Chicago - Dec. 14, 2017
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Army Of Darkness
ElRey
5 p.m.
A discount-store employee is time-warped to a medieval castle, where he is the foretold savior who can dispel the evil there. Unfortunately, he screws up and releases an army of skeletons. (tvguide.com)
Weather Derby
Tribune: 51/37
Sun-Times: Ferro/McKinney
Weather Channel: 44/41
Ntl Weather Service: 54/43
BWM*: 82/12
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« July 2014 | Main | September 2014 »

August 30, 2014

The Beachwood Radio Sports Hour #15: Super Bears Or Bust

Plus: The Sky Is Burning; Prospects Are Suspects Until Proven Otherwise, And So Is Starlin Castro; Cubs Striving For Normalcy; Deadspin Is Dead Wrong; and much, much more!


SHOW NOTES

00:32: Bears Brown Out.

* Befuddled.

* Puzzled.

* Secret scheme?

* SportsMonday: Shell-Shocked.

* The Patriots test.

* Trestman as the Anti-Lovie - for better and possibly worse.

* The Blue & Orange Kool-Aid Report: Back Toub The Future.

* Ceilings, floors.

* Bears vs. Bills (yawn).

* Super Bowl or bust.

26:53: The Sky Is Burning!

* Lyme disease.

* Elena Delle Donne, everybody.

"Despite trailing by 17 early in the fourth quarter, the Chicago Sky weren't ready to give up on their season. Instead, they kept their focus and pulled off the biggest fourth-quarter comeback in WNBA playoff history," AP reports.

"Elena Delle Donne scored 17 of her 34 points in the final period, including the winning jumper with 8.4 seconds left, as the Sky rallied from 20 points down to beat the Atlanta Dream 81-80 on Tuesday night and advance to the Eastern Conference finals."

Stump the Coach: The Sky's opener against the Indiana Fever is actually Saturday night in Indiana; Game Two is Monday night in Rosemont and that's the game, of course, that you can go see instead of giving your hard-earned cash to the fabulously wealthy Ricketts family to watch a minor league team.

32:05: It's Jorge Time.

* But prospects are still suspects until proven otherwise.

* Cubs striving for normalcy.

* This week's model: Kansas City.

* All hail Jose Abreu.

* The White Sox are still closer to contending than the Cubs, but the franchise is so damn boring.

* Remember when Welington Castillo was the next Yadier Molina? I do. It was just last year.

49:08: Wishing Upon A Starlin.

* Cubs Fine With Soft Handling Of Starlin Castro.

* Kubs Kulture.

* Ricky Renteria: New Dale.

* Ricky Renteria mug shot.

56:50: Deadspin Is Dead Wrong.

* Why Your Team Sucks 2014: Chicago Bears.

* Coffman actually did grow up near Cabrini-Green.

STOPPAGE TIME: 2:00:00.

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For more Beachwood radio, including archives and the news Hour: The Beachwood Radio Network.

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 1:21 PM | Permalink

The Weekend Desk Report

Ah ha ha ha ha ha ha! Happy Labor Day, Chicago!

Market Update
The Rich continued to bank on the misery of the Poor this week, with almost total impunity. Happy Labor Day!

Back-To-School Tweaking
In honor of the hard-working brass at CPS, let's tweak a few other key indicators, shall we? How about:

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The Weekend Desk Tip Line: Back-to-school twerking, too.

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The Beachwood Radio Network

* MONSTER LABOR DAY WEEKEND SHOW | The Beachwood Radio Hour #21: Federal Judge Rules The Koschman Conspiracy Worked.

Plus: Rahm's Super PAC vs. Daley's Family PAC; He Worked At A Tastee-Freez; The Queen Bee Of Wicker Park; Feasting On Human Tears; and much, much more!

* ALSO: The Beachwood Radio Sports Hour #15: Super Bears Or Bust.

Plus: The Sky Is Burning; Prospects Are Suspects Until Proven Otherwise, And So Is Starlin Castro; Cubs Strive For Normalcy; Deadspin Is Dead Wrong; and much, much more!

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The Sound Opinions Weekend Listening Report: "New Orleans singer-guitarist Benjamin Booker talks about his blues influences and opening for Jack White and plays songs from his self-titled debut. Later, hosts Jim and Greg review the new album from former Led Zeppelin frontman Robert Plant."

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The CAN TV Weekend Viewing Report: Public Forum On The Dangers Of Metal Shredders.

2014-8-22-shredder-725x250.jpg

"With plans to build a metal shredder in the Pilsen neighborhood, concerned community members hear from residents of Elkhart, Indiana, who discuss the noise, pollution and other problems caused by a metal shredder in their city."

Sunday at 9 a.m. on CAN TV21.

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TweetWood

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Posted by Natasha Julius at 9:07 AM | Permalink

August 29, 2014

The Beachwood Radio Hour #21: Federal Judge Rules The Koschman Conspiracy Worked

Plus: Super PAC vs. Daley PAC; He Worked At A Tastee-Freez; The Queen Bee Of Wicker Park; Feasting On Human Tears.


SHOW NOTES

00: Strawberry Rock Show.

1:30: The Dutchess and the Duke at the Empty Bottle on Wednesday night.

* seijinlee.

5:00: The Koschman Case.

* Chicago's Most Notorious Missing File.

* Nanci Koschman vs. Jane Byrne.

* Either Way, Nanci Koschman Couldn't Win.

* I think "infuriating" is the word I was looking for.

* "Allow me to be the first to say that what we have done here is not a good thing. It's definitely not a good thing. But it was, given the circumstances, the smart play."

32:49: The Flesh Panthers at Cobra Lounge last Friday night.

34:20: Fukuyama & Huxley.

38:20: My My My at the Abbey last Thursday night.

40:42: Bridgeport Greener With A New Daley In The Wings.

46:28: Pro-Rahm Super PAC Schemes to Add More Allies in City Council.

* The Yes Men.

52:36: Joe Ely at City Winery on Thursday night.

54:40: Beachwood Sports.

* The College Football Report: Crystal Ball Unit.

* The Blue & Orange Kool-Aid Report: Back Toub The Future.

* The Cub Factor: Inside Tarpgate.

See also: The Beachwood Radio Sports Hour! Every weekend on Beachwood Sports and on The Beachwood Radio Network.

1:02:30: SPOTLIGHT: Tastee-Freez Tell-All.

* Fast Times at Tastee-Freez.

Trainee: What's the secret sauce?

Brad: Thousand Island dressing. What's the secret sauce at Bronco Burger?

Trainee: Ketchup and mayonnaise.

* Savanna, Illinois.

* The background music you here is the Blue Ribbon Glee Club, which practices at AnySquared Studios every Monday night.

* The Logan Square Tastee-Freez.

* The Savanna Tastee-Freez.

* Gender-based division of labor.

* All-American favorite.

* The Hardee's and the Pizza Hut were the turnarounds.

* Chocolate stars.

* Tastee-Freez romance.

* Tastee-Freez marriage.

* Tastee-Gardens.

* Heavy sweaters not allowed in the dining room.

* The Beachwood Radio Sports Hour #13 : Yay, Tastee-Freez!

1:31:48: The Second Half with J.J. Tindall.

* AnySquared Studio.

* Open Studio.

* Tracy Kostenbader.

* Salvage.

* Hairpin Arts Center.

1:37:00 He Is A Tour Guide.

* Lightning is lazy.

* Come Monday.

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1:45:00 Sophie Madej: Queen Bee of Wicker Park.

1:55:00: Selling Alpine Valley.

* Mister Peoples?

* Worst Midwest Bank Amphitheater?

* Kettle Moraine.

2:04:15: Chicagoetry: Little Wing.

* Feasting on human tears.

* Chicago Honey Co-Op.

* Bumblebee Wolves.

* Vulture Bees.

STOPPAGE TIME: 1:20:16.

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For more, including Radio Hour archives, please see The Beachwood Radio Network.

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 4:21 PM | Permalink

The [Friday] Papers

"A federal judge blasted the Chicago Police Department and Cook County state's attorney's office on Thursday for mishandling the investigation of David Koschman's death but dismissed the lawsuit his mother filed alleging an 'official cover-up' had long kept former Mayor Richard M. Daley's nephew Richard J. 'R.J.' Vanecko from being charged," the Sun-Times reports.

"U.S. District Judge Rebecca Pallmeyer said she had to dismiss Nanci Koschman's lawsuit because the statute of limitations had run out."

Isn't the lesson, then, that if you can cover up wrongdoing long enough, you're in the clear?

Here's Pallmeyer from her ruling:

"[T]his court concludes that Mrs. Koschman's federal claim accrued when she knew about the alleged coverup. Defendants argue that this happened back in 2004 when Detective Ronald Yawger effectively told Mrs. Koschman that she was up against forces that she could not defeat. So their argument is she knew about that corruption from that time on"

So the defense argued, successfully, that indeed a coverup occurred but that Nanci Koschman should have deduced that from a Chicago police detective's cryptic comment 10 years ago and filed a suit back then - even though a conspiracy of silence exists to this day.

I'm not so sure about that - especially given that they just admitted they did it.

Pallmeyer:

"They point as well to rumblings in the press about Mr. Vanecko's relationship to former Mayor Daley and the possibility that that relationship had influenced the police and the prosecutors, and they point out that she had access all along to Mr. Koschman's friends, who observed the fatal blow."

So now the defendants argue that Koschman should have known there was a conspiracy well before the statute of limitations ran out because of the Sun-Times's reporting - which the defendants have ripped all along as baseless and agenda-driven.

Really?

"Whatever Mrs. Koschman knew as of 2004, it's impossible for me to escape the conclusion that she knew everything she needed to know about the cover-up no later than December 2011. At that time she petitioned the circuit court for appointment of a special prosecutor. And I looked at the petition yesterday in detail once again and again this morning, and she laid out in that petition essentially all of the same facts she alleges here."

Maybe she petitioned for a special prosecutor to get to the bottom of what happened. Her mistake, Pallmeyer is saying, is in being too fair in waiting for the facts to bear out rather than becoming litigious sooner.

"Special Prosecutor Dan Webb swiftly indicted Mr. Vanecko, and he has now pleaded guilty.Mr. Webb's activities and the additional press attention that they generated have underscored Mrs. Koschman's allegations of police and arguably State's Attorney wrongdoing, but it simply can't be that Mrs. Koschman could not have filed her wrongful death case against Mr. Vanecko until he was convicted. Wrongful death actions are filed regularly with or without corresponding criminal charges. Indeed, had Mr. Vanecko been acquitted, that would not defeat Mrs. Koschman's action. Had Mr. Vanecko been acquitted, she still could have sued him, and the acquittal might not even have been admissible in a civil action in state court."

I suppose that's true, but I find Nanci Koschman's restraint admirable. It's probably not how I would have behaved, but Nanci Koschman is now being punished for her class and good graces. I'm not saying the law should make an exception because of that, but that her frame of mind - and what she truly was able to know - should be a factor in a ruling like this.

Nanci Koschman is free to appeal, of course. And Pallmeyer suggested she might have better luck in the state courts - you know, the Circuit Court of Cook County. Ahem.

The cover-up worked. Bravo.

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"Koschman's attorneys argued that the statute of limitations should be waived because the conspiracy had denied Koschman her opportunity to sue," the Tribune reported. "Until Vanecko's guilty plea was entered, Koschman had no one to accuse because authorities had hidden evidence that Vanecko was the aggressor in the fight, her attorneys said."

Yes, but . . .

"The lawsuit . . . relied heavily on the findings of special prosecutor Dan Webb, [and] alleged that Daley and certain family members, friends and associates gave false, misleading and incomplete statements' as part of Webb's investigation into Koschman's death."

Lesson: Don't ever give anyone the benefit of the doubt. Sue immediately upon suspicion. Of course, you risk losing if enough evidence hasn't turned up, but too bad.

Pallmeyer:

"It's true that she might not have been a wise - it might not have been effective to go ahead with a wrongful death case at that point."

But she should have filed the case then, Pallmeyer is saying, even if it would have been a loser. Either way, Nanci Koschman can't win.

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"More than 25 defendants were named in the suit besides Vanecko, including former police superintendents Phil Cline and Jody Weis, State's Attorney Anita Alvarez and former State's Attorney Dick Devine.

"The suit also alleged that during separate investigations seven years apart, police fabricated evidence and altered official files, all in a bid to falsely make it appear that Koschman, 10 inches shorter and more than 100 pounds lighter than Vanecko, was the aggressor in the altercation.

"Nanci Koschman told reporters in March she decided to file the lawsuit after learning from Webb's voluminous report how her son's death was treated."

According to Pallmeyer, she should have sued first. Not everyone thinks like that; to the cynics go the spoils.

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The Beachwood Radio Network
Weekend podcasts are almost in production. As if you care.

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The Political Odds
Updated to reflect recent developments.

Beachwood Photo Booth: Vacuums Of The Night
New and rebuilt.

Nerdcore News: Wiz-Con Chicago
We're making progress.

Jobs In Chicago
Circa 1959. Make sure you wear your pressed white shirt and gray slacks to the interview.

The Week In Chicago Rock
Featuring: The Dutchess and the Duke, Sleep, Arcade Fire with Mavis Staples, Joe Ely, PS I Love You, Alejandro Escovedo, SickTanicK, Howard Jones, China Crisis, The Chicken Fat Klezmer Orchestra, Razakel, the Temptations, ONO, Mazurek/Abrams/Drake, Spires That In The Sunset Rise, DEVO, Tom Bailey, and Midge Ure.

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BeachBook
* Pabst Mansion In Glencoe Sells For $4.8 Million.

* UIC Researchers Are Tripping Old People On Purpose.

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TweetWood

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The Beachwood Tip Line: Always easy payments.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 9:25 AM | Permalink

The Week In Chicago Rock

You shoulda been there.

1. The Dutchess and the Duke at the Empty Bottle on Wednesday night.


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2. Sleep at Thalia Hall on Thursday night.

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3. Arcade Fire with Mavis Staples on the West Side on Wednesday night.

Kot: "Even when Regine Chassagne was singing about 'dead shopping malls' and punching clocks as a worker drone, balloons descended, streamers waved, and dancers twerked in skeleton suits.

"Arcade Fire is a major indie-rock success story and improbable album-of-the-year Grammy winners in 2013 that occasionally flirts with self-importance. But a giant dance party broke out Tuesday in the first of two concerts at the United Center, with the Montreal band leading the frivolity."

Guarino: "When Staples showed up, the band launched into two versions of 'This May Be the Last Time,' a gospel song recorded by her family band in 1954 and later, the Rolling Stones song released a decade later that borrowed the title. For the bookends - the first slow and swampy, the second a rock rave-up - Staples growled through her vocals, leading the band the entire way. ' want to go to that church,' Butler said upon her exit."

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4. Joe Ely at City Winery on Thursday night.

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5. PS I Love You at Schubas on Wednesday night.

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6. SickTanicK at Mojoes in Joliet last Saturday night.

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7. Howard Jones at Ravinia on Wednesday night.

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8. Alejandro Escovedo at City Winery on Thursday night.

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9. China Crisis at Ravinia on Wednesday night.

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10. The Chicken Fat Klezmer Orchestra at Martyrs' last Saturday night.

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11. Razakel at Mojoes in Joliet last Saturday night.

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12. The Temptations at Ravinia on Tuesday night.

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13. ONO at the Empty Bottle on Monday night.

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14. Mazurek/Abrams/Drake at the Hideout on Wednesday night.

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15. Spires That In The Sunset Rise at the Empty Bottle on Monday night.

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16. DEVO on the West Side on Tuesday night.

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17. Tom Bailey at Ravinia on Wednesday night.

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18. Midge Ure at Ravinia on Wednesday night.

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 7:59 AM | Permalink

Jobs In Chicago

Looking for a job? Let Mr. Don Ferris help you, circa 1959. Make sure you wear your pressed white shirt and gray slacks when you show up for the interview. :-)

Illinois Department of Labor presents Jobs In Chicago, with Don Ferris speaking for the Illinois State Employment Service. It aired on WTTW Channel 11. This was one of the first if not the first TV job for Don Ferris. (He was of course a long-time voiceover announcer at both WTTW and WSNS).


Includes:

* The Professional Sales & Clerical Office at 73 West Washington Street needs thousands of Christmas workers.

* Large mail-order house needing young men to train as executives for a starting salary of $90 a week.

* Electronics firm on the Near North side looking for an electrical engineer, offering salary of $175 a week.

* Loop Construction firm looking for a civil engineer with a degree in soil mechanics. Salary up to $550 a month.

* Organic Chemist needed - $10,000 a year salary!

* Steel workers not needed as much right now/

* North Side Industrial Office at 1608 North Laramie still looking for cab and bus drivers. Cab drivers average $100 a week. Bus drivers earn $2.12 an hour.

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See also:
* The Museum of Classic Chicago Television YouTube Channel.

* Fuzzy Memories TV.

Feel free to donate to the cause!

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 7:45 AM | Permalink

Nerdcore News: Wiz-Con Chicago

We're making progress.


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See also: The Nerdcore Movement YouTube Channel.

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 6:59 AM | Permalink

Beachwood Photo Booth: Vacuums Of The Night

New and rebuilt.

vacuumsnightjeffpk14b.jpgENLARGE FOR PROPER VIEWING

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More Chicago photography from Helene Smith.

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Helene on Twitter!

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Meet Helene!

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Stationery, iPhone cases, hoodies.

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

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Previously:
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Chicago Man Grilling
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Yum Yum Donuts
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Chicago Father's Day
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Vintage Airmaster
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Chicago Time
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Window Shade
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Illinois Slayer
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Chicago Fire Escape
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Golden Nugget
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Hollywood, Chicago
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Flag Man.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Van In Flames.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Fluid Power Automation.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Corn Dog.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Stop The Killing Car.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Chicago Backyard.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: A to Z Things.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Swedish Diner.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Rothschild Liquors.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Chicago Silos.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Chicago Wires.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Orange Garden.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Irving Park Guy.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Chicago Pigeons.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: O'Lanagan's.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: For Rent.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Marie's Pizza & Liquors.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Mori Milk.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: American Breakfast.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: A Chicago Christmas Postcard.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Holiday Harold's.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Chicago Family Fun.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Snow Bike.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Nativity Scene.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Old Warsaw.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Deluxe Cleaners.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Marie's Golden Cue.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Die Another Day.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Sears Key Shop.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Window Dressing.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Jeri's Grill.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Barry's Drugs.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Liberty.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Chicago Kitchen.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Golden Specials.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: We Won The Cup.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Bartender Man.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Blue Plane Blues.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Finest Quality.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Family Guy.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Girls Wanted.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Skokie Savanna.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Signpost.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Old Man And The Tree.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Street Fleet.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Citgo Story.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Fantasy Hair Design.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Chicago Garage.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Clark Stop.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Pole Position.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Window Dressing.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Chicago Geometry.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Found Love.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Fill In The Blank.

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 6:19 AM | Permalink

August 28, 2014

The College Football Report: Crystal Ball Unit

The 2015 college football season kicks off Thursday night, and as we brace ourselves for the plunge, a season primer is in order. First, the story drawing the most coverage going into Week One:

Ohio State's starting quarterback and Heisman aspirant (the Report has vowed to avoid the phrase "Heisman hopeful" this year) Braxton Miller suffered a season-ending shoulder injury on August 18. The Buckeyes (#5) looked like a national championship contender at 11-1 in futures odds, trailing defending champ Florida State, Alabama and Oregon. Miller underwent (successful) surgery this week, leaving the team in the questionably able hands of his backup. Thus, the storylines for Ohio State's season, will be - in chronological order - as follows:

  • Woe to the Buckeyes, Braxton Miller is out! (Pretty much played out.)
  • Who is this J.T. Barrett guy? Oh, he's the new starting quarterback, a redshirt freshman. (Ongoing.)
  • We are all behind J.T. (Ongoing.)
  • That said, J.T. Barrett is not the next Johnny Manziel. (Ongoing.)
  • Can J.T. Barrett be the next Johnny Manziel? (Begins Saturday afternoon, following OSU's victory over Navy.)
  • J.T. Barrett, unlikely hero. (Week Four, following wins against Virginia Tech and Kent State.)
  • J.T. "The Distributor" Barrett manages conservative OSU offense. (Week Five, after the Ohio State defense bails out J.T. in an error-riddled W over Cincinnati.)
  • Ohio State, back on track! (Week Six, an easy victory at Maryland.)
  • J.T. Barrett: serviceable. (Returning to action at "The Shoe" after a bye week with a victory over . . . Rutgers.)
  • . . . but Ohio State is still in the hunt for a Big 10 title! (After a humbling loss to Penn State in Happy Valley.)
  • Not yet mathematically eliminated! (W, vs. Illinois.)
  • Still, probably going to a New Year's Day bowl! (L, an ugly one, at Michigan State.)
  • Maybe a good one! (Wins over Minnesota and lowly Indiana.)
  • All things considered, beating Michigan was probably too much to expect. (Following a loss to the hated Wolverines on November 29 to end the regular season.)
  • Can Braxton Miller play in the bowl game? (November 30.)
  • Ohio State, Miller, will have to find a way to win. (Read: "no." December 1 - December 31.)
  • Buckeyes end season with hard-fought loss in Outback Bowl. (January 1, 2015.)
  • Will Braxton Miller go pro? (January 2 onward.)

There it is: the Buckeye's season in a nutshell. (Zing!*)

Now you can pay attention to something else, like LSU's tandem quarterback situation; if Notre Dame is overrated (yes, again); high ankle sprains; and the Colorado Cameroonian.

Storylines you won't be able to avoid and will likely absorb as through osmosis:

Storylines that merit discussion but won't get much treatment, because they won't fit into pregame, halftime, or primetime:

  • The Big 5 (formerly Big 6) power conferences (ACC, Big 10, Big 12, Pac-12, the SEC, and to everyone's consternation, Notre Dame) are trying to secede from the NCAA.
  • Should be assigned reading: more on stipends, the role of power conferences, the David-Goliath dynamic in the FBS, and the Ed O'Bannon case.
  • A new helmet won't solve the NCAA's head injury problem, nor will a $70 million study to test current and former athletes for brain injuries.
  • The words of coaching legend Bill Snyder: "The concept of college football no longer has any bearing on the quality of the person, the quality of students. Universities are selling themselves out."

Taking a look at the preseason rankings . . .

  • Teams we like: Mississippi State ("Others receiving votes"), Florida (Others), Nevada (Others), Northwestern (Others), Michigan (Others), Iowa (Others), Houston (Others), Akron (unranked), South Florida (unranked).
  • Ranked teams we aren't buying: Auburn (#6), UCLA (#7), Clemson (#16).

Now let's turn to our feathered friend, the first fowl of foresight, the cock of conjecture, the gallus gallus domesticus of divination, the College Football Report Sacred Free Range Chicken.

The Picks, Week One:

  • Wake Forest at University of Louisiana-Monroe (-2), Thursday, 6 p.m.
  • #2 Alabama (-26) at West Virginia, Saturday, 2:30 p.m.
  • Louisiana Tech at #4 Oklahoma (-38), Saturday, 6 p.m.
  • #13 LSU (-5) at #14 Wisconsin, Saturday, 8 p.m.

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* In a nutshell, get it? See, the Buckeyes are named after a tree, and . . . forget it. We're still shaking off the rust, people! Work with us!

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

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 7:54 AM | Permalink

The [Thursday] Papers

"A federal judge is hearing arguments Thursday to dismiss the civil rights lawsuit Nanci Koschman has filed accusing police, prosecutors, City Hall of engaging in a longrunning 'official coverup' to keep former Mayor Richard M. Daley's nephew Richard J. 'R.J.' Vanecko from being charged in the 2004 death of her son David Koschman," the Sun-Times reports.

"Nanci Koschman's lawsuit accuses Vanecko of wrongful death. She also is suing the city of Chicago, former police Supt. Phil Cline and 20 other current and former cops, saying they violated her son's civil rights by botching two investigations into his death. Other defendants include Cook County State's Attorney Anita Alvarez, former State's Attorney Richard Devine and three unnamed Daley 'family members or associates.'

"All of the defendants have said in written court filings they should be dropped from the suit, arguing in part that Koschman waited to long to sue."

Isn't that an admission that the cover-up worked? I mean, that's why Koschman is suing. If the case was handled properly in the first place, there wouldn't be a need to sue now. But it wasn't, and due to the continuing efforts of those parties to stymie any investigation, the facts have only trickled out recently. Plus, she lost her son. Show some damn respect and end her nightmare.

"The barrier to a fair disposition of Mrs. Koschman's wrongful-death claim was not removed until Vanecko's conviction on Jan. 21, 2014," Koschman's lawyers wrote in asking Pallmeyer to reject four separate motions to dismiss Koschman's lawsuit. "Until that occurred, the false official version - in which Vanecko was the victim of David's aggression - posed a formidable impediment to the fair disposition of any claim Mrs. Koschman might have made against Vanecko."

Damn straight.

Anita Alvarez and Dick Devine have waited too long to do their job. Phil Cline and his fellow police officers have - once again - stained the integrity of the badge. The Daley family and their friends are perhaps the most repugnant of them all. Forget naming something after Jane Byrne, let's name something after Nanci Koschman and make all of those who have stood in the way of her getting justice walk past it every day.

Chicago Begetting
"'What do you mean? They pass the job from one family member to another?' asked Kari Finseth, born and raised in Minnesota."

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Here's an idea: Let's move Nanci Koschman to Bridgeport and elect her to the council.

Political Freak Show
Bruce Rauner Talks Out Of His Ass Again.

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That's a lot of wear and tear on those Wranglers, Bruce. But you've probably got a closet full of 'em - a pair for every day of the week and two on Sunday.

Discover Discover
"For the first time, Riverwoods-based Discover Financial Services achieved the highest customer satisfaction rating in the credit card industry, according to the annual consumer survey by J.D. Power," Crain's reports.

That's because nobody owes them any money. I mean, who even has a Discover card?

"Honey, I signed us up for a Discover card today."

"Great. Hey, did you forget to buy Tab at the grocery store?"

"No, it's in there, next to the Anacin."

"Great. I was thinking we'd grab dinner at Ponderosa tonight."

"Okay. Just don't forget to tape The Greatest American Hero."

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Yay, Discover. I'd say you have a branding problem.

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My solution: Be the good-guy credit card. A credit card for the rest of us. Well, you're already kind of that, but be the anti-VISA, the anti-MasterCard; say you're sick of it and you're going to do right by America and help everyone fix their credit, pay their bills and get back on their feet with a sensible financial tool that isn't designed to soak everyone into oblivion. That's my dream.

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The College Football Report Is Back!
Season Premiere: It's A Buckeyes World And We Just Live In It.

The Blue & Orange Kool-Aid Report Is Back!
Season Premiere: Back Toub The Future.

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BeachBook
* United Airlines Ending Saskatoon-Chicago Direct Flights.

Hosers.

* Gino's East Partnering With Texas Breastauranteur.

Deep dish, deeper decolletage. Also, disgusting.

* Zombie Civil Rights Group Sell-Outs.

Hosers.

* Van Jones And Charles Blow Absolve White America.

Job 1 is always making white people comfortable. See Obama, Barack.

* Expect Delays, Closures For Marion Popcorn Festival.

Big parade through the Hub of the Universe.

* Blotter: Abadoned Bicycle In Buffalo Grove.

And the Tribune is on it.

* Why Ben Wu Left His Job At A Chicago Trading Firm To Play Video Games.

Hint: More fun.

* Glen Ellyn Homeowner Wins TV For Ugly Garage.

Firm gets PR like this.

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TweetWood

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The Beachwood Tip Line: Come for the tax inversion, stay for the donuts.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 7:26 AM | Permalink

Back Toub The Future

Offseason Review
The 2014 offseason was driven by GM Phil Emery's plot to upgrade Chicago's suddenly one-dimensional defense. By which I mean last year's defense was born of a dimension in which doctors unsuccessfully try to surgically remake people who can tackle running backs into either hideous cave monsters or Maxine Stuart.

Here's the good news, Bear fans: If the Chicago can give up fewer than 5.3 yards per carry this season, we're seeing tangible improvement.

Improvement akin to growing some hair back on the stub of your severed left hand, but I'm a glass is half full (of whiskey) kind of guy.

Let's examine the sweeping changes that are going to help the 2014 squad eclipse the crappy, crappy standard set by its injury riddled predecessor.

  • The entire defensive line was replaced. Notable additions include Jared Allen, Lamarr Houston and a howitzer that a rural sheriff's office in Georgia was unloading for eleven hundred bucks on Craigslist*.
  • Shea McClellin was converted from an undersized defensive end to a linebacker, soon to become a regular-sized cashier at the local XSport.
  • The Bears drafted for need to fill the talent gap from within. This was accomplished by selecting two safeties, two defensive backs, three linebackers and four defensive linemen. Also, a pair of Brandon Marshalls were traded for the rights to punter Pat O'Donnell and former Nets star Keith Van Horn.
  • Emery successfully petitioned the league to outlaw the use of left hands. Now that nearly every defensive play results in a penalty (back me up, anyone who watched a preseason game), the Bears don't look so bad.
  • In a completely misguided interpretation of the Rams' seventh-round draft strategy (selecting openly gay defensive lineman Michael Sam because he was clearly the best talent available), the Bears signed free agent Marshall Teague, who is probably best known for his role in Road House (click here for butt joke). "I don't know if you can stop Eddie Lacy on your own," said Emery to a confused Mr. Teague, following last week's signing. "But you're sure going to make him think twice about running up the middle."

While the offseason was a complete success on the defensive side of the ball, the game's third and oft forgotten phase seems to have fallen by the wayside in recent years.

Poor tackling and whatever's worse than poor (impoverished?) blocking marred much of the first three preseason games.

In an effort to help the cause, I gassed up the windowless van and headed for Missouri.

Back Toub The Future
Hey, Dave! Funny meeting you here in your own driveway.

Just happened to be in the area, uh, pricing barbeque sauce at a Kansas City Costco . . . yup. At $475, you can't afford not to buy an oil drum full of K.C. Masterpiece. That's like 8 cents an ounce!

Listen, since I've got you. Me and the rest of northern Illinois were, y'know, kinda wondering if you wanted to grab a beer whenever, talk about old times . . . maybe see if you wanted to come back to the Windy City?

Look, I know getting bounced in the first round of the playoffs really crumbles your cookie, and lord know nobody does it better than the Chiefs**, but consider what we can offer you back here in Chicago.

Cheesy beef croissants, a fan base that fondly remembers Brendon Ayanbadejo*** and like, probably nine wins!

You know the Lions are just gonna piss one away in the last 85 seconds of Week 16. We're practically 10% of the way to the playoffs!

Are you telling me that the odds are any better that your precious Chief will go through the Broncos than the Bears' chances of getting through the Seahawks?

Oh, you did watch on Friday. About that . . . yeah.

Um, can you tell me if this rag smells weird to you? HEY! Come back!

Sea Word
I've been reminded regularly since Friday night's preseason loss to Seattle that the '85 squad went 0-4 in exhibition games, and 2010 squad produced four ugly losses.

With all due respect to the Lance Briggs sound bites on CLTV and my inner monologue, pipe down jerks! This was supposed to be a dress rehearsal for the regular season and you all showed up in a potato sack.

Even as a preseason affair, this game S-ed a major "D," and not in the way that I usually like it; behind Martyrs' with a the barback watching as he tries to throw out the trash during the winter while eating nachos and wearing a leather Starter baseball cap.

Clearly, the Bears are not playing on the same level as the defending champs at the moment, but that could change as the season moves on . . . (raise the inflection of your inner reading voice two octaves as your read this sentence)?

Similarly, I've not rounded my physics game into midseason form yet, but by November Neil deGrasse Tyson will be begging me to appear on Cosmos.

In any case, because I apparently hate the notion of accountability and my view of the world is driven entirely by my own unchecked Id (yes, the "I" is capitalized in my case), I blame the loss on Seattle's irresponsible practice of allowing a massive bird of prey onto the sidelines during games.

It's a good thing Garrett Wolfe isn't on the team any more. That thing would have probably snatched the little guy up and fed him to its chicks, along with the shrimp Po'Boy it heisted from Stephen Paea during halftime.

Here's an idea: Next time these guys visit Soldier Field, let's chain up a live Kodiak 15 yards away from the visitor's sideline and we'll just see how well the Seahawks perform.

Oh don't worry, Seattle. Our trainer, the frickin' Brawny Man, makes sure our new buddy "Barry" is fed lots of salmon just before kickoff. He won't get peckish for hours.

Just make sure your special teams unit doesn't have any honey flavored granola bars on their person by the third quarter.

Having a volume knob installed on my inner monologue just shot up to the top of my to-do list****.

Kool-Aid
So for those of you new to the column, allow me to give you a rundown of our format. Almost every week, I get drunk and start typing.

No wait, first I spend 30 minutes explaining the nuances of late '70s proto-metal and progressive rock to my wife.

Then, once my wife is asleep, or has walked to another part of the house while I was white-boarding the relationship between members of Dio's touring band and '80s Black Sabbath lineups (1.3 minutes later on average), I start typing.

I use a five-point scale to rate the level of excitement you should have for the upcoming game.

The type of weekly points awarded are typically based on drinks related to the upcoming match-up, like the rum-based Hurricane prior to a Saints match-up or a mix of gin and the sweat rung out of a homeless guy's dreadlocks when the Bears are playing Oakland.

This week, I'm prescribing four out of five pitchers of actual Kool-Aid . . . mixed with Polmos Spirytus Rektyfikowany.

The 192-proof Polish vodka that unapologetically screams "Yeah we made a submarine with a screen door. What of it?" and then headbutts you in the teeth every time you take a drink.

Trust me, you'll need a 17-week supply, because this season is going to have some incredible offensive plays, and some hair-pullingly epic special teams issues that we simply have not had to endure in this town.

So join me, whatever blonde that isn't Hank Williams III and Fox analyst/horrifying creature of the night Kenny Albert, for another season of pigskin we'll never forget/barely remember.

*Bears executives played it safe and made the exchange at a 7-Eleven.

**And nobody keeps more Chips Ahoy! stashed in a Gatorade cooler than Andy Reid.

***The man who gave us the only anagram for "Anyone Bend Red Banjo?" that is also a proper noun.

****Your Ford Focus can go another few months without a transmission, right honey?

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

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 7:05 AM | Permalink

August 27, 2014

The [Wednesday] Papers

The Papers will hopefully return tomorrow, I'm just getting crushed this week. But we do have a full site otherwise, chocked with goodness.

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The Cub Factor: Inside Tarpgate
If Gordon Wittenmyer truly got the story wrong, which I doubt, prove it and demand a retraction. But don't try to spin it away.

Exclusive! Rahm Yuks Up O'Connor Kerfuffle With Fallon
Another Beachwood Special Report.

WGN-TV Finds Incredible Hulk
On flood patrol in Oak Lawn after epic party.

Outlaws & Angry Cores
In Local Book Notes.

DeRo Vs. Corporate EDM
In Local Music Notebook.

The Legend Of Lisle
In Chicagoetry: Sphinx Of Procopius.

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BeachBook
* Remembering The Defender's Earl Calloway.

* Remembering The Busy Bee's Sophie Madej.

* Fermilab's New Holometer Testing Whether We Live In A Hologram.

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TweetWood

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Ugh. Khan is justifiably outraged by the city council's games, but he seems like a bit of a clown himself. And he's getting awfully rich while pleading - again, with some justification - that his office has been financially starved by the mayor's office.

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Click on chart for the funny!

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The Beachwood Tip Line: Live through this.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 10:43 AM | Permalink

Local Music Notebook: Alpine Valley & ATM Chicago

1. Alpine Valley Is For Sale.

"The Wisconsin music venue tucked away in the rolling hills of Walworth County that has hosted such musical greats as the Rolling Stones, Pearl Jam and the Grateful Dead is for sale," AP reports.

Here's the listing.

2. Bloodiest Guitar Player Charged.

"A guitarist for popular local band Bloodiest was ordered held in lieu of $200,000 bail Tuesday for allegedly running over and killing a pedestrian while driving drunk," the Sun-Times reports.

"Six hours after Sean Patrick Riley hit 55-year-old Jose Serrano in the 2700 block of North Avenue Sunday night, his blood alcohol level measured at .161 - twice the state's legal .08 limit, Cook County prosecutors said."

3. Jim DeRogatis Can't Convince Chicago Dance Pioneer That Corporatization Of EDM Is Bad.

4. Billy Corgan Conducts Interview At Local Starbucks Instead Of His Tea Shop.

5. Chicago ATM's (Somewhat Mediocre) Response To Ferguson.

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 8:51 AM | Permalink

WGN-TV Finds Incredible Hulk

On flood patrol in Oak Lawn.

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How the Hulk got there.


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So it's a Party Hulk. Excellent.

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 8:33 AM | Permalink

Exclusive! Rahm Yuks Up O'Connor Kerfuffle With Fallon

"Mayor Rahm Emanuel would not say Wednesday whether it was appropriate for his City Council leader to push through an ordinance that limited the power of a city watchdog who a week earlier had opened an investigation into the alderman," the Tribune reported earlier this month.

But the Beachwood has learned through our Kick Jimmy Fallon In The Nuts Affairs Desk that Emanuel finds the whole thing quite funny.

faceinhole.jpg(ENLARGE)

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fallon2.jpg(ENLARGE)

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See also: Butch O'Connor Cassidy & The Sundance Mayor.

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 7:46 AM | Permalink

Inside Tarpgate

I know everybody is having good-time feelings about the Cubs right now because Jim Hendry amateur free-agent signee Arismendy Alcantara is hitting .228 after 41 games in the majors and Jim Hendry draft pick Javy Baez is hitting .207 after 20 games, though he does have 36 strikeouts and four walks to go with his 11 home runs, but let's not move on from Tarpgate so quickly, because it is so revealing of a franchise skating by right now on the excitement generated simply by the act of calling up prospects rather than those prospects' actual production in the major leagues.

For starters, the Cubs are trying to create an impression that Sun-Times beat writer Gordon Wittenmyer got the story wrong when he reported the grounds crew was shorthanded that ridiculous night due in part to a cutback in hours resulting from an effort to evade paying health benefits per Obamacare.

For finishers, the incident is a reminder that Cubbie Occurences don't happen because the team was once cursed by the owner of a goat, but because the team has been cursed by the worst succession of owners in global sports history except maybe some hapless squad of gladiators in Roman times that I don't know about; only the meshing of this clownish history with the magic of Wrigley Field has saved the franchise (or doomed it to perpetual misery, depending on how you look at it), which is ironic because each bunch of hacks running the place have neglected that chief asset at best and tried to destroy it at worst, though it's the only thing filling their pockets with gold.

Let's take a look.

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First, watch this MLB.com video and listen to an astounded Jon Miller describing the scene.


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Now, for good measure, a Sun-Times video featuring ticket-buying fans chanting "Pull! Pull! Pull!"

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And now, the whole thing put to the Cubs theme song.

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The conundrum for the umpires was that once the rain stopped and it was time to resume the game, the field had been rendered unplayable by the screw-up, but in order to declare the game suspended until the next day, the screw-up had to be due to a mechanical failure; the rulebook doesn't allow for a cheaped-out grounds crew. The opposing Giants, in a playoff race, were livid and appealed to MLB. No one ever wins these appeals - at least no one has won an appeal since 1986. Until now. Somehow, the commissioner's office found a right to not be negatively impacted by Kubs Kulture in the game's statutes, sort of like how the U.S. Supreme Court found a right to privacy in the Constitution when it decided Roe v. Wade. (It's a joke, people.)

I'm not sure which is weirder - that MLB granted the appeal or that the Cubs came back to win the suspended game too. That's the Cubs - even when they win it doesn't feel good.

But that wasn't the end of the story. It turns out one of my tweets that night wasn't that far off.

What I got wrong was that the Cubs weren't being miserly about the tarp, but about the grounds crew.

"Add the Affordable Care Act - or, specifically, the big-business Cubs' response to it - to the causes behind Tuesday night's tarp fiasco and rare successful protest by the San Francisco Giants," Wittenmyer reported two days after the incident.

"The staffing issues that hamstrung the grounds crew Tuesday during a mad dash with the tarp under a sudden rainstorm were created in part by a wide-ranging reorganization last winter of game-day personnel, job descriptions and work limits designed to keep the seasonal workers - including much of the grounds crew - under 130 hours per month, according to numerous sources with direct knowledge.

"That's the full-time worker definition under 'Obamacare,' which requires employer-provided healthcare benefits for 'big businesses' such as a major league team."

The Cubs are certainly not the only business effectively gaming the system, but they operate in an environment different than perhaps any other industry in America in that the government has granted them and their brethren an antitrust exemption in order for them to create an artificial, socialistic market. Oh, and the Cubs are the most profitable team in the major leagues and generate the fourth-highest amount of revenues.

Still, it might only be half the outrage if the maneuver was, say, in the front office instead of on the field, where it endangers not only the team's own players but players from other teams who care more about their employees.

"[S]ources say this year's protocol has changed dramatically since the off-season shakeup with game-day personnel in anticipation of the ACA taking effect - along with the experience level in many areas because of resulting attrition," Wittenmyer reports.

"There have been organizational changes," [Cubs spokesman Julian] Green acknowledges. "Every organization, whether it's baseball or corporate, is always continuing to evaluate inefficiencies, and obviously that translates to ours.

"We're no different than any organization trying to gain efficiencies. However, our efforts to manage costs had nothing to do with the episode on Tuesday night."

So the Cubs have tried to "gain efficiencies" on its ground crew, though they deny those "efficiencies" have anything to do with the fact that 10 crew members were sent home early Tuesday because the team was gambling on clear weather.

Once the story went viral, Green issued a stronger denial, which ESPN Chicago, for one, bought hook, line and stinker.

Green denied that health care costs played a role in Tuesday's incident

"We've made some organizational changes to make sure our scheduling is in line," Green said. "If we want to be a successful, functioning, profitable operation, you have to make sure your personnel and workforce is in line.

"Anyone in this organization who would even suggest that it was Obamacare and tried to make this a situation about work hours at the expense of guys who are widely viewed as the best in the business, it's unfortunate."

I'm not sure which is worse - cheaping out the grounds crew on general business principle or doing it because of Obamacare. Either way, though, we know it happened.

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And let's not forget who really owns the Cubs: Right-wing Obama-hater Joe Ricketts. You can bet he hates Obamacare too. Until the Cubs make someone available who isn't a paid propagandist with no direct knowledge of the situation, draw your own conclusions.

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And then there's Pete Ricketts, Joe's son and Tom's brother. He wants to Stop Obamacare. Bad.

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Obviously I'm no fan of Obama or Obamacare either, but I get the feeling that's not for the same reasons as the Rickettses.

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And the Rickettses are entitled to their view. And they are entitled to use Wrigley Field for Republican fundraisers.

But they aren't entitled to endanger their employees, even if those employees are multimillionaires. And they especially aren't entitled to lie about it. If Wittenmyer truly got the story wrong, prove it and demand a retraction. But don't try to spin it away.

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The Week In Review: The Cubs beat the Mets to start out the week, completing a four-game split, then split four games with the Giants (including the resumption of the Tarpgate game), and ended the week sweeping the Orioles. It was exhausting.

The Week In Preview: In Cincinnati for three, and in St. Louis for four. Hackneyed and unimaginative storylines will include how each franchise is a model for the Cubs, and how the Cubs can somehow get some satisfaction out of playing spoiler. It will be exhausting.

Wrigley Is 100 Celebration: Javy Baez will bat .100 while hitting 100 homers the rest of the way.

Mad Merch: Free grounds crew uniforms to the first 15 fans through the gates to any home game the rest of the way - benefits not included.

Prospects Are Suspects: Matt Szczur auditioning to be a major-league platoon player.

New Dale: Rick Renteria: Savor These Spoiler Games.

Laughable Headline Of The Week: I think we just did it.

Kubs Kulture: I think we just did it.

Billy Cub vs. Clark Cub: John Groce Meets Clark The Cub.

Advantage: Billy.

The Junior Lake Show: Crushed his first Triple-A homer of the season.

September 1 can't come fast enough!

Mustache Wisdom: Podcast: Villanueva Spells Cubs' Names.

Not backwards, though.

Ameritrade Stock Pick of the Week: Spoilers were trading slightly higher on car markets this week.

Jumbotron Preview: 5,700 square-feet of part-time players who don't qualify for health insurance.

Kubs Kalender: Wait 'til next year 2016 2017 2018 2019 2020 2021.

Over/Under: Number of members on the grounds crew next season: +/- 15.

Beachwood Sabermetrics: A complex algorithm performed by The Cub Factor staff using all historical data made available by Major League Baseball has determined that wins down the stretch will be overvalued by Kool-Aid drinkers.

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Hashtag Cubs

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

The White Sox Report: Schooled By JRW.

The Beachwood Radio Sports Hour: Bearsgate vs. Tarpgate.

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 1:13 AM | Permalink

Chicagoetry: Sphinx Of Procopius

SPHINX OF PROCOPIUS

An electric butterfly
with blue glass wings

circles the head
of this glass sphinx.

Legend alleges
the brothers of Procopius Abbey -

now Illinois Benedictine University
In Lisle -

machined this idol
for a secret cemetery

reserved for the pious.
The land is lush with old growth,

hilly, like the moraines
of southern Wisconsin.

So the brethren machined
this idol, this glass sphinx,

and its eyes
light the cemetery at night.

Its paws are poised
upon a blood-red harmonium

and if you throw a diamond over your shoulder,
the harmonium begins to play:

fugues, laments, arias, odes,
a melody for each diamond. Then

it goes silent
but for the faintly discernible

hum of
electric butterfly wings.

The butterfly
is deathless, dive-bombing for diamonds,

blue wings
throwing blue shadows

across the graves.

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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 12:16 AM | Permalink

Local Book Notes: Outlaws And Angry Cores

1. Angry Core, Slow Burn.

"Finally, more than 10 years after Dela Pava began writing his novel, a publishing insider got in touch. Levi Stahl was publicity manager at University of Chicago Press. In 2010 he was also, in his spare time, poetry reviews editor at the Quarterly Conversation, an online literary magazine. Stahl got hold of A Naked Singularity after it was flagged up by a contributor, and was impressed," Susanna Rustin writes for the Guardian.

"He took it to an editor who agreed that although, as an academic publisher, University of Chicago does not publish new fiction, it should make an offer for this book.

"In 2012 De La Pava's slow-burn, word-of-mouth novel won the PEN/Robert W Bingham prize for the best debut novel of the year.

"In 2013 University of Chicago published De La Pava's follow-up, the fragmentary and experimental Personae, much of which is made up of the imaginative writings of a character who has died alone, aged 111, in his Manhattan flat."

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This is a pretty remarkable story, though not entirely new; click through and read the whole thing.

2. Danny Lyon's Chicago Outlaws.

"First released in 1968, a year before Easy Rider, Danny Lyon's seminal photo-book The Bikeriders' ushered in a new kind of photographic reportage and created a space for the diaristic work of Larry Clark and Nan Goldin some years later," Kerim Aytac writes for ArtLyst.

"Raised a respectable middle-class young man, Danny Lyon decided to join the Chicago Outlaws Motorcycle Club in 1963, only 23 years old. He would spend the next four years documenting the lives and loves of this group of outlaws on the fringes of American society.

"Lyon soon after became a Magnum photographer, but was rarely as intimate (at least from what I've seen) with a subject or story as he was here. He became the subject. The exhibition at Atlas gallery presents 40 or so of the photographs, framed and matted in the classic style that would befit silver work of this vintage, but not the immediacy and engagement of the images themselves. Many of the photographs are taken from moving motorcycle, with the subjects either hunched over in speed, or peering back as if trying to outrun conformity itself."

3. Northwestern vs. Barrett.

"A Northwestern University employee assigned to write a book about the notorious 1924 murder of a 14-year-old boy by two University of Chicago law students is being sued by the school for taking restricted files," the Sun-Times reported last month.

"Nina Barrett was assigned to write a book on Nathan Leopold and Richard Loeb - two wealthy students who murdered Bobby Franks in Chicago's Kenwood neighborhood, according to the lawsuit filed Tuesday in U.S. District Court.

"The north suburban university hired Barrett to write the book in 2009 after she curated a successful exhibit about the murder for the school. She left the school in December 2013 and did not return any of her files or research materials, according to the suit."

Barrett would not comment on the suit.

4. Walk This Way.

"Matthew Algeo's Pedestrianism: When Watching People Walk Was America's Favorite Spectator Sport (Chicago Review) is one of those books which open up a forgotten world so fully that at first the reader wonders, just a little, if his leg is being pulled," Adam Gopnik writes for the New Yorker.

"How could there be an account this elaborate - illustrated with sober handbills, blaring headlines, starchy portrait photographs, and racy newspaper cartoons - of an enthusiasm this unknown? But it all happened. For several decades in the later nineteenth century, the favorite spectator sport in America was watching people walk in circles inside big buildings."

5. #Ferguson.

"The ratchet [also] contributes to an exaggerated general perception in the public imagination and among police officers of an association between being African American and being a criminal."

6. Integration Engineer.

"In June, [TJ] Jarrett had poems published in Poetry Magazine and The Virginia Quarterly Review," Win Bassett writes for the Atlantic.

"In approximately three months, her second poetry collection, Zion (winner of the Crab Orchard Open Competition in 2013), will be published by Southern Illinois University Press. She's managed to accomplish all of this while also serving as a senior poetry editor of Tupelo Quarterly - and while working as a Senior Integration Engineer at HealthTrust in Nashville."

Click through for the Q&A on how that works.

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 12:11 AM | Permalink

August 26, 2014

The [Tuesday] Papers

Must attend to pressing matters today. The Beachwood will return in full tomorrow.

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BeachBook
* Hedge Funds Gave Mugabe $100M For Genocide, Got Platinum Mines In Return.

* Poor Are Still Rare At Elite Colleges.

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TweetWood

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Programming Note
You can always catch up with past Papers here.

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Time Transfixed Hercules

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The Beachwood Tip Line: Trans.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 8:09 AM | Permalink

August 25, 2014

The [Monday] Papers

"In early 2011, as the Chicago Police Department began re-investigating a homicide involving a nephew of Mayor Richard M. Daley, a high-ranking cop had a secret meeting with the retired detective who didn't solve the case seven years earlier, according to records obtained by the Chicago Sun-Times."

The conspiracy continues to unravel.

"The records show the meeting between Lt. Denis P. Walsh, a homicide case supervisor, and retired Det. Ronald E. Yawger took place in January 2011 - the same month Walsh reported Yawger's original file on the David Koschman case was missing.

"Months later, that missing file ended up in a safe inside Walsh's Northwest Side bungalow, the Sun-Times has reported."

I believe the inference here is that Yawger told Walsh to stash the file. Or perhaps asked Walsh if he still had the file stashed.

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"There's no record of the meeting in police files that have been released on the Koschman case. Nor is there any mention of the meeting in the 162-page report released in February by special prosecutor Dan K. Webb on Koschman's death and two police investigations that found no cause to charge Daley nephew Richard J. 'R.J.' Vanecko, who pleaded guilty early this year to involuntary manslaughter. Webb wrote that Walsh and Yawger had exchanged calls and text messages over several months and then met at a North Side police station in June 2011.

"The revelation about the Walsh-Yawger meeting in January 2011 is buried in one of 900 e-mails on the Koschman case released to the Sun-Times by Cook County State's Attorney Anita Alvarez's office under the Illinois Freedom of Information Act."

Maybe they should have met at the Pepper Canister.

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"Alvarez received the e-mail from the staff of city of Chicago Inspector General Joseph Ferguson on Oct. 28, 2011, when their offices were reviewing the case prior to Webb's appointment. It contains a list of witnesses compiled by the inspector general's office.

"According to Ferguson's witness list, 'Yawger told IGO during interview that in January 2011, Walsh came to see him about the re-investigation.'

"Nothing else is noted about the meeting, including where or the date it took place, what was discussed or why the two men met in person."

Maybe it was at the Pepper Canister, then.

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"Asked about the meeting during a brief phone interview last week, Yawger - who retired with a pension from the police department in 2007 and now works as an investigator for Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan - said, 'I have no idea what you're talking about.'"

Wait - Yawger works for Lisa Madigan now?

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"The Walsh-Yawger meeting has come to light as the two cops are facing a federal civil rights lawsuit filed by Koschman's mother Nanci Koschman that accuses them and others of engaging in an 'official cover-up' and conspiring for more than a decade to keep Vanecko from being charged."

So, wholly relevant.

"Also named in the suit are 18 other current or former members of the police department including former Supts. Phil Cline and Jody Weis, Cook County prosecutors including Alvarez and former State's Attorney Richard Devine and unnamed Daley family members."

Yay! Now here's the bad news:

"City Hall has hired four law firms to fight the lawsuit, one of them hired solely to defend Walsh."

That's right - you and I are paying for the defense of the guy who has no idea what we're talking about and the guy whose safe the missing file was found in.

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"Walsh is among six current Chicago cops Webb considered charging with crimes over their handling of the second investigation in early 2011.

"But Webb decided he didn't have enough evidence under Illinois law to convict the six cops, including two officers he found had fabricated statements in police reports to portray Koschman as the aggressor during a drunken confrontation with Daley's nephew on Division Street near Dearborn in April 2004."

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Go read the rest for more on the most missing file ever - until it wasn't.

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The Beachwood Radio Hour #20
The Murder Mayor, The Goofball Governor & The Twinkie As Metaphor For America.

Plus: CPS creates scary hovels out of safe havens; Judy Baar Topinka, God's Special Creature; and Ferguson vs. Chicago - The Outrage Is In Your Face.

Schooled By JRW
In The White Sox Report.

The Cub Factor
Will appear on Tuesday.

SportsMonday: Shell-Shocked
Sorry, Bears fans, the road to the Super Bowl goes through Century Link Field.

Beachwood Sports Radio
Bearsgate vs. Tarpgate.

The Weekend In Chicago Rock
Featuring: DakhaBrakha, Flesh Panthers, My My My, The Brothers Gross, Zero Boys, Mickey, Midnight, La Armada, The Walking Shadows, Röyksopp & Robyn, Heavy Times, The Rubs, X_X, Home & Garden, MC Frontalot, Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers, Steve Winwood, Tesla the Band, Passenger, Feed Me, Marco Antonio Solis, Train, and HEMI.

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BeachBook
* This Awkward Report From The Urbana Sweetcorn Fest Is Full Of Lies.

Including the reporter faking eating the corn!

* The Mekons In Strathpeffer.

Playing a house party with Robbie Fulks.

* Mapping The Spread Of The Military's Surplus Gear.

FYI, Cook County has three mine-resistant vehicles.

* Beckham Excited For 'Clean Slate' With Angels.

"There was a lot of scrutiny on me in Chicago."

* Thousands Gather In Staten Island To Protest Death Of Eric Garner.

It's not just Ferguson.

* Former Sun-Times Sportswriter's Hard-To-Believe Journey To Hollywood.

Take me with you!

* MUST-READ | Fukuyama: The Sources Of American Political Dysfunction.

"[I]nstitutions create favored classes of insiders who develop a stake in the status quo and resist pressures to reform.

"In theory, democracy, and particularly the Madisonian version of democracy that was enshrined in the U.S. Constitution, should mitigate the problem of such insider capture by preventing the emergence of a dominant faction or elite that can use its political power to tyrannize over the country. It does so by spreading power among a series of competing branches of government and allowing for competition among different interests across a large and diverse country.

"But Madisonian democracy frequently fails to perform as advertised. Elite insiders typically have superior access to power and information, which they use to protect their interests."

* Woman To Share Lottery Prize With Humboldt Park Homeless.

$500,000.

* NSA Employees Routinely Pass Around Intercepted Nude Photos.

I'm making one for them right now.

* Near-Record Michigan Apple Harvest Forecast.

How near?

* FBI Scuttles Contested $500 Million, No-Bid Deal With Motorola.

"Illinois-based Motorola commands an estimated 80 percent of the U.S. public safety market. In a series of articles published in late March, McClatchy detailed how Motorola has dominated the industry for decades, building deep loyalty among law enforcement and firefighting agencies and benefiting from biased contract specifications and other forms of favoritism from contracting officials."

* Horse Named After Jonathan Toews Finishes Fourth At Saratoga.

Captain Serious had been the 7-5 favorite.

* How Konami Got The Simpsons Arcade Game Right.

"[D]evelopment began in February 1990, and after a successful trial in Chicago, it was rolled out in American arcades on March 12th 1991."

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The Beachwood Tip Line: Welp.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 11:14 AM | Permalink

SportsMonday: Shell-Shocked

It still didn't matter. Let's be clear about that.

No matter what happened in Seattle late last week, the mantra remains the same: Preseason games do, not, matter.

Of course in this case, saying it makes a Bears fan feel like a sucker. And that's because their team could not possibly have made a bigger fool of itself than it did in the 34-6 loss to the Seahawks that could have been 60-something to whatever.

So it was a terrible game and watching it was a terrible waste of time. But that doesn't mean the coming regular season will be terrible for the Bears. And there are several factors to consider regarding last week's' game that were utterly outside the Bears' control. Even those who absolutely refuse to downplay the importance of exhibition games have to acknowledge that:

* Seattle coach Pete Carroll cares more about preseason games than any other coach in the NFL. It was mentioned on the broadcast that Carroll's team has lost only one preseason game during his most recent run at the helm and a quick check shows the Seahawks went 4-0 in the preseason in 2012, 4-0 in 2013 and are 2-1 so far this time around.

(Quick side note - if people want to prove they are degenerate gamblers, the way to do it is to wager on preseason football games. But if you don't care about how the outside world perceives you, then by all means get some money down on Seattle in the final week of the exhibition season. Yes, at this point Seattle is favored by far more in these games than the usual three points or less point-spread that is out there on the average preseason game. But the spread wasn't 28 last week.)

* Right now the Seahawks might have the biggest home-field advantage in all of sports in all the world. They designed that goofy looking Century Link Field they call home to amplify the noise beyond anything previously experienced, and it is working. What I will remember most about last week's game was the first half of the third quarter. The Seahawks led by four-plus scores in a meaningless exhibition game and at least a portion of the fans were still up and screaming and the backup Bear offense couldn't handle it. Jordan Palmer earned not one but two delay-of-game penalties. It is a killer for Palmer because apparently that was the end of his shot at the back-up quarterback job. But I suppose that's just the way it goes in the brutal NFL.

At this point, teams only have a chance against the Seahawks in Seattle if they score early and discourage the crowd at least a little bit. That's why if we could go back and change one thing about that game, it would have been the pass from Jay Cutler to Alshon Jeffery at the end of the Bears' first possession. Of course, if Jeffery hadn't been so weak with a touchdown pass that was right there in his giant hands before he allowed it to be ripped out by the Seahawk DB, the Bears still would have only been tied 7-7 with the home team. And the way their defense was playing, it didn't matter what the offense did. But it would have been fascinating to see if the crowd noise would have been diminished at least a little.

* The Seahawks have a massive advantage right now in terms of the salary cap - Russell Wilson is still in only his third year of his rookie contract. He makes a tiny, tiny fraction of the dollars that his peers in the really good NFL quarterback club make. Hell, he makes a tiny, tiny fraction of the dollars the quarterbacks make in the mediocre quarterbacks club (sorry Jay, but you're still in there along with Andy Dalton and the rest - lead the team to a winning record this year and then you can get back to me). And that enables the Seahawks to spend big on all sorts of players at just about all other positions.

When it comes time to pay Wilson (the rookie deal runs out at the end of the season after this one), especially if he leads the Seahawks to another great season this year and/or next, you do have to wonder, how much will be enough? His agent will come into that negotiation believing his still quite young client is worth far more than any other player in the league. It will be fascinating to watch.

Despite all these happy tidings for Seahawk fans, there is one thing that has to give them at least a little indigestion: Carroll is on a ridiculous roll right now that will not last forever. If he keeps doing incredibly stupid things like having Wilson come out to play more quarterback in the second half last week despite a 31-0 lead, he will pay a price in terms of a player suffering a critical injury when he never should have been on the field. That is just a fact.

Still, if you haven't deduced it by now, my pick for the coming season's Super Bowl is for the Seahawks to pull off the ever-more rare re-peat. I suppose I should add in a line with the usual reservations, i.e., "teams almost never repeat anymore . . . negative stuff is sure to come up, blah, blah, blah." But the Seahawks have way more talent than everyone else and they have an elite quarterback and an elite defense.

Sorry, shell-shocked Bears fans, but the road to a championship goes through Century Link Field.

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

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 10:35 AM | Permalink

The Weekend In Chicago Rock

You shoulda been there.

1. Dakha Brakha at Mayne Stage on Sunday night.


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2. Flesh Panthers at Cobra Lounge on Friday night.

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3. My My My at the Abbey on Thursday night.

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4. Zero Boys at Cobra Lounge on Friday night.

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5. The Brothers Gross at Cobra Lounge on Friday night.

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6. Mickey at Bottom Lounge on Saturday night.

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7. Midnight at Beat Kitchen on Saturday night.

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8. La Armada at the Concord last Wednesday night.

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9. The Walking Shadows at the Elbo Room last Wednesday night.

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10. Röyksopp and Robyn at Millennium Park on Sunday night.

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11. Heavy Times at Bottom Lounge on Saturday night.

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12. The Rubs at Bottom Lounge on Saturday night.

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13. X_X at the Empty Bottle on Thursday night.

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14. Home & Garden at the Empty Bottle on Thursday night.

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15. MC Frontalot at Subterranean on Thursday night.

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16. Tom Petty on the West Side on Saturday night.

Elbel: Petty Rewards Chicago Audience Participation.

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17. Tesla at House of Blues on Saturday night.

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18. Passenger at the Vic on Friday night.

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19. Steve Winwood on the West Side on Saturday night.

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20. Marco Antonio Solis in Rosemont on Saturday night.

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21. Feed Me at the Aragon on Saturday night.

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22. Train at Ravinia on Friday night.

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23. HEMI at Quenchers on Thursday night.

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 8:07 AM | Permalink

Schooled By JRW

Sitting at a crowded restaurant in the middle of Evanston Sunday night were two well-dressed octogenarian ladies at the table next to us. Midway through the meal, one leaned over and asked, "Do you know how the Chicago Little Leaguers did today?"

"They got beat 8-4," I told her, "but they made a nice comeback in the last inning when they scored three runs."

"Too bad," she said, "but they still did okay."

They did even better than that, otherwise the lady wouldn't have been asking. Had we been dining at adjoining tables, say, last June during the Stanley Cup playoffs, no way would she have asked for a Blackhawks score. Nor would she have inquired about the Bulls even in their '90s heyday. And absolutely no one - not old ladies, old men, Generation Xers, or Millennials - is asking these days about the Sox and Cubs.

The breadth and scope of the grip that the 11- and 12-year-olds of Jackie Robinson West Little League held on the city had a different feel than any other bandwagon, finger-waving, we're-number-one experience of past Stanley Cup, World Series, NBA or Super Bowl championship seasons.

No windows were smashed Saturday night after the team beat a talented group from Las Vegas to win the USA title. No cars were torched. Police on horseback didn't have to wade into drunken 20-somethings. Guns weren't shot into the air. No arrests were reported.

Surely there were far more people in Grant Park in November 2008 to celebrate Barack Obama's meteoric rise to the presidency than there will be Wednesday for the Little Leaguers' parade. But there also were a few million disgruntled McCain voters at home that evening with their TVs turned off.

If you find anyone in your neighborhood who was rooting for Las Vegas or South Korea, then you have discovered the village idiot.

The 13 kids from the South Side became overnight heroes featured on the front pages of newspapers. Editors designed photo layouts usually reserved for the likes of Kane, Toews, Cutler, Noah and D-Rose. Local and national newscasts often led off with images of yet another JRW victory. ESPN and ABC televised every pitch.

We tend to have a fascination with kids, especially ones like these who are so foreign to many of us. If you live in a neighborhood where there aren't any black kids and your experience includes no contact with them, you're stuck with images of violence, guns and death.

Sure, there are stories about schools where minority students all graduate and go on to college. There is news coverage about kids of color who excel in music or science, and, for sure, in sports. But a name like 15-year-old Hadiya Pendleton, shot to death last year after attending Obama's inauguration, is the one many people recognize.

So along comes Pierce Jones and his three home runs in JRW's first game in Williamsport. The shortstop Ed Howard displayed a range and arm of someone targeted as a high draft choice. Brandon Green not only has fine skills as a catcher, but he took the mound Sunday and held the hard-hitting South Koreans in check for most of the game.

While Dayan Viciedo was botching a fly ball in Yankee Stadium on Sunday, leading to four unearned runs in the White Sox sixth straight loss, D.J. Butler was flagging down a blast at the centerfield fence, reaching with his right hand to feel for the wall, and hauling in the drive with his glove.

Perhaps the youngsters impressed observers as much by their demeanor and behavior as they did with their athletic talents. Are we to believe that kids from Englewood, Woodlawn, Bronzeville or South Shore, who went to now-shuttered schools or whose present schools rank near the bottom for standardized test scores, don't have poise, humility, or a sense of how to act?

A significant aspect of the appeal of these kids and the interest they generated was a result of how they conducted themselves. They weren't cocky, rude or poor sports. On the other hand, they didn't come across as programmed young people constantly reminded by adults of proper manners and decorum. Despite their notoriety, there was no boasting, chest-pounding or conceit. They came off as kids having fun, enjoying a once-in-a-lifetime experience who respected the moment and the hard work and effort it took them to gain their place in the spotlight.

"I don't like losing," said first baseman Trey Hondras, reflecting on a earlier 13-2 loss to Las Vegas. "It's like a girl dumping you and going to your best friend. So, I mean, it really hurt. We had to keep going forward."

Not bad for a kid on national TV who had just slammed a home run to get JRW rolling against Las Vegas in the rematch. He was spontaneous, candid, and, well, cute. Trey and his mates gave us a chance to see who these kids really are. And they're not much different than decent kids anywhere, although their talent as baseball players is pretty damn special.

It might behoove the White Sox, who were swept three games at The Cell by Baltimore before dropping three over the weekend in New York, to notice how these Little Leaguers hit the cutoff man, lay down bunts, and run the bases. They did make mistakes, but it was evident that the kids were well-coached in the nuances of the game.

The Little Leaguers knew that when you're on second base you don't run on a ball hit in front of you, a mistake Sox baserunners have made too many times the past two seasons. For a team that has problems moving runners and scoring runs, it would be nice to see Robin Ventura's athletes bunt once in a while. This is a skill that JRW coach Darold Butler obviously teaches.

The kids run out every ball full speed. Okay, they don't play 162 games a season, but they're not making millions of bucks either. Adam Eaton hustles on every ground ball, but he has been cautioned to pace himself. Maybe that's the right approach in light of Eaton's two stints on the disabled list. However, as a fan, you like to see maximum effort. Besides, I doubt if anyone ever told Pete Rose to tone it down.

The Chicago kids capitalized on their speed, taking the extra base and turning singles into doubles. Sunday's game against South Korea was somewhat ironic because the Korean kids stung the local guys with their speed on a number of occasions. For instance, with runners on first and second, Chicago catcher Joshua Houston fired a pickoff throw to first, and the runner at second immediately took off and easily stole third.

The White Sox are transitioning into a team with more speed than the previous few seasons. Alexei Ramirez is running more, and Eaton can fly. Gordon Beckham has departed for Anaheim, and his replacement - whether it's Carlos Sanchez, Micah Johnson or Marcus Semien - will provide more speed than Gordon possessed. If Moises Sierra and/or Leury Garcia are around next season, they will be an uptick in team speed. Paul Konerko is retiring, and Adam Dunn won't be re-signed. Each would have a hard time beating little D.J. Butler in a foot race.

Of course, this all is conjecture about the future of the White Sox on the South Side. For now, the South Siders are not the team struggling to avoid last place in the Central Division. It's the group who reminded us how much fun we all can share from seeing a bunch of young kids play a game with enthusiasm, skill and dedication while competing with class and a love of the game.

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

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 7:08 AM | Permalink

August 23, 2014

The Beachwood Radio Hour #20: The Murder Mayor, The Goofball Governor & The Twinkie As Metaphor For America

Plus: CPS creates scary hovels out of safe havens; Judy Baar Topinka, God's Special Creature; and Ferguson vs. Chicago - The Outrage Is In Your Face.


SHOW NOTES

:00: Strawberry Rock Show.

1:18: The Clean at Lincoln Hall on Monday night.

2:58: The [Monday] Papers.

* CPS creates scary hovels out of safe havens.

* Walter Burnett Jr., everybody.

11:38: Boogarins at Lincoln Hall on Monday night.

13:14: Judy Baar Topinka, God's Special Creature.

17:19: Jacco Gardner at the Empty Bottle on Monday night.

18:25: The Murder Mayor.

30:36: Spider Bags at the Hideout on Thursday night.

31:36: As the Twinkie goes, so goes America.

* The donut, cigarette and beer union.

* Twinkies from the hood, y'all.

43:15: The Flesh Panthers at the Hideout on Thursday night.

43:59: The Goofball Governor.

* Bruce Rauner wears Wranglers.

50:09: Anders Osborne at Thalia Hall on Friday night.

52:10: Ferguson vs. Chicago - The Outrage Is In Your Face.

* Check yourself, Kass.

1:00:44: Santana and Rod Stewart in Rosemont last Saturday night.

STOPPAGE TIME: 3:38.

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More: The Beachwood Radio Network.

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 2:38 PM | Permalink

The Beachwood Radio Sports Hour #14: Bearsgate vs. Tarpgate

Only Chris Conte could get a concussion while missing the tackle. Plus: Cubs waiting for shovels to go on sale, Coach K does Bulls a solid, Gordon Beckham's four-year slump finally catches up to him, the Blackhawk who got away, this week in the Sky, and Jackie Robinson West.


SHOW NOTES

:40: Bearsgate.

* Bears Starters No Match For Seahawks In 34-6 Loss.

* The world is not ending, though.

* We haven't seen the scheme yet.

* Willie Young sack.

* Only Chris Conte could get a concussion as he was missing the tackle.

* No tougher place to play. Built to intimidate.

* Clausen, Palmer Turn In Lackluster Nights.

* Josh Morgan vs. Santonio Holmes.

16:28: Tarpgate.

* Ricketts is the clown now and that's why the Cubs are still cursed.

* The Cubs are the most profitable franchise in Major League Baseball, with the fourth-highest revenues in the third-largest market with an international brand. And they're doing it on the cheap.

* Is that a mechanical failure in your tarp or are you just happy to see me?

* Red Sox Sign Cuban Outfielder Rusney Castillo.

* Cubs waiting for shovels to go on sale.

* Orioles A Good Model For Cubs Development Plan.

Baltimore joins long list of franchises named as Cubs model, including Boston, St. Louis, Oakland, Kansas City, Houston, Pittsburgh, Cincinnati, Tampa Bay, Washington . . . is there a team that couldn't be a model? Yes: The Yankees. See also: Dodgers, Angels.

The Cubs are no longer looking for a model - they are three years in to Theo's Plan!

36:50: The White Sox: Borrring.

* Bye Bye Beckham.

Was in a four-year slump.

39:26: Coach K Doing Derrick Rose, Bulls A Solid.

* Despite Injury Rehab, Gets Spot On Team USA Roster.

42:33: Blackhawks Fail To Sign No. 1 Pick; Nobody Cares.

45:42: Chicago Sky Win First Playoff Game In Franchise History.

46:36: Jackie Robinson West Seeks Revenge.

* To be followed by the world championship on Sunday. One game only.

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More: The Beachwood Radio Network.

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 10:34 AM | Permalink

The Weekend Desk Report

The weather forecast this weekend is typically blustery and depressed for this time of year.

Market Update
In this time of good fortune, may we all be more nuanced in the way we assess our remaining slack.

Travel League
Do you suppose the parade route for these incredibly high-achieving kids will pass a single Level 1 public school? Or will Rahm just force them to travel north like usual?

Kid Tease
Or maybe the city will announce a parade and then cancel it when it's too late to make other plans?

Vitale Signs
Of course, it's pretty easy to avoid this kind of embarrassment. Just don't let David Vitale plan the route.

Here's Mud In The Eye Of The Beholder
Finally this week, eight liters a year? That's what most White Sox fans drink just to get through a game.

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The Weekend Desk Tip Line: Litered up.

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The Beachwood Radio Network
* The Beachwood Radio Sports Hour #14: Bearsgate vs. Tarpgate

Only Chris Conte could get a concussion while missing the tackle. Plus: Cubs waiting for shovels to go on sale, Coach K does Bulls a solid, Gordon Beckham's four-year slump finally catches up to him, the Blackhawk who got away, this week in the Sky, and Jackie Robinson West.

* The Beachwood Radio Hour #20: The Murder Mayor, Goofball Governor Goofy & The Twinkie As Metaphor For America.

Plus: CPS creates scary hovels out of safe havens; Judy Baar Topinka, God's Special Creature; and Ferguson vs. Chicago - The Outrage Is In Your Face.

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Chicago vs. Ferguson
The outrage is in your face. In The Week In Juvenile Justice.

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The Sound Opinions Weekend Listening Report: "Get out your skinny ties and don your best Flock of Seagulls hairdo. Jim and Greg celebrate Duran Duran, a-ha and the best of 1980's New Wave with Mad World author Lori Majewski. Then, Jim and Greg review the latest album from iconic singer-songwriter Sinead O'Connor."

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BeachBook
* Picture Clearing On Red-Light Cameras.

From the Asbury Park Press.

* Court Revives Suit Over Coffee Pod 'Knockoffs.'

Defendant is Oak Brook-based TreeHouse.

* Baseball Fan Dies While Touring Stadiums.

Wrigley Field was his last stop.

* How Cincinnati Came To Borrow American Gothic From Chicago.

They asked.

* Navy Discharges Sailor Of 12 Years Because Of Her Hair.

Never a problem until she got to Great Lakes.

* Russia Hits McDonald's.

Cold War really back on.

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Posted by Natasha Julius at 8:04 AM | Permalink

August 22, 2014

The Week In Chicago Rock

You shoulda been there.

1. The Clean at Lincoln Hall on Monday night.

Loerzel: "The Clean's concert on Monday, Aug. 18, at Lincoln Hall was one of those shows that leave you scratching your head and asking: What just happened? The legendary New Zealand band doesn't come around all that often - the last time was a show at the Bottom Lounge in 2010 - so any appearance they make in Chicago is an event."

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2. Boogarins at Lincoln Hall on Monday night.

Loerzel: "The opening band Monday at Lincoln Hall was the wonderful psychedelic Brazilian outfit called Boogarins. Given the fact that they're from Brazil and sing in Portuguese, they are bound to remind you of the late '60s Tropicalia movement, but singer-guitarist Benke Ferraz told the Chicago Tribune's Greg Kot that music of Pink Floyd's Syd Barrett was an even bigger influence on Boogarins. All of that was audible as Boogarins dug into its colorful rock symphonies on Monday night."

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3. Jacco Gardner at the Empty Bottle on Monday night.

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4. David Gray on Northerly Island on Monday night.

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5. Supersuckers at Reggies on Sunday night.

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6. Beres Hammond at the Shrine on Tuesday night.

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7. Bobaflex at the Double Door on Tuesday night.

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 7:21 AM | Permalink

Beachwood Photo Booth: Fill In The Blank

Urban meme generator.

billboardoverhouse2.jpg(ENLARGE FOR PROPER VIEWING)

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More Chicago photography from Helene Smith.

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Helene on Twitter!

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Meet Helene!

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Stationery, iPhone cases, hoodies.

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

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Previously:
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Chicago Man Grilling
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Yum Yum Donuts
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Chicago Father's Day
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Vintage Airmaster
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Chicago Time
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Window Shade
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Illinois Slayer
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Chicago Fire Escape
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Golden Nugget
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Hollywood, Chicago
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Flag Man.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Van In Flames.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Fluid Power Automation.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Corn Dog.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Stop The Killing Car.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Chicago Backyard.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: A to Z Things.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Swedish Diner.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Rothschild Liquors.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Chicago Silos.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Chicago Wires.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Orange Garden.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Irving Park Guy.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Chicago Pigeons.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: O'Lanagan's.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: For Rent.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Marie's Pizza & Liquors.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Mori Milk.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: American Breakfast.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: A Chicago Christmas Postcard.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Holiday Harold's.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Chicago Family Fun.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Snow Bike.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Nativity Scene.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Old Warsaw.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Deluxe Cleaners.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Marie's Golden Cue.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Die Another Day.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Sears Key Shop.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Window Dressing.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Jeri's Grill.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Barry's Drugs.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Liberty.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Chicago Kitchen.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Golden Specials.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: We Won The Cup.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Bartender Man.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Blue Plane Blues.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Finest Quality.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Family Guy.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Girls Wanted.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Skokie Savanna.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Signpost.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Old Man And The Tree.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Street Fleet.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Citgo Story.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Fantasy Hair Design.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Chicago Garage.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Clark Stop.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Pole Position.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Window Dressing.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Chicago Geometry.
* Beachwood Photo Booth: Found Love.

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 7:00 AM | Permalink

The [Friday] Papers

"Gov. Pat Quinn failed to rein in patronage abuses at the state transportation agency after replacing now-imprisoned Rod Blagojevich, and Quinn's directors repeatedly hired politically connected workers in violation of the rules, the state's top ethics investigator found," the Tribune reports.

"Hundreds of people were hired into a special 'staff assistant' position without having to go through strict personnel procedures under rules designed to keep politics out of most state hiring, according to a confidential report by Executive Inspector General Ricardo Meza obtained by the Tribune."

I wonder if Bruce Rauner will wear his Wranglers to his inauguration.

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"The duration and pervasiveness of IDOT's improper acts have undoubtedly denied countless qualified candidates the opportunity to lawfully obtain state employment on the basis of merit," the report said.

It would be like if a qualified candidate was denied admission to an elite high school because someone else's daddy clouted in his kid instead. Only on a larger scale.

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"One of the transportation secretaries named in the report, Ann Schneider, resigned this summer following disclosures that her stepdaughter secured an IDOT job while she held a high-ranking agency post."

There's never an egg-timer around when you need one.

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"Schneider and predecessor Gary Hannig, also a Quinn appointee, both told investigators they were unaware that their agency was systematically going around hiring rules designed to keep politics out of most hiring decisions, and both said they didn't have full knowledge of the rules, the report said."

Oh, the Daley defense. Later they'll simply not even remember working there.

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Look, anyone who isn't familiar with the rules of hiring in government jobs in this state and city - or who doesn't take the time to familiarize themselves - is either incompetent or just awoke from a lifelong coma.

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"Meza found no evidence that Quinn's office knew about the abuses and further noted that investigators could not demonstrate 'any clear intent' by transportation officials to circumvent the so-called Rutan hiring rules that ban political considerations in most personnel matters.

"But the report found that IDOT officials under Quinn repeatedly used the 'special assistant' position to hire relatives and allies of politicians - from top Democratic leaders of the state General Assembly to county Democratic chairmen, from Chicago aldermen to members of Congress."

Who's being naive now, Meza?

Mirror, Mirror
"Rauner, Quinn Tag Each Other As Phony On Term Limits."

Finally, both candidates tell the truth.

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The Week In Juvenile Justice
The outrage is in your face.

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The Beachwood Radio Network
Weekend podcasts are almost in production!

Beachwood Photo Booth: Fill In The Blank
Urban meme generator.

The Week In Chicago Rock
Featuring: The Clean, the Boogarins, Jacco Gardner, David Gray, the Supersuckers, Beres Hammond, and Bobaflex.

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BeachBook
* Manhattan Project Had More Than 1,500 Leaks.

* SNL Secrets: Hillary, Palin & The Sketch Obama Killed.

* Obama Violated The Law By Not Informing Congress Of Prisoner Swap.

And not for the first time. Nobody cares.

* Top Aide To Michigan Governor Claimed Two Home Tax Exemptions - One In Cook County.

* Redflex Lobbying Baltimore For Traffic Camera Contract.

LOL.

* CNN Falsely Calls Ferguson's Captain Johnson A Gang Member For Fraternity Sign.

This is CNN.

* Judge Gives Illinois Man 5 Years For Throwing Courtroom Chair.

That must've been some chair.

* Bank of America's $16 Billion Mortgage Settlement Less Painful Than It Looks.

"The American public is expecting the Justice Department to hold the banks accountable for its misdeeds in the mortgage meltdown," said Phineas Baxandall, an analyst with the U.S. Public Interest Research Group, a consumer advocacy organization. "But these tax write-offs shift the burden back onto taxpayers and send the wrong message by treating parts of the settlement as an ordinary business expense."

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TweetWood

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The Beachwood Tip Line: Be careful out there.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 12:44 AM | Permalink

August 21, 2014

The [Thursday] Papers

"Hostess Brands said Wednesday it will close its Schiller Park bakery, where Twinkies and other iconic sweets have been produced for 84 years, affecting about 400 employees," the Tribune reports.

"Union officials said they were notified of the closure on the same day they were set to start negotiating a new labor contract. About 280 of the workers had voted to unionize in May."

When I first saw this article, I thought about the times I toured that Twinkie plant, for this Tribune story. And the time I wrote about the Twinkie for the Baltimore Sun. And, earlier in my career, the time I toured the Twinkie-less Hostess plant in Waterloo, Iowa. That story is not online.

And here's something I learned: The jobs that produce iconic products generally aren't iconic in and of themselves. They are jobs - usually as dirty and frustrating and dull as everyone else's jobs. They are jobs that produce some element of magic, thanks in large part to marketing, but jobs nonetheless.

I should've been thinking about the workers, then. I really wasn't until I read today's article.

"Donald Woods, president of the Bakery, Confectionary, Tobacco Workers and Grain Millers International Union Local 1, said he learned about the plant closure when he met with company officials to negotiate a labor agreement.

"We were shocked," Woods said. Union members average about $15 an hour. "It's devastating for them," he said.

"Workers in Indianapolis and Georgia also voted to join the union earlier this year, Woods said. The same union unit that represents workers in Schiller Park also covers workers in Indianapolis and their contracts were both being negotiated at the same time."

Of course, Hostess and its Twinkie aren't what they used to be.

"Hostess re-opened the Illinois facility in July of last year following the snack brands' $410 million purchase by private equity firms Apollo Global Management and C. Dean Metropoulos & Co."

Oh, you mean the dude whose net worth is $1.3 billion?

*

"The famous line of treats was bought out of bankruptcy following the old Hostess' bitter dispute with its main employee union. The old Hostess had 11 plants with a unionized workforce. People hired back by the new Hostess Brands hired back without a union backing."

I can tell you this: I wouldn't want to work in one of those plants without a union. And you wouldn't either.

"Local union President Woods that some workers might be able to get jobs at the Indiana facility, which he says the company is not planning to close, but it's unclear how many positions are available. The union represents about 175 people there.

"Workers on break outside the Schiller Park factory Wednesday afternoon said the company summoned them to meetings Tuesday evening and Wednesday morning to inform them of the closing.

"Those approached by a reporter said they were instructed by the company not to speak to the press and said they were afraid they could lose their jobs before the closure date if they were quoted by name."

Like I said, I wouldn't want to work there without union protection.

"They said they have been working 12-hour days in two shifts."

Like I said, I wouldn't want to work there without union protection.

And now they won't.

*

"Twinkies and other Hostess treats were off store shelves for eight months before the company was revived. During that hiatus, competitors introduced knock-offs that appear to be hurting Twinkie sales.

"Many competitors took over the shelves and are tenaciously defending their business and thus we must be highly efficient and technologically advanced to compete," Hostess Brands CEO Bill Toler said in a statement to the Tribune. "As a result, we have invested in more efficient production capabilities and need to streamline our manufacturing infrastructure and protect our ability to compete."

"Twinkies competitors include Golden Sponge Cake, sold at Jewel-Osco; Little Debbie Cloud Cakes, Wal-Mart's Golden Creme Cakes and Nice! sponge cakes at Walgreens. Compared with the Twinkie's per-cake price of about 68 cents, they're 5 to 50 percent cheaper."

Huh. I find it hard to believe that Twinkie sales are soft because of these discount knockoffs. After all, the Twinkie is the Twinkie. The branding advantage is tremendous. That's a total marketing failure.

Toler's statement was not available to respond to follow-up questions about that.

I bet what consumers have figured out, though, is that the Twinkie these days is pretty crappy. They've been cheaped out.

A winning solution, in my book, would have been to bring the Twinkie back bigger and better than ever. Instead, the private equity strategy was to essentially liquidate their once-golden snack cakes through Big Lots. Makes no nevermind to them; private equity gets their money back first and then runs.

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Fantasy Fix Draft Guide Pt. 3: WRs & TEs
Brandon Marshall vs. Alshon Jeffery vs. Martellus Bennett.

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BeachBook
* Obama's Top Ex-Advisors Cashing In On Fighting Unions.

* Candyland Sues 3 For Use Of 'Chicago Mix' Popcorn Brand.

Including Garrett's.

* How To Start Supporting Entrepreneurship In Overlooked Neighborhoods.

Perhaps a bakery making golden snack cakes?

* U of Illinois Can Expect Presidential Pay To Rise.

* U.S. Military Bans The Intercept.

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TweetWood

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The Beachwood Tip Line: Hook, line and sinker.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 9:09 AM | Permalink

August 20, 2014

Fantasy Fix 2014 Football Draft Guide Part 3: WRs & TEs

With the rise of points-per-reception leagues, WRs have started working their way up the fantasy football player ladder. If you're in a 12-team league, one or two top-ranked pass catchers could be taken in the deep end of the first round.

TEs are another matter. Though the top-ranked TE is a first-round talent and very nearly the best of all options in PPR leagues, fantasy value and reliability falls sharply after the top five at the position.

WR

1) Calvin Johnson, DET: Reports out of Detroit suggest QB Matthew Stafford is doing well with some adjusted throwing mechanics and new offensive schemes, which is even more reason to have faith in Megatron over any other WR - not that we questioned our faith.

2) Demaryius Thomas, DEN: Though Megatron is the clear No. 1 WR, it may not be by much. Thomas is the top weapon of the top fantasy QB, and was the most explosive after-the-catch WR last season among players with more than 65 receptions.

3) Dez Bryant, DAL: And though Thomas is clearly No. 2, Bryant should close the gap this season. He has a strong chance to catch more TDs than anyone else at the position, and should be more of a deep threat this year. Gets double-covered a lot, but he's the clear No. 1 receiver in Dallas, where Tony Romo will be throwing a lot because they'll be behind so much.

4) Brandon Marshall, CHI: Unlike the three guys ahead of him, Marshall wasn't the receiving yardage leader on his own team in 2013, a title that went to Alshon Jeffery, but he has never had fewer than 100 receptions playing with Jay Cutler, and is a solid bet for 12 or more TDs.

5) A.J. Green, CIN: His WR mate Marvin Jones will miss the first several games, which is even more reason Green should get a steady diet of deep passes from QB Andy Dalton. Green's total catches each of the last three years: 65, 97, 98. He'll break into the 100 club this season.

6) Alshon Jeffery, CHI: Monster games appear to be his thing. A few of them last year made his season, and he should only get more consistent. Most obvious stat ready for an upgrade is TDs. He had seven last season, and should get into double digits this year.

7) Julio Jones, ATL: Was on pace for a tremendous season in 2013 before being lost to injury. There could be a question of how quickly he finds his mojo again, but after averaging 116 yards per game before his injury, second among all WRs, he almost seems like a bargain at this ranking.

8) Randall Cobb, GB: Another explosive player lost to injury in the first half of 2013, Cobb should be the No. 1 receiver for the second-best fantasy QB. Given a full slate of games, he could post numbers that put him in the top five by end of season.

9) Antonio Brown, PIT: Underrated deep threat surprised everyone last year by totaling 1,499 yards, second among all WRs. This may have been due to a couple monster games, but he was also second among all WRs in first-down catches, which means the Steelers really trust him.

10) Jordy Nelson, GB: A lot of people will argue it's Nelson and not Cobb who is the No. 1 receiver in Green Bay, though I still get the sense that Nelson benefited in recent seasons from Aaron Rodgers as a star-maker more than his own play-making ability. (Don't tell him I said that.)

11) Larry Fitzgerald, ARI: Almost no one has him ranked this high, but he is still one of the NFL's best WRs, if not in terms of fantasy value. I think his value rebounds this season with QB Carson Palmer and head coach and offensive wizard Bruce Arians becoming comfortable.

12) Keenan Allen, SD: One of the biggest surprises of 2013, Allen was a top target for resurgent QB Philip Rivers, surpassing 1,000 yards receiving on 71 catches. Imagine what he could do with about 20 more receptions. If Rivers is good again, Allen could approach 1,500 yards receiving.

13) Victor Cruz, NYG: Missed a couple games and didn't break 1,000 yards last year, yet his yards per game increased from about 68 to just over 71; remarkable considering the Giants' offensive collapse. Cruz remains a guy who can make his fantasy day on one deep-ball catch.

14) Roddy White, ATL: Atlanta's collapse was as bad as New York's. White missed a few games and, with Julio Jones out, Harry Douglas ended up being the No. 1 WR, but expect ATL to bounce back and bank on Jones and White being the Falcons' answer to Chicago's Marshall-Jeffery.

15) Percy Harvin, SEA: Came alive in the Super Bowl, and reminded us why he seemed like one of the best young WRs a few years ago. Seattle doesn't pass long or often, but with his breakaway speed Harvin can turn a short pass into a long TD, and could even take a few handoffs.

16) Andre Johnson, HOU: Third among all WRs last year with 109 receptions, which sure makes it seem like he hasn't lost his touch, but also had only five TDs. Houston's offense is a bit of a question mark, and he already is nursing a hamstring injury this preseason.

17) Pierre Garcon, WAS: More receptions than any other receiver last year with 113, but stuck with a QB in Robert Griffin III who is inconsistent and doesn't throw long. But if RG3 has a strong year we could be talking about Garcon as a top 10 WR.

18) T.Y. Hilton, IND: He had a great one-third of a season last year after Reggie Wayne went down with a season-ending injury. He also had a habit of missing catchable passes, but managed enough big games that I'm drinking the Kool-Aid, though that's mostly because I believe in QB Andrew Luck.

19) Wes Welker, DEN: The No. 2 weapon of Peyton Manning should probably be ranked higher, but Welker, though reliable, is far removed from from his days as a 100-catch WR for Tom Brady. His main value is as a TD target, which is not a bad thing, especially in Denver, where TDs happen often.

20) Vincent Jackson, TAM: Somehow managed 1,224 yards receiving for a horrible team with QB issues. Consistently among the best WRs, but he'll have his work cut out for him again, Josh McCown notwithstanding.

Sleeper: Reggie Wayne, IND. Okay, so he's too well-known to be much of a sleeper, but I think he's the one WR that most fantasy watchers are ranking outside the top 30 at this position who has the best chance of turning in a top 10 or perhaps top five season. He only played seven games last year before tearing an ACL, and recovery can be a bitch (ask Derrick Rose), but if Indy's offense clicks under Luck this year, Wayne could make the world remember him very quickly, and surpass teammate Hilton.

TE

1) Jimmy Graham, NO: The only question around Graham is when to draft him, and I'm seeing more rankings slotting him seventh or eighth overall than a couple weeks ago.

2) Julius Thomas, DEN: Went from no-name to instant star in Denver's first game last season, and went on to deliver 12 TDs. Looks an awful lot like he's Peyton Manning's No. 2 target overall.

3) Rob Gronkowski, NE: The question, as always, is if he can remain healthy. He had a brilliant half-season in 2013 that would have translated to second-most receptions and yards among all TEs if he had played the whole year.

4) Vernon Davis, SF: His 13 TDs in 2013 was second among TEs to Graham's 16, yet he had only had 52 receptions to Graham's 86. Could be the high scorer of the bunch.

5) Jordan Cameron, CLE: Looks like QB Brian Hoyer will get the starting job over Johnny Manziel, which is great for Cameron - Hoyer captained his star-making three-TD game last year.

6) Jason Witten, DAL: I keep thinking the grizzled veteran should drop lower in the rankings, but he was tied for fourth in targets and catches among all TEs last year, and Romo loves him. Plus, Romo will be throwing a lot because the Cowboys will be behind so much.

7) Greg Olsen, CAR: Lack of veteran WRs in Carolina should be a good thing for Olsen's quantity of targets, which tied for fourth with Witten last year. But which Cam Newton will we get?

8) Dennis Pitta, BAL: Missed 2013 with injury after fantasy experts had already slated him for big things. We're still expecting big things.

9) Kyle Rudolph, MIN: Former sleeper, former chic fantasy pick, mild disappointment. Yet, he's intriguing again, supposedly quicker after losing weight. Caught 30 of 46 targets last year.

10) Jordan Reed, WAS: Being RG3's TE can be both a blessing and a curse. Frequent short-range passes should mean a busy year, unless RG3 runs, or overthrows him, or fumbles.

11) Martellus Bennett, CHI: I'm mystified by his sudden image as a bad guy. On the field he often has looked like the Bears' best TE in years. Should be again with great WRs drawing coverage.

12) Charles Clay, MIA: One of only seven TEs to be targeted more than 100 times last year, he scored seven TDs overall (one rushing), enough to rank as a fantasy starter at this position.

13) Delanie Walker, TEN: Last year's 60 catches on 86 targets make him sound pretty reliable.

14) Coby Fleener, IND: Supposed rapport with collegemate Luck finally paid off with 52 catches and 608 yards last year. Will Reggie Wayne's return mean fewer targets?

15) Brent Celek/Zach Ertz, PHI: Celek spoiled what was supposed to be Ertz's breakout year in 2013. As we're in TE-2 territory here, take whoever you like better. A productive offense will find him.

16) Antonio Gates/Ladarius Green, SD: Green allegedly is ready to send former workhorse Gates to the second string. Again, a good offense if you want to handcuff these two.

17) Tyler Eifert/Jermaine Gresham, CIN: Eifert is the rising star, but it won't be clear how soon he'll rise until the season starts. I would draft Eifert late and put a waiver wire watch on Gresham.

18) Anthony Fasano/Travis Kelce, KC: Kelce is making noise in the preseason, but mostly with the second stringers. In Andy Reid's offense, one of these guys should get a lot of work, but which?

19) Heath Miller, PIT: Another vet who manages to hang on to some fantasy relevance, though he is no better than a bye-week starter or maybe occasional match-up play.

20) Jared Cook, STL: Another we had high hopes for last year who turned out to be a fantasy bust, though five TDs still makes him a bye-week play and low-risk investment.

Sleeper: Richard Rodgers/Andrew Quarless, GB. Sure seems like the TE playing with the second-best fantasy QB should rate higher. Regardless of who gets the starting job, he'll be in line behind Cobb, Nelson, RB Eddie Lacy and possibly even WR-3 Jarrett Boykin as a target for Aaron Rodgers. Rookie Richard Rodgers could be the low-price, high-ceiling bet to take if you believe there will be plenty of receptions in Green Bay for everyone.

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Previously:
* Part 1: The Top 20.
* Part 2: QBs & RBs.

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

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 9:07 PM | Permalink

The [Wednesday] Papers

"Mayor Rahm Emanuel's mental health care policies went on trial at City Hall Tuesday, with critics saying many patients ended up homeless, jailed or dead after the mayor closed half of the city's clinics, while city officials maintained that care for the mentally ill actually has been expanded," the Tribune reports.

Well, those are certainly two diametrically opposed views. And one of them basically calls the mayor a murderer. Is there any evidence to support either side? Let's read on.

"[City health commissioner Bechara] Choucair said that after half of the city's 12 clinics were closed in April 2012, every patient was offered services at the remaining clinics or at other health care facilities funded by the state and federal government. Through those facilities, and the federal Affordable Care Act, thousands more Chicago residents are receiving mental health care, he said."

Okay, that doesn't add up. Every patient may have been offered services at the remaining clinics, or elsewhere, but surely not every patient took up that offer - for a number of reasons that have been detailed over the years, including geography. Second, adding in additional coverage due to the ACA is cheating - especially because coverage doesn't mean affordable coverage and affordable coverage doesn't mean access to local clinics, half of which have been shut down.

"[Rahm] Emanuel, at an unrelated appearance before the hearing, said the city's approach 'expanded coverage to more people, and more importantly than just more people, expanded also new benefits like psychiatric care that never existed because the old system did not loosen up the resources.'"

Right. Closing half the city's clinics expanded coverage. Then why not close all of the clinics and expand coverage even more?!

"N'Dana Carter, a patient who for years has been the face of the Mental Health Movement coalition, said the city is ignoring people who fell through the cracks because of the closures and is undercounting the number of people treated at city clinics before half of them were closed.

"When you see the rising crime, when you see the people going to hospitals that didn't go very often, you look at Cook County Jail, these are all a result of choices that were made, decisions that were made without consideration of the people most affected," Carter said.

Is that right? Let's check in with the jail folks.

There ya go.

"It took months for many patients to get treatment after the transition, Carter said, while others just weren't able to get to clinics that were farther from their homes, and many got reduced attention in the end. 'People that were not in and out of the mental wards now are,' she said.

"Carter and other advocates note that city officials said more than 5,000 people were being treated at the clinics as the closures were contemplated in late 2011.

"The city now says that there were 2,798 patients in the clinics at the time half were closed. Choucair told the Tribune that many of the patients on the original list were no longer 'active,' and that all of active patients either remained with the six surviving clinics or were referred to another provider."

It's certainly possible that not everybody on the rolls were active - proof, please! - but providing all patients with a referral is not the same as providing all patients with actual care.

"Dr. Nneka Jones, who heads up mental health services at the Cook County Jail, has described the jail as the largest mental health facility in the state if not the country. [Editor: As has Dart, repeatedly in national media.] She said the numbers of mentally ill detainees has grown about threefold to 2,800 in the past four years.

"Many of the crimes run the gamut, but we can say that about a third of them fall under the terms of what we call crimes of survival: retail theft, possession of drugs, prostitution," she said. Those folks would be better served at less cost in the mental health system rather than the criminal justice system, she said.

The Sun-Times account, by Fran Spielman, was a little more forceful.

"Mayor Rahm Emanuel's two-year-old plan to close six of the city's 12 mental health clinics came under withering attack Tuesday, with advocates accusing the mayor of throwing Chicago's most vulnerable residents to the wolves.

"Cut off from familiar therapists and forced to travel longer for treatment, thousands of patients fell through the cracks, sometimes tearful mental health advocates claimed.

"Some desolved [sic] into depression or returned to past addictions. Others were arrested, turning Cook County Jail into, what Sheriff Tom Dart has called the 'largest mental health hospital' where patients are 'criminalized' instead of being given the care they desperately need."

And:

"N'Dana Carter, a spokeswoman for the Mental Health Movement, branded Health Commissioner Dr. Bechara Choucair a 'liar' for claiming that the city is providing more mental health care with six clinics than it ever did with twelve."

How? Did the city reinvest resources from the closed clinics into those remaining open? Did they then do outreach to attract even more patients? It seems so unlikely . . .

"Smoke and mirrors is fine for the circus, but this is not a circus," Carter said. "This is human lives . . . When they closed the clinics, a lot of people had nowhere to go. We're talking about a few hundred initially that rolled into thousands . . . We don't know where a lot of them have gone."

True, Dr. Choucair? Or can you provide us with (an anonymized) list showing otherwise?

*

"At an unrelated news conference that preceded Tuesday's hearing, Emanuel stuck to his well-worn script: The clinic consolidation that saved the city $2 million has worked for both the city and its mental health patients.

"Because of the reforms, we have more clinics with more visits.

You see, in Rahm's universe, six clinics is more than 12.

"We've expanded coverage to more people and, more importantly than just more people, expanded also new benefits like psychiatric care that never existed because the old system did not loosen up the resources."

This seems like a claim that can be vetted. To the assignment desk!

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"[Ald. Bob] Fioretti cited the city's claimed savings of $2 million and said those government resources had not been saved, but were spent elsewhere," DNAinfo Chicago reports.

"We are spending the dollars," testified Heather O'Donnell, vice president of Thresholds, a mental health agency. "We are spending the money at the jail and in homeless shelters" and in other social services. "We are spending the money in the wrong places, and we are chasing our tail."

For some reason I believe O'Donnell more than the city.

"Choucair testified before the Health Committee that of the almost 2,800 people being treated at the clinics before the six closings, more than 400 had been shifted under stable condition to nonprofit community mental-health providers. Choucair said the city was still treating up to 2,150 people at the six remaining clinics."

Well, even in the unlikely event that those numbers are true, 2,550 is less than 2,800.

"He added that additional care was being provided under the health expansions called for by the federal Affordable Care Act and pointed to additional city services on HIV and substance abuse."

Now, to be fair, if the city has expanded HIV and substance abuse services and that takes care of a certain number of those previously getting those services at a mental health clinic, that might make sense. Sort of.

*

"The hearing was scheduled to run until from 1 to 4 p.m., and Carter accused Ald. George Cardenas (12th), chairman of the committee, of running a 'filibuster' to fill time, after Cardenas and Ald. Joe Moreno (1st) had previously accused Fioretti of monopolizing time.

"I want people to be educated," Cardenas said. "I want people to get the proper help."

It's called a "hearing" for a reason, George; you're supposed to listen, not talk. But I'm sure you were just doing what the mayor's office ordered you to do.

"Carter said [Cardenas] had 'stacked the deck' with medical professionals as witnesses and not actual clinic clients."

Nothing wrong with medical professionals testifying - as long as they are relevant and not on the tab. Of course, "activists" were scheduled to testify later in the five-hour meeting. Wear them - and the media - down.

"A Woodlawn activist who has called for a trauma center on the South Side, [Veronica] Morris-Moore said, 'I had to scream and shout in order to sit down at this table.' She called it 'idiotic' to expect the entire city to be served by six clinics, adding that Choucair's figures were 'a bald-faced lie' and that 5,000 were being served by the 12 clinics when half were closed."

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"The closed clinics were in Rogers Park, Logan Square, Woodlawn, Auburn Gresham, Morgan Park and Back of the Yards."

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Chicago 1984
And it has nothing to do with Orwell.

Chella H vs. Angel Olsen
Plus: The Family Tweedy & The U of C's Music Math. In Local Music Notebook.

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BeachBook
* Roosevelt University Making Big Cuts At Schaumburg Campus.

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The Beachwood Tip Line: Icy.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 8:29 AM | Permalink

Local Music Notebook: Chella H vs. Angel Olsen

1. Chella H was born in an Ida B. Wells apartment. In the apartment.


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2. U of C: Music and Math.

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3. Ex-Pat Angel Olsen.

"The commanding 27-year-old songwriter, who cut her teeth in Chicago's music scene for roughly seven years, had grown tired of life in the Windy City," Max Blau writes for Paste.

"She felt stifled, rather than relieved, upon returning home from tours despite being near her friends in a comfortable place. She needed something to change.

"Everything there was just soaked in memories," Olsen says. "Not necessarily bad memories. ... But I couldn't tap into it anymore. I started to feel the harshness of going back to a very busy place where everyone is trying so hard to be unique and trying so hard to be an artist."

So Olsen moved to Asheville, North Carolina.

"I really enjoy and appreciate a place that isn't about moving constantly and isn't about trying to be distracted with all of these things on a day-to-day basis," Olsen says. "Maybe people here have a different experience than I do, but that's how I see it right now. It's teaching me that I don't have to do anything quickly. I don't have to write if I don't want to write. Part of my writing is living well."

FYI, Olsen grew up in St. Louis.

4. Chicago Schools Benefit.

Trombone Shorty and Orleans Avenue play Lincoln Hall on September 9th, with all ticket proceeds going to Kelly High School, George Westinghouse College Prep and Alexander Graham Elementary.

For more information.

5. Why Jeff Tweedy Set Aside His Wilco Responsibilities For His First Solo Project, Which Features His Drumming Son, Spencer.

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 7:32 AM | Permalink

Chicago 1984

"What does this music have to do with Chicago in 1984?"

"Both were made in Chicago in 1984."


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See also: The AreSoundsElectrik? YouTube Page.

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 12:35 AM | Permalink

August 19, 2014

The [Tuesday] Papers

Again: Yes, she did it. Judy Baar Topinka asked Gov. Pat Quinn to get her son a job at SIU.

First, see the item The Answer Is Yes in this edition of The [Thursday] Papers.

Now, to an item in Bernie Schoenburg's Springfield State Journal-Register column on Sunday, oddly buried at the bottom.

"I did not do that," she said. "I just asked if he would consider him."

I did not do that, I just did that!

"I'd like to reverse the trend of people leaving Illinois."

Starting with my son!

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Crystal Ball Headline: State Comptroller Announces Illinois Repatriation Program.

*

"I've put it out there for anybody," she said of her son's resume. "In the private sector as well . . . You get jobs and you work by virtue of relationships; I mean, it's not just putting a blind ad in the paper."

Again: So you did it!

You are using your "relationships" to get your son a job in Illinois. That's called . . . clouting! And you're doing it in both the private and public sectors!

"I'm a mom," Topinka said. "I would like to have my family close to me, and that's all I'm doing."

Great. Now, what about all the moms who don't know the governor? Moms whose children have great resumes too?

*

This is hard to disagree with:

Dave Mellett, campaign manager for Democratic Lt. Gov. Sheila Simon, who is running against Republican Topinka for comptroller, said: 'What Judy Baar Topinka has admitted to is attempting to use patronage to obtain a job for her son, which is wrong and possibly illegal. In Judy Baar Topinka's world, a resume is something you submit to the governor. For everyone else in Illinois, a resume is submitted to human resources."

The Topinka campaign's response:

Topinka spokesman Brad Hahn said that, with Simon down in the polls and with 11 weeks go to the election, "we expect her to get more desperate and pathetic with each passing day."

Really? Here's Hahn talking to his buddy Rich Miller when the news of the incident first broke:

"Topinka's Brad Hahn just called back," Miller added. "Here are three direct quotes . . .

* She talked about wanting to get her son back to Illinois.

* She was not asking for a job.

* She did not ask him for a job.

"I've known Brad forever. He's always been straight with me, so it's weird that he was so evasive before. All he had to do was tell the Sun-Times and myself what he said in our second conversation and it's end of story."

As I wrote then, I don't see how in the world that's end of story, but Miller also wrote once that "I've always loved me some JBT."

(He turned her latest comments into a caption contest about Simon.)

The Sundance Mayor & His Butch Cassidy Alderman
Thick as thieves.

Where's Mines?
"Chicago Police Department Officials declined to comment on the exact amount of military vehicles and gear the department has, but spokesman Martin Maloney said in a statement that the CPD uses certain military-style vehicles - including a Mine-Resistant Ambush Protected armored vehicle, or MRAP - for specific purposes," RedEye reports.

"An MRAP is only used in extreme circumstances, such as the standoff on Lake Shore Drive this spring," he said, speaking of the nearly nine-hour incident in March on Lake Shore Drive between murder suspect Joseph Andrew Felton Jr. and a SWAT team.

Just in case he had laid in some mines?

Chicago Represents
"The New Black Panther Party is here [in Ferguson]," CBS News reports. "So is a group calling itself the Revolution Club of Chicago."

All three members?

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The Cub Factor: Reality Bobbleheads
If the promotions matched the performances.

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BeachBook
* Somehow I Think This Is A Commentary On Some White People's Reaction To Ferguson.

* Chicago Bear: When They Don't Know Who You Are, All You Are Is Black.

* TIme Inc. Rates Writers On How 'Beneficial' They Are To Advertisers.

* From The Beachwood Vault: Parochial Potholes.

* Illinois Woman Accused Of Faking Cancer For Money Arrested On Way To Dr. Phil Show.

* Behind Closed Doors, Obama Crafts Executive Actions.

"When President Obama announced in June that he planned to bypass congressional gridlock and overhaul the nation's immigration system on his own, he did so in a most public way: a speech in the White House Rose Garden.

"Since then, the process of drafting what will likely be the only significant immigration changes of his presidency - and his most consequential use of executive power - has been conducted almost entirely behind closed doors, where lobbyists and interest groups invited to the White House are making their case out of public view."

* U.S. Farmers Are Up To Their Ears In Corn.

* From $1 To $675K For New L.A. Times Chief.

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TweetWood

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The Beachwood Tip Line: Retort.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 6:51 AM | Permalink

Ald. Butch O'Connor Cassidy & The Sundance Mayor

"Mayor Rahm Emanuel would not say Wednesday whether it was appropriate for his City Council leader to push through an ordinance that limited the power of a city watchdog who a week earlier had opened an investigation into the alderman," the Tribune reported earlier this month.

Huh, that's odd. Patrick O'Connor, the alderman in question, is Rahm's floor leader. You might say they are thick as thieves. O'Connor doesn't make a move that Rahm doesn't approve or order. And yet . . .

"After last week's City Council meeting, Emanuel distanced himself some from O'Connor's ordinance, saying 'This was the City Council, not what we did.'"

Excuse me for finding it hard to see the difference.

I also find it hard to believe that O'Connor was freelancing. After all, he's the Butch Cassidy to Rahm's Sundance Kid.


Note Rahm describing how he gives his orders to O'Connor.

"Do we have to do this?"

"Yes, Butch Cassidy."

Even when O'Connor thinks the mayor is crazy.

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Source: "Mayor Rahm Emanuel joined Alderman Patrick J. O'Connor at his 29th annual fundraising event held on Wednesday, October 19, 2011 at Parretta's Elegant Banquets located at 3719 N. Cantral Ave. in Chicago.

"The affair featured Cocktails and Hors D'oeuvers and was well attended. Guest included residents and business people from the 40th Ward, representatives of the Alderman's office, many elected officials (judges, congressmen, aldermen etc.), representatives of... the Lincoln Bend Chamber of Commerce...the Polish American Chamber of Commerce etc. just to name a few. Everyone enjoyed the event and welcomed the positive comments made by our new Mayor about our Alderman and his intimate role in molding the future direction Chicago will take in improving the economy for its' citizens."

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Rahm repeated the theme at the 2013 version of the same event, only adding that he and O'Connor are also like Thelma and Louise.

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But Rahm didn't know a thing.

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Of course, there is the concept of plausible deniability. O'Connor might have preserved that for his friend. But city council meetings are highly orchestrated affairs. I think not.

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See also: This edition of the [Thursday] Papers, to learn more about the man Rahm consulted when he was thinking about running for mayor.

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Comments welcome.

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1. From a faithful reader with reason enough to be granted anonymity:

SundanceMayor.jpg

2. From Anne Sullivan:

Like Thelma and Louise, Rahm and O'Connor should go off that cliff together in February!

Anne Sullivan is a former aide to Ald. Joe Moore.

3. From Chris Fogarty:

Are aldermen really above the law?

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 12:33 AM | Permalink

Reality BobbleCubs

* Tom Ricketts depositing another million dollars into his bank account.

* Rick Renteria liking everything on Facebook.

* Javy Baez swinging at a pitch bouncing three feet in front of the plate.

* Darwin Barney getting a World Series ring.

* Edwin Jackson cashing a paycheck.

* Len Kasper fixing a bump to get through another three-and-a-half hour game.

The Week In Review: The Cubs split four-game tilts each against the Brewers and Mets. Hamsters on a wheel.

The Week In Preview: Spoiler alert: The Giants and Orioles each come in for three.

Wrigley Is 100 Celebration: One hundred more articles will be written during the season's final six weeks speculating on what the Cubs will do with so many shortstops in the organization.

Mad Merch: It's hard to beat last Wednesday's Zubazpalooza, but Sunday's Gracie the Swan Beanie Baby giveaway comes close. Will the swan be wearing prison stripes? Oh yeah, that's right, no.

Prospects Are Suspects: "Former prospect Brett Jackson was once frequently compared to greats like Jim Edmonds and Larry Walker."

Jed Hoyer Condescension Meter: 10.

"Strikeouts with power can be OK," Hoyer said. "But when you look at the situational hitting metric right now, we're at the bottom, and that has to get better. You have to be able to change your approach, hit the ball to the right side and know when a ground ball to second is as good as a single and things like that."

Um, we're in Year Three of Epstoyer. The kids aren't doing this yet?

That's Ricky: "'I don't think that's in the forefront, not my thinking or the organization's,' manager Rick Renteria said of the possibility of pulling Jackson out of the rotation."

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And:

"When asked if the high strikeout rate set off alarms, Renteria replied, 'no.'"

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I finally figured out who Ricky Renteria is: New Brian.

I think I'll start calling him New Dale.

Laughable Headline Of The Week: "Encouraged By Defeat, Mets Stay Positive As Rookie Throws Aggressively."

Oh, wait. That's the Mets. In a loss to the Cubs.

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Well, there's always this: "Cubs' Future Four Report: 0-for-16."

Kubs Kulture: "Cubs Fans Go Into Tizzy When Hot Prospect Kris Bryant Hurts Foot In Iowa."

Dude stubbed his toe, fer chrissakes.

Billy Cub vs. Clark Cub: Neither was in the news this week.

Advantage: Billy.

The Junior Lake Show: Now playing in Des Moines.

Mustache Wisdom: "'Now that both sides have their structure and their people that are going to be at the hell, now we wait,' said Cubs pitcher Carlos Villanueva, the team's players' union rep and a member of the union's executive committee."

I really want to believe he said that, but I'm pretty sure he said "helm."

Wishing Upon A Starlin: Starlin Castro is hitting .286 - he hasn't hit higher since 2011. His OBP is .333 - it hasn't been higher since 2011.

Ameritrade Stock Pick of the Week: Shares of Zubaz remain sluggish.

Jumbotron Preview: 5,700 square-feet of .230-hitting superutility player Arismendy Alcantara.

Kubs Kalender: Wait 'til next year 2016 2017 2018 2019 2020 2021.

Over/Under: Number of times "spoiler" will be used in Cubs articles the rest of the season: +/- 100.

Beachwood Sabermetrics: A complex algorithm performed by The Cub Factor staff using all historical data made available by Major League Baseball has determined that if you have three shortstops, you don't have any.

Hashtag Cubs

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

The White Sox Report: Baby Boomer Baseball.

The Beachwood Radio Sports Hour: Yay, Tastee-Freez!

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 12:23 AM | Permalink

August 18, 2014

SportsMonday: Signing Santonio

These guys do not mess around.

Phil Emery, his scouting staff, cap guru Cliff Stein, Marc Trestman, whoever was in on the decision to sign receiver Santonio Holmes - and obviously Emery had the final say - you have to be impressed with this move.

That doesn't mean Holmes will definitely be the final piece of the puzzle for the Bears on offense. Then again, and to keep this all in perspective, all NFL teams should be so fortunate to have a "final piece of the puzzle" be the primary concern on one side of the ball midway through the exhibition season. The Bears are set at quarterback, the primary receiver spots, running back, tight end and on the offensive line (where there are minor injury concerns but also some depth). They are looking for one more playmaker/blocker-in-space on offense and their first 11 will be complete.

That is the case because the first two candidates for that spot have already bowed out, at least for a while. Second-year man Marquess Wilson was the first guy in line but suffered a broken clavicle in practice earlier this month. Then it appeared that free agent receiving tight end Zach Miller was the next man up - until he suffered a Lisfranc injury in his foot in the Bears' most recent preseason game. He is out for the year.

There are significant concerns about Holmes' overall wellness at this point after the wide receiver suffered a series of injuries with the Jets the last few seasons (coincidentally his primary problem was also of the Lisfranc variety - that injury involves metatarsal bones being violently displaced away from the tarsus network of bones in the middle of the foot - not a good thing for a receiver).

Holmes, who also has a deserved reputation as a malcontent lowlighted by an incident in 2011 in which he argued with a teammate in the middle of a game and was subsequently benched, was unsigned at this late date for a reason.

Holmes also has a pattern of off-field problems, including an arrest on domestic violence charges in 2006. Those charges were later dismissed in lieu of counseling. He was also named in a suit filed in 2010 alleging that he threw a glass at a woman in a VIP area of an Orlando nightclub. He was not charged in that incident, however, and it does not appear as though there was any sort of official civil finding against him.

Still, the Bears have a need and they found a way to sign a 30-year-old guy who could be way better than the average free-agent pick-up at this point in the process. Every other team still has 90 guys on its roster.

It wasn't so long ago that Holmes was starring at wide receiver for the Steelers to such an extent that he won a Super Bowl MVP (2009). The veteran could also offer the Bears an upgrade in the return game; he has returned punts during his career.

And surely it is not a coincidence that the Bears released Eric Weems, who had done most of the returning (poorly) for the team during the first two preseason games, at the same time that they signed Holmes.

Perhaps the coolest thing happening here is that there is a real good chance Holmes was waiting to sign with a team he thought had a potential championship offense. This is the sort of thing that happens when a successful team starts rolling downhill - it just gets bigger and bigger, i.e., talented and more talented.

Of course, there is a chance that Holmes will become a problem in the locker room or that he just won't stay healthy enough anymore to contribute significantly to an NFL offense. But clearly this is a chance the Bears should absolutely take (sorry about the extra adverb but I just couldn't help myself).

Ferguson Note
Bear defensive end David Bass provides by far the best account I've seen of the difficulty of growing up African American in St. Louis in light of Ferguson.

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

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 9:43 AM | Permalink

Baby Boomer Baseball

The Chairman doesn't lose too many battles, but Jerry Reinsdorf's attempt to install a fellow chairman, the Red Sox' Tom Werner, as the next baseball commissioner fell short last week.

Most fans in these parts never had heard of Werner or the newly-anointed Rob Manfred prior to the owners' conclave in Baltimore. However, now it's common knowledge that Reinsdorf wanted someone with the potential to be a hard-liner when the current Collective Bargaining Agreement expires after the 2016 season. The Chairman figured that Werner could fill that role even though Manfred was the chief negotiator for the owners in 2011 when the current contact was enacted. Apparently Jerry didn't think Manfred did a very good job.

But debate and contention work better than a bunch of wealthy guys all nodding in agreement over a deal consummated behind closed doors prior to the "official" gathering. So the Chairman filled a commendable role in this one. Furthermore, something tells me to be elated over the result.

Despite the fact that MLB has $9 billion in revenue with teams like the Dodgers selling for more than $2 billion in 2012, the media is filled with premonitions for Manfred about the formidable challenges he will face when he takes the reins at the end of the year.

Most notably mentioned are the 3 1/2-hour games and the aging Baby Boomers who comprise the bulk of the people who continue to follow the sport.

Looking at the latter issue, much of the focus dwells on TV ratings. For instance, half of the viewers of last fall's World Series were 55 and older, which makes sense because kids have homework and school while guys like me can sleep in the next morning.

In addition, baseball tends to be a local game. Fans in Boston and St. Louis had a stake in the 2013 series with their teams competing, but why would you expect folks in places like, say, Topeka and Boise to get excited?

We went bonkers in 2005. Much more so than any other big league city. That's the game's nature.

Despite declining TV ratings, teams continue to hammer out lucrative local radio and TV contracts, and MLB's national contract doubled two years ago to $1.5 billion annually. The contract has another seven years to run. If you put the games on TV, old people will come.

But what about the kids? If you believe the ratings, a 10-year-old simply won't sit in front of a TV watching a ballgame. I do believe that. However, sitting at The Cell on any given day, there are kids everywhere. While seats behind the plate for tonight's game against the Orioles go for $75, you can pay a third of that to sit in the K Zone with Chris Sale going to the mound. A seat in the corner of the upper deck can be had for less than $10. All of which means that Mom and Dad can still take the family to the ballpark.

When Bud Selig became commissioner in 1992, major league baseball drew 54 million fans. Last year that number was 74 million.

This may come as a shock to the pundits who trumpet the news about baseball's decline, but those kids at The Cell and other ballparks someday will be adults and eventually old people, who tend to watch baseball on TV. It's possible that Rob Manfred might be aware of this.

Television is the engineer driving professional sports, dictating the pace of the games. Check out the guy in the TV pit in back of third base at The Cell between innings when he holds up the colored squares telling the players how much time they have between innings. In days long ago before television, once a team was retired, sides were switched in short order. The players even left their gloves on the field. Today there's a lull before the team at bat takes its position on the field. Why hurry? Play doesn't resume until television advertising gives its pitch.

Football might be worse with all the TV timeouts, boring the bejeezus out of the folks who pay hundreds of dollars for a seat. And the NBA has the obligatory TV break halfway through every quarter.

While most fans seem to appreciate replay review, it's another extender of games. Last Wednesday's now-famous 7-1 Sox loss in San Francisco has become the centerpiece for those of us who would be content to have the umpires make the calls without those guys in New York being the final judges. Rule 7.13, stipulating that a catcher can't block the plate without the ball, was the culprit as Gregor Blanco was out by eight feet. Or was he?

Including Robin Ventura's dirt-kicking tirade - Why was he mad at the umpires? They called Blanco out - the game was held up for approximately 10 minutes so that a decision could be rendered that Tyler Flowers was guilty of breaking the new rule. It happened again Sunday in the first inning when Adrian Nieto tagged out Jose Reyes. Apparently Nieto didn't provide Reyes a path to the plate even though Reyes clearly was out.

At the time, the run gave the Blue Jays an early 1-0 lead, which the Sox wiped out with six of their own in the bottom of the first thanks to a grand slam by none other than Conor Gillaspie and a two-run shot by an even more surprising Jordan Danks. Pitchers Scott Carroll, Daniel Webb, Zach Putnam and Jake Petricka walked seven hitters, before Petricka somehow got two outs in the ninth after the Jays loaded the bases.

Baseball games take time. About the same amount as an NFL game. Studies - well, stop watches - have determined that in terms of actual action, baseball has about 18 minutes per game while football has 11. Whether it's a pitcher looking in for his sign or 11 behemoths bent over in a huddle, the casual fan doesn't see much going on in either game for the majority of the contest.

As far as I'm aware, I haven't heard a lot of cries to speed up football. Being the leader of sports gambling, the bettors might be thankful for the incessant breaks so that their heart rates can return to normal before the ensuing mayhem resumes.

No, baseball bears the brunt of criticism for being too slow. It's not undeserved. For those of us who are fascinated by the game, we notice aspects like the placement of the defense; we like to guess what the pitcher will throw; we speculate whether the manager will hit-and-run; we think about similar situations from other games. These machinations fill up the time when the action lags.

Assuming that games take about three hours, an addicted fan would spend the equivalent of three months of a 40-hour a week job watching the season unfold. That's like a summer job, something that we coveted as kids. We Boomer baseball fans still have a summer job. It's voluntary to be sure, but we enjoy going to work.

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

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1. From Jim Price:

Enjoyed reading your piece about Baby Boomer Baseball. But as a guy who spent nearly 25 years in marketing and now makes his living with kids and baseball I am not sure I agree with you about the kids being at the games.

A couple of months ago, I went to KC to watch the Royals play the Angels. Yes, there were kids there. The problem was, they weren't watching the game.

Turns out, behind the concourse in the outfield, behind the fountains, lies a kiddie paradise. There they have everything so that a child can come to the game and not have to watch it. Stunned as I walked around back there, I saw a little league field, batting and pitching cages, a baserunning area, a miniature golf course and a full-size carousel - yes a merry-go-round, as we used to call it.

I don't know how many other stadiums have these kid areas, but my guess is that many do. With baseball games becoming ever longer, the attention-deficit generation seems destined to walk away from our game, and the baseball owners are paving the way for them. Clearly the reason for these areas is the fear that without them, they won't get enough butts in seats. But that's a short-term view. Baseball is a complicated game and when you don't really understand it, you'll never become a fan. Kids spend an inning watching and four innings with amusements with no view of the game. You don't build fans that way. Not in my opinion.

Jim Price is the owner of the BASH Sports Academy and a youth baseball coach.

2. From Bill Blackwell:

As always, I enjoyed your take on the new commissioner and the selection process.

In evaluating Commissioner Selig's tenure I think the biggest gaffe has been addressing the future of the game for the financial gains of the moment. When baseball let television dictate starting times of post-season games, kids were no longer able to see the most important and impactful games of the year.

Remember when we were kids sneaking transistor radios into classrooms to be able to keep up with a World Series game? Now with 8 p.m. East Coast start times kids hardly ever see the beginning of games - let alone the conclusions.

In 1960, I can tell you exactly where I was watching Bill Mazeroski's game-winning home run, but years later how many kids watched Joe Carter circle the bases against the Phillies?

I understand the economics of how much revenue networks are able to bring to the table for prime time and that is great for the current owners, but at what cost to the future of the game?

Now even more scheduling and start times are dictated by the networks. How many times do teams with more of a national following (Red Sox, Yankees, Dodgers and Cardinals) get stuck on getaway days playing the Sunday Night Game or the Monday Night Game of the Week? Baseball has to realize that the future of the game is based on young people following their favorites and building a rapport for the game. I'm afraid those days have passed.

Bill Blackwell is the former general manager of the Charlotte Knights.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 9:15 AM | Permalink

The [Monday] Papers

"More than a year after Chicago Public Schools closed nearly 50 schools for under-enrollment, there has been little progress on finding new uses for most of the now-empty buildings," the Tribune reports.

"Just three of the buildings have been opened for bidding to potential developers and buyers."

You'd think there would've been a plan for these buildings. But that would have taken time to develop, and Rahm is, you know, always in a hurry.

"[T]here are no plans in the works for 36 buildings, some of which are being vandalized as they sit empty, becoming neighborhood eyesores."

Or worse.

"The tab for maintaining the buildings over the last year was $1.8 million, and FOX 32's own random visits to the schools found neighbors complaining that they've become magnet schools - magnets for the wrong type of people."

Talk about destabilizing neighborhoods - Rahm has managed to turn safe havens into scary hovels.

"At the Armstrong Math and Science Academy, FOX 32 found broken windows. The playground at Henson Elementary was littered with decaying mattresses, Betsy Ross Elementary had an open window, and Paderewski Elementary was tagged with graffitti. At Pope Elementary, the playground was covered with weeds."

Back to the Tribune: "In addition to these buildings, the district has yet to find a use for 21 properties from 2012, when it moved to sell 29 buildings and vacant lots from previous school closings."

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"Just three of the buildings have been opened for bidding to potential developers and buyers. Aldermen, who have been charged to gather community input on preferred use of the buildings, have scheduled meetings on seven other schools.

"I think it's moving slow," said Ald. Walter Burnett Jr., 27th, who has six closed buildings in his current and former ward boundaries. "For me to have all of these meetings, my schedule doesn't allow me to do it immediately. It should be (Chicago Public Schools) doing this, but they're asking us to do it because they're trying to be sensitive to the community and the aldermen. That type of sensitivity takes time."

Okay, so first, CPS has basically handed the buildings to aldermen and said, "Here, you take 'em!"

Second, what type of sensitivity takes time? Perhaps the sensitivity to break Barbara Byrd-Bennett's pledge that the schools won't re-open as charters. The longer those schools sit there deteriorating, the more open communities will be going along with what has probably been the plan all along.

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"Tom Tyrrell, CPS' chief operating officer in charge of selling or finding new uses for the closed buildings, said the district will not consider bids considered too low.

"They're not going for $1, $5 or $10," Tyrrell said. "That would be shirking our fiduciary responsibility. We will sell them for a price that's reasonable and rational based on the market."

Um, there's not really much of a market in many of these neighborhoods - particularly for buildings that look like schools. You're probably not gonna get a Whole Foods or an Olive Garden to come into those spaces.

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"If buildings do not generate interest from community groups or commercially, CPS will work to 'figure out something that the community would support and that CPS would not have to fund because at the end of the day we have to get these buildings off our books,' Tyrrell said."

The community wants schools in those schools!

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"Historically, CPS as well as other districts across the country has filled closed schools with charters. Andrew Broy, president of the Illinois Network of Charter Schools, said he's told community groups in Austin and North Lawndale that some charter operators have raised the funds necessary to also rehabilitate some of the old CPS buildings.

"I think you'll find the best use for these buildings in many cases will be a school," Broy said. "If you have a charter or contract school, or a private school any kids in a school, that would be preferable to another vacant building being a magnet for bad activity."

Then Broy ran off with a can of spray paint in his hand.

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P.S.: People don't want charter schools. So if you're gonna be market-based . . .

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The Beachwood Radio Hour: Our Red-Faced Red-Light Mayor
Plus: George Ryan Is A Horse's Ass, Chicago vs. EDM, and Being Dick Durbin.

The Beachwood Radio Sports Hour: Yay, Tastee-Freez!
Podcasting from the picnic tables: Jackie Robinson West; The Bears' #FirstDivisionProblems; Cartoon Cub; Jose Abreu Is Tired; Kiss The Sky.

The White Sox Report: Baby Boomer Baseball
Television is the engineer driving professional sports, dictating the pace of games.

The Cub Factor
Will appear on Tuesday.

The Weekend In Chicago Rock
Featuring: Spider Bags, Flesh Panthers, Anders Osborne, Santana and Rod Stewart, Tony Bennett, Ted Sirota's Heavyweight Dub, Basement, Enuff Znuff, Veilside, OK Go, Jamie Lono & Noble Heart, Def Leppard, and KISS.

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BeachBook
* Song: Corn Dog From The Tastee-Freez.

* Little League Isn't Popular In Lake County.

* SPJ: White House Provides Non-Response Response To Letter Opposing Excessive PIO Controls.

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TweetWood

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The Beachwood Tip Line: Earth, Wind, Air, Water & Fire.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 7:36 AM | Permalink

The Weekend In Chicago Rock

You shoulda been there.

1. Spider Bags at the Hideout on Thursday night.


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2. Flesh Panthers at the Hideout on Thursday night.

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3. Anders Osborne at Thalia Hall on Friday night.

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4. Santana and Rod Stewart in Rosemont on Saturday night.

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5. Tony Bennett at Ravinia on Saturday night.

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6. Ted Sirota's Heavyweight Dub at the Emporium on Friday night.

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7. Basement at Subterranean on Friday night.

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8. Enuff Znuff at the Double Door on Friday night.

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9. Veilside at the Double Door on Friday night.

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10. OK Go at Lincoln Hall on Friday night.

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11. Jamie Lono & Noble Heart at Lincoln Hall on Saturday night.

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12. Def Leppard in Tinley Park on Saturday night.

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13. KISS in Tinley Park on Saturday night.

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 4:05 AM | Permalink

August 17, 2014

The Beachwood Radio Hour #19: Our Red-Faced Red-Light Mayor

Plus: George Ryan Is A Horse's Ass, Chicago vs. EDM, and Being Dick Durbin.


SHOW NOTES

00: Strawberry Rock Show.

1:29: PHOX at Lincoln Hall last Saturday night.

* PHOX. (Yes, they are from Baraboo.)

3:35: Support For Rahm Falling Fast.

* But up dramatically.

* Rahm Blames Economy For Low Poll Numbers.

* Two Of Three Back CTU Over Rahm.

* Emanuel Uses Little League Team For Campaign Boost.

13:15: The Beachwood Radio Sports Hour #13: Yay, Tastee-Freez!

Podcasting from the picnic tables: Jackie Robinson West; The Bears' #FirstDivisionProblems; Cartoon Cub; Jose Abreu Is Tired; Kiss The Sky.

17:03: Boris at the Bottom Lounge on Sunday.

18:15: Turn the budget upside down.

19:35: The Atlas Moth at the Bottom Lounge on Sunday night.

20:28: The Red-Light Mayor.

* Yellow-Light Mayor, Too.

* Our Hero.

* Not Our Hero.

28:20: Russian Circles at Millennium Park on Monday night.

30:30: Saves Lives; Build An Airport.

36:06: Being Dick Durbin.

37:27: We need to fool more people!

39:10: George Ryan Is A Horse's Ass.

55:27: St. Elsewhere for some reason.

55:44: City Bans EDM At Congress.

1:00:10: The Beachwood Radio Sports Hour #13: Yay, Tastee-Freez!

Podcasting from the picnic tables: Jackie Robinson West; The Bears' #FirstDivisionProblems; Cartoon Cub; Jose Abreu Is Tired; Kiss The Sky.

1:00:50: The Cub Factor: Rick Rentamanager.

1:01:50: The Week In Juvenile Justice.

* Illinois Massacre Prevented?

* Baltimore's Ridiculous Curfew.

* Milwaukee Car Thefts.

* How I Killed My Best Friend.

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STOPPAGE TIME: 10:50.

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More: The Beachwood Radio Network.

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 2:49 PM | Permalink

August 16, 2014

The Weekend Desk Report

1. EDM Banned At Congress.

Skrillex to filibuster.

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No, but seriously.

"The city defines EDM as "music created by a DJ or multiple DJs primarily using specialized equipment and software instead of traditional instruments."

" . . . And an EDM performance shall be defined as a performance of Electronic Dance Music or any performance by a DJ or multiple DJs featured the playing of prerecorded music. Performers that incorporate electronic beats or prerecorded music in their acts shall be allowed, provided those performers either sing vocals or play an instrument(s) (or do both) during their performance."

So it's the prerecorded beats that are the problem.

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"The city wanted [the plan of operation] at that venue because of the historic problems with Congress," liquor commissioner Gregory Steadman said.

"The community does not want those events there," he said. "We're not saying EDM are all bad but in venues of this size - 5,000 seats - we don't feel this is appropriate for the Congress."

See who's embarrassed by their LinkedIn endorsements now!

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"It's not the genre, it's the way the owner handles the genre," Ald. Joe Moreno said. "I don't blame the genre or the artists, it's the operator who has to be able to handle the crowd. Unfortunately, the Congress has a history of not being able to manage certain types of crowds."

Um, wouldn't a better solution, then, be to work on that part of the equation?

"A few issues arise from Moreno's statement," Ji-Sook Yim writes at Your EDM.

"First, the alderman's mention of 'certain types of crowds' may spark debate as to whether an EDM crowd is rowdier than, say, concertgoers for a rock or country show. If this ban is truly a reaction to poor management, then why shouldn't this ban be on all other shows as well?

"Second - and probably a larger issue - is the city's definition of 'EDM.' What constitutes a traditional instrument? For artists such as The Glitch Mob and Tycho who play their sets live but don't necessarily use 'traditional' instruments, do they fall under that ban? And for artists such as Big Gigantic, Pretty Lights and Grammatik who incorporate live bands with these so-called traditional instruments of drums and saxophones, would they be an exception to the ban?

"Although the city may have issued this ban in good interest for the safety of concertgoers, it looks like a hunt for loopholes will be underway to bring back more EDM artists to Chicago."

We can only hope.

Better yet, come up with a plan that makes sense by addressing the real problem - and isn't an embarrassment to a city with world-class aspirations.

2. "A team of researchers headed by the scientists from the University of Chicago found the way to control and record the behavior of an electron," Maine News notes.

Their demonstration at the Congress has been cancelled, however.

3. EDM Did Not Murder 112 Chicagoans.

4. The Beachwood Radio Sports Hour is here!

Podcasting from the Tastee-Freez picnic tables: Jackie Robinson West; The Bears' #FirstDivisionProblems; Cartoon Cub; Jose Abreu Is Tired; Kiss The Sky.

5. The Beachwood Radio Hour is here!

Including: Our Red-Faced Red-Light Mayor; George Ryan Is A Horse's Ass; Chicago vs. EDM; and Being Dick Durbin.

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The Weekend Desk Tip Line: Two turntables, a microphone and the Constitution!

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The Sound Opinions Weekend Listening Report: "Forget about Carmen or Madame Butterfly. Sound Opinions' own divas, Jim and Greg, share their favorite rock operas."

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The CAN TV Weekend Viewing Report: Trick City.

Watch the discussion of this panel convened by community producer Michael Jones that takes a look at crime in Chicago's African-American community and examines the impact music and culture has on it.

Saturday at 5 p.m. on CAN TV19.

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BeachBook
* Wrigley Field Removes Iconic Ivy From Urinal Troughs.

* 'Fort Knox' Security For Illinois Medical Marijuana.

* California Expands Tax Credit For Building Stealth Bombers With Offer To Northrup Grumman.

With a little help from Boeing.

* Reagan-Era Order On Surveillance Violates Civil Rights - With A Little Help From Obama, Departing Aide Says.

* State Alleges Orland Park Townhome Association Is Racist.

* Comcast Left Me On Hold For 3+ Hours - Until It Closed.

Jim Gaffigan, you are so lame.

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TweetWood

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Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 1:33 PM | Permalink

The Beachwood Radio Sports Hour #13: Yay, Tastee-Freez!

Podcasting from the picnic tables: Jackie Robinson West; The Bears' #FirstDivisionProblems; Cartoon Cub; Jose Abreu Is Tired; Kiss The Sky.


SHOW NOTES

:00: Yay, Tastee-Freez!

* Podcasting from these picnic tables.

* It's actually the 13th show, not the 14th.

1:15: Jackie Robinson West.

* The Declining Share Of African-American Baseball Players.

11:00: Bears Play Another Pretend Game.

* Zach Miller Out For Season. #FirstDivisionProblems

* Jordan Palmer vs. Jimmy Clausen. #FirstDivisionProblems

17:05: It's Still Javy Time.

* Jeff Keppinger, Juan Uribe.

27:10: Jose Abreu Is Tired.

* A glorious grind.

30:00: Kiss The Sky.

* Sky Relishes Playoff Spot After Season Of Obstacles.

31:19: Yay, Tastee-Freez!

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More: The Beachwood Radio Network.

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 11:39 AM | Permalink

August 15, 2014

The [Friday] Papers

1. Weekend podcasts are almost in production!

2. I haven't had time this morning to dive into the Tribune's latest polling, but check out these numbers.

3. Phil Kadner in the SouthtownStar:

"Quinn's problem is that he can't blame Madigan for Illinois' problems because Madigan is also the leader of the state Democratic Party, the guy who raises the most money for political candidates and a fellow who has more loyal followers in the House than the governor.

"And the public likely wouldn't believe that Quinn and Madigan are political enemies or that Madigan might prefer a Republican governor."

4. Meanwhile, Bruce Rauner's running mate Evelyn Sanguinetti is a disaster. Reporters can smell the blood of a walking gaffe machine and my guess is she'll be sent to the Cayman Islands for the rest of the campaign. But c'mon, this is silly. Let it go.

5. Emanuel Uses Little League Team To Try For Campaign Boost.

Maybe try closing their schools for their own good. See if that works.

6. Midwest Produce Expo moving to Minneapolis.

7. "How is Jerry Reinsdorf a loser? Let me count the ways."

8. The Week In Juvenile Justice.

Including: Windy City Harvest Corps; Did Text Interception Prevent An Illinois School Massacre?; Baltimore's Controversial Curfew; and How I Killed My Best Friend.

9. Beachwood Photo Booth: Found Love.

10. The Week In Chicago Rock.

Featuring: Boris, Lil Tits, The Atlas Moth, Russian Circles, SubRosa, Brandon Fox, Goo Goo Dolls, Asking Alexandra, Drake, Lila Downs, Miley Cyrus, Bruce Cockburn, and Colin Stetson.

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BeachBook
* Nate Silver, Inspired By Ferguson, Tells Idiotic Arrest Story.

CPD gave him his burrito back.

* This Is How You Maybe Get Fired As Kanye West's DJ.

* Video: Workers Carry Out Maintenance Work On Hancock Towers.

* After Ferguson, How Should Police Respond To Protests?

Hint: Not like Ferguson. Or Chicago.

* Chicagoans Concerned Closed CPS Schools Attracting Trouble.

Nice going, Rahm; safe havens now danger spots.

* SEC Aggressively Investigates Media Leaks.

But not financial fraud; how Obama.

* Tempur-Pedic Provides Mattresses For Bears Training Camp.

But who supplied the pillows?

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TweetWood

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The Beachwood Tip Line: Unmilitarized.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 9:39 AM | Permalink

The Week In Chicago Rock

You shoulda been there.

1. Boris at Bottom Lounge on Sunday night.


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2. Lil Tits at the Empty Bottle on Monday night.

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3. The Atlas Moth at Bottom Lounge on Sunday night.

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4. Russian Circles at Millennium Park on Monday night.

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5. SubRosa at Bottom Lounge on Sunday night.

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6. Brandon Fox at Schubas on Monday night.

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7. Goo Goo Dolls at Northerly Island on Sunday night.

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8. Asking Alexandra at the House of Blues on Wednesday night.

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9. Drake in Tinley Park on Sunday night.

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10. Lila Downs at the House of Blues on Monday night.

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11. Miley Cyrus on the West Side on Thursday night.

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12. Bruce Cockburn at City Winery on Monday night.

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13. Colin Stetson at Millennium Park on Monday night.

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 7:01 AM | Permalink

Beachwood Photo Booth: Found Love

Shelf of dreams.

love.JPG(ENLARGE FOR PROPER VIEWING)

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More Chicago photography from Helene Smith.

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Helene on Twitter!

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Meet Helene!

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Stationery, iPhone cases, hoodies.

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

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

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 6:51 AM | Permalink

August 14, 2014

The [Thursday] Papers

"Chicago voters have grown sharply dissatisfied with Mayor Rahm Emanuel's job performance and have signaled a willingness to support his most prominent potential challenger, a new Chicago Tribune poll has found," the paper reports.

"Facing concerns over crime, education and the economy, Emanuel now holds a 35 percent job approval rating - down from 50 percent a little more than a year ago. In addition, more than half of city voters now disapprove of how Emanuel has handled his first term, up from 40 percent.

"During the past year, the mayor's approval rating has dropped across all major racial, income, age and gender lines. Perhaps most troubling to Emanuel's re-election: crumbling support among white voters and an accelerating decline of support among African-American ones.

"The discontent has provided an opening to Chicago Teachers Union President Karen Lewis should she decide to challenge Emanuel next year.

"In a head-to-head matchup, the survey found Lewis with 43 percent backing to 39 percent for Emanuel, with 14 percent undecided. Lewis' advantage is just outside the 3.5 percentage point error margin for the poll, consisting of cellphone and landline interviews with 800 registered city voters from Aug. 6 to Tuesday."

That's pretty extraordinary. Just think what that poll would look like if Toni Preckwinkle was in the race. Why, Toni? Why? You still haven't told us.

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"[T]he poll also found that even a mostly unknown potential challenger - 2nd Ward Ald. Bob Fioretti - has gained surprising traction.

"While 4 out of 5 voters had no opinion of Fioretti, 1 out of 4 said they'd back Fioretti over Emanuel - a sign that there's a sizable contingent of anyone-but-Emanuel voters. The mayor had 43 percent in the hypothetical matchup with Fioretti, while 23 percent were undecided."

The political class suspects this is why stories critical of Lewis and of Fioretti appeared in the Sun-Times on Wednesday - just as it did with Preckwinkle, the mayor's political operation appears to be dumping opposition research on willing takers.

I don't know if that's true, by the way. If Team Rahm is responsible for trying to dirty up potential opponents - even if the facts are in order - reporters should say so. If Team Rahm isn't responsible, reporters should say that too, just so we're all clear.

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"All told, more white voters disapprove of Emanuel's performance than approve - a first in a Tribune poll," the paper reports.

"Emanuel's backing among African-American voters continues to tumble. Nearly 6 in 10 black voters disapprove, while only about 1 in 4 approve of the mayor's performance. In May 2013, 48 percent of black voters disapproved of the mayor's job performance while 40 percent approved.

"Even a majority of Hispanics - a small but growing demographic in city voting - found Emanuel's job performance lacking, a reversal from last year."

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So basically Rahm plans to spend about $10 million to buy popularity - or scare out of the race candidates more desirable to voters. Democracy!

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And then there's Ram's military wing.

Red Light Rahm
"Chicago's red light camera scandal deepened Wednesday with the federal indictment of a former Redflex Traffic Systems CEO on charges she and a top City Hall manager conspired to rig the camera business for a decade," the Tribune reports.

"Karen Finley, one of several Redflex executives dumped amid the scandal, was indicted along with former city official John Bills and a longtime Bills friend accused of being the bagman in a $2 million bribery scheme that ran from 2002 until 2012, when the Tribune first disclosed Bills' ties to the company."

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Even the pro-camera editorial page of the Tribune is turning against them.

"At every turn, it seems, the red light cameras are less about safety than about dollar signs."

Um, duh?

"If Mayor Rahm Emanuel can't find a way to restore credibility to the program, he should take those cameras down."

Agree!

And as long as we're talking about credibility, how about the Trib demands restoring some to CPS?

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See also: Data Mayor Image Doesn't Add Up.

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George Ryan Is Unrepentant
Says he hasn't learned any lessons - and he's right.

Mary Mitchell vs. Black Jesus
Wants Cartoon Network to get off her lawn.

Draiman Defends Israel
Plus: Enuff's Not Enough, Crowdfunding Kath, Elmhurst Rock Opera, and Eye Of Survivor. In Local Music Notebook.

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BeachBook
* Why A Chicago Team Has Become The Little League World Series' Biggest Story.

* We Tortured Some Folks: The Comic Strip.

* Patrick Kane Wins MVP Of Fattey Hockey League Championship.

* Obama Donors Embrace Corporate Inversions He Criticizes.

We inverted some folks.

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TweetWood

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The Beachwood Tip Line: Oppo repo.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 8:50 AM | Permalink

Sun-Times Columnist Mary Mitchell Wants Black Jesus To Get Off Her Lawn

"I pray. I read the bible. I go to church. I try to do unto others, as I would have them do unto me," writes Sun-Times columnist Mary Mitchell.

Do I have questions about who Jesus is? Sure I do. Yet, those questions don't get in the way of my reverence.

So, it isn't surprising that I would be disgusted with Aaron McGruder's Black Jesus, which made its controversial debut on Adult Swim last week.

Finally, we get a black Jesus and he's a wig-wearing, profanity-spewing, gangbanging, weed-smoking, Hennessey-swilling hippy.

Really?

In the recent Son of God, believers got a dignified portrayal of Jesus, played by Diogo Morgado. In 2004, we got a suffering Jesus played by Jim Caviezel in The Passion.

But when black people are the targeted audience, what do they get?

Buffoonery.

Okay. Um, Son of God and The Passion of the Christ (the actual title) were dramatic movies. Black Jesus is a comedy on Adult Swim, the nighttime block of the Cartoon Network, and is much if not more a social commentary simply using a black Jesus as a comedic device than a religious commentary.

Besides, has Mitchell never seen Family Guy, now in its twelfth season and, among other accolades, the first animated show to be nominated for an Emmy for Outstanding Comedy Series since The Flintstones in 1961?

To wit:

Not all he's cracked up to be.

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Dinner with Jesus.

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No snickering.

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With dad.

And so on.

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Back to Mitchell:

"[I]t is highly unlikely that any other religious group - including Muslims and Jews - would sit idly by while the symbols of their faith are denigrated for entertainment. Unfortunately, when it comes to black people, anything goes."

Mitchell is confusing race and religion. I guess what she means to say is that a white Jesus can be denigrated for entertainment and, um, Christians would speak up, but when it comes to black people, um, they don't speak up when . . . oh, I don't know, it's just so muddled. Just say you are offended that somehow in America a satiric portrayal of a black Jesus - by a black man - would make it to the airwaves. Apparently somebody is supposed to stop that from happening.

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Watch the trailer and tell me this doesn't look awesome. Mitchell clearly isn't getting it.

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What others think:

* The Catholic League Is Cautiously Hopeful About Black Jesus.

* 'Black Jesus' May Drink, Smoke And Curse, But He's Still Messiah-Ish.

* Black Jesus: Good-Natured Stoner Humor.

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See also: The Long History Of Comedic Messiahs.

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 3:17 AM | Permalink

Local Music Notebook: Draiman Defends Israel

"Disturbed frontman David Draiman has slammed 'the mainstream media' for its 'biased, libelous, and often erroneous portrayal of Israel' in the current conflict in Gaza and has accused a number of the world's biggest news organizations of 'set[ting] the stage for a new Holocaust,'" Blabbermouth reports.

"Draiman - who has extensive family in Israel, including his brother, Jerusalem-based folk rock and ambient musician Ben Draiman, as well as his grandmother - took to his Twitter account on Friday (August 8) to write: 'The mainstream media's biased, libelous, and often erroneous portrayal of Israel in the current conflict has fueled a wave of anti-Semitism, the likes of which I have not witnessed in my lifetime. Well done, CNN, BBC, Reuters [and] MSNBC, you've set the stage for a new Holocaust. Maybe you'd be happy/satisfied when the extremist nutbags you defend so much, who eagerly martyr their own children who chant for the death of all Jews, not just the Israeli's, and whose ethics, morals and values stand diametrically opposed to your own liberal views of freedom of religion, gay marriage, pro choice, and even democracy itself, strip the region of the only bastion of true liberty that exists in the region. Well, guess what? Never again. Jews aren't so easy to fuck with anymore.'"

Enuff Not Enough
"Chicago rockers Enuff Z'nuff have compiled various cover tunes that they have recorded over the past 30-years for a new album, Covered In Gold, which will be released in North America on August 19th," Anti-Music reports.

"Many of the covers on the album will be familiar to long-times fans as they have appeared on various albums and compilations including their versions of Cheap Trick's 'Everything Works If You Let It,' Queen's 'Stone Cold Crazy,' Smokey Robinson & The Miracles' 'Tears of a Clown' and John Lennon's 'Imagine,' which was a staple of their live shows in the 1990s."

Deacon Blues
Charges in shooting death of Eric "Guitar" Davis.

Crowdfunding Kath
"The daughter of former Chicago guitarist Terry Kath has launched a Kickstarter campaign to raise funds to complete a documentary about her father, who died from an accidental gunshot wound in 1978," Anti-Music reports.

"Terry Kath was the larger-than-life lead guitarist, vocalist and founding member of Illinois jazz-rockers Chicago. Kath played on the group's early hits '25 or 6 to 4' and 'Saturday In The Park' and blazed a trail on albums such as 1969's Chicago Transit Authority and '71s Chicago III.

"Such was Terry Kath's musical prowess that Jimi Hendrix declared him 'better than me.' However, tragedy struck in January 1978, when he shot himself with a pistol."

Remembering Kimball Paul
"Kimball Paul stood out on the dance floors at the punk and new wave bars that dotted the North Side of Chicago in the 1980s," the Sun-Times reports.

It wasn't just his mustache, as luxuriant as Freddy Mercury's.

Or his shaved head.

Or the muscle packed on his 6-foot-3-inch frame.

It wasn't just his flowing robes. Or the way he danced, with sweeping movements rooted in his study of tai chi.

It was the martial arts sword - sometimes, two at a time - he brandished as he swirled on the dance floor, especially when he heard Roxy Music. He couldn't resist the velvety vibrato of Bryan Ferry.

Dancing was a break in his workday.

Mr. Paul was a sword-carrying bouncer at Neo, Exit, Avalon and Metro. And when he wasn't raising an eyebrow at fake IDs, breaking up fights and disarming particularly rowdy customers, he was out there, in the words of Billy Idol, "Dancing with Myself."

Mr. Paul, 56, a Bridgeport resident, died Tuesday night of liver disease at Rush University Medical Center.

A celebration of his life is in the works.

An Elmhurst Rock Opera
"Alexander Kariotis' self-titled debut, out now on Sony/Red, profiles a life set to music," the Sun-Times reports.

From growing up in Elmhurst under the tutelage of his older rock-star brother to becoming one of the brightest stars in the grandiose rock opera tradition, it's all laid out in 10 original tracks, including collaborations with jazz purveyor David Sanborn and Run-DMC's Darryl McDaniels.

While there are songs about the time Kariotis' father ran away with his piano teacher ("Home") and, years later, meeting the love of his life in Germany ("Lucky in Love"), the multilingual record is eclipsed with moving stories about the singer's late brother.

"This is kind of Tony and Alex's album," says Kariotis, explaining how the Steve-Perry-meets-Pavarotti style mirrors the intersection of their two worlds. Tony Kariotis was once the frontman for the melodic rock band Gambler, formed in Chicago in the '70s in the era of Cheap Trick and REO Speedwagon. When the band needed an opener, Tony would often slate his kid brother's high school group, the Nodes, to join the bill.

Kariotis plays Friday at the Hard Rock.

Eye Of Survivor
"Legendary rock band Survivor, featuring original guitarist Frankie Sullivan, and orginal lead vocalist Dave Bickler and Jimi Jamison, will perform Friday at Hard Rock Live in Northfield and Sunday at Horseshoe Casino in Cincinnati," the Norwalk Reflector reports.

Sullivan couldn't "Hold Back" any longer and has reunited four early members of Survivor, Bickler and Jamison.

Survivor was formed in the cold Chicago winter of 1977 by Sullivan and Jim Peterik and signed to a record deal with Scotti Bros. Records the following year. The artistic success of their first album, the self-titled Survivor, including the single "Somewhere in America," did moderately well and started to build a loyal base of fans.

Their breakout came in 1982 when Sylvester Stallone invited them to write and perform the title song for Rocky III. This was the now-classic "Eye of the Tiger," and brought the band national attention. "Eye of The Tiger" spent seven weeks at the #1 spot on the U.S. charts. The song won a Grammy, an Oscar nomination and was voted 'Best New Song" by the People's Choice Awards.

The band also once collaborated with Eddie Money.

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 12:36 AM | Permalink

George Ryan Is Unrepentant

Former Illinois governor and convicted felon George Ryan appeared on Windy City Live recently and repeated several claims that bear vetting - and that the media should be prepared for in future interviews and his forthcoming memoirs. Let's take a look, in three parts.

Part 1.

1:41: "I really wasn't in prison. I was never behind bars. I was in a camp, I could've walked out any time. I could've gotten in a car and driven away. There were no guards."

While it's a bit of a stretch for Ryan to claim he wasn't in prison - it's called the Oxford federal prison camp - it is true that Oxford is what is known in the business as a Club Fed.

From a 2007 Tribune report:

The prison camp has no cellblocks, provides a track for walking and offers classes in culinary arts and college correspondence courses, according to federal officials, ex-inmates and visitors.

And come next spring, when people from his home state flock by the thousands to their seasonal cabins, Ryan could be planting flowers on a landscaping crew sprucing up the grounds of the wooded camp.

"It's like a hotel in there," said Ken Driscoll, an Oxford businessman who has toured the facility several times. "It's clean and comfortable and quite quiet."

2:10: "It was just a total waste of time, frankly."

2:55: "They oughta have some education programs."

Well, apparently they offer GED courses because Ryan turned down entreaties to teach one. "I'm not a teacher . . . You have to have some training. I've never had training as a teacher."

4:10: What did you learn? "I learned that it was kind of a waste of time . . . "

5:15: What has to change about Illinois' culture of corruption? "The people elect their public officials and they have to be a little more selective and make them accountable . . . "

Like not electing someone with a record of hinkiness dating back decades?

5:46: Ryan went to prison, then Blago. "And maybe Quinn's going, I don't know." The crowd goes "Oooooh."

6:23: Do you think you were wrongfully imprisoned? "Well look, it's over, let's not talk about the past . . . "

6:59: Why should anyone care about your upcoming memoir? "I can't tell you why. I don't know why they should care."

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Part 2.

:18: "I had nothing absolutely to do with the death of those six children . . . at the time they went through it, we put them in our daily prayers."

While assigning direct blame is tricky, surely Ryan had something to do with the death of the Willis children. As recounted by the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel:

On Nov. 8, 1994, Scott and Janet and their six youngest children were driving through Milwaukee toward a birthday party in Watertown.

Somewhere ahead of them was Ricardo Guzman, who had paid a bribe to obtain a commercial diver's license in Illinois. Guzman did not speak English and could not understand the other truckers who were warning him that a piece of his rig - a 30-pound bracket holding the truck's mudflap in place - had broken loose.

The Willises' minivan ran over the bracket on I-94, south of W. Layton Ave. The bracket punctured the gas tank and dragged like a matchstick over the surface of the road. The spray of sparks ignited the gasoline and the van exploded in flames . . . All six children had burned to death.

The tragedy became the public face of the licenses-for-bribes scandal that poured money into Ryan's campaign coffers.

Also, I highly doubt the Ryans ever put the Willises in their daily prayers. As recounted by Tom Roeser:

If there was ever any lingering regret for George Ryan's troubles, it was snuffed out early in his trial. When one session ended and the former governor was gathering his things into a briefcase, ready to depart, he was approached by the Rev. Duane Willis, the father of the six children who were burned to death after a car accident caused by a part falling off a truck driven by a illegal immigrant who got his commercial license by bribing one of Ryan's driving examiners. Rev. Willis, a gentleman, approached the defendant and asked Ryan to at least express remorse for his part in the accident. Ryan growled - as only he could - 'Why don't you get a life?'

:45: "We have reached out [to the Willises] to some degree, but not a whole lot."

But they're in your prayers!

"But you know, it's done and over with, and I think life's gotta go on."

1:01: But technically you did have something to do with it . . . "I had nothing to do with the license or the sale of the license . . ."

If by nothing you mean just depositing the money from the sale of licenses into your campaign account.

1:50: What's one thing you would change to fix the state's culture of corruption? "I really don't know."

2:10: As secretary of state, when these allegations were unfolding, did you have the power to launch an investigation? "I suppose I could have. But the accident happened in Wisconsin. Wisconsin didn't launch an investigation. This was an accident that happened in Wisconsin, it didn't happen in Illinois."

Ah, but there was an investigation - until Ryan's pal, Dean Bauer, his handpicked inspector general, quashed it.

From a 2001 Tribune article:

In pleading guilty to the one obstruction of justice count, Bauer admitted he suggested that a former secretary of his dispose of two incriminating documents, including one involving Bauer's thwarting of an investigation into a 1994 crash in Wisconsin that killed six children of a Chicago family.

That memo, written about a week after the crash, revealed that Bauer suspected that Ricardo Guzman, a truck driver who caused the fatal accident, had obtained his commercial driver's license illegally at the licensing facility in McCook.Yet he ordered an investigator not to pursue the case.

And the fact that the accident happened in Wisconsin is irrelevant to the circumstances surrounding the purchase of the Illinois license in Illinois.

2:50: "I never felt responsible for it."

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Part 3.

:38: You think Rod Blagojevich got a raw deal. "No question about it . . . Fourteen years in prison? For what?"

1:12: Don't you think Blagojevich's lengthy sentence had a lot to do with the fact that you had just gone to prison? "What's that got to do with it?"

Well, um, deterrence?

"It's been going on for a hundred years."

1:56: What's your biggest regret? If you had to do it again, what would you have done differently? "You know, you're all gonna go 'oooh, boo,' and everything; I don't know what I would have done differently. All the evidence against me was circumstantial."

That argument failed every appeal he filed. From AP in 2011:

A federal appeals court has upheld former Illinois Gov. George Ryan's corruption convictions.

The 7th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals on Wednesday rejected arguments from Ryan's attorneys that the charges should be overturned because prosecutors never proved he took a bribe.

It was the latest attempt by Ryan to get out of prison based on a U.S. Supreme Court ruling curtailing "honest services" laws.

The appellate court accepted government arguments that Ryan's case clearly involved bribery and kickbacks, so the high court ruling didn't apply.

Last year, the U.S. District judge who presided over Ryan's 2006 trial, Rebecca Pallmeyer, upheld Ryan's corruption conviction, leading to the appeal.

Ryan has served about three years of his 6 1/2-year sentence on racketeering, conspiracy, tax fraud and making false statements to the FBI.

The U.S. Supreme Court later refused to hear the case.

Back to Ryan: "I don't know what I would really do differently. I really can't think of what I would do . . . the United States attorney prior to Patrick Fitzgerald had started the investigation into this whole thing . . . and investigated me, and came back in and gave me a total complete exoneration, and a clean bill."

Patently not true. The investigation did start under Fitzgerald's predecessor, Scott Lassar, and Lassar infamously stated (to his regret) during the 1998 gubernatorial campaign that Ryan was not a target of that probe, but that doesn't come anywhere close to a total complete exoneration - or even an incomplete one.

"And then we got a new United States attorney, Patrick Fitzgerald, who came in, and he was the guy who convicted me and went after me."

And the judge, appellate court and U.S. Supreme Court were all in on the conspiracy.

3:40: "What do you want me to explain? They never convicted me of receiving directly money from anybody . . . they didn't have one person in all the money in all the programs I was involved with that said, 'I gave Ryan a lot of money.'"

From the Tribune:

"In 2006, federal jurors convicted George Ryan on 18 felony corruption counts: racketeering, mail fraud, tax fraud, filing false tax returns, lying to FBI agents. Nine people, six of them children named Willis, lie dead because of the crime spree on Ryan's watch: When he was secretary of state, as many as 2,000 truckers bribed his employees to get driver's licenses. Some of that blood money flowed to his political fund - and some of those truckers caused crashes that killed those nine and injured dozens more. As U.S. Attorney Patrick Fitzgerald had said when the ex-governor was indicted: 'Ryan is charged with betraying the citizens of Illinois for over a decade on state business, both large and small. ... Defendant Ryan sold his office.'"

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Ed Hammer is a retired police captain and author of the book One Hundred Percent Guilty. He can be reached through his website.

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Previously by Ed Hammer:
* George Ryan's Park Bench
* George Ryan's Dogs and Ponies
* George Ryan's Other Jailhouse Interview
* Bugging The Chicago School Board
* Cop vs. Teacher
* Signs of Change
* Pols vs. Teachers
* The Terre Haute Redemption
* Rahm's War On Teachers
* About Those Indicted Nurses
* Body Language Bingo: A Guide To Watching The Presidential Debates
* George Ryan's Day Of Independence
* The Ironic George Ryan.

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See also: Honoring A True Illinois Hero.

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 12:15 AM | Permalink

August 13, 2014

The [Wednesday] Papers

"Some of Chicago's yellow lights are too short, according to an administrative law judge who said he's thrown out '60 to 70 percent' of red light camera tickets he's come across recently because of the discrepancy," the Expired Meter reports.

"The city uses the state and federal standard of having yellow lights display for a minimum of three seconds at intersections. But an administrative law judge, who hears appeals from motorists ticketed by red light cameras, said during a hearing this week that he has seen evidence that yellow times are slightly beneath that at some Chicago intersections with red light cameras."

To the vault!

"Red light camera vendor uses a spreadsheet to calculate profit based on engineering deficiencies such as short yellow time."

And:

Waguespack, a member of the City Council Progressive Caucus that often calls on Mayor Rahm Emanuel to move slower on enacting initiatives so aldermen can better get a handle on the financial impact to Chicagoans, said he and others have been complaining to city transportation officials for some time about the short length of the yellow lights at some camera-controlled intersections.

"We've already asked CDOT about the yellow lights and they were like 'Don't worry about it, everything is cool,' " Waguespack said. "Well, clearly it wasn't."

Clearly.

"A contingent of City Hall lawyers and officials appeared in a tiny hearing room to defend the city's automated traffic ticket program during a three-hour hearing at which an administrative judge said he is throwing out tickets because yellow light times are too short," the Tribune reports.

"I've been calling up a lot of tickets where the amber times are 2.9 (seconds)," [administrative judge Robert] Sussman told the Tribune on Tuesday. "That's what I said on the record and I stand by that."

Sussman said it is very unusual for the city to send lawyers to his hearings, but four City Hall representatives showed up in the small room at 400 W. Superior.

"I don't know why they were there," he said.

Because they're scared shitless. The red-light camera program is crumbling before Rahm's eyes. First, coming refunds on mysterious spikes in ticketing. Now this.

If only - like with the infrastructure trust - the famously impatient mayor had taken the time to address questions from aldermen (and others) and craft a program that got it right, instead of got it in a hurry.

Can we now acknowledge that being impatient - combined with being autocratic - is not a virtue in a public official?

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"Sussman declined to elaborate Tuesday on his rulings, referring the Tribune to the audio recording of the hearing maintained by the city. The city did not make the recording available."

Let's add that being impatient, autocratic and secretive are not virtues in a public official.

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"Not only are city leaders calling for an investigation and refunds, but several lawyers are now in the process of gathering affected drivers for a class-action suit, or perhaps several suits," Time reported last month.

"That may be one reason why many cities have decided to do away with roadside cameras all together. Several San Diego County cities, for instance, pulled the plug on their roadside camera programs in recent months. The number of U.S. cities with roadside cameras is on the decline too, from 540 in 2012 to 508 this year. Depending on how things play out in Chicago and in other cities where drivers are protesting roadside cameras, that number could keep on falling."

Losing The Lottery
"For the third consecutive year, the private firm hired run the Illinois Lottery has failed to bring in the profits it promised to raise for the state, even as its parent companies continue to be paid more each year to provide games and services," the Tribune reports.

"According to a Tribune review of preliminary year-end data, Northstar Lottery Group posted a net profit of $738 million - nearly a quarter billion less than it pledged to bring in for the 2014 fiscal year, which ended June 30.

"The figure is less than the company raised for the state in the 2012 and 2013 fiscal years after it became the first private company in the nation to take over day-to-day operations of a state lottery."

Good. The lottery is worse than the red-light camera program - you can't even pretend it exists for the public's safety.

Fantasy Fix Draft Guide: QBs & RBs
Jay Cutler vs. Josh McCown.

BeachBook
* Chris Sale Flexes His Comprehensive Vocabulary After Starts.

* Family In Court Fight Over Historic Baseball Photos Amid Fraud Probe.

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TweetWood

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The Beachwood Tip Line: A denial.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 10:29 AM | Permalink

The Fantasy Fix 2014 Football Draft Guide Part 2: QBs & RBs

QB is now the easiest fantasy football position to draft, and the one most fantasy football team owners will look forward to drafting this year. It's so deep that Jay Cutler, equipped with arguably the best pair of WRs and one of the best pass-catching RBs, through no fault of his own (finally), ranks as no better than a borderline back-up.

That isn't so with RBs. The position is finally suffering from a long-predicted dip in value, with a small reliable core of Tier 1 players, almost no one who would qualify as a Tier 2, and then a very large pool of middling talent at Tier 3.

QB

1) Peyton Manning, DEN: See, I told you this would be easy. Always a question of when he'll slow down, but he has the best all-around offense to work with, and may make a star of RB Montee Ball this season.

2) Aaron Rodgers, GB: Some experts are ranking him behind Brees, but the low numbers last year were due to injury and nothing else.

3) Drew Brees, NO: Had a great partnership with RB Darren Sproles, who's gone, but TE Jimmy Graham is more valuable than many WRs, and he benefits from a genius head coach.

4) Matthew Stafford, DET: Another QB with valuable and plentiful targets. He had all that last year, too, and was terribly inconsistent, but a new coach and offensive coordinator could change that.

5) Matt Ryan, ATL: Ranking him a little higher than some, but I'm banking on a rebound season. TE star Tony Gonzalez has retired, but he'll have Julio Jones again, and Jones was on a pace to be the top fantasy WR last season before getting injured.

6) Cam Newton, CAR: Led all QBs in rushing last year, but those rushing yards were down from 741 to 585. Passing yards were down slightly, too, yet he still managed 30 total TDs, and cut his fumbles from 10 to three.

7) Robert Griffin III, WAS: Could easily surpass Cam as the top dual-threat QB, but we need more proof - 489 rushing yards last year, but zero TDs. Still, he should improve on last year's passing line of 16 TDs, 12 INTs, 3,203 yards. New coach and scheme create question marks.

8) Andrew Luck, IND: Maybe the best candidate to break into the Tier 1 group of Manning/Rodgers/Brees. Big bets for 2013 being didn't quite pay off, but 27 total TDs last year against nine INTs, and the prospect for a 4,000-plus yards passing suggest 2014 will be his year.

9) Nick Foles, PHI: Huge second half last year may have propelled many fantasy teams into the postseason. He captains a highly productive offense that lost top WR DeSean Jackson, but regains Jeremy Maclin. Only question mark is experience, but hasn't been a problem yet.

10) Tony Romo, DAL: Only in fantasy football is the NFL team with the worst defense worth an upgrade in value for said team's QB. Romo will throw and throw and throw this year, as he often tries to play catch-up, making him a good bet for 5,000 passing yards.

11) Tom Brady, NE: How the mighty have fallen after a somewhat disastrous (though not really all that bad, numbers-wise) 2013 campaign. Things will be better this year, as a hopefully healthy Rob Gronkowski should help him to 30 TDs or more after 25 last season.

12) Jay Cutler, CHI: All the pieces are in place, as a former Bears coach once infamously said. Cutler has fantastic targets, and his O-line should improve again. He could have his first 4,000-yard season as a Bear, yet double-digit INTs still haunt him, keeping him from a higher rank.

13) Colin Kaepernick, SF: Kaepernick didn't meet lofty expectations that made him a top five QB before last year's draft. His 524 rushing yards and 24 total TDs against eight INTs should grant him a higher rank, but the 49ers are conservative, and he won't be a passing yardage leader.

14) Phillip Rivers, SD: Nice comeback season in 2013 had him looking like a top 10 QB again. He was in the top five in passing yards and TDs, but doesn't have high-quality targets and now leads a run-oriented offense. He could have similar results this year, but I'm betting on regression.

15) Andy Dalton, CIN: His 35 total TDs should make him a fantasy starter, but 20 INTs mitigate the excitement.

16) Russell Wilson, SEA: 26 passing TDs against nine INTS, plus 539 rushing yards give him some value, but passing yards of barely 3,300 last year prove he leads a ground-based offense.

17) Carson Palmer, ARI: After 22 INTs last year, I don't blame you if you think he no longer has a comeback left in him, but could prove to be a bargain back-up if he and offense-minded coach Bruce Arians have cooked up better plans this year.

18) Josh McCown, TAM: The back-up who found stardom in Chicago will lead an offense with some decent weapons at WR, RB and TE.

19) Eli Manning, NYG: Things can't get any worse after 27 INTs last year, and he still managed almost 4,000 yards passing. He's worth a low pick to see if he comes back under a more conservative offensive scheme.

20) Ryan Tannehill, MIA: Looked brilliant in flashes last year with 24 TDs, though he ultimately ended up with 17 INTs. A new offensive coordinator could help.

Sleeper: Johnny Manziel, CLE: He may not even end up as the starter, but he's worth a last-round bet unless some crazed Johnny Football fan in your league takes him earlier.

RB

1) Jamaal Charles, KC: First in rushing TDs and receiving TDs, first in receiving yards and third in rushing yards among all RBs last year, and the Chiefs reportedly are committing to giving their workhorse another heavy load of hand-offs and passes again this year.

2) LeSean McCoy, PHI: The right RB in the right offense. His 1,607 rushing yards led the league last year, and he could get a few more passes above last year's 64 receptions.

3) Adrian Peterson, MIN: Even when nothing goes right for the Vikings, like last year, he still manages double-digit TDs and more than 1,200 rushing yards. He actually may sit out the pre-season, which might make him even more dangerous when the opening bell rings.

4) Matt Forte, CHI: Second in rushing yards and fourth in receiving yards among RBs last year. His 12 total TDs were nice, but he should be able to do better this year.

5) Eddie Lacy, GB: Scary good in his rookie year, placing second in rushing TDs with 11. It would surprise no one if he ended up the top RB by the end of this season.

6) Marshawn Lynch, SEA: He has moved up the rankings since his holdout ended, and though there's a question of how that could affect his play, his 12 TDs and more than 300 rushing attempts last year made him the center of the Super Bowl-winning offense.

7) Zac Stacy, STL: This is where we dip into Tier 3 territory. Stacy had a great run last year in what amounted to a 12-game season, but he and others below either have inexperience, injury concerns, split workloads or all three to degrade their value somewhat

8) Montee Ball, DEN: Having said all that, Ball could have a breakout year now that he is the clear starter in a Peyton Manning-led offense. Still, he has only one 100-yard rushing game to his name so far, and could miss the whole pre-season after an appendectomy.

9) Arian Foster, HOU: Injuries have depleted much of his value, though on the plus side, he no longer has to split work with Ben Tate.

10) Le'Veon Bell, PIT: Showed promise last year, including about 400 yards receiving, though there's some question if newcomer Lagarette Blount will vulture some TDs or get some of his workload.

11) DeMarco Murray, DAL: Very solid 1,121 rushing yards last year and nine TDs should get him a higher ranking, but injuries are a recurring theme, and Dallas will have to throw a ton this year.

12) Giovani Bernard, CIN: His 695 rushing yards sound pedestrian, but his 514 receiving yards put him in the top 10 at the position, and displayed some highlight reel moves and speed.

13) Andre Ellington, ARI: He's the clear starter, and could be a real find, but lacks experience to grant him more than an RB-2 ranking.

14) C.J. Spiller, BUF: Huge disappointment last season for those of us expecting a top-five RB. This year he'll still split work with seemingly unkillable veteran Fred Jackson.

15) Alfred Morris, WAS: Rushing for 1,275 yards sound like it should get you more, but to be a starting fantasy RB today you need receptions, too, and Morris was a non-factor as a receiver.

16) Doug Martin, TB: Returning from an injury that came amid a subpar season, the big question is whether Martin can overcome other Bucs RBs to recapture his rookie year magic.

17) Rashad Jennings, NYG: Had some strong moments as a starter in Oakland last year, and probably found the right fit this year, but lack of starts leaves questions about consistency.

18) Ryan Mathews, SD: He finally made good on some of his promise last year, running for more than 1,200 yards, but fellow RB Danny Woodhead got the bulk of the receptions we had expected Mathews to get, and we likely will see more of the same this year.

19) Frank Gore, SF: Still going strong, Gore had 1,128 rushing yards last year, and remains the perfect weapon for a team that works the clock and grinds out victories.

20) Reggie Bush/Joique Bell, DET: You pretty much have to take both of these guys. Bush had more rushing yards and caught more passes last year, but Bell had more receiving yards, and edged out Bush in total TDs eight to seven.

Sleeper: Ray Rice, BAL, or Trent Richardson, IND: For different reasons, you may not want to touch either of them, but both are coming off such horrible seasons, it is hard to fathom how they couldn't be at least somewhat better this year.

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See also: Part 1: The Top 20.

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

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 9:38 AM | Permalink

August 12, 2014

The [Tuesday] Papers

1. Robin Williams.

2. Barack Obama.

"In June 2014, the Obama administration asked Congress for $500 million to train and equip nationalist Syrian rebels battling both the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) and the Assad regime. Questions were posed then about the genuineness of the gesture: The request was e-mailed to Capitol Hill rather than made in person; it was unaccompanied by visits or telephone calls; there were no follow-up consultations; there was no order to the Department of Defense to reprogram funds to initiate activity quickly; and there was no evidence of an existing plan or overall strategy. Two months later, those questions seem to have been answered by the president of the United States. He says that arming nationalist Syrian rebels was never going to work anyway."

3. Pat Dowell.

"A South Side aldermen suggested Monday that it may be time to shorten the nation's oldest and largest African-American parade after a shooting Saturday near the Bud Billiken parade route injured two teens and frightened families," the Sun-Times reports.

"As the parade has aged, perhaps now it's just time to take a look at tweaking it to figure out what changes need to be made," local Ald. Pat Dowell (3rd) said during a live interview on the WFLD-TV program, Good Day Chicago.

Um, perhaps. Or maybe we should consider shortening Pat Dowell's career as an alderman.

"After the television interview, Dowell refused to return phone calls about her proposal to shorten the parade that has become a day-long celebration of African-American families and a must-attend for politicians courting votes.

"In a series of text message to the Chicago Sun-Times, Dowell said she would have 'no additional comment on the parade' until a post-mortem with city officials on Wednesday.

"I said perhaps [we should shorten it]. I also said we should look at traffic management and police deployment," she wrote.

So Dowell was apparently too busy texting to return phone calls.

4. Bagels for bros?

5. Choose Chicago.

"When conventions and trade shows threaten to leave McCormick Place or Rosemont for Orlando, Las Vegas or elsewhere, officials at the lakefront and suburban convention centers have a carrot to offer to keep those shows here: A pot of taxpayer money they guard so tightly they've tried to keep secret how it's spent, the Chicago Sun-Times has found.

"Over the past three years, $26.5 million from Illinois taxpayers has been spent to lure the International Housewares Association's trade show, the Radiological Society of North America convention and 79 other shows to McCormick Place under an obscure provision of a 2010 law passed to save Chicago's convention industry by lowering the cost of union labor, records show.

"Another $10 million has gone to Rosemont, which uses the money to subsidize dozens of events at its village-owned convention center - including several editions of the International Gem & Jewelry Show - as well as to repair its parking garage and pay off debt."

Chicago: City of magical pots of money.

"The Metropolitan Pier and Exposition Authority - the government agency known as McPier that oversees McCormick Place and Navy Pier - and Rosemont both denied requests made under the Illinois Freedom of Information Act seeking lists of the subsidies individual conventions got. They said revealing that information might anger the organizers of conventions that didn't get any money and might help other cities lure away conventions that now come here."

That would be FOIA exemption 3F: Anger Management Clause.

6. Dick Durbin.

"U.S. Sen. Dick Durbin was trying to stay out of the dispute over whether the University of Chicago Medical Center should open a trauma center on its Hyde Park hospital campus," WBBM Newsradio reports.

Maybe threaten an inversion?

"Some residents living near the U of C hospital campus said the lack of a Level 1 trauma center on the South Side means some gunshot victims or crash victims must travel several miles by ambulance to the North Side or West Side for emergency medical care."

To repeat: "The South Side of Chicago has no adult trauma centers at any hospitals. The only hospital in southern Cook County with a Level 1 trauma center is Advocate Christ Medical Center in Oak Lawn, 10 miles away. "

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"To say, 'Let's go open a trauma center two miles from here' is not a casual decision. It has to be done very carefully, with a dramatic investment. So I don't want to push them into something that is not practical," Durbin said.

Like caring for gunshot victims.

"I understand the community concerns, because of all the violence and bloodshed, but we need to look at this in honest terms."

Meaning, y'all are poor and black. Get real.

7. Ali Abunimah.

He spoke and Evanston is still standing. We have the video.

8. Michael Reinstein.

Illinois Suspends Medical License Of Leading Prescriber Of Antipsychotic Drugs.

9. Lovie Smith.

Did he bring his O-line woes to Tampa Bay?

10. Rick Rentamanager.

In The Cub Factor.

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TweetWood

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The Beachwood Tip Line: Game-changing.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 9:00 AM | Permalink

Abunimah Speaks!

"An overflow crowd listened to Chicago writer Ali Abunimah read from his book, The Battle for Justice in Palestine, at the Evanston Public Library on Monday after the library's controversial decision [link added] to postpone, and then reissue, his invitation to speak," the Tribune reports.

Here's the video:


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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 8:23 AM | Permalink

Rick Rentamanager

Rick Rentamanager.

Carlos Villanuewavagoodbye.

John Bakeroonie.

I've got nothing.

The Week In Review: The Cubs took two of three from the Rockies and dropped two of three to the Rays. In other local games of pretend, the Bears won their first exhibition match.

The Week In Preview: The Brewers, who are based in Milwaukee, a smaller market by far than Chicago, bring their first-place squad to Wrigley for four. Then the Cubs head to New York to get spanked by the woeful Mets.

Wrigley Is 100 Celebration: The Cubs will strike out 100 times in an upcoming game.

Mad Merch: Free strikeouts to the first 10,000 fans to Wrigley the rest of the season.

Prospects Are Suspects: Arismendy Alcantara is 7-for-his-last 39. Javy Baez has struck out 12 times in 29 at-bats. They are batting 1-2 in the Cubs lineup.

Theo Epstein Condescension Meter: 10.

"It's not business."

That's Ricky: Rick Rentamanager said last week that he sees Baez as a clean-up hitter down the road. If that ever happens, the Cubs have totally failed. Kris Bryant and Jorge Soler are slated for fill the four- and five-holes down the road, presuming Anthony Rizzo stays in the three-hole. And if they don't work out, the Cubs better go get someone who isn't going to strike out with men on base night after night.

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Also: "Renteria conceded that bullpen management has been his greatest challenge as a first-year manager, a task made even greater by a slew of close games. Cubs relievers began the day with the third-most innings in the majors this season."

"That's one of the reasons why we carry eight relievers," Renteria said.

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So the Cubs carry eight relievers because Rick Rentamanager can't manage a bullpen.

Laughable Headline Of The Week: "Javier Baez Strikeout Helps Cubs Walk Off To Victory Over Rays."

Even their wins are accidental.

Kubs Kulture: "Beyond K's, Cubs Seek On-Base Formula."

Not gonna get it with Jim Hendry's leftovers.

Billy Cub vs. Clark Cub: "Also on hand adding to the festive climate were Clark the Cub and former Cubs Dave Otto and Bill Campbell."

Advantage: Billy.

The Junior Lake Show: Oh, Cubs.

Mustache Wisdom: "Carlos Villanueva (5-6) was the seventh Cubs pitcher used."

Wishing Upon A Starlin: Hitting .279 in his comeback year - out of the four-hole.

Ameritrade Stock Pick of the Week: The market is valuing Cole Hamels higher this week.

Jumbotron Preview: 5,700 square-feet of not getting Cole Hamels.

Kubs Kalender: Wait 'til next year 2016 2017 2018 2019 2020 2021.

Over/Under: Amount ticket prices will go up next year: +/- $1.25.

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 phrase "growing pains" is gonna get old fast.

Hashtag Cubs

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

The White Sox Report: Dunn Saga Done.

The Beachwood Radio Sports Hour: Javy Time.

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 12:27 AM | Permalink

August 11, 2014

The [Monday] Papers

"David Vitale, the president of the Chicago Board of Education, runs a bank that stands to benefit from a proposal for a new charter school that's set to come before the school board for approval later this month," the Sun-Times reported Friday.

Well, okay, but who's to say Vitale has anything to do with it?

"Vitale would not comment. Reached on his cellphone, he said he would call back but didn't. He didn't reply to subsequent messages. Nor did he respond to questions e-mailed to him about how the charter school group found a building that his bank has foreclosed on and the propriety of CPS approving a deal that would benefit the bank."

Benefit of the doubt revoked.

Cal City Chase Tragedy
A Tribune investigation of [a fatal] March 14 chase found that the officer who initiated it had been fired from or forced out of five of the seven most recent departments for which he worked," the paper reported Saturday.

"The chase not only violated department policy, but it started with an error in checking the license plate, making it appear that the van might be stolen. And along the way, a supervisor showed what one expert called lackadaisical oversight as the chase ended in tragedy."

Great work, sad story; go read it.

Wanna Save Lives? Build Peotone
A little thing I wrote over at Crain's.

Council Wars
City council inspector general says more than 60 investigations are underway.

Even I find that hard to believe, though I get that many of those investigations may not amount to much at all. But that averages out to more than one per alderman! Of course, being an average, we can surmise that some aldermen are the subject of multiple inquiries while perhaps a half dozen at best are in the clear.

At the same time, Faisal Khan is no Joe Ferguson.

Sigh, Man
Did Sheila Simon really add anything of value with her personal account of the Bud Billiken Parade shooting?

Geez, Judy Baar Topinka should demand equal time - not that she needs it.

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Reminder: see the item here "The Answer Is Yes."

Obama World
"President Obama spent much of the 2012 campaign railing against private equity and its poster boy, Mitt Romney. Now his close pal Marty Nesbitt is running a Chicago-based private equity firm that includes at least one former member of his Administration, and also has raised money from a public pension fund in Illinois," the Fortune reports.

"Nesbitt is best-known for founding airport parking company The Parking Spot with current U.S. Commerce Secretary Penny Pritzker (the company has since been sold), and for his decades-old friendship with Obama. Fortune first reported on his firm, called Vistria Group, back in January. Now we have some additional information."

You'll have to click through to learn more, but really, haven't you learned enough?

The Beachwood Radio Hour
Harold's Chicken Shacks Are Wack And So Is The News.

Also in this episode: LaShawn Ford WTF. State Troopers Deployed By Quinn, Emanuel Campaigns. The Real Reasons Walgreens Didn't Invert. The Week In Juvenile Justice. Race Theorist Abe Lincoln. Cubs Cupboard Wasn't Bare After All. This Weekend's Worst Person In Illinois.

SportsMonday: Being Martellus Bennett
Lesson learned?

The White Sox Report: Dunn Saga Dunn
The future Adam is Eaton - if he can stay healthy.

The Cub Factor
Will appear on Tuesday.

The Beachwood Radio Sports Hour
Bears Play Pretend Game.

Also in this episode: Javy Time. The White Sox Report. Offseason Kaner.

The Weekend In Chicago Rock
Featuring: Phox, Miami Doritos, Flesh Lights, Basement Family, Chaka Khan, Nothing More, Patrick Sweany, Mimicking Birds, Novembers Doom, REO Speedwagon with Chicago, Alice Cooper, Motley Crue, The Baseball Project, The Cult, Abandon Jalopy w/Nico Hoon, Griffin House, Machine Gun Kelly, Chain and the Gang, Ed Schrader's Music Beat, Capital Cities, Cosmic Gate w/Kristina Antuna, and Katy Perry.

BeachBook
* Glencoe Police Blotter: Missing Bearded Dragon Lizard Named Lizzy.

* Illinois State Fair Lowers Prices For Robin Thicke.

* Does Hosting The Olympics Actually Pay Off?

Hint: No.

* Rahm's Infrastructure Trust Fiasco.

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TweetWood

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The Beachwood Tip Line: Garbage in, garbage out.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 11:56 AM | Permalink

SportsMonday: Being Martellus Bennett

The headline atop today's Tribune sports section reads "Lesson learned, Bennett returns." But what lesson did tight end Martellus Bennett really learn during the last week?

First, let's give a shout out to the headline writer. That is a one-column head and those are not easy. It appeared in the paper like this:

Lesson

learned,

Bennett

returns

It is a very impressive little sentence containing a six-letter word followed by three of the seven-letter variety. It conveys the thesis of the story - and it stacks up - just about perfectly. There is even a little rhyming action in there. "Hey Mr. Anonymous Headline Writer (probably a copy editor at the Trib)!" we shout together. "Well done!"

Moving right along, let's talk about Mr. Bennett. From his responses to questions after returning Sunday from his almost week-long suspension from team activities, it seems as though he still may not have learned at least one important lesson: Express contrition in such a way as to convince teammates and fans that you actually feel bad about what you did.

Bennett is a funny guy and he dove right in to trying to be his usual entertaining self during his informal little press conference after practice. But he never seemed to get around to expressing real regret for essentially assaulting teammate Kyle Fuller during a practice early last week and then taking way too long to calm himself down afterward.

Of course, football practices necessarily feature many instances of teammates assaulting each other. But there is a line between the physical contact needed to properly prepare oneself to play this violent game and an over-the-top pounding of a teammate. Bennett clearly crossed it.

Perhaps the tight end seemed more sincere when he talked to his teammates in private, and one hopes most of all that he successfully apologized to Fuller.

Still, you have to wonder about this guy. He is supremely talented and possesses just about the perfect tight end body. The Bears desperately need him because, of all the positions on their team, they may have the least amount of depth at tight end.

Free agent-signee Zach Miller took advantage of Bennett's absence during Friday night's 34-28 exhibition win over the Eagles to haul in several memorable passes from several Bears quarterbacks. One hopes the former Division III quarterback (Nebraska-Omaha) can continue to successfully make the switch to tight end. He obviously shows plenty of promise as a pass-catcher.

But as a blocker? That is more of a work-in-progress for the player who spent four injury-plagued years (his first four in the league) with the Jaguars before signing with the Bears last off-season.

No matter what Miller does, though, the Bears need Bennett to continue to be the dual threat tight end he was last year. One oft-overlooked element of the Bears' offense last year was the blocking ability of primary receivers Alshon Jeffery and Brandon Marshall. Working with Bennett, they were often able to envelope potential tacklers and turn good plays into great ones downfield.

But Bennett has worn out his welcome with teams in the past. In just the last three years, he has said goodbye to the Cowboys, and then spent only one year with the Giants before they let him go (though CSN's John Mullin says the narrative on Bennett's backstory is simply wrong). You would like to say that if he can't get his act together, the Bears should just dump him. But they simply can't afford to do that.

Then again, this will all probably just fade away sometime soon, right? There's way too much other stuff going on for this to fester and be a problem for the team overall, isn't there?

The optimist in me says yes and, heck, everyone needs to be optimistic during the preseason, don't they? At least they need to be optimistic until after the second preseason game. There will be plenty of time after that to start listing all the reasons why this won't be a great Bears season.

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

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 10:31 AM | Permalink

The Weekend In Chicago Rock

You shoulda been there.

1. Phox at Lincoln Hall on Saturday night.


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2. Miami Doritos at Wally's World on Saturday night.

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3. Flesh Lights at Wally's World on Saturday night.

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4. Basement Family at Wally's World on Saturday night.

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5. Chaka Khan at the Chicago Theatre on Saturday night.

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6. Nothing More at the Beat Kitchen on Friday night.

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7. Patrick Sweany at Reggies on Friday night.

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8. Mimicking Birds at the Hideout on Friday night.

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9. Novembers Doom at Reggies on Saturday night.

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10. REO Speedwagon w/Chicago at Northerly Island on Friday night.

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11. Alice Cooper in Tinley Park on Friday night.

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12. Motley Crue in Tinley Park on Friday night.

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13. The Baseball Project at the Abbey on Thursday night.

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14. The Cult at the Concord on Saturday night.

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15. Abandon Jalopy w/Nico Hoon at Martyrs' on Saturday night.

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16. Griffin House at SPACE in Evanston on Thursday night.

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17. Machine Gun Kelly at the Aragon on Saturday night.

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18. Chain and the Gang at the Empty Bottle on Friday night.

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19. Ed Schrader's Music Beat at the Empty Bottle on Friday night.

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20. Capital Cities at the Mid on Thursday night.

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21. Cosmic Gate w/Kristina Antuna at the Concord on Saturday night.

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22. Katy Perry on the West Side on Friday night

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 9:54 AM | Permalink

Dunn Saga Done

Let's begin with the numbers, ugly as they may be.

The White Sox dropped five of seven games last week and now find themselves playing out the string in the American League Central at 56-63. They scored 14 runs during the week. Their two opponents, Texas and Seattle, scored 44. That's not good.

Included in the five losses was Tuesday's 16-0 beatdown by the Rangers. The good news there - in a rather perverse sort of way - was that Adam Dunn got to pitch the ninth inning on a yield of one run. Compared to the bullpen trio of Maikel Cleto, Andre Rienzo, and Eric Surkamp, Dunn held his own. None of them pitched better than the Sox's DH-first baseman. Rienzo and Surkamp now toil in Charlotte. That's how dismal a week it was.

The Mariners, who rank 23rd in runs scored in MLB, raked Sox pitchers for 13 tallies on Thursday in a 13-3 romp. Dunn was available, but Robin Ventura stuck with a bullpen that gave up six runs in just three innings.

Omitting the two blowouts, our athletes eked out a 5-3 rain-shortened win over Texas and a 2-1 squeaker in 10 innings on Saturday in Seattle. The remaining three losses were by a total of seven runs.

The team also lost centerfielder Adam Eaton for at least two weeks after the result of him foolishly running into the right centerfield fence trying to chase down Adam Rosales' home run last Tuesday. The ball landed well up into the bleachers. Had Eaton bought a ticket, he might have had a chance to catch the ball. As it were, he bruised his back, and then messed up the ever-present oblique trying to come back against the Mariners on Friday.

Eaton has been a shining light this season and will be the team's leadoff man far into the future. He had been on a recent tear, raising his average to .304 and his on-base mark to .370 while playing a stellar centerfield. The last time he went on the DL in May, the Sox were 7-8, close to their percentage for the entire season. I'm not alone in thinking that Eaton's presence makes a positive difference, even though the record varies little whether he plays or not. But the Sox sure are a lot more fun to watch when he's healthy.

The shelving of Eaton avoided what could have been a curious situation in terms of the team's roster. Avisail Garcia, who went down with a torn labrum just eight games into the season, has been rehabbing very nicely at Charlotte, hitting .444 in nine games. The sample size is small, but clearly the 23-year-old prospect is close to being major league-ready.

Had Eaton not hurt himself, who would Garcia have replaced when he rejoins the team?

Leury Garcia might be an obvious choice since he's hitting just .182, while struggling recently just to make contact. But he's just a kid at 23. He's also a switch-hitter, can play anywhere and is the team's lone utility infielder. Oh, and he can also run.

What about Moises Sierra? He gets an occasional start but his usual role is late-inning defensive replacement. Yet Sierra is another young (25) prospect who can run and has a shotgun arm. He also happens to have a .286 average since the Sox claimed him off waivers from Toronto in early May.

Dayan Viciedo or Alejandro De Aza? Only if the team swung a deal for either of them, which is a stretch. Neither would be destined to go back to Triple-A after being everyday players at the major league level.

My guess is that Adam Dunn's tenure with the White Sox very well might have ended if Eaton hadn't gone to the DL, providing that Rick Hahn was interested in bringing back Avisail Garcia prior to September 1 when all 40 rostered players can join the club.

Giving Dunn at-bats the last six weeks of the season simply stalls the development of younger guys who could help the team as soon as 2015. The Sox still owe the big fella a few million on his $15 million salary, but they'll pay that no matter whether he plays or not. Besides, it's not our money. In the unlikely event that the Chairman experiences financial difficulty any time soon, we're all in trouble.

The four-year Dunn Saga on the South Side has been a head-scratching, frustrating, puzzling story. Coming over from the National League with a lifetime batting average of .251, Dunn has hit 50 points lower in his White Sox career. He averaged 35 home runs and 88 RBI in 10 National League seasons. If Adam closes out this season at his present pace, those numbers for the Sox will be 27 and 71.

He does know how to take a walk, ranking 42nd on the all-time list. However, only Jim Thome and Reggie Jackson have struck out more - and those guys hit for a much higher average. Reggie's in the Hall of Fame, and Thome has a chance to join him in the future. Writing an induction speech isn't something Dunn has to worry about.

Maybe the home run every five games or so has spared Dunn the disdain of Sox fans who emit only a scattering of boos even when Dunn fans for the third out with runners on base. He's been treated with politeness and respect. I shudder to think how he would have been carved up had he played on the other side of town.

Never having met Dunn, I get the impression that he is a good human being. While I am tired of the story about how he paid for pitcher Scott Carroll's dinner party after the 29-year-old rookie won his major league debut - sheesh, Dunn's a multimillionaire - I'm unaware of any complaints emanating from the slugger about his treatment by the fans or media. He's not the kind of guy who breaks bats, vents his frustration, or argues with umpires when he fails at the plate. I've heard that people like him.

But if the Sox are to move up in the standings, the image of a slow-footed home run hitter, who occasionally comes through in the clutch while clogging up the bases when he does get on, needs to be erased. The future of this team needs to look more like Eaton and Jose Abreu, another slugger but one who hits for average and uses the entire field. Giving kids like Sierra opportunities between now and October 1 makes sense while trotting out Dunn, and, excuse me, Paul Konerko, does little to help this team for the future.

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

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 8:02 AM | Permalink

August 9, 2014

The Beachwood Radio Sports Hour #12: Bears Play Pretend Game

Plus: Javy Time. The White Sox Report. Offseason Kaner.


SHOW NOTES

:00: Ride Like The Wind, Y'all.

1:18: It's Preseason.

3:35: Javy Time.

* The Cub Factor: Cupboard Wasn't Bare After All.

* Theo's Theory.

* @BeachwoodReport.

19:40: Kaner.

21:10: Minnesota Hates The White Sox.

* The White Sox Report: Hawk vs. Yogi.

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See also: The Beachwood Radio Network.

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 7:13 PM | Permalink

The Beachwood Radio Hour #18: Harold's Chicken Shacks Are Wack And So Is The News

Plus: LaShawn Ford WTF. State Troopers Deployed By Quinn, Emanuel Campaigns. The Real Reasons Walgreens Didn't Invert. The Week In Juvenile Justice. Race Theorist Abe Lincoln. Cubs Cupboard Wasn't Bare After All. This Weekend's Worst Person In Illinois.


SHOW NOTES

:00: Strawberry Rock Show.

:47: Twin Hits at the Beat Kitchen on Wednesday night.

* The Week In Chicago Rock.

2:00: LaShawn Ford: WTF.

* Carol Marin: WTF.

24:10: Yoko and the Oh No's at the Beat Kitchen on Wednesday night.

24:40: State Troopers Deployed By Quinn, Emanuel Campaigns.

35:57: Exclusive! The Real Reasons Walgreens Didn't Invert.

38:10: Harold's Chicken Shack Is Wack.

40:51: The Week In Juvenile Justice.

* From CPS nonsense to CIA rendition, with stops in Wisconsin, Indiana and Rikers Island.

* We tortured some folks.

46:10: Local Book Notes: Electronic Intifada In Evanston.

* Great Lakes Segregation; Abe Lincoln: Race Theorist.

53:53: Local Music Notebook: DJ Rashad Died Of Drugs, Lil Durk's 'N' Word & Hasidic Rocker Chicks. Plus: Chuck D feat. Mavis Staples.

55:50: The Cub Factor: Cupboard Wasn't Bare After All.

1:01:27: This Weekend's Worst Person In Illinois.

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See also: The Beachwood Radio Network.

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 1:53 PM | Permalink

The Weekend Desk Report

"Forty years after Richard Nixon resigned the presidency and 20 years after he died, history still has not caught up to the real man, believes Richard Duchossois, chairman of Arlington International racetrack," the Daily Herald reports.

"I just plain liked him," Duchossois said. "And I thought he was brilliant."

I wonder which of these infamous Nixon assessments Duchossois finds the brilliantest:

"Most Jews are disloyal . . . The Irish can't drink . . . The Italians, of course, just don't have their heads screwed on tight . . . "[Mexican Americans] steal; they're dishonest . . . [but] they do have a concept of family life. They don't live like a bunch of dogs, which the Negroes do live like."

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"I think he got caught up in something he wished he hadn't," Duchossois said about Watergate.

Nixon: "Goddamn it, get in and get those files. Blow the safe and get them. The way I want that handled is . . . just to break in. Break in and take it out! You understand? . . . You are to break into the place, rifle the files, and bring them out . . . Just go in and take it! Go in around eight or nine o'clock. And clean it up."

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"No, history hasn't been fair," Duchossois said. "He wasn't a dishonest man."

Nixon: "You don't know how to lie. If you can't lie, you'll never go anywhere."

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Dick Duchossois, you are This Weekend's Worst Person in Illinois.

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The Beachwood Radio Network
* The Beachwood Radio Hour #18: Harold's Chicken Shacks Are Wack And So Is The News.

Plus: LaShawn Ford WTF. State Troopers Deployed By Quinn, Emanuel Campaigns. The Real Reasons Walgreens Didn't Invert. The Week In Juvenile Justice. Race Theorist Abe Lincoln. Cubs Cupboard Wasn't Bare After All. This Weekend's Worst Person In Illinois.

* The Beachwood Radio Sports Hour #12: Bears Play Pretend Game.

Plus: Javy Time. The White Sox Report. Offseason Kaner.

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The Sound Opinions Weekend Listening Report: "Singer Kelis talks music, cooking and 'Milkshakes' and performs songs from her aptly titled album Food. Then, hosts Jim DeRogatis and Greg Kot review the latest from Austin rock band Spoon, and Greg drops a quarter in the Desert Island Jukebox."

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The CAN TV Weekend Viewing Report: The 21st Annual Gwendolyn Brooks Open Mic Award.

Writers from across Illinois showcase their poetic talents during this competitive reading event at the Chopin Theater.

Sunday at 9 a.m. on CAN TV21.

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BeachBook
* Why Not Just Close The Crappy School?

* NU Grad Went Into Cardiac Arrest During Job Interview With Intel.

* New Jersey May Shield Drivers From Other States' Red-Light Tickets.

* How A Bucktown Bro Got Rich Cataloguing Nude Scenes.

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TweetWood

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The Weekend Desk Tip Line: Honestly.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 8:23 AM | Permalink

August 8, 2014

The [Friday] Papers

1. Weekend Beachwood Radio product is in production!

2. "Harold's Chicken Goes After 'Bogus' Store Owners."

Maybe because the bogus chicken is better!

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Let's just say I've always found the Harold's in Wicker Park to be wanting; I haven't had Harold's anywhere else in years.

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The story:

"At least seven restaurants calling themselves Harold's Chicken Shack don't have an agreement with the company to use its name, according to Kristen Pierce-Sherrod, president of Harold's Chicken Shack Corporation," DNAinfo Chicago reports.

In April, Pierce-Sherrod told Mary Mitchell of the Sun-Times that bogus Harold's franchises starting popping up about five years ago.

*

By the way, my understanding is that Harold's merely licenses the name; it's "franchises" aren't franchises in the sense that you get the same thing at every shack, because you don't.

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See also:
* The Fried Chicken King.
* Holiday Harold's.

3. The Week In Juvenile Justice.

From CPS nonsense to CIA rendition, with stops in Wisconsin, Indiana and Rikers Island.

4. "After graduating from The Brandery's accelerator in October, Konrad Billetz was fully prepared to launch his business, which allows customers to use one pair of lenses with multiple eyeglass frames, in Chicago," the Cincinnati Enquirer reports.

"Billetz and chief technology officer Kevin Habich had already moved to the Windy City and were raising venture capital when CincyTech's offer brought Frameri back to town.

"Two weeks ago, the start-up announced it will move into office space at Emanuel Community Center in Over-the-Rhine, and that it's raised a $750,000 round led by CincyTech.

"CincyTech made us an offer that we couldn't turn down," Billetz said. "It was the right decision to do for the business."

Except you have to live in Cincinnati.

5. Morgan Stanley Dumps Potbelly.

6. Beachwood Photo Booth: Chicago Geometry.

Puddles and progressions, shapes and colors.

7. The Week In Chicago Rock.

Featuring: Dan Navarro, Twin Hits, Yoko and the Oh No's, Savage Sister, Spoon, Cherry Glazerr, Wooden Shjips, Troy "Trombone Shorty" Andrews & Orleans Avenue, Cultura Prof├ętica, Stooges Brass Band, and Tori Amos.

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BeachBook
* Walgreens CFOs Make Bank.

* New York Times Finally Acknowledges We Tortured Some Folks.

If it's torture now, it was torture then; yet another huge failure on the part of the nation's most influential newspaper to accurately report the actions of the American government when it mattered most. The mainstream media has already had to acknowledge how badly they failed to report the run-up to the Iraq War, which haunts the world to this day. Times Editor Dean Baquet has also acknowledged his own naivete in the paper's withholding from publication for a year a story of George W. Bush's illegal wiretapping program. Do they ever learn? No, because the problem isn't of a single story here or there, or lapses of judgement that will occur due to human imperfection. The problem is in the very way the vast majority of journalists do their jobs, and even more importantly, in the way they think. It's about a mindset. Too few journalists think like journalists. It's a worldview.

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There's never an egg-timer around when you need one.

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TweetWood

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The Beachwood Tip Line: Anti-news.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 11:28 AM | Permalink

The Week In Chicago Rock

You shoulda been there.

1. Dan Navarro at SPACE in Evanston on Sunday night.


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2. Twin Hits at the Beat Kitchen on Wednesday night.

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3. Yoko and the Oh No's at the Beat Kitchen on Wednesday night.

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4. Savage Sister at Subterranean on Sunday night.

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5. Spoon at Lollapalooza on Saturday night.

A.V. Club: "One of the sadder experiences of my Lollapalooza was watching Spoon, not because the band didn't bring their all, but because the crowd was largely full of bored teens waiting for the old guys to finish their set so Calvin Harris could start spinning his shit. The portion of the crowd who cared about Spoon was maybe 40 percent of the total crowd, and that number kept getting smaller as more and more scantily clad young people in various degrees of culturally appropriative outfits pushed through the crowd to camp out near the Bud Light stage."

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6. Cherry Glazerr at Beat Kitchen on Wednesday night.

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7. Wooden Shjips at Millennium Park on Monday night.

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8. Trombone Shorty at the Vic on Sunday night.

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9. Culture Profetica at the Old Town School on Wednesday night.

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10. Stooges Brass Band at City Winery on Wednesday night.

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11. Tori Amos at the Chicago Theatre on Tuesday night.

Legaspi: "Straddling the bench between her Bösendorfer piano, a keyboard, and for several songs an organ, Tori Amos' tour stop at Chicago Theatre on Tuesday marked a return to early form. There was no backing band, no orchestra. It was simply she, her supple-to-defiant vocals and her music in a performance that was at turns intimate, vulnerable, intense and, for the most part, engrossing."

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 8:04 AM | Permalink

Beachwood Photo Booth: Chicago Geometry

Puddles and progressions, shapes and colors.

cityinapuddle814.jpg(ENLARGE FOR PROPER VIEWING)

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More Chicago photography from Helene Smith.

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Helene on Twitter!

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Meet Helene!

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Stationery, iPhone cases, hoodies.

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

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

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 7:50 AM | Permalink

August 7, 2014

The [Thursday] Papers

"State Troopers Deployed By Emanuel, Quinn Campaigns."

Okay, so I fiddled with the headline a bit.

And maybe I'm being overly cynical.

But I have a few questions.

"The Illinois State Police will send 40 troopers to join Chicago police as part of teams that will try to catch fugitives, Gov. Pat Quinn and Mayor Rahm Emanuel announced Wednesday," the Tribune reports.

"The specifics of the partnership are still being worked out, and its impact remains to be seen. At a minimum, the cooperative 'surge teams' could be politically helpful to both the governor and the mayor as they run for re-election at a time when Chicago's violent crime remains a major issue."

Read my mind!

"The troopers will be assigned to 20 to 25 groups made up of five Chicago police officers and two troopers each, according to the Quinn administration. The troopers will patrol 'four city neighborhoods' as part of the teams which 'will focus on apprehending those with known violent criminal histories who are wanted by law enforcement,' Quinn's office said.

"Chicago police Superintendent Garry McCarthy and state police Director Hiram Grau are still working out the specifics of the special detail, including which neighborhoods the troopers will patrol, said state police spokeswoman Monique Bond. According to Quinn's office, the troopers will come from State Police districts across the state, and they will be paid out of the state police budget. The mayor said the fugitive teams will be in place for at least the next month."

This raises several questions:

* Why announce the move when its main details really haven't been worked out? Could politics have anything to do with that?

* Why haven't the main details been worked out yet?

* Doesn't the police department already have a fugitive warrants unit? Likewise, doesn't the Cook County Sheriff's Office handle warrants?

* Does the ISP really have the manpower to loan out 40 officers?

* Is "surge" a good word to use when you are trying to dispel the notion that Chicago is Chiraq?

Back to the Trib:

"There are currently 77 Chicago police officers in the department's fugitive apprehension unit, said Chicago police spokesman Martin Maloney. The state troopers will work with them and 'will be deployed to and concentrate on specific areas which are prone to a higher volume of crime,' Maloney said in an e-mail."

Because Maloney was allowed to insert a press release into the article via e-mail, he could not be asked questions such as:

* How are officers in CPD's fugitive apprehension unit currently deployed?

* Is that unit experiencing a shortage?

* Has that unit ever notified its bosses that it needs extra help?

* Has that unit's budget increased or decreased in recent years?

* How hard will it be to train up state police officers?

* When and how was that unit told of the plan?

Back to the Trib:

"Dean Angelo, president of Lodge 7 of the Fraternal Order of Police, the union that represents rank-and-file Chicago police officers, said Quinn's announcement tells the public there aren't enough cops patrolling the city's streets. Part of the problem is that the department has concentrated its efforts on beat patrols, leaving scant resources to participate in manhunts for violent fugitives, he said."

That's what he says, but is it true?

*

The Sun-Times reported it this way:

"Gov. Pat Quinn has offered to free up 40 more state troopers over the next 30 days to serve fugitive warrants in Chicago, get known criminals off the street and combat the traditional summer surge of gang violence, Mayor Rahm Emanuel said Wednesday."

Okay, but it's August. The "traditional summer surge" is two-thirds over, isn't it?

"The mayor never mentioned the offer Quinn made that Chicago refused to accept, apparently because of the embarrassing headlines that it might generate for a city already known as the nation's murder capital: for state troopers or the National Guard to join Chicago Police in patrolling the streets of Chicago."

Of course, Chicago isn't even close to being the nation's murder capital, so the Sun-Times is, again, just perpetuating a falsehood.

Moving on:

"The troopers will be drawn from districts across the state and can be 'accommodated with current State Police resources,' the [press release from the governor's office] stated, without mentioning what services would be sacrificed."

The press release was not available for further explanation.

""Earlier this year I told Mayor Emanuel we would help in any way we could to combat violence in the city," Quinn said. "When he requested assistance, I immediately agreed to help."

How much earlier in the year? This could have been ready to go back in, say, June?

*

"Very simply, fugitive apprehension is the simplest way to reduce crime because they're wanted today. You put handcuffs on them, they don't commit a crime tomorrow or later on today," McCarthy said."

And yet, you just came up with this plan now?

"When the mayor and the governor were having conversations about, what could they do, I very simply said, 'Get us some folks to work fugitive apprehension with us.' Our fugitive team [was] expanded a couple of years ago. We think we have it right-sized. But more means we can go out and arrest more wanted people, which is obviously going to help us. We recover guns and we solve other crimes when we do that. So, doing more of that is obviously something that's good."

So "right-sized" means you need 40 more outside officers to get the job done. What is this, CPS?

"Almost a month ago, Cook County Sheriff Tom Dart joined the fray when he dedicated 115 officers to serve warrants in Chicago for people wanted for violent and gang-related offenses. They've made 284 arrests, seized 45 guns and created 821 "contact cards" documenting gang members they've stopped. The sheriff's officers are coordinating their efforts with Chicago Police commanders in the Calumet, Harrison and Austin districts."

So "right-sized" means you need 155 more outside officers to get the job done. What is this, CPS?

*

"The move followed a violent Fourth of July weekend when 13 people were shot to death and dozens more were wounded, shining another unflattering national spotlight on Chicago.

"The bloodbath prompted Quinn to renew his longstanding offer to send Illinois State Police troopers into the city to assist Chicago Police officers if Emanuel and McCarthy requested it.

"The governor made an identical pitch last year after a Back of the Yards shooting left 13 people wounded. So far, Emanuel and McCarthy [hadn't] asked."

Let me repeat, then:

"Very simply, fugitive apprehension is the simplest way to reduce crime because they're wanted today. You put handcuffs on them, they don't commit a crime tomorrow or later on today," McCarthy said."

Or when campaign season is surging.

*

I was set to critique some reporting that made it seem like the state troopers would be patrolling neighbors instead of just serving on warrant teams, but then I came across the update to this post from Greg Hinz at Crain's:

Perhaps sensing some political damage, the Emanuel Administration is insisting the state police surgers will stick to serving fugitive warrants. "They're not patrolling streets," says a spokesman. "It's an expanded partnership on fugitive apprehension."

But the Quinn camp is sticking by its statements that "patrolling" is involved.

"We're going to be assisting CPD (Chicago Police Department) in whatever they need to address violence," says Monique Bond, a spokeswoman for the Illinois State Police.

What the new folks will do is "all encompassing," she added. "It includes more than going after fugitives."

My guess is that Bond doesn't really know what she's talking about. Then again, it's not clear Quinn and Emanuel do at this point either.

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Exclusive! The Real Reasons Walgreens Didn't Invert
Another Beachwood Special Report.

Chuck D & Mavis
Dynamic duo lay down a killer track to a Chicago backdrop. Plus: DJ Rashad Died Of Drugs, Lil Durk's 'N' Word & Hasidic Rocker Chicks. In Local Music Notebook.

How Pols Manipulate Your Vote
By psyching you out.

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BeachBook
* OSHA Cites Home Depot Store In Chicago For Safety Violations.

* A Note On Engaged Minutes, The Latest Bullshit Metrics Fad.

* We Tortured Some Folks And Obama Is Still Lying About It.

* We Tortured Some Folks And The Media Is Still Lying About It.

* The Bias Of Reporting On People You Like.

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TweetWood

Where is your God now?

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Remember when Barbara Byrd-Bennett promised that no school she closed would re-open as a charter?

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The Beachwood Tip Line: Pop life.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 5:19 AM | Permalink

Exclusive! The Real Reasons Walgreens Didn't Invert

Walgreens announced Wednesday that it would keep its headquarters in Deerfield, rather than renouncing its American corporate citizenship in a tax inversion that would have placed its legal domicile overseas.

While company officials say they feared consumer backlash - and an IRS review - to an inversion, the Beachwood Tax Loophole Affairs Desk has learned the real reasons behind the decisions from sources at our local pharmacy

* All the plants would die.

* "Great Britain's Pharmacy" did poorly in focus groups.

* Executive compensation not worth as much in the metric system.

* Cayman Islands booked.

* Fourth of July seasonal aisle would become too ironic.

* Overseas, corporations aren't people.

* Wanna be here when Theo's Plan comes to fruition.

* State of Illinois incentive package sweetened with a corruptible public official to be named later.

* Something about Medicare Advantage B and Prescription Plan D.

* Executives become teary-eyed while performing inventory of American flag forever stamps.

* Didn't want to lose the Beachwood account.

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 2:15 AM | Permalink

Local Music Notebook: DJ Rashad Died Of Drugs, Lil Durk's 'N' Word & Hasidic Rocker Chicks

"DJ Rashad, a pioneer in the footwork genre of music who was found dead in April at a West Side apartment, died of an accidental drug overdose, according to autopsy results released [Wednesday]," the Tribune reports.

According to the Sun-Times, "Toxicological tests found that Rashad died of heroin, cocaine and alprazolam intoxication, and his death was ruled an accident, according to a spokesman for the medical examiner's office.

"Police said at the time that both narcotics and drug paraphernalia were discovered near the body. There were no visible signs of injury."

See also: Remembering DJ Rashad.

Durk Work
"Rapper Lil Durk vowed Tuesday this would be his last visit to Cook County criminal court after pleading guilty to gun possession charges in exchange for probation," the Tribune reports.

"The key word is I'll be staying out of trouble," Lil Durk, whose real name is Durk Banks, told a Tribune reporter after the hearing. "You can put a capital 'N' - for never."

"Banks, 21, faced up to five years in prison after Chicago police saw him toss a loaded Glock handgun into a car parked in the Englewood neighborhood last year. He was on parole at the time for another gun charge."

Hasidic Rocker Chicks
"On Thursday, the Lower East Side rock venue Arlene's Grocery closes its doors - to men," the Wall Street Journal reports.

"Its act that night, Bulletproof Stockings, is a Hasidic, all-female band, and while its members follow the rules of Orthodox Judaism - covering their hair, knees and elbows, and only performing for women - it aims to rock, and fill, the room."

Yeah, that sounds kinda lame. Anyway:

"The two lead members of Bulletproof Stockings (a reference to the opaque hosiery that some Hasidic women wear) are drummer Dalia Shusterman, originally from Maryland, and vocalist/keyboardist Perl Wolfe, from Chicago."

Chuck D Feat. Mavis Staples

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 1:40 AM | Permalink

How Politicians Manipulate Your Vote

The 2014 midterm election is less than three months away, and if you think you know who's getting your votes this year, think again: your vote is being manipulated. Bill Maher's Flip a District campaign to manipulate a Republican candidate out of office and replace him with a Democrat is one example of pure manipulation, but it's far from the only one. Politicians and their campaigns will do everything to manipulate your thinking.

Colin Christopher is a clinical hypnotherapist and author of Success Through Manipulation: Subconscious Reactions That Will Make or Break You. Colin has studied the thoughts, beliefs, philosophies and behaviors of what makes people do what they do for more than 15 years.

He says every public official has teams who research what voters think about the candidate and his opponents. They then create a plan to change the voter's perceptions, greatly manipulating the public's opinion and in many cases significantly changing the outcome of the election.

He says there are many ways politicians manipulate your thinking to win your vote:

* Vocal tones: Listen to how the candidates speak. In a speech when they want to convey trust with their audience, they will lower their tone and speak slowly. They'll usually say something like, "Listen to me closely" and "I've never said this before." If a candidate speaks very quickly or in a higher vocal tone, he is subconsciously perceived as lying or at least hiding something.

* Repetition: Most people find political commercials, phone calls and other advertisements we are inundated with to be annoying. The truth is they work. Prolonged exposure to something penetrates the subconscious mind and can dramatically change emotions or how you feel about a person or subject.

* False Memories: You might see the same commercial where a candidate accuses his opponent of wanting to raise taxes, and it might not be true. Repeated exposure to emotional topics and these false memories or ideas will start to be seen as true, even if they are really false.

* Visual association: President Barack Obama nailed this one. Google "Obama Superman Picture" and you'll see multiple results of Obama as Superman or associated with Superman. Superman, of course, stands for truth, justice and the American Way. These pictures that were widespread during the last presidential election communicated that Obama also stood for truth, justice and the American way, and subliminally equated Obama as Superman.

* Celebrity endorsements: The credibility and value placed on a person increases proportionally with the fame of the individual. When household names like famous actors/actresses, TV personalities and other celebrities endorse a candidate, it speaks volumes. Many people don't use logical thinking and rely heavily on emotion. The process of manipulation is, "Joe Smith is my favorite actor, and if he likes Mike The Candidate, I do, too."

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 12:53 AM | Permalink

August 6, 2014

The [Wednesday] Papers

"Nearly half of the people on the U.S. government's widely shared database of terrorist suspects are not connected to any known terrorist group, according to classified government documents obtained by The Intercept.

"Of the 680,000 people caught up in the government's Terrorist Screening Database - a watchlist of 'known or suspected terrorists' that is shared with local law enforcement agencies, private contractors, and foreign governments - more than 40 percent are described by the government as having 'no recognized terrorist group affiliation.' That category - 280,000 people - dwarfs the number of watchlisted people suspected of ties to al-Qaeda, Hamas, and Hezbollah combined.

"The documents, obtained from a source in the intelligence community, also reveal that the Obama Administration has presided over an unprecedented expansion of the terrorist screening system. Since taking office, Obama has boosted the number of people on the no fly list more than ten-fold, to an all-time high of 47,000 - surpassing the number of people barred from flying under George W. Bush."

*

"When U.S. officials refer to 'the watchlist,' they typically mean the TSDB, an unclassified pool of information shared across the intelligence community and the military, as well as local law enforcement, foreign governments, and private contractors. According to the government's watchlisting guidelines, published by The Intercept last month, officials don't need 'concrete facts' or 'irrefutable evidence' to secretly place someone on the list - only a vague and elastic standard of 'reasonable suspicion.'"

*

According to the documents, the government does much more than simply stop watchlisted people at airports.

"It also covertly collects and analyzes a wide range of personal information about those individuals - including facial images, fingerprints, and iris scans.

"In the aftermath of last year's Boston Marathon bombing, the Directorate of Terrorist Identities began an aggressive program to collect biometric data and other information on all Americans on the TIDE list. 'This project includes record by record research of each person in relevant Department of State and [intelligence community] databases, as well as bulk data requests for information,' the documents note.

"The DTI also worked on the subsequent Chicago Marathon, performing 'deep dives' for biometric and other data on people in the Midwest whose names were on the TIDE list. In the process, the directorate pulled the TIDE records of every person with an Illinois, Indiana, or Wisconsin driver license.

"DTI's efforts in Boston and Chicago are part of a broader push to obtain biometric information on the more than one million people targeted in its secret database. This includes hundreds of thousands of people who are not watchlisted.

"In 2013, the directorate's Biometric Analysis Branch (BAB) launched an initiative to obtain biometric data from driver's license records across the country. At least 15 states and the District of Columbia are working with the directorate to facilitate access to facial images from driver's licenses. In fiscal year 2013, 2,400 such images were provided for inclusion in the secret TIDE database."

*

*

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Illegal Spying Below
"While it is only one of several data centers, for many people the Bluffdale facility has become a symbol out-of-control, unconstitutional, dragnet surveillance."

Electronic Intifada In Evanston
Plus: Race Theorist Abe Lincoln, Great Lakes Segregation, The Birth Of Korean Cool & Posner v. Sherlock Holmes. In Local Book Notes.

Cubs Cupboard Wasn't Bare After All
Just their bank account for player payroll was.

Fantasy Fix: Javy?
Dual eligibility and defense.

Chicago's Korean Festival Not Going Strong
Just trying to survive to see another year. See you there!

Sword Of Justice!
They say that prison is a college; well, this dude got an education!

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BeachBook
* Obama's Lawyers Sought Permission To Change The Historical Record Of A Public Court Proceeding.

Worst. President. Ever.

* Sioux Falls Chamber To Shake Up Annual Meeting With Chicago Concert.

The band, not the city.

* Groupon Loss Widens.

Perhaps a merger with Uber is in order: Grouper.

* Former Chicago Bear Agrees To 25 Years In Prison.

From Wikipedia:

"Despite his spectacular college career, Lewis' stock fell quickly after he tested positive for cocaine at the NFL Combine. He was selected in the sixth round of the 1991 NFL Draft (161st overall pick) by the Chicago Bears. Lewis was the only player to test positive for drugs at the combine, and Chicago general manager Bill Tobin said that he thought a different player had tested positive. Tobin considered not inviting Lewis to minicamp."

It's true.

"Lewis spent portions of three seasons with the Bears. His best NFL season came in 1992, when he appeared in 16 games and gained 382 yards on 90 rushing attempts. In October 1993, Lewis was arrested and charged with battery following a domestic dispute The Bears released Lewis later that month after the team signed running back Tim Worley. Chicago head coach Dave Wannstedt said that if something happened to starting running back Neal Anderson, he was not comfortable that Lewis could take over starting duties.

"Lewis played in 33 games for the Bears, starting five of them and totaling 431 rushing yards in his career."

* On Chicago Time.

* Rare Color Photos Of MLK Leading The Chicago Freedom Movement.

* Illustrating The News.

* U of Illinois Apparently Revokes Job Offer To Controversial Scholar.

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The Beachwood Tip Line: It's true.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 9:21 AM | Permalink

Fantasy Fix: Javy?

I'm taking a brief break from my fantasy football draft guide responsibilities this week to address a major development in the fantasy baseball world: The call-up of super-prospect Javier Baez.

Okay, maybe it's a much bigger deal to local fantasy baseball team owners, and those who happen to be Cubs fans, but given Baez's current position eligibility at SS, and another for which he should soon gain eligibility - 2B - Baez could have a major effect on fantasy fortunes.

I'm not saying he can live up to the his performance in the minors, or the mythologizing that Cubs fans have given into as they have watch the organization collect high-ranked prospects while the MLB-level continues to tank. But, I'm also not saying he won't live up to it.

I think what you'll get from Javy is pretty much what you saw in his Tuesday night debut. He went 1-for-6 in an extra inning affair, striking out three times, but hitting what proved to be the game-winning HR in the 12th inning. The situation in which that HR came will only add to the legend, as the strikeouts are accepted as growing pains.

B ut with less than two months left in the season, here's my prediction for Javy's line: 10 HRs, 22 RBI, .240 AVG.

At the SS position, 10 HRs are nothing to ignore. Plenty of starting fantasy SS's who have been playing all year won't match that. Assuming Baez soon qualifies at 2B, his value in the waning weeks will only increase. I think that kind of power and multi-position eligibility makes him worth adding to rosters at least as a bench player/occasional starter.

Another reason why you should add him is defense - not Javy's defense, which by most accounts seems fairly atrocious, but as strategy to defend your own team from others in your league who would otherwise pick him up.

This is particularly true if you are currently in position to make the playoffs by a narrow margin. You don't want some upstart with a brand new power-hitting 2B/SS ruining your chances at the last minute.

Even if you don't think the fantasy world should go crazy for young Javy, it already is - his ownership in Yahoo! fantasy leagues jumped from 14% to 47% between the Monday rumors of his call-up and Tuesday's debut. You might as well jump on the bandwagon, even if it's just to make sure you don't get run over by someone else's bandwagon.

Expert Wire
* ESPN says Javy's a clear-cut fantasy add.

* iSportsWeb.com says you should wait on Javy.

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

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 8:31 AM | Permalink

Sword Of Justice!

"Here's the opening and first commercial break for the next-to-last presentation of the short-lived series, Sword of Justice, on WMAQ Channel 5; this episode, 'Port of Entry,' was originally telecast on December 24th, 1978.

"The series - one of several offerings over the years from Glen A. Larson (a former member of the 1950's and '60's singing group The Four Preps) - starred Dack Rambo as Jack Cole, an avenger a la Zorro only without the mask, and co-starred Alex Courtney as Arthur Woods.

"This aired on local Chicago TV on Saturday, August 4th, 1979 between 9 p.m. and 9:03 p.m."


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See also: The Museum of Classic Chicago Television's YouTube Channel.

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 8:19 AM | Permalink

Cupboard Wasn't Bare After All

"Castro to Baez to Rizzo" actually trended on Twitter on Tuesday night.

Let me fix that: "Hendry Draft Picks Castro And Baez To Rizzo, Acquired For Hendry Draft Pick Cashner."

And I hated Hendry.

*

In other words, the cupboard wasn't exactly bare when Theo got here, like he claims. But the bank account for player payroll was.

The Week In Review: The Cubs took three of four from the Rockies at home, then two of three from the Dodgers in LA before Tuesday night's win in Javy Baez's debut in Denver. Cubs fans getting their calculators out to see if it's mathematically possible . . .

The Week In Preview: Two more at Coors Field, then three at home against the Rays, presumably including Baez's debut at Wrigley Field. At week's end, he'll be 4-for-26 with 3 HRs and no walks.

Wrigley Is 100 Celebration: Baez will strike out 100 times between now and season's end.

Mad Merch: Has Baez Bobblehead Day been scheduled yet?

Prospects Are Suspects: Alcantara and Baez went 1-for-11 at the top of the order Tuesday night, with five strikeouts and eight left on-base. Anthony Rizzo, batting third, went 0-for-5 with two strikeouts.

Theo Epstein Condescension Meter: 10.

"Cubs executives made it clear Baez wouldn't be promoted from Triple-A Iowa after the July 31 non-waiver trade deadline," CSN reported Saturday.

"You have to factor in what the player might get out of a call-up versus what it means for the organization, as a whole, not being able to add a player in the winter, because of 40-man (roster) issues," Theo said.

Two days later, Baez was called up.

That's Ricky: "There's no hurry."

Two days later, Baez was called up.

*

Also:

"[T]he whole [Neil Ramirez] scenario again raised the issue of Renteria's handling of the pitching staff in his first year as a big-league manager. Several pitchers have grumbled about it, especially after Renteria said Saturday that the Cubs might use a Class AAA shuttle with other relievers, too, to alleviate workloads.

"One longtime evaluator, when asked how good Renteria is at managing a bullpen, said: 'Great - as long as he has 15 guys in the pen.'''

And:

"Carlos Villanueva is usually the Cubs' long man but on Saturday night, manager Rick Renteria called on the right-hander to face Drew Butera with two outs and a runner at third in the sixth inning of a tie game. It worked, as Butera popped up on the first pitch and the inning was over.

"But Villanueva didn't stay in the game, which went 12 innings. The right-hander was lifted in the seventh for Brian Schlitter, who has been used in short relief. It was as if their roles were reversed. Renteria's reasoning?"

Laughable Headline Of The Week: "Signs Of Recovery Are Gratifying To Cubs Players."

As in the economic arena, 99 percent of Cubs fans aren't seeing it yet.

Kubs Kulture: Current Cubs Enjoying The Present.

That's nice, because nobody else is.

Billy Cub vs. Clark Cub:

Advantage: Billy.

The Junior Lake Show: Went 3-for-4 with a double and a stolen base in his debut.

Mustache Wisdom: "Cubs pitcher Carlos Villanueva gave Javier Baez the 'talk' shortly after he had arrived in the visitor's clubhouse on Tuesday, the 21-year-old infielder's first day in the big leagues.

"There are three pieces of advice, Villanueva said. No. 1, don't be late. No. 2, don't forget refreshments for the team bus. And, No. 3, don't get noticed for the wrong reasons."

Wishing Upon A Starlin: Average has dropped to .277.

Ameritrade Stock Pick of the Week: In a sudden reversal, Cookies look like a good bet.

Jumbotron Preview: 5,700 square-feet of not Mike Olt.

Kubs Kalender: Wait 'til next year 2016 2017 2018 2019 2020 2021.

Over/Under: Games until Kris Bryant is called up: +/- 12.

Beachwood Sabermetrics: A complex algorithm performed by The Cub Factor staff using all historical data made available by Major League Baseball has determined that Javy Baez is not yet in the Hall of Fame.

Hashtag Cubs

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

The White Sox Report: Yogi vs. Hawk.

The Beachwood Radio Sports Hour: Derrick Rose A Saboteur By Any Other Name.

Plus: Drinking The Bears' Bourbon & Baseball's Blockbusters.

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 4:38 AM | Permalink

Local Book Notes: Electronic Intifada In Evanston

"Evanston Public Library officials on Monday re-issued a speaking invitation to a Palestinian-American writer after their earlier decision to call off his talk sparked an angry response on social media," the Tribune reports.

"The Chicago writer, Ali Abunimah, said in a post on his website that he will accept the library's change of heart over his Aug. 11 appearance for a reading and discussion of his book, The Battle for Justice in Palestine."

Interest in Abunimah's reading has surely multiplied thanks to EPL's goof, but he deserves a higher local profile, given the influence of his website The Electronic Intifada.

Great Lakes Segregation
"During World War II, the United States was fighting for freedom while denying its black citizens their rights and freedom," Patricia Hruby Powell writes for the Champaign News-Gazette.

"In The Port Chicago 50: Disaster, Mutiny, and the Fight for Civil Rights (Roaring Brook 2014), Steve Sheinkin paints a picture of the segregated armed forces. Rather than being assigned to battle, blacks worked in the mess hall. Or worse.

"At Great Lakes Naval Training Center, there was one line in the mess hall for whites who ate upstairs, and another line for blacks who ate downstairs. The sports teams, music bands, blood banks and blood suppliers were all segregated."

Abe Lincoln, Race Theorist
"Experts confirmed Tuesday what had long been whispered at a public library in the small town of Clinton, Illinois - a name written on a page in the book Types of Mankind was penned by none other than Abraham Lincoln," Time reports.

"The 700-page tome offers up the theory that different races on earth were created at different times and thus could not be equal and it was part of the natural order that Caucasians would enslave Africans and Native Americans. The book, published in 1854, was popular among racists and slave owners for lending support to their way of life.

"Historians at the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library stressed that Lincoln did not subscribe to the beliefs put forth in the book, but that racial division was a hot button issue at the time of his presidency and he was likely educating himself on opposing arguments."

Um, okay.

"Everything we know about Lincoln's legal, religious and scientific thinking tells us he rejected that argument," museum curator James Cornelius said.

Really?

Here's Lincoln in 1858 in Charleston:

"I will say, then, that I am not, nor ever have been, in favor of bringing about in any way the social and political equality of the white and black races - that I am not, nor ever have been, in favor of making voters or jurors of Negroes, nor of qualifying them to hold office, nor to intermarry with white people; and I will say in addition to this, that there is a physical difference between the white and black races which I believe will forever forbid the two races living together on terms of social and political equality. And inasmuch as they cannot so live, while they do remain together there must be the position of superior and inferior, and I, as much as any other man, am in favor of having the superior position assigned to the white race."

No Shit, Sherlock
"A federal court has ordered the estate of Arthur Conan Doyle to pay $30,679.93 in legal fees to the plaintiff in a successful copyright challenge, calling its practice of demanding licensing fees for use of the character Sherlock Holmes 'a form of extortion' with 'no legal basis,'" the New York Times reports.

The ruling was made here in Chicago, and appeals court judge Richard Posner went off, as he is wont to do.

K-Cool
"In her new book, The Birth of Korean Cool (Picador), journalist Euny Hong takes on the challenge of decoding the success of South Korea, peeling back the layers of the culture's stronghold in music, film, style, technology, video games, and more," Refinery 29 reports.

"Through Hong's interviews with the nation's biggest influencers, and through her own humorous anecdotes (Hong moved to the Gangnam neighborhood from Chicago when she was 12), this fascinating read is an essential for anyone obsessed with South Korea's fast-track to pop-culture dominance."

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 3:33 AM | Permalink

Illegal Spying Below

To celebrate the Fourth of July, EFF teamed up with Greenpeace and the Tenth Amendment Center to launch an airship (yes, you read that correctly) over the NSA's sprawling data center in Utah. Acclaimed filmmaker Brian Knappenberger documented our campaign in a short, powerful video. Check out the video and share it with your friends.


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Previously:
* Smith vs. Obama.

* EFF Sues NSA Over FOIA.

* Stand Against Spying.

* The NSA Revelations All In One Chart.

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

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

* House Committee Puts NSA On Notice Over Encryption Standards.

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

* Lawsuit Demands DOJ Release More Secret Surveillance Court Rulings.

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

* What The Proposed NSA Reforms Wouldn't Do.

* Technologists Turn On Obama.

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

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

* Eighth-Grader Schools The NSA.

* You Know Who Else Collected Metadata? The Stasi.

* Today We Fight Back.

* The Day We Fight Back.

* FAQ: The NSA's Angry Birds.

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

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

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

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

* Edward Snowden's Christmas Message.

* Jon Stewart: Obama Totally Lying About NSA Spying.

* Presidential Panel To NSA: Stop Undermining Encryption.

* The NSA Is Coming To Town.

* 60 Minutes We Can't Get Back.

* Why Care About The NSA?

* NSA Surveillance Drives Writers To Self-Censor.

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

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

* Obama Vs. The World.

* How A Telecom Helped The Government Spy On Me.

* UN Member States Asked To End Unchecked Surveillance.

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

* Five More Organizations Join Lawsuit Against NSA.

* A Scandal Of Historic Proportions.

* Item: NSA Briefing.

* The Case Of The Missing NSA Blog Post.

* The NSA Is Out Of Control.

* Patriot Act Author Joins Lawsuit Against NSA.

* Obama's Promises Disappear From Web.

* Why NSA Snooping Is A Bigger Deal In Germany.

* Item: Today's NSA Briefing.

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

* Song of the Moment: Party at the NSA.

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

* What NSA Transparency Looks Like.

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

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

* The Surveillance Reforms Obama Supported Before He Was President.

* America's Spying: Worse Than You Think.

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

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

* Six Ways Congress May Reform NSA Snooping.

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

* Does The NSA Tap That?

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

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

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

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

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

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

* Obama's War On Truth And Transparency.

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

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

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

* Daniel Ellsberg: Obama Has Committed Impeachable Offenses.

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

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 3:04 AM | Permalink

August 5, 2014

Chicago's Korean Festival Strives To Survive Another Year

With one week left to prepare for one of the city's most colorful events, the Chicago Korean Festival suffers to put on the two-day spectacle. The festival's committee is working with a negative bank account in the tens of thousands and with significantly less sponsors to support the event that will be held in the Albany Park neighborhood on Saturday and Sunday August 9-10.

"We just have to put a festival to make sure there is a 19th annual celebration," said festival chairman Dan Lee. "We will do the best we can so the people can come an experience the Korean culture in Chicago."

Two weeks ago, the new president of the Chicago Korean Chamber of Commerce announced that the location would move back from Northeastern University to the original site on Bryn Mawr between Kimball and Kedzie Avenues. This did not go well with several of the committee members and many dropped out.

Tim Olsen, a key player of the festival and the one in charge of bringing the B-Boy Battle on stage and chef Beverly Kim and ABC-7's Steve Dolinsky to demonstrate Kimchi preparations, was most upset about the abrupt changes. He decided to resign. However, hopes are still high that the festival will still go on without the many important members that decided to part.

"We are in this as a family, not just a Korean family but a Chicago family, our volunteers and staff are White, Black, Asian, etc. . . . makes no difference," said K-Fest Main Event Concert co-producer Samuel Bain. "Our love for Korean culture is what brings us together. We will strive to make each year better than the year before, and we are already looking forward to next year's 20th year anniversary of K-Fest."

The K-Fest Main Event Concert is a new element to the festival. 2 Fast 2 Furious MC JIN will headline the show, which features hip hop's J-Reyez, Lil Crazed, Rob Chapman and Jargon. The show will be hosted by Megan Batoon and Gabe from B96 radio. The concert will take place inside Northside Prep High School, adjacent to the festival, on Sunday, August 10 from 5:30 p.m. - 9 p.m.

There will also be an abundance of Korean food vendors, Ssireum Tournament (Korean wrestling) and live traditional and contemporary musical performances.

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Lily Kim is the managing partner of Ascene Chicago.

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 9:59 AM | Permalink

Bad Bullpens & Vice Versa

"Good pitching beats good hitting, and vice versa," Yogi Berra once said.

More recently, Hawk Harrelson has claimed that the game today is a "battle of bullpens," whereas years ago it was the team's starting pitching that dictated a club's success.

The message from both of these walking antiques is that victories don't come easily without pitchers who can get outs, especially in crucial situations. Yogi no doubt meant to stop his sentence before the comma, while Hawk's proposition is arguable since the greatest bullpen in the game can't save an inept starting staff.

Take last Wednesday's game in Detroit when Hector Noesi had a miserable first inning, giving up six runs in the Tigers' 7-2 victory. One game doesn't prove Harrelson's edict wrong, but once the Sox got behind against a good team and their ace Max Scherzer, it didn't matter a bit that Noesi and the bullpen allowed just one more run the rest of the way. Hector's first-inning failure was too much to overcome.

Conversely, Saturday's 16-3 drubbing at the hands of the Twins was shocking because five Sox relievers coughed up an unbelievable 18 hits and 15 earned runs over the game's final four innings. Poor Jose Quintana, the king of no decisions, departed with a 3-1 lead. That game provided a healthy dose of credence to Hawk's proposition.

Despite the fact that a team's bullpen is responsible for far more innings than was required in Yogi and Hawk's day, the best teams need both effective starting pitching and a reliable bullpen. They go hand-in-hand.

And the Sox, at this point, have neither.

That may be a bit harsh when one considers that Chris Sale is a legitimate Cy Young candidate and that Quintana's ERA has shrunk to 3.04. John Danks has been somewhat erratic but still has shown flashes that two years after surgery he may be turning the corner in a positive direction. No one will call Noesi and Scott Carroll "dependable," but each has pitched well in certain instances.

Noesi notched his sixth win Monday night in a rain-shortened seven-inning 5-3 win over the Rangers, earning an abbreviated complete game while allowing just one earned run. Here's a guy who hadn't won a game since May 6, 2012, when he was with Seattle, and now he's got a half-dozen victories.

Noesi was claimed off waivers from Texas on April 25th and after five relief appearances, he's started 18 games. He's lasted at least six innings in 14 of those. Maybe you can't label Noesi's addition a "pleasant surprise," but he's pitched far better than Sox fans could have expected.

And then there's the ever-changing bullpen, which has sent 17 different pitchers to the mound this season if you include Leury (I Can Play Anywhere) Garcia, who pitched the 14th inning back on April 16th and was tagged with the loss as the Red Sox touched him for a couple of runs in a 6-4 outcome.

How could you blame manager Robin Ventura if he chose to use Leury again, considering how some of the relief staff have performed? Only two teams in all of baseball, the Rockies and Astros, have blown more saves than the Sox's 17. Almost half of the relief corps have ERAs above five.

The most distressing, pathetic stat is the 175 bases on balls over 335 innings belonging to the bullpen. That's an average of almost five free passes over nine innings. The cardinal sin for a relief pitcher is walking a guy after being summoned from the bullpen. Sox pitchers do it with regularity.

General manager Rick Hahn has made some master trades for the likes of Adam Eaton, Conor Gillaspie, Avisail Garcia and others. One which hasn't gone well was sending closer Addison Reed to Arizona last December for prospect Matt Davidson. Reed has 27 saves this season out of 32 opportunities, while Davidson, a 23-year-old third baseman, is wallowing at Charlotte hitting .196. The kid has power - he's smashed 18 homers - but he also strikes out about a third of his at-bats, and the Sox are already loaded with guys who can whiff.

Chances are the Sox would be better than .500 rather than three games under at 55-58 if Hahn hadn't pulled the trigger on the Reed transaction, but at the time Davidson figured to challenge Gillaspie as the team's third baseman. Who would have thought that Gillaspie would be hitting .315 at this juncture? He's also shown notable improvement defensively. Right now he appears to be the third baseman of the future.

The bullpen can't dodge the heaps of criticism, but situations tend to change rather quickly in this game. Look back no further than the wondrous season of 2005 when Cliff Politte and Neal Cotts anchored a bullpen before turning over the closer duties to Dustin Hermanson (34 saves), Shingo Takatsu (8) or Bobby Jenks (6).

(Note: Cotts is one of five players still active from the 2005 champs. The others are Paul Konerko, A.J. Pierzynski, Mark Buehrle and Juan Uribe.)

Politte appeared in 68 games and Cotts in 69 with ERAs of 2.00 and 1.94, respectively. However, the season before, when the White Sox finished 79-83, the duo looked more like, well, Ronald Belisario and Eric Surkamp. Cotts was 4-4 with a 5.65 while Politte was 0-3 with a 4.38. Obviously Ozzie Guillen and Don Cooper saw something they liked in that duo and stuck with them, and their patience paid off handsomely.

Time will tell whether history will repeat itself, but the mantra is that the experience garnered by young relievers like Jake Petricka, Daniel Webb and Zach Putnam will pay future dividends. We'll see.

As far as starting pitching is concerned, that '04 bunch looked somewhat similar to this year's group in that Buehrle and Jon Garland were the only two who went on to figure into the 2005 campaign. Esteban Loaiza and Scott Schoeneweis started that season in the rotation, but each was traded that summer as Kenny Williams brought in Freddy Garcia and Jose Contreras, who figured prominently in later glory on the South Side.

Not long ago Erik Johnson and Felipe Paulino were part of this year's rotation. Maybe we'll see Johnson again, but Paulino was simply a failed experiment of a pitcher trying to rebound from arm surgery. Chances are Sale, Quintana, and Danks will be the staff leaders next season, and possibly Hahn can weave some of the past magic engineered by Williams.

In actuality, this year's pitching staff has performed better than the 2004 year in terms of ERA - 4.28 now compared to 4.91. In '05 Sox hurlers gave up just 3.61 earned run per game. As previously mentioned, rapid change is not unknown in baseball.

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

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 9:36 AM | Permalink

The [Tuesday] Papers

"The odds were undoubtedly stacked against state Rep. LaShawn Ford when federal prosecutors indicted him on felony bank fraud charges more than a year and a half ago," the Tribune reports.

"The already sky-high conviction rate at the Dirksen U.S. Courthouse rises to near 100 percent in recent years when it comes to public figures. The cases that are brought against elected officials are typically buttoned down tight, experts say. Little is left to chance.

"But in a highly unusual move Monday, prosecutors agreed to drop all 17 felony charges against Ford in exchange for his guilty plea to a single misdemeanor tax count."

WTF?

"Prosecutors declined to comment on the sudden turn of events, leaving many unanswered questions on how the case seemingly fell apart so close to trial."

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This sudden turn of events is being described widely as vindication for Ford, who has enjoyed sympathetic coverage from journalists from the get-go on this case. I've always been more skeptical - and I remain unsure that the feds simply brought a case that so far exceeded the evidence.

"Jeffrey Cramer, a former federal prosecutor, said cases brought by the U.S. Attorney's Office against politicians are often described as slam dunks, but it's always possible for evidence to shift or witnesses to go south - either by changing their stories or proving to be less than credible."

Perhaps. But a reminder:

"A West Side lawmaker was indicted Thursday on federal charges that he lied to a bank to get a $500,000 extension on a line of credit and used the cash to cover car loans, credit cards, mortgages, campaign costs and payments to a Hammond casino," the Tribune reported in November 2012.

That's the sort of evidence that would seem to have been well-documented, not requiring flaky human sources.

And when Ford said "This is a case of the feds not knowing how real estate is done in the community," well, that seemed to seal it for me. It was as if Ford was saying federal prosecutors simply didn't understand local ways and means - regardless of what some pretty law said.

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Back to today's Trib:

"In pleading guilty to the misdemeanor, Ford admitted that in his 2007 tax return he over-reported what he spent to rehab a single-family house in Chicago's Austin neighborhood, reducing his capital gain from the sale of the home. The deception cost the Internal Revenue Service a tax loss of $3,782, according to the plea deal."

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I still find the media reaction noxious.

"In the Great Recession, the Obama Justice Department has sent no Big Bankers to jail for the billions they plundered, but it went after a lone black state representative for 17 counts of felony bank fraud?" Carol Marin writes.

That's a big enchilada - buying the defense's theory that Ford was targeted because he was black. That's a big accusation to make against the U.S. attorney's office. It's far more likely that Ford was targeted because prosecutors sifting through the wreckage of SouthShore Bank spotted the name of an elected official. That's legit.

"The charge: improperly using a $1.5 million line of credit from ShoreBank in his struggling real estate business, with some of the money going to pay personal debts."

As an aside, maybe a lesson here is that legislating - and aldermanning - should be full-time jobs. I'd like to see outside income simply banned. As with any other pol, running a real estate business in the neighborhoods you represent is fraught with peril and an obvious conflict-of-interest.

But back to Carol:

"Amazingly, not a single soul from ShoreBank responsible for lending Ford the money, nor a single other customer - many white - was charged with making bad loans or defaulting on loans."

Well, on the first point, the loan to Ford wasn't the problem; the charge was that he lied to bank officials to get the money. Why would those bank officials then be charged? On the second point, is it that no white customers who supposedly did the same thing - how many SouthShore customers were lying on their loan applications? - were charged, or that the feds found no other public officials allegedly lying to extend credit to rehab the homes of their constituents but instead spending the money on their overextended selves?

"Only LaShawn Ford was bagged by the government. What set him apart? He was an elected official, though the charges had nothing to do with his performance in office."

Nothing to do with his performance in office technically, perhaps, but a public official who uses his status to do business in his district is always connecting his performance in office to his private money-making.

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Am I dismissing the possibility that the feds made a terrible mistake? No. But I'm wondering what the coverage would look like if the facts were exactly the same but the defendant was someone reporters didn't like.

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If the feds did bungle as badly as is being portrayed, then that demands investigation. Overcharging occurs, but in this case reporters are telling us prosecutors had virtually no case at all.

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Also, remember that this case was brought by Patrick Fitzgerald announced by interim U.S. attorney Gary Shapiro, the longtime deputy to Patrick Fitzgerald, who is no longer the U.S. attorney. Now we're back to business as usual with Zach Fardon. To wit:

"Significant cases he has handled at Latham & Watkins include representing the University of Illinois in connection with an investigation of its admissions practices in 2009-2010 and representing John Wyma, a key witness in the conviction of former Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich."

(To be fair: "It was Wyma's cooperation with the government at a critical point in the probe that launched the secret recordings of the ex-governor and ultimately led to his fall.")

Even before Fardon's appointment was confirmed, local pols were urging him to spend more of the office's resources on local crime - which inherently means less on political corruption. (For the record, Fitzgerald spent an enormous amount of time and energy on crime; moves like this seem more for show than anything, especially given that crime has been trending down for years, which is disappointing in how it demonstrates Fardon's apparent willingness to placate people like Rahm Emanuel for political reasons.)

So LaShawn Ford may be an angel, but the coverage of this saga makes me squirm.

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BeachBook
* The New Pornographers Team Up With Intelligentsia For Own Coffee.

More or less aggravating than teaming up with Goose Island for their own beer?

* 'Mr. Roboto' Recording Studio For Sale.

h/t: Gapers Block.

* Obama Sent Undercover Kids To Cuba To Foment Revolution.

Did they arrive in a clown car with exploding cigars?

* Minnesota Hates The White Sox More Than Any Other Team, Including The Packers.

Agree.

* Millennials Do Not Play The Lottery.

Illinois phone app a rousing failure.

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TweetWood

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The Beachwood Tip Line: Drafted.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 7:55 AM | Permalink

August 4, 2014

The [Monday] Papers

I'll be ignoring the Tribune until I figure out how to read their new website.

The Weekend In Chicago Rock
I wasn't at Lollapalooza, but of the video I rummaged through, my favorite act of the weekend was Warpaint - followed quite closely by Meg Myers.

We've got those folks and 46 others today. Take yourself on a musical journey.

The Beachwood Radio Hour
In this episode: Ald. Patrick J. O'Connor, God's Special Creature. Lollapaloozers. The Political Odds. Derrick Rose Is A Saboteur. The Cub Factor. Junkies In Narcissistic Denial. Crime Is Down. Weekend Classifieds.

The Beachwood Radio Sports Hour
In this episode: Derrick Rose Is A Saboteur. Drinking The Bears' Bourbon. Baseball Blockbusters.

BeachBook
* United Airlines HQ Hit By Bedbugs.

But can they figure out how to charge them for extra baggage?

* These Lollapalooza Patrons Find Shelter In A Port-A-Potty.

Introducing Poohber: Port-A-Potties for the sharing economy. A joint venture with Airpeenpee.

* Audit Indicates Irregularities In Atlanta Airport Parking Contract.

Terms ridiculously favorable to Chicago-based Standard Parking.

* Chicago Coin Deluxe World Series.

1974 edition.

* Evanston Public Library Bans My Book Talk On Palestine.

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TweetWood

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The Beachwood Tip Line: Good to the last drop..

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 2:30 PM | Permalink

The Weekend In Chicago Rock

You shoulda been there.

1. Warpaint at Lollapalooza on Friday.


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2. Meg Myers at Lollapalooza on Friday.

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Meg Myers at a Lollapalooza aftershow at City Winery on Friday night.

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3. Lorde at Lollapalooza on Friday night.

Kot: Lorde Rules Day One.

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4. Childish Gambino at Lollapalooza on Sunday night.

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5. Eminem & Rihanna at Lollapalooza on Friday night.

Guarino: "The singer was not on the bill, but they are scheduled to co-headline a short stadium tour this summer starting next week. On Friday, Rihanna sang the hooks on three songs: 'Love the Way You Lie,' 'The Monster' and 'Stan,' the 1999 hit that catapulted him to fame. She and the Detroit rapper didn't interact much during their mini-set - he bounded back and forth during her vocal interludes.

"Otherwise, Eminem presented a vintage oldies set, introduced with a video that updated the audience with his long-running (and now, quite moldy) narrative involving a stalker fan."

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6. Chance the Rapper at Lollapalooza on Sunday night.

Demerits for bringing out R. Kelly.

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7. Vic Mensa feat. Chance the Rapper at Lollapalooza on Saturday night.

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8. Outkast at Lollapalooza on Saturday night.

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9. Iggy Azalea at Lollapalooza on Friday night.

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10. Young the Giant at a Lollapalooza aftershow with Grouplove at the House of Blues on Saturday night.

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11. Kate Nash at City Winery on Friday night.

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12. Jenny Lewis at Lollapalooza on Saturday night.

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Jenny Lewis at a Lollapalooza pre-aftershow at the Park West on Friday night.

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13. Oneida at the Empty Bottle on Wednesday night.

Loerzel: "[W]hat a joy it was to see these New York musicians playing in Chicago again, making their first appearance here in several years.

"Since the Krautrock-influenced group finished its epic 'Thank Your Parents' trilogy of albums, it has released two records: Absolute II in 2011 and A List of Burning Mountains in 2012 - instrumental recordings with long passages of quiet punctuated by jarring blasts of noise and percussion.

"Joined by James McNew of Yo La Tengo on bass, Oneida played some of that sort of stuff during its show last week, but it also delivered some of the Oneida pieces that more closely resemble actual songs - ending with one of its most lively, riveting numbers, the 2006 song 'Up With People.' Audience members pogoed to the insistent beat."

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14. Crocodiles at the Empty Bottle on Tuesday night.

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15. Brett Naucke at Neon Marshmallow at the Burlington on Thursday night.

Neon Marshmallow.

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16. Cage The Elephant at Lollapalooza on Sunday.

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Cage The Elephant at a Lollapalooza aftershow at the Vic on Saturday night.

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17. Jake Shimabukuro at Ravinia on Friday night.

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18. Nas at Lollapalooza on Saturday.

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Nas at a Lollapalooza aftershow at the House of Blues on Sunday night.

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19. Lyle Lovett at Ravinia on Friday night.

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20. Andre Foisy at Neon Marshmallow at the Burlington on Thursday night.

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21. The Head and the Heart at the House of Blues on Friday night.

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22. Varsity at Schubas on Wednesday night.

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23. Skrillex at Lollapalooza on Sunday night.

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24. Chvrches at Lollapalooza on Friday.

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Chvrches at a Lollapalooza preshow at the Vic on Thursday night.

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25. Bear Hands at Lollapalooza on Sunday.

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26. Gemini Club at a Lollapalooza pre-show at Thalia Hall on Thursday night.

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27. Bleachers at Lollapalooza on Sunday.

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28. The Airborne Toxic Event at Lollapalooza on Sunday.

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29. American Football at Beat Kitchen on Saturday night.

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30. J. Roddy Walston & The Business at a Lollapalooza pre-show at Schubas on Thursday night.

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31. Pujol at a Lollapalooza pre-show at Schubas on Thursday night.

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32. Glen Hansard at Lollapalooza on Sunday.

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33. Tiny Ruins at the Hideout on Friday night.

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34. Kings of Leon at Lollapalooza on Sunday night.

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35. The 1975 at Lollapalooza on Sunday.

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The 1975 at a Lollapalooza pre-aftershow at the Park West on Saturday night.

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36. Heart at Ravinia on Sunday night.

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37. Foster The People at Lollapalooza.

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38. Selwyn Birchwood at SPACE in Evanston on Thursday night.

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39. Arctic Monkeys at Lollapalooza.

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40. London Grammar at Lollapalooza on Sunday.

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41. Hozier at Lollapalooza on Friday.

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42. Wesley Harding at the Red Line Tap on Wednesday night.

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43. White Denim at Lollapalooza on Sunday.

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White Denim at a Lollapalooza pre-aftershow at the Empty Bottle on Saturday night.

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44. Kongos at Lollapalooza on Sunday.

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45. Kodaline at Lollapalooza on Friday.

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46. The Avett Brothers at Lollapalooza on Sunday night.

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47. Martin Garrix at the Aragon on Saturday night.

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48. Imelda May at Park West on Sunday night.

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 9:07 AM | Permalink

August 2, 2014

The Beachwood Radio Hour #17: Candid Chicago

Featuring Ald. Patrick J. O'Connor, God's Special Creature.

Plus: Lollapaloozers, The Political Odds, Derrick Rose Is A Saboteur, The Cub Factor, Junkies In Narcissistic Denial, Crime Is Down & Weekend Classifieds.


SHOW NOTES

3:25: Courtney Barnett Rules.

5:21: Candid Camera Chicago.

7:00: Ald. Pat O'Connor, God's Special Creature.

* Wikipedia.

* The [Thursday] Papers.

* The Weekend Desk Report.

29:30: The Political Odds.

35:00: The Beachwood Radio Sports Hour #11: Derrick Rose Is A Saboteur By Any Other Name.

42:40: The Cub Factor: The Top 10 Reasons To Keep Watching.

45:00: TrackNotes: Junkies In Narcissistic Denial.

47:00: The Beachwood Radio Hour #2: Crime Is Down.

48:15: Weekend Classifieds.

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The Beachwood Radio Network.

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 1:22 PM | Permalink

The Weekend Desk Report

Millennials' other bad habits? Kim Kardashian and the sharing economy.

Market Update
Wool must be getting really expensive, because they're not even trying to pull it over your eyes anymore.

Suspended Sentence
Maybe Nick Fairley can argue the car provoked him to drive it.

Suspended Logic
Then, of course, he can tell the world his car is an angel and his car can do no wrong.

Suspended Hearing
Of course, if he really wants to weasel out of something he can just exert his political will to make sure the real evidence never sees the light of day.

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The Weekend Desk Tip Line: Suspended animation.

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The Beachwood Radio Network
* The Beachwood Radio Sports Hour #11: Derrick Rose A Saboteur By Any Other Name.

Plus: Drinking The Bears' Bourbon & Baseball's Blockbusters.

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

Bringing this episode back to your attention in light of Friday's city council hearing on Chicago crime stats. A must-listen.

* The Beachwood Radio Hour #17: Candid Chicago.

Featuring Ald. Patrick J. O'Connor, God's Special Creature. Plus: Lollapaloozers, The Political Odds, Derrick Rose Is A Saboteur, The Cub Factor, Junkies In Narcissistic Denial, Crime Is Down & Weekend Classifieds.

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The Sound Opinions Weekend Listening Report: "Jim and Greg conduct a Classic Album Dissection of The Ramones' 1977 release Rocket to Russia, including a 2007 Sound Opinions interview with the late Tommy Ramone. Tommy died on July 11th and was the last surviving original member of the pioneering punk band. Later, Jim and Greg review a new album from Tom Petty & the Heartbreakers."

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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.

8th Chicago Latin Jazz Festival

This celebration of Latin jazz includes a tribute to bassist and South Side Chicagoan Victor Venegas, and performances by violinist James Sanders and Johnny Blas & his Afro-Libre Orquestra.

Sunday at 9 a.m. on CAN TV21.

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Hamlet: The Series

Don't miss this classic Shakespearean story of a princess, a war and a power struggle. Made for television, this "re-imagining" uses the original language in a modern setting with a female Hamlet.

Sunday at 7 p.m. on CAN TV21.

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BeachBook
* Everything Winter Announces Backyard Hockey Rink Service.

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The Weekend Classified Ad Report

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Posted by Natasha Julius at 8:05 AM | Permalink

August 1, 2014

The Beachwood Radio Sports Hour #11: Derrick Rose A Saboteur By Any Other Name

Plus: Drinking The Bears' Bourbon & Baseball's Blockbusters.


SHOW NOTES

00:50: Tension City.

* Derrick Rose emerges, however briefly, from cocooned existence.

* Sabotaged Carmelo Anthony talks.

* Buying conversion van soon.

* Paranoid Jerry Reinsdorf is back. Quick, someone claim the Twitter feed.

18:00 Bears In Bourbon.

* Mega-Punt! Mega-Punt!

33:00: Baseball Blockbusters.

* Detroit Tigers improved their championship odds the most.

* Dave Dombrowski And Billy Beane Have An Entertaining GM Rivalry.

* White Sox Beat Tigers In Game They've Lost All Season.

* Thank you, Emilio Bonifacio. You kept both teams in the game.

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The Beachwood Radio Network.

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 7:29 PM | Permalink

The [Friday] Papers

"Bruce Rauner delivered another $1.5 million of personal funds to his Republican challenge to Democratic Gov. Pat Quinn's re-election bid, bringing to nearly $10 million the amount he has tapped his wallet for since launching his campaign in March 2013, records showed today," the Tribune reports.

"With his latest contribution, Rauner has given his campaign nearly $9.6 million. Rauner, an equity investor from Winnetka, is possibly the wealthiest candidate to seek statewide office in Illinois."

Seemingly related:

"Rauner spokesman Mike Schrimpf refused to clarify where Rauner stands on the issue of corporate tax avoidance.

"But in an e-mailed statement he blamed Quinn for presiding over an uncompetitive economy."

LOL
Poll: Foreign Policy No Longer Obama Strong Point.

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Obama: The President Without A Strong Point.

Rahmcast
"Chicago is projecting the smallest budget gap since 2008 even as it forecasts that the deficit will almost double by 2017 amid growing pension obligations," Bloomberg reports.

"The outlook for the third-largest U.S. city, released with an annual report, forecasts a 2015 deficit of $297.3 million, $100 million less than projected a year earlier after the city reformed two of its four pension funds. That shortfall will rise to $587.7 million by 2017, and that gap doesn't include obligations to Chicago's two underfunded retirement funds.

"By making the tough but necessary choices over the past three years, we are able to continue chipping away," Mayor Rahm Emanuel said in an e-mailed statement today. "While a $297 million budget shortfall is substantial, we are making progress in righting the city's financial ship."

The statement wasn't available for follow-up questions.

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Instead of statements, I wish the mayor's press office would at least e-mail audio clips to the media so we could hear Emanuel actually say these things. And also so I could doctor one into him saying "No fucking comment."

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Emanuel also urged residents to call 911 a lot - like every fucking day.

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P.S.: Yes, I understand the higher 911 surcharge is per phone account, not per call (or at least that's the way I think I understand it), but c'mon, for comedy.

Pot Brownies
"Aldermen took steps Tuesday to further limit where medical marijuana dispensaries could be located in the city," the Tribune reports.

In their ward offices, for example, right next to the voter registration cards.

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I'd like to see food trucks given permission to sell medical marijuana. Also, the regular kind.

Blame Comcast
This column 50 percent less funny and newsworthy due to last night's Comcast outage. Feel free to send them a nasty note.

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The Beachwood Radio Network
Weekend podcasts are in production!

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The Week In Juvenile Justice
Including: Chicago Teen-On-Teen Violence, Juvenile Detention Suicide, CPS Loophole, Dallas School Plot, Minnesota School Plot, and Irish Ire.

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The Political Odds
Chances Rahm, Quinn win re-election? O'Connor wins indictment? The Lucas Museum wins the lakefront? In The Political Odds.

TrackNotes: Junkies In Narcissistic Denial
Racing can't unite on anything - even cynicism.

Beachwood Photo Booth: Window Dressing
Factored pairs.

The Week In Chicago Rock
Featuring: Courtney Barnett, Phantogram, Strand of Oaks, Stephen Marley, Interpol, The Bangles, Disclosure, Altered Perceptions, K.K. Rampage, Doyle Bramhall II, and Jesse McCartney.

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BeachBook
* Wild Hare To Host First Live Music In Three Years On Friday Night.

In your backyard and in your face, Lincoln Park.

* Craigslist Peoria: Dude Selling Air Guitar.

Slightly used.

* America Loves The Bears (To Go At Least 9-7).

"Of course, the opinion of the public should never be trusted."

* Fermilab Installs Huge Magnet For Dark Matter Experiment.

Why not just use Rahm's soul?

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TweetWood

Not to mention his former chief of staff.

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No wonder he looked so unhappy.

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The Beachwood Tip Line: Credible.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 11:47 AM | Permalink

The Week In Chicago Rock

You shoulda been there.

1. Courtney Barnett at Schubas on Wednesday night.

Loerzel: "Courtney Barnett sang her delightful lyrics in her deadpan style on Wednesday night at Schubas, which was very charming - but what really wowed me was her guitar playing. Early on in the set, she stepped away from the microphone stand and started flailing around with her guitar, her hair hanging down over her face, digging harder into her riffs, while bassist Bones Sloan and drummer Dave Mudie pounded away. As terrific as this Australian's songs sound on her 2013 record The Double EP: A Sea of Split Peas, they were even more intense and alluring in live performance."

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2. Phantogram at the Vic on Wednesday night.

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3. Strand of Oaks at House of Blues on Wednesday night.

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4. Stephen Marley at the Double Door on Tuesday night.

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5. Interpol at House of Blues on Wednesday night.

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6. Disclosure feat. Sam Smith at the Vic on Wednesday night.

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7. Altered Perceptions at Mojoes in Joliet on Tuesday night.

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8. K.K. Rampage at the Burlington on Wednesday night.

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9. Doyle Bramhall II at SPACE in Evanston on Wednesday night.

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10. Jesse McCartney at House of Blues on Monday night.

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11. The Bangles at City WInery on Sunday night.

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 7:01 AM | Permalink

Beachwood Photo Booth: Window Dressing

Factored pairs.

bookswindowlogan714.jpg(ENLARGE FOR PROPER VIEWING)

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More Chicago photography from Helene Smith.

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Helene on Twitter!

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Meet Helene!

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Stationery, iPhone cases, hoodies.

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

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

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 1:17 AM | Permalink

TrackNotes: Junkies In Narcissistic Denial

Just when you feel a little enthusiasm for horse racing again, the game clotheslines you right back into the shit hole.

We're going to hell, and if you stick around, we can drag you right down with us.

Roger Goodell's NFL discipline policies and decrees may be upside down, but at least they exist.

Now think about the dark side of horse racing: pain killers, steroids, thyroid medications, muscle relaxants, batteries (hand-held shock devices), mysteriously lackadaisical efforts by jockeys, poor track maintenance, tote fraud, past posting, corrupt stewardship and the lost integrity of the race.

Why would anyone involved in horse racing choose to ever do the right thing, take the high road, use common sense, do right by the horses, when they know damn well that they're never going to be truly penalized for anything? It's a destructive, tornadic confluence of: Everybody does it. We have to win. Therefore, we have to do it. We do it because we can. Nobody said we couldn't do it.

Steve Asmussen knows this. He's the second-winningest trainer in racing history, by dint of sheer volume, having some of the best horses of the young millennium (Curlin, Rachel Alexandra and, now, the sensational filly Untapable), and the use of various chemical substances.

So it's no surprise that he reinstated to his barn top assistant Scott Blasi, the focal point of a People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) firestorm ignited this spring by the release of a nine-minute video purportedly exposing Blasi's corrupt ways.

Highlighted by lamentations about the conditions of several horses and then profane exhortations about how some of the horses are worthless for racing, Blasi also shed some light in the video on the accomplished Nehro, admitting that the horse ran and trained when it should not have because of very poor feet and hooves. Nehro, he acknowledges, should have been retired before he was. He also insinuates that owner Ahmed Zayat knew of Nehro's condition and kept him in training for the money.

Nearly immediately after PETA's salvo went public, Asmussen fired Blasi. Zayat quickly pulled all of his horses from Asmussen's barn, claiming he knew nothing of Nehro's problems or Asmussen's methods. Other owners have been supportive. You see, Asmussen wins races.

Nits have been picked ever since, but no specific charges or complaints have been brought against Asmussen or Blasi and no disciplinary actions have been taken. As Beyer Speed Figure inventor and Washington Post columnist Andrew Beyer writes, racing as a sport, rudderless without national, or any, leadership of any kind, fails to see the cancerous problems it has or the overall reforms it needs.

"It is wrong to characterize Asmussen as a bad apple," Beyer wrote. "It is unfair to single him out for stigmatization. Through the industry, the indiscriminate use of drugs is business as usual."

Can't Asmussen just say "Scotty, if you feel that way, maybe you shouldn't be training horses." Instead, Blasi received less than even proverbially getting his mouth washed out with soap.

"Asmussen said Tuesday he fired Blasi at the time due to the 'unacceptable language' he used in the video," the Daily Racing Form reported. That's Asmussen's only idea of a fireable offense? Cussin'?

According to the Racing Form, "Asmussen said he chose this time to bring Blasi back because he needs his other assistant, Darren Fleming, to take horses to West Virginia (West Virginia Derby Day at Mountaineer) for races this weekend, and 'I need to be a little more mobile,' said Asmussen, who has divisions at tracks around the country."

So for Asmussen and his empire, it's about the logistics, not the horses or the ethics.

It's absolutely gut-punch disheartening and simply outrageous that racing has been and still is incapable of using yet another incident as an opportunity to take a good long look at itself and at least begin some sort of dialogue on its myriad of problems. The current conscience of racing allows these practices to continue, yet it doesn't even have the brains within itself to say "Hey guys, this looks bad." PETA's devious methods and apocalyptic contexts are not to be applauded, but they did point out one problem in racing that does exist: The overuse of pharmaceuticals and questionable methods in the treatment of these horses.

Does racing understand it's being mired in this cesspool of its own making? Junkies in narcissistic denial, it gets by in dissipating its effluent through the many tracks and state racing boards and horsemen's associations around the country. The sewage percolates through all of these entities, no cleansing to be had anywhere. Racing is not even astute enough to create its own version of the Ray Rice Pink Shoes of October brand of NFL hypocrisy. Racing can't unite on anything, even cynicism.

Nehro, foaled February 25, 2008, the son of the great Mineshaft out of the Afleet mare The Administrator, and descended three generations from Seattle Slew and four from Secretariat, died on May 6, 2013, only two days after first showing symptoms of colic.

Masochistic Game
And then, there's this.

Seems Masochistic, a 4-year-old California-bred trained by A. C. Avila and ridden by Omar Berrio, was forced by his human "caretakers" to tank a maiden race at Santa Anita on March 15th.

"Fourth choice in the betting at 8-1 that day, Berrio sat like a statue on the horse for nearly the entire six furlongs, weaving back and forth behind horses, then diving to the rail in the stretch," Ray Paulick of The Paulick Report reports. "The ride was so lethargic the jockey was called in the next morning for a video review with the stewards."

Testing was performed.

"Three weeks later, blood and urine samples came back positive for the tranquilizer Acepromazine, a Class 3 drug under California Horse Racing Board rules. A complaint filed by the stewards said a search of Avila's barn uncovered 'medication bottles with blank veterinarian prescription labels attached or no prescription labels at all.'" The tranquilizer was at 40 times the allowable level in the bloodstream.

So while Berrio did his part in fixing the race, he probably also saved the horse from potential disaster, as a let-out horse running on a tranquilizer has to be dangerous to himself, the other horses and all the jockeys. Avila's alibi? "Masochistic is a difficult horse to ride and the intention was for Berrio to preserve his mount to the stretch before asking for an effort," Avila told the Daily Racing Form.

But wait, there's more.

Fast forward to Saturday, May 3rd. Churchill Downs. Ring a bell? Kentucky Derby Day!

Masochistic went off in the third, another maiden race. Morning line 4-1, he dove in the odds and finally bobbed up to 2-1, paying $6.20 to win - by 14 lengths! The bettors were basically on to him. His workouts before the race were excellent.

The Racing Form's national handicapper also seemed on to the scam.

"There has always been talk of an annual tradition, if you will, of a special put-over job at Churchill around Derby time," Mike Watchmaker wrote in his post-Derby Day notes. It was probably true years ago, but in recent times, not so much. Well, you didn't have to be a rocket scientist to see that in the third race, Masochistic was a super-duper good thing flashback from the old days. This second-time starter from a low-profile barn shipped in from Santa Anita, where he had a passive (to be diplomatic) ride when fifth under the wire in his only start. Masochistic was bet long and strong, and made $6.20 [larger than a normal 2-1 payout because of the big Derby Day pools - TC] look like a gift after he won by 14 easy lengths."

Time travel to July 31st.

David Frankham and Brian Carmody had their horse, Smogcutter, entered in the first at Del Mar. They had announced earlier in the week that they would not enter the paddock for saddling if Masochistic, also entered, was there. From a practical standpoint, Del Mar had better announce loud and clear when Smogcutter resigns the race and why before they leave the paddock.

Frankham and Carmody said in a statement that they "Find it hard to ignore the fixing of odds while pulling off a huge betting coup at the public's expense, on a (Kentucky Derby) day when pari-mutuel pools are large enough to mask substantial wagers." Their contention is that Avila is more interested in betting than trying to win every race squarely.

I'm getting weary now.

Why are Avila and Masochistic's owners, Los Pollos Hermanos Racing/Santa Ines Stable, still being allowed to ply their trade? (Berrio is currently out of racing after suffering a stroke May 9th.) With that much narcotics pumped into him, why is Masochistic being allowed to run, both for his own good and as a penalty to the owners? Why hasn't the CHRB - Bo Derek is a member - completed its "investigation?" Can't the Del Mar Thoroughbred Club seek to keep these connections out until CHRB rules? How could any horseplayer bet on any race Masochistic runs in?

As it was, Smogcutter scratched (by stewards or owners?) at least an hour before first post. Masochistic went off at a prohibitive 2-5 (over the 5-1 Place horse), got his feet under him, had the lead two strides out and never looked back, winning by three in a very easy 6-1/2 furlongs. He paid $2.80 to win and the $1 exacta paid $4.40.

Cat Man Do
It's good to see that trainer Wayne Catalano is reportedly making progress in his battle with pneumonia brought on by the flu.

The Cat Man was hospitalized in Hoffman Estates on July 24th and put into an induced coma. His daughter Shelbi Hill, wife of jockey Channing Hill, reported that Catalano is/was quite ill. During Sunday's Haskell Invitational, NBC's Donna Brothers provided an update that said Catalano was improving slowly, but steadily.

As this railbird was just learning the game, Catalano was a winning machine in Chicago racing environs, taking 14 training titles between Sportsman's Park, Hawthorne and Arlington Park. But with the sugar of winning came the vinegar of training for his chief owner, printing magnate Frank Calabrese.

Calabrese's main goal was to win the owners title in every meet he ran. To do this he'd claim a horse out of a $20,000 race, for example, and then drop him next time out into a $14,000 or $10,000 race - and get the win. Over and over and over again. Legal, but also very influential on the race pools and wagering "opportunities." It made many of those races nearly impossible to bet, unless you were willing to eke out a payoff from very low prices. Before the PolyTrack, general low quality, and misplaced marketing efforts, this was a problem Arlington had for years.

But win they did, despite calling it Splitsville more than once. Not too much different from the travails of Jay Z and his lovely Beyoncé; it was business.

It was really great to see the racing gods smile upon him later with quality horses he could work his magic with. Cat Man, winner of nearly 1,800 races as a jockey, became especially handy training two-year-old fillies, winning the Breeders' Cup Juvenile Fillies two out of three years with one of my favorites, Calabrese-owned Dreaming of Anna in 2006, and then She Be Wild in 2008. Those two both won Eclipse Awards as best two-year-old filly of the year. Stephanie's Kitten won the 2011 Breeders' Cup Juvenile Fillies Turf.

Highlights of a roster too large to print, he also trained 'Anna's full brother, Lewis Michael, winner of the Washington Park Handicap at Arlington and the Pat O'Brien Handicap at Del Mar. Early on, Catalano scored with Crypto Star in the 1997 Louisiana Derby and Arkansas Derby en route to a fifth-place finish in the Kentucky Derby, behind winner Silver Charm, the respectable Captain Blodgit and future breeding great Pulpit.

Catalano's barn had Irish You Well in Sunday's Haskell Invitational and don't think I didn't play him. He finished a hard-working fourth for his part in the superfecta.

The only thing missing Saturday was an interview with the seemingly shy Catalano and his subtle native-New Orleans twang. When he was having all that Breeders' Cup success, it sure was fun watching him steel himself in the winner's circle and take the questions like bullets. But always with honest, natural answers.

Here's wishing the Cat Man a speedy recovery.

Classic Chrome
Even though horse trainers include on their job descriptions the title Chief Spokesman, they rival a mayoral press secretary in not really saying anything. Just not nearly as arrogant.

Have you given your jockey Junior Smalls any instructions? "We want to get away clean and then Junior will make the decision; I don't tell him what to do. We want to be close to the pace but we're content to lay back." Huh?

You just won the Grade I Gargantuan Stakes. What's next? "I'll sit down with the owner and we'll discuss it." Or, "The horse will tell us how he's doing." What do I know? I'm just the trainer.

Why The Casino Classic? "It's a good fit for the hor$e."

But California Chrome trainer Art Sherman came as close as I've heard to a trainer tipping his hand - if not flat out announcing - that the Kentucky Derby and Preakness winner may next enter the $1,000,000 Pennsylvania Derby on September 21st, at Parx Casino and Racing (formerly Philadelphia Park). Will Take Charge won it last year. No Kentucky Derby winner has ever run in this race.

The forum wise guys already speculate that 'Chrome will fly across the country simply to avoid Shared Belief in the $250,000 Awesome Again Stakes September 27th at Santa Anita, this year's site of the Breeders' Cup.

Vacationing since the Belmont Stakes, 'Chrome is back in training. Why not a quick van ride to the host track to prepare for the Breeders' Cup Classic? The better chance for a win in Philly and the money, that's why.

The Penn Derby also puts California Chrome's final prep six weeks out from the Classic, versus four weeks for Shared Belief. From a wagering point of view, will 'Chrome have any foundation in the BC Classic, the biggest and toughest race of his career? This is very likely a good indicator of just how much effort he put into the Triple Crown series: Maybe too much. He probably was fully unable to run in this past weekend's Haskell and you don't run the Travers without a prep. Penn will be his prep for the Breeders' Cup.

If Sherman can train California Chrome into a Classic win, the guy's good.

If California Chrome runs next year, the Coburn-Martin-Sherman connections are great. I'll believe it when I see it.

-

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

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 12:29 AM | Permalink

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