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« June 2019 | Main | August 2019 »

July 31, 2019

Dem Campaign Arm In 'Complete Chaos' Under Illinois' Cheri Bustos

House Democrats are watching this week as the latest scandal to engulf the caucus's campaign arm - this one on minority representation in the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee - is deepening divisions on Capitol Hill.

The committee, known as the DCCC, acts as the election wing for Congressional Democrats. The DCCC is currently run by Rep. Cheri Bustos (D-Ill.), who began the job with the new Congress in January.

bustos_0.jpgTom Williams/CQ Roll Call

Executive director Allison Jaslow resigned her position over the minority representation scandal on Monday; much of the rest of the senior staff have followed Jaslow out the door since.

In a statement posted to Twitter, Jaslow implied she was taking the fall to spare the DCCC from continuing drama.

Jaslow's resignation, Politico reported Monday, came after an emotional, emergency all-hands staff meeting Jaslow ran on Friday after the news first broke that apparently did little to assuage the concerns of the committee staffers over the level of representation in the organization.

Jaslow cried as she assumed blame for the lack of diversity in the DCCC, according to multiple people in the room. Others felt the DCCC misled them in its handling of a staffer, Tayhlor Coleman, who posted derogatory tweets about LGBTQ people and Latinos nearly 10 years ago . . .

Multiple employees of the campaign arm got visibly upset and at least one demanded to hear directly from Bustos about the ongoing issues. She was not present.

It's unclear whether the staff changes will be enough to change the narrative around Bustos' tenure, which has already been fraught with controversy. As Common Dreams has reported, the DCCC announced in March that the party would effectively blacklist anyone working as a vendor with an insurgent primary campaign aimed at a sitting Democratic incumbent by denying those vendors any other opportunities with the party.

[Editor's Note: That's some Michael Madigan stuff right there, y'all.]

The blacklist policy, freshman Rep. Jahana Hayes (D-Ct.) told the New York Times in June, is part of DCCC's "gatekeeper mentality that sometimes can diminish new ideas."

That gatekeeper mentality, critics charge, involves more than just new blood.

The latest controversy started on Friday.

It began with Politico's report alleging that differences between the DCCC and some members of Congress were about to boil over dropped right as House Democrats were going on August recess.

Senior Hispanic and black members of Congress have privately clashed with Rep. Cheri Bustos (D-Ill.) over her personnel decisions, what they say are tone-deaf comments on race and whether she's lived up to the promises she made during the campaign to win the chairmanship of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee.

Rep. Marcia Fudge (D-Ohio) had some of the harshest criticisms for Bustos in the Friday piece, calling the lack of representation "shocking" and saying she would not meet with the group.

"Until they show me they are serious about diversity," Fudge told Politico, "there's no reason for me to meet with them."

By Monday, when, as Politico reported, Bustos returned to Washington during the recess in an attempt to handle the uproar, the DCCC was in "complete chaos," according to a statement from two members of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus, Reps. Vicente Gonzalez and Filemon Vela - both Democrats of Texas - who also demanded Bustos replace Jaslow with a qualified person of color.

"The single most immediate action that Cheri Bustos can take to restore confidence in the organization and to promote diversity is to appoint a qualified person of color, of which there are many, as executive director at once," the pair said in their statement.

This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 License.

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See also:

* HuffPost: House Democratic Campaign Chair Vows To 'Do Better' After Senior Staffers Quit.

* Washington Post: House Democratic Campaign Leader Cheri Bustos Admits To Missteps After Senior Staff Exodus.

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 10:04 AM | Permalink

The [Wednesday] Papers

"Federal and state officials said Tuesday they want to close loopholes that allow families to get need-based financial aid they would not otherwise receive by giving up guardianship of their college-bound children," ProPublica Illinois reports.

"The move, they said, could end 'potential student aid fraud' when parents turn over guardianship of their children in hopes of obtaining a tuition break.

"A spokeswoman for the U.S. Department of Education's Office of Inspector General said the office has recommended modifying the language on federal financial aid forms following disclosure of the tactic, first reported by ProPublica Illinois on Monday. The Wall Street Journal also published a story late Monday about the issue."

I wonder how the Wall Street Journal came to work on the same story as ProPublica Illinois at the same time - or vice versa.

Assignment Desk, activate!

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The Journal clearly wasn't just following up on ProPublica's story; they put in work. To wit:

"The Journal's review of more than 1,000 probate court cases filed in 2018 in Lake County, Ill., turned up 38 cases in which a judge granted the transfer of guardianship to a teenager in his or her junior or senior year of high school. Most of the families live in homes valued at around $500,000. Several of those homes were valued at more than $1 million, according to property sites including Zillow.

"In court documents, a petitioner is asked why he or she should become a guardian. Nearly all of the 38 cases use some version of this language: 'The guardian can provide educational and financial support and opportunities to the minor that her parents could not otherwise provide.'"

*

Meanwhile . . .

"Lora Georgieva, the owner of a college consulting company based in Lincolnshire, was mentioned in news reports as having worked with at least one family who changed custody arrangements," the Tribune reports.

In an interview Tuesday Georgieva acknowledged she had researched federal student aid regulations and consulted with lawyers, and found that changing guardianship could be a way for students to file a FAFSA as an independent.

Georgieva said she shared that alternative with some clients but said she was not involved in any legal proceedings for guardianship, nor was it a scheme for wealthy clients to circumvent the requirements.

"If they don't have other options, I share with them the rules for independent status for FAFSA," Georgieva said. "I just thought this might be a way - not to fully fund college, not to make the rich people richer - but to help primarily the middle class who are working so hard and cannot send their kids to college."

Georgieva also said she feels providing this type of information is necessary because of the rising cost of college.

"I really believe it is time for change, and I believe I am representing the voice of the middle-class people who are screaming for help to be able to send their kids to college," she said.

Georgieva, who came to America in 2003 from Bulgaria "with one suitcase and many dreams," is the founder of Destination College.

From the DC website:

"We are a Chicago based firm, working with families to make college affordable for their children. Our team of tax, financial and academic planning experts specializes in creating a customized guide, making sure the students are matched to the major and school of their interests, and the parents can comfortably afford it."

In January, Georgieva predicted that a student loan bubble will burst in three to five years - and that she can save families up to $40,000 a year while offering a money-back guarantee:

This interview also includes a video with a testimonial from former Chicago Bear Desmond Clark.

She also says she started a non-profit to help homeless kids and single-moms go to college.

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From the original ProPublica article:

Georgieva runs a Lincolnshire-based college consulting company, Destination College, which offers "strategies to lower tuition expenses." The company's logo is a graduation cap with dollar bills spilling out of it. In video testimonials, clients praise the company for saving them money.

She is tied to at least several of the families, as well as to Rogers, the attorney, who is also featured in the video.

The description for the company's "premier" services includes a "College Financial Plan, Using Income and Asset Shifting Strategies to Increase Your Financial and Merit Aid and Lower Out of Pocket Tuition Expenses."

Reached Monday morning, Georgieva said she was "in the middle of something" and would call later. She then contacted an attorney, Phillip Zisook, who called ProPublica Illinois on her behalf to say she was worried about being depicted in a false light.

Zisook said he would relay ProPublica Illinois' questions to Georgieva. As of publication time, she had not responded.

From the Wall Street Journal:

"The owner of the company, Lora Georgieva, didn't respond to requests for comment. Other people who said they are clients of the firm and spoke to the Journal said they were asked to sign a confidentiality agreement to not disclose her strategy of transferring guardianship."

*

Back to the Trib:

"Mari Berlin, an attorney at Kabbe Law Group, which handled some of the guardianship cases described in the ProPublica report, said Illinois law is broad and rests upon the 'best interests' of the minor. Guardianship can be transferred even in situations in which 'parents are willing and able to parent,' so long as the parents consent, Berlin said.

"'We help families obtain court orders appointing someone other than a parent - most often a grandparent or family member but occasionally a very close family friend - as guardian for the minor,' Berlin said in an e-mail. 'We do not assist them with, or counsel them on, the application process or qualifications for financial aid.'

"Berlin also pushed back on the characterization that this mechanism primarily is being used by wealthy families.

"'While we do not analyze our clients' finances to the extent that their college planner would, the majority of our clients would be considered middle class families,' Berlin said."

Of course, an e-mail statement is not the same as an interview. If Berlin wouldn't consent to talk to a reporter, the paper should have just put her down as a "no comment" instead of allowing her to make unquestioned assertions.

Ironically, Berlin graduated from the University of Illinois in 2000 with a journalism degree.

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From the Kabbe Law Group website:

"Mari works with clients in all of our practice areas: estate planning, probate, trust administration, guardianship of disabled adults, guardianship of minor children, Medicaid qualification, and VA benefits qualification."

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Adding:

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New on the Beachwood today . . .

Dem Campaign Arm In 'Complete Chaos' Under Illinois' Cheri Bustos
A tenure fraught with controversy.

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Nevermore Park
Coming to Pilsen this fall.

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ChicagoReddit

So Uh, Is This Normal? from r/chicago

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ChicagoGram

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ChicagoTube

TV Report | Madonna, Blond Ambition Tour in Chicago 1990

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TweetWood
A sampling.

Read. This. Thread.

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The Beachwood McRibTipLine: Slice and dice.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 12:13 AM | Permalink

Nevermore Park

Hebru Brantley, MWM Universe and Angry Hero, are partnering to create Nevermore Park, a neo-futuristic take on Chicago - where black culture and heroes are at the forefront.

Visitors to Nevermore Park will be transported into the fictional hometown of Brantley's iconic characters: Flyboy and Lil Mama. The interactive art installation spans nearly 6,000 square feet and is scheduled to open this fall.

"Nevermore Park is meant to be a fun, accessible, and invigorating experience for audiences of all ages to participate in a narrative-driven fine art installation," Brantley says. "This project is about reclaiming history - both in the United States and the city of Chicago - through a lens that speaks to empowerment and giving agency to a historically disenfranchised community."

Nevermore Park will be a ticketed experience and have a limited run. Powered by Brantley's imagination, this installation is the beginning phase of a larger Flyboy Universe franchise being built by MWMU.

Construction has begun on the site in Pilsen. People can sign up to receive pre-sale ticket information at Nevermore Park. More updates will be provided via the @flyboyuniverse Instagram account.

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See also:

* Tribune: Hebru Brantley's Aviator-Goggle-Wearing 'Flyboy' Gets His Own Park, Neo-Futuristic Art Installation In Pilsen This Fall.

"Brantley: Nevermore is a (fictional) area on the Southeast Side of Chicago that's a bit overly stylized and hyper-embellished, and that's the stomping ground of our main characters and that's where our stories sort of take place. The installation is just putting the audience, submerging them in that world for however long that they want to get pictures, stand and travel through and engage in that space."

* Modern Notoriety: Hebru Brantley Announces Nevermore Park.

"Around seven or eight years ago, Hebru Brantley, a street artist from the Southside of Chicago, started using his now-famous Flyboy character in murals as a background character that quickly grew into the main character he now uses to drive the narratives of his art exhibits and installations. I remember seeing Flyboy for the first time in a black-and-white mural on the walls of Leaders 1354 when it was located in Wicker Park and thought to myself that this was a really cool simple character."

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 12:10 AM | Permalink

July 30, 2019

SportsMondayTuesday: House Of Cards

St. Louis may be so boring that even the Bowling Hall of Fame moved away a decade ago, but Busch Stadium will be a cauldron of baseball passion this week. I cannot imagine a better way to enjoy the game, either in person or on the telly (or streaming, or satellite radio, or . . . there must be some other technology I'm missing, sorry) than to watch this series.

The Cubs and Cardinals have been rivals for a long time, but a rivalry doesn't really mean anything when one of the teams sucks and sucks and sucks. That would describe the Cubs of the '50s, '60s and '70s and really for most of the '80s and '90s and at least the first halves of the '00s and teens.

Then the Cubs stunk on purpose for three years to build themselves up and finally, over the past five years, the rivalry has achieved consistent intensity. And here we find ourselves 95 games into the 2019 season and, as of Monday, the teams had the same record atop the NL Central. The first game begins Tuesday night at 7:10.

During this decade, as they had for the previous 90 years or so (they won their first World Series in 1926), the Cardinals have just focused on putting the best possible team on the field year after year. And through the years that has translated into 19 trips to the World Series and 11 championships, second only to the Yankees in the annals of baseball.

Busch is a glorious place to watch a game - and not because of a bunch of bells and whistles and gimmicks inside the park or stunning views of a bridge or bay outside. It is because more than 40,000 fans will be completely focused on the game from just about the first pitch on.

Oh, and many of those fans will be backing the Cubs. They will be out in force this week in St. Louis. Not quite in the numbers that again flooded Miller Park in Milwaukee last weekend, but still a force with which to be reckoned.

The persistent lie about Cubs fans - that they are only interested in hanging out at Wrigley Field, drinking beer and creating an atmosphere most resembling a frat party - is obliterated at games in Milwaukee and St. Louis. That is when folks wearing Cubbie Blue show up in huge numbers and focus on the game - like the fans of many other successful teams.

Of course, there are plenty of people who buy tickets to Wrigley because they perceive it as the best party in town. And when the team is consistently competitive, that makes it even better.

But it won't last forever, especially if Theo and the boys can't figure out why their drafts have sucked so badly during their entire tenure. Baseball America just ranked the Cubs' farm system 29th out of 30 teams in major league baseball, and while that has something to do with trading away a handful of prospects to add key veterans during the past four years, it mostly has to do with the fact that the Cubs can't draft and develop a prospect to save their lives.

All of the premier prospects traded away except one, pitcher Dylan Cease, were international free agents signed by the team, not guys selected in the annual baseball draft. The latest promising Cubs call-up, Robel Garcia, was drafted by . . . the Indians, before beginning his amazing jouney to the bigs that was capped off by the North Siders signing him as a free agent off the . . . Italian national team.

No one else has ever made the bigs that way, just to make sure we are all on the same page. So major kudos to the Cubs' scout (Gabe Zappin) who got that evaluation right. Otherwise, the Cubs system is close to barren.

Which is a big reason why fans probably shouldn't hold their breath for a blockbuster trade before the trade deadline arrives Wednesday at 3 p.m. Then again, Theo and the guys have pulled good players out of a hat before for virtually nothing before (see Daniel Murphy and especially Cole Hamels last year).

Bring on Cubs-Cardinals!

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Jim "Coach" Coffman welcomes your comments.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 11:32 AM | Permalink

The [Tuesday] Papers

"Dozens of suburban Chicago families, perhaps many more, have been exploiting a legal loophole to win their children need-based college financial aid and scholarships they would not otherwise receive, court records and interviews show," ProPublica Illinois reports.

Oh lord, what now?

"Parents are giving up legal guardianship of their children during their junior or senior year in high school to someone else - a friend, aunt, cousin or grandparent. The guardianship status then allows the students to declare themselves financially independent of their families so they can qualify for federal, state and university aid, a ProPublica Illinois investigation found.

"It's a scam," said Andy Borst, director of undergraduate admissions at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. "Wealthy families are manipulating the financial aid process to be eligible for financial aid they would not be otherwise eligible for. They are taking away opportunities from families that really need it."

That, my friends, is the bottom line. To say it's despicable (deplorable, even) is only to state the obvious.

*

Click through for all the grisly details. Also, this is a continuing investigation, and ProPublica Illinois wants your help:

"Illinois Parents Are Helping Their Children Get College Financial Aid They Wouldn't Otherwise Qualify For. Help Us Figure Out How They Do It.

"Are you a parent, student, school administrator or someone else who has seen this in action? We'd love to hear from you."

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I wonder if there's ever been a kid who's like, "You're no longer my legal parents? Well fuck you, mom and dad, I'm finally free!"

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Fest Nest
"Each summer, lively street festivals bring artisans, performers and food vendors from across the city to Wicker Park, Bucktown and West Town," Block Club Chicago reports.

The biggest festivals - Wicker Park Fest, Do Division and West Fest Chicago - are presented by local chambers of commerce.

The chambers ask festival-goers for $5 or $10 donations, and pledge that the money directly benefits the respective communities.

But for nearly a decade, neighborhood leaders have asked: Where is the money going?

Good question!

"We have Chicago's 'best street festival of the summer' that gives no money back to the community," said Leah Root, a board member of the Wicker Park Committee. The chamber disputes that claim - but refuses to disclose how it spends its money, even to neighborhood leaders.

For nearly a decade, Root and other neighborhood leaders have been asking the Wicker Park Bucktown Chamber of Commerce and the West Town Chamber of Commerce for answers to no avail.

That, my friends, is a long time to ask a question without getting an answer.

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Oh, but it gets better (worse):

"[New First Ward Ald. Daniel LaSpata] recently met with both the Wicker Park Bucktown Chamber of Commerce and the West Town Chamber of Commerce. But before sitting down, the chambers requested the alderman sign a non-disclosure agreement."

Wha?

"He should have said, 'You know what? Welcome to your last fucking festival," Wicker Park Committee board member Teddy Varndell told Block Club.

Teddy Varndell, you are Today's Best Person In Chicago.

*

"The Wicker Park Bucktown Chamber of Commerce is not required to disclose financial information with the public because it is a 501c6 nonprofit, director Pamela Maass said."

Pamela Maass, you are Today's Worst Person In Chicago.

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Go read the rest for more of the infuriating details.

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Paulette Problems
"A new market featuring fresh fruit and vegetables, flowers, honey, seasonal grab-and-go dishes, and more is coming to Pilsen this week. Paulette's Public Market, a one-stop shop from owner Phil Baber (Dusek's Board & Beer, Longman & Eagle), is slated to open Thursday at 1221 W. 18th Street alongside Thalia Hall. Baber, an Atlanta native, hopes to evoke the same excitement he felt during frequent visits to the famous Dekalb Farmers Market during his childhood," Eater Chicago reports.

*

I can't vouch for everything in this Facebook post, but perhaps there's more to the story of Paulette's than we know?

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New on the Beachwood today . . .

SportsMondayTuesday: House Of Cards
"The Cubs and Cardinals have been rivals for a long time, but a rivalry doesn't really mean anything when one of the teams sucks and sucks and sucks. That would describe the Cubs of the '50s, '60s and '70s and really for most of the '80s and '90s and at least the first halves of the '00s and teens."

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ChicagoReddit

Lollapalooza safety from r/chicago

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ChicagoGram

This does not suck.

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ChicagoTube

Toronzo Canno, "The Chicago Way," at the Prairie Dog Blues Festival.

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BeachBook

Alan Dershowitz, Devil's Advocate.

What a freakin' tool.

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Why Game Show Hosts Vote Republican.

I don't really buy the theory, but an interesting pattern to be sure. Perhaps it's because they're aggrieved white guys who failed to become movie stars.

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The Secret History Of Why Soda Companies Switched From Sugar To High-Fructose Corn Syrup.

Another story about how the world - the business world in particular - really works.

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"Coca-Cola had already started adding high-fructose corn syrup to the mix five years before the New Coke fiasco. By 1984, a year before New Coke's debut, the switch was complete: sugar out, HFCS in."

I entered college in 1983, and me and my new college friends were diehard Coke fans. But somehow we all knew the secret: Canadian and Mexican coke were better because they still used real sugar. Whenever someone traveled to Canada - we were at the University of Minnesota - they would "smuggle" back real Coke and it was on. Good times.

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TweetWood
A sampling.

Late Stagecoach Capitalism, heh.

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The Beachwood McRibTipLine: Poop scoop.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 12:15 AM | Permalink

July 29, 2019

The [Monday] Papers

"The race to roll out recreational marijuana in Illinois is encountering an unexpected obstacle: resistance from municipalities that want no part of the pot party," Crain's reports.

"Naperville City Council members recently voted 5-4 to reject recreational-use sales in the western suburb. Naperville joins Libertyville and Bloomingdale in pursuing opt-out rights under a little-noticed provision of legislation allowing recreational marijuana sales across the state starting Jan. 1. The law allows towns and cities to bar retailers from selling pot for recreational use within their borders.

"Other suburbs, including North Aurora, Deerfield, Bannockburn and Mokena, are scheduled to take up the issue soon. More municipal bans could slow the growth of recreational sales and the tax revenue state officials expect from marijuana."

*

Someone in Naperville wasn't counting heads. That someone is the mayor:

"I was surprised by the vote," says Naperville Mayor Steve Chirico, who supports a recreational-use dispensary. "I knew there would be some opposition but not enough to sway the vote."

Oy.

*

"Based on industry estimates that a recreational dispensary would sell about $20 million worth of marijuana annually, Chirico figures it would generate about $500,000 a year in tax revenue for Naperville."

Naperville's annual budget comes in at around $450 million. Nonetheless, 500 grand is nothing to sneeze at - even for Naperville.

*

"[Chirico] says the matter will come back to the council for a vote once the opt-out ordinance is drafted."

Wait, that wasn't the final vote?

"Members voted 5-4 Tuesday to direct staff to prepare the documentation needed to opt out of the retail sale of adult-use cannabis under the terms of the new state law, which goes into effect Jan. 1," the Tribune Co.'s Naperville Sun reports.

"[C]ity staff will prepare the necessary documents for an official council vote to opt out of the retail sale of recreational marijuana later in the year."

Aha.

*

Burr Ridge Mayor Gary Grasso also estimated his village could reap half a million in year from marijuana sales tax receipts. That's weird because Burr Ridge is considerably smaller than Naperville, with a population around 11,000. What's going on out there, Gary?!

Then again, Burr Ridge is "among the top wealthiest towns in Illinois," according to its Wikipedia page. Maybe Burr Ridgians only buy designer pot.

*

Where some other suburbs stand, according to published reports:

IN: Willowbrook, Lombard.

OUT: Oak Brook.

SKEPTICAL: Lake Forest, Lake Bluff.

UNDECIDED: Highland Park, Highwood.

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See also: 'Ditch Weed' Still Part Of Marijuana's New Frontier In Illinois.

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Opioid Info
"Close to 2 billion prescription painkillers were distributed to Illinois between 2006 and 2012, according to new data released by the Washington Post," CBS2 Chicago reports.

"Yes, billion - enough for nearly 180 pills for every single person in the state."

Over the course of six years? If so, that's not a particularly alarming statistic.

If I'm in pain from surgery or a workplace accident or cancer, is it unreasonable to use an one opioid a day for a month over that time period? Or, more realistically, three opioids a day for a week or two?

Sure, Steve, but for every person in the state?

Well, let's say for half the state's population. Or even a third. Slice it any way you want. (And by the way, when I take ibuprofen for aches and pains, I take three at a time, because I was once taught the "managing editor's rule" when I held that post at my college paper: The third one makes all the difference.) So I'm being pretty skimpy on the intake here.

*

Now, I understand that Big Pharmas was aggressively pushing these pills, and addiction seemed to be part of their business model, and their wined-and-dined doctors were complicit, and in many cases opioids aren't anymore effective than aspirin . . . I'm just trying to make sense of the numbers. For example, speaking of aspirin, I'd be interested to know if there is a number for how much aspirin Illinoisans take every year.

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"[The opioid] epidemic killed nearly 5,000 people across Illinois from 2006 to 2012 . . . according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Many more have suffered overdoses, and more still have become addicted to opioid medications."

I get it. I'm not trying to diminish what's happened. I'm just trying to place it in context.

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"Many of the pills - more than 700 million, to be exact - were distributed by Deerfield-based Walgreen's, the nation's second-largest distributor of opioids."

So, basically, one per Illinoisan over a period of six years.

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Now, I know that doesn't help. What really happened is that a slice of the population was indundated by unscrupulous corporations and medical accomplices and plunged into often-fatal addiction. My point is about the use of numbers in reporting, not the crisis.

*

So, to be generous, let's say the opioid crisis killed 1,000 Illinoisans a year over the six years recorded here. I'm not sure where that would place in the causes of death in the state, because I don't know how the deaths are actually reported - by overdose or by an associated health issue. But just out of curiosity, I looked up those causes and this is what I found.

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I will admit that when the opioid crisis first broke into the news, I thought it was overhyped. And indeed, some folks pointed out that the crisis seemed to get an outsized amount of sympathetic coverage compared to, say, the crack crisis that spread through inner cities in the '80s and even coverage of addictions in present-day because the victims, at least as presented by the media, were in the white working class.

As the reporting forged ahead, the role of a few pharmaceuticals became clearer and left no doubt that this crisis was, at least in part, spurred by greedy, monstrous people who needed to be held to account.

I just feel like I'm still trying to understand it.

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Drowning Deaths
"Drownings in Lake Michigan are 80% higher in 2019 than this date last year, an advocacy group has found," the Sun-Times reports.

"Twenty-seven people have drowned in Lake Michigan so far in 2019, compared to 15 deaths by this time in 2018, according to the Great Lakes Surf Rescue Project."

The (unasked and unanswered) question is: Why?

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According to the Great Lakes Surf Rescue Project, there were far more drownings in all the Great Lakes in 2018 than for at least the previous eight years - 117, compared to, for example, 88 in 2017.

The Great Lakes in total have seen 51 drownings so far this year, so it seems like we're on track to actually record fewer drownings than last year.

But Lake Michigan itself has had a particularly bad year, accounting for just over half of all Great Lakes' drownings.

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I'm not really sure there's a trend here, and I'm not sure these numbers are meaningful in a news sense, as opposed to, of course, the humanitarian sense of recognizing these awful deaths. But I guess we don't actually know - or haven't reported it out.

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New on the Beachwood . . .

Send Us Back
For example, the U.S. ranks at the top of homicide rates among countries in the developed world, our very own Steve Balkin writes. So, indeed, the U.S. can use advice and examples from other countries to improve itself.

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2019 Hot Wheels™ Legends Tour: Chicago
Not just at toy, but a lifestyle.

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From the Beachwood Sports Desk . . .

South Side Super Heroes, Surveys & Service
In The White Sox Report.

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TrackNotes: A (Good) Day At The Races
When it's all about the running - and horses remind us they are better than people.

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ChicagoReddit

Old Restaurant Matchbooks from the Northwest Suburbs from r/chicago

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ChicagoGram

See also: Chicago's Secret Mermaid.

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ChicagoTube

DjWINZ G - DALAGA X CHICAGO ( Melbourne Bootleg ) 128bpm

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BeachBook

Man Invents Surgery, Cures Himself Of Mysterious Ailment That Left Him Bedridden For 11 Years.

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TweetWood
A sampling.

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The Beachwood McRibTipLine: Mind it.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 9:40 AM | Permalink

Super Heroes, Surveys & Service

The White Sox returned home last week to resume their post-All-Star Game swoon, losing five of seven contests to the Miami Marlins and Minnesota Twins. Apparently the fellows can't beat anyone these days, seeing as the Marlins have baseball's worst record while the Twins are clinging to the American League Central Division lead with the third-best record in the AL.

However, that was only a portion of the story on the South Side.

Monday marked the unveiling of the protective netting from foul pole to foul pole in the lower deck. The 11th Annual Sox Serve Week was celebrated, emphasizing the community outreach of the organization. Weekend games against the Twins - a 5-1 victory on Saturday and an 11-1 drubbing on Sunday - drew 61,680 fans to The Grate.

Finally, the lone hero Sunday turned out to be an eight-year-old kid whose earnest "Let's Go Sox" emanating from behind the Sox dugout when the team was trailing 9-1, got him a TV interview and a ball from manager Ricky Renteria inscribed with, "Thank you, keep it going."

When the ballclub is losing 5-0 after five batters in the top of the first inning as it was on Sunday, where else is there to look?

Well, you could begin with Ivan Nova, the one guy who had a splendid seven days. He picked up the victories in the only games the team won last week, beating the Marlins 9-1 on Monday in a complete game effort and baffling the mighty Twins on Saturday over six innings in an eventual 5-1 win before 34,085 ecstatic fans. In 15 innings, the 32-year-old veteran allowed just one earned run and six hits.

This from a guy whose ERA this season once was over eight and who yielded 10 earned runs in 10-plus innings in his previous two starts. In addition, the Twins on Thursday went over the 200-homer mark for the season becoming the fastest team in history to reach that plateau. They beat the previous record by 19 games!

Nova used a combination of off-speed deliveries and excellent control - he walked only one - while allowing just two hits. To quote Harold Baines, evidently Nova has discovered some of the magic he's used to win 84 major league games.

The one drawback from Nova's notable week centers on teams looking for starting pitching - the Brewers, for example - at the trade deadline, which will expire on Wednesday. The scouts may have been at The Grate to observe closer Alex Colome, but Nova now could receive some attention. Nevertheless, he's still Ivan Nova, who doesn't figure to bring much talent in return if the Sox decide to move him.

While Nova appears headed in one direction, Lucas Giolito is going in another. He was the victim of the Twins' outburst on Thursday, giving up four homers and seven runs in five innings. July has been a depressing month for the All-Star pitcher. In four starts, Lucas is 0-3 with a 7.06 ERA. A year ago Giolito was ineffective because he walked too many people. That hasn't been the case in his recent slump as his strikeouts (29) far outnumber his walks (9). He's simply thrown too many pitches that are getting hit.

This wouldn't be as awful if Giolito's mates were giving him heftier support. Consider Boston's Rick Porcello. The New York Times' Tyler Kepner pointed out Sunday that Porcello's ERA over his last four starts is 7.54, yet the Red Sox righty has won all four decisions. Must be nice.

Yoan Moncada supplied most of the other pleasant happenings by hitting his 20th home run Saturday evening along with two doubles as he continues to hit right around .300 while playing a lot better at third base than he did at second last season.

Going back to activities off the field, Renteria, a few players, and other organization personnel went to the Englewood home of 91-year-old veteran Charles Griffea to spruce up a few rooms with new paint and make house repairs as part of Sox Serve Week. A contingent of players visited the Ronald McDonald House, and special needs individuals were the center of attention during the entire week.

Years ago community outreach was rarely choreographed. There were instances of a ballplayer pledging to hit a home run for a seriously ill child, but organized charitable programs weren't part of team operation. However, the White Sox website states that they have made more than $30 million in grants to non-profit organizations since the creation of the White Sox Community Fund in 1990.

Meanwhile, the net that now protects lower deck fans was the focus on Monday but more or less forgotten by mid-week. In actuality, the view of the game isn't noticeably diminished by the nylon mesh. The net does mean that fans sitting close to the field don't get the foul balls picked up by the ball boy and usually handed to youngsters. Those same fans also have little chance of getting one of those silly t-shirts thrown into the seats in the sixth inning.

gratenet2.jpgThrough the GrateNet/Roger Wallenstein

However, the few instances of fan interference have become a thing of the past as well as players diving into the seats to make a spectacular catch a la Juan Uribe in the 2005 World Series. Of course, the bottom line is fan safety. If you have a problem looking through the net, buy a seat in the upper deck far above the netting for about half the price of a ticket next to the field.

I also was one of I'm sure thousands of fans who received a "Midseason Survey" in my e-mail inbox in which the team asked numerous questions ranging from my opinion of 48 players on the big league and minor league rosters to my level of enthusiasm this year compared to a year ago. Other queries included, "How important is it for you to get to know the players better as a way to feel more connected or part of the team?" and "How much do you actually feel like you are a valued part of the White Sox team?"

It's been 60 or 70 years since I've reconciled the fact that I'll never play catcher for the Sox, so I clearly don't consider myself part of the team. I'm good with that. I also don't need to "know" the players other than having an idea of who can pitch, catch, run and hit. But I get that the club continuously attempts to build goodwill, solidifying the fan base while trying to attract new devotees both old and young.

However, they shot themselves in the foot Saturday when the near-sellout crowd was too much for their ballpark operations. The time entering parking lots meant that fans hoping to get a super hero bobblehead got shut out. Then there was a long backup for people with lower deck tickets which required checking before letting fans into the seats. Heaven forbid that the upper deck riffraff would try to sneak into the lower deck.

We had no problem reaching the 500 level just in time to see Nova retire the side in order. The escalators worked efficiently, and missing out on a super hero bobblehead bothered us not at all. But the long lines at the concession stands meant that we would wait until late into the night to eat in our neighborhood far from the ballpark. I'd rather be hungry for a couple of hours than miss an inning or two.

Social media lit up with disgruntled fans complaining about the delays and the dearth of bobbleheads. Sox management must have known that a big crowd was expected, but these same situations have occurred previously this season when 30,000 fans have shown up. So survey or no survey, actions speak louder than words.

Most fans understand and support the present state of development of this team, and the front office can be thankful for the patience on the part of most fans. But if things progress the way we all hope, people will come, and the White Sox would be smart to be ready for them.

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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 7:52 AM | Permalink

2019 Hot Wheels™ Legends Tour: Chicago

"For this Windy City event, hundreds of custom builds - from a DeLorean monster truck to a classic gasser GTO - came out, each competing for a chance to become an official 1/64th Hot Wheels®."


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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 12:08 AM | Permalink

July 28, 2019

TrackNotes: A (Good) Day At The Races

Somehow, all seemed right with the planet Saturday.

The cats didn't flinch an inch as yells of "Go, Jose, GO" bounced off the walls. Maggie keeps getting younger after what seems all these years. Acacia proved that beauty seems all, but she still needs to know the work tab. And but for those knees, Gary would still be riding. Even today, don't eff with him.

You already knew, but these horses have a way.

It started with delicious discussion as Hall of Fame and retired jockey Gary Stevens really did get into it with New York Racing Association analyst Andy Serling about the track bias being unfavorable to those who chose the one or two paths on the rail.

Serling was strong on the death valley that was the rail Friday and Saturday. Stevens basically said "NAH!" as if he was saying with the right horse under him . . . no matter. These aren't perfect quotes.

"Gary, I can show you. The rail is dead and it was yesterday too."

Stevens then pulled out the "Do I amuse you?" card and said, "And you're in the Hall of Fame?" That is a good quote. "I've been watching these races all day . . . "

Serling snapped back "I'll go through the whole card with you and you'll see." Stevens, because he's Gary Stevens (never forget he played George "The Iceman" Wolff in Seabiscuit) had the last word.

But he was wrong. It happened in two or three races afterward and when Tacitus took to the rail because he had nowhere else to go, he started swimming in quicksand like Little Joe in a corner of The Ponderosa. But Stevens spit out the word "rail" with ghost pepper venom the rest of the day and, yes, it was highly entertaining.

Jerry Bailey, HOF'er over at NBC rode too, but Stevens, he'd still be going if not for those drat knees. Gary is really bringin' it. At Fox yesterday, Greg Wolf and trainer Tom Amoss, they got a good lineup there.

In the interest of chronology, supergirl Enable won the King George VI and Queen Elizabeth Stakes - that's one race- at Royal Ascot as we cleared the cobwebs, in a race which might make you think horses are better than people. She just seemed she wouldn't have it any other way. Number 8, pink cap and aqua/yellow silks, please marvel. Bad wide trip. But.

She beat big boy Crystal Ocean, a great horse in any land, and proved herself an all-time wonder. But the way they were talking Saturday, she seems unlikely for the Breeders' Cup this year, after she won the Turf last year in visiting-America fashion. Not one word is hyperbole in the race recaps. This is why we love the game. Enable did the running and people are left to explain it.

They were right when they said global jock Frankie Dettori is now seeing the end of the day as Enable looks like she's destined for only one more, the Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe at Longchamp - which she's already won twice - in October. Some due respect to America's Kentucky Derby, peel the hype, and the Arc is as an important race as there is.

Back stateside, sunny blue at Saratoga, we had the Jim Dandy Stakes (Grade II, nine furlongs, $500,000), named after a 50-1 from 1930 who must have paid the wiseguys big to be so memorialized. It's a fine race in and of itself, and also the big prep for the Travers Stakes.

We knew it was a good day when Imperial Hint, last seen in the Dubai Golden Shaheen, crushed splits of :21-3, :44-1 and :55-4 in smashing the track record in the Alfred G. Vanderbilt Stakes (Grade I, six furlongs, $350,000). The race was over on the top of the turn, and then 'Hint found a new gear between the eighth and sixteenth poles and poured it on, also beating the great and highly touted Mitole, who didn't run much yesterday.

The Dandy was touted as a two-horse race between Tacitus and War of Will.

Tacitus, son of remarkable sire Tapit (Pulpit) out of Close Hatches (First Defence), is one of those horses whose talent is undeniable. But.

He came in the 8-5 fave, based on that talent, but for the win, I tossed him. The panelists' disappointment rose in the pre-race as they extolled the gray's "bad luck." They came to the consensus, rightly, that the horse had better start winning some damn races. He finished a very nice fourth in the Kentucky Derby and got caught in the Belmont Stakes by Sir Winston in a late run of a race he had every right and way to win.

In the Jim Dandy, once again, he stumbled badly out of the gate, going down to his left front knee. The talking heads lamented his plight, but there he was at the end, placing, even though Jose Ortiz took him to the Michael Landon rail. Tacitus created his own rotten luck and bad trip.

War of Will, your lackluster, beat-nobody Preakness winner, was in fine shape coming into the stretch, but Tax, guided by the Ortiz brother Irad, had it just the way he wanted, took control and fought off the not-enough-fight Tacitus.

As a race, the Jim Dandy was just fine. But you do question the pantheon and all that. Wishful thinking, the TV guys opined that wait, if he gets what he wants, Tacitus will crush the Breeders' Cup Classic. He'll take money for sure, but will horseplayers allow him to piledrive their hopes again? I'm thinking not me.

RailNotes
* It was a fun day of racing. Saratoga will do that to you.

* The Fox Sports crew was great. Four-time baseball All-Star Paul LoDuca, although he tends to like them all, talks like a horseplayer. Greg Wolf lets the game do the talking. Stevens is on a refreshing edge.

* Maggie Wolfendale, daughter of trainer Howard Wolfendale, has been the paddock and winner's circle reporter for NYRA at Aqueduct and Belmont for as long as I've been watching. She's 33 years old. Saturday, she got on a horse for the feature races to interview the winning riders on the walkout.

"Whew. I just rode seven furlongs to get here for this talk with Jose. I'm not in shape!"

* Acacia Courtney, a bona fide beauty queen, knows her racing stuff. She described the scenario with Channel Cat's trainer, prim and aloofy Todd Pletcher, before the long Bowling Green (Grade II, 11 furlongs, $250,000). After the race, Pletcher said, "As you described before the race, Luis (Saez) earned the lead and took it from there." These are interviews you listen to.

* I don't always watch much Cubs, but when I do, I prefer less pain.

* I would say this has been a disappointing season, but then the horses always do their voodoo to you.

But last week, the humans failed again, at Monmouth Park. In a heat wave, several tracks, including Saratoga, closed on Saturday. Monmouth? It was Haskell Invitational day (won by Kentucky Derby taken-down Maximum Security, who cut off another horse in last week's race) and hell god eff, Monmouth was going to run!

They started later and ran two races in the heat and then announced the rest of the card was delayed. They killed the non-stakes races and rescheduled the stakes races to start at 5 p.m. Central. The Haskell would be run at 7:05 Central, which they ran - I'm trying to avoid profanity here - seven minutes late.

During and after, the lawyer who runs Monmouth, who oozes sleaze with a combover that denies the truth he believes he can buy or litigate, said Plan B was in play all along. Except, he didn't announce it Friday.

Ripping a page right out of EffingMLB, he didn't say a word and got the butts into the seats for the concessions and such. Only then did they announce, "Racing resumes in about five hours."

Up top, Eddie Olczyk said, "Pull the plug. Find another day."

Heat? No problemo? Monmouth cancelled Sunday. They saw that several Eastern tracks closed Saturday and they were not dammit going to be denied their day, and now a day without other tracks! Do guys like that lawyer choose to be dirt?

I need to stop.

* Wonderfully, as the horses passed the sixteenth pole in the Jim Dandy, an outrider big horse pony on the sideline (1:46 in the BloodHorse video) at the apron bounced with glee off of his front feet. Pure joy. He then planted his fronts back on the ground and emphatically dipped his whole head up and down, as if in salute. Marilyn, these horses slay me.

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

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 3:18 PM | Permalink

Send Us Back

In my view, during the Trump administration, the U.S. has become too isolationist and this is hurting our long-term economy and military security. Our long-run economic prospects are harmed by increasing uncertainty in trade flows and supply chains, and reducing global economic growth. Our military security is harmed by dropping out of international agreements and disrupting ally relationships. A better-informed electorate and government can make better choices.

I do not share Trump's racist intent behind the words he chose to criticize the four freshmen minority congresswomen, known as The Squad. I admire and respect each member of The Squad. On July 14, Trump said, "Why don't they go back and help fix the totally broken and crime infested places from which they came. Then come back and show us how it is done."

Telling minority legislators to leave the country is bigotry but asking them to visit their ancestral places of origin to bring back ideas to help the U.S. is a positive suggestion. The racist intent of a chunk of that Trump hyperbole can be removed and reinterpreted as useful public policy that should be implemented.

It is derogatory to assert that The Squad's places of ancestral origin are "totally" broken and crime-infested. No country is perfect and all countries can use good information to improve. Unfortunately, among developed countries, the U.S. ranks at the top of homicide rates, over seven times the average of the other advanced countries. So, indeed, the U.S. can use advice and examples from other countries to improve itself.

I would like to see foundations provide travel grants to politicians, educators, labor leaders, entrepreneurs, and ordinary people living in the U.S. to make it possible for them visit foreign countries to observe what's broken and what works and to report back the advantages and problems of living in those places; what good ideas can be brought home and translated to U.S. policy; and what aspects of U.S. foreign policy and foreign aid should be changed to improve the quality of lives and quality of government in that foreign country. This is similar to what businesses and organizations do to learn best practices and how to adopt them. This is benchmarking in the political and civic realm.

The place of the visit could be a place to which one has an ancestral tie or a place one has an affinity towards. My ancestry is from Ukraine and Lithuania. But through extended family, I also have ties to India, France and Israel. Through affinity, I have interests in Romania, the West Bank of Palestine and Syria where Domari (Gypsies) live, and in the refugee camps in Bangladesh and Myanmar where the Rohingya live. I would be pleased to visit any of those places, health permitting, to observe what they do that can be used to improve the U.S. and what the U.S., individually and collectively, can do to help them.

As a young college professor, I received a grant from the German Marshall Fund to travel to Europe to observe the ways that public policy and culture in Italy and France helped unemployed people start businesses. This became part of a book I wrote on policies to help U.S. disadvantaged people start businesses, Self-Employment for Low-Income People (Praeger, 1989).

While doing on-site visits is preferable, for those who have difficulty traveling, the research and reporting can be done over the Internet using apps such as Skype, Facebook video chat, e-mail, and WhatsApp. Foreign language fluency may be a problem for many. Immigrants and refugees in the U.S. can help with translation issues and receive compensation for it.

There is precedent for doing this through programs such as Fulbright grants administered by the U.S. State Department, the Peace Corps, the American Jewish World Service, the Zakat Foundation, American Friends Service, India Development Service, and the Evangelical Lutheran Church World Hunger Projects. This activity should be more readily available and promoted in high schools, churches, and colleges.

A "Send Us Back" policy can also include going to neighborhoods in the U.S. where one once lived or where our ancestors lived. I was born in Chicago and went back to the Old Maxwell Street neighborhood to fight for preservation of the people, buildings and large outdoor market that existed there for over 100 years. The City of Chicago designated the area for gentrifying real estate development and I, along with others, formed a coalition that fought for inclusion of the low-income people who lived, shopped, sold and worshiped there. Though there was bitter protest, the neighborhood was destroyed by the city and the University of Illinois. In organizing, we did a lot of listening and observing and good examples were found for increasing social and human capital that could be generalized throughout the city to reduce crime and violence.

Send Us Back grants should be available to ordinary people, not just those with college degrees. Few Americans know about the hardships faced by others in foreign lands or countries that do better than the U.S. at governance and providing essential services.

In Somalia, for example, they have a tort-based clan (tribal) justice system, called Xeer, based on customary law that operates alongside the formal justice system. It differs slightly from clan to clan. Since the law is compensatory rather than punitive, there is no punishment and fines are rare.

The libertarian Mises Institute praises the Xeer as it "provides an authentic rule of law to support trade and economic development" in the absence of a well-functioning central government. This could inform U.S. experiments in neighborhood community courts and restorative justice. Using a form of Xeer in the U.S., may help decrease crime and increase GDP, as the costs of legal proceedings are reduced and community involvement is expanded.

Sometimes good things come hidden in bad circumstances, seedlings in fertilizer muck blossoming into flowers. Trump's admonition of "Send Her Back" can be transformed from an exclamation of racial bias to promoting international travel for study to enhance the quality of life for all.

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Previously by Steve Balkin:
* The Maxwell Street Muddle.

* Maxwell Street Malfeasance.

* City Needs New Policy For The Maxwell Street Market: An Open Letter To Mayor-Elect Emanuel.

* The Maxwell Street Market Vendors Association Wants You To Like Them.

* The Olympic Bid That Could Have Been.

* Lil Scotty: 'Give Him His Flowers While He Lives.'

* Remembering Lil Scotty: Bluesman, Buttonman.

* Remembering Lacy Gibson, Master Bluesman.

* Here's To Bobby Too Tuff.

* Continuing The Political Revolution.

* Reducing Chicago's Violence: A 10-Point Plan.

* New WPA Stamps Are a Good Reminder To Bring Emergency Public Employment Infrastructure Programs To Violent Neighborhoods.

* Item: Chicago Efforts To Stop Genocide Of Rohingya People In Myanmar.

* Saving The Rohingya: Stopping Genocide And Volunteering In Chicago.

* Blues Jam Memorial For Chicago Great Arthur "Sambo" Irby.

* An Assault Weapon Proposal.

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Steve Balkin is a professor emeritus of economics at Roosevelt University. He welcomes your comments.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 2:47 PM | Permalink

July 26, 2019

The Beachwood Radio Sports Hour #262: Cubs Counternarrative

Ten games from now, they'll be in the same position they are in today. (It will still be fun, though.) Plus: Giant Flop; Addison Russell Sent Down To Learn The Signs; Boy Scout Kris Bryant Piling Up Merit Badges; Mea Culpa: Maybe Maddon Was Right About The Happ-Almora Platoon; Pedro Strop Is Carl Edwards Jr. Jr.; Robel Garcia Is Not Totally The Answer; Daddy BenZo Speaks; Road Woes; Darvish Delusions; Roadish Games; White Sox Suck; What's Really Behind The Home Run Surge; The Only Real News From Training Camp, Ever; Andrew Shaw's Crab House; and DePaul Finally Trying To Win.


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SHOW NOTES

* 262.

* Jim Otto.

* Aja.

* Miniature scissors that briefly enthralled us:

miniscissors.jpg

1:39: Giant Flop.

* San Francisco series cost them Bumgarner!

10:36: Addison Russell Sent Down To Learn The Signs.

* Rogers: Cubs' Russell Says He Can't Be Missing Signs.

25:04: Mea Culpa: Maybe Maddon Was Right About The Happ-Almora Platoon.

* Second-half management will be brutally optimized.

32:52: Pedro Strop Is Carl Edwards Jr. Jr.

* Brandon Kintzler is not (anymore).

35:37: Robel Garcia Is Not Totally The Answer.

* But still an amazing story.

37:30: Daddy BenZo Speaks.

* Clock is ticking on his conflicted son.

41:27: Cubs Counternarrative.

* Rhodes: Ten games from now, they'll be in the same position they are in today. (It will still be fun, though.)

49:22: Road Woes.

* Know your team, Joe!

51:22: Darvish Delusions.

* Media continues to grade Yu on a curve - against himself.

52:21: Roadish Games.

* Milwaukee is half a road game. St. Louis is a fourth of a road game.

57:28: White Sox Suck.

* 3-11 since the All-Star break.

57:48: What's Really Behind The Home Run Surge?

* Climate change, for one thing!

* Cork.

59:31: The Only Real News From Training Camp, Ever.

* Ha Ha Clinton-Dix can't prove it on the PUP.

1:04:55: Andrew Shaw's Crab House.

1:06:22 DePaul Finally Tries To Win.

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STOPPAGE: 8:10

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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 1:21 PM | Permalink

As Global Temps Soared, U.S. Media Coverage Of Right-Wing Think Tanks' Climate Lies Rose Over Last 5 Years

A new Public Citizen analysis shows that over the last five years - as rising global temperatures repeatedly set records - national television news networks and the 50 most widely circulated newspapers in the United States increased their coverage of right-wing think tanks denying the climate emergency or that the global crisis is the result of unsustainable human activity.

"Amazingly, coverage of the deniers' messages has risen over the past five years as the climate crisis has worsened, with much of it being uncritical," said Allison Fisher, outreach program director for Public Citizen's climate program. "The media should not give these organizations a platform, and if they must cover them, do a better job of alerting readers and viewers who is funding them."

trump_climate_hotel_0.jpegOutside the Trump International Hotel in Washington, D.C., in April 2017/Oil Change International via Twitter

The consumer advocacy group released its new study ahead of the 13th annual conference of the Arlington Heights-based Heartland Institute - the self-described "leading think tank promoting skepticism of the theory there is a human-caused climate crisis" - which kicked off at the Trump International Hotel in Washington, D.C., on Thursday.

The study focuses on coverage of the Heartland Institute and the four other think tanks associated with the conference - the American Enterprise Institute, the Competitive Enterprise Institute, the Cato Institute, and the Heritage Foundation - from 2014 through mid-June 2019.

According to Public Citizen:

The number of media mentions featuring the think tanks and published op-eds by them rose over the five years, hitting a peak in 2017 (in the wake of President Donald Trump's inauguration) and remaining steady over the course of 2018, Public Citizen found. Many outlets cited the deniers to provide "balance" - even though the deniers' positions have been widely debunked. Most outlets didn't inform viewers or readers that the think tanks receive fossil fuel money.

"The mounds of scientific evidence that the burning of fossil fuels is overheating our planet, coupled with the knowledge that the fossil fuel industry has funneled money to think tanks to manufacture doubt about the crisis," Fisher said, "should lead to a radical decline in the influence of climate deniers in the media."

Public Citizen analyzed transcripts from six television networks - ABC, CBS, CNN, Fox, MSNBC and NBC - as well as articles and op-eds in newspapers that included the Atlanta Journal‐Constitution, the Boston Globe, the Chicago Sun‐Times, the Chicago Tribune, the Denver Post, the Detroit Free Press, the Houston Chronicle, the Los Angeles Times, the Miami Herald, the New York Post, the New York Times, the Philadelphia Inquirer, the San Francisco Chronicle, USA Today, The Wall Street Journal and the Washington Post.

The analysis shows that across all 50 newspapers, the right-wing think tanks were cited or published a total of 528 times on the climate crisis. Only 17 percent of those mentions included an acknowledgement of the think tank's ties to the dirty energy sector, and 60 percent "presented arguments or comments by think tank representatives as legitimate views."

Of all the reviewed papers, the New York Times mentioned the think tanks the most - in 84 pieces over the five-year period. However, Public Citizen pointed out, "while 34 of those pieces provided false balance, the paper also published 17 pieces exposing climate denial and didn't publish any op-eds by the think tanks or by those citing the work of the think tanks."

The Wall Street Journal published the most op-eds of any newspaper - 18 of the collective 84 - and mentioned the think tanks 44 times. Public Citizen found that the majority of the mentions supported the think tank's position and only one Journal article acknowledged ties to the fossil fuel industry.

On the television side, Public Citizen documented 62 segments that featured the positions of or a representative from one of the think tanks. The large majority of segments - 89 percent - aired on Fox News Network and CNN.

While all Fox segments "legitimized denier arguments," according to Public Citizen, more than half of CNN's segments included the denier perspective for "balance."

This post is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 License.

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 11:02 AM | Permalink

What's Really Behind Baseball's Home Run Surge?

At the 2019 All-Star Game, Houston Astros pitcher Justin Verlander griped that too many home runs had been hit so far this season. He accused the league of altering, or "juicing," the balls, making it easier to hit home runs.

Among players and fans, Verlander's "juicing" claim has gained momentum.

There's no question that there's been a home run surge. Home runs per plate appearance are currently sitting at 3.5%, an all-time high. At this rate, players will hit more than 6,600 homers by season's end, shattering the prior record, set in 2017, by more than 500 home runs.

Though league officials denied, for years, that they were altering the balls to boost the home run rate, last year they admitted that the ball had changed, though they blamed suppliers. Then, earlier this season, they admitted that the ball's core had been changed.

We recently wrote a book titled Corked: Tales of Advantage in Competitive Sports, so this topic is in our wheelhouse.

It certainly seems that recent changes to the ball are playing a role in the uptick in home runs. But could other factors, like the climate and advanced analytics, also be to blame?

Breaking Down The Baseball

Rawlings makes around 1 million baseballs each year for use in MLB play.

Official baseballs consist of six different materials: a rubberized cork center (called a "pill"), two hemispherical clamshells of molded black vulcanized rubber, a layer of red rubber, wound wool, two flaps of cowhide leather, and 88 inches of hand-stitched, wax-coated red thread.

There is a growing body of evidence that, beginning around 2015, there have been distinct changes in the density and chemical composition of materials making up the league's official baseballs.

The most noteworthy changes have been to the ball's core and surface.

A 2016 investigation conducted by FiveThirtyEight found that official baseballs were bouncier and less air resistant beginning in 2015.

Using X-ray imaging, FiveThirtyEight's study compared balls made prior to 2015 with those produced after. It found an average 40% decrease in core density in baseballs produced after 2015. Compositional analyses identified roughly 7% more rubber and 10% less silicon in the later pills. These changes correspond to lower pill mass and increased bounce.

Nearly two years after the FiveThirtyEight investigation, Major League Baseball released its own 84-page report acknowledging there were aerodynamic changes in the baseball - specifically, the balls were smoother. But the league claimed this wasn't due to any changes in the way Rawlings was making the ball. MLB suggested that it was likely due to slight variations in the materials used by Rawlings, along with the way the balls were being stored.

For example, since Rawlings acquires its leather - and doesn't process it at its facilities - it's possible that an alternative tanning process could result in even smoother leather surfaces. Baseballs with smoother surfaces will, once hit, move through the air more easily. It's a minor change, but it matters.

There is also the ball's thread. The Athletic deconstructed baseballs and found that laces in the newer ones - specifically those used to stitch seams on the 2016 and 2017 balls - are 9% thicker than those from 2014.

The Athletic speculated that the thicker laces might make it easier, when constructing the ball, to build a tighter ball that won't be impeded by as much air resistance when it's hit.

Climate Controls

Then there's one explanation outside the control of the league, players or manufacturers: the climate.

Cork in the pill is commonly harvested from the bark of the Cork Oak Tree in Southern Europe and North Africa. But a changing climate in these regions has some concerned that cork quality is declining. Wine manufacturers are already searching for alternatives for making wine corks. While wine makers care about the cork's ability to seal, baseball makers are more concerned with the mechanical response of the cork in the ball.

Baseballs are produced from a formed rubberized cork that is engineered from smaller cork particles; it's certainly possible that, like wine corks, their purity and composition are changing with the climate.

The presence of humidity in and on the ball also affects its inertia and deadens its response when hit by a bat. In 2018, CBS reported that Major League Baseball would require all teams to use air conditioned rooms to store baseballs in 2019. Most common HVAC systems not only lower the temperature in a room but also reduce the humidity. It's possible that controlling a ball's humidity through HVAC in muggier ballparks is actually increasing its liveliness by drying them out.

Altogether, Verlander's criticisms may be warranted. Newer baseballs are more aerodynamic, probably in part due to a combination of smoother leather, lower profile stitches and a more accurate centering of the ball's pill, coupled with the way balls are being stored.

The Analytics Element

There's another element to consider: What if hitters and pitchers are simply playing the game differently?

Consider pitch speed. Pitchers that light up the radar gun have always been in vogue for the simple reason that hitters have less time to react to their pitches.

How hard a pitch is thrown can influence how far a contacted ball travels. It's straightforward kinematics: Baseballs will bounce off the bat at a higher velocity when contacting a faster pitch.

The average fastball velocity rose from 90.9 mph in 2008 to 92.0 mph in 2013. But pitch velocity hasn't risen during the most recent home run surge.

So maybe it has something to do with the way hitters have changed their approach at the plate.

In recent years, they've started to focus on launch angle. Launch angle is the vertical angle at which the ball leaves a player's bat after being struck. Due to advances in analytics, it's become common knowledge that players have a much better chance of hitting a home run if the launch angle is between 25 and 35 degrees and the ball bounces off their bat at a velocity of more than 100 miles per hour.

With such defined criteria for hitting home runs, it's no surprise many hitters are tweaking their swings accordingly. So while pitchers aren't throwing harder, the new focus on launch angles could be contributing to the recent home run surge.

petealonso.jpgMets rookie first baseman Pete Alonso connects for a home run; Alonso broke the Mets rookie home run record less than halfway through the season/Frank Franklin II, AP

The emphasis on hard contact comes with a trade-off, though. Players need to swing harder to achieve a higher exit velocity. The harder they swing, the more likely they'll be to hit one out - but that's if they make contact. Along with more home runs, the strikeout rate for hitters has skyrocketed.

So far this season, strikeouts per at bat is above 25% for the first time in league history.

Whatever the reason for more home runs, are they good for the game?

Sure, pitchers like Verlander might gripe, but you might expect fans to be ecstatic.

If they are, it isn't being reflected at the gate. Even with more balls flying out of the park, attendance is at record lows.

Brian J. Love is a professor of materials science and engineering at the University of Michigan. Michael L. Burns is a clinical lecturer of anesthesiology there. This article is republished from The Conversation under a Creative Commons license.

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Comments welcome.


Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 4:25 AM | Permalink

Stanley's Market For Sale For Real

Paine Wetzel Commercial Real Estate and MWA Capital Advisors have been hired by the Panagiotaros family to publicly market the 1.05-acre former Stanley's Fresh Fruit and Vegetables property located at the corner of North Avenue and Elston Avenue on Chicago's North Side.

After serving several North Side neighborhoods for decades, the family has decided to sell the property as competition and redevelopment comes to the area.

stanleyssale.jpgAerial photo of the iconic Stanley's Fresh Fruit and Vegetables Grocery Store

"We want to thank our customers for over half a century of loyalty and graciousness," said Peter Panagiotaros, son of Stanley's founder Stelios Panagiotaros. "With all the competition that's been coming to the area, we were just not doing the same volume we once were and have decided it is time to find a better use for the property."

Ed Wabick, principal of Paine Wetzel Commercial Real Estate, and Ken Nofziger, president of MWA Capital Advisors, are spearheading the marketing effort.

"Our goal here is to maximize the value of the property for the Panagiotaros family by bringing a buyer to the table that sees the future potential of this property," Wabick said. "This is a high traffic entryway from the Kennedy Expressway directly into the 55-acre redevelopment project, Lincoln Yards, and the proposed Salt District redevelopment."

The Stanley's property totals approximately 1.05 acres and currently features a 7,665 square-foot retail building and a cold storage building. With potential assemblage of adjoining parcels, the acreage increases to 3.67 acres.

"It is hard to put a price on a unique offering such as this, so we are publicly soliciting all qualified offers and will be considering price, terms and conditions," said Nofziger. "The property has a wide range of potential future uses and could be redeveloped into retail, apartments, offices, medical or a multitude of other options."

Individuals seeking additional information may visit StanleysNorthAndElston.com or call Wabick at (773) 714-2141 or Nofziger at 1-800-607-6888.

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See also:

* Tribune: Popular Produce Market Stanley's Abruptly Closes; Real Estate Remains For Sale.

* CBS2 Chicago: Stanley's Fresh Fruits And Vegetables Closes; 'We Tried To Stay Open The Best We Could.'

* WBEZ: What Stanley's Closure Tells Us About Chicago Megaprojects.

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 1:55 AM | Permalink

Ebony And Jet Photo Archive Sold

A consortium of foundations - the Ford Foundation, The J. Paul Getty Trust, the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation, and the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation - has acquired the archive of Johnson Publishing Company, publisher of the iconic Ebony and Jet magazines.

The archive includes more than 4 million prints and negatives comprising the most significant collection of photographs cataloguing African-American life in the 20th century.

The archive was acquired for $30 million as part of an auction of the assets of JPC in connection with its Chapter 7 bankruptcy filing. The acquisition is pending court approval and the closing of the sale.

The foundation consortium will donate the archives to the Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture, the Getty Research Institute, and other leading cultural institutions for the public benefit to ensure the broadest access for the general public and use by scholars, researchers, journalists and other interested parties.

"We're thrilled with the outcome," says Ford Foundation president Darren Walker. "This archive is a national treasure and one of tremendous importance to the telling of black history in America. We felt it was imperative to preserve these images, to give them the exposure they deserve and make them readily available to the public."

Says James Cuno, president of The J. Paul Getty Trust: "There is no greater repository of the history of the modern African-American experience than this archive. Saving it and making it available to the public is a great honor and a grave responsibility."

The archive offers a remarkable insight into everyday of life in Black America - up-close and personal pictures of artists, celebrities and leaders which provided much needed representation in the media.

The historic images also capture moments of grief and horror like the mutilated body of Emmett Till in his coffin and Coretta Scott King at her husband's funeral.

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See also:

* New York Times: Ebony's Photo Archive Goes For $30 Million, For Future In Public View.

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Previously:

* The World-Class Photography Of Ebony And Jet Is Up For Sale.

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Plus:

* We Can't Let This Giant Die.

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 1:48 AM | Permalink

The [Friday] Papers

Getting a rare Friday column of sorts up post-podcast today.

Meanwhile . . .


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The Temperance Beer Co. is an Evanston outfit, and I'm usually not keen on suburban beers - or suburban anythings - because suburbs.

But this was a better choice than the Goose Island "Born + Raised" Chicago-style ale, which I sampled.

Being a self-described "Chicago-style" ale, I asked the bartender to drag it through the garden, but I was informed that the Chicago-style they are trying to make a thing of is the corn that's in it. And that it's "creamy." Creamed corn beer. It was not for me.

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Also, from my OKCupid profile questionnaire (I'm the horse):

tasteofbeer.png

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New on the Beachwood today . . .

As Global Temps Soared, U.S. Media Coverage Of Right-Wing Think Tanks' Climate Lies Rose Over Last 5 Years
"A new Public Citizen analysis shows that over the last five years - as rising global temperatures repeatedly set records - national television news networks and the 50 most widely circulated newspapers in the United States increased their coverage of right-wing think tanks denying the climate emergency or that the global crisis is the result of unsustainable human activity.

"'Amazingly, coverage of the deniers' messages has risen over the past five years as the climate crisis has worsened, with much of it being uncritical,' said Allison Fisher, outreach program director for Public Citizen's climate program. 'The media should not give these organizations a platform, and if they must cover them, do a better job of alerting readers and viewers who is funding them.'"

I just don't understand. It's not hard to get it right.

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The Beachwood Radio Sports Hour #262: Cubs Counternarrative
Ten games from now, they'll be in the same position they are in today. (It will still be fun, though.) Plus: Giant Flop; Addison Russell Sent Down To Learn The Signs; Boy Scout Kris Bryant Piling Up Merit Badges; Mea Culpa: Maybe Maddon Was Right About The Happ-Almora Platoon; Pedro Strop Is Carl Edwards Jr. Jr.; Robel Garcia Is Not Totally The Answer; Daddy BenZo Speaks; Road Woes; Darvish Delusions; Roadish Games; White Sox Suck; What's Really Behind The Home Run Surge; The Only Real News From Training Camp, Ever; Andrew Shaw's Crab House; and DePaul Finally Trying To Win.

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Sale Of Stanley's Market Just Got Real
"Our goal here is to maximize the value of the property for the Panagiotaros family by bringing a buyer to the table that sees the future potential of this property."

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Ebony And Jet Photo Archive Sold
"The archive includes more than 4 million prints and negatives comprising the most significant collection of photographs cataloguing African-American life in the 20th century. "

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What's Really Behind Baseball's Home Run Surge?
Recent changes to the ball, advanced analytics and . . . climate change.

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ChicagoReddit

1980 - The first Taste of Chicago festival from r/chicago

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ChicagoGram

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ChicagoTube

Inside Chicago's New Art Exhibit For Torture Victims.

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BeachBook

US Rolls Back Protections For Nursing Home Residents.

Monstrous.

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How One Woman Rallied An Army Of Street Artists To Transform One Of Venezuela's Most Dangerous Neighborhoods.

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United Airlines Just Cut All Ties With Seaworld.

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Robert Doisneau's Famous Street Photo "The Kiss" Was Actually Staged.

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A Wake For Tuca & Bertie, Which Should Not Have Been Canceled.

I hadn't gotten around to it yet, but I love Lisa Hanawalt and BoJack Horseman. Pretty quick hook there, Netflix.

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TweetWood
A sampling.

And when he did, it was to tell black kids to pull up their pants.

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The Beachwood McRibTipLine: Blast it.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 12:57 AM | Permalink

July 25, 2019

No More "No Match" Letters

Local worker centers, unions and elected officials are gathering to denounce the recent mailing of so called "no match" letters as a direct attack on working families.

The group will provide information in the recent chaos experienced by both workers and employers in the current "no match" crisis, including informing workers of their rights and alerting employers on proper action to take or not take.

While there has been widespread fear created by the announced immigration raids that did not materialize, "silent workplace raids" have been devastating workers through the sending of "no match" letters.

In recent weeks, Arise Chicago has received several reports of potentially illegal action by employers who have fired workers or given improper instructions to workers regarding "no match letters."

Examples include workers being fired from jobs held for five, 10, or 20 years, leaving workers jobless and causing economic crises for working families across Cook County.

The letters also open the door for employers to use them to retaliate against workers standing up for their rights or organizing to improve wages or working conditions.

What Are "No Match" Letters?

No-Match letters are an educational communication from the Social Security Administration (SSA) to employers stating that a worker's personal information (like her name or Social Security number) does not match the agency's records.

Many things can generate a no-match and the letters cite some examples, most commonly due to typographical errors (for example, an employer could accidentally put the wrong Social Security Number with the wrong name, or misspell a name), unreported name changes (like in the case of marriage or divorce), or missing data.

The SSA sent out 570,000 "No Match" letters to employers this spring, and reportedly plans to send approximately 300,000 more this fall.

A "no match" letter, on its own, does not tell an employer anything about a worker's immigration status. The letter states that it is "not related to work permits or immigration status."

Also, "no match" letters state that employers should not "use this letter to take any adverse action against an employee, such as laying off, suspending, firing or discriminating against that individual, just because his or her SSN or name does not match our records. Any of those actions could, in fact, violate State or Federal law and subject you to legal consequences."

However, numerous workers have reported negative actions from employers after receiving "no match" letters - from giving an incorrect amount of time to address the "no match" to improper firings.

After 47 Congressional Democrats wrote to the SSA questioning the use of "no match" letters, the SSA Acting Commissioner, Nancy A. Berryhill, responded. In her letter to Rep. Jim Costa (D-Calif.), she writes that the SSA will "not take any action, nor are there any SSA-related consequences, for employers' non-compliance with our letters."

Berryhill adds that "SSA is not a law enforcement agency and our role is limited in scope to trying to ensure we credit each employee with his or her earnings . . . "

In simple terms, the Social Security Administration does not fine or punish employers who do not reply to a no-match letter.

Even with these direct instructions from SSA, local workers' rights organization Arise Chicago reports workers from several employers in Chicago and Cook County have been given improper information and/or fired workers.

Arise Chicago created educational materials and videos in Spanish, Polish, and English informing workers of their rights regarding "no match" letters.

Arise Chicago, the Raise the Floor alliance of worker centers, local labor unions, and local elected officials call on all employers to follow the law, and take no negative action against workers if they receive "No Match" letters. If they do, employers may face legal consequences.

What: Press conference alerting local employers against improperly firing workers after receiving so called "no match" letters from the Social Security Administration, and informing workers of their rights.

When: Thursday, July 25, 12:15 p.m.

Where: Chicago Teachers Union Center, 1901 West Carroll Avenue auditorium.

Who: Workers who have received "no match" letters, local unions, worker centers including Arise Chicago, Chicago Federation of Labor, elected officials including state Rep. Aaron Ortiz (D-Chicago), County Commissioner Alma Anaya, Ald. Gilbert Villegas (36th), Ald. Carlos Ramirez Rosa (35th) and Ald. Byron Sigcho Lopez (25th).

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See also:

* NumbersUSA:

"SSA started to send the letters in 1993, but did not establish regulatory procedures requiring employers to follow up until 2007. Those Bush Administration procedures required employers to fire employees who had mismatches that could not be cleared up. Business groups immediately sued to overturn the rule and persuaded a judge to block it. The Bush Administration terminated no-match letters in 2007 and rescinded the regulation in 2009. In 2011, the Obama Administration restarted no-match letters without the termination requirement but discontinued them in 2012.

"The Trump Administration issued an order reinstating the letters in March of this year. The new no-match program is similar to Obama's but more expansive. The former only sent letters to employers who had 10 or more employees with discrepancies. Trump's policy is to inform every employer about every discrepancy in the SSA database."

* Greg Hinz, Crain's: Chuy Garcia Alleges Social Security Letters A Trump Attempt To 'Intimidate' Immigrants.

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 9:51 AM | Permalink

At Least 67 Countries Have Blasphemy Laws

The Center for Inquiry has helped lead the global fight for freedom of expression and against "blasphemy laws" that criminalize criticism of religion.

Launched in 2015, our Secular Rescue program has helped dozens of imperiled secularists escape persecution and violence in their home countries. But there are far more people in need than we have the resources to help. More must be done.

And now there's an opportunity for the United States to do more: a resolution calling for the repeal of blasphemy laws around the world is moving through the U.S. House of Representatives - and CFI needs your help to secure its passage.

House Resolution 512 recognizes that "many countries have blasphemy laws that punish expression deemed blasphemous" and that "blasphemy laws are inconsistent with international human rights standards, as they protect beliefs over individuals and often result in violations of the freedoms of religion and expression."

It also:

* Calls upon the president and State Department to make the end of blasphemy laws a key component in all relations with countries that have such laws;

* Encourages the president and State Department to oppose any efforts at the United Nations to create an international anti-blasphemy norm;

* Calls on the president and State Department to designate states that enforce these harmful laws as "countries of particular concern" under the International Religious Freedom Act;

* Urges the governments of Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, Egypt and other countries to amend or repeal their blasphemy laws, and to release and ensure the safety of any people imprisoned on charges of blasphemy;

At least 67 countries have blasphemy laws. In some of them, criticism of religion is punishable by death. No one should have to die because their beliefs are contrary to those of the state or the majority. The passage of House Resolution 512 would send a strong signal to these countries that the U.S. rejects such laws and that they must be repealed.

That's where you come in.

CFI urges you to join us in standing for the rights of all people to express their beliefs and doubts about religion. Please, use our pre-written form to contact your U.S. representative today and tell them to co-sponsor and support passage of H. Res 512.

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See also:

* Al-Bawaba: Lebanese Band Ready To Apologize For Songs 'Offensive To Christianity.

"According to articles 473 and 474 of the Penal Code, insulting a religion or committing blasphemy is punishable by prison sentences of up to a year or three years, respectively."

* Daily Times: The Fear That Follows Minorities.

"I'm sharing my part of story after a while, because us minorities don't even have the right to speak about the blasphemy law. That's how deep this fear runs. Even in this article I tried to avoid the subject of blasphemy as far as I could."

* AsiaOne: Former Jakarta Governor Ahok Believes His Political Career Is Over.

"Ahok was convicted of blasphemy in 2017 following a series of sectarian rallies staged by Muslim conservatives in the capital who demanded the then governor to be prosecuted for a speech they believed to be blasphemous . . . He was released from prison earlier this year after serving nearly two years."

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 12:24 AM | Permalink

The [Thursday] Papers

"The national president of the Fraternal Order of Police demanded Thursday that Mayor Lori Lightfoot apologize to rank and file Chicago Police officers - and 'conduct herself with more dignity and less immaturity' - after Lightfoot was captured on an open mic calling their second vice-president 'this FOP clown,'" the Sun-Times reports.

"Chuck Canterbury jumped into the controversy triggered by Lightfoot's off-handed remark, first by tweeting the demand for a mayoral apology, then by accusing Lightfoot of immature behavior that has left Chicago Police officers feeling unappreciated by their new boss."

Well, Canterbury certainly knows a thing or two about dignity and maturity.

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Retweeted by Canterbury:

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Also, fyi . . .

*

Make no mistake, Chicago's FOP is Trumpy through-and-through. Yet . . .

"Just over two months into a four-year term, Lightfoot has alienated a police union that didn't trust her to begin with, thanks to her days as Police Board president and co-chair of the Task Force on Police Accountability," Fran Spielman "reports."

In other words, thanks to her days holding the police accountable?

(Also, memo to the Preckwinkle dead-enders and "radicals" who spent the campaign telling us Lightfoot was "a cop.")

Here's Murray in June, via the Tribune:

"During the public comment period of Wednesday's City Council meeting, Fraternal Order of Police Vice President Patrick Murray stood before the microphone and asked Lightfoot to include union officials in reform efforts. Lightfoot, from the dais, replied, 'Anytime the FOP wants to do anything other than object and obstruct (reform).' She said she's told FOP President Kevin Graham as much."

The FOP pointedly refused to participate in the city's reform effort, including the shaping of its consent decree, and then tried to jump in late and say it was excluded from the process. A judge shot that notion down in January, saying the FOP had no one to blame but itself for being left on the sidelines.

And it's not as if Lightfoot is a new target for Murray and the FOP - though she's a sharper and wittier target than the last one.

"Leaders of Chicago's police union kicked off an emotionally charged City Council meeting Wednesday by telling Mayor Rahm Emanuel he had turned his back on them," the Tribune reported in May 2018.

With Emanuel standing at the dais at the front of chambers, union Vice President Patrick Murray said police officers think the mayor has cast their interests aside by endorsing a federal consent decree overseeing police reform and not yet agreeing to a new contract nearly a year after the union's last one expired.

"You are more concerned with consent decrees, settlements, pandering to police-hating groups than negotiating a contract with us," Murray said. "Our members are starting to believe you have no intention of negotiating a contract with us until after the next election."

Murray then asked all the FOP members in the gallery to stand. He reiterated that they think Emanuel has turned his back on them and announced: "We are leaving, thank you." The officers then filed out of chambers and went downstairs to demonstrate.

Yes, the new mayor has to negotiate a new contract with the cops. No, she doesn't have to be intimidated by them.

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I happen to believe, unlike Spielman and the FOP, that Lightfoot is off to a strong (though flawed) start. For example, via the Sun-Times:

"The mayor's off-handed remark was picked up on the livestream of the City Council meeting. That's apparently why the mayor made no attempt to deny the remark during the news conference that followed the council meeting."

That's apparently why she made no attempt to deny the remark? Otherwise she would have? Mind-reading is not reporting.

But I digress.

"It was not appropriate for me to say that out loud," Lightfoot said.

I might concede that.

"Is the mayor planning to apologize to Murray or to the union with which she is now attempting to establish a dialogue and needs to negotiate a new police contract? 'I think I just did. I think I said I shouldn't have said that out loud,' she said.

"Is the mayor sorry she said it or is she sorry the derogatory remark got picked up on a hot mic? 'I'm sorry that I said it out loud,' she said."

I'm sorry, but how great is that? She's only sorry that she said it out loud, not that she believes it to be true. That, my friends, is fucking refreshing. No fake apologies. No made-up excuses. No "backtracking" on or "cleaning up" the remark. She stands by it, as she should.

Hit And Runs
"The city has had at least 102 fatal hit-and-run crashes since the start of 2014, according to the data, obtained by WBEZ using the Illinois Freedom of Information Act," the station reports.

"The data show that just 46 of those cases have been 'cleared' - the police parlance for solved. That's 45%. In several of the solved cases, the offenders turned themselves in.

"It means a Chicago driver who fatally injures someone, leaves the scene and does not look back will probably get away with it."

I'm not sure 55% qualifies as "probably."

But I digress.

What's missing here is a comparison to national clearance rates on hit-and-runs. For all we know, Chicago police solve more of them than any other department in the country.

BenZo
"Things can turn very quickly. And the deeper your faith, the stronger your appreciation for what you have, the greater the chance that you can weather storms with the help of God," Ben Zobrist's reverend father told the Daily Herald.

"The Cubs have been weathering storms all year long. With a Swiss cheese roster and without the seasoned and reliable 'glue' of a Zobrist, Joe Maddon has somehow craftworked a team that wins at home and loses on the road into a tenuous spot atop the NL Central.

"Now, with MLB personnel deadlines straight ahead, the question looms: Is Ben Zobrist coming back to assist in a golden autumn run?

"Ben is a perfectionist," his father says. "He has also been a very conflicted person for some time now.

About coming back? Or longer than that?

"Without question, his top priority remains his three children. Then, the marriage, if it can be saved. "As far as baseball, there have been days when I thought he was very close to coming back and other days when I think he's not coming back.

"I know he has kept in regular touch with Theo (Epstein). And if there are deadlines coming up - and I don't completely understand all of the new rules - obviously, a decision has to be made.

"Ben will do what's best for his children and then himself. And with the Lord, and with prayer, things will be right."

Only if the Lord is lefthanded, can pitch in high-leverage situations and fits into the Cubs' budget.

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New on the Beachwood today . . .

No More "No Match" Letters
Trump resurrects silent workplace raids.

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End Blasphemy Laws
At least 67 countries have them.

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ChicagoReddit

Regarding enforcement of skateboarding law downtown from r/chicago

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ChicagoGram

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ChicagoTube

ComplexCon Chicago 2019 | Behind The Scenes.

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BeachBook

The United States Won't Feed 30,000 Starving Syrians Living Under Its Protection.

America is heinous.

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Why Forbes Is Dropping Wilbur Ross's Net Worth - Again.

Team of Liars.

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Alan Lomax And The Search For The Origins Of Music.

Some troubling information about his "original sin" you may not have heard before about Lomax. Also, a remarkable reminder: "Some of the obscure songs that he discovered and recorded later became global hits such as 'House of the Rising Sun' (The Animals), 'Rock Island Line' (Lonnie Donegan), and 'The Sloop John B' (The Beach Boys).

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The Illinois Artist Behind Social Media's Latest Big Idea.

Eh.

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You Can't Copyright A Cocktail, So What's A Creative Bartender To Do?

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TweetWood
A sampling.

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The Beachwood McRibTipLine: Drama-free.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 12:23 AM | Permalink

July 24, 2019

NCAA Dings DePaul's Code Of Silence

A former DePaul associate head coach violated NCAA ethical conduct rules when he knowingly directed the former assistant director of basketball operations to provide impermissible recruiting benefits to a recruit, according to a Division I Committee on Infractions panel.

Further, the committee said the men's basketball head coach violated NCAA head coach responsibility rules when he did not stop or prevent violations from occurring in his program.

The men's basketball program recruited the student-athlete, who had graduated from high school but had not yet met NCAA initial eligibility requirements. To help ensure the necessary coursework was completed, the committee said a former associate head coach arranged for the assistant director of basketball operations to live with the prospect. The assistant director of basketball operations did not complete the prospect's coursework, but he monitored the recruit's progress, limited his extracurricular activities and ensured tests were taken.

The student-athlete met eligibility requirements and enrolled at the university. Because the arrangement was an impermissible recruiting benefit, the committee said the student-athlete competed while ineligible. The arrangement also involved impermissible recruiting contact, which caused the men's basketball program to exceed the number of allowable coaches.

The head coach did not promote an atmosphere of compliance because three men's basketball staff members knew about the arrangement but did not report the violation or question whether it was allowable, according to the committee.

Even more troubling to the committee was the director of basketball operations stated he knew the contact was a violation but did not report it because he did not want to be disloyal, cause tension, get in the way of the associate head coach or otherwise hurt his career.

He also did not know how to report violations.

The committee said the assistant director of basketball operations was also concerned for his future and did not question the associate head coach's directions.

According to the committee, a culture of silence pervaded the program.

The head coach did not monitor his staff when he did not actively look for red flags or ask questions about the assistant director of basketball operations' two-week absence. The committee directed that head coaches must verify - not just trust - that staff members are following the rules. The committee recognized the head coach's efforts to require staff attendance at compliance meetings and communicate with compliance officials, but it said he needed to do more.

"The membership requires proactive engagement from head coaches as leaders of programs," the committee said in its decision. "The head coach created an environment where staff members did not report violations or consult with the compliance staff but chose to remain silent. The head coach simply did not ensure a compliant program."

The committee used the Division I membership-approved infractions penalty guidelines to prescribe the following measures:

* Three years of probation.

* Suspension of the head coach from the first three regular-season games of the 2019-20 season.

* A three-year show-cause order for the former associate head coach. During that period, any NCAA member school employing him must restrict him from any athletically related duties unless it shows cause why the restrictions should not apply.

* A vacation of records in which the men's basketball student-athlete competed while ineligible. The university must provide a written report containing the contests impacted to the NCAA media coordination and statistics staff within 45 days of the public decision release.

Recruiting restrictions, including:

* A reduction of six men's basketball recruiting-person days during the 2017-18 academic year (self-imposed by the university).

* A reduction of six men's basketball recruiting-person days in April 2019 (self-imposed by the university).

* A $5,000 fine, plus 1% of the men's basketball program budget.

Members of the Committee on Infractions are drawn from the NCAA membership and the public. The members of the panel who reviewed this case are Norman Bay, attorney in private practice; Jody Conradt, special assistant to athletics and retired head women's basketball coach at Texas; Jason Leonard, executive director of athletics compliance at Oklahoma; Joel Maturi, former Minnesota athletics director; David Roberts, chief hearing officer for this panel, senior administrator at Southern California and vice chair of the Committee on Infractions; Sarah Wake, associate general counsel and associate vice president for equity at Northwestern.

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* Download the DePaul University Public Infractions Decision.

* Listen to the media teleconference:


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DePaul University Statement:

"The decision and findings by the NCAA Committee on Infractions (COI) following a self-reported infraction, and subsequent cooperation, by DePaul University are disappointing.

"This infraction was an isolated incident directed and then concealed by a former staff member that resulted in, at most, a limited recruiting advantage relative to one former student-athlete.

"Since our self-report in January 2018, DePaul has cooperated with the NCAA Enforcement staff to proactively pursue the resolution of this matter and has reviewed and further strengthened related protocol and practice.

"DePaul respectfully disagrees with the COI's findings relative to head coach Dave Leitao under the Head Coach Control doctrine. Coach Leitao is a man of character and integrity, who has the support of the administration in leading our men's basketball program.

"In the interest of concluding the infractions process and moving forward for the men's basketball program, DePaul has agreed to accept the penalties as described in the COI's decision.

"DePaul would like to thank the NCAA Committee on Infractions panel for its thoughtful hearing of this matter, and the NCAA Enforcement staff for their professionalism throughout this process. The university will make no further statements about this matter."

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See also:

* The DePaulia: DePaul Men's Basketball Program Placed On 3 Years Probation For Violation Of NCAA Ethical Conduct Rules.

* Tribune: DePaul Basketball Coach Dave Leitao Receives A 3-Game Suspension For A Recruiting Violation, And The Program Is Put On 3 Years Of Probation.

* And . . .

* Also:

* Furthermore . . .

* Finally:

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 12:04 PM | Permalink

McKinley Park Residents Furious At Illinois EPA Over Asphalt Plant

The Illinois Environmental Protection Agency is allowing controversial polluter MAT Asphalt to keep operating despite the expiration of their permit on July 2nd.

The temporary "construction permit" issued to the company in 2017 explicitly limited their operations to "one year from the date of initial startup."

Furious residents say the agency is ignoring its own rules and dozens of air quality complaints filed in the first year of the plant's operation.

"Much like the U.S. EPA, their priority continues to be protecting businesses instead of the public," says Robert Beedle of Neighbors for Environmental Justice (N4EJ). "The IEPA already ignored their own procedures when they issued the construction permit. Now that the permit has expired, the IEPA appears to be making it up as they go along while we pay the price on a daily basis."

IEPA e-mails show that in 2017, agency staff largely skipped the environmental justice review required by state law when they approved a permit for MAT Asphalt to build the facility, which is located across the street from a 69-acre park and less than 1,000 feet from an elementary school.

One employee wrote, " . . . we dropped the ball . . . we effectively have until Friday to process this application."

Now MAT Asphalt is applying for a 5-year permit. Their first application was rejected for failing to include fugitive dust, which would have put their emissions at "major source" levels. MAT claimed they miscalculated and resubmitted lower numbers to the agency. The IEPA has promised to release a draft permit, followed by a minimum 45-day period before a public hearing and extended public comment period.

However, skeptical residents fear the agency plans to issue the permit no matter what evidence is presented about the clear negative impact on the neighboring park, businesses, schools and homes.

They say the decision to let the plant keep polluting without a permit is evidence that the hearings are just a formality, meant to provide the appearance of fairness before the IEPA announces a decision that has already been made.

"We're entrusting a government agency that can't even reliably mail notification letters or respond to e-mail requests to protect the health of Illinois residents," says Beedle. "I think every person living in Illinois should be extremely concerned about how this agency is being run and what their true priorities are."

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See also:

* Block Club Chicago: Polluting Asphalt Plant In McKinley Park Surprised Local Leaders, Now A State Bill Requires State EPA To Warn Them.

* Tribune: Illinois EPA Is Supposed To Inform Poor, Minority Communities About Potential Polluters, But Many Have Been Left In The Dark.

* McKinley Park News: Environmental Justice Group Launches As Counterpoint To New Industrial Development.

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 11:12 AM | Permalink

Etsy Buys Chicago's Reverb

Etsy, the global marketplace for unique and creative goods, has signed a definitive agreement to acquire Reverb Holdings, Inc., a privately held marketplace for new, used and vintage music gear, for $275 million in cash, subject to certain adjustments with respect to cash, debt, working capital, transaction expenses and the value of equity awards granted in connection with the transaction.

Reverb, which will operate as a standalone business when the deal closes, was founded in Chicago in 2013 on the principle that buying musical instruments should be easy and affordable. Reverb's sellers are generally individuals, brick-and-mortar retailers, dealers of all sizes, and high-profile artists.

The music gear industry is unique in that items are often bought and resold, numerous times. Traditionally, musicians only had access to instruments they could find locally or on resale websites that weren't tailored to the music industry. Similarly, musical instrument retailers were often limited to regional customers and musicians had fewer options for reselling used gear.

Reverb has created a destination for the global music community to come together online. This gives sellers a global audience and musicians around the world access to more inventory and rare, highly-coveted items. The result is a liquid marketplace that fosters a loyal and passionate user base. In fact, many Reverb users are both buyers and sellers.

"Vibrant two-sided marketplaces are lightning in a bottle - there are only a handful of them operating at scale - and Reverb is one," says Etsy CEO Josh Silverman.

"This transaction is a great strategic fit that firmly aligns with our mission of keeping commerce human. Reverb is the 'Etsy' of musical instruments, with significant competitive advantages, and we see tremendous value and untapped potential in the business.

"There are a number of similarities between the levers of growth for Etsy and Reverb, such as improving search and discovery, making selling and buying easier, and building a global brand and user community.

"We have been successfully implementing these types of initiatives at Etsy for two years now, and are confident that we can similarly impact Reverb's business.

"We look forward to welcoming Reverb's talented employees to the Etsy family as we work to better serve our buyers and sellers and drive value for our stakeholders."

Reverb founder and CEO David Kalt says: "In a short amount of time, we've built a community that musicians from all walks of life turn to for income to support their families, inspiration to fuel their passions, instruments to create new music, and so much more. We're excited to continue growing our marketplace, team, and community as part of Etsy.

"We've always found inspiration in Etsy. In fact, the company gave me the confidence to launch Reverb when I saw the need for a musician's marketplace in 2013.

"We're excited to align ourselves with a marketplace that has been supporting artists, makers, and creative entrepreneurs for nearly 15 years. Together, we'll continue to create a destination online where the music industry connects over the perfect piece of gear."

Kalt has decided this is the right time for him to make a transition, and will continue to serve as CEO until Etsy identifies a new leader of the business. He will remain closely involved to provide leadership and support following the closing.

Transaction Rationale

* Reverb enables Etsy to expand into a new vertical, with a company that has a similar strategy and business model.

* Reverb has built a strong brand in a large, fragmented market, with healthy growth dynamics.

* The marketplace offers its sellers on-site product promotion and has a strong content-driven marketing strategy; it is in the early stages of leveraging its platform for additional revenue growth.

* Reverb's seller base spans many countries, with key markets including some of the same ones as Etsy, such as the U.S., Canada, UK, France, Germany and Australia.

* Leveraging Etsy's expertise, we believe that Reverb will be better positioned to capture addressable market opportunities and drive repeat visits.

"As we have said, our M&A strategy looks to put our capital to work in an opportunistic way - finding great businesses at the right value - and we believe Reverb is just that," says Etsy CFO Rachel Glaser.

"Reverb shares our mission, has a nearly identical business model, a strong brand in a large, fragmented market, and healthy growth dynamics. We plan to run Reverb as a standalone business, sharing knowledge and best practices across key marketplace growth areas such as marketing, seller services, and international."

The transaction is currently expected to close in late third quarter or early fourth quarter of 2019, subject to Hart-Scott-Rodino review and other customary closing conditions. Etsy plans to provide information on any impact to our previously provided financial guidance following the completion of the transaction.

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See also:

* Built In Chicago: Reverb Is Being Acquired By Etsy, But Its Chicago Team Isn't Going Anywhere.

Not yet, heh-heh.

* Crain's: "'It's not a game-changer for the ecosystem,' said Matt McCall, a partner at Pritzker Group Venture Capital."

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 10:29 AM | Permalink

Back To "The Nam"

The National Veterans Art Museum is proud to announce the upcoming exhibition Maurice Costello: Back to "The Nam", featuring artwork by Vietnam veteran and artist Maurice Costello.

Born in Clinton, Indiana in 1944, Maurice Costello was drafted into the U.S. Army in February 1967. He served for two years, one of which was spent on a tour of duty in Southeast Asia during the Vietnam War. In the years after his return he married, had two children, and received a bachelor's degree from Indiana State University and a master's degree from the University of Evansville. He taught secondary art and worked as a guidance counselor for 29 years. Throughout this time, he actively repressed his memories of Vietnam.

Screen Shot 2019-07-24 at 10.10.30 AM.png

After nearly three decades of civilian life and eschewing his past experiences, Costello began to allow these recollections and reflections to reemerge through his art practice. Eventually the exploration of his memories resulted in his first installation related to his military experience titled Autobiography, which has been a prized part of the National Veterans Art Museum's permanent collection since 2009.

The First Time Ever
Beginning August 17th, the NVAM will exhibit the Autobiography series, including a brand new and final portrait of the artist, along with Costello's entire collection of artworks related to his memories of Vietnam and post-military life in Maurice Costello: Back to "The Nam."

The exhibit expands on the original four works to fully develop the artist's visual sojourn tracing his life experiences from the callowness of adolescence through the trials, terrors and triumphs of the war and its aftermath, and finally to a mature tranquility achieved nearly five decades later.

The works featured in Back to "The Nam" depict personal recollections and sometimes haunting images that lay bare the emotions that have never before been shared by the aging combatant and provide a deeper introspection into the horror that is war.

This collection of Costello's work provides a vivid representation of the evolution and breadth of his approach to art and life.

Screen Shot 2019-07-24 at 10.13.59 AM.png

As a part of the culmination of this project, Costello recently returned to Vietnam with his wife and found that the experience was especially enlightening.

The stark contrast between the early memories that inspired this exhibition and the understanding of the healing that can take place on both sides with the passing of time have served to bring about a final reconciliation, recognition, and peaceful closure that was "The NAM."

"This exhibition truly reflects the roots and character of NVAM's mission, and we're honored to share Maurice Costello's artistic journey through his memories of military service and the process of reconciliation through his compelling art," says NVAM Executive Drector Brendan Foster.

Maurice Costello: Back to "The Nam" will be on display at the NVAM from August 17 through January 25.

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 10:05 AM | Permalink

The [Wednesday] Papers

You can find my vital, must-read Mueller testimony commentary on Twitter.

I will, however, highlight this tweet here, because it didn't get the attention it deserves in so wittily articulating the frustration with his unwillingness - at least in the first half of the proceedings - to actually say anything:

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New on the Beachwood today . . .

McKinley Park Residents Furious At Illinois EPA Over Asphalt Plant
They say the agency is ignoring its own rules and dozens of air quality complaints filed in the first year of the plant's operation.

*

Back To The "Nam"
Maurice Costello's new exhibition depicts personal recollections and sometimes haunting images that lay bare the emotions that have never before been shared by the aging combatant and provide a deeper introspection into the horror that is war.

*

NCAA Dings DePaul's Code Of Silence
Men's basketball coach Dave Leitao suspended, program put on probation.

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Etsy Buys Chicago's Reverb
$275 million cash deal.

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ChicagoReddit

Does anyone know where to find Guanciale (cured pig jowl) in Chicago? from r/chicago

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ChicagoGram

View this post on Instagram

Don't ever anger the elephants! 😍#fineart #chicago

A post shared by KFOX (@madamegazette) on

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ChicagoTube

Chicago's Tactile Artist James E. Williams & The Blind Service Association.

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BeachBook

The Moon Is Covered In Human Poo.

*

Wonder Where Generic Drug Names Come From? These Two Chicago Women, That's Where.

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'Museums Are Contested Sites' | An Interview With SAIC Director.

*

McDonald's Loves Exploiting Our Public Schools.

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TweetWood
A non-Mueller sampling.

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The Beachwood McRibTipLine: Yankee doodle.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 12:58 AM | Permalink

July 23, 2019

Illinois Beaches Can Make You Sick

With summer in full swing, Illinois beachgoers should beware: It might not be safe to go in the water.

Last year, all 19 beaches sampled across the state had water pollution levels that put swimmers at risk of getting sick on at least half of days tested last year, according to a new report by Environment Illinois Research & Policy Center.

The study, Safe for Swimming?, looked at fecal bacteria data from beaches and found alarming results.

Fecal bacteria can make people ill, particularly with gastrointestinal ailments. Common sources of this pollution include stormwater runoff and sewage overflows. An estimated 57 million people nationwide get sick from swimming in polluted waters annually, according to a 2018 study.

Safe for Swimming? includes several recommendations to prevent bacterial pollution and keep our beaches safe for swimming. Rain barrels, rooftop gardens, permeable pavement, and urban green space can all absorb stormwater runoff and prevent sewage overflows. Congress is now considering legislation to increase funding for such "green infrastructure" projects through the Clean Water State Revolving Fund.

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See also:

* WBEZ: The Scoop On Poop At Chicago's Beaches.

* USA Today: There's Poop In The Water' At America's Dirtiest Beaches. Is Yours On The List?

* Patch: Unsafe Bacteria Levels Close 4 Evanston Beaches To Swimming.

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 8:40 AM | Permalink

The [Tuesday] Papers

"Mayor Lori Lightfoot and immigrant rights groups have sought to get Marriott hotels to cancel or move a trade conference hosted by U.S. Customs and Border Protection out of Chicago - but the convention will likely start on Tuesday as planned," the Sun-Times reports.

"The agency is set to hold its annual trade symposium at the Marriott Marquis Chicago in the South Loop on Tuesday and Wednesday."

As I've said before, I don't think it's fully appreciated that some local and state governments are essentially (and rightly) in a cold war with a federal law enforcement agency.

"Lightfoot said late Monday afternoon she tried to get the conference moved out of the city, but was unsuccessful.

"As soon as I became aware that the Department of Homeland Security and U.S. Customs and Border Protection would be holding a Trade Symposium in Chicago, I sought the movement of this conference to a location outside of Chicago," the mayor said in a statement.

"When it became clear that Marriott was unable to accommodate our demand, I mobilized city resources to facilitate the peaceful protest against the conference, ensure the protection of First Amendment rights and to safeguard all guests and visitors on the McCormick Place campus."

What sayeth you, Marriott?

"Two weeks ago, Marriott said it would 'decline any requests' from government agencies to detain immigrants at their hotels.

But Marriott is perfectly willing to host the would-be detainers.

"[A] Marriott spokesperson said in a statement sent Monday that it 'welcomes all' guests that seek to hold functions at its hotels."

In other words, All Guests Matter.

"We are a hospitality company that provides public accommodations. In terms of how we would treat CBP or other government employees who seek to stay or hold events at our hotels, we have said that we would accommodate them like we would any other guest," the company said.

The statement also said that Marriott does not take a position on the views of CBP or any guests that hold functions at their hotels.

"In accordance with the company's long-standing approach, allowing a group to use Marriott's facilities in no way suggests the company endorses the group's views," the spokesperson said.

So no problem if the KKK wanted to hold a convention at a Marriott?

*

Meanwhile . . .

*

You should definitely not go to Yelp or TripAdvisor to complain about the (well-rated) Marriott Marquis. Let's keep it civil, people!

*

Meanwhile, in Charlotte:

"The Charlotte City Council on Monday night supported a resolution to 'strongly condemn,' among other things, President Donald Trump's recent call for four congresswomen to leave the United States and supporters' recent 'Send Her Back' chant during a rally in North Carolina," the News & Observer there reports.

"Monday's vote followed a brief discussion on whether city leaders could legally back out of Charlotte's agreement with the Republican National Committee to host its 2020 convention - a move that would, according to the city's attorney, assuredly land Charlotte in a costly legal fight."

Wow, is there any precedent for that?

"The resolution, which passed on a 9-2 vote, specifically calls out tweets and comments from Trump as 'racist and xenophobic' and criticizes his assessment of white supremacist supporters in Charlottesville as 'very fine people.'

"All Democrats on the council supported the resolution. Republican members . . . voted against it."

*

So on one side we have a president and his party and followers continuing to enable if not offer full-throated support of out-and-out white supremacy and racism. On the other side, we have four freshman congresswomen who are not part of a jihad squad. That's why I find the coverage of this next turn of the wheel in the Illinois meme wars so distressingly built upon the false framing of both-sidesing and false equivalency.

The notion that the MAGA hat is the new white sheet is not new, and has graced many an editorial cartoon. The notion that the four freshmen are a Jihad Squad is not only verifiably false but undeniably racist - lending further credence that the president's supporters are not at all dissimiliar from from Klan members. They are not equally as vile as much as one proves the other. Let's not make mistake that.

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Understand the moment, people.

-

New on the Beachwood today . . .

Illinois Beaches Can Make You Sick
They're literally full of shit.

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ChicagoReddit

Has anyone here purchased one of Chicago's $1 lots? from r/chicago

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ChicagoGram

View this post on Instagram

Frida at bat

A post shared by Michael Jacob (@st.mojo) on

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ChicagoTube

CTA "L" Transit: 1981-87 Budd Company 2600-series door chime.

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TweetWood
A sampling.

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*

*

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The Beachwood McRibTipLine: Have it your way.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 12:44 AM | Permalink

July 22, 2019

The [Monday] Papers

"Former Vice President Joe Biden has used Barack Obama's beloved status among Democratic voters to insulate him from criticism from the massive field of candidates jockeying to be the next president," the Daily Beast reports.

"But in recent weeks, the Democratic frontrunner has had that legacy used against him, with his competitors pointing the to shortcomings of the last Democratic administration as evidence that Biden's not up to the task of leading the next one.

"Barack Obama, personally, is incredibly popular among Democratic primary voters," Karthik Ganapathy, a progressive consultant now running his own firm, told The Daily Beast. "And also at the same time, there's a growing recognition that income and wealth inequality got worse under his eight years, the climate crisis got worse during his eight years, deportations went up during his time in office, and so on."

No comment.

*

"On issues stemming from immigration to health care and foreign policy, the 2020 candidates have been increasingly critical in their public assessments of the Obama administration. And they've used opportunities from the debate stage to candidate forums to try and turn Biden's ties to the former president from an overwhelming asset into something more complicated . . .

"The subtle targeting of Biden has come as Democratic activists and progressives have continued to grapple with the Obama legacy as well. In particular, the Trump administration's family separation policy and inhumane conditions in detention facilities has sparked a broader conversation among Democratic voters about whether the Obama administration's own deportation policies laid the groundwork for the current controversies."

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See also:

* Washington Post: Margaret Sullivan: Shocked By Trump's Aggression Against Reporters And Sources? The Blueprint Was Made By Obama.

* The Bureau of Investigative Journalism: CIA Torture Unredacted: Revealing What Was Hidden In The U.S. Senate Torture Report.

"The impetus for our investigation came from the long-awaited publication of a report into CIA torture by the US Senate Select Intelligence Committee. The authors of this report had high-level access to internal CIA documents, which they mined to produce a damning assessment of the torture program's brutality, mismanagement and ineffectiveness. But they were compelled by the Obama administration, and by the CIA itself, to censor - 'redact' - all parts of the report that could identify specific times and places where abuses had occurred.

"This is important, because without being able to tie illegal activities to specific times and places, the quest for redress is hamstrung, and meaningful accountability - legal, public, historical - remains a mirage."

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Last Chance
Chance The Rapper Expected To Perform In Chicago Before Bears Season Opener.

I'd rather have the alligator.

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Butter Stuff
"After years of declining sales, it was time to lay a finger on Butterfinger," the Tribune reports.

"The iconic candy bar, with its bright orange filling and familiar "nobody lay a finger on my Butterfinger" ad campaign, has experienced a sales turnaround since relaunching early this year with a new recipe and a new look, according to executives at Oakbrook Terrace-based Ferrara Candy.

"It is among several legacy brands getting a reboot since Ferrara's parent company, Italy's Ferrero Group, purchased Nestle's U.S. confectionary business last year, helping reinforce Chicago's reputation as the nation's candy-making capital."

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Also: Famous Butterburger Chain Culver's Plans Third Chicago Restaurant In Ravenswood.

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Idea: Stick the Butterfingers in the Butterburgers.

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Net Set
White Sox To Play First Home Game With Extended Protective Netting.

Long overdue. I was at a White Sox game a couple weeks ago with sitting behind home plate and you really can't notice the netting unless you try - and even then you can see the game fine, as many others have also noted.

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Cubs Extending Netting At Wrigley Field.

Oh, wait, that's from 2018, extending the netting to the outfield edge of the dugouts.

Your move, Ricketts.

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See also: The White Sox, Tigers And Nationals Just Did Something Amazing For Their Fans (And Taught A Major League Lesson In Leadership).

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Pilsen Miracle
"A city effort to preserve the architectural history of 18th Street in Pilsen seems to have accomplished the impossible: bring together developers and affordable housing activists to oppose a plan they say will unnecessarily complicate development and make maintaining existing housing stock prohibitively expensive," the Chicago Reporter says.

Click through to get caught up if you haven't been following this story.

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Brand X
Naperville Votes To 'Protect The Brand,' Banning Recreational Pot Sales.

That's about right.

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Good job, Naperville. No one in your community of almost 150,000 people is buying, selling or smoking pot and you're keeping it that way!

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New on the Beachwood . . .

Highlights | Pitchfork 2019
15 favorites.

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Breaking: Trump Still Racist
"What's going on?" an exasperated Jonathan Pie, TV Reporter, asks. "What is this lack of moral backbone? We've crossed a line. Stand up to this man - this stupid, deluded, talentless, fucking joke of a moron of a man is a joke no longer."

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Trump & Hitler
From The New Yorker to The Daily Show, a lot of media folks are finally making the comparison.

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Smokey The Controversial Bear
Sometimes Smokey gets caught in the middle of the campaign's roots in World War II patriotism, propaganda and racism.

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Tube Packaging Market Worth $9.3 Billion By 2021
According to the report Tube Packaging Market by Type (Squeeze Tubes, Twist Tubes), Application (Cosmetics & Oral Care, Food & Beverages, Pharmaceuticals, Cleaning Products), Material (Laminated, Aluminum, Plastic), and Region - Global Forecast to 2021.

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From the Beachwood Sports Desk . . .

The Beachwood Radio Sports Hour #261: Cubs As They Are
Just see the team in front of you, please. Plus: The Candy Man, Where Will Willy Play, Theo's Trades & Bad Baserunning; Rested White Sox Wither; Bears Angry At Video Game Ratings; Mark Potash vs. Stan Bowman; and Best Offseason Ever?

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SportsMonday: Rolling Cubs Hit Tough Road
Facing their biggest weaknesses: Away games and a missing bat.

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The White Sox Report: Right On Streaky Schedule
Following the Cubs' and Astros' templates to a 'T.'

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ChicagoReddit

An actual post from the Illinois Republican County Chair Association from r/chicago

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ChicagoGram

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ChicagoTube

Rick Ross Performs In Chicago for ComplexCon.

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BeachBook

Scientists Write Eulogy To Iceland's First Glacier Lost To Climate Change.

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Hotels Face Battle On Whether To Help House US Migrants.

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EFF Sues AT&T, Data Bounty Hunters.

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Debunking The Capitalist Cowboy.

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The Lonely Pursuit Of Air Hockey Greatness.

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Secretly Recorded Phone Call Offers Window Into How Live Nation Helped Metallica And Other Artists Place Tickets Directly On Resale Market.

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Chicago's 'Queen Of Tape' Makes Art With Duct Tape.

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TweetWood
A sampling.

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Cubs' Ricketts Family To Provide Ivy For Trump's Border Wall.

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The Beachwood McRibTipLine: Ivy league.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 11:04 AM | Permalink

Highlights | Pitchfork 2019

In no particular order.

1. Charli XCX.


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2. Khruangbin.

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3. Ibeyi.

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4. Clairo.

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5. Robyn.

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6. Jeremih.

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7. JPEGMAFIA.

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8. Stereolab.

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9. Sky Ferreira.

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10. Ric Wilson.

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11. Belle & Sebastian.

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12. CHAI.

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13. Parquet Courts.

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14. Rico Nasty.

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15. The Isley Brothers.

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 10:30 AM | Permalink

Trump And Hitler

What one Christian does is his own responsibility. What one Jew [Muslim] does is thrown back at all Jews [Muslims]. - Anne Frank, The Diary of a Young Girl (1944)

Being a person of neither creative nor mental ability, he mindlessly finds himself inspired by the actions of a man who, many years ago, like Trump, was driven by a fierce hatred for a group of people he considered threatening to his way of life. In Trump, this hatred manifests itself in Islamophobia.

Both before and after becoming president, Trump's anti-Muslim sentiments were well-known. During the presidency of Barack Obama, Trump repeatedly insinuated in public comments that the president was secretly a Muslim. At a campaign rally in 2015, one of the attendees said to Trump, without being contradicted by Trump, that Obama is "not even an American."

The attendee went on to say to the candidate: "We have a problem in this country; it's called Muslims." As the man spoke, Trump interjected: "We need this question." The questioner then asked the candidate: "When can we get rid of them?"

Trump responded: "We're going to be looking at that and plenty of other things."

At a campaign rally in New Hampshire, Trump promised he would kick all Syrian refugees out of the country because they might be a secret army. "They could be ISIS . . . This could be one of the great tactical ploys of all time. A 200,000-man army, maybe."

Midway through his first year as president, Trump commented on the reported rise in crime in the UK and attributed the rise to what he called the "spread of radical Islamic terror."

Trump's repeated attempt to impose what was called a Muslim ban, a ban repeatedly struck down by federal courts, are well-known.

As observed at the outset, Trump was following in the footsteps of a well-known would-be world leader who perceived a threat posed by a group of people who were identified by the man who would become the leader of Germany - Adolf Hitler. Hitler's problem was not with Muslims, but with Jews.

Hitler's hatred of Jews was every bit the match for Trump's hatred of Muslims. Examples of Hitler's sentiments can be found in Collection of Speeches 1922-1945. In a speech given by Hitler in Munich on April 12, 1922, he gave vent to his hatred of Jews.

Discussing the idea that different races can be distinguished by their approaches to work, Hitler said that in contrast to the Aryan, "The Jew regards work as the means to the exploitation of other peoples . . ."

Quoting Theodor Mommsen, Hitler continued, saying: "The Jew is the ferment of decomposition in peoples that means that the Jew destroys and must destroy because he completely lacks the conception of an activity which builds up the life of the community. And, therefore, it is beside the point whether the individual Jew is 'decent' or not. In himself he carries those characteristics which Nature has given him, and he cannot ever rid himself of those characteristics."

Hitler's hatred finds a mirror in Trump's characterization of Muslims. In a Fox News interview on March 30, 2011, a time when Trump, like Hitler, had not yet risen to power, Trump was asked by Bill O'Reilly whether there was a "Muslim problem." In response, echoing Hitler's comments about Jews, Trump said: "Absolutely. I mean, I don't notice Swedish people knocking down the World Trade Center. There is a Muslim problem in the world, and you know it and I know it."

In a speech in Munich on July 28, 1922, describing the role of the Jew in German society, Hitler said: "It is a battle which began nearly 120 years ago, at the moment when the Jew was granted citizen rights in the European States. The political emancipation of the Jews was the beginning of an attack of delirium. For thereby they were given full citizen rights and equality for a people which was much more clearly and definitely a race apart than all others, that has always formed and will form a State within the State . . . That did not happen perhaps at one blow, but it came about . . . first a little finger, then a second and a third . . . until at last a people that in the eighteenth century still appeared completely alien had won equal citizen-rights with ourselves."

Mirroring Hitler's comments about Jews, Trump told Fox News on November 20, 2015, that he wanted a database for Syrian refugees entering the country because: "They've already started coming in . . . which is absolutely ridiculous. I think it's a Trojan horse and plenty of problems are going to be caused."

Like Trump, Hitler liked long speeches. His July 28, 1922. speech was approximately 6,140 words in length and would have taken over an hour for Hitler to deliver. Trump's speech at his June 26 rally in Orlando lasted more than an hour.

It is a sad day for our country when comparisons between the leader of Nazi Germany, and the president of the United States, are apt. It is an even sadder day when his own party doesn't seem to notice.

This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 License.

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See also:

* The New Yorker: The Weaponization Of National Belonging, From Nazi Germany To Trump.

* Salon: This Is The Week It Became Accurate To Compare Trump To Hitler.

* The Forward: Trump And Hitler Are More Alike Than We Think.

* The Daily Beast: Trevor Noah Compares Trump To Hitler.

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 10:03 AM | Permalink

Tube Packaging Market Worth $9.3 Billion By 2021

According to a research report Tube Packaging Market by Type (Squeeze Tubes, Twist Tubes), Application (Cosmetics & Oral Care, Food & Beverages, Pharmaceuticals, Cleaning Products), Material (Laminated, Aluminum, Plastic), and Region - Global Forecast to 2021, published by MarketsandMarkets™, the Tube Packaging Market size is estimated to grow from $6.65 Billion in 2016 to $9.3 Billion by 2021, at a CAGR of 6.9%.

Download PDF Brochure.

The tube packaging market is projected to witness significant growth in the next few years with the increasing demand from the cosmetics industry for tube packaging as tubes protect cosmetic products from bacteria; in addition, squeeze tubes limit the exposure of the content to the outer atmosphere, thus increasing the shelf-life of the products.

Cosmetics & Oral Care Gain Maximum Traction During The Forecast Period

The cosmetics & oral care segment dominated the market in 2015 and is projected to be the fastest-growing end-user sector in the next five years, as a result of the increase in demand for innovative packaging in various industries, which drives the market for tube packaging. Tube packaging is re-closable, non-reactive, allows for easy dispensing, and is available in small packages.

Laminated Segment To Grow At Highest Rate

The laminated segment is projected to grow at the highest CAGR during the forecast period, as a result of the increase in demand for packaging with excellent barrier protection, which is essential for packaging pharmaceutical products. Laminated tubes also minimize the transfer of oxygen and light, thus protecting the substance, which also drives the demand for laminated tubes.

European Region Accounts For Largest Market Share

The UK contributes a major market share in the European tube packaging market. The demand for convenient, safe, and sustainable packaging will drive the market for tube packaging in the UK. Europe is a developed region; with busy lifestyles and growing working population, the demand for convenience and on-the-go food is high, which is driving the market for tube packaging.

The Major Players In The Tube Packaging Market

Include Amcor ltd. (Australia), Albea Group (France), Huhtamaki OYJ (Finland),Constantia Flexible (Austria), Sonoco Product Company (US), VisiPak ltd (US), Essel Propack Ltd (India), Montebello packaging (Canada), and Unette Corporation (US).

Related Reports:

* Stand-Up Pouches Market by Type (Aseptic, Standard, Retort, Hot-filled), Form (Round Bottom, Rollstock, K-Style, Plow/Folded Bottom, Flat Bottom), Closure Type (Top Notch, Zipper, Spout), Application, and Region - Global Forecast to 2023

* Medical Packaging Market by Material (Polymer, Non-woven Fabric, Paper & Paperboard), Packaging Type (Bags & Pouches, Trays, Boxes), Application (Medical Equipment & Tools, Medical Devices, Implants, IVDs), Packing Type, and Region - Forecast to 2022

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Previously in markets:

* Global Chewing Gum Market On Fire.

* Global Chainsaw Market On Fire.

* Automatic Labeling Machine Market On Fire.

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 9:47 AM | Permalink

SportsMonday: Rolling Cubs Hit Tough Road

Time for a positive column on the Cubs.

They won two of three over the weekend. And they did so despite the good work of a young Padre shortstop, Fernando Tatis, Jr., who looks like he will be torturing White Sox fans for the next decade-plus.

The Cubs (54-45) now lead the Brewers in the NL Central by three games in the loss column. Yes, they need more hitting, but Theo is on the case. And he still has a week-and-a-half to make moves before the July 31 trade deadline. Trades or no trades, at the end of the day Sunday the Cubs boasted an 85.6 percent playoff probability, according to Fangraphs.

If they win the division or a wild card, that will mark a fifth consecutive year of postseason baseball on the North Side. No Chicago baseball team has appeared in the playoffs more than two consecutive years in the last 110 seasons.

General Manager Rick Hahn made some great trades for the White Sox the last few years when the owner finally said yes to a down-to-the-studs rebuild. But shortly before that, he made the move that could very well go down as the worst in White Sox history. We're talking potentially worse than Brock-Broglio.

Why Hahn agreed to include Tatis, a 20-year-old major league rookie this year, in the trade for Padres veteran pitcher James Shields in 2016 will never be completely known. At the very least it was a crushing breakdown in prospect talent evaluation.

Top White Sox prospect and former Cubs farmhand Eloy Jimenez has had a nice start for the White Sox highlighted by two gloriously clutch home runs against the Cubs. He certainly looks like could make North Side fans regret and then some the Jimenez and Dylan Cease for Jose Quintana trade as well.

But Tatis is a franchise centerpiece shortstop. Jimenez is so awkward in left field that he has already sent himself to the injured list twice with embarrassingly botched plays.

And then there is Tatis's hitting. His on-base percentage is only 64 points higher than his batting average, so he needs to work on getting a few more walks. Then again, his batting average is .324. He slugs .595 for an OPS of .983. Of course, you probably know this but that is ridiculously good, especially for a rookie.

He has had almost 250 at-bats so the league has had a chance to scout him and scout him again. By now virtually all rookies slump for at least a short time because major league pitchers adjust to them and they have to figure out how to adjust to major league pitchers, perhaps the toughest developmental hurdle in the game.

So far, no one has found a hole in Tatis's swing. He. Is. Ridiculous.

What's that you say? You thought this was supposed to be a column about the Cubs? Well, I've got a few more notes on the North Siders. They now head west for a series in San Francisco. In so doing they confront their biggest weakness this year - road games.

After those three games out west, starting with an 8:45 starting time tonight, the schedule gets real. The Cubs have three at Milwaukee, three at St. Louis and then three more against the Brewers back at Wrigley. After those nine games we should have a much better idea of who will be doing what in the Central this year.

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Jim "Coach" Coffman welcomes your comments.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 8:59 AM | Permalink

July 21, 2019

Streaky White Sox Right On Schedule

If Friday night's 9-2 pasting of the Tampa Bay Rays wasn't enough to assuage your consternation about the White Sox's post-All-Star Game slide, consider the following.

The two most recent successful rebuilding schemes, those of the Cubs and Astros, suffered very similar spells on their way to World Series titles in 2016 and 2017, respectively. This all happened during the 2014 season when the two future champions were at about the same stage of their development that the White Sox presently find themselves.

The Cubs, managed by Rickey Renteria, were showing progress toward the end of the season. After suffering 96 losses in 2013, the North Siders swept a three-game set with Milwaukee at the start of September to creep within 12 games of .500. However, things went awry very quickly.

The Cubs dropped their next seven in a row - sound familiar? - and were outscored 55-13 in doing so en route to a final record of 73-89. Keep in mind that Renteria was guiding part of the core of the future champions. Anthony Rizzo, Javy Baez, Jake Arrieta, Kyle Hendricks, and Pedro Strop - he was an asset at the time - all were members of the cast, while Kris Bryant was slamming 43 home runs in Double- and Triple-A where he remained the entire season.

Lest you ignore all things at Addison and Clark, the North Siders won 97 games the next season under Joe Maddon before getting swept in the NLDS by the Mets. In the four seasons since that 2014 debacle, the Cubs have averaged almost 97 wins, and now that they have a closer, seem destined at minimum to garner another division title this year.

The Astros didn't lose seven straight once in 2014. No, they did it twice, once in April and again in July. The second time they were outscored 57-22, similar to the Sox's recent skid when the opposition scored 50 runs to the Sox's 17.

The 'Stros finished the '14 season at 70-92 before winning 86 games the next year to make the postseason, where they lost a hard-fought 3-2 division series to eventual champion Kansas City. Houston won 101 and 103 games in 2017 and 2018, respectively, and they're 27 games over .500 today.

Like the Cubs, the heart of the future championship club in Houston was present during all the losing. Jose Altuve, George Springer, Marwin Gonzalez, Jake Marisnick, Dallas Keuchel, and Brad Peacock all saw action during that 2014 journey. Also like the Cubs, the Astros dumped manager Bo Porter in favor of A.J. Hinch, even though he had led an abysmal Diamondback team in 2009-10.

Shortstop Carlos Correa arrived in 2015 as a 20-year-old top prospect, and the astute free agent signings (Josh Reddick, Carlos Beltran, Yuli Gurriel, and pitcher Charlie Morton) and a trade for catcher Brian McCann solidified the roster that won it all in 2017. This, my friends, is how you do it.

Therefore, visions of Luis Robert patrolling center field most likely will have to wait until next spring regardless of how he continues to trash International League pitching. Expect to see a parade back and forth between Chicago and Charlotte of Adam Engel, Charlie Tilson, Ryan Goins, Zack Collins, and Daniel Palka, depending on who's healthy and who's on a hot streak.

You might see some tepid trade-deadline activity. Perhaps Jon Jay, a slightly above average journeyman, will be dealt to a contender looking for a fourth outfielder and dependable pinch-hitter. Closer Alex Colome is a coveted commodity, but he's signed through next season. Chances are general manager Rick Hahn will opt to keep Colome in case the Sox make a run a year from now.

Which brings us to the one guy mentioned last week as someone other clubs would love to have. Of course, we're talking about Jose Abreu, and the rumored suitor is the Boston Red Sox, last year's World Series champions. They are three games out of a wild-card berth and looking for help.

First base for the Red Sox has been a revolving door this season. Mitch Moreland, hitting .225, is on the injury list as is Steve Pearce, who really is an outfielder. Rookie Michael Chavis has been filling in, but he's played more third base than any other position in his minor league career. In a 5-0 loss Sunday, Brock Holt and Sam Travis split duties at first base. Abreu would be a major improvement.

In his six years in the league, Abreu has played 22 games at Fenway Park with a slash line of .330/.404/1.063 along with six home runs and 21 RBIs. Ya think the Red Sox could use him?

However, Boston has few, if any, prospects to barter. Their top youngster is listed at No. 94 overall by MLB.com. Possibly our Sox would be interested in time-tested pitchers on the Red Sox major league roster such as David Price or Rick Porcello, two pitchers unlikely to be traded by Boston. Chris Sale? He'd probably jump off the Green Monster if Boston informed him that he was being traded back from whence he came. Not happening.

Meanwhile, Hahn has contended all along that negotiations with Abreu's people will wait until the season ends. There must be rationale for this strategy, but what could it be? Abreu will be a free agent, and bids for his services will be formulated. If Jose were to go elsewhere, the White Sox would be compensated with draft picks, little consolation for losing a player of Abreu's stature. Perhaps Hahn possesses secret knowledge about clandestine agreements among the clubs in terms of competing for free agents. But that would be collusion, and we all know that's against the rules.

And Furthermore . . .

* Harold Baines was inducted into the Hall of Fame on Sunday in Cooperstown despite the fact that he never got more than 6.1 percent of the writers' votes when he was eligible five years after he retired. The Veterans Committee, which included Tony LaRussa and Jerry Reinsdorf, tabbed Baines for induction last winter.

I'm delighted for Harold, although I understand the criticism surrounding his induction.

However, I do believe that there are arguments both pro and con.

Baines' credentials, which include 2,866 hits over 22 seasons, appear more worthy than another former Sox player who also was elected by the Veterans Committee in 1955. Ray (Cracker) Schalk was the Sox catcher from 1912 until 1928. He was the premier defensive catcher of his era, throwing out more than half of would-be base stealers and catching as many as 142 games of a 154-game schedule.

Schalk, however, was a .253 lifetime hitter - the lowest batting average of any position player in the Hall - who accounted for a paltry 11 home runs in his entire career, while averaging 55 RBIs a season. Of course, Schalk was a member of the infamous 1919 World Series club which threw the championship to the Reds. But Schalk never was implicated. Apparently he played it straight - he hit .304 in the Series - and his purity might have been one reason why he was rewarded 36 years later.

* Isn't it time for the Cubs to remove the so-called basket from the outfield wall? Kyle Schwarber hit a 10th-inning walkoff last Tuesday that landed in the enclosure, which has been around since 1970 to lessen the chance of fan interference. However, check out the low barriers in places like Yankee Stadium, Oriole Park at Camden Yards, Minute Maid Park in Houston, and right field at Fenway Park, where the barrier is as low as three feet compared to the 11 to 15 feet at Wrigley. How often is fan interference called in these parks, where the fences also are a lot closer to home plate than the 355 and 353 feet down the lines at Wrigley?

Ernie Banks earned his homers. Schwarber and his mates should do so as well.

* Yankee manager Aaron Boone's profane outburst last Thursday at rookie umpire Brennan Miller, who was calling balls and strikes for fifth time in his career, was nothing more than hazing. It came on the heels of veteran Brett Gardner being called out on strikes, resulting in his bat-banging on the bat rack and the roof of the Yankee dugout while teammates, sitting inches away, acted as though nothing was happening.

First of all, Miller's calls were borderline at worst. Certainly better than CB Bucknor behind the plate in the White Sox' Friday game in St. Pete where both teams at least conducted themselves like adults. Boone, a third-generation major leaguer and former ESPN commentator, apologized the next day, saying that Miller acted with "a lot more class" than he did. But he should know better. The idea of sticking up for your players, of "having their backs," holds little water when the player, Gardner in this case, acts like a total asshole. If the umpire in question had been a veteran, the incident never would have occurred. It was a plain case of bullying a young guy who has worked hard to reach the highest level.

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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 10:07 PM | Permalink

At 75, Smokey The Bear Is Actually A Controversial Figure

Smokey Bear turns 75 on August 9th.

The star of the longest-running public-service advertising campaign in U.S. history is now big on social media, with Facebook, Flickr, Instagram and Twitter accounts.

smokeybear1.jpgThe PSA star, deployed in the wild/Joseph Sohm/Shutterstock

Americans are also still sending the imaginary character loads of real mail. The postal service has delivered hundreds of thousands of the bear's many letters and occasional jars of honey to his own ZIP code: 20252.

Some 96% of Americans recognized his constant reminder to keep forests safe, according to a survey in 2013, making him about as familiar as Mickey Mouse and Santa Claus.

By the way, there's no "the" in Smokey's name. The word was added by songwriters to make their 1952 medley dedicated to the iconic image more catchy:

Wartime Propaganda

I researched Smokey and six other public service ad campaigns for my book about the Ad Council, the nonprofit that creates public-service campaigns on behalf of clients like the U.S. Forest Service. It taught me that there's much more going on with that friendly face than you probably realize.

smokeybearbook.jpg

The fire-prevention campaign, like the Ad Council itself, has a past rooted in wartime propaganda.

A Japanese submarine had surfaced off the coast of California on Feb. 23, 1942, and fired a volley of shells toward an oil field. This first wartime attack on the U.S. mainland caused little property damage and no loss of life, but it had an enormous psychological impact.

The threat to America's national security, including its vast lumber supply, needed to build ships and guns to fight the war, worried government officials and business leaders alike. The Forest Service worked with what was then known as the War Advertising Council, and later became the Ad Council, to create a fire-prevention campaign.

Some of the early posters harnessed the power of prejudice. One depicted a caricature of a Japanese soldier with a menacing grin as he held a lighted match against the backdrop of a forest, flanked by the slogan "Careless Matches Aid the Axis - Prevent Forest Fires!"

smokeybear2.jpgLibrary of Congress

Another featured sinister renditions of Adolf Hitler and Japanese Prime Minister Hideki Tojo in front of a raging forest fire with the slogan, "Our Carelessness, Their Secret Weapon."

With the war winding down in 1944, the Forest Service wanted to keep the campaign going, educating Americans about forest fire prevention, minus the scary imagery. After briefly featuring Bambi, the deer from the popular Walt Disney 1942 film, the Forest Service landed on a black bear. It hired New York artist Albert Staehle, who had drawn "Butch," a floppy-eared cocker spaniel seen on Saturday Evening Post covers.

In 1944, Staehle created a tender-looking bear pouring a bucket of water over a campfire for the Forest Service. Three years later came the well-known slogan that told Americans, "Only you can prevent forest fires."

Whose Land Is It?

Sometimes, Smokey gets caught in the middle of the campaign's roots in World War II patriotism, propaganda and racism.

Some scholars who study anthropology and race, including geographer Jake Kosek, argue that the campaign is a symbol of white racist colonialism.

Kosek documented how the bear can trouble Native Americans, Chicanos and other people living off the land who are unhappy with the U.S. government's land management policies.

In the forests of Northern New Mexico, local people see Smokey's fire prevention message as a threat because they burn off small parts of the forest to plant crops or graze animals. Kosek found Smokey's posters riddled with bullets in protest.

Kosek said the fire-suppression campaign reflects a belief, deeply rooted in the Forest Service's history, that people who set fires in forests are deviants and evildoers.

A Smokey Effect

There is also growing controversy about whether the campaign's message contributes to the wildfire problem because research shows that some fires help forests.

To be sure, fire suppression as a policy didn't originate with Smokey. It started after a disastrous fire in 1910.

In the 1930s, there were 167,277 fires per year, according to a report from the Forest Service, other government agencies and the Ad Council. They credit Smokey for helping make that number fall to 106,306 in the 1990s. There may be fewer fires now - about 72,400 fires annually since 2000 - but they have grown larger and more destructive in many regards.

Contrary to Smokey's message, fires can be good for forests. There are forest management professionals who say the campaign interferes with the government's ability to manage the problem by preventing small fires that clear out underbrush and tiny trees.

This is called "the Smokey Bear effect."

The Forest Service itself said in its 2007 report, Be Careful What You Wish For: The Legacy of Smokey Bear, that this phenomenon has made forests less healthy and increased the intensity of wildfires in some areas

Despite his critics, Smokey seems destined for an even longer career. That's because the Insurance Information Institute says 90% of "wildland fires" in America are caused by people.

That could make Smokey's message as important as ever.

Wendy Melillo is an associate professor at the American University School of Communication. This article is republished from The Conversation under a Creative Commons license.

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Comments welcome.

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1. From Steve Rhodes:

I was a little confused by the ending. Certainly, while fires may be good for forest management, the author isn't suggesting humans should go ahead and set their own fires? I think she tries to distinguish, but not clearly enough, that fires themselves - controlled burns - can help maintain the health of a forest, but also that those fires should be left to the professionals, so I really don't get the argument.


Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 2:56 AM | Permalink

July 20, 2019

Breaking: Trump Still Racist

"What's going on? What is this lack of moral backbone? We've crossed a line. Stand up to this man - this stupid, deluded, talentless, fucking joke of a moron of a man is a joke no longer."


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Previously in Jonathan Pie, TV Reporter!:

* Jonathan Pie, TV Reporter! Explains The Economy.

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

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

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

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

* Jonathan Pie, TV Reporter! Merry Fucking Christmas.

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

* Jonathan Pie, TV Reporter! Sexy Skype.

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

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

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

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

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

* Jonathan Pie, TV Reporter! Charter Wankers International.

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

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

* Jonathan Pie, TV Reporter! Snapchatting The Environment.

* Jonathan Pie, TV Reporter! Election Fever!

* Jonathan Pie, TV Reporter! Day-Glo Fuck-Nugget Trump.

* Jonathan Pie, TV Reporter! Dickens Meets The Jetsons.

* Jonathan Pie, TV Reporter! Tony Blair: Comedy Genius Or Psychopath?

* Jonathan Pie, TV Reporter! What Real Business News Should Look Like.

* Jonathan Pie, TV Reporter! Facts Are No Longer Newsworthy.

* Pie's Brexit.

* Jonathan Pie, TV Reporter! Real Life Is Not Game Of Thrones.

* Jonathan Pie, TV Reporter! Labor: The Clue's In The Title!

* Jonathan Pie, TV Reporter! The Pie Olympics.

* Occupy Pie.

* Jonathan Pie, TV Reporter! Where Is The War Against Terrorble Mental Health Services?

* Progressive Pie.

* The BBC's Bake-Off Bollocks.

* Pie Commits A Hate Crime.

* Pie Interviews A Teenage Conservative.

* Jonathan Pie's Idiot's Guide To The U.S. Election.

* President Trump: How & Why.

* Jonathan Pie, TV Reporter! All The News Is Fake!

* Happy Christmas From Jonathan Pie.

* Jonathan Pie, TV Reporter! 2016 In Review.

* Inauguration Reporting.

* New Year: New Pie?

* Jonathan Pie, TV Reporter! Make The Air Fair.

* Jonathan Pie, TV Reporter! A Gift To Trump?

* Jonathan Pie, TV Reporter! Strong And Unstable.

* Pie & Brand: Hate, Anger, Violence & Carrying On.

* Socialism Strikes Back!

* Jonathan Pie, TV Reporter! Election Carnage.

* Jonathan Pie, TV Reporter! Papering Over Poverty.

* Jonathan Pie, TV Reporter! The Queen's Speech.

* Showdown: North Korea vs. Trump.

* Time For The Royal Scroungers To Earn Their Keep.

* Cricket vs. Brexit.

* The Real Jonathan Pie.

* A Hostile Environment.

* Jonathan Pie | Trump's America.

* Pie: Putin's America.

* Amazon And The Way Of The World.

* Horseface, Ho-Hum.

* Of Turbines, Trump And Twats.

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Plus:

If Only All TV Reporters Did The News Like This.

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And:

Australia Is Horrific.

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 10:03 PM | Permalink

July 19, 2019

The Beachwood Radio Sports Hour #261: Cubs As They Are

Just see the team in front of you, please. Plus: The Candy Man, Where Will Willy Play, Theo's Trades & Bad Baserunning; Rested White Sox Wither; Bears Angry At Video Game Ratings; Mark Potash vs. Stan Bowman; and Best Offseason Ever?


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SHOW NOTES

* 261.

* Rhodes solo: The Beachwood Radio Sports Hour #260.

1:37: Coach In Mexico City.

* 2019 Pan American Maccabi Games; Illinois residents participating.

* Jewish Telegraph Agency: Mexico City's Jewish Mayor Wants To Be Identified By Her Policies, Not Her Ethnicity.

* Wikipedia: History Of The Jews In Mexico.

14:24: Cubs As They Are.

* Joe Maddon's Pirate Dream.

* The Other Teams Got A Rest, Too!

23:50: The Candy Man, Where Will Willy Play, Theo's Trades & Bad Baserunning.

* You want Martin Maldonado in there at times like this.

* Mike Montgomery has left the room.

* The Cubs too often have nothing left to show of their trades - except a World Series, of course, but still.

* Disrespecting 90, 180, 270, and 360.

41:29 Rested White Sox Wither.

* Fernando Tatis Jr. and Manny Machado come to town, but not in White Sox uniforms. Luis Robert not in town.

* Coffman: "The White Sox were a house of cards."

* Rickey Renteria only on the theoretical hot seat.

* Rosenthal: Steve Stone Tweets Call For Patience After 7th Straight White Sox Loss. Fires Back At 'Clown Show,' 'Tire Fire.'

Really, Stoney? Hawk Stone.

53:47: Bears Angry At Video Game Ratings.

* Chase Daniel Reveals Ratings To Teammates.

* Mike Davis Isn't Happy With Mitch Trubisky's Madden 20 Rating

And so on.

56:29: Mark Potash vs. Stan Bowman vs. Read The Replies Too.

* We miss Panarin, Teravainen, and now, Anisimov. Plus, Daley and Kempny. That's a helluva team they could've had!

1:04:16: Best Offseason Ever?

* The NBA is hitting on all cylinders.

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STOPPAGE: 7:23

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Bonus TrackNotes:

* E-mail from Tom Chambers, our man on the rail:

If you haven't finished recording the podcast yet . . . (we were in the midst of it):

Several tracks are closed tomorrow because of the heat.

-> Saratoga closed. Feature was to be the Coaching Club American Oaks (Grade I, 3-year-old fillies, $500,000). They hope to open Sunday and run it then.

-> Not sure as of now if Monmouth, on the Jersey Shore, is going to close, although I hope they do. Not sure how much of a shit they give. The Haskell Invitational (Grade I, 3-year-olds, $1,000,000). Forecast is for 95+ degrees.

These are the other closings as of now: Belterra Park, Delaware Park, Ellis Park, Finger Lakes Gaming & Racetrack, Laurel Park, Parx Racing.

Later from Tom:

Maldonado just framed a K!

With these umps, need that.

Is he any relation to Candy?

Not Candy Ride. He's a horse. Bred in Argentina and he's a happy stud up here.

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

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 4:15 PM | Permalink

The [Friday] Papers

For completionists, there was no column on Thursday.

An unexpectedly boozy long night on Wednesday screwed up the start of my latest long Weekend at Benny's, and I've been trying to catch up ever since. Almost there.

I'm working on a column to post later today or as a Weekend Desk Report and, as of this writing, at 1 p.m., I just finished recording The Beachwood Radio Sports Hour #261 with Jim "Coach" Coffman. I'll have that up later today.

5:51 P.M. Update: It's up!

In the meantime, here's some placeholder stuff because I hate seeing "The [Wednesday] Papers" up there when it's Friday.

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ChicagoReddit

Stockpiling of alcohol causing problems for Chicago housewives - Lietuva Newspaper July 18, 1919 from r/chicago

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ChicagoGram

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ChicagoTube

Yvette Young demos the Caroline Guitar Co. Somersault Lo-Fi Modulator at Chicago Music Exchange.

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BeachBook

Volkswagen Cheated On Pollution Standards And Made Thousands Of Kids Sick.

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University Of Minnesota Creates New Reggae Institute.

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Windy City Rehab Teaming Up With New Contractor To Resolve Permit Violations.

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Martha Plimpton Has Left Steppenwolf.

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TweetWood
A sampling.

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*

*

First, there was nothing "Chicago" about it, which is fine, but why not just call the show PD? Second, it was like NYPD Blue-lite. I revere NYPD Blue, but there was so much more meat on the bone on that show, from the original, crack writing to the innovative-at-the-time "jiggly" cameras, to the expert direction. And, of course, the performances. Chicago PD is like NYPD Blue for the masses, so to speak, not that NYPD Blue wasn't quite popular, but it was like a dumbed-down version that took old-fashioned, unambiguous police stories and tried to fit them into a toned-down version of NYPD Blue's creative frames. In other words, a defanged NYPD Blue. Also, the characters were totally unbelievable. I miss the underrated Chicago Code, which needed more time to sort out its flaws. That was a "Chicago" show - and one that could have played nationally if deployed correctly.

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The Beachwood McRibTipLine: Burn the ends.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 10:27 AM | Permalink

July 17, 2019

Catching Heat

Willson Contreras is not good enough defensively. He is a terrible pitch framer and almost as bad at the fundamental task of stopping pitches in the dirt.

He is not a championship catcher, plain and simple.

Theo Epstein used Contreras's injury and subsequent trip to the Injured List as a pretext for finalizing a deal with the Royals for veteran Martin Maldonado this week. And perhaps that will assuage Contreras's feelings about the deal.

But this was not a trade for 10 days, not even close. This was a trade for finishing out the season with Maldonado in position to do a lot of catching and for Joe Maddon to then have the flexibility to use Contreras and Victor Caratini in the corner outfield spots and first base.

What's that you say, Contreras played a key role behind the plate for the World Series-winning Cubs in 2016? In crunch time, David Ross was behind the plate. And that is where Mr. Maldonado will be this time around.

No way the Cubs trade Mike Montgomery for a third catcher. And remember, as Theo so helpfully reminded us on Tuesday, Maldonado essentially took over as the Astros' lead catcher down the stretch and through their playoff run last year. He has experience and he has experience when the stakes are high.

Montgomery has had a rough year but he is still the same guy who was so good for the Cubs last year, making 19 starts and posting a 3.61 ERA. He wants to start and you had the feeling that being back in the bullpen this time around wasn't exactly a great motivator for him.

The lefty was almost somber as he bowed out of Chicago, remembering so many good times and. of course, the recording of the final out of the World Series championship. We also remember at this time that Montgomery has talked about the fact that he was exhausted during that outing because Maddon had warmed him up three times before getting him up again for the 10th and finally bringing him in. Despite his fatigue, Montgomery recorded the biggest outs in Cubs history.

So it is a bummer to leave that behind. My guess is also that Montgomery knows he will miss life on the North Side. However, here is his chance to pitch every fifth day and finally, absolutely establish himself as a major league starter. He gets a fresh start in in a new town.

Back here in Chicago, so many commentators still refuse to talk about the fact that this trade was made because of Contreras's defensive deficiencies. Watching Ozzie Guillen and Doug Glanville on the NBC Sports Chicago's Baseball Night in Chicago was just ridiculous. Guillen thought Contreras's injury must be worse than advertised and Glanville was just completely clueless.

The Cubs will have to be careful with Contreras in the outfield because, as Theo noted on Tuesday, a baseball player stresses different muscles to play there than he does to catch. My guess is when Conteras comes back he will start a majority of games behind the plate but he won't finish them there. Maybe if the Cubs are behind he moves to left or right to keep his bat in the lineup. And maybe if they are winning he just comes out.

Of course, they won't be winning much if Maddon keeps going with the ridiculous lineup he deployed again last night. Management might have to stage an intervention to force Maddon to acknowledge that Kyle Schwarber batting first and Javy Baez second is the worst lineup he could put out there.

The Cubs were so fortunate that Alec Mills and the 'pen held the Reds down on a night when the Cubs should have scored a half dozen runs easily. Yes, Schwarber hit the pop fly home run into the basket that won the game, but before that he never got the ball out of the infield in his first four at-bats.

One-for-five doesn't cut it but it is an expected outcome for a player whose on-base percentage was ready to dip below .320 again before the final hit.

Maybe Maldonado can lead off.

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Jim "Coach" Coffman welcomes your comments.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 11:13 AM | Permalink

The [Wednesday] Papers

Now that Gatorgate is over, I'm going to try to ease myself back into the news which has been piling up over here due to procrastination, boredom, depression, frustration, and general so-sick-of-it-iveness.

Fortunately, given the heat wave moving in, I'll be working from the comfort of the Beachwood's Bucktown Benny Bureau today through Tuesday. Great timing, Dr. Nick!

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No Words

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Gag Rule Reflux
"The Trump administration's decision to immediately bar family planning funds to groups, like Planned Parenthood, that perform or refer women for abortion could force some states and organizations to abandon the federal program that pays for contraception for low-income women," Politico reports.

"The administration said it will move forward with its new family planning overhaul, which critics deride as an abortion 'gag rule,' as it faces ongoing legal challenges from nearly two dozen states and organizations, including Planned Parenthood, the largest single recipient of funding in the program, known as Title X. States and groups opposing the new rules say the policy creates serious gaps in access for the roughly 4 million women who depend on the $250 million-plus program for birth control, cancer screenings and other health services . . .

"Planned Parenthood, which serves more than 40 percent of the nation's Title X patients, confirmed Monday night it won't comply with the new rules. The group said Its clinics will start using their own emergency funds while it continues to fight the administration in court."

*

In Illinois, Planned Parenthood will lose more than $3 million in funding, according to Crain's.

Planned Parenthood of Illinois has been preparing for such a rule since President Donald Trump took office, spokeswoman Julie Lynn said.

"There are emergency funds in place, but they won't be around forever," she added.

Will they at least be there until the next election?

*

Also, I suspect Planned Parenthoods in many other states don't have the kind of emergency funds they do in Illinois, but maybe that's where the national organization comes in.

*

Family Planning Clinics No Longer Allowed To Family Plan.

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A Tale of Two Prosecutors
A statement by Rev. Jesse Jackson (link added):

The violent death of Eric Garner in New York City five years ago was captured on a cellphone camera for all the world to see. As a New York City police officer pulled him to the sidewalk and applied an illegal chokehold, Garner's last words were also recorded and quickly became a nationwide rallying cry for police reform.

"I can't breathe," he gasped. "I can't breathe."

Garner's alleged offense? He was suspected of selling loose, untaxed cigarettes.

Now comes word that U.S. Attorney General William Barr has made the dubious decision not to bring federal civil rights charges against the officer, Daniel Pantaleo. In letting the officer walk free and clear, Barr exercised his prosecutorial discretion - a legal prerogative American prosecutors exercise every day across the country with little public fanfare.

But when Cook County States' Attorney Kim Foxx, a progressive African-American female prosecutor, applied the same legal logic - prosecutorial discretion - to drop charges in the overhyped, overcharged nonviolent Jussie Smollett case, Chicago turned upside down.

Foxx's decision led the evening news for weeks. It dominated the front pages of Chicago daily newspapers. National media outlets also got in on the hype. It was a media frenzy about a case in which no one was killed or even injured, and for which Smollett would not have served jail time. The Fraternal Order of Police held protests outside of Foxx's office, demanding she resign for doing something prosecutors do every day.

To be fair and balanced, FOP members should be packing their bags at this very moment, headed for Washington to hold a similar protest outside the office of Attorney General William Barr.

I'm not sure the analogy holds, but the FOP's hypocrisy certainly does.

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Remembering John Paul Stevens
"Retired Supreme Court Justice John Paul Stevens died on Tuesday at 99. He was, in a thousand ways, the last gasp of an era," Slate reports.

Stevens was born on April 20, 1920, in Chicago, to a prosperous family that survived financial ruin in the 1930s. In the lobby of his family's downtown Chicago hotel, the young John Stevens crossed paths with the likes of Amelia Earhart and Charles Lindbergh. He lived his youth through the Jazz Age, the beginning and the end of Prohibition. He was, famously, in the stands of Wrigley Field with his father when Babe Ruth hit his called shot during the 1932 World Series.

After enlisting in the Navy and serving as a code breaker in World War II, Stevens was awarded a Bronze Star for his service. He was, in fact, the last sitting Supreme Court justice to have served in the military. He went to Northwestern Pritzker School of Law on the GI Bill and graduated magna cum laude with the highest GPA in the history of the school at that time.

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"Dissenting in Bush v. Gore he wrote - presciently - about the public loss of confidence in an impartial court:

The [majority opinion] can only lend credence to the most cynical appraisal of the work of judges throughout the land. It is confidence in the men and women who administer the judicial system that is the true backbone of the rule of law. Time will one day heal the wound to that confidence that will be inflicted by today's decision. One thing, however, is certain. Although we may never know with complete certainty the identity of the winner of this year's Presidential election, the identity of the loser is perfectly clear. It is the Nation's confidence in the judge as an impartial guardian of the rule of law.

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"His most recent book, The Making of a Justice: Reflections on My First 94 Years, was published this past May. In an interview just a couple of months ago, upon publication of that book, he expressed deep distress at the current political discourse: 'You wake up in the morning and you wonder what's happened.'"

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In the original, the link to the book was a link to Amazon. I've replaced that with a link to the publisher instead. I've long been annoyed by how book links to Amazon have become the default - I've been guilty of it here, too. Perhaps mostly it's because an Amazon link comes up first on searches. But why give Amazon the free referral? I wonder how much revenue - I mean, it can't be much, but I wonder - Amazon gets from links in news stories. Some sites, I know, acknowledge that they have referral relationships with Amazon and get a teeny, tiny slice of the pie from any sales that derive from such links, but I bet most are just simply organic. I'm trying to change my ways here on the Beachwood as I go, and I implore others to do so as well.

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Anyway, John Paul Stevens in the Beachwood . . .

* May 9, 2008:

"Lake County - fondly referred to by its denizens simply as 'the Region' - is where I was born and raised," Mike DeBonis wrote early this morning on the website of the Washington City Paper. "And it's pretty much where I got my conception of what urban politics is all about.

"If you've been watching cable TV, you've heard all about how Gary mayor Rudy Clay has promised to deliver big numbers to Barack Obama, for instance by busing high school kids to early-voting sites. What's not mentioned as much is that he's the county Democratic chairman, which means he essentially controls the election apparatus. He, have no doubt, is responsible for the fact that the vote has not been announced on time."

*

"But there's no doubt that election shenanigans aren't too far in the Region's past. For a reminder, just look at Supreme Court Justice John Paul Stevens' opinion upholding the Indiana Voter ID act last week. For part of his reasoning, he cites the 2003 mayoral primary in East Chicago, which is just west of Gary, as proof "that not only is the risk of voter fraud real but that it could affect the outcome of a close election."

This was an unfortunate flub by Stevens, by the way, as described, again, by Slate.

After all, Stevens also writes in the same decision that "The only kind of voter fraud that SEA 483 addresses is in-person voter impersonation at polling places. The record contains no evidence of any such fraud actually occurring in Indiana at any time in its history."

* January 31, 2017: Kill the Lawyers,' A Line Misinterpreted.

Justice John Paul Stevens, dissenting in Walters v. National Association of Radiation Survivors:

"That function was, however, well understood by Jack Cade and his followers, characters who are often forgotten and whose most famous line is often misunderstood. Dick's statement ('The first thing we do, let's kill all the lawyers') was spoken by a rebel, not a friend of liberty. See W. Shakespeare, King Henry VI, Part II, Act IV, scene 2, line 72. As a careful reading of that text will reveal, Shakespeare insightfully realized that disposing of lawyers is a step in the direction of a totalitarian form of government." 473 U.S. 305, 371, n.24 (1985)."

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ChicagoReddit

Is anyone else not happy with how ABC7Chicago.com lays out their news stories? from r/chicago

This happened in Florida. Aren't any penises being cut off in Chicago?

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Local TV news is often quite non-local. As long as there is video of violence or titillation, they'll use it. They are not serious news organizations and should not be treated as such. They exploit "news" as entertainment - including above all, crime news. It's immoral. But no one covers them; there isn't a true media beat in town that actually covers the content of these shops. And so it goes.

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ChicagoGram

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ChicagoTube

1970 Ford Mustang Boss 302 - Gateway Classic Cars #1631 Chicago

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BeachBook

'Somewhere People Just Accepted What's Going On As Normal.'

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TweetWood
A sampling.

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The Beachwood McRibTipLine: Meat candy.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 12:46 AM | Permalink

July 16, 2019

The [Tuesday] Papers

Summer 2019 came to a close Tuesday when a Florida trapper caught the Humboldt Park Gator on his first try in the dark of night after a week of fun in an otherwise shitty season we'll call Bummer. Now that the fun is over, horrible weather is closing in again and the city returns to a depressed condition induced by climate change and the worst presidency ever. Thanks for the good times, Gator Whose Name Should Be Humboldt in part because Chance the Snapper is too slick and too much of a mouthful. (The other part: Humboldt, duh.)

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World News Tonight.

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La Presse.

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Smaller than I imagined.

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Press conference thread.

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And now, the Brown Line Bird.

But is the first dude really mad at the CTA? Pigeons gonna happen, man.

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Monty For Maldy

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New on the Beachwood . . .

Neo Reunion!
Featuring six original Neo DJs.

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ChicagoReddit

Portillo's Launched a Clothing Line and it is Horrible. from r/chicago

It is horrible, except the baby swaddle blanket. That one's pretty good.

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ChicagoGram

View this post on Instagram

Rubberband Man

A post shared by Allison Grote Gerlach (@allisugerlach) on

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ChicagoTube

Fast Times Chicago.

This is awful, and not even in a fun way.

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BeachBook

Goodbye, Red Apple Buffet.

Nothing gold stays.

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Exclusive Investigation: Sex, Drugs, Misogyny And Sleaze At The HQ Of Bumble's Owner.

Not a well-edited story - the throughline isn't exactly smooth, resulting in some repetition and sloppy organization - but still an astonishing one.

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A&W At 100

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Behind The Odd Couple Of Pence And Trump.

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Subway To Model 10,500 Stores By 2020

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TweetWood
A sampling.

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Stop romanticizing "local journalism." It almost wholly sucks.

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At least the one we seemed capable of having, despite the fact that it's never been all that.

The central idea of America was that you could be from anywhere - that being an American meant subscribing to the ideals of freedom, no matter how disastrously limited at the time; that it wasn't simply an identity imposed on you from the nation of your birth. That anti-nationalism was a big part of the notion that America was an Idea as much as a Country. Autocratic - and inevitably religious - nationalism was for the backwards countries of the Old World. Hyphenated identities are awesome! They display where each of us came from to join in this experiment and become "American," a mixed-up, muddled-up identity of mores melted into a pot to produce something new.

A friend who has traveled quite a bit recently recently told me that I was wrong to not think America was exceptional in at least one particular way - that in Europe everyone's identity is still tied to their country in a concrete way that can repel immigrants much more than even current America, and demand a type of assimilation far more hardcore than is generally demanded here, right-wing jingoists notwithstanding. We may be a melting pot, but Europe and beyond is still a (reluctant) salad bowl. But you know what? You can't fight the transmission of culture. You can, however, embrace it in all its glory. (If I was religious, I might say we are all God's children, made in His image. Unless I was an evangelical, in which case I might be an ignorant Trump supporter driving this nation into utter depravity though blind, devilish superstition and adherence to everything Jesus opposed.)

America is hugely, horribly flawed and in some ways the scourge of the planet, I mean, the truths about this country that so many people are so unaware of, the history they do not know . . . we suck just about as hard as any country has sucked.

And yet, at our core is precisely the country The Squad describes and exalts, despite what it has done particularly to people who look like them. That, my friends, is something. They are where hope lies - that we still have room for that in this country; that the most oppressed among us still have hope and try to drive change. Donald Trump and his jackboots have a different but familiar vision: of a white, rapey Christian nation that betrays the whole point of this country. Their hate and ignorance has been sown deep into the land, so deep it will take decades to dig out of, but dig we must. Once again, folks, into the breach. Light that fucking lamp besides the golden door, we are the New Colossus!

America has had its chances to show the world something better, to truly lead instead of destroy, and it has fumbled most of those chances. It's a cliche now to observe that after 9/11, we could have renewed our vows as a beacon to freedom and redoubled our resolve to be a free people. Instead, we fucked shit up but bad. This is a dark, dark time in America, one some thought would never come, but it is also a chance to again show what we could be - even if in this case the enemy is within.

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The Beachwood McRibTipLine: Future shock.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 12:42 AM | Permalink

July 15, 2019

Neo Reunion!

When it opened in July of 1979, the creators of the Chicago nightclub Neo never dreamed that it would last 36 years, contribute to the development of the notable music genres goth and industrial, and be cherished by literally generations of Chicago's unconventional clubgoers.

Formerly located down the alley at 2350 N. Clark Street, Neo closed its doors in July 2015, but patrons still lament its loss. They will have a chance to reminisce when 800 people will celebrate 40 years since their home away from home opened. Neo Reunion; 4 Decades, featuring six original Neo DJs, will be held at another iconic Chicago music venue, the Metro, 3630 N. Clark Street, on Saturday July 20th.

NeoFrontSIgnDanielleAeschbacher.jpgIconic photo by Danielle Aeschbacher

"I've played music at a lot of clubs through the years, but there was no place like Neo," said Neo's last DJ, Jeff Moyer. "It was the music, the people, and the community they created that made it special to so many of us."

Neo founder and the club's first DJ Suzanne Shelton agrees. "We didn't expect it to last five years, let alone 36. It was created as a stylish place to dance to music you couldn't hear anywhere else in 1979, but became an alternative culture that endured for decades. Neo people are family even if they don't know each other."

As the '80s were dawning, seemingly overnight there emerged pivotal nightclubs across the US with DJs who were transforming dance club music by playing records from the new wave music genre instead of, or mixed with, disco. Chicago's Neo was front and center.

The original concept was developed by Shelton, who talked the original owners Larry Acciari and Eric Larson into giving the concept a chance. Acciari and Larson sold the hugely successful club in late 1982 to Cal Fortis of Big Time Productions, who owned Neo until it closed after losing its lease in July 2015.

Neo was kept unflinchingly unconventional by a series of custodians, in the form of DJs, managers, security people, and bartenders who did the marketing and promotion. It became one of the first bastions of goth in the '90s with the world-famous event Nocturna, hosted by Scary Lady Sarah (who still holds the event monthly at the Metro) and Thom Ayers.

Neo-LastNight2350downTheBlockSuz copy.jpgThe line down the street the last night/Suzanne Shelton

The people who formed pivotal industrial bands Ministry and My Life with the Thrill Kill Kult were Neo regulars before they launched those bands.

When Wax Trax! opened the record store and later launched the legendary Industrial music label in Chicago, there was frequent interaction between the two influential places that were just blocks apart.

Planet Earth, the popular '80s new wave night by Dave Roberts, was a Thursday night staple at Neo for many years.

Neo was on the itinerary for many well-informed people who visited Chicago and was the first place record label representatives brought their artists.

Celebrities who partied at Neo include David Bowie, Iggy Pop, David Byrne, Todd Rundgren, Duran Duran, the Stray Cats, Divine, Kevin Kostner, Alice Cooper, Matt Dillon, Bill Murray, Tom Cruise, The Clash, Robert Plant, Jimmy Page, Prince, U2, Depeche Mode, Kraftwerk, Adam & The Ants, Devo, Madness, the B52s, Ultravox, Siouxie & the Banshees, Bauhaus, and many more.

While rumors of a new Neo in development continue to circulate, former patrons embrace other ways to revisit their past: tickets to a reunion event at Metro last July sold out. Chicago filmmaker Eric Richter made a well-received documentary about the club, 2350 Last Call: The Neo Story, which has been touring the film festival circuit and will in time be distributed.

Music featured at Neo Reunion: 4 Decades will include such genres as punk, post-punk, new wave, industrial, ska, rockabilly, and goth. Neo DJs, who are busy either sorting through vinyl or updating their computers to have the songs they played down the alley include:

* Suzanne Shelton (Neo DJ 1979 - 1982)

* Glenn Russell (Neo DJ 1983 - 1985)

* Scary Lady Sarah (Neo DJ 1988 - 1996)

* Bill Saveley (Neo DJ 1989 - 1993)

* Carrie Monster (Neo DJ 1996 - 1999, 2001 - 2003)

* Jeff Moyer (Neo DJ 1989 - 1992, 2001 - 2015)

A portion of the proceeds will benefit Darkest Before Dawn, a non-profit organization providing mental and emotional support resources for entertainment and hospitality industry workers.

Doors at 8 p.m., music until 3 a.m., 18+.

Tickets at the Metro.

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See also:

* Tribune: The Miracle Of Neo - Three Decades Long.

* Chicago Bar Project: Neo.

* DNAinfo Chicago: Neo Closing Iconic Lincoln Park Location After 36 Years.

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 1:48 PM | Permalink

The [Monday] Papers

"Chicago Animal Care and Control will be closing the east half of the Humboldt Park starting Sunday night in an effort to humanely capture the alligator discovered July 9 in the lagoon," the Sun-Times reports.

"It is likely that residents who have been watching from the lagoon banks and paths in the park have been influencing the animal's behavior." Kelley Gandurski, executive director of Chicago Animal Care and Control said in a statement. "We are taking these steps to in an attempt to create an environment that lends to the animal's safe capture so we can quickly reopen the entire park to activity.

Also, Alligator Bob has been sent packing.

"In addition to the closure, CACC has hired Frank Robb, an alligator expert and owner of Crocodilian Specialist Services in St. Augustine, Florida, the agency said. Robb arrived in Chicago July 14 and immediately began assessing the park and lagoon. Robb, CACC, The Chicago Park District, Chicago police as well as other participating agencies are taking steps to ensure the park is as calm and quiet as possible, which will increase the chances of capturing the alligator."

*

Letter to the Sun-Times from longtime animal rights activist Brien Comerford:

There is nothing amusing about a traumatized alligator trying to stay alive in a Humboldt Park lagoon. All last week, the hapless creature was in dire straights because of the reckless, careless and negligent humans who got rid of it.

Too many morally challenged people obtain possession of exotic mammals, reptiles, amphibians and fish before opting to kill or abandon them. They are animal abusers. The alligator expert and conservationists who tirelessly strived last week to humanely save the alligator merit commendation. Conversely, those who mistreat alligators and other exotic animals deserve full-blown condemnation.

Comerford is almost wholly right. There is something a little funny about an alligator showing up in the Humboldt Park lagoon. And I suspect nearly everyone having fun with it wished nothing but the best for the alligator - some of us even kind of rooting for it to evade capture, though capture is what is needed to provide it with a safe, healthy environment. We're all rooting for the gator. The gator could run for mayor. The gator is a uniter, not a divider.

But Comerford's point is extremely well-taken. We should not forget that the circumstances that led to the alligator into the lagoon are likely abhorrent.

Alligator Frank
Frank Robb describes himself as a "self-employed alligator trapping agent" on his LinkedIn page.

Also:

I have 24 years of experience dealing with wildlife . . . Human Crocodile Conflict Group member, Pine Island Preservation Board Member.

I have been part of educational programs for federal, state, city and county governments, schools.

Have done research involving Gopher Tortoise's and controlled fire.

Viruses affecting the wild alligator population in Northern Brevard County.

Have helped with beach Sea Turtle Nesting surveys.

Have provided herp surveys for the Brevard County Environmentally Endangered Lands Programs, in order to update their land management plans since 2012.

Have worked hands on with alligators as a trapping agent for 24 years, allowing me to be involved in several on-going research projects.

GPS and GIS work, tracking of animals and changes in in topography . . .

He comes to us from Cocoa, Florida.

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#GOP

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New on the Beachwood . . .

The Beachwood Radio Sports Hour #260: Cubs Sweep Problems Under Rug
Reality check! Plus: Player Notes (Alzolay to Zagunis). And: Hate The Grate.

By me solo, Coach out of town.

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Coin Is The Lord Of The Realm
Don't pity the White Sox. In The White Sox Report.

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ChicagoReddit

Education requirements to be a paramedic in the city? from r/chicago

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ChicagoGram

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ChicagoTube

"Chicago" / Roy Ayers

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BeachBook

The World-Class Photography Of Ebony And Jet Is Up For Sale.

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TweetWood
A sampling.

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The Beachwood McRibTipLine: Donate your car today.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 10:19 AM | Permalink

Coin Is The Lord Of The Realm

Last Tuesday's All-Star Game in Cleveland, televised by Fox, had the lowest ratings ever, according to Nielsen. Even worse than last year, which had been the previous low-water mark.

Last season's World Series suffered a 23 percent drop in viewership from the year before. Attendance at major league parks last season was down 4.1 percent, and it's lagging another 1.5 percent so far this season. Since 2007, turnstiles are clicking more than 14 percent less often.

It's all so bleak, so depressing. Kids aren't watching. Millennials think the game is boring. Thirty- and forty-somethings are into the NFL and cage fighting. Some old people still enjoy watching baseball, but what do they know? They even watch golf on TV.

Well, not so fast.

Seems that MLB will have a new television deal with Fox, TBS and ESPN beginning in 2022. Forbes says the arrangement will net the baseball establishment almost 50 percent more dollars than the present contract, jumping from $1.5 billion annually to $2.28 billion. The deal will be good for seven years.

That's decent change for something that people don't watch. Consider that Fox has been continuously televising baseball since 1996. In addition to the All-Star Game, it airs lots of Saturday games, some playoff games, the World Series, and Spanish broadcasts on Fox Deportes. Wouldn't the network be smarter just to keep showing Andy Griffith reruns?

Obviously not. The big winners, of course, are the wealthy folks who own the teams, along with those of us who still hold baseball dear to our hearts. The only difference is that we pay the tab which flows naturally to the 30 ballclubs.

Maybe viewership has diminished, but at the same time the value of a major league franchise rose eight percent last year, according to Forbes. If an owner chooses to sell today, the average price is $1.78 billion.

MLB commissioner Rob Manfred began his tenure in January 2015, and his contract was extended through 2024 by the owners last winter. "Under Manfred, the league has posted record profits," reported the New York Times at the close of baseball's meetings last November.

Because of revenue sharing, all teams benefit from these colossal numbers, although some teams are just a little more equal than others. The Yankees take the cake in this regard because of their local media revenue of approximately $712 million. That's more than the bottom four teams combined.

Nobody can top the Yankees, who, if you haven't noticed, have the second best record in baseball. The Dodgers at 62-33 are the winningest team this morning and, lo and behold, their local revenue is second only to the Yankees. The other big money teams, the Red Sox and Cubs, have enjoyed success in the win-loss column in recent years. The Cubs will begin to reap even greater benefits next season when their Marquee network deal kicks in. It's good to be rich.

But don't pity the White Sox, whose operating revenue ranks sixth among the 30 teams. It's no secret that the club's payroll is in the bottom third of all franchises, and the cash on hand was enough to make the finals in the Manny Machado bidding. Not that it matters so much, but attendance at The Grate is up more than 4,000 fans per game, a number topped only by the Phillies this season as far as increased attendance is concerned.

In ancient days prior to television and all the marketing gimmicks, the only way to make money in baseball was to put fans in the seats. That strategy helps today, but by no means is it an indicator of profitability.

More important is that the Sox will get a larger piece of the NBC Sports Chicago pie once they don't have to give the Cubs a share.

Furthermore, with the exception of Jose Abreu, young players like Lucas Giolito, Eloy Jimenez, Yoan Moncada and Tim Anderson are going to be around for the next five or six years because of their contracts and service time.

Returning just for a moment to the failure to sign Machado, who got a $300 million/10-year deal from the Padres to play shortstop, the Sox might have been lucky that they lost out on Manny. Anderson's persona and feistiness, along with his slashline of .317/.342/.832, have become a major trademark of this team. His absence the past 12 games due to a sprained ankle was on full display over the weekend as the Sox were swept in Oakland. There is a gaping hole in the lineup - they scored just five runs in the three games - without the team's shortstop, and his replacement on Sunday, Jose Rondon, threw wildly in the ninth inning on a potential double-play ground ball, enabling the winning run to score.

Given their druthers, many Sox fans would choose Anderson, who's signed through 2024, rather than Machado, who will be 35 when his contract ends.

I spent a portion of the All-Star break re-reading John Helyar's Lords of the Realm, a detailed description of the labor movement in baseball published in 1994. Prior to the 1994 strike which wiped out the World Series, the owners communicated to the players that the game was "going straight to hell" because of the following contingencies:

"Baseball's declining ratings on both network TV and local broadcasts.

"Baseball's declining demographics - an older, poorer audience than that of the NBA and NFL.

"Baseball's rising ticket and concession prices. (The cost for a family of four to attend a game has crept over $100 at some parks.)

"Baseball's rising salary burden (growing at 63 percent of the gross by 1993) contrasted with its falling revenues (a projected 50 percent drop in network TV revenue after that year)."

Much of this sounds familiar a quarter-century later, yet the game doesn't appear to be mired in Hades. Any one of the 30 owners' cash position would be nicely enhanced if he or she opted to sell while the Charlie Tilsons of the world have to muddle along for a paltry half-million or so a season.

Charlie and his mates no doubt are relieved to get out of Oakland where the A's, with a slightly higher payroll than the White Sox, sit 12 games above .500. Dating back to 2017, the Sox have lost eight straight games in the Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum, known as a "multi-purpose stadium," the translation of which is, "Don't play baseball here."

Now it's on to Kansas City for four games where the Royals pay their players $15 million more than the Sox tab of $62 million. The additional payroll hasn't been a factor as the Sox lead the Royals by 12½ games in the Central Division. If anyone cares, the games will be televised.

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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 8:34 AM | Permalink

July 14, 2019

The Beachwood Radio Sports Hour #260: Cubs Sweep Problems Under Rug

Reality check!

Plus: Player Notes (Alzolay to Zagunis).

And: Hate The Grate.


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SHOW NOTES

* 260.

2:16: Reset Reality Check!

* The real reset is pre- and post-trading deadline.

* Second-half narratives.

* The missing "W" - Why.

* Setting the tone in an echo chamber.

* The performative Kris Bryant.

* Unlike Cubs media, Pepperidge Farms remembers.

* One thing I agree with Len Kasper on.

* L-E-V-E-L.

22:42: Player Notes.

* Kyle Schwarber.

* Kris Bryant.

* Robel Garcia.

* Victor Caratini.

* Willson Contreras.

I said it first:

* Note: It turns out Contreras was out Sunday because of a sore foot.

* Yu Darvish.

* Craig Kimbrel.

* Jason Heyward.

46:48: Pat Hughes Is Getting Loose - But Loony.

* P.S.: Both teams refresh, Pat!

52:54: Down On The Farm.

* Ian Happ.

* Adbert Alzolay.

* Mark Zagunis.

1:04:25 Hate The Grate.

* Everything I loathe about the public and its venues.

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STOPPAGE: 15:58

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

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 6:19 PM | Permalink

July 13, 2019

The Weekend Desk Report

"Thousands showed up Saturday morning at Daley Plaza for a planned rally to protest the Trump Administration's immigration policies with deportation raids set to take place this weekend in Chicago and around the country," the Sun-Times reports.

Demonstrators held signs that read "close the camps" and "stop deportations now," with a large sign hanging from the side of the Daley Center reading "End detention welcome immigrants."

Mayor Lori Lightfoot, who has said she plans to spend the day in neighborhoods, appeared on CNN Saturday morning and said Chicago police "will not help or facilitate" efforts by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement officials.

"We can not have the police on one hand asking (residents) for their support to help keep people safe in this city and then facilitating a weaponized agency like ICE," Lightfoot said.

"The most haunting thing that I've experienced, because I'm visible and out in communities across the city, particularly in these last few weeks, is hearing from young children, preteens the age of my daughter who may be the only English speaker in their home." She said to "have them to have to shoulder this very, real, scary adult burden because of the role they play in their family - they're terrified."

The mayor told CNN that based on her experience as a former federal prosecutor, she expects that ICE agents will visit neighborhoods early in the morning "and capture people at home. They're going to go to businesses where they think that people might be in existence whether it's a restaurant or whether it's an actual workplace."

It's quite astonishing to see local elected officials bonding with their constituents to protect themselves from a federal law enforcement agency - one that is essentially the brownshirts of an American presidential administration (though again I must point out Barack Obama conducted similar raids for years and deported far more people than Donald Trump has).

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"The key to reading history of Nazi Germany, a wise professor once explained to me, is to attempt to understand the logic and mentality of those who embraced the Nazi movement without ever losing sight of what an ultimately absurd and fundamentally evil project theirs was," James H. Barnett wrote for The Weekly Standard last year.

"This is the approach readers must bring to Daniel Siemens's Stormtroopers: A New History of Hitler's Brownshirts, a superbly detailed account of the Sturmabteilung (SA), the main paramilitary wing of the Nazi party from its inception in 1920 until the consolidation of Hitler's power in 1934 . . .

Siemens, a professor of European history at Newcastle University, looks beyond the traditional trope of the SA, or "Brownshirts" as they were commonly known, as a group of rowdy young psychopaths looking to brawl. His book paints a far more frightening portrait of a million-member organization that flourished by promising young German men a world of hypermasculinity, camaraderie, and egalitarianism--with genocidal undertones.

While it was the 1923 Beer Hall Putsch that first propelled the SA to the national stage, Siemens notes that the group made a name for itself early on through its members' actions as self-styled border guards in Upper Silesia, a region that saw turmoil in the Weimar years as ethnic Poles agitated for inclusion into the newly founded Second Polish Republic next door. Many early acts of SA violence were perpetrated in Upper Silesia under the guise of defending Germany's sovereignty from Polish "infiltrators" and "traitors."

See also, from ProPublica:

* Border Patrol Official Circulates Article That Deems Our Reporting On Secret Facebook Group A Threat.

"An official who directs a Border Patrol intelligence gathering center sent the article to all top intelligence officials and field offices. The article directly attacks a ProPublica reporter who revealed that agents were posting anti-migrant and misogynistic memes in group for current and former agents."

* Border Patrol Agents Are Passing Around A Commemorative Coin Mocking Care For Migrant Kids.

"The coin declares "KEEP THE CARAVANS COMING" under an image of a parade of migrants crossing the border."

* And:

Pool report from McAllen, Texas.

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The cruelty is the point.

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Ordinary Germans.

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We have an autocratic white supremacist president - who is also a rapist and a pathological liar. About 40 percent of the American people support him - intensely. A significant number seem willing to commit violence on his behalf.

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The president's cover-up of crimes is right in front of our face. Yet, Democratic leaders cower from a perceived political backlash to impeachment, validating the president's approach to ginning up his base with lies, bigotry and projections of authoritarianism.

No one will ever be able to credibly claim they didn't know what was happening.

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Meanwhile . . .

Jeffrey Epstein had an Enterprise, as did R. Kelly.

Epstein's private jet was known as the Lolita Express. He had a getaway known as Pedophile Island.

R. Kelly had the Rock 'n' Roll McDonald's.

Most monstrosities occur right before our very eyes. If you go through life not speaking up, you're an Ordinary American.

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The same holds true for #MeToo predators. So much silence - and yes, so much of that because of the way victims get treated. But so many more knew what was happening besides the prey.

Remaining silent to preserve your career is a pretty fucked-up moral calculus.

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#NeverAgainIsNow.

And may it be so every day, forevermore.

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New on the Beachwood today . . .

Brit Buys Iconic U.S. Jukebox Company Rock-Ola
Started in Chicago.

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Why States And Cities Should Stop Handing Out Billions In Economic Incentives
They don't work.

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Weekend ChicagoReddit

Roberto Clemente High School students, 1975. from r/chicago

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Bogan High School students, 1966. from r/chicago

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Weekend ChicagoGram

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Weekend ChicagoTube

Chicago 45 Johnny Moore "Just Be for Real" Jadan J-222 1968

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Weekend BeachBook

A Jazz Legend Said He Was In Desperate Need Of Money. His Friends Had Questions.

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Weekend TweetWood
A sampling.

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The Weekend Desk McRibTipLine: Now with gator reverb.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 8:33 PM | Permalink

Why States And Cities Should Stop Handing Out Billions In Economic Incentives

U.S. states and cities hand out tens of billions in taxpayer dollars every year to companies as economic incentives.

These businesses are supposed to use the money, typically distributed through economic development programs, to open new facilities, create jobs and generate tax revenue.

But all too often that's not what happens, as I've learned after doing research on the use of tax incentives to spur economic development in cities and states across the country.

Recent scandals involving economic development programs in New Jersey, in Baltimore and elsewhere illustrate just what's wrong with these programs - and why I believe it's time to end this waste of taxpayer dollars once and for all.

Economic Development 101

Many states, counties and cities have economic development agencies tasked with facilitating investment in their communities.

These agencies undertake a variety of valuable activities, from gathering data to training small businesses owners. Yet one of their most high-profile activities is the use of tax and other incentives to entice companies to invest in their communities, generating local jobs and expanding the tax base.

Estimates of how much is spent on such incentives range from $45 billion to $80 billion a year.

But what do taxpayers get for all this money? As it turns out, not much.

1. A Waste Of Money

First off, in most cases, investments that result from these incentives would have happened anyway.

That was the case in Baltimore involving a federal program meant to spur development in distressed communities it dubbed "opportunity zones." ProPublica reported in June that Maryland accidentally designated an area of Baltimore that wasn't poor and was already under redevelopment an opportunity zone. Despite catching the error, the state kept the designation, allowing real estate investors to potentially claim millions of dollars in tax breaks. Those investors include Kevin Plank, the billionaire CEO of Under Armour, who owns about 40% of the zone, according to ProPublica.

plank.jpgUnder Armour CEO Kevin Plank/Steve Marcus, Reuters

This example isn't unique. Last year, Tim Bartik, an economist at the Upjohn Institute for Employment Research, reviewed 30 studies on the use of economic development incentives. He found that 75% to 98% of companies were planning to make the desired investment anyway.

In my own work in Texas, I found that more than 85% of the companies offered tax breaks had already planned to open the promised new facilities. A few even broke ground before applying for the incentives.

And in New Jersey, investigators who uncovered abuse in the state's economic development program found that a lawyer representing a powerful Democratic official drafted legislation to benefit companies tied to him and his associates, to the tune of hundreds of millions of dollars. Their June report described how the New Jersey Economic Development Agency didn't perform the basic due diligence of a single Google search, which would have shown that some of the companies had already announced a move to New Jersey before being offered incentives.

2. Investments Rarely Pay Off

Even when an incentive does draw new investments, they rarely pay off. And they can even harm the fiscal health of cities and states by pulling resources away from other more productive activities.

In Incentives to Pander, a book I co-authored with Duke political scientist Edmund Malesky, we reviewed the academic literature in the U.S. and elsewhere on the use of incentives and found that they are expensive and ineffective in generating employment and economic growth.

Wisconsin residents may be learning this the hard way after their government offered electronics manufacturer Foxconn over $4 billion in incentives in exchange for a promise to build a high-tech facility that is supposed to create 13,000 jobs.

foxconnpander.jpb.jpgFoxconn groundbreaking/Kevin Lamarque, Reuters

Since the 2017 announcement, the company has failed to meet job targets and even downgraded the type of facility it plans to build.

3. A Failure Of Oversight

A third problem is that government agencies fail to provide effective oversight to ensure that company promises on investment and employment like Foxconn's are upheld.

A legislative audit found that the Wisconsin agency responsible follows problematic oversight practices and failed to verify that companies created the number of jobs or other goals they claimed.

Wisconsin isn't alone. Many states and municipalities provide limited oversight of the economic incentives they offer and often rely on companies' self-reported data to determine whether they've met targets. In Texas, doctoral candidate Calvin Thrall and I found that the state even allowed companies to renegotiate their job creation targets, sometimes the day before they were required to report compliance with an incentive agreement.

And even though these deals are often accompanied by splashy PR campaigns that highlight how many jobs will be created, the incentive contracts often don't even include actual job creation requirements.

Beyond that, only 56% of cities surveyed indicated that they required a performance agreement before offering incentives.

New Jersey investigators found similar oversight problems and other shortcomings in its economic development program.

Finally, a lack of transparency surrounding these programs makes it hard for others to determine whether taxpayers got what they were promised.

Ending Incentives

So you're probably wondering, if these incentives don't work, why do government officials continue to use and promote them?

The book I wrote with Malesky and a related paper showed how these incentives provide a way for politicians to take credit for business investment - in the hopes that it will give them a lift in their next election. All they have to do is convince voters that these programs work and that the grand promises being made when officials cut ribbons in well-publicized ceremonies will eventually pan out.

Powerful special interest groups are also to blame, as they play a big role in shaping incentive programs and lobbying vigorously for lawmakers to create them and keep them alive.

Rather than reform or rebrand these programs, I believe states should take advice of their own evaluations of these programs and eliminate them. Taxpayers would be better off without them.

Nathan Jensen is a professor of government at the University of Texas. This article is republished from The Conversation under a Creative Commons license.

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Comments welcome.


Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 12:58 AM | Permalink

July 12, 2019

Brit Buys Iconic U.S. Jukebox Company Rock-Ola

A British games and jukebox entrepreneur, Alexander Walder-Smith, has acquired Rock-Ola, the last authentic American jukebox manufacturing company and one of the world's most iconic jukebox brands.

Rock-Ola famously inspired the term 'Rock and Roll', and has been manufacturing games and jukeboxes since 1927, starting out in Chicago and later moving to California, seen by many as the jukebox's spiritual home.

Walder-Smith plans to revolutionize Rock-Ola's market presence by manufacturing a new 45 rpm vinyl jukebox, which will not only feature a powerful state-of-the-art speaker system but also offer music streaming from phones and tablets, thereby representing a unique blend of mid-century styling and 21st century technology.

Walder-Smith has overseen a spectacular period of growth with his British-based luxury games and jukebox business, The Games Room Company. Rock-Ola has been one of his key suppliers as they manufacture the prestigious and instantly recognizable "Bubbler," with its rotating multi-colored pilasters and ascending air bubbles. Rock-Ola's pioneering designs have shaped the popular image of jukeboxes over the last 90 years, and the company is now the only authentic American jukebox manufacturer left on the planet.

"The two companies have a shared history dating back decades; The Games Room Company is the official UK retailer of Rock-Ola jukeboxes, and has been selling and restoring vintage jukeboxes since 1962," said the now-former Rock-Ola owner Glenn Streeter. "With their peerless knowledge of the background and workings of these products, Alexander was a natural choice to take the helm."

rockola.jpgGlenn and Alexander with the all-new Rock-Ola 45 rpm Vinyl Bubbler/Rock-Ola Manufacturing Corporation

Streeter will stay on for the next two years and help expand the company's range beyond jukeboxes into more home entertainment and recreational room products.

The Rock-Ola purchase has been financed by Vita Nova Hedge Fund, which is managed by the Managing Partners Group.

"This is a once in a lifetime opportunity and I am pleased to be working with Glenn and the long-standing team at Rock-Ola as we take the company towards it centenary," Walder-Smith said. "This is one of America's great brands, up there with Harley Davidson and Jack Daniels, and as we move into the exciting next stage, we'll be dramatically raising its profile across the world."

He added: "As well as investing in manufacturing we have plans to leverage e-commerce capabilities and digital marketing tactics to reach a global audience online, starting with a new website launch on Shopify technology.''

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See also:

Rock-Ola Nostalgia Jukebox with Introduction from Glenn Streeter by Birmingham Vending,

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Rock-Ola Jukebox Factory Tour: How To Make A Jukebox.

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90 Years Of Rock-Ola With Glenn Streeter.

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 9:56 PM | Permalink

The [Friday] Papers

No time for a full column today, so I'll just leave you with these goodies.

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ChicagoReddit

Found a gem today. from r/chicago

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ChicagoGram

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ChicagoTube

Chicago (Hold On) / Eleanor Nash & The Ramblers

"On a sunny afternoon in Washington Park (Denver)."

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BeachBook

Exclusive: Adidas Minority, LGBTQ Employees 'Sad' & 'Defeated' By Brand's Diversity Efforts.

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The Real Reason Sports Arenas Are Investing Millions In Contemporary Art Has Nothing To Do With Pleasing The Fans.

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'Why Shouldn't I Be Able to Make Money Off This?': Madonna's Ex-Art Advisor On Why She's Selling The Singer's Intimate Personal Belongings.

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TweetWood
A sampling.

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The Beachwood McRibTipLine: Threadless.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 11:22 AM | Permalink

July 11, 2019

The [Thursday] Papers

As of the time of this writing - 2:15 p.m. - the Humboldt Park Gator is still free to pursue a life of liberty. And we're still free to pursue the exploitation of that life well beyond t-shirts and Facebook events.

To wit:

* Gator Dogs. To the classic Chicago hot dog, add ketchup red as the blood that will run from Alligator Bob's bloody stump by the time he's done.

* Gator Scratch-Offs. Pay down the city's pension debt with this popular new lotto game that only pays off in Gator Dollars.

* Gator Gaydar. Is the Humboldt Park Gator gay? Only those with gator gaydar know for sure.

* Cloud Gator. Paint the Bean green, yo. Make it a green bean.

* Make The Gator Spit On Us. Put the gator's face here, please:

Crown_Fountain_spouting.jpg

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P.S.: Would the alderman from the lagoon please rise?

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ME: We should do gator shots . . .

SARA: What would be in it?

ME: Something minty and something tropical . . .

KELSEY: Voila!

By the way, super tasty. Not sure if I'm at liberty to disclose the (made-up on the spot) recipe.

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Union Yes

Sun-Times: Gov. Pritzker's Wrong To Give Confederate Railroad The Boot.

Pritzker: "The Confederate flag is a symbol of not just slavery, but of treason against the United States. [It's] a symbold of murder, kidnapping, of rape."

Pritzker 1, Sun-Times 0

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Pritzker has been refreshingly direct about how abhorrent the Confederate flag is - even pols who take a stand against it always, as far as I can recall, do a diplomatic dance around its nature. Not so, J.B. Way to go, guv.

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Meanwhile, do read the Sun-Times' editorial for a master class in namby-pamby nation.

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Also, more kudos to Pritzker for getting the comparison to Snoop Dogg exactly right by correctly discerning the difference between political satire and real, actual crimes against humanity.

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Plus:

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Loving Courtney
"'I much prefer the mundane,' Courtney Barnett declared near the start of her concert Wednesday at the opening of Taste of Chicago," Bob Gendron writes for the Tribune.

"For the next 75 minutes, the burgeoning Australian singer-songwriter demonstrated how exciting and interesting day-to-day life can be, particularly when explored from relatable, insightful perspectives. Her scrappy brand of rock n' roll followed suit. Rather than attempting to rewrite rules, her trio proved how the time-honored array of a guitar, bass and drums still can sound fresh, imaginative and fun."

Here's some video:

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New on the Beachwood today . . .

Beat Keepers
Women with rhythm.

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GOP FCC Weakens Kid TV
Children's programming should be free, not behind paywalls.

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Wisconsin's Big Marketing Cheese
Suzanne Fanning has revolutionized how consumers think about Wisconsin Cheese.

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ChicagoReddit

I will never boycott a movie HARDER than if Chance the Snapper turns out to be a Hollywood publicity stunt from r/chicago

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ChicagoGram

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ChicagoTube

EL COCODRILO DE HUMBOLDT PARK 2019

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BeachBook

The Smithsonian Is Looking Into Acquiring Disturbing Drawings Made By Migrant Children At The US Border.

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TweetWood
A sampling.

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The Beachwood McRibTipLine: Space.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 11:50 AM | Permalink

Weakening TV Programming Rules, GOP-Controlled FCC Throws Kids Under The Bus

The Federal Communications Commission was accused on Wednesday of sacrificing children's "education and well-being all for corporate profit" after it weakened television programing rules.

The new order, framed by the agency as "modernizing" the decades-old broadcast rules, passed along party lines with the three Republican commissioners approving and the two Democrats dissenting.

Among the changes in the new order are that it requires "stations to air the substantial majority of their core programming on their primary program stream but allows stations to air up to 13 hours per quarter of regularly scheduled weekly programming on a multicast stream."

That leeway means the content can be booted away from a channel's main viewership to secondary stations, which allows the channels to focus more on monetizing - exactly what they had wanted.

While Democratic commissioner Jessica Rosenworcel noted the changes in the media landscape since the Children's Television Act, on which the rules were based, was enacted - "many of us can call up a range of kid-focused content when we want it and where we want it," she said - she also said the Internet age doesn't mean the FCC should have license to slash the rules.

In her dissenting statement, she explained, in part:

We have a digital divide in this country. Broadband is not available everywhere. Our own statistics show that millions and millions of households have no access to the Internet. That includes a quarter of the low-income households with children under 8 at home. Some of them live in rural areas, some of them simply cannot afford it. Remember that 8 in 10 Americans live paycheck to paycheck, many of them with young children in their homes. On top of that, many Americans who can afford this service have limitations - like data caps that prevent them from watching much video on their screens.

Plus, that internet viewing comes with its own problems. While there is quality content to be found, a whole lot of videos aimed at children are not so enriching and may be collecting information about the kids who are watching. In fact, our colleagues at the Federal Trade Commission are now investigating how online video providers may be violating the privacy of children. This follows on the heels of reports that automated recommendation systems can promote disturbing images of young children, rolling on the screen, one after another. I know, as a mother, I am not at ease when my kids sit down before the computer and rely on algorithms to deliver their next video. There is so much that is new and not easy to navigate as a parent in the digital age.

She also took to Twitter to express her criticism:

Simply put, said the Parents Television Council, the changes "have placed the financial interests of billion dollar broadcast corporations ahead of the educational and informational needs of America's youth."

Adding to the chorus was Sen. Edward J. Markey (D-Mass.), who authored the Children's Television Act.

"Thanks to strong children's television rules, kids of all background have for years accessed the nourishing programming that they need to thrive and grow," he said. "In an era in which children increasingly come in contact with low-quality, inappropriate, and even harmful content, these rules have ensured children, especially in low-income and minority communities, have access to enriching and educational shows."

"Today's FCC decision," he continued, "sacrifices children's education and well-being all for corporate profit under the guise of flexibility. Promoting the public good and serving kids should not fall by the wayside for the sake of increased business revenue. While the Commission's final rule change did not completely dismantle children's television as originally proposed, it clearly put the interests of companies ahead of our kids. Low-income and minority communities will be hit the hardest by these changes as children in these families disproportionately rely on broadcast television."

While the FCC is looking at further gutting the mandate, weighing whether "broadcasters could satisfy their children's programming obligations by relying, in part, on efforts to sponsor children's programming aired on other in-market stations," Jeff Chester, executive director of the Center for Digital Democracy, suggests consumers should put pressure on lawmakers.

"Congress must step in and enact a new law that requires TV stations, cable systems, and streaming video providers to offer a wide range of quality content for children. Such programming should be free - and not behind paywalls," he said.

"In the meantime," continued Chester, "today's decision by the FCC will be remembered as one in which the commission's three GOP members embodied the worst qualities of Dickens' Ebenezer Scrooge."

This post is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 License.

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 12:13 AM | Permalink

Beat Keepers: Women With Rhythm!

"Featuring women from all walks of life who came to the drums in a variety of ways, Beat Keepers: Women With Rhythm! features women who love nothing more than playing the drums," FilmCraft reports.


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Go Fund Them.

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I was initially reluctant to add these next couple of items, because I didn't want to shortchange all the rest of the amazing women drummers out there, including in Chicago. But with that caveat, I will mention that:

A) We featured Hannah Ford in these pages , and . . .

B) Mary Rose Gonzales of Mystery Actions happens to be my favorite drummer right now.

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 12:06 AM | Permalink

Wisconsin's Big Marketing Cheese

Suzanne Fanning is the lead marketer behind the nation's most-awarded cheese brand and her efforts are being recognized by Deli Business as "the best of the best in the industry."

Fanning's achievements earned her a People's Award, reserved for professionals who have raised the bar in the food industry.

fanning.jpg

With over 25 years of marketing experience, Fanning brings a unique approach to her work that has revolutionized how consumers think about Wisconsin Cheese.

Since taking her role in 2017, Fanning has built a fierce team of skilled marketers and leads efforts to elevate perceptions of Wisconsin Cheese.

As Senior Vice President and Chief Marketing Officer for Dairy Farmers of Wisconsin, Fanning focuses on branding, digital, advertising, public relations and consumer events, in addition to consumer confidence, farmer outreach and channel/retail marketing.

Fanning credits much of the success to her team, including their achievement in setting a Guinness World Record last year and taking home a Gold REGGIE Award from the Association of National Advertisers this spring.

Their strategies are quickly catching nationwide attention while racking up over $50 million in earned media coverage in major features on the Today Show and in publications such as the New York Times, Food & Wine and more.

"We are so honored to have one of our own recognized with this award," said Dairy Farmers of Wisconsin CEO Chad Vincent. "There is no goal too small or too far out of reach for Suzanne. She really is a visionary for Wisconsin's dairy farmers and Wisconsin Cheese and we are so proud to have her on our team."

Forbes, PRWeek and the Chicago Tribune have all praised Fanning's work throughout her successful career. Fanning continues to speak around the country to help professionals and students learn how to drive big results with small budgets and creative ideas.

On her approach to marketing, Fanning says, "If you know who your fans are and why they love you, you can design programs to touch their souls. That's what marketing is all about."

Her team's most recent project, Cheeselandia, focuses on those fans - by bringing together the nation's most passionate cheese lovers through education, community and connection.

Past recipients of the People's Award include the CEO and Co-founder of Gourmet Garage in New York City; the CEO of Gourmet Foods International; the Vice President of the Culinary Institute of America; the owner of DiBruno Brothers in Philadelphia; and the Academie Opus Caseus, Saint-Haon-le-Chatel, France.

About Dairy Farmers of Wisconsin
Funded by Wisconsin dairy farmers, Dairy Farmers of Wisconsin is a non-profit organization that focuses on marketing and promoting Wisconsin's world-class dairy products.

About Wisconsin Cheese
The tradition of cheesemaking excellence began more than 150 years ago, before Wisconsin was recognized as a state. Wisconsin's 1,200 cheesemakers, many of whom are third- and fourth-generation, continue to pass on old-world traditions while adopting modern innovations in cheesemaking craftsmanship.

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Previously in Wisconsin:
* Song of the Moment: On, Wisconsin!

* Wisconsin Cheese Production Continues To Grow.

* Wisconsin's Specialty Cheesemakers May Be Better Off Than Other States.

* Tips For Growing Blueberries In Wisconsin.

* Amid A Boom, Wisconsin Cranberry Growers Look To Future Markets.

* The Top 10 Wisconsin Insect Trends Of 2016.

* Wisconsin's Penokees Are A Geologic Gem.

* Wisconsin Researchers Aim To Make Cows Happier.

* Wisconsin And The Extinction Of The Passenger Pigeon.

* The Life Of Land After Frac Sand.

* Blueberry Maggot Fly Poised To Expand In Wisconsin.

* Efforts To Boost Marten Numbers In Wisconsin Meet Ongoing Failure.

* How To Raise A Pizza.

* RECALL! Wisconsin Pork Sausage Patties.

* Making The Most Of Wisconsin's Autumn Garden Harvest.

* Who Is Stealing Wisconsin's Birch?

* How To Harvest And Process Wisconsin's Edible Tree Nuts.

* Lakes, Cheese And You.

* When Oshkosh Was Sin City.

* Wisconsin Workers, Chicago Commuters And The Cost Of Living.

* Chicago vs. Wisconsin.

* Before Dairy Ruled, Wheat Reigned In Wisconsin.

* The Allure Of Destination Breweries As Rural Economic Engines.

* Green Bay Packers Fans Love That Their Team Doesn't Have An Owner. Just Don't Call It 'Communism.'

* When UW Arboretum Restoration Research Fired Up An Oscar-Winning Disney Doc.

* The National Bobblehead Hall Of Fame Has Opened In Milwaukee.

* Melted Cheese Tops Wisconsin Championship.

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 12:00 AM | Permalink

July 10, 2019

The [Wednesday] Papers

The Humboldt Park Alligator is one of those things that teeters on the brink of being so cool and something we can all get behind and so lame in the over-the-top media response that I just don't know where I land on it. I'd guess I'd say it's kind of a blast but don't smother it like you do everything. Let cool stuff breathe, people. Let it breathe. That's what the Beatles meant to say.

The big question, of course, is how did it get there. The lagoon doesn't connect to the Everglades via river, for godsake. Does it connect to anything, except maybe some pipes? And where do those pipes connect to? It didn't swim there from Lake Michigan.

Maybe somebody put it there? Dropped an alligator into the lagoon? Maybe it's been there all along, for eons, lurking. Just waiting for the right time to emerge. To warn us. Heed the gator, people! Heed the gator.

Maybe it's not a real alligator at all. Maybe it's performance art, like by that set-the-riverboats-on-fire theater group. Who's up for GatorFest?

Maybe the gator escaped from Taste of Chicago, where it was gonna be served up on a stick.

Maybe it's Rahm Emanuel, returned to his natural state.

There are a lot of possibilities, almost none of them good.

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And aren't urban alligators called alleygators?

See, this sort of thing can turn lame on a dime.

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"Richard Crowley, president of the Chicago Herpetological Society, told CNN he believes the reptile was brought to the lagoon, possibly by someone who owned it illegally (it's illegal to own an alligator in the State of Illinois)."

Behind every great mythological origin story is a crime.

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"I'm sorry, the Humboldt Park lagoon isn't zoned for gator."

"Yeah, but aldermanic privilege."

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Assignment Desk: Which pols has the gator contributed to? Who got the alligator t-shirt contract?

Remember, there are no coincidences in Chicago.

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I'm almost ashamed of those last couple of sentences. Let it breathe, Rhodes. Let it breathe. Besides, too obvious. Not great comedy.

But you know what? Monetize that gator!

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Thread.

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New on the Beachwood today . . .

The Hood CNN
How Zack Stoner documented Chicago.

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Did The U.S. Supreme Court Just Establish Christianity?
Not just a legal disgrace, but a theological one.

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Remembering Chicago Roller Derby Pioneer Jerry Seltzer
'He lived a million lives.'

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Blues Legend Paul Oscher Is A Mess
Lived and performed with Muddy Waters on the South Side.

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ChicagoReddit

Chicago on a T-Shirt from r/chicago

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ChicagoGram

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ChicagoTube

Paris fashion by the Chicago Sunday Tribune in 1932. In color, and including real leg o' mutton sleeves.

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BeachBook

UT-Austin Will Provide Free Tuition To Undergrads With Family Incomes Below $65,000.

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TweetWood
A sampling.

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It's a long list. A conceptual frame the media can't resist.

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The Beachwood McRibTipLine: Reference tone.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 11:28 AM | Permalink

Did The U.S. Supreme Court Just Establish Christianity?

In The American Legion vs. American Humanist Association, the U.S. Supreme Court considered whether the Establishment Clause barred a government-sponsored display of a 40-foot cross, known as the Bladensburg Cross, on public land, as a memorial to men of Prince George's County, Maryland, who had died in World War I.

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the 4th Circuit, applying the well-known and long-derided three-part test from Lemon v. Kurtzman, had held in 2017 that the display unconstitutionally endorsed Christianity and ordered its removal from public land.

Seven Supreme Court justices just voted to reverse, so the Bladensburg Cross will remain in place.

But the case produced six separate opinions, and demonstrated that the court remains starkly divided on fundamental questions about the meaning of the Establishment Clause. Some aspects of the legal discourse of non-establishment will change, but the standards that will emerge to govern particular questions remain up for grabs.

Justice Samuel Alito wrote for the court. Chief Justice John Roberts and Justices Stephen Breyer, Elena Kagan and Brett Kavanaugh joined the parts of that opinion that focused on the facts and circumstances surrounding the Bladensburg Cross. They argued that the cross - despite its explicit, obvious, and exclusive Christian meaning at the time of its dedication - has taken on for many a secular meaning because of its age, its continuity and the historical context of World War I.

Over time, these justices concluded, this meaning includes the sense that the cross had become "a symbolic resting place for ancestors who never returned home . . . a place for the community to gather and honor all veterans and their sacrifices for this Nation . . . and a historical landmark."

Removing it (or forcing its transfer to private hands) would seem hostile to religion. Under these circumstances, the court majority wrote, continued display of the cross did not violate the First Amendment.

In parts of the opinion joined by only four justices (Alito, Roberts, Kavanaugh and Breyer), a plurality addressed the standards to be applied in the future. Section II-A argued that the test of Lemon v. Kurtzman - inquiring into secular purpose, secular effect and entanglement between the state and religion as a way of measuring Establishment Clause violations - had been systematically ignored by the Supreme Court and should no longer guide the lower courts in evaluating religious displays.

Section II-D - relying heavily on decisions, including Town of Greece v. Galloway, about public prayer at government meetings - argued that the appropriate tests for state-sponsored religious displays involved the history and tradition of religious messages in public life. (Kagan, who had prominently dissented in Town of Greece, did not join sections II-A or II-D.)

These prayer practices, the plurality concluded, "stand out as an example of respect and tolerance for differing views, an honest endeavor to achieve inclusivity and nondiscrimination, and a recognition of the important role that religion plays in the lives of many Americans. Where categories of monuments, symbols, and practices with a longstanding history follow in that tradition, they are likewise constitutional." The Bladensburg Cross display, five justices (including Kagan) seemed to believe, satisfied these principles.

The separate opinions from those who concurred with the result reveal a seven-justice majority with profound disagreements among themselves. Kagan emphasized the continuity between this decision and earlier ones about religious displays.

"Although I agree that rigid application of the Lemon test does not solve every Establishment Clause problem," Kagan wrote, "I think that test's focus on purposes and effects is crucial in evaluating government action in this sphere - as this very suit shows."

She also lifted up the plurality's emphasis on "respect and tolerance for differing views [and] an honest endeavor to achieve inclusivity and nondiscrimination,"

Breyer, joined by Kagan, concurred to emphasize the vintage (90-plus years) of the Bladensburg Cross; the divisiveness that would follow from a court-ordered removal; and their agreement that the cross manifested no "deliberate disrespect of non-Christians."

Relying (without saying so) on the distinction he once famously drew between the new display of the Ten Commandments in McCreary County v. ACLU and the older display in Van Orden v. Perry, Breyer explained that he did not "understand the Court's opinion today to adopt a 'history and tradition test' that would permit any newly constructed religious memorial on public land."

Kavanaugh wrote separately to emphasize that the court had for many years effectively discarded Lemon in all Establishment Clause disputes, about displays or otherwise. Tellingly, his analysis omitted any mention of McCreary County (invalidating a Ten Commandments display as being motivated by a purpose to endorse religion) and Allegheny County (invalidating a Christmas crèche display because it had the primary effect of endorsing Christianity).

Affirmatively, Kavanaugh wrote that "[t]he practice of displaying religious memorials, particularly religious war memorials, on public land is not coercive and is rooted in history and tradition," and therefore "[t]he Bladensburg Cross does not violate the Establishment Clause."

On this more sweeping view of the plurality opinion, the age of the particular memorial challenged might be irrelevant. What would matter is whether the memorial belonged to a "practice" that had historical roots.

Justices Neil Gorsuch and Clarence Thomas concurred only in the judgement

Thomas repeated his frequently expressed views that the Establishment Clause applies only to the federal government, and that only coercion to engage in religious experience violates the clause. The American Legion had urged the court to limit the prohibition contained in the Establishment Clause to coercive state practices; Thomas is the only Justice who accepted that narrow view.

Gorsuch (joined by Thomas) argued that observers of religious messages and symbols, including the Bladensburg Cross, lack standing to challenge these displays. Gorsuch, though he did not join the plurality, approved of its general approach, and added that he had trouble seeing why new religious displays should be evaluated any differently than old ones. "The Constitution's meaning is fixed," Gorsuch wrote, "and a practice consistent with our nation's traditions is just as permissible whether undertaken today or 94 years ago."

Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, joined by Justice Sonia Sotomayor, dissented. They reaffirmed their commitment to Establishment Clause norms that preclude government sponsorship of a particular faith. As a reminder that the court's precedents now tell two radically different and irreconcilable stories, their opinion is full of citations to McCreary County and Allegheny County, and none to Town of Greece. They insisted that the display of a cross as a war memorial cannot be re-rationalized as a secular, generic, or universal symbol of sacrifice in wartime. The cross belongs to Christians as a symbol, and its display excludes others. Both effects are signs of unconstitutionality.

The Court and the Cross

The Bladensburg Cross opinion appears to be sheer rationalization, in the worst meaning of that word. Those five justices quite transparently looked for a way to reverse the Fourth Circuit, while rejecting the previous "no endorsement" test. Instead, the court opinion engages in its own form of lawyers' history and social psychology associated with that test. The court determines that, over time, the predominant Christian meaning of the Bladensburg Cross has been replaced by one that focuses on the "sacrifice" of American soldiers in World War I.

This is a narrative purposely divorced from historical awareness. The court claims ignorance of any religious purpose behind the choice of a cross as the memorial to soldiers who died in World War I. But commentators in the decades before and after 1920 regularly claimed that the United States was a "Christian nation." In that cultural and political milieu, choosing a cross as a war memorial directly reinforced the concept of religious nationhood. As the court recites, the dedication ceremony's keynote speaker proclaimed the cross as "symbolic of Calvary" and fitting tribute to those who gave their lives in a "righteous cause."

When Jewish soldiers died in World War I, their gravestones were marked with Stars of David. But each such gravestone represented only the person buried beneath it. No one would have thought to use a Star of David as a generic memorial for all in a military cemetery. In contrast, the use of a cross as a memorial seemed a natural default option.

The court's opinion admits to the Christian origin of the Bladensburg Cross, but asserts that some new public meaning has sufficiently muted the uniquely Christian character of the Latin Cross. By some magic of history and tradition, the sacrifice symbolized by the cross has ceased to be specifically Christian and become far more inclusive. The court never provides any evidence to support the judgement that the cross is now an historical monument with indefinite religious properties. We strongly suspect that majority preferences and ethno-centrism, not an objective social psychology of symbols, drive such choices.

For years, critics lambasted O'Connor's invocation of the "reasonable observer" as a way of measuring government endorsement of religious symbols. But the court's approach differs only in that it has adopted unreflectively the perspective of Christians in a political majority, without regard to the perspective of others.

The Bladensburg Cross opinion is even worse as a matter of theology. The court invokes the image of fields of crosses for soldiers who died in the war. For Christians, a cross marking a grave signifies the unique event of Jesus's death on Calvary and subsequent resurrection by the Father, with a promise of eternal life. The court declares, however, that the Bladensburg Cross is fundamentally the same as the individual grave markers.

In doing so, the opinion attempts to transform the cross into a more generalized symbol of sacrifice in pursuit of noble causes. The Latin Cross, as a war memorial, symbolizes those lives given in service of our national ideals. This is heresy for Christians, because it suggests that the cross symbolizes all lives given to achieve the goals of a particular nation-state, rather than a unique, redemptive intervention by God in human history.

The Bladensburg Cross opinion thus manages to offend thoughtful Christians without ameliorating the offense to non-Christians, whose memory is supposedly included in any general war memorial. Some Christians may celebrate this decision, but it should instead be mourned as a political misappropriation of the faith's central symbol.

The Past and Future of Establishment Clause Norms

Going forward, the effort in the Bladensburg Cross case to renovate Establishment Clause standards will cause a new round of uncertainty in the lower courts, but less than most observers expect. The fight over the status of Lemon is a tired attack on a straw figure. As Kavanaugh wrote, and no justice disputed, it has been obvious for years that different Establishment Clause contexts - including religion in public schools, direct government funding of religious experience, permissive accommodation of religion, and concerns about government interference in ecclesiastical matters - are each governed by their own discrete line of cases. The general framework of Lemon rarely if ever appears in disputes arising in those contexts, so "erasing" it will make it no difference.

Moreover, the court does not overrule "tests," though it may modify or even repudiate their elements. Of Lemon's three parts - purpose, effect, and entanglement - the first and third remain completely intact. The Bladensburg Cross decision does not eliminate the requirement that a government practice must have some secular purpose - the court opinion concludes with emphatic references to such purposes. Nor does the opinion even touch upon the longstanding and widely shared concern about state entanglement in ecclesiastical matters.

For decades, the remnants of Lemon had appeared only in cases involving government-sponsored religious displays, and particularly around the test of "primary effects." The Bladensburg Cross decision, however, does not eliminate consideration of the display's effects. Instead, the decision minimizes the alienation and offense the cross causes to some observers, and substitutes solicitude for those who have, over the years, appreciated the display and who would be aggrieved by its removal. This inversion of whose feelings count leads the court to a presumption of constitutionality for longstanding displays.

This presumption of constitutionality does not tell judges how to evaluate new ones, nor explain what evidence is sufficient to overcome that presumption for old ones. From the opinions in the Bladensburg Cross case, we can confidently predict that several elements will be in play.

First, as noted above, several opinions emphasize the age of the display and its World War I vintage. A portion of the court opinion joined by five justices asserts (at the end of Part II-B) that "retaining established, religiously expressive monuments, symbols, and practices is quite different from erecting or adopting new ones. The passage of time gives rise to a strong presumption of constitutionality." Breyer asserts separately and explicitly that new displays present different considerations. Remarkably, neither the court opinion nor Breyer's concurrence ever mentions McCreary County vs. ACLU, which held that a newly mounted courthouse display of the Ten Commandments violated the Establishment Clause. The McCreary court, including Breyer, concluded that the county commissioners created the display for the purpose of promoting religion. Together with its companion decision Van Orden v. Perry, these Ten Commandments cases rooted the distinction between old and new religious monuments firmly in Establishment Clause precedent.

Imagine a lower court now confronted with the question whether a newly erected Latin Cross, unaccompanied by any other religious symbols, would be a constitutionally appropriate memorial to all Americans who died on 9/11, or who have been lost in military action in the Middle East since that date. The narrative of the cross as a national symbol, so prominent in the court's account of World War I and its aftermath, would no longer be available as a basis for upholding the display. The presumption of constitutionality would not apply. Lawyers and lower court judges will be acutely aware of the significance of the McCreary County - Van Orden pair, even though the Supreme Court mysteriously omitted any explicit reference to it.

Moreover, the Supreme Court's emphasis in the Bladensburg Cross opinion on inclusivity, mutual respect, and nondiscrimination in government religious messages makes the cross implausible as a generic marker that commemorates the death of a religiously diverse group of people. The claim of inclusivity rings hollow in Bladensburg, and is impossible to credit in the case of a more recent display. The council prayer practice in Town of Greece, which involved inviting clergy from all houses of worship in the town to take a turn at offering the prayer, cannot be analogized to the continuous display of a single monument from a particular faith.

These same considerations of age and inclusivity will also present significant questions for lower courts asked, as they frequently are, to rule on seasonal holiday displays. If such displays lift up non-universal theological messages, such as the virgin birth or divinity of Christ, they will be anything but inclusive. And if they are reassembled or created fresh every year, will their vintage be measured by their origins in local history, or will each year represent a new display to evaluate?

These questions suggest strongly that the contextual analysis associated with the endorsement test has not been abandoned, even if the word endorsement will disappear from judicial opinions.The Bladensburg Cross decision will not eliminate case-by-case consideration of the context of displays, though the reasoning substitutes the judge's own, frequently majoritarian perspective about history, tradition and inclusivity for the minority-sensitive perspective of the "reasonable observer." Despite the decision's sadly predictable result, at least seven justices continue to pay tribute to themes of religious egalitarianism and pluralism. No faith can be legally or politically superior to others. With or without three-part tests, these basic Establishment Clause principles will inevitably play a role in the controversies to follow.

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 2:55 AM | Permalink

Remembering Chicago Roller Derby Pioneer Jerry Seltzer

"Jerry Seltzer, the promoter and owner of the original Roller Derby that was invented in Chicago, has died. He was 87," ABC7 Chicago reports.

"Seltzer's father, Leo, came up with concept 84 years ago with the first games played on the Near South Side. Jerry took over and turned Roller Derby into a TV empire with games broadcast on 130 stations nationwide. Fifty thousand Roller Derby fans once packed Comiskey Park for a champion match-up."


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Wiki notes:

"In December 1937, sportswriter Damon Runyon saw the game in Coral Gables Florida, became enthralled, and with Leo Seltzer created a more structured game with more contact between the skaters and a new version of Roller Derby was created."

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"Jerry assumed ownership of the league in 1959 and ran it until its demise in 1973."

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"In the 1970s, Seltzer co-founded Bay Area Seating Service (BASS) Tickets, a San Francisco Bay Area computerized ticket service. From 1983 to 1993, he was a vice president of sales and marketing for Ticketmaster."

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RollerDerbyJesus.com.

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 12:39 AM | Permalink

The Hood CNN

"Zack Stoner wasn't your typical journalist. The 30-year-old made a name for himself with his YouTube channel ZackTV, which he used to document various aspects of Chicago's South Side community, providing an apologetically raw look at the city's violence, poverty, and music scene," Complex News reports.

"A lot of people respect what I do," he said in a 2018 interview with the Defender. "I'm the 'Hood CNN.'"

"Less than two months after the Defender profile was published, Stoner was murdered in the South Loop. The case remains unsolved.

"In the latest installment of Complex News Presents, we take a closer look at Stoner's impact on Chicago's South Side as well as the mysterious circumstances surrounding his death."


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"ZackTV1 is a YouTube channel with over 1,700 videos, about 170,000 subscribers, and its most popular video to date has over 2 million views," the Defender had reported.

"I wanted to show the world the other side of Chicago. Back when I was growing up, we had Common and Kanye West. Those are great brothers and great entertainers, but I didn't think they represented Chicago the way that I've seen Chicago.

"I wanted to show the world what the other side of Chicago looks like . . . our culture - the way we dress, what we eat, how we talk, how we walk."

ZackTV1's oldest footage is a candid 18-second clip entitled "Summer Camp 09," a casual vignette of a group of young men rapping and beatboxing. It's oddly fitting that this is the channel's first video because it serves as a precursor for Stoner's content - raw, unfiltered, and centered on young Black men.

Stoner's murder remains unsolved.

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"A makeshift cross now marks the spot where Zachary Stoner's bullet-riddled SUV crashed into a lamppost one year ago in downtown Chicago - with the street reporter left clinging to life with a gunshot wound to the head. A note scratched on the cross reads, 'Zack: Chicago legend,' alluding to his fame in hip-hop circles and his trailblazing work in a uniquely perilous genre of gangland journalism," AP reported in May.

"The fact that police have made no arrests in Stoner's May 30, 2018, slaying despite multiple potential witnesses and the street being lined with surveillance cameras highlights a troubling statistic about Chicago homicides: About 80% of them go unsolved within the year they occur. And with gang-related killings, the chances of someone getting away with murder are even greater.

"Investigators haven't spoken publicly about Stoner's case, but police and medical examiner documents obtained by The Associated Press through an open records request provide previously unreported details and indicate that detectives seem to have significant evidence."

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 12:12 AM | Permalink

Blues Legend Paul Oscher Is A Mess

"Blues legend Paul Oscher, has had a run of bad luck, health-wise," his GoFundMe page says.

"He has been in the hospital for greater part of last month with bilateral (double) pneumonia and pleurisy. He was moved on July 4th to a rehab facility to help him get his strength back and also strengthen his lungs. Paul has also been plagued with several other major medical conditions and diseases that have been challenging for him over the past several years. He is also suffering from myelofibrosis (a form of bone marrow cancer), diabetes, fascicular cramp syndrome, peripheral neuropathy in both feet and hands, and COPD. He is a mess.

"Paul is best known for his stint as harmonica player for the great Muddy Waters from the the late '60s to the early '70s. He was the first white musician to play in Muddy's band and even lived in Muddy's house on Chicago's South Side. Paul mastered the guitar by watching his boss, Muddy play and the piano by watching the great Otis Spann, who shared the basement with Paul in Muddy's house. Paul has played with and/or recorded with many major blues artists, such as T-Bone Walker, Otis Spann, John Lee Hooker, Buddy Guy, Johnny Young, Johnny CopeIand, Big Joe Turner, Louisiana Red, Big Mama Thornton, Victoria Spivey and many more."

Check out this cool little documentary. You won't be sorry.

"Paul is the real deal. He is a real bluesman who can take you on a trip back to the time when the blues could feed your soul and make you whole. Paul has a long recovery ahead of him, but is very anxious to get back to the stage, performing the blues he learned from Muddy and other bluesmen of that day."

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PaulOscher.com.

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From Modern Blues Harmonica: Please Help Paul Oscher.

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 12:09 AM | Permalink

July 9, 2019

The Ordeal Of The Jungle

"Between 1910 and 1920, the Chicago Federation of Labor (CFL) inaugurated a massive organizing drive in the city's meatpacking and steel industries.

"Although the CFL sought legitimately progressive goals, worked earnestly to organize an interracial union, and made major inroads among both black and white workers, their efforts resulted in a bitter defeat.

"David Bates provides a clear picture of how even the most progressive of intentions can be ground to a halt."

ordealjungle.jpg

"By organizing workers into neighborhood locals, which connected workplace struggles to ethnic and religious identities, the CFL facilitated a surge in the organization's membership, particularly among African-American workers, and afforded the federation the opportunity to aggressively confront employers.

"The CFL's innovative structure, however, was ultimately its demise. Linking union locals to neighborhoods proved to be a form of de facto segregation.

"Over time union structures, rank-and-file conflicts, and employer resistance combined to turn the union's hopeful calls for solidarity into animosity and estrangement.

"Tensions were exacerbated by violent shop floor confrontations and exploded in the bloody 1919 Chicago Race Riot.

"By the early 1920s, the CFL had collapsed."

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 9:42 AM | Permalink

Chicago Jerk And Seafood Music Fest 2019

Catching up with the festivities in Washington Park on June 23rd.

1. Official Recap.


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2. The Black Foodies.

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3. Aidonia.

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4. Sauvecito.

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 9:29 AM | Permalink

Being Twista

"Carl Mitchell grew up in the K-Town area of North Lawndale and began rapping when he was 12. In 1992, Mitchell released his first album called Runnin' Off at da Mouth under the name Tung Twista." The rest is history, as he recently detailed on VladTV. In three parts:

1. Hip-Hop Was Different In The '90s.

"Twista talks about his new mixtape Summer 96, which he says is titled in dedication of the golden age of hip-hop.

"During this time, Twista notes that he released his third album Adrenaline Rush that featured the single 'Get It Wet,' while adding that the genre was different in the '90s when there wasn't any Internet and there was more competition.

"From there, he adds that he collaborates with Do or Die on the new mixtape, as he speaks on his ultimate goal of bridging the gap between Chicago rappers of different generations and eras.

"'They're gonna get that call' Twista says of all the new rising stars from Chicago, noting that he's fan of G Herbo, Lil Durk, Chief Keef, and all the other artists making noise in the city."


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2. Chicago's First Major Label Rapper.

"[T]he first artist signed to Steve Rifkind's label, Loud Records. [Twista] explained that things could've gone differently with the label situation and they decided to part ways before he released his second album, Resurrection. Twista also spoke about fellow Chicago artist Common releasing an album of the same name."

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3. Chicago's Pimp Culture.

"[Twista] spoke about the culture of pimping and being exposed to it at an early age but said he never thought he was capable of actually participating in the trade."

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See also: Mr. Immortality: The Life and Times of Twista.

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Previously:

* Item: All Too Mortal.

* Item: Twista At The Terror Dome.

* No. 9: Twista at Durty Nellie's.

* No. 7: Twista at AAHH! Fest.

* No. 14: Twista at the Double Door.

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 8:34 AM | Permalink

'If Grandma Is On the Table, No One Will Blink At The Price' | A Former Drug Company Manager Explains Industry Price-Setting

Frances Leath no longer works in management for pharmaceutical industry giant Eli Lilly, but she keeps tabs on the company where she spent the first 15 years of her career. She still lives in Indianapolis, home of the company headquarters. She has watched as Lilly's dramatic increases in the price of insulin have triggered regular protests by angry patients, class-action lawsuits, and congressional criticism.

Yet the company has continued to ratchet up the price. The same vial of Lilly's Humalog insulin that was priced at $21 in 1996 can cost as much as $275 today. Especially when research shows that the same vial is manufactured for about $5, and that Americans are suffering and even dying because they can't afford their insulin, this approach can seem shocking.

Not to Frances Leath. "I'm not surprised a bit," she says.

It was not always this way at Lilly. When she started her career, there was an internal company slogan Leath would hear a lot: "We make drugs as if people's lives depend on it."

That was in 1987, when Leath was fresh out of DePauw University and working in Lilly's finance division. The company's portfolio focused on medicines for acute illnesses, including several antibiotics. "One of the things I liked about working there was that the conversation was very much about patients," Leath said. "You could see that our products like Ceclor were treating infections and saving lives."

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After going back to school to complete her MBA at Cornell's Johnson Graduate School of Management, Leath moved to Lilly's business development and strategic planning division. In that role, she worked directly with senior management. So, when things changed, she had a front-row view.

It started in 2000, when Lilly was waging a court battle aimed at protecting their antidepressant medicine Prozac from generic competition. Prozac sales earned as much as $2.6 billion a year, a quarter of Lilly's entire revenue. When the company lost the case, its stock price dropped more than 30% in anticipation of Prozac's patent expiring in August 2001.

The impact was immediate, Leath recalls. "There was a huge amount of external pressure to get earnings back up and the stock price along with them," she says. "Inside the company, you had staff saying, 'We just lost $2 billion a year. Am I going to get laid off?'"

Then, the company had a big win. In clinical trials, its Xigris product was proving to be effective at treating severe sepsis, a complication from infection that was killing 225,000 people each year with no approved drug to fight it. Just two months after Prozac lost its U.S. patent, the Food and Drug Administration gave Lilly the green light to sell Xigris. The timing could not have been better. "Xigris may be just what the doctor ordered for Lilly," the Wall Street Journal reported in September 2001.

By then, Lilly leadership had spent several months discussing a potential price for Xigris. Leath recalls a preliminary consensus forming around a price of about $500 per dose. That was no bargain: $500 was a hundred times more than the company's manufacturing cost and at the higher range of the medicine's class. But with Prozac sales plummeting and the medical community's excitement about Xigris rising, that price began to seem inadequate. "All of a sudden, the price everyone talked about was $10,000 per dose," Leath says. "Someone just pulled that figure out of their derriere, and then it became the number."

'If Grandma Is On The Table . . . '

Leath's observations about the random process of pricing Xigris is consistent with investigations into the opaque world of setting the price for monopoly-protected medicines sold to customers whose lives may depend on them. In 2015, the U.S. Senate Finance Committee conducted an 18-month investigation into how Gilead Sciences arrived at then-record prices of $84,000 and higher for its sofosbuvir-based Hepatitis C medicines. The Senate investigation found that the company considered the remarkable effectiveness of the medicine whose rights it had purchased, looked closely at what the market would bear, and set the highest price it thought it could get away with.

Gilead's executives bolstered themselves for criticism. Once the drug was released, one company vice president offered a pep talk in an internal e-mail. "Let's hold our position whatever competitors do, or whatever the headlines," he wrote in late 2013. "Let's not fold to advocacy pressure in 2014." They did remain steadfast, and that strategy combined with the take-it-or-leave-it nature of monopoly protection paid off: In the 21 months after the hepatitis medicines were introduced, the company collected $20.6 billion in revenue for them, fueling a breathtaking corporation-wide profit margin of nearly 50%.

That same year, the Wall Street Journal published an inside account of how Pfizer executives decided to set the price of a new breast cancer drug. As their Gilead counterparts did, Pfizer's team ignored research and manufacturing costs, instead focusing on discovering the maximum price that insurers would be willing to pay, and at what price level physicians would balk at prescribing the drug. Worried about the intimidating nature of a $10,000 per month cost, Pfizer settled on the same approach that cause microwave ovens and flat-screen TVs to so often carry price tags ending with 99 dollars or 99 cents. Executives decided that the new breast cancer drug would be sold at $9,850 a month.

But in 2001, drug price tags like these were still unheard of. So Leath was stunned at the internal discussion of a $10,000 price for Xigris, which would make it the most expensive medicine on the market. When she realized that the only ones sharing her concern were colleagues in middle management, she raised her objections to her boss. The new price could not be justified by research or manufacturing costs, Leath said, even with a healthy profit added in.

Her boss replied that justification based on company costs was irrelevant. "If Grandma is on the table, no one is going to blink at paying $10,000 to save her life," he said. It was a phrase that came to be repeated in the Lilly executives' pricing discussions from then on: "If Grandma is on the table . . . "

Raulo S. Frier, vice president of clinical services at pharmacy benefits manager Express Scripts Inc., told the Wall Street Journal much the same thing. After the rumored $10,000 cost for Xigris became public - the drug would eventually be priced at $6,500 - Frier was among many in the medical community who said there would be no choice but to meet Lilly's demands. "A lot of hospital pharmacy directors are going to be hyperventilating over the cost," Frier said. "But they will be under a world of hurt if they don't use it."

'Some Drugs Do Not Belong In The Hands Of A For-Profit Company'

In the end, Xigris did not live up to the hopes of either the company or patients. Although Lilly consistently made $100 million a year from the drug, it was pulled from the market in 2011 after further clinical testing showed it did not have a positive impact on patient survival.

By that time, Frances Leath was long gone. In her decade and a half with Lilly, she had received regular promotions, a six-figure salary, and annual bonuses averaging more than $30,000. She had every indication that those numbers would only continue to rise. Yet, for the granddaughter of a United Methodist minister and chair of Staff Parish of her own Methodist church in Indianapolis, money could no longer keep her in the Lilly fold. "I was struggling, both emotionally and physically," she says. "I felt like I was participating in things that conflicted with being a Christian."

Leath is now a realtor, a job she loves. "There is no better feeling than helping someone find the home that is perfect for them," she says. When she sees the Lilly price-setting on insulin, she shakes her head in recognition of the phenomenon she witnessed first-hand. "They have not generated the next blockbuster drug, and they feel the pressure to make as much money as they did when they had a blockbuster," she says. "So, they are making up the difference with their chronic-care medicines. That strategy was an active part of conversation when I was there."

To Leath, the lesson learned from her experience in the pharmaceutical industry is that its leaders are now laser-focused on profits, along with the stock prices, salaries and bonuses that are tied to them. No one should expect those executives to voluntarily restrain themselves from price-gouging on a lifesaving medicine they hold the rights to.

"I've concluded that there are some drugs that simply do not belong in the hands of a for-profit company," she says. "They are driven by motivations that have nothing to do with the health of patients."

This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 License.

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 3:00 AM | Permalink

The [Tuesday] Papers

"For nearly a decade, Chicago Cubs co-owner Todd Ricketts has lived in a 5,000-square-foot North Shore house nestled on a meticulously landscaped lot complete with a Japanese-style garden," the Tribune reports.

"It's a showcase Wilmette home a short walk from Lake Michigan. But it's not the home that Ricketts, who also is finance chairman of the Republican National Committee, has been paying taxes on.

"Instead, records show, Ricketts pays property taxes based on the value of the much older and smaller house that he tore down to make way for the new one, providing him with a huge discount likely totaling tens of thousands of dollars over the years."

Well, I'm sure that's just a paperwork error. After all, with everything he's got going on - from cheating his own company on camera to propping up a serial cheater - he can hardly be expected to stay on top of his property taxes. Let's not make him out to be a criminal.

"State law required Ricketts to notify the assessor that he had built a new home in 2010, but a spokesman for the assessor's office said there's no record that Ricketts ever did."

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"Ricketts declined to be interviewed and did not answer a list of questions the Tribune submitted via e-mail. Spokesman Brian Baker issued a statement.

"When Mr. Ricketts purchased property in Wilmette more than 10 years ago, he filed all necessary paperwork to build a new home," the statement reads. "Later, he retained a real estate attorney to assist with issues regarding his real estate taxes and assumed everyone involved had the correct information. If a mistake was made, he will work in good faith to fix it."

In my book, if a news subject refuses to answer questions, you do not accept a statement from a spokesman - especially one making as much money as Brian Baker for his work with a dark money group whose raison d'etre is better stewardship of taxpayer dollars.

But I digress.

"The tax attorney, veteran Chicago lawyer James FortCamp of Seyfarth Shaw, did not return a message seeking comment or respond to a list of e-mailed questions."

Link mine, because don't we want to see what this bastard looks like?

(FortCamp's central boast on his bio: "Mr. FortCamp obtained a $1 million tax refund on a substantial corporate complex, a $400,000 tax refund on a significant downtown office building, and successfully appealed the valuation for a Fortune 500 company's corporate headquarters, resulting in an annual real estate tax savings of $690,000." Good job, Jim!)

I'm also not fond of sending news subjects lists of questions. That's generally frowned upon.

But again, I digress.

"Even as Ricketts and his wife - anti-tax and free market advocate Sylvie Légère - benefited from the property tax savings, Légère wrote to Wilmette school board officials lamenting the village's high property tax burden and urged them to avoid another increase."

Link mine, because I thought you should know that "Someone once told her that we judge a community by its ability to care for its most vulnerable members."

Well, Todd is the most vulnerable member of the Ricketts family, so maybe that's what that is about.

Also, Légère is "passionate about impact of public policy on human flourishing and freedom."

At least her own family's flourishing and freedom.

"Ricketts is a member of a billionaire family that secured an $8.5 million county historic renovation property tax break for its rehab of Wrigley Field. That project also is in line to receive more than $100 million in federal tax credits."

*

Click through for the rest of the nitty gritty.

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Hey, look: ToddMRicketts.com.

-

Todd Ricketts vs. Todd Stroger. Discuss.

-

To the peanut gallery:

*

*

*

Finally . . .

Twitter polls only allow four choices, so I stuck to the children and left out Joe. But Joe, definitely, is the worst. It all starts with him.

-

New on the Beachwood today . . .

'If Grandma Is On the Table, No One Will Blink at the Price' | A Former Drug Company Manager Explains Industry Price-Setting
Former Eli Lilly exec gives up the goods.

*

Being Twista
The life and times of a Chicago rap pioneer.

*

Frat Beer Backs Women's Soccer
It's a start.

*

Chicago Jerk & Seafood Music Fest
The festival called, and they're running out of you!

*

Dear Women's Soccer: Don't Be Cricket
Keep yourself on pay-TV, no matter how much money you're offered not to.

*

The Ordeal Of The Jungle
The race-related rise and fall of the Chicago Federation of Labor.

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ChicagoReddit

Portillos:/ from r/chicago

-

ChicagoGram

-

ChicagoTube

John Sebastian at City Winery on Monday night.

-

BeachBook

The Billionaire Co-Founder Of Home Depot Plans On Donating Up To 90% Of His $5.9 Billion Fortune, And Trump's 2020 Campaign Will Be One Of The Beneficiaries.

*

It's The Cars, Not The Cows.

*

Dodgers Manager Dave Roberts Would Like A White House Invitation To Decline.

-

TweetWood
A sampling.

Graydon Carter is right when he says the allegations didn't fit into the general thrust of the story, but the answer wasn't to just ignore the allegations, it was to change the thrust of the story.

*

Garth Brooks to open "Dive Bar Tour" at venue that isn't a dive bar.

*

The cover-up is right in front of us.

-

The Beachwood McRibTipLine: Minimum gauge.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 12:33 AM | Permalink

Budweiser Becomes First Official Beer Sponsor Of The National Women's Soccer League

The end of this year's World Cup marks a new beginning as Budweiser becomes the first official beer sponsor of the National Women's Soccer League (NWSL).

"Budweiser has supported the U.S. Women's National team for three decades," said Monica Rustgi, vice president of marketing for Budweiser. "But we realize there is so much more Budweiser can do. Becoming the official beer sponsor of the NWSL is our way of not just supporting the U.S. Women's Team once every four years, but also supporting women's soccer every single day."

The deal makes Budweiser one of the biggest sponsors of the NWSL, with naming rights to the playoffs, the championship, the MVP trophy, and a newly created "Most Valuable Supporter" award for the league's biggest fan. Budweiser will activate the sponsorship locally, with support of the teams and stadiums. And Budweiser's commitment will not stop at the end of the NWSL season. An innovative off-season program will give NWSL players immersive training on the business side of sports from Budweiser executives.

"We are thrilled to embark on a long-term partnership with Budweiser," said Amanda Duffy, president of the NWSL. "Budweiser's support is significant and will amplify the visibility and influence of the league, our players and avid supporters. This collective goal to advance women's soccer in the United States will only further propel the efforts of NWSL, as we look to bring the passion for World Cup play back home to league games."

"As a player, you always strive and hope for long term commitments from sponsors to support and grow the game," said Brandi Chastain, U.S. soccer legend. "Budweiser's sponsorship of the NWSL shows that they aren't just a champion of women's soccer abroad, but that they are invested in the further development of the sport in their own backyard."

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See also:

* AP: Women's Soccer League Seeks More Fans, Sponsors After USWNT Title.

* Forbes: Why Women's Sports Sponsorship Is An Opportunity Brands Are Missing.

* ThinkProgress: Stop Using The U.S. Women's Soccer Team As Inspiration Porn. Just Pay Them More Money.

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 12:15 AM | Permalink

To Grow Women's Soccer, Don't Banish It To Pay-TV

English national football teams going out in the semi-final of a major competition is nothing new. In fact, it has happened in successive women's World Cups in 2015 and 2019 and with the men in 2018. But this time the mood feels different - England's women, the "Lionesses," have taken their nation on an incredible ride.

An overwhelmingly positive reaction following the team's semi-final defeat to the USA swept the country - there is a sense that the potential to grow the women's game is now more achievable than ever before.

The semi-final attracted a record-breaking peak TV audience of 11.7 million in the UK and the game is currently the country's most-watched television program of 2019. The question now turns to how best to capitalize on this. Where does women's soccer go next?

The answer is relatively simple - particularly in relation to television exposure: do not be tempted to sell out to the highest bidder; do not kill your audience before it has even had chance to grow. While there will be pressure to raise finance to pay the players, there is a risk that you harm the long-term future of the game by selling out.

Instead, the strategy should be careful and deliberate with the focus on attracting bigger sponsors and ensuring mass market exposure. In short, retain a significant presence on free-to-air broadcasting.

There are already proposed developments to capitalize on the performance of the Lionesses at the World Cup. It has been reported that the Premier League is moving closer to a takeover of the Women's Super League. The league has also recently been boosted by a £10 million sponsorship deal with Barclays.

But with average match-day crowds falling below 1,000 people, the pressure is on clubs to secure more lucrative sponsorship and broadcasting deals to fund their players' salaries. Caution should be applied, though, when it comes to growing revenue through TV broadcasters, and we have plenty of examples in other team sports where chasing the money has not paid off in the long run.

Just Not Cricket

Away from the world of soccer, England and Wales have been hosting another World Cup: the ICC Cricket World Cup. But beyond the grounds in which the matches are taking place there is very little awareness of it - partly because it is not being broadcast live on terrestrial television.

The tournament is taking place behind a television paywall - and the sport in the UK will no doubt suffer as a result. English cricket only has itself to blame that this is a forgotten World Cup.

A domestic World Cup was a glorious chance for cricket to reintroduce itself to old fans and engage new ones. Recent research has found that, despite a series of structural changes in cricket over the past 20 years, the domestic game continues to struggle with poor finances, low attendance and falling participation rates.

Cricket sold its soul to Sky Sports after the glorious summer in 2005 when England was gripped by live coverage on Channel 4 as the home side won a pulsating Ashes series on home soil. The decision to place the sport behind a paywall following that series has seen the popularity of cricket in the UK go backwards despite revenues rising.

Interestingly, cricket will now return (in part) to free-to-air broadcasting in its most recent TV deal (from 2020-2024) in an attempt to bring the sport back to the eyes of the masses.

Rugby league is another sport in the UK that has suffered a similar fate since signing an exclusive broadcasting agreement with BSkyB in 1995. This deal meant that live rugby league was no longer shown on the BBC's Grandstand program on a Saturday afternoon. As a result, viewing figures fell sharply from around 1.3 million to around 250,000, and since the introduction of the Super League clubs have struggled with financial problems and the sport itself has seen declining attendances and participation.

Wealth Warning

Large broadcasting deals are beneficial. They fund player salaries, transfer fees and infrastructure improvements. But they also come with wealth warnings, particularly in sports where public exposure is so critical to sustaining the professional game.

Inevitably, we see this reflected in wider participation figures too. Recent figures from Sport England show that 0.9% or 200,500 women aged 16 or over play soccer regularly (twice a month) compared to 8.4% or 1.8 million men. The next generation and continued engagement of the masses should be the focus now for women's soccer.

There will be a temptation to sell out to the highest bidder at the earliest opportunity, but that may not be the wisest decision for the long-term future and success of the sport. Capitalizing on the success of the Lionesses needs to be considered. This current generation of players need to place the future of the sport first, resisting the temptation to line their pockets.

Short-term gain for individuals will spell long-term stagnation for those girls who were gripped to the TV screen. The next major international tournament (the European Championships) is being hosted in England in 2021. It is vital that the game is not hidden behind a paywall in the lead up to this and beyond.

Dan Plumley is a senior lecturer in Sport Business Management at Sheffield Hallam University. Rob Wilson is the head of subject in Sport Business Management at Sheffield Hallam. This article is republished from The Conversation under a Creative Commons license.

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Comments welcome.


Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 12:10 AM | Permalink

July 8, 2019

It's All Happening

He wasn't a close friend but certainly someone I knew, an acquaintance. When he saw me walking the concourse at the ballpark, his eyes sparkled with enthusiasm.

"Have you seen this kid?" It wasn't so much a question as a declaration. "He loves to play. He's so much fun."

That was 1985 when a 21-year-old Venezuelan prospect named Ozzie Guillen took over at shortstop at Comiskey Park and became a fixture for the next 13 seasons. He was an All-Star three times and, along with The Big Hurt, Black Jack and Carlton Fisk, the face of the franchise.

Before he arrived, we didn't know much about him. The team had a history of Venezuelan shortstops with Chico Carrasquel and Luis Aparicio. We could be excused if we questioned whether the new kid could live up to those standards. We only knew that he represented the future in a trade that sent pitcher LaMarr Hoyt to San Diego after the 1984 season. Just a year earlier, Hoyt had won 24 games for the division-winning Sox, earning him a Cy Young Award. We had to believe that the Sox had received value in return.

Guillen never played a minor-league game in the Sox system. He was big-league ready when the Sox obtained his services. However, even if Ozzie, who entered pro ball at 17, had been homegrown, in the absence of Twitter, not to mention the Internet itself, he would have quietly developed in places like Appleton and Glen Falls, far from the big city.

What a difference from last week when Dylan Cease began warming up in the bullpen on a Wednesday afternoon for a makeup game against Detroit. The team's marketing department had to be salivating. They would have been fortunate to have 12,000 fans in the seats for a mid-week unscheduled day game against a lousy team like the Tigers.

However, in this social media age, every one of the more than 26,000 who showed up, plus a television audience, had been anticipating - even recently demanding - Cease's arrival almost since the day he was traded across town to the Sox in the Jose Quintana swap two years ago this week.

Cease's debut, which lasted five innings in an eventual Sox 7-5 victory, was much like that of Michael Kopech last season. Fans flocked 10-deep around the bullpen as Cease, 23, got loose.

Dylan Cease.jpg

Many of his teammates walked with him as he made his way to the dugout. The crowd rose to its feet for his first pitch, recorded for posterity on thousands of clicking cellphones.Years from now, lots more than 26,000 will boast, "I was there."

There is much to be said for the exposure and puffery that these prospects receive long before they ever appear on the big stage. We love anticipation. We look forward to special events like weddings, graduations, vacations, and even family reunions in most cases. We count down the months and days. When the event finally is upon us, far more often than not, it lives up to advance billing.

Of course, there can be a letdown after the fact, but in the case of the local baseball team on the South Side, the hits just keep coming. Even though Kopech's career was interrupted due to a recalcitrant ligament in his right elbow - a common occurrence these days - we'll get all juiced up again next season when he returns.

Yoan Moncada, once the very top prospect in all of baseball, arrived two years ago after being observed almost daily at Charlotte via the Sox website, Twitter and televised minor league games. We saw flashes of brilliance in the first season-and-a-half, but he didn't come close to living up to expectations until this season. Now at the All-Star break, we have a third baseman who's hitting over .300 with power to burn and an arm to match any corner man in the league. Maybe it gets lost in all the hoopla, but general manager Rick Hahn continues to preach patience, a perfect example in the case of Moncada.

Ever since the Quintana trade, Eloy Jimenez has been scrutinized, lionized, glorified and celebrated. "He's gotta work on his defense," we were told as Eloy seemed destined to start the year at Triple-A. But then, boom! Six years at $43 million for the kid with the endearing smile who says hello to his mom after hitting home runs.

Then there's this: In splitting four games with the Cubs in the past three weeks, the two wins both were by 3-1 scores - the second coming on Sunday leaving the Sox with a 42-44 record - and Jimenez hit deciding two-run homers in each game against the organization that dealt him away. Really, folks. You couldn't have written a more perfect script.

And his defense? After stumbling around left field like a dive bar drunk at the season's beginning, he's made some remarkable catches including last Thursday when he took away a two-run homer from Detroit's Nicholas Castellanos. Later he smashed his own home run far over the centerfield wall, just like he did Sunday against the Cubs. It was his 16th of the season. So far he's the greatest .241 hitter in the world, and he's only going to get better.

This has all happened very suddenly. Now it's cool to be a Sox fan. Here's a team that's close to winning half its games, the yardstick of mediocrity, while across town in Rickettsville the denizens are fretting over their first-place ballclub.

Meanwhile, the pipeline to the South Side resumes after a Futures Game on Sunday in which second baseman Nick Madrigal and center fielder Luis Robert played for the American League, batting second and third, respectively. Neither did much, going a collective oh-for-six, but don't let that fool you. The Luis Robert Watch already has begun, and the Sox added more heat to the already hot trail by announcing that Robert has been promoted to Charlotte, just a step away from The Grate. The kid is just 21. Like Moncada and Jose Abreu, he's Cuban. Descriptions like "five tool player, electric bat speed, could be a 30-30 player" have been applied to the 6-foot-3, 185-pound speedster.

Madrigal is just the opposite. He's a little guy, 5-7, 165, who led Oregon State to the NCAA title in 2018 before the Sox drafted him a year ago in the first round with the fourth overall pick. There is much to like about Madrigal. He's a solid defender and a contact hitter who has struck out just twice this season at Double-A Birmingham. He's hitting .392 after being promoted from Winston-Salem.

There could be a dilemma for the Sox if and when Madrigal, who's 22, is big-league ready. Like what happens to Yolmer Sanchez. It's one thing to be a star at Double-A, but quite another at excelling at the highest level.

Sanchez made three errors in this season's first five games. Since then he's only made two while handling 302 chances flawlessly. A switch-hitter, Sanchez's .252 average is right at the MLB average but 10 points higher than his own batting average coming into the season.

We often hear about the desired positive presence in the clubhouse, and Sanchez seems to be one of the central players in the team's social makeup. He has trademarked the dumping of the Gatorade container on himself and unsuspecting bystanders like third base coach Nick Capra. He's a character who in many ways exemplifies the spirit of this new and up-and-coming team. And Sanchez is only 27.

Let's say that Madrigal becomes the kind of infielder and leadoff man that any team would covet. What effect would it have if he steps up to take Sanchez's job in the near future? Obviously it would be much different than, say, when Robert takes away playing time from Ryan Cordell and Charlie Tilson.

Ahh, but let's not concern ourselves with "Be careful what you wish for" scenarios. Beating the Cubs on Sunday with shaky Ivan Nova on the mound - both wins over the Cubs were in games he started - was sweet. Abreu and Jimenez both homered to supply all the offense required. Lucas Giolito, James McCann and Abreu will represent the team in Tuesday's All-Star Game while their teammates can relax and prepare for a run at .500.

Meanwhile, the Twitter world will keep churning out all the endless minutiae from around the country telling us that help is on the way.

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

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 9:32 AM | Permalink

SportsMonday: Yo, Joe!

If the Cubs want more consistent production with the bats in the second half of the season, maybe just maybe they should reconsider the utterly ridiculous lineup they used over the weekend.

In particular, the placement of the team's two worst on-base guys in the first and second spots in the order was mind-boggling.

Yo, Joe!

Kyle Schwarber in the leadoff spot is not working! He isn't drawing walks any more. This is not complicated. Schwarber wraps up the first half with an OBP of .320. Baez, who batted second over the weekend, is barely ahead of him at .324.

Or course, Kris Bryant is way out in front at .403. That is why it has always been best to bat him second. Then comes Anthony Rizzo (.384) and Willson Contreras (.381). Hell, try Contreras at leadoff when it finally dawns on you that Schwarber isn't good enough. And you can do it at the same time that you are telling Willson he is going to play a lot more corner outfield.

Tell Contreras you need him to focus on his hitting for a while - in the leadoff spot. That explains his not catching anymore. Perhaps that way you can avoid the uncomfortable conversation in which you tell him he is not only now the worst pitch framer in the league but also the worst pitch-stopper.

Contreras has simply stopped even trying to execute passed-ball-wild-pitch-stopping fundamentals. That is perhaps the most ridiculous thing about this week's All-Star extravaganza that kicked off last night with the Futures game - that Contreras is starting at catcher for the National League.

Baez was born to hit fourth or fifth. You want him in a spot where he can use his high hitting rate (a stat I am hereby making up that has to do with how often a batter actually puts the ball in play and gives himself a chance to get an RBI - I'll get back to you on the specifics). Ideally you have Bryant and Rizzo getting on base like they do followed by Baez driving them in.

Meanwhile, nobody tell Robel Garcia about the Cubs' unbelievable inability to find a consistent leadoff hitter during Maddon's entire tenure as skipper. Because the rookie second baseman is the guy who should get the next shot at the top spot either after Contreras gives it a go or before if Maddon decides the hopefully soon-to-be former catcher won't handle it well.

That is, unless you want to rotate Jason Heyward (.355) and David Bote (.336) in there. I understand a hesitation to put Heyward in the top spot. He is coming off a multi-week run of better hitting during which he has actually raised his batting average above .270 (before it fell back to .266 over the weekend). You probably don't want to mess it up with the pressure of leading off.

At minimum, the leadoff guy needs to have an OBP of .333. That means of course that he is reaching one out of every three times. Below .333, no more leading off.

Hell, Victor Caratini boasts a robust .367 on-base percentage at this point, which has been compiled with considerably fewer at-bats than the other guys but still, his switch-hitting capabilities make him an intriguing candidate. And if you don't care about putting the slow Schwarber atop the lineup then you should be good with Caratini.

There is time in July to give a smarter lineup a decent look. I don't really believe team president Theo Epstein when he says big changes might be coming because I can't envision what that would be other than firing the manager (I don't think he will trade any of the guys with real trade value but I do suppose it is possible).

The All-Star Game arrives at a great time for the Cubs. Time for a big ol' reset to the fundamental lineup.

If the team is still scuffling in a couple weeks, have at it Theo.

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Jim "Coach" Coffman welcomes your comments.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 9:14 AM | Permalink

The [Monday] Papers

"Lineage is the biggest player in the country's cold storage industry, a business consumers seldom see but one that plays a crucial role in keeping edible fare fresh from the time it's harvested until it reaches the kitchen fridge," the Los Angeles Times reports.

"Now, changes in the way people shop have the 'cold chain' scrambling to keep up. Consumers, particularly younger buyers, are turning more and more to online grocery shopping and prepared meal services, which means more refrigerated warehouses are needed to keep that stuff cold.

"To keep pace, the country will need 100 million square feet of new cold storage warehouse space over the next five years, according to a report by real estate brokerage CBRE."

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2. Your Thursday Night.

Screen Shot 2019-07-08 at 11.32.28 AM.png

Here's the Facebook event page.

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3. Capital One.

"The home of the first capital of Illinois from 1818 until 1820, Kaskaskia has been severed from the rest of the state for more than 135 years, when the Mississippi River took the path of least resistance and cut a new route to the east, leaving the town stranded alone on the west side of the river," the Tribune reports.

"The once-powerful epicenter of Illinois government has been even more isolated from the rest of the country since April, when floodwaters swamped the lone link to the island. For months, as the waters of the Mississippi swelled and persistent rainstorms pounded the area, Kaskaskia has been inaccessible except by boat or, when the waters slowly receded this summer, giant pickup trucks with suspensions tall enough to traverse several feet of water on the low bridge over the old river channel that connects the island to Missouri."

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See also: The Rise And Fall Of The First Capital Of Illinois.

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4. Horse Sense.

I asked our man on the rail Tom Chambers if this was true:

Horses typically sleep part of the night standing up and part lying down.

His reply:

Yes. It can be stressful for a horse to lie down because of all the weight. And some horses have a hard time getting back up. So they sleep standing up. That's why it's important for a horse to have four healthy legs.

That's what was so unusual about Seabiscuit. He would sleep laying down for 8-10 hours straight.

Same for Mr. Ed:

Screen Shot 2019-07-08 at 11.56.31 AM.png

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5. Labor Gains.

"Liz Shuler and Sara Nelson have many things in common - both are from Oregon, both are in their 40s, and both are prominent labor leaders. Shuler is secretary-treasurer of the AFL-CIO, the nation's largest labor federation, Nelson is president of the Association of Flight Attendants," the Guardian reports.

"Another thing they have in common: both hope to succeed Richard Trumka someday as the AFL-CIO's president.

"After decades of being held back, women have only recently risen to the top ranks of America's labor unions. For a woman to head the AFL-CIO and become the nation's most powerful, visible labor leader would be 'rather extraordinary.' as one historian put it."

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6. USA! USA! USA!

"Since the election of President Trump, Republican lawmakers in at least 18 states have introduced or voted on legislation to curb mass protests in what civil liberties experts are calling "an attack on protest rights throughout the states," the Washington Post reports.

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7. Forward To The Past.

With Michael J. Fox as Hitler.

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8. #Democrats.

Seeing polls showing a generic Democrat beating Donald Trump, Democratic party leaders seek to nominate its most generic Democrat.

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9. Word Of The Day: Carbeque.

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10. U.S. World Cup Finals Victory A Ratings Win For Fox.

And also, not:

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New on the Beachwood . . .

American Music
Nation-building.

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Dramatic Increase In Smoking On Shows Popular With Young People
Stranger Things the worst culprit.

Postscript: Netflix Adopts Smoking Policy Following Damning Report.

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Black Ghettos Are No Accident
The color of law.

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How The 'Good Guy With A Gun' Became A Deadly American Fantasy
Real life is not pulp fiction: Research has shown that gun-toting independence unleashes much more chaos and carnage than heroism.

*

Pulaski Road
An American journey.

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New from the Beachwood Sports Desk . . .

SportsMonday: Yo, Joe!
Let's talk about the lineup.

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It's All Happening
The White Sox pipeline is producing.

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The Beachwood Radio Sports Hour #259: Even Theo Is A Meathead Now
PECOTA comes home to roost. Plus: White Sox Ovah The Hump; Bulls Surprisingly Sign Serviceable Players; Blackhawks Surprisingly Sign Serviceable Players; Soccer's Super Sunday; and The Fire Are Back!

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Chicago's Only Girls Baseball Camp
Leveling the playing field.

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ChicagoReddit

Taft High School students, 1972. from r/chicago

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ChicagoGram

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ChicagoTube

Crosstown Classic.

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BeachBook

U.S. Flag Recalled After Causing 143 Million Deaths.

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Before You Call Out Our Hypocrisy, Let Us Remind You That We Don't Care.

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America's Indefensible Defense Budget.

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If There's A Nazi At The Table . . .

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This Artist's Paintings Of Women Are Considered The Most Realistic In The World.

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I Never Came Out, I Just Started Listening To The Runaways.

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TweetWood
A sampling.

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Thread of Joe Biden lying.

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Another thread of Joe Biden lying.

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Elite journos lying.

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Elite journos ignoring facts to propel a narrative.

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*

*

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The Beachwood McRibTipLine: Of the spear.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 6:20 AM | Permalink

July 5, 2019

The Beachwood Radio Sports Hour #259: Even Theo Is A Meathead Now

PECOTA comes home to roost. Plus: White Sox Ovah The Hump; Bulls Surprisingly Sign Serviceable Players; Blackhawks Surprisingly Sign Serviceable Players; Soccer's Super Sunday; and The Fire Are Back!


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* 259.

:46: Cubs WTF.

* Hail, PECOTA!

* Our entire outfield for Madison Bumgarner?

* Coffman: A Modest Cubs Proposal.

* The Italian Stallion.

* Mark DeRosa, not David DeJesus, is a rumored Cubs managerial candidate!

Currently works for MLB Network.

* Coffman loves Joe Girardi almost as much as he loved Tony Snell.

* Theo Epstein on the clock!

* Coffman: Fire Jason McLeod!

* Dylan Cease was a 6th-round pick.

McLeod called him "a lottery ticket."

* Expecting more from Jose Quintana was not unreasonable.

* Point a finger at Maddon and four more point at the front office.

* Cubs swing bats harder after Maddon gets ejected!

* They need a scruff-grabber.

39:58: White Sox Ovah The Hump.

40:58: Bulls Surprisingly Sign Serviceable Players.

49:01: Blackhawks Surprisingly Sign Serviceable Players.

* Why It Matters That More Athletes Are Talking About Their Mental Health.

54:01: Soccer's Super Sunday.

* Red Stars Salute!

59:05: The Fire Are Back!

* Coffman was there!

* Positive Coaching Alliance.

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STOPPAGE: 7:08

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

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 1:24 PM | Permalink

American Music

1. Chicago Farmer at The American Music Festival at FitzGerald's.


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2. Cuban American Festival in Los Angeles.

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3. Phil Lesh and Friends at the Outlaw Music Festival at the Summerfest American Family Insurance Amphitheater.

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4. Haitian American Music & Food Fest in West Palm Beach, Florida.

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5. The Guess Who Singing "American Woman" at the Wildflower Music Fest in Richardson, Texas.

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6. Grand Funk Railroad singing "We're An American Band" at WIldflower.

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Plus:

7. Violent Femmes, "American Music."

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8. Childish Gambino, "This Is America."

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 10:33 AM | Permalink

Dramatic Increase In Smoking On Shows Popular With Young People

A new report released today by Truth Initiative, the national nonprofit dedicated to making tobacco use a thing of the past, reveals 92% of the shows most popular with young people aged 15 to 24 years old depict smoking prominently.

The organization first reported on the issue in 2018 with the groundbreaking report While You Were Streaming that found 79% of the shows popular with youth contained images of tobacco.

Approximately 28 million young people have witnessed tobacco use based on the estimated viewership of the 13 shows studied in this year's report. According to the surgeon general, youth with more exposure to tobacco in movies are twice as likely to begin smoking compared to those with less exposure.

The 2019 report, While You Were Streaming: Smoking on Demand, A Surge in Tobacco Imagery is Putting Youth at Risk details a dramatic increase in the amount of smoking across broadcast and streaming shows.

When compared to the 2018 report, tobacco depictions increased by 176% overall and by 379% in youth-rated programs with more than 200 tobacco incidents observed in programs rated TV-Y7 and TV-PG.

For the second year in a row, Netflix, the most commonly watched streaming service among 15- to 24-year-olds topped the list. The streaming network nearly tripled the number of tobacco incidents (866) compared with the prior year (299).

The report is released as millions of teens prepare to watch the season three premiere of Stranger Things, which, for the second year in a row, is the worst offender. The show had a 44% increase in smoking from season one (182) to season two (262) and in its first two seasons, tobacco was depicted in every episode. Other returning shows to the 2019 list include:

* Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt - 292 tobacco depictions (up from 9 depictions)

* Orange is the New Black - 233 tobacco depictions (up from 45 depictions)

* House of Cards - 54 tobacco depictions (up from 41 depictions)

But the proliferation of tobacco imagery is not limited to Netflix. Main characters in Amazon's award-winning The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel and Hulu's Gap Year also smoke.

Tobacco incidences on broadcast and cable programming have dramatically increased this year as well showing nearly two-and-a-half times (150%) more tobacco imagery than in 2018. Top 2019 offenders on network TV, broadcast and cable include:

* Once Upon a Time - 97 tobacco depictions (up from 0 depictions)

* American Horror Story - 88 tobacco depictions (up from 15 depictions)

* Modern Family - 79 tobacco depictions (up from 20 depictions)

"Content has become the new tobacco commercial," said Robin Koval, CEO and president of Truth Initiative. "We're seeing a pervasive re-emergence of smoking imagery across screens that is glamorizing and renormalizing a deadly addiction and putting young people squarely in the crosshairs of the tobacco industry.

"Streaming, broadcast and cable companies are giving the tobacco industry free advertising and young people are paying the price. This report is a call to action to creators, producers, policy makers and the public to change the channel and take smoking out of the picture."

Peer-reviewed studies estimate 37% of new youth smoking initiation in the U.S. can be attributed to exposure to smoking in movies. With almost all smokers starting to smoke by age 26, streaming services are essentially giving Big Tobacco free advertising to recruit new youth smokers to replace the nearly 1,300 people who die each day from tobacco-related diseases.

With 61% of young adults reporting online streaming as their primary way of viewing episodic content, this year's report underscores the critical need to put reasonable guidelines into practice to help safeguard today's youth. Truth Initiative calls on the public health community, states and TV and streaming producers and creators to adopt the following common-sense measures to help protect impressionable viewers from repeated tobacco imagery:

* States can change their film production subsidy policies to provide tax and other incentives for productions that do not promote tobacco use.

* Enforce stricter parental guideline ratings that include tobacco use.

* Call on content creators and distributors to ensure future content does not include tobacco imagery.

* Age-appropriate, anti-tobacco messages should air before and during any programs that include tobacco.

* Conduct additional research on the connection between tobacco in television and streaming shows.

Furthermore, producers of video content, regardless of platform, should adopt the following policy principals:

* In future productions, commit to no tobacco depictions (including e-cigarettes) in youth-rated content (i.e. TV-14, PG-13 or below) unless the depiction unambiguously reflects the dangers and consequences of tobacco use, or the depiction represents the tobacco use of an actual person, as in a biographical drama or documentary.

* Clearly mark previously produced material with tobacco descriptors so parents can appropriately evaluate content.

* Include anti-smoking advertising before previously produced material with youth ratings and tobacco depictions.

* Certify that no tobacco product placement appears in any future production (including consideration paid to producers/actors/etc.).

In addition to this report, through its Tobacco In Pop Culture effort, Truth Initiative exposes tobacco imagery on screens and in pop culture - including TV, streaming, video games, movies and social media - to help inform about the dangers of the entertainment industry's normalization of smoking and underscore the need for actionable solutions.

About Truth Initiative
Truth Initiative is a national public health organization that is inspiring tobacco-free lives and building a culture where all youth and young adults reject tobacco.

The truth about tobacco and the tobacco industry are at the heart of our proven-effective and nationally recognized truth® public education campaign, our rigorous and scientific research and policy studies, and our innovative community and youth engagement programs supporting populations at high risk of using tobacco.

The Washington D.C.-based organization, formerly known as Legacy, was established and funded through the 1998 Master Settlement Agreement between attorneys general from 46 states, five U.S. territories, and the tobacco industry.

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 9:37 AM | Permalink

Black Ghettos Are No Accident

The majority African-American enclaves found in every major U.S. city are no accident of history.

And, although societal racism certainly played its part, de facto segregation isn't the prime culprit for the urban divide.

In this animation, adapted from his book The Color of Law (2017), historian Richard Rothstein explains with devastating precision how decades of brazenly intentional racist local, state and federal government housing policies led to the current status quo.


While this history was once widely understood, the extent of these efforts - including their origins in Franklin D Roosevelt's New Deal public housing initiatives - have been forgotten, even as their lasting effects are omnipresent.

In reviving this history, Rothstein details the multitude of ways these policies are still affecting African-American communities, and offers a remedy for the generations of harm.

He argues that state-sponsored segregation efforts were unconstitutional at their very inception, and must be reckoned with both in the courts and with new policy that acknowledges the pernicious legacy of housing discrimination in the U.S.

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See also:

* New York Times: A Powerful, Disturbing History Of Residential Segregation In America.

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 3:57 AM | Permalink

How The 'Good Guy With A Gun' Became A Deadly American Fantasy

At the end of May, it happened again. A mass shooter killed 12 people, this time at a municipal center in Virginia Beach. Employees had been forbidden to carry guns at work, and some lamented that this policy had prevented "good guys" from taking out the shooter.

This trope - "the good guy with a gun" - has become commonplace among gun rights activists. Where did it come from?

On Dec. 21, 2012 - one week after Adam Lanza shot and killed 26 people at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut - National Rifle Association Executive Vice President Wayne LaPierre announced during a press conference that "The only way to stop a bad guy with a gun is a good guy with a gun."

Ever since then, in response to each mass shooting, pro-gun pundits, politicians and social media users parrot some version of the slogan, followed by calls to arm the teachers, arm the churchgoers or arm the office workers. And whenever an armed citizen takes out a criminal, conservative media outlets pounce on the story.

But "the good guy with the gun" archetype dates to long before LaPierre's 2012 press conference.

There's a reason his words resonated so deeply. He had tapped into a uniquely American archetype, one whose origins I trace back to American pulp crime fiction in my book Hard-Boiled Crime Fiction and the Decline of Moral Authority.

Other cultures have their detective fiction. But it was specifically in America that the "good guy with a gun" became a heroic figure and a cultural fantasy.

'When I Fire, There Ain't No Guessing'

Beginning in the 1920s, a certain type of protagonist started appearing in American crime fiction. He often wore a trench coat and smoked cigarettes. He didn't talk much. He was honorable, individualistic - and armed.

These characters were dubbed "hard-boiled," a term that originated in the late 19th century to describe "hard, shrewd, keen men who neither asked nor expected sympathy nor gave any, who could not be imposed upon." The word didn't describe someone who was simply tough; it communicated a persona, an attitude, an entire way of being.

Most scholars credit Carroll John Daly with writing the first hard-boiled detective story. Titled "Three Gun Terry," it was published in Black Mask magazine in May 1923.

"Show me the man," the protagonist, Terry Mack, announces, "and if he's drawing on me and is a man what really needs a good killing, why, I'm the boy to do it."

Terry also lets the reader know that he's a sure shot: "When I fire, there ain't no guessing contest as to where the bullet is going."

From the start, the gun was a crucial accessory. Since the detective only shot at bad guys and because he never missed, there was nothing to fear.

Part of the popularity of this character type had to do with the times. In an era of Prohibition, organized crime, government corruption and rising populism, the public was drawn to the idea of a well-armed, well-meaning maverick - someone who could heroically come to the defense of regular people. Throughout the 1920s and 1930s, stories that featured these characters became wildly popular.

Taking the baton from Daly, authors like Dashiell Hammett and Raymond Chandler became titans of the genre.

Their stories' plots differed, but their protagonists were mostly the same: tough-talking, straight-shooting private detectives.

In an early Hammett story, the detective shoots a gun out of a man's hand and then quips he's a "fair shot - no more, no less."

In a 1945 article, Chandler attempted to define this type of protagonist:

Down these mean streets a man must go who is not himself mean, who is neither tarnished nor afraid . . . He must be, to use a rather weathered phrase, a man of honor, by instinct, by inevitability, without thought of it, and certainly without saying it.

As movies became more popular, the archetype bled into the silver screen. Humphrey Bogart played Hammett's Sam Spade and Chandler's Philip Marlowe to great acclaim.

hardboiled1.pngOne rendering of Philip Marlowe for a book cover/Christo Drummkopf, flickr

By the end of the 20th century, the fearless, gun-toting good guy had become a cultural hero. He had appeared on magazine covers, movie posters, in television credits and in video games.

Selling A Fantasy

Gun rights enthusiasts have embraced the idea of the "good guy" as a model to emulate - a character role that just needed real people to step in and play it. The NRA store even sells T-shirts with LaPierre's slogan, and encourages buyers to "show everyone that you're the 'good guy'" by buying the T-shirt.

nrashirts.jpgNRA t-shirts

The problem with this archetype is that it's just that: an archetype. A fictional fantasy.

In pulp fiction, the detectives never miss. Their timing is precise and their motives are irreproachable. They never accidentally shoot themselves or an innocent bystander. Rarely are they mentally unstable or blinded by rage. When they clash with the police, it's often because they're doing the police's job better than the police can.

Another aspect of the fantasy involves looking the part. The "good guy with a gun" isn't just any guy - it's a white one.

In "Three Gun Terry," the detective apprehends the villain, Manual Sparo, with some tough words: "'Speak English,' I says. I'm none too gentle because it won't do him any good now."

In Daly's Snarl of the Beast, the protagonist, Race Williams, takes on a grunting, monstrous immigrant villain.

blackmask1.jpgThe May 1934 issue of Black Mask featuring Race Williams on the cover/Abe Books

Could this explain why, in 2018, when a black man with a gun tried to stop a shooting in a mall in Alabama - and the police shot and killed him - the NRA, usually eager to champion good guys with guns, didn't comment?

A Reality Check

Most gun enthusiasts don't measure up to the fictional ideal of the steady, righteous and sure shot.

In fact, research has shown that gun-toting independence unleashes much more chaos and carnage than heroism. A 2017 National Bureau of Economic Research study revealed that right-to-carry laws increase, rather than decrease, violent crime. Higher rates of gun ownership correlate with higher homicide rates. Gun possession correlates with increased road rage.

There have been times when a civilian with a gun successfully intervened in a shooting, but these instances are rare. Those who carry guns often have their own guns used against them. And a civilian with a gun is more likely to be killed than to kill an attacker.

Even in instances where a person is paid to stand guard with a gun, there's no guarantee that he'll fulfill this duty.

Hard-boiled novels have sold in the hundreds of millions. The movies and television shows they inspired have reached millions more.

What started as entertainment has turned into a durable American fantasy.

Maintaining it has become a deadly American obsession.

Susanna Lee is a professor of French and Comparative Literature at Georgetown. This article is republished from The Conversation under a Creative Commons license. Sign up for The Conversation's daily newsletter.

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See also:

* Washington Post: Newtown Massacre Divided NRA Leaders.

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Comments welcome.


Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 3:40 AM | Permalink

Chicago's Only Girls Baseball Camp

Chicago Baseball and Educational Academy has teamed up with Baseball for All and Illinois Girls Baseball to bring Chicago its only girls baseball camp.

CBEA president and three-time All-Star Curtis Granderson is scheduled to meet Wednesday with Baseball for All founder Justine Siegel during Granderson's Grand Kids Foundation Baseball Camp to celebrate their partnership. Their camp is set to be held one night a week for six weeks this October and November.

"Too often, girls are told they cannot play baseball simply because they are girls," says Siegal, who holds a doctorate in sports psychology and has a raft of coaching credentials. "There is a cultural myth that baseball is for boys and softball is for girls. We believe that baseball is the greatest game on Earth and both girls and boys should be allowed to play it."

Similarly, CBEA has a complementary mission to provide opportunities for all children, regardless of their income, to play baseball.

And with the state-of-the-art facilities at Curtis Granderson Stadium at UIC, girls and boys can be inspired and learn that no matter what their dreams are, they can achieve them, both on and off the baseball diamond.

Winnetka child clinical psychologist Rob Daniels and his daughter, Taylor, 16, founded Illinois Girls Baseball to achieve a childhood dream for Taylor to form the first all-girl baseball league. With the creation of this six-week camp, they are one step closer to making their dream a reality.

About CBEA
The Chicago Baseball and Educational Academy is a 501(c)(3) charitable organization founded by three-time MLB All-Star, Curtis Granderson.

CBEA is dedicated to providing high-quality baseball education and mentoring programs to inner-city youth who otherwise would not have access.

We serve Chicago in three ways: First, we work with more than 60 existing neighborhood organizations serving 10,000 children by providing high quality practice facilities, professional baseball staff, and training opportunities for their volunteer coaches.

Second, we provide professional-quality baseball camps to children between the ages of 10 and 18.

Third, we we work to strengthen the capacity and impact of existing neighborhood organizations through leadership development.

The Chicago Baseball and Educational Academy mission is to build great citizens through baseball education, and mentorship.

About Baseball For All
Baseball For All is leveling the playing field for girls across America by addressing the social justice issue of gender inequality.

We want girls to know they can follow their passions. That they have no limits. That their dreams matter.

Join the movement and become a part of Baseball For All. Together, we will show our girls that we believe in them and their baseball dreams.

About Illinois Girls Baseball
Illinois Girls Baseball is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization. We strive to provide opportunities for girls to play baseball with other girls and enjoy the game while also being aware of the social conditions that have shaped their personal experiences.

Our teams are focused on player development, not only as baseball players, but also as young women, ambassadors for women's baseball, and for social change.

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See also:

* ESPN: When Will The First Female Play In The Major Leagues?

* New York Times: Will Women Play Major League Baseball?

* FanGraphs: Can Major League Baseball Legally Exclude A Woman?

* NBCSports Chicago: A Tournament Of Their Own: How Girls Are Helping Change The Face Of Baseball.

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 2:55 AM | Permalink

Pulaski Road

"Pulaski Road is a major north-south street in the City of Chicago, at 4000 W., or exactly five miles west of State Street. It is named after American Revolutionary War hero Casimir Pulaski.

"Pulaski Road was originally known as 40th Avenue. In 1913, it was renamed for Peter Crawford, an early area landowner, in order to avoid duplication of the 40th Street name in the city.

"The name Crawford Avenue lasted until 1935 when, over local opposition and a legal battle all the way to the Illinois Supreme Court, the street was renamed for Pulaski.

"Pulaski Road still retains its former Crawford Avenue name in the north suburbs of Lincolnwood, Skokie, and Evanston. In Wilmette, Crawford becomes Hunter Road."


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See also:

* The Fight Over Pulaski Road.

* The Fight For 40th Street.

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And . . .

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View this post on Instagram

10627 south Pulaski #pulaskiroad #doorsandwindows

A post shared by wayneallensallee (@wayneallensallee2099) on

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View this post on Instagram

#avondale #automotive #pulaskiroad

A post shared by Jeremy Green, Architect (@kopfkaese) on

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 12:16 AM | Permalink

July 4, 2019

The [Fourth of July 2019] Papers

Enjoy today's beer, barbecue and bullshit.

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Hey guys, one more thing . . .

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The Beachwood McRibTipLine: Prioritize.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 10:59 AM | Permalink

July 3, 2019

Why It Matters That More Athletes Are Talking About Their Mental Health

The great basketball writer Jackie MacMullan recently stood at the front of a hotel ballroom in Tampa taking questions after collecting a career achievement award from the Association for Women in Sports Media.

I was in the audience that day. Initially, the questions focused on her early days in basketball as a reporter. But then someone brought up a series of stories MacMullan had written for ESPN last summer on NBA players' mental health problems. MacMullan called it "probably the most important thing I've ever done," and a nearly 10-minute discussion followed.

The package featured All-Stars Kevin Love and Paul Pierce, among others, discussing their struggles with depression and anxiety. Other big names backed out at the last minute, concerned about the stigma of mental illness and whether it might hurt their ability to land a good contract in free agency, a point MacMullan emphasized when we spoke after the session ended. She said a league source called the problem "rampant."

It's not just the NBA where athletes' struggles with mental health are under scrutiny, either. As the director of the John Curley Center for Sports Journalism at Penn State University, I've noticed that mental health and sports is a topic gaining attention among athletes and the journalists who cover them.

Wanting to explore why it's happening now and why it matters, I talked to some experts in the field.

Pro Athletes Are Particularly Susceptible

Listing every publicly known example of an athlete dealing with a mental health issue would be a tough task, but it's clear that neither the particular sport nor an athlete's gender makes someone immune.

Michael Phelps - a swimmer with more medals than anyone in Olympic history - has spoken candidly for years about his struggles with depression. Longtime NFL receiver Brandon Marshall has gone public with his mental health issues, as has 2012 Olympic silver medalist high jumper Brigetta Barrett. Fox Sports has written about the frequency of eating disorders among female college athletes.

Experts I spoke with for this story pointed to a couple of reasons professional athletes are particularly susceptible to mental health issues.

Many "are high-achieving perfectionists," said David Yukelson, the retired director of sports psychology services for Penn State Athletics and a past president of the Association for Applied Sports Psychology.

That's great when it all comes together in victory or a terrific performance, but the toll of perfectionism can be tough when the results don't match an athlete's own expectations, Yukelson said.

Playing Sports In The Age Of Anxiety

The visibility of today's elite athletes exacerbates the pressure.

Scott Goldman, president-elect of the Association for Applied Sport Psychology, told me it's hard for fans to understand what it's like to constantly be in the spotlight. He recalled watching a pro football player prepare to run onto the field and wonder aloud whether anyone else in the building had people howling at them when they went to work.

Add social media to the mix, and all the armchair experts that brings to any sports discussion. Earlier this year, NBA Commissioner Adam Silver told the MIT Sloan Sports Analytics Conference: "We are living in a time of anxiety. I think it's a direct result of social media. A lot of players are unhappy."

The NBA has responded to the problem with a series of initiatives designed to help players cultivate mental wellness. Beyond compassion, the efforts make business sense: Happier players lead to better-performing players, which leads to more wins.

Attention to mental health issues in sports also seems to be on the uptick in the United Kingdom, said Matthew Smith, a historian at the University of Strathclyde in Glasgow. Smith, whose research focuses on medicine and mental health, has been tracking sports-mental health articles on the BBC for the last couple of years and noted the count recently topped 100 stories.

He highlighted the suicide of Wales national men's soccer team manager Gary Speed in 2011 as a watershed moment that catalyzed the country's awareness and still makes headlines.

Fast forward to this May, when England's Football Association revealed a campaign to show that "mental fitness is just as important as physical fitness," with Prince William making the public announcement.

Takeaways For Athletes And Fans

Back in the United States, some wonder whether athletes are opening up about mental health issues because rates of such problems are rising among young adults, or if it's simply become more acceptable to talk about the issue.

Yukelson said times certainly have changed from the 20th century, when athletes were expected to absorb every setback and insult on their own. There's more support now. The Association for Applied Sport Psychology, a group for sport psychology consultants and professionals who work with athletes, coaches and nonsport performers, was founded only in 1985. It now has 2,200 members worldwide, according to Emily Schoenbaechler, the group's certification and communications manager.

Goldman, meanwhile, compared the situation to not knowing you have a cockroach problem until you turn on a light. In other words, drawing attention to an issue makes more people aware it exists.

But it's also true that nearly one in five American adults has a mental illness, according to the National Institute of Mental Health. That's more than 46 million people.

Both Goldman and Yukelson noted that only good things can come from athletes opening up about the issue. The more athletes talk, the more fans might feel inspired to seek help on their own.

The National Alliance on Mental Illness lists talking openly about mental health as the first way to reduce stigma. And an early advocate for speaking out about players' mental health, former Bull Metta World Peace - who changed his name from Ron Artest in 2011 - notes that when he first talked about his struggles, the media thought he was "crazy." Now the default is to call for getting the athlete some help, he says.

It all points to changing attitudes in sports - and society.

Or as Phelps put it in a recent tweet, "getting help is a sign of strength, not weakness."

John Affleck is the Knight Chair in Sports Journalism and Society at Penn State. This article is republished from The Conversation under a Creative Commons license. Sign up for The Conversation's newsletter and get a digest of academic takes on today's news, every day.

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Comments welcome.


Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 3:58 AM | Permalink

The [Wednesday] Papers

Declarations.

vs.

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Rat Patrol
"Officials say U.S. Customs and Border Protection agents at Chicago's O'Hare International Airport thwarted a man's attempt to import several pounds of African rat meat," AP reports.

Customs spokesman Steve Bansbach said Tuesday that the man declared the 32 pounds of meat on June 26 when his flight arrived from the Ivory Coast. The meat was confiscated and destroyed.

Bansbach says the man did not face a fine and continued on his journey because he was forthcoming about what he was bringing into the country. He says customs officials prohibit the entry of African meats to prevent the spread of African swine fever.

This story is getting a fair amount of attention nationwide because A) ewww, even though we eat meat from all kinds of weird animals, and B) look at those primitive Africans, even though Alinea will probably serve fried rat custard on a trapeze next week.

But the story is missing some key details:

1. What was the man's purpose? He was bringing the rat meat to a family feast, perhaps? Or did he intend to pass it off as "real" meat?

2. Thirty-two pounds is a lot of rats. Who killed them all?

3. He was allowed to continue "on his journey" without penalty because he was forthcoming. Why didn't he just check ahead of time if it would be okay to bring rat meat into the country?

It's a weird story, but something about is fishy.

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The Ivory Coast rat is sort of a thing?

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Beam Blaze
"Multiple crews are on the scene of a major fire at a bourbon warehouse facility," WKYT reports.

"Woodford County Emergency Management Director Drew Chandler tells WKYT two barrel warehouses at a Jim Beam aging facility caught fire around 11:30 p.m. Tuesday . . . Chandler says approximately 45,000 barrels of bourbon were in the warehouse that was still burning. He speculated crews could be on scene until late Wednesday night."

Jim Beam's headquarters has been in the Merchandise Mart since 2016.

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New on the Beachwood . . .

PointsBet Partners With Hawthorne
Here we go.

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Peak Summer: More Than One In Six People Likely To Get Food Poisoning
Beware festival and picnic foods!

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From the Taco Bell Desk . . .

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ChicagoReddit

How common is Dutch Crunch bread at delis in Chicagoland? from r/chicago

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ChicagoGram

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ChicagoTube

1985 Waterbed Mart Chicago Local TV Commercial

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BeachBook

Chicago Rap That Asks The Right Questions.

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Spotify: We 'Overpaid' Songwriters In 2018 And We Want Our Money Back.

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GIF: Lincoln To Trump.

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The Video Games That Made People Question Their Beliefs.

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TweetWood
A sampling.

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The Beachwood McRibTipLine: Ding dong ditch.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 1:52 AM | Permalink

PointsBet Partners With Hawthorne

PointsBet, a premier global sportsbook operator, announced this week that it has entered into a 20-year partnership with Hawthorne Race Course, a Chicago-area landmark and the longest continuously run family-owned racetrack in North America.

The partnership is highlighted by the launch of a premium retail sportsbook operation, which will bring legalized sports betting to the Chicago area. PointsBet and Hawthorne Race Course will work in tandem to build a world-class, multi-faceted sports entertainment venue centrally located on the property of the historic racecourse following licensure by the Illinois Gaming Board.

The agreement also involves PointsBet and Hawthorne partnering to launch sports betting at off-track betting establishments throughout the state and digital sports wagering via PointsBet's mobile app and website.

"PointsBet is ecstatic to partner with Hawthorne Race Course, an iconic venue that has been part of the fabric of the Chicago sports and entertainment scene since its inception in 1891," said Johnny Aitken, PointsBet's U.S. CEO. "Illinois sports fans are diehard in every sense of the word and we are elated to introduce them to our premium sportsbook and our innovative, bettor-first experience."

PointsBet will bring its best-in-market proprietary technology, modernized and premium brand mentality, expert trading practices, and proven growth marketing strategies to Illinois' eager sports betting market.

"Governor Pritzker and the legislature have given us an historic opportunity to transform the Illinois racing industry with the addition of casino gaming and sports betting," said Tim Carey, president and general manager of Hawthorne Race Course. "It's an opportunity that we won't take lightly, and that's exactly why we chose PointsBet as our partner. Our business has survived because we put players first, and PointsBet has proven they do as well. That is how we are going to succeed together."

Launched in the United States in January 2019, PointsBet is a rapidly-growing sportsbook with unique offerings and a bettor-friendly approach. PointsBet has introduced a slew of bettor-first initiatives including, Good Karma Payouts, which provides bettors relief in the event of unlikely circumstances that sway the fate of the game; Early Payouts; and an exclusive $10,000 gameday guarantee for all NBA and NHL playoff games, as well as the entire MLB and NFL seasons.

About PointsBet
PointsBet is a U.S. Sportsbook originally founded in Australia. The company is a cutting-edge bookmaker that prides itself on having the quickest and easiest to use app (iOS and Android) and providing the best content and best experience for sports bettors. PointsBet offers the most markets on all four major U.S. sports (NFL, NBA, MLB, NHL) and points betting in the world, including up to 1000 markets per NBA game. PointsBet announced the company's Initial Public Offering on the Australian Securities Exchange on June 12, 2019.

About Hawthorne Race Course
Founded in 1891, Hawthorne Race Course is the oldest sporting venue in Illinois for America's original sport: horseracing. For more than a century, the fourth-generation family-owned and operated business has hosted racing on the outskirts of the city at "Chicago's hometown track," which features traditional dirt racing and the second longest homestretch in North America. Currently, Hawthorne is the only race course in the nation to host both Thoroughbred (Spring, Fall, Winter) and Standardbred racing (Summer), and operates Illinois' largest network of off-track betting parlors.

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 12:21 AM | Permalink

Peak Summer: More Than One In Six People Likely To Get Food Poisoning

Like sunburn and bug bites, food poisoning is a common warm-weather malady that can cause painful consequences.

An estimated 48 million Americans, or one in six, get sick from food poisoning each year, many suffering from violent vomiting, diarrhea or even death in rare cases. Understanding the risks can help prevent foodborne illness from showing up at your summer cookout.

Most people will recover without any lasting health impact, but approximately 128,000 patients are hospitalized and 3,000 die of foodborne diseases annually.

"Fresh produce is catching up with poultry as a leading cause of infections, but undercooked chicken is still the most common cause of death from food poisoning," says Colin Zhu, a board-certified family and lifestyle medicine physician who has additional training as a chef and health coach. "While produce will show no signs of infection, meats that appear undercooked should be avoided."

Contaminated Foods

Food poisoning, or foodborne illness, is caused by eating food or drinking water contaminated by bacteria, viruses and parasites - or their toxins - and can happen at any point during processing or production, including growth, harvest, storage, shipment, preparation or service. Both fresh and prepared foods can harbor harmful bacteria.

Foods that aren't cooked, including ready-to-eat foods such as salads or produce, affect the largest number of people, Zhu says, and vegetable contamination has been on the rise. He encourages people to stay vigilant when outbreaks are announced. If an outbreak is trending in your region, he recommends immediately discarding the item.

Meat, fish, shellfish, eggs, mayonnaise and dairy items are also frequent carriers, and should be monitored for alerts from the Food and Drug Administration.

Signs and Symptoms

"Because of the likelihood of exposure to sustained warm temperatures, festival and picnic foods are some of the most dangerous," says Zhu. "I encourage patients to also be mindful of salad bars. Anything that may not have been properly cleaned or cooked should be eyed with suspicion."

Food poisoning symptoms, which may start anywhere from within hours to 10 days of eating contaminated food, most often include an upset stomach, stomach cramps, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea and/or fever. This is the body's attempt to expel or subdue the toxins.

In more severe cases, people may experience blurred vision, confusion, tingling, muscle aches or weakness, but most often food poisoning is mild and resolves without treatment.

However, if symptoms include bloody stool, fever over 100°F, persistent vomiting or diarrhea that endures more than three days, hospitalization may be required and a physician should be consulted immediately.

If not treated, food poisoning can lead to chronic arthritis, brain and nerve damage, or hemolytic uremic syndrome resulting in kidney failure.

Children, the elderly, pregnant women and people with compromised immune systems are particularly susceptible.

Common Germs that Cause Food Poisoning

* Campylobacter causes an estimated 1.3 million illnesses each year in the U.S. alone and is the number one cause of bacterial diarrhea. It most often occurs after eating undercooked poultry or something that touched it.

* Beef, eggs, fruits, vegetables and water pass the salmonella bacteria.

* E. coli is most often associated with eating undercooked beef or drinking unpasteurized milk and cider.

* Typically carried by raw fruits and vegetables, the highly contagious norovirus - sometimes mistakenly called the stomach flu - can also be shared by shellfish from tainted water or from food handlers who spread it as they prepare meals.

* While less common, listeria often spreads from packaged foods such as hot dogs and lunch meats, soft cheeses like brie, and raw fruits and vegetables. It is particularly dangerous for pregnant women and can lead to miscarriage.

Treatment

With most bacteria, unless you have a weak immune system or are pregnant, medication is unlikely to be prescribed by a physician, and for viruses, no medication exists. Parasites, which are rarer, will likely require a pharmaceutical treatment.

"Avoid anti-diarrhea medicines," says Zhu. "While it's tempting to reduce this symptom, the over-the-counter medicine will likely extend the length of the illness, and your suffering."

In most mild cases, physicians advise staying hydrated while allowing the illness to pass. Small sips of water are best, and alcohol, dairy, caffeinated and carbonated beverages should be avoided.

Prevention

Separate raw meat, poultry, seafood and eggs from ready-to-eat foods in your shopping cart, refrigerator and meal preparation area. When cooking, wash hands and work surfaces before and after handling food, and use a designated cutting board for produce versus meat or fish.

Consulting a food thermometer will ensure foods reach appropriate internal temperatures high enough to kill bacteria. Refrigerate leftovers within 2 hours of cooking or within 1 hour if the food was served in temperatures reaching 90°F.

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 12:15 AM | Permalink

July 2, 2019

Archive Smuggled From Nazi Germany Acquired By Science History Institute

The Science History Institute has acquired an amazing collection of correspondence, books, photographs and scientific notes belonging to Jewish German chemist Georg Bredig.

The collection spans decades, from the late 19th century, just as the field of physical chemistry was emerging, to the 1930s and the horrors faced by the Jewish community as the Nazis rose to power. The archive has never been made public. This acquisition was made possible by the generous support of the Skokie-based Walder Foundation.

"Bringing this collection to the Science History Institute fulfills Georg Bredig's wish that these documents be preserved so that future generations can study them," said Robert Anderson, the Science History Institute's president and CEO. "They are significant not only to scholars of the history of science but to Holocaust scholars as well."

"As long-time funders of Holocaust education, Dr. Walder and I are proud to support the acquisition of the Bredig archive," said Elizabeth Walder, president and executive director of the Walder Foundation. "We know that this collection will provide history and science scholars alike a unique vantage point for uncovering some of the untold stories of this tumultuous period in world history."

Bredig introduced the model reaction methodology to catalytic research, discovered and explored new catalytic phenomena, and discovered and investigated asymmetric catalysis. Further, he explored the relationships between catalytic activity and the physical state of metals.

The earliest documents in the archive - from the late 19th century - provide a snapshot of the field of physical chemistry in its early years. There is extensive correspondence with the founding fathers of the field, including many early Nobel laureates in chemistry, such as Jacobus Henricus van't Hoff, Svante Arrhenius, Fritz Haber and Wilhelm Ostwald.

georgarchive.jpg

The post-1933 collection items document a very different story. Bredig, along with his family and Jewish colleagues, struggled to survive under the increasingly oppressive Nazi regime. Some managed to flee to other countries, while others were not so lucky. Their stories unfold through the letters describing their situations in detail, from requests for food and clothing for detainees to the desire to resume their work and their normal routines.

Many of the letters and documents relate to Bredig's attempts to leave Nazi-occupied Europe. Included in the collections are his German identification papers and passport, both marked with a "J."

Bredig recognized the Nazis would likely destroy his personal library and archive, and his efforts to ensure its survival nearly cost him his life. In a letter to his son, Max, in 1939, Bredig writes, "Yesterday I sent as a package to you the three green volumes I-III of my opera omnia. The rest IV-VII in green volumes will follow in the next week or so . . . It is very dear to me that after my death the one and the other will end up in good hands (for an obituary and also for reference). In case you don't want to keep it, give it to a university library, preferably one abroad, or to a good friend. Under no circumstances do I want it to be wasted/lost, given away or tossed! It should give witness over my life's work."

The collection was smuggled out of Nazi Germany to the van't Hoff laboratory in the Netherlands, where it remained for the duration of the war. In 1946 it was shipped to the Bredig family in the United States.

Funding from the Laurie Landeau Foundation will provide for conservation and preservation of the archive. The Institute plans to make the collection available to researchers and to develop related public programming in the coming months.

About Georg Bredig (1868-1944)
Georg Bredig had a distinguished career in chemistry and as a professor. He held teaching positions at universities throughout Northern Europe before being appointed professor for physical chemistry at the Technische Hochschule in Karlsruhe, Germany, in 1911.

In 1933, the Nazis forbade Jews to hold professional positions. Bredig's credentials as a scientist were revoked, and he was forced into retirement.

In 1938, during Kristallnacht, he was arrested but later released. Bredig fled Germany in 1939 with the assistance of a fellow Jewish chemist, Ernst Cohen. Many of Bredig's colleagues, friends, and family members were not so lucky. Cohen perished in the gas chambers at Auschwitz. Alfred Schnell, a chemist and colleague of Bredig's son was executed, along with his wife, by Dutch soldiers loyal to the Nazis. They had been in hiding in the Netherlands for years, and their story is now well known. But the fact they were writing letters while in hiding was completely unknown until this collection surfaced.

Max Bredig left Germany two years before his father and immediately set to work getting the rest of his family out of Europe as well as helping others do the same. Bredig's daughter, Marianna, along with her husband, Viktor, spent more than a year in detention camps before finally making it to the U.S. in 1941.

After Bredig received a letter with an offer of a position from the president of Princeton University in November 1939, Max was finally able to obtain a visa for his father. Georg Bredig came to the United States in 1940. In poor health, he stayed with his son in New York City until his death on April 24, 1944.

About the Science History Institute
The Science History Institute collects and shares the stories of innovators and of discoveries that shape our lives. We preserve and interpret the history of chemistry, chemical engineering, and the life sciences.

Headquartered in Philadelphia, with offices in California and Europe, the Institute houses an archive and a library for historians and researchers, a fellowship program for visiting scholars from around the globe, a community of researchers who examine historical and contemporary issues, an acclaimed museum that is free and open to the public, and a state-of-the-art conference center.

About the Walder Foundation
The Walder Foundation is a private family foundation based in Skokie that provides organizations and individuals with resources and tools to build a sustainable future through strategic programs focused on Performing Arts, Advancing Sustainability, Immigrant Advocacy, Jewish Life, and Science Innovation.

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 12:16 PM | Permalink

The [Tuesday] Papers

1. I wonder how much this URL cost - or if they got it from the get-go.

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The flip side is parked.

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Sites with URLs like these are where news organizations should have gone a long time ago, but that's a broken record coming from me.

2. Charter Boat Bounty.

"A Detroit-area man has been arrested in connection with illegal charter boat operations on the Chicago River and Lake Michigan," AP reports.

No one noticed a strange dude was running tours on the river?

"The U.S. Attorney's office for the Northern District of Illinois says 33-year-old Christopher Garbowski is charged with violating an order of the captain of the port."

Was the order, "Who are you and what are you doing with that boat?"

"Authorities say groups paid for charters aboard a 40-foot powerboat during the 2017 and 2018 boating seasons. A criminal complaint filed in U.S. District Court in Chicago says the boat had not been inspected or certified by the Coast Guard.

"The charges also allege the person acting as captain did not have proper Coast Guard credentials."

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Aha, a photo of the boat and more details here.

3. Cloud Gategate.

Awaiting details on why it took seven people to deface The Bean.

4. It's Not Moth Man, But It Is A Moth.

"A giant moth native to South and Central America has been spotted in Chicago," NBC5 Chicago reports.

"South Shore resident Eric Allix Rogers captured a photo of the creature he says landed on the basement door to his building near 71st Street and South Shore Drive over the weekend. Rogers said he snapped a photo and left the moth alone.

"The animal has been identified as a Black Witch Moth, which can often be confused with a bat flying around at night, according to Doug Taron, chief curator at the Peggy Notebaert Nature Museum."

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Somehow I feel like the moth, the boat and the bean could be tied together, maybe even with marijuana. Connect the dots, people.

5. In Chicago, 2020 Hopeful Pete Buttigieg Pitches Plan To Fight Systemic Racism.

Maybe he should fight it first in South Bend, amirite?

6. Mississippi Banning.

"A federal lawsuit filed by a Chicago vegan food maker says Mississippi is violating free-speech rights by banning makers of plant-based foods from using terms such as 'meatless meatballs' and 'vegan bacon,'" AP reports.

"The lawsuit was filed Monday by the Plant Based Foods Association and Chicago-based Upton's Naturals Co., which makes vegan products and sells them in many states, including Mississippi."

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Maybe Mississippi banned those terms in good faith because they simply couldn't spell them.

7. Quantum Mystery.

Punk is good. Pop is good. Punk Pop is the absolute worst.

8. The John Kass Reader.

Nah, why put myself through it.

9. Man Claims Racial Profiling For Arrest While Attached To IV.

Here's your chance, Mayor Pete.

10. Bill Callahan Is Back.

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New on the Beachwood . . .

Archive Smuggled From Nazi Germany Acquired
With generous support from the Skokie-based Walder Foundation.

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ChicagoReddit

Uber Eats Delivery Partners Stealing Meals from r/chicago

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ChicagoGram

View this post on Instagram

Built in 1923 and abandoned since the 80s, the Stony Island Arts Bank was slated for demolition in 2012 when visual artist and University of Chicago professor Theaster Gates bought it from the city of Chicago for $1. $1! Gates then funded the renovation with the proceeds from art he made using found objects within the bank. Last year, it reopened to the public, and it is GLORIOUS. See link in bio for my take on this space. . . . #readandroam #wordsandpictures#bookstagram #booksbooksbooks#booknerd #booklove #books#keepreading #bookworm #goodreads#bookish #bookporn #instatravel#readersofinstagram #adventure#amreading #bookphotography#ireadeverywhere #whattoread #reading #booksofinstagram#southside #travelgram #bookshelf#chicago

A post shared by Read + Roam (@readandroam) on

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ChicagoTube

Speedy Ortiz at the Logan Square Arts Festival on Sunday night.

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BeachBook

Dynamic Wood Sculptures Carved To Look Like Pixelated Glitches.

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State Mapmaker Brings Creativity To Ohio Road Maps.

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The Latest In A Series Of Awfully Similar New York Times Op-Eds.

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David Gilmour Sold All His Guitars For $21.5 Million - And Donated Everything To Fight Climate Change.

Pink Floyd, one of the greatest bands of all-time, really meant it and never sold it. Roger Waters is also maximally involved in causes and somehow neither him nor Gilmour carries any whiff of the smell wafting off Bono when it comes to charity work.

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The Impresario Of 'Ballet Kink.'

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Of Tenants And Tentacles: BTTM FDRS Confronts Gentrification In Comic Horror Form.

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Meet The Father Of Black Gospel Music Who Was Rejected By Early Mainstream Churches.

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TweetWood
A sampling.

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Charlie Savage on Cloud Gategate, gawd.

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The Beachwood McRibTipLine: Gated.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 6:08 AM | Permalink

July 1, 2019

SportsMonday: A Modest Cubs Proposal

It turns out the NL Central isn't as strong as advertised. The mediocre Cubs are still atop it, after all, tied with the Brewers for first place with a 45-39 record, the worst mark among all division leaders.

With the loss to the Reds on Sunday, the Cubs have now dropped five consecutive road series'. The loss also left them under .500 for the month of June, their first month with a losing record since May 2017.

After that game, the team seemed to push back against the notion that this is their new normal. But at some point, you have to come to grips with the fact that maybe you aren't as good as you think you are.

The rest of the division, having just finished a stretch of uniformly stinking against non-divisional foes, isn't very good either. And the Cubs sure as hell aren't close to as good as the Dodgers, and at this point that is the only measuring stick that matters.

As the calendar turns to July, and trading season opens in earnest, especially given that there is no longer an August waiver period, the Cubs have 31 days to fix their roster.

How? Trade Kyle Schwarber and move Willson Contreras to left field.

Schwarber had a big day at the plate Sunday, going 3-for-5 with a two-run homer and two singles, but his overall offensive numbers still just don't cut it - not for a guy who was once proclaimed to be the next Babe Ruth.

His on-base percentage is just .320 and he ain't even slugging .500 (he is at .475, well behind the Cubs' four elite hitters). These numbers are obviously not good enough for a spot in the top four lines in a lineup.

It is past time to move him down in the lineup - and sit him down against lefties, period.

He's also a liability in the field. Just when you think he's good enough to not actively undermine the team's chances to win a given game, he makes a fool of himself out there. On Sunday, he put on quite a clinic on how not to play left field, including dropping a routine fly ball off the bat of Joey Votto.

It's beyond time to trade him to the American League, where he can fulfill his destiny as a designated hitter. Maybe an American League team will become overly enamored with power numbers - he has 18 homers! - that are pretty good even in a league in which the round-tripper has been dramatically devalued this year.

The Cubs also continue to pay the price for Willson Contreras's incredibly bad defense. It's as though he begins every day by studying his offensive numbers (which are quite impressive - no doubt about that) and then says to himself, eh, I don't have to work on my pitch framing and blocking today.

Early in Sunday's game, Jon Lester threw Reds stud third baseman Eugenio Suarez one, two, three fastballs just below the knees. All were called balls. Any one of them might have turned into a strike if an expert pitch framer had been able to turn his glove down to catch one rather than moving his glove down out of the strike zone and trying to move the ball up after it is caught. The latter is Contreras's modus operandi, every time.

Sure enough, that led to a full count with a couple men on base (one thanks to Schwarber's dropped fly ball). Lester moved his next fastball up and into Suarez's sweet spot. And the Red third-bagger hit the ball 457 feet out to dead center - the longest dinger of his career. The Cubs never recovered despite scoring six runs in the final three innings.

And then at the end of the game, the Reds were openly stealing bases on the first pitch every time against young lefty reliever Kyle Ryan. Ryan didn't do a good job holding runners on but Contreras didn't seem to care about any of it - a stolen base that put the base-runner in position to score one of the Reds' add-on runs didn't even draw a throw from the catcher.

The solution is obvious and solves two problems in one move. Send Schwarber to the AL and give Contreras ample time in left field to keep his bat in the lineup. Time to make the change.

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Jim "Coach" Coffman welcomes your comments.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 10:57 AM | Permalink

Ovah The Hump

Let's all take a deep breath and let it out gently. There. That's better. The 15-game journey, the saga that would be a reasonable yardstick from which to measure the progress of these White Sox, closed out Sunday at a soggy Grate much like it began more than two weeks ago.

Of course, we're talking about 15 games against five teams, including three division leaders, currently boasting a .593 winning percentage. Starting with a stirring 5-4 comeback victory against the mighty Yankees and ending Sunday with a tough 4-3 win over the Twins, Rick Renteria's outfit gave a credible account of itself by winning seven of the 15 contests.

The season now is right at its halfway point, and the Sox, standing at 39-42, are a far different ballclub than a year ago when they were 28-53 on their way to 100 losses. Sox faithful, those days are ovah!

Alright, euphoria is too strong a description, but optimism clearly is in order if it already wasn't present. Perhaps the most promising aspect of this most recent stretch is that the Sox have accomplished respectability basically with one effective starting pitcher, the All-Star Lucas Giolito.

For the month of June, Giolito, whose 11 wins are tops in the major leagues, went 4-1 with an ERA of 2.50. He pitched five innings of one-hit ball Sunday before a three-hour rain delay dictated that his work was finished with the Sox enjoying a 2-0 lead. The boys stretched it to 4-0 before the bullpen held on just long enough for a 4-3 triumph.

Meanwhile, we have Reynaldo Lopez and Ivan Nova, two troopers who strive to keep games close for five or six innings with limited success. Last month Lopez went 1-2 coupled with a huge ERA of 5.93 while Nova was 0-3 and 4.89. Friends, these are the Nos. 2 and 3 starting pitchers on a team on the cusp of .500.

The rest of the rotation has been patchwork. Orisdamer Despaigne, a 32-year-old Cuban journeyman, got a tryout in June, starting three games, all of which turned into losses although his initial effort lasted seven innings on a yield of three runs. After being lit up by the Yankees and Rangers, Renteria was asked whether Despaigne would get another start. "He's here until he's not," said the Sox skipper with a mild smirk, and Despaigne was DFAed two days later.

Taking his spot was a guy named Ross Detwiler, another pitcher pulled off the scrapheap, from the independent Atlantic League where he had appeared in three games earlier this season. Detwiler, 33, was a first-round draft pick (6th overall) in 2007, and he managed to win 10 games for the Nationals in 2012. The lanky lefthander has continued to pitch probably because he loves the game with the oft chance, in this day of a dearth of good pitching, that someone like the Sox would pick him up.

So here's a measure of what's happening with this team. In Detwiler's checkered career, he's been released three times, granted free agency four times, had his contract sold once, and signed as a free agent on seven occasions, the last time being May 9 with the Sox. In eight games at Charlotte, he pitched well, earning a call last Friday to face the Twins.

Consider that Minnesota, leading the Central Division this morning with a 53-30 record, is hitting .270 as a team and averaging close to six runs a game. In addition, their thumpers have hit 157 home runs, on pace for 306 this season, which easily would eclipse the present record of 267 set by the Yankees last year.

You could have excused Detwiler if he had said, "I'd love to pitch for you guys, but can we wait a few days until Detroit comes to town?"

Of course, that would have been foolish. Detwiler arrived prior to game time to meet catcher James McCann, another Sox All-Star along with Jose Abreu, to get acquainted, go over signs, and share knowledge about the powerful foe. To complicate matters, the Twins were sending their ace, Jose Berrios to the mound. In 10 prior appearances against the White Sox, the 25-year-old Berrios was 9-1 with a 2.05 ERA.

I've always wondered how gamblers could be so addicted as to bet on baseball. Friday was a perfect example. There seemed to be absolutely no way the Sox could win this game. Tim Anderson went on the injury list earlier in the week with a sprained ankle, and third baseman Yoan Moncada was still nursing a sore knee, the result of being hit by a Chris Sale slider against Boston on Wednesday. Daniel Palka, he of the .026 batting average, accompanied Detwiler from Charlotte to be the evening's DH. And Jose Rondon, hitting beneath the Mendoza Line, assumed Moncada's place in the infield.

Despite all these mitigating factors, the White Sox surprised everyone, maybe even including themselves, by eking out a 6-4 victory. Detwiler allowed a two-run homer to the powerful Miguel Sano, but that was it. He exited after five innings, and six relievers held on while Eloy Jimenez supplied a two-run shot in the eighth inning to chase Berrios and give the Sox a four-run cushion.

When things like this occur, you have to wonder whether something a bit extraterrestrial is happening.

We'll see Detwiler again. In the meantime, the team announced that super prospect Dylan Cease, the minor league pitcher of the year in 2018, will finally make his debut with the Sox in a makeup game on Wednesday afternoon - there will be the regularly scheduled night game - against the Tigers. What a shrewd move. If not for Cease, who would show up for the game?

But showing up they are. In 38 home dates this season, the Sox are averaging 21,008 after drawing almost 28,000 per game last weekend. That's a 16 percent hike over a like number of home dates a year ago.

The wins Friday and Sunday were the bookends of a 10-3 loss on Saturday, but taking a series from the Twins has to provide a ton of confidence for the White Sox. They could be ripe for a letdown in the four games against the inept Tigers, especially with Giolito not slated to pitch until this weekend against the Cubs. Obviously we'll have to wait and see. Monday and Friday are off days during this holiday week, which means that the fellows should be rested and ready for a 6:15 p.m. date Saturday at The Grate against the Cubs. The place will be rocking.

At the risk of being overzealous, think of how this team will develop in the second half if they can get some starting pitching. Can Dylan Cease step up, stay healthy, and provide much-needed help? Can Lopez and Nova find a groove and be effective? If the answers to these questions are affirmative, the next three months will be very interesting.

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

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 9:36 AM | Permalink

The [Monday] Papers

Let's begin the arduous task of once again trying to catch up on the news.

1. Vice Squad.

"Hyde Park's second brewery may arrive before the end of the year. Vice District Brewing Company co-owners State Rep. Curtis Tarver II (D-25th) and Quintin Cole plan to open in the South Side neighborhood by 2020, the Chicago Tribune reported." - via Eater Chicago

Vice Brewing actually only gets a mention in the (worthwhile) Trib story, which is a broader look at "the unbearable whiteness of brewing."

But I'm glad Eater flagged Vice because of Tarver's involvement. His flip-flop on rent control - and subsequent lying about it - was almost comical.

It turns out Vice District was evicted from its original South Loop location, among other recent problems plaguing the operation. Click through to Eater for the delicious deets.

2. Pun Parade Is Back.

I admit, when I first heard about the Cows on Parade in 1999, I rolled my eyes as hard as they could roll. When I actually saw them close up, on Michigan Avenue, my eyes were charmed out of their sockets. Well, they're back, so here you go:

But please, everyone, no more cow puns. The cows are not on the moove and they're not udderly interesting.

3. Ghosts On The Highway.

"The Illinois Department of Transportation, State Police and law enforcement agencies are teaming up to prevent alcohol- and drug-related crashes and fatalities through a ramped-up enforcement period that runs through July 8," AP reports.

I'm not saying this isn't really happening, but every holiday weekend when I see these stories my mind flashes back to the state patrolman in another state who once told me they often make these announcements without adding extra patrol just to make motorists think there is extra patrol out there.

Assignment Desk: Check it out!

4. Dare Force.

"How dare this nation easily, quickly and totally dismiss the allegation of a respected media professional that she was raped by the man who sits in the Oval Office when far less substantiated accusations have been given limitless exposure on the center stage of American media," Vernon A. Williams writes for the Chicago Crusader.

Go read it. I'll wait.

5. Chicago Just Discovered She's 'The Other Woman.'

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New on the Beachwood . . .

TrackNotes: Double Trouble
"You either suppress the reality of the game and go along merrily, enjoying all the horses of their different colors. Or you catch the Emerald City parade and then look behind the wizards' curtains and see and understand the chicanery, hypocrisy and outright deceit. Either way, it is very stressful, I will attest."

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The Beachwood Radio Sports Hour #258: Craptastic Cubs
Continuing conundrums. Plus: Cubs To Be Well Represented In All-Star Game If You Include Alumni; The Unprecedented Nature Of Kris Bryant; The NL Central Actually Sucks; All-Star Catcher Willson Contreras Is Actually Worse Than We Thought; Tim Anderson's Got An Ankle; Yonder DFAlonso; I'm Going To A White Sox Game; Stan Bowman Rolls Draft Dice; and Rapinoe, France & Eric Trump's Spitter.

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SportsMonday: A Modest Cubs Proposal
The time has come for this change.

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The White Sox Report: Ovah The Hump
The season now is right at its halfway point, and the Sox, standing at 39-42, are a far different ballclub than a year ago when they were 28-53 on their way to 100 losses. Sox faithful, those days are ovah!

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Chicago Thrift Store Book Haul
"Hauling books from a really nice thrift store I visited while on vacation in Chicago."

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ChicagoReddit

Any decent store in Chicago that buys board games? from r/chicago

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ChicagoGram

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ChicagoTube

The Beths at the Logan Square Arts Fest on Sunday night.

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BeachBook

Joe Biden: "I Like Dick Cheney, For Real. I Think He Is A Decent Man."

And then Biden goes on to describe Cheney's private national security staff, without any indication of that having been a problem. In 2017.

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Subway Royally Screwed Franchisees Out Of Their Businesses.

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Most Skin Care Products Are A Scam.

And by "most," we mean all.

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When Will The First Female Play In The Major Leagues.

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Megan Rapino's Greatest Heartbreak - And Hope.

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Scabies Means Misery. This Pill Can End It.

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TweetWood
A sampling.

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The Beachwood McRibTipLine: Bank it.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 7:33 AM | Permalink

MUSIC - How Africa Adopted Jimmie Rodgers.
TV - Sinclair, ABC Light AOC On Fire.
POLITICS - SCOTUS's Border Wall Fiasco.
SPORTS - Black Athletes' Underused Trump Card.

BOOKS - The Hidden Places Of World War 2.

PEOPLE PLACES & THINGS - Wisconsin Is America's Goatland.


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