard Abrams, Kalaparusha Maurice McIntyre, and Anthony Braxton. Additionally, Delmark released two of the earliest Sun Ra albums, Sun Song and Sound of Joy, in 1967 and 1968 respectively.

Today, Delmark is a force on the Chicago blues and jazz music scene with records by jazz artists such as Ari Brown, Ernest Dawkins, Nicole Mitchell, Paul Giallorenzo, Jason Stein, Frank Catalano, Rob Mazurek, Ken Vandermark, Fred Anderson, plus blues musicians including Zora Young, Ken Saydak, Byther Smith, Michael Coleman, Little Arthur Duncan, Eddie C. Campbell and Jimmy Burns, among others.

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See also:

Delmark at 20.

*

Delmark at 55.

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 1:56 PM | Permalink

Big Money Dominant in State Legislative Races

Analysis of pre-primary campaign finance reports for 45 candidates in 15 state house races in 14 state legislative districts shows that 86 percent of money raised came from donors giving $1,000 or more, while only 5 percent came from donors giving less than $150. The selection of races was chosen for its geographic diversity, includes both Republican and Democratic primary contests, as well as races with and without incumbents. More details and analysis available here.

Candidates who ultimately won in these 15 races received 92 percent of their campaign funds from big donors giving $1,000 or more, and only 2 percent from donors giving $150 or less.

While the candidate with the most money does not always win, primary results show that 12 of the 15 contested races across the 14 districts were won by the candidate with the most resources.

"After Citizens United, there is little we can do to limit candidates funding their campaigns by relying on a small number of mega-donors, and as a result we see the impact of big money at all levels, including state legislative districts," said Illinois PIRG Education Fund Advocate Hannah Kim. "However, through a small donor matching program, we can ensure voters have real choices on the ballot. Small donor matching programs can help candidates with broad support but without access to or support from big donors to remain competitive with candidates funded by big-money."

Even without self-funding candidates as wealthy as Governor Rauner or J.B. Pritzker, these state legislative district races mimic the pattern of big-money fundraising apparent in the broader, statewide races for attorney general and governor.

While there is some variation among candidates, across the board the bulk of campaign funds raised have come from a small, wealthy pool of donors who have resources to give at levels the average citizen cannot afford.

This "money primary" is why good government groups have coalesced around small donor matching programs, which allow candidates to run competitive campaigns even if they do not have access to, or choose to forgo, big money.

There are successful, proven models to empower small donors so that their voices play a more central role in our democracy.

For example, in New York City's 2013 city council campaigns, small donors were responsible for 61 percent of participating candidates' contributions when funds from a matching program are included.

Similar program have been recently approved at the county level in Maryland and in Washington, D.C.

This analysis is based on the information most currently available for individuals contributions, loans, transfers, and in-kind contributions made in between January 1, 2017 up through March 20, 2018.

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Also released today elsewhere: Rahm's Campaign War Chest Holds 18x More $ Than All Competitors Combined.

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Previously in small donor matching:
* The Secret Money Machine.

* lllinois' Top Campaign Corrupters.

* Illinois: The King Of Dark Money.

* Rahm Biggest Campaign Fund Cheater; Used Loopholes To Keep Donations Secret.

* Former Illinois Congressional Candidate Sues IRS In Quest To Bar Political Ads Funded By Dark Money Groups.

* Your Government Now Brought To You By 1% Of The 1%.

* A Few Rich People Vs. The Rest Of Us In Illinois' Governor's Race.

* 17 Mega-Donors Vs. Everyone Else.

* Rapid Rise In Super PACs Dominated By Single Donors.

* Chicago Mayoral Election Dominated By Big, Out Of Town Money.

* Big Money Dominated Chicago Mayoral Elections.

* New Study Shows Potential Impact Of A Small Donor Matching Program On 2016 Presidential Race.

* TV Ads To Illinois U.S. Senate Candidates: Knock It Off.

* Which 2016 Presidential Candidates Would Win And Lose Under A Small Donor Matching Program?

* How The Cook County State's Attorney's Race Would Be Reshaped By A Small Donor Program.

* Small Donor Matching System Bill Passes State Senate.

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 12:30 PM | Permalink

States Getting Ready For U.S. Supreme Court To Legalize Sports Gambling

The gambling world is waiting with bated breath for the U.S. Supreme Court decision that could result in an expansion of sports betting. The decision could be announced anytime between today and the end of June.

Because I teach sports betting regulation and gambling law, I've been closely watching the developments as well. Although Nevada has had a robust sports betting industry for decades, New Jersey has been at the forefront of the push to legalize sports betting.

In recent years, many other states have prepared for a ruling from the Supreme Court that would overturn the prohibition of sports betting. Even professional sports leagues - which have emerged as the leading opponents of efforts to legalize and regulate sports betting - are looking to cash in.

sportsbookconvo.jpgThe heaven that is a sportsbook/John Locher, AP

How We Got Here

According to the 10th Amendment of the Constitution, "The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people."

For this reason, states have traditionally overseen and regulated casino gambling. The Nevada Supreme Court specifically recognized, in a case involving infamous Chicago Outfit associate Frank "Lefty" Rosenthal (portrayed as Ace Rothstein by Robert De Niro in Casino, that gaming is "a matter reserved to the states within the meaning of the 10th Amendment to the United States Constitution."

However, in 1992, responding to concerns about the spread of state-sponsored sports wagering, Congress enacted the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act, also known as the Bradley Act, named after its lead sponsor, then-U.S. Senator Bill Bradley.

The Bradley Act made it unlawful for any governmental entity, such as states, municipalities or Indian tribes, to "sponsor, operate, advertise, promote, license, or authorize by law or compact" any sports betting. In addition, the act prohibited any individual from operating any sort of sports betting enterprise.

billbradleyboo.jpgBoo! Bill Bradley/Rick Wilking, Reuters

The Bradley Act, however, exempted four states from the prohibition: Nevada, Oregon, Delaware and Montana. Of these four states, Nevada was - and remains - the only one with full-scale sports wagering. New Jersey was given a one-year window to legalize sports wagering, but the state legislature failed to take action within the allotted time.

Fast forward to 2011. That year, New Jersey government officials decided they wanted to have regulated sports wagering, so the state introduced a referendum on a statewide ballot that would amend the state Constitution to permit wagering on college, amateur, and professional sports at Atlantic City casinos and racetracks across the state.

New Jersey voters supported the ballot referendum, and in 2012 the New Jersey legislature passed a law legalizing sports wagering.

However, the major professional and college sports leagues - the NCAA, NFL, MLB, NBA and NHL - opposed the legislation and filed a lawsuit to stop New Jersey from regulating sports wagering.

In response, New Jersey claimed that the Bradley Act was unconstitutional because it violated the state's 10th Amendment rights to regulate gambling in the form of sports wagering. In 2013, the Third Circuit Court of Appeals ruled in favor of the leagues, and the U.S. Supreme Court declined to consider the case. The Bradley Act remained intact.

New Jersey pressed on. Having lost on the argument that legalizing sports wagering is equivalent to "authorizing" it under the existing Bradley Act, New Jersey got creative and decided to simply repeal the state's criminal laws and regulations that prohibited sportsbook operations in casinos and racetracks.

Once again, the sports leagues sued to stop New Jersey. In response, New Jersey argued that it would be a violation of the 10th Amendment if the state were prevented from repealing an existing law. Again, the lower courts and Third Circuit Court of Appeals ruled in favor of the leagues - but for the first time, the U.S. Supreme Court decided it would weigh in.

Prepping For The Inevitable?

Now we await the decision.

It's important to note that this case is about more than sports betting, which is simply the subject matter before the Supreme Court. It has more to do with states' rights, and the decision has the potential to affect other areas of dispute, from marijuana legalization to the ability of cities to protect undocumented immigrants to gun control.

There are several possible outcomes. The U.S. Supreme Court could decide in favor of the leagues, which would mean New Jersey - and any other nonexempted state - would remain prohibited from allowing any sports wagering.

At the other end of the spectrum, the court could declare the Bradley Act unconstitutional, and states and Indian tribes would no longer be blocked from authorizing and regulating full-scale sports wagering.

Another possibility is that the court sides with New Jersey and allows the state to decriminalize sports wagering - on an either limited basis (in casinos and racetracks) or entirely - but not regulate it.

Finally, the Supreme Court could strike the prohibition that prevents states and tribes from permitting sports wagering, but keep the restriction so that individuals cannot conduct legal sports wagering. If this were to happen, sports betting could be permitted by states, but individuals would be prevented from operating their own sports betting business.

About 20 states are already preparing for the event that the Bradley Act gets overturned and are gearing up to pass laws (or have already done so) that will give them the ability to offer regulated sports wagering.

However, there are many unknowns and issues that will need to be addressed: Will state-sponsored sports wagering be run by state lotteries or private enterprise such as casinos or racetracks? Will amendments be needed to permit Indian tribes to offer sports wagering? And will information on sporting events for wagering purposes - such as scores, outcomes or game statistics - be restricted to data generated from the leagues?

There are already disagreements over something called an "integrity fee." In states where sports betting will likely become legal, leagues have been pressing to receive 1 percent of all amounts wagered on a sporting event.

In Nevada - where legal, regulated sports wagering has taken place since 1949 - such a fee has never been in place. Instead, casinos simply pay the state up to 6.75 percent in a tax on revenues (which is the same tax paid by casinos on other forms of gambling), in addition to a federal tax of 0.25 percent on amounts wagered. States looking to legalize sports betting are proposing varied rates of taxation.

So how might an integrity fee affect sportsbooks?

If we look at the most recent Super Bowl, more than $158 million was wagered in Nevada on the game. If there was a mandated integrity fee, the NFL would have received $1.58 million from Nevada sportsbooks.

But in the case of the Super Bowl, Nevada sportsbooks only made $1.17 million, or 0.7 percent of the total amount wagered.

So that means that if Nevada sportsbooks had to pay an integrity fee on the Super Bowl, it would have lost money even before having to pay state and federal taxes, rent, employee salaries and the other costs of operating a sports book. From the industry's perspective, sports wagering isn't always as lucrative as it's often portrayed to be.

For this reason, states must be educated and informed when considering whether to legalize sports betting. If they think they'll get a tax windfall for schools and roads, they could be sorely mistaken - especially if the leagues end up getting a cut.

Jennifer Roberts is an adjunct law professor at UNLV. This post was originally published on The Conversation.

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See also:

* Do The Leagues Want To Lose The New Jersey Sports Betting Case? Probably Not.

* The Leagues Appear To Have (Close To) A New Model Sports Betting Bill.

Previously:

* The Beachwood Radio Sports Hour #31: Sweet Action! A Special Report On Sports Gambling.

* Welcome To Illinois, Sportsbooks! We Can't Wait For You To Get Here.

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Comments welcome.

The Conversation

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 11:31 AM | Permalink

Spitting Image

"Kara van de Graaf's debut collection heralds the arrival of an essential new voice in contemporary poetry. Through poems that balance personal recollection with ekphrasis, science, and meditation, Van de Graaf searches for answers in the fluctuating relationship between the body and the self.

"Taking as its primary theme the exploration of the female body in current culture, Spitting Image considers the myriad intersections of the body and gender, desire, relationships, and otherness."

spittingimage.jpg

"Van de Graaf interrogates underrepresented elements of the female experience, especially the physical, rhetorical, and aesthetic limitations of fatness in poetry and other arts.

"She then complicates those limitations through her use of innovative forms and imaginative verse, implicitly calling for poetry to engage with the female form in fresh ways.

"Throughout, Van de Graaf's poems ask: In a time where we have more agency to define ourselves than ever before, what barriers still remain? What do our bodies mean to who we are?"

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Van de Graaf reads the original version of the title poem and discusses the revision process.

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"Kara van de Graaf is a poet, teacher, and editor living in Salt Lake City, Utah. She holds a Ph.D. in Creative Writing from University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, where she was a Chancellor's Fellow and a Distinguished Dissertation Fellow, an MFA in Writing from University of Pittsburgh, where she was a K. Leroy Irvis Fellow, and a BA in English from Purdue University. Currently, she serves as Assistant Professor of English at Utah Valley University."

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 11:12 AM | Permalink

Vanishing Vending Machines

Fraud Scheme: Investment Fraud

Division: Chicago

Suspect: "A very savvy confidence man."

Problem: "The truth is, in this case, there was no business."

Conclusion: "We followed our suspect and found him in Las Vegas. He was an avid gambler, and that's what he was doing with a lot of the money."


See also: The U.S. Postal Inspection Service.

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 8:59 AM | Permalink

MUSIC - The Week In Chicago Rock.
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BOOKS - Arne Duncan, Unreliable Narrator.

PEOPLE PLACES & THINGS - Foxconn Flooding Alert.


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