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« March 2014 | Main | May 2014 »

April 30, 2014

The [Wednesday] Papers

"Pakistani authorities said Wednesday they have jailed and intend to charge Mayor Rahm Emanuel's former city comptroller Amer Ahmad after taking him into custody Monday with a fake Mexican passport, a forged visa to enter their country and a large amount of cash," the Sun-Times reports.

Ahmad was carrying about $146,000 and 126,000 euros in cash when he was stopped by authorities Monday morning at the international airport in Lahore, said Usman Anwar, the Punjab region director for the Federal Investigation Agency, the Pakistani equivalent of the FBI.

"He said he that he lived in America and lied that he never had American nationality," Anwar told the Chicago Sun-Times from the FIA's offices in Lahore.

"He said he came home to Pakistan and didn't say he was involved in fraud or anything," Anwar said. "We Googled him."

Which is more than Rahm's vetting squad did.

Comparative Literature
"Activist, Author Of Vicious Letter To Daley, Gets 27 Months."

What was he mad about, R.J. Vanecko's 60-day sentence?

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No, but really, the "activist" wrote some pretty fucked-up shit.

Chicago Math
"More Cops Will Patrol Parks, Transit System To Curb Summer Violence."

Where are they coming from, the Central Office?

Utility Belt
"Exelon Shelling Out $6.83 Billion For Pepco."

Somehow I think Exelon's customers will be shelling out $6.83 billion for Pepco.

Phone Sex
"AT&T Getting Into Inflight Wi-Fi Business."

Even more people getting into the Mile High Club, 'cause you're gonna get screwed.

Rest In Peace
"1 Million Thermometers Recalled For Fire Risk."

They were remembered fondly.

Table Service
"Bourbon-Glazed Salmon Feeds A Crowd."

The whiskey-glazed perch had the night off.

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The Mouse That Roared
Chicago's most talented - and controversial - rapper may be this 14-year-old.

Chuck Roast
Goudie Continues To Insist He Didn't Report What He Clearly Reported.

Parochial Potholes
Hardly a problem particular to Chicago.

April Baseball
The month's best and worst includes Jose and Hammel.

From The Pogues To Phiraq
Plus: Kathy Kelly vs. Jenny McCarthy. In Local Book Notes.

Came, Saw, Cosplayed
Weekend at Nerdie's.

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BeachBook
* White House Petition: Reject and Ban Taxpayer or Public Funds, Land or Resources From Being Spent on Private Presidential Libraries.

* Goodbye, A Car Discount Muffler & Brake.

* Job Opening: Afghanistan Bureau Chief.

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TweetWood

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The Beachwood Tip Line: Chalk 'em up.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 2:39 PM | Permalink

Local Book Notes: From The Pogues To Phiraq

1. Pogues Paperback.

"In his 2012 book Here Comes Everybody (Chicago Review Press, out in paperback May 6), the Pogues' frustrated novelist-accordionist James Fearnley wonderfully captured all of the band's rise and fall with suitably lyrical prose," Neil Ferguson writes for the Philadelphia Weekly.

"[Shane] MacGowan emerges as both a figure of awe and awfulness, a gin-soaked enigma whose dark self-destructive streak leads the band into frequent debates over whether he is, indeed, a genius, or, quite simply, 'a fucking idiot.' It's both a picaresque road epic and an unintentionally-cautionary tale about the perils of endless touring and the machinations of the music biz. Above all, it's as poetic, profane and profound as the band themselves. And that's no mean feat."

Click through for Ferguson's interview of Fearnley. (Hint: he earned his advance back.)

2. The Father Of Venus And Serena Williams Spent Time In Chicago As A Young Man.

"There are tales upon tales of run-ins with the police and confrontations with strangers, often ending in violence," AP reports in an article about Richard Williams, whose Black and White: The Way I See It comes out on May 6.

"I could not embrace a turn-the-other-cheek philosophy," he writes.

At another point, he writes: "I became fascinated with stealing at the age of eight. I don't know if the thrill was being able to get away with a crime, or that the crime was against the white man. Either way, it was the start of a prosperous career."

Here's an excerpt.

3. Phiraq.

"On the Run: Fugitive Life in an American City, out next month, one of the most eagerly awaited urban ethnographies in years," Jennifer Schuessler writes for the New York Times.

"The book, from the University of Chicago Press, is a closely observed study of the impact of the criminal justice system on everyday life in a low-income African-American neighborhood of Philadelphia, and it is attracting interest well beyond academia."

The author is Alice Goffman, a sociologist at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. The book "studies policing in a poor urban neighborhood."

4. From Chicago To The World.

"I grew up on the Southwest Side of Chicago in an area Saul Bellow described as rows and rows of bungalows and scrawny little parks," Kathy Kelly writes in Other Lands Have Dreams.

"As a high-school student, Kelly's 'bedroom' is the living room couch, as she makes way for her siblings," Gary Corseri notes for CounterCurrents.

"She's not 'bothered' by any inconveniences, because she's 'in high school, working a part-time job . . . and tired enough to fall asleep during The Tonight Show. She attends 'a private Catholic school for part of the day and the local public school . . . for the other."

5. "Hilariously Scathing Review Rips Into Jenny McCarthy's New Book."

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 1:38 PM | Permalink

They Came, They Saw, They Cosplayed

Roundups from last weekend's Chicago Comic & Entertainment Expo.

1. By Deathstar's Random.


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2. Music by Throttle.

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3. By Aggressive Comix.

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See also:
* Official C2E2 YouTube Channel.

* Borrelli, Tribune: C2E2's Cosplay Contest Not Without Controversy And Drama.

* The Mary Sue: C2E2 2014 Cosplay Gallery.

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 1:12 PM | Permalink

Chuck Goudie Continues To Insist He Didn't Report What He Clearly Reported

"Alfredo Vasquez-Hernandez pleaded guilty in connection to operating the Chicago hub of the Mexican drug ring ran by Joaquin ''El Chapo'' Guzman," Chuck Goudie reported Tuesday for ABC7 Chicago.

"Alfredo Vasquez-Hernandez made it official Tuesday in federal court was after a false start on a guilty plea a few weeks ago."

That's one way to put it. False reporting is another. Let's take a look.

On February 26, Goudie reported:

Without even being in Chicago, El Chapo took a legal blow Wednesday. Alfredo Vasquez-Hernandez in a surprise court announcement said he intends to plead guilty on March 7, according to his attorney Paul Brayman. Guzman was charged alongside Vasquez-Hernandez in a Chicago indictment in 2009, and is allegedly responsible for smuggling the majority of illegal drugs sold on Chicago's streets.

The implication is clear because virtually the only way this could have been a "legal blow" to El Chapo is if Vasquez-Hernandez had agreed to cooperate with authorities against him. It would be reasonable to wonder if this was part of the plea agreement, but not responsible to report without having nailed it down.

Worse, Goudie reported in a story no longer on the station's website that Vasquez-Hernandez's plea agreement meant that he had "turned against' El Chapo.

So it's no wonder that Goudie was forced to report this the following day (and insert a link to this follow-up into the first story):

In the shadowy, cut-throat world of Mexican drug cartels, the reputed Chicago operations commander for Mexico's superpower Sinaloa drug cartel will not testify against his boss, Joaquin 'El Chapo' Guzman. That is the message that an attorney for accused El Chapo lieutenant Alfredo Vasquez-Hernandez wants delivered loud and clear.

Vazquez-Hernandez intends to plead guilty next week, but on Thursday his attorney Paul Brayman insisted that is where the arrangement will end. Brayman told the I-Team that there will be no plea deal with the government nor will Hernandez testify against his ruthless ex-boss.

Just to hammer home the message:

At a status hearing on Wednesday, attorney Brayman told U.S. District Chief Judge Ruben Castillo that Vasquez-Hernandez will plead guilty next week to one count of possession of cocaine with intent to distribute greater than five kilograms. According to Mr. Brayman, additional charges would be dropped but he firmly says there is no plea bargain deal with prosecutors that would require his client to testify nor any agreement on a recommended prison sentence.

While in jail, the strongman of the Sinaloa cartel still rules over a potent operation-and is considered a threat to wayward co-workers, expansion-minded competitors and all of their family members. Violence is the language of the cartel world. With that in mind, on Thursday lawyer Brayman told the I-Team that any suggestions Mr. Vasquez-Hernandez would testify against El Chapo were incorrect and not true. Brayman said the blind guilty plea that will be entered by his client is nothing more than that.

Okay, we get it! Just because he's agreed to plead doesn't mean he's cooperating.

The damage, however, was done.

"A reputed lieutenant of captured Mexican drug lord Joaquin 'El Chapo' Guzman abruptly backed out of a plan to plead guilty Friday because a Chicago television news report implied he was cooperating against his infamous boss, raising concerns about his family's safety in Mexico, the man's attorney said," the Tribune reported on March 7.

The lawyer for Alfredo Vasquez-Hernandez told a federal judge that ABC-7's Chuck Goudie had incorrectly reported last month that his client had "turned against" Guzman, when in fact he planned to plead guilty to a cocaine distribution count without any agreement with prosecutors to cooperate.

Goudie's Feb. 26 report touched off rumors at the federal jail that spread to Mexico, where Vasquez-Hernandez's wife and children reside and are now in fear of reprisal, defense attorney Paul Brayman told U.S. District Chief Judge Ruben Castillo.

"It was like poking a hornet's nest with a stick . . . It's simply not true," Brayman said. "He does not intend to testify against anybody, ever."

Assistant U.S. Attorney Thomas Shakeshaft also said that Goudie's report was in error, calling it an "unfortunate piece of journalism."

The plea to be entered, of course, was a "blind" plea, meaning the plea came without bargain.

Brayman said after court . . . that he had called Goudie immediately after he saw the story and asked him to retract the statement that his client had 'turned on' Guzman.

"He said he didn't really think he was inferring that (Vasquez-Hernandez) was cooperating," Brayman said.

Then what the hell was he inferring?

By Tuesday, the plea was back on - but Goudie still couldn't come to grips with what he had done.

"Following Tuesday's hearing, Goudie argued with Vasquez-Hernandez's attorneys outside court, insisting that when he said Vasquez-Hernandez had 'turned against' El Chapo that did not mean he thought Vasquez-Hernandez was cooperating," Kim Janssen reported for the Sun-Times.

In Goudie's own report, he argued that "The I-Team reported that by pleading guilty, Hernandez was turning against El Chapo, but we never reported he was cooperating."

Goudie even reported on his own exchange with Brayman:

Goudie: Nobody reported on a television station that he cooperated, you know that don't you?

Brayman: Mr. Goudie you know that you said on television that he turned against Chapo and the implication is that he was cooperating with that statement otherwise you wouldn't have said. Why would you have said that he turned against Chapo, it's absolutely false.

Goudie: Well there was no report that he was cooperating, is that correct?

Brayman: That, that's, well there was an implication that you say he turned against El Chapo, how else do you read that?

Goudie still hasn't explained how it could have meant anything else but that he was cooperating.

You can hear the actual audio, thanks to Janssen:

(Or click through to Goudie's report and watch the video; the embed's horked.)

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Everybody makes mistakes - though not everybody makes this kind of mistake. Still, the greater sin is Goudie's refusal to admit he got sloppy or made a presumption he shouldn't have. Admitting mistakes sets you free, Chuck.

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Addendum: I would be remiss not to mention Goudie's personal media cheerleader.

"While much of what passes for news on local television has hit the skids, fortunately there's still something to be said for solid, old-fashioned investigative reporting in Chicago," Robert Feder, who has a habit of pumping up his friends and punishing his non-friends while preaching about ethics, wrote on March 24.

Somehow the Vasquez-Hernandez fiasco escaped his attention - along with the rest of Goudie's infamous legacy.

"Other local stations continue to do notable investigative work, and some have been considerably more effective at marketing their investigative units. But none delivers the goods with the frequency or consistency of Goudie & Co."

Right.

Perhaps Feder should be given a break; he was only rewriting a December column on the exact same thing.

I'm sure personal, private assurances were involved.

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 9:45 AM | Permalink

The Mouse That Roared

"Mouse Trap is an independent, anti-gun violence poetry short film directed by Cliff Notez and written and performed by poet and performing artist Shane Romero," Evelyn Wang reports for The Chicago Bureau.

"Inspired by the rhymes of a 14-year-old Chicago rapper named Li'l Mouse, the film focuses on the South Side of Chicago and Brooklyn and was released online [this week]."

Here it is:


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From the interview:

Chicago Bureau: Tell us about your short film, Mouse Trap.

Romero: Mouse Trap is a poetry short film and the main focus of the poem and film is to stop gun violence, particularly here in the brown and black communities. The target of the film is South Side Chicago and my neighborhood of Brooklyn, and the poem that narrates the short film is directly addressed to a 14-year-old rapper named Li'l Mouse.

Chicago Bureau: Why address the film to Li'l Mouse in particular?

Romero: Li'l Mouse is an up-and-coming rapper from South Side Chicago. He is getting fame through World Star Hip Hop and other media online, and all of his raps are glorifying gun violence. He talks about him shooting people, all of his friends being shooters, misogyny upon women.

Chicago Bureau: What else inspired you to make the film?

Romero: I've had to deal with a bunch of friends and family members being murdered. I'm surrounded by it [gun violence], especially in my neighborhood. Brooklyn is the most bloody borough in all of New York City and so the amount of gun violence that we have here, particularly in my neighborhood and surrounding neighborhoods, is just overwhelming. That was a major inspiration to address all of us in these communities that are being plagued by the . . . gun violence.

This is a brilliantly executed work by a real talent. I recommend it. However, I do take issue with some of Romero's assertions.

Chicago Bureau: Why focus on Chicago?

Romero: Well, Chicago being the murder capital of the United States, I just feel that so many people have given up on the gun violence problem there in Chicago that they don't know how to fix it.

First, Chicago is not the murder capital of the United States. I can forgive Romero for thinking otherwise, given the media saturation of the meme, but it simply is not true.

Second, I wouldn't say people have given up on the gun violence problem here that does exist, murder capital or no. I would say that there is no political will to truly recognize, understand and alleviate root causes, but otherwise millions of dollars continue to be (mis)spent on solving gun violence.

Chicago Bureau: Why do you think these two cities (Brooklyn and Chicago) in particular are so violent?

Romero: With Chicago, they had knocked down all the projects and the city's forcing everybody to the South Side neighborhoods, so you have mixtures of gangs going to the South Side of Chicago who are against each other and they're now living across the street from each other. And it's so easy to get guns in Chicago. That's the main reason here.

The destruction of Chicago's public housing projects without a viable plan - or any plan, really - for resettling residents has indeed wreaked havoc on thousands of lives. Gang rivalries were indeed exacerbated; there was no safe passage program for residents who got in the way.

But the hierarchical, corporate-style gang structures of those rivalries have largely been eroded with the federal takedown of those gangs' leaders. Block-by-block cliques now fuel a significant volume of the violence echoing through the city.

I'm also not so sure it's as easy to get guns in Chicago as everyone seems to think. At the least, I doubt it's become easier to get guns in Chicago in recent years; it's probably become more difficult as law enforcement increasingly focuses on the issue.

Finally:

Romero: What's coming out of Chicago's rap scene right now is all glorifying the gun violence going on there.

I have a mixed view of this. In relation to another article addressing this very topic, I sent this e-mail to a friend this morning:

I would say that while the videos may inspire some kids in some small way to the lifestyle, the videos actually describe what is taking place, like when Public Enemy was called the Black CNN. But yes, beefs get supercharged on social media and songs. But the beefs exist and would exist without the music.

That, by the way, was in regard to Chicago's Gun-Toting Gang Girl: 'Lil Snoop,' which I also recommend. But here was the rest of that e-mail:

Mixed feelings about this story. On one hand, really good reporting that actually tells us, supposedly, what happened. On the other, headline and photos are obviously sensationalized to exploit tragedy for clicks.

Just like this treatment by the Sun-Times was designed to sell newspapers.

Kid's got a voice of his own, y'know.

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From Lil Mouse's own mouth:

My life in Chicago is crazy 'cause we safe in like a dangerous environment. I guess it's hard like, growing up this way. Basically what I'm rapping about - the stuff I see that goes on in my neighborhood - is what I witnessed that day. Trapping, people out there grinding, like really getting money out there living life. The violence. Like, it's over here [points] then it's over there [points]. It's crazy. It's just, crazy.

Also:

[T]hat's why I'm trying to do what I'm doing. I'm trying to get my family out of the hood.

It may be the only route he and his family have. And he's supremely talented; if it was okay for Derrick Rose to cheat his way out of Englewood, is it okay for Lil Mouse to rap his way out of Roseland?

For godsakes, he just appeared at SXSW.

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On Sway:

"Chicago's Lil' Mouse is known for his viral hit, 'Get Smoked,' which was later remixed by Lil' Wayne who dropped a verse on the track. In the first part of this addition of Sway in the Morning, Lil' Mouse talks about being home-schooled, offers from major labels and groups like Cash Money Records and also fills citizens in on his rap conglomerate, Hella Bandz."

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A sampling of the man-boy, the music and the videos:

Get Smoked.

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R.I.P. Yummy.

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100 Bars.

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Disclaimer: I write a weely column called "ICYMI: The Week In Juvenile Justice" for the Chicago Bureau.

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 8:27 AM | Permalink

Fantasy Fix: The Best And Worst Of April

A few observations from the opening month of the 2014 baseball season.

Fantasy Player Of The Month: Jose Abreu.

Who would have thought we'd highlight the fantasy feats of two different South Side-by-way-of-Cuba players in the first few weeks of the season? First, it was Alexei Ramirez, the sneaky mid-round value who went on run of over-achievement to start the season. Now, it's sleeper-turned-fantasy starter Abreu, who broke the rookie records for HRs (10) and RBI (32) in the month of April despite going through two mini-slumps where he was collectively 2-for-40. Abreu is drawing comparisons to Miguel Cabrera, and already looks like the fantasy steal of the year.

Fantasy Flop Of The Month: Miguel Cabrera.

Maybe Abreu looks a little like Miggy, but Miggy isn't looking very much like himself. His pedestrian line of 2 HRs, 15 RBI, .259 BA would look decent for anyone else, but for Cabrera it's a disaster. He will come around eventually, of course.

Biggest Fantasy Boo-Boo: Bryce Harper.

The list of stars injured right now is a pretty long, but Harper's fantasy value may have taken the biggest hit. Harper already had some aches and pains before hurting his thumb diving head first into third base; now he's out until July after surgery and is starting to acquire an injury-prone tag.

Biggest Surprises: Charlie Blackmon, Francisco Rodriguez.

Blackmon looked like Ted Williams for the first two weeks of the season, which we all knew wouldn't last, but he still is delivering in multiple categories, and after hitting .309 last year in 82 games, with a third of his hits going for extra bases, maybe we shouldn't be too surprised. K-Rod, with 12 saves and no earned runs through 15 innings, looks like the 2008 version of himself. The biggest surprise is that no one knew until Opening Day he would close for the Brewers; it was widely assumed he would merely set-up for Jim Henderson.

Most Likely False Start: Jason Hammel.

At 4-1, he is responsible for exactly half of his team's wins. He's decent pitcher who has been around a long time, and there's a reason for that, but he has never finished better than 10-9 (twice) and his luck getting the starting nod in games when the Cubs actually score is bound to change soon.

Expert Wire
* Bleacher Report has your fantasy waiver wire pick-ups for Week 5.

* SI.com eyes Colin McHugh and Hammel, among others.

* The Sporting News wonders if slow starts by Robinson Cano and Prince Fielder make them trade bait. I wouldn't count on it.

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

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 6:43 AM | Permalink

Parochial Potholes

This is really good:

But given the media coverage and complaints around here you'd think Chicago was unique - and Rahm Emanuel uniquely to blame - for the massive pothole problem we're facing.

Reality check: The rest of America also suffered through a heinous winter, and potholes the size of Kanye West's ego are what you get. To wit:

Minneapolis: City Committee Approves $1 million For Pothole Repair.

Syracuse, NY: Faced With Thousands Of Potholes, Officials Ask For Help To Locate Them All.

In fact, New York State is dispensing an additional $40 million in pothole repair this year.

Boston: Potholes Taking A Toll On Vehicles This Year.

Massachusetts is also spending an extra 40 million on pothole repair.

Pittsburgh: Pothole Complaints Top 6,100.

Maine: Potholes Prove Gas Tax Should Change.

Rhode Island: Cities, Drivers Battle Potholes.

Washington, D.C.: Potholes Infest Region.

Milwaukee: City Would Hire Ex-Criminals, Jobless To Fix Potholes.

You get the idea.

So when Second City jokes that "Emanuel knows that potholes create commerce," well, it's just lazy.

(And this is just downright silly.)

Now, does that mean there are no questions to ask of the mayor about pothole repair?

Of course not. It would be interesting to see - and maybe it's been reported, I'm not sure - if certain neighborhoods are getting their potholes repaired faster than others; in fact, if certain neighborhoods have superior street construction to begin with. And so on.

But let's not act like pothole problems are particular to Chicago.

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 3:35 AM | Permalink

April 29, 2014

The [Tuesday] Papers

"Former Chicago Ald. Dick Mell, one of the most gregarious political creatures ever to grace City Hall, is back in the game with a new lobbying firm he founded with the help of daughter Patti Blagojevich," the Tribune reports.

Too perfect.

"Patti Blagojevich is listed as the firm's agent in state documents. She is not doing any lobbying, Mell said, and she is not registered as one with the city.

"She once worked in the real estate business, an issue that came up at her husband's first trial."

I'm not sure "worked" is the right word there.

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Also: Sources tell Sneed we should feel sorry for Patti.

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And: Patti says she's in an abusive relationship.

Illinois State Rate
"Barely 7 months after he started, [ousted president] Timothy Flanagan resigns and gets a $480,418 check."

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Under "Points of Pride" on the school's website:

"Effective and efficient leadership: Creative and collaborative leaders provide capable stewardship of resources."

Academic Commodities
"[I]nterviews with dozens of academics and traders, and a review of hundreds of e-mails and other documents involving two highly visible professors in the commodities field - Mr. Pirrong and Professor Scott H. Irwin at the University of Illinois - show how major players on Wall Street and elsewhere have been aggressive in underwriting and promoting academic work," the New York Times reports.

"The efforts by the financial players, the interviews show, are part of a sweeping campaign to beat back regulation and shape policies that affect the prices that people around the world pay for essentials like food, fuel and cotton."

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"While he customarily identifies himself solely as an academic, Mr. Pirrong has been compensated in the last several years by the Chicago Mercantile Exchange, the commodities trading house Trafigura, the Royal Bank of Scotland, and a handful of companies that speculate in energy, according to the disclosure forms."

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"One of the most widely quoted defenders of speculation in agricultural markets, Mr. Irwin of the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign, consults for a business that serves hedge funds, investment banks and other commodities speculators, according to information received by The Times under the Freedom of Information Act.

"The business school at the University of Illinois has received more than a million dollars in donations from the Chicago Mercantile Exchange and several major commodities traders, to pay for scholarships and classes and to build a laboratory that resembles a trading floor at the commodities market."

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"The Chicago Mercantile Exchange and the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, for example, at times blur the line between research and public relations.

"The exchange's public relations staff has helped Mr. Irwin shop his pro-speculation essays to newspaper op-ed pages, according to emails reviewed by The Times. His studies, writings, videotaped speeches and interviews have been displayed on the exchange's website and its online magazine.

"In June 2009, when a Senate subcommittee released a report about speculation in the wheat market that raised concerns about new regulations, executives at the Chicago exchange turned to Mr. Irwin and his University of Illinois colleagues to come up with a response.

"Dr. Paul Ellinger, department head of agriculture and consumer economics, said, "'he interactions that have occurred here are common among researchers.'"

Obama's Island
Unprecedented censorship at Gitmo.

Prescription Madness
Nearly impossible to discern what's covered.

Remembering DJ Rashad
'Chicago's footworks ambassador to the world.'

The Beachwood Radio Hour #4
Now with Show Notes!

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TweetWood

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The Beachwood Tip Line: Cross over.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 4:59 AM | Permalink

Barack Obama's Secret Island Prison

"This video report summarizes the experiences of four Miami Herald journalists in a four-day visit to Guantanamo in March."

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See also:
* Miami Herald Editor Blasts Unprecedented 'Culture Of Censorship' At Guantanamo Bay.

* Media, ACLU To Argue Against Censorship At Guantanamo.

* Harper's: Press Censorship At Guantanamo.

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And:
* The Herald's singular Gitmo coverage.

* How To Report From Guantanamo Bay.

* Carol Rosenberg's Twitter Feed.

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Finally:
* NPR: No Sign Of Closing Up Shop At Guantanamo.

* NPR: Obama's Promise To Close Guantanamo Falls Short.

* Slate: Obama Can Shut Guantanamo Whenever He Wants.

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 12:50 AM | Permalink

The Beachwood Radio Hour #4: The Other Side Of Summer

This week segments include:

* Exposing Chicagoland: Access To Bullshit.

* Rahm's Receipts: How Englewood Pays For His Hotel Mini-Bar.

* Exclusive! Inside Obama High: Where Detention Is Off-Site And Indefinite.

* Bill Daley Never Cared About You: And Now He's Coming For Your Job.

* Transit R Not Us: At Least Not Until 2015 - If Ever.

* Weirdest Chicago Sports Week Ever? Cubs Can't Even Get Cake Right.

Guests:

* Coffeehouse Correspondent Jeff Linnane.

* Transit Correspondent Natasha Julius.

* Sports Chief Jim "Coach" Coffman.

Music:

* Neil Young.

* Bobby Bare Jr.

* Gemini Club.

* Billy Bragg.

* Elvis Costello.


SHOW NOTES:

:00: Strawberry Rock Show.

1:50: Beachwood International with The Angry Aussie.

3:22: Neil Young at the Chicago Theatre on Tuesday night.

4:38: Me vs. Patterson Hood.

6:17: Bobby Bare Jr. at Schubas on Thursday night.

7:21: Violating FOIA is violating the law.

9:38: State Dept Launches 'Free the Press' Campaign While DOJ Asks Supreme Court to Force Reporter James Risen Into Jail.

10:34: Rahm's Receipts, The [Friday] Papers, & Rahm's Values, Rahm's Air Conditioners, The [Tuesday] Papers.

15:00: Exclusive! Inside The New Obama High School. If you like your school nurse, you can keep your school nurse.

19:38: Gemini Club at House of Blues on Tuesday night.

20:23: Exposing Chicagoland. Worse than we thought. Way worse.

29:00: "It Says Here," Billy Bragg, BBC Breakfast Time.

30:18 Interview: Jeff Linnane, founder, owner, proprietor, impresario, king, czar, tyrannical leader of Filter.

44:24: "The Other Side of Summer," Elvis Costello.

45:26: Bill Daley Never Cared About You, The [Thursday] Papers (Item: That's Bill!).

* Alexi's Authenticity.

47:39: Transit R Not Us with Natasha Julius. Those blue-ribbon recommendations? More than a year away from even being considered.

* Previously: Look At A Fucking Map.

1:00:25: Dingo And The Baby.

1:01:42: Chicago's Weird Week In Sports, Jim "Coach" Coffman.

* Correction: Duncan Keith did the taunting, not Brent Seabrook.

1:28:47: Said to the bartender.

STOPPAGE TIME: 29:25.

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 12:27 AM | Permalink

Remembering DJ Rashad

"DJ Rashad, aka Rashad Harden, started out as a dancer in Chicago clubs and streetcorners, and turned into a pioneering producer. He helped usher in the next wave of dance music known as footwork," Greg Kot writes for the Tribune.

"Harden, 34, of Calumet City, was found dead Saturday afternoon in an apartment on Chicago's West Side and pronounced dead shortly after. Narcotics and drug paraphernalia were found near his body, police said.

"The DJ, who was scheduled to perform Saturday in Detroit, toured last year with rising Chicago hip-hop MC Chance the Rapper, who mourned Harden's death on Twitter: 'Music lost a legend today. And he was my friend. Love you DJ Rashad. RIP.'"

Rolling Stone called Rashad "Chicago's Footworks Ambassador To The World," and rated his 2013 album Double Cup the ranked eighth best dance album of the year.

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Here's Rashad at Pitchfork last year.

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Here's an interview from February.

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Rolling Stone also named Rashad as one of its 25 must-see acts at SXSW in March.

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I Don't Give A Fuck.

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Rollin'.

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Get Silly.

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 12:25 AM | Permalink

April 28, 2014

The [Monday] Papers

"More white students are walking the halls at Chicago's top four public high schools," the Sun-Times reports.

Go read it.

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Welcome back. I thought this was particularly interesting, though not the main thrust of the article:

The Chicago school system now has 10 "selective-enrollment" high schools.

Students are admitted to these based on their standardized test results, admissions test scores and grades, as well as on socioeconomic criteria.

Five of the schools - Brooks, King, Lindblom, South Shore and Westinghouse, all on the South Side and the West Side - see few applications from whites and have virtually no white students.

There could be many reasons for this. One, of course, is pure bigotry. Another is that housing segregation simply puts those schools at undesirable distances from where many white folks live. I wonder, too, if those schools somehow compare unfavorably to non-selective schools in white neighborhoods, though I'd be somewhat surprised if that was the case.

The real lesson, though, is that we cannot divorce education from race and housing. Schools don't exist in vacuums, nor do their successes and failures.

Working For NSA Doesn't Add Up
"Eminent mathematician Alexander Beilinson of the University of Chicago has proposed that the American Mathematical Society sever all ties with the NSA, and that working for it or its partners should become 'socially unacceptable' in the same way that working for the KGB became unacceptable to many in the Soviet Union," UK mathematician Tom Leinster writes in the New Statesman. (via Boing Boing)

In a letter to the journal of the American Mathematical Society, Beilinson wrote that "With the revelations of Edward Snowden the public received, and continues to receive, specific and reliable information about the vast secret spying programs of the NSA that wildly exceed anything conspiracy theorists could imagine."

The Jordan Rules
"There is no room in the NBA - or anywhere else - for the kind of racism and hatred that Mr. Sterling allegedly expressed."

Except in North Carolina politics.

Surveillance City
"Even as Redflex Traffic Systems' scandal-plagued 11-year tenure operating the nation's largest red-light camera system was ending, it was a particularly lucrative year for the company," the Parking Meter Geek reports.

"The last Redlfex cameras - at the intersection of Grand, Kostner and North - were turned off in February, but in the year before that, the company raked in $24 million, city records show, the second most profitable year in the company's Chicago history."

Doesn't that mean the cameras are making absolutely no impact on drivers' behavior?

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Here's the buried lead, though?


"The new Xerox system have an added benefit to the city that allows the 352 cameras to be used by the police department; the Xerox cameras can pan 360 degrees and stream live video back to police."

"The potential addition of hundreds of cameras to the city's police surveillance system raised concerns at the ACLU of Illinois, which last year called the 22,000 public and private cameras the police had access to a 'frightening number.'

The Beachwood Reporter Radio Hour
It's pretty awesome.

Topics this week include: Chicagoland Exposed. Rahm's Receipts. Inside The New Obama High School. Bill Daley Never Cared About You. Transit R Not Us. Chicago Sports Are Decadent And Depraved. With music by Strawberry, Neil Young, Bobby Bare Jr., Gemini Club, Billy Bragg and Elvis Costello.

You can listen here. A Beachwood posting with Show Notes coming Tuesday.

Show Notes are key. You can follow along and get links and references and asides and corrections and so on. The audio content is extended and enhanced. But it's a lot of work to put together.

Beachwood International with The Angry Aussie
I'm thinking of adding an "e" to the title: Beachwood Internationale.

We'll see.

This week is a really fun show both because we finally, in the words of the Aussie, bury the dog that is Chicagoland (yup, discussed on both podcasts!), and we introduce our new regular feature, Australia Is The Florida Of The World. Coming soon to a Tumblr near you. (I wish I had that much time.)

No Show Notes yet, but you can listen here.

SportsMonday: Thibodeau Has Been Terrible
"There will have to be a reckoning that the super-coach has struggled mightily in this series and the players have followed his lead," our very own Jim "Coach" Coffman writes.

I can tell you that even before Sunday's game, Coach Coffman told me Thibodeau had been outcoached this series. He even says it The Beachwood Radio Hour!

Chicago Is Not Helpless
"But we need the right people on the front lines to do the job," retired CPD lieutenant Bob Angone writes.

Barack Obama Has Tried To Destroy These Heroic Lives
How far would you go to tell the truth?

The Cub Factor: Escape From Wrigley Island
Only the best get away.

The White Sox Report: The Guy Who Should Be A Cub
El Natural.

Chicagoetry: Gotham
A city of dreams must exist in the night.

The (Monster) Weekend In Chicago Rock
Featuring: Horse Feathers, Matt Woods & Adam Lee, Dash Berlin, Life in Color, Clavicus Vile, Sevendust, Sons of the Never Wrong, Iggy Azalea (mentioned in this week's Beachwood International with The Angry Aussie!), Black Lips, North of Eight, and Eddie Clendening.

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BeachBook
* Bernie Miklasz: It's Why They're Called The Blues.

* Steven Aftergood: Unclassified Information Is Also Now Secret.

"The Office of the Director of National Intelligence is attempting to conceal unclassified information about the structure and function of U.S. intelligence agencies, including the leading role of the Central Intelligence Agency in collecting human intelligence."

* Trevor Timm: D.C.'s Anti-Leak Hysteria Is Backfiring.

* Mystery Text Found In 16th Century Homer.

The University of Chicago is offering a reward to anyone who can help solve it.

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TweetWood

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The Beachwood Tip Line: Show your notes.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 11:43 AM | Permalink

Chicagoetry: Gotham

GOTHAM

A city of dreams must exist in the night
in a dark glass dome under an inland sea.

We strain to sink
into our warm, soft tombs

to escape, to dream,
to heal the day's fresh wounds.

This deep, dark world is a
sprawling city, rain-soaked,

catacombed, shrouded in fog.
Antique neon, like close, blinking stars,

statues, spires and underground trains.
Fear and dread fuel the surging engines

grinding out the shadow play
in the cauldron of mind.

Fear and dread the oxygen,
light and shade the hydrogen.

Purple perfumes, frightful flowers, spirits
probably called loves and doves.

We melt into a dark, warm sea of ourselves
then wash up on pink and orange sands,

wide-eyes fluttering like close, blinking stars
at the daunting prospect of another day

in this cold, harsh, brittle world. Yes:
a bed of air, a pillow of light,

a city of dreams must exist in the night

(I walked across the sky
toward a black symphony.

then awoke to silence
in the pink and orange desert.

I drank the moon,
inhaled the sea

then awoke alone
to free the sky.

I drank the stillness,
thanked the pink

and orange desert,
I wept, I slept,

then, again,
awoke alone).

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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 11:28 AM | Permalink

Escape From Wrigley Island

"The ones who have left talk as if they've escaped," Gordon Wittenmyer writes for the Sun-Times.

"As if the Cubs have become baseball's Alcatraz, where players do time until free agency or the inevitable trade while the lucky ones get reduced sentences by virtue of one-year flip contracts.

"Just listen to Milwaukee Brewers pitcher Matt Garza's advice to Jeff Samardzija, who will be on the trading block this summer.

"All I can tell him is keep pitching; pitch your way out of it," said Garza.

Yes, but how do we escape?

The Week In Review: The Cubs split four with the Diamondbacks, lost two of three to the Brewers, and treated a cake of Wrigley Field just like they're treating the real ballpark. They are tied with Arizona with the fewest wins of any major league team this season (8), and we'd have to say the tiebreaker goes to Arizona because at least they've got Brenly and Grace.

The Week In Preview: The Cubs close out April with three in Cincinnati and open May with three at home against Cardinals. And there isn't even any cake left.

Wrigley Is 100 Celebration: All birthday cakes this year will be 100% tossed in the trash.

Theo Condescension Meter: 9.5.

"One thing that will not be mentioned during Wrigley Field's 100th birthday party Wednesday: the losing," USA Today reported last week.

"I don't think I really need that kind of a reminder," Cubs president Theo Epstein said Tuesday before Chicago hosted Arizona.

No, I think you do.

"That's not what I'm thinking about when I'm thinking of (Wednesday). When it comes to the 100th anniversary, for me, I think just how Wrigley is the epicenter of fans' connection to the Cubs."

Yup.

Jed Hoyer Condescension Meter: 10.

"It was an inedible cake that sat out all day. Of course it ended up in the garbage. That's what you do with it."

Maybe in Boston, but not in Chicago - not when the cake is of Wrigley Field, and not when the cake is for Wrigley Field's 100th birthday. Think a little harder, smart guy.

Prospects Are Suspects: Brett Jackson is hitting .121 at Iowa, which is only 43 points less than Javy Baez, who is hitting 63 points lower than Josh Vitters.

That's Ricky: "There have been worse starts in the game of baseball."

Always looking on the bright side.

Alternate: And most of them by the Cubs.

Laughable Headline Of The Week: Could Jason Hammel Become A Building Block For Cubs?

No, he's pitching too well.

Mad Merch: On Sunday, the Cubs are offering a '20s Throwback Yo-Yo to the first 5,000 kids through the turnstile - apparently the honor the decade that started 12 years after the franchise last won a World Series.

Billy Cub vs. Clark Cub: Billy Cub carries a cooler

Advantage: Billy.

The Junior Lake Show: "[Lake] endured an 0-for-3 night, striking out twice, misplaying a key fly ball in left field and making the wrong decision to throw home on another play. It's all part of the learning curve for the 24-year-old converted infielder."

Classic Cubs development; in the minors he played 457 games at shortstop, 93 games at third, 57 games at third and even two games at first before being asked to play both left and center field at the major-league level.

Mustache Wisdom:

"A bleeder here, a bleeder there, that has been the story so far for me personally," said the man whose ERA is 10.42.

Wishing Upon A Starlin: "[Castro] appears to be more focused defensively, even though he committed his fourth error on Sunday afternoon."

So on a pace for 27 errors, which would be five more than last year.

Ameritrade Stock Pick of the Week:
Shares of the Brewers are trading higher as Cubs fans adopt a team that could actually keep the Cardinals from winning the division again.

Shark Tank: Dude's got a new favorite movie.

Jumbotron Preview: 5,700 square-feet of this on movie night.

Kubs Kalender: Wait 'til next year 2016 2017 2018 2019 2020.

Over/Under: Days before and after July 4 that Jason Hammel is traded: +/- 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 the next cake will be given to the Chicago Food Depository.

Hashtag Cubs

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

The White Sox Report: Know the enemy.

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 9:52 AM | Permalink

SportsMonday: Thibodeau Has Been Terrible

Hooray for the Hawks and all, but I'm going to need to spend some time with the Bulls today. For one thing, the local hockey team will still be here next week. I'm thinking the basketball team's chief concern at this point is whether the initial off-season vacation will be sun-and-fun or natural wonders.

What the heck is going on with this group?

Why has this team sucked so much at the start of games during this first-round playoff series? What is your favorite lowlight so far after the Wizards thoroughly dominated the Bulls again (98-89) Sunday afternoon on the way to a 3-1 series lead? And finally, did anyone see this coming? Because anyone who did deserves a spot in the prognosticator Hall of Fame.

There will be plenty of excuses made for these players and coach Tom Thibodeau if the Bulls don't miraculously find a way to win three in a row (and remember that it already took a miracle, i.e. Mike Dunleavy going 8-for-10 from three-point range, for the Bulls to even eke out their one victory in Game 3).

And some of those excuses will be legit. The Bulls really miss Luol Deng right about now. He was traded to give the team financial flexibility going forward but the price was their inability to at least be a bit more competitive in this series. This team had to fight all season to finish fourth in the conference and it is clearly fatigued. And of course there's that other guy who is out of the lineup with injury. What's his name again?

But there will also have to be a reckoning that the super-coach has struggled mightily in this series and the players have followed his lead.

Hopefully this will result in a little humility. Thibodeau's gruff demeanor can be endearing at times but it can also convey the idea that he barely has patience for questioners because, heck, he obviously knows so much more about basketball than they do. Maybe he could ease up off of that crap in the future at least a little bit.

Thibodeau doesn't deserve anything close to all the blame but at the very least, the man has to be more mentally nimble, a little quicker in his coaching moves.

Time and again during the first four games of this series we have seen games slipping away and the stubborn one absolutely refusing to change his rotation. Those tuning into the hometown call during Game 3 had the chance to listen to Stacey King lobbying for an obvious lineup change with almost six minutes remaining in the game, one that would have put Carlos Boozer, who had had a decent game up until that point, back on the court. Boozer could have provided the scoring the Bulls desperately needed at this point and he wouldn't have hurt the team as much as usual defensively because Nene had been kicked out of the game and he would have been guarding over-the-hill Drew Gooden.

Boozer never came in, and if not for an almost miraculous three-pointer from Jimmy Butler in the final 30 seconds, the Bulls probably would have lost that one too.

Thibodeau also has to take a very, very close look at how he distributes minutes. You can't have Jimmy Butler play 53 minutes in a game and score six points. It cannot happen. That, by the way is one of my top three lowlights.

And you can't give guys more minutes than they've had all season (like D.J. Augustin's 40-plus in Game 2) and then be surprised when they are fatigued at the end of the game and miss a bunch of shots.

I doubt true Bulls fans have enjoyed even one minute of this series. My son and I certainly didn't as we watched Game 2. We were at the United Center early (it was hard not to be with a starting time of 8:30 p.m.) but it still felt like the Wizards led 7-0 before we even settled into our seats. The next thing we knew, the Bulls were down 29-12 and we should have been making plans to track down a fancy dessert.

Instead we hung in there, watched the Bulls come all the way back . . . and then choke down the stretch. Leading the gag brigade was Kirk Hinrich in a stretch of basketball that will not appear on the resume of either player or coach. The Wizards clearly wanted the veteran guard, who has rarely shot well in the clutch during his entire pro career, to shoot. And Hinrich was only too happy to oblige.

And Thibodeau was too slow to either call plays in which his lead guard wouldn't end up shooting, or to just take him out of the game for God's sake before he was allowed to miss shot after shot after shot.

Finally Hinrich mustered a decent drive in the final seconds and earned a foul call. He went to the line with chance to tie it and send it into a second overtime . . . and of course he missed the first free throw. Badly. Just like the Bulls have missed everything badly in this series.

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Listen to Jim "Coach" Coffman on The Beachwood Radio Hour every Saturday.

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 9:31 AM | Permalink

Meet Three American Heroes Whose Lives Barack Obama Tried To Destroy

"That is the question posed by the new documentary Silenced, which follows three national security whistleblowers who fight to reveal the darkest corners of America's war on terror while enduring the wrath of a government increasingly determined to maintain secrecy," Democracy Now! reports.

"The three are former Justice Department lawyer Jesselyn Radack, former senior National Security Agency official Thomas Drake, and former CIA officer John Kiriakou.

"On the heels of the film's premiere at the Tribeca Film Festival, we speak with director James Spione about the extraordinary lengths the government has gone to in order to wreak havoc on the whistleblowers' personal lives through a sustained campaign of intimidation and harassment."

Here's Democracy Now!'s interview of Spione, including a trailer of the film. A transcript of the interview is here.


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Previously:
* Obama's War On Truth And Transparency.

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

* The Ballad Of Bradley Manning.

* If You Blinked You Missed Coverage Of The Bradley Manning Verdict.

* Here Comes The Story Of Barrett Brown.

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

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

* Edward Snowden's Christmas Message.

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

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

* Daniel Ellsberg: Obama Has Committed Impeachable Offenses.

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

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 8:52 AM | Permalink

Cracking The Chicagoland Code 8: Ending The Way It Started - In Deceit

Even Liz Dozier loses.


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Also discussed here: Access to bullshit is the opposite of journalism.

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Previously:
* Tweeting Chicagoland | Episode 1: Oh My Lord, I Hate It Already.

* Cracking The Chicagoland Code 1: Docu-Series Or Docu-Wank?

* Tweeting Chicagoland | Episode 2: Brought To You By Allstate, Billy Dec & The Central Office.

* Cracking The Chicagoland Code 2: Fixing The Facts.

* Tweeting Chicagoland | Episode 3: Get Me Rewrite.

* Cracking The Chicagoland Code 3: Our Fact-Challenged Heroes.

* Tweeting Chicagoland | Episode 4: Did We Mention That Rahm Loves (Black) Kids?

* Cracking The Chicagoland Code 4: LollapaRahmza.

* Tweeting Chicagoland | Episode 5: Back To Black.

* Cracking The Chicagoland Code 5: Yada Yada Yada.

* Tweeting Chicagoland | Episode 6: Building A New Rahm.

* Cracking The Chicagoland Code 6: Unwired.

* Tweeting Chicagoland | Episode 7: Tripling Down.

* Cracking The Chicagoland Code | Epsiode 7: We Don't Care How They Do It In New York.

* Exposing Chicagoland.

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 8:31 AM | Permalink

The Weekend In Chicago Rock

You shoulda been there.

1. Horse Feathers at the Old Town School on Saturday night.


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2. Matt Woods and Adam Lee at Reggies on Saturday night.

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3. Dash Berlin at the Concord on Saturday night.

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4. Life in Color at the Aragon on Saturday night.

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5. Clavicus Vile at Mojoes in Joliet on Sunday night.

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6. Sevendust at Mojoes in Joliet on Friday night.

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7. Sons of the Never Wrong at Mayne Stage on Saturday night.

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8. Iggy Azalea at the House of Blues on Sunday night.

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9. Black Lips at Logan Square Auditorium on Saturday night.

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10. North of Eight at the Metro on Friday night.

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11. Eddie Clendening at Juniors on Saturday night.

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 7:48 AM | Permalink

El Natural

The only thing missing from Jose Daniel Abreu's walk-off grand slam Friday night was the ball striking a light tower creating a shower of sparks.

"You feel like the whole place could kind of feel it," said Sox leadoff man and center fielder Adam Eaton, recounting the situation: bottom of the ninth, two outs, bases loaded, Sox down 6-4 to Tampa Bay. "When he got up it was like, 'Uh, oh. Something great's going to happen.' And indeed it did."

Roy Hobbs was fiction. The Sox's "El Natural" is real. Fans had to settle for an exploding scoreboard rather than a shattered light tower, but his blast into the right-field bullpen sent 17,000 patrons into a frenzy - along with his teammates.

Technically, Abreu is a rookie, but in reality he's anything but. At 27, having played professionally in Cuba, he is experienced, seasoned, mature and confident. After his game-ending heroics, as he approached home plate, he threw his batting helmet into the air, and jumped into the arms of his adoring teammates. Even graybeards Paul Konerko and Adam Dunn seemed to shed a few years as they jumped up and down, celebrating the dramatic win.

But there's more. No one dumped a cooler of Gatorade over Abreu. There was no shaving cream pie to the face. This guy is no normal first-year player. He possesses a dignity that already has gained the respect and admiration of teammates and opponents alike. Who in his right mind would shove a towelful of shaving suds into his stately countenance? It just wouldn't seem right.

The native Cuban has become the talk of baseball, leading the majors in home runs (10) and RBI (31). If he's not the American League Player of the Week, they should discontinue the award.

All he did when the Sox won four of seven games was go 9-for-29 with five homers and 14 RBI. He hit center-field home runs in Detroit - it's 420 to dead center - on consecutive nights, the first one coming off Justin Verlander. His game-winner Friday was his second round-tripper of the game. He's done that three times already this season.

Twice last week he was hitless, including Saturday night when he was 0-for-4 without knocking a ball out of the infield. Not surprisingly, the Sox lost 4-0. When Abreu hits, the Sox have a chance. When he doesn't, they're not going to win too many.

The irrepressible Eaton made Abreu's grand slam possible. With one out and the bases loaded, Eaton hit an apparent double-play ground ball to second baseman Ben Zobrist, who momentarily juggled the ball. Eaton barely beat the throw to first to keep the game alive. No other Sox player would have outrun that ball.

Then Rays manager Joe Maddon, a very bright fellow, did a stupid thing. He challenged the call, leaving his volatile closer Grant Balfour, who had just gotten into an f-bomb-laden exchange with the mild-mannered Konerko after walking Paulie, standing on the mound while the umps talked to Replay Review Central in New York.

Balfour already was unhinged. Standing on the mound for a couple of minutes fuming with who knows whom - most probably himself - until the umps signaled Eaton safe added to his craziness. He walked Marcus Semien on five pitches before El Natural delivered his blast.

As Abreu added to his April numbers, he approached and then passed the previous rookie record of eight home runs in the season's opening month. Kent Hrbek, Carlos Delgado and Albert Pujols jointly held that now-shattered record.

Lest we become irrationally exuberant over the Abreu's feats, we should note that there have always been rookies making huge splashes their first time around the league before seeing more curveballs and change-ups that gradually send them into oblivion.

Take the case of Bob (Hurricane) Hazle. The year was 1957 when the Milwaukee Braves recalled Hazle from Triple-A where he was having a modest season. All Hurricane did for the World Series-bound Braves was hit a robust .403/.477/.649 in 41 games and help the Braves defeat the Yankees in the Series.

The following May, the Braves traded Hazle to Detroit where he played sparingly before spending a couple of seasons in the minors before retiring at 29.

On the other hand, Pujols has performed nicely since his astonishing rookie year in 2001, winning three MVP awards since. Delgado hit 473 home runs over 17 years. And Hrbek was a stalwart for the Twins for 14 seasons. I'm confident that before Abreu is finished, he will compare favorably with that trio rather than the rookie burnouts.

Another older rookie, 29-year-old Scott Carroll, appeared out of nowhere on Sunday to somehow limit the Rays to one earned run in beating 2012 Cy Young winner David Price 9-2. Carroll wasn't even in the big-league camp during spring training after spending seven seasons bouncing around the minors in the Cincinnati and Sox organizations. For all his efforts he had a 27-38 career record, which included a bout of inactivity due to Tommy John surgery.

But the Sox are desperate. Gone from the rotation that started the season are Felipe Paulino - we're not honestly looking forward to his return - and Chris Sale, both on the disabled list. Erik Johnson was demoted to Charlotte after Friday night's pitiful showing - four runs and four walks in 1-2/3 innings.

General Manager Rick Hahn summoned lefthander Charlie Leesman from Charlotte to face the Tigers on Tuesday, but he was hit hard in 2-2/3 innings, earning a ticket back to North Carolina.

When the Texas Rangers saw enough of Hector Noesi, he of the 11.74 ERA, Hahn dealt for the Dominican righthander. Noesi keeps a packed suitcase since this is his third team already this season. The Sox presently have five pitchers who weren't with them on Opening Day.

Sale figures to return by mid-May, but manager Robin Ventura will have to patch together a starting rotation until then and quite possibly a lot longer. The mediocre showings of John Danks and Jose Quintana, the two starters still standing, hasn't helped.

So how has this team split its first 26 games minus Avisail Garcia and a pitching staff that yields more than five runs a game and leads MLB in bases on balls?

Very simple. The New York Knights rallied from the doldrums to win the pennant because they had Roy Hobbs. The Sox have Jose Abreu.

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

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 3:43 AM | Permalink

April 27, 2014

Chicago Is Not Helpless

A recent Tribune editorial asked the question most of us Chicago residents would like an answer to: Is Chicago helpless?

The headlines! Nine dead, 36 wounded on Easter weekend with very similar numbers for the previous week. Some Chicagoans are thinking, Wow! It's here, Chicago's rite of spring, gang violence, scores of our youths gunned down in our neighborhoods.

Then comes the usual outcry.

It's the guns!

It's the cops!

It's the judges!

Then comes one defensive press conference after another, announcing and denouncing blame by the authorities. Statistics are rolled out, plan after plan is said to have been implemented, and shouts of success are trumpeted.

And yet, we still find ourselves wondering if we are helpless.

I have a very limited and humble suggestion to contribute - but first, a little history. I spent 33 years working the treets of our city as a patrol and tactical officer, and tactical sergeant, and retired as a department SWAT coordinator. I can say, resoundingly, that we are not helpless.

However, our current police chief, and the one before him, never worked our streets or lived in our communities before taking the job. Richard M. Daley's last choice the head the Chicago Police Department was Jody Weis, who on paper was a very specious choice indeed.

Running a big city police department with little or no experience proved to be very trying for him. With less than two months on the job he replaced more than 20 veteran commanders with people like himself (good-looking resumes).

He must have soon realized he was left with limited high-level institutional knowledge about what was up in this big city of complex gang structures. I am basing this on his infamous Garfield Park Gang Summit, where he actually told several assembled gangbangers to knock off the shootings. This was so startling to so many of us who have worked the streets for years that we couldn't help but think, Wow, this guy cannot be serious!

Blame the root cause of urban violence on parenting, blame it on guns, blame it on poverty; either way, simply telling them to stop or they will feel the heat isn't going to work.

Current police chief Garry McCarthy came to Chicago and stated that he could do more with less; he promptly disbanded the specialized units that were at least keeping intelligence and making hundreds of street stops that are so very critical in fighting gang violence.

When McCarthy finally realized that his more-with-less philosophy was not working well enough to prevent Chicago from being compared to war zones, he laid out more than $100 million in overtime pay to keep more officers on the streets longer. Then he sent hundreds of desk jockeys who hadn't seen the streets for years to join them.

Earlier this month, FBI director James Comey paid our city a visit and told us that our gang problem was unique and indeed one of the worst in the nation.

Wow! I really have to say I hope our powers to be already knew that. The see-saw policy changes from outsiders, though, suggest otherwise.

Now we see that the U.S. attorney's office here is restructuring in part to (ostensibly) provide more focused help on our unique brand of violence.

Even more people who do not know the streets very well getting into our business! The very reason our specialized units were disbanded in the first place was to prevent the cowboying that tends to get those units in trouble. What's going to prevent federal cowboying?

So my humble contribution is this: Bring back the CPD's specialized gang units. This ought to be our thing. It once was. To wit:

"The Chicago Police Department was the poster child of reorganizing its gang unit. The unit was initially formed in 1967 as a gang intelligence unit. By the early 1980s, the unit quadrupled from 100 to 400 officers," a 2004 study funded by the Justice Department found.

However . . .

In the mid-1990s, the unit was reduced from a high of 450 personnel to approximately 100, concomitant with the department's implementation of a community-policing initiative (Weisel and Painter, 1997)

In 2000, the police superintendent basically disbanded its 100-person gang unit, redeploying half the unit's personnel to five area commands to work on homicides and half to the department's narcotics unit.

The disbanding of Chicago's unit occurred after the corruption of a gang investigator soured public and political confidence in the police but the dissolution of the unit compromised intelligence information about gangs.

After two children were injured by gang gunfire in April 2003, the city's mayor announced that "gangs would have to pay" (Main and Sweeney, 2003) and tactical teams of 30-40 personnel were deployed into gang areas to reduce crime, improve gang intelligence and to "be aggressive."

The CPD came full circle in 2008.

"A year after disbanding the scandal-plagued Special Operations Section, Chicago Police Supt. Jody Weis is launching a similar unit to fight gangs, according to a draft copy of an internal police memo obtained by the Tribune," the paper reported.

"The new 115-officer unit will be known as the Mobile Strike Force, but its mission will be nearly identical to SOS."

Three years later, the Trib reported:

"Chicago police will disband two of its rapid response units once heralded as key components of the city's lowering crime rate, police union officials said.

"Effective Aug. 18, both the Mobile Strike Force and Targeted Response Unit will cease to exist, according to an announcement on Wednesday by the Fraternal Order of Police to its members."

Dizzy yet?

Well, there's more.

In January 2013, the Sun-Times reported that "Mayor Rahm Emanuel appeared to rip a page from the Daley administration's playbook Thursday when he announced he was moving cops from desk jobs [again] to 'saturation teams.'"

Ugh.

Chicago, as the FBI director said, has a uniquely embedded gang problem, and the police department ought to be fighting it with specialized veteran officers who know the lay of the land and are specifically trained to handle the violence, at least until those coveted social programs that will attack root causes actually come about.

When the president sent Americans after Osama bin Laden, he did not pick for the mission those who were looking for overtime pay or were being transferred out of clerical duties for budget reasons. He sent the very best we could muster - those who went been trained specifically and intensely for the job.

It is simply embarrassing to see an editorial asking if we as a city are helpless. The answer is No. But we need the right people on the front lines to do the job.

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Previously by Bob Angone:
* Crime Is Up And Down.

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 8:39 AM | Permalink

April 26, 2014

The Weekend Desk Report

We here at the Weekend Desk just want the Bulls and Blackhawks to stay alive as deep into the baseball season as possible not just for their own sake, but because even a season of heroics like Jose Abreu's walk-off granny on Friday night cannot contain the miasma oozing from the North Side at record contamination levels.

So yay. And yay.

And before we know it, the Bears will be reporting to training camp.

And I cannot believe I just wrote that, but this is how a Cubs fan thinks these days. Just get me to 2016 or 2017 or 2018 (or 2019, when all CPS schools will supposedly be air-conditioned) when we can find out Theo's Plan was all a bunch of bunk imposed on us by a greedy nutwing patriarch and his incompetent, spoiled kids and we can start all over again.

Which is just what I discuss with our very own Jim "Coach" Coffman on this weekend's episode of The Beachwood Radio Hour. Other topics include: Chicagoland Exposed. Rahm's Receipts. Inside The New Obama High School. Bill Daley Never Cared About You. Transit R Not Us. With music by Strawberry, Neil Young, Bobby Bare Jr., Gemini Club, Billy Bragg and Elvis Costello.

And:

Here's this weekend's edition of Beachwood International with The Angry Aussie, also featuring a takedown of Chicagoland, as well as Beer with bin Laden in Brazil, Fake Cuban Twitter in Costa Rica, CNN "Goes Native" in New Zealand, and the first installment of our new weekly series "Australia Is The Florida of the World."


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Baggage Fee
"United Airlines CEO Jeff Smisek saw his total compensation fall 15 percent to $8.1 million last year, according to a filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission late Friday," the Tribune reports.

"The filing comes a day after the airline's parent, United Continental Holdings, reported a steep fourth-quarter loss it blamed on bad weather."

I blame it on bad values.

Comptroll This!
"Facing up to 15 years in prison and stripped of his U.S. passport, Mayor Rahm Emanuel's former city comptroller ordered his wife this week "to get him a fake birth certificate from Pakistan for a passport," according to court records obtained by the Chicago Sun-Times.

"Now, Amer Ahmad is on the lam, and a judge issued a warrant Friday for his arrest."

Too bad Chicagoland isn't still in production; CNN could hunt Ahmad down and sit on him until arranging a scene in which Rahm arrives on a Divvy bike to make the arrest.

Pleading Pat
"A spokeswoman for Gov. Pat Quinn is confirming a published report that says the Chicago Democrat won't seek a third full term if he wins a second one in November," AP reports.

That published report is actually a Sneed column, which means the item was planted by the very people now confirming it. Chicagoland!

Purely by coincidence, Republican challenger Bruce Rauner just, um, challenged Quinn to climb aboard his term-limits train. So Rauner is now setting the agenda.

Meanwhile, the Beachwood I-Team has learned that Quinn is now considering the following campaign slogans:

* Just Four More Years, I Swear.

* Pat Quinn: Now With A Sunset Provision.

* One-Term Mayor, Two-And-A-Half-Term Governor.

* Pat Quinn: The Farewell Tour.

* Pat Quinn: Four More Years Of Not Rauner.

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The Weekend Desk Tip Line: Fore and aft.

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BeachBook
* Cubs Rebuild Epitomized In This Story Out Of Milwaukee.

* Redford, Kass and us.

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The Sound Opinions Weekend Listening Report: "We all have them . . songs that make your eyes well up and produce a lump in your throat. This week, Jim and Greg get out the hankies and play some of their favorite Tearjerkers. Then, they talk about the first new album in 16 years from The Afghan Whigs."

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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.

Perspectivas Latinas: Semillas, La Sociedad Mexicana Por Derechos de la Mujer

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Executive director Laura Garcia shares the organization's work mobilizing resources locally to support women-led projects in Mexico.

Saturday at 7:30 p.m. on CAN TV21 / En Espanol Sunday at 4 p.m. on CAN TV21.

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Perspectivas Latinas: Sankofa Theater Company

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Meet the people behind Sankofa Theater Company, where the stories of Chicago's marginalized and displaced communities get their time in the spotlight.

Saturday at 8 p.m. on CAN TV21 / En Espanol Sunday at 4:30 p.m. on CAN TV21.

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What Illinois Voters Think About Term Limits

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Charles Leonard of the Paul Simon Public Policy Institute outlines voters' opinions on term limits in Illinois during this event examining their impact.

Sunday at 9 a.m. on CAN TV21.

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About Term Limits Nationwide And In Illinois

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Law student extern Paul Hale of the Paul Simon Public Policy Institute joins Alex Gilewicz and Alden Loury of the Better Government Association to explain the history of court cases and legislation leading to the current state of term limits in Illinois and beyond.

Sunday at noon on CAN TV21.

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Democracy Forum

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Journalist Paul Street and other panelists give their take on the state of democracy in the U.S. today.

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


Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 9:21 AM | Permalink

April 25, 2014

Exposing Chicagoland

Now that the finale has aired, the real news begins.

"If it seemed as though some scenes of CNN's documentary series Chicagoland were coordinated by Mayor Rahm Emanuel's City Hall and the show's producers, that's because they were," the Tribune reports.

"More than 700 e-mails reviewed by the Tribune reveal that the production team worked hand in hand with the mayor's advisers to develop storylines, arrange specific camera shots and review news releases officially announcing the show.

"Producers asked the mayor's office to help them set up key interactions in what the cable network has billed as a nonscripted eight-part series, including Emanuel's visits with the school principal who emerged as a star of the show, e-mails show."

To those professing this is not surprising, I call bullshit.

The notion that the mayor tried his best to control the narrative isn't surprising, but the scope of latitude given by CNN - far beyond what noxious "access journalism" usually requires - is an outrage.

CNN is not MTV (which, by the way, produces superior documentaries in its True Life series).

Then again, CNN is no longer CNN.

Still, CNN and Chicagoland producing partner promised real journalism. The fact that it didn't deliver seemed up until now to simply be a matter of incompetence and starfucking (for what passes for "stars" in Chicago).

Instead, we now know it's something much more sinister.

"Creator and executive producer Marc Levin made a pitch to the mayor's office last May as Emanuel's hand-picked school board was two days away from a vote to close nearly 50 schools.

"This is a real opportunity to highlight the Mayors leadership - his ability to balance the need for reform and fiscal reality with compassion for affected communities and concern for the safety of Chicago's school children," Levin wrote of the school closings to Emanuel senior adviser David Spielfogel and two press aides. "We need the mayor on the phone in his SUV, in city hall with key advisers and his kitchen cabinet and meeting with CPS head BBB (Barbara Byrd-Bennett) and with CPD (Superintendent Garry) McCarthy."

We need Rahm on his cellphone in his SUV looking out the window decisively, but with compassion!

Marc Levin, you are so Today's Worst Person In Chicago.

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"Prior to Chicagoland, Levin and fellow executive producer Mark Benjamin both had been represented by William Morris Endeavor, the Hollywood agency run by the mayor's brother, Ari Emanuel. The producers said they were not represented on the project by William Morris to avoid any conflict of interest, but Levin said they likely would be represented by the firm in the future."

We just took time off from Ari for the shoot; then we'll be back in the fold. Unless we do something to piss him off, which of course we wouldn't.

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"The Chicagoland producers got the green light for access to Emanuel and City Hall after a meeting arranged by the Chicago public relations firm Jasculca Terman, records show."

Huh, why is that name familiar?

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"After the meeting at Jasculca Terman's offices, producers Levin and Benjamin e-mailed [Emanuel press secretary Tarrah] Cooper and Clothilde Ewing, Emanuel's chief of strategic planning.

"We are thrilled that City Hall and the Mayor have agreed to assist our production team, help steer us to strong stories and participate directly in the CNN series," the producers wrote. "We look forward to working with you and your office to capture the citizens of Chicago and their mayor in a sustained and determined effort to improve the education, safety and economic well-being of all Chicagoans."

Help steer us to strong stories and participate directly.

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"A few weeks later, Emanuel's office indicated it would soon suggest story ideas for the series, e-mails show.

"[A] Jasculca daughter, Lauren Foley, e-mailed Cooper, the mayor's press secretary, to ask her to send 'the list of story/interview ideas that you and your team were going to put together' for the Chicagoland producers.

"I'll be in touch in the upcoming days to further discuss characters and story lines that we suggest," Cooper wrote a few days later to the producers. "We look forward to working with you!"

"E-mails show nine senior Emanuel staffers exchanged emails on the series early on, with one to Cooper including an attachment labeled 'DocuSeries Characters.'"

For example, "SuperMayor," "Screaming Black Lady," "SuperCop," "Invisible Hispanic," "SuperDouche Nightclub Dude" and "Black Prop Children."

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"Foley served as the liaison between City Hall and the production team, e-mails show. On Jasculca Terman's website, Foley is listed as a vice president who 'acted as the stage manager for the inaugural of the Mayor of Chicago, Rahm Emanuel.' Foley said she was paid as a field producer on the series by Levin and Benjamin."

So one of Rahm's PR lackeys actually worked as a producer on the show.

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"[A]nother major storyline in Chicagoland followed Fenger High School Principal Elizabeth Dozier. Producers pushed to have both characters intersect for the cameras, records show."

"A scene showing both sides of a phone conversation between Emanuel and Dozier aired during the series, and in July, Levin thanked the mayor's staff for the access. 'The phone call with Principal Liz Dozier is great,' he said."

Which phone call?

The phony one.

Oh yeah.

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"As the production team wrapped up filming in October, executive producer Benjamin requested for the mayor and Dozier to interact again. Another scene in the series shows Emanuel and Dozier watching a Shakespeare play at a park together, but this time Benjamin wanted Emanuel to visit Dozier's school.

"Still need more Rahm," Benjamin wrote to Hamilton, Emanuel's communications director. "Need the mayor at Fenger High School with Liz also. I know i am needy but we want more Rahm in the series. I know I sound like a (broken) record, but in the Feb. '14 broadcast, Rahm will look good making 'his' points."

I know I sound like a broken record, but we need to make more shit up. This is CNN!

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"CNN's producers and photographers did not always receive the access they sought, e-mails show.

"On July 1, Levin e-mailed [David] Spielfogel, the mayor's senior adviser, and Cooper telling them that for the series to reach its full potential, 'we need to go to the next level with the Mayor.'

"Right now, we're not doing justice to the Mayor's real bold leadership style, ambitions and policies," Levin wrote. "I know we still have time to round out the Mayor's story and present him as the star that he really is."

I wonder at what point they were at in the filming that they weren't doing justice to Rahm's bold leadership style, because it was evident from early in the first episode that this was going to be a wank.

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"Everything in documentary that is character-driven is a matter of access, and the filmmakers did what every filmmaker does with time and money constraints, they tried to make their life easier with those kinds of requests," Block said. "And if they can get access, they have footage, and if they have footage and interesting characters, they have a story."

1. You had access to everyone else in the city. Lacking access to Rahm would have accurately reflected the way he does his job - in private. Why not reflect that reality?

2. Almost every documentary filmmaker is offended that you have just accused them of doing what you just did.

3. Time constraints? You filmed last summer. This is April.

4. Money constraints? You were backed by Robert Redford for a project to be aired by CNN. How much more money do you need?

5. Make life easier? Change professions.

6. If you have access, you have footage of "characters," and you have a story. You just don't have the truth.

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"Some e-mails that were provided show City Hall worked closely enough with CNN that drafts of the network's news releases about Chicagoland were shared ahead of time. When the network prepared to announce the series in the spring of 2013, Jasculca Terman's Foley twice forwarded copies of CNN news releases to Emanuel's office.

"This version is considered final for CNN. Thoughts?" Foley wrote to Emanuel press aides, to which Cooper responded, "Thanks! I'll have edits for you shortly!" Foley wrote back, "Perfect! Thank you!"

So the mayor's office even edited CNN's press releases.

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"Before the first episode aired, emails show, Emanuel's top aides asked to view the first Chicagoland episode ahead of its debut at Redford's Sundance Film Festival in January.

"Will we (the Mayor, Sarah and myself) be able to see the first episode before it premieres?" Cooper, Emanuel's press secretary, wrote to Levin. The producer replied, "I have a call into CNN now to discuss screening episode one for the Mayor, Sarah (Hamilton) and you. I'm assuming they would be open to it."

"Levin said he couldn't remember if the screening happened."

Right.

"A CNN spokeswoman said she didn't think so. Emanuel's office declined to say."

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"After the first episode aired on television in March, Emanuel was asked what he thought of the series.

"I haven't watched it," he said.

Right. Best Actor awards all around.

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It's even worse than we know because so many of the e-mails the Trib asked for were redacted.

"The mayor's office redacted those messages and hundreds more sent between administration officials, citing an exemption in Illinois' open records law for preliminary correspondence among city employees in which opinions are expressed or policies are formulated. The mayor's office did not respond to questions about its decision to redact the e-mails."

Also:

"While the e-mails the Tribune received give a glimpse of the interaction between the mayor's office and the production team, how CNN producers developed scenes at Fenger High School and while following McCarthy and other Chicago police officers is not as clear. CPS and Chicago police did not provide documents in response to a Tribune open records request filed six weeks ago."

If only we were shown Rahm, McCarthy and CPS breaking the law by ignoring FOIA requests . . .

"Everything the mayor does is stage-managed. Everything. That is the way he operates, so I'm not going to dispute that," Levin said in an interview when asked about his e-mails that requested specific scenes featuring the mayor. "I would be the first to acknowledge that you don't get into Chicago . . . and get access without having to do a certain dance."

In other words, everything Rahm does is stage-managed so we had to work very hard to make it look like he doesn't stage-manage anything, even including scenes of him talking about how he doesn't consider politics when making decisions even though - according not to supposition but sources in a position to know - he doesn't take a breath without considering it through the prism of politics.

It took a lot of access to film Rahm in a light that is the exact opposite of reality. That's how you make a documentary!

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If all access gives you is access to bullshit, then what's the point? Access is incredibly overrated.

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If you don't get into Chicago without doing a little dance, then maybe that's part of your documentary! Chicagoland didn't have to be filmed through the viewfinder of the mayor. You could have followed a few reporters around as they try to divine the truth from this administration; you could have followed the lives of ordinary Chicagoans as they come up against this city's institutions; you could have devoted each episode to a single issue vexing the city. There were plenty of options that didn't depend on access.

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"That dance for access is not uncommon, said Mitchell Block, an expert on documentary films at the University of Southern California's School of Cinematic Arts. While Block said he hadn't watched Chicagoland, he said that in any documentary, if a filmmaker's access to a subject is managed, and not free-ranging, it affects how that person is portrayed."

Why the Trib felt it had to quote an expert is beyond me - especially one who hasn't even seen the show. "Hey, just to be fair, let's find an expert to say what is self-evident and what we're all thinking and what we don't want to say ourselves!"

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One other quibble with what is obviously an awesome report: There is no mention of Mark Konkol, the local reporter who bills himself as a producer and writer as well as narrator of the show.

Professional courtesy?

Because the strictest ethics considerations ought to apply to the actual journalist employed by the production. A journalist who has (gag) won a Pulitzer Prize. How deep was his involvement? What did he know about this machinations?

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And what of Redford?

The movie star Robert Redford, who played Watergate reporter Bob Woodward in All The President's Men, says newspaper standards are in 'steep decline.'

"That's why documentaries have become so important," he told the BBC. "They are probably a better form of truth."

Not in this case.

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And:

"I think independent filmmakers, documentary filmmakers - they are journalists. I'm not a lawyer, but I do know this: we need to protect our ability to tell controversial stories. More filmmakers are taking up this mantle. They are doing some of the best investigative journalism right now, as the line between journalism and entertainment is getting blurred."

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Then again:

"Look, I have a high regard for Rahm Emanuel," Redford said last month. "I think the most encouraging thing I've learned about Chicago going back to my personal involvement with Mayor Daley and with Rahm Emanuel, is the heart."

I wonder if Redford has ever heard the names Burge and Vanecko.

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Previously:
* Tweeting Chicagoland | Episode 1: Oh My Lord, I Hate It Already.

* Cracking The Chicagoland Code 1: Docu-Series Or Docu-Wank?

* Tweeting Chicagoland | Episode 2: Brought To You By Allstate, Billy Dec & The Central Office.

* Cracking The Chicagoland Code 2: Fixing The Facts.

* Tweeting Chicagoland | Episode 3: Get Me Rewrite.

* Cracking The Chicagoland Code 3: Our Fact-Challenged Heroes.

* Tweeting Chicagoland | Episode 4: Did We Mention That Rahm Loves (Black) Kids?

* Cracking The Chicagoland Code 4: LollapaRahmza.

* Tweeting Chicagoland | Episode 5: Back To Black.

* Cracking The Chicagoland Code 5: Yada Yada Yada.

* Tweeting Chicagoland | Episode 6: Building A New Rahm.

* Cracking The Chicagoland Code 6: Unwired.

* Tweeting Chicagoland | Episode 7: Tripling Down.

* Cracking The Chicagoland Code | Epsiode 7: We Don't Care How They Do It In New York.

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 12:57 PM | Permalink

The [Friday] Papers

Way behind with so much going on and so much great stuff elsewhere on the site today, so let's just move to that.

* Exposing Chicagoland: Turns out Rahm Emanuel executive produced after all. My take on the Tribune's blockbuster.

Our regular Tweeting Chicagoland feature will appear sometime between now and Monday. Also, watch this space on Saturday evening for our Beachwood International podcast with The Angry Aussie as we discuss the Trib story and this week's final episode, as well as the next edition of The Beachwood Radio Hour.

* Exclusive! Inside The New Barack Obama High School: As we are wont to do, we have the inside scoop on the mayor's new pet project. Rated F for funny.

* This Week In Deadspin Chicago: One of the weirdest weeks in recent Chicago sports history produced humiliating hijinks from Homer City.

* Blue Plane Blues: What you can't see is the sound. In Beachwood Photo Booth.

* Bulls Star With Brooklyn Roots Is Same As Ever: Different: The New York Times looks at Joakim Noah.

* The Week In Chicago Rock: Neil Young, Bobby Bare Jr., Gemini Club, Goo Goo Dolls, Sam Smith, The Knife, and Ryan Eclipse.

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The Week In Juvenile Justice
From the mean streets of Chicago to the indigenous Aussie outback.

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Reader Comment
"I don't live in the city but I grew up in the city and went to public schools. This whole crap about selective enrollment is crap. I guess BO really is not a man of his people. $100 million for a library? Guarantee huge entrance fee plus amusement tax. What crap. Closing neighborhood schools is crap. 45 people shot over Easter weekend is crap. I mean, it's a god holiday, no? Worrying about plastic bags when there's bodies in the streets?! Are all the politicians on medical marijuana? Why aren't people storming City Hall?"

- Noell Jezek

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TweetWood

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The Beachwood Tip Line: L-I-V-I-N.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 11:38 AM | Permalink

This Week In Deadspin Chicago

The Chicago sports scene always provides Deadspin with plenty of material, but this week we went above and beyond our duty to provide the world's most popular sports site with wacky hijinks. Let's take a look.

1. Ugly Blues-Blackhawks Series Gets Uglier With "Wakey-Wakey" Taunt.

Hawk Harrelson can only exist in this town because Chicagoans are still so goddamn parochial. It's Homer City. So when Brooks Orpik puts a legal, unpenalized hit on captain Jonathan Toews, a great crime has occurred. And when the Blackhawks don't retaliate for said legal, unpenalized hit, well, idiocy abounds.

But when Brent Seabrook puts a dirty hit on Blues captain David Backes, and then Duncan Keith taunts the concussed Backes with a childish "wakey, wakey," well, yeah, it was, um, wrong, the sports commentariat sheepishly and grudgingly acknowledges, but who knows, maybe he didn't really say it ("I don't remember everything that gets said," Keith claimed, which is essentially an admission), and hey, you know, it's good for the Blackhawks to play a Backes-less Blues at any rate.


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2. Even The Chicago Bulls' Security Staff Is Sick Of Joey Crawford's Shit.

"The Chicago Bulls have set up a kind of text-message hotline that fans can use to hail the assistance of the arena's security team. Reader Dave was at the game between the Bulls and the Wizards last night, and he tried his luck at getting referee Joey Crawford - who made a number of bad calls and whom everyone hates - kicked out of the arena."

Text through to see the text exchange.

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3. Cubs Pretend Their History Doesn't Include Sammy Sosa.

I'm with the Cubs on this one.

Why invite back an embarrassment who not only corked his bats but corked his body? The fact that he bailed on his teammates one year only adds to a legacy that includes an infamously bashed boom box and now his statement that he's ready to make amends for any "misunderstandings" that occurred while he was here.

The only misunderstanding is the Cubs playing the victim, having enabled Sammy and his Flintstones vitamins in return for fannies in the stands. Maybe they should all go to counseling together, but that wasn't even the current ownership or management, so they should do it on their own time.

They could take David Kaplan with them, because he needs serious help too.

What makes it time? The statute of limitations ran out?

Kaplan was even more adamant on his SportsTalk Live show this week, arguing that because idiot fans in other cities welcomed back Barry Bonds and Ryan Braun, we should welcome back Sammy. I'd prefer Chicago fans think for themselves.

Finally, The Score's Mark Grote made perhaps the most important point on STL by noting that the return of Sammy for Wrigley's 100th birthday party would make that day all about Sammy, not Wrigley. Which is the mentality that got us here in the first place.

Watch:

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4. Reporter Asks Patrick Kane "Was That Your First Overtime Game-Winner?"

The reporter was NBCChicago's Peggy Kusinski. Here it is:

In a now-deleted tweet, Kusinski said:

wow deadspin already! I did ask Kane about GW in OT, trying to lead him into talking about the others - He didn't, and question fell flat.

Pretty weak. If that was an attempt to "lead him" into talking about his other overtime game-winners, why not just ask him straight out about his other overtime game-winners? Better yet, why not pursue a better question, like, describe how tonight's overtime goal came together - how the play developed, what you were thinking, the shot you took?

The truth is that most broadcasters (and too many print reporters) don't ask interesting questions, they just say something as a way to get their subject to say something - anything. And then they put it on the air, regardless of if it has any value.

You have access, use it!

But maybe I don't understand how reporter/player dynamics work.

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5. The Cubs' 400-Pound Wrigley Cake Is Sitting In A Dumpster Right Now.

The Cubs were quick to blame Field Museum personnel for this fiasco, seeing as how the cake was last in their possession, but Jesus fuck, Cubs, you didn't make plans for the cake's ultimate destination?

My assumption would have been that it would be eaten. But it turns out it's only partly edible; much of it is built out of . . . stuff . . . to help make the . . . um, bleachers and stuff, I guess. All the better! You think folks wouldn't like to take those pieces home!

Kaplan, again, gets it wrong, both on this point and on his main message that destruction and disposal of the cake is perfectly fine, it should have just been done in secret so it wouldn't make it onto Deadspin!

No! I would have taken the cake remnants; who wouldn't want a mini-Wrigley in their home from that very special day? Totally a collector's item!

Here's Kaplan being ridiculous:

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Let's smarten up out there, people. That's the best way to avoid international humiliation.

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 9:54 AM | Permalink

The Week In Chicago Rock

You shoulda been there.

1. Neil Young at the Chicago Theatre on Tuesday night.


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2. Bobby Bare Jr. at Schubas on Thursday night.

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3. Gemini Club at House of Blues on Tuesday night.

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4. The Goo Goo Dolls at the Park West on Tuesday night.

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5. Sam Smith at the Vic on Tuesday night.

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6. The Knife at the Aragon on Wednesday night.

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7. Ryan Eclipse at the Concord on Wednesday night.

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 8:15 AM | Permalink

Exclusive! Inside The New Obama High School

"A new selective-enrollment high school named after President Barack Obama is coming to the Near North Side, CPS officials announced Thursday."

As we are wont to do, we have the scoop.

The Beachwood I-Team has learned the following about Obama High:

* Bruce Rauner's daughter already enrolled.

* If you like your homework, you can keep your homework.

* Detention will be held offsite and last indefinitely.

* Kids will be told the H. in Barack H. Obama High School stands for Harold.

* Taco Day is every day. Only they're not tacos, they're kale burgers.

* The school's position on admitting gay students is evolving.

* 30% of the school's seats will be reserved for neighborhood kids, but they'll only get a Bronze education.

* Notes passed in class will be monitored by a factor of three hops.

* Every student required to fill out an NCAA bracket; teachers will prep on this for weeks.

* Enrollment for the fall semester closes at the end of August. Okay, September. Okay, March.

* Ukrainian students will pretty much be on their own.

* Same for Afghani students.

* And Syrian.

* Also Iraqi.

* And Yemeni.

* Most Pakastani students, too.

* Oh, and Somalis.

* No fatties.

* All students required to sign up with the school nurse.

* Security will be quietly handled by Academi, Lockheed Martin, EADS and Booz Allen Hamilton.

* All doors will be revolving.

* NO PRESS ALLOWED.

* The school will specialize in Rhetoric.

* Of course, it's really a spy school.

* Rahm will still send his kids to Lab.

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Contributing: Andrew Reilly, Natasha Julius, J.J. Tindall, Eric Emery, Marty Gangler, Steve Rhodes

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 7:38 AM | Permalink

Beachwood Photo Booth: Blue Plane Blues

Louder than appears.

blueplane.JPG (ENLARGE FOR PROPER VIEWING)

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So beautiful. So peaceful. So loud.

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More Chicago photography from Helene Smith.

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Helene on Twitter!

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Meet Helene!

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Stationery, iPhone cases, hoodies.

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

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Previously:
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Chicago Man Grilling
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Yum Yum Donuts
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Chicago Father's Day
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Vintage Airmaster
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Chicago Time
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Window Shade
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Illinois Slayer
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Chicago Fire Escape
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Golden Nugget
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Hollywood, Chicago
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Flag Man.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Van In Flames.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Fluid Power Automation.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Corn Dog.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Stop The Killing Car.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Chicago Backyard.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: A to Z Things.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Swedish Diner.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Rothschild Liquors.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Chicago Silos.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Chicago Wires.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Orange Garden.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Irving Park Guy.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Chicago Pigeons.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: O'Lanagan's.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: For Rent.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Marie's Pizza & Liquors.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Mori Milk.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: American Breakfast.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: A Chicago Christmas Postcard.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Holiday Harold's.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Chicago Family Fun.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Snow Bike.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Nativity Scene.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Old Warsaw.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Deluxe Cleaners.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Marie's Golden Cue.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Die Another Day.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Sears Key Shop.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Window Dressing.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Jeri's Grill.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Barry's Drugs.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Liberty.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Chicago Kitchen.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Golden Specials.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: We Won The Cup.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Bartender Man.

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 6:21 AM | Permalink

April 24, 2014

The [Thursday] Papers

"Less than half of students at Benito Juarez Community Academy High School graduated in 2008 when Juan Carlos Ocon took over as principal, but by 2013, he said, the rate rose to about 69 percent," the Sun-Times reports.

The secret of Juarez's success - and the success of 19 other neighborhood high schools in Chicago in getting more students to graduation day - started with the school's ninth-graders and keeping them "on track," according to new research to be released Thursday by the University of Chicago's Consortium on Chicago School research.

Shepherding ninth-graders through their first year of high school - focusing on helping them to show up to class and complete their work so they pass their courses - leads to jumps in graduation rates, even at high schools once thought of as "dropout factories," according to the study.

"Attention to those very small things has a big payoff," said Elaine Allensworth, who directs the Consortium, adding that schools need to intervene as soon as freshmen show a dip in attendance or decline in effort.

The Consortium is one of the few reliable institutions we've got, so this is indeed significant. I was particularly struck by this passage:

"The interventions that have worked so far are less expensive and dramatic than a schoolwide turnaround or conversion to a charter school, she said. The gains spanned gender and race but were highest for African-American males."

That finding is all the more relevant given the day's other big education news.

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Note: The Consortium has created an "on-track" website where you can find tons more, including groovy charts and the full report.

That's Bill!
Former-candidate-for-every-office-in-Illinois-several-times-over Bill Daley is joining a Swiss hedge fund.

Apparently his on-again off-again thirst for public service was only fueled by ambition, because it's not like he isn't rich enough yet or the need for serving the public has been filled by others since he decried the state's "lack of leadership" while promising that job creation would top his agenda if elected governor.

Instead, job destruction is his new game.

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"Bloomberg reported that Argentiere, based out of Zug, Switzerland, and named after a skiing village in the French Alps, would focus on volatility trades, or betting on the rate at which stocks rise or fall," the Tribune notes.

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See also:
* Businessweek: Hedge Funds Are For Suckers.

* Gawker: Hedge Fund Managers Are The Biggest Gangsters Of All.

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Scalia Baffled By HBO & Other Mind-Blowing Judicial Knowledge Gaps
Everyone should be disturbed by what's playing out in the U.S. Supreme Court right now.

Cubs Two-Game Winning Streak Finally Comes To An End!
A game for the ages at Wrigley.

The Top 3 Reasons Why Obama's Clemency Initiative Sucks
Hint: Race, scope and accountability.

Chance the Rapper Cannot Speak
Plus: The CSO's DJ & Northbrook's Kaskade. In Local Music Notebook.

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BeachBook
* Government Secrecy: One Step Forward, One Leap Back.

* St. Louis Post-Dispatch Head Carpenter Quits Over Lee Enterprise CEO's $700,000 Bonus.

* Thank Obama For His Education Agenda.

* Report: Poor Planning Led To River Forest Diplomat's Death In Afghanistan.

* Chicago's Violence Tied To Policies Of Rahm's Past.

* FBI Informant Tied To Cyberattacks; Chicago Hacker Was Dupe.

* Chicago Doctor Among 3 Americans Killed In Afghanistan.

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TweetWood

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The Beachwood Tip Line: TipLineLand.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 11:29 AM | Permalink

Cubs Two-Game Win Streak Finally Comes To An End!

It was a game for the ages.

With a two-game winning streak on the line, the Cubs took the field on Wednesday outfitted in the uniforms of their forebear Chicago Federals to commemorate the 100th birthday of the ol' ballpark. The woeful Arizona Diamondbacks dressed as the Kansas City Packers, who took this very field on April 23, 1914.

And who could forget the rivalry that began when starting Packers pitcher George "Chief" Johnson "was removed after two innings when served with an injunction from his former team, the Cincinnati Reds."

The Packerbacks were out to spoil the party.

The Cuberals were out to fulfill their destiny.

"Pedro Strop entered in the top of the ninth with the Cubs up 5-2," Troy Machir writes for the Sporting News.

"He walked the first batter he faced, before an error allowed [ex-Cub] Tony Campana to reach base. He then walked another batter before striking out Gerardo Parra. Martin Prado then singled, scoring Chris Owning and Campana, making the score 5-4.

"Then things got really bizarre.

"After striking out Paul Goldschmidt, Strop was pulled in favor of James Russell, who came in to face Miguel Montero. The Diamondbacks catcher singled to right field on a play in which the baseball bounced off of second base, allowing another run to score. Russell was then pulled in favor of Justin Grimm, who promptly gave up a double to Aaron Hill, who turned it into a triple when outfielder Justin Ruggiano took a bad route and injured his leg trying to make a difficult play. The result of the gaffe was two more runs for the Diamondbacks, making the score 7-5.

"When it was all said and done, the Diamondbacks scored five runs on three hits, while the Cubs committed one error, two walks and lost a player to an injury in half an inning."

And this kid became the new face of the franchise:

Cubs-Kid.gif

Steve Bartman, your job here is done.

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"That was a weird inning," Cubs manager Rick Renteria said, like every Cubs manager before him. "I've never seen a ball hit the corner of the bag on a ground ball. That's a first for me."

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"According to the win probability chart at baseball-reference.com, the Cubs had a 97% probability of winning when the top of the ninth inning started with the Cubs holding onto a 5-2 lead over the Arizona Diamondbacks."

The Cubs should never have a 97% probability of winning, least of all on the 100th anniversary of Wrigley. That's the problem with sabermetrics - it fails to take the metaphysics of the universe into account.

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"For Wrigley Field's 100th birthday, baseball's schedule makers could have included one of the National League's most senior franchises - the Cincinnati Reds, or the Giants, once of New York and now from San Francisco - to play the Cubs. But they settled on the Arizona Diamondbacks, an expansion team in 1998.

"Still, the choice proved sage for a stadium that has never housed a World Series winner: When the Cubs and the Diamondbacks met Wednesday, they had the two worst records in the National League."

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 9:55 AM | Permalink

The Top 3 Reasons Why Obama's New Clemency Initiative Sucks

On Wednesday, the Department of Justice outlined expanded criteria that could allow prisoners convicted of non-violent crimes to win early release from prison.

Under the new initiative, the Office of the Pardon Attorney will fast-track commutation applications from inmates who have served more than 10 years for non-violent offenses and who were well-behaved while imprisoned.

As part of the shift, the department is replacing Pardon Attorney Ronald Rodgers. Two years ago, we reported that Rodgers had failed to provide critical information to the White House in urging denial of a commutation for Clarence Aaron, a model prisoner who served nearly 20 years for a small role in a drug deal.

Aaron's release was championed by civil liberties groups, and late last year he was among eight prisoners whose cocaine-related sentences were commuted by President Obama.

His case was among the more than 35 stories ProPublica has published over the past three years about racial discrimination in pardon outcomes and questionable practices in the process.

Obama's commutation reforms cheered prisoners' rights advocates, who say they are a necessary corrective to an unfair sentencing regime. But the new initiatives, which appear to be aimed at commutations, don't address other problems identified in our reporting on presidential clemency.

Here's three areas the new initiative doesn't address:

1. Whether Outgoing Pardon Attorney Ronald Rodgers Was Disciplined

Aaron was sentenced to three consecutive life sentences for abetting a drug conspiracy - though he had not sold, bought, or supplied the cocaine, and he had no prior criminal convictions. Though he seemed like a model candidate for early release, President Bush denied his petition in December 2008.

Rodgers had misrepresented some key facts about Aaron's case in his report to the White House. As we reported, both the U.S. attorney for the South District of Alabama and Aaron's sentencing judge had supported Aaron's petition. Instead, Rodgers inaccurately informed the White House that the U.S. attorney thought the request was "about 10 years premature."

In December 2012, the Justice Department's inspector general said Rodgers' conduct "fell substantially short of the high standards expected of Department of Justice employees and the duty he owed the President." In a report, the IG said Justice should review "whether administrative action is appropriate."

Rodgers remained in his position until Wednesday, when deputy attorney general James Cole announced that Rodgers would be replaced by Deborah Leff, the acting senior counselor for Access to Justice. After a transition, Rodgers will take on "another role" in the agency, a Justice Department news release said.

"Over the past several years, Ron has performed admirably in what is a very tough job," Cole said. "He has demonstrated dedication and integrity in his work on pardons and commutations."

Asked by a reporter if Rodgers' departure was related to the inspector general report, Cole said it's typical for senior officials to change positions within the department. "Ron has expressed some desire for a while to move on, as the senior executive service usually does," he said.

A spokeswoman from the department was unable to confirm whether Rodgers had been disciplined for his role in the Aaron case. "We can't comment on personnel matters given Privacy Act concerns," she said.

2. Racial disparities in pardons

Clemency refers to two different presidential powers: commutations, or early release from prison, and pardons, or the forgiveness of a crime.

In a 2011 study of nearly 500 cases decided by President Bush, ProPublica found that white criminals were four times as likely as minorities to win a pardon. Even when controlling for other factors like type of crime and sentence, race remained one of the strongest predictors of a pardon. We found multiple cases in which whites won pardons while minorities convicted of similar crimes did not.

Part of the problem is that the Office of the Pardon Attorney considers subjective factors such as attitude, level of remorse, and financial stability. Experts say those considerations may provide an opening for inadvertent racial bias. President Obama, like President Bush before him, has relied heavily on the Office of the Pardon Attorney for advice on who to pardon.

In 2012, the Justice Department commissioned a study to replicate ProPublica's work and determine whether "all other things being equal African Americans and other minorities are less likely to progress in the pardon adjudication process than applicants of other races."

The study was supposed to be completed in September 2013. The Justice Department now estimates that the study will not be complete until September 2015.

3. How to cover every prisoner who may be serving an outdated sentence

The new criteria apply to inmates who are serving federal sentences that are longer than sentences that would likely be given today. To be fast-tracked for commutation consideration, inmates must have served 10 years of a sentence for a non-violent crime. They must also be low-level offenders without gang affiliations who have demonstrated good conduct.

The Justice Department has identified about 23,000 prisoners serving sentences of 10 years or more, but it's unclear how many of these inmates meet the other criteria. If inmates do not meet all the criteria, they may still apply for early release, but their applications will not be given priority.

Some prisoners convicted under older, harsher sentencing rules who haven't yet served 10 years won't be eligible. Vanita Gupta, deputy legal director at the ACLU, said that's why Congress should pass the Smarter Sentencing Act, which would let courts reduce sentences for prisoners convicted under out-of-date laws.

Gupta said that while the new criteria are sensible, they should not be a substitute for congressional action. "Clemency has been grossly underutilized, but it's not going to bring relief to everyone who should see relief," Gupta said. "And it's not going to change some of the laws."

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Previously:
* Obama Has Granted Clemency More Rarely Than Any Modern President.

* Despite New Pardons, Obama's Clemency Rate Is Still Lowest In Recent History.

* The Sweeping Presidential Power To Help Prisoners That Holder Didn't Mention.

* Obama Finally Lets Clarence Aaron Go Home.

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Comments welcome.


Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 8:56 AM | Permalink

The Supreme Court Doesn't Understand How TV Works

"In the end, the Supreme Court's ideal frame of reference was the phonograph," Brian Fung writes for the Washington Post.

"In struggling to find the right conceptual analogy for the two-year-old start-up Aereo, our nation's top judicial officials also considered the difference between a car dealership and a valet parking service. But the fact that their first instinct was to turn to an invention created 137 years ago speaks gigabytes for how well the justices approach the day's most important technology cases.

"It's easy to poke fun at the bench. Justice Sonia Sotomayor kept referring to cloud services alternately as 'the Dropbox,' 'the iDrop,' and 'the iCloud.' Chief Justice John Roberts apparently struggled to understand that Aereo keeps separate, individual copies of TV shows that its customers record themselves, not one master copy that all of its subscribers have access to. Justice Stephen Breyer said he was concerned about a cloud company storing 'vast amounts of music' online that then gets streamed to a million people at a time - seemingly unaware of the existence of services like Spotify or Google Play. And Justice Antonin Scalia momentarily forgot that HBO doesn't travel over the airwaves like broadcast TV.

"This is hardly the first time the court has seemed to betray a poor grasp of technology. Earlier this year, Justice Anthony Kennedy flatly assumed that many computer programs could be written by a college kid in a coffee shop over a single weekend. No one corrected him. And it's been only four years since Scalia asked the room whether you could print out text messages."

Mashable was moved to rank the justices by their tech savvy - which moved Sarah Jeong to rip Mashable for going too soft on the Court.

New York magazine was moved to write 8 Times The Supreme Court Was Baffled By Technology.

It's not funny.

The American Prospect writes that the future of television is at stake in the Aereo case.

Mashable says the case could affect all Internet storage.

And yet:

"If you're comfortable with the Supreme Court resolving disputes over technology, the transcript of Tuesday's oral arguments in ABC vs. Aereo should change your mind," Jon Healey writes for the Los Angeles Times.

For example, at one point Justice Stephen G. Breyer said that unlike a rooftop TV antenna, the tiny antennas that Aereo sets up in a city could "pick up every television signal in the world and send it . . . into a person's computer." That's physically impossible, not just because antennas aren't sensitive enough to detect signals from outside the local market but because the world isn't, you know, flat. "And that sounds so much like what a [cable] TV system does or what a satellite system does," Breyer continued, "that it looks as if somehow you are escaping a constraint that's imposed upon them. That's what disturbs everyone [on the court]."

"Everyone outside the court should be disturbed by a question like that."

The New York Times notes that "The arguments Tuesday were the culmination of two years of legal sparring between the networks and Aereo, over an issue television executives and analysts say will have far-reaching implications for the industry.

"At risk are the billions of dollars broadcasters receive from cable and satellite companies in the form of retransmission fees, the money paid to networks and local stations for the right to retransmit their programming. The networks have said this revenue is so vital that they would consider removing their signals from the airwaves if the court ruled for Aereo."

The Times's David Carr writes that "At Stake In The Aereo Case Is How We Watch TV.

And that's being decided by judges who don't know that HBO is a subscriber service. Good lord.

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Previously:
* TV-Over-Internet Coming To Chicago. (Item 4)

* Aereo Stuck At The Gate? (Item 1)

* Window To A World. (Last item)

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 5:42 AM | Permalink

Local Music Notebook: Chance the Rapper Cannot Speak

"Chance the Rapper has been released from the hospital and is now in Los Angeles resting after an on-going illness forced the cancellation of his second Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival set last weekend. He has since cut remaining shows through Sunday," BET reports.

"A now deleted statement tweeted out by his management team revealed the cause of the rapper's illness.

"Upon rising on Sunday morning, Chance was running a 104 degree fever and could not speak due to the inflammation of his throat. He was rushed to Hollywood Presbyterian Hospital where he was put on an IV drip and medicines were introduced to help control his body temperature and pain caused by his illness," the statement read.

"Chance has since returned to his home in Los Angeles and is recovering. His doctors have come to the conclusion that this illness was caused by a combination of the flu virus and tonsillitis. Chance is due to see a specialist this week to determine whether or not surgery is required."

Hip-Hop Wired has a photo of Chance in his hospital bed.

CSO's DJ
"Mason Bates takes his audience on a journey from the confines of a dusty circuit board to the reaches of outer-space to a Detroit warehouse where techno was born," Kay Kemmet writes for the Sioux City Journal.

"He melds electronica with strings, brass and percussion for symphonies across the world but, by night, he steps behind a soundboard as a disc jockey.

"There is a way that those two musics interact that is absolutely incredible," Bates said.

Bates is a composer-in-residence with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra.

"Mason Bates writes music that fuses innovative orchestral writing, imaginative narrative forms, the harmonies of jazz and the rhythms of techno," according to his CSO bio.

"Frequently performed by orchestras large and small, his symphonic music has been the first to receive widespread acceptance for its expanded palette of electronic sounds.

"Along with Anna Clyne, Bates was appointed by Music Director Riccardo Muti as one of Chicago Symphony Orchestra's Mead Composers-in-Residence beginning in the 2010/11 season for a term of two years. Muti then extended both Bates's and Clyne's terms through the 2014/15 season."

See also: MasonBates.com.

OK, Kaskade
"Kaskade's fans are used to breaking a sweat to his music, but not quite like this," Billboard reports.

"The American dance music star tells Billboard that he will be producing a series of 5K nighttime running and walking events in at least five cities this summer.

"Called 'The Spark Run,' each race will feature a mixed soundtrack and artist performances. Kaskade will headline select cities.

"Music evokes a lot of different emotions and triggers different senses," says Kaskade. "That's what got me interested in the Spark Run. I'm stoked to take various elements from my live shows, create new ones, and marry them into something as unique as this."

The inaugural Spark Run is set for May 9th in Denver, with subsequent runs scheduled in Los Angeles, Washington D.C., Chicago and Charlotte, NC. Featuring illuminated race courses, interactive light shows, and powerful sound systems, the events promise to offer full sensory experience.

Kaskade is Northbrook's very own Ryan Raddon.

See also: How [Kaskade] Became The $200,000-A-Night DJ Known As Kaskade.

Grim Reaping
Steve Grimmett's Grim Reaper, the revamped version of the cult '80s British metal act Grim Reaper led by singer Steve Grimmett, performed in the USA for the first time since 1987 on April 5 at the Ragnarökkr Metal Apocalypse festival at Reggies bar in Chicago," Blabbermouth reports.

Here's a taste:

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 4:44 AM | Permalink

April 23, 2014

The [Wednesday] Papers

The Papers will return on Thursday.

But that doesn't mean there isn't fresh Beachwood content to enjoy . . .

* The Political Odds. Updated to reflect recent developments.

* Honoring Hot Dog Richie's. In our Random Food Report.

* The Chicago Youth Boxing Club Is Really Not About The Boxing. The Gym vs. The Streets.

* Branding The Pope. In the hands of Loyola Press.

* Orlando Rivera And His Chicago Cuatro Orchestra. A true cultural warrior.

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BeachBook
* Don't Let The Torturer Play The Censor.

* Obama Tightens Media Access Even Further.

* On The Hillary Beat. Oh, Tribune.

* New Survey Falsely Suggests Half Of Chicago Renters Could Own. Oh, Tribune.

* NTSB Head: Oil Tanker Rail Safety 'Has Been Compromised.' Traveling through Chicago.

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TweetWood

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The Beachwood Tip Line: Undeniable.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 12:28 PM | Permalink

The Chicago Youth Boxing Club Is Really Not About The Boxing

"The Chicago Youth Boxing Club provides professional boxing instruction to youth in Little Village, North Lawndale, Humboldt Park and some suburbs. Victor Rodriguez, Gabriel Navarro and Ana Patricia Juarez discuss their work and growth of the organization."


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"CYBC provides a positive and healthy environment for Chicago's inner city youth; instilling positive and productive skills, and discipline, through boxing and team environment," the organization's Facebook page says.

"Established in 2001, The Chicago Youth Boxing Club was originally established to promote youth boxing and raise funds to support youth entrance fees into local and national competitions. Since 2001, CYBC has evolved into a non-profit organization dedicated to the social, educational and physical well being of Chicago's inner-city youth. Working with its community partners Little Village Community Development Corporation and the La Villita Community Church.

"CYBC opened its permanent home in Little Village in the Fall of 2007. This facility serves not only as a community gym, but also as a home to the CYBC youth program. In this time, CYBC has grown to include several volunteer, part-time staff, and a full time coach as well as program management staff who serve 35-40 youths daily."

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CNN: Saving Lives In The Boxing Ring
"Just like boxing saved me, I'm trying to save others"

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The Gym vs. The Streets
"It's a boxing club, obviously, but it's more youth development than anything else."

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 11:30 AM | Permalink

Random Food Report: Honoring Hot Dog Richie's

"For Jason Marzullo, hot dogs are his life. Oh, and burgers, Italian beef, gyros and thin crust pizza. As owner of Hot Dog Richie's in Palatine, his latest item he can add to his menu-the restaurant is the newest inductee into the Vienna Beef Hall of Fame," Lisa Fielding reports for Newsradio 780.

"When they called me, I was like Hall of Fame, What? I just thought of football and thought the were going to make a bust of me holding a hot dog," Marzullo laughed.

"Hot Dog Richie's has been a fixture at the corner Northwest Highway and Colfax in Palatine since 1972. Marzullo has owned it since 1999."

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"Jason Marzullo has been at the helm of Hot Dog Richie's perpetuating the name and neighborhood icon status since 1999," Vienna Beef says in its induction statement.

"Originally started up by Rich Smith in 1975 as a northwest suburban fast food oasis; he would be very surprised and proud at the impact created by the 3 future owner / operators, particularly the passion for the business displayed by Jason; not to mention the tremendous seating and kitchen expansion.

"Jason's HDR has been acclaimed as the best thin crust sausage pizza and best hot dog in Palatine and is always supportive of the community events and needs such as Rosie's Toy Box Cancer Fund and supporting local sports, from Celtic Soccer to Palatine Youth Football.

"Once inside Hot Dog Ritchie's, regulars and newbies love the menu and it's variety, which also includes Vienna's corned beef and pastrami as well as hot dogs and polish sausages. Check out the entire menu by visiting www.myhotdogrichies.com."

Elmhurst Hot Dog Lady Has To Move
"Elmhurst's Hot Dog Lady Pamela Uslander is going to have to move if she wants to continue to sell hot dogs from her mobile cart in the city's downtown," the Tribune reports.

"In a 10-to-4 vote, City Council members Monday accepted a report from the council's Public Affairs and Safety committee eliminating Uslander's longtime location on the west side of York Street at the entrance to the Schiller pedestrian walkway as an approved pushcart location."

Click through to see how shady this appears to be.

Kung Pow
"In the Chicago area, Subway is currently testing a new sandwich in the form of their Kung Pao Pulled Pork sub," Foodbeast reports.

This sort of move usually comes from a company that has lost its way.

White Waffle
"White Castle is counting on people craving its waffle sandwiches at all hours of the day and night," the Sun-Times reports.

"The fast-food chain will debut three Belgian waffle sandwiches Sunday. Two sandwiches - sausage, egg and cheese or bacon, egg and cheese - will be available during breakfast hours. A waffle chicken sandwich will be available around the clock.

"It's a bit of a gourmet treat for us at the Castle. We're importing the waffles from Belgium," vice president Jamie Richardson said.

Brand identity crisis much?

Thigh Gap Closing
"Ot all started last week, when The Kitchn announced that chicken thighs are where it's at," Jolie Kerr writes for The Concourse.

"There needs to be a revolution in the poultry world," they insisted, and followed with a pretty strong argument to forget about those breasts because "chicken thighs deserve the real love" by posting a recipe for Lemon Thyme Chicken Thighs done in cast iron.

Then, on Friday, Sifton got in on the act, working out Andrew Zimmern's working out of a recipe for chicken thighs with shallots that had its origins in Martha Stewart's sadly defunct Everyday Food magazine. (Miss u every day, Everyday Food.)

They say three's a trend, so by the powers vested in us, we're declaring that, upon the publishing of this post, chicken thighs are officially The It Food Of Right Now.

Editor's Note: I had chicken thighs last night; I've been eating them for years and I think they're fantastic.

Brand Chicago
"If you order pizza from your favorite take-out place, you might be seeing a sticker like this one on your pizza box," reports Washington State's MyEdmondsNews.

"The Edmonds Driftwood Players have partnered with local pizza delivery businesses, just in time for their latest production.

"'Thugs: A Musical Mafiasco just screams Chicago, gangstas, and yes, pizza,' the theater group notes on its blog."

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 10:43 AM | Permalink

Local Book Notes: Branding The Pope

"A small, Jesuit publishing house in Chicago won the bid to print the pontiff's first collection of writings in the U.S. But this isn't just any mass-market book - and it's tricky to build a brand for the Bishop of Rome," Emma Green writes for the Atlantic.

That publishing house is Loyola Press.

"For a small publishing house like Loyola, this is a pretty big deal," Steve Connor, the Press's director of new product development, told the Atlantic. "Our average books sell between 5,000 and 10,000 copies. We've had some great bestsellers, but they are few and far between. A book like this comes along only once in a while."

Click through to learn more about Loyola's papal branding strategy; the article is called "How To Sell Pope Francis."

Doc Emanuel
Showing this month on BookTV:

After Words: Dr. Ezekiel Emanuel, "Reinventing American Health Care: How the Affordable Care Act Will Improve Our Terribly Complex, Blatantly Unjust, Outrageously Expensive, Grossly Inefficient, Error Prone System," hosted by Dr. Sally Satel, AEI.

"The former White House adviser on health care provides an explicit outline of how the Affordable Care Act is reshaping American health care for the better. He also outlines what he calls six megatrends that will determine the market for health care until the end of the decade. He talks with Dr. Sally Satel, American Enterprise Institute fellow specializing in health policy.

"Ezekiel Emanuel is vice provost and chair of the Department of Medical Ethics and Health Policy at the University of Pennsylvania. He served from 2009-2011 as the special advisor for health policy to the director of the White House Office of Management and Budget. He is a New York Times columnist, a regular contributor to the Wall Street Journal and the author of nine books."

Quimblog
New stuff this week at Quimby's.

The Oldest Living Things In The World
"The Oldest Living Things in the World was a labor of love for artist and photographer Rachel Sussman - the project, to document and photograph continuously living organisms 2,000 years old and older, has been around in one form or another since 2004," Kristi McGuire writes for the University of Chicago Press blog.

"The result is a stunning collection of images that function as much more than eye candy in the realm of flora and fauna - Sussman's work quietly, and with unimpeachable integrity, makes a case for the living history of our planet: where we've come since year zero, what we stand to lose in the future if we don't change our ways, and why we should commit to a more intuitive relationship with the natural world."

Here's the trailer:

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Seemingly related: The Mental Life Of Plants And Worms, Among Others.

America's Digital Library
"The Digital Public Library of America, a project aimed at providing free online access to the nation's cultural repositories, has tripled in size to more than seven million items from more than 1,300 institutions since it opened a year ago, the group has announced," Jennifer Schuessler writes for the New York Times.

"The noncommercial effort, whose offices are located inside the Boston Public Library, gained steam following a 2011 federal court ruling that derailed Google's plan to build the world's largest digital library. It does not own any of the items in its catalog, but instead allows users to access them both through its own website, dp.la, and through various regional service hubs."

Gambler's Edge
"I was only a kid that year, living in Chicago's Chinatown with my parents and my lao ye, my grandpa. Grandpa was the one who took care of me; my mom was a nurse at Mercy Hospital, my dad a student at IIT by day and a parking attendant in the Loop by night. I pretty much only saw my parents at dinner time, when my dad would shout at me to turn the TV down and my mom would practically fall asleep in her rice bowl. I wouldn't exactly have called Grandpa my only friend, but he was the one who woke and fed me in the mornings and met me after school for the five-block walk home."

Continued . . .

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 9:07 AM | Permalink

Meet Orlando Rivera And His Chicago Cuatro Orchestra

"Founded in 1996, the Chicago Cuatro Orchestra has worked to create a cultural program to preserve Puerto Rico's national instrument, the Cuatro.

"Founder and director Orlando Rivera talks about the orchestra's history and importance and also about the Mother's Day concert they will do in collaboration with the Ballet Folklórico Juvenil de Chicago."


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See also: Orlando Rivera: A True Cultural Warrior In Chicago's Puerto Rican Community.

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Previously from Perspectivas Latinas:

"Carlos Flores, an activist in the Puerto Rican community and Jeff Kust, a classical guitarist, talk about the Puerto Rican Tiple Construction Workshop. They also talk about the history of the instrument and what they hope for the workshop."

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See also: The 2013 Puerto Rican Tiple Construction Workshop.

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 7:47 AM | Permalink

April 22, 2014

The [Tuesday] Papers

"Mayor Rahm Emanuel [Monday] wouldn't say why he spent taxpayer money on out-of-town trips in which he mixed city business with politics, but defended the travel expenses as legitimate."

Saying why would be snitching.

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"Asked [Monday] why public money was being used for trip[s] where he conducted campaign work and how he reached decisions on when and when not to spend taxpayer money on travel, Emanuel did not directly answer the questions."

It's a matter of values.

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"The mayor's office spent at least $325,000 on travel for Emanuel, staff members and the city's Springfield lobbyists from when the mayor took office in May 2011 through the end of 2013, records showed. Emanuel's administration has yet to respond to a Tribune request for the mayor's travel expenses and official calendar for the first three months of 2014."

Said Emanuel: "Nobody's immune from accountability."

Oh, that was from something else.

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Obviously I'm not drawing an equivalency between travel costs and homicides. I'm just saying (again) I find the rhetoric of "accountability" and the "no-snitch code" to be wanting.

Where is the accountability of draining poor neighborhoods via TIFs and redistributing that money to corporate benefactors?

Or of a school board and administration whose lies have become too numerous to list closing 50 schools in neighborhoods that need them most?

Finally, the idea that the real problem when it comes to the city's violence is a lack of "values" among those who have been the most plundered and neglected is head-spinning.

And when it comes to the no-snitch code, I must have missed Emanuel's call for R.J. Vanecko, his friends, the police and prosecutors to come clean. Unlike the residents of, say, Englewood, their families' lives won't be endangered by doing so.

Planet Rahm
"Sneed hears Mayor Rahm Emanuel has a cool new plan in the works."

Oh, the mayor is using Sneed again to float an idea. Let's listen in!

"It's called air conditioning for every classroom in Chicago. To wit: Sneed is told Emanuel has now ordered the Chicago Public School system to add air conditioning to every classroom in the city that doesn't have it . . . starting this summer.

"Backshot: Last year, at the mayor's direction, air conditioning units were ordered for all 70 buildings incorporating students from schools that had to be closed.

"Upshot: Now, at the mayor's direction, the 206 school buildings that do not have full air conditioning will get it within the next five years."

So, if all goes according to plan, all CPS schools will have air conditioning by . . . 2019.

So much for the famously impatient Rahm.

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The Cub Factor: Ricky Sveum
Another manager who didn't get the memo.

Black Power TV
Broadcasting While Black.

When The Benson Orchestra Ruled Chicago
House band for Capone's Chiraq.

'Paris Street: Rainy Day' Not As Rainy As Thought
Restoration Changes Art Institute's Impression.

Human Rights Orgs To Foreign Ministers: Stop Spying On Us
Response to fresh Snowden revelations.

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BeachBook
* Chicago Pen Maker Turns Battleship Deck Into Historic Mementos.

More than a decade since the original deck of the Battleship North Carolina was replaced, new products made from its materials are still popping up all over the country.

Chad Schumacher of Chicago-based Allegory Handcrafted Goods Co. recently hosted an online fundraiser to make 1,000 limited edition pens from original deck wood. The fundraiser closed in early April and exceeded its monetary goal, raising more than $26,000 rather than the anticipated $12,000.

* Oscar Mayer Classic Weiners May Be Classic Cheese Dogs Instead!

Kraft issues recall of 96,000 pounds of hot dogs.

* Elmhurst 8th-Grader Wants Cubs GM Job.

The jokes write themselves.

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TweetWood

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The Beachwood Tip Line: Accountable.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 10:43 AM | Permalink

Human Rights Organizations To Foreign Ministers: Stop Spying On Us

Dear Minister,

On April 8, 2014, former US National Security Agency (NSA) contractor Edward Snowden testified before the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE) via video-conference that the NSA and the United Kingdom Government Communications Headquarters (GCHQ) have used their surveillance capabilities to spy on the communications of human rights organizations and civil society groups, both domestically and internationally.

Snowden did not reveal which groups the NSA or GCHQ have spied upon, but indicated that the types of organizations whose communications had been compromised included major global organizations similar to Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch, and other NGOs.

Snowden explicitly told PACE members that the NSA had "specifically targeted the communications of either leaders or staff members in a number of purely civil or human rights organizations . . . including domestically, within the borders of the United States."

If Snowden's assertion is accurate, such facts would not only point to fresh dimensions of the overreach of NSA surveillance, but also would constitute an outrageous breach of the US government's stated commitment to human rights and freedom online.

It also raises the very real possibility that these organizations' communications with confidential sources have been intercepted. Sharing this information with other governments could put victims and human rights defenders the world over in imminent danger.

The US frequently criticizes repressive states for unjustified government spying on human rights organizations, media organizations, and civil society because such surveillance has a chilling effect on freedom of expression and association and constitutes a clear form of harassment and intimidation.

Furthermore, as you are well aware, the US and the UK have taken leadership roles in the Freedom Online Coalition (FOC), the leading intergovernmental coalition, established in The Hague on December 8, 2011, for the purpose of "advancing Internet freedom - free expression, association, assembly, and privacy online - worldwide."

FOC members have joined in a shared commitment to work together to voice concern over measures that restrict Internet freedom and to support individuals whose human rights online are curtailed.

FOC members also have undertaken obligations to adopt and encourage policies and practices, domestically and internationally, which ensure the protection of human rights and fundamental freedoms online, in particular freedom of expression, the right to privacy, freedom of assembly and access to information.

If the allegations about US and UK surveillance of human rights and civil society organizations are true, such practices would contradict the express commitments made by the US and the UK to the FOC.

We, the undersigned civil society and human rights organizations, seek clarification as to the allegations that the NSA and GCHQ monitored or are monitoring the communications of our organizations, or of other civil society organizations, media organizations, and human rights groups.

Where the facts support these claims, we ask the US and UK governments to explain the reasons why this is occurring or has occurred in the past, and the extent of such monitoring, its continuance, and its justification.

We call upon members of the FOC to live up to their stated commitment to support civil society members or journalists whose human rights online may have been violated.

We seek FOC member assistance in ascertaining the underlying factual basis for the Snowden allegations with respect to NSA and/or GCHQ spying on civil society and human rights groups, and in ensuring a halt to any violations of our privacy, freedom of expression and other human rights online.

Sincerely,

Access

Advocacy for Principled Action in Government

AGEIA DENSI

Alternative Informatics Association

Amnesty International

Article 19

Asociacion de Internautas

Association for Progressive Communications (APC)

Benetech

Big Brother Watch

Bits of Freedom

Breadboard Society

Bytes for All, Pakistan

Center for Constitutional Rights

Center for Democracy & Technology

Center for Freedom of Expression and Freedom of Information (CELE), Palermo University School of Law

Centre for Internet and Society, Bangalore, India

Chaos Computer Club (CCC), Germany

Charity & Security Network

Committee to Protect Journalists

The Constitution Project

ContingenteMX

Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR)

Digital Rights Foundation

Digital Rights Ireland

Electronic Frontier Finland

Electronic Frontier Foundation

Electronic Privacy Information Center (EPIC)

Foundation for Information Policy Research

Free Press

Freedom House

Freedom of the Press Foundation

Global Voices Advocacy

Hiperderecho

Human Rights in China

Human Rights Watch

Institute for Reporters' Freedom and Safety

International Federation for Human Rights (FIDH)

La Quadrature du Net

Movimento MEGA

New America Foundation's Open Technology Institute

Online Policy Group

Open Net Korea

OpenMedia.org

OpenTheGovernment.org

Panoptykon Foundation

PEN American Center

PEN International

Privacy International

Project On Government Oversight (POGO)

Reporters sans frontières

Samuelson-Glushko Canadian Internet Policy & Public Interest Clinic (CIPPIC)

Son Tus Datos

Thai Netizen Network

World Press Freedom Committee

World Privacy Forum

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Previously:
* What The Proposed NSA Reforms Wouldn't Do.

* Technologists Turn On Obama.

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

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

* Eighth-Grader Schools The NSA.

* You Know Who Else Collected Metadata? The Stasi.

* Today We Fight Back.

* The Day We Fight Back.

* FAQ: The NSA's Angry Birds.

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

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

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

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

* Edward Snowden's Christmas Message.

* Jon Stewart: Obama Totally Lying About NSA Spying.

* Presidential Panel To NSA: Stop Undermining Encryption.

* The NSA Is Coming To Town.

* 60 Minutes We Can't Get Back.

* Why Care About The NSA?

* NSA Surveillance Drives Writers To Self-Censor.

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

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

* Obama Vs. The World.

* How A Telecom Helped The Government Spy On Me.

* UN Member States Asked To End Unchecked Surveillance.

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

* Five More Organizations Join Lawsuit Against NSA.

* A Scandal Of Historic Proportions.

* Item: NSA Briefing.

* The Case Of The Missing NSA Blog Post.

* The NSA Is Out Of Control.

* Patriot Act Author Joins Lawsuit Against NSA.

* Obama's Promises Disappear From Web.

* Why NSA Snooping Is A Bigger Deal In Germany.

* Item: Today's NSA Briefing.

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

* Song of the Moment: Party at the NSA.

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

* What NSA Transparency Looks Like.

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

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

* The Surveillance Reforms Obama Supported Before He Was President.

* America's Spying: Worse Than You Think.

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

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

* Six Ways Congress May Reform NSA Snooping.

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

* Does The NSA Tap That?

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

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

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

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

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

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

* Obama's War On Truth And Transparency.

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

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

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

* Daniel Ellsberg: Obama Has Committed Impeachable Offenses.

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

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 10:27 AM | Permalink

Ricky Sveum

Ricky Renteria is already following in the failed footsteps of Dale Sveum in one key area: He's trying to win games.

Didn't you get the memo, Ricky?

When a manager employs platoons and lineup systems and looks for daily match-ups, he's trying to win every game.

Not what you were hired for, Rick.

You were hired to develop players. That means playing Mike Olt and Junior Lake every day; we don't need to see what Luis Valbuena and Ryan Sweeney have to offer.

It might even mean playing Darwin Barney every day until it's intolerable; playing Emilio Bonifacio every day - at either second or in center field - was fun when he was out of his mind the first couple weeks of the season, but he's back to being Emilio Bonifacio. Not only is he not a part of the future, he's probably not a part of this season after July.

The Cubs don't have a lot of "kids" to play at the major-league level right now, but the ones they do have should be given every opportunity to experience the whole of the game - against lefties, righties and in crucial, late-inning situations. Winning, according to Theo's Plan, is secondary (if that) right now. Managing at cross-purposes just shows that this organization is as dysfunctional as ever.

The Week In Review: The Cubs lost four of five last week - including a doubleheader to the Yankees - before bouncing back Monday night with a win over the woeful Arizona Diamondbacks. After a 4-12 start, the Cubs have inched into relative respectability with two victories in a row, having now achieved a .333 winning percentage. In so doing, the Cubs avoided falling so low as to enter the world of quantum physics, where they would have been on a pace to lose more games than actually scheduled to play.

The Week In Preview: Three more games against the D-backs at home give the Cubs an opportunity to put some distance between them and next spring's first-round draft pick, though our boys then travel to division-leading Milwaukee for a three-game weekend set. In other words, the peak of the season for this team may occur on Thursday, April 24. Tickets are still available.

Wrigley Is 100 Celebration: The first 100 fans to each of this week's home games will be paid $100 each if they promise to return for any of the season's last 100 games.

Theo Condescension Meter: Holding steady at 9.5 because "Both Teams Benefited From Soriano Trade." Nobody wins an Alfonso Soriano trade.

Prospects Are Suspects: "Javier Baez Struggles In Return From DL."

That's Ricky: "It was fun for me to see [Cincinnati Reds closer Jonathan] Broxton warming up in the ninth inning of an 8-2 ballgame yesterday [Sunday]," Renteria said Monday afternoon. "These guys didn't quit. We kept it going. Broxton was hot. He was waiting to see what was going to happen."

Even Renteria's moral victories are lame as hell.

That's Also Ricky: "Another Day, Another Lineup For Renteria."

Laughable Headline Of The Week: "Renteria Wants Better Focus From Cubs."

As has every Cubs manager before him.

Mad Merch: Proposed: Travis Bickell Day, a joint promotion between the Cubs and Blackhawks featuring Travis Wood and Bryan Bickell.

Billy Cub vs. Clark Cub: Clark compared unfavorably to Chico the Chihuahua.

Advantage: Billy.

Deadspin Cubs: Brandon Phillips drops spectacular photobomb on Cubs fans at Wrigley.

The Junior Lake Show: Three walks, two home runs and two stolen bases on the season so far, with mystifyingly limited playing time.

Mustache Wisdom: "It's been strange going so far. For me, and the team. But it's April 20, too. It does us no good hanging our heads or being negative. The numbers are there and the standings are there, but it's April 20. We've played [17 games] of 162. We gotta work on some things and come out and put a good stretch in and that's about it."

- Carlos Villanueva, but insert any Cub and any year.

Ameritrade Stock Pick of the Week: Shares of exotic mustaches face massive sell-off.

Shark Tank: Will need to hit better if he wants to get a win.

Jumbotron Preview: 5,700 square-feet of another 90-loss season.

Kubs Kalender: Wait 'til next year 2016 2017 2018 2019 2020.

Over/Under: Amount attendance will fall this season: +/- 350,000.

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 Ricketts family will go down as the worst Cubs owners ever.

Fantasy Fix: Sox Appeal.

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

The White Sox Report: Know the enemy.

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Hashtag Cubs

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 9:07 AM | Permalink

'Paris Street: Rainy Day' Not As Rainy As Thought

"When conservator Faye Wrubel began restoring Gustave Caillebotte's 'Paris Street; Rainy Day' at the Art Institute of Chicago last October, she thought it would be a routine sprucing-up," the Wall Street Journal reports.

"But the discoveries she made - which the museum will unveil to the public April 23 - are likely to significantly alter not only the perception of the famous 1877 painting but also the artist's standing in art history."


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"So significant is the metamorphosis of the painting and what it means to Caillebotte that Ms. Groom has invited curators, conservators and art historians from across the country to Chicago on April 22 to see and discuss Ms. Wrubel's findings."

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Gustave Caillebotte.

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Paris Street: Rainy Day. (Tell us that's not North-Milwaukee-Damen.)

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 7:50 AM | Permalink

Black Power TV

"In Black Power TV, [Chicago media scholar] Devorah Heitner chronicles the emergence of Black public affairs television starting in 1968."

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Heitner will read from Black Power TV on Wednesday evening at the Jane Addams Hull-House Museum.

Heitner will be joined by WBEZ journalist Natalie Moore to explore the public television show Soul! We will return to a particular moment in American television when Soul!, a national program coming out of New York, carved out a cultural space that resisted the politics of respectability, introduced audiences to a vibrant Black creative and political aesthetic, pushed past normative boundaries of gender and sexuality while entertaining viewers and valuing Black life and performance.

Featuring a DJ set before and after the program.

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Broadcasting While Black.

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Black Journal.

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 7:18 AM | Permalink

When The Benson Orchestra Ruled Chicago

"The orchestra was established in 1920 by Edgar A. Benson, a cellist who had become an impresario responsible for managing many bands in Chicago," according to Wikipedia.

"The band soon became one of the most popular dance bands of the early 1920s, and had its base at the Marigold Gardens, which had some notoriety as a gangster hang-out."


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"Our CD of the Benson Orchestra of Chicago's initial 26 releases is the first serious attempt at chronicling this important dance band's contribution to the sound of 1920s American ballrooms," Archeophone Records says. "With pianist and arranger Roy Bargy leading a crack stable of sidemen, the Bensons were one of the top recording dance outfits of the early '20s, and they will still make you want to dance today."

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My Little Bimbo, 1920.


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The Avant-Garde Benson Orchestra.

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"A complete collection of recordings by the Benson Orchestra would require an added wing of a house just to store it. The group launched the career of many a jazz great, boasting lovely melodic soloists such as saxophonist Frankie Trumbauer, and rhythmically propelled by the up and coming drummer Gene Krupa," according to iHeart Radio.

"The ensemble under his direction began recording in the fall of 1920 at the New Jersey Camden studio. 'Na Jo,' also known as 'No Ja,' is a tune from a session the following year which has been lauded for containing the invention of 'stop time' playing: for sure, the song's title stops proof-readers dead in their tracks, no matter which way the vowels are lined up. The orchestra's record sales were no joke, on the other hand. Its version of 'Wabash Cannonball' moved 750,000 units in 1921."

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Na Jo.

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Wabash Blues.

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 6:40 AM | Permalink

April 21, 2014

The [Monday] Papers

"Under former Mayor Richard M. Daley, City Hall paid millions of dollars in legal fees to Katten Muchin Rosenman, the law firm where Daley now works," the Sun-Times reports.

"But under Daley's successor, Mayor Rahm Emanuel, the firm has seen its City Hall business fall sharply, records show.

"Last year, Chicago taxpayers paid Katten Muchin $139,964 - the lowest amount the firm has been paid by City Hall in more than 16 years."

Surely that's just a coincidence.

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"Emanuel administration officials won't talk about Katten's decline in legal work since Daley left office."

Not even to say it's a coincidence?

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"Daley has had a long relationship with Katten Muchin, particularly with one of the firm's partners, Terry Newman. Daley and Newman have been friends and regular dinner companions for two decades, and Newman remains in the former mayor's inner circle.

"A month after Daley left office, he joined Katten Muchin 'as Of Counsel to the firm, where he draws on his vast knowledge, experience and relationships globally to contribute to the continued growth of the firm,' according to Katten's website.

"The law firm also hired Daley's former City Hall press secretary, Jacquelyn Heard, and deputy press secretary, Jodi Kawada."

Oh.

Beachwood Radio
New episodes in the books!

* The Beachwood Radio Hour #3: What The FBI Director Saw In Chicago. Plus: Mayor Fioretti? Life With Bon Scott and Love In The Time Of Cholera. Being A Chicago Democrat. Roamin' Rahm. Chicago Street Photographer Helene Smith. And more!

* Beachwood International with The Angry Aussie No. 10: We Don't Care How They Do It In New York. Plus: Updates on Heartbleed and Ukraine.

Beachwood Sports
* SportsMonday: Six Degrees Of Playoff Losses. Commiserating with Blackhawks and Bulls fans.

* The White Sox Report: Attendance Already In Check. It's the ballpark, stupid.

* The Cub Factor: Will appear on Tuesday.

Beachwood Music
* The Weekend In Chicago Rock: Chuck Loeb, Ghost, Excision, Twistid, Blaze Ya Dead, Orquesta Aragon, Chevelle, Middle Class Rut, and Twista.

BeachBook
* Clinton Advisers Manipulated Wall Street Deregulation, Records Show; Now Work For Obama. Ignored risks to American economy and its citizens in pursuit of their own greed. Now millions pay the price.

* White Sox A Haven For Cuban Ballplayers. South Side "the center of an expanding universe of Cuban defectors in Major League Baseball."

* Aon Revamps Man U Sponsorship. "From focusing on awareness to driving 'understanding and preference.'"

* Chicago's $20 Million Club. Another list of overpaid CEOs.

* NYPD Commissioner Turned Felon Has A Message For Us Now That He's Been To Prison. Now against mandatory minimums that Garry McCarthy and Rahm Emanuel continue to push despite 30 years of research that unequivocally shows they do not work.

TweetWood

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The Beachwood Tip Line: Since 1957.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 9:15 AM | Permalink

SportsMonday: Six Degrees Of Playoff Losses

I can take certain players leading the charge for the Wizards against the Bulls.

John Wall is an emerging star in the league. A fan expects him to impact big games in big ways. Bradley Beal is one of the best young shooting guards in the Eastern Conference. And Marcin Gortat and Nene are strong players - in more ways than one - in the hearts of their careers.

But Andre Miller? I mean, he was over the hill three years ago, wasn't he? Yet there was the veteran reserve guard making the plays that put Washington in front in the fourth quarter Sunday in the Wizards' 102-93 victory over the Bulls in Game 1 of their first-round playoff series.

There are degrees of losing, and Blackhawk and Bulls fans experienced a remarkable run of the worst of the worst over the weekend.

Eventually Wall replaced Miller for the final few minutes and it was the big guys - Gortat and Nene that is - who finished off their foes. But for a long stretch of the fourth quarter the key Wizard was a player who early this season no fan could have imagined even being on the team.

Miller, who is 38 and in his 15th NBA season, had a big falling out in Denver with coach Brian Shaw right after the new year. The player who starred at Utah at the collegiate level along with long-gone Keith Van Horn, for gosh sakes, had been known as unfailingly soft-spoken. But as his playing time dwindled and then disappeared he lashed out.

The fourth-oldest player in the NBA, at least as of the beginning of the calendar year, actually upbraided Shaw in the middle of a game and was soon suspended for a pair of contests. At that point it became clear that Miller was on his way out, and sure enough in February he was dealt to the Wizards.

He struggled to fit in at times with his new team in the ensuing months and sure enough in the first half of Sunday's game, he was a non-factor. But he put on a clinic in the fourth quarter, and the Bull who suffered the most as Miller scored eight of his 10 points during a five-minute stretch which ended with the Wizards in front by a point as the clock ticked below the four-minute mark was D.J. Augustin.

Of course, Augustin is another surprise contributor in the big picture. He has played beautifully for the Bulls since they picked him up off waivers early in the season. Game 1 was not so beautiful, though, as he was beaten repeatedly by Miller for layups and short jumpers.

As far as specific players responsible for specific defensive breakdowns down the stretch, Augustin certainly had plenty of company. If it wasn't Jimmy Butler being beaten on back cuts not once but twice for lay-ups/free throws during that time, it was Joakim Noah and Taj Gibson getting caught between trying to help defend and taking care of their own responsibilities against Gortat and Nene.

Perhaps there is cold comfort for some in the fact that at least the Bulls didn't leave us screaming at the television screen like the Hawks did not once but twice in their first playoff forays against the Blues on Thursday and Saturday. As far as degrees of losing go, taking leads into the final few minutes and then into the final few seconds before finding ways to lose have to rank near the absolute bottom.

Brent Seabrook may have essentially ended the local hockey season with his undisciplined steamroller job on St. Louis's David Backes with just under five minutes remaining in Game 2 of his team's first-round series. The Blues finally capitalized on the resulting five-minute power play with less than 10 seconds left in regulation and before you knew it in overtime another game was lost, giving the Blues a 2-0 series lead.

Now the Hawks will have to win four of five and they will have to do the majority of it without Seabrook, who was suspended for three games for the brutally dangerous hit near the boards that resulted in Backes's brain first smashing into the front of his skull and then smashing into the back. Any medical personnel who say he doesn't have a concussion are fired on the spot. To a certain extent, Seabrook got off easy.

The home teams are back at it on the ice tonight at 7:30 and the hardwood Tuesday at the ridiculous starting time of 8:30. I suppose it can't get any worse, can it?

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

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 8:57 AM | Permalink

The Beachwood Radio Hour #3: What The FBI Director Saw In Chicago

Plus: Mayor Fioretti? Life With Bon Scott and Love In A Time Of Cholera. Being A Chicago Democrat. Roamin' Rahm. Chicago Street Photographer Helene Smith. And more!


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SHOW NOTES:

00:00: Strawberry Rock Show.

2:20: Daughter, from their Chicago Theatre show on Tuesday night.

3:59: FBI director James Comey was in town. Here's what he saw.

* Patrick Fitzgerald: The New Face of the Law.

* In The [Tuesday] Papers. Testilying, Chicago violence, R.J. Vanecko.

* Chicago's Homicide Rate Since 1950.

11:17: Miggs at the Elbo Room on Wednesday night.

12:18: Mayor Fioretti?

16:36: Scars on 45 at City Winery on Tuesday night.

17:33: Spotlight: J.J. Tindall. The Beachwood poet-in-residence reads "Pigeon" and "Life With Bon Scott." We discuss AC/DC and the ailing Malcolm Young. J.J. reads from Gabriel Garcia Marquez's Love in the Time of Cholera. And finally, meet J.J. the tour boat guide.

* Our Most Magnificent Magic Realist Is Dead: Mourning Gabriel Garcia Marquez.

* Rick Kogan on J.J. Tindall.

* Ballots From The Dead.

42:31: Charlene Kaye at Beat Kitchen last Sunday night.

43:38: Cook County Democratic Party Unanimously Re-Elects Joe Berrios And His Family To A Fifth Term As Chairman.

47:25: Ride Like The Wind.

47:43: Cracking The Chicagoland Code 7: We Don't Care How They Do It In New York.

* Tweeting Chicagoland Episode 7 | Tripling Down.

50:12: Barney Miller.

51:00: Chicago Wildfire Catch On With ESPN: Network Invests In Ultimate Frisbee.

52:47: Roamin' Rahm.

57:52: SPOTLIGHT: Beachwood Photo Booth Impresario Helene Smith talks Chicago street photography.

* She meant 7-Up sign, not 7/11.

* Helene's Etsy store.

1:14:23: Free Cubs association with Not Marty Gangler.

1:17:49: Ending theme.

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Previously:
* The Beachwood Radio Hour #1: Look At A Fucking Map.

* The Beachwood Radio Hour #2: Crime Is Down.

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See also: The Beachwood Radio Network.

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 7:22 AM | Permalink

Cracking The Chicagoland Code 7: We Don't Care How They Do It In New York

Except when we do - and when we can lie about it.


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Previously:
* Tweeting Chicagoland | Episode 1: Oh My Lord, I Hate It Already.

* Cracking The Chicagoland Code 1: Docu-Series Or Docu-Wank?

* Tweeting Chicagoland | Episode 2: Brought To You By Allstate, Billy Dec & The Central Office.

* Cracking The Chicagoland Code 2: Fixing The Facts.

* Tweeting Chicagoland | Episode 3: Get Me Rewrite.

* Cracking The Chicagoland Code 3: Our Fact-Challenged Heroes.

* Tweeting Chicagoland | Episode 4: Did We Mention That Rahm Loves (Black) Kids?

* Cracking The Chicagoland Code 4: LollapaRahmza.

* Tweeting Chicagoland | Episode 5: Back To Black.

* Cracking The Chicagoland Code 5: Yada Yada Yada.

* Tweeting Chicagoland | Episode 6: Building A New Rahm.

* Cracking The Chicagoland Code 6: Unwired.

* Tweeting Chicagoland | Episode 7: Tripling Down.

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 5:05 AM | Permalink

The Weekend In Chicago Rock

You shoulda been there.

1. Chuck Loeb at the Montrose Room in Rosemont on Saturday night.


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2. Ghost at the Vic on Saturday night.

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3. Excision at the Aragon on Friday night.

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4. Twiztid at Mojoes in Joliet on Thursday night.

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5. Blaze Ya Dead at Mojoes in Joliet on Thursday night.

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6. Orquesta Aragon at Mayne Stage on Friday night.

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7. Chevelle at House of Blues on Friday night.

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8. Middle Class Rut at House of Blues on Friday night

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9. Twista at Durty Nellie's in Palatine on Saturday night.

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 4:17 AM | Permalink

Attendance Already In Check

On a Sunday morning when your team hasn't won a game since last Tuesday's frigid 2-1 squeaker over the Red Sox - a game the White Sox stole on a ninth-inning error - your mind tends to dwell on other aspects of this young season.

I lack patience for Sox fans who complain that their organization is second-class compared to the guys on the North Side of town. The idle, senseless Internet chatter bemoaning Sox attendance is the kind of prattle which needn't concern those of us who root for the White Sox.

So what am I doing checking attendance figures for the young season? I'm not proud of this. But the inkling that this season has the potential to be less than thrilling results in seeking other signs - in addition to those on the field - that this ballclub just may be in difficulty.

(The 16-2 pummeling of the Rangers on Sunday afternoon, which halted a four-game skid, helped lift the sour mood as the team heads to Detroit for four games beginning this evening.)

How are you supposed to feel after four starts - three resulting in losses - by Felipe Paulino, culminating in Friday's embarrassing 12-0 shellacking in the first of three games in Texas?

I'm pretty sure the guy isn't looking for pity, but I couldn't help feel a bit sorry for him when manager Robin Ventura - in an attempt to save his bullpen, which he decimated two nights earlier in the 14-inning 6-4 loss to the Red Sox - finally rescued Paulino with two outs in the fourth and the Sox trailing 10-0.

Paulino was put on the disabled list Saturday with alleged inflammation of his rotator cuff. I assume this is his right shoulder, the one he uses and the same side as the elbow on which he has had surgery.

But let's return to a less favored topic, that being the number of fans who have appeared for the team's first 10 dates at The Cell. For the record, the Sox are dead last of all major league teams with an average home attendance of 16,959. After losing 99 games a year ago, what would you expect?

The team's marketing department, which tries just about every ploy including tickets as cheap as $7, might disagree, but averaging almost 17,000 a date in April's cold weather - we awoke to a generous covering of snow Tuesday morning - isn't too shabby.

A year ago, those first 10 dates drew almost 20,000 per game, but that was coming off a season where the team challenged the Tigers until the final week.

Furthermore, there are more serious problems with this team than the number of fans in the ballpark. Are we to fret over Chairman Jerry Reinsdorf and his investors jeopardizing their comfortable lifestyles if the Sox don't draw? Of course not. Will the Chairman put restraints on general manager Rick Hahn because of poor gate receipts? See Jose Abreu's $68 million contract, or the almost $150 million the team has tied up in John Danks, Chris Sale, and Jose Quintana. Not to mention the $56 million paid to Adam Dunn, who finally looks to be worth maybe half that much.

Gosh, I'd say we have a pretty nice Chairman.

He's also successful. In its annual MLB team evaluations, Forbes lists the Sox's valuation at $695 million. Not bad for something the Chairman's group paid slightly more than $20 million for in 1981.

According to the report, the team operated at a $2.7 million loss in 2013. But Reinsdorf and his associates also have the Bulls and 40 percent of CSN Chicago, to say nothing about the sweetheart deal for the Cell - engineered through the auspices of the Illinois Sports Authority - which favorably positions the White Sox.

An interesting note is that the most profitable franchise in baseball is the Houston Astros, losers of 111 games in 2013, who drew about 2,000 fewer fans per game than the Sox. A rebuilding club like Houston can slash payroll and expenses and still make about $99 million, according to Forbes' prediction for 2014.

Apparently the White Sox' modest attendance doesn't prohibit pursuing long-term contracts, free agents, and Latin American prospects.

So why do some fans constantly moan that the team's fan base doesn't show enough interest? It's all about feeling inferior to the Cubs.

How can such a horrible product, clueless ownership, dilapidated ballpark, and across-the-street neighbors who hold the team hostage be so popular while our beloved Sox toil away in anonymity?

It just so happens that Chicago has two baseball teams, and one has a larger following than the other. If the Sox were the only team in town, they'd draw more fans.

And, arguably, if the Sox played on the North Side, they would be more popular if you believe the notion that Wrigley Field is situated closer than the Cell to people with the money who can afford the games.

Living in a racially segregated city, many white folks, who make up the vast majority of the attendance for both teams, might be hesitant to travel to the South Side. Ironically I haven't heard that as often today as 60 years ago when, for the most part, neighborhoods everywhere in the city were a lot safer.

Not surprisingly in other cities which have two teams, one necessarily outdraws the other: The Yankees over the Mets, the Giants more than the A's, and the Dodgers about 10,000 more per game than the Angels.

In Chicago, it's the ballpark, stupid. Just check out the gushing faithful at Wrigley, handing their cellphones to ushers and asking that they take their photos. "I was there," they can tell their pals back in Topeka, or their buddies at Murphy's after the game.

When Wrigley wasn't a novelty and the Cubs were perennial losers, attendance matched their performance. Not until 1984 did they attract more than 1,675.000. The Sox outdrew their North Side neighbors 16 of 17 seasons between 1951 and 1967.

The notion that the Sox would play better if more people cheered from the stands isn't the case in Tampa Bay and Oakland, where the successful Rays and A's challenge for their divisions every year while ranking near the bottom in attendance. And look no farther than the Addison L stop to see what over-the-top attendance does for that bunch.

A week where the Sox dropped four of six games tends to make one think about features other than the drama on the field where the important stuff takes place. Chris Sale limited the Red Sox to just one hit, a home run by Xander Bogaerts, in seven innings on Thursday, yet departed with a no-decision as the Red Sox won 3-1 in the late innings.

Blaming relievers Ronald Belisario and Scott Downs would be convenient, and they were partly responsible. But the team had stopped hitting - just 10 runs in the previous five games - until yesterday's outburst in Texas.

No team this season has scored more than the Sox's 106 runs - Colorado also has scored 106 - and when the team is hitting, they are really fun to watch. Beating up on the Rangers on Sunday was a fine way to salvage the week.

Looking ahead to Detroit, the Sox will face the starting quartet of Anibal Sanchez, Justin Verlander, Drew Smyly, and Max Scherzer, as fine a rotation as there is. If our athletes continue hitting, who knows? They might even draw some good crowds once they return home.

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

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1. From Mike Knezovich:

The attendance thing is confounding. I've finally reached the point where I just don't try to explain it to Cub fans, or feel sheepish about it.

I get to probably 10 games a year. I enjoy my time there. The food is great, the chatter's usually good, people are nice to us. That's what I say to people and I invite them to go. Not sure why more don't.

I do think your point about other two-team markets is telling - there's always a darling. And your point about the Sox outdrawing the Cubs for decades is telling. My view has always been that everything changed when the Tribune bought it. The neighborhood was on the rise, and that was either luck or smarts, but they were masters at marketing the Harry/Wrigley cache above all else. Steve [Rhodes] and I disagree on this subject - I think that the Trib owning the paper and the TV and radio station helped the Cubs immensely. He swears that the editorial coverage was equal, and as far as you can quantifiably measure that, I tend to agree. But my point has always been that it's not about column inches or negative mentions of play or whatever.

The Tribune pretty much plundered that team. They were a publicly traded company that was obligated to maximize shareholder value, and that's what they did. They substituted kitschy marketing for baseball sense. They completely neglected the physical plant, as the Rickettses have painfully learned. They entered broadcast contracts that made the big corporation's books look good, but shorted the ballclub. They never really had a face of management, for good reason.

And there's the rub. Today, Rosenbloom and others will lambaste the Tribune ownership, but they simply didn't cover that story during the Trib's ownership days. And fans deserved it in real time. (I don't recall Reinsdorf ever getting a pass from either newspaper, which is as it should be.)

Finally, there is this: When the Ricketts floated the trial balloon seeking state help with renovations, part of their argument was that the state had an interest in Wrigley thriving because it's such a big tourist attraction. Their pitch said that by their own numbers, 37 percent of their annual attendance was from out of state. Now, that includes NW Indiana like the Sox, but, that's a mighty big number. I'd love to know what the Sox and other numbers are on that, but I gotta believe much lower.

Remove the outlier tourist number, and it's possible that in terms of local fan bases, neither team draws that well.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 3:36 AM | Permalink

April 19, 2014

The Weekend Desk Report

We know what you're thinking: "If I had a nickel for every time this has happened to me . . ."

Right?

Market Update
The domestic market for Oligarchs is now so hot we've been forced to try importing them.

Sinking Feeling
We didn't think drones could reach new depths, but there you have it.

Stinking Feeling
Speaking of new depths, looks like House Speaker Mike Madigan has found a new way to do absolutely nothing wrong.

Sinking, Reeling
Meanwhile, on the home front, how's that economic recovery going for you?

Sunk
Finally this week, it turns out that sometimes turning around means moving backwards.

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The Weekend Desk Tip Line: Retrieve.

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Weekend Sports Special: Joel Quenneville's Horse Just May Make It To The Kentucky Derby After All | Midnight Hawk Favored In Today's Illinois Derby.

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The Beachwood Radio Network: In this edition of Beachwood International with The Angry Aussie, the boys revisit Heartbleed and Ukraine, speculate on the 2015 mayor's race, and eviscerate as always the latest edition of Chicagoland.

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In this edition of The Beachwood Radio Hour, what the FBI director saw when he came to Chicago. Plus: Mayor Fioretti? Life With Bon Scott. Being A Chicago Democrat. Roamin' Rahm.

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The Sound Opinions Weekend Listening Report: ABBA, Eurovision and Almost Famous.

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BeachBook
* Vice: The Peoria Police Raided My Friend's House Over A Mayoral Parody Twitter Account.

* Obamacare Site Flagged In Heartbleed Security Review. Change your password.

* Mini Version Of Wrigley A Hit In Freeport. Soon to feature a mini Jumbotron!

* Report: More Firefighters Gamed Mileage System. Our heroes!

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TweetWood

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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.

Perspectivas Latinas: Chicago Symphony Orchestra Latino Alliance

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Members of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra Latino Alliance discuss the role of Latinos in supporting the arts in Chicago.

Saturday, at 7:30 p.m. on CAN TV21 / En Espanol Sunday at 4:30 p.m. on CAN TV21.

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Perspectivas Latinas: Healthcare Alternative Systems

4-11-Alternatives.jpg

Danny Olvera of Healthcare Alternative Systems highlights the organization's efforts to enroll people in Obamacare.

Saturday at 8 p.m. on CAN TV21.

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The Decriminalization Of Drugs

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Associate Professor Carl Hart of Columbia University shares how witnessing the impact of drugs on society led him to support their decriminalization.

Sunday at 9 a.m. on CAN TV21.

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The Tasks Of Feminism Today

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What does "feminism" mean? Speakers from different perspectives weigh in on the role of feminism in affecting the wage gap, family life and other aspects of the lives of women in the past and today.

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

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Revisiting The Declaration Of Rights & Sentiments

4-11-Feminism2.jpg

Anne Elizabeth Moore explores whether the Declaration of Sentiments, a founding document of the women's rights movement in the U.S., is applicable to life today, and how it could be revised to fit a modern context.

Sunday at 1 p.m. on CAN TV21.

Posted by Natasha Julius at 7:57 AM | Permalink

Joel Quenneville's Horse Just May Make It To The Kentucky Derby After All

UPDATE 4/20: Dynamic Impact Catches Midnight Hawk.

"Running in Saturday's Illinois Derby means Midnight Hawk will be a no-show for the Kentucky Derby but Blackhawks coach Joel Quenneville and Falcons offensive line coach Mike Tice agree that the likelihood of winning one of the Chicago circuit's premier races beats taking what might be a losing ego trip to Louisville," Neil Milbert writes for the Tribune.

"Along with Hawks assistant Mike Kitchen, accomplished thoroughbred owner Mike Pegram and prominent Kentucky breeder John Sikura, Quenneville and Tice are co-owners of the 4-5 morning favorite in Hawthorne Race Course's Grade III $500,000 prep for the May 17 Preakness."

But Midnight Hawk coulda been a contender!


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But maybe there's hope.

"Saturday's $500,000, Grade III Illinois Derby wasn't designated a points race by Churchill Downs - much to the ire of Hawthorne Race Course - but it attracted a marquee horse who could run back in the Kentucky Derby in Midnight Hawk," Jennie Rees writes for USA Today.

"Midnight Hawk has never been worse than third in five starts, winning the Grade III Sham in his second start, then finishing third in the Grade II Robert B. Lewis and second in both the San Felipe and Sunland Derby. His 52 points easily put him in the Kentucky Derby. And while it's not trainer Bob Baffert's style to wheel back a horse in two weeks, he has not ruled the colt out of consideration."

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In the meantime, the Sun-Times says Midnight Hawk is today's favorite.

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"Midnight Hawk's most serious rival on Saturday might be Class Leader," ESPN reports.

"The late-blooming Smart Strike colt, from the barn of Neil Howard, makes his stakes debut after back-to-back wins at Fair Grounds, the latter a one-length allowance score on March 13.

"Trainer Todd Pletcher, whose barn has racked up wins in the Florida Derby and Arkansas Derby in recent weeks, has entered King Cyrus and Global Strike. Second in a minor stakes at Calder two back, King Cyrus will add blinkers for the Illinois Derby after a nondescript seventh-place effort in the Louisiana Derby. Global Strike, who is also cross-entered in Saturday's Lexington at Keeneland, is probably better than his last-out sixth in the Sunland Derby would indicate.

"Like Global Strike, the Mark Casse-trained Dynamic Impact was cross-entered in the Lexington. The Tiznow colt needed five starts to break his maiden, but did so over a mile at Oaklawn last time in an effort which garnered a solid 96 BRIS Speed rating.

"The Illinois Derby field is completed by longshots A Step Ahead, Irish You Well, and Emmett Park."

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 7:05 AM | Permalink

April 18, 2014

The [Friday] Papers

"Mayor Rahm Emanuel flew around the country more than 50 times during his first 2 1/2 years in office, mixing city business with politics and attending events that helped burnish his national profile," the Tribune reports.

"On at least nine of the trips, records show taxpayers covered all or part of the travel as Emanuel met with political donors or raised campaign money from wealthy business executives who helped stock a re-election fund that now tops $7 million.

"An additional six taxpayer-funded trips listed little or no official city business but offered Emanuel a stage, from rubbing elbows with Washington's elite at exclusive dinners to giving a commencement speech to graduates of a master's program named after former President Bill Clinton."

Okay, I get it. But here's the most interesting part:

"A majority of the time, the public didn't know the mayor was out of town because his office did not disclose the trips, city records show."

We can visualize Divvy data and track (sort of) snowplows, but the whereabouts of our mayor are often a secret.

Let's face it, the data/transparency movement as it's presently constituted is largely a distraction and diversion from real open government.

(See also: Rahm's Fake Transparency.)

"[T]he Tribune pieced together details of Emanuel's travel from campaign finance reports and thousands of pages of official calendars, public schedules and city expense records obtained through open records requests."

I commend - highly - the Trib on those efforts. But should that really have been necessary?

Apparently Rahm thinks it would be damaging to him politically if voters knew how he spent his time.

Maybe he's too focused on himself and not focused enough on us.

In last night's episode of Chicagoland, Rahm is commended for cutting a trip to the east coast short in the wake of the Cornell Park shootings.

(Because on Chicagoland, Rahm is commended for everything; especially his never-ending selfless behavior.)

Unanswered by CNN:

Answered by the Trib:

"Last September, Emanuel traveled to Washington to attend a "noncity" event at the Nopa Kitchen & Bar, an American brasserie. Later that month, Emanuel reported $52,000 in campaign contributions from donors in Washington.

"Two hours after records show he was scheduled to leave the private event, 13 people were shot in a park in Chicago's Back of the Yards neighborhood. Emanuel cut short his trip, which was scheduled to include meetings at the White House the next morning and a New Jersey campaign appearance with then-U.S. Senate candidate Cory Booker.

"Asked about the $1,440 in travel expenses for Emanuel and a member of his security detail, [spokesperson Sarah] Hamilton said that 'because the mayor returned early and was not able to conduct city business, the mayor has instructed his campaign fund to reimburse the city for the cost of the trip.'"

Upon questioning by reporters.

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On the other hand Rahm couldn't be bothered to cut a vacation short when a historic "polar vortex" knocked the city on its ass.

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Even when Rahm is in town, he spends most of his time with financiers - except when CNN's cameras are here; then he spends most of his time with poor black kids.

Hey, CNN, maybe you should stick around after all!

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Back to the Trib:

"Emanuel's campaign operation repeatedly has declined to disclose when, where and how the mayor raises campaign money.

"And the Emanuel administration declined to explain why the mayor spends taxpayer money on trips that are followed by contributions to his campaign fund and involve meetings with campaign donors.

"It also declined to say how the mayor determines when to pay for travel expenses with city money and when to cover them out of his campaign accounts."

Chicagoland!

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"Since Emanuel took office, he has taken at least 56 trips and has spent taxpayer money on 41 of them, records show. In other cases, travel costs were paid for by the campaign fund or a city economic development group or reported as gifts on the mayor's economic disclosure statements, records show.

"More than half of them were to a city that Emanuel often derides as dysfunctional and detached from reality - Washington, D.C.

"'I left Washington, because I think it's a crap town,' the mayor told the Sun-Times Editorial Board last year.

"But Washington is still where power and influence lie, so during his first 31 months as mayor, Emanuel took 30 trips to the place where he once worked as a senior adviser to Clinton, served three terms in Congress and toiled as a chief of staff to Obama."

Let's face it, if Rahm had to stay here in Chicago 24/7 he'd go nuts. He has to be where the action is. What do you want him to do, be mayor full-time?

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"A half-dozen taxpayer-funded trips Emanuel took offered political benefits to the mayor, but records show few, if any, official city events.

"Included among those is a January 2013 trip in which the city spent more than $1,000 for the mayor to fly from Salt Lake City to Washington, D.C., and back to Chicago. The mayor's official calendar did not indicate why he was in Salt Lake, but he was there as the annual Sundance Film Festival was going on in nearby Park City, Utah."

Would that be Robert Redford's Sundance Film Festival? The same Robert Redford who executive produced Chicagoland? Why, yes, it would be.

"Records show the mayor was scheduled to attend one event in Washington, the annual Alfalfa Club dinner. The exclusive 101-year-old club's dinner has been described by The Washington Post as a private event filled with 'a cross-section of power brokers so influential that almost every president has made a pilgrimage to the annual gathering.'

"Hamilton would not say why the mayor's trip started in Salt Lake City."

Shhhh, top secret!

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Speaking of the devil . . .

"Just when it looked like maybe the producers of Chicagoland would branch out a bit, they tripled down on Rahm Emanuel, Garry McCarthy and Liz Dozier as the city's super-citizens deserving of more screen time than Michael Keaton in Multiplicity."

In Tweeting Chicagoland| Episode 7: Tripling Down.

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Oh, and . . .

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Blackhawks Buckle
In triple freakin' overtime.

Cook County Democratic Party Unanimously Re-Elects Joe Berrios And His Family To A Fifth Term As Chairman
Maintains his exemption from ethics laws.

The Week In Juvenile Justice
Teens, guns, adults, hijinks, pols, budgets, Australia and Israel.

Master Magic Realist Dead
Gabriel Garcia Marquez found truth in fantasy.

Peoria, Russia
Cops raid home looking for owner of fake mayoral Twitter account.

Beachwood Photo Booth: Bartender Man
Window service.

The Week In Chicago Rock
Featuring: The National, Daughter, Chuck Ragan, Miggs, Tie Your Anchor, Scars on 45, Riff Raff, and New Years Day.

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TweetWood

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The Beachwood Tip Line: Eyes only.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 7:11 AM | Permalink

Our Most Magnificent Magic Realist Is Dead

"Nobel prize-winning Colombian author Gabriel Garcia Marquez has died in Mexico aged 87, his family says," the BBC reports.

"Garcia Marquez was considered one of the greatest Spanish-language authors, best known for his masterpiece of magic realism, One Hundred Years of Solitude."


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More BBC: Tributes pour in.

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NPR: Love, madness, war, politics, dreams, death.

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See also:

Giles Fraser, The Guardian: What we can all learn from this bona fide genius is that the mind can be a tool of liberation, revolution and defiance.

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Michiko Kakutani, The New York Times: Entwining tales of time, memory and Love.

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 6:51 AM | Permalink

Blackhawks Buckle

"Ken Hitchcock thought his St. Louis Blues finally moved past the lingering debris from their late-season slump in the third period Thursday night and started playing the brand of hockey that allowed them to rack up 111 points through 76 games in the regular season," Dan Rosen writes for NHL.com.

"Little did Hitchcock know that it would take the Blues another 40-plus minutes to get a win.

"Alexander Steen scored 26 seconds into triple overtime at Scottrade Center to give the Blues a 4-3 victory against the Chicago Blackhawks and a 1-0 lead in their Western Conference First Round series. It was the longest playoff overtime game in Blues history and the first to extend into triple overtime."

Recap:


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See also:
* Fox Sports Midwest: Blues Find Their Swagger.

* Bernie Miklasz, St. Louis Post-Dispatch: Blues Pass Endurance Test.

* Sports Illustrated: Blues Outlast Blackhawks In Triple-Overtime Thriller.

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Deadspin Blackhawks
Joel Quennevile's Nut-Grabbing Rage.

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Highlights

The good news: Kane is back.

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Crawford in playoff form.

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Oduya on the backdoor.

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Seabrook with the one-timer.

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 5:47 AM | Permalink

Tweeting Chicagoland | Episode 7: Tripling Down

Just when it looked like maybe the producers of Chicagoland would branch out a bit, they tripled down on Rahm Emanuel, Garry McCarthy and Liz Dozier as the city's super-citizens deserving of more screen time than Michael Keaton in Multiplicity.

Enough!

Even more so than he already has been, Rahm is portrayed as the most compassionate man in America; the music swells and the images of poor black kids revert to slow-motion as the greatest mayor since the last one intones rhapsodizes himself and his city.

McCarthy is allowed to skirt the fact-checkers once again as he takea a lonely stand against guns and or dumb state legislature, who refuse to, um, outlaw guns - or at least enact mandatory minimums that 30 years of research show don't work.

(Narrator Mark Konkol, too, bemoans the lack of "common sense" gun laws - like, um, those shown by 30 years of research to be not only ineffective, but counterproductive.)

Even Dozier has lost her shine, as she seems utterly incapable of handling her difficult assignment and blames her staff for simply "not doing enough" to overcome America's economic and racial structures.

The good news is that hardly anyone else is watching; I do so only out of the commitment made to those few readers and listeners who care.

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Wrong. He said poverty is worse than ever, not violence. In the early 90s we had twice as many murders a year as we have now.

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Yes.

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It's as if there are no politics in the city at all, and Rahm spends all his time on violence and with kids when his calendar clearly shows he spends most of his time with financiers.

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Previously:
* Tweeting Chicagoland | Episode 1: Oh My Lord, I Hate It Already.

* Cracking The Chicagoland Code 1: Docu-Series Or Docu-Wank?

* Tweeting Chicagoland | Episode 2: Brought To You By Allstate, Billy Dec & The Central Office.

* Cracking The Chicagoland Code 2: Fixing The Facts.

* Tweeting Chicagoland | Episode 3: Get Me Rewrite.

* Cracking The Chicagoland Code 3: Our Fact-Challenged Heroes.

* Tweeting Chicagoland | Episode 4: Did We Mention That Rahm Loves (Black) Kids?

* Cracking The Chicagoland Code 4: LollapaRahmza.

* Tweeting Chicagoland | Episode 5: Back To Black.

* Cracking The Chicagoland Code 5: Yada Yada Yada.

* Tweeting Chicagoland | Episode 6: Building A New Rahm.

* Cracking The Chicagoland Code 6: Unwired.

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Comments welcome.


Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 4:17 AM | Permalink

The Week In Chicago Rock

You shoulda been there.

1. The National at the Chicago Theatre on Tuesday night.


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2.Daughter at the Chicago Theatre on Tuesday night.

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3. Chuck Ragan at the Metro on Wednesday night.

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4. Miggs at the Elbo Room on Wednesday night.

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5. Tie Your Anchor at Mojoes in Joliet on Sunday night.

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6. Scars on 45 at City Winery on Tuesday night.

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7. Riff Raff at the Concord on Wednesday night.

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8. New Year's Day at the Bottom Lounge on Sunday night.

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 3:31 AM | Permalink

Beachwood Photo Booth: Bartender Man

Window service.

bartendermannequinwindoworigetc.jpg(ENLARGE FOR PROPER VIEWING)

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More Chicago photography from Helene Smith.

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Helene on Twitter!

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Meet Helene!

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Stationery, iPhone cases, hoodies.

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Previously:
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Chicago Man Grilling
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Yum Yum Donuts
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Chicago Father's Day
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Vintage Airmaster
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Chicago Time
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Window Shade
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Illinois Slayer
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Chicago Fire Escape
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Golden Nugget
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Hollywood, Chicago
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Flag Man.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Van In Flames.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Fluid Power Automation.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Corn Dog.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Stop The Killing Car.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Chicago Backyard.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: A to Z Things.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Swedish Diner.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Rothschild Liquors.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Chicago Silos.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Chicago Wires.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Orange Garden.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Irving Park Guy.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Chicago Pigeons.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: O'Lanagan's.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: For Rent.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Marie's Pizza & Liquors.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Mori Milk.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: American Breakfast.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: A Chicago Christmas Postcard.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Holiday Harold's.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Chicago Family Fun.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Snow Bike.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Nativity Scene.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Old Warsaw.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Deluxe Cleaners.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Marie's Golden Cue.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Die Another Day.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Sears Key Shop.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Window Dressing.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Jeri's Grill.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Barry's Drugs.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Liberty.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Chicago Kitchen.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Golden Specials.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: We Won The Cup.

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 3:03 AM | Permalink

Cook County Democratic Party Unanimously Re-Elects Joe Berrios And His Family To A Fifth Term As Chairman

"The Cook County Democratic Party on Wednesday re-elected Joseph Berrios to a fifth term as its chairman," the party has announced.

Unanimously. Yay, Democrats!

"In addition, the party unanimously re-elected its executive committee - Toni Preckwinkle, executive vice chairman; Lou Lang, executive vice chairman; Tim Bradford, first vice chairman; Carrie Austin, city vice chairman; Don Harmon, suburban vice chairman; Robert Martwick, secretary; Antonio Munoz, treasurer, and Karen Yarbrough, sergeant-at-arms."

Bringin' in Joe to share the lettuce.

"Gov. Patrick Quinn and his Lt. Gov. running mate Paul Vallas addressed the committeemen, calling on their support for the November 4 election."

The transmogrification is complete.

"Preckwinkle made the nomination for Berrios to be re-elected."

She only opposes convicted felons.

"She noted that 'under the leadership of Joe Berrios, for the first time, African-Americans, Latinos and women have had a real opportunity for leadership in the party and have had a real opportunity to be slated by the party."

Especially if they are members of his familiy.

"The party has gone through rapid modernization under Joe's leadership. We are slating qualified and diverse candidates, resulting in huge progressive victories."

True. He gave us Will Guzzardi.

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 12:37 AM | Permalink

April 17, 2014

The [Thursday] Papers

"When one job applicant at Metra in 1989 was told he wasn't qualified, he simply sent a 'back-door letter' to Metra's chairman. The tactic worked, and the applicant was hired," the Tribune reports.

"[That instance was] recorded in the more than 700 handwritten index cards kept in Metra's files from 1983 to 1991. The cards tell of jobs sought and sometimes won with the apparent help of a variety of politicians - from relatively unknown aldermen to powerful members of Congress.

"The records were obtained by the Tribune through the Freedom of Information Act. They indicate that one often-used track to a job at the commuter rail agency was to get a recommendation from then-Chairman Jeffrey Ladd and his fellow Metra board members.

"Reached by the Tribune on Wednesday, Ladd denied clout played a role in hiring at Metra during his tenure and said the agency's policy was always to hire on merit.

"We weren't running a patronage haven over there," Ladd said. "People wouldn't get a job unless they were qualified."

"Ladd, who served as Metra's first chairman, from 1984 through 2006, said he knew nothing about the card files and was unaware they had been kept or why.

"Metra was 'the most professionally run mass transit agency in the country,' he said."

Jeffrey Ladd, God's Special Creature.

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"Ladd was once a major beneficiary of clout wielded by suburban Republican leaders, such as former Illinois House Speak Lee Daniels of Elmhurst and former Senate President James 'Pate' Philip of Wood Dale," Crain's reported in 2006.

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""Back in 2002, the Metra Electric Line - which runs out to University Park through Riverdale, Homewood and Olympia Fields - was running trains without washrooms," Phil Kadner wrote for the SouthtownStar in 2008.

"It was the only commuter train on the Metra network so ill-equipped. When commuters complained, the grand poohbah of Metra at the time, Jeffrey Ladd, said he wasn't running a 'social welfare agency' designed to give people access to jobs or toilets.

"Ladd then announced a multibillion-dollar plan to create a new Metra line in the western suburbs, where he happened to live."

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U.S. Attorney Seeks Testimony From Jeff Ladd.

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You get the picture.

Forrest Ladd
"For years, Forrest Claypool railed against 'the friends and family hiring practices' of Cook County Board presidents John and Todd Stroger, accusing the father and son of running a county government that was rendered bloated, costly and ineffective by patronage hiring," the Tribune reports.

"Now as head of the CTA, Claypool has hired two former top Stroger aides who gave up their county jobs amid allegations of unethical conduct related to patronage.

"Claypool named James D'Amico to help manage the CTA's rail maintenance. Though D'Amico has no railroad experience, he is a longtime government worker who late last year left his county management post after the inspector general recommended he be fired for allegedly coercing government workers into donating to Todd Stroger's campaign.

"D'Amico joined Gerald Nichols, a top executive under John Stroger, who is Claypool's general manager of legislative affairs and government and community relations at the CTA. In 2006, Nichols was placed on paid suspension from his county job pending an internal investigation into hiring irregularities following an FBI search of county offices that did not result in any charges. Nichols remained suspended until he left the county later that year."

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To the Beachwood vault:

"In 1996, [James D'Amico] pleaded guilty to making threatening phone calls in the heat of a political race. That came in the midst of a massive federal ghost-payrolling investigation at City Hall that involved his family and saw several convictions."

And:

"Cook County Board President Bobbie Steele asked the county's patronage chief Gerald Nichols to clean out his office just outside her own Friday because she could not figure out exactly what his official job was."

And:

"Gerald Nichols was [also] drawing $114,000 annually from the county highway department."

And:

"Highway Department supervisor Eric Petraitis say[s] he felt pressured by former President John Stroger's patronage chief Gerald Nichols to change test scores so Todd Stroger's friend Dwayne Robinson, who was rated unqualified for a highway job, could be hired instead of a candidate who was qualified."

What sayeth you, Forrest Claypool?

"Claypool noted that he was 'on the other side in the political opposition' when he labeled Nichols a patronage chief. 'Gerald's done nothing wrong,' Claypool said."

A) So you are admitting to just lobbing allegations against political opponents that you know not to be true?

B) You know your allegations were true because you read the papers. Sometimes you even feed them.

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And back to D'Amico:

"Claypool noted that D'Amico had a reputation at the county for being a good manager and dismissed the allegations against him as 'unproven and unsubstantiated.'"

He pled guilty.

Forrest Claypool, God's Special Reformer.

Friends, Family & Neighbors Plan
"The wife of a state lawmaker from the south suburbs made more than $137,000 in salary and benefits from Gov. Pat Quinn's now-abolished Neighborhood Recovery Initiative, state records show," the Sun-Times reports.

"That total for Jaclin Davis, wife of state Rep. Will Davis, D-Homewood, represented 11 percent of the anti-violence grant dollars her employer, Healthcare Consortium of Illinois, was allotted in 2011 and 2012 under Quinn's program.

"Davis was the organization's program coordinator, which put her in charge of managing how the governor's 2010 program was implemented in Thornton Township. More than $1.2 million in state funds were disbursed through her agency."

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"Last month, the Chicago Sun-Times reported that state records showed the husband of Cook County Circuit Clerk Dorothy Brown was paid more than $146,401 in salary and fringe benefits over a two-year period from Neighborhood Recovery Initiative grant funds."

Pattern Emerging
"Former Democratic state Rep. Karen Yarbrough has been Cook County's recorder of deeds for little over a year," the Sun-Times reports.

"But in that time, records show, Yarbrough has put a family member on the payroll and hired several people with political ties to her, as well as to her husband, former Maywood Mayor Henderson Yarbrough."

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Illinois: Of your family, by your family, for your family.

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St. Louis Blues
A Chicago-centric tale that simply isn't true.

Sharks, Anchors & Mind Games
In Local TV Notes.

U.S. Government Undermining Internet
"The United States spends more than $50 billion a year on spying and intelligence, while the folks who build important defense software - in this case a program called OpenSSL that ensures that your connection to a website is encrypted - are four core programmers, only one of whom calls it a full-time job."

Result: Heartbleed.

Chicago Wildfire Catch On With ESPN
Network invests in ultimate frisbee.

Inside The Mind Of A Teen Who Killed His Family
What we can learn from why he did it.

Who Is Illinois' Best Tree Climber?
We're about to find out.

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BeachBook
* U.S. Prisons Bursting At Seams.

* Superhero Window-Washers Boost Spirits At Children's Hospital.

* Andrew Cashner Making Theo Epstein Look Bad.

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TweetWood

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The Beachwood Tip Line: Truth-teller's poker.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 10:20 AM | Permalink

The U.S. Government Is Undermining Internet Security

The Heartbleed computer security bug is many things: a catastrophic tech failure, an open invitation to criminal hackers and yet another reason to upgrade our passwords on dozens of websites.

But more than anything else, Heartbleed reveals our neglect of Internet security.

The United States spends more than $50 billion a year on spying and intelligence, while the folks who build important defense software - in this case a program called OpenSSL that ensures that your connection to a website is encrypted - are four core programmers, only one of whom calls it a full-time job.

In a typical year, the foundation that supports OpenSSL receives just $2,000 in donations.

The programmers have to rely on consulting gigs to pay for their work.

"There should be at least a half dozen full time OpenSSL team members, not just one, able to concentrate on the care and feeding of OpenSSL without having to hustle commercial work," says Steve Marquess, who raises money for the project.

Is it any wonder that this Heartbleed bug slipped through the cracks?

Dan Kaminsky, a security researcher who saved the Internet from a similarly fundamental flaw back in 2008, says that Heartbleed shows that it's time to get "serious about figuring out what software has become Critical Infrastructure to the global economy, and dedicating genuine resources to supporting that code."

The Obama Administration has said it is doing just that with its national cybersecurity initiative, which establishes guidelines for strengthening the defense of our technological infrastructure - but it does not provide funding for the implementation of those guidelines.

Instead, the National Security Agency, which has responsibility to protect U.S. infrastructure, has worked to weaken encryption standards.

And so private websites such as Facebook and Google, which were affected by Heartbleed, often use open-source tools such as OpenSSL, where the code is publicly available and can be verified to be free of NSA backdoors.

The federal government spent at least $65 billion between 2006 and 2012 to secure its own networks, according to a February report from the Senate Homeland Security and Government Affairs Committee.

And many critical parts of the private sector such as nuclear reactors and banking follow sector-specific cybersecurity regulations.

But private industry has also failed to fund its critical tools. As cryptographer Matthew Green says, "Maybe in the midst of patching their servers, some of the big companies that use OpenSSL will think of tossing them some real no-strings-attached funding so they can keep doing their job."

In the meantime, the rest of us are left with the unfortunate job of changing all our passwords, which may have been stolen from websites that were using the broken encryption standard.

It's unclear whether the bug was exploited by criminals or intelligence agencies. (The NSA says it didn't know about it.)

It's worth noting, however, that the risk of your passwords being stolen is still lower than the risk of your passwords being hacked from a website that failed to protect them properly.

Criminals have so many ways to obtain your information these days - by sending you a fake e-mail from your bank or hacking into a retailer's unguarded database - that it's unclear how many would have gone through the trouble of exploiting this encryption flaw.

The problem is that if your passwords were hacked by the Heartbleed bug, the hack would leave no trace.

And so, unfortunately, it's still a good idea to assume that your passwords might have been stolen.

So, you need to change them. If you're like me, you have way too many passwords. So I suggest starting with the most important ones - your e-mail passwords. Anyone who gains control of your e-mail can click "forgot password" on your other accounts and get a new password e-mailed to them. As a result, e-mail passwords are the key to the rest of your accounts. (After e-mail, I'd suggest changing banking and social media account passwords.)

But before you change your passwords, you need to check if the website has patched their site. You can test whether a site has been patched by typing the URL here. (Look for the green highlighted " Now Safe" result.)

If the site has been patched, then change your password. If the site has not been patched, wait until it has been patched before you change your password.

A reminder about how to make passwords: Forget all the password advice you've been given about using symbols and not writing down your passwords. There are only two things that matter: Don't re-use passwords across websites and the longer the password, the better.

I suggest using password management software, such as 1Password or LastPass, to generate the vast majority of your passwords.

And for e-mail, banking and your password to your password manager, I suggest a method of picking random words from the dictionary called Diceware.

If that seems too hard, just make your password super long - at least 30 or 40 characters long, if possible.

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

* Government Standards Agency To Review Encryption Guidelines After Cryptographers Cry Foul Over NSA Meddling.

* Presidential Panel To NSA: Stop Undermining Encryption.

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Also:
* Listen to Tuffy and the Angry Aussie discuss Heartbleed in the first segment of this edition of Beachwood international.

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Comments welcome.


Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 9:23 AM | Permalink

Inside The Mind Of A Man Who Killed His Family

"On November 8, 1985, 18-year-old Tom Odle brutally murdered his parents and three siblings in the small southern Illinois town of Mount Vernon, sending shockwaves throughout the nation," Southern Illinois University Press recalls.

"The murder of the Odle family remains one of the most horrific family mass murders in U.S. history. Odle was sentenced to death and, after 17 years on Death Row, expected a lethal injection to end his life. However, Illinois governor George Ryan's moratorium on the death penalty in 2000, and later commutation of all death sentences in 2003, changed Odle's sentence to natural life.

"The commutation of his death sentence was an epiphany for Odle. Prior to the commutation of his death sentence, Odle lived in denial, repressing any feelings about his family and his horrible crime. Following the commutation and the removal of the weight of eventual execution associated with his death sentence, he was confronted with an unfamiliar reality: a future.

"As a result, he realized that he needed to understand why he murdered his family. He reached out to Dr. Robert Hanlon, a neuropsychologist who had examined him in the past. Hanlon engaged Odle in a therapeutic process of introspection and self-reflection, which became the basis of their collaboration for Survived by One: The Life and Mind of a Family Mass Murderer.

"Hanlon tells a gripping story of Odle's life as an abused child, the life experiences that formed his personality, and his tragic homicidal escalation to mass murder, seamlessly weaving into the narrative Odle's unadorned reflections of his childhood, finding a new family on Death Row, and his belief in the powers of redemption."


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"Dr. Robert E. Hanlon, author of Survived by One: The Life and Mind of a Family Mass Murderer, published by Southern Illinois University Press, will speak in Guyon Auditorium at Morris Library on April 30 at 6 p.m.

"Mass murders, including family mass murders and public mass murders in schools, shopping centers, theaters, etc. are commonly committed by mentally disordered young men.

"Hanlon, a neuropsychologist specializing in the forensic evaluation of murderers, will discuss recent findings regarding the psychological factors that contribute to homicidal aggression and murder.

"Based on his research and experience in evaluating hundreds of violent criminals, including Odle, Hanlon will speak about how brain abnormalities and mental disorders, compounded by substance abuse, lead to the growing problem of mass murder in American culture."

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 9:02 AM | Permalink

Chicago Wildfire Catch On With ESPN

"A Chicago-based ultimate Frisbee league with ambitious growth goals has snagged a contract with ESPN to show its games on the network's primary digital channel," Danny Ecker reports for Crain's.

"The three-year-old American Ultimate Disc League will showcase 14 'games of the week' during its current season via online network ESPN3.com as well as select playoff games and its championship in July.

"It's a big deal for us," said AUDL Commissioner Steve Gordon, who also owns the Chicago Wildfire franchise. "I'm not even sure how to measure it."

Here's a report on the Wildfire made by The Red Line Project last June:


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Player introductions for this year's Wildfire.

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This year's season opener this week against the Minnesota Wind Chill.

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AUDL Week One Highlights.

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Also:

USA Ultimate signed an agreement with ESPN last year:

"USA Ultimate, the national governing body for the sport of ultimate in the United States, and ESPN announced today a multi-year agreement to carry the sport's major properties - the College Championships and inaugural Triple Crown Tour, including the U.S. Open and the National Championships.

"As part of the deal, ESPN will produce and distribute live coverage of the College Championships, U.S. Open and National Championships on ESPN3 and tape-delayed programs of the College Championships on ESPNU. ESPN3 is ESPN's live multi-screen sports network accessible online at WatchESPN.com, on smartphones and tablets via the award-winning WatchESPN app and through ESPN on Xbox LIVE to Gold members."

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 8:40 AM | Permalink

Who Is The Best Tree Climber In Illinois?

Thirty professional tree climbers will compete for the title of best climber in Illinois on April 26 at Independence Grove in Libertyville.

The public is invited to attend. Along with the competition, there will be exhibitors, food and other activities creating a fun-filled day. Preliminary events begin at 8:30 a.m.

Climbers will perform five different preliminary events: Aerial Rescue, Work Climb, Secured Footlock, Belayed Speed Climb, and Throwline.

Each event tests a competitor's ability to quickly, professionally, and safely maneuver in a tree while performing work-related tree-care tasks. Tree climbing competitions are designed to simulate working conditions of arborists who work in the field. Utilizing the highest level of professional skills and safety, the events provide a competitive learning environment for those working in the industry.

The five climbers who score the highest during the preliminary competition will compete in the Masters' Challenge. The winner of this challenge will be named the Chapter Champion and will earn the honor of representing the Illinois Chapter at the International Tree Climbing Championships in August 2014 in Milwaukee.

From the Illinois Arborist Association, 2009:


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Promo for the championships:

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 3:32 AM | Permalink

Local TV Notes: Sharks, Anchors & Mind Games

"WBBM-Ch. 2 weekday news anchor Rob Johnson has paid more than $1.8 million for a four-bedroom house in Hinsdale," the Tribune reports.

Meanwhile, I'm searching for an apartment for around $800 a month. This is in inverse proportion to the amount of quality journalism each of us has done.

Shark Larks
"Trackless train-ride provider Fun Time Express on Friday night became the second Chicago-based company this season to come away with six-figure funding from ABC's Shark Tank television program," the Tribune reports.

"Fun Time Express received a $125,000 investment from Shark Tank investors Lori Grenier [Chicago's Shark] and Kevin O'Leary, who will receive a combined 20 percent equity in the company."

I saw this episode and Fun Time Express is a ridiculous company. First, it's not a "trackless train," it's a fake train on wheels. Second, driving a fake train around a shopping mall to entertain kids while their parents shop doesn't strike me as particularly innovative or scalable. Third, Fun Times Express operates eight trains in five malls. Not impressed. Fourth, shopping malls are "a dying breed."

Nice job, sharks!

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"The company follows Chicago-based Packback, which appeared on the show in late March and came away with a $250,000 investment from billionaire entrepreneur and investor Mark Cuban."

Packback "offers a pay-per-view way to read college textbooks," the Tribune reported last month.

"Packback's browser-based reader offers 24-hour e-textbook rentals for $5. The platform features 2,000 titles and reaches 3,800 students at 46 colleges nationwide."

Pay-per-view textbooks? I don't think so. The problem of expensive textbooks is real, but textbooks are just a vehicle to an education. The product isn't the book, it's the knowledge inside it. Paying for 24-hour access before a big test may be effective for some students, but it's incredibly cynical and antithetical to the point of going to college. And are the books "locked" to prevent printing and sharing? How do you mark up a book? Wither the highlighter industry? I just don't see it.

Mind Games Cancelled
The ABC show starring Christian Slater and Steve Zahn was based here in Chicago; the final scene for episode three ("Pet Rock"), directed by Timothy Busfield, was filmed on my front stoop.

Now it's gone - replaced by Celebrity Wife Swap reruns.

Original Reporting
Totally Uninteresting Chicago TV Personality Who Has No Personality Appears On Person of Interest.

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 2:09 AM | Permalink

East Chicago Blues

"The rich history of piano blues has been overshadowed by the story of boogie-woogie piano. This Chicago-centric tale not only places Albert Ammons and Meade 'Lux' Lewis at the pinnacle of the art form, but also, falsely, at the center the story.

"As it is now told, a crude and primitive style of blues piano is forged in the barrelhouse bars of Texas; the sound migrates north to Chicago, and is perfected into the virtuosic - ubiquitous - style we know today.

"What's wrong with this story? Everything! But let's just touch on two things:

"Firstly, it discounts 20+ years of incredible African-American folk-art as merely a developmental time for the music. (It'd be like saying Robert Johnson was a step on the way to Muddy Waters perfection of blues guitar!) Call it pre-war piano blues, barrelhouse blues, or boogie-woogie, this music, by at least the early 1920s, was a fully formed expression.

"Secondly, and more important for this video, the story leaves out St. Louis! This is a tremendous oversight, for St. Louis, in the 20s and 30s, was a Mecca for piano blues.

"Practitioners included The Sparks Brothers, Henry Brown, Roosevelt Sykes, Stump Johnson, just to name a few.

"This tune, by Aaron 'Pinetop' Sparks (his twin brother Marion 'Lindberg' Sparks sang vocals) is a great example of the St. Louis style.

"Like most of his fellow St. Louisians, he didn't play with the flash of his Chicago contemporaries, but Pinetop Sparks was an incredibly inventive pianist with a uniquely melodic style and a free-and-easy groove."


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See also: Smokin' Billy Slater.

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Comments welcome.


Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 1:50 AM | Permalink

April 16, 2014

The [Wednesday] Papers

The Papers will return on Thursday.

Meanwhile . . .

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Sox Appeal
Alexei Ramirez is a fantasy superstar.

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TweetWood

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The Beachwood Tip Line: Unsanitized for your pleasure.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 8:54 AM | Permalink

Fantasy Fix: Sox Appeal

I'm in three fantasy baseball leagues, each with some differences between their scoring schemes, yet the same player currently is ranked No. 1 in all three leagues: Alexei Ramirez.

The Cuban Missile has rocketed up the fantasy charts on the strength of a .420 BA, three HRs, 12 RBI, three SBs, a 1.142 OPS and 11 runs scored for the team that shockingly leads all of MLB in runs scored through the first 2.5 weeks of the season.

Ah, right, it's only mid-April. Ramirez has as much chance of winning the batting crown as the Sox have of winning the World Series crown this year, meaning, yes, there is a chance, a small chance (It snowed in April, so anything can happen, right?).

Honestly, if you have Ramirez on your fantasy squad, it would be a great time to trade him, as his value is at an all-time high. And yet, there are also plenty of arguments for holding on to him. As I've noted before, SS is a shallow position, and when you find value there, it might be worth holding onto for dear life.

Also worth noting: Ramirez is, by a very wide margin, having the best April of his career. Historically he is such a slow starter that the Sox have toyed with sending him down early in the season, and he usually either languishes on fantasy benches until late June or spends the first half of the season on the waiver wire. So maybe the early strong start suggests some of this performance can be trusted for the rest of the season.

As recently as two years ago, I lamented Ramirez' plunging fantasy value, but as I noted in my Fantasy Fix preseason draft guide last month, he had some sneaky fantasy value last year, and seemed like he turned the corner to become a more consistent hitter.

If I had Alexei Ramirez on my fantasy team this season - and I wish I did have him on at least one of my teams - I'd resist the temptation to trade him now, and hold onto him for the long run.

Expert Wire

* Bleacher Report features Week 3 waiver wire pick-ups.

* Sports Grid says not to worry about those slow starters.

* Sports Illustrated analyzes some hot and cold starts among pitchers.

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

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 6:06 AM | Permalink

April 15, 2014

The [Tuesday] Papers

"One by one, five police officers took the witness stand at the Skokie courthouse late last month for what would typically be a routine hearing on whether evidence in a drug case was properly obtained," the Tribune reports.

"But in a Perry Mason moment rarely seen inside an actual courtroom, the inquiry took a surprising turn when the suspect's lawyer played a police video that contradicted the sworn testimony of the five officers - three from Chicago and two from Glenview, a furious judge found."

It's called testilying.

"Cook County Circuit Judge Catherine Haberkorn suppressed the search and arrest, leading prosecutors to quickly dismiss the felony charges. All five officers were later stripped of their police powers and put on desk duty pending internal investigations. And the state's attorney's office is looking into possible criminal violations, according to spokeswoman Sally Daly.

"Obviously, this is very outrageous conduct," a transcript of the March 31 hearing quoted the judge, a former county prosecutor, as saying. "All officers lied on the stand today . . . All their testimony was a lie. So there's strong evidence it was conspiracy to lie in this case, for everyone to come up with the same lie . . . Many, many, many, many times they all lied."

I wonder if the director of the FBI, who was in town, saw the story.

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"In his first visit to Chicago since becoming director of the FBI, James Comey said today he is 'painfully aware' of the city's seemingly intractable gun violence and plans to direct more federal resources at the problem," the Tribune reports.

"Comey, who was in town meeting with staffers in his Chicago field office, told reporters in a brief news conference at the FBI's headquarters on the West Side that new congressional funding will allow for 2,000 new hires nationally over the next year and a half.

"New agents are coming. New analysts are coming," Comey said. "And I'm sure that one of the ways we can deploy those resources is to try and help with violent crime in a city like Chicago."

"Flanking Comey at the news conference were Chicago police Supt. Garry McCarthy and U.S. Attorney Zachary Fardon, who both have been under pressure to do more to rein in gang violence that has made headlines around the country."

I wonder if Comey and McCarthy talked about this.

I also wonder if Comey saw this story while he was here.

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"Comey said reducing the number of shootings is difficult in a city like Chicago that has an 'embedded, longstanding' gang culture that can't be solved simply by stepping up arrests. It's a problem he remembers from his days as a law student at the University of Chicago in the early 1980s, he said.

"There is not an easy answer on violent crime, especially gang-related crime that is so embedded in the culture," he said. "Chicago has a larger and more ingrained and sophisticated street gang structure than many American cities . . . You can't arrest your way to a healthy neighborhood."

He's right.

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Finally, do you think Comey happened to tune in to WGN-TV in his hotel room later?

Maybe Vanecko was just in a hurry to get to the Pepper Canister and not talk at all about being in jail.

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Fioretti vs. Rahm
"Ald. Robert Fioretti on Monday sounded every bit the candidate for Chicago's top office with his public dissection of Mayor Rahm Emanuel's tenure, but he stopped short of saying he would run," the Tribune reports.

"During a 20-minute speech at a City Club of Chicago luncheon, the 2nd Ward alderman harshly criticized Emanuel, decrying last year's school closings and persistent crime and unemployment in low-income neighborhoods. He blamed policies dictated by 'the elite. ... So we continue down this road of degrading low-income neighborhoods.'

"Deals are being cut at our expense," said Fioretti, 61, a second-term alderman whose ward boundaries were radically shifted in the city's recent remap. "This is not responsible stewardship . . . This is a basic issue of competence here."

Just as New York Mayor Bill de Blasio did during his successful run for office last year, Fioretti painted a "tale of two cities" picture, depicting Chicago as one city for the wealthy and another for the poor.

"At its root, we are seeing the widening of Chicago into two cities," Fioretti said.

Fioretti is right, but . . .

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Weev Conviction Overturned
Punished for outing AT&T security flaw.

Theo's Casualties Mount
Patience is not a virtue.

Slint, Styx & St. Louis Palooza
Plus: Rockie Fresh, Blood Money, and Justin Bieber with Chance the Rapper. In our Local Music Notebook.

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BeachBook
* Study: American Policy Exclusively Reflects Desires Of The Rich; Citizens' Groups Largely Irrelevant. For reals, not The Onion.

* CPS's Chicken Nuggets Don't Contain Much Chicken. For reals . . .

* Chicago-Based Ultimate Frisbee League Signs ESPN Deal. For reals . . .

* Whitefish Shortage Hits Skokie Food Market And Other Area Stores Just As Passover Arrives. For reals . . .

* Area Man Teaches Baby To Play Guitar. For reals . . .

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TweetWood

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The Beachwood Tip Line: Testify.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 7:19 AM | Permalink

Theo Casualties Mount

"Stanley J. Sliwa, age 85, of Dunkirk, NY passed away peacefully Sunday (April 13, 2014) surrounded by his loving family," the Dunkirk Observer reports.

"He was born June 18, 1928 in Niles, Illinois, the son of the late Stanislaus and Stephania Sliwa. Growing up in the Chicago area, he was an avid Chicago Cubs fan who enjoyed watching his team. Mr. Sliwa was a retired bricklayer."

Theo Epstein's last words to Sliwa were "Be patient."

The Week In Review: The Cubs lost two of three to the Pirates and two of three to the Cardinals. They are nothing if not consistent.

The Week In Preview: The Cubs have two at Yankee Stadium so they won't even get their one win this series, then they come home for three against the Reds, where they will return to form.

Wrigley Is 100 Celebration: The Cubs will secretly pick a game in which Edwin Jackson actually makes 100 pitches.

Theo Condescension Meter: 9.6 out of 10. Up a tenth of a point in remembrance of Stanley Sliwa.

Prospects Are Suspects: "Top prospect Javy Baez's first month with Class AAA Iowa isn't getting any easier," the Sun-Times reports. "Less than a week after an ejection and altercation with a teammate, Baez went on the 7-day disabled list this weekend after turning his ankle Friday while taking fielding practice. The power-hitting shortstop, who opened the season on a 0-for-9 skid."

Jorge Soler is also on the DL.

That's Ricky: Unpredictable is one word for it.

That's Also Ricky: "Renteria stands by Jackson." Give him a day.

Laughable Headline Of The Week: Cubs Could Use Soriano's Swagger Heading Into Yankee Stadium.

Please. The Yankees don't even let him play in the field anymore.

Mad Merch: The first 10,000 fans to Friday's game get Joe Tinker bobbleheads. I'm willing to bet that 9,999 of them would rather have Joe Borowski bobbleheads.

Billy Cub vs. Clark Cub: Billy carries an Igloo cooler; Clark still a pantsless weirdo.

Advantage: Billy.

Onion Cubs; Child Shown Field Where Cubs Suck.

The Junior Lake Show: Already has the major league baseball record for following home runs with bunt attempts.

Mustache Wisdom: "Last year was last year," pitcher Carlos Villanueva said this weekend. "Different personnel . . . different guys."

Let's see: Castillo, Rizzo, Barney, Castro, Valbuena, Lake, Schierholtz, Wood, Samardzija, Villanueva, Jackson, Strop, Russell . . . I guess John Baker and Jose Veras are new, though.

Hashtag Cubs: Jose Veras edition.

*

*

Ameritrade Stock Pick of the Week: Shares of Coffee are down in Chicago this week because coffee is for closers and we don't have any of those here.

Shark Tank: Can't get out of town soon enough.

Jumbotron Preview: 5,700 square-feet of Jeff Samardzija returning to Wrigley Field as the Yankees' No. 4 starter.

Kubs Kalender: Wait 'til next year 2016 2017 2018 2019 2020.

Over/Under: Series Cubs win this year: +/- 6.

Beachwood Sabermetrics: A complex algorithm performed by The Cub Factor staff using all historical data made available by Major League Baseball has determined that patience is not a virtue.

Fantasy Fix: Carlos Villanueva finally good for something.

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

The White Sox Report: Know the enemy.

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 3:55 AM | Permalink

Weev Conviction Overturned

A federal appeals court overturned the conviction of Andrew "weev" Auernheimer, the computer researcher who was charged with violating the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act after he exposed a massive security flaw in AT&T's website.

In an opinion issued Friday by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit, judge Michael Chagares wrote that the government should not have charged Auernheimer in New Jersey, which had no direct connection to AT&T or Auernheimer.

Auernheimer was represented on appeal by the Electronic Frontier Foundation, professor Orin Kerr of George Washington University, and attorneys Marcia Hofmann, and Tor Ekeland.

"We're thrilled that the Third Circuit reversed Mr. Auernheimer's conviction," EFF staff attorney Hanni Fakhoury said. "This prosecution presented real threats to security research. Hopefully this decision will reassure that community."

In 2010, Auernheimer's co-defendant, Daniel Spitler, discovered that AT&T had configured its servers to make the e-mail addresses of iPad owners publicly available on the Internet.

Spitler wrote a script and collected roughly 114,000 e-mail addresses as a result of the security flaw.

Auernheimer then distributed the list of e-mail addresses to media organizations as proof of the vulnerability, ultimately forcing AT&T to acknowledge and fix the security problem.

Federal prosecutors charged Auernheimer and Spitler with identity theft and conspiracy to violate the CFAA in New Jersey federal court.

Spitler accepted a plea deal, while Auernheimer unsuccessfully fought the charges in a jury trial.

Auernheimer began serving a 41-month prison sentence in March 2013.

On appeal, Auernheimer's defense team argued that accessing a publicly available website does not constitute unauthorized access to a computer under the CFAA.

They also argued that Auernheimer should not have been charged in New Jersey. At the time they were obtaining e-mail addresses, Auernheimer was in Arkansas, Spitler was in California and AT&T's servers were in Georgia and Texas.

The court agreed with Auernheimer that charging the case in New Jersey was improper and reversed his conviction and ordered him released from prison.

Although it did not directly address whether accessing information on a publicly available website violates the CFAA, the court suggested that there may have been no CFAA violation, since no code-based restrictions to access had been circumvented.

"Today's decision is important beyond weev's specific case," added Fakhoury. "The court made clear that the location of a criminal defendant remains an important constitutional limitation, even in today's Internet age."

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 3:25 AM | Permalink

Local Music Notebook: Slint, Styx & St. Louis Palooza

"Slint's been riding the whole 'isn't our album Spiderland great?' train for a while now, ever since the band reunited for the first time back in 2005," Marah Eakin writes for The A.V. Club.

"And while nine years seems like a long time for an almost 30-year-old band to harp on a record that came out in 1991, Spiderland is, in fact, a really fucking fantastic record. So fantastic indeed that it's not only spawned a new deluxe reissue, but also a new documentary, Lance Bangs' Breadcrumb Trail. The film comes packaged in the intense, $150 box set, but what really stands out about the Spiderland set is the actual music.

"Remastered here by Shellac's Bob Weston, Spiderland shines in its simplicity."

You can click through for the rest, but here's what caught our attention for the purposes of this column.

"The band included a kickass cover of Neil Young's 'Cortez The Killer' recorded live in Chicago in 1989, hecklers and all."

Here it is, recorded at the late Club Dreamerz:

Here's the whole set.

Stick A Fork In It
"Now there's Styx to go with the ribs," the Toledo Blade reports.

"Former Styx frontman and keyboardist Dennis DeYoung has been added to the 31st Annual Northwest Ohio Rib-Off, presented by The Blade.

"DeYoung performs Saturday night as Dennis DeYoung and the Music of Styx, and tickets are $7 in advance and $10 at the gate."

St. Louis Palooza
Large-Scale Music Festival Bill Approved By St. Louis Aldermen.

Blood Money
Chief Keef Plans To Release Unheard Music From Big Glo.

Fresh Rockie Fresh
Rappers riding horses and making it rain expensive cold cuts in the club.

*

Here's Rockie in Burlington, Vermont, last month.

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Justin The Rapper
Justin Bieber appears at Coachella with Chance the Rapper.

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 2:08 AM | Permalink

April 14, 2014

If Only Adam Eaton Could Pitch

Some people just like to go first.

There's usually the zany kid who has to be the first one to run into the frigid waters of Lake Michigan on a day like Saturday, the first balmy day of spring. Or how about the joker who inhales a jalapeño martini while friends stand back and wait for the reaction. Then there's the skydivers and bungee-jumpers who thrive on being the first out of the plane or off the bridge.

Apparently Adam Eaton relishes being first, and luckily for the White Sox, he's a ballplayer.

The new Sox leadoff man appears destined to start things. His energy dictates, "Let me set the tone. I'll go first and show you how this is done."

Eaton is a man in constant motion. If you hired him to clean your house, he would wash the dishes, vacuum the floor, dust the furniture, clean the bathrooms, change the sheets, finish mopping, and be out the door within an hour.

Thirteen games doesn't a season make, but Eaton has given fans a taste of a competitor who has only one speed. Whether he's sprinting to first base after walking, legging out a double or triple, or circling the bases after his first homer of the season on Saturday, the kid doesn't stop. He's irrepressible, and his attitude and demeanor just might be contagious.

The most effective leadoff men get on base and score a lot of runs. If they go deep in the count - taking a chunk out of a starting pitcher's quota - they're doing their job. Stealing bases, hitting .280 or better, and being able to bunt all add to the leadoff man's value. Eaton has many these abilities.

So far the centerfielder - obtained from the Diamondbacks last December as part of the deal that sent Addison Reed to Arizona - has led off 30 innings for the Sox, who lead all teams in runs scored. You read that correctly. Last season they ranked 29th, outscoring only the Miami Marlins.

Of those 30 plate appearances, Eaton has reached base 13 times and scored nine runs. That's just when he's led off an inning. For the young season, his 14 runs scored lead all of major league baseball, a huge factor in the Sox's 7-6 record after Alexei Ramirez's walk-off two-run homer on Sunday that gave the Sox a 4-3 victory over Cleveland, their third win in the four-game series.

Eaton's slash line for the 13 games is .327/.414/.900. Let's not get carried away. The greatest leadoff man of all time, Rickey Henderson, finished his 25-year career at .279/.401/.820, so Eaton will come back to Earth.

(Henderson's 2,295 runs scored are more than anyone in history.)

And while Eaton will continue to see a lot of pitches - he's averaging 4.11 so far - but pitchers who think they can throw a fastball right down the middle on the first offering might be surprised. Take Saturday, a 12-6 loss to the Indians. Eaton saw six pitches from Justin Masterson to coax a walk to lead off the Sox's first when they batted around and scored four times.

Leading off the second, Masterson might have assumed that Eaton would take a strike before getting down to business. So he grooved a first-pitch fastball, and Adam took it over the right-field fence. Obviously Eaton had a plan when he walked to the plate.

The Sox have had some pretty good leadoff men in the past. Scott Podsednik filled the role in 2005 when they won it all. Scotty Pods hit .290, scored 80 runs and swiped 58 bases. He also worked the count, averaging 3.89 pitches per at-bat.

The 2000 team that won the Central Division had Ray Durham, who had some pop, slugging 17 homers and driving in 75 runs from the leadoff spot. More importantly, he scored an eye-raising 121 runs.

Rudy Law crossed the plate 95 times for the 1983 Winning Ugly Sox. He also stole 77 bases so that the likes of Ron Kittle, Carlton Fisk, Greg Luzinski and Harold Baines could drive him home. The Sox averaged almost five runs a game that season.

Perhaps the best leadoff man in the team's history was Nellie Fox, who scored more than 100 runs in four consecutive seasons, 1954-57. He lacked Eaton's speed, but he hit .288 lifetime and was the American League MVP in the pennant-winning 1959 campaign. Fox's ability to foul off pitches until he got one he liked never showed up in the box score since pitches per at-bat weren't recorded in those days. But that was one of Nellie's strengths.

Eaton appears to share Fox's ability to keep chipping away until the pitcher accommodates him with something he can drive.

Playing at the same time as Fox was Eddie Yost, who earned the title "The Walking Man" during an 18-year career on nondescript teams in Detroit and Washington - the Senators, not the Nationals. Yost hit just .254 leading off for these second-division clubs, but he averaged 124 walks a season by swinging only at strikes and driving pitchers nuts by fouling off pitch after pitch.

Playing at the same time as Ted Williams, Mickey Mantle, Yogi Berra and other future Hall-of-Famers, Yost led the league in walks six times. All this from a guy who basically was a .250 hitter.

Okay, enough history, but you get the idea of what the quintessential leadoff hitter needs to accomplish, and Adam Eaton has shown that he has a working knowledge of this role.

Let's just say that Alejandro De Aza, a good hitter and the Sox's leadoff man the past two seasons, not only lacked the tools to bat first - he swings at far too many bad pitches - but seemed uncommitted to the role in the first place. He seems far more suited to hitting lower in the order, looking for RBIs and hitting the long ball with runners on base.

The season-ending injury to Avisail Garcia will hurt the Sox's ability to score runs, and the team is less fun to watch without Garcia in the lineup. Nevertheless, Conor Gillaspie batting third followed by Jose Abreu in the cleanup spot has been a good combination so far.

Maybe because he's surrounded by some good hitters and doesn't feel as much pressure, Adam Dunn is hitting the ball to all fields. His 14 strikeouts don't even lead the team. Marcus Semien, who slugged a huge homer Sunday to put the Sox ahead in the 8th inning, has that dubious honor, having fanned 16 times.

And what's up with Ramirez? If the All-Star Game were next week, he'd be the starting shortstop for the American League. He's a different player both at bat - for crying out loud, he's leading the league in hitting at .420 - and in the field.

At the same time, if the '83 team won ugly, this crew is on the edge of repulsive.

Cleveland helped out Friday night by walking nine Sox in the South Siders' 9-6 win. So-called closer Matt Lindstrom blew his second save (out of three opportunities) yesterday before Ramirez's heroics bailed him out. Abreu's error leading off the top of the ninth inning couldn't have come at a worse time.

Felipe Paulino is one of baseball's most awful starting pitchers, and pitching coach Don Cooper all but said that the team will give him one more chance to remain in the rotation. But as bad as Paulino has been - an ERA of 7.98 and a WHIP of 2.11 - he's no worse than some of the relievers.

So far the season has been a rollercoaster. Careless defense and pitchers who can't throw strikes are cause for indigestion, but once the team comes to bat, happy times return.

Maybe Adam Eaton can pitch. He seems to be able to do just about everything else.

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

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1. From S. Corman:

Great column, Roger. I just hope he keeps it up.

By the way, if I recall, Reed wasn't in the Adam trade. Reed went to AZ straight-up for
third base prospect Matt Davidson.

Adam came over in that 3-team trade where Trumbo went from the Angels to AZ, Hector Santiago and I believe someone else from the Sox wound up in Anaheim and Adam joined us.

As for the Sox pitching woes, I couldn't believe what they were saying about either
Paulino or Belisario. I never expected anything from either of them.

The real shocker to me has been how terrible Scott Downs has been after all those solid years.

2. From Rick Kehoe:

Really enjoyed the analysis. Eaton is a joy long awaited since 2005. Just curious about Nellie. I remember him mostly batting second behind Louie. Or was that mostly around/during 1959? Anyway, Keep up the great reports. Can't wait for the next one.

Roger replies: Apologies. Maybe I'm losing it.

The Sox had two fine Venezuelan shortstops in the '50s, Chico Carrasquel and Luis Aparicio. Aparicio batted leadoff all the time with Fox second, and Chico also served as the leadoff man until he career waned and Aparicio took over in 1956.

When they won the pennant in 1959, Aparicio hit just .257, but he led the league with 56 stolen bases. (He led the AL in steals for nine straight seasons,1956-64.) In '59, Aparicio scored 98 runs. He would reach base, steal second, and Fox more often than not drove him in. With the great pitching staff, the team needed to do that just a couple of times a game. In one-run games they were 35-15. Catcher Sherm Lollar, who batted fourth, hit 22 HRs and drove in 84 runs, both team highs. The team average was a robust .250, but the team ERA was 3.29. Not sure this formula would work as well today.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 10:04 AM | Permalink

The [Monday] Papers

I need a new place to live! Seeking a 1BR in Humboldt Park, Ukrainian Village or thereabouts; will consider unusual situations as well, i.e., basements, storefronts, being somebody's butler in exchange for housing. Inquire within.

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The Truth About Chicago
Is the Chicago Police Department really juking murder stats? We have the surprising answer. Plus: Chicagoetry with J.J. Tindall, The Cub Factor with Marty Gangler, Remembering Big Glo, Jim "Coach" Coffman on sports and the week in politics and music. On The Beachwood Radio Hour #2. (Now with Show Notes!)

*

And, this week in Beachwood International with The Angry Aussie, the best summation yet of Chicagoland:

"It's like, 'South Side, bang bang, violence, bang bang, and look at what a fucking great job the mayor's doing!'

"What this series promised was an investigative, journalistic look, in eight episodes, so they can get into the meat of the story, as to the trials and tribulations and problem-solving capabilities of a modern city, and it just turned out to be this total fucking wank.

"If you want to learn about what has happened to North American cities over the past 30 years or so, you can borrow the series, it's called The Wire. It's five seasons, and a) it's way more entertaining than this shit, and b) you'll learn a helluva lot more and there's a helluva lot more truth in The Wire than there is in any of these episodes."

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Obama's Internet
"Stepping into a heated debate within the nation's intelligence agencies, President Obama has decided that when the National Security Agency discovers major flaws in Internet security, it should - in most circumstances - reveal them to assure that they will be fixed, rather than keep mum so that the flaws can be used in espionage or cyberattacks, senior administration officials said Saturday," the New York Times reports.

"But Mr. Obama carved a broad exception for 'a clear national security or law enforcement need,' the officials said, a loophole that is likely to allow the N.S.A. to continue to exploit security flaws both to crack encryption on the Internet and to design cyberweapons."

Typical Obama, setting forth a rule that allows for exceptions that render the rule meaningless.

*

"The U.S. National Security Agency knew for at least two years about a flaw in the way that many websites send sensitive information, now dubbed the Heartbleed bug, and regularly used it to gather critical intelligence, two people familiar with the matter said," Bloomberg reports.

*

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

*

And . . .

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Economics 101*
Emanuel Pension Deal: Take Two.

*

Groupon's Exec Bonus Deal: Heads They Win; Tails They Win.

+

Allstate CEO Wilson Gets $18.7 Million Pay Package.

+

Fitch Ratings Changes Outlook For Palos Hospital To Negative.

+

"Takeda Pharmaceutical Co. (4502) and Eli Lilly & Co. (LLY:US) were ordered to pay a combined $9 billion in punitive damages after a federal court jury found they hid the cancer risks of their Actos diabetes medicine in the first U.S. trial of its kind."

+

Discover Settles 'Auto-Dial' Case For $8.7 Million.

+

Wealthy Candidates Steal Their Elders' Tales Of Woe.

+

Illinois Goes After Payday Loan Middlemen.

+

U.S. Chamber: Trade Agreements Key To Growth.

=

You now have a Ph.D in America.

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* All headlines from last Tuesday's Crain's Morning 10 e-mail.

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Jon Stewart vs. The NCAA
Take that, Davids Haugh and Kaplan.

See also: Why Is Northwestern Coach Pat Fitzgerald Playing The Union Buster?

Note: He's the university's highest-paid employee.

The White Sox Report
If Only Adam Eaton Could Pitch.

Note: SportsMonday will return next week; The Cub Factor will appear on Tuesday.

The Midwest's Best: Little Known Facts
Celebrity skin.

The Weekend In Chicago Rock
Featuring: Charlene Kaye, The Kurt Michaels Continuum, Krisiun, Daley, Sidi Toure with Billy Branch, Tycho, Malevolent Creation, The Dillinger Escape Plan, Machine Gun Kelly, and Sharon Jones and the Dap-Kings.

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BeachBook
* Rahm's Rick Perry Moment.

Couldn't name anything he's done that other mayors should emulate.

* Misrepresentations Help Motorola Get $50 Million Federal Grant.

Federal grant = taxpayer subsidy.

* Vincente Zambada-Niebla, A Billion-Dollar 'Narco Junior,' Cuts A Deal.

"In 2009, Vicente Zambada was arrested by Mexican authorities and promptly extradited to Chicago, where he was expected to stand trial for importing drugs to that city as a key logistics manager for the cartel."

* IRE Nomination Call For Most Secretive Government Agency.

Something Rahm or the Cook County State's Attorney's Office?

* White House 'Awarded' For Press Freedom; NYT's Abramson: New Levels Of Secrecy In Obama White House.

Chicago media uninterested in reporting the truth about their favorite son's presidency, from war crimes in Pakistan and Yemen to his massive surveillance state to his war against journalists and whistleblowers to his economic bungling (his sequester lives).

* NSA Spied On Windows Crash Reports.

"It appears that this information leakage greatly amused the NSA, with Der Spiegel reporting that the spy organization created a comedy mock-up of the Windows error message."

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TweetWood

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*

*

*

*

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*

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The Beachwood Tip Line: Bank on it.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 9:56 AM | Permalink

The Weekend In Chicago Rock

You shoulda been there.

1. Charlene Kaye at Beat Kitchen on Saturday night.


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2. The Kurt Michaels Continuum at Reggies on Saturday night.

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3. Krisiun at Reggies on Friday night.

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4. Daley at Lincoln Hall on Friday night.

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5. Sidi Toure with Billy Branch at the Hideout on Sunday night.

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6. Tycho at the Concord on Thursday night.

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7. Malevolent Creation at Cobra Lounge on Saturday night.

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8. The Dillinger Escape Plan at the Metro on Friday night.

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9. Machine Gun Kelly at Mojoes in Joliet on Saturday night.

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10. Sharon Jones and the Dap-Kings at the Vic on Friday night.

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 6:01 AM | Permalink

Cracking The Chicagoland Code 6: Unwired

"It's like, 'South Side, bang bang, violence, bang bang, and look at what a fucking great job the mayor's doing!'

"What this series promised was an investigative, journalistic look, in eight episodes, so they can get into the meat of the story, as to the trials and tribulations and problem-solving capabilities of a modern city, and it just turned out to be this total fucking wank.

"If you want to learn about what has happened to North American cities over the past 30 years or so, you can borrow the series, it's called The Wire. It's five seasons, and a) it's way more entertaining than this shit, and b) you'll learn a helluva lot more and there's a helluva lot more truth in The Wire than there is in any of these episodes."


-

Previously:
* Tweeting Chicagoland | Episode 1: Oh My Lord, I Hate It Already.

* Cracking The Chicagoland Code 1: Docu-Series Or Docu-Wank?

* Tweeting Chicagoland | Episode 2: Brought To You By Allstate, Billy Dec & The Central Office.

* Cracking The Chicagoland Code 2: Fixing The Facts.

* Tweeting Chicagoland | Episode 3: Get Me Rewrite.

* Cracking The Chicagoland Code 3: Our Fact-Challenged Heroes.

* Tweeting Chicagoland | Episode 4: Did We Mention That Rahm Loves (Black) Kids?

* Cracking The Chicagoland Code 4: LollapaRahmza.

* Tweeting Chicagoland | Episode 5: Back To Black.

* Cracking The Chicagoland Code 5: Yada Yada Yada.

* Tweeting Chicagoland | Episode 6: Building A New Rahm.

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 5:41 AM | Permalink

April 13, 2014

The Midwest's Best: Little Known Facts

The third and final part in a series about this year's Society of Midland Authors award winners, honoring the best books by Midwest authors published in 2013. The annual awards dinner will take place on May 13 at the Cliff Dwellers Club.

ADULT FICTION

WINNER: Christine Sneed, Little Known Facts, Bloomsbury. (Author lives in Evanston, Ill.)


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See also:
* New York Times: A Star's Circle.

* Chicago Tribune: Little Known Facts About Christine Sneed.

* Mark Athitakis: Book Review.

FINALISTS:

Chinelo Okparanta, Happiness, Like Water, Mariner. (Author lives in West Lafayette, Ind., and is former resident of Iowa City.)

"The stories in Chinelo Okparanta's first collection are quiet, often unnervingly so, in the manner of a stifled shriek. Hints of menace - a reference to a robbery, an illness, a drop of blood on peeling linoleum - are delivered blandly, matter-of-factly, as if resisting the urge to dramatize were a kind of survival mechanism. This is deceptive, for the plots in Happiness, Like Water are heated where the prose is not."

*

Bryan Furuness, The Lost Episodes of Revie Bryson, Black Lawrence. (Author lives in Indianapolis.)

"As the novel navigates the tricky adult negotiations that sustain domestic mythologies and the bittersweet nature of adolescent discoveries, the readers is reminded that anyone can be subject to resurrection, with all its terror and promise, and that the winding journey toward love and salvation is life-long."

*

The judges for Adult Fiction were Patricia Ann McNair, Billy Lombardo and Bayo Ojikutu.

CHILDREN'S FICTION

WINNER: Amy Timberlake, One Came Home, Knopf Books for Young Readers. (Author lives in Chicago.)

""An adventure, a mystery, and a love song to the natural world."

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See also:
* Christian Science Monitor: Book Review.

* Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel: Set In Wisconsin.

* Washington Post: Book Review.

FINALISTS:

Clare Vanderpool, Navigating Early, Delacorte Press. (Author lives in Wichita, Kan.)

*

Patricia Polacco, The Blessing Cup, Paula Wiseman Books/Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers. (Author lives in Union City, Mich.)

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The judges for Children's Fiction were Charlotte Herman, Gary Schmidt and Marianne Malone.

CHILDREN'S NONFICTION

WINNER: Neal Bascomb, The Nazi Hunters: How a Team of Spies and Survivors Captured the World's Most Notorious Nazi, Arthur A. Levine Books. (Author grew up in St. Louis and lives in Philadelphia.)

"A thrilling spy mission, a moving Holocaust story, and a first-class work of narrative nonfiction."

See also:
* School Library Journal: Book Review.

* American Library Association: Award For Excellence In Nonfiction For Young Adults.

* The Book Smugglers: Book Review.

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The judges for Children's Nonfiction were Marlene Targ Brill, Ann Bausum and Andrew Medlar. (No finalists in this category.)

POETRY

WINNER: Roger Bonair-Agard, Bury My Clothes, Haymarket Books. (Author lives in Chicago.)

"Bury My Clothes is poet Roger Bonair-Agard's meditation on violence, race, and the place in art at which they intersect. Amongst oppressed communities, he asserts, art is about survival, about establishing personhood in a world that says you have none - a mode of creation that has transformed both the world of art, and the world itself."

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See also:
* Huffington Post: This 'Love Trumpet' Kills Racism.

FINALISTS:

Carl Phillips, Silverchest, Farrar, Straus, & Giroux. (Author lives in St. Louis.)

Averill Curdy, Song and Error, Farrar, Straus, & Giroux. (Author lives in Chicago.)

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The judges for Poetry were Mark Eleveld, Haki R. Madhubuti and Donna Seaman.


LITERARY AND DRAMATIC CRITICISM

WINNER: Chris Jones, Chicago Tribune theater critic, arts columnist and reporter

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Previously:
* Adult Nonfiction: Guns, Worms & Trains.
* Biography & Memoir: The Polio President.

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 11:01 PM | Permalink

The Beachwood Radio Hour #2: Crime Is Down

Is the Chicago Police Department really juking murder stats? We have the surprising answer. Plus: Chicagoetry with J.J. Tindall, The Cub Factor with Marty Gangler, Remembering Big Glo, Jim "Coach" Coffman on sports and the week in politics and music. (Now with Show Notes!)

Show Notes

0:00: Opening theme.

1:20: "What I Do," Big Glo aka Blood Money.

2:25: "Big Glo Dead: Slain Rapper Was Chief Keef's Cousin."

3:08: TV Reporter, Spirit of '73: Rock for Choice.

3:20: Charters Are Not Smarter, The [Monday] Papers.

5:23: Data Mayor Image Doesn't Add Up.

5:34: CB, Spirit of '73: Rock for Choice.

5:35: Paul Vallas Is Already Bored, The [Tuesday] Papers.

6:03: "Fractured Fairy Tales," Television's Greatest Hits Vol. 3.

6:09: "More Deportations Follow Minor Crimes."

6:55: "Noble Charter School Network Has Tough Discipline Policy."

7:00: "Pigeon," J.J. Tindall.

7:26: Nicki Minaj fronting to be hard.

9:25: "Robeson Recommends;" "Lil Chicago;" "Dead or In Prison," Lil Bibby.

13:04: "Lil Marc Dead."

13:18: Spotlight: The Truth About Chicago Magazine's "The Truth About Chicago's Crime Rates."

With Tracy Jake Siska of the Chicago Justice Project.

* Pam Zekman, 2011: Are Murder Stats Being Watered Down?

* Pam Zekman, 2006: Hiding Homicides.

* Pam Zekman, 1982: Killing Crime.

If CPD is fudging the stats, it's not something unique to Garry McCarthy and Rahm Emanuel, which disrupts the narrative.

* CPD response.

* Hardly. Our sycophantic media is even sycophantic about itself.

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* David Bernstein on Chicago Tonight.

* Second City Cop.

* Steve Rhodes: "Jesse Jackson Jr.'s Dark Days."

* Rob Wildeboer, WBEZ: "Chicago Inspector General: You Can Trust Police Crime Stats."

* Chicago IG Crime Stats Audit.

* Robert Angone: "Crime Is Up And Down."

* Chicago Tribune: "Killing Our Children."

* Natalie Moore: "Chiraq War In Chicago Prevents Solutions."

* Eric Zorn: "Chicago Is Not The U.S. Murder Capital."

* Mick Dumke, "Anatomy Of a Heroin Ring."

* Sun-Times: "Why They Won't Stop Shooting In Chicago."

1:06:41: Phantogram at the Riv on Thursday night.

1:08:37: Free Association with Cub Factor founder Marty Gangler.

1:10:24: Jim "Coach" Coffman.

* Replays vs. Rhubarbs.

* Renteria Ejected.

* The Cubs' Caretaker.

1:38:47: "99 Years Of Cub Losses (99 Jahre Von Bengeln Verlusten) ."

1:35:50: "The Beachwood Sports Museum Of Chicago."

1:38:25: Christina Perri at the House of Blues on Thursday night.

1:39:26: CPS's Magic Furniture, The [Thursday] Papers.

1:42:41: Closing theme.

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Previously: The Beachwood Radio Hour #1: Look At A Fucking Map.

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See also: Beachwood International with The Angry Aussie on The Beachwood Radio Network.

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 7:42 AM | Permalink

April 12, 2014

The Weekend Desk Report

Did you enjoy spring? Yeah, good times.

Market Update
Do you suppose Prime Employees get their asses shipped back to them for free?

Special Glass Box Edition
Metra officials this week were locked into some kind of glass-walled moving prison and forced to ride one of their chronically delayed and increasingly congested lines. No word on whether the officials have been released, but it did get us thinking of a few other glass boxes that should be deployed:

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The Weekend Desk Tip Line: Break in case of emergency.

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The Beachwood Radio Hour #2: Is the Chicago Police Department really juking murder stats? We have the surprising answer. Plus: Chicagoetry with J.J. Tindall, The Cub Factor with Marty Gangler, Remembering Big Glo, Jim "Coach" Coffman on sports and the week in politics and music. (Now with Show Notes!)

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Beachwood International with The Angry Aussie: This week the boys take on the Heartbleed fiasco, Al Sharpton's coke habit and the latest episode of the shitshow called Chicagoland.

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

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Weekend Sports Special: Jon Stewart vs. The NCAA.

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The Sound Opinions Weekend Listening Report: "Giorgio Moroder is one of the godfathers of disco and Electronic Dance Music and has worked with everyone from Donna Summer to Daft Punk. He joins Jim and Greg this week to look back on his amazing career. Then we review the new album from Ted Leo & Aimee Mann."

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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.

MacArthur Award Winners

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Meet the 2014 recipients of the MacArthur Award for Creative and Effective Institutions.

Saturday at 9:30 a.m. on CAN TV19.

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Live From The Heartland: Fair Taxes Ror Illinois

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Kristen Crowell of Citizen Action explains why local organizations are working to change Illinois's flat tax rate to a progressive tax rate.

Saturday at 5:30 p.m. on CAN TV21.

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Perspectivas Latinas: Aquinas Literacy Center

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Alison Altmeyer shares how tutoring, writing workshops and language literacy classes give immigrants the tools they need to find jobs and engage their community.

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

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Why Is Palestine Taboo At Columbia College?

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Columbia College professor Iymen Chehade leads a conversation of the Israel/Palestine conflict and whether courses addressing the topic are too controversial for Columbia and other universities, particularly when they share the Palestinian perspective.

Sunday at 9 a.m. on CAN TV21.

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Translation Matters

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Authors and translators discuss the role literature plays in increasing global understanding, and the need to teach literature in translation.

Sunday at 11 a.m. on CAN TV21.

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Public Meeting: Clean Air In Pilsen

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Troy Hernandez of Clean Air Pilsen, along with members of other community organizations, speaks out against metal shredders, power plants and other sources of air pollution in Pilsen.

Sunday at noon on CAN TV21.


Posted by Natasha Julius at 10:26 AM | Permalink

Jon Stewart vs. The NCAA

Take that, Davids Haugh and Kaplan, and the rest of Chicago's dumb-jock commentariot.

Suck it, Pat Fitzgerald.

Feed the damn kids.

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See also: Rhodes: Why NU Football Players Are Employees.

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 4:08 AM | Permalink

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

The Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press and 18 other media organizations filed a friend-of-the-court brief in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit in support of the Electronic Frontier Foundation's challenge to the National Security Letters program.

The media brief argues that the non-disclosure provision on the National Security Letter statute is classic prior restraint on speech, and the Northern District of California's failure to term it as such threatens an important protection on which journalists rely.

Under the National Security Letter Statute, the FBI can demand personal information about anyone from phone companies, Internet service providers and other institutions. The government has issued tens of thousands of NSLs annually in recent years, and nearly 100 percent of these letters have a non-disclosure order which gags recipients from discussing them.

The media brief also argues that the gag provision violates the public's First Amendment right to receive information about this government program.

The information at issue is not just important for its own sake, but because, as recent reports have shown, fear of government surveillance has deterred confidential sources from speaking to journalists about a wide range of topics. The brief emphasizes that more knowledge about the NSL program can give sources and reporters confidence that their communications are confidential.

The Electronic Frontier Foundation's challenge involves three cases, all of which are under seal. The Reporters Committee was required to file its briefs under seal, but submitted a motion to the Ninth Circuit asking it to unseal its brief.

"The Court cannot constitutionally seal this brief," the Reporters Committee wrote in the motion. "Amici have had no access to confidential materials in the case; the brief only includes information that is already public; and there are clear public policy reasons for requiring that the materials be open."

The Ninth Circuit has made available on its website a handful of filings in the three NSL cases (all named "Under Seal v. Holder").

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

* New Yorker: What It's Like To Get A National Security Letter.

* Washington Post: My National Security Letter Gag Order.

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 3:48 AM | Permalink

April 11, 2014

The [Friday] Papers

I almost feel like I should apologize for continuing to pay attention . . . but Jesus Fucking Christ! Are you kidding me, CNN? Redford? Pulitzer Boy?

See what I mean here.

The Week In Juvey Justice
Common's Cause, Superpredator Superhype, Florida Follies, Karachi Kicks and more.

The Beachwood Radio Hour
Episode 2 is in production!

This week I'll discuss the latest in Chicago crime stats with Tracy Jake Siska of the Chicago Justice Project. You might be surprised at what we have to say.

As always, Jim "Coach" Coffman brings his usual insight to the sports front. We also have Cub Factor founder Marty Gangler playing a little free association with us this week.

A senior from Robeson High School delivers a brief review of Nicki Minaj's new single with local rapper Lil Herb, while J.J. Tindall drops some Chicagoetry on us.

The production should be a little smoother, though I really liked the first show otherwise.

Also on the boards this weekend, another episode of Beachwood International With The Angry Aussie. We'll take on this week's episode of Chicagoland, update last week's segment on Fake Cuban Twitter, and discuss the so-called Heartbleed Bug which has everyone changing their passwords to everything.

Train Tie-Up
"Come to the West Side of Chicago to find out why a power plant in Michigan is short of coal and a biodiesel maker in Brewster, Minnesota, can't get enough grain," Bloomberg reports.

"The answer is found near Western Avenue, where rail cars from Archer-Daniels-Midland Co. (ADM), the largest U.S. publicly traded ethanol producer, rest idle on the track above the Dwight D. Eisenhower Expressway. A short drive away a burnt orange, yellow and black locomotive from Warren Buffett's BNSF railway sits on an overpass as motor traffic is snarled below.

"They can't move because increasing oil production from North Dakota's Bakken field, a record grain crop and unprecedented cold weather overwhelmed the U.S. railroad system. In part because of transport delays, coal inventories were down 26 percent in January from a year ago. A quarter of all U.S. freight rail traffic passes through Chicago, or 37,500 rail cars each day. The trip through the city can take more than 30 hours."

Yeah, well, now Warren Buffett knows how the rest of us feel.

Madigan's Millionaire Malarkey
"Michael Madigan's spokesman says the Illinois House speaker is withdrawing a plan to tax millionaires in the state," AP reports.

"Steve Brown is the Chicago Democrat's spokesman. He said Wednesday that Madigan blames Republicans who wouldn't support the proposal. Brown says Republicans 'prefer and protect millionaires over school children.'"

On the bright side, now Madigan has more time to work on this proposal.

Ice Cream Manna
"Illinois Sen. Jim Oberweis is introducing legislation to raise the minimum wage in Illinois for some workers," AP reports.

"The Sugar Grove Republican's proposal would gradually increase the minimum wage from $8.25 to $10 an hour by 2017. But the changes would only apply to workers who are 26 and older."

Which, coincidentally, does not presumably include most of the workers at Oberweis's stores.

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Let's see, what else is going on in Oberweis's life that he might wanna make a law about?

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Why 26 as the cutoff? It's not like 25-year-olds are considered teenagers, if that's the idea. Get those Oberweis employment records!

The Chicago Way
State Rep Indicted On Bank Fraud Charges Wins Local School Council Seat.

Beachwood Photo Booth: We Won The Cup
Portage Park remembers.

The Midwest's Best: The Polio President
Plus: Wild Child Winston Churchill.

The Week In Chicago Rock
Featuring: Phantogram, Inertia, The Julie Ruin, Christina Perri, Yelawolf, and Krol Kleks.

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TweetWood

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The Beachwood Tip Line: No shoes, no shirt, no problem.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 8:02 AM | Permalink

The Week In Chicago Rock

You shoulda been there.

1. Phantogram at the Riv on Thursday night.


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2. Christina Perri at House of Blues on Wednesday night.

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3. Inertia at Livewire on Sunday night.

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4. Yelawolf at Durty Nellie's in Palatine on Tuesday night.

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5. The Julie Ruin at Lincoln Hall on Wednesday night.


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6. Krol Kleks at Township on Sunday night.

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 7:07 AM | Permalink

Tweeting Chicagoland | Episode 6: Building A New Rahm

In the midst of the most hagiographic treatment yet of our hero mayor, a triumphant Richard M. Daley returns to the scene of his crimes to totally escape even a slightly serious question, instead regaling viewers with bromides about what a great problem-solver he was.

Never mind that the Current Occupant conveniently blames Daley not only for all the problems he inherited, but all the problems he's created.

In fact, the Chicago that Rahm inherited was so bad - though for two decades Daley was hailed as the greatest mayor the universe had ever produced - that Rahm's motto, narrator Mark Konkol tells us, could be "Building A New Chicago."

Could be!

"Mayor Rahm Emanuel, who championed many of the initiatives comprising the plan, is a master of message control and media packaging who attempts to sell his plans as new, even when they're not," the Sun-Times reported last June.

"In March, 2012, the mayor unveiled, what he called, 'Building a New Chicago,' a $7.3 billion plan to rebuild Chicago's infrastructure and create 30,000 jobs.

"But it was little more than political packaging by a new administration that had fast become famous for it.

"Most, if not all, of the CTA, water, sewer, parks, schools and City Colleges project had been announced before. So had the $1.7 billion Infrastructure Trust the mayor hoped to use to bankroll some of the projects."

As I wrote then:

"Rahm can only be a master of message control and media packaging if the media goes along with him. You're the one he's controlling!

"The end result is basically writing a story as if it came out of Rahm's PR shop and then declaring at the end that 'We've been had because he's really good at this.'"

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Rahm Emanuel approves of this message.

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So I closed their schools.

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Followed by superintendent Barbara Byrd-Bennett saying that in all hoopla of her week, she had "missed" that. Thanks for bringing that to her attention! (Remember, last week she yada-yada-yada'd the shooting of one of her students.)

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For some reason this wasn't mentioned while CNN described Rahm's heroic efforts at solving food deserts.

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Nancy Harty, WBBM Newsradio. (McCarthy's full response was actually totally on-point; gangbangers have mothers too.)

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Not watching their own show.

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And in the last decade, Chicago has lost 175,000 African Americans - while Hispanics now make up a third of the city's population. Maybe get up to date, CNN.

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The confusion is really how he won a Pulitzer in the first place.

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You mean he's cutting the ribbons on Daley's ill-advised projects out there. Do some friggin' research, Pulitzer dude.

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Unlike other would-be mayors, who would not be determined but just sit on their ass all day.

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Previously:
* Tweeting Chicagoland | Episode 1: Oh My Lord, I Hate It Already.

* Cracking The Chicagoland Code 1: Docu-Series Or Docu-Wank?

* Tweeting Chicagoland | Episode 2: Brought To You By Allstate, Billy Dec & The Central Office.

* Cracking The Chicagoland Code 2: Fixing The Facts.

* Tweeting Chicagoland | Episode 3: Get Me Rewrite.

* Cracking The Chicagoland Code 3: Our Fact-Challenged Heroes.

* Tweeting Chicagoland | Episode 4: Did We Mention That Rahm Loves (Black) Kids?

* Cracking The Chicagoland Code 4: LollapaRahmza.

* Tweeting Chicagoland | Episode 5: Back To Black.

* Cracking The Chicagoland Code 5: Yada Yada Yada.

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 3:51 AM | Permalink

The Midwest's Best: The Polio President

Second in a series about this year's Society of Midland Authors award winners, honoring the best books by Midwest authors published in 2013. The annual awards dinner will take place on May 13 at the Cliff Dwellers Club.

BIOGRAPHY & MEMOIR

WINNER: James Tobin, The Man He Became: How FDR Defied Polio to Win the Presidency, Simon & Schuster. (Author lives in Ann Arbor, Mich.)


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See also:
* The Wall Street Journal: Book Review.

* USA Today: From Polio To Presidency.

* The Christian Science Monitor: Book Review.

FINALIST:

Michael Shelden, Young Titan: The Making of Winston Churchill, Simon & Schuster. (Author lives in Bloomington, Ind.)

"The first biography focused on Winston Churchill's early career: a never-before-told account of his ambitious romantic pursuits, his outmaneuvering of rival political giants, and the fatal mistakes that would sideline him for years."

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The judges for Biography & Memoir were Gerry Souter, Ray Boomhower and Diane Diekman.

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Previously:
* Adult Nonfiction: Guns, Worms & Trains.

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 3:13 AM | Permalink

Beachwood Photo Booth: We Won The Cup

A Portage Park reminder.

hawksmural1460setc.jpg(ENLARGE FOR PROPER VIEWING)

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More Chicago photography from Helene Smith.

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Helene on Twitter!

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Meet Helene!

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Stationery, iPhone cases, hoodies.

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Previously:
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Chicago Man Grilling
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Yum Yum Donuts
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Chicago Father's Day
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Vintage Airmaster
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Chicago Time
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Window Shade
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Illinois Slayer
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Chicago Fire Escape
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Golden Nugget
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Hollywood, Chicago
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Flag Man.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Van In Flames.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Fluid Power Automation.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Corn Dog.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Stop The Killing Car.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Chicago Backyard.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: A to Z Things.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Swedish Diner.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Rothschild Liquors.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Chicago Silos.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Chicago Wires.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Orange Garden.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Irving Park Guy.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Chicago Pigeons.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: O'Lanagan's.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: For Rent.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Marie's Pizza & Liquors.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Mori Milk.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: American Breakfast.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: A Chicago Christmas Postcard.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Holiday Harold's.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Chicago Family Fun.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Snow Bike.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Nativity Scene.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Old Warsaw.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Deluxe Cleaners.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Marie's Golden Cue.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Die Another Day.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Sears Key Shop.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Window Dressing.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Jeri's Grill.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Barry's Drugs.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Liberty.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Chicago Kitchen.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Golden Specials.

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 2:58 AM | Permalink

April 10, 2014

Remembering Big Glo

"A Chicago rapper who recently signed to a major record label and was a cousin of Chief Keef was shot to death in Englewood overnight," the Tribune reports.

"Mario Hess - who went by Big Glo at the time of his death and Blood Money before being signed - was the oldest member of the Glory Boyz Entertainment crew and was Chief Keef's second cousin.

"Glo's manager said he was trying to get the 33-year-old musician out of Englewood and the city.

"It's a lot of crime and violence in Chicago, these rap guys are being targeted, so you know, just trying to get him outside the neighborhood. He's from the streets," Renaldo Reuben Hess said early Thursday morning.

Glo was featured on Chief Keef's "Fuck Rehab:"

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Tribute:

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"Officers found Hess riddled with bullets on the sidewalk in the 5600 block of South Elizabeth Street, according to authorities," DNAinfo Chicago reports.

"Another man was injured in the shooting: a 33-year-old who was taken to Stroger Hospital in unknown condition. No one was in custody."

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"Hess, who rapped under the names Big Glo and Blood Money, had recently signed to Interscope Records, his publicist said," DNAinfo Chicago also reports.

"Hess already had recorded several songs for his debut album alongside Chief Keef and Cory Gunz.

"Renaldo Hess, a cousin who manages Mario Hess and Chief Keef, told the Sun-Times. Mario Hess had received a $50,000 signing bonus. He spent a portion of the cash on bills, family and a car."

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 9:54 AM | Permalink

The [Thursday] Papers

"Chicago Public Schools officials on Wednesday touted an increase in money to schools for each child enrolled next year, but the bulk of that new cash likely will just help keep up with inflation and teacher raises," the Sun-Times reports.

"The $70 million CPS earmarked as extra money for classrooms - in the same year as the mayoral election - will come from a combination of ever-shrinking central office spending, dividing up a $65 million chunk shared last year among certain hard-hit schools and an adjustment in accounting that drops 29 additional days into the 2015 fiscal year, according to CEO Barbara Byrd-Bennett."

Okay, what?

As best as I can understand, CPS is selling money it is already required to pay to teachers - as in, you know, their salaries - as new investments in classrooms.

And they are saying that if they, you know, didn't pay teachers what they are contractually obligated to pay them, classroom cuts would result for some reason.

Thank God for the fantastical Central Office; what a wondrous place that is.

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"While Chicago Public Schools officials continue to say there will be a budget crisis until pension reform is achieved, the district Wednesday said cost-cutting and a one-time accounting maneuver will provide additional $70 million for school-based budgets in the coming year," the Tribune reports.

"District officials say more money will be available next year in part through an accounting adjustment that would make two additional months of property tax revenue available for the 2014-15 budget.

"Extending the 'revenue recognition period' to Aug. 29, 2015 for a fiscal year that ends June 30 would make several hundred million dollars available in the coming year, CPS spokesman Joel Hood said.

Laurence Msall, president of the Civic Federation, a government watchdog group, called the district's accounting "a financially risky maneuver" that offers only short-term relief.

"It's a questionable financial practice that relies on borrowing next year's property tax receipts to pay for this year's expenses," Msall said. "It's like using a credit card to pay for your groceries. You're borrowing for the future."

Chicagoland!

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"In addition to the accounting change, the district also cited savings from moves that include the move later this year from the district's current downtown headquarters to the Sears flagship store on State Street."

Those savings will derive mostly from extending the revenue recognition period on central office furniture, i.e., using layaway.

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"If only we were all CPS, and every time we were short on cash, a pot of one-time, never-to-be-available-again money appeared that would get us over the hump," Sarah Karp reports for Catalyst.

"School Board President David Vitale said this trick will only work once. 'The downside is that someone might say we are avoiding the problem,' he said during a conference call Wednesday.

"In each of the three years since Mayor Rahm Emanuel was elected, CPS leaders have announced a hefty deficit and then eventually found one-time pots of money to fill the hole."

On Chicagoland, the budget deficit is repeatedly described as a $1 billion hole that our city's leaders are heroically struggling to fill, even if it means making tough choices like screwing poor black kids.

Apparently CNN's local fixer doesn't read the papers.

For years CPS has issued a doomsday budget for the media that is always superceded by something approaching a real budget. It hasn't taken much for the better reporters in the city to catch on.

Back to the Tribune:

"Budget Director Ginger Ostro said the increase adds about $70 million to school budgets. Last year, CPS cut $80 million from schools."

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CPS also has a new media strategy: Brief reporters individually, not as a group.

Why?

My guess is so that reporters can't hear the questions asked by and answers given to other reporters. Better to keep them operating without collective wisdom.

CPS is apparently also trying to prevent reporters for preparing for their interviews.

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Remembering Big Glo
Keef crew rapper lost to the streets; had just signed with Interscope.

Medicaid Drowning In Backlog
I've been agitating this reporter for this story for awhile now; there's more to be revealed with what's going on in Illinois for any reporter who actually cares to dig in.

Our Chicago Sports Museum
Way better than theirs.

Guns, Worms & Trains
The best Midwest non-fiction of 2013.

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BeachBook
* Aliotta, Haynes & Binny's.

* Chicago Public Library: Sixth Floor.

* Sally Draper Lived In Lakeview.

* A Chicago Pinball Legend Has Died.

* FBI Memo On Mob Violence.

Over the course of the summer of 2013, some middle school-aged individuals from Chicago (names unknown) moved to Louisville and began attending Frost Middle School. It is believed that the individuals from Chicago encouraged the individuals hanging out at the roller skating rink to "beef up" their efforts at becoming an actual gang.

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TweetWood

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The Beachwood Tip Line: Safekeeping.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 9:52 AM | Permalink

The Midwest's Best: Guns, Worms & Trains

First in a series about this year's Society of Midland Authors award winners, honoring the best books by Midwest authors published in 2013. The annual awards dinner will take place on May 13 at the Cliff Dwellers Club.

ADULT NONFICTION

WINNER: Rick Atkinson, The Guns at Last Light: The War in Western Europe, 1944-1945, Henry Holt and Co. (Author is a former reporter for the Pittsburg (Kan.) Morning Sun and the Kansas City Times.)


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See also:
* The Guns At Last Light Video Series.

* The Los Angeles Times: "The former journalist's incisive writing is on excellent display in the final volume of his World War II series."

* AP: War in Europe comes alive.

* The New York Times: The Price of Victory.

FINALISTS:

Ted Anton, The Longevity Seekers: Science, Business, and the Fountain of Youth, University of Chicago Press. (Author lives in River Forest, Ill.)

"People have searched for the fountain of youth everywhere from Bimini to St. Augustine. But for a steadfast group of scientists, the secret to a long life lies elsewhere: in the lowly lab worm. By suppressing the function of just a few key genes, these scientists were able to lengthen worms' lifespans up to tenfold, while also controlling the onset of many of the physical problems that beset old age. As the global population ages, the potential impact of this discovery on society is vast - as is the potential for profit."

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Larry Haeg, Harriman vs. Hill: Wall Street's Great Railroad War, University of Minnesota Press. (Author lives in St. Paul, Minn.)

"The two most powerful men in the nation's dominant industry battle for control of the Northern Pacific Railway, forever changing the landscape of American business."

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The judges for Adult Nonfiction were James Merriner, John Hallwas and Re'Lynn Hansen.

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 9:18 AM | Permalink

Our Chicago Sports Museum

"And now, from the man who blew up the Bartman Ball, roped the FBI into the investigation of a missing Stanley Cup puck and X-rayed baseballs to see if a decades-old World Series was rigged: Grant DePorter, CEO of Harry Caray's Restaurant Group, brings you the Chicago Sports Museum," the Sun-Times reports.

Yada yada yada.

Planning for The Beachwood Sports Museum of Chicago is now underway. Exhibits and items to include:

* The Wrigley Field rooftop contract under glass.

* Our own private label wine sealed with cork from Sammy Sosa's bats.

* Dunk Ditka: The dunk tank to end all dunk tanks.

* The American Medical Association's list of diseases Jay Cutler's unvaccinated kids are likely to contract.

* Animatronic Ozzie. The former White Sox manager will spout racist non sequitors at visitors on an endless loop.

* Animatronic Elia. Eighty-five percent of the fuckin' world is working. The other fifteen percent come out here. A fuckin' playground for the cocksuckers.

* The Michael Jordan Files. Authentic reproductions of his gambling slips.

* The Bill Wirtz Memorial Hall. Enter a world without TV.

* Chicago 2016. An exhibit depicting life in Chicago if we had won that Olympic bid.

* The Miracle of '98. When steroids saved baseball.

* The actual white flag of 1997.

* This guy discussing the new Soldier Field.

* The real Chelsea Dagger on an extended residency.

* A urinal trough signed by Moises Alou.

* Greeter Albert Belle.

* The Beachwood Players re-enact Patrick Kane slugging a Buffalo cab driver at 1, 3 and 5 - a.m.

* A complete set of ties from the Chicago Fire.

* Animatronic Urlacher. Reminding you how ungrateful you are to be in his animatronic presence.

* The Lovie Smith Challenge Lab. Using a high-speed collider and a federal grant, the nation's top physicists try to crack the algorithm Lovie Smith uses to determine which calls to challenge.

* Greeter Dennis Green.

* Duncan Keith's teeth. He has agreed to store them here between games.

* Steve Bartman's interview requests. Through a quirk in the federal Freedom of Information Act, we were able to acquire every smarmy interview request every made of Steve Bartman.

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 5:38 AM | Permalink

Medicaid Drowning In Backlog

Last week, federal health officials celebrated two milestones related to the Affordable Care Act. The first, which got considerable attention, was that more than 7 million people selected private health plans in state and federal health insurance exchanges. The second, which got less attention, was that some 3 million additional enrollees had signed up for Medicaid and the Children's Health Insurance Program (public health insurance programs for the poor), many as a result of Medicaid's expansion.

But there are growing signs that Obamacare's Medicaid expansion is a victim of its own success, unable to keep up with demand. While about half the states have refused to expand their Medicaid programs' eligibility, among those that have, some can't process applications fast enough.

Media reports from New Jersey, Illinois and California (states that have expanded their Medicaid programs) show that hundreds of thousands of consumers who may qualify for new Medicaid coverage aren't getting it.

So what's happening?

In Illinois, the Chicago Tribune reported last month that there's a backlog of more than 200,000 applications waiting to be processed.

Illinois officials initially expected 200,000 people to sign up for Medicaid under the expansion in 2014. But through last week, more than double that number have applied. And amid a marketing blitz, officials expect a surge of additional applications by the end of the year.

Unlike new commercial insurance products, which consumers can purchase through March 31, there's no deadline to sign up for Medicaid. By the end of the year, state officials expect about 350,000 new users to be enrolled in the program.

The growing backlog is causing concern among health care providers worried about getting paid, and confusion, frustration and anger among consumers, whose coverage was supposed to begin in January.

Much the same thing is happening in New Jersey, the Star-Ledger reported last week.

By all accounts, enrollment in the expanded Medicaid program has gone well in New Jersey. The numbers are robust as the program's expansion under the Affordable Care Act allows single residents and childless couples to get coverage provided their income is low enough. But getting an actual ID card that allows someone to see a doctor? The flood of applicants appears to have resulted in a systemwide backlog, according to applicants and field workers.

"I've heard getting an actual Medicaid card is nearly impossible. It's like getting Willy Wonka's Golden Ticket," said Rena Jordan, director of external affairs for Planned Parenthood of Metropolitan Jersey, which has been helping patients enroll.

"A lot of strange things have been happening, that's the easiest way to say it," said Virginia Nelson, administrative supervisor of the Medicaid Department for Middlesex County.

The flood of phone calls to her office about older cases has taken time away from processing the newest cases, Nelson said.

Federal officials conceded some of the blame for the delay can be put squarely at the feet of the federal website, healthcare.gov. That website transferred data about applicants whose income looked like they might qualify for Medicaid to the state system, but in a format the state system couldn't use.

And in California, the backlog now numbers 800,000 for Medi-Cal, the state's Medicaid program, the Los Angeles Times reported this week.

One patient wrote The Times to say she has a worrisome growth behind an ovary. She submitted an application in October. County health clinics informed her she won't be able to keep her appointments for blood tests and ultrasound scans until her Medi-Cal coverage is confirmed, she said. Or she can pay full price for the services.

As of Thursday, she was still waiting.

"A lot of good, smart people with good intentions in the state and county are working really hard to fix these problems," said Katie Murphy, managing attorney at Neighborhood Legal Services of Los Angeles County, which has a grant from the state to provide legal assistance to patients with Obamacare enrollment cases. "But until they do, people will fall through the cracks."

A state spokesman told the paper that "the volume of Medi-Cal applications, combined with challenges of new computer systems, hampered the state's ability to complete eligibility reviews in a timely and accurate manner."

Matt Salo, executive director of the National Association of Medicaid Directors, said many of the problems relate to the way HealthCare.gov transfers information to states about consumers who appear to qualify for Medicaid based on their incomes. But there are state-specific issues, as well.

"It's been the number one issue of concern for our members for the past nine months or so," he said in an e-mail. "The problems are getting fixed, but what worries people is that we're only a few months away from NEXT year's open enrollment, so we have to hurry."

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Previously:
* Health Care Sign-Ups: This Is What Transparency Looks Like.

* How The New Yorker's Ryan Lizza Became A Mistaken Poster Boy For Obamacare.

* Loyal Obama Supporters, Canceled By Obamacare.

* Answered: Why Two Obama Loyalists Lost Their Health Policies.

* Health Care Delays Squeeze Patients In State High-Risk Pools.

* Coming In January: Obamacare Rate Shock Part Two.

* The Obamacare Deadline No One Is Talking About.

* The Obamacare Paper Pileup.

* Deadline? What Deadline? The Obamacare Sign-Up Dates Keep Moving.

* Journalists Turn To Themselves For Obamacare Stories.

* Health Care Fine Print Strikes Again: Canceled Customers Transferred To New Policies Without Permission.

* Obamacare Enrollment Report Leaves Out Key Details.

* Obamacare Bolsters Market Share For Dominant Carriers.

* Judging Obamacare: How Do We Know If It Is A Success Or Failure?

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Comments welcome.


Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 5:17 AM | Permalink

April 9, 2014

The [Wednesday] Papers

I'm accompanying the kids from Robeson High School in the Urban Youth Journalism Program on a field trip to Kennedy-King College today, so there won't be a Papers column.

But that doesn't mean there isn't great Beachwood content to enjoy.

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An LSC Odyssey
One Chicagoan's journey through the maze of voting districts.

Forfeiting The Save
Carlos Villanueva is good for something.

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BeachBook
* Recording Industry Earns More From Fan Videos Than Official Music Videos.

* Checkerboard Lounge Struggles To Stay Afloat As 53rd Street Rises.

Related: U of C vs. Black Bookstore.

* The Chicago Kasuals.

* Bar Rescue Hit With Battery Lawsuit.

Chicago attorney representing the plaintiff.

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TweetWood

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The Beachwood Tip Line: Euphemistic.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 8:06 AM | Permalink

Fantasy Fix: Forfeiting The Save

ESPN's Matthew Berry has been saying it for years: Never pay for saves.

This season has quickly offered confirmation of that maxim.

Several closers already have been injured this year (Aroldis Chapman, Bobby Parnell, David Robertson) and several others are off to very poor starts that could jeopardize their jobs.

If you're stuck with a couple of closers who are lame or ineffective or both, you can always choose to forfeit that category altogether in your weekly head-to-head match-ups by deploying hurlers with SP/RP eligibility in the RP slot, or even RPs who have found their way into starting rotations as fifth starters.

The best SP/RPs are of course long gone.

Guys like Michael Wacha, Andrew Cashner and Tony Cingrani were snapped up in drafts by owners well aware of the value of dual eligibility.

But there might be a few names on the waiver wire worth considering:

Bruce Chen, KC: A long-time favorite among the hybrids. Chen somehow manages to lull offenses to sleep year after year. He struck out seven White Sox in 6.1 innings in his first start this year, and can usually be counted on for decent ERA and WHIP, along with occasional wins.

Alfredo Simon, CIN: Filling for the injured Mat Latos, he will likely gain SP eligibility with at least two more starts planned. Six strikeouts and a win, along with a 1.29 ERA and 0.71 WHIP, have him off to a good start, and a run-producing offense could help his case to remain in the starting rotation.

Garrett Richards, LAA: The Angels have started poorly for the second straight year, but I'm not buying it for the longer term. Richards won his first start, and could deliver above-average strikeout numbers.

Carlos Villaneuva, CUBS: Yes, the guy with the fancy moustache who took the losses in relief in the Cubs' first two games. He is much better as a starter, as he showed earning the win against the Phillies last Sunday. If that outing of five innings, three strikeouts and no walks doesn't seem like much, it's still better than a 2/3 of an inning pitched with a blown save, which you might get from any number of secondhand closers.

Expert Wire
* ESPN says to adjust your fantasy expectations on pitchers who have made adjustments in their games.

* Bleacher Report wants to know if you picked up James Paxton yet. Who?

* Rotoworld highlights the next heir to Mariano Rivera after the Robertson injury: Shawn Kelley. Who?

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

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 3:21 AM | Permalink

One Chicagoan's Odyssey Through LSC Voting Districts

Over the weekend I attempted to find all of the schools whose LSC voting districts I live within and ended up uncovering blatant incompetence in the ranks of the CPS central office.

Why does a simple exercise in the practice of representative democracy have to turn into a soul-crushing experience that has me wondering yet again how these people are in charge of educating Chicago's children?

The neighborhood school boundaries are pretty easy to figure out using the school locator.

But what about the selective enrollment schools? I remembered seeing an LSC list that included the selective enrollment schools as well a few months ago, so there must also be elections occurring at those schools, I thought

I was unable to find out on the school locator website if the selective schools had voting districts or if any resident of Chicago could vote for one of their school councils.

So on Monday morning I called CPS to find where I could access those boundaries. I left a voice mail with the LSC relations person at CPS and got a call back late that afternoon. Turns out that those boundaries are not available online but that he could easily have them e-mailed to me "because I just sent them out to the schools this morning."

That would be the morning of the election.

I thanked him and a few minutes later I received the e-mail and a couple PDFs. They are not maps but scans from CPS board reports with narrative descriptions of the voting district boundaries. Some of these documents date back over 20 years so it's not like there hasn't been time to add them to the school locator map.

After discovering just how voter unfriendly the information about selective enrollment voting districts is, I continued my conversation with the CPS LSC relations person to find out more frustrating tidbits:

* There is a CPS department that handles mapping but they only focus on neighborhood school boundaries and they have never done anything with the selective enrollment LSC voting boundaries.

* There is no plan to do anything to make these boundaries more publicly accessible.

Once I started asking more pointed questions, he suggested I speak with CPS Communications.

I called up the Communications folks and explained the situation only to be asked, in a somewhat flabbergasted manner, "So you received all the information you asked for in a timely manner and your issue is with the format it is in?"

Like I'm the pretentious prick who has the temerity to believe that all LSC voting boundaries should be easily accessible in map format instead of requiring that a person wade through webpages, phone calls,voice mail, e-mails and barely legible 23-year-old PDFs to then discover that I get to play connect-the-dots on a map to find out which schools I can vote for LSC council. It is almost as if the CPS central office doesn't really care about the LSCs .

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From: Villasenor, Jose
Date: Mon, Apr 7, 2014 at 4:42 PM
Subject: Fwd: Schools with LSC Election Voting Districts

Dear Mr. Markel:

Per your request, attached are a file with the 1991 Board Report that established the LSC voting district boundaries of all of multi-area schools then in existence and a file with the LSC voting districts established or revised between 1991 and 2012, including those of Edison Regional Gifted.

In addition to the schools reflected in the attached files, for the 2014 LSC Election the following multi-area schools have LSC voting boundaries that are contiguous with the city limits:

STEM Magnet Academy 1522 West Fillmore

Skinner North Magnet 640 West Scott

Disney II Magnet 3815 North Kedvale

LaSalle II Magnet 1148 North Honore

South Shore Fine Arts Academy 1415 East 70th Street

South Shore International Coll. Prep. HS 1955 East 75th Street

Miles Davis Magnet 6730 South Paulina

Please let us know if there is any other information with which we can assist.

Thanks,

Jose VIllasenor

LSC Relations

Multi-Area Schools Voting District Boundaries (1991 Board Report).pdf

LSC Voting Districts Established or Adjusted Post 9-91.pdf

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 12:22 AM | Permalink

April 8, 2014

The [Tuesday] Papers

"Paul Vallas, who returned to Illinois last month as Gov. Pat Quinn's running mate, has been hired to a six-figure job as a municipal finance consultant by a longtime friend and political supporter of the Democratic governor," the Tribune reports.

This is astonishingly bad judgement. It's hard to even fathom.

"Vallas began his position with DSI Civic, an affiliate of Chicago-based Development Specialists Inc., on April 1, said DSI CEO and President Bill Brandt, who serves as the chair of the Illinois Finance Authority - an unpaid post he was appointed to by Quinn. Brandt donated $100,000 in December to Quinn's re-election effort."

Vallas is already bored, and he's not even lieutenant governor yet.

"Mr. Brandt and Paul Vallas are both people who have made a difference in life, and if they want to work together that's up to them," Quinn said. "I had nothing to do with that."

Vallas can do whatever he wants - he's my running mate, not my spouse!

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"Quinn's campaign said the position would be part-time, though Brandt said Vallas was hired full-time."

Maybe they were confused because that's not Vallas's only job.

"[Vallas] also operates a private education consulting firm and has said he would continue that work while campaigning."

Look, we all know lieutenant governor is a do-nothing job, but this is ridiculous.

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"This is a pure business decision designed to make me money," Brandt said.

Not helping.

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"[I]t's probably no big deal," Rich Miller of the Capitol Fax Blog writes.

Oh. Nevermind.

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Worst President Ever
"With the Obama administration deporting illegal immigrants at a record pace, the president has said the government is going after 'criminals, gang bangers, people who are hurting the community, not after students, not after folks who are here just because they're trying to figure out how to feed their families.'

"But a New York Times analysis of internal government records shows that since President Obama took office, two-thirds of the nearly two million deportation cases involve people who had committed minor infractions, including traffic violations, or had no criminal record at all."

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Exclusive Interview With Richard M. Daley . . .
. . . Neither Exclusive Nor An Interview.

Smithsonian Hall To Be Renamed . . .
. . . For Chicago Company That Pays No Taxes.

Lil Chicago
Rich, Dead or In Prison.

The Cubs' Caretaker
Ricky Renteria is already on bad paper.

Dear Open Books . . .
. . . Did She Get It?

Spray Painting Chicago
Awesome skyline art.

The View From North Texas
The NCAA Championship, AT&T Stadium and Northwestern football.

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BeachBook
* Newspaper Executives Get Six-Figure Bonuses For Laying Off Reporters.

* Vaccination Rates Low For Chicagoland Schools.

* Porn Site Has Sued 866 People In Northern Illinois.

* Film Sheds Light On Jesus People's Dark Stories.

* The Tortured History Of The U.S. Senate's Secret Torture Report.

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TweetWood

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The Beachwood Tip Line: Historic.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 11:25 AM | Permalink

Smithsonian Hall To Be Renamed For Chicago Company That Pays No Taxes

"Boeing just gifted the Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum $30 million, and for that, they are getting the main hall named after them.

"Boeing hasn't paid taxes in years - they actually got a $199 million refund for 2013. They also lobbied in Washington for $15 million and received $20 billion in government contracts."


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See also:
* Boeing Paid No Federal Income Tax Last Year.

* Boeing Receives Largest Tax Break In History After Paying Zero Taxes For 10 Years.

* Chicago, Offering Big Incentives, Will Be Boeing's New Home.

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 11:13 AM | Permalink

SportsMondayTuesday: The View From North Texas

What can they see from up there? And if fans are willing to buy those seats, what won't they buy?

Those were my primary questions as UConn held off Kentucky for the national championship 60-54 Monday night.

Sure, I also wondered whether the gritty, gutty young Wildcats could find a way to rally yet again. Or whether the Huskies and their ultra-talented and experienced guards, including pride-of-Aurora Ryan Boatright (Co-Mr. Basketball of Illinois 2011), would prove the old maxim right yet again.

That would be the one that states that, eventually, the best guards prevail. Boatright, a junior, and senior Shabazz Napier (a game-high 27 points) certainly qualified as that, despite Aaron Harrison's amazingly clutch long-range shooting for Kentucky late in the rounds leading up to the championship.

But first I wanted to know why on God's green earth do people buy tickets for the third deck at the top of a gargantuan arena (capacity 100,000-plus) somewhere in "North Texas?"

The place certainly looked like the still new Cowboys Stadium in Arlington, Texas. And last I checked, Arlington still qualifies as suburban Dallas.

But a branding decision was made and that meant that no one, and I mean no one, with a media pass to this sucker referred to the host location as anything other than "North Texas." If you didn't want your credentials pulled (I'm exaggerating a bit but you know what I'm saying), "suburban Dallas" was not in your vocabulary. The money men had decreed that "North Texas" sells better. Exactly what it sells I'm not sure but I don't have an MBA.

And of course, AT&T has paid tens of millions of dollars for the naming rights to the awesome structure formerly known as Jerry's World.

And when the cameras gave us an opportunity to take it all in, there were those aforementioned fans at the tippy-, tippy-top of the stadium. They had apparently been able to find their way despite the potential confusion about the location.

The NCAA claimed that an all-time college basketball record 79,444 (you have to be suspicious of round numbers like this) fans took in the semifinal games on Saturday. The number on Monday was apparently 79,238.

I suppose one thing the folks in the "cheap" seats have going for them is the fact that the high-definition scoreboards hanging high over the middle off the playing surface are apparently spectacular.

So the fans that sit way, way up in that last deck can watch the game on whichever of the four massive giant screens faces them. Why they wouldn't want to just go ahead and do this at home or at a sports bar and maybe save a little money and a lot of trouble is another question.

But then they couldn't say they were there, right? The bottom line is that the American sports fan is still willing to spend more and more and more on the Final Four, even if it means sitting a mile away from the action.

NCAA president Mark Emmert claimed last week that the NCAA hosts the tournament at stadiums rather than classic basketball arenas because then tens of thousands of fans are able to attend the event who otherwise wouldn't be able to do so. Right, it's for the fans!

We all know it's about the money. It's certainly not about the "student-athletes," the schools or the experience. Every last fan willing to help fill the coffers of an organization so dedicated to amateur athletes that it keeps every last cent to itself is welcome.

This, in part, is why Northwestern football players - different sport, same dynamic - may unionize.

And litigation looms that would force the NCAA to change the way it does business.

But as long as fans keep voting for the current set-up with their dollars, it is hard to be optimistic about a more fair and balanced system going into effect anytime soon.

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

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 9:47 AM | Permalink

The Cubs' Caretaker

Contrary to what many sports pundits continue to insist, Dale Sveum was never hired to simply be a caretaker manager who would be replaced by a "real" manager once the Cubs were ready to win. That makes no sense on several levels - the first being that Sveum's bosses were counting on him to develop the team's prospects while instilling a new culture into a locker room whose managers have notoriously allowed the asylum to be run by the inmates.

If Sveum fulfilled that mission, tossing him aside just as the team was on the brink would have been madness.

No, hiring Sveum was part and parcel of The Plan. That's why the team made such a public spectacle of the hiring process. (The confusing failure of Sveum only goes to show how fragile The Plan really is.)

The hiring of Ricky Renteria, on the other hand, has caretaker written all over it. His chief attribute - as touted by his own bosses - is his relentless optimism (along with an ability to speak Spanish).

His lack of managerial acumen is way down the list. And in his first week at the helm, he didn't disappoint. This guy is going to be a disaster - in a very Cubs-like way.

First, Jeff Samardzija got the Opening Day start that rightfully belonged to Travis Wood.

Second, Starlin Castro started the season in the three-hole; a bit much for a player who badly slumped last year because he had too much going on in his head. He went Starlin Castro went 0-for-6, leaving eight on base, and since then has batted second three times and sixth once. That's not the path to a consistent approach at the plate by a muddled young player. It also means Renteria failed to solve one of the team's central riddles during the off-season.

But the real boner was Renteria's mishandling of his pitching staff in the very first game of the season.

In the 10th inning of a 0-0 game, having used three relievers in the previous two innings, Renteria brought in fifth starter Carlos Villanueva. The problem wasn't so much that Villanueva gave up the game-losing homer to Neil Walker on his eighth pitch and first batter of the season, though that was a problem. It's that he brought in his fifth starter to relieve in the season's first game.

And it's not like it was the 16th inning and Renteria had little choice. The Pirates also used four relievers - only their fourth reliever was actually a reliever.

But that's not all.

In an effort to further redefine the term "swingman," Renteria brought back Villanueva in Game 2!

In this case, it was the 16th inning. That's why you don't bring Villanueva in when you don't need to - 'cause you might need to in the next game!

This time it took Villanueva 22 pitches to lose the games, giving him an 0-2 record before even making his first start.

That start took place three days later, on Sunday. Villanueva gave up six hits and one run in five innings - and 71 pitches - to notch the win.

I suppose it doesn't matter in the big picture. If and when the Cubs are really ready to win, Renteria won't be around - and neither will Villanueva.

But as long as we're stuck with them in the interim, it would be nice to see them get it right.

The Week In Review: The Cubs dropped two of three to both the Pirates and the Phillies to open the season. Truly, they might never see .500.

The Week In Preview: The Pirates come to Wrigley for a three-game series, then the Cubs travel to St. Louis for three. Truly, they might never see .500.

Wrigley Is 100 Celebration: Watch the Cubs shoot for 62 wins this season to make this season's anniversary totally perfect.

Theo Condescension Meter: Up to 9.5 for "indulging" questions about Jeff Samardzija.

Prospect Are Suspects Watch: Javy Baez, he of 40 errors and 0 walks last year, also has no glove, no position and no brains.

Mad Merch: The first 40,000 fans who show up to Wrigley Field this week will be sold a ticket to the game, which they can take home and frame.

Laughable Headline Of The Week: Can Cubs Salvage The Edwin Jackson Contract?

Billy Cub vs. Clark Cub: Billy Cub Says He Was Goaded Into Throwing Punch At Wrigleyville Bar; Clark Cub Still A Pantsless Weirdo.

Advantage: Billy.

The Junior Lake Show: Plays entire inning in wrong uniform.

Ameritrade Stock Pick of the Week: Shares of Emilio Bonifacio face a sell-off as the Cubs failed to trade him at his highest value this week.

Shark Tank: So Jeff was reading The Cub Factor last season after all.

Jumbotron Preview: 5,700 square-feet of Ricky Renteria standing between Dale Sveum and Mike Quade on the day the Cubs welcome former managers back for a visit.

Kubs Kalender: Wait 'til next year 2016 2017 2018 2019 2020.

Over/Under: Games Cubs win this month: +/- 6.

Beachwood Sabermetrics: A complex algorithm performed by The Cub Factor staff using all historical data made available by Major League Baseball has determined that this isn't fun anymore.

Fantasy Fix: False Starts.

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

The White Sox Report: Know the enemy.

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 9:23 AM | Permalink

Spray Painting Chicago

Awesome.


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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 6:31 AM | Permalink

Dear Open Books: Did She Get It?

This is Maggie Needham applying for an internship with Open Books.


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See also: Maggie Needham's YouTube channel.

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1. From Open Books:

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 6:08 AM | Permalink

Exclusive Interview With Richard M. Daley Neither Exclusive Nor An Interview

"Former Mayor Richard Daley spoke exclusively with ABC7 Eyewitness News for the first time since he was hospitalized this winter," Ben Bradley reports.

1. Only if you define "exclusive" as "we caught up with the former mayor at the White Sox opener where anyone could have talked to him."

2. Only if you define "interview" as "we asked him about his health in several different ways and put cliches in his mouth that he parroted back without saying anything worth putting on the air."

3. Only if you define "reporter" as "someone so deferential to a man who oversaw torture and nearly bankrupted the city while running an entirely corrupt City Hall that he forgot to ask about the mayor's imprisoned nephew and the kid he killed."


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It went a little something like this:

Bradley: "Any specific doctors' orders?"

Daley: "Just pay attention to him."

Bradley: "You haven't done that well in the past."

Daley: "No, I'm paying attention to him now!"

Bradley: "Was this a wake-up call?"

Daley: "Yeah, a wake-up call."

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I wish it was a wake-up call, because I just fell asleep.

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Watch:

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 5:46 AM | Permalink

Lil Chicago

1. Lil Herb with Nicki Minaj.

"Okay, well this is a curveball," Andrew Barber writes at Fake Shore Drive.

"Nicki grabs Herb and kicks the Herb/Bibby flow for this new joint called 'Chi-Raq.' We told you this years ago, but Herb's officially out of here now. He pretty much just wrote his own check with this one. Unbelievable."

Even more unbelievable is how lame the track is.


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2. Nicki chose the wrong Lil.

"19-year-old Chicago-based rapper Lil Bibby made one giant leap last year with his mixtape Free Crack," Josh Terry writes at Consequence of Sound.

"He'll soon return with a new EP The Book, which is set for release sometime this year. In anticipation, he's shared a hard-hitting lead single 'Dead Or In Prison.'"

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3. Lil Marc is dead.

Shot at a bus stop in Washington Park.

This shit's hard.

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 5:10 AM | Permalink

April 7, 2014

The [Monday] Papers

I hoped to have Show Notes ready for this post, but I don't. And it's a lot rougher than even I expected - we had issues in post-production, meaning the rough spots didn't get smoothed out. And the levels and stuff. Still, you can see what we're trying to do here with The Beachwood Radio Hour.

And don't forget the rebranded Beachwood International Hour With The Angry Aussie. This week we discuss the Fort Hood shooting; the amazing, outrageous story of the fake Cuban Twitter, secretly founded and funded by the U.S. government; and the latest missteps of Chicagoland.

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Charters Not Smarter
"[T]here's little evidence in standardized test results that charters are performing better than traditional schools operated by the Chicago Public Schools system, an examination by the Chicago Sun-Times and the Medill Data Project at Northwestern University has found," the paper reports.

Add it to the pile of research compiled over 30 years showing the same thing that our data mayor chooses to ignore.

"In fact, in 2013, CPS schools had a higher percentage of elementary students who exceeded the standards for state tests for reading and math than the schools that are privately run with Chicago taxpayer funds."

And that includes the worst of the worst CPS schools, who take in students charters keep out.

Chicagoland!

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The results are all the more detrimental to the charter cause when you consider that the evaluation is based on standardized test scores, which charters emphasize far more intensely than traditional public schools.

It's a massive failure.

But a lot of folks are making bank.

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And just think how much better regular CPS schools would be doing if charters weren't sucking resources away from them.

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I would also argue that neighborhood schools help create community. The civic penalty to charters, combined with mass school closings, is enormous.

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"The analysis of the 2013 test results was similar to what CPS officials found in a 2010 study ordered by Terry Mazany, who was interim schools chief during the last six months of the Daley administration.

"According to previously unreleased records, that internal review found that charter students did far worse on the ISAT than students at CPS-run magnet schools and only slightly better than students at neighborhood schools."

What kind of grade do we give to Rahm Emanuel, his school board and Barbara Byrd-Bennett for making policy that ignores the evidence?

That's Not All!
"Earlier this year, Chicago Public Schools released statistics showing that charter schools, including those run by Noble, expel students at a rate dramatically higher than district-run schools," the Tribune reports.

"At Noble, which runs 14 campuses throughout the city and is often praised by Mayor Rahm Emanuel, students are issued demerits for misdeeds like not sitting up straight or not wearing a full school uniform - minor issues that would be overlooked in district-run schools. They receive demerits for being as little as a minute or less late to school, having a permanent marker in their possession, or 'rowdy or loud behavior.'

"And unlike district schools and most other charters, Noble charges fines for disciplinary infractions. Demerits for minor misbehavior can add up quickly - after four, students get a detention, which comes with a $5 fine.

"Noble officials and many parents defend the tough disciplinary code, saying it keeps their schools safe and keeps students focused in the classroom.

"You hear the phrase 'sweat the small stuff' or 'the broken window theory,' " said Noble Superintendent Michael Milkie. "We absolutely live by that. If you allow a lot of windows to be broken, soon that house is going to turn into one where lots of damage is going on."

"But the disciplinary policies at Noble run counter to district and national efforts to find ways to keep students in the classroom."

Also, broken windows theory was debunked years ago.

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Replays vs. Rhubarbs
Will baseball's new review system spell the end of manager outbursts?

Our very own Roger Wallenstein laments the possibility in The White Sox Report.

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See also: White Sox Games Are Eeerily Empty.

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Note: SportsMonday and The Cub Factor will both appear on Tuesday this week.

The Weekend In Chicago Rock
Featuring: St. Vincent, Carcass, Tinariwen, Midwest Hype feat. The Palmer Squares, David Guetta, Chick Corea & Bela Fleck, Dream Theater, Kirko Bangz & Bun B, Dax Riggs, London Grammar, The Screamin' End, Communist Daughter, and Adam Faucett.

Ad Note
Our Amazon ads are back! Check out the left rails of our Music, TV, Politics, Books and People, Places & Things pages. Gonna add more and/or switch some new options in this week.

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BeachBook
* A Data Visualization Of Barack Obama Perpetrating War Crimes.

* Britons Guilty Of U.S. Terror Charges Denied Access To Secret Files.

* Milwaukee Wants Its PBR Back.

* 13-Year-Old Perfectly Blasts Surf Mag For How They Depict Women.

* McDonald's Shuts Down In Crimea, Offers Workers Jobs In Ukraine.

* How To Get Beyond The Parasite Economy - Starting With Guitar Center.

* Edgewater Lounge Closed By City.

* Is Whistleblower Advocate For Nation's Spies Under Attack?

* Senate Report: Torture Failed To Produce Evidence For Finding Bin Laden.

* UNICEF Report: U.S. Ranks 34th Out Of 35 In Childhood Poverty. But first in American exceptionalism.

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TweetWood

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The Beachwood Tip Line: Unsweetened.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 9:48 AM | Permalink

The Beachwood Radio Hour #1: Look At A Fucking Map

I hoped to have Show Notes ready for this post, but I don't. And it's a lot rougher than even I expected - we had issues in post-production, meaning the rough spots didn't get smoothed out. And the levels and stuff. Still, you can see what we're trying to do here.


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A rough running order:

1. Strawberry Rock Show

2. The [Monday] Papers

3. Ode to Frankie Knuckles.

4. Fingerprints of a Daydream.

5. The [Tuesday] Papers.

6. The [Wednesday] Papers.

7. Born of Osiris.

8. Spotlight: Look At A Fucking Map. Natasha Julius provides insight into the big transit task force report, including Michael Madigan's patronage files and the rationale behind abolishing the RTA and creating a transit superagency.

9. The [Thursday] Papers.

10. The [Friday] Papers

11. One Question with Ethan Michaeli.

12. The Dum Dum Girls.

13. We Can't Wait 100 Years.

14. Sports with Jim "Coach" Coffman.

15. Exclusive! Inside the new O'Hare International Terminal 5.

Stoppage time: 25:58.

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See also: The Beachwood Radio Network including Beachwood International with The Angry Aussie.

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 8:59 AM | Permalink

Cracking The Chicagoland Code 5: Yada Yada Yada

Back to myth-making while a city evaporates.


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Previously:
* Tweeting Chicagoland | Episode 1: Oh My Lord, I Hate It Already.

* Cracking The Chicagoland Code 1: Docu-Series Or Docu-Wank?

* Tweeting Chicagoland | Episode 2: Brought To You By Allstate, Billy Dec & The Central Office.

* Cracking The Chicagoland Code 2: Fixing The Facts.

* Tweeting Chicagoland | Episode 3: Get Me Rewrite.

* Cracking The Chicagoland Code 3: Our Fact-Challenged Heroes.

* Tweeting Chicagoland | Episode 4: Did We Mention That Rahm Loves (Black) Kids?

* Cracking The Chicagoland Code 4: LollapaRahmza.

* Tweeting Chicagoland | Episode 5: Back To Black.

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 8:50 AM | Permalink

The Weekend In Chicago Rock

You shoulda been there.

1. St. Vincent at the Riv on Saturday night.


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2. Carcass at House of Blues on Saturday night.

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3. Tinariwen at City Winery on Saturday night.

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4. Midwest Hype feat. The Palmer Squares at the Double Door on Friday night.

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5. David Guetta at the Aragon on Friday night.

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6. Chick Corea and Bela Fleck at the Auditorium on Saturday night.

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7. Dream Theater at the Chicago Theatre on Saturday night.

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8. Kirko Bangz and Bun B at the Abbey Pub on Thursday night.

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9. Dax Riggs at Beat Kitchen on Saturday night.

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10. London Grammar at the Metro on Friday night.

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11. The Screamin' End at Martyrs' on Thursday night.

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12. Communist Daughter at Schubas on Friday night.

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13. Adam Faucett at Schubas on Friday night.

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 8:06 AM | Permalink

April 6, 2014

Replays vs. Rhubarbs

There is one baseball record that never, ever will be broken.

It's conceivable that some iron man can break Cal Ripken's consecutive-game mark of 2,632 or an ageless singles hitter can amass more than Pete Rose's 4,256 hits. The Marlins' Giancarlo Stanton hit 117 home runs in his first four seasons, 33 more than all-time leader Barry Bonds had at the same stage of his career. Stanton is just 24. Keep an eye on him.

Mike Trout is the best young hitter in baseball. Could he break Joe DiMaggio's mark of hitting safely in 56 straight games? Not likely, but if anyone can do it, Trout can.

No, the magic number is 161, not a recognizable milestone in baseball. However, with the advent of replay review where a manager can challenge umpires' decisions, Hall of Fame manager Bobby Cox's all-time record of getting tossed out of 161 games is forever secure.

In this young season, not too many games have been played without at least one challenge being issued by a big league skipper. Of the first 20 challenges, eight calls were overturned, including one last Wednesday in the Sox's 7-6 victory over the Twins.

Minnesota manager Ron Gardenhire questioned whether Sox center-fielder Adam Eaton caught a line drive off the bat of Oswaldo Arcia. The umps ruled that Eaton caught the ball but dropped it during the transfer to his throwing hand.

Gardenhire, who celebrated his 1,000th victory Saturday, has been sent to the showers by the umpires with greater frequency than any other active manager - approximately every 28 games, according to Total Pro Sports.

On a similar play in the past, Gardenhire would have come running - okay, jogging - out of the dugout to confront and battle the men in blue. He very well might have added to his notable rate of ejections. A heated exchange would have ensued. Had Gardenhire been tossed, the few Sox fans at The Cell would have been delighted on the cold, harsh afternoon.

However, on Wednesday, Gardenhire walked slowly, taking as much time as possible so that a coach in the clubhouse, watching the replay on television, could advise him whether to challenge the call.

Until this season Gardenhire might have accosted the umpire with something like, "You goofy sonuvabitch, he never caught that ball. You suck," or words to that effect. Last week it appeared that the calm, polite Gardenhire could have been saying, "Let's meet after the game for a Grande Cinnamon Dolce Latte. And, by the way, let's take a look at that catch. I may be mistaken, but I think he dropped the ball."

Gone are the days when Earl Weaver tossed his hat. We'll never see a Billy Martin wannabe kick dirt on home plate, nor Tony LaRussa's re-enactment of hurling third base before departing for the locker room. Guys like Leo Durocher would have to be truly innovative to create ways to fight with the umpires. On second thought, Leo would have found a way.

Oddly enough, two of the architects of the new procedure are none other than LaRussa, the umps banished him 87 times, and MLB executive vice president Joe Torre, who was thrown out of 66 games by the umpires during his 29 years managing five teams.

When MLB announced the review system in January, commissioner Bud Selig proclaimed, "Our fans will love it."

What's there to love about watching guys in navy blue outfits donning headphones so that they can talk to Replay Review Central in New York?

In most cases, the decisions have been handed down in a couple of minutes. What a waste of time that could have been filled with a seemingly enraged middle-aged guy sticking his nose within inches of an umpire's grill accompanied by wild gestures and incomprehensible yelling.

The White Sox even had a silly mascot a few years ago named Roobarb. He wasn't named after a pie. Rhubarbs used to be part of the game.

Selig boasted that fans at the park now can watch replays of the disputed plays, a privilege that folks at home watching on TV always have enjoyed. Why couldn't the paying customers see the replays before now? To protect the umpires and/or the integrity of the game?

So today the people who pay $50 and upwards for a seat are privy to replays that fans who pay nothing have always received. If you're confused, join the crowd.

In the past, if his team was struggling, a manager, in an attempt to stir up his athletes, might intentionally get tossed out. There's the story about Rays' manager Joe Maddon - arguably the game's finest skippers - picking his spot a few years ago with umpire Ted Barrett, who warned Maddon that one more word out of him would get him banished.
"I love you," said Maddon, and he was gone.

"I ejected him and then realized, 'What do I put in my report, that I ejected him because he told me he loved me?'" said Barrett later. "I had never had a manager tell me he loved me before."

So those stories and the entertainment of managers going nuts now belong to baseball lore.

I can picture a grandparent years from now relating to his or her grandchildren the antics of Durocher, Weaver, Cox, Gardenhire, and, of course, a former White Sox skipper.

"You mean they wouldn't let Ozzie Guillen even sit on the bench?" asks the incredulous grandchild after hearing about one of Ozzie's rants.

"No, that was the punishment," says Grandpa, "but he got his money's worth before he left. And we loved every minute of it."

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There were aspects of the Sox's play last week where "love" might have been a bit strong, but we certainly liked what we saw as the team split its first six games.

Adam Eaton looks like a splendid leadoff hitter, and he's more than adequate in center field.

Aside from Erik Johnson, who yielded seven runs to the Royals on Saturday, the starting pitching has been solid. Chris Sale beat the Twins 5-3 on Opening Day, and he shut out the Royals for eight innings on Sunday for his second win. He looks ready to solidify his place among baseball's elite pitchers.

The team can score runs, a definite improvement over a year ago. Even with a struggling Avisail Garcia (3-for-20) and a somewhat tame beginning for Jose Abreu (.261/.379/.814 with no homers), guys like Conor Gillaspie, Tyler Flowers and Alexei Ramirez have been ripping the ball. And Alejandro DeAza clubbed two homers on Opening Day, the first White Sox player to do so since Minnie Minoso's return to the South Side in 1960.

However, that's as far as the positives go. The defense committed six errors, one being the aforementioned bobbled ball by Eaton. Abreu dropped three balls at first base on plays he should have easily made.

However, nothing is as disturbing as the bullpen. Adam Jones failed to retire any of the five hitters he faced before heading to the DL, and only his replacement, Jake Petricka, has had any success. In 15 2/3 innings, the relief staff has walked 12 hitters and given up 19 hits for a WHIP of 1.98. That's bad. No, it's absolutely awful.

On the other hand, being .500 with such ineffective relief pitching actually is quite an accomplishment.

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

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1. From Howard Bulgatz:

Just read your article about Bobby Coxs' record of being ejected 161 times as being safe. While I do agree with that, for me, there are two records that with NEVER be broken. One would be when the White Sox played a record 44 doubleheaders in 1943. A second record that will never be touched would be the one established by Joe Sewell of the Yankees in 1932, for the fewest strikeouts by a batter with more than 500 AB's in one season. He only fanned three times in 503 ABs that year. That means, to break that remarkable record, a batter would have to strike out twp or fewer times during the course of a season. Those are the two most unbreakable records in my opinion.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 10:16 PM | Permalink

April 5, 2014

The Weekend Desk Report

The Weekend Desk: fatigue is always a factor.

Market Update
Huh, turns out much of the progress of the past 80 years is built on a toxic foundation of corruption and illegality. Good luck cleaning that up.

Thorium Mike
Because when you try to scrub a toxic foundation, it tends to fight back.

High-Rise Rahm
And don't even try to argue with the glamorous high-rises sitting atop that foundation, because modernity laughs in the face of ethical accountability.

Private Progress
After all, turnaround is always fair play, isn't it?

Many-Splendored Thing
Finally this week, welcome to Chicago, pups, where abandonment is often mistaken for love.

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The Weekend Desk Tip Line: Abandoned love.

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The Beachwood Radio Network: From Beachwood Studios, the inaugural edition of The Beachwood Radio Hour! It's a little rough but we'll get there.

This is an all-new show!

In our opening episode, we discuss the news of the week, including an ode Frankie Knuckles, the Madigan Patronage Files and Metra, a pension blitzkreig gone bust, the woeful Cubs and how Derrick Rose "has no core personality." This week's contributors includie Natasha Julius, Jim Coffman, J.J. Tindall and Ethan Michaeli.

Sponsored by Humboldt Park Powder Biscuits! Humboldt Park Powder Biscuits: Giving you the strength to do what can't be done.

And by Schlitz Talls. Schlitz Talls: Don't sell yourself short.

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Also, our original podcast has been rebranded as Beachwood International With The Angry Aussie.

This week we discuss the Fort Hood shooting, fake Cuban Twitter and the latest atrocities of CNN's Chicagoland.

Brought to you by Nanohammer Heavy Industries, part of the Nanohammer Group. Nanonhammer Heavy Industries: No job is too small.

And Flying Saucer. Flying Saucer: We only hate you when you're here.

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The Sound Opinions Weekend Desk Listening Report: "The post-metal quartet Pelican brings its thundering instrumentals to the Sound Opinions studio. Later, Jim and Greg review the latest album from The Hold Steady."

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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.

Perspectivas Latinas: Illinois Latino Council on Higher Education

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Andrew Sund of the Illinois Latino Council on Higher Education discusses the challenges and future of Latinos in higher education in Illinois.

Saturday at 7:30 p.m. on CAN TV21 / En Espanol Sunday at 3:30 p.m. on CAN TV21.

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Perspectivas Latinas: Pilsen Neighbors Community Council

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Gardenia Rangel of the Pilsen Neighbors Community Council highlights the group's efforts to educate families of local residents, keep seniors active and combat neighborhood violence.

Saturday at 8 p.m. on CAN TV21.

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The Death Of The American Trial

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Robert Burns of the Northwestern School of Law makes a case for maintaining the integrity of trials in the United States during an event celebrating the life of legendary attorney Clarence Darrow.

Sunday at 9 a.m. on CAN TV21.

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Phillip J. Bowman Lecture: Charles Ogletree, Jr.

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Harvard legal theorist Charles J. Ogletree, Jr. takes a hard look at race, class and discrimination in today's criminal justice system, including ways to make the system more just and equitable for everyone.

Sunday at 11 a.m. on CAN TV21.

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Talking About The Hard Stuff: Violence Against Women

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A panel of women explore the personal and political dimensions of violence against women, the forms of violence they are forced to endure, and how men and women alike can play critical roles in its prevention.

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

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Community Forum: Asian Human Services

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Narjis Sayeed of Asian Human Services shares the organization's work providing immigrants and other underserved populations with healthcare, education and employment services.

Sunday at 3 p.m. on CAN TV21.

Posted by Natasha Julius at 8:32 AM | Permalink

April 4, 2014

The [Friday] Papers

At least Chicagoland this week roused itself from its two-week slumber to become incredibly aggravating again; nothing is worse than being a bore.

Of course, that means a return to fact-free hagiography of Rahm Emanuel and Garry McCarthy.

And hey, enough Liz Dozier, huh? We get it.

The antidote: Tweeting Chicagoland | Episode 5: Back To Black.

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Of course, Tuffy and the Angry Aussie will dissect the latest episode on Beachwood's regular Saturday evening podcast. Other issues on the docket: Fort Hood and fake Cuban Twitter.

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Also, we will debut a new podcast - possibly as early as this afternoon/evening - called The Beachwood Radio Hour, recapping the week on the Beachwood and in the news, including special guests and musical interludes.

The Week In Juvey Justice
Snowballs In Chicago, Spring Breakage, Rahm The Expunger, Downstate Dilemma, Tulsa Two-Step, Malta Meal, The Real World India and more. In my weekly review at The Chicago Bureau.

'Tried To Calm Shooter'
"An Effingham-born soldier was killed during a mass shooting at Ford Hood on Wednesday, a relative confirmed today," the Tribune reports.

"Timothy Owens, who was born in Effingham and later moved to Missouri, died after apparently being shot at close range, said Darlene 'Dee' Humphrey, the stepmother of Owens' wife, Billy.

"He was one of 19 people shot, three of them fatally, before the alleged gunman turned the gun on himself Wednesday afternoon at the Texas military facility."

Reframing Rahm
"What the City of Chicago spent in each of the last several years on tax-increment financing funding exceeded what it owed in pension costs, so any proposal to raise property taxes to fund pensions should consider TIFs, wrote the authors of a study to be released Friday titled, Putting Municipal Pension Costs in Context: Chicago," the Sun-Times reports.

Imagine that.

"For 2012 alone, the city owed $385.8 million to its pension funds while putting $457 million in property taxes into its TIFs, wrote Thomas Cafcas and Greg LeRoy, of Good Jobs First, a Washington, D.C.-based think tank that examines public subsidies. "

TIFs take from the poor and give to the rich. Using property taxes to make up budget shortfalls adds insult to the injury. Cutting pensions along the way finishes the job. The poor are devastated, the middle-class is destroyed, and the wealthy have more money than they can spend - all the while moralizing about everybody's else's broken character.

Kill Metra
"Metra Making 'Nuts And Bolts' Changes To Win Back Trust, CEO Says."

"450 Metra Non-Union Workers [Read: Management] Will Get Raises To Slow Exodus Of Bosses."

Help me out here: Are those raises nuts or bolts?

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One of our special guests on The Beachwood Radio Hour will be Natasha Julius, offering insight you haven't heard elsewhere on the big transit task force report released this week.

For a primer, check out her October series. Lotsa cool maps.

Chicago Public Silliness
CPS Is Just The Worst.

Power Trip
Is your electricity 70 percent better? Because that's how much of a raise Exelon just gave its CEO.

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Maybe bring some of these folks back.

What The Proposed NSA Reforms Wouldn't Do
Contrary to reports, the president's plan would not end the bulk phone records collection program. Here's a primer.

Businesses Love Bucky
And so do we. Our Final Four preview.

Beachwood Photo Booth: Specials
Mattress season in Chicago.

Exile On Fullerton Avenue
In Local Book Notes.

The Week In Chicago Rock
Featuring: Born of Osiris, We Came As Romans, August Burns Red, Ghost Beach, Trentemoller, The Movits, Alesana, Mac Demarco, Blouse, The Dum Dum Girls, Todd Rundgren, Asking Alexandria, The Sounds, Get Scared, Switchfoot, Bastille, Jamie Rojo, and Juan Wauters.

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BeachBook
* New York Times Documents How Smoking and its Consequences Are Increasingly Confined to the Poor - A Trend Which Was Pointed Out Forty Years Ago!

Tobacco taxes, then, are also hugely regressive. Also, the vast majority of smokers are addicts.

* State Department Leaker Gets 13 Months.

A former State Department arms expert who leaked classified information to a Fox News reporter was sentenced Wednesday to 13 months in prison after a pointed courtroom debate about the Obama administration's aggressive pursuit of unauthorized disclosures of top-secret information."

* Two MillerCoors Executives Investigated For Embezzlement.

Of money, not beer.

* FBI Seizes Artifacts From Indiana Home.

Insert your own joke about Indiana here.

* Theo Tells 100-Year-Old Cubs Fan To Be Patient.

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TweetWood

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The Beachwood Tip Line: A hot dish for the soul.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 9:57 AM | Permalink

Businesses Love Bucky

"From food to merch - Wisconsin fans are spending big in Dallas this year."

The bookies are also glad to have them.

Our Final Four preview.

1. Bodacious Barbecue.


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2. Banging The Badger Drum.

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3. For entertainment purposes only. Including gambling.

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4. And . . . the other side of the bracket.

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 9:26 AM | Permalink

Local Book Notes: Exile On Fullerton Avenue

1. Embracing Forbidden Voices: Exiled Authors in Chicago.

"The Guild Literary Complex's commitment to spotlighting divergent voices extends beyond the borders of Chicago in Voices of Protest," the GLC has announced.

"On April 25 and 26, the Guild brings Manal Al-Sheikh (Iraq) and Mazen Maarouf (Palestine) - two authors exiled from their home countries and now living in Scandinavia - to participate in conversations, film screenings, and readings with a focus on human rights, freedom of speech, and the ways literature celebrates life and inspires social change.

"As part of this program, two short documentary films on Al-Sheikh and Maarouf will be screened. The segments are part of Poets of Protest, an Al Jazeera-produced series by British filmmaker Roxana Vilk. The series focuses on six Middle Eastern authors and the relationship of their work to initiatives for democracy and social justice across the Middle East. Screenings will be followed by readings from Al-Sheikh and Maarouf."

"This series showcases contemporary Middle Eastern poetry while calling attention to Free Speech issues and the plight of threatened authors everywhere," says Guild Complex director John Rich. "Writers often face dangers, even exile, for using their storytelling gifts to bear witness and inspire social transformation. That remains the power of story, a power to be protected, and we are honored to host Manal and Mazen in Chicago for poetry and conversation."

"As a supplement to this exciting series, Helge Lunde - executive director of the International Cities of Refuge Network - will be giving a lecture to discuss the significant work his organization performs to aid writers facing political threats and persecution.

"Both Manal Al-Sheikh and Mazen Maarouf benefited from the services of ICORN.

"As part of his address, Mr. Lunde will invite Chicago to become an International City of Refuge."

Event Details:
* Screening, segments from Poets of Protest
* Readings to follow
* Friday, April 25, 7 p.m.
* Facets Multi-Media, 1517 W. Fullerton Ave.
* $5 tickets

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* Screening, segments from Poets of Protest
* Readings to follow
* Saturday, April 26, 8 p.m.
Facets Multi-Media, 1517 W. Fullerton Ave.
* $5 tickets

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* Lecture, Helge Lunde of International Cities of Refuge Network
* Details to be released

MORE ABOUT THE WRITERS:

"The Iraqi poet and writer Manal Al-Sheikh was born in Nineveh in northern Iraq. She has a Bachelor's degree in English-Arabic translation from the College of Arts, Mosul University. She has worked in local and Arab press as a freelance journalist. She has published creative and literary articles and texts in many Iraqi, Arab, and European newspapers and magazines, and participated in many cultural festivals within and outside the her native country. Many of her poems and essays have been translated into several languages including: English, French, Norwegian, Catalan and Italian. She currently resides in the city of Stavanger, Norway.

"Mazen Maarouf is a Palestinian-Icelandic poet and writer, lauded as a 'rising international literary star.' He has published three collections of poetry: The Camera Doesn't Capture Birds, Our Grief Resembles Bread, and most recently An Angel Suspended On The Clothesline, which has been translated into several languages including French by Samira Negrouche. His work is currently being translated into English by Kareem James Abu-Zeid and Nathalie Handal. Maarouf has read in festivals, universities, museums and cultural centers in Europe, the United States and the Middle East. He has written literary and theatre criticism in various Arabic magazines and newspapers namely An-Nahar and Assafir (Lebanon), Al-Quds-el-Arabi (London) and Qantara (Paris); and he has translated numerous Icelandic poets as well as the following novels in Arabic: The Blue Fox by Sjon, Hands of my Father by Myron Uhlberg, The Story of the Blue Planet by Andri Snaer Magnason and Dwarfstone by Aoalsteinn Asberg. He resides in Reykjavik."

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2. Chicago Voices.

From the Society of Midland Authors:

POETRY WITH DAN "SULLY" SULLIVAN AND J.W. BASILO
* Tuesday, April 8
* 6 p.m. social hour, 7 p.m. panel discussion
* The Cliff Dwellers Club, 200 S. Michigan Ave., 22nd floor

"Dan 'Sully' Sullivan has appeared on HBO's Russell Simmons Presents Def Poetry, on National Public Radio and at the Green Mill Uptown Poetry Slam.

"He was the Chicago Mental Graffiti Poetry Slam Champion for 2003, 2004 and 2005 and a recipient of the 2003 Gwendolyn Brooks Open Mic Poetry Award.

"Sully is a member of the Speak'Easy Ensemble directed by Marc 'So What!' Smith and makes up one half of the duo Death From Below.

"He is co-founder and sponsor of the Oak Park and River Forest High School's Spoken Word Club.

"He recently released a poetry album and chapbook, Because We Can't Fight the Bulldozer Alone. To find out more about Sullivan, see whoisdansully.com.

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"J.W. Basilo is a writer, performer, humorist, musician and educator from Chicago whose work is equal parts poignant and perverse, hilarious and heart-wrenching.

"Basilo is a National and World Poetry Slam finalist, a PushCart Prize Nominee, one half of poetry-comedy duo Beard Fight (with Dan Sully), and an artist-in-residence at Real Talk Avenue.

"His work has appeared on NPR, CBS and WGN, and in the Chicago Tribune, numerous literary journals and hundreds of theaters, dive bars, prisons, schools and comedy clubs.

"Basilo was recently named executive director of Chicago Slam Works, and is the co-host of the Uptown Poetry Slam at the Green Mill.

"To find out more about Basilo, see bustedmouth.com."

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3. Roosevelt Alumna In Northwestern Author's Movie.

"Roosevelt University theatre alumna Amy Newbold is a co-star and the only Chicagoan cast in a principal role in the new futuristic film Divergent, which was shot in Chicago and which opened March 21 at theaters throughout the region," the university says."

"Newbold plays Molly, a tall and very physical bully whose main role in the new hit film is to fight and be an obstacle to the movie's lead female character Tris, played by Shailene Woodley."

Newbold at the Chicago premiere.

"A 2008 graduate of Roosevelt's Bachelor of Fine Arts in Musical Theatre program and a resident of Chicago's Lincoln Park neighborhood, Newbold, 27, credits a field experience she did as a Roosevelt student with Claire Simon Casting in Chicago in 2008 with initially putting her on the path that would lead to the major movie role - her first."

Newbold has also appeared in Boss and Chicago Fire, and worked in casting for Chicago Code.

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 8:45 AM | Permalink

Beachwood Photo Booth: Specials

Golden.

specialsmattressesorigb.jpg(ENLARGE FOR PROPER VIEWING)

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More Chicago photography from Helene Smith.

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Helene on Twitter!

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Meet Helene!

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Stationery, iPhone cases, hoodies.

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Previously:
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Chicago Man Grilling
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Yum Yum Donuts
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Chicago Father's Day
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Vintage Airmaster
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Chicago Time
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Window Shade
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Illinois Slayer
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Chicago Fire Escape
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Golden Nugget
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Hollywood, Chicago
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Flag Man.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Van In Flames.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Fluid Power Automation.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Corn Dog.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Stop The Killing Car.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Chicago Backyard.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: A to Z Things.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Swedish Diner.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Rothschild Liquors.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Chicago Silos.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Chicago Wires.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Orange Garden.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Irving Park Guy.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Chicago Pigeons.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: O'Lanagan's.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: For Rent.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Marie's Pizza & Liquors.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Mori Milk.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: American Breakfast.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: A Chicago Christmas Postcard.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Holiday Harold's.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Chicago Family Fun.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Snow Bike.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Nativity Scene.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Old Warsaw.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Deluxe Cleaners.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Marie's Golden Cue.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Die Another Day.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Sears Key Shop.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Window Dressing.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Jeri's Grill.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Barry's Drugs.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Liberty.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Chicago Kitchen.

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 8:34 AM | Permalink

Tweeting Chicagoland | Episode 5: Back To Black

At least Chicagoland this week roused itself from its two-week slumber to become incredibly aggravating again; nothing is worse than being a bore.

Of course, that means a return to fact-free hagiography of Rahm Emanuel and Garry McCarthy.

And hey, enough Liz Dozier, huh? We get it.

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Providing the Chicagoland antidote for viewers who don't know they're being snookered.

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Alternate viewing.

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Previously:
* Tweeting Chicagoland | Episode 1: Oh My Lord, I Hate It Already.

* Cracking The Chicagoland Code 1: Docu-Series Or Docu-Wank?

* Tweeting Chicagoland | Episode 2: Brought To You By Allstate, Billy Dec & The Central Office.

* Cracking The Chicagoland Code 2: Fixing The Facts.

* Tweeting Chicagoland | Episode 3: Get Me Rewrite.

* Cracking The Chicagoland Code 3: Our Fact-Challenged Heroes.

* Tweeting Chicagoland | Episode 4: Did We Mention That Rahm Loves (Black) Kids?

* Cracking The Chicagoland Code 4: LollapaRahmza.

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 7:49 AM | Permalink

What The Proposed NSA Reforms Wouldn't Do

Ten months after Edward Snowden's first disclosures, three main legislative proposals have emerged for surveillance reform: one from President Obama, one from the House Intelligence Committee, and one favored by civil libertarians.

All the plans purport to end the bulk phone records collection program, but there are big differences - and a lot they don't do. Here's a rundown.

President Obama's Proposal

What it would do: As described, the president's proposal would prohibit the collection of bulk phone records. Instead, the government would seek individualized court orders every time it wants American phone metadata. The government would get the data from telecoms, which already keep it for at least 18 months.

The proposal would solidify some changes Obama has already made: For instance, since January, analysts have needed to get court approval before searching the phone records database. Also, NSA analysts have only been able to obtain records from people who are two "hops" away from a surveillance target - a target's friends' friends - rather than three "hops" away. Obama's proposal would make both of those policies law.

What it wouldn't do: It's hard to know. The White House hasn't released the actual text of the legislation, and lawmakers have yet to introduce it in Congress. But privacy advocates do have a lot of questions.

One thing the president hasn't proposed: Ending the bulk phone records program now. He could do that without any vote if he simply stopped asking the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court to reauthorize the program, as Sen. Patrick Leahy, D-Vt., has suggested.

The secret surveillance court's last 90-day order for Verizon phone records has expired. Obama reportedly wants the court to renew the program at least one more time, to give Congress a chance to pass new legislation. Until Congress acts, the NSA will continue collecting American phone records in bulk.

Of course, if Obama were to act unilaterally, another president could later reverse his changes. If Congress passes his proposal, his reforms will have the force of law.

The president's proposal also appears to address only one of the NSA's many surveillance programs. It doesn't seem to change the FISA Amendments Act, which allows the NSA to sweep up foreigners' communications without a warrant. In the process, the NSA "incidentally" collects Americans' communications.

In January, Obama said he would ask the Justice Department to limit the government's authority to use any American communications collected while targeting foreigners. The administration has not offered any details yet. However, even the Senate's biggest NSA critics say the FISA Amendments Act has been an effective counter-terrorism tool, so Congress is unlikely to repeal it.

FISA Transparency and Modernization Act

What it would do: Very little to limit surveillance. Introduced by House Intelligence Committee chairman Rep. Mike Rogers, R-Mich., and ranking member C.A. Dutch Ruppersberger, D-MD, this bill represents the wishes of the NSA's biggest defenders in Congress.

The bill nominally bans the government's bulk collection of phone records. Like Obama's plan, telecoms would keep the records, but in this proposal, the government could request the records without a court order.

The bill also says it would prohibit the government from indiscriminate collection of other kinds of data, including "library circulation records," "firearm sales records," and "tax return records." But the government could still use search terms to get the records it wants.

What else it would do: Roll back current protections in the law. The legislation would no longer require that the government get a court order before obtaining American records. Instead, the secret surveillance court would review the privacy procedures before the Justice Department collects any records, and the court could also tell the government to stop collecting records after the fact.

Also, under current law, the government needs to show that records are related to foreign terrorism or clandestine intelligence activities. Rogers' bill would change that standard, requiring the government to show that records are for an individual who is associated with a "foreign power" - a broad term that includes terrorist groups, foreign governments and foreign political groups.

If the bill passes, a lot would depend on how the secret surveillance court interprets it. For instance, what kinds of "selection terms" could the government use to search for records? The broader the search terms, the more likely it is that innocent people will get caught in the dragnet.

Finally, Rogers' bill would not amend the FISA Amendments Act. "I don't believe that foreign collection on foreign soil is something that we need to change," Rogers said.

This bill has House Speaker John Boehner's support.

USA Freedom Act

What it would do: A lot. First, the bill's authors, Democratic senator Leahy and Patriot Act author Rep. James Sensenbrenner, R-Wis., say the legislation would end all bulk collection of American records. To do so, they'd narrow the language in the Patriot Act to require that the government only collects records that are " relevant and material" to an authorized investigation.

To qualify, an investigation must be related to foreign terrorism or clandestine activities, and the records must directly "pertain" to a foreign power.

The proposal would also close a so-called backdoor loophole that allows the NSA to search its databases for the content of Americans' communications.

Under the new bill, analysts would need an individualized warrant to access any domestic content collected "incidentally."

In addition, the lawmakers would tighten oversight of national security letters, a kind of administrative subpoena that lets the FBI obtain records related to "national security" without a court order.

The idea is to make sure that the government can't use the national security letters law to justify bulk collection of American records in the future.

What it wouldn't do: The bill covers a lot of bases and has won the support of the ACLU, the Electronic Frontier Foundation, 142 representatives and 21 senators.

However, some worry that the bill does not unequivocally ban bulk collection of American records. Again, a lot depends on how the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court interprets the statute. While this bill's language is narrower than current law, we now know the secret surveillance court has interpreted the Patriot Act very broadly.

The EFF has suggested that the bill's sponsors make their intent more explicit.

This bill has by far the most co-sponsors, but its prospects are uncertain - it was introduced in October, and it still hasn't reached the floor.

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Previously:
* Technologists Turn On Obama.

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

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

* Eighth-Grader Schools The NSA.

* You Know Who Else Collected Metadata? The Stasi.

* Today We Fight Back.

* The Day We Fight Back.

* FAQ: The NSA's Angry Birds.

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

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

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

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

* Edward Snowden's Christmas Message.

* Jon Stewart: Obama Totally Lying About NSA Spying.

* Presidential Panel To NSA: Stop Undermining Encryption.

* The NSA Is Coming To Town.

* 60 Minutes We Can't Get Back.

* Why Care About The NSA?

* NSA Surveillance Drives Writers To Self-Censor.

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

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

* Obama Vs. The World.

* How A Telecom Helped The Government Spy On Me.

* UN Member States Asked To End Unchecked Surveillance.

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

* Five More Organizations Join Lawsuit Against NSA.

* A Scandal Of Historic Proportions.

* Item: NSA Briefing.

* The Case Of The Missing NSA Blog Post.

* The NSA Is Out Of Control.

* Patriot Act Author Joins Lawsuit Against NSA.

* Obama's Promises Disappear From Web.

* Why NSA Snooping Is A Bigger Deal In Germany.

* Item: Today's NSA Briefing.

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

* Song of the Moment: Party at the NSA.

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

* What NSA Transparency Looks Like.

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

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

* The Surveillance Reforms Obama Supported Before He Was President.

* America's Spying: Worse Than You Think.

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

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

* Six Ways Congress May Reform NSA Snooping.

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

* Does The NSA Tap That?

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

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

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

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

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

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

* Obama's War On Truth And Transparency.

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

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

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

* Daniel Ellsberg: Obama Has Committed Impeachable Offenses.

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

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Comments welcome.


Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 7:44 AM | Permalink

The Week In Chicago Rock

You shoulda been there.

1. Born of Osiris at Mojoes in Joliet on Monday night.


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2. We Came As Romans at Mojoes in Joliet on Monday night.

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3. August Burns Red at Mojoes in Joliet on Monday night.

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4. Ghost Beach at Lincoln Hall on Monday night.

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5. Trentemoller at the Concord on Wednesday night.

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6. The Movits at Reggies on Tuesday night.

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7. Alesana at Mojoes in Joliet on Sunday night.

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8. Mac Demarco at the Empty Bottle on Wednesday night.

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9. Blouse at the Empty Bottle on Monday night.

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10. The Dum Dum Girls at the Empty Bottle on Monday night.

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11. Todd Rundgren at SPACE in Evanston on Monday night.

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12. Asking Alexandria at Mojoes in Joliet on Monday night.

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13. The Sounds at the Metro on Wednesday night.

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14. Get Scared at Mojoes in Joliet on Sunday night.

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15. Switchfoot at House of Blues on Wednesday night.

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16. Bastille at the Riv on Monday night.

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17. Jamie Rojo at the Hideout on Tuesday night.

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18. Juan Wauters at the Empty Bottle on Wednesday night.

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 6:48 AM | Permalink

April 3, 2014

The [Thursday] Papers

"An American soldier with mental health issues shot dead three people and injured at least 16 on Wednesday before taking his own life at an Army base in Fort Hood, Texas, the site of another deadly rampage in 2009, U.S. military officials said."

*

"Progressive aldermen urged the city [last] Thursday to accept new funding for its six mental health clinics after six others were closed two years ago," DNAinfo Chicago reports.

"The Progressive Reform Caucus announced . . . that its eight aldermen would submit a resolution next week calling for hearings on funding for the clinics.

"They say the $2.3 million in savings the city claimed in closing six clinics in 2012 'failed to account for the additional costs of increased emergency-room visits, hospitalizations, police interventions and incarcerations.'"

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Rahm called the aldermen "fucking propellerheads," sources close to my imagination say.

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DNAinfo identifies the progressive caucus as Alds. Bob Fioretti, Leslie Hairston, Roderick Sawyer, Toni Foulkes, Ricardo Munoz, Scott Waguespack, Nick Sposato and John Arena. That matches the names on an e-mail invite the caucus sent out recently advertising its inaugural fundraiser.

Notice whose name is missing?

From the Beachwood vault, March 14, 2013:

The real progressive caucus:

Alds. Waguespack, Arena, Hairston, Fioretti, Sposato, Munoz, Sawyer, Foulkes and Pawar.

The fake progressive caucus (or, as I suggest we call them, the Regressive Caucus, or maybe the Astrogressives for their ingenius insider astroturfing):

Alds. Moore, Moreno, Reilly, Colon, Osterman, Smith, Cappleman, Burns, Dowell and Pawar.

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Or, as a close observer suggested to me, the Bizarro World Progressive Caucus.

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Yes, that's right, Pawar is a member of both. Which only says one thing to me: Double agent. Or single.

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Perhaps that explains this Twitter exchange.

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Nobody's politics are more "pure" than the Machine's when it comes to strict adherence. And dissent is to be crushed, not accommodated. But plead for honesty and even basic decency and a little humanity - like, say, funding mental health clinics - and you're the "purist" with an aversion to compromise. In fact, nobody is more open to compromise that takes in all voices than a person whose politics is based on that very premise.

*

Speak of the devil:

"Mayor Rahm Emanuel, House Speaker Michael Madigan and Senate President John Cullerton on Wednesday tried to quickly push through a sweeping plan to raise Chicago property taxes and cut city worker retirement benefits, but hit the brakes when they ran into resistance," the Tribune reports.

The rapid rollout strategy was aimed at giving legislators little time to get cold feet and blunting labor union lobbying against the changes. But several Chicago lawmakers raised concerns, Democrats blamed Republicans for not getting on board, and the blitzkrieg approach failed - at least for a day.

The reprieve gives unions a chance to rally opposition while legislative leaders and the mayor regroup at a Capitol where rank-and-file lawmakers are still tender from taking a tough vote in December to repair the state's government worker pension system over the strenuous objections of organized labor.

In other words, the city and state's Democratic leadership tried to pass a controversial and complicated piece of pension legislation through the General Assembly in less time than last night's Cubs game before anyone (including legislators) actually had time to read it. (Sources close to my imagination tell me one clause has Rahm annexing the Crimea.)

"The longer you let things linger, the more dangerous they get. The more vulnerable they are toward falling apart," said Sen. Kwame Raoul, a Chicago Democrat.

We wouldn't want to let legislation linger; you know, stick around for more than a day. Things could get dangerous. Democracy may break out.

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"[A] House panel voted 6-4 [in the morning] to advance Madigan's measure for quick consideration by the full chamber. In the Senate, Cullerton held a hearing to clear the way for approval should the bill arrive from the House on Wednesday. The sprint was on.

"After the House committee vote, Madigan was asked a variation of the same question numerous times: What's the rush?

"Why would you want to slow it down? Why would you want to do that?" Madigan said to reporters crowded around him. "What's the problem with calling the bill today? What are you so concerned about?"

Dude. Maybe go back to not commenting.

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"Emanuel, too, was asked about rushing the plan through the legislature and whether the reason was to avoid opposition from unions. Instead, the mayor chose to focus on the consequences if pension changes aren't passed.

"You cannot kick the can down the road any longer, because the can got so big, because it was kicked in past years," Emanuel said. "We'll deal with it, deal with in a responsible way up front, but if you took more time, we're at a point where the city was either make a pension payment or not pave a road."

So kicking cans makes them bigger and today's road paving is called off.

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We all know what the rush was; we're not stupid. Fortunately, enough outraged people were around to notice and the shenanigans began to look like a PR disaster by the end of the day. Plus, Republicans. Sometimes you just gotta say, God bless 'em.

*

CPS is also afraid of democracy, though their blitzkrieg strategy is better termed ditzkrieg.

"Dozens of parents, teachers, community members and students gathered Wednesday night to urge Chicago Public Schools to forgo firing all teachers and staff at Dvorak Technology Academy in North Lawndale," the Sun-Times reports.

Yada, yada, yada. Here's the real news:

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The question, though, is if these esteemed elected officials are going to let CPS kick them around like cans on the road. My Magic 8 Ball says Yes.

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Rahm was too busy kicking cans and cancelling road paving projects to respond.

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When Rahm kicks cans, he pictures the faces of union workers on them.

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He gets his cans from Bruce Rauner.

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Chicago OS
Introducing Chicago's Operating System.

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BeachBoook
* Wicker Park Bar Fight Featuring A Mop And A Man Tumbling Through A Glass Storefront. Chicagoland!

* Ortiz-Obama Selfie Was A Samsung Stunt. Very little "news" that makes its way to the public isn't stage-managed.

* Crime And Punishment In Chicago. A real transparency project.

* Comcast Forces Skokie Access Center To Close.

* An NSA "Reform" Bill Of The Intelligence Community, Written By Intelligence Community, For The Intelligence Community.

* Every Bro In Chicago Is 28.

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TweetWood

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The media shouldn't simply allow a well-endowed "institute" buy its way into their conversation, which of course is exactly what the Illinois Policy Institute was formed to do. Credibility has to be earned, and the IPI has a long way to go in that regard. Why not put some actual city workers on a pension panel?

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The Beachwood Tip Line: Heavy.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 8:12 AM | Permalink

Introducing Chicago's Central Operating System

Set in Chicago, where a central network of computers connects everyone and everything, Watch_Dogs explores the impact of technology within our society. Using the city as your weapon, you will embark on a personal mission to inflict your own brand of justice.

Chicago's overarching network is known as the Central Operating System (ctOS), and it controls almost all of the city's technology and information - including key data on all of the city's residents.

You play as Aiden Pearce, a brilliant hacker and former thug, whose criminal past led to a violent family tragedy. While seeking justice for those events, you'll monitor and hack those around you by manipulating the ctOS from the palm of your hand. You'll access omnipresent security cameras, download personal information to locate a target, control traffic lights and public transportation to stop the enemy . . . and more.


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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 2:56 AM | Permalink

April 2, 2014

The [Wednesday] Papers

"Longtime House Speaker Michael Madigan was a 'prominent participant' in patronage hiring at Metra dating back 30 years, recommending dozens of people for jobs, a new report has found," the Tribune reports.

"Madigan had the power to recommend individuals for positions at Metra but 'he in effect decided they were hired,' said the report written in part by former U.S. Attorney Patrick Fitzgerald.

If only Fitzgerald had been tapped as special prosecutor in the Koschman case instead of Dan Webb.

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"While there is nothing inherently improper (much less illegal) about a person recommending someone else for a job or promotion, there is something systemically wrong when such references on behalf of politically connected individuals seem to dominate and control the process to the detriment of better qualified candidates," the report said.

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"In a section headed 'The Patronage Files,' the report said records uncovered at Metra reflected political hiring at the agency from 1983 to 1991. The records 'came to light' after the task force was appointed, the report said.

"Metra said Tuesday that one of its employees discovered the records in Metra's labor relations office and that the commuter rail agency quickly and voluntarily turned them over to Fitzgerald and the task force. The files included three boxes holding more than 800 three-by-five inch index cards relating to persons referred for jobs, promotions or raises by various public officials or persons influential with political parties."

At least the files hadn't been taken home.

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"Madigan's spokesman, Steve Brown, said Tuesday that the speaker had not yet read the task force's report."

He's waiting for Dan Rutherford to go first.

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"Brown, however, questioned how the group could have concluded that Madigan was involved in patronage activities based on documents 30 years old, which the task force members had not publicly discussed."

Um, because the documents said so?

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"Asked if Madigan ever referred people to Metra for hiring, Brown said he had 'no idea.'"

I'd name Steve Brown the Today's Worst Person In Illinois but he wins so often I think I'll just rename the honor The Steve Brown Worst Person Illinois Award.

The first recipient: Mike Madigan.

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"One candidate he recommended - and noted as a 'high priority' - was apparently considered even though his phone had been disconnected and Metra had to send a letter to his address asking him to contact the agency."

Congratulations, you've been selected! Please contact us immediately to collect your prize!

*

"Madigan's spokesman dismissed the report as 'amateurish,'" AP reports.

Steve Brown just called Patrick Fitzgerald an amateur. Tell that to Al-Qaeda and the Gambino family.

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"[Brown] said the claims pertain to things that allegedly happened so long ago that Madigan couldn't be expected to recall if any were true."

Please. Madigan can recall the way every legislator voted on every arcane vote 30 years ago.

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"The records, fairly read, show that in some cases he did not recommend people to be hired - he in effect decided they were hired."

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Rich Miller and his band of apologists.

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Much of the material ends at 1991 because the boxes of evidence found that were kept by Metra stopped at that date.

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See also:
* The Speaker's Son.

* The University of Madigan.

* How Michael Madigan Stymied Post-Blago Reform.

* In Justice Deal, All Roads Lead To Madigan.

* The Madigan Rules.

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Remembering Frankie Knuckles
The Godfather Of House Created A Worldwide Phenomenon From The Desolate West Side.

MSNBC Is Worse Than Fox
The Agony of Repeat.

404 Day
A Day Of Action Against Censorship In Libraries.

Fantasy Fix: False Starts
It's not too early to start picking up Cubs.

The Chicago Cut Way
Steakhouse To Host Obama; Wants You To Know.

Illinois Declares April "Car Care Month"
Quinn Makes Declaration.

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BeachBook
* Contrary To Obama's Continual Assurances, NSA Performed Warrantless Searches On Americans' Calls And E-Mails.

* Judge Orders FBI To Conduct New Search For Aaron Swartz Documents.

* Students Protest Planned Closure Of Building Trades Program.

* The Drake Offers Amnesty To Guests Returning Stolen Items.

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TweetWood

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The Beachwood Tip Line: Branding the news.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 9:22 AM | Permalink

Remembering Frankie Knuckles

"In Chicago, Frankie Knuckles was called the 'godfather,' not because of any underworld connections, but because he helped build house - a style of Chicago dance music that revolutionized club culture in the '70s and '80s and still resonates around the world today," Greg Kot writes for the Tribune.

"Knuckles died Monday at the age of 59."

*

"Knuckles learned his craft as a club DJ in New York City, then moved to Chicago in the late '70s and developed a reputation as one of the city's most influential dance-music tastemakers. He arrived in Chicago just as disco was losing steam. For many, disco literally went up in flames between games of a Chicago White Sox double header at Comiskey Park, when radio deejay Steve Dahl blew up hundreds of disco albums.

"I witnessed that caper that Steve Dahl pulled at Disco Demolition Night and it didn't mean a thing to me or my crowd," Knuckles told the Tribune. "But it scared the record companies, so they stopped signing disco artists and making disco records. So we created our own thing in Chicago to fill the gap."

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"In Chicago, as the seventies became the eighties, if you were black and gay your church may well have been Frankie Knuckles' Warehouse, a three-story factory building in the city's desolate west side industrial zone," Bill Brewster and Frank Broughton wrote in Last Night a DJ Saved My Life.

"Offering hope and salvation to those who had few other places to go, here you could forget your earthly troubles and escape to a better place. Like church, it promised freedom, and not even in the next life. In this club Frankie Knuckles took his congregations on journeys of redemption and discovery."

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"Knuckles was so popular that the Warehouse - initially a members-only club for largely black gay men - began attracting straighter, whiter crowds, leading its owner, Robert Williams, to eschew memberships," Michelangelo Matos writes for Rolling Stone.

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"A maligned people had their maligned genre, and from there it grew to become a global phenomenon," Rich Juzwiak writes for Gawker. "Knuckles called house 'disco's revenge.'"

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Honorary Frankie Knuckles Way.

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"He returned to New York in 1988 to work in Manhattan clubs like the Roxy and the Sound Factory Bar," Daniel Slotnik writes for the New York Times.

"That same year, teamed with David Morales and Ms. Weinstein, he formed Def Mix Productions, which worked on elaborate house remixes for artists like Michael Jackson, Diana Ross and Chaka Khan. In 1991 he released his first album under his own name, Beyond the Mix, which included the singles 'The Whistle Song' and 'Workout.'"

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The Whistle Song

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Workout

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Frankie Knuckles YouTube Mix.

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See also: The House That Chicago Built.

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 8:21 AM | Permalink

MSNBC Is Worse Than Fox

What does MSNBC look for in a host? While you can argue it doesn't apply to all of their hosts, it's hard to argue that Al Sharpton doesn't simply repeat talking points in support of the President Obama. Watch the mashup in this video if you're still not convinced, and then listen to The Young Turks host Cenk Uygur break it down.


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Previously:
* The New MSNBC.

* Reminder: MSNBC Helped Lie Us Into War.

* MSNBC Is Worse Than RT.

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And:
* Who Is Rachel Maddow?

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 6:24 AM | Permalink

404 Day: A Day Of Action Against Censorship In Libraries

On April 4th, EFF is partnering with the Center for Civic Media at MIT and the National Coalition Against Censorship to bring attention to the longstanding problem of Internet censorship in public libraries and schools for 404 Day.

Join us on Friday, April 4th from 12 p.m. - 1 p.m. PST for a digital teach-in with some of the top researchers and librarians working to analyze and push back against the use of Internet filters on library computers.

Speakers:

Deborah Caldwell-Stone, deputy director of the American Library Association's Office for Intellectual Freedom. She has written extensively about CIPA and blocked websites in libraries.

Chris Peterson, a research affiliate at the Center for Civic Media at the MIT Media Lab. He is currently working on the Mapping Information Access Project.

Sarah Houghton, director for the San Rafael Public Library in Northern California. She has also blogged as the Librarian in Black for over a decade.

Moderator: April Glaser, activist at the Electronic Frontier Foundation

We also invite librarians and concerned bloggers across the country to blog about Internet filtering in libraries on 404 Day to raise awareness and share stories of free speech infringing censorship in schools and libraries. Want to blog about it? Write an email to april@eff.org to let us know.

About The Children's Internet Protection Act & Censorship in Libraries

More than 10 years ago, Congress passed the Children's Internet Protection Act (CIPA), a bill that brought new levels of Internet censorship to libraries across the country.

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, aggressive interpretations of this law have resulted in extensive and unnecessary censorship in our cherished public 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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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 5:56 AM | Permalink

April 1, 2014

Chicago Cut Steakhouse Wants You To Know Obama Will Be There Wednesday

WHO: President Barack Obama and the Democratic National Committee

WHAT: The President will be in town Wednesday, April 2, to host a roundtable at Chicago Cut Steakhouse. The roundtable will be hosted by Mesirow Financial Chairman and CEO Richard Price, benefitting the Democratic National Committee. Later that evening, the President will be hosting a dinner at the Lincoln Park home of Craig Freedman and Grace Tsao-Wu.

WHERE: CHICAGO CUT STEAKHOUSE
300 N. LaSalle Street
Chicago IL 60654

WHEN: Wednesday, April 2, 2014 at 4:45pm

WHY: President Obama will be in Chicago to host a beneficiary dinner for the Democratic National Committee.

About Chicago Cut Steakhouse
Restaurant industry veterans David Flom and Matt Moore opened the doors to Chicago Cut Steakhouse in September 2010. Situated along the historical Chicago River and serving only the finest cuisine, Chicago Cut Steakhouse truly redefines the traditional steakhouse experience. It is the only steakhouse in the city to exclusively serve USDA-certified prime steaks, which are butchered and dry aged on the premises. Serving breakfast, brunch, lunch and dinner and offering private dining options, the restaurant features a dramatic dining room, vibrant bar area and sprawling outdoor patio. Additionally, the owners have introduced an iPad wine list, which offers guests a wine selecting experience unrivaled by their peers. With 40 iPads providing video, images and detailed information about each wine and their origins, Chicago Cut Steakhouse ensures a memorable and unique dining experience at every level. In April 2012, Chicago Cut Steakhouse was featured as one of America's Top Ten Steakhouses in USA TODAY. Most recently, Yahoo named the restaurant one of the Top Five Steakhouses in America.

CHICAGO CUT STEAKHOUSE
300 N. LaSalle Street
Chicago IL 60654
312-329-1800
www.chicagocutsteakhouse.com/

HOURS OF OPERATION
Monday - Friday: 7 a.m. - 2 a.m.
Saturday and Sunday: 10 a.m. - 2 a.m.
Breakfast, Brunch, Lunch and Dinner

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 11:07 PM | Permalink

Illinois Declares April "Car Care Month"

Urging its residents to be car care aware and perform the service necessary to ensure their vehicles are operating in a safe, efficient and clean manner, Governor Pat Quinn has declared April as Car Care Month in Illinois.

"We want to thank Gov. Quinn for officially declaring April as Car Care Month in Illinois," said Rich White, executive director of the Car Care Council.

"Car Care Month provides a unique opportunity for the auto care industry and government to educate car owners on the importance of proper vehicle care. Motor vehicle safety continues to be a major focus for state legislatures and regulatory agencies across the country, so we commend Governor Quinn for making this important proclamation."

Spring is the perfect time for motorists to make sure their vehicles are running reliably after a rough winter and before the summer driving season begins. Many independent repair shops and community organizations throughout the country will conduct car care events during April. These events have revealed that three out of four vehicles inspected are in need of some type of maintenance or repair.

The non-profit Car Care Council offers many free tools on its website to help consumers drive smart, save money and be more environmentally friendly, including the popular 60-page Car Care Guide and a custom service schedule and e-mail reminder service.

"By following a service schedule and performing preventative vehicle maintenance, motorists can ensure that their vehicles are safe and dependable. Plus, auto care can help save money in many ways, including reducing fuel consumption and extending vehicle life," said White. "We encourage all car owners in the great state of Illinois to get their vehicles inspected this April."

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 10:54 PM | Permalink

Fantasy Fix: False Starts

Don't you hate it when you draft a top-tier player and he can't even make it past Opening Day (or even to Opening Day) without getting hurt?

That's already the kind of season we're having in 2014. The top two fantasy starting pitchers are already on the disabled list, along with one of the highest-ranked shortstops.

Here's the breakdown, with suggested next steps:

Clayton Kershaw, SP, LAD: He came home from the opening series in Australia with a back injury, and is now looking at missing at least a few weeks while the Dodgers treat him with kid gloves. That's a big hit for fantasy teams that drafted him as high as fourth or fifth overall in some leagues.

Possible pick-up: Yovani Gallardo, SP, MIL.

Former top pitcher drafted in less than 70% of Yahoo! leagues after an up-and-down 2013. Yet, he looked impressive beating the Braves on Opening Day, yielding no runs in six innings with four strikeouts and a 1.00 WHIP.

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Yu Darvish, SP, TEX: The second-ranked SP in most fantasy leagues was scratched before the season started due to a neck injury. He's already throwing bullpen sessions, but the Rangers, like the Dodgers, aren't going to rush things with their precious cargo.

Possible pick-up: Ubaldo Jimenez, SP, BAL.

No one comes close to matching Darvish's strikeout power, but Jimenez did strike out 194 in 182 innings last year, and had a strong second half. He's still available in 23% of Yahoo! leagues, and since he was probably a last-round pick in many leagues, he could prove easy to acquire via trade.

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Jose Reyes, SS, TOR: It took him a single regular season at-bat to once again live up to his "injury prone" tag, pulling up lame with a hamstring issue.

Possible pick-up: Alexei Ramirez, SS, White Sox.

Not surprisingly, he was overlooked in a lot of leagues, with current Yahoo! ownership at only 69%. But his impressive 30 SBs last year give him the profile of a bargain-basement version of Reyes.

Expert Wire
* Yahoo! Closing Time is already on the Emilio Bonifacio bandwagon, after the Cubs' 2B/3B/OF went 4-for-4 on Opening Day. No, it's not too early at all to start picking up Cubs.

* Bleacher Reports sizes up this year's rookie class.

* Fantasy CPR notes another Opening Day injury, this one to Mets closer Bobby Parnell. Jose Valverde and Kyle Farnsworth look to be in play as replacements.

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

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 10:35 PM | Permalink

The [Tuesday] Papers

The Beachwood is taking April Fool's Day off (our holiday calendar is a little different than everyone else's). In the meantime, we'll keep our social media meanderings up to date.

BeachBook
* Sears Inadvertently Advertises Customers' Complaints.

* Is Facebook Too Big To Care?

* Exclusive: NSA Infiltrated Internet Security More Deeply Than Thought.

* Prospectors Discover Salt At Morton Arboretum.

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The Beachwood Tip Line: On and off.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 9:21 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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