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« August 2013 | Main | October 2013 »

September 30, 2013

The [Monday] Papers

"Authorities in Pittsburgh have temporarily shuttered a Chicago artist's atmospheric installation after three visitors reported experiencing seizure-like symptoms," the CBC reports.

Similarly, authorities in Chicago have shuttered the managing career of Dale Sveum for much the same reason.

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"The Chicago Cubs have fired Dale Sveum as their manager, and amid rumors of Joe Girardi leaving the Yankees for Chicago, this is sure to make him happy. I have no doubt that he has no interest in managing in Chicago and moving his family miles away, but he can and probably will use this situation to his advantage," Jason Cohen writes for SBNation out of New York.

Local broadcasters David Kaplan and Dan Bernstein are reporting that their sources say there is mutual interest between the Cubs and Girardi, but Girardi told reporters on Sunday that his kids are "engrossed" in their Westchester County schools and he has few remaining ties to Chicago left.

I was among those who thought the Cubs should have hired Girardi when they had the chance instead of Lou Piniella, but my guess is that it's too late now.

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More in The Cub Factor on Tuesday.

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Bipolar Bears
Marc Trestman's offense meets Bad Jay.

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CPtweetS

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U.S.: All Rebels Are Terrorists (Even Ours)
And even if it was Saddam Hussein they tried to overthrow.

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Perhaps It's Time To Leave Damascus . . .
. . . Leave The Mask Behind. In Chicagoetry.

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Writers And The Urban Plan
The rebuilt city.

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The Weekend In Chicago Rock
Including: Hot Lips Messiah, Dickey Betts, Stereophonics, Pet Shop Boys, Vic Mensa, Tutu and the Pirates, Billy Bragg, SirensCeol, Savant, and Phoenix.

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Thank God It's Ovah
Can't wait for it to start again. In The White Sox Report.

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The Beachwood Tip Line: A ball of wreck.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 1:31 PM | Permalink

U.S. Is Arming Syrian Rebels, But Refugees Who've Aided Them Are Considered Terrorists

Authorized by Congress, the CIA has started sending weapons to Syrian rebels. But under a legal definition of terrorism adopted by the U.S. government after the Sept. 11 attacks, those same rebel groups are considered terrorist organizations.

The designation could prevent some of the more than 2 million refugees who have fled Syria from coming to the United States, even if they haven't actually taken up arms against President Bashar al-Assad's regime.

Groups that appear on the State Department's list of foreign terrorist organizations have long been banned from entering the U.S. But two antiterrorism laws, the Patriot Act and the Real ID Act, also bar members of armed rebel groups that aren't specifically designated as terrorist organizations.

The provisions, sometimes known as terrorism bars, apply to all armed rebel groups - even ones the U.S. is actively supporting.

The bars also deny entry to anyone who has given any kind of "material support" - transportation, shelter, money - to such groups.

The U.S. has accepted only 64 Syrian refugees in the last two years, according to a State Department spokeswoman. But it's unclear how many, if any, Syrians have run afoul of the terrorism bars to date.

Few Syrians have been resettled overall since the conflict began there in 2011. Instead, the United Nations - which refers refugees for resettlement - has focused on aiding the refugees who are still flowing out of Syria into Lebanon, Turkey and other bordering countries.

But the U.N. is preparing to resettle up to 2,000 Syrians in the coming months, said Larry Yungk, senior resettlement officer for the U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees in Washington, and the terrorism bars could be a hurdle to resettling them in the U.S.

"We do foresee that there could be issues with some of these cases," Yungk said.

David Garfield, a Washington lawyer who has represented immigrants caught up by the terrorism bars, was more blunt.

"For Syrians, I think it's going to be a major problem," Garfield said. "The thing about this law that's so bizarre is that it doesn't matter who you're trying to overthrow."

A U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services spokesman, Christopher Bentley, said in a statement to ProPublica that "any Syrians who do apply for refugee or asylum status could be subject" to the bars.

The Citizenship and Immigration website makes clear just how sweeping the laws are: "Significantly, there is no exception under the law for 'freedom fighters,' so most rebel groups would be considered to be engaging in terrorist activity even if fighting against an authoritarian regime."

The website also states that refugees can be barred for "providing food, helping to set up tents, distributing literature, or making a small monetary contribution" to rebel groups.

"Material support" is defined so broadly that immigrants can be turned away for giving members of rebel groups "a bowl of rice or a few dollars," said Melanie Nezer, senior director for policy and advocacy with the Hebrew Immigrant Aid Society.

More than 3,500 applications from those around the world seeking to come to or remain in the U.S. are currently on hold because of the terrorism bars, according to the government. And that likely doesn't capture the full effect of the bars. The U.N. often doesn't try to resettle refugees in the U.S. if officials think they might be turned away because of the terrorism bars.

In 2007, Congress gave the secretary of homeland security more authority to grant exemptions to rebel groups that don't pose a threat to the U.S. But putting the exemptions in place has proved to be a slow process that often takes years.

A proposed exemption "has to circulate through the whole alphabet soup of agencies in Washington," said Thomas K. Ragland, a former Justice Department lawyer who has represented immigrants caught up by the terrorism bars.

Exemptions typically must be reviewed by, among others, the Citizenship and Immigration Services, Immigration and Customs Enforcement, and the Department of Homeland Security's general counsel and Office of Policy. If no objections are raised, exemptions eventually get sent to the secretary of homeland security, who must consult the secretary of state and the attorney general before they're made official. "It moves at a glacial pace," Ragland said.

Eighteen groups have received exemptions to date, including seven Burmese groups, three Iraqi groups and two Vietnamese groups. The Department of Homeland Security has also issued several broader exemptions, including for individuals who supported rebel groups "under duress."

Citizenship and Immigration would not say whether any exemptions for Syrian groups were in the pipeline.

Granting exemptions for certain Syrian groups wouldn't mean that refugees affiliated with them could automatically enter the U.S. - it would simply remove the legal barrier to letting Syrians who have aided the rebels into the country.

The government reviews the case of each refugee, and it would still have the authority to reject applicants with ties to groups such as the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria, a rebel group with ties to al-Qaeda. (The State Department has already designated the Al Nusra Front, another group with Qaeda ties, as a terrorist organization, preventing anyone affiliated with it from entering the country.)

The government can also exempt individuals from the terrorism bars. In 2008, the Washington Post ran a front-page story on Saman Kareem Ahmad, a client of Ragland's who had worked as a translator for the Marines in Iraq but had been turned down when he applied for U.S. permanent residency. The reason: He had served in the militant arm of the Kurdish Democratic Party, which was considered a terrorist group because it had tried to overthrow Saddam Hussein.

Ahmad was granted an individual exemption after the story ran, Ragland said. (Homeland Security later issued a group exemption for refugees affiliated with the Kurdish Democratic Party.) But Ragland said such exemptions are rare.

"They're really, really the exception to the rule," Ragland said.

Citizenship and Immigration declined to say how many individual exemptions have been granted.

The Department of Homeland Security could issue a general exemption for all Syrians who provided nonviolent support to Syrian rebels, said Anwen Hughes, the deputy director of the refugee protection program at Human Rights First.

"There's an opportunity right now for DHS to fix this and process an exemption that would resolve it," she said, "before it becomes a crisis."

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Comments welcome.


Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 12:31 PM | Permalink

Re-Built: Writers On Architecture And The Urban Plan

If urban design is the language of the city, where is the story - and who tells it? In the final reading of a two-part Applied Words series, the Guild Literary Complex invites writers to examine our relationships with the built environment.

"Re-Built" will take place on Saturday, October 19 from 2 - 4 p.m., in the "original" Sears tower at 930 S. Homan Ave, and is free to the public.

The venue, a 14-story brick tower in a Neo-Classical style, was once part of the world's largest commercial building, a 3.3 million square foot warehouse for the old Sears Roebuck and Company.

Our feature reader, the award-winning playwright and librettist Sandra Seaton, worked her first summer job in the old Sears complex.

Her stories will be woven with the words of Nwaji B. J. Harris and Benjamin van Loon, and a complex narrative of many perspectives will be built "brick by brick." Young authors from nearby Henry Ford Academy: Power House High will also contribute stories. The program commences with an open mic.

The Guild's Applied Words series explores creative writing's intersection with other fields. Ranging in discipline from art and architecture to social history and biology, Applied Words attempts to use the literary arts to enhance and/or creatively describe other fields. Applied Words: "Re-Built" is programmed in partnership with Open House Chicago, a program of the Chicago Architecture Foundation, and is generously underwritten by the Foundation for Homan Square.

ABOUT THE ARTISTS:

* Sandra Seaton is the author of 12 plays. Her libretto for the song cycle From the Diary of Sally Hemings, a collaboration with Pulitzer Prize-winning composer William Bolcom, is available as a CD from White Pine Music and as a score from Hal Leonard. Famed actor Ruby Dee appeared in a 1998 Ann Arbor production of The Bridge Party, Seaton's first play. In 2009, A Chance Meeting (adapted from the short story by Chicago author Cyrus Colter) premiered at the University of Michigan starring acclaimed Met tenor George Shirley. A recent play, Music History, set at the University of Illinois at Champaign in 1963, focuses on African American college students from Chicago and their responses to the struggle for civil rights in the South. In 2012 Seaton received the Mark Twain Award "for distinguished contributions to Midwestern literature" from the Society for the Study of Midwestern Literature.

* Nwaji B. J. Harris was born and raised in the Lawndale district. She currently resides on the West Side of Chicago, where she is a longtime community activist. Ms. Harris is also a baker and an African dance performer. Her West Side roots have continued to influence her perspective on contemporary life, which has also been enriched by her extensive travels throughout the world, including visits to West Africa, Egypt and Haiti. Ms. Harris attended the University of Illinois at Champaign-Urbana and Southern University at New Orleans. She has the ability of a lifelong Westsider to reflect on the ways things have changed in Chicago beyond downtown and the lakefront.

* Benjamin van Loon is a writer living in Chicago. He is the co-founder of Anobium (an experimental literary publisher); a former staff writer for Green Building & Design magazine; a runner-up for the Calvino Prize for Fiction; and is presently participating in the Communications, Media, and Theater graduate program at Northeastern Illinois University.

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ABOUT THE GUILD LITERARY COMPLEX
The Guild Literary Complex (GLC) is a community-based literary organization that presents and supports diverse, divergent, and emerging voices through innovative programs including performances and readings. GLC believes that vibrant literature contributes to society and community, and that people should have access to quality literary experiences that engage them with dynamic juxtapositions of voices and ideas. GLC programs include Palabra Pura (bilingual poetry); the Poetry Performance Incubator (collaborative theatre and poetry); and open-submission writing contests such as the Gwendolyn Brooks Open Mic Award and Prose Awards for short fiction and non-fiction. Since its formation, GLC has established itself, in the words of the Illinois Arts Council, as "Chicago's premier literary center." GLC has been twice selected as a model literary center by the National Endowment for the Arts.

ABOUT OPEN HOUSE CHICAGO
Open House Chicago - a program of the Chicago Architecture Foundation - is a free, weekend long celebration of Chicago's neighborhoods and communities. Open House Chicago (OHC) offers participants behind-the-scenes access to over 150 of the city's greatest spaces and places and illuminates areas that are normally open "by invitation only." Whether you are an architecture buff, history enthusiast or looking for a unique weekend festival, OHC is a must-see event and is fun for every kind of adventurer: locals and visitors to suburbanites and city dwellers. The third annual Open House Chicago is October 19-20, 2013.

ABOUT THE FOUNDATION FOR HOMAN SQUARE
Originally named the Homan Arthington Foundation, this 501(c) 3 not-for-profit organization was formed in 1995 to oversee the Homan Square redevelopment plan. The Foundation serves as an umbrella organization for the entities on the Homan Campus, including the Homan Square Community Center and Homan Square Power House. The Foundation is also responsible for the future redevelopment of the original Sears Tower, now known as the Homan Square Tower, which will serve as a beacon of hope for the entire Westside of Chicago when it becomes a multiuse non-profit arts/social service facility. The Foundation for Homan Square aspires to renovate the surrounding land into a center for urban agriculture, job creation and the arts for the North Lawndale community.

ABOUT HENRY FORD ACADEMY: POWER HOUSE HIGH (HFA:PHH)
What was once an out-of-service power plant on Chicago's West Side is now humming with activity as a community learning center and the permanent home of HFA:PHH. The Homan Square Power House was built in 1905 to provide electricity and heat for the massive Sears Roebuck & Company world headquarters. In 2006, the Foundation for Homan Square and Henry Ford Learning Institute joined forces to transform the power house into a permanent home for HFA: PHH. In August 2009, HFA: PHH opened to 250 9th and 10th grade students at the newly renovated Charles H. Shaw Technology and Learning Center. In August 2012, HFA: PHH honored its first graduates.

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Previously: Messy Stories About Broken Windows, Urban Design And Dirty Architecture.

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 12:04 PM | Permalink

Chicagoetry: Perhaps It's Time To Leave Damascus, Leave The Mask Behind

Perhaps It's Time to Leave Damascus, Leave the Mask Behind

I. Lawrence at Damascus (Ennui)

Picture Lawrence
on a ridge
above Damascus,

September, 1918.

Sharif en regalia, masked
as a pink-fleshed djinn,

lounging in his Rolls,
snacking on olives,
waiting for dawn.

Shattered from the stress
of constant combat,

morose, in fact,
for he knows the really great battles

are behind him now,
delaying his entrance into
what is momentarily

his city. Very soon,
betrayal, and a dream abandoned.

A far cry
from a suite of private apartments
in Cairo

rife with antique perfume,
oil dust and damask.

Before dawn
he'll descend into
the chaos

of victory, kicking away the pigs
and goats, patting children on the head,

a clever bastard
with a messianic complex
and a penchant

for the dramatic.
Lonely for love,

lurching into immortality.
Then, he goes:

"Perhaps it's time
to leave Damascus,

leave the mask
behind."


II. Napoleon at Acre (Indifference)


Picture Napoleon
below Acre, now
on the north coast

of Israel,
May, 1799.

Stymied by the Turks
and their Moroccan and Albanian
infantry,

flummoxed by desertions,
dope and dysentery.

Exhilarated by constant combat.
Rebuffed by Bashir,

Pasha of the Lebanon,
beaten, not betrayed.

Not above a kick of the goat
or a pat of the child.

Frustrated on the road
to Damascus

by the chaos
of defeat.

A far cry
from the grotto
in the Galilee

or the suite of private apartments
in Cairo

rank with antique perfume,
gold dust and damask.

Sucking olives: "Time to leave."
Pearl flesh, oleander blood.

Napoleon quickly returns
to Paris, claiming victory,
clever bastard,

but not without profit.
He covets the greatest treasure

of his booty,
a potent talisman
of immortality:

the mask
of Ozymandias.


III. The Resurrection of Ozymandias (Rapture)


All Hail Ozymandias Resurgent,
Ramses Revivified!

Restored to the atomic imagination
by the reading of a poem

on a television show,
a poem about the follies of empire

and the vagaries
of justice

on a show
about a drug dealer.

Ramesses II, Ramses the Great,
or, as the Greeks called him,

the man-god Ozymandias.

Olive flesh,
damask blood,
bones of iron.

Ozymandias at Damascus,
circa 1290 B.C.:

An officer
on maneuvers

on the road
to Dupar, no thought of staying.

No "perhaps."
Redolent of success,

lonely for glory.
Elated by war.

Roiling on the precipice
of all the wet dreams
of harem, a

clever bastard
with a messianic complex
and a penchant

for the dramatic.

A man
with the mask
of God.

He did it for himself.
To be alive.

Damascus! Soldier's Heart!
Anyone who's ever had a heart

lonely for love

laid siege to, conquered
and abandoned understands.

I digress!
Is it perfume

from an antique dress
that makes me digress?

One leaves.
What then?

How shall I next part my hair?
How best arrange the kitchen ware?
Lose the car, get a bike and a bus pass

for car fare?

Gaza or Giza,
the vagaries of justice
teeter

on the tip of a stele,
toward Rapture or Apocalypse.

One longs for Rapture--which is peace--
but can see the allure

of Apocalypse
to the elect.

It is often in our leave-takings
that we most show our love.

It can seem like
building a house

out of wind.
Yet perhaps we must begin

to say good-bye.
Leave the mask behind.

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

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More Tindall:

* Chicagoetry: The Book

* Ready To Rock: The Music

* Kindled Tindall: The Novel

* The Viral Video: The Match Game Dance

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 11:49 AM | Permalink

The Weekend In Chicago Rock

You shoulda been there.

1. Hot Lips Messiah at the Cobra Lounge on Saturday night.


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2. Tutu and the Pirates at the Cobra Lounge on Saturday night.

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3. The Stereophonics at the Vic on Sunday night.

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4. Vic Mensa at The Bakery on Saturday night.

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5. Billy Bragg at SPACE in Evanston on Friday night. (Photos only.)

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6. SirensCeol at Bottom Lounge on Saturday night.

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7. Savant at Bottom Lounge on Saturday night.

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8. Phoenix at the Aragon on Saturday night.

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9. Dickey Betts at the Copernicus Center on Friday night.

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10. The Pet Shop Boys at the Auditorium Theatre on Saturday night.

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 10:52 AM | Permalink

SportsMonday: Jekyll And Jay

Are we sure Marc Trestman actually has an offensive system?

Because so far the Bear offense is uneven except for when it's downright choppy. And that is the case whether the team is moving the football or not.

Of course it is still early. Of course the team has won three of four featuring two victories at home and one on the road (let me be the millionth analyst to point out that a general rule for sports success is win at home and split on the road). Yesterday's 40-32 loss in Detroit was frustrating but into each football season at least a few losses must fall, except for maybe this year's Broncos.

Coach Trestman's professional pedigree stretches back most impressively to Steve Young and the 49ers and many expected him to employ more of a West Coast scheme featuring short passes to running backs and tight ends. Those passes establish a rhythm and set up the run.

That isn't happening.

There also haven't been any other familiar formulas, like running the football early to set up play-action passes further down the line, or working the ball down the field consistently to set up passes underneath. The Bears have had success throwing the deep ball but that hasn't been followed by receivers driving cornerbacks deep and then cutting off their routes and making catches coming back. Actually, there have been passes underneath to Matt Forte the past few weeks . . . and usually they've sucked.

Part of that is poor execution. Jay Cutler threw a few brutal picks on Sunday but almost more disturbingly, he failed to hit Forte in stride on anything other than a pitch for a singular sensation sweep (following a 27-yard end around by Alshon Jeffery) that gave Bear fans false hope in the first half.

Then again, nothing could be more disturbing than Jay's second interception, which Glover Quin ran back to the Bears' 2. One play later the Lions had a 13-point lead and the game was effectively over.

Sadly, it wasn't just a routine pick, but a pick caused by atrocious mechanics resulting from a pass rush. There was a bit of a surge up the middle but it was stopped short of Cutler, who then failed to completely step into his throw and egregiously underthrew an open Brandon Marshall deep down the right sideline. ("He just didn't get his feet set," Trestman said after the game.) It was an interception that happened on a play that easily could have been a huge gain.

Now one offensive scheme the Bears continue to employ is Protect Cutler At All Costs. At one point Fox analyst Brian Billick pointed out that the Bears were using an extra offensive lineman. That is a formation often seen at the goal line but the Bears were out and about in the middle of the field. And I suppose that has worked through the first quarter of the season. While Cutler took a few hits on Sunday, including a dangerous one near one of his knees, he came out of the game with a clear head.

Maybe classic West Coast offense simply isn't feasible in this day and age. Ever faster linebackers and teams playing more and more zone defenses may have made that overall scheme obsolete.

However they are going to play it, it is time for the Bears to start putting game-long series' of plays together. You want to see your team play to some of its strengths early, establish some tendencies and then use those to deceive opponents further down the line. Of course, they have to do that without getting too far away from their best stuff too frequently. Easier said than done but that is the sort of coach Trestman is supposed to be. It is why he was hired.

Also, what we are talking about here is teams that win with offense. And it is becoming more apparent that the Bears will have to do that to some degree. Whether it is because key contributors are slowing down with age or new players have disappointed so far, this defense hasn't been as good as hoped. And the special teams have been worse.

Still, the Bears are tied for first. They are where they want to be. Right? Anyone?

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See also:
* Hoge: Cutler Gets It - Loss On Him.

* Tribune: Jeffery A Bright Spot In Frustrating Loss.

* Sun-Times: Jeffery A Bright Light On Gloomy Day.

* Sun-Times: Podlesh Disappointed In His Performance.

* Deadspin: Bears Believe Idonije Gave Lions Their Defensive Calls.

* Sun-Times: Bears Defense Has Holes And Reggie Bush Found Them.

* Detroit Free Press: How The Lions Won.

* Detroit Free Press: Both Lines Earn An 'A'.

* Tribune: Kyle Long Gets Schooled By Suh.

* Deadspin: Matthew Stafford Now Completing Touchdown Passes To Himself.

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Tweet Street

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

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 9:28 AM | Permalink

Thank God It's Ovah

When my pal Tom suggested we get a 14-game package for the 2013 White Sox, I agreed that we should get in on the action right from the start.

After all, the team had come within a week of winning the division a year ago, and these guys appeared capable. On the basis of Chris Sale outdueling (Big Game) James Shields 1-0 on Opening Day on the strength of Tyler Flowers' solo home run - this is a true story - and a 4-2 record on the first homestand, we basked in our good judgment, having another 13 tickets in hand.

No jumping on the bandwagon at the beginning of September. Not us. We were in it from the get-go.

Of course, that's not quite how things turned out.

As late as May 26 when the Sox reached .500 at 24-24, optimism remained. How could we have known that 45 losses in the next 61 games - including losing streaks of six, eight, nine, and ten games - would mark the season as one of the worst in the 112-year history of the team? Only three other Sox teams ever have lost more often than this bunch.

Nevertheless, I kept watching. Admittedly, we ate a couple of those remaining 13 tickets. However, in the interest of full disclosure, I also ventured to the Cell on at least a half-dozen other occasions and bought a seat on the way into the ballpark.

Writing these weekly columns became my rationale to continue to pay attention. After all, I had to keep my finger on the pulse of the team. Soon I realized that detecting the pulse was becoming exceedingly difficult. Eventually there wasn't any pulse. Rigor mortis set in.

Recently a friend e-mailed to tell me, "I won't read another one 'til next season when they've dumped Dunn, Konerko has retired gracefully, Ramirez has bought a new glove, Viciedo has come into his own, they've found a catcher who can hit over .225, and a third baseman who can catch and hit .275!"

Needless to say, he won't be reading my stuff in 2014.

The losing obviously persisted and became chronic. The crowds dwindled. A silent Hawk stopped droning on about the team's poor performance.

Even up to Sunday's season's finale - a 4-1 loss - the first three innings were characterized by Sox runners being thrown out on the bases. Alejandro De Aza - who has the baseball acumen of a Pony Leaguer - was doubled off second on a line drive to the shortstop on a play right in front of him.

The game ended in typical fashion. Bases loaded with one out in the bottom of the ninth before Gordon Beckham and Marcus Semien both struck out. Right up to the very end, the Sox were consistent.

So why did I and a few others keep on following this team? It's a question that's been on my mind for weeks.

The descriptions of the game depicted by writers such as John Updike and Roger Angell fail to make my heart race. For me there is no definitive smell at U.S. Cellular. The grass is just as green in our lakefront parks. My senses don't come alive when I go to a ballgame. I fail to get choked up when Minnie and the Big Hurt and the 2005 World Series are highlighted on the Jumbotron.

Explaining my attraction and attachment to the game is like describing one's preference for Van Gogh rather than Gauguin. The game simply is pleasing to me, watching each contest unfold. Furthermore, my team - despite the 99 losses - is the White Sox.

Even as loss followed loss, my curiosity was piqued, for instance, when Avisail Garcia arrived for the final two months. Was this going to be the best trade since Mike Cameron was sent to Cincinnati for a kid named Konerko? The answer is, "Possibly."

Once Semien, Erik Johnson and Leury Garcia entered the mix, I was interested to see whether they represented a bright future, or would just be names like Russ Mormon, Jesse Jefferson and Danny Richar, who made appearances and then moved on.

In Sunday's New York Times' Week in Review, Jonathan Mahler asks if baseball is out of step with the times. The game, he writes, feels "irrelevant" and "the broader cultural trends" have left baseball behind the other major sports. The NFL passed baseball in the public interest long ago because "it's louder, faster, and more violent - which is to say, better in tune with our cultural moment."

Personally, the morning news provides more violence than I can handle, and I'm not even a victim of it. Life speeds by because of school, business and personal schedules. I had dinner Saturday night in a restaurant where the food was great, but I couldn't hear the person sitting next to me because of the noise.

Maybe Mahler is on to something. Aside from one play at the plate on Sunday, the Sox and Royals were rather peaceful. Near the end of the game, in a gesture of friendship, Sox first base coach Darryl Boston even gave Royals coach Rusty Kuntz a man-hug in front of the Kansas City dugout. Meanwhile in Detroit, Ndamukong Suh was trying to separate Jay Cutler from his head.

As far as speed is concerned, baseball always has had a leisurely pace. Without a clock being involved, Sox games take their own sweet time. If you have a pending appointment, stay away from the ballpark.

As for noise, there hasn't been much to cheer about at the Cell. The usual fireworks went off Sunday when Alexei Ramirez homered in the bottom of the fourth. Aside from that, the only commotion wafted from a skybox behind home plate where children's voices were chanting, "Let's go, De Aza," and "Let's go, White Sox." This was in the late innings with the Sox trailing by three when we knew the game was out of reach. Apparently they felt otherwise. They're just kids.

But those little ones were very much in evidence at the Cell this season, possibly because of lower ticket prices. Once the team went south, the team's marketing department began running ads with a kid describing his first Sox game. The strategy seemed to work.

Kids are more resilient than many adults, and the losses didn't seem to bother them nearly as much as some of us older folks. Families of four sat both in front and back of us on Sunday, and the kids - none of whom were older than eight or nine - sat quietly and watched the game. Stuffing them with hot dogs and soda wasn't even necessary.

I'd be fooling myself, though, if I didn't admit relief that the Sox season has ended. The frustration of watching a losing team is exhausting, as is trying to justify the time I've spent watching such a crummy bunch of athletes.

Purchasing another 14-game package in 2014 would be a stretch, but I can't deny that come next February I won't perk up when those four magic words are first proclaimed: "Pitchers and catchers report."

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Roger Wallenstein is our man on the White Sox. He welcomes your comments.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 7:40 AM | Permalink

September 28, 2013

The Weekend Desk Report

Ted Cruz really should've come to us for his Dr. Seuss references. We had it covered months ago.

Market Update
Do you think if the government set up a Kickstarter they'd fare any better than this?

Illinois Infrastructure
It appears some hoary old institutions around here are deteriorating right before our very eyes, yet it may still take five long years to replace them.

City Of Placeholders
Hmm . . . "de facto privatization . . . of ostensibly public areas"? Yeah, that sounds about right.

Place Unmaking
Actually, it's terrific that the city wants to make way for people. As long as those people aren't children.

Occupy Earth
Oh great, now it's the 5% that are running the show.

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The Weekend Desk Tip Line: A tip line for the rest of us.

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The College Football Report: Show Some Mercy.

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The Blue & Orange Kool-Aid Report: Marc Trestman's Conversion Rate.

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The Sound Opinions Weekend Listening Report: "British quartet Savages performs for a live Sound Opinions audience at Lincoln Hall in Chicago."

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The CAN TV Weekend Viewing Report: CAN TV brings you local, relevant issues from Chicago's neighborhoods and communities. See what's happening around the city in education, the arts, government, cultural events, social services and community activities.

"Pursuing Justice: A Constitutional and Human Rights Jurisprudence for the Child"

Hosted by the Northwestern Law's Children and Family Justice Center, this symposium explores issues facing children in today's legal system, including age discrimination, police interrogation and child confessions, youth detention, and extremely long sentences for children.

Children's Human Rights Coming Home

9-23-JuvenileJustice.jpg

Legal experts share the ways in which children's human rights standards and principles are being integrated into both U.S. constitutional law and the practice of law.

Sunday at 9 a.m. on CAN TV21.

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Abolish Juvenile Life Without Parole: Taking Miller to the Ground

9-23-AbolishJuvenile.jpg

Panelists discuss the Supreme Court's recent ruling that abolished mandatory sentences of life without parole for juveniles, and explore ways to prevent extremely long sentences for young people.

Sunday at 10:30 a.m. on CAN TV21.

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A Conversation

9-23-AConversation.jpg

Retiring founder of the Children and Family Justice Center Bernardine Dohrn and African American Studies professor Barbara Ransby of UIC discuss the human and constitutional rights of children in the criminal justice system.

Sunday at 12 p.m. on CAN TV21.

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Day of the Dead Gallery Walk

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The National Museum of Mexican Art pays homage to renowned Mexican folk artist José Guadalupe Posada during its annual Day of the Dead exhibition.

Sunday at 1:30 p.m. on CAN TV21.

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Mystic Vibes

9-23-MysticVibes.jpg

Mystic Vibes visits the 21st Annual International Festival of Life and interviews reggae legend Junior Marvin of Bob Marley and the Wailers.

Sunday at 2 p.m. on CAN TV19.

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Hell Ain't Full

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Hell Ain't Full is an award-winning short film about a pair of desperate thieves heading down a dangerous life path.

Sunday at 10:30 p.m. on CAN TV19.


Posted by Natasha Julius at 7:40 AM | Permalink

September 27, 2013

The [Friday] Papers

I've got an early morning appointment, so a column will either appear later today or not at all. In the meantime:

* Beachwood Photo Booth: Swedish Diner.

Svea at night. Plus a sister photo.

* The College Football Report: Show Some Mercy.

Our very own Mike Luce proposes a new rule. Also, the College Football Report Free Range Chicken is back - and now sacred.

* The Week In Chicago Rock.

Including Faces of the Bog, Seven Witches, Trash Talk, Arctic Monkeys, The XX, Daughter, Switchfoot, and Centro-Matic.

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The Beachwood Tip Line: Centromatic for the people.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 7:13 AM | Permalink

The Week In Chicago Rock

You shoulda been there.

1. Faces of the Bog at the Double Door on Sunday night.


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2. Seven Witches at Reggies on Wednesday night.

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3. Trash Talk at Township on Monday night.

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4. Arctic Monkeys at the Riv on Sunday night.

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5. The XX at the Aragon on Thursday night.

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6. Daughter at the Park West on Wednesday night.

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7. Switchfoot at the Copernicus Center on Wednesday night.

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8. Centro-matic at Schubas on Monday night.

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 6:40 AM | Permalink

Beachwood Photo Booth: Swedish Diner

Svea at night.

sveanighthoriz10.jpg(ENLARGE FOR PROPER VIEWING)

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Available for purchase!

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TITLE: "Vintage Diner at Night"

MEDIUM: photography, digital print

SIZE: 8x12 inches, borderless

PAPER: acid-free, Fuji archival paper

FINISH: lustre (a beautiful cross between matte and glossy)

All prints will be signed by the artist, Helene Smith.
(Copyright, 2013)

Unmatted, unframed.

This print is available in a variety of sizes (including photo card) by request.

Your print will be shipped in a protective, sturdy mailer.

All items are shipped via First Class USPS, within the United States, though I ship internationally, as well. Please see the Shipping Section on my Policy Page for more details.

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CHECK OUT the Svea Diner "sister photograph" (a closeup) HERE!

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Enter my photo shop HERE.

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Add me on Twitter!

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Meet Helene!

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Stationery, iPhone cases, hoodies.

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Previously:
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Chicago Man Grilling
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Yum Yum Donuts
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Chicago Father's Day
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Vintage Airmaster
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Chicago Time
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Window Shade
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Illinois Slayer
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Chicago Fire Escape
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Golden Nugget
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Hollywood, Chicago
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Flag Man.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Van In Flames.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Fluid Power Automation.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Corn Dog.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Stop The Killing Car.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Chicago Backyard.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: A to Z Things.

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 12:57 AM | Permalink

The College Football Report: Show Some Mercy

To date, the 2013 college football season has produced only seven Top 25 match-ups, such as the blockbuster #1 Alabama vs. #6 Texas A&M rematch in Week Three, and #23 Arizona State vs. #5 Stanford, the lone game featuring two of the Top 25 last week.

With so few big games in the first four weeks, the story this year hasn't revolved around high-profile teams, but instead on the woebegone Directional Creampuffs, i.e., schools from the FCS.

Three results last week exemplify the issue: Florida A&M, Florida International and Savannah State lost by a collective margin of 218 points. By comparison, the 54-6 drubbing #8 Florida State administered to Bethune-Cookman looks restrained.

Louisville coach Charlie Strong struggled to explain the #7 Cardinals' lopsided (72-0) box score over Florida International: "I know this: They had a lot of injuries over on that side of the football, and we weren't trying to embarrass them."

But a glance at the play-by-play tells a different story. In the fourth quarter, Louisville took the ball leading 58-0 and proceeded to call five passing plays, scoring again to extend the lead to . . . 65 points. After a series by FIU that netted -6 yards, U of L ran the ball exclusively on the ensuing possession but still saw fit to call a timeout to regroup prior to punching in the game's final touchdown.

Coaches from big-league squads offer one of the following explanations for such one-sided affairs: players need practice; backups deserve to see action; and the games give younger guys a chance to develop. In reality, however, blowouts give coaches and players a chance to pad the stats: UL starting quarterback Terry Bridgewater, a Heisman candidate, was still firing away in the third quarter with his squad ahead by 51 points.

The rationale behind scheduling such games is simple: FBS schools play the little guys to guarantee a W. The FCS teams show up, take a pounding, and collect a six-figure check for their troubles. Yet the games aren't necessarily a foregone conclusion, as this season has shown. Upsets like the 53-21 win by McNeese State over USF give big-time coaches the willies. Jimbo Fisher of Florida State summed up the favorite's mindset: "You know in big games, players will be aware. But when you're a favorite, especially a prohibited favorite, you to put them in the mindset of the team coming in here."

So take note, Top 25 teams. If you are heavily favored, or prohibited in Jimbo's lingo, you had better pile on the points. Who knows, the explosive Florida A&M Rattlers' offense might get hot and go on a 83-point run.

At least Miami (#16) showed a modicum of decency in its 77-7 win over Savannah State. The coaches agreed to a running clock in the fourth quarter, and the Hurricanes ran the clock down on offense. Then again, "The U" never punted. Not one punt. The 'Canes went for it every time, going 2-for-3 on fourth-down conversions.

We propose the following solution to avoid such humiliations: give the underdog an opportunity to invoke the mercy rule at any point (or just the fourth quarter, if you're stingy) in the second half. With the consent of the opposing coach, officials would allow the clock to run after incomplete passes, first downs, and other results that would halt play, much like in high school football blowouts. The rule would preserve the integrity of the game, in that the stats would still count, yet allow the losers some measure of dignity. We like the idea that much more because the spotlight falls on the bully if the request is denied. How would the victors respond in postgame interviews after brazenly trouncing the concept of good sportsmanship? We would like to see Coach Strong make his argument in that position.

Most head coaches overlook a legitimate opportunity during blowouts to practice two components key to winning close games: kicking and punting. Why not kick in a real environment rather than waiting until you need a clutch field goal? Ohio State, leading 55-0 in the third, could have attempted a field goal on 4th-and-4 from the FAMU 33, but picked up the first down instead. Up by 62, OSU had an opportunity for a try from the 13-yard-line. That's a 28-yarder, a gimme - unless your guy hasn't kicked a field goal outside of practice in a few weeks.

In the fourth, with the score 69-0, Ohio State could have gone for a pooch punt from the FAMU 40 to pin down the opponent. Nope. Better to get the first, continue the drive, and tack on a humiliating final TD, bringing the final to 76-0.

Setting aside the question of class, putting your kickers through real-game scenarios would, as it turns out, help the other side save face. Here's hoping the Buckeyes, Hurricanes and Cardinals all lose by three or less this weekend.

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Match-Ups of the Week

#23 Wisconsin (3-1, 1-0 Big Ten) vs. #4 Ohio State (4-0, 0-0)
Ohio State hasn't played anyone yet. The Buckeyes are a combined 210-61 so far, with the only legit W coming against Cal, 52-34, in Week Three. QB Braxton Miller, likely out of the Heisman race after missing the last two games with a strained MCL, will return for OSU on Saturday. Miller's health will decide the game: if he can create on the run and shake off the rust, the Buckeyes will win, but it's far from a sure thing as Wisconsin enters the game better seasoned and with a sound offensive game plan.

OSU should expect the Badgers to run, and run, and, to mix things up, fake the pass and run again. Wisconsin running back Melvin Gordon, with help from backups James White and Corey Clement, leads a grinding ground attack that has totaled 1,399 yards and an 8.0 yards-per-carry average, good for third in the country in yards per game. Melvi (his friends call him Melvin) saw his YPC fall from 12.9 to 11.8 after amassing a mere 147 yards on 16 touches last week against Purdue. The Badgers start some large mammals on offense, and guard Kyle Costigan (6'5", 315lbs) and tackles Ryan Groy (6'5", 320) and Rob Havenstein (6'8", 327) will lead the way for Gordon & Co. (As uwbadgers.com points out, that's pronounced "HAY-ven-stine". Got it? Not "hay-ven-STINE", like something out of a Mel Brooks movie.)

Our pick: Ohio State 31, Wisconsin 27

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#6 LSU (4-0, 1-0 SEC) vs. #9 Georgia (2-1, 1-0 SEC)
LSU entered the season at 14-1 odds to win the BCS, which may have been generous given a brutal schedule that, following Georgia, includes #20 Florida, #21 Ole Miss, #1 Alabama, and #10 Texas A&M. But the Tigers can get the ball rolling with a win over the Bulldogs. Now that Zach Mettenberger looks like an honest-to-gosh SEC quarterback (we were hating on him this time last year), LSU should be in every game.

Adding to the mix, Mettenberger will be facing his former teammates. Georgia coach Mark Richt dismissed Mettenberger in 2010 as a freshman after he was charged with underage possession of alcohol, disorderly conduct, obstruction, two counts of having a fake ID, and last but hardly least, two counts of misdemeanor sexual battery. Mettenberger, on how the crowd will receive him on Saturday: " . . . they're gonna boo the crap out of me. I might get a freaking brick thrown at my head, who knows?" We don't know either, but bricks sound excessive. Not unwarranted, but excessive.

Commentators will point to the Georgia defense (allowing nearly 30 points per game) as a deciding factor, but we believe success running the ball will determine the outcome. Georgia RB Todd Gurley may have a slight edge over LSU RB Jeremy Hill.

Our pick: Georgia 37, LSU 34

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Temple (0-3, 0-1 ACC) vs. Idaho (0-4)
Short of an Act Of God, not that we're ruling that out, someone will get a win. The odds favor Temple, but the Owls are fresh off a stunning defeat to the Fordham Rams. A last-second touchdown gave the "cupcake" Rams the win, the program's first over an FBS opponent since reinstating the football program in 1970. If you missed it (chances are, you missed it), check out the Hail Mary toss by Fordham QB Michael Nebrich. You can be the 324th viewer on YouTube. (We were 320, 321, 322, and 323.) That said, Idaho is still Idaho, which is in Moscow . . . Idaho.

Our pick: Temple 29, Idaho 20

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Rivalry of the Week

#14 Oklahoma (3-0, 1-0 Big 12) vs. #22 Notre Dame (3-1)
Notre Dame has Oklahoma's number. The teams have played 10 times, total. Like, ever. The Irish own a 9-1 record in the series, which dates back to 1952, and have played the spoiler against Oklahoma in a number of match-ups, most memorably in a momentous upset in 1957.

Oklahoma won the title in '55 and '56, and was on a 47-game winning streak, an NCAA record. The Irish entered the games off back-to-back losses and were a heavy underdog, getting 18-points on the road at Norman. Retired player Dick Prendergast, on Notre Dame's chances: "I think deep down we thought we were going to get our fannies kicked."

But an encounter at an Oklahoma City hotel reportedly fueled the Irish to pull off the upset. The manager refused to take in the squad, including black halfback Aubrey Lewis, because the hotel was whites only. Pendergast again: "By this time, our feelings were getting emotional. It had an effect on us . . . We were really pepped up for this game."

Pepped up, indeed. With a dramatic fourth-and-goal touchdown, the lone score of the game, the streak was broken along with Oklahoma's hopes to repeat as champion.

The Sooners should shake off the jinx this weekend. Up-and-coming quarterback Blake Bell presents a challenge to the Notre Dame defense. "The Belldozer" specialized in the run last year, but has opened eyes with his arm, and raised his national visibility as well: he appeared on the "watch list" for the Maxwell Award this season, a first for the junior. The "D" for the blue-and-gold struggled to stop Michigan's Devin Gardner, a similar dual-threat quarterback, and we think the -3.5 point spread (in favor of OU) may give the ND home-field advantage too much credit.

Our pick: Oklahoma 31, Notre Dame 21

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Consulting The Sacred Chicken
The College Football Report Free Range Chicken steps to the window for the first time this weekend. The Chicken spent the offseason touring with the Vestal Virgins, and returns to us as The College Football Report Free Range Sacred Chicken (TCFRFRSC). Whatever other terms the Chicken agreed to, abstaining from wagering wasn't included, and for that, we are thankful.

#5 Stanford (-9.5) vs. Washington State
Does anyone else realize Stanford is in the Top 5? Has anyone seen the WSU running game? (The Cougars are in 119th place in yards per game.) Washington State holds an undefeated (4-0) record against the spread, which may explain why the number has crept down from -10 or -10.5 (depending on the book), but the Cardinal still looks good.

#11 Oklahoma State (-19) vs. West Virginia
The Mountaineers announced that someone named Clint Trickett will be playing quarterback on Saturday. Trickett, who sounds like he's on furlough from the Florida Georgia Line backup singers, will be the third starting QB for WVU this season. This will get ugly.

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

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 12:34 AM | Permalink

September 26, 2013

The [Thursday] Papers

"U.S. securities regulators plan to 'make aggressive use' of their authority to levy penalties, the head of the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission said Thursday," Reuters reports.

"'Meaningful monetary penalties - whether against companies or individuals - play a very important role in a strong enforcement program,"'SEC Chair Mary Jo White said in a speech in Chicago, according to prepared remarks."

Um, right.

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See also: Obama's Friends In Low Places.

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Central Obama Agency
"A federal judge has chastised the CIA for 'inappropriately' withholding routine documents," McClatchy reports.

"In a recent decision, U.S. District Judge Beryl Howell denounced several of the CIA's legal arguments. At one point, she accused the CIA of a 'shameless twisting of the factual record.' Other assertions by the agency, she called 'dead wrong' and 'implausible.'"

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You Are Either With Us Or Against Us, And So Are We
"Some of Syria's most effective rebel forces, including at least three that previously were aligned with the U.S.-backed rebel command, have formed a new alliance with an al-Qaeda affiliate, a development that undermines Obama administration efforts to build up Syria's moderate opposition and to plan negotiations for an end to the civil war," McClatchy reports.

"About a dozen fighting groups announced the new confederation late Tuesday in a move that caught U.S. officials by surprise. The groups include Jabhat al Nusra, which the Obama administration has designated a terrorist organization linked to al-Qaeda, as well as Liwa al Tawheed, Liwa al Islam and Suqor al Sham, which were considered part of the U.S.-backed Supreme Military Command."

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"The United States signed a U.N. Arms Trade Treaty regulating the $70 billion global trade in conventional arms on Wednesday," Reuters reports.

"The United States [is] the world's No. 1 arms exporter."

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Syrian Rebels Just Started Receiving U.S. Weapons (From The CIA).

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American exceptionalism.

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Weak Constitution
"Illinois' youth prison system is violating the constitutional rights of inmates by failing to provide adequate mental health care and education and by unnecessarily keeping youths in solitary confinement, three court-appointed experts found this week," the Tribune reports.

America: Both Lawless And A Police State. Exceptional!

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Mayor Banksy
"A bank that has city business plans to wipe off the books up to $2.2 million in loans for a financially struggling Southwest Side arts center that's favored by some of the state's leading Democratic politicians," the Tribune reports.

"The debt forgiveness by Fifth Third Bank is part of a bailout plan that Mayor Rahm Emanuel and 19th Ward Ald. Matthew O'Shea plan to announce Thursday for the Beverly Arts Center, which has teetered on the edge of insolvency for years.

"The plan includes Emanuel granting the center $250,000 from a pot of money created when the city hosted NATO in 2012 and $10 million in private funding for the summit went unused. Millions of those funds have been used across the city for after-school programs and park improvements.

"The announcement would come just a day after an arbitrator determined that the city owed $1 million to Chicago police officers for overtime around the time of the NATO visit. That payment also will come out of the leftover NATO fund, said Roderick Drew, a spokesman for the city Law Department."

Chicago exceptionalism.

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A) What is the city doing covering a private organization's debt? Where do the rest of us apply?

B) Why didn't the mayor simply return the $10 million in private, unused NATO funds? Spending the money for other purposes - no matter how noble, though also at the whim of one person - is essentially a misappropriation.

C) Why didn't the city put one-tenth of that money toward police overtime, which seems to legitimately fall under the purpose for which it was raised, instead of fighting the cops over their pay?

D) How does the money spent by the city - meaning us - stack up against the promised economic development of hosting NATO? I think we know the answer to that.

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"The city's business relationship with Fifth Third had nothing to do with the deal hammered out to save the arts center, city spokesman Bill McCaffrey said."

Wait for it . . . bah ha ha ha ha!

"Asked why the bank was forgiving the arts center's debt, a Fifth Third spokesman said the motive was helping the community."

Oh Lord, you're killing me.

"What we are about is investing in the communities we work in, and the Beverly Arts Center is a perfect example of that," bank spokesman Andrew Hayes said. "At the end of the day, we want the Beverly Arts Center to be as profitable and successful as possible."

Except that it's never been close to being profitable.

"O'Shea said the financial problems at the center have been growing since it opened in a new building in 2002 that ended up costing $12 million. The center's revenue couldn't keep up with the resulting debt, he said . . .

"Over the last 13 years, it received nearly $2.8 million from the state."

Does it have copper doors?

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Chicago Breaks Laws Of Physics
Something Fishy Happened Here After The Fed Made A Major Decision.

Sasha Goes Harder
Plus: Bump J Has Gone Up The River But Is Not Forgotten. In our Local Music Notebook.

Conversion Rate
"I'm beginning to think that Marc Trestman is still under the impression that the Bears are playing some kind of Canadian-style football in which there are three quarters, moose wearing flannel shirts roam the sidelines, the orange coolers are full of either Labatt Blue or maple syrup, everybody is polite yet gainfully employed and Rush performs the national anthem every night," our very own Carl Mohrbacher writes in this week's Blue & Orange Kool-Aid Report.

Sharks Are Sublime
And So Is The Hulk. In our Local Book Notes.

What's It Like To Be Blind
The folks at The Good Stuff asked Chicago author Beth Finke - and she obliged.

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The Beachwood Tip Line: No exceptions.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 11:06 AM | Permalink

Local Book Notes: Sharks Are Sublime & So Is The Hulk

1. Sharks Are Sublime.

"Edmund Burke, Immanuel Kant, and other authors of the Romantic era saw a special emotion in our recognition of nature's terrifying side, the paradoxical pull of the imagery of pain and danger they called the sublime," Edward Tenner writes for the Atlantic. "And no creature evokes this sense more vividly than the shark.

"Despite our fears, sharks are among the most negligible threats to human life. As the dust jacket of the award-winning National Geographic contributing photographer Thomas P. Peschak's new book, Sharks & People: Exploring Our Relationship With the Most Feared Fish in the Sea, points out, fewer than a half dozen humans are killed each year by sharks, while we have been slaughtering 38 million of them annually."

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"In Sharks and People acclaimed wildlife photographer Thomas Peschak presents stunning photographs that capture the relationship between people and sharks around the globe," says his publisher, the University of Chicago Press.

"A contributing photographer to National Geographic, Peschak is best known for his unusual photographs of sharks - his iconic image of a great white shark following a researcher in a small yellow kayak is one of the most recognizable shark photographs in the world."

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Back to the Atlantic:

"Thomas Peschak makes an eloquent visual case for the sublimity of sharks--and also for their conservation. He notes that the media still devotes far more attention to rare shark attacks than to the urgent need to protect them from human depredation, especially the shark fin trade. He might have noted that Peter Benchley, who became wealthy through the 1970s novel and film Jaws, regretted the fear he had sown and became a shark advocate. In the long run, though, China's removal of Mao Tse-Tung's ban on shark fin soup as bourgeois decadence in 1987 may have resulted in more shark slaughter than all the horror books, films, and news items together. Great conservation photography like Peschak's, one must hope, will have the power to change attitudes globally."

Click through to see some of the book's photography.

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Peschak set to Lana Del Rey.

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2. Northlake Is Hulk Country.

"The Northlake Public Library in suburban Chicago unveiled its Hulk statue earlier this month to a crowd of more than 300," Michael May writes for Comic Book Resources.

"Trustee Tom Mukite, who joined the [library] board specifically to spearhead the statue campaign, called the event the 'largest turnout at the library ever.'"

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"It started when Tom Mukite joined the Library Board in October 2012, with the aim of buying The Hulk, comic making equipment and more graphic novels," the American Library Association says. "In April, Mukite and several librarians started a campaign to raise $30,000 using website Indiegogo.

"Ultimately the campaign only raised $5,000. But Steve Williams, the owner of L.A. Boxing in Orange City, Calif., had a fiberglass statue of The Hulk outside his business. A new landlord didn't care for it. In May, Williams went to Google to seek a buyer for the statue and instead found the Northlake Library."

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Restoring Hulk.

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Installing Hulk.

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Tribune report.

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3. Small Is Beautiful.

"The Thorne Miniature Rooms are one of the Art Institute of Chicago's most beloved exhibits: 68 miniature detailed representations of rooms that might have existed in Europe and America over some six centuries.

"Chicago resident Marianne Malone tells Here & Now that she's loved the rooms ever since her mother brought her to the museum in a stroller.

"They inspired her to write a series of children's books, beginning with The Sixty-Eight Rooms. The most recent book is The Pirate's Coin."

Click through for audio, an excerpt and to hear Malone read from her latest book.

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The Thorne Rooms.

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4. Broken Windows.

In June we previewed the Applied Words reading series, which continues through October.

We just noticed that the first of those readings, "Broken Windows," is online thanks to CAN TV:

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5. What Is It Like To Go Blind?

Chicago author Beth Finke, who lost her sight at age 26, fills us in.

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 9:43 AM | Permalink

What's It Like To Go Blind?

Chicago author Beth Finke, who went blind at 26, fills us in.


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See also:
* Beth Finke Dot Com.

* Beth Finke on WBEZ.

* Long Time, No See.

* The Good Stuff.

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 9:25 AM | Permalink

Something Fishy Happened In Chicago After The Fed Made A Major Announcement Last Week

Animated for your enjoyment.


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See also:
* Gizmodo: High-Speed Traders Beat Laws Of Physics, Steal 5 Milliseconds From The Fed.

* Slashdot: Somebody Stole 7 Milliseconds From The Federal Reserve.

* Boing Boing: Someone In Chicago Used A FTL Drive To Play The Market (Or Cheated).

* Reuters: Fed Looks Into Unusual Trading In Chicago.

* AP: Fed Concerned About Early Trading After Meeting.

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 9:03 AM | Permalink

Local Music Notebook: Sasha Goes Harder

1. "Off the heels of her latest mixtape, Nutty World, Sasha Go Hard keeps the momentum going with 'Gimme Mo,'" Eric Diep writes for XXL.

"Featuring BJ The Chicago Kid, Sasha tackles a duet with a tough and aggressive attitude. There are plenty of sexually-charged lyrics here, showing a different side of Sasha that we haven't seen yet."

Indeed.


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At the same time, n an interview with Vibe, Sasha complains about getting hit on by her peers. She also says she'd love to work with R. Kelly.

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Previously:
* Originals And Aborigines (Item 2).

* Live From The Chi (Item 2).

* Sasha Go Hard Bombs In New York (Item 8).

* Sasha Go Hard On Sway's Chicago Week.

* Sasha Go Hard's Nutty World.

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2. In "Want To Know When Your Favorite Rapper Gets Out Of Jail?", Gregg Whitt of Uproxx writes that "The site also lists lost talents on the verge like Bump J, who was primed to ride the Kanye and Twista led emergence of the Chicago rap scene into stardom, before a robbery conviction stopped his momentum before it started."

Likewise, Marcus Moody, formerly known as Paypa, just told Global Grind that Bump J was one of his biggest influences.

Jay Z, Nas, and Scarface are all in there. The original Kanye West. Being from Chicago, Bump J was like the biggest underground rapper from Chicago. He was on the way to the mainstream, but then had to go do some time. I was out there when he was poppin' in like 2004 and it was crazy watching that, I was a huge fan.

Bump, whose real name is Terrance Boykin, was sentenced to 10 years in prison in 2009 for his role in the armed robbery of a Chase bank at 800 Madison Street.

He certainly hasn't been forgotten by the music world, though. Two weeks ago, Andrew Barber of Fake Shore Drive posted about an unearthed "crown jewel" from his early days featuring Bump "in rare form."

Last year, as Fake Shore Drive noted, Chicago rappers talked to MTV2 about Bump's influence on the scence.

The Free Bump J Facebook page has 6,754 likes.

Kanye West name-checked Bump J on his remix of Chief Keef's "I Don't Like."

Now Lil Durk has paid homage.

Here's Durk, from KollegeKidd:

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3. "There isn't much that can't be made into an electric guitar - from car mufflers to cigar boxes, according to local luthier Robby Bakes," Janelle Walker writes for the Elgin Courier-News.

"Bakes, owner of Bakes Guitar here, has experimented with just about any combination to make the instrument. He has been either making or repairing guitars for 30 years after first discovering the occupation in high school.

"He has owned the shop on Main Street in Carpentersville for the past three years but is preparing to return to his Genoa home to focus less on repair and more on the building of custom guitars.

"His Carpentersville shop hosts a display of his ideas that later became guitars - two Chicago Blackhawks guitars marking the hockey team's 2010 and 2013 Stanley Cup wins, a Chicago Bears guitar, even one that notes the violence the city of Chicago has seen in recent years."

Click through for the rest - and the photo gallery.

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4. Chicago State Grad Has Patent Pending On His Drum Kits.

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5. Alejandro Escovedo Is Touring With Shelby Lynne.

He spoke to Seven Days ahead of his show in Vermont his weekend.

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 7:27 AM | Permalink

Conversion Rate

I'm beginning to think that Marc Trestman is still under the impression that the Bears are playing some kind of Canadian-style football in which there are three quarters, moose wearing flannel shirts roam the sidelines, the orange coolers are full of either Labatt Blue or maple syrup, everybody is polite yet gainfully employed and Rush performs the national anthem every night.

I'm glad that the Bears are so confident in their offense that they believe that every single rushing play in the third quarter should be a "shit run," or "draw" as they're more conventionally known, but at least in the first 3/16ths of the season (is that a metric quarter? Damn you, Canada!) the truth of the matter is the defense either produces a turnover or does not stop anyone.

Why Bears? Why do you let the bad men participate in the game you are dominating?

As long as the offense is willing to look at 20-point leads and say to themselves, "Themselves, the score is 24-3, we're gonna need another 16 points," the Bears will be fine.

So, that would be 38 7/16th points in Alberta?

3 Technique Out 52 Weeks
Tough break for Henry Melton and for the Bears.

But it's a tougher break for Chicago's strong safety because when you Google "Henry Melton" to make sure you spell his name correctly*, what appears to be a shot of Major Wright being surprised that the Cops camera crew rolled up on him right as he was about to fart out the world's biggest bong rip is apparently what "people also search for" in addition to information about torn ACLs.

So when they're not busy being utterly mischaracterized by the old white guy who constructed the Internet, the members of the Bear defense are going to be scrambling to replace an important cog in their scheme.

Let's meet the lesser known defensive linemen who will be vying for our hearts during the remaining 14 weeks of the regular season.

  • Nate Collins: He's the next man on the depth chart and why not? He was on the Jaguars and, at one point, they were almost considered an NFL team.
  • Stephen Paea: The only New Zealander on the Bears roster, he's best known for his prominent role alongside Marc Trestman and Adam Podlesh in the pilot for Two Jews, A Kiwi And A Pizza Place.
  • Zach Minter: Photo not available!
  • Literally Every Other Member Of The Defensive Line: The Bears run a rotation on the interior line. Which makes this all a little less exciting. I kinda just wanted to make a list.

So Suh Me
Hey man, we've all been there.

The Comcast guy just shows right the hell up under the guise of "doing some repairs" on the cable hub in the common area between houses.

Hurm? You growl as you tear another 24=ounce bite out of the raw goat leg you've been gnawing on since 8 a.m.

Threatened by this intrusion on your domain, you hoist some basketball shorts onto your six-foot-four 310-pound frame, grab the deadliest looking weapon you can find within claw's reach (which is either a "rubber" knife or a "pellet" gun, or the sharp edges of the dashed bones of your enemies; whatever is available in the kitchen) and begin undulating wildly in the direction of this intruder.

This insolence will not stand!

So before any of you start throwing stones out of your glass lair at Ndamukong Suh, ask yourself, who among us wouldn't find ourselves in the exact same position when our sister was visiting?

Kool Aid (4 Out Of 5 Jugs Of Faygo)
This is an exciting game for a couple of reasons.

Aside from the obvious allure of Bear players getting to eat hot dog pizza at Cheli's Chili Bar . . . aww crap!

Ok, Detroit finally got a 24-hour gym? No? But is coming soon? Alright!

And that RoboCop statue is gonna be finished soon, so look forward to a visit from Peter Weller!

Injuries are the big stories for both teams. Nate Burleson's broken arm will keep him out of the contest (don't eat gummy worms and drive kids . . . especially while you're texting and getting a blow job) and there are no other receivers on this team that I or the Detroit Lions official website can name.

Despite the key injuries on both sides, this game has all the makings of a high scoring affair.

Why, you ask?**

Megatron is getting targeted 30 times with a hobbled pass rush coming at Matt Stafford.

While Brando Marshall isn't exactly Calvin Johnson, he is one of the few people on Earth who's nearly comparable. If that doesn't work, Chicago has other legitimate offensive options.

I like the Bears to top Detroit in a hail of passing.

And hopefully fewer than two draws in the third quarter.

Bears 37
Lions 31

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* I am perfossional!
** You've really got to stop asking yourself questions aloud while staring at the monitor. Your coworkers are beginning to think you can barely read.

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Carl Mohrbacher is our man on the Kool-Aid. He welcomes your comments.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 3:50 AM | Permalink

September 25, 2013

The [Wednesday] Papers

"A nephew of former Mayor Richard M. Daley will stand trial Feb. 18 for involuntary manslaughter in the death of David Koschman," the Sun-Time reports.

Will he? That's certainly the trial date given to Richard Vanecko, but isn't there a good chance he never sees in the inside of a courtroom? My guess is that he pleads out. Gets some combination of probation and community service.

The evidence is likely to be compelling: Vanecko threw the punch that killed Koschman. That's incontrovertible, isn't it? Now, he certainly didn't intend to end the man's life, but that's why the charge is involuntary manslaughter and not murder.

Involuntary manslaughter is defined in Illinois thusly:

A person who unintentionally kills an individual without lawful justification commits involuntary manslaughter if his acts whether lawful or unlawful which cause the death are such as are likely to cause death or great bodily harm to some individual, and he performs them recklessly.

I'm not even sure Vanecko's actions were "likely" to cause "great bodily harm" and certainly not death. It was a bar fight, essentially. Reckless? Yes. Likely to cause some level of harm? Yes, especially given Vanecko's size versus Koschman's size.

It was a horrible thing that happened, but to some degree it was also a fluke (though one could also fairly argue that a sense of entitlement suffused Vanecko and his friends, aggravating the situation). With immense sympathy to the Koschman family, the real outrage here is what happened after the punch was thrown (including Vanecko's refusal from day one to cooperate with police). And in that regard, there apparently will be no justice delivered.

"Daley nephew Richard J. 'R.J.' Vanecko's trial is expected to last more than a week," the Sun-Times reports. "It will be held at the Leighton Criminal Court Building at 26th and California."

I don't think so.

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Not to nitpick, but I was taught to always write that a particular event had been "scheduled" instead of assuming it would happen.

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I also wonder if the defense is concerned that the judge will feel public pressure to deliver a guilty verdict followed by a relatively stiff sentence. Then again, this is Cook County, and even though the judge has been brought in from McHenry County there could be perceived rewards for doing the Daley family a solid. Then again, without a Daley in the mayor's office and a Daley no longer a possibility for the governor's office, that dynamic may have changed (though rewarding the political system is still beneficient). Sad that we have to consider these possibilities, I know, but this is where we live. It all adds up to a plea to me. Simpler for - and easier on - everyone.

Big Hog, Little Man
"Former Cook County Commissioner William Beavers was sentenced to six months and fined $10,000 Wednesday after being found guilty last spring of being a tax cheat," the Sun-Times reports.

Prosecutors had asked judge James Zagel to sentence Beavers, the self-proclaimed "hog with the big nuts," to 21 months.

It took a federal jury less than two hours last spring to find Beavers guilty. But afterward he insisted he'd been unfairly prosecuted for refusing to wear a wire against fellow Commissioner John Daley.

"Even Ray Charles could see that," Beavers told reporters minutes after his conviction in March. "They thought I was a punk."

I guess you're really just a two-bit tax cheat, Bill.

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The big hog with the big nuts is really just a Beavers with little balls.

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Played with a lot of variations . . . do beavers gather nuts? Thought about a beaver with his little nuts.

I think this line of comedy is beyond played out. Sorry.

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Speaking of John Daley, does he have any juice left? Without his brother in the mayor's office and with no possibility that another brother will be governor, he's sort of shrunk before our eyes, no?

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Chicago Board Of Political Education

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Credit Report
Regarding the first item in Monday's column:

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The Beachwood Tip Line: Where credit is due.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 9:43 AM | Permalink

Fantasy Fix: The Trade

Trades don't happen in the NFL with the regularity they occur in pro baseball or even the NBA, so when one does happen, and early in the season, it becomes just about the only thing anyone can talk about.

Just about a week ago, RB Trent Richardson, a consensus first-round fantasy draft pick, was traded from the Cleveland Browns to the Indianapolis Colts for two draft picks (the real kind). Assessments of fantasy experts have varied a bit, but almost everyone sees this move as at least a cautious positive for Richardson's fantasy owners, since he has moved to a better team with a more prolific offense that will give him more chances to score on goal- line rushes (which he did on his very first play with IND).

I agree with all that in theory, but I find myself a little bit down on the fantasy implications of The Trade. In Cleveland, Richardson was the offense. In Indianapolis, he's just another piece of an offense with one great WR in Reggie Wayne, a couple more talented young receivers, a good young TE, and another multi-talented, if injury-prone RB in Ahmad Bradshaw. And QB Andrew Luck was not hired to hand off the ball to someone else, or dump off safe, five-yard passes all game long.

I think Richardson will get more TD opportunities with IND than he would have with CLE, but overall, I don't think he'll get nearly as many touches. Along with Adrian Peterson, Doug Martin and a few others, he was one of the top workhorse backs coming into this year, but for fantasy purposes, he's now in a time-share.

Expert Wire
* Bleacher Report has a more positive read on the Richardson trade.

* SI.com looks at C.J. Spiller's disappointing start.

* ESPN's injury report includes Texan receiver Andre Johnson, who looks to be on his way to another injury-riddled season.

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

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 5:17 AM | Permalink

September 24, 2013

The [Tuesday] Papers

"The Chicago-based evangelical Moody Bible Institute has dropped its ban on alcohol and tobacco consumption by its 600-some faculty and staff, including for those who work in its radio and publishing arms," the Religion News Service reports.

"The change in August reflected a desire to create a 'high trust environment that emphasizes values, not rules,' said spokeswoman Christine Gorz. Employees must adhere to all 'biblical absolutes,' Gorz said, but on issues where the Bible is not clear, Moody leaves it to employees' conscience."

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Students, however, are still not allowed to drink - or do much else.

"Students must abstain from tobacco, alcohol, illegal drugs and 'sexual promiscuity' for at least one year before they enroll and during their time at Moody."

Emphasis mine.

"In addition, students are to refrain from gambling, viewing obscene or pornographic literature, and patronizing pubs, bars, nightclubs, comedy clubs, and similar establishments."

Comedy clubs?

"Last year, the school lifted a ban on long hair for men and nose stud earrings for women."

Link mine.

"The change at Moody represents the latest shift in attitudes at different Christian institutions in recent years.

"Ten years ago in suburban Chicago, Wheaton College lifted the ban on student dancing and now allows faculty, staff and graduate students to drink, though not on campus."

Link mine.

"Other schools, including Huntington University and Asbury Seminary, have changed their stances on employees and drinking in the last five years, said Jennifer Woodruff Tait, managing editor of Christian History Magazine."

The validity of these rules is apparently cyclical.

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Also:

"A Geneva bar and restaurant won't lose its liquor license, city officials decided, despite an admission by the owners' attorney that the booze kept flowing past city-mandated closing hours at a party that played host to celebrities including Jenny McCarthy and Dancing With The Stars cast members," the Tribune reports.

"EvenFlow Music and Spirits violated city code last month by serving and allowing the consumption of alcohol on the bar's premises between 2 a.m. and 5:45 a.m., said the owners' attorney, Thomas Scherschel."

Apparently the rules don't apply to everyone.

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Not that I'm against after-hours drinking - except when Jenny McCarthy and dancing stars are involved. Then I believe in prosecuting to the fullest extent of the law.

Spies Among Us
"Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff used her position as the opening speaker at the U.N. General Assembly to accuse the United States of violating human rights and international law through espionage that included spying on her e-mail," Reuters reports.

"'Tampering in such a manner in the lives and affairs of other countries is a breach of international law and, as such, it is an affront to the principles that should otherwise govern relations among countries, especially among friendly nations,' Rousseff told the annual gathering of world leaders at the United Nations."

Apparently the rules don't apply to everyone.

See also: UN Members Asked To End Unchecked Surveillance.

Dear TV News
We're begging you to stop.

Fired Up
In The Cub Factor.

World Music Festival Chicago
We've got the highlights.

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The Beachwood Tip Line: All hours access.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 11:21 AM | Permalink

Fired Up

It is more fun to be a Pirates fan today than it is to be a Cubs fan. Just let that soak in.

Dusty Baker is also returning to the playoffs.

So are the St. Louis Cardinals.

Meanwhile, the Cubs are apparently thinking about firing their manager.

And you know what? He deserves firing.

Then again, his bosses aren't distinguishing themselves either no matter how much they pat themselves on the back for their minor league rosters.

"I guess waiting continues to be the good word for those of us destined to suffer all the way to the cemetery with our 'loveable losers,'" Terry Hersom writes for the Sioux City Journal.

It's just that waiting isn't as much fun as it used to be - and our losers aren't very lovable anymore.

That's what happens when you take away the fun and still stink up the joint.

The Week in Review: The Cubs lost three of four to the Brewers and two of three to the Braves, who clinched a playoff spot with one of those wins. The Pirates beat the Cubs on Monday night to also clinch a playoff spot. Getting the Cubs in September is like scheduling Northwestern for homecoming used to be.

Week in Preview: Two more against the Pirates, three at St. Louis and it's over.

The Second Basemen Report: Darwin Barney's problems at the plate cannot simply be attributed to a singularly bad season - instead, the trendline over the last three seasons are clear: his BA has dropped from .276 to .254 to .213 .209; his OBP has dropped from .313 to .299 to .269 .268; and his OPS has dropped from .666 to .653 to .583 .573.

The Third Basemen Report: The Cubs end the season at third the way they began the season at third: with Luis Valbuena's .218/.332/.379 slash line.

The Third Basemen Report would also like to bid adieu to Josh Vitters, who has been moved to the outfield.

And Mike Olt, who was supposed to be in a Cubs uniform as the third baseman of the future within days of being acquired from Texas? He finished his season in Des Moines hitting .201 with an OBP of .303.

Wishing Upon A Starlin: Now it's about showcasing Starlin "as himself" for other teams because he certainly doesn't fit in here. Pencil Javy Baez in for 2015.

The Legend of Dioner Navarro: He's punched his ticket out of here.

Endorsement No-Brainer: Kevin Gregg for Snickers.

Laughable Headline of the Week: Epstein Says Sveum Evaluation 'Standard'.

Runner-up: Dale Sveum Says Anthony Rizzo's Season Is "Not As Bad As Everybody Makes It Out To Be".

Deserted Cubs: Brenly Honored In Legends Entertainment District + Bob Brenly Might Get His Own Street = We miss Bob.

Ameritrade Stock Pick of the Week: We'd love to recommend loading up on shares of Joe Girardi, but instead we're accumulating a position in Sending Dale Sveum A Message.

Sveum's Shadow: Dale Sveum's Five O'Clock Shadow is just seconds from midnight as he sweats out his employment status. And just like his Uncle Lou, he knows he was brought in to supervise a division starved of resources and staffed with poor performers, but in the end he was just as overmatched as they were.

Shark Tank: Jeff Samardzija's three-year trend in ERA: 2.97; 3.81; 4.33.

Jumbotron Preview: Five-thousand-seven-hundred square-feet of other teams clinching on our field.

Kubs Kalender: Wait 'til next year 2015 2016 2017.

Over/Under: Number of core players on current roster: +/- 1.5.

Beachwood Sabermetrics: A complex algorithm performed by The Cub Factor staff using all historical data made available by Major League Baseball has determined that hope is a strategy that only works when bleacher tickets are $5 and there's no advertising in the ballpark.

The Cub Factor: Unlike Alfonso Soriano Starlin Castro, you can catch 'em all!

The White Sox Report: Know the enemy.

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The Cub Factor welcomes your comments.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 9:09 AM | Permalink

Dear TV Newscasters: The Point Is To Stop Doing This

We know you think it's funny too, but we're begging you to cut it out.

1. Wrongnado.


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2. This Is CNN.

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3. The Best F#@ing News Team Ever Covers Breaking News.

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4. Moment of Zen: Wolf Blitzer Can't Stop Himself.

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 8:21 AM | Permalink

UN Member States Asked To End Unchecked Surveillance

At the 24th Session of the United Nations Human Rights Council on Friday, six major privacy NGOs, including the Electronic Frontier Foundation, warned nations of the urgent need comply with international human rights law to protect their citizens from the dangers posed by mass digital surveillance.

The groups launched the "International Principles on the Application of Human Rights to Communications Surveillance" at a side event on privacy hosted by the governments of Austria, Germany, Hungary, Liechtenstein, Norway, and Switzerland. The text is available in 30 languages.

"Governments around the world are waking up to the risks unrestrained digital surveillance pose to free societies," EFF International Rights Director Katitza Rodriguez said during the official presentation of the principles. "Privacy is a human right and needs to be protected as fiercely as all other rights. States need to restore the application of human rights to communications surveillance."

The document was the product of a year-long negotiation process between Privacy International, the Electronic Frontier Foundation, Access, Human Rights Watch, Reporters Without Borders, and the Association for Progressive Communications.

The document spells out how existing human rights law applies to modern digital surveillance and gives lawmakers and observers a benchmark for measuring states' surveillance practices against long-established human rights standards. The principles have now been endorsed by over 260 organizations from 77 countries, from Somalia to Sweden.

Included in the 13 principles are tenets such as:

Necessity: State surveillance must be limited to that which is necessary to achieve a legitimate aim.

Proportionality: Communications surveillance should be regarded as a highly intrusive act and weighed against the harm that would be caused to the individual's rights.

Transparency: States must be transparent about the use and scope of communications surveillance.

Public Oversight: States need independent oversight mechanisms.

Integrity of Communications and Systems: Because compromising security for state purposes always compromises security more generally, states must not compel ISPs or hardware and software vendors to include backdoors or other spying capabilities.

EFF and its co-signers will use the principles to advocate at national, regional and international levels for a change in how present surveillance laws are interpreted and new laws are crafted, including urging the United States government to re-engineer its domestic surveillance program to comply with international human rights law.

The event, "How to Safeguard the Right to Privacy in the Digital Age," featured speakers including Navi Pillay, the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights - who highlighted the recent scandals over British and U.S. surveillance programs in her introductory remarks to the Human Rights Council - and Frank La Rue, the United Nations Special Rapporteur on the Promotion and Protection of the Right to Freedom of Opinion and Expression.

Earlier this year, LaRue released a report that details the widespread use of state surveillance of communications in several countries, stating that such surveillance severely undermines a citizenry's ability to enjoy private lives, freely express themselves and exercise their other fundamental human rights.

"Member states of the Human Rights Council should assess their surveillance laws and bring them into compliance with the 13 benchmarks," Rodriguez says. "We must put an end to unchecked, suspicionless, mass spying online."

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

* Five More Organizations Join Lawsuit Against NSA.

* A Scandal Of Historic Proportions.

* Item: NSA Briefing.

* The Case Of The Missing NSA Blog Post.

* The NSA Is Out Of Control.

* Patriot Act Author Joins Lawsuit Against NSA.

* Obama's Promises Disappear From Web.

* Why NSA Snooping Is A Bigger Deal In Germany.

* Item: Today's NSA Briefing.

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

* Song of the Moment: Party at the NSA.

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

* What NSA Transparency Looks Like.

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

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

* The Surveillance Reforms Obama Supported Before He Was President.

* America's Spying: Worse Than You Think.

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

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

* Six Ways Congress May Reform NSA Snooping.

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

* Does The NSA Tap That?

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

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

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

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

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

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

* Obama's War On Truth And Transparency.

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

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

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

* Daniel Ellsberg: Obama Has Committed Impeachable Offenses.

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 7:42 AM | Permalink

World Music Festival Chicago

The 15th annual World Music Festival Chicago wrapped up on Sunday. Here are some highlights.

1. Debo Band at Martyrs' on Sunday night.


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2. DakhaBrakha at the Chicago Cultural Center on Sunday night.

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3. Lulacruza at the Chicago Cultural Center on Sunday.

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4. The Brock McGuire Band at the Chicago Cultural Center on Sunday night.

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5. Baba Ken Okulolo & The Nigerian Brothers at the Chicago Cultural center on Sunday.

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6. The Janusz Prusinowski Trio at the Chicago Cultural Center on Sunday.

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7. Slowbots at the Old Town School on Saturday night.

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8. The Krar Collective at Millennium Park on September 15.

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9. Cedric Watson and Sidi Touré at the Hideout on September 15.

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10. Mamadou Kelly at the Old Town School on September 14.

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11. Bassekou Kouyate & Ngoni ba at Millennium Park on September 14.

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12. Fandanguero in Grant Park on September 14.

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13. Debashish Bhattacharya, Subhasis Bhattacharya and Anandi Bhattacharya at Millennium Park on September 13.

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14. African Showboyz in Daley Plaza on September 13.

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15. Plena Libre at Millennium Park on September 12.

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16. Eddie Palmieri at Millennium Park on September 12.

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 1:47 AM | Permalink

September 23, 2013

Thanks For The (2005) Memories

It's time to think pleasant thoughts as the baseball season winds down to a merciful - at least here in Chicago - ending this Sunday.

No reason to bemoan Saturday night's jaw-dropping loss to the Tigers as our fellas blew a 6-0 ninth-inning lead in Detroit and robbed the brilliant Chris Sale of a chance to be a .500 pitcher this season.

The first cool, crisp, clear days of autumn are upon us. Soon the landscape will be ablaze with its fall majesty. The Bears are 3-0. The more astute among us stopped gnashing their teeth over this forgettable baseball season long ago. Complaining about the White Sox has become as passé as getting pissed off about the gaggle of cyclists who make driving in this city seem like a daily driver's test at the DMV. It's just the way it is.

But if habit, addiction, idleness or just plain stupidity dictates that you keep an eye on baseball until the bitter end, what better way to make this a fruitful experience than to reflect back a few years when the games meant something?

Neal Cotts. Sox fans remember him from the magic of 2005. Cotts is a great story. He and Cliff Politte - two guys no one had really ever heard of - led a strong bullpen with a combined 137 appearances in which they pitched an out short of 128 innings. As middle relievers, the duo allowed just 80 hits, won 11 games against one loss, and had ERAs of 2.00 (Politte) and 1.94 (Cotts). You could argue that they were as valuable as anyone for the team's 110 wins (counting the post-season) and World Series title.

Politte quietly hurt his arm and was finished the next season at age 32. Cotts was peddled across town to the Cubs after the '06 season and spent three injury-filled lackluster seasons on the North Side before being released in 2009. He was just 29.

The following three years saw Cotts undergo Tommy John surgery followed by surgery on his hip from an old soccer injury. He endured infections and more surgeries. Along the way a number of teams expressed interest in the left-hander, but he couldn't pass a physical. No one would sign him and risk a worker's comp claim.

A native of downstate Lebanon, outside of St. Louis, Cotts began to focus on returning to Illinois State to get a degree in finance. That's before a 2012 tryout with the Rangers, who liked what they saw. He spent last season at Triple-A with moderate success - he was injury-free - and after he got off to a rousing start this season in the minors, the Rangers called him up in May.

And how has that worked out? Splendidly, to say the least. Cotts was tagged with a loss on Sunday having given up a lead-off double in the bottom of the tenth. Through no fault of his, Kansas City won the game five batters later on a walk-off grand slam. That raised his ERA to 1.20 in 52-plus innings of work. In that time, he's struck out 59 hitters and allowed just 34 hits. Sure beats studying finance at ISU.

"It comes to a point sometimes where you think, 'Is it worth it?'" his erstwhile and present catcher A.J. Pierzynski said. "But apparently he thought so. And it was."

Pierzynski and Cotts are two of the seven members of the '05 Sox who are still playing in the big leagues. A.J. is putting up his typical numbers - .274, 17 HRs, 66 RBI - this season at age 36. Let's assume for a moment that the Sox re-signed Pierzynski. He'd be batting in the six or seven slot. The five Sox catchers this season have usually batted eighth or ninth with a combined average of .201.

The Sox have lost 34 one-run games this season. Just maybe that number would have been reduced with Pierzynski in the middle of the order. We'll never know, and at this point, who really cares?

Meanwhile, Sox all-time favorite Mark Buehrle has been toiling in the secrecy of Toronto where they also stopped watching baseball a couple of months ago. Saturday's win over the Red Sox was Buerhle's 12th against nine losses for the last-place Blue Jays. He continues to give up a lot of hits, a generous helping of home runs, and has an ERA of slightly more than four. However, when Buerhle is right, he's still a challenge for hitters in the same way Greg Maddux was.

Another of the Sox starters from 2005, Freddy Garcia, is another feel-good story. Freddy will be 37 next week. According to Baseball Reference, he's made more than $53 million dollars in his career, which included a 40-21 mark in 2004-06 with the Sox. Yet Garcia spent most of this season pitching at Triple-A as a member of the Baltimore organization. You'd think he take his money, return home to Venezuela, and pose for one of those beach scenes from the Corona beer ads.

Not Freddy. Injuries dictated that the front-running Atlanta Braves needed pitching help, and they purchased Garcia's contract in August. So far in five appearances - two as a starter - Garcia has a 1.31 ERA. Baseball is what he does.

The same is true for Juan Uribe. What a survivor! While dwelling on pleasant memories, his ninth-inning diving catch while falling into the seats in Houston in Game 4 of the World Series is an ever-lasting testament to how the guy plays the game.

The Dodgers tried a few guys at third base at the beginning of the season and Uribe, who now is 34, has become the regular on the strength of a .273 average with a lot of clutch hits. It appears that he also is supplying a mature influence on Yasiel Puig. Uribe is heading toward another post-season appearance, his fourth in 13 seasons. That's no accident.

A less-prominent member of the '05 Sox, Brandon McCarthy, will be tonight's starting pitcher for the Diamondbacks. Eight years ago as a 21-year-old, McCarthy was a promising right-hander in the Erik Johnson mold, but the Sox dealt him to Texas in the winter of 2006 basically in exchange for John Danks.

(Even though we are focusing on the past, Johnson's outstanding effort in the Sox 6-3 win Sunday provides a ray of hope for next season's rotation.)

McCarthy has been plagued by arm problems, and last September while pitching for Oakland, he was nailed by a line drive in the side of the head, one of the ugliest baseball moments in memory. Whether McCarthy will ever realize the potential he showed on the South Side remains unclear.

Of course, the other member of the 2005 Sox still in the big leagues has gone nowhere since that classic season. Sadly the Paul Konerko we've seen for the past season-and-a-half bears little resemblance to the guy who hit 40 homers and drove in 100 runs when the Sox were champs.

Paulie has had a great 15-year run on the South Side. His number 14 will wind up pasted to the facade down the right field line next to Nellie, Harold, Luke, and the others. Who knows? He'll probably get a bronze statue one day out there in centerfield.

But time moves ahead as Konerko strokes an occasional single to right field instead of a prodigious shot into the seats in left. It's time, Paulie. You've done your job, and you've done it with dignity and grace. And now the memories will have to suffice.

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Roger Wallenstein is our man on the White Sox. He welcomes your comments.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 10:19 AM | Permalink

The [Monday] Papers

"Martin Cabrera Jr. is out, but he's still in," Dan Mihalopoulos writes for the Sun-Times in a pretty awesome lead.

What makes it work so well, of course, is that it has the benefit of being true.

"The investment banker who was brought in to oversee reforms at Chicago's scandal-scarred United Neighborhood Organization, the state's largest charter-school operator, didn't last four months before stepping down recently as UNO's board chairman, citing unspecified differences over the group's 'philosophy and mission.'

"But Cabrera retains close ties to politicians including Mayor Rahm Emanuel and powerful Ald. Edward M. Burke (14th) - both big supporters of UNO and its embattled chief executive, Juan Rangel.

"Cabrera has built and maintained especially strong ties to Burke as Cabrera Capital Markets, the Chicago financial services firm Cabrera founded, has enjoyed multimillion-dollar growth, getting a cut of deals involving billions of dollars as a bond underwriter for city and state agencies and major governments across Illinois and nationwide."

Click through for the rest of the story.

The Furloughed Skies
"United Airlines has unveiled a new ad campaign that it hopes will bring customers back to the better days of flying," the Tribune reports.

"The Chicago-based airline announced Friday it developed a series of ads featuring its famous 'Fly the Friendly Skies' tag line it last used in 1996."

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"For more than a decade, thousands of United Airlines pilots have been furloughed, forced to pursue second-choice careers as nurses, home inspectors, travel agents, sales representatives and computer programmers," Crain's reports.

"But eventually, they get recalled. And when that day comes, they have to decide: return or move on with the life they've made in the interim?"

Inequality For All
See the trailer for the new documentary featuring Robert Reich.

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"In 2012, the top 5 percent of households received 22 percent of all income in the country - a share that has climbed steadily over the past three decades. Prominent economists have shown that income inequality is now greater than it was in 1928, the eve of the Great Depression."

Home Run
"West Michigan is calling, and it wants you to come back home," MLive reports.

"Advertisements now in place across Chicago and online aim to coax people to move back as part of a larger effort to help people adjust to the area, said Cindy Brown, executive director of Hello West Michigan."

Um, hello? Just called to say No thanks!

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I'm not from Western Michigan, but just imagining if I was.

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Also, what are you still doing there?

Big Mac Attack
"On Wednesday, the new class of MacArthur Fellows - known to the world as the "genius grant" winners - will be announced," Cecilia Conrad of the MacArthur Foundation writes for the Washington Post in Five Myths About The MacArthur 'Genius Grants'.

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He's Back
Comeback tour ends in Chicago.

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Miller Time
That's the Beachwood Reporter's J.J. Tindall, mister.

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It's Trestman Time
SportsMonday: Learning To Play Ahead.

Chicago Export Report
Hot dogs and popcorn.

The Weekend In Chicago Rock
Including: Pop. 1280, Radiation City, Shining, The Dodos, Lee, Vic Mensa, J.Cole, Kid Cudi, Logic, Tyler The Creator, Wale-Clappers, Underground United 2, Sworn In, Victims, Gift Giver, Jimmy Cliff, Anathema, and Tommy Emmanuel.

Thanks For The (2005) Memories
They're all we have now. In The White Sox Report.

The Cub Factor
Will appear on Tuesday.

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The Beachwood Tip Line: Sworn in.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 10:14 AM | Permalink

SportsMonday: Learning To Play Ahead

Even the best teams watch big leads leak away.

No one in the NFL has perfected sitting on advantages. I've watched for years as my wife's team, the Patriots, has gone in front by two, three, even four touchdowns and then struggled to hang on. If a team with a big lead runs too much, it becomes predictable and easily defended. If it passes too much, it is predictable and easily defended and it keeps stopping the clock with incompletions. A delightful mixture is of course preferable, but far easier said than done.

The Bears tried both last night and it wasn't pretty for a while. Fortunately, some big offensive plays late and yet another defensive touchdown prevented extreme discomfort on the way to a 40-23 win and a lovely 3-0 record.

Before we go any further, let's be clear about the most important thing: Bears fans should be so fortunate that struggling to hold onto a lead is the biggest thing they have to worry about on future Mondays.

And while we're making pronouncements, don't just look at Anthony Walters as the goat for kickstarting the Steelers' comeback in the first half (though it's not the first stupid thing he's done this season). Sure, Walters committed an unbelievably ridiculous roughing the kicker penalty to give the Steelers the ball after a three-and-out possession down three touchdowns halfway through the second quarter.

Walters must have been saying "of course" to himself when the Steelers then rapid fire ran their two best offensive plays in the first half after 15 yards and a first down. The first was a 22-yard completion to Emmanuel Sanders and the second was the 33-yard touchdown to Antonio Brown, who like the Bengals' A.J. Green last week, had a huge game. (Red flag about the pass defense?)

Walters found some company when the Bears regained possession and faced a third-and-long in which Cutler did some nifty work in the pocket to avoid a sack and then hit Brandon Marshall with what would have been at least a 15-yard gain. It would have kicked the offense right back into gear and . . . except Marshall dropped it.

But after a real good Adam Podlesh punt (54 yards, no return) the Steelers didn't score, the Bears played it ultra-conservatively in the last two minutes and the lead was two touchdowns going into the third quarter.

I loved the way the Bears did that by the way: with three Matt Forte runs, they made sure the clock ran out before the Steelers could get the ball back without running give-up plays (taking a knee). If any of those runs had broken free, they could have turned up the tempo and gone for at least a field goal.

With the runs, they avoided the killer incompletion that would have given the Steelers the ball back with at least a little time to do damage. By not taking a knee, they avoided playing scared.

Right after the intermission, the Bears took care of business. Major Wright, with a pick six already under his belt, blasted the ball out of Steelers running back Felix Jones' hands and onto the ground, where Henry Melton recovered it. A Robbie Gould chip shot that restored the lead to three scores, i.e., 17 points.

Then things went south for a while, as they did the week before against the Vikings. After a Steeler field goal, the Bears tried passing. But not only did a couple Cutler incompletions, a sack and a pass for no gain (sandwiched around a completion and an illegal contact for a first down) not move the ball very far down the field, it also chipped less than two minutes off the clock.

Sure enough, the Steelers came back and scored a touchdown to make it a one-score game. This time the Bears tried two passes and a run before punting, ridiculously, with time still on the clock in the third quarter. The Steelers drove down and kicked the field goal that made it 27-23 with 10:43 left in the game.

Now the Bears committed to the run, and got very, very lucky. A couple weak Forte runs led to third-and-10 but Cutler was able to scramble 13 yards for a first down - eschewing a slide to make sure he had it. Forte lost two yards but a long pass to Marshall (41 yards) bailed the Bears out of another third-and-long. Finally, a short pass to Martellus Bennett and another sub-par Forte run (two yards) set up third-and-5.

That's when Cutler completed an amazing pass to Earl Bennett that was originally ruled out of bounds for an 11-point lead in what was essentially the clinching touchdown.

You could tell that after barely burning any clock and failing on those last two possessions of the third quarter, Marc Trestman was going to have his team run the ball no matter what on that last scoring drive. Some amazing execution on three huge third downs bailed him out.

So we can add scheming to better protect leads to Trestman's to-do list. And we can add "starting 3-0" to his resume.

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Full GameDay Highlights.

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Adversity Alert: Bears Fear ACL Tear For Melton.

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See also:
* Hub Arkush: Cutler, Big Plays Lead Bears Over Steelers.

* USA Today: Jay Cutler Comes Through In Clutch Again.

* Adam Hoge: Bears Catch Steelers Off Guard With Pressure Defense.

* Sun-Times: Bears Offense Can Handle 3-4 Defense.

* Pittsburgh Post-Gazette: Tale of Turnovers.

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

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 8:52 AM | Permalink

Random Food Report: Chicago Exports

1. Pizza Hut's Cheeseburger Pizza Is Both Extraordinary And Repulsive.

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See also: Pizza Hut's Cheeseburger-Stuffed Crust Menace Spreads To United Kingdom.

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2. Outback Steakhouse Latest Corporate Entity To Break The Rules.

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3. Green Giant Latest Corporate Entity To Go "Edgy".

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4. Chicago Export Report.

"There are many styles of cooking hot dogs and lots of condiments and toppings to put in and on top of the dog but in my opinion, the king of hot dogs are Chicago-style and lucky for us, Windy C's Chicago Hot Dogs in Upland serves up some of the best little doggies in the IE and has for over 14 years," Allen Borgen writes for the Inland Empire Weekly of the Los Angeles area.

"Owner Freddie Johnson, who hails from the South Side of Chicago, is very thankful for his loyal customers support over the years."

See also: Windy C's - Let Us Give Your Taste Buds A Hug.

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And:

"Last week my wife and I had Chicago-style hot dogs for dinner," Larry Olmsted writes for Forbes.

"In Vermont. This wasn't some faux attempt by a local restaurant to recreate the Windy City signature, it was the Windy City signature - Vienna brand beef franks on poppy seed buns from A. Rosen, topped with Vienna sport peppers, Vienna bright green pickle relish, Ploughman's yellow mustard, and of course, celery salt. All of this came in a Chicago Hot Dog Kit that made 16 loaded franks (I had to supply the tomato and onion) and sells for just $39.95. And man was it good."

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Plus:

"The food Chicago native Tish Moore missed the most after she went away to college wasn't deep-dish pizza, Italian beef sandwiches, or onion-and-pickle-topped hot dogs. No, what she missed was a more basic snack: popcorn," the East Bay Express reports.

"So popcorn featured prominently in any care package her family sent her. And for ten years, every single time her parents flew out to visit, they made sure to pack some popcorn in their suitcase - every time except the most recent time.

"That's because, as of two weeks ago, Moore has launched her very own popcorn store, Scarecrow Popcorn, in Oakland's Grand Lake neighborhood. With that opening, Moore is hoping that Chicago-style popcorn might be the next big thing in the East Bay."

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5. USDA To Allow China To Process Chickens, Ship Back To U.S.

"While the logistics are hard to imagine - if we can't safely leave chicken out for the length of a family picnic, how can it be shipped halfway around the world and back with no ill effects? - the USDA is doing its best to reassure both chicken farmers and consumers that the process is 100-percent safe."

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 8:16 AM | Permalink

Inequality For All

This week, the U.S. Census Bureau confirmed that income inequality in the United States remains at record levels. In 2012, the top 5 percent of households received 22 percent of all income in the country - a share that has climbed steadily over the past three decades. Prominent economists have shown that income inequality is now greater than it was in 1928, the eve of the Great Depression.

An important new documentary, Inequality for All, explores the causes and consequences of growing economic inequality. Opening on Friday, September 27, Inequality for All features Robert Reich, professor of public policy at the University of California at Berkeley and former Secretary of Labor in the Clinton administration. The film won the Special Jury Award at the Sundance Film Festival and the Audience Award for Best Documentary Film at the Traverse City Film Festival.

Trailer:


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We urge you to check out this film and learn more about the wide-ranging implications of rising inequality. At Voices, we believe that growing economic inequality will deny more and more children the opportunities they need to reach their full potential. To build a brighter future for our country, we must take action to strengthen families' economic security and invest in creating opportunities for all children beginning at birth.

In the Chicago area, Inequality for All will play at Landmark's Century Centre Cinema in Chicago and Landmark's Renaissance Place Cinema in Highland Park.

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Poster:

inequality-for-all-movie-poster.jpg(ENLARGE)

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See also: Voices for Illinois Children.

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Comments welcome.


Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 7:55 AM | Permalink

The Weekend In Chicago Rock

You shoulda been there.

1. Pop. 1280 at the Empty Bottle on Sunday night.


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2. Radiation City at Lincoln Hall on Friday night.

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3. Shining at Reggies on Friday night.

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4. The Dodos at Lincoln Hall on Thursday night.

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5. Lee at Martyrs' on Friday night.

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6. Vic Mensa at the Arie Crown Theater on Saturday night.

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7. J. Cole at Arie Crown on Saturday night.

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8. Kid Cudi at the UIC Pavilion on Friday night.

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9. Logic at the UIC Pavilion on Friday night.

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10. Tyler, The Creator at the UIC Pavilion on Friday night.

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11. Wale-Clappers at Arie Crown on Saturday night.

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12. Underground United 2 at Mojoes in Joliet on Saturday night.

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13. Sworn In at Mojoes on Friday night.

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14. Victims at Mojoes on Friday night.

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15. Gift Giver at Mojoes on Friday night.

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16. Jimmy Cliff at the Concord on Friday night.

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17. Anathema at Reggies on Saturday night.

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18. Tommy Emmanuel at Park West on Thursday night.

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 7:01 AM | Permalink

September 21, 2013

The Weekend Desk Report

We're an altogether different kind of hack.

Market Update
Not even 200 points for a looming government shutdown? It's like they're all just going through the motions now.

Snapped Down
Say, maybe this little correction is actually part of corporate welfare reform 2.0. After all, we wouldn't want this to become a way of life.

Authenticity Issues
Hey, didn't this same thing just happen in the Democratic primary?

Rock the Vote . . .
Hey, uh, doesn't this same thing happen all the time around here?

. . . Some Day
Yes, and it shows no sign of stopping.

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The Weekend Desk Tip Line: Don't stop 'til you get enough.

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The College Football Report: Go Dance.

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The Blue & Orange Kool-Aid Report: Bears Glass Half Full (Of Something).

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The Sound Opinions Weekend Listening Report: "Jim and Greg dissect The Replacements' classic album Let It Be in honor of the band getting back together after a 22-year hiatus."

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The CAN TV Weekend Viewing Report: CAN TV brings you local, relevant issues from Chicago's neighborhoods and communities. See what's happening around the city in education, the arts, government, cultural events, social services and community activities.

Community Forum: A. Philip Randolph Pullman Porter Museum

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A. Philip Randolph Pullman Porter Museum president David Peterson Jr. shares the story of the museum's creation.

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

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Perspectivas Latinas: The Resurrection Project

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Julio Guerrero of The Resurrection Project previews the 9th Global Latino Film Festival, which serves as a fundraiser for Pilsen's La Casa.

Saturday at 8 p.m. on CAN TV21.

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"Applied Words: Broken Windows"

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Authors including Sarah Ross, Paul Durica and Maribel Mares explore how an intolerance for flaws and neglect in a city can affect its inhabitants at this reading hosted by the Guild Literary Complex.

Sunday at 9 a.m. on CAN TV21.

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Jane Addams' Birthday Celebration: "Conversations on Peace and Justice"

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The Crunk Feminist Collective presents "Sing About We: A Crunk Feminist Mixtape," with Jalylah Burrell, Whitney Peoples, Chanel Craft-Tanner, and Moya Bailey.

Sunday at 10:30 a.m. on CAN TV21.

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Angela Davis: "If You Want Peace, Fight for Justice"

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Angela Davis examines the personal toll and public responses to gun violence, including a discussion of Chicago's problems with Cook County Board president Toni Preckwinkle, violence interrupter Ameena Matthews, and other local leaders.

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

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Central American Parade and Festival

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Members of Chicago's Central American community celebrate their heritage and commemorate the independence of nations including Honduras, Guatemala and El Salvador, which separated from Spain on September 15, 1821.

Sunday at 2:30 p.m. on CAN TV21.

Posted by Natasha Julius at 8:07 AM | Permalink

September 20, 2013

The [Friday] Papers

Here's raw video from AP from the scene of the Cornell Square Park shooting last night.


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"The South Park Commission created Cornell Square in 1904 as part of a revolutionary neighborhood park system which improved the difficult living conditions in Chicago's congested tenement districts," according to the Chicago Park District.

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Richard J. Daley Elementary School is on the northwest side of the park.

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Mentions of Cornell Square Park in the papers over the years has been sparse.

From Curtis Lawrence in the Sun-Times, February 1998:

"The recent murders of two Back of the Yards teenagers, allegedly by a 12-year-old boy who wanted to impress gang members, hit hard at Cornell Square Park where Robert Owens, 15, and Delvon Harris, 14, spent much of their time.

"The park, at 50th and Wood, sits in the midst of several gang turfs in the Back of the Yards neighborhood.

As many spent the last week speculating about what was wrong with today's young people, the people at Cornell Square Park seemed to have a handle on how to steer them right.

Last week, physical instructor Darrell Elebye could be seen putting his arm around a young boy and sending him back out to a game of floor hockey, even though his team was losing. And as usual, he told his boys, many whom aspire to be professional basketball players, that all dreams require hard work.

But Elebye also spent much of his time trying to bring a sense of normalcy to the park as children confronted the loss of two friends. Elebye coached the basketball team that Robert played on.

"He was a good kid and a good athlete," Elebye said Wednesday while getting his players ready for a game.

One of Elebye's players, David Tucker, 13, said Robert was good and getting better. "He was up here every day," David said. "The last day I saw him was the day he passed away."

David lives in the Back of the Yards neighborhood where kids often keep tears to themselves. But Tuesday, at a memorial vigil for Robert, David couldn't hold back. "That's the night I really cried."

For many of the children, it wasn't the first time they had to confront the death of a classmate or friend.

"Killing is no stranger to them, but it has a major impact," Elebye said. "I think it's going to affect them for the rest of their lives."

Adults, too, are growing numb at the violence claiming the lives of kids with plenty of potential.

"I couldn't believe it had happened_especially with them," said Thomas Southern, the Cornell Square Park supervisor. "They were two kids waiting for tomorrow. But then reality sinks in and says tomorrow is not promised to anyone."

Even though the park is surrounded by drugs, Southern and Elebye try to keep it safe from outside forces. And they also work with parents to keep the children away from the temptation of gangs.

So far, David is one of their successes. While he's at the age that attracts gang recruiters, David said he's not worried.

"Nobody ever tried to get me into a gang because my mother knows everybody around here, and she'll go off," he said.

Elebye wasn't surprised at reports that a 12-year-old trying to impress a gang was accused of the murder.

"Kids know how to do gang handshakes as soon as they play on the playground," he said.

Even though their neighborhood often is described as rough and tough, David and his friends still had compassion for the 12-year-old accused of killing Robert and Delvon.

They said the accused boy should serve time if convicted of the murders, but none thought he should be tried as an adult.

"That's too hard," David said.

The story's headline: "Park Is Anything But A Playground."

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A letter to the paper eight days later from Paul J. Lopez, community relations officer at Park Federal Savings Bank:

"Recently the Back of the Yards neighborhood was in the news headlines because of a tragic shooting that occurred at 50th and Paulina. I want people to know that there are a lot of positive activities happening in the neighborhood and not just senseless violence.

"I grew up in the 1970s, a block away from the shooting scene. Our neighborhood was a great place to live and raise children. We were a true community, where you knew almost all of your neighbors and you and your friends could go to Cornell Square Park all day and have fun. Society has changed for the worse since then, not only in the Back of the Yards neighborhood but in many neighborhoods.

The majority of residents in the Back of the Yards are decent, hard-working people who only want to make a good living and have a safe place to raise their children. It is the gangs that cause all the trouble.

However, there are people who have been working together to make the necessary changes to improve their quality of life.

For example, a new school opened a few years ago called the San Miguel School. The school was started by two secular Franciscans and a Christian brother. They had very little money, but they had enormous faith, hope, and most of all, unconditional love in their hearts for children.

They took in children that the local schools could not handle. They set up a very tough curriculum and showered the students with a lot of love and attention. They have expanded since then, and this year they will have their first graduating class.

Another example is the Rev. Bruce Wellems. He has dedicated himself not only to Holy Cross-Immaculate Heart of Mary parish, but especially to the youth of the entire neighborhood. He is a guiding light for many of the troubled youth in this area.

The Back of the Yards Neighborhood Council and its executive director, Patrick J. Salmon, have built one of the most successful industrial parks in the nation, which employs many neighborhood residents.

The council also started a Ballet Folklorico four years ago due to the efforts of a great man, Jesus Rey. Jesus wanted to start a dance group to give the youth of the area an alternative to the gangs and give them a positive cultural influence in their lives. Unfortunately, Jesus passed away recently, but due to the dedication of his wonderful wife, Marina Rey, the ballet is now stronger than ever.

The Back of the Yards Business Association, under its executive director, Mark Roschen, has organized the local retail merchants and provides many services, including a free senior citizen shuttle bus, daily street cleaning and a security patrol.

These are just a few examples of the many positive happenings in the area. Unfortunately, the media mainly focus on the negative and tragic happenings around the city. The many dedicated people of the Back of the Yards neighborhood will continue to work hard to improve the quality of life for all who live there.

It would be interesting to go back and interview those same people now.

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From Annie Sweeney in the Sun-Times, April 2009:

"Slumped in the front of a car and suffering from a gunshot wound, 14-year-old Juan Cazares struggled to even make a sound.

"Desperate to keep Juan from slipping away as they drove to the hospital, his 17-year-old cousin reached around from the back seat, massaging Juan's face and rubbing his neck.

"But his face was cold. And his neck was hard.

"I was just trying to wake him up,'' the tearful cousin said in a low voice. "He was dying. . . . He really couldn't breathe. He was just asking for God not to let him die.''

Juan, though, died early Friday morning at Stroger Hospital.

He was shot Thursday evening near 50th and Wood in the Back of the Yards neighborhood, an area that has daily struggles with gangs but also a deep commitment to challenging the violence.

"A tragedy like this takes a little piece of the soul out of you,'' said the Rev. Bruce Wellems, pastor of Holy Cross-Immaculate Heart of Mary parish, a few blocks from the shooting. "But it also strengthens the resolve to continue to do the good works we do.''

Chicago Police are investigating several accounts of what led to the shooting about 6:30 p.m.

According to one report, Juan and his 14-year-old cousin were chasing a basketball that had rolled out of Cornell Square Park when two men shot at them.

But Juan's cousins, interviewed Friday, said he was standing with them and other teens after finishing the basketball game when the men walked out of an alley.

"Where's the weed at?'' one man called, according to Juan's cousins.

The question -- which the cousins say was just an attempt to get their attention -- was followed by gunfire from the other man.

Juan ran six houses away, then called out that he had been shot. He leaned on a car, stumbled and fell to the ground, the cousins said.

Juan, a student at Richard Milburn Alternative High School, was the 33rd Chicago Public Schools student killed this school year. He was well-liked and known for his sense of humor, school officials said.

Juan had two younger sisters and a younger brother. He lived in the 5200 block of South Wood with his mom and some of his cousins.

"He's well-loved,'' said his aunt Lucy Gallegos, 30. "If it happened to him, it could happen to any of them.''

Headline: "He Was Asking God Not To Let Him Die."

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From Noreen S. Ahmed-Ullah in the Tribune, April 2009:

"When Juan Cazares, 14, played basketball at Cornell Square Park in the Back of the Yards neighborhood, he would sometimes be joined by others who were in gangs, family members said.

"Hanging out with the wrong people and being at the wrong place at the wrong time may have led to the 8th grader's death, family members believe.

"Cazares of the 5200 block of South Wood Street was shot in the chest right outside the park at 6:30 p.m. Thursday. He died early Friday at Stroger Hospital. His cousin, who had been playing basketball with him, was treated at the hospital for a graze wound on the hip.

"Police said the boys went to retrieve a basketball that had rolled away from the park toward an alley when two men in their 20s approached them and began shooting. Police have no one in custody.

"A witness said Cazares had been playing basketball with family and friends at the park near 51st and Wood Streets. The group had included a 20-year-old man who belonged to a gang, the witness said. A man approached them across the street from the park and asked them whether they had any drugs. When the basketball players said they did not, the man made an offensive gesture and walked back toward an alley.

"The basketball then bounced into the street, the witness said. As players ran after it, another man came out of the same alley and began shooting at them, according to the witness."

Click through for the rest.

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Back to present day, the Trib has a strong collection of tweets and other forms of reaction to last night.

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Some of us following the events through Twitter last night used @CFDMedia as one of our sources. It was like slow-motion heartbreak.

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"Mayor Rahm Emanuel canceled meetings in Washington, D.C. and was on his way back to Chicago after 13 people, including a 3-year-old boy, were shot in Back of the Yards Thursday night, at shooting that Chicago's top cop said was done with an 'assault-style rifle,'" DNAinfo Chicago reports.

"All of the injuries are non-life-threatening," Supt. Garry McCarthy said in a Friday morning news conference. "It's a miracle in this instance that there were no fatalities."

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Besides meetings in Washington, Rahm was scheduled to appear at a campaign rally for Jersey City mayor Cory Booker, who is running for U.S. Senate.

From the Newark Star-Ledger:

"Rahm Emanuel is well-known to Democrats around the country and by now, Steven Fulop is well-known to Democrats around the state.

"So when the mayor of Chicago and the mayor of Jersey City appear together Friday to stump for Cory Booker, their collective firepower should be enough to rally Booker's supporters.

"It will have to be, because Booker won't be there.

"The Newark mayor and Democratic U.S. Senate candidate will be at the Temple Night Club in San Francisco at a fundraiser held by the San Francisco Young Professionals for Cory Booker."

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The rally has been canceled.

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The Beachwood Tip Line: Trying to rally.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 11:02 AM | Permalink

The College Football Report: Go Dance

The NCAA will not be paying college football players any time soon. That said, NCAA president Mark Emmert is open to the idea of players bypassing college football altogether on their way to the pros. "If you are a ballerina, or a ballet dancer, you don't go to college," Emmert says. "You go straight to a ballet troupe. But you don't have to make this artificial juncture. Go dance."

Emmert seems to believe that the size of the college football stage renders the pay-for-play concept unnecessary. "The reality is, they are playing in front of 100,000 people. And so it would seem the exploitation is they have a big audience watching them. So I suppose if they played in front of just 5,000 people they wouldn't be exploited."

So the solution seems to be two-fold: college football players should take up ballet or play in smaller stadiums.

Death Watch
We just discovered Coaches Hot Seat Ranking and we're fans. (And by hot seat, we mean the safe-for-work term referring to coaches at risk of losing their jobs due to losing records, underwhelming expectations, NCAA violations or just plain idiocy.) So we've decided to start our own little Coaches Death Watch. This week's top three:

* Bo Pelini. Someone has it in for Bo. A 2011 video of Pelini just surfaced in which the coach sounds off on Husker Nation: "Our crowd. What a bunch of [f-bomb] fair-weather [f-bomb] - they can all kiss my ass out the [f-bomb] door. 'Cause the day is [f-bomb] coming now. We'll see what they can do when I'm [f-bomb] gone. I'm so [f-bomb] pissed off." (Deadspin has the audio.)

In Pelini's defense, half the crowd in Lincoln that day bailed at halftime assuming the 'Huskers, trailing by three touchdowns to Ohio State, were toast. But Pelini rallied the troops to win a dramatic comeback victory. Still, that is a lot of f-bombs.

The controversy has left Pelini in an awkward situation, forcing him to apologize to fans for an incident two years ago. Further stirring the pot, former Nebraska star QB Tommy Frazier criticized Pelini via Twitter ("losing is just not what #Nebraska fans deserve") following a 41-21 loss at home to #16 UCLA.

Nebraska won't punish Pelini but someone seems fed up with his strong, but not stellar, 51-21 record in his six seasons at the program.

* Charlie Weis. Charlie's ass must be feeling the heat after a 1-11 debut campaign as the boss man at Kansas and a 1-1 this season so far, including a loss last week to the Rice Owls. Rice isn't bad, but Kansas stinks.

* Mack Brown. A year removed from a lackluster 9-4 record and having limped (1-2) into 2013, Brown is starting to feel the heat from Texas Longhorns fans.

Brown has carried the 'Horns to four BCS games, including the national championship in 2005, but has yet to return since a loss (37-21) to Alabama in the 2009 title game.

Despite a lustrous career record with the school (151-45), the clock may be ticking. Ending the prior year at the fringes of the Top 25 (#19) and beginning the following season with back-to-back losses to the likes of BYU and a 44-23 to the Ole Miss (#25), is a good way to crank up the rumor mill about your replacement.

Speaking of which, the AP reported on Tuesday that Nick Saban's agent fielded a call from former UT regent Tom Hicks in January, a few days following the (third) win by Saban's Crimson Tide in the BCS National Championship. Shortly after, "Hicks asked UT coach Mack Brown if he was ready to retire."

We imagine that was nothing more than a polite inquiry. A passing inquiry over dinner, perhaps. We can't imagine Hicks was thinking of Brown's contract that, while it runs to 2020, can be bought out by UT for $2.75 million if he's fired in 2013. Maybe that flitted through Hicks' mind while he wrestled over his order at the Driskill Grill, an Austin institution since 1886. The 12-ounce Aged Prime Rib-eye for $36? Or maybe this has-been's contract for $2.75 million?

Stiff-Armed Robbery
The Hawkeyes may have made off with the hardware on Saturday, but somebody made off with their swag in return.

Nine Iowa players returned to the visitors' locker room after a hard-fought 27-21 victory over Iowa State to discover their cell phones and cash had been stolen. Iowa had just bested the Cyclones for the first time since 2010 to reclaim the Cy-Hawk trophy.

The longstanding rivals - the two teams first played in 1898 - have been battling over the Cy-Hawk since 1976. The trophy has stirred its share of controversy over the years as well. The current model only dates to late 2012, and replaced a short-lived revision to the original. The Iowa Corn Growers Association donated a new model in 2011 - featuring a good ol' fashion (white, presumably) family of four surrounding a bushel of Iowa corn - that was met with widespread ridicule. We envision yet another version for 2014 and beyond, adding a small detail: rather than the traditional stiff-arm pose of the running back topping the trophy, the player will have a bag of loot slung over his shoulder.

Horse Hijinks
In (somewhat) related news, someone has sheared the tails from more than a dozen horses in Natrona County, Wyoming, in recent months. No word yet on any involvement from the visiting Idaho Vandals, or the Northern Colorado Bears, both of whom suffered thumpings (42-10, 35-7) to the host Cowboys. Our money is on the Vandals.

By the way, Wyoming equines are at great risk of tail-purloining: more than 100 reports were filed last year, and during a short stretch in the summer of 2012, 62 horses had their tails and/or manes cut off.

Why would anyone do this, you ask?

"There's a market for this stuff," South Dakota rancher T.J. Aisenbrey told the Rapid City Journal, upon announcing a $2,000 award for any information on the theft of the mane and tail from his horse Sundance.

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Our Picks For Week Four:

Boise State (+4) vs. Fresno State
North Carolina (+6.5) vs. Georgia Tech
San Jose State (+3.5) vs. Minnesota
North Texas vs. #9 Georgia (-33)
Michigan State vs. #22 Notre Dame (Under 42)
Maine at #18 Northwestern (-28)

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

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 8:27 AM | Permalink

The Week In Chicago Rock

You shoulda been there.

1. Savages at the Metro on Monday night.


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2. Death in June at Reggies on Monday night.

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3. ET NIHIL at Reggies on Monday night.

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4. Shigeto at the Bottom Lounge on Wednesday night.

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5. Cher Lloyd at the Vic on Sunday night.

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 7:54 AM | Permalink

Beachwood Photo Booth: A to Z Things

We make keys.

atozthings4.jpg(ENLARGE FOR PROPER VIEWING)

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Stationery, iPhone cases, hoodies.

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Previously:
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Chicago Man Grilling
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Yum Yum Donuts
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Chicago Father's Day
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Vintage Airmaster
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Chicago Time
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Window Shade
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Illinois Slayer
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Chicago Fire Escape
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Golden Nugget
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Hollywood, Chicago
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Flag Man.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Van In Flames.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Fluid Power Automation.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Corn Dog.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Stop The Killing Car.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Chicago Backyard.

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 12:50 AM | Permalink

September 19, 2013

The [Thursday] Papers

"Mayor Rahm Emanuel is moving to take back the broad authority he gave one of the city's top financial aides to buy insurance in the wake of his former comptroller's federal indictment in an alleged kickback scheme tied to his old job in Ohio," the Tribune reports.

"Shortly after taking office, Emanuel pushed a measure through the City Council allowing then-Comptroller Amer Ahmad to buy insurance without putting the business out to bid."

Why?

*

"Now the administration will obtain coverage through a competitive bidding process overseen by the Department of Procurement Services, mayoral spokeswoman Sarah Hamilton said Wednesday.

"Although Hamilton said the mayor has ordered the switch, it's unclear whether Emanuel will move to change the city ordinance that gave Ahmad the power in the first place. The Emanuel administration also sought to pin on predecessor Richard M. Daley the idea of giving the comptroller more power over insurance purchases.

"It was proposed in March 2011 as a way to clarify the comptroller's duties as a financial agent for the city," Hamilton said. Emanuel took office in May 2011.

A) I have no idea what that means. How does giving the comptroller the ability to purchase no-bid insurance policies "clarify" his duties? Because it gives him sole authority to purchase insurance? Why would that be necessary? (Plus, we learn later in the story that the ordinance gives the budget director final approval.)

B) The ordinance change may have been proposed under Daley, but we learn later in the story that it didn't actually pass the city council until November 2011 - six months into Rahm's term.

*

The Sun-Times, by the way, reports that the Emanuel administration proposed the change.

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You can click through to each papers' stories to see that the change worked out in pretty much the way I'm guessing it was intended - until it was publicly exposed.

*

And:

"The successor to indicted Chicago comptroller Amer Ahmad has jumped to a private company that he may have helped extend and expand a lucrative city contract," Greg Hinz reports for Crain's.

"Earlier in the week, I reported that acting Comptroller Andy Sheils is moving to Florida to take a job at a Fort Lauderdale medical-services provider. What I didn't know then was that the company, via a subsidiary, is a major vendor for Chicago, netting nearly $19 million since 2007 on a controversial contract that Mr. Sheils administered and worked on extending."

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Right Of Way
Maybe instead of a school there's a street available.

Root Causes
Study Links Violence To Bars And Liquor Stores.

I link violence to dumb-ass studies.

Bears' Glass Half Full (Of Something)
In The Blue & Orange Kool-Aid Report.

Spit Take
Rahm expresses his feelings about Chicago's schoolkids.

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The Beachwood Tip Line: Half empty.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 9:44 AM | Permalink

Bears Glass Half Full (Of Something)

The Bears somehow managed to leave the door open for a Viking upset, despite limiting Adrian Peterson's effectiveness and watching Christian Ponder's level of play inspire little boys everywhere to become long snappers.

And yes, if giving up three runs in six innings is a "Quality Start" in baseball, then giving up 100 yards and no touchdowns to AP is "limiting" him.

I assume those dastardly bartenders at Buffalo Wild Wings were behind the tight finish to Sunday's game. The only explanation for that throw on 1st and goal was that Jay Cutler's eyes were getting blasted by delicious condiments as he released the ball.

At least I'm hoping that was a ranch dressing spigot.

As a glass-half-full (of vodka) type, I'm not planning on putting much stock in the special teams gaffe and the case of the gum disease known as Fumblitis which changed what should have been a trip to the woodshed into a comeback victory.

But if you're the glass-is-half-empty type . . .

[Good, Bad - I'm The Guy With The Gun.*]

. . . then you should probably stop reading a column whose name implies a level of comfort ingesting something made out of sugary, powdered bears and get back to your full-time job of pissing all over rainbows.

That said, the aforementioned plays in last week's contest stoked the embers of the perennial "Good Jay, Bad Jay" discussion.

Good Jay:

  • Excels at ball protection; he always wears a jock.
  • Thick skin allows him to shrug off adversity, criticism, fashion sense, lung cancer . . .
  • Versatile; has disregarded four different playbooks during his five seasons as a Bear.

Bad Jay:

  • Often falls on the ground when accosted by large individuals.
  • Slow learner; only figured out that Martellus Bennett was on his team last week.
  • Totally pusses out at the end of 15-yard rushes. Hey Ty Cobb, let's reserve the sliding for the Super Crocodile Mile!

Old Man Miller
On Monday night I did a little advanced scouting of the Steelers, because drinking early in the week is just one example of my commitment to the written word, and thus enjoyed a few hours with our old friend, ESPN color analyst Jon Gruden.

Much has been written about Gruden's impossible levels of hyperbole and his tendency to work the term "this guy" into any sentence regarding someone on the field ("I call this guy Lisa Salters The Sheriff because every time she comes into town, she literally kills a drifter"), but on Monday night he began declaring third down-and-anything as "Dick LeBeau Time," which I believe is what Ben Roethlisberger says just before he imposes his will on you in a secluded nightclub bathroom.

Based on the track record of the Eastern leader in sports, we can expect some cross-marketing here. Move over Ken Jeong.

If you've got your crew and Miller Lite, it's Miller Time.

But what if one of your crew was Dick LeBeau? (Cue whammy bar scream.)

Cut to the 76-year-old LeBeau crouching in the fridge shoveling plain Cream Of Wheat into his mouth and screaming in a gravelly voice:

"It's LeBeau Time bitches! [hack, cough, snort, blarrrrgh] GET OFF MY LAWN!"

Freeze frame as Gruden uses his telestrator to crudely make the wooden spoon LeBeau is clenching look like a gun while he declares "I call this guy The Security Checkpoint because when you cross him, he takes away all your weapons!"

Kool Aid (3 Out Of 5 Cans Of Old German Premium Lager)
I already filled up on Penguin blood at the airport, so when in Rome.

The good news is that this isn't a Monday Night game and we're not going to have to listen to a four-quarter narrative about how hard it is to bring Ben Roethlisberger down . . . **.

And for Big Ben's sake, he better be as hard as advertised.

The Steeler offense has no blocking to speak of, no running backs worth mentioning, and a wide receiver corps that consists of two pretty fast black dudes and the gaffer from one of Troy Palamalu's Head and Shoulders commercials.

If you've been looking for a game where the Bears can apply decent pressure with a two-man front, ta-freaking-da!

The Steelers have playmakers on defense, but despite the guy in your fridge ready to party 'till 7:30 p.m., I don't think they can take away all of the Bears' weapons.

Bears 27
Steelers 17

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*Joke's on you, The Onion! Your lawsuit is baseless if I don't use a graphic.

**. . . to the precinct and get any charges to stick.

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Carl Mohrbacher is our man on the Kool-Aid. He welcomes your comments.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 3:31 AM | Permalink

September 18, 2013

The [Wednesday] Papers

"Beanie Babies creator Ty Warner has agreed to plead guilty to federal tax evasion and pay a fine of more than $53 million for failing to report money he earned in a secret account offshore, the government said this morning," Crain's reports.

Just two days ago we learned that Warner is the 209th most wealthy American, with a net worth of $2.6 billion. Apparently that just wasn't enough.

"The government alleges Mr. Warner 'went to great lengths' to hide from the IRS and his accountants more than $3.1 million in foreign income 'generated in a secret Swiss account,' Gary Shapiro, U.S. attorney for the Northern District of Illinois, said in the statement."

*

Meanwhile, here's what life is like for those who make the toys that made Warner an immensely wealthy man, as reported by ProPublica last April:

Ty Inc. became one of the world's largest manufacturers of stuffed animals thanks to the Beanie Babies craze in the 1990s.

But it has stayed on top partly by using an underworld of labor brokers known as raiteros, who pick up workers from Chicago's street corners and shuttle them to Ty's warehouse on behalf of one of the nation's largest temp agencies.

The system provides just-in-time labor at the lowest possible cost to large companies - but also effectively pushes workers' pay far below the minimum wage.

Temp agencies use similar van networks in other labor markets. But in Chicago's Little Village, the largest Mexican community in the Midwest, the raiteros have melded with temp agencies and their corporate clients in a way that might be unparalleled anywhere in America - and could violate Illinois' wage laws.

The raiteros don't just transport workers. They also recruit them, decide who works and who doesn't, and distribute paychecks.

And it's the low-wage workers - not the temp agencies or their clients, corporate giants like Ty - who bear the cost. Officially, the raiteros' fee, usually $8 a day, is for transportation. But, workers say, anyone who doesn't pay doesn't get work.

From this crowded barrio, raiteros ferry as many as 1,000 workers a day to warehouses and factories in Chicago and its suburbs. Many of these workers end up making about $6 an hour, well below Illinois' minimum wage of $8.25 an hour, because of the fees and unpaid waiting time.

"If you complain too much, they won't take you to work anymore," said Maria Castro, a Mexican immigrant who has worked on and off for Ty.

Click through for the rest.

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See also: How Ty Does It: A Warning On Exploited Labor.

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All About Bill
In case you missed my late posting of yesterday's Papers column, here it is.

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The Political Odds have been adjusted accordingly as well.

Racebud
"Rosebud Restaurant Group refused to hire African Americans at a number of its locations in the Chicago area, according to a lawsuit filed Tuesday against the chain by the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission," the Tribune reports.

"The federal agency said its investigation revealed that company managers, including company owner Alex Dana, preferred not to hire African Americans and that managers used racial slurs to refer to blacks."

Not only that, but this:

"The federal agency spent eight months trying to eliminate the alleged discriminatory practices at the restaurants, but it was unable to obtain an acceptable agreement, according to the suit."

Really, Rosebud? You couldn't fix this?

The Replacements In Humboldt Park
Even half of the world's greatest rock 'n' roll band is better than the whole of anyone else.

The Return Of Philip Rivers
In Fantasy Fix.

Most Secretive President Ever
Obama Administration Helped Kill Transparency Push On Military Aid.

Rock On, Ricky
"Project Onward's recent move from the Chicago Cultural Center to a floor within a massive Bridgeport warehouse means much more space for the nonprofit's developmentally and mentally disabled artists," Casey Cora reports for DNAinfo Chicago.

"The Cultural Center was great for visibility and foot traffic, but we were pretty limited in what kind of art the artists could make ... so the idea of being part of an artist community [at the Bridgeport Art Center] is very exciting," said Rob Lentz, who heads the nine-year-old organization.

The group will celebrate its new digs on Friday with the premiere of Joy Bus Rides a first-of-its-kind exhibition featuring artwork from the famed, late schizophrenic performer Wesley Willis and his younger brother Ricky, a Project Onward artist who shares an ability with his late brother to create artwork depicting the city's infrastructure from memory.

Ricky Willis is "a living Google Earth, able to pinpoint virtually any building in the City of Chicago and tell you how to get there on the bus," Project Onward leaders say.

Next month, the group will host a screening of Wesley Willis's Joyrides, a 2008 documentary following Willis, who gained a cult following for drawing Chicago street scenes and penning far-out, obscene lyrics with his band The Wesley Willis Fiasco.

Click through for the rest.

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The Beachwood Tip Line: Have it your way.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 11:00 AM | Permalink

The Replacements In Humboldt Park

1. Takin' a Ride. Take another pill from your purse.


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2. I'm in Trouble. Try suicide; well that ain't no fun.

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3. Favorite Thing. Wanna be something; wanna be anything.

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4. Hangin' Downtown. Bus stop. Bus stop. Bus stop. Bus stop.

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5. I Don't Know w/Buck Hill. Sweet smell that you adore; think I'd rather smother.

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6. Color Me Impressed. Can you stand me on my feet?

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7. Tommy Gets His Tonsils Out. Let's get this over with; I tee off in an hour.

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Fuck that clock!

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8. Achin' to Be. We ain't the Beach Boys.

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9. Androgynous. Kewpie dolls and urine stalls will be laughed at the way you're laughed at now.

Note on comment: Joan Jett did a crap-ass cover of this once.

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10. I Will Dare. I ain't lost yet; I must be a winner.

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Alternate view.

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11./12. (I Will Dare)/Love You Till Friday/Maybellene.

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13. Merry Go Round. The wind's blowing out of key with your sky.

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14. Wake Up. And wonder where you are.

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15. Borstal Breakout (Sham 69 cover).

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16. Little Mascara. All you ever wanted, was someone Ma'd be scared of.

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17. Left of the Dial. [Chills]

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18. Alex Chilton. What's that song?

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Backstage view.

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19. Swingin' Party. If being alone's a crime, I'm serving forever.

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20. Kiss Me on the Bus. Okay, don't say hi then.

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21. Waitress in the Sky. We can get Bob Mould up here, buddy.

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22. Can't Hardly Wait. Jesus writes besides me; he never buys any smokes.

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23. Bastards of Young. Clean your baby womb; trash that baby boom.

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Encore

24. Hold My Life. Until I'm ready to use it.

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25. I.O.U. Never do what you're told; plenty of time for that when you're old*.

Final words: I owe you nothing.

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*Also, never grow old.

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 2:51 AM | Permalink

Obama Administration Helped Kill Transparency Push On Military Aid

The U.S. spent roughly $25 billion last year on what's loosely known as security assistance - a term that can cover everything from training Afghan security forces to sending Egypt F-16 fighter jets to equipping Mexican port police with radiation scanners.

The spending, which has soared in the past decade, can be hard to trace, funneled through dozens of sometimes overlapping programs across multiple agencies.

There's also evidence it's not always wisely spent. In Afghanistan, for instance, the military bought $771 million worth of aircraft this year for Afghan pilots, most of whom still don't know how to fly them.

Last year, legislators in the House drafted a bill that would require more transparency and evaluation of security and all foreign aid programs.

The bill was championed by an unlikely coalition of Tea Party budget hawks and giant aid groups such as Oxfam America.

But the Obama administration successfully pushed to have security assistance exempted from the bill's requirements, according to a letter obtained by ProPublica and interviews with Congressional staffers.

The Pentagon wrote that it "strongly" opposed last year's bill in a statement to Congressional staff laying out its "informal view" last December.

"The extensive public reporting requirements raise concerns," the letter said. "Country A could . . . potentially learn what Country B has received in military assistance."

Foreign governments would also "likely be resistant" to monitoring and evaluation from the U.S.

Staffers say the State Department had also resisted the bill's increased oversight of security assistance. (The State Department declined our requests to discuss that.)

Two weeks later, the House passed a version that covered only "development assistance." The bill never made it to a vote in the Senate.

The State and Defense Departments, which handle most security assistance, "really are scared," said a House staffer who worked on last year's bill.

"They're afraid of transparency about what the money is funding, where the weapons are going, who is getting training."

As it is now, the staffer said, "some reports come two or three years after the fact, and the data is not easily manipulable."

Increased oversight of security assistance is needed, said Walter Slocombe, former Undersecretary of Defense for Policy, who recently led a government-sponsored study on the issue.

The problem is that "a lot of these programs have been developed ad hoc," he said. "There's not much coordination among agencies, though often they are trying to do more or less the same thing."

New versions of the bill have been reintroduced in the House and Senate.

This time, the administration's stance isn't clear. A spokesman for the National Security Council declined to comment, as did the Pentagon.

This year's bill has a loophole for security spending: a waiver allowing the Secretary of State to exempt such programs if he deems it in the "national interest."

Still, including security programs in the bill at all is "going to be a bit more difficult," said an aide to one of the House bill's co-sponsors, Gerry Connolly, D-Va. The exemption requires the State Department to tell Congress which programs it isn't including, and why.

"We support Congress' objectives with the bill," State Department foreign assistance official Lauren Frese said. "It's more a matter of making sure we're not legislating something that isn't aligned with what we've already got going on."

As the White House points out, it has already required agencies to be more transparent about spending on foreign aid. Agencies must upload budget data to a central public dashboard, ForeignAssistance.gov, though the site's data is currently incomplete and information from the Defense Department is available only in generic categories. The bill would turn such directives into law.

The legislation also goes further. It would require the State Department to develop guidelines for monitoring and evaluating aid's effectiveness across agencies.

In a hearing in April, the House bill's co-sponsor, Ted Poe, R-Texas, said that "Americans want to see [whether] the money that we're sending to NGOs, the governments, et cetera is working or not working."

Representative Connolly hopes the bill will help the public "better understand the rationale for aid, and the context: what a small, small part of the government's budget it represents," he told ProPublica.

Indeed, foreign aid makes up only about 1 percent of the federal budget.

Supporters of the bill say excluding security assistance would leave a huge gap.

In January, an independent advisory board to the State Department recommended comprehensive reform of the whole concept of security assistance, calling for concrete objectives, better long-term monitoring, and a greater emphasis on non-military programs, such as programs to strengthen justice systems.

(A few months later, the White House issued a policy directive that pledged to take on many of the same issues.)

"Nobody looks at it systematically," said Gordon Adams, who worked on national security and international affairs for the Office of Management and Budget in the 1990s and has argued for a reduced military role in security assistance.

That's in part a reflection of how the landscape of programs has grown and fragmented in recent decades. Security assistance grew 227 percent between fiscal years 2002 and 2012, to a peak of $26.8 billion, according to data collected by the Stimson Center, where Adams is a fellow.

That growth comes largely from programs in Iraq and Afghanistan, which are beginning to be scaled back.

This year's budget still allocated more than $20 billion across State and Defense.

State officially oversees all foreign aid, including many programs traditionally thought of as "military," like weapons sales, but the Pentagon expanded its portfolio of "military operations other than war" and special operations in the 1990s.

After 9/11, Congress also legislated new programs related to the "war on terror," such as the Combating Terrorism Fellowship Program and the Coalition Support Fund.

With its Afghan programs, the Pentagon accounts for more than half of all security spending - not counting covert operations.

Last year, then-Defense Secretary Leon Panetta promoted training and aid to partners as "low cost and small-footprint approaches" to military objectives.

The Pentagon's increased role in foreign aid highlights a long-standing tension between the State Department and the military, which always has more cash on hand.

"If you've got a $600 billion budget it's easier to squeeze in a few million dollars here and there," said Slocombe, who chaired the study for the State Department.

Countless examples from Afghanistan illustrate the problem of lack of both long-term planning and cooperation between agencies.

In 2010, ProPublica and Newsweek documented the failures of the police training program, which had by then cost $6 billion.

Responsibility shifted between agencies and contractors, and State and Defense squabbled "over whether the training should emphasize police work or counterinsurgency."

Last year, in one police facility built by the Army Corps of Engineers, the inspector general for Afghanistan reconstruction found a well building being used as a chicken coop.

Another encampment, designed for 175 police, was occupied by just 12. The men didn't even have keys for many of the buildings.

Other reports found the military paid $6 million for vehicles that were destroyed or hadn't been seen in years, and that $12.8 million in electrical equipment was sitting unused, as Defense and USAID each expected the other to install it.

Afghanistan is an exceptional case, given the scale of the spending and wartime conditions. But it also has the scrutiny of a special inspector general and a large U.S. presence. Security assistance to other countries has far fewer eyes on it - or a clear idea of what the objectives for the aid are. Empowering local police and armies can have more severe political and human rights repercussions than digging wells. "It engages us with a bunch of countries where our interests are at best opaque," said Adams.

Some programs are designed for political and diplomatic reasons (as was long the case with arm sales to Egypt), while others are meant to build up a country's ability to help the U.S. in its aims, such as countering terrorism or drug-dealing. In other words, giving a country what it wants, versus what the U.S. thinks it needs. (In fact, the Government Accountability Office found that branches of the military differ on which programs are supposed to do what.)

In February testimony, the GAO said that few of the military's training programs had looked carefully at long-term impacts.

"Reporting on progress and effectiveness," had in some cases "been limited to anecdotal information," the GAO said.

For example, while Yemen has received more than $360 million from two of the military's new counterterrorism programs, due to security concerns the Pentagon has yet to evaluate whether that money's had any effect.

The House bill's sponsors believe it could help with these problems of planning and communication.

The bill "is not designed to be hostile or adversarial for the Pentagon and State Department," said Representative Connolly. "It's designed to provide them with a more cogent rationale for these programs."

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

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

* Obama's FOIA Fail.

* Recovery Redacted.

* Under Obama Administration, Renditions - And Secrecy Around Them - Continue.

* The Case Of The Missing NSA Blog Post.

* Obama's Promises Disappear From Web.

* What NSA Transparency Looks Like.

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

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

* The Surveillance Reforms Obama Supported Before He Was President.

* America's Spying: Worse Than You Think.

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

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

* Six Ways Congress May Reform NSA Snooping.

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

* Does The NSA Tap That?

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

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

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

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

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

* Obama's War On Truth And Transparency.

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

* Daniel Ellsberg: Obama Has Committed Impeachable Offenses.

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Comments welcome.


Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 12:22 AM | Permalink

Fantasy Fix: The Return Of Philip Rivers

One of the biggest stories of the young season has been the return of Philip Rivers to fantasy football relevancy.

In first two weeks, Rivers has delivered 614 passing yards and seven TDs against one INT.

He's among the stat leaders at QB, which ain't bad for a guy I didn't even rank in my top 20 at the position (essentially tagging him as a third-string fantasy QB barely fit for bye-week duty).

Rivers will no doubt be getting the starting nod in Week 3 by fantasy owners, many of whom probably didn't draft him.

I don't doubt that something has changed for Rivers this year, and new San Diego coach Mike McCoy has something to do with it.

However, I still fear Rivers has one of the least-reliable and most injury-prone receiving corps around: Danario Alexander is out for the year; TE Antonio Gates was hurt in Week 2, which means he's already in mid-season form; Malcolm Floyd was carted off on a stretcher in Week 2; and Eddie Royal, who has been the star almost by default, has been streaky for years.

If over the next few weeks, Rivers can avoid the INTs and fumbles that marked his last few seasons, he could be one of this year's fantasy stars. For now, though, I'd be careful about starting him over a more consistent performer at QB, or paying too much for him in a trade.

Expert Wire
* Sports Illustrated says to add Eddie Royal - while he's still hot.

* Bleacher Report has must-adds after Week 2 injuries to big-name RBs.

* Fansided has the latest from the Fantasy Football Tattoo League.

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

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 12:10 AM | Permalink

September 17, 2013

The [Tuesday] Papers

The Papers will have to return on Wednesday because, like Bill Daley, I underestimated the enormity of the task.

(Bill Daley, Surrender Monkey.)

Unlike Bill Daley, I will return to the arena, where the critic's face is also marred by dust and sweat and blood from striving valiantly, despite what every pol who quotes Teddy Roosevelt says.

Bill Daley is rich (net worth: $28.7 million). He has sacrificed nothing. His forays into public service were for himself and, maybe, his party, not for us. He's not exactly returning to the private sector to work for a soup kitchen or a food bank; he'll go back to serving the interests of America's wealthiest. (Just like Rahm Emanuel did when he left "public service.")

That's the measure of who these people are. (Remember when Alexi Giannoulias, a legitimate candidate only through the blessing of Barack Obama, was a warrior for the middle-class, too? Guess what he's doing now.)

It's kind of like that idea that integrity is what you do when nobody is looking.

On Sunday, Bill Daley said "I take second place to no one who stands up for the Democratic values on behalf of the people that are working in this state."

On Monday, he dropped out of the race.

On Tuesday, he stopped taking second place to no one standing up for working people.

(As far as Democratic values go, Daley left the stage by declaring he would not endorse Quinn, the party's presumptive nominee, but he might endorse the Republican nominee depending on who it is.)

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Unlike Bill Daley, I'm poor. Even when nobody's looking. But I'm in the arena every day - the arena of working people. Nice of you to visit, Bill.

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The Top 10 Reasons Bill Daley Dropped Out Of The Race.

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Flashback from Carol Felsenthal in Chicago magazine, 2005:

"Indeed, Bill Daley's particular brand of intelligence presents a curious case: He was never a top student (and he suffered embarrassment 30 years ago when - apparently without his knowledge - a state employee changed Daley's answers to help him pass the insurance broker's exam).

"He maneuvered the passage of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) in the U.S. Congress and lobbied on behalf of the telecommunications giant SBC, but his supporters say that he probably never mastered the details of those operations.

"Still, people who have worked with him (and against him) credit Daley with remarkable savvy. 'If you asked Bill the difference between Cicero and Plato, he wouldn't know,' says the Chicago lawyer and Democratic stalwart Wayne Whalen, but he possesses a 'keen intelligence' on how to plot strategy, to predict how people will behave in a given situation, to see beyond conventional wisdom."

All evidence to the contrary; the guy's sort of been a walking disaster at every turn.

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"In August 2001, when he considered running for governor, it appeared that he was set to fill the gap. 'It may sound arrogant," he [said] three years later, 'but I thought I had a really good shot' . . . But Bill Daley says his decision not to run was motivated simply by his need to make money."

Getting six figures to be the governor apparently didn't satisfy that need.

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"In 1987, U.S. senator Joe Biden, a Delaware Democrat, decided that he wanted to be President and he wanted Bill Daley to help get him there . . . Then a Michael Dukakis campaign aide leaked the news that Biden had lifted inspirational remarks about his supposedly hardscrabble childhood from a speech by the British Labour Party leader Neil Kinnock . . . Convinced that Biden was 'too unframed and undefined' to withstand the ridicule he was taking in the press, Daley advised his friend to quit the race."

I sense a pattern.

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"'[Labor] had [NAFTA] won until the last week and a half,' says David Bonior, who claims the Administration passed out some $20 billion in goodies for the districts of legislators on the fence. Don Rose, the Chicago writer and political strategist, says that Daley won NAFTA because of his 'ability to find everybody's price.'"

That is Bill Daley's "keen intelligence," just as brother Richard's intelligence is having the keen instincts of a bully. We can safely assume Bill never read the NAFTA agreement nor spent any time considering the issues; he certainly wasn't standing second to none for the working man. He was simply brought in to git r done.

His next job was formally representing the nation's wealthy as U.S. Commerce Secretary.

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His next job was at Evercore Partners, an investment banking firm in New York City.

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His next job was president of SBC, which went on to acquire AT&T.

"Ed Whitacre, the chairman of the highly regulated telecommunications company, was having trouble making his case to officials.

"He hired Daley, fancy title and job description aside, to lobby, to 'grease the skids with regulators and politicians,' in the words of one reporter who covers the industry. (SBC is regulated in 13 states and also by the Federal Communications Commission in Washington.)

"Daley's Midwest clout, particularly in Illinois, a key market for SBC, magnified his value to the company. He could also schmooze Democrats. SBC gave generously to George W. Bush and his party. 'They wanted him because he was a Democrat,' says Brian Moir, a telecommunications attorney in Washington.

"He was certainly not hired for his telecommunications experience, which was negligible."

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Oh, and:

"Daley made plenty - a $1.1-million signing bonus, $612,000 in salary, 90,000 nonqualified stock options, and an $890,000 bonus that first year - a total of about $2.7 million. The pot grew richer every year."

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"As he had at Commerce, Daley plunged in to master the business. Whitacre calls Daley 'really a quick learner.' One reporter who interviewed Daley remembers, 'He knew a lot about what they needed regulation-wise, but when it came down to the nuts and bolts of the telecom business, he would say, 'That's not my bailiwick.'"

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"In May 2003, Daley seemed to have won his most audacious victory. After four days of manic lobbying, the Illinois General Assembly passed a bill hugely favorable to SBC. Negating a decision by the Illinois Commerce Commission (ICC), the legislation allowed SBC to more than double the fees charged to competitors using its local network. Within hours, Governor Rod Blagojevich signed the bill. U.S. representative John Conyers of Michigan called it 'a national embarrassment. The Democratic Party is supposed to stand for consumers.'

"A month later, when a federal judge ruled that the law was anticompetitive and contrary to federal statute, Daley's victory turned into a crushing defeat. His strategy of bypassing the ICC, which regulates telecommunications companies, and appealing directly to the legislators could not pass judicial muster. For all Daley's classy associations, he looked like a machine hack hawking Chicago-style clout politics. 'He couldn't deliver on the one thing they wanted,' says a former law partner."

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His next job was at JPMorgan Chase in the new position of Midwest chairman.

"Daley's first official act was to announce the bank's underwriting of the cost of the opening celebrations for Millennium Park."

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He wasn't there to stay, though.

"Sitting in his bank office before the election went Bush's way, Bill Daley mused about possible jobs in a Kerry Administration: 'Treasury would be interesting. UN ambassadorship would be interesting.'"

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"Today, his friend Jim Johnson says, Daley is 'very clearly committed to his new position at J. P. Morgan and does not intend to return to government service.'"

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"Daley certainly has deep reservations about elective office. When Joe Biden briefly considered a run for President in 2004, he talked to Daley, who recalls telling the Delaware senator, 'You have to be almost sick to do this stuff at a Presidential level. I don't know if you're sick enough, Joe. Are you really willing to put everything aside, your personal life, your family? If you have to run to Iowa for a birthday party for somebody, you'll do that before you go to your daughter's birthday party.'"

Does that sound like someone unaware of the enormity of running for governor of Illinois?

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Well, lookee there, we got ourselves a column.

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Elsewhere on today's Beachwood:

* The Political Odds: Updated to reflect Bill's bombshell.

* The Top 10 Reasons Tourism Is Up: For one, Groupons for Gangs was a hit.

* About Stephen Paea's War Cry: Unlike Fox announcers, we know where it came from.

* Novelties & Sea Monsters: In Local Book Notes.

* The Original Svengoolie Has Died: Remembering Jerry G. Bishop.

* The Replacements In Chicago: This will have to wait for Wednesday.

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The Beachwood Tip Line: Gratuities included.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 5:42 PM | Permalink

The Original Svengoolie Has Died; Remembering Jerry G. Bishop

"The loss of Jerry G. Bishop, the original Sven and my mentor, brings back all the memories of his great broadcasting career, his love of family and friends, and a great big heart," Svengoolie Rich Koz writes on his Facebook page. "I would not be where I am without him."

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From The Museum of Classic Chicago Television:

"Here's a truly priceless moment, the two Svengoolies, the original and the Son, singing a song together. Rest in Peace, Jerry."

With Jerry G. Bishop and Rich Koz. This aired on local Chicago TV Saturday, November 24th 1984.


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From All Access:

"All Access is sad to report the passing of radio and TV personality Jerry G. Bishop.

"Jerry was a big Top 40 jock in the 60's in Cleveland before joining WCFL-A/Chicago. He was also the original Svengoolie on Chicago's Channel 32 with the horror movie show Screaming Yellow Theater

"Jerry also did mornings on WMAQ/Chicago before that station flipped to country. He later relocated to San Diego, where he was on radio and TV, and owned a restaurant. Jerry most recently tracked weekends on WRLL-A (REAL OLDIES 1390)/Chicago from San Diego, where he lived."

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From Robert Feder:

"Jerry G. Bishop traveled the country with the Beatles, worked as a major market radio and television personality over five decades, and created the original character of Svengoolie out of his fertile imagination.

"But he always considered himself a Chicago kid at heart, proud of his roots in the Lawndale neighborhood on the West Side. He even modeled his two restaurants in San Diego after his favorite hometown dining spots.

"Word that Bishop died Sunday at 77 evoked memories of his unforgettable run as morning star of the former WCFL during the golden era of Top 40 radio in the '60s. 'He was a great, great talent,' Bob Sirott recalled. 'Those WCFL shows he did were very clever.'

"'Those were magic times,' Bishop told me in a 2001 interview."

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Nick Diglio discusses Bishop on his WGN Radio podcast.

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 12:04 PM | Permalink

About Stephen Paea's War Cry

The announcers on Sunday were a little bemused and baffled by Bears defensive tackle Stephen Paea's warm-up act, but those of us who have seen the rugby movie Forever Strong, starring Gary Cole and Sean Astin, know he was performing a haka, an ancestral war cry originated with the Maori of New Zealand.

"It is a posture dance performed by a group, with vigorous movements and stamping of the feet with rhythmically shouted accompaniment," Wikipedia notes. "The New Zealand rugby team's practice of performing a haka before their matches has made the dance more widely known around the world."

And guess what? Paea was born in Auckland, New Zealand, where he played rugby as a boy.

First, Paea's haka.


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From Forever Strong.

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What It Means.

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The Forever Strong trailer, which does a terrible job conveying the plot.


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Forever Strong is based on the true story of Highland High School rugby, in Salt Lake City. Gary Cole's character, coach Larry Gelwix, is a real person.

When Gelwix left the school two years ago, the team dissolved, but now it's back.

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Here they are doing their haka for the Utah United team in the 2009 finals.

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This was a new haka they introduced in 2008 at the nationals in Pittsburgh.

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The Bears should incorporate a haka into their pre-game routine. This could totally be a thing.

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A profile of Gelwix and Highland rugby.

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 10:42 AM | Permalink

Local Book Notes: Novelties & Sea Monsters

1. Chris Ware's Acme Novelty Datebook Volume One 10th Anniversary Edition.

"[A] terrific look at the 'loose' work of one of the world's best living illustrators," Mark Frauenfelder writes for Boing Boing.

acmedatebook.jpg(ENLARGE)

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2. Joseph Nigg's Sea Monsters.

"Joseph Nigg, the inventive mind behind How To Raise and Keep a Dragon, has immersed himself in the lore and history of imaginary animals for 30 years," Jan Gardner writes for the Boston Globe.

"His newest book, Sea Monsters: A Voyage Around the World's Most Beguiling Map (University of Chicago), is itself a neat trick. Unfold the book jacket to reveal a poster-sized reproduction of a richly detailed map of Scandinavia that dates to 1539. The seas on the map are littered with fantastic creatures, such as a sea unicorn and a giant worm that wraps itself around a big ship."

15Findseamonsters.jpg(ENLARGE)

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3. Poetry off the Shelf: The WRITE CLUB: Poetry Versus . . .

"Hosted by Ian Belknap, and featuring a rotating lineup of Chicago's most audacious and fearsome writers and performers, the WRITE CLUB is bare-knuckled literature.

"In true WRITE CLUB form, two opposing writers argue two opposing ideas, and each has seven minutes, no more, to throw their best punches.

"All of the bouts in this WRITE CLUB event will involve poetry in some way - page contesting stage, perhaps, or free against form, or maybe prose vs. verse.

"Writers compete for cash going to a charity of their choosing and the audience picks winners."

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4. Scrabble For Literacy.

"People are getting ready to shake their tile bags, rack their brains and roll at the 10th Annual 'It's Your Word Against Theirs' SCRABBLE for Literacy Challenge on Saturday, October 19th.

"This event will support the fight against low literacy in Illinois and the joblessness, homelessness and even incarceration that can result.

"Sponsored by Literacy Volunteers of Illinois and supported by local chapters of the North American Scrabble Players Association it will be held at Grossinger Auto Complex, 1500 N. Dayton from 3 p.m. to 7:30 p.m."

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5. Absurd-Noir Writer And Author Christian TeBordo Joins Roosevelt University As Director Of Creative Writing.

"Christian TeBordo, noted writer and author of experimental fiction, has joined Roosevelt University as director of the Master of Fine Arts in Creative Writing Program.

"His most recent book, The Awful Possibilities, was published by the Chicago independent press, Featherproof Books. The book of short stories was nominated as an American Library Association Notable Book and received accolades from Publishers Weekly and Booklist.

"Kicking off Roosevelt's Gage Gallery Reading Series, TeBordo will read from his work at 5 p.m. Monday, Sept. 23 in Roosevelt's Gage Gallery, 18 S.Michigan Ave.

"Born in Albany, NY, and most recently a resident of Philadelphia, TeBordo is the author of three novels, We Go Liquid, Better Ways of Being Dead and The Conviction and Subsequent Life of Savior Neck.

"TeBordo is known for delving deeply into weird and crazy perspectives of his characters - like the girl among kidney thieves who masters the art of forgetting and the high school boy who is thinking about a school shooting because his counselor wants him to become an accountant, both who are featured in The Awful Possibilities.

"He spent the last six years as associate director of strategic communications at Drexel University in Philadelphia and has taught creative writing and literature at Temple University, the University of the Arts and Bryn Mawr College."

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 8:57 AM | Permalink

The Top 10 Reasons Tourism Is Up

"Travel expenditures in Chicago last year hit a record $12.76 billion, up 6.7 percent from the prior year, according to new data from the U.S. Travel Association," Crain's reports.

"The stats are the latest in a string of cheery tourism numbers being trumpeted by Mayor Rahm Emanuel and Choose Chicago, the city's tourism bureau."

But why? Our analytics bureau dug into the data and found out.

10. People came from all around to watch Bill Daley's camp . . . oops.

9. Successful time-share promotion for operators of charter schools.

8. Groupons for Gangs was a hit.

7. Rod Blagojevich Committed Wire Fraud Here was most successful marketing campaign in years.

6. Crappy t-shirts at Navy Pier one percent less crappy.

5. Rahm Emanuel went door-to-door across America telling everyone they better come to fucking Chicago and spend some fucking money or they'd be fucking sorry.

4. The Outfit now offering early bird specials.

3. Michael Madigan has been designated a historical landmark.

2. Capitol doors got five stars from AAA.

1. Numbers according to CPS.

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Another 10 reasons:

* Banjo-playing lieutenant governor more of a draw than expected.

* Stats now include anyone laying over at O'Hare.

* Lady Gaga's wheelchair now on display at the Art Institute.

* Parking meter operators held convention here for first time.

* Lollapalooza's Pitchfork stage led to increased attendance.

* Field Museum's Lindsay Lohan exhibit really paid off.

* Chicago Fire has a really big cast.

* Baseball fans came from all over to see Robin Ventura's last year as manager.

* Fans still traveling the country with Styx really packed the state fair.

* Chicago Comic Con now drawing twice as many nerds.

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 7:28 AM | Permalink

The Top 10 Reasons Bill Daley Dropped Out Of The Governor's Race

10. Hired Truck contract came through.

9. Suffering PTSD from watching bin Laden raid in uncomfortable chair.

8. Can make more money off the public sector from the private sector.

7. Just found out the governor's mansion is in Springfield.

6. Upcoming report will show he uses PEDs.

5. Couldn't find a running mate he truly bonded with.

4. Pat Quinn threatened to release video of Daley complaining about the 47 percent of Illinoisans who don't bank with Chase.

3. Wants to focus on getting Sheila Simon elected comptroller.

2. Campaign was just a Jimmy Kimmel prank.

1. Michael Madigan reneged on promise to retire.

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Another 10 reasons:

* Just found out State of Illinois building isn't the governor's mansion.

* Just discovered My Morning Jacket and he's hitting the road.

* Doesn't have the testicular virility to meet the enormity of the task.

* Report from exploratory committee finally came back and it was a doozy.

* JPMorgan Chase needs him elsewhere.

* Walking disaster theme not polling well.

* Met the middle-class he was fighting for and discovered he doesn't like them.

* Divorce file reveals who hired Angelo Torres.

* Tired of fighting with Bruce Rauner over who would get the top of the ticket.

* This.

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 1:33 AM | Permalink

September 16, 2013

The [Monday] Papers

"Bill Gates retained his spot atop the Forbes 400 richest Americans, a list that is becoming decidedly more wealthy," Reuters reports.

"The annual Forbes 400 wealthiest Americans list showed that total wealth climbed 19 percent in the last year to $2.02 trillion, up from $1.7 trillion, with an average net worth per individual of $5 billion, up from $ 4.2 billion in 2012. It now takes $1.3 billion in assets just to get on the list."

It's not just the rich getting richer, it's the richest.


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Fifteen Chicagoans made the list, led by Ken Griffin at No. 103. Griffin's net worth is estimated to be $4.4 billion.
The highest ranking Illinoisan, Ken Griffin, 44, came in at 103rd with a net worth of $4.4 billion.

Griffin is hedge fund manager who once said the ultrawealthy "have an insufficient influence" on our political system.

He's also a huge Rahm Emanuel supporter despite being a staunch conservative because they share a lot of interests.

Also:
* Six Pritzkers made the list.

* Sam Zell came in at No. 101 with a net worth of $4 billion. He left the Tribune Company bankrupt.

* Ty Warner came in at No. 209 with a net worth of $2.6 billion. That's a lot of Beanie Babies.

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Rahm Announces Mystery School, Then Disappears
"Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel on Sunday announced a new neighborhood elementary school will be built on the Far Southeast Side to alleviate overcrowding," the Sun-Times reports.

"But aside from that, few details were offered. And some parents of students at Gallistel Elementary Language Academy, where the announcement was made, were left fuming at the news."

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"Emanuel didn't take questions Sunday - he left without speaking to reporters or community members who raised their hands," the Tribune reports.

He's been doing a lot of that lately, though he can always find time to fly to New York to do Letterman.

Wicker Murder
This dude was arrested on the front stoop of the building I live in. The gun was found in our yard.

Just last week ABC filmed a TV show scene on that same stoop.

Financial Meltdown
"Mayor Rahm Emanuel has lost another top-level financial aide - at a very awkward time," Greg Hinz reports for Crain's.

"In what, at a minimum, is a case of exquisitely bad luck for the mayor, Andrew Sheils, the first deputy in the Department of Finance and the acting comptroller, on Sept. 12 quietly left city government to take a private-sector job with a Florida health care provider.

"Mr. Sheils got the post of acting comptroller in late July, when then-Comptroller Amer Ahmad abruptly resigned, saying he wanted to move back to Ohio and spend more time with his family. Just weeks later, Mr. Ahmad was indicted in an alleged kickback scheme involving his former job as deputy Ohio state treasurer."

Riot Fest Plus
The Replacements headlined a pretty amazing bill in Humboldt Park this weekend. We have the highlights.

The Bears Are Actually Entertaining
Good riddance, Lovie!

Konerko Is Dunn
Just another struggling slugger traipsing back to the dugout.

Theo Is Full Of Crap, Source Says
Plagiarizing Andy MacPhail.

How To Book A Train From Chicago To LA
Choose a line, tip your waiters.

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The Beachwood Tip Line: Your move, chief.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 1:27 PM | Permalink

How To Book Train Travel From Chicago To Los Angeles

Choose a line, tip your waiters.


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Lines mentioned:

* The Southwest Chief.

* The Texas Eagle.

* The Sunset Limited.

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 1:15 PM | Permalink

The Weekend In Chicago Rock

You shoulda been there.

1. The Replacements at Riot Fest on Sunday night.


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We'll have full Replacements coverage on Tuesday.

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2. The Pixies at Riot Fest on Sunday night.

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3. Public Enemy at Riot Fest on Saturday night.

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4. GWAR at Riot Fest on Friday night.

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5. Rancid at Riot Fest on Saturday night.

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6. X at Riot Fest on Saturday.

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7. Peter Hook at the Double Door in a Riot Fest aftershow on Sunday night.

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8. Mission of Burma at Riot Fest on Sunday.

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9. Flag at Riot Fest on Saturday.

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10. Delain at Mojoes in Joliet on Thursday night.

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11. Glenn Tilbrook at SPACE in Evanston on Saturday night.

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12. Empire of the Sun at the Aragon on Thursday night.

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13. Hatebreed at Riot Fest on Friday.

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14. Pegboy at the Liar's Club on Friday night.

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15. Guided by Voices at Riot Fest on Saturday.

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16. Bad Religion at Riot Fest on Friday

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17. Screeching Weasel at Riot Fest on Friday night.

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18. Sublime With Rome on Friday night.

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19. AFI at Riot Fest on Sunday night.

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20. Atmosphere at Riot Fest on Friday night.

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21. Yellowcard at Riot Fest on Friday night.

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22. Reggie and the Full Effect at Riot Fest on Sunday.

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23. Danzig at Riot Fest on Friday night.

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24. Pierce the Veil at Riot Fest on Sunday night.

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25. Dinosaur Jr. at Riot Fest on Saturday.

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26. Masked Intruder at Riot Fest on Friday night.

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27. Glassjaw at Riot Fest on Saturday.

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28. The Dear Hunter at Riot Fest on Saturday.

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29. Andrew WK at Riot Fest on Friday.

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30. Smoking Popes at Riot Fest on Friday.

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31. Violent Femmes at Riot Fest on Saturday night.

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32. Brand New at Riot Fest on Sunday night.

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33. All Time Low at Riot Fest on Sunday night.

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 11:09 AM | Permalink

SportsMonday: That's Entertainment!

Football thrills.

The Bears won Sunday's contest and have started the season with a pair of victories. There is plenty to say about an exciting team with a compelling cast of characters.

But yesterday the game was the thing.

A fan couldn't help but feel drained. His Bears had scored four times and rode waves of momentum to and fro as they fell behind immediately, rallied to take the lead, faltered again on a huge defensive touchdown then re-took the lead the same way. Finally the Vikings zipped down the field and scored a late touchdown to tie it again, only to have the Bears drive once more and finish with three failed passes into the end zone before kicking a field goal for the lead.

Exhaustion was setting in. And it was halftime.

There was more action in the first two quarters of this contest than in 90 percent of the games other athletes play. There are reasons football captivates so many more fans in the U.S. than any other sport. For one, it still fits perfectly onto our TV screens (I think it was former commissioner Pete Rozelle who first figured that out about 50 years ago). And its combination of violent action and tactical complexity is unparalleled.

The game opened with Vikings rookie Cordarrelle Patterson's 105-yard touchdown return.

"It pissed me off to have someone take one out and take one to the house," Devin Hester said after the game. "Oh, it pissed me off . . . Before the kickoff, I just said, 'I don't care how deep this guy kicks it, I am bringing it out. And that's the mentality I told my (special teams teammates) about. If you get punched in the mouth like that, we're not going to just fold down and back down. If you kick it nine deep, we're coming out. So don't expect me to take a knee."

He didn't, and he went on to record 249 return yards on the day, breaking his own franchise record.

Cutler connected with new favorite receiver Martellus Bennett and old favorite receiver Brandon Marshall for touchdowns in a first half in which the Bears offense was just about unstoppable.

The Bears gave up some big breaks, though, none bigger than when the ball popped out of Cutler's hand in the midst of a Jared Allen sack in the second quarter. The ball bounced directly to linebacker Brian Robison in the clear and he took it to the house.

The Bears went into the locker room at halftime with just a 24-21 lead and a sense of foreboding.

The Vikings played much better in the second half, with quarterback Christian Ponder finding a groove and Leslie Frazier's defense out-playing Marc Trestman's offense. Turnovers hurt the Bears' cause, of course, but the bottom line was they couldn't sustain a drive until only three minutes remained in the game.

A good argument can be made that a coach's ability to manage a game is best evaluated in the third quarter. Does a game continue along the arc established by a first half's worth of action or can a coach bend it to his will by making adjustments?

In the second half, the Bears were hamstrung by Trestman's commitment to running the ball despite the fact that the Vikings had figured out he was going to do so no matter what.

The nadir had to be when the Bears coach called the second reverse of the game to Alshon Jeffery. The first had been a beautiful play featuring Jeffrey jetting into the secondary. The second resulted in a loss of eight.

Shortly thereafter, Bears defensive tackle Nate Collins forced an Adrian Peterson fumble that should have been a big play. Instead the Bear offense went three-and-out.

Meanwhile, starting moving the Viking offense. Ponder has taken a ton of heat of late but the thing I always want to say to people is, the guy was a much better quarterback when he had Percy Harvin, who signed with Seattle in the offseason. The Viking offense was clicking last year before Harvin got hurt, just like the Bears offense clicks when Brandon Marshall is on the case.

On Sunday, despite a mediocre day from Peterson, whose 100 yards were weirdly inconsequential, the Viking offense did enough to win. It constructed three solid field-goal drives in the second half and if Ponder's teammates could have made another play or two, at least one of those drives would have resulted in a devastating touchdown.

Instead, Minnesota left the door open for the Bears, and Cutler led his team through. It was a weird, weird final drive. One can't call it a two-minute drill because there were more than three minutes on the clock (3:08) when the Bears took over at about their own 34 yard line after rookie Joe Anderson made a nice catch and 14-yard return of a pooch kick away from Devin Hester.

The clock ticked away quickly - to the consternation of Fox broadcasters Thom Brennaman and Brian Billick - but Trestman is not oblivious, and clearly wanted to make sure little time was left for the Vikings to retaliate if the Bears scored. They ended the game with a timeout still in their pocket.

The Bears alternated between sweet little plays like Marshall soaring high in the air for a third-down conversion 12-yard gain and Jerome Bushrod's holding penalty. There was Matt Forte losing two yards on a swing pass and Martellus Bennett gaining 23 down the left sideline but then failing to get out of bounds.

It was a remarkable game capped off by a great pass and catch from Cutler to Bennett that left just 10 seconds on the clock.

On the ensuing kickoff, Bears special teamer and backup linebacker Blake Costanzo stripped the ball from the Vikings' John Carlson and the game ended improbably - with Jay Cutler taking a knee.

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NFL On Fox
But the game was even weirder than that, thanks to Fox.

"Awful and awesome and optimistic and scary, leading and trailing and Ed Hochuli lecturing and Thom Brenneman apologizing, that three-hour thing thing slipped and skidded and whipsawed and thrilled, and occasionally disappeared from the airwaves, as if the TV circuits overloaded with dangerous levels of lunacy that tripped the breakers," The Score's Dan Bernstein writes.

Indeed, Brenneman and his hairpiece seemed to spend more time apologizing than calling the game. Not that it wasn't warranted.

"It's a banner day for Fox production," Deadspin noted. "There have been video problems, audio issues, hinky telestrators, rogue tickers. But this takes the cake."

And Chris Kluwe was watching his former team and observant as always:

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Also:

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See also: Technical Troubles Plague Bears-Vikings Telecast.

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Tweet Street
More from the Bears tweetstream.

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

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 9:07 AM | Permalink

Konerko Is Dunn

Hardly anyone noticed last week as Paul Konerko caught and then passed Babe Ruth.

For starters, people stopped watching the White Sox long ago. Loyalty has its limits. So when Detroit reliever Jose Veras struck out Konerko in the bottom of the eighth inning last Wednesday in the Tigers' 1-0 victory at the Cell, the game wasn't stopped to commemorate Konerko's 1,330th career strikeout, the same number as George Herman Ruth.

Paulie broke the tie with the Babe on Saturday, taking a called third strike from Cleveland's Ubaldo Jimenez to lead off the ninth inning in yet another 8-1 embarrassment for our staggering bunch of so-called professionals.

Since 103 players have more career strikeouts than Konerko, this recent development failed to register on the seismic scale. However, what is interesting is that when Ruth was rung up for the final time, on May 29, 1935 - he played his last game the next day as a member of the Boston Braves - his total of 1,330 was the most in history up until that time.

In the first 80-plus years of major league baseball, players simply didn't strike out nearly as often as they do today.

Konerko has whiffed an average of 96 times a season over 17 years, hardly an alarming number for a guy with 433 lifetime homers who usually has batted in the middle of the order. His teammate Adam Dunn ranks near the top in career strikeouts. More about him later.

Ruth was noted for any number of feats - both on the field and extracurricularly - not the least of which was taking a big hack and missing. Yet in 22 seasons he never struck out more than 93 times. It's no wonder his lifetime batting average was .342. He also ranks second to Barry Bonds - who had almost 4,000 more at-bats than Ruth - in RBI with 2,213. How can you argue that the Babe wasn't the greatest ever?

Therefore, being mentioned in the same breath with Babe Ruth is quite an accomplishment for Konerko - even if we're talking strikeouts.

To get an idea of the role of the strikeout in the early days of the game, consider that the 1927 Yankees - a ballclub always mentioned as among the best ever - fanned a total of 610 times, just about four per game. That was the year Ruth set the bar for home runs with 60, and teammate Lou Gehrig slugged 47. As a team the Yankees accounted for 158 round-trippers in '27. The A's were next, lagging far behind with 56.

So far this season, the Kansas City Royals have the fewest strikeouts in MLB with 949. Meanwhile, the Astros lead with 1,400, which means that approximately one-third of Houston's outs have come via the strikeout. And to think the White Sox dropped four of seven this year against those bums!

When we were kids, our fathers and Little League coaches instructed us to "keep your eye on the ball," a reasonable request. The idea of hitting seemed to be to make contact. After all, how could one reach base by swinging and missing?

That mantra apparently made an impression with ballplayers in Ruth's era. Even after Babe retired, a guy like Joe DiMaggio averaged just 34 strikeouts a season. Ted Williams never struck out more than 64 times, and that was his rookie year. The Sox Hall-of-Fame second baseman Nellie Fox fanned 18 times in 1953, his most ever in 19 seasons. Even the .220 hitters made contact. If they didn't, they wound up in Triple-A.

Striking out is a little bit like leaving a putt short in golf. Not one of those ever has gone into the cup. Aside from dropped third strikes of which there are few, I'm aware of no one reaching base via a strikeout. An icon like Ruth more than compensated for the 1,330 times he went down on strikes by achieving extraordinary success when he made contact.

Which brings us to the current whiff champion, Adam Dunn. In the 137 years since the beginning of major league baseball, only three players - Reggie Jackson, Jim Thome and Sammy Sosa - have struck out more than the White Sox's $56 million mistake. He makes Babe Ruth look like Nellie Fox.

Dunn's lifetime total is 2,208, and next season he will pass Sosa and move into the number three spot.

It's no surprise that the leaders in striking out also have been prodigious home runs hitters. When Dunn was hitting as high as .260 - Babe Ruth would be guffawing - and driving in more than 100 runs in the National League, his whiff rate may have been palatable. However, since arriving on the South Side three years ago, Dunn has struck out almost exactly once every three plate appearances. (He's also walked about 15 percent of the time, meaning that about half the time with the Sox he's either struck out or walked.)

Dunn's 83 home runs and 220 RBI since he arrived in Chicago simply don't make up for the massive failures. He's hitting .196 in a Sox uniform. What else is there to say?

Pinning all the blame on Dunn for this forgettable season would be so neat and tidy. However, the current seven-game losing streak - making it 16 losses in the last 18 games - have been highlighted by pitchers who can't find the plate, defense which would put even a high school team to shame, and a lack of any formidable offense. Dunn merely clogs up the middle of the lineup, and, after all, he bats just four times a game.

Nevertheless, how can Rick Hahn, Kenny Williams and Chairman Jerry expect us to stomach another season of Adam Dunn striking out? He has become a symbol of the ineptitude of this team.

Last year we could forgive the Sox brass because the club picked up the ball, knocked out some clutch hits, and boasted effective pitching. They were competitive, and as in previous seasons, Konerko was the face of the franchise.

Now that face has become a struggling slugger traipsing back to the dugout after yet another strikeout.

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Roger Wallenstein is our man on the White Sox. He welcomes your comments.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 8:25 AM | Permalink

September 15, 2013

Theo Is Full Of Crap, Source Says

"Theo is full of crap," Cub Factor founder Marty Gangler writes in this week. "Every small-market team in the history of baseball has thrown out the 'rebuilding the core' motto to get better through young players. You can find guys that will help you win right now. I still believe the tanking of the last two years was all for the stadium deal. So maybe that was his plan all along - and it worked, so he's doing what he has to do."

Agreed. But wait, there's more:

"It's too bad about Old Style. But this is a new Wrigley. Guys like my dad heading out there and knocking back eight or so Old Styles in the bleachers are long gone. He doesn't have the time, money, and he's too old anyway. Like it or not with the changes, it has to be done because these are the people going to the park now. The young 'adults' that go to Wrigley and really spend their disposable income don't want to drink Old Style and look at an old scoreboard. The out-of-towners from Iowa will drink Bud until they're red in the face and the 'in' crowd will go with the craft brews."

Some of which are owned by . . . Anheuser-Busch.

*

Like I wrote last week, the ironic gentrification of the Cubs - but isn't gentrification always ironic - is complete. And they still suck.

The Week in Review: The Cubs took two of three from the Reds and dropped three of four to the Pirates. At least they're playing games in September that matter.

Week in Preview: The Cubs go on the road for four crucial games in Milwaukee that might go a long way in determining next season's draft position, and then come home for a three-game shellacking by the Braves.

The Second Basemen Report: Darwin Barney's problems at the plate cannot simply be attributed to a singularly bad season - instead, the trendline over the last three seasons are clear: his BA has dropped from .276 to .254 to .213; his OBP has dropped from .313 to .299 to .269; and his OPS has dropped from .666 to .653 to .583.

The Third Basemen Report: "I've done a lot of shifting before, but I feel like we over-shift a lot here."

Wishing Upon A Starlin: Nice of you to come around, Dale.

The Legend of Dioner Navarro: Remarkably, he's apparently not the slowest person in the majors - or even on the Cubs.

Endorsement No-Brainer: Old Style for the White Sox.

Laughable Headline of the Week: Glove Work By Darwin Barney, Anthony Rizzo And Starlin Castro Has Been A Positive For Cubs.

Deserted Cubs: Tony Campana is hitting .306 with an OBP of .426 for the Diamondbacks.

Ameritrade Stock Pick of the Week: Shares of Old Style are trading up as they disassociate themselves from losers.

Sveum's Shadow: Dale Sveum's Five O'Clock Shadow remains at 11:59 p.m. because a stubborn sliver of pride remains even as his insides have turned to jelly. And just like his Uncle Lou, he knows that you don't dare quit your job at the plant but instead find a way to get fired.

Shark Tank: It took Jeff Samardzija 114 pitches to get through 5 2/3 innings against the Pirates, giving up six earned runs on eight hits - including two home runs - five strikeouts and three walks.

How's that power arm philosophy going, Theo?

The Shark could learn from Scott Baker, who came up in the Twins' pitch-to-contact system. Baker has thrown just 130 pitches in 11 sterling innings - 93 of them for strikes. He has issued just one walk, given up just five hits and hasn't cracked 90 on the radar gun.

Jumbotron Preview: Five-thousand-seven-hundred square-feet of the Kiss Cam searching for couples amidst the empty seats.

Kubs Kalender: Wait 'til next year 2015 2016 2017.

Over/Under: Dollars the price of beer goes up when they switch to Budweiser: 2.

Beachwood Sabermetrics: A complex algorithm performed by The Cub Factor staff using all historical data made available by Major League Baseball has determined that Theo's plan looks a lot like Andy MacPhail's plan.

The Cub Factor: Unlike Alfonso Soriano Starlin Castro, you can catch 'em all!

The White Sox Report: Know the enemy.

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The Cub Factor welcomes your comments.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 7:00 PM | Permalink

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

Following revelations about the NSA's covert influence on computer security standards, the National Institute of Standards and Technology, or NIST, announced last week it is revisiting some of its encryption standards.

But in a little-noticed footnote, NIST went a step further, saying it is "strongly" recommending against even using one of the standards.

The institute sets standards for everything from the time to weights to computer security that are used by the government and widely adopted by industry.

As ProPublica, the New York Times, and the Guardian reported two weeks ago, documents provided by Edward Snowden suggest that the NSA has heavily influenced the standard, which has been used around the world.

In its statement Tuesday, NIST acknowledged that the NSA participates in creating cryptography standards "because of its recognized expertise" and because NIST is required by law to consult with the spy agency.

"We are not deliberately, knowingly, working to undermine or weaken encryption," NIST chief Patrick Gallagher said at a public conference Tuesday.

Various versions of Microsoft Windows, including those used in tablets and smartphones, contain implementations of the standard, though the NSA-influenced portion isn't enabled by default. Developers creating applications for the platform must choose to enable it.

The New York Times noted earlier this week that documents provided by Snowden show the spy agency played a crucial role in writing the standard that NIST is now cautioning against using, which was first published in 2006.

The NIST standard describes what is known as an "elliptic curve-based deterministic random bit generator." This bit of computer code is one way to produce random numbers that are the cornerstone of encryption technology used on the Internet. If the numbers generated are not random but in fact predictable, the encryption can be more easily cracked.

The Times reported that the Snowden documents suggest the NSA was involved in creating the number generator.

Researchers say the evidence of NSA influence raises questions about whether any of the standards developed by NIST can be trusted.

"NIST's decisions used to be opaque and frustrating," said Matthew Green, a professor at Johns Hopkins University. "Now they're opaque and potentially malicious. Which is too bad because NIST performs such a useful service."

Cryptographers have long suspected the standard in question was faulty. Seven years ago, a pair of researchers in the Netherlands authored a paper that said the random number generator was insecure and that attacks against it could "be run on an ordinary PC."

A year after that, in 2007, two Microsoft engineers flagged the standard as potentially containing a backdoor. Following the criticism, the standard was revised in 2007 to include an optional workaround.

The NSA has long been involved in encryption matters at the standards institute.

"NIST follows NSA's lead in developing certain cryptographic standards," a 1993 Government Accountability Office report noted.

A 2002 law mandates that NIST set information security standards and lists the NSA merely as one of several other agencies that must be consulted.

Asked how often standards are reopened, NIST spokesperson Gail Porter, said, "It's not frequent, but it does happen." She added that it would be "difficult to give you an exact number of times."

Asked whether Microsoft would continue to use the encryption standard in some of its software, a spokesperson said the company "is evaluating NIST's recent recommendations and as always, will take the appropriate action to protect our customers."

The NSA declined to comment.

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Previously:
* Five More Organizations Join Lawsuit Against NSA.

* A Scandal Of Historic Proportions.

* Item: NSA Briefing.

* The Case Of The Missing NSA Blog Post.

* The NSA Is Out Of Control.

* Patriot Act Author Joins Lawsuit Against NSA.

* Obama's Promises Disappear From Web.

* Why NSA Snooping Is A Bigger Deal In Germany.

* Item: Today's NSA Briefing.

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

* Song of the Moment: Party at the NSA.

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

* What NSA Transparency Looks Like.

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

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

* The Surveillance Reforms Obama Supported Before He Was President.

* America's Spying: Worse Than You Think.

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

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

* Six Ways Congress May Reform NSA Snooping.

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

* Does The NSA Tap That?

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

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

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

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

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

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

* Obama's War On Truth And Transparency.

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

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

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

* Daniel Ellsberg: Obama Has Committed Impeachable Offenses.

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Comments welcome.



Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 12:28 AM | Permalink

September 14, 2013

The Weekend Desk Report

"President Obama and his aides were surprised this month by the strength of public opposition to their call for military action against Syria," Doyle McManus writes for the Los Angeles Times.

A) I'm sure they viewed missile strikes as no different, really, than drone strikes. What's the big deal?

And in a sense, that's understandable. The public has accepted the drone war, though favorable polling isn't surprising when framed with questions like "Do you support drone strikes against terrorists" instead of "Do you support drone strikes against teenagers and funeral-goers whose names we don't even know and aren't suspected of any particular wrongdoing."

B) It's one thing to strike in Pakistan, where the drone wars began and we've long been enmeshed as part of the Afghan-Iraq wars, and Yemen, which few Americans can find on a map, but striking Syria would be starting a new war, not one inherited from George W. Bush.

C) Increased skepticism because of the disingenuous way the nation was led into war with Iraq, and the discovery that no WMDs existed, is also a factor, but one that would be ameliorated if the Obama administration was held in credible stead by the public. It is not, particularly with the exploding NSA scandal. The Obama brand is now "more of the same," if not "worse than Bush."

The administration's stumblebum approach to Syria hasn't helped either, and it's not clear at all to the public why we want to strike Bashar al-Assad now when he's been a murderous dictator from the start - one we've been happy to dine with.

Like A Boss
"We witness that there is a relationship between government, media and industry that is evident even at this most spurious and superficial level. These three institutions support one another. We know that however cool a media outlet may purport to be, their primary loyalty is to their corporate backers. We know also that you cannot criticize the corporate backers openly without censorship and subsequent manipulation of this information.

"Now I'm aware that this was really no big deal; I'm not saying I'm an estuary Che Guevara. It was a daft joke by a daft comic at a daft event. It makes me wonder, though, how the relationships and power dynamics I witnessed on this relatively inconsequential context are replicated on a more significant scale.

"For example, if you can't criticize Hugo Boss at the GQ awards because they own the event, do you think it is significant that energy companies donate to the Tory party? Will that affect government policy? Will the relationships that 'politician of the year' Boris Johnson has with City bankers - he took many more meetings with them than public servants in his first term as mayor - influence the way he runs our capital?

"Is it any wonder that Amazon, Vodafone and Starbucks avoid paying tax when they enjoy such cozy relationships with members of our government?

"Ought we be concerned that our rights to protest are being continually eroded under the guise of enhancing our safety? Is there a relationship between proposed fracking in the UK, new laws that prohibit protest and the relationships between energy companies and our government?"

Birdies And Bogeys
"A day after shooting his record-tying 59, Jim Furyk took sole possession of the lead early in the third round Saturday at the BMW Championship," the Tribune reports.

Paging Russell Brand!

"The Quandt family, major shareholder of BMW, and one of the richest in Germany, is finally and belatedly confessing to its Nazi-past," Bertel Schmitt reported for The Truth About Cars in 2011.

"Patriarch Günther Quandt was an early member of the Nazi party, he joined 1933, after Hitler's election. During the Third Reich, Quandt company empire was kept running by more than 50,000 slave laborers. Many businesses that were taken away from Jewish owners ended up in the hands of Quandt.

"He even had odd family ties with the Nazi elite. His second wife Magda, which he had married when she was half his age, divorced him eight years later, only to marry propaganda minister Joseph Goebbels, with Adolf Hitler as a witness.

"While other German carmakers, first and foremost Volkswagen, came to terms with their past, the owners of BMW denied it until recently."

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The Weekend Desk Tip Line: Brand journalism.

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The College Football Report: Piñatas And Virgins.

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The Blue & Orange Kool-Aid Report: Ghost Peppers vs. An Assful Of Adrian Peterson.

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Riot Fest Report: Butter Stamos.

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The Sound Opinions Weekend Listening Report: "35 years ago Cheap Trick were Live at Budokan. This week, they do it all again live in our studio."

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The CAN TV Weekend Viewing Report: CAN TV brings you local, relevant issues from Chicago's neighborhoods and communities. See what's happening around the city in education, the arts, government, cultural events, social services and community activities.

A Sight Unlike Any Other: The Civil War and the Colored Soldier

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The DuSable Museum of African American History and the Amistad Commission present a civil war re-enactment to commemorate the 150th anniversary of the Emancipation Proclamation.

Saturday at 7 p.m. on CAN TV19.

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Community Forum: Stay in School

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High school student Gladys Vejar shares her experience with the Stay in School program, which encourages students in at-risk communities to graduate high school by providing social services, leadership engagement and other workshops.

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

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Perspectivas Latinas: Gear Up, Get Ready

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Laritza Lopez of Gear Up, Get Ready shares ways to prepare your home and your family for any kind of disaster.

Saturday at 8 p.m. on CAN TV19.

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The Rise of the Total Surveillance State and the War on a Free Press

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In light of recent revelations of massive government surveillance programs, Chicago Area Peace Action hosts a conversation about the tenuous balance between surveillance, the free press and democracy.

Sunday at 9 a.m. on CAN TV21.

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Chicago Poverty Hearing

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Members of the public weigh in whether government programs meant to reduce the number of people in extreme poverty are working. This public hearing was hosted by the Illinois Commission on the Elimination of Poverty and Heartland Alliance.

Sunday at 11:30 a.m. on CAN TV21.

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Community Forum: Shadow Town

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Her Story Theater artistic director and playwright Mary Bonnett discusses Shadow Town, a play about the problem of sex trafficking in and around Chicago that Bonnett wrote based on interviews with victims.

Sunday at 4:30 p.m. on CAN TV21.

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Featured Artist: Jazz Odyssey Quartet

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Don't miss the talented players of the Jazz Odyssey Quartet putting their own spin on some classic jazz standards.

Sunday at 9 p.m. on CAN TV19.


Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 12:44 PM | Permalink

September 13, 2013

The [Friday] Papers

"With his burglary case stuck in the court system for the past two years, Reginald Brown has plenty of time to consider his future," Steve Schmadeke reports for the Tribune.

"Sitting in a mental health unit at Cook County Jail, he gazes at a piece of paper with a cross colored on it that he taped to the bottom of the bunk over his own bed.

"It's where I pray to God that something good will happen for me, that maybe this time I don't have to go to prison," he said in a recent interview.

"Brown, who says he has schizophrenia, is one of the mentally ill inmates swelling the jail's population."

*

So, just to review so far, Reginald Brown has been sitting in the Cook County Jail awaiting resolution of his burglary case for two years. Remember: the vast majority of county inmates are awaiting trial - they have not yet been convicted of anything.

And: Brown suffers from mental illness.

Therefore, it is not melodramatic to ask: What kind of a society are we?

This kind:

"After dipping to 8,900 in 2011, the average annual jail population - primarily inmates awaiting trial - has been on the rise, with the daily count now frequently more than 10,000, the highest totals since 2007. About 5 percent of detainees at the jail have been awaiting trial for more than two years, according to the sheriff's office.

"With that rise in population, Chicago has regained its spot, once held by Houston, as home of the most populous single-site jail in the country - and also effectively Illinois' largest mental health facility."

Our mayor will not read this story and spin into one of his infamous rages; he won't call the police chief and the sheriff and the policy makers and scream fuck-yous into the phone and demand that something be done - now! He reserves that kind of urgency for critical issues like creating a do-nothing Infrastructure Trust (now!) and screaming at press aides for letting critical stories reach the public without his permission.

Oh, there's the Beachwood getting preachy again!

It's funny who gets accused of getting preachy and why. Usually the accusers are people who know the "preachers" are right and therefore feel uncomfortable in their souls. And it's funny how "preaching" gets defined. Rahm Emanuel preaches every day - to parents, teachers, citizens. He preaches bullshit about codes of silence and accountability and personal responsibility.

Yet there are certain issues on which Rahm - and his political cohort - are almost wholly silent; issues on which they take no responsibility and are never held to account.

Reginald Brown is a schizophrenic rotting in jail. No big deal. We can always pretend to apologize later.

*

Classic: Ignore an issue in its time, then later beseech everyone to move on. "We're sorry we weren't paying attention and we implore you to join us in continuing to not pay attention!"

Yes, let's just move on from the thing we never considered in the first place. That way it will be as if it never happened.

RahmMart
The mayor did find the time this week to care about WalMart; he attended the ribbon-cutting for the new superstore in Pullman, which is being subsidized with millions of taxpayer dollars.

A reminder:

"Four members of the Walton family, heirs to Sam Walton's Wal-Mart fortune, are collectively worth more than $100 billion - more wealth than the entire bottom 40% of Americans."

Income inequality in action: Cutting social service budgets for the poor and ill while delivering wheelbarrows of cash to the Waltons. They probably made us pay for the ribbon and scissors too.

*

"Two months ago, President Obama declared that reversing income inequality must be Washington's 'highest priority,'" MSNBC's Ned Resnikoff reports.

It's not clear that he means it - and it's very clear that Rahm Emanuel disagrees.

Reginald Brown sits in jail. The Waltons get richer. These aren't accidents; they are policy decisions.

*

These days the role of local government no longer appears to be providing services like schools, hospitals, roads and police officers but as a transfer agency that provides funding to businesses by allocating taxpayer money in a way that maximizes the favor gained from corporations and other wealthy interests. In return, elected officials are allowed to keep their jobs by getting funded from those same interests. To maintain appearances, these interests throw a few crumbs back to the community by making strategic charitable donations and by employing people at less than livable wages because it's better than no wage at all. And, of course, taxpayers pick up the rest of that tab, too.

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See also:
* Walmart's Spin Zone.
* Big Box Of Nonsense: Walmart's Imaginary Billions.

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Exelon Exceptionalism
"After Exelon Corp. earned less than top executives needed to reach their annual cash bonus target last year, the board of directors provided a way to help bridge the gap: nonexistent profits," Bloomberg reports.

"The board tacked on six cents a share - equal to $85 million - that the Chicago-based power company never made, augmenting earnings solely for the purpose of calculating bonuses."

The fake earnings aren't enough to hire back any workers, though.

CHAraq
"Under Mayor Emanuel, CHA production of replacement housing has slowed to a near halt - to the point that it's virtually impossible to see the agency completing its new Plan Forward goals on time, housing advocates say," Curtis Black reports for Newstips.

"And that's with a five-year extension to CHA's original ten-year Plan For Transformation.

"The numbers are striking: In each of the last four years under Mayor Daley, CHA produced between 760 and 880 replacement units.

"In 2011, under Emanuel, CHA produced 424 units; the next year, 112 units; and in 2013, just 88.

"And in its proposed plan for 2014, which was the subject of a public hearing Wednesday, CHA is proposing a grand total of 40 new public housing units."

Beachwood Photo Booth: Chicago Backyard
Black and blue.

The Political Odds
Updated to reflect recent events.

The College Football Report
Piñatas & Virgins.

The Week In Chicago Rock
Including: Chvrches, Silver Abuse, Panic! At The Disco, Alt-J, Elephant Revival, Ken Vandemark, and Fred Lonberg-Holm.

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The Beachwood Tip Line: Preach!

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 10:39 AM | Permalink

The Week In Chicago Rock

You shoulda been there.

1. Chvrches at Lincoln Hall on Tuesday night.


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2. Silver Abuse at Township on Sunday night.

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3. Ken Vandermark at the Hideout on Wednesday night.

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4. Fred Lonberg-Holm at the Hideout on Wednesday night.

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5. Elephant Revival at SPACE in Evanston on Wednesday night.

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6. Panic! At The Disco at the Vic on Thursday night.

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7. Alt-J at the Aragon on Monday night.

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 9:27 AM | Permalink

The College Football Report: Piñatas & Virgins

For several seasons running, Week Three has featured a clash between two Top 10 teams.

This Saturday is no different - defending national champion Alabama (#1) faces Texas A&M (#6) in a critical, yet not historically unusual, early-season confrontation.

As if we needed any more reason to tune in, the revenge factor has heightened anticipation - Johnny "Football" Manziel's Aggies dealt Alabama their only defeat (29-24) in 2013.

The excitement surrounding the game has driven ticket prices from resellers to near-record highs.

We can't understand paying $800 for a regular-season game, but then we wouldn't consider making a piñata of Johnny Football either.

Not that we like the guy - we don't - but making a pñata sounds like too much work.

We would rather sit back and snipe at Manziel, much like Charles Barkley, a die-hard Auburn supporter, who risked blasphemy this week by nearly uttering 'Roll Tide', an unforgivable sin for Tigers fans.

"Johnny Manziel, oh my God, the only thing saving Manziel is Miley Cyrus," the Round Mound of Rebound opined.

(And not even then, if some enterprising college students replace Nic Cage with Johnny Football in this brilliant new mash-up. Signed, Johnny.)

To get a historical perspective on the momentous match-up, let's look back at the recent history of Week Three.

2008: #5 Ohio State visited #1 USC and suffered a humiliating 35-3 loss and dropped out of the Top 10 for the duration of '08. USC went on to win the Rose Bowl and the Pac-10 championship. Ohio State won a share of the Big 10 title, and finished the season at a solid, but unremarkable, 10-3 overall.

2009: Alabama traveled to Blacksburg to face #7 Virginia Tech. The Tide (#5) relied on kicker Leigh Tiffin, who knocked down three field goals (49, 34, and 32 yards) in the first quarter and added a 20-yarder in the fourth to give 'Bama a two-score lead. The Hokies lost 34-24 and went on to go 2-2 against ranked teams, though they wrapped up the season with a win in the 42nd edition of the Chick-fil-A- (nee Peach) Bowl.

Incidentally, after a 15-year hiatus the Chick-fil-A-Bowl will be known as the Peach Bowl again next year due to the naming regulations of the National Championship Playoff. We don't yet understand what those regulations are, but it's a long season. We will figure it out eventually.

You might say Alabama fared somewhat better in 2009, going undefeated and winning the BCS title over #2 Texas.

As for Virginia Tech, 2013 appears to be another "always a bridesmaid" year. When the headline in Week Three includes "Still Looking For Reliable Receiving Options," fans should have moderate expectations at best.

Yet even quality wideouts are irrelevant if you can't get them the ball - the 1:3 TD-to-INT ratio to date in '13 by QB Logan Thomas isn't exactly an aberration. The senior entered 2013 with lifetime stats of 37 TDs to 26 INTs.

2010: Only one game between ranked teams, though it resulted in a minor upset with #24 Arizona besting #9 Iowa 34-27.

The Florida-Tennessee game must have looked intriguing to the schedulers in advance, but by 2010 the Vols had started the ill-fated Derek Dooley campaign and rolled over to the Gators 31-17.

Former Tennessee head coach Lane Kiffin (or, as known to the Report, Kid Smirk) fled to USC after a 7-6 season, his first and only at UT, leaving behind a mess the Volunteers have yet to sort out.

The 2010 season turned out to be Dooley's best in Knoxville. That he struggled to a 6-7 record in '10 should tell you all you need to know about the remainder of his brief tenure.

New head coach Butch Jones takes the Vols (2-0) to Eugene this weekend, visiting #2 Oregon in what we expect to be a bloodbath. The Ducks are favored by a mere four touchdowns. Good luck, Butch.

2011: #1 Oklahoma faced #5 Florida State in a defensive battle that remained tied at 13 well into the fourth quarter. The Sooners pulled out the win, 23-13, but stumbled down the stretch later in the year, losing three of their last six games and ending up in the Insight (Enterprises, Inc.) Bowl, which became the Buffalo Wild Wings Bowl the following year, perhaps because the highlight of the Sooners blasé bowl win came late in the fourth, as an ESPN skycam plunged onto the field, nearly braining Iowa WR Marvin McNutt. Yep, that's more of a wild wings thing than an insight thing.

After losing to Oklahoma, Florida State dropped its next two games, at #21 Clemson and at unranked Wake Forest, but rallied to win seven of its remaining eight, including a victory over Notre Dame in the Champs Sports Bowl. No equipment malfunctions were reported.

2012: The #2 Tide shelled overrated #8 Michigan 41-14. The game served as a preview for UM's 8-5 season, which included four losses against ranked opponents. The year ended with another loss to an SEC opponent for the Maize and Blue, a 33-28 defeat to #11 South Carolina in the Outback Bowl.

We know how Alabama's 2012 season turned out.

What does all this mean for Saturday? First, the fact that the higher-ranked team in Top 10 match-ups has won by double-digits since 2008 bears consideration. Second, Alabama is involved. We would be hard-pressed to back the Aggies, underdogs by 7.5 points, but for 'Bama's seemingly lackluster performance against Virginia Tech two weeks ago. We would like the favorites much more without the half-point "hook," especially on the road, so maybe we will play it safe and take the Over on the "number of annoying celebratory hand gestures by Johnny Manziel" prop bet.

Virgin Flights
We will be tracking, and outright rooting for, a number of virgin head coaches this season.

Some new coaches will be fun to watch, such as new head coach Dave Doeren, who took over at NC State after guiding Northern Illinois to a BCS bowl last season.

But we reserve a special place in the cold, black hole of what would be our heart for true newbies such as Matt Rhule.

Not only is this Coach Rhule's first season at Temple, but this is his first head-coaching gig ever, anywhere. Rhule spent time in the assistant ranks at Temple from 2006-2011 before leaving for an assistant spot with the New York Giants. The Owls called him back after Steve Addazio left for Boston College. Temple (0-2) hopes to notch its first win under the new regime this weekend, having been installed as 21-point favorites against Fordham.

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Scott Shafer leads Syracuse this season, taking over a program seemingly on the upswing as the Orange recorded 8-5 seasons in 2010 and 2012. But the sledding has been rough through two weeks. The 'Cuse dropped two games to Big 10 opponents, starting with a squeaker to Penn State (23-17) and a blowout loss to Northwestern (48-27). Shafer gets a breather in Week Three, facing off against the Wagner Seahawks, which selects its team from "2,100 total students located atop Grymes Hill in the New York City borough of Staten Island."

There is no line on the game.

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We have a Kliff Kingsbury sighting! The former Red Raider QB took over the top spot with at his alma mater Texas Tech during the offseason, becoming one of the youngest coaches (age 34) in college football.

During his playing career, Kingsbury became the third player in college football history to gain 10,000 yards passing, record over 10,000 yards in total offense, and complete 1,000 career passes.

Last season, Coach Kliff spent his time coaching up Manziel; this season he's already notched a nice upset with a 20-10 win over #24 TCU.

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This has been a tough inaugural season thus far for Southern Miss's Todd Monken, with an opening week loss to lowly Texas State (22-15) followed by a shellacking (56-13) from #22 Nebraska. This weekend won't be much better, as with 23-point favorite Arkansas on tap.

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Sean Kugler leads the UTEP Miners against the New Mexico State Aggies this week. The box score for the Miners' first game (vs. New Mexico) showed the fewest combined passing yards we can recall, ever: 207. Let's just say both teams feature a run-first and throw-only-in-case-of-emergency attack.

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A number of other squads take the field under green coaches on Saturday, including Paul Haynes (Kent State), Rod Carey (Northern Illinois), P.J. Fleck (Western Michigan) and, perhaps most prominently, Mark Helfrich (Oregon).

Of all of this season's virgin head coaches, though, we like Utah State's Matt Wells best.

Wells, an assistant at Oregon for two years, stepped up after former bossman Gary Andersen departed for the big leagues - and the big bucks - at Wisconsin.

Wells is well set-up. Utah State returns its entire starting O-line along with dual-threat QB Chuckie Keeton. Despite an opening week loss to Utah (30-26), Utah State figures to have a solid shot at playing in front of Spuddy and taking home the FIPB trophy again this year.

Utah State is a 36-point favorite against Weber State this week.

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

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 7:57 AM | Permalink

Beachwood Photo Booth: Chicago Backyard

Black and blue.

panchosbluecarsmoker60s.JPG(ENLARGE FOR PROPER VIEWING)

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Stationery, iPhone cases, hoodies.

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Previously:
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Chicago Man Grilling
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Yum Yum Donuts
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Chicago Father's Day
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Vintage Airmaster
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Chicago Time
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Window Shade
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Illinois Slayer
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Chicago Fire Escape
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Golden Nugget
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Hollywood, Chicago
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Flag Man.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Van In Flames.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Fluid Power Automation.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Corn Dog.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Stop The Killing Car.

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 12:44 AM | Permalink

September 12, 2013

The [Thursday] Papers

1. Rahm Denies Political Motives In Renaming Stony Island For Brazier.

Though he did say say something about never letting a street name go to waste.

2. World-Class City Combats Heat By Giving Students Toy Fans.

Meanwhile, kids at Lab School get Commando 8s.

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Look, supplying students with handheld fans is ridiculous, but I don't think one kid getting her hair caught in the foam "blades" constitutes news - and particularly doesn't merit the top-of-home-page headline the Sun-Times has been giving it.

But I would like to know who got the fan contract.

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Also: You can review CPS's new A/C units here.

3. Mayor: Sorry For Burge.

"Asked to clarify if he was indeed apologizing, the mayor added: 'Here's what I mean: I am sorry this happened. Let us all now move on.'"

In other words, Mayor: Sorry Burge Story Hasn't Gone Away.

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Or has it? Rahm's apology overshadowed the fact that the city was signing off an another $12.3 million in settlement money - and there's more on the way.

4. Let Us All Now Move On.

"Some 1,600 fewer children in Illinois will be served in Head Start programs this school year due to the federal sequestration, according to the National Head Start Association," Progress Illinois reports.

If they only held classes at the airport, this would be bigger news.

5. Groupon Stock Hits 52-Week High.

Yeah, but that's on NASQUACK.

6. Chicago Aldermen Toting $1,400 Tablets At City Hall.

Yeah, but they're running Windows 8 so council meetings just got longer.

7. Mike's Hard Lemonade Moving To Chicago.

And you thought this was still a beer-and-a-shot town.

8. Riot Fest Rules.

Punkfork takes Humboldt Park.

9. The 1% President.

Since Obama took office, the top 1% have captured 95% of all income gains.

10. Ghost Peppers vs. An Assful of Adrian Peterson.

In The Blue & Orange Kool-Aid Report.

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The Beachwood Tip Line: Move on.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 9:51 AM | Permalink

The 1% President

"If you feel you're falling behind in the income race, it's not just your imagination. The wealth gap between the top 1% and the bottom 99% in the U.S. is as wide as it's been in nearly 100 years, a new study finds," the Los Angeles Times reports.

Put another way by The Week: "For the first time since the government started collecting the relevant data in 1917, the wealthiest 10 percent (earning at least $114,000 a year in 2012 dollars) is earning more than half - 50.4 percent - of U.S. income."

An historic presidency indeed.

"Two months ago, President Obama declared that reversing income inequality must be Washington's 'highest priority,'" MSNBC's Ned Resnikoff notes, "but the issue has subsequently dropped off the map again."

Well, it's not like Obama hasn't had five years to prioritize his economic agenda.

Let's go to the videotape:

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"This week marks the fifth anniversary of the collapse of Lehman Bros., heralding the Great Recession," Andrew Ross writes for the San Francisco Chronicle.

"And there's been a fair amount of studies and stock-taking. The main takeaway: the better off are better off than ever. Most of the rest are right where they started, or worse."

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Yet another way to put it, from the Atlantic: Last Year Was The 4th-Best Year Ever For The Top 1 Percent.

Ever.

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Thankfully, Businessweek is on it:

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 9:06 AM | Permalink

Riot Fest Rules

"Riot Fest Chicago 2013 takes place this weekend (9/13 - 9/15) in beautiful (and not scary!) Humboldt Park," Brooklyn Vegan notes.

"The fest have now revealed set times for this coming weekend's debauchery, and thankfully there aren't many conflicts. The main thing folks have been worried about is The Replacements' headlining set clashing with The Pixies. Well, you can rest easy on that one; you'll be able to catch both acts. The complete RFC 2013 set times can be found HERE.

"You'll also now be able to decide which official afterparties you'll be springing for. If they're not sold-out that is . . . Oh yeah, and tickets are somehow still available for the fest."

*

And if you haven't been following @RiotFest, go catch up.

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Riot Fest has been around longer than many people know. From its Wikipedia page:

"Riot Fest began in Chicago in 2005, started by music fanatics with a yen for DIY shows and low ticket prices catering to fans of great underground music.

"Riot Fest spent seven years as a multi-venue festival, utilizing the cream of the Chicago venue crop, from Metro, Subterranean, Double Door, Cobra Lounge and the Congress Theater to present bands over a 3 day weekend, such as: Social Distortion, Danzig, Cock Sparrer, Weezer, Alkaline Trio, The Mighty Mighty Bosstones, Bad Brains, Dead Milkmen, Fun., The Lawrence Arms, Bad Religion, Murder City Devils, Butthole Surfers, Suicide Machines, and more.

"Punk, rock, indie rock, alternative, psychobilly, metal, skate punk and ska are celebrated at Riot Fest, and the organizer, Riot Mike, has demonstrated a knack for reuniting influential bands like Naked Raygun, Screeching Weasel, WAX, Blue Meanies, Articles of Faith, Plow United, Jesus and Mary Chain, Chiodos.

"In 2012, Riot Fest moved to Chicago's beautiful Humboldt Park, which boasts picturesque gardens and lagoons with a view of the Chicago skyline. The fest expanded to become Riot Fest & Carnival, with rides, games, wrestling, gourmet food vendors and three stages."

Click through for the rest.

*

Riot Fest on Facebook.

*

Previously:
* Tweeting The Riot Fest Lineup

* At Least Half The Replacements Are Reuniting And Playing Chicago's Riot Fest

* Punkfork: Riot Fest Takes Humboldt Park

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Posterity:

Riot+Fest+Chicago+2013+UPDATED+RF+PIXIES+small.jpg

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 7:48 AM | Permalink

Ghost Peppers vs. An Assful Of Adrian Peterson

How do you make a 280-pound man disappear?

Apparently by matching him up against a backup left tackle.

It's early in the season so instead of rushing to judgement, let's draw the only reasonable conclusion as to why the Bears all-world defensive end was completely invisible against the Bengals.

Like Bran Stark*, Julius Peppers is a Warg, and last Sunday Marc Trestman tasked him with the theft of the Minnesota Vikings playbook. Using his mind projection powers, Peppers traversed the wilds of Wisconsin as a crafty, elusive badger and briefly inhabited the body of FSN sideline reporter Ann Carroll in order to gain access to the Twin City facilities.

While successful, the only secret the playbook yielded was that every single one of Minnesota's offensive plays is either an Adrian Peterson rush or a strategic Christian Ponder incompletion designed to rest Adrian Peterson.

Peppers also recovered a hastily scrawled warning written by former coach Brad Childress that indicates that the White Walkers will overrun St. Paul if Toby Gerhart rushes for more than 60 yards.

Chicago Bears Football, Featuring Rex Smith
Someone needs to splice together the chorus of "Everlasting Love" with a slow motion highlight reel of Brandon Marshall's catches during last week's decisive fourth-quarter scoring drive.

Full disclosure, I'm still paying off a $250,000 fine for making a similar video featuring Erik Kramer, Jeff Graham and the musical stylings of Richard Marx**, so when the NFL says that any rebroadcast, retransmission or account of this game is prohibited without their express written consent, you'd best believe them.

Now for those of you who think a YouTube mix tape is an inappropriate expression of joy, I'd like to direct you to the highlight reel for the 2005 Bears, which consists of Craig Krenzel and Justin Gage connecting for a two=yard completion on third-and-nine while a guy in tattered lederhosen plays The Price Is Right tuba noise before being raped off camera by the Fox Sports robot.

Oh, the boys back in the studio loved that bit, but now James Brown has to host the panel on CBS, a network whose ratings are bolstered largely by old people dying while The Mentalist is being aired.

RAPE IS INAPPROPRIATE, JAMES!

It's Eight Men In A Box!
We all know it's coming. An assfull of Adrian Peterson will be hurled at us for three hours this weekend.

To hell with down and distance, 3rd-and-7 is another great time for a rush off tackle. I don't even think the Vikings even have a punter.

That's because Adrian Peterson . . .

  • his his own change-of-pace back.
  • could run backwards and still score a touchdown by circumnavigating the globe.
  • has a stiff arm so powerful that if he hits you, it'll hurt yo' mama.
  • squats a guy squatting 450 pounds just because he gets bored eating cereal.
  • will still rack up 115 yards and three scores even though Mel Tucker plans to forgo the Bears' usual 4-3 base defense and dial up a 9-2 defensive front.

Kool-Aid (2 Out Of 5 Minnesota Slammers)
Something that got buried in the feel-good come-from-behind nature of last week's win against Cincinnati was that the Bears offense looked stilted and ineffective for much of the game.

A lot of empty backfield formations ended in four-yard completions to Alshon Jeffery.

The Bears just might go conservative/apathetic enough to make this an interesting contest.

Jay Cutler may not be actually smoking on the sidelines, but I think he's going to ask Earl Bennett to see if the Field Museum sells Newports.

That said, Minnesota's offense makes paper look positively three-dimensional and I'm pretty sure that Cris Carter is fourth on the team in receiving yards despite having retired in 2002.

Christian Ponder will connect on five of his 17 pass attempts and despite logic, reason and the rules of American football, two of those receptions will be credited to Brandon Marshall.

Bears win, yawn.

Bears 17
Vikings 14

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* Game Of Thrones: Providing spank material for disappointed viewers of Cathouse and Real Sex since 2011.
** I'm still holding out hope that a win in my lawsuit against Ini Kamoze and Columbia Records will cover these costs. My '90s jam "Here Comes The Hostetler," a tribute to the then Raiders Pro-Bowl QB, was a huge hit in the Bay area months before this imposter hit the scene.

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Carl Mohrbacher is our man on the Kool-Aid. He welcomes your comments.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 6:15 AM | Permalink

September 11, 2013

The [Wednesday] Papers

"The National Security Agency for almost three years searched a massive database of Americans' phone call records attempting to identify potential terrorists in violation of court-approved privacy rules, and the problem went unfixed because no one at the agency had a full technical understanding of how its system worked, according to new documents and senior government officials," the Washington Post reports.

"Moreover, it was Justice Department officials who discovered the problem and reported it to the court that oversees surveillance programs, the documents show, undermining assertions by the NSA that self-reporting is part of its culture.

"The improper activity went on from May 2006 to January 2009, according to a March 2009 opinion by Judge Reggie B. Walton, who serves on the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court.

"It was one of more than a dozen documents declassified and released Tuesday in response to lawsuits by civil liberties groups and at the direction of President Obama in the wake of the June disclosure by former NSA contractor Edward J. Snowden of the massive phone records collection."

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Well, not exactly at the direction of Obama, who is made out (again) as either a liar or an ignoramus by facts that don't (nearly) align with his assertions.

"Hundreds of documents on the government's secret interpretation of a section of the PATRIOT Act and the NSA's abuse of a massive database of Americans' phone records have been released," Kevin Gosztola reports at Firedoglake.

"President Barack Obama would like the public to believe this is part of the administration's effort to be the 'most transparent administration in history.' However, that is completely dishonest because the administration never wanted to release these documents."

Click through for the extensive record showing just that.

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Also, from the Electronic Frontier Foundation:

"[I]ntelligence officials said they were releasing this information in response to the presidential directive on transparency surrounding the NSA. That statement is misleading. They are releasing this information because a court ordered them to as part of EFF's Freedom of Information Act lawsuit, filed almost two years ago on the 10th anniversary of the Patriot Act."

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From a statement by Sens. Wyden and Udall:

"When the executive branch acknowledged last month that 'rules, regulations and court-imposed standards' intended to protect Americans' privacy had been violated thousands of times each year we said that this confirmation was 'the tip of a larger iceberg.'

"With the documents declassified and released this afternoon by the Director of National Intelligence, the public now has new information about the size and shape of that iceberg.

"Additional information about these violations was contained in other recently-released court opinions, though some significant information - particularly about violations pertaining to the bulk email records collection program - remains classified."

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Among the new revelations:

* Government Accountability Project: NSA Broke Privacy Rules For Years.

* NBC: NSA Collected Data On Secret 'Alert List' Of Phone Numbers.

* EFF: Lies, Word Games, And Searching For A Basis To Search.

* AP: The NSA Machine Too Big For Anyone To Understand.

* Emptywheel: NSA May Have 'Contact-Chained' Everyone In America.

* Washington Post: The NSA Is Sharing Data With Israel Before Filtering Out Americans' Information.

* TechEye: NSA Pretending It Is Google To Conduct Surveillance.

* International Business Times: NSA Shared Americans' Info From Phone Data Program With CIA, FBI.

* Reuters: Most 2006-2009 NSA Queries Of A Phone Database Broke Court Rules.

* Fox News: Judge Almost Shut Down Surveillance Program.

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Obama clearly did not tell the truth to the American people.

We can now fairly ask of the president: What did he know and when did he know it?

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The court-ordered release of these records also proves Edward Snowden right - Americans had every right to know about these abusive and unlawful programs. How is he not a whistleblower? And how is he not one of the most impactful whistleblowers in history? And how is this not a scandal of historic proportions?

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See also:

* Lee Hamilton: DOJ Should Indict James Clapper For Lying To Congress.

* Google, Microsoft, Facebook and Yahoo File Motions To Reveal NSA Data Requests.

* Five More Organizations Join Lawsuit Against NSA.

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Today's Police State Briefing:

* Guantanamo Judge Makes Secret Ruling On Secret Motion In Secret Hearing.

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Today's Department Of Told You So

If only someone in Chicago reported on this pattern before we elected the man president.

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Me too.

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Apologies from Obamabots accepted via PayPal.

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Today's Syria Briefing
* AP Fact Check: Obama's Syria Case Still Lacks Proof.

* Human Rights Watch: What About Justice For Syria's Victims?

* The Atlantic: Daily Show Responds To The Worst Syria Arguments On Cable News.

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*

*

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Elsewhere on the Beachwood today:

* Paraíso: Immigrant Window Cleaners At Work In Chicago.

* Fantasy Fix: Week 1's Epic Fails.

* Local TV Notes: More Fries, Less McCarthy.

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The Beachwood Tip Line: All apologies.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 11:33 AM | Permalink

Local TV Notes: More Fries, Less McCarthy

1. The Superfans Are Back.

The grills are cool, but . . .


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2. Parade: Jenny McCarthy and Sherri Shepherd Twerk It Out, and Other Highlights from The View Season 17 Premiere.

No. Just no. Not linking.

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3. Jan Jeffcoat Has A New Job.

At WUSA in Washington, D.C.

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4. Retro Replays.

Blasts from the past uploaded this week.

Jackie Chan promoting Furia de Chicago (1980):

*

McDonald's 1984 "More Fries" Commercial ("Offer good only in Chicagoland"):

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5. Extras Needed.

Crap, too late. But the Mind Games people have shot just two of eight (?) episodes on tap - all set for Chicago. So maybe still a chance.

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 10:53 AM | Permalink

Paraíso: Immigrant Window Cleaners at Work in Chicago

The Op-Doc Paraíso (Paradise) reveals the beauty and danger of three immigrant window cleaners' work on Chicago's skyscrapers.


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"I first got the idea for this film (whose title, Paraíso, is the Spanish word for Paradise) when I was living in Chicago working as a film editor," Nadav Kurtz writes.

"One morning, as I sat at my desk in a high-rise downtown, a man dropped down inches from my window, cleaned it, and disappeared to the next floor. This momentary interaction seemed a perfect metaphor for life in many multiethnic American cities where the work of immigrants often goes unnoticed. I hoped to find out more about what motivated these men to spend their working days dangling hundreds of feet in the air."

"Soon after I began filming, I met two brothers, Sergio Polanco and Jaime Polanco, and their cousin, Cruz Guzman.

"The Polanco brothers came to the United States from García de la Cadena, a small town in Zacatecas, Mexico, and the birthplace of a surprisingly large number of Chicago's window washers and their families.

"The brothers and Mr. Guzman are employed by Corporate Cleaning Services, a well-established Chicago window cleaning company that, according to its president, Neal Zucker, requires all of its employees to be in compliance with federal and state guidelines governing employment eligibility.

"Window washers at this company receive health and life insurance benefits through membership in a union, SEIU Local 1, and can typically earn anywhere between $45,000 and $65,000 a year, depending on their skill level and speed."

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See also:

* Corporate Cleaning Services.

* Neal Zucker.

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"Much of Paraíso takes place atop the concrete canopy of Chicago's downtown," Daniel James Scott writes in his Q&A with the director in Filmmaker magazine.

"Kurtz treats us to beautiful images of the men considering their horizons beyond and below. While remaining interested in their work as work, Kurtz pursues the subject more as a means of exploring the complex race dynamics of Chicago, immigration in the U.S., and the parallel lives people lead as they arrive from different circumstances."

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See also: The Flickr photostream of Sky Ninja Michael Kelly, a Chicago window washer and friend of the filmmaker.

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 10:17 AM | Permalink

Fantasy Fix: Week 1's Epic Fails

Here's brief list of massively hyped players who utterly sucked in Week 1 of fantasy football:

C.J. Spiller, RB, BUF: He went as high as No. 2 overall in one league I'm in, and was supposed to be the center of the Bills offense, the second coming of Gale Sayers and the guy who would put veteran RB Fred Jackson out to pasture. He was out-gained by Jackson Week 1, and lost a fumble on his way to 31 yards rushing and just 14 yards receiving.

Calvin Johnson, WR, DET: Some folks expect him to challenge his own record for receiving yards. Only 37 yards receiving, though he would have had a TD if he had maintained control of the ball in the end zone.

Arian Foster, RB, HOU: Managed to get himself healthy enough to play in the opener, and 57 yards rushing is respectable, but HOU is supposed to be so run-oriented; it only have one non-RB with fantasy value (WR Andre Johnson).

Dez Bryant, WR, DAL: A close second to Spiller for biggest disappointment. The Cowboys said he was double-teamed all game, which explains just 22 yards receiving, but we were told he was going to be an All-World this season no matter what.

Stevan Ridley, RB, NE: To be fair, he wasn't as hyped as the rest of these guys, but was predicted to have a career year for a Pats team lacking star receivers. In Week 1, however, he looked like second fiddle to presumed second fiddle Shane Vereen.

What do these failures tell us about what to expect for the rest of the season? Probably nothing . . . hopefully nothing. I'm a little concerned about how easy it was for DAL to ignore Bryant and still win, and Spiller may end up losing a few touches to Jackson, but the bottom line is that it was only one week. Check back again next week before you think about panicking.

Expert Wire
* Bleacher Report sizes up Week 1 surprises and disappointments.

* Sports Illustrated says to take a chance on Broncos tight end Julius Thomas after Peyton Manning made him a household name.

* Rant Sports looks forward to Manning vs. Manning in Week 2.

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

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 8:44 AM | Permalink

Five More Organizations Join Lawsuit Against NSA Surveillance

Five new groups - including civil-rights lawyers, medical-privacy advocates and Jewish social-justice activists - have joined a lawsuit filed by the Electronic Frontier Foundation against the National Security Agency over the unconstitutional collection of bulk telephone call records. With today's amended complaint, EFF now represents 22 entities in alleging that government surveillance under Section 215 of the Patriot Act violates Americans' First Amendment right to freedom of association.

The five entities joining the First Unitarian Church of Los Angeles v. NSA lawsuit before the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California are: Acorn Active Media, the Charity and Security Network, the National Lawyers Guild, Patient Privacy Rights and The Shalom Center. They join an already diverse coalition of groups representing interests including gun rights, environmentalism, drug-policy reform, human rights, open-source technology, media reform and religious freedom.

"The First Amendment guarantees the freedom to associate and express political views as a group," EFF legal director Cindy Cohn said. "The NSA undermines that right when it collects, without any particular target, the phone records of innocent Americans and the organizations in which they participate. In order to advocate effectively, these organizations must have the ability to protect the privacy of their employees and members."

In June, the Guardian newspaper published a secret order from the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court that authorized the wholesale collection of phone records of all Verizon customers, including the numbers involved in each call, the time and duration of the call, and "other identifying information." Government officials subsequently confirmed the document's authenticity and acknowledged the order was just one of a series issued on a rolling basis since at least 2006.

EFF originally filed the lawsuit on June 16, arguing the tracking program allows the government to compile detailed connections between people and organizations that have no correlation to national security investigations. Along with adding the new plaintiffs, the amended complaint also adds new information about "contact chaining" searches through the vast trove of phone records; adds James B. Comey as a defendant now that he is the head of the FBI; and makes some additional changes.

For Rabbi Arthur Waskow of The Shalom Center, the revelations come with a sense of deja vu.

"Jewish tradition for at least the last 2,000 years has celebrated the right of privacy of the people against surveillance by a ruler," Waskow said. "A generation ago, I joined with other antiwar activists to successfully sue the FBI over its COINTELPRO program, which violated our right to assemble in opposition to the Vietnam War. Now, as director of The Shalom Center - a religious organization advocating for peace, social justice and environmental sustainablility - I am concerned that the NSA has greatly surpassed the FBI in undermining our constitutional rights."

The National Lawyers Guild, a public-interest legal association that has defended civil rights for more than 75 years, notes that surveillance has substantially impeded its ability to communicate with those seeking legal assistance.

"Applied on a massive scale, government surveillance becomes a form of oppression," the Guild's executive director Heidi Boghosian said. "Knowing that we are likely monitored, we have curbed our electronic interactions. Sensitive discussions about cases are confined to in-person meetings and letters. We have no illusions that our hotline for individuals visited by the FBI is private; we don't even ask for specific details for fear of government eavesdropping."

EFF also represents the plaintiffs in Jewel v. NSA, a class-action case filed on behalf of individuals in 2008 aimed at ending the NSA's dragnet surveillance of millions of ordinary Americans. The Jewel case is set for a conference with the Court on September 27 in San Francisco.

You can see the amended complaint here.

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Previously:
* Item: NSA Briefing.

* The Case Of The Missing NSA Blog Post.

* The NSA Is Out Of Control.

* Patriot Act Author Joins Lawsuit Against NSA.

* Obama's Promises Disappear From Web.

* Why NSA Snooping Is A Bigger Deal In Germany.

* Item: Today's NSA Briefing.

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

* Song of the Moment: Party at the NSA.

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

* What NSA Transparency Looks Like.

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

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

* The Surveillance Reforms Obama Supported Before He Was President.

* America's Spying: Worse Than You Think.

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

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

* Six Ways Congress May Reform NSA Snooping.

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

* Does The NSA Tap That?

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

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

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

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

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

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

* Obama's War On Truth And Transparency.

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

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

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

* Daniel Ellsberg: Obama Has Committed Impeachable Offenses.

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 3:25 AM | Permalink

September 10, 2013

The [Tuesday] Papers

Syria Briefing:

* Just last year, President Obama was relying on a secret Bush-era pact with Bashar al-Assad to conduct the nation's dirty war.

* "Congratulations to brittle newsmatron Barbara Walters on landing a blockbuster exclusive with Syrian madman Bashar al-Assad, who is responsible for the wanton murder of 4,000 of his own men, women, and children," Gawker wrote in 2011 - when the butcher was our friend. "Or as Walters put it, a 'mild-mannered ophthalmologist.'"

* Vogue's Puff Piece On The Assads Is Back Online.

* The author of the Vogue piece explains the debacle.

That's how it works, folks.

Beyond that, Assad has always been a monster. But when he was our monster, or at least useful to us, we celebrated him because journos adore power and power generally behaves amorally. That's sort of why journalism is (theoretically) designed to challenge power.

It also means striking Syria now bolsters our hypocriticalness, not our credibility.

Finally, it's still not clear why this is happening now - or that inaction (not the only other option, by the way) really is worse than (military) action.

* "U.S. Rep. Rodney Davis, R-Taylorville, said a briefing from top Obama administration officials Monday didn't change his likely opposition to proposed military action against Syria," the Springfield Journal-Register reports.

"Before I had this classified briefing, I was leaning 'no' based upon the fact that I don't think that the administration has an effective plan of action," Davis said. "After the classified briefing, I am still a 'no.'"

He's not alone.

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* Possible breakthrough. Is Obama a genius? No.

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* Obama's National Security Advisor Delivers Myth-Addled Speech On Waging War On Syria.

* Who Really Believes Syria Is Part Of A Biblical End Times Prophecy?

"Some," according to the Sun-Times.

* You don't have to go back to 2008 to find the president's alter ego; you can just go back to 2012. From the Obama campaign:

BSs-Wh6CEAA2rz8.png_large.png

Not only striking in the position staked out on Syria, but in mocking the idea that Russia is our main geopolitical rival, which certainly seems the case right now, and that China is our enemy, which certainly became the case to the Obama administration when Edward Snowden fled to Hong Kong. Oh yeah, and then to Moscow.

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* President Obama's All-Out Lobbying Push. Paging Aaron Sorkin.

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NSA Briefing:

* The NSA is laughing at us. And proudly assuming the Big Brother mantle.

* Turning friends into enemies: German Helicopters Search For NSA Listening Post.

(See also: 'Project 6': CIA Spies Operating in the Heart of Germany.)

* No joke: NSA Chief Had Intelligence Center Designed Like Helm Of Starship Enterprise.

(Did we tell you the NSA was out of control?)

* Crucial Unanswered Questions About The NSA's BULLRUN Program. Add it to the list.

* Feds Plan To Release Details Of Secret Spy Court. Thanks to the audacity of Edward Snowden.

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Police State Briefing:

* "Newly released documents reveal how the government uses border crossings to seize and examine travelers' electronic devices instead of obtaining a search warrant to gain access to the data," the New York Times reports.

Feel a chill, yet?

* The Case Of The Missing NSA Blog Post.

How 'bout now?

* America's Least Likely Political Prisoner.

Now?

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Elsewhere on the Beachwood today:

* Watch Rahm Emanuel Try To Be Funny On Letterman. Beachwood commentary included.

* I Might Be In Love With Marc Trestman. The anti-Lovie.

* Local Music Notebook: Persons of Interest. Including Tom Morello, Robbie Fulks, Jon Langford, Common, Kanye West, R. Kelly, Vic Mensa, James Iha, Chief Keef & David Draiman.

* Local Book Notes: I Am Not The Unabomber. It's getting chilly again.

* Random Food Report: More Poop, Less Filling. Plus: Johnnie Walker vs. Jim Beam.

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The Beachwood Tip Line: Warm up.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 12:10 PM | Permalink

Watch Rahm Emanuel Try To Be Funny On Letterman

Oozing disingenuousness.


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Note how he inadvertently acknowledges his lifelong dream wasn't to become mayor of Chicago, as was asserted during his campaign; he didn't want the chief of staff job because he was on the fast track to his real dream, which was to become Speaker of the House.

Also note that, correspondingly, he had no plan to return to Chicago (he was raising his family in D.C.), as was asserted during his residency battle.

And oh Lord, the dead fish story again! Let it be, people.

*

Also, was the naked gym story really not true? I don't know anyone who doesn't believe it happened, particularly because the details sound so familiar to so many - especially the poking in the chest. (Just ask Scott Waguespack.)

Note too how Rahm doesn't really dispute anything specifically about the story, he just issues a general blanket denial that doesn't tell us what exactly isn't true - he wasn't naked, he wasn't at the gym that day, I mean, what?

*

Previously on Letterman:

Top Ten Reasons Rahm Emanuel Left The White House:

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And in 2010, Letterman did a Top Ten SIgns Rahm Emanuel Is Nuts. The video is now (suspiciously) offline. But here is the list:

10. Every morning takes a leak off the Truman balcony.

9. President Obama smokes cigarettes; Rahm eats them.

8. Spotted today at Toyota dealership.

7. He's leaving Obama to become a special advisor to Richard Nixon.

6. In a fit of rage, he snapped Dennis Kucinich in half.

5. Changing his name to Rahm Emanuel Lewis.

4. Refers to every cabinet official as "Clarkie."

3. Recently got into heated policy debate with his stapler.

2. You mean, besides walking around D.C. naked?

1. Even Andy Dick is telling him to chill.

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See also: Rahmedy Central.

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 11:06 AM | Permalink

I Might Be In Love With Marc Trestman

Only Bears chuckleheads will anoint Marc Trestman as coach of the year after one victory, but no matter what happens on the field, I can't help but be impressed with his general demeanor, which would hardly merit notice if not for the childish oafs and dummkopfs who so often troll NFL sidelines.

Lovie Smith, for example, was an insufferable bore who acted like fans and reporters were enemy spies hardly worthy of his attention. Trestman, on the other hand, actually takes no offense at being asked questions and doesn't hesitate to answer. He's certainly not a media hog, and he's a bit heavy on self-help corpo-speak ("I just asked the guys to be good teammates today"), but he is undoubtedly an adult. And that's refreshing.

(Similarly, Phil Emery is an upgrade in maturity level over Jerry Angelo.)

Trestman's also a pretty damn smart guy. Doesn't mean he'll be a success in the NFL, but he's earned more respect than perhaps the Ditka Caucus has given him - though he savvily addressed that by inviting Da Coach to training camp. Like we said, pretty damn smart.


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He's also an author - okay, he's not exactly alone among coaches writing a life lessons book - and a lawyer (yeah, not inherently a great credential, we know).

From his bio:

On January 17, 2013, Marc Trestman was introduced as the 14th head coach in Chicago Bears history.

In 2008, after 17 seasons in the NFL, Marc Trestman became head coach of the Montreal Alouettes of the Canadian Football League. In four seasons with Montreal, Trestman has guided the Alouettes to three Grey Cup appearances, including back-to-back Grey Cup Championships in 2009 and 2010.

After playing quarterback for the University of Minnesota for three seasons. Marc transferred as a senior to play quarterback at Minnesota State University Moorhead.

Marc graduated from Minnesota, then spent two training camps with the Minnesota Vikings as a defensive back. Marc went on to graduate from the University of Miami School of Law and then became a member of the Florida bar.

In 2010, Marc released his first book as an author titled Perseverence: Life Lessons on Leadership and Teamwork.

Perhaps his best credential is the fact that's he's been both a quarterback and a defensive back.

He also has extensive NFL coaching experience.

*

Okay, I'm not likely to ever truly fall in love with Trestman because he's not exactly the funniest coach around, even if he grew up in the same Minneapolis suburb that produced Al Franken and the Coen brothers. (That's not typical Bears pedigree, but how has typical Bears pedigree worked out?) But I could find myself actually respecting him.

It's time for something different for the Bears, and that's something Trestman is already delivering.

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 9:31 AM | Permalink

Random Food Report: More Poop, Less Filling

1. More Poop Coming To Nation's Pork Supply.

"The U.S. Department of Agriculture is planning to introduce a new program for safety inspections at pork plants across the nation. How is the new program different? It offers more poop in your meat."

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2. More Steak In Your Breakfast.

"McDonald's Corp. is introducing a new 'thick, juicy steak' for the morning crowd."

Now with more poop.

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3. Keebler's Elves Are Building 'Tiny Doors' Across America.

First more poop, now more bullshit.

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4. How Johnnie Walker Conquered The World.

"Johnnie Walker's parent company, the booze behemoth Diageo, is pushing into liquor stores from Chile to China."

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5. Jim Beam is also on quite a run.

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6. The Snaxis Of Evil.

"From Pepsi in Prague to Hershey bars in Hong Kong, American snack-makers enjoy a de facto oligopoly on global junk-food consumption."

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7. KFC Japan Adds Deep Fried Soup.

"Why slurp your soup when you can eat it fried.

"With an apparent nod to the growing fried food state fair obsession in the U.S., KFC Japan announced it will be offering a deep-fried soup product this month.

"The chain will somehow cover its soup corn potage - a creamy soup snack - with a deep-fried crust, not unlike the kind concocted by fry masters at the State Fair of Texas who came up with Deep Fried Kool-Aid or Deep Fried Coke."

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8. Craft Cubs.

Goose Island replacing Old Style at Wrigley instead of simply Budweiser would be the icing on the gentrification cake.

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9. No Tipping, Please.

"There's quite a bit of grousing lately about tipping at restaurants. Are automatic gratuities gratuitous?

"Some restaurants are doing away with the practice and just hiking prices.

"Not Balsan or Bernard's Bar in the Waldorf Astoria Chicago. Those spots charge an 18 percent gratuity regardless of the number of diners."

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10. Enough, already.

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 4:23 AM | Permalink

Local Book Notes: I Am Not The Unabomber

1. Book One.

"The first American book - and one of the most valuable - is coming to town," the Tribune reports.

"In advance of it being sold at auction, the work known as the "Bay Psalm Book," printed in 1640, will be on display at the Newberry Library, 60 W. Walton St., from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Wednesday."

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2. Young Chicago Authors Rocks It.

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3. The Cost of Censorship in Libraries: 10 Years Under the Children's Internet Protection Act.

"This year marks the 10-year anniversary of the enforcement of the Children's Internet Protection Act (CIPA), which brought new levels of Internet censorship to libraries across the country. CIPA was signed into law in 2000 and found constitutional by the Supreme Court in 2003. The law is supposed to encourage public libraries and schools to filter child pornography and obscene or 'harmful to minors' images from the library's Internet connection in exchange for continued federal funding.

"Unfortunately, as Deborah Caldwell-Stone explains in 'Filtering and the First Amendment,' aggressive interpretations of this law have resulted in extensive and unnecessary censorship in libraries, often because libraries go beyond the legal requirements of CIPA when implementing content filters.

"As a result, students and library patrons across the country are routinely and unnecessarily blocked from accessing constitutionally protected websites."

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4. The FBI Kept Its Own Notes On 'Dirty Old Man' Charles Bukowski.

"The writer was investigated by the agency as a civil servant with ties to the underground press - and for being a self-described 'dirty old man.'

"Recently National Book Award-winning author William T. Vollmann went public with his FBI surveillance, writing about his experiences of both being watched and reading the report. (At one point, as Vollmann writes in this month's Harper's, he was suspected of being the Unabomber.) Now the FBI has released files showing it kept tabs on hundreds of writers, including Bukowski."

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5. FBI Continues To Investigate Michael Hastings' 'Controversial Reporting.'

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6. Drinking While Pregnant.

"University of Chicago economist Emily Oster approached her pregnancy much like she does her job, challenging assumptions and evaluating data on what she could safely eat and drink during the nine-month gestational period.

Now she's put her findings in a new book - and provoked outrage among doctors and patients who vehemently disagree with her conclusion that it is harmless to drink a limited amount of alcohol during pregnancy."

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7. Poetry Fellows.

"The Poetry Foundation and Poetry magazine are pleased to announce the five recipients of 2013 Ruth Lilly Fellowships: Harmony Holiday, Matthew Nienow, Hannah Sanghee Park, Natalie Shapero and Phillip B. Williams. Among the largest awards offered to aspiring poets in the United States, the $15,000 scholarship prize is intended to encourage the further study and writing of poetry and is open to all U.S. poets between 21 and 31 years of age.

"Harmony Holiday was born in Waterloo, Iowa, and educated at the University of California at Berkeley and Columbia University. Her debut collection of poems, Negro League Baseball (Fence, 2011), won the Fence Books Motherwell Prize. Go Find your Father/A Famous Blues, a 'dos-a-dos' book featuring poetry, letters and essays, is due out from Ricochet Editions in fall 2013. Holiday lives in New York City.

"Matthew Nienow was born in Los Angeles in 1983 and spent most of his youth in Seattle. He holds an MFA from the University of Washington and a degree in Traditional Small Craft from the Northwest School of Wooden Boatbuilding. His work has appeared in Beloit Poetry Journal, New England Review, Poetry and two editions of the Best New Poets anthology (2007 and 2012). He lives with his wife and two sons in Port Townsend, Washington where he builds boats and custom wooden paddle boards.

"Hannah Sanghee Park was born in Tacoma, Washington, in 1986. She earned a BA from the University of Washington and an MFA from the Iowa Writers' Workshop. Her chapbook, Ode Days Ode, was published by the Catenary Press in 2011. Her work is forthcoming in Best New Poets 2013 and Poetry Northwest. Park lives in Los Angeles and is currently studying at the USC School of Cinematic Arts.

"Natalie Shapero was born in Chester, Pennsylvania, in 1982. She received a BA from the Johns Hopkins University, an MFA from the Ohio State University and a JD from the University of Chicago Law School. She is the author of the poetry collection No Object (Saturnalia, 2013) and her writing has appeared in The Believer, The New Republic, Poetry, The Progressive and elsewhere. Shapero is a 2012-2014 Kenyon Review fellow at Kenyon College in Gambier, Ohio.

"Phillip B. Williams was born 1986 in Chicago. He is the author of the chapbooks Bruised Gospels (Arts in Bloom Inc., 2011) and Burn (YesYes Books, 2013). Williams is a Cave Canem graduate and the poetry editor of the online journal Vinyl Poetry. His poetry has appeared or is forthcoming in Blackbird, Callaloo, Kenyon Review Online, Painted Bride Quarterly, The Southern Review, West Branch and others. Williams is currently a Chancellor's Graduate fellow at Washington University in St. Louis, Missouri and is working on his MFA in creative writing.

These five emerging voices will be featured in Poetry magazine's November issue.

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8. Prose Awards.

"The Guild Literary Complex is proud to announce an open submission period for our Annual Prose Awards. Every fall, the Guild Complex acknowledges emerging and established writers via a judged competition and recognition event at the historic Chopin Theatre in Chicago. A cash prize of $250 in each category (fiction and non-fiction) will be awarded. This year's guest judges are Cristina HenrĂ­quez (fiction) and Miles Harvey (non-fiction). The deadline to submit is Tuesday, October 1, 2013.

"Writers of all backgrounds and experience levels are invited to submit, and all themes and subjects are welcome. Illinois residents 18 years and older should submit a single piece of short fiction or non-fiction of no more than a 1,000 words typed, to contest@guildcomplex.org. There is a $5 submission fee payable via our website and paypal. Submission fee also includes admission to the live event. All applications must be completed by 5 p.m. on October 1. Incomplete applications will not be accepted. For a full list of contest rules or for information regarding mailed submissions please go to our website.

ABOUT THE JUDGES

Cristina Henríquez is the author of The Book of Unknown Americans, forthcoming from Knopf in June 2014, as well as the novel The World in Half, and the short story collection Come Together, Fall Apart, which was a New York Times Editors' Choice selection. Her stories have appeared in The New Yorker, The Atlantic, American Scholar, Glimmer Train, Ploughshares, TriQuarterly, AGNI, and the Virginia Quarterly Review. She lives in Illinois with her husband and two children

Miles Harvey wrote How Long Will I Cry?: Voices of Youth Violence, a play that premiered at Steppenwolf Theatre in 2013. His previous work includes The Island of Lost Maps: A True Story of Cartographic Crime (Random House), a national and international bestseller that USA Today named one of the 10 best books of 2000, and Painter in a Savage Land: The Strange Saga of the First European Artist in North America (Random House), which received a 2008 Editors' Choice honor from Booklist, and a best-books citation from the Chicago Tribune. He currently teaches creative writing at DePaul University.

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 3:37 AM | Permalink

Johns Hopkins And The Case Of The Missing NSA Blog Post

Citing concerns about linking to classified material, Johns Hopkins University asked a professor Monday morning to remove a blog post discussing last week's revelations about the NSA's efforts to break encryption.

The post had linked to government documents published by ProPublica, the Guardian, and the New York Times.

Several hours later, after computer science professor Matthew Green tweeted about the request, the university reversed itself.

Baltimore-based Johns Hopkins, which is short drive from the NSA's headquarters at Fort Meade, works closely with the spy agency. The university's Applied Physics Laboratory, which employs about 5,000 people, does many projects with the NSA.

According to the lab's website, "APL staff working with NSA are engaged in strategic planning, development of enterprise and program architectures, conducting quantitative analysis to support engineering decisions, development of engineering processes, and formulation of the governance structures for the work in the new Technology Directorate (TD)."

The website also notes that the lab "completed a strategic study that analyzed NSA's global information technology infrastructure to determine the top locations for the large-scale data centers."

Green said on Twitter that he had "been told" that someone from the Applied Physics Laboratory had first flagged his blog post.

Asked about the Applied Physics Laboratory's role, Hopkins spokesman Dennis O'Shea said, "We are still tracing the path of this event, which all exploded into our notice over the past couple of hours. So I don't think we're ready yet with an answer on that."

In an earlier statement, O'Shea said: "The university received information this morning that Matthew Green's blog contained a link or links to classified material and also used the NSA logo. For that reason, we asked Professor Green to remove the Johns Hopkins-hosted mirror site for his blog."

He continued: "Upon further review, we note that the NSA logo has been removed and that he appears to link to material that has been published in the news media. Interim Dean Andrew Douglas will inform Professor Green that the mirror site may be restored."

Green removed the post from his university site but it remained mirrored on Google's blogger service. Green has since removed the agency's logo from the post on his blog.

An expert in the field of cryptography, Green was quoted in the story published by ProPublica and the New York Times.

In his blog post, Green linked to a document that outlines the NSA's SIGINT Enabling Project, a program focused on subverting encryption products. The document is marked Top Secret and was part of the cache taken by former NSA contractor Edward Snowden.

Green added in the post that he has not seen documents beyond the ones published with the story last week.

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See also: Johns Hopkins University Falls Victim To The NSA Chilling Effect.

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Previously:
* The NSA Is Out Of Control.

* Patriot Act Author Joins Lawsuit Against NSA.

* Obama's Promises Disappear From Web.

* Why NSA Snooping Is A Bigger Deal In Germany.

* Item: Today's NSA Briefing.

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

* Song of the Moment: Party at the NSA.

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

* What NSA Transparency Looks Like.

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

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

* The Surveillance Reforms Obama Supported Before He Was President.

* America's Spying: Worse Than You Think.

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

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

* Six Ways Congress May Reform NSA Snooping.

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

* Does The NSA Tap That?

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

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

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

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

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

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

* Obama's War On Truth And Transparency.

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

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

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

* Daniel Ellsberg: Obama Has Committed Impeachable Offenses.

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 3:22 AM | Permalink

Local Music Notebook: Persons Of Interest

1. Tom Morello.

*

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2. Robbie Fulks.

"Wicker Park, 1993 or Wicker Park, 2013? Oh. Come on! 1993 all the way! It was different then. It's wrong to glamorize danger, and I like success as much as the next guy, but . . . every time I go down there and I see one of those people in tight black jeans crossing the street with his chin in the air, I just want to fucking run him over. Those people drive me crazy."

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3. Jon Langford.

"It's not hate so much, but that song 'She Don't Use Jelly' - I don't know why I don't like it. I was looking at the lyrics and was like, 'Oh, that's that sort of clever, trying to be witty American college rock.' Maybe I'm just jealous of [Wayne Coyne] because he gets to float around in that balloon at all of these glamorous rock festivals that I don't get invited to. But something in the sound of the record and in the way he sings it and in his voice, I'll fly across the room, or if I'm in the car, I'll poke randomly at the radio just so I can make it stop. There are other ones as well: Jack Johnson, Mumford & Sons, or Edward Sharpe. It's just a sort of blanket artist that I can't stand. 'Jeremy' by Pearl Jam will come on and I'll switch that off."

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4. Common.

"Common, an elder statesman in hip-hop, has reached out to the new breed of talent coming up in the game. The Chicago native has recorded a song with Vince Staples. When asked about the Long Beach native, Common said, 'I like him. He's cold on the mic. When I heard him rapping, I was like, This dude can really rhyme.' It made me want to write."

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5. R. Kelly.

"R. Kelly will release his 12th studio album Black Panties on Nov. 11. The 'Bump n' Grind' singer revealed the release date at a recent listening session."

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6. Vic Mensa.

"It's been quite a run for Chicago hip-hop the last few years. Hard-edged drill music from the South Side led by Chief Keef, King Louie, Lil Durk and producer Young Chop hit nationwide first. Then came the soul-dipped textures of Chance the Rapper, Prob Cause and Tree.

"Now it's Vic Mensa's turn, with one of the most anticipated releases of the year, the Innanetape. Though packaged as a mix tape - a free, independently released project that is usually not taken as 'seriously' as an official album - Innanetape has steadily grown in ambition and scope since the South Side rapper began putting it together earlier this year. It puts Mensa's agile, high-energy delivery at the center of a kaleidoscopic array of multi-part arrangements that blend programmed beats and live instrumentation."

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7. James Iha.

"Former Smashing Pumpkins guitarist and co-founder James Iha has sold his four-bedroom, American Foursquare-style house in Edgewater for $545,000."

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8. Kanye West.

On Jimmy Fallon Monday night:

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9. Chief Keef.

"By early in the evening, Earl Sweatshirt and Chief Keef played to polarized yet hefty crowds, even though both acclaimed teen rhymeslayers got started substantially later than usual.

"Last year Keef, the troubled Chicago teen known for crime-soaked raps and a rap sheet to match, was a no-show for his Rock the Bells debut. It was a disastrous moment that resulted in boos and festival-goers throwing items onstage as a DJ struggled to contain the jeering crowd.

"Backed by an attention-craving entourage, the 18-year-old got lost Saturday in his own hype as he and his dozen-deep team struggled with sharing the mic. The posse rap approach can be pulled off at the fest, as evidenced by Black Hippy and Bone Thugs-N-Harmony, who would hit the stage later in the night, but it requires the hype men to know when to fall back and let their voices be heard."

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10. David Draiman.

"Disturbed frontman David Draiman has canceled a series of shows by his other band Device after his wife suffered complications with her pregnancy."

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 2:05 AM | Permalink

September 9, 2013

SportsMonday: The Gutsier Call

Others will gush about the fourth-and-a-foot call. Clearly the Matt Forte sweep behind rookie offensive linemen Jordan Mills and Kyle Long that gained eight yards, a key first down and immediately preceded the eventual game-winning, 19-yard touchdown pass to Brandon Marshall was not only the right move tactically, it was also the perfect play. But there was an even better call early in the drive that was most responsible for a Bear 24-21 victory over a very good, if mistake-prone at critical times, Cincinnati team on Sunday.

It was third-and-two at their own 26 and some sort of wide receiver slant or hitch or a toss to Forte in the flat were high-percentage options to at least gain a few yards and extend the drive. Instead, Cutler went over the top to Marshall with a beautiful pass down the right sideline for a 38-yard gain that put the Bears at the Cincy 36.

It was a gutsier call than the fourth-down call four plays later - and it was one of Cutler's most beautiful balls of the day.

Cutler is clearly at the top of his game as this season commences. He is throwing powerful spirals with the ball tilted down just a bit, making overthrow interceptions highly unlikely.

Other than a single mystery pick in which the culprit was probably a little bit of pressure that nudged the quarterback out of balance at the last second, the Bear signal-caller was sharp all day.

He also used his mobility particularly effectively at two critical junctures in the second half, first darting forward in the pocket to set up a big pass to Martellus Bennett during the team's first scoring drive of the second half, and then sprinting up the middle for a gain of 18 huge yards during the final touchdown march.

Cutler is in the best shape of his life and he will need to play better than he ever has to keep the Bears going in the right direction early in this season. It was disappointing when he again busted out the potential "year one in a new offense" excuse last week, but otherwise he has been confident and relaxed in just about all of his dealings with the media in the last month.

The rookie linemen were solid in their NFL debuts but a big reason they didn't look worse was Cutler's great instincts in the pocket.

Otherwise, the Bears benefited from just enough receiver size and strength, just enough star power (touchdowns from their three primary offensive weapons and a 58-yard field goal from one of the best kickers in NFL history) and just enough Cincinnati screw-ups.

There was also just enough ball-hawking cornerback defense (in between brutal breakdowns in the secondary - any time Major Wright actually wants to arrive on the outside in time to help defend a Bengal wide receiver instead of just trailing him into the end zone, that would be great) and just enough pass pressure at the very end (Shea McClellin's late sack).

Oh, and the Bengals lost this one more than the Bears won it. Not a good day for Marvin Lewis and his Cincinnati coaching staff. Whoever called that Bengals pass with the less than a minute to go in the first half, the one that went incomplete, stopping the clock at just under a minute remaining and ensuring the Bears would get the ball back, probably near midfield, should be fired.

Sure enough the home team gained just enough yards during the ensuing possession to set up Gould's field goal.

Finally, who is the assistant coach in charge of making sure Marc Trestman eats? The head coach looks almost frail at this point, doesn't he? Someone needs to play the ethnic grandma around Halas Hall and make sure Trestman's caloric intake stays high.

Plus, the weather was mild yesterday. The man will need to put on some pounds and then some if he is to survive the winter.

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

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 7:56 PM | Permalink

The [Monday] Papers

"Mayor Rahm Emanuel on Monday will appoint an outspoken former alderman to represent Chicago on Metra's board of directors as the commuter rail agency tries to bounce back from a summer mired in controversy," the Tribune reports.

"During his time as 43rd Ward alderman from 1975-87, Oberman openly sparred with powerful mayors and became known as the council's dean of independents. He advocated for ethical reform and sued to get basic budget information from the city."

Yeah, but that was a long time ago. Oberman is hardly considered a reformer these days, though the Trib only hints at his assimilation into the Machine.

"Along with serving as first general counsel for the Illinois Racing Board, Oberman has chaired the city's Committee on Public Records and Information and recently sat on Emanuel's Midway Airport Advisory Panel. He also helped file a friend-of-the-court brief on behalf of Emanuel's campaign during the controversy over whether Emanuel met Chicago's residency requirements to run for mayor."

How reformist of him. (See Rahm's Rules.)

*

But that's not all.

"Last year, [Oberman] wrote an opinion piece in the Tribune supporting what he said was transparency in Emanuel's administration. Despite that piece, Oberman said he's not in Emanuel's camp but feels the mayor has done a good job cleaning up City Hall."

Gack! (See Rahm's Fake Transparency. And that was in 2011.)

"Mayor Rahm Emanuel has revolutionized disclosure in city government, and he should be applauded," Oberman wrote in that Op-Ed.

That's so laughable I'd be embarrassed for Oberman if I thought he was sincere. (See also Chicago Journalists Report Dismal Information Access.)

*

There was another Op-Ed the Trib didn't mention that he wrote for them: The one in which he and his son advised abolishing the RTA, which seems relevant because the RTA oversees Metra

"Ever wonder why traffic keeps getting worse?" the Obermans wrote.

"Even with Mayor Rahm Emanuel's aggressive leadership to bring new companies, jobs and workers to Chicago, you might think that the economy's overall weakness and rising gas prices would keep many of us out of our cars."

You might think - I mean, given Rahm Emanuel's aggressive leadership. He's awesome.

*

"Former independent alderman and longtime reformer Martin Oberman is Mayor Rahm Emanuel's pick to replace Larry Huggins as a Metra Board member, even though Oberman concedes he is an infrequent Metra rider," the Sun-Times reports.

"I'm not there as a person who rides Metra every day,'' Oberman, 68, told the Chicago Sun-Times on Sunday. "I'm a bicylist.''

Perfect.

*

"As someone who lives in Lincoln Park and works downtown, Oberman said he uses Metra mostly to get to Ravinia in Highland Park."

Perfecter!

*

"Asked when he last rode a Metra train," Greg Hinz reports for Crain's, "Mr. Oberman said in 'July, to go to a Ravinia concert.' Asked when he had ridden a Metra train anywhere else, Mr. Oberman said he could not recall."

*

Finally, let's not forget:

"As thousands of Illinois social service agencies, hospitals, schools and vendors were waiting months for overdue payments from the state, Gov. Pat Quinn's office pushed out a $285,000 payment to a prominent Chicago Democrat last month, just two weeks after a settlement was reached in a lawsuit, state records show," AP reported in 2011.

"Former Chicago alderman Martin Oberman and four other lawyers were the winners in a lawsuit that forced a special election last fall to fill the last 60 days of President Barack Obama's term in the U.S. Senate. As governor, Quinn was named as a defendant, and therefore the state was required to pay legal fees after a federal appeals court ordered the special vote.

"Quinn's office agreed to a settlement on the fee with Oberman on Aug. 29, but the invoice to pay the bill was dated June 30, and the state cut the check Sept. 15, according to documents obtained by The Associated Press through the Illinois Freedom of Information Act and other state records.

"In one email about the bill, a staffer in the governor's office writes to another that the attorney general, who defended Quinn in court, was pressing 'to get it paid quickly, I'm not sure why.' The governor's budget office then sent the bill to the comptroller, who paid it two days later.

"Both state officials and Oberman dismissed questions about whether political connections or clout had anything to do with the expedited payment. Like Oberman, Quinn and Attorney General Lisa Madigan are Chicago Democrats. Comptroller Judy Baar Topinka, whose office ultimately pays the bills, is a Republican, but a spokesman said her staff relies on the governor's priorities in making those calls.

"'Why it was paid when it was paid? I'm not privy to how those things are figured out,' said Oberman, an alderman from 1975 to 1987 and a three-time candidate for state attorney general."

He just took the money and ran.

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The NSA Is Out Of Control
Even Obama admits he has no idea what they're up to.

SportsMonday: The Gutsier Call
It happened four plays before the one everybody is talking about.

The Weekend In Chicago Rock
Absolutely loaded.

Including: Chance the Rapper, Carnage, The Cedric Burnside Project, Superchunk, Aimee Mann & Ted Leo, Jon Langford, Girl Group Chicago with the Revelettes, Neko Case & Kelly Hogan, Mavis Staples, Trampled by Turtles, Nude Beach, Kendrick Lamar, Bourgeous, Charlie Sexton, Colin Hay, and Secrets.

The Cub Factor
Theo's Plan Is Killing Us.

The Negro In Illinois
More than 70 years in the making.

The White Sox Report
How 'Bout Those Bears.

24 Hours With Al Jazeera America
Returning news from exile.

Fall Fun At The Forest Preserve!
Stars, stories, s'mores and more.

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The Beachwood Tip Line: Fall fun.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 1:58 PM | Permalink

The NSA Is Out Of Control

The latest.

* Washington Post: "The Obama administration secretly won permission from a surveillance court in 2011 to reverse restrictions on the National Security Agency's use of intercepted phone calls and e-mails, permitting the agency to search deliberately for Americans' communications in its massive databases, according to interviews with government officials and recently declassified material."

* Der Spiegel: "The US intelligence agency NSA has been taking advantage of the smartphone boom. It has developed the ability to hack into iPhones, android devices and even the BlackBerry, previously believed to be particularly secure."

* Fantástico: "One of the prime targets of American spies in Brazil is far away from the center of power - out at sea, deep beneath the waves. Brazilian oil. The internal computer network of Petrobras, the Brazilian oil giant partly owned by the state, has been under surveillance by the NSA, the National Security Agency of the United States."

* ProPublica: "The National Security Agency is winning its long-running secret war on encryption, using supercomputers, technical trickery, court orders and behind-the-scenes persuasion to undermine the major tools protecting the privacy of everyday communications in the Internet age, according to newly disclosed documents.

"The agency has circumvented or cracked much of the encryption, or digital scrambling, that guards global commerce and banking systems, protects sensitive data like trade secrets and medical records, and automatically secures the e-mails, Web searches, Internet chats and phone calls of Americans and others around the world, the documents show."

* The Local: "A Swedish expert said it's 'quite likely' Sweden helps the NSA tap intelligence information flowing through underwater cables in the Baltic Sea, adding Sweden's government leaders certainly know about the operations."

* Foreign Policy: "On Aug. 1, 2005, Lt. Gen. Keith Alexander reported for duty as the 16th director of the National Security Agency, the United States' largest intelligence organization. He seemed perfect for the job. Alexander was a decorated Army intelligence officer and a West Point graduate with master's degrees in systems technology and physics. He had run intelligence operations in combat and had held successive senior-level positions, most recently as the director of an Army intelligence organization and then as the service's overall chief of intelligence. He was both a soldier and a spy, and he had the heart of a tech geek. Many of his peers thought Alexander would make a perfect NSA director. But one prominent person thought otherwise: the prior occupant of that office.

"Air Force Gen. Michael Hayden had been running the NSA since 1999, through the 9/11 terrorist attacks and into a new era that found the global eavesdropping agency increasingly focused on Americans' communications inside the United States. At times, Hayden had found himself swimming in the murkiest depths of the law, overseeing programs that other senior officials in government thought violated the Constitution. Now Hayden of all people was worried that Alexander didn't understand the legal sensitivities of that new mission.

"'Alexander tended to be a bit of a cowboy: Let's not worry about the law. Let's just figure out how to get the job done,' says a former intelligence official who has worked with both men. 'That caused General Hayden some heartburn.'"

* New York Times: "After disclosures about the National Security Agency's stealth campaign to counter Internet privacy protections, a congressman has proposed legislation that would prohibit the agency from installing 'back doors' into encryption, the electronic scrambling that protects e-mail, online transactions and other communications."

* TechDirt: "I mean, part of the problem here is we get these through the press and then I've got to go back and find out what's going on with respect to these particular allegations."

* Washington Post: "Google is racing to encrypt the torrents of information that flow among its data centers around the world in a bid to thwart snooping by the NSA and the intelligence agencies of foreign governments, company officials said Friday."

* Yahoo!: "Yahoo filed suit in the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court (FISC) [Monday] morning demanding the right to publicly disclose the number of user data requests that we receive from the U.S. Government under national security statutes."

* Guardian: "Ex-FBI Lawyer Linked To Surveillance Abuses Poised For Federal Judge Post."

* Jennifer Hoelzer: "The NSA Didn't Actually Address All of FISC's Section 702 Concerns."

* New York Times: "Decision to Publish Against Government Request Was 'Not a Particularly Anguished One.'"

* EFF: "Leaks Show NSA is Working to Undermine Encrypted Communications, Here's How You Can Fight Back."

* Guardian: "How To Foil NSA Sabotage: Use A Dead Man's Switch."

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Previously:
* Patriot Act Author Joins Lawsuit Against NSA.

* Obama's Promises Disappear From Web.

* Why NSA Snooping Is A Bigger Deal In Germany.

* Item: Today's NSA Briefing.

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

* Song of the Moment: Party at the NSA.

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

* What NSA Transparency Looks Like.

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

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

* The Surveillance Reforms Obama Supported Before He Was President.

* America's Spying: Worse Than You Think.

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

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

* Six Ways Congress May Reform NSA Snooping.

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

* Does The NSA Tap That?

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

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

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

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

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

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

* Obama's War On Truth And Transparency.

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

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

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

* Daniel Ellsberg: Obama Has Committed Impeachable Offenses.

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 12:58 PM | Permalink

Theo's Plan Is Killing Us

This week in Cub Factor news:

* Theo Epstein Tells Doris Davis To Fuck Off And Die.

* Pete Ricketts Tries To Buy Nebraska Governorship After Failing To Buy Nebraska Senate Seat.

* Future Cubs Disappointments Still Far Away.

* Cody Ransom Assigned Term Paper On How He Is So Bad The Cubs Designated Him For This Assignment.

* Cubs Forced To Live Vicariously Through Alternate Calendar.

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The Week in Review: The Cubs lost two of three to both the Marlins and the Brewers, and also lost the interest of any remaining fans following this season.

Week in Preview: The Cubs go on the road for three with the Reds and four with the Pirates because Major League Baseball insists that the schedule be played out.

The Second Basemen Report: Who even cares anymore.

The Third Basemen Report: Smurphy!

Wishing Upon A Starlin: Who even cares anymore.

The Legend of Dioner Navarro: When the one player set to cash in on a career year is Dioner Navarro, you know you're in trouble.

Endorsement No-Brainer: Cubs fans for euthanasia.

Laughable Headline of the Week: Chicago Cubs Continue To Improve Little By Little.

Deserted Cubs: Tony Campana's OBP is .413 in 19 games with the Diamondbacks.

Ameritrade Stock Pick of the Week: Shares of Mock Screens are trading up.

Sveum's Shadow: Dale Sveum's Five O'Clock Shadow zooms to 11:59 p.m. because he's just one minute shy of not giving a shit either. And just like his Uncle Lou, he realizes there comes a time when a man must decide whether to get fired on your feet or manage on your knees.

Shark Tank: The putative staff ace isn't battling enough.

Jumbotron Preview: Five-thousand-seven-hundred square-feet of overpriced wheat water.

Kubs Kalender: Wait 'til next year 2015 2016 2017.

Over/Under: Attendance at the last home game of the season on September 25: +/- 15,000 including PIrates fans.

Beachwood Sabermetrics: A complex algorithm performed by The Cub Factor staff using all historical data made available by Major League Baseball has determined that the gentrification of the Cubs is complete - and filled with irony.

The Cub Factor: Unlike Alfonso Soriano Starlin Castro, you can catch 'em all!

The White Sox Report: Know the enemy.

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The Cub Factor welcomes your comments.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 11:28 AM | Permalink

How 'Bout Those Bears

He played in just 12 games for the Yankees in 1919 with just a couple of singles in 22 at-bats, not exactly the kind of numbers that would enable him to stick around the next season when Babe Ruth arrived in The Bronx.

However, his life in professional sports was just beginning for the 24-year-old George Stanley Halas.

Once again, all 53 Chicago Bears displayed the "GSH" initials on their left sleeve on Sunday, as they presented new coach Marc Trestman with a 24-21 victory 94 years after the team's founder tried to figure out how to hit the curve in the American League.

Folks who feel a sense of relief now that football has returned need not be weighed down with guilt. Even though the baseball season has three more weeks to run before it reaches its merciful conclusion, no one needs to chastise local fans for abandoning ship weeks ago.

If there was any doubt about the White Sox' resolve, their recent nine-game losing streak - which ended yesterday with a 4-2 win in Baltimore - showed us for once and for all that this is, indeed, a sorry bunch.

When George Halas turned his attention to forming the Decatur Staleys, then the Chicago Staleys, and finally, in 1922, the Chicago Bears, baseball was unchallenged as the top dog. If an athlete was talented, he was a baseball player.

The Olympian Jim Thorpe was playing on the other side of New York in 1919 with the crosstown Giants. Apparently he had less trouble than Halas with the curveball since Thorpe hit .252 in six seasons. But the allure of the newly-formed American Professional Football Association - the forerunner of the NFL which debuted in 1922 - wasn't lost on Thorpe, who both coached and played for the Canton Bulldogs, one of the original 14 teams.

Thus, Halas and Thorpe were the first athletes to play both in the major leagues and the NFL.

The most recent was Drew Henson, out of the University of Michigan, who played briefly with the Yankees in 2002-03 and almost just as ephemerally in the NFL beginning with the Cowboys in 2004.

In between were 67 other athletes who played both in the NFL and MLB.

The most famous and exciting of these was, of course, Bo Jackson, who was an All-Star in two sports with the Kansas City Royals (1989) and the Oakland Raiders (1989-90).

Jackson has a special place in White Sox lore, having played on the South Side in 1991 and 1993, the latter year after hip-replacement surgery resulting from four seasons running the ball for the Raiders.

Bo's 16 homers and 45 RBI helped propel the '93 Sox to 94 wins and a Western Division title. If such an honor existed, Bo probably would qualify as the most beloved Sox player who played in the fewest games (108) for the South Siders.

Raiders owner Al Davis allowed Jackson to finish the baseball season before reporting for football duty. That's how much he valued Bo's services.

Deion Sanders was a fourth outfielder for the Yankees and Braves in 1989-94 - his final season was in 2001 with Cincinnati - but he would skip out on the weekends to play DB for the Falcons.

My lasting impression of Prime Time was the afternoon in Yankee Stadium when he failed to run out a pop-up against the White Sox. Carlton Fisk was catching for the Sox and the Hall-of-Famer delivered an on-field lecture to Sanders about respecting the game.

I regret that Fisk hasn't been available to offer the same tirade this season on the occasions when our current athletes have opted to jog to first base.

Anyway, many of the dual athletes played just a few games of either baseball or football, and the phenomenon was most prevalent in the 1920s and '30s. Brian Jordan in the 1990s was notable for leading the Falcons in tackles one season before focusing exclusively on baseball over a 15-year career. The $1.7 million the Cardinals offered may have had something to do with Jordan concentrating solely on the diamond.

Paddy Driscoll also needs to be mentioned. He played briefly for the Cubs in 1917 before a career in the NFL which saw him as Halas's assistant coach for many years and then succeeding GSH as head coach in 1956. Unlike Trestman, Driscoll did not win his first game, but he did lead the Bears to the NFL championship game against the Giants in 1956, where the Bears were trounced 49-17. Driscoll's two-season record as head coach was 14-10-1.

The two sports were intertwined for decades because many pro football teams shared stadiums with their baseball brothers. The Bears played at Wrigley Field. In fact, Halas named them in deference to the Cubs. The field was laid out north to south. The back of the north end zone coincided with the left field wall, which was less than convenient for receivers running full steam in pursuit of potential touchdown passes.

Johnny Unitas made his debut at Wrigley Field - and later played there in what some still call the greatest game ever. It was also a dangerous place to play; the Colts' Lenny Moore made contact with the bricks at top speed one afternoon trying to haul in one of Johnny Unitas's bombs. No medical explanation has ever been divulged as to how Moore retained consciousness. I'm puzzled why the Cubs never showed Alfonso Soriano film of the collision as an incentive for Fonzi to shed his aversion to getting near the ivy.

Meanwhile, the Chicago Cardinals played football at Comiskey Park before escaping to St. Louis after the 1959 season. In those days, the Bears were good and the Cardinals miserable - they were 2-10 in their final season in Chicago - but baseball-wise the roles were reversed; the Sox competed every year while the Cubs had Ernie Banks and little else.

Of course, the current season can described as depressing, woeful, miserable, inept, awful - there simply are no remaining adjectives to apply to the White Sox. Just when they displayed a bit of life last month, winning 16 of 23 games, they took off on a 10-game road trip and promptly lost the first nine. Their road record now stands at 25-51. That's hard to do. Even for a bad team.

The dependable starting pitchers couldn't find the plate in three losses to the Red Sox, walking 10 batters in just over 11 innings.

In the 9-1 loss on Monday in New York, the Yankees' eight-run fourth inning was the lowest of the low for the Sox. Catcher Josh Phegley couldn't handle a routine pop-up. Pitcher Dylan Axelrod failed to retire any of the first seven batters, and manager Robin Ventura sat in the dugout while a 1-0 deficit continued to grow with each hitter. Why wouldn't Ventura lift Axelrod? Maybe he's past caring.

Relievers Nate Jones and Donnie Veal blew Tuesday's game after Chris Sale held the Yankees to five hits over 7 1/3 innings. In 3-1 and 4-0 losses in Baltimore on Thursday and Friday, the Sox had a total of 10 hits. Closer Addison Reed blew a 3-2 lead in the 10th inning on Saturday, resulting in a 4-3 loss. And Reed came close to doing the same thing Sunday, before an Oriole baserunning gaffe closed out the game and gave the victory to Andre Rienzo.

Last week was like most weeks. Just fill in the names and attach bases in balls, stranded baserunners, errors, pickoffs, missed cutoff men - you name the mistake and lack of execution and you can summarize the Sox performance.

Just be thankful that we baseball devotees now have the diversion of football.

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Roger Wallenstein is our man on the White Sox. He welcomes your comments.

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1. From Bill Blackwell, former general manager of the Charlotte Knights:

Although he never played in the NFL, Sox first-round draft pick Joe Borchard was a two-sport standout in college. Joe is the only player to ever play in a College World Series and start at QB in the Rose Bowl in the same year. He played in the same era as Drew Henson and while playing in Charlotte we considered having a promotion with a pre-game contest between Henson and Borchard throwing the football. Joe was given the largest signing bonus at the time, to give up football. Although he consider it several times during the latter years of his career, he never left baseball. Henson, on the other hand, did trade his batting helmet for one with a cage on the front but didn't enjoy any better of a career in football than he had in brief trials in the major leagues.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 9:20 AM | Permalink

About The Negro in Illinois

"Brian Dolinar's new book, The Negro in Illinois: The WPA Papers, was released this summer, and if the title sounds dated it's because the book began its long road to publication in the late 1930s but was sidelined by two formidable obstacles - World War II and a rejection letter," Dawn Turner Trice writes in the Tribune.

"How Dolinar came to complete the book is a story of a nearly decade-long effort to do justice to work started by a team of more than 100 African-American writers hired to document black life and history for one of President Franklin Roosevelt's Works Progress Administration programs.

"To recreate the manuscript, Dolinar searched for missing chapters across several states and painstakingly sifted through more than 10,000 pages of documents typed on cheap paper that at one point had been disintegrating.

"Some of the original writers, such as Richard Wright, would go on to great acclaim. And because many of them were novelists and poets, their writing style wasn't at all dry but literary as they wrote about a variety of issues and people, including entertainers like Louis Armstrong; a young Nation of Islam; President Abraham Lincoln's Haitian-born barber; and an entrepreneur whose chicken shack later would be featured in Wright's Native Son."

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Bio:

"Brian Dolinar is a scholar of African American literature and culture from the Depression era. He is the author of The Black Cultural Front: Black Writers and Artists of the Depression Generation (2012), published by the University Press of Mississippi, and editor of The Negro in Illinois (2013), published by the University of Illinois Press.

"His articles have appeared in Langston Hughes Review, Southern Quarterly, and Studies in American Humor.

"He has taught a variety of classes in ethnic studies, education, U.S. history, composition, and literature.

"In Spring 2012, he taught a class on the Black Chicago Renaissance in the Department of African American Studies at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. For this class, he made the list of excellent teachers, compiled by the university from student evaluations."

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Testimonial:

"For decades, scholars and enthusiasts of the Black Midwest have lamented the abortive end to the WPA's The Negro in Illinois project, the most ambitious New Deal study of African-American life and history. Now this treasure can enjoy the wide readership it always deserved.

"Working with the Harsh Research Collection and other archives across the country, editor Brian Dolinar has located all 29 chapters of the original survey, written by the cream of the Chicago Renaissance generation, and he has supplemented their work with illuminating and helpful annotation.

"The result is equal parts epic, elegy and captivating ledger of the contributions and circumstances of African Americans in Illinois, from frontier and slavery days to the emergence of the Black Metropolis.

"This volume is testament to the extraordinary capacities of African Americans in Chicago and Illinois, and to how their story encapsulates that of a nation."

- Adam Green, University of Chicago

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Q&A with Dolinar.

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Upcoming appearance.

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 8:48 AM | Permalink

24 Hours With Al Jazeera America

Returning news from exile.

Midnight: Return From Exile

1 a.m.: News

1:30 a.m.: Sex Slavery

2 a.m.: News

2:30 a.m.: Natural Selection in China

3 a.m.: Return From Exile

4 a.m.: News

4:30 a.m.: Real Money With Ali Veshli

5 a..m.: News

7 a.m.: News

7:30 a.m.: The Stream

8 a.m.: News

9 a.m.: Consider This

10 a.m.: News

10:30 a.m.: My Neighborhood

11 a.m.: News

11:30 a.m.: TechKnow

Noon: News

12:30 p.m.: Talk to Al Jazeera

1 p.m.: News

2 p.m.: China Rising

3 p.m.: News

4 p.m.: Inside Story

4:30 p.m.: Tiger Parenting

5 p.m.: News

6 p.m.: Real Money With Ali Veshli

6:30 p.m.: The Stream

7 p.m.: News

8 p.m.: America Tonight

9 p.m.: Consider This

10 p.m.: News

11 p.m.: America Tonight

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Previously:
* 24 Hours With QVC
* 24 Hours With Tru TV
* 24 Hours With Current TV
* 24 Hours With The Military Channel
* 24 Hours With The Hallmark Channel
* 24 Hours With TVGN
* 24 Hours With Retroplex
* 24 Hours With Penthouse TV
* 24 Hours With The DIY Network
* 24 Hours With BET
* 24 Hours With CNBC
* 24 Hours With WWMEB
* 24 Hours With PRISM TV

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 8:29 AM | Permalink

The Weekend In Chicago Rock

You shoulda been there.

1. Chance the Rapper at UIC's Spark in the Park festival on Thursday night.


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2. Carnage at the Concord on Saturday night.

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3. The Cedric Burnside Project at Reggies on Saturday night.

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4. Superchunk at the Hideout Block Party on Saturday.

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5. The Both (Aimee Mann & Ted Leo) at the Hideout on Saturday.

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6. Jon Langford at the Hideout on Saturday.

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7. Girl Group Chicago with the Revelettes at the Hideout on Saturday.

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8. Neko Case at the Hideout on Friday night.

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9. Mavis Staples at the Hideout on Friday night.

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10. Trampled by Turtles at the Hideout on Friday.

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11. Nude Beach at the Hideout on Friday.

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12. Kendrick Lamar at Spark in the Park on Thursday night.

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13. Borgeous at the Concord on Saturday night.

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14. Charlie Sexton at SPACE in Evanston on Friday night.

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15. Colin Hay at Park West on Saturday night.

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16. Secrets at Mojoes in Joliet on Saturday night.

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 7:38 AM | Permalink

Fall Fun At The Forest Preserve!

Fall is the perfect time of year to get out and explore the Forest Preserves of Cook County. In addition to daily programs at the Forest Preserves' six nature centers, the autumn season also includes a number of special events taking place in locations throughout the County. All events are family-friendly and most are free. Among the highlights:

Canyon Tours
FREE: Sagawau Environmental Learning Center, 12545 W. 111st Street, Lemont. September: Sundays, 1 p.m. October: Saturdays, 1 p.m. November: Sundays, 1 p.m.

The Sagawau Canyon is the only natural exposure of bedrock in Cook County. Formed more than 400 million years ago, the canyon is being carved ever deeper by a stream. Join naturalists for a hike down the canyon to learn how it was formed and what lives there. Be prepared to wade through a stream.

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60th Annual American Indian Pow Wow
Busse Woods Reservoir, Higgins Road, east of I-290, Elk Grove Village
September 13 - 15. Friday: free education day for school groups. Saturday, 10 a.m. - 10 p.m. with Grand Entry at 1 and 7 p.m. Sunday, 10 a.m. - 5 p.m. with Grand Entry at noon.

Experience Native American dance, drumming, food, art wares, films and fun. Plus, don't miss traditional dance competitors from all over the country. In partnership with the American Indian Center of Chicago.

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Fishin' Buddies Fall Fishing Derby
FREE: Wampum Lake, I-90/94 & Thornton-Lansing Road, Thornton-Lansing. Saturday, September 14, 8 a.m. - 2 p.m.

This annual family fishing derby is perfect for novices and reel masters alike

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Forest Jams
FREE: Cummings Square, 536 N. Harlem, River Forest. Thursday, September 19, 6 - 9 p.m.

Enjoy the sounds of Steckman Studio and its OutLoud After-School Performers. West African Djembe Ensemble Low End Theory and dance band Ru Ja Veev finish up the evening. Jam with the musicians, using instruments made out of natural and recycled materials.

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Family Campout
Bullfrog Lake, 9600 Wolf Road, Willow Springs. Saturday, September 21, 2 p.m. - Sunday, September 22, 10 .am

One hundred families will sleep under the stars, cook over a campfire and enjoy night hikes, canoeing, story-telling and more. Presented in partnership with the Chicago Park District. Food and tents provided.

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Archaeology Day
FREE: Sand Ridge Nature Center, 15891 S. Paxton, South Holland. Saturday, September 21, 10 a.m. - 3p.m.

Join us for a day of activities to promote a better understanding of historic Native American culture. Guided hikes, archaeology displays, activities, crafts and more.

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Hike and Seek
Bemis Woods South, Ogden Ave. & Wolf Rd., Western Springs. Saturday, September 28, noon - 3 p.m.

Explore nature trails with fun activities, learning stations and a scavenger hunt. Hosted by the National Wildlife Federation. Fee and registration required.

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Art in Nature
FREE: Crabtree Nature Center, 3 Stover Road, Barrington Hills. Sunday, September 29, 10 a.m. - 4 p.m.

Watch up to 50 artists painting along our scenic trails. Listen to live music, view artwork for sale and vote for your favorite artist. Try your hand at creating your own artwork - materials and instruction provided. Kids can sculpt, paint or draw.

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Annual Arts and Crafts Fair
FREE: Little Red Schoolhouse Nature Center, 9800 S. 104th Avenue, Willow Springs. Sunday, October 6, 9 a.m. - 5 p.m.

We're celebrating our 48th Annual Arts and Craft Fair! Artists of all kinds, from painters to carvers to photographers, will sell their work inspired by local nature. Plus, music, food, hikes and more!

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Fall Festival
FREE: River Trail Nature Center, 3120 N. Milwaukee, Northbrook. Sunday, October 20, 10 a.m. - 4 p.m.

Join us as we celebrate this colorful season with a special day of autumn fun. Beekeeping, honey, hay rides and much more!

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An Evening at Trailside Museum
FREE: Trailside Museum, 738 Thatcher Avenue, River Forest. Friday, November 8, 5 - 8 p.m.

Get up-close and personal with your neighborhood nature center. Sample a variety of programs and crafts, chat with naturalists and view our entire mammal furs and skulls collection. A rare behind-the-scenes program will show how we prepare food for our live animals. Light refreshments will be served.

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Leave No Child Inside: Family Fun Day!
FREE: Sand Ridge Nature Center, 15891 S. Paxton, South Holland. Saturday, November 9 ,10 a.m. - 2 p.m.

Bring the kids, spend time outside and have fun with our naturalists. Activities include games, an obstacle course, a nature scavenger hunt and more.

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Films in the Forest
FREE: Cummings Square, 536 N. Harlem, River Forest. Thursday, November 21, 6 - 9 p.m.

The Forest Preserves outdoor film series moves inside. A feature or documentary film with environmental themes will be shown.

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41st Annual Settlers' Day
FREE: Sand Ridge Nature Center, 15891 S. Paxton, South Holland. Sunday, November 24, 10 a.m. - 3 p.m.

Celebrate our heritage by stepping back into America's past. Don't miss costumed living-history demonstrators, history hikes, crafts, an imaginary wagon train adventure and more! Admission is free, though donations of nonperishable food or money, to benefit a local food depository, will be gratefully accepted.

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FAMILY NIGHT OUT: STARS, STORIES AND S'MORES
FREE: Bring the whole family to enjoy an evening in the woods. We'll have a fire, storytelling, snacks and other nature activities.

Saturday, September 28, 6 - 9 p.m.
Thatcher Woods Pavilion
8030 Chicago Ave., River Forest

Thursday, October 17, 6 - 9 p.m.
Cummings Square
536 N. Harlem Ave., River Forest

Friday, October 18, 6 - 9 p.m.
Dan Ryan Woods Pavilion, Grove 5
87th and Western, Chicago

Saturday, November 2, 5 - 9 p.m.
Eggers Grove Comfort Station
11201 S. Avenue B., Chicago
Celebrate the "Day of the Dead" tradition.

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ARCHERY
FREE.

Afterschool Archery
Relax and refocus after school. Staff provides instruction in this workshop for ages 10 and up. Parents welcome!

Wednesday, September 11, 5:30 - 7:30 p.m.
Eggers Woods, Grove 3
11201 S. Ave. B, Chicago

Wednesday, September 25, 5:30 - 7:30 p.m.
Thatcher Woods
8030 Chicago Ave., River Forest

Thursday, October 24, 4:30 - 6:30 p.m.
Eggers Woods, Grove 3
11201 S. Ave. B, Chicago

Friday Night Workshop
Dan Ryan Woods Pavilion, Grove 5, 87th and Western, Chicago
Friday, October 18, 5 - 7 p.m.

Open to those with all levels of experience, beginner to expert. Learn from a certified instructor, share tips and enjoy the outdoors. Pack a dinner picnic and stay awhile.

Beginners Workshop
Thatcher Woods, 8030 Chicago Avenue, River Forest
Saturday, October 26, 1 - 4 p.m.

Never tried archery before? Learn about the history of archery, parts of the bow and proper technique from a forest preserve instructor. All ages welcome; age-appropriate bows and arrows available for kids under 10. Other games and activities will also be provided.

Teen Archery and Outdoor Exploration
Dan Ryan Woods Pavilion, Grove 5, 87th and Western, Chicago
Friday, November 1, 9 a.m. - 5 p.m.

Teens are invited out to participate in a day of archery and fun. Other games and exploration activities will also be provided by Forest Preserve staff.

Family Archery & Outdoor Exploration Day
Dan Ryan Woods Pavilion, Grove 5, 87th and Western, Chicago
Saturday, November 16, 1 - 4 p.m.

Bring the family to enjoy nature and participate in our Family Archery Workshop, for kids and adults. Instruction provided. Other games and exploration activities will also be provided by staff.

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PADDLING
FREE.

Bullfrog Lake Paddle
Bullfrog Lake, 9600 Wolf Road, Willow Springs
Saturday, September 21, 9 - 1 p.m.

Join us for a morning of paddling around Bullfrog Lake. Paddling instruction provided. Bring your own canoe or use one of ours.

Fall Paddle Skokie Lagoons
Skokie Lagoons, Tower Road Boat Launch, Tower Road, east of I-94, Northfield
Saturday, October 5. 1:30 - 5 p.m.

Enjoy the fall season on the water and with other fall activities including pumpkin painting and a 10-passenger voyageur canoe.

Fall Paddle Powderhorn Lake
Powderhorn Lake, 13817-14451 S. Brainard, Burnham
Saturday, October 12, 1:30 - 5 p.m.

Enjoy the fall season on the water and with other fall activities including pumpkin painting and a 10-passenger voyageur canoe.

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 12:17 AM | Permalink

September 7, 2013

The Weekend Desk Report

We could all benefit from breaking with the Old Style. Trouble is, the the alternative is usually not much better.

Market Update
The cost to reach Nowhere appears to have outpaced the rate of inflation significantly.

Silliana
Of course, to reach this particular corridor of nowhere, you have to pass through a shit-ton of graft.

Metra Fail
Actually, pretty much every thoroughfare in Illinois passes through that.

School Of Thought
One way to lower the staggering cost of public education is to intentionally destroy it. Another way is to stop turning a blind eye to the endemic abuse and corruption that threaten to bankrupt the entire system.

Food For Thought
One way to lower the staggering cost of public education is to intentionally destroy it. Another way is to stop turning a blind eye to the endemic abuse and corruption that threaten to bankrupt the entire . . . you know what? Forget it.

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The Weekend Desk Tip Line: Endemic.

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The College Football Report: That's A Clown Quarterback, Bro.

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The Blue & Orange Kool-Aid Report: And A Black Unicorn Shall Lead Them.

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Syria Briefing: Inside The Syrian Opposition's D.C. Spin Machine.

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NSA Briefing: Google Encrypts Data Amid Backlash Against NSA Spying.

"It's an arms race," said Eric Grosse, vice president for security engineering at Google, based in Mountain View, Calif. "We see these government agencies as among the most skilled players in this game."

So it's the government against its own people.

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The Sound Opinions Weekend Listening Report: "Jim and Greg are the Rock Doctors. They prescribe an epic workout playlist for a martial arts instructor in need."

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The CAN TV Weekend Viewing Report: CAN TV brings you local, relevant issues from Chicago's neighborhoods and communities. See what's happening around the city in education, the arts, government, cultural events, social services and community activities.

Royce Glamour Show

9-2-RoyceGlamour.jpg

Local performers sing, dance and share their talents in front of a live audience - as they have on this show for the past 20 years.

Saturday at 7 p.m. on CAN TV19.

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Community Forum: Rincon Family Services

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Eddy Borrayo explains how Rincon Family Services serves as a catalyst for improving the health and well-being of families on Chicago's Northwest Side.

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

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Perspectivas Latinas: Proyecto Latina

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Authors Paloma Martinez-Cruz, Coya Paz and Sandra Santiago read from the Proyecto Latina anthology Rebeldes and discuss the state of Latina and Latino literature in Chicago.

Saturday at 8 p.m. on CAN TV21.

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The Story Behind Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.'s Dream

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Author and journalist Gary Younge tells the story of Martin Luther King Jr.'s powerful "I Have a Dream Speech" through first-hand accounts from King's speechwriter and other civil rights leaders. An intergenerational panel also reflects on the meaning of King's words today.

Sunday at 9 a.m. on CAN TV21.

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Pullman Porter Museum: "Honoring the Brotherhood Weekend"

9-2-Pullman.jpg

The Pullman Porter Museum commemorates the founding of America's first black labor union and the 50th anniversary of the 1963 March on Washington.

Sunday at 11 a.m. on CAN TV21.

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Grady's Notebook: Adaptive Adventures

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Joel Bergman, executive director of Adaptive Adventures, highlights different ways physically disabled children, adults and veterans can still participate in outdoor sports like skiing, kayaking and biking.

Sunday at 9 p.m. on CAN TV19.

Posted by Natasha Julius at 8:06 AM | Permalink

September 6, 2013

The [Friday] Papers

"Zvonko Busic, a Croatian nationalist who served 32 years in prison in the US for hijacking a plane and also planting explosives that killed a policeman, has committed suicide," the Telegraph reports. "He was 67.

"Busic led a group of five who in 1976 hijacked a TWA plane flying from New York to Chicago with about 80 passengers and crew members on board, and also planted a bomb in a locker at New York's Grand Central railway station that killed a policeman."

Chicago Cornhole
"Argentine farmers can add dry weather to the list of reasons not to sow corn this year, having already factored in high financing costs, tumbling Chicago corn futures prices and crop price distortions caused by government export curbs," Reuters reports.

Chicago, Um, Hole
"After picking two finalists for a lucrative lease of Midway Airport, Mayor Rahm Emanuel's administration Thursday abruptly halted its efforts to take the transportation hub private," the Tribune reports.

I have more reading to do on this development, but my initial understanding is that one of the two finalists dropped out for reasons that haven't been made public, and the remaining bidder had an embarrassing conflict of interest that probably wouldn't have deterred Rahm if not for the Amer Ahmad affair. Rahm probably wanted that bidder all along - and maybe other finalist saw the writing on the wall - but the timing suddenly isn't politically right.

Of course, that's more speculation than I like to do but I just haven't plowed through all the coverage yet.

Chicago Doodle
"Note to junior high kids who have to do a report on an influential person: Pick Jane Addams," says Entertainment Weekly.

"Today's Google Doodle celebrates what would have been the 153rd birthday for the progressive-era social activist, who is best known for co-founding Hull House in Chicago, a place where new immigrants as well as the poor could land on their feet

"It featured educational courses for adults, art classes, open kitchens, day care and many other social welfare programs, helping around 2,000 people each week.

"Addams' inspiring social work was political as well: A champion for the women's suffrage movement, she also was president of the Women's International League for Peace and Freedom and a humanitarian assistant to President Hoover, winning the Nobel Peace Prize in 1931. She died in 1935."

Rahm would've hated her.

Trained Seal
"Don Mann, a former Seal Team Six member, will deliver a keynote address at the 69th NationaLease Annual Meeting in Chicago," Fleet Owner reports. "The annual meeting, to be held Sept. 22-23, 2013, is open to member company executives.

"Mann was twice captured by enemy forces and most recently assisted in the training of the Seal Team Six members who participated in the raid and killing of Osama bin Laden."

Trained Shark
"CIOsynergy, a provider of thought-leading conferences, today announced Robert Herjavec will be the keynote speaker at CIOsynergy Chicago event in Illinois, at the Affinia Manhattan hotel on Thursday, September 26, 2013."

Whitley's Spit
"After twelve years as President of the Illinois Chamber of Commerce, Doug Whitley's retiring next year," WUIS reports.

"Whitley says he's leaving disappointed, as the latest data showed Illinois with the second highest unemployment in the nation, behind Nevada.

"And he says political leaders haven't done enough about it, except for one - Chicago's mayor: 'With the exception of Mayor Rahm Emanuel, I don't hear any other political leaders in our state talking about jobs, trying to recruit jobs, trying to announce new jobs and showing a sincere concern with unemployment,' Whitley says."

Sometimes the stuff people say is so dumb and the appropriate rebuttal is so obvious that I'm at a total loss as to how to respond while maintaining my dignity.

Chicago Developer Does Detroit
"An investor from Chicago could actually gain control of the Packard Plant next week," Deadline Detroit reports.

"If he is successful in carrying out his vision to turn the complex into housing and businesses, it would be by far the most remarkable redevelopment project Detroit has seen."

You'll have to click through to find out who it is.

Beachwood Photo Booth
Stop The Killing Car.

The College Football Report
That's A Clown Quarterback, Bro.

The Week In Chicago Rock
Good times at Mojoes. Plus: Lupe Fiasco, The White Buffalo, Flume, Parachute, Purity Ring and Protohype.

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Suicide Scrutiny
"No one seems to know why Paul Tilley, the 40-year-old creative chief of ad agency DDB Chicago, jumped to his death from the window of the Fairmont Hotel in Chicago on Friday," the New York Post reports.

Oops, this story is from 2008. Showed up now for some reason on Google as being posted this morning. Maybe the new design of the Post's website kicked a bunch of old stuff out. Sorry.

"But that hasn't stopped a barrage of finger pointing on several advertising blogs at the center of a controversy about what role, if any, they played in Tilley's suicide.

"Most of the anger appears to be directed at two sites - Agency Spy and Adscam - that subjected Tilley to scrutiny leading up to his death. Both bloggers defended their coverage yesterday."

(The Post did not supply links; I haven't looked them up yet.)

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The Beachwood Tip Line: At your service.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 9:33 AM | Permalink

The Week In Chicago Rock

You shoulda been there.

1. Lupe Fiasco at the Aragon on Thursday night.


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2. The White Buffalo at Schubas on Sunday night.

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3. Flume at the Metro on Wednesday night.

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4. American Head Charge at Mojoe's in Joliet on Wednesday night.

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5. Matisyahu at Mojoe's in Joliet on Tuesday night.

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6. The Peachtree at Mojoe's in Joliet on Tuesday night.

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7. Parachute at the Bottom Lounge on Wednesday night.

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8. Purity Ring at the North Coast Music Festival on Sunday night.

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9. Protohype at the House of Blues for a North Coast aftershow on Sunday night.

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 8:47 AM | Permalink

The College Football Report: That's A Clown Quarterback, Bro

Could Sam Houston St. upset Texas A&M?

That's a clown question, bro.

But Johnny "Football" Manziel will upset somebody on Saturday, because he's a clown quarterback.

To review: Out of 800 total possible points, ala the SATs, Manziel earned a 740 in the opener for his antics after entering the game against Rice. Suspended for the first half for pseudo-allegations of NCAA rules stemming from signing some autographs, Manziel drew a penalty for taunting a Rice defender following a touchdown, his third, in the fourth quarter. Texas A&M head coach Kevin Sumlin was displeased in the sophomore's behavior and yanked him from the game early.

Still, the talking heads who seized on the chance to weigh in, with escalating hyperbole, were a bit hard to take:

* ESPN's Matt Millen, the worst general manager ever: "I would bench him this week after I gave him a size-13 in the rear end."

* ESPN's Mark May, liar: "[He's] a very selfish player that doesn't care about his teammates."

* Lou Holtz, age 76: "I would have grabbed him by the throat."

* Barry Switzer, age 75: "I wanted to jerk his face mask and I wanted to grab him. Of course you get fired for that now; in the old days you could get away with that."

Ah, the good old days, when you could grab a player by the face mask, call their girlfriends fat, and beat on assistant coaches. Oh wait, all that still happens. Just ask Nick Saban.

Incidentally, there is an argument to be made that ESPN uses a double standard, harshly judging the controversial Manziel while other high profile players (like Tim Tebow, also not above mocking opponents)) get a free pass. We won't bother, but have at it if you feel so compelled. (Also: Please tell us Manziel is not a ratings godsend as everyone tunes in to see what happens next - with the pump primed by indignant ESPN "analysts.")

Amidst all the blather, kudos to Jay Leno for poking fun at Manziel and, indirectly, everyone so stirred up about the latest incident.

And a hat tip to Deadspin for providing the world with The Only Johnny Manziel GIF You'll Ever Need.

Comeback Of The Week
The Hendrix College Warriors will take the field Saturday after a 53-year absence from college football.

Hendrix football debuted in 1906 but insufficient financial support forced the school to drop the sport in 1960.

Coach Buck Buchanan will field a team of 55 players, including 48 freshmen, in the season opener against the Westminster (Mo.) Blue Jays.

Welcome back, Warriors.

Suspension Of The Week
Georgia kicker Marshall Morgan will miss his second game this weekend, after pleading guilty to two counts of "boating under the influence" during the offseason.

Georgia head coach Mark Richt should add "Studies in Restrained Exuberance" and "Unsafe At Any Knot: Drunken Boating" to his offseason regimen.

Injury Of The Week
Georgia receiver Malcolm Mitchell, the Bulldogs' top returning receiver, will miss the remainder of 2013 with a torn ACL

Mitchell suffered the injury last week while celebrating a long touchdown run by teammate Todd Gurley in the first quarter. The Bulldogs (#5 at the time) went on to lose to Clemson, 38-35. Ouch.

Dismissal Of The Week: Illinois RB Dami Ayoola
The Illini haven't released any specifics behind his release, but we just wanted to see the name "Ayoola" in print one more time.

Buckeye Broadcast: Conversation level (60dB)
Not to short Ohio State, we'll be measuring (in decibels) the hysterics surrounding the Buckeyes. This week, the level holds steady after beating Buffalo 40-20. If anything, that the Buckeyes only led by 10 at one point in the second half (30-20 in the 3rd quarter) may damp down the enthusiasm.

Clowney Coverage: Heavenly
Remember when we marveled at Clowney's stats last season? (We weren't alone - Clowney impressed the rest of football, including the pros, many of whom projected Jadeveon as the first overall pick had he entered the draft.) In 2012, he ran a 4.58 40-yard dash at 257 pounds. Before South Carolina started spring practice this year, he was clocked at 4.54 - while weighing 274 pounds. So, to recap: He has one more year of experience, is bigger and faster.

The First Presbyterian Church in Athens, GA implored a higher power for answers to Clowney's pass rush as the #11 Bulldogs host #6 South Carolina on Saturday. Or so it seemed . . . but it was just a promotion for ESPN's College GameDay.

Rolling Tide
With all the preseason hype (see the short list from Week One), Alabama (#1) merits a weekly update. The Tide beat Virginia Tech in the opener, but didn't dominate. Sophomore RB T.J. Yeldon netted just 75 yards on 17 attempts and looked shaky as an every-down back, missing pass protection assignments and showing signs of fatigue. The 4th quarter resembled a sleepy spring practice, as the Tide managed only 43 yards on 17 plays.

The game turned on two plays on special teams. Midway through the 2nd quarter, the Hokies were driving, down 21-7, but only managed a field goal. On the ensuing kickoff, 'Bama's Christian Jones scored on a 94-yard return, his second (!) of the game after running back a punt for 77 yards and a TD just four plays into the game. Tack on a receiving touchdown by Jones, and Alabama didn't need the extra 14 points to win 35-10.

Despite all the big plays that made the highlights, the Tide faithful should hope the O-line shapes up quickly. The stout Hokies D will pare in comparison to the units 'Bama has to face in conference play. The early bye week this Saturday should help.

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Our picks for Week Two:

Tennessee Tech vs. #21 Wisconsin (-45)
Washington State vs. #25 USC (-15.5)

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The Take Any Team Against The Kentucky Wildcats strategy started the year with a W, as the Western Kentucky Hilltoppers took the points (+4.5) and the game, winning straight up 35-26. This week the Wildcats welcome Miami (OH) to Commonwealth Stadium. Kentucky is favored (-17) but the smart money, as always, is on the Redhawks.

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

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 7:12 AM | Permalink

Beachwood Photo Booth: Stop The Killing Car

Love one another.

stopthekillingcar11infr.jpg(ENLARGE FOR PROPER VIEWING)

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Stationery, iPhone cases, hoodies.

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Previously:
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Chicago Man Grilling
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Yum Yum Donuts
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Chicago Father's Day
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Vintage Airmaster
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Chicago Time
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Window Shade
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Illinois Slayer
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Chicago Fire Escape
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Golden Nugget
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Hollywood, Chicago
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Flag Man.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Van In Flames.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Fluid Power Automation.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Corn Dog.

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 6:56 AM | Permalink

September 5, 2013

The [Thursday] Papers

Syria Briefing:

* "Secretary of State John Kerry's public assertions that moderate Syrian opposition groups are growing in influence appear to be at odds with estimates by U.S. and European intelligence sources and nongovernmental experts, who say Islamic extremists remain by far the fiercest and best-organized rebel elements," Reuters reports.

* "In the more than two years this civil war has carried on, a large part of the Syrian opposition has formed a loose command structure that has found support from several Arab nations, and, to a more limited degree, the West. Other elements of the opposition have assumed an extremist cast, and openly allied with al-Qaeda," the New York Times reports in a piece headlined "Brutality Of Syrian Rebels Posing Dilemma In West."

"Across much of Syria, where rebels with Western support live and fight, areas outside of government influence have evolved into a complex guerrilla and criminal landscape.

"That has raised the prospect that American military action could inadvertently strengthen Islamic extremists and criminals."

* "Days later and we still have no idea where Secretary of State John Kerry got that amazingly precise number of 1,429 killed in the alleged Syria chemical agent attack," Greg Mitchell writes for The Nation. "He hasn't cited full sourcing for it or taken questions on that. He merely claims he can't say because it would 'compromise' intelligence, which sounds like utter bull. President Obama also cited the death toll as fact in public statements beating the drums for war.

"And all other sources put the number a little or a lot lower. Why does this matter in the current debate? Obviously the higher number, particularly with the also unproven claim of more than 400 dead kids, is meant to sell a US military attack to the American people - and that's why it's a key claim. That 1,400 number makes the latest attack seem so much worse than earlier alleged Assad chem attacks, which we did not find horrible enough to claim they crossed the 'red line.'

"Despite all that, most in U.S. media for days still cited the number with little qualifying or probing. It was often said that Kerry 'revealed' the number of deaths, not 'claimed.'"

* "This is the trend in the totally subservient U.S. media: when the U.S. gets along with a foreign potentate, the coverage is favorable, and when things turn sour, the coverage turns unfavorable," As'ad AbuKhalil writes at The Angry Arab News Service.

"We have seen this before so it is one of the most predictable pattern. Let me summarize: when the potentate is in the U.S. pocket, he is a 'moderate,' and when he turns against the U.S., he become another Hitler (or a drug smuggler in the case of Noriega). Mrs. Asad was portrayed as 'glamorous' and now there are all those articles about her 'lifestyle.' But let me ask you this: when was the last time you read anything about any of the multiple wives of Saudi or UAE or Qatari rulers' wives?"

Go read the rest. It's brief but devastating.

* "In a dazzling display of chutzpah, the White House is demanding that Congress demonstrate blind trust in a U.S. intelligence establishment headed by James Clapper, a self-confessed perjurer," former CIA analyst Ray McGovern writes for Consortium News.

"That's a lot to ask in seeking approval for a military attack on Syria, a country posing no credible threat to the United States. But with the help of the same corporate media that cheer-led us into war with Iraq, the administration has already largely succeeded in turning public discussion into one that assumes the accuracy of both the intelligence on the apparent Aug. 21 chemical weapons attack in Syria and President Barack Obama's far-fetched claim that Syria is somehow a threat to the United States."

* "Every U.S. soldier is taught the importance of complying with law, including international law, in every task he or she undertakes," Jack Goldsmith writes at Lawfare. "They are also taught that dishonor or worse follows from violating this law. Many of the soldiers and all of the lawyers involved in the Syria planning will surely feel at least a little uneasy about a military action that the President acknowledges does not pass the test of international legality."

Eliciting this:

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* "The discussion about Syria when G20 leaders meet in St. Petersburg on September 5 and 6 should address the member countries' abysmal response to the Syrian crisis as a whole over the past two years," Human Rights Watch says. "While G20 leaders are unlikely to agree on the response to the alleged chemical attack on Syria's suburbs or the big picture for Syria, they should at least agree on concrete measures that can provide protection, justice and assistance to Syria's victims."

As HRW suggests, the alternative to military strikes isn't to simply do nothing, even if that's how the administration is framing it and the media is presenting it.

The headline on the HRW post is "G20: No Excuse for Inaction on Syria."

The subhead is: "Provide Urgent Aid, Halt Flow of Arms to Abusive Forces, Support ICC Referral."

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The X Factor
Last Friday, based on the Tribune's reporting on the Amed Ahmar Affair, I wrote that "I wouldn't say [city CFO Lois] Scott is exactly being fit for the jacket on this one, but clearly her business dealings bear more scrutiny."

And I tweeted this:

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The Tribune follows up today with more excellent reporting that digs the hole a bit deeper for Scott - and illustrates exactly how "wash each other's backs" politics (and business) works.

"E-mails from 2009-10 show Ahmad was the central figure clearing the way for Scott's financial consulting firm to receive bond work in Ohio," the Trib found.

After an election that knocked Ahmad and his boss out of the Ohio treasurer's office, "Scott's aide [Julia] Harris e-mailed Ahmad, asking for his resume and assuring him he'd soon have another job, records show. Harris would go on to serve as a member of Emanuel's transition team, which spearheaded the hiring of the mayor's top staffers, including Ahmad."

The whole story is highly recommended.

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Half-Baked Whole Foods
With city subsidies still being worked out and Whole Foods' admitting it doesn't yet know what it will stock or how it will price its goods there, it seems even clearer today than it was yesterday that the announcement of a Whole Foods store coming to Englewood three years from now was a classic political maneuver by a mayor stung badly last week by a news report that quite simply found him to - once again - be a liar.

Suddenly, Rahm is nationally known as the guy who is bringing a Whole Foods to one of the nation's most notorious neighborhoods instead of the guy who not only makes promises he doesn't keep, but claims to have kept them despite what the record shows.

And the fact that the announced store is a Whole Foods is what makes it an international story; if it was a Jewel, nobody outside of the city would care. (In fact, there's an Aldi less than two blocks from the proposed Whole Foods site. And Aldi owns Trader Joe's, Whole Foods' chief rival. Wonder how Aldi feels today.)

But the contrast of plopping such a lifestyle brand into a community commonly thought to exist at the opposite end of that lifestyle is too much for the media to resist. The result is a certain kind of mesmerization that overwhelms an ability to do the job at hand: report skeptically.

With a groundbreaking three years off in the distance - if at all, because, you know, things happen - the immediate reporting ought to focus on why the announcement was made now and how the deal came together (if it is together). The story demands to be placed in the context of the Tribune report as well - though it's not easy when the paper has put it behind a paywall. Way to hide your work from the world!

It would be a much better(-reported) world if the media glommed on to the Trib's report the way it's glommed on to Rahm's (fact-free) media spectacular.

Meanwhile, the whole (no pun intended) of Whole Foods' dealings with the city deserve scrutiny. That doesn't assume anything evil is going on, it's just that that's our job.

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For example, is this deal in any way tied to this deal?

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Elsewhere on the Beachwood today:

Patriot Act Author Joins NSA Lawsuit
"Congress never intended the Patriot Act to permit the NSA's collection of the records of every telephone call made to, from and within the United States."

And A Black Unicorn Shall Lead The Bears
In The Blue & Orange Kool-Aid Report.

Chicagoetry: Stationary Freight Car
Do not apply vibrators.

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The Beachwood Tip Line: Glom on.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 8:52 AM | Permalink

Patriot Act Author Joins Lawsuit Against NSA

The Electronic Frontier Foundation [Wednesday] filed a brief on behalf of Rep. Jim Sensenbrenner (R-WI), the author of the original USA PATRIOT Act, in a case brought by the American Civil Liberties Union against the National Security Agency.

In the brief, Sensenbrenner argues that Congress never intended the Patriot Act to permit the NSA's collection of the records of every telephone call made to, from and within the United States. Sensenbrenner urges the court to deny the NSA's motion to dismiss and grant the ACLU's motion for a preliminary injunction, which would halt the program until the case is decided.

In early June, The Guardian published a classified document leaked by former NSA contractor Edward Snowden detailing how the agency is vacuuming up call data from the Verizon phone network under the auspices of Section 215 of the Patriot Act. Within days, the ACLU filed a lawsuit to defend Americans' rights to privacy, due process, and free speech. Meanwhile, a coalition of legislators - led by Sensenbrenner, who served as chairman of the House Judiciary Committee when the Patriot Act passed - openly criticized the agency's practices as far exceeding the surveillance authority granted by Congress.

"I stand by the Patriot Act and support the specific targeting of terrorists by our government, but the proper balance has not been struck between civil rights and American security," said Sensenbrenner. "A large, intrusive government - however benevolent it claims to be - is not immune from the simple truth that centralized power threatens liberty. Americans are increasingly wary that Washington is violating the privacy rights guaranteed to us by the Fourth Amendment."

In July, the EFF filed a separate lawsuit against the NSA on behalf of 18 diverse organizations, including gun advocates, environmentalists and churches, arguing that Section 215 violates the First Amendment right to association. Today's brief in the ACLU case is another prong in EFF's robust strategy to end the collection of millions of innocent Americans' telecommunications data.

"Congress did not grant intelligence agencies unbounded record-collecting authority," EFF senior staff attorney David Greene said. "The law was crafted to allow the NSA to obtain only records that were relevant to 'an authorized investigation.' The NSA admits that the vast majority of the records it collects bear no relation to terrorism. The program's limitless scope vastly exceeds what Congress intended."

See the full amicus brief here.

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Previously:
* Obama's Promises Disappear From Web.

* Why NSA Snooping Is A Bigger Deal In Germany.

* Item: Today's NSA Briefing.

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

* Song of the Moment: Party at the NSA.

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

* What NSA Transparency Looks Like.

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

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

* The Surveillance Reforms Obama Supported Before He Was President.

* America's Spying: Worse Than You Think.

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

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

* Six Ways Congress May Reform NSA Snooping.

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

* Does The NSA Tap That?

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

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

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

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

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

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

* Obama's War On Truth And Transparency.

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

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

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

* Daniel Ellsberg: Obama Has Committed Impeachable Offenses.

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 8:07 AM | Permalink

Chicagoetry: Stationary Freight Car

Stationary Freight Car

1.
TCMX
35013

LD LMT 221600
LT WT 64400

2.
DO NOT HAMMER ON CAR

DO NOT APPLY VIBRATORS
TO ANY PART OR CAR BODY
EXCEPT VIBRATOR BRACKETS
USE ON LOADED CAR ONLY

3.
WILLIAMS WAYWARD THERMAL BOND EXTERIOR
APPLIED PARAGOULD 07-2009
CARBOLINE LINING 992
APPLIED PARAGOULD 07-2009

CAUTION DO NOT USE STEAM
BOILING WATER OR SHARP OBJECTS
TO CLEAN ENTER CAR WITH
CLEAN SOFT SOLED SHOES

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

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More Tindall:

* Chicagoetry: The Book

* Ready To Rock: The Music

* Kindled Tindall: The Novel

* The Viral Video: The Match Game Dance

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 7:50 AM | Permalink

The Blue & Orange Kool-Aid Report: And A Black Unicorn Shall Lead Them

Unwilling to remain mired in competitive purgatory, Phil Emery has put his stamp on the franchise by installing a coaching staff that emphasizes a check-down-centric passing attack while making no changes to the defense at all.

For those of you who watched Swamp Road Boo Boo Truckers: Amish Invasion instead of the NFL Network in June (you're goddamn right I want to see Sterling Sharpe's childhood shanty), I'll take a moment to summarize the offseason.

  • March - Emery tells Brian Urlacher he's got a work thing "super early," then offers him the $2 million on the dresser for cab fare before curling up in a bunch of blankets strewn about a conference room table and snoring at a cartoonish volume.
  • April - the Bears address positions of need by drafting a youthful GMC truck spokesman and a linebacker who punches pieces of shit like you for breakfast.
  • May - Evan Rodriguez is arrested for DUI. He would be cut a week later, and while "conduct detrimental to the team" was the reason officially cited, insiders confirm that if he had showcased more elusiveness, he'd be on the team for another six years.
  • June - Gabe Carimi is traded to Tampa Bay for what was supposed to be a signed picture of Warren Sapp wearing his new gold jacket, but turned out to be just a Cedric The Entertainer headshot. However, the trade was accepted by the Bears . . . which was more than a little racist.
  • July - Questions about diversifying the offense are met with an apathetic shrug as Jay Cutler targets Brandon Marshall 17 times during training camp's first press conference.
  • August - In four Bear preseason games, the only thing we learn is that the Viking's offensive line must be a lot worse than we thought, because J'Marcus Webb is now in their employ.

Blue And Orange Is The New Black Unicorn
Obfuscated by the historic levels of futility at the quarterback and wide receiver positions is the blight on professional football known as the Chicago Bear tight end.

Get out your easel, flip chart and over-sized Sharpie. Jot down your top five Bear tight ends.

No, I will not accept "the guy from the '85 team," or just yelling "DITKA!"

While both are correct, I guarantee you that Emery Moorehead would roll over in his watery grave* if he knew that his name eluded you, given what he contributed to the championship squad.

Another brave tight end claimed by the sea.
Damn you Davie Jones!

But seriously, Davie Jones is 11th in franchise history for receptions by a tight end.

Enter Marcellus Bennett and his 50+ receptions. The former Giant brings with him . . .
Wait, it's "Martellus?" OK, fine.

In any case, by virtue of possessing a mediocre track record as a professional athlete who plays the tight end position, Martellus Bennett has become the eighth greatest Bears TE in history, so move over Dustin Lyman (14 receptions and 2 TDs in 2002).

Master B is also making a strong push to become the best Bear tight end in the rap game since G-Reg Olsen of the 7th Floor Crew.

That's right America, we've got a dude with a catch phrase! Have it chambered and ready for that first score.

"CAP'N CRUUUUNCH!!!"

Tiger Beat
As easy as it is to hone in on Peter BenJarvis Geraci Green-Ellis and the promising Cincinnati offense, the match-up to watch is the hey-look Bears O-line (as in, "hey look, they have an O-line) against the aggressive Bengals defensive front led by all-world tackle, Geno Atkins.

When asked about his new $55 million contract, Atkins described himself as a "vigorous, and noisy" lover and thanked the man upstairs for his new "Pimpcopter" that would allow him to "fly high enough to figure out where the hell Cincinnati is on the map."

Let's hope he gets lost up there; this dude is a beast.

Kool-Aid (4 Out Of 5 Glasses Of Milk)
. . . because I quit drinking since last season.

Hahahahahaha! Just kidding, I'm still a high-functioning alcoholic and will be laying waste to that vodka I hid in the file cabinet which holds empty binders labeled "Taxes: 2009" during my lunch break.

But enough about me. The ones with the real problem are the Bears.

This Bengals team is a legitimate contender. We have absolutely no idea what to expect out of this Chicago offense, other than Michael Ford will have 138 yards rushing.

I believe everything I see in the preseason, that's why I select Jeff Sorgi in the second round of my fantasy draft every year.

Here's the deal. If the Black Unicorn and Matt Forte combine for more than 10 receptions, it means Jay Cutler got rid of the ball fast enough for the offense to get traction and the Bears defense can take care of the rest.

Unfortunately, I don't think that's going to happen. The 2013 group is going to need a couple of weeks to figure out who they are.

Bengals 20
Bears 10

* Specializing in the sale of new residential construction, connect with Emery Moorehead from his watery grave on LinkedIn.

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Carl Mohrbacher is our man on the Kool-Aid. He welcomes your comments.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 12:09 AM | Permalink

September 4, 2013

The [Wednesday] Papers

"Illinois researchers are collaborating with scientists across the globe in a new project aimed at studying the universe and dark energy," AP reports.

"The Dark Energy Survey involves at least 200 scientists, including some from the University of Illinois, the University of Chicago and Fermilab in suburban Chicago."

Well, that makes sense since the source of so much of the universe's dark energy is nearby.

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Too easy? Maybe you thought I was going to go with Wrigley Field?

Hey, it's hard to stay fresh after seven years of doing this site.

Whole Paycheck
"While many city officials trumpeted the news of a Whole Foods coming to Englewood, some who've worked for years to sell fresh produce in the area advise cautious optimism and lots of education," WBEZ reports.

"They also question the sustainability of a Whole Foods in Englewood barely a week after Fresh Moves, a widely touted non-profit that sold produce in the area from converted CTA buses, announced it was shutting down its mobile operations due to lack of funds."

There's more to this story to digest - no pun intended - but for now I'm focused on the context more than the news itself, if you will. First, to the Twitter stream of WBEZ's Natalie Moore for insight:

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Now, to City Hall:

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This was the item I wrote up last week about that Trib report:

You Can't Eat Press Releases "Mayor Rahm Emanuel has rushed to declare 'great progress' in the war on food deserts, but the Tribune has found that many of his announcements about making healthy foods more readily available to Chicagoans have fallen short," Bill Ruthhart reports for the Tribune.

"Among the findings:

  • Two years ago, Emanuel proclaimed that Walgreen Co. would be selling fresh fruits and vegetables at 39 food desert stores by this June. City Hall counts nine that are open, but three of those are not in food deserts.
  • The mayor also announced that 17 new grocery stores would open in food deserts. Nearly two years later, just four of those are open and one is being built, with at least two of them approved before Emanuel took office.
  • Emanuel called on grocery CEOs at a 'food desert summit' to build stores on 11 parcels primed for development. All 11 lots remain vacant.

"After the Tribune contacted several supermarket and drugstore companies this month about the gap between what Emanuel pledged and what has been delivered, the mayor's press office put out a news release claiming its success in eliminating food deserts."

How Rahmellian.

Seeing as how there are no coincidences in Chicago politics, and seeing as how I would slice off my finger if someone could prove to me that Rahm didn't hit the roof after seeing the Trib story, and seeing how Rahm is a press release mayor, I can confidently say that the timing of this announcement is no accident - especially considering the store isn't scheduled to open until 2016 - so far off that the Cubs' top prospects aren't expected to arrive in the big leagues until just about then. And I'm pretty sure it doesn't take three years to build a grocery store. (Whole Foods CEO John Mackey said it took two years for his company to find this site, which is also highly questionable.)

More likely, Rahm called John and said "Bail me the fuck out or you'll be sorry!"

(By the way, the Ricketts' and Chick-fil-A must be wondering what values Whole Foods has that they don't.)

But the "news" has been a welcome distraction for City Hall, hasn't it? Safe Passage and shootings pushed aside while, and according to sources close to Google, Rahm's coup has spread much further and wider than the Tribune's far more important report, which has just dropped into a black hole.

See item 1.

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Elsewhere on the Beachwood today:

Follow The Mayor!
He's waving at you, or something.

The Bears' Magic Number Is 10
After all, they aren't worse than last year.

Local Music Notebook: Persons Of Interest
Including Lupe Fiasco, Neko Case, Kanye West, Robbie Fulks, Chief Keef, Andrew Bird, and Sammy Sosa.

The Cub Factor
Promotional Considerations.

Local TV Notes: Oprah & Al Jazeera
Right of the dial.

Fantasy Fix: Week 1 Jitters
Best player vs. optimum matchup.

Random Food Report: Chicken's Golden Age
Plus: Gentrified Jerks & Pepsi-Flavored Cheetos.

Local Book Notes: Lemony Snicket & The Coffin Haulers
Plus: Which books did Rahm supposedly read this summer?

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Pitch: Rahmony Snicket.

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The Beachwood Tip Line: A point of light.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 2:44 PM | Permalink

Follow The Mayor!

The Mayor's Office didn't provide any commentary when they uploaded this to YouTube recently, so we'll fill the gap


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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 2:24 PM | Permalink

Random Food Report: A Golden Age For Chicken

1. Jerky Boys.

"The Hillshire Brands Co. said Tuesday that it will acquire the maker of Golden Island jerky products," AP reports.

Why? Because they know jerky.


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2. The Charcoal Donut.

"A leading human rights group has called on Dunkin' Donuts to withdraw a 'bizarre and racist' advertisement for chocolate doughnuts in Thailand that shows a smiling woman with bright pink lips in blackface makeup," the Washington Post reports.

"The Dunkin' Donuts franchise in Thailand launched a campaign earlier this month for its new 'Charcoal Donut' featuring the image, which is reminiscent of 19th and early 20th century American stereotypes for black people that are now considered offensive symbols of a racist era.

"In posters and TV commercials, the campaign shows the woman with a shiny jet black, 1950s-style beehive hairdo holding a bitten black doughnut alongside the slogan: 'Break every rule of deliciousness.'

"Human Rights Watch said it was shocked to see an American brand name running an advertising campaign that would draw 'howls of outrage' if released in the United States."

Also, "Charcoal Donut" is not a winning product name.

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3. Why We Can't Get Enough Fried Chicken.

"Had you placed a bet a decade or two ago on what would be the 'It' dish of 2013, would you have put your money on fried chicken?" the Wall Street Journal reports.

"Old-fashioned, hard to eat, messy to cook, downmarket and déclassé, it once seemed to belong to the South - and not in a good way. Yet now, against all odds, this old-school classic is trending feverishly."

Even chicken gets gentrified.

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4. Can There Only Be One Giordano's?

"One of the city's best-known pizza chains is suing to force a suburban delicatessen to slice the word 'Giordano' out of its name," Crain's reports.

"Two entities that operate the Chicago-based Giordano's Famous Chicago Pizza empire filed a trademark-infringement lawsuit yesterday against a venture that runs an establishment in Downers Grove called Giordano Fresh & Crispy Pizza Co.

"The new deli's use of Giordano in its name, menus and on signage at its outlet 'has caused confusion and is likely to continue to cause confusion in the marketplace,' Giordano's Famous said in a complaint filed in U.S. District Court in Chicago.

"On Aug. 26, for example, a customer ordered a pizza online from Giordano's Famous but accidentally picked it up from Giordano Fresh & Crispy, according to the lawsuit. A Giordano's Famous franchise is located two miles from Giordano Fresh & Crispy, the complaint says.

"The customer later complained to Giordano's Famous that the smaller firm's pie 'was horrible' before realizing the mistake, the complaint says."

In a separate lawsuit, people are alleged to be idiots.

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5. Mighty Wings.

"What better way for the world's biggest restaurant chain to try and raise sales than by adding Americans' favorite protein, chicken, to the menu - actually, adding chicken wings, to be precise," NASDAQ.com reports.

"And that's what McDonald's intends to do when the company rolls out its new 'Mighty Wings' on September 9, with total U.S. coverage by September 24.

"And though one might roll their eyes at the burger joint's newest offering, one has to realize that Americans consume more chicken than any other country in the world; the U.S. consumes 83.6 pounds of chicken per capita, shelling out $70 billion in 2011.

"Chicken is an enormous segment of the U.S. food industry, and it appears as though McDonald's intends to increase its exposure . . . The National Chicken Council estimated that more than 13.5 billion chicken wings (which comes to over 3 billion pounds of chicken) were marketed as wings in 2012 - and that's not counting the wings sold that were attached to the whole bird. Of those 13.5 billion wings, an estimated 9.5 billion wings (2.2 billion pounds) were sold via foodservice channels."

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6. Count Chocula And Frankenberry Are Back, Bitches.

Reformulated into chicken.

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7. Double Stuf Oreos Are A Lie.

A kids' version of padded bras.

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8. McDonald's Is Selling A Squid Ink-Dyed, Black Bunned Burger In China.

From leftover Mac parts.

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9. Pepsi-Flavored Cheetos Hit Japan's Supermarket Shelves.

Will there be a diet version?

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10. Restaurant Drive-Thru Power Washing.

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 12:28 PM | Permalink

Local Book Notes: Lemony Snicket & The Coffin Haulers

1. Lemony Snicket Does Poetry.

"The September 2013 issue of Poetry magazine features a portfolio of 20 poems selected and annotated by children's author Lemony Snicket (Daniel Handler) and illustrated by Caldecott Award-winning artist Chris Raschka.

"The portfolio, entitled Poetry Not Written for Children That Children Might Nevertheless Enjoy, is, according to Snicket, a collection of poems 'all strange in some way, because all great literature is strange, the way all good slides are slippery.' Snicket's portfolio was born out of what might have otherwise been an unfortunate event.

Some time ago I found myself locked in the basement of the Poetry Foundation building . . . The basement is crammed with the efforts of poets living and dead, famed and forgotten, terrific and terrible . . . By the time it was safe for me to emerge, blinking, onto the streets of Chicago, I had gathered together the poems you now find here.
"Lemony Snicket is best known for A Series of Unfortunate Events. The second in his new series, All the Wrong Questions, is forthcoming in October 2013 and is called When Did You See Her Last?

"Handler first wrote for Poetry in January 2011.

"Poetry magazine and the Chicago Humanities Festival present Daniel Handler on Friday, November 1, at 6 p.m. at Francis W. Parker School.

"The September issue of Poetry also includes poems by W.S. Di Piero, Eliza Griswold and Maureen N. McLane; a notebook from Kay Ryan; and a review of Jonathan Galassi from Frederick Seidel."

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2. Inspiration.

"Poets meet muse at the September installment of our monthly bilingual poetry series, Palabra Pura, curated by Irasema Gonzalez and featuring poets Diana Pando and Xánath Caraza.

"'Inspiration' takes place Wednesday, September 18 at 7:30 p.m. at La Bruquena restaurant, 2726 W. Division. The program will be spoken in English and Spanish. Admission is free.

"The dynamic between artist and inspiration is at times a lovely dance and at others a bitter duel. Join us as we discover how two poets responded when Federico Garcia Lorca's version of duende, "that mysterious power that everyone feels but no philosopher can explain," extended a hand for a dance on the page."

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3. The Coffin Haulers.

"A crisp, October evening in 1974: As an attractive Polish immigrant walks the deserted streets of Chicago's Little Village neighborhood, she's filled with hope about her future. In a few hours she's found murdered in a gangway. It's a crime the police pursue without much interest, but for private detective Joey Boloccini it represents a chance to break the monotony of his fledgling career and achieve the success that's eluded him.

"At the heart of the mystery is the Pilsudski family - Anton, Mamie, Walter and Marek - known as The Coffin Haulers for the humiliating, low-paying job they perform. Yet no one is aware, especially the police, of how wealthy they are. The Pilsudskis have a family secret: It's not hauling coffins that bring in money, but what's inside them."

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4. Which Books Did Rahm Emanuel Supposedly Read This Summer?

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 12:01 PM | Permalink

Local TV Notes: Oprah, Ponzi, Al Jazeera

1. WGN Hangs Up On Oprah.

The best part is when Robin Baumgarten says "This is so typical. How do we cut off the one guest we've had that people might be interested in watching? We are such a pack of morons."


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2. Ponzi TV.

"The Securities and Exchange Commission charged an Indiana man with running a $6 million Ponzi scheme that defrauded investors out of their retirement savings and used the money to invest in a bridal store, a bounty hunter reality television show, and a soul food restaurant owned by the bounty hunters," Reuters reports.

The Indianapolis Star reports that "John K. Marcum illegally diverted much of the investors' funds to accounts he controlled, spending more than $500,000 to pay for an upscale lifestyle that included luxury cars, hotel stays, sports tickets, and tabs at a Hollywood nightclub, says the complaint by the Securities and Exchange Commission.

"But in a Robin Hood-like twist, the SEC lawsuit says Marcum also handed out investor money to a charity that provides jobs for ex-convicts. He also invested in several start-up companies. They included a bridal store, a bounty hunter reality TV show, and a soul food restaurant owned and run by the bounty hunters in the show . . .

"'Marcum tricked investors into putting their retirement nest eggs in his hands by portraying himself as a talented trader who could earn high returns while eliminating the risk of loss,' Timothy L. Warren, acting director of the SEC's Chicago office, said in a statement. 'Marcum tried to carry on his charade of success even after he squandered nearly all of the funds from investors.'"

Has this been greenlit yet?

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3. Al Jazeera Palooza.

"Al Jazeera America launched last week. The new television channel features such broadcast luminaries as Soledad O'Brien, Joie Chen, Sheila MacVicar, John Seigenthaler, David Shuster and Ali Velshi," Clifford D. May wrote in a widely circulated Op-Ed published by the Sun-Times on August 30.

Paul Beban, a regional correspondent, told the Denver Post's Joanne Ostrow that he "defuses suspicions about Al Jazeera America with 'a little bit of humor and friendliness.' " For example, when asked whether he is required to wear a burqa, Beban replies: "You know what? They were out of 42 long."

Such drollery notwithstanding, "some of the viewing public is more than a little wary of the latest entry in the field," Ostrow notes. Why do you suppose that might that be?

Perhaps start with the fact that Al Jazeera America, like its well-established Arabic-language sister station, Al Jazeera, is owned and lavishly funded by "the royal family of Qatar," the politest way of describing the petroleum-rich emirate's dynastic dictators - who also happen to be funders of Hamas, a U.S. government-designated terrorist group, and the Muslim Brotherhood.

I don't know about that, but Qatar is a rock-solid ally of America's, for better or worse.

"Qatar has built intimate military ties with the United States, and is now the location of U.S. Central Command's Forward Headquarters and the Combined Air Operations Center," Wikipedia notes.

"In 2011, Qatar joined NATO operations in Libya and reportedly armed Libyan opposition groups. It is also currently a major funder of weapons for rebel groups in the Syrian civil war."

Sounds like Qatar represents the interests of the U.S. government just fine.

As for Al Jazeera, it offers "real news" according to none other than Hillary Clinton. In fact, Al Jazeera and RT (formerly Russia Today) are making inroads in America precisely because they actually offer substantive reports from a variety of perspectives not considered by the celebrity-obsessed lapdogs that pass for news folk here in America. Hell, add the Guardian newspaper to that mix. It's a global world and global news brands are developing well beyond, say, CNN International.

From the Huffington Post:

"Viewership of Al Jazeera is going up in the United States because it's real news," Clinton said. "You may not agree with it, but you feel like you're getting real news around the clock instead of a million commercials and, you know, arguments between talking heads and the kind of stuff that we do on our news which, you know, is not particularly informative to us, let alone foreigners."

During the height of the crisis in Egypt, The Huffington Post's Ryan Grim wrote about Al Jazeera English's near-total invisibility on U.S. television.

Media critics like Jeff Jarvis have also contrasted Al Jazeera with American news networks. "Vital, world-changing news is occurring in the Middle East and no one - not the xenophobic or celebrity-obsessed or cut-to-the-bone American media - can bring the perspective, insight, and on-the-scene reporting Al Jazeera English can," Jarvis wrote in January.

That's Al Jazeera (in) English - not to be confused with Al Jazeera America. The early results look promising - and should excite and inspire other journalists.

Or, you could be blasé about it, like the Tribune's Eric Zorn, who writes that he's "skeptical that American viewers in large numbers will ever get past the 'Al Jazeera' brand and embrace a TV network based in Qatar, no matter how solid and compelling their journalism or how many U.S. journalists they hire."

More skeptical than the day a man named Barack Hussein Obama announced he was running for president?

Maybe it will take some encouragement from fellow media colleagues, but it's pretty facile to simply dismiss the channel based on its name.

"Research commissioned by the station shows Americans 'are not happy with the landscape of the news,'" Ehab Al Shihabi, executive director for international operations for Al Jazeera, told the Trib edit board recently.

"What CNN is covering, what FOX is covering, what MSNBC is covering - we don't consider this journalism," Al Shihabi said.

Amen.

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Related: Al Jazeera America Hires Former Tumblr-er Mark Coatney As Senior VP Of Digital Media.

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Disclosure: Like a ton of other American journalists, I, too, have sent a resume to Al Jazeera America (as well as RT and the Guardian).

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 10:21 AM | Permalink

Local Music Notebook: Persons Of Interest

1. Lupe Fiasco.

"Grammy-winning rapper Lupe Fiasco has lashed back at reports from gossip-driven website TMZ claiming he may be hiding money to protect an incarcerated drug kingpin from his estranged wife," SOHH reports.

Lets go to our correspondent in the breakroom:


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2. Neko Case.

On Fallon Tuesday night.

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3. Robbie Fulks.

Q&A with the Illinois Entertainer.

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The release party for Gone Away Backward is at the Old Town School on Friday. Sample:

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3. Chief Keef.

Losing cred.

Losing the homestead?

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4. Kanye West.

If he wanted to play for a dictator, he could have just played Chicago.

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5. Andrew Bird.

Silly love song.

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6. Cheap Trick.

Band Countersues Bun E. Carlos.

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7. Sound Opinions.

Brutal.

Why is there a Q in there?

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8. Sammy Sosa.

"Up-and-coming rap group World's Fair presents the final leak off of their Fools Gold debut album Bastards of the Party," Vibe reports.

"The track is titled after former Chicago Cubs' slugger Sammy Sosa and features Jeff Donna, Cody B.Ware, Nasty Nigel and Remy Banks.

"The title of the song is derived from a comment made about bleached skin between Remy and Nigel."

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9. Oceanborn.

"Hailing from Chicago, Oceanborn has confirmed the release of their full length debut for September 2013," the band has announced. "The album was predominantly recorded in Chicago at the band's studio."

Teaser video:

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10. Greg Tweedy.

Railroad Man, Brother Of Wilco Founder, Dead At 55.

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 9:29 AM | Permalink

Promotional Considerations

When you can no longer go to the ballpark for pleasure, you can go for the promotions. And the Cubs' September schedule is loaded.

Date: September 7
Promotion: American Doll Day
Comment: Fans are encouraged to come back in eight years when the doll can be equipped with her own "Old Style beer attachment" and "drunken frat boy - now with real hurl!"

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Date: September 8
Promotion: Chest Protector Backpack Giveaway
Comment: If only the backpack protected your front, where your heart resides, because they've been breaking that for the past 105 years.

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Date: September 20
Promotion: Halfway To St. Patrick's Day Celebration
Comment: Drink every time a Cub gets caught halfway between bases.

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Date: September 22
Promotion: Kids Run The Bases
Comment: Oh, and there's some sort of promotion, too.

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Date: September 23
Promotion: Zubazpalooza
Comment: Cubs introduce new alternate uniforms.

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Date:September 24
Promotion: Oktoberfest Celebration
Comment: A primer for Cub fans unfamiliar with that month.

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The Cubs will also give away each game to the first 25 guys who walk into the visting clubhouse.

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The Week in Review: The Cubs lost two of three to the Dodgers and took two of three from the Phillies last week, and have already lost the first two of a three-game set against the Marlins this week. Theo must be root, root, rooting against the home team because they're fourth in the reverse standings, a game-and-a-half behind the White Sox. If Dale wins too many more games, he might get fired.

Week in Preview: After the finale against the Marlins today, the Cubs get a day off before the Brewers come in for a weekend series. The Brewers are just a game behind the Cubs in the reverse standings, so they hope to gain some ground by losing some ground.

The Second Basemen Report: Who even cares anymore.

The Third Basemen Report: Smurphy!

Wishing Upon A Starlin: His new walk-up song.

The Legend of Dioner Navarro: Base-clogger.

Endorsement No-Brainer: Dioner Navarro for Comcast.

Laughable Headline of the Week: At 7-15, Edwin Jackson Expects To Rebound.

Deserted Cubs: Tony Campana's OBP is .413 in 16 games with the Diamondbacks. He's also becoming a highlight machine.

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Ameritrade Stock Pick of the Week: Shares of Patience are down as Cub fans realize the Opening Day lineup for next year looks exactly like the lineup today.

Sveum's Shadow: Dale Sveum's Five O'Clock Shadow hovers around 9:30 p.m. for another week as he loses interest as well. And just like his Uncle Lou, he realizes he should put in a full day on Friday but with vacation coming up, who can really concentrate?

Shark Tank: The Cubs staked him to a five-run lead against the Phillies but as he labored - again - by throwing 103 pitches in 6 2/3 innings, he gave all five back in an eventual 6-5 loss. His ERA is 4.13, which is hardly ace material. He did get another six strikeouts, though.

Jumbotron Preview: Five-thousand-seven-hundred square-feet of Jeff Samardzija coming out of the bullpen.

Kubs Kalender: Wait 'til next year 2015 2016 2017.

Over/Under: How many times Cub media uses the word "spoilers" over the remaining 24 games: +/- 240 times.

Beachwood Sabermetrics: A complex algorithm performed by The Cub Factor staff using all historical data made available by Major League Baseball has determined that it's not cute anymore.

The Cub Factor: Unlike Alfonso Soriano Starlin Castro, you can catch 'em all!

The White Sox Report: Know the enemy.

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The Cub Factor welcomes your comments.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 7:24 AM | Permalink

Fantasy Fix: Week 1 Jitters

One of the biggest challenges of managing a fantasy football team is submitting to the weekly sit-or-start crucible. And trying to decide who to sit and who to start is even tougher the very first week of the season, when you have nothing to go on but last year's performances and your own hunches.

The hardest sit-or-start decision I'm facing this week revolves around Torrey Smith. The fantasy football world seems to be in almost universal agreement that Smith is going to have a breakout year. He's a very fast, young receiver who made some big plays last year mostly as the No. 2 target for Joe Flacco, but the departure of Anquan Boldin and an injury to Dennis Pitta, combined with Smith's obvious talent and growing experience, make him a clear No. 1 who should get the ball often throughout the season.

Smith, however, squares off in the NFL's first Week 1 match-up on Thursday night against the traditionally tough Denver secondary. There is a chance veteran cornerback Champ Bailey won't be playing, but Denver's defense overall was tied for the NFL lead in sacks last year, and was fourth in fewest points allowed. I'm also wondering if Smith himself will be a little jittery in his first stint as his team's clear No. 1 target.

One of my alternatives to starting Smith is T.Y. Hilton, a much-hyped fantasy sleeper who is only a No. 3 receiver for the Colts, but in a few games late last year looked more like a No. 1.5. Hilton is facing off against an epically terrible Oakland team (bad even by recent Oakland standards). Hilton is forecast for fewer fantasy points than Smith this week, which is fitting for his presumed role in the offense, but I'm sure I'm not the only fantasy team owner having a tingly feeling that Hilton will torch the Raiders for 150 yards and two TDs.

It's a long season, but I would hate to start it off with a loss where the difference proves to be my decision to start one of these guys and sit the other. My gut is telling me to stick with Smith, who essentially is guaranteed to see more passes than any other receiver on his team. What would you do?

Expert Wire
* Bleacher Report likes the entire Indianapolis offense fantasy-wise vs. the Raiders.

* SI.com has some early waiver wire advice if you already hate your team.

* Fansided says you don't need a back-up fantasy QB.

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

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 1:08 AM | Permalink

SportsMondayWednesday: Bears' Magic Number Is 10

Perhaps the best way to approach a sports prediction is to think of oneself as a football team needing to travel a certain distance in a play or two.

There are manageable down-and-distance combos, such as Patriots and Packers predictions, that are the equivalent of a third-and-two.

There are teams that seem certain to finish with more than 10 victories this time around, but that sort of conversion (the team wins its 11th game and the pundit who prognosticated correctly earns a first down!) isn't terribly impressive.

Then there are this year's Bears. The 2013 Bears are fourth-and-20. There is no denying that the smart thing to do is punt.

But I was there last year when the Bears needed to drive more than 50 yards in less than 24 seconds at the end of regulation against the Seahawks at Soldier Field. And I watched a scrambling Jay Cutler find Brandon Marshall for the 56-yard completion that put the home team in position for Robbie Gould's game-tying 46-yard field goal.

Sure, the Bears then lost that game in overtime, but work with me here.

I will venture a prediction about this season's Monsters of the Midway, but any clear-thinking fan has to know that successful prognostication in this instance is a long longshot. And I must admit I'm only trying to get into field-goal range.

A touchdown would be nailing the number of wins. But I'm going to do what I have done in the past: Set an Over/Under number and say whether the team will enjoy a successful season that involves exceeding that total or falling short.

Setting the number at 10 is clearly the way to go. For one thing, the Bears won 10 last year. For another, double-digit victories is almost always the bar representing a successful season for any NFL team (last season's performance by the home team notwithstanding).

Let me also acknowledge that in this instance, a push (the team finishing with exactly 10 triumphs) is a win.

Given how bad I am at wagering on sports or blackjack or just about anything else, if I end up not losing money (which is of course what happens if an Over/Under bet ends in the equivalent of a tie), that has to qualify as a positive result.

And I'm taking the Bears to at least repeat last year's feat of 10 glorious Ws.

Others will spend time breaking down the specifics of this year's Bears chances, but the most important factor is the one that is absolutely unknowable: The team's health.

One thing that is knowable in that category is that the Bears fared better than the Packers during the preseason. The Bears seem ready to start the season with no leading players out with injury. The Packers lost arguably their best offensive lineman, tackle Bryan Bulaga, to a serious knee injury early in training camp that will keep him out all year.

Of course, for the Bears there is a whole new set of coaches and a whole new offensive line (except for the center, Roberto Garza - thank goodness for Roberto!). There are some promising new players on both sides of the ball but there are also plenty of stalwarts who are one year older and closer to their inevitable athletic demise.

Despite the age of so many critical defensive components, I was approaching a state of unabashed optimism until last week, when we learned of Marshall's highly unusual four-day break that ended Monday. If the wide receiver's sabbatical was so routine, i.e., if it had been planned well in advance, as the Bears brass maintained, well, can you identify any other player in the league who enjoyed a similar paid holiday?

If Marshall's hip is a problem and he is diminished, the whole offense takes a hit. The rest of the Bears receivers look solid, unless there isn't a stud at the top who will make big plays and be the quarterback's security blanket. Alshon Jeffery isn't ready to be a No. 1 receiver, tight end Martellus Bennett won't be able to get as open in the middle if Marshall isn't a significant threat on the outside, and so on.

But it has been a couple weeks since Jay Cutler last mentioned that when a new offensive system comes into play, a team usually doesn't really pick it up until its third season. Perhaps Cutler has stopped talking about that because someone pointed out to him that the three rookie quarterbacks who took their teams to the playoffs last year certainly had less time to perfect their coaches' systems than Cutler has had in this offseason. In other words, that excuse doesn't fly.

The offensive line has to be better than it was last year and Marc Trestman's offense will give Cutler the option on just about every play to get rid of the ball quickly. And difference-maker Matt Forte is clearly at the top of his game. That, along with a strong defense that suffered only one significant personnel loss during the off-season, translates into a better season than last.

I think.

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

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 12:38 AM | Permalink

September 3, 2013

The [Tuesday] Papers

Ten for Tuesday.

1. AP: Illinois National Guard Soldiers Head To Afghanistan.

"The Illinois National Guard says about 20 soldiers from a specialized unit are getting ready to deploy to Afghanistan, where they'll work alongside members of the Polish military."

2. Businessweek: Black Homeowners Disappearing Where Obama Got His Start.

"For most Americans, the real estate crash is finally behind them and personal wealth is back where it was in the boom. For blacks in the U.S., 18 years of economic progress has vanished, with a rebound in housing slipping further out of reach and the unemployment rate almost twice that of whites. The homeownership rate for blacks fell from 50 percent during the housing bubble to 43 percent in the second quarter, the lowest since 1995. The rate for whites stopped falling two years ago, settling at about 73 percent, only 3 percentage points below the 2004 peak, according to the Census Bureau."

3. PR Newswire: Culligan Named Official Bottled Water Provider for the United Center, Chicago Bulls and Chicago Blackhawks.

"'Hey Culligan Man!' may be the new cheer at the United Center this fall as Culligan has been named the Official Bottled Water Provider for the United Center, the Chicago Bulls and the Chicago Blackhawks."

4. Fast Company: Haunting Instagram Portraits Of All The Public Schools That Chicago Shut Down.

"This year, nearly 50 public schools - more than 10% of public elementary schools in Chicago - were shut down by Mayor Rahm Emanuel in a divisive budget-tightening push.

"Reporters followed exiled students as they crossed unfamiliar streets and gang boundaries under the watchful eye of the city's new 'Safe Passage' program.

"But Chicago Tribune photographer Brian Cassella was covering a different side of the story that day as he drove madly around the city, Instagramming the buildings they left behind."

Fast Company has Cassella working at the Sun-Times, but we all know they don't have photographers anymore, so I made the correction myself. I also added the link to his bio.

5. Chicago Pride: Minneapolis Mayor To Invite Same-Sex Chicago Couples To Marry In Minneapolis.

"The Mayor of Minneapolis, R.T. Rybak, will unveil a new print and digital ad campaign that will run in Chicago-area publications that invites same-sex couples from Chicago to travel to Minneapolis to get legally married.

"Mayor Rybak's same-sex marriage ad campaign will be launched at 9 a.m. on Thursday, Sept. 5th at Center on Halsted, 3656 N. Halsted St."

6. The Guardian: I Teach High School On Chicago's South Side. What Would You Like To Know?

"For the last seven years, Dave Stieber has taught history and social studies at public schools in Chicago's south side. He currently teaches at TEAM in Englewood. Dave will be online today from 12:30 to 1:30 p.m. ET | 5:30 to 6:30 BST to answer your questions."

7. Firedoglake: Kerry Labels Assad 'Hitler' Despite Dining With Him, British Sold Syria Chemical Weapons For Civil War.

"Dinner with Hitler? Did Kerry get an autograph? But don't worry it seems the British have the Obama Administration beat on hypocrisy as the UK's Daily Record revealed that Britain sold nerve gas chemicals to Syria 10 months after civil war began."

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It's not that Assad isn't a bad guy, it's that the U.S. tends to use those terms interchangeably depending on political interests wholly divorced from the interests of the civilians who live under tyrannical rule. In other words, we support tyrants who are our friends even as they massacre their own people, and then turn on them when we decide it is no longer publicly tenable. Then we gin up atrocities and stoke outrage of one regime while continuing to prop up others.

But if you want to have moral authority, you have to be moral. Otherwise you just fuel justified hate and anger - and if you keep switching sides, everyone will eventually hate you.

Sometimes that means not choosing sides in conflicts in which neither side is choosable. This is what happened in Egypt and Libya as well - there's always a lot of debate about the exact nature of the rebels, for example, because they may not be any better than the administration in power. In that case, why throw in your lot with one set of butchers over another?

Of course, there are plenty of cynical reasons to do so, and that's what forms the basis of U.S. foreign policy. But a third way - built on hope and change (and human rights) - would be to work with international agencies to protect civilians, and to try to broker peace. In many cases, of course, this will be impossible. But the alternative to brokering peace should not be escalating war.

And as far as geopolitical concerns, well, it's hard to argue that realpolitik has been a success rather than consistently making things worse.

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Also:

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Starr, of course, is a notorious tool.

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Frantz once worked for the Tribune.

*

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Antidote:

McClatchy: To Some, U.S. Case For Syrian Gas Attack, Strike Has Too Many Holes.

"The Obama administration's public case for attacking Syria is riddled with inconsistencies and hinges mainly on circumstantial evidence, undermining U.S. efforts this week to build support at home and abroad for a punitive strike against Bashar Assad's regime."

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And:

8. New York Times: Drug Agents Use Vast Phone Trove, Eclipsing N.S.A.'s.

"For at least six years, law enforcement officials working on a counternarcotics program have had routine access, using subpoenas, to an enormous AT&T database that contains the records of decades of Americans' phone calls - parallel to but covering a far longer time than the National Security Agency's hotly disputed collection of phone call logs."

The program started in 2007, so it squarely originated under Barack Obama.

9. Committee To Protect Journalists: CPJ Troubled By Reports NSA Spied On Al-Jazeera.

"'If the NSA accessed Al-Jazeera's internal communications, this would mark an alarming development in the U.S. approach to media,' said CPJ Executive Director Joel Simon."

They did.

10. Craigslist: "COUGAR" WRITERS (35+) WANTED FOR "BOYTOY MAGAZINE" IN CHICAGO.

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Beachwood Labor Day Postings.

* The Weekend In Chicago Rock.

Including highlights from the North Coast Music Festival and local appearances by ZZ Top and Cheap Trick, which played Live at Budokan and Sgt. Pepper's in their entirety with an orchestra at Ravinia, because that's what Cheap Trick does these days.

* The White Sox Report: Labor Day Blues.

"Despite Cleveland's purportedly magnanimous legislation, he nevertheless wound up being a one-term president. However, his namesake right-hander Grover Cleveland Alexander, who was born during the Cleveland Administration, went on to win 373 games during a 20-year career in the National League.

"Few remember much about the president, but the pitcher is a member of the Hall of Fame."

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The Beachwood Tip Line: Purportedly.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 8:38 AM | Permalink

September 2, 2013

The Weekend In Chicago Rock

You shoulda been there.

1. Wu-Tang Clan at the North Coast Music Festival in Union Park on Sunday night.


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2. Madeon at North Coast on Sunday.

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3. Afrojack at North Coast on Saturday night.

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4. Passion Pit at North Coast on Friday night.

See also: Passion Pit Plays DJ Shows After Storm Disaster.

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5. ZZ Top in Tinley Park on Friday night.

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6. Austra at Lincoln Hall on Saturday night.

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7. Cheap Trick at Ravinia on Saturday night.

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8. Seven Lions at North Coast on Saturday night.

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9. Mac Miller at North Coast on Friday night.

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10. Big Gigantic at North Coast on Saturday night.

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 9:09 AM | Permalink

Labor Day Blues

Labor Day is such an innocuous, nondescript holiday. No fireworks, no counting down the seconds until midnight, no turkey, no gift-giving, not much of anything. I heard there was a parade in Naperville but other than the Napervillians, I can't imagine circling September 2 on my calendar.

The first Monday in September simply has morphed into a marker for the end of summer. What sane person looks forward to the last day of summer? When I was a kid, school always began the day after Labor Day. Same deal when I was a teacher. Didn't make any difference. Labor Day was not something you looked forward to.

In fact, the origins of Labor Day pale in comparison to, say, the Fourth of July. The Pullman strike in 1894 paralyzed the nation's transportation system and resulted in the death of two strikers at the hands of the military and U.S. Marshals right here in Chicago. President Grover Cleveland, in an attempt to pacify workers and appeal for their votes, promptly pushed legislation through Congress creating the national holiday to honor the nation's workers.

It also superseded International Workers' Day, which everyone knew was a sly commie plot.

Despite Cleveland's purportedly magnanimous legislation, he nevertheless wound up being a one-term president. However, his namesake right-hander Grover Cleveland Alexander, who was born during the Cleveland Administration, went on to win 373 games during a 20-year career in the National League.

Few remember much about the president, but the pitcher is a member of the Hall of Fame.

The one similarity Labor Day often has with another holiday concerns the baseball standings. There are exceptions - see 2011 - but very often there is little movement of teams between the heralded holiday of the Fourth of July and the first Monday in September.

This season presents a shining example. Aside from the Los Angeles Dodgers, the standings this morning look quite similar to the beginning of July.

Our White Sox, after being swept by Boston over the Labor Day weekend, are last in the AL Central - exactly where they resided on the Fourth of July. At that time they trailed the fourth-place Twins by two games. Now they're three games behind the Twinkies. Sheesh! Two months of baseball and our athletes are basically one game worse than they were when Rahm cancelled fireworks on the lakefront.

The Red Sox and Tigers had comfortable division leads two months ago. Nothing new there. Oakland led the West by a half-game over Texas on the Fourth of July. Today the Rangers hold a one-game edge with the two front-runners beginning a three-game series this afternoon in Oakland. Regardless of the outcome, both teams will qualify for the post-season thanks to the wild card. Same was true two months ago.

Meanwhile in the National League, Atlanta has been running away with the East all season. Pittsburgh had a two-game lead on St. Louis as we celebrated our nation's birthday. Labor Day finds them deadlocked. In any case, the Pirates, Cardinals and Reds are headed to the playoffs. Nothing has changed since July 4th.

The one difference is the National League West - thanks to Yasiel Puig. The Dodgers were trudging along at 41-44, 3 1/2 games behind Arizona compared to 81-55 and an 11 1/2-game lead today. I may have been less than elated years ago when school began the day after Labor Day, but I still learned enough math to know that the Dodgers are 40-11 since the Fourth of July.

(Note: The Dodgers would have run away with their division from the start had Puig - whose slash line is .351/.408/.965 - been in the lineup Opening Day. But the presence of high-priced Andre Ethier, Matt Kemp and Carl Crawford left no room for the Cuban sensation. Once Kemp and Crawford went down with injuries, the door opened for Puig, and the Dodgers soon went into orbit.)

What's interesting - and more than a little pitiful - is that our guys, the White Sox, recently looked like they were intent on shedding their inept "loser" label of most of the season. That was until last weekend's visit to Boston. The three losses showed that June, July, and early August were no fluke. The team suffered a relapse.

After subduing the Astros at the Cell on Tuesday and Wednesday - making it eight wins in nine games and 16-7 since August 4 - the team made more mistakes in Boston than, well, the Cleveland Administration.

Let's start with the 4-3 loss on Friday. Transplanted pitcher Ryan Dempster struggled at the outset, going to 3-2 counts on both leadoff man Alejandro De Aza and then Gordon Beckham in the top of the first before walking each of them. What a great start. Dempster must have thought he was back at Wrigley Field. He was in trouble. Alexei Ramirez, arguably the Sox's best hitter, steps to the plate. I assumed he had been an astute observer of Dempster's control problems and was prepared to go deep into the count, just as he saw his two teammates do. Nah. Ramirez swung at the first pitch and grounded into a double play. Adam Dunn followed by striking out.

Dempster breathed a sigh of relief; his teammates knew they dodged a bullet, and the tone was set for the game and the weekend.

Ramirez is a seasoned veteran. Granted, he's having a miserable year in the field with 21 errors. Only the Pirates' Pedro Alvarez has more - 25 - in all of baseball.

But Alexei can handle the bat. I am wary of putting the blame for a one-run loss on a first-inning double play, but seeing a guy who should know better swing at the first pitch in that situation sends the message that these guys don't know what they're doing.

Like Dempster, Hector Santiago couldn't find the plate. He also wiggled out of a two-walk first inning, but a walk and a hit batsman contributed to the first Boston run in the third. Santiago never made it out of the fourth inning after 101 pitches and four Boston runs.

And - did I mention? - Santiago faced 22 hitters and not one of them swung at the first pitch! You think they might have noticed something that apparently escaped Alexei Ramirez?

There's no need to revisit all the details from the Boston Massacre other than to say that the usual dependable starting pitchers (Santiago, John Danks and Andre Rienzo) walked ten hitters in 11-plus innings, and none was around longer than five innings.

Meanwhile, Saturday's game received a bit of hype because Jake Peavy faced his former teammates. The teams were even at two going into the bottom of the fourth when Peavy enjoyed something he rarely got in Chicago - run support. Before it was over the Red Sox knocked out 15 hits in the 7-2 victory.

Jake was effective over seven innings of five-hit ball. One of those hits was a run-scoring single by Avisail Garcia, the 22-year-old outfielder who came to the South Side in the Peavy deal. Peavy is having a good season, and chances are he's going to win a few more games in September and beyond.

That's OK. At this point I'll take Garcia's .354 start in a Sox uniform. One of these years - let's hope sooner rather than later - Labor Day will signal a stretch run to the playoffs. Until then is there any reason - other than having a day off for a holiday meant to celebrate workers - to be joyful about Labor Day?

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Roger Wallenstein is our man on the White Sox. He welcomes your comments.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 8:13 AM | Permalink

MUSIC - Christgau Loves Chicago Neonatologist.
TV - Amazon & The Way Of The World.
POLITICS - Yes On Vouchers For After-School Programs.
SPORTS - The Ex-Cub Factor.

BOOKS - Writers Under Surveillance.

PEOPLE PLACES & THINGS - Original Warrior.


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